Friday, November 28, 2008

Mr White

My neighbor, Mr. White, is usually a quiet old man, spending his days in a rocking chair on his porch, watching the city and his life pass by. However, to say that he’s odd would be an understatement. He dresses from head to toe in solid black clothes, the few times I’ve talked to him he’s seemed like a nice guy ( a little standoffish perhaps), nothing to indicate why he dresses in all the flamboyant colors of a chimney sweep.

It was the first day in August when the screaming began. 1:00 am sharp in the morning a horrible scream pierces the thin wall between our flats. As suddenly as it started, it stops, leaving my heart hammering and my mind awake. This continues for the rest of the week, but each time I make up my mind to confront him about it, the screaming stops and I lose the nerve to knock on his door. The next day he’s out on the front porch again, dressed in his usual black attire, from black shoes, up to black socks, pants, jacket, shirt, glasses, and finally hat. “Good morning.” he mumbles as I pass. I almost stop and ask him about the past few nights, but the way he rocks back and forth on his chair, his head pointed straight ahead of him, I’m still too weirded out to talk to him about it.

I get back that evening to see him take off in an airport shuttle. Now, I haven’t seen Mr. White leave his house in the two years I’ve lived next to him, but I figure his sudden departure simply means it’ll be that much easier for me to get some sleep. Unfortunately, as soon as I get settled down into bed, I hear a new noise, a noise I hadn’t noticed earlier. My bed lies against our adjoining wall, so I can hear water running in the pipes whenever he has the faucet on. As I lie there, I can hear water rushing. Two hours and no sleep later, I realize that the noise from the pipes is even more disruptive than the screaming. I figure I’ll do us both a service and shut the running faucet off. So I dress, grab a few supplies, and head over to his door. I’ve lost my keys enough times to figure out how to jimmy a lock, so I shove a couple paper clips into the doorknob and wiggle ‘em around a bit. Soon enough I hear that soft ‘click’ and enter his flat.

The place is in shambles. Like somebody had been running around knocking everything over. Books and magazines litter the floor and half the furniture has been knocked over and shoved against a wall. I head toward the sound of running water and enter Mr. White’s bathroom. Blood Everywhere. The walls are covered in blood, the bathtub has blood running down into it, and the edges of the sink have bits of bloody hair and flesh around the edges.

I turn off the faucet and then turn myself to get the fuck out of there. And that’s when the fucking lights go out. “Pop” goes the bulbs in the bathroom. I flip out and bolt out of there. That’s when I make the mistake of looking behind me. From the gloom of the bathroom I see that there’s something watching me, its eyes reflecting some unknown light.

I don’t really remember the next minute, but the next thing I know I’m standing in my own bathroom, in my own apartment, with my pants heavy with my own piss. Shit. Some fucking shiny thing in the bathroom looks like eyeballs and I piss myself. I take a shower and go back to my bedroom to grab some new pants. But as I’m putting them on I look out the window. It’s fucking watching me, its eyes a glow in the darkness outside. I scream and almost ruin my second pair. But a moment later they’re gone. I call myself a dumbass for falling victim to my own imagination and go to the living room. Sleep’s out of the question, but maybe I can kill my fear with some horrible late-night television.

Everything’s cool for the first hour and half, then a commercial comes on where the background is black. You know how you can see your reflection in the TV when the screen is dark? Well I see me. I also see the fucking eyes glowing at me from the darkness behind my couch.

Frozen to my chair I watch them watch me. Never moving, never blinking, the beast in the shadows has me steady in its gaze. I snap out of it suddenly, doing a half-flip half-barrel roll away from the couch and onto the floor. Of course, when I look again, they’re gone. This shit’s too crazy for me, my last bastion of defense lies in my copious alcohol collection. Practically sprinting to the kitchen, I grab a bottle of something strong and fill the glass. Glug glug glug, raising the glass over my lips and above my head until it’s empty. But there’s something else in the bottom of the glass, I see those fucking eyes again. I slam the glass down and catch a glimmer of light as the beast takes off down my dark hallway. Shit. Shitshitshitshit.

Five minutes later, all the lights in the house are on and I’m decked out in a flashlight and a kitchen knife. Well, I should say all the lights are on but one. The hallway light died as I flipped it on, giving a soft ‘pufft’ of bulby death. At the end of the dark hallway lie two doors, a closet and the door out of my apartment. It’s time to get there or die trying. I creep down into the increasingly dark corridor, my flashlight and knife a foot in front of me. The goddamn closet door is open.

I think I see the beast’s eyes again as I near the closet, but it’s just the latch on the door. I reach the closet door. Breathless, I pull the knife back and get ready to strike.

“Haaahhhh!!!” is my battle-cry as I turn the corner. Nothing. No beast and no beasty eyes. I close the closet and continue to the front door, resolute in my escape. That’s when I notice another thing wrong; the outside light usually seeps in through the crack under my door. Fuck! So close and more shit happens. Playing it safe I edge up to the door and peer out the eyepiece. Two glowing eyes look back at me. I scream for the third time that night and go running back up the hallway to the light of the living room, leaving the knife and my only flashlight lying by the front door.

There’s no escape. I get ready to barricade myself in a corner. I grab the TV cabinet and began to push it toward the center of the room. It’s watching me. The space between the wall and the cabinet. Three fucking inches wide. The beast’s eyes glare at me. Its gaze is neither malevolent or friendly. Just two, perfectly round, shining orbs.

That’s it, I’m done. I collapse backwards onto the floor and back away to the wall, watching the eyes. Watching the eyes watching me. Watching the eyes watching me watching it. I sit there, staring. They don’t move. Nor do I. the night creeps by second after second, me caught in this horribly twisted staring contest. I just wish I knew what they wanted. If the beast attacked me, if it revealed itself, I could know what I’m up against. I might even figure out how I’ll die before it kills me. No. It stays in the crack between my wall and my TV and watches with infinite patience.

The darkness outside dissolves into a gray morning, and the eyes begin to lose their glimmer. As the sun lights my living room, the beast retreats, gone into the shadow it came from. To where I have no fucking idea.

I pack my things. I’m going away, fuck knows where, but I’m getting at least a thousand miles between me and here before night falls again. Two shots of bourbon wish me on my way as I grab my suitcase and set off for the front door.

“Knock, knock” someone get there first. I jump, dropping my stuff and getting ready to bolt back to the nearest corner, “knock, knock”. But reason grabs me by the heels, whispering in my ear that the fucking night monster wouldn’t be courteous enough to knock before killing me. Slowly I open it. Mr. White is standing there, resplendent in his black hat, sunglasses, shirt, jacket, pants, socks, and shoes. “Good morning, Steven.” says he.

“Hi.” says I.

“Say Steven, did anyone go into my apartment while I was gone? There are footprints leading from my bathroom to my door. Notice he neglects to mention what the footprints are formed of. “Uh, no Mr. White, I’ve been in my apartment all night and I didn’t hear anything.” (If you think I’m about to admit to a man that has blood all over his bathroom and a monster living in his house that I broke into his house, then you are very mistaken). “That’s good Steven, I have many fragile belongings that could easily be destroyed or stolen by a malicious soul. You have a good day.”

“You too, man.”

He turns to leave and then turns back to me smiling, “Oh and Steven,” he says, “I couldn’t help but notice bloody footprints leading from my door to yours.” His smile gets even wider. He leans in, bringing our face right next to each other. He removes his sunglasses. . Revealing two empty pits in his face… . . “I’ll be keeping my eyes on you.”

This Time

A young couple had a baby, but as they were poor and could not afford to keep it, they decided to kill it… They went to a lake in the dead of night and having rowed a boat to the middle of it, dropped the baby into the water, while the mother kept murmuring; “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…” over and over again.

Some years passed and the couple decided to marry. Between them they had a new baby girl and the family was living happily together. When the little girl became four years-old, she suddenly started pestering her parents to take her to the lake. The parents were reluctant to go, but finally gave in because the girl was so persistent. As soon as they arrived at the lake the girl said, “Daddy, I want to be on that!” pointing at a boat. Again reluctantly the couple gave in to her entreaty. They were in the middle of the lake when the girl said; “Daddy, I want a wee-wee.” The father, not knowing what else to do, lifted her up above the water so that she could do it, checking first that no one was around. And it was that very moment, when the father’s hands were wrapped underneath the girl’s knees, and both were facing the water, the daughter looked back at her father over the shoulder and said; “Please don’t drop me this time.”

An Incident on a Snowy Mountain

A photographer went to a snowy mountain with his assistant, commisioned to take pictures for a magazine article.
They stayed at a log cabin, and a few days had passed when the assistant had an accident and injured himself.
At that point their work was still unfinished and they felt they could not go home unless they finished it first. So they decided to stay on in the mountain.
However the injury got worse and worse, until the assistant suddenly died from it a couple of days later.
But even so the photographer would not go home. He was very committed to his job and to leave the work unfinished was unimaginable to him. He decided to bury the assistant by the cabin and continued to work on his own.
The following morning when the photographer awoke, the assistant’s dead body was lying beside him.
“I’m sure I buried him…” He was deeply puzzled. He went and buried the body again before going off to take pictures.
But the same thing happened again the following morning, and the morning after that. On his final day he decided to set the camera to automatic mode and place it by his sleeping bag, so he could see what went on during the night. The next morning, the dead body was there beside him as he had expected. He buried it again and then climbed down the mountain.
When he got home he developed the pictures he had taken the previous night.
And there in the pictures he saw someone get up, go out of the cabin, carry the dead body back on the shoulder and lay it down beside his sleeping bag – and that someone was no other than the photographer himself.

Kimo-Dameshi

A group of eight high school students, four girls and four boys, met in a house to tell one another ghost stories. The night came and they decided to go and do kimo-dameshi. But the main reason for doing that wasn’t to test their courage, but it was that they could play the game in boy-and-girl pairs. It didn’t really matter where they went so they just chose to go to their high school.

Their high school building was very old; it was nearly a hundred years since it was built. In the dark, the building looked more formidable than it did during the day.
The group duly split up in four pairs. They could not get inside the building so all they would do was to walk around the school grounds once which would take about twenty minutes in all.
The group’s spirit was high and there were a lot of loud teasings as the first pair set off.

Twenty minute passed, and then thirty minutes gone… But the pair didn’t show up. “Wonder what kind of things they’re doing all by themselves?” the second pair said jokingly as they set off into the dark. But they too did not come back.

By then the ones who were left behind were starting to feel uneasy.

The third pair left, assuring the remaining two that as soon as they 'd finished the game they would come back on the double and that if possible, bring all the others back with them too. However, this was not to be, since the third pair also disappeared.

It had already been more than two hours since the first group set off. The girl of the last pair got scared and broke down in tears. Her partner said to her; “don’t worry. I’m going out there alone to find out what’s happening. If I don’t return in thirty minutes, go straight to the police. Don’t wait for me, OK?” Then the boy ran off.

He did not come back either; even so the girl, crying, waited for an hour before going to the police. The police accompanied her back to the school but at first they could not tell where all the boys and girls were gone. It was when the sky was beginning to get lighter when they reached an old, disused gymanasium.

The police went in there and saw that the door to the lavatry was open; when they stepped inside the room they found the missing seven, all hanging by the neck from the ceiling. All of them were dead. From what the surviving girl testified those seven had no reason to commit suicide at all. But they could not find any evidence of murder, so in the end the incident was dismissed as a case of mass hysteria. The curious thing is, the school was not known for any ghostly stories.

The Decapitated Head

Jumping in front of a train is one of the most gruesome ways of dying because the damage that is inflicted on the body is enormous.

One man killed himself by this very method, flinging himself from the platform into the rail when the train was just passing the station. His limbs were torn to pieces and as for his decapitated head it flew and landed on the platform. Many people were there to witness this ghastly incident, and they were watching it with sheer shock and horror, when suddenly the decapitated head opened its eyes and shouted, "This is not a show!"

To My Regret

There was once a girl who had been diagnosed as having only three months to live.
When her friends came to visit her in hospital, the girl’s mother, hoping to make the best out of the occasion, got the idea of taking a picture of them together while the girl was still relatively well. So she took a picture with the sick girl in the middle sitting up on the bed and her two friends on either side of her.

Only a week later after the picture was taken the girl’s illness took a turn for the worse and within less than three months she passed away.
A funeral was held and the girl’s mother was just beginning to come to terms with her loss when she remembered about the picture she took in hospital. She went to a shop to have it developed, but when she had the pictures back she couldn't find that particular picture. When she asked the shop owner about it he just said, “I’m sorry… I made a mess of it.” The mother however got suspicious and asked him again what became of the picture. She said it was the last picture of her daughter she took before the girl died and begged him to give it to her. “I really think you shouldn't see it,” said the shop owner. “You just stay calm, ma’am, OK?” He said before cautiously taking out the picture in question.

And there it was, the picture of the three girls - but one thing was different; the body of her daughter (who sat in the middle) looked as though it was mummified.

The mother was very upset but she took the picture home nevertheless, telling the shop owner that she wanted to have it purified by a shaman.
When she was at a shaman’s the mother asked her what implications the sinister picture had; and there again the mother was met with a wall of silence. But as before, the mother would not give up and begged the shaman to tell her the truth. The shaman in the end gave in to the mother's persistent entreaties and opened her mouth. She said;

“To my regret, your daughter has fallen into hell.”

The Tent

This is a true story.
We were staying at a campsite inside a permanent tent. Each tent accommodated eight of us and there were seven tents in total, lined up in a row.
My tent was the seventh and it was positioned at the end of the row.
During one night I got out of the tent to go to bathroom.
When I came back and opened the entrance I looked inside and found no one was there. But I was sure everyone else was fast asleep.
I thought; “what?” and went out again to make sure I was in the right place. But the sign on the tent said, “No.8.”

What was I thinking, I’m in No.7! I thought to myself as I went back to the one standing next to it.
- Yes, of course I knew that “No.8” didn’t exist but I was so scared I convinced myself it was a mistake and went to sleep.

By the next morning, the eighth tent had disappeared.

A voice from upstairs

This is a story from my childhood.

When I was a child I lived in a rented two-floor house.
Both my parents worked so I was often alone when I came home from school.
One early evening when I came home the house was still dark.
I called out, “Mum?” and heard a voice say “Yeeeeees?” from upstairs.
I called her again, and again got the same “Yeeeeees?” reply.

I felt she was calling me and climbed up the stairs.
When I reached the first floor I called her once more and the voice “Yeeeeees?” came from the furthest room.
I felt both uneasy and a strong urge to see my mother and started to walk towards the room.

But just that moment I heard the front door downstairs open and my mother come in, carrying a lot of shopping bags.
‘Shunsuke (my name), are you home?” My mother called in a cheery voice.
Hearing her voice made me feel instantly better and I turned back to go downstairs at once – but not before I had a quick glance towards the room.

While I watched from the top of the stairs, the door to the room slowly opened a crack.
For a brief moment I saw something strange in there.
It was an unnaturally pale face staring at me.

A Mirror Ritual

Prepare four panels of mirror and one candle. Place the mirrors in such a way that when viewed from above they form a square with each side measuring 15cm in length and facing East, West, South and North respectively. Turn off the light and between 12:46 am to 1:13 am, that is for 27 minutes, put the lighted candle inside the square.

Then something very terrifying will appear in the mirrors.

Once there was someone who tried this ritual but seeing the image shocked him so much that it turned him mute; and so what was really reflected in the mirrors still remains unknown. The terror drove him to gorge out his both eyes while he was held in hospital. The only words he managed to utter before he died were; “I wish I had never seen it.”

The Red Crayon

This is a story I heard from my friend, who works in an estate agent.
There was a flat he was in charge of, and one of its rooms always gave him a strange feeling every time he stepped in it. Something was not quite right about it, but he could not put a finger on what it was. Then one day he thought he found out the reason; he spotted that the passage next to the room was about one metre shorter than it should be. He went to the end of the corridor and knocked on the wall. And from the sound being made he deduced that there was a small space between the original wall and the one he was knocking on. He thought that was odd and decided to investigate further. Having first got permission from his boss, he pulled down the wall.

“I would have felt better if I’d found a skeleton or something in there,” my friend told me later about his experience.
In reality what he found inside was a certain word, repeated again and again, written all over the walls.
“Mummy mummy mummy mummy mummy mummy mummy mummy mummy……,”so the word ran endlessly, in red crayon.

In the end they decided to put the wall back into place, leaving the place as it was, without erasing the words. After that he promptly handed over the charge of the property to other colleague.

Children on the Bus

It was past ten in the evening. I thought I was the only passenger on the bus, but I heard children's voices from behind.

The children were apparently talking about a ghost story.

Child A: "…. and if you turn around, the ghost will snatch you away and carry you to the afterworld!"

I recognized the voice. I often saw these children on the same bus after work. They went to a crammer.

Child B: "Then that's easy. All you have to do is make sure you don't turn around."

Child A: "Yes, but I heard you can't help but turn around. The ghost would try all sorts of tricks on you to get you turn around."

It was nearly the bus stop where these two usually got off.
But it looked like they didn't notice it.
I thought I should warn them because I didn't want them to go home late.
So I turned around and said, "you are getting off here aren't you?"

Child A: "See, I told you so."

A "Good" Ghost

A couple are enjoying a drive through a mountain. Suddenly they notice a child standing ahead of them. The man slams on the brakes and manages to stop the car. He gets out of the car to check but the child has disappeared into thin air. Then he notices that they are on the edge of the precipice and had the man not put on the brakes they would have been dead. The woman says, "I know now! The child was trying to warn us of the danger. It was a good ghost."

But immediately after she said it they heard a child's voice from behind; "you should have died…."

The Wardrobe

This happened to me when I was still in primary school and was babysitting my little brother while our parents were out. We were bored so we decided to play hide-and-seek. I became "it" and started looking for my brother. I entered my parent's bedroom and opened a wardrobe crammed full of clothes. I thrust my hand into it when immediately another hand reached out from inside and gripped mine. I tried to pull him out shouting, " come on! get out!" But he wouldn't come out no matter how hard I pulled. He was hidden behind all the clothes and didn't speak a word either, and I started wondering what was wrong with him. Just then a voice called me from behind, "what are you doing there?" It was my little brother standing in the door way. I panicked and shook myself free of the grip and we rushed out of the house together. Needless to say, I couldn't go inside again until my parents came home. What was that hand? Did it belong to a burglar, or……?

A case that chilled a Psychiatrist to the Bone

I am a psychiatrist and the other day I encountered a case which sent a chill down my spine. Sometime ago a new family moved in my neighbourhood; a couple in their sixties and their son, who was about 30 years-old. The son was a so-called hikikomori(*) and was seldom seen outside his home. Naturally I couldn't ask the family directly but it was obvious that they had moved to the new place to escape from the social stigma.

Days had passed and the son went out less and less until he would not leave the house at all. He was now a complete hikikomori. Every night the mother was heard screaming at him in his bedroom. When I sometimes chanced to meet the mother she greeted to me with a smile but she always looked pale and haggard.

A half year had passed since I last caught a glimpse of the son when his father came to me and said, "could I ask you to visit us tomorrow?" I had never been involved with them personally or as a doctor but since we were neighbours and neighbours were supposed to help each other, I agreed to come.

The next day when I visited them both father and mother welcomed me at the door. "Please, come this way," the mother said as she lead the way to her son's room. When we came to the front of the room the mother suddenly shouted, "I'm going to open the door!" As soon as she burst in she shrieked, "why are you still sleeping? Get up!" She tore the duvet off the bed. I saw what lay there and was struck dumb with disbelief. There was only one faceless, unclothed mannequin lying on the bed. Then the father told me, "the person I want you to see is my wife, who can not bear to accept the reality."

In the Underground

One summer night I was working late in the office with my colleague. Suddenly my colleague said, "I can you hear some strange noise, can you?" "Really? I don't hear anything," I replied. "No, I can definitely hear something, " he said. "It's like a woman sobbing…"
I stopped typing and strained my ears to listen. I still couldn't hear anything except a distant rumble in the sky…. It was thunder. Thunder was something to be afraid of. If we had a blackout all the data we have put in so far would be lost, and in the worst case scenario our motherboard could get damaged as well. We were nowhere near the end of our assignment but we decided to quit there and then and go home.

My colleague was reluctant to go home alone but we were going different directions so there was nothing I could do. We said goodbye in front of the company's building and I took Meijo line from Sakae station (*). Today's work was, as usual, demanding.. As I sighed, I heard the patter of raindrops. "Damn! It's raining. I haven't got an umbrella with me." I clicked my tongue and tried to think which convenience store was the closest to Hibino station which I was getting off at.

The train came to Kaneyama. At night all trains on the line went to Aratamabashi so I had to get off there to change. I stepped onto the platform. Then it suddenly hit me. Rain? In the underground?

On a Rainy Day

I was standing by a crossroads waiting for the light to turn green. On the opposite side I saw a man standing just like myself, but his whole body was enveloped by some shadowy black mist. No one else around him seemed to notice it. "God, that looks real bad," I thought, and hiding my face behind the umbrella I innocently tried to walk past him, when he glided towards me and whispered, "You saw it, didn't you?" as we passed each other. I was terrified. Really.

Elongated Faces

Many classic horror icons, such as Geiger's Xenomorphs, Silent Hill's Pyramid Head, and other disturbing creatures, share common characteristics. Pale skin, dark, sunken eyes, elongated faces, sharp teeth, and the like.

These images inspire horror and revulsion in many, and with good reason. The characteristics shared by these faces are imprinted in the human mind.

Many things frighten humans instinctively. The fear is natural, and does not need to be reinforced in order to terrify. The fears are species-wide, stemming from dark times in the past when lightning could mean the burning of your tree home, thunder could be the approaching gallops of a stampede, predators could hide in darkness, and heights could make poor footing lethal.

The question you have to ask yourself is this:
What happened, deep in the hidden eras before history began, that could effect the entire human race so evenly as to give the entire species a deep, instinctual, and lasting fear of pale beings with dark, sunken eyes, razor sharp teeth, and elongated faces?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Chance

This is a story of my friend who has powerful sixth sense. At the time of the story she was living with her husband in the suburbs. One night she was waiting for her husband, who had gone drinking after work, at home. But it was getting late and she decided to go to bed. she dreamt that her husband's motorcycle crashed into a car and he died. She woke up and knew what had happened in the dream was true. "He's dead! He's dead!" She panicked. But soon after that she heard the familiar sound of motorcycle engine from outside. The front door opened and her husband's cheerful, drunken voice sounded from the porch. He started explaining why he had come home late. My friend, who had been crying, became a little cross, grudging for the nonchalant way her husband behaved. "You were really late. I thought you've died from an accident!" She said from her bed, raising her voice so that her husband could hear her.
"Oh dear! So you made your choice?" Her husband said lightly, sounding almost as if he was teasing. Then came a complete silence. Minutes later she got a phone call informing her of her husband's death.

Later she told me, "I think I threw away a chance God gave me."

Dream on a loop

My friend told me about the worst nightmare he had ever had.

In the dream he was walking alone in a desert. Somehow he was carrying a spear in his hand…After some time he saw someone crouching on the sand in the distance. As he had been feeling quite lonely he quickly ran up to the man. But when he bent over to help him up he saw that the man was no other than himself. In an instant he was overcome with fear and without further thought hacked the man to death with the spear. He then started running, trying to get away as far from the place as possible. However he soon stumbled and sprained his ankle. There was nothing he could do except crouch down and stay still -. And while he was at it he casually looked up and spotted, in the distance, his double walking towards him with a spear in his hand… then he woke up.

The Ring

A family suicide occured in the surburbs of Gunma Prefecture (we call the family 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 and with a video camera in hand 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 sometime, while the rest of the group were having fun, one of the girls began to feel scared and so they decided to call it a day. "Goodbye, thank you for having us!" They shouted again 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 clubroom 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!"
"Welcome."

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

"Is this your kitchen?"
"Yes."

"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 got was silence. The timid girl's call was also silent.
But the girl who snatched the ring heard;

"…..hi, this is Suzuki. Please can I have my ring back?"


Don't Sleep in this Room

This happened a few years back on a new year's day. All night long I had been out with my friends ; when I came home in the morning I just collapsed on my bed. Then I had a dream in which I was aware I was dreaming. In it I was walking home and somehow all around me, on things like telephone poles and walls, I saw posters being put up, with such words as “Value your life,” and “No use crying over spilt milk,” in black calligraphic writing. The street I was walking on was totally deserted and moreover something that looked like blood was splattered all over the place. I was thinking, god this is some creepy dream! I kept walking and was nearly home when my mother woke me up. She had a very serious look on her face and said, “Don’t sleep in this room.” “Why?” I asked. She replied, “Right now they have a hotoke-sama (the dead) lying right above your room (we lived in an apartment block). ” I wondered if that was why I had a strange dream. Afterwards when we were eating osechi (a new year’s dish) my father uttered, “It was a suicide apparently. He jumped from a building.” When I heard that I was really spooked. Did he regret his rash action after he had jumped?

The Paper Thin Woman

It had been a week since my colleague stopped coming to work without leave. When I went to his place to check on him, I found him lying on his bed hiding under covers. I asked what was wrong, and he replied, "That woman over there says I mustn't go out." I looked at the place he pointed. Then I saw in the narrow gap only a few centimetres wide between the fridge and the wall, a long-haired, paper-thin woman staring at us.


A Black Joke

It was a cold night at the end of March.
A man sat praying in front of a delivery room.
"Please God, save my wife and child."
The man's wife was having a Cesarean section. She had always been physically frail, and they didn't know if she could survive the operation.

Throughout the night, the man continued to pray for his wife and unborn baby…

After what seemed like an eternity, the door to the delivery room swung open.
The doctor appeared at the door, saying"It was a very complex operation but both your wife and child survived. Congratulations!"

The man, crying with joy, rushed into the delivery room.

However, what he saw inside was his wife lying dead in a pool of blood on the operating table, and his child who had dropped dead on the floor.

"April Fools!!"shouted the doctor behind him.

The Children Upstairs

This is a story I heard from my friend at university. A man (we call him "K") got whiplash in a car accident and decided to convalesce at home for a week. K was married but his wife was also working, so he was all alone during the day. For the first few days he enjoyed the freedom, but when the third day came boredom began to set in. Still he had to stay in because his injury kept him from going anywhere.

Then one day past lunchtime he was watching TV absentmindedly when he heard heavy stamping noises and children's voices from upstairs. He didn't pay much attention to it, although he wondered if they were on a school holiday. The next day he again heard the same children's voices, around the same time as the previous day. It sounded like they had two children up there. The place where K lived was a large apartment block but inspite of that it tended to be very quiet during the day; the children's voices, therefore, echoed loudly in contrast to the quietness of the surrounding. K however did not feel annoyed, but was rather glad of the distraction and a break it gave him from the eerie silence.

The next day K, feeling bored and not motivated enough to cook lunch, ordered some pizza. The pizza, which arrived within 30 minutes, turned out to be too much for K that he left one whole pizza untouched. Usually he would keep any left-overs for his wife but this time he remembered about the children upstairs and, willing to do something kind, he decided to take the pizza to them.

K had no idea who the occupants of the room upstairs were but rang the bell on the door anyway. He heard something stir inside, but there was no answer. He rang the bell again. He felt someone was looking at him through the peephole. "Who is it?" A faint voice called out from behind the door.
K explained he was from the room below and that he had some pizza left from his lunch and wondered if they wanted it. The door opened a crack. It looked unusually dark inside the room. From the gap about 5 cm wide a woman appeared, revealing only half of her face. "Thank you very much. But we don't want it," the woman said coldly. It was a little too dark to discern her facial expression. K suddenly felt he was somehow out of place, like he shouldn't be there; however he tried to explain to her that he wanted her to give the pizza to the children.

A lukewarm air breezed out of the door. He smelt an unpleasant odour. In an instant two children's faces lined up below the woman's face. The door was open still just a crack. The dull eyes of the children stared at him. The three faces were forming a line.
"I see…. then… I will accept your kindness." The woman said. When K put the pizza box through the gap a hand reached out right from the side and snatched it away.

The three faces were still staring at K. "Thank you….." He heard the faint voice again. K quickly left the place. He felt spooked. In the corner of his mind he sensed something was seriously wrong. The image of the children's faces had left a burning impression in his mind. Faces….. He felt a chill down his spine. Faces…they were forming a line… His pace quickened. He wanted to get away as fast as he could. He waited for the lift but it would not arrive. Forming a line….vertically….on top of each other….. He pressed the button again and again, but the lift still did not come. He turned to the emergency stairs. His head throbbed with pain. He began to feel nausea.

Just as he opened the heavy door leading to the emergency stairs, he felt eyes on his back. Turning around, he glimpsed, about ten metres from him, the same three faces looking at him from the corner of the corridor. Like before, they were showing only the half of their faces and staring at him with their dull eyes. The cold day light shining through the windows illuminated their faces.

No longer caring about his neck he frantically ran down the stairs. Although the health-conscious K often used stairs instead of lift and could even run up four floors in one go, he felt as if no matter how fast he ran he would never reach the ground floor. Faces lined up, on top of each other….that's impossible…that means there are…no bodies……and the strange things I saw behind the faces were…hands…..holding up the heads……

He ran into the nearest convenience store and asked the people there to call the police.
The police came, and searched the flat - and found the bodies of the mother and children in the bath tub. These bodies were headless.

According to their findings, it had been three days since the heads had been chopped off the bodies.
And the husband, who turned out to be the murderer, was found hiding in the wardrobe - insane. He insisted his family was still alive. There was a terror in his eyes; the police did not know the source of his terror.

Uba Yo Sare

A man woke up in the middle of night to go to bathroom. He got up and groped his way to the door in the dark. He was about to open it when someone knocked it three times from the other side. This was strange, since he lived alone in the house. He thought he must have a friend staying over without remembering it, as such things often happened after a night of drunken revelry. He therefore opened it without much concern.

But instead of a familiar face of his friend, he saw a strange old woman dressed in kimono, with a bent back and downcast eyes, standing still in the doorway. Her face was unusually pale.

And the old woman, without words, took him away to some faraway place, and the man was never seen again.

If you have read this story, you may have a visit from the same old woman within three days. If you hear the knocks three times in the middle of night before you open a door, do not open it immediately, but chant the word "Uba-Yo-Sare" three times. This will make the malicious old woman go away. If you don't follow the instruction, well….. you know what happens.

You are not the One

Late one night after working overtime in an office, a man called F picked up a taxi. The taxi driver was a friendly man, and for a while they merrily chatted away.

Sometime later the taxi began to climb up a dark hill. Now woods surrounded them on both sides and there was no other car around.
Then the taxi driver suddenly said to F in a serious tone of voice, "Listen. In this place you mustn't look outside the windows. Got it?"

F was perplexed at the driver's abrupt change of mood and "Yes.."was all he could reply.
The taxi drove on through the woods. F began to feel uneasy and asked the driver, "Why shouldn't I see outside?" But the driver didn't respond. F was getting spooked.
It was just then he heard a strange groan coming from outside the window beside him. F was startled and looked at the window in spite of himself.
Then he saw, spread out on the window, a large, angry face. When it saw F, it cried, "You are not the one!"

F lost consciousness immediately and could not remember what happened afterwards. Apparently on that road on the hill there was a hit-and-run accident not long ago which had left one man dead, and the killer was still at large. Since then the dead man had been appearing on the road every night, looking for his killer.

The Big Head-O

A few years ago I suddenly remembered about a village I once visited. It was a friendly little village I discovered by chance while travelling alone. I stayed there overnight and received a most heart-warming welcome. For some reason I don't know, I felt an urge to go there again.

I have good memory and was pretty confident that I remembered the way to get there. Once near the village I spotted a familiar sign post from my car; which, if my memory was right, should have read "___km to __(the village's name)." But strangely enough all there was on the sign were the words "The Big-Head O". I had a bad feeling when I saw it but still decided to drive on.

When I arrived at the village I found it deserted and the buildings were covered in weeds. I was deeply puzzled and was about to get off the car when I saw, about 20 metres ahead of me, something that looked like a human with a very large head looming out of the bushes.
What? What is this? While I was trying to understand what was going on I saw other similar creatures coming out all around me; moreover, they started to come after me moving in a grotesque manner, with their arms lying still against their sides and their large heads swinging side to side…

I was glad I hadn't left the car.
I let the car run backwards at lightning speed and joined the main road. Afterwards I checked my map but the location of the village I visited a few years ago and the place I went on that day were unmistakeably one and the same. However I don't think I will dare to go there ever again.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Klingerman Virus

There have been 23 confirmed cases of people attacked by the Klingerman Virus, a virus that arrives in your real mail box, not your e-mail in box.

Someone has been mailing large blue envelopes, seemingly at random, to people inside the US.

On the front of the envelope in bold black letters is printed, "A gift for you from the Klingerman Foundation."

When the envelopes are opened, there is a small sponge sealed in plastic. This sponge carries what has come to be known as the Klingerman Virus, as public health officials state this is a strain of virus they have not previously encountered.

When asked for comment, Florida police Sergeant Stetson said, "We are working with the CDC and the USPS, but have so far been unable to track down the origins of these letters.

The return addresses have all been different, and we are certain a remailing service is being used, making our jobs that much more difficult."

Those who have come in contact with the Klingerman Virus have been hospitalized with severe dysentery. So far seven of the twenty three victims have died. There is no legitimate Klingerman Foundation mailing unsolicited gifts.

If you receive an oversized blue envelope in the mail marked,"A gift from the Klingerman foundation", DO NOT open it. Place the envelope in a strong plastic bag or container, and call the police immediately.

The "gift" inside is one you definitely do not want.

An "A"

A professor who was famous for his creative exam questions handed out the final exam to his students. The exam had only one question, "What is Courage?" The only A given on that particular exam was to a quiet young man who wrote simply: "This is," and promptly shot himself in the head with a revolver after handing in his paper.

Turkey

A young couple had to resort to a new babysitter one night because their regular sitter was ill. The girl came highly recommended, but the couple were a little put off when she arrived and they discovered she was a hippie. Being a young and open minded couple, they decided to go ahead on to the theater, but would call and check on the baby and the sitter during intermission.

When they called the sitter told the woman everything was "groovy" and she'd even stuffed and roasted the turkey for a nice dinner. The woman told her husband and it occurred to her that she didn't think they'd had a turkey. When they got home, they were shocked to find the babysitter lying on the floor staring blankly into space, tripped out on acid or something. They panicked and looked all over for the baby, but it was nowhere to be found until they came upon it in the kitchen, roasted and partially eaten, filled with stuffing, wrapped in foil.

Baby Sitting

A young couple were waiting impatiently to leave on their first vacation since the baby was born but the woman's aunt, who would be babysitting was thirty minutes late. The young woman called her elderly aunt to find out what was going on, and the old woman apologized for her forgetfulness, and said she'd speed right over.

Since the aunt was only a couple miles away, the couple decided they'd go ahead and go rather than wait for her and risk missing their flight. Two weeks later when the couple returned they were horrified to find the baby still in it's high-chair where they'd left it, except now it was dead and bloated, covered with flies. The aunt really had sped, and unfortunatly crashed and died before she made it over.

A Deadly Phone Call

One of the Ball Brothers, of the canning jar family, had a great fear of being buried alive. He had a telephone installed in his tomb so he could call out if this happened to him. A few days after he died some of his wife's family got worried because they could only get a busy signal on her phone.

Upon entering her home, they found her dead, a look of fright frozen on her face, clutching the phone. When they went to entomb her after the funeral a couple of days later, the phone inside the crypt was off the hook.

The Gallery

About 15 years ago, I was attending university outside of London. The school is famous for its art gallery that draws visitors from all over England. My final exams were given in a cavernous hall with dozens of enormous oil paintings covering the walls, from floor to ceiling.

I noticed that one painting hanging to my right had been covered with a large British flag. Although I didnt think much of it at the time, I asked several of the 3rd year students if they knew anything about it and they told me the following story.

Apparently, the university had always given exams in this hall because it was the largest building on campus. A number of years ago, there was one student who could not concentrate on his final exams. He just kept staring at a certain painting, oblivious to everything around him. He stared and stared at this one particular painting.

While everyone else was scribbling down answers, he took two of his sharpened pencils, inserted them into his nose and slammed his head into the desk. The pencil tips penetrated straight into his brain, killing him instantly.

Ever since then, there has always been one painting in the gallery that is covered up during final exams. I went into the gallery one day to see the painting, and it is a portrait of a British nobleman from the 19th century. It is utterly unremarkable except for the fact that his eyes stare straight back at you the kind of painting that follows you wherever you move.

The only certainty in this story that I can vouch for is that every years hundreds of students shuffle into the hall to take their final exams and try, against all instincts and urges, to keep from continually glancing up at the British flag hanging from the wall above them.

The Old School

There is this school that is in Danvers Massachusetts. Legend has it that it was actually built right over the real place where they buried the witches who were killed in the Salem witch trials. It used to be a part of Olde Salem. It is a school for people studying to be vets, plant nursery workers, etc., so there are a lot of animals and plants there.

A lot of strange things happen and a lot of people get hurt. Animals will get spooked by something no one else can see. People will be working with a plant and then it looks as though someone has stepped on it when no one else is there. People have also said they have been walking in a really warm spot and then it just get's cold. And people have seen things…like balls of light floating around in dark areas, doors that fly open even if they are locked, windows that open and shut and the blinds on the windows that have been pulled have been known to come flying up.

The worst thing that happened was when one of the students, he was a Senior, was standing alone near the window on the third floor of the building. Suddenly he started screaming "Leave me alone! I didnt do anything wrong! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!!"

A teacher ran out of a nearby classroom and saw him swing his fists at the air, and then it seemed as though he was lifted up off of the floor and he went flying out the window. He didn't survive the fall and the doctors had said he died before he had hit the ground.

The teacher claims that in the moments she witnessed, she saw a reddish flash out or the corner of her eye, but when she looked directly towards the source of the light, nothing was there.

No other strange deaths have occurred here, but weird things still happen. Now there is a mental house, and a police station, IN the school.

Not a Prank

In the town of Frederica, Delaware, a 42-year-old woman, perhaps distraught by the fact that she lived in Delaware, hung herself from a tree near a busy road on a Tuesday night. The body managed to hang there until the next day and was viewed by many unwitting (or perhaps retarded) spectators before somebody realized it wasn't a decoration and finally called the police.

Elmer McCurdy

Back in 1976, a camera crew filming an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man began to set up in the haunted house at the Nu-Pike Amusement Park in Long Beach, California.

As they were moving aside a "hanging man" prop, they accidentally knocked off its arm and discovered human bones inside. Bionic, this poor sap wasn’t.

The story gets stranger. The body was actually that of criminal mastermind Elmer McCurdy, who was killed in a shootout after robbing a train in 1911. The princely sum old Elmer got killed for? $46 (and two jugs of whiskey).

McCurdy was embalmed by the local undertaker, and apparently the guy was so darn pleased with his work that he propped up the corpse in the funeral home as evidence of his skills. People were charged 5 cents to see the corpse, which they paid by dropping a nickel in the cadaver’s mouth. Remember that little bit of history the next time somebody turns their nose up at you for liking Hostel 2.

Think it can’t get any stranger? Oh, you na├»ve fool. After several years of raking in the nickels (how exactly these coins were retrieved after being dropped into the corpse’s mouth is something probably best left to the imagination) our enterprising undertaker’s scheme was ruined when McCurdy's brothers showed up to claim him. Of course, these guys weren’t his brothers at all, but wily carnival promoters. From that point on, McCurdy’s mummy went on a morbid mystery tour all around America, popping up at carnivals all over the country before finally coming to rest in Long Beach.

McCurdy is now buried in Oklahoma. Because McCurdy apparently had the most entertaining corpse in history, they prevented anyone else from taking him on tour by dumping concrete on top of the casket. No, really.

Tunnels

Outside Clifton NJ, there lies a set of average looking tunnels. However, those that plan to go exploring there are warned by the locals to bring a crucifix and a bible. Local folklore has it that those tunnels are the Gates Of Hell and are guarded by an entity named Red Eyed Mike. Sources tell of stones that were tossed in being shot back at them, and at least one person has been found strung up at the entrance by the ankles in the sign of the reverse cross, his innards eviscerated.


The Casket

In the Cleveland Museum of Art's permanent collection, and currently on loan to the Getty Museum of Art in Los Angeles, is a small boxwood casket that dates back to Anglo-Saxon England, around the year 1050. On the sides and top of the casket, several scenes from the life of Christ are depicted.

The casket was purchased by an English art collector in 1929, though it was without its lid, which was presumed lost. In 1936, that same collector happened upon the lid for the casket purely by chance while he was visiting a London convent. He eagerly offered to buy the lid, but the abbess of the convent refused to listen, hastily removing the collector from the premises without a word, and bolting the door after he was outside. The collector later recounted in his journal that "it was miraculous fortune that rain chose to fall that night, as the thunder and lightening served to obscure the arduous task of breaking in to [the convent] and rescuing that most precious artifact. Why those nuns chose to sully such a find by imprisoning it behind thick glass where none could see it, I shall never understand."

When the collector reunited the casket with its lid, he reported that it "clicked shut with a surprising amount of force, almost like a magnet." He was unable to separate the lid from the casket again, as he feared damaging the fragile artifact.

The casket changed hands several more times before ending up in the CMA's collection. Interestingly, photographs of the casket taken shortly after its acquisition differ slightly from current photographs and observation of the casket, though little restoration work has been done due to the frailness of the materials. The carvings on the casket have become "more realistic and sharply defined," according to published works in the CMA's Ingalls Library unavailable to the public. Also, the casket itself apparently "generates a great amount of heat" and must be handled with asbestos-treated gloves. One researcher noted that she heard a "strange rattling noise inside the casket as it was transported… Attempts have been made to open the casket, and none have been successful."

Holding my hand

Something makes me open my eyes. I can see my alarm clock clearly from across the room. 2:43 AM. Dammit. I close my eyes again, but something still isn't right. I don't have to piss. Maybe if I turn over. Then I feel it.

Someone is holding my hand.

I sleep on my stomach, with my arm hanging off the side of the bed. Now I'm awake, wide awake, and someone is holding my left hand.

The hand is cold, far too cold for a night in August. It holds my hand lightly, but with force. My fingertips are pressed against thin, clammy skin, like frozen poultry. Though I can't see them, it seems like the fingers are longer than they should be, wrapping much farther around my hand than should be possible. I feel ragged fingernails touching my palm. How many? Six? Seven?

I should yell in surprise, but I don't move. Somehow the room is darker than it was before. I am completely still. I hear the faint buzz of my alarm clock, but I can't make out the numbers any more.

The hand moves. It grips me tighter.

I black out.
I awaken at my usual time, piss, and shower as always. But after my shower, I just cannot seem to get my left hand dry.

Happy Meals

The McDonald's Happy Meal was introduced in 1977. One of the original toys available with the meal was a small plastic tumbler with Ronald McDonald on the side. Children who drank from these tumblers allegedly suffered varying effects including hallucinations, emotional and physical outbursts, blisters around the mouth, and increased physical strength. A 5-year-old girl from St. Louis, Missouri reportedly was able to "toss… a car with such force that several pedestrians [were] critically injured…" No person over the age of fourteen was affected by drinking from the tumblers.

Most of these tumblers were either destroyed by McDonald's franchises or otherwise lost. Every few years one of the tumblers will show up on eBay, but the auction is usually deleted from the system within minutes of being posted.

The Odd Homeless Man

"He was sitting across from me on the 7:50 bus to midtown. I'd never seen him before, but I usually had my iPod with me, for the express purpose of not having to look at people. He was wearing the generic uniform of the homeless person, coats atop coats, nothing fitting exactly. His eyes fixed on the middle distance as he mumbled something to himself.

He seemed not to acknowledge the fact that I was staring at him, or that no one else on the bus noticed him at all. His mouth worked ceaselessly, words falling out, unheard and unheeded.

Just as I moved to pull the stop line, he jerked upright and looked directly at me.

I was pinned. His eyes were bloodshot and dry. He seemed to be drawing closer, though I was sure neither of us moved. His rapid mouth-breathing poured into my ears like saltwater. As his eyes came ever closer to my face, I saw that they were not real eyes, they were wooden. Painted pupils and irises from a carnival catalog. His lips were impossibly dry, cracked and peeling. Inside his mouth there was no tongue. A knot of cobweb and dust, strung through his teeth yet still elastic. An oddly pleasant smell. Darkness.
He was still mumbling as I left the bus. I never saw him again."

Perpetual Motion

Many individuals and organizations have attempted to construct a perpetual motion machine, i.e. an engine that requires no external energy to keep itself running. A subdivision of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has actually succeeded in engineering and building several of these devices, each with different design schemes. Unfortunately, each device to date has proven unable to run for more than several seconds, quickly succumbing to the physical force generated from its operation and literally tearing itself apart. Interestingly, most people present at test runs of these devices report experiencing severe migraine headaches for up to a week afterwards.

The Bassist

In the originally broadcast footage from the first appearance of the Beatles on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1964, an unidentified man can be seen playing bass guitar, standing behind and to the right of Paul McCartney. The man looks toward the floor for the entire performance, obscuring his features. Interestingly, a similar man can be seen playing bass guitar behind Ray Manzarek during the Doors' broadcast footage from 1967. These men have been edited out of all subsequent broadcasts of both performances, for unknown reasons.

Crayons

In 1962, the popular crayon manufacturer Crayola was forced to change the name of its "Flesh" color to "Peach". Many people believe this was a response to the civil rights movement, but that is only partly accurate. In reality, Crayola was running out of skin donors.


Micheal Beadle

A man named Michael Beadle lives in a rural town in western Kansas. A local law dictates that Beadle must wear earplugs twenty-four hours a day, every day. A copy of this same law is on the books in the Department of Defense. Some of Beadle's neighbors claim to have seen lights and strange patterns in the sky over his house.

Calenders

A series of Norman Rockwell wall calendars can be bought at a certain gift shop in New Hampshire. Several dates are missing from each of these calendars; for example, July 12th, August 24th, and most of the month of April. It is unknown whether the same dates are missing from all of the calendars. Reportedly, a calendar on display during one of the "missing" dates will emit a foul odor, and the Norman Rockwell painting of the month will change slightly.

Sky Scrapers

The Home Insurance Building, built in 1885 and demolished in 1931, was widely considered to be the world's first skyscraper, and for good reason. Several days before the building opened to the public, William LeBaron Jenney, the building's architect, took a stroll on the roof. As he looked across the then-diminutive Chicago landscape, he yawned and stretched his arms above his head, unexpectedly bumping something above him. Jenney was not standing near any roof structures at the time.

He extended his hand upward and came into contact with a "transparent, glass-like surface, warm to the touch." His hand left smoky handprints that quickly disappeared from this mystery surface, and he scratched off some of the material with his fingernail, reporting that it was "dense, but weightless, and ha[d] a pleasant aroma." When Jenney returned to the roof with several others to verify his claims, he could not locate the mystery surface again.

Jenney did not return to the roof of the Home Insurance Building until five years later, when two stories were added to the building's original ten stories. He once again searched for the mystery surface, with no luck. Before leaving the roof for what would be the last time, Jenney felt "an odd sensation of being watched."

Pregnant

Since before I could remember, I’ve wanted to be a mother. It seemed my whole childhood and teenager years were spent yearning for a child of my own. By the time I was nine, I had names–and color schemes for the nursery–picked out. All I needed was someone to make them with. But college was disappointing. I went through a whole string of bad boyfriends and bad father material. Getting on with my career didn’t seem to help much. I realized, though–when I was twenty-seven, and there were no suitable prospects on the line–that, technically, I did not need a man to have a child with. Just a very particular product of his. I found a sperm donor bank, chose the best prospect they had, got out my turkey baster and… well… hoped for the best.

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

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

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

Just one more week until my due date.

I just wish it would stop gnawing.

The Army of the Dead

A laundress, newly moved to Charleston following the Civil War, found herself awakened at the stroke of twelve each night by the rumble of heavy wheels passing in the street. But she lived on a dead end street, and had no explanation for the noise. Her husband would not allow her to look out the window when she heard the sounds, telling her to leave well enough alone.

Finally, she asked the woman who washed at the tub next to hers. The woman said: “What you are hearing is the Army of the Dead. They are Confederate soldiers who died in hospital without knowing that the war was over. Each night, they rise from their graves and go to reinforce Lee in Virginia to strengthen the weakened Southern forces.”

The next night, the laundress slipped out of bed to watch the Army of the Dead pass. She stood spell-bound by the window as a Gray fog rolled passed. Within the fog, she could see the shapes of horses, and could hear gruff human voices and the rumble of canons being dragged through the street, followed by the sound of marching feet. Foot soldiers, horsemen, ambulances, wagons and canons passed before her eyes, all shrouded in Gray. After what seemed like hours, she heard a far off bugle blast, and then silence.

When the laundress came out of her daze, she found one of her arms was paralyzed. She has never done a full days washing since.

The Meteor

In 1990, a small meteorite was sighted in the night sky by the Hubble telescope. It appeared to be on a collision course with earth, but calculations showed that it was far too small and moving far too slowly to be a threat to our home planet.

In 1997, the long-forgotten meteorite entered the atmosphere.

It did not burn away, as scientists predicted; it barely even grew warm. Even so, it landed without drawing much attention on the outskirts of a village in the middle of Africa, on the edge of the Sahara.

Three months later, a safari expedition vanished while en route through the jungle. They never reached their checkpoint, within walking distance from the desert.

A research team in 1998 happened on the impact crater of the meteorite by chance. They detected high levels of radiation in the crater, though they could not identify what element had caused it. They drove to the nearby village to warn the locals of the danger, but the settlement was completely empty.

Not a soul nor a body could be found for miles around. The only evidence of life left, current or past, were the long-abandoned grass huts, and a great number of footprints leading into the sands of the Sahara. None of the footprints could be matched against any living creature on record.

The Devil's Circle

There exists a spot in all forests, called “The Devil’s Circle” which is ubiquitous and yet nowhere at the same time. You may find it one day, for it to be gone the next. The spot is nothing more than a circle of evenly spaced stones, however, nothing lives inside of these stones-it is just barren dirt. During the day, it’s OK to touch it, and even stand within the circle. If you plant something in it, the next day it will be dead.

The real secret to the circle is if you put someone’s hair within it. Then the next day, they will die. Perhaps they die mysteriously in their sleep, or maybe even a car accident. However, in doing so, you give up your soul to the devil.

You ask yourself now “Is this true?”, but the more important question you must ask is, “Is it worth it?”

The Reanimated Corpse

Somewhere in the middle of the Desert in Nevada, there’s a place where, if you look to the west at sunset you’ll be able to make out a tiny, house-shaped structure in the far distance, Wait for the sun to set completely and then you must WALK straight towards that structure without deviating.

As the night wears on, you will hear groans and cries of pain in the distance. Ignore them. You must continue to move towards where you saw the building. The night will seem much longer than any normal night, but if you continue walking until the sun comes up again behind you, you’ll find yourself suddenly in front of a battered, dusty shack. Inside, you will find no windows or doors (including the one you just came though) and in the center of the room will be a body. Reports of the decay vary from recently dead to a skeleton with clothes.

You might recognize the clothes or possibly the face. This body is yours. You can inspect it for as long as you dare. Check it for wounds or clues to your death… check its pockets for clues about your future if you wish. But you must figure out how to leave the room and do it before your corpse awakens. If you make it out of the room, you’ll find yourself back at the edge of the desert where you started. But if your corpse stirs before you can find the way out, you’ll be trapped in that room for eternity while your corpse is allowed to roam free. What does a corpse do with a second chance at life, you ask?

Well, remember those groans and cries you heard crossing the desert? A reanimated corpse has to eat, too…

The Believers

Belief is a powerful thing. Well, not your belief: your opinions couldn’t be less important. But there is someone, and there always has been someone, who can control the universe by his powers of belief. You see, at any given moment the universe is controlled by what one particular man believes. All things, right down to the laws of physics, are subject to instantaneous change as soon as one dies and another is chosen.

Amelia Earheart?

Disappeared when the new Believer couldn’t fathom a female aviator. Ever wonder why Newton’s seemingly obvious laws of motion took so long to come around? Well, for thousands of years all the Believer’s put their stock in Aristotle’s physics. Believers don’t even know about their powers, and it is flat out impossible to tell who is one.


The Day Everything Clicked

The great geniuses throughout history had one startling thing in common, they all went through a day where everything clicked, everything seemed to make sense, and everything they did from that day on was perfect. This is a very rare phenomenon, but cherish it if it happens to you.

There is an opposite side to this coin, however, where one will have a day that is so devoid of feeling, so depraved, that every day from that point on they will be slowly deteriorating into a physical manifestation of pure insanity. If you start to have one of these days, kill yourself immediately, for after 24 hours you won’t be able to die. You’ll just roam the world getting worse and worse…


What's in the Darkness?

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

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

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

The Black Stone

In 1653, Spanish explorers found the ruins of what appeared to be a Mesoamerican step pyramid in what is modern South Carolina. Though the site was far beyond the borders of any known American indigenous populations, it was also of a smaller size than existing Mesoamerican structures and bore an unrecognized form of glyphic decoration. Local natives were familiar with the structure but knew nothing about it.

The Spaniards sought to disassemble the building as a heathen relic and did so, brick by brick, salvaging the materials to construct their own nearby settlement. Deconstruction halted, however, when one brick was uncovered at the core of the structure, carved entirely of black glass. The stone, approximately two feet by three, was impossible to move or even budge by any man or animal.

Attempts were made to dig the stone out from beneath, but excavation revealed that it extended indefinitely into the earth. In frustration, the captain of the explorers fired a glancing blow off of the surface of the stone. The obsidian block was undamaged, but moments after the blow had struck, it silently retracted downwards, sliding downward into a hole that quickly collapsed inward on itself, burying the retreating obsidian column.

The Spaniards interpreted this as an evil omen and abandoned the site, never to return.

The House of Mirrors

In the heart of Washington, there’s a house that used to be owned by a family of five. Nobody really knows what happened to them. Their neighbors at the time say that there were no signs of weirdness or fear in the family. The common testimony is that one day there was nothing wrong. The night that followed, there were very loud noises coming from the house, and although people in the area came to investigate what was keeping them up, the windows were blocked by millions of post-it notes, and the windows would not break. The following day, the house was empty.

Nobody has lived in that house since. But people have gone inside. In every bedroom, there is a mirror facing the corner of the room. If you turn it around, it won’t show your reflection. The area you’ll be standing in will be empty. They say that on the rare occasion, you’ll see the person who used to sleep in that room, mutilated and bandaged from head to toe.

The Classified Ad

Every year, for an unknown number of years, an ad is published in the New York Times Classifieds section. The advertisement is short and lists a seemingly mundane household appliance: a refrigerator, a vacuum, a piece of furniture. A select number of people in the U.S., and indeed the world, search for this advertisement, which contains three keywords seemingly unusual for a simple ad. Once found, these people wait exactly one week for a second ad in the NY Times, also ostensibly a normal–if strangely worded–ad, but combined with the first, provide both a code key and message.

The code, when completed, is a series of numbers, which correspond to the Washington, D.C. Yellow Pages, and page number, column, letter number, etc., and this in turn creates a text message. The text of the message is vague, but contains the following information: soon, a gathering will be held in Washington, D.C. The searchers are instructed to bring a fellow guest to accompany him/her to the gathering. The destination is a very old hotel in Georgetown, a establishment dating back to the time of the founding fathers.

Sometimes searchers are instructed to bring a scientist, such as a physicist or biologist. Other years the instructions are to bring along an engineer or a doctor; the requested person is always a professional of some kind.

The seekers and their guests are admitted to the restaurant on the appointed night only after giving a password, also in the message, to the masked maitre’d waiting at the entrance. What follows after that is unclear and there are conflicting accounts. The general consensus is that the seekers are rewarded for solving the puzzle, and are made wealthy for the rest of their lives, provided they remain silent about what they discovered. The fate of the professionals is unknown.

The Antarctic Bar

At the bottom of a 50-meter high glacier, exactly two kilometers from Antarctica, lies the frozen remains of a long-forgotten civilization. The exact location of the glacier is unknown, only that it is two kilometers from the shore of Antarctica. Upon finding said glacier, one is to approach it on the snowbank and touch the side of the ice with the palm of their hand. The important thing here is to touch it with your bare skin. If you hold your hand on the ice for 5 minutes then speak the words, “I see and believe.” you will seemingly disappear from existence, your whole life erased from memory and transcripts. What happens next, you are in a rather swanky 80s cocktail bar, but there are a few stipulations: You must live the next 50 years in this bar; you are granted 5 free drinks from the bartender, no more. If you attempt to break the quota of drinks, you are immediately executed on the spot by the rather brawny bouncers. If you manage to wait the whole 50 years, you will reappear in your original life, and granted one single wish, which you must take immediately on your return. Needless to say, very few have actually waited the 50 years.

Polybius

In Portland, Oregon in 1981, an unheard-of new arcade game appeared in several suburbs, something of a rarity at the time. This game was called “Polybius”. The game proved to be incredibly popular, to the point of addiction, and queues formed around the machines, quickly followed by clusters of visits from men in black. Rather than the usual marketing data collected by company visitors to arcade machines, they collected some unknown data, allegedly testing responses to the psychoactive machines. The players themselves suffered from a series of unpleasant side-effects — amnesia, insomnia, nightmares, night terrors, and suicide appearing as having been caused by the game in various versions of the legend. Some players stopped playing video games, while it is reported that one became an anti-gaming activist.

The Mission

There are exactly 17 people on this earth fated to kill you. If you somehow manage to avoid these 17 people during your lifetime, you are taken to a place of monumental beauty where you are stripped of all clothing and branded on the space just above your navel with a name. When you are sent back to earth, it’s your mission to kill the person branded on you.

One of Them

Any night, around 10 or 11 pm, take yourself to a flat, open area where you can walk in a straight line for two minutes or so without running into anything. Once there, face in the direction you plan to walk, with your arms at your sides and your hands relaxed. Close your eyes, and take a deep breath. At precisely 11:09 and 20 seconds, start walking. Be sure to take one step every second, no more, no less. Do not open your eyes, and do not hesitate. Count your steps in your head as you go. On the one hundred and eleventh step, say the word “One” out loud, and stop. Your breath will catch in your throat, and your hair will stand on end. For the next ten seconds, you will be unable to move a single muscle in your body, no matter how hard you try. After these ten seconds, you will be able to move and breathe again – however, you will then start to feel the sensation of cold metal claws seizing each of your fingers by the base and plucking them clean off of your hand. It will not hurt. You will surely be horrified, but do not open your eyes, and do not move. If you move or open your eyes, all that anyone will ever find of you is your two fingerless hands, severed cleanly at the wrist. Once the claws have stopped, and all of your fingers have been plucked off, stay still for another ten seconds. It may help to count. After these ten seconds have passed, you may open your eyes. You will find that your fingers are still quite firmly attached to your hands. Go home immediately, and go directly to bed. Speak to no one for the rest of the night, and enter no building that you do not consider your home.

The next day, you will have become One of Them. Once per day, as long as there is even a sliver of sunlight, you may point at someone and speak the word “One.” That night, he will face the same trial that you faced. If you see that person the next day, you will know that he, too, has become One of Them. If not, then do not be alarmed if you do not feel hungry the rest of the day.

The Belgian Tribe

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Letters

You were out of town for the weekend. When you came back to your apartment, your mailbox was stuffed full. At least 30 letters. Letters with no return address, several of them felt soggy and heavy, as though they were recently wet, or perhaps contained a liquid. All of the letters have your name and address written on them, and many of them had your name scratched all over them in red in. They don’t smell nice, they smell like rotting meat and old garbage and you’re reluctant to take them back to your room, but curiosity gets the better of you. You manage to cart them all back to your room, you dump them in your kitchenette sink because you don’t want them smelling up the rest of the apartment.

You grab one that doesn’t seem damp and isn’t covered with writing, and open it up. There’s pictures inside. Pictures of people you don’t know, with their eyes torn out, teeth missing, unhinged jaws hanging open, throats ripped out. You’re horrified and yet you can’t help but wonder what’s in the rest of the letters. You open more, and more to discover increasingly gruesome photos of dead people. Piles of bodies with limps missing, splayed open corpses on operating tables with their vital organs removed, hanged bodies that have been gutted and bled dry. Some of the soggy letters had blood and other fluids in them.

The more letters you open, the more you notice that not all of the people are strangers. Some of them were people you see at work, others people you went to high school with. By the time you get to the last few letters, the pictures are of the mutilated bodies of your close friends and family members.

Eventually you reach the last letter. You don’t want to know what’s in it, but it’s not like you have a choice now. You peel the letter open, and it’s a picture of yourself. Not dead, eyes intact, no limbs missing. It’s a picture of you entering your apartment building earlier that day, shortly before you collected your disgusting letters.

As you hear a door elsewhere in your apartment open, you black out.

The Cabinet

Every family in every town in every country on every continent has one. It’s a cabinet, not particularly odd, not out of place. The paint was peeling a bit on the corners and the knob was a bit loose. The inside smelled like dust and the paint wasn’t the same as the kitchen walls.

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

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

But everyone misses you.

Now what was I just doing?

You don’t know it, but someone has been removed from your life. They haven’t died, they haven’t moved, they have simply ceased to be from present future and history. However you still know they were there, you faintly recall broken memories of someone else there, someone who should have been there but you think you’re crazy. You go to do something, but you can’t remember what …

It was them, they wanted to talk to you.

The Tracing

Next time when you’re lying in bed and the moon is new, when you’re at the moment where you’re almost asleep and your eyes are closed…try listening for the sounds. More specifically, sounds that shouldn’t exist in our realm. At this point, you’ll notice the world around you change, but don’t you dare open your eyes or make any movements.

If you lay right where you are, with your eyes closed, you’ll feel something trace a finger, a claw, or perhaps something even worse, across your forehead. The moment it stops tracing, you’ll wake up and it will be morning. Within that new week, you will die.

However, depending on what was traced on your head, you’ll either enter a paradise of a world, or you’ll enter an evil world of torture.

So…do you want to find out what’s on the other side?

A Child's Eyes

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

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

They see the monsters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ever Burning Bulb

In a fire station in California, there is a light bulb that is always on and has never, ever burned out. If you read Numbers 16:41-45 from a King James Bible (other versions don’t work) in the same room as this light bulb, the light bulb will dim significantly. If you keep reading until Numbers 16:48, the light bulb goes back to its original brightness.

The trick is, if you hesitate too long while the lights are dim, you start seeing a weird lightshow in front of your eyes, it is most similar to what happens when you rub your eyes for a long time while they are closed.

If you wait for still longer, the lightshow starts forming patterns, like circles and triangles. Still longer, and the lightshow starts to form words. The people that have read these words are reluctant to talk about it, but are often obsessed with the year 2112 and are very interested in what countries are producing biological weapons…

The Missing Village

In November 1930, Joe Labelle, a Canadian fur trapper, snowshoed into a thriving Eskimo fishing village situated on the shores of Lake Anjikuni in Canada. Labelle was greeted with an eerie silence. He thought this was very strange because the fishing village was a noisy settlement with 2,000 Eskimos milling back and forth to their kayaks. But there wasn’t a soul about. Labelle visited each of the Eskimo huts and fish storehouses but none of the villagers was anywhere to be seen. Labelle saw a flickering fire in the distance and approached it gingerly, sensing something evil was afoot on this moonlit night. Upon the fire was a smoldering pot of blackened stew. To make matters more mysterious, Labelle saw that not a single human track had left the settlement.

Labelle knew something bizarre had happened to the 2,000 people, and so he ran non-stop to the nearest telegraph office and sent a message about his findings to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The Mounties turned up hours later, and they too were baffled by the mass vanishing act. An enormous search party was sent out to look for the missing villagers, but they were never found, and the search party unearthed some strange findings. All the sleigh dogs that had belonged to the Eskimos were found buried 12 feet under a snowdrift at the perimeter of the camp. All of them had starved to death. The search party also established that all the Eskimos’ provisions and food had been left in their huts, which didn’t make any sense at all. Then came the most chilling surprise of all; the search party discovered that all of the Eskimos’ ancestral graves were empty. Whoever or whatever had taken all the living villagers had also dug up the dead as well, even though the icy ground around the graves was as hard as iron.

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

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Black and White Slide

My grandma fell down last year and had to spend time in a nursing home. While she was gone, I was cleaning up old shit she had accumulated around the house so she could get around better, and mom and I could find any important papers.

I found an old (not really old, like 80’s or 90’s) black and white slide. It was of some guy laying in a coffin. Dead, of course. I thought it was creepy because he looked like me.

I asked my mom if she knew who it was. She said “It’s you.” (she was joking) Then she looked at it and her eyes got huge and she started crying and hugged me and said she was sorry she made that joke. I said “It doesn’t look like anyone BUT me, does it?” and she said “no, it really doesn’t.”

Gramma doesn’t remember anything about the slide. I still have it. I shit you not….it looks like me. Just like me.


The Wrong CD

Alone at work late one night, you are putting in a CD to install a program on your computer. The CD is unlabeled though you remember it being labeled like any other mass produced CD.
You put it into the drive, and find it to have no data on it either. Instead of the normal CD spinning sound, it almost sounded like screaming. It’s obviously the wrong CD and you find the real one soon, and continue your work.

Alone again on another night you need to back-up your hard drive on a blank CD, so you put one in. You hear the vaguely familiar screaming noise, but this time your computer screen goes blank for a few seconds, before the entire floor goes dark.

Now the screaming you hear is not coming from a computer drive, it’s coming from down the hall… and it’s getting closer.

The Sumi

There are beings not of this world. They call themselves “The Sumi”. Now that you know - they also know of you.

During WW2, Nazi medium Maria Orsitsch made the first (recorded) successful telepathic contact with them. After years of communication at the behest of her SS superiors she was abruptly taken in 1945 and never seen or heard from since. It has become clear that they view us as little more than lab rats to be studied from afar through means unknown to us, possibly powerful psychic abilities or technology unheard of to date. Anyone who knows about them is now considered a threat to their “tests” and someone or something will be sent after you.

In less than a day, you’ll start experiencing the sensation of not being alone anymore, anywhere. As it gradually homes in on your location through time and space you’ll start to catch its reflection or see its blurred outline becoming gradually clearer over the course of a week. After that it’ll start making physical entry into our reality and in less than a month it’ll grab you and you’ll never be heard from or seen again.

I write this so that someone might find a way to stop them, if only as a last desperate act. God help us all!

The Decaying Mall

There is a dead mall somewhere in Virginia that is in an advanced state of decay. For one reason or another, the mall still stands — there have been several plans, some of them quite elaborate, to revitalise the area, many of them calling for the original building’s demolition…but none of them have ever come to pass.

It is quite a shame, a sorry thing to look at today. In its heyday in the 1970’s and early 80’s, the mall was jampacked, the place to be on the weekends, especially Saturday nights. It was upscale, fashionable, and always a happy place to go.

Years went by, and bigger, better malls opened around the city. The mall slowly started losing tenants, until today it is completely empty. If you go in it nowadays, you will be astounded by the vast emptiness — every step you make and every word you speak will echo loudly. Where once scores of people did their shopping, met for lunch, and got together, there is now only eerie silence. Over the years, the happy, upbeat feeling of the place has darkened, more and more, until now many people avoid it — but can never tell you exactly why.

The story would end here, were it not for a very curious rumour: it is said on certain Saturday nights throughout the year, something very strange happens. If you go to one of the entrances of this mall, it will be unlocked. Push open the door, and it will give way — and you may enter.

Near a bench right in the entrance will be a shadowy figure — casting a shadow that obscures than the darkness around it. This shadowy figure can be spoken to — call out to it: “I know your secret, and the secrets you keep.” Where once there was shadow, there will appear a face — a radiantly pale, withered old man’s face, with black holes for eye-sockets.

“No,” he will respond in a voice that will be like the slithering of maggots, “for I know yours.”

He will then ask a question — the question will be about your life, or rather a detail about your life, something that happened many years ago. The question he poses will be one you should know the answer to — but so obscure, it will be difficult to answer at first, if you can answer it at all.

You will be forced to answer — you simply won’t be able to respond with “I don’t know”.

If you get the answer right, the shadowy man will thrust a box into your hands, before dissolving back into the darkness. Open the box, and there will be a note, on which will be written the name of the person you were meant to marry or fall in love with. Only rarely is it the person you think it will be.

If you get the answer wrong, your body will be found the morning of the following Sunday, at the entrance to the mall you came in, mutilated and eviscerated so badly no one will be able to identify the body.

The Modern Essenes

There were giants on the earth in olden days, and Methuselah lived to be 969 years old. Is it accurate to dismiss these accounts as fantasy or allegory?

Years ago in my freight-hopping days, I climbed into an open boxcar on a rural siding out in the middle of nowhere and was surprised to see a very old man sitting in a dark corner. We got to talking, and he told me that the perception of time passing was just an artifact of consciousness, and that everything was indeed happening at once.

He said that the ancient Essenes had learned to control time through conscious will, enabling them to live very long - though not quite immortial - lives, and that their descendants, modern Essenes, still walked the earth, blending in with us due to not wanting to call attention to themselves. He said it was impossible for ordinary humans to distinguish a modern Essene, but that cats, with their amplified sensory abilities, could tell almost immediately.

Apparently cats don’t like Essenes very much and the attitude is reciprocated, so an Essene will immediately leave the room upon seeing a cat in it. He further stated that the modern Essenes were hunting him down in order to kill him to suppress this secret, but that he (and I) were “pretty safe” out here on the rails.

Slightly creeped out, I selected another boxcar to spend the night in, in hopes a train would come by the next day, hook up to the cars on the siding and take me somewhere interesting. An hour or two after midnight, I heard a rumble as a passenger train was approaching rapidly on the main track. I watched out the open boxcar door, through a light rain, as the windows and scenes on the passenger train flashed by, and I heard a loud thump as something thrown from the moving train struck the outside of my boxcar. The next morning I got out of the car to stretch my legs and found what had made the thump. it was the body of a cat with its neck broken.

I never saw the old man again.

Don't Worry About it

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

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

“Get out of the house now!”

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

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

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

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

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

“He’s too late to save you anyway.”

Explaining Away

You wake up to a strange scratching at your window. You sit up, and look blankly at your wall, which is in perfect order. You lean slightly to one side and tilt your head to hear the sound better. You realize it's just the tree's leaves scratching your window; after all it's a windy night.

You lay back down, and after about five minutes a tapping noise awakens you once more. You repeat what you just did, you lean over and tilt your head; it's definitely a tapping. For a minute you become paranoid, but you realize that after all it is winter, so a majority of the foliage has died and fallen off; it's just a bare branch hitting your window.

You're just about to lay back down, when you hear a hissing. Of course, it's just the wind blowing through the dead leaves, and the "hissing" is just the leaves rustling among one another.

You laugh to yourself, and lay back down.

But then, you jump straight out of bed in a cold sweat.

You don't have a tree outside your window.