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I’m hoping at least /x/ will enjoy this because it’s probablt fucked me up for life. It’s seeming a lot more absurd as time passes (12 days since I moved my shit into my friends place), so I want to get this out there and have people call bullshit and pass judgement, because I think it’ll make me feel better.

I’ve moved out all my stuff, I’ve already called the cops, and informed my absentee landlord. I’ve done all the proper things, so there’s nothing left to do but share my little fucked up city living story.

About six months ago, my girlfriend and I moved into an apartment in the Benton Park neighborhood of St. Louis. About two weeks after we move in, her grandfather, who raised her, has a fucking stroke, and she ends up going home to Twin Oaks to take care of him. She was living with him full time until we can find out how to afford a nurse or hospice.

Anyway, I’d been living in our one bedroom all alone for the last half a year. It’s beautiful, newly remodeled, double paned windows, great insulation. The best a couple of hicks turned yuppies could want. It’s got a couple of weird things about it, as you’ll see. There’s only four units in the
building, on the second and third floors. We’re on the top floor.

The first weird thing about the place we noticed right when we moved in. The walls and floors are paper thin. I could hear every word of my downstairs neighbors conversation at all times. I know when they take a shower, I know when they fuck. And I’m sure they know the same about us. It’s weird, the more info we had on each other, the less we wanted to actually know each other.

They moved out six weeks ago. Then the other two units went vacant a week later. It was kinda weird, but also kind of awesome. I could finally stomp around, watch porn and play Rock Band at full volume.

About four weeks ago, it got weird. It was about 1 am, and I was going to bed, and I started to hear this noise from the empty apartment downstairs. Really quiet at first, but sustained. It sounded halfway between a hushed conversation, with only one person talking, and small motor running. Just a babbling, not quite regular drone. Freaked me out at first, but I rationalized that it was some plumbing or the refridgerator downstairs. Something I’d never heard over my downstairs neighbors farting and snoring.

I learned to live with it, as it rose and fell every evening. Pretty soon a steady tapping sound started in with mumbling. I know it sounds fucked up, but when you hear it every night for a while, you just make excuses for it.

Then I kept hearing boards creaking. It’s spring, my first in this building, so I assumed it was just the old boards under the new drywall settling. Then one night, as I was brushing my teeth, there was a mighty dry thump, right behind me. I just about stabbed myself with my toothbrush. I stayed really still till I was sure there wasn’t anyone in the house and then turned on all the lights in the house.

This is when I noticed the peculiarity in the remodeling.

On the other side of the bathroom, where I heard the thump, is the hall closet. I open it up, and switch on the light, expecting a box to have fallen off the shelves, but it’s all gravy inside. I tap on the wall between the closet and the bathroom, and it sounds oddly hollow. And I start to realize that the closet isn’t as wide as I think it should be based on the bathroom. I pace it out with my feet, and then a tape measure just to confirm. Sure enough, there’s about 30" of space inbetween the two walls that I thought were adjacent.

Again, rationalization time: Surely there’s extra insulation there to keep the bathroom warm, or maybe walls are thicker than I imagined, because fuck, I’ve never built a house. So in this one thick wall, some huge fucking rat must have taken a tumble and freaked me out. No big deal. I felt a lot better at the time; even better when it was the first night in a while without that weird noise below me.

So, everything is fine until last friday night. It’s about two in the morning and I’m home late from the bar, not as drunk as I want and remembering that left all my clean laundry in the dryer before I went out. One thing sticks out as I climb the stairs: The door to the apartment below me is closed.

It’s been open since the neighbors vacated. I got kind of used to seeing an empty mirror image of my place every day when I walked past. Maybe the landlord was showing it to people today. Rationalize, rationalize, rationalize.

I bag up a small load of laundry and climb down the back porch steps to the laundry room, which is really just part of the garage, but the staircase in on the outside of the building and it gives each floor a little shared porch. I get down there, and into the little room, and I start bagging up all my clothes into this big black duffel bag.

Two things you should know about me at this point. I turn off every light when I leave a room. No matter what. My dad used to beat the shit out of me when the energy bill was a penny over the norm. And I also lock the door every time I go through it. Hell, I even locked the back door when I went down to get my laundry.

I start back up the stairs and on the first flight I look up, straight to my bedroom window. The light is on. And there’s a silhouette against the closed blinds.

I pissed myself a little and every hair on my neck snapped to fucking attention.

And then the light goes out. It happened in less than a second. Ten seconds later I’m still frozen in place, and trying to figure out if I just saw what I think I saw. Rationalization lost out, thank fucking god, and I snuck down the stairs and out through the garage. I called a cab and stood across the street from the building lookin at my living room window. About five minutes before the cab showed up, the venetian blinds parted slightly for a few seconds, like someone was looking down on me. Then nothing.

I stayed at a hotel that weekend, then a couple of buddies of mine came back with me on sunday to see how much stuff had been stolen.

It was all there. My laptop was still charging, my brand new plasma TV. The doors were locked. I moved it all out that afternoon. While my friends were with me, and I had the daylight on my side, I checked out the apartment below me. The downstairs closet had the same abnormally thick wall.

Only someone had hammered through this wall, a big round jagged whole, exposing the tiny crawl space between.

And in this space flat against the wall, was a cheap hardware store ladder; leading up throught the darkness, to the space behind the walls, in my apartment.

I don’t know how he got into my apartment from there, maybe through the heating vents in my ceiling. I really don’t give a shit. All I care about is never seeing that building again. I mailed my keys to the landlord, told the whole thing to a terminally disinterested cop. Done my part, moving on. Quit my shitty job, which might be the one good thing about this.

I’m typing this at a friends house on his wi-fi. I was going to take this convenient time to get the fuck out of dodge, and move in with my girlfriend and her grandpa, but he died two nights ago. Still think I’d like to head back into the country, but I guess this is like a clean slate for us.

I haven’t told her yet, and I’m not sure if I will. Told her our landlord went apeshit and kicked me out. She’s already got issues with security and I don’t want to add to them.. But I don’t ever want to live in an apartment, or hear people moving beneath my feet, or on the other side of a wall. Never again.

100,000


It might happen one morning that you wake up home alone.

This could be normal depending on your situation, but this morning will be different.

While your environment will all seem exactly the same, you’ll notice that everything is quieter than normal.

If you go outside, you will notice a distinct lack of anything like birds, insects… or people.

As far as you travel, you will not encounter another sentient human being.

The entire world will be intact, but empty except for yourself.

There are currently over 100,000 missing persons cases in the United States.

Some are just normal cases of murder or kidnappings, but in others, the disappearance cannot be explained and no remains of the person are ever located.


You’d fallen asleep to late-night television, but curiously woke up to the sounds of the static playing on the T.V.

As you sit up, rubbing your eyes, you read the scrawling words of the Emergency Broadcast System “This is just a test – This is just a test – This is just a test…”

You glance at the clock.

3:33.

Yawning, the television catches your eye, and as you watch, the EBS say something different, “This is just a test – This is just a test – You are being watched – This is just a test…”


In 1938, over 6,000 patients were checked into mental hospitals all across America within one week of each other.

Reports of similar instances supposedly came from Europe and Asia as well.

The circumstances of each patient were, eerily, identical.

Every patient completely shut down, shivering in the corner until their family, unable to calm or care for the individuals, committed them.

The only thing the patients would say was: “There is not, and never has been, such a thing in this world as a meaningless coincidence.”


A strange ringtone plays on your cell phone, you reach for it but whoever it was must have hung up, a wrong number maybe.

You look at the phone anyway.

You’ve missed a call.

You listen to it.

When you put the phone to your ear.

Suddenly you hear a scream of pain, you toss the cell across the room, but you can still hear it.

When you finally pick the phone up you see who the call was from, you realize who’s voice it was.

Yours.


I was six, maybe seven years old when this happened. My family had just gotten back from visiting my aunt’s house. My cousins were watching a scary movie in the basement, and even though my parents said I would get scared, I snuck downstairs and watched some of it. I don’t remember what part I saw, but there were little monsters with teeth that would eat people in their sleep.

When we left for home it was dark outside and my parents scolded me for watching that movie. I secretly hoped they would keep scolding me, because I was feeling sleepy and didn’t want those things to eat me.

We got home fine and my parents even managed to calm me down enough to the point where when my bedtime came around I could go to sleep.

I fell asleep almost immediately and slept pretty well. I woke up sometime during the night. Knowing where everything is in my house I didn’t turn the lights on, but instead used the street light coming in the windows. I went to the bathroom and then got a glass of water. As I was putting the glass in the dishwasher, something pricked my hand. I pulled my hand back and switched on the lights, but there was nothing in the dishwasher.

I looked at my hand and it had four little indents on the top and bottom where something had broken through the skin. Since that day I’ve had little bumps on my skin where the marks were, and I always remember to turn the lights on.

16 Choices


Every individual will make 16 choices in their lifetime that will forever alter the course of humanity.

No more than 16, no less than 16. These choices will be small, and at the time of decision, will mean nothing.

They won’t have to be choices which result in action, they could be choices that result in inaction.

But months, years along the way, when the full impact of your decisions and the chain reaction of events they have caused are felt… you may have been the one who caused the end of the world.

And you will never know.


Since before I could remember, I’ve wanted to be a mother. It seemed my whole childhood and teenager years were spent yearning for a child of my own. By the time I was nine, I had names–and color schemes for the nursery–picked out. All I needed was someone to make them with. But college was disappointing.

I went through a whole string of bad boyfriends and bad father material. Getting on with my career didn’t seem to help much. I realized, though–when I was twenty-seven, and there were no suitable prospects on the line–that, technically, I did not need a man to have a child with. Just a very particular product of his. I found a sperm donor bank, chose the best prospect they had, got out my turkey baster and… well… hoped for the best.

I was overjoyed when my first pregnancy test came out positive. My doctor was surprised to see me coming in sooner than he’d expected. Before I was four weeks along, I had the nursery painted, and the furniture set up. Toys and diapers, bottles and books, bibs and coveralls. I had everything a new mother would need.

I couldn’t explain all the weight I was losing. I kept getting thinner–everything except for my belly. My friends all joked that it had to be at least twins. Or the biggest baby they’d ever seen.

I got weary of the kicking somewhere in the third trimester. And the scratching.

Just one more week until my due date.

I just wish it would stop gnawing.


David Lang’s two children, George, 8, and Sarah, 11, were playing in the yard when Lang and his wife came out of the vine-covered brick house. He spoke to the children and then started walking out across the pasture.

At this time, Judge August Peck, and Lang’s brother-in-law came driving up the lane in a buggy. The judge saw Lang in the field and was about to call out to him when it happened.

Lang vanished from the face of the earth.

One minute he was standing in an open field with no trees, stones, or fences. The next, he was simply gone. Lang’s wife and the two men immediately ran to the spot to check that he might have fallen through a hole in the ground. There was no such hole.

Mrs. Lang went hysterical and was taken into the house. Neighbors were called out to help, scores of people searched the field, but to no avail. A surveyor and geologist examined the field and found limestone bedrock a few feet underground without a single fracture in it.

For a month the search carried on. All the Lang servants quit in fear. A year later, the grass where Lang was standing had grown high and thick in a circle 20' in diameter. No farm animal would graze there, and it seemed free of insects.

One day in August, 1881, Sarah and George approached the green circle and called out “Father, are you anywhere around?” They repeated the question 4 times. Hearing no answer, they began to walk away…when they heard a faint cry for help from out of nowhere. Quickly, the children ran to get their mother and pulled her outside. They called to their father again. And he answered.

For several days, the family returned, and each day when they called, the answering voice became fainter, until finally there was no response at all.


There was this woman whose husband was acting very strange one day, very paranoid, she asked him why and this is what he told her:

“Twelve years ago to this day a whole bunch of my friends and I went to an old haunted house downtown to stay the night because we thought it would be fun. We were all settled on the bottom floor of the house and we were fine for the first few hours. We began to hear things that sounded like foot steps pacing on the floor above, and scratching on the walls.”

“We sent Jimmy, who was the oldest of us, up to have a look so he grabbed his flashlight and we watched him head up the steps. His foot steps seemed to stop towards the last few steps where he was no longer visible to us and slowly his light faded from view, we called after him but there was no reply.”

“Afterwards we sent Matt, the second oldest up to find him, he walked up the steps and the same thing happened. At this point we thought they were joking, and out third eldest, Jason went up to look shouting that he knew it was a trick and to give it up, at the last few steps where the other guys had vanished his shouting voice became distant before vanishing completely.”

“The rest of us got scared and went home to call the police who checked it out the next morning and found blood smeared up the sides of the stairwell. They searched the entire house and never found a soul. The house was eventually knocked down and not one body was found. Every year on this day one of us remaining from that house has disappeared going from oldest to youngest.”

Her husband was not seen again after that day. Police held an brief investigation, but nothing came of it.


In some television markets, people get two different versions of the same channel. This is usually caused by affiliates being nearby–for example, while living in New Jersey receiving the ABC affiliate from both New York City and Philadelphia, or living in Southern California and getting both the Los Angeles and San Diego stations. For the most part, these appear to be the same channel in all except local news and some daytime programming, with the exception that one is actually closer and more clear than the other.

These channels, in reality, should not occur. Television markets are set up to focus around ONE city, and offering two different versions of the same channel in one market can split viewer-ship in the ever-competitive ratings race.

If you are to watch the channel with worse reception, from the city that is further away, you’ll start to notice that the news reports major events that never occurred, on people that aren’t real, on technology that shouldn’t exist, the ads are for products that you’ve never heard of.

The conspiracy theorists think that these television stations belong to an alternate world. They point to the fact that the news tends to be getting worse over there, more separate from our own. There are reports of looking into an alternate world, and invading it for their own. Just pray they aren’t talking about us.


It’s the summer, and you’re out of your college classes for at least a week or two, before the next semester starts. You’ve spent this time lounging around, and sleeping a lot. But lately, correspondence between your local friends has dropped off. They don’t drop by. Your phone’s been quiet for awhile, and your IM lists are all empty.

After five days of this, you’ve gotten bored enough to try chatrooms. They’re all empty; even the big ones. Any e-mails you send get no replies.

When you leave your apartment, the whole of the building is unearthly silent. The only noise that comes about at all is the whurr from the automated Rail outside. Nobody answers when you knock. All the buildings are dark and locked up when you look out the window; the only cars are of the parked variety.

A search of the entire building, and even further beyond that, yeilds nothing. No life; the only movement is from the wind, or the automated peices of machinary. Defeated, you slink back into the empty apartment complex.

On your door is pinned a note:

“Turns out the guy in room 302 really could sleep through the end of the world.”

The note is dated five days ago.


You might be getting yourself ready for bed, hopping out of the shower at night, or running to grab something before a date when you inadvertently find yourself descending a flight of darkened stairs. About halfway down said flight, the urge to go that much faster jolts into your mind and you immediately obey.

What are we running from that dwells in the darkness up the stairs? Is it simply the thought of darkness that causes us to want to leave the situation as soon as possible? Or is there something else? A darker, more sinister force awaiting us to take our time going down the stairs to nab us and take us with them to their hell-hole? Or perhaps is it a force of good, attempting to protect us from the things in the darkness?

Could it be that every time we feel that urge to move faster the very hands of an evil force are grabbing our back, and because of our sudden speed we slip out of its grasp? Who knows. Just remember, next time that you’re going down that flight of stairs, don’t look back and skip some stairs if necessary!

The Hum


The Hum is what people have called a phenomena that occurs in some places in the world. It is a low-frequency humming noise that sounds not unlike a distant running engine. However, the source can never be found. Even with microphones and all sorts of audio technology

The source of the Hum has yet to be found.

The most popular location to hear the Hum is in Taos, New Mexico. Only some can hear it as well as feel it. They can hear it throughout the day and into the night. The Hum does not stop. It has never stopped.

Taken from Wiki:

“Many people hear the Hum only, or much more, inside buildings as compared with outdoors. Many Hum sufferers can also perceive vibrations that can be felt through the body. Earplugs are reported as not decreasing the Hum. The Hum is often perceived more intensely during the night.
…Common consequences include a lack of sleep, as the Hum can keep some sufferers awake or wake them in the middle of the night.

…During the last decade, the Hum phenomenon has been reported in many other cities and regions in North America and Europe and in some other regions of the world.”
What will happen when the Hum reaches you? Will you hear it at night when you don’t expect it? Maybe it is already there.

Grinning


This morning I stepped out of the shower and this bathroom was fine: white walls, white tiles, sink and counter with toothpaste crusted all over. Three out of the four lightbulbs over the mirror were still good — 100 watt, clear bulb, blinding bright in the small white room. Like always I was late, so I skipped shaving. She liked it when I didn’t shave, anyway. I was thinking about doing mutton chops. She’d get a kick out of that. I passed the mirror and noticed I was grinning. I didn’t even know I was grinning.

I’m in the bathroom tonight before bed and there’s something wrong with the lights. All three are on again but they glow kind of brown and don’t really light up the rest of the room. I should get more bulbs from the kitchen. I should, but I’m busy. The date was shit and she shut her apartment door on me. You’d think that would wipe off the stupid grin from this morning. But I came back in the bathroom and, in the mirror, my face was still doing it. If I touch my face it doesn’t feel like a grin, but there it is in the mirror.

In the brown light it’s hard to make out but — have you ever actually counted how many teeth show when you smile? I lean in close. One, two, three, four — I didn’t know my mouth was so wide. Nine, ten, eleven — I can’t do mutton chops after all. The corners of my lips are out to my ears. It still doesn’t feel like a grin. But keep counting, for curiousity. Thirty-six. Thirty-seven. Thirty-eight.

Polybius


In Portland, Oregon in 1981, an unheard-of new arcade game appeared in several suburbs, something of a rarity at the time.

This game was called “Polybius”.

The game proved to be incredibly popular, to the point of addiction, and queues formed around the machines, quickly followed by clusters of visits from men in black.

Rather than the usual marketing data collected by company visitors to arcade machines, they collected some unknown data, allegedly testing responses to the psychoactive machines.

The players themselves suffered from a series of unpleasant side-effects — amnesia, insomnia, nightmares, night terrors, and suicide appearing as having been caused by the game in various versions of the legend.

Some players stopped playing video games, while it is reported that one became an anti-gaming activist.

The Mission


There are exactly 17 people on this earth fated to kill you.

If you somehow manage to avoid these 17 people during your lifetime, you are taken to a place of monumental beauty where you are stripped of all clothing and branded on the space just above your navel with a name.

When you are sent back to earth, it’s your mission to kill the person branded on you.


My grandfather served in the European Theater of Operations during WWII, an experience he rarely talks much about. I’ve only managed to coax one story out of him.

He and a low-ranking officer (granddad was an enlisted man) were travelling by jeep somewhere in Belgium with a cache of much-needed ammunition. Taking a wrong turn on an unpaved road they first became lost, then began to run low on fuel. They sought to ask some locals for help, as the Belgians were highly sympathetic to the Allied effort.

They spied a small hamlet, made up of fewer than a dozen thatched huts, and began walking towards it. They were met halfway by a group of three men dressed mostly in animal skins, all of whom spoke angrily in a language neither of them understood (not French, not German, and certainly not English).

Negotiations proved futile, and one of the three drew a small rusty knife. The Lieutenant drew his .45 sidearm in return and killed the man when he rushed at them as if to attack. This act scared the other two off.

Eventually they repaired the jeep themselves and found their way back to base by the next day. A report was filed, but not much made of it. The following winter the Lieutenant was killed in an artillery barrage, making my grandfather the only known living witness to the event.

Now what’s interesting is what reminded him of the story: we were watching a documentary on the development of language, this one specifically about the Saxon tongue, which thousands of years ago developed into languages like German and English. Granddad remarked how much it sounded like the words he’d heard that day.

The Cabinet


Every family in every town in every country on every continent has one.

It’s a cabinet, not particularly odd, not out of place.

The paint was peeling a bit on the corners and the knob was a bit loose. The inside smelled like dust and the paint wasn’t the same as the kitchen walls.

You hid in there once during a game of hide ‘n’ seek.

No one told you it doesn’t open back into your reality. Don’t worry, you can’t tell the difference.

But everyone misses you.


You don’t know it, but someone has been removed from your life.

They haven’t died, they haven’t moved, they have simply ceased to be from present future and history.

However you still know they were there, you faintly recall broken memories of someone else there, someone who should have been there but you think you’re crazy.

You go to do something, but you can’t remember what …

It was them, they wanted to talk to you.


One day, a kid got what he thought was a genius idea. He’d find a way to stay overnight in his school. Just to be able to say he did it, the idea of the story that it would make thrilled him. He had no idea how right he was.

The major problem of the plan was getting a key. He couldn’t just hide in corners the whole night, he wanted to explore. He also wanted to scope out the best places in the school for some after school activities with any girls interested. He began to think of himself as the king of the brick castle that he spent most of his time in. He just needed that key.

The only people that he thought would have a key to the entire school would be the janitors. They kept their keys on them, and had a spare set in their break room. He went in during lunch, when the janitors were on cafeteria patrol. He came into the break room and picked up the keys. He’d figure out what they were for later. As he was walking out of the room, amazed that it actually worked, he walked right into one of the janitors.

What are you doing back here?” inquired the custodian. The kid stammered for a few seconds, and ultimately decided to tell the truth. There was something about the man that said “You can trust me.” The janitor laughed and said “You know, I wanted to do the same thing when I was young. Something about having the whole place to myself, it was an intoxicating urge. I made the mistake of going to the top, thinking I could get the keys there. I got caught, and the old man expelled me, for lack of a better word.” Then he took a key off of his key ring and gave it to the kid. It was an odd key, he couldn’t properly tell what color it was. It seemed to keep changing, even when he held it still. “That key will open any door in the school for you. Enjoy, son.”

The kid couldn’t believe his incredible luck. He ran off once the janitor finished talking. He thought that he caught a whiff of something odd coming from the janitor, but thought nothing of it. The guy did clean up after teenagers for a living, after all.

That night, the kid came out of the corner that he was hiding in. He told his parents that he was sleeping over his friend’s house. He promised the friend a tour of the school in exchange for covering for him. He went through the school, finding out what teachers kept in their desks, playing with chemicals and fire in the chemistry room, and generally enjoying himself. He had no problems getting into any of the rooms, desks, or even lockers. He had to use a flashlight instead of turning on the lights, but that just heightened the thrill.

When it was around three o’clock in the morning, he decided to call it a night and sleep in the janitor’s break room. He brought an alarm clock so that he could wake up in time to make his perfect escape, but if he was to be found by anyone, it would mean he would never be able to do this again. Plus, if he was caught by the janitor, he didn’t think he would get in as much trouble.

He woke up early. He heard some thumping, but couldn’t tell where from. It sounded like footsteps. The smell that came off of the janitor permeated the air. The kid thought it smelled familiar, but couldn’t place it. He turned on his flashlight. He pointed it around, and the beam fell on a figure in the corner. The kid let out a yell and dropped the flashlight. It went out. As he was picking up the flashlight and preparing to run to beat the devil, he realized that he hung up his coat in that corner.

“Dumbass,” he said to himself. Now that the flashlight was out, he noticed that it was a little brighter. Morning already? No, a glance at the clock told him that it was little over an hour after he fell asleep. So what was making it brighter? He felt his way out of the office until he was in familiar territory. He took his hands off of the walls, now walking fairly confidently. It seemed to be getting even brighter.

Then it occurred to him. If the figure in the corner was his coat, what made that thumping noise? He stopped and looked behind him. He saw a shadowy outline behind him. It was wearing his coat. Even though he couldn’t see the face, he knew that the figure was smiling. He ran like hell, aimlessly turning until he reached a stairwell. He went down it. Funny, he didn’t remember there being a down stairwell there, he thought he was on the first floor. Too late to turn back now. As he ran down, it got brighter and the faint odor he detected was getting stronger. When he noticed the light flickering like a fire, he placed the smell. Sulfur. He looked around him and noticed the walls. They looked like cave walls with odd runes covering them. He saw the end of the stairs, and the figure at the bottom waiting for him.

The janitor looked up at him, smiled, and laughed.

Button Day


Laura was woken by her father; something that he had not done since she was a child. As her thoughts slowly swam back into focus, she was suddenly sure that she had slept naked and he had seen her, but to her relief she was wearing her baby-blue pyjamas. God, what was he doing in here anyway?

“Come on, you,” he said brightly, opening the curtains and letting the sunlight in. Outside, she could hear a lawnmower running, perhaps in the next street, and what could’ve been birdsong. “It’s Button Day, remember? Get dressed, put something nice on. We’re leaving in an hour.”

Laura stirred, her voice groggy. “Dad, what the hell? Couldn’t you just knock? What if I’d slept nude?”
He didn’t look at her, he was too busy admiring his garden from the window. “Oh, you’ve nothing I haven’t seen before. I’m your bloody father, I‘ve wiped your arse many a time before now.”

“Not the point, Dad.“ Squinting, Laura sat up, rubbing her eyes, and remembered what he’d just said.
“Dad, did you just say ‘Button Day’?”

“Well, yeah. What, did you forget?” He laughed as he crossed the room to the door. “You were only talking about it last night.”

“Wait – what?” She frowned, not understanding. Something was wrong here. A fine way to start the day, really. She hadn’t even gotten out of bed yet, and she was already getting weird shit. “What are you talking about?”

He shook his head, still smiling as he left the room. “Get dressed. Breakfast is ready.”

He left her sitting up in bed, holding the covers to her breasts, a look of confusion on her face. Eventually she got out of bed, and began to pull some clothes on that were to hand. Familiar sounds floated up to her from downstairs: pots and pans rattling, the TV on low, the muffled tones of her family talking to each other, a short, harsh laugh – her brother. No doubt laughing at the TV.

She did her zipper on her jeans, and stood for a second before finally saying out loud, “Button Day?”

Downstairs, her mother was washing the dishes, humming to herself. Sunlight filled the room, making it warm and fresh. Her father and brother were sitting at the table, eating toast. There was a plate set for her, and she sat down, pulling it towards her.
Her brother was wearing a crisp white shirt – and he never wore shirts. She doubted that he even owned one. This was one of her father’s, she recognised it.

“What’s with the shirt?” She asked, picking her toast up, and his eyes never left the TV, which was typical of him. A year younger than her at fourteen, he was arrogant and know it all to boot.
“It’s Button Day, isn’t it?” He mumbled through a mouthful of toast, and her mother turned around, and tutted loudly at him.

“Mark, don’t talk with your mouth full.” She saw Laura and sighed. “Laura, you could dress a little better than that. At least make an effort.”

“What for?” Laura said, then looked at the ceiling, irritated. “Oh wait, let me guess. Button Day. Am I missing something here?”

Her mother shook her head, turning back to the dishes. “Don’t be so childish, Laura. It doesn’t suit you. Please make sure you get changed into something else before we leave.”

“I wanted to see Michael today. I’m not going with you, sorry.”

A hush fell over the kitchen as everyone stopped what they were doing and stared at her in surprise. Warily, Laura said, “What?”

“Are you crazy?” Her brother asked. “You can’t go out today, you’re coming with us!”

“Laura, you made plans? Today, of all days?” Her father asked, and she pushed back on her chair as a dull anger rose in her.

“Yes, I made plans! What the hell is going on this morning?”

No-one answered her. They were staring at her as if she’d took a crap on her plate. She got up, pushing her plate away. “You know what? Forget it.”

“Laura, stop this, right now,” her mother snapped. “You knew perfectly well what we were doing today. It’s been planned for a long time. Now you can just call Michael and tell him why you’re not seeing him.”

“That’s just it!” Laura yelled. “What do I tell him? I don’t know why I can’t go! It’s just you telling me I can’t!”

“It’s Button Day,” her brother said. “That’s why.”

“Button Day?” She cried. “What the hell are you all talking about? I’ve never heard of Button Day! You’re all acting like-” She suddenly stopped, comprehension dawning on her face. Her family were playing a joke on her. This was all a joke. With a warm rush, a huge weight lifted from her shoulders. Now she understood.

“Very funny, guys,” She said, her voice calm and collected. “You really had me going there.” She turned and left the room, heading for the front door. As she went, her mother called after her, “Laura! Please be back ge can’t leave without you, okay?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Laura called back. “I wouldn’t want to miss Button Day, would I?”

The short walk to Michael’s house gave Laura enough time to feel guilty about how angry she had gotten with her family. As she’d gotten older, her temper had shortened. She planned on apologising later – she had an hour, right? Wasn’t that what her mother had said?

I wonder where we’re going, Laura thought, watching a plane a few miles above cut a white line across the sky. Or was that a joke too? Was it that they really were going out, and it had been a planned thing, and she had simply forgotten all about it?

She could see Michaels house from here, with the white fence and broad front lawn. She began to jog, eager to see him. As she crossed his driveway the front door opened and Michael came out with a look of shock on his face. He had seen her coming up the street.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” Laura asked, and to her dismay he suddenly looked a little angry.
“You shouldn’t be here,” he said.

“What, did we fight, and I missed the memo?”

“You told me this was your family’s Button Day,” he said, and there was movement behind him.

Laura blinked, her mouth open in surprise. A blonde girl came to the door, squinting in the light, and slinked her arm around Michael. She was wearing a nightshirt and nothing else, and her hair was tousled.

“Go home,” the blonde said, and Laura backed away, blinking back sudden tears. Michael would not meet her eyes, so she turned and ran.

Her mother caught her just as she was about to run into her bedroom.

She pulled Laura close, holding her as she sobbed. “I know, I know. Let it all out.” She stroked Laura’s hair, rocking her a little. “Men are bastards, aren’t they?”

Laura pulled back to look at her mother, sniffing. “…You know?”

“You’ve just come back from his place in floods of tears. It doesn’t take a genius to work out what happened.”

“He’s got himself a blonde. A blonde! I’ll bet that’s why he wanted me to dye my hair!”

She cried for a little longer, and her mother held her. “There, there. Come on. Let’s get you changed for our trip.”

“…So we are going out?”

“Of course we are, silly! Here we are, this is a nice blouse. Your best, I think. Put this on, I want us looking our best for our Button Day.”

Laura’s stomach rolled lazily. She suddenly remembered Michael mentioning Button Day, too. This wasn’t a joke. This was real. It was all real, and she didn’t have a clue what was happening.

“Mom, listen to me a minute. Something here is very wrong.”

“I know. You really liked him, I know you did. It’s terrible that he’s upset you, on this day, of all days.”

“That’s just it, Mum – I don’t know anything about Button Day. I’ve never heard of it, and since this morning I feel as if I’m the only one who hasn’t the faintest idea what’s going on!”

“Well, to be honest, I’m no expert. I know it was the Governments idea to combat overcrowding, but other than that-”

“No, no. I mean at all. I’ve never heard of it.”

There was an uneasy silence, in which her mother looked at her for a long time. Her mouth was set in a hard line.

When she finally spoke, her voice was calm. “I know you’re upset, so I’ll play along with your little prank, okay? Just get changed – here’s your blouse – and I’ll see you in the car in five minutes, okay? We’re waiting for you.”

Her mother walked away, leaving Laura alone and frightened, her best blouse in her trembling hands.

The next thing she knew, she was in the car. Everything was flowing by in a fluid, carefree motion that made her feel more and more uneasy. What the hell was going on? Why did she not recall anything about this day that everyone was talking about?

She could see everything in absurd detail, slowed down to super slow motion: The fluff on the back of her mothers headrest. A bit of stubble that her fathers razor had missed. A crack in the pavement as they passed. She suddenly felt more lucid than she had ever felt in her whole life, yet she was unable to speak, trapped inside her own body. It was as if she were a puppet, walking on strings made from fear’s own web.

Somewhere deep inside, she was still clinging to an ocean-battered rock of hope, a charred crater of sense that told her that this was all a massive joke, a huge, elaborate hoax. As they pulled up outside the white, box-like building, squat and stern, that hope faded.

“Here we are,” her father said cheerfully, and she felt herself pull the door handle and step out of the car. She stood trembling in the sun like a baby deer, the building bearing down on her as if it had teeth.

Acting as if they were at the seaside, her family got out of the car, chatting animatedly. They set off towards the main entrance, Laura trailing behind. A sign stood over them: GOVERNMENT PROPERTY – KEEP OUT. She saw the security cameras watching them, and hurried after her family, her footsteps flat and dead.

The door to the building was made of glass, and as they pushed through into the clean lobby, Laura saw a receptionist busily typing on a computer. The receptionist looked up with a professional smile at her father as he approached.

“Hi, we’re the Krandalls. Here for our Button Day,” he said, and she smiled.

“Go on through, sir. Just keep walking that way.”

Her father thanked her, and on they went, down a long brightly lit corridor, lined with brass plaques which gleamed. There was something engraved on them all, blocks and blocks of text, and she drew closer as she walked to see what it was. She saw her own reflection looking back at her, and in the harsh fluorescent lights, she looked haggard.

Names. Hundreds and hundreds of names, thousands of names, one after another. Hogg. Wilson. Carpenter. Buxton. Bell. Palmer. Rowe. Brown. The list went on, seemingly endless.
Her family walked on, still chatting as if they were on holiday, and up ahead the corridor was coming to an end.

The corridor opened up into a large, white room. In this room, four small, waist high pillars stood, each with a red button on the top. Beyond them was a long polished desk, with three Government officials seated at it. The Government insignia hung on a huge banner over it all. The room was silent, and sterile.

Laura watched her family each step up to a pillar, watching the officials expectantly, leaving a pillar for her. Her very own button. Trembling, she stepped up to the pillar, only to notice with a jolt that the floor around them all was on a slight incline, angled towards a drain behind that she hadn’t noticed when she had first arrived. One of the officials spoke, his voice echoing in the open space.

“Krandall family. The Government has deemed this to be your Button Day. We thank you for your sacrifice to your country, and to your people. Your names shall join those in the long Hall in your honour.”

“We’re proud,” her father said, and her mother nodded, sincere. Her brother looked as if he were about to weep with pride.

The official continued. “Then please, in your own time, push your buttons. May God be with you all.”
Her father turned to his wife, his son, and his daughter, and smiled. “I’ll go first, to show you how easy it is.” He pushed the button on the pillar, and it depressed with a loud, satisfying click.

As Laura watched, her fathers face turned red, as if he’d been jogging. She remembered how easily flustered he got with exercise, and assumed he’d just walked too fast down the corridor, or something. That was when a crimson teardrop slid down his cheek, and plopped fatly onto the hard, white floor.

Laura watched, frozen, as blood began to pour from her fathers eyes, nose, ears and mouth. It ran down his shirt, over the belt that she had bought him for his birthday, and down his trousers. It splattered onto the floor. All at once, his eyes burst like over-ripe plums and hung on his cheeks, still connected by red strings. Liquefied brain ran from his eye sockets.

As his body crumpled to the floor, her mother and brother looked at each other and smiled, pushing their buttons at the same time. They turned to Laura, holding their hands out, blood seeping from their eyes and noses, tricking from their mouths. They assumed Laura had pushed hers, too.

Laura drew in a breath to scream, but the soft pop of her mothers and brothers eyeballs made it catch in her throat. They fell over backwards, landing on top of each other. Blood was being channelled to the drain, which drank quietly.

All was silent.

“Miss Krandell?”

Numb, she saw the officials watching her closely.

“Miss Krandell, overpopulation is destroying our towns and cities. Your country needs your action today.”

She stared wide-eyed at the official. To her side, her brothers hand twitched, the last of the nerve impulses fading. Blood was already congealing in his empty eye sockets.

The official was standing up slowly, and she saw that he was a tall man. Taller than most, no doubt.
“Humanity has called,” he said, his voice dropping to almost a whisper. The world had faded away to the button under her fingertips. It was smooth and red. Pushable.

“…Will you answer?”

Every child fears under their bed. If they don’t, they fear the closet, or maybe that little crack in the almost closed door.

Scientists know that children are more perceptive, they see things adults don’t. They aren’t yet tethered into only accepting what society wants them to accept. They see what is truly there.

They see the monsters.

If you were to borrow a child’s eyes and see through them for a night, you would go insane. To be able to see what you only dimly remember, burrowing into your covers while wearing those train pajamas, hoping to a God you can barely comprehend that “it” doesn’t see you back…would drive an adult crazy. Because Adults forget the rules.

1) Cover yourself. If you can’t see it, it can’t see you. Even if it makes it harder to breathe.

2) Don’t make a noise. Every whimper can lead to destruction.

3) Don’t move. It attracts their attention.

4) Only light can make them go away. Bright light. Flashlights make it worse.

Teens are caught in the middle. They still feel what’s there, but they cannot see… and they forget the rules….

Why do you think there are so many insomniacs typing at their computers, subconsciously praying the light from their monitor will be enough to keep them away?

It’s not. Now look behind you with a child’s eyes and try not to scream.


In November 1930, Joe Labelle, a Canadian fur trapper, snowshoed into a thriving Eskimo fishing village situated on the shores of Lake Anjikuni in Canada. Labelle was greeted with an eerie silence. He thought this was very strange because the fishing village was a noisy settlement with 2,000 Eskimos milling back and forth to their kayaks. But there wasn’t a soul about.

Labelle visited each of the Eskimo huts and fish storehouses but none of the villagers was anywhere to be seen. Labelle saw a flickering fire in the distance and approached it gingerly, sensing something evil was afoot on this moonlit night. Upon the fire was a smoldering pot of blackened stew. To make matters more mysterious, Labelle saw that not a single human track had left the settlement.

Labelle knew something bizarre had happened to the 2,000 people, and so he ran non-stop to the nearest telegraph office and sent a message about his findings to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The Mounties turned up hours later, and they too were baffled by the mass vanishing act. An enormous search party was sent out to look for the missing villagers, but they were never found, and the search party unearthed some strange findings.

All the sleigh dogs that had belonged to the Eskimos were found buried 12 feet under a snowdrift at the perimeter of the camp. All of them had starved to death. The search party also established that all the Eskimos’ provisions and food had been left in their huts, which didn’t make any sense at all. Then came the most chilling surprise of all; the search party discovered that all of the Eskimos’ ancestral graves were empty. Whoever or whatever had taken all the living villagers had also dug up the dead as well, even though the icy ground around the graves was as hard as iron.

Later on that unearthly silent night, the Mounties watched in awe as a strange blue glow lit up the horizon. The eerie radiance was not the northern lights, but seemed steady and artificial. As the Mounties watched, the light pulsated then faded. All the newspapers of the world reported the baffling disappearance of the 2,000 Eskimos, although many believed that a rational explanation would eventually come to light, but the Anjikuni mass disappearance is still unsolved.


If you watch every State of the Union Address since it’s been filmed and available on tape, you’ll see that halfway through–exactly halfway through–the President always says the same word.

Most say it under their breath during the standing ovations, but some are forced to work it into the speech itself.


You’re slowly stirred awake by the distant ringing as the phone beside your bed pulls you out of your dreams. Your thoughts gather themselves and you groan, reaching over to answer.

As soon as you place the phone to your ear, you’re greeted by the background noise consisting of twisted screams. People in agonizing pain begging for help or death, not that the interference allows you to hear any individual voice clearly enough.

“Get out of the house now!”

The call ends abruptly after what you could have sworn was a voice from closer to you than on the other end. You shift yourself to the side of the bed, sighing while rubbing your eyes. A call this startling and this early in the morning would keep you awake.

Your wife shuffles to the side, apparently also woken by the call. She wraps her arms around you and gives a light kiss on the neck.

“Don’t worry about it,” Her half asleep mumble calms you down somewhat.

Just as you’re about to place the phone down, it rings again. You fumble slightly and drop it. Instead, you feel your wife’s arms tighten around you, preventing you from leaning forward.

It’s then you notice a subtle difference between the arms around you and the familiarity of your wife’s.

“He’s too late to save you anyway.”


A baby girl is mysteriously dropped off at an orphanage in Cleveland in 1945. “Jane” grows up lonely and dejected, not knowing who her parents are, until one day in 1963 she is strangely attracted to a drifter. She falls in love with him, but just when things are looking up for Jane a series of disasters strikes: First, she becomes pregnant by the drifter, who then disappears. Second, during the complicated delivery doctors discover that Jane has both sets of sex organs, and to save her life, they must surgically convert “her” to a “him.” Finally, a mysterious stranger kidnaps her baby from the delivery room.

Reeling from these disasters, rejected from society, scorned by fate, “he” becomes a drunkard and a drifter. Not only has Jane lost her parents and her lover, but he has lost his only child as well. Years later, in 1970, he stumbles into a lonely bar, called Pop’s Place, and spills out his pathetic story to an elderly bartender. The sympathetic bartender offers the drifter the chance to avenge the stranger who left her pregnant and abandoned, on the condition that he join the “time traveller corps.” Both of them enter a time machine and the bartender drops the drifter off in 1963. The drifter is strangely attracted to a young orphan girl, who subsequently becomes pregnant.

The bartender then goes forward 9 months, kidnaps the baby girl from the hospital, and drops the baby off in an orphanage back in 1945. Then the bartender drops off the thoroughly confused drifter in 1985, to enlist in the time traveller corps. The drifter eventually gets his life together and becomes respected and elderly member of the time traveller corps, and then disguises himself as a bartender and has his most difficult mission: a date with destiny, meeting a certain drifter at Pop’s Place in 1970.

Snowscape


It’s been a while since I had anything like human contact, so I’ll attempt to be as brief as I can. At least the sound of typing is noise, and the echoes it produces are the nearest thing to a reply I’ve had in months.

I lost my job back in August. The dollar’s dropping, the economy’s poor, and son, you just aren’t a competitive investment anymore.

I’m young and I don’t have bills, so I took it in stride. The days of day zero closure notices and no parachutes were stories I’d only heard from my bitterest relatives, and besides, it’s hard to feel betrayed when you grow up learning these things really are only business. I collected my generous severance and decided to take a week off or so. A few years of being on call made me appreciate the value of a vacation, whatever form it was in, and my girlfriend and I had our savings.

Like any self respecting nerd, the week quickly became a blur of pizza orders every two days, progressing day by day into a schedule defined by creeping nocturnalness. The girl complained, but she often did. To be perfectly honest, her sleeping form in the bedroom soon became far more familiar to me than her waking self, a persona I now only encountered during the blurry hours just before I slept and just after I woke.

A week became two weeks, then a month. Slowly, the creaks and groans and occasionally startling shuffles of the old apartment building we lived in lost their frightening nature. I’d always been the horror junky, and I suppose my jaded nature made such assimilations much more graceful. In time, even the intermittantly flickering streetlights and faint chatter or the distant televisions, conversations, apparitions, or whatever existed in the building became more reassuring than unsettlings. I even began to fancy the old stain in the bathroom linoleum, which the landlord swore was wine and I believed was blood, had begun to fade.

Like you’d expect from any nocturnal, unemployed gamer, my relationship with my girlfriend quickly went downhill. Our infrequent conversations grew more heated and then more frigid, an affair of pauses and token acknowledgements. She started going out more. After a while, she stopped coming home more. After that, she stopped coming home at all. I barely noticed. I don’t think I noticed much of anything at that point. The days blurred more, and I could rarely remember if I had eaten, when I had woken, or how long I had been like this. I began to forget what the daytime really seemed like, even the struggling blue-grey of dawn and dust receded as the winter set in. Days became measured in a succession of the flickering street light’s sick yellow sodium arc.

After a while I began to notice a distinct absence in the air. The times I did come to enough to remember to shower or eat, I was drowned in the smell of the building collection of garbage bags in the kitchen, and the sullen stillness of the white courtyard beneath my windows. I often wondered how it could have so little snow, barely six inches, at any time, yet never display a single footstep too or from the darkened windows. At least, I’d think, the neighbors were quiet. Even the nocturnal whispers from the ducting had seemed to grow muted and fade until I no longer could distinguish them from the gentle hum of the building’s innards.

After maybe the fourth or fifth time I experienced these moments of clarity I resolved to remove the trash. The small had faded from sharp to mute, a sweet and musty reminder of life amidst the sharp winter air leaking in through the ill-maintained windows. It repulsed me.

With some effort, I gathered as many bags as I could and struggled through door after door. I winced at every bang and crash at the door, with no leaking sounds of televisions left I had nothing to gauge my racket, and every moment seemed to tear at the brittle air of the building. Around then I noticed I could see my breath, though I did not feel any colder than normal.

After an eternity pushing through the empty hallways, I pushed through the front door of the building into the cutting air outside. A low, constant hum echoed off the snow as the wind pushed over the undisturbed snowcover all about me, forming an inch high mist of blowing grains, tumbling and twisting over the dunes which had formed on the adjascent parking lot, piling on the doors of the various stores which lined the streets. I briefly wondered how bad the weather had been lately, to push the life out of city so thoroughly, then pushed my way down what memory served was the sidewalk, keeping to the edge of the building like it was a life tether.

By half-forgotten habit, and perhaps a morbid curiosity of what other humans looked like, I strained to see through each mirror like window for signs of movement or habitation. What blinds were drawn displayed vacant apartments, tinfoil to block the sun, the occasional poorly-placed shelf or couch. Not a single shuffle or rustle escaped into the vacuumous winter atmosphere.

I rounded the corner to the back alley to find the hulking form of a garbage truck in the alley, laden with snow and ice until it seemed more an ancient monument to the cold than a sign of civilization. It should have seemed unsettling to me, but by then I was so eager to abandon the icey landscape to the relative warming tones of my monitor’s glow my only thought was to drop the garbage off and set back inside my apartment. I rushed down its length and in front of it, ready to throw the bags overhand into the dumpster, when I was stopped by the only light to eminate from the cab of the truck, the rapidly scrawling digits of a radio scanner, visible through the open door of the cab, pushing its tenuous glow on a clipboard and pen.

Abandoning my garbage, I lifted myself into the cab and attempted to read from the frost-bound paragraphs tightly wound over the paper. Near the bottom, ink blurred by its inability to set in what must have been well frozen paper at the time, was scrawl “Four weeks now. Even the radios have gone quiet. -67c last time a station got through. Gas froze last night. Need to find someone”.

I looked back up, down the alley, across the snowscape of parking lots and buildings being swallowed by snow, and listened hard to the howl of ice over ice. I tried to imagine wolves, or mocking voices, or anything from the hellscapes of the stories I had studied so thoroughly, but the tone never changed, never let up or grew louder.

It’s a lonely place, missing the end of the world.

La Nuit


In France, a young ambient musician by the name of Charles undertook an interesting new project. He was going to record the sound of himself sleeping, and release it under the name “La Nuit” (The Night). Charles lived alone in a rural area, which would remove things like car alarms, traffic, and such from being recorded. He planned his project for many months, acquiring the sensitive equipment to capture all outside noises as well as his own during sleep.

Finally, on the 27th of September, he decided to execute his plan. He set up all his equipment, and fell at sleep at midnight.

The next day Charles reviewed the recording. For the first hour, the recording played his own tossings and turnings as well as some distant dog barks and a few car alarms (So much for his plan to distance himself from cars). These continued throughout the 2nd hour as well, until Charles heard something that horrified him.

For at exactly 3 hours and 24 minutes in, the recording played the sound of his bedroom door opening.

Alone


I don’t even know why I’m writing this. I can post this in a million different places, it won’t matter. There’s still nobody there to read it. Nobody left to hear my story. Yet this might be my last chance to do this, so I will. The feeling won’t go away. They’re watching. They’re watching and getting closer every second. They can feel my terror. And I know they’re enjoying it.

It has been about four months since everyone disappeared. And I mean everyone. I woke up one morning for school. I immediately noticed the time. School started three hours ago. Must have just hit the alarm clock still half-asleep, and fallen right back to sleep. It happens to me sometimes. Why hadn’t my parents woken me up? Probably just went to work early.

The first time I started to notice was at the station. I usually take a train to school, since it’s the fastest way to get there. I hadn’t seen anyone on my way to the station, but I lived in a rather quiet area of the town, so going was slow at this time of the day. It happened, so I didn’t think much of it. When I arrived at the station, I noticed there was nobody there. It was odd. There should have been at least a few people waiting for the train, even at this time of the day. I shrugged it off as an exceptionally slow day. It happened sometimes, too.

I waited for a good while, but the train didn’t come. I don’t remember how long I stood there, but I grew increasingly frustrated. I decided to walk to school. After all, it was only a twenty-minute walk if I did it fast enough, and I was late for the next lesson anyways.

I didn’t see anyone on my way to school. Nor was there anyone in school. The school building was open, and lit. I still didn’t think much of it, the lessons were on anyways. But the classrooms were empty. Every single classroom in the whole building. Some doors were open, some closed. But there was nobody there. I tried the teacher’s lounge, and it was empty. I even recall the smell of fresh coffee in the room. I tried calling one of my friends to ask what was going on. No answer. The phone rang, but there just wasn’t any answer. I tried another. Same thing. I ended up going through every single person I know from school. No answer.

I rushed to the shopping mall nearby. It was empty. The entire building, normally bustling with life, totally empty. The shops were open, the lights were on, the music was playing, the info screens were on. There just wasn’t anyone strolling around the mall, searching through the stores, manning the counters.

It was like everyone had vanished entirely.

I tried calling my parents. No answer. The whole day, I did not see a single living person. The only cars I saw were parked ones. There were no animals either. Everything was just dead quiet. But everything still worked. The shops were open, the lights were on, the TVs worked, there just wasn’t any program. Even the internet was there. Every site worked, every chatroom was open, there just wasn’t anyone there.

I went nuts. I don’t remember much of the first days, what it was like. Just the feeling of unimaginable terror, loneliness. I didn’t sleep much, I didn’t eat at all. I just sat around my house, waiting for someone to come home, for someone to call me, to hear a car drive past, waiting for the dream to end. It never did.

I eventually gathered myself. I told myself nobody was coming, and I had to get up and at least eat. And eat I did. I ate everything I could find, had the date expired or not. I ate and ate. And cried. I was alone. There was no sign, anywhere, that there’d be a single living person anywhere else in the world. No TV-channels showed any program. Some just showed the same news screens over and over. Nothing in the internet updated. Nobody ever logged in anywhere. Nobody answered the phone. Yet, everything just kept working. The power never went out. The lights were always on. The traffic lights worked. The stores were open. Music played where it had always played.

But everything was still empty.

I eventually grew accustomed to it. It took a while, but I started going out. At first I tried visiting friends, look for people, anyone. I soon gave it up. Before long, I realized that I need more food than what we have at home. I started looting grocery stores. Just what I needed at first, then went to home, and ate it. Before long, I started looting other goodies. Candy. Drinks.

Maybe a month was gone, and I had come to terms with my life, and the fact that there was nobody else in the world. So I made the most of my life. I started having fun, the kind of fun you’d imagine doing if you had the whole world for yourself for one day. I pillaged through every store I could think of, stole everything I could get my hands on. I slept at beds in furniture stores, I played games with the biggest screens electronic stores had. I broke every fine piece of china I came across. I rampaged through malls, leaving behind a trail of destruction. I missed my old life, but made the best of this one.

It was maybe a month ago that he appeared.

I was relaxing back home, listening through some albums I had brought home with me, when I suddenly heard a strange noise from outside. I can’t really describe it well. It was like something called for me. I’m not even sure I really heard it. I just felt it. What I saw outside scared the life out of me. Someone- something. It was the shape of a man, yet it was somehow… wrong. It was entirely black. No, not just black. It seemed to suck the very light from the air around it. There were no features to be seen. No clothing, no hair, no facial features. It was just a black mass I somehow knew was something like a man. I couldn’t stare directly at it, yet I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Every second I stared at it, it came closer, yet it didn’t move. Every second I felt I got dragged closer to it, yet I stayed where I was. The only feature I could recognize was it’s eyes. Two green, shiny dots I knew were it’s eyes. I knew it, because no stare has ever been so piercing, so paralyzing, so dreadful. It felt like the stare itself sucked the very life out of me.

It spoke to me. Not with words. Not with signs or gestures. I just looked at it and I knew what it said.

“YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE.”

I woke up. A day had passed, maybe two. I can’t remember for certain. I woke up, screaming, sweating, from my own bed. It was a dream. It had to be. I was alone. There was nobody else in the world, how could it have been anything other than a dream?

I went on. At first, the dream kept bothering me. It felt so real. Was it? No, it couldn’t have been. With the days, the memory started to fade. The moment started feeling more and more dreamlike, so I thought nothing of it. I even laughed at myself for thinking it was anything else.

Yet, there was a constant feeling of pressure in the air. It was like a coming storm that never came. Sometimes I barely noticed it, sometimes I couldn’t even think properly because of it. Yet, I went on living.

Today it happened again. The feeling. It called to me, while I was drifting to sleep. It called to me, told me to come to the window. I was too afraid to move. Yet still, my legs slowly took me there. An unimaginable feeling of dread and despair came over me. Tears flowed from my eyes as my feet unwillingly took me to the window. There was nobody there. The street was as empty as always. Yet the feeling did not go away. I felt like there were a million eyes focused on me alone. They were there. They were staring.

They spoke.

“WE HAVE COME FOR YOU.”

That was two hours ago. The calling stopped. The staring didn’t. I’m writing this now, because I know it’s the last time I can. They’re drawing closer by the second.

I’m not even sure why I’m writing this. Maybe there’s someone else like me in some corner of the world. Maybe someone can read this. I don’t care. I have to tell someone.

They’re here.


Credited to Shinra.

Lucky


If you’re lucky, you’ll never know about it. 

Your life will be spent in the bliss that can only come from the ignorance of the dark horrors that scratch and gnaw at the edges of reality. You’ll never hear the dark whispers coming from the closet; never feel the cold chill creeping along your spine. 

You’ll never pause at a turn in the hallway because you know that if you look down it, you’ll see something that shouldn’t be there. 

Something that creeps, stalks, and skulks in the shadows. Something that, once it sees you, will never stop coming for you. 

It won’t come for you when you are sleeping. It wants you to know it’s there. It wants you to hear the relentless sound of its footsteps, the panting of its breath. It wants to smell your fear, to hear your whimper, and to see the horror on your face as it approaches.

If you’ve any sense at all, you won’t try to find it. You’ll never pay attention to the sounds. You won’t try to catch sight of those things that flit by the corner of your eye. Your ignorance will be your shield and your protection. 

Do not be overly curious; discount the sounds as the quirks of an old house, or the heating system, or any other excuse you can think of. Whatever you do, don’t believe. Because once you believe, they’ll become real. Once you inquire into their existence, they will solidify. And once you finally uncover them for what they are…

They’ll come for you.

Tug Tug Tug


You could kick yourself. Its the middle of the night–or early in the morning, depending on how you look at it–and freezing cold because you, like an idiot, kicked off your blanket in the night. Nearly entirely off the bed, in fact, with only one lonely corner clinging to the edge of the bed.

Sitting up you take it in your hands, feeling that familiar fear from your childhood: that if you don’t find something to cover yourself up, you are leaving yourself open to all sorts of supernatural horrors. You shrug it off with a chuckle and give the blanket a good hard tug, trying to pull it all up with one go.

No luck. It seems to be stuck.

Another sharp pull seems to free it a bit, and you work, tugging it back up and trying to ignore that silly feeling of growing dread. Tug. Tug tug tug…. There! Finally! The blanket is mostly back up on the bed and you are safely beneath it once more, teasing yourself mentally for getting all worked up over nothing. Until, just before you drift back asleep, you feel a tug from that one side still dangling down from where it had fallen before.

Tug tug tug.


Credited to Flea.

Silence


Try this. Turn off the music. Turn off the TV. If you have to, turn off the computer. Then go to another room, and sit. In total silence. Do you hear that? That ringing? People say it is your brain making up a sound to explain the silence.

People lied.

I cant tell you what is making that sound, but whatever it is, you don’t want to meet it. It is trying to break through. Force its way onto our plane of existence.

Now try this. Repeat the first steps. Turn everything off. This time, turn the lights off too. Still hear that ringing? Better hope you do. If you don’t, its because they have finally managed to break through.

And no amount of running will save you.


Credited to TheCoffinDancer.

The Doorway


There is a doorway, one that can be any door, at any time. 


This door leads nowhere, yet there lies a realm of twisted reality to the opener. 

This door exists for everyone – some never encounter it in their lives, others unknowingly open it and step through. 

The problem is you can’t tell if the door is open to you, until years after you step through it.

You’ll see them, and they’ll finally see you.


[A transcript of the first recorded interview with Subject H270, a victim of the recent "Interplanar Distress Phenomenon" that has taken approximately one hundred reported humans as of this date. Their numbers grow exponentially.]

—–
MINISTRY FOR THE INVESTIGATION OF PARANORMAL ACTIVITY WASHINGTON, D.C 17. October, 2005 To: Officer Kathe Waldheim From: Agent Olaf Kaspar-Gottfried, Unknown Beings Examinations Department


MIPA FILE NO. 33-4215 LAB NO. 92475683-K

NOTES: Subject H270 has been put under sedation and injected with truth serum to ensure accuracy of the report and my own safety. Interview takes place one night after his rescue. Subject remains shaky when regarding my person, yet is otherwise confident reporting the incident.

BEGIN TAPE

Part I
Kaspar-Gottfried: Recount for us the events that led up to your capture.

H270: Home… I want to go home…

Kaspar-Gottfried: You will be returned to your residence after the investigation, provided you cooperate with us.

H270: No, no. Not my home. The home.

(Sounds of a struggle. H270 shrieks, then whimpers softly.)

Kaspar-Gottfried: Now, please recount the events that led up to your capture.

H270: It started with the noises. You’ve heard them, haven’t you? The noises? They come out at night. Little clicks, whirs, taps, vibrating sounds, that sort of thing? Completely unexplainable noises that sound normal at first. But they only come out at night.

Kaspar-Gottfried: So these “noises”… they captured you?

H270: No. Not at all.

Kaspar-Gottfried: Explain.

H270: The noises grew louder and louder every night. I could never sleep. After a week of insomnia, I decided it was useless. I thought they were trying to dominate me and take control of my mind. I would not be a slave to them. So I embraced insomnia, used the night to truly listen to them. That’s when I realized… their voices had a pattern. A language. Time kept passing by, and I was determined to learn their language. And so I did. They kept saying the same things over and over again to me. “It is not too late.” “Come here, come quickly.” And then there are the things they said to each other. “What is he doing?” “Is he asleep yet?” “It’s okay, it’s okay. He’s coming soon.” The waking birds would drown their conversations out when dawn broke. Then there would only be silence. And one night, I noticed they kept telling me, “Come down, and descend. Come down.” I thought they were speaking metaphorically, about some descent into Hell. But it wasn’t. One night, I felt compelled by some strange force. A spirit not my own, to leave my bed and descend. I resisted as much as I could. After all, if I were out of bed. It’d mean they’d stop speaking to me! But I left. And I went into the basement.

Kaspar-Gottfried: And how did you find–

H270: The mirror? I was just getting to that. There was this warm light, an amber glow coming from nowhere in particular. The light was pointed at the mirror. In fact, the mirror was the only thing visible by this light. I approached the mirror. There, I saw what was one of the strangest sights I’d ever seen in my life. The light was pointing directly at it, yet all the mirror showed… was darkness. Visible shadows, dancing around. These, these were the voices. But they were speaking too much, talking over each other for me to understand them. So I concentrated. I selected a voice, and concentrated on it.

(Another pause)

Kaspar-Gottfried: And then what happened?

H270: It all became clearer. The shadows took their true form. They were small, demented beings. Tragic imitations of the human form. Like deformed children. It almost hurt to look at them, with their crooked spines and contorted limbs flailing about in spasms. What little I could make out of their facial features… Dear god, they were pressed and squeezed in ways you couldn’t even imagine. Even with you as an agent, you couldn’t imagine. It looked like their faces were made of melted candle wax.

Kaspar-Gottfried: But what about the voice? Who was the voice?

H270: To this day, I still don’t know. As I sat there, trying to figure out just who it was, gazing upon these sick little shadow-children, waiting for an answer… I heard heavy breathing from behind me. The voice kept shrieking at me, over and over again, but I couldn’t understand what it was saying. I turned around. A flash of light came from nowhere! And I was blinded as it engulfed me…

Kaspar-Gottfried: The light?

H270: No. The beast. It came for me.

Kaspar-Gottfried: You’re saying it ate you, then.

H270: No. The beast. It came for me. It had a purpose for me. And those were the events that led to my capture.

Part II

Kaspar-Gottfried: Now, what happened while you were inside this beast?

H270: The first month was hell. While I was subjected to searing pain, pain from blinding light that should never be been on earth, I saw visions. Visions of my family, and everyone who ever loved me. I kept trying to scream at them, begging for them to rescue me, but they couldn’t hear! They could only hear me in their mind. And they never heard screams. They heard little noises, thumping and whirring in the night… And that’s when I stopped. It was torture enough to know their loss, their panic. I would never dream of subjecting them to the beast’s children, their twisted siren song luring them into that dreadful fate. The only way to stop the noises was to stop screaming. Yet the hellish light and visions continued.

(Pause.)

Kaspar-Gottfried: And the second month?

H270: That’s when I became wiser. I knew better then.

Kaspar-Gottfried: Explain.

H270: Some time after I stopped screaming, the noises started again. These were determined little shadow-children, I decided. As the visions kept flashing before my eyes, I came to realize… I should just stop caring. I learned the children’s games, so it was time to learn the beast’s. I forced myself to become indifferent to family and friends, and eventually, the entire earth. Never before had I known how petty the physical earth was. A bunch of shivering little souls crawling across a lump of rocks and water, never concerned with anything but the other little souls they come across. And you know why? Because every one of those souls is just like the other. And they’re so obsessed with themselves, that they have to simultaneously love and hate every other soul they find. And when I became disgusted with them, the beast became proud of me. For the very first time, I could see exactly where I was. The light stopped, and I could move freely again. I was in a spherical realm, consisting of plasma that was both dark and light at once. And then, I felt no pain. I was approached by a spirit, much like a shadow-child, but at the same time, the opposite of one. I would say it was healthy, but this being transcended the concept of health itself. Physicality simply did not matter to it, just like it stopped mattering to me. Then all it did was place its ghostly hand on my shoulder and say, “Acolyte.” But that’s when your men smashed the mirror! And there I was, in human form, lying on my basement floor like some imbecile again! It was utterly humiliating!

Kaspar-Gottfried: I’m sorry, but such was my assignment.

H270: Don’t give me excuses, human! Flesh-lover!

(Sounds of a struggle, then a cry of pain from H270.)

Kaspar-Gottfried: I am not here to fight you, nor do I have to explain myself! Just tell me what happened, or I’ll hurt you again!

H270: I’ll be good, I promise. Just don’t hurt me that way any more.

Kaspar-Gottfried: Continue, then.

H270: I don’t know what to say.

Part III

Kaspar-Gottfried: Tell me about any thoughts, dreams you’ve had since the rescue.

H270: I’d hardly call it a rescue with the nightmares I’ve had. More blinding light, more searing pain, and you know the worst part?

Kaspar-Gottfried: What?

H270: I could not defeat it. I thought I knew it all, I thought I had the realms and spirits figured out. And of course I knew their games. But this certainly was no game. They needed me. And I needed them. My purpose, their destiny.

Kaspar-Gottfried: I’m afraid I do not understand.

H270: Of course you don’t. You’re just another soul. But at least now I know what that one shadow-child was trying to tell me in front of the mirror.

Kaspar-Gottfried: And what was that?

H270: “DO NOT LOOK BEHIND YOU.”

(Silence. Olaf clears his throat.)

Kaspar-Gottfried: I think we’re done here. Thank you.

(A thud.)

END TAPE



[Upon receiving this message, Officer Kathe Waldheim decided to speak to H270 herself, but neglected to sedate him in her haste. She thought she had calmed him when she promised to return him home to conduct the interview there, as noted in a MIPA file. The only thing that could be heard on that interview's recording were wild shrieks, tearing flesh, and piercing laughter. Inspectors of the scene found that nothing was left of Waldheim's body but a torso, limbs and head ripped straight off and nowhere in sight. On the torso, carved in rough letters, were the words "NOT HOME."

H270 remains missing to this day, and more people are beginning to fall victim to Interplanar Distress. Another MIPA file states this, "No matter what it takes, we will continue to work on rescuing these victims. Despite Waldheim's mistake, despite H270 being on the loose, despite any risk we could be taking, we must work out the cause of this phenomenon. We will keep sending agents after this beast no matter how many lives are lost in the process. We may even need to feed victims to it, just to see if they can find its weakness." Agent Olaf Kaspar-Gottfried was promoted, and placed at the head of this operation. He claims he's not insane. He says he just needs to find his home.]


Credited to Lindsay S. (HackerOnHacker)

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