الفوركس Old Airport: الفوركس هلسينكي كامبي

Forex Trading Wolf – Automated Currency Trading Robot Reviews 2022

Forex Trading Wolf – Automated Currency Trading Robot Reviews 2022 submitted by TrendsWide to TrendsNewsWorld [link] [comments]

Elliott Wave Easy Counter script for MetaTrader 4 – Free Forex EA Robots

Elliott Wave Easy Counter script for MetaTrader 4 – Free Forex EA Robots submitted by forexearobots to u/forexearobots [link] [comments]

Forex Elliot Waves labels script for MetaTrader 4 – Free Forex EA Robots

Forex Elliot Waves labels script for MetaTrader 4 – Free Forex EA Robots submitted by forexearobots to u/forexearobots [link] [comments]

The Tidal Wave of Forex Robots – How Does the Software Impact the Forex Trading World?

The Tidal Wave of Forex Robots – How Does the Software Impact the Forex Trading World? submitted by Hellterskelt to bitcoin_is_dead [link] [comments]

The Tidal Wave of Forex Robots – How Does the Software Impact the Forex Trading World?

The Tidal Wave of Forex Robots – How Does the Software Impact the Forex Trading World? submitted by Rufflenator to 3bitcoins [link] [comments]

The Tidal Wave of Forex Robots – How Does the Software Impact the Forex Trading World?

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The Tidal Wave of Forex Robots – How Does the Software Impact the Forex Trading World?

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How NOT to Succeed at Day Trading - A Definitive Guide

The Power of Inversion

Inversion is thinking of what you want to achieve but in reverse. Instead of focusing on future success, you focus on what leads to failure so you can make efforts to avoid it.
Charlie Munger, of Berkshire Hathaway, uses this technique for investing. In his words, he tries 'to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent. It’s not brilliance. It’s just avoiding stupidity.'
Below is a comprehensive list of how not to succeed at day trading. As ridiculous as some of these points sound, every trader has been guilty of committing them at some point in their journey.

Unrealistic Timeline and Expectations

Lack of Education and Self-Development

Non-Existent Strategy and Edge

Irresponsible Account and Money Management

Absence of Risk Management

Poor Trade Execution and Trade Management

Lack of Emotional Regulation

Broken Psychology and Gambling Mindset

And there you have it. By meeting just a few of the above criteria, you too can set yourself up for failure. Feel free to comment additional items and I will update the post.
submitted by Cranky_Crypto to Daytrading [link] [comments]

Wait, is this just GATE? (260/?)

Previous / First
Writer's note: Aaaaaandwe'reback.
The Earth........ situation..... will only be viewed briefly and in flashes like this for the next couple dozen chapters. But we will keep an eye on it. Especially once it gets to the real Divine stuff.
In the mean time; everyone's alive-ish. Yaaaaay.
Enjoy.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It was just after two in the morning as Jenkins ran down the long hallway.
Red lights flashed over the emergency white lights as the siren sounded, broken by the occasional robotic voice of the P.A. system.
-ALERT! SECURITY BREACH! ALL PERSONNEL REPORT TO EMERGENCY STATIONS! ALERT! SECURITY BREACH! ALL PERSONNEL REPORT TO EMERGENCY STATIONS!-
Something rumbled through the ground beneath her feet as she ran.
What the hell was that? She wondered as the announcement sounded again.
She had been sleeping when the initial klaxons had sounded, raising her up from the land of dreams in her quarters. She'd quickly thrown her duty pants and socks on, then her combat boots and vest simultaneously, one hand working each as she went. She'd rushed out the door while still strapping on her helmet and holstering her pistol.
She rounded the corner and saw her post. Sergeant Tovar waved her over.
"The fuck is up T?" She asked as she ran behind the barricade and into the small security office with all the camera feeds. "This doesn't sound like another drill." She said.
Outside Reyes and Deggigi were standing at their posts, weapons at the ready.
But they weren't faced outward like usual. Instead they were faced at the massive set of doors. The ones with the red paint and black and yellow edging. And the security panels had been lowered and locked over the smaller door to the left of it that was the most commonly used entrance to the base's lower levels.
"Security breach." Tovar replied. "B-three and below. And from the sounds of it the attackers are moving up." He said with his heavily Jamaican accent. He pointed at one of the weapons cages on the wall. "Orders are shotguns with the white mags."
"The new ones?" She asked. He nodded and she set to equipping herself with the weapon and the new ammo. "You're sounding Islander today Sarge." She said.
Normally the Caribbean born man had a neutral accent with a hint of Old New York in it. Something he'd affected after the wars had brought some hostility towards his homeland. But today his native accent colored every word heavily. She knew that it meant he was stressed.
"Radio chatter sounds more insane than expected." He said sternly. "Get out their with Chuckle and Fuckle."
She nodded and moved out next to Reyes, who she knew was Fuckle because he had eight kids.
"Sup Jenk." He said as he looked at the massive red door.
"Sup Rey." She said in return. "This sounds like a shit show."
Something rumbled below them again. Everyone looked down, including Murray, who'd just come running around the corner.
"Ya." Reyes said. "Fuckin' aliens and shit." He added.
"There aint no fuckin' aliens." Deggigi said in his Texas drawl. "It's fuckin' vampires." He said with the chuckle that had earned him HIS nickname. Though he and Reyes were only Chuckle and Fuckle when they were on duty together, which the Sergeants made sure happened often as a result.
"Is it the fuckin' aliens?" Murray asked as he came running out of the office, still loading a shotgun.
"It AINT fuckin' aliens!" Deggigi repeated.
Then there was another shudder. This one long and drawn out and rumbling like a train was passing by. Some dust fell from the ceiling as a crack formed near the door. They all watched it, mouths shut, as the emergency lights flickered a few times.
There was a long, deeply baritone, noise that sounded familiar to Jenkins as they heard it. It reverberated through the entire building as effectively as if it had been broadcast on the P.A. speakers.
"Biggest fuckin' coyote I ever heard." Diggigi said.
It clicked in Jenkins' head that he was right, just in time for a chorus of significantly weaker howls to begin reverberating behind it.
"The fuck?" Reyes asked beside her just as Sergeant Tovar sprinted out of the office and down the hall away from them. "What the fuck?" He repeated, echoing everyone else's thoughts as they watched the Sergeant run down the corridor and out of sight.
Something impacted the small pedestrian door next to the main one, drawing their attention to it as they all subconsciously shouldered their shotguns.
"The fuck?" Reyes said for a third time.
Something on the other side of the door snarled as something massive slammed into the large red door hard enough to send cracks spidering through the concrete that it was set in.
There was a deep growl and they all saw bright white lite shine through one of the small cracks.
Several loud impacts sounded from both doors as whatever was on the other side began hammering at it repeatedly. There was a vicious slavering noise as whatever they were fought and scrabbled at the reinforced steel and concrete.
Then there was another loud impact and Jenkins heard something screeching from the other side.
Then the red door began to bend inward near its bottom left corner.
"BACK UP!" She yelled. "BACK UP! WHATEVER IT IS IS GETTING THROUGH! SAFETIES OFF!" She ordered, now that she was the ranking soldier there, as she herself snapped the little switch on the side of her shotgun to semi-auto.
Then a massive black talon of some kind punched through the steel of the door like a nail through plywood.
"Aw man." She heard Diggigi say. "It WAS fuckin' aliens."
Before anyone could reply the door screamed open and away from them.
Behind it a massive, white-glowing, eye stared at them from in the darkness. Jenkins blinked in confusion. Nothing had an eye that big. It had to be at least seven feet in diameter. Its pupil alone was bigger than she was.
They heard skittering noises and low growls from in the darkness.
"Fire." She said. "F......Fire. FIRE!" She ordered as she pulled the trigger on her shotgun, sending a roaring blast into the darkness. The buckshot, mainly silver though she didn't know that, impacted the eye and made it retreat back into the darkness beyond with a loud, deep whimper.
The other three opened fire as well, sending countless silver buckshot shells screaming into the unexpectedly open door.
Something blurred past her and collided with Murray, who flew backwards with a yell. He hit the wall with a noise that was much too wet to be a human body.
The fire stopped as everyone remaining turned to look at what had just flown past them.
"Ah shit." Reyes said, as they all recognized the creature. "We was all wrong."
Standing over Murray's limp, boneless, bloody body and still holding his right arm in its mouth, was a thing out of cheesy Halloween costume shops and fairy tales.
Jenkins did not live up to all the jokes that had been made about her name throughout childhood and even through Army training.
As everyone else turned their weapons towards the.... werewolf.... cause that's what it was. She ran, unconsciously following Sergeant Tovar's path as she did.
Something flew past her in a furry blur as she passed Reyes, who had been turning to join her. Then she heard him yell "Jenk-" Before hearing a loud crunching noise.
"FUCKLE!" She heard Deggigi yell as his shotgun roared again, this time firing on full auto as the soldier sprayed at a mass of fur and claws and blood that Jenkins was too scared to look back at.
Then the world shook again as something behind her slammed into the wall. The impact shook her off of her feet, and as she looked back she saw the horde of werewolves behind her.
She froze for a moment as she realized what the impact had been. That massive talon from earlier was, it turned out, a nail on a hand. A long, black, slightly curved, nail. Or more accurately, a claw.
Degiggi's body hung limply as that claw and the ,oddly human shaped, hand had impaled him in an impact that could knock a running person from their feet.
As she watched, one of the wolves leaped up and sank its teeth into the dead man's leg and began mauling it like a rabid animal, snarling as it did.
Her shotgun clattered to the ground as she began slowly backpedaling.
"No." She said as first the ears, then the heads and reflective eyes turned to regard her. "Nononononono."
She bolted, and behind her she heard the snarls and howls and growls of the werewolves.
Jenkins wasn't a fast person. She wasn't slow by any means. But she was only a few inches over five feet and had only really put on any muscle or gained any endurance once she'd joined the military. So, she wasn't exactly setting any running records.
Still, in those terrifying moments as the world stopped making sense, she ran like the wind down the tight, concrete and steel, hallways of the facility she'd been assigned to as an M.P.
She had the advantage of knowing the corridors. She had after all been here for nearly a year now. And as an M.P. patrolling the halls was her job.
She also had the advantage of having a badge on her chest that would open just about any door she needed, even in the current security lock-down.
None of it mattered in the end.
She'd slammed through one of the doors to another corridor, kicking it behind her as she sprung off of it for a slight burst of speed and to shut it as she did. She'd done that several times now.
Still, they had gained on her.
Her training. Her pistol, still in its holster, her dead friends. Even her dreams of becoming a ration security driver once she got out. None of it mattered as she felt the claw slash through the back of her leg in a swipe that sent her sliding across the concrete floor on her face, her blood trailing behind her on the way.
She struggled to get up, but the foot attached to the leg was limp and useless.
She had a moment to realize that her Achilles tendon, and likely some of the muscles nearby, had been severed as she struggled for a sidearm that she had no idea wouldn't work.
Then a set of massive, wickedly sharp, jaws clamped down on her shoulder. They didn't get through the Kevlar weave of her vest. But they also didn't really have to.
She screamed as she felt every bone inside the jaw shatter with a crunch and a flash of pain that made her blackout in a matter of seconds. The jaws were wide enough that they sank into the flesh AROUND her vest's shoulder strap anyways. A set of claws pierced into her opposite shoulder and another into the meat of her waist as the wolf held her in place.
At a little before three in the morning, Corporal Samantha Jenkins lingered on the brink of death.
.
.
Not yet little pup. A voice said from somewhere she was too far gone to hear.
.
.
And at just AFTER three in the morning, she woke back up. Her body burning as bones cracked and snapped into new forms and hair erupted across her mangled body.
She screamed in pain, long and bloody and raw, as her body rebuilt itself into a completely new species.
And as she screamed, the pitch of her voice deepened and grew bestial in nature, before transforming into a howl.
Then, with no control over her instincts, and no knowledge of who or WHAT she was, she joined into the growing mayhem.
And a great, luminous, shaggy wolf. Easily twenty stories high at its shoulders, began to savage the secret military facility. No rounds, large or small, silver or otherwise, could harm the beast for more than a moment.
Somewhere beyond its senses, aircraft took the the sky to counter it.
And a set of mischievous gods watched with glee as the chaotic battle began in earnest.
----------------------------------
James awoke still in the desert. He was bobbing up and down slightly and covered in something light and breathable. He could only barely see out of one eye, the other was sealed shut.
"Joey?" He asked weakly. "Where's Joey?"
"Silence James." A familiar, Elven, voice said. Though it sounded pained and tired. "Rest. You are badly injured."
"Where's Joseph?" He asked again. "Where's Amina?"
"I'm told your brother rushed through some kind of door and is already back at the Capital." Kai said from where he walked beside James. "And the Princess is only a few yards ahead of you."
"Are they okay?" He asked, his voice a little stronger. "She was hurt too."
"Okay?" He wondered. "Not really. But she'll live. As for your brother I don't know. All I know is that the Arch Mage flew him out of here quickly. He was alive and speaking though, from what I saw."
"Is it over?" James asked.
"The battle? Most assuredly." Kai said. "The camp is being secured now. The wounded- and that includes you- are being brought through this door. We'll be there in a few minutes. Myself and several of the mages had to stabilize you two."
"Does that mean there are spiders inside me again?" James wondered.
"Do you really want to know?" Kai countered.
James thought for a moment. "No." He said after a few seconds. "Think I'll pass out either way."
"I would actually recommend it." Kai said snidely. "Your body could use it."
The two of them moved along in silence for a few moment. Then Kai spoke again.
"James?" He asked.
"Yeah?" James said, his voice weak and sleepy again.
"I won't be able to do this for you again. Or at least it's highly unlikely." The elf said.
"Okay." James said simply.
"Quit trying to die." Kai said just as simply.
"Working.... on it." James said as he finally passed out the way he'd said he would.
[Next]
submitted by PepperAntique to HFY [link] [comments]

The Better to See You With

My mom died recently. She was out for one of her nightly walks along the woods near her house and got hit by a speeding car. The car was going so fast that she flew thirty feet in the air and skidded on the gravel road for ten more. She was dead at the moment of impact. When the police showed up at my house hours later and informed me, I collapsed and slammed my head on the door frame on the way down. Ten stitches and a dead mom – a banger of an evening.
They never found the driver that did it.
Dealing with mom’s sudden and tragic death was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with. I was a mess for weeks and still go through waves of grief. Her passing was a profound loss, and I feel it in my soul. There will never be another woman like her, and all I can do is strive to be a tenth of the person she was.
As emotionally hard as the funeral was, it didn’t hold a candle to going to her home and sorting out her things. That was gut punch after gut punch until I had to stop and take a break. When you have free reign in someone’s house and can search every nook and cranny, you discover the person they hid from the world. Everyone has secrets, and my mom was no exception.
I was cleaning out her attic when I came across a small wooden box tucked away in the corner. I’d never seen it before, but it was beautiful. It was a little larger than a jewelry box but what made it beautiful was the designs cut into the box itself.
The four corners were some of the most complex geometric designs I’ve ever seen in any medium, let alone carved wood. The front of the box had what looked like an old English script with the word “vilkus” carved around the keyhole. The top of the box looked like an old-world wood-cut picture of several robed figures standing around a campfire.
“What the hell is this, Mom?” I asked myself. I tried to open it up the lock was firm. Confused about everything, I decided to bring it downstairs and look for a key that would open this thing. When I picked it up, the weight was heavier than I thought. I also heard something inside shuffle. The mystery only deepened.
I placed the box aside and finished clearing out the attic. Almost everything up there ended up in the donate pile, except for the box. In fact, most of my mom’s stuff did. I lived in a small apartment and didn’t have a ton of room for the furniture. Naturally, there were some pieces I kept, but almost everything would find a new home.
That included most of the chickens.
A brief moment here to explain. My mom hated chickens. She thought they were gross. Hated the way they looked. Hated the way they sounded. She used to say the only good chicken was one that was deep-fried. Of course, this meant that everyone had to buy her chicken-themed things. Little figures, kitchen towels, ceramic sugar bowls, you name it, she had it. She never had the heart to throw any of these gag gifts away, so her house was filled with chicken regalia.
Her crown jewel, however, was the crystal chicken I bought her when she finished her nursing program. After my dad died and I moved out, my mom decided to return to school to become a nurse. She had always wanted to do it, and now she didn’t have any excuses not to. I was so proud of her.
When she did her candlelighting ceremony to celebrate finishing school, I surprised her with a crystal chicken. She laughed and cried, and we hugged so tightly. I can still see her face, her eyes red with tears but a smile so bright it could light the darkest night. A memory I often recall to help boost my spirits.
I held the chicken and gently rubbed it with my thumb. I swear I could feel her arms around me in that moment. I sat on the ground and just let the tears fall. I laid down in the fetal position and let the sadness wash over me.
Once I had cried out every bit of liquid in my body, I stood back up and dusted myself off. I had to finish the job, but I wouldn’t be able to do anything unless I got something to eat. Also, and I don’t know why, but for some reason, I thought I should stash the box somewhere. I was afraid one of the relatives might take it before I got a chance to see what was inside.
I knew they were lookie-loos, and they’d search hard for something they wanted. I decided to hide the box back up in the attic. I hid it in a small crawlspace area behind the hatch and climbed down. I looked in the mirror and made sure I was still presentable to the outside world, and headed out the door.
I was only gone for about forty minutes or so, but when I got back to my mom’s house, I noticed the side door was open. I remembered shutting it, and that fact sent up a red flag in my brain. Was someone inside the house? Maybe one of my mom’s friends had come over. Or maybe someone else from the family – I knew a few had said they’d try and stop by to take some things.
“Hello,” I called out. “Anyone home?”
No response. I walked into the living room, and nothing seemed out of place. In fact, every room looked normal. I walked into mom’s closet and finally noticed something askew – to hatch to the attic was pulled down. Why in the world would someone be up in the attic?
I hesitated and then climbed up the ladder. I popped up into the small space and turned on the light. I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary up here, either. Not at first. I was about to climb down when I noticed an envelope in the corner of the room.
I plucked it off the ground. In a script that definitely wasn’t my mother’s neat handwriting, someone had scrawled the word “open.” Not knowing what else to do, I opened it up. Inside was a 3×5 card and what looked like a small patch of dog hair. On the card, someone had typed out, “Do you know the story of little red riding hood?”
That was it. I was confused, and, in fact, I laughed when I read it. What in the world was this? Who had left a cryptic message in an envelope stuffed with dog hair in my dead mother’s attic? None of it made sense. I threw the card and hair away and went back downstairs.
I hadn’t probably closed the door all the way when I shut it, thus, it was open when I got back. As for the card, who knows why it was up there? I chalked it up to some lost artifact my mom had kept around for some meaning lost in time. I must’ve just missed seeing it when I cleaned upstairs. I didn’t give any of it much thought.
As I left my mom’s closet and walked through her room, I felt a presence watching me. It’s hard to explain but imagine your teacher watching you while you take a test. You know the gaze is there, and you’re trying to ignore it, but you can’t totally put it out of your head. That was it.
It might’ve been because I was in my mom’s still intact room. I had started with the other rooms and saved this one for last. I needed to build up to it. Dismantling this room would be the final confirmation my mom was gone. I wasn’t quite ready for it. So I’d come back another day.
I would be in town for a few days to clean up the house before we sold it. I couldn’t sleep in my mom’s bedroom, so I stayed in the guest room. I had moved most of the furniture out of there, so everything was pretty bare, but I didn’t care. I was just going to sleep there. I spent the lion’s share of my time on the couch in the living room anyway.
That’s where I was when I heard the knocking start. I was watching some random cooking show on cable (CABLE!) when I heard what sounded like arrhythmic knocking coming from the kitchen window. It was like a kid learning to play drums. At first, I ignored it, but soon it got so loud I couldn’t. I hauled my tired body to the kitchen and flipped on the lights.
Nothing was out of place. Everything seemed normal, but then I started hearing the knocking again, only this time it was coming from outside the house. The way the house was designed, the side door led out into the driveway. My mom’s car was still there – the sale was pending – and my beat-up pickup was parked behind it. The new knocks sounded like someone was hitting my mom’s car.
I grabbed a knife from the block and flipped on the light in my phone. I opened the door and stepped outside. There was a slight nip in the air, and I shivered in the light breeze. I wasn’t sure what I’d find out here, but I knew I had heard something knocking. I was sad, not crazy.
Just then, I heard something in the tree above me rustle. I pointed my camera up and saw something dart away from the beam. Then I heard two knocks right next to me. I jumped back and flashed my camera where I heard the sounds. I started laughing.
Two acorns had fallen from the tree and landed on the car. The knocking I had heard was nothing more than a klutzy squirrel. I cackled for longer than I should’ve, but I needed a good laugh at the moment. The relief that washed over me was cathartic as fuck.
I walked back towards the door when I heard something large growl nearby. I froze, and I heard another, higher-pitched growl as I contemplated what to do. Then I heard something big dart off and run through the underbrush and back into the woods. Then a second large thing ran off in the same direction.
I ran into the house and slammed the door shut. I locked both locks and dragged a chair under the handle for good measure. I looked up the animal control number and gave them a call. Naturally, they were closed, but I left a message. I went to the guest room and locked that door as well.
I wasn’t taking any chances.
The next morning, I woke up as soon as the sunlight started bleeding through the paper-thin curtains. I wouldn’t say I had the best night’s sleep, but after an hour or so of mindless scrolling on my phone, I finally calmed down enough to doze off. I didn’t hear any more growling or knocking the rest of the night.
I hesitated to walk back out to the kitchen, but the desire to get coffee cranking through my system as soon as possible broke that hesitation. Again, nothing was out of the ordinary. I started making my coffee when I glanced out the kitchen window and saw another envelope staring back at me. Someone had jammed it in the weatherproofing.
In the same handwriting as the note I found in the attic, someone had scrawled the phrase, “Why do you have such big ears?” I quickly went outside, plucked the envelope off the window, and hustled back inside. Once in the friendly confines of my mom’s home, I opened the envelope.
Inside was another 3×5 card with a single typed message on it. It simply read: “The better to hear you, my darling.”
“The fuck?” I muttered. Just then, there was a knock at the door. I was so surprised I dropped the card.
“Probably the family,” I said, assuming the relatives were coming to loot the tomb. I walked over to the door and pulled it open, expecting to see family but instead being greeted by a guy dressed like a Mormon missionary. I sighed.
“I don’t believe in god,” I said, starting to close the door.
“I don’t either,” the pleasant man said.
“Oh,” I said, halting my premature door closure, “then, what can I do for you?”
“First, I wanted to say how sad I was to hear of your mother’s passing. I know that can’t be easy to deal with.”
“It’s not, but thank you. Did you know her?”
“Yes and no.”
“What does that mean?”
“Well,” the man started, “I run a small antique shop a few towns over, and your mom used to come by every once and a while and browse.”
“Okay,” I said, unsure where this was headed. “Did she steal from you or something?”
The man laughed. “No, no. Nothing like that. It was actually a mistake I made about two weeks ago. I accidentally sold a piece to your mother that I was supposed to be holding for someone else.”
“What was it?”
“Um, it was a carved little box about this big,” he said, holding out his hands. “Have you seen anything like that around here?”
“No,” I lied.
“Oh, crackers,” he said. “Can I come in and take a look?”
“No. Sorry,” I said with a smile to hopefully back him off.
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, pretty sure I don’t want a strange man inside my house.”
“Your mother’s house,” he corrected.
“Well, if this whole thing wasn’t creepy enough, that just clinched it.”
I tried to shut the door, but he put his foot in the way and blocked the door from closing. I could feel my heart start to race, but I held it together. I did not want to show fear. I bared my teeth some and said, “Move your foot.”
“I’ll give you a thousand dollars for it.”
I paused. How much was it worth if this guy was willing to pay a thousand dollars for that box? Could I just cut him out and sell it directly for more money? All of these thoughts ran through my head, but I only spat out the question, “Did you leave a note on my window?”
“What?” He said, confused.
“Move your foot, please.”
“Two thousand,” he said.
“I don’t have the box,” I said as I stomped on the top of his foot with my heel. He yelped and pulled his foot back as I slammed and locked the door. I watched him through the little peephole. He swore under his breath (so definitely not Mormon), sighed, and slammed the screen door. I watched him walk away but didn’t see any vehicle. Not even a bike. By the time I moved to the window to take a look, he was gone entirely.
I was a little shaken but not too concerned. Now I wondered what the hell was in that box. I needed to find the key to unlock it, meaning I needed to clean my mom’s room. The time had come.
I walked to her room and put my hand on the door handle. I sighed, twisted the handle, and pushed the door open wide. It creaked as it opened, and I could see all the dust in the air from the rays of light streaming through the blinds. I crossed the threshold and felt a weight on my shoulders. This wasn’t going to be fun.
I first checked my mom’s key ring for anything that might look like it’d work. There was nothing. I paced around the room and made a mental tally of all the places to place a key to a hidden box in the attic. The first stop was the dresser.
I went through all the drawers and was shocked at some of the more racy garments my mom apparently had but I didn’t find any keys. After that, I went to the bedside tables and went over every inch of them. Didn’t see anything.
Same for every other conceivable place in her room. I spent hours taking that room apart in search of the key and didn’t find any trace of it. I even took a break for lunch and came back with fresh eyes. Still nothing. I could feel my frustrations mounting. A thought scratched the surface of my brain and started to take root: she didn’t have a key.
If that was the case, I should’ve just sold that weirdo the box and be done with it. But my curiosity had been piqued. Why did he want this box so badly? What was inside? Why had my mom hidden it? The more I thought about it, the more my head filled with questions with no answers. I was so frustrated. Out of anger, I kicked her bedside table. A second later, I heard something metallic drop to the floor.
I moved the end table and saw a key laying on the ground. It had been taped to the underside of the end table. It looked like the perfect fit for the lock. I couldn’t believe it. I bent down, picked it up, and gave it a once over.
“So there you are,” I said.
I went to my mom’s closet and pulled down the stairs to the attic. I climbed up, clutching the key so tight in my palm it was leaving indentations. But I didn’t want to drop an old brass-colored key onto the brown carpet and start my search all over again.
Once I got to the attic, I walked over to the box and squatted to pull it out. However, something was pulling me away from the box and towards the half-moon ventilation window. It was just a feeling I got in the base of my skull that told me to peek out at the street below. I’m glad I did.
My mom’s house sits on a street that butts up against a small patch of woods. It’s not in the country, but it’s not like a typical suburb either. It’s the bleeding edge of the suburbs, really. The line where developers stopped gobbling up the trees to make identical little boxes. Houses were still spaced out with large yards, and dirt roads reigned supreme. You were technically in a neighborhood but not like the tightly packed sardine can place I now lived.
As my eyes scanned the tree line, something out of place caught my vision. The guy who tried to buy the box was standing back in the greenery. He was holding a pair of binoculars and staring out at my house. Instinctively, I leaned back a bit from the window, hoping he wouldn’t spot me.
He seemed to be talking to some other unseen person. I looked around but couldn’t see any other person near him. Who was this guy? Why did he want this box so badly? As I pondered, I watched as he took several steps back into the treeline, and I lost sight of him for good.
Then I heard glass break downstairs.
The person he was talking to had just broken a window in my house. I assumed they would be entering shortly. I cursed myself for not having a weapon, especially after the earlier encounter. I knew I didn’t want them to know I was up here. I quickly but quietly padded over to the open attic hatch and pulled it closed. I was trapped, but I was out of sight. I only hoped they wouldn’t come looking for me.
After an agonizing few seconds, I heard the kitchen window open, and the screen get kicked in. The person climbed in, rather clumsily from the sounds of it, walked over to the side door, and opened it up. He was letting in someone else to help him. I assumed it was the man from earlier, but I wasn’t sure if it was just him. What if there were more? What if they were armed?
What if they wouldn’t take no for an answer?
I decided I needed to hide the box somewhere up here where they may not find it. My original spot was fine, but you could see it if you looked. I needed something better. Glancing up, I saw some pink insulation that had pulled away from the wood beams. I stuffed the box in there and pulled the insulation back over it to hide it. It wasn’t elegant, but it was the best I could do at the moment.
In the house below me, I could hear at least two people talking, though I had a hard time making out anything concrete. I wanted to press my ear to the floor to see if I could catch snippets, but I was afraid I’d give away my position. If they came up here, there were only two ways out: fight them and scramble down the stairs or punch out the half-moon window and jump. Neither sounded feasible.
They were slowly making their way through the house. From where I was standing, their conversations sounded like grunting. I glanced over and found a small length of pipe no larger than my forearm and grabbed it. It wouldn’t be much, but it’d be something.
My heart was pounding like a tom-tom when I heard the two of them enter my mom’s room. They were so close I could make out their conversations now. I leaned in close, carefully balancing myself to avoid making any noise.
“What happened in here?” a gruff, unknown voice asked.
“Someone gave this room a good toss,” said the pseudo-Mormon that had been at my door.
“Do any of the other clans know about this?” asked the gruff voice.
“Not that I’m aware of, sir,” said the Non-Mormon.
“Fucking hell,” the gruff voice said, “you’re supposed to do a thorough vetting process before anyone can join. How did you fuck this up?”
“I’m sorry. She was my nurse and...and she seemed like a good fit for….” His voice trailed off.
“Did you hear that?” the gruff voice whispered.
“Did it come from,” the Non-Mormon started, but the gruff voice cut him off.
“Yes. Follow me,” he said as quietly as possible.
I pushed myself back up and watched the attic hatch like a hawk. I cocked the piece of pipe back and waited for the hatch to open. I was going to brain the first person that came up those stairs.
But the hatch never opened. Instead, the two men moved out of my mom’s room and back into the living room. Then one of them yelled, “What are you doing here?!”
Someone threw something, and then there was a struggle. I didn’t know who was down there, but the fight got more intense the longer it went on. I heard crashing and smashing and screaming and growling. Whatever was going on downstairs was brutal.
Then the howling started. Whatever was down there started howling so loud that I dropped the pipe and covered my ears. I was afraid it was going to rupture my eardrums. I didn’t care that the pipe dropping could give my hiding spot away. The noise cut through me like a saw.
Over the fading howl, I heard people rush towards any exit from the house. There was yelling and screaming and threats, but then there was silence. I waited about thirty minutes in a crouch - my knees were screaming in pain - before I decided to go down and check what had happened.
I was greeted with a monumental mess. Furniture was flipped and torn open. Glass was shattered. The back door was left open. There were streaks of blood on the floor and walls. Whatever happened here wasn’t pretty.
There was something odd, though, about the mess. In the middle of the chaos sat the little crystal chicken. It looked perfectly okay – no cracks or broken pieces. What was odd was I had left it on the bookcase in the other room yesterday and not in the middle of the kitchen floor. The bookcase hadn’t been tipped over, so someone had to pick the chicken off the shelf and place it on the ground. Who the hell would do that?
I decided I needed to call the cops. I had little hope that they would solve the case, but I thought I might need a record of the break-in. Thirty minutes later, a squad car rolled up. Two cops got out and greeted me. They were nice enough, listened to what I had to say, and wrote some of it down. They asked if anything was stolen, and I said I wasn’t sure but didn’t think so.
About ten minutes later, one of the cops headed back to the cruiser, but one hung back. He was handsome, with his youthful face and big bright eyes. He shot me a warm smile, and, for a moment, I forgot my general negative feelings toward the police.
“We’ll look into this but, to be honest, there isn’t a lot here to go on,” he said.
“Can’t you test the blood?”
“They won’t, especially if nothing was taken.”
“Great,” I said.
“I know it’s been hard for you in the last couple of days.”
“What?” I said, startled.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” he said softly, “I was the one that got the call about your mom.”
“Oh,” I said, “thank you.”
He took a step closer to me. “Did you know that she was alive when we found her?”
“Wh-what?”
“Oh yeah. It was supposed to be a clean hit, but she moved last minute, and the car didn’t get her as solidly as I would’ve liked.”
“The fuck?” I balled up my fist and was ready to punch.
“I told her that she couldn’t hide from us. You can’t either,” he said with a grin.
“Get the fuck away from me,” I whispered, my legs trembling.
“We’ll be back when it’s dark,” he said, “You won’t see us, but we’ll see you, darling. It’s why we have such big eyes.” As he said it, his pupils flashed from brown to yellow.
“Roddy,” his partner yelled, “we got a robbery in progress nearby! Let’s hop to it.”
“You can lock the doors, but it won’t matter,” he whispered. Then, like a robot flipping a switch, any sinister vibes drained from his body, and he was back to the regular guy he was minutes earlier. “Have a good night, ma’am.”
I turned and ran back into the house. I decided that I needed to go. I grabbed my car keys and ran out to my car. I put my key in the ignition and turned, but nothing happened. I tried again and again, but the engine was dead. I popped open the hood and saw that someone had sliced a bunch of wires inside. My mom’s car was the same way.
I was trapped.
I ran back inside and, despite the cop’s warnings, I locked the doors. I grabbed knives and hid them around the house in case I needed one. I kept the butcher knife on me. I thought about running, but if they were watching me, they’d see me leave, and I assumed they’d catch me. They seemed to have some kind of magic or something. It sounded crazy, but I didn’t know what else to call it.
Finally, I went back up into the attic and grabbed that box. It was time to see what the hell was inside. I pulled up the stairs and locked myself up there with my knife. I retrieved the box from the insulation and laid it in front of me.
“Here goes nothing,” I said as I slid the key in and turned.
A tinny music box song started playing as I pulled open the lid. I didn’t recognize the tune, but it played the entire time the box lid was open. Inside, the box was stuffed with papers. Some were brand new, and others were yellowed with age, but each one looked alike. It was just a list of names, like a roster.
“The hell?”
The dates on the pages were varied. One from 2022. 1983. 1947. 1892. 1849. 1781. What was stranger still was that some of the names were on every roster. Some of these names I knew – some everyone in the world knew. If this information got out...the entire world would change. Here I was, the daughter of a late-in-life nurse, holding evidence that proved a myth real. Astounding.
My brain was having a hard time comprehending all of this information. Were these...werewolves? Was that possible? More to the point, how had my mom gotten caught up in all this?
She really did live a life I had no idea about.
Someone started screaming outside my house. I ran over to the half-moon window and peered out. I saw the non-Mormon standing out there. He pointed at the window, and I knew I was fucked. He was aware of where I was.
“I know you’re in there, and I know what you have. You may not know what you’re holding but trust me when I say that I will do anything to get it back,” the man yelled. “Give it to me, and I leave, and you never see or hear from us again.”
I tightened the grip around my knife. My best guess was my mom had someone get a hold of this, realized what it was, and was planning on exposing it. They didn’t like that, and they killed her. My god, they killed her! Now they wanted the box, but even if I gave it to them, they’d have to clean up the mess. They’d have to kill me, too.
“If you don’t, well, then you’ll get to discover what I have these big teeth for,” he said with a laugh. “But I’m already full, so be a good sport and just hand over the box.”
Not a fucking chance, I thought.
I was going to go down with the ship. I didn’t have any way out of this mess. I decided that I wouldn’t go down without a fight. I’d honor my mom by fighting her fight for her. She didn’t raise a sissy. Werewolf or not, I was content to fuck one of them up or die trying.
Before I could go downstairs, though, I heard a howl. Then another. And another. I walked back to the window and saw three wolves circling the non-Mormon. He looked frightened – these were not his friends.
“You’re going against the way!” he screamed. “Your clan will be all of our downfall!”
Then they set on him.
I backed away from the window and shut my eyes. The sound of three wolves tearing into a man is the most disturbing thing I’ve ever heard. His screams have nested in my brain and will never leave. I hope never to hear the wet slap of meat being slammed into the ground again.
Minutes later, I heard a howl. I opened my eyes and stood back up. I peeked out the window and saw the three wolves in the middle of the street, howling together. Whatever was left of the man was gone, save for a message written in his blood. It read, “You’re safe.”
For some reason, I believed it. These guys had killed the man threatening me. They wouldn’t have done it if they wanted to hurt me too. I decided to head downstairs.
I clutched onto the knife and the box with my life as I went down the ladder and through the mess in the house. I walked to the front door and opened it. I could feel the cool night air blowing my hair back. I looked out to the street, and where I had previously seen three wolves, a lone man stood under the street light. He waved to me.
I walked to him.
He was so big and bulky. Not fat but fit and as tall as the day is long. Easily over six-four. His brown skin seemed to shimmer unnaturally in the street light. But his face was warm and inviting. As I approached, he gave me a pleasant smile.
“I’m sorry you had to see that,” he said.
“I shut my eyes,” I said.
“Probably for the best.” He eyed the knife in my hand, “I’m not here to hurt you. None of us are.”
“You’ll forgive me if I keep holding it. Not to be rude or anything.”
He nodded, “I understand.”
“Are you…”
“Yes,” he said before I finished asking.
“Holy shit,” I said in a whisper.
“We’ve been around for a long time,” he said. He pointed at the box in my arms and said, “But I imagine you know that already, seeing as you opened the box.”
“How did you know I opened it?”
“We heard the song. We all did. That’s how we knew we were needed.”
“Is it like, I dunno, a bat signal or something?”
He let out a deep bass-filled laugh. “Something like that, yes.”
“Was my mom….?”
“We failed your mother,” he said in a regretful tone, “for that, I can only apologize. I’m sorry you’ll never get to see her in her natural form again.”
I started crying. The finality of everything just struck. I felt dumb for crying in front of this hulking stranger, but I couldn’t stop myself. Instead, he leaned over and hugged me. I dropped the knife and hugged him back. For the first time in a long time, I felt safe.
After collecting myself, I looked down at the box and into his eyes. “Does this belong to you?”
“No,” he said, “It belongs to all of us. We’re just tasked with keeping it safe.”
“Then, you better keep it,” I said, handing it over.
“Thank you,” he said, bowing towards me.
“Am I safe? There were others….”
“They have been taken care of,” he said, nodding at the blood on the ground. Message received.
“Will more come?”
“Perhaps,” he said, “but there will always be someone watching over you. Believe me.”
I nodded, and he turned and walked back into the woods. After a minute, he faded into the darkness altogether, and I stood alone in the middle of the street. A weight was lifted from my shoulders. I felt calm, eerily so.
A week passed, and I managed to clean up and ship out everything in my mom’s house. I had one last thing I wanted to do before I left all of this madness behind and returned to my wonderfully boring and normal life. I had to see her grave.
My mother’s final resting spot is one worthy of her beauty and grace. It sits on a small hill shaded by a blooming Magnolia tree that gently shakes in the constant pleasant breezes. The view of the sunsets are amazing. If she were still around, I think she’d agree it was perfect.
I came to say my final goodbyes and left her a little gift. On her headstone, I placed the crystal chicken. I couldn’t think of a better place for it. It was hers, anyway. I kissed my fingers and put them on the headstone. I whispered my goodbyes and then walked towards my waiting car.
When I turned around to get one last look, I saw what I thought was, at first, a dog move to the headstone. But on closer inspection, it was clearly a wolf. Suddenly, the big stranger’s words came back to me. I wouldn’t see her in her natural form...but someone was always watching over me.
I locked eyes with the wolf, and she sat on her haunches and lowered her head. I knew it was her. Though my brain was screaming for logic, my heart shushed it to sleep. Then, as gently as a mother cradling a baby, she took hold of the crystal chicken in her mouth and darted off into the woods.
“Bye, mom,” I said and let the tears fall.
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The Better to See You With

My mom died recently. She was out for one of her nightly walks along the woods near her house and got hit by a speeding car. The car was going so fast that she flew thirty feet in the air and skidded on the gravel road for ten more. She was dead at the moment of impact. When the police showed up at my house hours later and informed me, I collapsed and slammed my head on the door frame on the way down. Ten stitches and a dead mom – a banger of an evening.
They never found the driver that did it.
Dealing with mom’s sudden and tragic death was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with. I was a mess for weeks and still go through waves of grief. Her passing was a profound loss, and I feel it in my soul. There will never be another woman like her, and all I can do is strive to be a tenth of the person she was.
As emotionally hard as the funeral was, it didn’t hold a candle to going to her home and sorting out her things. That was gut punch after gut punch until I had to stop and take a break. When you have free reign in someone’s house and can search every nook and cranny, you discover the person they hid from the world. Everyone has secrets, and my mom was no exception.
I was cleaning out her attic when I came across a small wooden box tucked away in the corner. I’d never seen it before, but it was beautiful. It was a little larger than a jewelry box but what made it beautiful was the designs cut into the box itself.
The four corners were some of the most complex geometric designs I’ve ever seen in any medium, let alone carved wood. The front of the box had what looked like an old English script with the word “vilkus” carved around the keyhole. The top of the box looked like an old-world wood-cut picture of several robed figures standing around a campfire.
“What the hell is this, Mom?” I asked myself. I tried to open it up the lock was firm. Confused about everything, I decided to bring it downstairs and look for a key that would open this thing. When I picked it up, the weight was heavier than I thought. I also heard something inside shuffle. The mystery only deepened.
I placed the box aside and finished clearing out the attic. Almost everything up there ended up in the donate pile, except for the box. In fact, most of my mom’s stuff did. I lived in a small apartment and didn’t have a ton of room for the furniture. Naturally, there were some pieces I kept, but almost everything would find a new home.
That included most of the chickens.
A brief moment here to explain. My mom hated chickens. She thought they were gross. Hated the way they looked. Hated the way they sounded. She used to say the only good chicken was one that was deep-fried. Of course, this meant that everyone had to buy her chicken-themed things. Little figures, kitchen towels, ceramic sugar bowls, you name it, she had it. She never had the heart to throw any of these gag gifts away, so her house was filled with chicken regalia.
Her crown jewel, however, was the crystal chicken I bought her when she finished her nursing program. After my dad died and I moved out, my mom decided to return to school to become a nurse. She had always wanted to do it, and now she didn’t have any excuses not to. I was so proud of her.
When she did her candlelighting ceremony to celebrate finishing school, I surprised her with a crystal chicken. She laughed and cried, and we hugged so tightly. I can still see her face, her eyes red with tears but a smile so bright it could light the darkest night. A memory I often recall to help boost my spirits.
I held the chicken and gently rubbed it with my thumb. I swear I could feel her arms around me in that moment. I sat on the ground and just let the tears fall. I laid down in the fetal position and let the sadness wash over me.
Once I had cried out every bit of liquid in my body, I stood back up and dusted myself off. I had to finish the job, but I wouldn’t be able to do anything unless I got something to eat. Also, and I don’t know why, but for some reason, I thought I should stash the box somewhere. I was afraid one of the relatives might take it before I got a chance to see what was inside.
I knew they were lookie-loos and they’d search hard for something they wanted. I decided to hide the box back up in the attic. I hid it in a small crawlspace area behind the hatch and climbed down. I looked in the mirror and made sure I was still presentable to the outside world and headed out the door.
I was only gone for about forty minutes or so but when I got back to my mom’s house, I noticed the side door was open. I remembered shutting it, and that fact sent up a red flag in my brain. Was someone inside the house? Maybe one of my mom’s friends had come over. Or maybe someone else from the family – I knew a few had said they’d try and stop by to take some things.
“Hello,” I called out. “Anyone home?”
No response. I walked into the living room, and nothing seemed out of place. In fact, every room looked normal. I walked into mom’s closet and finally noticed something askew – to hatch to the attic was pulled down. Why in the world would someone be up in the attic?
I hesitated and then climbed up the ladder. I popped up into the small space and turned on the light. I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary up here, either. Not at first. I was about to climb down when I noticed an envelope in the corner of the room.
I plucked it off the ground. In a script that definitely wasn’t my mother’s neat handwriting, someone had scrawled the word “open.” Not knowing what else to do, I opened it up. Inside was a 3×5 card and what looked like a small patch of dog hair. On the card, someone had typed out, “Do you know the story of little red riding hood?”
That was it. I was confused, and, in fact, I laughed when I read it. What in the world was this? Who had left a cryptic message in an envelope stuffed with dog hair in my dead mother’s attic? None of it made sense. I threw the card and hair away and went back downstairs.
I hadn’t probably closed the door all the way when I shut it, thus it was open when I got back. As for the card, who knows why it was up there? I chalked it up to some lost artifact my mom had kept around for some meaning lost in time. I must’ve just missed seeing it when I cleaned upstairs. I didn’t give any of it much thought.
As I left my mom’s closet and walked through her room, I felt a presence watching me. It’s hard to explain but imagine your teacher watching you while you take a test. You know the gaze is there, and you’re trying to ignore it, but you can’t totally put it out of your head. That was it.
It might’ve been because I was in my mom’s still intact room. I had started with the other rooms and saved this one for last. I needed to build up to it. Dismantling this room would be the final confirmation my mom was gone. I wasn’t quite ready for it. So I’d come back another day.
I would be in town for a few days to clean up the house before we sold it. I couldn’t sleep in my mom’s bedroom, so I stayed in the guest room. I had moved most of the furniture out of there, so everything was pretty bare, but I didn’t care. I was just going to sleep there. I spent the lion’s share of my time on the couch in the living room anyway.
That’s where I was when I heard the knocking start. I was watching some random cooking show on cable (CABLE!) when I heard what sounded like arrhythmic knocking coming from the kitchen window. It was like a kid learning to play drums. At first, I ignored it, but soon it got so loud I couldn’t. I hauled my tired body to the kitchen and flipped on the lights.
Nothing was out of place. Everything seemed normal, but then I started hearing the knocking again, only this time it was coming from outside the house. The way the house was designed, the side door led out into the driveway. My mom’s car was still there – the sale was pending – and my beat-up pickup was parked behind it. The new knocks sounded like someone was hitting my mom’s car.
I grabbed a knife from the block and flipped on the light in my phone. I opened the door and stepped outside. There was a slight nip in the air, and I shivered in the light breeze. I wasn’t sure what I’d find out here, but I knew I had heard something knocking. I was sad, not crazy.
Just then, I heard something in the tree above me rustle. I pointed my camera up and saw something dart away from the beam. Then I heard two knocks right next to me. I jumped back and flashed my camera where I heard the sounds. I started laughing.
Two acorns had fallen from the tree and landed on the car. The knocking I had heard was nothing more than a klutzy squirrel. I cackled for longer than I should’ve, but I needed a good laugh at the moment. The relief that washed over me was cathartic as fuck.
I walked back towards the door when I heard something large growl nearby. I froze, and I heard another, higher-pitched growl as I contemplated what to do. Then I heard something big dart off and run through the underbrush and back into the woods. Then a second large thing ran off in the same direction.
I ran into the house and slammed the door shut. I locked both locks and dragged a chair under the handle for good measure. I looked up the animal control number and gave them a call. Naturally, they were closed, but I left a message. I went to the guest room and locked that door as well.
I wasn’t taking any chances.
The next morning, I woke up as soon as the sunlight started bleeding through the paper-thin curtains. I wouldn’t say I had the best night’s sleep, but after an hour or so of mindless scrolling on my phone, I finally calmed down enough to doze off. I didn’t hear any more growling or knocking the rest of the night.
I hesitated to walk back out to the kitchen, but the desire to get coffee cranking through my system as soon as possible broke that hesitation. Again, nothing was out of the ordinary. I started making my coffee when I glanced out the kitchen window and saw another envelope staring back at me. Someone had jammed it in the weatherproofing.
In the same handwriting as the note I found in the attic, someone had scrawled the phrase, “Why do you have such big ears?” I quickly went outside, plucked the envelope off the window, and hustled back inside. Once in the friendly confines of my mom’s home, I opened the envelope.
Inside was another 3×5 card with a single typed message on it. It simply read: “The better to hear you, my darling.”
“The fuck?” I muttered. Just then, there was a knock at the door. I was so surprised I dropped the card.
“Probably the family,” I said, assuming the relatives were coming to loot the tomb. I walked over to the door and pulled it open expecting to see family but instead being greeted by a guy dressed like a Mormon missionary. I sighed.
“I don’t believe in god,” I said, starting to close the door.
“I don’t either,” the pleasant man said.
“Oh,” I said, halting my premature door closure, “then, what can I do for you?”
“First, I wanted to say how sad I was to hear of your mother’s passing. I know that can’t be easy to deal with.”
“It’s not, but thank you. Did you know her?”
“Yes and no.”
“What does that mean?”
“Well,” the man started, “I run a small antique shop a few towns over, and your mom used to come by every once and a while and browse.”
“Okay,” I said, unsure where this was headed. “Did she steal from you or something?”
The man laughed. “No, no. Nothing like that. It was actually a mistake I made about two weeks ago. I accidentally sold a piece to your mother that I was supposed to be holding for someone else.”
“What was it?”
“Um, it was a carved little box about this big,” he said, holding out his hands. “Have you seen anything like that around here?”
“No,” I lied.
“Oh, crackers,” he said. “Can I come in and take a look?”
“No. Sorry,” I said with a smile to hopefully back him off.
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, pretty sure I don’t want a strange man inside my house.”
“Your mother’s house,” he corrected.
“Well, if this whole thing wasn’t creepy enough, that just clinched it.”
I tried to shut the door, but he put his foot in the way and blocked the door from closing. I could feel my heart start to race, but I held it together. I did not want to show fear. I bared my teeth some and said, “Move your foot.”
“I’ll give you a thousand dollars for it.”
I paused. How much was it worth if this guy was willing to pay a thousand dollars for that box? Could I just cut him out and sell it directly for more money? All of these thoughts ran through my head, but I only spat out the question, “Did you leave a note on my window?”
“What?” He said, confused.
“Move your foot, please.”
“Two thousand,” he said.
“I don’t have the box,” I said as I stomped on the top of his foot with my heel. He yelped and pulled his foot back as I slammed and locked the door. I watched him through the little peephole. He swore under his breath (so definitely not Mormon), sighed, and slammed the screen door. I watched him walk away but didn’t see any vehicle. Not even a bike. By the time I moved to the window to take a look, he was gone entirely.
I was a little shaken but not too concerned. Now I wondered what the hell was in that box. I needed to find the key to unlock it, meaning I needed to clean my mom’s room. The time had come.
I walked to her room and put my hand on the door handle. I sighed, twisted the handle, and pushed the door open wide. It creaked as it opened, and I could see all the dust in the air from the rays of light streaming through the blinds. I crossed the threshold and felt a weight on my shoulders. This wasn’t going to be fun.
I first checked my mom’s key ring for anything that might look like it’d work. There was nothing. I paced around the room and made a mental tally of all the places to place a key to a hidden box in the attic. The first stop was the dresser.
I went through all the drawers and was shocked at some of the more racy garments my mom apparently had but didn’t find any keys. After that, I went to the bedside tables and went over every inch of them. Didn’t see anything.
Same for every other conceivable place in her room. I spent hours taking that room apart in search of the key and didn’t find any trace of it. I even took a break for lunch and came back with fresh eyes. Still nothing. I could feel my frustrations mounting. A thought scratched the surface of my brain and started to take root: she didn’t have a key.
If that was the case, I should’ve just sold that weirdo the box and be done with it. But my curiosity had been piqued. Why did he want this box so bad? What was inside? Why had my mom hidden it? The more I thought about it, the more my head filled with questions with no answers. I was so frustrated. Out of anger, I kicked her bedside table. A second later, I heard something metallic drop to the floor.
I moved the end table and saw a key laying on the ground. It had been taped to the underside of the end table. It looked like the perfect fit for the lock. I couldn’t believe it. I bent down, picked it up, and gave it a once over.
“So there you are,” I said.
I went to my mom’s closet and pulled down the stairs to the attic. I climbed up, clutching the key so tight in my palm it was leaving indentations. But I didn’t want to drop an old brass-colored key onto the brown carpet and start my search all over again.
Once I got to the attic, I walked over to the box and squatted to pull it out. However, something was pulling me away from the box and towards the half-moon ventilation window. It was just a feeling I got in the base of my skull that told me to peek out at the street below. I’m glad I did.
My mom’s house sits on a street that butts up against a small patch of woods. It’s not in the country, but it’s not like a typical suburb either. It’s the bleeding edge of the suburbs, really. The line where developers stopped gobbling up the trees to make identical little boxes. Houses were still spaced out with large yards and dirt roads reigned supreme. You were technically in a neighborhood but not like the tightly packed sardine can place I now lived.
As my eyes scanned the tree line, something out of place caught my vision. The guy who tried to buy the box was standing back in the greenery. He was holding a pair of binoculars and staring out at my house. Instinctively, I leaned back a bit from the window, hoping he wouldn’t spot me.
He seemed to be talking to some other unseen person. I looked around but couldn’t see any other person near him. Who was this guy? Why did he want this box so badly? As I pondered, I watched as he took several steps back into the treeline, and I lost sight of him for good.
Then I heard glass break downstairs.
The person he was talking to had just broken a window in my house. I assumed they would be entering shortly. I cursed myself for not having a weapon, especially after the earlier encounter. I knew I didn’t want them to know I was up here. I quickly but quietly padded over to the open attic hatch and pulled it closed. I was trapped, but I was out of sight. I only hoped they wouldn’t come looking for me.
After an agonizing few seconds, I heard the kitchen window open, and the screen get kicked in. The person climbed in, rather clumsily from the sounds of it, walked over to the side door, and opened it up. He was letting in someone else to help him. I assumed it was the man from earlier, but I wasn’t sure if it was just him. What if there were more? What if they were armed?
What if they wouldn’t take no for an answer?
I decided I needed to hide the box somewhere up here where they may not find it. My original spot was fine but you could see it if you looked. I needed something better. Glancing up, I saw some pink insulation that had pulled away from the wood beams. I stuffed the box in there and pulled the insulation back over it to hide it. It wasn’t elegant, but it was the best I could do at the moment.
In the house below me, I could hear at least two people talking, though I had a hard time making out anything concrete. I wanted to press my ear to the floor to see if I could catch snippets, but I was afraid I’d give away my position. If they came up here, there were only two ways out: fight them and scramble down the stairs or punch out the half-moon window and jump. Neither sounded feasible.
They were slowly making their way through the house. From where I was standing, their conversations sounded like grunting. I glanced over and found a small length of pipe no larger than my forearm and grabbed it. It wouldn’t be much, but it’d be something.
My heart was pounding like a tom-tom when I heard the two of them enter my mom’s room. They were so close I could make out their conversations now. I leaned in close, carefully balancing myself to avoid making any noise.
“What happened in here?” a gruff, unknown voice asked.
“Someone gave this room a good toss,” said the pseudo-Mormon that had been at my door.
“Do any of the other clans know about this?” asked the gruff voice.
“Not that I’m aware of, sir,” said the Non-Mormon.
“Fucking hell,” the gruff voice said, “you’re supposed to do a thorough vetting process before anyone can join. How did you fuck this up?”
“I’m sorry. She was my nurse and...and she seemed like a good fit for….” His voice trailed off.
“Did you hear that?” the gruff voice whispered.
“Did it come from,” the Non-Mormon started, but the gruff voice cut him off.
“Yes. Follow me,” he said as quietly as possible.
I pushed myself back up and watched the attic hatch like a hawk. I cocked the piece of pipe back and waited for the hatch to open. I was going to brain the first person that came up those stairs.
But the hatch never opened. Instead, the two men moved out of my mom’s room and back into the living room. Then one of them yelled, “What are you doing here?!”
Someone threw something, and then there was a struggle. I didn’t know who was down there, but the fight got more intense the longer it went on. I heard crashing and smashing and screaming and growling. Whatever was going on downstairs was brutal.
Then the howling started. Whatever was down there started howling so loud that I dropped the pipe and covered my ears. I was afraid it was going to rupture my eardrums. I didn’t care that the pipe dropping could give my hiding spot away. The noise cut through me like a saw.
Over the fading howl, I heard people rush towards any exit from the house. There was yelling and screaming and threats, but then there was silence. I waited about thirty minutes in a crouch, my knees were screaming in pain, before I decided to go down and check what had happened.
I was greeted with a monumental mess. Furniture was flipped and torn open. Glass was shattered. The back door was left open. There were streaks of blood on the floor and walls. Whatever happened here wasn’t pretty.
There was something odd, though, about the mess. In the middle of the chaos sat the little crystal chicken. It looked perfectly okay – no cracks or broken pieces. What was odd was I had left it on the bookcase in the other room yesterday and not in the middle of the kitchen floor. The bookcase hadn’t been tipped over, so someone had to pick the chicken off the shelf and place it on the ground. Who the hell would do that?
I decided I needed to call the cops. I had little hope that they would solve the case, but I thought I might need a record of the break-in. Thirty minutes later, a squad car rolled up. Two cops got out and greeted me. They were nice enough, listened to what I had to say, and wrote some of it down. They asked if anything was stolen, and I said I wasn’t sure but didn’t think so.
About ten minutes later, one of the cops headed back to the cruiser, but one hung back. He was handsome, with his youthful face and big bright eyes. He shot me a warm smile, and, for a moment, I forgot my general negative feelings toward the police.
“We’ll look into this but, to be honest, there isn’t a lot here to go on,” he said.
“Can’t you test the blood?”
“They won’t, especially if nothing was taken.”
“Great,” I said.
“I know it’s been hard for you in the last couple of days.”
“What?” I said, startled.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” he said softly, “I was the one that got the call about your mom.”
“Oh,” I said, “thank you.”
He took a step closer to me. “Did you know that she was alive when we found her?”
“Wh-what?”
“Oh yeah. It was supposed to be a clean hit, but she moved last minute, and the car didn’t get her as solidly as I would’ve liked.”
“The fuck?” I balled up my fist and was ready to punch.
“I told her that she couldn’t hide from us. You can’t either,” he said with a grin.
“Get the fuck away from me,” I whispered, my legs trembling.
“We’ll be back when it’s dark,” he said, “You won’t see us, but we’ll see you, darling. It’s why we have such big eyes.” As he said it, his pupils flashed from brown to yellow.
“Roddy,” his partner yelled, “we got a robbery in progress nearby! Let’s hop to it.”
“You can lock the doors, but it won’t matter,” he whispered. Then, like a robot flipping a switch, any sinister vibes drained from his body, and he was back to the regular guy he was minutes earlier. “Have a good night, ma’am.”
I turned and ran back into the house. I decided that I needed to go. I grabbed my car keys and ran out to my car. I put my key in the ignition and turned, but nothing happened. I tried again and again, but the engine was dead. I popped open the hood and saw that someone had sliced a bunch of wires inside. My mom’s car was the same way.
I was trapped.
I ran back inside and, despite the cop’s warnings, I locked the doors. I grabbed knives and hid them around the house in case I needed one. I kept the butcher knife on me. I thought about running, but if they were watching me, they’d see me leave, and I assumed they’d catch me. They seemed to have some kind of magic or something. It sounded crazy, but I didn’t know what else to call it.
Finally, I went back up into the attic and grabbed that box. It was time to see what the hell was inside. I pulled up the stairs and locked myself up there with my knife. I retrieved the box from the insulation and laid it in front of me.
“Here goes nothing,” I said as I slid the key in and turned.
A tinny music box song started playing as I pulled open the lid. I didn’t recognize the tune, but it played the entire time the box lid was open. Inside, the box was stuffed with papers. Some were brand new, and others were yellowed with age, but each one looked alike. It was just a list of names, like a roster.
“The hell?”
The dates on the pages were varied. One from 2022. 1983. 1947. 1892. 1849. 1781. What was stranger still was that some of the names were on every roster. Some of these names I knew – some everyone in the world knew. If this information got out...the entire world would change. Here I was, the daughter of a late-in-life nurse, holding evidence that proved a myth real. Astounding.
My brain was having a hard time comprehending all of this information. Were these...werewolves? Was that possible? More to the point, how had my mom gotten caught up in all this?
She really did live a life I had no idea about.
Someone started screaming outside my house. I ran over to the half-moon window and peered out. I saw the non-Mormon standing out there. He pointed at the window, and I knew I was fucked. He was aware of where I was.
“I know you’re in there, and I know what you have. You may not know what you’re holding but trust me when I say that I will do anything to get it back,” the man yelled. “Give it to me, and I leave, and you never see or hear from us again.”
I tightened the grip around my knife. My best guess was my mom had someone get a hold of this, realized what it was, and was planning on exposing it. They didn’t like that, and they killed her. My god, they killed her! Now they wanted the box, but even if I gave it to them, they’d have to clean up the mess. They’d have to kill me, too.
“If you don’t, well, then you’ll get to discover what I have these big teeth for,” he said with a laugh. “But I’m already full, so be a good sport and just hand over the box.”
Not a fucking chance, I thought.
I was going to go down with the ship. I didn’t have any way out of this mess. I decided that I wouldn’t go down without a fight. I’d honor my mom by fighting her fight for her. She didn’t raise a sissy. Werewolf or not, I was content to fuck one of them up or die trying.
Before I could go downstairs, though, I heard a howl. Then another. And another. I walked back to the window and saw three wolves circling the non-Mormon. He looked frightened – these were not his friends.
“You’re going against the way!” he screamed. “Your clan will be all of our downfall!”
Then they set on him.
I backed away from the window and shut my eyes. The sound of three wolves tearing into a man is the most disturbing thing I’ve ever heard. His screams have nested in my brain and will never leave. I hope never to hear the wet slap of meat being slammed into the ground again.
Minutes later, I heard a howl. I opened my eyes and stood back up. I peeked out the window and saw the three wolves in the middle of the street, howling together. Whatever was left of the man was gone, save for a message written in his blood. It read, “You’re safe.”
For some reason, I believed it. These guys had killed the man threatening me. They wouldn’t have done it if they wanted to hurt me too. I decided to head downstairs.
I clutched onto the knife and the box with my life as I went down the ladder and through the mess in the house. I walked to the front door and opened it. I could feel the cool night air blowing my hair back. I looked out to the street, and where I had previously seen three wolves, a lone man stood under the street light. He waved to me.
I walked to him.
He was so big and bulky. Not fat but fit and as tall as the day is long. Easily over six-four. His brown skin seemed to shimmer unnaturally in the street light. But his face was warm and inviting. As I approached, he gave me a pleasant smile.
“I’m sorry you had to see that,” he said.
“I shut my eyes,” I said.
“Probably for the best.” He eyed the knife in my hand, “I’m not here to hurt you. None of us are.”
“You’ll forgive me if I keep holding it. Not to be rude or anything.”
He nodded, “I understand.”
“Are you…”
“Yes,” he said before I finished asking.
“Holy shit,” I said in a whisper.
“We’ve been around for a long time,” he said. He pointed at the box in my arms and said, “But I imagine you know that already, seeing as you opened the box.”
“How did you know I opened it?”
“We heard the song. We all did. That’s how we knew we were needed.”
“Is it like, I dunno, a bat signal or something?”
He let out a deep bass-filled laugh. “Something like that, yes.”
“Was my mom….?”
“We failed your mother,” he said in a regretful tone, “for that, I can only apologize. I’m sorry you’ll never get to see her in her natural form again.”
I started crying. The finality of everything just struck. I felt dumb for crying in front of this hulking stranger, but I couldn’t stop myself. Instead, he leaned over and hugged me. I dropped the knife and hugged him back. For the first time in a long time, I felt safe.
After collecting myself, I looked down at the box and into his eyes. “Does this belong to you?”
“No,” he said, “It belongs to all of us. We’re just tasked with keeping it safe.”
“Then, you better keep it,” I said, handing it over.
“Thank you,” he said, bowing towards me.
“Am I safe? There were others….”
“They have been taken care of,” he said, nodding at the blood on the ground. Message received.
“Will more come?”
“Perhaps,” he said, “but there will always be someone watching over you. Believe me.”
I nodded, and he turned and walked back into the woods. After a minute, he faded into the darkness altogether, and I stood alone in the middle of the street. A weight was lifted from my shoulders. I felt calm, eerily so.
A week passed, and I managed to clean up and ship out everything in my mom’s house. I had one last thing I wanted to do before I left all of this madness behind and returned to my wonderfully boring and normal life. I had to see her grave.
My mother’s final resting spot is one worthy of her beauty and grace. It sits on a small hill shaded by a blooming Magnolia tree that gently shakes in the constant pleasant breezes. The view of the sunsets are amazing. If she were still around, I think she’d agree it was perfect.
I came to say my final goodbyes and left her a little gift. On her headstone, I placed the crystal chicken. I couldn’t think of a better place for it. It was hers, anyway. I kissed my fingers and put them on the headstone. I whispered my goodbyes and then walked towards my waiting car.
When I turned around to get one last look, I saw what I thought was, at first, a dog move to the headstone. But on closer inspection, it was clearly a wolf. Suddenly, the big stranger’s words came back to me. I wouldn’t see her in her natural form...but someone was always watching over me.
I locked eyes with the wolf, and she sat on her haunches and lowered her head. I knew it was her. Though my brain was screaming for logic, my heart shushed it to sleep. Then, as gently as a mother cradling a baby, she took hold of the crystal chicken in her mouth and darted off into the woods.
“Bye, mom,” I said and let the tears fall.
submitted by SunHeadPrime to scarystories [link] [comments]

We raced a Dullahan on the backroads

So there I was, driving a car in the dead of night on a road littered with potholes. A headless corpse behind me, gaining on me, riding a black horse and swinging around a human spine like a whip. Behind it, a guy on a motorcycle screaming fucks like they were going out of style. My best friend Johnny next to me, trying to keep the teeth of a bodiless head away from his manhood. The rider's head, and the constant bumps did neither of them any favors.
And on top of all that? Another corpse in the backseat, hands on my shoulders, whispering faaaaassster in my ear.
The rider swung the spine. I pulled the steering wheel. The car hit another pothole and we fishtailed. A loud smash rained bits of glass on the corpse, and it screeched.
"Faaassssterrrr fuuuuck!"
Insert a record scratch, a freeze frame, and a yep, that's me! You might be wondering how I got here!
Well I'll tell you. It all started a long, long time ago, back in kindergarten. Johnny got this funny idea that he wanted to bully someone, and I got the even funnier idea that I'd fight back. In our retelling of the event, you'll hear tall tales of karate and kung fu, jumps across the monkeybars, and an epic struggle down the slip and slide.
In reality we slapped each other wildly until we both started crying. Our fight ended in a draw, and Johnny decided that bullying wasn't for him after all. Our teacher made us both apologize, which I distinctly remember pissing me off. I'd done nothing wrong, I merely defended myself.
But apologize I did, and so did Johnny. That's how our friendship started.
Skip ahead a couple of decades to us as adults. Our lives had their ups and downs, we drifted apart then back together. We made some good decisions and some bad ones. Mostly bad ones. Johnny admittedly a few more bad ones than me.
I ended up working as an accountant for some large firm, and after the covid fiasco they discovered that hey, this dope can work just as well from home, no reason to rent an office for him. So I was working from home with zero supervision, basically on my own schedule. Pay attention, dear reader, this bit will be important in a few paragraphs.
While I changed only four jobs, Johnny bounced from one to the next like his life depended on it. He did a bit of everything, but he was never satisfied.
I hate working with customers.
The work environment is toxic.
They pay too little.
On and on, he kept finding reasons to quit. I helped him the best I could, but I honestly thought he was a lost cause after a while. Until he landed this gig as a car salesman and every messy piece of his life just…clicked into place.
The schedule was good, interaction with people was minimal, the pay was decent. This one was it, and he was in for the long haul. Both figuratively and literally, since his job mainly consisted of him driving around the country. He'd pick up cars from wherever and drop them off wherever else, either for his employer or for the customers.
That meant he was mostly away from home and we spent less time shooting the shit together. And on the rare occasions when he was in town, he had to divide his limited free time between everyone.
That's why, when he proposed that I join him for this drive, I accepted. As per the point I asked you to remember roughly seven paragraphs ago (I counted), I make my own schedule, so I had the time.
"It's a pretty long drive, and very important," Johnny told me. "Can't be postponed, the client will be pissed. My usual partner called in sick and the employer can't find anyone else in time, so you'd do me a huge solid."
"Yeah, sure. I'm in," I answered.
"Thanks a bunch," he said, with an almost radioactive glow to him. "It'll be like a road trip, we'll have fun."
"Just the two of us, like the good old times."
"But I'll make it worth your while, I promise," Johnny, well, promised. "I'll split the commision with you."
"Nah man, you don't need to," I reassured him. "I just want to spend some time with an old pal."
"Nope, I insist."
We argued about it all the way to the dealership. Then we argued as we left Johnny's car there, and we kept arguing even as we entered the building.
"No. We're splitting it and that's the end of it," Johnny said and punched my shoulder. "I said I will so I God damned will, I'm a man of my word."
"Fine, fine," I gave in.
We laughed about it, until a man behind a nearby counter coughed to clear his throat. Our focus shifted to him, and to the set of keys he spun on his huge finger. Huge like the rest of him, he was a beast.
"Found someone?" He asked in a voice so deep it rattled my bones. I couldn't exactly place his accent, but it sounded kinda' Russian.
"Yeah," Johnny answered.
The man nodded his head and tossed the keys to Johnny. Well, tossed…not really. I mean it might've been a toss for him, but he might as well have fired the damn things out of a canon. Johnny dodged the keys turned projectile and they flew out the door into the yard.
The man gave him a chilling death stare.
"I'll…uhhh…I'll go get those," Johnny fumbled for words.
He scurried away, with the man boring a new hole into his ass with his gaze. As soon as Johnny was gone, his attention shifted to me. His sheer intensity mellowed out somewhat, but not by much. Like refusing a Carolina Reaper, but still taking your chances with a Ghost Pepper.
Not sure why the hell I made that analogy, storebrand ketchup is too spicy for me on a regular day.
Anyways. Death stare. I cowered in place for a moment that lasted altogether too long, listening to Johnny searching for the keys outside.
"I found them!" He yelled. "Come on, let's go!"
The man nodded his head towards the door, giving me permission to move. I backed away a few steps, my eyes still on him.
"Take care of car," he gave a final order.
It took all I had in me to not answer with a sir, yes sir!
I got out of the building and closed the door behind me, careful as if I was caging a monster. Johnny was already by the car, looking a bit shaken. I'll admit, it wasn't a great start. If only I'd have recognized it for the bad omen it was.
We had a thirty something hour drive ahead of us, then we had to find the client. After that we had to buy a cheap car to drive back, one that the dealership could flip here. Then a thirty something hour drive back.
With no time to lose, we hit the road. Johnny took the wheel for the first half of the drive, from early Saturday morning and into the first night. Not much happened, we mostly chatted and caught up. But it was fun.
By nightfall we needed to pull into a gas station to top up, so I suggested we trade places.
"Nah, I can still go for a bit," Johnny said.
He was in the process of pulling off the interstate, we planned to get gas from a nearby town since it was cheaper. I could tell he was tired, his head drooped and his shoulders slouched.
"I insist, you need to catch some shuteye," I said. "You can take over for the final stretch, but I really don't think it's a good idea for you to keep driving."
He wanted to protest again, but he yawned instead.
"Okay, fine," he gave in.
We pulled into a town a few minutes later and we found the gas station quickly. It was pretty packed, others had the same idea we did. Johnny pulled up next to one of the pumps and got out, so I did as well.
"Gonna hit up the restroom while we're here," I said and started walking away.
"Get some snacks too!"
I gave him a thumbs up and went in to do my business. When I came back out, I found him waiting in line at the till so I joined him. A few people complained about me cutting the line, but bite me, we were together. I wasn't cutting shit.
The cashier, a local teen bored out of his mind, brought up our total.
"Will that be all?"
"Get us a pack of redbull, some chocolate bars, some…" Johnny went off, asking for half the damn store.
I looked away from him for a moment and noticed someone near the car. For a moment I feared he might be a thief, until a couple of pals joined him with their phones pulled out.
One of them noticed me staring. He pointed a finger at the car, then at me. I nodded my head. He waved his phone around and made a pleading gesture, so I rolled my eyes and nodded my head again.
They were just local teens looking to take a pic with a nice car, I couldn't see the harm in that. A bit cringy, maybe, but they weren't hurting anyone.
The guy clapped his phone between his hands and made a thank you gesture, then they took a few pics. I shook my head as I turned away from them, but I couldn't help but smile.
"Will that be all, sir?" The cashier asked in an exasperated tone.
My attention refocused on the task at hand. Johnny had a bag full of junk food on the counter, which nearly doubled his expense. Gas stations are ripoffs.
"Dunno," he said and elbowed me. "Do you want anything?"
"Nah, that looks like enough. I don't want to gain twenty pounds by the time I get back home."
"Then that's all."
He paid, and we returned to the car. The teens were gone by then, so I stopped thinking about them. Johnny tossed me the keys and got in the passenger seat, and I got behind the wheel.
"Want a redbull?" Johnny asked as I pulled back onto the road. He had the bag in his lap, rummaging through it. I was busy turning the GPS back on and giving it the destination.
"Yeah, sure."
He cracked one open and left the can for me in the cupholder.
"Snickers?"
I didn't pay attention to him. The GPS gave some warning about heavy traffic on the interstate, but it offered an alternative route on some backroads.
"What?"
I selected that one, and the gadget calculated whatever it needed to calculate.
"Want a Snickers?" Johnny repeated.
"Huh? Yeah, yeah."
He ripped open the wrapper and passed me the chocolate bar. Fucking great, my bare fingers would melt it and I'd get chocolate all over the steering wheel. I divided my attention between driving and wolfing down the Snickers as fast as possible. A few streets away, I noticed a car on our tail.
My alarm bells went off when I saw the teens from earlier in it. Did they take an unhealthy liking to the car? Bordering on the criminal, perhaps? Would they try some grand theft auto shit out in the boonies? I was getting ready to tell Johnny about it as we reached the town's outskirts, but the teens signaled and turned down another street.
I breathed a sigh of relief, they were just curious after all.
Johnny finished a bag of chips and he finally noticed we weren't heading back the way we came.
"Where are we?" He asked, throwing the empty bag on the backseat.
I pointed to the GPS.
"Your lovely assistant let me know the interstate is busy, but she suggested a detour."
"Ah yeah, she does that from time to time. Well I'll leave the two of you to it and sleep a little, just don't steal her heart."
He winked at me and I chuckled, my nerves from earlier unwinding. Johnny put in a pair of headphones and turned, and he snored away before the town's lights were even gone on the horizon.
Driving through the middle of nowhere was…weird, but also oddly pleasant. The road wasn't the best, a patchwork of asphalt that constantly broke down and needed repairs. I was all alone, no other cars or lights in sight.
Desolate. Yeah, that's the right word. I felt like I left the entire world behind and…
"In five miles, take the left turn," the robotic feminine voice of the GPS whispered, its volume set as low as it would go without turning it off outright.
I chuckled again, it sounded kinda' sensual. Eyes still on the road, I tapped the unit and whispered hey babe, I might steal you from Johnny after all. Cringy in retrospect, but oh well. Being tired out of your mind will do that to you.
Back to what I was talking about, it was dark like a troll's scrotum out there. I could've seen anyone coming from a mile away and, as if to prove my point, a light appeared behind me. Far away still, lazily cresting the horizon.
Probably a local with a farm out here, and a late night craving for beer. Been there, done that. Except for the farm part.
I ignored it. I cracked the driver side window open just a tad, pulled out a pack of cigs, and lit one up. Not like I was a regular smoker or anything, but I'd get the craving once in a while so I carried.
What I assumed was a car, or more likely a rundown truck, approached fast. I glanced in the rearview mirror every so often, and each time it got closer. Much more so than I expected given the road's condition and the speed limit.
Two thoughts crossed my mind. One, that the guy or gal driving that thing didn't give a flying fuck about either the shock absorbers or their own comfort. And two, that they must've been in one hell of a hurry. I wasn't standing still myself, I was going 5 over the limit, but even so it was catching up to me fast. They'd pass me by the time I was half way through the cigarette, and I was one curious cat.
I slowed down somewhat and pulled as close to the side of the road as possible, to give the madman enough room to pass me safely. The lights got closer, and closer, and closer, and something was wrong about them. They were too dim for a pair of headlights, and too yellow. Too…warm. They flickered and waned and picked back up, their luminosity unsteady.
I slowed down. They sped up. The gap between us was about a mile, and a minute later it was half that. Whoever they were, they were really booking it.
I was honestly starting to fear for our safety.
It got closer still, and I took another drag from the cigarette before I looked in the mirror.
Now, let's play a little game. I'll give you three options, and you have to scroll down and comment which one you think it was. No, for real, do it.
Option one: it was a redneck rendition of Mad Max.
Option two: the guy with the motorcycle I mentioned earlier.
Option three: a UFO.
Go.
Well, whatever you said, it was wrong. Probably. The correct answer is none of the above, because it was a carriage. I damn near took my hands off the steering wheel to rub my eyes in disbelief, but I burned my cheek with the cigarette.
"Johnny, man, are you seeing this shit?!" I yelled.
No response. Oh yeah, Johnny had his headphones on. And he was fast asleep. The carriage got even closer, enough for me to make out some of the details. Insert cliche of but to this day I wish I hadn't.
A black horse pulled the thing, its legs a blur as it ran, and it was perhaps the most beautiful equine specimen I ever laid eyes on. The carriage attached to it though, and the driver? Pure nightmare fuel.
The carriage was in tatters, barely holding itself together. Decorated with funeral objects that rattled wildly, and two skulls up top with candles jabbed into them. Those were the lights I mistook for headlights.
And the rider? A gaunt and tall figure without a head, at least not one connected to its neck. It had a head, but it held said head up high in its hand. Imagine a basketball player going for a slam dunk, except with a rotten, grinning head instead of a ball.
My first thought was damn, that horse packs more horsepower than your average stallion. My second thought was that I should lay low on the red bull cause someone has to have spiked it with drugs. Then I realized that can't be the case since free drugs aren't a thing.
"Johnny! Wake the fuck up, man!"
Nope. He couldn't hear me. I reached over to pull out his headphones, but the rider screamed at us and I froze.
"Johnny!"
I hit the gas, more of a fear response than anything. The car lurched and took off. I hit a pothole, and I swear we got a brief moment of airtime before we came crashing back down. Johnny slept through it all.
I took a quick glance at the GPS, seeing that much coveted left about a mile down the road. We had to make it to the highway, whatever the hell that was I didn't stand a chance of losing it here on this crappy road.
We picked up speed. Sixty, seventy, eighty miles per hour. Every bump became a ramp, every pothole a crater. The rider whipped the horse and it went faster too, its black legs turning into blurs.
And Johnny still slept.
The carriage caught up and got next to us. I missed the exit. Couldn't have taken it anyway, not at the speed we were going. The rider pointed a slender, rotten finger at me and I pissed myself.
And no, not in a figurative sense. Oh boy I'm so scared! No, I actually pissed myself. It soaked my pants. And the seat. Some even trickled down my legs and into my shoes.
The rider screamed Johnny's name again. I put the pedal to the metal, but we weren't picking up speed fast enough. It pulled back the head, ready to throw it, and I tried to put the window back up. With my hands shaking out of control, I pressed on down and the window lowered.
The head was thrown. I leaned back into the seat and it narrowly missed me. Took the cigarette from my lips, though. Then it hit Johnny, biting into his shoulder, and he finally woke up.
"What the fuck? What the shit?!"
He panicked hard, flailing his arms. One of his hands snagged the steering wheel and he sent the car careening to the left. The head's eyes went wide and the body tried to stop the carriage, but we hit it anyway. Ended up spooking the horse and losing the side mirror, but oh well.
"Johnny!"
"What the hell?! What the hell?!"
I slapped his hand away and got control on the car. The head bit down harder into his shoulder, jagged teeth passing through his shirt and drawing blood.
"Help! Get it off!" Johnny screamed, grabbing a handful of wispy hair.
The carriage slowed down a bit and the head growled, but it wouldn't let go. I took a hand off the wheel, made a peace sign, and poked the fingers into its beady eyes.
That got it to open its mouth and scream, and it was enough for Johnny to pry it off.
"What's going on?!" He asked.
"Don't know!"
The head jerked in his hands. Johnny clasped his palms around its ears, holding down tighter.
"What is this?!" He asked, pointing the head at me.
It snapped its teeth in my direction, but I pulled away, shrinking into the door. The cigarette burned in the back of its throat, letting out wisps of smoke that drifted out of its mouth and nostrils.
"Dunno!"
"What's that?!" He asked, pointing at the carriage mere feet behind us.
"Dunno, man!"
"Go faster!"
"I'm trying! Throw that damn thing out!"
Johnny looked at the head. The head looked at him. I looked at both of them, and they looked away from each other at me.
"Let the window down."
The head growled. I complied, using the controls on my side to let Johnny's window down the whole way. The head looked absolutely indignant.
Johnny threw it out. The head vanished from sight for a moment, but then it appeared next to his window again. Of course it could fly, why not? But it struggled to keep up with the speed of the car, so I closed the window. Not a moment too soon, the head butted its forehead into the glass.
"Hah, get fucked!" Johnny yelled and stuck out his tongue at it.
The head frowned. It launched itself forward, mouth open wide, and bit down on the side mirror.
"Faster, dammit! Faster!" Johnny screamed at me.
"I'm. Fucking. Trying!"
The acceleration was all the way down already, so I couldn't do much more. Behind us, the driver of the carriage mercilessly whipped the horse's back. I felt sorry for the animal, but I had to give it to him, it was effective. He was closing the gap between us.
When it got close enough, it lifted the whip in the air and spun it around. Still clamped on the side mirror, the head gulped. The still burning butt of the cigarette slipped out of its severed throat.
"Do something!" Johnny demanded.
I did. The rider launched the tip of the whip at the car, and I slammed the brakes. The car protested, nearly folding into itself, and the carriage shot past. The whip hit the ground up ahead, heaving a large piece of asphalt into the air.
“Turn around, turn around dammit!” Johnny screamed.
The car came to a full stop, a feat the carriage struggled to match. Modern brakes, am I right? I pulled on the steering wheel hard, throttling the engine at the same time. The head let go of the side mirror and flew across the hood. We swerved and took off the way we came, but it wasn’t fast enough. The head had enough time to fly into the car with us again.
It went for a bite. I rocked the steering wheel, jolting the entire car, but it worked. The teeth missed me and found Johnny again.
“Fucking…”
“Throw it out again!”
We sped off as I let Johnny’s window down a second time. I spared a look into the rearview mirror, finding the carriage off in the fields. The turn radius on that thing sucked.
“In three miles, take a right turn,” the GPS chirped.
The carriage got back on the road, but we’d put some good distance between us. By my side, Johnny still struggled with the head, now mere inches away from biting his nose off.
“Hey!” I let out and raised two fingers again.
The head stuck out its black tongue at me, I couldn’t fucking believe it. It jiggled out of Johnny’s grip and flew to the back of the car.
“Oh no you don’t,” Johnny said and unbuckled his seatbelt.
“Ass in the seat, don’t you…” I started, but it was too late. Johnny fucked off over the backrest.
How in the hell did things get so out of control so fast?
They started fighting back there, but I couldn’t do much of anything. Had to keep my eyes and attention on the road to avoid crashing. The carriage was nearing us again, and I couldn’t afford to miss the turn a second time.
Another light appeared on the horizon in front of us.
“God fucking…”
I flashed the high beams at them. They flashed theirs back. How was I supposed to tell them to stay the fuck away, we have a headless corpse riding a carriage on our tail? I couldn't, all I could do was pray they'd get away unscathed.
We neared the intersection. Johnny and the head were still going at it, and I only caught glimpses of their fight in the rearview mirror. It looked like the head was winning. The carriage was some two hundred yards behind us, gaining, and the light up front wasn't showing any sign of slowing.
I let up on the accelerator.
"Hold on to something, Johnny! We're going in hot!"
"Ahhh my leg! It bit my fucking leg!"
Close to the turn, I finally saw what the light coming our way was. A man on a motorcycle. He flashed his high beams as I slammed the brakes, and he slowed as well. He did a wide turn ending in a slide, his back wheel spinning uselessly on the asphalt as he burned rubber.
The maneuver stopped him right in the intersection, blocking my turn once more. I swore between gritted teeth and honked at him as I passed him, pulling madly on the steering wheel.
"Out of the way, jackass!" I yelled as I turned the car around and came in for a third attempt.
To his credit, he did get out of the way. Barely enough to let me pass, but he stopped again.
'Whatever, it's his death wish.'
Then he pulled out a big shotgun. My heart jumped into my throat as the barrel flashed before my eyes.
"Go!" He screamed, and thankfully pointed the shotgun away.
He trained his aim on the carriage and waited. I floored the acceleration as he let the first shot fly. Not sure if it hit, but it spooked the horse and the carriage lost control. The rider let go of the reins, kicked the rudder hard enough to break it, and jumped onto the horse's back.
He passed me in all his headless glory, booking it down the road. Motorcycle guy revved his engine and bolted in the nick of time, dodging the carriage coming his way. I turned the steering wheel to take that God damned turn, but I had to pull it back at the last moment as the carriage cut me off again.
It flew off the road, toppling and rolling through the grassy field. Parts of it flew everywhere, the thing more or less disintegrated.
"Down the road, go!" Motorcycle guy yelled and pointed ahead.
"But…"
"Go!"
He unclipped something from his side and tossed it at me. Whatever it was flew into the car through the window, landing in my lap and rolling away. Then he raised his shotgun again and let the second shot fly at the rider.
"Fucking go!" He yelled, breaking the shotgun to reload it.
Despite my better judgment, I did. I floored it again and sped off.
"What the hell is going on?!" Johnny asked. He came up behind me, holding up a walkie talkie. "What's this?"
"Give it here!" I demanded and reached out. Johnny slapped it down into my open palm. "Where's the head?"
He lifted his other hand, revealing the head biting on his forearm.
"I think it's getting tired, it doesn't really hurt."
The head grinned and bit down harder.
"Ow! You little shit!"
Johnny fell into the backseat, out of sight again as he resumed his fight.
I returned my eyes to the road. The motorcycle got on the move and was right behind us, and the rider was behind him.
"Come in," a call came from the radio. I fumbled with it, but couldn't figure out how it worked. "Button on the side, keep it pressed to talk."
I pressed the button.
"What the fuck?!"
"Good question!"
Johnny slammed his legs into my seat and I lost control for a moment. The car swerved, so I dove on the steering wheel to regain control.
"Let go already, come on!" He pleaded. I heard the sound of something ripping. "The boss will fucking kill me!"
"Get back here," I demanded.
Johnny clambered between the front seats, getting back into his place. He held the head tight with both hands, and it had a long strip of leather in its mouth. I looked over my shoulder for a split second, finding the cover of the backseats torn to shreds. In their confrontation they somehow managed to push the button to let one of the seats down, revealing a patch of pure darkness in the trunk.
"Okay, okay," Johnny said. "Here, hold on to this for a moment."
He chucked the head at me. I let go of the steering wheel and caught it, realizing all too late what the hell I'd just done. I shot my legs up, holding the wheel steady with my knees.
"Johnny!"
He casually put on his seatbelt.
"Okay, done. Give it back."
He reached over, poked the head in the eyes, and took it off my hands.
"Find the radio!"
"Bad moment for music, don't you think?"
"The God damned walkie talkie!" I blew up on him. "I dropped it somewhere."
"Right."
"You guys still there?"
"Found it," Johnny said, retrieving it from under his ass.
He let go of the head for a moment and it took advantage, squirming out of his grasp and going for his groin. Johnny tossed the radio at me like a lump of burning coal and stopped the assault mere inches away from his manberries.
"Still here," I said in the radio. "What do we do?"
"Keep driving, for one," the man answered. "Name's Miles, by the way, and that thing is a Dullahan."
"Mike," I provided my own name, "and this is Johnny."
"Okay. Mike, Johnny, did either of you guys hear the Dullahan scream your names?"
"It screamed Johnny's," I said.
"When?!" Johnny asked.
"Right before it threw the head in the car."
"You guys have its head?!"
"Yeah."
"Toss it the fuck out!"
"Trying!" Johnny said.
"Try harder!"
"What. Do. We. Do?!" I asked, exasperated by that point.
"Well I'm sorry to say it, but your friend's ass is toast. Once a Dullahan screams your name you can't get away."
Johnny looked at me expectantly, with a dash of terror behind his eyes.
"Don't worry, man. I won't let it take you," I assured him.
He let out a sigh of relief, followed by a sharp yelp as the head bit the inside of his thigh.
"Solutions, Miles. Solutions," I demanded.
"I really don't know, never hunted a Dullahan before. How much gas do you have? Can you keep going for a bit until I make a call?"
"Tank's almost full, we can go for a few hours."
"Okay, keep ahead of it. I'll be right back."
Miles pulled to the side and slowed down. The rider whizzed past him, and he let loose on the shotgun again. It scared the horse and bought me enough time to get a bit of headway.
Johnny pried the head off, got a good grip on it, and gave me a strained smile.
"You're really good at this, did you ever consider a career in racing?" He asked.
I chuckled. My heart did laps in my chest and my knuckles turned white on the steering wheel from gripping it so tight.
"No way in hell."
"Maybe you should," he continued.
"If we get out of this alive, I think I'll walk from now on."
He got ready to say something else, but a sound from behind us stopped him. The squeaking of leather, the rustling of a plastic wrapper, and a grunt. Johnny turned around slowly while I looked into the rearview mirror.
"What the hell?!"
"Braaaaaains…" came in a throaty whisper.
It was another corpse, this one with its head on its shoulder. Man, maybe early thirties and pale white. His eyes glazed over, pupils murky, and a huge gash in his chest draining his shirt in red.
"Fuck!"
"Braaains…" it whispered again.
"Give him the head!" I yelled.
The head's eyes moved to me, and I could all but hear it say bitch are you for real right now? But Johnny didn't hesitate, he swung the head around and pointed it at the surprise zombie.
The head growled. The zombie screamed.
"I'm just messing around," the zombie said. "Why the fuck do you guys have a head? How is it still alive?"
"How are you?!" Johnny retorted.
I sighed.
"Where the hell did you come from?"
The zombie pulled away from the head as it clacked its teeth.
"The trunk," it answered matter of factly.
"Yeah. Of course. Why not?" I said.
"Get that creepy thing away from me," the zombie said.
Something exploded by our side. With my attention drawn away from the road, I missed the Dullahan getting close enough to take a shot at the car with the whip. It missed by a hair, leaving behind another pothole in the asphalt.
The zombie lurched forward, putting its arms on my shoulders as it wept.
"It's here for me. Oh God, oh fuck."
Miles reappeared behind the Dullahan, struggling to catch up.
"Faster," the zombie groaned in my ear.
The Dullahan raised the whip again, spinning it over its…headless neck. I pulled the steering wheel, and the tip of the whip shattered the back window into a million pieces that rained down on us.
"Faster, fuck, go faster!"
And that's how I got here.
The car skidded around, but I regained control. The zombie started weeping, the Dullahan spun up the whip for another shot, Miles cursed up a storm in the radio. Johnny finally chucked the head out the window.
It scraped against that side of the car and peeled off more paint.
"The boss is gonna kill me," Johnny said, his face as white as the zombie's.
Either he was that scared of his higher-ups, or the blood loss was finally catching up to him. I couldn't tell.
“Miles?! Answer me, Miles!” I demanded in the radio.
“Still here,” Miles assured me, “but I have bad news. I can’t do anything about the Dullahan, you’ll have to hand your friend over.”
“There’s been a…new development,” I said, eyeing the zombie in the rearview mirror. “Turns out there’s been a corpse in the trunk for God knows how long, I think the Dullahan is after that.”
Another crack of the whip, this one aimed at the back tire. I moved the car out of the way, but it clipped the back door, bending the metal and sending vibrations through the whole car.
“What? How?” Miles asked.
“Dunno.”
“Didn’t you say it called your friend’s name?” He continued.
“What’s your name?” I asked the zombie.
It looked away for a moment, clearly scared.
“Johnny,” it answered eventually.
“There you go,” I told Miles. “The two share a name, the Dullahan wasn’t after my friend.”
“Great,” Miles said. “Fan fucking tastic. Problem solved, pull over and let it take the zombie.”
Zombie Johnny’s eyes snapped back up front, meeting mine in the rearview. They were pleading, filled with pure terror. I didn’t know the guy in life, he could’ve been the brightest saint or the biggest asshole, but I…I couldn’t just hand him over to a monster.
“Please,” he pleaded in a low whisper. “I’m scared.”
I sighed.
“What’s going to happen to him, Miles? What will the Dullahan do with him?”
“Fuck if I know,” Miles answered. “Dullahans aren’t native here, haven’t met one before. But you don’t have much of a choice.”
The zombie lurched forward, desperation thick on its cold, pale face. It put its hands on my shoulders again, mumbling please over and over again between sobs.
“Well find out,” I answered. “I can keep ahead of it for a little longer.”
Miles let out some more curses.
“We don’t have time for this. It’ll catch you sooner or later, so make that sooner and get it over with.”
Zombie Johhny cried. Honest to God tears, flowing out of its eyes and into my shirt. Human Johnny looked at me, but I could tell he was just as conflicted about what we should do.
“Find. Out.” I stressed again.
“God fucking…”
Miles throttled the engine of the bike, shooting past the Dullahan with his shotgun raised. He fired it with one hand, right into the horse’s legs, but the pellets bounced right off. It scared the animal though, and the Dullahan fell back. Miles nearly lost control of the bike too, but he dropped the shotgun and jumped on the handles.
He got next to us and pulled something out. A round object, metallic and shiny, fitting in the palm of his hand.
A grenade.
“He’ll blow us up!” Human Johnny screamed.
I went to brake, but it was too late. Miles pulled the pin on the thing, and…no bang. Didn’t even throw it, he held on to it. The lights in the car died though, and so did his motorcycle.
We sailed to a stop as both Johhnies cried incoherently. Miles stopped a little ways behind, kicking the stand and jumping off the motorcycle.
“Get it started again!” Human Johhny pleaded.
“Trying,” I said, turning the keys in the ignition in vain. “He fried everything.”
Miles pulled out a pistol, a big and clunky revolver. Looked like it had quite the stopping power, though.
“Out of the car!” He barked an order.
We looked at each other, all at a loss for words. Miles let a shot fly into the air.
“I’m not messing around!”
“I’m sorry,” I said as I opened the door. “I did my best.”
I stepped out, hands up over my head and palms open.
“Don’t shoot!”
“Your friends too,” Miles said.
Human Johnny did. He got out of the car and walked around it, stopping next to me.
“What now?” He asked in a whisper. “Should we…”
The Dullahan reached us, holding the horse’s mane with one hand. It pulled, and the horse locked up its legs, coming to a full stop.
"Johnny," the head called out, back in its hand.
Zombie Johnny whimpered. Miles walked up to the door and pulled it open.
"Out."
"But…"
"Out!"
I felt bad. Downright heartbroken. But I couldn't risk anything, not with this madman and the Dullahan there. Zombie Johnny got out of the car, slow and sluggish, shooting us a desperate look.
Human Johnny averted his eyes. Mine were drenched in tears.
"I'm…I'm sorry…" Zombie Johnny said.
The Dullahan reached out a hand. Zombie Johnny shuffled over to it and took it hesitantly. He was whisked off his feet, up onto the horse, and the Dullahan took off back down the road.
"You fucking asshole!" I yelled at Miles as soon as the Dullahan was far enough away.
He didn't really react. Just put his gun away, walked over to his bike, and tried to get it started. The engine rumbled to life and he hopped on.
"Word of advice, you saw nothing tonight." He shot a few rounds into the car, breaking the windows and leaving finger sized holes in the doors. "You were attacked out of the blue. You don't know who and why, they just left. The authorities will be here in a few minutes, throw together a story between yourselves so you can keep it straight. You'll probably be interrogated separately. We won't see each other again, but you'll thank me later."
With that he was off, leaving Johnny and I to scratch our heads. We popped the trunk open, and to our surprise zombie Johnny's body was still there.
Now, I don't have many answers, just a myriad of questions. The police did arrive a little while later, but thankfully we did make up a story and agreed on the details. We were interrogated all night long, and we were released this morning.
We have no idea where the body came from. Johnny thinks it might be his employers, that they have some ties with the mafia or something. It's possible, but I personally think it was those teens back at the gas station. That zombie Johnny was either a friend of theirs they killed by accident, or someone they wanted to get rid of.
We'll have to wait for the results of the investigation on that one.
Another thing is that we don't know much about Dullahans. We have no idea what it did with zombie Johnny, all we can do is hope it's not something horrible. If any of you know, we'd really appreciate any answers.
And lastly, Miles. Fuck you, man. I have no idea if you'll see this, or even if that's your real name. But if you do see it, fuck you from the bottom of my heart.
submitted by ThatExoGuy to nosleep [link] [comments]

A Charmed Life

Content warning: mentions sexual assault and drug/alcohol abuse
Most people already know that most of the smart devices they have in their homes come equipped with cameras which can be remotely accessed in case the user experiences technical difficulties or for routine quality control checks. This is where people like me come in - technicians. It doesn’t matter which company I work for. What matters is what I saw a few weeks ago.
A guy sitting on his couch blinking. There was absolutely nothing remarkable about the scene and as I scanned my monitors it was only by chance that I happened to pause on the image. Caught midway between winning and losing a fierce fight with an abrupt sneeze, I frowned at the screen. Moments later the urge passed but the guy still sat, blinking away like he was possessed. I can’t say exactly why I felt the need to keep watching, except that as a technician I am trained to notice when things are weird.
And this was really fucking weird. The guy didn’t blink at regular intervals. Instead, his blinks were sometimes furious and sometimes languid, shifting between the two at random without him ever moving another muscle. No facial tics, no hand twitches, not even his eyebrows wiggled. At first I thought he must be having some sort of seizure but after calling up the logs, I saw that this was not the first time he’d had such an episode.
Every weekday for months, I discovered this dude had slumped down in front of his big screen TB with a book in his lap and gone into a fit of blinking. Every day for six hours, nonstop. It creeped me out but I couldn’t look away. At some point each day a lady would walk in and they would immediately become a totally normal couple, talking, laughing, living their suburban lives.
The mystery of why anyone would spend so much time and exert so much effort just to act nuts when nobody else was around ate at me. I let many of my other duties slide as I tuned in to the Blinking Guy show live while at work, hoping there would be some great revelation, an answer to the questions piling up in my mind. I lost sleep over it, I even dreamed about him. Finally, I had to talk to someone about it or risk losing my own mind.
I called up a buddy of mine who does security for the Navy. We had a few beers and I unwound my tale. Predictably, he didn’t believe me at first so I showed him one of the recordings I’d made so I could continue my investigation at home on my days off. A major breach of security, I know, but I was in so deep already that I never thought twice about it. If this guy was just some nut, then no harm done, and if he was some sort of terrorist or serial killer or something, I couldn’t just say nothing even if I bend the rules a bit. It’s all about the greater good, in my view.
Morse fucking code is what my buddy tells me. Can you believe it? This lunatic was blinking in morse code, sort and long, dots and dashes, the real deal. I was floored. I asked my buddy what he was saying, or blinking or whatever.
I wish I’d never had to sneeze. It would almost be better in Blinking Guy was a serial killer or a terrorist or some awful thing. The authorities can deal with things like that. I don’t know what else to say, but I’ve transcribed the coded message in full so people don’t think I’m the crazy one. Who knows - maybe someone out there can help?
There are probably worse choices for your last meal than Dr. Pepper and jalapeno poppers at a trashy gothic nightclub but I can’t think of any. When I sat down that Thursday night in my usual booth, the end of life as I knew it was the furthest thing from my mind.
I am not a goth by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t have any tattoos or piercings, I don’t appreciate loud, incoherent music nor do I yearn to be a vampire. Despite my gross deviation from the self-inflicted norms of my fellow patrons, the humid, dimly lit Baal’s Corner embraced me as one of its own children of the night.
A creature of the darkness and shadow, not because I am a criminal or a concealer of secrets but merely by nature’s whim. A genetic quirk left my eyes unusually sensitive to bright light and fueled my aversion to the sun. As the owl lives nocturnally, so too does the nerd who debugs code and monitors web traffic patterns from late afternoon until long into the evening. My evolution, thus, is one of avoidance. I rise, crawl into a hole during the daylight hours and emerge underneath the twilight sky reborn. This lifestyle, rather than any real similarity with the rest of the struggling nightclub’s denizens, led me to the dingy lair behind the unmarked wooden door beside the hookah shop, a cavern to call my very own.
Though it was poetic to think of myself as kin to the dashing rogues and prowling debutantes who truly claim the night as their birthright, it would perhaps be more accurate to say that the night was mine because I am a loner living slightly above the top ramen for dinner benchmark of abject poverty in a shabby studio apartment i can barely afford. Nevertheless, once a week I treated myself to a basket of jalapeno poppers, an appetizer I particularly enjoy, without being subjected to the pressure of forced socialization that inevitably follows any foray into a bar. Baal’s Corner was loud and antithetical to small talk, so I went there to observe my ritual feast.
After a half hour of content people watching, twenty minutes of which was spent in blessed silence as the bands changed. Each clutch of performers presented a glimpse into the grotesquerie that was their lives and my mind found its own bizarre amusement in wondering after the masochistic piercings and quiltwork of scars, the obscenely laced tattoos and horrific brandings. What drives a person to go to war with their own body? How close do we all stand to an edge we don’t even realize exists until we drop off of it? How little of a push would it take to send us toppling over the precipice into a whole new world of bleakness and despair?
The new troop of faces dragged their instruments of torture on stage and I sized them up. Three tall, thin, heavily pierced guys wore an array of skulls and demonic faces from shoulder to knuckle and all looked ready to abuse guitars. Their bassist scowled at the audience and slunk off to a position nearly out of sight at the rear, which surprised me because her scant clothing and shaved head both screamed for attention. The drummer appeared intoxicated and oblivious to the world around her. She slumped into place and warmed up, hitting her tartlets as often as not as her greasy dreadlocks obscured her pimpled face. They were all ghostly white, sickeningly thin and dully typical of what I had come to recognize as the purveyors of adolescent angst. I expected they would call themselves something outlandish and use absurd hyperbole to sing about something painfully run of the mill.
“We’re the Ineffable Horror and this song’s called ‘Dead Body Puppet Master,’” the singer shouted before awall of noise drowned him out. It was a breakup song. I sighed. The beginning of the eleven o’clock set marked the start of my revivication period, when I let a brisk walk home shake me out of the lethargy Baal’s Corner instilled and escort me back into the real world. I finished my Dr. Pepper - straight up, because I have a bit of a sweet tooth and I hate the sloppy, awkward feeling of intoxication - and look forlornly at my empty appetizer basket.
I contemplated how ineffably horrible it would be if I stayed for the twenty minutes or so it would take to order and eat some more poppers. I tried to wave down a bar serving girl who had extensive facial inkwork, but Starface had her back to me and her hands were fooling around in the pockets of the girl sitting in her lap. I resigned myself to a convenience store burrito and stood up.
As I rose, I heard a squawk and someone walking up behind me plowed into my back. I turned and saw, to my dismay, that I’d managed to spill half a pretty woman’s drink down the front of her forest green sweater. Her huge hazel eyes stared at me in shock as I stammered through an awkward apology, flushing.
“Hey, it’s ok. It’s my fault too - I was watching the band,” Hazel said with a smile. She set her drink down on my table and pulled her long black hair back into a ponytail. She used a handful of napkins to blot the spill. There was something highly sensual about watching her rub her chest and for a moment I fell into a trance. She smirked as she noticed my stare and I kicked myself for the flurry of less than appropriate thoughts that ambushed my brain.
“I need to put some water on this. Do you mind keeping an eye on my drink so no one puts a roofie in it?” she flashed me an endearing smile that I couldn’t help but return.
“You’re not worried that I might?” I teased, feeling emboldened. She gave me a grave, discerning look, then shook her head.
“No, you wouldn’t and you won’t. I’ll be right back.”
She headed back the way she’d come, towards the restrooms and the kitchen she didn’t look over her shoulder - lucky for me since I found myself transfixed by her well-formed backside. She was so atypical of this place I could hardly believe she wasn’t a figment of my imagination.
The usual girl who haunted Baal’s Corner adhered to a starved-skeletal look which couldn’t even rightly be called slender because it was too extreme. Seeing so many protruding ribs and sharp cheekbones turned me off in a big way. Whatever advertisers in magazines and on TV might be pushing, I found ‘concentration camp chic’ unappealing. Hazel, on the other hand, had to weigh at least two hundred pounds and she was not particularly tall. Glowing with health, ruddy-cheeked and dressed conservatively, she was by far the most beautiful woman I’d made an ass of myself in front of lately. I thought I could stomach the band if I could stay in her company.
Curiosity prickled around the edges of my thoughts. Why was she here? And where had she been coming from? One of the perks of my spot was that nobody could sneak up on me and I knew for certain she hadn’t walked past me earlier. And who was cautious enough to take their drink to the bathroom then left it with a strange weird and weirder, but I felt up to the task of unraveling the mysteries she presented.
Hazel returned ten minutes later wearing an ash grey t-shirt that read ‘Magical Doorway’ with her sweater rolled up under her arm. Her face was almost devoid of makeup, another point in her favor, and her bushy eyebrows waggled as she came close enough to talk above the music.
“I had to scrub the whole front of it and I think I just made things worse. I thought wearing half a wet top would send the wrong message, so,” she sighed plopping her weather down on the seat and sliding into the booth beside me.
“What’s the ‘Magical Doorway?” I wondered.
She frowned, then looked down and laughed. “I forgot I was even wearing this relic! It’s just a little shop not too far from here. They sell all sorts of things - herbs, books, stones, jewelry and the like. You know - witchy stuff. I worked there for a while.”
I nodded. “So, are you a witch?”
Hazel gave me another long, serious look and one of those expressive eyebrows rose curiously. “Do you want me to be a witch? I could enchant you, if you ask me.”
I opened my mouth but didn’t know how to respond. Then she punched me playfully in the arm, laughing until she snorted.
“Oh god, I’m sorry. I don’t know why I said that. Don’t think I’m a freak,” she chuckled, toying with her drink but not taking a sip. “Really, I’m not. I just don’t get out much. I’m a joker, not a sorceress. In my head I was thinking of that silly old song. You know, the one that goes, ‘I put a spell on you,’. Dumb, huh?”
“I like that song,” I admitted.
“Me too, actually.”
I relaxed, warming to Hazel as we talked. My initial anxiety melted away and soon it felt almost like we were old friends. I told her about my life, or lack of it, and she confided that her reason for being in Baal’s Corner was as mundane as mine. Dreadlocks, the drummer, was her younger sister and Hazel had the dubious privilege of chauffeuring the band around since they were routinely too drunk to drive and too high to know any better.
“I call it my charity work, though spending my nights in dreary pits like this sure makes me wish she’d taken up classical piano, folk singing, something a little less like going to hell. At least this time I have good company, right?”
I was thinking the same thing,” I told her. I grimaced at the melted ice cubes in my glass. Starface still wasn’t paying attention and all this talking was making me thirsty. Damn. I didn’t want to get up and interrupt whatever fragile thing was occurring here between us.
She followed my gaze, then gave me a mischievous grin. “Hey, do you like Coke?
For a moment I stared at her like she’d lost her mind, then I managed to fit my entire foot in my mouth.
“I don’t do drugs.”
Her eyes bugged, then she burst out laughing again. “Oh my god. I meant Coca-Cola, you lunatic. Your glass is empty.”
“Oh,” I blushed. “Yeah, I do.”
Hazel poured her drink into my glass. “I don’t mean to be forward, I just don’t want it to go to waste. I’m not really in the mood for any more caffeine. I’ll probably be up all night as it is,” she winked.
“Thanks. The waitress has been preoccupied all night,” I told her, taking a sip. She had been drinking plain soda too, much to my relief.
“Hard to remember the world around you when you stumble into something so cute,” Hazel said as she looked from Starface and her conquest back to me. “So, what are you doing later?”
I woke up in a strange bed not wearing any of my clothes. I wasn’t naked, but the t-shirt, shorts, and boxers I found myself in as I slowly regained a few of my senses were not mine. Neither was the bed I lay in. What the hell?
My head felt as if it weighed a thousand pounds and had been packed full of crushed glass. Despite the plush pillows and soft comforter, I felt like six different kinds of shit. And thirsty, my god, I’d never been so desperate for a drink! My tongue was a shriveled piece of jerky stuck to my teeth. I was so dehydrated that I was even having trouble blinking.
With herculean effort I turned my head to the side and saw a bedside clock which read, 1:43 the sun was shining brightly in my face, amplifying my misery, so I intuited that this meant it was in the afternoon. That only added to my confusion. I’d slept half of a whole day? Where in the world was I?
A tall glass of water stood next to the clock and I reached for it only to discover my fine motor control was still deep in hibernation. My slablike arm flopped forward and the brick on the end of it sent the elixir of life flying. The glass thumped wetly on the carpet and I felt as empty as it now was.
After I spent some time flexing my arms and legs and endured the excruciating pins and needles sensations as my brain re-engaged with the rest of my body after its long sleep, I sat up. When I yawned, I felt something large and restrictive clinging to my face, just above my right eyebrow. Gingerly exploring with my fingers, I traced the outline of a square gandage covering nearly a third of my forehead. Mysteries up on mysteries, I thought, wondering if my brain had been removed, used as a punching bag, then thrown back in my skull hard enough to turn it to muck.
Unable to dredge up anything even remotely useful in my memories, I tried to make sense of my surroundings. The bedroom I was in may as well have been on an alien spaceship. It was so utterly foreign to me that I couldn’t even guess who it might belong to. Immaculately white - brutally white, really - from top to bottom. White walls, white sheets, white door, white furniture, even a shite carpet with a big wet spot where I’d spilled the water. My shoes and clothes were nowhere in evidence, but I spied a pair of slippers just like the ones I had at home so I slid them on.
My left foot squished, full of water. I sighed, kicking them off and wondering who’s clothes I was wearing. The sunlight was burning my eyes and I struggled to close the blinds, making a horrible racket as my sluggish hands flailed ineffectually at the cords. Behind me, I heard giggling.
Hazel stood in the doorway, her hair up, wearing a blue t-shirt with a wolf howling at a full moon stretched across her broad stomach and untethered breasts. She also sported a modest pair of crimson shorts and bare feet, the epitome of relaxed. I stared at her, utterly unable to recall a single moment between meeting her at Baal’s Corner and waking up here.
“Oh, good, you’re finally up. You sure slept like a log! How are you feeling, sweetie?”
I shook my head. “Wh -what happened,” I croaked, trying to unstick my tongue.
“Aww!” she said, spying my fallen glass and scooting off to the adjacent bathroom to refill it. I heard a sink running, then Hazel came back and perched on the bed. I sat beside her and gulped the water down greedily. As I did, she ran her fingers through my hair and looked at my injury.
– A partial memory swam up from the murk. I see myself sitting on the closed lid of a toilet while hands blot my bloody forehead with a pure whitewashcloth. The wound is not small and my eyes are half closed in a stupor. After bandaging me up, my tunnel of vision sees those same hands slowly combing my hair just like they were now, methodically working at the tangles and knots.
Looking up at this stranger taking care of me, I felt overwhelmed and closed my eyes. She pulled my head down against her warm chest and gave me a comforting hug. She then peered into my eyes, searching me.
“You really don’t remember anything that happened last night?” her voice carried a slight note of disappointment but there was something else buried beneath. Satisfaction? But that didn’t make sense.
“I’m sorry. Were - did we drink? I don’t normally. It leaves me really fuzzy…” I tried to unravel the hurt look marring her face and again I thought that while that was the overall expression, there was something else too. She seemed almost smug.
“After the band finished their set, we went out. You came with us. They’re a pretty wild bunch and you must have gotten caught up in their antics. I didn’t think you’d had so much but it seemed to hit you pretty hard. You passed out in the front seat and when we stopped for gas on the way home, you didn’t even wake up. It was cute, though.”
Cute. but not entirely true, I thought as another blob of memory oozed up from the depths.
– I’m inside a van, a very smelly van filled with smoke and reeking of old sweat. It’s loud and a tequila bottle is making its rounds. Did I drink? I hate tequila and there’s no way I would have been drinking that, not even while half stupid over this woman. But something had happened. I pushed the blurry image harder, reaching for something definitive.
– Some interminable amount of time later, we’re at a Thrift Quick but I can’t even move. Everyone piled out of the van, leaving me by myself in the front seat. All my mind can wrap itself around is that the gas station men’s room is a billion light years away and I need to take a leak in the worst way. Sluggish and clumsy, I see myself rooting around in the ocean of garbage on the floor until I find a half empty two liter of Pepsi. After checking to make sure nobody’s around, I roll to one side and let loose, then screw the cap on tightly and kick it under the seat. My eyes fall closed…
– Someone is poking me and I pry them back open with heroic effort. Rank breath rains over my face, cigarettes and tequila, barely masking the fragrance of a set of teeth like half-rotten piling sinking into a swamp. Dreadlocks, the drummer sister, is grinning and poking me, saying something. She’s slurring badly, obviously as messed up as I am.
‘My shisher really liesh you!” she giggles. I stare up at her feeling like I’m in a fish bowl. I try to tell her to take me home but only succeed in drooling on myself. Blackness.
– a dirty tongue is pressing against mine. I fight and barely win a monumental struggle against my stomach and don’t puke. Why is Dreadlocks –
“Do it like that. She really lkesh you.”
I blinked and came back to reality. Hazel was looking at me, worried.
“Are you alright, sweetie? You zoned out on me for a minute.”
I had so many questions I could hardly choose which stone to look under first.
“How did I get hurt?”
Hazel brushed my hair back again. “After I dropped off the delinquents, I decided I ought to give you a lift home too. You were really in no condition to do, well, anything. But, you couldn’t tell me your address, so I brought you here to my place instead. I figured a cup of coffee might bring you back to life but you tripped coming up y steps and gashed your head something awful on my railing while I was unlocking my door. So, I got to be your nurse. Then we went to sleep - more or less,” she said coyly, clearly studying my face for a reaction. Something was buried beneath her words. What was she leaving out?
She really likesh you.
“Whose clothes are these?”
Hazel patted my arm. “Those are actually mine. I know it isn’t very ladylike but I do have a bunch of boy clothes for lounging around in. Even the boxers, but I just wear them like shorts. They’re comfy!”
I had plenty of pieces but I could not seem to fit them together into anything meaningful. “But where are my clothes?”
“They’re in the washing machine, sweetie.”
“Oh,” I said. “Why?”
Her forehead crinkled and those bushy brows rose and fell. “Wow, you really were out of it. There’s no need to be embarrassed, but you had a bit of an accident. I gave you some fresh clothes and threw yours in the wash. It’s no big deal.”
“Oh,” I said again. Distant alarm bells were ringing in my head. I recalled quite clearly how heavily I watered down that Pepsi and coupled with how insanely thirsty I had been when I woke up and how incapacitated I was being told I was, I found it highly unlikely that I’d managed to drink enough of anything to turn around and piss my pants. I also seriously doubted I’d slept with her, though she kept hinting at it. How could I have, if I’d been unable to even move?
“You know what would feel so good right now,” hazel cooed, peeling away the bandage and examining my wound. “A nice, warm bubble bath.”
“A bath? Maybe - shower. I think I stink. And my mouth tastes pretty horrible too.”
She laughed. “It’s cute! But no, my shower’s not working. The water pressure’s all screwy or some damn thing. What do you say, let’s take a bath.”
“I don’t know,” I sighed. Honestly I just wanted to go home. I decided I didn’t want to know what happened last night. This tentative investigation only foretold more frustration and whatever goodness might have become of it was rapidly being spoiled by knowing even a little of the truth. “Maybe I should just go.”
Her smile broke like a pane of glass on the pavement and beneath I was only vivid pain. Then she blinked and it was gone. Those caterpillar brows furrowed. “You’re going to be shy now? After last night, and everything we did, wow- I thought… well,” Hazel said softly. Her bottom lip twitched and her face flushed. Tears welled up, a dam threatening to rupture at any moment.
“No, it’s fine. You want to go. I’m not going to stop you. It’s fine. I get it. Don’t even worry about me. I’m fine. It’s fine,” she said, not looking at me. Every fine was like a knife slashing at me and I felt like the world’s biggest stain. I was the villain, the bad guy in all those chick flicks who steps all over the girl with the heart of gold. A bastard, people watching would call me.
The worst part was, I still thought she was very pretty. If I’d really had a wild night with her, I was doubly annoyed that I couldn’t remember any of it. But how could I explain that I wanted to leave because I had a creepy feeling I’d fallen into an episode of the Twilight Zone. Something was hugely wrong with this whole scenario, but maybe it had nothing to do with Hazel. Maybe her sewer mouthed sister had drugged me.
She really likesh you.
“Listen, I’m sorry. I’m just not myself. I’ve never blacked out before. I’m really embarrassed. But I do want to take a bath with you. Please?”
“You’re just saying that.”
“No, I mean it. I’m being a jerk and I’m sorry. I really want to.”
She gave me a stern look and chewed her lip. Finally, she relented and her smile returned. “Okay, good. It’ll just be a minute. I’ll go run the water and you just make yourself at home.”
After she slipped out, I got up slowly and found the worst of my disorientation was gone. I looked across the hall and experienced a brief moment of deja vu. Hazel had a framed painting of a solar eclipse done in tons of silver and grey hanging on her wall. I had one just like it in my apartment. I’d bought mine from a street artist down in Venice Beach years ago. I wondered if that’s where she’d gotten her copy.
Continuing down the tall, I noticed a well stocked library in her den and smiled. I’d always like books and I believed reading was a much grander endeavor than watching TB. I hadn’t seen a television in the bedroom and there wasn’t one in here either. She had an array of woodcut art hung on the walls where most people would have put a flat screen. The woodcuts showed archaic medieval scenes, villages and trees, a river with people praying. They looked old and authentic, not like cheap reproductions. A serious collector, then.
As I looked at the spines of her books, I chuckled, recognizing a number of serious medical and biology texts as well as a whole slew of books on the occult, magic, and witchcraft. Taking her work home with her? I scanned one at random but it appeared to be far beyond anything a layperson could grasp. I saw complicated astrological diagrams and seasonal calendars, then flipped pages, perusing recipes for who knows what, I found lists of ingredients with dozens of plants and herbs of which I’d never heard. Putting it back, I saw with amusement that she had several books by some of my favorite authors, sword and sorcery fantasy and science fiction and some horror stuff. At least we’d have that in common. What a weird collection.
I hadn’t heard her come in so I jumped when she put her arms around me. She giggled.
“Oh, you’re so cute. I don’t mind you looking at my things, don’t be nervous. It’s okay as long as you promise not to run off on me.”
“I won’t,” I assured her.
“Are you hungry? I made some snacks.” Hazel pointed to a small bowl she’d set on the nearby table. Homemade cookies, I thought as I picked one up, but sprinkled with herbs.
“What are they?” I asked, taking a bite. It wasn’t sweet. It tasted more like a doughy cracker, the consistency of pizza crust. I couldn’t put my finger on the blend of exotic spices but they were delicious. I was starving, so I ate a whole bunch of them.
“They’re just something I whipped up,” she said as she watched me with a grin. “They don’t have a name yet. I like them because they give me a boost of energy and they’re very healthy - no sugar at all. As you can tell, I need to lose some weight.”
“No you don’t,” I said as I finished the last one. “You’re great just the way you are.”
Hazel broke into a huge smile. “Oh, I just knew you were the perfect one! Come on, the bath’s all ready.”
She took me by the hand and led me down the hall to the bathroom. As we walked by a half open closet, I was the washing machine. It wasn’t running and the clothes that I’d been wearing last night were piled in a basket with other laundry. That was odd, but not nearly as odd as the familiar t-shirts hanging up above the ironing board. Had we gone to my place after all?
I felt ahundred times better than I had when I’d awoken, whether from the pizza cookies or time or the notion of intimacy. I allowed the shirt’s presence to take a backseat with the other million questions I had. The truth was, I didn’t really care if I was mixed up or if she’d told a little white lie, or why. I might have been socially awkward but I wasn’t an idiot. I had no intention of messing up what was just about to be a very good thing.
In the bathroom, heady incense burned along with frothy bubbles and smelling of vanilla and exotic flowers I couldn’t even begin to name. She ushered me inside and closed the door behind us, dimming the lights almost but not quite quick enough for me to miss a small black bag near the sink that looked suspiciously like my shaving kit and a familiar blue toothbrush. Well, if she’d somehow moved me in, I was definitely going to make myself at home, I thought wryly.
Instead of ruining the sensual mood she’d created, I only looked at her eagerly. In the candlelight, Hazel’s moon face beamed and she whispered, “I like it better in the dark.”
“Me too.”
She disrobed me slowly and I felt all the confusion and disorientation of the day peeking away with my clothes. She guided me into the tub and I sank into suds so deep I was almost buried. The water was piping hot and it soothed out my last aches and pains. I sighed, content to finally put the ordeal I’d been through behind me and move on into whatever this was.
“I thought you were going to join me,” I said, yawning. I felt almost too relaxed, the incense making me a bit lightheaded.
“We’ll be together soon,” she promised. Hazel stepped over to the sink and busied herself with something she removed from a drawer. My skin tingled and I felt an electric sensation slowly spreading through me as my anticipation heightened and I surrendered myself into the moment. With her back to me, all I could see over her shoulder in the mirror was a look of intense concentration. I closed my eyes and drifted a bit.
Something glass clinked on the rim of the tub behind my head and I looked up to see her standing over me with a sponge. I raised an eyebrow.
“Your nurse thinks you ought to have a sponge bath,” Hazel grinned and she soaped it up. Strange as it was, I couldn’t deny how nice it felt as she massaged and scrubbed my neck and shoulders, humming a little tune I couldn’t quite place. It was maddeningly familiar but it skittered out of my grasp and I let it go. I let everything go and I’d rarely felt better.
“I’m really glad I found you,” she said after a while.
“Me too.”
She sighed softly, still humming her little song then, “will you stay with me, I wonder? I mean, really stay.”
“Yes.”
“Do you promise?”
“Yes, I promise,” I told her. “Cross my heart and hope to die.”
She chuckled. “Oh, my. I’m glad, sweetie. I can’t bear the thought of being alone. Being abandoned. It’s the most horrible, horrible thing.”
“I won’t abandon you. I know what it’s like to be alone.”
She nodded. “Yes, I suppose you do. Well, if you mean it - if you really mean it - then swear. If you swear by all the blood in your veins and your heart so long as it beats, then I’ll know you’re really serious and not just trying to make a good girl cry tomorrow,” she said solemnly as her hand came to rest on the left side of my chest. She looked at me expectantly and those expressive caterpillars rose, seeming to wait with bated breath.
Feeling a bit silly, I repeated her weird oath and she smiled. “Oh, that’s the best thing!” Hazel leaned in and pressed her lips to mine, the furthest thing from a chaste kiss, filled with intense hunger. She tasted like lemons and honey, a bit of sour and a bit of sweet.
Distantly I registered the glass clinking sound again but before I could ask what it was I felt a sharp prick at the back of my neck. Intense pressure flooded my limbs and my body, gradually resolving to a slow spreading numbness. As she sat back, she stared at me intently and I gaped at the empty hypodermic needle in her hand. I tried to speak but my tongue lay like a dead slug in my mouth. I couldn’t raise my arms or turn my head, though I still felt the water’s heat. Aside from moving my eyes and breathing, I was paralyzed completely. What the fuck was in the syringe, I wondered in a panic.
“Sorry,” Hazel said sheepishly, patting my cheek. “I didn’t want you to say anything else and mess things up. You just said it so perfectly that I know it was the right time.”
I stared at her mutely, incredulous. It was all I could do. She rose and made a face.
“Oh come on now, don’t look at me like that! You promised you’d stay. Now you will,” she winked, humming as she tidied up the bathroom, blowing out the candles and turning the lights back on. I finally recognized the song, to my growing horror. She even mouthed the words as she came back to my side. I put a spell on you
“Don’t worry, you aren’t paralyzed. You can move just fine. Go ahead, try.”
I strained to lift my arms but not so much as a muscle twitched. She giggled. “I should say, you can move just fine if I help you. Lift your arm up sweetie.”
My right arm jerked up out of the water and hung suspended above the water, foam dripping from it. Hazel squealed in delight. “Yes! Ok, raise your other arm.”
Not of my own volition, I did so. “Clap!” I clapped.
“Touch your face.” my hand rocked into my cheek as I clouted myself a good one.
“Oh darn. I’m sorry about that, sweetie. I’ll get better with practice. It’s all about fine muscle control, see. Hey, you’re starting to prune up. Let me get you a towel.”
The moment she left I tried so hard to stand up that I nearly gave myself a hernia. I couldn’t so much as wiggle a toe. God, how long would whatever she stuck me with take to wear off? And how did she make me move like that? I didn’t know much about mentalism or hypnotic suggestions. Could it be that? Or voodoo? Didn’t those witch doctors have some way of making people into zombies? Whatever it was, I was terrified. The thought that kept racing through my head was, what is this madwoman going to do with me?
She really likesh you.
The most horrible, horrible thing.
Hazel returned and at her command I rose unsteadily and dried myself off in a series of jerky movements. Once I was finished, I stood stuck still facing her.
“It won’t do for you to go around indecently exposed, much as I might enjoy that,” she teased. “So, let’s get you dressed.
After a grueling ten minutes in which I toppled repeatedly, unable to even attempt to throw an arm out to break my fall, I stood like a statue with my clothes back on. She guided me to the mirror. After a number of frustrating attempts, Hazel took the initiative and combed my hair for me, then brushed my teeth. There was a panicked moment where I thought I might choke to death since my body’s automatic reflexes seemed to no longer be under my control. Without being able to cough, I felt a slow suffocation as the toothpaste foam slid down my throat. I blinked furiously and got her attention.
“Spit, spit!” she yelled and I explosively followed her commands, feeling a sense of self satisfaction as I spit all over her immaculately clean bathroom mirrors. It was the best revenge I could muster and I smirked, if only in my mind.
Later that afternoon, after an exhaustive session of practice in which she slowly began to master making her marionette more like a real boy, we sat on the couch with her ankles crossed in my lap. Hazel grinned.
“So, I’ve been waiting all day. I think you have something to tell me, don’t you?” I blinked, not sure what she meant.
“Come on - speak!”
My mouth opened and I heard my own voice, eerily disembodied like it was coming from an answering machine, croak out three words.
“I… love… you.”
Hazel clapped in delight. “Yes! Did you see? I didn’t even have to say it. That’s perfect. Let me see what else I can do just by thinking about it.”
She concentrated for a moment and my hands rose. I took her socks off and started to massage her feet. She giggled.
“You’re going to make me so happy, sweetie. Oh, and of course, I love you too! Forever and always.”
Locked inside my puppetine nightmare, days passed. Hazel quickly learned how to control my every movement without even being in the room, though not being able to see me limited what she could safely have me do from afar. She also constructed a series of commands that made the programmer in me laugh at the irony, setting me to routines which involved house cleaning and cooking and preparing little romantic surprises for her to come home to. She had, by whatever means, gifted herself an obedient little robot man. I felt a stab of sympathy for all the Roombas and Alexas and so on out there, just hanging around the house until called upon to serve the master.
The most unnerving aspect of the possession she’d delivered me into was that there seemed to be no time limit. Had she permanently assumed control of my motor functions? Respiration, digestion, and eye blinking were still mine but precious little else. In a darker moment one night she confided that she could stop my heart if she wanted, but having it always beating in her mind reminded her of promises I’d made and kept her company while she was at work. She left me alone for long hours but she’d allow me to watch TV – a big new travesty she’d just ordered to spare me from staring at the wall all day. I wished I could scream. I’d’ve been much happier with a book.
As we spent time together, she gloated about the wiles by which she’d made me hers. Good old Starface, the Baal’s Corner bartender, had noticed Jalapeno Popper Guy, a loner if ever there was one, and whispered into Hazel’s ear. She’d gotten her sister’s terrible band a spot on the stage and settled in to wait. Once she’d seen me, she made her move. Hazel had been all giggles as she told me this, like any movie villain. Do you like coke?
She’d drugged me. I would have kicked myself if I could’ve moved one of my feet. After she’d incapacitated me, the rest was a snap. She’d seen how I’d looked at her and if men were not such fools for pretty women, I might have stood a chance. But alas, even with two brains I’d never thought.
I continued to hold out hope of a rescue or that the spell might be broken until the day she settled my affairs. Hazel had retrieved a few things from my apartment, including all my personal information. During the macabre endeavor that followed, I placed a series of phone calls. I terminated my lease, I closed my bank account and canceled my credit cards. I heard myself explaining to my boss that I’d come into an unexpected windfall and would never want for anything again. I changed my address with the post office, though I got so little mail that nobody would have noticed I had almost no social life, the few friends and family members I claimed were scattered and far away. Hazel assured me that we could burn those bridges if we came to them, and thus I became hers alone.
On the plus side, I’m now well fed and my every need is provided for - clothes, bedding, creature comforts, sex and leisure activities all properly scheduled and attended to by my dear Hazel. I even have a doting lover to remind me every day how special and wonderful I am and to keep me warm at night as I lay in the dark willing myself to die. One of the few things she can’t force me to do is sleep, and the horror of the situation often keeps me up long nights like an itch I can’t scratch. Itching, ironically, is another stepping stone towards losing my mind. It won’t be much longer now. But hey, she really likes me.
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YouTube

Discover original series and movies from today's hottest talent. Channel provided by Ceann Nua Ltd On-Demand Audiovisual Services Group in Ireland 70 Sir Joh... Trading Forex, stocks, crypto currency or any other market is a very risky business. Many beginners lose their account trying to do it because of one single reason. This channel was generated automatically by YouTube's video discovery system. Created 30 cinematic luts that you can apply on your video footage and also here is the tutorial for you how you can install luts and apply all these luts to... Please Like Share & Subscribe to my channel Follow us on Instagram here @FXSocialEA Subscribe to new youtube www.Youtube.com/FXSocial Information on our memb...

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