‘The carrot and the stick’

I couldn’t really tell you the exact moment we noticed the hiss. It was somewhere around the time my family moved into a rundown apartment on the South side. The previous tenants left some boxes in their haste to avoid paying the rent. Most of it was worthless junk but being the sort of enterprising folks who utilize ‘found treasure’, we kept some of it. We were almost penniless and every little bit helped. One of those items was a small plastic doll.

It was the sort of cheap ‘Barbie’ knockoff you’d see in a dollar store clearance aisle. My little sister played with that ugly hunk of rubber more than any other toy she ever had. She eventually developed an unhealthy fixation on it but just like a child’s security blanket, it wasn’t going to be easy to separate her from it. Around that time we first noticed a very creepy, irregular hiss in the apartment.

It always seemed to be coming from my sister’s bedroom but we could never locate the source of it. No one made the connection with the doll because it wasn’t the sort of child’s toy which came with a sound module. It was too cheaply made for that; and it’s not like it was some evil looking ventriloquist dummy or a voodoo doll either. It wasn’t threatening at all. It was just an ordinary looking girl’s ‘fashion’ toy.

A few times my mother tried to toss it into the trash but Tracey threw a hissy fit once she noticed it missing. Strangely, Tracey found it herself buried deeply in the garbage. How she knew to look there, we didn’t know. Mom quickly learned ‘Shelly’ was off limits to her spring cleaning.

The three of us made do with what ever we could. Money was very tight for a mother and two daughters on a single parent income. I wasn’t old enough to work and Mom was killing herself slowly at a thankless, low paying factory job. Honestly, the mysterious noise wasn’t in our top 100 worries. Having enough to eat far outweighed some unexplained sound. We just shrugged it off as a bad plumbing or flooring quirk of our dilapidated apartment building.

Tracey had been telling us the doll ‘spoke to her’ all along but we just nodded dismissively. “That’s what they do.”; We assured her. Neither of us dreamed she was serious. We chalked it up to the vivid imagination of an 8 year old girl with a shortage of fun things to play with. One day I heard it again and decided to investigate a little deeper into what was causing it.

My sister was on the floor with her ‘friend’ against her ear like it was a telephone receiver. Only then did I finally realize where the unexplained noise was coming from. I moved a little closer to confirm my suspicions but it stopped abruptly. I don’t think Tracey heard me enter the room but she turned around to face me like she knew I was there. It was like the damn doll had tipped her off!

“Does Shelly always make that odd hissing noise when you squeeze it?”; I asked. I assumed it was caused by trapped air escaping through the ‘mouth’. Only later did I realize it was a solid piece of molded rubber. Tracey seemed a little nervous by my question. I wasn’t sure why she reacted that way but I figured it out by what she said next.

“Shelly was just telling me about the previous family who lived here. They were ‘bad’ people. They did things that would get them in deep trouble with the police. Shelly made them move far, far away so they wouldn’t hurt anyone else, ever again.”

Her matter-of-fact tone worried me. It was delivered with the devout sincerity of a true believer in the magic of a talking doll. I had no doubt she felt she was telling the truth but some of that could be chalked up to a child’s tenuous grasp of reality. They are quick to accept fairy tales as truth but blind acceptance in fantasy erodes later with the age of reason. Regardless of my greater number of life experiences, I couldn’t explain how Tracey knew the discarded ‘barbie’ was in the trash, or what caused the strange hissing.

In an effort to engage my sister’s logical thinking, I asked if Shelly might ‘tell’ me things too. Tracey looked concerned, as if my question was inherently dangerous to even consider. She reacted as if I had broached a deep, thought provoking topic. Without asking, I picked up her little ‘friend’ and put it up to my ear, the same way she’d been ‘listening’ earlier. Tracey almost choked. Presumably the reaction was from me picking up ‘Shelly’.

I expected to hear a louder version of the nondescript ‘radio-static I’d heard earlier but it wasn’t like that at all. I can’t describe my frenzied state of mind when I realized it was actually saying things; and not just prerecorded phrases. It was really talking! I dropped the cursed thing like a hot potato burning my hands. Tracey was visibly shaken but I could tell she wasn’t concerned about her doll. She was concerned about how dropping it might affect me!

“You should be more careful sis. Shelly doesn’t like to be dropped. You wouldn’t want her to get mad. She can do ‘things’. Powerful things.”

I backed away slowly. I had to regroup and figure out how to convince our mother that Tracey’s innocent looking toy was somehow possessed by a malevolent spirit. It wasn’t going to be easy. Who would believe such a bizarre thing? It took everything I had to not grab it and throw it out the window but I knew Tracey was totally bewitched by it. I had to find a way to break it’s tight little spell on her. Until then, I had to pretend to be on board with the spiritual seduction of my little sister. I didn’t want to think what unknown force was inhabiting that inanimate slab of rubberized plastic.

Predictably, our Mom only heard Tracey’s part of the conversation at first. We ‘see’ and hear what we want to see and hear. Then Mom thought Tracey was somehow doing both parts of the conversation. It was a subtle form of denial because to believe such a thing is inviting madness. Eventually she had to accept it. Just like me, Mom wanted to snatch up the doll and destroy it in the incinerator but I convinced her that Tracey would have another meltdown. We needed to play it smart.

We had to rationalize with her about things until she could see clearly for herself. If we went at it directly, it would backfire and we’d also bear the wrath of the doll. There was no telling what that might entail but the disappearance of the previous tenants suggested crossing ‘Shelly’ was a very dangerous proposition. There had to be a way to pry it and its consuming influence away from Tracey without all of us paying in unmentionable ways.

First, we approached Tracey about it in a non confrontational, non threatening way. Her guard would ordinary be way up; and whatever thing inhabited the doll would also suspect a separation plot from us.
We asked if Shelly would let us know if there was going to be bad weather anytime soon. Unexpectedly, Tracey informed us via her ‘window into the future’ that “a strong thunderstorm was immanent”.

Sure enough, only a few minutes later the storm started and it was a doozy. My Mom and I realized that ‘it’ had a real grasp of future events. As a clairvoyant entity (among other frightened possibilities), it didn’t pay to underestimate the dark powers it obviously had. Tracey relayed a number of messages and warnings from her unidentified rubber friend. We didn’t dare cross it, for fear of finding ourselves in a similar fate to that of our apartment predecessors.

Over the next few weeks, we were notified about car accidents nearby, stock market fluctuations, crimes in progress, and a number of financial investment opportunities. Nervously at first, we heeded the advice of a possessed dime store doll. My mom had squirreled away a small nest-egg for monetary emergencies. Based on the impressive accuracy of previous revelations, she bet all she had on a horse race.

The horse won and Mama made a bundle of money. ‘Shelly’ had done right by all of us, but we were still very nervous about ‘it’ being so close to Tracey. With as much tact as she could muster, Mama asked my sister to inquire what ‘Shelly’ was. Tracey was puzzled. She still saw the world in a very linear way. On the surface, Shelly was a talking doll. She wasn’t old enough to realize it was a thing that shouldn’t be.

“Just ask her WHAT she is.”; I reiterated. “She’ll know what we mean, ok?” Tracey nodded and whispered approximately where the doll’s ear would be, if it was a living creature. Then she switched places and put her ear against the mouth to hear the response. Immediately her eyes lit up in expressive recognition of a significant point. Mom and I couldn’t begin to imagine what the doll told her. Frankly, we were terrified at the possibilities.

“Shelly says that the truth to your question wouldn’t satisfy you. You either trust that she is benevolent (she stumbled over the word but we knew what she meant), or you do not. She says you’d be wise to tread carefully. She can be an invaluable asset or an unrelenting enemy.”

Mom and I looked at each other and swallowed hard. The way Tracey tripped over how to say ‘enemy’ might have been cute under more innocent circumstances. It was our worst fears imagined. Actually, it was much worse than that. Neither of us could’ve dreamed of such a thing. Some unidentified spirit had taken up residence in my sister’s doll, and more importantly, deep in her heart. Any uncertainty about this creature’s potential for malice had been confirmed with that thinly-veiled threat. ‘Shelly’ meant business.

With the money Mama won at the races, she was able to move us to a much safer neighborhood, uptown. Any thought we might’ve had of ‘accidentally’ leaving Tracey’s creepy little rubber ‘friend’ behind was quickly squashed. We were reminded that that money-making and safety tips from Shelly were a prime example of ‘the carrot’. With it being spelled out in those terms, we didn’t want to discover the sting of ‘the stick’. We reluctantly decided it was in everyone’s best interest that ‘Shelly’ stay with our family as long as she desired.

It’s an uncomfortable situation but we know the rules now. Last week she arranged for Tracey to receive full tuition to a prestigious private elementary school. That’s another gift which we can’t be critical about. If you’d told me a year ago my family would be accepting supernatural protection and spirit guidance from a whispering rubber doll, I would’ve thought you were mad. Now you probably think I am. That’s fine. Just don’t make Shelly angry. You wouldn’t like her when she’s angry.

Advertisements
Posted in Controversial topics, creepy, Different Perspectives, Fiction Stories, Ghost stories, Gothic horror, Horror, Humor, Macabre, Mystery, Science Fiction, Supernatural, Thought provoking, Thriller, Twilight Zone Inspired, Whimsical | Leave a comment

‘Bob’s last laugh’

I was out for a walk on the road when I noticed several large birds circling overhead. The scavenger breeds always know where to find dying animals. Their target seemed to be in the woods near the edge of the clearing. With my curiosity piqued, I decided to see what their next meal was going to be. With that many vultures involved, I guessed it was either a dog or a deer. As I got closer, the lingering smell of decay verified I was on the right path.

What I found stunned me. It wasn’t a dog or deer. It wasn’t even a bear. It was a deceased human body! As a paramedic, I’d seen plenty of dead bodies in my life but it’s quite a bit different when you aren’t expecting it. This wasn’t an accident or natural causes. By all appearances, the corpse on the ground was the victim of foul play. I was about to call it in when an unusual thing happened. The corpse spoke to me; and I don’t mean that in a symbolic sense. The dead man on the ground literally addressed me; as if that was perfectly normal.

“Hey buddy. Can you help me out? I’m tired of the taste of dirt in my mouth and fire ants are attacking my skin. Will you turn me over? I promise I won’t bite ya.”

With that he chuckled a bit at the absurdity and blew dirt away from his mouth by concentrated exertion. I have to admit. I was seriously startled for a minute but (never one to leave a polite request unfulfilled), I turned him over on his back. The fatal wound to the crown of his head was going to get seriously infected from laying in dirt, but he obviously had bigger problems. I asked where the fire-ants were biting him. He indicated his legs so I dragged him to a spot away from their mound and propped him up against a tree trunk.

“So, ummm…. What happened to you?”; I inquired. “Is there someone you‘d like me to call?” I was treating the situation like I’d encountered a stranded motorist with a flat tire. I wasn’t sure what I’d say on the call. Telling his wife or family that he was dead would definitely be a downer. Not to mention, the awkwardness of trying to explain how I was currently in a conversation with him.

He snorted at the suggestion. “I should say not! How do you think I came to be lying here? If you reveal you’ve found my body, you’ll need someone to turn you over too. My wife will come back here and shoot you like she did me. Have you ever been shot? Trust me. It really smarts. I wouldn’t recommend it.”

“Then maybe you want me to call the cops and have her put behind bars.”; I suggested. “You surely don’t want her to get away with this, do you?”

‘Bob’ had very little control of his facial muscles anymore but the distinct hint of a smile formed on his swollen lips. “I have an idea.”; He began. “I want to have a little bit of fun with the situation. It’s not like I have much to look forward to anymore. With your help, maybe I can get one last laugh.”

“With MY help?” I didn’t like the sound of that. I was all for helping him achieve justice and vindication for his murder but ‘Bob’ seemed to be cooking up some revenge plot. I was pretty sure I didn’t want to be any part of whatever zany scheme he was about to hatch.

“I need you to carry my body to…”

I cut him off right there. “Ah, no! I’m not going to move your body. That would be disturbing a crime scene.”

“But you’ve already moved my body.”; He pointed out. “It’s not like it would make any difference NOW. You might as well help me scare her. That would be the best gift in the world! You gotta admit, propping me up to peer through the bedroom window would be epic.”

He had me with that silly visual. I snickered at the amusing idea but the thought of having to transport his decomposing body or carrying him without a stretcher and body bag disgusted me. I get enough bodily fluids on me during my job. He was beyond ‘ripe’ already and if anyone caught me with the body, I’d have a hard time convincing them I had nothing to do with his gruesome death.

“Come on! It’ll be fun. I can tell you would really enjoy seeing that go down. She will absolutely freak. It’ll be hilarious. Won’t you indulge me one last wish?”

There in the woods with the vultures circling his dead body, I thought long and hard about it. I tried to come up with responsible reasons not to do it but I was only kidding myself. I was already planning the logistics in my devious little head. I went home and got my pickup truck and put the wheelbarrow in the back. Lugging his corpse through the woods was going to be hard work. The whole time I’m wheeling him back to the clearing, I imagined coming upon someone and trying to explain what was going on. Luckily, no one saw me load him in the back.

I think ‘Bob’ was a little offended that I didn’t put him in the cab with me but I didn’t want that smell to linger in the vehicle. He told me where he lived and I parked nearby. His wife’s car was in the driveway, along with another vehicle Bob didn’t recognize. Neither of us said it but we both figured it was a lover. Perhaps it was even part of the reason why he had a bullet hole in the back of his head. Assuming that was the case, I felt bad for Bob. Well, worse than I already did over him being dead and all. He was definitely having a bad day.

It wasn’t easy at all wheeling a fully grown dead man in a wheelbarrow up to his bedroom window, but somehow I managed. He told me he could see her with the male ‘visitor’ in carnal embrace on their bed. At least that allowed me some time to position him perfectly for when they finished and looked up. I even rigged a stick in his coat sleeve so I could simulate him waving.

It wasn’t long before I heard them finish. There was a light curtain on the window so Bob’s grinning silhouette wasn’t readily available. With considerable effort, I made his stiffened hand bang against the window. From behind him I watched her sit up in bed and let out a blood curdling scream. Her paramour scrambled out of the room sans clothing and peeled out of the driveway, naked as a jaybird. Bob’s wife’s eyes rolled back in her head and she completely passed out. At least I assumed she’d fainted. I didn’t want to be an accessory to a worse crime than unlawful movement of a body; even if she had it coming.

Bob ‘laughed’ with a stiffened jaw and contorted facial muscles. Even without the morbid circumstances, it was creepy beyond belief what we did but at least I’d granted his posthumous request and partially righted a wrong. We both figure she’ll race to the murder scene and realize he’s gone, then assume he survived the gunshot. Bob is hoping she will turn herself in and pay for her betrayal and crime but I’m not as optimistic as he is. It may take a few more surprise appearances of ‘grinning’ Bob’ before she confesses. Hey, I’m game. What else do I have to do in my free time? I’ll just need to spritz him down with some lysol.

Posted in creepy, Fiction Stories, Horror, Humor, Macabre, Murder, Mystery, Sarcasm, Science Fiction, Supernatural, Thought provoking, Thriller, Twilight Zone Inspired, Whimsical | Leave a comment

‘The greatest secret in the world.’ Audio narration by SoPsyched

please give Aleks performance a listen and a thumbs up. She has a fantastic voice!

https://youtu.be/Kv2w9qlI_zM

Posted in audio narration, Children's Stories, Controversial topics, Different Perspectives, fantasy, Fiction Stories, Mystery, Science Fiction, Supernatural, Thought provoking, Twilight Zone Inspired, Utopia & Armageddon, Whimsical | Leave a comment

‘The wires tell me to do things’

Growing up, I always dreamed of having a large parcel of land in the country. I didn’t necessarily want to be a farmer, I just liked the idea of a rural buffer zone between me and my nearest neighbors. I enjoy walks in the woods and exploring nature. After saving for a number of years, I accumulated what I hoped would be a decent down payment on some property. I was in for a real surprise at how little my hard-earned money would buy in the financial boom of the past few years. Everyone was relocating to the countryside and land was selling at a premium.

It was a punch in the gut. Once I decided to start looking, I suppose I had my mind made up. I wanted to buy a new home and property now. The thought of having to wait five or ten more years before fulfilling my dream was a crushing blow. It led to a humbling reduction in my personal standards and forced me to widen my search area of consideration. All of a sudden, I was looking at far less desirable properties which had swamps or unsightly cell towers. It was depressing to realize what was available in my price range but I was done waiting.

One day my real estate agent sent me to look at a good sized property a couple miles outside my preferred travel radius. I didn’t want to drive long distances to my job but this was just 4 more miles than I had considered before. At first I couldn’t believe it. It was so much nicer than the pitiful dregs I had considered in the past month. It was almost twice the land and had a nice house and great view of the nearby mountains. There was a large creek in the back I could kayak in, and despite being very remote, it was close to a major road. That meant I could make up for the longer drive to work with less weaving on small country highways.

The catch? Oh, there’s always a catch and this one was significant. The property has high tension power lines running across part of it. Besides killing the scenery and view for a significant portion of the land, those wires have been reported to cause cancer. I’d had a brutal reality check for the past month. Because of that, my resistance to settling for less than I wanted was worn down.

I was tired of looking and dealing with constant disappointment. After a few days to absorb the idea, I told my agent I was ready to sign the paperwork. The rest of the property was beautiful and exactly what I wanted. I hoped I could overlook those unsightly wires over time and move past the singular blight. My loan and closing date went without a hitch. All of a sudden it was for real. I was the property holder.

Country living took some getting used to. In place of road noises and the sounds of civilization, there were numerous wild animal and nature sounds. There were birds chattering all night. Trees swayed in the breeze and cracked from flexing. Sound carries for miles in the open night air. I found it difficult to sleep at times. My transition to country living was also hampered by odd buzzing noises I heard at times. The sound was like a monotone whisper or a nest of angry bees.

One night I was so baffled by it that I got dressed and walked around the back of my property in the dark. With a little searching, I tracked down the source of the strange buzzing sound. It was coming from the high tension power lines. The ‘chattering’ and buzzing was apparently just raw voltage coursing through the thick electrical wires overhead. Who knows how much raw power flows through the miles of heavy copper line? Initially I was relieved there was an explanation but over time I grew troubled again.

As I lay in bed at night, the constant ‘electrical symphony’ kept me up. The longer I listened, the less it seemed random. I tried to drown it out but the vibrating patterns gave way to recognizable syllables. It was almost like hearing a human conversation, just out of earshot. First there would be a ‘word’ or two which stood out among the electronic gibberish, then entire English ‘phrases’ became clear. The ‘spirit’ of electrical power was ‘talking’ to me! Initially I hoped I was dreaming. Only that could explain why I was hearing words in the normal transfer of voltage from one place to another.

The words I picked out at first were innocuous and unrelated. ‘Seize’, ‘strike’, ‘zephyr’, ‘certified’, and ‘pull’. Odd phrases like that. It made no sense in the random context of unrelated things but I kept listening. It was incredibly hypnotic and fascinating. Once the sun came up, birds and other nature sounds drowned it out. From then it was impossible to follow any longer. After a few more sleepless nights, my level of comprehension and understanding grew exponentially. I was picking out entire phrases and whole sentences. My ears learned how to translate the dull, monotone pulses and buzzing into words. I was finally in tune with the mysterious electrical entity and how it delivered its cryptic message.

Naturally my employment suffered greatly. I missed a lot of work. I tried to sleep a little bit during the day, just so I could listen to what it was saying when the environment was most clear. I felt compelled to know the wire’s secret wisdom; whatever that might be. I alone was privy to an incredible opportunity and didn’t want to squander it. In the end I did whatever seemed necessary to communicate with the mysterious entity which sought to bridge a relationship with humanity.

In time, the phrases and sentences took on a confusing narrative. They exhorted me to do ‘things’. These controversial actions would be highly illegal but the electrical voice explained why it was imperative that I do them anyway. Frankly, I still resisted. Fiercely. I had grave concerns about the chilling things it demanded I do. Killing people is obviously wrong and no amount of justification could ordinarily sway me to go through with such things but the power was relentlessly persuasive. It slowly wore away my resistance.

The electrical entity behind the dark orders was insistent. It demanded I follow through with the violence, without question. The more I tried to reason against the decree, the more it dug in. I hadn’t slept for days. I was hyper-focused on everything which was said. The more it repeated itself, the more I came to accept the mission. I had to do it. There was no other way. Only then would it let me sleep and share a deeper level of truth with me. I’d long since lost my job and hadn’t paid any bills in months. My savings were almost exhausted. The high tension power lines promised great financial rewards and highly sought answers to the secrets of the universe. All I had to do was comply in full. There was no more resistance left within me. I was completely on board.

I went to gather the supplies it said I would need to fulfill the mission but my credit card was declined. Part of me was secretly relieved. I knew killing was wrong but the wires told me how to get around my financial woes. It directed me to an ATM in town and sent some sort of charged pulse directly into the machine. After a few seconds the overloaded circuitry started spitting out hundred dollar bills! I no longer had an excuse. I took the money and bought the equipment for the next phase of the plan. The wires assured me, my image wouldn’t be caught on the ATM cameras. It took care of that too.

Once I had the supplies and knew the plan, I reluctantly had to keep my end of the agreement. I was just an instrument of this non corporeal entity. I hoped it’s motives were pure and beneficial to mankind in ways I still couldn’t yet see. The electric deity made several other key things happen to facilitate the process. Any doubts I had about it’s incredible power or determination were quashed after witnessing the drawbridge lower by itself onto the passing oil tanker, and when the locks of the dam opened up and flooded the entire valley. I had nothing to do with any of that. The power in the power lines did all of it.

“You can’t be serious with all of this, buddy. We know it was you who robbed the ATM.”; The detective sneered. “How did you do that? How did you make it release all that cash and how did you cause that bridge to lower on the ship? Did you have help from a foreign government? Thousands of people could have died from that forced dam release. We will find out who your accomplices are and there will be terrorism charges for all of you!”

At that moment, the lights went out in the interrogation room. Detective Daniels stood up to find out what was going on but the suspect suggested he stop.

“I wouldn’t touch that door knob if I were you.”; The man offered calmly. “The entity told me I’d be captured for a brief time but the mission isn’t complete. This is part of the plan. If you try to open that electrified security door, you will be electrocuted. Mark my words.”

Posted in Controversial topics, creepy, Different Perspectives, Fiction Stories, Horror, Murder, Mystery, Science Fiction, Supernatural, Thought provoking, Thriller, Twilight Zone Inspired | Leave a comment

‘I’m the night watchman at a landfill’ audio narration

Clancy Pasta reads my story on his YouTube channel. Please check it out!

https://youtu.be/IY0gwcb5w_U

Posted in audio narration, creepy, Different Perspectives, Fiction Stories, Horror, Humor, Macabre, Murder, Mystery, Science Fiction, Supernatural, Thought provoking, Thriller, Twilight Zone Inspired, Whimsical | Leave a comment

‘I’m the night watchman at a landfill’

On the surface, the idea of having a security guard for thousands of tons of trash, is ridiculous, right? I wasn’t sure why they’d require a watchman at such a god-forsaken place but I needed a job and it paid well. There were several reasons for the high wages. First of all, the stench is both constant and overwhelming. Anyone who’s ever been to a dump, knows that hideous smell. You honestly worry that the pervasive stink will follow you home after you leave. It absolutely does. Luckily I have a poor sense of smell and don’t mind showering twice a day. Even then, I have to wear nose plugs while on duty. The other reasons were never disclosed to me but believe me, they became readily apparent later.

On my first day, I was shown ‘the ropes’ by the daytime security guy. He showed me where everything was in the office, and explained what my required duties were on the grounds. As darkness approached, he seemed quite anxious to leave. I assumed that was because it’s a friggin’ garbage dump. No mystery to that but later, I realized there was more to it. Considerably more. I had nightly paperwork to fill out and was supposed to make two full walking rounds around the premises during my shift. Dereck, (the day shift guy) seemed visibly nervous when he walked out. He hesitated for a brief moment and told me to call ‘if I had any trouble’.

I didn’t get a chance to inquire what sort of ‘trouble’ I might have. It’s not like it’s a bank for heaven’s sake. It’s a stinking landfill and the facility is closed to the public at night. There aren’t any municipal deliveries. I heard Dereck’s tires squeal in the gravel parking lot when he left. All of a sudden it was just me and countless acres of rotting garbage when the sun went down. What issues could there be? Scavengers? There are plenty of people who bring in two bags of household trash and leave here with a carload of found ‘treasure’. Those people are gross but they seemed harmless enough.

Every landfill has scavengers who dig through mounds of refuse but that would normally occur during the day when the gates are wide open. I went back inside to escape the brunt of the stench. The entire waste management property has a ten foot tall razor-wire fence surrounding it like a prison compound. It was hard to imagine anyone scaling it at night to sift through piles of discarded debris but Dereck clearly knew something I didn’t. Even more bizarre was that I was required to possess a firearm license! Just the thought of possibly having to prove my marksmanship against crazy rednecks and salvage hounds made me very uneasy. Why would the property owners care if some ghoul came to ‘dumpster dive’? It didn’t make sense.

I rationalized that it was possibly due to an accident liability issue. Their insurance policy had to cover daytime incidents of people getting hurt during official landfill hours but at night (when the gates were closed), it was a lawsuit waiting to happen. Still, why would I need a license for concealed carry? Was I supposed to fire a warning shot at anyone trying to break in? I would’ve expected them to explain their concerns and security policies better. Obviously Dereck wasn’t one to go into great details as he tore out of the parking lot. I figured I’d just try to keep a cool head and deal with any terse situation that came up with common sense.

On my first circuit walking around the compound that night, I noticed something very odd. The barbs at the top of the fence were all pointing inward. If the point was to keep people out, that was going to be much less effective. Fortunately the smell lessened a bit after the sun went down and it cooled off but trust me, it still wasn’t like walking through a rose garden. I heard shifting and various creaks within the nearby piles of trash. Obviously there are thousands of mice and rats living in the festering filth but the noises I heard sounded like much larger animals.

I knew snakes and scavenger birds would be drawn to the place as a rodent or insect hunting ground but I assumed most of that occurred in better light. The sounds of garbage shifting and piles falling over was unsettling. A few times I directed my flashlight beam in the general direction and it would stop, at least momentarily. I saw plenty of angry red eyes in the debris, but I wasn’t about to interrupt their nightly routine or confront them. This was their home. Live and let live.

Back at the office, I sat down and recorded the time of my rounds. Even with the AC running, I could still hear the piles of trash falling over in the distance. Obviously it was a bustling metropolis for the night creatures that lived there. Neither Dereck nor the man who hired me warned me about any of that. I shrugged to myself. It wasn’t a big deal. I knew that any place that malodorous would attract a plethora of unwelcome inhabitants.

Despite my thin reassurances, the sounds started to worry me as they grew more frequent. Some seemed incredibly close to the building too. I gazed out the window at enormous hills of squalor and rot. A single security light shined over the first few hundred yards. I caught the gleam of a tin can rolling down a mound of debris. The reason for its movement wasn’t obvious at first but I assumed rats or other animals were bustling around under the surface. Just as I was about to look away in diminished interest, the objects at the top of the pile began to shimmy and shake. I pulled up a chair to witness what I assumed was either a gopher or Norway rat. Instead, a human hand breached the surface and shot skyward.

I couldn’t even blink at first. Not only did the hand and arm wrangle free of the tangled debris, but so did the owner’s horribly mangled head. If that wasn’t shocking enough, seeing the rest of the body took the cake. My jaw dropped in disbelief. The person was clearly deceased. He had to be. Even from that distance I could see several bullet wounds visible. I was witnessing a reanimated corpse rise from the dead. Obviously the garbage dump was not sacred ground and the corpse was very restless. Like a light bulb going off, I finally understood why I was required to carry a gun, and why Dereck was so anxious to leave.

All of a sudden, another corpse started wiggling free of the trash. The first one was almost out of his makeshift burial plot and seemed intent on heading for the fence. In all, I counted at least 5 well dressed bodies in the debris. They all looked ‘newly dead’. Someone was using the landfill to get rid of people they didn’t like. I didn’t know for sure, but the Italian ‘waste management family’ who owned the property seemed like they might know who these undead corpses were and how they came to be there. Even I wasn’t dumb enough to ask any of them about it. Instead, I grabbed my pistol and an extra clip. I needed to finish what hadn’t been handled properly before. It was the sensitive, undisclosed part of the job.

The next morning Dereck arrived and came into the office to replace me. He had a very relieved look on his face when he saw that things apparently went ok for me during my first night shift. I told him I had to shoot five ‘rats’. He nodded at the subtle code. Then I told him where they were buried. We both knew that if we didn’t want to find ourselves under tons of debris, we needed to maintain the facade and do our jobs quietly. Some days I have to shoot at least a dozen ‘rats’. Other days are slow and there are only a couple but I’ve come to accept that my job with the landfill organization is a permanent one.

Posted in Controversial topics, creepy, Different Perspectives, Gothic horror, Horror, Macabre, Murder, Mystery, Science Fiction, Supernatural, Thought provoking, Thriller, Twilight Zone Inspired, Whimsical | Leave a comment

‘The God switch’

A shoebox-sized apparatus arrived at the doorstep of every household on Earth, on an average Tuesday. Initially, no one knew where the mystery devices came from or their cryptic purpose. It was a simple little box with a rocker switch on the top. A rudimentary note was included which explained that instructions would follow. Fearing it was some sort of explosive device, many of the recipients were understandably scared.

Once word got out that every known residence in the area received one, it became even more frightening. News reports eventually verified the exact same thing had happened in other places. It was a worldwide phenomenon. Who could arrange such a global thing? No one. The unspoken implications were huge. People examined their switch box from all sides and shook them gently (or tapped the sides) but they didn’t dare flip the switch itself. That would have been decisive and irreversible. Better safe than sorry.

Information and instructions arrived just as promised (and written in the mother tongue of the recipient). The text was easy to understand but the reason for the device and its mass dissemination was still an enigma. More specifically ‘who’, or ‘what’ could do such a thing? Even before the instructions came, they came to be known by many as ‘the God box’. What being could make billions of these strange things and distribute them to every single doorstep, undetected? The idea of a non terrestrial object made people very uncomfortable but it was apparently a divine gift. One didn’t neglect the impact of such a magnificent thing. They were revered, showcased and displayed in the people’s homes like prized trophies.

From lean to, to palatial mansion spread, the recipients kept their switch box on hand for when it’s purpose finally came clear. When the instructions did appear, it raised a lot more questions than it solved.

“The box you received is a gift of change from your creator. With it, you possess the life-changing power to alter your world dramatically with a simple, voluntary flip of a switch on the top.

If activated, every single man, woman, and child on Earth will be granted true and absolute equality (in the truest sense of the word). No person will be hungry or poor. No person will be famous or wealthy. Intelligence, beauty, and creativity will be the exact same for all of humanity.

The switch works only one time. The change it brings is not reversible. The choice to achieve true equality among yourselves (or leave things as they are), is in your individual hands.”

People were dumbfounded. They were startled and frightened at the ominous implications. On the surface it sounded like an amazing opportunity to elevate the world and unify it to true equality, but it would also lead to a number of drastic changes. Human beings were used to the idea of allowing ‘fate’ or ‘the almighty’ decide things for them. The non believers had always taken matters in their own hands but now faced with irrefutable evidence of a supernatural being, they too had their doubts about what to do.

Underneath it all, there is a certain level of subconscious ambition that every person has inside. Even if they wanted to make life better for the disadvantaged and poor, they also desired to rise above their own caste or ‘station in life’ to achieve ‘greatness’. That wasn’t possible in a world where there are no famous or wealthy people. It challenged the expectations of ego, pride, and individuality. It was a much tougher decision than it seemed to many. Life was so much easier when someone (or ‘something’) else was ‘driving’. There was even a level of resentment from being given the awesome power to decide our own fates.

In light of the ambiguities, no one rushed to flip the switch. Even the downtrodden and poorest of the poor hoped to better themselves. That wasn’t possible if everyone was going to be exactly the same. Equality is relative to what standard it’s based upon. It wasn’t even clear what the parameters of the decision was.

Did it require a majority to side with flipping the equality switch? Was an unanimous decision necessary; or nothing for anyone? Did individual circumstances change for those who voted for true equality, while those who abstained remained as they were? Which member of the family would decide for the rest of them? There was no place to clarify or ask follow-up questions. It wasn’t even clear if there was a time limit on how long the people could wait to make their weighty decisions. That amount of genuine personal freedom was terrifying.

Committees were formed. Political action groups tried to sway people for or against flipping the switch. Indecision lead to frustration. No one wanted to go first. The edict had been clear enough about the decision not being reversible. Anger rose and tensions brewed. Well meaning, civic-minded people encouraged everyone to ‘do the right thing for humanity.’ Meanwhile the famous and wealthy captains of industry lobbied against the switch.

Even those with a firm grip on their opinions were temporarily swayed by compelling arguments offered for and against. Would the milestone of there being no ‘lows’ in life, make up for the lack of ‘highs’? Eventually the mere idea of deciding the future fate of the world became traumatic. In the end, every single person on Earth decided to leave things as they were. Every. Single. One. Not one person flipped the ‘God switch’. Whether that was anchored in a universal desire to excel and succeed, or just a nagging fear or changing the status quo, is hard to say. Perhaps it was a little of both but it was a wise decision. ‘The God switch’ was an Armageddon trigger. Those seeking true equality would have received it, in the universal equality of death.

Posted in Controversial topics, Different Perspectives, fantasy, Fiction Stories, Mystery, Science Fiction, Supernatural, Thought provoking, Thriller, Twilight Zone Inspired, Utopia & Armageddon, Whimsical | Leave a comment