(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”
(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.”
(Horror stories about Alexa.)
Two nights ago, I was home alone when Alexa laughed. I’d read about the software issue the devices had been having all over the world, so it wasn’t that big a shock. Thank God for that, too, because I would’ve jumped out of my skin otherwise. Still, I was unsettled. It’s creepy to hear laughter when you think you’re alone.
“Alexa, shut up,” I instructed. The blue ring on top flashed, and the laughing stopped.
I went back to my book.
Twenty minutes later, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Alexa’s blue ring illuminate – as if she’d received a command. I studied her for a few seconds and shrugged it off. Continue reading “My Amazon Alexa does more than just laugh.”
(A scary story about children.)
I’m a teacher’s aide in a first-grade class outside Tacoma, WA. I brought the kids out for recess on Friday afternoon. It had just rained; the old blacktop was covered in puddles. The kids loved it. They jumped from puddle to puddle, splashing around in their cheery yellow galoshes and rain slickers.
Two minutes in, Lily Yamagata tripped over Sophia David’s backpack and skinned her knee. She was crying. I headed over to comfort her. I picked her up and brushed off the sand and grit. There was a hole in her tights and a little blood seeping from underneath. Nothing bad. Nothing she wouldn’t forget about in five minutes.
“You’re okay, Lily!” I announced, smiling. “Don’t worry, the nurse will get you a nice band-aid. What’s your favorite one?”
Lily sniffled. “Steven Universe.”
“Perfect,” I replied. “Hey Sophia, why don’t you hold Lily’s hand and bring her to the nurse, okay?” Continue reading “Mr. Puddles”
(A scary story about neighbors.)
After her husband left, all she did was cry. Cry, cry cry. Noon: cry. 10:00pm: cry. 3:00am: cry. Her pitiful bleating would pour through the thin wall between our apartments and drive me out of my mind.
I couldn’t sleep. My work suffered. I stared, eyes wide with restless hatred, at the ceiling in my uncomfortable bed as night after night was stolen from me.
Pounding on the wall did nothing but cause her to cry harder. Calls to the obese building superintendent brought castigation; not to my neighbor, but to me.
“How dare you be so heartless,” the super chided. In the rare cases she wasn’t speaking around a mouthful of food, it still sounded as if she were. “Her husband abandoned her!”
“I can’t sleep. I can’t even think!” I protested.
The thing on the other end of the line huffed. “Get some earplugs,” she suggested, and hung up.
This went on for months. Like any man in my situation, I reached the end of my rope. And, in a way, so did my neighbor.
Continue reading “A Pathetic Wretch”
I was nineteen when he visited for the first time. It was very late and the bedroom was pitch black.
“Miles,” he whispered. “Miles. Can you hear me?”
My eyes were wide but only darkness met them. I couldn’t see who was talking.
“Yes,” I whispered back.
“A few more years,” he cooed into my left ear. “Just wait another few years and you’ll learn who I am.”
I reached out, trying to touch the producer of the voice. My hands grabbed the air. I turned over and groped for the bedside lamp and flipped the switch. Pale light poured into the bedroom. I was alone.
I didn’t realize at the time that that would be a constant. A theme.
It’s now been eighteen years since I was visited that night. I’ve spent it by myself.
I wish I could call those years happy and productive. They were, in fact, the opposite. I am depressed. Unemployable. “Mentally ill,” is the official term that lets me collect money for doing nothing but sit at home all day.
Well, not quite nothing.
I daydream. I fantasize about the man who spoke to me that night. I picture him swooping in and knocking on my door, bringing riches and surprises that would heal my ruined psyche. He’d be my guardian angel; a heavenly respite from my day-to-day misery.
For nearly two decades, those dreams went unrealized.
Until last night. Continue reading “A Most Welcome Visitor”
Our little Phillip had complained about his nightmares for weeks. Lisa suggested we take him to a doctor. I resisted. I had nightmares when I was his age. Awful ones – ones that, to this day, I still shudder to recall. It seemed poor Phillip was more like his old man than his mom and I had hoped.
After a particularly wretched night of his howling and shrieking, I caved. I couldn’t bear to see my son suffer from terrors he was too young to understand. Continue reading “My four-year old son woke up with a full head of gray hair.”
In an abandoned house about ten miles south of our high school, deep in the woods, there’s a bedroom that is always wet.
On the surface, it sounds unremarkable. Woods. Abandoned house. Water. Leaks. Wet bedroom.
Go inside, though, and you’ll realize it’s a little more complicated than that. A little harder to explain.
The water in that room clings to the floor and walls and ceiling in heavy, gelatinous globules. Touch one and it’ll break, spilling foul-smelling water on you. I made that mistake the one time I visited on my own. It takes days to get that stink off. Continue reading “Wet Bedroom”
I have a condition called “dermatographia.” It is what it sounds like: you can “write” on my skin. It’s not as bizarre as it looks. All it means is I get scratches very easily. If I run my fingernail across my skin, I’ll get a raised, red trail. It doesn’t hurt or bleed and it goes away after a half hour or so. Still, it’s pretty noticeable.
Kids used to make fun of me at school, as they’re wont to do with anything they find new or weird. It wasn’t too bad, though. Nothing traumatizing. I’m grateful for that, because as I got older I realized how great a bar trick it was.
Maybe that makes me a little weird. I’m okay with it.
I’m going to dispense with the backstory because I need to talk about what’s been going on lately. The other day, I woke up with a word on my stomach. It said “soon.” Continue reading “Dermatographia”
“Not all men are rapists,” my Dad would grunt as he scrolled through his friends’ Facebook profiles and read the articles about sexual assault they’d posted.
“Not all men are abusive,” my Dad would mutter as he did research to disprove the domestic violence statistics that bothered him so much.
“Not all men are like him,” I’d mouth to myself, as Dad threw Mom across the room for having the temerity to contradict something he’d said.
After hurting her one night, he came to my room a few hours later. “You’re a sweet boy,” he told me. “I know you’d never harm a woman, no matter how much she deserved it. Not all men are like me. You don’t have a temper.”
I did have a temper, though. And I seethed. Continue reading “Not All Men”
We weren’t allowed to leave our home; the suited men were everywhere and kept insisting it was for our own safety. They wouldn’t give us a hint about what was going on.
Being right across the street, I stayed glued to my front window. It was fascinating at first. Then interesting. Then tedious. Still, I felt like I had to keep watching. There was something going on in there and I needed to know what. Nothing on television gave any indication something was wrong. Our cell phones had no service. It was as if the signals were being blocked.
Toward the end of the first day, I’d started to feel a surprising amount of apprehension. My wife, too. It felt as if we were about to receive terrible news, despite not having any reason to. Continue reading “Last Weekend”
When the little ghost first starting coming to me, he whispered nice things that made me feel good.
“You have pretty hands.”
“I love how you do your nails.”
“How did you get your skin to be so smooth?”
He stayed with me all day and all night. As the days went by, though, I must have done something to make the ghost angry. Instead of mawkish pleasantries, the messages grew negative.
“I’ve seen other girls with prettier hands.”
“What happened to your nails?”
“I’m sorry your skin looks so dry nowadays.”
I started to get upset. I’d grown fond of the little ghost. Since he’d always been so positive, it was comforting. But once he started to get mean, I wondered what I’d done wrong. I didn’t want my ghost to feel like I’d disappointed him. Continue reading “The Little Ghost”