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Goodnight

by cnkguy
Goodnight

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The following is a transcript of a recording that was discovered in a hospital laboratory. At the time of this submission, the cause of the incident is believed to have been a chemical leak.

Recording begins.

Three years ago, a team of scientists figured out how to stimulate the language centers of the brain while someone was sleeping. I was on the team that came after; the team which got to use that knowledge for our own experiments. It seemed important at the time, to see what lied in the unconscious minds of everyday people.

At first, we focused on written language. We sent out advertisements, often on college campuses or online, and after sifting through the inevitable unsolicited offers, we selected the best candidates to come in for a physical exam. We wanted people who didn’t display any signs of mental issues, ones whose brains and bodies wouldn’t reject the sleeping drug we would be injecting into their system. We ended up with four hundred and thirty-seven subjects, but we culled the group down to an even four hundred. (Really, it was just an excuse to use a round number.) We separated the final subjects into groups of ten, and laid them on comfy hospital beds in warm, dark rooms so that they could sleep undisturbed.

Everyone was excited for the experiment to begin, but there were the little things to finish up first.


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We gave each subject a pen and a square piece of paper, all the while laughing at their nervous little jokes. Of course we won’t judge you if you draw dicks in your sleep, we assured the college freshman with zits all over his sweaty face. Anything you write is confidential, we assured the woman with a tan line where most people wore their wedding ring. We connected them to the machine that would send a current through their brain, activating their language centers as they slept. Then, we carefully injected the anesthetic into their veins and watched them drift off. We told them all “goodnight” before leaving them to their own devices.

In a small room, the other researchers and I chatted for six hours, talking about graduate school and lab interns while the subjects slumbered in their beds. After the allotted time had passed, we went in and helped everyone up, thanked them for their service, and paid them on their way out. We had them wait in a well-lit room to wake up a bit, offering cups of coffee before seeing them off. Four hundred people drove away in separate directions, and we figured that this was the end of it. We collected their papers and pens from the bedside tables, and then we read what they had written.

We had originally theorized that people would draw abstract shapes, or scrawl out sloppy confessions that their dreams had dug up from the recesses of their minds. After all, that’s what dreams are, right? Just a mix of whatever our brains have left over at the end of the day. We thought that we would see whatever lurked in those unconscious depths; whatever cute secrets the average citizen hides in their waking hours.

Everyone, all four hundred subjects, had written one word: Help.

There had been no hesitation, no question that it was the message that they’d wanted to send. The writing couldn’t have been clearer if they’d been awake. The penmanship, down to the pressure put on the pencil, was exactly same on every sheet. We ran every scrap of paper, all four hundred pieces, next to each other, one after another. All the same, all the same message.

Help.

Of course, this was like something from an Internet horror story, so we decided to repeat our experiment on a different group. Maybe someone had contaminated the earlier group, maybe this was a mistake. It would have been the biggest screw-up in the lab’s history, but a mistake nonetheless.

We didn’t want to think about the other option.


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We found a bigger subject pool this time, of one thousand people from different backgrounds and countries. We wanted the most diverse group we could gather, to avoid the prospect of having the subjects cross-contaminate each other. We even made sure that we had subjects with high, squeaky voices and low, incredible baritones. We left nothing to chance, separating them into groups of ten again, and renting out a whole hospital for this latest attempt. We tried speech this time, since faking four hundred scraps of paper would have been significantly easier than faking a thousand voices.

We laid them down again, and this time, we didn’t talk to them. We didn’t want to give them any ideas. We gave each person a pair of huge, fluffy earmuffs, so that whatever we heard from the other subjects wouldn’t disturb the rest of the room. Then, we conducted an EEG, the test with the electrodes on the subject’s head. The electrodes led to a monitor that had those stereotypical brain-waves, but also to the machine that would help us activate the language centers with the right electrical currents. We made this experiment as sterile as we could. We didn’t even say goodnight before we turned off the lights. The plan was to measure the subjects’ sleep patterns, and when they were all in REM sleep, we’d switch the machine on.

They screamed.

As soon as the switch was flipped, a thousand mouths opened into gaping caverns. Their tongues rose from between their lips and their voices were like dying animals. Their bodies remained as still as boards, with only their wailing to suggest that they were anything but corpses. The effort of screaming made every subject pale as chalk and sent tears down the corners of everyone’s eyes. Even behind our glass walls – with our clipboards and recording devices – we scientists felt a chill run through our spines. We only lasted ten seconds against the screaming before we cut the recording, cut the electric current, cut everything, and ushered every subject out of their rooms as quickly as we could, barely paying them. We were men of science, men of reason and knowledge and cold, calculating logic. This couldn’t be happening.

We analyzed the screams for hours, even though it hurt our souls in a way none of us could explain. Every second of screaming was agony. We went through eighteen lab technicians as one after the other vomited, even soiled themselves, trying to mess with the sound-waves. Finally, one man, through tears and snot and drool covering his keyboard, managed to slow down the audio enough for something that resembled words to be heard. He stumbled out of the lab, choking and clutching his chest, blood seeping from under his eyelids, and collapsed at our feet. Within three seconds, he stopped breathing. Within five, he was dead. No one wanted to go in to listen to what he had done after that.

At the time of this recording, I am in the lab under the desk. I hope someone finds this and listens to it, even though my hand is shaking and my body is cold and my heart… it will explode soon in my chest, a mess of ventricles and arteries, and it will all be my fault. I listened to the audio. I knew I shouldn’t have, but I did.

You helped us.

They’re here now. We should never have let them free, but they’re here now. They’re behind me. They’re [unintelligible].

Recording ends.


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Credit: Vivian Lu

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Dear Diary, Goodnight

by cnkguy
Dear Diary, Goodnight

Reading Time: 7 minutes

2017-10-07

Dear Diary,

I am new to writing these entries, but nevertheless, I’ll try to write in this regularly.

I have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. I have had it for all my life, but the hallucinations only kicked in last year. I thought everyone was like me when I was younger, but once I told my parents, they brought me to a psychiatrist.

This whole diary idea was suggested by my psychologist. She said it could help me, but I don’t see how.

What I have seen today has been the usual. I am sick and tired of it. Every day feels like I am in sleep paralysis, but with the perk of being able to move. This movement is a gift and a curse: I can run, and I can hide, but only I can see what I see.

My psychologist suggested that I meet more people like me, but I do not want to see them. I know that I am not alone, but I don’t want to look at the empty eyes of those who go through the same. Always having to question what we see, what we hear. Everything.

Writing about what I see specifically is hard. I do not know if I can. I see them every day, but I cannot get over it.

I live in a nightmare. When I sleep is when I feel free. That is when I know I can do what I want. My world, my rules.

I like to think that I am sparing someone else from this pain. If I would not have been born with it, fate would have chosen someone else, right?

Even now, she is telling me to give up on this. Her laughter echoes through my head as I write this.

What went wrong? What causes someone’s brain to play these games on them? What is real, and what is not?

One thing that I see, that I can tell you, is cockroaches. Roaches everywhere. One time I remember jolting awake from a nightmare, sitting up from shock. The roof was covered in cockroaches, some falling on me. They did disappear, though.

The worst is when I see the people I care about.

That is all I can write about today. She is screaming. I cannot concentrate.


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2017-10-08

Dear Diary,

Why is the world so cruel? I feel trapped in the grasp of my mind. I feel like the first time I slept is when it all started, when I never woke up.

Everything seems dark. Figures always move in the corner of my eye.

Mom says he is not real, but I know he is real. I see him in the pictures. Why do Mom and Dad neglect him like that? Why do they ignore him?

He always cries as he tells me about how they do not care about him. He is so young, he is only seven, six years younger than me. One day I found him in my bed, just as a small child. Why do they hate my brother?

Sometimes I can not tell if he is laughing or crying.

It is Monday, but I cannot go to school. I have the flu. She tells me I will die.

She has no body, she is just a voice. She mocks him, my dear brother. I wish I could kick her out of my mind, but I cannot. Mom tells me not to listen to her. She gets me medication, as Dad works to pay for it; the medical bills, the psychologist.

I do not want to be a burden.


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2017-10-09

Dear Diary,

I have not told anyone this because I am afraid. I know if I tell them, they will put me in to a mental hospital or something. I do not want them to know.

He works with them, the shadows always in the corner of my eye. The ones that follow me everywhere. They stare at me with their beady eyes. They are behind corners, behind doors, in the corner of my room. They are everywhere.

He is the leader. He is a man with bags under his eyes, patches of shaved hair, and a huge grin showing off a set of gross yellow teeth. What he looks like does not bother me. I have heard stories of what others have seen; those things looking worse. What he does is the worst. I want him gone, yet I also want to save him. I know he is evil, though.

I could be walking down the street, and he would be stalking me. He would walk in front of me, or anywhere that I can see him. He would mutilate himself, but I almost never see blood. Every time he would do that, it would usually stay on this body. Dislocated limbs and broken bones. His legs are bent in a way nobody’s legs should be, yet he still walks with them, screaming with every step.

He tells me that it is my fault, but I do not see how it is.

He says I could save him.

Sometimes he stands next to my bed, staring down at me, lulling me to sleep. He looks empty, like the shell of the man he could have been. His eyes are blank, showing no emotion. He has never touched me, but he has hurt himself. I see it every day. I hesitate before every corner, every door I open. Everything I do hurts me. He waits for me.

2017-10-10

Do not trust them. Never trust them. They will lock you up, they will strip you from your freedom. They will never let you go.

“It is for your own good,” they tell me. No.

I am getting sick and tired of the medication, the psychologists, everything.

I refuse to do it anymore. I will not take the medication. They are trying to change me, they are trying to make me like them. That is what he tells me. I trust him, he is my brother, after all. My parents, they neglect him.

He tells me that they are the same as me, that they are just using me as a test for everything.

What if I am the only sane person? They are all crazy. They are monsters.

I do not want to see them. I do not want to hear them.


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2017-10-11

They did not let me go. They kept me there, telling me that they would only let me go if I “calm down and take my medication.”

Her screams grow louder every day, echoing in my head.

My brother, he is scared. He cries, he sobs, telling me to stay, pleading for me not to leave him.

2017-10-12

The bags under my eyes grow every day. He will not let me sleep. The man, not my brother. The excruciating snaps of his limbs breaking keep me awake. The image of his neck, his bent and twisted neck, it keeps my eyes open. Every time I close my eyes, I see him. I hear him.

I want to sleep. I need to sleep, but I cannot close my eyes. The shadows never leave me alone now, either.

My pillowcase, too, is uncomfortable. The mass of pills I have hidden there is growing every day.

When I look in the mirror, all I see is a dead and broken version of myself. My skin is a sickly color of grey, with only the slightest tint of the peachy color I used to be. The tracks of my tears pile up, as every night I cry more. My once-lively eyes look bland, almost dead. My ribcage and collarbones. Bones. That is all my body seems to be becoming. My appetite is gone, as it has been for the past forever.

They said they would call the police. I heard them talking downstairs. Mom and Dad.

I do not want to see my hallucinations anymore. I do not want to hear them scream. She taunts me, and he screams in unfathomable pain.

Every time I blink, I see them.

I cannot drown his screams out with anything.

My brother, dear brother, where have you gone?

Why does Mom say you are not real?

Have you left me here? After all your crying, you’ve left me?

Why?

Were you ever even there?

It amazes me how someone could see with these broken and bloodshot eyes. I wish I couldn’t.

The man tells me that there is only one way to end it. Endless sleep, as he calls it. It is really clear that he speaks of death. I do not want to die.

The cockroaches crawl on my body. I feel filthy.

I can not remember what smiling is like. Brother, what is happiness? I wish you were here to tell me.

Brother, are you sleeping?


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2017-10-13

Dad is away, and Mom is fetching my medication. Mrs. Eddison is here to babysit me. I hate Mrs. Eddison. Even she says my brother is not real. He is not here. He never came back. The voice in my head tells me that he is sleeping.

I heard Mom talking on the phone. She asked them to come get me today, to lock me up in that hospital from before. Her words did not feel right; she was stuttering. Mother, please, Mother, why did you stutter?

Mrs. Eddison is making food. Lasagna. I hate it. I hate how all I can see as I look at it is the layers of skin, muscle and bones. Why would she make lasagna?

There is only one way to escape this hell.

Mother, I love you. Father, you too, I wish I could see you again.

I can see how this will go. I know it already. The knife by my side. I stole it from the kitchen. Mrs. Eddison forgets to lock the cabinet.

I will not see them again. I do not want to die.

My eyes, the windows to my corrupted soul, they are why I see. My ears, they are why I hear it all. My heart, it is why I am alive. I do not want to die.

I will join you, Brother. I will join you in your slumber.

I do not want to die, but if this is the only way to make it stop, then I will do whatever I have to.

Mom, Dad, I love you. I love you so much. I want you to come too, but I know you would never say yes. Mom, dad. Remember me. I love you so much. I love you. Please. I do not want to lose you. Why was I born? Why did you bring me to life?

I only wanted to be happy.

Mister, the one who is hurting, I hope this brings you to ease, you are in my head after all. I hope you fall asleep with us.

Brother, I will see you on the other side.

Is there an afterlife? Let’s see.

Goodbye, dear diary.

Goodnight.


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Credit: Kiara Abspoel

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The Crimson Mansion

by cnkguy
The Crimson Mansion

Reading Time: 12 minutes

It was 2:05 AM when I did it.

Everything around was completely quiet, not a single person in sight. I grabbed the folding ladder out from my garage, and neatly placed it right under the light post in front of my house. I quickly ran back inside and came back out with a rope that I had tied earlier that night. I looked up at the light, and started climbing to the top. Once I was there, I quickly and carefully tied the end of the rope to the light, and made sure it was nice and secure before I wrapped the noose around my throat. I stood on top of the ladder, and looked down to see her still staring at me, waiting eagerly for me to kick the ladder from under my feet. I looked straight ahead with tears in my eyes and convinced myself everything was going to be over soon… the nightmare would soon be over.

This is how it began.

When I was 17, I became fascinated with urban exploring after seeing videos about it, and thinking to myself how cool it would be to do all that. I actually convinced my best friend to come with me on my first expedition, to an old school that had been abandoned for years because of funding issues. Kids around the school would tell these scary stories about the place and how it was haunted, but I just dismissed them as bullshit. At first, my friend didn’t want to go, but he eventually caved in and agreed.

For some added excitement, we went at night, hoping to enhance the whole experience. We were both so terrified of actually doing it, but eventually the adventure started and there was no turning back. It was actually a lot of fun. We found old papers and textbooks, and even a box full of needles left over from the dope fiends that slept there from time to time. When we finally left, our hearts were pumping, and smiles filled our faces. That adrenaline rush from being in an old, supposedly “haunted” building, with remnants of the past still there, and the eerie beautifulness of the buildings state of decay… we knew we needed more.


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After that night, my friend actually became obsessed with exploring old abandoned buildings, and he especially liked the ones that were supposedly haunted. Both he and I were very big skeptics when it came to the paranormal, but the thrill was still there. Exploring became our hobby – it was much more fulfilling than just staying at home and watching movies or something – so we made it “our thing.” Every Friday night, we would go to a new place that was “haunted” and spend about two hours looking at everything we could find. It wasn’t always easy, as abandoned buildings were not that common in our area, so sometimes we would have to go back to the same places we’d already visited before. Still, we didn’t care: It was some of the best fun I’ve ever had… until all that of fun suddenly ended when my friend told me about “Crimson Mansion.”

It was Thursday morning, and my friend had come to pick me up at my house so that we could go to school together. It was routine moment, except this time – before I could even sit down – he smiled at me with excitement.

“I found the perfect place for us to go tomorrow!” he said, his eyes lighting up as he told me.

“Oh yeah? Where at?” I asked.

“I was talking to this guy in a chat room yesterday. You know, just asking people about any abandoned places that they knew about so we could go visit them. Anyway, I started talking to this dude that tells me that there’s an old mansion in the middle of the woods that used to be owned by this very wealthy Japanese family and, get this, apparently a lot of people died around there.”

“Oh shit, that’s fucking brutal. Where’s it at?” I wasn’t exactly sharing my friend’s excitement – it sounded sketchy – but I listened anyway.

“I don’t know the name of the actual place, but the guy called it ‘Crimson Mansion.’ It’s, like, an hour from here, and he said that if I wanted to see something really cool and creepy that I should go there. Oh, and he tried to scare me by saying, ‘Legend has it that a particularly evil spirit lives in that mansion, so beware,’ so you know what we have to do now. GO AT NIGHT!”

To be quite honest, as much as I didn’t believe in the paranormal, what the guy told my friend certainly creeped me out a lot. I didn’t want to look like a little bitch, so I pretended not to care, telling him that we were going to have the “time of our lives.” We went to school, and our day played out as usual with nothing exciting… but the next day that was ahead of us. That morning, I told my mom that I was going to sleep over at my friend’s house and that I’d be back by the following day. I got picked up, went to all my classes, and ended the day on a positive note.

Then it was time to get going.

With my friend in his car, already looking up the way to get there on his phone, we unknowingly set off to the worst nightmare imaginable.


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We had been driving for about forty-five minutes, when we spotted the beginnings of the forest, like it had sprung straight out of the ground. The trees were incredibly tall and very, very dark, as if a giant painted them all black.

“Well, this looks inviting,” my friend said, looking up at the towering trees. We both watched as they rocked back and forth slightly.

“I didn’t expect for it to be this windy tonight,” I said, grateful that I always brought a warm jacket with me.

“The entrance should be somewhere a little farther on the right. Let me know if you see anything.”

As the sky grew dark, we started paying close attention to the road, hoping to find an entrance of some sort. Finally, after about twenty minutes, we discovered a road that led into the woods. There was just one small problem: That point of ingress was closed off by a metal fence with a big sign on it that read “NO TRESPASS.” It was kind of weird; I thought it would say “No Trespassing,” but regardless, we parked in front of the gate, got our stuff, and climbed over the big metal fence.

There was no path to guide us; just overgrown bushes and trees all around. We turned on our flashlights and proceeded into the forest. The wind was blowing really hard by that point, and it was getting pretty cold, but we kept going.

“So, did this guy tell you exactly how to get there?” I asked. I really did not want to get lost in the woods.

“He said it was literally just a straight shot as soon as you hop over the fence… so let’s just keep going straight.”

It wasn’t long until we found a cleared path that was directly in front of us. We looked at each other, laughed with excitement, and marched on. Suddenly, a couple of feet away we saw a house, all white with the windows all broken, front door missing, and white paint chipping away from every corner of the place.

“This isn’t a fucking mansion!” my friend exclaimed. “It’s just a big house! And it’s not even red!”

He was right. Now, of course the place was pretty big, especially for being in the middle of nowhere, but not a mansion. Even though we were disappointed with not seeing a real mansion yet, we felt giddy with excitement.

We slowly approached the house and made our way inside, where we saw something pretty strange: The whole bottom floor was devastated, with every single doorway blocked by debris, and no way around any of it… but the staircase in the middle of it all was untouched. The steps led up to a single red door, which was also surprisingly untouched. The paint on the stairs and door looked old, but not as worn-down as the one on the outside (or the inside) of the house. We looked around to see if there was any way to visit the bottom of the house, but there was just the staircase and the door to go through. With no other choice, we climbed up and opened the door.


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Inside was a large table pushed up against the end of the room, with candles on each side and what appeared to be a big book in the middle. The book had a red leather cover, with cobwebs all over. My friend slowly reached out and opened it.

The first few pages were blank… but then there was a photograph of a girl, not more than fifteen years old. The picture looked pretty old, from maybe around the thirties or something. The girl was sitting down on what looked like a tree stump, looking straight at the camera, smiling, while her head rested on her hand. She had long black hair, and a flowery dress on. She looked happy. Even the background was nice, with beautiful trees on a sunny day.

“Guess it’s an old family album that they left,” I said to my friend. He didn’t say anything and kept flipping through the pages. Each turn revealed still another image, always of the same girl. Sometimes she was at the park, or in a house, or something, but it was just her. We were almost at the end of the book when we stumbled on a completely blacked-out page.

“Why the fuck is the page black?” my friend asked.

I didn’t have an answer for him, and I think we were both hesitant about turning the page again. I wish we never did. As he turned the page, we saw the girl again, except this time, she wasn’t smiling: She was standing in front of the house we were in, arms to her side, looking straight into the camera. Something about this picture was off, although I couldn’t explain exactly how. My friend turned the next page. Same girl, same spot, but this time she was smiling… with a noose around her neck.

We both stared at the picture for a while, saying nothing. He turned the page. What we saw made us jump back, because the girl was now hanging… but she still had that smile on her face, looking straight into the camera, her neck slightly elongated, with her head tilted at an impossible, almost-ninety-degree angle. It was horrifying. The more I looked, the more scared I became. The feeling, staring at that picture, was just absolute dread.

“Come on, bro, let’s get the fuck outta here.” I said.

“Yeah… yeah… let’s leave,” he said, still looking at the picture. I knew he was scared, too. He closed the book and we practically ran out of the room. We got to the bottom stepped outside and froze. We were paralyzed. I felt myself start to panic and got slightly lightheaded.

Right in the middle of the path, which connected the woods to the house, was the girl hanging from the rope. Her back was facing us, but we knew it had to be her: She wore the same flowery dress, with her neck still at a frightening angle. There was also not a sound from outside. No wind, no animals, no rustling leaves, just absolute silence. All we could hear was our breaths, and the slow creaking of the rope as the girl’s body swayed back and forth in the air. I looked up, but the rope wasn’t attached to a tree; it just went up into the sky with nothing that could possibly be holding it. We couldn’t move… couldn’t comprehend what was happening.

Without warning, the girl’s body suddenly fell from the sky, smashing her legs in the ground below, all of the bones breaking. My friend and I both fell back as if pushed by something, our flashlights falling to the floor and illuminating the body on the ground.

We stared at her mangled corpse on the floor for what felt like forever. Then, faintly enough to have nearly been missed, we heard a laugh coming from her. It was a soft, almost delicate laugh, one your girlfriend might make when you say she’s beautiful. Suddenly, we heard her bones breaking again.. but back into place. She was picking herself up, with her shattered legs rearranging themselves. At last, the girl was standing, with her neck still at the grotesque angle, and looking away from us. She kept laughing. I looked at my friend, who looked as panicked as I felt.

I quickly looked back at the girl, as her arms starting lifting up in front of her. With her arms fully stretched in front of her, she began turning… but only her top half was moving. Her legs stayed facing forward, as she twisted around and revealed her face. The same twisted smile in the picture was exactly what we saw. Her laugh grew distorted, and at that moment, our flashlights went out. We both screamed.

Only a second later, the life came back to our flashlights. The girl was gone. My friend looked at me, his eyes wide.

Run!


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We both snatched our flashlights and ran back the same way we had come. Sweat pouring down my forehead, and my heart beating out of my chest, I ran faster than I ever had before. We kept sprinting into the night… but something wasn’t right. The path we had taken hadn’t been this long. As the thought occurred to me, that mocking laughter started up again, seeming to come from directly behind us. Tears welled up in my eyes, blurring my vision and making me feel like my footfalls were coming more and more slowly. Exhaustion started to set in, and I felt my limbs growing heavy.

Right before I gave up, the path ended. I could see the fence. I ran through the thick bushes and branches and double-timed my way up the fence. Once on the other side, and next to my friend’s car, I stopped and looked back.
Nothing.

Just the fence, the trees, and the darkness… and no sign of my friend.

I listened to hear if maybe he was running up, but I heard nothing. I called out to him, but got no answer. Several minutes passed as I kept screaming out for him. I knew that I couldn’t go home alone; I had to find him.

Summing up all of my courage and trying to push my fear aside, I cleared the fence and starting running back to the house. I found it almost immediately. In full panic mode, I stood in front of the door and called for my friend. A voice answered me from inside the house. Without thinking, I ran inside and went up the stairs, coming again to that door. I could hear someone moving, so I swung the door open, revealing the table, and the book, and the lit candles… but nothing (and nobody) else.

As I stepped into the room, the door slammed behind me. I whirled back and tried to open it, prying at it with my fingers, but nothing helped. Part of my mind insisted that the wind had been responsible, but my fear was coming back… and it only escalated when the book on the table flung itself open. Even from my place near the door, I could see a picture of my friend hanging in front of his house, with his head almost completely to its side.

I could barely breathe, but I saw that there was a second picture behind the page. I don’t know what compelled me to step forward and turn it, but I did. The last page of the book was a picture of me, hanging with my neck and face just like my friend’s… hanging in front of my house.

The candles went out, and I heard her… heard her laugh right behind my ear. Before I could scream, her hands grabbed my face and covered my mouth and eyes, and I felt like I was freefalling into nothingness.

I thought it would never end, but I suddenly opened my eyes and found myself at home, in bed. No, I thought, it couldn’t have been a dream, it wasn’t a dream. I turned on my bedside lamp and started crying when I looked around the room. The picture of the girl was plastered on all the walls, covering everything. For some reason, though, my fear completely subsided; all I felt was sadness. As if compelled by her, I went downstairs to my garage, grabbed some rope, and tied a noose. I’d never tied a noose before, yet I did it without hesitation, perfectly. I couldn’t stop myself, and for some reason it didn’t bother me. I was actually happy… the pain wouldn’t last for much longer. I opened my garage door and brought my father’s ladder out, placing it under the lightpost right in front of my home. I looked down and saw her – the girl – gazing upward, her head still tilted on her deformed neck.

Tears in my eyes, I jumped.


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I woke up in the hospital, tubes sticking out of my nose and mouth, hooked up to the beeping machines, whatever they’re called. I looked around but no one was there. I went back to sleep. Waking up again all the tubes and machines were gone, just my parents who hugged me as soon as they saw my eyes open. My father was crying, and my mom kept saying “Why would he do this?”

Apparently I woke my dad up when I opened the garage and dragged the ladder out, so when he went to see what I was doing, he saw me jump and saved me. He asked me if I had made a suicide pact with Sam, my friend. I asked why, and he said that his parents found him hanging in front of his house, just like I would have done if my father hadn’t stopped me. I tried to explain what had happened that night, but of course, nobody believed me. My parents kept saying I was making things up, or that it was just the shock of almost dying. At one point, police came in and started asking a bunch of questions about what I knew and what happened when we went out that night. I still couldn’t think straight, but I managed to tell them everything. They both looked at each other and said very calmly,

“Son, someone saw your friend’s car near a patch of forest in the middle of nowhere and called it in. Some officers went to check it out and saw that the keys were locked inside. He also found this. Is this yours or is it his?” One of the officers handed me a picture.

It was her. The first picture we saw of her in that book. A peaceful scene indeed. I started bawling. My parents told me that I was going to stay in the hospital for a while, because they wanted me under “suicide watch,” and I couldn’t have cared less.

It’s been a little over 3 years now, and my life has somewhat returned to normal. While under suicide watch, the cops told me that they investigated the house I had talked about, but found absolutely nothing. It somehow didn’t surprise me, and everything was left at that. When I got out of the hospital, I burned the picture and never went exploring anymore. I haven’t ever seen her again, but I still catch glimpses of her sick, twisted face in my dreams sometimes… or more appropriately, my nightmares. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if I’m crazy or if something was wrong with me that night, but all I know is that whoever that girl is, she has my friend… and I’m so, so sorry.


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Credit: MXXNY

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