Welcome to Crappypasta! This is the companion site to Creepypasta.com, and here is where you’ll find stories that we deemed not quite ready for the big leagues. If I believe that a story has potential but just isn’t quite there yet, I’ll post it here with some tags explaining my reasoning. The community at large can then offer their feedback and constructive criticism to aid the author in fully realizing their story’s potential.
However, if the community is in agreement that I made an error in judgement and the story should be accepted for the main site as-is, they may upvote the Crappypasta. If a story hits the (undisclosed for obvious reasons) correct ratio of positive to negative votes, I’ll move it to the primary Creepypasta archive, complete with a note of my taste fail!
You may read a more in-depth explanation of this process here.
I use the categories to give succinct feedback on each story posted. Rather than write out comments on every pasta, I make my feelings known via the categories that I assign to each specific post. This is done manually and on a per-pasta basis, so if you received a certain category on your story, that is my feedback to you.
You may read full descriptions of each category and how to interpret them as feedback/criticism here.
Note that due to how the sites have evolved, many categories are now outdated. In the dawn of this website, I didn’t get nearly as many submissions as I do now. As such, I was able to post and categorize every single eligible rejected story, even stories that I personally felt had a snowball’s chance in hell of being moved to the main site.
Nowadays, however, this would be an unrelenting sea of nonsense – most open-submission days garner well over a hundred submissions, and it’s statistically likely that only one or two of those will be more than a short, low-effort, all-lowercase paragraph. To prevent a flood of slush, I now only post stories that I believe have potential to be rewritten or upvoted to the main site.
All this is to say that some categories will almost certainly be archive-only from now on, simply because I can’t imagine a situation where I’d actually be posting a story that would deserve the “THIS IS STUPID” tag – it just doesn’t match up with how the site operates anymore.
The most frequent issues raised by new visitors are those of intended meanness and author permission. Please be reassured that if a story was posted here, it was submitted to me directly (I don’t go trawling the internet for stories to mock) with the author giving EXPLICIT permission for me to post their work here if it didn’t make the cut for the main creepypasta archive.
While we do allow comments that dabble in snarkiness as long as they are still entirely constructive criticism, the mod team will not approve comments that contribute nothing to the refinement of a pasta. Likewise, this means that comments left simply to be nasty or bully the author will be deleted. In cases where a commenter continually attempts to leave abusive comments towards authors, they will likely be banned entirely. This website is, first and foremost, about helping people succeed with their writing projects. Unnecessary nastiness does not help us accomplish this goal and, as such, has no place here.
That said, there will always be people who do not grasp the site’s function and leave comments accusing everyone leaving even benign, helpful feedback of bullying. Such comments are at each individual mod’s discretion on whether or not they will be approved, but if a comment section gets completely derailed due to misunderstanding-based white knighting, I will likely remove the comment chain in order to get the post back on track: we are here to give feedback, not argue with people who can’t be bothered to read this very blurb!
There are several ways for the community to contribute their constructive criticism to the works here:
- Comments: If you want to leave an overall review of one of the pastas posted here, you may use the most traditional method – the comment form. We use DISQUS, so if you want to be an active and recognizable member of the Crappypasta community, I do recommend registering a free account, however commenting without an account is allowed. The comments are moderated, and all commenting guidelines from the main site are in effect here as well.
- Sidenotes: If you want to leave your feedback in a more fine-tuned fashion, please use sidenotes. Sidenotes (also called annotations) should be familiar to anyone who has visited Rap Genius (now Genius) – you can highlight a portion of the story and leave specific feedback for the highlighted portion. You can also simply click the speech bubble after each paragraph to leave your feedback for that paragraph. Sidenotes are only shown and available on the pasta’s individual page, so you will need to click through a pasta’s title in order to access this function. If you wish to retain a consistent identity when leaving sidenotes, you can sign up for a Livefyre account within the sidenote UI.
- Star Voting: This is pretty self-explanatory, I think. Just like on the main site, you can give a pasta a star rating from 1-10. 1 being the worst, 10 being the best.
- Upvote/Downvote: Use the upvote (thumbs up) if you believe a pasta is good enough, in its current, as-is state, to be posted on the main site. Use the downvote (thumbs down) if you believe the story needs more work before it’s eligible for moving to the main site.
- Emoji Response: If you’re on mobile or just don’t feel like typing but still want to give slightly more nuanced feedback than the stars and up/downvotes, you may also use the emoji feedback options. These, like the sidenotes, are present only on the pasta’s individual page, and can be found in between the pasta and the comments section. Eventually, we will be able to display content lists based on these reactions, much like do presently with the up/down and star ratings, so please use this function!
Dreams are a weird thing, but they can be even weirder when something or someone takes them over.
Everything seems so normal, but then it all starts. At first it’s subtle, a strange man in a strange black robe, with a face empty of eyes, just empty sockets that seem to go one forever. He appears in your dream, but only for a brief moment. You dismiss it as just a weird dream.
But then it happens more and more, and you swear you can see him out of the corner of your eye, even when you are awake. He starts to haunt your thoughts day after day, it gets to the point where you don’t even want to sleep anymore. You try to stay awake, try to keep your eyes open, but you can’t. You start to doze off, but every time you do, you see an image of blood, a lot of blood. You try even harder to stay conscious, but you can’t.
You slip into a deep sleep, and have a dream worse than all the rest. It feels so real, but you can’t really see anything, just darkness. You can smell burning rubber, and hear a high pitch screech, and your body is racked with excruciating pain. Your eyes shoot open as you sit up, sweat dripping down your cold face. You look around in a panic, from your desk, to your window, to the corner than to the door. But then you freeze. Slowly you turn back to the corner, you can feel the shivers go down your spine as you start to make out the figure.
Its him, the one who has been haunting your every waking and sleeping moment, but this time you know he is there. You can see the light from the window highlight his black robes, and you can see the endless holes were his eyes would be.
Instinct takes control. Before you can think clearly you are leaping for your keys and rushing through the door, you are almost there, but one your way you crash into the sharp corner of the coffee table, but the adrenalin coursing through your body masks the pain. You dash to your car and threw the door open and get in. as fast as you can manage you stick the keys in the ignition and start the car. As soon as you get your car running, you slam your foot one the break, getting out as fast as you can.
You don’t know were you going, but you don’t really care, as long as you get away from whatever he is. You are speeding down the road, constantly checking your rearview mirror, making sure he isn’t behind you.
Just when you start to feel safe, that you lost him, you look in the mirror one last time. But this time, you see something move, you try to look closer but then something in front of you catches your eye. You swerve trying to avoid it, as a high pitch sound fills your ears, and then everything goes black just as the smell of burning rubber hits your nose.
You open your eye. You feel weird. You expect to feel pain, but you feel, nothing. As you sit up you notice that there is an unsettling silence around you. You look about your surrounding, and something catches your eye once again. You see a car crashed into a tree, tire marks down the road. As you study the scene more, a little bit bewildered, you see something that makes you completely freeze.
You see your own body, lying in a crumpled position in a pool of your own blood. You look into your own cold dead eyes, not able to completely process what you are seeing.
You feel a cold hand gently touch your shoulder, but you don’t turn around to see who it is, because you already know…
They call him “The Dream”, and he is building up his army, and he need more recruits. Watch your back, because you may just end up his newest member.
Credit: Angel of Wednesday
It is October thirtieth, the day before Halloween. You slip on your convers, ready to head home after a long exciting night. For the whole day, you and your friends have been watching horror movies, playing horror games, and planning for the next day; your favorite holiday. Everyone agreed to go trick-or-treating tomorrow. Even though you’re all teenagers, the idea of free candy and scaring little kids was very appealing.
“Are you sure you don’t need a ride?” asked one of your friends.
You glance at the clock on the wall as you stand. It was 11:44 PM. Your parents would be getting home from their date in a few minutes, but you were sure that they wouldn’t mind you being a little late. You shrug.
“Yeah, I’m alright. I don’t live too far away, and it’s a nice night for a walk. Besides, maybe I’ll get to see Jeff the Killer.” You joked.
Your friend laughed, “Ha-ha! You better hope not. Just be careful, okay?”
“I will.” You say as you grasp the cold brass knob of the front door. A little voice in the back of your mind warns you to take the offer. You ignore it, thinking it to be nothing but stupid paranoia from all the scary things you’ve seen this day, and swing the door open.
You’re hit with a blast of cool autumn air. Outside, it was surprisingly warmer than you thought it would be. The street lights dimly light the road, giving it an eerie appearance, and there was no moon looming above; just a few stars. Once again, you feel like you should accept the ride home. You shrug it off and begin walking down the sidewalk towards your home.
As you walk, you started hearing things. Whispers in the breeze, the snapping of twigs, the rustling in the bushes. You cringe at the sounds, but then laugh quietly to yourself, as you realize that there’s nothing there. Your mind is just making them up to replace the unnerving silence. But there was something very strange: there were no cars driving by. There was no one outside. The streets were completely empty and silent. You give yourself a logical explanation: “It’s almost midnight. Of course there wouldn’t be anyone out at this time.” You look up and down the streets, only to see emptiness for miles. The town you lived in wasn’t that small. Surely there had to be at least someone out tonight. Now a bit unsettled you turn around and continue walking home.
Long minutes pass as you walk. The air seems to get colder around you. The street lights flicker as you walk under them. Your eyes dart to look at anything that moved. You’re barely breathing. Maybe you should’ve taken that ride. It would’ve saved you from this ridiculous feeling of paranoia. You decide to just control your breathing to calm yourself down. You have absolutely no reason to be freaking out.
Suddenly, you stop in your tracks. Your hear a faint tapping in the distance, growing closer and closer. A shiver runs up your spine as you realize that the tapping is coming from behind you. You can’t bring yourself to turn around and yet you’re frozen in place, too scared to move. As the tapping got closer, you recognized the sound to be footsteps. Somehow you manage to slowly glance behind you. For a second, you thought you saw something moving. You quickly regain control of your body and begin walking once more.
You shake your head slightly. “This is stupid. You’re just seeing things. You watched too many horror movies and now you’re seeing things.” You mumble to yourself. To prove that you’re simply being paranoid, you turn around and look behind you…. there is someone walking towards you.
Beneath the dim street lights, you can see the figure clearly. It’s a tall man, wearing a black trench coat, black slacks, black shoes, even a black hat. His gaze was fixed on the sidewalk as he slowly walked closer, ever so quietly.
Fear begins rising in your chest. You immediately turn around and proceed walking, a bit faster this time. As you march you listen closely to the sound of footsteps behind you. The slow beat of taps remain the same pace as before, and yet they still sounded like they were getting closer. You look back to see the man walking the same slow pace as he was earlier, but he was definitely closer.
You walk even faster, panting slightly. Why was this man following you and how was he getting closer? It just didn’t make any sense. A million questions rushed through your head. Who was this man? Was he a robber? A kidnapper? A killer? Or just another stranger? What will happen if he caught up to you? What would he do? What the hell did he want?!
You look back once more and your eyes widen as you see the man even closer than before. He couldn’t be more than a few yards away. You can see the lower half of his face now. His skin was extremely pale and scarred. He was grinning, showing off his jagged yellow teeth, and you could’ve sworn you saw blood dripping down from the side of his face.
You tried to scream, but it got caught in your throat, coming out as a terrified groan. The man grinned even wider. You command your shaking legs to move and you take off running. You take many twists and turns around the streets, trying to lose your pursuer, but you can still hear the slow tapping behind you getting louder and closer. The sound boomed in your ears like a base drum, but you kept sprinting. You had to lose him! Who knows what would happen if he caught you!
You look a round as you kept running, searching for a place to hide. Then a familiar red house, where an old man lived, caught your eye. He was a nice old man who never locked his front door for some reason. You take this opportunity and rush inside his dark home, immediately locking the door behind you. You look around, debating whether you should hide in the bathroom or the closet. You hear the tapping come up the porch steps, and you throw yourself in the cupboard beneath the kitchen sink. You hear the front door’s handle jiggle, and eventually creak open. Footstep echoing through the silent house, doors creaking open quietly, and faint rustling is all you hear after, until there was nothing. Just complete, deafening silence.
You sit in the dark for what felt like hours, barely even breathing, your heart pounding in your chest. You wait a while longer before slowly crawling out of hiding. The house is just the way it was when you first came in. Not a single thing out of place. You tiptoe to the front door and slowly open it, looking out into the night, finding that the man is nowhere to be seen. You let out a sigh of relief, and exit the house. As you walk off the porch, the lights inside flick on. You guess you accidentally woke the old man up. You decide that you’ve had enough craziness and begin running home.
When you made it home, you feel a sense of joy as you walk inside. You glance at the clock hanging on the living room wall. It was 1:07. Your parents most likely beat you home and were probably already asleep. You shrug, headed to your room, and got ready for bed. You plopped onto the soft mattress, exhausted from all the running you have just done. You laugh to yourself as you think of the madness you went through, and how your friends are never going to believe you if you tell them.
You pull your phone out to charge it and notice that it’s blinking. You unlock it, sighing as you see that your mom sent you a text over an hour ago. That’s what happens when you leave your phone on silent. The text read:
“Hey honey. Sorry that we’re not home yet. We ran into some old friends and we’ll be staying with them for the night. Call me when you get home and don’t stay up all night. Happy Halloween!”
Your eyes widened as you read. You lay there, petrified, as you hear an all too familiar tapping echo in the hallway… Your bedroom door slowly creaks open…
You really should’ve taken that ride home.
Do you know what it feels like to be the last person in the universe? Of course you don’t, you’re dead. You’ve been dead for a long time. Millions, maybe even billions of years. We didn’t last that long honestly, it was quite pathetic. No one was in pain when you died, we made sure of it. But of course you’re probably wondering what I mean by this. We finally worked out how to basically halt the aging process, but with a cost. You see, we didn’t actually stop anyone from becoming old, but we needed our species to survive so, they sent me. The science I want to explain to you is too complex to be put down on to one paper, but I can tell you basically how it works. For me, since I graduated freshman year, it has been twenty years. For the universe, it has been tens of billions, maybe trillions. I’ve lost count after losing hope.
My ship is called Pandora’s Box. It comfortably fits one, and I presume could fit two if need be, but need not be. In the year 2006, scientists at NASA started developing technology that could breach speeds of light, but this was not possible, only massless particles can reach that speed. So, many years later, I was part of the team tasked with solving the complex equation that would solve this problem, allowing us to essentially become massless. To do this it required only basic quantum mechanics that took 6 years to understand, at this point, the year was 2032, and my good friend Ben had just finished the equation, when we were about to make the announcement to the public, NASA pulled the plug and told everyone that all the information was false, and that we need not acknowledge this find. Except they told me different. What they told me was that the find was incredible, but what we had to do with this material was rather sinister. We only had the technology to make a certain amount of space “massless”. So the ship we carefully pieced together was small, and again, could fit only one. I was that one. My mission: to find a habitable planet. I was sent up with a cargo bay full of fertilizer and eggs, and a habitation center, and food to last for 50 relative years. Seeds to push me another 400, if i managed to survive that long. I say relative years because, well, thats how im still living all these billions of years later. I am moving at such speeds that time itself molds around my ship, making one second in my ship relative to about 50 earth years. Of course, sometime during my journey i overclocked the engines, allowing me to go even faster.
I’ve learned a lot about the universe from my time until now, and there are a few things i’m going to tell you. I understand you won’t read any of this, ever, but it honestly just gives me a sort of closure. I will start by telling you that our human race died off. There were many planets, able to sustain life, and one that was so refined, and pure, anyone placed there would have thought it was earth. During my observations I found millions of single celled organisms, and even a few trilobites on this planet, the basics for life. I decided, knowing the consequences, what I wanted to do. I sent myself around the planet, matching its orbit to fling myself just that little bit faster, and watched as it grew. It was like nothing you’d ever seen before. In just 2.5 billion years they had there first “humans”. I say it like that because, they weren’t all human, they had tails, not fluffy, but raw. They were disgusting creatures and when i went to check on them, the fled into the darkness, under a hollowed out tree stump, or under overhanging rocks. I kept checking up on the planet for about 6 relative months, but for about, 6 billion years for this planet. The things on it were of human form, but they lacked the “humanity” part. They had no care for others, and i even saw a few that ate their young. To me, this was cannibalism, to them it was life. I don’t expect you to understand what kind of horror comes out of watching a child’s own mother do such horrible things.
Space… is a scary place. There isn’t nothing, not for me at least. Whenever I look into the looming darkness, aching to overtake me, I see people. People i’ve met, people i’ve never seen before in my life. But they always have one thing in common. They’re mute, for one, and secondly, they all have a look of crippling despair on their faces. One woman whom i’ve known since birth, had her face contorted in such a way, it was almost unrecognizable to the person i once knew and cherished my time with. They seem to be asking me to come out of my ship to rescue them, to bring them life, but my space suit has had a tear in the fabric for about 60 billion years, 5 years relative time. Risking going out to what i hope is a hallucination and dying for it is not the way i want to go. Granted that will probably be the case. I even saw you a few times here and there, same face, same tie, same shirt, but different mood. Every time I managed to stumble upon one of these things I felt a cold shiver make its way slowly up my spine, forcing me to tingle in fear. Its since then slowly boiled down to one person, my wife. I find it funny, that even though it’s been billions upon billions of years, i still can’t forget that damn smile. I want to go out to her, even if it’s just some petty hallucination, I think… I think i’m going to do that. Sorry, i’m rambling. Anyways i’m going to disclose some rather secret information to you now.
After I left the earthlike planet I found many, many more. Some exactly the same, some with the same climate but different geography. I came to a disturbing, but somewhat peaceful realization. The universe needs to run its course. We were not meant to live like I am now, it’s wrong, and it’s also beginning to wain on my sense of morality. I know what i’m doing is wrong, but I am still human… barely. I dumped it, all the cargo. I took the entire bay off infact, removed just for my own selfish desires. But I had to know more. I needed the information, I needed more, more knowledge, more clarity of what the universe really is. But i was running out of fuel. I dumped the bay to hopefully conserve that little bit of fuel to preserve my need for new information. It was selfish. Why I didn’t realize it I just don’t know. I don’t know anything anymore.
Now I have that knowledge. No matter how long I wait, nothing will be the same. Humanity is gone, but not dead. Though, I don’t regret any decision i’ve made, I know that i’ve killed off and entire planet, but I don’t feel bad about it. I’m actually worried for myself. All I can feel right now is love for my wife. She is outside, as pretty as she was when i had to watch her go, with her curly black hair, toned and even skin, and eyes as beautiful and peaceful as the space surrounding them. She was wearing a fine blue shirt, that complimented her body in the most perfect way thought of. I’m going to her now, I can’t wait any longer. I don’t imagine i will write anymore letters, this one will sit on my desk until the next big bang, or whatever comes next. Lets hope humanity dies with me, hope is all I can do nowadays any way.
You were always my favorite teacher -Tom
Have you every had one of those moments. One of those times where it’s so silent… It almost seems unnatural. Those moments happen to me. A lot. When these periods of silence happen, I get this weird feeling. It’s hard to explain. It feels like the silence has a purpose, and someone… or something is behind it. And that someone is waiting for something. Waiting for you to break the silence. It was late at night when it happened. I can’t remember the time exactly, but I’m guessing it had to have been around eleven. I was writing a letter to my brother when one of those “moments” happened. They’re hard to notice, and are usually ignored. But this one wasn’t. The only thing making any sort of noise was the light clicking of my clock. No crickets outside were chirping, no leaves rustling, nothing but the ticking of the clock. I noticed the silence but didn’t think much of it and kept writing. The clock stopped ticking. I looked up at the clock, it was still moving. But the familiar clicking had just… stopped. Again, I made nothing of it and started to write. But the silence was uncomfortable. I felt like I needed to say something, to break the silence. But this feeling came, and told me not to. This was the feeling I had described earlier. This feeling grew stronger and stronger. I felt now that the faint sound of the pen upon my paper was too much now. Too afraid to break the silence. I didn’t break that silence, but something else did. A thud on the roof of my home startled me, but I still had that feeling and remained silent. Another thud. I sat in my chair just waiting for another thud, not knowing what to do. The clock started ticking again. But the ticking didn’t seem normal. It was going slower and slower. Another thud on the roof. I got the courage to stand up and examine the clock. Being as quiet as possible, I crept over to it. I reached out to touch it. When I did, it fell off the wall, and shattered into pieces on the floor. I had broken the silence. The thuds on the roof started, but I soon realized them to be footsteps. They grew more frequent. The sounds on the roof didn’t stop until they were right above my head. It fell silent. I was standing, frozen in motion. I knew if I were to make one sound, it’d be over. So I waited. Waited for the thing on my roof to make the next move. I stood, waiting, for god knows how long. It seemed like hours. Just waiting for a sound. So much time had passed now that it seemed the thing on my roof had gone. I was still scared to make a sound, but I knew I couldn’t stand here forever. I took one step. I had broken the silence. That one step was the worst decision I’d ever made. Thud. Thud. Thud. It started to run. I heard leaves crunch as something landed on them. I ran. I ran to my room and locked the door. Being as quiet as I could, I prayed that it didn’t hear me run to my room. Next to me, my phone was resting on my desk. I picked it up hastily and dialed 911. The volume was on max. The ringing of my phone filled the room. I had broken the silence. I heard a window break in the kitchen. I muted the phone, desperately trying to get ahold of someone. Footsteps came from outside my door. Then the clawing. The horrible scratching and banging on my door. I had to turn the volume on my phone to hear the caller. I turned it on one notch. “Hello? Hello is anyone there?” said the operator. I whispered “help” into the speaker. I had broken the silence. And with that, the thing knocked the door down. I only remember it’s face. That face will never go away. It had leathery, green skin. I wanted to say it was human, but not one bit of it besides its overall shape looked at all human. It had no eyes. Where it’s eyes should’ve been we’re two empty voids. They seemed to be bottomless, going on and on forever. It had no teeth. But somehow it’s smile was even more creepy than if it were to have teeth. Dried blood covered it’s gums. It ran towards me and slashed my right arm with a sharp object, I’m guessing it’s nails. I let out a cry as the blood oozed down my arm. It slashed me across the stomach. I must have passed out from the blood loss then, for that is all I can remember. The police told me that they were sure I was dead when they found me. But somehow, I was kept alive. Maybe that… thing… meant to keep me alive. I woke up in a hospital bed a week later. I had no eyes. No teeth or a tongue. And several stitches crossed my stomach. The doctor told me that I’d lost my liver and a kidney. I would have to live in the hospital now for a year or more. And I swear… I swear I can hear footsteps on the roof at night. I make sure never to make a sound. If you ever get that feeling. When those moments of silence happen. Don’t break the silence.
“Doctor Robinson, are you sure of this? Alexa is only a child, I’m sure we could fine someone else.”
I was just the assistant, Dr. James Robinson was the real mind behind the Dimensional shift experiment. The governments of several countries wanted to see if he could open a door to other worlds with resources and space that could be populated, they provided the money and equipment that Dr. Robinson needed to fulfill his life’s work. The doctor and I had met in college and we had worked together on many projects, we had become good friends over the years. Of course I had jumped at the offer to make history in such an amazing and lasting way, it would’ve been spectacular, but failure after failure made us start to lose hope. That is until number 56 worked. Once we could cleanly open and close the door we started to send objects through, when we completed those tests we moved up to living creatures. We started with mice, then rabbits, then cats and dogs, after the success of Lilac, a chimp, we were ecstatic to move on to human testing.
That was when I made the mistake of allowing my daughter, Alexa, to see the footage of Lilac’s last trip to what was deemed World B. Little Alexa was only ten at the time and obsessed with the thought that we found “the rabbit hole” and wouldn’t stop talking about how much she wanted to go to World B, except she called it Wonderland. I believe her reasoning for this was the odd color of everything, it was strangly bright and all the plantlife was a rainbow a sea of swaying blotches of every color in the book. Even as we had yet to see any animals on World B it did seem as if the air was breathable, the gravity stable, and the atmosphere filtered anything harmful from that earth’s sun. Even though the procedure we had was very safe I was rightfully very unwilling to send my baby girl as far away as another dimension.
It was also at that time that Alexa wanted a cat, so being as I wouldn’t send her to “Wonderland” I opted to give her one of the previous test subjects, with Dr. Robinson’s permission I gifted her a fluffy grey and black kitten that had white stripes all down it’s back. Alexa was thrilled, and even as I told her the kitten had been given a name she said he was young enough to learn a new one and renamed him Cheshire which the kitten took to almost instantly, wherever Alexa went Cheshire went with her. This being so it came as no surprise when she asked if it would be okay if she visited “Wonderland” if Cheshire was there to protect her from the monsters. I told her that there were no monsters, but I again denied her access to World B. It was again no surprise that she had asked to be called Alice when I brought her to work with me, which was often as finding a constant babysitter was hard and her mother had left me years ago not wanting a thing to do with either me or our child. I again granted her this wish as I still would not allow her to visit World B.
It was very soon after this, though, that Dr. Robinson had approached me with the idea himself. Saying I was shocked would’ve been an understatement, I was downright flabbergasted that he of all people would entertain the idea of sending a little girl to a world we knew next to nothing about and had never had a human set foot on it. But the Doctor was relentless, talking of how we would never find another willing person to go through with the experiment before the deadline we had set for us on human testing. After another week of wearing at my sanity from both ends I had finally caved…
“Doctor Robinson, are you sure of this? Alexa is only a child, I’m sure we could fine someone else.” I had pleaded once more only for Dr. Robinson to shake his head at me slowly.
“William, the deadline is tomorrow, we took all the time that we could’ve found someone else into training your daughter for the mission. You need to put a little more faith in her, she’s a very smart girl.” He rested a hand on my shoulder, trying to comfort me, yet my mind could only go about playing the worst outcomes over and over in constant rerun. “Aren’t you, Alice?”
At that moment little Alexa came running into the room, her flowing red dress fluttering and her little black boots clicking against the floor with every foot fall. Her blond hair was slightly messy, parted from her bangs by a headband that had a little black top hat wrapped with a red bow sitting a little to the left on it. The collar of the dress was neat and the shoulders of the short sleeves were puffed up, she held in her arms an excited Cheshire, swishing his fluffy tail back and forth with vigor. I sighed at her outfit, “Sweety, you absolutely sure you don’t want to wear a safe suit?”
“William, we’ve run the tests, nothing will happen to her by wearing the dress, let her have her fun.” Dr. Robinson assured me, yet it only made me sick to my stomach as he pinned a little camera to her dress collar and one to Cheshire’s collar as well as giving her an ear piece to allow communication in real time.
Why isn’t he being more careful… so much could still go wrong and he can bet that if anything happens to my dear Alexa I’m going to sue the pants right off of him…. I think begrudgingly. Closely I followed them into the room where we operated the dimensional shift to open the door to World B.
Little Alexa was bouncing from excitement, she and Cheshire shifted restlessly on the spot as Dr. Robinson and I went over the last of the safety procedures with my beloved daughter. With my heart in my throat I got down and hugged Alexa tightly, “Now, what do you do if you see another living creature?” I had asked her.
Smiling brightly back at me she replied, “I stay quiet and back away. Dr. Robinson went over the rules with me a billion times, I know what to do.”
“That’a girl Alice, now I’ll walk you to the door.” Dr. Robinson said as he took her by the hand and walked her to through the thick metal door that separated us from the machine.
I had activated the cameras on both Alexa and Cheshire watching from their view as they stood in front of the metal arch structure that, when activated, opened into World B. Dr. Robinson quickly returned to my side at the controls, he flipped the switch for the recording to start then leaned over the small microphone.
“This is Dr. James Robinson and Professor William Hall on: The Wonderland Experiment. This is human test number one, subject Alexa “Alice” Hall. Are we ready?”
I glared at him, “That’s not the project name…” I muttered.
“William it’s fine, I’m only doing it for Alexa.” He said and pulled open the cover on the starting switch. “Would you like to do the honors?”
I looked out through the thick grey tinted glass at the sterile white room, Alexa nodded at me and I sighed. My hand shook as I reached over and rested my fingers against the cool plastic, “Ready in five, four, three, two…” I took a deep breath and pressed the button. Light filled the white room, I squinted my eyes to see as it dimmed. I watched as Alexa picked up Cheshire and waved back at me before she stepped through the bright doorway.
I watched the monitors closely, my heart hammered in my chest as I waited for them correct the momentarily lost signal do to passage through the portal. Soon the image cleared and my eyes were greeted with the colorful scenery of World B’s abundant plant life.
“Daddy! Daddy! I’m in Wonderland! I’m in Wonderland!” Alexa’s voice crackled over the speakers excitedly as she jumped up and down causing the cameras to jar slightly.
Hearing her voice calmed my nerves a bit and caused Dr. Robinson to spring up from his seat, “We’ve done it, William! Human testing is a success!” he shook my shoulders in his excitement, grinning like a fool.
For a moment I had to admit I was excited as well, until Cheshire’s camera began to blur with swift movement.
“Cheshire, what’s the matter?” Alexa’s voice staticed to life once more before the kitten sprang from her arms and ran across the view of her camera. “Cheshire come back!” Alexa yelled and ran after the small kitten through the colorful underbrush.
“No, no, Alexa! Don’t follow him, just come back.” I said, rapidly my pulse started to rise once again as my little girl ran farther and farther from the place we could reach her.
She blatantly ignored me and only stopped when she found the tiny cat heaving on the ground in a small clearing in the tall trees.
“Alexa, come back, now!” I said, my voice weak and I could tell Dr. Robinson was getting worried too, Alexa was breaking protocol.
“Listen to your father Alice.” Dr. Robinson said over the microphone.
Alexa shook her head, “Cheshire?” she asked reaching out to the kitten. But upon making contact with Cheshire he lashed out, and bit down on Alexa’s small hand. She shouted in pain, and he clawed at her legs hissing. The speakers screamed and a flash of red filled the screen before both the cameras filled with static.
Horrified, Dr. Robinson and I rushed to correct the signal and put the Dimensional Shift back online so we could send in a team to get Alexa back. My heart beat out of my chest and my palms sweat as I went through the necessary codes and commands to bring the system online.
Fear and anger made my blood boil, “I warned you something would go wrong! You idiotic fool thinking we could send a child to another dimension! If my daughter dies it is on your head!” I shouted at him, as I frantically worked to bring the cameras back on line. Dr. Robinson said nothing only worked with worry and hurt etched onto his facial features.
Fifteen minutes of pure tension and typing and we were able to open the door again having not been able to reactivate the camera on either Alexa or Cheshire for more than a few moments, getting only flashes of green or purple.
The flash of light as the Dimensional shift came on was no shock, but what stepped out of it made the doctor gasp in horror and a sent cold shivers down my spine.
A very large jet black cat-like creature backed out of the portal and into the room, it dragged my motionless daughter with it. In fear we watched on as the creature turned to face us, it’s eyes red and glowing in the now dim white room. It let out something that sounded like a hiss and a roar mixed with the scraping of nails on a chalkboard as it paced around the body of Alexa. It nudged her slightly and she moved.
Upon seeing this sign of life adrenaline pumped through my veins. I quickly threw open the heavy metal door and rushed into the room only to be confronted by the black creature, standing in between me and my daughter.
“Ch- Cheshire…” Alexa mumbled and instantly the creature turned to her, it slunk over with unnatural movements, the angles of it’s limbs seemed to shift with every step. I stood frozen in terror as it stepped up to her it’s long fangs grazed against her skin, it drew it’s tongue over the bite mark on her hand.
Slowly Alexa’s arm began to turn black, it looked like someone had dropped paint into water the way it ate away at the natural color of her skin. Her head turned towards me as she stroked what I assumed was her once small kitten having been mutated by the other world into a monster.
Alexa’s once blue eyes now gleamed a sick looking grey hue, the irises surrounded with black. She stood, and Cheshire ran it’s tongue over a set of scratches on her leg, the same blackness starting to seep into it. “Daddy, I’ve been to Wonderland…” her voice was a mockery of it’s once soft childish tone.
“A-Alexa?” My voice faltered and with wide eyes I stepped back, fear and hate gripped my chest. Fear for my little girl and hate for the man who caused me to send her to that wretched world.
Cheshire let out another ear splitting hiss and Alexa growled, “Daddy my name is Alice, and I’m from Wonderland.” She looked to her creature then back to me.
He attacked me and everything went black. Upon coming to, Dr. Robinson and everyone else in the building was dead, their throats and chests all dripping the black that was in Alexa’s arm. The machine was broken, as well as all the heavily bolted doors that lead out to the rest of the world.
I know we may have sent my daughter to World B, but what returned was not Alexa…
Jillian Bernstein just lost her grandfather a few days ago. She was 18, but very attached to her 85 year old grandfather. Heartbroken and depressed, she kept pondering about the wonderful times they spent together. Her grandfather was a Jewish man, and a survivor of the horrific Nazi era after the Second World War. He told her vivid narrations of the war, the sufferings of the Jews at the hands of the Germans, and how he escaped the concentration camp as his father’s friend was a German soldier. “You’d not have been born today, Jillian, if I was murdered at the concentration camp”, said old Mr. Rick Bernstein jokingly. A retired engineer and a widower at a young age, Mr. Bernstein had made a fortune at stocks. He owned a big 3 floor-Victorian house in the countryside who always wished his son’s family live with him, and they did. Jillian’s parents were doctors and extremely busy with career, and Jillian was an only child under the sole responsibility of her grandfather. She was brought up, taken to school, swimming lessons, music lessons, even dance parties mainly by her grandfather, whom she considered her hero. She got to see much less of her parents, and they’d unite for lunches or dinners especially during festivals. However, they were one happy little family, where the little girl grew up to be her grandfather’s princess, until her graduation and time came for her to leave home for college.
By then, Mr. Bernstein had grown old and developed liver cancer. He knew he didn’t have much time to live, so he tried to spend maximum time with Jillian whom he adored the most in the world. He would cheer up his depressed granddaughter, his son and daughter-in-law, giving valuable advice and suggestions. He was under constant treatment and monitoring under the care of the best doctors in the area, so he could participate actively in his grand-daughter’s graduation ceremony, days after which she was to leave for college. His Jillian was going to Yale University, a renowned Ivy League school in Connecticut, to study Biomedical engineering. He was a really proud old man.
Jillian left home with a heavy heart, promising to call her grandfather every day, and speak to her parents regularly. In the first few days of orientation, she found it difficult to concentrate. A few months went by fine, she made new friends and began enjoying her new classes. She used to call home every day to speak to everyone….but one day she found the phones ringing and nobody picked up, even the cellphones. That was very weird. This continued for another day, when her mom called her back. “Grandpa wants to see you, Jillian”. Jillian drove in to her hometown the next evening, and stood in front of her house, totally dark as if nobody was home. She was sure grandpa must have been hospitalized, and everyone was there with him as well. She was just about to turn around and move towards her car, she saw a light turn on at her grandpa’s room. Oh well, so he’s in! She eagerly entered the house; grandpa might have opened the door knowing that Jillian will be arriving soon! He knew she could never ignore his call.
The house looked desolate and dark. Her parents, as usual, were not home. There was a long and dark corridor leading to her grandpa’s room at the other end. It was almost late evening, and winter, so it was pretty dark. There was always insufficient lights in this part of the house…grandpa couldn’t tolerate bright lights. She worked her way through the dark, and suddenly felt someone standing in front of his room. It was not the old man…it was a short young lady with long curly hair! Even before the astonished Jillian could ask who she was, the young lady turned her face to her and laughed the most horrendous laughter she ever heard of….loud and eerie, not like a human being. The world turned dark in front of her eyes and she fainted….
Jillian woke up, with a gentle touch on her forehead. It was her grandpa’s touch; she knew it for ever since she was little. She opened her eyes, her night-suit drenched with sweat, and she was in her hostel bed!! Her house, the dark entrance, grandpa’s dimly lit room had vanished right from in front of her eyes! She kept wondering about what had just happened, or was it a mere nightmare? Who was the young lady with curly hair, standing in front of her grandfather’s room? She has never seen her before, her eerie laughter sent shivers down her spine. As she was pondering over her dream, she looked at the clock. It was about 4:35 am. Suddenly the phone rang. It was her father, calling her with the news of her dear grandpa’s death about 10 minutes ago. For some time before his death, the delirious old man kept talking to his deceased 23 year old wife, Jillian’s grandmother, asking her to wait for him at his door till they join hands after 60 years of her death.
Credit: Nivedita Lahiri
It was on Gloria’s 10th birthday that she first heard the most beautiful sound in her life. She remembered the pealing of church bells at her Aunt Kathy’s wedding. She recalled the sweet songs her mother would sing to her. She remembered an opera she’d heard at the age of eight, an experience that had transfixed her. But none of them meant anything anymore. This, only this, was the most beautiful thing in the world. It stirred every part of her. She felt an unstoppable mix of fear, of sadness, hope and glory, all stirred into one powerful, twisting, evolving, torturous feeling.
When the song ended, Gloria was speechless. The Organist, too, sat motionless for a while, before turning around and looking at Gloria with wild, passionate eyes.
“There you are!” Coming down the stairs, Gloria’s mother grabbed her daughter’s hand. “I was worried sick.”
The Organist spoke, surely and slowly.
“I am sorry. Your daughter must have heard me practicing and wandered in.”
“Oh, it’s fine.” A pause. She seemed uneasy. “I… should be going.”
Gloria’s mother tried taking her away, but the girl struggled with all her might. She needed to hear more.
“Gloria!” Her mother pulled her, and Gloria’s teeth sank down, hard.
Five years passed. The scars on her arm had healed, but the memory was still festering in Gloria’s head. The Opera, she said, take me back to the opera. Every birthday, every christmas. It became an obsession, a compulsion. All she truly cared about was hearing it again.
Her mother was hesitant to bring her back. Sometimes she would lie awake at night, remembering the look in her daughter’s eyes. Of fear, of fury. She was like an addict. Gloria was okay most of the time. She’d go weeks without mentioning it. But one little thing could re-trigger the obsession, and she’d pour over books and search tirelessly to find out what she had heard. Mary had asked her daughter countless times what she heard, but all she could get was painted in broad strokes.
“This really pretty music.”
“Like singing, but from a big piano”
Years went by, and she searched and searched for better words.
“An entire orchestra, in one voice.”
“This haunting melody, overlapping itself over and over in a quilt of sound and feeling.”
Out of exhaustion and a dash of morbid curiosity, Mary made the choice. For her 15th birthday, Gloria received the one gift she’d pined for for years.
They watched the Opera. A beautiful performance, in Mary’s eyes, but Gloria saw nothing but noise and flair.
After, Gloria split from her mother. She sifted through the crowd, and got behind the stage. Down the hallway, to the door that had led her down to the most beautiful thing in her world.
It wasn’t there.
Where the door had been, there was solid brick. She knocked on it. Solid. The paint was as old as the rest of the wall, peeling a bit and yellowed at the edges.
Tears streamed down her face, shocked at the disappointment. Defeated, she started to walk back to her mother.
But she bumped into someone.
It was the Organist. Or was it? Her face looked… different. But it was the same woman, the same fiery eyes that burned through her soul five years ago. But her face? Completely different.
“Are you alright?” The organist asked, a young voice. Her face was barely 25 years old. The first night, she must have been at least 70. Was it Gloria’s young eyes, distorting the adults? Nostalgia’s haze?
She opened up right away. Everything came gushing out, the organ, the years of waiting, the obsessing. How she wanted to hear it again. Had to hear it again. Where was it?
The Organist looked on in fascination and confusion. “My girl, I am afraid I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’ve never heard of such a thing.”
Horror consumed Gloria. She couldn’t get a single word out. It was then that Mary found her daughter, once more. She didn’t recognize the Organist, who looked nothing like the woman in the basement so long ago.
Gloria sat up in her bed, the tears rolling down her cheeks and splashing down onto her soft blankets. It was almost five hours later that she found the note. On it were some words, and a number. “Tell me about the organ,” followed by a number.
She called it that night. She used every word she could, but none came close to describing it.
“I can make it.” The voice said, after a long pause.
Gloria’s heart began to race. This was all she’d ever needed.
“But you’ll have to show me how it sounds.”
“What?” This was impossible. Nothing came close.
“Your voice. You have to recreate the sound somehow. It’s the only way.”
“But I…” The call ended.
She called, every now and then, but the number was always out of service. When she learned to drive, Gloria would visit the place every once in a while, to see if the woman was there, or if the room came back, or if there were a single shred of evidence that what she heard that night were real. She also studied a lot. She poured over music libraries, over online databases, she asked professionals, she travelled when she could.
But more than anything else, she sang. Her parents paid for lessons. She sang in the choir, performed in front of audiences as a solo singer. It became her entire life.
She got into the country’s top performance arts school. There, she could spend all of her time perfecting her voice. Emulating this sound that moved her in a way beyond compare. She studied under the greats. After tragedy struck her, Michelle Godovia, one of Gloria’s greatest role models, took her on as a pupil. Gloria was lauded as one of the greatest singers in the world. She performed in the operas as the prima donna. She studied the organ. Mastered it, in the words of her listeners. But none of it came even a little bit close.
A few times, in the crowd, she thought she spotted the Organist. In the audience, on the street, in the corner of the bar. Different ages every time, from a woman in her thirties to one in her fifties.
At 25, she was alone.
Her personal relationships had crumbled. The one woman she had been close to, her mother, had been taken from her in a fatal car accident three years back. Her obsession drove her away from ever getting close to another person. Her skill eclipsed that of her tutor’s. But the Organ! God, how its music haunted her dreams. It taunted her constantly. She heard a note or two, in the screeching of the brakes on a subway rail or the singing of a bird. She heard a chord of it on the radio one day, only to find that it was her own voice playing in a radio special. The crushing reminder brought her to tears once more.
She thought about ending it, a few times. She knew she’d never recreate the sound. So why live any longer? But it passed, and she moved on every time. This time hurt more than before, though. So she did the unthinkable.
She dug up the note from a lockbox upstairs. She put the number into her phone and prayed.
She wept into the phone. The Organist, the Organist, she’d finally responded.
“I can’t do it. I’m sorry. I can’t sing like the Organ.”
“You will.” Confidence, but distant with a tinge of sadness. “It’s your destiny. But first, you must feel more. You must feel everything.”
She travelled a lot. Went to clubs. She drank, she danced. Lights and sound and sex. The drugs consumed her for years at a time. She killed a man, once. He grabbed her outside a club, and Gloria responded with a swift kick to the shins. The man buckled over, and she drew a slender blade from her purse. She had to do it. She had to know what it felt like to slide the dagger across his neck, to feel the hot blood as it ran down her hand. Aliases, a few gallons of hair dye, a new country and a new home. She broke countless hearts, and broke her own even more regularly.
She saw the Organist. Here and there. She never made contact. But she kept singing. She sang and sang and sang and sang but still everything she made was just a little bit off. Her voice was perfect, but the Organ was beyond perfect. It had little cracks in its sound where the entirety of human nature could slip through and whisper to you. Hers did not.
It was her 43rd birthday when she saw the Organist the next time. She got a call, and flew home right away to meet with her. The woman was in her mid forties. Gloria had half a mind to kill the Organist, to end it there, but she knew that this woman was her only chance at hearing that music one more time. So she sat, and heard the woman’s story.
“Time doesn’t treat me the same way it treats you. My life, from your perspective, is completely out of order. When I first met you, you were already a woman.”
Gloria shuddered, involuntarily. She’d seen too much to think the woman was lying. This was the truth.
“But I have been working, tirelessly, on this instrument. The blueprints are incredible. Would you like to see them?”
“Finish your drink first, then I’ll take you there.”
In her excitement, it took Gloria until now to notice that there was something in the drink. She stood up, and her world went dark.
When she came to, she opened her eyes to darkness. It took a few minutes for them to adjust. She could just barely make out the shapes. Stacks of papers, boxes of tools and odds and ends taken from furniture and toys and machines. She tried to move, but she was tied down to the table with leather straps. She made out a figure, hunched over in the darkness. Its hands moved frantically to and fro.
“I’ve waited for years, Gloria. I’ve been watching you. I’ve killed for you. I’ve killed myself for you, over and over again. Playing with fate. Crafting you into my perfect being.”
The Organist stood up, and turned around. “You’re just in time to see me finish it. I only need one last piece.” She produced a scalpel from her robes. “You.”
Credit: Spencer Flash