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Across the Street

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I live in a small town in upstate South Carolina. Nothing much happens here, so it seems with every story’s beginning. Nevertheless, it’s normal… right? I mean, the most spectacular thing that’s ever happened here was probably when there was a new stop sign put up near Deerfield, or perhaps after the Masons started up a new church. Not much I guess. My neighbourhood is pretty quiet. I guess it’s because there was no other kids around but me. I don’t really mind it though, besides, I’m a teenager now. Anyhow, enough about me.
There’s an old woman across the street from us. Her name is Susan. What a simple name, don’t you think? She’s a sweet lady though, sometimes she’ll call our home phone and happily chitchat with my mom about random things. Also, every once in a while she’ll come by and leave cookies or homemade caramels on our front porch in return for my dad mowing her lawn. We could never seem to be home when she dropped them off though. When we asked her about it, Susan would always say she’d rung the doorbell but we weren’t home. Even so, the baked goods kept coming. Until one day they just stopped. I wondered why; I really liked them. But my father continued to mow her lawn, taking over his faded green John Deere to her house so the grass wouldn’t get too tall. Figured he was doing a good deed, you know, since she was an old lady.
After a couple weeks we hadn’t heard from her. No more sweets and no more happy phone calls. The other neighbours started to get worried. One afternoon we got a call from the guy beside us; he’s Mr. Caldwell. He wanted to know if we’d heard anything from Susan.
“Usually her and my wife like to go shopping. But they haven’t been able to get together for two weeks now!” He said.
My dad was as clueless as he was. “I’m sorry, but I don’t really know. Sometimes she comes over and leaves us sweet stuff, or calls my…

Requiem

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  • Post date: 27 July 2014
  • Submission by:
  • Length: Tiny

Something occurred to me today:

If there is really is something that could be called “the soul”, and it was immortal, then that would mean that you could live…forever.

Limitless possibilities come from this point, and it really makes me think: did I do the right thing in my life?

Were all the things I did worth it, the things that those people hate me for?

I remind myself that it was for the betterment of my people, and my family.

Though as I face my death, I have the impending anxiety that I will burn in hell…I mustn’t be so hard on myself. I tell myself that it will all pay off in the end, that my cause was not for nothing.

I stare at your dead body now, Eva. It sits on the floor, motionless. Your eyes see nothing. Your skin is slowly turning white as I watch you, all the normalcy in it diminishing. I can tell that the pill has done its job. I have closed your eyes for you, so that you can sleep in peace.

I love you so much, Eva. I will see you soon.

-Adolf Hitler’s suicide note, dated 1945. Found by an American medic, was recorded, then burned.

“Tag”

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She made a playful squeal as I tagged her. It was clear she was enjoying herself, she was laughing herself to tears. “Daddy, stop it, my sides hurt!” She continued to laugh. Her joy was contagious, I smiled, for once in years, I smiled. I dare say I’ve smiled more that day than I have in my entire life. Alas, all good things must come to an end, she was tired, and fell asleep shortly after.
My wife soon came home. She was so glad to see me, she yelled my name, again, laughing to tears. She hugged me, still laughing. I continued to smile. She looked down and saw my tagging tool, quickly shooting her focus back to my eyes. I continued to smile. “Michael…” Tears continued to stream down her face in excitement. “How could you have done this to our little angel?” She tried to run, but she was too slow. “Tag…” I smiled wider. “You’re it.”

The Afghan Girl

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It was another cold night that night. I remember it vividly. Mostly due to the fact that out here you have to be alert at all times. My name is Sergeant Johnson, and at the time I was deployed at a remote outpost in the Warduj Valley. This valley is known for its high level of insurgent activity in the Warduj District, Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan. I was deployed for seven months, and I have to say the toughest thing, other than the usual rocket attacks, was missing my new wife back home. Maybe that’s why less than one percent of the American population joins the military.

As an infantryman in the Army there’s not much that scares me anymore. I have seen the worst of the world and what it has to offer. This night, on the other hand, was different. To this day I still cannot explain what it was that happened that night.

It was 2300 hours on the 24th of December 2005. One more day until Christmas and there I was on guard duty in the northern most guard tower cleaning my M4 ready for whatever the Taliban had to offer to ruin the holidays this year. My relief will not be arriving for another nine hours. “Hey sergeant, beautiful Christmas eve isn’t it?” It’s one of my soldiers, Specialist Smith. One of the best men I’m honored to serve with.

“That it is Specialist.” I say as he hands me a green monster he received in a care package from his family back home. Green monster is my favorite.

“No one should be alone for the first moments of Christmas.” says Specialist Smith.

“Thank you” I said. We sat there for the better half of an hour talking about family, reminiscing on the hobbies we have back home such as fishing, drinking beer, and telling war stories.

It’s about 0030 hours on December 25th when Specialist Smith stands up and says “Well sergeant, it’s about time I get out of here and get some rest. The squad and I are going out on a foot march in the valley tomorrow.”

“Roger that…

Upgrades and Limits

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Electrons excite me. Perhaps that is why I took so readily to computers. By the age of 13 I had cobbled together my first computer from the odd bits leftover from the old computers of friends and family. The rush of creation and experimentation that I felt that day has never been matched, but my experiments are getting closer to recapturing that glory.

The issue of any computer is that it is always in the process of becoming outdated. There are always limits on what technology can achieve. This is why my work is so important, I figured out that the best way to make a computer that didn’t need to be upgraded, that had few limits, was to harness the processing power of the living human mind. In particular, I harnessed yours.

Peeling back your scalp was the easy part; a circular incision prepared the skin to peel with one swift tug. When the drill met resistance I feared my tools were inadequate for my vision, but that crimson gush of blood and mental ichor provided reassurance. Don’t try to speak on my account, I fear this grey, slithy mound here may have been important for that – necessary even. Each probe and connection slid into place among the raw ridges of your untapped mind with only a hint of disagreement. Judging by your bright, undulating crevasses I suspect you were an extremely intelligent person once.

Excellent, I’d hate to be forced to upgrade again soon.

Room Zero

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It’s been a while since I’ve written anything related to the Disney Corporation, and I’m sure you can understand why.

A lot has been going on since my last post. I’ve received a lot of questions and concerns from folks who read my first-hand account of Mowgli’s Palace… a resort that was built and abandoned by Disney.

I want to thank everyone who mirrored by post. It’s been taken down from a few places, mostly corporate sites that were easily leaned on by a larger power. However, for every nuked topic or disappearing blog post, it seems like a hundred more have popped up.

This is something they’ll have to face. There’s no turning back for them… none for me, either…

I’m definitely being followed. For the first month or two, I chalked it up to paranoia. Any casual glance or half-smile in my direction set me off. Hairs standing on the back of the neck and everything.

The first one, or rather, the first one I was actually able to spot, was a telephone worker milling around my apartment complex.

He was middle-aged, doughy, dressed just as you’d expect, but something just seemed off about him. I couldn’t place it, but I knew this wasn’t just my imagination acting up. He was awkward and out of place, not somebody who was comfortable doing his routine job.

I followed him around a corner, only to lose him there. When I turned back to go home, there he was. Staring directly at me, about ten feet behind me. Expressionless and cold.

“Exploring?” he asked. That was all he said, and there was an accusing tone to his voice.

Tell me what blue collar phone jockey does that.

I guess that’s the worst part. Never feeling safe. Never feeling alone. That, and the occasional Disney merchandise left somewhere for me to find. Little rubber Mickeys in the mailbox, a Disney Adventures magazine on my bookshelf.

They hide little Mickeys everywhere. Three circles, one big, two small, in the silhouette of the famous mouse’s head.

I’ve started keeping a running list of Mickeys I’ve found.

Coffee cup rings on my coffee table. One big, two…

Disneyland

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In 1999, my family visited Disneyland. We happily rode the Small World ride. I was 12 at the time and my sister was 6. We loved every moment and our parents smiled with nostalgia.

At one time near the end, some lights suddenly shut off and rear lights illuminated the ceiling.

The moving display parts shut off and crew members wearing red overalls walked along them to help passengers in the boats onto the stages to direct them out of the building via emergency exits.

A voice came over the loudspeakers. “Disneyland thanks you for your visit. Please evacuate the attraction in an orderly fashion. Keep looking foward and follow the directions of staff. Thank you.”

The staff wouldn’t tell us much as they quickly ushered us out of the building. Ambulances were outside and a police car was parked in the main walkway. At the time, my mother still had her camera out and snapped a few photos of the crewmen and close-ups of the mechanical children.

She snapped a few last-minute photos of whatever to use up the last of the roll of film on the camera, since we were going to develop them later that afternoon, anyway. This was the last photo on the reel, aimed at the ceiling at the attraction.

At one time near the end, some lights suddenly shut off and rear lights illuminated the ceiling.

The moving display parts shut off and crew members wearing red overalls walked along them to help passengers in the boats onto the stages to direct them out of the building via emergency exits.

A voice came over the loudspeakers. “Disneyland thanks you for your visit. Please evacuate the attraction in an orderly fashion. Keep looking foward and follow the directions of staff. Thank you.”

The staff wouldn’t tell us much as they quickly ushered us out of the building. Ambulances were outside and a police car was parked in the main…

I Must Type This Sentence

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I must type this sentence to keep the monsters away. I don’t know why this works, but it does. The faster I type, the further away they are. Sometimes, I think I might be able to type fast enough to make them go away. Yet, if I stop for only a moment they will return.

I must type this sentence to keep the monsters away. If I knew why they targeted me, it might be worth some comfort. It would at least let me know what my fade would be when I tire. Will I be eaten? Am I to be tormented? Will they simply kill me? Just knowing what was to come next would be enough.

I must type this sentence to keep the monsters away. I can see them. They wait in the hallway. Their large bestial bodies hunched over, as if they are ready to pounce. Yet their faces, Christ … their faces, have a placid calm. They are in no hurry.

I must type this sentence to keep the monsters away. For some reason, my eyes can’t focus directly on them. I almost mistook the first one for a smudge on my glasses. Yet, Smudges don’t move. And, smudges don’t have fangs.

I must type this sentence in order to keep the monsters away. Can anyone else see them? You will know it if you have. Part of me hopes I’m not the only one who can see them. At least then I would not be alone.

I must type this sentence to keep the monsters away. Oh, god it’s been almost a week. The cramp in my left hand stopped over a day ago; I just can’t feel it anymore. Considering the blood on my keyboard, numbness is probably preferable.

Can anyone help me? I must type this sentence to keep the monsters away. If you see them, start typing as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter what device you use, just type these words. Or maybe don’t, because if you do you will become a prisoner like myself.

I must type this sentence to keep the monsters away …

World’s Best School Psychologist

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When I was twelve, I came to the conclusion that everyone in the world, including my own family, was against me. I was never a problemed child, but my parents sure treated me like one.

For example, I used to need to be home by 5:00pm every day. This clearly restricted my amount of “play time” outdoors. I wasn’t allowed to have friends over to play at the house, nor was I allowed to go over anyone else’s. I had to finish homework directly after I came home from school, no matter how long it took. My parents refused to buy me video games and forced me to read books and then write a book report on them to prove I actually read it!

Now, even though those rules listed above were quite frustrating to me as a child, they aren’t what upset me most. What really hurt me was the lack of compassion on behalf of my parents. My mother was a bitter woman who always made me feel guilty of accidents or mistakes I’ve made. My father only knew one emotion: frustration. The only time he spoke to me was when he screamed at me for receiving poor test scores or beat me for misbehaving.

But enough about them, let’s talk about my school’s psychologist. For his own privacy, we will call him Dr. Tanner. Like most junior high schools, a psychologist is always available on campus during school hours to assist any students in need of counseling whether it is emotional, academic, social, behavioral, etc.

To be honest, I have never seen any students talking with Dr. Tanner. Every day, I would walk past his office on my way the cafeteria and peek through his door’s little window. He would always be alone in there, working on some paperwork.

I guessed that most kids were too afraid to speak about their problems to an adult who was practically a stranger. For this reason, it took me three weeks to muster enough courage to go into his office. March 2nd, 1993, was the day I decided to voice my troubles to Dr….

Ickbarr Bigelsteine

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When I was a small child, I was terrified of the dark. I still am, but back when I was around six years old I couldn’t go a full night without crying out for one of my parents to search beneath my bed or in my closet for whatever monster I thought was waiting to eat me. Even with a night light, I would still see dark shapes moving around the corners of the room, or strange faces looking in on me from my bedroom window. My parents would do their best to console me, telling me that it was just a bad dream or a trick of the light, but in my young mind I was positive that the second I fell asleep, the bad things would get me. Most of the time I would just hide under the blankets until I became tired enough to stop worrying, but every now and then I would become so panicked that I would run screaming into my parents room, waking up my brother and sister in the process. After an ordeal like that, there would be no way anyone would be getting a full nights rest.
Eventually, after one particularly traumatizing night, my parents had had enough. Unfortunately for them, they understood the futility in arguing with a six year old and knew that they would be unable to convince me to rid myself of childish fears through reason and logic. They had to be clever.

It was my mother’s idea to stitch together my little bedtime friend.

She collected a large assortment of random pieces of fabric and her sewing machine and created what I would later refer to as Mr. Ickbarr Bigelsteine, or Ick for short. Ick was a sock monster, as my mother called him. He was made to keep me safe while I slept at night by scarring away all the other monsters. He was pretty damn creepy, I had to admit. Honestly, looking back on it all now, I’m still impressed that my mom could think of something so strange and disturbing looking. Ickbarr had the stitched together…