Friday, October 16, 2009
Spooky Story Time--Creepypasta
The Halloween Countdown, Day 16
Some time ago I chanced upon the world of Creepypasta, aka "scary microfiction for the internet age" as MetaFilter calls it. The concept is simple: evocative little short stories, sometimes only a couple of sentences long, "designed to unnerve, disturb, elicit a negative emotional response from, and scare the reader."
Think "Campfire Tales For Grown-Ups," but best read alone, late at night, when one's blood sugar is low and mind is highly suggestible.
Remember this - Should you ever despair of life so much that you want to die, you have the means at hand and yearn to end your life, you have written a suicide note to those you will leave behind and you are prepared to die--at that moment, stop. Cut away at the note until you end up with a piece of paper in the shape of a key. Go to a door. Push the paper key forward and turn your hand as if unlocking it. The lock is real. Open the door. There you will find it the other earth. The one that waits to replace this one when it dies. That death is inevitable, but in the meantime the other earth will belong to you. Be warned: the other earth is very different from this one.
There is a child in a hospital in Stoke-on-Trent, England. The child is a quiet toddler that remains in the nursery with all the other newborns. If you ask the staff, they will ignore you, but the tag on his arm is yellowed and marked 1948. He will not cry, only rock quietly. If you speak the name on his tag, his eyes will open and relate to you frightening knowledge.
(two of many from the Serene Knowledge website).
The Hitchhikers There are stories about a certain kind of hitchhiker - they only ever appear at night on quiet roads, seeming to flicker into existence in the very edge of headlights, never carrying a sign, always with an expression of deep despondency on their faces, swathed in a heavy coat and long pants, usually with gloves. If you stop, they will seem cordial enough, polite, but hardly chatty. They will assure you that the next town or city along your route will be a fine spot to leave them. Normal enough. Unless you try killing them. They die easily enough. But look underneath their clothes, and you will see that their skin is marred with lines of scars, forming repeating patterns that are unsettling to look at, and even more unsettling in the context of their skin. They have no wallets, no identification. If you slice their belly open, however, they're different inside. There's no blood, no muscle, only a hollow cavity containing a single object. The object varies. Examples include a single coin, heavy and golden and engraved with runes nobody could ever decipher. A diamond gem with fractal edges that slice bare flesh to ribbons. A small vase, quite unbreakable, that smells of the ocean and is always damp... Once you possess a hitchhiker's object, you'll find yourself always driving the quiet roads at night. You'll never mean to, but somehow, you just will. The lure of possessing a second one will hum quietly in your head. You'll strain to catch sight of a figure appearing in your headlights, try to resist the impulse to stop, and sometimes you might. But sometimes you won't. You'll try telling yourself that this is just a normal person on an adventure, someone who ran out of petrol. The logical part of your brain will scream at what you're doing. You'll smile and nod and they'll get into the car and you'll slowly, casually, reach under the seat or across to the glove box...
(one of many on the snarky Encyclopedia Dramatica website)
For a more elaborate (and illustrated!) piece of Creepypasta, browse through Ted's Caving Page.
And now for a quick confessional...
My friend Scot used to live alone in a trailer which served as a perfect gathering spot for a group of us who shared a common love for, among other things, horror fiction, monster movies, and all sorts of spooky stuff. We'd hang out till the wee, small hours drinking coffee, cracking jokes, dissing our friends, and discussing all the Really! Big! Important! Things! that twenty-somethings love to discuss.
And when the time came for us to go home, one of us invariably left him with a parting thought such as, "Gee, Scot; wouldn't it be really creepy if just before you went to bed you decided to read something for a while and as you pulled a book off the bookshelf you noticed that in the darkened space was a single eye staring back at you? (pause) Pleasant dreams!"
His response--the only possible response--was "You bastards!"
Scot's dead now and sometimes late at night when I hear strange music in the distance or odd noises outside my windows, when the cat starts staring intently into the distance at something I can't see, I have to wonder if he's giving me a taste of my own medicine.