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

dog

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.”

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”

Are My Twins Spending Too Much Time Together?

holdinghands

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?”

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

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(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”

I pressed my hands against my eyes for twenty straight hours.

eyes

(Horror stories about freedom.)

The old cliche goes something like, “if you’ve got nothing to live for, you’re able to do anything.” High school kids all over the world write their own versions of it in the margins of textbooks and on bathroom walls. It makes them feel consequential. Or significant. Or free. Or something.

They’re not, of course. But they’ve got enough youthful optimism to keep the bottle of pills away from their stomachs or the razor away from their soft wrists.

Well, most of them. A few can see things for how they are. They act accordingly.

And good for them, really. It’s that youthful initiative the baby boomers say is absent in kids these days. Someone should tell the boomers they haven’t been looking in the right place. If they checked the morgue, they’d see slabs full of proactivity and initiative. There’s a bunch of real success stories cooling and congealing in there. Continue reading “I pressed my hands against my eyes for twenty straight hours.”

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”

I should have never broken into my dead neighbor’s garage.

oldtv

(Horror stories about the dead.)

I was seventeen when I broke into the neighbor’s garage. I’d locked myself out of our house and it was pouring rain. My parents wouldn’t be home for hours. The neighbor, Louis Schaffer, had passed away two weeks before. It was a tough blow; he was a good friend of our family and used to babysit me when I was a toddler when my parents were working nights.

If it didn’t seem like a tornado might come through at any minute, I would’ve just sucked it up and walked the few miles back to school. The weather was worsening, though, and as hail started to fall, I knew I had to get inside.

Both the main garage door and the side door were locked tight. I ran around to the back. There was a window. The glass was blacked out. While I initially found that strange, my inquisitiveness dissipated as hail the size of ping-pong balls pelted my head.

I took a rock from his garden, felt a pang of preemptive guilt, then smashed out the bottom two panes. Being careful not to destroy any more than I had to, I pulled the wood out from between the open panes, checked for any remaining glass, and squeezed myself through the hole. Continue reading “I should have never broken into my dead neighbor’s garage.”

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”

Something horrible is happening to me on Reddit.

reddit logo

(Horror stories about Reddit confessions.)

I’m not really sure how to explain this properly without sounding like a lunatic, but I’m going to try my best. Over the last few years, I’d gained some notoriety after posting unsettling vignettes in the comments of some /r/wtf posts. I don’t know if they’d count as Reddit confessions or anything like that. Most of them were just humorous and deliberately disgusting, but I always figured people visiting that subreddit and looking at whatever gross picture I was commenting on would be able to handle them.

Then, last fall, I started frequently writing stories for /r/NoSleep. I stopped creating those little vignettes in order to concentrate on more “proper” work. It all went pretty well. I surprised myself with my prolificacy and it appeared I’d tapped into a creative pool that had been inaccessible to me for two decades. Toward the end of last month, though, some disturbing things started happening.

It started off with a few strange messages. All of them said something similar, like “why don’t you post on /r/wtf anymore?” The odd thing was, instead of a username, it just said [deleted]. The first couple times, I just ignored them. I’m used to getting weird messages and emails. I figure it’s the cost of doing business when you write the kind of stuff I write. On May 24th, I got something different. Continue reading “Something horrible is happening to me on Reddit.”

Dumbwaiter

Our new house was an old house. We spent tons of money on renovations and upgrades before we could live there. The basement was particularly heinous. After a while, it started coming around, looking less like the pit of despair from when we bought it and more like the man-cave I dreamed of. Once everything was done, we finally moved in.

One of the kids was poking around in her closet the other day and discovered an old dumbwaiter. I never knew we had one of those. It led down into the basement, but apparently the compartment had been bricked up before we even moved in. When setting up my man-cave down there, I just plastered over the brick like any of the other walls.

My daughter was pretty disappointed when I told her I wasn’t going to break down the wall and make the thing functional again. She wanted to send me little presents from her room while I was watching the game in the basement. Still, she liked hanging out in her closet and pulling the thing up and down. I figured there were worse things she could find interesting. Continue reading “Dumbwaiter”