Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Twenty Years Ago Me And My Son Went On A Camping Trip, Now I Wonder If He Ever Came Back

I remember it really clearly, it was about 20 years ago, back when we lived in Washington. My wife was never the outdoorsy type so when my son, Brandon, wanted to go camping it was always just me and him. That wasn’t bad though, it was good father-son time.

It was a nice scenic drive on the way to the campsite. I remember Brandon asked me about the music on the radio and I spent an embarrassingly long time reminiscing about my high school days and what bands I was obsessed with back then. Eventually we reached our site and I got to work pitching our tent. Brandon waited patiently, he wasn’t the type to go running off or anything, and when it was all set up me and him went for a hike to take in the nature.

It was really peaceful. The woods surrounding the campground were calm and serene, there wasn’t any animals out and about but every once in a while I would stop and point out a deer track or some droppings. It reminded me of when I was a kid spending time with my dad. I suppose I was about nine years old when I learned about the marvels of deer poop myself. As I looked at him I couldn’t help but see a younger version of myself. We had the same eyes, the same hair, and like most of the people in my family we had the same birthmark on our upper right arm.

It was hard spending time with Brandon sometimes, I worked so often and sure, it was putting food on the table, but whenever I saw how fast he was growing without me around the guilt would start to well up inside me. Seeing him smile and laugh that day really uplifted my spirits though. I was here now, and that’s what mattered, is what I’d tell myself whenever the conversation lulled.

As we were walking we suddenly found the trail leading out of the woods and into a beautiful view of the river. I was telling Brandon about erosion and how you could see the effects of the previous years floods on the riverbank when his expression suddenly changed. He pointed up to the sky and said “What’s that dad?” I looked up myself and found that I was just as confused as he was. There was, off in the distance, a dark, triangular, looking object. It hung in the sky perfectly still and then suddenly vanished. Not wanting to lose my reputation as a know it all dad I desperately searched for an explanation, before deciding that it must have been a helicopter and telling Brandon as such. He obviously didn’t believe me, and frankly, I didn’t believe myself either.

By the time we got back to our tent the sun had already started to set. I got Brandon to help me collect some firewood and start up a fire. We roasted some hotdogs and marshmallows. We didn’t get to the scary stories, however, as Brandon started nodding off and I decided it was time for bed. I got Brandon into his sleeping bag and I crawled into mine right beside him.

It was the shaking that woke me at first. I had been in an earthquake before but this was different, it was hard to describe. It was almost like someone was picking up the earth and the earth was trying to pull it back. I was still groggy, I reached out to see if Brandon was awake and I found his sleeping back empty. I wasn’t too panicked yet, like I said, he wasn’t the type to run off, and I always try to keep a level head. I stumbled out of the tent and walked towards where the flashlights were. Confident that I would find him near the fire trying to cope with the shaking. Then the lights happened. The whole campground was bathed in a bright, sickly, white light. It was blinding at first, and when my vision adjusted I realized that Brandon was nowhere to be found. That was when I started to panic.

I grabbed a flashlight and started shouting his name. As I ran to the edge of the woods surrounding the campsite I tried looking for a source for the light, but I couldn’t see one. As I ran to the edge of the woods my pounding heart skipped a beat when I heard Brandon’s voice. He called out to me, “Dad! I’m over here!”. I rushed over, my happiness quickly abated when he started crying “Help! Somethings wrong!”

I ran to the other side of the campsite and found him crouched away from me in a little ditch. The shaking had mostly subsided and I rushed over to him. He was facing away from the light and I put my hand on his back. “What’s the matter? Are you hurt?” I could hear him struggling for air. “Dad!” he finally cried, “something’s wrong… everything’s wrong…” his voice was weak. I reached to his hand and when I touched it alarm bells rang in my head. His skin was rubbery and wrinkly, like a halloween mask. I turned my flashlight on and his whole skin looked a horrid purple. “Brandon,” I muttered in shock. I turned him to face me and screamed. His face was emaciated, his eyes so sunken they looked like a skulls empty sockets. His jaw hanged open like the muscles that held it were worn and worthless. My whole body shook in terror. The shaking started back up again. This time even more violently. It seemed as if the ground was going to get ripped up and thrown into the sky. I didn’t know what to do. I grabbed Brandon and held him as close to me as I could. I found myself praying to a god I was never sure actually existed. Through gurgles and moans Brandon started to talk, “It hurts Dad… why does it hurt so much… help me Dad…” As I squeezed him I could feel him get thinner and thinner, like his insides were being sucked out. It felt like there was nothing left of him. Tears started rolling down my face and the last thing I heard him say, faint as a whisper, haunted me. “Why won’t you help me Dad?”

A nudge caused me to bolt up in my sleeping bag. Brandon was prodding me, “Wake up Dad, I’m hungry.” I got up, more than a little confused. As my heart stopped racing and I came back to reality I realized that I had just had a crazy nightmare. I chuckled to myself. After Brandon was fed I walked over to the ditch from the previous night. There was nothing weird or out of the ordinary. Brandon too, seemed just like he always was, and didn’t mention anything about the previous night. When I walked back to Brandon and asked if he felt the ground shake he said he hadn’t felt a thing. When we got back to civilization I asked other people the same thing and they all agreed with Brandon.

For a week then, my mind was at ease. I worked a lot again that week and when I finally had a day off me and the wife took Brandon to the pool. It was only there that memories of that night came flooding back and the horror with it. When Brandon took his shirt off I looked at his arm, and noticed the family birthmark was missing.



Sunday, November 20, 2022

Miner Inconvenience

Bob felt his arms feel like jelly. He didn’t really understand why, but this coal vein couldn’t be accessed by machinery. His boss simply handed him a pickaxe and a bucket and told him to get to work. It was exhausting, and he hated every second of it. But that was normal. He always hated every second of his job. He wanted out, and he had been applying all over.


As he worked the ground with his pickaxe, he noticed a strange spot. A black blob etched into the rock. It almost seemed like coal, but it was reflective, like obsidian maybe? Bob felt a very sudden urge come on him to strike the black spot. He couldn’t explain it, it was like standing on a balcony and getting the urge to jump. It was like the urge he had every morning to just drive away and not go into work. This time though, he couldn’t fight it. He picked up his pickaxe and threw it down on the black spot. It instantly crumbled into a tiny, unremarkable hole. Bob shrugged, weird, though he wasn’t a cave scientist or anything, so maybe that happened all the time.


The rest of his day was the same garbage as always. Dreading every second of it, until his shift ended and he got to drive home and indulge his fantasy of a career change. Bob sat down at his computer and loaded up some job search sites. As he got ready to apply, however, something seemed to shift in his mind. After all, he was working in a coal mine, he was making good money, right? He didn’t want a pay cut, right? He liked being a blue collar man, he took pride in doing the work no one else would. He was hero, a real American. He didn’t need a new job, his was just plenty.


The next day at work was awful. The boss was on the warpath, screaming at anyone and everyone he came across, and he came across Bob a lot. Bob felt his body struggle with the work. He almost fell asleep on his lunch break. His whole day was just a mess. The entire time what kept him going was the dream of escaping, the dream of something new, something different.


That night he again sat at his computer. Again he loaded up the job sites. Again he started to have second thoughts, thoughts about his coworkers and how he enjoyed hanging out with them and would miss them. Miss the camaraderie. Bob skimmed the job listings and decided none were worth it.


This cycle continued, over and over, year after year. Friends left the job, the boss got angrier. One day the boss was replaced by an even angrier one. Bob felt himself age, felt his muscles ache, and almost even felt his hair grow grey. With each part of his body breaking down he found it harder and harder to do his job. Every day he’d tell himself to quit, and every night he would tell himself to put up with it just a little bit longer.


Finally, there was a cave in. Rocks and debris poured onto Bob, crushing every bone in his body. He had just enough time to ponder that this job had finally killed him.


Suddenly he awoke. He was young again. He looked down and saw the crumbled pit of black whatever he was so intent on breaking. He swore to quit the next day. He got home that night and started to think. After all, he was working in a coal mine, he was making good money, right? He didn’t want a pay cut, right?

For Two Decades I Investigated Paranormal Reports Online for the Government, Now I'm Ready to Share What I Found [Part 5]

Hello everyone, Frank Kennedy here. I know it’s been some time since my last update, but I found this case file the other day, and thought it was worth sharing. See, TV, and media in general, lets us escape our everyday troubles and find a moments respite. What happens, though, when a TV show is the cause of our everyday troubles? What happens when those troubles become far more then “everyday”? In 2016 a young woman made a series of posts to a forum discussing Japanese animation that describes her experience with just that. It begins in mid June, with a post titled:


“Managed to grab a drawing of Daisuke from [Show name redacted]!”


“Hey guys, I just wanted to share my latest find. I went to the [Location redacted] anime [slang for Japanese animation] convention for the first time, I wasn’t expecting much but I was so surprised! I had a great time going to all the panels and performances, and I even got some merch! I could go on about all the stuff I bought, but what I really wanted to share was this print I got of Daisuke! I feel like I’m the only fan of [Show name redacted] out there, I never here anyone talk about it, so when someone had a drawing of my favorite husbando [slang for character one is infatuated with] for sale, I had to pick him up! Like omg, he’s so cute!!!”


Attached were photos of the drawing, which are no longer part of the case file for reasons I will explain later. From what I can recall, however, there was nothing particularly out of the ordinary about the drawing or the character compared to others from the same medium.


The post gained little traction, and was followed shortly after with a post titled “I’ve hung Daisuke up!” showing the picture framed and hanging on her bedroom wall. There was no more activity relating to the picture for a month, until a post titled “I love when Daisuke talks to me” was made:


“As a lot of you know, my parents’ marriage hasn’t been going great lately. They used to take it out on me, but I guess now that I’m in high school they’ve turned to my little brother. Last night they were screaming at him and I could hear everything from inside my room. I wanted to go out and stand up for him, but I was so scared, I just curled up into a ball. I looked up at Daisuke and imagined him holding me, comforting me. I knew he wouldn’t be scared, he’d protect me. The thought was really nice. As I dreamt of him I heard a voice. I opened my eyes and looked around. It was the drawing! I watched his lips move and everything. He told me that everything was going to be alright, and that I didn’t have to worry about anything, he’d take care of it. Now, I know I probably just fell asleep and dreamt that, but it made me feel so cozy and happy to have him tell me that. Thanks Daisuke!”


This was followed a couple weeks later with one titled “Daisuke’s so great!”:


“Since my last post, things have been going good. Mom and Dad have been keeping their distance, especially with my brother, and I’ve really gotten to know Daisuke! He’s just like he is in anime, so cool and heroic. Every night before bed me and him talk. He says he loves me, and that he wouldn’t let anyone hurt me, or my brother. I feel so good with him. My friends wanted me to come hang out with them last weekend, but I couldn’t help but stay home and chat with my Daisuke!”


Her tone changed a little the next week with “Daisuke helped me??”:


“Last night was awful. I was just in my room doing nothing when my Dad burst in. He was drunk, and he was mad. He screamed at me and I told him to stop, that I hadn’t done anything. I got up and he pushed me hard, I fell backwards and landed on my bed. I started to cry. I saw my Dad lift up his hand like he was going to slap me like when I was little. Suddenly he started coughing. It was really violent, like he wanted to puke but nothing was coming out. Tears were streaming out of his eyes and he shuffled out of my room. He was coughing the rest of the night. I didn’t know what to do or think, and then I just heard Daisuke, in an aggressive voice, say that he wouldn’t let anyone hurt me. Did he do that to my Dad?”


Again, no one responded, and no updates were provided for a month, until a post titled “Daisuke is scaring me”:


“Hey guys, I just wanted to let you know what’s going on. My Dad is really sick, he’s coughing all the time, and he’s lost a ton of weight. He has another doctors appointment next week, but I don’t think its going to be good news. I know my Dad hasn’t always treated me well, but I still love him, I don’t want him to go. I’m so scared. Both of losing my Dad and Daisuke. He tries to talk to me every night, but I try to ignore him. Every time I ask him if he’s doing this to Dad he tries to change the subject, or says something about how he’s ‘protecting’ me. I don’t want Daisuke to protect me anymore. He tells me he loves me, that he won’t let go of me. It’s terrifying. Sometimes I wake up at night and try to stay still, just so that he won’t try to speak with me, but he always knows. He says he knows everything about me, and that he loves every little part of me, and that it would be bad if I don’t love him back. I don’t know what to do anymore. I need Daisuke gone. I think I’m going to stop by the convenience store on the way home tomorrow and buy a lighter, that way I can get rid of Daisuke for good.”


That was the last post she made. I made attempts to reach out to her, but I received no response. I also tried finding news stories pertaining to the situation and location, but nothing came up.


When I first made this case file, I marked the investigation as inconclusive. There was no hard evidence pointing to the supernatural, and there was lots that could suggest an overactive, escapist, imagination. Now that I’m revisiting the case though I want to change that conclusion. When I opened up that file, the copies I had of Daisuke’s illustration had turned into pages of pure black. I typed the shows name into Google, and I found no results at all. It was like none of it had ever existed. Finally I typed in the anime convention that she had went to, and I found out that it had never taken place. Goosebumps covered me as I read that it had to be canceled. The venue was destroyed. Burned down.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Hegemony

The whole world seemed to stop that day. It all happened so quickly and so suddenly. Some of us were at work, some of us were lounging around at home. It started with a breaking news report, and then another, and then another. Each one grew graver and graver until all the phones and all the TV’s and all the radios around the world started blaring alarms. It had finally happened. World War 3. Some were moved to tears. Many didn’t react at all. Perhaps for some there was some bizarre joy in the liberation of death and destruction. However, we all waited. With baited breath we waited for the missiles to come and for it all to end. They never came. We waited and waited and the missiles simply hung in the sky, as if frozen in place.


The tension built. We started to grow impatient. The only thing worse then death is the anticipation of it. In all our hearts there formed some perverse desire for the bombs to fall, for the conclusion to come. As the bombs stayed still we all started to panic. That was when the message came. All the phones and all the TV’s and all the radios sang at once. It wasn’t a song, but a sternly worded message. “Well that was disappointing. You’ve had your chance.”


If there was any confusion as to who sent the message it became painfully clear when the missiles all turned to face Russia and China. In a few terrifying moments over a billion people were wiped off the earth. People always joked about America having stolen UFO tech, but clearly something was up. We were all scared out of our wits.


After the dust and fallout settled some countries immediately surrendered to the Americans, other’s merely swallowed their pride and kissed the ring. Every once in a while some group, some rogue state, would try to rise up and break free, and every time the same message would appear, on all the phones and all the TV’s and all the radios. “Well that was disappointing. You’ve had your chance.”


Rude Awakening

Like entering into a dream partway through I came back into existence. I was resting against something. I got up and turned around. I screamed. I cried. I curled into a ball and vomited. Corpses. Already stinking from the rot. I had been laying on top of a pile of bodies.


My horror magnified as I examined the people further. The one with the salt and pepper goatee was my father, and the one with the big mole on her cheek was my mother. In the pile too was my best friend, my high school crush, my fiance, my brother and my sister. I think there was more but I couldn’t force myself to look any longer. They were all clearly murdered. Severed and stabbed. The thought started to emerge in my mind, a fuzzy shadow off into the distance, but I swiftly squished it down and out of my consciousness. I couldn’t have done this, I’m a GOOD person, a NICE person, not a MURDERER.


I tried to peace back together what might have lead to this. The last thing I could remember was walking in the woods. It was kind of chilly but I didn’t need a jacket. I had convinced myself that I was there to unwind, to decompress, but somewhere in my mind was the knowledge that I was there for ...something. I couldn’t put it to words, maybe I just didn’t want to.


I kept walking, I had been here before a few times, I knew the way and the trail was easy to walk. No one had ever shown up on the trail this late. Maybe that’s why I went so late, I would be at peace. This time was different though. There was someone up ahead. Their face was shrouded by a hood. Drug dealer? No, he didn’t quite look like one.


I got closer, the man’s shadowy face drifted towards me. His eyes almost seemed to glow in the darkness. As I approached he stopped me and whispered in a hoarse, yet charming voice:


“I know why you’re here tonight”


I was taken aback, but asked what he meant,


“I know that you aren’t here for no reason, I no that you are here for ...something”


“Y… yes, ...something,”


The man held out his arm, “What is the something you wish to seek?”


I stared at him for some time, and then I answered, “For all my dreams to come true.”

The Clown in the Corner of your Eye

The clown never leaves. Everywhere you go you can see him. Just in the corner of your eye, just for a moment. You start to think that he must be following you. He must be following you. You call in sick for work, you drive an hour out of town. You step into a random mall. There he is. He is always following you.


You get nervous. You must be paranoid, right? No one else is noticing this, right? That’s when you hear about the murders. All over town people are being killed. Randomly. Brutally. You’re not an idiot, you can connect the dots. It’s the clown. You do research. The killings all happen in areas you frequent. The clown is hunting you. Targeting you. You hate the clown. You despise the clown.


One day, you are walking down the street. It’s at night. The convenience store was a reprieve; no clown in sight. You turn a corner. There he is. The clown is standing right there. He’s not in the corner of your eye anymore, he’s right in front of you. The clown. The murderer. You reach into your pocket. You have a knife. As soon as you pull it out, the clown runs. You’re faster. He turns a corner and winds up in a lonely back alley. You follow him there. He falls down and tries to say something. You know better. You plunge the knife in deep. You do it again. You do it again. You’re out of breath. You walk home. You shower. You sleep.


You wake up. You had a crazy dream about a clown. You get dressed. You go to work. A couple weeks go by. Suddenly, out of the corner of your eye, you see something strange. Is that a clown?


The clown never leaves. Everywhere you go you can see him. Just in the corner of your eye, just for a moment. You start to think that he must be following you. He must be following you. You call in sick for work, you drive an hour out of town, the radio talks about the child murdered in an alley two weeks ago. You step into a random mall. There he is. He is always following you.

Friday, November 11, 2022

I'm Terrified of Meeting My Girlfriend's Dad

This night has been the most disturbing of my life. I guess I’m posting this just to know what to do next, but I’m really scared to do anything. Any advice would be appreciated though.


First some background. I met my girlfriend, Faith, back in our sophomore year of high school, about two years ago. Me and her hit things off instantly and I developed a huge crush on her. Unfortunately, she had a bf already. I did my best to move on from her and dated a girl for a little bit until that fell apart, but eventually I found myself being the shoulder Faith cried on when her boyfriend went missing. It was really disturbing, they went on a date and he dropped her off and then just fell off the face of the earth. Now I’m not the type to exploit someones grief, so I made sure to keep a bit of distance while she worked through her emotions. However, after a few months she invited me out and one thing led to another and we started dating.


Things have been going well lately, and she’s been over to my place and met my parents, but I haven’t met her dad yet. Her mom passed away when she was young so it was just the two of them after that. I guess he’s pretty overprotective sometimes so Faith doesn’t want us to meet until she thinks he’s ready. Regardless, he’s been out of town this weekend, so Faith invited me over to keep her company.


At first it was pretty chill, me and her just relaxed and watched some cheesy horror movies. After a while though we got into a pretty deep conversation. She told me that she had really bad nightmares sometimes, of her mother. She would dream that she was walking down a hallway, and she could hear her mother sobbing in another room. Part of her would want to run towards her, another part would want to run away. Before she could do something she would hear a sickening cracking sound and a guttural scream. She said it sounded like baseball being hit but louder. After that she would wake up in a cold sweat.


She also told me that she was scared of me leaving when we went out. She said that her old boyfriend disappearing really freaked her out. The way he just got in his car and never came back. She started to shudder a bit and I could tell that she needed comfort. We cuddled for a bit and I offered to grab her a blanket. She told me they kept some in a closet down the hall upstairs.


I walked up and looked for the closet. When I found it I noticed that one of the bedroom doors was slightly open beside it. I figured it must have been her Dad’s room because of the d├ęcor, and I decided to just quickly poke my head in. Maybe I’d see what his interests were and impress him when we actually met.


The room turned out to be pretty barren. Save for the Boomer rock posters I saw when I first peeked in. Just when my curiosity was satisfied I heard a door pop open. I looked over and saw that her dad’s closet had opened on its own. Now, I didn’t want him to suspect someone was in there so I went to close the door and stopped.


I stared at the contents of the closet in a quiet shock for a moment. There was a bizarre collage of sorts plastered onto the back wall. The first third was dedicated to Faith’s mom. Pictures of her, accompanied by newspaper clippings of her death. I never realized she was murdered. Below that was a picture of her ex-boyfriend, handwritten notes about his address, and newspaper clippings of his disappearance. Circled in one of the clippings was a passage about the one piece of evidence the police found, his lucky baseball bat, wiped completely clean but left in the woods. The bottom third was empty, aside from a picture of me, and a note about where I lived.


I stared at that… thing, for so long that I could hear Faith start climbing the stairs. She was asking how long it was going to take me to find a blanket. I quickly and quietly shut the closet door and slipped out of her dad’s room. I pretended like there was an emergency at home and I needed to slip out. Faith looked worried, but I told her everything would be alright, even though my heart told me otherwise.

My hands trembled the whole drive home.


I wanted to ask my parents for help, but they were out on their date night, so the whole house was empty. When I pulled up to the driveway I heard a loud crashing sound. Just in the corner of my headlights a humanoid shadow sprinted away from my house. My whole body ached in fear. I took a deep breath and walked out of my car to the front door. When I reached the doorstep I felt like I wanted to puke. The doorknob was heavily scratched, like someone was trying to pick it, though that wasn’t the scariest part. On the ground was an old baseball bat, dropped in a hurry.


What do I do?


Twenty Years Ago Me And My Son Went On A Camping Trip, Now I Wonder If He Ever Came Back

I remember it really clearly, it was about 20 years ago, back when we lived in Washington. My wife was never the outdoorsy type so when my...