Browsing Category Horror

The Cabin

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1

“Don’t blink, don’t breathe, don’t move,” Milo told himself over and over standing at the window. For fifty-one nights he stood this post, whispering his chant and staring out into the dark void of the woods surrounding the cabin. “Don’t blink, don’t breathe, don’t move.” Fifty-one nights of pounding heartbeats and moist, nervous hands gripping the slick steel of the shotgun he held close to his chest. He didn’t dare sit, fearing even the slightest bit of comfort would make him vulnerable. Milo needed to be alert for the fight of his life. “Don’t blink, don’t breathe, don’t move.”

The descent into madness can be slight. So, much that one could begin that slow decline into mental turmoil and fail to realize the shift until it is too late to seek help. For days, Milo worked in the cabin, with a firm hold on his sanity, stippling leaves on his canvas of seaweed green acrylic landscapes. That was before the crazed anxiety and paranoia stalked him, begging him to come and join them in the dark corners of his mind. He was sure he wasn’t going mad, for fifty days he convinced himself of it. But on the fifty-first night of the fifty-first day, his certainty wavered, and he wondered if the fear that kept him at his post every night was coming from madness corroding his mind or a true threat from beyond the cold glass that separated him from the night air.

Milo wondered if his constant solitude created a fertile bed for insanity to grow. If hour after hour with only the sound of his breathing to comfort him had lulled him into this state. He had come to the cabin to be alone, truly alone far from civilization and distractions. When he left the busy city encouraged by his agent to reacquaint himself with his artistic talent, this had been the goal. He wanted to find a space to create uninhibited. The cabin was to be the birthplace of his renewed dedication to his painting. And, it had worked. The cabin gave him room to let his imagination stretch and crack its joints in satisfaction. In the 427 days he lived in the cabin, he had managed to create some of the most astounding pieces he ever saw. For 427 days he lived and worked in the forest surrounded by beauty and the sweet silence of nature punctured only by the sounds of the living earth.

It could be that 427 days of solitude is the limit for a healthy mind to survive on its own. That this is the threshold one shouldn’t cross to avoid the threat of losing the leverage of rational thought. Maybe this is the number of days a mind can exist without any companionship before the imagination takes over and the line between reality and fantasy blurs. Maybe 427 days was Milo’s personal breaking point, and his psyche could take no more of the seclusion. But on the 427th night of the 427th day, he saw something that held him at the window for 51 nights to follow.

He had developed a routine in his time in the cabin, slowly breaking the time restrictions of the rapidly moving city and the constant fear of being late for everything. That routine placed him in a rocking chair with lemon tea, reading as the skies darkened in the evening. He liked the way the smell of turpentine mixed with the scent of the pine walls as the air grew humid at night. He spent his days trying to capture the soul of the verdant grass and thick patches of moss in the woodlands but at night when he rested his relationship with the forest was purely platonic. Milo only wished to admire from a distance. Taking a moment to rest his eyes he stared out at the treetops just below the stars. He sat there with his book resting on his chest, doused in his comfort and mused about the success of his decision to come to the woods when his world changed. Very slowly, like someone standing with a stiff back after sitting too long, a few of the tree tops began to bend from side to side. His sane mind told him it was a strong wind causing the trees to move that way. But in the fringe, those dark corners where madness and doubt go to play, his inner voice spoke and reminded him that the wind would disturb all the trees, not a sporadically selected few.

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Sharper Image

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I am writing this report with the hope that someone someday will find it and still be able to read. My wish is that my words will explain what happened and give the reader some insight as to how things went so terribly wrong.

Today, I am writing from a cave I found in an area which was never well populated. That fact should help keep me safe for a little while longer. But I know they will find me. They always do.

It has now been just over ten years since the first noticeable problems began to appear. I can remember the time well because it was the last time I saw my family. When I say saw my family, I mean actually living, breathing and standing in front of me. As much as I can, I still search for them. My heart tells me I am probably too late.

So many mistakes had already been made by the time I was called up. In the beginning, they weren’t sure of the cause. Even when I tried to tell them the truth, they refused to listen. They said I was wrong. They said my facts were all distorted. They also said I was crazy. Not listening to me, not heeding my advice was their biggest mistake.

I remember when this new technology was introduced. Nothing of this magnitude had been presented since Alexander Wolcott patented the first camera back in 1840.

Imagine, three-dimensional photographs so real you felt like you could stick your hand right inside the picture and pull out what was in there. I often wondered if there was a sudden rise in the amount of sprained or broken fingers heading to the emergency rooms.

Don’t ask me how they got it to work. After all of my investigations, I still don’t know. What I do know is that it caught on and spread across the globe like ants invading a sugar cube factory.

At first, the new cameras were somewhat expensive. Three-Dee Pics incorporated held the patent for the first five years and were reaping in the early benefits. But, as with any new, popular toy, demand increased and, after a government-imposed mandate, soon everyone could afford one. I must admit I was also impressed. Eventually, I got one for each member of my family. It is a mistake which will haunt me until the time I can no longer draw breath.

I think the first real sign was when that plane fell out of the sky and nosed dived into an apartment complex in Queens. The media, along with most of us, immediately wondered if the terrorists were at it again. With the tragedies of 911, who could blame us for thinking that way. But, when that second plane fell, outside of Denver, two days later, just missing a crowded high school by a quarter mile, I began to wonder if something else was the cause.

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Evil Eyes

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Sarah hurried through the bustling streets and dodged other people who were also eager to get home after a long day’s work. Her mind was numb from hours of filing and answering phone calls at her job as an administrative assistant, but the fog in her brain began to clear as she inhaled the cool autumn air, her breath coming out in wisps.

Her heart thumped in anticipation. Jay, her long-distance boyfriend, had arrived from Toronto that afternoon and let himself into her apartment with the key she’d given him on his last visit. She hadn’t seen him in a month, and her excitement made her anxious to get home. She hoped that this would be the weekend that he would propose.

Sarah was annoyed at having to stand on her tiptoes to see over people’s shoulders as she waited to cross the street. Instead, she looked up at the grey sky, the daylight already fading into dusk, and wondered if it would rain again. She brushed her blonde hair out of her eyes and tapped her toe as she waited for the light to change. When it finally did, Sarah strolled briskly with the crowd, anticipation quickening her steps. She walked twenty minutes, past monochrome office buildings only shades darker than the sky, making the world seem colourless, though she hardly noticed, and toward a cluster of squat apartment buildings. When her building came into view, a red-bricked two-storied cube, she pulled out her keys and jogged the last few steps. Her hands trembled, making it difficult to put the key in the lock. She threw the door open and hurried up a small, worn flight of stairs to apartment number eight. Her keys jangled loudly in the quiet hallway as she unlocked the door, and when she tried to push it open, the chain banged loudly, giving her a start and preventing her from getting in.

Sarah peeked through the crack into her apartment and called out, “Jay? Jay, why am I locked out?”

She caught a glimpse of him leaning out of the kitchen, which was directly adjacent to the entrance. He looked nervous. He pushed his glasses up with one finger and wiped sweat from his forehead as he examined her. He did not move to open the door. “Sarah?” he said, his voice low and shaky.

“Yes, it’s me. Can you please let me in, so we can say hello properly?” She felt her excitement fade as she watched him fidget with the hem of his shirt. Something was wrong.

Jay took one step, then another, and peered through the crack, looking into her eyes for a long moment before nodding, closing the door, and unhooking the chain.

Sarah did not rush in right away. All day, she’d imagined jumping into his arms and kissing him, and holding his face in her hands, while his arms wrapped around her. Now, she entered slowly, narrowing her eyes at him. She looked him up and down, tying to determine the cause of his unease. “What’s the matter?”

“Something weird happened,” Jay said. He hurried past Sarah, locked the deadbolt, and then put the chain back on. He looked out the peephole for a minute, tested the door handle to make sure it was locked, and then finally turned to face her. He looked pale, and his eyes darted in every direction.

“What?”

He avoided her gaze, looking instead at his short, clean fingernails. His cheeks burned a bright red, contrasting strongly against his pale skin. “I-I don’t want to talk about it. I’m not even sure it happened.”

“For God’s sake, Jay! What is it?” Sarah dropped her bags to the floor and stood there with her hands on her hips, waiting. She looked around as she waited for an answer. The apartment was dim on the best of days, the light blocked by taller buildings, but today it was downright gloomy. Jay had drawn all the curtains. She raised an eyebrow at him.

“Please, can we just move on? I’m fine, but I want to talk about something else.” Jay finally put his arms around her and held her tightly, as though he’d wondered if he’d ever get to hold her again. She felt his heart pounding wildly in his chest.

“No! Something obviously happened, and I want to know what.” She pushed his shoulders back, so she could look into his wide, fearful eyes.

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A Letter From The Grave

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Me

I remember how cold I was, how scared. My eyes opened slowly, heavy from whatever drugs you had poisoned
me with. Damp, dark and freezing; those are the words I used to describe the stone room I awoke in. You were
not there when I woke up, though, it was just me and my thoughts.

Relief poured through my tired body when I heard footsteps; I should have known they would be yours.

Before the first girl arrived, I was lonely and scared, in constant fear of what you would do when you came in next. You never spoke, just watched as I ate, as I drank, as I cried. You watched with a confused expression on your face as if you had never seen a real human before. It scared me.

The First Girl

You always picked the pretty ones. The first girl to arrive after me was Robyn, black hair swinging as she fought you; punching, kicking, scratching and scraping. Until you injected her with something, and she fell to the floor like a rag doll her head cracking painfully on the concrete.

I remember being mesmerised by her clear, pale skin; her black hair and plump lips. It made me feel worthless with my bruises and flat, brown hair.

She arose angry, cursing at you again and again until her voice cracked.

She wouldn’t speak to me though. She just sat and stared, analysing. It wasn’t until she saw the littering of bruises on my skin that she started to warm to me.

It was the next day that she finally conversed with me, her voice dry and cracked – yet she’d refuse to drink any water. “I’m not touching anything that that creep gives us,” She would say, determined, “I’d rather die.”

The next day she guzzled the whole bottle of water in one sitting.

The Second Girl

Abbey was next, her arrival like a kick to the throat. I remember looking at her school uniform and clenching my fists so hard that my nails broke the skin.

She was still drugged as you yanked her through the large metal door, murmuring nonsense into your empty chest. Robyn, who was much braver than me, lunged at you. You dropped the young girl on the floor to backhand Robyn around the face. This was the first time you ever hit one of us.

Abbey cried a lot that day, wet, incurable sobs that racked through her tiny frame. It felt good to comfort someone.

We didn’t eat until Robyn went to her knees to apologise.

The Third Girl

Lily was next. Beautiful of course, and scarred – jagged lines marking from wrist to elbow. Robyn didn’t fight this time; her punishment was still too vivid, the memory of you in her mouth too rich. Witnessing the limp woman, dropped like trash at her feet, made Abbey cry again.

You wrinkled your nose. “Don’t cry,” You said, “It’s ugly.”

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