A Treehouse at Sunset

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“Sooooo….what is it?” I asked, chewing the tip of my left pigtail.

“I think it’s an old treehouse,” Lisa replied. Her face was speckled with dirt. We’d crossed the wide creek an hour before. It had been mostly mud.

“We can probably climb,” I mused, pointing my dirty finger at the ragged wooden slats nailed into the side of the tree.

Lisa studied the slats. They were rotten. Streaks of rust ran down below the old nails. “Yeah, maybe.”

“I’m gonna do it,” I announced, and started toward the makeshift ladder. “Just catch me if I fall.”

“You know you’re too heavy,” my friend sighed. “You’ll break my neck.”

I pretended not to hear. I placed a tentative foot on the first wooden slat, then shifted my weight back and forth. The piece wobbled, but it didn’t break. I put more weight on it, then grasped the rung above my head and pulled. Still steady. I was fine.

“I think it’ll be okay!” I called behind me, and began my ascent.

The late-July sun hung like a drop of molten slag in the western sky; not as bright as it had been a few hours ago, but it didn’t feel any cooler. Sweat poured down my brow and chest and legs, spattering Lisa. She clicked her tongue in annoyance.

I stared up through the narrow, jagged square cut into the bottom of the treehouse. Spider webs clung to the faraway ceiling, drifting in the weak breeze.

“I don’t think you’d like it up here,” I hollered. “I think there’s spiders.” Continue reading “A Treehouse at Sunset”

Seeds of Ignition

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His mouth is a door.

“Where do you want to go?” he whispers. A tongue, short and pink, slips out and hangs over a generous lower lip. Eel slick. A leafy gutter after a late October rainstorm. Far away, a planet annihilates into its sun.

“To them,” she replies, and reaches with a tentative hand.

The door widens to accommodate. Skin splits, then knits. New teeth sprout from elongating gums. Enamel amaryllises.

Hand, wrist, forearm. The door makes room. It did for me. I was the first to try. And succeed.

“How far until…” she asks, only to hush. Right then, she can feel it. I can tell.

Five fingers finesse frigid, fleshy folds. Folds finesse back.

Continue reading “Seeds of Ignition”

The Yanny-Laurel Enigma

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“Have you guys heard the Yanny Laurel thing?” Johanna slurred. She was four beers in and desperate to add some levity to the dying party.

“No,” was the chorus of replies. None of them had. None of them cared much, either. Freida and Joe were independently thinking up excuses to make their escape, while Robert, who wanted the others to leave so he could try to f*ck Johanna, just shrugged.

Johanna watched the others with disappointment. She didn’t want the group to disperse yet.

Freida noticed her friend’s mopey expression, so she obliged. “So what’s Yanny Laurel?”

Johanna brightened.

“Oh my God, it’s so weird.” She fumbled her phone out of her jeans, then tapped its cracked screen a few times. “Check this out!”

An audio file began to play.

“Okay?” Joe replied. “So?”

“So what did you hear?” Johanna asked.

Freida and Joe, in unison, replied “Yanny.”

Robert didn’t say anything. He stared at the floor.

“Rob?” Johanna prodded. “Did you hear ‘Yanny’ too? Or ‘Laurel?’”

“Wait, you heard ‘Laurel?’” interjected Joe.

“Yeah, wait — what?” added Freida.

Johanna laughed. “See! I told you it would be cool.”

“Hang on, are you f*cking with us?” Joe inquired, looking at Johanna with wary interest. Continue reading “The Yanny-Laurel Enigma”

The Star Bridge

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Eric shot himself in the head on April 24th, 2016. I was standing beside him. I still have the bloodstained clothes. And the bloodstained memories.

“You need to understand, Elena,” he explained, holding the gun to his temple. “There’s a bridge. It’s right here.”

He shook the gun, as if to signify its new status – not as a weapon, but as a means of traversal.

“Don’t, Eric.” My voice was slow and calm but flickers of panic were doubtless present in its timbre.

“I see it now. In flashes. Whenever I imagine pulling the trigger, I get a glimpse of the bridge ahead. It’s not black. It’s not empty. It’s bright and full and warm with everything I’d imagined.”

Machinery whirred around us. An omnipresent hum of energy filled the room as countless megajoules of electricity filled capacitating cylinders, all ready to discharge at a specific time.

“What if you’re wrong?” I asked. “What then? You’re just dead. And you’re worthless when you’re dead. All that potential is gone.”

“The continuation of life affirms worthlessness. My worth is in what I’ve seen. My worth is in what happens next. Because if I’m right, and I know I’m right, everyone will learn that what we are in right now is just the first stage. Once that gets out, we can all go through. And on.”

“But by that, you mean that everyone can just die? Are you listening to yourself?”

He gripped the gun tighter and grinned.

“Maybe it sounds crazy. But I see it. And I think you’re about to.” Continue reading “The Star Bridge”

All horror stories about dolls are fake.

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(Horror stories about dolls.)

I just want to take a moment and give special thanks to my daughter’s “friend,” Laurie.

Hi Laurie. Thanks. Seriously. Because of you, Jenny refused to sleep with her dolls. That includes the stuffed animals she loved intensely until you had to make up all those stories. That’s right, Laurie. You made a fellow six-year-old too afraid to sleep with any of them.

You’re a terrible little girl.

Not long ago, Jenny told me that Laurie had been making up horror stories about dolls. I didn’t think much of it. There’s a lot of creepy dolls out there, and even at the kids’ age, they’re more than likely going to encounter some of them in the TV shows they watch. It was fine. Whatever.

What pissed me off was when I found out Laurie was making things up about the American Girl ones that Jenny has. She’d tell her stuff like, “Samantha is going to eat your cat” and “Addy wants to kill your dad” and, the one that really got me angry, “Kirsten made your little brother sick and that’s why he died.”

First of all, I don’t know why Laurie’s mother would’ve told her about Michael’s death. That happened four years ago. I was hoping Jenny had been too young to remember the worst of it.

Well, she did. And does. Thanks to Laurie.

After that, Jenny came to me and said she didn’t want any of the dolls in her room. Continue reading “All horror stories about dolls are fake.”

My dog wouldn’t stop barking and pawing at the basement wall.

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For the whole day, he stood in the same spot, sometimes with his paws up on the concrete, barking wildly and scratching the rough surface with his nails. I tried to get him to calm down. I had to use his favorite treats to coax him out of the basement. Once I did, I locked him outside.

I put my ear to the wall he’d been obsessing over. I heard a few faint scratches, but I wasn’t particularly bothered. I’m not a superstitious man; you won’t catch me worrying about poltergeists or ghosts. If anything, I was concerned about bugs getting into the foundation. I made a mental note to buy some insecticide at Home Depot.

The following morning, I looked out the window and saw the dog had started digging a hole up against the side of the house. It was right above the spot he’d been so focused on in the basement.

Now I was starting to get pissed off. He was ruining Martin’s marigolds. Continue reading “My dog wouldn’t stop barking and pawing at the basement wall.”

Are My Twins Spending Too Much Time Together?

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This account was found in a data dump of the now-offline website, WokeMommies.com. It was a site dedicated to alternative medicine and natural treatments of illnesses. Its content was marked by an explicit distrust of modern medical science, claims of vaccine reactions, and corrupt doctors. No timestamps exist for the content, nor have any participants been identified in an official capacity.

Hi Moms! My twin girls, Siobhan and Sharyn, are spending a LOT of time together. They’ve always been close, but it seems like they’ve really gravitated toward one another since they started getting their grown-up teeth. I tried looking to see if Dr. Wheeler’s website had any info about this and there wasn’t much. Does anyone else have experience with this?

Hi Moms! I wrote the other day about my little Siobahn and Sharyn who’ve been spending what I feel is too much time together. I think it’s gotten worse. Now they cry when I separate them. I don’t want to make my girls upset, but they even insist on sleeping in the same bed and going to the bathroom together. I homeschool, of course — I’ve read too many scary stories about vaccines and vaccine reactions that make me want nothing to do with vaxxer kids — but I’m worried that’s making them get more dependent on one another since they’re in the house all day.

By the way, I want to thank the Mommy who replied last time with the recommendation to use that special root extract on the girls’ loose teeth. I was able to find the root in the backyard and it’s helped with the inflammation and pain.

Continue reading “Are My Twins Spending Too Much Time Together?”