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At fifteen I fell in love with my best friend. Josephine, or Jo as I called her, lived across the street from me. She moved in when we were both ten or so and we hit it off pretty quickly. If you thought of a tomboy, she would most likely be the image you got. One could even be forgiven for thinking she was a boy with a short ponytail from a distance.

Few would call her stunning, but over time I found myself seeing her in a different way than when we were younger and spent out time catching salamanders and cray fish in the stream. She loves sports, loves going on adventures and there are few things she wouldn’t try once. I loved her adventurous nature, one that I wished I had.

She also had her troubles.

Her mother left her father and her which was why they moved into my town, a shitty little mountain town in Pennsylvania. As our friendship grew I noticed that she was alone a lot of the time, spending hours in the woods behind her house while her father worked two jobs to keep a roof over their head. She was very protective of that patch of woods, even I wasn’t allowed near there unless she said so.

Everyone in that town had money troubles, but Jo and her dad were worse off by far. My parents even gave her some of the clothes I outgrew. And while times were tough, I learned later that she wasn’t really that alone.

A warm June day of my fifteenth year found us on the banks of the local river, watching it’s muddy brown water sparkle in the sunlight. We had spent the better part of an hour swinging off a rope into the middle of the river and swimming back. Our clothes were hung on branches as we laid on rocks in our underwear, trying to dry some before riding home.

I stole glances at her and the image of her lying beside me, with her tan skin speckled with water and her black hair matted to her head, stays with me still. She caught my look and gave me a raised eyebrow.

“What’s up?” She rose up on her elbows.

“Nothing.” I took up a stone and skipped it out into the water. “What’s next for today?”

She sat up and pulled her knees to her chest. “Got plans this afternoon. You?”

“Plans?” She was frowning when I looked over. “What you doing?”

“Got a date.” I felt my heart drop and splash in my gut. She couldn’t meet my eyes and I suspect she knew I had feelings for her then, but didn’t want to acknowledge it. “Dave asked me out yesterday.”

I nodded as it was all I could manage. I felt like someone had sucker punched me. “Cool. If he gives you any shit you let me know.”

“I can take care of him if he gets out of line, but backup is always nice.” She stood and pulled her t-shit off a branch and slipped it on. “What are you gonna do?”

“Probably go home and play the SNES. Nothing much to do around here on your own.”

“Sorry.” She said while tying her wet hair into a pony tail.

“For what? I’m more then capable of entertaining myself.”

“Aren’t most boys?”

“Wow. Really? Really? That’s low, Jo.”

“Just calling it like I see it. Anyway, I’ll catch you later.” She laughed and placed a hand to my head as she walked past me and then went up the bank, disappearing into the brush and short trees.

I sat there for a long time, listening to the birds call across the gap of the river and the sound of fish bubbling up to the surface and thought about how much of a dumb ass I was. Finally, after ripping myself to shreds mentally, I got up to leave.

The hair on the back of my neck perked up and a shiver run across my spine. I stopped mid turn and looked back at the river.

The feeling of being watched is always uncomfortable, but when surrounded by trees that created heavy shadows in their depths, the feeling is far worse. The birds had stopped their chirping too and it felt like everything had gone still. I waited, my breath slow and my eyes clicking from side to side as I looked for the source of the feeling.

Nothing. I saw nothing, but the feeling stayed with me as I trudged up the bank. It didn’t leave until I reached the road and hopped on my bike.

I rode home and spent the day inside playing video games.

Jo didn’t come around for a few days and calling always got the answering machine. I decided to go over to her place, but knocking on the front door gave no answer. Their spare key was hid at my house but I didn’t think it would be a good idea to just walk in. Still, I worried about her.

As I walked back across the street I noticed a group of five guys coming up the street, a soccer ball being kicked between them. One of them raised a hand to me. Joey. I didn’t get along with most of the other guys that were in town which is why I think Jo and I became friends so fast, but Joey was always cool with me.

He tapped the ball back to the group and jogged over to me, his soccer cleats loud on the pavement.

“Hey man,” he said, his breath still light. He swallowed hard and wiped sweat from his forehead. “Missed a great game this afternoon.”

“It’s like ninety, how many passed out this time?”

“Only three… no wait, four. We brought a shit-ton of water this time. You need to come play, you can be goalie.”

“Done that before, Joey. Never again.”

He laughed, patted my shoulder. “It’ll be different this time, besides we could have used another player since Dave didn’t show up.”

“He didn’t?”

“Nah, went over to his house, place is up for sale.” Joey looked down the road and scratched at the back of his head. “He didn’t mention anything about moving.”

“When did you last see him?”

Joey thought for a moment and then cocked his head to the side. “Few days ago, I think. Talked shit about a date with somebody.” He grinned. “Guess it went really south.”

I nodded and Joey soon went on his way. I decided to take a walk down to Dave’s to see for myself.

Sure enough, the sign was out front and the place looked empty. The windows were covered over and even from the front porch I couldn’t see much of anything.

Something strange was going on and I felt even more worried about Jo. Did she move too, without telling me? Did something happen on their date? Maybe they went into witness protection. That would be pretty cool, save for the whole not seeing her anymore part. I went home, trying to come to terms with the idea that I may have lost my best friend.

That night something pelted off my bedroom window. I was awake, unable to sleep with a mind full of questions, and it startled me from my bed. I crept over to the window and peered down into the lake of darkness below.

Something moved down there and another pebble whacked off the window. I opened it up and stuck my head out. “Who the hell is that?”

“Its me.” Jo whispered and stepped closer to the house so the porch light could catch her thin frame. “Can you come out?”

“Where have you been?”

“Just come out, I’ll tell you what I can.” She stepped back into the darkness and I went to searching for a pair of pants and a clean shirt. After a few minutes of quiet sneaking, so as not to wake my parents, I stepped out into a misty summer evening and shivered at the chill.

“Jo?” I started down the walkway, searching either side. She appeared from behind a tree and motioned to me. “You better explain to me what’s going on. You witness a murder or something?”

“What? What makes you think that?” She took my hand as she spoke and led me off onto the road. Once there she turned to me and pulled me into a tight hug. “God, I missed you.”

“Missed you too, so tell me why you disappeared.”

She released me and took a few steps back, looking almost sheepish. “Can’t… I mean, not entirely. Something kinda big is going on, but I’m gonna protect you, so don’t worry.”

“Protect me? Jo, what are you going on about?”

She stared at the ground and then licked her lips. “Jeeze, didn’t think it would be this hard. You trust me, right? Like, with your life?”


“All right, before you get all annoyed, just listen. Dave is gone…”

“I know, I saw the for sale sign.” I said and glanced back down the road. “What happened on that date of yours? He cop a feel and you killed him?”

She laughed, but there was no humor in it. “No, he was a gentleman, but he wasn’t what I wanted.” She started to pace, her hands in the back pockets of her jeans. “I hope I didn’t read this wrong, I’m still getting the hang of… it, but there’s something here, right? Between us, I mean… and like, it’s more than friends. It’s not just me that feels that… right?”

I felt my mouth drop and found no words to say. A large part of me was sure I miss heard her and so I just stammered for a few seconds before she reached out and tapped my chin.

“Just yes or no, that’s all I need.”

I swallowed hard, amazed at how dry my throat felt and how hollow my lungs were. With a deep breath I nodded and said, “Yes.”

She grinned, a look of happiness that I had never seen before. She moved to me, placed her hands on either side of my face and kissed me.

It was just as I expected my first kiss would be: sloppy, wet and amazing. I started to kiss her too and soon after she broke it off and took a step back.

“You got no idea how long I wanted to do that.”

“Oh, I think I got a good idea… yeah.” I said and opened my eyes to see her grinning at me. We stood silent in the night, the moonlight playing off us both. I had so many questions but chose the most pressing one. “But if you feel this way, why date Dave?”

Her lips tighten and thinned. “If we… if this is something we want, I need to get in good with my mom.”

“In good with your mom? What does that have to do with Dave? I thought your mom abandoned you and your dad.”

She sighed. “Should be truthful in relationships, that’s what all the talk shows say…” She seemed to say this more to herself than for my benefit. “I can’t, not yet. Just trust me that you’re safe in all that’s going down and that I’m doing it for us.”

“What are you doing?” I reached out for her but she moved away and glanced to the tree line behind her house. “Jo?”

“This has gone too long already. I just wanted you to know that I’m okay. In a few days I’ll come by and we can really talk.” She moved toward me again and gave me a quick peck on the cheek before running off to her house.

It was days later that I started to notice something. A lot of homes were going up for sale and a lot of the guys that use to hang around had strangely gone missing. The girls were still around and seemed just as confused as I as to why so many were moving. Jo’s name kept showing up too, usually in connection with boys having a date or something with her.

That part left me lost, not only because she seemed to be into me, but that so many guys would go out with her. Like I said, she was a tomboy and I remember most of the guys would make fun of her looks behind her back. They never wanted anything to do with her before.

In the end, six homes were left empty. The last one I saw while in the front seat of my mom’s car on the way home from the store.

As we passed I noticed that the person putting the sign up was not just any random guy, but Jo’s father. I realized then I had no idea what her dad did, but it felt strange that her father was there.

I started to fear exactly what Jo had going on. No one had any idea the families were moving and no one could recall a moving truck, or even seeing the families move stuff. It was like they just flat out disappeared from the face of the earth. What could do that?

I wondered a lot those few days and wondered even more when I realized I was the last boy of my age around. Even Joey had gone.

Almost a week passed since I’d seen Jo that night. Then one day there was a knock on the back door where my family had a little rec room. It was where my gaming stuff was and a lot of my old toys. I was there working my way through Final Fantasy 2 as it had been raining all day.

I hit pause and got up. Through the windows I could see Jo, drenched and looking tried and worried. When I opened the door she came in quickly and pulled me into another hug, soaking me.

“Jesus, Jo!” I shuddered as the cold water shocked me. She pulled away, grinning wide.

“It’s finished. You’re safe now.”

“Safe? Have you seen what’s been going on? Everyone is moving out of here. Joey was gone yesterday, not a word and then I see your dad out there putting a for sale sign in the front yard. When did he start selling homes?”

“Few months ago, he finally got his license.”

“What has been going on? You know why everyone is leaving, don’t you?”

She nodded, a solemn expression coming over her. “I do, yeah. If there was another way I’d have done it.”

“What have you done?”

“It’s mom. I told her about my feelings for you and she… wasn’t happy to say the least.”

I pulled her to sit with me on the broken and worn couch. “When did your mom show up?”

“She’s never really been gone.” She started to fuss with the edge of her jacket. “She’s not a normal woman and I had to do a few things for her to get her blessing. My dad is okay with me and you, but she didn’t like it as she had her own plans. So, I’ve done as she asked and she has one more request. Will you come with me? If you do, you’ll have your answers.”

She was my best friend, the love of my life, how could I say no? Fear and anxiety were getting a good hold of me by then, but I’d do almost anything for Jo. So, I stood and she did the same. She led the way across the street to her house while the rain slowed to just a patter on the pavement.

I thought we were going inside, but she continued on down the driveway and then cut through the backyard and to the trees. She paused outside for me to catch up and then took my hand. We stepped in together.

A few yards in I noticed a smell. Woods tend to smell different in wet weather, but this wasn’t anything like that. The smell could only be described as putrid. I glanced around our surroundings, expecting to see a swamp or something of that sort. There were none and the further we went into the woods, the worse it got.

I noticed the woman standing at the base of a very large tree that was covered in what looked like ropes. Around her were tables of varying heights and were made from bark covered logs. Beyond her looked to be a cave that had been dug into the side of a small cliff.

She was very tall, at least two feet higher than me. She reminded me of a bird in how she stood. She had her long fingers folded atop each other and while I couldn’t see her eyes due to her bushy brown hair, I knew she watched every move I made.

“Is—is that her?” I asked and Jo squeezed my hand.

“Don’t run, no matter what.”

“Why would I run.”

“You’ll want to, I know. Just don’t let go of my hand.” She dragged me forward and into the clearing where the tables were set up.

The smell somehow was worse here. It didn’t take much to find the source, the tables were covered with fresh and dried blood, like someone had butchered a hundred animals on them. Bones littered the floor and crackled under my feet as Jo pulled me to stand beside her and in front of the woman.

“This is my mom.” Jo said and held a hand out to the woman. “Mom, you know who this is. I’ve done all you’ve asked.”

The woman took a few steps forward. I felt my breath catch deep in my lungs when I saw that her feet were backwards. Not broken, but turned completely around to face the other direction. Because of this she walked almost like the bird she reminded me of.

I started to back away, but Jo’s grasp of my hand was iron-like. “What’s going on here?”

“You’re all right. I didn’t tell you this before, but my mother has always been here. She couldn’t really live with us though because she’s… well, people call her kind Ciguapa.”

“What is that?”

Jo moved in front of me, blocking the view of her mother and took both my hands in hers. “I didn’t think you’d know what that was. She’s basically a myth, an urban legend in the Dominican where she’s from. She met my dad when he visited there years ago and for the first time she fell in love. Because of that, she didn’t kill him and instead they fell in love and moved back here.”

“Kill him?”

“I know, it’s a lot to take in. She’s not bad, no more so than a lion is bad. It’s just her nature and she can’t survive on the food we eat.”

I dropped to the ground, my mind racing along with my heart. I felt sick and puked between my legs and onto the wilting brown leaves and yellow chips of bone. Jo came down with me and wiped the bile from my lips with her thumb. “I think you know what she does eat.”


She smiled ruefully. “Men mostly, and boys sometimes.”

“I don’t understand this. Are you—are you like her?”

“Would you hate me if I was?” She shook her head, obviously not wanting an answer. “I am a bit like her. You see her as she is, just as you do with me, but many males… they see what they want to see. It’s how she lures her food, like a Venus flytrap, I guess.”

“People aren’t flies!”

She ran her hands over my cheeks and shushed me. “No, I didn’t mean to say they were.” She paused, as if choosing her next words carefully. “I love you. She wanted to come after you next, but I couldn’t let that happen so I did what she asked. I brought her enough food that she wouldn’t even think of looking at you that way.”

“The guys? The families that moved…?”

Jo nodded slowly. “I had no choice, not if I wanted to be with you. Not if I didn’t want you… I’m sorry.”

“Joey too? Dave?”


I pinched myself in hopes of waking up, but no such luck. My best friend was still knelt in front of me and a strange woman stood behind her. From the woman came three loud chirps, they sounded like an old woman trying to imitate a nightingale.

“No, you promised. He has to understand and I’ll answer any question he has.” The woman chirped again. “He won’t.”

“Do you…” I gulped. “I mean, did you eat pieces of them?”

Jo shook her head hard. “No. No, like I said, I’m not exactly like her. I’m half human and half Ciguapa. My feet are normal, I eat normally, but I can appear differently from person to person.”

“Why… why am I here?” I wanted to cry just to relieve the fear and insanity that felt like it would overwhelm me.

“She wanted to meet you.” The woman chirped again and came around Jo. I looked up to find black eyes staring down at me. “She wanted to make sure that you love me as much as I love you.”

“If I don’t?”

Jo stood silently. She looked down at me and bit her bottom lip. “I know you do.”

Her mother reached out and placed a bony hand on top of my head and bent down in front of me, grinning to show pointed teeth. She stayed there just long enough for her pale face to be burnt into my nightmares and then she stood. She went to a table and picked up what looked like a hunk of meat and tore off a piece and began to eat.

“So? Are you satisfied?” The woman munched thoughtfully and then gave a small chirp. “Really? Can we go then? I don’t think he can take much more right now.” Jo didn’t wait for an answer and instead came over and picked me up.

We started out of the woods, Jo supporting me because my limbs didn’t seem to work anymore. I think I passed out because the next thing I remember was being in my room. Jo laid beside me, asleep. It was the middle of the night and as I laid there I could hear night birds chatting away. Or perhaps, it was her mother.

Jo and I married a few years later, after college. I’ve never seen her mother again, but I swear she still watches us from time to time. I get the same feeling as I got that day on the river bank.

Jo is pregnant now and I worry that the baby may take after her mother’s side of the family. She has already been having cravings for meat, but no meat from the store seems to help as she says it tastes disgusting and the baby gets upset. I don’t know what to do. I had hoped this was all behind us, like a bad nightmare.

I’ve contacted her dad. He’s still a Realtor.

I’ll do anything for Jo. She’s my best friend, the love of my life and soon, the mother of our child.

by reddit user jp_carver via:

I recently started an intern position at a big company. The office building it was located in was pretty old and kind of run down. On my first day a co-worker who had been assigned to show me the ropes pointed out that there was no floor thirteen listed on the elevator panel– it goes straight from twelve to fourteen. I laughed about it (superstition, am I right?) and then didn’t think about it again for months.

A week ago I volunteered to stay late and finish up some work in the hope that my intern job might turn into something more permanent if I showed enough initiative. By the time I finished it was eight o'clock at night and as far as I knew I was the only person in the entire building. I was pretty tired so when I got to the elevator I slouched against the wall and watched the little blinky light thing count down the floors: nineteen, seventeen, sixteen, fifteen, fourteen… and then the elevator stopped.

We’ve all seen movies or TV shows where an elevator gets stuck between floors and someone opens the doors to a view of a brick wall. I figured that’s what had happened here– the elevator stopped between floors fourteen and twelve. So I was surprised when I pressed the “door open” button and saw a dark corridor instead of a wall.

The button panel was no longer working, so I decided to leave the elevator and take the stairs down, rather than press the call button and wait for someone to come rescue me. The light switch near the elevator didn’t work, which made sense—clearly, there had been some sort of power failure and the elevator had stopped at floor fourteen or twelve. I used my phone as a flashlight instead.

I had never been to any floor but the one I worked on, and I was immediately taken aback by how neglected the place looked. There was a thick layer of dust underfoot, and when I got into an office area all of the desks were bare. Some were sagging or falling apart. The entire floor looked as if it had been abandoned for years, which was strange because I had been told that the whole building was occupied.

I went to the nearest window, intending to see how far the power failure had spread, and got a fright when I saw that it was completely pitch black outside. The light from my phone just barely illuminated the face of the nearest building across a narrow alleyway, and looking further down the street there wasn’t a hint of light. No street lights, no illuminated windows, nothing. For a moment I thought there had been a major power failure like the one that hit New York in the previous decade… and then I realized that I couldn’t even see car headlights. I couldn’t hear any cars either, or any sound at all. It was as quiet as the grave, at half eight in a large city. How did that make any sense?

I was getting slightly alarmed now, so I went immediately to the staircase leading down to the ground floor, only to find it locked shut with a rusty chain. That made no sense at all. That staircase was a fire exit. Why would someone chain it shut? Why did it look as if it had been in that state for years?

I decided to hunt around for a key. As I searched the smaller offices I came across a number of very weird things. One of them was filled with what looked like ancient, desiccated mold. In another I found a suit made out of a strange, heavy material folded on a chair in such a way that it looked like a person sitting there (nearly gave me a heart attack). Some of the desk drawers had papers filled with gibberish in them. A filing cabinet was filled with dusty light bulbs.

After about twenty minutes of this I found a rusty key hanging up in a supply closet and unlocked the chain preventing my escape, feeling relieved. This place was starting to spook me, and I was looking forward to coming back in the daylight to find out what the hell its deal was.

But the door didn’t open onto a staircase. I got a glimpse of a long, bare corridor before my phone’s light caught something moving, something that had round, pale eyes. Something very much not human.

I ran for it, back toward the elevator. The thing chased me. Its footsteps were shuffling and awkward, but fast, and I could hear its wheezing breath at my back. When I got to the hallway leading to the elevator, the doors started to close.

I’d like to tell you I escaped by doing some cool action movie stunts—maybe rolling in between the doors just as they shut—but I honestly don’t remember how I got away. All I recall is running faster than I thought possible, propelled by the most intense terror I’ve ever experienced. It wasn’t the creature chasing me I was necessarily afraid of. It was the fear of being stuck in that place. In those few seconds before I reached safety my conscious mind accepted the idea that had been growing ever since my arrival on floor thirteen: I had stumbled into a place I should not have been in, and if I didn’t escape now then I never would.

The last thing I saw before the elevator doors closed were the creature’s round eyes bobbing in the light. A few seconds later I emerged into a bright lobby, the sounds of traffic and pedestrians coming in from outside, and collapsed to my knees.

I’ve since quit that job. I no longer ride in elevators that have a missing floor. I’m not sure either of those precautions guarantee safety. I keep remembering the dark, silent city I saw outside the office window. Whatever that place is, I think it’s big, and there are probably a lot of ways to enter it. I wonder how many missing person cases are the result of an experience like mine that didn’t turn out so well.

(Credit to Grace_Omega, via Reddit)

My wife and I; we just got married.
We decided it was time to start a family,

and she wanted to have a baby.
Nine months pass and we have a baby, Rose.
"She's amazing." my wife whispered to me.
But she wouldn't stop crying.
Banging thighs on the table, screaming,
crying, keeping my wife up at night.
I couldn't let her be like this.
The next night, it was more peaceful.
"Honey." My wife said to me at 2 AM.
"Why is Rose not crying? I mean, she always
does at this time of night"
"I don't know. She's probably sleeping, it's alright"
Next morning, I awoke to a scream.
Our child was not in her crib, a note
that said "it's better" in fine print was found in her bed.
I think we'll be much happier, our baby
buried in the yard.

Down here in Jamestown there are a bunch of stories about the old Pine Haven school. One story I heard creeps me out and makes me glad I’m a girl. 
They say one day a geeky boy went into the boy’s bathroom alone. While he was washing his hands one of the school bullies walked in and decided to play a little game. He and his buds snuck up behind the boy and pushed him, hard, into the mirror.

They never planned on what would happened, but when the kid’s head bashed into the mirror, a piece of glass went into his neck. He turned to face the boys, grasping his bleeding neck and slowly slid the to the floor. The bullies watched in horror as the gurgling sound stopped and the boy died at their feet, his blood mixing with the running water.

They didn’t want to get caught, so they tore up the floorboards under the sink where the kid stood and stuffed his body in a hole and covered it up.

The school is abandoned now but you can still go tour it. If you go in the boy’s bathroom and stand at the sink and look at the mirror you’ll see the kid behind you. He’ll take his revenge and he’ll push you into the mirror and you’ll die. Then he’ll drag you with him down under the floorboards and you’ll never be seen again.

My grandmother told me when she was in high school an old math teacher in his 60’s named Harold Davidson was teaching math and one of his students wouldn’t stop tapping his pen during class. 

The teacher went berserk and lost his mind. He snatched the pen and attacked the kid, lodging the pen down the child’s throat while his classmates looked on screaming. While struggling, the kid kicked the teacher in the chest with the little energy he had left. The teacher collapsed and they both died at the same time.

When school was back in session and math class began with the new teacher, the class noticed that a weird symbol appeared on the chalk board. The symbol had lines inside of a circle. All the lines within the circle were the common math symbols = + x and division. 

If you outline certain parts of the symbol it looks as if a pacman shape has a line going through its mouth or maybe a head getting choked with a pen. The teacher asked who drew it but no one came forward. The teacher laughed it off and tried to erase it off the board but she couldn’t remove the mark.

She decided to live with it and ignored it for a month, but since maintenance couldn’t even remove the symbol she began to get annoyed. Eventually she got the whole chalkboard replaced. 

As the students arrived for their next math lesson they were shocked to find the new teacher dead laying in the exact same spot wear Harold died. The autopsy found the teacher had a pen shoved down her throat.


Jesus, did people love zombies for a while. Something about hordes of mindless, shambling corpses moaning in the darkness just appealed to the general public. Maybe it was because people saw them as a threat, but not an unbeatable one. Like, they could envision themselves as a hero of sorts gathering a group of people and asserting their self-importance which they lacked in day to day life. I don’t know.

I do know we were wrong. That virus everybody was so interested in was a lot smarter than we gave it credit for. It didn’t want an army of mindless drones passing it along. No, it wanted people for what we treasure most about our species: intelligence. It wanted our cunning, our deceit, our selfishness. The effect of the virus was surprisingly and elegantly simplistic, leaching off of one of our biggest flaws to further its own propagation. It gave us an addiction.

The first patients didn’t even realize what was wrong with them. The media thought it was some new widespread fetish brought about by moral decay. People would bite one another and feel intense euphoria. It was the darndest thing. Then, people began to worry as “regular biters” discovered they could no longer get off munching one another. People were involuntarily bitten and a whole string of lawsuits followed as one would expect. Those didn’t really hold up in court though once the “victim” became a biter as well. When biting became illegal though… that’s when shit hit the fan.

Like any good addiction, people deprived of this vice went into withdrawal. Rehab centers were established but they couldn’t do shit. This wasn’t a normal addiction where the addict thought they needed a hit. No. These people literally NEEDED to bite the uninfected. People began dropping dead from their withdrawal symptoms. Naturally, this caused panic. Panic caused violence. Violence caused governmental action.

A worldwide quarantine of sorts was put into place. Anybody infected had to be contained or killed, no exception. This is probably where the story ends if we had been dealing with hollywood zombies. The military sweeps in, takes charge and saves everyone’s collective ass. However, people find a way. Some faked lab results, a misplaced sample here, a clerical error there, presto-changeo the rich and powerful were no longer classified as infected. The general public thinks all's well and everyone can breathe a sigh of relief in the aftermath of one of the worst pandemics in human history. We here in the hospitals know otherwise. We get the stray case of infection from time to time and we get a little bonus for flubbing the records.

You for example, Mr. Casey. Looks like you’ve been in a coma for quite a while. Car crash, no next of kin, no family, no visitors. Oh, what’s this?


Seems you have traces of the infection in your bloodstream. I’m afraid that warrants a lethal injection sir. I’m sorry, but it’s for the good of the world.

source: by reddit user LorewalkerJoe via

“Now, what kind of ceremony did you have in mind? Did you want a traditional burial or a reawakening?”

The two women, mother and daughter, exchanged a look. “We’re very traditional people,” the mother, Elizabeth Reed, said. “I think we’ll just go with a burial.”

I nodded. “I understand,” I said, keeping my voice soft and even, trying not to show how desperately I needed this to work out. The rising of the dead had not been easy on my business. After the cemeteries had opened, sending the dead staggering out onto our grounds and destroying the property, most of the family had left. Once, we’d been Walters, Gambol, and Sons. Now, it was just me, Rebecca Gambol, not even one of the sons. It figured.

“I understand,” I continued, “but I have to tell you a little about the burial ceremonies before we proceed. I don’t mean to be insensitive, but you should know the truth.”

I stood. “If you’ll come with me, I’ll show you what I mean.”

Elizabeth and her daughter, an attractive but vacant-eyed girl in her late teens, followed me into the showroom. I crossed the room to one of the coffins, a heavy stainless steel model, and opened it. Elizabeth gasped. Her daughter had to steady her. I felt a bit guilty about my theatrics, but I had to make a point.

“What is that?” she asked.

“This is a standard, government-sanctioned burial unit.” I tugged on the chains inside of the coffin. They clinked loudly. “These restraints are titanium,” I explained. “A bit more than is needed, the dead aren’t that strong, but the government is very serious about burial safety.”

I was bluffing a bit. Actually, close-fitting leather restraints, not unlike an old-fashioned straitjacket, or coffins fitted with a special lock were viable alternatives, but the chains and cuffs were showier.

Elizabeth was beginning to weep, leaning heavily on her daughter, and I knew that my exhibition had worked. “Come,” I said gently. “Let’s go back and sit down.”

We returned to my office. Elizabeth sat heavily in one of the overstuffed chairs, and I handed her a box of tissues. I waited in silence while Elizabeth regained her composure.

“I’m sorry I had to show you that,” I said. “”But I need you to understand that burial isn’t the most humane option these days.”

She shook her head. “How long does it take for them to…” she trailed off.

“About a month,” I said. “They pass in about a month.”

“They starve, you mean. They starve, strapped into a cold, dark metal box, all alone.” She began to cry again. “I don’t think I can take that.”

I laid a hand on her arm. “I know, Mrs. Reed. Your husband deserves better than that. That’s why there are alternatives.”

“But I don’t believe in cremation,” she said.

“Nor do I.” Well, my father hadn’t, at least, and had never installed a crematorium, which had forced me out of business for the months when the army had been enforcing cremations. Only in the last few weeks had I been able to reopen the funeral home. Even now I had to be creative to stay in business. “Which is why we now offer reawakenings for your loved ones.”

“I’ve heard of those,” she said. “Aren’t they dangerous?”

“It’s perfectly safe if done right. Your husband will be partially embalmed and heavily sedated, which will keep him docile. We can repair all the damage from the accident. And with regular re-embalming sessions he should remain relatively fresh.”

She was nodding, now, and I continued. “And it’s a beautiful ceremony. So much more hopeful than a burial or cremation. Your husband will be returning to your lives instead of leaving you.”

She looked at her daughter again, and the girl nodded. I wondered a little if she could speak. “Yes,” Elizabeth said. “That sounds lovely. How much more is it?”

I began to arrange the paperwork, handing her a pen. “It’s affordable,” I said. “There are some additional costs like safe housing, sedative treatments, and re-embalming fees. You have to remember that reawakening is a long-term investment. But we have payment plans and I know that it’ll be worth it to have your husband back. If you’ll just sign here…”

Elizabeth hesitated, pen poised just above the paper. “I don’t know,” she began.

“Do keep in mind,” I said, “that they’re working on a cure for the virus. There’s still a chance that the dead can be completely restored. If they do, won’t you be happy your husband had been maintained?”

That did it. She signed and pushed the papers back towards me. “Okay, Ms. Gambol, we’re in your hands.”

A loud groan came suddenly from the back room, followed by a crash and a muffled curse. Elizabeth jumped at the noise.

“One of my assistants must have knocked something over,” I said, forcing a smile. I stood and gently began to usher her and her daughter outside. “I promise we’ll take good care of your family. I’ll be in contact soon to work out the details of the ceremony.”

As soon as they were gone, I rushed to the back room. Mr. Reed was strapped to a gurney, his face still mangled from the car crash, bits of glass protruding from his cheeks and forehead. He began to thrash when I entered the room. Steven, the last of my cousins to stay in the business, was sitting on the floor beside the gurney, holding a blood-soaked towel to his face.

He waved his hand dismissively at my look of concern. “Nose,” he said in a muffled voice. “He kicked me when I was securing him. Strong, that one. The sedative should kick in soon, though.”

“You should be more careful,” I rebuked him, “at least when we have patrons.”

I began to prepare my tools as the dead man slowly stopped thrashing and slouched back into the gurney’s harnesses.

“So, you really think this will work?” Steven asked.

I smiled and began to pick glass from Mr. Reed’s face. “I do. I think we might just be back in business.”

by Robb Walker via

I flung myself through the door and vaulted the toppled, long-dead refrigerator that served as an ineffective barricade in front of me. My legs propelled me through the room and into the small hallway on the other side.

I couldn’t stop to eat the expired contents of the fridge, appealing to me despite their stench after several days without food. The shrieks of pain and cries for mercy around me spurred my body onward and filled me with unexpected energy in spite of my hunger.

We were at war.

I came to a halt in front of a small bathroom.

A noise. Something behind the shower curtain.

My fear heightened and images of the enemy flooded my mind. Merciless beasts wearing human skin, devouring indiscriminately, accepting no pleas and respecting no argument. Zombies.

It had begun as we expected, with a virus. The original infected were almost a cliché. There was no humanity left in them. Just mindless rage, twisted bodies, and some primal urge to consume others. Our generation had prepared, with almost obsessive focus, for this monster. The first wave was eradicated with almost laughable ease.

We were not prepared for adaptation. We were not prepared for the creature we bred by destroying the instantly recognizable zombie. A creature with more tact.

Most of the first zombies were killed at close range, you understand, since longer range attacks were less likely to be fatal. We had trained ourselves, even before the outbreak, to equate “infection” with “death” when it came to zombies. A person “died” when their eyes clouded over and they started biting, not when you put a bullet in their head.

The new strain of the virus still controlled the body, yes, but it left other faculties to the host.

Maybe you could pull the trigger on a hopelessly crazed caricature of your best friend, your spouse, your child. But what if there was still a soul behind those eyes? If even as they attacked, they sobbed and screamed in their own voice? All the virus needed was a moment’s hesitation.

I bet you’d hesitate.

I did.

Which is why now I could only watch as my arm wrenched back the shower curtain and my hands reached for the cowering child. Why I could only beg for forgiveness before the virus used my mouth to tear ragged, bloody hunks from his body. Why I couldn’t even vomit as my hunger dissipated with the now sickeningly familiar taste of human flesh.

We were at war. And I am the enemy.

source: by reddit user AG_plus via

We didn't know what we were doing. We killed every zombie we came into contact with. There were contests to see who could kill more in a day, in a week.

The virus was transmitted to any mammal through a bite, animals and humans both could contact the disease. Actually, the majority of cases of the virus were from animal to human bites.

That little fact did nothing to ease the hysteria. Any one even thought of as a potential risk of contracting the virus was shot in the head, no questions asked. I mean it's not murder to kill a zombie, right? They are no longer human. No cop would arrest you. No jury would ever convict you.

It wasn't until years later that we found the cure was as simple as a dose of human zombie immunoglobulin administered within 2 weeks of an infected bite and a follow up shot 2 weeks later. Much like rabies the symptoms of the virus; the violence, the convulsions, the confusion, only manifests if treatment is not prompt. 

Anyone who came in to contact with an infected animal or human would receive a precautionary post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). The infection rates dropped to less than 1% within the first year that treatment was identified.

Today, I just think of my wife and the daughter that I killed 3 long years ago before their symptoms even began to put them out of their misery. But it has become my misery now. For many the scientists were just too late.

source: by reddit user TKess via

He stumbled. He knew the way, or at least he was reasonably sure he did, but he had a hard time staying on track.

He fell. He decided to just stay there for a minute, and catch his breath. When he got up, a moan escaped his lips; he didn’t hurt, exactly, but he was frustrated. He looked up at the afternoon sun, and didn’t remember it getting so late. Where did the time go?

He just shrugged and walked it off. Home. That was his thought process; I have to get home.

He’d been drunk before, of course. There were times where he couldn’t remember events from a night of revelry, but he’d never had a substantial blackout before. For the life of him, he couldn’t remember what had happened between doing shots at the bar and stumbling around now, at least sixteen hours later. Was he asleep? Where were his friends?

Why did he have only one shoe?

He thought about asking the woman sitting in the park bench. Asking her what? He forgot.

He was so confused, but he felt that he couldn’t possibly still be drunk.

“My god,” he thought, “am I sick?”

The lady on the park bench was pretty. He moved in her direction. She looked past him.

He loomed over her, and she continued to ignore him.

“Hey,” he tried to say, but his words came out a gasp. Tongue tied, he stood there, trying to ask a simple question without appearing to be a fool or simpleton. He just needed to use her phone, if she had one. He grew nervous and agitated; it was like he was stuck in a dream, and he couldn’t get the words out.

All she did was dismissively grunt in his general direction.

He knew when to take a hint, so he kept walking towards home.

He wasn’t tired, but annoyed and hungry. There was a shadowy spot underneath an old oak; he liked how the moss hung to give shade. He sat down, leaning against the trunk. He looked back towards the hotel, but couldn’t see it. Where were his friends? What had happened to the bachelor party? He didn’t remember walking so far, but things had been a mess since waking up.

His eyes wandered the streets around him, and he thought it odd how there was absolutely no vehicle traffic. Cars had stopped in some places, and the roads were completely clear in others. Vaguely, he registered the sounds of alarms and horns blaring in the distance. He saw a lot of folks walking, not seemingly in a hurry, and completely unconcerned about the heat of the day.

He drifted off, tired of thinking, tired of trying to remember and piece it all together.

Awareness floated back to him on the beams of a full moon. He was walking again. Just as confused as earlier, at least he was no longer hungry. He found it odd that he was now barefoot, but he didn’t dwell on it.

He had to get home.

He smiled a little as he remembered being this drunk once before. He was being led back to the hotel from a night on River Street by his less-inebriated friends. He became obsessed with the fact that his wife was missing. “Where did she go? IS SHE OKAY?” he yelled, and he lit out to find her at a full-trot. A keystone cops moment followed, wherein he ran circles around the old weathered brick building that housed a nightclub, chased by four of his closest and dearest. When he finally stopped running (he found her safe and sound hugging a lamp post) the almost-sober of the group ushered the concerned parties to the suite before police could be involved.

Lost in thought, he tripped over something on the shoulder of the interstate.

Wait. The interstate?

Headlights in the distance illuminated his path. He looked down at what nearly made him fall. He couldn’t tell for sure what it was, but it was slippery and smelled delicious.

“A food truck accident?” he thought.

He shambled on towards the headlights, intending to wave them down for a ride. He reached out to them, waving his hands.

The car swerved towards him, and didn’t slow down.

Confusion turned to anger when a side-mirror grazed his arm. He spun around, and landed in the ditch. The car kept going, red taillights in the distance weaving around other vehicles in the dark.

Anger added itself to the perpetual confusion and frustration. He tried to get up, but found his left arm uncooperative. He roared in fury, and slowly got back to his feet.

He looked down, and in the moonlight, his arm hung limply. It was twisted and obviously broken.

“Wow. I must really be blitzed,” he hazily thought.

There was no pain.

He walked on.

Slowly, the miles melted away as surely as his thoughts. Blackouts became more common. Words became disjointed images in his mind, and soon the only two things that he knew were hunger and the need to go home.

Time became a blur, discomfort became a constant companion, and anger colored everything with a hazy white film. Days became nights, and strangers shambled beside him. He didn’t speak. After it became obvious that they would ignore him, he began to return the favor.

He finally recognized the exit ramp for home.

He left the pack of weary travelers that had both welcomed and spurned him, and he refused to rest until he could do so in his own bed.

His wife and children would be worried sick, and the Missus would probably be angry that he hadn’t called. She never really wanted him to go off to Savannah with the boys for the bachelor party, anyway.

These thoughts seeped in and leaked out just as quickly, and it was hard to concentrate. He vaguely remembered being upset that she hadn’t come looking for him, but these complex ideas, too, just became images.

Home. Hunger. Eat when I get there. Rest when I get home. One foot in front of the other, fall down. Get up. Keep going. Home.




Longing for her.

Longing for home.


He couldn’t get inside. The front door wouldn’t open. He knocked with his good arm. He beat at the door with both arms in a slow-motion frenzy as frustration mounted and became anger.

Ever present, under his roiling emotions, that hunger kept gnawing at him.

“I’m home, let me in,” he thought he said, but the reality was that only a growl escaped his dried, cracked lips.

He heard crying from inside. Something was wrong! The need to feed flared white-hot, and his fury peaked. He knocked louder, and he yelled for her to let him inside. His arms flailed against the door, and his growls became a constant moan.

Finally, the door opened, and there she was.

He saw a flash of light, but he never realized it was the flash of a muzzle. The sound of thunder that echoed into the pines and elms surrounding their secluded country house never reached his ears; he finally stopped walking, moaning, and longing.

“There will be others. Close the door and let’s get the barricade back in place before they get here.”

“We need to bury him, mama! He’s been missing since this thing started, but now he’s home, and we need to take care of Dad!”

“That’s not your daddy any more, baby. He died weeks ago.”

Under the cover of darkness, as quietly as they could, they laid him to rest next to other family members. Each of them in that shallow makeshift cemetery had been driven by longing and hunger; each of them had been looking for a missing piece of themselves that could only be found back home.

Credit To – Nick O’Caliban

I’d always been a happy child, eager to learn about new things and willing to help anyone in need. I loved almost everyone; people literally thought I was “the kid from heaven”. That’s why my parents thought my behavior to be slightly unusual awhile after my 13th birthday.

A few months had passed since the day I turned 13, and my friends and family noticed my attitude towards things simple things started to change. For example, my mother forgot to pick up my mascara at the store which made me somewhat mad so I grunted and locked myself in my room that night. My friends didn’t mind it much, but my parents weren’t so sure. They shrugged it off as being “normal for kids my age” and let it go.

Time went by and my behavior started getting worse. I would slam doors, ignore pretty much everyone occasionally, and sneak out of the house to take long walks out who knows where. This is when I was only about 14. Eventually my parents caught me sneaking out and decided I didn’t get to have a phone until I learned to obey my parents rules. I’m an only child, so my parents are a lot more strict on what I can and can’t do in terms of leaving the house. Let’s just say I didn’t get my phone back for awhile.

By the age of 15 or 16, I became very manipulative and deceiving. I would find ways to get out of trouble while also tricking my parents into spoiling me although I didn’t deserve it. I got aggressive, violent, and scary to the point where my own parents were afraid of me. The house was always filled with constant screaming and yelling from all of the arguments I’d start with them.

One time, I even punched a hole straight through the wall which really raised hell. My parents decided they were fed up with me and to call over my Uncle who works as a Psychologist two towns over. Little did my parents know he was also a medium (meaning he is able to see/ communicate with spirits).

When my Uncle arrived at our house he talked to my parents about the situation for about 30 minutes to an hour, but I noticed every 5 minutes or so he would glance over at me with a worried look on his face. After they were done, my Uncle pulled me aside to our guest bedroom and closed the door behind us. I took a seat on the bed but he stood a distance away from me.

“So, did they tell you I’m crazy or something because I’m not,” I said a bit nervously. I hadn’t seen my Uncle for a long time and the looks he gave me were a bit unsettling.

He just stood there silent. Then he left the room hastily and brought back a vintage polaroid that I’m sure he brought himself because I’d never seen that anywhere in my house before.

“Oh you wanna take my mugshot or something now?”

“Hold still,” he said in a very serious but quiet and low voice almost as if he were trying not to be heard. I sat absolutely still while he took my picture. It started to print slowly and once it came out he waited very impatiently for the photo to develop. Once the photo developed, he stared at it for quite awhile nervously looking back and forth from me to the picture.

“Lemmie see it,” I said irritated.

He handed me the picture and at first I didn’t understand what the big deal was, until I saw it. It was hard to notice when you first glance over the picture, but as you look closely you can see it very clearly. In the picture it’s slightly blurry, but you can see a black human-like figure hanging on my back with its arms wrapped around my neck. It had no hair, and no clear facial features- or any features for that matter. I realized my hands started to tremble as I looked up at my Uncle in shock of what the picture had revealed.

“W-what is that right there?” I stuttered, pointing to the figure in the picture.

“It’s a demon,” my uncle said flatly.

“What k-kind of demon is it? Am I gonna get possessed or some shit?”

“Demons don’t possess, they only influence, you can’t get rid of these demons, but you can change the way that they influence you, but the truth is that they aren’t called demons, they’re called life.”

Credits to: savvylynnk


“Thank you for choosing Vicecorp, this is Jeff. May I have your account number, please?”

“Hey Jeff, Matthew here. Account number 80140. Password is Lombardo.”

“How can I help today, Matthew?”

“Well, I’m very frustrated. I purchased the Lenore 3 yesterday and I’m having some major issues. I’m not getting the proper responses at all.”

“Can you be more specific?”

“Well, for example, when I make any kind of threat, she doesn’t show fear. She says she’s scared, but appears perfectly calm. There’s no point if she’s not scared. I don’t need to tell you I paid good money for her.”

“Let me guess: she’s not responding to physical stimuli either..?”

“How do you mean?”

“Does she scream when you hit her?”

“No. Nothing.”

“That’s what I thought. I apologize for this, Matthew. It’s a known issue. The last batch were sent out a little prematurely. Is she on now?

"Yeah, she’s on. She’s right here.”

“Perfect. So this is an easy fix, Matthew. I’m gonna force an update on my end, which will take just a few seconds. And I’m gonna add twelve months to your warranty for the inconvenience.”

“Oh, thanks! I appreciate that.”

“My pleasure. Just keep in mind that beheading voids the warranty.”

“That’s fine. At the most I’ll cut a few fingers off. Nothing crazy.”

“Alright Matthew, that should do it. Wanna give her a little punch for me?”

“Sure, one second.”

“She’s bawling like a cow. Thanks for your help Jeff, I really appreciate it.”

“No problem. Nothing else you need today?”

“No, that’s great. Thanks again.”

“You’re welcome, Matthew. And thanks for choosing Vicecorp. Have a wonderful day.”

Credits to: Buzzo2020


I've never been able to eat in the morning. I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and don't get me wrong, I love me some bacon and eggs and hash browns, but I just can't eat right after I wake up. Takes a few hours for me to work up an appetite.

And of all of my problems, it was this one, the most simple of them, that would end up ruining everything.

Every morning at 9am I am to report to a clinic, on a combination of state sentencing and doctor's orders. I'm possibly the worst kind of mentally ill. I know I am not well. I know acutely exactly how unwell I am, what I am capable of, and what will happen to me if I don't take my medicine. It doesn't make me any more in control, however. I just feel... strapped in for the ride as my impulses take over.

9am is too early for me. I hardly like waking up that early at all, and I certainly haven't been up for long enough to have worked up anything remotely resembling an appetite. But my medicine is only about 20% as effective on an empty stomach, and I'm not trusted to dose myself, hence the clinic. So I've worked out a routine. In the mornings, I tuck the nearly identical pills back in my cheek, fake like I swallowed them, and then pocket them as soon as I make it back outside.

I'm not skipping doses. After the clinic, I go home, go about my business for a couple of hours until I've worked up an appetite, then I eat, and take my medicine immediately afterward. I don't want to miss any doses. The medicine helps me stay, well, me.

I think it's important to mention what my medicine does, now, however. One pill stops me from killing myself. The other stops me from killing other people. This afternoon, after I got back from the clinic and finished eating a meal, I went to the sink to pour myself a glass of water. Partially eroded, there were two now entirely identical pills in my hand.

As I went to take a sip of water, I fumbled with my other hand, and one of the pills fell down the drain.

I don't know which it was.

And they won't give me more at the clinic because they 'confirmed' I took my medicine this morning when I tucked the pills in my cheek.

I stared at the remaining pill for a while, trying to see if I could tell which of the two it was. After a few minutes, I decided it didn't matter either way, and I dropped the second pill in the sink as well.

by reddit user mattpayhan via

You enter the kitchen, totally unaware I’m watching you. That I’ve been watching for days. You turn on the radio just as the 8am news is starting, as you always do after your morning run. You’re nervous, waiting for any news on the girl. Missing, only 6 years old. The report starts, it details her disappearance from her bed, her family’s terror when they found her room empty on the morning of her 6th birthday, how there were no fingerprints, no sign of a struggle. There are no updates, still missing, no evidence. But the world is searching for her, and that’s great.

You turn off the radio after that report, the only report that matters, and begin to make yourself breakfast. A hearty plate of bacon, eggs, beans, toast and mushrooms. I don’t know how you can eat, how you can even think of food. I know I can’t. I get a little more comfortable, it’s hard sitting here in your garden every day. Under the shade of the trees, at least I have protection from the sun. I watch you leave your house, you check the back door lock, and leave by the front. You always do that. I think about my wife and children. I think about how this would make them feel. I wait.

When you return, I’m sleeping. I know this because I wake angry at myself. You could have seen me. Then you’d have known all of what I plan to do. That can’t happen. But you don’t see me. You’re so stupid. When I’m sure you’re occupied, I pull out the scrap of denim from my pocket. The scrap that matches your jacket. The scrap left on my daughter’s bedroom floor after you stole her. I pick myself up off your garden and make my way to the back door.

Upon entering the house, I pick up a knife from your kitchen. Nice and sharp. Careful not to make a sound, I open the door to your living room a crack and peer in. You’re sitting in your red velvet chair, not a care in the world. That makes me angry. I grip the knife harder, and recall the day I passed you in the street. The first time I saw that torn denim jacket. Your dead, empty eyes, hollow in their sockets. I tread lightly to the back of your chair. Lucky that it’s red, maybe your blood won’t show when I slit your throat.

Your skin cuts like butter. You struggle, and that excites me. I’m so happy to finally avenge my baby. There are big, black bin bags in your kitchen, I grab one for your disgusting, lumpy body. You’ve got blood everywhere. I put your limp body in a bag and drag it in to the basement that’s connected to your kitchen. I open the door and push your body down in to the darkness. A methodical search of the house bears no useful information, I return to the living room where my mobile phone has been charging.

I’m furious, so frustrated with myself. How could I have been wrong again? I’m certain that scrap of denim matched your jacket. It was you, I am sure. I sit, slumped in the red arm chair, the blood soaking my back. I want to cry, to vomit, I can’t bear that I’ve got it wrong again. I can’t be wrong, there’s something, I know it.

My phone vibrates on the chair of the arm. A text message, from Jan. I unlock my phone, and throw it at the wall seconds later, before covering the floor in sick.

‘I need you to come back home. They have found her, baby. Turn your phone back on, come home, I know this affected you but our baby’s back. She’s alive, she’s back, come home please!’

In the background, some news report, '3 more found dead their homes in South London, this makes for 7 total, however police still suspect there to be more. Keep your doors locked at all times, we are searching for the killer.’

Credits to: georgeoliscott


I've missed my family terribly these past few days, badly enough that I've begun to doubt my skills as a markswoman. Not that I've failed entirely. On the first day of the hunt, I did put a bullet in my husband's heart. But Wilhelm was a large, lumbering man, while Ernst and Greta are small and agile. They've proven to be quite the challenge, not that I'm complaining. There'd be no point to this were it easy, and I'm awfully proud of my little ones for leading me on such a chase. Of course, it's only a matter of time before I overtake them. The children don't know the darkest depths of this forest like I do. And I've harried them so relentlessly that hunger and fatigue will be hobbling them by now. No huntress has ever been as merciless in pursuit of her prey as I.

I owe my children that.

My efforts will be rewarded soon. Most likely, I'll return home, my true home at the heart of these woods, and place Wilhelm, Ernst, and Greta within the family room, perfectly preserved beside my other husbands, sons, and daughters. Having married so often and born so many children, one might think I would grow weary of that, yet I never do.

After all this time, occasionally I still think back to the first of my husbands claimed during this game, replaying the scene of my poor, sweet Josef pleading with me to spare our boys. "They have their whole lives ahead of them!" he begged. "A few meager decades!" I cried back. "After a thousand years walking this world, I can tell you that a brief span of mortal decay can hardly be called a life!" Then I let fly my arrow to pierce Josef's poor, sweet heart, for I loved him so. I love them all, most especially my children. I will not allow another to wither away to nothing. Better to die young and gloriously in the hunt. And there's always the hope that--

What's that I hear?

Rustling in the underbrush.

Stifled groans of pain and exertion.

I hurry forward and find my son and daughter crossing a small, sunlit clearing, Greta dragging a lame, bloodied leg and Ernst desperately pulling her along. A twig snaps beneath my boot, and they turn and spot me. In an instant, Ernst drops his sister and flees, leaving her behind screaming for help. My poor, sweet Greta tries to crawl away, but I stop her with a heel upon her back, pinning her down as I aim my rifle. Her sobs bring to mind so many other daughters I've slain. "Hush now, darling," I whisper to her. "Mama's here." With a squeeze of the trigger, I send my love straight through Greta's poor, sweet heart...

Now for ruthless little Ernst. I wonder... Will he be the child to finally best me and take this eternal life for his own? Oh, what a happy mother that would make me!
by reddit user Dove_of_Doom via

Attention: An event of unknown origin has begun in your area. In order to ensure your safety you must perform the following actions. Any deviation will result in loss of life.

Open all external and internal doors.

Open all windows.

Do not attempt by any means to bar entry.

When they enter, do not move, look at or acknowledge their presence in any way.

Do not react.

Small children, otherwise impaired individuals, and pets you cannot keep from reacting should be abandoned.

Repeat, do not react.

Leave your televisions or radios on to await the all clear. Good luck.

source: by reddit user dannylandulf via

Noel decided to try out pearl farming a month ago when he randomly stumbled across a dedicated subreddit.

He had heard about pearl farming before, of course - it was a hot topic on social media, and it seemed like everybody knew someone who had tried it. Former pearl farmers in public campaigns advised against it: The money doesn't matter, kid. It's not worth it. Get a proper job instead. Don't get involved in this shit.

But online pearl farming communities told a different story. A single pearl could easily sell for as much as $800, provided it was at least half an inch in diameter. With the right approach, one could grow up to six of them in one go. Over one million subscribers enthusiastically exchanged hints and information about trusted buyers. Noel needed some money, and the promise of an easy profit was just too hard to resist.

The instructions were easy enough to follow. Purchase conchiolin powder and nacre syrup, still legally sold in most states under innocuous brand names. Use a mixture of both with every meal for about 30 days. Avoid fish oil and large quantities of water. And most importantly: never, under any circumstances, tell your family or colleagues what you're doing.

A month ago, coming back home with the ingredients in his pocket, counting the profits in his head and contacting prospective buyers ahead of the time, Noel had been absolutely confident pearl farming was going to pay off. He even briefly considered dropping out of school and doing pearl farming for a living.

But now, a month later, shaking and screaming out incomprehensible syllables through his tears, Noel realized all those people advising against pearl farming were right. He used to think he could imagine the associated pain ahead of the time. But he couldn't. Nothing in the world could have possibly prepared him for the excruciating agony he had to suffer through for three days straight as he was passing a half-an-inch-diameter pearl grown inside his own kidney, knowing full well it's just the first one out of six.

by reddit user OnceInAYellowMoon via


I had been fascinated with mermaids ever since my first trip to the sea as a little boy. One of my mothers had slathered me in sunscreen before letting me out near the water. She had sat back and read a magazine while my other mother had held my hand as I kicked at the sand and ran through the waves.

Collecting shells in a bucket, I had waddled along the surf when I first saw her: the mermaid. She was a hideous thing: stringy, green, hair, with sallow skin and razor-sharp metal teeth. Her tail beat against a rock, brown and ugly. She noticed me and snarled before diving back into the sea.

I found Mermaid Lagoon after years and years of research, on some obscure marine biologist’s blog. Her posts on the lagoon had stopped after some fifteen or twenty with just one line: I am moving on. I was disappointed; why had no one gotten proof of the existence of mermaids yet?

And so I decided to get some proof myself. Armed with an underwater camera and a wetsuit, I was determined to take pictures of them. I was going to make these belle laide creatures, not to mention myself, famous.

I was the only one at Mermaid Lagoon. The sky was overcast, the threat of thunder and rain imminent, but I shrugged it off. I had driven all the way here, and only had one chance to do it right.

I found the mermaids immediately. So quickly, in fact, that I was disappointed by how easily I found them. The water was murky, but I still managed to take a few pictures. When I thought I had taken enough, I made the split-second decision to keep swimming. If mermaids were at the lagoon’s surface, I wondered, what was below it?

I tried to push past the mermaids, but they formed a barricade around me, biting and growling. One serrated nail scratched deep into my cheek. Instead of becoming frightened, I let it go. Mermaids were meant to be violent. But that didn’t mean I needed to give up. I broke through the blockade and kept going.

As I swam deeper still, something dark and looming caught the corner of my eye. I knew then that the mermaids weren’t trying to do me harm. They were trying to keep me out.

There was something infinitely more dangerous in these waters.

by reddit user smiling-god via

There was something very wrong with the dog.

For one, it never barked. All on it’s own, that wouldn’t be such a big deal. In fact, it might actually be seen as boon to its owners, the unfortunate Clyde family. But, you see, when Mr. and Mrs. Clyde really thought about it, they realized that the dog not only refrained from barking, but that it made no noise whatsoever. They had never heard so much as a whine coming from the canine.

Now don’t get me wrong, the Clydes loved their dog. Little George Clyde would play with it for hours, throwing balls across the lawn for it to chase while Mrs. and Mr. Clyde watched through the sliding glass door of the patio.

Then there was one night, not too long ago, when George found he could not sleep. He rolled out of bed, cringing slightly as the tender flesh of his bare feet met the cold wood of the floor. The slight discomfort did nothing to hinder his movements, however, and he quickly padded his way out into the hallway, down the stairs, and into the kitchen. He was just about to open the fridge to steal some of last night’s dessert when he heard something in the living room. He froze, his pudgy hand inches away from the refrigerator door.

It was a voice.

A shiver rippled its way across his skin, careening down his spine in a frigid cascade. An intense fear, the kind of terror only a young child can feel, gripped him instantly as he slowly turned to face the living room.

In the darkness at the mouth of the doorway, George could just barely make out the silhouette of the dog. It was standing rigidly on the threshold, its hackles raised, its lips pulled up in a snarl.

And then the dog’s mouth opened, and a voice – a real, human voice – came out. George fainted.

But it wasn’t from the fact that his dog had spoken. He had heard the dog talk many times before. Actually, they generally had very nice conversations when George’s parents weren’t around. No, it was what the dog said that distressed him to the point of unconsciousness.

“It’s standing right behind you.”

by reddit user TitaniumLady via

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