Friday, December 30, 2011

"Health Insurance"

To: Daniel Rio
From: The Love of My Life at 1:53 PM

Baby could you pick up some milk on your way home?

To: The Love of My Life
From: Daniel Rio at 1:54 PM

Yeah, that’s fine.

To: Daniel Rio
From: The Love of My Life at 1:54 PM

Whats wrong honey??? Still caught up on that whole eye thing??

To: The Love of My Life
From: Daniel Rio at 2:03 PM

Yeah. I’m not seeing it so much anymore but it still bothers me every now and then

To: Daniel Rio
From: The Love of My Life at 2:05 PM

Dont worry about it. Youre just paranoid. How about I make you a nice cup of coffee when you get home from work??

To: The Love of My Life
From: Daniel Rio at 2:05 PM

That would be nice, yeah. Make sure it’s not decaf, though. Love you.

To: Daniel Rio
From: The Love of My Life at 2:06 PM

Ok no problem :) love you honey

To: Daniel Rio
From: The Love of My Life at 3:28 PM

Hey honey someone just tried calling for you…. I didn’t recognize the number but they left a voicemail…. it was just heavy breathing and someone said to check your work computer… i think maybe one of your drinking buddies was pulling a prank but its still really weird and im kind of nervous

To: The Love of My Life
From: Daniel Rio at 3:30 PM

What was the number? Make sure to keep the voicemail. I’ll look at it when I get home.

To: Daniel Rio
From: The Love of My Life at 3:42 PM

they said something about judgement and stuff…… I dont know what to think of it

To: The Love of My Life
From: Daniel Rio at 3:51 PM

It sounds like a prank caller to me. Don’t worry about it.

To: Daniel Rio
From: The Love of My Life at 3:52 PM

okay… they also sent me a picture… here it is
Attached file: JUDGEMENT.jpg

To: The Love of My Life
From: Daniel Rio at 3:56 PM

What… What number sent that to you?

To: Daniel Rio
From: The Love of My Life at 4:04 PM

it was some 303 number

To: Daniel Rio
From: The Love of My Life at 4:17 PM

someone just knocked on the door… they left an envelope with some pictures in it…… theyre people i dont recognize. ones of a woman that looks like shes in her late teens, another ones of a little boy who cant be older than nine, and then the last one is an old woman… somethings not right about them… its like these pictures were taken after they were dead

To: Daniel Rio
From: The Love of My Life at 4:20 PM

and theres a note… all it says is JUDGEMENT

To: The Love of My Life
From: Daniel Rio at 4:46 PM

Cheyenne I want you to take the kids and get the fuck out of there right fucking now there’s not much time just go fucking go go for the love of god leave the house take everything you can they’re everywhere theyre everywhere oh god ohgod oh god

To: Daniel Rio
From: The Love of My Life at 4:47 PM

Baby whats going on????

To: Daniel Rio
From: The Love of My Life at 5:32 PM

Danny????? Are you okay??

To: Daniel Rio
From: The Love of My Life at 5:47 PM

Daniel this isn’t funny!! Tell me whats going on!

To: The Love of My Life
From: Daniel Rio at 5:54 PM

On January 6th, 1994, Daniel Rio denied a young woman a claim. The aforementioned woman was a twenty-six year old by the name Lauren Dale. She suffered from heart conditions and severe head trauma. Through Daniel’s denial of her claim, she died a few days later from heart failure. Her family could not afford her funeral arrangements. They went into poverty. Her father committed suicide. Her mother became an alcoholic. On October 18th, 2004, Daniel Rio denied a cancer patient’s parents a claim. Said cancer patient was six years old. He had cancer in his lungs. He died by suffocating one month later, three days before he was to turn seven. His name was Jacob Moore. On March 12th, 2008, Daniel Rio denied an elderly woman a claim. She required a kidney transplant and removal of her appendix. She died a week later by committing suicide. She hung herself from the rafters of the assisted living home she lived in. The rope was made out of organic matter. These claims would have been approved by company policy if Daniel Rio had not intervened.

Daniel Rio will now never claim another life.

Monday, December 26, 2011

"The DeGroot Journals"

I would recommend that you read no further, if you enjoy your sanity. Within these pages are words that reveal the strange and phantasmagorical. Collected inside are the journal entries of one Maximillian DeGroot, a wealthy 19th Century business man, who lost his life tragically in 1881, when his family manor burnt to the ground. Only eye witness testimony and scorched journal entries tell of events that occurred. Much of this evidence says that the family brought madness in their wake. Copies of these materials were soon made, and had been circulating in private collections for many years with only whispers of what they told. What happened to the real journal is unknown.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

"Silver Bells"

Christmas has always been a stressful time for my family. My parents would try to get the house ready for all the festivities, would try to get everything in order, but something would always go wrong, usually due to either me or my siblings' shenanigans. We would never want to cooperate; we knew what was about to happen. I guess it was our tiny way of "rebelling."

We knew our entire extended family would be stopping by, and we were deeply annoyed by all of them. Every single one of them had a tiny quirk that would just bug the hell out of all of us. The only way I think we could even stand them was due to the presents they all brought over to give. They were the kind of folks who didn't expect anything in return , in terms of gifts, so were thankful for that as well. 

I was almost always disappointed in the presents they tried giving me; they never knew me. They always either tried shoving footballs and other sports related items into my face, or tried giving me moleskin journals or things of a scholarly nature like that. It was annoying. They didn't know me at all.

This all changed on my 11th Christmas. I was among my family, unwrapping presents. Every single thing disappointed me. They all had missed the mark, yet again, this year.

Except one present. One present was completely, totally different.
It resembled the others. It was a wolf in sheep's clothing, that thing. 

Wrapped in ordinary Christmas paper, with a crumpled-up envelope taped to the exterior, was a box. In this box, there was a rusty old pair of bells. Silver bells.

When I opened it, my family laughed, thinking they were just a joke present. After all, they were from my uncle Eddie, who was the joker in the family. Uncle Eddie even presented them as a joke present to me and everyone.

But they weren't. I knew better than that, and Eddie knew better than that. I could hear the ringing that resonated from the bells. I knew what they foretold.

Eddie was not normal this year. Not that he was normal prior, or Christmases following that, but he was...different. For one, he looked frail and pale. He looked unhealthy. He also walked around slowly, and with a careful grace. And always watched. Always searching for something.

His eyes, circled with dark marks. Sunken in, almost. He was tired. Deathly tired.

Eddie tried to act normal. That was sad. I saw through that. I see through everything.

I never let go of those bells for the rest of the day. No matter the festivities, I managed to hold onto them in my left hand without dropping them. No one pointed out my strange behavior, for some reason, but I frequently just stared at the bells.

They were magic incarnate. I knew of their charms the second I laid my eyes on them. They had a power. They attracted...things. They attracted animals. Demons. Monsters.

Like me.

I could use them. I knew I could. I could use them to attract dogs, cats, birds, anything I wanted. It was the best Christmas present I could ever get or have.

That night, I slept with them, still tight in my grip. I didn't even pay attention to the sound of my parents setting up my "Santa Claus" in the living room. I only knew that, finally, someone had understood me.

I awoke to the sound of rapid taps on the roof of the house. I heard someone shout from above. I heard an animal. I wasn't sure what kind though. I heard ice breaking.

Deciding that it was probably nothing, I tried to go back to sleep. As I rolled back over into a favorable position, my bells shook...and caused a sudden appearance.

In the middle of my room, a golden light erupted from an unknown source. Golden and silver flakes of a mysterious substance shot out from the spot, covering my wooden floor. The flakes melted a few seconds after landing.

This went on for almost a full minute. I was not scared. I was intrigued. What was happening?

The golden lights faded, and there stood Santa Claus. He was tall, but fat. His face was noble, caring, fierce, all-knowing, and gentle, all at the same time. His eyes blue. Despite the darkness that inhabited the room now, I could see his blue eyes.

"Santa Claus? What are yo-"

"Shhhhhhhhhh, child. I am trying to hear."

"What, Santa?" I whispered.

I realized he meant the bells, or could have meant the bells, so I gently placed them into my bed covers, being sure not to cause them to ring.

"I am looking for a pair of bells. Do you happen to possess them?"
I stayed calm. I perfectly lied.

"Santa, I have not seen these bells. How do you know they are here?"

"I heard them, son. I can hear them from miles away. They upset my reindeer...what's your name, little boy? I'm afraid I do not have my list with me right now; it is in my sleigh."

"Dustin Carol, sir." I lied. I don't know why I lied.

I just wanted to, I guess.

"That's a nice name. What did you want for Christmas, Dustin?"

I lied yet again for the answer. I don't remember what I told him, but he seemed satisfied with my answer.

"Now, Dustin, I want you to stay right here. These bells are dangerous. They attract things. Dangerous things. Stay in bed."

Santa walk out of my room (his footsteps did not make any sounds; he was completely silent). I wasn't going to just let him walk away. I wanted to watch. I wanted to observe.

So I followed him. Somehow, I managed to not get caught for quite a bit of time. I do not remember what exactly occurred then. I do recall ending up in the garage. That was when I was caught.

He turned around, as if hearing something. Not into my direction, but he looked at the corner of the garage. There, laid a paper with a mysterious marking over it. I don't remember what it exactly looked like, but according to ol' Saint Nick's face, that paper was bad news.

He backed up slowly, and almost ran into me. He saw me, and said;

"Boy, I told you to stay in bed."

"I wanted to get some-"

"Never mind that now. Come, follow me, you are in grave danger."

"Danger? From what?"

He grabbed onto me and briskly moved us out of the garage and closed the doors.

He said:

"An ancient creature, kid. I'll have you know, I’m not a delivery man anymore. I don't give people gifts, except for rare occasions. Instead, I have other essential duties, which include keeping at bay. This hunter-"

"What monster?” I was so interested at that point.

"Well, normally I wouldn't even dare tell anyone about --him--. But it's too late now. Your entire household has heard the bells. You all are in danger. Your mother, father, siblings, and you, could be dead by morning. But don't worry; I will not let that happen."

We were on the second floor now, in front of my bedroom again. He rushed me in, and shut the door.

"This creature has been alive for years and years. He was around even before I was around and that was a long time ago, I'll have you know. He's a tall, faceless man, who wears a dark suit and tie. He is a hunter of day and night, a hunter of everything to nothing. He hunts children, especially.

"He is the opposite of me, in many ways. While I am the protector of children, he...he takes them away.


"Whatever you do, don't ever let him get into your head. Don't let the thought of him control you, Dustin. Think of him as you used to probably think of me; a mythical being."

Santa was too late. Before he could even finish warning me, the sheer thought of this being had already captivated me. A hunter...that was so relatable for me.

When Santa finished, he just happened to look to his left, and see a black mass readying to crash through my window. Santa pushed me into my bed, and without any sound echoing from under him, he jumped over to the other side of the room.

A black coarse tentacle shot through my window, sending shards of glass everywhere. The tentacle was attached to Santa's nightmare and my dream; a slender man stood at the third story window.

Santa chuckled, and said, "For the third time, we meet, you monster. I intend for this to be the last time."

Santa grabbed onto the tentacle, and even though he was an old man, he managed to pull hard enough to slam the monster into the side of my window. The monster made some sort of noise. No idea what.

"Stay here, child. I will finish this monster once and for all."

Santa burst into golden sparks, and was gone. I heard him, somewhere, a few seconds later, shouting.

The tall fat man and the tall slender man were now outside. The lights out there had all mysteriously shorted out, so I could not see much. I could see Santa's blue eyes though.

Then I could not. I was pushed through the floor, when a foreign energy forced itself into my head.

A darkness so thick, so alien, so monstrous, exploded within my soul. Black tendrils soaked in throughout my skin, and I felt myself be --taken over-- by something.

It was the Slender Man. It wanted me to grab his hand. So I grabbed it. I wanted to hold it. I wanted him to guide me. Suddenly, I remembered my knife under the bed.

A few minutes later, I was in position. I waited...and then pounced when I saw the golden light.

I stabbed Santa Claus right in the back, exactly how Master wanted me to.

Blood and golden flakes spilled to the floor, and ol' Sandy Claws just weakly asked why.

Instead of telling him why, I just told him my real name.

Caleb Carrolton.

And then he knew. He knew because I was definitely on the naughty list.

I killed animals, for sport, all the time. I killed them for practice. I hurt people, emotionally and physically, just to see them in pain. I took advantage of everyone. I lied, always.

I was a bad seed from the get go. Born that way. The bells, I loved them, they were mine, and Slender Man said I could have a limitless amount of them if I used them.

I told Santa that I did not believe in him. I only believed in the shadows.

Santa disappeared. I never saw him again. I doubt I will ever see the tall fat bastard again either.

I see the tall thin man instead.

And I for past two years, I've given the bells to my brothers as personal Christmas presents.

Though I hear them scream every Christmas night, I always see them with a smile by morning.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Suicide Is Painless"

The television in the rec room was playing an old episode of M*A*S*H. Kevin listened as the voices from the TV sang how the game of life is hard to play and how we're gonna lose it anyway. M*A*S*H was one of those shows that they were allowed to watch at Ashford. They weren't allowed to watch the news - the doctors said that would be too upsetting. But an old show about the Korean War, where the theme song told people how delightful killing yourself was, no, that wasn't upsetting at all.

Kevin once asked Doctor Morgan about that and the good doctor had explained how the program looked and sounded old, so the residents knew that it wasn't really happening now. And because it wasn't happening now, it couldn't affect them, couldn't hurt them. The news had current events, events that could affect them. "And the theme song?" Kevin asked.

"They don't really listen to the lyrics," Doctor Morgan said. "They just like looking at the pictures. I think you're the only one here who actually knows what the song is about."

"And you aren't worried about me?"

"Not at all," Doctor Morgan placed one hand on Kevin's shoulder. "I'm proud of you, Kevin. I'm proud of all that you've accomplished."

Technically, the doctors weren't supposed to touch the patients, but Kevin didn't mind. He liked Doctor Morgan. Doctor Morgan was his psychiatrist a few years ago and Kevin had told him all about what happened: about the hallucinations, about his family and how they died, about how he kept seeing them even after they were cremated. That's why he was at Ashford. He had voluntarily checked himself in.

And then one day Doctor Morgan had stopped being his psychiatrist. No one told him why. All they said was that Doctor Morgan had gone away and he would be getting a new psychiatrist. They even gave him some medication to help, but he didn't like it. It make him sick.

So he was so happy when Doctor Morgan returned. Doctor Morgan said that technically he wasn't Kevin's psychiatrist, but he still advised Kevin on stuff. Like on how to fake taking his medication. Like on how to pick locks. Like what to do when the guards were distracted. "I was trying to help you, Kevin," he said, "but they wouldn't let me. Once they're out of the way, I can start helping you again."

So Kevin did what Doctor Morgan asked and cut the other doctors' throats and watched as they bled out on the floor. It reminded him of the day his family died, the feeling of the razor in his hand, but back then it was his grandmother (dead of a heart attack three years before) who was telling him how everything would be okay, how they were only hallucinations, they weren't his real family at all.

Kevin walked back to the rec room and sat down in front of the television. Another episode of M*A*S*H came on. The theme song started playing. Kevin held onto a pair of scissors and really listened to the lyrics.

suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Dear Boss"


I on BEHALF of the "Magnolia Killer", as you have so deigned to name HIM, have sent you this letter to advise you to please CEASE CONTINUE the investigation of this case for your own safety IT WON'T MATTER.

There is more to this than you could EVER KNOW. You cannot expect anyone to be safe inside of their houses, HE WILL COME and he will TAKE them. When you return home from the station tonight, you will find that your daughter's closet is full of MAGNOLIAS, BABY'S BREATH and CYCLAMEN. You have never been able to SAVE anybody who has received one of HIS flowers. You will try, you will try so hard, and you will never give up FAIL.

Please do not dispose of this letter. You will NEED it. It hurts too much for it to have been in vain THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO. THIS WAS ALL A JOKE, HA HA.


The chief looked up from the letter, which appeared to be made out of cut-and-paste newspaper clippings like a cheesy old ransom note. He asked the officer that had handed him the open letter if this was some sort of sick joke, unwilling to believe a word on the page. The other man shook his head, his face an eerie colour of ivory in the dim fluorescent light of the station.

The chief looked back down to the letter, holding it up to the light. There were splatters of blood around the words that had been capitalized and the ones that had been struck out... then, accompanied by a strange noise between a choke and a sob, he realized that the 'clippings' were pressed flowers.

Monday, December 19, 2011

"Blind Man's Bluff"

Do you remember the games you used to play as a child? Do you remember playing Duck Duck Goose or Red Rover or Simon Says? Do you remember playing Blind Man's Bluff?

Here, I'll help you:

A group of children gather around another child, the one who is designated "It." The child who is "It" is blindfolded. He has to touch another child in order to take off the blindfold and the child he touches has to put it on and becomes "It." And sometimes they would call the game Dead Man and they would chant "Dead Man, Dead Man, come alive, come alive at the count of five. One, two, three, four, five." And at five, the child who was "It" tried to tag the others.

Do remember the game where you were "It"? And you couldn't touch anybody? And you were so scared that they had all left you, left you alone by yourself, that you took off the blindfold? And it turned out that they were just hiding and they all laughed at you for taking off the blindfold too soon?

Do you remember running away from the rest of the kids, running and hiding so that they couldn't find you? Do you remember what your parents said to you when they picked you up? Do you remember their enveloping hugs and embarassing kisses? Do you remember them telling you that there was nothing to be afraid of, that you were never going to be left alone?

No, you don't.

And you never will.

"The Thing Where My Eyes Used to Be"

Wanna hear a true medical horror story?

Your shaky vision and hallucination mean you've got an eye infection. You should be feeling faint soon. Please don't go to sleep. Please. Try to fight it all you can. If you don't get your eye treated soon, you'll lose your sight.

Let's just hope it hasn't gotten your other eye. Unfortunately, the only way to tell is to wait until after you've passed out. The second eye infection never makes itself known unless the victim goes unconscious. If you don't have a second one, you can fall asleep just fine. You might wake up blind in one eye, but that'll be the worst of your problems. If you do, it might be too much for your body to bear.

You'll dream very lovely things, I hear. Things like crossing legs with the boy you like. Your memories will play back, except a couple events may be out of order. Or missing entirely. The people who get two eye infections always say their memory dreams never have eyes in them.

I hear one person had a memory of gazing into his lover's eyes. And his dream of it consisted of staring at the skin where her eyes should have been. For a good hour.

Yeah, victims wake up. If your body is strong enough to wake up after passing out, you'll.. well, wake up. You won't even fully be blind, actually. This is the really creepy part. You'll wake up with sleep paralysis. You'll wake up, get up, go do something, and then really wake up and still be where you fell asleep. Except this time, you'll kinda have the opposite.

You'll still see, alright. And you'll be fully awake. But you'll see what you first saw upon opening your eyes after your memory dreams. That image will be permanently frozen in your brain. You'll still move and do everything, but you'll see that ceiling or wall or whatever for the rest of your life.

One woman even had her eyes surgically removed. Still saw the image. It was her brain that was doing it, not the eyes. See, this wouldn't be that baaaadddd if it was an eye problem at this point. But this means the image you permanently see exists entirely in your brain. You know what else does? Hallucinations.

One poor bastard woke up in a hospital bed after his double-eye infection. Was perfectly fine, but always saw the hospital ceiling. He was pretty fine for a while. After a month, though, he was really paranoid. He said he was seeing faces on the ceiling. Usually just faces from his memories. Sometimes had eyes, sometimes didn't.

But after some time, he started saying he saw other things. Hearing things, too. Hearing doctors and nurses walking by, even though he was clearly on a bus far from any hospital. He began to believe he was actually still in that bed. Paralyzed.

And after a few more months, he claimed a doctor was talking about operating on him. Claimed this was a new one, one with a long beak. He claimed this doctor was saying he has a "thing in his head where his eyes used to be." A thing that must be ripped out. "The operation cannot go smoothly or else the thing will stay in his head."

After one more week, he was screaming for a full four hours straight. Claimed he could feel drills and saws slicing into his head. All to pull that thing out from where his eyes used to be. Funny thing is, he still had his eyes in his head. By that day's end, he had clawed his eyes out and had reached his brain. He was dead.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Precious Little Angel"

They had wanted to take her away from me. "Unfit parent," they said. "Misplaced priorities," they whispered, as if I couldn't hear.

First it was my boss, firing me because I didn't go to work. Well, how can I go to work when I have a child I needed to take care of? I couldn't trust her with a babysitter; I needed to be there for her. She doesn't like sitters anyway, never really did. I couldn't leave her alone; anything could have gone wrong.

I didn't have much food left after a while. I couldn't let her go hungry though. I gave it all to her, I went on without and continued to watch over her.

She was my precious little angel, always there with her big smile. That same big smile that she now had on. She opened the doorway, the street outside had some mild traffic.

The dead bodies of the child service workers were my reward; a reward for protecting her from them. I couldn't let them take her, they couldn't keep her safe. Only I could keep her safe. She waved to me as she stepped out the door...

I rose, following as the blood dripped from my hands. She didn't say a word as she ran out into the street. She never said a word. That was part of what made her so cute. Always so cute; a little angel hopping along the road.

I followed, I had to follow. What if she got lost or got hurt? I couldn't let that happen. But I had to let her play; little children need to play.

So I followed, along the road. Traffic was picking up a little, but the cars stopped. The people within understood, I'm sure. I'm sure they saw my little angel on the other side waiting for me.

There was a loud air horn, people shouting. She waved for me to come on, that big smile covering her face.

Before the truck hit, I realized I didn't even know her name.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"month of ice"

this month is hell

your job is terrible, your friends have moved away. there's nothing here for you anymore.

your last girlfriend left you because you just weren't there.

your only chance to change anything relies on you having any motivation at all.

but you don't, because this is the month of ice.

you're freezing and you can't stop yourself. bit by bit, you'll stay that way.

and eventually, bit by bit, you'll draw yourself away.

distant from everything. a memory to those who knew you.

never leaving the house. can't face the cold, because you're so cold now, you almost think you're warm.

almost warm. so warm now.

who needed them, anyway? do you really ever need anybody?

sure your life is terrible. but who needs life? it's so warm, here. so warm being frozen.

you almost don't notice the cold little boy. the frozen little boy.

he'll be here, when you're alone. he's always here when you're alone.

you'll take his hand.

you'll never be cold again.