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Danny has been my friend ever since childhood, even back then he had a compulsive need to help others. I remember him once taking on three bullies at once because they were tormenting a little kid that lived on our street. Twenty years onward nothing has changed, he'd often found himself in hospital after taking on thugs in the street for causing problems with random people.

About a week ago Danny called me and a couple of our friends telling us he wanted to talk to us, said something really strange had happened and he needed to talk. We met up at his apartment that day and when we got there, he wasn't himself, he looked white as if he had just seen a ghost. I asked him what was the matter and he just asked us to sit down, we did as he asked, knowing he would tell us in his own time.

About ten minutes of complete silence had passed before Danny had started talking.

"It, all seems like a nightmare, but then again, it probably was." His voice was shaky, whatever he was about to tell us we knew it had really freaked him out, none of us had ever seen him like this before.

"I was walking down the corridor to the apartment and, I heard a woman screaming from down the hall so, I went to check it out like anyone would, I tried opening the door and it was locked so I just reacted on instinct and broke the door down."

He had taken another pause and started looking more anxious, I looked at the two girls that were in the room with us and they seemed to be excited to hear what happened like it was some kind of ghost story someone would tell around a campfire, but to be honest I was becoming more interested as well.

"There was a man, at least it looked like a man, he dressed in black with a hooded cloak covering his face, but I was more concerned with his hands." At this point the girls were on the edge of their seat and I found myself staring intently.

"In one hand he was holding what looked like a large machete and in the other he was holding the screaming woman by her hair, I didn't have time to think." Colour started to come back to his face and there was excitement in his voice like he was just having an adrenalin rush.

"I grabbed the hand that was holding the blade by the wrist and punched him in the face, he let go of the woman so I threw him out into the hall, and went to hit him again but..." The tone in his voice lowered and all the colour faded almost as quickly as it came, he looked like a rabbit caught in a pair of headlights.

"Before I could make contact, h-he disappeared, he just vanished in a haze of grey, I couldn't stop my punch and I hit the wall." His expression started to change again to confusion.

"The woman came out of her apartment yelling at me saying, "What do you think your doing?". Asking if I was proud of myself scaring her like that and she starting ranting about her door. I didn't know what to say so I went to the owner's office asking if I could look at the security tapes. He said sure and took me to see it. When we looked at the tapes, there was nothing, just footage of me breaking down the door and punching a hole in the wall. He was pretty mad so all I could do was apologize telling him, "I don't know what came over me, and I'll pay for the damages."

Nobody said anything for about five minutes, I guess we were all trying to process what we had just been told.

"He's here." Danny's eyes widened with fear at this and he started staring at Sam. One of the girls that was with us looked over and I couldn't stop myself from staring -- she appeared to be in a trance -- eyes wide and unblinking, a grin stretching across her face. I was so focused on her that I didn't realise that Jess had the same look on her face. Danny gave a small laugh.

"Nice try you two, you guys can't scare me that easily." My attention was broken from the two girls and was now fixed on Danny, I felt all my blood leave my face. the two girls were now talking in unison and monotone.

"You're going to die." Danny turned his attention to me, I opened my mouth to warn him but I was frozen with fear. The only thing my voice would allow me to say was, "Behind you." I could only sit there and watch as Danny turned around to be staring at the hooded figure. With a single swipe of its blade, he slashed Danny's head from his shoulders, before there was a chance for a single drop of blood to be spilled. The figure and Danny vanished in a haze of grey.

"Are you ok?" Sam seemed to be back to normal.

"You look like you just seen a ghost." Jess added.

The two girls looked at me blankly and at the same time asked, "Who's Danny?"

On March 23, 1994 the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and concluded that he died from a shotgun wound to the head. Mr. Opus had jumped from the top of a ten story building intending to commit suicide. He left a note to that effect, indicating his despondency. As he fell past the ninth floor his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast passing through a window which killed him instantly.

Neither the shooter nor the descender was aware that a safety net had been installed just below at the eighth floor level to protect some building workers and that Ronald Opus would not have been able to complete his suicide the way he had planned.

“Ordinarily,” Dr. Mills continued, “a person who sets out to commit suicide and ultimately succeeds, even though the mechanism might not be what he intended, is still defined as committing suicide.”

That Mr. Opus was shot on the way to certain death, but probably would not have been successful because of the safety net, caused the medical examiner to feel that he had a homicide on his hands. The room on the ninth floor, whence the shotgun blast emanated, was occupied by an elderly man and his wife. They were arguing vigorously and he was threatening her with a shotgun. The man was so upset that when he pulled the trigger he completely missed his wife and the pellets went through the window, striking Mr. Opus.

When one intends to kill subject A but kills subject B in the attempt, one is guilty of the murder of subject B. When confronted with the murder charge the old man and his wife were both adamant. They both said they thought the shotgun was unloaded. Then old man said it was his long-standing habit to threaten his wife with the unloaded shotgun. He had no intention to murder her. Therefore the killing of Mr. Opus appeared to be an accident; that is, the gun had been accidentally loaded.

The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple’s son loading the shotgun about six weeks prior to the fatal accident. It transpired that the old lady had cut off her son’s financial support and the son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his father would shoot his mother. The case now becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus.

Now comes the exquisite twist. Further investigation revealed that the son was, in fact, Ronald Opus. He had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to engineer his mother’s murder. This led him to jump off the ten story building on March 23rd, only to be killed by a shotgun blast passing through the ninth story window. The son had actually murdered himself so the medical examiner closed the case as a suicide.

A family suicide occurred in the suburbs of Gunma Prefecture (we’ll call this family the Suzukis just for convenience). A few months later, they decided to pull down the house in which the family used to live. A group of university students in Tokyo, calling themselves “The Paranormal Research Group,” heard about this and decided to visit the house before it was gone. The group consisted of two boys and two girls.

When the group arrived, the house was already in the process of demolition. Inside was a total mess. They went in with a video camera on hand and started exploring. “Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Suzuki! Please excuse us!” Laughing and joking, they shouted in the empty house. “Is this your kitchen?” “May I use your bathroom?”

After some time, while the rest of the group were having fun, one of the girls began to feel scared so they decided to call it a day. “Goodbye, thank you for having us!” They shouted as they left. They stopped the video camera and got into the car. On the way home, the other girl said, “Look! I found this ring in the house. We should keep it in our club room as a memento.”

The next day, the group got together in one of the boys’ room to watch the video.

“Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Suzuki! Please excuse us!”


They froze. An unfamiliar voice, which they did not hear at the time they were in the house, was recorded in the tape.

“Is this your kitchen?”

“May I use your bathroom?”
“Go ahead.”

“Goodbye, thank you for having us!”
“Don’t go!”

Everyone fell silent…then, suddenly, their mobiles started ringing all at the same time. They were all very alarmed, but managed to calm down and picked up their phones.


All that the two boys and the timid girl got was silence…but the girl who snatched the ring heard something.

“…..Hi, this is Mrs. Suzuki. May I please have my ring back?”

I am an extraordinary musician, one of the best; you could say it was in my blood. I am well aware of my greatness and find no reason to pretend otherwise. Modesty won’t get you anywhere.

I have the ability to play any instrument I pick up, but the violin has always held a special place in my heart. The first time I laid fingers on the polished piece of wood, I could hear something telling my ten-year-old self that this instrument would get me somewhere. That voice wasn't lying.

I have spent the years perfecting my talent and the hard work has paid off. I am now first chair violinist in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, one of the most renowned orchestras in the world.

Now, I mustn't take all the credit. As every musician knows the quality of the instrument is just as important as how well you can play it. This is why I have just recently finished my new violin, making it all by hand and just the way I want it.

If you plan to take on the endeavor of creating a violin of similar caliber of my own, then there are a few steps to follow and it’s not for the faint of heart.

First you have to decide on the wood you will use for this masterpiece. Most people use spruce or maple but I thought that willow deserved to be used on mine, but this is a personal exception. You can have someone cut the wood for you at specialty stores. Most of your big cities should have someone. It will cost you a bit of money but it’s worth it.

Next you’ll need an assistant. Your helper doesn't need any skill or even know anything about music. They only thing that they need is to be in good health and at least somewhat trusting.

Once you have your assistant in mind, I advise you to invite them for tea. It won’t make them too cautious but if you slip something into their drink your job will be a bit easier. Plus, they’ll be much more compliant to your offer.

Your best plan is to place them in the most inner room in your house or, if you have one, a basement is an even better place. I advise putting tape over the aide’s mouth. When they find out what’s going on they can often, very loudly, regret their decision.

You probably don’t want to go down there for a while. Let the scared human settle down a bit. When you do go down to feed them be sure to keep a weapon at your side. Humans get quite violent when frightened, even when being offered food. Make sure that what you are feeding them won’t be too harsh on their intentions. That is a very important part of the body in this case.

When you go into their chamber to feed them you can harvest your first item then and there if you want. Their hair will have to be long enough though. If it isn't quite the length you need you can massage their scalp two times a day with an aloe lotion, this will encourage hair growth. I’ll let you know in advance, if you sedate them first you job will be a way easier.

Once you have your assistant's hair then you no longer need them alive. Don’t say this to them though, it encourages them to attempt escape.

After the hair is cut, you just need to treat it like it was horse hair. You might want to be a little gentler with it because of its thinner quality. You just need to tie it off and attach it to the bow when it is finished.

Killing them will be the least messy out of the next events. Death by hanging will cause the smallest amount of damage to the things you still need from them. Once you have them hung you should cut a major artery and let as much of the blood as possible drain into a bucket with the wooden parts of the violin in it. The blood will work as a stain to the wood. It’s hard to beat the rich, red tint. You might have to scrub some of the pieces with the blood because the bucket probably won’t fill up quite enough.

Once you have drained as much blood as possible you can cut a deep slit down the decided human's arm. This will allow you to easily pluck out the long arm bones you will need. The bones will need to be washed and then cut and painted to be used for the finger board. Some of the left over bits of the bone will be used for the frog on the end of the bow.

Once the bones are put in a sink to be washed, you can claim your last item from your dead assistant. The guts are the messiest to retrieve and you have to be the most careful with them. You have to take them out while they are still warm or you risk the veins breaking. Once they are out you should get all the fat off of them and treat them like any other sheep’s guts.

For all the instructions I didn't give specifically, you should treat it like any other violin. I only gave the instructions specific for the human parts. You will have to change the hair on your bow from time to time so be sure to keep the extra hair and the gut strings as well.

That is all you need to know my dear friends about making a violin just like my very own. I have a concert to make it to so I must end my writing here. I know the whole band will be mourning over the death of Willow Florence, the old first chair violinist, but between you and me I’m sure she’ll still be sitting first chair at the concert tonight. She just won’t be in the same shape as before.

“Mary, you have a visitor.”

I open my eyes and see the fat nurse who woke me up this morning standing in front of me, smiling. I don’t remember what happened to me or how long I have been here. I woke up today in an unfamiliar room, but somehow my posessions and clothes were neatly laid out for me. It’s a hospital or something, because they told me I’m sick and am going to be here until I get better. And I have to get around in a wheelchair. But they’re not telling me how long I’ll be here. Nobody seems to know, and nobody answers my questions. It’s like they can’t hear me.

I don’t feel sick. I’m only thirty years old for Christ’s sake. I’ve been healthy my whole life, and never even got so much as a pinprick from my work as a seamstress. I keep demanding to speak to a doctor, but everyone who works here just pats my shoulder and smiles at me. They give me pills every few hours, but I refuse to take them. They end up forcing me to take them. What if the pills they’re giving me are making me sick? Everyone here is old and depressed looking. Why am I here? These people are almost ready to die. I have at least half of my life ahead of me. Unless I have some disease or cancer, and this is where they decided to put me until I die. That doesn’t make sense either though, because I feel completely healthy.

The nurse tells me my visitor is in the community room, and she unlocks the wheels of my wheelchair and rolls me down the hallway. There’s an old man in a wheelchair in the hallway with a stuffed animal on his lap, talking to it like it’s his pet. Is this a lunatic asylum? Are the pills supposed to make me sane? A man at least fifty years old is there waiting in the community room. He sees me, and gives me a hug. “Mary, it’s Ralph, remember me?” He asks, smiling cautiously, waiting for a response.

“I’ve never seen you before in my life!” I yell at him. “Tell me what’s going on here!”

The man who calls himself Ralph looks at the nurse, unsure of what to do, pretending not to hear me like everyone else. She tells him to just try reading to me.

“Mary, I brought A Tale of Two Cities. I’ll read a chapter to you.” He sits down on an armchair and starts to read aloud. Who is this man, and how did he know my favorite book? Has he been spying on me? None of this makes sense and I’m terrified. After he reads a chapter or two, the nurse comes back and it’s time for more of those damn pills.

I put up a good struggle with the nurse, and end up knocking the pills out of her hand. They scatter on the drab carpet, and the nurse hurries away, probably to get more. Ralph takes me back to my room here. He sits on the chair in my room, his head in his hands.

The nurse comes back in, but her hands are empty. Good. That bitch should know not to try to force me to swallow any pills now. I’m suddenly tired and begin to doze off in my wheelchair. I can hear bits of conversation between the nurse and Ralph, but none of it makes sense and I don’t care anymore.

“Diane, did her doctor say anything about why she’s been so agitated recently?” Ralph’s voice cuts into my slumber.

“He thinks her condition is getting worse. Since she lost her ability to communicate, that may be frustrating her. She may not even recognize you anymore, but we can’t know for sure because she can’t speak. A lot of our patients get anxious around late afternoon, so this could be normal as well.”

I perk up a little bit at the talk of what’s wrong with me, but pretend to be asleep so they’ll keep talking about it. Inability to communicate? That’s a lie, everyone here just refuses to listen to me. The nurse is lying to this man, but I don’t even know him so what does it matter to try to tell him that? I don’t trust either of them.

“I just wish they could find a cure for it.”

“I know Ralph, it must be very hard for you to see her like this.”

The man laughs a little bit. “I was going to bring the kids to visit next weekend, but I don’t want them to see her like this. Maybe if things settle down a little bit I will.”

“We will of course, keep you informed of any new information the
doctor may tell us.” I start to doze off again as it seems they’re done talking about my “condition.”

The last thing I hear is the nurse tell the man, “I know it’s hard to have a parent with Alzheimer’s, but your mother is doing remarkably well for a woman of ninety years old.”

Skiing Vacation is a horror tale about two men who become stranded on a snowy mountain cabin in the depths of Winter. It is based on a well-known Japanese urban legend.

Two men from Colorado went on a skiing vacation in the mountains. They brought a camera and a camcorder with them to take pictures and shoot videos. They were staying in a remote log cabin miles away from anyone else.

After they had spent a few days there, the weather turned bad and the men realized they were stuck on the mountain until the storm cleared. To make matters worse, one of the men had an accident while skiing and was badly injured. The other man tried to radio for help, but there was no reception and within hours, his friend was dead.

The man was stranded alone on the mountain, unable to contact anyone and unable to leave because of the bad weather conditions. He took his friend’s body outside and buried it under the snow.

That night, he went to bed hoping that someone would notice that he was missing and call the authorities. He was worried he would starve to death before he was rescued.

The following morning when the photographer awoke, he was horrified to find that his friend’s dead body was lying beside him in the bed, its cold dead arms wrapped tightly around him.

The man couldn’t figure out what had happened. Terrified, he carried the body of his friend outside and buried it again in the snow.

But the following morning, the same thing happened again, and the morning after that. By this time, the poor man was almost out of his mind with fright. He decided to set up his camcorder on a tripod and videotape himself sleeping at night. That way, he would finally find out what was going on during the night.

The next morning, he awoke again to find frozen corpse clutching him. He got out of bed, shivering and shaking and started to watch the video that had been recorded.

What he saw on that video still haunts him to this day.

The man watched with mounting terror as a dark figure emerged from the sleeping bag and left the cabin. Minutes later, the figure returned carrying the corpse. The figure got into the bed and wrapped the arms of the corpse around itself. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The dark figure was none other than the man himself.

Thousands of years ago, the world as we know it was covered in dark, foreboding forests. Within these Ancient Forests lurked strange and frightening monsters which would become the basis of most of the world's mythology, folklore, and fairy tales.

Within the Ancient Forests hid man-eating beasts, vicious hags, and bogeymen of all shapes and sizes - all of which died long before the modern era. They exist only in the imagination of those who have kept the wisdom of their ancestors alive in song, dance, and written stories.

Yet every now and then, the Ancient Forests return, spiriting people away from their homes or work and trapping them within the twisting nether. These people are presumed "missing" by the world and rarely return, and even when they do, they are often without memory or means of identification.

Within the Ancient Forests these souls walk endlessly, pursued by the many dark forces that lurk within. There is no reason behind these events, no purpose, and no grand design. This, perhaps, is what is most frightening to the modern mind - the idea that even in our so-called age of reason, people can be taken away in the flash of an eye to a realm beyond our own, a realm which refuses to play by our limited notion of "reality."

You can never tell when it will occur or who will be taken next; it is as random as death itself. No search party could find you, no priest or holy man could pray for you. Friends and family would be powerless. This is no fairy tale, but the fate of hundreds every day.

"How," you may ask, "do you protect yourself?" The answer is simple: you don't. Live every moment of every day as if it were your last. Find happiness in the smallest of things and do not be quick to anger, for this world is fleeting, and no one knows what awaits us when our time finally comes.

As a child, my family was broke because both of my parents were unemployed and we were all forced to stay at our aunt's house. Eventually, my mom was finally able to get a job and we bought a small, two-bedroom apartment at some small complex called "Lakeheart Apartments." It stayed true to its name - it had a murky, filthy lake at the center with a bridge coming across. We lived right by it. The apartment number was "1155." How catchy.

It took about two months to get all settled. My sister and I had to share a bedroom, which clashed horribly because I was a boy. Mind you, I was six at the time and believed in cooties. I almost never got any sleep because she would tell me these creepy old tales that scared the shit out of me, and she forced me to sleep on the bottom bunk, which we found a huge cockroach hiding in shortly after getting here. She always took up all the good things and made me get into trouble for things I didn't do.

One night, after a long day of school, I returned to my "house" to find my sister asleep on the couch. It was a huge relief to me. I wouldn't have to deal with her shit for an entire afternoon! I went into my bedroom and started dicking around with her stuff. About two more hours passed before I became bored. As if on cue, my sister barged in and said, "Mom just called me and told me she's working late and won't be back 'til 12. This means we have the apartment to ourselves!" That was a pretty big thing for us.

We were rarely left at home after 8. Even if I was left with my sister, I was excited to be at home by myself.

It was about 10 when my sister passed out and I was falling asleep. I heard the sound of footsteps in the hall. Oh, I thought. She must be home early.

The footsteps became louder until I heard the door open. I faked being asleep. I heard a murmur and instead of a kiss on the forehead, I felt hot, stinking air. It was almost as if someone or something were breathing on me. I tried hard not to tense up as whatever it was sniffed around my face and laid its talons on my chest. Luckily, it lost interest in me quickly. I peeked open an eye only to see the thing sliver up the ladder to my sister's resting body. Even if I hated her, she was my flesh and blood. I begged God to protect her from that thing.

After a few minutes it must've realized she was asleep too.

I snuck a quick peek at that thing and withheld a scream.

It stood on all fours, using tall, heavy legs to hold itself. The monster had a body that was completely skin and bone. The teeth protruded out of its mouth and it had gray eyes and white skin.

I stood up in bed, and it must've noticed, because it whipped its head toward me and opened its mouth. It began speaking in a raspy, low hum.

"What are you doing awake, darling?"

This story was told to me by friends and grandparents.

In a small town of Kentucky there was this old war veteran. His legs were blown off in the war, and so the only way he could move around was by dragging himself around by his long long long nails. He was also a psycho. He would come around the town and disembowel people with his long long nails. So, because of this, the people were ordered to go inside at exactly 6:00 pm and lock their doors.

Well, one night a little girl asked her mom if she could go play at her friends house. The mother looked at the clock, it was 4:00. She told the little girl to be home by 5:45 because thats when "click-click" came out. The little girl agreed and was on her way. 

She played and played and I guess she lost track of time because when she headed home, it was already 5:48. She thought, no hurry, ill make it home on time. But that was when she saw the ice cream man. She bought one and by the time she really started to go home was 6:00. She observed people locking their doors and calling in there kids.

"Shoot, I'd better run". she thought. Finally she reached her street. But thats when she heard the noise, click click drag click click drag. It got louder and louder. She turned around to make sure he wasn't there but he was. Meanwhile, her mother was inside getting ready for bed, she figured her daughter was already asleep so she decided not to wake her. 

Then she heard knocking and pounding on the door, she figured it was the click click an paid no attention. It was really her daughter though, wanting to come inside. 

The next morning, the mother opened the door to get her newspaper only to find her daughters body and in blood written on the tree was, "Mom why didn't you open the door?"

It likes music. It's especially fond of the piano.

It was late one night. Around 2:00 AM. I was up late surfing the internet and listening to music. It was a normal night; I was just getting tired when I happened across an interesting YouTube video called, "Easiest Song to Play on the Piano! Learn TONIGHT!"

I'm not much of a piano player, but I've been trying to learn, especially since I inherited my grandmother's old upright piano. It was built in 1928, but it's still in fine condition. I decided to watch the video to see just how easy it was to learn the song. On the video, it was a shot of the keys around the middle C key and elderly, white hand were playing the notes. The song was extremely simple, but there was something about it that was...strange. Unnerving. But I liked it.

I memorized the chords and notes, stood from my computer, and left the room. The hallway was dark - pitch black save for the small night-light plugged into an outlet in the hall. It cast a dim, yellow light on the walls and flickered like a candle. I walked slowly down the hallway, feeling along the wall for the light switch I knew was there...somewhere.

Click. Found it. The hallway flooded with light, but I was not comforted. It seemed, for a moment, I saw something. Something...small. And white, perhaps. Not like a spirit or ghost and not like a person, but it was small and...probably just my imagination playing tricks on me with the light.

I made my way to the piano in our living room. It, too, was pitch black. Our high ceilings were never visible in the dark. It was unnaturally dark. A kind of dark that you can feel.

I turned on the tiny lamp that sat about the piano, opened the keyboard, and played a few scales to practice. While playing, I tapped my foot on the pedal to add an echoing noise that almost sounded like...a steady inhale...exhale...inhale...exhale pattern.

I stopped and listened. Silence. An eerie silence.

I began to play the song I learned on the internet. The keys all flowed together well. I was remembering the song easily enough. It was quite simple. In fact, someone could probably accidentally play this song without realizing it was actually a song at all.

When I finished playing the song, I sat back, satisfied.

Then, I heard the song playing from the hallway.

How was this happening? I stood up and walked briskly back down the hall, to my room where it sounded like the music was coming from. I saw my computer playing the YouTube video again. It probably just refreshed itself.

Then, the music started playing again. This time, from the piano. In the living room.

I was frozen in place. I could not move. Slowly, I made my way back down the dark hallway...back into our vast living room - all the while, the piano was still humming this new, bone-chilling melody.

I approached the corner to where I knew I'd be able to see the piano. I swallowed my fear and turned to look.

Instantly, the music stopped and there was nothing I immediately saw.

Upon looking closely, I saw something white...a small, almost child-height...being. Standing in the dark corner...smiling at me.

It whispered to me in a hellish, quiet tone.

"Play it again..."

Summers in Los Angeles were notoriously hot. It’s the desert, you know, people don’t realize that behind the glitz and glamour of the Hollywood elite there is just bone dry sand and dust settling under the paved roads and suburban parks. People think that LA is a superficial city, with no depth behind its artificial glimmer, but the truth is so much worse. I know this now, in part because of the events I am about to unfold to you all.

The year was 1989, the month was June. I was seven years old and fresh out of school, ready to take on three months of uninterrupted decadence and bliss. In those days the streets were still considered safe and us kids would take to them by storm, assaulting the parks and parking lots with unprecedented vigor. We’d start the day right, playing baseball or four-square with boundless energy, and then idle down to lazy games of Horse or hide-and-seek as the sun bobbed its head and dipped beneath the Pacific. Of course, we always took a break when the ice cream man came by.

The ice cream man. Oh how I can still remember his jingle. That sweet crescendo of notes lighting upon our delighted ears, and the subsequent scramble to his dinky white truck for chocolate ├ęclairs and Mickey Mouse bars. As kids we barely paid attention to the man himself, so fixated we were on the sugary treats, but I recall he was an older gentleman, always quick to flash us a smile though not overly friendly either. It didn’t matter – inhaling gobs of gooey treats was all we ever cared about when he came by. Every day at 1 PM, as reliable as a clock tower, the ice cream man would turn lazily down our neighborhood and herald that yes, today was another hot, sticky, glorious summer day.

Our band of miscreants fluctuated day by day, though there were a few constants. Jenny, our leader, big for a girl her age and therefore by default a giant in our midst. She was a bully but she looked out for all of us in her own weird way. Artie, the Jewish kid. His dad worked for someone who worked for someone important and he liked to tell us that in his snot-nosed uppity voice. Laike, who I secretly thought wasn’t so bad, for a girl. Mike, John, a couple of others. Me. I was the chubby one, the one whom the others liked to rag on. Ever since I could remember I was softer than the others, rounder somehow. I didn’t think that was fair seeing as I wasn’t really that different from the others. But you can understand my reticence whenever the ice cream man came by. After all, what seven year old wouldn’t laugh at the little fat kid pumping his sausage legs towards his daily dose of sugar?

When I think about it now, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I was born a little thinner, or perhaps had a little thicker skin. If I didn’t always hang back, waiting until the others had collected their treats before ashamedly stepping up and pushing a dollar into the old man’s hand. But of course, ruminating on such matters is useless. I can only relate what happened.

On a particularly hot day that June, I was walking home from the playground with Laike and John. We were chatting about something or other, alternating between distractedly switching topics and running around, as kids are apt to do. We were turning the corner when we saw it. The ice cream truck, parked in the shadow of a copse of palm trees. We skidded to a halt like three little pigs, jaws agape. Immediately Laike shrieked “Ice cream!” and took off for the truck. John and I hung back, both puzzled – the ice cream man usually came to us; it was strange to come across his truck like this. We watched Laike as she approached, stalking the truck like a puppy after a dragonfly. She peered up and got a disgruntled look on her face. Turning back, she shook her head. “Nah, no one’s there,” she called. We shrugged and resumed walking, immediately losing interest. Laike skipped ahead while John and I argued over the logistics of a battle between Optimus Prime and Shredder. We had nearly completed the block when Laike glanced back and waved.

It wasn’t at us.

The ice cream truck had come to life. It inched forward slowly, impeccably down the street towards us. Laike made to run back but something in me made me stick my hand out at her. I shook my head silently.

“Whaaat?” Laike pouted.

“Listen.” We did. Like a heavy miasma, the air hung thick and absent of the jingle. “He’s probably not open,” I said. Laike shrugged in acquiesce and we resumed walking. The truck’s low rumble creeped up behind us. Maybe we all sensed it, but none of us felt like talking. It was like something descended down the three of us, smothering our carefree play. We walked in uncharacteristic silence, ears straining to hear the truck. Its motor was rapidly growing loudly, a rumbling beast stalking its prey. I dared not look back but instead quickened my pace. Laike and John didn’t protest but followed suit. The truck approached, steadfast and implacable. There were no chimes. Where were the chimes?

I finally looked back. The truck was idling again in front of another house. This time I looked carefully at its exterior, the scratched white paint, the colorful images of creamsicles and sundaes adorning the surface. I could see pits in the pictures, where the plastered on images eroded away. It wasn’t the usual truck, the one the old man drove. This one had an eye on it, carved sloppily into the steel. The eye was wide and bare and there was a black hole right where the pupil should be. Inside that hole there was only darkness. I tried to peer inside through another means but the windows were tinted black. Were they always that dark? I craned my neck, trying to see who the driver was.

Then the truck roared to life. The three of us startled and jumped back as it whizzed by us, tearing down the street at a frightening speed. I know what I saw then, though the other two denied it. But the side window wasn’t tinted, and the driver inside wasn’t that friendly old man. He looked heavyset, and dressed in a colorful motley. I wiped my eyes from the exhaust and looked at my friends. The three of us stared at each other for a moment, and then dissolved into hysterics. The moment had passed, whatever it was, and we could resume our journey home safely.

Evening came all too quick, and our games took on a frantic pace as we tried to squeeze every last drop of that summer glow from the day. Laike, John, and a whole bunch of us were gathered at the park by Laike’s house, where the parents could keep an eye on us. We could see them in the distance, stalwart figures keeping keen eyes on their progeny. To us though, they were the timekeepers, all too ready and eager to set into motion and drag us from our idyllic bliss. The day’s events had long since passed from my mind, and we were engaged in a deadly game of dodgeball. I hooked the ball to Laike, and then laughed as it bounced from her hands. “Butterfingers!” I crowed, thankful that it wasn’t me this time who messed up the game. But Laike didn’t care. Her eyes were only for the ice cream truck that had suddenly appeared in the distance.

‘Look!” she pointed. Heads whipped around in a frenzy.

“Ice cream!” one boy shouted.

“He came! He came!” shrieked a girl, oblivious to the fact that yes, the ice cream man always came. But usually he came earlier, when the sun reached its zenith and customers were piling up. He never came this hour, when the light hit the trees at that angle where the world burned. We didn’t care. We knew what the truck meant. As usual I hung back and watched my thinner, faster peers flock the truck. I could see parents moving forward too, as oblivious to this anomaly as the rest of us. I slowly walked up to the truck, then froze in my tracks.

It was the same truck as before. That eye peered out in the midst of the plastered images and this time I could see that there was a second eye next to it. How did I miss it before? And those images below, those weren’t pictures of ice cream. What I thought were chocolate bars were holes. The vanilla cakes were the color of bone and adorned a broken smile, which was lapped with rich ruby red. Nestled in the midst of the colorful treats was a horror to look at – a wide, grinning skull with bleeding lips turned up in a rictus. Nobody could see it but me.

The children paid and were hastily unwrapping their bars. Looking back, I think I knew even then what was about to happen. In my imagination I surged forward, slapped hands away from the ice cream, screamed loud and long. But instead I just waited, and watched.

The first girl bit into her bar. She chewed with bliss, and then her eyes popped wide. I watched her little body go stiff, and her breathing increase. I watched her chest rise and fall, rise and fall, spasming as she doubled over choking. By then the others were choking too, each fed their own special poison, handpicked by the ice cream man. It didn’t take long. By the time the last one started choking, the first girl was frothing on the ground, feebly batting away the bubbles from her mouth. Parents were screaming, rushing by me. One knocked me to the ground and I felt my head hit the grass. I closed my eyes, wondering if this is what my friends were feeling. There was a roar of the engine, and then more screaming. I propped myself up, ignoring the writhing figures about, and watched the ice cream truck drive away.

In the end, eleven children died that day. I was supposed to be number twelve, but I was chubby for my age, reluctant to join my friends in their frenzy, always hanging back and always watching. They never caught the guy, you know. Some of you might wonder who he was, or why he did what he did. It really doesn’t matter to me. As he was back then, he remains an irreconcilable force, something that should not have been there on that summer day, yet was so very much there. You might think there is no depth to this city, but you are wrong. It’s only that beneath the surface of it all there is but howling, black, purposeless madness.

Twenty one years later, my life remains defined by that day. The media loves me, so do the psychologists. I let them drink their fill. I smile and nod and tell them sure, maybe someday I’ll write a book, though first I thought to share my story with all you good people. Life seems dull somehow, fogged by a gray I cannot shake. My mom tells me I should meet a nice woman, but all I can remember is that little girl’s spasming body. Was it Laike who I watched in her final moments, or someone else? I really can’t recall any of their faces now, and that’s the saddest part.

Laike, John, Jenny, everyone. I’m sorry I couldn’t take the plunge with you all. I’m sorry I was so scared, so self-conscious of my fat little body. I know he’s still out there, watching and waiting for his next move. I hope he knows he forgot to serve one kid. Lately I’ve been taking long walks by myself, hoping to turn that corner and find waiting for me my redemption, that little bit of peace that can only come from someone as beloved as the ice cream man.

( From r/nosleep, by kitsune623 )

I always went into the woods as a child. It was around evening, about 7 o'clock, and it was cold outside, normal for late Fall. I was just standing on my porch, looking at the woods. My family had moved here a few years back. The house was brick, had two floors and five bedrooms. My bedroom was upstairs, and my parents live downstairs.

This area is not that far from civilization; it was only a few blocks away from a city. I actually love the nature around these woods. I found it very calm and relaxing.

I always liked these woods for their serene wilderness and vast amount of trees. The trees spanned at least one mile. I looked around and saw an abandoned lumberjack camp. No one was there, only machines. The machines stood in around one single object; a chainsaw. The camp felt so desolate and old. The wood seemed to have rotten over time and the machines rusted a bit. It's probably been years since this place was last used.

I kept my distance, however, and hugged a nearby tree. I surely didn't know what to expect. If I took one more step, I surely would have fallen down the hill and broken one of my legs.

I looked around at the entire camp; three cabins, machines around a chainsaw, a tractor and wooden logs with axes on them, all behind the cabins for shipment. It was starting to get dark, so I went back to my house, which was nearby. I decided to search it the next day, probably to see what happened.

I had told my mother what was down there, and she told me, "Honey, whatever you do, don't touch anything down there, and don't go down there without supervision. Your father will show you around tomorrow." I replied, "Okay, mommy." After dinner, I went up to my bedroom and put on my pajamas, and went to sleep.

The next day, me and my dad went down to the camp area in the woods. We found our way down and took a look around; still, no one was there. My dad and I looked around the cabins, looked at the old, rotting wood, the rusted axes and the tractor. The last thing that we saw was the circle of machinery around the chainsaw. My dad remarked, "Huh, whoever these guys were, they surely left this place in a hurry."

That's when it caught my eyes; a broken piece of machinery, a wood chipper to be exact, that was rusted more than the others. In fact, I would say it had been basically torn apart and disassembled in a quick fashion. It stood out resiliently, and it seemed to tell a story that the other machines just couldn't. Right next to it was a buzz saw that didn't have its blade.

Eventually, my dad and I went up the hill, and he told me, "Honey, stay near the house and be safe. I don't want you to go down there without an adult, okay?" I replied, "Yes, daddy."

As my father went back to our house, I decided to go back to a stump of a cut tree and sat down. I closed my eyes, breathing the fresh air, listening to the trees waving and the birds chirping. The birds sang such a lovely song, and the trees sounded like a symphony to fit with the chorus of birds.

Suddenly, the chirping ceased, and I opened my eyes quickly. I must have fallen asleep, as it was getting dark outside, very dark. The moon was rising, and the stars were about to come out, so I decided to go to my house.

I went to my left, where my house was. The lights were off. "Weird," I thought to myself, "Mommy and daddy usually leave the lights on." I ran quickly to my house, the door was opened. I grabbed the emergency flashlight, turned it on and walked into the house. The older wooden boards were creaking, so I had to go to the newer wooden floors.

I looked around the house, not seeing my parents. I then heard a clang come from the kitchen. I ran in the opposite direction in fright, knowing someone might be in our house. I started hearing revving. One...two...three. On the fourth, I knew what was revving up; it was a chainsaw. I hid into my closet, hoping whoever was in my house wouldn't find me.

The sound of the chainsaw started to get closer, as I heard the stair boards creak and the sound of footsteps come closer. I looked at the door. That's the first thing that was opened. A silhouette was coming into the room. It was a tall, built man holding a chainsaw. His hair seemed to go around at random, so he must have had bandages or something on his head. Finally, I saw his eyes; his bloodshot eyes. They glowed in the dark room, and seemed to stare at me.

He just walked calmly in my room, looking around, the floor creaking. He seemed to be holding something in his left hand. It mother! I started to freak out, but for some reason, I couldn't scream. I was tearing up at the sight of it. I backed into the closet, but it must have caught his attention.

Soon, the man found me and laughed as he was about to swing his chainsaw down at me.

I woke up in a flash, screaming. I was still on the stump, so I must've fallen asleep into a nightmare. It was evening now, and I ran to my house. I ran inside, slammed the door and ran upstairs. My mom asked, "What's wrong, honey?" I didn't reply.

Day to day, I stayed in my house and never went into the woods. I knew that someone or something was out there, just waiting for me to slip up once in the woods. I avoided it whenever I could, and most of the time, I would rather be in the city, with civilization, with police. Over time, however, I started to forget what my nightmare was, and what was scary about the woods. Eventually, I coped with the realization that no one was in those woods.

Around two years later, when I was now 13, my dad asked, "Want to go to the lumber camp again?" I said, "Yes, I'd like to see it." We grabbed our jackets and went into the woods once more. It was a very cold December afternoon, so we decided to make the trip quick. It was about 10 minutes until we finally got to the camp. It seemed to get warmer, every step we took.

It was in ruins now. The cabins were crushed by the trees, and the machinery was toppled over. All of the machines and buildings corroded over time, and thus they looked terrible. However, there was one thing missing, and it was the chainsaw. I told my dad that we had to go, and he agreed, telling me, "You must not like this place, then."

Hours after we got home, I closed my eyes, opened the window and listened to the trees again. When I opened them, though, it was completely dark. I could barely see a thing. This time, I made sure I wasn't dreaming, so I hit myself; nothing. Now I knew I wasn't in a dream, so I made sure to grab the flashlight on my dresser and turned it on. I asked for my parents, "Mom...Dad...are you here?" No response.

I looked around my house. Nothing was in shambles, so I, slowly, went down to look for the lights. I switched the lights, but they wouldn't come on. Now the only source of light is now my flashlight. Slowly, I walked down the stairs to make sure no one was inside; the door was shut, and in fact, locked. No one must have gotten inside by now. It was impossible.

I went to my parent's room, but they weren't there at all. I asked again, "Mom? Dad? Please answer me." Soon, I heard my mom's voice, "Anna..." It was outside, in the woods.

The voice repeated, "Anna...please honey, come back to me."

My head told me not to go, but my body lead itself out of the door. I made sure to grab the hatchet, should anything try to get me. My eyes saw as the woods, covered in thin fog, came ever so closer to me; or as I came closer to the woods.

I kept going towards the voice of my mom, hoping that I'd see her. I looked around the woods until I bumped into something. My flashlight had went out at that time, so I felt the object. It was somewhat gooey and bumpy, so I went left. It felt cold; I hit my flashlight to turn it on. I looked at the object and it was...

My mother! She was standing in front of me like a statue, completely void of a soul. Her eyes were nothing but white, and blood had frozen as it trickled down her legs. Her head was pointing towards the right, so, reluctantly, I went to my right. As I looked around the woods, I finally found my father with the same eyes and stance. His body was pointing to the camp. I decided to face whatever is there head-on, and went down to the camp slowly.

I looked around the camp. The desolate area was warmer than usual, but still void of life. The trees seemed to surround me at this point, and the sky seemed to turn red, which was unusual for a new moon. I couldn't find anything, and asked myself, "Did my dad lead me to nothing significant?" I turned around and ran to my house as a maniacal laughter broke the silence. Fear went throughout my entire body at this point, so I sprinted to my house.

As I stopped to catch my breath, I heard a voice behind me. "Anna..." it said, in a cold, raspy voice. A sudden burst of fear came into me as I started to run once more. As I was running, I heard trees snapping down and falling; I didn't even know where my father was, but I dared not to look back. I even skipped my mother as I ran back to the house.

I was tearing up as I ran back in, shutting the door, locking it, closing the shutters on the windows and locking the windows. I walked back slowly as I hoped that nothing would get me. It was silent, no noise, nothing. I then heard a rev again, the same one from my dream. One...two...three...four...

Soon, I heard the door bump. Then it was bashed and smashed. I ran up the stairs and into my room, in my closet. I heard a chainsaw completely saw through something, most likely the door. My fear was heightened. I was seemingly defenseless against a chainsaw even with the hatchet, so I turned off my flashlight.

The person was walking up the stairs. I heard my mom's voice, "Anna..." then my dad's, "Anna..." I heard the voices of many people I have met in my life. But how could someone imitate those voices? It's almost impossible.

I was shaking as the man slowly opened my door. The chainsaw pointed in first, then arms, then the rest of the body. The man didn't look like he was in my dreams. No, he was worse. His chest had a large gash, and his arms had 3 cuts on each side, mirroring each other. His pants were ragged, blue with what appeared like blood spatters. His bloodshot eyes, however, were the same, soul piercing eyes I saw two years ago in my nightmare.

I did my best not to scream as he came near the closet, his bloodshot eyes looking into it with such content. He left out of my room, as if he didn't see me. He dropped something out of his pocket, but left as if he didn't mind. After 15 minutes, all went silent as I started to cry once again, and after 30 more minutes, the lights came back on. I looked around to see if the man was still at my house, cautiously and slowly. He wasn't anywhere near my house.

I breathed a sigh of relief; the man was gone.

Suddenly, I remembered what he had dropped and picked it up. It was a picture of many guys from the same camp. There was also a name, "Jonathan Mcleod," and an arrow pointing to the third person from the right. He held a chainsaw, the same one that bloodshot man held.

I managed to get on the family computer and search up Jonathan Mcleod. What came up was a news article stating there was an accident that critically injured a man, Jonathan Mcleod. It was reported that a malfunction with one of the machinery, specifically, the saws, caused acidic content splashed into his face, causing him to flail around and scream violently. The machinery had then exploded, causing one of the blades to cut into his face, slitting his wide-open mouth.

How he managed to survive, though, was because of his hands; they caught the blade before it could cut through his head. He was then rushed to the hospital and was treated in the emergency room. Within a couple of hours, his vital signs ceased, and he was deemed deceased. It kept like that for 2 hours. Life, death, life, death. It was after the 16th time, he finally succumbed to his injuries and passed away.

"But what would he be doing? He shouldn't be in my house. He's dead!" I said.

I called the police, who investigated the whereabouts of my parents and the man. They came back with only my mother, who was an empty shell of her former self. It seemed that she ceased to be conscious. My father, however, was nowhere to be found, and neither was the man.

About 10 years later, I had moved into my new house with my daughter, Margaret. I made sure that we had moved far, far away from those woods and that man. My house was nowhere near dense amounts of trees. It was a brick house, this time, with one floor for a family. My mother was brought into the hospital for the time meaning.

Sometimes, however, I still hear a rev of a chainsaw, my mother's unconscious voice or the man's raspy, chilling voice, and sometimes I still see the man in my dreams; his bloodshot eyes are the last I see in them all of the time. My daughter runs into my room at times, telling me that there's a scary man in her dreams.

Today, now, I went to sleep. The dream was distorted, moving left and right, up and down in a slithering motion. As a white fog appeared, and slowly, the man comes closer and closer. I didn't move, I couldn't, and as he came to my face, he told me one phrase: "Do not be afraid..."

I woke up at 7 o'clock once again, next to my sleeping daughter. A note sat in her hand, with the name, "Bloodshot" on it:

"I'm still here..."

This is a sequel to my first pasta Crime Scene. I recommend reading it first.

A black wind hollowed in the stormy night as a little girl ran away from the building that destroyed her life.

"Mom, dad and that cop were eaten by that thing..."

She had tears in her eyes but she knew she couldn't stop running or she would end up like them. The streets were dark and all lights were off. She couldn't see a thing but she kept running.

Suddenly in the distance she saw lights getting closer.

"A car!"

She started screaming and waving her arms and as the car got closer she could see that it was a police car. The car stopped next to her and the cop that was driving asked:

"What are you doing out here little girl? It's late and raining!"

"You've got to help me! There was a thing in my house and it killed my parents and the a cop came and..."

"Whoa, Whoa, Whoa! What are you talking about? What thing?."

"It entered my house while I was sleeping. Mommy and daddy and a cop are dead. Please, you have to help me or it will get me too!"

The driver talked with his partner for a while and then said:

"Look sweetie, I'm going to drop my partner at your house and then take you to the station so we can talk more. Is that OK?"

The girl nodded and entered the car. While stopping at her house she didn't dare to look at it, but she felt that the thing was watching her, waiting for the moment to take her as well. He and the cop (whose name was Mike and his partner was Ray) continued to keep riding through the streets until they reached a trail that passed through a small forest in the edge of the city. Things were going great until the car stopped for no reason.

"Damn thing!" said Mike "You stay here while I go see what's wrong."

She was sitting in the car waiting and looked out the window. The forest was quiet and dark. Big pine trees reached the skies and their leaves balanced in the wind. Everything was quiet... and then something heavy fell on the hood of the car. She closed her eyes and when she opened them she froze due what she saw: lying in the hood there was the half eaten corpse of Ray with his lifeless eyes staring right at her.

Mike took out his gun and shouted:

"Stay there! The one that did these must be close!"

Mike walked away from the car and into the forest. Suddenly, the type of fear that she had inside of the cabinet of her bathroom stroke her again: Claustrophobia. She started to sweat and breathe very fast. The roof of the car suddenly looked way too shallow and the car seemed tighter. She wanted to leave the car but she was too scared to do it with that thing out there. Outside the trees seemed to get bigger and close on top of her. The sweating continued and she started to breath even faster. Ray's eyes seemed to stare into her soul

BAM! BAM! She heard two shouts and one scream. She started to cry and closed her eyes. She could hear heavy footsteps, getting louder as they approached the car. She could sense someone looking at her through the window. The front door opened. She opened her eyes and she saw... a cop. But it wasn't Mike, it was another cop.

"Who are you?" She asked.

"I'm a cop don't you see? Name's Mark. Don't worry about Mike; he took my car and we will continue on this one."

"But it is broken!"

To her surprise the engine started and Mark started to drive. But he wasn't driving on the trail, he turned left to the middle of the trees. They rode for an a while but then he stopped.

"What happened?"

"It is time for my dessert."

She looked at Mark's face and it turned into a demon like shape in front of her. The last thing she saw was that evil smile.

The rainy season began in early summer, and June had been no exception. It did not surprise the man when he discovered rainwater dripping from his dining room ceiling.

Shrugging it off, he placed a tall pot beneath the leak and expected it to stop on its own. However, it continued to rain, and before he knew it, the pot would threaten to overflow. He had to dump the water out first thing in the morning and straight after he returned home from work.

Eventually, he began to notice water damage at the source of the leak. The white ceiling had discolored, turning a dull shade of brown. He checked the weather and realized that it would continue to rain sporadically over the next ten days. The man was worried about the ceiling mildewing and becoming an expensive repair, so he called a local handyman.

Unfortunately, the man could not sign to have the repairs done – only his landlord could. It was a frustrating policy. The man called his landlord but could not reach him. He left him a few voicemails, detailing how the damage was becoming progressively worse. The man was clueless as to why his landlord would not return his calls; they usually kept in touch, speaking at least twice a month. Finally, he reasoned that he would not be held accountable for any damages sustained.

One night, the man was startled awake by a massive thump. He quickly turned on his bedside lamp, and just vaguely, he could see an overturned table and a large shape laying across it. He sprinted out of his apartment and called the police, gagging at the smell.

The man sat in the police station with a blanket wrapped around his shoulders and a coffee mug resting in his hands. He did know one thing. There had been a dead body in his ceiling, and the water had saturated it so badly that it caved under the weight. So far, the body was unidentifiable due to the rainwater and was being autopsied. 

While the man waited, he called his landlord and finally reached him, panicking as he explained the situation. His landlord was just as alarmed, and the man pleaded for him to come to the station while he made his statement. The man paused as a detective crossed over to him, and he lowered his phone, wondering if the body had been identified. His blood ran immediately cold, and he shook his head with terror. 

The body belonged to Richard Thompson, his landlord, and he had died over a year ago. That’s not what disturbed him the most.

If his landlord was dead, then who was pretending to be him?

By Ariel Lowe via:

I didn’t know Will could draw, I remember thinking as my friend’s hand quickly moved across the page. And then I looked more closely at Will’s impromptu sketch, and I immediately regretted it. I tried to unsee it. I shifted my attention to other things around me, anything at all that wasn’t ink on the page: the blur of Will’s hand, the beads of sweat gathering at his temples, the gentle autumn breeze creeping through the crack of the window.

Don’t look at the page. Just don’t look at it.

But I knew I had to. So I looked. And it was worse than I expected. Much worse.

Will had sketched a near carbon copy of those wartime Uncle Sam posters, except not quite. The suit was there. Bow tie, check. But no Uncle Sam head.

The Uncle Sam body had the head of a goat.

The animal flashed a welcoming, toothy smile. A hoof pointed at me, nearly coming right out of the page. But it didn’t want me to join the U.S. Army. No, this goat-headed creature had something else in mind:

I want your kids.

Under that declaration, in slightly smaller letters, it read: At Uncle Gerry’s Family Fun Zone! Opening soon!

I’d never heard of Uncle Gerry’s Family Fun Zone before yesterday. The place, I quickly learned, played host to a significant moment in Will’s childhood. And although I’d been good friends with him for fifteen years, he’d never told me the story. But today, he’d opened up.

I wasn’t trying to reopen any wounds from his past. I’d just wanted him to tell me a story. Any story. I’d been listening to a lot of NPR, and being inspired by their storytelling segments and slices of American life, I purchased some professional recording equipment and setup a makeshift studio in my house. My goal was to capture and archive the stories of my friends, relatives, really anyone who had something to say.

Call it boredom. I was a widower with a seven-year old son. Besides doting on my kid, I needed something productive to fill the time.

My recording area was cozy - just a couple microphones, a small table, a few chairs. I’d sit a few feet from my interview subjects. The intimacy would induce real honesty and emotion. That was the plan, and it worked a little too well.

I never thought my storytelling experiments would go so wrong, so quickly. And it wasn’t just Will’s story and his sketch of the Uncle Sam human/goat hybrid thing. Before I’d interviewed Will, I heard another version of Will’s events from the other person involved in the Family Fun Zone incident: Will’s wife and my good friend, Caroline.

Caroline and I dated for a little while in college, a stretch of time we now joke occurred in a “parallel universe.” We were never supposed to happen, we decided - instead, there was some sort of a cosmic hiccup and different universes intersected for the briefest of times. Our relationship was over before it started. Caroline then began dating Will, the two lived happily ever after, and the three of us have been close ever since. Caroline and Will’s history predated our collective existence in college - the two went to high school together. But I never knew exactly what they’d experienced as classmates and friends. Not until I set up my little recording studio.

I interviewed Caroline first, and Will’s interview occurred the following day. Both of my friends requested I not tell the other about the contents of their respective interviews. I’m certainly not planning on it. Both interviews were long and free-ranging. I’ll just transcribe the relevant portions of their stories, the stuff about relationships and about Uncle Gerry’s Family Fun Zone. It’s important that these stories be shared in some form.

Excerpt of Caroline Interview

So how did you and Will meet?

We went to the same schools growing up, but we weren’t friends or anything like that. You know how you kind of know everyone you go to school with, but most people are just on the periphery? That was Will. Always there, but not really. We ran with different circles.

You can’t pinpoint the moment you actually met for the first time?

I can’t. I can remember the first meaningful interaction we had, though. I was writing for the school paper, and - God, I can’t believe I actually wrote for the paper because I was a terrible, just horrible writer - and I was researching a story. It was a legend in our town, something all the kids talked about but no one could prove. Did you have any of those?

I think so. I’d have to think about it, but I’m sure I had some.

Yeah, so you know what I’m talking about? One of those, oh, my brother’s friend’s mechanic had this experience type thing. It was pretty famous growing up where we did. Kind of a spook story to scare kids from staying out late at night or running around doing irresponsible things. It was this place called Uncle Gerry’s Family Fun Zone. (laughs) Gosh, I haven’t thought about that place in years.

Uncle Gerry’s Family Fun Zone?

Just saying it out loud sounds so weird, right? Just completely and utterly made-up. And when we got older most of us thought that it was made-up, because it was just a silly and stupid legend. So of course it would have a ridiculous name.

What was the legend?

It’s been so long. But, from what I remember, it was a children’s play zone type place that existed in the late 70s or early 80s. No one could pinpoint it. But the story was this guy - Gerry Something, but everyone called him Uncle Gerry - inherited a piece of land out in the woods from his grandfather. He took all of his money and turned it into the Fun Zone - you know, slides, games, trampolines, kind of like an indoor-rec type place. But all barnyard themed, so the place looked like a red and white barn with a silo, but inside was all of this kids’ stuff.

He built this out in the woods?

That’s what everyone said. But the messed-up part was what happened there. Apparently like 30 some years ago, a kid slid down the slide and just vanished into the ball-pit. Like, there was no trace of him. I think he was only four, maybe five? I can’t remember for sure. Anyway, they emptied the ball-pit and everything. The only thing at the bottom was a trap door and a crawlspace that led nowhere. It just dead-ended. No one knew why it was there. But yeah, the kid vanished, the town freaked, Gerry split, and the place shut down.

And that really happened?

Every kid in town believed it. The story was that it was some sort of a hellhole that sucked down small children, that it needed to be fed. Like, it swallowed up that kid, and if anyone went near the place it would swallow you up, too. Don’t explore too far from home or you’ll stumble across Uncle Gerry’s…but you get past middle school and you think it’s all bullshit.

Was it bullshit? You said you were writing a story about it for the newspaper and you met Will?

Yeah, so I’d decided to write about Uncle Gerry’s, and Will heard about it. He joined the newspaper club because he wanted to help (laughs)…I think he just wanted to spend time with me. But he helped me with my research. We talked to people, looked at old newspapers, spent a lot of time in those creepy library stacks…that’s where Will held my hand for the first time. God, we were so young.

Did you find anything?

Nothing. There was no record of the place. We even talked to the police department. They had nothing.

Did they know what you were talking about?

Oh, yeah. Everyone had heard of Uncle Gerry’s. And everyone was really nice about helping us, but nothing factual existed. My article was going terribly! It was all dead ends.

Was that what you expected?

I don’t know what I expected. I just thought it’d be a cool article. So I had a lot of interviews of people telling the stories, and I was going to write this “oral history” type article, but then…God, I haven’t thought about this in years…Will came to me. He said he knew where the Fun Zone was. He said he had directions.

To a place that didn’t exist?

Will said that it did. It was out in the woods. Down some roads that weren’t on the maps. How did he get those directions? It’s been so long…I honestly can’t remember. Did they fall out of some ancient book at the library? I think that’s what happened. But he had them.

Did you go there?

I’ve never told anyone this. No one. I can’t believe I’m telling you right now. Will and I haven’t talked about it since it happened.

Wow, really? It’s okay, we don’t have to keep going.

No, no, it’s fine. It’s just…

Seriously, Caroline, I’m not trying to psychoanalyze you or ruin your marriage by making you dredge up terrible memories. That’s not what I’m trying to…

It’s okay. I want you to know. (pauses) I want you to know. It wasn’t supposed to be there. It just wasn’t. What happened was Will was going to go there first to make sure it was safe. And I’d meet him there later on. And I did. I followed the directions perfectly, down all of these forgotten dirt roads that used to be real roads. Right turn at a rock the size of a Volkswagen, go three quarters of a mile and take a left at the pine tree with the downed limb, stuff like that. All landmark stuff. But the directions were perfect. I drove what felt like forever down this bumpy road, and it just ended. Nowhere else to go. And there was Will, standing at the side of the road next to his car, hands jammed in his pockets. And he had this look in his eyes…he just looked…different. It’s almost like, after that night there were two Wills. The first Will who had worked on the story, helped me research and held my hand in the library…he was so sweet. Just so shy. Tender, innocent. But after that night, he’d changed forever. Like, he never looked at me the same way again. And we’ve been married now for nine years, and together since…junior year of college, so thirteen years? And he’s never looked at me the way he looked at me in the basement of the library back in high school. It was that night at the Fun Zone that changed him. I know it. It was that night.


Have you ever thought about us? Like, what if our parallel universe had fully intersected forever with the real one? And we were together?

I haven’t. Look, I think I should stop recording.

Please, don’t. It’s just…me and Will, nine years, no kids. No babies. And he just doesn’t look at me like he’s supposed to. He’s supposed to give me a baby, and we’re supposed to be living this love story, but…something went wrong. And it all started that night.

What happened? On that night, I mean.

I pulled off to the side of this dirt road that no one had driven on in probably decades, and, like I said, Will just seemed different. I asked him if he’d found it, and he said that it was there. Uncle Gerry’s Family Fun Zone was there. Will grabbed two flashlights from his car, and we followed a path through some brush. Then it kind of emerged before us, nestled in the trees. The barn, the silo, everything. It was so strange. It was almost like it materialized, if that makes sense.

It was dark, so, yeah. I know what you mean.

And there was this picket fence around the place, and each board was painted either yellow, green, or light purple. And it held up better than it should have. The paint should’ve completely peeled off or maybe the whole thing should’ve fallen down, but it was in good shape.

Did you go inside?

I mean, we came all that way, right? The main entrance was this huge, wooden double door. Probably fifteen feet high, and above it was the sign: Uncle Gerry’s Family Fun Zone, with this picture of a cartoon farmer with a piece of straw hanging from his mouth. And the sign had been vandalized. Someone had spray-painted X’s over the farmer’s eyes, and nearly every letter had been scribbled out. Everything except for “Fun,” but the ‘F’ was turned into an ‘R’ and an exclamation point was added. So it just read, “Run!”. So we weren’t the first people that’d been there. And I remember thinking, I don’t know if this makes me feel better or worse.

Who went in first?

Will did. He pushed open the door, and it creaked the whole time. I was nervous someone would hear it, but we were out in the middle of nowhere, you know? So that was kind of dumb. Will raised his flashlight and jumped backwards into me - we were staring at this giant goat statue made out of fiberglass. Had to have been seven feet tall. It was standing on its hind legs with its other front legs reaching out, like it was hugging something invisible. I guess it was a photo-op. You know, stand inside it, take your picture? And they were everywhere.

What was everywhere?

Fiberglass farm animals. Goats, sheep, cows, pigs - all standing on two legs, all of their front legs extended. They were scattered around the whole place, almost like soldiers keeping watch. Most of them were covered with some black soot substance. I ran my hand across one of the sheep. The soot was probably a half-inch thick. I still remember it trickling through my fingers. It was wet, and almost gooey. I honestly don’t know what it was.

What else was inside?

Slides. They were everywhere. Slides, jungle gyms, swinging bridges, a basketball court. We crept around for I don’t know how long, just not believing it was real. And it was just so dark and utterly silent. We got turned around so many times. It was like we were going deeper and deeper, and I know this doesn’t make sense, but it felt like we walked longer than we should have. Like the place was bigger on the inside than it looked on the outside. At one point, I remember looking back at Will and saying, “It’s like a maze in here.” And right at that moment we almost ran into a sign that said, “Uncle Gerry’s Amazing Cornstalk Maze!”. We were right at the entrance to a maze, but it wasn’t made out of corn. The walls were wooden with cornstalks painted on them, and there was no way we were going in there. Not a chance.

Did you find the ball-pit?

We did. It was at the bottom of the tallest and widest slide in the whole place. Right in the center of the barn. And the pit was just massive. Had to have been forty feet wide, and maybe six feet deep. But it was empty, no plastic balls. Just a giant, barren pit, and there was a ladder going down into it. And from where we were standing, we saw the hatch. Will looked at me, and he just kind of shrugged, and he said, “This is why we are here, right?” We climbed down, and as we walked towards the hatch our feet echoed, but it was a different kind of echo. Like it died quickly, too quickly. Almost like something was sucking away the noise.

I can’t believe you guys did this.

I guess it was adrenaline. Our flashlights were directly on the hatch, and it had one of those round, steel rings. No lock. We stared at it for a while without saying anything. Almost like we were expecting it to start pulsating or to pop open. But we wanted to know what was inside. Had to know. So we decided to do it together. We grabbed the steel ring with both hands and pulled it up. I thought I’d be greeted by the bones of that dead kid, but there was only the smell that rushed us. It was very cold and crisp, and with a tiny whiff of sulfur. Will hopped right in, and I reluctantly followed. The stories were all true: it was a crawlspace to nowhere. We crouched down and crawled about twenty feet, and the tunnel just ended. Nothing but a smooth, steel wall. We ran our hands across it. Maybe we’d find a secret handle or trigger a button or something, but there was nothing. And then we heard the noises from above.

Holy God.

Something had jumped into the pit, because the first thing we heard was this single, reverberating thud. It was unmistakable. And then the footsteps directly above us, walking towards the hatch. We killed our flashlights and pressed our backs into the steel. Will put his arm around me and covered my mouth, and I did the same to him. My leg started trembling and bouncing on the floor and Will grabbed it, steadying it. We listened as the footsteps got closer to the hatch, and then they just stopped. And I wanted to look down the tunnel, I did. But I didn’t want whatever was there to see the whites of my eyes. Because I was terrified it would give me away. But I felt its presence across the tunnel. I knew it was there. I felt it leaning down and staring at us. I’m sure about that. I even heard it breathing softly.

Did he say anything?

No. It just watched us for a while. And I never opened my eyes. And the next thing I remember is the hatch slamming shut and both Will and I jumping and hitting our heads on the crawlspace ceiling. We stayed there silent for…it had to be an hour. We eventually worked up the courage to crawl to the other end in pitch black, and I was praying, just praying that this thing or person or whatever wasn’t inside this crawlspace with us. We were too scared to even turn on our flashlights. Every inch we crawled I thought, this is it - I’m going to reach out and feel something warm and snarling. But we made it to the end, and we slowly raised the hatch. Thank God it hadn’t locked us inside. We climbed out and we ran, just ran. I don’t even remember my legs moving beneath me. I remember it being, I was in the crawlspace, now I’m outside, now I’m at the car. Just like that, we were safe.

Did you tell anyone about this? Did you write the article?

Will followed me to my house. We promised each other to never talk about it ever again. We were done. No article, nothing.

Why not?

I think we stumbled across something we were never meant to see. And something knew we were there, and I think it let us off with a warning. We didn’t want to make it mad. We were given a second chance.

You keep calling it it. Is there a reason for that?

Just a hunch. Just the sounds it made when it walked, the vibe it gave off. It didn’t feel human.

I honestly can’t believe you haven’t talked about this since high school. You or Will haven’t brought it up? Not once?

Will is…I love Will. But it changed him. It changed me. (pause) How long has it been since Grace died?

15 months.

And you two didn’t have secrets or things you didn’t talk about?

We talked about everything. At least for my part. And I’m sure she wasn’t keeping anything from me.

What’s that like? To have a marriage like that and a child to love?

I think what we had was rare. And Tyler is my world. He’s my everything.

Do you ever think…

I turned off the recording. Caroline was traveling down a road that I had no interest in going. She left shortly thereafter, making me promise to not share anything with Will. I gave her my word. At one point I dropped the digital recording of her interview in the trash icon and hovered over the “empty” button for a few seconds. But I couldn’t do it. I dragged it back to a folder on my desktop.

Will came by the next day for his interview. It began plainly enough. The first twenty minutes focused on his grade school years, his baseball playing days in college, and his love of 80s action movies. Nothing revelatory, nothing deep. That quickly changed.

The interview direction veered towards love and marriage. I tried to avoid it, but it came up organically. Will hesitated, contemplating. I’d hope we’d detour right around it, but he looked at me sharply in the eyes, and said:

Have you ever heard of Uncle Gerry’s Family Fun Zone?

I lied, and I told him that I hadn’t. He grabbed a sheet of paper from my desk and sketched out the Uncle Sam-type flyer for that cursed children’s fun zone. That’s where this interview excerpt kicks in.

Excerpt of Will Interview

I was sitting in class. I think it was Spanish. And I look over, and this beautiful girl in the row next to me is furiously scribbling in her notebook. And she’s drawing this. (Will holds up the sheet of paper). I can’t explain it, but I was drawn to it. There was something about it. So I stopped her after class, and I asked her, “What’s Uncle Gerry’s Family Fun Zone?” Because I’d never heard of the damn place.

Was it a place in town?

That’s the thing. It apparently was some kids’ play area type place in the 1970s, and some little kid drowned in a ball-pit, if that makes sense. Caroline told me the whole story, saying it was the most famous legend in our town and she was writing a newspaper story about it. But I’d never heard of it. I asked all of my friends, my parents, teachers. And I always got the same response: what are you talking about? And that made me more curious. Is this beautiful girl putting me on? Or does she have a wild imagination? Because according to Caroline, this legend was as famous as Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster or whatever.

Are you sure you weren’t asking the right people?

Google it. You’ll find absolutely zero about Uncle Gerry’s Family Fun Zone. And if a legend is that famous, wouldn’t it have some presence on the internet nowadays? Anything at all? Zero results. That’s pretty incredible. And back then, it wasn’t just people I knew. I joined the newspaper club, mainly out of this incredible fascination to find out more about this girl and why she was obsessed with this legend that didn’t exist. And we interviewed dozens of people for the story - historians, cops, librarians. We got a lot of strange looks. No one had ever heard of Uncle Gerry’s. Which only made me more curious.

Did you guys get together? I know you started dating in college. I didn’t know you had a history.

Not really. I mean, almost. Caroline had this pull on me that was hard to explain. We were spending a lot of time together. And she was gorgeous and funny, and motivated, man, just motivated to find out more about this Uncle Gerry’s place. And I liked it. Even when I thought she was maybe a little crazy, I liked it. But she wasn’t crazy.

So it was real?

Here’s the thing. We had no clues or leads, and I was just hoping she’d give up. You know, drop the whole thing and we can start dating and doing normal teenage things or whatever. But one night - and, shit, I haven’t thought about this in forever - I was up late cramming for a test, and I see this bundled up old guy walking down my street. Just kind of putzing along, and the guy looks like he’s two hundred years old. And he stops at the end of my driveway, reaches into his overcoat, pulls something out and slips it in my mailbox. And I was like, what the hell is this? I stand up, and he snaps his head and looks right at me. It was freaky, just freaky. I dive down on the floor and don’t have the balls to look outside for another ten minutes. By that point he was gone.

What did he put in the mailbox?

I found out in the morning. It was directions. Scribbled on a napkin. Weird-ass directions, like drive down this dirt road and look-for-the-tallest-tree-then-turn-right type directions. I immediately knew it had something to do with Uncle Gerry’s. I just knew it.

Did you tell Caroline?

Here’s the thing, I…(pauses)…and this will sound terrible, and I can’t believe I’m telling someone, but…here’s what happened. This Uncle Gerry’s thing had been going on for weeks. And I know I said I liked the fact that Caroline was obsessive over it, but things turned weird quick. She kept coming over to my house to hang out, but she didn’t seem too interested in me. She was more interested in my brother, who was two at the time. And, God, it’s hard to explain, it wasn’t like a normal ‘I like playing with your brother’ thing, it was…creepy. The way she looked at him, it was almost like she needed him for something. That she was going to snatch him. Like we’d come home one day and David would be gone, and it was because Caroline took him.

Wow, I…

I don’t expect you to understand any of this. It doesn’t make any sense, but I felt it. I’m telling you, it was real. In my heart, I had this hideous feeling it was all related to this Uncle Gerry’s Family Fun Zone obsession. I thought Caroline was looking for this place and was going to offer up my brother as some form of a sacrifice. Just saying it sounds so messed up. You probably think I’m yanking your chain. I mean, this is my wife we are talking about here. This is Caroline.

It’s fine. You don’t sound like you’re lying.

I wouldn’t. Not about this.

Did you tell anyone?

No. They’d probably think I was the crazy one. The whole thing was insane beyond belief. But I had to know what she was up to, so here’s what I did. I told Caroline I’d found directions to Uncle Gerry’s - told her they had been folded up in some library book about the town’s history or something. I gave her directions to the place, and I told her I’d check it out first. But here’s the thing: I gave her the wrong directions.

What do you mean?

I made them up. Wrote down a bunch of gibberish. They led miles outside of town in the opposite direction. And then I followed my directions - the ones the old man left me - and they led me right to it. It was real. This Uncle Gerry’s place, it was real, man. It made no sense. And then Caroline showed up.

With the wrong directions?

I’ll never forget it. Seeing her car pull up. She should have been forty miles away. But here she was. And that’s when I knew. There was something wrong about her, something wrong about that old man, something wrong about that place. It was like Caroline was magnetically drawn to it. Uncle Gerry’s Family Fun Zone. Like, it exists because she believes it exists. I decided at that moment that there was some form of evil forces in the world that I would never understand. Never. And Caroline was wrapped up in it.

How was the place real?

Like I said. It didn’t make any sense. Nothing did. We even explored the place for a while, and it was…Christ, it feels like I’m going back there right now. And I never wanted to go back. Never. That musty smell, those animals that towered over us like monsters, it’s just…

Will, why don’t we end this. I can…

No, no, just a little more. There’s some things that you should know. I’d never seen Caroline so excited. Still haven’t. I swear she was bouncing around that place. Wanted to explore every inch. She even pulled me into some horrifying corn maze I thought we’d never get out of. And then we found it. We found the place where that kid had disappeared. Caroline pulled open this hatch in this enormous, empty ball-pit, and we wiggled through this crawlspace that dead-ended, and then we heard something. Someone else was inside the barn. We heard it’s footsteps above us, and it was stomping around. I thought, maybe it was the old man, because who else would know we were here?

Was it the old man?

It wasn’t. No way. We were huddled up at the end of the crawlspace, and my legs were shaking so bad I thought they would spring free from my body. Caroline held them down for me. She was so calm, just so calm. The hatch opened, and in the dark I saw this figure kind of lean down. It definitely wasn’t the old man. It was too skinny. It couldn’t have been a person. It just couldn’t. So we stared at it from across this crawlspace, and at one point I turned to look at Caroline, and she was watching this thing with this little grin on her face. And that thing kept right on looking and breathing, and then, all of the sudden, it kind of sniffed the air. Like it was smelling us. And the voice, God, I’ll never forget it. It was this voice that was deep and raspy and terrible all at the same time, it said, “Not young enough.” Then it slammed down the hatch, and it was gone. We waited a while, and when we thought it was safe we ran back to our cars.

Will, if I thought that we’d talk about this I wouldn’t have asked you to do this. I mean it. I never intended for it to be like this.

It’s fine. It’s just…someone needed to know. I’m just glad it’s you.

If I can ask, and if you don’t want to answer that’s totally fine: why are you with her? Why are you married to Caroline?

Because someone had to marry her, and it had to be me. Does that make sense? I know what happened at that place. I know that there’s evil things in this world that have grabbed hold of her. But she’s better. She never wrote that article, never talked about Uncle Gerry’s Family Fun Zone since then. I’m not sure if she even remembers it. Maybe the evil is gone. It could be gone forever. But I’m always waiting for it to come back. And that’s why…I’ll tell you this, but this goes to the grave. Yeah?


She wants to have kids. Caroline wants to have a baby. But it won’t be with me. I got a vasectomy years ago, back in college, actually. I won’t give her a baby, not after everything that I know. But now she wants one. More than anything

She’ll find out. If you guys do fertility, the doctors will find out.

I know.

What will you do then?

I don’t know. (pauses) I don’t know.

My original hunch about my interview experiment was correct: there was just something about the microphones and tight space that elicits honesty. What I experienced with Caroline and Will was the rarest forms of honesty, an honesty I hope to never, ever experience again. I wanted to rid myself of the entire situation - even having the audio files just felt wrong, like I was allowing evil to fester - but then I remembered what Will told me:

Someone needs to know.

So I spent hours transcribing their interviews, dumped the text file on a USB drive and tossed it into a box in my closet. I deleted the audio files from my computer, and then put my microphones and recorders out to the curb. It just wasn’t worth it.

But the purging didn’t cure me. I was haunted by Will and Caroline’s stories. And it wasn’t just the horrific situations they found themselves in as high schoolers. It was the secrets and lies they’ve lived ever since. Will and Caroline came over for dinner a few weeks after the interviews, and it was like nothing was wrong. We drank, we laughed, I watched Will touch the small of Caroline’s back and Caroline gently caress Will’s elbow. It all seemed so frighteningly normal. But I knew what they were living with, and it terrified me.

The next day, the doorbell rang. It was Caroline. She’d left her sweater at my place and was here to pick it up. It was my first time being alone with her since the interview. I was worried she’d bring up Uncle Gerry’s Family Fun Zone, or wanting to have a baby, or she’d again gently broach the topic of “me and her” and what could have been. Or what could be. I just wasn’t sure.

I retrieved her sweater from the kitchen and walked her to the front door. I tried to read what was going on beneath her eyes, and I looked for a flicker of that evil that Will said grabbed hold of her all those years ago. I didn’t see it. I just saw a lonely, sad woman who wanted more out of life than what she was given.

We reached the front door, and Caroline looked over towards my living room. Tyler lay nestled into the cushions, lost inside the pages of a fantasy book. Caroline smiled longingly at my boy, and said to no one in particular:

Not young enough.

by reddit user Red_Grin via:

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