The Crossroads

By Chef SteelPanMan

//Source.

There was a mirror in the room that reflected dust from the windows and the stilted light that came in. He saw himself in its reflection and he also saw past himself. He looked at the film of dirt and black marks upon the mirror and wondered how old it must be.

He wore a suit that he had never owned and it was a shadow in the dark room. There was music outside and he listened hard but he could not understand it. It floated beyond his ears and he could only feel it in a ghostly way.

He stared at the mirror and looked at himself.

To be insulted by these fascists is so degrading.

He wondered where he had heard that before.

Does that make me a bad person?

And he thought, yes, he must be a bad person, for he had never asked himself that question before.

The door opened and there was tepid light flooding in. The light hardly reached him and he saw more dust motes dancing in the air. A beautiful woman looked at him. She was older than him, a perpetual thirty, and she had a kindness about her and he had never seen her before.

“You are awake,” she said.

“Where am I?”

“This is the last outpost. We call it the Crossroads. Here is the last meeting place of both our worlds.”

“I don’t understand. where am I? Am I under arrest? What has happened?”

“Look outside, if you will. You might understand then.”

The window was yellow from light, a blinding hole from an outside that did not want to be seen.

Scary monsters and super creeps keep me running scared.

He blinked the thought away and looked out the window. There were people outside dressed in black and sitting in folding chairs and there was a priest beside a casket. He knew he was inside that casket.

“What is…”

“You know what has happened. It will take some time to digest, I’m sure. But please, we have so much to do.”

“No… No…”

He remembered something he had read on dreaming. It was called lucid dreaming. That was when you knew you were in a dream and then you could control it. He had tried to induce them many times before.

I am dreaming. I am dreaming.

He forced the dream to change but nothing changed and he was in the room with the woman and there was dust about and a feeling of dread overcame him.

I’m dead.

Then others in his mind:

Good. Scum like you should die.

He looked at the woman. Her kindness belied an easy attractiveness about her, a dangerous kind that told him she was sharp and prepared.

Just like every woman, he thought. You can’t trust them even in a dream.

His heart hurt. Or maybe that was yearning, an emptiness that he mistook for his heart.

“I am in hell,” he said.

The woman smiled and came closer.

“I know why you would think that,” she said. “But no. we’re in the other place.”

“This doesn’t look like Heaven.”

“Well this is an outpost, and this outpost is rarely used. You must excuse its condition.”

Around him were dark wooden furniture, a bed for resting that was well loved, and there paintings on the wall of nostalgic Americana.

“What’s going on? This is hell. It has to be.”

“So you admit you were wrong in your ideology?”

“I admit that everyone told me it was wrong. People these days can’t handle the blunt truth.”

“And what’s that?”

“That the strong survive and the weak must die.”

“Is that so?”

He was shaking.

“Yes.”

“And yet we’re here.”

In the mirror he saw himself and the woman. The image was a comedy with him next to her. He saw the marks on his face, the years of unkind genetics and the apathy that fostered it.

I could look better.

That hurt him badly.

I could have tried more.

She stared at him with some confidence that he was unaccustomed to.

“I was right then, if I am in Heaven. Our thinking is right. There is a Master Race.”

She smiled at him with a patience that made him angry and afraid.

“You’re a hero,” she said. “You’ll even get your own special place in Heaven. This is why we came to this outpost. The way is hardly used, but sometimes we get someone worthy.”

“I was right then?”

“You are a weak man,” she said. “Look out that window and tell me if you were right.”

Mourning him were his kind. They were a scant few and he was embarrassed by them. When he was alive, he had thought them brave and outlaws. They were outcasts and nothing more.

“This is a joke. I am in Hell. This is a cruel joke.”

“Is it?”

He looked at his hands and they were shaking.

To be insulted by these fascists is so degrading.

It was coming to him. what was that girl’s name he wondered? Was it she who had pushed him, or was she merely the last in an inevitable conclusion?

“Her name was Amanda,” said the woman beside him. “But she told you her name was Anne. She didn’t like you very much and thought you were a fascist.”

“How do you know?”

The woman shrugged.

He remembered he was crying. He had the gun in his hands and there was vengeance in that weight. He listened to that song. She had mocked him with its words and he had listened to it to hurt himself and culture that self-pity he had thrived on.

To be insulted by these fascists is so degrading!

He wondered what he had called her.

“You called her an animal when she would not go out with you,” said the woman. “She did not cry as you hoped she would. She mocked you with that line.”

“And I listened to the song.”

“You searched the internet for it in your obsession.”

“And I planned to…”

“Yes, you planned to do it. To really do it this time.”

“Where?”

“I don’t know. You don’t know. Maybe a mall or a street. Anywhere there were people.”

He could feel the weight of the gun in his hand.

“This is Hell,” he said.

“No,” she said. “This is Heaven.”

“There is no Master Race. You think I am a loser like they all did when I was alive.”

“Yes.”

“Then this is Hell.”

“No.”

“How? And why?”

“Because you did not do it. You hadn’t the heart to do it. Like all your kind, you were a coward at the end.”

“So what did I do?”

“You know what you did.”

The moment was blacked out in his mind. Like the music outside, he could only sense it in an ephemeral way. But he knew what had happened. There was purpose against his skull. The gun was cold and he trembled and nothing had seemed so harder than to breathe and commit to what he did not really want to do.

But I did want to.

“Yes,” the woman said. “You did. And you did do it.”

“I killed myself.”

“Yes. And as a result you saved many. Your life was an abyss for others to be ensnared in.”

“So you reward me with eternity in Heaven?”

Suddenly he was glad and he felt righteous. But the woman was bigger than him, as though her shadow would engulf him. He wondered what angel could she be.

“It is not an angel that you fear,” she said. “It is a woman.”

And he was breathing hard.

“I am in Heaven,” he said. “You said so yourself.”

“Yes. You are in Heaven. But for you it will be Hell. You will find that there are not many like you in here. All your brethren shall be in Hell. Here you will be the outcast you always were. Here you will live in a house of boredom, forgotten as the dust, another piece of furniture for the mirror to reflect.”

“No,” he said.

“Yes,” she said.

And then:

“Your funeral is almost over. Look well at those faces for they are the living. When we leave this place you will never see them again.”

He looked outside and the gathered was thinning. People he did not know paid half-baked respects. Little kin was there, and they wore dead faces, hopeless faces that tried to make peace with what he had been and what he had ultimately become.

Nothing, he thought.

“Yes,” said the woman. “And so shall you always be.”

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The Visitor in the Light Beige Robes

By Chef JRHEvilInc/Joel R. Hunt

//Source.

It took three days for the visitor to reach our facility.

Sharon was the first to see him, while she was on entrance duty sometime after midday. Of course, she didn’t know he was a “he” at that point. All he was at first was a bright reflection, a spot of sun glinting at us from a scope far across the rubble. A sniper, she presumed. That wasn’t a worry. Sniper bullets were far too precious to waste on settlement guards, especially sublurks like us; at the first sign of trouble we could hunker down, disappear into the endless tunnels that wound away into the dark folds of the Earth.

He wasn’t a sniper, though. When he appeared the next day, a dark figure lurking against the rising sun, we saw from his movements that he was observing us through binoculars. Though any more than that, we couldn’t discern. He kept his distance and circled us, always keeping the sun behind himself, masking his features with its relentless glare. Bernard wanted to send a team out to track him down, but the Major refused. It was likely, he said, that the visitor was trying to lure out scouts; all the easier to butcher them for meat, far from the protection of the facility. Continue reading “The Visitor in the Light Beige Robes”

Someone Knocks on my Door Every Night

By Chef BloomMilk

//Source.

Around last Wednesday on the 20th my roommates and I finished moving into our new apartment. The place is pretty nice, nothing too fancy, but a good size for the three of us. Our apartment has a nice open kitchen and family room, and connecting to it is a narrow hallway with all of our bedrooms. Every night since we moved in has been really odd though. Continue reading “Someone Knocks on my Door Every Night”

He Wasn’t There

By Chef JRHEvilInc/Joel R. Hunt

//Source.

Re: The Godwin Case – progress? From: asherniazi@nhs.net To: green.em@pattontrust.org Date: 22/05/17

Hello Emily,

I was just wondering if you’d made any progress with Alesha Godwin? Peter’s been sharing more with me in session, but his account is somewhat scattered and I think some cross-referencing may shed light on what he’s telling me. In any event, we should definitely organise a meeting before the first court date, preferably a week in advance to give Defence a good time to process it all.

Kind regards,

Asher

Dr Asher Niazi, Child Psychiatrist Continue reading “He Wasn’t There”

I Hate my Mum

By Chef Tahmizzles

//Source.

She really gets very annoying sometimes. She always screams at me and tells me to do things I don’t like doing. Yesterday, she turned off my PS4 while I was playing Fortnite!

I’ve had enough of it!

That’s why I’m leaving home. I don’t really wanna leave my big brother. He’s usually nice to me. My dad went on a business trip a couple of years ago and hasn’t come back. I’m sure I’ll see him someday, but he was nice too.

But I can’t handle my mum anymore. She’s always angry at me and yelling at me. I’m leaving! Continue reading “I Hate my Mum”

James Said There Were Giants There, I Wish That I Cared

By Chef Matt Richardsen

//Source.

There were giants that way. That was all James ever used to say.

In the woods out back, down the path to the right, past the old sewer runoff, and into the clearing next to the skunk cabbage.

There were giants.

He would whisper it from his hospice bed. He was real good at that. James that was the type of kid that could tell a bedtime story so terrible, so shocking, that it made all the little hairs on your neck and arms prickle up like crazy.

I am not so good like that, but I will try.

They were three mean giants, and each was dirtier and nastier than the last one.

The biggest one was the lady giant.

James called her Big Red, on account of her long, matted red hair that was the shade of my bed sheets. She had a real crackly voice, and when James imitated Big Red, he coughed and gagged like he had some of her hair caught in the back of his throat. I always got a good giggle out of that. One time, James was so loud when he was doing the Big Red voice, Mom came into our room and turned the light on because she thought we were playing past bedtime. We laughed about that for a little while, but then she had to check on his medicine again.

Big Red never wore any clothes. James said that was because there weren’t any clothes in the world that could fit her huge, gnarly belly. Her skin was gross too, like a saggy pint of old ice cream. James said that Red reeked so bad that he would know if she was coming from a mile away. She smelled like burning cabbage and old french fries, and when she talked; two long, lonely yellow teeth poked out of her mashing gums and pinched together.

She was also, approximately, a gazillion feet tall.

The next biggest giant was a man giant, and he could not wear any clothes either. The other ones called him Rippo, and he was a trillion feet tall. Rippo was the meanest giant, because once he got a hold of a boy he would hit him and hit him until the boy was forced to fall asleep for a little while. He had all of his yellow teeth left, and they were sharp like knives that could cut through your skin in a second.

James showed me the marks.

The last giant was maybe only a million feet tall, and the clothes he wore were real dirty and gray, and ripped all the over the place with weird patches. James called him Muscrat, on account of the fact his voice was always squeaky like a mouse.

But Muscrat looked more like a cat. He was the best at slinking and sliding between the trees or making himself unseen. Muscrat reminded me of our housecat, Mellow, because both of them had really long nails. Every time those nails touched your skin, a thin red line would follow in its path.

James showed me those marks, too.

I didn’t believe him though, not really. One day when James was at the Doctor’s office, Mom took me to the local library and found the biggest book on giants in the whole place. Mom was too sad to read it for me, but I got the idea from the pictures.

There were never any real giants. Giants were make-believe; stupid stuff for kids and babies that lived only in stories and fairytales. Even still, the next day at school, I brought my giant book to class and told them all about the things I had learned. But when the teacher saw it, she just told me to read a more adult book and all the kids laughed at me.

After a while, I got tired of James’ stories.

Each night was a new chapter. Sometimes it was where they lived, or what they ate, or who they killed. I remember one night when he talked about how the giants used the bones of kids they ate as tools and decorations all around their old wood cabin. It was so scary and so detailed, but I still knew none of it was real.

Soon enough, it was just downright stupid. How can you be scared of something you know is fake? Two library books had already told me the truth, and even my mom had caved and told me there was no such thing as giants.

One night, I told James he was a baby and I did not want to hear his dumb baby stories anymore.

Not long after that, he got a lot more sick. Mom promised it was not because of our fight, but I did not believe her either. The doctors said the holes in his head were not healing right, and the little hospital in our house was not good enough. He needed to go to the city full-time. When he got there, we stayed with James each and every day and night, but the news was always bad.

One day, Mom told me James wouldn’t be able to talk anymore. I missed the stories after that.

Another day, she said James could not smell. I wondered how he would smell the giants and know if they were coming.

Then after that, James did not know we were in the room at all.

On the last night, I cried in the hospital room and begged James to wake up. One more giant story was all I ever asked. He was so quiet and so still, and his chest moved up and down so smoothly it just seemed like he was sleeping.

I told myself the doctors were idiots and he was fine all along.

Maybe he was dreaming about the giants and could not wake up because he was fighting them in their kingdom one last time. But deep down I knew that was wrong. Deep down, I just prayed his eyes would open one more time.

But nobody answered. The monitor beeped and beeped and beeped for a little while, and then it didn’t. Mom took me home after that.


The next night, my mom had to take care of some things for James, and promised to not be gone for long. In turn, she made me promise that I would be a good and brave boy. I told her that I would, but kept my fingers crossed behind my back the whole time.

I was a crafty kid.

Twenty minutes after she was gone out the front door, I was out the back door and into the woods. Down the path to the right, past the old sewer runoff, and into the clearing next to the skunk cabbage.

I needed to see it for myself. Even to a six-year-old, there was something about that story that never felt right. James had never told anybody else where the giants were, or much about them at all. He said they would eat him if he ever did. But he trusted me with the truth, and it was up to me to find it out.

It was dark. I never planned on it being that dark. There were no lights out there, but there was a full moon and clear sky behind it. I was lucky to have that, because without it I may not have been able to follow James’ instructions as clearly as I did.

It was quiet. It was the type of quiet only the woods can provide, without the humming of electricity and car motors. It was so quiet that I could hear the sound of the campfire in the clearing from a long ways away.

There were three people gathered around it.

The woman had bright red hair. Her voice was loud and unmistakable as it crackled to her friends beside her. The man was massive, with a burly chest covered in hair that dipped down to his shoulders. The third was passive, hiding behind a tree just out of the light of the flames. They stood in front of an old cabin connected to a side street I had never seen before.

I did not stay to find out more.

James told me that if you took your shoes off and ran on the pine needles, the giants couldn’t hear you. The dry ends of the leaves and brush cut my feet when I did it, but without shoes I was quieter than the forest itself. In minutes, I was at the already open back door and in the arms of my mother.

I told her everything in a sobbing mess. About James’ stories every night before bed. About the giants, and everything I saw just seconds before. She panicked and called the police. It was not long before just about all of them were in our driveway and asking questions.

An hour later, the officers swarmed an old cabin a mile from our property and three vagrants were arrested for trespassing, possession of narcotics, and as suspects in the murders of several missing children.

None of it made much sense to me at the time.

I told the policeman my story about James and the giants, and asked him whether he thought the three people were really monsters. He thought about that for a long time, and waited until my mom was out of the room before he could even reply.

“Sometimes, we put our pain into stories to make it easier to understand. But that doesn’t mean the monsters are not real. The monsters are always real.”

After that, I started to see. Because those three never looked like giants to me.

My Dog Speaks in my Sleep 4

By Chef JRHEvilInc/Joel R. Hunt

//Source. This is part four and the finale of a series.

I’m so tired.

Two days ago I bought some sleeping pills. Something – anything – to help me get through the night. Things can’t go on as they have been doing, these constant nightmares about Gus. I’m struggling to function properly. I’ve started calling in sick at work. I don’t trust myself to drive anymore, in case I fall asleep at the wheel. I’m just fortunate the pharmacy is in walking distance.

After my last post here I decided to make Gus an outdoor dog. I don’t know how he got in my room. I don’t know what he was doing while I was asleep. But I knew I wasn’t comfortable with him being around me while I slept anymore.

Or while I tried to sleep at least… Continue reading “My Dog Speaks in my Sleep 4”

My Dog Speaks in My Sleep 3

By Chef JRHEvilInc/Joel R. Hunt

//Source. This is part three of a series. Final part coming tomorrow.

Last night was a bad one. The most disturbing dream yet.

Not even a dream – it was a nightmare. The worst I’ve had since I was a child.

I suppose I should start with what happened during the day.

After the dream from my previous post, I went downstairs for breakfast, and one of the first things I noticed was that Gus still hadn’t touched his food. It was his third day with me, and I hadn’t seen him eat even a bite. I was worried about him. And if I’m honest, I was also a little hopeful; I started to wonder if my dreams about Gus were just a subconscious expression of my concern about him not eating. Kind of like getting nightmares before sitting an exam. It was an odd hope, sure, but it would mean there was nothing more bizarre at play. And it would mean that once he started eating again, the dreams should stop.

So I called up the shelter I’d rescued Gus from, and they put me in touch with a local vet. I took Gus in (he was still completely obedient, following me whenever I left the house without needing to be told) and let them know that he wasn’t eating. Initially they were concerned as well, but after a series of tests, they determined that he was perfectly healthy. It simply wasn’t possible that he hadn’t eaten or drank anything in days, they told me. He must have been getting food from elsewhere. Continue reading “My Dog Speaks in My Sleep 3”

My Dog Speaks in my Sleep 2

By Chef JRHEvilInc/Joel R. Hunt

//Source. This is part two of a series. Part three coming tomorrow.

I dreamt of Gus again last night.

The day had been mostly uneventful. I’d managed to shake the unsettling feeling of my first dream, and spent a while trying to get Gus to eat something. He just didn’t seem interested. I thought a walk might help, get him hungry through exercise. It also gave me a chance to go through the dream in my head, or at least what I remembered of it, and try to work out what aspect of it had got me worked up. My dreams weren’t usually so vivid. Continue reading “My Dog Speaks in my Sleep 2”

My Dog Speaks in my Sleep

By Chef JRHEvilInc/Joel R. Hunt

//Source. This is part one of a series. Part two coming tomorrow.

Yesterday I got a new dog.

Well, an old dog, really. I rescued him from a shelter. I’d like to pretend I’m one of those Jane Goodall ‘do anything for the animals’ types, but if I’m honest, I was looking to adopt more for my own benefit than for the dog’s.

The thing is, I’ve been ill. For quite a long time, actually. Physically I’m fine (maybe a tad on the weighty side), but in my head… well, my doctor called it ‘suffering acute psychological trauma’. Or in the words of the gentleman at the bus station last week, ‘being a full on nut-case’. I’ve always had a few issues, I think most people have, but it reached new depths when my dad died a few months ago.

It was suicide. I’d really rather not go into it. Continue reading “My Dog Speaks in my Sleep”