[Completed] 2016 Short Story Contest

Discussion in 'Novel Updates Site Discussion' started by Nom de Plume, Oct 7, 2016.

  1. Nom de Plume

    Nom de Plume Well-Known Member Novel Updates Staff

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    The Contest Prompt
    It's October! Let's celebrate by writing some Halloween or Horror themed short stories. Word length is very relaxed at 500-7500.

    Halloween 2016 Story List
    (Table of Contents)
    Note: If you are only seeing one column, try scrolling to the right
    This is an Example by @Nom de Plume
    • Overall Rating: 10.0 /10
    • Tags: Much Wow, Example
    Light by @Imnotarobot
    • Overall Rating: 7.0 /10
    • Tags: Suspense, University Campus Setting
    The Dead are Coming by @iampsyx
    • Overall Rating: 7.8 /10
    • Tags: Suspense, Superstition, Magic
    Sweet Caramel Love by @brasca123
    • Overall Rating: 5.6 /10
    • Tags: Halloween, Flashback to Childhood
    Halloween Story by @NZPIEFACE
    • Overall Rating: 5.4 /10
    • Tags: Halloween, Purely Dialogue, University Campus Setting
    Grimm's ABC Song by @A5G_Reaper
    • Overall Rating: 5.5 /10
    • Tags: Suspense, Throwback to Edward Gorey Poetry
    Monotonous by @LaDyViL
    • Overall Rating: 7.5 /10
    • Tags: Halloween, Nostalgia
    Boo! by @Zero300
    • Overall Rating: 7.0 /10
    • Tags: Halloween, Playing with Perspective
    Defiling the Innocent Gods Among Us by @karsarts
    • Overall Rating: 7.1 /10
    • Tags: Horror, Superstition, Incest
    Fwends 4ev3r by @Pandamonic
    • Overall Rating: 6.5 /10
    • Tags: Superstition, Monsters, Chat Group
    It Started Off Innocently Enough by @allusivelogic
    • Overall Rating: 7.8 /10
    • Tags: Horror, Cultivation
    Beyond the Door She Opened by @Litisun
    • Overall Rating: 7.8 /10
    • Tags: Halloween, Cat Ears
    I Remember About that Time, When... by @Grenn
    • Overall Rating: 7.4 /10
    • Tags: Suspense, Superstition, Nostalgia, Funeral
    Inner Demon by @SpearOfLies
    • Overall Rating: 4.5 /10
    • Tags: Thriller, Possession, Serial Murders
    Darkness of Halloween by @Mivdyr
    • Overall Rating: 6.6 /10
    • Tags: Halloween, Suburban Myth
    The Sphere by @Psyrhos
    • Overall Rating: 7.7 /10
    • Tags: Horror, Office/City Setting
    Crossroad by @Dragn555
    • Overall Rating: 7.9 /10
    • Tags: Halloween, Latin Terms, Monsters
    A Mistake in Death by @Katsono
    • Overall Rating: 6.5 /10
    • Tags: Horror, City Sewers, Some Gore
    The Girl in the Abandoned Tree by @Arcadia Blade
    • Overall Rating: 7.0 /10
    • Tags: Suspense, School Myth, Karma
    Chuunibyou Cat by @Aokiba
    • Overall Rating: 2.9 /10
    • Tags: Invisible Dragon Type Thriller
    What Other Side Thinking? by @Clozdark
    • Overall Rating: 7.1 /10
    • Tags: Suspense, Purgatory
    New Parents by @falcon92
    • Overall Rating: 7.1 /10
    • Tags: Thriller, Myth, Some Gore
    Miracle by @Pyoo
    • Overall Rating: 7.0 /10
    • Tags: Suspense, Charm Bracelet, Careful What You Wish For
    Click Bait by @Sarang
    • Overall Rating: 4.1 /10
    • Tags: Humor, NUF Setting
    All Hallow's Eve Cultivation by @Wyrr
    • Bonus Story: No Rating, Exceeded Word Limits
    • Tags: Halloween, Cultivation, Walking Dead
    Midnight Call by @SilentFyre
    • Overall Rating: 7.1 /10
    • Tags: Suspense, Superstition, Office Setting
    Flat Tires and Plot Holes by @AndrewOrion
    • Overall Rating: 7.1 /10
    • Tags: Suspense, Modern Setting, Alternate Universe, Editor's Pick
    The Monster That Always Comes Back by @Soraizumi
    • Overall Rating: 6.0 /10
    • Tags: Thriller, Mild Gore, Hunted
    Canned Oshiruku Soup by @happy
    • Overall Rating: 6.6
    • Tags: Suspense, Purgatory, Editor's Pick
    Untitled by @Bananana
    • Overall Rating: 6.0 /10
    • Tags: Thriller, Humor
    Ghost Hunting 101 by @BlaBla013
    • Overall Rating: 6.5 /10
    • Tags: Spooky, Ghosts, Friendship
    A Trickster's Chant by @Fierbras
    • Overall Rating: 7.25
    • Tags: Halloween, Children
    Fear Itself by @HELLiCOPter
    • Overall Rating: 5.9
    • Tags: Suspense, Origin of Monsters, Family
    In Other News by @Ixcez
    • Overall Rating: 5.9
    • Tags: Suspense, Survival
    The Pumpkin by @Kickuck
    • Overall Rating: 5.4
    • Tags: Halloween, Superstition
    What They Don't See by @KingOfMangonia
    • Overall Rating: 8.4
    • Tags: Halloween, Poetry, *First Place*
    Good Night by @lightnovelcafe
    • Overall Rating: 7.0
    • Tags: Thriller, Monster under the Bed
    LOST CHILDREN OF HALLOWEEN by @SovereignSamiul
    • Bonus Story: User Banned
    • Tags: Halloween, Dare
    Obsession by @ShuiLin
    • Overall Rating: 6.250
    • Tags: Mystery, Mild Gore, Multiple Perspectives
    Meeting of Fate in the Night of the Dead by @sordahon12
    • Overall Rating: 5.9
    • Tags: Tragedy, Fantasy
    Five Candles by @Yonna
    • Overall Rating: 6.0
    • Tags: Superstition, True Story
    The Prize
    After judging is completed all of the submissions will be chronicled here in this locked thread. Additionally, the grand prize will be a medal. Top Ten will additionally be highlighted in the Table of Contents. :)

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    The Judges
    @rdawv is a name you might recognize from the review section on NU and is, as far as I know, within top 5 for sheer number of reviews. He is the author of "The Great Game - The Young Master" written and released on our very own forum in Original Compositions. Please check it out!!

    @makenai89 also writes some really stellar reviews on NU as well as starting the infamous Danmei Room. I have seen her active on a lot of sites. If any need a special mention makenai, just let me know!!

    @Qwaztop is a replacement.

    Q&A
    PM me if you have more questions and I will update here if necessary.
    Q: I can't post here and I have a really cool idea!
    A: Please visit Contest Discussion and pm @Nom de Plume or any other mod.

    Q: I can't post here and I want to join the contest!!
    A: Please reread the submission section above. Make sure to PM @Nom de Plume for any other questions.

    Q: Why would I get disqualified for pming a judge or another mod my submission?
    A: This contest is being judged 'blind' so the judges will not see who the authors are. This is to keep the contest fair and based purely off of the writing!!

    Q: Is this a popularity contest?
    A: This is a writing contest. Please see the last question to understand that I am trying to make this a legitimate and fair contest.

    Q: English isn't my first language!!
    A: I will work with you on grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Just ask me in the pm when you make your submission. The judges will only see it once it is polished. ;)

    Q: You only have two judges, what if there is a tie?
    A: There should not be a tie. If the scores come to that, the two judges and I will debate and decide on just one.

    Q: Yo NdP~!! We are close friends so you will let me win right?
    A: Ask me this and I will only feel insulted and used. I could not help as well, since I am not a judge. I am here to screen the submissions as peer review and to cut down trolls.

    Q: I am a close friend with one of the judges...
    A: I am going to stop you there. Revealing your identities to the judges results in disqualifications.

    Q: If this is a blind contest, will I still get credit?
    A: Of course!! I will have all participants make a post saying "Reserved" in this thread once judging is completed. I will relock it after banning any trolls and edit in the stories with judge scoring gradually until October 30th and linking to the (Table of Contents). Then I will announce the final winner on the 31st.
    I was going to make the posts myself before I realized the authors will need to make the posts to receive the likes.

    Q: Where are the stories? Why are some missing?
    A: Judging is complete!! Stories are just being moved into the thread ASAP. The final winner and some Editor's picks will be highlighted in the Table of Contents shortly. ^_^

    Special Mentions
    I had already decided to do a short story contest next when @iampsyx and @Pyoo mentioned the possibility for NUF's upcoming anniversary. @erichninja pulled me into doing it sooner than I intended on @Tony's profile.

    I couldn't have finished the contest without the additional help from @akki, @Casul Reader, @Star Collapse, @Westeller, @OverlyFriendly and (again) @Tony! Encouragement from all and at least one story edited from each of the first four~

    Also, please give lots of love to our judges @makenai89, @rdawv, and @Qwaztop!!
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
  2. Nom de Plume

    Nom de Plume Well-Known Member Novel Updates Staff

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    Example Story by @Nom de Plume
    [Insert 500-7500 words]
    Trick or Treat
    paragraphs
    Imagination
    much wow

    Judges Rating and Comments

    @makenai89

    10/10 Creativity
    10/10 Thematic Quality
    10/10 Cohesiveness
    10/10 Personal Bias
    @rdawv

    10/10 Creativity
    10/10 Thematic Quality
    10/10 Cohesiveness
    10/10 Personal Bias
    Overall Scores and Rank

    10.0 Makenai
    10.0 Rdawv
    10.0 Combined
    #1 - #10 Rank

    Notes
    Obviously this is NOT a real story, but this post is a guide to what completed submissions will look like after the contest is over.

    Scoring will be added on the 31st while I briefly put the thread under moderation to update with winners and over all ranks for just the top 10.

    Score Legend
    Creativity
    should be an obvious scoring guide but I will explain it anyway. A zero score would be a copy paste globally plagiarized story.
    Thematic Quality is a strange name, but simply means "How much did the Author stick to the theme?" In this case, Halloween. You can also think of it as "Spooky Factor."
    Cohesiveness. Is there a beginning, a middle, and an end? Does the plot flow well or do the characters get their own names mixed up along the way?
    Personal Bias. This is just straight up how much the Judge enjoyed the story.

    Averages are just derived from these numbers....
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
    Himari, vrooave, GonZ555 and 39 others like this.
  3. Imnotarobot

    Imnotarobot [Primus Exemplar] [ Ex-Machina] [Omnifarious]

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    Light

    written by: @Imnotarobot
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    It all started when I heard this story at college. There was this massive park near the campus, and in this park stood a massive tree. Sometimes, at night, in the dark, when you walk past it you would hear this voice ask, “Do you have a light?”

    See, if you had a lighter and you said "yes," and brought the flame into the shadows then you would find no one there. Just the tree and a part of the trunk shaped a little like a person. But then, as you leave, even though you can't see them, even though you know there is no one, you would hear someone following very closely behind you, until you left the park.

    If you didn't have a lighter, what you absolutely needed to do was ignore the question no matter how many time they asked. Don't answer. Just leave the park. It would still follow you, asking again and again and again, but you must not answer.

    But then I got curious, what if you tell the shadows you don't have a lighter? I mean, if you ignore them they keep asking, if you say yes they follow you a bit, surely if you say no, they'd leave you alone, what more is there?

    I asked around and there were no instances of people saying no. It was strange, of the other two ways of answering bits and pieces floated about, in a "friend of a friend" kind of way. But the third one? It never happens. I figured maybe nothing happens, maybe it just wouldn't make a good story.

    A few months after I heard about this 'shadows of the park', the urban legend fad faded. Soon, I could barely remember the story. But then, one night on my way home, underneath the big tree.

    I heard it. I heard the voice.

    I couldn't tell you if it was a man or a woman, young or old, it was just a voice... like it was in my head, and I knew what it wanted, I knew the question,

    “Do you have~ a light?”

    I didn't smoke so without thinking, I said, “No, sorry.”

    In that instant, all the lights in the park flickered with a snap!

    And in that single second of darkness. Beneath the tree, under the moonlight I saw a man, the shape of a man, he moved, in that second, he moved just a fraction.

    Was there someone there? Or just bumps and curves on the trunk of a tree?

    Before, I could even gather my thoughts. I heard movements. Footsteps. Rustling, I looked all around but there was no one there.

    Then the lights in the park went out again. This time, the darkness lingered a little longer. I saw not one but dozens of dark shapes, all peering from the trunks of trees, some gestured, pointing towards me.

    But then, when the lights came back there were only trees. Still, the sound of the footsteps didn't stop. It got closer, faster, louder in my head.

    Without a moment's hesitation, I started to leave the park. But I could hear the steps mirroring my own.

    The lights flickered again, this time, the darkness was longer. I dare not look behind me, my brisk walk turned into a dash. The sounds of the steps were getting closer.

    The drumming of feet against the ground, theirs, mine, the pounding of my heart, were all so loud.

    I saw the park's archway exit. So close, moments away.

    The lights, they went out again, but this time, it wasn't a flicker! Darkness stayed and dim moonlight covered the park

    The exit that was only a step before me, but I could not see it. The was nothing but black beyond the archway.

    Suddenly, I realized there were no more footsteps. I had stopped and so had they.

    I could feel someone behind me. I could hear its breath. Still, I could not bring myself to turn around.

    But a hand gripped my shoulder and my blood ran cold. The hand pulled and forced me to turn. And there he was a man with ink black eyes and mouth agape, he clawed at my chest and lunged for my throat.

    As I stumbled and fell backwards I wanted to scream but I was frozen in terror.

    I saw them, thousands of them, young, old, men, women, some stood on tree branches like crows, others lurked in the distance, but every pair of ink black eyes above below were all fixed on me. The moment I hit the ground, I knew I was doomed.

    But then!

    But then light returned with a flash. Whatever-they-were, they were gone.

    I sat there, alone, on the other side of the archway. Quickly, I pulled my legs back , refusing to let any part of me be inside the boundary of the park.

    I was safe, in the light. Looking at the empty park and I wondered, was it indeed as empty as it seemed?

    Personally, I don't really like writing scary stories. Because they are scary...
    and when you write you have to think about it way too much. Staring into the abyss and all that jazz, it may be a corny abyss, but still an abyss none the less.

    This is written in first person Urban legend/ colloquial Style.

    I took cues from Doctor who episode called Blink, utilised common Japanese horror's signature style of “Rhythm-less-ness”, as in no rhyme or reason, no resolution, no moral of the story. “Rhythm-less” stories I feel tend to create more unease in the reader. Also tried to shortening sentences as things happened faster to simulate pacing.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    Rating and Reviews
    Overall: fullstar.png fullstar.png fullstar.png fullstar.png fullstar.png fullstar.png fullstar.png nostar.png nostar.png nostar.png
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2017
  4. iampsyx

    iampsyx 【Tony's Wifey】 【Rinrin's Mama】【Yuzunyan's Twin】

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    The Dead Are Coming

    written by: @iampsyx
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    I whisper the prayers again and again under my breath. I am scared that I will forget them when the dead come.

    This day, I work beside my Grandmother even though I am already a big-child. The adults do not mind, for they do not want me near them either. I am cursed, they say. Many dead will come for me.

    Other children, both small and big-ones my age, all avoid me, laughing when they hear me repeat the prayers over and over again . 'They'll come for you,' they sing when there are no adults nearby who will scold them. 'The dead will come for you.'

    They do not understand. I hope they're the ones who die next. Grandmother did say that the dead always come for the wicked.

    Grandmother says a lot of things. The earliest one I can remember when I was a small, small-child, is the tale of how the world started. It goes like this:

    There were two gods who lived at the beginning of time. The older God died, and the younger God mourned and buried him. The younger God continued living. Then the world suddenly darkened, and the older God came back, but he was no longer alive. He was dead. He tried to take the younger God with him to death. The younger God began praying, and her words kept the older God away from her. The older God got mad. He cursed that he will always come back until the younger God goes with him. After that, he always came back and the world would plunge into darkness, but the younger God would pray and keep him away. Even when the younger God had descendants, he would come back and take some of her children with him to death. These dead children would come with him to take their loved ones to death too, but as long as the living children pray the dead children will not be able to take them away. The younger God and the older God soon vanished, but the dead continue coming for the living till this very day.

    Grandmother knows a lot of things, because she is the oldest person in the entire village. She has lived through more than a hundred Nights already. Many, many dead come for her.

    When I was still a small-child, I used to hold hands with her all the time. Most small-children cling to their mothers when they still cannot fully remember the prayers. Their mothers will hold them when the dead come and pray for them, but as the small-children grow, praying for them gets harder. Some small-children die along with their mothers, while some get left behind, like me. But unlike me, most small-children still had family members remaining. I only have Grandmother left.

    This day, I am now a big-child. The next night will be my first time praying for myself. The other children can mock me all they want, but I will not be the one who will forget the prayers.

    I whisper the prayers again and again under my breath. I am scared that I will forget them. I am scared that the dead will take me away.

    Nobody knows the exact time the dead will come, but there is always a person living at the top of the village's tower whose job is to look at the sun all day. When the sun lowers and the sky darkens, that is the signal that the dead will come. The person will then call for prayer at the top of the tower, his or her voice echoing throughout the village. The people will stop whatever they were doing and go to the prayer houses and stay there, praying, until the dead go away and the night ends.

    All big-children learn jobs, and mine is weaving prayer mats. Everyone has one. It is a rectangular piece of cloth where people sit on while praying. The dead will not be able to get past through the boundary of the prayer mat while the person inside prays, but when they do they will get the person and the person dies.

    I like making prayer mats. I like weaving the symbols that stand for different verses for the prayers on the cloth because it lets me remember the prayers more easily.

    But as the hours pass by, I get more and more anxious. They'll come in the next hour, my mind keeps on chanting as I try to repeat the prayers to myself.

    If only the day lasts forever.

    If only the night will never arrive.

    In the village records, the longest day lasted for a thousand hours. Right now it's the two thousand and fifty-seventh hour of the 2016th day. While other people have grown weak and careless, thinking that the night may never arrive, only I continue to be wary. Because they will come. I know they will. I can feel them.

    It is a hot day, and I am sweating in my clothes inside the room where I make mats. Grandmother is resting nearby. I finally take a break and go outside.

    I try flapping my clothes to make some breeze without restraint, and this makes me feel cooler. Then I suddenly get chills.

    I feel that something is wrong and go back to the room, clutching my prayer mat and muttering the prayers under my breath.

    Grandmother does not seem to notice me and continues staring at the sky.

    "Grandma," I call out to her. She turns her head to me.

    "They're coming, aren't they?"

    She smiles the usual smile she gives me when I say these words I have spoken more than ten thousand times since the 2016th day started.

    And then she says, "They're coming."

    Echoing throughout the whole village is the call for prayer from at the top of the village tower.

    They are coming.
    They are coming.

    The voice is haunting. I stay standing and listening to it until Grandmother holds my hand. "Let's go, child."

    We hold our prayer mats and walk towards the nearest prayer house along with many people we met on the way, the voice continuing to call us. Most of the small-children cry while their mothers try to shush them. The big-children look shocked. The adults look serious. None look as serene as Grandmother is.

    They are coming.
    They are coming.

    I myself feel empty. Blank. It is like the voice is a song that removes other thoughts from the mind. Maybe this is why the adults never look scared at all. I already feel like an adult.

    We go to the bathing place at the side of the prayer house and line up to wash ourselves before entering. Then, we place the mats on the floor and sit on them, waiting for the call to end.

    They are coming.
    They are coming.

    I feel the tendrils of fear creeping in, despite the soothing voice that echoes around us. I glance at Grandmother who is sitting in the next mat to my right. She smiles and leans over to pat my hand. "Don't be so scared. The prayers will protect you."

    If only I was still a small-child, I would be sitting in her lap and burrowing my face in her chest. I would not need to pray, because she would do it for me. Grandmother never forgets her prayers. We would be safe together.

    They are coming.
    They are coming.

    Now, an inch between our mats separates us. I can no longer hold her hand. I am alone.

    The voice continues calling for the living to pray.

    They are coming.
    They are coming.

    And then it stops and the world goes dark.

    I start praying the first verse, muttering it under my breath. We are supposed to pray silently, but if I cannot hear the words pass through my lips in a whisper then I am afraid that I will hear them.

    I feel them beside me.

    The image of the sun woven into my mat in front of me is shining. Grandmother made this mat for me on the day I became a big-child. It is beautiful, with the bright yellow sun in the middle and the verse symbols glowing around it. I have looked and looked at these images for hours until they are burned into my mind. I will not forget. I know the verses the symbols represent by heart.

    I finish the first verse and start the second. There are a hundred verses all in all, prayed over and over again until the night ends. I know them by heart. I will not forget.

    I look at the image of the sun in front of me and never allow my eyes to wander away. We must not look outside the mat. If you look outside, then you will see the dead. You will become so scared you will forget the prayers, and then they will become able to get past the mat and get you. Nobody has looked at the dead and lived the next day.

    I finish the second verse and start the third.

    Around me are the other prayer mats glowing. At the edge of my vision I could see the light coming from the images woven into Grandmother's mat. But as I continue praying the third verse, the light around me start to dim.

    They are coming. More and more of them.

    I will not forget. I will not forget. I am safe inside my mat. I am safe as long as I pray.

    I start to pray faster. We are supposed to pray slowly, Grandmother always says, but I am scared. I am scared, Grandmother. I can feel them. I can feel them looking at me.

    I finish the fourth verse and start the fifth. The light is getting dimmer and dimmer. I am scared. I am scared. I want to look at my right and make sure that Grandmother is beside me. I know she is, but I am scared. I want to hold her hand. But we must not look beyond the prayer mat. It is dark. So dark.

    So cold.

    I shiver.

    I can feel them.

    I can hear them.

    I whisper louder. I do not care if everyone will hate me the next day. I do not care if they speak behind my back. I can hear the dead breathing around me. Like they are closer. Like they are just behind me. Like they are just breathing next to my ears.

    No no no no no no no no no

    I press my fingers into my ears and kneel, pressing my face into the glowing sun. I will pray. I am safe. They will not get me. I will not die.

    Something touches my feet and I kick it away, screaming the prayers aloud.

    I will pray. I am safe. They will not get me. I will not die.

    Fifth verse sixth verse seventh verse eight ver

    eight

    I forgot

    what is the eight verse

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    Rating and Reviews
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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2017
    shovel, Nom de Plume and Omnifarious like this.
  5. brasca123

    brasca123 『Hell's Trainee Manager』

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    Sweet Caramel Love

    written by: @brasca123
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    The day was October 31st and I was sure to get plenty of candies! Halloween was definitely my favorite holiday when I was 11!

    Mother even made a Witch Costume for me! I was so glad I wouldn't need to use the ghost blanket that year! As soon as the sun fell, I picked my pumpkin bag and left home to gather some candy.

    "Bye mom! I'll be back later!"

    "Don't stay out too late Rina! Make sure to be back for dinner! Your dad will be here at 8, so be sure to come back before him!"

    "Got it!"

    As soon as I left home I found my friend, Rick, wearing a vampire costume and waiting for me at the door...

    Why is he here? Hmph.

    "Come on Rina, let's get going."

    "Eh? Why are you going as well? I can go get candy just fine by myself!"

    "Sure you can, and then you will get lost just like last year and start crying for help. You're still too young to go out alone, so I'll make sure to accompany you."

    "As if you can talk! You are just twelve years old!"

    "Which means I'm one year more mature than you! And so I'm responsible for taking care of you!"

    "Hmph!"

    "Seriously... You want candy don't you? We won't get any if we just stay here."

    "Fiiiine..."

    I really didn't want to go with anyone. I would definitely get less candies if I went going with more people... At least if it was just Rick, I knew he didn't like caramel sweets, so I would be able to get them all!

    We were going through the houses on a pretty cheerful mood, and a lot of people praised my costume which made me quite happy! Halloween is definitely something I find fun!

    "Oh, look, it's the Blanket Rina again. Did you wet your blanket this time and have to go with a different outfit?"

    I turned around and saw some older boys... They had always picked on me whenever we found each other... They even giving that horrible nickname when they saw me going around with the blanket the year before... I could only wonder why it hadn't died. They only saw me with it for a single day! It shouldn't have stick for so long...

    "Don't go picking on Rina like that!"

    Oh, good one Rick! Go get them!

    "Tsk, always needing your boyfriend to protect you huh? Guess a scared-y cat like you can't do anything by yourself can you? In the end you're just a coward that needs to hide behind his shadow. Pathetic."

    "I'm not a coward! And Rick isn't my boyfriend!"

    I felt Rick touching my shoulder so I turned towards him.

    "Hey Rina, let's go. We shouldn't go wasting our time with them, we need to get back soon and-"

    "Running away already? Fitting, just like a coward."

    "I'm not!"

    "Rina, let's go-"

    "Then why don't you prove it?"

    "Prove it?"

    "Yeah, if you're not a coward, then you're definitely not afraid of going to the old abandoned house are you? I went there a while ago and left my soccer ball there, if you could bring it back, then I'd acknowledge that you're not a coward that needs to hide behind your boyfriend every time."

    "Hey Rina, don't listen to these guys, let's just-"

    "Fine! I'll prove it to you! I'll definitely bring your ball back! And I'm not his girlfriend! Come on Rick, let's go, the sooner we do it, the sooner we can go back to get more candies!"

    I grabbed his hand and started walking off, I could hear them snickering behind my back, but I didn't care about it. I would be sure to show them!

    "Rina, are you sure that's a good idea? That house is falling apart already, we shouldn't be going there, what if something falls on us?"

    "If you don't want to go, then I'm going alone! I'm sure I can do that by myself!"

    "No, that's not what... Fine, but if it becomes dangerous we'll go back, promise me."

    "Okay! Then let's go! To conquer the haunted house!"

    "When did it become haunted..."

    We kept on walking while talking like this. He may have gotten my candies, but it was really fun going around with Rick. He has always been able to cheer me up!

    The abandoned house was quite near the place we were so we reached it quickly. It was big and quite ominous looking. No lights were ever on, it had worn out looks, and nobody really moved nearby. It always gave me the creeps... I held tighter on Rick's hand while standing still, looking at the house.

    "Let's go back Rina, you don't need to prove anything to those guys..."

    "No! I wanna go! They'll never stop if I don't... I'm not a coward..."

    He sighed before speaking again.

    "Okay, we'll just get this ball and get out, no need to stay on it for too long, come on, follow me."

    Suddenly, I was the one being dragged around by Rick up to the door of the house. He opened the door without ever letting go of my hand and we went in.

    The insides were even scarier! There were spider threads everywhere, it was really dark, the planks made horrible creaking sounds, and...

    "Wha-wha-what is this noise? Is there a ghost here?"

    "It's just the wind, it makes this when going through tight places, don't worry about it, I'm right here for you."

    "O-okay."

    We kept on looking for the soccer ball together. I really wanted to run away, but somehow managed to keep calm by holding Rick's hand...

    "It's not here... Maybe it is on the basement?"

    "Eh? Ma-maybe..."

    "Rina, are you alright? We don't need to keep going if you're scared, we can just tell them we couldn't find it."

    "No! I'm not scared! I can do it! Let's go to the basement already! We'll definitely find it there!"

    I pulled Rick's hand and opened the trapdoor that led to the basement... It was really dark down there and I could barely see anything... Even so, I started walking down, but Rick stopped just after a few steps.

    "Don't go walking carelessly like that what if you tripped and fell down the stairs! Let me get my cellphone so that we have some light... Good, like this we can-"

    "Spider!"

    I jumped away from it and tumbled on Rick. We ended up falling and rolling downstairs, I heard a loud noise while we were going down... Rick's cellphone's light also disappeared after that.

    "Ouch... What was that Rina? No, more importantly, are you alright?"

    "I think so, I'm- Ugh! Maybe not so much..."

    "Where are you hurt? Can you show me?"

    "I think I did something to my foot... It really hurts... Sorry Rick... I messed up..."

    I could feel some tears getting on my face... This is bad, I'm scared... Why did I even come here...?

    "This one? Is it-"

    "It hurts!"

    "Sorry... I guess you can't walk like this can you? I'll try to find my cellphone, wait a bit."

    "Don't! Don't... Leave me alone here..."

    "... Got it."

    I could see his silhouette getting closer to me and heard his steps resonating through the room.

    This place is too dark... I don't wanna stay here anymore...

    "Here, climb up, I'll take you out of here."

    "Eh? Can you really carry us both?"

    "Don't worry, I can carry us until we're out, we won't stay here much longer anyway, I just need to find my cellphone and we can go back, we'll be out in no time, so don't worry."

    "O... Okay, I'll be in your care then."

    I climbed onto his back... It was warm and I felt relieved being by his side...

    He started walking around while searching for his cellphone and our eyes were slowly getting used to the darkness so we could see a bit better.

    I want to get out soon...

    "Rick! There!"

    I pointed towards the cellphone that I saw on the ground. Great! Now we can get away from this terrible place!

    "Alright, now we can have some light and... It's not turning on... Did it break on the fall? This isn't working..."

    Rick kept on trying to make it work, but it was of no use...

    Will we need to climb the stairs in the dark? Just when I thought we had found some light...

    "Guess it's broken... Well, no use worrying about that now, I'll be careful when going up the stairs, so it's going to be okay, just don't make any sudden movements Rina, can you do that?"

    "I-I'll try."

    "Then let's go, the sooner we're out the better!"

    He really is so reliable... How can he keep so calm in this situation? I am so scared...

    We started moving and I felt something a bit different from the shaking of his back... Was he... Trembling?

    "Rick... Are you scared too?"

    "No! I'm not! Don't worry, there is no way I'd be scared here. We'll be out in no time, so just hold tight to me, okay?"

    "I'm scared... I don't want to be here... Sorry... I should've never entered this place..."

    "Rina... Trust me, we'll be getting out of here soon, see, the trapdoor is just there, we just need to go through it and... Why is it closed? No, I just need to open it and... It's not budging... Can you help me?"

    "A-Alright..."

    We kept on trying to push it for a while, but no matter what we did, it didn't move one bit... Why wasn't it moving... Is this house really haunted?

    "What... What if there is a ghost here... Trying to lock us inside here...? What if we don't ever go out? Rick, what should we do?"

    "There is no ghost here Rina, rather, ghosts don't exist, there must be something stopping it from opening, maybe something fell and blocked it..."

    "But then why? The ball was just nowhere, the cellphone broke, the trapdoor is locked... Why is everything... Why is everything going wrong!? This was supposed to be a happy day! We were supposed to be getting candy! Why did things end up like this!?"

    I was shaking a lot, I could feel the tears going down non-stop... It was just too scary. I didn't want to stay at that mansion any longer! I wanted to go home! I wanted to have dinner with Mom and Dad! I wanted to get away!

    Why is all this happening to me!?

    Rick put me down, then he turned towards me and spoke with a calm tone.

    "Rina, I don't know why this is happening, but this is no ghost's fault, okay? Trust me, we'll get out of this, we just need to stay calm."

    "How can I stay calm like this? We are trapped, we can't talk to anyone outside, we can't get out, I can't even walk by myself! What can we do now!?"

    "Rina, please don't panic, it's going to-"

    "How should I not panic!? I want Mom and Dad, I don't want to stay here! I wanna-"

    I stopped talking. Rather, I couldn't talk... Rick hugged me and... h-he kissed me... Right on the mouth. What should I have done, I-I-I I wasn't prepared for that and...

    "There... Did you calm down now?"

    "I... I... What was that!?"

    "Sorry, I needed you to stay calm and..." He was fidgeting a lot and, if I could have seen properly, he would have most likely been blushing quite heavily...

    "I wanted to... Do this for a while and... Is it alright? I ended up forcing myself on you..."

    "It is..." I felt my cheeks burning and really appreciated the darkness at this point. "Okay... I think... I-I'm calm now... So... What should we do?"

    "Well... I guess we wait? If we spend too much time outside, our parents will probably get worried and try looking for us, since my cellphone just broke, and you don't have one, they'll probably try looking by themselves... After a while they'll probably try looking here, and with how noisy the planks here are, we'll be sure to hear them, and we only need to call out once we do, and they'll take us out."

    "Wow... How could you remain this calm like this... I'm still so scared, I could never think through all that..."

    "It's because... You're here with me... I need to protect you somehow, and the best way I can do that is by thinking of a way out."

    What was with those lines!?

    It's so embarrassing! I could die of shame right now... He is just so cool...

    "Than... Thank you... I guess... We should wait then..."

    Ah... My stomach... It just rumbled... So embarrassing!

    "I guess it should be getting close to dinner time... Here, you can have my candies."

    "But won't you be hungry as well?"

    "I ate before going out, for now you should eat, it's good for you to put something on your stomach."

    "No... You never eat between lunch and dinner... You must also be hungry... We'll share our candies, half for each."

    "You're... Sharing your candies? Do you have a fever Rina?"

    "I can also share when I need it, alright!?"

    "Right, sorry... I know you can... Thanks."

    We started to awkwardly eat together... We didn't have much to talk about which just made me even more conscious of what just happened...

    My first kiss... He really did... Can I even marry anymore? Or does this mean that I should actually marry him? Ah, what should I do...

    "Rina..."

    "Ah! What!? Don't go startling me like that!"

    "Sorry... About the... Well... The kissing... Uh... What do you... Think of it? Was it..."

    "What I... I... Liked it? I think... You... You kissed me so suddenly that I couldn't even notice what was happening! My first kiss passed before my eyes and I have no recollection of how it felt! Take responsibility!"

    What was I saying!? What do I even want with that? How should he take responsibility to begin with!? Uh... What do I say now...

    "Re-responsibility!? Then... Is it alright if I... Do it again?"

    "A-again!? I mean, uh... I think so?"

    "Then... I'll..."

    I felt his hand coiling around my back and him pulling himself towards me. His face was getting closer and closer. I couldn't even move from the nervousness, until... our lips connected. I could slowly feel the stiffness disappearing and I didn't really know what I should do, but... I was enjoying it. I wanted to keep at that for some time longer. It felt really nice to kiss him... We kept at it for a few seconds before separating and looking into each others eyes.

    "This... Felt good."

    "Is it okay then Rina? For us to... Go out together?"

    "I... I think so... I like being with you, so... I guess we can... Start to... Date..."

    Can we really start dating at eleven and twelve? Won't mom get angry at me? And dad is quite overprotective I'm not sure if it's going to be alright and... Shouldn't he first ask me out only for then to kiss!? Isn't this whole thing messed up from the very beginning!? Even so...

    "Hey Rick... May I kiss you?"

    "Uh, I... Yeah, sure!"

    "Then..."

    I kissed him again wondering if it would feel different if I was the one to start it... It felt good as well. There wasn't much of a change! I was still happy while attempting it though. After that we kissed a few more times...

    Is this how it feels to have a boyfriend? It is nice...

    Once we separated, I became fidgety...

    What should I do now? Are we dating now? What kind of thing should I talk with a boyfriend!? I don't know! I don't have any experience with that!

    And... I felt really embarrassed looking at his face then!

    I decided to focus back on eating my candy instead of worrying about it, candy had always solved most of my problems! So I shifted all of my attention to it now! Except for the hand that I was still holding and was extremely conscious of now...

    "Ah! There is only Caramel candy left... We should've paid attention to the flavors before eating..."

    "Actually, I can eat those just fine..."

    "Eh? But you always gave me yours! Why would you do that!?"

    "Because... It's your favorite flavor, isn't it?"

    I could feel my cheeks burning again.

    Why is he so smooth!?

    "Than-thank you... I appreciate it Rick..."

    "Don't... Don't mention it..."

    We ate the last candies together and I started to hold his hand tighter. Somehow I wasn't feeling afraid anymore. As long as I was by his side, I felt that everything would go alright...

    We didn't really say anything after that. I guess he was also confused the sudden development. I had always seen Rick as someone so confident and calm... I had never seen him that way before. It was nice though, seeing different sides of him... I felt that I wanted to know even more of him now. Getting to know more and more about this boy that I... that I fell in love with.

    Some time passed and nothing really happened. I was happy at that moment. Even in the middle of that abandoned house, I found happiness and relief!

    "Rina. Hey Rina, listen."

    "Uh... Listen what?"

    When I came to, my head was being supported by his shoulder and he was really close to me...

    Did I doze off? I guess I was a bit tired with all that...

    "The planks, there is someone here!"

    "Ah! Then we might be able to get out!"

    "Hey! Down here! Help us! We're trapped in the basement!"

    We started shouting while hitting on the trapdoor to make whoever was there notice us. We received a reply right away!

    "Rick! Rina! Are you there!? Don't worry, we'll get you out in no time!"

    After a while the trap door opened. I saw Mom, Dad, Rick's Mom and Dad, as well as some other adults. I guess they were all searching for us.

    I'm glad...

    My parents hugged me while Rick's hugged him. By the way, I was still holding his hand during that.

    "What were you doing you stupid kid! Dragging Rick to this kind of place! Make sure to apologize to him properly! You caused a huge amount of trouble this time Rina, so expect some punishment when you get home!"

    "Eh? But mom..."

    "No buts! Just apologize to him and we'll be going straight home!"

    "I... Sorry Rick... I shouldn't have dragged you here..."

    "No, I... I didn't really mind..."

    "And you don't expect to come off this easily either! You were supposed to keep an eye on her, not to go into a dangerous place together!"

    "Sorry dad..."

    Our parents sighed in symphony...

    "At least you're both okay... Come on, let's go home."

    "Okay."

    Since my foot was still hurting, mom carried me home while Rick walked beside us. Incidentally, we kept on holding hands until we got very near our own homes. When we had to separate ways at his house, I gave him a light goodbye kiss which earned me another hour of scolding after I got home...

    In the end, I got grounded for a whole month without being allowed to eat sweets, while Rick only got a week. My foot got better after a few days and nothing troublesome came of it. Rick and I really did start to date afterwards... It was the start of the relationship that would lead to my marriage!

    Oh, and if you're wondering, there was never a ball there to begin with. It seems the boys were too afraid to enter the abandoned house as well, so they never forgot anything within it.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​
    Author's Note: Good Luck for everyone participating, I hope you all had fun writing for this contest!!!

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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2017
    Kahzel, Nom de Plume, Lovely and 2 others like this.
  6. NZPIEFACE

    NZPIEFACE Leecher

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    Halloween Story

    written by: @NZPIEFACE
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    “Hey, your head is slightly off.”
    “Fix it for me, I can’t really see it, you know.”
    “Then why did you choose that costume? Can’t you be more normal and be a ghost or something?”
    “But I like this one, it’s really cool, and the colours are awesome!”
    “Quickly, quickly, I think he’s opening the door.”


    “Hello! I’m glad you could make it. I hope you enjoy yourselves, but don’t break anything, okay?”

    “We won’t break anything, right?”
    “Yeah, you can trust us.”
    “Great then. The party’s just getting started, so get some drinks while you wait for the others.”
    “Cool.”


    “So, uh, why did we come here anyway?”
    “Because we thought that staying inside all month was bad, and thought that we might as well come to this party that everyone was invited to.”
    “But even if we were invited, it’s not like that want us here.”
    “I don’t think anyone really cares man, we’ve hardly talked to anyone outside our group of friends. They probably won’t think badly of us or anything. I mean, they don’t even know us!”
    “We’re already second years, if they haven’t seen us at least once, it’s pretty obvious that we don't have friends.”
    “Oh shut it for once and be happy. Here, have a drink.”
    “What is this stuff? It tastes absolutely horrible!”
    “Really? …Yeah, it tastes horrible. I think it might be grapefruit punch or something.”
    “Why don’t you ask the host? I mean, we came out here to talk to others, right?”
    “Did we? I thought it was because you were mad that you’re DM for your D&D campaign wouldn’t let you have additional stats for roleplaying.”
    “Well, yeah, that as well, but mainly talking.”
    “Then you go do it, I’m going to see if there are any better drinks.”
    “Ugh, fine.”


    “Oh, hey there!”
    “Hello once again.”
    “Haha, no need to be so formal man! Loosen up, Mr. Jack-O-Lantern!”
    “Sure… I just wanted to ask what was that drink over there, the red one?”
    “Oh, those? That’s grapefruit juice mixed with some beer. I added just a teeny tiny bit of red food colouring to make it look like blood. Do you think it looks like blood?”
    “No, not really. Looks more like wine. Blood isn’t transparent and is rather thick.”
    “Well, I guess I’ll try better next time.”
    “…So why did you host a party?”
    “Huh, what do you mean?”
    “Well, I mean, why invite a bunch of people over to your house to drink? Can’t you just drink out?”
    “Well, why not! It’s Halloween dude, we better have fun. It only comes once a year after all.”
    “But what about Christmas or St. Patrick's day?”
    “Do people wear costumes then?”
    “…No?”
    “Then there you have it! I just like seeing the costumes is all. And I better go get the door.”


    “So how was it? Was it a horrible experience as you probably thought it was going to be?”
    “No, it was a bit awkward, but mostly normal.”
    “Huh, didn’t really expect that to be honest. You don’t really seem like the talking type.”
    “Hey! I talk often enough.”
    “Do you seriously think that?”
    “Do people online count?”
    “No.”
    “Oh.”
    “…That’s just sad man.”
    “I don’t want to hear that from you.”
    “I’ve got a job that needs me to talk to others.”
    “Yeah, a cashier, what else would you do?”
    “The details don’t matter, what matters is that I do have a job like that.”
    “C’mon man, don’t- Oh sorry there, I wasn’t looking.”
    “Don’t be, don’t be. It was kinda my fault as well, and sorry I spilled some of my drink on your clothes,”
    “Ah, please don’t worry about these, they were only rentals.”
    “Ah, I see. I’m guessing you guys are dressed as a Jack-O-Lantern and Dracula?”
    “You’ve got that right! And I’m guessing that you’re a zombie? Nice make up by the way.”
    “Why thank you. And yes, I am a zombie.”
    “Well ah, you guys have fun, I’m going to go to the toilet for a moment.”
    “Uh, sure?”
    “Sorry about that, he has a small bladder. Anyhow, what brought you here? I’m pretty sure that ghost over there wouldn’t have the balls to invite a girl.”
    “Ahaha, well, you he didn’t exactly invite me personally per se. He kinda just announced that he was going to have a costume party at his place on Halloween and that everyone in our class should go. Well, looking around, not many people came.”
    “Out drinking I suppose. It’s Halloween after all.”
    “True that.”
    “Well, I’m just going to go refill my drink now. Hope to see you around in this party.”
    “You probably will. There’s not many people here.”


    “Come on man, tell me what’s troubling you.”
    “I’m taking a piss! Can’t you see?”
    “Well, I can’t see from behind the door. So just tell me.”
    “Hah… I just get nervous around girls. Last time I talked to a girl was about a year ago.”
    “Not even on the internet?”
    “Do you think many girls play D&D online?”
    “No, I guess not.”
    “And what about you? Why did you come over here?”
    “To check up on you of course!”
    “Well thank you, but it’s not really needed.”
    “No probs man. Anyway, come out already. I’m tired of holding a drink for you.”
    “Grapefruit punch?”
    “Nope, just come out and have some, then you’ll see.”
    “Okay, okay… Are you sure it isn’t grapefruit punch?”
    “Yes, I’m one hundred percent sure that it’s not grapefruit punch. Taste some, you’ll be surprised.”
    “Fine….

    It’s just plain old tomato juice!”
    “Ahaha, got you there. Man, that face was brilliant, I should’ve took a photo.”
    “Was it… really that bad?”
    “Yeah, it was quality gold.”
    “Hey guys! Have you guys been having fun?”
    “Yes, we have.”
    “Uh huh, though the grapefruit punch is kind of lacking.”
    “I know. I don’t know what came over me when I thought of that.”
    “Huh, a ghost maybe? And why are you dressed a ghost anyway.”
    “You mean this rag? I forgot about my costume till the last minute, then I thought I might as well do a cult classic.”
    “Ah, I see. I know how you feel. I always forget things till the last second or so.”
    “Yeah, you do, don’t you?”
    “Oh fuck, I forgot to do something today. What time is it?!”
    “About, hmm, let me see… quarter to nine. Is it urgent?”
    “Yeah, me and my mates have been preparing for this for months. And thank god I still have time. I’ll see you later!”


    “…What was that about?”
    “He has a guild in World of Warcraft, and today should be the day of a big raid or something.”
    “Ah, well, it’s a shame really. You going to stick around for a while? I can show you my place.”
    “No thank you. I think I’ve had enough to drink already, and I’ve toured your house adequately enough.”
    “Well, see you later then.”
    “You too.”

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2017
  7. A5G_Reaper

    A5G_Reaper [DCLXVI, sohyee, and iampsyx's cute imouto]

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    Grimm's ABC Song

    written by: @A5G_Reaper
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    Aah, it's been a while since I'm last here. The folks caught on indeed, put me between a rock and a hard place, even when I'm so close to it! But still, eventually someone slipped, yes! Outsiders were always the ignorant ones. Their loss, I guess.

    Let's see... a bit out of town, at the lakeside -- oh, I remember that lake --, an unpaved road arriving in a solitary cabin. I don't remember it being there last time, must be a new addition. Well, it still count as part of the town so it's fine. Wouldn't work otherwise.

    And now, the boy was at second floor, at the window overlooking the lake. Only one of those, so got to be that one. Better start climbing up, while the moon hide behind the clouds!



    *****​


    "Who are you..?"

    Geh. Kids and their keen senses. I thought I entered without a sound. There goes my surprise.... Smile and improvise...

    "Evening, George." I smiled, although he probably couldn't discern my facial expression under the hood. "To your question, young man, I am known by several names. But you may call me Grimm."

    "Mother said not to speak with strangers."

    Yeeeeah, I've heard that line way too many times. "Oh? But I've introduced myself, so we're not stranger anymore are we?"

    And he nodded. Children raised in total protection were always the easiest. Kind of anticlimatic for the last, but whatever goes...

    "I have but one small request for you, perhaps you could help old Grimm?"

    No answers, he's pondering. Press a little bit...

    "Just tell me how many letters are in the alphabets, can you do that? Then I will leave, promise!"

    "...okay. There's... twenty-six."

    "You sure about that? I count twenty-five?"

    "No, it's twenty-six."

    "Thank you, boy." I grinned as I pat his head, fading from the room even as moonlight entered through the open window.


    *****​


    "A is for Amy who fell down the stairs
    B is for Basil assaulted by bears

    C is for Clara who wasted away

    D is for Desmond thrown out of a sleigh

    E is for Ernest who choked on a peach

    F is for Fanny sucked dry by a leech

    G is for George smothered under a rug

    H is for Hector done in by a thug

    I is for Ida who drowned in a lake

    J is for James who took lye by mistake

    K is for Kate who was struck with an axe

    L is for Leo who swallowed some tacks

    M is for Maud who swept out to sea

    N is for Neville who died of ennui

    O is for Olive ran through with an awl

    P is for Prue trampled flat in a brawl

    Q is for Quentin who sank in a mire

    R is for Rhoda consumed by a fire

    S is for Susan who perished of fits

    T is for Tony who flew into bits

    U is for Una who slipped down the drain

    V is for Victor squashed under a train

    W is for Winnie embedded in ice

    X is for Xerxes devoured by mice

    Y is for Yorick whose head was knocked in

    Z is for Zillian who drank too much gin"

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2017
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  8. LaDyViL

    LaDyViL 「The Honorable Oba-sama」 Staff Member

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    Monotonous

    written by: @LaDyViL
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    That's what they call my life. A monotonous life. Nothing new comes up. Everyday I repeat the same boring cycle. Did I try doing something new? I did, months ago. It was useless. Every new thing I tried changed nothing.

    I'm bored! I need some excitement!

    I'm done with such thoughts. I've put them behind me. If asked why... I can only say that it's not me that's not changing, but it's everything around me that stubbornly refuses to differ.

    Not that anyone's asking...

    Having such non-changing days like these, all I do each new day is just a repetition of what I did the one before. It's the same thing all over again. I guess, that's why I'm able to notice the little things.

    Right now, I'm watching a bus stop on the other side of the road. There's a lady standing there, occasionally leaning on the railing to see if the bus is finally here. She does not notice what is right beside her. I'm sure she did not and that she doesn't notice anything amiss. Yes, she does not notice there is another shadow beside her own when she leaned on the railing.

    But I did.

    Now I'm on a bus, sitting at the window seat watching the scenery as the buses pass them. There's a student on the seat further down from mine. I see her watching the palm trees outside too. The palm trees were planted according to some arrangements. There are rows and rows of them, but did she notice it? Every 13 rows of trees, there's another row of trees that does not have the same distance like the others before it.

    A planting mistake? It could be, but try checking it again. Where's that row of trees? The rows of trees have the same distance, so where is that different row of trees?

    That student, I don't think she noticed it. Yes, she does not notice there was an additional row of trees between the rows of trees we passed by just now.

    But I did.

    Right now, I've arrived at my destination. It has been so long since I start leading this monotonous life, I forgot the joy of finally seeing them again. All I hope is that they are able to notice the little things that exists around us.

    There! There they are, my dearest estranged family. My dearest mother, my diligent father, my gentle sister and my hardworking little brother. My eyes hurts, my heart's in pain, and my throat's dry. I miss them. I miss them a lot.

    What result did my little brother got for his exam?

    Who's my sister going out with now?

    How's my mother's health?

    When are you going to have a holiday, father?

    Are you guys eating well?

    Did you notice the little things around you just like I notice them? I hope you see them.

    It's Halloween. The day where the line that separates the world are stretched thin. It's the day for visiting. The celebration of the dead. The easiest day to notice the little things. So, please. Notice me. After all.

    I'm dead.



    And I miss you.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

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  9. Zero300

    Zero300 『Mask Maker』『Kamen Rider Khaos』『Demon Immortal』

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    Boo!

    written by: @Zero300
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    "BOO!" I jumped out from the shadows in my ghostly costume.

    "UWAAHAHAH!" My friend Jenny screamed as she stamped her foot on the ground, grinding that spot a few times. "Dammit! That scared me!"

    "Hahaha." My other friend Kyle and I both laughed.

    "Aren't you too jumpy these days?" Kyle teased.

    "I can't help it. It's close to Halloween...plus I binge-watched too many horror classics last night." Jenny grimaced in regret.

    "So did you figure out what you will be wearing for Halloween?" I asked Jenny as I wrapped my arm over her shoulder, but she seemed to have ignored me...maybe because she was still angry at me for scaring her.

    "So what costume are you going to wear for the party?" Kyle asked as he stared towards me and Jenny with a grin on his face. Kyle's probably asking Jenny since anyone can tell that I'm in a ghost costume.

    "I'll be dressing up as a werewolf." Jenny replied as she massaged her shoulders. "Gosh, must be tired from working on my costume all week long...my shoulders are sore and heavy."

    "That's great--" Kyle replied.

    "What about you, Kyle? What will you dress up as?" I interjected.

    "I'll be going as a mummy. Easy and simple to make."

    "Haha." Jenny and I both laughed.

    "Typical Kyle." Jenny smirked.

    "Agreed." I nodded.

    "Anyways, let's go. We also need to get to that other place before we go to the party." Kyle urged.

    At the mention of the 'other place', Jenny immediately fell silent. Kyle also grimaced as if he had said something that he shouldn't have said. I wondered about what this 'other place' was and kept bugging them, but they just kept quiet and continued on their way. Must have been something serious...how come I don't remember anything like that? With no answers, I resignedly followed them.

    Finally, we arrived at a cemetery. Is this the place? Wow! Spooky...not, is this why they were being so serious a moment ago? Are they trying to frighten me with a cheap scare like going through a cemetery? Ha! Child's play.

    "Here we are. Let's get this over with." Jenny sighed.

    "Hey, hey, no need to sigh over this. You're just trying to force me to go with you guys on this test of courage right? Being so serious ain't the right direction to go. You gotta set the mood." I exclaimed. At this time, I was getting a bit annoyed.

    "Just past those tombstones Jenny...and then we'll be there. Just one quick look and we'll be out of here in no time." Kyle reassured.

    "Hooh...over there eh? I'll go ahead and see what you have in store for me. Haha, I bet you'll try to scare me by putting up a tombstone of me, haha." I smirked as I went ahead. They didn't seem to stop me, so I guess they already realized that the cat's out of the bag and they're just trying to keep the game in play. Hmmph, useless. Can't scare me.

    I walked up to the place that they indicated and lo-and-behold, I was right. There was a tombstone with my name on it. They must have put in a lot of effort, I'll give them that. The tombstone read:

    In Loving Memory
    Of
    Benjamin Kingsley
    Friend & Family
    1992-2008

    May He Rest In Peace

    "Real funny guys. I already expected that you would do something like this...guys?" I replied as I saw them head over as well.

    They walked up to the tombstone and Jenny suddenly burst into tears. Huh? What's wrong? I was just about to ask when Kyle told Jenny that she shouldn't cry so much. That Ben wouldn't want her to feel that way. After all, his death wasn't her fault.

    "Wait! What? My death? Guys, that's not funny anymore. Quit it." I said as I approached the two friends of mine and reached out to grab them.

    What happened next shocked me...my hand reached out to grab Kyle...but it went through him! What?! What's going on?! I tried to steady myself as I looked around frantically. My body faded out for a bit before coming back. Was this a hidden cam? Special effects? Ugh! My head suddenly start hurting. I reached out and held my head in pain when suddenly, memories flashed in my mind.

    It was that Halloween in 2008, I was teasing Kyle and Jenny as usual...saying stuff like how Kyle's costume makes him look different than what he had intended and Jenny looked ultra lame in her costume. We were near the road when Jenny got angry and ran off. As she tried to cross the road, a truck came speeding forward. Upon seeing the truck, Jenny froze in place. She was so frightened that her legs couldn't move. Seeing Jenny's predicament, I lunged forward and pushed her out of the way. The truck...it crashed into me!...No...the pain...I...I-I died.... Then....

    ..........

    Flashback....

    ..........

    A spider came crawling towards Jenny. Jenny just so happened to see it near her leg. Usually, Jenny wasn't scared of spiders, but because she saw the Terror of the Mutant Spiders last night, she was unusually scared of them.

    "UWAAHAHAH!" Jenny screamed in terror as she stomped on the spider, grinding her foot a couple of times to make sure it was dead. "Dammit! That scared me!"

    "Hahaha." Kyle laughed as he teased Jenny. "Aren't you too jumpy these days?"

    "I can't help it. It's close to Halloween...plus I binge-watched too many horror classics last night." Jenny grimaced in regret.

    "So what costume you gonna wear for the party?" Kyle asked as he stared towards Jenny with a grin on his face.

    "I'll be dressing up as a werewolf." Jenny replied as she massaged her shoulders. "Gosh, must be tired from working on my costume all week long...my shoulders are sore and heavy."

    "That's great...I'll be going as a mummy. Easy and simple to make." Kyle replied.

    "Haha, typical Kyle." Jenny smirked.

    "Anyways, let's go. We also need to get to that other place before we go to the party." Kyle urged.

    At the mention of the 'other place', Jenny immediately fell silent. Kyle also grimaced as if he had said something that he shouldn't have said. It was a serious matter, and it just ruined the cheerful mood between the two friends. They just kept quiet and continued on their way. The two finally arrived at their destination - a cemetery.

    "Here we are. Let's get this over with." Jenny sighed.

    "Just past those tombstones Jenny...and then we'll be there. Just one quick look and we'll be out of here in no time." Kyle reassured.

    As they approached the tombstone, Jenny suddenly burst in tears. Kyle immediately comforted Jenny and told her that she shouldn't cry so much. That Ben wouldn't want her to feel that way. After all, his death wasn't her fault.

    ..........

    Present time....

    ..........

    "It's okay Jenny. It's okay." Kyle replied as he hugged Jenny and patted her head.

    "But...." Jenny replied.

    "It's been a year since Ben died. I'm sure he has moved on by now. You should try to move on as well." Kyle reassured.

    "O-okay. You're right."

    "Come, wipe those tears, we’ve got a party to attend and some candy to eat."

    After a few more minutes of silent sobbing, the two got up and left. I stared off into the distance, my mind dazed and my eyes blurred. I...I'm dead...it's been over a year.... So...why haven't I moved on? What am I regretting? Could it be...I have not forgiven Jenny? I stared off into the distance to where Kyle and Jenny were and a grin appeared on my face. I think I know what I should do...it sure is lonely being a ghost.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​
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  10. karsarts

    karsarts wonder when can I get reincrnated as a loli

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    Defiling the Innocent Gods Among Us

    written by: @karsarts
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    These are excerpts from the diary of an accursed child who was not supposed to exist. I took it with me in hope that one day, someone will discover it.



    The first memory I can vividly recall is when I was born. However, no one was smiling for me. No one cried in happiness. Those were all things which were reserved for my older sister. As I was born, the first emotions I felt were jealousy and loneliness.

    Even so, I did not feel lonely for long. My sister is always with me after all. She has always been the only one caring for me. However, I know I am still jealous of her. People always gather around her, cherishing her lovely smile. Everyone other than her ignores me though.

    ---​

    People have started to notice me. However, it is not the warm look they always give to my sister. They tell me with a sinister smile, "You are growing up very quickly. Perhaps the time is soon." Then they laugh. I am terrified by their laughter.

    ---​

    Father told me to come with him. I have not talked to him more than once before, so I am confused by it. Then, he stripped me. What happened after was very painful, but I endured it. He told me he is doing this out of love for me after all. He said he loves me very much. It is the first time someone had told me that. I was so happy I cried.

    ---​

    My sister told me there are four seasons in this world, but the village’s scenery never changes. As we continued talking, I decided to keep father's actions a secret from my sister. It was very painful and I do not want her to be hurt. Father interupts us and calls me to go with him.

    My sister looked worried, but I still followed Father to a small house. Inside, men and women were doing what my father taught me before. He saw my confusion and told me with a warm smile, "This is a sacred act carried out through love. I love you, so we did it together. Our neighbors will love you too."

    I still do not understand very well, but I was happy that people do this to each other out of love. I slept in that house after they thouroughly exhausted me. I suddenly recalled my sister’s worried face as I almost cried out from the pain. I tried to console myself by remembering that people show their love to me by doing this.

    For some reason, two lines of tears constantly flowed down instead.

    ---​

    I found an old-looking parchment. It describes a "utopia" in the form of a village. A blessed child made by nature comes to the village to perform miracles for a while before going away. Later, another blessed child would appear and the cycle would continue.

    The villagers are given food and vigor through the miracles. The villagers never grow old, and are always healthy. In such a village, no one is ever unhappy, no one has to suffer, and no one has to cry. If only I could live in such a place.

    ---​

    Tonight, I was awoken by my sister. She looked bizarre. She wore a pure white dress, and all over her body were strange symbols. Yet, the symbols look oddly familiar. My sister smiled at me. As we left everyone looked at my sister and smiled, with expectations and happiness in their eyes.

    They took my sister to a lake. En route, white flowers were growing. They were very beautiful. The lake we were taken to was very wide. It's water was pure and untainted. There was a large tree in the middle of the lake.

    For some reason, I felt connected with the tree. Then, my sister slowly walks into the lake towards the tree. Something inside me screamed to stop her, but it was too late.



    -The girl was too terrified to continue the diary. As a witness to what she experienced, as well as a survivor of the village, I feel responsible for writing the rest of her story-

    The girl watched her sister’s body dry up until she became nothing but bones. She was horrified, and madly rushed inside the water to save her sister. However, her clothes slowly disintegrated as the water covered her.

    After seeing what happened to her sister, I thought I understood what would happen to her if she remained in the water. I was too terrified to move or try to save her.

    In the end, I didn't have to. A light flashed. The girl’s body was suddenly covered in symbols. I watched as she was carried by the current to the tree while she obliviously grasped her sister's bones.

    Light only came back into her eyes after she touched the tree. However, something was different about her. Something divine, reminding me of the blessed child I had seen before. Then, she slowly drifted back to the village. In one hand her sister’s bones and in her other a foreign object: a sword.

    No one understood how she got the sword. Some people recognised it as the Sword of Punishment, said to appear when the taboos are violated. The villagers were horrified and one of them shouted “She is coming to kill us.” Then, panic spread.

    The girl looked very lonely as she came before the villagers, but looked surprised when they surrounded her, weapons in hand. She didn't resist as they beat her. They snatched the sword and her sister’s remains out of her hands, and fatally wounded her again and again. However, she did not die. She could not die. Finally, they tied her to a pole, and burned her to death.

    The poor girl was confused throughout the whole ordeal.

    The village soon died out, as there no blessed child appeared to make food for them ever again. I survived by eating fruits I found and scavenging. Hopefully you can find this diary before I die as well
    .

    Sincerely,
    A villager


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

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  11. Pandamonic

    Pandamonic 『Hibernating Panda』 『ZZzzz』

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    Fwends 4ev3r

    written by: @Pandamonic
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    I accepted a group invite.

    Yet how regretful I am.

    Because I didn't know what horror it may bring.

    A thing much more terrifying than death.

    From the start I was just curious and unconcerned.

    I didn't want to be involved in stuff like these.

    But fate pulled me out of the thousands of users here.

    10/8/16
    *you have joined the Fwends4ev3r

    Slender man: Come 8:03
    Jeff: Welcome Yo. 8:03
    Dripman: Can you be my friend? 8:03

    (Seen by Eye-less Jack and you)

    I checked the list of members and found out that only a member named Rake is offline.

    I ignored them and switched to another tab.

    After that day I decided to check their chat history.

    1 month ago
    9/14/16

    Jeff: Welcome in Fwends 4ever 8:03
    Poop Star: Thanks for inviting me. 8:06
    *Slender Man likes this.
    Dripman: Can you be my friend? 8:07
    Poop Star: Sure! That'll be best. 8:10

    (Eye-less Jack has seen this message.)

    9/15/16

    Jeff: Man, Rake has been first to befriend you. 8:03
    Poop Star: Rake who? 8:08
    Jeff: Oh did you feel cold last night? 8:37
    Poop Star: Wow, How'd you guess? 8:42
    Jeff: Then that’s Rake. His actions speak louder than words. 8:57
    Poop Star: That was creepy. Cause his name is Rake. 9:03
    Jeff: Right. 9:03

    (Eye-less Jack has seen this message.)

    9/16/16

    Jeff: Dripman will drop by your place tonight. 8:03

    (Eye-less Jack and Poop Star has seen this message.)

    9/17/16

    Poop Star: This is not a fun prank you guys. 4:52
    Poop Star: I'mma report this to the police if you don’t stop. 19:58

    (Eye-less Jack, Slender Man and 3 others has seen this message.)

    9/18/16

    Poop Star: I called the police and you’re dead now. 8:03
    Poop Star: Wow, you guys are good at hiding 14:45
    Poop Star: What do you want from me?! 23:47

    (Eye-less Jack, Slender Man and 3 others has seen this message.)

    9/19/16

    Jeff: We just want to be your friend forever.
    Slender Man: We just want to be your friend forever.
    Dripman: We just want to be your friend forever.
    Rake:

    (Eye-less Jack has seen this message.)

    9/20/16

    *Poop Star has been kicked out of the group

    Jeff: Rake your going in for tonight.
    Jeff: Enjoy!
    Jeff: And bring me some eyeballs.

    What a nice script how much effort would they have spent to make this kind of creepy group.

    I decided to quit the group.

    Do you really want to quit this group?

    I confirmed the message.

    10/9/16

    Jeff: You there? 8:03

    (Eye-less Jack, Slender Man and You has seen this message.)

    Last night I felt like someone is watching me but maybe it’s just my imagination playing with me.

    I thought that I left this group yesterday. Oh well maybe I didn't.

    Once again I confirmed the message.

    I received a notification that says loading unsuccessful.

    Maybe the server has a problem today.

    10/10/16

    Dripman: You ain't going to leave us are you? 8:03
    Jeff: Somebody here is going to throw a tantrum. 8:04

    (Eye-less Jack, Slender Man and You has seen this message.)

    There was an accident near our street. The driver kept on saying he bumped into something, that’s why his car suddenly stopped and the one behind him crashed into the back of his vehicle.

    What a lame excuse who would believe that kind of reasoning? He could just say he accidentally pressed the brake. He'd be guilty in both ways anyway.

    10/11/16

    Jeff: You wouldn't believe what happen last night. 8:03
    You: What? 8:33
    Jeff: Dripman tried to cross a street! 8:34
    You: Huh? Weirdo. 9:03
    Jeff: And you wouldn't believe what happen next. 9:04
    Jeff: He almost crosses over to the other side of the street! 9:05
    *Slender Man and Raked like this.

    (Eye-less Jack has seen this message.)

    It’s confirmed. I really cannot leave this group; even the mod says there is no problem in their server. Huff, I'm stuck in this weird group.

    When the clock hit twelve I ran out of materials to read or watch. Boredly I decided to skim through the chat history log.

    9/21/16

    Jeff: Welcome! 8:03
    Hunk Potato: Uhm, Thanks? 8:03
    Slender: No need to be shy 8:04
    Hunk Potato: Okay. 8:04

    (Eye-less Jack has seen this message.)

    9/24/16

    Jeff: I love the Star wars poster in your room. 8:03

    (Eye-less Jack has seen this message.)

    9/25/16

    Hunk Potato: Please stop you’re scaring me.
    Dripman: We are friends are we?

    (Eye-less Jack has seen this message.)

    9/26/16

    *Hunk Potato has been kicked out of the group

    Jeff: His all yours Drip.
    Jeff: --

    (Eye-less Jack has seen this message.)

    9/27/16

    Fukihira: What a weird name for a group. 8:03
    Jeff: No way it’s so cool right guys. 8:03
    *Dripman like this.

    (Eye-less Jack has seen this message.)

    9/30/16

    Jeff: Drip stole your panties.
    Slender Man: ...

    (Eye-less Jack has seen this message.)

    10/1/16

    *Fukihira has been kicked out

    Jeff: Eye-less is going to be on the loose. Keh Keh Keh

    (Eye-less Jack has seen this message.)

    10/2/16

    *Sparkly666 has joined

    10/7/16

    *Sparkly666 has been kicked out

    Jeff: Its Slendys turn for this night.
    Jeff: It’s a draw lots next week. Yes!

    (Eye-less Jack has seen this message.)

    Thank goodness they will kick me out after 2 days.

    I will just ask them to confirm whether they're going to kick me out or not.

    10/11/16

    You: Are you going to kick me out too? 1:03
    Jeff: Maybe 1:04
    *Slender Man and 2 others like this.

    (Eye-less Jack has seen this message.)

    I am shaking in fear right now. Last night there was a tall black man wearing a suit whose face wasn't distinguishable. He stared at me just meters away from my bed until daybreak. I know I am not dreaming because I did not even have a wink of sleep last night. Right after I decided to close my eyes I saw his dark figure standing in the corner of my room blended by darkness.

    I realize now that this is no prank that that monstrosity last night in my room is Slender Man. That death’s door is just a day away. I want to run away but it is all of no use. And this chat group is a den of psycho.

    You: Are you gonna kill me? 8:03
    Jeff: If you get killed not by us that is. 8:04
    You: when will you kill me? 8:05
    You: Whose gonna kill me? 8:05
    Jeff: That’s what we need to know and for you to find out. 8:06
    *Slender Man and 3 others like this.

    (Eye-less Jack has seen this message.)

    I don't know what to do to escape this nightmare. It’s not that scary to die. I am more scared on who’s going in for tonight. Will Jeff whisper to me? Is Dripman going to befriend me? Maybe Slender Man is already stalking me in the dark. I wish Rake will come for me so my death won't be prolonged. *Shiver* Just imagining a pit of endless darkness from Jack’s eyes brought much terror.

    I want to scream for help yet I don't want to invite my family in this inevitable death. Especially when the culprit can bypass walls and be in any place in the world in just seconds.

    Holding a knife in my hand a thought come to me.

    'Killing yourself is much better than experiencing horror in their hands.'

    Yet I wrote this first trying to spread the words. Trying to post it in every site I could. Sitting in front of the computer. I stared blankly at my right hand, more specifically at the thing that I'm holding.

    I heard footsteps coming from somewhere. Tightly holding the knife I regrettably looked at the screen.

    *Internet connection error.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

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  12. allusivelogic

    allusivelogic Well-Known Member

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    It Started Off Innocently Enough

    written by: @allusivelogic
    edited by: tobimel
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    Quick Glossary
    嫡(dí): Di. Children born from the first and legitimate wife
    庶(shù): Shu. Children born from a concubine
    右丞相 (Yòu chéngxiàng): Right Prime Minister/Chancellor. A status shared with the Left Prime Minister, the government's top officials under the emperor. The character in this story story is generally referred to as just Prime Minster as the Left Prime Minister also holds a honorary title of Prince.
    左丞相 (Zuǒ chéngxiàng): Left Prime Minister/Chancellor.
    ------

    It started off innocently enough.

    Through the grapevine, I heard the news that the house of the Right Prime Minister’s di daughter suffered an accident, almost on the brink of death, due to a disagreement with her younger shu sister.

    The girl seemed meek and quiet whenever I saw her at the monthly tea appreciation events. With her hair covering most of her face, she permanently stayed staring at the ground through all the chatter. The frail girl dressed in a plain robes and little personal effects, appeared to barely be able to restrain her tremble the entire time she was in public. Completely the opposite to her bright young sister, who lit up the room with her cheerful demeanour. I found her younger sister to be slightly brash but was generally a sweet girl who was always trying to drag her elder sister along to events. Thus, at these events, I try to help send her home early. It was pitiful to force her to be put on display as such, particularly, when she was clearly uncomfortable.

    To be honest, it wasn’t even much of a surprise that she collapsed. It has not been a secret that the Prime Minister di daughter has had poor health ever since her birth, after her mother died from childbirth complications. Doctors have been called across the land to treat the young miss for years. There has recently been hushed talks about an annulment of her engagement with Left Prime Minister, Prince Jin, for the last few months since his age of coming ceremony, supposedly due to her health. The whispers of concealed meetings between Prince Jin and the Prime Minister did nothing but fan the flames of gossip.

    Prince Jin was a popular man with many famous administrative policies well received by the public. We met in passing once. He was well spoken and seemed quite reserved. I thought the pair was quite well-matched and told him as such. He appeared pleased if slightly conflicted at the comment.

    I sent the household staff to send a gift basket to the Prime Minister’s household with various nutritious food such as ginseng and bird’s nest. I asked my sister to write an appropriate note and thought nothing more of the incident.

    ------​

    A month later, news of a mysterious talented genius maiden reached the ears of my father. She had supposedly made a huge stir in the underground community. I was asked to keep a lookout for this lady.

    The only information I was able to find, was from the herbalist near the jewelers. A young miss with, I quote “piercing eyes”, had sold a precious 8th ranked pill in return for a large quantity of “trash herbs”. I thought it sounded like trivial gossip and ignored the false claims for my reward money.

    ------​

    Two months passed before the mysterious lady was confirmed to be the eldest miss from the Prime Minister’s house. She had obliterated the front gate of the Jin Estate, injuring 20 men, and demanded repayments on an annulled engagement. From a weak trembling maid to a vicious rebel?

    I must admit I had not at first believed the claims until I reached the Jin Estate that afternoon. While the Jin household cleaned most of the debris, signs of the vicious fight lingered on the dented red wooden posts framing the front gate. A shaken doorman had to apologise profusely that the household was unable to accept any guest that day. I sent my regards before returning straight home.

    Our household guards were trained vigorously for the next few weeks, until news was heard about her again.

    ------​

    When it started to change again, it began to change dramatically.

    The youngest daughter of the Prime Minister was sent to the countryside. Officially, due to health reasons accompanied by her shu mother to recover. Unofficially, word was that they disappeared suddenly and the Prime Minister, with no signs how or why, thus had decided to cover up the incident to maintain his appearance.

    That now infamous di daughter then began to visit the tea house where I frequented regularly with my little sister. Dressed in the finest robes embroidered with delicate lotuses, hair styled elegantly back from her face, she appeared as if a completely different woman after her accident. Now confidently entering the establishment, she commanded an air of respect with a slight edge upon contact. The waiter, who approached her to explain the seating rules of the tea house, shrank under her gaze before running out her sectioned room.

    The next time I saw her, a famous wastrel young master had for some reason found offence with her words and attempted to attack her. They disappeared behind the curtain before a piercing scream rang through the tea house. We were all escorted out of the tea house and I have yet to have seen that young master again.

    The di miss, however, I saw multiple times thereafter. Each time I glimpsed her from behind the curtains, a different person was by her side. First a young boy, who was practically bouncing around the tea house while gazing at the balcony scenery. Then a strict elder maid, who flittered around the di miss as if she was a deity sent from the heavens. Finally, a young man around her age, no less attractive than Prince Jin, with a smirk on his face and carefree swagger as he circled around for her attention.

    I attempted to ask for her attention once in a chance meeting at the tea house’s steps but was only able to gleam generic information of her situation. An annulled engagement, ill shu sister and a stressed Prime Minster father, leaving her alone and looking to learn the hobby of tea making to help ease her father’s pain. She had no expression the entire conversation, and stared straight into my eyes as if searching for something. A cold shiver ran up my spine as I watched her expression change to a…hungry look. I attempted to smile politely and wished her the best before hurrying off. Only I vaguely heard something along the lines of “You’re next.” from my peripheral, but when I turned, she was gone.

    As I travelled back home, I heard of notices with denouncements of Prince Jin for his heartless actions towards the sickly di miss of the Prime Minister house, which were posted across the city to much surprise of the populace. From what I heard from father, at court the tide had shifted from the Prince onto the Duke Chu as Prince Jin fell out of favour. I was advised to reduce contact with either noble houses and the Prime Minister Estate. It was certainly a surprise for the Emperor to care about the sickly miss. I assume the Prime Minister must have had pleaded with the son of the heavens, after having a change of heart when the rest of his family had turned…ill.

    ------​

    I began collating information of illnesses in the city through the herbalists and doctors I trusted.

    In the last four months, the rate of death, due to a mysterious disease outbreak, has risen by 400%. Most of the affected were young adult males, notable for contracting the illness after being out late at night. A similar increase in merchants’ deaths, primarily due to murder, was also noted to occur in the same vicinity.

    I set a new night curfew for my younger sister, much to her dismay.

    ------​

    Prince Jin was cast out of the royal family after three months. The Emperor had supposedly found evidence of Prince Jin conspiring for treason and exiled him to the far west in the desert lands. Prince Jin never made it that far. He was assassinated before he reached the next city.

    The Emperor seemingly had met the news with great sadness and berated the men responsible for protecting Prince Jin’s journey but hinted the result was the fated will of the people and gods. My father was tasked to find the culprits.

    I accidentally saw Prince Jin’s corpse. It was gruesome. His innards were gouged out leaving a husk of body dried from all of his blood, despite his death was only 2 days earlier. He had no more limbs, all cauterised from his body, only for his torso and skull to remain. His face was dismembered into four, opening up his skull like a gift box. A single bloody lotus flower rested in, what remained of his nose cavity.

    ------​

    Later that month, the di miss was invited to the palace to accompany the empress-dowager, her maternal grand aunt. Rumours of an enchanting meeting between the young Emperor and the Prime Minister’s di miss spread throughout the city.


    I began work on a family emergency escape route from the manor and began investing into other cities to diversify my investments and build up funds. My sister was unimpressed with the lack attention I was able to give to her, began to visit the tea house by herself. I warned her to stay away from trouble and away from her.

    My father had found a key witness to Prince Jin’s assassination. They found him with his mouth pierced shut with thin bamboo stems, hog-tied upside down on the city gates with his legs burnt to the bone. It was the morning before his date to testify in front of the court.

    ------​

    I was too late.

    News of my father’s sudden seizures in the morning, shook me to my core. I rushed over to his compound after contacting the doctors to find my mother and younger sister sobbing at his bedside.

    A pale man, half of what a legend my father normally is, stared back at me under the bed covers. He looked emancipated, the strong hero I admired throughout my childhood, seemed to have lost half his body weight overnight. Weeping blisters and bloody rashes reached up to his neck, I watched my father twitched and spasmed from the pain. With a withered hand tinged blue and leaking blood from his nails, he gestured me to come closer. I held his fragile hands in mine and listened to his final words with despair, before he convulsed violently and the imperial doctors sent the family out of his room. My father died at age 42.

    My mother died a week later at age 35 in her sleep. The imperial doctors had no diagnosis on how she died. They fumbled their way around the issue, only under my intense questioning to come up with heartbreak’. I knew better.

    ------​

    The Emperor sent words of condolence with hidden reprimand and suspicion that my father was meddling too much into certain affairs. I had to dig my nails in my palms until it bled to restrain myself and receive his golden words.

    Father’s official position was transferred to a relative of the Empress-Dowager's maternal family. My household kept its status as one of high nobility but our monthly stipend was lowered by over 3/4 and all the staff gifted by the previous Emperor were recalled by the Department of Household Affairs.

    ------​

    Most of the remaining servants had helped kept vigil during the mourning week, in the mourning hall of the ancestral compound. While we were running low on staff, I had to trust the servants with the care of the mourning hall and I hired outside staff for the catering of the mourning banquet. Guests came and went, sending their condolences as I held myself together with the revolve of representing the house proudly.

    After I knelt one last time at my parents coffins, I remember I slowly walked out the hall mesmerised by the white banners across the doors of the estate whipping around under the harsh wind. It was my sister’s turn to keep vigil and I helped assist her back to the hall.

    The scream pierced through the winter night like a great spear to my heart. I felt my pulse quicken, blood pounding against my skull. No. I turned to look to my sister frozen stiff, blood draining from her face. I don’t remember what I said, but made her stay their with her personal maid as I ran to the mourning hall doors.

    There was an enormous explosion of fiery smoke and dust. The orange and red flames were a garish contrast against the night sky. They tore through the white banners, which were disintegrating under the heat. The hall doors stayed strong no matter how much I pushed and pounded. The screams continued, terrified, desperate, hysterical, stabbing and stabbing at my heart. The voices of the people I have known all my life, distorted, twisted to become a wretched song of death. My yells for help were drowned out by crashing beams from inside the hall and the crackling splintering flames. My burnt bloody arms, under my fruitless assault on the doors, were held and dragged back by my father’s manservant.

    ------​

    We took the ashes of all their remains to bury at the ancestral burial grounds with my parents. The act was partly a final thanks for their service and partly because it wasn’t possible to send them back to their families.

    The ancestral burial grounds was three miles from the city and our funeral procession was met with hushed whispers and stares. Words of ‘karma’ and ‘poor filial piety’ blared loudly in my ears, as I did my best to walk pass steadily.

    My sister collapsed halfway during procession.



    Her eyes flashed red when she woke.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

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  13. Litisun

    Litisun Member

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    Beyond the Door She Opened

    written by: @Litisun
    Synopsis: One evening while a young part time worker encounters more than the expected costumed characters while working at an old store on Main Street. The community store owner sponsored trick or treating event becomes a bit more hectic due to the unexpected visitors.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    We sold doors. Doors for anywhere and doors to anywhere. If you needed a door for a dog that was wider than he was tall, then we sold it. If you needed a garage door made out of cast iron, we’d order it and sell it. You needed a round door, because you were obsessed with certain short fellows with hairy feet, we made it and then sold it.

    Well, even though I said “we” I must admit that part was inaccurate. My part-time job was to greet customers in the evening when the owner and craftsmen were not there. I was to take phone calls and answer basic questions for those customers who wandered in after hours. In our case this was any time after 6:00 P.M, when my boss decided nobody who really needed a door would bother coming. I was frankly surprised that they were actually right.

    My boss and the owner of the store was slightly eccentric. She only walked outdoors while carrying a lime green parasol. She would ransack the store to find it before stepping outside. She had a matching umbrella for the rain. She rarely if ever actually opened either of them. She would come in drenched with rain or flushed from sun exposure with a broad smile. I asked her once why she carried them. She just smiled and said it was in case someone needed one. One time she actually managed to leave them at home, so she unearthed a large box of them from the storage room, before going home.

    Halloween was her favorite holiday. I am convinced it was because it was the only day of the year that the cat ears she perpetually wore peeking through her long black hair did not stand out and it was the only time of the year that she wore that fake tail that seemed to twitch with a mind of its own. It probably cost a fortune in batteries or maybe it was rechargeable, but with the constant motion it had to be burning up some form of energy.

    The ear and tail were omnipresent each October from my earliest memories, even though the costume changed. Cat ears and witch hat. Cat ears and mummy wrappings. Even the time she dressed up as a werewolf there were two sets of fake ears and two tails, one canine and one feline.

    She was a friend of the family. Close with my mother and her circle of friends. She thought of herself as my big sister although to me she was more of an Aunt. I will never tell her as I would be lucky to only lose my job if she were to hear me say that aloud.

    I started working at the store near the end of September during my first year in college. I had tried finding work closer to school, but many of those jobs had already filled up by the time I started looking. Eventually I gave up and decided to try something closer to home and modify my schedule at school accordingly. Thankfully the store was hiring, though I find it suspicious that they suddenly had expanded hours just when I started looking for work, but I decided not to complain nor to investigate too closely.

    The store building had been in town for generations. The old brick building had traces of long forgotten signs for a dry goods store on the exterior and the closed off slots from its short time as the town post office. My boss bought it some 15 years earlier and started her store selling doors to the community and surrounding suburbs of the cities nearby. She dubbed it the "Ingress Egret" with a suitably large female Heron emblazoned on the entrance door and front window.

    Our town was not known for its naming sense. The road on which the new post office stood was New Postal Road. The dead end road to the firehouse with the characteristic near perpetually blinking yellow street lights was name Firehouse Lane. Of course, the primary thoroughfare on which the store sat hunched and weary in the afternoon light was named Main Street.

    The small town in which I lived celebrated Halloween like most small towns across the United States with children dressing up as various characters and wandering the neighborhoods in search of candy with bemused and sometimes bored parents in tow. However, our town had one difference. Our town had my boss.

    The first October that my boss moved into town she brought with her the wind of change. She marched from store to store along the Main Street and begged, bribed, and browbeat the other owners into a new tradition. Every October 31 the children would take to the streets of their communities and safely acquire their candy. Once the sun was well and truly set and the children settled in their houses the parents would descend upon Main Street to move from store front to store front to acquire adult beverages as well as candies and pastries.

    Needless to say this new event caught the attention of adults from the surrounding towns and suburbs. The event became so large that it even brought business back to the previously failing Main Street shops. It was a roving party with music and costumes, but oddly enough very little crime. My boss’s friends saw to keeping the revelers in check throughout the long Halloween night. They arrived every Halloween evening and spread out through the town. Every single one of them in medieval armor and clothing with matching metal badges on their chests, shoulders, or the belt at their waists.

    The town suggested expanding the event to other holidays, but my boss was, to put it kindly, disinterested in such a prospect. Eventually, without the lead of someone with equal fervor only the Halloween night event continued. Finally this year I would be able to participate, but now not as a reveler as I had hoped, but as an employee.

    The big day arrived far faster than I expected, but to my surprise I was asked to arrive to work earlier than usual. Apparently the level of work required was outside of even my boss’ expectations. Several new orders were received at once and paid for in advance. The workshop was humming with activity when I arrived after rushing through campus to board the bus and make the half hour long commute to work.

    Rushing in the door I found a large number of people lounging around and talking in a vaguely Slavic language. All of them were wearing various forms of medieval garb and a few were even wearing animal ears like my boss. The prevailing theory was that they all belonged to some obscure group of cosplayers in the nearby city. I found it odd that all of them spoke another language, but perhaps it was part of their shtick.

    The hustle and bustle of preparations continued apace until the sun began to set. I could hear the children making their rounds to some of the house that were interspersed with the shops along Main Street. An occasional shrieking giggle or booming laugh could be heard and the general chatter of children and impatient parents.

    My boss walked over to me a serious look on her face. An unruly strand of her shoulder length black hair fell across her right eye and she batted it back into place. Her cat ears were perched on her head such that they were almost leaning forward giving of the air of a serious cat intent on its goal. She probably just needed to straighten the headband that held them hidden in her hair.

    “Martin, I need you to be extra careful tonight. Some of the new orders are just barely finished. The fumes from the stain make get a bit thick and I don’t want anyone getting sick. I need you to be extra careful not to let anyone wander into the workroom this evening.”

    I wasn’t sure why that was a concern, but then I noticed the door connecting to the work area was propped open.

    “Why not just close the door?” I wondered to myself.

    Seeming to read my mind my boss actually looked a bit embarrassed. “Actually the door to the workshop is broken and we don’t have an immediate replacement. This is an old building and some of the choices or the builder were, well let’s just say eccentric. It’s really quite embarrassing not having the right door when we have so many, but the only one that would work is just not safe. No, not safe at all.”

    I admit I was somewhat curious about what was so unsafe about a door. But I was also stunned that there had ever been anyone my boss could call eccentric.

    “We are going to go out and start assigning my friends their posts in town, so I need you to make certain that nobody goes in the workroom. Just stay up here and answer the phone if it rings. It is unlikely anyone will even come in since the party will start in another hour or so.”

    Oddly enough the store was not actually part of the event and accepting revelers despite boss organizing everything. We still do act as a staging ground for organizing and allocating the human resources, including her friends and the caterers that she hired.

    I watched as the men and women in their well-worn armor filed out of the store. I was curious what method they used to make it look worn and faded as if they had been wearing it daily for a long period. My friend at school was majoring in theater and was obsessed with costume design. She would be absolutely thrilled and probably bombard them with questions. Unfortunately for her she also had to work tonight, but her job was at the University Library and it was doubtful she would make it out here for any part of the evening festivities.

    The evening passed slowly and the number of children dwindled as time passed, but then the old fashioned bell at the front door rang knocking me out of the stupor into which I had fallen. A young girl with blond hair and a Purple witches costume darted towards me, shoving a scowling plastic jack o’ lantern in my face.

    “Trick or Trick!” She yelled her greeting and laughed. It’s quite likely she thinks that is an original modification of the old standard Halloween greeting, but as a good big brother I decide against telling her. I smile in return.

    “Emily where are Mom and Walter? Shouldn’t you be headed home with them?”

    “You mean Mom and Dad, don’t you Martin? Why don’t you ever call him Dad?”

    “We’ve been over this. Your father insists on me calling him Walter.”

    I actually appreciate his feelings on this. Mom, Dad, and Walter had been friends for a long time. Walter had lost his wife when Emily was born and had relied on Mom and Dad for help fairly often, struggling with the grief and trying to raise Emily on his own. When Dad died unexpectedly it hit Walter pretty hard as well. After a few years when Mom and Walter eventually married, Walter felt uncomfortable being called Dad. We agreed that he would remain Walter to me.

    “What’s back here?”

    Once again I had drifted off into my own thoughts and Emily, constant ball of energy that she was, had moved as if drawn to the broken door.

    “Wait! You can’t go …Oh, nuts!” Dodging around the counter I chased after her.

    “Oh neat it’s just like the door in the movie!” She yelled excitedly. The smell of chemicals was strong, but had faded and I got through the broken door just in time to see Emily reach towards the knob of one of the new doors mounted in the drying rack.

    “Emily don’t touch anything!”

    I was too late. The highly polished door that looked like it was made of opal and silver drifted open without a sound and a bright light blinded me. I heard Emily scream and stumbled forward pulling her back from the door afraid some type of chemical reaction had caused a fire I held her and stumbled backwards falling into a crate in the process.

    A tremendous howl filled the room. “Give me back the child! I must have the child. Return the child!” I looked down at Emily in my arms. Her eyes were wide with fear. She started to scream but a covered her mouth and shook my head in negation. Seeming to understand she stopped struggling and a tear rolled down her cheek. I uncovered her mouth and peered out of the top of the crate a stack of pallets was between me and the doors. I obviously stumbled around quite a bit while trying to flee to end up here.

    A long black claw stretched out of the pitch black space beyond the door. Whatever light there had been was done and the edges of the door appeared wreathed in black sooty smoke. It appeared like it would coat anything it touched in grime and grit.

    “Find the child! Bring the child! The black chitinous claw gestured as if directing some as yet unseen minion.

    A staccato rhythm of footsteps echoed from the blackened door. Small bent sooty creatures that looked like withered old men entered the workroom. Dark Gray coats that appeared oversized for their small wiry frames sometimes brushed the floor as they walked. Their mouths hung open and slobbery foam hung from their chins in grotesques dripping beards on their hairless faces. Deep holes gleamed with a foul orange light in place of eyes.

    Some of them bent down and snuffled at the floor, but the heavy odor of chemical seemed to be disorienting them and they scurried about seemingly lost before flowing out the broken door into the shop. I heard the distant jangle of the front door bell as they presumably moved out to Main Street.

    “Go! More of you go!” The insectoid arm and claw gestured again and large shuffling creatures covered in matted malodorous hair. A smell of ammonia and mold surrounded them like a miasma. Shelf like fungi clung to the fur and the few bare patches of skin were warped and oozed pus around cluster of growths that appeared to be some form of parasitic fungi. One of the beasts bumped into the other at the broken door and a chunk of the parasitic fungus glopped to the floor shuddered and began to ooze away via some unknown means of locomotion.

    Eventually the matted shamblers also left the room and the claw withdrew. A bellowing echo from the still opened door. “Minions! More minions! Must get the child.”

    Large worms with scaly skin moved through the opening followed by a tall robed creature with a whip. The worms writhed around on the floor and headed towards the broken door, but the robed thing stopped. The heavy hooded robe swayed and soot fell to the floor. It approached slowly checking the occasional box or crate. With heavy steps it crept closer to our hiding place. Emily began shaking and I was having trouble breathing and not shaking myself.

    I saw into the hood. I wish I had not. The cadaverous face within shifted and changed the worm eaten rotten faces of friends and loved ones constantly morphed and flowed within. Emily whimpered and it stopped. Turning. Looming closer. Stepping towards our crate.

    Like a miracle the phone began to ring from the other room. The grim figure swiftly shot towards the phone and the worms flooded like a fleshy river out of the room behind it.

    A few minutes passed. No more creatures came from the door. Emily looked at me with her eyes full of tears. I had to do something. I had a feeling in my gut that as long as the door was open more foul things could come through or worse the rest of whatever owned that claw and screaming voice would push its way through.

    I noticed the door was set near the banding machine that the shippers use to secure the doors before shipping them. The steel bands used to secure the heavy doors were already set into the machine.

    “Emily stay here. If anything happens hide and when it’s clear run.”

    “But Martin, I…”


    “Emily this is important I need you to go for help if anything happens. OK? So please, please stay here.”

    After a moment she gave me a brief nod.

    I took a few breaths. Calming my ragged nerves l heaved myself out of the crate and into a run.

    I made it to the door and grasped the handles and tried to slam it shut, but as it got closer to closing it felt like air pressure was pushing it back. I had encountered similar effects in the tallest building on campus where the pressure on the inside of the building was greater than the pressure on the outside.

    I pushed and pushed. The door slowly shut, but just as it was about I heard a scream and a tentacle whipped through the opening and slapped my arm. The barbs on the club end of the tentacle tore my shirt and cut my arm. When most people think of tentacles they think of suckers, but these were more like the tentacles of the colossal squid with barbs rather than suckers. I threw my body heavily against the door and with a meaty “Shlorp!’ the severed tentacle fell to the floor twitching as the door clicked shut. A brief white light shone around the edges and then the door began to clear. The sooty miasma surrounding it began to disperse.

    I was not done though the blood was starting to soak my torn shirt I grabbed the door and slammed it down onto the banding machine. I’d seen it used once or twice and somehow I managed to replicate my memories which were suddenly clear as crystal. I almost did not breathe until the taut steel bands were firmly and securely in place around the door.

    “Well done! Truly excellently executed!”

    One of the beefier looking specimens among the Boss’ friends stood near the broken door. The crumbled form of the hooded creature grasped by the neck in his left hand seemed to be fading. The horror of the faces it had displayed still fresh in my memory. It took me a moment to realize that the contents of the robe had turned to ash and were slowly mounding near the man’s feet.

    “Enough of that Braeburn! Let me through! Let me through you big lumbering ox!” My Boss was behind him hammering him on the back of his shaven head with her lime green umbrella.

    “Are you alright Martin? What happened?”

    “Emily stopped in to visit and before I could stop her she ran back here. The door opened. These things came out. What were those things Aunt Rachel?”

    “Calm down Martin. Calm down.” She hugged me close for a moment then back out at arm’s length. “How many times have I told you not to add Aunt in front of my name?!”

    Something about her demanding that in this situation seemed to bring some normality back to my world. Rachel, my boss, explained that the creatures had flooded out into the streets, but the only ones who knew they were not part of the event were her and her friends. They quickly destroyed the things pretending it was a planned show and the adult population of the town seemed unaware of the whole affair. She also gave me some off the wall impossible explanation that the door was actually a gate to another world.

    I interrupted her explanation.

    “That is absurd. There is no way it’s possible!”

    “Maybe it was the fumes in here kid?" Braeburn helpfully suggested.

    Rachel’s cat ears twitched in irritation. I wonder when she upgraded them so that they too could move.

    “You keep out of this Braeburn.”

    “No, no. I think he’s right. I am just confused by the fumes.” Then I paused, “Wait I’m forgetting something where is Emily?”

    “She’s been standing beside you for some time now you know.”

    “What?” I looked beside me and there was Emily. Hair dishelved and plastic pumpkin in hand.

    “That’s right. I hid in the closet over there and I saw you save the day! You were so brave to close that door brother!”

    I looked at her. She hid in the closet?


    “But you were with me in the Crate. No see this proves it was the fumes!” I declared stumbling towards the crate. My head clouded with my refusal to accept what I had seen, but that refusal ended quickly when I looked in the crate.

    “Thank you for saving me big brother!” Exclaimed the second Emily who stood up from the crate.

    Thus the child escaped the creature beyond the door and I started on a new career while still attending college, but that’s a story for another time.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

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  14. Grenn

    Grenn Active Member

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    I Remember About That Time, When...

    written by: @Grenn
    Synopsis: the superstitions surrounding death and funeral rituals from the point of view of a second generation asian.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​


    ----First part----
    ‘She’s dead.’

    3 AM. In the deep of the night, after hours of agonizing on her hospital bed, grandma let go of her last breath. It was not a glorious death, nor was it as peaceful as one could hope for. It was so unlike what we see on television. There was no oxygen plug to her nose. There was not an emotional and meaningful conversation before her last breath.

    The only sounds she made near the end were delirious rambling of old stories that never actually happened, and the uncomfortable gurgling sounds of secretions. Normal signs before death, or so we were told by the nurses.

    They gave her pain killers, morphine to be exact, for comfort and pain management. Which pain? The pain of her illness or the pain of forcing herself to live? Who knows... The nurses also gave her other medications with names that could have scored lots of points in Scrabble. Everything was given in order to ease her and make her last hours more peaceful, or so they said. It did help stop her delirious conversations with her hallucinations, which were becoming creepier as day turned to night.

    I mean, it’s alright if she started talking about seeing spiders or her dead husband during noon when the sun is shining brightly in the sky, but... when outside was as dark as ink, talking about the floating heads of our ancestors and someone called Malo Guzepei was not very reassuring. By the way, if we switch on the chinese accent filter, Malo Guzepei will become Mario Giuseppe. In all the 18 years I had live under the same roof as her, this was the first time I heard grandma say something more italian than spaghetti, which was still too hard for her to say correctly.

    According to my sister who was gossiping with the nurses, Mario Giuseppe was the name of the last person who died in this same hospital room a week before my grandma was assigned this room... It must be a coincidence. Besides, grandma was delirious. We must have heard it wrong...

    Anyway. My paternal grandma died at around 3AM from kidney failure. I was there when she took her last breath. At that time, I was the only one there since dad went to the washroom. I was sitting next to her on a tiny foldable chair that should be rate -10 stars on Amazon for comfort. I would not even recommend it to my worst enemy... Never mind, scrap what I just said. I will recommend it to my worst enemy.

    I was looking at my cellphone as I was sitting next to her, my hand itching to switch it on to check Twitter or Facebook. The room was quiet, but always broken by my grandma’s erratic breathing pattern.

    Suddenly, I heard a weird gasping sound which was different from her gurgling and breathing. I lifted my eyes and met with her wide and opened eyes. Her bony fingers were tightly gripping the bed rail, right next to my knee. She opened her mouth wide, let out a foul breath that reminded me of urine, and stared straight into my eyes. Another high-pitched gasped came out from her mouth as she tried to keep herself alive, gobbling as much as air as she could, but couldn’t.

    It was as if an invisible hand was blocking her mouth and nose so no air could enter. I saw the fear in her black eyes, along with a sudden spark of lucidity. She fought to breath while staring at me as if I was her only hope to stay alive. She tried to sit up, using her bony fingers to pull on the bed rails, but no force came to her.

    Then, I saw the horror in her eyes as she looked at me, letting out another high-pitched gasp. Her mouth was wide open as if she wanted to gobble me whole for not helping her. And, then... nothing... She froze there, before everything went limp. She died with her eyes half closed, still fixing on me as if she resented me while her hand had already slumped next to her body.

    Bam!

    I dropped my cellphone. My hands moist from cold sweat. My heart wanted to beat out of my chest while my blood was surging with the boiling rush of adrenaline. My stomach felt like it sank into the depth of my viscera. I did not dare to move, even as I felt like jumping out from the window behind me at this instant to get far away from that bed. I stayed there, unmoving, staring at my now dead grandma with fear and uncertainty and wondering what I should do. Maybe I should ring the bell to call the nurse, but the bell was tied to the other bed rail. If I want to reach it I have to extend my hand over grandma’s body... Just at that moment, my dad returned.

    ‘My saviour!’

    “D-Dad... Grandma s-stopped breathing...”

    'Darn! My voice is shaking.'

    When my dad heard my words, he froze. Then, he quickly approached grandma, took her cold hands and started crying. It was my cue, I hurriedly left the room as if I had a fire on my butt.

    What happen next was as expected. Everyone in the family and extended family was notified. My dad and my mom didn’t care that it was the middle of the night. They said that it was wrong to hide grandma’s death until morning. It was not fair for those who weren’t here when she died and it would be unfilial. I don’t really get it. I think since everyone was tired from waiting for her to pass away, they deserve a good night of uninterrupted sleep.

    In the span of an hour, the hospital room was jammed pack with a mass of asians of all ages, except kids. They even found a buddhist monk at this hour to pray for her spirit through mantra and the like. Everyone left after the ritual while my parents took care of the paperwork, so they could receive grandma’s death certificate in due time. I wasn’t really interested in it since I was very tired and still a bit shaken by grandma’s last moment. Thus, I sat down on the nearest chair, overcome by relief.

    ‘It has finally ended. No more nights at the hospital!’

    I let out a sigh and shook my head to erase the souvenirs of her horror-filled eyes staring into mine. The next time I see her, she will look like she’s peacefully sleeping within her coffin... I wonder if we will expose her or just cremate her quickly...

    Dawn came before my parents and I could leave the hospital and return home for a good rest.


    ----Second part----
    Here I am, standing in front of her coffin, flabbergasted.

    My grandma’s body was well cared for by the morticians after her death. She looked like she was sleeping while wearing her most luxurious clothes and accessories. In front of the coffin, there was a table with food and burning incense sticks. The food on the table were to be the offerings for her spirit. She needed to fill herself before her journey to the Underworld.

    From what I know, death was not the end. Death was just a continuation unlike in other religions or cultures. Grandma would go on a journey to where our ancestors’ spirits are dwelling after their own deaths, if they haven’t reincarnated yet.

    The Underworld was similar to our world in the sense that people need to eat and have money and possessions, although they don’t need the exact same things as us. Since she would also need money to make her journey easier, my aunts and uncles bought a big box that could be used to burn joss paper money, the currency of the Underworld.

    The box was placed next to the offering table unused. When they started to burn some joss paper earlier our fire alarm started screaming in our house, and everyone started to panic and run everywhere like headless chickens, trying to open the windows and let out the smoke.

    You heard it right, OUR house! My grandma is lying in a coffin filled with dry ice and gel packs in HER bedroom in OUR house. We are doing a HOME FUNERAL. I repeat, I am absolutely flabbergasted.

    I really hate my resourceful big sister. She stumbled upon a place who offered “À la carte funeral services" during her search for a funeral house for the exposition and cremation. She researched further, since she was such a smartypants, discovering that home funeral was possible. Some people actually did that back in the good old times when no television existed, and it was the social norm to have the dead rot in your house a bit before you buried them.

    The possibility of a home funeral was very well received by the adults. They said that grandma was a very traditional woman who still longed for her birth country despite all those years immigrating here. They wanted to be filial to her and said it would comfort her spirit to return to the old way of funeral rites. Besides, it was also a way to atone themselves from not being able to bring her back home for end-of-life care. I had to stop myself from banging my head against the wall when I learned of their plan, since it would make me look stupid.


    ---last part----
    As much as I hate looking at the ethereal appearance of my Grandma, surrounded by a mist of dry ice, I must say that it was the best way to preserve her body. I was afraid that my parents wanted to leave my Grandma for two or three days in our house to give her friends, the so-called family that are not actually related to us, and the rest of the neighbourhood that knows of her passing a chance to see her one last time. However, the good news is... she will be transported to the crematorium the next morning. So, we’re just exposing her one day and one night.

    The first day was quite eventful, not including the fire alarm event, we got visited by so many people that the bell broke and people were knocking on our windows to notify us that they were here. One of the two the light bulbs in the toilet died because no one remembered to turn off the switch. Someone bumped on the offerings’ table and knocked water on the CD player that was playing buddhist mantra on repeat to sooth my Grandma’s spirit. Good thing it still worked after drying it.

    Later, we got the visit of the police because someone was complaining that the wailings were too loud... Well, what do you expect during a funeral? The police visit was the cue for everyone to return home, except for my parents, sister and I. This is our house, so we just retired to our bedrooms.

    As I was lying on my bed and thinking about Grandma, I realized how little and dry my relationship with her was. I don’t think it was related to me going through puberty all these years. Even when I was a kid, my interactions with her could be summed up as being rebuked and given words of dissatisfaction. I was too wild, I was too careless, I was too skinny, then I was too fat, I didn't eat enough, then I ate too much. I am not calm enough, and talk too much English. Whatever I did, there was always something that was not up to her standard.

    I can also see that she was biased towards my sister as she was full of praise. Heck, I can’t be my sister. I don’t like sitting in front of a desk studying all day. Life is such a waste if I just coop up inside all day. I understand that studying is important and that doing so will secure my future, but enjoying your life is not wrong. Must be that clash of views that made me not want to interact with Grandma. I do talk with her, but it was always awkward and very short. If I stayed too long, she would start to nag about every little thing about me, sending blow after blow to my self-esteem.

    My parents said that she just wanted me to be better and to learn to become mature from her, because Grandma was old and more experienced on the road of life. I would have believed that if she didn’t poke at everything and make me feel like I am the worst. I am me and not her, nor am I my sister.

    I don’t know when, but I drifted off and slept. When I opened my eyes, it was still night. I looked at my alarm clock and it was only 2:35 in the morning. I rolled to my side and wanted to go back to sleep, but then I felt the urge to go to the bathroom. I knew I shouldn’t have had that cup of water before going to sleep.

    With resignation, I tossed aside my quilt and got out of bed. The cold air of the night engulfed me as I got out of bed, sending shivers to my whole body. I rubbed my arms and crossed them over my chest hoping to keep as warm as I could before going out of my bedroom.

    ‘I should have brought a light jacket.’

    In the dead of the night, my steps echoed in the corridor in unison with the tick-tock of the clock. Sometimes, the wooden floor would creak under the weight of my body. My parents and my sister were asleep. Their bedroom’s doors were closed and no lights were on. Since I didn’t feel like being blinded by the corridor light, I didn’t turn it on. Only the moonlight was guiding my way. Even if there was no moonlight, I could still find my way to the bathroom because I know the layout of our house. When I reached the bathroom door, I put my hand on the door knob and gave it a twist. Nothing...

    ‘Huh?’

    Again, I tried to twist the knob, but it didn’t bulge one centimeter. I frowned, wondering why the heck it was locked. I tried to push the door, but to no avail. I was started to feel the urgency of relieving myself. That sounds dirty, but who cares when your most basic need was in jeopardy. I tried it a few more times before giving up.

    ‘Looks like I have to go to the bathroom downstairs.’

    With resignation, I turned and walked in the opposite direction, taking the stairs down to the ground floor. As I walked, I no longer had the moonlight to light up my way. It was pitch black like inside of a tomb. As I walked closer to the washroom, I felt the air become colder and colder. A biting cold as if I was stuck inside the refrigerator. I shivered more and accelerated my pace. Suddenly, I stopped. My brain jolted and I remembered that the washroom on the ground floor was in front of Grandma’s room.

    I hesitated a moment. Still... if it was only her room, it wouldn’t make me so apprehensive, but her body was inside. When I recalled her body resting among dry ice inside the coffin, I couldn’t help but remember the way her eyes looked at me the day she died. The fear, the pain, the horror and the resentment in those black eyes... I wanted to turn back, but then again, I needed to pee.

    'Nevermind, I shouldn’t overthink this.'

    No choice, let’s do it quickly. I literally ran towards the washroom door. I could hear the buddhist mantra playing over and over again. Without thinking, I chant it in my head over and over again. I flung the door open and ran inside the washroom and closed the door as if I was chased by a horde of zombies. I sat down on the toilet seat for a moment and let out a sigh of relief, because nothing happened. Then, I got up and switched on the light. The light flickered four times then everything return to darkness.

    ‘Darn! I forgot to change the light bulb.’

    Now, I was in total darkness in a washroom big enough to have four more people inside. It’s too big for comfort in the dark. I don’t know if it was the fear, but I couldn’t pee quickly. Even if I wanted to get it over with, it was as if something was partially blocking the exit. It didn’t go as fast as I wanted it to. I readjusted a bit, hoping the task would be done faster, but then my foot encountered something hairy. I jumped out of fright and wet my thigh in the process.

    'The heck?! What was that?!'

    I didn't care what it was. I unrolled the toilet paper at speed light and cleaned what could be wiped and put some distance between myself and that hairy thing. As I got closer to the door, I heard a shuffling and turn my head towards that direction. Just that moment, the dead light bulb revived for a fraction of second and flickered once before dying again. During a brief moment, I saw someone was staring at me.

    "GYAAAHHH!!!"

    I let out a scream and tried to reach the door. It was hard now that it was pitch black again. I could only try to search for the knob by feeling everywhere with my hand, while at the same time not daring to turn away from where that person was staring at me. I felt everything was in slow motion.

    Then, suddenly, I felt the door knob at my fingertips. I let out a sigh of relief, but just as I was about to twist the door knob, it started shaking like crazy. The door was also shaking as if something was trying to enter. I froze again, the sigh of relief half stuck in my throat as I stopped breathing.

    ‘This is a nightmare! Grandma must have crawl out from her coffin and wants to suck out my soul to energize herself!’

    As seconds turned to hours, suddenly, the door stopped shaking and the door knob became still.

    “Hey! What’s wrong? Open the door.”

    It was my big sister. Without hesitation, I unlock the door and saw her silhouette. Relief came to me. The clouds that were covering the Moon parted. It was no longer pitch black inside the washroom and corridor. I turned back my head and what I saw put me to shame. Near the toilet bowl, the hairy thing was a towel dropped on the floor. As for the shuffling sound, it was the fabric that was covering the mirror falling down. The mirror was covered because it would bring misfortune if someone was reflected in the mirror with the coffin. So, the person staring at me was myself...

    My ears turned red as I mumbled some lame excuse like hitting my toes on something in the dark. My sister looked suspiciously at me, but since she was still sleepy, she didn’t bother asking me more questions. She quickly returned to her bedroom without giving me another glance. As for me, I stood in front of the washroom, still recovering from what happened. If I could, I would have dug myself a hole and hid in it. I can’t believe I got scared by things like that.

    ‘Anyway, let’s go back to bed.’

    I lifted my head and looked at the dry ice evaporating out from the coffin like thick smoke. The moonlight shining from the only window in the room made the ice condensation on the coffin sparkle like silver, as if the coffin was decorated with a silver border although it was only made of simple polished wood. Grandma looked like she was sleeping. The makeup made her looked rosy and not yellow like before she died. Looking at her like this, I even expected her chest to rise and her breathing to be heard, but everything was still. She was dead, no doubt about it.

    I decided to go into her room instead of returning to bed. It must be the melancholy of seeing someone I know dead or the nostalgia of the older days. Even though I didn’t quite love her as I should have, she was still my grandma. There was no feeling of regret for her death like my parents had, or the sadness like with my sister.

    I felt more relieved she didn’t need to suffer anymore. I believed that at 88 years old, she did what she needed to do in her life and she deserved to rest... No need to prolong her life when she no longer had any comforts and was suffering from chronic pain. No more getting discouraged by the frequent visits to the hospital for either dialysis or other deteriorations of her health.

    I went further inside the room, wanting to pay my respects for her before she is cremated tomorrow. This was my last goodbye to her. I felt that I need to do it now and not tomorrow. I don’t want to do it tomorrow in front of everyone, getting stared by them as I have to fake being sad. I want this goodbye to be intimate and true to my heart.

    I approached her step by step. The cold temperature of the room adding to the cold emanating from the dry ice was biting through my pajamas, but I didn’t care. I shivered, but kept advancing until I was next to her. I looked down upon her face. I felt peaceful and serene.

    “Goodbye Grandma...”

    I sniffled. I’m not sure if it was because of the cold or the being overcome by the feeling of parting. It didn’t matter. I did what I wanted to. Suddenly, I realized that the room was completely silent. It looks like the CD player did take some damage from being drenched by the water this morning. I turned around and grabbed the CD player on the offering table behind me.

    I lifted it in front of my eyes looking to see if I could save it. I press on the button to open the lid. I took out the CD and put it back in after wiping the inside with my sleeve. I put down and press on play, but nothing happened. The CD player was still muted no matter how many times I press on the button. Seeing that it was truly broken, I shrugged and put my hands in my pajama pockets. My right hand touched something cold and frigid.

    I frown and then, touched it some more wondering what the heck was cold in my pocket. It was long and bony... like... a finger. I abruptly turned around and met with those eyes. Pitch black eyes, full of unwillingness to die. Her eyes looked lifeless, but her expression was more distorted than it was during her death throes. Her mouth slowly opened wider and wider as if she wanted to devour me. Her bony fingers were trying to reach me, to grab me.

    Without hesitation, I unhooked her index finger from my pajama pocket. I pushed her arm as far as I could without restraining my strength. The force caused the arm to hit on the lid of the coffin. I ran out of the room without a look back as fear drilled into my heart. As I ran up the stairs, I could hear the loud sound of the coffin’s lid closing mixed with the sound of my rag breathing and heart drumming.

    I went straight to my bedroom and took extra care closing and locking my door, in case that ghastly corpse decided to climb out.

    ‘Shit! I have no weapon in my room, except stapler and pencils. As if I can kill that shit by stapling it to the wall. Wait! The chair!’

    I rolled my chair next to my bed, then got inside my bed. Under the covers, I stared at the door with a hand resting on the chair.

    ‘If that shit comes, I’m ready!’

    I don’t know when, but I felt asleep, and morning came uneventfully. When I woke up, my sister was loudly knocking on my door while yelling that I needed to get myself ready, because the funeral employees were almost there to transport the body to the crematorium. I hurriedly got out of bed, changing into mourning clothes, and joined my sister downstairs.

    As I was more awake, I thought back to last nights event and, indirectly, asked her the state of Grandma’s room this morning. I learned from her that the room was still the same as we last saw; the coffin lid was opened, and the CD player was still playing buddhist mantra.

    “What’s wrong with you? You seem fidgety about something.”

    “No, nothing... I was just wondering, because I heard something last night.”

    “Scaredy cat! There was nothing. It’s just your imagination.”

    ‘...I must have dreamt about it then...’

    After we cremated Grandma, we put her ashes in an urn and seal it very carefully. My parents said that they were going to send her ashes back to China. After that, we stayed a bit to talk with all the relatives and went back home. We ate dinner and was chatting about everything and nothing.

    “By the way, did you find her ring in the end?" asked my dad.

    “No, I didn’t find it. Maybe it dropped in the coffin? I don’t know...” answered my mom.

    “Never mind then. It must have melted when we cremated her.” My dad ended the conversation on that note.

    As I went back to my room, an uncomfortable feeling arose in my heart. I took my pajamas out from the basket of dirty laundry and then searched inside the pocket...

    The green jade was shining under the light. Inside my palm, the ring felt cold and heavy. Without a thought, I opened the windows inside my room and threw it as far as possible.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

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  15. SpearOfLies

    SpearOfLies [Treat or Takoyaki or Tentacles~]

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    Inner Demon
    written by: @SpearOfLies
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    KILL KILL KILL

    This voice started to torment me. This voice is only placated by tributes of blood. This voice made me a monster.

    The tenth night after the first victim they added more guards, but they left blind spots where I can pass unseen. The cloudy skies help me a lot. Slowly, I arrive to the house of my third prey. Using a tool, I open the wooden window without making too much noise. I get in as if starts raining. I curse the sky. This will make it harder to escape without being traced. I move sneakily to the second floor. I approch the bedroom, entering the room and staring at the man on bed.

    KILL KILL KILL

    A warm feeling spreads within my body.

    Run away. Fleeting memories.

    'Why am I running?'

    Turn the corner. Heavy breath. Notice the ground. A puddle. A smile. Fear.

    'My face?'

    I extend my hand in front of me. Blood.

    'What have I done?'

    Worry.

    'The fourth time? Did I kill again?'

    Shiver.

    'Who Am I? What Am I? ...A monster?'



    I'm doing the housework when some guards come near.

    "Good morning, Lady Levisdaughter." One of guards greet me.

    "Good morning, Neah." I'm very worried.

    "I know it's hard for you, but I feel the need to inform her that thanks to the fifth victim, we have a possible suspect of her husband's murderer."

    Fifth victim? Ha. Why did this guard inform me? Did he suspect me? Did he enjoy seeing me suffer?

    KILL KILL KILL

    This voice again.

    "I'm going. Have a good day, Lady Levisdaughter."

    The guards go away.



    BLOOD BLOOD BLOOD

    A stab. Another stab. And another stab again. I taste the flavor of blood, I feel the warmth spread within my body and a hit again with all my strenght. This beautiful hot feeling circulates within my blood.

    BLOOD BLOOD BLOOD



    A hot day. I'm doing the laundry on the riverbank. I hear some steps due to ladies walking on the main road while chatting. "The air around the village is very creepy because of recent deaths."

    Shiver. Worry. Alert.

    "Yeah. I heard from my neighbor, who is the cousin of the wife of the blacksmith friendly with the guards, that the three missing guards were found dead near the house of third victim. This is very scary."

    BLOOD BLOOD BLOOD

    I vomit in the river. 'Three deaths?' I start to shake.

    "I pity the mistress of house. After the death of her husband, to have three more corpses found near her house."

    "It would has been better. I hear she's also missing and will probably be killed by the murderer. I hope I'm not going to find the ninth corpse near my house. Just thinking of it makes me shiver."

    'Ninth? NINTH? Have I already killed eight people?'

    DEMON DEMON DEMON

    The fear overtakes me and I run away.

    Wet. Cold. My sensations. Fever. I'm within a forest.

    'How did I end up here? Do they know I'm the murderer?'

    Well, seems like I will never know it cause I'm going to die here. Strong warm hands take me carefully as I faint.



    Bed. Warm. Safe. My fever is gone. I check around me. A man. He calmly stare outside of window. Heart. Strong. Gratitude. Fear. Kill...? Not.

    "Are you awake?"

    He comes closer. Shy, I hide under the blanket.

    I'm still on bed. Because of fever I lost my voice, but this isn't a problem. This man who saved me makes me feel safe.

    The voice that was tormenting me doesn't appear. I'm finally free from this murderous curse. The man enters the room and looks at me. "Today, do you want try walking again?"

    His smile shakes my soul. I nod and I try get up to take some steps. I fall. I feel my body is weak and heavy. I don't understand why but I don't care. As long as I am safe here, the rest has no meaning to me. The man helps me to get up and return to the bed.

    "Maybe you aren't ready yet. You cannot push your injured legs too far."

    'Injured legs? What?' I look to my legs. They are covered by many wounds that seem to be made by chains. I feel strange. 'What happened?' I can't remember.



    I'm near a river. 'How did I come here?' My body feels strange so I approch the river to refresh myself.

    Horror.

    'What? How can this be possible? No! NO! Why?'

    My memories are disjointed.

    'What Am I? Am I a demon who possess people? Is this why I now have the face of the man who saved me? Was the body that I had before not mine? Nooo. NOOO. NOOOOO!'

    DEMON DEMON DEMON

    The memories resurface and I successfully find my way back to the man's house. I force my way in and find a woman's corpse. Probably my previous body? I withdraw the knife thrusted from 'myself' and blankly stare at it.

    This is the thirteenth and last body this demon will take. With all my willpower I cut my own throad.

    DEMON DEMON DEMON

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  16. Mivdyr

    Mivdyr 『The Curious One』

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    Darkness of Halloween
    written by: @Mivdyr
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    This special time of year has come around yet again. The annual celebration where children walk about asking for candy and throwing toilet paper on people’s houses.

    But this year, I feel like my age has passed the line where it is appropriate to go trick or treating, and putting TP on people's houses is quite immature. Besides, this year I am stuck at my grandparents’ house in the suburbs, forced to house-sit for them while they are out celebrating their anniversary.

    Well, it really isn't that bad. I can sit here on the porch and enjoy looking at all the kids in their creative costumes having fun teasing each other, competing over chocolates and complaining about getting some healthy treats.

    Some of them even give a few dares such as 'try to enter into the forest to the west.' The forest has a lot of suburban myths about it, and it gets dark quite easily. I had quite a lot of fun and terror back when I was a kid here.

    Time is ticking closer and closer to the end of the afternoon. The youngest of the kids are going home, or being dragged home by their parents. The light is fading slowly, but something seems out of place. Something I can't quite put my finger on.

    Evening is nearly here and only a few of the oldest kids are outside now. The rest have gone home for dinner or just for the night. I finally notice the odd thing; the light started fading from the west, and there is still quite a lot of daylight to the east.

    I go inside the house to grab my grandpa’s binoculars, and look through them to the west. All I see is the darkness spreading and no real reason for it yet. So I go up to the attic and pull out my father’s old telescope from his childhood. Again I look through the lens to the west, quite curious about the darkness starting in the west.

    With the telescope, I can see a good bit of the forest, but there is something that is odd. At 3 different points in the forest, colored lights are appearing within the dense forest. It is too dark and there are too many trees to find out their source. The darkness seems to originate from either deep inside the forest, or on the other side of it.

    As a curious person, I can’t just give up finding out what both the darkness and the colored lights of the forest are. I am guessing, both as a reasonable person and the fact that it is Halloween, that the lights are just a prank by one of the many kids in the area. A dare or something.

    That still doesn’t explain the western darkness, so I arm myself with a flashlight and a rucksack with essentials. I can't be too careful since going into a dark forest can always end badly. I go out the door, and lock the house before strolling to the west.

    On the walk there, I notice a distinct lack of people on the streets now. The streets are completely devoid of both children and their parents; even the oldest of the kids are gone. Only the kids who disobey their parents, even with the risk of getting grounded, are still out.

    As I pass the houses, I see they are all decorated pretty amazingly. Fake cobwebs, lanterns, and fake skeletons are outside nearly every house. They've also dimmed the lighting inside the house. A few have even let the fallen leaves stay on the lawn to ‘complete’ the abandoned house look. I feel like the people in my grandparent’s neighborhood have really stepped up their game since my childhood. These are very convincing Halloween decorations.

    Nevertheless, I keep moving towards the forest and the increasing darkness. I calmly look back over my shoulder, and notice that there is still quite a lot of daylight left in the east. I turn my head back to the front, and in the few seconds I wasn’t looking, it had become darker by a huge margin. I had now reached the end of the street, which also spells the end of the street lights. It's not like that even matters since they aren't even turned on yet, but I flicked on the flashlight and slowly step towards the trees.

    As I enter the forest, I instantly trip over the first tree root sticking out of the ground and bash the flashlight hard on the ground, whereupon the light cuts out. The flashlight is somewhat working, but it cuts out more often then not. Now the search for the truth behind the darkness is going to be a bit more tedious, especially since I am clumsy enough to fall over the first darned tree root in the forest.

    Well, due to realizing the fact of my clumsiness and the semi-broken flashlight, I have to proceed carefully as the forest gets progressively darker and darker. I had somewhat made a mental note of the location of the colored lights, so I slowly walk towards the one I perceived to be closest when I looked through the telescope. The daylight has faded so much I can't even make out my own shadow, and it only gets darker as I walk deeper into the forest.

    Finally I reach the area where I saw one of the lights. As I get closer, a deep orange light shines brightly and nearly blinds me. I hastily cover my eyes and turn away, waiting for the light to settle down or my eyes to adjust, whichever comes first.

    A minute or so passes until my eyes adjust, and I see that the orange light was a regular small bonfire. As I look around, I see a few empty tents a couple of feet away from the bonfire. It looks like a boyscout campsite. It's a little odd since there are no people, as the fire is still roaring and the tents have personal effects and camping gear nearby. It doesn't look like that the campsite has been abandoned. It seems like someone had stoked the fire just as I was nearing since it had flared up earlier, but I can't see anyone nearby.

    I decide to put out the fire before leaving, using the bucket nearby that the scouts had prepared, as it was inappropriate to leave a fire unattended.

    Now that I know the truth behind one of the forest lights, I have more questions than answers. I move towards another of the lights, following what I remember from my grandparents.

    Honestly, I am quite worried about the possible missing scout party, but I am even more confused about why a group of scouts were out on Halloween.
    But, then again, I have never been a scout, so I wouldn’t know anything about their reasons.

    Half an hour passed before I reached a hill in the forest, where I had seen another of the lights. This place is something of a small clearing. When I get closer to the light, it shines a bright green color seeming quite unworldly, but I keep my paranoid imagination at bay as I approach. This time I don’t get blinded, but as I stand directly in front of the light, the wind blows and it disappears before I can determine the source of the green light. I am left shocked and confused, as it had not been windy at all today.

    Here on the hill in this clearing, I can finally see the sky above the forest. Darkness is the only word that comes to mind. As I stare I notice that the darkness is caused by clouds, but these 'clouds' seem quite odd. They are not like rain or thunder clouds. They aren't any shade of grey, but instead completely jet black without a single speck of light showing through.

    Suddenly, a small hole opens up in the clouds a small ways away. It was near where I noticed the third light from the telescope. I move towards the place at healthy pace, letting go of some of the caution I have had until now as the curiosity with me rises. I take a small look back towards the town, but could only see a faint light from that direction.

    It only takes a few minutes to reach the location of the last of the 3 lights. This light is switching between all of the colors of the rainbow, as if the beam of light from the sky had hit a prism. As soon as I stand directly in front of the light, the hole in the sky closes. The surroundings are now completely black and even the strange light in front of me doesn't light up the area. The light stops shifting between colors and instead became an eerie black colored light, even more unworldly than the green light earlier.

    I stand in front of the black light, confused at the seemingly impossible color of the light, for a couple of minutes before I snap back to my senses. But when I did, I try investigating the light, but there is just no source. It is just, there.

    "Maybe something in the vicinity is causing it."

    I carefully search around with the busted flashlight until it suddenly cuts out again, this time for good. I once again trip over something. I slowly get on my hands and knees, trying to find out what I had tripped over. The black light brightens up the area suddenly, allowing my eyes to see.

    I had tripped over some old branch lying on the ground. Looking closely, it has markings that look like runes and other decorations. It's a staff. Another thing I notice is that I must have broken it. The black light is now oscillating, faster and faster, slowly growing bigger and bigger.

    I get up, having a feeling of dread looking at that light. I slowly back away from it, towards the town. I have the feeling that my curiosity will get me killed if I do not leave immediately.

    Before I can start running, laughter rings out in the forest, a cacophony of different voices, sounding like mix between a group of children and old men and women laughing mockingly. The light stabilizes changing into a humanoid shape. It's face is a mix between men and women of all ages, but with an old man and an old woman are the most predominant. It is also heavily scarred, and the being flashes an evil smile as I look at it, finding it somewhat familiar.

    I immediately break into a run, speeding as fast as I can through the dark forest back to town. The dark light follows me at a seemingly safe distance, like a predator playing with it's prey. This provided me with a little bit of light so that I could see my way through the forest.

    Running in terror through the dark forest, being chased by some unknown being, is quite exhausting, but I keep running as fast as my legs can handle. It is truly unsettling that the being chasing me laughs the entire time, with an arrogance face, like I am doing exactly what it wants.

    I finally reach the end of the forest and the being slows down, smiling and laughing even harder than before. I decide not to think about it as I bolt back towards my grandparents’ house.
    The daylight was still strong when I entered the forest, but now the sun has set and the black clouds rush out from above the forest. The darkness covers the fields nearby and moves toward the town, picking up speed.

    The wind kicks up from out of nowhere. I slightly lower my running speed, as I had created some distance between me and the thing that was following me.

    Something else is wrong. All of the houses along the street, the ones I thought were decorated well, now truly seem abandoned. Every house I am passing has broken windows and doors instead of fallen leaves and cobwebs. A cold feeling starts to creep up my back.

    The entire street, no, the entire town seems abandoned, but I saw children outside with their parents trick or treating earlier. 'What the hell happened?'

    I finally reach my house. I take out the key, unlock the door, and go inside before locking the door behind me. As fast as I can, I close windows and secure everything I can before sitting. It takes a couple of minutes of breathing before I can calm down even a little.

    'What the hell was the thing that followed me, and why did it laugh while chasing me?'

    I rise from the sofa and go over to one of the windows and look out. Now the street is bustling with activity. However, something is off. All that is moving are shadows of people, but no people are actually in sight. As my heartrate rises again from fear, the sky turn/ black. The black clouds of the forest, in the blink of an eye, have covered the entire town.

    This is closely followed by laughter, the same laughter that had chased me minutes earlier. I see the black light being slowly walking amongst the shadows of the street before it stops.

    It looks at me and smiles before pulling out two things: the two pieces of the staff I had broken in the forest before it started chasing me. It's seems to say something and, in the next second, the staff is mended. It waves the staff around, and everything around me goes black.

    After what seems like an eternity of darkness, I can suddenly see again. My grandparents’ house is gone; blown away by the waving of the staff. In front of me now stands the black light being.

    It smiles at me, but this time it is the same kind of smile that a grandmother would show her beloved grandkid. It resembles the look that my own grandmother sends me.

    It then speaks. “Oh child, you truly are clumsy, so much so that it actually cost your life.”

    I try to formulate some words, to apologize for breaking it's staff, but it speaks once again before I can vocalize anything.

    “Child, you did not lose your life due to me, but due to yourself. You lost your life when you tripped and the light cut out for the first time. All the staff breaking did was allow us to speak before I deal with your soul.”

    This is confusing. If that is true, then what have I been doing? I had run through the forest. I had come across an abandoned scout camp before putting out their fire. Was any of that real or was it all an illusion?

    Before I can voice any of these questions, the being smiles once again before waving the staff and softly saying, “Time is up dear, we all have to move on.”

    Then everything goes black.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

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  17. Psyrhos

    Psyrhos Member

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    The Sphere

    written by: @Psyrhos
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    I never thought I would be that bored one day. My life consists purely of going to work, buying food, eating and then sleeping. Every single week. However, something about this life felt… comforting. As if I was safe.

    I took a different route that Friday as I went to work. I don’t really know why I did it, but something “forced” me to do it. It even felt like I wasn’t the one controlling my legs. It was odd, but nothing to be worried about. I knew that this path would also inevitably lead to my workplace.

    After a short time, I was in an empty alley. I knew this particular alley quite well, but there was something off. A sphere was floating in the air. Just right in the middle, between the currently uninhabited apartment buildings. Once I saw the sphere, my initial urge to go towards the sphere quickly died off. I felt disgusted and horrified by it. It felt odd. This sphere definitely did not belong in this world. My mind told me to stay far away from it. Still, I was curious to see how this sphere appeared here and what the purpose of it was.

    I snapped out of this train of thought as I heard the annoying beep of my watch. It was already 7:00 A.M. which meant I must have stayed there for over 40 minutes. This could not be true. With a mixture of disbelief and shock, I looked at the time again. It really was that late. I was glad that I usually go to work 30 minutes earlier than needed to prepare my coffee and food for lunch. Even if I hurry this time, I wouldn’t be able to do my usual routine. At least I now had something to talk about, if only I could remember what the sphere looked like.

    A few minutes later, I arrived at work. I was about 5 minutes too late. Since this was first time that happened, my chief just asked what happened. I kept silent. It wasn’t shyness or anything like that. It’s just that a floating sphere felt like a pretty bad excuse.

    “As much as I think that you are a good worker, I need to know why you arrived this late to work," he insisted.

    I answered him with parts of the truth, “I am sorry. I took a different route this morning. It was much longer than expected.”

    He tapped with his fingers on his desk, letting out a sigh. “Alright. However, you are usually 30 minutes earlier to work compared to everyone else. I won’t believe that this new route took that long.”

    I had this feeling of being helpless. No matter what I could’ve said, it would’ve ended up bad for me. I decided to go for the safest way and just apologize. “I am sorry. I will make sure this never happens again, but I really just took a different route. That’s all.”

    “Fine. I still don’t trust you on that, but I can let it slide once.”

    The relief I experienced after I heard what he said was much larger than initially expected.

    The hours towards my first break went by very quickly. I talked with my friend Christoph about his current work and his plans to get large amounts of money, but I quickly changed the topic to the sphere. I needed to know more about it. “I know this strange, but have you seen the sphere in the abandoned alley close to here?”

    He looked at me confused, “No I haven’t. What do you mean?”

    “There is this sphere just floating around. I moved to it, as if my body didn’t belong to myself. Once I was close I felt terrified.”

    “That sounds like you’ve made that up.”

    “Trust me! If you don’t believe it just go with me towards the sphere!” I was surprised at how aggressive I reacted to his accusation even though I was completely aware that there were no bad intentions coming from him.

    “Fine I guess. I will come with you to this ‘sphere,’” he said, with an annoyed tone to his voice. My body urged me to scream at him, telling him how terrible he is. It took me a while to get my anger down. Why am I so aggressive today?

    After work finished, I brought Christoph to the alley where the sphere still floated defying the laws of physics. It hadn’t changed at all. My disgust was still there. Christoph stood beside me with his mouth wide open.

    “I thought you were joking. What is this thing?”

    “I don’t know, but you shouldn’t take too long looking at it. The time seems to fly once you’re close to the sphere.” He suddenly flinched. His reaction gave me the impression as if he has seen a ghost. I asked him “What’s wrong?”

    “I don’t know. I just experienced this large amount of pain getting nearer to it. I need to go. Now.”

    What’s going on here? I knew that him needing to leave quickly was a lie and I confronted him for it. “You liar! You’re living alone. There is no reason for you to hurry!”

    “Shut up! You don’t know anything about me!”

    His face was red due to his anger. Still aggressive, I pushed him away from the sphere. After he quickly balanced himself, I was expecting the same reaction from him. However, he just calmed down immediately. Without looking or talking back, he went away. Not knowing what to do, I also decided to go home. This sphere was driving me crazy. But I wanted to be close to it. It felt as if I belonged to it.

    In my room, I lied down in my bed. Even though it is usually very comfortable, I couldn’t sleep at all. I wanted to be near the sphere. The clock showed 1:20 A.M. Interestingly enough, I had again forgotten what the sphere looked like. I felt like my body demanded of me to go to the sphere. I decided to not care, but I just couldn’t sleep. After a few minutes, I walked out of my room with a torchlight. As I went to the alley, not being able to control my body, I had this feeling of it being the right thing. It didn’t feel odd to me going to the sphere. It’s more like the opposite. I wanted to go to it.

    After just 15 minutes, I arrived at the alley. And the feeling of horror immediately came back.

    This time I was not going to just walk away. I recognized that the sphere was behaving like the sun, but instead of flames it was this thick dark-grey ooze. I was honestly tired, however, since tomorrow is Saturday it wouldn’t matter if I was out longer. Looking around, I came to the realization that a certain area around the sphere was lighter in comparison to the darker surrounding. It was as if the sphere was a light source.

    Interested in what happens when I go towards this ‘light,’ I reached out with my arm and immediately felt a huge amount of pain. It was as if my arm was pressed through an insanely small tube. It was dragging me towards the sphere. As my arm went further and further into this area an arm formed from the sphere. Since I was sleep-deprived, I was unable to do much against it. Curious to see what would happen, I went with my entire body towards this odd light source, and I quickly regretted it. It felt like my body was being crushed by a fluid. My bones broke and pressed against my intestines. My skin, muscles and flesh wrapped around my bones. My eyes burned and I was unable to breathe. My body quickly reacted to the asphyxiation by deeply scratching my neck and face, desperately trying to get fresh oxygen.

    The light area suddenly decreased as something human-like dropped down from the sphere.

    Being finally free, I decided to not pay it any attention and just run away.

    I went home and to my bed, and I quickly started to sleep, despite sometimes having the feeling of my foot touching a hard surface with a shoe. A few hours later, I woke up. Still, this strange sensation didn’t disappear. It was more like the opposite, it got worse. The air sometimes felt like cold steel. It reminded me of a bike handle. I was suddenly getting exhausted quickly and my leg muscles started to work on their own. Wind swept over my face. It was the experience of riding a bike relatively fast. Which was impossible, since I was standing right here in front my kitchen. I decided not to ignore it, since it was driving me insane. I went to a hospital seeking for any kind of cure.

    The hospital was huge and very clean. With its nearly pure white look and pleasant lighting, as well as large windows, it was a well-lit and calming building. My eyes wandered across the room searching for the reception. As I walked to it, the woman working there friendly greeted me. Her name was Julia. Without wasting time, I asked her, “Can I have an appointment with one of the doctors?”

    “Of course. Do you have your health card?”

    I knew I had forgotten something. “No. I think I must have kept it home. I will bring it as soon as possible.”

    “And again someone who doesn’t have his health card here. What do you think we are? Some sort of joke?”

    I prepared to punch her in the face. Even without the weird increase of aggression lately, behavior like this was something I hated. As I was nearly about to hit her, my phone rang.

    Going a few steps back and sitting down, I thought it was best to calm down and just answer the call.

    “Hey” said Christoph to me. I was surprised hearing him. He usually only called if there was something extremely important.

    After a long silence I was concerned and asked him: “Hi, what’s wrong?”

    “Who are you?”

    “What!? I am me!”

    Christoph started to stutter “But this can’t be. I can clearly see you riding a bike. But you are really bad at it.” I was never that confused in my life. This could never be true. I know how to ride a bike well, I just barely do it.

    “Where are you?” asked Christoph.

    “I am at the hospital. I feel things I shouldn’t feel. Like I am currently feeling the sensation of riding a bike.”

    “But you are riding a bike!”

    “No I am not!”

    I had to prove it to him, so I turned on my phone camera and said to him to look at the screen. As he turned his camera I saw a horrified face. He stood there with is mouth open asking me “Who are you?”

    “I am me!” Is it really that hard to understand?

    “You liar! Why have you stolen his phone? You look nothing like him at all!”

    I looked at the next best reflecting surface and quickly confirmed that I am still looking just like I normally look. Before I was able to respond, he hung up. By dropping his phone on the floor. Just shortly after the signal was lost, my legs and my skull started to hurt like crazy. It was as if a car ran over me. I looked down expecting my legs to be broken but they weren’t. I felt blood dripping across my face and it didn’t take long for me to lose my consciousness. Before my vision faded to black, I was able to see Julia looking like me terrified while she talked to someone.

    I didn’t know what time or even day it was after I regained my consciousness. So the first thing I did was look at my phone. It was already Monday, 11:00 A.M. and I was lying in a hospital bed with a doctor above me asking me if everything is fine. I nodded repeatedly and started running after taking the written confirmation that I was indeed in the hospital. I was already too late to work, but thanks to the proof this shouldn’t be a problem.

    I suddenly felt many different fingers touching my skin. Some off them felt like they were mocking me, others felt like they were caressing me, however, the road where I walked was nearly empty, except for a mother and her child. My pupils suddenly started to shrink quickly in a quick succession, letting everything turn darker a few times while I was walking towards my workplace. This time I was avoiding the sphere even going a large way around it.

    My chief asked me what happened. I answered him, “I suddenly lost my consciousness at the hospital. I went there due to some strange sensations lately”

    “Like?”

    “I felt the sensation of someone that looked kind of like me.”

    “Odd. But do you have any confirmation that you were really at the hospital?”

    I gave him the card the doctor gave me. He took it from my hand looked at it. He raised his right eyebrow asking me, “You experienced a car crash according to this card.”

    “This can’t be. I felt it, but there is no damage at all.”

    He scanned me, looking for any sort of injury. “What’s that on your neck? Are those scratch wounds?”

    I used my finger to softly glide across my neck. Once I felt the scratches, I immediately wanted to go to the sphere again, and I realized that I couldn’t talk myself out of it. “I found a floating sphere in the alley, and once I approached it, I was almost dying of suffocation. After that incident I started feeling what I described earlier.”

    My chief gave me a concerned look. “So you found it as well?”

    During the time I worked, I couldn’t concentrate at all. My thoughts always went back to what my chief said earlier. How does he know about the sphere? During lunch, I asked Christophe if he could give me some of his lunch. At first, he didn’t want to give me part of his food. After a short time of angry discussion and me threatening him, I finally got some of it.

    “What’s your problem?” he asked me aggressively. The tension between us was immediately up again. Every time we met each other, both of us were getting violent. I have to go back to the sphere, maybe that’s the cause for our increased amount of hatred. I didn’t answer him. I just ate the food and realized that it tasted like nothing. Before I took another bite of my portion, I smelled it. There was nothing. Not even the slightest smell. “What kind of food is this?”

    “It’s normal food.”

    “Yes, but it tastes and smells like nothing.”

    He jumped back from me and told me frightened, “Are you feeling sometimes things that you shouldn’t feel?”

    “Have you gone to the sphere again?”

    “Yes. I mean, what you found is amazing. I showed it to everyone. It’ll solve all my money problems.”

    My work ended and the first thing I did, after my usual chores I do before leaving, was going to the sphere. While I was walking, I decided to touch different surfaces. Luckily, my sense of touch was still there, but it seemed to have gotten weaker. Once I arrived at the alley, I saw a damaged bicycle. It looked familiar. I went to it, and before I was able to grab the handle a man told me, “Get away from my bike!”

    I paid close attention to him. He was a stranger, but there was something odd about him. He was way too familiar. Yet I’ve never seen him in my life. I asked him, “Can you wait for a moment?”

    He tried running away, but I was quick enough to grab his arm. As I tightened my grip, it felt like it was my arm that was being grabbed. The longer I held him, the more he looked like I knew him. Just shortly after he was able to escape my grip, I realized that he looks exactly like me. I made a fast movement forward and pulled him towards me. And my theory was instantly proven. Everything he felt was what I felt. As he tried to escape once again, I pushed him against the wall, with the back of his head showing towards me asking, “What are you!?”

    “I am human!”

    “No you’re not! Stop lying!”

    I took his head and started searching for his eyes. Once he recognized what I was about to do, he started shaking. He begged me to stop. But the more he demanded for me to stop, the more I wanted to hurt him. I even wanted to kill him right here. I was surprised as I felt something salty and wet flowing from my eyes toward my lips. He managed to free himself from my grip and turned around. His eyes were filled with tears, and he gave me the impression that he was filled with despair. While he was fleeing, I was able to see him sobbing a few times.

    A few minutes later, I arrived at my house. It was 9:03 P.M. As usual, the time went by disturbingly fast close to the sphere. This time it was about 2 hours. I went towards my fridge, opened it, and immediately closed it again out of curiosity. After a few more times I realized that my sense of touch was nearly non-existent.

    I took out the fish dish since the taste and smell should be very intense. As I took my first bite I realized that I felt nothing if I touched something. I didn’t smell anything. I didn’t taste anything. Even as I tried moving the fish around with my tongue, pressing it against my upper jaw, I felt nothing. It was as if I was an empty shell. I took my finger, pushed in my mouth and bit on it as hard as I could. Nothing. I was able to see the blood flowing but not any sort of pain.

    I started shaking. I was about to break. I still felt what my clone felt. And I thought about the sadness of my clone. I realized that this would be exactly my reaction. I felt worthless. There was no reason for me to exist. It was if he took my place. The sudden feeling of being pressed against a crowd of humans suddenly occurred. People were touching my skin everywhere. Terrified, I pushed the air away. There was nothing I could do against it. I was nothing. A sharp pain went through my body from my stomach. It was unbearable. I swallowed the remainders of the fish and started crying. I was nothing.

    Desperately, I tried to bite myself once more. And again with no effect. The pain in my abdomen felt like it was burning. I had never experienced something like it before.

    My eyes widened as I realized that almost everyone in the city, and my best friend, was experiencing the same things, all thanks to me. There was nothing I could do about it. This night, I decided to take my own life, by hanging myself.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

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  18. Dragn555

    Dragn555 Writer of Unnecessary Essays

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    Crossroads

    written by: @Dragn555
    Synopsis: At God's Crossroad, Dei Bivio, there exists a plane of perpetual day and perpetual night. On Halloween, these two planes come together and their inhabitants greet each other through celebration, though that's only on the surface.
    Follow Williams, an agent of the Nightmare Bureau, as he deals with what's under the veil.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    Some terms are in latin, which I will translate below...
    Lux Mundi: Light World
    Tenebrarum Mundi: Dark World
    Dei Bivio: God's Crossroad

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    On an elevated platform above the sea of people, a smiling reporter with blonde hair and feathery wings stood with a grumpy looking man, his short brown hair styled formally.

    "Ladies and gentlemen, we only have five minutes left until the beginning of Halloween! Our guest, Agent Williams from the Nightmare Bureau, is here today to give you a reminder of this Halloween's Nightmares!"

    Sighing inwardly, Williams didn't change his expression at all as he raised his microphone. "Let's just say I'll have a lot of work to do."

    The reporter's lips twitched. "Then we can expect a large number of Nightmares this Halloween?"

    "Sure."

    "Do you believe that it may be enough to be a cause for worry?"

    "Maybe."

    'Damn, do you not think an angel is capable of beating you to death?!' the reporter thought as she forced a smile through Williams' curt responses. 'We wouldn't have called you here if there was something else to talk about!'

    After taking a deep breath, the reporter calmed down. "Can you tell us how the Nightmare Bureau on the moon's side has been preparing for Halloween?"

    "Just the usual."

    "Yes," the reporter paused, "but I've also gotten word that apparently they've gotten the support of the vampires recently, something that has been a goal of the Nightmare Bureau for a long time. Are the vampires helping with preparations at all?"

    "I can only say that we've received more help from the moon's side thanks to their cooperation."

    Glaring at Williams, the reporter's smile grew wider. "Well can you tell us your thoughts on the recent increase of the human population? How will the Nightmare Bureau be dealing with it?"

    "We will work to make sure that the people of both the moon's side and the sun's side remain safe."

    Just as she was about to pursue further, the reporter got an order through her earpiece. Halloween was only five minutes away, so she had to wrap things up.

    The smile she had since the beginning, unwavering through the interview, beamed as she looked at the uncooperative subject next to her. "Well thank you for answering our questions, Agent Williams. We greatly appreciate your being here."

    "Yep."

    With that, the reporter went through the motions of transitioning to one of her colleagues, making sure to speak quicker than usual. She wanted to finish things up and give Williams a piece of her mind. Unfortunately, he had already left as quickly as he could, disappearing in the sea of creatures below.

    Struggling through the crowd toward what looked like a telephone booth on the sidewalk, Williams held a phone to his ear. "Where was I stationed again?"

    "Point A," the female voice on the other side said tiredly, clearly exhausted. "You're partnered with one of the first vampires to join us, so be polite."

    Williams didn't reply, his lips curving up into a bitter smile.

    A deep sigh sounded out from the phone. "Rejoice, the moon's side greatly values your talents, so they sent over the one vampire nobody wanted to deal with."

    "You're kidding."

    "Nope, they really sent you what they called..." the speaker paused, the sound of papers being sorted on their end. "...An 'unfathomable blemish on a glorious painting, one that ruins the splendor of the night'."

    "The moon's side is so artful."

    The person on the other side of the phone chuckled. "Oh no, just wait until Halloween is over. I'll really show you why I needed a degree in literature for this job."

    "I look forward to it," said Williams, letting out a chuckle. "Did the file say anything else?"

    "Let me see..." the voice paused, "it says that it's a she, and she can use some blood magic. That's about it."

    "There's really nothing else?"

    "...It says she has something to prove."

    "Of course she does," Williams sighingly said. "Well I'm nearly at the port booth; I'll see you when I get home. Love you."

    "Love you too, bye."

    As Williams' conversation ended, he finally broke through the crowd and stood in front of the booth. There was a line, but he didn't care as he immediately cut in and opened the door.

    "Hey, wait your turn!"

    "Get in line, jackass!"

    As he stepped into the booth, Williams took a badge out of his coat pocket, waving it in the air. "Nightmare Bureau; shut up!"

    His voice struck the crowd's minds like lightning, turning them silent in what seemed like an instant. The older citizens' expressions were filled with respect, but the younger ones were still upset.

    Putting his badge away, Williams fully entered the booth. As soon as he closed the door, the windows on the outside became completely black, blocking anyone from seeing in. On the inside of the booth, it appeared as if the walls had disappeared, a vast world spreading out under Williams' feet. On this world was a grid and multiple landmarks.

    "Where do you wish to travel?" a pleasant sounding female voice rang out.

    "Point A of Lux Mundi."

    After a few seconds, a strange sound rang out, its meaning directly translated into Williams' head. "Understood. What is your identification code?"

    '1817-1904' Williams thought.

    Without another sound from the booth, the world beneath Williams' feet moved until he stood above a certain point. The world disappeared and the booth's windows returned, revealing the world outside.

    An ancient, ruined city was sprawled out on the land. At the city's center was a half demolished cathedral, its grand construction wasted and its stained glass shattered. A thick layer of fog acted as a veil to the sorry place. Surrounding everything were mountains shaped like hooks. Their tips hung just above the thick layer of fog, with enormous black iron lamps hanging from them. The flames in the lamps seemed to contain countless tortured faces.

    The entire place was eerily silent.

    The booth became particles of light, disappearing around Williams.

    Looking up, he frowned at the faint orange lights in the distance. Sighing, he reached into his right pocket and retrieved a pack of cigarettes. Using the lighter that was in his other pocket, he lit a cigarette, stuck it in his mouth, and took in a big breath of smoke. As he breathed out, the smoke blended in with the fog and spread throughout the ruined city.

    'Nothing here... The girl also isn't around, so she must've gone ahead.' Narrowing his eyes, Williams began to walk forward, the fog making anything three feet away invisible. As he slowly walked forward, Williams could feel an uncomfortable feeling well up at the bottom of his stomach.

    Clang~ Clang~

    The sound of chains colliding against each other rang out in the distance. Williams' heart jumped, however, he continued forward toward the cathedral at the center of everything, albeit quickening his pace.

    The ruins of the city seemed to flicker through different stages of time, constantly changing color and condition. Sometimes a nearby stone was black, sometimes grey. A few pieces of a nearby building's remains regained their red paint for a moment before it chipped away.

    Williams felt a presence behind him, blowing the fog around him forward. He continued to walk, however, not daring to run or look back.

    Slender fingers, long as rulers, with leathery skin colored like death, slid along his shoulder. Williams could hear the rings on its fingers rattle as they slid up and down. The faint sound of chains drifted out as the rings were stopped from falling off, perfectly held in place at the fingertips.

    Small lights began to flicker around the ruins, whispering to themselves, their words incomprehensible.

    Williams began to notice a strong scent of flowers permeate the air. A moment later, he recognized it as the scent of a chrysanthemum, and the feeling in his stomach became worse.

    With the flowery aroma came lamps; countless lamps that were placed all around the ruins. Their black design looked to be from an old and refined age, perhaps when the city was first established. Wherever their soft blue light spread, time flowed backwards. Pieces of buildings floated up to repair portions of their structures, their time matching the lamp's. Inside the blue light were also corpses, fresh and warm, torn apart with insides lying about. They all wore different, yet similar, outfits that matched with the era from whence they came.

    Williams' heartbeat began to quicken, its thumping extending to every inch of his body. A bead of cold sweat rolled down the side of his face while his stomach twisted, yet still his expression remained the same.

    Up in the sky, the sun moved ever so closer to the backside of the world, marvelous colors filling the skies. The chiming of bells rang out across the sun's side, Lux Mundi, in an intoxicating melody. With this melody the sky began to part, revealing a massive plane of land that was descending upon the world. Accompanying this plane was a moon that mirrored the sun of Lux Mundi.

    "SCREEEEEE~"

    Letting out a cry similar to nails on a chalkboard, a small creature pounced toward Williams. It had the appearance of a massive leech, though replacing its teeth were countless long feelers, all thin as a strand of hair. It latched onto Williams' right eye, digging around it, as if it was trying to scoop it out. Its tongue, which lay in the center of the feelers, extended out and wrapped around his eye, savoring the taste.

    Williams barely felt a thing as his eye was numbed by the creature, though his breathing accelerated as he struggled to keep his face calm.

    In one fluid motion, the presence behind him swept its hand toward the creature, its fingers plucking it away. As the presence held the creature between its thumb and index finger, it began to squeeze it in front of Williams' face. The creature struggled, squirming about, but its actions were meaningless. Its screeches grew softer and softer as it was squeezed tighter and tighter.

    Then...

    Pop~

    It popped like a balloon.

    Williams' clothes became splattered with gore, a few pieces stuck in his hair and blood sprayed across his face. He could feel some pain coming from his left eye as the numbing toxin wore off.

    Like a mother caressing her child, the presence's hand brushed across Williams' shoulder. Its protection was out of love and worry.

    Williams finally reached the first step of the cathedral. Countless lights surrounded the place, their voices slightly clearer than before. Here, the fog had dissipated, allowing Williams to see the state of the world.

    Up above, the moon's side, Tenebrarum Mundi, had fully descended.

    The sun and moon had disappeared behind their respective planes, yet the sky was still filled with brilliant color.

    Halloween had begun.

    All around the cathedral, the lights suddenly took corporeal form. They transformed into people from an age long past, holding their hands together in silent prayer as they kneeled before the palace of their lord. Stabbed into their backs were chains.

    Following the chains with his eyes, Williams caught sight of multiple figures in ragged clothing, standing at the edge of the fog. Their left hands held the chains; the other held ancient books.

    These figures stood three meters tall with their arched backs, their skin like leather and the color of death. Their bodies were all skin and bone, with limbs long as their bodies and arms with three joints. The only clothing they wore was a tattered black cloak, which hung over their faces like a hood and draped over their shoulders, along with a wide brimmed hat that held the cloak in place. Multiple pieces of rusted jewelry, stabbed into or fixed on their bodies, decorated their sorry figures. Their faces were masked by a strange smoke, a product of their bodily fluids which evaporated as they touched the air; the origin of the fog.

    All of these figures knelt toward the cathedral with book hands over their hearts.

    Taking a deep breath, Williams turned his head back.

    What met his eyes was a figure similar to the others, though it was almost double their size. The skin atop its head had been torn off, revealing a skull adorned with complicated patterns and four crimson jewels. The tattered clothing it wore was a faded burgundy, the golden patterns still barely visible through the layers of dirt. This monster only held an ancient book in one of its hands, its other free of chains.

    Seeing the creature standing before him, Williams' heart slowed slightly and the feeling in his stomach gradually died down. The sight of the monster's empty right hand, however, made a hint of fear shoot through his head. Had he been moved by this monster's actions earlier, even showing the slightest of expression, its hand wouldn't have been empty.

    He turned back towards the cathedral and began to climb its steps. Looking up as he walked, he couldn't help but sigh at the magnificent construction of the place; he thought it was a true shame that it had been halfway demolished. Reaching the giant wooden doors of the cathedral, Williams watched as two huge stone statues, a solemn angel and a jesting devil, clapped their hands together as if offering a prayer.

    With a massive rumbling, the doors opened to reveal the inside of the cathedral.

    Intricate patterns and statues were carved along the walls, ceiling, and pillars, depicting how the old gods had split night and day, and how the creatures in between were born. Shards of stained glass lay across the floor, their images lost.

    At the end of the room, curled up on the ground, was a humanoid figure that was slightly bigger than a normal man. Its skin was white as fresh snow and smooth as porcelain-- seemingly flawless. What looked like a white leather cloak stretched down from its shoulders and covered most of its body.

    Not too far away from this strange being was a girl, her old-fashioned attire colored black and white. Her hair, darker than the night, was tied into a bun. At this moment, her brow was furrowed as she inched toward the being at the end of the room, floating on what looked like blood.

    Hearing Williams step into the cathedral, she turned her head, revealing a look of panic on her pretty face. "Not another step!"

    But Williams had already moved before her words could reach him.

    The world around him twisted and it felt as if a metal rod was slowly being pushed through his skull. At the same time, the being at the end of the hall shook before disappearing. When it reappeared, its face was only a centimeter away from Williams'.

    Its face was similar to a male's, except strands of skin sealed its mouth and its nose consisted of only small slits. Its eyes were wide open, revealing eye sockets filled with countless tiny eyes, all of them darting around and looking in different directions.

    Williams stood frozen in place, clenching his teeth and curling his hands into fists as he endured the massive pain going through his head.

    A strained groan escaped the being's throat, its dainty right hand moving up to touch Williams' face. As soon as it made contact, a wave rippled out across his face, originating from where the being touched him. When the wave died, a gargantuan force smacked against Williams' skull, flinging him to the side like a rag doll.

    With a loud boom, he crashed into and demolished a pillar of the cathedral. Blood poured out of his mouth as he fell to the floor.

    Like a child who lost its toy, the being looked around, turning its head in directions humanly impossible. When its eyes found Williams, it let out another groan and instantly appeared next to him. But before it could reach out again, a strong gust of wind came in from its right.

    Bang!

    It was blown back by a projectile, blood spraying across the cathedral.

    Running towards Williams was the girl from before, a red liquid floating around her hand. When she reached the sorry figure of Williams, the liquid dissipated and she knelt next to him, taking out a bottle of blue liquid from the bag at her side.

    Before she could do anything, though, Williams grabbed her arm. "Don't need it."

    Eyes flashing with a hint of contempt, the girl uncapped the bottle. "If not for your actions, I would've had it. Don't make me bear the responsibility of your death along with your failure."

    "No, really, leave it," Williams insisted. As he said so, strange sounds began coming from his body.

    "You..."

    Bang!

    Pieces of stone flew through the cathedral from where the being landed. Standing up with a confused expression, the being felt a slight pain go through its head.

    Sticking out of its head was a simple looking crimson javelin, with blood dripping down one end. It wasn't the being's blood, however, as it did not bleed.

    Raising its arm, the being felt around its wound, then felt the liquid coming from the javelin. It quickly moved its hand in front of its face. All of its countless eyes focused on the red liquid smeared on its fingers.

    It trembled.

    "Get behind a pillar," Williams ordered.

    Just as the girl was about to say something in response, he slapped her in the face.

    "NOW!"

    The girl, too stunned to retort, simply nodded and dashed toward a nearby pillar.

    "AAAAAUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH...!!!"

    Crying out with all its might, the strands of skin sealing the being's mouth ripped apart, causing its voice to become louder. It shook the earth with its voice alone, causing those outside of the cathedral to uncontrollably shake and abandon their simple kneeling, instead adopting a prostrating form. Even the lamps strewn about the ruined city flickered and cracked.

    The being’s white cloak lifted up on its own. It spread out to form what appeared to be the wings of a butterfly, patterns and all.

    Williams could feel his skin being ripped apart and his bones shattering under the being's pressure. The flesh on his leg was completely torn away, briefly revealing the bone before it was crushed to bits. Then his head was torn from his body, smashing into the nearby wall.

    As for the girl, she remained relatively safe. The pillar she hid behind blocked most of the being's force, causing her to only suffer minor injuries.

    After a minute passed, the being's cry was reduced to a prolonged groan. Its wings remained though, glittering with a rainbow light.

    Crash~!!

    Half of the remaining cathedral collapsed, causing a cloud of dust to shroud the area.

    The girl stood shaking, not daring to move from her current position. She struggled for breath as she clutched her heart, closing her eyes and urging herself to calm down. As she caught her breath, she opened her eyes.

    In front of her was the same face that greeted Williams before, its hand slowly moving toward her face.

    Eyes widening, the girl felt her chest seize. She could only let out a whimper.

    After hearing this whimper, the being stopped its hand and stared for a moment.

    Then it let out a scream.

    Blood leaked out of the girl's ears as she screamed along with the monster before her. She could feel her blood flowing in reverse; her flesh beginning to melt. Even with the exceedingly tough body of a vampire, she felt as if it was impossible to resist the being's simple scream.

    It was then that a foul smell polluted the air.

    The being's scream suddenly stopped. Turning its head to the air and sniffing like an animal, it stretched its head around the pillar to look for the smell's source.

    Below it, the girl was smashed against the being's oily body. Along with the pain from before, she now felt as if tiny pins were stinging her.

    Cigarette in his mouth, Williams sat leaning against the shattered pillar he was thrown into before. Through his shredded clothes could be seen strands of flesh weaving together, as if an invisible hand was manipulating them. He turned his head toward the being, revealing his exposed and half destroyed brain, which was currently repairing itself along with the rest of his head.

    Intrigued, the being stepped away from the girl and began making its way toward Williams. It didn't move quickly, rather examining its target with all of its attention.

    Williams stood, his legs momentarily shaking before becoming firm.

    Squelch~

    A sickening sound came out as the being appeared next to Williams and bit down on his left shoulder, tearing a chunk off. But, as it was in the middle of chewing, a fire suddenly erupted in its mouth. Staggering backwards, it held its mouth as it stared at Williams with venom in its eyes.

    Raising his right hand, Williams took the cigarette out of his mouth and breathed out a puff of smoke, his shoulder rapidly repairing itself. A black triquetra appeared on his forehead, and Williams sighed.

    When the being tried to scream at him, all that came out was a strained noise, as its throat was burnt black from the earlier flames. Chest heaving up and down, it ran forward and swept toward Williams with its right hand. The wind screamed as it approached his face.

    With a slightly more grumpy expression than normal, Williams took a step forward and, using the back of his left palm, gently brushed the being's arm to the side.

    Bang!

    From the sheer force of the wind, pieces of stone were blown into the walls of the cathedral.

    At the same time, Williams' right hand raised up, his index and middle finger touching the being's forehead. And in a tired voice, he said: "Nightmare of the Seventh Pontiff, dissolve."

    The being froze under Williams' words. Then, after a second passed, its face became calm and relaxed. It began to shrink down to the size of a normal man and its wings slowly dissolved into black particles. In a mere half a minute, the once grotesque monster became an ordinary man. But, before his eyes could open, Williams withdrew his right hand from the man's forehead and thrust it forward, piercing through the man's heart and chest. Then, with his left hand, Williams caught the man’s body as he fell on his shoulder and gasped for life, inevitably failing.

    "May your dreams be peaceful in the next life," Williams said softly as he laid the man's corpse down.

    Williams offered a silent prayer as he shut the man’s eyes, looking at the corpse for a moment before standing up.

    Mark fading from his forehead, Williams walked over to where the girl was. On the way over, he waved his hand to produce a bottle of blue liquid like the girl had held before.

    Collapsed on the floor, the girl's hair bun had been undone. The tears in her clothes revealed patches of red skin, the more melted parts revealing the muscle underneath. However, she was still breathing and conscious. Popping the cap off the bottle, Williams knelt down and poured the liquid down the girl's throat. Almost immediately, her wounds began to produce a white smoke and heal themselves.

    Williams looked at the girl for a moment. "You're supposed to wait for your partner. Not run ahead."

    Gritting her teeth, the girl looked up with slanted eyebrows. "If you hadn't come, I would've had it."

    Williams shook his head. "Do you know why that thing got over to me so quickly? How it instantly reacted?"

    "Because it was powerful."

    "No, because you had already woken it up."

    "But I..."

    "You floated towards it using blood magic. Even the lowest ranking Nightmare, not to mention a rank six, would be able to notice you."

    The girl shook her head. "I manipulated it so that my magic was of the subtlest type. Even if it's blood magic, nothing should be able to detect it."

    Williams rolled his eyes. "Look, I'm supposed to be polite here, thus why I'm bothering to talk to you in the first place.

    "You made a mistake. The job still got done, so just own up to it and move on."

    The girl’s eyebrows slanted down even more, her mouth beginning to open.

    "Stop it," Williams stopped her, losing his slightly polite tone from before. "If you really try to insist that blood magic, of all things, could be quiet, I will make sure to steal all of your credit for this Halloween."

    The girl remained silent.

    After a long moment of silence, Williams stood up and started walking to the door. "We'll leave after you're done healing."

    Thinking for a moment, the girl then suddenly called out: "What will be my punishment?"

    Williams looked back. "For what?"

    "My mistake."

    Smiling slightly, Williams started walking again. "I want a dinner for two at a place called Bright n' Light."

    "What?" the girl asked, her eyebrows rising.

    "For me and my girlfriend, stupid. She's way prettier than you."

    "Then why..."

    "Dates are expensive and I'm not made of money."

    Hearing her colleague's words, the girl was rendered speechless.

    Half an hour later...

    Williams sat on the steps of the cathedral with a new set of clothes, smoking as he looked at the ruins before him. Everything outside was part of the Nightmare-- it had disappeared as soon as the source disappeared.

    Fully healed, the girl walked over and took a seat next to him. "I have not received your name."

    Breathing out a puff of smoke, Williams extended his hand toward the girl next to him. "Garret. Garret Williams."

    Smiling slightly, the girl shook his hand. "Emilara Rothesberg."

    The two sat there silently. Williams finished his cigarette, while Emilara looked up at the colorful sky.

    After a couple minutes, Williams stood up and stamped his cigarette out. He walked down the steps of the cathedral as he said, "Come on, we still got four places to cover today."

    "Yes!" Emilara exclaimed, a certain determination filling her voice.

    Halloween, the festival of Nightmares, had only just begun.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2017
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  19. Katsono

    Katsono ☆Guilty & Harmful☆The most anormal☆『Shem's mama』

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    A Mistake in Death
    written by: @Katsono
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    There are two versions of this story. The one in spoilers is what ended up being judged. The original is what the author would prefer you to read, so please enjoy!

    As the sun sets, light disappears from the firmament leaving behind only a dark and starless void. I don't know how long I gaze above before the warmth of my candle brings me back to reality. I instinctively flick my hand as the heat rises, dropping my light source to the ground.

    'Damn it, that burns!' I think. I kick the wax stick out of rage and disappointment, flinging it a few meters away. It rolls into someone's foot and stops with only a shallow flame left, unable to burn anything but air. 'I might have dirtied his shoes.' I rush to apologise to the stranger. This display is truly shameful.

    "Hum, sir, I'm sorry about this. You haven't had anything burned, I hope?" I ask humbly, but the man doesn't move and instead he remains still, even as the candle must be close to burning his pants. He is wearing strangely dark clothing and I am unable to distinguish even his shoes from his slacks. 'Is he wearing a full body suit?'

    Ten seconds pass with nothing but silence. 'Should I say something?' I wonder, but I somehow know the answer. I don't want to speak anymore. The stranger's stature is just as still as before, but my own legs are already shaking. I might even be sweating despite the night being cold enough to wear a mantle. My clothes are starting to feel humid.

    I raise my eyes and try to meet his gaze. I can feel him staring at me, but I see nothing from looking at his face. We are both outside of the weakening flame's reach, yet I felt as if he can clearly see me while I can only find the ever growing darkness. Fear overtakes my mind and as if in answer, the candle finally dies out. I turn and run, without even checking where I am going. The sound of my steps are the only life among these shadows, and as a gust of wind brushes by I can hear a hollow laughter resound. 'How far have I gotten from him?' It sounds as if he is the wind himself, a single step away from my ear.

    My body can't stop running no matter what, and I end up tumbling down what I can only figure to be stairs. Sanity only comes back to me as I am toppling over the steps, gradually replacing fear with an even stronger sense of danger and pain. It hurts so much that I think I might lose consciousness, if not die, but each impact reminds me that I am still awake and rolling.

    I land headlong on the hard concrete ground with a loud bang. My head is ringing so much that I can't hear any other sounds. Even the darkness seems to be fading away as I am about to pass out. Yet, I can sense a presence right in front of me. 'Is it only one? Am I surrounded?' I feel something grab my feet and my spirit can no longer on carry on.



    I wake up and it is still "night." I lost sense of time during my earlier travels, but this should be Halloween. How could I have guessed I would end up in this strange town without noticing the date?

    I am laying on my back, in a room where the wind seemingly can not flow. I am freezing with an uncanny liquid is sticking all over my body. I can't help but instinctively lick some around my lips. The viscous stuff has a strong foul stench, but I don't actually seem disturbed by it. Rather, my body seems to be longing for this metallic and salty taste. 'What is this?'

    I can't help but jump up as my mind rejects an idea. The stone floor made my back stiff, but I don't have any other injuries. 'Why am I covered in this fluid?'

    I fumble blindly all over the place while carefully listening for any noise, but I can only hear myself. I find a wall which is reassuring. I feel a little bit safer knowing I have a shelter, but at the same time am I not jailed in an unknown place?

    I sit down and try to rest, since there is no danger at the moment. A feeling of doom only gets stronger, because I notice there is not an exit to this room. I spend at least an hour curled up, without moving a single inch of my body apart from trembling. My eyes are getting dry from being kept open for so long. I am even feeling sleepy, but the ominous darkness won't let me slumber.

    Time passes until I suddenly feel like yelling. I strike a wall with my fist, but only a hoarse voice comes out of my throat. 'Have I already been crying for hours?'

    As I start getting agitated, my feet suddenly hit something on the ground. I can't help jumping back against the wall in fear, remaining as far away as possible from the other side. 'This room isn't big, barely the size of a bedroom. I can't escape even if someone is here. I checked and found no one anyway, so what am I so scared of?' I stand still for a few minute seeking for any sign of hostility, but as only silence answers me I start to move again.

    I search the floor slowly, skipping any thoughts of how stupid I am for not having done so before. I was not thinking straight at that point, driven by instinct as if a sword was about to slice my throat. Finally, I grasp onto a small cylinder in a corner of the room. That shape is familiar and I can easily recognise what it is. 'Did I drop it? Why didn't I check my pocket?'

    A flame comes out as I strike the wheel. The light is weak, but at least it is a little warm. I move closer to the walls and check them with the light. The concrete has absolutely no decoration beyond a strange rust-like film. It seems drenched in blood, unlike the smooth feeling I'd felt earlier. 'Did the walls change when I turned on the light?' I dont want to try touching them again. The wall looks almost organic, as if it is alive. While stupefied, I hear what seems to be a strange breathing pattern. It comes from beyond the wall. Or... 'Is it the wall itself?'

    I can no longer stand being close to the room's edges. I let the light go out, in fear of being seen, and stand in the middle of the room. I can check the walls one at a time, but I am too scared to do so. I bury my head in my arms and sit down, forming a ball in this dark place.



    Time continues to move, yet nothing approaches me. I am getting hungry and continuously losing my sanity. The sound of breathing has grown stronger, but also faster and more monstrous. I start to move around the chamber aimlessly, but all I find are strange sticks and some rags. I'm not sure why I didn't notice them earlier.

    'There is an exit.' I didn't know where this thought comes from, but decide to not think twice about it. I jump up to reach the ceiling in the central part, catching onto a trap door. It opens without any effort. The place is low enough that I can easily climb up. I give up on any thoughts of carefulness and enter into a tight tunnel. There is a strong smell of trash all around and I crawl across dirty things, but I keep moving forward.

    I hear a rat, but I leave no room for it to move past. As it tries to make a path by pushing against my body, I crush the small animal against the walls. It lets out a squeaking sound as I continue hitting the captured rat until it has no more strength.

    I pushed the thing into my mouth without even trying to clean the fur, and start chewing. It tastes bad. I can feel the disgusting texture of raw animal as I force it down even as the hair catches in my throat. I spit out the bones when I reach them, but I can't help but end up choking.

    I continue moving. I am even losing skin where my arms are getting scratched every time I push my body forward. My sleeves disappear until there is nothing left of them. Tears run down my face, but I have given up on feeling pain. Only my body feels it. I force myself to advance and catch any bug or rodent in my path, tearing them apart.

    l start to build up confidence in myself. 'I hardly fit in this place. What can be bigger than me here? I am a king. A monster to these small animals who tried to pass me. A wall bringing their doom.'



    Hours have passed since I entered the tunnel. I unexpectedly drop to the ground after getting out of a hole in a wall. The smell in this place is weaker, closer to the strange jail I came from rather than the sewers. I was about to blindly look around in the dark again, when I remember I have a lighter. I stopped feeling fear at some unknown point and wield it without hesitation.

    This place is nothing like the first room. Instead, it is a corridor with many door-lined paths. I chose my road randomly, only able to think of this place as an apartment building. I tried opening each door, but as expected they are locked. Sometimes, there were blocks of cement in place of what were clearly once doors.

    There is only a window once I reach the end of the hall. I check outside, but there is absolutely nothing to see. It is as if only this place exists and there isn't anything else. There isn't a single source of light to be seen. Out of curiosity, I check the exterior walls by leaning outside, but they don't seem to have anything noteworthy apart from decay.

    I do not wish to waste time exploring this place. It is clear that I won't find anything by just randomly wandering. I start pushing doors and try to break them apart, but they are strange.

    The first one seems to have something like a wall behind it and won't move at all despite being a cheap old door. I break through a small part and find out it was nothing but a hole in the wall with nothing behind it. 'Isn't this an apartment?'

    I try another door but it won't even budge. Pushing it doesn't help. It is just as solid as the previous. I tear through this wooden door too, and there is clearly a room past it. I can't see anymore. 'Why can't I force it open? The doorknob is working properly, and it doesn't seem to be locked. Is there someone blocking it on the other side?'

    The fear starts to come back once again. I don't care anymore. I need to know. I rush the door as hard as I can, over and over until I can't feel my body anymore. After a dozens of tries, my body is sent flying inside along with shards as I finally manage to enter the room.



    I must have passed out. When I come to, I hurt all over. The wood is penetrating my flesh everywhere. I check around, but there doesn't seem to be anybody. I can't confirm what I wanted to and can only curse myself. 'What if he ran away? This was my only chance of finding out the truth about this hell.'

    I slowly stand up, trying not to worse my injuries. The room looks like a normal household, although everything was in a horrible state. Dust is everywhere and many things are broken, but don't seem antiquated. Isn't this a television? It looks like it is from five years ago at most, but decay is everywhere. Rust is still running along the walls every time I approach them. I find a remote on a torn down sofa, and hit the buttons as I set myself down on the cushions, trying to relax for a little while.

    The electricity is working and the screen turns on, but it could only snow. The white noise is annoying, I can only feel dread coming from it. 'Why does it seem different? I am pretty sure this isn't how white noise is supposed to sound. It's too high pitched, almost as if it is the sound of screams instead.' I can almost hear speaking patterns when I focus, but I restrain myself looking into it further.

    I leave the place without even turning the television off. I almost reach the door when I catch the sight of a strange shape. I turn around to see a blackened figure. It clearly used to be human, but no longer looks like one. It is the same as I, and it stands still in front of me. I gaze upon it, and it probably gazes back. I just can't see it's face in the limited light. I don't wish to get closer. I can tell that I am not supposed to meet this. 'Will it kill me? Devour my soul? Or just possess me?' These are things I don't want.

    I turn around and run away. It doesn't follow me. There is no wind, no laughter from behind. Yet I laugh myself in despair. My throat is dry and it sounds ghastly. I don't feel human anymore. I feel like one of the things I fear.

    I can't keep myself sane here. I run without even looking at the doors anymore. I can't find an exit. I am forced to start checking the rooms once again. I destroy every single room I can enter, looking for any hope of life, until I finally find the stairway. It is the centermost door of all three corridors, yet I didn't bother to check it first. I don't have time to mull over this and rush down as quickly as possible.

    I don't look at the walls anymore. Instead, I run without even catching my breath. Slowly, wind seems to be building up and I can feel myself getting closer to the outside. I almost trip on the last step, trying to go down when the floor has levelled out, but I quickly steady. Overcome with exhaultation I search the place for an exit. I follow the wind, finding a window once more. This isn't a door, but that doesn't matter to me. I try opening it to no avail, and finally give up befire I jumping straight through the glass.

    The fall doesn't last long this time. I quickly land, wounded once again, but I still get up and look around. I am outside. I finally reached the emptiness, a strange place where there is nothing but a proliferating wind. 'Am I not in the middle of the city?' I thought I would be. I let out a savage cry, needlessly endangering myself. I feel beastly, no longer a part of my original world.

    I can feel people around me now, if the things near me could be called that. They seem familiar. I feel like them. I stop paying attention and just continued walking, and so did they. Maybe there are only two of us, or maybe a thousand. I don't know. I can still sometimes find live animals and with luck catch them. Occasionally, I also encounter huge beings my size, but they always run away. 'Am I a danger to them?'

    I do not understand, I just kept on seeking salvation.
    As the sun set down, all lights disappeared from the firmament, leaving behind only a dark and starless void. I don't know how long I gazed outside, but the warmth of my candle brought me back to reality. I instinctively shook my hand as the heat rose, dropping my light source on the ground.

    Damn it, that hurts! I thought, yet I lost any lighting I had. I kicked the bougie out of rage, flinging it a few meters away. It rolled unto someone's foot, stopping only to steady a shallow flame, unable to burn anything but air. Thinking I might have dirtied his shoes, I hurriedly apologised to the stranger. I truly felt sorry about my shameful display.

    "Hum, sir, I'm sorry about this. You haven't got anything burnt I hope?" I asked humbly, but the man didn't move and instead he remained still, even though a candle might have been burning his pants. He was wearing strangely dark clothing, and I wasn't even able to distinguish his shoes from his slacks, was he wearing a full body suit?

    It lasted ten seconds. There was nothing but silence. Should I say something? I wondered, but I somehow knew the answer. I didn't want to speak anymore. That stranger's stature was just as still as before, but my own legs were already shaking. I might have even been sweating, despite the night being cold enough to wear mantles. My clothes were starting to feel humid.

    I raised my eyes and tried to meet his gaze. I could feel him staring at me, yet I saw nothing looking at his face. We were both outside of the weakening flame's reach, yet I felt as if he could clearly see me, while all I found was the darkness growing deeper. Fear took over my mind and as if answering to it, the candle finally died out. I turned back and ran, without even checking where I was going. The sound of my steps was the only life among these shadows, and as a gust of wind came I could hear a hollow laughter resound. How far did I get from him? It sounded as if he was the wind himself, a single step away from my ear.

    My body couldn't stop running no matter what, and I ended up tumbling down what I figured out to be stairs. Sanity only came back to me as I was toppling over the steps, gradually replacing fear with an even stronger sense of danger and pain. It hurt so that I thought I would lose consciousness, if not die, but each step reminded me that I was still rolling.

    With a loud bang I landed headlong on the hard concrete ground. My head was ringing so much that I couldn't hear the outside sounds anymore, and even darkness seemed to be fading away as I was about to pass out. Yet, I could sense a presence right ahead of me. Was it only one? Was I surrounded? I felt something grabbing my feet and my spirit could no longer on carry on.

    When I woke, it was still "night". This should be Halloween, I thought. I lost sense of time on my trip and ended up in this strange town without noticing the day, but how could I have thought this would happen?

    I was laying on my back, seemingly in a room where the wind could not seep. An uncanny liquid was freezing me instead, sticking all over my body, and I couldn't help but instinctively lick some around my lips. The viscous thing had a strong foul stench, but I didn't actually seem affected. Rather, it's as if my body was longing for this metallic and salty taste. What was this?

    I couldn't help but jump up as my mind was rejecting this idea. The stone floor hurt my back, but I noticed I didn't have any other injuries. Why was I covered in this fluid?

    I fumbled blindly all over the place, carefully trying to catch any noise, but I could only hear myself. Finding walls was reassuring, I felt a little bit safer knowing I had a shelter, but at the same time wasn't I jailed in a place I didn't know? I sat down for a while, trying to take a rest, there was no danger at the moment. But the feeling of death could only get stronger, because I had noticed. There was no exit to the room.

    I spent at least an hour curled up, without moving a single inch of my body apart from the trembling. My eyes were getting dry from being kept open so long, I was even feeling sleepy, but the ominous darkness wouldn't let me slumber. Time passed, and I suddenly felt like yelling. I struck a wall with my fist, but only a hoarse voice came out of my throat. Hadn't I been already crying for hours?

    As I started getting agitated, my feet suddenly hit something on the ground. I was so scared I couldn't help jumping back onto the wall, remaining as far away as possible form the other side. The room was not big, it was barely the size of a bedroom, and I couldn't escape in anyway if someone else was present. At the same time, I'd already checked and found no one, so what was I scared of? I stood still for a few minutes, seeking any sign of hostility, but as only silence answering me I started to move again.

    Slowly, I scanned the floor, skipping any thought of how stupid I was for not having done so before. I did not think straight anymore at that point, and I was driven by instinct as if a sword was about to slice my throat. Finally, I grasped onto a small cylinder in a corner of the room. That shape was familiar and I could easily recognise what this was. Had I dropped it? Why didn't I check my pocket? I thought to myself.

    A flame came out as I hit the wheel. It was weak, but at least it warm a little warm. I closed on to the walls and check them through the light. The concrete had absolutely no decoration but a strange rust-like cover. It seemed drench in the blood, unlike the smooth feeling I'd gotten from them earlier. Did they change when I turned on the light? I didn't want to try touching them anymore. It looked organic, as if it was alive. While thinking that, I started believing I was hearing a strange breathing pattern. It seemed to call from beyond the wall… Or was it from the walls themselves?

    I could no longer stand being close to the room's extremities, I stopped lighting the place out of fear of being seen and stood in the middle of the room. I could only check a single side at the time, but I was so scared I didn't even try to do so, and only burrowed my head in my arms, forming a ball among the dark place.

    Time continued on moving, yet nothing was happening. I was getting hungry and kept on losing my sanity. The sound of breathing had grown stronger, but also faster and more monstrous. I'd started moving around the chamber aimlessly, but all I found were strange sticks and some rags. Why didn't I notice them at first?

    It hit me at once that there was an exit. Where was this thought from? I didn't know and did not think about it. I jumped up to reach the ceiling in the central part and caught onto a trap. It opened without any effort, and the place was low enough that I could easily climb. I gave up on any though of carefulness and entered into a tight tunnel. There was a strong smell of trash all along, and I couldn't help getting into dirty things many time, but I crawled forward thoughtlessly.

    I heard a rat rushing by, but I left no place for it to move. As it was trying to make a path by pushing my body, I caught the small animal and crushed it against the walls. It let out a squeaking sound as I continued hitting it, until it finally seemed to no longer move. I pushed the thing into my mouth, eating it without even trying to clean the fur. It tasted bad, but I didn't care. I could feel the disgusting texture of the raw animal as I was forcing it down my throat, and the hair couldn't help but get stuck in my throat. I spat out the bones every time I reached them, but I still couldn't help but end up choking.

    My sleeves started disappeared until there was nothing left of them. I was even losing my skin as my arms where getting scratched every time I pushed my body forward. Tears were running down my face but I'd given up on feeling pain. Only my body felt it. I kept on forcing myself to advance, and I would catch any bug or rodent on my path, tearing them apart. Slowly, I started up building confidence in myself. I hardly fit the place, what could be bigger than me here? I was a king, a monster to the small animals who tried to pass in the opposite direct. A wall bring their doom.

    Hours passed when I came out from the tunnel. I unexpectedly dropped on the ground, getting out of a hole in a wall. The smell in this place was weaker, closer to the strange jail I came from rather than the sewers. I was about to blindly look around once more, but I remembered I had a lighter and wielded it without hesitation. I stopped feeling the fear at some unknown point.

    This place was nothing like before, it was instead a corridor with many paths. I chose my road randomly, and I could only think of this place as an apartment building, seeing all the doors on each side of the hall. Each time, I tried opening them but as expected they were locked. Sometimes, there wouldn't even be a door, yet the place clearly had traces of one. Why were so many place blocked with newly made cement walls instead?

    When I reached the end of the way, there was only a window. I checked the outside, but there was absolutely nothing to see. It was as if only this place existed and there wasn't anything else outside. I couldn't see a single source of light. Out of curiosity, I still checked the walls from outside, but they didn't seem to have anything noteworthy apart from the decay.

    I no longer wished to explore the place, it was clear that I wouldn't find anything by just randomly erring. I started pushing the door and trying to break them apart, but they were strange. The first one seemed to have something like a wall behind it, and even though it was a cheap old door it wouldn't move at all. I broke a small part of it and found out it was nothing but a hole in the wall. There was nothing behind it.

    Wasn't this an apartment? I tried another door but it wouldn't even budge. Pushing it didn't help, it was just as hard as the previous place. I tore the wooden door again, and there was clearly a room behind it, although I couldn't see anymore. But why couldn't I force it open? The doorknob was working properly, it didn't seem to be locked. Was there someone on the other side?

    I felt fear coming back once again. But I didn't care anymore, I needed to know. I rushed the door as hard as I could, over and over until I couldn't feel my body anymore. After a dozens of trial, my body was send flying inside along shards, but I finally managed to enter the room.

    I passed out for an unknown amount of time. When I came back to me, I was hurt all over, the wood penetrating my flesh everywhere. I checked around, but there didn't seem to be anybody. I couldn't confirm what I wanted anymore and could only curse myself. What if he ran away? This was my only chance of finding out the truth about this hell.

    I slowly stood up, trying not to hurt my body anymore. This looked like a normal household, although everything was in a horrible state. Dust was everywhere and many things were broken, yet it didn't seem antiquated. Wasn't this a television? It looked like it was from five years ago at most, but decay was everywhere. Rust was still running along the wall every time I approached them. I found a remote on a torn down sofa, and hit the buttons as I let myself down on the cushions, trying to relax for a little why.

    The electricity was working. The screen turned on, but it could only snow. The white noise was annoying, I could only feel dread coming from it. Why did it seem somehow altered? I was pretty sure this wasn't how it was supposed to sound like. The thing was too high pitched, almost as if it was the sound of screams instead. I even thought I could hear speaking patterns if I focused, but I restrained myself from trying to do so.

    I left the place without even turning the television down. I almost reached the door when I caught the sight of a strange shape. I turned around to see a blackened figure. It clearly used to be human, but no longer looked like one. It was the same as I, and it was standing still in front of me. I gazed upon it, and it probably gazed back. I just couldn't see it, even with the fire from my clipper. I didn't wish to get closer, I could tell that I wasn't supposed to meet this. Would it kill me? Devour my soul? Or just take over me? Those were things I didn't want.

    I turned around and ran away. It didn't follow me. There was no wind, there was no laughter from behind. Yet I mocked myself out of despair. My throat was dry and it sounded ghastly. I didn't feel human anymore, I felt the same as these things I feared.

    I couldn't keep myself sane here. I ran in every direction, without even looking at the doors anymore. But as I found nothing, I was forced to start checking the rooms once again. I destroyed every single room I could enter, looking for any hope of life, until I finally hit the stairways. It was the centermost door of all three corridors, yet I hadn't even check it first. But I didn't have time to mull over this, I rushed through and got down as quickly as possible.

    I didn't sight the walls anymore, instead I ran without even catching my breathe. Slowly, wind seemed to be building up and I could feel myself getting closer to the outside. I almost tripped on the last step, trying to go down when I no longer could, but I was overcome by exaltation and quickly steadied, searching the place for the exit. I followed the wind, quickly finding a window once more. This wasn't a door, but why would I care? I tried opening it to no avail, and finally gave up as I jumped straight through the glasses.

    It didn't last long this time. I quickly landed, wounded myself once more, but I still got up and checked the place. I was outside, I finally reached the emptiness, this strange place where there was nothing but a profiling wind. Was I in the middle of the city? I would have most likely thought so. I let out a savage cry, needlessly endangering myself. I felt beastly, no longer a part of my original world.

    Was there still anyone? Sometimes I could feel life around me, if so those things could be called. They seemed familiar, I felt like them. Yet I didn't care and just continued wandering, and so did they. Maybe we were only two in here, or maybe a thousand, I didn't know. I could still sometimes find live animals and with luck catch them. Seldom, I would encounter huge beats my size, but why did they always run away? Was I a danger to them?

    I did not understand, I just kept on seeking salvation.


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  20. Arcadia Blade

    Arcadia Blade 《Cursed Blade》《Arditi Regimen》

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    The Girl in the Abandoned Tree
    written by: @Arcadia Blade
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    Have you heard of a girl that died in an old tree? Well, she died due to heartbreak over someone she loved dearly, hanging herself in the tree that she promised with her beloved. Then, her spirit lived on as she hunted down men and hanged them on the tree that she died on. It was the rumor that had been circling around in our school lately.

    I am an ordinary boy, average in everything I do with just my normal friends and family, but today, it won't be normal anymore as I have a beautiful girlfriend that I’m currently dating right now. I just recently confessed to her and she accepted me as her boyfriend.

    Then, it was just simple couple-like activities we've done together like holding hands, hugging and even rarely kissing everyday since then. But one day, I decided to go to the abandoned tree in the middle of the night.

    My friend and I were to bury our favorite items in the abandoned tree as we hoped that our luck would increase by doing so. But he then decided to ditch me as he headed to the bathroom, leaving me alone by myself in the abandoned tree.

    "... ○○○○..."

    A young voice had called out my name as I looked back at the abandoned tree. A young girl that wore our school uniform had appeared, her face hidden due to her hair blocking the way.

    *Crack* *Crack*

    The sound of broken bones were heard as she quickly looked at me without any pupils in her eyes while drooling like a starved animal.

    '○○○○...'

    She kept saying my name as she dashed toward me with fury. I then threw a rock at her to see if she's real or not. But the rock just passed through her as if she was nothing.

    She was a ghost and my instincts told me to run. And so I did. That was my first encounter with the ghost...

    The next night at my place, she appeared again, continuing to stare at me while calling my name every time. I couldn't sleep properly and worst of all, she clung to me every time. I had to ask my parents about this but they would always think I was delusional or something.

    I also asked my friends about this as well but they thought I was lying to them.

    Day by day, she begins to get even more dangerous as I could feel the sensation of her hands, her breath, and even the nails that begin to rip out my throat. My family became worried as they thought that I’m injuring myself but I continue to tell them that it was the girl I was talking about all the time.

    They finally believed me and told some priest from a nearby church to perform an exorcism on me. I thought that I was going to be freed from this pain but...

    "It seems that this person you speak off has a deep grudge against you. It seems you need to find the root of this problem my child."

    I lost my breath as he gave up on me and told my parents that it was hopeless for him to remove the spirit. I decided to research the abandon tree and find a way to remove her myself.

    It was then...

    "Hey, why aren't you texting me or try to give me a call this past two weeks?"

    My girlfriend decided to call me and I answered her with a gentle tone. It was then that the pain was gone and I could feel that my body was beginning to gain strength, but...

    'She needs to die so you will know how I feel...'

    I could hear the spirit's voice as she slowly disappeared from my side. When my gears begins to wind up, it was like I had cold water poured on my head as I desperately ran with all of my strength.

    I know what’s going to happen. I was scared that I’m going to lose my girlfriend. That was what my head was thinking right now.

    I arrived at my GF's home to have her parents tell me that she had gone to buy something from a nearby convenience store. I ran with all my might to the convenience store to see my GF fighting a mugger who held a knife with his hands.

    I quickly ran towards them and I punched the mugger. As I was gasping for my breath I looked back at my GF to see her pale face while covering her mouth as she looked at me.

    I looked at my chest as there was a knife struck to my heart as I slowly back away from her. Then, a loud noise came towards me as I walked straight towards a truck.

    While my life was fading away, I remembered my middle school year’s graduation day. It was then a girl confessed to me on that day by a tree, which would later be known as the abandoned tree. I coldly rejected her as I was going to be a burden to her. She was a smart and perfectly nice girl that everyone respected. But if she was going be held down because of me, I would rather have not been a guy who was her special someone.

    But I didn't think that because of me, she would end her life.

    Now, I recalled the spirit that I saw today as I smiled at her instead of my GF.

    "I'm sorry..."

    [News report of a young man that died on a street after being run over by a truck that was passing by. Reports also show that the boy received a stab wound to his chest and there was also a mark on his neck as if he was being choked. The cops also found a note in his right hand that said 'Please forgive me...' on it. Was the boy trying to pass a message to someone or maybe he received a letter from someone and was trying to contact her?]

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