Penpal: Complete Edition

By Chef 1000Vultures/Dathan Auerbach

//This story has been made into a novel, which you can buy here. The chapters were originally posted as separate stories, what follows is the order they were posted in. If you would prefer to read them in the order the events happened, see the Chrono Edition

Chapter One: Footsteps

In a quiet room, if you press your ear against a pillow, you can hear your heartbeat. As a kid, the muffled, rhythmic beats sounded like soft footsteps on a carpeted floor, so as a kid, almost every night — just as I was about to drift off to sleep — I would hear these footsteps and I would be ripped back to consciousness, terrified.

For my entire childhood I lived with my mother in a fairly nice neighborhood that was in a transitional phase — people of lower economic means were gradually moving in, and my mother and I were two of these people. We lived in the kind of house you see being transported in two pieces on the interstate, but my mom took good care of it. There were a lot of woods surrounding the neighborhood that I would play in and explore during the day, but at night—as things often do to a kid—they took on a more sinister feeling. This, coupled with the fact that, due to the nature of our house, there was a fairly large crawl space underneath, filled my mind with imaginary monsters and inescapable scenarios which would consume my thoughts when I was awoken by the footsteps.

I told my mom about the footsteps and she said that I was just imagining things; I persisted enough that she blasted my ears with water from a turkey baster once just to placate me, since I thought that would help. Of course it didn’t. Despite all the creepiness and footsteps, the only weird thing that ever happened was that, every now and then, I would wake up on the bottom bunk despite having gone to sleep on the top, but this wasn’t really weird since I’d sometimes get up to piss or get something to drink and could remember just going back to sleep on the bottom bunk (I’m an only child so it didn’t matter). This would happen once or twice a week, but waking up on the bottom bunk wasn’t too terrifying. But one night I didn’t wake up on the bottom bunk. Continue reading “Penpal: Complete Edition”



By Chef Cheeseanonioncrisps


We were never supposed to be two. There was only ever supposed to be one of us.

“I hate twins.” My mother once said to me when I was four, after seeing two identical little boys on the street. We were standing in an alleyway as she said it, I was crying because I fallen over when she bolted, still clutching my hand, and scraped my knee. She was still standing, but sort of hunched up, like it was only the fact that there wasn’t anywhere to sit that prevented her from curling up into the foetal position. Beside her, dribbling into the drain, was a puddle of the stuff she’d retched up once we were ‘safe’ in the alley.

My mother really hated twins. I don’t want to know why. When I was younger, I used to ask her, now I never want to find out. Whatever happened to her, whatever inspired her hatred, it was potent enough that it affected her whole life- and ours. I’m scared it might infect me as well- I’m terrified that it was me. That something about me and my sister was so horrific that it scarred our mother for life. Continue reading “Twins”

The Puppet

By Chef KI Simpson

puppetIt was a marionette, I think. It had a big head, the face was made of wrinkly, flesh colored rubber. The eyes were gigantic, bulging white orbs with red pupils. The hair was black, made of some hard substance that didn’t mesh with the rubbery head. The teeth were gigantic, pure white and capable of moving up and down. The body and limbs were wooden, painted to resemble clothes, but the paint was faded, you could see the wood’s natural brown in some places. Each arm and leg was a different length, but the hands and feet were pretty detailed. It made a loud clattering sound whenever it moved.

That puppet… followed me. I don’t mean it got up and chased me. I mean it kept showing up in my life. My earliest memory of it is from my first birthday. I obviously don’t remember the full details of that day, but I remember my parents singing happy birthday and that puppet. I don’t know what it was there for; I just remember it scared me to death and I couldn’t stop crying. When I was able to talk, I asked my parents about it, and they said nothing like that had happened on my first birthday. They must not have thought lying about it would make things easier for me.

The next time I saw it, I was around three. I was exploring a room filled with old stuff my parents had stored away and I found a calendar, but I don’t remember the year. There was a photo for each month, but the only one I remember was October; that puppet was the image for it. I got scared and ran out of the room. I told my mom and tried to show her the calendar so that she’d know the puppet was real, but I couldn’t find it. The room had been very messy, and I had ran out of it so quickly I knocked over piles of stuff, I guess the calendar got buried.

I was six when it happened again. It was the middle of the night, I woke up from a nightmare I can’t remember the details of. I was too scared to go back to sleep, so I went into the living room and turned on the TV. An old black and white show on Nick at Nite was ending and when the commercials started, that puppet came on. It was dancing while loud music played. I screamed and started crying uncontrollably, but by the time my parents got downstairs, the puppet was gone.

I didn’t see the puppet again for a while after that, but I kept having nightmares about it. When I was 15, I decided to try to track it down, using the internet to try to find information about the calendar, the short, anything. No one had ever heard of it, but one day I got an instant message from someone I had never talked to before. Their screen name was a random mash-up of numbers and letters, but their avatar was a picture of the puppet. They IMed me, “Glad that you still remember me,” then immediately signed off. They never contacted me or came online again.

When I was 20, I was walking by a store that sold old toys and dolls, and in the front window, I saw the puppet. I went inside, and asked the clerk if he knew anything about that puppet’s history, when it was made, where it was from, anything. He didn’t, said the puppet had just been sold to the store a few days ago, I could have it for $6. I wasn’t sure what to do, it still scared me, but having proof that it really existed seemed like a good idea. I bought the puppet, and took it home.

For a while, I felt better. I viewed the puppet as a childhood fear I had overcome as an adult and even started to believe the explanations my parents had given me for the past appearances of it (I saw it somewhere else as a baby, imagined the calendar, dreamed the TV short, and someone online who had played a trick on me).

I kept the puppet, but as I moved on in my life, I pretty much forgot about it. I finished college, got married, and my wife should be giving birth in a few weeks. I was cleaning up a room for when the baby comes, and found the puppet, dusty and abandoned. I didn’t want my kid seeing it when he was little, so I picked it up, and decided I might as well wipe the dust off before moving it to another place. When I dusted it, I noticed a faded inscription on the back: “This is what he’ll look like.” Before I could figure out what this meant, I heard my wife starting to cry. I rushed to her, she looked more upset than I had ever seen her. Sobbing, she told me that the doctor had just called. There was a problem with the baby…

My Parents Adopted a Dead Baby

By Chef robinchwannn


I live in a small country in Southeast Asia called Singapore. A few years back, I had converted to Christianity but I was raised in a Buddhist household like the majority of Singaporean Chinese families. Though my parents were not strict in their beliefs, they still kept an altar in the corridor of our home and offered incense to it religiously.

My father owned a small business and it had been going smoothly for the past few years. We lived comfortably and were able to afford the lifestyle we wanted. Singapore is a country with very high standard of living, so everything is extremely overpriced. To be able to live a comfortable lifestyle is truly a blessing. However, since a few months back, his business had been dropping. It was not a drastic drop, but it still got him worried that the decline was going to continue. My father’s friend had told him about this thing called the Kumanthong which was known to bring good luck and fortune to the owner. Continue reading “My Parents Adopted a Dead Baby”

Let’s Go to the Park

By Chef JohnAshton07

I can still remember the day I first heard his voice. There was an airiness to it. The tone was always deep and warm, and caused butterflies to hit my stomach at full speed.

“Hey, let’s go to the park.” He would say.

“Not right now, I have to work.” I would respond. He was always so insistent, though, I would always cave in sooner or later.

I still remember the first time he yelled at me. The deep booming voice overpowered everything and I fell to the ground holding my hands over my face. How could he say such hurtful things to me?

“You are nothing without me! You are pathetic! Why don’t you just leave, no one wants you around! I can’t believe you, sometimes I wish you would just die already!”

I still remember every word of that fight. He got mad out of nowhere; I still don’t know what set him off. It might have been that I was ignoring him. He talks all the time and I have to get work done sometime, but I learned not to ignore him for too long. He really does love me, I know he does. He just gets angry when I ignore him.

“Let’s go to the park.”  Continue reading “Let’s Go to the Park”

Corn Smut

By Chef demons_dance_alone


My dad was a farmer. I’m not.

He wasn’t even a very good farmer. All he could grow was corn. As far back as I can remember, we had green stretching away from the house as far as the eye could see. Dad was real protective of his only crop. He would whack our behinds for taking an unripe ear. I think it broke him when the corn started coming up with smut.

You ever see corn smut? It’s a fungus. Gets into the kernels, makes them all puffy and grey. Dad would drive himself crazy out there, hacking at the corn, coming in with his arms all sooty. We couldn’t tell him it was a lost cause. He went a little mad day by day, contemplating an ear puffed with grey nodes as big and dark as the mole on mom’s forearm.

The day he broke completely was the day he came over with a deadly calm. At the dinner table that night, you could’ve cut the tension with a knife.  Continue reading “Corn Smut”

The Mime – A Story from my Childhood

By Chef JDentLight

I’m not sure if anyone other than Doctor Patel is ever going to read this; hell, I don’t know if I’ll even ever read this after I finish getting it all out of my head and on paper. It’s been twenty-something years now and I was nine at the time, so I figure there’s about a one in ten shot the way I remember things is even how they happened. Even so, Doc says It’ll do a lot of good for me to confront all this, so I guess I’ll get on with it.

When I was a boy, I lived in Brooklyn with my mother. My loving father had been out of the picture since before I remembered so it was just the two of us in a small, one bedroom apartment. She worked in another part of the city, couldn’t tell you where to save my life, and my school was about half a mile from her job so everyday we’d take the subway to the stop right by her office and she’d walk me over to school before going to clock in.

Walking around New York, you see a lot of different things and people, most of which I probably didn’t fully appreciate at that age. Homeless people, businessmen, and every other kind of person you could imagine all sharing the same streets. Hell, that’s a kind of diversity you really just don’t see anywhere except one of those health class posters at the high school where I teach. Of all of the different types of people in New York though, some of the most interesting are the street performers.

Everyone’s seen the usual ones: the guy with a beat-up saxophone playing his heart out for a few quarters to get thrown into the case, the ones who make drums out of trash can lids and whatever else they can find, and even the asshole hippie playing an out of tune acoustic guitar. When my mother and I made our morning walks, though, we got to see one who really stood out.

Every morning, at the same street corner, there’d be a mime. Not like some guy just doing some bullshit interpretive dance either, like a real bona fide mime, down to the face paint and striped black-and-white shirt. He was always out there, no matter what the weather was like, and we always walked past him. My mother and I were in the same school & work routine for about two years, and for most of that time he just stood out in my mind as one of the few street performers who was any different from the rest.

He knew all the moves and seemed to be able to earn spare change from just about anyone who walked past. He would walk a very convincing invisible dog or put himself inside the box and really, truly make it seem like he was trapped inside an invisible container. Maybe a lot of it was just my young mind being easy to fool, but he always seemed to get more tips than the rest of the people who made a living on the sidewalk.

I enjoyed watching him as I was pulled past by my mother’s hand, but I don’t think I’d still remember him after all this time if he hadn’t changed his act a bit toward the end of our time in New York. It started very subtly; we’d be walking by, my eyes expectantly searching for the familiar black and white figure and then his stare would meet mine. He’d stop whatever invisible thing he was doing and start a new one just for me. At first, my naïve mind thought he just recognized me and was giving me a special show because he knew I liked him. Things started becoming more confusing as time went on, though. I remember pretty clearly one Tuesday morning, seeing him look at me without his normal smile, point right behind me, and continue to point with a somber expression even after I’d looked over my shoulder in confusion.

Things just got stranger from there. Every day he’d seem more intent on me, always dropping his ear-to-ear smile, staring at me, and acting out things that weren’t quite in the normal range of things you’d expect to see from a mime. He’d start out using both hands to make the standard invisible box, but then he’d pull his hands apart like he was opening a window and stare through it at me. He had several variations of this, sometimes breaking the window and reaching through to turn an imaginary doorknob or even climbing through, as if he was coming toward me on the other side. Even as an oblivious little kid, I knew something was wrong with these new changes to his routine. I told my mom that I was scared of the mime that we walked past and begged her to walk me a different way from now on. She wrote it off at first, and I can’t really blame her, looking back. A kid thinks a mime is going to kill him? Fat chance, but she was patient and I made a big enough deal out of the whole thing for her to give in and go an extra block out of the way so I could have some peace of mind.

Things were fine after that, the mime probably stayed in the same spot he always had, and I didn’t see him again. My mother was happy that I’d calmed down and forgotten about the crazy killer mime and I was young enough to carry on my day-to-day business without a care in the world.

About a month later, I woke up to my mother crying and the sounds of police radios in our apartment. The living room window was broken and there was yellow tape around it and all over the fire escape just outside of it. I asked what had happened, but the officer pulled me away and made me stand with him in the hallway outside. From what the officers told her, they got a call from a neighbor about a couple people breaking in and had arrested one of them after he attacked the other. All of the officers acted really strange about the whole thing, not quite sure what to think of what had happened. Apparently the man they’d arrested was dressed as a mime and had come in behind the first burglar. The one dressed like a mime had cut the tongue out of the other one’s mouth so that he couldn’t talk and had thrown him off of the fire escape. While he was trying to make his escape, without stealing anything mind you, he’d run into the police as they came to investigate and let them take him away without a fight.

I was young, scared shitless, and didn’t have a clue about what to think of all this. The police left, my mother hugged me and kissed me like she’d been worried sick, and she put me to bed. The next morning is probably my clearest memory of this whole story. I woke up later than usual, guessing my mom hadn’t gone to work and I didn’t have to go to school because of what had happened last night. As I was getting out of bed, I noticed a note sitting on my bedside table.

“I tried to warn you every day about this, but you stopped coming to see me. You should have listened when I talked to you.”

If You Break into Houses, Be Careful of what May Break Out with You

By Chef cryofr0zen


//Original Title “If you break into houses for a living, be careful of what may break out with you.” Changed for brevity.

It was supposed to be an easy job. Walk in, grab anything that looked like it could sell, walk out.

I guess you could say I’m a sort of “repo” man. Clients call me up, give me the address and what they want, and if the item is in satisfactory condition when I give it back to them, they fork over the cash. Most of the time I can pilfer anything else I take a fancy to, but sometimes people want a discreet job. Grab whatever shit they want, leave anything else. Those jobs I charge a lot more, and this was one of them.

6:00 AM, walked into the rendezvous point, a small Starbucks joint tucked away in a street corner. Fifteen minutes later, the client walks in. Old guy, balding, a sort of dead look in his grey-blue eyes. He had bags under his eyes like he hadn’t slept in quite a while. Probably why I was in a Starbucks and not down an alleyway like usual.

“So, the job?” I asked. He awkwardly sat down.

“Straight to business, then?” he raised his eyebrows. “Most hustlers flaunt a bit beforehand. Get the clients riled up.”

He’s done this before then. Shit. No room for haggling. “I’m not here to show off my junk. This is work, not the strip club.”

He laughed. Sounded like the guy had fifteen different assortments of cancer. “Right, then. The job’s an apartment in the city. Shady place. It’s called the Yorker Brewery.”

“The apartment number?”

“You’ll be looking out for apartment B5. Third floor. He’s the only one currently occupying the building, aside from the landlord. The others, they moved out due to noise complaints.”

“And what am I looking for?”

“A little black gem. I think the guy keeps it in his hallway somewhere. Don’t bring it back to me, though. I don’t have a use for it nor do I want it, you can keep it if you like. I just need it out of his little shithole.” He took a pause, breathed heavily, and exploded into a series of coughs.

I took a day to scout the place out and find a way to get in. I drove around until I found the place. It was the ugliest thing I had ever seen in my life. The outside wall was covered in graffiti and the sign was barely legible.

I could tell without getting out of the car that I wouldn’t be able to go in from the front door. There was no way I was walking up the stairs without the landlord confronting me.

A man walked out of the building. He wore a navy blue hoodie and sweatpants and walked stiffly, as if he were dying from terminal illness or something.

I got out of the car and walked around the building. At the back was a rusty metal fire escape that ran down the back of the building like a decaying spinal cord. There was my way in. I could climb up the stairs, climb in through the window and ransack the place. Only problem was I didn’t know which room was which.

Climbing up the stairs to the third floor, I peered in through the first window. I could faintly see through the dirt-caked glass the letters “B1” in faded copper on the back of the front door. Going horizontally, I was able to find B5. My way in was covered. All I had to do now was break in tomorrow night.

My break-in kit was fairly minimal. Black outfit with a black hoodie, a burlap sack I found to transport the goods, a couple of lock-picks and a baseball bat for protection. Most of you are probably calling me a scumbag and a subspecies of homo erectus, but it was either stealing shit from people or the homeless shelter.

I was back at the Yorker Brewery again. I climbed up the staircase, avoiding the steps that I remembered buckled and creaked under my weight. I reached the window and fit my fingers under the tiny crack. I was going to try to bust the lock open. Usually worked with windows like these. I pushed with all my strength and nearly fell inside. The muppet left his window unlocked.

I ducked in through the window and found myself in his living room. It was empty except for a sofa and a CRT television. My eyes widened and I took out my baseball bat as I saw a figure in the corner, hidden by the shadows. We stared at each other for a minute. I then realized that it was just a mannequin, turned to face the window I entered. It was made of a shiny plastic and completely black. What do you need a mannequin in your living room for?

To my right was a hallway with two doors on either side. At the end of the hallway was a squat little night-stand and on top, out in the open, was the gem. “Little” was an understatement. This thing was almost as big as my fist. Bent low, I progressed through the hallway. I reached one door and put my ear to it. Nothing. Did the same with the next one. The owner was in there, snoring and coughing loudly in his sleep.

In another five minutes I was ducking out of the window with the gem in my sack. Even though it was bigger than I had expected, it still weighed more than it let on. It would be going somewhere safe in my house till I could find a buyer.

Next morning, I was back at the Starbucks. The old man walked inside and handed me the cash and sat down with me to talk about the job.

“Everything went well?” he asked.

“Yeah, man. Walked in, walked out. Took the gem with me.” I replied.

“Good, good. Where’d you find it?” The guy looked at me dead in the eye. He looked healthier, as if he was getting more sleep than before.

“Guy left it out in the open, right in the hallway, exactly like you said. He even left the a window open. You wouldn’t believe it.”

He chuckled. He got up and laid his hand on my shoulder. “Well, thanks son. You did me a mighty favour. Take care of yourself, alright?”

I walked out of the Starbucks with more than thousand dollars in my pocket as well as the gem back at my place. The guy even bought me coffee, and I finished the last of it as I got back into the car.

The next night, I got into bed and turned the light off. I was in a trance-like state for about fifteen minutes before I was jolted awake by a shrill, continuous beep. Like the aftermath of an explosion right beside your ear. I looked around my bedroom for the source, but I climbed back into bed empty-handed and tried to sleep, which I managed at 1:00 AM. The next few nights, the noise increased steadily in volume, until on the third night I could identify it. It sounded like a young girl screaming. Just screaming. Forever.

It got worse from then. Every night the sound would be there, looming over me, sending stabs of pain into my head. On the tenth night, the sound was so loud it sounded like it was coming from right beside my ear. I turned over to look. Ten seconds later I was locking my room from the outside.

It was the mannequin from the apartment. It had been stooping over me, peering into my eyes. There was a huge, gaping depression where its mouth should have been. The next five minutes I stood outside my room, hyperventilating. The thing, still screaming, had began to thump violently on my door, so hard that it rattled in its hinges. I didn’t know what to do. I buried my face in my hands until I remembered the gem. I dashed downstairs into the basement to get to my vault, entered the code and snatched the gem and then, half naked, ran outside and into my car. The thing had stopped thumping, and sounded much closer. It had gotten out.

I drove like the wind, crossing red lights and charging down one-way streets the wrong way till I got to the river. I parked close to the edge, took one final look at the fist-sized gem in my hand and chucked it out the window and didn’t drive away until I heard the splash. When I got back to my house, the thing was gone, and the bedroom door has been thrown clean off its hinges.

The last three nights have been utter bliss; three full nights of rest. This morning, I woke up feeling elated. I got up into a sitting position and froze. At the foot of my bed, arms outstretched and mouth wide open, making no sound, was the mannequin. At my feet lay the black gem.

I’ve tried to break it. I’ve tried to lose it in different places. I even drove across three states to get rid of it. Nothing works, it just delays it. It appears the only way to get rid of it is to have someone take it.

Please, if anything looks too good to be true, be cautious. Especially if it’s breaking into someone’s house. Because you never know what may break out with you.

i need to sleep

Tap Tap Tap

By Chef JCB119

Okay. I’m obviously either mentally ill or something seriously messed up is happening. You might think this is bullshit, but I just needed to tell someone about what is going on. I can’t sleep, or be alone and it’s killing me.

So here is what is happening. I am being followed, watched, stalked, tortured, whatever you want to call it. At first I thought that whoever was doing it was just some asshole with way too much time on his hands, but now, I’m not even sure this thing is human.

It started when I was driving home last week. I pulled in to my driveway and parked my car. I went to grab my bag of groceries from the passenger seat when I heard it. TAPTAPTAP. A very faint tapping on my back window of my car. I looked back to see for just a split second, a silhouette of a person looking at me through the window. And as quickly as I saw him/her/it the silhouette darted away out of sight. Honestly it happened so fast, I convinced myself that it was nothing at all, and just went inside my house.

The next night I was downstairs alone watching t.v. And the worst part about my basement is that there are windows completely surrounding the t.v area (Perfect for some kind of horror movie right?) And that’s when I heard it again. TAPTAPTAP. Coming from the window to my left. Of course I looked, and I saw it again. Just the dark shape of a person, darting out of sight. This time I was sure I saw something. It was too dark to see who was looking at me, so I ran upstairs and outside to see if I could catch whoever it was. I figured it was just some drunk teenagers messing around. Looked around my whole house and no one was around. Safe to say I was very creeped out, and I felt like I was still being watched. However I went back inside and watched t.v as usual.

This is where it starts to get ridiculous. A couple of days later, it’s the middle of the day time, and I decided to go for a run. Now I’m not great on the cardio so I had to stop often and catch my breath. At one point I stop along the sidewalk at the side of a house. I hear it again. TAPTAPTAP. Not banging, not scratching, just a faint enough tapping as if someone was trying to get my attention. The tapping was coming from the backyard fence of the house. I looked at the fence and waited. TAPTAPTAP. I hear it again. Now I’ve seen too many horror movies to be an idiot, so I didn’t stick around and look into the backyard. The rest of my run home seemed to go by way quicker.

That same night I was reading in my living room. Now the way my living room is set up, is I have two big couches along the front window of my house set up so that anyone walking by outside could basically watch my t.v. Or watch me watch my t.v. I was reading on one of my couches, and I heard from directly behind me. TAPTAPTAP. Something tapped the window inches away from my head. My first instinct was to turn around, but I stopped myself. I stood up slowly, moved away from the couch and window, and then turned my head to look. It was staring right at me. Standing right up to the window. It was a person, but not really a person. By that I mean it was shaped like a normal sized human, but it had no face. It had nothing. It was basically a shadow, but It felt way more real than that. It was just a dark figure that instantly filled me with fear. I tried to yell. Nothing came out. I felt like passing out. Then I must have blinked or something, and I couldn’t see it anymore. Instead of locking the doors and hiding, I said screw it and ran out of the house to stay at a friend’s place.

I didn’t tell my friend about it, I figured I would sound like an idiot who has seen way too many horror movies. We just hung out at his place, drank a few beers, played some video games. It was just what I needed. Of course, things didn’t stay that way. I went to use his bathroom. Maybe I was taking my sweet time in there, but I found it rude when my friend came up to the bathroom door and signaled to hurry with a TAPTAPTAP. Wait, I thought. Instantly I got chills. Clearly this had to be my friend. I yelled “I’ll be out in a second!” Then silence. I waited for a good 4 minutes before opening the door. Expecting the worst, I was surprised to see nothing standing in front of me. When I went back to the room my friend was in, he asked me what I was yelling at him about from the bathroom. I said “nevermind”. Had one of the worst sleeps of my life that night.

That brings me to tonight. I haven’t been sleeping well at all. And now I’m afraid I will never sleep again. It was a perfect night up until this point. I was lying down in bed, so incredibly tired…. And then I heard it…TAPTAPTAP. The lightest tapping. I almost started to cry right there. You see it wasn’t coming from my window… It was coming from underneath my bed.

I felt the vibration of the taps against my back. I froze for about 15 seconds and then immediately jumped off my bed and ran for the door. Not looking behind me. Never looking behind me.

I drove to my parents house hoping maybe I will be safe here. No luck. Even as I am writing this, I hear tapping coming from the wall as if someone is in my parents bedroom beside mine tapping. TAPTAPTAP. It’s driving me crazy.

So please if anyone knows what the hell is going on, please, please help me! Am I just crazy or something? Is there a diagnosis for what I have? Am I the only person that this has happened to?

Help me please. And hurry. Someone just knocked on my bedroom door. Well it wasn’t so much a knock as it was a TAPTAPTAP.

An Email from my Daughter’s Killer

By Chef DoubleDoorBastard


//Trigger Warning

Do you believe in coincidences?

Seems like a funny question, doesn’t it? I’ve never paid it much thought before now, either. Perhaps I have some explaining to do.

As of yesterday, it’s been a year since my daughter went missing. There was never any ransom note, no remains discovered, and not an iota of evidence to support the standard theories of foul play and kidnapping. Aside from her absence itself, the whole situation seemed freakishly clean.

At only fourteen years old, she’d gone missing without a trace.

Her name was Emily. I can say that dreaded “was” with confidence now. It’s a bitter blessing; one that’s come at great cost to all of us.

When Emily disappeared, she left myself, her father, and her older brother, Joseph, in a state of perpetual anxiety. The limbo of monstrous uncertainty. Every phone call was a needle pressed into our skin, and every newscast that aired about that poor girl “still missing, presumed dead” felt like having boiling water poured down our throats.

Not knowing, that’s the real torture. Until yesterday I truly believed that.

Until yesterday, when I got an email from an unknown source. An email claiming to have the truth of what happened to Emily on that terrible day.

The following is the contents of that email.

From: Subject: An Apology For What I’ve Done

Hello Mrs. Stanfield.

I won’t tell you my name. That’s not important right now. What’s important is what I’ve done, and how sorry I am for doing it.

I’ll be quick and honest. Emily is dead, and I killed her. I would love to tell you it was quick, and merciful, but it was neither. She died slowly and terribly. I can’t imagine that my initial enjoyment of that fact will serve as any kind of consolation.

I’ve loved Emily for a very long time, in what you might call an improper way. The hardest part was knowing she could never love me back, at least not in the way I loved her – though this wasn’t for lack of trying, though. I’d made passes before, just silly attempts really, but she was never receptive to my affection. She was disgusted by me, and that made me feel small, and angry. Though I can be thankful of the fact that she never told you about any of it.

I guess it would have been terribly embarrassing for her if you knew. Not that she’ll care now.

Do you know how hard it is to cope with fantasy, Mrs. Stanfield? I’ve had such ugly dreams about Emily, and I know that they’re ugly, but I still can’t help but find them so exciting. I’ve wondered many times over the past year whether it was the ugliness of it all that made me so passionate.

When all you’ve got is a fantasy, a fantasy that you think is unattainable, you spend lots of time refining it, like a sculptor chipping away at a statue, hoping to find perfection hidden in the granite. It doesn’t matter how many times you secretly loosen the valves with your hands, that just keeps the fantasy down – it doesn’t destroy it, can’t destroy it. It just gains another component. Maybe it’s another fifteen minutes of torture, another scream. Maybe it’s a different tool added to the kit.

By the time the fantasy comes to boil, it’s too complex to be satisfying on the basis of thought alone. You have to make it into flesh. Warm, satisfying, flesh. And I did, Mrs. Stanfield, I really did.

I have to be honest with you, it wasn’t so much about wanting to live my fantasy, as it was about wanting to know whether I had it in me to carry it out. There was no dignity in pleasuring myself to the thoughts of violence, only in being able to say that I had the courage to do the one thing that’d been giving my life any sort of meaning.

And, a year ago today, I proved that I did have that courage.

My little indiscretions were in the past. I was patient, like a crocodile, I played the long game. I got Emily to trust me again with time, I let her be comfortable around me, let her drop her guard.

She was on her way home from school when I finally took a chance and made my move. I’d picked out an old, beat-up shack in the woods in advance. I threw down a woollen tarp, and prepared some shackles, I even lit a few candles for romantic effect. More for myself than her, admittedly.

Emily was apprehensive at first, but I managed to talk her into visiting the little cabin with me. The door was shut and bolted behind us before she ever even saw the gun I was holding, but when she did she was a good girl and didn’t scream. Though I must say, I was a little disappointed at that.

I’m not a pornographer, so I won’t be lurid with the details of what I did. I’m aware that it’s perverse, but the wind outside hardly matters when you’re a hurricane. My whole life was perversity, hidden and locked away, Emily was the outlet for that perversity. Part of me thinks I only ever loved her because she was convenient, because she was accessible.

I used a hammer, a knife, a pair of pliers, and a power drill. It all got messier than I expected, so much blood, so much…other things. All in all it took a few hours before she finally died, which was admirable, she never did let me have my fun. Emily was such a strong girl, you should be proud of her, Mrs. Stanfield.

For my own pride, I’d like to state that I didn’t fuck her before she died. I couldn’t bring myself to cross that barrier, knowing her eyes would be on me while it was happening, the thought of it disgusted me. She died, to the best of my knowledge, a virgin.

Once I was fully done with her, and the euphoria of it all had passed, it dawned on me what a terrible thing I’d done. My pleasure turned to disgust, and all the sweetness that was inside of me while I was killing her turned sour. I realised that I was not meant to be a murderer, that it didn’t suit me, that beyond the temporary pleasure of the act the thought of taking someone’s life repulsed me.

I was a fantasist who made a terrible, terrible mistake, one that cost the life of a promising young girl. If there is a grand plan out there that we’re all a part of, I could feel that what I had done was a deviation from that natural law. I was disgusted at the act, and at myself. This little experiment had backfired on me entirely. I was so out of my depth.

Once I’d gotten over the initial wave of fear and panic, I cut up Emily’s body into smaller pieces that were easier to carry. I took all the pieces, wrapped them up in the woollen tarp, and burned them with lighter fluid in the woods. After that, I buried the bundle of charred bones and ashes, wishing I could have just forgotten all of it.

Killing Emily and doing the things I did to her body were not acts of courage, I’ve realised that over the past year. They were acts of obsession and cowardice, of a person not strong enough to overcome their darker urges. I’ve been wracked by guilt, surrounded by reminders of the life I’ve taken and can never give back.

That’s why I’ve decided to do the courteous thing and let you know that I’ve decided to take another life: mine. All I can ever be is a danger to the people around me, a time-bomb destined to blow up and hurt another innocent. The only altruistic thing for a person in my position to do is take myself out of the picture.

I’m sorry for what I did to Emily. I don’t expect for you to forgive me, nor do I think I deserve it. I just hope this gives you some sense of closure and allows you to move on.

My sincerest apologies.

After I read that terrible email, I cried for hours. I didn’t have that violent reaction because I believed I’d been contacted by my daughter’s killer, but just because I felt like someone was playing a horrific joke on my family after we’d been through so much. And on the anniversary of our Emily’s disappearance, no less.

I didn’t show my husband, or my son. I couldn’t bare to. I just bore the cross myself and wore a brave face for them, knowing the anniversary was hard on all of us. I wouldn’t let the monster on the other end of that email tear up my family.

But this morning, I heard two almighty bangs ring out from Joseph’s bedroom. By the time his father and I had forced open the door, it was too late. He’d somehow gotten his hands on a gun, and fired two shots: one through his laptop, and another through his forehead.

So, with this in mind, I’ll ask you all again: Do you believe in coincidences?