A Questionable Glory Hole

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“We don’t have time for this!” Art, Reilly’s father, shouted. “We’re almost home. Can’t you hold it?”

“Dad!” Reilly hollered back, his muscles tense, beads of cold sweat popping out on his pockmarked forehead. “It can’t wait!”

“Jesus Christ, we’re already a half hour late,” Art muttered, and swerved his old Subaru off the New Jersey Turnpike into an old rest area that’d been closed for as long as he could remember.

“If the door’s locked, you can sh*t outside around back,” he instructed, as Reilly bolted out of the car and waddled across the littered parking lot toward the men’s room. “Poor b*stard’s not gonna make it,” he thought.

“Please don’t be locked, please don’t be locked, please d–” Reilly thought, clenching everything he had to avoid a humiliating disaster.

The door to the bathroom was not locked. Not anymore, at least. An old Master Lock lay in pieces on the chipped tile floor. There was no electricity; the only light coming in was from the clearly-unwashed skylights. The air, if what he was breathing could be considered such, was thick and fetid. Used.

None of that mattered. The nearest stall was open, and a grime-caked, waterless toilet, beckoned. He barged in, dropped his pants, and let go.

He sat, his elbows on his legs and his hands pressed against his eyes, until his body allowed him to move again. He sighed with relief and moved his hands, finally taking in the filth of the room around him.

It’d been a long time since anyone had cleaned the place, but not long since it’d been used. With a feeling of disgust, he glanced over to where the toilet paper should have been.

Then he saw it.

“What the f*ck!” Reilly exclaimed, pulling the front of his shirt down and clamping his legs shut.

An eye was studying him from a jagged hole in the stall. Continue reading “A Questionable Glory Hole”

Never Ride the Subway at Night

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From the moment I got on the train, I felt him staring at me. We were the only ones there. It was 2am.

“Just a random weirdo,” I thought. “Probably harmless.”

It was little comfort. I’d heard enough horror stories about the subway to know that if he wanted to hurt me, there’d be nothing to stop him.

I tried to focus on my phone while knowing he was still focusing on me. His glare was icy and dispassionate. Predatory. Despite it being late July in a hot subway car, I was covered in goosebumps.

“When’s the next stop?” I wondered. The ride felt like it was taking forever. Discomfort and fear began to swell inside my chest.

“Maybe I should sneak a picture of him, just in case he tries something. The cops can go through my phone and find out who hurt me. …or who killed me.” Continue reading “Never Ride the Subway at Night”

Missing Mousetraps

dead mouse in trap

(Horror stories about mice.)

About two weeks ago, a new couple moved in across the street. Julius and Bill. I was surprised the house sold, to be honest. It was a hell of a fixer upper. I guess they really liked the place.

It’s an old farmhouse built in 1712 or something. Looks it, too. I mean, it’s better now since they got all the garbage out of the front yard, but the curb appeal is still seriously lacking.

Not long after they moved in, I invited them over for dinner. I figured they’d want to know that their new neighbor was, well, neighborly.

Plus, I was curious.

I’ll come out and say it: I’d never really talked to guys like them before. Maybe I’m old school, but in my day, I wasn’t exposed to those kinds of folks. Even though I know it’s supposed to be a different world nowadays, I still have a hard time believing two men would make the choice to be what they are. I mean, what kind of man looks at another man and says, “hey, let’s be florists?” Continue reading “Missing Mousetraps”

The Small-Eyed Children of Cañón del Cristo

mojave desert

(Horror stories about the desert.)

The deathbed story my grandfather told was not one I initially believed. He’d been in a car accident. There was head trauma. He was in and out of consciousness for a few days before an aneurysm took him out of this world.

During his moments of lucidity, he talked to me. It didn’t make a lot of sense. The doctor told me everything Grandpa said following the crash could be explained by brain damage, and I agreed. It seemed like he was conflating the old scary stories he used to tell me as a kid with real events from his past.

The real event went like this: in 1980, he was patrolling Cañón del Cristo, a spot in the Mojave that had, over the years, become a place where drug cartels went to dump bodies. Despite no bodies turning up in over twenty months, he still liked to give it a walkthrough every now and then.

“Nice scenery and good air,” he’d claim. “Aside from when I’d find a body.”

His trouble started when a rattlesnake startled him, causing him to jump back and lose his footing. It was a bad spot for that. He ended up falling about eight feet and shattering his knee.

That part I already knew. I had vague memories of him in a cast when I was very young.

He was on the canyon floor for hours. Whenever he tried to move, the pain was so intense he’d just stop and scream. There was nothing he could do. His radio was out of reach. There were no cell phones back then. It was only a matter of time before a mountain lion came by and put an end to it.

It turned out mountain lions were the least of his worries. Continue reading “The Small-Eyed Children of Cañón del Cristo”

The Black Balloons

blackballoonssite

(Horror stories about the rainforest.)

“Balloon!” Janie shouted, pointing out the window.

Angie and I ignored her. We were arguing with Adrián, the hotel owner.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t see your reservation here,” he repeated.

“Typical,” I muttered. “God damn typical.”

I’d spent a year getting this vacation planned out. Angie’s wanted to go to Costa Rica since she was a little girl and saw a documentary about the rainforest. It was our third anniversary. I was hoping it would be a special trip. The start was inauspicious.

“Balloon!” Janie yelled again, giggling and tugging my pant leg. I glanced over my shoulder through the picture windows overlooking the forest below.

“There’s no balloons, sweetheart,” I informed her, and turned back to the hotel owner.

“Look, I have the online confirmation right here. That’s the name of the hotel, yes? And that’s the address? And there, where it says ‘confirmed?’ Can that possibly mean anything else?”

“I’m sorry, sir, but you’re just not in our system. If you and your family would like to go out on the patio and rest for a little while, I will see what I can do. I’ll send over a couple glasses of wine and some fruit juice for your beautiful little girl, okay? Just give me a little time.” Continue reading “The Black Balloons”

The Worst Party In Ten Thousand Years

party

(Horror stories about parties.)

“I don’t like him,” Jeri whispered. “He’s weird.”

I looked at the guy sitting alone on the couch in the corner. Lanky. Pale. Brooding. He seemed out of place. I wondered if he was someone’s date who’d gone forgotten.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover, Jer,” I replied. “Haven’t you seen that credit card ad?”

She rolled her eyes. “Fine. But I don’t want to be around when he starts shooting up the place.”

“Jesus!” I hissed. “What’s wrong with you?”

“This is a party, Kay. People are supposed to be having fun, not being miserable.” Continue reading “The Worst Party In Ten Thousand Years”

The Secret Doctors of NASA: A Surgeon’s Nightmare

OR

(Horror stories about space.)

“The Secret Doctors of NASA” is a series of memoirs, diaries, and reports from actual doctors employed by an undisclosed arm of NASA between 1970 and 2001. These writings contain true accounts of the unusual and often highly-classified medical conditions experienced by astronauts during and after their space missions. Following the defunding of the clandestine medical program after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the majority of these accounts were left, forgotten, on tape drives in a NASA storage facility. In 2016, a former intern, whose job was to clean out one of these facilities, discovered them. Two years later, he is ready to release what he found.

Thus far, the following reports have been released: A Dentist’s Discovery, A Psychologist’s Suicide.

Releaser’s note: This account is from a post-surgery oral memoir dictated by an unnamed surgeon to an anonymous NASA official. The background circumstances are unknown.

A Surgeon’s Nightmare

Look, I’d been awake for two straight days. You guys have been putting us through hell with all the injuries from the Hephaestus Project, so forgive me if my results weren’t as great as they could have been. But come the hell on – what do you expect when someone comes to me in that condition?

So you want to know what happened in my own words? Fine. But don’t get pissed when I call your practices into question.

The patient was admitted with significant injuries to his legs, torso, arms, and head. On the surface, they appeared to be lacerations, which was strange because their severity would have caused near-instantaneous exsanguination and they would’ve gone straight to the morgue, not to me. Closer inspection revealed the wounds had been sealed by intense cold, as if the patient had been frozen either while being injured or immediately after. He was still clinging to life.

Continue reading “The Secret Doctors of NASA: A Surgeon’s Nightmare”