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Your Stories / Shadow Song (2018 Ritual Pasta Challenge)
« on: 09:31 PM, 09/ 4/18 »

Remember how you are not supposed to play those little games you find on the Internets? Well this one came from the dark web; said you could see a shadow of a higher plane or something like that. I just had to try this shit. And it required some arts and crafts.

First I had to make a doll. The instructions said how I made the doll did not matter as long as it had arms and a face. I chose to make one out of a clothespin I bought off the Internet. Thankfully, a friend of mine had the paints for the face. I bought another doll from a thrift store and took its clothing (don’t judge me) and finally added little glue and toothpicks for the arms. Next, it said to draw an endless knot on white paper with one eye above it and two below. Eyes I managed easily enough, but drawing the knot was a bitch. The instructions said something about thinking of the cosmos or reality when drawing it, and I have the drugs for that. With that out of the way, all you need is a bit of rope or twine, two candles and nice dark room. All were pretty easy to get. Oh, and the incantation. The instructions say it makes more sense in the original language but I doubt it. We’ll get to that later. Also, you are supposed to do this with a buddy to stay safe, but none of my friends were down this kinda shit, so I flew solo.

I waited it till I knew it was going to be cool at night and turned off all the social media and crap. Also, yes, I was completely sober. Not a toke, sniff, drink or pill all day till it was time. To prepare the room, it said to put the doll across from you, standing it as best you can or sitting in a chair. My nifty tablet stand kept her vertical. Then I put the drawing between me and the doll, like the instructions said, and sat on the floor. Next, you light the candles and place them so that both you and the doll cast shadows onto the drawing, but not to let the shadows touch. It took a minute, but placing a candle over my shoulder and the dolls seemed to do the trick. This is where the directions start to get a bit weird. They said to stare at the doll, right in its eyes and visualize the essence of the doll seeping out into its shadow. The recommended time was one or two minutes, but I think I ended up staring at it for like five, creeping myself out in the process. Flickering candlelight didn’t help, let me tell you. Once this was done, I had to tie a figure-eight knot into the twine I got, thinking on how rope binds. That done, it said to put the twine around the doll and tie a follow through, or double eight, to secure it around the dolls waist. Finally, all that time in the Scouts paid off! Well, that and my first weed connection.

That weirdness done and the doll put back, it was time for the incantation. I recited it as gravely and with as much authority as I could. Here it goes, and I warned you it doesn’t make much sense:

“Crow caws and Raven laughs,
Just as flesh crawls when Shadows dance
The Spider weaves through the fabric of reality
And I unfetter the Locust!”

Now remember how I said I was completely fucking sober? I swear I was not trippin’. The fucking dolls shadow started to move around. Not the doll, the shadow. It writhed and grasped about, and I swear I heard it wailing in my goddamn brain. Soon enough, the damn thing reached out and grabbed my shadow. The instructions said this would happen if it all worked, but at that point I thought this was going to be some sort of weird meditation thing. Once it had hold on my shadow, I was frozen in place. Burning cold washed over my body just as I felt some kind of wet; freezing things go into my nose and mouth. My vision clouded over and I think I blacked out. Next thing I know, I looked up to see myself. Me. Looking up. Seeing myself. I couldn’t move or nothing, and actually saw my body lean down, and start untying the twine around what I guess was now my waist! Maybe I should have made my temporary little body a little prettier. I think the body nature made me was making some kind of noise, since the (my) mouth was contorting and violently. All I wanted to do was scream bloody murder. But being a fucking clothespin, what can you do? Fuck!

This did not last long though, as the now giant form of myself succeeded in untying the knot. As soon as the twine came loose, my vision blurred violently and I found myself standing in the woods. I looked about, trying to get my bearings, when I happened to see through my hand. Yeah, you read that right; I saw right through it. Not even sure if it was the right size or shape to be my hand, but it was not made of meat. It was kinda like I was made of shadow or something, nearly transparent black. When I walked, my steps felt bouncy as if I had no weight. The sky above me was a strange shade of red, like the sepia filter on a camera. The colors of the trees, though green and brown like normal, had a similar reddish tinge. Oh, and they were screaming. Took me a second to realize it over the shock of finding myself out in the woods all of a sudden, but yeah, they screamed. It was so loud that I was surprised at the lack of pain. I covered my ears only find that I could not feel them. Right after trying that out was when I noticed the faces in the trunks, which resembled cheap carnival masks made of bark. Unable to process any of this, I took off running.

Now, I’m not really what you would call an athlete, so usually after a minute or so into a sprint I start heaving like an asthmatic in a cigar lounge. Yet I got a good couple minutes into my run before I realized this was not happening. I stopped by a large, old looking tree that was glaring at me instead of screaming and sat on the ground. The forest seemed to go on forever, so I figured I was not going to get out on foot anytime soon. Furthermore, it caught my attention that I was being watched, from everywhere. Seriously. Glowing eyes of many shapes and sizes could be seen all around me, in the darkness between trees. Reminds me of some the old spoopy cartoons I saw when I was kid, now that I think about it.  I don’t know if it was day or night in this place, not seeing a sun or moon up in the sky, but there was just enough light for me to see clearly.

Clearly there is no rest of the wicked. Without getting a chance to get used to screaming trees and staring eyes, I saw the shadows came out to play. They were basic human shapes, and of course lacked bodies to cast them. Instead, they stood, like people, and were not confined to the ground like God intended. As I stood up, they quickly surrounded me and each took a turn touching me and retreating, like a pack of monkeys. I swear my brain was about to explode out of my ears and this point. It was just too much. Left there another moment I probably would have just curled up and wished for death. This all ended when I heard the woosh of large wings and the croaks of a giant fucking raven. Damn thing swooped down, scattering the shadows and grabbed me, and finally something in this place fucking hurt. It lifted me off into the sky with its talons sunk excruciatingly deep into my shoulders.

After shutting my eyes from the unbelievable pain, I opened them again to find myself in the park, a few blocks away from my place, with a normal sized raven croaking at me like I owed him money. Thankful to still be dressed, I ran back home loving the feel of my weight and the pain in my lungs. Nobody wanted to talk to my ass that night, and one friend just laughed it off as a bad trip. I burned the damn doll and picture as soon as I could.

So that’s my story. Maybe someone will believe it.

Drugs are safer than dark web rituals, kids.   

Spooky Stories / The Story of Chuckles
« on: 11:45 PM, 04/13/18 »
Part 1

Hello, people on the interwebs! I work at what used to be called an insane asylum. Nowadays, we just call them Mental Health Centers or Psychiatric Hospitals.  I won’t tell you which one, ‘cause I don’t want my ass getting canned. Anyways, I found something when helping maintenance clean up Chuckles’ room a year ago. ‘Chuckles’ is a nickname we gave one of the residents, and we’ll leave it at that. He left behind a notebook one of the therapists gave him. I took it home after we were done cleaning his room. Just recently, I cracked it open and started reading, because I don’t have a lot to do at home, and porn does get boring after a while. Even for a schizophrenic, though, there is some wild shit in here that someone else needs to see. And believe me, it’s not just his dreams and delusions. So, I’ll just post it here and let you take a look. I know, sounds like a terrible thing to do, but I think he wanted someone to see it. Lucky you! Just pretend it’s all fictional if anybody asks. I like my job, after all. I’ve made this as readable as possible while transcribing. Fancy word, isn’t it? Oh, the names of staff and patients have been removed.

Without further ado, here it goes:

Entry 1

I am not a human being. Human beings aren’t shoved away into comfortable prisons without having committed a crime. I have done nothing to hurt anyone. It’s just that the transmissions won’t stop. I don’t care about the state of man, how women, or boys who have not completed any trials of manhood are usurping man’s role in the world. They just won’t stop, droning on, and on about the State of the World. These corrupt doctors watch me through the vent shafts, making me hurt when I find a way to ignore the transmissions. I am but a cog in someone else’s machine, a subhuman cog. I don’t deserve to be human. I am only a tool of others and I can’t break out. I deserve this fate, but I have done nothing.

Dr. [redacted] gave me this stupid notebook to write in. They know about the transmissions, and that is why they are watching me! It’s all part of the game I am forced to play with them. Most of them tell me that I should not focus so much on what they call hallucinations. If I were hallucinating, the voices would be talking to me, but instead it’s like a man on the radio just talking. They think I talk too much. God forbid anyone tell staff we are being treated like animals or that the side-effects of the medications are unbearable. A serious voice in the halls of madness might be too much for them, or so I gather from being told to “lighten up” all the damn time. They want me to be as quiet as [Patient J], who is too scared to make a peep. That’s the only reason for giving me something to write with in a hospital like this. I wish they would just own up to it.

So I am stuck. No one will read this.

Entry 2

Was I asleep the whole night? No. Couldn’t be. Nurse [redacted] took me out of my room and screamed at me in one of the offices. She told me if I would listen to broadcast more carefully I would know how to live outside these walls; how to be a man. An orderly came and knocked on her door, I think to see what the ruckus was. When he came in she pulled a gun from a desk drawer and shot him right in the head. I could do nothing but freeze, my eyes open and jaw dropped. The sound of it rang in my ears, as wet, sticky blood and brain splattered and dripped from the wall behind him.

She said: “That boy could never be a man, always sucking from the welfare teat and not trying to get a real goddamned job!”

I got up and ran for the door, pulling on the handle but it would not budge.

I woke up in my bed. The covers are wet with cold sweat and I am writing this to catch my breath.

Entry 3

I could not help but cringe when [Nurse Redacted] walked past my room earlier today. She stopped at my door and put on such a face of concern I nearly believed it.

“What’s wrong baby,” she asked and came halfway in my room.

“You know what you did,” I said, my hand shaking as I spoke. “He did not deserve to die, no matter how inadequate you think he is.”

“Who are you are talking about, hon?”

“The orderly you shot.”

“When did this happen?” she asked as she walked into my room and leaned back against the wall.

“Last night,” I stood up straighter in my chair and tried to summon some bravery into my voice.

“I wasn’t here last night, hon,” she sighed. “We have talked about this. Give the meds some time. You were dreaming again.”

“I don’t have dreams.”

“Yes, you do. I promise you, I have not shot anyone here at work. When do you get to see the psychiatrist again? Maybe they need to try something a little different.”

“I think next month,” I said, my whole body deflating. “He needs to see his patients more regularly.”

“I know, baby. But there are a lot of folks here, and he’s only one person. I’ll see if there is anything I can do to help.”

“I’m sure,” the words left my mouth flatly.

“We’re not out to get you,” she said and straightened up. Taking a step to leave the room she looked back to me. “You spend a lot of time in here, maybe you should try making some friends. I don’t think you’ll be here forever, and getting used to being around others might help.”

“I don’t think they want to talk to me,” I said and looked away.

“No, they just think you are too serious all the time.”
“This is a serious place.”

“Ok,” she said and stepped out of my room, finally. “Fine. Just give it a think, and let me know if you need anything.”

The pills she wants me to take slow my thoughts and make me want to eat more than I should. This is why I am fat. This seems to be what they want.

The game continues.

Entry 4

One of the female orderlies gave me a teddy bear. It is kind of big and heavy. I have seen larger teddy bears. I think maybe it’s two feet head to toe. Normally they don’t give us gifts, but she said she is quitting soon, and doesn’t want to see it again. Tears were rolling down her face. I took it so she wouldn’t cry. Maybe she has no stomach for the game anymore.

The broadcasts say America should be running the world, not cowering from friends and enemies alike. Macho bullshit. The world is too complicated to be strong-armed like that. But it drones on, wanting the country to be the tough guy.

Entry 5

The broadcast was quieter than usual today. Normally it seems to echo against my skull as the boisterous voice rants and raves. Now it’s using an inside voice. The bear has been here for two nights. I also did not feel like stuffing so much food into my face. The nurses say I am being quieter, more cooperative. One even said I am beating out [Patient J] as her favorite. The others say they are not sure if this is a good sign.

Entry 6

An honest to God dream! I can’t believe how long it’s been. Humans dream, all the time. Every night, they tell me. I have not had one in so long that I can barely believe it. I guess I am not deserving of it being a good one, though.

I was stuck to my bed as I felt a rush of warmth come over me, and then I was being held down by black strands of almost nothing. This is how I knew it was a dream, because at night when they take me or lecture me, I see everything so clearly. This was different. The bed and the room seemed to be in my parent’s home for a moment, and once again it was the hospital room. A deep, rough voice called to me by name. I could not move. Soon, I was in some sort of playground being stared down by a massive teddy bear that looked like the one in my room. It said something, and all I could make out was “Not enough” or something like that. I think I also heard it say “Cut them open” but I am not entirely sure. Weird thing is, I felt better, like I was safe there. Definitely a dream. It was not a very pleasant dream, being looked at by a teddy bear like I am in some sort of sick fairy-tale, but not a nightmare.

Anyway, when I woke up I gave the bear a good looking at. Just a brown teddy bear, same as before, but a bit lighter. There’s a scarlet thread on the back of it, like someone stitched up an old war wound. Nothing too strange, I guess.

The broadcast has become whispers at times, now. Anytime they start to irritate me, I feel a wash of calm and then the voice quiets. Did not eat too much today. Nurse [redacted] says I am doing better, and we had a bit of a chat. Nothing important, just something about the weather. The other inmates are laughing at me, though.  I see them hiding their smirks when I get out of my room. I’m not as paranoid as you might think reading this. They mock [Patient C] because they think he drones on too long, and pull pranks on [Patient J] because he jumps at everything. I only see this in the TV and games room, and it can be relentless. I think they saw the damn bear while walking past my room. Best to keep it hidden. I don’t feel like being laughed at.

Entry 7

I had a very odd dream last night. Maybe that is not saying much after the one a few nights ago. So strange even having dreams now. The one the night before I heard children singing Red Rover, and I did not see any kids. It was something about a childhood crush telling me I was a crazy person. I got the sense that she hated me for it. But that’s not important. Before waking up, I swear I could feel those black strands of almost nothing holding onto me, and these kids were chanting the old Red Rover, Red Rover. And last night I saw them. Two young girls and teenage boy running around on some nightmarish playground dreamt of in Hell. The merry-go-round had what looked like razor blades on the outside, and there was a slide that was as tall as an office building. They were playing hop-scotch over hot coals. It seemed like only the outlined squares were safe and they kept pushing each other onto the hot coals and laughing. The little girls screamed when they touched the coals, but they ran over to me without injury. The older girl with red hair and freckles kept yelling “No Rules!” as she skipped around me and the smaller one with black hair and golden skin just laughed. The redhead could not be over twelve, and the other looked maybe ten. The teen, I’d say fourteenish, just rested against some monkey bars and smirked at me. When I was a kid, I used to flick my ear when I thought I was dreaming. It would either wake me up or not feel as painful in the dream. I tried it, and knew I was dreaming. The boy laughed and walked over to me, waving at the two girls to move away. They ran off to play tether-ball with what looked like a medieval spiked ball on a chain.

“Hey!” I remember yelling at them. I don’t much care for kids, but I could not let them get hurt.

“Don’t sweat it, old man,” the boy said. “They ain’t gonna get hurt. Nothing here hurts.”

“And why is that, boy?”

To this he laughed and told me: “’Cause there ain’t no meat here, old man. That’s why he’s got you. The big bad bear don’t understand meat.”

“What are you---” I started to say, but behind the boy I saw it again; a gigantic teddy bear, sitting behind him with its head down.

“No worries,” the boy said and laughed. “He’s asleep.”

“Who…?” I tried to ask, taking a step back.

“I’m Jesse. Over there we got Theresa, and the ginger girl is Beth. I named the Bear Captain Cuddles. He’s still It, I think.”


“Yeah, and he caught me, them girls, and now you! We don’t get a turn to be It anymore.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Bet you don’t. No worries, though. Wakey-Time!” And with that, the boy shoved me, and as I fell in the dream I woke up, once more in a cold sweat.

Entry 8
 Nothing makes sense. I just saw the orderly Nurse [redacted] shot in the head. At least, it looked a lot like him. I swear that the bear is staring at me. Sitting on my dresser, his coal black eyes burrowing straight into my soul. The running commentary on the State of the World is diminished again. After I awoke from the dream on the playground, it got louder, but now it is quiet. How can he be staring at me? It’s just a stuffed animal. I see the psychiatrist tomorrow. Maybe I can get him to change my meds. Maybe I am losing it.

Entry 9

They told me I was asleep. They told me I was dreaming. Now I wonder if I am awake when I am not dreaming. The Broadcaster is on full blast now. Writing this is difficult.
I was about to fall asleep when I felt I could not move. The bear suddenly leapt from the dresser onto my chest. My heart beat so hard, I thought it might push him right off. Claws grew from his stuffed paws and he opened his mouth to reveal many rows of pointed razor-sharp teeth. He pulled his arm back and, just before he raked his claws across my face, I felt like I was sinking. Something pulled me into the bed. Into the bed! Soon I was on my ass in the playground of horrors, the giant bear and the children looking at me with dumbstruck faces.

“Man,” the boy said as he laughed, “your dreams are hardcore!”

“What?” I said, suddenly feeling very stupid as they stared at me. “No-no. This is a dream. That...”

“Was also a dream, man,” the boy said before I could finish.

“Teddy bears don’t do things like that,” the red-headed girl chimed in. “That was scary. He’s not scary like that.”

“Seriously,” the boy said and kneeled down closer to me. “It’s ok, old man. Just wait it out here and chill. You woke him up, for a minute. We saw. It was scaring the girls, though.”

“S-Sorry?” I mumbled, my mind racing to sort this out.

Just rest. My eyes shot open as I looked up to the bear. The voice was low and a bit rough, and though his mouth had not moved the sound in my head seemed to come from him. I would not harm you in such a way. Stay here with the children.

“Why would he have dreams like that?” the golden-skinned girl asked, looking back to the bear.

*His mind is disordered. It cannot hurt you, but it often confuses him as to what is real. *

“Oh,” she replied, and moved her black hair from her face. She then walked over to me and put her hand on my shoulder. The other two kids followed suit, and then once the boy wandered off the two girls sat close to me and talked. I don’t remember quite what they talked about, something about their parents. They prattled on so much, it became more of a background buzz to me, and yet it was oddly soothing. The red-head mentioned something about her mother working in hospital for people who were confused. That’s really all I can remember, as it got hazier and hazier from there.

I woke a few moments ago, once again in a cold sweat. My head is pounding from the damn broadcast. When I see the psychiatrist later today, I might as well ask about pain pills.

A teddy bear is telling me I am crazy. I just don’t know anymore.

Entry 10

The psychiatrist approved me for new meds. I lied and told him I was getting headaches, so they also approved me for some ibuprofen. I managed to hide it under my tongue instead of swallowing it at med time. I think I should save up some of these. I don’t know if they will be able to do the job, but…Look, I don’t know if anyone is reading this and I don’t know what is going on anymore. This bear in my dreams and in my room is dangerous in a way I can’t put into words. I know I should get rid of the stupid thing, but without it the transmissions would come back. When I even think about asking the staff to throw him away, I hear The State of the World on blast. It is so loud I can no longer hear myself think. Also, I am getting used to the occasional relief of being able to ignore them. It is starting to look like there may only be one way out of all this.

I am not strong enough.

Entry 11

I can hear him when I am awake now. Not the broadcaster, but the stupid bear. He’s in my head somehow. I swear this has never happened before. I had just gotten back from the cafeteria. I sat down on my bed and the broadcast was nearly silent. Then all of a sudden I heard him speak. It was like how some of the others describe the voices.

Some of your fellow inmates cannot move. They are locked within their own mind. I want to see it. Bring me to one of their rooms, and show me what their insides look like. I want to see what they are made of. No one will miss them.

All I could do was look up in shock. My eyes went to the dresser I had him hidden in. It was the same, rough sounding voice from the dreams. But I was not asleep. I swear on everything holy that I was definitely awake.

“I-I can’t,” I managed after the minute it took to process what he was telling me to do. “That’s murder.”

They are hardly alive.

“But they still are!” I put my hand over my mouth, hoping others did not hear me shout at a stuffed toy.

You are useless. I need to be with [Patient J]. He walked down the hall the other day. He has more of what I need than you. He would do as I ask.

“You think he would kill for you? No…this isn’t right…”

Give me to him. You do not enjoy the company of the children. Your dreams frighten them too much. This would seem an equitable solution.

“W-wait,” I said in a hushed tone. “What about the broadcast? You make it quieter.”

It is all in your mind. You have dealt with it for years.

“That’s not true. Damn. Even the bear that talks to me prefers [Patient J], huh?” The irony of the situation could not escape me. Despite what the others might say, I do have a sense of humor. I understand why they gave me that damnable nickname, even though I hate it.

*Believe what you like. Give me to [Jones]*

“No,” I said solemnly after a minute of contemplation. I have no love for [Patient J], but I also do not wish this sort of madness on him. I soon found myself to be correct when a dull pain started in the back of my head, creeping its way over my skull. Before I knew it, it started to squeeze my brain. The pain was enough to bring me to my knees.

Give me to him, the bear repeated, his words causing the pain to throb slowly. I fumbled around a moment before finding the painkillers I had saved up and rammed five of them into my mouth and swallowed as quickly as I could.

“No,” I told him and leaned down, holding my head. We sat in silence for several minutes before the pain gradually subsided. I stood and opened the dresser and looked down at the bear. “I may not be human. I may not be worthy. But, maybe just this one time, I can behave like a man.”

With that, I closed the dresser.
Entry 12

The broadcast is getting louder at the worst times. It is becoming hard to talk with the medical staff. I think doing this is starving him a little, though. He can now only give me the amount of pain I used to get when eating frozen dessert too fast, and it lasts about as long. The pain medication keeps this at bay. I just have to keep him away from [Patient J]. This might get easier though.

I talked with an administrator. She seems to think I am ready to “graduate” from the facility into some kind of group home, pending the approval of the psychiatrist. Asking if [Patient J] would be joining me there would be telling. I still don’t know what sort of monster this bear is, but I have a feeling that keeping him away from the man he wants to be with will avert disaster. If those poor kids are real somehow, maybe I can wrest them away from his hold.

Entry 13

“Never play games you find on the internet,” the teen told me as I waited in the infernal playground to wake up. When I got there they started playing some game of tug of war using me as the rope. When one team would pull me, it was into the hot coals around the hopscotch outline. I was afraid it would hurt, but there were no burns on my feet. The boy gave me his little pearl of knowledge right before they chased each other with scissors. It seems the torment is to continue.

Doesn’t really matter, though. I am out of here tomorrow, and I am taking that stupid bear far away from [Patient J]. I have decided to leave this notebook here. Whoever finds this may think it the ravings of a madman, but then again if this gets out it, may do a little good.

If you are ever given a teddy bear, check its back for a scarlet thread. Be careful what games you decide to play. And most of all, do not let [Patient J] have the bear if you can help it.

End of Journal

I should tell you that the orderlies went into his room the following day. All they found was a skeleton wearing Chuckles’ clothes, and it attacked them!

Hehe, no. He was just transferred out to a group home somewhere in town. I am pretty sure he brought the bear with him. Patient J got transferred out too, a few weeks later. When I have a hot minute, I’ll see if I can get my buddy who works there to tell me how they are getting along. Weird shit though, right? Fuck, I have to get to bed soon! Maybe I'll search the instygrams for something cute to help with #sweetdreams and forget about #creepyteddybear.  So that’s all there is for now, interwebs! I’ll let you know if I find out anything else.

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