Socks

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This all happened when I was twelve. It was late October. Everyone was getting ready and excited for Halloween and that included myself and my friends. I was an only child, but had plenty of neighborhood friends to play with.

My two closest were Sammy and Bella. We did everything together. We had met when we were seven in first grade and had been inseparable since then. We were all a bit of tomboys, and even joined soccer together.

That evening Sammy and Bella were spending the night. It was a Friday night and we planned on going with my dad to the pumpkin patch the next day. We weren’t allowed to watch the scary movies we wanted so it was a bit of a buzz kill.

Sammy suggested we make a little Ouija board out of a pizza box and have a séance after my parent’s fell asleep. I was very hesitant about this as my parent’s would of never allowed me to do this and always told me it was not a game. But I did cave in when Sammy and Bella pestered me and taunted me.

After my parent’s went to bed we tiptoed downstairs and grabbed the leftover pizza box out of the garbage. I couldn’t help but feel like I was doing something really bad but kept quiet as I didn’t want to be teased by the other two for it. When we were back upstairs, Sammy wrote out the infamous words and alphabet on the lid.

Bella placed a coin on it to act as the planchette. I wasn’t even sure if that could be used but I joined them by placing my fingers on it.

We messed around for a little, scaring each other with fake ghost voices and threats of great harm from imaginary demons. We laughed and had fun, trying to keep quiet so my parents weren’t woken. I had to admit I was feeling more relaxed with all the joking. If it was just a big joke to them then it couldn’t possibly be real, right?

I was wrong.

At first I thought it was one of the others moving the coin again as it began to spell out a new word. My blood froze as my eyes followed along the rapidly moving coin, my brain trying to put together the rapid repetition.

A-M-A-N-D-A.

Amanda. It was spelling out my name.

A-M-A-N-D-A. A-M-A-N-D-A. A-M-A-N-D-A.

It wouldn’t stop spelling my name out. I looked furious at Bella and Sammy but they seemed scared too. This wasn’t a funny joke anymore.

A-M-A-N-D-A. A-M-A-N-D-A. AMANDA. AMANDA. AMANDAAMANDAAMANDAAMANDAAMANDAAMANDA

I finally removed my finger as the coin got faster and so did the other two. The coin flung across the room and hit the base of my door. I was shaking and stood up, crying. I was too furious and upset to raise my voice, instead I whispered out, “That’s not okay.”

“What? That wasn’t us!” Bella protested.

I didn’t believe her at first but her eyes were wide and she looked like she was about to cry as well. I turned to Sammy who was silent and just stared at the board.

“Sammy?” I choked out.

“We didn’t say goodbye.” Sammy said quietly.

“What?”

Sammy didn’t respond instead pointed to the board. Bella and I gasped as we saw the coin was back on the board despite none of us putting it back.

“We need to say goodbye then!” Bella said as she sat down and tried to place her finger on it. As soon as her finger made contact with the coin it moved to no.

“No? We can’t say goodbye?” Sammy asked, joining Bella.

“Stop! Say goodbye!” I interrupted, having enough of it.

Yes.

I shivered. You know the feeling of being watched, the pinpricks on the back of your spine and neck, both warm and cold at the same time. No matter how much you shake your shoulders out it stays? That’s what I felt in that moment when the spirit said yes we couldn’t say goodbye.

“Why did you single out Mandy?” Bella asked.

Slowly it began to spell out once more. No belief.

“I believe now, can we say goodbye now?” I stammered out. I hated to admit that I grew closer to the board.

The coin didn’t move. It was as if it didn’t hear my question.

“I think you have to put your finger on the coin for it to answer you.”

I hesitated before slowly sinking back to the floor and placing a finger on the coin.

“Can we say goodbye now?” I repeated my question.

No.

“What do you want?”

F-r-i-e-n-d-s. Friends.

“Are you a nice spirit?” Bella asked.

The coin circled the board a few seconds as if deciding on what to say. It landed on yes but I couldn’t help but feel it wasn’t being truthful. I tried to voice my concern but Sammy had already asked the next question.

“What’s your name?”

S-o-c-k-s.

Socks? I frowned at this. What kind of name was Socks?

“I’m sorry but why are you called that?” Silence. I thought before thinking up a different way to ask it. “Is that your given name?”

No.

“So a nickname?”

No.

“Why are you called Socks?”

Nothing for a few seconds before it slowly moved to spell out something again.

L-o-o-k. Look.

“Look where?” I asked, my voice shaking. I could feel Bella beside me shaking out of control and Sammy began to cry silently.

A-b-o-v-e.

I felt like I was going to faint. I was suddenly aware of the air around me, how still it was. I couldn’t hear anything, not even the soft sniffles of my friend. We all looked at each other with fear, tearful eyes before slowly looking up to my ceiling.

I wish we hadn’t. I really wish I had never let them convince me to play this stupid game.

Just beyond the light of the candles I could barely make out something swaying above us. It was white but moving in a strange way, in a clockwise pattern and fast. It took me a good few long seconds to realize what I was seeing. Swinging, sock covered feet.

I didn’t care about my parent’s finding out what we were doing anymore. I began to scream and raced for the door. Bella and Sammy were right behind me as we ran to my parent’s room,.

We were scolded for playing the game and scaring ourselves. The three of us were grounded from seeing each other for a month but even then afterwards we slowly grew apart. We even ended up going to different high schools and grew into completely different young women.

That’s my story. There was no other scary event that haunted my life, just that nightmarish vision. I had almost put it behind me as just that. A nightmare I had as a kid or even the darkness playing tricks on me.

Well, I used to think that.

I recently got in touch with Bella who told me that Samantha had passed away a month earlier. I was shocked to say the least. We were all only 24. I found out from her family that it had been a suicide. Even though they didn’t tell me how, I think I already have a pretty good idea.

You see as I grew up I learned something interesting.

People don’t always die instantly when they hang themselves. In fact they sometimes struggle for air as they slowly choke to death. I know now why “Socks” was swinging like that. I understand that maybe she really was a spirit trapped and we had accidentally summoned.

And I also know this. We didn’t say goodbye that night. We left her there in her eternal hell. And she isn’t happy.

How do I know this?

Because as I laid to bed tonight I looked up to my ceiling by accident. I watched as the feet swung in a clockwise pattern with such speed that it was impossible for a human to replicate in their final moments. And just like a pendulum that had found water for it’s owner, the feet stopped immediately, pointing right at me.

And as I write this, I wonder how long before she crawls down from the ceiling and strings me up in her place like she did Sammy.

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Jackie’s Monster

The rain trickled down the window. Shining, reflective drops covering the image of the boy staring outside. He wanted to do nothing more than play outside that day but his mother told him to play upstairs as she didn’t want him tracking dirt inside after she spent all day cleaning. Despite having promised her he wouldn’t she still didn’t listen.

Jackie stayed upstairs all day playing with his cars and watching the rain. He loved the little streams that the heady rain caused on the street. When the streets flooded too much he was often reminded of the story of Noah’s ark from Sunday school. Often times he would gather all his stuffed toys (and one very upset cat named Pepper) and hide in his closet, pretending he was Noah and they were the ones he decided to save.

Thunder broke across the sky causing him to jump a little. Pepper ran for cover, hissing at the sudden loud noise. Jackie wanted to join her under the bed but he remembered his father’s words.

Jackie had always been afraid of thunder despite his love of rain. He would often run and cower with his parents whenever a storm picked up. After months of dealing with this Jackie’s father finally had enough and sat him down to talk with.

“You can’t keep hiding forever Jackie.” His father said. “You need to face your fears. One day you will have to care for your mother and I. You can’t do this if you keep running from silly things like thunder.”

Jackie nodded as he thought back. Despite a racing heart, he returned to his toys. He tried to ignore the thunder each time it boomed outside the safety of his home.

His bed sat on the wall by his door, which faced his window and closet. He had a bid area in the middle to play on his play rug, running cars along the fake roads and building up legos where the houses were stitched on. Pepper would poke her head out every few minutes to watch him play with his cars before ducking back under.

In between the thumping of his heart, the pouring rain and the occasional thunder clap was a different noise. He frowned as he tried to hear it better. It sounded almost like…tapping? He looked up to the darkening window, the sun having started to set much earlier. His bedroom light shone onto the glass creating a glare that he could barely see through now the sun was gone.

Squinting, he tried to make out what was causing the sound. He could clearly hear it as tapping now. Just as a shape was taking form a low growl came from somewhere else in his room.

He gasped and looked towards the source of the sound only to find Pepper poking her head out from under his bed. Her ears were flat against her head, fur standing on end.

Jackie looked back out to see if he could witness a glimpse of the cause of Pepper’s fear but there was nothing. Just as surprisingly the tapping had stopped too. Jackie stood, grabbed Pepper and ran downstairs calling for his mom out of excitement.

After trying to explain to her what happened his mom only rolled her eyes and patted his head. She said it was probably some animal trying to get out of the rain. She warned him not to open the window even if it was an animal as it was most likely wild and would try to hurt him. He once more promised her he wouldn’t but this time he knew he was going to break that promise.

Jackie let Pepper wiggle out of his arms and he returned to his room with determination. He cleaned out his closet, throwing things over his shoulder to the floor behind him. He carefully place blankets inside to make a small bed for himself. He gathered his flashlight and toys into his newly made hide out.

After shutting off the lights he carefully opened the window, trying his best not to alert his parents of his plan. He crawled back into his closet, leaving the sliding door open just enough for him to be able to rush out if needed.

He rested back against the furthest wall so he could still see the window. Rain still much of his view and as there was no outside light source he could barely make out anything. He didn’t turn on his flashlight and instead waited for the creature to come back.

Jackie didn’t have to wait long as a small noise came from just past his window. He held his breath, excited to see what was there. It was too dark to see what it actually was so he kept his flashlight at the ready but still didn’t turn it on yet. He didn’t want to scare it away after all.

A few more minutes passed before a shadow entered his line of sight. Jackie grinned and waited for it to finally come through the window. The animal seemed to stay near the window however and Jackie thought perhaps it was too shy about entering the house. He knew he should of put food out for it.

Hearing a loud squeak caused him to jump. He wasn’t expecting it to make a noise and he figured this was the best he would get. He moved closer as quiet as he could, hearing more squeaks.

The animal didn’t hear Jackie so he slowly stood up. In what little light there was he grew confused at what he saw. It didn’t look like an animal he had ever seen before or in his books. It was a light color, not dark like a raccoon despite it being the size of one. It’s legs were too stubby and it seemed to be crouching. Jackie quickly raised his flashlight and turned it on.

The beam shone on…this thing. It’s back was slightly turned towards Jackie and he could see it was just skin, no fur on it at all. A second after the light hit it’s body it raised it’s head and looked at Jackie.

Jackie screamed.

The creature screeched back. It had a strange bulbous head that had bulging bloodshot eyes. It’s nose formed into a beak and when it opened it’s mouth Jackie could see dozens of tiny needle like teeth.

Jackie dropped his flashlight and ran. He ran screaming to his parents who were already on their way up after hearing his first scream.

He ran right into his mother’s arms, sobbing. After a minute of trying to calm him down, his parents finally went up to look at what had scared him so much. Jackie shook his head and tried to stop them but after a sharp word from his father he fell quiet.

All three entered Jackie’s room to find it empty. The entire room looked like a wild animal had ran through it, tearing apart everything in it’s path.

His parent’s began to scold him for the mess and his father stormed over to the window to close it. He froze as he stared out to what was out on the room beside the window. His face went pale and he quickly told Jackie and his mother to wait out in the hallway.

Jackie’s mother didn’t listen and instead moved closer to see what was going on out of curiosity. She gasped and covered her mouth. Jackie was curious and rushed over before his parent’s could stop him. He burst into tears once more when he finally saw what was outside the window.

There laid Pepper, her lifeless body sprawled out. Her head was nearly chewed completely off her head and her fur was clawed up the tiniest dagger like nails. Blood matted her fur down and even more was spread around her body.

Jackie didn’t remembered much after that. What he did know was his parent’s quickly ushered him out and his father had gone back in to dispose of Pepper’s body later. Jackie had nightmares for months afterwards and he refused to sleep in his own room. Eventually they moved out of that house but even after he would never sleep outside or with his window again, even into adulthood.

It wasn’t until his adult years that he could finally put a name to what he saw that night. He was watching the news one night with his wife, Amy. Jackie never told her about his experience as a child as he knew she would never believe him. After years of being told it was all his imagination and nothing more, he finally stopped telling people.

Jackie’s eyes were pulled to the news report that showed some strange creature that had washed ashore somewhere in New York. His heart races as he stared at the thing that had haunted his dreams ever since he was a child.

Montauk Monster was what they were calling it on the news. Several people were interviewed about it on the report; some said it was either a raccoon or a possum. Amy laughed at how it was probably some prop.

But Jackie knew better. He knew whatever it was, it wasn’t a known animal and it was real. And he now knew that this meant there was more of them out there. And that terrified him.

3 Short Poems

“Look into a cat’s eye, it is the gateway to heaven and hell, it is the answer to life and death. The cat is all seeing, and is worshiped as thus.”

“The devil and God are like a two way mirror. We see the image of God each day, everyday and yet we never see the Devil lurking on the other side waiting to be seen too.”

“From the wolf’s mouth come harsh words, but also from the wolf’s mouth come truth and honesty. The wolf is loyal, whether we want to hear what it says or not.”

A Tale of Olde

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Oh, of despair, despair;

With just my soul to spare;

Those who seek this such life;

Will always meet much strife.

How willows and vines reach low;

Of foliage was born my beau;

Fair and radiant as a rose;

Much more deserving of a poets prose.

Alas, a poet was not this poor boy;

As such was he just a ploy;

Of wicked hearted men;

Who would surely bring the maiden’s end.

She beside a plentiful well;

This poor boy had his heart to sell;

When those bright eyes rested upon him;

Was when he knew to tell her then.

‘Precious maiden of the vine,

Surely your kiss is equal to the finest wine,

Only such beauty that come from the south,

Just truths come from this poor boy’s mouth’

Oh how her laugh was of angels;

Soft like rain dropped petals.

‘My dear poor boy lost in love,

How I could tell you anything else my dove,

But surely you must know of my fate,

As I fear you have arrived much too late.’

‘The cruelty of your world keeps me here,

To lament unknown love year to year,

I watched you from seasons afar,

And your youth leaves my heart with a scar!’

‘My life as I knew fled me fast,

And here I stay at the well of my past,

I remember the vivid nightmare,

And the unnerving lords lustful stare.’

Thus with this I stood confused,

Until the fear of realization left me subdued,

As her complexion of summer stone,

Turned whiter than a desert bleached bone.

‘Ah, you are no fair maiden,

You are the temptress of Satan!

Your unearthly soul wanders the well,

Bewitching any man under your spell!’

Her wails began from deep down,

A rotting hand reached from where she had drown,

Her skeletal grin showed to me,

And without a word was to which I flee.

‘You can’t escape me poor boy,

I will find you as you are but a toy,

Come back and embrace my form,

I assure you will not mind being torn.’

‘I will force your heart to love,

This decaying angel of above,

For you feel the aching of touch,

Oh I will devour your flesh such.’

And how this poor boy ran,

Until my legs faltered too much to stand,

Only when the banshee’s screams died,

Did my soul finally stopped and cried.

I implore any of who find,

Their very souls on the line,

Never embrace the maiden of the well,

For you she will drag to the depths of hell.

Screams

When you look at the many stories that tell of the end of the world, you often will find the same words over and over. Words that describe how the world will end. They are the same words we have heard many times before, they talk about whispers and whimpers.

But those are wrong. We were wrong.

Even as I write this, I can hear it. The screaming. Jesus, they never stop screaming.

 

It was a sunny January day when it all started. The day was cold but the sun was out, having broken free of the clouds of the night’s before snowfall. I was at home with my son, Jeremy. He was only five at the time and he was playing with his toy cars on the living room floor while I prepared him his lunch in the kitchen. This wasn’t so unusual for a Saturday routine.

I was for all purposes a stay at home dad. I had a job but I had my own office at home, a not very lucrative job as a tax analyst. God was it boring but it paid the bills. My wife of seven years left when Jeremy was three, leaving with a co-worker to some far corner of the country.

She didn’t even try to contact me or our son, and I felt that was for the best. It was hard enough to explain to Jeremy why his mother wasn’t around, and how I tried to hold back the information it was simply because his mother had grown tired of her own husbands love.

As I sat the jelly sandwich in front of my son on the floor, and my own ham sandwich on the coffee table I noticed that the news was running still from earlier that morning. I always kept the news on in the morning before Jeremy woke up but usually shut it off before he was out in the living room as I didn’t want him to see what was going wrong with this world. Blame me, call me a foolish parent, but I wanted to keep him innocent as long as I could.

I sat down on the couch to find the remote when the incoming news report stopped me in my tracks. The volume was low and Jeremy’s constant babble overwhelmed the anchorman until I turned up the volume, the headline catching my eye.

“Jeremy, go eat your food in your room.” I ordered him not taking my eyes off the screen. I barely even recognized out of the corner of my eye that he picked up his plate and walked out of the room.

“We are getting in reports that what appears to be a highly contagious disease has now spread across Europe and Asia.” The anchorman said in his professional, monotonous voice. Nothing in his voice gave away the dire words that next came from his mouth.

“There is no news from scientists on exactly what this disease is, and there seems to be no other symptoms other than the victim being in extreme pain before death.”

 

That was about two months ago. The disease seemed to slow down when it reached Asia but soon it had swept through the entire continent and reached the west coast of North America and down through South America. By the time it reached us we had finally realized exactly what was happening, but it didn’t mean we could stop it.

People were dying within seconds, milliseconds even. Every millisecond was one estimate. Men, Women, Children. There was no eyewitnesses that lived long enough to tell what they saw, so in the end it was just the people who died that knew exactly was what happening.

Presidents and politicians hid, but they were found even in their deepest bunkers or highest planes. Astronauts perished in space, their screams filling the airways. They however didn’t die first, they died above where the current outbreak was. If someone was dying in Hawaii and the space station was there miles high above the earth, they would die too.

Animals weren’t affected, they seemed spared. Or at least the ones not locked up away from food where their owners put them before perishing hours later. Plants weren’t affected either. It was just the human race. And this was no disease the scientists concluded.

If scientists from a place unaffected went to an affected area they wouldn’t die, in fact they would be alive as long as their home wasn’t affected. They were completely baffled by this, but in the end even they too perished from the unseen force.

And that’s where I stand now. Reports of screaming were coming in from the next city over. I know in minutes I will face whatever virus or entity will visit this household. I put Jeremy to sleep early, but even sleep won’t stop the dying. I only pray Jeremy will be asleep when it comes and he won’t be in pain.

I can hear the screams louder now. Just down the street from me. I’m trying to write this all down just in case…someone, or something will see it. Maybe there are people that survived in remote corners of the earth, or some in the bunkers that we lost contact with. Hell, even my wife being alive to read this would be fine too.

The screams are getting closer.

Jeremy. I hear him screaming for me, daddy, daddy. I can’t come for you my boy, in a second I’ll be gone too.

We were wrong. The world doesn’t end with a whimper or a bang…no. It ends with the screams of the entire planet from something we could never fight against because we can’t see it or fight it.

What is it? We never had ideas, but one thing still scares me. Seven billion people dying milliseconds apart…

That’s almost exactly two and half months to wipe us all out.