Thursday, November 14, 2013

Strange Email


Maybe you can help me with something.

So after I posted my appeal to Jonas, I was pretty anxious.  But he didn't respond the first day.  Or the next.

Then, out of nowhere, I got a really weird email.  I can't say if it was from Jonas since the email address wasn't anything I recognized.  The stuff in it was creepy enough that I thought I'd post it and hope someone might know more about what it could mean.  If nothing else, it might be entertaining for some of you.

Reed, 
I was happy to hear from you.  I have been waiting for you to try and reach out to me, actually.  It did take longer than I expected, though.  Did you not notice the messages I've been leaving for you?  I thought I was being pretty clear with them. 
Yes, it has been some time since we last saw each other.  But I am very much OK.  In fact, I would say I am better than ever.  There is a source of something... special here in Pale Forest.  A wellspring, almost.  I don't know if I'd call it power, though it certainly makes me feel differently.  And I crave it all the time now.  I guess one might compare it to a drug.  Either way, I'm not even sure you'd recognize me now.  Maybe that's the problem-- I could have walked right past you recently and you wouldn't have known.  I might have missed you as well. My eyes are not as good as they once were, though the other senses more than compensate.
I will try to contact you again tonight, directly this time.  Listen closely for my coming.  I will try and be more clear this time in my message, but you must pay greater attention to the changes around you, no matter how insignificant they seem.
See you soon.

There wasn't even a name attached and the email address returned an error when I tried to reply.  So that's a dead end.

Anyway, no one came to see me and I didn't notice any "changes".  I'm guessing this was someone yanking my chain.  Which pisses me off.  Maybe this means something to one of you, though.  If so, please let me know.  But try to keep the pranks to a minimum.  I'm trying to find a missing person.

Thanks.



Monday, November 11, 2013

Are You There?

OK, I've put this off long enough.

I'm "Reed Carter" (no that isn't my real name).  I was one of Jonas' few friends in Pale Forest.  I've been trying to get up the nerve to post for WEEKS.

This is crazy.  I haven't heard from Jonas since freaking June and I'm worried.  I've BEEN worried.  But I haven't said anything.  The people here are weird and I'm kind of afraid of them.

But then those short horror stories were posted and I thought maybe he was back.  I knew where he was hiding, so I went out there again.  I'd gone a couple of time but not lately.

The house he'd been staying in was still empty.  The windows were broken but there was no trace of Jonas.  Now I'm trying to reach him through his blog.

If you're out there, Jonas, you know who this is.  Let me know if you're OK.  I don't think I can help you anymore, but at least I'd know you weren't dead or something.

That's all I wanted to say.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Two Sentence Horror

After being awoken by the sound of something feral racing around in my backyard, I was relieved to hear the familiar sound of my dog coming through the pet door.  It wasn’t until I noticed him asleep on my bedroom floor that I truly began to worry.

Ted dashed in from the rain before removing his coat and opening his front closet’s door.  His usual hanger was taken already, though, by an unfamiliar jacket, still dripping water onto his floor.

Half asleep, I stumbled into my apartment during the middle of night only to find the hallway and kitchen lights wouldn’t work.  I’d just reached the living room lamp when a voice behind me whispered “That one’s broken, too.”

Though Jonathon was initially happy to hear his son had gotten over the fear of the monster under his bed, it didn’t last.  “Oh, no, daddy,” the child explained, “it told me it was moving to you and mommy’s room.”

I have a reoccurring dream where I’m being chased by an evil version of myself, and last night it finally caught me.  This morning I woke up and my shadow was right up against the bed.

Even though June considered herself to have a real “green-thumb”, today she had found something quite unexpected in her garden.  Given the state of decomposition, the body was already quite old.

Linda wasn’t usually troubled by impatient people knocking on the bathroom door; it happened at work pretty regularly.  Today, however, she’d stayed home…

I had just left town when I noticed a car that had apparently run off the side of the road and pulled over to help.  “Thanks for stopping,” the paper in the empty driver’s seat read, “now turn around.”

After stepping from the shower, Robert was shocked by how much gray he saw in the mirror.  The thing behind him had skin the shade of something that had been dead for weeks.

 “I can't sleep,” Kevin told his wife as he rolled over beside her in bed.  But, as usual, she was no help; she’d been much less talkative since her death.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Night's Chill

Believers,

As I write, I find myself somewhat distracted by the thick, smoke-like breath I create with every exhale.  This bit of interruption is possible for two very distinct reasons.  One, I am still alive, as the breathing helps to remind me.  Secondly, I have taken to writing outside on my laptop where it is oddly cold for this time of year. 

While this decision might strike many of you as odd (and believe me when I say I arrived at this place through no lack of contemplation), I have decided I will no longer live in the crippling dread of the demons that come to me by night.  Of course, though I call them "demons", I have no proof they're anything other than racoons or some other nocturnal animal-- as rare as that would be here in the woods.  No, I have not seen them.  Nor have the crude traps I've setup around the house caught anything or even been sprung.  But what I have witnessed are the markings they leave on the trees-- wild scribblings that, despite their feral nature, do seem to be more than a simple marking of a territory.  Many are repeated in almost identical fashion, as if there is a sort of language behind them.  I have taken to trying to decipher it, but I wonder if the excercise is simply driving me mad. 

Additionally, there is the feeling I experience when the noises begin each night.  It's a sick drop in the pit of my stomach accompanied by the requisite goosebumps, and though this is probably little more than fear, it is followed by a nausea and dizziness that I can't simply explain away.  It was uncomfortable at first, but has grown debilitating lately, which I have attributed to being in a closer proximity to whatever is out there.  As a result, I have been incapable of actually going outside to confront my demons as I had originally planned.

Because of this, I have taken to staying outside as much as possible during the day.  As even being near the etchings in the trees causes the beginnings of the sickness, my hope is to use this smaller "dosage" to build up an immunity.  Maybe then I'll be able to actually endure being close to the source.  Of course, being successful in this might prove to be my greatest mistake yet.

Life, after all, often proves even more temporary than wisps of breath in the icy air.

Until next time...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I'm Losing It

Believers,

I don't think I'm alone anymore.  The new house seems to be compromised already, but not by the same type of threat.  This is something new.  Something potentially even more dangerous.  Are the things that have found me even human?

Without giving my exact location away, I'll say the place I'm staying now is out in the woods itself.  I wasn't thrilled to find this out, but I also wasn't really in a position to turn anything down.  Now I think maybe I should have.

The noises started a few nights ago.  They were slight at first, almost timid.  In fact, I thought very little of them despite knowing there are no natural sounds in the forest at night.  Perhaps this was simply me trying to convince myself there was no danger where it actually existed.  Regardless, I know better now.

The almost imperceivable "rustling" sound came back the next night, but it was closer, and joined by another more disturbing noise.  It was a sort of wheeze, as if whatever was out there was smelling the air for something.  That rasp has stolen what little hope I had of the noise being anything easily explained as well as the majority of my sleep.  It's hard to rest with the knowledge you're surrounded by unknown threats.

The situation seems to be moving towards an inevitable end, as last night the sounds were right up against the walls of the house.  The rustling is now more of a scraping noise, which makes sense with what I found outside today-- the trees nearest the porch were scratched pretty severely.  Most confusingly, though, there was definitely something coherent about the marking, as if there was some sort of message in them.  If it is indeed a language I certainly don't recognize it, but the speculation makes me feel sick.  What are they communicating to one another out there in the dark?

I can't believe it, but I'm actually contemplating going out there tonight to see for myself what has been sniffing around the house.  I've almost convinced myself that the truth can't be any more horrifying than the anticipation.  Of course, that might not be true.  If the things rip me to pieces, I suppose I'll have my answer.

Until next time...  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Fouts

Believers,

As promised, I've been looking into some of the more cryptic or unknown people here in Pale Forest.  The first on my list was the foreman at the mill, Stanley Fouts.

Fouts is a large, imposing man.  He is almost entirely bald-headed (and has been for years), but incredibly hairy everywhere else.  His dark, deep-set eyes are usually hidden in a perpetual scowl, and his frame is heavy-set but powerful.  I remember him being a harsh man, even back when my father worked at the mill.  The years have done little to soften him.

He was furious with me when I was caught at the mill, which now seems only natural given what I found out about him.  Of all the people in Pale Forest, Fouts is perhaps the most ardent "seperatist" around.  He cares little for those he doesn't know personally and shows open disdain for anyone not from town.  He apparently includes those who've migrated to Pale Forest (including me) in this general hatred.  He is also quite secretive in his affairs, which seems to go hand-and-hand with the Pale Forest "us against the world" mindset.

As a result, it's been difficult to find out much about him.  But I managed anyway.

Stanley Fouts traces his family back to basically the earliest days of Pale Forest.  They have always been involved in the mill, as well, with at least six foremen coming from their ranks (some of the records have been lost or simply left blank, so the exact number is impossible to find).  In fact, the Fouts line is sort of the de facto blue-collar group here in Pale Forest.  That's a badge of honor, by the way; very little is judged with higher esteem here than doing one's duty without fail.  Of course, that fact also lead to the family's blackest moment and darkest secret, too.  Some sixty years ago, Warren Fouts, a previously outstanding member of his clan, let the lineage down.

Though it took some real digging to figure it all out (most of the blight had been stricken from history) there was just enough to piece together most of the story.  Apparently Warren overstepped his rank-and-file stature by trying to become more.  It seems despite the fact his job should have been passed along in an almost genetic fashion, he wanted a greater degree of power than it could afford.  In fact, he even ran for mayor.  Now, in most cultures, this wouldn't seem like a big deal, but there is a sort of caste system here in Pale Forest.  And Warren had violated it.

Why he did, I can't say.  The was no print given to his side of the story.  The backlash, though, was swift.  Not only did Warren Fouts lose the election (to Jack Huntley's great-great-uncle, no less), but the transgression set his family back for years.  It wasn't until Stanley, in fact, that they were again trusted enough to be elevated to the top position at the mill.  Obviously, Warren's stain took a while to wash away.

I can only imagine how much Stanley would appreciate me sharing this on the Internet.  He has undoubtably done all he can to make the entire thing disappear so as to avoid any further embarrassment.  Of course, the type of person who'd go to such lengths to maintain secrets is exactly the type of person I'm most interested in exposing.

Until next time...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Insufferable Wait

Believers,

While I would love to return to the woods and check out the path again (perhaps love is the wrong word, but I do plan on going back), the area has since been roped off as a "protected" zone.  Apparently, some rare bird's been spotted there and now no one is allowed encroach upon its habitat.  Of course, I've never seen any living things in there, let alone an endangered bird, so the whole thing is more than a little off.  Add to that the fact the Mayor's office is directly responsible for the move, and you get what looks more than a little like a cover-up of some sort.  The presence of guards seems a little heavy handed for protecting a bird as well.  Regardless, the path is currently off limits.

So, instead I've been trying to find out more about the players involved in all of this.  I've written about Mayor Huntley several times, and there's very little else to say about him, but there are others I'd like to investigate.  I'm going to spend some time researching the tattooed man and the mill's foreman, Stanley Fouts.  Perhaps there is more on them than I previously imagined.

At least that will give me something to do.

Until next time...  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ghosts of the Past

Believers,

I apologize for the lack of updates, but finding a new home proved to be not altogether easy.  Then there was the matter of getting the Internet connected even after I'd moved, since the place had been empty for some time.  Add all that up, and very little has been accomplished of late outside of finding a safer base of operations (how's that for making myself sound important?).

Now I can get back at it, so hopefully the next few days will be filled with exciting news.  I appreciate your patience, though, so I'll leave you with a story my father once told me.

He'd been working long hours at the mill when a very strange thing happened as he was leaving for home.  His keys were not even in the driver's side door when a sound to his left startled him.  It was dark-- even the lights around the mill were mostly off for some reason-- so he couldn't quite tell what he'd heard, but it reminded him of a large animal digging through a trash can.  Then it sounded again, but closer.

My father said he began frantically looking for the right key (his duties at the mill meant he carried many) as the noise seemed to be creeping closer.  As luck would have it, he then dropped the entire keychain in his haste, losing it instantly in the enguling darkness.

By now the sound was right on top of him, but he still couldn't see it's source as he searched desperately along the ground in front of him.  Then, in his mind, he saw the image of the flashlight he carried on his belt.  He'd forgotten all about it in his sudden state of panic (the fact that my father was so bothered is noteworthy in and of itself as he was generally quite emotionless). 

Almost reluctantly, he reached down to the light before bringing it up and switching it on.  Immediately he screamed as the beam illuminated a single pair of mishapen eyes about chest level!  He said he didn't remember much of the night after that and it wasn't until he was found the next morning, having apparently passed out beside his car, that he finally came home.

This story was only related to me once, and even then the act seemed more an effort to rid himself of the memory than actually share anything.  Eventually the entire thing was written off as a product of fatigue by the mill's appointed investigation.  My father refused to speak about it afterwards.

As a child, the story haunted me, but I'd pretty much written it off as well over the years.  Now, as things continue to reveal themselves, I am forced to revisit those opinions with a more open mind.  Perhaps there was more than exhaustion at play that night.

Until next time...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Stench Under the Porch

Believers,

The hard truth that I've been found seems unavoidable.  I guess I can't be surprised; it was seemingly inevitable.  Still, I would have liked to have remained hidden until I had a bit more evidence.  The past few days, however, have made it clear that's not possible.

It began Monday.  I was on my way out when an overpowering odor assaulted me.  At first it was just too extreme for me to even guess where it was coming from, but as my senses adjusted-- as much as they could, anyway-- it became clear the stench's origin was somethere beneath me.  As I was on the porch, the task of locating the foul smell was a bit daunting.  Nonetheless, I resigned myself to climbing down underneath the house.  I did put on a small, white, filter mask and my work gloves first, though.

As it turned out, the process of finding the source of the odor was a short one.  Immediately after flipping my flashlight on and sending bugs scurrying from the unwanted beam, the somewhat macabre scene turned my stomach.  There, improbably, was a dead deer!  It had been shot, apparently, but how it had managed to wedge itself under the porch was a mystery.  I spent the next hour dragging it out.  I've attached a picture, though I'm not sure why-- perhaps I just want you all to know what I'm dealing with.


Unfortunately, it wasn't the last of its kind.  Yesterday it was a large dog that turned up dead and moldering under the wooden boards in front of my house (I'll spare you the visual evidence this time), and today the stench is back again.  I haven't yet gone to investigate, but I am tired of this morbid ritual.  Even more than that, though, I'm fearful of what this portends.

Obviously, whoever is leaving these "gifts" intends them to scare me, and while I am not really worried about winding up beneath the porch, I am concerned that now I'm being spied on.  My detractors have done quite well in disrupting my plans with nothing but my blog to work with.  How will I accomplish anything if they have my location?

Plus, there's the matter of actually removing the carcasses every day.  It's not at all pleasant, and knowing that someone is coming here during the night to drop them off is disturbing.  I actually tried to stay awake last night, and managed to stave off sleep until after four in the morning, but I never heard anything.  How is that possible?  The process of placing the bodies must be far quieter than removing them.

I guess it's time to move on from this house as well.  At least the next location will likely smell better.

Until next time...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Voice of "Reason"

Believers,

I've just received another letter from the mayor of Pale Forest, Jack Huntley. Despite his probabl desire otherwise, I have decided to post it here again.

Jonas,

I'm disappointed to see you're keeping the blog up and running. I had hoped getting the trespassing charges against you dropped would have proven I'm on your side. It was a pretty huge favor, right? Oh well. No good deed goes unpunished, as they say.

I must INSIST at this point that you stop your wild accusations, though. Seriously, Jonas, are you really using your time to write about magic paths in the forest and imaginary people following you? Please understand this: NO ONE is out to get you. We're just tired of the constant, negative attention your blog is causing us and the town of Pale Forest.  We're a private group, you're right about that, but that doesn't make us bad.

I'm not one for making threats, Jonas, even though my office obviously gives me more than enough clout to stop all of this.  However, I still think you're capable of making the right decision and I'd like to see that happen without me stepping in.  Please don't disappoint me.

If, however, you stick with all this foolishness, please know that I won't be pulling you out of the fire any more.  Make wise decisions, Jonas.  I know you can.

Here's to what is hopefully our last discussion on this,

--Jack Huntley
I'm fairly certain this latest letter is in response to me accusing of him of being behind the tattooed man.  It's also interesting to note how his attitude has changed since his first letter.  Huntley is far less "fatherly" this time around, assuming a greater degree of authority instead.  It might just be talk, but I'm of the opinion he's simply beginning to show his true colors.  Regardless, he's probably going to be angry I posted this even though he should have expected me to do so.  I also think it's reasonable to assume he plans to be more active in trying to shut me down from now on.  I'm not sure how he intends to police the Internet, though.

I need to be more careful about my trips into town I guess.  Huntley will no doubt be looking for an excuse to cause me trouble.

Until next time...