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Ep.52 – Bad Cop in a Small Town on Halloween Night - Mayhem and Blood Rain on All Hallows' Eve!

Episode Notes

Halloween is the last shift for a bad cop, but on his final watch he stumbles upon something truly sinister... Can he rise to the occasion and do the right thing for once?

Bad Cop in a Small Town on Halloween Night by John Oak Dalton

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

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Transcription:

Faron didn’t know what a viral video was, until his daughter showed him a recording of him sleeping in the patrol car in the parking lot of the school.  Some asshole kid had shot it on a cell phone and sent it to a friend who posted it on Twitter and the rest went how it went. That was on a Wednesday morning and by that night there was a dance club mix with Faron’s loud snores and a sample from Junie Morrison’s song “Suzie Thundertussy.” By Friday night the memes were in full swing—there was a screen cap of Faron sleeping in the patrol car and the text read “When you’ve been racial profiling all day and the donut shop is out of coffee.”  And a lot worse than that. Monday night was the town council meeting, and if Faron didn’t know anything about social media he sure didn’t think the town council did.  But he was wrong. It was a three-person board who met once a month at the library with a handful of old people and a few cranks in the audience.  Ellen Soames was the board president and also the town librarian which was a tough combination.  Joe Linseed was a retired farmer who held court at the gas station out by the highway most mornings but didn’t do much here.  Buster Winsome was the son of a retired teacher named Ann Winsome and when she passed away Buster filled the rest of her term and then nobody could think of any reason to vote him off. Faron gave his usual monthly report about his speeding ticket quota and one or two domestic calls and one or two drunk driving stops but he skipped over the fight at the high school because he didn’t want to mention the high school.  The town board seemed to be listening unusually closely and afterwards Ellen asked him to stay and talk. “We’ve got some changes that have been in the works for a long time,” Ellen started. Faron didn’t bother to ask what changes, he just stood there. Ellen started back up.  “The county has agreed to drive through town a couple of times a day.  And the high school has been wanting to hire their own resource officer anyway.  So we will need you as town marshal through Halloween on October 31st but that’s it.” Now Faron reacted.  “That’s this Friday.” “It’s been in the works for a long while, Faron.” “Can I at least get my insurance through December?  That’s for Abby.” “It isn’t going to work that way.” Ellen looked at him with sorrow on her face but Faron knew it was for herself.  When her son got back from Afghanistan it was Faron who talked him through what it was like to be a civilian.  Faron had gone from high school to Desert Shield and then had been town marshal ever since so maybe he wasn’t the best bet but he was all Darren Soames had.  It still didn’t stop Darren from ending it all with a Tokarev pistol he shouldn’t have been allowed to bring back from in country. “We can let you resign,” she said. “I’m going to need the unemployment,” Faron answered. “Nobody is going to know until the week after Thanksgiving.  That’s the next meeting.” “It’s okay, I don’t got my daughter for Thanksgiving.” Faron walked out. The next day Faron was sitting in his patrol car by the flashing light on the main street.  It was Highway One but through town it was called Hadley Street although everyone called it Had Been Street.  Like there Had Been a grocery store there, and that Had Been a Bank, and that empty field Had Been the school before consolidation. People were speeding and doing rolling stops but why did that matter now?  He was talking to his daughter on his cell. “Has the teasing died down at the school?”  he asked. “It was never that bad.  Mercedes dressed her dog up in an octopus costume and put it on TikTok like Wednesday or Thursday.  People got into that.” “Well, thank Mercedes for me.” “Are you going to get in trouble, Dad?” What Abby was really asking was her father going to be able to pay for her college, which he agreed to do as part of the divorce decree five years ago and was happy to make happen.  He worked as a bouncer at a bar called the Red Triangle in Ohio on the weekends, which was outside his agreement as a law officer in Indiana, and was why he was asleep Monday morning at his third job as resource officer at the high school. “If I get in trouble I can get out of it,” he answered.  “I’ll see you on Halloween.  I’ll have candy in the patrol car.” “I’m a senior, I’m too old for trick or treating.” “Well, walk down there anyways.” “Okay.” And they hung up. Faron turned on the radio in the patrol car and put it on the country station everybody listened to.  His ex was the mid-day DJ and had done a lunchtime request show for years that Faron still liked.  Dolly was singing about how hard it was to be a diamond in a rhinestone world.  But then she played Willie singing about the Red-Headed Stranger and the Yellow-Haired Lady and his heart fell in his chest.  Faron was a redhead and his ex was a blonde and they danced to this song at their wedding.  So that’s how Faron knew that news had spread through the little town already about his firing; his ex was playing the song because she was thinking of him. Faron didn’t want to think about what it would be like to be an ex-cop.  Everybody he’d pulled over and ticketed, when pretty women were let go after a smile and sometimes the promise of a drink or more, all the guys he knew had hit girlfriends or wives or kids or all three and might have accidentally bumped their face on the patrol car, or found their paperwork lost for days when they got dropped off at county, all the dealers who were busted because they weren’t his dealer.  That was all worth thinking about but having the pity of his ex-wife was the worst. And then his thoughts turned to Abby.  He could pick up more bouncer shifts at the Red Triangle, but not too many more, and he could go back to doing security at the big outdoor venue where they had stock races in the fall and concerts in the summer, but it was an hour each way and the tweakers were bad, you could put them in choke holds and kick them in the balls over and over and they just didn’t seem to feel any pain or care.  At least the Red Triangle had mostly drunks and stoners and only a biker once in a great while.  And anymore most of the bikers were cops and firemen running wild on the weekends, and they always got a pass on behavior. He might be able to scratch together money but he wouldn’t have insurance, medical or life or anything.  He had it all until October 31st and then there was nothing. And a little thought squatted in the corner, and he only looked at it out of the side of his eye until Halloween night. Then Faron sat in his cruiser at the flashing light on Hadley starting around 6 o’clock and gave out candy,  He waited until Abby came by and she had dressed up after all and dragged out a couple of girlfriends and it was all meant to be ironic but they were having fun.  Faron ribbed them but told his daughter that he loved her, because of the thoughts that had been growing in his mind all week.  She was wearing a mask so he couldn’t gauge her reaction. As soon as she was gone he put the patrol car in gear and drove south out of town and then a little farther.  Two summers ago during the town bicentennial they had closed the main road through town and had a carnival come in.  But a night or two in there was an immigration raid of some kind and all the carnies were dragged off or ran off.  After a few days of complaints, and nobody from the carnival coming back, Joe Linseed rode his tractor into town and dragged the rides off one at a time to a farm field the government was paying him to keep fallow. There those old rides rotted away, along with some busted-up trailers and some other ragged odds and ends.  It’s where Faron pulled in and parked, and saw a little campfire in the dying light.  He knew Joe Linseed’s nephews or cousin’s kids or some kin hung out here all the time but Linseed was kind of his boss so Faron did nothing.  Even though he had an idea what they were doing out here. Faron took a Remington 870 shotgun out of the trunk and started walking towards the campfire where several figures crouched or sat in broken-down patio furniture.  Young guys still shirtless in the fall chill.  There was a chemical smell in the air. “Hello, Walls.” The call from the gloom brought Faron up short.  Only one person called him that, and it was his childhood friend and adult weed dealer Rickey Webb.  He knew his mother had named him after her favorite singer Faron Young and had loved his hit song “Hello, Walls.”  Rickey was a nephew on Joe Linseed’s wife’s side but never came out to this little encampment people up the road called Rustytown. Faron thought for a moment, but kept coming. “You look damn serious, Walls.” “And all you hillbillies out here look damn jumpy.” The energy shifted towards Junior, though who he was junior to Faron couldn’t remember.  He was the lead dog in this younger group and went from juvie to county to state prison and only recently returned from the grand tour.  The shining whites of his eyes stared out at Faron and his neck tattoos looked like bruises in the blue light. “If you want some of that Leopold Gold I done brought up from Tell City last week, come by my place tomorrow.  You don’t need to be out here,” Rickey said. “Neither do you.” “I ain’t never out here but I got business tonight.” “I do too.  So maybe you can slip out past that tilt-a-whirl and I’ll come holler at you tomorrow for that grass.” Somebody snickered. “He said grass.” “Shut up, Garwood,” Rickey said easily, his eyes trained on Faron. Faron gestured with the shotgun. “I tell ya what, leaving out Rickey, if there is eight teeth between all of you I won’t take you whole passel of dickheads in for making and dealing meth.” Junior, Garwood, and the others began to move, but Rickey put up a steadying hand.  It dawned on Faron for the first time that Rickey, despite his easygoing demeanor, might have been the O.G. of this loose band of related, feral criminals.  It was just one more thing he had overlooked, not paid attention to, let slide. “Walls, why don’t you ease on out of this here job, everybody knows this is your last night as town marshal?  Let somebody else worry about this tomorrow,” Rickey suggested. Junior blinked.  “Hell, if he ain’t found until tomorrow, it ain’t like killin’ a cop.” Junior had a gun in his hand, and then Rickey did too.  Faron just stood with the shotgun loose in his own hands. “We don’t need to think like that, cuz,” said Rickey mildly. “He knows,” said another voice from the growing darkness. Junior nodded for emphasis.  “What else would he be doing out here on his last day?” Rickey studied Faron. “That’s it, isn’t it?  It’s your last day.  God damn, Faron, don’t let it go down this way.  Think about Abby.” “You know I am thinking about Abby.”  It was the truest thing Faron had ever said.  “And get her name out your mouth.” Rickey blinked, and Faron swallowed. “Then tell your idiot half brothers or second cousins or whatever this Island of Misfit Toys is to stand over against that Hall of Mirrors with their hands behind their backs and make this easy.” Rickey shook his head.  “Head on back to town, ole hoss.  I’m tryin’ to talk these kids outta makin’ a bad mistake.” “It’s my mistake.  I been too easy on these young dirtbags because I took most of their mommas behind the football stadium at one time or the other.” Junior finally lifted his gun, a Hi-Point nine millimeter, just as Faron had hoped.  Only Rickey lifted his his own Bersa Thunder 380 and shot his cousin in the face.  Garwood fired, and Rickey tipped back in his chair and his legs kicked the air.  Garwood turned and fired at Faron next, and Faron felt a hot bite take the bottom of his right ear off. Rickey was up and on his knees pointing his gun at Garwood when somebody stepped out of the shadows and fired at Rickey.  A geyser shot out of Rickey’s neck but he still shot again, and Garwood’s jaw disappeared in a cloud of red and his teeth peppered the campfire.  Garwood convulsed and fired, hitting another man in the shadows who started screaming. Faron stood and waited for the bullet, but the new gunman turned and ran for the trailer, flannel shirt flapping behind, and the last man broke and run as well. Faron watched for a moment, then threw his shotgun on the ground.  The Remington had been empty but the Glock-19 in his holster wasn’t and it turned out he needed it.  It was one thing to die in a hail of gunfire and another to die in prison.  So he walked up and shot the screaming man and then followed the other two towards the trailer. The one in the flannel banged the door open and ran in but the other veered off.  He figured he had the flannel guy boxed in but had better catch up to the second guy.  That guy ran hellbent towards what was labeled the Funhouse, a big sheet metal box that had been built on the back of a flatbed. The Funhouse had some sort of zig-zag gangplank held up with chains, and Faron watched for a moment as the guy—who Faron finally recognized as a recent high school dropout named Peyton Sanford—tried to navigate the wobby platform in the dark.  He stepped into the round O of a painted clown’s mouth, and the brake must have been off on that tunnel, because the gears started moving and the opening rolled up like a hamster wheel.  It would be funny, if Faron wasn’t trying to die in the line of duty. Faron fired into the clown’s mouth and missed, but the bullet spanged around and finally hit Sanford and knocked him flat.  He tried to get up, but just flopped around in there until Faron drew a better bead and shot again, and Sanford stopped moving. Faron turned away, and saw some weird shapes dancing in front of him.  He triggered his gun without thinking and heard shattering glass. He had shot right into the stupid half-assed Hall of Mirrors.  When he saw his own image splintering a hundred times he kept going. Faron beat it for the trailer, and quickly realized he made a mistake.  When he stepped through the door, the chemical smell strong, he saw a hole had been knocked in the back wall with a blue tarp strung over it, and taped over onto another trailer parked right behind.  So Faron bolted through the trailer and out the back, hoping for the bullet that would blow up the trailer behind him and everyone around to the world beyond. But instead he found the last gunman standing in an open field nearby, next to a beat-up 1980 Plymouth Volare Road Runner. Faron knew the beater belonged to a kid everybody called Baby Gates, because once he got so drunk his friends gated him into a kitchen to sleep it off, and he couldn’t figure out how to undo the latch, even when sober. Baby Gates had popped the trunk and had the gun pointed inside, which Faron immediately flashed on:  dogfighting.  Even Baby Gates couldn’t think he could get out of trouble by shooting up a trunk full of drugs. But Faron went ahead and killed him anyway, then walked over to see what Baby Gates could have possibly been thinking. Inside the trunk was a very thin and pale young woman, wearing clothes you would throw in the dumpster behind the Goodwill.   The stench of human smells was strong, but the young woman was alive. Faron bent over and vomited in the grass, then he felt better.  It was the killing of the young men and the finding of a young woman so close to Abby’s age.  He had sometimes vomited after killing in Iraq and knew that was part of it. He reached a hand out to the cowering, feebly-moving woman but finally just reached down and lifted her out and set her on the ground.  She was a flat five feet and didn’t weigh a buck ten by Faron’s eye. “What’s your name, miss?” The young woman just stood and shook, her teeth chattering. “Can you tell me your name, miss?  You’re alright now.” The young woman slowly opened her mouth, and Faron saw a darkness within. It took Faron a minute to realize the woman had no tongue. Faron looked into her eyes. “Okay.  We’ll go back to my patrol car.  I got paper and pencil there so you can write your name down.” The young woman shook her head. “You don’t want to write your name down?” She shook her head, harder. The truth punched Faron between the eyes. “How long ago did you get taken?” The young woman lowered her hand until the flat of it hovered around her knee. Faron felt the bile rise in his throat when he thought about the enormity of what had happened to the young woman. “Okay, well, we still need to get back to the patrol car.  Just keep your eyes on me when we walk that way and don’t look at nothing else.” The young woman nodded, and Faron led her away from the Road Runner. But as he neared the campfire once more he saw movement again. He raised a hand for the young woman to stay where she was, and Faron approached the fire, where his old friend Rickey was somehow still alive, holding a bloody hand to his neck. Faron stood over him. “You ain’t callin’ this one in, are ya, ole hoss?”  Rickey asked. “No.” Faron could see Rickey’s eyes slide sideways in the glimmer of firelight. “I’m glad she’s still alive.  If it means anything to ya I thought Baby Gates was talkin’ shit.  Some stupid internet thing.  I didn’t think he could really go and get a girl from somewhere.  I was here to make Junior let her go.” “That does mean something.  Where was she from?” “I don’t know exactly but they bought her in Indianapolis.  But I know where she was going.  They sold her to them people out at Comfort Farm.” “Comfort Farm?  Where they had those retreats?  My ex went to a writer’s group out there.” “Them people went bankrupt two years ago, this is a different group.  They’re from Jersey.” “Jersey?” “East coast people, man.” Faron thought on this for a moment and when he looked down Rickey was dead. The young woman was just standing and looking.  She didn’t resist when Faron put her in the front seat of the car.  He started the patrol car and turned and looked at her. “I’m gonna take you into town and drop you at the flashing light.  There are good people there and somebody will call the police and county will respond.” She grabbed onto his bicep and wouldn’t let go. “I can’t take you with me because I’m going out to the farm they were gonna take you to and I ain’t planning on coming back.” The young woman grabbed and clawed at him so hard that instead of making a big U-turn to town he turned off the car and started walking back towards the Road Runner with the young woman a ghost trailing behind. He took the keys out of Baby Gates’ jeans pocket and threw his uniform shirt on the ground and put on Baby Gates’ flannel which only had some blood on it.  He didn’t say anything when she got in the passenger seat.  Then Faron bumped over the farm field and onto the highway and straight into darkness. Comfort Farm was right at the very edge of the county and probably out of his jurisdiction if he was thinking hard about it, but what he was thinking was that he should have noticed somebody building a watch tower on the other side of the big cattle gates. Faron idled there and finally honked the horn and damned if a big spotlight didn’t shine out of the tower and point right at the Road Runner.  Faron and the woman sat very still.  After a long moment he heard a deep-throated rumble and here came a 1987 Chevy El Camino, black on top and silver on bottom, that he couldn’t help but admire. Some long-haired guy with a leather vest over a bare chest came out with a MAC-10 in one hand and a gym bag in the other and stood on the other side of the cattle gates.   Faron waited, knowing he had a flannel up top but uniform pants and gun belt below. The guy squinted at the Road Runner. “You were supposed to keep her in the trunk, idiot.” Faron said nothing as the man started to undo the chain holding the cattle gates together.  Just for fun Faron revved the engine and gunned it as the chain fell away and banged the gates open and knocked the long-haired guy backwards and watched his limbs turn counter-clockwise.  He heard a gunshot from above and so he drove straight on into one leg of the tower and crushed the grill of the Road Runner.  He heard a crack and a creak as the wooden leg gave way, but what happened next was hidden in a cloud of radiator steam. He opened the driver’s side door in time to see a guy fall from above and bounce off the hood of the car, an AR-15 going flying.  The guy scrabbled for his weapon and slid off the hood of the Road Runner, and Faron shot him before he could get his feet under him. The long-haired guy was somehow on his feet and firing into the steam.  Faron bent down and scooped up the AR-15 and let it rip into the darkness.  He liked it better than the MAC-10 anyway. He heard the long-haired guy scream so he walked over to the El Camino, accidentally kicking the gym bag on the way.  Money spilled out onto the dirt.  Faron couldn’t believe what he was seeing but he picked up the bag and threw it in the back of the El Camino anyway. Somewhere down this dirt road the big barn you could rent for weddings was all lit up.  There were two guys walking down the path towards them.  All the little cabins they used to rent to church groups were all boarded up on both sides of the overgrown track.  They had definitely heard a commotion but weren’t in a full-tilt panic yet.  These east coast types didn’t think much of Midwesterners, Faron thought sourly. He climbed into the El Camino and there was the young woman sitting there already. “You got to get out of here.  You got me through the gate but that’s as far as I was planning on you going.  There’s a bag of money back there.  Take it and walk to town.” She started grabbing at him again so Faron just put the El Camino in gear and started slowly rolling down the dirt road towards the men and the barn.  This one was absolutely not a patch on the 1970 El Camino he had lovingly finished restoring when his older brother got sick of it.  But it was better than no El Camino at all. When he got close the floored it, then braked hard and knocked both men down in one swing from the long back of the car. Faron got out and reached into the back where he had seen a tow chain laying.  He pulled it out and hit one guy with it and watched the hook hit him on the ear and yank part of his face onto the ground.  Then Faron got the other guy as he was standing up and wrapped the chain around his neck. “What’s in the barn?” Faron asked, pulling the chain tighter. But he must have pulled too hard because the guy went limp, blood running from his mouth, and Faron just dropped him in the dirt. Faron climbed back behind the wheel and told the young woman to duck.  Then he floored it one more time and drove right at the big barn doors. They didn’t bust open as dramatically as he thought, since he was pushing 45 or 50 by the time he reached them, but they splintered well enough that the El Camino went on through and went into a long skid as Faron pumped the brakes. Faron jumped out with the AR-15 and the Glock-19 pointing straight ahead and saw he was in the middle of a big space all painted red—the barn beams, the floor, everything.  There were big bright lights everywhere and little cameras with red lights.  There was medical equipment in the corners and chains hanging down from above.  There were men and women in animal masks. It was the stupidest thing Faron had ever seen.  He felt tired.  He had gone this whole night and hadn’t met anybody with the juice to kill him.  He didn’t think any of these people could either. Then somebody stepped up with an ornate-looking knife and when Faron stuck his hand up to block it the guy drove it right into Faron’s palm. Now something was happening, he thought, and he lifted the Glock and blew a hole in the masked man’s face.  Bone shards blew back and cut his cheeks and he realized it was a real skull of some kind, not some Halloween town plastic shit like he thought. Faron tried to steady himself on the hood of the El Camino and work the AR-15.  Somebody with a metal pole ran up to him and too late Faron realized it was a cattle prod.  He tried to kick and it hit him in the leg and jolted him clear to his balls and he went down on his back involuntarily. The masked man threw the prod aside and came thrusting downward with another fancy knife, but Faron scrambled under the El Camino and popped up on the other side shooting.  Faron could hear a low keening from the front seat and realized it was the young woman, but could not do anything but kill everyone in front of him and hope she would get it together enough to finally run away. Some woman in flowing red robes rose up from behind a bank of computer monitors and started saying some shit Faron couldn’t hear between the rumbling of the El Camino and the sounds of gunshots and the keening of the young woman and the screams of the dying.  He shot her thinking the rest of them might stop fighting when they saw it but they didn’t, and somebody stabbed Faron up around the collarbone and the blade deflected off and screeched across the El Camino’s paint job. The Glock was out of ammo and so was the AR-15 and now he wished he hadn’t thrown that Remington shotgun on the ground, but it was alright, he felt about done.  But then he started thinking about what that young woman, or even his daughter, or both of them, could do with a bag of money and he grabbed the guy who stabbed him around the neck and beat his head on the car hood until he dropped the bloody knife. Then Faron took it and tried to slit the guy’s throat, but it skittered off the bone of the guy’s mask, and then he thought maybe this was just a shitty knife and threw it on the ground. He picked up the cattle prod and used the business end on some asshole with a big hooked knife and then swung at the computer monitors and it sparked and sputtered and, surprising everyone, started a fire. Then there was a sharp pain in his back and he half turned and saw somebody whose wolf mask was half hanging off was stabbing him with a scalpel from that table full of medical instruments.  And it was some guy he had seen a hundred times jogging on the historic trail out where the old railroad had been. Then Faron got pissed, because it was one thing to die in the line of duty and it was another thing to die of a thousand cuts from a bunch of dirtbags who got all their ideas from beating off to death metal videos.  So he head-butted this guy and clawed at the scalpel but couldn’t get it loose. He heard a loud K-CHACK behind him and saw some douche holding a Mossberg pump action shotgun pointed at him.  Faron grabbed the barrel and forced it upwards, upwards, until he forced it under the guy’s chin.  The blast showered Faron with gore but he had lost track of whose blood was whose. There was somebody running away from the growing flames and Faron brought the barrel of the Mossberg down on his head and the guy stumbled and fell.  Faron wiped blood from his eyes and didn’t see anyone else running or moving at all, just the steady red lights looking at him from every angle of the room, and so he lay down next to the last corpse and let the fire warm his feet and waited to see if anything else would happen. Unfortunately Faron woke up not in that red room but in a white room.  The county hospital, and there was a little boom box covered in stickers on the bedside table and his wife was talking on the radio, and he knew that the boom box belonged to his daughter and she must have left it there and he must be alive. His daughter came in and started crying and he did, too. Not for the same reasons. After a few minutes he asked:  “Who’s the girl?” “They don’t know yet,” Abby said. “Everybody’s somebody,” her father whispered. “You’re a meme again,” Abby said, showing him her phone. The video was called “Sleepy Cop Wakes Up” and somehow there was heavily edited video of the massacre at Comfort Farm. “What is this?”  Faron asked, pushing the phone away.  “You shouldn’t be looking at that.” “You busted up a red room.  It’s where they take girls to be tortured and people pay to watch it on the dark web.” “The what?” “The bad part of the internet.” “There was a good part?” “Somebody put the video out.  They said they thought the red room was a hoax so they were recording it but they are probably just saying that because they are trying to stay out of jail.” “Speaking of which, that guy outside the door looks like a fed.” “I don’t know what he is, dad.” “I reckon he wants to talk to me.” “He does but I had to get in here first.  By the way mom has your phone and is taking all your calls.” “She’s doing what?” “The password is still your anniversary, dad.” “Okay, okay.  What calls?” “People want to interview you.  Pay for your story.  A big podcast called.” “What’s that?” “It’s on the internet.” “You can get paid for that?” Abby snuck a glance at the door, where the man in the dark suit and red tie loomed. “Dad, I think they want your help.” “I’m not a cop any more.” The town council extended you.  Mom got on the radio and raised hell because you were all stabbed and whatever and wasn’t going to have insurance.” Faron felt like crying again.  It had to be the drugs.  “Well she’s a good woman.” “The town council still sucks, they only extended it to December 31st.” Faron tried to shrug.  “Small victories.” Faron closed his eyes and when Abby left and the fed came in Faron was sound asleep.

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Ep.51 – Photosensitive - You're the Focus of a KILLER on Halloween Night!

Episode Notes

A new house brings a new lease on life until mysterious photographs begin showing up on the new owner's cell phone... but that isn't the only thing happening at night while she sleeps!

Photosensitive by Joe Solmo http://pennedinblood.com

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

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Transcription:

Lacey set the cardboard box down at the door’s threshold and took a minute. This was the last box, and she was finally moved in to her new home. It really was a long time coming, she had saved up for years to afford a house of her own. No more apartments with noisy neighbors, she was on her own out here in the country. It really was a steal; nowhere could she find a three-bedroom house for this cheap. She had been looking for a while. The best part would be the commute. She was now only five miles from work, as manager of the tabletop game store, Dragon’s Den. She had been there since high school, working her way up to her position. “Get a move on, bitch,” came a voice from behind Lacey as her sister Simone, bumped into her. “Are you trying out your future as a door?” “I’m just taking in the moment. This is kind of a big deal,” Lacey said and moved into the house. Her sister was always the impatient one, but as far as older sisters go, she wasn’t half bad. There really wasn’t much of a rivalry growing up together. When Simone and her friends got into witchcraft, they would let her sit in the corner and watch them. She had no idea what they were doing back then, the age difference was too much. An eight-year-old can barely understand what the high school seniors were doing, but it seemed exciting to Lacey. They entered the kitchen and Lacey put the kettle on the stove, the cold late October morning chilled the bones. The furnace guy was coming later today to clean it and make sure it was good, and she didn’t want to turn it on until he said it was okay. “So which bedroom will be mine when I leave Dan?” Simone asked, pushing her auburn hair out of her face. “You can have the basement. Seems more your style,” Lacey joked.” “You have all the luck, little sis. You know that right. Single, owning your own house. I envy you.” “Ha, I will be lucky if I can afford groceries after the mortgage. You don’t seem to have a problem with that though,” Lacey joked poking her sister in her belly. “I miss this. Living in North Carolina kinda sucks, to be honest,” Simone finished. “Well at least I got three more days to hang here with you in New York. I fly back on November first.” “Don’t blame me, you’re the idiot that decided to chase your dreams,” Lacey said as the tea kettle began to whistle. They spent the rest of the day putting Lacey’s belongings away and making the house feel more like a home. She was getting worried about the furnace, the guy they sent over had been down there a long time. He had startled her when he showed up, one minute she was in the kitchen, putting away the dishes that didn’t get broke from Simone’s lousy packing, the next he was standing in the doorway. Neither sister heard him enter the house. When she saw him there, leaning against the kitchen doorway, it made her jump. She hadn’t heard a noise from the basement in a while and went downstairs to check on him since Simone decided to take a nap on the couch. She always could fall asleep anywhere. It was like turning a switch off. Lacey used to tease her and call her a robot. She descended the wooden basement stairs slowly. She always hated basements. She didn’t like the dark open space. She knew the fear was irrational. In her imagination, once a space was empty and dark, that’s when spooky things could fill the space.  She decided that she would just leave the basement lights on from now on. That would give her peace of mind, at least. “Almost done. The furnace looks good. Even for sitting as long as it did. I put a heavy-duty air filter in there, because of the dirt,” the furnace guy said pointing next to the loose dirt near the washer and dryer. His name tag on his blue work shirt said Brad. “Thank you. I wonder why they never finished the basement,” she replied. Brad kind of gave her a weird look, like the answer should be obvious. “It’s going to be ninety dollars for the service. I just need to pack up my tools. Cash or check works, I don’t have a way to take credit card,” he said as the furnace kicked on for the first time since she moved in. She couldn’t wait for the warmth. She shivered from the cold. She headed upstairs to get the man the money. She had enough cash to cover it. Simone was snoring, so Lacey took a few seconds to record it on her cell phone to blackmail her later, like sisters would do. She giggled with glee at the thought. A moment later Brad entered the kitchen where she was taking the cash from her purse. She handed over the cash to him. She noticed he wore a gold ring. Too bad he was taken. He was a little older, but was good looking. “Thanks. I ran out of receipts. I will have the office send one over in the mail, if that is okay with you,” Brad asked her with a smile. “Yeah, that’s fine. Thanks for coming on short notice. The office said they weren’t sure if they could send someone that quick. I definitely will be calling you guys for all my furnace stuff. Let me walk you out,” Lacey said. “Sure thing,” Brad said and turned towards the front of the house, his tool belt hit Simone’s tea cup, which fell to the floor and shattered. “Oh damn. I am so sorry. I can be a klutz sometimes,” he said apologetically. “Let me pick this up.” “No, it’s ok. I will get it,” Lacey said grabbing some paper towels for the spilled tea. She got down on her knees and began to clean it up. “Ok then, I will just show myself out,” Brad said and left the kitchen. Simone entered the kitchen a second later. “Hey. What happened?” she asked. “You left your mug on the edge of the table and Brad knocked it over on his way out,” Lacey said picking up the broken pieces in her hand. “Who is Brad? Do you have a secret boyfriend you haven’t told me about?” Simone joked and helped her pick up the pieces of the mug. “You must have seen him. He was just here. He fixed the furnace,” Lacey explained. “I just woke up. Must have just missed him,” Simone said. “Was he cute?” “He had his charm. Now that we have heat, let’s get a pizza and watch some cheesy horror movies. I think I am done for today,” Lacey said. “Fine with me!”

Later that night, Lacey washed up for bed. It was fun having her sister around. After living alone for so long, it was good to have someone to talk to. She hadn’t realized how lonely she actually was. Simone had passed out halfway through Chopping Mall. Lacey left her on the couch, even though they had set up one of the spare rooms for her. She crawled into bed and checked her phone. No new messages. She really was lonely. She decided she would try to be a little more outgoing and make an effort to meet someone. It didn’t have to be romantic, just someone to watch movies with or something. She placed her phone on the night stand and closed her eyes.

The next morning Lacey woke with a start. She had had a nightmare. She couldn’t remember it, just the uneasy feeling it gave her. A sleezy, greasy feeling. She got out of bed and looked for her phone. She shook out the blankets and it fell to the floor. She looked at the nightstand for a moment and then shrugged. She had been pretty tired last night. She heard Simone downstairs in the kitchen and smelled bacon cooking. Her stomach rumbled in agreement with the delicious odor. She went downstairs and sat at the table. The kettle was already on. She checked her messages again. Still nothing. Simone looked at her with a cocked head. “Someone special getting ahold of you?” she asked. “No. No messages,” she said with a sigh and put her phone on the table. “I’m sorry Brad hasn’t sexted you,” Simone said and set a plate of food down in front of her little sister. It reminded her of when they both lived at home and she had to babysit. “Wait until I go back to North Carolina before having him spend the night. I need my beauty sleep and I don’t need you two keeping me up all night!” Simone joked. “Me keeping you up? That’s rich. Do you know how loud you snore?” Lacey said and reached for her phone. “I certainly do not snore!” Simone said loudly. “Dan would have told me when we moved in together.” “I have proof!” Lacey said and opened the photos on her phone. Her face went pale and she dropped her phone onto her plate of eggs and bacon. “Lacey? What is it?” Simone said. “That wasn’t very funny!” Lacey said cleaning off her phone. Simone gave her a confused look. “Taking those pictures last night,” Lacey finished. “I don’t know what you are talking about, let me see,” Simone said and grabbed her phone from her. There were half a dozen picture of Lacey sleeping in the same pajamas she was wearing now. Except the last one. The last one Lacey’s top was pulled up exposing her breasts. “These are from last night?” Simone asked. “Yeah, that’s the new room around me. When did you take them?” Lacey asked. She looked at her plate, but she had lost her appetite. “I swear it wasn’t me, the last thing I remember is falling asleep during the movie and waking up like a half hour before you. I didn’t do this, I swear!” Simone said. “You better not be fucking with me,” Lacey said and got up. They both went to the bedroom and looked everything over. The windows were still locked. Lacey explained to her sister how she thought she left her phone on the nightstand and when she woke it was on the bed. Both of them agreed that it was really creepy. They got dressed and went to the hardware store to get new locks for all the doors. As the day grew long, Lacey dreaded going to sleep in that room. The more she thought about it, the close to a panic attack she got. Around eight she came up with the idea of her sister sleeping in there with her. Before they went to bed, they checked every window and door in the house to make sure they were locked. Satisfied everything was secure they went upstairs. “I don’t know what’s going to keep me up more, the thought of those pictures, or your snoring,” Lacey joked as she put her phone in the drawer on the night stand. “I don’t snore!” Simone refuted. Lacey’s eyes cracked open. It was light out. She rubbed her eyes and looked at Simone sleeping next to her. She didn’t realize what a comfort her sister had been. She rolled over towards the door, thinking about going back to sleep. Startled, she sat up straight in bed. Her cellphone was on the top of the nightstand. She reached for it with one hand while the other instinctively itched her side. She lifted her shirt and look at the spot that itched. There were scratch marks across her side. Did she just do that? Her eyes darted to her cellphone. She quickly opened it and looked. “SIMONE!” she said, and without taking her eyes off the phone slapped her sister in the face. “Get up!” The panic in her voice snapped Simone out of her sound sleep. “What is it?” her older sister asked. “It. It happened again,” Lacey said and dropped her phone into her sister’s lap. “It couldn’t have. I was here all night,” Simone said with disbelief. She began to scroll through the pictures, her eyes widening with each one. The first two pictures were just like the night before. After that they got more perverse. Again, a topless photo of her. A wide shot. Simone was in the photo as well, but asleep and undisturbed. The second topless photo showed the scratched on her side. They were from the middle of the night.  Four gouges across her belly and off to the side. The next photo showed a close up on her face. A hand from the photographer could be seen holding her head to the side. The back of the hand was obscured by a blue blur that continued out of frame. “What’s this?” Simone asked. “That’s a shirt, I think. Like a work...oh shit, oh shit,” Lacey said and started to hyperventilate. “I know who it is. It’s Brad,” she cried. “Ok let’s call the cops and nail this fucker!” Simone said and dialed 911 from Lacey’s phone. They got up out of bed to meet the police at the door. She explained everything to the officer that came to take her statement. His named was Officer John O’Neil and he was a new transfer and therefor sent on things like this. He said once he reports back, they would make this case a priority.  He paid attention to Lacey as she told him every detail she could remember. He genuinely seemed like he cared and that made her feel better. He left with a promise to get back to her later that day with whatever he could find out. “Maybe I can stay a few more days. Until we get some answers,” Simone said as they hung the last of the Halloween decorations up. This used to be their favorite holiday, now neither of them could stop thinking about those photos. “You don’t have too. I am sure Dan is waiting for you to get home,” Lacey said, but the tone in her voice revealed she felt the opposite way. “It’s no problem. He will just have to cook for himself a little longer,” she said. “Probably just order out every meal, to be honest.” “If it’s no bother. I would appreciate it,” Lacey said. “Hey. Do you still do that witch thing like you used to back in high school?” “No, I haven’t talked to those girls in years. They were really into it. I was just there to be the third witch, I think. They probably watched too much Charmed. Although I would turn lesbo for Alyssa Milano. Sorry Dan,” Lacey’s older sis said with a smile. They sat in silence for a moment. “Wait. Were you thinking of doing some protection magic or something?” “I don’t know. The cops are on it, but I would feel safer,” Lacey said and grabbed a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup from the candy dish next to the front door. “I don’t think we knew what we were doing. We were just being edgy and different. Nothing ever happened with that stuff,” Simone explained and grabbed a Reese’s too. “I can look them up on Facebook and see what they say, if you want?” Lacey nodded her head and went into the living room. She plopped down on the couch and wondered when Officer John was going to call her. In a few hours it was going to be dark and she wanted some progress. Maybe him calling to tell her that Brad was rotting in jail and would never bother her again, that would be ideal. Her dream house has been turning into a nightmare. What had she done to deserve this? “Snap out of it, sis. It’s ten minutes to go time,” Simone said pointing at the clock. Trick or treating was about to start. It was supposed to be a good feeling, the first time she could give out candy from her own home, but she felt emotionless inside, distant. The last two days have taken the fun out of everything. A quick phone check showed that no one had called her. No news was good news? That was the saying right? Ten minutes passed, then twenty. She could hear kids in the street, but none rang her doorbell. She began to eat the candy. She was a little disappointed, to be honest. Seeing all the happy children would be a good distraction. “You want to watch something?” she asked her sister. “Sure, what did you have in mind. By the way, Rachel got back to me. She told me what to do to protect the house and keep danger out. I might have to run out to the store really quick. Do you mind being here alone while I go?” Simone asked. “Well, I guess. As long as I am awake, I seem to be safe,” she joked. The doorbell rang and they both looked at it. “Well answer it,” Simone said with a shooing motion. Lacey jumped up and ran to the door, excited to get her first trick or treater. She pulled the door open and presented the bowl of candy. She did so a little too eagerly and two Twix went overboard towards Officer John on the front step. He caught them instinctively and held them up. “If I catch them can I keep them?” he asked playfully. “And who are you supposed to be little boy?” Lacey joked with him. They both smiled. Simone pointed from Lacey to the officer and made a whistle noise out of sight of him. Lacey rolled her eyes at her sister. She was always playing match maker. “Officer, can you stay with my sister for a few minutes while I run to the store. She would really appreciate it,” Simone said and winked at her sister. “Sure,” he said an turned to Lacey. “You can call me John. I am off duty. I just wanted to give her some information that I discovered today.” “Well by all means, give it to her!” Simone said and slipped out the door. “I took your car keys be back in like an hour or so!” she said as she ran down the driveway. “Come in. Would you like anything?” Lacey asked. “Oh, this Twix was plenty. I couldn’t ask for anything more,” he said as they entered the living room. “Listen, what I need to tell you is kind of scary. We better sit down.” They both sat on the couch and Lacey turned off the cheesy movie she was watching, Rubber. She just wasn’t in the mood for a killer tire story. “So, I did some research because the guys at the station didn’t seem very helpful. I am still new enough for them to prank me. Anyway, this is what I found out. The furnace company does not have an employee named Brad,” John explained. “What? I saw him,” Lacey said. “There’s more. Not only that, but it seems your house has an interesting history. Did the real estate lady tell you about the murders?” he asked.  Never mind, by the look on your face I can see she didn’t. It’s not actually illegal to not tell you, I looked into that as well. At least not in this state. Although it is shitty, in my opinion,” he continued. “What happened here. I am not sure I want to know, actually,” Lacey said looking around the room as if for the first time. “I think you should. There was a serial killer that lived her about fifteen years ago. He used to bring women here and torture them before strangling them and breaking their necks post mortem. There was a police report from a woman who said she escaped this house and told the police about him, but nothing was done. The man’s name was Brad. Retired Police Chief Brad Crawford. He opened a HVAC company after retirement. We think that’s how he found his victims. Anyway, they both went missing right after that, and they discovered a map and photos in his bedroom. All the photos were in their beds alive, then the rest were taken here, in your room, after he broke their necks. Several had scratches on them when they struggled. The map lead to the forest out on route nine where they found the bodies. All but one woman in the photos were accounted for. The one they couldn’t find was the woman who filed the report. It was all kind of swept under the rug because the small community didn’t want all the attention. He had fled. The HVAC company went to his nephew ad they doctored a death certificate to close the case. That last part I learned from the court records janitor who was around back then. When I told them of your case, they thought it was a joke someone was playing on me and ignored it,” John explained. A tear rolled down Lacey’s cheek. John reached and held her hand. “I swear I don’t think this is a joke. I won’t let this happen. Even if the assholes at the station will,” he said and squeezed. Lacey laid her head against his shoulder and began to cry. A little while later, Simone returned and prepped the house as her friend instructed. After that was done all three of them settled in to watch a few movies and put a dent in the candy that no trick or treater had come for. It didn’t take long for all the stress to overtake Lacey and she fell asleep on John’s shoulder. Simone made herself scarce and went into the den where she kept all the supplies that Rachel had told her to get. Sometime around midnight, Lacey woke. She felt the warmth of John next to her and started to settle into him, but goosebumps spread across her skin like the wind on the lake’s surface. She opened her eyes and saw Brad standing in front of her. She tried to speak, but was frozen in fear. He held her cellphone in his hand, and took a picture of her, a wicked smile on his face. He leaned in close to her and placed his icy fingers on her neck gently, tracing the lines of her veins. She shivered from the touch, which was enough to wake John. “What the fuck!” John yelled out and reached into his sock. Brad turned and sneered at John. The change of attention broke Lacey from her fear and she jumped over the back of the couch and away from Brad. She called out to Simone. John stood, with a pistol drawn, and pointed it at Brad. “Back off. It’s over, asshole,” John said. He called out to Lacey over his shoulder. “Are you okay? “Yes John,” she said and called out for Simone again who came running from the other room. She stopped dead at the sight in front of her. Brad leaned in close to John, his chest mere inches from the gun pointed at it. John swallowed hard. “Not another step. Or I swear to god I will fire,” he said. “You guys get out of here,” he called over his shoulder. “Call the state boys in.” Brad stepped closer and John fired as promised. The bullet passed through Brad as if he was made of air. He gripped Johns neck in his large hands and twisted. Lacey screamed as she watched John’s body drop to the ground after the sickening snap. She grabbed Simone’s hand and pulled her towards the hallway. That was when she noticed Simone’s other hand held a backpack. They ran into the kitchen, since Brad was between them and the front door. In their panic they fled to a dead end. The only other door in the room led to the basement. They heard a furious scream from deeper in the house, and as quietly as they could, went into the basement. The lights were already on, thanks to some preplanning anxiety from Lacey. They ran over to the washer and dryer set up by the unfinished dirt floor. They wiggled behind the dryer as best they could. There wasn’t really enough room for both of them. Lacey had to balance herself by placing her hand in the dirt. They heard the basement door open and they both jumped a little bit. The footsteps sent chills down their spine. Why didn’t John’s bullet stop him? The footsteps stopped and that was even worse. They didn’t know where he was. The washer began to shake. She knew they had been made, but she didn’t know what else to do. Simone on the other hand was digging in the backpack she had, looking for something. She glanced up at her sister. “Stall him,” she whispered. Lacey grabbed a handful of the dirt and stoop up. Brad was on the other side of the washer. He gave her a predatory look. She tried not to panic as she faced her stalker. “You want me?” Lacey said. “You can’t have me!” she called out and threw the dirt into his face for a distraction. There was a flash of something in the dirt as it flew, something shiny. Brad took a step back as if the dirt had hurt him and she started to gain some hope, that she wouldn’t die tonight. “Hate that do ya?” she asked and reached down for more dirt, but her hand found something more unexpected. Something stuck in the dirt. She glanced down to see what it was and was shocked at what she saw. It was a hand sticking out of the dirt. Her eyes went back to the shiny object on the floor. It was a ring, just like the one Brad was wearing! “Simone. Look at the dirt!” she called out and grab some more earth to throw at Brad, who had recovered from the first toss. “Gross!” Simone called out as she pinged the hand’s fingers with hers. “I think it’s him. It’s why he disappeared. The woman who reported him came back and got revenge! Does that make him a ghost? You know about that kind of shit, right?” Lacey asked. “I don’t know. Maybe, hold on, let me ask Rachel!” Simone called out as Lacey pelted Brad with the dirt from his grave. “We don’t have time for a fucking online chat. What do we have to do?” Lacey called out, irritated. “Rachel says we need to consecrate the grave,” Simone answered after a moment of frantic typing. “Oh ok, that sounds easy enough. How the hell do we do that?” “I am on it,” Simone said and began to pull stuff from the backpack. Lacey could hear her bad pronunciation of Latin as she kept Brad at bay with the shower of his own grave dirt. She had a rhythm going, bend and grab, toss, wait two seconds, bend and toss, it kept him from getting any closer, and the contact with the dirt seemed to hurt him. It was like figuring out a boss strategy in a table top or video game, which she had years of experience with. A few second later, the Latin stopped. Lacey gave a quick glance over her shoulder, her sister shrugged at her. “That should be it,” Simone said. Suddenly a rumble shook the basement as the dirt swirled around Brad, an eerie red light shone from under the dirt and rocks on the floor. Black hands reach up and grabbed Brad’s legs. He looked down in horror and clawed at the hands gripping him, trying to break free. Lacey stepped back against the wall of the basement to get as far away as she could. More and more hands reached up and a demonic cackling could be heard from the swirling dirt. In a quick second Brad was pulled straight down into the earth and everything returned to normal.  A second passed as the sisters caught their breath. “Holy shit,” Simone said. “Holy shit,” Lacey repeated. “Guess he is done for, dragged straight to hell?” “One would imagine,” Simone said with a wild-eyed look. “Good.”

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Ep.50 – Halloween Heist - Sex and Revenge Go Hand in Hand!

Episode Notes

A womanizer tries to go for a sleazy hat trick on Halloween by seducing three beautiful women when things don't get exactly as planned...

Halloween Heist by Rob Fields

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Produced by Daniel Wilder

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Transcription:

I don’t mind telling you how great it is to wake up to a nice warm female body most every morning, especially during the fall and winter months. Take this morning for example. I’m kind of in between sleep and being awake, but I can feel the soft, warm, naked body I’m spooned up with. Then I hear her moaning softly and feel her move to lay on her back. Okay, now I’m fully awake! I start feeling her up and then we kiss. Soon we’re having some really awesome morning sex. I usually only do morning sex when the night before was just as incredible. We end up going a couple of rounds before we finally decide we’re satisfied. Now I remember the girl I brought to my loft. Her name is Kitty. Oh, yeah! I remember the names of all the girls I’ve ever slept with, and for good reason. I’ll get to that. I met Kitty at Shaker’s, a bar that Strickfield University students tend to hang out at. I usually frequent a few of the local bars, and even a few outside Strickfield, to find that perfect girl – or the occasional woman – to take to bed, at least for a night. Kitty really stood out for me last night. I mean, this girl is perfectly stacked: great body, great face, awesome rack, hot ass . . . Normally, I only have to turn on the charm to get a girl to come to bed with me. But once in a while, the girls just come right to you. That was Kitty. I bought Kitty a few drinks and just talked with her about whatever she wanted to talk about. See, that’s one of the ways you’re guaranteed to get girls into your bed. They need to know you’re genuinely interested in them. They just want to know you care. And, of course, you need to make sure you keep your body finely toned, which means watching your diet and making sure you work out most every day. Getting back to Kitty, the girl was practically begging me to take her to bed. She wore a very form-fitting dress that basically told me she wasn’t wearing underwear. I was right when I got her back to the loft and got her dress off. Kitty and I pounded each other many times last night. We just couldn’t get enough! Normally, after I’ve had a girl for a night, we part ways. Sometimes I’ll get a girl that wants more than just one night. Sometimes I make an exception or two, depending on the girl and how good the sex really was. But most of the time, I just tell them I’ll call them, just to get them the hell out of my loft and out my life once and for all. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. These girls aren’t altogether out of my life. No, they end up being part of my collection. See, I’ve got cameras set up all over the loft that record and store the content onto servers and hard drives that are rigged up. When it’s time, I’ll go and edit the footage and make some quality homemade adult movies that you just can’t find anywhere else. Oh, I can only imagine what kind of quality porno I’ll make from Kitty’s footage. While I’m thinking about it, getting girls into my bed has been so much better for me since my roommate, Jacob Lavigne, and his stupid girlfriend, Genevieve Van Sant, both ended up getting murdered in this loft months ago. Yeah, it freaked me the fuck out. I was staying at Rayleen Jones’s dorm that night. One, I forgot a term paper that was there. Two, I’d already had sex with Rayleen before I left. As I was about to come into the loft, she called me back and offered to let me spend the night. Guess we both wanted more of each other, and I needed that term paper. So there you go. The funny thing was . . . I came back here the next day and found this message written in blood that told me I was glad I didn’t actually come in. Knowing I had the loft all to myself, I quickly got that blood off the walls and got the room repainted. Since Jacob wasn’t there anymore, that meant I could keep whatever he had. I mean, nobody in his family ever came to claim anything. That included all the cameras he’d set up. See, Jacob and Genevieve were making homemade porn together. Yeah, she knew about it, because she knowingly looked at the cameras. As for me, I managed to cleverly hide the cameras well enough after I took over the loft. Not a single girl I brought here ever discovered them. But you know what the beauty of being able to make homemade porn is? There are actually a few websites . . . I won’t say which ones . . . that’ll pay some damn good money for these movies. Being a Mirren, I’ve got more money than I’ll ever know what to do with, but enough’s never enough, right? Every now and then, I’ll just sell a video to one of those sites and make some damn good money. As for the girl in the video, who really cares? She ought to be happy that she’s getting a lot of attention. Talk about getting to the height of your popularity. And if one of them ends up catching a lot of shit for it, oh well . . . Come to think of it, Kitty has about the same build as a girl I remember sleeping with that I sold a video of – Katherine Pierce. Not only did Katherine get expelled by the dean of Strickfield University himself, her parents disowned her. Now, I do know the thing about the dean is true, but the thing with her parents might be just rumors. Still, not a single girl ever came back to find me. Why would they? They can’t prove that I was in the video. I’m very careful to keep my face out of them. All they see is my body, all of her face and body, and all the compromising positions that we did. What are these girls going to do? Take me to court and sue me? Let them try! What people fail to understand is that I’m Calvin Mirren! That’s right, I belong to the rich and powerful Mirren family. We’ve got so much money that we actually own a whole section of Strickfield Commons, a housing community made up of mostly rich people on the east side of Strickfield. We even have our own section walled off to separate ourselves from everybody else. It’s been said that we’re the top one percent of the top one percent! That’s the kind of money I’m talking about. Just being a Mirren means that I can get away with . . . pretty much whatever I want. But okay, I’m getting too much into myself here, which isn’t really a bad thing. Kitty and I finish our morning sex. I roll off her and onto my back. Then Kitty turns over and gets on top of me. “Happy Halloween!” she cheers. Then she kisses me. I go ahead and kiss her some more. No! I can’t let this girl become a part of my life. But she’s so fucking hot! Okay, maybe I can keep her around for a little while longer. I have made a few exceptions like this in the past. “You’re in a pretty good mood today,” I say. She pecks my lips. “Well, we just had fucking incredible sex. And . . . it’s Halloween! I love Halloween! That means trick-or-treating and all kinds of other fun things – like parties. Oooh! And costumes!” I roll my eyes. “Oh, come on, you’re telling me you go trick-or-treating?” She groans. “Don’t you dare roll your eyes at me, Calvin. Strickfield has their yearly tradition of trick-or-treating. It’s not just for kids here. Anybody can do it. No questions asked and no judgments.” She’s telling the truth. Many years ago, Strickfield got to be this big Halloween town, in addition to being a big college town. Normally, in most other parts of the country, trick-or-treating is basically limited to just kids. But in Strickfield, it doesn’t matter how old you are. Anybody’s welcome to do it. People of all ages drive in from other towns just to trick-or-treat here. Just don’t ever think about coming to our part of town to do it. The gates of our part of Strickfield Commons are never open unless we want them open. “Okay, you’re going trick-or-treating,” I reply. “Well, not just me,” Kitty reveals. “I’ve got my two roommates coming, too – Jamie and Leena. We’re going to go trick-or-treating and then to a Halloween party afterwards.” “Sounds like fun,” I say, just to make conversation. Then Kitty’s face brightens up. “Ohmygod, you should totally come with us tonight! Come on, it’ll be fun!” I raise my hand a little and shake my head. “No, I don’t think so. I’m not much into Halloween.” Kitty moves and sits on me. I have to admit, I love Kitty’s naked body from this angle. Then she caresses her tits a little. “I know my girls would just love to meet you. They’re going to ask why I never came home last night. Come on, baby. They’re both hot – like me. It’ll be so much fun.” “Fine . . .” Kitty’s just guaranteed another night with me tonight. To be honest, I won’t mind taking this fully stacked babe to bed again. Kitty squeals with delight and finally gets off me. I actually let her take a shower here, which I usually never let girls I don’t want to see again do. I get in the shower with her, and we make out some more. When we finish, we both get dressed. Then we make arrangements on where to meet. Then we go our separate ways for the time being. That night, I’m waiting for Kitty at Wilder Hall. I’m wearing my costume, which is a pirate. I just finish with an energy drink and toss the can away when I see Kitty coming in through the doors on the other side. She has two other girls with her. I can already tell this is going to be a great night! Kitty points to me and then the three of them come to me. “Glad you decided to come!” Kitty says excitedly. Of course she would be dressed up as a sexy kitty cat: a full form-fitting bodysuit that tells me she’s still not wearing underwear and shows lots of her ample cleavage, a long tail, stiletto boots, and cat ears on her head. Seeing all three of these babes in my sight at once . . . Imagine if I could get all three of them together in my loft. I’ll bet one of the sites would pay big money for a video of the one of me and the three of them. Kitty motions to the girl on her right. “This is Jamie.” She’s dressed up like a sexy nurse: seemingly plastic uniform that shapes to her voluptuous body nicely, white knee-high boots, a pink wig, and more cleavage. Then Kitty motions to the girl on her left. “And this is Leena.” She’s dressed up like a sexy version of Little Red Riding Hood: revealing outfit with more cleavage, face nicely made up, red panty hose with garter belts, red shoes, and red hair (dyed maybe). Kitty and Jaime have those plastic pumpkin baskets. Leena has a small picnic basket that matches her costume. All I brought was a pillowcase. “Ready to go, babe?” Kitty asks. “Oh, I’m definitely ready,” I assured her. The four of us leave Wilder Hall and go trick-or-treating. We go up and down one block and then several others. These girls want to get as much candy as they possibly can. We all end up getting some good hauls. Along the way, I learn some things about Jamie and Leena. Turns out Jamie’s into having a good time more than anything. “I’m definitely looking to hook up at our little party tonight,” she says in her sexy voice. “I’m always looking to play the nurse and . . . let a good doctor take my temperature.” Then she winks at me. Now I feel Leena move up right next to me. “Oh, but, Jamie . . . why should he limit himself to your bubble-butt . . . when he can have these!” Leena makes sure nobody’s around before she pulls down her top and shows me what she’s packing in her upper basket. She covers them back up shortly after. “You total slut!” Jamie cries and unzips her top a little to show me her perfect tits. Then she covers them back up. “I’m more put together than you are anyways.” Kitty groans. “Come on, you two, the cops are out here patrolling tonight. We don’t need to be getting arrested before we get to have our party.” “Oh, shit, you’re right!” Leena agrees. Then she wraps her arm around mine. “You are coming to our party when we’re done trick-or-treating, right?” “Well . . .” Some deliberate wishy-washiness. Remember, you have to make it about the girls if you want to get laid. Jamie wraps up my other arm. “Of course he is. Especially since I’m going to be the one fucking him tonight.” But Kitty has something to say about that. “Bitches! If anybody in our little motley trio here is taking him to bed – again, it’s going to be Yours Truly. So back the fuck off!” Now I get to hear these three fight and argue about who’s going to be the lucky one. Yeah, I definitely want all three of them. I just have to work my charms on them, but I’m sure I can easily pull this off. Besides, three girls at once isn’t necessarily a bad thing, right? I’m already imagining the kind of money I’ll get for this foursome video. It’s time to make this about them, if I want to make this about me. “So . . . what do you lovely ladies do? I mean, I know you’re students. Kitty told me you all were. What are you all majoring in?” Turns out they’re all former med students who came to Strickfield University on scholarships, because of the excellent medical program there. Now they’ve moved on to bigger and better things, applying what they’ve learned. I’ve definitely slept with plenty of med students. I even took a class in medical terminology just to be able to keep up with their conversations. They each tell me about what medical fields they’re in. None of them say anything about being nurses, but the only one who says she’s a surgeon is Kitty. “At Strickfield, I clocked in some decent class hours just doing surgeries.” “What have you operated on recently?” I ask Kitty. “I actually had to do kidney removals a couple of days ago,” she says. “The patient I was working on had non-functioning kidneys. I had to remove them both. The patient is on machines now, waiting for new donor kidneys. Once they come, I’ll be putting them in.” My eyes widen a little. “Is doing surgeries scary?” Kitty shrugs. “A little. But then it’s always scary when you’re doing different surgeries for the first time. I mean, you’re always afraid you’re going to fuck something up. At least when I was at Strickfield University, Doctor Pratt was there to supervise me for every surgery I performed.” Jamie giggles. “Probably letting him take her temperature afterwards.” “Oh, fuck you!” Kitty groans. “It was never like that. It was strictly a mentor / student relationship between us.” So we keep talking it up until it’s eleven o’clock and trick-or-treating is officially over. “Now it’s time to get to the Halloween party!” Jamie cheers. “Where are we going again?” Leena asks. “To Shaker’s, where else?” Kitty answers. “Remember? We’re having a private party there. In fact, we’re not far from Shaker’s now.” Kitty’s right. Shaker’s is only a block’s walk from where we are. As soon as we get there, there’s just one van in the parking lot. Usually, this place is hopping on every holiday, or any reason to celebrate something. I remember picking up chicks from here every Halloween, and it’s always packed. When we get to the door, there’s a sign that says CLOSED FOR A PRIVATE EVENT. As soon as we get to the door, it opens and the owner comes out. The owner and Kitty exchange some pleasantries. Then the owner hands her the keys and tells her to make sure to clean up and lock up before leaving. Kitty promises she’ll bring the keys by first thing. The four of us go inside. Kitty locks the door behind us. Then we put their hauls of candy down on a table. I turn to face them. “Wait a minute, there isn’t anybody else coming?” “Nope!” Kitty chirps. “It’s just the four of us.” Leena moves to the jukebox. “Wow! There’s nothing but Halloween songs in here.” “Go ahead and play whatever you want – no quarters needed,” Kitty tells her. “This place is paid for and is all ours for the night, including jukebox, pool tables, video games . . . and all the food and alcohol we want.” As soon as Leena gets some Halloween tunes going, Jamie steps behind the bar. “What do you all want?” “You’re a bartender?” I ask her. “Not here, but it’s great spending cash when I’m working,” she says. We give Jamie our drink orders, which she makes up quite professionally. So now we’re dancing to Halloween music and drinking and having an awesome time. After a while, we’re all starting to feel a little drunk. Leena starts laughing and climbs up onto the bar when a Halloween song with a really fast beat starts playing. She’s dancing it up as she’s taking more sips of her drink. Jamie looks up at her and grins. Then she and Kitty both start squealing loudly when Leena exposes her tits. Kitty hops up onto the bar with her and dances, exposing her ample assets too. I feel Jamie’s hand on my forearm. I look to her and see she’s got her tits out also. “How about another drink, honey?” I quickly down the rest of my glass and hand it to her. “Top me off, pretty lady!” Jamie gives me a very sexy smile and turns around to make my drink. I keep my eyes on the show above me. Then my eyes grow wide as Kitty and Leena come together and lock lips. They kiss hungrily for a little bit before Jamie returns with my drink. Then Jamie also gets on top of the bar and starts dancing. All three of them take turns kissing each other in front of me as I take sips of my refill. “Man, what I’m going to have tonight!” I say to myself. I down my drink and keep watching the show. After a little bit, I start to wonder if maybe I should have slowed down with my drinks. I try to keep my composure and keep watching the show. It’s when I see Leena wrapping her arms around Kitty from behind that I’m really starting to lose my grip on things more. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear I was feeling really tired. It’s becoming harder and harder to focus on these three sex kittens. Then I can’t help myself. I just lower my head on the bar and feel myself fade away. 

As I’m starting to wake up, I’m feeling really, really cold*! I have to force myself to wake up completely. I have to see where those three lovelies are! But they’re not here. “What the fuck . . . ?” I groan. I see that I’m in a bathroom that looks like it’s in some cheap motel room somewhere. Then I look down to see the tub’s completely filled with ice!! “What the fuck?!” I yell. I’m ready to pull myself out, but then I see a little table set up next to the tub. My smartphone’s on it and has a message taped to it. DO NOT LEAVE THE TUB!! CALL 911 FOR AN AMBULANCE NOW!! I don’t fuck around and quickly call 911. I tell the operator what’s going on and don’t know where I am. She’s able to trace the call and says she’s sending an ambulance now. When I finish the call, I just sit here and wait. It’s only a matter of minutes before I hear the door to the motel room opening up. Then two paramedics come in. They both gasp in surprise when they see my situation. They quickly come to me to look me over. Then one of them points behind me. “Look at this!” The other paramedic comes over and sees what his partner sees. “What?” I demand. “What is it?” Then they both look me in the face. “We need to get you to the hospital – stat!” One of them says. “We’ll go get a stretcher and come right back.”                     *                    So now I’m stuck here at Strickfield General Hospital. I just can’t *believe this shit! I’m stuck here in this fucking hospital bed with all this shit hooked up to me. The paramedics brought me here. The doctor looked at my back and quickly examined me – told me that I had fresh stitches in my lower back that looked professionally done. After an X-ray, I practically shit myself when the doctor told me . . . told me . . . my fucking kidneys are gone!! Yeah, that’s right! I’m fucking stuck here until I can get at least one new kidney, which I’m told could take quite a long time since I’m on a fucking waiting list and they have to wait for a kidney donor match for me. I keep telling these fuckers I’m Calvin Mirren! I don’t belong on a fucking waiting list! A lot of good my name does me now . . . ! Just then, the nurse brings me what looks like a tablet and says it was sent here with specific instructions to give it to me. I snatch the tablet from her and glare at her for a minute before she leaves. I turn on the tablet and see only a few apps. I tap the one that says PLAY ME 1st and immediately recognize one of the porn videos I made. I see the familiar face and now know who ‘Kitty’ is. She was definitely Katherine Pierce. Not long after her video posted, she got in some serious shit with the dean at Strickfield University and ended up being expelled. I tap the app that says PLAY ME 2nd! and see a second porn video that I made. And then I recognize ‘Jamie’ . . . or rather Belinda James. She ended up in the same boat as Katherine: went before the dean . . . ended up getting expelled . . . became disgraced . . . parents threw her out . . . not my problem . . . The PLAY ME 3rd! app just brought up a PDF of a term paper. I saw the big red words COPIED FROM ANOTHER STUDENT written all over the paper and discovered that ‘Leena’ was really Rayleen Jones. The night Jacob and Genevieve were both murdered, I went back to her dorm and spent the night with her. We were both in the same World History class and had a term paper due. I stole her term paper, retyped it in my own words, and submitted it as my own. When she reprinted and submitted her paper, the professor later submitted it to the dean. Rayleen pled her case, but she got expelled anyway. I tap PLAY ME 4th! and get a video of the three of them – no Halloween costumes. Katherine had grown her hair longer than I remembered – and dyed it dark. I remember Katherine was a blonde. Rayleen and Belinda had been wearing wigs; they both have shorter brown hair. Katherine speaks up first. “Surprise, asshole! Now you know what this is about. You took from us – disgraced us – so we took from you.” Belinda speaks up next. “You have all the money in the world, and yet you just kept right on taking. It wasn’t enough for you to exploit us for sexual gain, you had to keep exploiting us for even more! Well, like Katherine said . . . now we exploited you. Do you have any idea how much a pair of perfectly good kidneys like yours sell for on the black market?” Rayleen speaks now. “Must have been nice to have slept with me and then get away with stealing my term paper and submitting it as your own – all while pinning what you did on me. You took from us and didn’t give shit. But guess what? You’re going to be stuck in that hospital bed for probably a very long time. And then . . . there’s going to be another place you’re going to be stuck in for a very long time, if you ever get another kidney. Tap the last app and you’ll see.” I tap the FINISH ME!! app and see a video of the police going through my loft and finding all of the cameras. Another angle shows them finding my hard drives and servers with all of my homemade porn videos. Then I hear Katherine in the background. “Maybe you’ll rot in prison and maybe you won’t . . . But we took our revenge against you. Oh, and don’t bother trying to look for us. We’re somewhere where you’ll never find us. We’re applying our medical experience on the black market now. So we’ll just keep looking for more rich pieces of shit like you and harvesting whatever’s needed. So this Halloween . . . you got the trick and we got the treats. Thanks for your pillow sack of candy, by the way. Also, that kidney patient I was telling you about will benefit greatly from your kidneys. In fact, I’m putting them in right now as you’re watching these apps. Have a nice life. Whatever’s left of it . . .” The video ends and then the apps all disappear. The next thing I know, two detectives from the Strickfield Police Department are here to see me. And I’m sure they’re not here to ask me if I’m all right. 

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Ep.49 – Boxed In - You Can't See the Light and You Can't Breathe!

Episode Notes

Two friends explore an urban legend by taking a wrong turn on a bike path, but what they find may lead to no escape!

Boxed In by Morgan Moore

Get the new Young Adult Horror Book! http://unclehenny.com

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

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Transcription:

It was an average day in the small town of Xenia. The weather was warm and humid. In the sky the sun was just beginning to set, bathing the small town in a mix of blue, orange and pink light.

Two boys, both in their mid teens, walked down one of the bike paths, holding gas station slushies. They walked and sipped until they reached the town bike hub and moved over to a shaded area for a bit of rest.

“Jeez it’s hot today.” 

“No kidding. I feel sticky and grimy too. Definitely going to need to wash up when I get home.” 

“Well then we should get going.” 

They started down the paved path, but they soon stopped when confronted by a diverging pathway. The path wasn’t paved like the rest of the trail they were on, rather this part of it led off into trees and bushes. It almost looked like a jungle to the boys. 

“What is this Kyle?”

“Oh… it’s just this path… it always creeps me out… ” Kyle replied, his voice soft but his words were heavy and hung in the air between the two.

Kyle peered down the path, but to Daniel it looked like any other part of the land surrounding the city… dirty and overgrown with wildlife, the ground covered with dead leaves and trash. Normal everyday Xenia.

“What about this is creepy?” Daniel asked.

Kyle turned his head away from the pathway to look at his friend. “You’ve never heard about Patty Short Daniel?” Kyle asked.“Who?” Daniel responded. Kyle chuckled a little bit. “Yeah, I guess that would make sense. How could you have heard of it with you having only lived here for a few months now.”

He was right. Daniel had moved to Xenia in March and while his dad was quick to get comfortable in the town due to his job, he and his mother had mostly just been at home when not running errands. 

Daniel had only met Kyle since they lived on the same street, his parents electing not to have him start in a local school since the school year was almost over. As such, Daniel hadn’t really interacted with anybody else his own age.

Kyle took a loud sip from his slushie.

“Well, it’s hard to say how much of it is true, I only heard it from my friend’s older brother, but it is something really messed up.”

“Then why bring it up?” Daniel questioned before taking a sip from his own cup.

“‘Because you asked about why that path freaked me out. Aren’t you a little curious? Or are you just scared?” Kyle replied, his tone still the same soft and heavy mix, but it gained a bit of its normalcy when he questioned the bravery of his friend.

“Well if you stopped to tell me then you might as well finish the story. Besides, I’m not scared… ” Daniel told Kyle.

“Alright… alright. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Kyle responded before taking another sip. The two boys looked at each other and then towards the path. “There was this girl named Patty Short. My friend’s brother and her went to the same school together when they were about our age. Anyways I guess she started to uh, develop early, if you know what I mean, and she started getting attention from a lot of people.

Well I guess she started to lean into it and became popular… like mega popular with everybody; boys especially. So she starts to date a lot of boys and I don’t mean seriously date, just go out with them and mess around. Time goes on, and she eventually found somebody she liked. Liked liked.

Things got intense, and while she seemed to be really happy, there were some who were totally jealous. Well one boy in particular really didn’t take kindly to the idea that this girl he was head over heels for was now unavailable, and this pissed him off royally… and he began stalking her… staying in the distance and trying not to be seen by her everywhere she went. Really freaky stuff.

Just before school let out for the year, Patty vanishes. Some people say they saw her around town, some say they saw her leave town one night on the bike path, but nobody knows for certain… she just disappeared. 

Now my friend’s brother said he knew the truth… that the boy who would follow her saw her walking one night down here and somehow got her to go down that path. They walked on and come to an abandoned house, and Patty got talked into going inside. 

Things didn’t go as planned, and when Patty tried to get away from the psycho he knocked her out, stuffed her in a rain water barrel, and buried her in the backyard… but she wasn’t dead! Well, he kept her alive down there with just the tiniest hole for air and whatever food and water he brought her. She was now completely his.”

Kyle finished and took another loud sip. 

Daniel however stood in silence… stunned, horrified silence. He had gone pale, and goosebumps popped-out all over his arms and legs…and his expression… pure terror.

“You… you can’t be serious.” Daniel finally spoke out.

“I am. I mean as serious as I can be… it’s an urban legend after-all… or some crap like that.” Kyle replied nonchalantly.

There was a silence between the two, amplifying the growing cricket song as the sun sunk low in the sky.

“So… what happened?” Daniel asked. “What do you mean?” “Like, did they find her?” “Oh… I mean obviously they tried to find her… but some people say she was dead… or that her family had found her and kept it secret… moved away. Most believe she may still be alive in that barrel, waiting for her boyfriend to find her.” Kyle explained.

“What about the boy… did they catch him?” Daniel questioned.

“Nope. Everybody knew it was him, but I guess the cops could never pin it on him.”

Silence once more fell between the two boys. 

Daniel occasionally took small sips from his drink, his stomach feeling uneasy due to Kyle’s story. It couldn’t be true… could it? The story he had just heard was too horrific… yeah bad things happened to kids, but he just couldn’t wrap his head around this one.

“Wanna go down there?” Kyle asked suddenly. “What?” Daniel responded, startled. “You want to go down the path… see for ourselves if the story is true or not?” Daniel looked on in disbelief. “But I thought you were creeped out by it… why do you want to go?” Kyle chuckled a little bit. “Yeah, but you know what they say… you gotta face your fears! Are you too scared to go down there?” He asked Daniel teasingly.

Daniel gave his friend a scowl and started down the path without him. Kyle chuckled again and started down the path as well.

The duo walked through the trees and overgrowth for a while, batting away at mosquitoes. By this point the light was scarce, but there was enough to see where they were going. 

Minutes passed and Daniel was beginning to think the story was simply made up, and this uneventful walk through the overgrown weeds of Xenia wasn’t helping.

But after one final stretch of bushes, the boys found themselves standing before a dilapidated house surrounded by a half-standing fence and piles of trash… but most menacing of all were the blue plastic rain water barrels that stood at various locations in the yard.

Daniel couldn’t believe his eyes... everything Kyle described in the story was here and then some. 

“Jesus…” He muttered, the slushie in his hand dropping to the ground.

“It’s true. Everything is true.” Kyle said flatly.

The two boys looked at each other, and in a move spurred by adrenaline and youthful stupidity, began wandering the property.

They poked their heads into some of the barrels only to find them filled with brackish water. They looked at the house in unison.

“What do you think… wanna go check it out?” Kyle asked his friend.

Daniel looked at his friend and then again at the building. He couldn’t believe that Kyle wanted to go in… this was the guy who had said he was afraid of the path to begin with. 

“Well?” Kyle asked again.

Daniel found himself unable to speak. On the one hand he was scared utterly shitless and wanted nothing to do with this horror show… but, and he hated to admit this, he was curious. He had already gone this far, why not go just a little bit more? His eyes fell on the garage attached to the house.

“The garage. I say let’s check out the garage.” Daniel responded sternly. “Alright, it’s your call… lead the way.” Kyle replied.

Daniel gulped… of course Kyle would make him go first. He had been egging him on for the majority of the day. As much as he wanted to leave, he had told himself he simply had to close this chapter, he had to have the knowledge if the story was true.

The young man began to move towards the garage slowly, his heart pounding faster and faster with each step. 

When he reached the garage, Daniel found himself unable to reach out and open the door. His fear paralyzed him, as his heart began to feel like it was going to burst out of his body. Standing there he could feel every inch of his body tensing up and sweating bullets. 

He forced himself to throw an arm forward and open the door with a fury.

Daniel walked inside and looked around. The floor was unpaved, only dirt and some weeds covered the surface. 

Besides some broken shelves and trash, nothing else was present… no girls in barrels or maniac kids… just good ol’ neglect. Daniel sighed and scolded himself for being such a scaredy-cat.

He turned around to leave, and stopped in his tracks. In a corner by the door was a chunk of earth that had been dug up. Thunderous heart pounding became the soundtrack to Daniel’s own private horror film… one he was living in!

His brain told him to run away, but his body didn’t listen… and unbelievably moved towards the hole. 

When he got to the hole he peered into the darkness. Inside was a wooden box, half covered with dirt and looking just as decayed as the vast majority of the garage and yard. But that didn’t catch his eyes the most… no, that dubious honor would go to the puncture holes in the box and a rectangular cut out near the upper edge of the box… through which Daniel saw two, cold eyes. Dead eyes.

Daniel backed away quickly, his breathing becoming ragged. His mind raced in every direction… It was true, everything Kyle had told him was true. 

Daniel finally gained enough of his faculties to move towards the door. 

WHAM! Daniel found himself on the ground face down. Blood began to spill from the back and side of his head. Standing over him was Kyle, a shovel gripped in his hand.

“I’m sorry Dan, but I have to. You should have just said ‘no’ to coming down here. Shame, I liked you, I really did. That’s kinda the problem though. We’re starting school soon and, well, I just know you’re going to be popular with everybody and that would mean we wouldn’t have any time together, and we can’t have that. So, here we are. But don’t worry, I’ll visit you as often as possible. Besides, you’ll have company when I’m not around.”

Kyle smiled, tossed the shovel down, and exited the room. 

The young man exited the garage as Daniel laid there, blood pooling around his body. His eyes were wide open as his body twitched. 

After a minute or two Kyle returned, dragging one of the barrels with him. He laid the barrel down on it’s side and with some effort, and a few well paced kicks, managed to stuff  Daniel inside. 

Kyle righted the barrel, walked over to the door and exited again as the sun set and night took over.

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Ep.48 – The Lady in the Germ Box - Your Wish is Her CURSE!

Episode Notes

A young boy encounters the famed "Lady of the Lake" in the most unusual of places. She begins granted his wishes but they come at a very high price!

The Lady in the Germ Box by Killian Crane

Buy the book Campfire Stories to Tell in the Dark

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

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This episode sponsored by HenFlix.com

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Transcription:

It’s too hot, Greg thought. He and the other poor kids sat in Squirrel Lodge, packed like rats in foldout chairs. Some of the “rats” laughed, some of them cried. B.O. fumes and chocolate breath stagnated in the heat. Greg doubted he could take this for two weeks.

The head camp counselor, Marty Hartman, took to the stage. His mustache wriggled as he checked something off of his clipboard. “Alright, kids,” he exclaimed, “let’s play the quiet game as I give the Camp Thohmatatchi Safety Talk!”

It was all Greg’s parent’s fault. His father, a pro golfer, won a big tournament and used the money to get his helicopter license. His parents went on an awesome helicopter trip around Europe, while he was forced to learn the importance of rules or whatever for two weeks. He was ready to go home.

Greg didn’t listen as Marty droned on about emergency exits and procedures. He was caught in a game of cat and mouse, digitally.

His fingers danced over the portable game system he held, making his avatar dash across a bridge. A giant fish chased him, mouth gaping.

If he could just get the star over the water, he wouldn’t have to worry about that stupid fish at all, he could sprint all the way to the end. It came down to one, single jump…

Someone bumped him hard on the shoulder, and his avatar miss-stepped. He fell into the water, paddling like mad, but in the end he was pulled down to a watery grave.

“Ugh… ” he grunted as the infamous game over music played, “ …what the heck?”

He turned to see Russel smiling nefariously down at him. Russel had a fire red mullet and was twice the size of any kid in the room. “Pay attention to the assembly,” the fat-head said, sitting back and enjoying himself.

When Greg’s parents had dropped him off, they’d made a fatal error… they’d arrived in the family’s luxury SUV. As Greg brought his things to the cabin, a large chalky hand stopped him.

It was said fat-head. “Hey, was that your ride?”

“One of them… ” Greg corrected, “… we have five.”

The fat-head smiled, his pasty face somehow darkening. “Oh, we’re gonna have some fun, you and I.”

Marty raised a finger. “Before we continue, I will stress to you children, absolutely no pranks and or bullying will be tolerated here at Camp Thohmatatchi!”

Something told Greg that the fat-head behind him would be breaking those two rules, most likely breaking them over his head.

Marty did a cartwheel. “Let me introduce you to your camp counselors!”

There were five underlings total. All of them big kids, probably high-schoolers… and probably losers if they were here and not doing cool kid stuff. Greg didn’t bother learning their names. 

The only person he wanted to get to know was that blond girl over there. Natalie, he thought her name was. Boy was she something. Girls had cooties and whatnot, but Natalie seemed different. Her hair was like strands of gold, and her emerald eyes could start wars. She was walking, talking treasure. Greg just had to know, like, what was her deal?

“Give it up for our Squirrel counselors!” Marty shrieked, clapping madly. Greg gave a golf clap, the one his mother used at his father’s tournaments.

As Marty droned on about how much fun they were all going to have, there was a tap on his arm.

It was the kid next to him. He had thick glasses and scraggly hair. “I’m Simon,” he whispered, “Simon Biles. From upstate. First time on the yard?”

“The yard?” Greg asked low.

“Yeah,” Simon said, “you know, the yard. That’s slang for prison on TV.” 

“Ah,” Greg said nonplussed, “uh, yeah first time.”

Simon smiled, pushing up his glasses. “This makes year three for me. The ‘rents just don’t trust me around the house while they’re gone. Wanna be bunk mates?”

Year three, Greg thought. This guy looked like he could use a friend, and Greg could use some information. He nodded at the blond girl possibly named Natalie. “What’s her deal?”

Simon’s eyebrows danced. “That’s Natalie Carver, real looker, eh? She’s Queen Bee around these parts, sure to get the leading lady role of this years stupid play.”

Greg was intrigued. “Play?”

Simon nodded. “Every year, we put on a play for our parents the day they pick us up. Marty says it shows that we learned about teamwork and dedication, but I think he’s trying to live out some fantasy through us.”

“And you think Natalie will be in this play?”

“We’ll all be in it,” Simon said, “it’s mandatory. But yes, she’ll probably get the leading part.”

Greg could feel himself coming down with a case of the acting bug. Where there was a leading lady, there was a Prince Charming opposite her. And possibly a kiss…

It was clear that Simon was a wealth of information. Greg wondered what else he could tell him about the camp, and more importantly, Natalie.

Greg put out his hand. “You got a deal, bunk mate.”

“Sweet,” Simon said, and they shook on it.

When Marty finally finished the Squirrel Safety Talk, he announced that they would all have hot dogs for dinner, followed by activity sign up.

“But first,” he neighed, “let’s all come up onstage for our camp group photo!”

Cheesy music played. Kids ran to the stage… Greg ran too, stopping next to Natalie. He smiled wide for the camera. Maybe he’d been wrong about this summer camp thing. Maybe this would be the best summer ever.


At 07:30 sharp, Marty Hartman’s bugle woke the dead.

Greg brushed his teeth, thinking about the night before. By pure coincidence, he and Natalie signed up for the same activities, even the same time slots. The play this year was The Wonderful Fairytale. According to the script, a witch casts a spell on a beautiful damsel, and only true love’s kiss could wake her…

Greg would study the script every evening after activities, really getting into the mindset of the prince. He was already rich and handsome, he was a shoe in. He couldn’t wait to show Natalie how amazing he was at literally everything.

He dressed for the day, satisfied with himself. Then he stepped into his shoes… and grimaced. Dollops of shaving cream foamed from around his ankles.

Greg sighed.

Everyone else was already outside. His shoes sloshed as he sprinted.

A camp counselor raised the flag as Marty slid his bugle away, put his hand over his heart and led them in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Greg couldn’t help but look for Russel. He found the fat-head was grinning at him.

Well, he thought, this isn’t gonna be good.

The week went on much in that fashion. Each time he tried to impress Natalie or even just get her attention, there was Russel to ruin it for him. It didn’t matter what sport they played; dodgeball, volleyball, kickball, basketball, tennis… when Russel was on the serving end, Greg was always on the receiving end. And when Greg had the ball, he had to either get rid of it immediately… or be crushed by a stampeding fat-head.

Sprinkled in between being humiliated at every event, Greg kept discovering little surprises.

And every time he discovered them, Russel wasn’t far away.

Bugs in his backpack. Sand in his toothpaste. A toy snake in his nightstand. Worst of all was when he learned that Russel could sew. He’d sewn all of Greg’s underwear together.

He wanted to report all of this to Marty, but he didn’t dare give either of them the satisfaction. He just accepted Simon’s help getting rid of the evidence and moving on.

“Bunkmates,” Simon would say. And it would genuinely make Greg smile.

Greg didn’t shirk his studies for the play. In drama class, he was by far the loudest and the most expressive. He knew he was a shoe-in for the prince, he just needed to seal the deal. He couldn’t understand why people were laughing, but he was getting a reaction. The evening before auditions, Greg and Simon sat on the sandbar of Lake Thohmatatchi, talking shop.

Simon shuddered. “That thing is so creepy.”

Greg followed his gaze. There was an electric blue port o potty at the edge of the forest. Marty explained that, because the cabins were so far from the sandbar, they’d installed a blue box in case of “emergencies.”

Greg felt unease knotting his guts. It was fact those things contained all kinds of sickness and disease. And they stank. No one with any sense would ever use one of them. At least that's what his mom said.

“Those things really give me the heebie-jeebies,” Greg said. “I wouldn’t go inside of that thing in a thousand years.”

Behind them, a tall fat-head with a red mullet burst from the bushes. “Really?” Russel asked. “The heebie-jeebies?” He lifted Greg by the shirt, grinning ear to ear. “You don’t say?”

He hauled Greg in the direction of the electric blue germ box. Greg pumped the brakes, digging his bare feet deep into the dirt. His shoes were far behind, next to Simon. No, he thought, no, my bare feet can’t touch that floor in there. NO!

“Put me down, fat-head!” Greg shouted.

Simon, on his heels, echoed “Put him down, fat-head!”

Russel backhanded Simon, sending his glasses flying. The boy quickly shuffled to all fours, searching madly for them.

Greg tried to put up a fight, but Russel shook him like a sack of marshmallows. His brain careened in his skull, making him see double.

The door of the germ box swung open. 

“No,” Greg cried, “please Russel, no!”

Russel threw him inside and shut the door. Greg kicked and yelled, but it wouldn’t budge. He heard Russel laughing as he shoved something against the door, blocking it good.

Greg’s bare feet touched the floor. Germs, he thought, I can feel the germs between my toes!

He screamed. 

“Simon, help!”

“I’m running for Marty, Greg!” 

“No you don’t, snitch!”

Two sets of running feet faded away.

Whatever trapped him was jammed solid. He wanted to hyperventilate, but he didn’t dare breathe. The toxic fumes might kill him.

Actually, he thought, it didn’t smell too bad. It was… relatively clean, for what it was. But grime began to seep between his bare toes…

What would the prince do? He thought.

He raised the toilet lid. Some brave souls had definitely been here already. Waste floated in the blue liquid below. He gagged, slamming it closed.

Anger welled inside of him. “I wish Russel would just… disappear.” There was a knock.

Greg looked at the door. Maybe someone heard him screaming. “Hello? Can you help me?” There was another knock.

It hadn’t come from outside. It came from the toilet. From under the seat. 

He hesitated, his heart thudding in his neck. “H-hello?”

The knock came again, louder. 

Greg lifted the lid.

There was a woman down there looking up at him. Her long, wet hair knotted in clumps, and her skin was stained a dark blue. She smiled thinly. “Hello.” Greg wanted to scream but he couldn’t.

Her head bobbed out of the toilet bowl, into the light. He backed as far away as he could, but they were basically face to face.

“Who are you?” he uttered.

The lady cocked her head to one side, and blue liquid ran from her ear. Greg barely kept from losing his lunch.

Her voice was soft. “I’m the Lady of the Lake. I heard your wish.” 

Greg was stunned. “My wish?”

The Lady nodded enthusiastically. “I can help you. Tell me what you wish, and it will be so.”

Greg thought of his game. Was this his chance to grab the star? With Russel out of the way, he’d have no problem impressing Natalie…

“Fine,” Greg said. “I… I wish that Russel would disappear.” The Lady smiled, bowed her head, and disappeared with a splash.

Marty Hartman opened the door, holding a large board and a pair of boy’s shoes. “You okay, Gregory?”

Greg wasn’t sure how to answer that. “We’ll see,” he guessed.

Russel got a “stern” talking to about why bullying is bad, but by dinner he wasn’t in trouble anymore.

The fat-head smiled at Greg.

Greg smiled back. He couldn’t help himself. Either he’d gone crazy in the germ box, or after tonight, Russel wouldn’t be a problem.


As the bugle woke him, Greg felt wonderful.

He looked to where Russel slept. The bed was empty. He got ready fast. There were no bugs in his bag, no snake in his nightstand, no sand in his tooth paste. When he put on his shoes, there was no shaving cream.

The flag was raised, and they said the Pledge of Allegiance. No Russel in sight. As they split into groups, Greg stopped Marty. “Hey,” he asked, “where’s Russel?” Marty checked his clipboard. “I’m sorry… who?”

Greg blinked. “Russel… ”

Marty checked his clipboard again. “Who?” 

Greg smiled. “Oh, no one important.”

That day was amazing. With no fat-head interference, he was able to put in some time with Natalie. She didn’t seem all that interested in talking, in fact she seemed to try and avoid Greg. But Greg was confident that would change soon.

At auditions, Natalie killed it, drawing applause from the entire crowd. She was a shoe-in for the part of The Damsel.

Greg put in the performance of a lifetime. He didn’t just pretend to be the prince, he was the prince.

Instead of a standing ovation, people laughed. He didn’t understand what they thought was so funny. Still, he was confident.

That night, he had two Sloppy Joe’s to celebrate. It wasn’t long before Marty posted the roles on the Squirrel Bulletin.

Bodies buzzed excitedly around the results. Greg couldn’t see through them, but it was clear by murmurs that Natalie got the part of The Damsel.

To his confusion, a lot of people were congratulating Simon. He supposed that Simon got the part he wanted; Borkley the comic relief. He shoved through the crowd and scanned the list for his name… but there had been some mistake.

Simon Biles- The Prince

Gregory Gaspard- Borkley.

His jaw hit the top of his shoes. How could this happen?

Simon, looking dejected, put out a hand to shake. “You gave it hell, bunk mate. You’ll be an awesome Borkley!”

Greg stared at the hand. Shaking, he squeezed a bit harder than he intended. “Congrats, pal.” He hid the storm cloud in his heart. He needed to walk, clear his head.

And then, the storm cloud had a flash of lightning. Lake Thohmatatchi… the sand bar.


He went straight to the germ box, locking the door behind him.

The darkness magnified the smell. He was terrified, but he was out of options. Simon had simply forced his hand.

He lifted the lid of the toilet, swatting the fetid air. Tentatively, he said, “I wish I was the lead in the camp play.”

The stark outline of a head, dripping blue liquid, floated out of the toilet bowl. “Is that so?” 

Greg swallowed hard. “Yep.”

Before, when he’d made his wish, she’d disappeared almost immediately. This time she lingered, floating ghostly quiet. Greg could hear his breathing.

After an eon, she cut the silence. “Anything else?”

The words surprised Greg. “Yeah, I suppose so. There’s this girl, Natalie Carver. I wish she liked me. A lot.”

She gave a low bow, then disappeared.

Greg quickly shut the lid. “Well,” he said to no one, “that’s that.”

He crept back to Squirrel Lodge. Among the kids running wild, Simon was talking to Natalie.

She was smiling at him.

Greg had enough. He left and went to bed.

He tossed and turned for a long time, wrestling with the night’s events. When he finally dreamed, he was at one of his dad’s golf tournaments. His swing was perfect. The ball plunked into the electric blue germ box. Hole in one!


The bugle sounded, and everyone rose to greet the day. 

Except Simon.

A medical emergency was declared. Simon was wheeled out of the cabin by EMS. His glasses dropped from his face, skittering on the ground. Greg picked them up.

Simon reached out to him with a red and white striped hand. He was striped like that over his entire body.

“Thanks, bunk mate.” Simon said weakly, putting on his glasses. He gave Greg a pitiful smile. Even his teeth were striped. The ambulance doors were shut, and the vehicle roared away.

Greg felt genuinely terrible about what he’d done… until he locked eyes with Natalie Carver. She looked at him in a way that made steam whistle out of his ears.

Marty walked up to him, shaking his head and looking at his clip board. “Sorry to ask like this,” he said, “I know he was your friend. But… the show must go on! It’s what Simon would have wanted. How do you feel about being The Prince?”

Greg’s eyes never left Natalie’s. “Yes,” he said, “I think Simon would want that.” 

Marty checked something off his clipboard enthusiastically. “Fantastic!”


During activities, Greg and Natalie were inseparable.

Instead of participating, they doted on each other, laughing at everything the other said. More than once, camp counselors separated them.

During the afternoon break, they stole away to a secret alcove near Lake Thohmatatchi, far from camp counselor eyes.

“Oh, Greg,” Natalie said, “I don’t know what it is about you. You’re just so funny!” 

Greg shrugged. “What can I say, m’lady?”

Natalie lost it. Greg laughed himself. He was pretty funny.

“It’s too bad,” she moped, “in a few days… I’ll have to go back home, and you’ll have to go back home. And we’ll probably never see each other again.”

Greg had other plans. They locked eyes for a long time. “Never say never.” 

They kissed.

It was just one, and it was over fast. But to Greg, it lasted a lifetime. He felt woozy as they rubbed noses.

“We better get back,” he said, “they’ll be looking for us soon.” 

“I know,” Natalie said tittering, “we’re so bad.”

They walked holding hands, the sand bar crunching under their feet. 

The germ box loomed ahead.

“I’ll catch up,” Greg said, “I need to pee.”

“Oh,” Natalie said, “I can wait on you.” 

“Uh… don’t be ridiculous! I’ll catch up.”

She hesitated, not wanting to move. Then she gave up, pouting. “Fine. But seriously, don’t take too long. I’ll miss you.” She sulked away.

Greg went into the germ box and locked the door. 

“I wish… I never had to go home.”

He raised the toilet seat. She smiled up at him, content not to come up. 

“You sure about that?” she asked.

Greg cleared his throat. “Yes.”

The Lady nodded, then sank into the dirty abyss.

That night, Greg’s dreams were filled with hand-holding, hugs, and best of all, kisses.

He got his star power-up. He was unstoppable.


No bugle screeched that morning.

Instead, Greg was called into Marty’s office. He thought maybe he and Natalie were in trouble, but Marty looked too grave for that.

“Gregory…” he said, tears welling in his eyes, “I really don’t know how to say this…” 

Greg grew impatient, ready to spend the day with Natalie. Ready for another kiss. “Well? Spit it out already!”

Marty blew his nose. “I’m so sorry. We got a call that your father crashed his helicopter.

Your parents are… ”

Greg sank in his chair.

Marty handed him a tissue. Greg looked at it, not sure what to do with it. Not sure about anything.

Eventually, he was able to speak. “I need… I need to go home.”

Marty winced. “Actually… ” 

Greg’s eyes went wide. “What?”

“Your neighbor called. There was a fire, something electrical. Your house was… totally destroyed.”

Greg laughed unbelieving. It wasn’t a happy laugh.

Marty shook his head. “I’m sorry, Gregory. I can counsel you through this. Do you need a hug?”

Greg crumpled the tissue in his hand. “No! What… what am I supposed to do?” 

“Well, you can stay here. We have everything you need… ”

“No!” Greg shouted.

“Now, Gregory,” Marty said, “it’s lovely in the winter… ” 

“This wasn’t the deal!” he shouted. “She tricked me!” 

Marty mustache twitched. “Who tricked you?”

Greg stormed out.

“Gregory,” Marty shouted, “come back! I’m not finished counseling you!”

Greg almost sprinted past the kids saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Natalie seized him by the arm.

She had a crazy look in her eye. “Greg, don’t you ever scare me like that again! Where were you?”

“Get off me!” he yelled, pulling away.

Natalie’s face went from hurt, to fury, to pleading, to love. “I’ll never leave you, Greg.

What’s wrong? Let me help you!”

Greg was crying. “Leave me alone!”

He ran towards Lake Thohmatatchi, Natalie close behind him. She was frothing mad. “Greg!

Don’t you run from me! You can’t get away from me!”

He locked himself in the germ box. She pulled and banged, even head-butted the door. “Get out here so I can help you!” she shouted as her claws scraped down the electric blue plastic.

The smell was horrible. Greg lifted the lid, releasing a swarm of flies. “Get out here!” he commanded.

A face bobbed out of the blue liquid, floating among the waste. It was grinning with thin, sharp teeth.

Marty mewled outside. “Greg, come out here, let me counsel you!”

The box shook as Natalie assaulted the box. He could see her wild eyes through the crack. It wouldn’t be long before she pulled the door off the hinges. “Greg!”

When Greg turned back to the Lady, her head stuck high out of the bowl. She seemed to bulge from under there, barely contained.She was big, he realized. He wondered, with some horror, what she’d look like hauled up on land. Gills ran the length of her serpentine neck. “You called?”

“You cheated,” he said. “My wish didn’t come true!”

Her blue tongue licked dripping liquid from her lips. “You wished you didn’t have to go home… ”

The door flexed, the plastic nearly buckling. His parents, his house, this camp… it was all too much for him. He had to escape. He wanted out.

He looked at the Lady, his voice a fury. “Get me out of here!” 

She cocked her head. “Are you sure about that?”

Greg gestured behind him. “Yes! I wish I could disappear!”

The Lady’s pupils grew massive. “Very well.”

Her head lurched forward, biting into his fingers. Shocked, Greg screamed as the needle like teeth sank into his knuckles. Her gills opened, and she blew ultramarine liquid everywhere. Slowly, she slid into the toilet bowl, cackling as she did. Greg pulled and protested, but she wouldn’t let go.

He reached for the handle, but he was already too far.

He flailed madly as he was was pulled into the darkness, into a sea of ultramarine blue. The bowl muffled his screams as he slipped.

Marty mewled from outside. “Greg, let me counsel you!” 

Natalie screeched, “Greg, let me help you!”

The Lady’s slid below the surface, her eyes glowing in the dark liquid. Dread seized Greg as the greasy fluid ran up his arm. He squealed as his grip failed and he was pulled fully into the bowl with a great splash.

Natalie pulled the door off it’s hinges, throwing it to the side. Greg was nowhere to be seen. She and Marty held their noses as they looked down the open lid just in time to see a grouping of bubbles float to the top. One by one they popped, and the waste floating on the blue sea grew deathly still.

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Ep.47 – Silvia - Slithering Revenge Awaits You!

Episode Notes

After a major betrayal a man is positive that vengeance is coming for him and he's prepared for it to slither into his life!

Silvia by Rob Fields

Check out the new scary book at http://UncleHenny.com

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

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Transcription:

I was sleeping in my bed. I woke up when I heard a loud dripping noise. I groaned and then put my hand down off the bed. As usual, my dog, Sparky, licked it while lying under my bed. I tried to get back to sleep, but that dripping was just too loud. I got out of bed and went across the hall to the bathroom. I turned on the light and screamed when I saw my dog was hanging on the shower nozzle by his neck. Sparky’s blood was dripping onto the shower floor from his wounds. Then I saw the message on the mirror – written in Sparky’s blood: PEOPLE CAN LICK TOO!! I felt my heart drop fast! I turned to see my ex-girlfriend, Silvia Charmer, standing in the doorway now. Her large boa constrictor was wrapped around her like a fur. “Hi, Zach. I told you I’d have my revenge for you killing Coppy.” I was speechless. I knew Jensen Mirren, my other ex-girlfriend, was crazy. Dead now, but crazy. But Silvia . . . ! Once again, Silvia’s green eyes burned right through me. Before I could say anything, she raised her leg and kicked me hard in the gut. I staggered backward and fell into the shower. I was lying in Sparky’s blood. But what really scared the shit out of me right then was seeing those sickening movements in Sparky’s corpse right above me. My eyes were wide open and I gulped hard! “That’s right, Zach! I got my revenge by killing your dog. What’s sad is that I really loved Sparky and it hurt me to have to kill him, but . . . you killed Coppy.” She produced a sharp knife, the one she killed Sparky with. “And . . . my babies want revenge, too. After all, Coppy was family. Revenge is a bitch . . . isn’t it?! This is for Coppy, you murdering piece of shit!” Using the knife, she sliced open Sparky’s stomach with one movement. I screamed like hell as a bunch of poisonous snakes hissed loudly as they dropped right on me. After feeling one snakebite after another, I knew that this was . . . THE END!!

I screamed and sat up in my bed. I was gasping for breath, and I was soaked with sweat. “Oh, man! Oh, man!” I gasped in between breaths. “Holy shit!” Then I saw something moving out of the corner of my eye. I screamed and shot out of bed, only to have my legs get tangled up in the covers and make me fall to the floor. I still managed to free myself and get to the light switch. I turned on the lights and saw . . . “Sparky!” My German Shepherd stood on my bed and just looked at me, as if he was asking me what was wrong. I went to him and started petting him. I even gave him a hug. “Man, Sparky, you’re still here! I can’t believe I had that fucking awful nightmare!” But I had to be sure. I let go of Sparky and got off the bed. I moved cautiously across the hall and to the bathroom. I turned on the light and looked at the mirror. No message written in blood. Just clean mirror glass. Then I quickly returned to the bedroom and looked underneath the bed. I knew that Sparky was just underneath it, but I had to know. Aside from some of Sparky’s toys and a few rawhides, nobody was underneath there. Not even Silvia Charmer. Fuuuuuuuuccccccckkkkkk!! Even after everything that happened with Jensen Mirren and her killing my family . . . and all the fucking snakes and everything . . . why can’t I stop thinking about Silvia Charmer?! I sat on the bed and groaned as I put my hands to my head. Then I felt Sparky lay down next to me. I lowered my hands and started petting him again. “Why do girls have to be so complicated, boy?” I asked him. “Why can’t they be simple, like you?” Sparky just barked once to answer me. I patted his head and knew I wasn’t getting back to sleep tonight. Especially when I just couldn’t get Silvia Charmer out of my mind. The next morning, I was hanging out in Wilder Hall, our student union building, before I’d have to go to class. I had to drink some extra caffeine just to make sure I wouldn’t fall asleep in class. Like I said, Silvia Charmer haunted me now. I just couldn’t stop thinking about her. Was I scared to death of her? Then I remembered how she came to confront me that Friday – two weeks ago – in the science lab where I was working. She said she would get revenge on me for killing her pet snake, Coppy. But before that, Silvia and I had actually shared a deep, passionate kiss. I should have been over her, but she kissed me and I gave in and kissed her back. Did I really still love her? I knew today was going to be a long day. Shit, it would be even longer since it was Friday. I yawned and started to make my way to class. I grabbed an energy drink out of a vending machine along the way. I was ready to crack open the can . . . and then I dropped it and my books. There she was!! Silvia Charmer stood only a good ten feet away from me now. Her naturally flaming red hair looked like fire today. And her glowing green eyes burned hot – burned right through me. Her red lipstick looked like it could have been blood. She just looked right at me. Her stare continued to burn through me. She was still furious with me over killing her snake. I could even see her shaking a little. I wanted to move past her or even turn and run. She gave me that look that dared me to try. She remained silent for the longest time. Then she finally spoke one word in a very deadly whisper. “Tonight . . .” Then she blew me a kiss before she turned and walked away. 

I had just finished locking all the doors and windows. I even found my dad’s shotgun and loaded it. Sparky stood with me. And of all the things that could be happening, there was a fucking thunderstorm outside! A bad one! Damn if it didn’t remind me of all the horror movies Silvia and I used to watch together, with scenes similar to what I was experiencing. “Jesus, Sparky, why me?” I groaned. Sparky just made a few doggie noises, but he still stood with me like the loyal friend that he was. And then I realized I had forgotten to check the basement windows. I moved to the basement door, turned on the lights, and started downstairs. Then, about halfway down, I remembered that the windows were all thick, one-piece glass blocks that couldn’t be opened. I turned back around and headed back up. As soon as I turned off the basement light, there was a big flash of lightning, followed by a loud crash of thunder. Suddenly, the back door burst open! Silvia Charmer just stood right there now. Again, her eyes burned right through me. She was soaking wet from the rain and had a backpack on. She also had her boa constrictor around her neck like a fur stole. Just like in my nightmare! “Hello, lover,” she purred as she came inside. “Did you miss me? Not like I missed you.” I didn’t know what to say to her. I was more surprised by how she had just forced open the back door. It had three fucking locks on it – including a deadbolt! Now she stood in the kitchen as she removed the backpack and opened it. Then she turned it upside down. Boy, did I ever scream when all these fucking snakes dropped out of it! Silvia laughed now. “Oh, the look on your face.” Then her eyes burned through me again as she pointed right at me. “Corner him, babies! But do not kill him . . . yet!” Sparky came to my side and started barking at the snakes. Then Silvia gasped when she saw Sparky. “Leave the dog alone! I do not want him hurt – at all!” She pointed at me again. “I’m here for you, you fucking bastard!” She shook and tightened her fists. “You killed my Coppy!!” I knew the front door was the only way to escape, but there were four locks there. Leave it to my deceased parents. Even with all this security, it didn’t keep Jensen Mirren from killing my family. Of course, she didn’t kick down a heavily bolted door. But I knew that even if I worked the four locks, Silvia’s snakes would reach me before I could escape. Sparky barked loudly as three snakes cornered him. They obeyed Silvia and never made any attempt to bite him. They just hissed at him, probably to warn him to stay still. I remembered I had my dad’s shotgun and went to raise it. Too late! I felt something heavy land on me and realized Silvia had thrown her boa constrictor at me. I had no idea just how big that snake really was, until it wrapped itself around me tightly. Then I groaned as it squeezed me more. “Strickfaden, no!” Silvia told it. “I don’t want him dead yet.” The large snake just looked her way and . . . nodded at her. She turned to her remaining snakes. “We’ve got Zach now, babies. I want to talk to him before we kill him.” Then she looked at me. “I told you I’d get revenge on you for killing Coppy. He was family.” She was so angry that she started heaving as she was breathing. “I’m so beyond pissed at you right now!” Then she yelled some more. “First you broke up with me because you saw I had snakes! You fucking ghosted me for months! On top of that, you get yourself another fucking girlfriend – and a psycho at that!” Her eyes burned into me so much now, I could have sworn they actually burned me hot. Then she screamed, “And you killed my snake! I just wanted us to make things right, and you shoved me to the floor! Then you killed Coppy!” She heaved and heaved. I knew any second she was going to order her snakes to kill me. She’d probably start by ordering her boa constrictor to crush me to death first. She heaved and heaved even more now. And then I saw that she was starting to cry. Finally, she sank to her knees and began to sob uncontrollably. The snakes slithered in this weird way. It was as if they knew their girl was hurt. Yeah, she was hurt all right. I was the one who hurt her. I was scared of her snakes, and I walked out on her for it. I was scared of Coppy when he tried to defend his master two weeks ago, and I killed him for it. In doing that, I had hurt Silvia again. I even started to cry myself now. I now knew that I had hurt Silvia so badly that I had reduced her to this. I had no right . . . “I’m sorry, Silvia,” I choked out. “I’m so, so sorry! About everything . . .” I didn’t care if the boa constrictor was still around me. I wanted to look Silvia in the eyes. If I was going to die tonight, I wanted her to know. I lowered myself in front of her. “I love you, Silvia. I never stopped loving you. I don’t blame you for being pissed at me. I was so wrong to hurt you like I did. Go ahead and kill me if it’ll make things right with you.” “Zach . . .” she choked out. She raised her hand and put it on the side of my face. “I never stopped loving you. I really want to kill you for killing Coppy. But I can’t stop loving you. I can’t . . . Strickfaden, release him.” Her boa constrictor loosened itself and moved away from me. Then Silvia came at me and crushed her lips against mine. I felt myself come alive again with that kiss. Silvia and I wrapped each other up and kissed hot and heavy. 

Silvia and I were sleeping in my bed. We spent several hours burning it with all the hot makeup sex we had had. I didn’t deserve Silvia Charmer by any stretch, but we were together again – snakes or no snakes – for better or for worse. I tried to run from my fate, only to be drawn right back to Silvia. We were spooned up together and sleeping through the storm that just kept raging on. I woke up and realized that Silvia was still right there with me. I could still smell her on my sheets and pillows. Suddenly, she sat up – as if coming out of a deep sleep – and turned around. I screamed when she opened her mouth – really wide – and hissed loudly at me. She had long snake fangs and her glowing green eyes looked more like snake eyes. Her tongue was even forked. Then I felt myself wrapped up, the same way Strickfaden had wrapped me up earlier. The entire lower half of Silvia’s body was all giant snake coil! Her naked upper body was still human. “You belong to me now, Zach,” she whispered snakelike. “Love me, my boy. Love me!”

I sat up in bed and was gasping for breath. Suddenly, I felt a soft hand on my shoulder. “Zach?! What’s wrong?” I looked to see Silvia Charmer was still here with me. She still looked quite human! Yes, we truly did make love. We did have incredible makeup sex. When I woke up from my nightmare, I woke her up, too. “I just . . . I just had a bad dream,” I told her. “I’m sorry.” I took her in my arms and held her to me. “I’m so sorry . . . about everything, Silvia.” She hugged me back. “Me, too, Zach. I missed you so much.” The bed felt a little heavier now. We both turned to see Sparky had joined us. Silvia brightened when she saw him. “Sparky! Hi, baby!” Sparky barked once and started licking Silvia’s face. I remembered how much he really loved her. Silvia laughed and petted him for a little bit. After a while, he got off the bed and went back underneath it. Then I looked just past her to see her snakes in the far corner near my closet. They looked our way, but they didn’t advance. “It’s okay, Zach, my babies won’t harm you,” she assured me. “I promise.” Silvia’s word was good enough for me. We laid back down. We were about to spoon up again and go back to sleep, but we started kissing again. Soon, we were having some more makeup sex. 

Silvia and I were an item again. In fact, she asked me to bring Sparky and move in with her at her mansion. She promised me that her snakes would not harm us. So I took that leap of faith and started living with her. Every now and then, I could see her snakes slithering around. Maybe I was paranoid, but I could feel that they wanted to kill me. I think I waited for them to gang up on me when Silvia wasn’t around. They never did, though. Strickfadden came and sat next to me on the couch a few times and just looked at me, but he never attacked either. Silvia made it perfectly clear to the snakes that they were never to harm me or Sparky in any way. “He’s mine!” she stated simply when she saw them looking right at me one day. We lived happily together now. It was almost as if we had never broken up. Not only did we burn her bed again and again, but I’m sure we must have christened every room in her mansion – many times. I couldn’t tell you how many times we set her indoor pool on fire. I still say I didn’t deserve this beautiful creature, but I was so happy that she was mine again. Even the snakes being around didn’t bother me so much anymore. Silvia came home one Saturday afternoon months later. She seemed a little off. “You okay, babe?” I asked. “I just got back from Strickfield General Hospital.” She sighed and then smiled. “I’m pregnant. We’re going to have a baby, Zach. I mean . . . wow. We actually did it, in spite of the fact that I was on birth control.” “You’re . . . serious? Us? A . . . a baby?” Yeah, I was just as shocked as she was. She nodded quickly. “I don’t know whether to be excited or scared.” I didn’t need to think about it. “I’m not going to leave you again. Never again!” I pulled her to me and held her. “I love you so much.” And then I just said it. “Marry me, Silvia.” I heard her gasp. Then she pulled back and looked into my eyes. She was crying now. “Really?” “Marry me, Silvia,” I repeated. “Yes!” she shrieked, snatching me to her. “Yes! Yes! Yes!” And from there, we went inside and burned Silvia’s bed again. Nine months later, I was in the waiting room at Strickfield General Hospital. Silvia was my wife, and she was giving birth to our son. I couldn’t believe how things had fallen into place. I couldn’t imagine my life without Silvia, especially with our son coming into the world. It seemed like forever before the doctor finally came out, but he did. “You can go and see your wife and your son, Mr. Jenner.” It seemed like I glided on the hospital floor as I moved quickly to Silvia’s room. When I got in, my beautiful wife was crying softly. Then she smiled when she saw me. “Here’s Daddy, little one. You want to say hi to your daddy?” I stood beside her bed now. “You all right, love?” “We did it, Zach,” Silvia whispered. “We made this perfect little person. You want to hold him?” She handed our son to me. “Did you name him?” I asked, taking him from her. “I did. I named him . . . Coppy!” And then the baby suddenly sat up in my arms and hissed at me! The baby had snake eyes, a wide-open mouth, and started flickering his forked tongue. He had a lower snake body where his legs should have been. I looked at Silvia. Her eyes were her now the snake eyes from my other nightmare. She hissed and threw her blanket away. Her lower body was also snake-like, just like before. She got off the bed and slithered toward me. “That’s right, husband, his name is Coppy. My snakes demanded that I kill you for taking his life that day.” Silvia had me backed into a corner. Then she looked into my eyes. “But I couldn’t just kill you, so I decided on another alternative. A life . . . for a life. You gave me a beautiful baby boy. And now . . . our baby needs nourishment.” Then I screamed as our newborn son sank his snake fangs right into my neck! When the baby finally pulled away, Silvia raised her snake body up high enough to where she could open her mouth really wide and bring it right down over me. I felt myself being lifted off the floor and sliding down into her body. I felt myself shaking as she swallowed me more and more. It was so fucking dark now! So very, very dark . . . !

I cried out and woke up to find a nurse was shaking me. I reached out and put my hand on her forearm. “What? What is it?” The nurse looked at me as I was gasping from fright, but she remained calm. “I . . . just came out here to let you know you can go see your wife and your new son, Mr. Jenner.” I collected myself and then nodded quickly. I got up and let the nurse lead me to Silvia’s room. Silvia had the happiest smile I’d ever seen. I could see she had our baby cradled in her arms. Then she brightened up when she saw me. “Honey . . .” Then she said to our baby, “I want you to meet your daddy.” She looked back up to me. “You want to hold him?” “Yes!” I said quickly. Silvia handed me our son. I looked him over carefully. Unlike my nightmare, our baby had a little patch of red hair on his head. Silvia’s hair was actually a mix of fiery red and yellow, but the baby’s hair was the same red shade that hers was. “I’ll leave you three alone,” the nurse said and walked out. I looked to my wife. “Do we have a name for our son yet?” “I thought about naming him . . . Coppy,” she said. My heart started pounding. Oh, fuck, my nightmare was really coming true! I felt my heart grow heavy. Why did I think I could ever be happy again when Silvia was still pissed at me for killing her copperhead snake that day? I decided I had had enough. I handed our son back to Silvia. I took her hand as she cradled our son with the other arm. “Silvia, I am so, so sorry about what I did to Coppy. I know I can never make up for that. I just know I love you and wish I could take back all the hurt I ever gave you. I wish that –” Silvia pulled her hand away from me and pointed at me sharply. “Stop right there, Zach!” I raised my hands in front of me. “No, Silvia! I can’t take this anymore. If you want your revenge on me, then just take it. I won’t run from you. I can’t. I love you too much.” Silvia glared right at me, but this time . . . her eyes didn’t burn right through me. “I did want revenge. My snakes demanded that I take revenge. But I couldn’t. I forgave you a long time ago. Look at us now. We have each other. We’re married.” She held up our son. “We made him together – you and me. Can we please move past this? I love you, Zach. I love our son. Let’s continue to make our life together . . . as a family. Please?” I didn’t know why, but I looked down at Silvia’s covers. I could easily see the shapes of two human legs underneath them. No big snake body! I swear, those fucking nightmares were driving me crazy. Silvia wasn’t some kind of a snake woman, and our son wasn’t some kind of a little snake monster we had made together. I shared a brief kiss with Silvia. Then I looked at her. “Okay, his name is Coppy.”

It’s been three years now. Silvia and I live alone with our son. We couldn’t be any happier together. What happened? After we graduated from Strickfield University, I took over my parents’ veterinary clinic, and Silvia worked at home as a computer programmer. I even started taking reptiles, including snakes, as part of the family practice. Silvia and I were really going to make it. Even after all the pain and hurt, we were really going to make it. The only sad thing was that Sparky finally passed away. I was forced to put him to sleep myself to put him out of his misery. I know Silvia was just as devastated as I was since she really loved Sparky. She was the last person he saw before he left us. Silvia’s boa constrictor, Strickfaden, ended up becoming my new best friend. No, he wasn’t Sparky, but just the way he looked at me reminded me so much of him. I was sitting out on the back patio with Strickfaden when Silvia came to me. She looked as happy as happy could be, in spite of just coming back from Strickfield General Hospital. We both saw Coppy playing and running round. Silvia put her hand on my shoulder, and I put my hand on her hand. In spite of being a parent and the many sleepless nights it brought, I still loved this woman deeply and was still proud to call her my wife. “You’re in a good mood today,” I said. I put Strickfaden down so Silvia could sit on my lap and face me. We shared a kiss. Then she said, “We’re not done having sleepless nights yet, honey.” “Well, if you’re talking about our bed-burning . . .” She laughed a little. “No! Are you kidding me? We’ll never be done with doing that!” She moved one of my hands down to her belly. “I keep taking the best birth control, but you still manage to stick babies inside me. I’m pregnant.” I was so excited that I held Silvia tightly to me. As I did, I noticed little Coppy was sitting down and playing again. But now . . . he was holding a rattlesnake in his hands. I didn’t recognize the snake as one of Silvia’s pets. As I watched, the snake never made any movement to bite Coppy. Suddenly, I saw Coppy move fast and pick up something – a mouse. He held it up by its tail with one hand while he held his new rattlesnake friend with the other. And before I knew what to think next . . . Coppy had opened his mouth wide and devoured the mouse – just like that! After he finished his . . . snack, he looked my way and laughed innocently. I could even see his snake eyes now. Did that really just happen? Or am I just . . . having another nightmare?

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Ep.46 – All the Busy Bees - Are you HUNGRY for Horror?!

Episode Notes

All the Busy Bees by David O'Hanlon

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Transcription:

My father was in a secret society in college. I’m not sure what good it did him, but that’s why it’s a secret, I suppose. After college, he went to work for a retail giant and made COO in just a couple of years. Maybe it worked out pretty well. That kind of meteoric rise doesn’t facilitate a lot of father-son communication. He still made sure to let me know he cared. His secretary would call to tell me goodnight on his behalf, for example. I think it was my twelfth birthday when I realized he always called me ‘Rugrat’ because he had forgotten my name years before. The morning commute meant hearing him walk out of the house about the time I got up for school. He worked late every night and usually got home as I was turning off my light. I’m not even sure I remember what he looked like or if I’ve just constructed some amalgamation of Sonny Crockett and MacGyver to save on the therapy bill. I decided I wouldn’t be anything like him when I grew up. And I’ve succeeded. My studio apartment was the size of a motel room. The wallpaper didn’t match anywhere and was peeling like a bad sunburn to reveal festive patches of mold. Other amenities included my neighbor’s radio—since the walls were as well built as a gingerbread house—and a soothing whistle created by the ill-fitting sheet of plexiglass in the cracked frame of my only window. I also had the most social cockroaches in the world. Those little guys snuggled with me in bed and shared my food with the loyalty of a labradoodle and I didn’t even have to pay my slumlord the four-hundred dollar, non-refundable, pet deposit. That’s called a win. I watched one of the females dragging an egg sack under the fridge. I wasn’t even sure how roaches had sex and was in the middle of googling it when the knuckles my hit door. I got up and tried to check the time on the microwave, but it just blinked the same seven seconds it had since I plugged it in. I found it on the curb and it was probably there for good reason. The radiation leaking out reduced the heating bill though, so another small victory for Chuck Beyers. I opened the door and found a man in a cobalt suit that looked expensive and smelled cheap. He was paused mid-knock and lowered his hand with a sneer. “Charles Beyers?” “That’s me.” I leaned into the hall and looked both ways. On one end, a kid pissed on skinhead graffiti and down the other I found my geriatric neighbor, Jerry, heating a meth rock in a lightbulb. I looked back at the man and squinted a little. He was tall and lean with a narrow, vespine face. He held a leather briefcase just below a twinkling cufflink. “How did you make it up here without getting mugged?” I asked. “Your neighborhood is full of scavengers,” the man answered calmly. I pursed my lips and nodded. “Yeah, that’s kind of the point I was making.” “Scavengers know to move when the predators come through.” There was no bravado when he said it. It was just a cold, hard statement of fact that made my ass pucker and my stomach knot up. He asked to come in, so I showed him to the folding lawn chair that counted as my furniture. He sat his briefcase in the chair and turned to me, his hand disappeared into his jacket and my life flashed before my eyes. It was a disappointing show, to say the least. Then he pulled out an envelope. “My name is Richard.” He wiggled the envelop. “For me?” “No, Mister Beyers. I just find reading my mail more enjoyable in a stranger’s shitty apartment.” He didn’t even blink, let alone smirk. He just wiggled the envelope again. I took it gingerly and flopped onto the bed. It felt funny, not like a normal envelop but more like an old dollar bill. It was the kind of envelopes you bought when you ran out of ordinary things to blow money on. At least, I guessed it was since I hadn’t used an envelope since 2004. Inside was a letter from Arrant Extirpation Solutions. “What is this?”


It was all in the letter. Dad was the majority shareholder in AES and, when he died the week before, it all became mine. I guess I should’ve been upset about his passing, but he wasn’t any less available dead than he had been alive. Still couldn’t remember his face, just his bushy mustache. No loss. Plenty of gains. I stepped off the private jet with Richard in tow. A withered old man leaned on a cane a midst a sea of suits. The old man held out a veiny, liver-spotted hand. “Erwin Squire. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.” “Likewise.” I shook his hand, which was suspiciously cold and moist like a piece of raw chicken. I rubbed my palm on my secondhand jeans. “The letter you sent didn’t say much. I’ve been asking Richard for more details.” “Good luck with that.” Erwin’s rasping laugh made me jump a little. It was like one of the alley cats back home hacking up a steel wool hairball. “I don’t employ Richard for his conversational skills. He glares at people and they do what I want. It’s a more efficient method than asking. You’ll be riding in the Bentley. I hope it is too your liking. Your father was a picky bastard.” “We don’t have to worry about that from him, sir,” Richard said over my shoulder. “Chuck has no standards. Shall I ride with him?” Erwin nodded and swept a hand towards the burgundy car. The driver stepped out and opened the back door as I approached. I hesitated and then slipped inside the car that cost more than my combined lifetime income. The backseat seemed to melt as I leaned against it and I sighed pleasurably. “Does it meet your tastes?” Richard asked as he dropped into the front seat. “Oh yes. It’s just fine.” I watched the chauffeur shut my door and slip back behind the steering wheel with the grace of a dancer. “I’ve never ridden in a car like this.” “Color me shocked.” Richard took a pair of gold-rimmed aviators from his jacket and slipped them over his frigid eyes. “I don’t want you to get the wrong impression about me, Chuck. For starters, I hate calling you that. Not because it is informal and, thus, unprofessional, but rather because it is the stupidest name ever. I loathe it.” “Blame my father,” I said with a sympathetic shrug. “I do. Moving on, you are now the majority shareholder in AES. This also entitles you to a place on our board of directors and the professional assistance of myself… a fact that I find almost as distasteful as your name. I do not like it and I am sure that you will not either.” The car pulled away from the airplane and found its place in the convoy leaving the private airfield. Richard turned slightly on his hip to face me. “Your father was a mean spirited, go-getter. He set his sights on something he wanted,” he made a finger-gun at me and fired, “and then he took it. You’re not that kind of a man.” “Is that a good thing or a bad one?” Richard’s eyebrows raised in though and he turned back around. “Neither, I suppose. Not every dog can be a fighter, Chuck. Sometimes a mutt’s only good for a bait dog.”


I thought about what my sociopathic secretary said over the next forty minutes. I fought the urge to ask when we’d arrive and just stared out the tinted windows as rural Arkansas passed by with little to offer. I wasn’t sure what AES did or how my father even learned of the company from his office in Cincinnati. Richard was an odd one too. His terrifying, monotone voice had the slightest hint of an accent… maybe Eastern European. Definitely one of those countries Bond villains come from. Then there were the cars and class of Erwin Squire. Thanks to my ex-girlfriend, I had seen enough Toby Keith videos to know these guys didn’t belong in the trailer-hood. So, what the hell were we doing in Arkansas? I was somewhere between self-realization and reliving a six-month-old argument with my former boss at Hamburger Hamlet when I noticed the factory in the distance. I watched as the vehicles made the turn in sequence. Fascination is the only word that comes to mind at what I saw next. The cars wove through a series of concrete barriers like the news shows outside of foreign embassies. We approached a twelve-foot high fence and two guards armed heavily enough to give GI Joe a boner immediately after. The car shook as it rolled over a cattle guard that Richard said was for bomb inspections. We continued down a long path and more of the facility came into view. For the most part, it looked like any factory from the city—except for the black glass tower rising up from the middle. It wasn’t a tower in big city terms, but the six stories of shimmering darkness stood out in the flat wasteland of eastern Arkansas the same way the surrounding bean fields would have marred the complexities of beautiful, downtown Cleveland. The cars pulled into designated parking spaces in the lot under the tower like synchronized swimmers. No movement was wasted as each vehicle halted and its crew disembarked to prepare a line of defense all the way to the elevator. Richard personally escorted me there and we waited for Squire to join us. The old man ambled inside, his cane clicking gravely against the imported macassar flooring. I stepped in and then Richard attempted to but was met by the tip of Squire’s cane squarely over his heart. “Cecil was a little too hard on the brakes today.” Squire aimed the walking stick and jabbed the button for the top floor. “I want that handled and then I want you to join me and Mister Beyers in the board room.” I wasn’t sure what to say and just stuffed my hands in my pockets. Something about Squire was more unnerving than the viciousness that emanated from Richard. You knew a lion was going to eat you. A scorpion might murder you or just be out cruising for a piece of bug ass. You couldn’t be sure. I shivered at the thought of impending sting. “So, is Cecil getting fired?” I asked. “Oh no,” he answered with a chuckle. “It’s hard to find good help and Cecil has been with me for several years now. He simply needs a reminder so it doesn’t happen again.” “Right.” I nodded like I knew what the hell that meant. “That makes sense.” “I’m an old man, now. Frail, even. It physically sickens me to say that, but I have to be more careful than ever before.” “It happens to us all.” “If cancer happened to us all, would it make it cupcakes and rainbows for the dying?” I smacked my lips. “I suppose not.” “I knew your father a long time, Charles.” “I prefer Chuck.” “I don’t.” Squire coughed softly into the crook of his arm. “I was a professor of his. He was a brilliant student. Not academically, mind you, in fact he was a complete idiot in that regard. Where he lacked talent, however, he made up for it with tenacity.” The elevator dinged and the doors spread wide to reveal my new kingdom. Offices lined all four walls and in the center was a round, entirely glass room. Inside it, four gigantic monitors hung like a cube from the ceiling over a thirty-foot long conference table. Squire squeezed my forearm softly as we exited. It was about as comforting as a proctologist grabbing your shoulders. “Charles, did you know that the American people waste over one-hundred-billion pounds of food every year?” “Closer to one-fifty, I believe.” “That’s right, Charles.” His face split into a smile so wide it must have been genuine. “The government is fighting over oil and will continue to do so. Unfortunately for those in power, it takes oil to go to war and get the oil. When that runs out, it will be chaos. Blackouts. Looting. Riots. And, if you can believe it, food shortages. Which brings us to the question, you’ve been waiting to ask.” “What the hell is this place?” We entered the round chamber and he gestured for me to sit. There was a dome on the table covered with a black cloth like the fancy entrée at those expensive restaurants on TV. I pinched the corner tentatively. My hand shook a little and even more so when Squire nodded for me to continue. I ripped it off like a Band-aid and gagged hard. “I guess I should have warned you.” He laughed a little until it turned into a coughing fit. “Meet trigona necrophaga.” Inside, a score of bugs crawled on, in, and through a decaying human head. The eyes were gone, probably the first things the little critters ate. Some hid in the graying shrubbery of the oversized mustache that occupied the remainder of the upper lip. Specks of orange and flashes of black bands behind their wings tipped me off that they were… “Bees, Charles,” Squire gave voice to my thoughts. “The vulture bee is endemic to Central America and has a, shall we say, curious culinary interest.” A tiny bee face pushed out of a putrefied ear and I fainted like a damsel in an old adventure movie. 


I woke up in a wheelchair and glanced over my shoulder to see Richard pushing me along with all the emotion of a Chia Pet. “Good, you’re awake,” he grumbled. “Were you worried?” “That I would have to keep pushing you.” Richard stopped the chair and walked around me. A snap of his fingers told me to follow. “The bees, wasn’t it?” “Yeah. That was pretty freaky.” I staggered after him. “And that head they were crawling on… I mean, who was that?” “Your father.” Richard glanced back at me. “I thought that was obvious.” “Erwin killed my dad?” “Mister Squire no longer kills people or my employment would only be part-time.” Richard stopped and turned toward me. “And no, I didn’t kill him either. Your father did way too much cocaine and had a stroke.” “Oh.” “It is an unfortunate, but common, occupational hazard. We don’t exactly have governmental approval for what we’re doing here, so we fed your father to the bees.” Richard waved for me to follow him into a transparent cube at the end of the hall. We stepped in and the doors closed behind us before another set opened in front. On the other side we were greeted by Squire, two middle-aged ladies, and a guy that may or may not have been John Travolta. Also, on the other side of the door was a horrible, continuous racket—a droning buzz, underneath the heavy whirring of industrial machinery. Squire pointed up to the ceiling and I stumbled backwards. Richard braced me with a palm and shook his head disapprovingly. Millions of the bees, if not more, swarmed around hives each the size of a family sedan. “They can’t sting you, Charles.” Squire laughed and hobble along like he was on a tour. “They serve as an inspiration to our own mindless, little workers.” We walked to an intersection where a forklift was collecting pallets of plastic crates. Squire pulled a jar from one of the crates and held it up over his head like he was presenting Simba on Pride Rock. The brown syrup caught the light and shined with a reddish hue. “Honey is a superfood, Charles, that never spoils. Unfortunately, it has minimal dietary value.” He handed me the jar and continued his casual stroll. I looked at Richard and mouthed the word ‘honey,’ but he pushed me forward while Squire continued talking. “My ancestors, many centuries ago, found themselves in dire times and sacrificed their prized bull to a superior being.” Squire waved his hand dismissingly. “Perhaps the bull could have fed everyone for a time, but their willingness to put aside the needs of others led to something far greater. They were blessed with tremendous wealth in honor of their sacrifice and that’s how my family got into the business of cattle. Problem is, there’s a lot that goes to waste.” I twisted open the jar and sniffed the contents. It smelled like toffee and sausages and I felt my stomach flip over and kick me in the back of my throat. The old man ambled up a metal flight of stairs passed a running machine. Hunks of bloody tissue rolled along a conveyor and into the machine which rendered it into a paste collected in a transparent container below. As I climbed up behind him, I could see inside the machine which looked like a combination of woodchipper and juicer. “The vulture bee eats dead meat and turns it into a protein-rich honey. Well, in layman’s terms that is.” Squire pointed at the masticating metal teeth of the machine. “We’ve managed to simulate the process. You know what the best part is, Charles?” Squire squeezed my triceps. I think I might have shook my head, but I was trying not to faint again. “Any meat will do. Roadkill, beef, pork, medical cadavers.” A human leg fell from the conveyor belt. Squire snapped a finger at it with a grin. “Even Cecil’s leg,” Richard quipped. “That’s right, my boy. It doesn’t matter. No more wasted parts.” He held his hands wide. “Arrant Extirpation—complete and utter destruction of the material—that’s what we do here.  We break it down to nothing but the nutrients. We have millions of jars ready to go and each one will feed a family of four, three times a day for a month. Show me any other food that convenient. Humans will have finally found a sustainable place in the food chain as both their own predator and prey.” I leaned on the safety rail unsure of how vomiting over the side might affect the turnout. How many nutrients were in a regurgitated McMuffin? Erwin Squire smiled like he would eat my soul and patted my cheek with his frigid, chicken hand. Then it happened. It was an accident. I was panicking and when he touched me, I startled. It wasn’t even a hard push, but it was enough apparently and the little old man disappeared right over the inadequately named safety rail. Geriatric puree sprayed unceremoniously into the collection tank below. I was dumbfounded and it showed, I’m sure. One of the ladies jabbed a finger in my face and hurled venom at me. “You killed him! You murdered Erwin. Did you all see that? You saw, right Lucille? He did that on purpose. This beggar pushed him right in.” Before I could defend myself, or even manage a word that wasn’t ‘oops,’ she flipped over the rail and into the oversized food processor as well. Richard rubbed his palms together and stared at the other lady, Lucille. He parted his hands and cocked an eyebrow. “Did you see anyone get pushed into the extirpator?” She watched the machine spin unimpeded by the two people that just got dumped into it. She reached for a dropped high-heel shoe and dropped it over the side like a coin in a wishing well before turning hard eyes to Richard. “The only thing I saw was thirty-six percent of our shares opening up.” Maybe-Travolta shrugged. “We should look into these faulty safety rails. Maybe we can have them painted a brighter color.” “Excellent. If you’d head to the boardroom, Mister Beyers will be joining you shortly. We’ve discussed our supply, now let’s bring him up to date on how we plan to cause the demand.” Richard winked and they laughed as they descended the steps. “I didn’t… oh shit, I am so sorry I killed your boss.” That was all I could get out. I wasn’t even sure if it was the correct thing to say. “Chin up, Chuck.” Richard gave me a fake punch to the tip of my jaw. “I told you I was your assistant. I take my job very seriously. However, if this is too much for you, if you want out, just say the word. I fully understand and, after all, the extirpator never stops running.” The End

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Ep.45 – Eh, Real Monsters from NEPA - Small Town Werewolf, BIG TIME TERROR

Episode Notes

Eh, Real Monsters from NEPA by Michelle Adler (from Campfire Stories to Tell in the Dark)

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Transcription:

"I don't know about the new kid, don't you think he's a little weird?" Tom McKullah whispered, leaning slightly over his desk to get closer to his friend.

"A little weird? C'mon, he's a freak" Jacob nodded. They both snickered. In front of them sat Patrick Marshall-Sherwood III, the aforementioned new kid. His incredibly formal sounding name wasn't really befitting his posture: hunched over, staring at his desk and wincing at their laughter. His dyed black shoulder length hair, eye liner, and all black wardrobe should have succeeded in making him look dangerous, but in reality it just made him look tired and pale.

I have to admit, I felt bad for the kid. The rumor around school was that his dad had been killed by a pack of feral dogs while he and Patrick were cramping somewhere in the mountains of Georgia. Patrick had somehow escaped meeting his end there, but he hadn’t gotten away easily. His face and arms were covered in a multitude of deep, gnarly scars from the event. A permanent reminder that he, and only he, had survived something truly horrible, and not by much. To be fair, he'd have been an ugly kid even without the scars. He was just a little too lanky and awkward for me to believe he’d ever been cool. Life ain't really fair, I guess.

I didn’t know how much, if any, of the story was just dumb rumors.  I wasn’t even sure if Georgia had mountains. But if it was true, he'd picked just the worst town to move to if he and his mom were trying to escape their tragic past. Our town, located in a quiet corner of Northeastern Pennsylvania was mostly rural, encompassing part of the valley and a lot of the surrounding woods.  That might sound fine, though maybe boring on paper, but incidents involving feral dogs had always been common here. Usually it was just pets and small animals that went missing, but lately some cows had been found halfway eaten dotting the nearby farms, so more people were on edge than usual. Not really a vacation from their grief, is what I mean.

So back to the story, those chuckle-heads kept up with their insults for a while. Calling him every name they could think of, poking him, sticking gum on his back, you name it. You'd probably have thought that our English teacher, Mrs. Alder, just kept blathering on about Shakespeare during all of this. I wished she’d take notice, but she was so hard of hearing that I wasn't sure she could even hear what she was saying half of the time. She was so old and fragile looking that I often wondered if she escaped a nursing home every morning just to come teach us.

It wasn’t fair though. I sat directly behind Tom, in the last row of desks, against the window, like a true delinquent I was, bouncing my leg, waiting for, I don’t know, a sign that I should jump in. I'm not proud of the fact that it took Patrick brushing teardrops off his desk for me to do something. I reached forward and punched the back of Tom's chair hard enough to get everyone, including our teacher’s attention. "Stop making fun of him or the next thing I punch will be your face!" I shouted. I saw Tom and Jacob flinch from behind. 

"Marisa!" Mrs. Alder spat sternly, miraculously cured of her partial deafness for a moment, "How many outbursts do we really need to have this week??"

"But they were--" I tried.

"No one will be picking on poor Patrick in my classroom. It's not his fault he's covered with horrible scars!" She continued. I watched Patrick cringe and the whole class began to giggle. There I go again, making matters worse.

I left school late that day long after the buses and carpools had gone. Basically my normal routine. Gotta make sure I don't run into any trouble. You see, like our scarred up sad boy, I too was the subject of the other kids' hatred. But unlike him, I actually knew how to stand up for myself and could hold my own in a fight. Still, I didn't like to start trouble, I just relished in it when it came calling. But even if I won, bites and scratches do hurt after all, so it was better to avoid the rest of the student body when we were unsupervised. Especially in the middle of the afternoon, in broad daylight. Who needs that kind of attention?

However on this particular day, waiting until my usual time, 4pm, to leave wasn’t enough. I pushed open the side entrance and there was Patrick. He sat on the curb, his posture the same as earlier, the cool autumn breeze blowing his hair over his face. I held my breath, trying to be comically quiet and sneak away before he noticed. I just wanted to get home and not do my homework. Until again, I realized he was crying.

I sighed and plopped myself down next to him, "Waiting for your folks to pick you up?" Oh right, I forgot, dead dad.. "Your mom, running late?" I corrected myself.

"I don't think she's coming," he said softly, continuing to focus on the puddle of tears collecting on the asphalt. I realized this was the first time I’d heard him speak. "She's been different since... I can tell she doesn’t like to look at me. Sometimes I think she forgets me on purpose. I would just try to walk back, but I don't know how to get home from here. I can’t even look it up because a couple of the kids from class pushed me and my phone broke my fall."

"You just gonna sit here all night then?"

"I was hoping to. I like the dark." I honestly couldn't tell if that line was supposed to be sarcastic.

"C'mon tell me where you live, I'll walk you home." I offered as I stood up and brushed myself off.

"You're not going to trick me, leave me halfway and steal my wallet, right?" He asked expectantly.

"Well geez, not anymore I'm not."

Patrick let out a little chuckle. Okay, maybe we could make this work.

"I'm Marisa," I said helping him up, "and I promise I won't hurt you. Us freaks gotta stick together."

As it turned out, Patrick only lived one block over from me in the cute little cape cod that old Mr. Patel owned before he got sick and had to move in with his kids. It was great because I didn’t really have to go out of my way, but also a little sad because I only live six blocks from the school. He was crying over a ten minute walk. I agreed to help him find his way back to school the next morning and walk home with him again the following afternoon. Like I said, freaks need to stick together. 

"So is it true about what happened to your dad?" I asked on our walk home the following afternoon. Patrick stopped dead in the center of the sidewalk.

"Isn't it obvious it is?" He touched one of the scars on his arm tenderly. "My dad is dead, my mom probably blames me, and I look like some villain from a slasher film. My life is totally ruined."

"Oh..that's a little dark, dude.. I'm sorry"

"No, it's better if I just lean into it. I'm a monster now and I have to get used to it, “ he sighed.

"Us monsters gotta stick together" I said like it was my tag-line or something.

"Marisa,” he said bluntly, “you are not a monster." I furrowed my brow. 

He was silent the rest of the walk home. I felt bad for bringing up his dad and wouldn’t have blamed him if I didn’t even get a goodbye, but when he was halfway up his driveway he stopped. "Marisa, I need to tell you something," he began without turning around, "can you keep a secret?"

"What did I say five minutes ago about us sticking together?"

Patrick paused for a long time like he was having trouble finding the right words. "Listen, you're going to think I'm crazy and that's okay, even I think I'm crazy sometimes..” he clenched his fists tightly at his sides, “…but when we were camping, w-when those dogs showed up, they attacked me first. My dad fought so hard to stop them and lure them away from me, that's why he's dead and I'm just this... thing now.."

"It's not your fault--"

"No that's not what I mean. When I was lying there, when they were tearing my dad to shreds, I could have sworn I heard them talking to each other. I could have sworn they were laughing... what does that even mean? I guess it’s possible that I was delirious from blood loss,  but if that’s true then how come even now, when it’s really quiet, I can almost still hear them laughing?" His voice was shaking. At this point he was staring directly at me again, his eyes full of fear.

"Are you saying--"

"I don't think they were dogs, I think they were... something else" 

“Wolves maybe?” I offered.

Patrick let out a little pitiful laugh. "No, not wolves. So, now you know the truth, I'm crazy. Nice knowing you."

"I don't think you're crazy, Patrick" I said, not sure if I was lying or not. “Either way I don’t think that’s a good enough reason for us to stop hanging out.”

He smiled in a mix of confusion and relief, “Thanks Marisa.”

It seemed that letting someone else share his secret took a lot of weight off of the poor guy’s shoulders because after that, he was a lot more outgoing around me. The edges of his sadness had been sanded down a little and he actually let me get to know him. 

And as it turned out, Patrick was a pretty good kid. We were into the same comics and video games and even got each others humor. We walked to and from school together every day for the next couple weeks and my mom let him stay for dinner most nights and sleep over on the weekends.

As much as I considered myself something of a lone wolf, I had to admit it felt good to have someone around that really got me. So that's what it's like to have friends, huh?

Things stayed good for a while. When the other kids realized that I’d taken him under my wing, a lot of the bullying stopped.  And when he was picked on, he had gotten pretty good at standing up for himself.  This however, leads us to the incident that threatened to shatter the small bit of peace we’d begun to carve out for ourselves.

So we were about three weeks in. Tom and Jacob, the only two kids still brazen enough to constantly mess with Patrick, had come up with a new way to get under his skin. You see, whenever Patrick tried to speak in class, or passed them in the hallway, or even entered a room, they’d howl like wolves.  Because it was a relatively easy and safe way to upset him, they were usually able to get whoever else was around to howl along with them. I know it doesn’t sound that bad, but after three days of it Patrick wasn’t looking too good. 

It happened in Mrs. Alder’s class, as most bad things did. Man, she was a terrible teacher and was discussing another terrible book that they tell you is a classic and has all this symbolism, but was just written by some dumb guy who probably didn’t even know what symbolism was.

“So who can tell me why they think the author decided to make the badge red?” She asked.  Everyone stayed perfectly still, dead eyed, hoping to avoid being called on and having to discuss colors.  Well, everyone except Patrick.  He actually raised his hand. “Ah yes, Mr. Marshall-Sherwood, please enlighten us.”

“You see, there’s not actu--”  Was all I could hear before a cacophony of howling delinquents overtook his quiet voice.

“Now students, settle down and let him finish.  You can howl all you want on the bus home.” She said sternly in her traditional tone deaf sort of way. Silence returned to the room.

Patrick tried again “There’s not actually a--” The howling returned, then quickly abated.

“Go on.”

“Not actually a reas--” Howling then silence again. “A reason tha--” Howling then silence.  This pattern continued for a tragically long time. I thought maybe he’d be struggling to say that one sentence for the rest of the class, until during that last interruption, I saw something change in his eyes. Patrick had finally snapped.

He waited patiently for the noise to calm and took a deep breath,  “Let me start over. There’s not actually a reason,” this time he didn’t stop when they began again, he just slowly turned to Tom, who was directly behind him, grabbed by the collar, and punched him in the face repeatedly all the while continuing to relay his point about the book. When he was done Tom's face was a mess and there was no more howling ever again.

The rest isn’t really important. Patrick went to the principal’s office and got detention for the rest of the week, and Tom went to the nurse and got everyone’s sympathy. Even though he’d gotten in trouble, Patrick’s attitude drastically improved. Detention was a small price to pay for being able to speak again.

This did mean that we couldn’t walk home together for a while, though. On Fridays he would usually pack an overnight bag and come straight home with me for the weekend, but with detention and his mom grounding him for beating Tom to a bloody pulp, Patrick told me we’d have to skip our normal weekend hangout. I was actually relieved to hear it.  It was a weird time of the month for me and our hangout would have been super awkward. I felt I’d dodged a major bullet and was also thrilled that his mom was paying enough attention to know he’d gotten in trouble... and that she actually seemed to care.

I expected an easy Friday night so I was surprised that as I finished washing the dishes from dinner and turned off the water, I was alerted to a frantic knocking at our front door. 

“Maybe Patrick’s mom had changed her mind?” I figured, disregarding the overwhelming panic that seemed to loom in the constant banging.  I was totally shocked when the opening door revealed none other than the devil himself, Tom Mckullah, still bruised from his run in earlier in the week, panting hard.

“Why are you here?” I asked, I really couldn’t think of a single reason he’d want anything to do with me.

He tried to catch his breath, “I-- Where’s Patrick?”  He pleaded.

“What, you want a rematch?” 

“No, no, listen.  I think I messed up--” He was still trying to catch his breath. Had he ran all the way here?

“You want to apologize?  Well, he isn’t here. He’s at home, grounded.” I was ready to close the door and get back to my evening.

“No he isn’t, I went there first.  His mom said he never came home after detention. I was hoping I was wrong and that he’s here, but-- oh no, I really messed up..” His voice trembled.

“What are you trying to say, Tom?” Maybe I already knew.

“My dad was pretty upset that I got beat up and I was really angry so I said some things about Patrick that maybe I shouldn’t have. You know we own the farm on Schuylkill Rd, right? And you know some of our animals have been killed lately, right? Well, he-- he thinks… ”  Tom struggled with how to say the next part. I could feel adrenaline creeping into my limbs. “I heard him talking to his friends this afternoon and I saw him load silver bullets into his shotgun. Marisa, he knows.”

Everything felt fuzzy, “Where would they take him?” I had to think clearly.

“There’s woods on our property,15 acres of it. We can basically do anything we want out there.” “Ok.” I pushed him out of the way and proceeded down my steps. The sky was already turning pink and purple with the coming of evening. There was no more time. There was going to be a full moon tonight.

“Wait, I’ll come with!”

“No!  It’s dangerous and you’ve messed up enough!” I thundered, not bothering to look back. “This is why we don’t tell adults things, they always get all murder-y!”

“Marisa, you have to understand, I didn’t mean for this to happen!  Sure, I’ve been messing with Patrick, but I would never want him to get…” He paused “...hurt. I tried to stop my dad, tried to pretend I was lying about the whole thing, but he’s so set on, well, you know, that he wouldn’t listen to me.”  I turned toward the direction of the farm and took off running.  “Marisa!” Tom called out, but he was far behind me now. There was no way I could be there before the sun went down, but maybe I could still get there in time to stop them.

By the time I reached Tom’s family's farm the last threads of daylight were fading from the sky. I was exhausted, but confident that I was about to get my second wind. The woods were dark and cool and I could feel myself returning to my senses. I picked up speed, heading in the direction I was now confident I would find them.

“Please let me make it in time.”

Eventually distant chatter alerted me to Patrick's location. I approached quietly, hiding myself in the underbrush while I gauged the situation. Crickets and frogs had begun to sing in the blackness of the evening. Seven adults with flashlights were gathered in a circle. I couldn't see him, but I knew Patrick was in the center. Each man was carrying a firearm on his shoulder or holding one in his hand. I was not relieved to confirm that Tom had been telling me the truth.

"Please! I don't understand what you're talking about. What would I want with cows? I’m a vegetarian!" A voice that had to be Patrick’s pleaded. In the back of my mind, I got a weird feeling that something wasn't right, but brushed it off.

"Listen, we know it was you.  I mean, a kid who’s been attacked by “feral dogs” shows up and we just coincidentally start losing livestock?  You don’t need to be a statistician to see the connection,” A man that was probably Tom’s dad was saying, “Confess now and maybe we'll be kind enough to let you live out the rest of your life in a cage!”

"I swear I didn’t do anything bad. I don’t know what you’ve heard, but please, I’m telling you the truth!" Patrick begged.

"We'll see about that in a minute. Any minute now--" Mr. McKullah said looking up at the sky.

One of the other men cocked his rifle "I'm tired of waiting, let's get this over with, I'm missing my shows!" A few of them then began to argue about the merits of killing my friend now as opposed to later and that was really enough for me. I moved forward slightly, twigs snapping under my weight, and let out a loud, guttural cry that just about shook the earth. The entire forest went completely silent and stayed that way.  I saw fear overtake the murderous group as they tried to find the source of the noise.

I emerged confidently from my hiding place. "Let him go!" I howled. The blood collectively drained from their faces as they got a look at me. I positioned myself to look as large as possible, my dense wiry hair standing on end, teeth exposed in a snarl, saliva dripping from my jagged mouth.

They pointed their guns in my direction, but I charged forward and latched onto the closest one, pulling it away from its owner and smacking him in the head with it. He hit the ground with the resounding thud. I bit into the rifle and broke it into pieces with my massive jaws as easily as if it had been a cracker.

"You really think your tiny bullets can stop me?!" I wailed. They inched back, still surrounding Patrick, but I was winning. Just one more push. "Get out of here before I do the same thing to you that I did to those cows." 

"Guys, shoot him already!" Oh thanks, Mr. McKullah.

"I’ve had enough!" I lunged at them ready to do whatever I had to, but that was enough to send them running for their lives, scurrying away like the cockroaches they were.

“Cowards,” I huffed.

Patrick was still on the ground. His hands were tied and he looked a little beaten up. He stared up at me, his whole body shaking in fear. I poked my nose in closer and sniffed at his face trying to wrap my mind around the situation.  Then went for his hands. He flinched at my hot breath, not seeming to realize that I was chewing through the ropes and not his fingers. 

"It’s okay, you're okay" I assured him, but he was just hopelessly confused.

Suddenly his posture shifted, "Marisa? You’re-- Why are you a werewolf?"

"Patrick. Why are you not a werewolf?"

"I don't know how to answer that.. you aren't going to eat me, are you?"

"Well, not anymore I'm not,” I groaned, “Us monsters gotta stick together after all.”

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Ep.44 – Cry Baby Bridge - She Needs A New Baby... to DROWN!

Episode Notes

Cry Baby Bridge by Rob Fields

A young group of friends want to test the legend of their own "Cry Baby Bridge" but things may be more real than they could ever imagine...

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Transcription:

The boys suddenly awoke when they heard the loud noise off in the distance. One of them turned on the battery-powered lantern. The three of them yawned and slowly sat up inside the tent where they were sleeping. “Aw, man . . . ! You better not have farted again, Chunker,” the boy with the crewcut on the right side of the tent groaned. “I didn’t, dude,” the husky boy on the left side muttered. The skinny boy in the middle put his glasses on. “Trust me, if Chunker would have let one go, we’d have known it. We’re all in this tent, right?” The right boy pushed the middle one a little. “Why you gotta be such a nerd, Horton?” Horton looked to his right. “I’m just saying, Chapman. Chunker would have cleared us out of this tent.” Chunker had a mischievous grin. “What, you mean like this?” He sat up a little bit. BBBBBBBRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!! Chapman and Horton quickly fumbled over one another trying to escape from the tent as Chunker sat there and laughed. As soon as the two boys were out and on their feet, Horton turned and pointed to the tent. “Chunker, you sick pig!” Chunker was still laughing as he crawled out of the tent. Then he stood with his two friends. Horton sighed. “Great! Now what are we going to do? Chunker just fumigated the tent.” Chapman slapped Chunker’s arm. “C’mon, man, you can at least open up the tent and air it out. Geez!” Chunker raised his hands. “Okay, okay . . .” As Chunker lifted and tied up the flaps to the tent entrance, Horton was getting the campfire going again. “Any idea what time it is?” Chapman asked. Chunker had his smartphone on him. “It’s almost four – in the morning!” Suddenly, the boys were startled when they heard the original sound that work them up in the first place. “Aw, man!” Chunker complained. “Really? An owl?” Chapman groaned. “Well, some stupid owl woke us up, and Chunker ripped inside the tent. What are we gonna do now?” “Hey, maybe we can sit around the fire and tell more ghost stories,” Horton suggested. “Like we did last night.” “Sounds good,” Chapman said. “Yeah, why not?” Chunker agreed. The other boys joined Horton, who began first by telling the urban legend of the Gang High Beam Initiation. When he finished, he stressed that, “It actually happened on the other side of Strickfield, over along Township Road 113.” Chapman spoke up. “Yeah? Well, I heard a story about this college couple that got murdered in an apartment just near the college.” He told the story as best as he could recall hearing it. Then he finished by saying, “It was said that the roommate came back the next morning and found their bodies, he also found this message on the wall – written in blood! It said, JUST BE GLAD YOU DIDN’T TURN ON THE LIGHT!!!! That part never made the newspapers, by the way.” “Geez, Chapman, that does sound pretty scary,” Horton said. Then he turned to the other boy. “How about you, Chunker? You got a story?” Chunker opened the cooler they had brought with them and took out a soda. He cracked it open and took a drink. “Yeah, I got one.” He nodded in the direction of the deserted road they were camping off of. “It’s actually not too far from here, the old Cry Baby Bridge.” He told the story about how just after the American Civil War, Abigail Tomlin, a poor woman, and her fiancé, Alvin, a rich lord Abigail had been promised to, had been fighting all through their courtship. Prior to their wedding night, when they had had their last fight, Abigail had taken their baby boy, Arthur, and fled. Alvin’s carriage had caught up to Abigail’s as it was nearing the outskirts of Strickfield. As Abigail got out of her carriage, Alvin drew his gun and shot at Abigail. She moved, but ended up taking the bullet in her shoulder. She was bleeding all over her wedding dress fast. She knew she couldn’t let Alvin have Arthur. Unbeknownst to Alvin, Abigail also had a gun. She took aim and shot Alvin, wounding him also. Abigail took the baby out of the damaged carriage and fled. She was in a great deal of pain from the bullet. She could hear Alvin screaming for her, that he would finish her and take their son back. Abigail couldn’t keep the crying Arthur quiet and knew Alvin would soon be on them. By the time Alvin had caught up to his runaway bride, she had reached a metal bridge that spanned the Castalia River. The water below was high and rushing. All little Arthur could do was cry and cry. Abigail took a last stand against Alvin and tried to shoot him, but Alvin was faster and shot her first. Abigail was mortally wounded now as she moved to the center of the bridge. She still had both Arthur and her gun. Alvin raised his gun and demanded Abigail give Arthur back. When she wouldn’t, he shot her one last time. Abigail fell over the side of the bridge and into the raging river – with baby Arthur still cradled in her arms! Both she and the baby disappeared down the river. A search was conducted by the authorities of many neighboring towns and villages. The bodies of neither Abigail Tomlin nor Arthur were ever found. “Now . . . if you go near that same bridge . . . the one over on Indian Hollow Road – this road . . .” Chunker looked from Horton to Chapman and back again. “Just wait a while . . . You just might hear the sounds of little baby Arthur Tomlin crying and crying. That’s why it’s called the Cry Baby Bridge by the people who have told the story over the years.” Chapman had his arms folded in front of him. “You really expect us to believe that, Chunker?” Chunker raised both of his hands. “Hey! I’m just telling you the way my dad told my older brother Kenny and me.” He raised his finger. “He also said that anyone who hears the crying baby ends up dying before morning. That’s why no one really drives down this road at night.” Chapman wasn’t convinced. “Oh, yeah? How?” Chunker shrugged. “Dad said no one really knows for sure. He said no one lives long enough to say what happens.” Chapman shook his head slowly. “I can’t believe I let you talk me into sleeping out here after we just finished sixth grade.” “Hey! We could go and check it out,” Horton suggested. “Chunker did say that bridge isn’t too far from here, right?” Chunker pointed south. “The Cry Baby Bridge is less than a mile from here.” Chapman considered it. Then he clapped his hands once. “Okay . . . Fine, let’s go check it out.” The three friends got up and made their way to the one-lane gravel road. The moon was full and helped give them light as they made their way along. Soon they saw the bridge just ahead. “What are you looking up on your phone, Chunker?” Chapman asked. “Nothing . . . just checking something.” Chapman pointed to the bridge. “We’re here.” “Man, the bridge looks just like it did all those years ago,” Chunker said. “Just like in this picture.” The three of them looked on Chunker’s smartphone at the old black-and-white picture of the bridge taken after it was completed. The only real difference between then and now was that the bridge in the real world was rust-colored. Chunker put the phone away, and the three of them looked ahead to the bridge. After looking at it for a long moment, the boys walked to the bridge. When they reached the edge of it, they stopped. None of them said anything. Finally, Horton got bold and stepped onto the bridge. Chapman wanted to protest, but then he saw Chunker was stepping onto it. Chapman groaned and followed Chunker. They reached the center of the bridge. Horton moved to the side and looked down at the water. “It doesn’t look so raging now, like you said in your story, Chunker.” “It does when it storms for a while,” Chunker said. The three of them just stood there and waited. “I don’t hear anything,” Chapman said. They continued to stand there. Soon, they thought they heard something. It started out softly at first. It sounded like . . . baby cries. The cries sounded innocently enough. Then they started to become louder and more frightening. The three friends looked at one another in fear. Suddenly, a figure appeared from behind them and grabbed hold of both Horton’s and Chapman’s shoulders as it screamed loudly! The three of them turned to see the figure was dressed in black and had a glowing white skull in place of its face. Horton and Chapman screamed before they turned and run. They quickly noticed that Chunker wasn’t with them. They turned around and saw both the figure and Chunker pointing at them and laughing hysterically. Chapman raised his arms outward. “What the heck is this?!” “Kenny? Is that you?” Horton asked. The figure removed the glowing mask. Kenny Chunk turned to his younger brother and slapped a high-five with him. “We got’em, little bro. I knew after Dad told us the story, we could scare people with it.” “Yeah, it sure worked,” Chunker agreed. “Just like you said it would. Those owl hoots were a nice touch, too.” Chunker explained that he was awake in the tent. He and Kenny were texting each other and came up with the idea on how to scare Horton and Chapman with the local urban legend of the Cry Baby Bridge. “Okay, Kenny, so how did you get the baby crying to happen, then?” Chapman demanded. Kenny motioned for them to come with him. They walked off the bridge and made their way down to the water. Sure enough, there was a big speaker attacked to the side of the bridge. Kenny raised his smartphone. “The sounds were on the speaker. I just had to use my phone to turn it on and increase the volume.” Kenny retrieved his speaker, and they all went back up to the road. He turned to the others. “Well, that was fun. I’ll let you guys get back to your campout. I’d stay and chat some more, but I got things to do with Dad in the morning.” As Kenny started to walk off, Chapman pointed at him. “You just wait, Kenny. We’ll get you for this!” “Whatever, Bill . . .” Kenny muttered as he kept on walking. Soon he was out of sight. Chapman pointed to Chunker. “You, too, fatty!” Chunker started laughing. “Just seeing the looks on your faces . . .” “Yeah, ha ha, very funny,” Horton muttered. The three of them walked back onto the bridge and stood where they were before the scare happened. They talked for a little while. Before long, the wind started to pick up. The trees began to wave with the blowing winds. “Hey, you hear that?” Horton asked. “Hear what?” Chunker replied. “Just listen!” Horton insisted. The three of them waited and listened. Sure enough . . . they started to hear what sounded like . . . a baby crying. Even through the winds, they could still hear the sounds. The crying started off innocently enough at first. Then the crying became louder and more maddening! Chapman turned to Chunker. “Okay, you and Kenny got us! We ain’t falling for this again!” Chunker raised his hands. “Hey, it ain’t me! I swear!” Horton turned to Chunker. “Come on, Brian, that’s enough!” “It ain’t me, Richie!” Chunker persisted. The baby crying continued its loud and maddening echoes. Suddenly, Chunker and Horton felt something on their shoulders. Chapman’s jaw dropped as he pointed right at it. Horton and Chunker turned to see for themselves – and screamed when they saw what appeared to be a glowing woman in a blood-stained, damp wedding gown. The woman looked as if her flesh had decayed. Where her eyes should have been were bright, glowing red lights. Then the horrible apparition said to them, “My baby!! Give me my baby!!” The three of them screamed and ran like their lives depended on it. The ghost of Abigail Tomlin screamed loud enough to pierce the night winds before she gave chase. “My baby!! Give me my baby!!” The three of them ran until they made it back to their campsite. They hurried into their tent. Horton quickly undid the flaps and zipped them up. Now they all huddled around each other in the center of the tent. “Still think I’m doing this?” Chunker snapped. “Shut up!” Chapman snapped back. In the tent, they could hear the wind whistling and blowing harder. They wondered if the tent might be whisked away somehow. Suddenly, the front of the tent just flew open. The boys screamed again as Abigail Tomlin looked in. “My baby!! Give me my baby!!” Skinny little Richie Horton scurried out of the tent and cried out as he ran. As the ghost turned towards him, the other two escaped and ran after him. They knew they were being pursued again. “If you will not give me my baby . . . then I shall claim you three as my children!! There’s no escape!!” To Chunker’s surprise, he was actually able to keep up with Horton. “Oh, man! I swear I’m gonna go on a diet if we live through this!” “Shut up and run!” Horton cried. They ran further up the road until they came to a nearby farm. Chapman pointed to the barn. “We can hide in there!” “There’s nowhere to hide, my children!! Come to Mother!!” It was getting harder and harder to run in the blowing winds, but they finally made it to the barn. They all climbed in through a window. Chapman quickly felt a wooden ladder step and started climbing. The others followed him until they were up in the hayloft. And then . . . “Come on, Chunker! Not now!” Horton groaned. “Aw, man!” Chapman cried and waved his hands frantically in front of him. “Seriously?!” “I can’t help it, I’m scared!” Chunker admitted. “Come out, come out . . . wherever you are . . .” The boys continued to hear the wind blowing and howling. They weren’t sure if the ghost came into the barn. Suddenly, they got their answer as the barn doors literally flew off their hinges and were swept away by the high winds. From the hayloft, they could see Abigail Tomlin seemingly floating along the ground inside. The boys were hiding behind pillars and piled-up hay. The ghost looked from one direction to the next. “It’s time to come home now, children! Mother will take good care of you all!” Horton had to stop his teeth from chattering. But he had much to scream about when Abigail Tomlin was suddenly up in the hayloft with them. “Found you, my children! Now it’s time to come home!” The boys didn’t even think about it. They just screamed and ran – right off the hayloft. They didn’t realize they were falling until they were about halfway down. The only thing that saved them all from serious injuries was the full hay wagon they had fallen into. They climbed out and ran back out of the barn. They tried to run north, but the winds were much too strong to run in that direction now. They were forced to turn and run south again. They ended up running until they realized they were nearing the Cry Baby Bridge again. As they started to cross the bridge, the boys knew they couldn’t run anymore. They were tired and exhausted now. As they turned around, Abigail Tomlin was almost upon them. “I tried to escape with my baby! My tyrannical husband-to-be sealed the fates of both myself and our baby so many years ago!” She pointed at them. “Now I claim you three as my children! Don’t despair . . . you won’t remember what it means to live after a time . . .” The boys knew they couldn’t run anymore. But then something happened. The winds began to calm down. Horton pointed to the east. “Look!” The others looked to see the first rays of the morning sun. “No!! Nooooooooooooooo!! Not when I’m so close to having children again!!” With renewed strength and hope, the boys turned and ran again. Abigail Tomlin howled with rage and gave chase again. But as the sun continued to rise, the boys were widening the distance between the ghost and them. The last thing they heard before Abigail Tomlin disappeared was the deafening howl of defeat. The boys made it back to their campsite and found that their stuff was everywhere. Even the fire had been blown completely out. “Man, I can’t believe that actually happened!” Chapman stated. “You got that right!” Chunker agreed. “I guess now we know what happens, don’t we?” Horton said simply. “Hey, guys, we actually lived to tell about it!” Chunker shook his head. “I ain’t saying nothing about this! Who’d believe us, anyway?” “But if we don’t say anything, someone else will meet Abigail Tomlin,” Horton stressed. The boys talked it out and ultimately agreed to keep what they had experienced to themselves. They packed up what was left of their camping gear and headed for home. But were the boys really able keep their secret to themselves? Because it wasn’t too long after that that they had all just disappeared without a trace. The Strickfield local legend has it that on dark nights . . . just like the one that the boys had experienced . . . you can still hear their cries for help. If you drive to Strickfield, go to the Cry Baby Bridge on Indian Hollow Road at night and just remain there . . . Only for a while . . . 

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Ep.43 – The Triangle People - You Can't Escape!

Episode Notes

Somethings you can't escape, but what happens when you realize it isn't only memories that are following you everywhere you go?

The Triangle People by Shane Migliavaca

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

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Transcription:

Sarah Hoffman was nervous.

Sitting at a table outside the cafe, she felt exposed.

Sarah hated open places, so she had picked a table with a clear view of the entrance and parking lot… better to see everyone's comings and goings, not to mention she’d seen them again.

Just out of the corner of her eye… a figment of her fragile mind no doubt… brief flashes of people watching her, just out of focus. Sarah had started seeing them after the incident.

_You’re messed up kid. _

Sarah picked up the folder on the table. Inside was a stack of of glossy photos.

She flipped through them, hands were trembling. They were all crap. Damn. What was wrong with her? She used to have a good eye for setting up a shot, but these were all framed bad. Beginner’s shit, not something you’d see from a pro.

_Let’s face it. You’ve lost the passion. _

Sarah loved photography. Setting up shots… making every one of them a work of art. All she’d need was the next assignment to keep her going. And now, what had changed?

You saw that man die.

He hadn’t just died.

He died in your arms.

Sarah had been covering a flower expo of all things. Should have been an easy payday… a real piece of cake… except for the man with a gun. He opened fire on the crowd. Ten wounded, four dead… including the shooter. He’d been there to kill his ex-wife… she’d been only wounded.

One of the dead: Tom Hillston. He’d been in front of Sarah when the shooting started. Had he not been standing there…

She took a deep breath.

The image of his face as Tom died; It was always there… just below the surface… ready to come out at a moment’s notice. The sadness… emptiness in his eyes. Sarah could still taste the blood on her lips. His blood.

Blood on her hands.

Blood that wouldn’t wash off no matter how many times she tried.

There were times at night… sleepless nights, where she prayed they could switch places. She should have died that day, not Tom Hillston, father of three.

Post-traumatic stress disorder they call it. Well she certainly had it… and her work was suffering for it. Missed appointments, outbursts, and shitty work.

That’s why this assignment was so important. A job for a clothes catalog… a chance to get the ball rolling again on her career.

The cafe was busy with the afternoon lunch crowd… far too many people here for Sarah to feel comfortable. She was waiting for the editor of the catalog to show. They’d had a date for noon, but It was already quarter to one. Sarah had the urge to just fucking leave; the photos were shit anyway.

A few more minutes she told herself, then she’d leave. Piss on this whole fucking rotten thing.

A red corvette pulled into the lot. Music played loudly within for a few seconds before the car shut off. Was that Rick Astley?

It could only be Irene Dellanger, an old friend and the person responsible for getting her this job. Sarah hadn’t realized she’d be meeting Irene. This would be doubly hard… showing her the disappointing photo shoot, after Irene had gone out of her way to get Sarah the job.

Some of the patrons shot Irene dirty looks as she strode over. No doubt they weren’t fans of her choice of music. Before Irene could reach her, a waitress cut her off. “Can I help you ma’am?” The hapless young women asked.

Irene simply pointed to Sarah. “I’m with her kid. Would you be a sport and bring me a glass of wine.” The waitress left, tail between her legs.

Irene gave Sarah a weary smile. “There’s my girl!” She sat languidly in the chair across from her. “Lay ‘em on me baby.”

Sarah held the folder tight, her heart beat fast in her chest. “Well…” She wanted to tell her not to bother, that the photos were all garbage… but her courage went out the door as Irene smiled at her, waiting with her hand outreached.

No, instead Sarah handed them off, defeated. She was weak, no doubt about it. Irene took the folder, and rifled through it a couple times without comment. Sarah tried to read her friend’s face. Was that disappointment, or just tiredness? It was hard to say.

Finally, after a few agonizing minutes Irene handed it back. Before either of them commented, the poor waitress from before brought that glass of wine. Sarah worked up the nerve to say something to her friend. “Listen, I’m sorry that they’re so poor. The photos. I can do them again perhaps… ”

Irene put a hand up, cutting her off. She took a large sip of wine, setting the glass back down and spilling droplets of wine on the white tablecloth.

“Hahaha! Good one Sarah.”

Sarah looked at her puzzled. “What?”

“Is this like one of our collage pranks? Or is today April first?”

“Uh, neither?”

“Then you have a weirder sense of humor then I thought. They’re fantastic!”

Fantastic? Was Irene still smoking pot? That’s the only explanation. No, no, she was being nice. That’s it… she could tell how messed up Sarah was feeling.

“Y-You like them?” Sarah stammered. “I didn’t think they came out all that great.”

“Love ‘em!” She took another sip of wine. “In fact I think I’m giving you the location shoot too.”

“What? Really?” Sarah asked, maybe Irene was the one pulling a prank.

“Yeah.” She answered, a little annoyed. “I’m not joking. You killed the studio shoot. Let’s see what you can do with a location. I’ve already got it picked out. You’ll love it.”

They’d had a pretty good lunch afterwards; dropping all the business talk and just talking about old times. It was the first time in so long she felt good… felt human, and not like a lump of scar tissue.

As Sarah was walking back to the car, she stopped and waved to Irene as she pulled out, music again loudly pouring from the car’s speakers. It was in fact Rick Astley. Over the din of Rick’s voice and the car engine, Irene hollered to her.

“It was fun home slice. Catch you tomorrow!” With that she sped off, breaking god knows how many traffic laws.

Sarah couldn’t help herself, she smiled. Perhaps it was the turning point she’d hoped for. A second chance… redemption.

Irene might have thought she’d love the location, but Sarah had other feelings about it altogether. The place was horrible… an old abandoned building at the center of the city. It had served as the City Hall back in the 70’s, but a scandal of some sort had led to the building falling into disuse. In fact most of this area of the city had been vacated.

Blocks and blocks of old, abandoned buildings. Some hundreds of years old. It wasn’t too hard to tell her models: Allie and Paige were less then thrilled by their surroundings as well.

Paige, a pale, leggy redhead looked up at the old city hall. “Really?”

Sarah nodded. “That’s what she told me.”

Allie, a pretty blonde with long curly hair cracked her knuckles. “I don’t know guys, I’m feeling it. Let’s get shooting.”

They headed into the building.

Sarah was surprised that the front door wasn’t locked or boarded up. Maybe Irene had arranged something… wouldn’t surprise her at all. Irene always got her way.

Inside it was pretty much as Sarah expected; a mess. The floor was littered with trash… the walls covered in graffiti. She had to admit to herself though, there were plenty of interesting places to shoot here.

The next couple of hours went rather well. Sarah felt her confidence coming back.

Paige was taking a break, sitting on an old desk. She stretched a long leg, rubbing it. She watched Sarah as she was taking some photos of Allie, clicking away with an old style camera.

“You now, they have digital ones now.” Paige said, a little sarcasm in her voice.

Sarah watched Allie take a new pose. “I’m a little old fashioned I guess.”

After another hour of shooting and they’d finished up. The crew was packing up their equipment as the girls and make-up guy took a break. Sarah decided that she wanted some photos of the place… it was too good a location to pass up.

There were plenty of good shots she could get. She was feeling it, that thrill again, after so long.

Perhaps that was why it didn’t bother her walking down the hallway alone… that and the fact that after the shooting she preferred solitude. Sarah had a hard time trusting people, even those she knew, after all, that woman had been married at one time to the man that tried to kill her. You never knew who might snap and try to kill you.

Among the graffiti were people’s names, crude drawings of sex organs and various obscene words… but one thing kept popping up. The Triangle People are coming.

Sarah counted at least five times so far she found it written on a wall or door. Was it the name of a gang?

She walked further down the hall, clicking photos of the graffiti. She found a couch further down the hall. Resting against a wall. Spray painted across the cushions was the word ASS. She chuckled before taking a picture of it. ‘Whoever did it had some skill… a letter on each cushion and everything’ Sarah thought caustically.

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap.

Sarah looked up from the couch, glancing back they way she’d come. Was there somebody coming? Maybe one of the crew come to fetch her. But the hall was empty. She turned and looked further down the other end of the hall where it turned a corner.

“Hello?” Sarah called out, tightening her grip on the camera. If one of them was playing a prank on her, she’d let them have it. “Guys c’mon, don’t even.”

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap.

The sound was coming closer. It sounded like heavy boots, none of the others were wearing boots, were they?

“C’mon guys. Not even funny!” She felt the sweat on her palms, making the camera slippery in her hands as they trembled.

There was a shadow on the far wall at the end of the hall. Was that the shadow of a person? Sarah wanted to run, but her legs turned to immobile concrete.

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap.

She could make out the vague shape of a person in the shadow, they were just around the corner, coming this way. It was them, the ones she’d seen. The ones that were always watching her.

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap. Sarah caught the briefest glimpse of a man, before everything went white in a flash. Her shaking hands hit the flash on the camera. She was momentarily blinded. The camera clicked away, taking photo after photo.

When her eyesight returned she was alone.

Sweat… or was it tears.. ran down her cheek.

Sarah turned, her legs working again, and hurried back to the others. They hadn’t even noticed she’d left. They were all there, and none of them acted like they’d just come back or were pulling a prank on her.

She didn’t say a word about it. They didn’t need to know how crazy she was.

Who was that she’d run into in the hall? Sarah looked down at her camera, clutched tightly in her sweaty pale hands.

Sarah was developing the film in her darkroom. The apartment she rented was a two bedroom affair, and since she lived alone, she’d converted the second bedroom into a darkroom.

She nibbled on her supper, a BLT grinder as she worked.

The film was all she could think about on the way home. This was it. Sarah took a sip of her coke, watching the photo the whole time.

The first one she’d taken was of the figure’s lower half. Black pants and matching boots.

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap.

She could still hear the sound… the memory sent a shiver down her spine.

The next photo was a blurry mess. Was that a hand?

The third photo, that was the one that Sarah had wished she’d never seen. The man… if that was in fact a man in the photo, had a face that appeared to be carved from coal. A jet black face, with large yellow eyes.

The being was wearing a suit. On one lapel was a strange triangle pin.

Sarah felt dread claw at her stomach. Those yellow eyes, stared off the photo and right through her.

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap. This time the sound wasn’t a memory, it was in the other room… walking across the hardwood floor of the living room.

Sarah grabbed a large pair of scissors she kept on the table. Fear gripped her heart as she opened the door.

“Go away” she said, pleading.

The door opened with a low creak.

There was nobody out there.

Sarah made a quick survey of her apartment. It was empty. It was just in her mind she thought, relieved.

Then she saw it, sprawled across the living room wall, written in black paint.

_The Triangle People are coming. _

Terrified, Sarah backed away. Then the noise came again.

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap.

Her TV screamed to life. A dark figure appeared on screen. It’s features obscured by static.

A unearthly voice echoed from it. "There are those among you who know the true of this. There are parallel realities. The walls of which touch ours. These realities are overseen by the Triangle Proclamation. There are areas that are weaker then others. Where one touched may cross over. See what they shouldn’t. These errors must be fixed.”

A shadow fell on the hall wall.

Sarah screamed and ran into the darkroom, slamming the door shut and locking it in her wake.

“Go away! I won’t tell!”

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap.

It was getting closer.

Coming for her.

Acting fast, Sarah took a couple of her photos and hid them. Someone would find them, then perhaps they’d know. Something began pounding on the other side of the door harder and harder.

Sarah screamed till her lungs burned as the assault on the door continued. And then it stopped.

Sarah wiped tears from her eyes, staring dumbfounded at the door.

How long did she wait there in the dark before slowly unlocking the door?

Peeking her head out, her apartment was still… silent. The TV was dark… it looked burned out.

Grabbing her car keys, Sarah ran out of her apartment in a blind panic. She had to get away. Far away.

She headed towards her car parked behind the apartment building. She fumbled with her keys, blindly trying to stab them into the door lock.

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap.

No, no, no! They were here!

She slid the key into the lock.

Before she could turn the key, Sarah felt cold, solid arms wrap around her.

And then there was nothingness.

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