Terror Tales Culled from the Annals of Urban Folklore
Urban legends circulate at work, on bulletin boards, and across the internet, in our modern age, via "creepy pasta" postings. ALL of them, some argue, are horror stories, whether or not they make us laugh, cringe, shriek, giggle or shudder in fright. After all, their timeless, anonymous "It Could Happen to You" quality makes us feel, indeed, "It Could Happen to ME!" And so it could, Dear Reader, IF, indeed, any of these stories had a basis in fact. (Some might, but that is another topic.)
The following, we swear, are all TRUE ACCOUNTS. Honest. We heard it from a friend-of-a-friend's hairdresser's next-door neighbor. (If you doubt that, just remember what 'ol Hassan Sabbah, the Master of Assassins, said on his death bed: "Nothing is real. Everything is permitted." Or, to put it the way Barnum did: "There's a sucker born every minute." (Okay, maybe one observation does not, exactly, logically follow from the other, but, we digress.)
All of the stories that follow, by the way, are concerned with one theme and one theme only. MURDER. No ghosts. No finding a dead body or a dangerous animal where it shouldn't be. Just good, old-fashioned HOMICIDAL MANIACS. Got it?
So here goes.
1. The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs
No, that isn't the title of a bad porn production. Nor does the phrase "man upstairs" refer, obliquely, to "The Man Upstairs."
This one goes way back, to a time when telephone landlines were far, far more common.
Sally is babysitting bad little brats. It may or may not be Halloween night (as in that old, famous, Seventies horror thriller with the classic, nerve-wracking, near-robotic piano score), but, whatever the case, she is eating popcorn and watching b-movie thrillers on an old tube television set.
"Hello? Who is this? Who's there?"
Heavy breathing. Then:
"I think you'd better go and check the children!"
Sally slams down the receiver.
"Filthy creep!" she says to herself, thinking it is just a Halloween prank. Maybe it is Johnny from school. But, she'd have recognized his voice, she reminds herself. He must have put someone else up to calling. Yeah, that's it.
She picks up the bowl of popcorn again. On the screen before her, a nasty-looking zombie tries to bust through a boarded-up farmhouse window in some old flick from, like, a million years ago. What was this movie called? She couldn't remember. She had changed the channel from a Dark Shadows marathon.
Oh no! she thinks. She picks up the receiver a little nervously.
"H-hello?" she stammers.
Silence. Then, the heavy breathing.
"Look creep," she says, angrily. "I've had just about enough of this routine, okay!"
"I think you'd better go and CHECK THE CHILDREN."
Little Billy and Susie are sleeping upstairs, curled away in their little beds. She took them trick-or-treating earlier, Billy dressed as a pirate. Susie went as a butterfly. (Mom and Dad had left instructions that they were NOT to eat too much candy tonight. Besides, they'd have to check it first, make sure some weird creep hadn't put razors or pins in any of it.)
But she doesn't need this last little bit of a trick-or-treat to top off the evening. Not by a long shot.
She puts the phone down on the hook, just as the creep on the other end breaks out, once more, into ghoulish laughter.
Suddenly, she puts down the receiver, and she is feeling scared. The house seems dark; too quiet. Outside, the trick-or-treaters are all safely tucked indoors. The street looks empty, vacant, lonely. She can hear every creak of the old house, every tick of the clock, which seems very loud. Outside, the gnarled, witch-like fingers of the autumn branches scrape against the window in the gentle, nighttime breeze. She feels goose flesh break out across her arms.
She picks up the phone. She dials the operator.
"Hello? Operator? Could you get me the police station, please?"
She is transferred. The friendly, reassuring voice of a female officer on the other end does a lot to make her feel better.
"Hello? Yes, my name is Sue Shoe. I'm calling from 1525 West Timberview. I'm here babysitting, and...well, some creep keeps calling. All he does is laugh, breathe heavy, and tell me I need to 'check the children." I was wondering: can you, maybe, send somebody over. I mean, he keeps telling me I need to check the children."
"WELL MAYBE YOU BETTER GO AND DO IT, THEN YOU DUMB BITCH!"
The friendly voice on the other end suddenly grows harsh and murderous, like something out of a Freddy Krueger movie. Sue feels her heart skip a beat, as she drops the receiver on the floor and screams in terror.
Actually, that is not what happens. That is just a little imaginative fun. What really happens is this:
"Well, miss, unless it's an emergency, sending a squad car over for what I believe is only a prank call, well, that I cannot do. However, I tell you what: next time he calls, try and keep him on the line, and I'll trace the call, okay?"
Sue sounds a little unsure of things, but says, "Uh, okay, sure. If he calls back, I'll try and keep him on the line. So you can trace the call."
Sue waits, and waits. She thinks, just perhaps, the guy has finally given up for the night. Just then:
She shakes a bit as she picks up the phone. Silence. Then:
"HAVE YOU CHECKED THE CHILDREN? YOU'D BETTER GO AND CHECK ON THEM!"
Remembering what the operator at the police station had told her, Sue says, trying to sound bold:
"Look creep! I don't know what sort of sick game you're playing here, but I don't think it's very funny! Now, in about two minutes, I'm going to go upstairs and check on those kids. Because I'm the babysitter, and I don't take this kind of shit from anyone. You got that?"
"YOU'D BETTER GO AND CHECK THE CHILDREN!"
"Man," says Sue, "you sound like a broken record. Is that all you can say?"
And then he hangs up. Sue sets the phone down shakily.
She near jumps out of her skin. Trembling, she picks up the receiver, says, "H-hello?"
The voice on the other end says, "Miss! This is the officer you talked to before. We traced the call! Miss, you need to get out of that house immediately! We're sending a squad car on the double. Miss, that call...it's coming from the phone upstairs!"
Sue suddenly hears a thumping sound from the stairwell.
Lying at the bottom, a bound and bloodied girl has been pushed to the foot of the stairs. She is lying in a dripping puddle of red, her face a mess of cuts and trickling blood.
"Get out!" she croaks in dying anguish. "He's killed them! He's killed both of the children!"
And then she dies.
2. The Hook-Handed Killer
Maddy and Mark are making out. Hot and heavy, they are rolling around in the front seat, their tongues down each other's throats.
"Oh, Mark! You stud. I want to do it with you!"
"Okay baby! Just let me slip out of these jeans, and Superman will be all set. Faster than a speeding bullet!"
"But," cautions Maddy, placing one elegant hand on his hairy chest. "Not too fast, huh baby? And, be gentle!"
Mark, who is shaking like a leaf, plans to screw Maddy from Hell to breakfast. He starts to unbutton his button-fly jeans when, all of a sudden— "We interrupt this program to bring you a special news bulletin! The mad man known as the 'Hook-Handed Killer' has escaped from custody! His real name is Daniel Donald Duckworth, and he is an inmate confined at the Atascadero State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Tonight he killed an orderly, a custodian, two nurses, and a German shepherd before making his way out to the fence, and managing, despite the fact that it is nine feet high and ringed by razor wire, to make it over the top to freedom. He then hot-wired and stole a car. His whereabouts are unknown, although it is believed he will probably be lurking lovers' lanes and places where teenagers go to make out. It is currently believed he may have abandoned the stolen vehicle, and is hiding out somewhere in the vicinity of Freemont or Rockville. We will keep you posted with updates, as they come in!"
The radio becomes a fuzzy static squeal as Mark turns the dial off. Maddy, all of a sudden, seems a lot less eager.
"Oh Mark," she whines, "I'm really scared. That escaped maniac could be out there right now, lurking in the bushes. Watching, just waiting for us to let our guards down."
Suddenly: "Mark, take me home!"
"Aw baby," groaned Mark, realizing he wasn't going to get laid tonight. He says, "That loon is probably miles away from here by now. You think he'd be crazy enough to stick around with all those cops looking for him?"
In all honesty, though, Mark feels a little nervous too. He thought he could, faintly, hear some rustling in the bushes a few minutes ago. Probably just an animal, a stray dog, maybe even just the wind. But, he feels his arms, all of a sudden, break out into gooseflesh.
Maddy says, on the verge of what he knows is going to be a great big noisy, fussy tantrum, "Mark, I don't care what you say! This place is giving me the creeps! I'm scared and I want you to start this car, and TAKE ME HOME RIGHT NOW."
She balls up her fists, pounds them on her knees. What a child, Mark thinks disgustedly, and starts to turn the keys in the ignition.
He suddenly stops, looks over at Maddy.
"D-did you hear that?" she asks, her voice quivering.
He starts to say, "no." Then, he just doesn't say anything.
He then whispers, "I don't know. What did it sound like to you?"
She pauses. Then says, "It sounded like heavy breathing. Then, like someone scraped something across the rear bumper."
He says, trying to control his voice, "Probably just the wind. Some branches..."
Then: A low, heavy, ominous...chuckle.
"We're outta here, babe!"
Mark fires up the car, pulls out onto the dirt drive with a squeal of tire, throwing gravel and grit into the air.
Mark drives like a maniac all the way home. As they pull into the driveway, Maddy puts her hand over her heart and says, "Oh, Mark! I've never been so scared in all my life!"
To which Mark replies: "I know babe, but it's okay. We're miles away from that place now! Besides," he adds, trying to comfort, hoping they could park out on lover's lane sometime in the future, for some more make-out time, "it was probably just the wind and the branches, or something! Probably was no reason for us to panic!"
Mark gets out of the car, gos around to the passenger side to let Maddie out. Be a gentleman.
He stops. There is a weird, twisted...thing, hanging from the rear bumper.
Mark feels his breath catch in his lungs. It is a twisted metal hook.
3. The Room Mate's Death
Jill Dill is away from home for the first time. She's staying in a big ol' fashioned college dorm, in an historic dormitory that is, supposedly, haunted. Spooky place; the hallways are dark, and the old door frames and windows, the ancient look of the outside lobby (not to mention the huge, spooky old stone exterior), give testimony to how old the place actually is.
Jill has heard the stories of what has happened here, long ago. Supposedly, a young soldier, home from the war, found out his girlfriend has cheated on him. In a fit of despair, he supposedly then hung himself in the side stairwell. Or, maybe it was on the attic floor, or something. Jill went up there one night to watch television, and to be alone from her roommate. When using the bathroom up in the huge, creepy attic floor (which was usually reserved for studying), she could have sworn she heard what sounded like some girl...moaning, A high, piercing wail she could hear, just outside the bathroom door.
She didn't know if it was the sound of the pipes or...a real, true-life ghost. Whatever the case though, she hurried up and got the hell out of there, racing down the stairs and back to her room.
Jill's suite mate is a weird, sort-of "loose" girl named Veronica. Veronica doesn't like to study. Veronica likes to party. Veronica is major good-looking hot. She's not nerdy like Jill, and Jill realizes this. Maybe she's even a little jealous.
Jill has walked in on Veronica and a boy before. Thankfully, they were both still dressed. Jill usually just comes in and gets in bed in the dark now, if she hears Veronica and someone else is...engaged.
"Effing slut," Jill says to herself on these occasions, rolling over and trying to ignore the moans and groans, and the hot and heavy sound of lips (and other body parts) smacking together.
Around Finals week, while Jill is sure her roommate is going to NOT be coming back for Spring Semester, she decides to go upstairs before a big exam, to cram. Veronica, of course, has other plans.
"I'm going to go up to the attic and cram, dude. I'll be kind of late. When I come in, I won't turn on the light, I'll try not to disturb you. I mean, I won't turn on the light, or anything."
Veronica smiles, a stupid, shit-eating grin spreading across her pretty face.
"Oh, dude, you never disturb me when you come in! We both know I'm usually...occupied. Right?"
Jill says, a little grossed-out, "Right." She draws out the r in "right," so that it sounded like, "rrrright..."
She leaves the little tramp to her own devices, grabbing her books and trudging upstairs. Outside, there are good-looking, popular guys and gals playing volleyball. She can hear them as she climbs past the window. Then, she is in the attic. There are a few other brave souls studying up here too; cramming for their finals, desperately trying to make the grade. A head or two bob up, startled. Jill knows she'll be up here long after they've finally retired for the night. She's just that dedicated.
Even with the presence of others, though, this attic study hall is creepy. Jill tries forget all about the ghost stories that circulate, the urban legends she knows are bound to go the rounds of a college dorm as old and historic as this one. Still, she HAD heard what sounded like a girl mysteriously moaning, when she came up here one night to watch the big-screen television. She shakes her head, digs into physics, yawns; tries to get interested and fill her mind for the test tomorrow morning.
Hours tick by. Students come and go, chug coffee and soda and candy and chips and No Doze. The minutes tick by. It's getting awfully late (or early, depending on your perspective).
One o'clock slides by. Then two. Two-thirty. Jill feels her eyelids grow heavy. The words on the page seem to grow blurry, indistinct. She realizes that she's gonna have to give up soon, try and get a few hours of sleep.
She also suddenly realizes that everyone else has left the attic study hall. She's all alone.
And she has to pee!
She gets up, waking up a little, and suddenly feels very, very creepy. Up here, in the attic area, you can sometimes feel a mysterious something that seems to be...watching you. She gets up, walks back through the doorway and into the hall. Another doorway, at the far end, leads to the TV room, and a few alcove spaces where old books molder in the thin, musty air. There are a few solitary rooms with old tables and school chairs. Bright flourescents light the tiled walkway; pipes snake through the ceiling above. Jill opens the restroom door, feels it swing to.
She goes to the urinal, closes the stall door. Takes down her pants and squats.
Nothing, she thinks, to be creeped-out about. I'll just do my business, and go downstairs to bed.
She squats over the bowl. Does her business. Then--
"What was that?" she says to herself, sucking in her breath.
It is the same high, wailing moan as before. The moan of a young woman in pain. The moan of a--
"Ghost?" she asks herself. She really, as a reasonable young woman, does not believe in such things.
She feels goose flesh begin to creep over her skin. It is surely just the sound of the pipes snaking through the ceiling, she tries to tell herself. But she gts up, pulls up her jeans, and very quickly goes out to the study room table.
Her hands shaking, she begins to gather up her books. She feels as if eyes are watching her, greedily, from the shadow beyond. Just now, the attic study room and the rooms to the sides, and down the hall, seems like a great, cavernous mouth of age and time; ghosts, yawning yesterdays of death. She is very, very spooked now.
She hustles downstairs, down the dim side staircase and to her room on the second floor. She can hear a few televisions here and there. Good. Living, awake souls, she thinks. Humanity. Life.
She unlocks her dorm room with quivering fingers. It is dark. On the bed, she can see her slutty room mate is with someone, can hear the moaning and groaning, see them making the "Beast With Two Backs." Gross, she thinks. BUT, she doesn't turn on the light. And she's glad.
Gross sight to see, she thinks, right before bed.
She gets in bed. Exhaustion and nerves plague her, but she seems to drift off to troubled dreams, soon enough. In the middle of the night, she's jarred awake by a thump at the edge of the bed. Blearily, she looks up to see the figure of a man standing at the foot of her bed. She can barely make out his image in the moonlight streaming through the window. She can almost see a few features.
Idiot oaf! she thinks. He's bumped into my bed and woken me up leaving!
But, how can that be? She then thinks. Our beds are pretty far apart!
Before she can croak a single word, the dark image turns and leaves, closing the door softly behind him.
Jill turns over and falls quickly back to sleep. It is not long, however, before the first few beams of sunlight are rousing her, leaving cold driblets of sweat on her brow as she blinks awake.
Her eyes focus on something before her, something staining the wall. Something ugly. Did one of the love-makers last night get sick, perhaps from drinking too much, and puke all over the wall? If so, gross, she thinks. Veronica's gonna have to scrub that up! It won't be me! But, no...Jill puts on her glasses. Things clear into focus. She wishes, however, that she could unseen this horror.
Her roommate lies on her bed, a bloody, butchered rag.
Her eyes are twin moons of white, frozen open in terror; her mouth has been ripped into a ghoulish smile. Jack the Fucking Ripper, Jill thinks. She is too stunned, for the moment, to do anything but sit in frozen shock.
The bedclothes are dripping with blood, and there's a pool of the stuff dripping onto the floor from beneath the mattress and box springs, where it has started to dry. The walls are streaked with gory fingerprints. But, that's not all. The killer, the man she knew bumped into her bed last night, has left a special message for her scrawled on the wall...in his victim's blood. She feels her heart lurch to her throat as she reads, with unbelieving eyes, his mocking final message:
Aren't you glad you didn't turn on the light?
It's then that Jill begins to scream. And scream. And scream.
4. The Hitchhiker
Jane Train has done something she almost never does: pick up a hitchhiker. (This was decades ago, when hitchhiking was a popular way to travel for bored hippies and runaways and others that ended up on milk cartons and missing posters.) She wouldn't have done it, but, this guy looked as if he really needed help. And he was so well-dressed. (And handsome, too.)
He had been wearing a nice suit, and carrying an attache case. She pulled up to the shoulder of the road, and the man hurriedly got in.
Now, he is sitting beside her in the front seat, beaming; he's very happy.
"Oh, thank you! Thank you! I was afraid I was going to stand out there forever before anyone stopped. Hi, my name's Steve. Steve Grieve."
He puts out a gloved hand.
She takes it, says, "Jane. Jane Train."
"Great," says the man. "Nice to meet you Jane. My car broke down about a mile down the road. I was worried I'd never find a lift. Uh! People can be so, so...calloused; to the suffering of others, I mean. Don't you agree?"
"Sure," says, Jane, still a little wary. "Where you headed?"
"Farmington," replies the young man. My, thinks Jane, he really is a good-looking young fellow.
"What a coincidence," says Jane. "So am I!"
"Great," he exclaims. "It's like this all was meant to happen. I'm headed to a convention at the Sunshine Hotel. I sell solar panels."
And his conversation, as they go, is a steady stream that never lets up: about his nieces and nephews, his fishing trip in the Alleghenies, about how he knew guys "So good, so good I tell you, they could sell solar panels in Alaska, where it's night time for six months!"
Jane listens, nodding here and there, and getting in the occasional comment. However, as charming as the young man is, she finds he is, steadily, getting more and more on her nerves. He just won't shut up! And also, there is something oddly creepy about him; his smile seems a little too phony, his charm a little too rehearsed. He gives off, subtly, a weird, chilling vibe. And she has caught him contradicting himself, maybe even lying, once or twice.
(The most perplexing thing is the way his story, somehow, seems to be altering. She would have sworn he said he was headed to a "solar panel convention." Now, he's started telling her all about how he's trying to get home to his sick mother, who is not expected to live many more days.)
"The poor dear," he says. "She was an angel to me when I was growing up. Now, the doctor says her heart can't possibly last very much longer. I'm headed home now to be with her before she goes. I, I hope you'll understand if I can't talk about it!"
Jane thinks, You don't seem to be having any trouble talking about it so far.
Jane sees an off-ramp, and takes it to the nearest exit. She sees a combination gas station, restaurant and convenience store in the distance. It's a truck stop also, with semis idling outside.
"I got to make a pit stop, if you don't mind!" says Jane.
"Great," says the man. "Maybe I can pick up something to eat real quick, huh?"
And so they pull up. The young man gets out, straightens up his suit (after looking in the pull-down mirror on the passenger side to run a comb through his shiny black hair), and walks into the convenience store. Jane starts to follow, then hesitates.
There seems to be an angel on one shoulder, telling her one thing, and a devil on the other. All of a sudden, Jane doesn't know what in the hell to do.
"Screw this chump!" says the Devil. "He's got diarrhea of the mouth, and he's giving you the creeps! Drive! Drive away, and leave him here! He'll find some other ride. And, well, you know that's what you want to do. "
The Angel says:
"You can't just go off and leave a fellow human in need, in good conscience! Why, what if he is stranded out here until dark? What if he hitches a ride with some maniac or criminal? What if he gets hurt? Wouldn't you feel responsible then? Wouldn't you, in fact, be responsible?"
To which the Devil replies:
"Bah! Who made you this weirdo's mommy? Go on, drive! Drive! Drive! I'm telling you, something tells me this guy is BAD NEWS."
And though she hates admitting it to herself, the Devil seems to be winning the argument.
She fires up the ignition, switches gear, puts her foot on the gas, and zooms away. He was taking far too long in there, anyway, she tells herself. What, did he think she had all day or something?
She drives for awhile, not knowing, one way or another, how to feel about just abandoning the hitchhiker at the truck stop. She is feeling a little guilty when, looking down at the foot well of the passenger-side seat, she realizes that the man left his attache case in the car. Oh no, she thinks, now I'm really in a quandary!
"If it has his name and address in it, I HAVE to get it back to him! It's the only right, proper and ethical thing to do! But, I abandoned him at the truck stop! He'll be so furious and hurt!"
Feeling a great weight on her shoulders now, Jane heaves a gusty sigh and pulls over into the breakdown lane. She puts the car in neutral and, not liking this one bit, reaches over and picks up the attache case. She gets a weird little chill up her spine; the thing seems to radiate a cold, evil energy.
She opens up the case.
At first, she thinks it is some sort of a joke. She can't believe what she's looking at.
The items in the case are:
One pair of gloves. One length of rope. Handcuffs. A ski mask. Duct tape. A blindfold.
A pair of women's panties. Stained. An obvious "trophy." A curl of what seems to be blondish hair, clipped; bound with a rubber band. Another trophy.
The knife is crusty. With dried blood.
5. Whack It Off!
Little Mindy Sue heard Mommy whack Dean on the rear. He has pissed his pants again. Mommy says something mighty peculiar...
She has told Dean that, if he did it again, she is going to "Whack it off!" and Mindy Sue knows that when Mommy talks like that, she means beeswax.
(Beeswax is little Mindy Sue's way of saying "business." Darn these kids and their inscrutable thought processes.)
Deanie is standing in the hallway, holding his blanket. Crying. That makes Mindy Sue suddenly sad. She starts to sniffle a little, and thinks, next time Deanie pees himself, he's gonna get it--
Then, thinks Mindy Sue, he'll really be crying. Oh, well, Mommy always knows what is best. Why, if Deanie continues pissing his pants, he might get some terrible infection--
What would Mommy want her to do? Mindy Sue creeps into the living room. Mommy is passed out, a bottle in the crook of her legs, the stub of her cigarette still smoldering in the ashtray. The TV is blaring the infomercial of the man in the suit with all the question marks.
Deanie keeps balling. Mindy Sue looks back at him. Oh, no! she thinks, watching the wet spot spread across the front of his little jeans. He is staining all of his clothes so bad, and Mommy is gonna be mucho PO'd when she wakes up and finds the little man has pissed his breeches again. Mucho.
What would Mommy want her to do? asks Mindy Sue to herself, one errant finger straying to her bottom lip. How, as the big, grown-up girl that she was now, can she help the situation?
She suddenly goes into the kitchen, spies the butcher knife in the wooden holder on the counter---
She goes over to the counter, looks up at the gleaming thing with the big wooden handle. Standing on her tippie-toes, she can just reach it.
She pulls it out. It is long and silver and sleek. It hisses like a snake in her hands. It says:
"Good girl! We have a job to do, and I am just the guy that can get it done. We have to help Mommy while she sleeps off the booze. Now, come on!"
And she goes to find Deanie in the hall, who has probably shit his pants by now as well.
But, she doesn't know what she can do about that. However, she knows what
she can do about Deanie's OTHER problem. And so:
"Deanie, come here! You bad, bad boy!"
Just then, Mommy wakes up. But, she isn't happy. NOT AT ALL.
And now, finally, one more tale for the road...
6. Lick in the Dark
Who doesn't fancy a little kiss in the dark? Or even a ...lick? Just the idea is kind of a turn-on, don't you think? If your lover, maybe, was crouched at the foot of the bed, licking your toes, softly, and whispering sweet nothings in the darkness?
Or, how about a little licky-poo from a friendly pet, huh? Most definitely, it could reassure the lickee that all was right; that all was well and go to sleep.
Patty Batty is home alone for the first time, while Mom and Dad are out doing Mom and Dad things. For the whole weekend, maybe? Maybe they are visiting Grandma in the nursing home, because Grandma is sick and left them in her will (and isn't, most assuredly, going to be around much longer).
"Gee," says Mom. "This is the first time we've left you home alone for the weekend. You sure you're going to be okay?"
"Gee," says Dad, "if you need help or something, we're going to be so far away. You'll have to call 911 Emergency Services. Or the Fire Dept."
"Or the Police," Mom reminds him. "Now," says Dad, "we need to get going. Are you SURE you're okay with this?"
Patty smiles, reassuringly, says, "I'll be fine and dandy as sugar candy! Besides, I have Bowser here--" and she reaches down to fluff the scruff of the family pet, a German Shepherd.
Dad smiles his stupid, beaming, near-retarded smile, and thinks, That damn dog is the biggest pussy in the entire canine world. If you need help, you can forget about him. But, of course, he doesn't say that.
Then it is outside for both of them, into the car and vroom, vroom! Away they go, Mom waving out the window, Dad still wearing that big, stupid, dorky grin.
Patty is suddenly excited she can fart, pig-out, sit around and watch dirty movies, eat ice cream and cookies in the nude--who the hell is gong to tell on her? Bowser?
She doesn't do any of these things, though, and eats a sensible dinner. Then, totally disregarding her home work, she curls up on the couch with Bowser (who has terrible gas she notices), to watch movies on cable that her parents wouldn't approve of.
She flips through the channels, finally deciding on a thing called From Beyond. It's a gross-out horror flick with lots of chest-bursting and splattery gore effects, people turning into mutant monsters, and weird faces puking up demons...that sort of thing. Totally far-out. Daddy and Mom would have a collective cow if they'd known she is watching it.
(At one point, the bald guy with the worm or whatever sticking out of his forehead is wrapped up in, like, octopus tentacles, in a big mound of sickening monster flesh and writhing arms and, really, Patty almost loses her popcorn over getting sick from watching that.)
The movie ends with an explosion, and the female scientist going crazy. Patty knows it is time for bed; but, damn it, now she is a little nervous. She's just finished watching that sleazy, ridiculous horror movie, and now she's feeling...ill at ease.
"C'mon Bowser!" she commands. "C'mon boy!" And Bowser reluctantly gets his furry butt up and follows Patty upstairs to her room.
She goes through her nightly ritual of washing and perfuming, and getting her teddy bear, and getting on her jammies with the footies in them. Then she climbs beneath the covers. Should she read? she wonders. Nah, she's too tired.
Bowser is lying on his little Bowser bed besides her, his tail thumping the floor. Great. She reaches down, and he licks her hand.
"Nighty-night, Bowser," she says, a little nervously. The house is so quiet and dark and lonely; outside, the street seems empty and dead.
Dead. It's not a word she wants to think of right now.
Outside, she hears the crickets chirping.
She finds herself nodding off slowly. She has terrific dreams where she's a princess in a pumpkin patch, with a tall, dark, handsome stranger, a prince of course, lurking somewhere nearby with glowing, sparkling eyes, square jaw, high cheekbones, dark, wavy hair--a soldier's uniform. Everything she likes!
"Oh, oh yes! Oh, come to me, my tall, dark, handsome knight-so-true!"
Her eyes open suddenly. She looks around in the dark. The moon creates weird, ghostly shadows on the wall.
Plop, plop... plop... plop...
There it is again. What, she wonders, is that weird noise. She knows it isn't the sink. It doesn't plop, plop like that.
"Bowser?" she says, her voice shaking a little. she doesn't hear the dog. Has he gotten up to go pee somewhere?
"Bowser? Where are you, boy?"
She reaches down the side of her bed in the dark. Suddenly, she feels a familiar, warm, wet sensation against the back of her hand.
"Oh, Bowser! There you are, boy! I was worried for a minute!"
She rolls back over, ignoring the plop, plop. Bowser is a good dog. Bowser is big, and strong. Bowser wouldn't let anything happen to her.
She goes back to her prince. Morning streams in, in slanting rays of sunshine through the bedroom window. Patty comes to, stretches; yawns. So, she survived the night! Well, she is a big girl now, isn't she?
"Bowser? Here, boy?"
Now where in the world is that pesky dog?
Patty puts on her slippers, goes downstairs, anticipates the sugary goodness of breakfast cereal.
She swings open the kitchen door.
Her hands fly to her face. She feels a scream building in her throat.
A bloody, ragged mess of fur and entrails is hanging, upside-down, from a rope nailed to the ceiling. Bowser's head hangs at an awkward, dead angle; from the neck, the streamer of blood has dripped downed, overflowing his doggy dish. Blood is running in a huge pool across the white kitchen tile. Someone has severed Bowser's head almost from his body.
On the wall, these words are scrawled in dripping, bloody letters:
"HUMANS CAN LICK, TOO."
And now Patty screams. And screams. And screams again.
And there you have it. Six creepy stories, because we like them. And, because we like round numbers. Remember: Everything you read here is true. ALL of it really, really happened. Long ago, but really, not so long ago. To a friend's cousin's next-door neighbor's niece's nephew's hairdresser. In other words:
Someone. Just. Like.