Horror Fiction

Final Cut (Pt. 5)

⚠️ATTENTION⚠️

I’m honored to introduce the finale 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

Sunday, Day 1:

Hey, Night Crawlers! Fuck, Eddie and I missed you guys! Today is Day One of the “sorry I left you hanging again” marathon. The Feds and I have differing opinions regarding the channel’s effect on Turner. I believe crazy is crazy; they believe it fuels her psychosis. Basically, she enjoys the attention and will continue seeking more. Actually, do you know what I think?

I think she should do something extreme; something to grab the world’s attention! Seriously, if she set herself on fire, I think she’d top a million views inside a week; [mutter] hahaha, I hope hell is real. Wouldn’t that be the perfect ending, though? Her name would be etched into the annals of history!

What all this boils down to is – it’s been four weeks since I shot Andy, and Page hasn’t done a damn thing. Police are doing everything to track her down, but she’s a ghost. You’d think someone with her appearance would be easy to find, but every lead is a dead-end. They can’t stay with us forever. Most are already gone; in a few hours, we’ll only have one patrol car in the driveway.

Obviously they’ll continue searching; she’s a wanted fugitive. Shit, when they do get her… what’s to stop her from escaping again? I can’t take much more of this… the thought of her being free when Aiden goes to college makes me sick; the thought of him not going because of her makes me equally sick… maybe more.

I almost stopped going to the support meetings when my protection detail was forced to chaperone. It’s difficult to speak freely with outsiders in attendance. It’s one thing to share my pain with strangers experiencing the same loss, but sharing with people who go home to a loving spouse is… uncomfortable. I know this sounds horrible, but it also breeds a bit of resentful jealousy.

Anyway, onto the actual reason for tonight’s stream – I haven’t been idle over here; I’ve been recording almost everyday! As my apology for yet another extended absence, you’re getting a new story every night this week! I hope to do streams before most, but I’ve learned to exercise caution with scheduling statements; life often makes differing plans. Tonight’s story is Melting Icarus. If you like it we’ll do the sequel when I push you tomorrow; let me know what you think in the comments!


Monday, Day 2:

Peek-a-boo, Night Crawlers, guess who fucking sees you! Not me, because I’m not a psycho stalker – only a less-evil-than-most cryptid who wants to innocently tickle those inner fears.

Speaking of which, it seems like I did just that with Melting Icarus, so – as promised – Avenging Icarus is next. I’m glad you’re enjoying it; honestly, it might be my new favorite Pasta!

Alright, now that the business end is taken care of, I’m ready to address the elephant in the room. Yes, I saw the Page Effin Turner channel. The Feds were all over it, but the profile picture was used by several news networks; it’s incredibly easy to obtain. Furthermore, the IP address has been traced; yes, the owner is clearly disturbed but essentially harmless. I’m not allowed to divulge their name, but they don’t live in the United States; they’re also disabled and require assistance to leave home.

The best thing we can do is ignore it. Please, do not give them views or dislikes; you may think the dreaded thumbs down hurts, but it’s still engagement – and that will encourage this person. That being said, most of you want to see it purely out of morbid curiosity. I can’t blame you; that’s the twisted personality quirk bringing you here in the first place. Considering you guys keep a roof over my head, I’m going to save everyone a little time with a quick rundown. You’re not missing anything, I promise.

Let’s start with her channel description; it’s pretty short, I’ll read it to you:

At the request of my good friend and creative partner, Gregory Jones, I created a channel. I look forward to bringing you - the viewer - more amazing content from the hit series, On Nightmare’s Edge! As co-creator and author to the written series, I am proud to announce the complete set’s publication is underway and coming soon…
Spoiler Alert: It includes the never-before-seen fifth and final installment! It’s gonna push you right over the edge!

That’s too pathetic even for Turner. I’d be pissed that someone used my name, but I guess karma is a bitch. Hell, I’m surprised there’s not more than one… oh well, onto the video itself.

The static noise of an old radio is the only sound. There’s no music or talking, and the backdrop is a white poster-board. Crayons were used to hastily scribble a rainbow at the top and trees across the bottom, but the key figure is a small house drawn on the right. It’s labeled “Greg’s House” and meant to appear far off in the distance.

In the opening scene, a Lamb Chop puppet sits in the center; young viewers won’t be familiar with Lamb Chop’s Play Along, but it’s a bad kid’s show from the 90’s staring a sock puppet named Lamb Chop. Only, this one has been slightly altered.

Its black eyes are replaced with the big, red buttons normally found on its torso, but one hangs loosely by a thread. You know they’re the same ones due to holes left by their removal… in case there’s any doubt – a sharpie was used to replicate blood.

Soon, the puppet stands, and the backdrop is replaced – poorly but effectively conveying Lamb Chop’s walk through the woods. This poster is decorated the same except for a horribly drawn cave to the right, and my distant house is to the far left. The lamb turns toward the dark cavern, and after a short pause, turns back; slowly, its mouth spreads wider and wider into an eerie smile.

The final scene is colored brown around all four sides; we’ve entered the cave. To the right, an open book sits atop a podium with short, yellow lines decorating the space around it; the remainder is colored black. Basically, it’s the only light in the darkness, and Lamb Chop is intrigued. The puppet proceeds to stare at the display for five solid minutes before returning its attention to the audience and giving us a final sickly, wide smile.

I didn’t skip through the pointless five minutes either; I watched the entire thing just in case something was spliced in – but there’s nothing. If your curiosity still demands to see it, I understand… but please don’t engage, okay?

Thanks Crawlers, I can always count on you.

Oh, and shout out to the person doing the channel – I’m sorry for your struggles. Life is hard… I know; if you ever want advice on making real content, send me an email. Creating can be a wonderful outlet if you’re willing to give it a chance.

Anyway, that’s it – I’ll release the hostage now. Here’s Avenging Icarus, and don’t forget to visit the Community tab; cast your vote for which story pushes you next!


Tuesday, Day 3:

Yo, Crawlers! Check me out, I’m back for the third stream in three days! So far so good, huh? Admit it – you thought disaster would strike the first night without protection, and I’d disappear again. Is that close to the mark?

I knew it! Because I did too! Yet, this morning, Bill and Ted were still sitting in their cruiser – grumpy but breathing.

Haha, no, those aren’t their real names; the younger one is a fan, and it turned into a joke.

There’s something I want to share before discussing tonight’s story. The real Page must not appreciate being snubbed out of the spotlight because she mailed another letter… well, poem… I guess.

Yes, Lady, in the actual mail; it was sent from California again.

[sarcasm] That’s weird though, don’t you think? Considering she’s living in a cave out back? You know, the one no one has ever seen in the decades my family has lived here?

Why yes, Disco, I will read it to you. I assure you it’s her best work. Seriously, this is gonna be tough to beat! I’ll put it on the screen; you have to see the spelling to fully appreciate it. Are you ready? Okay [clears throat]

Then, on the back, at the bottom, barely legible – “I informed you thusly.”

Bitch’s brain be broke; bleh, try saying that five times fast. Seriously though, is that a murder/suicide threat, or… what else could it be, right? Hey, look! I narrated something she wrote! Do you think this means she’ll leave me alone?

Why can’t you guys just let a man dream? [bark] See, you upset Eddie; now he demands Walk-Walk. Here, take The Midnight Man and let me get this dog out before he pisses on my chair again – push ya later!


Wednesday, Day 4:

Sup, Crawlers? I’m 4 for 4 but barely. [bark] Eddie says hey. [away from mic] Lay down, man.

Sorry if your volume was up, but I couldn’t keep him out; he’s being persistent today. He’ll be easier to deal with when the boys are back from school, but I can’t address that video with them here. It’s naive to think they won’t see it, but dissecting it while they’re home seems… wrong.

Yep Lore, that’s exactly why, I said ‘barely’, but then I decided fuck that! I’m sick of hiding; I’ll be damned if that video stops me from streaming!

The Feds don’t necessarily believe it’s genuinely Turner now, but it’s certainly not the original suspect. The possibilities are being investigated by multiple agencies; at the very least, this is a serial killer.

I don’t know Stu, if a guy ‘happened upon’ something like that – what kind of person uses it this way instead of reporting it?

Wait – let’s get everyone caught up; I’ll to break it down in hopes—

Oh, that was faster than usual… okay – Disco said the channel is already terminated, but I’m not surprised… all things considered…

So, yea – there were no kiddy drawings or puppets, just actual footage. It was ten minutes, and the scenes were spliced together from multiple recordings made over a span of… I don’t even know how long.

It starts off as a collage of “Welcome to (x) state” signs – the ones people always pose with on vacations; they’re listed in geographical order like it was an actual road-trip. The list makes a trail from Indiana to California and back to Michigan. It totals thirteen different states; remember that number. To help you visualize this – the lines on the map show the indicated route. Clicking through each frame was incredibly tedious, but let this be a lesson in the dangers of obsession.

With a black screen comes the sound of a lock clicking open and a metal roll-door going up. After it closes behind us, a flashlight is turned on, and we see the inside of a storage unit. The lighting is too dim to see much beyond the beam, but the tour is fairly thorough.

First we’re shown a pile of bloodied clothing; nothing unusual – every newb can drench old clothes with corn syrup. The camera pans across the soiled rags in concert with the light and comes to rest on a mountain of shoes – the summit of which is inches below the ceiling. A close-up reveals much of the footwear still contains part of their owner… and you want to think, ‘this must be another ARG’ except it’s just so graphic

Before you can give it more thought, a new distraction is on the screen. We moved to the next display – a wall with 12 missing person’s flyers hanging in a neat 3×4 block. As we continue along the wall, we see it’s covered in repeating segments of this design – but the others are altered by various filters; it must have taken days for one person to do… maybe weeks. I think it was meant to be artistic.

Next, the shot pans past a cot in the far corner and takes us to several stacks of storage bins. It’s hard to say how many, but this absolutely qualifies as a fuck-ton. The camera is set atop a nearby tote and angled to the correct viewpoint before a smaller bin is centered in the screen. When it’s finally opened, we see twelve drivers licenses inside; a gloved hand arranges each one neatly for the audience.

The ID’s belonged to the missing persons, and tiny X’s are scratched over their eyes. This is also where you should notice they are from twelve of the thirteen states plotted on the map. Can you guess which one was missing? Yes, Michigan!

Binky the Clown’s laugh plays in a loop while the lid is replaced on the small tote. Then we move to a box at the back of the room; almost like the filmer can hear us thinking ‘but those were too many shoes for twelve people.’

By now, some viewers were already Googling the names to discover these are real missing people but not me; I was glued to the screen, nervously awaiting the next reveal. I didn’t come to my senses until three more totes spilled into the floor. It was madness; you could never count them all…

If it was possible for one person to be responsible for all these disappearances, they would be the most prolific serial killer in history… but it has to be something else. After the first box, there’s only a few visible enough to read, but some expired before Turner was even born. So what’s the deal?

No, Livers, that can’t be it; pictures of the first twelve were analyzed by experts. Plus, the first man – from Indiana – went missing ten months ago, and the last woman – from Missouri – went missing only six weeks ago; the other timelines match perfectly as well. Someone who actually does that doesn’t need to bluff.

Hold on guys, those are good theories, but let me tell the rest; not everyone has the whole picture yet… [grumble] since they kept their promise not to watch.

After the third tote, the scene fades to black, and we hear a thunderstorm. The rain is hard, but the wind is overwhelming. The first flash only illuminates a brief shadow of forest scenery, but the frozen image is too blurry for identifiable features. There’s no doubt it is meant to represent my house, but it’s probably darkened specifically to disguise any features discrediting the possibility. There’s a few more flashes as thunder roars, and rain obscures the scenery until we’re once again left in darkness.

The final scene opens with the storm effects dampened; we’re now inside the cave. It’s dimly lit by candlelight, but one brightly illuminated spot waits in the back. As the camera moves closer, various things are seen to either side; there’s a mattress, bottles of water, cans of food, and a wooden crate with books stacked on top. There’s no question this person spends much of their time here; the ‘lived-in’ look is too good to be staged.

At the far end of the surprisingly spacious area, we learn what warrants the extra lighting. It’s a poor man’s version of Professor Snape’s potions lab and an altar that puts Page’s to shame; actually, that’s an understatement… this is closer to a shrine. No – better yet, it’s a colossal monument!

At first, you don’t understand what you’re looking at; it’s merged with the entire wall. Unlike Turner’s, this one consisted solely of bone. The first pieces were driven into the cave’s bedrock like pegs, and the rest is built from their foundation. Anyone who blindly stumbled across this would assume it’s an ARG… I’ve never seen the sheer quantity

Ah, yes! Lady nailed it – it’s comparable to the Paris Catacombs. There are 206 bones in the human body, and I bet that wall has plenty of each. They don’t seem to be in a particular order; it’s total chaos yet somehow… symmetrical.

Wait, I misspoke before! Another material is utilized in this thing; some of the bones are tied together with red string. Blood stains are abundant, but I think that’s how they were naturally… received rather than decoration.

In front of this monstrosity is a table overloaded with flasks, beakers, strange herbs and other things I can’t identify. Next to it is a cauldron… as in an actual from-a-fairytale witch’s cauldron! Cold, charred firewood sits beneath it, and a foul, green residue clings to its rim. Last, but certainly not least – to the right – is a wooden podium holding an open book; it’s the kind with slats to hold the pages open. We are given a closeup before the final fade-out, but it’s written in Ancient Greek.

Luckily, I was able to forgo the hours on Google by learning the translation from Agent Robins. They haven’t been able to identify the source book, but it’s estimated to be several hundred years old. The first page is titled Knot of Fate, and beneath is a crude illustration of two human figures standing with arms and legs apart like on medical charts. They’re hopelessly entangled; a rope weaves around their genderless bodies, and a mass of tangled knots fill the space between them.

The remainder of that page and the next seem to be instructions for the ritual. There’s nothing written about the results, but – whatever it does – costs 13 human sacrifices and a not-insignificant amount of personal blood. Our guy already has twelve; did the countless people murdered beforehand not count?

This is about to be a major buzzkill, but I can’t read the rest of the instructions to you…

I know, but I’m a magnet for crazy and feel like it would be a poor idea to convey something this dark through my channel. The last thing I need is for some troubled teen to hear it and decide they wanna try. We live in a world where kids eat tide pods; for fuck’s sake, anything is possible!

Look, if you really want to know what it says there’s probably fifty channels with breakdowns already posted, but we’ve covered the highlights. After a long list of items – all of which are extremely difficult to acquire – it details cooking instructions for a potion. Once you finally have that, there’s a list of prerequisites to fulfill before the ritual can even begin; it’s insanely convoluted.

Besides, we need to wrap this up; if you still want to talk about theories, now’s the time.

That’s what I personally think, Lady; this goes beyond one person. This is a cult or family or… I don’t know, but they’ve been at it for decades. My mind isn’t even capable of grasping the number of lives affected by these people.

Hmm, I don’t know, Livers; yes, it’s physically possible a dumping ground could exist for gangs or organizations to share… you mean—

Oh, I see. Like, the underground community in John Wick. Eh, I feel like those are the types to destroy a body completely…

Well, touché, these guys would clearly be the occult version, haha okay.

Anyone else? We can do one more; then it’s time for Goblins, Ligers and Snares (Oh My!) I normally avoid long titles, but this was too clever to pass up.

I don’t know, Lore; I’m going back and forth on that. On one hand I feel like Page must be connected to the group, but it feels wrong… I’m not sure how to explain it… I just don’t see her as a team player.

I’ve been pulling my hair out over different theories all morning; it’s time for a break. Let’s stop here before I’m bald, haha, and hopefully I’ll be back to push you tomorrow.


Thursday, Day 5:

[Posted 7:30pm: Nightclub Suicide]


Friday, Day 6:

[Posted 7:30pm: Rivers of Sand]


Saturday, Day 7:

[loud/giddy] Night Crawlers! Holy shit, you have no idea how long I’ve waited for this! I asked everyone to be here for a major announcement and you guys did not disappoint. There’s 1,000 people here, and we’ve added five thousand subs in just a few weeks! Tonight’s video is my thank you. I know some of your time zones are inconvenient, but I promise, this is worth it. Buckle up buttercups, this is gonna take a while.

Before we begin, I have a quick apology to make… I’ve been lying to you since returning from my hiatus, but after the explanation – I think you’ll forgive me. As you all know, Turner was analyzing every word I said, and we wanted to use that against her. A long con was our only hope; let’s break each stream down, and set the record straight.


The First:

Haha, many of you are expressing surprise at my cheerful demeanor, but I assure you there’s an excellent reason. I’m beyond cheerful; shit, I left chipper in the rear-view mirror! I, ladies and gents, am downright giddy! Please, hold your questions til the end while I regale you with my triumphs.

The first stream was a short “I’m back” statement claiming Turner was a ghost; that was to instill a false sense of security. We didn’t know her location yet, but we did know she was close by; nothing could convince us she left town. Baiting her into starting a YouTube channel wasn’t planned, but the IT guys had a field day with it.

I was nervous about lying – especially live – but being the object of a stalker’s obsession can instill a desperate yet effective confidence. I was given key phrases to say, but nothing that could constitute as a script; Agent Robins worried it wouldn’t sound natural. I was annoyed at the time but can’t argue with the results.

I almost canceled the whole ruse when I mentioned the support group; it wouldn’t be unlike Turner to target them… mainly Sarah. She was my biggest lie of all… well, not at first. Everything I said about our relationship was true in the beginning… but we had our first date the week before that stream and it was… ugh, I hate sounding this way, but it was magic as fuck.

Thank you, everyone, I knew you would be supportive… though I do hope you understand my reluctance to share further details. It’s a new relationship and scary as hell for both of us… so, yea…

Ok, this isn’t a romance channel; let’s get to the horror! While I genuinely recorded extra videos as a way of apology, they also served a second purpose. It was an excuse to stream every night; Page can’t resist new content, and the longer she was distracted by tv the better.


The Second:

Announcing Turner’s channel was tricky but sorta fun. I received a link from Reddit user PT666. The account was brand new and is now deleted, but please don’t give me crap about clicking a shady link; it was clearly to YouTube. Did my hopes immediately set on the idea of her actually using it for suicide? Yea, totally… but I tried to rein in the rogue fuckers.

The IT squad is amazing, I can’t say that enough; maybe I should’ve made an effort to learn the real name of their unit… hmm. Anyway, they were reasonably sure the channel was legitimately Turner because of specific hacker techniques she used; not so much what she did, but how she did it. Behind the basic VPN, she led us to an actual disabled person in Canada. She needed to believe her trick worked; the hope was to make her comfortable while we continued tracking a real location.

We walked a delicate line by giving the videos attention, but it prevented others from engaging with her; although it may not seem like it – most people come here to lurk. The bulk of views are from people bored browsing. They might be tempted to see what the fuss is, but if I condense a summary into what they’re already watching – most won’t bother. Plus, we hoped Page would continue uploading; each video gave IT more to work with.

Yes indeed, Lady; the system was working well… a little too well as we would soon discover. Sorry, I shouldn’t jump ahead; I want to tell this just right.

The invitation to email me was impulsive, but that was a bust. I wanted to ask how she worked the puppet; the real Lamb Chop always sat, but Turner’s stood without revealing her arm. Overall, the video looked like a kid made it, but if you focused on the puppet – her control was eerily natural… especially the creepy smile; that shit gave me chills.

The first video was clearly saying, “Howdy, neighbor! I found a cave on your property and moved right in.” I was positive it didn’t exist; between family and investigations – there isn’t a square on the grid that hasn’t been searched a dozen times. Regardless, this was Page fucking Turner; she doesn’t say anything without a sneaky double meaning to throw in your face.

There was a catch, I just needed to find it; my obsession became so strong, I recorded both videos in order to analyze it without letting the views increase. I think years of torment have entitled me to some pedantic pettiness. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t have an epiphany until it was too late, so let’s pause this part and move on to day three.


The Third:

I said the poem came from California because that’s what Page wanted us to believe. The postage marks were faked; it was definitely delivered in person. That meant we had a picture of whoever left it! Right? Nope, she stole the SD card!

It was up really high, too; she must have climbed the tree. I used a 10ft ladder to get it up there and even then it was a stretch! Plus, the card slot is on the back; that means she took it down and replaced it. Most people would keep it or trash it at that point.

Don’t feel bad Lore, I didn’t understand why either… although, Lady is only half right. It’s true, the ‘mailed from California’ ploy would be ruined, but she didn’t steal the card that night; it was gone long before. She knew I wouldn’t check without reason due to the inconvenience.

Yup, I’m afraid so, Disco; we soon learned she passed through quite regularly… to get… well, home; she was a busy little psycho. We put a new card in but never got anything from it; once everything was in place – she bunkered down and got serious.


The Fourth:

By the fourth stream, I was barely holding it together; I couldn’t ignore Turner’s new video, but I was afraid of revealing too much. That morning, six officers disguised as hunters searched the property again; it’s the best way for heavily armed men to walk about inconspicuously. More of Page’s witchy totems were scattered throughout the forest; some hung in trees, and some were balanced atop piles of rocks.

I somehow resisted the urge to immediately destroy them; we didn’t want her to know we saw anything. That was before we understood how thoroughly secluded she was [shudders]. The totems weren’t there two days before, but suddenly, they numbered more than fifty. The fact she continued to move freely about my property – after such extreme precautions – was too much for my mind to comprehend.

And fuck, that video, right? I can finally tell you how it happened, but I’m adding an extra disclaimer that this is viewer discretion highly-fucking advised, okay? It’s fine if you don’t want to listen; the next story will be up in a couple hours.

Okay, so. You’ll hear why later, but here’s how Page completed her sacrificial duties. You know – in order to complete what we thought to be a ritual called Knot of Fate. We were slightly off; apparently it’s a curse and doesn’t have an exact translation, but it’s closer to Tangled Destiny… or so I’m told.

I’m glad you asked, Lore; the reason she crossed state lines was purely tactical to avoid police detection; it’s pretty disturbing how simple it was. Using a fake identity, she bought a car online and hit the road. She filmed the whole journey for “the sake of history” but didn’t think to start a channel until I opened my fat mouth. Batty bitch even bought souvenirs!

When ready for a victim, she pretended to be an Uber driver until someone was too drunk to check the app; it’s surprising how normal she looks in a face mask and makeup. Much like my old friend, Rick – these people mistook her small, fragile appearance as non-threatening; in our world, there’s no such thing.

Eventually, someone always crawled into the backseat, and Turner drove off like she knew where they were going. On the rare occasion someone complained, she cheerfully apologized and corrected course. Once they were safely on the road, she’d offer the passenger a bottle of water and wait for the drugs to take effect.

I asked what she did if they refused the drink, but she said it only happened once – on number six. It took her by such surprise, she drove the woman all the way home and found another. The survivor’s original driver got five stars… I really can’t even.

Once unconscious she injected them with enough horse tranquilizer to ensure they wouldn’t wake up before the sacrifice could be completed. She claimed the drug choice was based on ease of access but didn’t elaborate further. The only shred of solace the families have is knowing their loved ones didn’t suffer; considering the exceptionally mortifying methods employed, it is something.

The usual routine consisted of locating a new subdivision and borrowing an empty house. In the basement, she was able to use lights without fear of a passerby. The broad strokes include candles, an extremely complicated symbol, and a prayer – which must be in Ancient Greek – to whatever the hell she worshiped as very precise cuts are made.

When the deed was done and the messes were cleaned – she googled local papers to suss out where the gangs frequent. After dumping the bodies into said gangster’s territory, she got the hell out of dodge. Turner was so disgustingly proud of herself. What terrified me most is how someone so calculating, so seemingly intelligent – could be so far off the deep end.

I also asked about the storage unit, but it was the one thing she wasn’t eager to discuss. The Feds shut me out of the investigation, but I was able to learn they still haven’t found the place. Since Page already had twelve people, they assumed she was in Michigan – but they recently expanded the search radius. The mystery behind that shrine is shaping up to be darker than anything I’ve seen, and it might be years before we know more.

As you all know, this was the last stream; I had a feeling it would be. The last three videos were ready to go, so my brother posted at 7:30 until told differently. Page knew that video would cost her the channel, but she posted anyway because she was already finished with it.


The Final Showdown:

Okay, this is it – what you’ve all been waiting for; the following occurred between Thursday afternoon and early Friday morning. I could feel it in my bones; something was about to happen. The boys were at school, but I wasn’t taking chances.

I successfully embodied the character of each overly paranoid whacko in the Pasta catalog; the game was afoot. Firmly picturing the walls with literal ears, I packed a couple of suitcases without saying a word. After paying cash for a cheap – yet safe – hotel room, I left the luggage behind and drove to the boy’s school.

After giving Aiden the hotel key, I followed to ensure they arrived safely… and this is where I had to make one of the most difficult choices of all – who kept Eddie. I know, it seems like an easy choice, right? Technically, yes, because I always knew Ed was staying… but I also know that if I were a neutral third-party – that the tactical decision was to keep him where actual danger was most likely to occur. But they’re my kids… so, fuck tactics.

The hotel absolutely does not allow dogs, but with the agreement to be discreet and pay double – exceptions were made. I waited until I was leaving to say training pads were in the suitcase, but there wasn’t anywhere to walk a dog anyway.

I made sure they understood how important it was not to tell anyone their location. They’re not stupid, but I felt better saying it. The packed pop-tarts, lunchables, and snack-foods wouldn’t make the most nutritious dinner, but their young bodies could endure it under the circumstances. Thankfully they only needed to spend one night there.

I truly thought I outsmarted her this time; all day I played it cool. Then at 4:00, I tweeted “Early weekend start with the boys! No stream!” – I even ordered three large pizzas like on real movie nights!

All the while I was making sure the windows were still nailed shut and adding tinfoil for food measure—

Yes, Lore, tinfoil – because I was sick of thinking I saw her peeking in.

No, why would you think that’s a joke? Every time I passed a window there’d be this fucking spot in the corner of my eye; it was literally making me even crazier! Besides – that’s what the cameras are for, fuck those windows.

Oh, Lady I’m actually really happy you mentioned ADT, this is perfect timing. Okay so you guys remember she got all the special attention for her complete domination of the security system hacks, yea? So, apparently no, she wasn’t special; don’t get me wrong, she was a decent hacker, but nothing close to what we thought.

I don’t understand the technical side but I’m sure it’s explained in one of the reports coming out. I can’t stand those Hollywood ass-fucks. They couldn’t wait a few days to announce a sequel, nope; within a matter of hours it’s everywhere.

Sorry, didn’t mean to go on a tangent, but essentially, hacking your way into full access of ADT’s system – alone – from a random location, would take skills of an impressive magnitude. Blackmailing an employee and receiving direct access to my personal account is another matter entirely. This would have been discovered had the guilty man not been a long-time, trusted technician; he effortlessly erased what meager traces remained after each login.

I’m neither gladdened nor saddened by the fact he’s facing a divorce and jail sentence in the near future; he – and his family – are merely more victims left in the wake of Turner’s destruction. Am I bitter of all we suffered purely because a man couldn’t keep it in his pants? Of course I am, but I’m also very tired and feel like he’s suffering adequately without my attention.

Where were we before all that? … Ah, thanks, Stu; By sunset on Thursday, I felt like my house was a fortress. Bill and Ted were outside doing their thing, and I was strutting around like GI Joe with my lucky psycho hunting knife. Even with both guns, the blade made me feel the safest. Not as safe as Eddie, but he was exactly where he needed to be.

After receiving the pizza – I set it in the kitchen, used the bathroom, and started a podcast before fixing a plate. I was starving; those five slices were the first thing I ate since breakfast. They also came very close to killing me. I felt the first warning when I suddenly transitioned from drowsy to intoxicatingly delirious.

I tried to stand but fell, slamming my elbow into the coffee table on the way down. The now purple bruise testifies to the forceful impact, but I only felt a numbing tingle. I admit to having a sizable party streak in my younger days, so while my memories are fuzzy for this portion – I remember being higher than a fucking kite.

Who knows how much time passed before Turner was standing before me; I wouldn’t have checked the footage even if the cameras were recording. I do remember she was incredibly annoyed I ‘ate too much’ – she practically had to drag me downstairs; the intention was for me to be groggy but semi-functional.

I was aware of losing the guns, but my arms were useless, dead weights. Fortunately, I was numb when rolling down the last basement steps; it’s a damn miracle no bones were broken. Upon impact with the concrete floor, I blacked out entirely.

After a few hard slaps, I woke to a familiar sensation. My clothes were drenched in sweat, my heart was hammering, and my mouth was completely numb, but underneath the rising terror and panic, euphoria was creeping to the surface.

A frantic look at my surroundings revealed I was tied to a support column in the basement; the crazy bitch installed one of those castle-dungeon-wall-loop-things to the post! Not only that, the psycho had black war-paint all over her face in some kind of tribal design!

I wasn’t willing to speak first; when we made eye contact, we stared each other down. Casually, she reported that I ingested a generous dose of cocaine; considering it’d been twenty years since my last ingestion, it combated the Special K rather effectively. Overall, I was lucky; had she used the normal dosage, the fourth slice would have been fatal.

It took a while for any conversation of substance to form. I was awake but slow-witted; she made coffee to speed the process, and I hate that it actually tasted good. Though… it isn’t surprising she knew how I prefer it… probably saw me make it 100 times [shudder].

When I was finally coherent enough to appreciate the depths of my fucked-ness, I learned quite a lot. Remember our creed? Right – ‘Hell no, fuck ho-bos.’ Turns out, I never lost mine; crazy bitch planned every bit from day one! Well, not the breaks where she was locked up or healing – but yea, basically all the rest.

The attic nest was always a failsafe for the increasing chance of discovery over longer periods of time. Regardless of caution, the odds were statistically poor considering it was a four family household with a dangerous guard dog. I’ve debated leaving this suspicion out… but I’m just gonna say it…

So, she made this comment about spreading her smell around the house to blend with our family scent – ultimately becoming invisible to Eddie.

Side note: “family scent” is a thing for pets, you can Google that shit.

My initial reaction was ‘holy hell is that why he was slow to notice all those times’, which prevented me from seeing… this other possibility…

A common way animals spread their scent is through urination. Do… do you guys remember when I ended that stream by saying I had to walk Eddie “before he pissed on my chair again?”

Well… the thing is, he was always a really good boy about going outside until the whole intruder thing started. When we found accidents we’d scold him but not too bad; the vet thought he was either traumatized or marking his territory because we felt threatened… likely a mixture of both. It happened on and off over the years, but the worst occasions line up with Page’s timeline…

[horrified] I’m trying to ask if y’all think that crazy bitch was pissing in my house! … [sob] Why?

[sigh] We should pick up the pace, we’ve been here longer than expected… I don’t know how to say this next part without sounding ridiculous… but everything I’ve said has been ridiculous; so, who cares anymore.

Remember when I said there was a catch with the cave in the woods? The moment she corrected me, I understood my mistake. She said I shouldn’t have thought of it as a cave but a tunnel! That bitch has been tunneling under my property like bugs fucking bunny all these years; there’s an access door under the basement steps!

Guys, there aren’t enough emojis in the world; just stop trying.

Honestly, those were works of art; engineers are still going through them to shore up the walls. Due to all the cold cases surrounding Turner – multiple agencies are searching for evidence. How terrible am I for being a little excited at the prospect of having escape tunnels under my house when this is over? I don’t see the point of collapsing them if they’re safe, and she can never use them again.

Haha, don’t worry Lady, I’m getting to that part. We talked for a long while, but I was efficiently attached to that beam for the duration. She was too smart to unlock the bar herself; instead, she tossed me the key. I was so curious of the tunnels I might have gone in even without being held at gun-point.

They were everything she claimed. Not too tall or wide – because materials were limited – but extremely long, and the potion lab is in her living quarters. These spaces are almost 7ft in height and consist of three ‘rooms’ roughly the size of an average den. Besides the one used for witchcraft, there’s a storage and lounging area. That’s where her bed and normal books were kept. Maybe she was a dwarf in a past life; there’s clearly some kind of mountain-person-history there.

She claimed the tunnels extend to her first shelter in the forest – and I have no doubt they do – but there hasn’t been a chance to fully explore; I was never meant to live past the cauldron room. Somehow she managed to get enough concrete down there to pour a 12×12 slab; that’s where she drew her insanely detailed curse symbol. Once she was ready for me to lay on that thing, shit got real.

Basically, I told her it didn’t matter how many guns she had. There’s no way I was gonna lay down and let her carve me up just so! Then she said my sons’ hotel room number… and said a man named Chill was ‘keeping them company’ in case I decided to be difficult.

Isn’t it crazy how a few words can hold power to sway our strongest resolve? I took three full steps before coming to my senses… why in the ever-loving fuckballs did believe that statement? Then, finally, something went my way; she called the Goon on speakerphone as proof. On the fourth call, a very angry man answered; I’d trade my left nut to have the audio recorded, but I can give you the basics.

Chill was paid to break into the hotel room of two defenseless children; he knew nothing about a pit bull or senior baseball player. It was difficult to hear when she took him off speaker, but the screams were loud enough to learn he was missing two fingers and probably had a fractured skull. Unfortunately, he was already across state lines at the time of that call and has not been captured.

The guy didn’t try to be stealthy; he announced himself by kicking in the door – intent on snatching two small children. Instead, The Good Boy took him down, and Aiden swung his bat until Chill begged for mercy.

Me too, Lady, but despite what I would have done, Conner was crying and Aiden was scared; they just wanted it to be over with. Once they called off the dog, that guy crawled out of there crying and apologizing. They tried to call right away but my phone was in the living-room; when police learned I wasn’t answering, Bill and Ted were asked to check inside.

To catch up to their entrance – I need to jump back once more. Turner knew she was fucked. What incentive is a gun if you can’t use it without ruining your little voodoo curse? I saved the craziest part for last because this is the kind of shit you can’t make up.

You wanna know what her Tangled Destiny curse does? With the power of some “Ancient God older than the Olympian’s” – she was going to “bind our life forces together” which means if one of us dies—

HA! I knew someone was gonna say it, thanks Disco. No, the other doesn’t die – no, no, no; her whacked out magic is ass-backwards. It keeps them alive! The only way to kill the Bound is if they die simultaneously. It’s insanity, right? But wait, it gets so much better. When her plan to get me into her little circle thing failed – she got hilariously desperate… I can laugh at this now, anyway.

Page dropped both guns and kicked them to the other side of the room. I was so shocked that even her freaky smile and war-painted face didn’t scare me; I felt powerful now that the cocaine was in full effect. Then she said she would get me into the circle by force and stepped inside.

Next, she revealed a large hunting knife, reminding me of my own – still tucked into my boot. With the guns out of reach, there was no reason not to use it. I was sad she seemed indifferent to the revelation, but I couldn’t hesitate; this was finally my moment.

I lunged forward, fully expecting her to dodge or counter – at which point we would engage in a duel to the death – but that didn’t happen. She just stood there… smiling… laughing as the blade sank into her abdomen and my hand crushed the wrist of her knife arm. Our eyes remained locked as her blade clattered to the floor; Slowly, dreamlike, I pulled the knife upwards and felt the sickening rip of flesh until metal collided with bone.

Before I tell you the rest I’m going to explain what really happened so no one rains on my parade because we’re still celebrating, and fuck anyone who doesn’t wanna join.

This bitch knew it was game over and decided to inflict whatever last bit of psychological torture possible. Sinking to her knees, she removed something from her pocket and threw it at my feet; every last breath was used to explain how the curse really worked.

The item she threw was a Michigan state driver’s license for Maria Sanchez. Once my face showed I understood the implication, she revealed I was never meant to be number thirteen, Maria was. The only thing left was for the Curse-er – Page – to have her own blood spilled inside the sacrificial circle by the Curse-ee – me – which was now complete. Essentially, this means she will soon rise from the dead and plague me for eternity, but unfortunately for her, that shit is bunk.

If I thought for two seconds it were true, I would have shot myself then and there – which is probably what she was hoping for – but we live in the real world. So I watched her die with a smile on my face, then ran upstairs to find Bill calling for backup.

And now you know why I named this stream Final Cut.


Six months later…

Alright Night Crawlers, listen up – we gotta make this quick; Sarah will have all your hides if I’m late for date night. I just wanted to introduce part three of The Eternal Night series, Months of Night… and while I’m here anyway I might as well tell you about this trippy dream real quick. I’m clearly still adjusting to the fact Aiden abandoned us for the big, scary college world; [sniffle] hah, sorry, just a joke in case he’s listening.

So, the dream – I was at the cemetery, visiting Amber’s grave, but all of a sudden – I realize I’m actually looking at Page fucking Turner’s tombstone! If that wasn’t bad enough it got dark and stormy but I couldn’t leave; I was just stuck in place and hearing weird noises from everywhere. Then, when I can finally take a few steps forward, I trip and face-plant it across the psycho’s grave. As I try to get up, a hand shoots out of the ground and grabs my face! Ugh, it sucked—

… Hold up, let me ban this fool real quick; we don’t play that shit anymore.

Can you believe people are still doing that? How long do you think that loser lurked around with their display name as Page Turner waiting to make a remark like that? We don’t exactly discuss her often. [mocking] “Are you sure it was a dream?” What a douche. Oh well – push you later, Crawlers.

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

Horror Fiction

Stay Tuned… (Pt. 3)

⚠️ATTENTION⚠️

I’m honored to introduce part 3 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

Now…

I hope all my Night Crawlers feel as good as I do this evening! The fact we have 317 people in the chat is mind boggling enough, but if you would’ve told me we’d eventually hit 10k subs – even a year ago – I wouldn’t have believed it! That being said, I wanted to offer a quick thank you to everyone and a big welcome to our newcomers!

It was also great to see a positive response to A Story of Strife; it’s been a long time since I was that nervous about a premiere, but with encouragement from family and friends – I decided to take a chance. Over the next few months I’ll see if we can get another one up.

As for tonight, it’s time for our live Sunday classic! This week, I’ve modernized The Monkey’s Paw; it’s one of my personal favorites and it had hundreds of requests.

Would you make a wish with the paw? Let me know in the comments! 

Since everyone is eager to get started, here we g— [gunshot / shattering glass]

What the fu— [ multiple gunshots / woman’s scream / chair falls]

Amber! [footsteps running away / dirt-bike]

[dead air]


Several weeks later…

[ice clinking] For those of you who don’t use Twitter, I’m sure you’ve been wondering just what the fuck. Me too [huff]! Ohh, Life is such a bitch, ain’t she?

To put it simply, Amber is dead; I’m now a… widower. So. [sips drink]

Yep, those sounds were gunshots; cameras recorded the whole goddamn thing! The shooter was a man… tall… leather motorcycle outfit… huge, black helmet with a visor… [chugs drink]

Still ain’t caught the sum-bitch. I know what you’re thinking, and Turner remains locked away – snug as a poisonous bug – but police are combing through her correspondence to see if she’s involved. Apparently she has a following of sickos who enjoyed her work. Had I known sharing my story would get her famous… I’d never… not for a million subs, not ever!

Fucking bitch… [pours drink] oh, and if you haven’t noticed, I’m off the wagon – the wagon is fucking dead. [chugs] I don’t know when I’ll post what… but since the boys are staying with my sister, I got drunk enough to tell you what happened that night.

You’ll remember the kids were visiting my parents in Florida – thank goodness – and Amber was downstairs with a glass of wine and a movie, waiting for me to finish that stream. The bastard walked his bike down the driveway, opened fire into the front of the house, then drove away. Monsters are real… never doubt that.

Eddie was in the upstairs hallway, waiting outside my door, and judging by the empty wine glass… we think Amber was probably going for a refill when… it happened. The bullet tore through her chest, and she bled out onto our floor… right in front of me.

Everything is a blur after that; I don’t think I could remember if I tried… it’s not like I was sober for any of it. Telling the boys was the worst thing I’ll ever do in my life… that and the funeral. We all must endure planning a loved one’s funeral at some point, but I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy… so many tedious details… none of which matter.

I’m on a first name basis with police; Detectives Andy and Juan are running the investigation; they’re good men, but I lost hope of catching the prick early on. The dirt-bike was abandoned in a parking lot across the state line, but yielded no tangible leads. Now, it’s two weeks later, and we still have no fingerprints, DNA, or suspects.

I’d happily spend the rest of my life in jail if I could just get my hands on Turner… but that’ll never happen… bitch isn’t even in the same state anymore. I don’t care what the cops do or don’t find – she is involved! You guys see that, right?… Did I tell you that her lawyer tried to contact me on her behalf?! Said she wanted to apologize! Ha! [sips] [barks]

[spill drink] Damnit, Ed! Ugh, well… that’s it, anyway. [grumble] Now you know. I’m not sure when I’ll be back, but I’ll update on Twitter in a few days…


Three weeks later…

Hello, Night Crawlers. I know it’s early, but there are reasons for that.

  1. Thank you for your unwavering support and patience; your condolences and well-wishes have been an immeasurable comfort.
  2. It’s best to do this during school hours… for now, at least.
  3. I wanted to be sober, and while I’ve been better since the boys came home… I still can’t trust myself.
  4. I have an update on the investigation.

Lady Nopeingham and Lily Livers spoke to a few friends, and now the online sleuthing community is investigating our case! These guys are A-class and each one has solved multiple murders. Their channels are linked in the description; I hope you’ll check them out.

Honestly – at first… I was upset, and the detectives were furious. You know how I feel about strangers poking around in my personal life… plus I was certain they wouldn’t find anything… but then they did! There’s a moment when the asshole tilts his head to reveal a small neck tattoo, but we couldn’t get a decent image; Sleuth-Scope Steve could! After a few days on the internet – someone emailed a valid tip!

Casey Devon and his girlfriend saw the same weird symbol on a busboy down in Kalamazoo. They were in a dive-bar on the way home to Indiana and happened to see Steve’s video the night before. What are the odds? Finally, something went our way!

The detectives thanked Steve for his tip, but still wanted him off the case; I, on the other hand, was sold. I welcome and thank their community from the bottom of my dead, shredded heart. My renewed hope for catching this bastard has given me one more reason to wake up in the morning.

Juan and Andy ran a background check on the man; Davy Richardson is a convicted felon who has worked at the Gorilla Grill for two years. They weren’t eager to share more, but I learned he did ten years for armed robbery and sexual assault. There was no apparent correspondence between him or Page, but that doesn’t mean anything; even if they didn’t exchange letters, he still could have done it because of her – like some kind of psychotic tribute! Since his release, he hasn’t caused trouble; his parole officer considers him rehabilitated, but I really feel like this is the guy; I feel it in my bones!

I think Eddie can sense it, too; he’s been in better spirits the last few days; his depression runs as deep as our own. Each night, he crawls onto her side of the bed… often whimpering softly in his dreams… just like Daddy. We aren’t ashamed of our man-cuddles; the nights are lonely, cold, and endless. Conner is still sleeping on the cot in Aiden’s room… it’s so hard to see them suffer; they’re having terrible nightmares, but nothing seems to help.

Sorry… I have a hard time staying on point these days. The detectives interviewed Davy; he prattled off a worthless alibi, but it only took two hours to tear it apart. At that point, they secured a search warrant; unfortunately, no one was home. Like myself – you probably aren’t surprised… but the plain-clothed officers responsible for watching him were very surprised!

This is not a friendly neighborhood where civilians are eager to help police; the few who spoke only did so to further impede the investigation. That was three days ago, and no one has seen or heard from Davy since. With the help of Steve and his friends, there’s hope he’ll be spotted soon; we’re fairly certain he fled the state, but the internet’s reach is limitless! Eventually, he must show his face somewhere!

Thanks again for taking the time to listen! If you can spare a moment to check out those links – we appreciate every share; you never know when it will reach that one person who can help! Hopefully, I’ll be back to push you again soon!


Two days later…

It feels weird to record this offline… but I can’t risk Turner hearing it, and I’ve come to rely on this outlet. I’m not sure when you’ll really see this, but it’s been two days since my last stream. I hope these don’t become legitimate Lost Tapes, but if someone finds these years later – it’s absolutely because I’m dead. [sigh]

It happened… she’s out; she escaped! How the hell does someone escape a max security psych-ward in real life?! With help, for starters! It was Davy, right? It all lines up; it must be him!…

My first instinct was to ship the boys back to Florida, but what if she went there instead? I would be two-thousand miles away – completely useless!… Why don’t I go too, you ask? Thanks, great question!

What happens when she follows us, and it gets my parents killed as well? When I’m finished here, we’re going to a hotel… though, it’s only a temporary solution. The cheapest place that allows dogs is more than we can afford, but with help from family – we have the funds for a week’s stay. If they don’t find Turner before that… I don’t know.

I’ll be watching the cameras nonstop… and some police officers will be inside – hopefully making it look like we’re home. They even drove us to the hotel so both vehicles would be there… now you see why I couldn’t record live.

Why can’t this be over; why can’t we grieve in peace? Hasn’t she taken enough? What’s the price for not narrating a terrible story? I’d send her my own ear in a box if I thought it would appease her! If two boys weren’t depending on me – I would have broken long ago… sometimes, I dream of disappearing into the forest when Conner graduates from college…


Three days later…

Hopefully, this is my last non-live recording; it’s been three days since the first part. They won’t share specific details – but the detectives say they have reliable information that Turner and Richardson are laying low in San Francisco. FBI agents are in the area investigating further, and they’re confident in deeming it safe for us to return home. Please excuse me while I chuckle at their assurances… but we’re at least going to finish the week here.

I would stay the extra nights regardless, but for the record, Steve and his fellow sleuths are less than convinced of their whereabouts. They haven’t found anything new, but they’ve already done more than I can ever thank them for; I’m just grateful they’re still searching.

One thing I can rest assured of is that I won’t sleep a wink tonight. Each time the police leave – that witch bitch waltzes her Crazy back into my life and she… just fucking fucks it! Oops… I’ll need to edit that one out – geez it’s easy to get carried away when no one’s listening… I’ve never wanted to throat punch a bitch so bad… fuck. Ugh, [muttering] ok – be serious man – you can’t keep pulling this shit and expect to stay over 10k. Shake it off fuck-face; you got mouths to feed, and work-leave only goes so far.

[deep breath] If nothing happens, we’ll go home in two days. Don’t get me wrong; I hope like hell she is in California… but when have I been that lucky? Maybe if I kill myself she’d leave the boys alone… worth considering at least… I think it would cross any parent’s mind – especially after losing a spouse… but I couldn’t do that to them; they would never forgive me. They might not forgive me as it is… and I can’t blame them; it’s my fault their mother is dead.

Anyway, that’s it for now, hopefully you’ll hear this in a few days.


Four nights later…

Good evening, Night Crawlers. Has everyone had a chance to listen to the video I posted last night? On the bright side, they’re officially not Lost Tapes! If you did see it – I’m sorry for forgetting the edits, but you’ll understand why momentarily; if you didn’t see it – we went to a hotel for a week and police believe Page and her goon are in California.

Tonight, I mostly wanted to check-in with everyone to say I recorded The Monkey’s Paw – it’ll be up in a few hours; the wait is over! I also want to share a little surprise we received in the mail yesterday. So many bills and condolence cards are piled up – I was ripping stuff open without looking… then I found an old-fashioned ransom note; the letters spelled “Stay Tuned!” – I got you a picture.

Photo by Nightmare’s Edge

There was nothing else with it, and I called the police right away. They confirmed it was mailed from San Francisco which only further proved their theory… but I can’t help feeling it wouldn’t be that difficult to have a letter sent… Besides, she clearly has no issue with crossing the country on a whim! Even if she is in California, that doesn’t mean she plans to stay there. Sooner or later, she’s gonna come back, and we aren’t capable of hiding indefinitely.

She probably intends to make her little stories into a trilogy, but I guess we’ll have to Stay Tuned to find out, ha! Tell you what, though – if she does send a new story, I’m gonna read every damn word!

That’s all for now, I hope you enjoy tonight’s video; I’ll push you later!


Next week…

It’s really never going to stop is it? I know there should be a new story today, but I… I just couldn’t…

Thank you, Lady. I’m so sorry all… this ruined our collaboration; I was really excited about your story. Hopefully, we’ll have another chance to work together, but your video is amazing and I linked it in the details!

As for tonight’s stream, all I can tell you is what happened since we last spoke. The next night I woke at 3am from a horrifying nightmare and couldn’t fall back asleep. In the dream, I got out of bed to look for Eddie and heard a strange sound upstairs. It was almost like a grandfather clock or a dog running on concrete – but softer, padded taps…

The house was in complete darkness, and when the kitchen light failed to turn on – I realized we lost power. A bright flash of lightning illuminated the room for a split-second, and a torrential downpour ensued as thunder shook the ground. I was only wearing boxers and didn’t have my phone; using the walls as a guide, I stumbled my way to the utility room.

Another lightning flash cast an eerie blue shade onto everything, and I could see a flashlight on the shelf above the dryer. I even remember cursing as I stubbed my toe while trying to reach it…

The beam was weak, but it allowed me to maneuver without the wall. I called for Eddie as I crossed the den and paused at the base of the stairs… that’s when I heard the sound again. Patters… that’s the best word… and it was coming closer! I shone the light in time to see a shadow dart across the opening and into the hallway before stopping. It seemed too short to be a person but too large to be a dog.

I crept to the middle landing, shining the light in every direction, but saw nothing. All remained silent as I carefully continued my ascent, and the moment my foot touched the top step – the brightest flash of lightning yet revealed a brief glimpse of true horror…

Have you ever been on one of those rides that drop you from high up? Or fell from a great height while playing VR? You know that feeling where you lose your stomach? That’s what I felt; I still remember it perfectly. It was Page… but she was bent over in a backwards crab-walk like some kind of Exorcist bullshit! She was even paler than usual and her eyes moved in different directions while saliva dripped from her open mouth…

I tried to scream but no sound came out as she bum-rushed me from the darkness. The pattering was the last thing I heard as a tangle of bony limbs mowed me down, and rotten fingers wormed into my mouth while stepping across my face. When a heel pressed firmly into my manly-bits, I finally awoke.

That dream bothered me enough to start sleeping in Conner’s room while he’s bunking with Aiden… I wanted to be closer to them; the thought of those stairs between us was driving me insane! I wish there was a way to express how real it all felt. This was beyond anything I’ve experienced, and I’m not exactly a rookie when it comes to nightmares. It hasn’t faded like the others, either; now, with what happened last night… it’s like some sort of creepy forewarning.

To avoid confusion, I think it’s best to tell you everything in the order it occurred. At 3:08, the security footage shows one small person walking down the driveway in night vision goggles! Care to guess who? Hmm? Do you have a clue? Yea, fucking Turner!

She had a laptop and did something to our security system! Even ADT can’t figure it out, but they’re so appalled by the footage – we’re getting free service for a year. Honestly, that’s going to be a huge help on our finances; that part is appreciated…

Page busted the basement window, and crawled inside without waking a soul. Once upstairs, she went straight to my bedroom like she’s walked the path a thousand times.

To understand this next part you need to know I have a body pillow in the bed for particularly bad nights… my therapist recommended it. Turner stood over it – surely assuming it was me – and stabbed it! There was no hesitation; she just lifted a huge hunting knife above her head and mercilessly plunged it into my fake wife’s chest!

She immediately pulled the covers back to discover her folly; you can hear a few escaped giggles as she struggles to control her laughter. I find it more difficult to see the humor considering the strike was meant to end my life… I hate to be an Edgy Downer but there it is.

Next she began climbing the stairs, and that’s when Eddie started barking. They were his deep Danger Barks – I was instantly awake and on full alert. The boys did exactly as practiced and hid in the closet before dialing 911. While getting the gun, I saw Page on the monitors – responding to the noise by sheathing her knife and retrieving her own firearm. At first, it was trained on Aiden’s room; she seemed more afraid of the dog than me, but upon hearing my movements – she became indecisive.

Just as I was ready to confront Turner, I noticed she had her laptop open again. This time, she watched it while pointing her weapon at Conner’s door… she was looking at me through our cameras – using them to aim! I dove to the side – fearing the bullet would come any moment, but the only shots fired were to our cameras. I held my breath waiting for the sound of Eddie’s whimper, but the barking continued unimpeded, and I shook with relief.

After sitting up, I noticed several screens were blank; she didn’t want me to see which way she went. Thankfully, ADT also agreed to replace the destroyed cameras. I’ve never been at such a loss for what to do… I wanted to give chase, but if a gun was trained on the door – waiting for me to open it… only a few more shots would remove Eddie from the equation and leave the boys defenseless; it was too risky. On the other hand… she knew help was on the way and couldn’t afford to wait long…

These thoughts battled each other in my mind until the blue flashing lights recalled me to reality. Officer Davis was first on scene again – Juan and Andy close behind… but there was no sign of Turner.

I hate questioning good fortune… but why didn’t she shoot Eddie? Obviously, I’m grateful, but it seemed like the tactical choice from her perspective. When she had the gun pointed low at Aiden’ door, tears instantly streamed down my face because I knew what was coming… but it didn’t happen…

Like I said… I’m not complaining; the police are back, and the FBI has joined them. We finally feel a little safer; hopefully, we can actually get some sleep tonight.

Anyways… I’ll try to get another story ready by Sunday, but it won’t be a classic. Sorry again for the delay. Push ya next time.


That Sunday…

Hello Night Crawlers, it’s good to see our numbers back over 300! I have a long way to go before things can be on a strict schedule again, but for now we can try to make weekly uploads. Magic Mortimer is ready to go live as soon as we’re finished here, and since there’s new information to share – I decided not to premiere it.

Some of you may already know what I’m going to say if you watched the news, but please don’t spoil it for others; having something good to share is such a rare treat!

Whatever Page did to hack our ADT got the government’s attention in a serious way; this time the police didn’t leave. They’re rotating two teams of local and state police on 12-hour shifts, and a team of FBI agents are supervising around the clock. Having so many people in the house would normally make me anxious, but there’s been a few nights where I’ve actually slept!

The police and cyber-sleuth community are officially in agreement that Richardson and Turner never had direct contact before this happened. As far as anyone can tell – Davy learned about her through my channel and became obsessed.

You know how storage buildings put your shit up for auction if you don’t pay the bill? Davy had one under an alias, and it was auctioned off two nights ago. The buyers recognized the fugitive from the news in old photos and called the cops. There were love poems and fan art clearly dedicated to Page, but it didn’t match the handwriting of anything Turner actually received.

I haven’t personally seen any of these items, but from how they’re referred to amongst the officers… they sound as disturbing as you imagine… maybe more so.

The unit was overflowing with random garbage, but one of the most important clues turned out to be an old date-book. It held many useful tidbits; so far, four cold cases have been solved with its help. It also contained the address of a man named Marv… who coincidentally lived not thirty minutes away from me if you could drive straight through the forest; on the road it’s closer to an hour.

Considering the storage facility was located in Ohio – the Feds thought it worth a look. Marvin Daniels died five years ago, and his shack has been rotting away in the middle of the woods ever since. Three Agents drove out there – expecting to find nothing – but a fresh deer carcass hanging in a nearby tree indicated someone was living there.

Shots were fired before they could make it to the door – forcing the men to retreat and call for backup before initiating further contact. Miraculously no one was injured in the clash, and Richardson ceased fire when the SUV was no longer in sight.

After a five-hour standoff, tear-gas was shot into the shack, and Davy emerged – weapons blazing. His official cause of death is suicide-by-cop – and since no agents were injured – I’m not ashamed to feel gleeful at the bastard’s death; I only wish it were slower…

Every inch of the surrounding area was searched, but the best trackers couldn’t find Turner. We know she was there at some point because they found more witchy idols and another voodoo altar made from bones. They’re still trying to identify the human remains, but the severed head was a male’s. A fishing pole stood mounted to the wall with the decomposing skull on its hook, and a severed hand was secured to the reel. There were also two small, hot bombs; experts believe they were designed to be attached to an animal and remotely detonated.

I won’t rest easy until Page is dead, but for tonight, I choose to focus on the fact my wife’s murderer is gone… and that there are two bombs that can no longer harm our family. If you want to see pictures of the evidence, I’ve linked Steve’s newest video below.

Otherwise, I hope you enjoy Magic Mortimer; thanks for listening, I’ll push you later!


Wednesday…

Hey Crawlers, judging by how many are here, you’ve probably figured out that a surprise stream means something big happened. I’ll give Turner one thing – the bitch has infinite patience; she was never going to show herself while the Feds were here. Finding that storage unit was a fluke! She had every intention of laying low until we were alone, and her goon’s death wasn’t going to change that. Finally – the agents agreed with me.

Coordinating a loud, flashy departure of all the personnel and vehicles was more complicated than it sounds. It couldn’t be too obvious… Page might be bat-shit crazy, but she isn’t stupid. Dozens of boxes were carried to the SUV’s, but each one was empty. All the equipment remained in place and a team of special agents watched for any attempts to hack the Wi-Fi. First the Feds cleared out, then the rest trickled away that evening until only Juan and Andy remained.

We took the opportunity to move their car into the garage. While the others lurked nearby – we waited for the cover of darkness to sneak the boys out in Andy’s stead. Aiden is almost seventeen now – and tall for his age; with Conner laying in the back – it would appear as if both detectives left.

I didn’t want to wait for her to come to us; the invasion of our family’s home was vomit inducing, but it was our only option. The hope was to capture Turner before she came close enough to fire a weapon; the curtains were closed, and we stayed away from the windows as an added precaution.

At 2:28am – she made her move. Andy’s phone rang, and we learned something with green and red lights flew over the house and was now hovering above us. It remained still for roughly thirty seconds before shooting straight up and out of sight. We believed she was scouting the location – confirming the coast was clear – it made perfect sense…

We had no idea what was happening as we heard reports of the drone’s collision course. It raced toward us at top speed and crashed into Conner’s window. The glass shattered, and it exploded on impact; had anyone occupied the room at that time – they would have died. Or, had the device flown into the middle of the room instead of being stopped by an entertainment center – the entire house might have burned down.

The smoke detectors wailed into the night while fire and rescue trucks rushed to the scene. Once again, their flashing lights created a false daylight as they surrounded my home. The range for her to operate the drone was limited; search teams scoured the area confident of success, but I knew they wouldn’t find her.

After being cleared by the paramedics, they wanted me to join the boys at the safe-house… but I needed it to be over! She almost burned down our family home; it needs weeks of repairs before we can go upstairs at all! I didn’t even have the gun – just a hunting knife I’ve been keeping on my belt – but I snuck off anyway.

I knew she wouldn’t be too far; she couldn’t miss the show, and I feel like she’s one of those people who must watch her fires burn. First, I crept towards the backside of the house where the trees are most dense – always scanning the area ahead before proceeding. Hesitating at an extremely dark patch where the lights didn’t reach, I hunched even lower and slowly crawled my way across – knife in hand.

Seconds later, the snap of a twig from above froze me in place. Looking up, I saw nothing but an empty tree, and a soft scratching sound baffled me until my eyes began to blur; then, the bark moved! It was only a few seconds, but it felt like an eternity while trying to discern the shape. After finally understanding what I saw, I screamed.

It was Page… upside down, hugging the tree, and wearing the most realistic bark-camo I’ve ever seen. She even had on a face mask and brown-painted eyelids… she looked like a real-life cryptid… it takes the term “Nightmare Fuel” to a new level…

When I started to scream she… she just… dropped. Our heads connected first, and we fell to the ground in a painful tangle of limbs. I continued screaming like a woman while she cackled maniacally. My head ached and spots danced in my vision; I lashed out with the knife, and felt the satisfying rip of flesh before succumbing to unconsciousness. The last thing I heard was her furious screams being drowned in gun-fire.

Upon waking in the back of an ambulance – I learned Turner escaped and tuned the rest out, but a muddy footprint tells me I took a boot to the face as she fled. Her blood was all over me, though we aren’t sure where I stabbed her; the CSI guys said it’s not enough blood loss to kill her, but she’s definitely hurting. She’ll probably see it as one more scar for the collection; I wonder if she even feels pain…

Back at the safe house, I found a note in my pocket when changing clothes. This one said, “I wouldn’t kill a dog for no reason, jackass! I’m not a monster!” Fuck that bitch.

We haven’t decided what to do next, but I’ll try to update you about a new video soon… push ya later.


Thursday…

I know, I know, a next day surprise stream means it’s huge. Well, sort of… this is just going to be a short and sweet update. The Feds got a call from a hospital four hours away; we now have surveillance footage confirming Turner was there. She ducked out before authorities could be contacted, but she did receive treatment for the stab wound. Apparently, my knife went into her mouth and tore through her cheek; she has half of a Joker smile now…

I’m not sure how I feel. Part of me is happy for any suffering I can repay, but another part is extremely disturbed about disfiguring a woman’s face. That probably sounds strange considering I’ve shot her twice now… and yes, I do wish she were dead… but I was trying to protect my family! This was up close… and personal… it feels sadistic… but it was an accident… I only meant to kill her! Ugh, I’m making this sound even worse.

The important thing is – we all know that injury will do nothing to sway her actions… she’ll come after me harder than ever… and all I can do is wait.

While we’re here anyway, there will be a story on Sunday called Periwinkle; I used a blanket fort like the good ole days, but I’m ready to go home. This safe-house is cramped and has a funny smell we can’t get rid of.

[sigh] That’s all for now – see? Short and sweet! Push ya later!


Saturday…

[humbled] Night Crawlers; it’s a new dawn of a new age. No one is here, but I don’t care; this news can’t wait another second. If you haven’t heard – ding-dong motha fuckers; the bitch is dead! Hell, even The Good Boy is celebrating with his own rack of ribs!

[softer] Unfortunately, it’s a somber day as well… good men died while protecting my family, and that is a debt one can never repay. It isn’t much, but I have started a fundraiser for the grieving families; the links can be found below.

I don’t know how she found us, but yesterday morning, a drone flew two circles around our safe-house before disappearing into the sunrise. Snipers were put on alert and reinforcements were called in, but nothing more happened until 2:00pm when a loud, Ford pickup stopped in the middle of the street.

Silently, we watched a small woman hop out of the passenger side and wave goodbye as the driver continued on his way. Page fucking Turner hitched a ride to our safe-house wearing a clumpy winter coat and a bloody patch across half her face. Somehow she looked more terrifying each time I saw her.

Halfway to the door, she was met with two agents yelling for her to get on the ground. Slowly, she raised her hands; the right was curled around a small object; the left revealed a bomb strapped to her torso. The item she held was a deadman’s-switch!

They didn’t know if it was enough explosives to blow up a house or a street, but all attempts to stop her failed. Juan and Andy tried to get us through the back door before she made it inside, but she caught us in the kitchen. She ignored the officers completely and removed her coat; we collectively held our breaths as it slipped over the detonator and onto the ground.

Next she removed her bandage to show us her angry, red smile. I know Joker smiles are overdone and creepy in our community… but shit… I think half of one looks much scarier… especially in real life. If, and only if, you have a strong stomach – you can find a picture from the hospital footage, but I doubt it exists anywhere else; there certainly won’t be any new ones.

Eddie was losing his mind; when we locked him in the bathroom, I thought he would break the door. Page held our full attention but had only one goal. After removing the gun, she threw her bag to me; inside was the story – Stay Tuned. She must have felt invincible at that moment… the only thing she cared about was forcing me to make a video; everyone else was mere distraction.

She wanted us to be left alone to record in peace and didn’t seem to care what would happen after that. I was just happy to see the boys taken away; a heavy weight was lifted at the sight of them driving away with an agent.

The detectives were walking out of the door when she stopped them; a sudden suspicion changed her mind. As if hearing my thoughts – she worried I would try something up if we were left alone. My choices were few at that point, so I began recording.

It’s a little strange though… seriously, think about it; Turner was obviously a very intelligent, capable person… but she wrote like a grade-schooler! [sigh] It didn’t matter… I was on page three when they grabbed her.

Juan had one arm around her neck, and a death-grip on her left arm; Andy threw himself onto her lap and both hands clamped onto her right – securing the detonator. They screamed in unison for me to fetch reinforcements, and that’s exactly what I did.

Page cursed me in a language I didn’t recognize while struggling against the detectives’, but I never spared her a glance. Once outside, the officer-in-charge escorted me past the barricades as a SWAT team prepared to enter. Their lead man was only a few feet away from the door when the house exploded. Andy and Juan were the only fatalities, but there were dozens of injuries.

The only ray of light in this abysmal pit of darkness is the fact Turner is finally dead. I feel like I can finally grieve for Amber properly now. From here on – this will be a new start for our family… and I hope you know that includes my Night Crawlers!

Periwinkle is still ready for tomorrow, but after that I’d like to resume our regular schedule. Also, please don’t forget to take a look at those links. That’s it for now; I can’t wait to push you tomorrow!


6 months later…

Hey Crawlers of Night, I know it’s been a long time since an unscheduled stream – but don’t worry, it’s nothing major. I just wanted to address these ridiculous pictures going around; mainly to assure you all it isn’t me. I’m not sure who is photoshopping pictures of The Bitch into all my stuff, but it’s getting old.

They’re trying to make it look like she’s still alive; the artist clearly wanted her face to appear healed, but the fake scar is a red, jagged mess. I’m a reasonable guy, and there’s a chance you meant well – after all, this is a horror channel – so if you stop now, there’s no hard feelings.

I mean, props on your work and everything. The way you started off with just her face in the background and then brought her closer in each picture is a nice touch! If this wasn’t such a horribly traumatic experience for me – I might even use some. While, yes, the scar was obviously bogus, it’s a perfect score on the Creepy Meter – especially paired with the dark circles beneath her eyes. Basically this is a thanks, but fuck no.

Anyway, that’s all I wanted to say; take care everyone, and don’t forget we have a big announcement this Sunday, stay tuned!


Part 4

Horror Fiction

Next Time… (Pt. 2)

⚠️ATTENTION⚠️

I’m honored to introduce part 2 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

Now…

Gooood evening, Night Crawlers! I still can’t believe we have over a hundred people in our streams now! Lady, Lore, Disco, Q, Livers, all my original crew – can you guys believe this?

While I’m touched you aren’t surprised, you have to admit it happened fast! I hate to think Name-Her-Not had anything to do with it, but the Coming Soon video has over ten thousand views. At least she isn’t alive to see it; that gives me peace.

Besides, it doesn’t matter why we all became friends, only why we stay friends… right?

Right!

The schedule is going to be a little tight now that my promotion is official, but I think we can fit Days of Night into one video if you’re okay with another hour long premiere.

Somehow, I had a feeling you would be. I don’t write often, but I had a weird nightmare the sun stopped coming up, and it definitely felt like a horror story.

Haha, thanks, Lady! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed them, but my plate is overflowing— [barks] Fuck… sorry! …Hope no one’s volume was up…

[talk away from mic] Yea— it’s okay, babe. Can you— yea, can you take him… and shut the— [door closes]

Whew, I’m sorry, seriously! See what I mean? Chaos everywhere. I swear, one of my ancestors pissed off a voodoo queen or some shit.

On the bright side, you officially met Eddie! He’s been dying to say hello… as you heard.

Damn, that’s lots of heart emojis! He returns the sentiments, I assure you, haha.

Looks like it’s about that time anyway – goodnight, Crawlers! I’ll push you next time! Get it? Another Edge/Crawler joke – I’m considering it as my sign-off, do you like it?

Well, the masses have spoken; so sayeth they all!

6 days later…

Hello, my favorite Nocturnal Knee-Walkers! How’s everyone tonight?

Great! I know you’re all surprised to see a stream today, but I need to discuss something important. I’m not angry… we understand you meant well… but someone submitted a sequel to Coming Soon…

I see how some would think it’s a good idea given the amount of attention it received, but the video wasn’t released with that intention. Our family went through an extremely difficult time, and part of my healing process was to share that experience with a few close friends. I never dreamed it would become popular, and while I’m grateful for new friendships – it’s not a story we wish to continue… and titling it Next Time was in poor taste…

It’s okay. As I said, I’m sure no ill-will was intended…

No, Lady, I didn’t recognize the email – and I’m not here to call anyone out – but moving forward, we appreciate if everyone can respect our wishes in this matter.

Oh, and while we’re here, Days of Night will premiere tomorrow at 7:30.

Haha, I’m excited too; I’ll push you later!

The next night…

Alright, let me have it; what’d you think? I know it’ll never be a HBO series, but I honestly kind of like this one.

Aw you guys are making me blush, but no – part two is definitely out of the question! My promotion came with longer hours; there’s barely enough time to record as it is.

Haha, that’s hilarious – but sure, if we can get this channel monetized, I’ll write all the sequels you want. In fact, if I can ever do this full time, we can have random stories on weeknights and series continuations on weekends… not that I’ve been obsessively planning or anything… it was just an off-the-cuff type idea…

Ahh, only the truest of friends feed your delusions. The cold void that is my soul feels warmed and tingly.

While everyone is particularly happy with me, I have a touch of bad news. Next week’s premiere is canceled for work travel.

I know, I hate it too, but they’re sending me to some corporate retreat / teamwork training bullshit. It honestly just sounds like a weekend by the lake, but either way – I won’t have time to record. Maybe I can still get a few Peephole Shorts on TikTok – we’ll see!

I drive down Friday afternoon and come home Sunday evening; at least it’s only two nights away from home. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m gonna miss Eddie so much it already hurts [sigh]… oh, and the rest, of course.

I guess that’s it for now, push ya later!

2 weeks later…

I know you expected to hear from me sooner, and I feel terrible for making you wait. As you’ve probably guessed, there is no story for tonight… I’m sorry about that, too. It doesn’t feel like I’m being overly dramatic, but it will probably sound that way when I explain why.

I never dreamed to find myself sharing another personal experience, but here we are. I thought hard about it, and honestly I’m still not sure if I’ve made the right decision… but I can’t allow one disturbed lurker to take this channel away; if I want to share something with my friends, then dammit, that’s what I’m doing! [fist bang table]

If anyone would like to retrieve their alcohol or smokables, do so now.

Everyone ready? Okay. So, this “retreat” was two hours away at a lake in the middle of nowhere – it doesn’t even show on Google Maps. It has a complicated Ooga-boga-toga kind of name. There was no reception or WiFi; they claimed it was another “bonding” aid, but I’m thinking it has more to do with lack of availability.

We shared six semi-decent cabins between 24 people; it could have been worse space-wise. Splitting a bathroom with three strangers wasn’t ideal, but they said it was somehow also part of the bonding. Let’s pretend that’s less creepy than it sounds because we have a lot to cover.

My bunkmate was a decent guy; I’d seen Gary around the office, but this was the first time we really spoke… huh. Okay… maybe there is something to that bonding jazz, but we don’t have to admit that elsewhere.

The weird shit started when we met our Cheer Leader… not cheerleader… but our Leader of Cheer. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Her name is Karen Newcomb, and she’s easily the most hyper woman I’ve ever encountered. You’d never expect so much pep in a tiny package; I don’t know if she had cocaine in her sugar or just makes the kinda money that buys happiness – either way I wanted some.

I played their game and smiled with social grace like my livelihood depended on it – because it did – but, honestly it wasn’t worth it. Saturday morning, we were gathered by the lake when Karen introduced herself and got right to work.

We paired off with our bunkmates and were forced to do the falling backwards trust exercise, but she added an extra spin. The catcher asked their partner a personal question, which was answered after the faller was caught. Sounds simple enough if you’re okay sharing your personal information with strangers, but I’m not too keen on it these days.

A few jerks thought it was funny to drift towards awkward questions, but when Karen encouraged “secret sharing” some people got downright brutal. My dislike for the Cheer Queen evolved to hate faster than I normally judge character flaws – but I can’t stand cruelty for sport.

I was extremely lucky to have Gary as a partner; we laid low, keeping it simple with birthdays and pet names while tempers were tested around us. That woman thrived on drama… or she’s a master of uniting people under a common enemy – either way, no thanks.

She enjoyed a long day of torturing us with various mind-fucks before we were finally released for dinner and “evening recreation” which supposedly meant we could do whatever we wanted until bed. The only thing I cared about was sleep; the longer I slept – the faster time passed.

It was 8pm when I laid down and fell into a dreamless abyss, but I soon found myself with a bladder screaming for release. I remained in a half-delirious state while trying to estimate the amount of time passed and if I were still alone. After several silent minutes, I felt confident of my solitude, and mentally prepared for a mad, robe-less dash to the restroom.

There’s no way to convey how it felt to be certain I was alone… sleeping, and to… to open my eyes and have a face mere inches from my own! In one instant I took in her hot, peppermint breath and stray lipstick… she was smirking. As she slowly backed away, I felt myself shrinking into the corner, pushing my body against the wall to maximize the small distance between us.

I felt violated – there’s no other word. Then she had the nerve to pretend her actions were completely reasonable! She wanted to know why I wasn’t interacting with the group! So I asked, “Can you please define recreation?!”

I agreed to go purely to make her leave faster. While dressing, I saw it was 10:15 and almost got back in bed. The only thing that stopped me was the fear of Karen’s return, but when I stepped into the dimly lit night, I almost bumped into her. She was kind enough to wait for me in case I had difficulties finding the large bonfire.

We couldn’t just walk in silence either; she asked increasingly private questions focusing on how I spend free time. I tried saying basic things – like sports – but she kept nagging for a specific answer. Finally, I lost her by squeezing onto a log between Gary and a fat guy. You’ll never guess what activity Karen felt the need to drag me out there for – ghost stories!

Yup, I swear before all the gods of light and dark – that bitch forced me out of bed to insist I tell the first tale! Well – I wasn’t having it – no way. If she knew about this channel, she would have to admit it, because I wasn’t.

I told her horror wasn’t really my thing, [snicker] and that even if it were – I wouldn’t feel comfortable playing storyteller; most impressive was my serious demeanor. I think the right amount of pressure can make anyone a good liar. It was clear the others were growing uncomfortable at her relentless insistence, but I’m the only one who understood the flash of fury that crossed her otherwise composed face.

When her dark eyes were locked onto mine, I physically recoiled. Every time I stole a glance in her direction, she was staring at me. By this point, there was little doubt as to her awareness of the channel; the only mystery remaining was that of her intentions. I mean… she’s clearly not a fan, right? We weren’t allowed to retire until midnight; it was ridiculous!

At dawn, a loud trumpet woke us for breakfast. Roughly 100 yards behind the cabins stood a larger house where we gathered for meals. It was also where Karen slept so I didn’t like to be near it on principle.

The day was only the normal kind of terrible; aside from a few stray comments and suspicious looks, Cheer Queen didn’t push me too far until that night’s campfire. I wasn’t dumb enough to believe the recreation lie again – this time I followed the pack like a good little sheep. We went through the scary story dance again until I finally told the shortest possible version of “The Call is Coming from Inside the House”. I swear – I got it done in two minutes, and Karen’s look of angry disappointment was worth every second.

I’ll admit, when we were finally allowed to retire, I was feeling pretty smug. My brain should have been on autopilot – performing the minimum requirements necessary to retain my job – not going into overdrive and participating in head games with likely unstable individuals, but if I had to do the work anyway, I’m pleased with the victory.

How I was ignorant enough to believe it was over – I’ll never understand; maybe I was just relieved to know it was our last night in that hellhole. Fuck, I would have got into my car that very second – job be damned.

I was only asleep for an hour when a soft noise woke me. At first, I tried to ignore it – thinking it was one of the guys in the bathroom – but the more I listened, the more defined it became. Finally, during a brief pause in Gary’s snoring, I recognized the sound of fingernails on glass… tapping.

Obviously my first thought was Karen, but the logical part of me thought “No, that’s too crazy.” I’m disappointed in myself to say the least. Slowly, knowing the window was in my direct line of sight, I peeked open one eye – just enough to reveal a blurry shape across the bottom panes.

To see it clearly, I wiped away fresh eye goop, and my vision focused in time to see a person ducking out of sight. Even without distinguishable features, it was obviously Karen. By then I was furious; I rushed to the window, trying to catch a glimpse of her direction, and saw movement in the next cabin’s hedges.

I was putting on my last boot when I finally came to my senses. What would happen if a large man ran to confront a tiny woman in the middle of the night? How would things look to outside parties? I’ll never know if that was her plan or not, but I don’t care. For twenty minutes I laid staring at the window before drifting back to sleep.

I woke to more tapping shortly after 3am. When does she sleep?! This time, I leapt from bed in one loud, clumsy motion, hoping to give Karen a good scare.

I’m really losing my mind. That bitch got me so wound up that I saw Name-Her-Not’s sorry face – clear as day – for the split second she remained visible. I couldn’t sleep again after that, and I wasn’t okay at all Sunday. Gary thought it was a nightmare since he snored too loud to wake, and Karen kept winking at me; I felt like I would snap any second.

When we were finally released, I raced home like someone was chasing me – constantly checking my mirrors for signs of pursuit. I thought I’d be okay after making it home, but the nightmares and paranoia are back in full swing. I thought I was finally past all that…

Anyway, that’s why it’s been so long… I’ll get something special prepared to push you next week. For now, I’ve kept you too long, thanks for listening, Crawlers!

One week later…

[tired] Hey there, Night Crawlers. Sorry I haven’t been around much this week, but no matter what – you were getting a story. I hope you liked Meeper’s Keepers as much as I did. If nothing else – it’s original.

That’s great to hear; I wouldn’t mind a few more from that author.

I’m sorry, Lady, I know I don’t sound like my usual self, but I really am trying… things haven’t exactly been better since last time we spoke. Aside from increasingly annoying nightmares – we woke to find a gutted hog lying across our driveway yesterday.

You guessed it, Lore… just out of camera shot. I’m sorry, but are there any of you who think a wild animal coincidentally killed it there? Because that’s what police think, and I swear—

Nope, not doing it. I’m not getting worked up again.

Nah, seriously, don’t worry about us; we’re fine… it’s the principle of the matter – like, when is this shit going to end?

You know what, Disco? I think that’s exactly what I’m going to do; go to bed early. My brain needs to stop for a bit, but have no fear, next week’s video will be here. I’ll push you next time!

4 days later…

[ice clinking/glass slams on table, heavy thud/sitting] … are you out there, Bitch? [chug, heavy breathing – disconnect]

The next morning…

[humble] To those of you unfortunate enough to witness the… incident before it was deleted, just know I humbly, sincerely apologize; I’ve never been more ashamed of my actions, and it will never happen again.

To those of you who did not see it – consider yourself lucky. Yesterday was particularly hard for our family – and as a result – I drank a bit too much. Around 1:00, Drunk Edge decided to start a stream; again, I cannot express the depths of my remorse.

I appreciate your patience and understanding more than you know. My little episode cost me four subs, but I expected more. At least I caught one break with this happening on the weekend; there’s no way I could have made it to work feeling this way.

Aiden had a ballgame last night, so we didn’t make it home until late… I immediately knew something was wrong because Eddie ran to greet us as we came down the driveway. He’s never left outside; he’s treated exactly the same as our sons. When he ran through the headlights, I was mortified to see dark, crimson stains on his head and chest.

Amber gasped loudly, and I knew she saw it too. We shared a knowing glance at the boys, relieved to find headphones on and their glazed stares concentrated on glowing screens. I parked without waiting for the garage to open and frantically searched Eddie for injuries.

He didn’t have a scratch; someone else’s blood was caked into his fur – especially around his mouth. I signaled Amber to wait in the car and cautiously crept alongside the house. My legs felt like I was walking underwater, and when I saw the front door swinging in the breeze – I almost Noped out of there.

I looked at Eddie once more and realized he seemed a little too happy. If someone were still here… alive… the dog would be on top of them, but instead, he was kinda… strutting. A closer inspection of the front door left no doubt it was kicked in, but nothing else seemed disturbed. I checked every nook and closet twice before giving the all-clear to Amber and the boys.

I ran to the monitors next – eager to see da fuq – and was surprised to see six blank squares amongst the ten. Until that point, shock was the prevailing emotion, but at the sight of camera fuckery – I lost it. It took only a moment to confirm they were gone; I watched the entire footage on my laptop.

At 11am, when the house was sure to be empty anyway, a dirty homeless man drunkenly stumbled into view from our long driveway. He had greasy, unkempt hair, a red, flannel button-up, and black jeans riddled with holes. In his hand was a scrap of paper he checked often, and from the way he systematically removed each camera – game cams included – it’s safe to bet it listed their locations.

From that point on, we only have one view of the front door from our entry hall. Nothing more happens for eleven minutes, then suddenly there’s a loud crash as the door is kicked in. The homeless man could be seen holding – what looked to be – a handful of raw meat.

Instantly, loud, furious barking erupted, and the intruder shakily held his offering aloft. Well – Eddie was having none of that shit; he didn’t hesitate to latch onto the hobo. You could hear the man’s arm break as his screams filled the air; he lashed out in desperation but couldn’t break the pit’s hold. Finally, after falling to the ground, he grabbed a chunk of splintered wood.

Somehow, he managed to free himself for a split second, but when Eddie lunged for another bite, he found the intruder’s crotch. At that moment, I almost felt bad for the guy. Eventually, he gave up fighting in favor of retreat, using his remaining arm and legs to drag himself away… supposedly to whoever brought him here. Around this time – thanks to enhanced audio – if you listen very carefully, you’ll hear a car peeling out as it leaves him behind.

Twenty-six minutes after Eddie and the intruder exited the camera’s view, The Good Boy returned with the previously mentioned strut. You’ll be glad to hear he has since been treated to a rib-eye of the finest quality for his unwavering loyalty and bravery.

We called the police, and yes, we are as sick of them as they are of us. They were less than polite until the body was discovered tangled in the backyard’s shrubbery – which also happens to be Eddie’s favorite place to hide bones – just FYI. After that they were forced to actually investigate.

Now you know everything we know… officially, anyway… I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking about Karen – I just don’t understand why! Why would she do any of this? Or the stuff from the lake for that matter?! I’ll update when we know more, thanks guys – push you later!

The next night…

This was unexpected, I’m sorry I couldn’t give you more notice – but it’s really good to see my closest friends are here since this is specifically for you. I don’t know what to do anymore; I’m falling apart. We’ve had another incident, and Amber wants me to quit the channel…

I know, trust me, I know! I don’t want this either… but it’s putting my family at risk! Fuck, do you hear how insane that sounds? [ice/glass clink]

[sips drink] The thing with Name-Her— fuck it – the thing with Turner was a one-in-a-billion chance! I’m not famous, probably never will be – but that psycho bitch decided to fixate on me for whatever reason – fine!

Even though it took over six months just to physically recover, it doesn’t matter because she’s dead! Gone! Shat out by a bear and fertilizing these very woods! [ice clink]

My family never blamed me for what we went through, not once… but I could tell they weren’t thrilled when I started recording again. They know how important this is to me, so they kept silent – yet here we are again. [sip]

Hell, I’m not the only one who still has nightmares… we all do… often. Everyone except for Eddie… [sigh] I’d really hate to know where we’d be if it weren’t for him. Honestly, I’d have to be a selfish bastard to keep doing this… especially after last night…

Ha, fuck it, if this is our final stream – let’s go out with a bang! How’s that sound? I don’t throw around the L word often, but I really do love you guys; I’m glad it’s just the few of us here tonight, like the old days. [clink/sip] Well, let’s do this right – go get your vices and settle in.

By time the last official vehicle left it was almost midnight; the boys were in bed – Eddie included – and I wanted nothing more than to follow suit. Unfortunately, I had security measures to enforce; I know you don’t want to think about expenses when it comes to protecting your family – and that’s obvious for people who have money – but we need food, too. When Turner died, there was no reason to expand on what we had…

Anyway, I was already determined to call ADT first-thing, but in the meantime, I decided to move two cameras outside. The gun’s weight was comforting, but Eddie was securely tucked with Conner, and he was my preferred defense.

I didn’t try anything fancy; it was enough to have the driveway and house covered. Though it shames me to admit, it really did seem like Karen would stay away after such a massive failure. She got a man killed for fuck’s sake! [sip/clink]

When placing the last camera… I couldn’t find a flat surface and didn’t feel like dragging out the ladder. There’s a small crevice near the corner – just barely out of reach – where I thought it would balance… [sip] so I used the gutter to pull myself up. As you probably suspect, it fell – all the way to the ground, right along with me.

Initially, I thought the noise came from that, but when another loud bang sounded in unison with shattering glass – I began to understand. Then Amber screamed in a gut wrenching way I’ve never heard before, and I knew a fear not even Page Fucking Turner managed to instill.

I had another one of those episodes where everything seemed slow and clear. As two final shots destroyed another window, I rolled into the bushes, careful to keep my head to the ground. Once there, I heard retreating footsteps and almost pursued, but I couldn’t delay checking on my family.

On the slowest run of my life, I noticed two broken windows – our bedroom and Conner’s. I hope you can understand how literal I’m being when I say it felt like my organs were contracting into a single, fine point.

Inside, I almost felt relief at the sound of Amber’s fresh sobs coming from upstairs; it meant she wasn’t lying dead in our bedroom… then I remembered the look of Conner’s shattered window and began the next leg of an eternal sprint.

The first thing I saw when entering my son’s room was the red-speckled stuffing scattered across his bed. It was like walking through a picture frame – everything was frozen in place, awaiting inspection. Next I spied the hole in his pillow… but there was no blood in that spot… only white fluff. Finally, I felt the hard pulls on my arm, and realized the faint buzzing sound was actually a voice. [pour drink, hiccup]

Aiden was talking… I couldn’t make out his words, but he was pointing… I turned to the indicated direction to see Amber rocking Conner, with Eddie at their feet. Con had his arms wrapped around his mother, and that’s when I saw where the blood came from. I’m at my limit for reliving this nightmare, so let me skip the rest of the tears and explain what we know now. [gulp drink]

Police suspect Karen found herself a new homeless man because there were two shooters; one had a high vantage point – probably climbed a tree – while the other was on the ground. The first shot would have killed me had the gutter not broken, and the third and fourth went through our bedroom window – but Amber was already upstairs by then. The second bullet went through Conner’s pillow – exactly where his head lay moments before… he didn’t know what was happening… he… he woke up to Eddie biting his wrist… dragging him from bed… the blood was from his arm…

Needless to say… yea… I’m sorry, I really need to go now… [spill drink/knock stuff over]

3 months later…

[nervous] Hi there, Night Crawlers; shit, I’ve missed you so much. Thank you for being here, I know I sounded pretty rough last time we spoke, but I’m seven weeks sober today! While I wouldn’t go so far as to say we’re okay, we are better – and after the last few months that’s a welcome improvement. I gave some of you a few details via Twitter when it all happened, but now, with my family’s blessing, I would like to give you the full story.

We need to start four days after our last stream; I knew that Karen chick would be back – it’s just how my luck works – and I got the idea to check around the woods. I left work early without telling Amber and took Eddie for a long walk through the forest. About a mile in – just as I was preparing to turn back, I saw something strange hanging from a branch.

The closer I came, the more I saw; spread through the trees like a bad Blair Witch rip-off were bundles of three sticks tied together. Imagine laying two into an X shape, then putting a third straight down the middle – there were dozens!

At first I thought, “ok, the crazy bitch did this just to freak me out”, and I think that was a reasonable assumption to make – even now. It seemed like a smart way to ensure someone would stick to a certain path… one where a few bear-traps were concealed, maybe? Well, I felt smart for thinking of it… even if we didn’t find any.

Using a long stick for a staff, I continued following the strange idols, although keeping Eddie behind me was a challenge. He instinctively wanted to be in front, but I’d never forgive myself if he got hurt out there. The anger I felt was overwhelming… the audacity someone must possess to go to such lengths!

For half a mile we continued until the path diverged to each side – with the idols becoming larger and more frequent. There had to be hundreds more hanging in the branches to encircle a quarter-acre clearing I’d never noticed. It was well hidden; the surrounding foliage was dense, and the trees bent to form a canopy that concealed it from above.

That’s when I noticed new shapes mixed in among the stick figures; in addition to the triangles – there were small bundles of straw twisted and wrapped in twine. I didn’t touch any of it – in fact, I already planned to pay a teenager to take that shit down.

It’s amazing how smart Eddie is… I squatted low, carefully creeping to the clearing’s edge, and he laid flat next to me. I’m not sure what I expected to see, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine…

On the opposite side from where we sat, a crude shelter was erected; several tree trunks stood scattered around a fire pit, serving as tables and chairs, but there was no movement in sight. We waited twenty minutes before entering the clearing, just to be sure… and, as we got closer… I started to notice the stumps were covered in red stains…

That’s when I remembered the dead hog… and it made sense, you know… if she was hiding way out here – she’d need to hunt… but then I turned my attention to the shelter. It incorporated trees as walls, and she did an impressive job stacking logs between them. When she was finished, she stuffed the cracks with moss and mud; it looked exactly like what they build on those survival shows.

That thing took serious work and dedication; it was terrifying to think how long she must have spent building it. Eddie wouldn’t go inside; instead, he stood at the entrance, whimpering. I gave him a comfort rub before proceeding alone and saw a pallet of soft leaves in one corner, split logs being used as makeshift shelves, and a horrifying altar at the opposite side. Real talk – it creeped me the fuck out before I even approached.

It was made from antlers and bones… in the end we learned it was a mixture of deer, human, and boar, but a wider assortment of smaller bones hung in various places. In the center of all this, framed for display, was Heather’s severed head! Sorry… you guys remember her as Karen, but I’m getting to that. The takeaway here was – if she was dead, who else was out there?!

I didn’t want to see anymore; we left quickly, not stopping until safely back home. We endured yet another round of emergency vehicles flooding our property as police dissected the new crime scene, but they remained as secretive as ever. The only thing I’ll say in their favor is, they left two squad cars to watch our home that night – one on each side of the house.

Sleep came unexpectedly fast considering my level of anxiety, but eventually, exhaustion conquers all. Everyone was thinking the same thing, but no one dared say it aloud. “What if Turner didn’t die? What if she’s been out there – hiding in the forest like a secret neighbor?” It was hard to imagine any other explanation…

I tossed and turned from a terrible nightmare where Page was pointing a gun at Aiden while I begged her to shoot me instead… and then she fired. I watched, mortified as my oldest son’s body was riddled with bullets; blood sprayed as I ran to him, but it was too late. I saw the instant the life left his eyes. As I held his corpse in my arms, Amber suddenly appeared – screaming – pulling me away.

More bangs brought me to awareness; I was dreaming, but Amber’s screams were real. There was an honest gun fight happening outside! We raced from the room, staying low as possible, to reach the boys. Images of Conner’s ruined pillow flashed through my mind and I vowed to adopt a second pup.

Thankfully we heard the first window shatter after we squeezed everyone in the bathtub. Shots fired intermittently for over five minutes before stopping; it was twenty minutes after that we received the all-clear. One man was dead, his head popped like a balloon, and one was injured – but luckily he’s fully recovered now. The manhunt continued well into the daylight hours, but the shooter wasn’t found.

Over the next few days we learned about the strange setup in the woods, but the more we learned the more terrified we became. They found DNA from two people out there. One belonged to Page Turner – that’s right, it was confirmed – the Bitch lived. The dead woman wasn’t in the system, and she wasn’t Karen Newcomb, but they could tell she was Page’s sister! From there they found the information for Turner.

After interviews with friends and family, we learned Heather came to Michigan to help her poor sister get back on her feet. She was under the impression a con artist scammed her out of her life savings, and I’ll bet you can’t guess who she blamed in that story! Yes! Me! At some point, Heather found Page’s little campground and… I guess she outlived her usefulness.

Oh, but wait, it gets better! Page is an honest to god witch! She believed in the whole Wicca-pagan-voodoo-ritual stuff! I mean, I’m not dissing it or anything – I know it’s a legitimate practice full of really cool beliefs, but this Bitch was obviously not that kind of practitioner. She didn’t hang all those idols to freak me out; she did it because she genuinely believed in their power. What she expected them to do, I have no clue, but they’re long gone now – removed for evidence – I didn’t even need to pay a kid! It probably goes without saying, but she also submitted the Next Time sequel – I should have known that garbage was her doing…

Aside from the news updates, it was a peaceful two weeks… enough so that the police couldn’t continue wasting their manpower. I’m sure that’s exactly what she was waiting for, too. We have the most expensive package ADT offers and moved a cot into Aiden’s room so Eddie could sleep with both boys… I even moved a bureau to block the window… but it didn’t make me feel better.

I had my cell phone dialed to 911, ready to press call at the first sign of trouble. Sleep wasn’t a problem; our protection was gone and I was sure Turner knew that. A bottle of Benadryl couldn’t have put me down!

We were trying to have a semblance of a normal evening and decided to watch a movie before bed. None of us could handle too much action, so we were happy to let Conner choose one of his cartoons. I pretended to laugh at a bunch of fish jumping over a wall for two hours while I studied the camera app intently – watching for any hint of movement.

When the movie ended and the tv was off, a high-pitched voice filled the room; it was coming from a camera! That Bitch hacked into our Wi-Fi! Eddie was immediately alert, looking around nervously while trying to keep us in sight. I’m sure you’ve heard the Nightmare on Elm Street rhyme: “one, two – Freddy’s coming for you…” – well, she was singing that, but substituting her own name.

She had to be close; instead of waiting to see what happened next, Amber called the police, and I released the gun’s safety before heading outside. I mentally prepared myself to shoot on sight; all I cared about was stopping her before she reached my family. I tried to imagine where I would hide and thought of only one place – the treehouse.

It wasn’t used; it was too dangerous to play in when I was a kid, but it was never torn down. Most of the boards were too rotten to step on, and half the roof was missing, but a small person could hide there if they were careful. I tried to peer around the corner without stepping into sight, but couldn’t see inside. Crawling along the hedges didn’t conceal me from view; halfway across – a bullet whipped past, and slammed into the brick behind me. Debris sprayed my head, and I thought that’s what cut me, but doctors say the wound is more conducive with a bullet grazing.

The shot definitely came from the treehouse; I made the scariest dash of my life as I dove through the open yard to take cover behind our above-ground pool. More bullets sped past, but I somehow escaped further injury.

I was close enough to hear her now; she told them I was dead, shot down and killed instantly. I couldn’t stand the thought of my wife and children – so close yet thinking the worst; I acted on reflex without hesitation. “She’s lying! I’m fine!” I screamed, hoping they heard.

Next, she fired two more rounds, and I heard both puncture the pool. As the water leaked out, I shot four into the treehouse and was rewarded with an ear-splitting scream on number three. No more shots were fired, and I stayed right where I was until police arrived.

They found her unconscious, and I was extremely disappointed to watch them load her into an ambulance, but at least she can’t hurt us anymore… plus she has a nice chest scar to match the one on her gut; I was only five inches from the heart! I hate to admit it’s a little impressive she survived in the woods – injured – for so long, but damn. Maybe there’s something to that Wicca shit, who knows.

Now, we have family therapy twice a month, and honestly – it’s really helping. The boys were skeptical in the beginning, but we were desperate; we didn’t know what else to do.

While I would be happier if Turner was dead I’ll have to settle for a max security mental institution; it’s unlikely she’ll ever leave that place alive. Her sister was her only relative still in touch… but with Heather dead, she’ll be completely alone now; I can’t say I’m sorry.

Look, I don’t know what the future holds for this channel, and while I’m not ready to go back to weekly videos – I do hope I can work my way up to it. I’ve had an easier time with this stream than expected – maybe we can get a new story up before the month is over; nothing too long, just something simple to get my feet wet! If you have any suggestions, send them my way. Thanks again Crawlers, I can’t wait to push you next time!


Part 3

Horror Fiction

Coming Soon (Pt. 1)

⚠️ATTENTION⚠️

I’m honored to introduce part 1 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

Thanks to Lady Nopeingham for the pic!

January 11, 2022

[tap, tap] Hello, um, [clears throat] hey Night Crawlers… if I can still call you that. So, listen, it’s January 11, 2022, and… I know it’s been a while since you heard from me… I’m honestly surprised any of you are here… but if you’ll let me, I’d like a chance to explain.

[deep breath] Those kind enough to be here may suspect the reason, but it goes far beyond what you might imagine. This was a life changing experience for our family, and not for the better… that being said, I truly want you to understand… because we finally feel ready to get our old lives back. For me, that means making things right here.

I transcribed the old live streams and added the events which later transpired. No details are exaggerated; this is not for entertainment. I merely wish to explain my absence and apologize for any resulting inconvenience. So… here we go.

December 13, 2020

Hey guys! It’s 7:30 in Michigan, and I hope you’re doing well this evening! I’m glad so many of you could be here; I know you were hoping for a new story, but I had an unexpected job interview. There’s still a few hours of edits to finish Horror Heyday, then it’s all yours… for sure this time.

Unfortunately, if I want to continue narrating the internet’s most frightening tales, I need to handle these annoying bills. They’re surprisingly vital to producing a quality product for your listening pleasure. Needless to say, if there comes a day when this channel is self-sufficient – the frequency of uploads will increase exponentially.

Since I couldn’t deliver the promised goods, I thought we might try a Q&A. For the next hour, I’ll answer any questions you might have. Most creators can’t say stuff like that – not without inviting a slew of insanely perverted queries – but that’s where we differ. I’ve never thought of you as fans; it’s more like hanging out with friends.

I admit, in the beginning, I was a little terrified of you – but now we have this chill atmosphere that surpassed my highest expectations. Honestly, my appreciation is boundless! Okay, that’s probably enough with the gushy stuff – just know you’ll never be taken for granted… not by me, at least.

Now who has a question?

Ah, Lady Nopeingham wants to know how old I am. Well, Lady, as you can probably tell by my skinless skull, fully matured horns, and melty, red eyes, I’ve been around a hot minute – but best guess… between 950-990…

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself; nah, I’m 43.

It’s probably a good idea to get the basics out of the way, so I have a wife, Amber, and two sons; Aiden is fourteen, and Conner is ten. Oh! And Eddie – our sweet, gently gigantic pit bull is three, and yes, he is very good boy. We rescued him after moving to the country, and he instantly became part of the family.

When Granddad died, we inherited the house, and although we miss him terribly – I’m relieved the boys won’t grow up in a tiny apartment. People always ask if it’s haunted – it has that old/spooky vibe – but it’s definitely not. Pops built this place when he got married, and in all the time since, not one strange thing happened. Even if there was a ghost, it wouldn’t matter; regardless what proof I had, it would look like a cheap publicity stunt.

Seriously though, it’s a great spot! Not only do we have twenty acres situated next to a beautiful, lush forest – there’s also a giant pond in our front yard… welp, I think that qualifies as basics.

Who has another question?

Ooo, CaptainLore wants to know what my recording space is like!

Well, funny you should ask, because it’s a tribute to starving artists everywhere. Currently, my “studio” is a blanket fort inside a closet.

Haha, thanks, Disco Dan! The fact you can’t tell is a huge relief!

What’s next?

Okay Susie Q, I think I can answer that. Actually, several things inspired me to start narrating, but the main factor is my family. I’ve always received compliments about my voice, but I never considered doing anything with it until Aiden and Conner became obsessed with CreepyPastas.

One day, they played Ted the Caver on the living room tv; my wife and I enjoyed it so much, we found ourselves looking for more. After a few days of seeing what YouTube had to offer, Amber suggested I try it for myself. If nothing else, it sounded like fun, and as you guys know – the rest is history!

Oh man, I don’t know if I should answer that, FunDude! There’s multiple authors here, and I don’t think I could choose a favorite anyway. I had a hard time picking which stories to start with because I like them all equally.

Sure, Page! If any of you have something you’d like me to read, email it to NightmaresEdgeBYYP@yahoo.com. I’m happy to consider all submissions!

Alright, who yearns for more? 

Lily Livers, you’re too kind! But no, surprisingly I don’t edit my pitch. Thank goodness, because I’m still learning the finer, technical aspects.

[loud crash] Damn, I bet the next question is— yep, KittyKat is the winner!

The answer to “What the hell was that?” is “I have no idea!”, but Amber is calling so it’s probably safe to guess the boys broke something.

Thanks again for coming, and I’ll see you at the premiere!

December 14, 2020

Hey, hey Night Crawlers! Get it? Like – I’m Nightmare’s Edge – and you have to crawl… because you’re on the edge… what do you think? There’s almost fifty people now, I think that qualifies for our own community nickname!

Hey Livers, Tank, Lady, Lore, Disco, and everyone else – holy crap so many of you now; I can’t keep up! This is a good problem to have, very good! Seriously though, how’s everyone doing?

That’s great to hear! So, how was Horror Heyday? Judging by these comments, it sounds like you enjoyed it! 

As most of you know, our last chat ended with a loud crash. The boys were throwing Eddie’s frisbee around, and – of course – the damn thing ended up on top of the garage.

I know what you’re thinking, and it pleases me to report my kids were raised with enough sense to stay off the roof. Unfortunately, Eddie wasn’t… yes – as in the pit bull. He climbed onto the AC platform and somehow made the jump to the tool shed – but the overhang foiled his final leap. Poor guy bounced all the way to the ground! Amber had to take him inside while I retrieved his love disc.

Haha, oh my! Thine Lady makes me blush! I’m sorry, I did not mean to make that sound sexual!

Woo – now that I can breathe again – I thought you guys might get a kick out of that anecdote…  and fine, maybe I was fishing for story reactions – but I saved the best for last! I got the job! Soon, I’ll be able to upgrade my equipment and really get things kicked off around here!

Thanks guys, I appreciate the encouragement; I’m nervous and excited, but it’s going to be great! I’ll mostly work from home during the holidays, but after New Years, my schedule will be hectic while I get the hang of things.

Wow, it’s getting late so—

No, sorry Page, I haven’t had time, but I’ll be reading submissions later this week. As much as I would love to narrate everything you guys send, there’s more than I can keep up with. Don’t worry though; not using it for the channel doesn’t mean it’s bad – it just means I have more talented friends than I can keep up with.

Alright guys, I’ve got hungry mouths to feed and a wife with only two hands! Take care!

December, 20 2020

Sup Night Crawlers? As you know, it’s that time of year. I have a special holiday Pasta for Christmas, but this will be my last livestream until the day after.

Don’t worry, Q, I won’t be far. Plus, you guys can still catch me on Twitter and TikTok!

Umm… sorry Page. I honestly haven’t read anyone’s submissions. This time of year is always crazy for us – what with the kids being out of school and everything…

Yes, Lady; thanks for the reminder! Some of you expressed wishes to send a gift. Our PO Box is listed below, but listen I seriously don’t want you going through extra trouble. Your support is already the best gift—

Ha-ha, easy, Disco, no need for the Sap Police; I’m simply trying to ensure no one feels pressured, that’s all. Now, I know you have your own families to get back to, so I’ll catch you Crawlers later!

December 26, 2020

Holy shit, Night Crawlers – I almost couldn’t wait, but worried a Christmas summons might be frowned upon so I suffered through it. A lot of you gave donations, and it means the world to us! We’re also overjoyed with your amazing gifts, and I would like to share those with everyone.

Lady, seriously, thank you! I’m wearing the NukesTop5 shirt! “Did you see it?” This is badass, I’m in love!

Disco, you are a true artist! Crawlers! Look what this guy drew! I’ve never looked so dapper!

Now, this last one really blew my mind. Page, I’m telling myself you’re super rich so I don’t feel bad about this drone… because I really love it!

In fact, I have a special surprise! Tomorrow, I’m going to premiere a forest cryptid story with a special video taken by my new toy! I flew this baby all over the property, and the footage came out great!

Oh gosh.. no I haven’t, Page. I’m sorry; tell you what – I’ll read your story tomorrow and shoot you an email as soon as I’m finished!

See you tomorrow, Crawlers; you make a creature’s heart want to beat!

December 28, 2020

I am so sorry I bailed yesterday! We had an intruder, and everything has been hectic. The police were worthless; they didn’t do a goddamn thing!

Wow, I didn’t mean to shout, I’m just… so worked up right now. Everything was going too well; I should’ve known something like this was coming.

I know you’re sick of hearing it, but I really do appreciate the shit out of you; thanks for your concern. I know it’s silly to worry about at a time like that, but I did panic at the thought of you all wondering where the fuck Edge went, haha.

No, seriously though, we’re fine – physically. Amber is a little shaken, Aiden is acting tough, Conner is being a mama’s boy, and Eddie… well… he was pissed but not anymore.

Sorry… I’m all over the place – let me start over, because this is a weird ass story.

After the last stream, I did final edits on the drone footage, checked the doors, peeked in on the kids, and went to bed. It’s the same routine every night; I can’t sleep without knowing it’s done.

Ugh… I shouldn’t have made that stupid joke about a fake haunting – this shit sounds just as bad!

I know you guys believe me, but can we keep this a secret? Because I’m too stressed to deal with trolls.

Man, a slum-dog cryptid like myself doesn’t deserve you. I swear, I’m tempted to pay a writer to put this mind-fuck into fancy words, but we’ll make do.

So picture it – our humble, slightly creepy home in the middle of nowhere, and a family of five soundly asleep. The master bedroom is downstairs, and the boys’ rooms are upstairs. Since they keep their doors closed, Eddie usually sleeps with us.

At 3:18, I woke to a cold, wet face-nudge and heard faint footsteps above us. I would have slept right through if not for our good boy, but one of the kids going into my office puzzled me. It’s not like a movie where Dad’s secret room is off limits;  there’s no locked drawers, nothing! Even more strange was how they seemed to be pacing end to end; like they were searching for something.

Then, there was a loud thud – like something hit the floor – and I lost track of the person as their steps retreated. Eddie showed his displeasure with some out-of-character growling that made me nervous. That’s when we got up to scold whichever genius decided they couldn’t wait for… whatever they were doing – but upstairs, I almost bumped into Conner as he left the bathroom.

I told him, “Get your ass back to bed! You should know better!”

He wore the most pitifully confused face, and I didn’t even wait for a response. Even Ed was ashamed of my behavior; he rudely bumped my leg as he followed Con to bed.

Amber barely grunted when I told her, and didn’t remember anything by morning.

When Eddie followed the boys downstairs for breakfast, I remember thinking he was particularly underfoot – but I had bigger concerns; I asked them outright, “What was so important it couldn’t wait for daylight?”

I know kids lie, but I also know what it looks like when they’re genuinely confused; they had no clue what I was asking! To be sure, I made a joke of it – you know – “We aren’t mad, it’s actually funny in the light of day.” kinda stuff. Nothing!

I’m sorry, I love my sons, but the little bastards are terrible actors. Hell, I was almost ready to entertain the haunted notion, so I took a look around. The front door has three locks, and no one is getting the noisy garage open without waking the whole house. Windows were possible to reach, but impossible to open. When nothing was amiss in the office, I went outside. 

After walking a few pointless circles, I decided to check the mail and call it quits. On the way back, I leaned against a tree to tie my shoe and almost shit myself.

Amber and I quit smoking before we moved here, yet there was a cluster of cigarette butts on the ground – as if someone stood there for a few hours.

I took pictures to show Amber without scaring the kids, but she thought I was overreacting! That pushed me into a deeper investigation mode; those butts weren’t covered in dirt with faded filters – no, those were from this week!

I must have played the previous night in my head a hundred times before it finally clicked. The attic access is in the office… it has one of those trap doors in the ceiling… makes a nice, loud thud when opened. Do you have any idea how many stories I’ve read where a hobo is living in someone’s crawl space?!

Shit, I can’t begin to describe the instant coldness that spread through me; it was bone deep dread. The cigarettes scared me, but when Amber didn’t care… I don’t know… I thought… maybe she snuck them behind my back? There’s a certain level of unreal-ness to the idea of a stranger roaming about as we slept.

Now, remember, this is just the next morning; it was broad daylight. I put the family in the car, took my pistol out of the safe, and gathered my courage under the attic door. With shaking hands, I pulled the rope and watched the small, black abyss open wider and wider. The rickety stairs fell to the floor with the same, hard thud as before, and my stomach dropped to a new low.

Carefully ascending the unsteady ladder, I listened for any noise to indicate another presence. My knees threatened to buckle with each step, but there are no words for the moment you actually see a nightmare brought to life. Thankfully, there isn’t much clutter up there – it was easy to take in the full room with a few turns.

I called the police, and they stayed on the phone as I made my way back to the garage. They didn’t hang up until we were safely parked at the end of our long driveway, waiting for their arrival.

Twenty minutes later, two cruisers joined us; the first stayed with my family, and I rode with the second. After a full search, I escorted police to the… nest… and explained, “Yes, the attic is for decorations and we removed the Christmas ornaments weeks ago.”

I did my best to stay calm; I know they were only doing their job, but I think I’d remember seeing blankets and pillows laid in the middle of our family albums! For the love of— sorry, I know, I’ve kept you too long and I’m getting riled up again… but there’s no way one of the boys pulled all that shit out! No one has touched those damn photos since 2011 when we went digital!

The cops think someone squatted here for a few days before moving on, but I don’t think I’ll ever sleep again. How many nights was some deranged person sharing our house?!

So yea, that’s why there was no video yesterday. I cleaned the attic and stored the Christmas decorations while Amber went to town for cameras and a padlock. We now have motion activated surveillance and a secure attic door that won’t open again until October!

Oh, but one last thing before we go, I want to let you know we appreciate how Eddie stepped up to protect the boys; even after we got in the car he stayed right between them. Needless to say he received a handsome dinner and buried his new bones proudly. I’m not joking, he absolutely has new swagger in his step, he knows he did good boy!

Alright, till next time, Crawlers!

December 29, 2020

Sup, Night Crawlers? What did you think? Was it worth the wait? I was hoping Page would be here to see the special dedication for the footage, but she’s probably at work or something.

Hey Page, when you watch this, thanks again for the amazing drone! I promise you guys are going to see a lot of use from it. Oh! And her story was great! I hope I have time to do it in the future, but I’ve got something special planned for the next two weeks. Stay tuned for a special teaser after the stream!

Haha, oh no, Lady; please don’t say our house looks like Amityville! We’ve had enough real life horror to last a lifetime, thank you very much.

That’s right Disco, you tell her; we’re too old for that shit!

No, seriously guys, please, never send me ‘hobo in attic’ stories ever again, okay?

Exactly, Livers, that’s our fucking creed now. Hell-no, fuck-ho-bo’s!

Haha, this is why you guys are the best! Anyway, see… err, hear you… eh, screw it. Later!

January 3, 2021

Okay, I’m sorry, but I’m skipping the pleasantries tonight; I’m seriously freaking out here. The last few days have been straight from a cliche horror movie. I start going to the office tomorrow, so if I don’t get this out now, who knows when my next chance will be. I don’t even believe this shit anymore; tell me what you make of it.

I also need to add a disclaimer up front… I know this is a horror channel, but tonight we aren’t talking about some fictional story for a fun scare… this is real; my friend is dead.

The only reason I’m sharing it is because I truly feel like we’ve all come to be close friends, and I could honestly use the extra support. That being said, I understand if you don’t want to stay for this.

Thanks, Crawlers… and since we still haven’t seen Page, I’m adding another thank you for the drone as it is now part of our security force. When I feel extra paranoid, I fly it over the forest to reassure myself our house guest didn’t take up residence next door.

Do you remember my nightly routine of checking on the kids and locks? Well, you can add obsessively viewing the monitors to that list; a caveman-like instinct has gone into overdrive, and my family’s protection consumes every waking hour.

We have six cameras outside and four inside… the package came with ten, and someone wouldn’t let me buy an extra for the attic. Technically, with the padlock, I could see her point, but… opinions may yet be swayed.

Thursday, as always, I was last to bed and first to rise… well second if you count a certain hyper-active pup. I scanned through the previous night’s footage from my tablet while making coffee, and felt almost satisfied with the results. After Amber woke, I took Eddie to check the mail as an excuse to poke around outside.

The cigarette butts were long gone, and thus far no more have appeared – but I did find a manila envelope in the mailbox. There was no postage – meaning someone delivered it in person. I mean, maybe if we were in a neighborhood… but driving all this way…

And do you know what it was?! A scary story! [scoff] I assuredly shit you not; there are no shits here! To be more specific – it’s about a psychopath who becomes obsessed with a YouTube narrator and crosses the country to kill his family!

At least that’s what the cover said. I couldn’t read past the second page; it was disgusting. Someone tried to scare me with over-the-top details involving way too many entrails, but I threw that crap away.

I’m fairly certain the actual hobo didn’t go through the trouble; I only mention it to show you guys the extent of crazy we’re dealing with. We think the story was a poor attempt at humor by one of our less-than-supportive friends. A few days ago, we attended a dinner party, and Amber accidentally mentioned my little hobby while discussing the attic incident… 

Yea, it’s too coincidental. 

Don’t worry, we’re completely safe to talk; the channel wasn’t mentioned and they won’t find anything by searching my real name.

No kidding, Lady! There were so many times it felt like I was being over cautious, but now I’m grateful! Not to mention this has become my Safe Place; I’d lose my mind worrying about lurkers in every stream.

I still want to know who did it so I can express my gratitude… but they haven’t returned. When the kids were finished with breakfast, we had a family outing; it gave me a chance to stop for a game cam. If we receive another present, I’ll have a picture to go with it!

Other than that, we had a nice day, and I performed my nightly checks without issue. This time it was 2:26 – so technically Friday, but whatever – when I woke to the heavy weight of Eddie’s paws crushing my boys… you know, my special boys… as he leapt from bed, barking furiously.

It’s amazing how excruciating pain and fear gets the blood flowing. I shot out of bed like… well… like a fully grown pit bull used my sac for a launchpad. The only moment spared was to retrieve the gun, but seconds felt like minutes as I listened for any change in Eddie’s low, warning growls.

Feeling braver with the weapon, I joined our furry protector outside the closed office. Two curious boys watched from their doors, but smartly retreated at my Serious Dad Voice. So many thoughts raced through my mind as I steeled myself for entry – chief among them, “How did they get this far before alerting Ed?”

With a final glance back, I took a deep breath and burst through the door. Unsatisfied with my quick scans of the dark room, I managed to toggle the light switch with my shoulder. My eyes tried to squeeze shut against the blinding brightness, but I held them open via sheer desperation.

Eddie sniffed in loud huffs as he investigated and eventually came to lie under the window. His demeanor indicated a loss of trail, but I was too distracted by a shiny, metallic object to care. In the center of the floor, under the attic access, lay the opened padlock.

I was consumed by a rage so black, all fear evaporated in its wake. I pulled the door open in one, overpowered yank, and leapt aside to avoid the falling steps. Eddie’s unimpressed yawn barely registered as I tried to climb the steep stairs – gun held high.

It was empty and undisturbed; if someone went up there, you wouldn’t know by the looks of it. I still walked around before feeling satisfied enough to leave, but there was nowhere to hide; I made sure of that when reorganizing.

Ed was still lying near the far wall and didn’t come when called. I walked over to talk playful smack, but my eyes habitually sought out the window’s lock. As usual, it was safely flicked closed; I’m not sure what made me put it to the test, but I pushed gently on the glass. My stomach rolled as the window raised, smoothly and quietly.

The lock was broken on the end, so while it appeared secure – it was actually a psycho’s private entrance. There was no camera pointed at it… maybe if we bought that extra one… but there isn’t much on that side of the house. I considered entry there impossible… yet considering the evidence…

Still, it had to be someone fairly light-weight; there’s no trees close enough to use, just flimsy latticework – which is now gone. We called the police, who, again – were useless. Technically, I had no proof of a crime, only a suspicion of trespassing; nothing was missing, and the padlock was opened, not broken. All I know on that front is – they didn’t use keys. It came with two, and both remain locked inside the gun safe.

I was losing my mind, I knew someone was messing with us! I called our old neighbors… our kids are close in age and we became good friends with the Porter’s. I told Rick and Maggie everything, and they immediately wanted to help. We convinced the boys to have a sleepover with their old friends while Rick stayed with us.

I also wanted Amber to stay at the Porter’s, but she refused. Rick was a big game hunter, and I think it made her nervous to see how much fire power he brought to the show. I expected him to sleep on the couch, but he insisted on staying awake in his camper truck; he wanted to surprise any would-be intruders.

It felt like we were being cautious. In addition to removing the lattice, we added a camera and spotlights; we sat together for an hour before I went to bed, leaving my tablet so he could watch the monitors. I was nervous at first, but the sight of a two-hundred-fifty pound man loading a shotgun has a way of soothing the soul… you know, when he’s on your side.

Fifty times, I told him, “don’t walk out of the lights; stay where the camera can see you!” He didn’t call or text, he just ran out there alone! Shit, I didn’t even want him to leave his truck! We should have called the police and kept our distance; I knew we were dealing with a madman!

On the security footage, at 1:49, you see Rick proceed to the back of the house, shotgun in hand. After police enhanced the audio, we could hear the soft rustling that drew his attention.

I woke to Eddie losing his shit and turning circles all over the bed. Already dressed, I ran to the monitors to see my friend sneaking into the tree-line. I hurried downstairs, ignoring Amber’s questions, yelling to call the police. Tragedy loomed thick in the air, leaving a foul taste in my mouth.

I locked my wife and dog inside and headed toward the forest. Every leaf crunch broke the silence like a neon sign revealing my position, and each heartbeat throbbed painfully as I searched for Rick in the dark, quiet woods. Finally, the sound of a single gunshot rang out, and despite the overwhelming instinct to run away, I charged forward.

I found my friend on the cold, hard ground, choking on his blood as he struggled for each breath. He couldn’t say much, and what he did say were last words for his family and therefore private. 

As I sat crying and cradling his corpse, I jumped at every noise, expecting one, final shot to take me. I can still feel his sticky blood between my fingers and matted body hair. When you watch a movie, you never think about how uncomfortable those little things are…  

Detectives finally took our previous claims seriously now that they had a murder, and they requested we make “enemy lists” – even the boys; I doubt anything comes from it. 

They stuck around for a few days to keep me quiet, but we’ve been on our own ever since. We try to wear a good face for the boys, but we aren’t sleeping much. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to post again, but I’ll do my best to keep you updated.

January 11, 2022

So, is everybody still with me? Obviously, I failed miserably with the updates, but I’m sure all doubts as to why have been erased. Clearly, the psycho was not on the run… funny enough, it wasn’t even a “he”, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Six weeks after that stream, I felt ready to record again, but first, I needed a few things from Walmart. Thankfully, Amber and the boys stayed home since it was supposed to be a quick trip.

I was in line to checkout when a small, thin woman with dark hair approached – claiming I looked familiar. I tried politely explaining she was mistaken, but my words didn’t get through; I’m fairly certain she was high as fuck. The chick kept talking about my handsome bone structure! It got to the point I told her, “Look, I’m flattered you’re so keen with me, but I’m old and married; can’t you find some jerky yet mysterious emo kid or something? I bet you could fix him.”

Fuck, if looks could kill… just like that, the flirty-girl act disappeared and we entered Gone Girl territory! Her eyes darted around like they were vibrating, and her fists clenched and unclenched in spastic motions. I thought she was going to hit me, but after a solid five minutes of silent, death glares, she walked away!

I was shaken up because my first attempt at a normal task resulted in yet another unreal situation – but never did I suspect that tiny girl was a murderer! Although, now, I understand how she managed to beat Rick in a gunfight. We expected a deranged madman… the sight of a young woman undoubtedly caused the hesitation which cost his life… but I’m jumping ahead again, sorry.

My excitement for recording faded, and I decided to postpone; I didn’t want my first video back to reflect the hot, chaotic mess of my nerves. That weekend, I thought it would be a good idea to relax by taking the boys for a sort of “man-day” – just normal bonding stuff – playing ball, maybe pop a tent in the yard, nothing stressful…

We never saw her coming… we were spread out, throwing a stupid ball around because I wanted the boys to have real childhood memories… not just Wii Sports… but I instantly recognized her; I knew it was the bitch from Walmart! Granted, I didn’t know who yet, but obviously, two random, crazy people didn’t coincidentally find my house.

She came out of the forest like a ghost; even before she raised the gun, I became painfully aware of my position between the boys. They were spread far apart, with me in the center. My body acted both in unison and independently from my brain.

No matter how desperately I wanted to protect both – a brutal logic forced my legs into action, and without consent, rushed forward; my youngest was already running to meet me. In the very same instant I found myself securely between the Bitch and Conner, I turned to see the gun holding Aiden in place. I’ve never understood the “ice in my veins” term could be so frighteningly literal. My phone and holster were lying on a blanket fifteen feet away; we were completely defenseless.

I screamed… hard enough for my voice to break… begging this bitch to point the gun at me… but she wouldn’t listen. Fuck, she just wouldn’t listen! I know I don’t talk about religion much, but a frightened parent can believe almost anything. I begged every deity from God to Odin to save my boys; myself be damned, I didn’t care.

I know online horror stories aren’t an All Purpose Guide to Life, but it was hard not to think about a few basic lessons learned over the years; I hoped humoring her fantasy might allow me to get closer.

I asked her name, but she only tightened her grip on the gun. The sight of the barrel pointed at Aiden was traumatizing enough, but fresh vomit rose as her hand trembled – finger still on the trigger. I was one sneeze away from watching my first born die.

With both hands raised – palms out – I took a few cautious steps until she refocused her attention. It’s impossible to accurately describe how my heart pulsated uncomfortably in the back of my throat, choking off every word, but that’s exactly how it felt…

I didn’t understand until she finally spoke… apparently, she could almost let it go when I didn’t read her story… but then she got me the drone… a present which – as it turns out – was much more expensive than anything else I received. 

But when I still didn’t read it… that confirmed I was just like the others… 

All the moments before now, every word I said, every decision I made… they all led to thatverymoment. The culmination of a million minute details equaled Conner, Aiden, and I  standing in a field – held at gun point – by Page fucking Turner. All because I didn’t read her terrible story!

How could I know she actually knew me? I’ve never shown my face here; there’s only sixty of us on the best days… and more than a few of you are in Canada! What were the odds of someone being in my city?!

There’s narrators who have millions of listeners! Why couldn’t she go crazy on one of them?! Why me?! There had to be dozens better suited to her tastes!

I felt like I had no choice but to respond, “You’re absolutely right; I’m scum, but please don’t make them pay for my mistakes – shoot me! I was going to read your story after Cthulhu, but you’re right! I should have narrated yours first! Look, we can go inside right now, and I can record it with a special dedication explaining how sorry I am.” My voice was so desperate I didn’t think she would buy it, but she kinda did.

Her attention was solely on me… she didn’t fully believe my words, but she was considering them seriously enough to forget about Aiden. It filled me with pride to see my boy use the opportunity to quietly retreat toward the tree-line. I too stole the chance to win a few more steps; all I had to do was get in reaching distance and I had her.

Every overprotective Dad instinct told me to rush her, take her down and don’t let up until she’s dead, but I couldn’t trust the distance remaining. Instead, I asked if she thought she could make a series out of the story – something we could premiere weekly – and won several feet more as she laughed maniacally.

That hysterical, evil laugh was the most disturbing sound I’ve ever heard. I now know she was in her thirties, but she was so tiny… I honestly assumed she was early twenties. It’s a strange thing to see so much evil in such a small package; maybe she was possessed…

As soon as she was close enough, I dropped all pretense and focused every ounce of my being into placing my body in front of that barrel. I didn’t care about the stray shot that pierced my shoulder, only that I had time to take her down before I passed out. Even with adrenaline flooding my system, the blinding inferno of agony was almost too much. I reminded myself of the agony it would be to bury a son, and pushed past the numbing sensation coursing through my body. 

With sheer willpower I kept hold of the gun, fighting to turn it back on her. Finally, a loud bang rang through the forest, and for a terrifying moment, I was completely unaware who the bullet struck. I looked at the boys, breathing a heavy sigh of relief to see both on their feet. They were coming towards us, but I screamed for them to run home, knowing Amber could handle the rest. Only when they were safely away did I investigate my own condition or that of Page’s.

I pried the gun from her limp hand, and crawled away when I saw the horrific wound in her midsection. Her blood spread into a huge puddle, and she was so pale I thought she was already dead… even if she weren’t, there’s no way she should have been able to run off! I wanted to be with my family damnit; it’s not my fault she was gone when police arrived.

There was a manhunt over the following weeks, but her body was never found. They think wild animals finished her off, and I’m sure that’s what happened, because she was on death’s door. Had I not seen it for myself, things would probably feel different, but here we are almost a year later and we’ve never seen the bitch again.

I know we’ve been here a long time, but if you’ll indulge me a moment longer, I’d like to share the final police report. It didn’t take long to finish the investigation once they knew who they were dealing with.

Page’s real name was – get this – Paige fucking Turner. Her parents, Phoebe and Colton Turner, thought it sounded cute, but she was deluded into thinking it gave her writing skills! Oh, and they’re from California; she traveled all the way to Michigan just for me.

I’m glad she’s dead and hope she rots wherever she is now! We’ve tried to check on Maggie and the children, but as you can imagine, they’re not eager to speak with us. I would have known it was Page before we lost Rick had my lazy ass actually read her story. If I recognized it when she left it in the mailbox, the police might have responded differently for someone obsessed enough to cross the country.

I can’t believe how far she went just because I didn’t want to narrate a lame story! At first, I was too busy to read it, but after she gave me the drone, I felt kinda obligated. I was determined, if it was even slightly decent – it was happening.

Guys, it fucking sucked. It made zero damn sense! The first few paragraphs tried to describe a woman who was being stalked, but when I didn’t use it – she changed the main character to me and added the names of my family; otherwise, it was exactly the same. Had I paid the least bit of attention, I would have seen it; the police found it quick enough, anyway.

My biggest hang up was how she found me. I watched every video, listening for any hints regarding our address, and the only clue I revealed was our Michigan PO Box which is an hour away. I don’t care how long someone scoured Google Maps with the drone footage – it would take one hella lucky break to find us that way. You guys saw it! Nothing but trees and our house; there’s not a highway, road sign, or car tag in sight! As it turns out, the Bitch was savvy enough to install some kind of GPS tracker into the drone itself; I led her right to us.

Please let my mistake be a lesson – you never truly know who’s behind a username. Hell, you know what the biggest mind-fuck of all was? The title of the story, Coming Soon.


Part 2

Horror Fiction

Santa Saved Me

Hey, did you guys check out Lady Nopeingham when I wrote Blewit? If you didn’t here’s your chance because you can find this story on her YouTube channel. 
Spoiler Alert: It’s freaking amazing and has some great guest stars too!! Go check it out here!

Hello, dear member of this marvelous community. You have no idea how relieved I am to find you; I need your help. You don’t know me, but please, hear my story. If you or someone you know can provide any information, I will be most grateful. I’m aware I open myself up as a target to mockery, but it’s worth the risk to find one person with a similar experience. If nothing else – I promise, even if you think I’m crazy – I won’t bore you. I’m too afraid to tell my friends or family the truth; I know they won’t believe me. You, dear friend, are my only hope for peace.

This was the worst Christmas of my life. Either Santa Clause is real, or my mind has finally broken in a way that feels forebodingly permanent. I can live with either, but I must know which. Even if it is the latter, it would hardly be the worst I’ve endured. No, the worst is easily when Mr. Monster Maker tried to kill me. That part is certainly real; the whole town knows about it… but let me start at the beginning so you can understand my sincerity.

I flew home for the holidays to get away from all the overzealous, hormone-raging assholes at college; not find more. Being away from the dorms for two weeks was supposed to be relaxing. Unfortunately, I was only able to enjoy the first two days before things slid down shit-hill. Our house is in the country; we have an alarm and cameras, but none of it helped. My parents are ER surgeons; I used to appreciate their long hours, but not anymore.

Wednesday, the 22nd, I drove Mom’s car to dinner with high-school friends, Sara and Jen. They were the only other non-woo girls in our class, and therefore, the only ones I stayed in touch with. Halfway through the meal, Jen’s cousin arrived with a friend, and joined us. It didn’t thrill me, but it wasn’t the end of the world. Her cousin wasn’t bad, although Dean was annoying from the moment he sat down.

He homed in on me immediately, trying to single me out for conversation and offering to buy my drinks. He looked decent; I might have given him a chance if I had been interested in dating at the time. The more I brushed him off, the harder he tried, as if he couldn’t fathom why I was resisting. It’s like he set out to systematically raise every red flag on my radar.

They decided to hit a few bars after dinner, but I politely declined. I figured I would go home, relax, watch a few Christmas movies and never see Dean again. That’s how life would go for anyone else at least, but no, not me. I wasn’t on the road five minutes before my phone started going crazy. It sounded like my last tweet was going viral, though I knew that was impossible; Id be more likely to grow wings.

Back home, I saw Dean found me on Twitter, then proceeded to like every post and comment on every selfie. They all said various forms of “so beautiful” or “we have so much in common, let’s hang”.

He also sent a DM with his contact info and four paragraphs of creepy compliments that ended with a list of things he thought we had in common. I’ve never been so grateful to not have my address or number listed. I don’t know why I didn’t block him then and there. Instead, I texted Jen to find out what his deal was. I didn’t think he was dangerous so much as lonely and desperate. I’ve included our conversation, beginning with her response to numerous screenshots.

Jen: I was wondering what he was doing. He’s been buried in his phone since we got here. Ryan said their mothers are friends. Dean just moved here from his dad’s house in Nevada, and Ry is supposed to help him make friends.

Me: Weird way to make friends. Think your cousin can get him to ease up?

Jen: I’ll talk to him, no worries.

I turned off notifications to Twitter and started A Christmas Story. He already liked everything; I didn’t think he could do much more. Both parents were back on the night shift, and I was determined no one would ruin my blissful solitude. I almost didn’t look when I heard Jen’s texts thirty minutes later, but I assumed she was saying Dean wouldn’t be an issue anymore. I wanted to send a quick ‘thanks’ and forget I owned a phone for a few hours. Here’s what was actually said.

Jen: Ok, small problem. Maybe just block him and don’t read any more messages.

Me: You’re freaking me out, I have eighteen new messages since we talked!

Jen: There’s something wrong with that guy. Ry distracted him with darts for a few minutes, but he kept asking what kind of guys you like, where you live, and why we thought you weren’t responding to him yet… I’m really sorry… I’m buzzed, and he was SO annoying… I told him “Maybe because you’re going full stalker on her after a twenty-minute conversation.” He got really upset…

Me: The hell is wrong with you?! Tell me he doesn’t know where I live, Jennifer! Tell me that right now!

Jen: Of course, he doesn’t! We wouldn’t do that! But he immediately went back to his phone and started typing with a scary look on his face. Ryan said he had to get home and made Dean go with him, but he genuinely creeped me out; go block him on everything!

You better believe I did just that, but first I took screenshots of the worst messages. I told myself I wanted them for evidence… just in case… but part of me wanted to see how far he went. The answer is “way too far”. I won’t waste your time with the ramblings of a madman; several contain nothing more than the word “fuck” used in various creative ways, but I would like to include a few so you understand I’m not exaggerating.

10:23pm: Weird you still aren’t home; do you live outside the city? I know you aren’t the kind of person who ignores a good guy like me. Haha. Only bitches in ditches do that. Joke. Get it? Anyway, call me when you get home. Drive safe, lotta crazies out there.

10:33pm: Was that you trying to call? I’m having trouble with my phone. It froze when I tried to answer. Call me back before I gotta come find you, haha. Kidding again.

10:38pm: Why is this bitch calling me a stalker just because I’m trying to be friendly? How does she know I’ve even messaged you?! Pretty shitty you can talk smack ABOUT me, but not TO me. You want to explain that? You’re just like all the others. Everyone thinks they’re so much better than me. You have NO idea what I’m capable of!

10:50pm: Look, I’m sorry I got upset. That was really unlike me; I’ve been under a lot of stress with the move. I know we’re perfect for each other. I just need you to give me a chance so you can see it too. What’s your address? I want to apologize in person; I feel terrible. I know you deserve better, and I’m the best there is, you’ll see.

10:57pm: I’m out of patience, bitch! If this is going to work between us, you have to start showing some respect. You got about thirty seconds to start apologizing!

That was the last one, and I didn’t stay to see more. I blocked him with shaking hands before he could finish whatever he was in the process of typing. After sending the screenshots to Jen, I hid my phone under the couch cushion. I didn’t want to see it for a while; I tried to focus on tv instead, but my brain had other ideas. It wanted to dwell upon what a small community we lived in.

If Dean’s mother was in the same social circles as Ryan’s… how long would it take him to learn which house belonged to the well-known doctors? How many grateful patients had tracked us down just to deliver casseroles or cookies? Far too many, that’s for sure. How did I go from “dinner with friends” to “stalker’s obsession” so quickly? That garbage is for Halloween, not Christmas! At some point I fell asleep while contemplating life, the universe, and everything.

It’s important to keep track of the date, too. Remember, this is Thursday, the 23rd, now. When I woke, it was daylight, and a note from my parents was on the coffee table. “Sleeping till noon, pizza in the fridge.”

I had food in the microwave before remembering where my phone was and why. There were a few messages from friends and an apology from Ryan. He saw the screenshots and felt terrible for introducing us to Dean. I know he’s a good guy, but I was still too shaken up to pretend I was okay.

After answering the texts, my heart sank when I saw Twitter. I had several DM’s, which, judging by the new comments, were all from fresh accounts Dean created. Each had a different name and profile picture; how does anyone have that kind of free time? I let my food go cold while changing my settings to private and blocking the new profiles. All the fear I felt when alone the previous night was reborn into pure fury.

There was so much rage bottled inside… I know how stupid it is to engage an unstable person, I really do… but by time I regained control of my actions, the message was sent. I unblocked his real account long enough to inform him I would take my evidence to the police if he made contact again. I should have stopped there, but I went on to say exactly how I felt about him. It’s possible I ended it with a list of animals I would rather be with, but it’s all so fuzzy now.

Only after it was too late did I remember the overwhelming fear of how easily he could find me. I checked the locks on every window and made sure the alarm was on. For the first time, I found myself wishing for a gun. My parents would have a heart attack if they knew; they’ve “seen more dead family members than burglars”, but that argument holds less weight with me these days. Sorry, I don’t mean to get sidetracked, but this has been more difficult to relive than expected.

Anyway, I had an almost peaceful day after that. My parents woke at noon, and we talked for a bit before they went to work. Jen wanted to come over, and I was happy for the company. We drank wine, watched movies, and gossiped like we were back in school. By 9:00, we were past tipsy, and I had forgotten about Dean.

I didn’t even think about him when my phone rang with an unfamiliar number. I won’t answer those anyway; even when it’s not spam it’s never good. If someone has a real emergency, they’ll text before giving up. The only reason to call is if you need to pressure someone into something unpleasant.

I rejected three calls and accidentally opened one text in the process of blocking the number. There was no doubt who sent, “I know you hit the asshole button, you stupid whore. I’m done being treated like a bitch!”

We never did learn how he got my number, but I’ve had the same one since junior high; it wouldn’t have been too hard if he asked the right people. Plus, now that the whole town knows what happened, there’s no way anyone will admit to it. Still… it bothers me. I’m not sure why I’ve fixated on it… not like it’ll change anything… but I wish I knew.

We googled his name, hoping to learn something that may explain his behavior, but there was nothing aside from the normal social media accounts. Jen told Ryan he should let his mom know about her friend’s creepy son. We didn’t expect anything to come of it; I think we wanted to feel like we did something other than let him completely get away with it. Imagine our surprise when he responded with not only more apologies, but several news articles.

It seemed Robert Dean Travers, 20, of Shady Pines, Nevada, was the prime suspect in the deaths of 2 women, and the disfigurement of another: ages 18-22. Mr. Travers was detained by police but later released due to lack of evidence. There were also links to articles about each woman, including their pictures. It made me nauseous to see how similar we looked. It’s true what they say about those guys having a type.

There were no other suspects in the case and no attacks since Dean left the area. Jen told me not to read what he did to them, but I had to know; I needed to know…

Assholes on the internet dubbed him the “Monster Maker” which led to the press calling him Frankenstein. The survivor told police all she could, but obviously, was unable to identify her attacker now that she was blind. Her testimony confirmed what police believed happened but couldn’t prove Dean was the culprit.

He found these women in various places, but once he chose a mark, the rest was routine. He put great effort into making social media accounts with fake names and background to seem more appealing. Police say they were created months in advance and deleted immediately before an attack. Unfortunately, Dean only created and accessed these accounts from public hotspots on disposable phones – meaning it was useless as evidence. No number was ever used to contact more than a single victim.

Next, he learned their address; a task at which he became quite proficient. If a date insisted they meet rather than being picked up, he simply waited for them to leave and followed at a distance. Once he knew where they lived, he returned in the dead of night, parking several blocks away from the victim’s home. After torturing these women for hours, he poured acid on their faces. Badly beaten as they were, it was still a slow, excruciating death.

I read the survivor’s testimonial where she recounted her moments of lying helpless as the acid ate through her flesh. She describes her blindness as a consolation prize, preferring that to seeing the deformity of her face. It was unquestionably the most horrible thing I have ever read. My chest still aches with the memory of her words.

Every night I dream of her. I see her at home, asleep when Dean attacks. I see her terrified face and hear her screams of agony for hours before he uses the acid. He tapes her eyes open, forcing her to meet his gaze as he applies the liquid with a medicine dropper. First to her forehead, but slowly, always slowly, he works his way round her face. The bastard giggles in delight with every fresh tear as he saves her eyes for last. With each drop, a horrible sizzle can be heard as the skin melts away.

I think the dreams are part of why I can’t move on. If I could just have one night’s sleep where I don’t see such awful things… I don’t know, maybe I’ll never recover. Maybe the dreams are my mind’s way of telling me I wasn’t supposed to survive in the first place, but I’m getting ahead of myself again, I’m sorry about that; I’m just so sleepy. I’ve been awake for thirty-one hours and it’s getting harder to concentrate.

Where were we? Oh, right, me and Jen on Friday night. We aren’t stupid, we knew how serious the situation was after learning about Dean’s past. We called my parents, they called the police, and all my hopes were shot to hell less than an hour later when Dad informed me Dean was cleared of all charges and his mother explained the horrible misunderstanding that led to him being suspected in the first place. He’s actually a “very shy young man”. I stopped listening after that.

We tried calling the cops ourselves, but they only repeated the same thing. While they didn’t give me quite the brush off Dad did, legally, their hands were tied. They promised to have a cruiser drive by every few hours, which was more than most people would get; call it a perk of the relationship between doctors and police. Not that it helped. Jen agreed to stay the night so I wouldn’t have to be alone, but aside from jumping at every noise, nothing more happened.

She went home the next morning – which is important to remember was Christmas Eve – and my parents continued to reassure me when they woke that afternoon. It was their last shift before having five days off. I thought I could survive one more night alone… miles away from the closest neighbor. There had been no contact from Dean since I blocked his number. Horrible as it sounds, I hoped he found someone else to… talk to… anything that let me think he wasn’t trying to find me.

I made another round through the house checking the alarm and locks, but it provided little comfort. How is it possible we live in a world where people know a man like that is free, but they do nothing to stop him? It’s madness. They think just because we live in this happy, little community where nothing bad happens – nothing bad can happen – and that is dangerously flawed logic.

At 9:00, it began snowing and the forecast warned it would soon be a blizzard. Even with the porch lights on, I saw little more than a white wall outside. That bastard managed to ruin snow on Christmas; how evil can one man be? I tried to watch tv but jumping at every sound effect got old fast. Listening to a podcast on low volume was going well until I heard something hit the kitchen window shortly after 10:00.

It was almost the dull thud of a bird, but I had a difficult time believing something tried to fly in that weather… or that it hit such a small target. My feet were lead weights as I forced them to carry me forward, but not to the kitchen. Instead, I went to Dad’s office, where the monitors were. My heart skipped more than one beat as my eyes scanned over each screen several times before I could breathe normally again.

A large tree stood a few yards away; technically it was possible a stick was blown into the window… I saw no signs the snow was disturbed on the ground, but the view was becoming more obstructed by the second. Soon, snow would cover the lenses, and the cameras would be worthless. At that moment, I realized the security alarm was nothing more than an assurance police would find my corpse first. As much as I prefer that scenario, it was little comfort in the moment.

After nearly twenty minutes of staring into the white monitors, I returned to the den. Part of me wanted to crawl under my bed, but the idea of hiding in my room while I imagined Dean lurking down the hall seemed infinitely worse than sitting on the couch and imagining he was in the bushes. No matter what I did to feel safe, my mind found a new way to show me why it wouldn’t help. I hate my brain, that bitch is lucky I can’t lay hands on her, that’s all I’ll say about that.

It was roughly ten minutes later when I heard another soft thud, this time from the dining room. I stood before the yellow curtains, trembling, trying to mentally will the curtains aside rather than lift my shaking arms. Somehow, my legs continued to support me as one hand slowly, unsteadily, reached forward. Just as my fingers brushed the fabric, a louder thud shook the window. I screamed, falling backwards and landing hard on my ass.

I remained frozen, listening to the horrifying crunch of snow as heavy footsteps approached. When they finally came to a stop, I heard something different; something like metal dragging lightly across the glass. That’s what erased all doubts of mere paranoia. There was no natural explanation for the deliberate noise I heard. My mind screamed to run, but I only whimpered. It seems I have neither fight nor flight, only freeze.

I managed to slide backwards, across the floor, until I was beneath the dinner table. Making no effort to lower my voice, I dialed 911. When finished relaying the address, I noticed the noise had stopped; all was eerily silent. The operator stayed on the phone until able to confirm it was safe to open the door for police, but there was no further disturbance.

One officer took my statement while another checked the perimeter. There were no signs of anyone else, but they admitted it was snowing heavily enough to cover all but the deepest tracks. I think they were trying to be polite because of my parents, but they clearly didn’t believe I was in danger. I’m sure they didn’t appreciate driving in a blizzard either, but what else could I do? I cried again as they left; it felt like they were leaving me to die.

It was almost midnight as I watched the cruiser leave our driveway, and with it, my last shred of hope. I desperately wanted to sleep, but anytime I felt myself drifting, I remembered the women who were so rudely awakened in the sanctity of their own homes. If my car were there, I would have gone to a hotel.

By 1:00, my eyelids were drooping even while standing. I knew if I sat, it would be the end. At one point, I found myself staring at the pile of presents beneath our tree. I thought of all the years I sat in that very spot, shaking gifts, trying to peek inside without tearing the paper; all while ignorant to the fact I would likely die in the very same room.

A loud crash from the kitchen pulled me from the trance. The sound of shattering glass painted a clear picture of someone breaking a pane on the back door to gain entry. When I thought it impossible to feel more frightened, a series of beeps followed by the silencing of the alarm sent a crippling wave of hopelessness through me. Later, I would learn Dean worked for a security company in Nevada where he learned to bypass the alarms.

As his heavy footsteps approached, my legs finally decided to function. They felt numb as they carried me to the front door, but I hesitated at the staircase. With the blizzard in full force, outside wasn’t an option. Dean was only seconds away from turning the corner, and I was sure my knees would fold the moment I saw him.

I ran upstairs; when almost at the top, Dean shouted. “There she is! Hey, darling, why don’t you come on down so we can have a little chat?” No wonder his last victim couldn’t identify his voice. He sounded like a completely different person. It was husky and sinister, almost inhuman.

Without risking a glance back, I kept running forward, trying to reach the bathroom. It was the only room with a lock – not that I thought that would save me, but what else could I do? The maniac was fast; he collided into the door before it could latch. It slammed into my nose, and warm, sticky blood sprayed as I struggled to push against his body weight.

He overpowered me effortlessly, pushing the door hard enough to smash my head into the wall behind it. My vision went dark and in the last moments before losing consciousness, I remember thinking, ‘I hope I don’t have to wake up after.’

When I woke, there were a few seconds where I forgot my circumstances. I couldn’t understand why I was in a sitting position, or why my head ached so miserably. The moment my memory returned, panic surged through me, and I opened my eyes to see Dean seated across from me, smiling in a deranged way even Pennywise would find disturbing. I was tightly bound to a dining room chair with ropes eating into my wrists, ankles, and torso.

“Look who’s awake! It’s about time, sleepyhead. I was getting so bored I thought I would have to start without you.” Dean smiled, and I did my best not to give him the satisfaction of crying.

I was still a little delirious, but a strange calmness possessed me. It happened; I was caught and soon I would beg for death before being murdered, but there was nothing I could do about it while tied to that chair. I felt dizzy and nauseous, but I was beginning to accept my fate. I decided my only goal was to hurt him badly as possible in the process. I focused my energy on awaiting my chance while he launched into a cliche villain rant.

“Did you think you were playing hard to get? Did you think you were being cute? That I would respect you for it? Well, you sadly miscalculated, and now you’re going to pay dearly. You could have had everything.” He wasn’t manic; in fact, he was the opposite. It was the most composure he displayed yet. He spoke as naturally as if discussing the weather.

My brain whispered to play along, to indulge his delusion by apologizing, begging for another chance, but I couldn’t. The thought of him having the satisfaction – even for a moment – was unbearable. I summoned every ounce of hate in my soul and tried to express it through my icy glare, but Dean only smiled.

“It’s a shame really. Oh well, there will be others. Maybe I’ll go to New York next, who knows; but I can’t very well stay here. I promised Mother I would behave, and she’s going to be livid when she hears about this. It’s probably best I leave town before that happens… don’t you worry though. We can still be together tonight. Your parents won’t leave the hospital for hours yet.”

Dean rose to his feet, and I tried to control my trembling as he approached. He placed both hands on my shoulders and lowered himself until his mouth was at my ear. I could smell the stench of his rotten breath as he whispered, “Are you ready? I think you—”

His words were cut off by a strange sound from the living room. The only way I can think to describe it is as a “jingle/scuffle”. Dean bolted upright, head snapping in its direction. After a slight hesitation, he reached into the small, black bag sitting on the table and pulled out a knife. He winked at me, putting a finger over his lips in a shushing gesture while mimicking the knife across his throat before tiptoeing around the corner.

I didn’t believe for an instant anyone was inside, it just wasn’t possible, but I screamed, “help, he has a knife” anyway. Dean was only gone a moment before he returned. The look on his face told me screaming had been a mistake.

“Why would you do that?! I know you understood what I said! So, tell me! What stupid thought ran through that pretty, little head that convinced you it was ok to disobey?!” He jabbed his finger into my temple with each word and tears spilled from my eyes.

My vision was blurry when I saw a red glob moving behind Dean. I didn’t understand what I was seeing; I thought something in my eye ruptured and was causing me to see red. I didn’t know if that was possible, but I was fairly certain we were alone in the house. What else could it have been? I challenge you to find someone above the age of twelve who would think, “maybe it’s Santa Clause” when in my situation.

“You know what, I think it’s time to take this party upstairs. But first, I’m going to break one of your legs to make sure you can’t run away. I hate to do it, but you clearly can’t be trusted.” The madman said in a way that made it obvious he would not hate it one bit.

When Dean reached for something behind me, his body went rigid and the popping sounds of a taser filled the room. My mind was unable to process what was happening; I stared at his unconscious form for almost a full minute before noticing the ropes which bound me were on the floor.

I lifted my head slowly, in search of my rescuer, but found myself speechless as I locked eyes with a man dressed as Santa Clause. “Are you hurt, child?” He asked in a warm, fatherly voice.

“I… I… how?” Was all I could say at first.

“I know; you’re obviously too old to believe in me, but I was flying by when I heard the commotion. I couldn’t just keep going… not knowing an innocent young lady was in peril, could I?” He asked, extending his hand to help me up.

I took it gratefully; I didn’t believe him yet, but he saved my life. If he wanted to hurt me, he would have left me tied to the chair. “But. But.” I tried and failed to speak once again.

“It’s alright. I imagine you’ve been through quite the ordeal. Please, follow me into the den while we wait on my assistant.” Placing one hand gently on my back, he guided me to the couch.

Once seated, he offered me a mug of coco. I don’t know where it came from, but I drank it gratefully. Everything else aside, it was, without contest, the greatest hot chocolate I have ever tasted. Before I could learn more, I heard the scuffle/jingle sound again. Coco sprayed from my mouth when three elves emerged from the fireplace.

“Excellent, thank you for coming so quickly, I must resume my flight.” Santa told the elves as he floated up the chimney with no more than a wave goodbye in my direction.

The elves looked exactly the same as the ones in the old Rudolph cartoon, clothes and all. I began to hypothesize I was already dead, but I wasn’t sure how to test the theory. I watched, mouth agape, as two elves entered the dining room, and the third came to stand by me.

“Greetings, we are Santa’s Naughty Squad. My name is Gibson, and I am here to prepare the body for police.”

He said it quickly as one does when a phrase is memorized from repeated use.

“The wha—” I didn’t finish the sentence before Gibson launched into explanation.

“The Naughty Squad is responsible for securing any active crime scene where the Big Man was forced to intervene. Over the centuries, there have been numerous occasions where the situation has been deemed necessary.” He still spoke as if reading from a script.

At my confused look, the elf let out a long, exasperated sigh, and rubbed the bridge of his nose as if resisting an oncoming headache. “Look girl, he’s Santa Clause, think about it. Do you really think he could just sit back and let people get butchered if he can help? The man travels the globe every year, of course there’s going to be times like this. We’ve seen it all, there’s nothing that surprises us anymore.” The professional tone was gone, and it somehow felt stranger to hear him talk like a normal person.

It does make a kind of sense… that if Santa is real, he would want to help people when able… if he’s real. Just when I thought nothing could shock me more, the other elves returned from the dining room. I turned to see them give Gibson a confirmation nod before they too exited through the chimney.

“Great, they’re finished. Now here’s what you’re going to do. Call 911, tell them you were attacked, but able to incapacitate your assailant with a taser.” He paused to indicate the taser on the coffee table. “The coroner will determine his heart stopped due to pre-existing medical conditions, but they won’t look too hard; they’ll only be glad he’s dead.”

Gibson did not wait to answer questions; the moment he finished speaking he was gone. I did as I was told; mostly because there was nothing else I could do. Of the information I learned that would have me questioning all I knew to be true, the only item I could focus on in that moment was, “Elves just murdered a man in my house.”

I felt like a third party in my own body. As I called 911 to explain the dead serial killer, it seemed like I was watching someone else in a movie. Seeing the sirens fill our yard was surreal. Cop cars, ambulances, and fire trucks lit up our dirt road. I stayed on the couch, giving my story to the lead detective, as dozens of people marched through the house.

My parents were the worst part when they made it home; they raised such a fuss. It was almost dawn when the last official vehicle left, and I wanted nothing more than to sleep until noon. We did the best we could to have a happy Christmas, but our hearts weren’t in it. I don’t tell them about my nightmares, they wouldn’t understand.

The next day, a profiler with the FBI said the stress of a new environment, especially under the circumstances of Dean’s relocation, is what began his spiral. She believes he felt pressured to establish himself in a new community, and – given he pursued me after I knew his real identity – he had no intentions of harming me at first. It’s far more likely he intended to marry me to further his cover as a normal member of society.

For a man accustomed to instantly winning his target’s affection, my repeated dismissals would have been difficult to tolerate even on a good day. Coupled with the fact he was already on edge guaranteed disaster. Essentially, the more I rejected him, the more he lost his ability to reason.

I’m back at college now, but I still can’t get this out of my head. It’s killing me to stay awake, but the alternative is dreaming of the girl again. I don’t want to see her anymore, it’s unbearable. I feel as if it will never stop until I learn the truth. Please, has anyone else met the Naughty Squad? Or am I crazy?