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The Ghost Topic

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I've been on a ghost story kick lately and just want to talk about goddamn ghosts all the time! Whether or not you believe in them, the stories are fun, not to mention creeping the hell out of your friends for kicks. Me, I'm a skeptic, but I also love the idea of the paranormal and it's fun to mess around with once in a while.

So, here, let's talk about our "experiences", or the weird things that've happened to a "friend of a friend", local legends, etc. All in good fun, of course. I'll start.

The Walls Have Fists

I live in a historic building that used to be the staffhouse for railway workers. It used to be pretty much a crackhouse, until its renovation for the Olympics a few years back. It's a cool old building, and there's nothing particularily unsettling about it save for a couple of cockroaches here and there and the occasional unidentified body hair in the common bathrooms.

At least, there was nothing unsettling about it until I had a bizarre revelation earlier today.

I live at the end of the hall. End of the floor. My room number is the first. My next-door neighbor is a kind gentleman who took my program at the school before me, so I've known him for a while, and he's quite quiet and due to film commitments isn't home very often. So I'm between him, and nothing.

Occasionally, I hear a knocking on the wall opposite of the one dividing our rooms. The first time it happened, I was convinced it was room service (we get a full room cleaning once a week), but consistantly opened my door to an empty hall. I shrugged it off; maybe someone messing around in whatever room was beyond that wall, be it a staff room or staircase or something. It wasn't the pipes, as they make a significantly different noise (and some of them are exposed running through my room), but whatever. It would happen now and then after that, but I never thought much of it.

Until I realized today that there is nothing on the other side of that wall.

That's it. It's the edge of the building. The building next door is significantly shorter. Rats? Maybe. If rats can replicate the strength and rhythm of human knocking perfectly, that is. Cockroaches? Well, we have those, but if they can make the noises I heard then that is almost scarier than the paranormal alternative.

So...yeah. tl;dr Dras might have a ghost chilling in her walls

The Man in the Tunnel

This is an older one. Four years, to be exact. My friend offered me a chance to join her on a trip to Europe, and we ended up in Edinburgh, Scotland, to do whatever the hell we wanted. Eventually, me having recently discovered the X-Files, dragged her along to one of those hokey touristy "ghost tours" that all big cities host. I was thrilled by it, but I acknowledged a lot of it was money-making BS and just kind of played along. My friend, a no-nonsense athiest skeptic, was strangely disturbed by the place. I was just messing around, and found the architecture of the tunnel--once used by bootleggers beneath the city streets--to be pretty neat, so I snapped a few photos of it. The tour ended, and I went over the photos to see if any turned out in the dim light and my crappy camera.

Then this happened.

Oh, no biggie, just a man-shape chilling out in the middle of a photo I took of an empty sealed corridor with no one in it. Shadow? Nah, the shape makes no sense with my body shape or the way I was standing. Then there's the part where this thing is interacting with the light source, as if it were a 3D being.

I wtf'd significantly.

Afterwards my friend told me she'd heard breathing over her shoulder and "sensed" something malevolent hanging around me. She's really skeptical and no-nonsense, so this was an uncharacteristic claim for her to make out of nowhere. Suffice to say, we noped out of there soon after.

Here's another photo of the figure after fucking around with it in Photoshop. I've asked one of my director friends to tell me what he thinks of it.

Anyway, SFO. Tell us your spooky stories.

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Anyway, SFO. Tell us your spooky stories.

Milky's face :troll:

What about that one Zelda creepypasta. Shit's scary man.

Huge freaky story warning:

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Yeah, read it ages ago. Goodie though

edit: Just heard back from my friend. Note this guy has directed movies, so suffice to say knows a thing or two about cameras. He can't explain what's in that picture. So I am now Dras: Ghost Photographer.

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Sudden, beady, glowing red eyes.


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Geo Stelar

This one I just found:

Bloody Mary Returns

My stepmother was vile. I guess most kids think that when their father remarries. But in this case, it was true. She only married Father because he was rich, and she hated children. There were three of us – me (Marie), my middle brother Richard and my youngest brother Charles. We were the price my stepmother Gerta paid for being rich. And we were all that stood between her and inheriting Father's money when he died. So she took steps against us.

She sent my youngest brother Charles away to boarding school overseas. It had a good, scholarly reputation, but it also had the reputation for being a hard school that was full of bullies and strict discipline. Not a place where a delicate child like Charles, who had been sickly as a baby, would thrive. He was miserable there. Somehow, Gerta contrived to keep him there for all but the summer holidays, and when he came home the first year he was pale and thin with dark circles under his eyes that looked like bruises. He cried – he actually cried! – when Father told him he had to go back to the school. But Father didn’t listen to him. Gerta thought it would be good for Charles to go there, and so Charles went.

I did everything I could – encouraging letters and daily phone calls – until Gerta said it was too expensive and restricted calls to five minutes once a month. I even got Father to book me a ticket to Europe so I could visit Charles. Gerta was enraged when she found out. Her blue eyes went so cold it made chills run up my spine, and her pink mouth thinned into a bitter line that bade ill for me since I had dared to interfere. Two days before my plane left for Europe, the school called and told us that Charles had climbed up to the tallest tower and flung himself off. He was dead.

Father was shocked, of course, and Gerta was quietly triumphant. For a few months, Father paid more attention to Richard and myself then he had since our mother died. But Gerta was beautiful and had winning ways about her that soon drew my Father’s attention away. And now that one of her hated step-children was dead, she focused on another. Poor Richard was next.

Richard was a sturdy chap who was about to enter high school, and he was really into sports. He would have thrived at the boarding school that had killed Charles. So Gerta sent him to an arts school instead. He hated it, but Gerta had told Father he had “talentâ€, so there he went. (You’d think my Father would have learned his lesson with Charles!) But Richard was a survivor, and he grimly practiced piano and violin when he would rather have played soccer and football. But Gerta was clever. She introduced Richard to a couple of high school boys who were everything Richard craved to be – rich, popular, on the football team. And into drugs. Gerta made sure Richard had a very large allowance, and kept increasing it as Richard was drawn deeper and deeper under the influence. Until one day Richard overdosed, and Gerta only had one step-child left. Me.

I was sure (sure!) that Gerta knew Richard was doing drugs in his room that day. She knew he was ill and possibly dying in there. If she’d “found†him even ten minutes sooner, his life would have been saved. So said the doctor, and I believed him. But Father wouldn’t believe me. He was angry whenever I said anything against Gerta, and told me to hold my tongue. Still, I knew I was next, and I was sure that Father would not live long after willing his fortune over to his wife. I decided that if Gerta got too bad, I would run away and live secretly with my aunt in New Jersey until I turned 18. [

From the moment Richard’s body was found in his room, I forced myself to be a model child. My homework was done on time, I was polite to Gerta and all her friends, I went on all the family excursions with Gerta and Father – even the dangerous ones like shark-fishing. You can be sure that I took care to be “sea-sick†indoors and stayed away from the edge of the boat. Gerta was clever with her tricks. Everyone thought it was an accident the time we were out shopping and I fell onto the subway in front of an oncoming train. I managed to roll out of the way on time, but it was way too close for comfort.

I had almost decided to run away when my father brought me the sad news that my aunt in New Jersey had died suddenly in her sleep, poisoned by person or persons unknown. I was appalled. How had Gerta known? But she had – I could tell from the smirk on her face.

I went to my room that night and locked myself in to think. I could run away, but the money wouldn’t last long. And I’d need to finish high school or my chances of getting a good job were nil. Besides, Gerta would still be out there somewhere. If she could hire someone to poison my only living relative (besides Father), she could hire someone to kill me, whether I was living at home or not.

There was only one thing I could think of. And it was a terrible thing. A family secret passed down from my Mother’s side for many generations. It involved a witch named Bloody Mary, who had once tried to kill my many times great grandmother and use the child’s blood to make herself young and beautiful forever. The witch had been stopped by the child's father (my many times great grandfather) in the nick of time, and the witch had cursed him as she burned at the stake. Cursed his mirror, and the mirrors of all the men who had condemned her to death at the stake, so that anyone saying her name in front of those mirrors would invoke her vengeful spirit.

The story had gotten mixed up over the years, as it was passed down first in their village and then all over the country. These days, school kids everywhere scared themselves silly chanting Bloody Mary’s name in front of darkened mirrors during sleepover parties, and nothing happened to them. So no one really believed in the curse. Of course, no one knew the real story of Bloody Mary. That was a deep secret handed down by the villagers of long ago. But I was a direct descendant, and I knew how to summon the witch. You had to use a mirror owned by someone in the direct blood-line of one of the original families that lived in Bloody Mary’s village. And the witch's name must be spoken by candlelight a certain number of times in their native tongue.

It was an evil thing to do, I knew. But it was the only way to save my life. It was either Gerta or me. If I didn’t fight back, I was dead. So I took my hard earned money and went out to a specialty store to buy hand-dipped, beeswax candles. Black ones. I followed my mother’s directions carefully, placing them at certain intervals around the living room so that they reflected in the huge mirror behind the couch. Then I lit each one, speaking the spell passed down in my mother’s family. And I waited. Father was away on a business trip, and Gerta was out at a party with her latest boyfriend. She came home late, and scolded me for staying up to study. Her voice was playful and light – I hated that voice. It made her sound like she was nice. But there was also a note of suspicion underlying her words, and she stared hard at the flickering black candles.

“Holding a séance, little Marie?†she asked, emphasizing the word little, knowing I hated when she called me that.

“I just like working by candlelight,†I said mendaciously, turning a page in my text book.

Gerta frowned. “You know, little Marie, I think it’s time we had a talk,†she said, walking over to the mirror behind the couch and primping her hair.

“Yes,†I said softly. “We should. You killed my brothers. And my aunt. But I won’t let you kill me.â€

Gerta laughed. “As if you stood a chance against me!†she said, fluffing her long blond hair up behind her shoulders.

I spoke the name of Bloody Mary in the native tongue of my ancestors. Once. Twice. Three times. Inside the mirror, the image of Gerta burst into flames, and another face looked out. It was the malevolent face of a twisted old crone, ruined with age, and altogether evil. I ducked behind the chair as Gerta gave a scream of sheer terror, her eyes fixed on the witch. As I watched from my hiding place, heat burst forth from the mirror, blistering her beautiful alabaster skin. I could hear the flames roaring as the witch laughed evilly and held out her arms toward my step mother.

“Gerta,†crooned Bloody Mary. “Come to me, Gerta.â€

And she took my step mother into her arms.

Gerta’s terrified scream was suddenly cut off. The flames disappeared as suddenly as they had come. When I peeked out from behind the couch, Gerta and Bloody Mary were gone.

I called Father at his hotel the next morning to tell him that Gerta hadn’t slept at home. (Well, it was true!) He wasn’t pleased. He called a few of her friends from his hotel room, and quickly discovered she had been carrying on with another man. With several, if the truth be known. Father hated infidelity. He flew home at once to confront Gerta, but she was still missing; presumed run away with one of her flames.

Somehow, Father managed to divorce Gerta without ever trying to find her. And since she had no family in the area except us, everyone accepted the cover story, and no one ever tried to locate her. Gerta was gone for good. And Father and I were safe at last.

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I got consent to revive this topic so it's back with a vengeance!

Have another ghost story about things that happened to me, copypasta'd from my ghost story blog:

The Man on the Rim of the World

All my life I have never lived in the same house more than a few years at a time, in various states and provinces. Though I pride myself in my long-term memory, many of these houses blended together or were lost to more important memories. Significant events gave context to what memories I do possess—like the time I came face-to-face with a fox on our deck in Colorado, or a sugar ant infestation in a pink apartment in Florida—but those aside, many just faded away.

One of these houses would have done just that if it weren’t for a single, poignant event that sticks in my mind until this day.

For the longest time I doubted this memory. I was young. The easiest explanation was that I had dreamt it. Yet it remains the clearest memory I have of any part of that massive house in Colorado.

I did remember my mother was there with me for the entire event. So the last time I went home to visit I decided to ask her about that strange house.

She hadn’t thought about it in years. But when I prompted her, she did recall a certain disturbing presence in the place. Truthfully that house did not come with the easiest time of our lives but there was a notable difference in how it felt as compared to the rest of the houses in the area that we had lived in (there were a number of them). She recalled terrible, inexplicable migraines, and the bad car accident we’d been in shortly after moving there.

So I brought up that night at that strange house, to see if there was basis to this disquieting memory after all.

I would have been four, maybe five. Yet I remember that night in detail, including the layout of the living area, a large, bizarre circular room with couches along the walls. And I remember the conversation we were having: what I’d wish for on a wishing star, which was a toss-up between going to DisneyWorld and getting a cat.

That’s when we saw, as clear as day the image—though two dimensional and black, like a highly detailed shadow—a man in a hat and briefcase dash across the wall.

There were no open windows. The image was much too sharp, a perfect cutout silhouette, and did not distort as shadows do. I remember the moment of silence as I then turned to my mother, asking her uncertainly if the man on the wall had been the shadow of my dad, but all she could say was that he wouldn’t be home yet…though we both knew that the “shadow†made no sense regardless.

She remembered vaguely as I recounted the story, though not in perfect detail. She rembered the couch, the conversation, and my terrified reaction…so it wasn’t a dream after all.

But that’s where the memory ends. Neither of us can remember at all what happened after we saw the man on the wall.

After we sat in contemplation, trying to remember any other details, my mom brought up something else that I had no recollection of: the fact that I, an extraordinarily brave and logical child, seemed to have an unusual frequency of nightmares in that house, and constantly requested to sleep with my parents. This was the only house we’d lived in where this happened with such frequency.

I usually pride myself in my long-term memory, but I don’t remember this aspect of our stay in that house.

But maybe that’s for the best after all.

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The Shaper

You know I don't believe in the supernatural, or the divine. But I occasionally try to, and sometimes I think "There are far too many cases out there for it all to be active imaginations, right?" Which I do believe, ghosts or not.

Of course, I have a few minor cases of myself that I still ponder.

I remember taking a picture of an old, green book in a very old house of mine. When I saw the picture of the book through the camera, there was an old, almost ancient man on the books cover. I may have dismissed it as part of the book, but then I saw it again without the picture. There was no cover at all. I can't even remember what it was supposed to be called. No idea what that was about.

There are a few strange things that happen around here too. I sit about 10 - 15 feet from the door to this apartment. Occasionally, I see the door push open slightly from the outside. Never makes a sound, and there is never anyone on the other side. Yet I still see it.

Weird stuff, that.

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There are a few strange things that happen around here too. I sit about 10 - 15 feet from the door to this apartment. Occasionally, I see the door push open slightly from the outside. Never makes a sound, and there is never anyone on the other side. Yet I still see it.

Weird stuff, that.

That could possibly just be something to do with air flow in the apartment. Even if it's closed, I've seen some doors that aren't in very good shape and don't close well enough that they can be opened if a window is open in the room. Even so, it's creepy as fuck if you're not looking at it rationally, and if sitting alone in the middle of the night (as I often do) it's hard to always think rationally when shit that shouldn't be moving starts to.

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The Shaper

That could possibly just be something to do with air flow in the apartment. Even if it's closed, I've seen some doors that aren't in very good shape and don't close well enough that they can be opened if a window is open in the room. Even so, it's creepy as fuck if you're not looking at it rationally, and if sitting alone in the middle of the night (as I often do) it's hard to always think rationally when shit that shouldn't be moving starts to.

Possibly. I doubt it though, since that's a big metal/wooden door and the only windows remotely close to it are usually closed. Even worse when there is no draft at all.

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That Majora's mask story creeped me right the fuck out. I'm almost afraid to turn my copy of the game on. I'm afraid that I'll see that statue.. creepy.

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The most disturbing thing that still haunts my mind to this day is the story of the Lavender Town Syndrome.

Google it, it's not the best tale.

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I read that one, I won't listen to the music.

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Guys can we not make this a videogame creepypasta thread? They're not quite in the same realm as classic "ghost stories". I'd say give video game creepypasta it's own thread because there's a metric shitton of it and I don't necessarily want to see this thread cluttered up with AND THEN I PLAYED POKEMON BUT THE POKEMON WERE DEAD posts.

Or at the very least post the stories you're talking about :P

Here's some content. The first of many stories about the Black-Eyed Kids...

Black-Eyed Kids: Brian Bethel's Story

I don't really know what I'd call this story if I was submitting it for publication in Fate or something of its ilk. "Brian vs. the Evil, Black-eyed, Possibly Vampiric or Demonic But At Least Not Bloody Normal Kids" doesn't have much of a ring to it. (Shrug.) :)

But that's at least an accurate title.

As so many things do, it all started out innocently.

My Internet Service Provider used to have offices in a shopping center before they moved to their (comparatively) lush accommodations elsewhere. There was a drop box at that original location. The monthly bill was due, and thus, there but for the Grace of the Net I went.

It was about 9:30 p.m. when I left. From my relatively isolated apartments, it's about 10-15 minutes or so to downtown (Abilene has a population of about 110,000).

Right next to Camalott Communications' old location is a $1.50 movie theater. At the time, the place was featuring that masterwork of modern film, Mortal Kombat. I drove by the theater on the way into the center proper and pulled into an empty parking space.

Using the glow of the marquee to write out my check, I was startled to hear a knock on the driver's-side window of my car.

I looked over and saw two children staring at me from street. I need to describe them, with the one feature (you can guess what it was) that I didn't realize until about half-way through the conversation cleverly omitted.

Both appeared to be in that semi-mystical stage of life children get into where you can't exactly tell their age. Both were boys, and my initial impression is that they were somewhere between 10-14.

Boy No. 1 was the spokesman. Boy No. 2 didn't speak during the entire conversation -- at least not in words.

Boy No. 1 was slightly taller than his companion, wearing a pull-over, hooded shirt with a sort of gray checked pattern and jeans. I couldn't see his shoes. His skin was olive-colored and had curly, medium-length brown hair. He exuded an air of quiet confidence.

Boy No. 2 had pale skin with a trace of freckles. His primary characteristic seemed to be looking around nervously. He was dressed in a similar manner to his companion, but his pull-over was a light green color. His hair was a sort of pale orange.

They didn't appear to be related, at least directly.

"Oh, great," I thought. "They're gonna hit me up for money." And then the air changed.

I've explained this before, but for the benefit of any new lurkers out there, right before I experience something strange, there's a change in perception that comes about which I describe in the above manner. It's basically enough time to know it's too late. ;)

So, there I was, filling out a check in my car (which was still running) and in a sudden panic over the appearance of two little boys. I was confused, but an overwhelming sense of fear and unearthliness rushed in nonetheless.

The spokesman smiled, and the sight for some inexplicable reason chilled my blood. I could feel fight-or-flight responses kicking in. Something, I knew instinctually, was not right, but I didn't know what it could possibly be.

I rolled down the window very, very slightly and asked "Yes?"

The spokesman smiled again, broader this time. His teeth were very, very white.

"Hey, mister, what's up? We have a problem," he said. His voice was that of a young man, but his diction, quiet calm and ... something I still couldn't put my finger on ... made my desire to flee even greater. "You see, my friend and I want to see the films, but we forgot our money," he continued. "We need to go to our house to get it. Want to help us out?"

Okay. Journalists are required to talk to lots of people, and that includes children. I've seen and spoken to lots of them. Here's how that usually goes:

"Uh ... M ... M ... Mister? Can I see that camera? I ... I won't break it or anything. I promise. My dad has a camera, and he lets me hold it sometimes, I guess, and I took a picture of my dog -- it wasn's very good, 'cause I got my finger in the way and ..."

Add in some feet shuffling and/or body swaying and you've got a typical kid talking to a stranger.

In short, they're usually apologetic. People generally teach children that when they talk to adults, they're usually bothering them for one reason or another and they should at least be polite.

This kid was in no way fitting the mold. His command of language was incredible and he showed no signs of fear. He spoke as if my help was a foregone conclusion. When he grinned, it was as if he was trying to say, "I know something ... and you're NOT gonna like it. But the only way you're going to find out what it is will be to do what I say ..."

"Uh, well ..." was the best reply I could offer.

Now here's where it starts to get strange.

The quiet companion looked at the spokesman with a mixture of confusion and guilt on his face. He seemed in some ways shocked, not with his friend's brusque manner but that I didn't just immediately open the door.

He eyed me nervously.

The spokesman seemed a bit perturbed, too. I still was registering something wrong with both.

"C'mon, mister," the spokesman said again, smooth as silk. Car salesmen could learn something from this kid. "Now, we just want to go to our house. And we're just two little boys."

That really scared me. Something in the tone and diction again sent off alarm bells. My mind was frantically trying to process what it was perceiving about the two figures that was "wrong."

"Eh. Um ...." was all I could manage. I felt myself digging my fingernails into the steering wheel.

"What movie were you going to see?" I asked finally.

"Mortal Kombat, of course," the spokesman said. The silent one nodded in affirmation, standing a few paces behind.

"Oh," I said. I stole a quick glance at the marquee and at the clock in my car. Mortal Kombat had been playing for an hour, the last showing of the evening.

The silent one looked increasingly nervous. I think he saw my glances and suspected that I might be detecting something was not above-board.

"C'mon, mister. Let us in. We can't get in your car until you do, you know," the spokesman said soothingly. "Just let us in, and we'll be gone before you know it. We'll go to our mother's house."

We locked eyes.

To my horror, I realized my hand had strayed toward the door lock (which was engaged) and was in the process of opening it. I pulled it away, probably a bit too violently. But it did force me to look away from the children.

I turned back. "Er ... Um ...," I offered weakly and then my mind snapped into sharp focus.

For the first time, I noticed their eyes.

They were coal black. No pupil. No iris. Just two staring orbs reflecting the red and white light of the marquee.

At that point, I know my expression betrayed me. The silent one had a look of horror on his face in a combination that seemed to indicate: A) The impossible had just happened and B) "We've been found out!"

The spokesman, on the other hand, wore a mask of anger. His eyes glittered brightly in the half-light.

"Cmon, mister," he said. "We won't hurt you. You have to LET US IN. We don't have a gun ..."

That last statement scared the living hell out of me, because at that point by his tone he was plainly saying, "We don't NEED a gun."

He noticed my hand shooting down toward the gear shift. The spokesman's final words contained an anger that was complete and whole, and yet contained in some respects a tone of panic:


I ripped the car into reverse (thank goodness no one was coming up behind me) and tore out of the parking lot. I noticed the boys in my peripheral vision, and I stole a quick glance back.

They were gone. The sidewalk by the theater was deserted.

I drove home in a heightened state of panic. Had anyone attempted to stop me, I would have run on through and faced the consequences later.

I bolted into my house, scanning all around -- including the sky.

What did I see? Maybe nothing more than some kids looking for a ride.

And some really funky contacts. Yeah, right.

A friend suggested they were vampires, what with the old "let us in" bit and my compelled response to open the door. That and the "we'll go see our mother" thing.

I'm still not sure what they were, but here's an epilogue I find chilling:

I talk about Chad a lot. He's still my best friend, my best ghost-hunting companion and an all-around cool guy. He recently moved to Amarillo, but at the time this happened was still living in San Angelo of Ram Page fame.

I called him and talked to him briefly. He had two female friends with him at the time, both professing some type of psychic ability.

I started telling him the story, leaving out the part about the black eyes for the kicker. One of the women (we were on a speakerphone) stopped me.

"These children had black eyes, right?" she asked. "I mean, all-black eyes?"

"Er ... Yes." I said. I was a bit taken aback.

"Hmmm," she said. "One night last week, I had a dream about children with black eyes. They were outside my house, wanting to be let in, but there was something wrong with them. It took me a while to realize it was the eyes."

I hadn't even gotten as far as them wanting to come in.

"What did you do?" I asked.

"I kept the doors and windows locked," she said. "I knew if they came in, they would kill me."

She paused.

"And they would have killed you, too, if you had let them into your car."

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Phantom Toe

While I was by no means an accident-prone youngster, as I was rather careful about things for my age, I did manage to get a fairly nasty ingrown toenail on my right big toe around the age of fourteen. It was agony; the nail had penetrated deep into the toe by the time I got anything done with it, and a flow of yellow pus and scabrous nastiness continuously oozed out of the reddened skin where the mal-grown nail continuously bore into the flesh. I had gone down the list of home remedies to be found on Google, and damnit, nothing worked.

So, slightly apprehensive about doctors and scalpels as I was (I was a goddamn pussy) I nevertheless sucked it up and went to get it fixed. As far as surgical procedures go, fixing ingrown toenails is about as routine as you get, and takes no more than fifteen minutes. They poke you with some anaesthetic and before you know it, you’re out of there with a smile on your face and a bandage on your toe.

Unfortunately my nail at that point was just plain wrong all the way to the root, probably due to infection from having left taking care of it off so long for the first time, so within a few months I had returned to hobbling around, my toe giving me grief once more.

This time I was told they would have to cut a small piece of the nail root to get it to grow right, and I gulped. No no, they told me, it sounded worse than it was, and in fact, they had a specialist with five decades of experience at that sort of thing at a private clinic, who could sort it out in one-two-three. Liking the sound of that, I hopped on the bus to town with great expectations for a pain and pus-free future.

Arriving at the clinic, I was ushered into a very nice-looking, pristine room, with all kinds of avant-garde paintings and potted plants arranged tastefully around its interior. It was relaxing, and I was met with the doctor and his assistant. Right then I had second thoughts, thinking that I should have asked my GP if having five decades worth of experience with operating on toes meant you might want to consider retirement, because man, this doctor was ancient. The white coat he wore seemed to wrap him up like a bag of bones, and he shifted his glasses at me as I came in, eyeing me for a moment before standing up, knees wobbling, to greet me.

Shaking his wizened hand, however, I was amazed at how steady it was, and firm. Gee, I thought to myself, he may be older than King Tut, but he had the hands and the demeanor of a real practitioner of the medical arts.

With the introductions done with and my concerns laid to rest, I was seated in a chair. The doctor’s assistant (who couldn’t be out of his twenties) was cool to bullshit with, and before I knew it they were merrily chopping away at my toe while I pondered my tongue, fairly high from the drugs they had given me.

Now, this detail will be important for later, when things get weird. To stop my toe from bleeding profusely during the operation, the doctor and his assistant wrapped a rubber band tightly around it, a tourniquet, if you will. This stops the flow of blood, but leaving it on for too long can be risky. Doctors who know what they are is doing will remove it long before that, though.

Anyway, when they were done doing their thing, the bandaged me up and sent me on my merry way. My toe was mercifully numb with the anaesthetic, and the whole thing was wrapped up nicely in gauze.

Things started to worry me, however, when I woke up the next day and my toe wasn’t hurting. I mean, surely, the anaesthetic must have worn off by then? I shrugged it off and let the day go by, my toe still numb as hell but confident it would soon be throbbing with dull, cruel pain. By the second day I was fairly freaked out as the numbness hadn’t subsided at all, just as if it was still paralyzed by the anaesthetic, and I called the doctor about it. Not to worry he said, sometimes these things just won’t wear off for a while. He advised me to come in the next day if there was no change.

It was on the morning of the third day that I was really, really freaked out. The numbness was exactly as before, save from a painful, itching sensation where the numbness under the bandage suddenly stopped, and I could feel the skin as I rubbed over it. I made a call to the doctor, feeling a little faint, and when I explained the situation he fell silent for a moment. He then advised me to peek under the bandage, almost as an aside, as I could hear him shuffle papers to make a clearing in the day’s schedule for me. I shrugged, wondering what he was getting at, but set to work slowly rolling back the bandage to see what was up.

The fucking rubber band was still there.

It hadn’t just stayed on, it had burrowed into the flesh, that's how tight it was. Panicking, I started to dig at it with my nails. It refused to come out on its own. Eventually it did as I managed to snap it, and reeled as it coiled outwards, taking bits of my flesh with it as it unravelled, the smell of compost and spoiled meat reaching my nose. Brown, foul-smelling blood began to seep uncontrollably from the surgical wounds on either side of the nail as soon as the flow to it returned, which eventually changed into a deep red as the half-rotted blood was flushed out with the fresh.

Long story short, I managed to get an ambulance over, fell into a vicious fever from blood poisoning, and got the news at the hospital that my toe was so gangrenous that it had literally become venomous and could kill me. There was nothing to it, it had to be amputated.

A few months later and I’m out of the hospital, toe-free and with a nice lump of cash from an out of court settlement having been made with the clinic. Turns out, what had happened was gross negligence, and circumstances were highly suspect as there was not only one possibly senile doctor operating there, but also an assistant who was apparently blind. Eager to hush it up, the clinic shoveled what money it could my way. The only real disappointment to be had from the whole affair was that I was not allowed to take the toe home with me in a jar. Yeah, I was that kind of kid. Apparently they dumped it with all the other bio-hazardous waste, off to be burned to ash and lost forever. So I thought.

Anyway, I was rich, had a bitchin’ wheel chair, crutches, and a whole slew of wild stories of how I lost my toe to impress the girls with beginning to form in my mind. It took a while, but I regained the ability to walk as well as any other, and the wheelchair, while bitchin’, began to gather dust in my attic. The only nuisance was that the stump was a little sore, but it was nothing compared to what people with arms and legs missing must go through. I got out lucky as all hell, and was grateful for that.

Years pass, I managed to buy an apartment with the help of the money I got from the settlement, and moved out of mom's basement, a proud homeowner at the age of eighteen. Losing a toe was practically fucking worth it at that point, so I never spared it a thought and went about my life like nothing had happened.

That’s when it started getting really strange.

A few months after moving out, I noticed the stump was sore one morning. Chalking it up to amputation weirdness, I wasn’t much perturbed and ignored it as the discomfort soon passed. The next morning it was worse. I took a closer look, and there was this red mark right on the middle of the stump where my toe used to be, like something cylindrical and thin had pushed against it, hard. I got it checked out, but the doctor didn’t have the foggiest, so he wrote me out some painkillers and I went home with more questions than answers.

This went on for weeks. Every morning my foot would be fucking sore, the red mark would be raw as hell, and I was starting to lose sleep over it. It was affecting my work too, as I would be grumpy and slow, beginning to limp and hobble around again. I even bought a cane to make getting around less of a hassle, and while I certainly looked distinguished, it just wasn’t worth the discomfort. It interfered with one of my passions at the time, cycling, too. Put briefly, it was a pain in the arse, and it was getting in the way of me living my life again.

Then one night as I slept fitfully, my foot having ached the whole day, I suddenly came awake with a gasp, feeling something definitely pushing, poking, jabbing at the stump of my foot. Jerking my leg away from whatever it was, I cried out as I imagined rats or worse - that, having had a taste in the hospital waste containers years ago, had decided to come around for seconds. The thing was covered by the blanket and I instinctively tore it off me to expose it to a savage bashing, but, the tiny thing caught in the barely moonlit darkness, I froze in fear as I saw a small, dark shape bounce off my bed and out of my bedroom, making a rapid thup-thup-thup sound as it fled, bouncing and leaping like a jumping bean. Struck dumb with fright, all I could do between shallow breaths was notice a moldy, rotten kind of smell from where the thing had been.

I got no sleep that night, instead electing to turn on every light in my apartment and hunt around for my stump-loving nemesis. I never did find it, but I figured I had just been half-awake and imagined a mouse or similar critter to have been more gruesome than it was. I took no chances, however, and made a purchase of a number of mouse traps and bug repellents, even going so far as to buy a trap for cockroaches, even though they’re fairly rare up here.

Whatever it was, it seemed I had scared it off, and it was weeks before it would come around again. In the mean time, my foot felt progressively better, and in a few days it was as if nothing had happened to it. My mood got better, the sun seemed to shine brighter, things were much easier to deal with - all because the ache was gone. It’s the little things that matter. The traps had been set around the apartment, and if that little bastard came around again it’d find far more tastier things secreted within my cunningly wrought death-devices than my goddamn stump. If it was some stinking roach or rat that thought my toe-stump was good for humping or whatever the hell they do, it was dead meat if it came back to my place. Turns out, I was partially right.

Then, one cold October night, I was again pulled from sleep, this time by an indescribable, noxious stench that choked me into fits of hacking coughs that shook me awake. Blearily I opened my eyes to see, right before my face, a shrivelled, mangled digit, standing upright on a piece of white bone gleaming in the moonlight. I suppressed a scream as I shied away from it instantly, gagging, eyes watering. As if it perceived me waking up, it made a little hop onto the mattress, old, never-healed gashes in its front and its side opening and closing, a small gooey discharge of congealed blood and curdled pus squirting out as it moved. Desperately trying to keep from vomiting, I clamped my hand over my mouth and nose, shutting out the frightful stink, small sounds escaping between my fingers as my eyes barred open, unable to look away from the horror that had come uninvited into my bed.

As if it comprehended, it bowed, slightly. I couldn’t look away - it was as if the skin, now hanging loose in ragged strips stuck to the bone, had once held living flesh that had decomposed, bloating to great size before sloughing off from under the skin that once held it. It was a ragged, sad thing, but it was so stinky and horrible, some shrivelled, necrotic thing, that alone overpowered what sympathy I could have held for it. Finding some courage at last I swatted at it, and for a split second I thought I could hear a small, wounded squeal as it flew off the mattress, hit the wall, stuck to it for a second, and fell to the floor with a wet plop. Vile effluvium seeped from it, but what was worse, I finally realized what it was.

On what I suppose was its back, a ragged, discoloured nail, grown long and crooked crowned its tip, and down along it on both sides and from the root of the nail two long, perfectly straight cuts in the leathery skin betrayed what it was.

It was my toe.

After the shock lifted from my mind, I felt empty as I saw the thing that struggled to stand on the perfectly severed bone that stuck out of its bottom. It swivelled around to face me again, but now I had only one thing to do. The morbid absurdity was compounding on itself, yet I made it worse. I began to talk to it. The words came as if they were rehearsed.

“I’m sorry, but you can’t go back.†I whispered, hoarsely.

The dead toe’s tip sagged downwards in a display of sorrow, and it began to shake, ichor dripping off of it as it made its displeasure known.

“This wrong, what you’re doing. I let you go, you gotta do the same.â€

The toe perked up, as if it was making a counterargument, but then it let its nail-crowned tip flop downwards again. My breaths were laboured from the stench, and I felt bile rise in my throat. As if it understood, and accepted, it hopped down to the end of the bed, waggled its tip at where my foot was covered by the blankets, in what I can only imagine was a greeting of goodbye, and then it thup-thup-thupped right out the doorway and into the darkness of the living room.

I never saw, heard, or smelt it again.

Now, apparently my story isn’t all that originally titled. Occasionally people with amputated limbs will feel a tingle, or an ache, where their members should once have been - hell, I get phantom pains and all, but it’s nothing beyond a curiosity, and not even close to what I experienced. While the phantom toe never bothered me after that, I was left with an acute sense of dread. What if I had lost an arm, or a leg?

What if that had come back instead?

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