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Buyer’s Remorse

by cnkguy
Buyer’s Remorse

When I saw the car for sale on Craigslist, I was shocked. Not only was it a good price, decent shape, and reliable brand – but it was custom built for someone who didn’t have legs! Both of my legs had to be amputated due to a childhood illness. Obviously, it made driving a lot more complicated. I learned to drive on a specially equipped car that had the gas and brake powered through a hand crank instead of pedals. I drove that thing for a decade before it was stolen. I still think about those bastards who took it…

I immediately called the owner. He said he had the car altered for his daughter, who became a paraplegic after a car accident the year before. Even though he had it altered his daughter refused to use the car and had given up driving all together. He said the car itself was bringing her a lot of sadness so he wanted to get rid of it as soon as possible. We arranged to meet that afternoon.

I could not contain my excitement. I took out my favorite prosthetics (the ones my girlfriend Dana had painted koi fish on) and fastened them in. Usually cars that were built for someone like me cost way too much to even fathom buying. Being disabled in this society is expensive! But this guy was selling the car for 1K. 1K! I would have given him three times as much and laughed it off.

Two o’clock finally arrived and I bused over to the seller’s place. It was in a nice neighborhood just twenty minutes or so from downtown. I got a few stares from my fellow passengers but I was used to that. It’s not every day you see a guy with fish on his legs. I got off a little early and walked to the house.

I which house it was because the car was sitting right out front. It was beautiful. I walked up so quickly I almost didn’t see the woman sitting on a picnic table in the yard. She was older than me, maybe in her early 40’s, with white hair. She wore a thick black coat. I waved to her but she didn’t take her eyes off the car.

“Hey, I’m Finn! I’m here about the car.”

Slowly she shifted her gaze over to me. The look on her face was one of fear. “There is something living in the backseat,” she said softly.

“Sorry, what?” I was sure I had heard wrong.

“There is something alive in the backseat.” She opened her mouth as if she were to say more but then shut it and turned back to the car.

A man rushed out of the house. “You must be Finn! I’m so sorry I didn’t see you walk up.”

“It’s no problem.” I rubbed my arm awkwardly. “Hey, so she said there was something living in the backseat? Is there like a rodent problem or something?”

The man turned around and saw the woman. “Oh shit, Jane is out here. I’m really sorry. She isn’t right in the head.” He ran over to her. “I told you to stay inside!”

“He deserves to know what’s living back there!” she shrieked at him.

He grabbed her and hoisted her up in his arms. Over his shoulder he called, “I’ll be right back, Jane needs some rest.”

As she was carried into the house she screamed, “Beware! It took my legs but it wants a life!”

When they both disappeared behind the door I strongly considered bolting out of there (which would have been hard to do, since I didn’t have my running prosthetics on). Jane must be the daughter he mentioned in his ad, considering the fact that she didn’t walk. For some reason I had pictured her younger. This situation was really weird. It didn’t sit right with me. But on the other hand, the car was such a good price…

The man came back outside with a bit of sweat on his brow. “Sorry about that. I thought she was inside. Jane is…well, she just has a few extra screws loose at the moment.”

“Is she okay?” Looking back that was a stupid question, but it was the only thing I could think of.

“The accident really got to her. Even though it’s been a while she can’t let go of it.” He sighed. “As you heard, she’s even invented some sort of thing living in the backseat. She’s convinced this is what caused her accident, not the fact she was drinking too much.”

“I’m so sorry,” I said quietly.

He shrugged. “But enough about the past. The car is in really good shape. After the accident I had the entire thing rewired-”

“Sorry, but are you saying this was the car that she was driving when she crashed?”

He shuffled, looking away from me. “Yeah, guess I should have mentioned it in the ad. But like I said, there’s nothing wrong with the car. No damage from the accident at all. I added the special hand cranks for her. It drives perfectly. Normally I would be asking a lot more, but I just need it gone. I think for Jane to heal it needs to be with someone else.”

I took a test drive and he wasn’t lying – the car was perfect. If not for the mileage you might have thought it was brand new. Driving again was amazing. For the past year I had to rely completely on the bus or Dana to get me anywhere. This would change my life.

Despite the strangeness of Jane and her odd comments, I bought the car. The man was so happy he nearly teared up. “You won’t regret this,” he said joyfully. I drove to the DMV, got the plates, and felt a freedom I missed dearly. I was on four wheels again!

I headed straight to Dana’s. She was going to be so excited for me. With this new car maybe I could try and find a better job, and finally get the money for an engagement ring. The thought of proposing made me even happier. Dana was perfect for me in every way. She was strong when I was scared, she was calm when I would freak out – we balanced each other. I was head over heels for her. I knew that everything was going to work out.

That’s when I heard the rumble. It was quiet at first, like a typical car sound. But as I kept driving it started to change. It began to sound more like a peculiar whisper. With every bump the whispering was louder. My first reaction was annoyance. I thought the car was in perfect condition but clearly something was wrong. I figured I’d take it to the mechanic tomorrow.

I spent the night with Dana, going over our dreams for future. She fit so nicely in the crook of my arm. I dated a few girls here and there, but Dana was my first real relationship. Not only did she not care about my amputations, she celebrated me and my disability. We ran a marathon together last year. I never would have finished without her encouragement. I couldn’t wait to marry her.

In the morning it was hard to get out of bed. Dana was still asleep, curled up beside me. I kissed her forehead. I had decided that I would take the car in early to be looked at, and then get a start on the job hunt. I put on my everyday prosthetics and headed out.

I was half way to the body shop when the rumble started again. I rolled my eyes. But before too long I noticed something odd in the rearview mirror. Every time I glanced in that direction something red flashed behind my seat. It was like a shadow. It disappeared right when I caught sight of it. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I couldn’t help but think of Jane. “There is something living the back seat.”

At the mechanic I watched as they did a thorough inspection of the car. They checked under the hood, in the seats…everywhere. They couldn’t find anything that made a rumbling noise. In fact, they said the car was in better shape than it should be for its age. I pushed back a little, asking again if there was any way an animal could be living in the car somewhere. Their exact answer: “Unless it’s invisible, there’s nothing living in your car.”

I felt embarrassed. Of course there was nothing in my car. I was being stupid. Jane was just a woman who was deeply affected by her accident. I headed back home.

I hit the first red light and something pulled my hair. I swung my head around but there was nothing. My shoulders got tense. I looked in the rearview mirror. The red flash bled into my seat. I kept staring, trying to catch another glimpse. The car behind me honked. I looked forward and realized the light was green. Reluctantly I went ahead.

Not even a minute went by before I felt nails on my neck. I turned around but again nothing was there. I tried to focus on driving. “You’re freaking out,” I whispered.

The whispers replied, “Out out out.”

I looked in the rearview mirror and saw what looked like a sick red arm sticking out behind my seat. It recoiled in an instant. Suddenly there was a resounding crash. The air bag slapped me back to the seat, my neck pinned sideways. I screamed but my lungs were compressed. I must have rear-ended the car in front of me. It was my fault, I hadn’t been paying attention. My imagination had nearly gotten me killed.

The air bag deflated quickly and the police were on the scene. I had completely smashed the car in front of me. Luckily there was no one in the backseat of their car. Strangely, my car had no damage. Not even a scratch. I realized slowly that I had only just gotten the car and hadn’t bought insurance yet. Needless to say I spent a lot of time apologizing and talking with the police.

When the incident was finished and we had all run out of things to say, it was time for me to drive home. I dreaded it. Clearly Jane had gotten into my head. I was seeing things, hearing things…I felt like I was going crazy. Even while I was talking to the police I felt insane. They asked what happened to cause the crash. I had to pause and decide whether or not to say “Something in my backseat was talking to me and I saw a red arm and I wasn’t paying attention to the road.” Instead I just told them the last part. “I wasn’t paying attention to the road.”

Before getting into the car I called Dana. I told her about the crash but left out the thing in the backseat. She told me to come over. Her apartment was actually closer, so I agreed. Plus some snuggle time could make this all go away. Hesitantly I got into the car. I inspected the backseat as thoroughly as I could. There was nothing there. Nothing wrong with it.

Slowly, I pulled into traffic. I drove as slow as possible. The people around me were not happy with my speed and I got honked at quite a few times. But I didn’t care. I was not going to endanger any more lives. I spent the entire time in the car in a tense, statue-like pose. All of my muscles were ready for anything. I realized my hands were shaking a little. Stop it, I told myself. You’re making this all up.

It was a miracle that I made it to Dana’s without incident. I almost cried when I pulled in front of her apartment building. She was outside waiting for me, a concerned look on her beautiful face. I got out of the car and went to hug her. She backed away, worried. “What is it?” I asked.

She was looking at the car. “Who is that?” she pointed.

I followed her finger with my eyes. There, sitting in the backseat with its face pressed against the glass, was a figure. A red human-like figure. One large eye was open and nearly digging into the window. It raised an arm as if to wave before completely disappearing.

I felt like fainting. But Dana, being the person she is, turned to me. Her chin was squared and she was angry. “We’re going to that bastard who sold you this thing and getting your god damn money back.”

 

CREDIT: EZmisery

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Acrimony

by cnkguy
Acrimony

Two whiskey sours, one Old-Fashioned, and a Madras. Two whiskey sours, one Old-Fashioned, and a Madras. Where’s the cranberry juice? I’ll have to cut up another orange. I can’t find a sugar cube; I wonder if Mr. George will notice it missing. Be very careful about which whiskey sour gets the antifreeze. Add extra lemon juice to that one, so that Larry doesn’t notice the chemical sweetness of the methanol.

The drink on the far left is the one I want him to take. I’ll make sure to hand out the glasses as soon as I reenter the living room, so that no one has a chance to grab for something that’s not meant for them. I’ve read that people sometimes piss all over themselves when their heart suddenly gives out from poison. The waste that chokes Larry’s bloodstream after his kidneys go offline will probably cause his fat-marbled heart to seize up, and maybe if I’m lucky he’ll ruin his nicest pair of pants when the big moment occurs.

These glasses are dirty around the rim, near the gold-foil lip. Larry will definitely notice. He’ll get the fire poker tonight after all the guests are gone, if he’s not already too weak from the poison, and he’ll use it on me like a truncheon. I tip more antifreeze into his glass. I’d rather him be perturbed by the taste of the drink, but die quickly. He’s too stupid and vain to ever suspect an attack against him, and I’d much prefer that he croak during the party if the alternative is that he enjoys his drink and then beats me senseless a few hours after everyone has left.

I reenter the smoky darkness of the living room. Larry’s laughing at something one of the prettier girls has said. His eyes flash towards me. I can tell that he’s already displeased with me tonight, because the corners of his eyes are sharp. They’re strained with the effort of artificial gentleness. I enter the circle of his friends and their immature, young dates. Hands reach for drinks. I’m too paralyzed by Larry’s smile. Pursed lips and raised eyebrows. He’s going to knock me around until I’m like a ragdoll, and then he’ll go to bed once I’m broken for the night.

The tray I’m carrying is suddenly empty. Oh, Christ. Who took what? Which glass does Larry have, and which of the whiskey drinks went to Sarah? That glassy-eyed girl is cracking her gum again and again into my good ear, and so I turn away to stifle the sound. I haven’t heard so well on my right side since I went too fast over a speed bump, and dented the undercarriage of Larry’s new coupé. He caught me across the face with a phonebook later that afternoon while I wasn’t paying attention, and later I found that my eardrum had burst from the impact.

Larry asks why the hell I didn’t make myself a drink. I laugh nervously, and apologize, and then laugh again. Then, I make a screwdriver and stand in the kitchen for a while. They won’t miss me, and I can’t bear to watch them slurp their cocktails. God – which glass did Sarah take? I’m sure Larry grabbed first, but which side did he reach from? Sarah is Mr. Clark’s date, and Mr. Clark was sitting on my left side. Still, I think I remember her taking from the far side of the tray. Damn – I don’t remember!

After what must have been a half-hour, I rejoin the party with my drink and my most winning smile. I don’t want to seem anxious, especially if someone’s about to cough up their drink and die. My eyes adjust again to the dark, and I see that Sarah’s gone. Mr. Clark, too. Larry informs me that they’re in the washroom because something made Sarah very, very sick. Larry wonders out loud whether it was my dinner, or the drinks I made, which have stricken our guests so ill. The tendons in the sides of his neck are coiling; he’s tensing with barely-pent anger. Mr. Clark’s stringing together obscenities from the hall bathroom, only stopping to shout, “Where the hell did your wife learn to cook?” to Larry through the closed door. The guests that are still in the smoky living room circle are jeering too, playfully telling me that they’ll all sue if anyone else gets sick from my dinner. I refuse to look back at Larry. I won’t frighten myself needlessly.

Did I put the antifreeze back under the sink, or is it still on the counter? Maybe I can talk Larry and all his friends into one more drink before we all call it an evening. Something sweet to settle everyone’s stomach, along with my sincerest apologies, would be very pleasant indeed. There’s an expensive amaretto we still have from our trip to Italy, and it’s so syrupy that I don’t believe that anyone here would notice an extra little swish of something saccharine and noxious. If I have to, I’ll even pretend I enjoy everyone’s company terribly, and beg them all to stay for just a little longer. I’m not worried though. Which of these churls would ever turn down a nightcap?

 

CREDIT: David Feuling

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Satan Offered Me a Job

by cnkguy
Satan Offered Me a Job

Satan Offered Me a JobReading Time: 3 minutes

“I’m sorry, did you say Satan?”

The young man standing on my porch nodded eagerly.

“Yes, sir!” he said. “We have come to spread the message of our lord and savior Satan.”

I looked from him to his companion. Both were dressed in ill-fitting white button down shirts and black slacks, with gelled up side part haircuts and slightly manic smiles.

“Okay…” I said. “Well, I’m not really into the lord and savior thing so I think I’m gonna have to pass.”

I closed the door only to find the young man’s foot obstructing it. I opened it back up and sighed.

“Just a moment of your time, sir,” the young man said. “Perhaps a look at our literature could convince you.”

The other young man lifted up his suitcase and popped open the latches. When I saw what was inside, my heart nearly jumped out of my chest.

“Is that…real?” I asked.

“Oh yes sir,” the first man said, “Go ahead and take a closer look.”

I slowly reached out and picked up one of the bundles and inspected it. I’m no expert, but it certainly looked like a real stack of hundred dollar bills to me.

I looked from the money, to the creepy but overall harmless seeming young men, and then I waved them inside. We sat down around my coffee table and there was a moment of awkward silence.

“So uh…” I began, clearing my throat, “My name’s David. And you two are?”

“Oh, forgive my rudeness, sir,” the first young man replied. “I am acolyte Paul, and this is acolyte Stephen.”

“Uh… well, would you like anything to drink?”

“Oh no, sir. We do not require sustenance as mortals do,”said Paul.

“…Right,” I said.

I picked up my half-finished beer from the night before and took a swig.

The two young men just sat in silence, grinning at me as I drank. I coughed a little bit and the end of the beer and wiped the foam from my lips.

“You said you came to spread a message, right?” I asked. “So what’s the message?”

“We’re really glad you asked,” said Paul. “Satan is recruiting for skilled labor positions in Hell, and we’ve identified you as a top candidate! Congratulations, sir–this is fantastic news for you.”

My eyes wandered to the suitcase full of money.

“And uh… what does this job consist of?” I asked.

“Asking all the right questions,” Paul replied. “You’re a sharp guy, David. The details are all laid out in this contract here. Stephen?”

Stephen produced a single piece of paper from somewhere I couldn’t see and laid it on the coffee table.

I picked up the paper and stared at it.

“This is a contract?” I asked.

“Oh yes sir,” said Paul.

“What language is this?”

“It’s written in Old Enochian, sir, the language of angels.”

I set the contract back down on the table.

“Well, what’s it say?” I asked.

“I’m sorry sir,” said Paul. “I can’t read Old Enochian. We were just instructed by our superior to deliver the contract along with your signing bonus.”

“Signing bonus?” I asked.

Stephen popped open the latches to the suitcase once again.

“So you’re telling me,” I said, setting down my beer, “that if I sign that piece of paper, you’re just going to give me a suitcase full of money.”

“Yes sir, that’s the deal!” Paul said enthusiastically.

I took another swig of beer.

“Got a pen?” I asked.

Paul handed me the pen and I scribbled my name messily on the bottom of the paper, which Stephen promptly snatched up and stowed away somewhere I didn’t see.

“Wow, that’s great,” said Paul. “I guess we’d better go now.”

“Alright,” I said. “I’ll see you later.”

“Very funny sir,” said Paul. “Of course I meant we three had better go.”

“What do you mean by—”

My voice was cut off by a roaring sound as the three of us fell through the floor. Hot air rushed past us as we fell towards a distant red glow below us. Paul and Stephen’s faces remained frozen in their manic grins as their ties flapped up and whipped around their faces.

We fell hard on the glowing red dirt below, sending up a cloud of dust around us. When the dust cleared I found myself in a strange cross between a cave and an office, facing a large obsidian desk behind which sat a high backed leather chair.

The chair slowly swung around to reveal a smiling red demon in a suit.

“Hi David,“ he said. “I’m Satan. Now let’s talk about that job.”

 

CREDIT: lifeisstrangemetoo

(Click HERE for Part 2)

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How To Break a Bad Habit

by cnkguy
How To Break a Bad Habit

How To Break a Bad HabitReading Time: 5 minutes

When I was in college, I developed a bad habit. No, not alcohol or drugs, something far tamer than those. I developed a habit of sleeping in class. You see, it seemed as though every class I had fell right after a meal: breakfast, then comp sci, lunch, then general biology, dinner, then statistics. As a result, I tended to drift off as the professors lectured. However, it was an incident that occurred during that last class that finally broke me of the habit for good.

Most of my classes were held in lecture halls at the science center, a large, multi-storied, concrete building with little in the way of decor. From the outside, it looked more like a parking garage or a penitentiary than an educational facility. Inside wasn’t much better, a drab, featureless interior full of the same bland, concrete walls and dull fluorescent lighting. Only a small area on the third floor dedicated to offices for the various staff had anything that added color to the place.

One evening, after a meal from the student union, I sat in the back row of my statistics course, feeling the tug of my eyelids as the professor droned on down in the front of the auditorium and my stomach digested my dinner. You never notice yourself going to sleep unless you’re actively fighting it, and I was not one to wage war on myself, so it wasn’t long before I was out, chin in my hands, pen dangling from my fingertips, hunched over a notebook full of scribbles.

It wasn’t unusual for the teacher to notice when someone was snoozing in the middle of a lecture. Half the time it seemed like they didn’t care. They’re not paid to wake you up, after all. If you’re not paying attention, they’re not going to suffer a pay cut when you flunk out. But some still take a moment to call your name, try to snap you out of it. So when I heard my name being called in the middle of sleep’s dark embrace, I quickly snapped to attention and responded.

“Yes?”

My face got really hot, anticipating the laughter of the other students, but the moment quickly faded as I realized I was sitting alone in a dark and empty classroom. Looking at my watch, I realized that I’d actually managed to doze off through the entire hour and then some, and it was already past nine o’clock. Nobody had bothered to wake me, either as a joke out of sheer obliviousness.

Then I sat there wondering, who called my name? I could still hear the voice in my head, leaving me to wonder if maybe it had been a dream.

But then the voice came again. It was low, echoing in the empty room, clearly not my imagination. The auditorium was dark, but I could still make out much of the interior and the empty seats from the smidgen of yellow light that came through one of the exits, especially from my position at the top back row.

“Hello?” I called out into the empty blackness.

Several steps down and to my left, something shuffled, moving along the row of seats. I couldn’t see it, but from the sound of it, it seemed to be coming in my direction. Instinctively, my heart started racing and I stood up, fumbling in the dark to find my books and get out of there. My pen fell to the floor and rolled off the edge of the level I was on, and for the briefest moment I had the insane thought that I needed to go get it. But then the shuffling stopped and the room went quiet and I stood frozen in my spot, holding my breath and feeling my heart beating in my ears.

It felt like minutes went by standing in that uncanny silence. I swear the only sound seemed to be the faint ticking of my watch. The need to move, to get out of that room was overwhelming, but some lingering thought in the back of my mind wanted to hear whoever it was, whatever it was, and know that I wasn’t going crazy.

It obliged, finally breaking the silence by calling out my name again, not with a friendly, curious voice, but one almost devoid of emotion, like a parrot repeating the sounds its owner makes but not knowing what they mean. When I gave no response it moved with a brushing noise akin to someone crawling on their hands and knees, then called again.

I couldn’t hold my breath in any longer, and I exhaled raggedly, my entire body shaking with fear. It was enough, and the shuffling came again, almost frenetic, moving to the middle of the aisle then up the steps toward where I stood. Finally, my fight or flight response kicked in and gripping my books tightly under one arm I dashed for the other end of the row, nearly tripping over my own feet. Looking back over my shoulder, the room was still incredibly dark, but there was enough contrast between the shadows and the objects that I could just make out the form of whatever it was coming up around the edge of the desks.

It had the appearance of a human being, but its gait seemed more like that of a crab, walking on both hands and feet with its knees and elbows bent and its back arched at an agonizing-looking angle. Something about its head also seemed off, the way it bobbed as the thing scuttled, like it wasn’t fully attached.

The nightmare realized that I was on the move and began scrambling up onto the desktops in a bee-line straight for me. As it clambered across the row, it started making this awful gibbering sound with an unnerving excitement to it. glucklugluglugluck I can’t adequately describe the noise, but it put the fear of God in me. Any faint notion I had that I was being pranked went right out the window when that thing came at me.

I hit the wall hard, bruising my shoulder and tumbled down the steps toward the front of the room. Through sheer determination I managed to keep myself on my feet and tore out of that classroom without looking back. Nobody was in the hall, in fact nobody seemed to be in that part of the building at all. And why would they be? There weren’t any classes that late at night, and all the offices and study areas were two stories up. The exit to the building was dark, almost as dark as the lecture hall, but I didn’t care, I bolted out into the crisp night air, startling several people who were walking past, and didn’t stop running until I’d made it back to my dormitory where I hid in my room with the lights on, door locked, and shades drawn until my roommate returned.

So what was it? I don’t really know. My strongest suspicion is based on a story I learned later while talking about the incident with a grad student who had been studying at the school for years. According to her, when the center was first being built, one of the construction workers paving the roof wasn’t watching where he was going and stepped on a skylight that happened to be set over a stairwell. He plunged three stories, striking the railing several times and landing on his neck, killing him instantly. Whether that story is true or not, I can’t be sure. I couldn’t find any news articles about construction accidents, and none of the professors I asked would verify it. Nobody else has described experiencing anything like it either.

I’ll tell you though, after that I didn’t visit the science center after dark, and I sure as Hell never fell asleep in class again.

 

CREDIT: William Dalphin

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There’s Something Living in the Wallpaper

by cnkguy
There’s Something Living in the Wallpaper

There's Something Living in the WallpaperReading Time: 5 minutes

Ever just stand back and admire the presence of even the simple atmosphere around you? The aroma, the embellishment, or the hands in motion on an old antique clock, making the room seem alive? This was my reaction as I stepped foot into my newly purchased house, with my beautiful fiancée.

We both grounded our feet to the hardwood floor below us; a feeling quite rewarding, as we were both used to worn out carpets and concrete basements throughout our lives. The ceiling was at a pretty high altitude, an easement of my claustrophobia. There was a fireplace tucked into the wall to the left of the room, mirroring the warmness of that instance. Spiraling stairs led up to the second floor, delivering a dramatic addition to the scene before us. There was, however, an even more elegant and interesting part unparalleled to the rest of the house. It was the wallpaper.

Colored in black, gray, and white, the paper on the walls was obstructed by designs. In some areas, simplistic black lines danced just inches from the bottom of the wall. Around other corners, the designs would change to outlines of various things, like staircases and lamps. Unlike most wallpaper you’d see in a home, this house has a different look with every couple of steps taken. Almost like its sole purpose was to be offbeat to the rhythm of the rest of the building. I’m sure some folks wouldn’t be very fond of the look, but I found beauty within the artistic disruption.

My partner mirrored my love for the place, bewildered as she turned around each and every corner. This, after all, was a much needed changed. She was still a little shaky from her divorce a couple years back. Her past marriage hit a wall, just as her abusive ex-husband often did. He was always unsupportive when it came to her art, not to mention violent whenever he drank. It was a refreshing sight to see her eyes widen above a gracious smile, with our new chapter coming to a start. We decided to get an early rest, around 7 o’clock, right before nightfall.

I was struck completely awake by a loud bang in the middle of the night, like caffeine manifested into a drumbeat. My fiancée was still asleep, as being a deep sleeper rendered the noise ineffective. The bang was accompanied by soft, inaudible voices. These ambiguous communications eventually came to a halt and were followed by the sounds of scratches, reminiscent of a cat clawing at the walls. I contemplated my choices, but ultimately decided to cautiously search my new place of residence, just in case someone had broken in. Being a new neighbor might have meant that we were fresh target practice for burglars in the area. Exploring, to my dismay, left me with more questions, rather than the answers I was looking for.

Exiting the doorway to my bedroom, I kept as silent as humanly possible, so as not to alarm the potential intruder. I was not armed, but vulnerability didn’t shake me as much as my curiosity or the vibration of the initial thump.

Suddenly, I spotted something that sent chills throughout my body. What caught my eye, as I turned my head, made me blink more than once. You might think me insane, but I swear I saw something behind the wallpaper move. A mini silhouette, that seemed in sync with the black lines embedded in the paper covering the wall. The figure ran across, escaping around the corner. It’d be the first time I’d ever say this, but I followed the miniature person on the wall.

Approaching the next hallway, things got even more peculiar. I swore I saw the “human” in the wall, pop out into the hallway, and dash away. Immediately after this confusing occurrence, the wallpaper turned yellow in color and became plain. Any designs disappeared, as if someone freshly painted over both sides. Overtiredness was what my mind deemed an answer to all this chaos. Trying to conjure up some comfort and at least delay the perplexity, I made my way back to bed and fell asleep, convinced that I slept walked and dreamt my adventure up.

The morning after, waking up was not so easy. I only got about a few hours of sleep before my lovely lady woke me with a smile brighter than the sun, shaking me like an earthquake, and holding an odd-looking marker in her hand. She stared at me with a grin saying, “You’re the sweetest man I’ve ever made contact with, the love of my life. You made my heart melt with the words you spoke to me in the middle of the night last night!” Then gave me an everlasting kiss.

This had me quite baffled. “What do you mean?” I asked.

“How silly of you!” She exclaimed. “You know you handed me this marker and told me you wanted to be with me forever, welcoming me into your home. You then proceeded to reassure me that nothing, not even the walls could come between us. It was so wonderful and cute to hear.”

Obviously, all of this puzzled me beyond belief. I knew for a fact I wasn’t even in the bedroom most of the night, never mind even speaking a word to her. She was passed out.

Instead of trying to explain what was on my mind, I looked her in her brown sparkling eyes and responded with, “Oh of course, my apologies. I’m still half asleep. I love you so much.”

Hopping out of bed, still a little shaken, I took a few steps towards the door. “I’m going to make us some delectable breakfast; some of your favorite bacon and eggs that I make for you,” I let out while proceeding to leave the room.

“Okay! I’m going to sit here and draw you and I with this, a symbol of our new life together,” she smiled, gesturing towards the marker in her hand.

“Just let me know when the food is ready.”

Before heading down to the kitchen, I wandered off to check out the guest room. It was on the same floor as the bedroom and still unexplored fully compared to other sections of the building.

The tinted glass door was a queer choice of entrance to an interior space, nevertheless a division made for temporary residence. In opening it, my mind flipped a switch to discomfort. The walls were a deep red shade, the floor was made of (what seemed to be) paper, and the bed was in the exact same arrangement as my own. But this wasn’t what made me uneasy. Roughly sketched humanoid faces, side by side across the walls, stared me down. Despite the eyes of ink surrounding my claustrophobic self, I felt alone at that very moment. I had a sudden sense of disconnection from reality and became severely cold. Moments later, I escaped this state of invasive uneasiness, but only by something far worse. A screech. One of a female tone.

Panicked, I ran, stopping at my bedroom doorway. Flustered, my eyes glistening from the beginning of tears, the bewildering sight of our door stood wide open in front of me. Straight ahead on the red paper wall, a picture of my fiancée’s face had been drawn across it in black ink, with her nowhere in physical sight. I searched all about the house, but she had vanished. All that was left behind was a letter on the floor with a repeating phrase…

“Not even the walls can come between us.”

 

CREDIT: R.T. Maxim

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Evil Within The Institution

by cnkguy
Evil Within The Institution

Evil Within The InstitutionReading Time: 8 minutes

The following is a brief report outlining the tragic events that transpired in western Toronto on the evening of Tuesday, June 13th, 2017. Court proceedings are quietly underway and much of the public view has been diverted in a direction I feel doesn’t properly represent what truly took place that night.

Whether all the details will eventually be made clear and available to the public, or worse yet — the jury, I cannot say. I will do my best to carry out what I perceive to be the correct course of action. I will compose what is, in my opinion, a factual and unbiased transcription of what actually happened. The information will be drawn from endless hours of study of case reports and personal interviews.

My only request is that you do everything within your power to leave your personal bias and preconceived notions out of this. Please, don’t turn on the TV or scour the internet looking for what will be ultimately falsified news reports.

Read the information I will leave for you here. Form your own opinion, then proceed how you see fit.

Part One – The Location.

Pine Grove Rehabilitation Center: Known by many of the locals as the “The Institution”. The center served as a halfway house, homeless shelter, and drug addiction service of sorts. The three-story building was approximately fifteen thousand square feet in size and housed thirty-seven patients/residents on its last day of operation. It was built in a residential neighbourhood on a large corner lot with a sprawling lawn the similar in size to a football field separating it from the street. It was, by all accounts, a welcomed member of the community. No history of problems or conflict with the local population. It was considered to be a model of operational efficiency and human rehabilitation success until the night of June 13th, 2017.

Part Two – The Major Players Involved.

Kady Harris: The twenty-four-year-old Rehabilitation nurse who would make the initial phone call and spur the police into action that evening. She had been working at The Institution for two years after graduating with an honours nursing degree from Queen’s University. She was one of two staff members working the overnight shift that evening.

Tyler LeBlanc: The Police Chief in charge of the western part of the city. He had recently been under scrutiny. Mumblings of him stepping down were already being whispered about after serious corruption within the organization was uncovered during his tenure. His career and reputation were at risk and his health issues and stress problems were already well documented. He was the one responsible for making the difficult decisions on scene. Nearly all the major moves could in some way be sourced back to him.

Part Three – The Phone Call.

This recording was leaked to me by someone close to the defense. This is a written transcription of exactly what was said between Toronto Dispatcher, Lindsay Matthews, and a distraught sounding Kady Harris at 9:51 PM.

Dispatch: Hello, this is 9-1-1. What is your emergency?

Harris: Please! Help! I need all the policemen you have in the city to come to the Pine Grove Rehabilitation center, right now!

Dispatch: Miss, please try and remain calm. What is your name and current address?

Harris: Fuck! We don’t have time for this! I’m Kady Harris and I’m at The Institution. 3354 Cowherd Avenue.

Dispatch: I understand. Can you please tell me what’s wrong?

Harris: Something is inside the building. I have no idea what it is or where it came from, but it’s attacking the residents! Dear god, save us!

Dispatch: Ms. Harris, I’m sending some officers on patrol close to your area. Just hang on. Can you tell me any specifics on what you’ve seen?

(loud screaming in the background)

Harris: We don’t need a few officers! We need every officer in the city and we need them now! I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s long and black. It’s radiating heat and has these piercing yellow eyes. It’s already devoured a few of the residents. The halls are filling up with smoke!

Dispatch: Miss, I need to you try and remain calm. I’m having problems hearing you. Officers are on the way now.

Harris: Please hurry! Oh dear g–

The phone was disconnected from Harris’ end at 9:53 PM.

Part Four – Events on the Scene.

Below is the most accurate depiction of the events that I’ve been able to acquire. I’ve put in the exact or rough time of each occurrence to try and best represent how the sequence truly unfolded.

10:01 PM – Upon being detailed of the above phone call, Police Chief Tyler LeBlanc issues a maximum alert and all On-Duty officers are called to the scene. Two SWAT teams comprised of twelve officers each are deployed. LeBlanc and other members of the senior and administrative staff head to the scene as well.

10:27 PM – All lights are off in the building. Faint smoke has been rising from some of the windows on the right side. No significant changes have taken place since police personnel arrived on scene. All officers have weapons drawn and are on high alert on the street in front of the property. Spotlights are set up, but are not adequately illuminating the building given how far back it’s built on the property. Homes in the immediate surrounding have been evacuated. LeBlanc and other high ranking officials stand behind one of the SWAT trucks. He is on the radio with the station trying to see if they can get more information or connect with Kady Harris again before ordering a raid of the building.

10:28 PM – Lights turn on in the front hall of the second story. This is the first documented change in action or circumstance from the inside. Officers tense up and await orders to charge — possibly even open fire. What seems to be a long, black snake-like shape moves from one end of the building to the other. Heavy black smoke starts to rise out of the open windows after it has passed. The lights flicker briefly and then go out altogether.

10:29 PM – An irate and deeply distressed LeBlanc starts begging and pleading for the station to try and connect him with Harris one last time. This time, the connection is successful and LeBlanc manages the following, short exchange with her:

LeBlanc: Is this Kady Harris?!

Harris: Yes! Who is this? Someone with the authority to actually do something?

LeBlanc: This is the Chief of Police. I need you to tell me what’s exactly going on in there, young lady. I have practically the whole city’s police force waiting out here.

Harris: Oh thank god! A few of us have locked ourselves in the basement. It knows we’re in here. It’s slithering up and down the hall. It’s only a matter of time before it breaks in and starts doing what it’s done to everybody else.

LeBlanc: What exactly is it? I can’t go barking orders when I don’t even know what I’m dealing with!

Harris: (her voice becomes noticeably calmer on the recording here) — I need you to listen to me very carefully. I know how bizarre what I’m about to say sounds. You need to do everything within your power to make sure whatever the hell got in here never gets out. It’s killed a lot of innocent people tonight and it’s only hunting for more. The rest of us won’t last much longer anyways, so whatever course of action you take, make sure you bring a lot of force. There is an evil inside this place which can never see the outside world.

LeBlanc: Ms. Harris, what in god’s name are you talking about?

(Harris screams away from the phone)

Harris: It’s getting hot again… Please do something!

An explosion goes off somewhere near the rear of the building. Harris’ phone cuts out at the same time.

10:31 PM – LeBlanc and other senior members are finalizing tactical plans to storm the building. Helicopters and additional support are being summoned to the area. Before any plan is carried out, the front doors of The Institution burst wide open. Everyone I’ve talked to says that a communal sense of panic and paralyzing terror engulfs the policemen waiting on the street.

Something emerges in the open doorway. It’s tough to tell exactly what it is. The spotlights still aren’t revealing enough to see properly. What appears to be two yellow dots appear and glow in the darkness. Their movement is slight. They creep forward a tiny bit and then retreat. Almost as if whatever is there is pondering its next move.

LeBlanc calls the order for all personnel to raise their and ready their weapons. Almost immediately after, another explosion goes off in a cluster of trees to the side of the property. This the documented breaking point for the terrified LeBlanc, who calls the order to open fire.

A hailstorm of rounds is unleashed at the building entrance. Pieces of brick go flying off, nearby windows shatter, and both doors are blown completely off their hinges. Quickly, the yellow spots disappear from view. The shooting goes on for approximately for forty-five seconds before LeBlanc makes the order to stop.

10:33 PM – The original plan of storming the building is set into motion with slight variation — Officers are instructed to open fire in any situation they remotely suspect dangerous, regardless if civilians are in the vicinity.

The largest team heads for the front door, many of the officers later admitted they were terrified and questioning the order to advance. Upon entry through the front entrance, they discover the mass carnage. Not at all what anyone was expecting to find.

10:34 PM – The call for all available ambulances in the area is made. After discovery that most of The Institution’s patients, along with the other nurse on duty in the front hallway, LeBlanc changes the primary objective to civilian rescue.

Everyone had been gagged and bound (after being heavily sedated according to later autopsies) and lined up against the back wall of the front lobby. There was no sign of trauma or injuries before they were hit by the barrage of police bullets. Every one of them would later be pronounced dead on scene.

10:36 PM – A police unit searching the basement finds the only person left alive inside the building, Kady Harris. She’s smoking casually on an old wooden stool in a recreation area. She’s wordless and puts up no resistance to being taken away by the officers and brought for the station.

She was entirely unharmed.

Part 4 – Evidence Found in the Ensuing Investigation.

Most notable findings in the ensuing investigation are as follows:

Internet searches on how to make homemade explosives, along with items purchased both online and in store for the bomb construction by Kady Harris.

Medium-length black curtains tied to a stretcher like a long, cylinder-like flag that were found on the second floor.

Smoke machines purchased by Kady Harris and left under the second floor windows.

Two yellow and battery-powered neon lights taped to a piece of bristol board were shattered by police bullets and found on the floor of the lobby. It’s believed they were simply hanging from the top of the doorframe and swaying gently in the wind.

Part 5 – Conclusions.

I hope the above has come off as unbiased as I intended. It is my sincerest hope that you will take the information, along with whatever else you able to uncover, and form an educated opinion of what really happened.

I just want to pose a few questions here to conclude:

Is the blame for the massacre entirely on LeBlanc’s shoulders?

The man was desperate and was in a situation that no training could have ever prepared him for. Everyone else on the scene notes being terrified as well. All other senior members confessed to being onboard with opening fire.

What was going through his head that night? What did he think he saw in the building and in the open doorway? Had he simply been the victim of Kady Harris’ manipulation?

What was Kady Harris’ motivation?

This will always be the one that bothers me the most. If her intention was simply to murder her co-worker and all residents of The Institution that night, then why didn’t she do it quickly and with ease while everyone slept? She was able to apprehend them easily enough and line them up in the lobby. Why not just finish the job herself? Trying to get police to open fire only limited her chances of success.

More importantly, why did it have to be the cops who did it? Why the need for such a show?

I can’t say what goes on inside this woman’s head. I’ve never spoken to her directly. I’ve only seen her on the stand and sitting beside her court-appointed lawyer.

When I look at her, I see a woman who feels no remorse.

 

CREDIT: J.D. McGregor

(You must ask permission before narrating this work. Click HERE to do so)

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