The Big Scary House in the Woods

house

It took two days to hike to the spot we’d heard about: a strange house standing alone in the middle of the woods. And if it couldn’t possibly sound any more cliche, the rumors were that the former owners of the house haunted it and killed anyone who dared to enter.

From the outside, it looked unremarkable. Had it not been in the middle of the forest with nothing around but trees and rocks, the house would’ve looked like any other run-down home in a bad area. But the fact remained: it was the only man-made structure for miles. Why, let alone how, anyone would haul construction materials through the inhospitable wilderness to build the place was beyond my or my boyfriend’s understanding.

Being journalists for the high school paper, we came armed with our notebooks and tablets. John tried to peer through the windows, but there was nothing to see. The windows were smoked out – it looked like there’d been a minor fire inside at some point.

The front door was locked, but around the back there was a rusted-out hole in the cellar door. It was just wide enough for John to fit through. No way my b***s were getting through that hole unless I did way more squashing than I was in the mood to do. No, it was okay; John would go through and open the front door for me.

After a bit of squeezing and cursing, John made his way into the cellar. Looking at the ragged, rusty metal he’d just forced himself through, I wondered when he’d last gotten a tetanus booster. With a shudder, I made my way over to the front of the house and waited for him to let me inside.

I waited. And waited. After a couple minutes, I heard John banging on the door from behind to get it open.

“It doesn’t want to move,” he shouted from the other side.

“Can you find something to break it open?,” I called back. “A crowbar or something?”

The banging stopped as he looked around. More waiting. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a doe and her fawn. I was spellbound. Growing up in the city, this had been my first trip into the woods since I was a little girl. I’d never gotten to see deer in real life.

I carefully moved in the direction of the animals, crouching low so I didn’t frighten them, and held out my hand. The ears of the deer perked up and they watched me intently, trying to determine if I was a threat. In my head, I was pleading with them to come over.

“It’s okay guys,” I whispered sweetly. “It’s okay.”

I held my breath as the fawn stepped toward me. It was so close. The mother wasn’t stopping it as it got nearer and nearer – so close that I could see my reflection in its wide, inquisitive eyes.

A massive bang sounded from behind me, making me jump and sending the deer running for their lives. “God damn it, John!,” I yelled, turning around. “You scared them aw–.”

I stopped talking and froze. The door had flown off its hinges onto the front steps. In the doorway stood a thick, bulbous, corpse-like man. He was swollen and burned, almost like he’d been soaked in gasoline for months then set on fire. And in his hand he held the severed head of John, whose eyes stared straight ahead with confused shock.

I screamed and began to run. “Stay away from our home!,” came a voice so loud and powerful it caused me to stumble and fall. I righted myself and looked over my shoulder, tears streaming down my eyes. There was another thing now – a woman – standing shoulder to shoulder with John’s murderer. Her mouth opened and she bellowed, “and don’t f*****g come back!”

She lumbered down the steps and picked up the door. She carried it back up, and before she set it back in the remains of its frame, the husband took John’s head and threw in my direction. I heard it hit the ground behind me as I ran, but I never saw his face again. Never, except in my nightmares.

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Rediscovering the Newness of Sex

hands-in-chains

The problem with sex is it eventually becomes mundane. Do anything enough and it’ll become boring and repetitive. It’s silly to think f*****g might be different. Obviously, there’s quite a bit one can do to spice things up, and it works – for a little while. Then it stops. Years go by and exciting, new fetishes become dull, standard procedure. By the time I hit 44, I was in a rut. Nothing did it for me. But the desire was still there.

To say I’ve done it all is a bit of a stretch, but I’d gotten pretty close. I’ve shied away from the illegal and illicit, despite frequent temptation. I don’t want to hurt anyone, and I certainly don’t want to end up in jail. There’s no fun in that.

For a little while, I’ll admit to being depressed. I went through the motions – one joyless, soulless f**k at a time. Men and women of every sort passed between my sheets. It always ended up in disappointment.

Then I met Carson.

I’d been with other men countless times, so Carson initially wasn’t anything more than a blip on a radar full of traffic. After we’d finished, however, he sensed my despair. He sensed my unfulfillment. Before he left, he scribbled an address, a date, and a time on a sheet of paper. 27 Hallsworth Hill. October 9th. 11:00pm. He wouldn’t tell me what I’d find there.

My interest was piqued for the first time in as long as I could remember. Two days later, on the 9th, I drove across town to 27 Hallsworth Hill.

The address was the location of large, old, stone house that was in need of some upkeep. Ivy ran unchecked across the gray slabs of its granite face, and bushes, perhaps once sculpted, grew wild and threatened to obstruct the view from the large, first-floor windows. A heavy wooden door with an equally-massive iron knocker stood at the top of the steps. I knocked twice and waited.

The door opened and Carson stood, shirtless and smiling, and asked me to come in. I obliged and followed. The house was beautiful, but very, very old. Nothing appeared to have been touched or moved in decades; when we passed under a dusty, hanging chandelier, part of me was surprised it had electricity running to it.

“I want you to meet my friends, Daniel, Lucy, and Eileen,” Carson told me, and before he opened the door in front of us, asked “I want you to have an open mind, ok?” I nodded as anticipation and mild concern set butterflies in motion within my stomach.

Carson opened the door and we walked into a spacious, sparsely-furnished room. A man, who I assumed was Daniel, was tied to a marble pillar stretching from the stone floor to the ceiling. Lucy and Eileen stood in front of him, kissing one another. All were unclothed. I jumped slightly and almost started to laugh when I heard a goat bleat from the corner behind us.

“How open does my mind have to be?,” I whispered to Carson, as I studied the goat staring mindlessly at the five of us. Carson laughed. “Not that open, don’t worry.” I sighed with relief.

The others in the room didn’t acknowledge Carson’s and my entrance. The women writhed against one another while Daniel, bound tightly to the pillar, watched with lust in his eyes.

“Right now,” Carson told me, “you’re not allowed to do anything but watch.” He pointed to the sofa. “Have a seat. You can get comfortable if you’d like.” With that, he stripped off his clothes and incorporated himself into his friends’ action.

I joined them in their nudity and sat on the remarkably-comfortable couch while the four engaged in basic, moderately-kinky sex. It was pretty vanilla for me, but not unpleasant to watch. Time went by and the four brought one another to the peaks and plateaus they’d desired. For my part, I was getting a little bored. The first half hour was fun because of the newness of the people involved, but with nothing to do other than jerk off, I was ready to hit the road.

The goat bleated again. I’d forgotten about the f*****g thing. I turned around and saw it s******g on the floor, effectively killing my arousal in its entirety.

“Thanks guys, it was nice meeting you – I’m going to be hitting the road now,” I called out. Carson extricated himself from Eileen and rushed over.

“Wait, please. We’ve almost started.”

“Started?”

Carson put his hands on my shoulders and gently pushed me back down on the couch. “Started.”

“Can you at least get rid of the goat?,” I asked.

He laughed and rejoined the group and they finished one another off with a decent enough show that I actually found myself getting into it. The four of them knew what they were doing – there was no doubting that.

Lucy untied Daniel while Eileen walked to the small table next to the couch to pour herself a drink. She winked at me and said, “didn’t Carson offer you a drink?” I shook my head. “Jesus, Carson,” she muttered under her breath, as she poured a whiskey-looking liquid out of the bottle into a wide glass and handed it to me.

I looked around for Carson. He was cleaning up after the goat. “You guys aren’t gonna f**k that thing, right?,” I asked Eileen. She looked horrified for a second before erupting with peals of laughter.

“No,” Eileen said, still practically hysterical, “we’re not going to f**k the goat.”

I laughed at the absurdity of it all, but I still needed to know. “Then what’s it doing here?”

Eileen didn’t answer. She just grinned and grabbed me. I jumped a little in surprise, then allowed her to lead me to the pillar like a dog on a leash.

“Do you consent?,” she mewled into my ear.

“Consent to what?,” I grinned, allowing her to tie me to the pillar. It was still warm from Daniel.

“Do…you…consent?,” she whispered, tracing her knuckles over my anatomy.

“I do,” I told her.

“Good,” Eileen smiled. My hands and feet were bound to the marble. I couldn’t move. Eileen dropped to her knees, and my world began to blur.

I closed my eyes and relished the sensation of her mouth and hands, entirely oblivious to the rest of the universe as I departed in a solipsistic whirlwind of hedonic bliss. I felt new pairs of hands and more mouths on me. Sopping, salty fingers pushed insistently at my lips and I allowed them inside to stroke with my tongue. Everyone was moaning. Everyone was sighing. No sounds existed except breaths of ecstatic need.

No sounds other than gasps of pleasure.

Not even bleating.

The unwanted thought of the goat took me briefly out of my haze and I opened my eyes. Then I screamed.

The four friends stood or knelt around me, covered from head to toe with blood and gore. The carcass of the goat was sprawled out on the stone floor, eviscerated and twitching. The scent of its guts hit me a second later, and I retched and struggled to break out of my bindings. The four wouldn’t let me, though. They continued trying to pleasure me, glistening and growing sticky as the hot blood on them cooled and grew tacky.

Daniel took his mouth off me and stood up.

“Trust us,” he said, looking directly into my eyes.

“What the f**k are you doing!,” I shouted at him. At them. The two women worked to keep me in the moment as Carson licked smeared blood out of my navel.

“Trust us,” Daniel instructed again, holding my head in his hands. I stared at his gore-streaked face. There was concern in his eyes.

“Please untie me,” I told him.

Eileen slid a finger inside me and I shouted with surprise and indignity. “I promise you’ll thank us soon,” she whispered.

Helpless and hating myself, I felt my arousal grow as lips and tongues and fingers forced my biology to betray me. The haze descended again and I closed my eyes as the stink of entrails permeated the room and combined with the heavy scent of sex.

A minute or two later, my climax ended the assault.

My eyes snapped open and I glared at the four. They all stood up and smiled. Wide, unsettling smiles.

“Let me the f**k out of here,” I pleaded, my voice quivering.

The smiles took on a patronizing, sympathetic quality. Drooling the contents of her mouth into her palm, Lucy said, “Honey, we’re finally ready to start.”

For a second, I was certain I was about to be killed. This was it. My quest for new and interesting sex had led me to the end of the road. Death. Snuff. My own end for their twisted pleasure. Then the goat screamed.

I yelped as the disemboweled animal’s mouth wrenched itself open. I heard its jawbones crunching and splintering as its mouth widened, its angle continuing to grow until it was a straight line up and down. It screamed again – now a deeper, groaning sound that I felt in my stomach and intestines. I watched in terror as the animal shuddered and convulsed. A series of red, knotted ropes exploded out of its throat and slapped wetly on the bloody stone.

“F*****g let me out!,” I howled. I glared at the four with panic. They were still smiling and staring at me. The goat’s body shuffled across the floor like a hairy, osseous caterpillar; its pulverized bones sounding like gravel with every peristaltic push. It reached my captors and stopped at their feet, almost as if it were a dog awaiting a command.

Finally, one of them moved. Lucy. She held the palm filled with her saliva and the product of my stolen o****m out in front of the goat’s destroyed mouth. Its nose twitched, and one of the smaller tubes crawled across the woman’s hand. With a disgusting, wet sound, it lapped up the contents. Before before I could blink – before I could shout – the goat erected itself on its hind legs. Its ribcage exploded outward like a metal gate hit by a truck. More tubes, thicker, heavier tubes, writhed inside. And in a blinding instant, it lept against my face.

Everything went white. I floated, disembodied, free from fear. Free from disgust. Free from violation. I was in a pool of warm, white mercury flowing in lazy currents around formless porcelain and glass. It was heaven.

The world returned with a gentle shudder. The carcass of the goat was on the floor, its ropes and tubes deftly manipulating the erogenous zones of my four captors. All animosity I felt for them was gone. All indignity had evaporated. I tried to move my arms and realized I’d been untied. Legs, too. I stretched and watched the spectacle in front of me without any sense of revulsion.

A tube branched off and approached my ear. “Do you consent?,” it whispered. The voice was soft and sexless. Seductive. I hesitated as a remaining pang of concern shot through me. What did all this mean? What was happening? The questions were endless, but the sensation was undeniable. It was the feeling of newness – of blushing, virgin uncertainty. I looked at my four friends and saw the expressions of boundless ecstasy on their faces.

The knotted, red rope was waiting patiently for my answer. Was this what I’d been searching for? To my right, Eileen shuddered as an o****m passed through her. She looked more beautiful than anyone I’d ever seen. They all did. Each one-upping the beauty of the other with every passing glance. The tube twitched and I smiled.

“Yes,” I whispered. “I consent.” And I opened my mouth.

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The Job I Couldn’t Leave

table

In February of 2004, I was employed as a housekeeper for a wealthy real-estate developer. I’d been gone for a few days; my uncle had died and I’d traveled from New York to Florida on short notice to help with the arrangements. I came back one day earlier than I’d planned. My boss was quite irate when I told him I was leaving in the first place, so I thought an early return might help put me back in good graces.

I got to the penthouse around 3am, ready to get a jump on the day’s work. According to the schedule my boss had given me, he’d be home later the following day and expected the place to be spotless. “I don’t care if you’re still in your funeral clothes while you scrub the toilet,” were his final words to me before I left for Florida.

When the private elevator reached the residence, I was surprised to see all the lights were on. Like I said, he wasn’t supposed to be back for almost 30 hours. None of the other staff were scheduled, either.

A strange sound caused me to jerk my head in the direction of the dining room. I couldn’t identify the noise at all. It was like a mewl and a groan and a gasp all at once. Whatever it was, it was very unsettling. I waited and listened. There was a voice. A familiar one. My boss’s adult son.

I couldn’t make out what he was saying, but I felt a little better. At least it hadn’t been a burglar. I put my supplies on the counter and headed toward the dining room.

The doors were shut. Almost shut. One was slightly ajar, and I could see movement on the other side. That strange sound came again, this time quieter. More like a sigh. Gooseflesh rose on my arms and neck. I tiptoed over to the doors and peered inside. Had the son not coughed the moment I stifled a gasp, they would’ve heard me.

My boss sat at the head of the table with his face between the legs of a dying girl. Her throat had been cut. The sounds I’d heard were her pained, gurgling breaths. The son, whose back was to me, held the girl down as her flailing tapered off. Her head came to rest with her eyes fixed in my direction; eyes that locked onto mine. Eyes that screamed “help” with silent desperation.

She didn’t move after that. I swallowed a scream.

I heard my boss grunt, “bring her mother out to clean it up.”

His son crossed the room and unlocked the gold and black-glass cabinet that’d stood in the corner for as long as I’d worked there. I couldn’t see him opening the door, but I heard a terrible, howling wail as the woman trapped inside was released and saw the remains of her daughter.

“Oh shut up,” my boss yelled at her. Then he chuckled. “My boy’s going to put another one in you soon enough.”

The whole scene had lasted less than two minutes, but those minutes were indelibly etched on my consciousness. On my psyche. On my soul.

I left the residence as quietly as I’d entered. In the lobby, I saw the lone, overnight security officer who’d let me in. Abdullah. He’d always been kind to me. “Please, please, please don’t mention I was here,” I begged. He looked bewildered, but then he nodded. He hated our boss as much as anyone.

The moment I exited the building, I called 911 from one of the few remaining pay phones and told the dispatcher what I’d seen. I didn’t give my name and I disguised my voice as best as I could. Then I waited by the subway entrance until the police cars and ambulances arrived.

I got home where I tossed and turned and cried for sleepless hours as I pictured the poor girl, who couldn’t have been older than nine or ten, bleeding out as she was so hideously violated. Even now, 12 years later, the scene is as sharp in my mind as it had been that night.

The next day, I got the newspaper, ready to see his awful, smirking face on the cover with a headline declaring him a murderer. But there was no such thing. I flipped through each page, poring over the stories and looking for his name. Nothing. I rushed to my computer and searched online. Headlines about his TV show and his business dealings were all over, but nothing about an arrest; nothing that even hinted at an investigation.

Sickness washed over me as I realized his money and influence had certainly kept his crime quiet. I sobbed at home all day.

The following morning, after I’d somehow slept for a couple hours, my phone rang. “Why the f**k aren’t you at work,” a voice screamed. It was him. I couldn’t speak at first. My mind was blank. After nearly a full minute, I stuttered, “I…I’m sorry. I’ll be in as soon as I can.” He hung up.

Everything went gray as I realized I couldn’t leave the job. If I did, he’d know it’d been me who called the police. If I even momentarily showed fear or uncertainty, he would figure it out. I had to go to work. I had to do what he told me until I was absolutely sure he’d never learn I’d discovered his secret.

So I went to work. I went like nothing was wrong at all, aside from how I claimed I was still mourning the death of my uncle. It was an excuse, but it was one he bought. “Get your s**t together,” he demanded. And I did. My first order of business was to clean a stain on the dining-room table that he said had shown up out of nowhere.

As I scrubbed and held back a scream of indignant anguish, I did everything I could to pretend I was somewhere else. Anywhere but where I stood. And, for the most part, it worked. All I had to do was lie to myself and pretend I didn’t hear the nearly-inaudible sound of muffled crying coming from from the gold and black-glass cabinet in the corner.

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Tainted Candy

candy

I won’t let my kids trick-or-treat this Halloween. Not after what happened last year. Not when half the town’s parents are still in mourning and every other week you see cribs and twin-sized beds by the curb for anyone to come by and pick up. They’re stark reminders that the losses cut deep around here. The pain’s still there. And even if those wounds have started to heal for some, they’ll always, always itch.

Last year, kids received tainted candy. 55 got sick, 31 died. It was all over the news, so I don’t need to go into a background story that you already know. My girls were lucky; they’re both allergic to peanuts so they just gave the candies to their friends. Friends they don’t have anymore.

I remember my shift in the ER when the kids started trickling in. It took a few days. The first one was on November 3rd – a four-year old named Regina. She was having trouble breathing. At first, we thought it was an allergic reaction, but none of the treatments seemed to work. As she got worse, it was only after we’d scoped her to get a look inside her lungs that we realized what was happening. By then, though, it was too late. She died on the table.

Three more young kids came in that night. They all died.

The next day, the trickle became a flood. Older kids joined the younger ones with trouble breathing. These seemed worse off than the kids from the night before. The initial symptoms had given way to the secondary ones before death, so we had to deal with the shock and terror they were experiencing as their condition progressed.

The CDC representatives arrived not long after ten more had died, and they were able to quickly trace the source to contaminated candy. The local chocolate producer was determined to be at fault, and a speedy investigation revealed exactly how the candies were contaminated. The business was shut down. The owners are still tied up in court cases for their negligence and refusal to comply with proper importation safeguards.

Like I said, after a year, it’s all still fresh in the minds of so many families. They’ll go their whole lives associating the holiday with death and devastation, rather than fun and excitement. Out of respect for that, few yards are decorated for Halloween nowadays. There are some pumpkins on front steps, but no real displays. Well, there’d been one.

A Japanese family who’d moved to town in August had been mostly unaware of the circumstances surrounding the tragedy. They’d bought the house across the street from me. Excited to celebrate Halloween in America for the first time, they decorated their front lawn with skeletons, pumpkins, monsters, and spiders. A couple neighbors visited the next day and carefully explained to them what had happened the year before. The decorations were down within an hour.

It wasn’t that anyone was truly angry that the decorations were there. Most of them were fine. Had they just left three of the four things up, no one would’ve complained. Hell, some people who were lucky enough to not have been touched by the tragedies might have appreciated a little Halloween spirit. But for some, seeing that one thing was just too much. Even I, who hadn’t lost anyone, cringed a little when I saw the setup.

It made me think back to that night on November 3rd when Regina came in. I remembered the scope going down into her lungs. I remembered how we stared at the screen in a combination of horror and fascination.

It wasn’t a skeleton or a pumpkin or a monster that had killed those children. It was the spiders. The millions of tiny, black spiders whose eggs had been in the cocoa powder decorating the finished chocolate and peanut-butter candies.

The kids who’d suffocated before the spiders had exited their lungs were the lucky ones. It was those in the waiting room or car or ambulance who hacked and coughed up clouds of them as they died who had it worst.

The Japanese family apologized profusely as they removed all the decorations. It was obvious they were mortified. As I watched them out the window, I saw Giichi wave his wife, Ai, over to get a close look at the lawn. Her eyes widened and she put her hand over her mouth. I couldn’t see what they were looking at, but I knew what it was.

Ever since last November, there’ve been webs all over the place. They’re small – only the size of a quarter – but immediately recognizable as being from the same Honduran spider that’d been accidentally imported by the chocolate shop owners. The town’s infested with them. I try not to get too close to the corners and eaves of my house because I know they’re there. Harmless, but there. Just another cruel reminder. One of many.

I haven’t touched a piece of chocolate in over 350 days. I dread having to use the scope when I’m at work in the ER. And nearly every night I dream about how it all happened, only to jolt awake with the feeling of spiders squirming through my lungs and sinuses.

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The Pilot

meteor

Like so many things, it started with a bright spot in the night sky. As I watched, it grew brighter. Closer. Before long, I could hear it. It was loud and constant; a freight train riding a persistent thunderclap. Birds were roused from their sleep and they took to the sky, soaring away from the threatening light and sound. I didn’t move, though. I had to see.

It struck the ground in the woods outside my property, perhaps a quarter mile away. A second later, a searing blast of heat and pressure singed my eyebrows and threw me to the ground. My daze, while not insubstantial, was pushed to the side by excitement and wonder.

I scrambled to my feet and ran toward the impact site. The woods were alive with fire; orange plasma licking the evergreens as the sap within boiled and hissed. I passed the charred bodies of squirrels and deer as I darted around the hottest spots of quickly-dying flames. Before long, I was there.

The crater was about as wide and as deep as a backyard swimming pool. At its center was a red rock. Bright red. Fire-engine red. Its color wasn’t from heat, I noticed with some surprise, as feathery rime crept with fractalic persistence over its exposed surface.

For a moment, there was no sound.

I peered into the crater and watched the rime crawl up the rock, wondering how ice could form so close to the still-smoldering brush and dirt alongside it. On the other side of the object, out of my view, a sliver of yellow light flashed. Before I could go around to investigate, a crack spread on the surface of the rock. Dazzling, hypnotic sparkles of yellow and green filled my eyes.

I woke up on the forest floor at some point in the morning. The fires were out. Whatever had been in the crater had crumbled to dust. Without any knowledge of how I’d lost consciousness, I felt fear tickle the back of my neck. Almost as quickly as it started, though, the feeling evaporated. All my concern evaporated. For the first time in my 40 years of life, I felt wonderful. At peace.

I followed the trail that had been left for me. It led to my garage. Impelled to write something to let the world know what had and would be happening to me, I took my phone from my pocket and started to type.

And here I am.

Here we are.

I hadn’t noticed the gossamer-thin tendril stretching from my forehead to the pilot until we’d officially met. Its eyestalks perked up upon seeing me enter the garage, and it extruded newer, thicker filaments from its bulk to greet me. They stopped at my clothes, slapping weakly and wetly against the fabric until I got the message and stripped them off. Unhindered, the finger-thick filaments, now perhaps tendrils, pushed into me.

I tasted the cosmos with my skin, and every exposed surface of my body sang in an electric choir of caressed nerves.

“Let them know how it feels,” the Pilot whispered in me.

The sensation was that of being licked by ten thousand tongues, if ten thousand tongues were the emissaries of ten billion galaxies. I felt stars blink into existence on my chest and detonate in supernovae chaos upon my hands and feet. Pulsars fondled my shoulders while civilizations discovered fire and tamed the atom on my cheeks and under my scalp.

“Have them come to us so we can let them feel,” the Pilot breathed throughout me.

I dialed 911 and sighed the words, “officer down at 133 Rural Route 5.”

It didn’t take long.

The Pilot kissed each one with its tendrils the moment they arrived. The stellar choir of skin and taste grew by nine.

The Pilot, too, had grown. It filled the entirety of the garage; its filaments and tendrils and tentacles poking and pouring out of windows and doorways. The ground grew slick with its excretions. We stood – we stand – inside, all connected. All consumed and all consuming. All feeling.

More calls have been made and our network of flesh will only increase. The Pilot is gifting us with poetry to swallow; concepts that can only be understood once they’ve been tasted. Once they’ve been digested. Once they’ve been incorporated.

It is with a fleeting sense of loss that I recall the man who I’d once been. A man who, just last night, succumbed to his fervid curiosity and ran toward the fire. Never once did he care about being burnt; never once did he worry about what may happen. And now he is here. Now I am here. Now we are here. It was his desire to learn – and now he knows everything.

The Pilot has broken through the roof of the garage and is towering above the forest. It tells me if I were to measure, it would be a mile. One mile of the Pilot stretching like a gray-green obelisk toward the cosmos which birthed it.

More sirens puncture the tranquility of our home on the outskirts of the forest. Soon, they will stop. The Pilot can now reach aircraft with its tendrils, which have grown strong enough to break through. And those bodies inside are now with us. We all taste stars – we all bathe in radiation and fling ourselves toward the expanding borders of the universe in simultaneous o****m.

The Pilot whispers he is 20 miles tall now. Depending where you are, if you look outside, you might see it. If you do, don’t be afraid. Don’t be anxious. Just feel the one, final moment of your loneliness. Of your solitude. Then open your windows, smile, and wait.

It’s time for you to meet the universe.

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A hard-learned lesson about body hair removal.

wax

My trouble started when I realized I was out of razorblades and waxing supplies and my crotch looked like the Amazon rainforest before the mechanization of the logging industry. My date was due to arrive in half an hour. So, I resorted something unconventional. Something, I now realize, was not the best idea.

I’m going to give a little backstory first. I’m not ashamed to say I enjoy sex. The widespread belief that a woman should suppress her sex drive because society finds it “improper” has always disgusted me. Sex is great. Safe sex is wonderful. I respect myself and I respect the men I sleep with. All I ask is that I receive the same respect in return. It’s just two people making each other happy.

Now, I’ve known this since I was fifteen. Two decades of positive experiences have only strengthened my feelings on the subject. That said, there are a few personal responsibilities I feel I have, such as keeping current with the shaving trends. I’m not a huge fan of the concept behind shaving myself, to be honest. If you think about it, it’s actually kind of creepy, but I’ll still admit I enjoy the sensation of hairlessness. I guess it’s a tradeoff.

I prefer to shave, but I’ve waxed myself a lot, too. I have to be careful, though, because I’m allergic to some of the waxes on the market. I don’t know what particular chemical or fragrance it is that causes the irritation, but the itchy rash it produces keeps the downstairs out of business for over a week while it clears up. No one wants to pull off a thong and see that staring them in the face.

So, back to the other day. I found something in the apartment I thought would work like wax, so I tried it out. It hurt like hell and was an absolute b*tch to wash off, but it did the job. My date arrived when he said he would. We hit it off at dinner and we ended up back at my apartment, where we both managed to achieve org*sm despite being so full from our meals that we were like two beached whales slapping against one another. Since we both had to get up early the next morning, we said our goodnights and he went home.

The itching woke me up before dawn. It started with my armpits, but then moved to my, if I may use the medical terms, box and *sshole. I got out of bed and went into the bathroom. The mirror confirmed my assumption: that damn allergic reaction again. Welts were forming in extremely sensitive areas and it looked like I was already getting a bunch of ingrown hairs. I braced myself and doused the affected areas in rubbing alcohol, hoping none of the ingrowns would get infected. I showered and scrubbed, then went back to bed. I still itched.

When I got up to shower, the swelling looked pretty nasty and the ingrowns, despite my best efforts, were starting to get whiteheads. I got up and left for work. I sat in my cubicle feeling utterly miserable. The itching was way worse than any of the reactions I’d had before. When I got up to use the bathroom, I checked the damage.

I almost threw up. A nearly perfect triangle of densely-clustered whiteheads occupied the entire area I’d waxed. Even worse, and this is going to be gross but there’s no real way to talk around it, they’d been popping the whole time I was sitting at my desk. My underwear was soaked.

After cleaning myself up as best I could, I talked to my boss and told her I needed to leave early. She said it was no problem, so I left and headed straight to the walk-in clinic.

I lucked out and got seen right away. The doctor raised her eyebrows to the ceiling when she saw the reaction I was having, but quickly reassured me that she sees people who get skin irritation from hair removal all the time. She gave me some kind of ointment to rub on it twice a day and said if it doesn’t improve in a week, she’d give me something stronger.

I cancelled the date I had with the nice guy from the other night. I felt pretty bad, but he was understanding. He said was that he had to go on a business trip the next day and would be gone for a week. I told him that I looked forward to his return, assuming a week from then I’d be in the clear.

Spoiler: I wasn’t.

I applied the ointment diligently for a few days and most of the whiteheads stopped appearing. The swelling, though, persisted. Same with the itching. My armpits weren’t particularly bad, but my, well, perineum, and the surrounding area, was a disaster area. It was super swollen and it hurt to walk and use the bathroom.

The other night, six days after I’d seen the doctor, the itching turned to flat-out pain. It wasn’t unbearable, and if it had been, I would’ve gone to the emergency room right away, but it was enough to keep me tossing and turning in bed. The clinic started seeing patients at 6am and I was planning to be the first person there when the doors opened.

As the night dragged on, I felt steadily-intensifying pressure on the affected area. It got bad. I scratched through my pajamas and felt small pops under my fingernails. When I pulled my hand away, my fingers were wet. I gagged. Off to the shower I went.

Because I like you guys, I’m not going to be as graphic as I could be. However, I can assure you this will be extraordinarily unpleasant to read. Before I jumped in the shower, I used my phone to take a quick picture of my perineal area. No, I won’t share it with you. But my God, I wish I hadn’t seen it. The small whiteheads in the area had clustered into a few very large ones. They bulged out of the skin almost half an inch and I knew right away that they were the cause of the pressure I was feeling.

I deleted the picture, got in the shower, and squeezed the biggest one as hard as I could. Its contents splattered on the floor of the bathtub like a pasty spitball. I watched as the water washed away the gooey parts. I bent down to look at what remained, screamed at the top of my lungs, threw on my clothes, and drove myself to the hospital.

Don’t worry, I’m going to be fine. I got to speak to a lot of specialists, though; lots of smart doctors whose curiosity was obvious. They kept me there for a few hours and cleaned up my crotch and armpits pretty thoroughly. Then I was discharged with a bunch of medications and tasked to share a bit of hard-learned advice. So here it is!

Always make sure the skin you’re about to remove hair from is clean. Be mindful of the sharpness of your razor when shaving, and if waxing, do your best to avoid any chemicals you might be sensitive to. Stay away from depilatory products that haven’t been evaluated by the FDA. This includes, but is not limited to, creams, lasers, and waxes.

Further, homemade depilatory products are discouraged. That was my mistake. Well, one of two. No one should ever, ever use flypaper for hair removal, especially flypaper that’s not right out of the box. This is because no matter how clean it looks or how meticulously you picked the flies out of their sticky confines, they may leave pieces behind. In my case, those pieces were eggs.

More.
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Psalms of Savagery, part 1: Lisette

psalms

I’m an IT contractor for the FBI. I learned about a serial killer whose crimes are being actively hidden the by the Bureau and by state and local police departments. I believe it is my duty to bring these crimes to light. The files I’ve taken detail the criminal acts and the evidence associated with them. I will share portions of the files over the course of the next week or so, starting with this one today. People can’t live under a false impression of safety.

On May 3rd, 2016, Lisette Jan Aronowitz, 43, was found dead by her husband at their home in Bethesda, MD. She had been crucified. Nails had been driven through her hands and feet, anchoring her to the brick wall above the fireplace. It is assumed Lisette was alive during the crucifixion.

The victim’s eyes and teeth had been removed. Her eye sockets were filled with the excised teeth; top teeth in the left socket, bottom teeth in the right. These injuries are also assumed to have been inflicted while the Lisette was alive.

Death appears to have been the result of internal injuries from repeated blunt-force trauma to the abdomen. Bruising patterns suggest a cross-shaped object.

There was no indication that Lisette had been sexually assaulted. However, blood, hair, and s***n were found at the crime scene. Each sample was contained in small, individual ramekins on the floor below the victim. The victim’s left eye was in the ramekin containing hair while the right eye was in the ramekin containing blood.

Federal databases have no record of the DNA found at the scene. Fingerprints, while numerous, were also not on record.

The autopsy of Lisette yielded a great deal of evidence with little-to-no clues about who the murderer may have been. In the place of each tooth, small pieces of frankincense resin had been inserted below the gum line. The interior of the eye sockets were coated in myrrh oil. A cut had been made in the soft palate, where a gold coin was found. The obvious biblical connection was not overlooked.

While the killer’s general motive remains a mystery, a small amount of illumination was gleaned from the contents of 83 small incisions in the flesh of Lisette’s back and buttocks. Inside each incision was a plastic-wrapped piece of paper, on which one word, number, or punctuation mark was written.

A cursory examination of the words suggested another biblical connection, and when they were fed into a pattern-matching database, their source was revealed.

Psalms 64: 1-2, 9-10

1 Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy. 2 Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from the plots of evildoers. 9 All people will fear; they will proclaim the works of God and ponder what he has done. 10 The righteous will rejoice in the LORD and take refuge in him; all the upright in heart will glory in him!

The case is still under investigation, but the official report made no mention of the ritualistic nature of the murder. All inquiries into the case are being denied. Further, the lack of details released have prevented any connections being made between Lisette’s murder and the murder of at least four others.

But I have the details. And in the coming days, so will you. 

Will be continued.
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