I didn’t imagine it… I’m not fucking insane. My vision may have been distorted as a result of my excessive alcohol consumption, but I know what I saw. I know that it was real, I’ve been sat in a bath full of cold water for the past hour to try and shake the feeling of being covered in blood. Her blood.
– 5 hours earlier –
It must have been about 11pm when I stumbled through my front door. Perhaps ‘stumbled’ is an understatement. I quite literally collapsed from how mentally exhausted I was and all I wanted to do was sleep. It had been exactly 6 months since Hannah went missing and despite my efforts of distracting myself, I knew that it would take more than several vodka shots and the burning sensation that they left in my throat to stop me from thinking about her.
Hannah is my younger sister. She’s an introverted, yet somewhat jittery 16 year old that always looks unsettled – which is why I don’t believe that she ran away. No, she was kidnapped.
The last person that saw Hannah on the night of her disappearance was her friend as she was leaving the party that she was at, until I walked into my kitchen and saw her sitting on the floor tonight.…
My friends and I used to do a lot of geocaching after our senior year in high school. For those who don’t know what geocaching is, it’s essentially a worldwide scavenger hunt. People will select sites and conceal a “geo-cache” somewhere unobtrusive, then post GPS coordinates on geocaching websites where other searchers can download the cords and locate the cache. Usually, people who have found the object (often it’s a chest or something hollow) will leave a note or small personal memento for future searchers to find and appreciate.
There are several types of geocaches, and most of them are thematic in nature (i.e. scenic destinations, romantic sites, hard-to-reach areas, etc..) This story begins when my friends and I decided to try a series of purportedly haunted locales within about an hour’s drive of our hometown. It began innocently enough—most of the sites had “spooky” backstories that were, of course, entirely fabricated. So we had a great time scaring the piss out of each other and generally creeping ourselves out.
We’d begun searching after the sun had set to enhance the creep factor, but by around midnight, most of our large group had dwindled off and gone their separate ways. When we reached our last coord, there was just myself, Rebecca, Kevin, and Evan left, and we were determined to knock it off our list.…
The devil on the fiery porch. He was back again that year, the same as he had been for five years running, keeping the majority of Trick or Treaters behind an imaginary line of uneasiness drawn at the edge of the curb with his Hell-red grin and burning cauldrons. It was a scene from Faust, only this was no play; this was my neighborhood.
It wasn’t just kids who lingered apprehensively in the street, but parents as well. In a place where the definition of Halloween was more like cardboard skeletons and plastic jack-o-lanterns, a guy with a penchant for fire and pitchforks could be extraordinarily scary. Really young children were hurried past the residence altogether via lawns on the opposite side of the street, hopefully distracted by candy long enough to save them from the psyche-scarring nightmares certain to result from even the smallest glimpse of him. This left only the few – the brave – to make the journey and collect one of the candy bars given out by the devil basking in the red glow of the doorway.
Trick or Treating in the 1970’s wasn’t the flirt with death that it can be today. At that time, in most suburban settings, people lived in the same house for years and made the effort to get to know their neighbors and their neighbor’s children.…
My eyes struggle to open.
I blink several times, trying to take in my surroundings. A stark white ceiling looms above me. Even from a distance, I can make out the little cracks that scour the surface; hundreds of tiny passages into darkness. Shifting around a bit, I feel the starchy sheets beneath my outstretched hands. They feel stale and unwashed. Unsurprisingly, the rigid mattress beneath me is no more comforting.
I slowly lean up and glance around the room. It’s dimly lit – a single desk lamp rests on a table in the far corner. A few books are strewn across the table’s surface, none of which are recognizable from where I’m sitting. The table looks worn down, as if it’s been there for decades. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice the wall next to me. Its covered in black etches and scribbles. My eyes wander across the remaining walls, but I soon look away. The same markings enshroud the entire room.
I begin to sift through my memories, trying to remember what could possibly bring to me to such a place. But, to my horror, I can recall nothing. Scarce images float to the surface, yet nothing concrete enough to be considered sensible.…
Doctor Avraham Strauss was confused. In a moment of clarity, he questioned why and how he had come to be walking down this particular corridor, in this castle, at this precise time. Red corridor, Colditz Castle, the middle of winter 1942. How could he, as a Jew, even have considered assisting the Nazis in this horrifying experiment? Yet, he could justify it using the fact that no one else would have given him the support or funding for his research. Yes, to the average person it might seem like a crime against nature, but he knew better. He was creating new life. A new race, a new species for whom war and violence would no longer be necessary.
The circumstances of where his laboratory had been located were unfortunate. Schloss Colditz had been appropriated by the Germans and put to use as a high security prisoner-of-war camp for officers who had become security or escape risks or who were regarded as particularly dangerous. Since the castle was situated on a rocky outcrop above the River Mulde, the Germans believed it to be an ideal site for a high security prison.
The larger outer court known as the Kommandantur, had only two exits and housed a large German garrison.…
My eyes are in a ferverous affair with the clock, and my focus is none the wiser. The police dispatcher is pleading for me to humor her inquiries, if for no reason other than to keep my consciousness afloat. It is so late, and today has been so challenging. Nevertheless, I’ll gratify her with my story, because I am really in no mood to tell it again later.
Mariam Cliffington happened into our photo center again today. These visits are becoming relentless, as are the innumerable poorly Photoshopped images on her SanDisk flash drive. Every day it’s the same process. She perches at our photo Kiosk, orders small batches of 5×7 and 4×6 photos, and crones over the photo printer as it squeals its mechanical protests. The unfortunate photo specialist on duty is then scolded by dear old Mariam, as “the color in my son’s face is coming out too pale” and “my granddaughter’s dress looks much too washed out” becomes as recitable as the Lord’s Prayer. The project is then gifted to me, as I am the only one who receives her limited mercy. This is due in part because I am the only one in the store qualified as a professional photo editor.…
I’ve always loved the dark.
It feels warm and welcoming. Like a mask, hiding all the stress and emotion that the daylight shows so explicitly and replacing them with a sensuous feeling. The dark reveals your true nature and abolishes the facade you play during the daytime.
Yes. The dark is good. You can be yourself in the dark and not feel judged or threatened all the while by being yourself.
That’s why I love the night so much. You can just relax in the blackness, surrounded by nothing but shadow. Allowing the dark to overcome your senses and numb them down until you feel nothing at all but complete weightlessness.
Then, when sleep finally takes control, you are thrusted into even deeper darkness. Infinite darkness. Just black empty space. An endless void your mind creates to help you drift off into unconsciousness.
But why? Why is it always black? Have you ever thought about that? Whenever we close our eyes, we are met with black. But why?
You don’t notice it, do you? You don’t think about it. It’s just there. Like breathing, blinking. After a while your subconscious just accepts that when we close our eyes, we see darkness.…
The audience laughed as the young man in the top hat smiled. The trick he had just completed had apparently been more than enough to please the crowd. As the man slowly walked away from the almost blindly bright spotlight, he kept his face focused on the crowd, continuing to smile.
He attempted to focus on specific members, one being a teenager who appeared to be recording the whole thing on his phone, another being a pretty blond girl with particularly lovely blue eyes. Tom realized that this wasn’t helping when he almost tripped on his own feet, and he went back to just smiling and focusing his effort on leaving the stage.
After a few moments, the magician was out of the audience’s sight.
Immediately, he stopped grinning and went to his nearby dressing room.
Once the magician had opened the door, he ducked under the doorway and walked inside the cramped room. Closing the door, he finally let out a sigh. After years of doing the same acts, it was finally starting to tire him out. At this point, he collapsed against the door and sat down for several minutes, thinking.
His thoughts were interrupted by a knocking at the door.…
I don’t know what’s worse, the screams that ended a few weeks ago, or the silence that has fallen since then. Before, I felt like everything should be done to help others. Now, in my self-reflection, I don’t know anymore.
It was like any other day in the city. Sunny, crowded, and busy. I was walking to work at a large national bank, where I recently began an internship. I remember the day well because, besides the obvious fact that the world ended on this day, I had finally convinced myself to talk to the cute secretary across the hall from me. Things just seemed to be going my way that day. I walked to work every day, and the flow of traffic was straight my way. That’s when the alarms sounded.
There was a mass panic, as is expected. I watched as thousands of people ran in hysteria, all going absolutely nowhere. Some of the people ran for the subways, anything deep in the ground. There’s only so many places to go, and as I stated before, people weren’t getting very far. The only option I really had was to follow all those going into the subways. There were some military personnel in the corridor instructing us down the tunnel, wearing full military gas suits like they were equipped for some sort of bio-air attack.…
A true (?) story.
When it all began, I was a lonely seventh grader at a large public school. I had few friends there, and even these “friends” of mine bullied and mistreated me more often then not. So I made my friends at church. At this point in my life, I was deeply religious, even at such a young age. I prayed and read the Bible daily, and my family regularly attended church. However, no matter how much effort I put into my religion, I always felt a great distance between me and God. I could spend all day praying, but every time I tried, I still felt like I was talking to the wall. How could I know He was there at all if I couldn’t see Him, couldn’t hear Him, couldn’t feel Him?
But my father – oh, he could hear God just fine. I knew because he had seen them – seen the Angels.
My father and my mother, still married at this time, disagreed upon many issues, especially religious ones. So as the tension between them grew, my father turned to other sources of fulfillment. He began taking long walks each day, during which he would spend hours praying. …