Horror Fiction

…And, We’re Back (Pt. 4)

⚠️ATTENTION⚠️

I’m honored to introduce part 4 of the On Nightmare’s Edge series written specially for the exclusive use of my good friend Nightmare’s Edge. He owns it, and it may not be used in any way/shape/form without his express written consent! No exceptions!

Here’s the link to his narration, he does fantastic work - make sure to sub while you’re there!


Now a CreepyPasta

Photo by Lady Nopeingham

Yesterday…

…And we’re back in five… four… three… two… one…

[talk-show host] Greg, tell us your thoughts about the movie; the release is only three days after the anniversary of your wife’s death. How are you coping? Do you plan to go see it?

I’m not here to talk about that; I’m here to promote my book, Days of Night… remember? That movie has nothing to do with me; why can’t you people let me heal in peace? [recording ends]


Now…

Sorry Crawlers, but I can’t listen to another word; it’s making me sick. I wasn’t supposed to be recording, but I wanted you to hear what a dick that guy was. How much do you want to bet they don’t air my response? What’s wrong with people? Do they have no shame? Ever since Stay Tuned went viral, this shit has been nonstop… and for the record, no – obviously I don’t plan to see a movie based on the worst parts of my life! Would anyone?!

The producers asked me to be a consultant, but there isn’t enough money in the world to make me relive that nightmare – especially for entertainment! …Then they wanted to pay me for an interview, but it doesn’t matter how many zeros are in their offer – the answer will always be a resounding no! We could desperately use the money, but I’ll stand my ass on a street corner before I have anything to do with people who are immortalizing that psycho bitch’s name.

The boys are taking it the hardest… Aiden is the stoic, silent type… but Conner… 13 is already such a hard age. He has no idea how to handle his emotions; everything hurts, and he doesn’t understand why. He thinks he’ll feel this way forever because Amber is gone, but I can’t find the words to explain how different things will be in just a few years – let alone the rest of his life. Anytime he does make progress – something like this movie happens and sends him back start!

I wrote formal requests to every person participating in that shit-show – begging them to reconsider – but the only response came from the schmuck playing me. Completely ignoring the subject matter, he invited me to lunch so that he might better understand my character. I almost said yes – just so I could punch him – but ultimately decided it was an inappropriate risk for a single parent.

Actually, the credit for that decision goes to Sarah… who knows where I would be right now if not for her. Joining that support group was the best advice I ever took… so thanks again, Lady; it’s a little scary to think how close I was to not going.

Ha-ha, Disco; it’s not like that at all. This is a group specifically for those who have lost a spouse; her husband died last year, and neither of us are eager to try again soon. That’s one of the main reasons we hit it off… it’s amazing how many people think of it as a single’s mixer, but we’re actually going for the support. Hell, I’m 30 days sober right now – if that’s not proof it’s working then I don’t know what is!

Alright Crawlers, it’s getting late so the much anticipated sequel, Weeks of Night is officially live! I hope you all enjoy; push you next time.


One week later…

Hey, hey Night Crawlers, how is everyone tonight?

Good, that’s what I like to hear; nice crowd too, we’re almost to 700 – that’s not shabby at all! I wasn’t around much last week – and I’m sure you all understand why – but I almost had one of my old surprise streams on Thursday. In the end, I decided to wait for our usual night so more people would be here.

Most of you are aware the previous days have been rough for our family…. between the anniversary and the movie, we’re all a little on edge; even Eddie is tired. That being said, I’m having trouble in the patience department… as in I don’t have any.

For those who weren’t here six months ago – some jackass photoshopped a series of pictures featuring myself and the Psycho. They took several selfies from Facebook and added Turner behind me. In the first shots, she’s far away; then she gets progressively closer until her face is merged on top of mine. It’s the cliche ghost picture trope; whoever did it couldn’t even come up with something original.

When that happened, I tried to be a good sport and kindly asked whoever was doing it to stop; to my surprise, they actually did… until now. The photos started reappearing a few days ago – and it’s possible the original troll has nothing to do with it – but they are the same pictures.

At least… they started with the originals – now a new one has been posted. Whoever is doing it copied the merged faces idea and used it on a photo where my arm is around Aiden’s shoulder; then they added a slash across his throat and a bloody knife in my hand! If you wanna mess with me – fine, fair game, I know I put myself out there – but my family is off fucking limits!

It’s bad enough I’ll carry scars from that Bitch for the rest of my life – bad enough my darkest days are immortalized on the big screen for all to see – but now I have to deal with images of Ghost Page haunting me for eternity? I’m sorry, but fuck that… come on, people! Please, whoever is doing it – I’m begging you, please; just give it a rest, okay?

[sigh] Sorry guys, I didn’t mean to get so riled up; thank you for the kind offers, but no – I don’t want any of you to get involved! You never know who you’re dealing with, and I wouldn’t forgive myself if something happened to one of you. Someone who does this kind of thing – especially with children – is clearly unstable. I’ve given everything to the police, but there isn’t much they can do yet.

Anyway, that’s all for tonight; I appreciate the chance to vent, but now it’s time for The Rain Dancers! Hope you enjoy; I’ll push you later!


Thursday…

Yo, Crawlers, looks like you got the notice for an early stream! That’s great, thank you for being here! We’re doing it today because I’m taking the boys camping; tomorrow morning we’re leaving for a long weekend with nature. It’ll be nice to recharge away from civilization while the hype from that movie dies down.

If you haven’t seen the new picture yet, you will soon; another one is making the rounds. This time it’s me standing behind Conner with my hands on his shoulders; they photoshopped it the same cut-throat way as Aiden’s! Who does that? They’re kids!

We’re long overdue for a vacation anyway, plus it’s Aiden’s senior year… my time for this kind of stuff is almost up. Wow, that’s a scary realization! Alright, let’s get Haystack’s Revenge live before I freak myself out even worse. Push you next week!


Monday night…

We’re back… … … … … …

Sorry… I just don’t know how to begin… I know my announcement was vague, but the important thing is that most of you are here. If anyone has made contact with the Poster of those pictures – cease all communications immediately! This is not some troll in his mother’s basement or a douchebag kid; that person is unstable and dangerous!

If they responded to you, please forward all messages to the police. Their contact information and the case number are listed in the details below. You’ve probably guessed our camping trip was a disaster, but that’s a gross understatement.

We didn’t go far; there’s a popular site an hour away, but no one uses it this time of year. Once we got off the highway we never saw another car; we had the whole place to ourselves. The trails, the creek, the grills – it was like our own private paradise. The hike from the parking area normally takes about thirty minutes, but we took our time and enjoyed the scenery. It was the first time Conner smiled all year; believe it or not, I think we were happy there for a minute. Eddie was acting like a puppy again; I don’t think he sat still until bedtime.

By Friday evening, we had both tents up and a nice fire going. For dinner, we roasted hotdogs and told ghost stories… their idea not mine, I swear. It was a good day… probably the first one we’ve had since… last year.

After eating, we settled into our tents; I took the small one and the boys shared the other. Eddie preferred to sleep under the stars; a guard dog’s work is never done. I slept peacefully, without nightmares – another first – until shortly after 4am when The Good Boy’s low, warning growls woke me. I respond to that sound like women to a baby’s cry; I was outside, gun drawn in under 60 seconds.

The fire was low, but enough to see there was no immediate threat in our camp. I pointed the flashlight into the dark forest where Eddie was staring, but the trees were too dense; Sasquatch could have stood there and I wouldn’t have seen it. At the time, I thought it was a bear or wolves, but now I’m not sure. After a few minutes, Ed settled down, and I was happy to take that as an all-clear. When we woke again a few hours later, I’d forgotten it even happened.

The boys slept until breakfast was ready, then we went down to the creek to wash up. The weather isn’t quite warm enough to swim yet, but Eddie didn’t mind; he swam around with the goofiest smile, and I swear, he splashed us on purpose. We were there for maybe 30 minutes and the walk was five each way – yet we returned to find our food ransacked.

It genuinely looked like a bear’s doing; the ice chest was turned over, the meat was gone, and everything else was scattered across the clearing. A trail of trash led straight back into the section of woods Eddie was growling at the previous night. We didn’t bring anything to hunt or fish with, but I couldn’t stand to call off the whole weekend when it was going so well. Aiden is seventeen now… there was no reason he couldn’t handle things while I ran to a store.

I left Eddie behind as an added precaution, but it wouldn’t take more than three hours to grab supplies. On the hike to the car, I kept a fast pace – trying not to dwell on unpleasant thoughts – but that proved impossible. They always sneak up when I’m alone; I was replaying the night of Turner’s death in my mind when I thought I heard footsteps behind me.

I came to an abrupt stop, and so did they; just to be sure, I waited a few minutes while scanning the area but saw nothing. Thinking it was my paranoia or an animal, I continued the hike. The moment I started walking again, so did the footsteps! That’s when I knew I was imagining it; instead of wasting more time, I walked faster… and so did they. Finally, I couldn’t take it any longer; without pause, I turned around mid-stride in an attempt to catch this trail stalker. It was a very awkward movement; I nearly busted my ass, but luckily no one was there to see.

It was maddening to progress to auditory hallucinations when we were having a pleasant weekend. Once again I resumed walking, but this time there were no steps behind me. Is it weird that the silence worried me more? It made me wonder if someone really had been there, but decided not to press their luck after a close call. That is the depth of my paranoia; even when the scary shit stops, I can find a way to keep it going.

I felt a little better in the parking lot when I saw no other vehicles had arrived, but then an illogical worry for the boys set in;. The worst part happened before I even got out of the campgrounds; I had to make a loop to get back on the road, and when I passed by the trail I’d just emerged from… I saw Andy standing in the brush! You guys remember the detective that died saving my life, right? He was clear as day but still as a statue… I thought it was another nightmare.

I didn’t want to, but I reversed for another look; if that was a real person I mistook for a dead friend – I couldn’t leave the boys alone. My eyes weren’t off the man for more than two or three seconds, but he was gone. Shaking and soaked in sweat, I unholstered the gun and got out. No one was there.

Unsure whether to be relieved or frightened by the worsening hallucinations, I resigned myself to continuing with the original plan. Besides, the boys had cell phones and Eddie; at that moment, they were technically safer than me. Still, I tortured myself with gruesome scenarios the whole way to the store. What started as fear of a crazed hermit evolved into a clan of inbreeds.

The store was a little farther than I remembered, but I was back with the groceries before noon. It wasn’t easy carrying the supplies alone, but it was well worth the effort. Besides the non-perishables I left behind in case of another emergency – we now had extra lights and large pocket knives for all.

The boys had cleaned the campsite so we left Eddie to his new bone and prepared lunch. I tried to sound casual when asking if they had fun on their own, but Aiden wore a knowing look. He’s a sharp kid; nothing gets by him… but Conner answered cheerfully and I was able to breathe again. Hearing him talk like his old self was worth every miserable second of delusional paranoia.

The boys were always typical brothers… they love each other, but most of the time, they aren’t very fond of each other’s company. The dynamic changed when we lost Amber; while I was drowning my sorrows, Aiden was stepped up to take care of Conner. He grew up faster than any kid should, and that’s why I have to show him we’ll be ok if he goes off to college in the fall. He has too much potential to waste here.

I told the truth when he questioned me later. There was no sugarcoating it; I spoke to him like a man and admitted, “yes, there were rough moments on the trail – but no, I don’t feel like I need a drink.” Honestly, I think it was a breakthrough for us; he was surprised but pleased. I felt a rush of pride as he stood a little straighter and his chest swelled with confidence.

Before we set out on one of the nature trails, I put the ice chest to the far side of our clearing – away from the rest of our possessions. There was absolutely nothing in there that should attract wildlife. The only meat we had was two more packages of hotdogs, and those went inside a small cooler I bought specially for this; it was easier to throw that into my pack than it was to replace more food. The trail was only two hours there and back; we didn’t need to take much anyway.

We got tons of great pictures; Eddie would run ahead of us, barking – telling us to hurry, but then he’d get impatient and run back just to do it all over again. The boys horsed around, giggling like girls, and I wanted to freeze that moment forever.

At the end of the trail is another section of the creek and a decorative plaque that tells you which way to go for what. We were having so much fun, I wanted to see what the options were while we ate our snacks… I never even saw the actual map. Taped on top was another photoshopped picture. Vomit instantly filled my throat as I stared at that monstrosity and contemplated its implications.

It would have been bad enough if it was one already circulating the web… I mean, what are the odds of that in the middle of nowhere, anyhow? Especially when no one knew where we were camping? I chose that place specifically because it’s farther away than the one we normally use. Technically, it doesn’t take a genius to guess the next image would be of Eddie, but to know where to put it?!

Even if these things were at every campsite in the state – it rained two nights ago; it had to be placed there afterwards, or it would have been ruined. Remembering Fake Andy’s earlier appearance, I discreetly signaled Aiden to come over. It broke every fatherly instinct in me not to hide it, but he’s more than earned that respect.

His expression darkened for only a moment before he composed himself. No, it wasn’t a hallucination, and yes, he also thought we should leave. I was still deciding what to tell Conner when he began walking our way, asking what we were looking at. If left to me, he would have walked right up to it, but Aiden made the decision by shoving the photo into his pocket. Without missing a beat he showed his brother the map and told him the other paths were too long for today. As a parent, it’s a little terrifying to see how proficient of a liar he is, but given the circumstances I couldn’t complain.

Now that my focus was no longer on that horrific picture, I realized Eddie was standing alert, hackles raised. My blood ran ice-cold; there was no doubt someone else was out there. Aiden noticed the dog’s stance seconds later, and one look at our pale faces told Conner that something was very wrong.

We made a lot of progress towards repairing our relationship, and I didn’t want to ruin it with an obvious lie… so I said, “we think someone else is out here, but it’s strange that they’re hiding” — all of which was true. For an emo teenager, the mere presence of another person is enough to be on guard, and it had the desired effect on his demeanor.

All of our hackles were officially in raised position as we carefully began our return hike. After the decision was made to immediately break camp, we didn’t speak unless necessary. Eddie kept stopping to watch our backs but we never saw anything. It took every ounce of self-restraint not to break into a run when Conner stopped to examine something hanging from a tree. One of those witch-idol-things was tied to a low hanging branch over the trail – another treat we can thank the movie for. There’s no way we missed it the first time; someone put it there after we passed.

On sheer reflex I slapped his hand away. I couldn’t stand the thought of him touching something the latest psycho touched. How many more Page Turner fans can there be? Or is someone just trying to get their fifteen minutes of fame?… The thought struck a chord, and I was suddenly certain we would return home to find a YouTube video of ourselves being chased through the woods. I’m surprised that hasn’t happened… yet.

It took twice as long to get back to camp, but – if we packed quickly – we had just enough time to make it to the car before dark. The Good Boy stayed on top of the kids while we collapsed the tents, and I didn’t care if a few things got left behind; my only concern was being in that car before sunset. Three times, I stopped to listen to bird-calls that sounded suspiciously human… but again, was it real or paranoia? The boys didn’t seem to notice… except for Eddie; his ears perked a notch higher each time it happened. If they were man-made… that meant more than one person…

It takes a lot to scare me nowadays, but fear for one’s children never dulls. Every sense was hyper-aware as we began our trek back to the parking area. We were pushing our luck with the sun, but if we kept a steady pace – there was still a chance; if not… we would be running through the dark forest. This must be how Sydney Prescott feels; no matter how many times you kill these fuckers – more keep coming.

I tried not to think about the continuing psychological damage being done to my sons and instead, focused on getting their bodies home intact. The light began to fade when we were halfway, but we couldn’t run forward blindly. To make matters worse, more critters were running around; in stories, people always say, “…I could tell it was something on two legs” by sound alone – but I don’t hear the difference.

When we finally made it out of those woods, a few tears of relief were shed by all… until they became tears of sorrow and rage. The front tire was completely flat, we couldn’t leave until I changed it. Upon closer inspection, I found a long nail… and yea, normally that’s a common issue, but hear me out. Aside from the incredible timing, I’ve driven over nails before… it shouldn’t have lost air that fast… not when it’s still plugging the hole.

My personal theory – which cops don’t believe – is that someone put the nail in, then unscrewed the cap to flatten it.

Thank you, Disco! I also believe my credibility with the police should be higher, but since Turner is dead – they think I’m suffering from PTSD and imagining everything. They’ve hinted my life in the Horror industry is likely a contributing factor, but I was doing this long before Psycho made her debut. Damn, look how late it’s gotten; it’s almost over, I promise.

We shined our lights back on the trail and saw two shadowy figures merging with the thick brush. Before we had time to comprehend the image – our fear peaked when headlights appeared; the giant vehicle turned into the lot and slowly crept closer, tires crunching against pavement. Soon, it was close enough to identify as an RV, and it stopped right next to us. The tinted window rolled down to reveal an older man in a Hawaiian shirt and straw hat.

His cheerful disposition did nothing to relieve my suspicion; that was after the basic greetings were exchanged, and he noticed our tire. When his wife’s head appeared behind him, I began to breathe a little easier but stayed on guard; then he parked alongside us, and his grandchildren helped with lighting as we changed the flat.

As it turns out, Fred and family are on vacation; they drive that RV across the country, and whenever it starts getting late, they find a campsite to park at. They intended to spend a few days there, but after I explained our experience, they decided to move on. Once we finally hit the road, we made it home without incident. Who knows how things would be if it weren’t for that family; I only wish there was some way to repay their kindness.

[sigh] Alright, that’s it; go to bed, horror junkies, you had your fix. I’ll have a great story ready for Friday!


Wednesday…

Everyone, this is an emergency; thank you for coming on such short notice! I put out notices for all my Michigan friends to be here; Whether you have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, I don’t care – I need them all. Conner is missing; he never came home from school yesterday… we don’t even know where he slept last night. I now have an account for every social media platform, and the usernames are in the description below.

Please, I’m begging you from the depths of my soul, please share my posts. All the information we have is there. As soon as I’m done here, I plan to hang fliers and search any place I can think to look.

Due to our family’s history, we cannot officially rule out a kidnapping, but we found a letter in his room stating his intentions to run away. Normally, kids come home on their own, but we don’t have a normal situation… if the wrong person finds him…

I can’t lose him too, I just… can’t. Please, every share increases the chance of someone seeing him. Thank you so much; I’ll update as soon as we know more.


Saturday morning…

I’m recording this at 2:30am on Saturday morning; it’s the first time I’ve been home longer than five minutes. First, I want to thank everyone who helped spread the word about Conner. With all the shares we received, I doubt there’s a single one of you who isn’t already aware of what happened, but this is mostly for me; this is how I process my pain now.

Wednesday, I hung fliers all over town, talked to every person on the street, and drove to my son’s favorite places. The cemetery’s groundskeeper saw him that morning – sitting at Amber’s grave – but not when he left. I gave the man my thanks and cell number, promising a reward if he called when Conner returned. There was no doubt the boy would eventually try, only if he would succeed.

Hoping he couldn’t pay for an Uber, I decided to try the bus-stop. The closest was three blocks over; definitely close enough to walk if needed. I had one foot inside the bus when my phone rang; if your child is missing, you can’t afford to reject a call no matter how briefly. Stepping away from my only lead, I answered the strange number.

It was the hospital; the world stopped as a woman’s distant voice confirmed I was the father of Conner Jones. I didn’t want to answer; no good news ever came that way. She had to repeat herself a few times before I was able to understand. My mind kept drifting to what it would be like to plan a child’s funeral, but then the word ‘ICU’ made it through the fog.

Dead kids didn’t go to ICU… then I realized who does go, and the fog re-thickened. I was running to the car at full speed when I noticed the woman was repeating herself again. It took a few more tries, but eventually I came to understand Conner was involved in a hit-and-run. A nurse happened to be in a coffee shop nearby and saw everything. She’s the only reason my son survived; he would have bled to death in the street without her. That’s another person I owe my life to… I’m gonna need to make a list.

Aiden met me at the hospital, and now that Conner is awake we’re taking turns coming home to recharge. By some miracle, none of the damage is permanent, but the kid is on a painful road to recovery. His left leg is broken in two places, and they had to perform surgery to stop his internal bleeding. If no complications arise, they plan to release him Monday.

Camera footage showed a black Camry with tinted windows running a red light and swerving suddenly. The actual incident wasn’t recorded, but multiple witnesses say the driver initially stopped, got out to check on Con, then took off. It almost sounded like an accident until two witnesses claimed the car swerved into Conner. I didn’t want to believe that… but let’s be real; it’s exactly what I was afraid of. I’m lucky he’s alive… maybe I should quit the channel… things are never going to change…

I don’t know, that’s all I can handle for now.


Saturday night…

[muttering] Ok, breathe Greg… breathe, breathe, breathe… [long exhale] I need everyone to listen carefully. I’m adding this part in at 11:50pm, same day.

A few hours ago, I went to relieve Aiden when Conner suddenly looked sick and asked for the clothes he was wearing when the accident occurred. He remembered something new; he woke up for a few seconds… while lying in the street. He felt someone’s hand in his pocket… and turned to see a small, dark haired woman with a jagged scar across her face…

When they made eye contact… she winked and asked him to make sure I got her letter. I was already digging his clothes out of the bag they gave us. Until that moment, I hadn’t been able to look at them, but now there was proper motivation. Someone ran my son down in the road, then shoved a note into his pocket before fleeing the scene! Here, I’m gonna read it to you:

When I saw him sneak away, I knew you would be worried sick! I am returning him with kindest regards! P.S. Part four of our hit series is awaiting your review at—’

Well, I’m not going to read the link, but the title is …And We’re Back. You know what, whoever you are? If you wanna tell me your name, I’ll gladly narrate your story – that’s a promise – but you’ll want to drop the Turner act; no one is buying it. I watched that house blow up not two minutes after I walked out! There was nothing left of that bitch to bury!

If anyone feels the need to reach out after this, I recommend an email; if I see any strange faces on my property it’s not going to end well for them.


Sunday night…

I didn’t want to jinx it by saying anything, but Conner was doing so well he got released a day early. I can’t tell you how good it feels to have him back home where he belongs.

Now, Aiden is the one sleeping on the cot. He wants to stay close to Con in case he needs something in the middle of the night. Eddie hasn’t left his side once; it killed him not to be allowed in the hospital. We brought him along for the ride home, but Aiden had to sit between them to keep the dog from jumping on any broken bones.

We had a peaceful evening watching movies and eating pizza, but a sense of doom is hanging over our shoulders; we know it’s only a matter of time before the next disaster strikes. For the next few weeks, I’m only going to record after the boys are asleep, so I’ll let you kno—

[stream ends]


Tuesday

Good morning, Night Crawlers… or it may be afternoon when you’re hearing these words… I hope you’ll forgive me for not doing this live; I’m not up for answering questions yet. We’re still processing everything, but since we got cut off Sunday, I want to explain what I can. Basically, our stream ended because we lost power; the weather was clear – I thought a breaker tripped.

The only sound was that of the creaking stairs as I descended into the basement with nothing but a flashlight. I can’t remember the last time we went down there – it was months ago at the very least. I almost fell when a spiderweb wrapped my face but I managed to stay upright until reaching the bottom.

That’s when I saw him; you know those small, rectangular basement windows at ground level? When I stumbled, the light shined directly onto ours, and my legs crumpled. For the briefest second, Andy’s face was there, looking right at me; then he vanished into darkness as the light fell away with my collapse. I scrambled to rise and illuminate the glass once again, but no one was there.

Think about that for a second, though. It was his face – in a basement window… which meant someone would have needed to lie on the ground. I’m sorry, but that sounds weird even for a crazy person… plus it was a deadman’s face. That all adds up to a hallucination in my book… but I’ve been fooled before; Shit, I’d be willing to believe the deceased detective had an evil twin at this point.

When flipping the breakers failed to restore power, I knew something was wrong. I checked on the boys and gently shook Aiden awake to put him on alert; Eddie also dutifully stood guard, pacing restlessly, uneasy at another division of our forces.

Calling ADT was my next task, but the phone said ‘No Service’… we live in the middle of nowhere; it’s not uncommon… but turning airplane mode on and off usually gets the bars back for whatever reason. Except this time it didn’t work… after three tries it still read ‘No Service’. It was the same story with Aiden and Conner’s phones; we were completely cut-off.

Obviously, red flags would be flying high for all by now, and mine were no exception. Guys, I was done, you hear me? We woke Conner, carried him to the car, and then realized every tire on both vehicles was slashed. The experience taught me you can always feel more hopeless; there isn’t a point where you max out… how has this become my life? My insides contorted as I imagined a knife sliding across my Achilles’ tendon and we retreated back inside.

We were trapped; there was nowhere else to go. It’s maddening… nothing like a game at all… constantly terrified you’ve missed something… wondering if you’re gonna be alive in the morning… if there’s something more you can do… will help come?

It was extremely difficult to move Conner around – he’s in a full leg cast – but the safest place was the downstairs bathroom. It doesn’t have any windows so we threw a blanket in the tub and laid him in there. It was hard to convince Aiden to stay, but I refused to have him out there in even more danger. Eddie nipped my hand as I left – his way of saying, “why won’t you be Good Boy and stay where I can protect you, dumbass?”

After everything that’s happened in this house, I’ve lost all previous attachment – but never had it looked so sinister. The only reason we haven’t moved out is financial; we’re more than ready to find a nice, quiet neighborhood… one where they can hear you scream.

I couldn’t decide what to do or where to start; the gun felt like it weighed 100 pounds as I reminded myself to stay off the trigger. Shadows moved in every corner and I felt another wave of hopelessness wash through me. I wanted to scream, “here I am” and get it over with… but the boys… I had to keep it together for them…

A light breeze blew past, sending a sharp chill down my spine. How did the wind blow inside? Continuing down the hall, I gaped in horror as the open front door came into view. It swayed eerily in the soft glow of my distant light, but I dared not rush over carelessly. Instead, I forced myself to take slow, deep breaths as I scanned the den with my light.

A short cry escaped my lips when the beam revealed a slender man sitting on the couch… and a long whimper as he turned to face me; it was Andy! He sipped from a flask, and the urge to take it almost overpowered better judgment. Before I could move or think, he reached forward; I almost shot him for the alarming movement, but he was only turning on a brighter light. The entire room was illuminated, and we appeared to be alone.

There was no doubt it was my old friend, but I could see how differently he looked now. The warm smile he used to wear no longer touched his eyes, and the aging lines on his face had tripled since we last met. Basically… he was tired as fuck. I was under no delusions as to the reason for his visit; one rarely abandons an entire life – family, career, the whole works – for noble reasons. My only concerns were how and why – both of which he was happy to answer.

I won’t make you suffer through an extra twenty minutes of dialogue trying to describe my array of emotions at the realization that Page fucking Turner still walks this Earth, but I will relay what actually happened the night of the safe-house explosion. Andy was in no rush; he relished the chance to finally share his accomplishments.

He hated his job and his family – then Turner came along with wads of cash and a plan. Most of you probably think what I thought – they were screwing, right? Well, he denied that… saying he just wanted out. Page paid off his gambling debts, and received full access to my case files; that’s how she knew everything!

Getting me out of the house was part of the plan, but Juan took matters into his own hands before we could finish recording, and Andy was forced to stay in character. After I left, they killed the one man who actually tried to help me and escaped from a bedroom window. Once clear, they remotely detonated the real device which was hidden long before the scene began.

Several times, I had to remind myself to breathe during his cliche Villain Reveal, but through gritted teeth I managed to ask what their current ‘plan’ entailed. With a sickening smile, he explained there was no reason to rush now that the power was out and the signal jammer cut any chance of communication… but this part was a recent addition. We were never meant to return from our camping trip, but the family that appeared ruined their scene.

The whole time we spoke, my gun was pointed at his chest, but he never flinched… I had to ask why. That’s when he drew my attention to Turner’s absence and strongly implied shooting him would be the same as shooting my boys… but that didn’t sit right with me…

I think he mistook my silent calculations for submission… because he went on to say it was really Amber I stabbed the night I gave Page half a Joker’s smile. It was more of an impulse than anything… if I wouldn’t have already been aiming at him… maybe… but it doesn’t matter; what matters is that my finger squeezed the trigger before he finished his sentence.

His face went white with shock as he fell against the couch, and I was glad he had time to understand what happened before his eyes glazed over in death. That’s when the windows exploded as a machine gun sprayed the front of our house. The fancy light Andy brought was destroyed and the room was again shrouded in darkness. Thankfully, I was standing near the kitchen and able to get behind the wall but not unscathed; a bullet grazed my arm during the initial blast, and one pierced my calf as I dove from the room.

I pointed my gun at the door – hoping Turner would want to see her handiwork – but she always was a smart psycho. My arm fell limply to the floor as an engine roared to life and headlights painted the walls yellow. There was a brief second I thought she was driving into the house, but finally the lights receded as she turned away.

I crawled to the bathroom and cried with joy to find the door free of bullet holes. There’s been too much tragedy in our lives to keep lying; I told them everything after finally speaking to the police. All our old friends were on the way, but none of them believed my claims about Andy until they saw his body; there was no arguing with that kind of evidence.

I should still be at the hospital but left against medical advice a few hours ago; I couldn’t take it anymore… I needed to be here, with my kids. We have our federal protection team back for now, but who knows how long they’ll stay this time. At least Turner won’t show her freaky face until they’re gone.

I just want to focus on recovery and spend more time with my kids… so unfortunately, I won’t be recording for a few weeks. I’ll post updates on Twitter, but everything else is going to be quiet for a while. I need to process everything that’s happened… thank you for your support and understanding in this matter. I’ll push you guys when I’m healed up.


Part 5

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