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Fleming Unit #79: Violent Violet

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hizome

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« on: 12:12:53 PM 11/13/17 »
Hey y'all! This is the first draft of my Fleming Unit short. Anything regarding grammar and composition is highly appreciated!

Word: Combative
Wikipedia Article: Violet (color)
Picture: Detergent Bottle

Fleming Unit #79: Violent Violet

Hi, my name is M and I don’t even know how to start this.
I’ve been hiding in my friend J’s house for the past few days, I don’t believe my apartment is safe to go back to just yet. J convinced me to write down what happened to pass time, and also in case anything happens with the police and all. And for the sake of not compromising my location or J’s safety, I’m not going to use our real names. I honestly don’t see how that would help, but here goes nothing: I opened a storage unit on October 11th that didn’t belong to me, and I think I’m in trouble.

   Let me go back for a second and explain how this happened first.
   On October 1st, more or less, I found this bulky envelope addressed to Miss M Williams (that’s me) in my mailbox. Without thinking too much about it I opened it, revealing a stack of paperwork and a key to open something called a Fleming Unit, and a bright violet pamphlet reading “EMBRACE PURITY” in bold, caps letters. Being understandably confused, I looked for the sender on the package, only to find out a label printed in the most indiscernible way, with no company logo, no address, name nor stamps whatsoever. Which could only mean someone dropped it off personally at my complex, and got my apartment number right.
   At first I thought it was a mistake. I asked a few neighbours if maybe they were waiting for a package that was misplaced, but no one knew what I was talking about. Thinking back, that was kinda stupid, the envelope had my name on it, clear as day. So I called up my dad and asked him if our family had any storage units he knew about.
   He said “None that I know of, maybe your aunt H had one? She had no children, and since your mom’s not around, you’d be the next in line to get something of hers after she passed away.” and that sounded like a reasonable explanation to me, so I forgot about it for a while. I had other things to do rather than check out some dump where my control freak aunt kept her stuff.
   I would only remember about the envelope when I received an email about a dead body in one of the units. It had been a slow week at work, and I had nothing else to look up to in the next few days, so I took the key and the paperwork from under a pile of junk mail I hadn’t thrown away yet and, the next morning, I headed to 451 Pollock Street, looking for unit number 79.
   It was a rather chilly day, and when I finally found the unit I was looking for I was cold and already begging for a smoke. I handed the paperwork to the officers at Fleming’s and they pointed me to the right direction. At this point I was mostly driven by morbid curiosity; I couldn’t help but think about the dead person inside one of those sheet metal doors, and it made me shiver.
   I fumbled with the padlock of storage #79 for a while, but the key I had seemed to be the right one. The lock popped open, and I slid the door up. And I was utterly disappointed.
   Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from my aunt’s deposit. Maybe I went there thinking I’d see something creepy or incriminating. But all I found inside was seemingly inoffensive cleaning supplies. Cloths, brooms, detergents, soap bars, ropes, what I think was a gallon of chlorine, and everything an OCD-driven woman like my late aunt would need to thoroughly clean a whole football field if she wanted to.
The entire unit was meticulously organised, the cloths were folded and pressed, the bottles were stacked neatly in a crate, all labels facing the same direction, the brooms stacked on top of each other with perfection. It was pristine. I stared at these things in disbelief, cursing myself already for wasting my time coming all the way across town just to stare at dish soap, when in the midst of green and blue packages something else caught my attention: a stack of bright violet pamphlets.
   I picked one up, to confirm my suspicions: it was the same pamphlet I had received with the keys, the one that only read EMBRACE PURITY. That was it, there was nothing else on it. No company logos, no call to action asking me to join a group of weirdos with cleaning fetishes or anything. Angry, and honestly kinda disturbed by how intensely perfect everything inside the storage looked, I dropped the pamphlet on the floor and walked away, locking it behind me.
   I went out on the street, smoking and bracing myself against the cold day. There was a car parked on the other side, and I watched it as I smoked and seethed in frustration. That was such a waste of time.
   I walked away from Fleming Storage Units as soon as I finished my cigarette. Maybe it was a coincidence, but the parked car left at the same time.

   The next day I had work, so I headed down to retail store hell as usual. The day went by just fine, and I was ready to forget about the unit, when a rather well-kempt customer bumped into me as I stored some shelves. They muttered a ‘sorry’ and I think I answered with a polite ‘no problem’ when they said the thing that would echo in my head for hours after that:
   “Have you embraced purity yet, miss?”
   They hurriedly walked away before I could ask what they meant by that. All I could see of them before they completely disappeared from my field of view was a neatly put together white shirt and violet pants look. I could swear I’ve seen that same look somewhere before.
   That evening I went home much more aware of my surroundings, still upset by what the person had told me. As I turned the corner of my building, I saw a figure walk away on the other side of the street. I couldn’t see their face, but something caught my attention right away.

Violet pants.

I had a stalker.

   I locked myself in my apartment and called my friend J, telling her the entire story up to that point. J has been my friend since childhood, and the only person in town I could trust since my dad moved away after my mom died, so if anyone should know my story in case anything happened, it was her.

   It was when I told her about mr. violet pants that she told me “Funny, didn’t your aunt wear white shirts and violet pants all the time?” that I remembered where I’ve seen the outfit before.
   But my aunt was dead. She had died months ago.
   I was never a peacemonger. “Combative”, my mom used to say. I always fought back, even when I didn’t need to. And when I realised that someone was fucking with me, whether it was my ghost aunt or someone else following her footsteps, I felt legitimately pissed. So I did what any sensible person would do: I grabbed my old baseball bat and headed back down to the unit.
   I opened the storage unit again. It remained perfectly organised, not a thing out of place. Not even the pamphlet I had dropped on the floor on the 11th was there anymore. I was enraged.
   I don’t regret wrecking the place. I don’t care if it disturbed police investigation or some shit, whoever owned the unit I was given the key could suck it up with the cops. I destroyed everything my bat could land on, I tore every single pamphlet to pieces, poured every bottle of dish soap on the floor, and only stopped when an officer came to check out if everything was alright in there. I closed the sliding door after I left, and I didn’t bother locking it up.
   I stayed out late that night. After my adrenaline rush died down, I began realising that maybe I wasn’t safe. I had just destroyed someone else’s stuff, someone that was probably following me. I didn’t know how they would react. I wandered around town that night, smoking and paranoid, until I was too tired to think clearly. I went back home, baseball bat in hands, watching for any suspicious cars that could be parked around my block. There were none, and I got into my building and up the stairs to my apartment feeling a bit safer.
   The door to my apartment was ajar.
   Still fueled by a bit of bravery because of the bat, I decided to go in, expecting my home to be in shambles, already dreading how much a robbery would cost me.
   Instead, I found the place tidied up to perfection.
   I know that saying “someone broke into my house and cleaned the place up” sounds ridiculous now, but I was terrified. I was not a messy woman, I knew how to wash my own dishes, but this level of cleanliness was beyond me. There was something unnatural about how perfectly aligned my stupid wall decorations were. Or how there was nothing on my tables, no old papers, no trash to be thrown away, nothing.
   It would be a completely symmetrical, sterile living room, if it wasn’t for one thing.

   A collage of completely violet pamphlets spelling the word EMBRACE on my window.

   I heard a creaking noise, like someone was walking in my bedroom.
   I dropped my bat to the floor and ran away. I haven’t gone back home since.
« Last Edit: 02:12:59 PM 11/13/17 by hizome »

urkelbot666

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« Reply #1 on: 05:09:21 PM 11/13/17 »
Pretty creepy! I love the concept of someone breaking into a home and cleaning it. I feel like that's something that gets joked about from time to time, but it would be really unsettling if it actually happened. Grammatically things looked okay to me, I'm not sure if mr. violet pants needs to be capitalized or not. My initial thought is that it ought to be, but it's just a nickname so I'm not certain. Also, this isn't spelling or grammar or anything, but I was wondering about the contents of the unit. It mentions that there are "ropes" in there. I was just wondering if that was something related to cleaning that I hadn't heard of because it sounds odd to me.

I wanted to make sure that I understand what's going on by the end. The narrator gets the unit key and winds up assuming that it is her late aunt's, but by the end we don't know if it actually is, or if it is just owned by the purple-pants-stalker who shares the aunt's traits? That was what it read like to me, but I might be missing something. Anyway, a nice entry. Pretty effective for how short it is :)
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hizome

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« Reply #2 on: 07:29:13 PM 11/13/17 »
Thanks! The ropes in the unit are just that: ropes. I put it there so people reading will be like "wait a second, ropes?" to kinda hint at something darker than just an aunt's cleaning supplies. Not sure if it worked the way I hoped it would tho.

And the vagueness of the ending is proposital as well. I find that not knowing who really was the owner of the unit and the stalker to be much more effective than just spilling the beans. But that's just how I feel about it, idk.

mikemacdee

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« Reply #3 on: 02:27:31 AM 11/14/17 »
If you can tighten up the opening paragraph a bit, it could be a really strong opening. The line "I opened a storage unit on October 11th that didn’t belong to me, and I think I’m in trouble" really grabbed me for some reason (because it's a line in the story and not the title itself; take note, reddit users).

Unfortunately it IS basically her storage unit, isn't it? She was given the key and paperwork, right? And I don't really think the story goes anywhere beyond a couple incidents of feeling like she has a stalker: there's no apparent connection between the "embrace purity" thing and the cleanliness thing, neither of which are very scary. If the supposed spirit of her dead aunt was keeping things annoyingly tidy for her everywhere she went, and there were horrific repercussions for messing up the tidiness, I could get on board with this. As it is, there's too many questions and too few logical connections. Nothing a few revisions couldn't fix though.
« Last Edit: 04:46:16 PM 11/15/17 by mikemacdee »
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