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The Watcher

by cnkguy
The Watcher

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Growing up, a lot of my friends talked about spending time at their grandparents’ houses, whether during summer vacation or for one weekend. I could never relate, as my mom and dad made a point of never letting me see my grandfather.

Their reasons were legitimate: a vehicular accident before my birth left him bed-bound, and issues with expenses on both ends prevented either of us from traveling the nine-hour distance to see each-other. My parents also said he lived in a “bad neighborhood” they didn’t want me in, and at the time, I believed it.

Maybe the finance thing was an excuse, but the last part wasn’t exactly a lie. I dislike my parents for a lot of reasons, but part of me wants to thank them for keeping me away up until they decided I could no longer live with them.

I distinctly remember arriving at my grandfather’s house for the first time. He lived in a very isolated town, isolated enough to have no internet and barely enough electricity. I was lucky to catch a bus there. The neighborhood was rustic rather than run-down, but everything seemed gray, and the air was always quiet.

As soon as I stepped off the bus and onto the road, a solemn feeling came over me. It was odd, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. I only had to stay for three days before a friend of mine would come to pick me up to live with her, since I didn’t have anywhere else to go with so few connections. That was part of the reason I resorted to contacting my grandfather – most of my friends cut me off after high-school for whatever reason, and neither of my parents had any other relatives. All I needed was a halfway point between me and my future roommate, and despite us never having prior contact aside from a few emails, he was happy to oblige.

My grandfather’s house wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. I was greeted by his carer at the front door, a man in his thirties who exuded normality as well. He took me inside, where the house was sparsely furnished (just enough for a disabled, elderly man and his carer), and escorted me upstairs to see my grandfather. His bedroom had more medical equipment in it than furniture.

He was pale, balding, and was laid up in a bed similar to that of a hospital’s. Still, he greeted me with a smile and had me sit down and talk to him for a long while. Long enough that I only noticed that the carer left when he came back upstairs with a meal cooked for dinner. I wasn’t too keen on conversation, but my grandfather was family, and I would feel bad if I just brushed him off after he took me in.

Hours went by as we ate, and by the time I filled him on my life until that point (or, what I would tell a kind old man), it was eight ‘o clock. The carer took our dishes and left, while I stood from my chair to leave as well. He stopped me as I turned away:

“Oh, Frankie. Before you turn in for the night, there’s something you need to know.”

I turned back to him. “What’s that?”

The expression on his face was grim, and it made my throat tighten. “Make sure you keep the blinds drawn, and past eleven, don’t look out the window. No matter what.”

His advice confused me. That seemed like an odd house rule, but I assumed it had something to do with this place supposedly being a bad area. I nodded and left for the guest room across the hall, which only had an old bed and a dresser. The window was along the same wall as the bed, so that I could see it when I laid down.

The blinds were drawn. I heeded my grandfather’s words and left them alone.

I got ready for bed, but spent most of my time over the covers messing with games on my phone until around 12 A.M. My eyelids started to get crusty, and I decided to put my phone down and actually go to sleep. The silence of the house finally hit me. Back at my parents’ house, there was always the tick of a clock, or the whir of a fan, but here? There was nothing. I figured there would be some noise with the medical equipment, but the walls must have been thick because it was dead silent – until I heard it.

The best way I can describe the sound is a thud, but much softer, like a heavy piece of furniture being placed against the earth with the utmost care. It had a particular rhythm, like footsteps, and sounded like it came from outside. Underneath the covers, I froze. The noise filled me with fear, enough that my heart pounded against my chest and my blood rushed in my ears.

One thought filled my head: there’s something outside, but my grandfather’s words repeated: don’t look out the window. No matter what.

For some reason, I found myself slowly pulling out from under the covers and getting to my feet. I had to see it. I needed to see it. The sound grew louder as it grew closer, and even though I felt a sense of impending doom, I needed to figure out what the fuck was making such an impossible noise. Just a glimpse. A sliver.

I tiptoed carefully to the window, crouched down so that if there was a thing out there, it hopefully wouldn’t notice me. With as slow movements I could manage, I stuck two of my shaking fingers between a slit in the blinds, and took a deep breath before I slipped them open.

Outside, in the street, was a dark mass. It stretched and contorted so much that I couldn’t tell its size, but within it I saw something that looked like eyes. They shifted, and set on me. I don’t know how I could tell, but I felt it as if it were sharp pain in my chest. I let the blinds snap shut and fall back on the floor. I scrambled back away from the window, towards the bed.

Hide.

I followed my instincts, and instead of getting back up in the bed or getting underneath it, I tucked myself in the corner of the room behind its headboard. I curled into a fetal position while my head swam and beads of sweat started to form on my skin. I mentally screamed at myself, I should have listened. I should have listened. I should have listened.

I was going to die.

I heard a click, the sound of the window being opened, but what I saw outside couldn’t have been capable of such a thing. The blinds snapped against something, and a shadow spread across the floor as it entered the room. What I saw outside must have been almost as tall and half as wide as a house, but the shadow it cast snaked into the room with ease. I pressed my hands over my mouth and kept myself quiet, but I was able to see it through a hole in the ornate carvings on the headboard.

What came through the window looked almost like a long neck, but stretched in contorted in ways that made my gut churn. Some kind of grime stained its faceted skin, and the crack and pop of bones sliding against each-other accompanied its movements. The ‘neck’ supported what I can only say is a ‘face,’ but it lacked any features aside from a pair of large, human-looking eyes.

It turned its face in my general direction, and although it didn’t seem to notice me, I suppressed a shiver as its piercing gaze scanned the room. The creature brought a stench with it so horrid that it made my eyes water. It smelt like rotten eggs, blood, and burning rubber all mashed together. I squeezed my eyes shut while my ears rung, and silently pleaded for it to go away.

The nauseating sound of cracking bones continued as it turned its ‘head’ around the room. There was a long pause, with the dead silence returning, and I had to hold down the bile building in my throat from the smell and the sight of it. I think I was crying, but I’m not sure if it was from the odor or out of fear.

I flinched as the cracking started up again, but a wave of relief came over me as the shadow steadily slinked out of the room and back through the window. I remained still until the same gentle thud from earlier resounded through the house, and then another, and then another. Once they faded into the distance, I got to my feet – with my knees trembling – and took a moment to catch my breath and calm my heart as my mind struggled to process what I just saw.

I went back to bed, but I couldn’t fall asleep.

The next morning, I had breakfast with my grandfather in his room like dinner the night before. I had rings around my eyes and looked pale as a ghost. I didn’t want him to find out that I had broken his rule, but my exhaustion kept me from keeping up an act. He looked at me with a grim expression once the carer had taken our dishes downstairs.

“You saw it, didn’t you?”

I pursed my lips and nodded.

He sighed. “Well, I hope you’re satisfied. Don’t do it again.”

“…what was it?”

“I don’t know,” he answered, “…but it’s been here for as long as I have, if not longer. It’s this town’s little secret. It’s…taken outsiders who attract its attention before, and those who provoke it intentionally. They vanish without a trace.”

I gulped. I was close to being one of them. “Why outsiders?”

My grandfather shrugs. “Maybe it’s some sort of guardian over this area. Maybe we’re in its territory and it doesn’t trust new guests. Most of us have lived here for a long time, and can trace our families back a ways, which might be why it leaves us alone.”

A bad neighborhood, I thought to myself. My parents weren’t completely lying.

I promised him not to do it again, and we changed the subject to normal things. For the next two nights, I drowned out its footsteps with headphones in my ears, and tried to keep the image of it making its way into my room out of my head.

 

CREDIT: Jordyn Walker

The post The Watcher appeared first on Creepypasta.

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The Mannequin Farm

by cnkguy
The Mannequin Farm

Reading Time: 22 minutes

I think I’m finally at the point where I’m able to talk about it.
It’s been several years since it happened. None of us – not me, nor my friend, brother, or brother’s friend, who also experienced it – have ever told a living soul, and rarely mention it to each other, but I think it might help to write it down. Then maybe I can finally forget about it.
When it happened, I was a teenager living in Cumbria, which is a region in the north west of England. Specifically, I lived in the Lake District: an area of outstanding natural beauty, which is also very rural, and very popular with tourists. Imagine lurching dark skies, grey brick walls and rugged scenery – mountains, fields, bodies of water – unfolding all around you, and you’ve got The Lake District. In my youth, I would be out on a boat in the height of summer, lazing on the dappled wood in the beating hot sun; I would hike up the toughest mountains in torrential rain to see some of the most beautiful views that exist on this planet. I know I was lucky, and I tried never to be ungrateful. But, as a teenage girl growing up, I always felt a keen sense of isolation from the rest of the world. My family lived – and still live – in a tiny cottage in a tiny village where everybody knows everybody, where there is no privacy at all, and no chance of ever getting away with anything. I went to the local secondary school, but by ‘local’, I mean I had to take a half hour bus ride to get there, and our nearest town was that far away as well. Summers, in my youth, were always long – and lonely.
That’s why it was such an incredible stroke of luck when a girl my own age moved into my village the summer I turned fourteen. My own family consisted of my parents and my younger brother Tom, who, when I was fourteen and he was on the cusp of thirteen, just seemed too immature for words, and spending time with him would only occur as a last resort. By some lucky miracle, the girl also had a younger brother, and on the day they moved in my mum sent us both over to her house to introduce ourselves and bring round some Kendal Mint Cake (kind of a Cumbrian speciality, for those of you not in the know).
The girl – Katie – and I quickly became fast friends. She’d moved up from London after her dad had passed away from cancer, which, obviously, was a difficult adjustment for her for several reasons, and I remember being acutely aware that I had to tread carefully with her. It was just Katie, her brother, Michael, and her mum.
The moment we met I knew I’d like her. She was my age exactly, with a cool sense of style – unkempt hair pulled effortlessly up into a bun, small nose ring glinting from her nostril (a fascination to me, who was not even allowed to pierce my own ears), and she wore a t-shirt for a band I’d never heard of, its symbol a skull and crossbones. She didn’t seem too put off by my own frumpy charity shop clothes and overly friendly (desperate?) demeanour either, which was a huge relief. Her brother, Michael – a small, narrow shouldered kid with very pale skin and an awkward manner – and my own brother hit it off too after starting a conversation about video games, and went trotting off to Michael’s room immediately to play on his Xbox. I sensed the family had money – their house was bigger than ours, and a lot less shabby – and so Michael would probably have a lot of the latest games. After a nervous introduction, Katie and I soon got talking, and we sat in her kitchen swapping stories whilst her mum unpacked boxes around us. She seemed grateful that there was someone her own age in this strange, rural land; I, of course, was ecstatic.
The summer went by in a happy haze: Katie and I spent most days together, wandering down to the lake for a swim, or hanging out in each other’s bedrooms, larking about online or watching movies. Our brothers, likewise, found companionship in each other, and Katie’s mum, who was from the area originally, made a friend in my own mum. When school came, Katie and I rode the bus together, and she assimilated effortlessly into our friendship group (another huge relief, as I’d been concerned that she might be a bit out of our league). I spent a lot of my time trying to please her, making sure that she knew I was as mature as she was – living in London, she’d experienced things I could only dream about – and the effort was tiring, sometimes. But I didn’t want her to move on and find someone more interesting.

My story really begins in the week leading up to the October half term, where Katie had an idea. We’d been friends nearly four months, and I remember that the two of us were in my room one rainy autumn evening, watching a scary film on my laptop (I don’t recall what), whilst trying to decide what I should give Katie for her birthday the following week – she’d suggested concert tickets in London; I’d suggested a rather more affordable bath bomb from a gifty place we both liked. My parents were out of the house for whatever reason, so we were in charge. As the film got to a particularly tense, almost silent scene, we suddenly heard peals of laughter coming from my brother’s room, which regrettably shared a wall with mine. I banged on it with my foot, telling the little pests to keep it down – my brother had reached a deeply troublesome (I thought) stage of development, where his teenage hormones had kicked in and he was no longer the sweet, docile, slightly irritating child I had once known, and had turned into a moody, distant, intensely irritating monster. Of course, my kicking the wall had absolutely no effect, and after a couple of minutes of threatening various abuses through the plaster I decided that I would simply have to go next door and carry out my threats in person.
I burst into his room, thoroughly cranky at this point, to find that it was in pitch darkness. There are few streetlamps in my village, so when I say pitch, I mean pitch. Furrowing my brow, I strained to see through the gloom, and I couldn’t hear a single sound, other than the whir of my brother’s Xbox on the floor. What were they doing? I voiced this to the dark room, but got no response.
Quickly, so quickly I wasn’t sure I saw it, I saw a shadow dart across the room. Even though I knew it was my brother messing around, I couldn’t help but feel the scenes from the horror film still sticking to me – was I sure they’d been in his room? Hadn’t they gone for a walk in the woods at some point? Had it really been them laughing?
I considered this as my hand fumbled around the wall for a light switch when, suddenly, something grabbed my wrist from nowhere – another hand. I screamed, piercingly, and tumbled back out into the hall, only to be greeted by the familiar peals of laughter we’d been hearing all night. Katie ran into the room and threw on the switch to reveal the little darlings huddled in black cloaks in the middle of the room like acne-ridden dementors, falling about in hysterics.
‘That wasn’t very fucking funny!’ I screeched at them, but even Katie was suppressing a smirk. The horror film had got to me, and my brother and his friend had taken full advantage of that. The two boys were still creased over, bundled in their cloaks, as I took my brother’s pillow and proceeded to hit them with it, which only encouraged the laughter.
‘We were just trying to be like old Mr McCreepy!’ Tom said through guffaws.
Who?
‘Who’s Mr McCreepy?’ Katie asked.
‘You must have heard of Mr McCreepy!’ Tom’s eyes were wide, and he nodded at his friend to clarify the obvious.
‘Everyone’s heard of Mr McCreepy,’ Michael sighed at two people he evidently considered imbeciles. ‘He’s that guy who owned the mannequin farm near Kolby village.’
Katie and I looked at each other and shrugged. Kolby village was ten miles away; I’d had no reason to ever go there, and I didn’t know much about it. I didn’t know anything about a mannequin farm, either.
‘He killed a whole load of people there, like fifty years ago,’ Tom interjected. ‘He was this really creepy guy who made mannequins for shops – and probably other things – and he lured all these guys to his house by pretending to be a woman online, then he bludgeoned them to death with an axe.’
‘And then he made mannequins out of their skin!’ added Michael, with glee.
Now, I’m going to pause here to explain that I am not a fan of horror. I don’t do scary stories, creepypastas, any of that stuff – and I usually hate scary films, and was only watching one that night because I didn’t want to look like a wuss in front of Katie, who had a taste for those sorts of things. Plus, there was a more than likely chance that my brother and his friend were lying, and I didn’t want to entertain this for longer than was necessary. Katie, on the other hand, was looking at them, intrigued.
‘There was an axe murderer who lived ten miles from here?’
‘Yeah.’
‘And his name was Mr McCreepy?’
‘No, you tool,’ Katie’s brother sighed. ‘His name was Martin McGreevy. That’s just his nickname.’
Unusually, Katie let this insult slide without comment. ‘What was his kill count?’ she asked.
Tom and Michael looked at each other, less cocky now. ‘Dunno. Loads probably. You could Google it.’
‘Haven’t you Googled it?’
‘Nah. We just heard it around school.’
I laughed, wishing to bring this conversation to a close. ‘Oh, sure. You guys heard it around school, so it must be true.’
‘It really did happen!’ Michael insisted. ‘Everybody knows about it! It’s coming up to the anniversary of his first murder on Halloween.’
‘Oh yeah, the fact that it happened on Halloween makes it all the more believable.’ I raised my eyebrows to the ceiling, then left them to it, returning to my own room and trying to shake off a strange, bubbling feeling in my stomach.
For all of the bravado I’d shown, there was a part of me – a small part – that had a feeling they might possibly be telling the truth. Something had happened in that village, a long time ago. I didn’t think it happened how they described it, but the name rang a bell; the image of the mannequins was clear in my head. I could picture my parents at the breakfast table, talking in hushed tones, the word ‘Kolby’ and ‘murder’ and ‘dummies’ bubbling from their lips when they thought I couldn’t hear them.
Katie came back into my room, and I had my finger poised on the play button on my laptop, ready to scare ourselves silly again.
‘Actually, I’m not really feeling this anymore,’ she said, and I breathed a huge, internal sigh of relief. ‘I’d quite like to look up that case.’
The relief quickly left me, to be replaced by further anxiety. ‘What, the thing they were on about? Katie, they’re morons,’ I said. ‘They’ll be making it up.’
‘Probably. But I’d like to check, just in case they’re not.’
She slid onto the bed next to me and plucked the laptop from my hands before I had a chance to protest. She opened up a new tab, and typed ‘Kolby murder Cumbria mannequins’ into the search bar.
Sure enough, a whole swarm of articles popped up.
‘Now, there’s a plot twist,’ she said, impressed. ‘They weren’t lying!’
I felt my palms growing sweaty as she clicked on the first article and a picture of a man appeared. The man was reasonably average looking: about forty, with short, dark, cropped hair and a sallow face, like he hadn’t eaten in a long time, wearing a tartan shirt, but his hollow eyes, looking intensely at the camera, sent a chill of fear down my spine. I felt as though he was looking directly at me. This was Martin McGreevy, killer of nine people, who had once lived just down the road. His time active wasn’t fifty years ago, as Tom had said, but a much closer nineteen, back in 1999 – although, anything pre-millennium was all the same to my brother – and I remembered hearing the stories, still fresh to the residents, when I was a child.
I can’t remember exactly which articles we looked at, but the story went like this. Martin McGreevy was a family man, with a wife and a four-year-old son, who owned a successful home business making custom mannequins for shop windows. However, like a lot of people, he had his secrets. Unfortunately, Martin McGreevy’s secret was that he liked to pose as beautiful women online, reel in gullible men between the ages of twenty and thirty-five, get them to send him nude pictures, and then lure them to his house under the pretence of hooking up. These were the days when the internet was still relatively new and people were less cautious about it, so he was generally successful in his invitation. Once there, he tied them up and committed unspeakable acts of torture on them, before eventually killing them with a sharp implement he would make his mannequins with. His wife, apparently, was aware of the entire situation, and may even have been an accomplice. Once he killed the men, he made mannequins in their likeness – though not out of their skin, as the boys had claimed – and he treated them as though they were real. Nine mannequins were found in the cellar when the police raided the house.
Once McGreevy became a suspect in the disappearances, he shot himself with a revolver, along with his wife and son. He was dead before they could even put handcuffs on him.
I think that most people, after reading this – and reading the gory details, as we did, which I will not relay here – would close the laptop and perhaps go to quietly throw up. Katie’s curiosity, on the other hand, was piqued. She wanted to know more. She summoned the boys in, who said that, although they’d heard wildly exaggerated versions of this story at school (the human skin anecdote, for instance) it was basically the same story that they were familiar with, and it really had happened in a farmhouse near the village of Kolby.
‘Well, that’s just vile,’ I said. ‘Those men died at the hands of that sicko. I hope he rots in jail.’
‘Why did you say you were acting like Martin McGreevy when you put on the cloaks?’ asked Katie.
‘Cos that’s what he used to do. His wife would let them in, and then he’d be down in the cellar. He would lie in wait for his victims, wearing the clothes he dressed his dummies in, and then pounce on them before they could do anything.’
‘How would anyone know that?’ I demanded.
‘His wife survived the shooting. She gave the police a full confession. She’s still alive today, in jail,’ Michael told me.
Katie asked if anyone still lived at the farmhouse.
‘Last I heard, it was abandoned,’ said Tom. ‘They say his ghost still roams the rooms, looking for more people to kill…’
They both started prancing around the room, swaying their arms and making howling sounds. Surely, at thirteen, they were too old for this.
I looked at Katie to share a look of exasperation, but instead, she was smiling. She had taken in the news of the abandoned house without comment, though I could see her expression changing, her dark eyes flickering with the formation of a plan.
I didn’t know if this was what happened to you after suffering grief at a young age, but my friend seemed to be abnormally fascinated by the dark side of life – death, torture, destruction, abandonment. It was – and is – a part of her that I struggle to like, if I’m being honest, but I try to understand that it is probably because she’s been through a childhood trauma. I don’t like to think that anyone could be interested in these things just for the sake of it.
After they left, she turned to me, the glimmer of a smile playing around her lips.
‘I know what I want for my birthday,’ she grinned.
I knew, at that moment, what she was going to say, and fear coursed through me like blood. Still, I needed to act nonchalant. When you’re a teenager, image is all that matters.
‘I want to go and explore the mannequin farm,’ said my friend. I just smiled, blankly.

It was absurd.
Our parents were going to a dinner party in the next village, where they were likely to be out until midnight. That was the night we chose, as it gave us plenty of time to get there and back.
Unfortunately, in the midst of our planning, my younger brother overheard, and threatened to reveal everything unless we allowed him and his weedy friend to come along with us.
‘You’ll ruin it!’ Katie screeched at them the night before we planned to go – the eve of Halloween, the night before his first murder, another thing that, surprisingly, my brother had got right. ‘You’ll end up telling the adults.’
‘We won’t!’ Tom insisted. ‘We’ll only tell them if you don’t let us come. Come on, we were the ones who told you about it.’
‘Go with your own friends,’ Katie said, ‘Surely they’re all going up there in droves if this story’s so famous.’
‘No one’s been up there that we know,’ Michael said. ‘It’s fenced off. It’s really hard to get in to.’
My heart jumped a little – I was hoping this nugget of information might put her off wanting to go. It only made her more determined to get in somewhere that others had not. Eventually, they struck a deal: the boys would come with us, if they could help us figure out how to get inside. Hands were shaken; spit was proffered; subsequently discarded. We were ready.

We set off after our parents left for their dinner party under cloak of darkness. Katie had a rucksack on over her coat packed with torches, a map and – most worryingly – even a knife, ‘In case we run into any trouble,’ she said. Her birthday had been two days prior, and she walked up the dark lane ahead of me, her new pink Converse shining in the moonlight, practically bouncing with excitement. My heart was full of lead.
The boys had also packed supplies: a penknife – ‘because you never know’ – my brother said, and some rope – ‘In case we need to scale any walls.’ The place was an abandoned farmhouse, not a maximum-security prison, but I said nothing.
The village of Kolby was very pretty, dotted with thatched cottages and an old 13th century church nestled in parkland. We trod through the streets carefully, not wanting to look too suspicious, and huddled under a streetlamp to glance at the map. We needed to follow Church Lane, out of the village, until we passed a track on our left which read ‘Pidcote.’ If we walked a mile up the track, we would hit the farmhouse. At least, that’s what one of Tom’s friends at school had told him – we could only see the first bit of the track from Google maps.
The night was very dark now, and it was bitingly cold. As we wandered up the road, we got out our torches, and fewer and fewer cars marked the roads. Eventually, we were immersed by dark stretches of farmland, and could hear nothing but the hoot of an owl in the distance, and some far-off noise from cattle. I pulled my coat tightly around me, fear beginning to set in. I wasn’t even that afraid of the farmhouse itself, or of the legend of Martin McGreevy’s ghost – I was more afraid of who might be living there now. We were four vulnerable kids on a dark, lonely road. We could be putting ourselves in serious danger.
The white wooden sign, ‘Pidcote,’ shimmered like a mirage under our torches.
My brother stopped, staring at it. ‘Maybe…maybe we should turn back,’ he said, nervously. Katie and Michael turned to look at him like he’d gone mad. ‘I don’t know if this is such a good idea.’
I was amazed – out of the four of us, Tom and Katie had been the most vocal in wanting to go. Katie and Michael shot me a look, as if to say, he’s your brother, you deal with him. l saw the fear flickering in Tom’s eyes; the irritation flickering in Katie’s. I had to choose.
‘Either you come with us, or wait here,’ I said, with as much courage as I could muster. ‘We’re not turning back now.’
I saw my friend smile with pleasure, and Tom’s expression hardened. ‘I’m coming,’ he said, sulkily. ‘I just meant if anyone else wanted to turn back.’
We trudged up the leaf strewn track, mud claiming our shoes. I had a fleeting gleeful thought that Katie’s beautiful new Converse would be getting muddy, then suppressed it out of guilt. Sometimes I felt envious of her wealth, and then remembered that at least I still had a dad.
We saw a building begin to loom in the distance. Surprisingly, as we got to it, it was actually very easy to get inside – the fence surrounding it was wooden, and not high, and we simply climbed over, finding ourselves on the other side with no trouble at all. I didn’t know what my brothers had been on about.
The farmhouse was a two storey affair, trees looming over it like hunchbacks, the windows boarded up so it looked vaguely monstrous, with metal panels for eyes. We shone our torch around the premises. The driveway was submerged in leaves; there were, obviously, no cars in it, and I couldn’t see any lights on in the house. Not that I was expecting to, of course, but I couldn’t help the thought that perhaps there were people squatting inside, and the lack of light made me feel less uneasy. The place was clearly deserted, a ghostly relic of the past. The wind bristled and I closed my eyes, wishing us away from it.
‘Well, we made it,’ I said. ‘Shall we go back now?’
Katie looked at me as though I was bonkers. ‘What? Go back? We’re going inside!’
The words didn’t come as a surprise to me, but I felt the full force of them even so.
We’re going inside.
The front door gave way easily; it was rotting, and falling off its hinges. Inside, the house smelt musty and damp; I remembered my grandmother’s house smelling like this when we went in after she died, because she’d stopped being able to take care of it properly and refused to ever put the heating on. The room we were standing in was a hallway, doors aligning each wall around us, a decomposing staircase toward the back wall. What I hadn’t expected was that there would still be furniture in the house. A side table was standing by the front door; a picture of a vase of sunflowers was skewed sideways on the wall. Homely artefacts amongst the dirt, reminding any visitors of what the place used to be, whilst the floor hosted more leaves and mud; the wallpaper was peeling and smeared with graffiti. I wondered if the kind of people who’d written that graffiti might be thinking of joining us here tonight, and I felt a bit sick. I shone my torch to see the numbers 666 scribbled in red on the once floral wallpaper; I realised that this would probably be the perfect location for dealing drugs. Cumbria was a boring place to grow up, and thus the drug trade was booming. Teenagers just didn’t have anything else to do.
‘Let’s split up,’ Katie said – the three most dreaded words in the English language. ‘Boys – you go upstairs. We’ll explore down here. We’ll all do the cellar together.’ Her eyes sparkled at this.
I could see Tom looking less than comfortable, but they nodded and headed up the stairs, whilst I trailed after her meekly.
She pushed open one of the doors on our left and we trod into the room. My feet felt like they were standing on linoleum; we were in what was once either a kitchen or a bathroom. Together, we shone our torches around. Then we froze.
A woman was standing in the kitchen, turned away from us. She was standing over a space where the stove most likely used to be, wearing a traditional 1950s outfit – hair up, flowery apron, floaty skirt. Every fibre in my body told me to run. But I was rooted to the spot, staring at this strange, stiff looking woman – who had not moved upon us entering the room. I reached out for my friend’s hand, but she was in the process of moving step closer, cracking a twig below her foot. The woman still didn’t move. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Why wasn’t she turning around? What was wrong with her?
‘Katie…there’s something wrong here…’
‘Hello?’ Katie called out, gently. ‘Hello?’
She moved even closer to the woman, before prodding her on the shoulder. I couldn’t speak, waiting for it to turn around – what was she going to look like?
‘It’s…it’s a mannequin!’ my friend exclaimed, open mouthed.
Of course.
‘What?’
I drew closer to it as well, realising, as I brought my torch closer, that it was indeed a mannequin – the hair was too stiff; the neck too white. I got close enough to see the other side of her and, most horrifyingly, the thing was faceless, no features at all other than a large smile that had been drawn on with what looked like crayon, the rest of it just a white, blank canvas. A figure with no eyes.
‘Jesus Christ,’ Katie said.
I shone the torch around a little more, and noticed that, on the floor, in the space where the stove should have been, was a frying pan lying on the dirt, with two plastic fried eggs and a sausage in it – the kind you might give to a child.
‘She’s…cooking,’ I said.
Of course, McGreavy had made mannequins for a living. But why was there one in the house, now, all these years later? Some sort of sick joke by pranksters?
Katie and I looked at each other, unsure whether to laugh, or to cry. The sound of a scream from across the house meant we did neither.
We ran to the sound, coming from upstairs, finding both our brothers huddled together in one of the bedrooms, pointing at the boarded-up window. We got closer to it to find a small bed – or, what remained of a bed, rotten and smelly as it was – with the dummy of a child lying in it.
This mannequin was more detailed than the one in the kitchen. It had a face carved into it – a nose, and lips. Someone had even stuck two of those goggly eyes you can buy for arts and crafts to its forehead – giving the odd impression that it was lying in bed with its eyes wide open. On top of its head was a mop of curly hair.
‘What the fuck is that thing?’ my brother asked. His voice was quivering.
‘Well it’s a mannequin, what do you think?’ said Katie. ‘There’s one in the kitchen too.’
‘There’s more of them?’
My brother really was losing his shit. I felt a little embarrassed, if I’m honest. Michael remained calm and composed, eyes fixed on the thing in the bed, his head cocked as though he were looking at a scientific oddity.
‘I’ve had enough,’ Tom said. ‘This place is too weird.’
‘It’s obviously just a prank,’ Katie said. ‘Someone’s probably done it to scare stupid kids like us off the premises. Or it’ll be some of those serial killer groupies, trying to recreate the family home.’
‘That’s fucked up,’ my brother said, his face stark white.
‘Yeah.’ But Katie’s expression didn’t look like she thought it was fucked up. Instead, there was the trace of a smirk on her mouth. She looked like she was thoroughly enjoying the whole affair.
‘I think I’d like to leave now,’ Tom said. He looked at me. This was my chance to be a supportive older sister.
‘Well…maybe we’ve seen enough,’ I said. ‘This place is a bit freaky, after all.’
‘But we haven’t done the cellar yet!’ Katie exclaimed. ‘That’s the best bit!’
‘I don’t want to do the cellar. I’ve had enough,’ Tom persisted. ‘We’ve come out this far – there’s a bad vibe in this place. I feel like something bad is going to happen.’
‘Well, you can go home,’ Katie said. ‘But I’m going to go and explore the cellar. You don’t have to wait for me if you don’t want to.’
This was a difficult situation. I really didn’t want to choose between my friend and my brother, but it looked like I was going to have to. I stood, staring from one to the other of them; Katie’s face hard, certain; my brother’s pale and anxious.
That was when we heard it.
A soft, dragging sound. Coming from beneath us. Far beneath our feet. Like it was coming from the cellar.
I’ve never felt four people stop breathing at exactly the same moment, but that’s what happened. Then we heard it again. A dragging sound. Like someone dragging something heavy across a concrete floor.
‘What…what was that?’ Michael was the first one to speak. For the first time, he was looking scared too.
‘We need to get out of here,’ said Tom.
Cautiously, ever so cautiously, we tiptoed across what was Martin McGreavy’s son’s bedroom, headed out into what had once been his landing, and crept down what had once been his staircase. The dragging sound started to grow louder, more urgent, as if it knew we were getting away.
I grabbed my brother’s hand; he in turn took Michael’s arm. We made a beeline for the door, when I realised that Katie hadn’t moved. She was staring at the cellar door.
‘What are you doing? I asked in a desperate whisper. The boys headed out into the open air, but she remained rigid, staring.
‘Well, aren’t you curious?’ she asked. ‘Even just a tiny bit?’
‘No, I bloody well am not!’
‘I am. I want to see what’s making that noise.’
I couldn’t believe this. How could she be this stupid? As we were speaking, I noticed that the noise had stopped. Oh my god. What if whatever it was had heard us.
‘Katie, it could be dangerous down there. You don’t know who it is.’
‘I’ll just be quick.’
She was trancelike, moving towards the door as the sliver of moonlight from the front door fell across her face, and even as I grabbed her hand she pulled away from me, stronger than I was.
‘Katie, please.’
She opened the door, and before I could stop her, she was gone, heading down the steps.
‘For God’s sake!’
Nothing – not heaven and earth moving, not a maze of chocolate, not pigs flying – could make my feet unstick from their place in the ground and make me go down there and stop her. Instead I stood there, not even sure if I was breathing, as Michael poked his head back round the door.
‘What are you doing?’ he asked, ‘Why are you taking so long?’
‘Your sister’s gone down to the cellar,’ I said.
We both shared a glance – a terrified, helpless, awful glance. But neither of us could move. The dragging sound increased in volume again; the urgency amplified, filling my ears.
And then we heard her scream.
Her scream was even more ear-splitting than that of my brother’s; it was the kind of scream a person makes when they are experiencing the last moments of their life. Both Michael and I ran toward the basement door and stood at the top of the steps, the torch light falling in shards across the stairs. I took in the sight below: Katie, running back up the steps, her expression like that of a person being hunted; but nothing and no one was behind her. I moved the torch around to see a group of tall shadowy figures lurking in the farthest corner of the room; nine of them, stiff as boards, faceless. I felt my heart stop, but I couldn’t understand why she was so frightened – they were only mannequins, like the ones in the rest of the house.
And then one of them moved.
Thud, thud, thud – Katie’s footsteps pounded up the final steps and she pushed us with all her might back through the door, back into the hallway.
‘Get out of here,’ she shrieked, ‘Get out of here now!’
We didn’t need to be told twice. We began to run, out of the door, down the drive, towards my brother, who was also running – we ran to the fence, and climbed it, and lost rucksacks and shoes and grazed our limbs in the process but we did not care, because all we knew was that we were running, running far away from that place and that sound and those awful, awful figures.
I don’t know what made me do it. Even now, when I look back on it, I’m not sure it was even real. It was probably the hysteria.
But I’m sure that when I looked back there – and I looked back there only once, when I was twisting myself around on the fence – I’m sure I saw another figure standing in the doorway; another mannequin, a young girl this time, about fourteen. Its only feature a drawn-on mouth, a mouth wide with terror, and its long, bony arm was stretched out towards us, pointing. On her feet was a pair of pink Converse trainers.
I didn’t look back twice.

Katie never told me what happened to her in the cellar that day. She never told a single soul.
She refused to ever speak of the incident at all, in fact, and would get very upset when we mentioned it. Once, I asked her if she saw the figures in the cellar, like I did, though I never mentioned the dummy wearing the Converse. She refused to engage with me. Her taste for horror waned; she never suggested going exploring again.
Sometimes Tom and I will talk about it. We’ll try and make a joke out of the whole thing now – must have been some twisted pranksters, we’ll say – but deep down, it scares us still, and I’ve never been able to go anywhere there are mannequins again, which, as you can imagine, makes life difficult in a department store. I don’t know why someone chose to put those things in there; I don’t know if they were mannequins made by McGreavy himself, or whether they were brought there after his death, and I don’t know how they knew that one of us would be wearing pink trainers. To ask those questions means delving deeper into the horror of that night.
I’ve never been back to the farmhouse. Katie and I became less close when we went to university, though we still keep in touch every now and then, even after she moved away from the village.
Michael and Tom are still close though. Tom says that Michael even went back there about a year ago – in broad daylight this time – to get some footage (he studies Film at university). He said he didn’t find any mannequins there, and all the furniture had been looted too.
The cellar door was locked when he went there, though. Whatever it was that lurked down there amongst the shadows was concealed away. And whatever it was Katie saw that night – whether she saw the same thing as I did, or maybe worse – was hidden away, and can only be left for you and I to speculate.

Credit: ShadowsintheLight23

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Born Lucky

by cnkguy
Born Lucky

born luckyReading Time: 10 minutes

I bought the winning Mega Millions lottery ticket last week, but it hasn’t been announced, and it never will be. And I need to tell you why.

I bought it last Thursday from the gas station 5 minutes from my house. I’m not usually a lottery person, but I figured with the jackpot being as high as it is, why not? It wasn’t until I got home that I noticed it, the message. Underneath the Mega Millions logo was a message printed so lightly it was barely visible.

> Come alone

And below that, at a bit of an angle, just as nearly-readable, was a set of GPS coordinates. I looked up where those GPS coordinates led, and it was about a three hour drive from my house, an apparently empty field just past the state line. I did some searching around online, looking for similar instances as this one, people seeing messages on their lottery tickets, but found nothing. I was apprehensive to go, I think with good reason, but I was intrigued, very much so. I had this piece of paper in my hand, one that had a one in almost 260 million chance of being worth upwards of a billion dollars, but not just that, this one also had something more to it. It may sound foolish to you, but the curiosity it had piqued was nigh impossible to ignore.

I had off work that next day, and I decided that I was going to drive that three hours. I knew it was a long shot…in fact, “long shot” is the wrong term. I was driving to somewhere I’ve never been, a place where there was apparently nothing but grass as far as they eye can see, for what was essentially no reason that was known to me. As I drove, the foolishness of the whole endeavor started to weigh on me, and I almost considered turning around. I looked at my GPS and realized I was already almost halfway there, so I said “fuck it” and pressed on.

The GPS took to me down a long dirt road, but the destination was about a quarter mile into a field of tall grass and cornstalks. I parked the car and trekked the rest of the way on foot. I got as close to the exact latitude and longitudinal points as I could and found myself as I’d imagined: standing in the middle of a big field with a stupid look on my face, and feeling even stupider

All I could see in any direction was more grass, trees, a few cornstalks here and there, and blue sky. The crickets chirped…and chirped…and chirped. I stood there for a few minutes, looking around, waiting for something, someone, anyone, anything. But the wind just kept blowing, the crickets kept chirping. I yelled out

“Hello?!”

No response.

“I’m here alone!”

No response.

I was disappointed. I didn’t know why, but I was disappointed. I had no idea what I was expecting, but whatever it was, it didn’t happen. I took an exasperated breath and resolved to walk back to my car, get in, turn around, and drive the three hours back home, thinking that I’d come out here solely to stand in a field for 10 minutes. Then I turned around.

Standing behind me were four people in suits. Over those suits they wore ankle-length jackets with hoods that completely obscured their faces. They stood shoulder to shoulder, effectively blocking the path from whence I’d come. I just sort of stood there; I had no idea what to say. This certainly isn’t what I was expecting, but then again, the entire scenario was strange, so perhaps this wasn’t all that unusual, considering.

Just as I was going to open my mouth to try to speak, one of them beat me to the punch.

“Do you have the ticket?”

I reached in my back pocket and retrieved my wallet, took out the ticket, and held it up. The two people on the inside of the line stepped back and to the side, extending their arms as if to invite me to walk past, an invitation I hesitantly accepted. I took awkward steps towards them, towards them, towards them….up to them, and started past them. Once I’d passed the cloaked people, they turned around and began to follow me.

Every instinct I had told me to run, but each of my legs felt like they weighed a thousand pounds. I kept on the way I’d come in, but about halfway back I was met by two more people in suits and cloaks who then led me into an area covered in grass that was taller than me. The other four continued following closely behind, and it was them I was most unsure of. We walked for about three minutes through the tall grass until we met yet another two people in suits and cloaks standing in a small circular area where the grass had been laid flat.

Those two then leaned over and each moved a sheet of the downed grass to the side, revealing a hatch door. It was then that I found my voice.

“Where does that go?” I asked them, even though I felt like I didn’t have a choice as to whether or not I’d be finding out regardless.

“To safety,” someone said from behind me. That answer actually put me at relative ease, and I still don’t know why. I had no reason to think anything good was going to happen, but that assurance gave me a strange peace of mind.

I walked up to the hatch and looked into it, finding a narrow staircase leading down to a landing with what looked to be an equally narrow hallway to the left. I looked over my shoulder and found the suited people slowly closing in behind me, not necessarily in a threatening way, so I started heading down the stairs. As I got about halfway down, some lights clicked on, which I was thankful for, as I’d expected to be in the dark once the sunlight was no longer an option.

The door to the hatch was closed behind me and the four cloaked people that followed closely behind. Two of the cloaked people squeezed around the sides of me and led the way as we passed a number of doors. We finally reached the end of the hall, and a set of double doors. One of the suited people removed a glove and placed their right hand on a scanner, and I heard a lock unclick.

They opened the door and led me in, and I was met by a man in a red suit with a white, hooded cloak. He looked to me and asked an odd question:

“Do you feel lucky?”

I didn’t know how to respond, so I just kind of shrugged.

“How did you feel when you bought the ticket?” he asked.

“Uh…just…sorta like I just bought a lottery ticket, I don’t know?” I was beyond nervous.

“The ticket you bought is a winner. The winner. Had you cashed it in, you would be wealthy beyond your wildest imagination.”

“So…why am I here? Why am I not cashing it?” his crypticness was immediately aggravating. “Wait, how do you even know that? The winning numbers haven’t even been drawn yet.”

“Do you remember who won the last time there was a substantial jackpot? Or the time before that?” the man asked. “Well, they’re dead. Or missing, I suppose, officially… But they’re dead.”

Again, I didn’t know what to say.

“An 11-person office pool won this past July in California, but the true winner was a woman named Patricia Stephens. They made sure another ticket with the winning numbers was printed so they could take her. Before that, a trust in Ohio was named as the winner, but it was really a small non-profit organization in Minnesota, which soon shut its doors without reason. About a month before that, a man named Richard Wahl in New Jersey was the supposed winner. The person before him that got the same numbers he did was Matthew Poulos, who left his house to go claim his winnings and was never seen again, just up and left his wife and newborn daughter.” he continued. “You were the first one we were able to get before the ticket was cashed and it was too late… before they replaced you with a new winner.”

“Too la…hold on…what?” I had no idea what was going on. “Too late for what?”

“Before they could get to you,” he said, as if I was supposed to know who he was talking about.

“Who?! What the fuck are you talking about?!” I just wanted to know what was happening, and getting these bits and pieces was frustrating.

“The MUSL, Multi-State Lottery Association. They’re doing…things. They’re taking the people that have won, the actual winners, and….experimenting. They believe there is something about the human brain, the human mind…consciousness… that influences what we call luck.”

I stared at the man for a moment.

“That’s fucking ridiculous,” I blurted out, not meaning to be rude, but…it was ridiculous.

“I’m sure that’s how it sounds. Perhaps I can show you.” The man’s tone changed from one of hurried panic to a calm, relaxed one.

He led me through another door, down another hallway, and into what looked to be a hospital room, only with markedly more computers, none of which were on, and some of which looked like they hadn’t been touched in some time, others yet broken.

“What is this place, down here?” I asked, not just of the room we were in, but the entire bunker.

“This is where we monitor them,” he replied.

“The lottery people?”

“Yes…as well as…” he trailed off. “This is where we do monitoring of our own. We have reason to believe that the MUSL somehow tracks who is going to win. They somehow guide people, influence them. We–”

“Ow!” I cut him off and reflexively grabbed my right elbow after feeling a tiny pinch. I looked behind me and didn’t see anything, nor was there any blood.

“Are you okay?” the man asked.

“Yeah…sorry.” I focused my attention back to him.

“I have something to show you that may shock you. But I feel it would be best for you to see it nonetheless.”

I agreed, and followed the man out of the hospital-like room and farther down the hall, through another set of double doors, and to the right, where he unlocked a door much heavier than the rest had been. We walked into an almost pitch black room that was near-freezing.

“Watch your step,” the man told me.

Just as he did, I nearly lost my footing as we took a single step down.

“Morgue 3 lights,” he said aloud to no one in particular.

And with that, the lights came on, and we were standing before a number of tables, each with the remains of human beings on them, but each also with a human brain connected to various wires that led to laptops on side tables. In here, too, the computers seemed very dated and worn.

It was at this point that I became entirely overwhelmed by fear. Up until then, my experience had been strange, but more confusing than anything. Now I just saw myself as a test subject for these hooded strangers, whose faces I had yet to see, couldn’t help but imagine them operating on me and taking me apart. It became a surreal nightmare.

Before I could say anything, the man finally began explaining things.

“We have computer experts who are able to access the lottery systems. The numbers chosen are not random, as you’ve doubtless been led to believe. They are picked carefully, and the MUSL targets certain individuals, certain groups, and tracks their behaviors before and during their purchase of the winning tickets and subsequent wins. We believe you have been tracked, and we believe that if you would have waited until the numbers were drawn and later claimed your winnings, that shortly thereafter you would have been taken by them. We had our people put the message on the ticket, just as we have with previous winners, but as I said, you were the first to see it.”

My obvious question was, “why wouldn’t you do something other than put a message that no one thinks to look for and no one can really see?” But I figured they had their reasons, and besides, I was too frozen in fear to say anything.

“These pieces here…” he said as he walked further into the room, gesturing at the nearby remains, “these are what they’ve left behind. They complete their research and move the victims’ possessions, and what’s left of them, into a clandestine storage facility, which we were fortunately able to gain access to. You’re lucky we got to you before they did.”

The man in the red suit and white cloak, hood still over his head, obscuring his face in shadow, stood under the single light in the room and asked if I would join them. I still couldn’t say anything, but I suddenly felt like someone was behind me. I took a quick glance over my shoulder and two more people in black suits and hooded cloaks stood in the hallway, their hands behind their back, standing at attention.

“I….” I began, unsure of what to say. “What do you want me for?”

“We need you,” the two people behind me said in unison, seemingly a male and a female.

“Okay…what do you need me for?” I asked.

“We need to know what they know,” the man in the red suit said. “These discarded remains have been helpful, to be sure, but we need to do what they’re doing, get the information they’re getting. We want to monitor you as you claim your winnings, and you could perhaps even lead us to where they do…what they do.”

They wanted me to be bait, basically. I responded that I wasn’t sure, and the change in their mood was palpable.

“You are in a unique position. You could save lives!” the man in the red suit began yelling. “YOU CAN HELP THE WORLD, AND YOU AREN’T SURE?!”

Just as I was going to try to turn around and make an attempt at an escape, someone else brushed past me, also wearing a black cloak. They approached the man in the red suit and whispered something in his ear, then lowered their head, turned around, and exited the way they had come; I noticed that beneath their cloak they were wearing a lab coat. As soon as they had taken their leave, the mood changed yet again, and the feeling was so… odd.

“Of course, we can’t force you to do anything, young man,” he said in a calmer tone than he’d even started with. “You have your
ticket, and you may choose to do with it what you wish. Please, allow us to escort you out.”

I didn’t even have a chance to comprehend what was happening before I found myself being led down the corridors, past the operating room, past the large area, through the door with the palm-scanning pad, down the original hallway, and up the stairs. As I exited the bunker, I found that all of the people that I’d seen in there had followed, and then some. Once we were all outside, all of them with their hoods up, faces still hidden, the man in the red suit walked up to me, his head down.

“If I were you, I would tear up that ticket. Make no mistake, the winning numbers are on it, but what will follow, should you choose to make your claim, isn’t worth any amount of money, this I guarantee.”

I said nothing in reply, and instead turned around and sprinted back to my vehicle. I got in, pulled a quick U-turn and sped away from there as fast as my car would take me. I looked in my rearview as I sped down the dirt road and saw a giant plume of smoke rising from where the bunker had been.

I made it home, still more confused than anything. The night they drew the winning numbers, I found that I do indeed possess a winning ticket, and that I had correctly chosen all five numbers, plus the Mega Ball and the Megaplier. At first I couldn’t believe my eyes, and was hesitant to claim my winnings. But then something clicked in me. At the same time, I felt the urge to write this, to let the world know of what is ostensibly going on. But it sounds ridiculous, right? *That’s because it is!*

I am going to be a billionaire, and there is nothing I need to worry about. I was born lucky, I suppose. I can feel it running through my veins, it’s an odd sensation. I really am just a very lucky person. Right?

 

CREDIT : The Dead Canary

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The Village

by cnkguy
The Village

the villageReading Time: 18 minutes

To whom it may concern, my name is Michael Dean Fox. I’m writing this as a step by step reenactment of the cold winter night I had spent in the back country of East Tennessee. Some of the things I am about to tell you are not going to sound logical, nor are they going to be easy to believe. I only ask that you try your best to bear with me as I walk you through every second of my… Adventure.

My journey began February 6, 2018. I’m a Police Officer here in, well, I’ll leave the town names out so no one tries to retrace my steps. I will say that it is one of the smallest and most peaceful towns in East Tennessee. I was pushing through the last couple of hours of my shift late one Thursday night and made the decision that I would be going on a long hike and find a secluded place to camp in the deep woods over my weekend. I wasn’t having the best of times that week, mostly due to some people quitting their jobs in the department, so me along with the other four patrol officers here had to pick up their duties. Overtime is overtime, yes. But not getting enough sleep and dealing with the idiots of rural America can wear down on even the strongest minds.

I woke up Friday morning around 6:15, then started the Keurig brew as I walked to the bathroom. I grabbed my mug then went down in to my basement to dig out all of my hiking and camping gear from the dry tubs. The first thing I grabbed was my Osprey Aether AG 70 hiking pack. The thing is huge, but super light and it carried everything I needed, except for my ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 3 tent, which clips onto the bottom of the pack. I attached the tent to my pack then grabbed out my Keen hiking shoes along with the pack essentials, such as my NEMO Disco 30 sleeping bag, mini boiling pot for hot water, a pack of 20 Safety Chem Glow Sticks, TacMed Patrol Trauma Response medkit, two Duracell head lamps, spare batteries of course, water purification tablets, Nalgene 1 quart water bottle, and my rechargeable phone charger.

After I got everything I needed from the basement, I brought it all up to the living room then sat it all down on the love seat. I went in to the bedroom to grab spare clothes for the next day and an extra patrol beanie in case something happened to my main one. I went back out the living room and began neatly putting everything in to my pack, then my phone rang. It was my coworker and good friend Alan, he was calling to warn me about a cold spell that was soon to fall starting later that afternoon. I questioned whether or not I should go, but he only said that it was my decision. I thanked him then got off the phone and proceeded to pack. I grabbed six MRE pouches out of the kitchen then stuffed them in to my pack along with a couple of Snickers bars for a little treat. I grabbed four Hot Pockets out of the freezer, then heated them up and ate them as fast as possible so I didn’t waste any more time. By the time I was done packing everything, it was 7:10. I got in the shower and washed with a deodorizing soap so predators couldn’t pick up my scent so easily. So, if you can’t tell already, I’m a huge hiking nerd. I do not buy the cheap stuff when it comes to my gear and essentials. I only buy the best of the best for my safety.

I got out of my shower, put my toiletries in my pack then went to the bedroom and got dressed. If you must know, I wore black Patagonia Quandary Pants, a heather gray The North Face fleece hoodie, a black Marmot Phoenix Jacket and a light gray Patagonia Fisherman’s Fold beanie. I know it’s a lot of detail, but I want all of you to truly feel everything I felt the whole way and prove that I vividly remember the finest details of the worst day of my life.

I brought all of my things in to the garage and sat everything on the tailgate of my Dodge. I went over all of it to make sure I had it all. I opened my gun safe and brought out my SIG P320 carry pistol and my OWB carry holster. I always keep a full magazine in my handguns, so I figured I’d bring a box of 30 rounds just in case I decided to have some fun. I got all strapped up then loaded my pack in the back seat of the truck and set off onward to the middle of nowhere.

The vibe outside and the drive to the trail head was a little scary. It’s hard to explain the feeling I had driving in the dark, but it’s almost as if someone were in the back seat staring at me intently. I’m a 6’3″ 230 lbs man who doesn’t get scared very easily, but I was freaked out. It was 7:45 in the morning on a Friday and I only drove past one other truck. Normally the traffic would be semi heavy this time around, but it seemed like either everyone left the town or they were all inside their homes still asleep. I turned on my stereo and connected my phone to listen to some of my metal to try and amp me up, but for some reason it just made my anxiety increase ten fold. I had just passed the last traffic light of the town and heading into the well lit tunnel. Not three seconds after I entered the tunnel I had to immediately slam my brakes, thanks to the dumbass dog that ran in front of me out of nowhere. I’m not messing around, this dog came out of nowhere. The tunnel has a two way road running through the entirety of it and has solid concrete walls on both sides not five feet away from the road, so if the dog had been on the side of the road, I would have seen it. It was almost as if the thing had ran out of the wall and straight in front of my truck. It happened so fast and my adrenaline spiked through the roof when I initially saw the dog, so I didn’t feel or hear anything when I hit it. At least, that’s what I thought. I pulled off to the side of the road to see the damage, but to my surprise there wasn’t anything on the ground behind the truck, nor was there any signs of damage to the front end of my truck. I looked down both ends of the tunnel and didn’t see any silhouette of anything, just the entrance and exit of the tunnel. I was completely freaked out, nothing had ever happened to me like that in my life up to that point. I never believed in the paranormal until then.

I got back in to my truck and proceeded on out of the tunnel. I wasn’t going to let that incident ruin my whole weekend, so I stayed strong and continued toward the trail head. Don’t get me wrong, I was terrified. Nothing special happened the rest of the way to the parking lot, and I didn’t pass another vehicle at all. I knew something wasn’t right, but I’m not god and I don’t control the world, I just worry about me. The parking lot was desolate. It was still dark out, but the dim orange lights were on in the parking lot and I could see the pitch black opening between the trees, which was the trail head. I pulled up on the right side of the trail head and shut off the truck. I sat there for at least a minute just staring in to the pitch black opening.

The silence was unreal, all I could hear were the different tones of ringing in my own head. I looked down at the temperature gauge and it read twenty two degrees. I sighed a bit, then stepped out of the truck and let out a good yawn and big stretch towards the sky, then grabbed my jacket out of the passenger seat. I got the bag out and set it on the tailgate so I could grab a headlamp out, but as soon as I put the lamp over my beanie, I heard what sounded like a sneeze. I couldn’t tell who or what it came from, if it even was a sneeze, but it had that distinct “Kuh-hishh” sound of a sneeze. I stopped dead in my tracks and scanned the parking lot, but I couldn’t see anything. Being a police officer of 13 years, I know when I’m being watched by someone evil, and that’s exactly how I felt at that moment. I ignored it and turned my lamp on, put my pack on then headed towards the trail. I turned around one more time to look at the parking lot, but saw no one. I dismissed the whole thing as a possible critter in the woods somewhere and pressed on up the trail.

I walked for about twenty minutes until the sun had finally began to rise above the mountain. I was able to see the frost shining off of everything. It was beautiful. The morning birds were doing their routine songs and I felt safer knowing that there’s still some life around me. I got to a mini bridge going over a small creek about three miles up the trail. I stopped and took a break and had some water, then I heard that sneeze noise again. This time, it sounded like it was a short ways down the trail where I just came from. My heart began to beat faster and faster. For some reason, the dog popped in my head and I started to think that maybe it followed me all the way here, but that’s not possible. I drove 80 mph the whole way there because there wasn’t any traffic. I got tired of myself being so worried, so I said “Hey, is someone down there?” but I didn’t get a reply. I felt weird, but I knew I could handle my own, so I walked further up the trail. I came to a fork in the trail, and one of the trails had looked like people went down it everyday and the other one had tall yellow grass covering the ground to where you could barely tell it was a trail at all. I knew I wanted to be left alone by other people, so I went up the grassy trail.
The trail was so over grown that I wasn’t aware of the frozen puddles of water under my feet, and I learned about them the hard way. My left leg slipped off the edge of the trail towards the steep drop down into the gully. Out of instinct I reached for the nearest thing to grab onto so I didn’t fall but the only thing I could grab was the jagged icy edge of the boardwalk which then ripped my index finger wide open. I rolled down into the gully and landed flat on my stomach. I physically wasn’t able to sit up for about ten seconds. I must have knocked my self out, but I was still able to see the ground my face was laying on. I sat up and immediately looked at my finger, and that’s when the pain set in. I took my pack off and grabbed the Trauma Kit. I cleaned the wound with alcohol the wrapped the hell out of it with gauze and medical tape. I was pissed off at this point and yelled “FUCK!” off the top of my lungs. After I did so, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and looked up the trail to see nothing there. I put the medkit back into my pack the threw it on my back and marched up the slope to get back on the trail. I didn’t realize it until I got back up onto the trail, but the tall grass was gone. There weren’t any ice patches on the trail either, just gravel and dirt. I was confused for a minute, and I thought that I stumbled down next to a different trail, but there was a trail marker that I remember seeing before I fell, and it was just a couple feet away from me at that point. I was confused, but I pressed on a bit more up the trail. I got to the top of the steep part of the trail, and to my surprise I saw a big open lake. I never knew there was a lake up in this part of the mountain, but there it was. It was clear as could be, I remember the elegant blue tint it had to it with the occasional ice pads on top, but the whole area was dead silent. No wind, no birds, just silence. There was no trail on either side of the lake, the trail I was on ended right under my feet. I scanned the area a bit more, then above the tree line on my right side I could see what looked like a large cross in the distance. It’s something I never expected to see in the middle of nowhere, let alone in the woods.

I proceeded towards the tree line, and as I got about six steps towards it, I heard the “Kuh-hishhh” sound directly behind me. I felt my knees slightly give out from fear, but got my bearings straight and turned around to see something pale in the edge of the lake. I slowly walked towards it while looking all around me to see if I can’t find what made that noise, but then a smell hit me. I felt my throat get tight and my gut feel heavy, then as I got to the water I realized that the pale thing I was looking at was the head of a woman. I couldn’t even move, I didn’t make a sound, I just stared at it. The left side of it was exposed out of the water and had no flesh or meat on it, just pale white skull. The top of her head had short white hair with tones of dark red. I didn’t want to touch the head to see what the other side looked like. I just turned around and vomited from the smell. I wiped my mouth off with my hand, then I heard a blood curdling scream come from the same direction I saw the cross. I began to sprint through the trees towards the cross. I got to the other side of the tree line to see a large field. On the other side of the field was a big church with a wooden cross on the top of it. I jogged towards the church and began to yell “Hello?! Are you okay?! Hello?!” but I never got a response. Half way through the field I tripped over something hard. I sat up to see that I had tripped over the skull of a large goat. My first thought was maybe there are people who live up here and maybe have a small farm. I got up and ran to the church. There was a wooden fence about four feet tall around the perimeter, and I hopped over it. The wood of the church looked almost ancient and looked rotted. It had obviously been up there for a very long time. I yelled one more time ” Hello?!” and got nothing.

I leaned against the fence to look at my knee. I had smashed it pretty hard tripping over the skull, but before I could get my pant leg up, I could faintly hear chanting of some sort coming from inside the chruch. My heart stopped. I stood there dead silent. I couldn’t tell what they were saying, but it sounded like Latin or maybe Spanish, but all I could hear was “Esta-shun-eet-mock.” They repeated this over and over, and it sounded like there was a lot of people in there. I looked in between the logs of the church walls to peak inside, but there was no one in there. No lights, no nothing. Just old benches and light beaming in through the cracks in the walls. The chanting stopped as I looked in the building. Everything fell silent again.

As I stared in to the church, I saw something black out of the corner of my right eye. I whipped my head over to see what looked like the bottom of a robe passing the corner of the building. I ran over to peak around the corner, but saw no one. There were carvings on the front of the church. They looked like pentagrams with some sort of skull in the middle. I knew right away that I was in a very bad place. I caught the same thing out of the corner of my eye, and saw whatever it was pass behind the other side of the building. I asked “Who are you? My name’s Officer Fox, come out and talk to me.” I got to the corner of the building then hear a whirling noise behind me followed by a hatchet flying past my head. I turned around to see two men in black robes walking towards me, both of them holding what looked like makeshift knives made of rusty metal. I pulled my Sig from its holster then put my laser on the man on the left. I yelled ” Drop your weapons, or I will use lethal force!” They kept walking towards me, about 50 yards away. The man on the left throws his knife at me, and I thankfully dodged it jumping to my right. I stood up and yelled “Last chance, drop the fucking weapon!” They both began to run towards me. I put a round through the head of the man of the right. The man on the left stopped and and stared at the lifeless man on on ground, then he looked towards the church and yelled what sounded like “Mah-trah-kay-low!” I then heard the chanting I heard before, only this time it was loud. The man looked at me, and as he locked eyes with me, men and women in robes walked out of the church chanting loudly. None of them had weapons, but they were all tall. Very tall, somewhere around nine to ten feet tall. The man turned around and disappeared into the mob of giants. I began walking backwards in shock not knowing what to do. A woman or freakishly tall thing in front of the mob let out a blood curdling scream that rattled my ears, then I raised my gun up and shot her in the leg. She fell to her knees and let out a whimper, then they all stopped and stared at me. All of their faces had been mutilated in some way. Some of the men didn’t even have eyes, but they still stared directly at me. At this point, my adrenaline was so high, I could feel my heart beating in my arms and feet. The woman gets back on here feet then points behind me and repeats “Mah-trah-kay-low” quietly under her breath, and at that exact moment I heard and felt a huff of breath on my neck. I turned around to see what looked like a ten foot tall man with no jaw staring at me. His tongue hang limp out of his mouth as he breathed raspy. He let out what sounded like a slight giggle followed by that “Kah-hishh” noise I’ve been hearing then he grabbed me by my back pack straps and slammed me on to the ground. The people in robes started cheering as the thing started yelling towards the sky and beating his chest with its right hand. He looked down at me and glared. I tried to yell “Stop!” but I still had the wind knocked out of me and my chest hurt to bad. I unbuckled my pack and slid it off of me. The thing raised his right foot up over me and started yelling. I rolled away from him as he stomped his foot on the ground. It let out an angered cry then the people started yelling angrily. I got up and ran down a brick path away from the church. I could hear the jaw less things heavy footsteps follow close behind me and the peoples yelling got more feral sounding and almost guttural. I ran between these two lit fire torches, one on each side of the path and all of the screaming stopped and I couldn’t hear the thing’s footsteps. I turned around to see all of them standing on the other side of the torches. I stood there panting and trying to catch my breath. An old and weathered looking man in front of the crowd stared at me and spoke in both Spanish and English “Casa de diablo, you’re his now.”

They all slowly turned around and began walking back up the brick path, not making a sound. I look all around me to see where I’m at. There was a small shed to my right, a collapsed barn directly down the brick path and what looked like an old cabin next to the barn. I lean down and put my hands on my knees to try to think of how I can get myself out of there. I say under my breath ” My fucking pack.. Everything I need to survive is in that pack.” I realized I needed to go back up there to get my pack, but it wouldn’t be easy if those things were still up there in that church. I stood up and turned around towards the path to the church to see a black dog standing in between the two torches. I immediately recognized the dog as the one that ran in front of my truck that morning. The dog let out a low growl as the skin on its face became very loose, almost like it was melting. The low growl turned in to a loud half yelp half roar. Almost like a lions roar, or some sort of big cat. I turned around and began sprinting towards the cabin next to the barn. The dog was snarling shortly behind me. The door to the cabin was wide open, so I ran inside and immediately slammed the door. I leaned against the door waiting for the dog to try and push it open, but there wasn’t a sound coming from outside. I stood there catching my breath as a sour meat odor filled my nose. I felt my throat tighten up again and I didn’t feel to good. I heard what sounded like a hungry stomach gurgling somewhere in the back of the cabin, but it was loud. I hesitantly looked to my left to watch a creature slowly stand up from the ground. There was little to no light in the cabin, just the light from outside shining through the cracks of the walls. I could make out the shape of a tall but skinny figure in the main room across from me. It then made a licking noise like a dog licking peanut butter from the roof of it’s mouth. It then screamed a brutal guttural yell mixed with a woman in pure agony then ran towards me. When it exposed itself in the light, I was able to see that it was in fact tall, but it had the head of a black goat and the legs of a horse but they were bent backwards and skinnier. I went to draw my gun but the thing was to fast. It rammed its head directly in to my chest and tossed me six feet in to a wall. My gun fell and slid a good four feet away from me, so I rolled towards it but the creature managed to stomp on my left hand. I screamed from the pain and curled into a ball as the thing continues to scream and stomp all around me. I look up to see it staring towards the roof with its tongue hanging out of its mouth and drooling. I leapt to my feet and snagged the gun off the ground and pinned the laser on to the back of its head. My adrenaline was so high that my hands were shaking badly, so when I went to pull the trigger I shot his left horn off, It whipped its head at me and let out one of its screams then dipped its head down to ram me again. I jumped out of its way and landed on my side with my laser aimed directly at its neck. I pull the trigger and watched the thing fall flat on the ground. Its breathing was rabid and the noise it made with every breath sounded like gurgling because of the blood. It flopped on the ground like a fish out of water as I ran out of the cabin. I sprint out in to the open and look for an escape route. The giant people were walking down the path from the church chanting loudly, and the dog was nowhere to be seen. I looked back in the cabin to see the goat thing still gurgling but trying to stand up. As I’m looking at the cabin, I see there’s a trail leading behind it. I ran down that trail and at the end of it I could see two more torches and a path going into a cave.

The trail was long and a cave was the last place I wanted to go, but it was my only option. As I’m sprinting down the path, I realize that there are spiked posts all along it that have different versions of the pentagram, decapitated heads of young females and various organs strung out.
I run in to the cave and only got about ten feet in before I realized that I don’t have any sort of light whatsoever on me, and the cave is pitch black. The giant people knew I was in there and that I was trapped. They rolled a boulder in front of the entrance, leaving me in absolute darkness and all alone. I dropped to my knees then on to my ass and began to cry. Not sobbing, but crying. Knowing that this was how I was going to die. I started hearing the echo of something breathing heavy coming from further down the cave. It sounded like what ever it was had completely run out of breath. The echos became louder and louder with every second, then I began to feel vibrations on the ground from these loud thuds. The loud thuds hitting the ground almost sounded like horse hooves, but heavier if that makes sense, and there was more than one set. Almost like warriors marching in to battle. The echoes turned into the same guttural screams that the creature in the cabin made, but they were coming from every direction. The noises finally reached every side of me, then my feet got pulled out from under me. I feel hooves bounce off of every inch of my body. I hear my own bones cracking over all the other noise in the cave. I feel the flesh of my stomach get ripped open by the fingers of whatever those creatures were. They pried my rib cage open and plucked my organs out and dropped them on my face piece after piece. I lay there in complete agony as these things literally tear me apart. I hear one of the things let out a nasty gurgling scream, then stomp on my head. I felt my skull crush beneath the weight of the thing, then I felt nothing. I heard nothing. I felt absolutely nothing at all. Almost as if I had been asleep.

I suddenly was able to open my eyes. All I could see was a bright blurry light. Then my vision came back, and I saw that I was laying face down on the ground. I wasn’t able to move, but I could tell I wasn’t in the cave anymore. I had finally gained mobility, so I painfully picked my self up and looked around. I was in the gully. The gully I fell down into the beginning of my trip. I looked down at my hand, and my finger wasn’t ripped open. I felt my shoulders to feel my backpack straps still there, I felt my head to make sure I wasn’t bleeding, but I was completely fine. I only had a headache. I began to cry as I climbed up the slope to get back to the trail, thinking that I am in a never ending loop of visiting hell, but when I got to the trail, the tall dead yellow grass was still covering the trail. I could see the patted down grass from where I fell and rolled down the slope. I began to cry harder as I got back to the main trail. Joggers and people walking their dogs passed by as they gave me weird looks. No one said anything, but they stared in fear or shock. I couldn’t look anybody in the eye, I just stared straight ahead of me and went back to my truck. I put my pack in the backseat then began to head home. Traffic was back to normal and people were out and about living normal lives.

I got home and brought my pack down to the basement and just tossed it on the floor then walked back upstairs like a zombie. I sat down on the couch and pulled my phone out to see it was dead. I sighed and set in down on the coffee table. I turned the tv on and switched the channel to Fox News. I nearly fainted. It was Friday February 14. Exactly one week after I went on my camping trip. I had been gone for a week, but all I could remember was that night I spent in that god forsaken village. Who was that cult? What were those things I saw? Was everything that happened to me that night all the work of the devil? Did I really just dream it all and slept through an entire week in the freezing cold? I don’t know. I will never know, and the world will never understand the things I went through.

Michael Dean Fox
February 22, 2018

 

 

 

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The Bloody Pit

by cnkguy
The Bloody Pit

the bloody pitReading Time: 26 minutes

To tell this story I must go back even further to the very beginning. In the year 1841, a self-made paper mill owner, by the name of Alvah Crocker caught wind of plans for the Western Railroad project. Crocker began lobbying his idea for a northern route to provide a direct passage between Boston and Troy, New York, which he and others of the milling industry would in turn profit from greatly. He as well as others argued that the Western railway which traveled through Worcester and on into Springfield left the more northern settlements such as Cummington, Cheshire and Stamford in a state of oblivion. Not to mention that the Western Railroad needed to negotiate some very difficult grades and curvatures. In March of 1845 Crocker had opened the Fitchburg railways which lead from Boston to Greenfield. Unfortunately, Crocker knew the only way to complete his route now would be to climb the Deerfield Valley and penetrate through the heart of the Hoosac Mountain which stood in his path.
One day in the late spring of 1845, Crocker and a colleague of his by the name of Laomi Baldwin, walked into a meadow of stunted yellow grass and gray weeds. They stood on a ridge overlooking the lower basin of the Deerfield Valley. The land sloped but only slightly, far out at the low crest, no oaks waited, only more struggling grass and weeds, and beyond the crest lay an ashen sky, bearded and blind. They found themselves standing at the foot of the Mountain near the East Portal. In an arbitrary act Baldwin said, “Why, sir, it seems as if the finger of Providence has marked out this route from the east to the west for us, wouldn’t you agree so?”
“Perhaps,” Crocker replied,” but it is a pity that the finger of Providence has been thrust through the Hoosac Mountain.”

October 12th 1932, the autumn air could be compared to the north side of a January gravestone by moonlight. The country at that time was in the worst of the Great Depression. Worldwide gross domestic products fell by fifteen percent and the unemployment rate had risen to nearly twenty-five percent at this time. People were drifting by the thousands searching for work anywhere they could find it. Families were forced to leave their homes and start up new lives elsewhere. Just up in the northwest region of the Deerfield valley, where the mosquitoes are said to grow as big as English sparrows and the Tree frogs are as large as full-grown housecats and where the locals’ smell of rotgut, poached eggs and pickled okra; just nestled off the Vermont border lays the sleepy little town of North Adams. The town in itself was mostly an agrarian society. Work was in short supply let alone in places such as this, the town’s trademarked sign was an antique, tumbledown wood sign which read, “No work, transients turn back, now!”
Back then my grandparents, Paul and Joan Harrington; owned a Bed & Breakfast on Bradford road. My grandfather, Paul, in 1927 was the first to build a year-round home on Bradford Road. Back then most of the valley was nothing but flatlands and dirt roads. Business was slow as usual that time of year, everything was quaint and calm. In the west great purple and blue thunderheads were slowly amassing. They’d just finished having dinner with their friend, Peter Caldwell, whom my grandfather had met towards the end of the First World War. He was a burly, barrel chested man of reliable good humor, who usually entered a room with a laugh line followed by handshakes and hugs.

A new family had just moved in down the road. Although they had not officially met their new neighbors, when you live in a small town like North Adams gossip seems to spread like measles in a county school. “Noonan” was their last name; a family from upstate New York. My grandfather counted four in total while he was out raking leaves one day; the husband, the wife and two young boys. The father received a job as a teacher at Thomas Gallaudet’s school for the deaf on Grundy Avenue. Like most teachers, Mr. Noonan thought he had a novel in him somewhere that he would write someday, while the missus was just a stay-at-home wife. It wasn’t till two weeks after then that my grandparents had their chance to meet their new neighbors, but unfortunately it was one they would not forget.

Paul, Joan and Peter sat around the dining room table. They’d finished dinner and were midway through dessert. Paul and Peter were having themselves some brandy with their pecan pie while Joan had herself a cup of tea. She was six months pregnant with my father, Collin Harrington. Just east of them the thunder rumbled overhead and the wind rushed energetically against the side of the house. Off in the distance a jagged bolt of lightning struck. Peter finished his brandy with three, huge slugs.
“Have one for the road.” Paul said as he poured himself and Peter a fresh glass. Suddenly a violent banging came from the front door, with a startled look of apprehension their attention turned towards the front of the house.
“Who in the name of Sam Houston is out in this weather?” Paul asked. As he approached the door the banging grew more vicious, making loud hammering sounds. He opened the door and found a young couple standing there on his doorstep. A man of about thirty-two years with his arm wrapped tightly around the woman’s shoulder with the woman clinching a twisted fistful of the man’s buttoned-shirt as if anticipating a sudden cyclone would pick her up and spin her away from her husband. The man was dressed in a suit made of brown Houndsooth fabric. The pants were pleated and pure as was the jacket. It was the type of attire men wore to a formal occasion, although I do not think they were on their way to a cocktail party or any form of social gathering on this night. The pants were a pure-wool flannel, wide at the hip, high-waist and tapered down in long columns like legs. The woman was tall and slender with a very small waist and narrow hips and was dressed in a double-breasted, pewter grey overcoat and sporting a fedora with a pair of T-strap high heels.
“Please, help us! Our Children are lost out in this storm!” said the woman; Paul gestured for the couple to come inside, “Hurry before the wind picks you up and carries you away.”
As the couple walked into the house Paul immediately noticed them as the Noonan’s, the couple that just moved in down the lane from upstate New York with their two sons.
“Our Children are lost and the storm is coming in quickly. Our house doesn’t have a phone yet. We had nowhere else to turn to so-”
“It’s alright…” Joan said while gesturing for the woman to lower her voice, “Just relax, we’ll help you find your children.” she said reassuringly, as if she’d known the Noonan’s would be coming up to their front doorstep that evening.
“Thank you.” the woman replied tentatively.
“Let’s go into the dining room and talk this over and try to figure things out before we go rushing out into the storm of the century.” Joan said. They sat around the dining room table; the lamp overhead flickered once or twice, but that was a usual occurrence in a storm.
“What are your children’s names?” Paul asked.
“Stanley, he’s our oldest, and our youngest, Robert.” Mr. Noonan said.
“He prefers Bobby.” Mrs. Noonan added.
“Alright, when did you last see them?”
“This afternoon, just after lunch; Stanley was taking Bobby fishing.” Mr. Noonan said his hands were fidgety; he incessantly readjusted his grip as if searching for a position of comfort.
“Did they say where they were goin’?” Peter asked. The couple contemplated for a moment or two then the husband said, “Stanley said he was takin’ Bobby to the old ravine by the abandoned millhouse called the…”he trailed off as Paul, Peter and Joan suddenly all stared at each other. My grandmother told me my grandfather’s posture changed in that instant. Suddenly he sat erect, head lifted, alertness signified by a slight rising of his eyelids and by the ceaseless subtle flare and quiver of his nostrils, like a dog that had just caught a whiff of something hazy. Outside the wind moaned and bustled. Joan felt the hairs on her arms and on the nape of her neck quiver as though responding to the silent flute of static electricity.
“Owe My God…” Paul whispered. Damn Yankees still as foolish as ever he thought to himself.
“The mountain…” Joan said absently while looking over at Paul.
“What’s wrong? What is it?” Mrs. Noonan insisted.
“Jo” Paul said, “Get on the horn with the constable.”
“What should I tell him?” she asked.
“Everything…” Paul replied in the driest tone he could manage.
Joan rushed to over to the candlestick phone on the kitchen counter and began running her fingers thru the keyholes as quickly as possible.
“What is it, what’s happened?!” Mr. Noonan asked now sounding aggravated,
“What are you not telling us? What’s up there?”
“An old train tunnel that leads into the mountain…” Peter replied absently.
“Stanley and Bobby know better than to go playing on the train tracks.”
“Train conductors don’t run shipments through the mountain much anymore, especially after dark.” said Peter.
“What… Why?” But no one answered.
Joan called over to Paul, “The phones are out. The storm must have knocked out one of the power lines.”
“Dammit!” Paul’s voice raised, his hands balled up into a fists and came down on the table’s surface. The room was unfavorably quiet. With his hands folded and his head fallen forward Paul contemplated their next course of action.
“Alright, looks like this will have to be our play.” Paul said in a flat voice.
“Paul, you can’t be serious?” Peter asked.
“GOD DAMMNIT WILL ONE OF YOU TELL ME WHATS HAPPENED TO MY CHILDREN!” Mr. Noonan roared, he pushed back his chair and slammed his fists down on the table causing the whole room to vibrate for a second. Mr. Noonan may have been a man with a more lavish background then others in those days; however, he was still a man of considerable size, he looked like he could go one or two rounds in the ring with Mike McTigue.
“Mister, I’ll say this once…Sit down and shut-up, losing your composure won’t help your children.”
Mr. Noonan looked around the room and suddenly realizing where he was and what he’d just done. In those days men of his stature were required to maintain their composure better in comparison to the standard, blue-collar, working-class man. He sat back down and hung his head.
“I’m sorry.” he whispered. Mrs. Noonan put her arms around her husband’s shoulders for comfort.
Paul, Joan and Peter moved into the kitchen where they could talk more openly without tormenting Mister and Missus Noonan with the details. Mr. Noonan sat at the table, his arms wrapped around his now weeping wife saying over and over, “Its okay, we’ll find them.”
“We can’t leave ‘em out there.” Paul whispered, not wanting the Noonan’s to catch wind of their conversation.
“What if they’ve been got at already?” Peter asked Paul in a shallow and apprehensive tone.
“Maybe, but we can’t be too sure.” Paul said, his eyes staring off into nothingness.
“Pete, you still keep that .45 in the glove compartment of your truck?”
“You know I do, Paul.”
“Alright, I’ll fetch my .410” Paul said, “Jo, you still wear that crucifix your mother gave to you?”
“You are seriously considering goin’ out there?” Joan asked superfluously.
“Jo, you know I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I knew there was somethin’ I could’ve done.”
Jo looked up at Paul with wide eyes that were beginning to dampen, “I’ll be fine.” he said.
“I comin’ with you!” she said assertively.
“You’re a damn fool if you think I’m lettin’ you come with us.” Paul said with a little grin appearing on the corner of his mouth while patting her belly as a reminder. “You stay here with Mrs. Noonan and keep her company. Pete and I will take Mr. Noonan up there and see if we can find them boys.”
“What happens if we don’t find them?” Peter asked, but Paul did not answer, instead he looked down at the floor boards for a moment and sighed; then he walked back into the dining room.
“Mr. Noonan, we have an idea where your kids are.”
“Oh thank Goodness!” Mrs. Noonan said holding her chest, as if the weight of the world had been lifted off of her torso.
“Mr. Caldwell and I will take you up there ourselves. It’s no more than four miles up the road. We’ll take Mr. Caldwell’s pick-up truck. Your wife will stay here with my missus, make her a cup of tea and brew up some hot chocolate for them kids.” Paul said smiling reassuringly, but underneath he was filled with a deep sense of trepidation. He was uncertain if it was too late for the children, but he did not want to rob the young parents of their hope so soon, not at least until he’s seen it for himself.
“Thank you, all of you. Thank you so much.” said Mr. Noonan, the sincerity in his voice was clearly identifiable, but it was still hazy with alarm and anxiety.
Joan fetched two flashlights from the supply closet in the basement and a King James Bible, the one they kept on the top of their book shelf; it was riddled with dust bunnies and grime as if it had just been sitting on the top shelf of the bookcase for decades. Not to say that Paul and Joan were ‘nonbelievers’. The Harrington’s were Congregationalist and attended service every Sunday like most people around these parts. In this area everyone usually wore some kind of religious trinket with them; a crucifix, a St. Christopher’s medal or a rosary.
Paul was busy at the kitchen counter loading two rounds into his .410.
“What’s that for?” Mr. Noonan asked.
“Just for precaution,” Paul replied, “There are lots of wild animals roaming up in those hills. No tellin’ what we’ll run into while we are out there.” but it was not the animals of the forest the frightened him so. Pete came back from outside with his .45 tucked into his back belt loop.
“The winds pickin’up, we’d best get goin’ before the storm hits.” Peter called out.
“Let’s get a move on!” Mr. Noonan said now sounding more agitated and eager then before.
“Just a moment!” Paul called to Peter and Mr. Noonan who were both standing by the front door waiting for him. Joan came back up from the basement with the flashlights in her hands.
She handed them to Paul, “You be safe now, you hear me?” she said looking up at her husband.
“Yes mam.” he said as if he were addressing his mother rather than his wife. She removed the crucifix from around her neck. She stood up on her tippy toes and placed it around her husband’s neck, and then kissed him on the corner of his mouth. Just as he was turning to meet Mr. Noonan and Paul at the front door she grabbed him by the wrist, “Wait, one last thing.” Paul looked back at her; she turned and ran into the family room. He heard some shuffling and something fall over, like a family portrait being tipped over. When she came back she held in one hand a small, clear vile of ashy-red shrubs. She handed it to Paul.
“Is this-?” he asked.
“Mountain Ash.” she replied. Mountain Ash has long sense been associated with witchcraft and magic. Dating far back in many cultures such as Greek mythology, Welsh and even Pre-Celtic, the shrubs of Rowan trees are said to act as an antidote against bad omens, the Evil Eye and even disease. Some use the wood and bark of the tree as talisman to thwart off evil spirits. In the town of North Adams you may find the doorsteps and windowsills of family homes sprinkled with the red shrubbery. To which the town’s people might reply, “Helps keep the evil at bay”.
“Just in case; always best to have a contingency plan.” she said smiling.
“That’s my girl.” Paul said. He hugged her tightly and she hugged him back, they stayed like that for a moment or two then Paul released her and ran to the door to meet the other two men. They ran out to the truck, the wind picked up, the trees danced flamboyantly as the last remaining leaves were torn from their branches. They hopped into the truck and drove down the dirt lot. Out of Paul’s peripheral vision he could see his wife and Mrs. Noonan standing at the windowsill watching them drive off and they were driving right smack into a place no man should set foot in after dark. Joan then went up to their bedroom and kneeled beside her bed like she’d done so every night since she was a little girl.
“Dear Lord, please watch over my husband, Peter and Mr. Noonan. I ask that you guide them safely through their endeavors as they embark on this journey.”

The drive was long as most of the roads in town were still under construction. The wind from the approaching storm rocked the truck from side to side every now and again. The sky was as black as an alcoholics liver; the clouds approaching from the west were a gun-metal grey, a flash of light could be seen crashing down off somewhere in the distance. The car ride was mostly quiet; Paul and Peter sat on opposite sides of Noonan, the three men sat shoulder to shoulder, eyes straight forward.
“Mr. Caldwell, Mr. Harrington…” Noonan said, “Again, I just wanted to thank you both for your help and I’m sorry for being sort short earlier.” he chuckled a little, as if it were something that just tickled your soft spot but Paul and Peter did not laugh with Noonan; they just sat there stolidly looking straight forward as if they’d heard nothing. Mr. Noonan began to feel uneasy again. The eerie silence of both men made him cringe. Lighting struck a brilliant white and blue shock in the graphite sky.
A minute later Paul spoke up, “Mr. Noonan, there are some things you should know about our town if you’ll be stayin’ here.”
“Alright…” Noonan said nodding his head, his face still exhibiting signs of fear.
“People in this neck of the woods are very superstitious of the mountain, especially goin’ up there after sundown. Now, best case scenario your kids are back home, curled up in front of the fireplace waitin’ for you and your wife to return home and this was just a big ol’goose chase. Worst case scenario…” he stopped mid-speech trying carefully to find the right words.
“What… Worst case scenario what?” you could hear the restlessness in Noonan’s voice now, but Paul just sat with his fingers gripping the barrel of his .410 tighter than before. The friction of his skin against the cold, steel barrel sounded a lot like plastic being stretched.
“Mr. Noonan in order for me to tell you what I know. I’ll need to tell you some things that might be hard for you to swallow…” and Noonan was an educated man, educated men were more always challenging to influence. They used statistical or methodical methods to explain anything others may consider to be an “unnatural phenomenon”. They did not give into wild superstitions, they did not believe in things such as Maverick, the blind, driving dog from Guam.
“Just what are these superstitions?” he asked.
Paul inhaled then exhaled, and then he began, “There is a place here in town we don’t care to mention. It’s a bad place, an old train tunnel that runs through the mountain. We call it…the Pit” he spoke as if the words tasted like something bitter on his tongue, “Bad things have happened to people during the tunnels making. My great uncle worked on it himself from 1859 to 1868. By that time he’d just had enough of that God forsaken place…” He grinded his teeth on that last phrase. It was a hateful expression on his face they saw, one filled with much resentment.
“W-what are you saying, Mr. Harrington?” Noonan asked apprehensively.
“There are just some places that are bad luck, Mr. Noonan. And this place is one of ‘em.”
Peter took a sharp left turn off of Church Street onto a gravel up-hill road. The uneven terrain made the vehicle rise and fall; it felt as if they were on a boat in the middle of the ocean during a tempest. Noonan’s eyes widened with a new apprehension when Paul spoke, it was as if a cold chill moved up his spine.
“I’ve lived here my whole life. I’m not one who believes in the boogeyman, sorcery or any other fiddle-faddle of that sort, but I do believe in evil and I believe there are some places in this world that got a small dose of it.”
It dawned on Paul and Peter that Noonan was beginning to see what they were insinuating, the look in his eyes shifted from concern to a look of frozen terror. An outbreak of silence fell over the three men for a few minutes. All that could be heard was the sound of the rainfall hitting the steel frame of the truck.
“Mr. Noonan, this ain’t a joke and we’re not a pair of crackpots; but I need you to understand the risk we’re taking. Once we step inside you’ll do as we say, we stay together, and we won’t go runnin’ off on each other. If we see something, or hear somethin’ we don’t feel comfortable with we’ll turn back and come back again the next morning.”
“Are you insa-”
“A couple of dead men will do your children no good; If it comes to that we’ll come back the next mornin’ with the constable and a search party.”
Noonan looked petrified now, “What do you mean dead men?”
“Understand the risk we’re takin’. No sane man who has lived in these parts long enough knows not to go into the pit after nightfall.” his voice grew restless again, but Noonan just looked at Paul with resentment. Peter put his foot on the breaks; the vehicle moved forward a couple of feet, “Why’d you stop?” Paul asked.
“We go on foot from here.” Peter said looking straight ahead.
The sky, now as black and as evil as a dragon’s egg, broke open and spilled sharp electric-white gouts of yolk. In an instant the dusty air reeked of ozone and oncoming rain. Not two minutes later, shatters of rain rattled down on them with such raw force that the droplets stung the skin and bounced high off the hard earth. The runoff of water from the mountain was beginning to loosen the soil, making the ground thick and soppy.
Paul remembered his grandfather relayed information to him when he was just a boy how seekers must find the old, abandoned passageway into the mountain, “You must descend through the old ravine. Follow the oaks and silver birches along the old trail which will take ye to the bad ‘ills” he pronounced “hills” as if it were some kind of disease.
“Where is this tunnel?” Noonan asked.
“Just up ahead.” Peter pointed. The tides of rainwater came running down the hillside with raw force.
“We have to move fast.” said Paul unyieldingly; I feel he was just eager to get this whole mess over with, like ripping off a Band-Aid. The three men moved up the slope and onto the rails. The trees of the forest were bladder-brown. The acrid odor of runoff clung to the air. Their branches lay bare, the mere sight which rapes one’s mind of nightmares. Paul now so stricken with panic that he did not feel the rain snapping against his bare skin or the scraps of wet leaves slapping him across the face and sticking to his skin like a piece of hickey tape.
“How much farther to this tunnel?” Noonan asked.
“Not far,” Peter exclaimed, “just around this bend up ahead.”
The idea was now an irritation in the back of his mind. We’re walkin’ into the lion’s lair, right smack into the Bloody Pit. Paul thought to himself, and he was sure Peter was thinking the same thing right then; but Paul kept his face straightforward to avoid having to see Peter’s face might only cause him to void his bowels.
Two minutes later there it was, the archway opening into the mountain. A gust of wind travelled through the air brushing the nape of their necks. The limbs of large tress clawed at the iron portal.
“What in the hell is that?” Noonan asked as he pointed up ahead to something lying in the middle of the train tracks. To their discovery it was a house cat’s body, but it had been dismembered. Its limbs were strewn around in an unorganized fashion. Its head was missing from its neck. All that remained was a thin layer of skin and bones. From the looks of it the cat had been there quite a while, but the most troubling part about it was not the position or condition it was left in but was the odd markings around the body. Noonan gasped at the sight of the animal, but Paul and Peter looked upon the animal’s remnants with foreseeable expressions, as if they’d predicted to find it there. Animals gone missing happened on a reoccurring basis here in the bad hills (some places more than others especially after dark). Dogs, cats and other house pets were often found around the mouth of the tunnel, not eaten just mutilated. As the Golden agers would say, “All ye who dwell within the shadow of the mountain o’ the pit”
“Mr. Noonan,” Paul said. Noonan looked at him with alarm, “We’re goin’ at this the smart way. It’s like I said before, we’ll go in and if we see something we don’t like we’ll turn back and come again tomorrow, understood?” Noonan did not respond with a yes or a no, but instead he yelled, “What is this? Just what are these superstitions?”
Peter and Paul looked at each other than Paul said, “Something lives in the mountain…”
“WHAT DAMINT, TELL ME WHAT?!”He lunged forward and grabbed Paul by his lapel and shook him back and forth, the cords on his neck standing out with one vein pulsing in the center of his forehead. Peter took Noonan by the wrist and pushed him back.
“Mr. Noonan, the Hoosac tunnel is haunted.” Peter answered.
“What?” Noonan asked now staring at both men with a confounded expression.
“Ghosts, lost souls, those who have died during the tunnels making now belong to the pit…”
“Crazies…” he muttered, “You’re just a couple of wackos.”
“Mr. Noonan, I can assure you we’re not a couple of crazies.”
“Either you’re a couple of loonies or this is some kind of sick game you locals play on newcomers? So which is it, huh?” Noonan voice grew hoarse, but Paul and Peter did not waiver.
“Does it seem like we’re playin’ a ruse?” Paul asked staring directly into Mr. Noonan’s eyes with a sense of stern truthfulness.
“Maybe not, but what should I do now? Bobby’s always been the mischievous one of the two, when his curiosity is aroused it can’t be tamed. If my children are in there how can I be hopeful that they’re still alive, WHAT CHANCE DO THEY HAVE? YOU TELL ME THAT MUCH!”
A long pause besieged them and then Paul replied in the only way he knew possible, “I’m not sure…”
Mr. Noonan stood silently staring back at both men, his feet swallowed by the muddy earth. He turned back towards the mouth of the tunnel then began walking into the blackness.
The tunnels were just as Paul remembered them; he’d only set foot in there once before in his life. Twenty years ago when he was only fourteen years old, one of his old classmates forced him on a dare to go into the tunnels. Paul remembered finding an old article from the North Adams Transcript in his grandfather’s chest. It was dated October 19th, 1868. The heading was written in bold, black font, “Gas explosion consumes 13 miners. All victims belong to the Pit.” Paul knew there were other occurrences, other articles and other victims like this one which followed in the years leading up to the tunnel’s finish, but finding actual proof, actual evidence of one, seeing it for himself haunted him greatly. While he saw no ghosts he had this uncontrollable feeling of something walking beside him the entire way. It felt like the very essence of another person without form, but its aura felt eerie. The temperature fell the further he went in, another sensation dawned on him, and he remembered feeling someone or something’s hand on his shoulder. It was cold and inert but Paul did not sense any sort of hostility emanating from the invisible man beside him. Paul traveled for two thirds of a mile when the sounds started, the sounds that left him many sleepless nights afterwards. It was a distressed cry, the sound like a wounded animal, but the voice sounded human and there was something else subdued beneath it, to this day he is still not entirely certain what it was he heard, but then the wounded cry was accompanied by something else, wild laughter; loud, blood-curdling cackles approaching quickly from up ahead. Once he heard the sounds Paul turned and ran out of that place with his tail tucked between his legs.
The three men entered the tunnel and began meandering down the cavern’s lengthy, narrow passage. The sounds of dripping water cascading down the cavern walls synchronized with the flow of stagnant water on both sides of the train rails. The decaying air and stifling atmosphere provided the perfect abode for those who worshipped the darkness. The walls and the tunnel floor were riddled with bat droppings and cobwebs. Paul found himself inadvertently peering back over his shoulder at the entrance, watching the opening shrink more and more with every passing minute until the shadows of the tunnel joined hands and swallowed up the light of the stormy sky. Day, light, sun, moon or even nighttime holds no sway or connotation in a place where time stands still he thought. Mr. Noonan began calling out for his children, Paul looked up and could see a city of bats roosting from the rough- hewn overheads. They were huge, the size of rooks.
“STANLEY…BOBBY!” Noonan called out but there was no response. Noonan was stricken with fear; his breathing was loud and unbalanced. The three men walked for about a half-mile when Peter said, “Look!” centering the beam from his flashlight ten feet ahead. A skull, green with mold, moss and ivy laughed at them. He shined his light further and could see the ulna, part of a ribcage and part of its left pelvic wing sticking haphazardly out of the ground.
“God…” Noonan said with great unease, “What is this place?”
“Hell, Mr. Noonan.” Paul replied, “This is the gateway to Hell…”
“What’s that?” Peter pointed to a discarded piece of clothing along the tracks. It was a linen, newsboy’s cap; a popular piece of attire for boys and men in the 1920’s and 30’s. Mr. Noonan rushed over and picked it up.
“This is Bobby’s… ” Noonan said, “They’re down here… My boys are down here somewhere in these tunnels.” Noonan began sprinting ahead of them, “STANLEY…BOBBY!”
“Noonan, wait!” But Noonan would not wait, Paul could say more but Noonan’s hearing was shut off.
“What should we do, Paul?” Peter asked.
“Head back to the truck and wait for me there. I’ll go get him. If I’m not back with him in an hour I want you to drive back to town and get the constable.”
“Paul…” Peter now said looking distressed, the expression of fear added ten years onto his smooth boy-like cheeks.
“Don’t worry about me. I’ll bring him back; you just worry about yourself for now.”
Paul smiled and winked at Peter as if he were making a promise to him, a promise he would come back safely.
Paul trailed behind the sounds of Noonan’s voice; they passed by numerous side passages, long and dark shafts that lead deeper into the mountain. Then Paul heard something, not words, more like guttural sounds all around him. He began to get that itch in the back of his mind, that itch you could never seem to scratch no matter how hard you try. A sensation one might associate with clairvoyance. He feels the tremors as they dart down his back all of a sudden. Paul hears Noonan’s voice ahead of him calling for his children, “STANLEY…BOBBY, IN THE NAME OF GOD, ANSWER ME!” Noonan put at least fifteen yards between him and Paul and the gap was growing with each passing second. The voices whispered in his ear, they caressed his body like a breeze within that dark sovereignty. The voices whispered this place will be your tomb, Mr. Harrington; all victims o’ the pit.
“NOONAN!” Paul called out his name, but Noonan did not respond. His mind was swimming with fear and anxiety. He finally managed to catch up to Noonan; he stopped, his body shuddering uncontrollably.
“Noonan, Please…” Paul said almost pleading, “Your sons are-”
“DON’T SAY THAT!” he was now yelling, “They’re alive! I know it, they’re not-”
But he could not finish his sentence, as he could not find the willpower inside of him to proclaim such things.
“Noonan, we have to go now!”
Then there was something else, the same sound Paul remembered from years before; that same distressed sound which left him many sleepless nights over the years.
“It’s them… ”
“No Noonan, please it’s not them.”
Noonan’s last words were, “You go to Hell!” In a moment of either great courage or great stupidity (the line between the two is often very fine) Noonan threw his elbow into Paul’s chest and started off; he began floundering out in the direction of the voices.
“Noonan!”
Against his greater will Paul followed Noonan further into the pit. The distance between him and Noonan grew again. The light bulb on Noonan’s flashlight was failing fast now. He was unaware of this, he hadn’t the slightest clue he was practically walking in pitch-black now. He heard Noonan stop, then he heard him say, “Stan…Bobby…is that you boys? Who’s there?” the nature of his voice changed from distress to fear for his own safety. Then he heard it, he heard what sounded inhuman, a sound he had not heard when he last walked these tunnels. A wailing scream, a horrible shriek, almost like hearing a banshee cry; some inhuman thing was down there in the tunnel with Noonan. Then he heard another sound; the sound of Noonan’s vanishing scream as it disappeared into the pit. His scream carried down the tunnel faster than a jack rabbit in front of a prairie fire. A single thought grazed Paul’s mind that moment; it was a swift thought and one he would not grieve on till later. That’s the last anyone will see of Mathew Noonan he thought.
His hands trembled, he almost lost control of the .410 in his right hand; he felt a wad of spit lodge itself in his throat. The tunnel grew quiet. Maybe it was full for now, maybe the Noonan family slaked its hunger for the time being. I ate them the pit might say; I ate them, belt buckle and all. Soon I will eat you, Mr. Harrington. I will eat you just as I ate them. A cynical voice in his head spoke. Perhaps the pit took pity on him and would allow him to escape once more. The light bulb of his flashlight was beginning to flicker just as Noonan’s did. The tunnel was stealing the light; Paul gave the light a slap on its side. It flickered a few more times than salvaged its full luminosity. When he looked back in the direction where he’d last heard Noonan, he felt an eclipse steal across his heart in that moment. It made him wish for death. It looked like a man in overalls, a hard shell hat and a set of steel-toed rubber boots. His clothes were worn and tattered, covered with dust and grease. Its arctic white blanched skin looked as pallid as any vampires. Its mangled skin hung from its face and its arms. It looked like a man but at the same time it did not, the being appeared almost translucent. Paul was spellbound and paralyzed with fear. The pit was not done with him just yet; his flashlight flickered once more than twice more. In a split second four more dark figures appeared, all of them with the same grotesque features as the first one.
Paul reached for the bible in his back trouser pocket; his fingers stumbled through the pages, he staggered back away from the monstrous figures, then he began reciting,
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written,
Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve.” But they were not swayed by his faith. They began to move toward Paul, he staggered back away from them. He continued flipping through pages as he moved back. He nearly lost his balance over one of the rail tracks wooden beams. Had he’d fallen he was not sure if he would be able to get back up.
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand!”
But the creatures continued moving forward, still not swayed by Paul’s sermon. You’d best start runnin’, Paul. He said to himself. Without a second thought Paul abandoned his bible and began running for the exit. Paul ran with all his might, he heard the pitter-patter of his pursuer’s footsteps from behind him. Not running, but sprinting behind him. Paul turned halfway and fired two rounds from his .410 into the darkness without allowing himself time to think, stitching the shadows of the tunnel with red and white punctures of light, sending needles of stinging pain into his eyes. The whispers and cries intensified around him. The screams of creatures tailed behind him, it was done with Noonan, now it wanted Paul. The tunnel dwellers closing in quickly, he could almost feel their breath on the nape of his neck. No he said to himself I won’t die here. Not before I’ve had the chance to hold my child. I won’t let this place become my tomb. He stopped in his tracks and withdrew the clear vile from his back trouser pocket. He unscrewed the cap then sprinkled the vile of shrubs over the train tracks. To his amazement as the petals of mountain ash fell onto the floor a faint glow like burning embers appeared. The tunnel dwellers then all stopped suddenly. He noticed they began retreating away; it was as if there was some kind of barrier between them, one in which they could not cross over. He took the crucifix from around his neck and held it out in front of him. With a loud and passionate pitch he chanted, “OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME, THY KINGDOM COME, YOUR WILL BE DONE, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN! GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBATORS, AS WE ALSO HAVE FORGIVEN OUR DEBATORS!”
The tunnel dwellers were beginning to withdraw farther and farther away, in the shallow light of the tunnel’s opening he saw them. Those pallid faces and those blackened eyes made his hair turn white. The sounds and the voices of the tunnel began again, only this time they were the sounds of sheer pain and suffering accompanied by an even greater sound, not thunder, a continuous roar, growing in volume, like a score of passing trains. Then the sound intensified even more as it sounded like all the trains in the world converging on a single intersection passing through the mountain.
“AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIEVER US FROM THE EVIL ONE! FOR THINE IS THY KINGDOM, THY POWER, AND THY GLORY OF YOURS, FOR EVER AND EVER. AMEN!”
The hordes of Hell howled then all at once they vanished. Disappearing back into the mountain where they would spend all of eternity, quietly and patiently waiting. Paul stood frozen to the railroad tracks as if his feet were sunken into the hollow ground beneath him. He stared down into the tunnel’s black abyss, no sound, no movement. There was only him, the bats, the insects and the thin tunnel air.
“Joan…” he said softly, “Thank you…thank you my dear, Jo.”

It’s been nearly seventy years since that day. The following spring, my grandparents moved away to Pittsfield. My grandfather felt unsafe about living there any longer. Perhaps he was afraid the ghost of Mr. Noonan or his children would come after him on some dark and stormy night, and I’m not the man to say they might not have. Twelve years ago, my grandfather passed away from what the doctors call a, “cerebral hemorrhage”. Grandma Joe said one morning he just started cussing down at his shoes, then he just sat down in his rocking chair, the top half of his body slumped forward, chin on chest. She said he looked like a man considering his options, and very carefully. Just like that he was gone. I grew up hearing this story from my grandmother as my grandfather could not bring himself to relive the tragedy of that night ever again. Then four years after, Grandma Joe passed away in her sleep in St. Andrews nursing home. One of the nurses came into her room to check on her around 3 AM (which some poet or some other rightly dubbed the Hour of the Wolf). She just said her chest was still and her eyes were slightly parted, but that she looked so peaceful.
While I’ve never once gone into the tunnels which lead under the Hoosac Mountain, some days I’ll stand at the entrance and stick out one ear just to listen. Sometimes I’ll spend all evening listening, waiting for some sound until I feel the tracks begin to vibrate from any oncoming train. I can’t be too sure of what it was I heard but a few summers back I stood at the mouth of the tunnel near dusk. The sky was a dyed pomegranate pink, with the fiery orange ball of red midway over the Appalachian trails. I stuck out one ear and listened. For a little while all I could hear was the sound of the wind traveling down the side of the mountain or the occasional hoot of a Barn owl but nothing else. Just as I was about to turn back I heard a faint sound, it was a long ways down, but it was as clear as the autumn atmosphere. It sounded distressed, a wounded voice crying out in pain. It beckoned for me to enter that place where things go and are never seen again. Then there was a second sound that followed behind it; a screeching howl, followed by wailing laughter that made me breakout in gooseflesh. It occurred to me that something still lived there; something was still living down there in the darkness, whatever it was it belonged to the pit.
Should you find yourself passing through North Adams stop by the High Horse tavern for a glass Hennessy or a pint of Ale and listen as the Golden Ager’s gather around the fire hearth to recount their stories of the lost miners and the grave howls and moans of the Bloody Pit.

 

CREDIT TO : Connor Scott

 

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How Do You Kill a Monster?

by cnkguy
How Do You Kill a Monster?

How Do You Kill a Monster?Reading Time: 3 minutes

“Ben? What are you doing in there?”

I glanced up at the door briefly where my wife stood on the other side.

“I’ll just be another minute.” There was no point in answering her question. She knew what I was doing, I’m sure. And she didn’t like it. And she didn’t understand. Because she wanted me to move on.

My eyes slid back down to my phone where they stayed glued to the screen for another four minutes. I had scoured the internet for months looking for the rest of the trial but all I could find was this six minute segment that had been televised by A Current Affair. I’d seen the video so many times I knew every detail of every second. But still I watched. Because I needed an answer.

The camera was currently focused on the jury. They were all leaning forward and concentrating on the testimony of the forensic expert. The camera then slid over to the witness stand where Dr. Felmore talked about the decomposition of Andrew’s body and the state it had been in when a dog-walker had discovered it the previous May.

Felmore then walked over to the overhead projector, tapped a stack of slides on the table to straighten them, and then peeled off the top one and placed it on the projector. A graphic photo of Andrew’s body arrived on the screen and the entire courtroom gasped. A Current Affair had blurred out the photos but I remembered what was on them. They were right to be horrified. Hearing an expert drone in a monotone manner about the graphic abuse of a five year old was much different than seeing its effects first hand.

The doctor explained the slides without emotion, pointing out the countless abrasions, bruises, and open fractures. He spoke about the ultimate manner of death – strangulation – and showed the court how the handprints on Andrew’s neck matched perfectly with the defendant’s. Then he turned the projector off and began to speak to about the presumed time of death.

The camera pulled back at this point to show my family, quietly crying.

And then, finally, it panned over to the defendant’s table. The boy sitting beside his lawyer looked downright…bored. He flipped a pencil back and forth between his fingers and sighed loudly, every few seconds. This – this was the monster I wanted to kill. He seemed to feel the camera was on him now because he suddenly turned, looked straight at the camera, and smiled. It was smug, intelligent smile. As if he wasn’t afraid of the consequences. As if he believed it had all been worth it.

And in the end, he was right. He had been sentenced to be incarcerated until his majority and then another seven years after that. It was nothing. It was less than nothing.

I looked over at the straight razor I had begged my wife to get me for my birthday. How do you kill a monster? This was the answer. It would be so easy. But could I bring myself to do it? My little brother deserved vengeance, even if it came 16 years later. Andrew had suffered horrors no human should endure. Days of it.

I looked back down at the tiny screen and watched the last few seconds of the video. The boy had suddenly sat up at rapt attention as some of the makeshift torture devices he’d created were brought out and placed upon a table near the jury. My family was escorted from the courtroom and A Current Affair cut the video off there. But it didn’t matter, I remembered what happened next.

The detective had held up each one of the devices for the jury to examine and I’d rocked back and forth in my seat, giddy with pride at my creations.

Valerie knocked again. “Ben, are you coming to bed?”

But I was contemplating a much more important question, the only one that mattered. In truth, I knew how to kill a monster. I glanced over at the sharp blade on the counter. That part was easy. But the problem was more complex than that. Because how do you kill a monster when it’s inside of you?

 

CREDIT: C.K. Walker

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