Posts Tagged ‘ghosts

05
May
18

Haunts and Hoaxes

With my continuing illness, I’ve found myself poking all over the internet. I think I’ve almost reached the end of it. Given my natural proclivities, I find myself watching paranormal television shows and tons of YouTube videos on the subject; while I tell myself at least some of it is “research” for Smoke & Mirrors and Believe Me, part of it is also just for entertainment.

But it’s not that entertaining, sometimes. Mainly when it delves into the land of pure stupidity, suspension of disbelief on the level of thinking that humans can actually fly or subsist entirely on sunlight, or so patently false that I have to wonder if I’m being trolled or if people are genuinely that nutty.

I know it sounds silly to some, who would lump all things paranormal or supernatural into the category of balderdash, but I’m sure even die hard skeptics can agree there’s a difference between fanciful concepts that still rely on “if A then B” logic versus things that are completely batshit insane.

In that mindset, I felt like sharing some of the supernatural items that fascinate the world but that I think are utter hogwash and should be buried, forgotten, and left to die before any more idiots take up the cause and do anything else psycho believing in it.

Amityville – It’s been done to death, and I’m sure most folks reading this know my position on the matter. But in my opinion, there was not a goddamn thing that happened in that house that even vaguely resembles what was in the book or film. Actually, you can extend this one out to cover pretty much anything Ed and Lorraine Warren were involved with. If they’re around, expect things to get blown way out of proportion, utterly BS claims to be made, and a book deal waiting somewhere in the background.

Zozo – Supposedly some dude found a weird Ouija board in his attic and all kinds of bad shit happened when he played with it. Now, I am not the one to say that nothing bad can come of messing with Ouija boards – I do believe they can be dangerous in the wrong hands – but the whole story of the Zozo board and the internet explosion of people claiming to have contacted the “demon” contained in it is riddled with inconsistencies and just plain stupidity that only blooms the more fanciful myths and interpretations get applied to the story. (And gosh, funny how a one-time drug addict down on his luck roadie with a vague interest in the supernatural might find a Ouija board with a made-up name supposedly written on it that uses the same symbology as one of his favorite bands, pushes for exposure on shows like Ghost Adventures, and then sells a book…)

Slenderman – Really. Let this one die. Is it fun? Yes. Is it a cool concept, giving us great games like Slender: The Arrival, awesome episodes of television shows like Supernatural‘s “Thin Man” episode, and creative projects like “Marble Hornets”? Yes. But it’s also a bloody work of fiction, created for a contest by a very creative and overachieving individual. Slenderman isn’t real. He’s not accompanied by a cadre of similar beings and demanding human sacrifice to turn people into Proxies or protect their family. It’s fiction, people. 100%. Stop it.

I seem kind of hostile, and that’s probably because I am. We have enough things to worry about in the world, and enough potentially paranormal things to investigate or consider, without piling on garbage that makes believers look even nuttier than they already do, or promotes atrocities like the Payton Leutner stabbing.

What about you folks out there? What are your favorite (or most hated) paranormal hoaxes? Got something that a lot of folks believe in but that you think is utter hogwash? Share it down below!

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25
Apr
18

Spook Stories, Mark 3

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I know I’ve been on a run with this stuff lately. This will be the last on the subject for a bit, I swear.

Yet again, I opted to leave the Spirit Stories app running while I slept; here’s the listing of what it kicked out. (For semi-brevity and ease of typing, I’ll forgo the timestamps this time; if anyone is interested in that, let me know and I’ll arrange for that.)

Fluffy; Aunt laughs; bright; son answers; strict; thrown; depressed; morose; hose; thrown; cousin warns; movie; cursed backyard; gloomy; dejected; reserved Rhonda; vehicle; frightened mother; sheriff; thigh; sedatives; judge; carpet; son cries; hand; resentful; beside cellar; used chain; Betty judges; companionless; salesperson; close to floor; sound behind; dealer; lighthouse; front yard; shattered leg; rope; somber; trades; ceiling; scratch arm; vehicle; lighthouse; tavern; admired; lazy; shadowed parlor; hepatitis; don’t run; Craig walks; detects; enchanted living room; encouraging; spirited story; heartless jeweler; hospitable; argumentative lover; hostile; primitive; dishonest; knife; scratch face; prepares; son whispers; penitent; controls; thieving manager; vengeful; ranch; penitent; gullible relative; outraged; tariff; light; hand; cemetery; window; divan; with sedatives; kind; scratch leg; storeroom; below pool; cluster; dainty; axe; mate hires; hoe; health; colors; humiliated; dismayed; Holly; all around us; used bat; hopeless; meningitis; parlor; inactive girlfriend; mysterious; entity ahead; crowbar; egg; cursed roof; Denise; depressed mechanic; earrings; haversack; bruise; poet; diva; hostile; gullible friend; pantry; Alan answers; husband diagnoses; careful; nephew; train; feeling lonely; roof; egotistical; son travels; stereo; happy music; piano; lungs; impatient; Ricky orders; watchful; hateful; defensive; haunted ward; Sarah fixes; devalued; interested; admired; tearful; loud story; insipid; dejected; criticized; examines.

Quite a long list. Had it running from 11:32 PM last night til 6:46 AM today. Stopped when I rolled out of bed in a mad dash to pray to the great god Ralph. More info than you folks needed, I’m sure, but oh well.

 I don’t think I’ll be leaving it running anymore; it hasn’t kicked anything out that really convinces me its doing anything useful, and in all honesty I suspect it may be rigged to give “spooky” pattern answers.

But that in and of itself had me thinking. If it is a rigged game, its almost brilliant. Just random enough to make you suspect it may not be, just consistent enough to make you wonder. A large part of me enjoys contemplating and prodding at paranormal hoaxes. They’re almost as fascinating as the real thing. Assuming, of course, that there is such a concept as a “real thing” for those sorts of topics. I suspect there is, but I honestly think I’d be happier to have it disproven once and for all.

That may be why I have so many fraudulent psychics and “are they or aren’t they?” moments in my writing. Both of the manuscripts that are getting actively worked on, Believe Me and Smoke & Mirrors rely on those concepts; I’m sure they won’t be the only ones.

Enough about that, I suppose. I owe them their words for the day, after all. What about you folks out there? Is there some hobby or concept that you find keeps creeping into your own creative work? Do you encourage it or try to avoid it? Let us know down below!

 KA Spiral no signature

24
Apr
18

Spook Stories, Mark 2

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Yesterday, I was playing around with an app called Spirit Story Box. The results were… odd. But not necessarily alarming. Just for fun, I decided to leave it running on the nightstand last night.

The results were worrisome. It is pretty long, so feel free to skip it if you like.

Staring at 11:54 PM, and running to 3:30 AM (when the battery died), I was presented with the following list:

  • 11:54 PM – Boyfriend Executes (Hmmm. Great start, right?)
  • 11:56 PM – Coarse Cousin (Is that who got executed?)
  • 11:59 PM – Orphan (Ruh roh.)
  • 12:00 AM – Object (Well… okay.)
  • 12:09 AM – Grandfather (Still okay, I guess.)
  • 12:10 AM – Ruthless nurse (Was she the orphan, the executed, a cousin or mean to grandpa? Who knows?)
  • 12:10 AM – Species (This is one of the few words that doesn’t seem to fit a theme.)
  • 12:12 AM – Discovers (This could go poorly…)
  • 12:15 AM – Creates (…or it could go nowhere.)
  • 12:16 AM – Companionless (My brain insists on tying that to grandpa and his ruthless nurse.)
  • 12:17 AM – Steve learns (What did Steve learn?)
  • 12:27 AM – Startled (I bet he was…)
  • 12:34 AM – Come (Come where? Are we going somewhere? Fun!)
  • 12:35 AM – Hand (Ewwww.)
  • 12:37 AM – Grandfather (Again?)
  • 12:41 AM – Crazy soldier (Was grandpa the soldier? The boyfriend?)
  • 12:50 AM – Powerless (Interesting word, here…)
  • 12:53 AM – Lazy nurse (Another reference to nurses. Weird.)
  • 12:55 AM – Thrown (What’s getting thrown? Do I really wanna know?)
  • 12:58 AM – Alone (It seems like it’s repeating a pattern, now. Interesting.)0
  • 1:01 AM – Chef (Another one-off word that seems irrelevant. Hmm.)
  • 1:02 AM – Helps (Or maybe not, depending on if we assume this is related to “Chef.”)
  • 1:03 AM – Boyfriend murders (The boyfriend apparently has a murder boner.)
  • 1:05 AM – Bashful (Well, apparently not that bashful, if he’s executing and murdering folks…)
  • 1:09 AM – Dejected (Hmm.)
  • 1:10 AM – Depraved (Yeah, I’d say so…)
  • 1:14 AM – Milk (More nonsense. At least I think so.)
  • 1:18 AM – Tuberculosis (Is that what landed grandpa in the hospital with the crappy nurses?)
  • 1:19 AM – Immobile (Seems to fit the pattern.)
  • 1:22 AM – Diseased veins (More references to being sick. Though I wonder what kind of disease?)
  • 1:22 AM – Old (Well, I’d assume so, given everything else…)
  • 1:26 AM – Underneath shack (Ruh roh, again. What shack? Kinda worried, now.)
  • 1:27 AM – Fedora (Apparently gramps was a snappy dresser.)
  • 1:29 AM – Wounded (By the ruthless nurse? By the boyfriend?)
  • 1:32 AM – Next to place (Guessing that the “place” is the shack.)
  • 1:35 AM – Depraved (Again. Interesting.)
  • 1:36 AM – Grant (The app specifically capitalized this, implying the proper name rather than other uses.)
  • 1:37 AM – Head (Hmm.)
  • 1:38 AM – Frightened (Gramps? Boyfriend? Grant? Betting grampa.)
  • 1:39 AM – Egotistical farmer (Wait…what??)
  • 1:40 AM – Blacksmith (Are we just spouting random professions, now?)
  • 1:42 AM – Drudge (Well, if I was an egotistical farming blacksmith, I’d probably be drudging, too.)
  • 1:45 AM – Shack (Same shack? The recurring themes are what really concerns me, here.)
  • 1:52 AM – Acid (Oh snap. Is that what was being drudged?)
  • 1:59 AM – Uncle covers (What was he covering? Is this uncle related to the earlier “cousin?”)
  • 2:00 AM – Plaza (Seems unrelated. I think.)
  • 2:02 AM – Architect (Again with the random professions.)
  • 2:02 AM – Cracked wrist (More injuries. Hmm.)
  • 2:04 AM – Threatened (If there was a broken wrist involved, that’s more than a threat…)
  • 2:05 AM – Excited (Think the boyfriend gets off on naughty stuff, eh?)
  • 2:05 AM – Grouchy (That was a quick mood swing…)
  • 2:09 AM – Stem (Seems unrelated.)
  • 2:13 AM – Charlotte smells (Well, that wasn’t very nice.)
  • 2:14 AM – Thigh (Here’s where it starts getting a little odd, like it’s shifted tracks.)
  • 2:16 AM – Back (Naming body parts, now?)
  • 2:21 AM – Distracted (I bet you are.)
  • 2:26 AM – Bernard travels (Well, good for him.)
  • 2:28 AM – Ridiculed (Well, you already told her she smells. Jeez!)
  • 2:34 AM – Lively (Not for long, eh?)
  • 2:35 AM – Around castle (Where’d Bernard go, if he’s in a castle?)
  • 2:37 AM – Leader (Of the castle?)
  • 2:40 AM – Lungs (Back to body parts? The previous mention of tuberculosis seems weird, though.)
  • 2:42 AM – Guy (What guy?)
  • 2:43 AM – Modern (Is Bernard a modern guy? I hope so.)
  • 2:46 AM – Mistress judges (“Judge not lest ye be judged,” honey.)
  • 2:48 AM – Jonathan (Hmmm.)
  • 2:49 AM – Hospital (Back to this theme again. Interesting…)
  • 2:53 AM – Befuddled (Seems like it could fit with grandpa, old, ruthless and lazy nurses. Maybe.)
  • 2:55 AM – Fretful (Not sure what to make of this one.)
  • 2:55 AM – Laborer (When taken with the other random job things, I wonder if someone was a jack-of-all-trades.)
  • 2:56 AM – Be courteous (Always good advice.)
  • 3:00 AM – Vengeful (Well that escalated quickly.)
  • 3:06 AM – Befuddled (Apparently gramps is still a little confused.)
  • 3:09 AM – Pants (Are we talking about clothing or breathing?)
  • 3:10 AM – Window (What window?)
  • 3:14 AM – Visitor (Given that I sleep with the window open, I’m now slightly concerned.)
  • 3:22 AM – Basement (Well, at least I don’t have one.)
  • 3:23 AM – Book (Okay. Seems unrelated.)
  • 3:26 AM – Shoved friend (Back on message. People gettin’ violent everywhere, it seems.)
  • 3:29 AM – Dining room (Scene of the crime?)
  • 3:30 AM – Around nine (Time of death?)

I really wish I’d thought to plug in the phone before passing out, since I’m curious to see if things would have continued in this vein. But still, interesting.

What do you folks out there think? Random chance or spooky weirdness? Have you tried the app, and if so, what were your results? Let us know down below!

KA Spiral no signature 

23
Apr
18

Spook Stories

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I love ghost stories. I also believe in spooks – or at least, that there’s something going on that gets marked as ghosts – and sometimes find myself diddling with things in an effort to see what knowledge one might glean regarding the subject.

While watching a YouTube video the other day, I was exposed to an app called “Spirit Story Box.” There’s dozens like it – ghost detectors of every make and model, some with audio processing, some just functioning as “radar,” some combos. It was only a buck, so I said “what the hell” and gave it a rip.

It’s been… odd. In the last hour or so the app has spat out the following: “Cabinet. Alone. Haunted woods. Green fever. Hidden bonds. Graveyard. Low. Zealous. Appreciative. Backyard.”

It’s been far more chatty than similar apps I’ve had. Wether that means anything or not isn’t for me to judge. I’m not convinced, though at least more of the words seem to fit together than previous experiences with this kind of app. Of course, they also sound like short form for the plot of a bad horror movie, so who knows if it’s scripted or not? We’ll see. Going to leave it running for a while longer to see what else happens.

Hey, it’s something to do in between runs to the bathroom and coughing fits. Hopefully it’s not prepping me to move over to the other side with sneak previews. If it says “fatal food poisoning” though, I’m calling the doctor.

What about you out there? Do you believe in spooks? Had your own experiences with unexplained phenomena? Tried out one of these apps? How did it go, and did it reinforce or cancel your beliefs on the subject? Let us know down below!

P.S. : As I was typing this, the app coughed up “butcher.” I don’t know if that makes it better or worse.

KA Spiral no signature

11
Feb
18

What’s Haunting You?

There’s a portion at the beginning of Stephen King’s mass of felled trees, IT, where Mike Hanlon, our tour guide to the troubled town of Derry through much of that novel, goes over several definitions of the word haunt. It’s an interesting bit, and his ruminations on how each of the definitions applies to Derry and Pennywise (and even the Loser’s Club itself) are fascinating and well done.

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But it got me thinking about hauntings and the things we believe, and the things we endure because of those beliefs.

I don’t hide the fact that I absolutely believe in spooks. I try not to be one of those wild-eyed lunatics who insist that every bit of unexplained sound, movement, or sensation means the Other Side is trying to reach out to us, but neither am I a completely hard-headed cynic who assumes such things cannot happen. When I’ve reached a certain point, I do assume that supernatural events have occurred, and my general explanation is spirits – whether formerly human or not – have done the deed.

Call me crazy if you like. I’m used to it.

But I don’t accept that as the only possible explanation. It’s merely the one that makes sense to me, here and now. I accept there could be other explanations. When someone proves carbon monoxide or infrasound can account for most paranormal situations, I’m willing to listen. If the aliens show up and tell us it was them all along, I’m willing to shift my beliefs. If they find a chemical cocktail that proves I was crazy all along and science can fix it, well, hey, sounds good to me.

But spooks, spirits, and alien visitations aren’t the only ways someone or something can be haunted. It can be troubled by memories that either don’t fade or have faded too much; regrets over past actions or anxiety regarding upcoming ones. A lot of things can gnaw at you in the wee hours of the morning.

For me it’s people. People I’ve known, and people I no longer know. Ghosts of those yet living, if you will. Where they are, what’s happened since I saw them last, what things could have changed or been prevented.

Sometimes I’m even haunted by myself. By the “mes” that could have been, the ones without this scar or that memory. I picture what their lives are like and what they might be doing, and if they’d even be alive right now. The answers aren’t always pretty.

But what haunts those of you out there? What about spooks, do you think they’re real or merely brought on by some other explanation? Let us know down below!

KA Spiral no signature

19
Jan
18

Layers, Part 8

(Missed the beginning? It starts right here!)

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That should have ended it. I’d never found her in the dreams, after all. This was the resolution that I’d been pushed to since I was about the age she was. Or had been. Who knows what tense to use when you’re dealing with ghosts?

If she was a ghost. She was solid, having weight as I cradled her in one arm while running the steering wheel with the other. But it was just meat I was holding. Something she’d vacated long ago. A symbol and little else. But symbols had power, and by taking her battered body from the family and the burned, disfigured thing that had held her hostage for who knows how many decades, I’d given her the power to be free.

She wasn’t crying, anymore. I could hear her breathing, though. Ragged and labored at first, then smoothing out to the sound of a sleeping child being broadcast through a baby monitor. In that breathing she whispered to me; I heard her thanking me, and she told me her name.

“Deborah,” the corpse in my arms whispered. “Deborah Daphne King.”

The name gave me a terrible chill. I’d had a sister… or was supposed to have one, at least. But she hadn’t made it out of the hospital. Only lasted three days. Birth defects, something to do with the lungs; I don’t know if I just didn’t remember, or had never been fully told. But she’d been a Deborah, too.

That chill led to a shudder, and that led to the car drifting out of the thin lane. At the same time, a steep curve came into view. A terrible calm fell over me, a sense of resignation and deja vu that told me all I needed to know.

It didn’t matter how things had changed. One thing was going to stay the same. I tried to pull the car straight again, to force it into the turn. I pumped the brake. Neither had any effect, as the car continued to drift, the guardrail growing larger.

I looked down at her, the mangled thing that I’d been looking for my whole life, the thing that had driven me past the point of logic, of sanity. The thing that was going to kill me.

There was no body. No Deborah. Just a filthy, matted rag that might have been a towel at some point. Tears began running down my cheeks, and a strangled sob escaped my lips.

“You always knew,” a familiar voice said from the passenger seat. I drew my eyes up.

The thing from the house was sitting there, trying to smile at me. One arm was dangling between its upraised knees, the other stretched towards me, clenching the steering wheel and urging the car to the left, towards the rail.

I could hear it clearly now. I should have noticed it when it stated I’d finally come. But have you ever noticed that your voice sounds different, somehow alien when you hear it on a recording or an echo?

The thing spoke in my voice. It had always been me. Some lost fragment of myself, calling out somehow through the years, begging me to claim the treasure that it had given its life for, somehow blind to the fact it was no treasure but a wad of broken repressed memories and carefully fabricated lies.

“We’ll be together, now.”

The car hit the rail. I let go of the wheel as the vehicle plowed through with the shriek of steel and the roar of the engine as it surged, no longer powering wheels on asphalt but spinning in thin air.

“Forever,” I whispered to myself, hearing it both in my head as my voice always sounded, and in my ears as the thing had always spoken. Whether I meant myself and I, myself and Deborah, or all three of us together, I don’t know.

The car flipped once, cracking my skull against the roof and sending a freshet of blood into my eyes. I hadn’t been wearing my seatbelt. There was no pain. The thing in the passenger seat reached out one claw, stroking the wound.

Another flip jarred me back into the seat and drove me forward. I felt my rib cage give way, my lungs collapse, as the wheel plunged into my chest. The thing put its finger to its mouth.

“Shhhh,” it said. “It’ll all be over soon.”

The car hit the bottom of the ravine below, doing another backflip and landing on the roof. The windshield, designed before safety glass had become the standard, shattered. Thick shards embedded themselves in my face, my chest, my arms. Everything went dark as my eyes were popped like ripe grapes. I felt fluids from the emptied sockets leaking down my face, mingling with the tears and blood.

The roof of the car had been punctured by a rock formation, dragging across it as the car burned the last of its momentum. It dug into my back as well, leaving a ragged gash that left the flesh hanging to either side like broken wings.

There was a perfect stillness to the world, then. A moment of absolute silence and clarity. No birds sang, no bugs hummed. My breathing had stopped, and the thing in the passenger seat had apparently lost its taste for chatter.

That silence was broken by a soft, unimportant sound. “Foomp,” it sounded like to me. But I knew what came next, knew it wasn’t unimportant.

Something had cracked the gas tank. The metal body of the car dragging across the gravel and rocks had provided the spark. Smoke and the smell of scorched earth came first, then pain sank in as the smell of a roasted pig added to it.

I couldn’t vomit, no matter how much I wanted to. Couldn’t hold my breath, even though it was coming only in shallow rasps. I just had to wait, to endure, as I burned alive.

But again, one fresh change. I was spared having to endure it all the way through, didn’t have to wait as I crisped, blackened, and finally died trying to scream. The thing laid hold of me, was dragging me out. Through the undercarriage, back up the hill, passing through the guardrail, which seemed to stitch itself back together as we passed, my eyesight somehow returned.

Back up the hill, a movie running backward. I passed the car going the other direction, then my other self pursuing it. Back to the house, where we were pulled through the hole in the front that it/me had created giving chase. Like the guardrail, it pulled itself back together like a flower closing its petals against the night. I saw the television I’d knocked over right itself, saw the doors I’d opened on the way in slam shut, the blanket replace itself on the bed and straighten out perfectly. I heard a thud and knew the dryer had slammed shut again, and a moment later the rhythmic thumping of the thing in the dryer started again. Back into the shower stall, where I stood still and watched as the curtain pulled shut in front of me.

The house was as it had been, as it was supposed to be. It looked like a quaint little cabin, but underneath it was just a trap, a honeypot laid out just for me. Just like underneath the scars and claws and demon-like appearance, my tormentor had always been myself.

I was alone. I had become him, and he was me again. Now we/I would wait.

Perhaps not completely alone, though. Somewhere in the house, I heard the crying start again. Deborah was with me like she always had been.

I waited. I had time. All the time in the world.

I knew I’d come along. Eventually.

KA Spiral no signature

17
Jan
18

Layers, Part 7

(Haven’t been following? The story starts here!)

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When I’d come in my dreams, I’d always assumed the blank spots, the skips that broke the sense of a cohesive narrative, would be resolved if I actually ever found the place.

I was wrong.

A moment ago, I’d had the rotten claw of a godawful who-knows-what wrapped around my arm, pulling me towards whatever death awaited. I remember screaming when it touched me and remembered it seeming happy that I was finally here.

Then, nothing. The next thing I remember was being in an unfamiliar part of the house. Taking a second to look around, I saw the kitchen behind me, and beyond that the still-empty living room. The room I was in looked to be a laundry room. Blue tiled floor, a half-dozen cabinets hanging above, one or two with doors that didn’t quite shut and gave a view of Borax boxes and bleach bottles. Taking up the majority of the floorplan was a paired washer and dryer, beige in color, and surprisingly clean and unmarred for their apparent age.

The washer was nothing remarkable, standing silently to my left with the lid up, a hungry maw waiting to be fed with clots of clothes and the blood stains they probably contained. Peering over the lip, I could see the agitator, covered in moss and mold that looked like it might have migrated from the bathroom. Part of me wondered if the thing in the shower stall brought the mold with it, some little chunks of itself or leftovers from its presence. But if that was the case, why would it be in the washing machine? Probably just the lack of use and general humidity.

Maybe I should have looked closer.

The dryer, though… that was a different story. It was on, producing a steady series of thumps and giving off an unpleasantly burned smelling heat. From the pattern – a swish, followed by a heavy thud, repeated every five or six seconds – it sounded like whatever was in there was wadded into a ball. Being pulled to the top as it turned, then falling back to the bottom, never completing a full rotation. It would explain the smell, too, since at this point it would be smoldering instead of just drying, singed on the outside instead of getting an even heat.

The crying sound was back, assaulting my eardrums and making my eyes water. It seemed like I could hear words in it, timed along with the thumps.

“Help me,” I thought I heard it say. Over and over again, punctuated by a fresh thud from the dryer each time, the crying it was buried in getting louder.

I didn’t want to. I knew what came next. I didn’t know how I got from the bathroom to here, but I remembered the rest clearly enough and didn’t want to open the dryer. What was in there was a thousand times worse than pulling the shower curtain back and being confronted with the thing that dwelled inside, a million times worse than Dad fixing me with that eyeless stare.

Thinking how much I didn’t want to do it, I tugged open the dryer door. With a final thump and a sickly-sweet smell that combined burning hair, blood, and mold into a single strike team designed to murder my sinuses, the thing inside slid to the bottom of the drum. The crying stopped, with a final whisper.

“Thank you,” it said.

I reached inside and drew out the bundle. At first, I thought it was just a wad of sheets, tangled in a knot and nothing to be concerned with. It was too heavy for that, though, and the unpleasantly solid weight of it made me try to unfold one end of the knot.

Like a series of petals pulling back to reveal the eye of a sunflower, or a disgusting parallel to birth, I uncovered a small head. Misshapen, caved in on one side, missing one eye and the other scrunched up so there was only the tiniest sliver of blue visible beneath the bruised lid. Untangling more of the sheets, I revealed a chest that was sunken, ribs poking forth like spears. One arm was broken, twisted behind her poor back, while the other was lifted up, what should have been chubby grasping fingers instead skeletal things that seemed to be trying to ward off a blow.

“Shhhh, honey,” I whispered. That was all I could manage. Between the vice grip on my chest that the asthma brought with it and the choking clot of would-be tears creeping through my throat, I couldn’t manage much more than that.

“Shhh,” I said again, running a finger along that shattered skull with as much tenderness as I could manage. “It’s okay. We’ll get you out of here, okay?”

I swaddled her back up in the sheets but didn’t cover her face. She deserved to see, to have a chance for those lifeless little lungs to fill with clean air. Once we were out of here, anyway.

Something from further back in the house moved. A scratching, slithery noise that brought to mind images of snakes or squids uncoiling, preparing to strike. Something grunted, then laughed. It seemed to be coming from the hallway. Apparently, the burned thing had decided it wasn’t going to let me go after all. At least not without its prize.

I bolted, through the kitchen and into the living room. Mom, Dad, and Sis were back, their heads swiveling to track my passage, but I didn’t give them much thought. They weren’t the real threat, wouldn’t interfere. I hit the door at speed, practically blasting it out of the hinges, and dove through the darkness – how long had I been in the house, anyway? Who knew? – towards the car.

I’d left it unlocked, keys in it. I was more concerned about the ability to make a quick getaway if needed than that little Billy might stumble upon the car and decide to take it for a joyride.

I wouldn’t let her go or put her down. Hugging her to my chest, I yanked the car door open with my free hand and dropped into the seat. The keys were still there. As I laid my hand on them to gun the engine, not certain of where I was going to know but knowing that I had to take her somewhere, anywhere, other than here, I was frozen almost solid by a sound.

First, there was the sound of an explosion, followed by a metallic rain; looking over my shoulder, I saw that the burned thing had come through the door, doing it with such force that the front portion of the house had literally exploded. The drops hitting the roof of the car and making the sound were actually splinters and fragments of the aluminum frame.

It raised one claw, the one it had wrapped around my arm, and pointed one finger at me. I felt something burning on my arm and glanced down at myself to see blood pouring out from under my shirtsleeve. The spot that it had touched me had gone a sickening blackish purple, oozing blood and other, less-identifiable fluids.

Didn’t matter, I told myself. All that mattered was getting away, setting her free.

It shrieked, a sound born of sheer rage. I didn’t know why; it knew I would come, and it must have known the outcome. I’d known since I was a child.

I wasn’t sticking around to hear it. I gunned the engine and popped the clutch, spinning the wheel one-handed while I clutched the child’s battered corpse to my chest with the other.

“Hold on, baby. It’s gonna be okay.”

Flipping the car around in the driveway, it caught in the gravel for a too-long moment as the figure on the porch descended towards us. It was almost close enough to lay a hand on the bumper – something that I knew would mean game over – when the tires finally caught and peeled away. There was a moment of savage glee when the thing was pelted with chunks of the house and gravel from the driveway kicked up by the tires.

I started down the mountain with my prize, whispering nursery rhymes to her the whole time.

(How does it end? Find out here!)

KA Spiral no signature




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