Long Fingers

lights

Saturday morning, there were long smudges on the glass of my front door. Three, thick, semi-parallel smudges from what looked like fingers. They trailed from the middle of the door down to its base, then disappeared. If they were from an animal, it wasn’t any animal I knew about. If they were from a person, he was unfathomably deformed.

An hour later, I discovered nine dead deer behind my garage. Their eyes, sexual organs, and teeth were missing. I called animal control and was told there were mutilated animals being reported all over the county. They had no explanation, but I was assured the carcasses would be picked up before the weekend was over.

As I hung up, I heard something in the background on the phone line.

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Trees of Eyes

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I bought these few pages at a local trader’s tent for the equivalent of $.25 USD. It was the only thing there written in English. I don’t know what any of it means, but the fact it names the missing explorers and ruined village is troubling.

June 29th, 2016

Let this be a journal of our last moments. I know we won’t make it out.

June 30th, 2016

They took Jane last night. This morning, the trees have her eyes. All the trees; every knot hole, every space, every interstice, is stuffed with her eyes. Two eyes copied into thousands. I don’t know how. Nothing makes sense. But they’re staring at us. We’re being watched. They follow every one of our movements, as if they didn’t already know what was going to happen.

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Found the Bees

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I followed the sound of buzzing. The deeper into the woods I went, the louder the sound became. It was dark this far in; there were remnants of structures from industrial-era factories long neglected and choking with trees, vines, and countless other plants. Judging from the level of growth, no one had been here in a very, very long time.

The buzzing persisted. It became hard to walk through the underbrush. I spotted, or rather felt, a swarm of insects. They flew by my ear, paying me no attention, save for one. He flew into the back of my neck and instinctively stung me. I pulled his writhing body off my neck and studied him. It was a bumblebee, fat and covered with pollen. More streaked by. They were going in the direction of the sound.

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My Last Abduction

nebua

They come for me in broad daylight.

Over the last few years, they had removed nine toes, 12 teeth, one finger, and three feet of my large intestine. There are no scars. They leave no other evidence. They take what they want and leave me with less and less each time. Every visit diminishes me.

People can’t see them. Dogs can, though. Cats, too. Maybe birds. They’ll howl or hiss or fly away, but that won’t deter the visit. From what I’ve learned, nothing will.

My right thumb was taken four days ago. I was walking to the supermarket when I felt the telltale prickles of static electricity cascading down the back of my head and neck. Pigeons in the area began to screech. The sense of weightlessness I’d grown to know and dread swept over me, and as I was lifted into the clear sky, I saw my replacement continue his walk. He always continues exactly where I’d left off.

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Suicide Woods

lake

Everyone’s heard of the so-called “Suicide Forest” in Japan, but hardly anyone’s familiar with the locally-named “Suicide Woods” in Fairfield, CT. It’s probably a good thing, too; the deaths are disturbing not only by their nature, but because there have been so many of them over the years.

Growing up, I heard scary stories about the woods behind Lake Mohegan. We all did. Rumors of devil-worshipping cults ran like wildfire through every school hallway and cafeteria. Some kid said he was fishing back there with his uncle when they discovered a dead goat by a rock face with its guts arranged in a pentagram. Another kid talked about bloodsucking demons in the trees. Our parents were always quick to dispel the more ridiculous rumors, but they couldn’t deny the suicides. The suicides were facts of life in our town.

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Body Cast

huntsman

(Horror stories about spiders.)

My therapist suggested I write this out. I guess reliving that night and putting my experiences on paper will help me get over the trauma.

A few years ago, I was in a motorcycle wreck. Broke my left tibia and fibula, shattered my right patella, got a greenstick fracture of my left femur, multiple fractures in my pelvis, breaks in almost all my ribs, and two broken collarbones. I was immobilized from the shoulders down by a heavy body cast. They told me I was lucky.

My wife, Violet, was supportive and nurturing. She never once complained about having to care for me. She cooked all my meals, kept me company, and emptied my bedpan without grimacing. About two weeks into my convalescence, Jenna called us, bawling, because her college roommate died. Vi had to leave immediately and be there for her. Vi’s sister, Kathy, was going to take care of me.

When I woke up the following morning, Vi was off to get Jenna. Kathy was there, cheerfully making breakfast and talking up a storm as she helped me with my more embarrassing biological needs. Like her sister, she never made me feel ashamed. She left around 11 that night and told me she’d be back at dawn.

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Soft Teeth

soft teeth

I remember the man with the soft teeth. He’d come into my room at night and bite me over and over. The bites didn’t hurt and they left no marks. All I felt was pressure.

The first time I saw his face, I was terrified. His eyes were different. Instead of two eye sockets, he had nine. They were clustered in front of his face and up his forehead like a honeycomb. Two on top, four in the middle, three on the bottom. The sockets didn’t house eyeballs. There was a single, thin eyestalk growing from the center of each hole. Each stalk swayed in front of his face like long grass in the breeze.

When he’d visit me, I’d lose the ability to move or scream. All I could do was watch. After a week of visits and my parents not believing a word that came out of my mouth, I thought sleeping with the light on might keep him away. That was the night he started biting my face.

The man would always move slowly and with great care. Every motion seemed calculated and precise; I didn’t know what he was doing, but I had no doubt he did.

The first time he got close, I saw the inside of his mouth. Like his eyes, his teeth were unlike any I’d seen. There were three rows of bulbous growths pushing from an array of holes in his gum line. They looked as soft as they felt. Each one was covered in fine, downy hairs. They reminded me of the fat bodies of moths.

He’d open my mouth with his index finger and thumb. Then he’d close in. I felt his eyestalks brushing against my face and forehead and eyes as he pressed his upper teeth against my lower ones. He’d close his mouth around my chin, locking my lower jaw in his mouth.

It was uncomfortable, but it didn’t hurt. He would stay there for ten minutes at a time, gradually modulating the pressure of his jaw against mine.

On the last night he visited me, he performed the same steps. Once my jaw was in his mouth, though, he applied more pressure than he’d used in the past. His eyestalks straightened out and felt like firm cables against my face. As the pressure increased, I felt his teeth start to burst against my own. One by one, the thick, insectile bodies inside his mouth succumbed to the pressure and coated my tongue and gums with thick, bitter paste. I felt his tongue, which had never been involved in our interactions before, extending over my teeth and massaging the paste into my gums. I tried to retch, but even that had been taken from me.

The man did the same with my upper teeth and palate. When he left and I could move again, I rushed to the bathroom, threw up, and brushed my teeth more times than I could count. I never saw the man again.

It’s been 25 years. I’ve been plagued by dental issues my entire adult life. Every visit brings worse news; it’s gotten to the point where I’m dealing with irreversible bone loss. Eventually, my teeth will fall out. The foundation to which they’re attached is simply deteriorating. It’s not uncommon, but it’s rare for someone my age who is otherwise in perfect health.

As if on cue, the day after my most recent trip to the dentist, I lost my first tooth. I’d felt it loosening and the dentist said it was only a matter of time. And more will follow. I scheduled an appointment to see him in three months. It was as frequently as my insurance would allow. More of my teeth started to wiggle when I poked at them with my tongue. I started to accept their fate.

Recently, my resignation has developed flickers of fear and disbelief. The tooth that fell out started to grow back. I’d never heard of such a thing. But I can see something grayish-white pushing through the raw socket. When I touch it with my tongue, it’s soft. And I can feel my tongue brushing against it, almost as if it has nerves of its own.

I’m trying not to think back to the memories of the man in my room, but it’s impossible not to. Not when more of my teeth grow looser by the day. And especially not when I have seven painful spots near my eyes and forehead that feel softer than they should.

More.