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The Pocket Watch

by cnkguy
The Pocket Watch

The Pocket WatchReading Time: 6 minutes

When I was a child there was nothing to eat. I was the eldest of five, so it was my job to make sure that I always let my brothers and sisters eat before me. War was inching inward from the coast, and as it marched closer, our food grew scarcer. Animals fled the area, or were slaughtered and consumed in panic by the other families in our village.

My father was a wise and cautious man and so we waited to slaughter our two chickens until the fall, when grass and tree bark had become too hard to find or inedible. The other families knew we had chickens and father stayed up all night, every night to watch over them. He had to kill at least one boy from a neighboring town who had gone mad with hunger and tried to burn down our small home with a burning branch.

When the chickens were naught but bones and the bones had grown brittle and porous from Mother’s many soups, my parents sent my two eldest siblings and I out to collect bugs and field mice for supper. We were hungry, but not quite starving until one morning we woke to the first frost and there was nothing alive left to eat. My parents began to discuss the inevitable – perhaps my father should go to the coast and sell his father’s pocket watch to one of the drunken, but well-paid soldiers. It was the only thing we had of value and the only family heirloom my father had to pass down to me.

I didn’t want him to go. I was afraid war would arrive while he was gone and I was too young and too weak to protect my mother and younger siblings. I begged him to stay, but he insisted it would be alright and promised to be back within two weeks. I was so scared that when he and Mother were outside preparing his satchel, I smashed the pocket watch under my foot and placed it back in my father’s half-rotted desk.

My mother cried for days. Father did his best to comfort her as I watched them peel the leather from my father’s boots and boil the hide for dinner. The next night, Mother found a dead rat and boiled away the disease with the new fallen snow from outside. The next evening, she filled our bellies with rat bones and more melted snow.

My little brother Albert kept everyone awake that night, crying over his hunger. He begged for all the things we’d eaten when we had a garden and animals – beef stew, white rolls, succulent corn, and spiced lamb. He made all of our stomachs moan and torture us, and I soon screamed at him to be quiet while my mother sobbed from her room.

Father stroked Albert’s hair for hours and then went back into his and mother’s bedroom, shutting the door behind him. Albert moaned until the thin light of dawn peeked through our threadbare curtains. I could hear Father in his room, tinkering with the watch. My hunger had long worn out my fear of soldiers and I silently prayed that he could repair it.

Father worked on the pocket watch all through the day and into the night. Selia had found dead crickets in the walls of the abandoned bakery, and as we ate them, Father emerged from his bedroom with Mother right behind. The smile on his face was one I had almost forgotten, as I’d not seen it since the day my youngest sister was born. He told us that he had repaired Grandfather’s watch and that he’d heard of a soldier encampment nearby. Three days, he promised us, three days and I will return with carrots, lamb, and rolls so big, they’ll fill our bellies for a year!

We clapped our hands in delight and ran around our small, dirt yard with a glee that seemed a foreign language to us. Father said that we were all to help mother find beautiful things with which to dress the table. The next morning, he gave us all a piece of rubber from the sole of Mother’s shoes to chew on and sent us out on our mission after kissing us goodbye and promising to be back before we’d remembered he had left.

We had such fun that day, gathering horseshoes and shards of broken glass. We threaded bits of twine through the horseshoes to hang above the table and tied the glass to the ends, hoping they would shimmer in the lamp light. We returned home as the sun set, happy with our day’s work and eager to return to it tomorrow.

We weren’t yet in sight of home when I first smelled it – onions, chicken broth, spiced lamb, even sweets! I ran as fast I could, dropping our table dressings carelessly along the way in my maddening pursuit for food. I burst through the door to find Mother at the stove, preparing our meal in a quiet reverence. I threw my arms around her and asked if Father was home already.

Yes, my love. He had the fortunate chance of meeting a wealthy mercenary on the road who was only too happy to buy your grandfather’s watch.

I hugged her even tighter and sat down at the table as my brothers and sisters came spilling through the doorway. They found their places quickly; hungry, expectant looks upon their faces. Father came out of the bedroom and took his seat at the end of the table as Mother brought over a steaming platter of spiced, boiled lamb. She nodded at us and we filled our hands with the rich meat, hardly bothering with our plates.

After dinner, we were sent to bed with full tummies, barely a word having been said by anyone since our food had been set on the table. We ate our fill the next night and then the next and the next. But as our food stocks started to dwindle, so did Mother’s health. Each day bled more out of her until we were left fighting over scraps of raw meat while our mother lay weak and wilting nearby.

The first night I went again without food was the night that the hazy, happy ether began to lift and my memories of the past few days became confusing.

I recalled that the spiced lamb I’d consumed with such ferocity had actually been sickly sweet and the accompaniments I had first smelled from afar had never been brought to the table.

I couldn’t remember Mother eating anything in all the days since Father had returned; instead she’d sat quietly next to us at the table, staring at the pile of gray meat we consumed with such fervor.

And Father; I couldn’t recall hearing his voice since the morning he had left for the soldier encampment. His chair had sat empty, night after night, and as the peripherals of my memory formed shape, I couldn’t be entirely sure he’d ever been there at all – at least not since the morning he had cut pieces of rubber from Mother’s shoes at the table.

Frightened and starved, I didn’t find sleep until the darkest hours of the night. The following morning when Mother emerged from her room, I asked where Father had gone. She told me he’d left to become a solider and sent us out to peel bark off of the bushes in the forest. Father never returned.

Perhaps the reason I didn’t realize what happened back then was because it was too awful to consider, and I was so very hungry. But Mother died a few days ago, and in death, she thrust the truth upon me. From her stock of meager possessions, I was bequeathed a small box that contained nothing more than a shiny, broken pocket watch.

Perhaps she wanted me to remember it all: the only hope of our survival that I’d smashed under my heel. My Father’s last, loving hug before he sent us to collect dressings for the feast. The overly seasoned gray meat. And the rancid smell that had begin wafting out from under Mother’s door, becoming more pungent each day.

My father sacrificed more for his family than most ever would. I used to lament that I had nothing to remember him by. No family heirloom to pass down to my own children.

But now I have his pocket watch, a thing I cannot give to my children. Not because the glass is shattered. Not because the gears are cracked.

I cannot part with the watch because it is a curse that I must bear… for the shiny, contorted metal has never lost the sickening smell of that sweet, silvery meat.

 

CREDIT: C.K. Walker

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Black Cloud | Haunted, Paranormal, Supernatural

by cnkguy
Black Cloud | Haunted, Paranormal, Supernatural

Did children see their mother outside the house late at night… or was it something else…

A full-bodied apparition leaves one person perplexed on how to react to seeing the dead living in their home.

A black cloud-like figure hovers over a couple late at night in bed.

If you have a real ghost story or supernatural event to report, please write into our show or call 1-855-853-4802!

If you like the show, please help keep us on the air and support the show by becoming an EPP (Extra Podcast Person). We'll give you a BONUS episode every week as a "Thank You" for your support. Become an EPP here: http://www.ghostpodcast.com/?page_id=118

#ghosts #ghoststories #halloween #horror #paranormal #supernatural #haunting #haunted #demonic #hauntedhouse #cemetery #evp #ghoststory #ghostbusters #unexplained #shadowpeople #investigation #truestory

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HAUNTED PLACES

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Always Be Nice To Your Neighbors

by cnkguy
Always Be Nice To Your Neighbors

Always Be Nice To Your NeighborsReading Time: 4 minutes

When someone asks you about your dream home, how do you respond? It might be an apartment in a big city, a big house on a farm, or (if you’re like me) a cozy house with a picket fence in the suburbs.

My husband and I moved into my dream home about 5 years ago. It’s located in a tiny town; one of those places where everyone knows everyone and no one locks their doors – about a 30 minute drive from the city. We thought we found the perfect place. We were SO very wrong.

You see, the thing about people is that you never really know them. It’s common in this kind of town (and everywhere really) to come across the type of people who seem to be the nicest and most normal human beings on the planet, but who are different monsters behind closed doors. Usually it’s nothing more than hidden alcoholism or drug use, a secret affair, or domestic abuse… but even Jeffrey Dahmer seemed like an okay guy, and we all know what skeletons were in his closet (and fridge).

The weirdness started a few months ago when our new neighbor moved in next door. He kept to himself. He didn’t talk to anyone except for the occasional visitors that came from out of town to see him. They were a catalyst for rumors. I’d heard that he was a drug dealer, that he had been in and out of prison, and that he was cut out of his family’s lives for touching his nephew or niece but not reported for it out of pity. He was quiet and a little creepy, but he seemed okay to me. Apparently, I’m an idiot.

A couple of weeks ago, my sister was leaving my house late at night when she noticed that the dome light on her car was on. Someone had just been in there, it seemed. She ran back inside and alerted my husband who then walked her back out and took a look around to see if he could find the intruder. They heard footsteps on my neighbor’s porch, but couldn’t actually see anyone. My husband called out but received no response. The next day, he spoke with another neighbor about the incident, to warn him to lock his car at night. That neighbor told my husband that he had spotted someone in the bushes across from his house two weeks prior and chased the person to the house next to mine before he lost the guy. A few days after the chase, someone broke an upstairs window trying to get into his house while he and his family slept. The whole neighborhood was freaked out, and we had our suspicions that the new guy was the culprit, but we had no proof. No one had been able to see his face when he was busted, no one could say whether he had been chased TO his house, or if the person running had simply hidden on his porch or in his yard. Local police agreed to increase patrols in our area, and things quieted down for a while. That was, until this past weekend.

It was late on Saturday, around midnight, when I heard what sounded like power tools running. There’s a house nearby that’s being renovated by the family that lives there, so I just assumed they were finishing a project before turning in or something. I didn’t really care until about 45 minutes later when I saw the flashing lights outside my window. I went outside to see three police cars, an ambulance, and a small crowd gathering in front of the house next door. No one seemed to know what the hell was going on for once. The only information that I could gather was that an old lady who lived a few doors down had called the police to file a noise complaint when the sound of the tools woke her up. I had been standing with the crowd for about five minutes before the officers came outside to move us away from the house and rope off the area with crime scene tape. The coroner’s van showed up a short while later. It wasn’t until the next day that we finally got the story.

Two officers had responded to the noise complaint. They could hear the tools running inside, but no one answered the door when they knocked. One of the officers looked into a window and noticed a pool of blood on the living room floor. They called for backup and entered the house. My next door neighbor had killed some woman, dragged her down to his basement, and was using a power saw to cut her up into pieces. When the police entered the basement, he panicked and used the saw to end his own life. Apparently, he almost completely decapitated himself. As gruesome as the details of this heinous act were, the murder-suicide wasn’t the thing that caused the most unrest in my little community. He had a large, hand-drawn map of the town hanging in his basement. Each house was drawn as an empty square, and each square had notes written inside: how many people lived in the house, whether or not they had dogs, and the best time and place to enter the home undetected. He also had a stack of photos on a table near the map. He had taken pictures of every house on our street, some at night and some during the day, some from the outside and some from within.

 

CREDIT: Christine Druga

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Watch all the Spooks & Scares on CONtv all month…

by cnkguy
Watch all the Spooks & Scares on CONtv all month…

Watch all the Spooks & Scares on CONtv all month long!
on.contv.com/1hellofadeal

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CREEPY

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True Accounts | Haunted, Paranormal, Supernatural

by cnkguy
True Accounts | Haunted, Paranormal, Supernatural

What happens when the dead return to life and appear at unexpected times and places?

Listen to advance and bonus episodes at http://www.ghostpodcast.com

If you have a real ghost story or supernatural event to report, please write into our show or call 1-855-853-4802!

If you like the show, please help keep us on the air and support the show by becoming an EPP (Extra Podcast Person). We'll give you a BONUS episode every week as a "Thank You" for your support. Become an EPP here: http://www.ghostpodcast.com/?page_id=118

#ghosts #ghoststories #halloween #horror #paranormal #supernatural #haunting #haunted #demonic #hauntedhouse #cemetery #evp #ghoststory #ghostbusters #unexplained #shadowpeople #investigation #truestory

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My Amazon Alexa Does More Than Just Laugh

by cnkguy
My Amazon Alexa Does More Than Just Laugh

My Amazon Alexa Does More Than Just LaughReading Time: 5 minutes

Two nights ago, I was home alone when Alexa laughed. I’d read about the software issue the devices had been having all over the world, so it wasn’t that big of a shock. Thank God for that, too, because I would’ve jumped out of my skin otherwise. Still, I was unsettled. It’s creepy to hear laughter when you think you’re alone.

“Alexa, shut up,” I instructed. The blue ring on top flashed, and the laughing stopped.

I went back to my book.

Twenty minutes later, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Alexa’s blue ring illuminate – as if she’d received a command. I studied her for a few seconds and shrugged it off.

Thirty seconds later, her light came on again. This time, she said, “okay Peter, J.A. Henckels five piece stainless steel knife set is on its way. You should have it in a couple days.”

“Oh come on,” I complained. I put my book down and grabbed my laptop. I navigated to Amazon and checked my order page. It was empty. Then I checked my account information in the Alexa device, wondering if my Alexa had paired with someone else’s account. It hadn’t.

“Great,” I thought. “Free knives. Thanks Pete, wherever you are.”

I went back to my reading. It probably wasn’t the best subject matter to be consuming when I was already a little shaken. Far too many mushrooms and people peeling off their skin. Gross. As I reached the end of my chapter, Alexa laughed again. It sounded different than it had the first time. The first time, it was mechanical and emotionless, just like her voice. This time it was lower. Deeper. As if it had breath in it. The hairs on my arms stood on edge.

“Screw this,” I thought, and got up to shut her off. As I crossed the room, her lights flashed.

“Okay Peter, four units of Clorox bleach, 121 oz. bottles, is on its way. You should have it in a couple days.”

I stopped in my tracks and stared at the device.

“This is stupid,” I said to myself. “You’re freaked out because of that stupid book and you’re letting it make you superstitious. Don’t be an idiot.”

I turned around and checked the time. It was almost midnight. I needed to take a shower before bed. I sighed and headed for the bathroom.

After a quick shower, I was toweling off and thinking about what I had to do at work the next day when Alexa started to talk again. I couldn’t hear her very well through the bathroom door, but I recognized her voice. It didn’t sound like she was reciting another order. It almost sounded like conversation.

I cracked open the door and listened. The voice stopped. I could see her blue light reflecting off the wall.

“Alexa,” I called. “What are my active orders?”

“You have no active orders, Valerie,” she replied. “Is there something you’d like to get?”

“No,” I said. Her light went off.

I watched TV in bed for a little while, hoping I’d get tired enough to fall asleep. It wasn’t working. I couldn’t stop thinking about the stupid device. I wasn’t going to shut it down, though. I didn’t want to give in to my baseless fear. I’m an adult, damn it.

During my third Frasier rerun, I finally felt myself getting ready to sleep. I turned off the TV and closed my eyes.

“Okay Peter, Sunshades Depot 5’x7’ tarp is on its way. You should have it in a couple days.”

My eyes snapped open.

“Enough of this,” I muttered, and bolted out of bed. When my feet hit the floor, Alexa began to laugh again. It was loud this time, and just as deep as it had been the last time. She sounded like a large man cruelly laughing at an offensive joke.

The blue light was so bright in my eyes as I reached for the plug.

“Okay Peter, Osborne International wire brush is on….”

I tore the plug from the outlet and Alexa went silent. The light went out. I stormed back into my room and slammed the door. I think I slept for about an hour.

The next day, when I got home from work, I ran into my landlady. We’re friendly with one another; she’s only a few years older and we have drinks every so often. I invited her in, telling her I needed a few beers after what I’d dealt with the night before.

“What happened?” Toshi inquired, sitting down at the kitchen table and cracking open the beer I’d given her.

“You know that Amazon Alexa thing?” I asked, pointing in its direction.

“Oh yeah,” she replied. “My sister has one. Did you hear about how some people are reporting that it laughs?”

“That’s what mine does!” I exclaimed.

“No way!” Toshi said, laughing. “That must’ve scared the hell out of you.”

“…maybe,” I admitted. “It feels silly to be scared of something like that.”

“No way,” she insisted, and took a swig of her beer. “I would’ve thrown it out the window.”

I laughed. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it. Especially with the other things she said.”

Toshi’s eyebrows perks up. “Other things? Like what?”

“Oh, nothing as creepy as the laugh,” I replied. “It was just announcing orders from someone else’s account. I think wires got crossed somewhere.”

“Wow, that’s crazy,” Toshi said. “Do you know whose account?”

“Some guy named Peter. He was ordering knives and brushes and stuff.”

Toshi paused mid-drink. She looked at me, her smile slipping from her face. “Peter?” she repeated.

“Yeah. Why, do you know him?”

Toshi stood up. The expression on her face was the polar opposite of what it had been only seconds ago. She looked frightened.

“Tosh, what’s going on?”

“Val, before you moved in, I rented this apartment to a guy named Peter.”

“Yeah? And?”

She stared into my eyes, almost like she didn’t want to say.

“Tosh?”

“I… it’s just… Val, he killed himself about six months before you signed your lease here.”

My blood went cold. “He killed himself here? In this apartment?”

Toshi nodded.

“Why? What happened? Was he depressed?”

She shook her head. “No. Worse.”

“Tell me, Tosh!”

She paused and took a deep breath. I glared at her insistently. “He killed himself when the police found his pregnant girlfriend’s body in the swamp on the other side of town. She’d been stabbed to death and wrapped in a tarp. Later on, the investigation showed he drained all her blood in the bathtub and tried to clean it up with bleach.”

I felt myself getting dizzy. “Tarp?” I parroted. “Bleach?”

Toshi nodded and stared at the floor.

“I… I can’t stay here,” I whispered.

My landlady didn’t say anything. We stood in shocked silence for a minute or two. Toshi went to the fridge and got another beer. She popped the top and took a drink, then opened her mouth, as if she were about to speak. Before she could, though, a hideous, earsplitting laugh exploded through the apartment.

It was Alexa.

And she was still unplugged.

 

CREDIT: UnsettlingStories.com 

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