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It’s A Warning

by Amanda OGreen 2 months ago in Horror
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not a welcome

“The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window. “

The text to speech AI rattled off the caption on the video I was watching in a robotic but not unpleasant voice.

In the last few weeks I’d become enamored with creepypasta and Reddit based Videos on TikTok. It felt like a highlight reel of great spooky content without digging through 16 year olds insulting each other or cliques of tech nerds using acronyms I didn’t understand.

Everyone knows Reddit is where you go for the truly creepy, and TikTok just formatted it correctly for my lazy brain. Win-win.

But I wasn’t interested in that candlelight and cabin combo just now. It felt too outdated for the mood I was currently in.

I know what happens in the cabin in the woods, I saw the movie. The one with Thor. 10/10 on horror comedy.

No, I was in the mood for something a little more relatable. Isn’t that what good horror is? The kind that makes you feel unsafe in the everyday?

I was about as far from the woods as anyone can be in my tiny studio apartment, which was really just a concrete basement cave underneath a skateboard shop that I’m convinced does no business.

I don’t even know how they’re still open. Do people still skateboard? Jury’s out.

I tossed my phone on my comforter and opted for the tv remote instead. Swapping tiny screen for medium screen, I popped on YouTube and found another channel that narrated unsettling Reddit content to ambient background noise.

I started the first video on the playlist.

I had to be to work in two hours, and I planned on spending them doing exactly this, perhaps with the addition of chips and dip.

“The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window. “

I looked down at my phone. Had the app not closed? Flipping it over I looked at the blank, black screen. It was definitely off.

“The man on the path had yet to realize that the candle was a not a welcome. It was a warning”

I looked up at the tv. It was the YouTube channel playing it. Same robotic voice. Someone must have recorded audio from their app? YouTube wasn’t exactly a text-to-speech platform.

Also, what were the odds?

I paused it before the story could go on and switched to the next video. Too much coincidence for me, no thanks.

“The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window. “

What the hell.

I switched channels entirely. Maybe it was time to take a horror break. I put on driving fails for some much needed levity.

“The man on the path had yet to realize that the candle was a not a welcome. It was a warning”

The driving video was still playing but the audio was silent, overridden by the same computer generated voice.

I froze in panic.

What was going on here?

What was I supposed to do?

In the silence, my stomach growled inopportunely and startled me, reminding me of the abandon chip idea and breaking the spell for a moment.

Someone had to be messing with me. That was the only logical answer.I paused the video and got up to fetch the snacks to appease my stomach.

With my back to the tv, I rifled through the fridge, looking for chip accoutrement. I was annoyed I’d gotten temporarily worked up.

With a victorious grunt, I laid my hands on a half-hidden container of onion dip.

“I found you.”

The dip slipped out of my numb hands and felt rather than saw it splatter across my pants and the linoleum floor. My eyes were glued to the shelf in the fridge because I was afraid to turn around, but I also couldn’t bear the suspense.

Grudgingly, I swiveled to look at the flat screen.

The unpaused video continued to play while my panic reignited and swelled. This wasn’t happening.

“Do you want to know what the warning is for?” The upbeat robot voice lilted in an unconvincingly human imitation.

I tripped over my work shoes as I lunged across the living space, bashing my knee on my tv stand as I thrust a hand behind it blindly, desperate to unplug the device.

“It’s c-“

My fingers found the plug and yanked hard.

My heart was a clumsy hummingbird in my chest, beating rapidly and knocking against my rib cage.

I’d just go to work early, get away from here. I could think of a solution when I wasn’t scared out of my mind.

I also decided I’d clean up the dip later and dove for my shoes, one of which had tumbled into a corner near my bed when I’d plowed through them.

I got the nearest one slipped on and was headed for the one gone astray when the quiet was broken again by the dissonant voice.

An unrealized scream bubbled in my throat.

“Do you want to know what the warning is for?”

I reached the shoe and without putting it on, half-rolled over my bed, snatched my phone, and sprung for the door. My keys were on the key hook right next to it. I just needed to grab them-

“It’s calling him.”

Tears started to stream down my face unbidden. I fumbled the keys off the hook on the wall, abandoning my shoe and refusing to look behind me.

The doorknob was slippery in my grasp, my palms slicked with sweat. I could hear a low whimpering and it took me a moment to realize it was coming from me.

I felt the latch release and ripped open the door to the inner hallway, whipping around quickly to slam it shut behind me.

With my keys in my shaking hands it was taking what felt like an eon to guide the key into the dead bolt and lock in whatever was in there, but I was struggling extra hard because it was so dark.

Was the hallway light out?

I finally locked it through pure muscle memory alone, took a shuddering breath of relief, and closed my eyes for a second, bracing my hand on the door jamb.

It don’t know what just happened but I was not going back in there. Alone. Maybe at all.

When I felt calm enough, I opened my eyes and turned around. There was only blackness. The kind that’s an absence of light.

Relief melted away.

This wasn’t my hallway.

I heard a muffled voice and I realized it was coming from the phone I must’ve instinctively slid into my pocket on the way out. I could feel its telltale square imprint against the side of my leg.

I slid it out, catching the last word “-him”

The screen was illuminated but showing the lock screen. It didn’t make sense. None of this made sense. I was nobody!

I dropped the phone when it started to speak again in the same robotic voice.

“Goodbye.”

Horror

About the author

Amanda OGreen

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