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  • Directed by: Max Pachman
  • 2019
  • movie Info: The American Dream becomes a nightmare for a group of undocumented day laborers hired by a wealthy couple. What they expect to be their biggest payday turns into a terrifying fight for survival
  • stars: Lynn Collins, Josue Aguirre
  • Ratings: 5,8 / 10 stars


My mom's death came unexpectedly during a stressful Christmas season. At the ripe old age of twenty-seven, she collapsed in the kitchen from an apparent heart attack, leaving behind this world and her six year old son. I remember her arguing with my Grandpa, though what they discussed was beyond what my young mind could comprehend. “It's adult stuff, ” they simply responded as I asked. The three of us lived together, my mom, my Grandpa and myself, seeing as my father left long before I was born. Leaving nothing behind but a note saying he wasn't ready for children, running off and never looking back. In his absence, Grandpa had stepped up, taking his place as a father figure. He must've been in his late seventies by the time I was born. Though none of us knew for certain, because he'd always joke about the answer whenever asked. But, even with his advancing age, he never took a day off, always working to provide for the for the family. Despite the sudden onset of her sickness, my mom didn't die immediately. They managed to keep her alive for a week in the hospital, and they worked around the clock to keep her going, doing their best to figure out what had caused her heart to suddenly give up. She spent the remainder of her life in a coma, and I kept her company for as long as I could. My Grandpa would take care of me while waited for her to pass, making sure I ate, and just sitting by my side as I held my mother's hand, desperately wishing for her to come back to me. On the day of her death, my mother briefly regained consciousness. Only awaking to look deep into my eyes, staring intently into my soul, as if she was letting me know everything would be alright. She reached out her hand, grabbing onto mine tightly, and I felt a surge of energy flowing through my body, one filled with pure love and joy, making the hairs on my arms stand up. During that split second, our souls merged for the briefest of moments, and something that had existed within my mother was passed over to me. Then, as quickly as it began, it faded away my, and mother fell silent in her bed, an ominous beep filling the room, as doctors and nurses rushed to her aid. They did what they could to bring her back for a second time, but in the end she was a lost cause. Following her death, Grandpa took me out for burgers and a milkshake. It was a tradition that had started years prior, when he discovered that pretty much any time I felt sad, it could be remedied, or at least helped with a burger and a strawberry milkshake. Though it was just a minor act of kindness, one that couldn't ease the fact of my mom's death, it brought me a sense of normalcy, briefly taking away the feeling that the world had just ended. Two weeks passed, and the funeral had been arranged. We didn't have much family to speak of, but my mom was a well liked person at work, with plenty of friends who showed up to pay their final respects. I'd seen a few of them before; Her boss: Mr. Roberts, and her best friends. But as a kid, I didn't feel all that comfortable around people who were essentially strangers, and it took me a while to get used them. I stood by Grandpa, holding onto his hand tightly, as different people spoke a few words. I listened intently to the stories they told, and thought about my own favorite memories. Then, as I looked up to see the next speaker take the stand, I saw something surrounding all the guests. It was vague as first, hardly noticeable at all, but as people got closer to me, I noticed a clear outline hanging around them, clinging onto each and every person at the funeral. Like an aura radiating out from their bodies, varying in both intensity and emotion. While most were gleaming with strong, brilliant auras, spreading around the church with a sense of hope and joy, others looked darker; Feeling more pitiful and empty, as if their life force was simply lacking, or spread too thin. Among the weak ones, Mr. Roberts stood out with his pitch black aura, his energy paling in comparison to the rest, full of despair and a bizarre feeling of intense agony. He'd looked miserable since the beginning of the funeral, but until then I assumed it to be due to the circumstances. Now, I noticed he carried himself in a strange way, each step he took was a struggle. I turned to my Grandpa, who also had a magnificent aura surrounding him. He immediately noticed that something was bothering me, and quickly got me out of there without asking any questions. I wanted to tell him what I'd seen right then and there, but something within me made me keep quiet, as if telling him would be wrong, an dthat I had to carry the burden on my own. The vision faded as soon as we'd left the funeral, and my Grandpa assumed the mass of people, and that the somber atmosphere was just too much for me. We went home, and I thought that would be the end of it, until a few days later when I overheard Grandpa on the phone mentioning that Mr. Roberts had passed away suddenly, and that he'd send flowers since he had meant a great deal to my mom. Even at a young age, I was able to connect the dots, and realized his horrible aura at the funeral meant he had been only days away from death. Years passed, and the vision had become little more than a distant, childhood memory to be ignored. I started school, and lived a relatively normal life, though a bit of a loner who kept quiet, and without a large family, I was more or less happy. My grandpa took it upon himself to teach me all the important aspects of life. From cooking, washing, reading and math, to more personal issues such as love and respect. As an avid hunter, he even took me along once, teaching me about gun safety and such. After a couple of sessions we both realized it wasn't for me, but I appreciated the effort nonetheless. For all intents and purposes, he was my father. Nevertheless, I kept calling him Grandpa, and he never seemed to mind. The next vision would come to me on the school bus. I sat in my designated seat and listened to music, just doing my best to ignore all the noise around me, as we slowly made our way to class. As I glanced up, I suddenly noticed the same beautiful aura I had seen so Smany years ago, now surrounding all the other kids on the bus, everyone full of hope, unique and magnificent in their own way. everyone except for Lucy. Lucy suffered from Leukemia, which at the time, I didn't understand the severity of. My immature brain still not realizing that death could strike anyone at any moment, regardless of age. Her aura was weak, though not rid of all life force, it had definitely diminished to the point where she was standing on death's doorstep. Lucy was sick, and it had been showing for quite some time. Despite her illness, she kept her great attitude and eternal optimism. Though she was more of an introvert, she was well liked, but kids are immature, and since her diagnosis, many had shied away in fear of her sickness. Knowing exactly what her aura meant, I decided to sit next to her, just to keep her company while she slowly inched towards the end of her line. We started talking, and to my surprise we had a lot in common. Daily bus rides together turned into daily lunches, and before long, we became good friends. During the following months, we spent pretty much every day together, hanging out after school, watching movies, talking about our hopes and desires. She confessed a lot of her inner secrets during out talks. That death wasn't something she'd been prepared for, and that she was horrified of what came after. Then she told me she'd never kissed anyone before, which at the age of thirteen wasn't a big deal, neither of us had any relationship experience, but in her case she feared she would miss out on a lot of important milestones in life. It was through Lucy I learned that with the appropriate amount of focus, I could actually lock in on individual people's aura. Rather than having uncontrolled bouts of my visions, which left me exhausted and confused, I could see each person's aura as I interacted with them. Her aura kept fading as the disease took its course, but despite the vanishing life force, the quality seemed just slightly better. Rather than the dull energy I'd seen on the bus the first day we spoke, there was a glimmer of joy hidden beneath, and even though I couldn't say it for certain, I like to think I made a positive impact. As her birthday came around, I brought her chocolate, flowers and a dinner invitation. A proper date that had been part of her bucket list for the longest time, and I fully intended to make the best of it. We ate at an Italian restaurant, and with our exquisite taste in food, we naturally ordered pizzas. The dinner was followed by a movie. Her pick was horror, which for whatever bizarre reason had always been her favorite. The movie itself wasn't anything beyond average, and as we grew tired and started leaning on each other, I felt truly content with life. I'd almost fallen asleep by the time the movie ended, and just as we lifted or tired heads and turned towards each other, a spark ignited, and we shared our first kiss. It was the purest, and genuinely one of my happiest moments. Even when the kiss itself wasn't the best, being her first and mine as well, our friendship had over the course of a year, flourished into something deeper. One of the most beautiful years of my life, only to immediately be followed by one of the worst. never wanted to die in a hospital. In her mind, an unexpected death at home would be better than a drawn out month in hospice care, full of suffering before her body finally gave out. We'd both just turned fourteen, and I'd come to pick her up for a walk in the snow filled park, during a particularly cold winter. As I arrived, her mother invited me in, explaining that Lucy was getting ready for our date. I knocked on her door, once, twice, and yet she didn't respond. Having seen her weakening aura for the better part of a year, I quickly spiraled into panic. Without hesitation, I barged in to see her lying on the bed, looking as if she was just sleeping, but her aura had completely vanished. No pulse, no breathing. Lucy had died quickly and peacefully from an embolism, all while she waited for our date. Honestly, it wasn't the death on its own that haunted me the most; We'd all expected it, and thus made the most of the short time we had together. What truly tore a hole in my heart was the empty seat on the bus, serving as a constant reminder that Lucy was gone, that I had once again outlived one the most important people in my life. My Grandpa, was naturally just as distraught as myself, and as he had always done, ever since I was a kid, he took me out for burgers and a strawberry milkshake. We talked, and laughed, and I admitted my feelings for Lucy, who'd been my first unofficial girlfriend. Then, just for a moment, with all the emotions brought on by reminiscing, and just mentioning her, gave me another vision. I hadn't intended for it, but I unintentionally got a glimpse of my Grandpa's aura, and I saw that it had rapidly diminished into a bleak version of its former self. “Grandpa, are you feeling alright? ” I asked as a reflex. He gave me a peculiar look before answering. “Of course, kiddo, a bit tired, but I'm as good as ever, ” he said with a smile on his face, but it didn't feel real. There was something unsettling behind his cheerful facade, as if he knew he exactly what I'd seen, that his time on Earth was a limited resource. Time takes its toll, and there's not a single person in this world strong enough to withstand its ever present tide. Grandpa's once bright and fantastic aura had turned dull, and his time would soon come. At that point, I still hadn't told anyone about my gift. Not that it would've mattered, as death would always be an inevitable part of life, one people would rather keep as a surprise. Instead, I decided to spend as much time with him as possible, just as I did with Lucy. Naturally, he was ecstatic to have me around more, though a bit confused to my newfound, clingy behavior. “How old are you anyway? ” I asked him during one of our many lunches. “I'm 105! ” He chuckled. Another false number like he always gave. A few nights later, just as I'd fallen over the edge into the realm of dreams, I was abruptly awoken by sounds down in the garage. I carefully peeked out through the window, to see our car pull away from the driveway, quickly leaving the street. I snuck down, to my Grandpa had gone missing. I tried calling him, but it went straight to voicemail. Then I sat nervously in the kitchen, staring out the window as I awaited his return. Once a couple of hours had passed, I was about ready to call the police, but just as I picked up the phone, he came driving back, parking the car down the street and walking the rest in an attempt at being quiet. As he opened the door, I immediately noticed something that should have been reassuring, but instead it sent a dreadful shiver down my spine. the brief two hours he'd been gone, his aura had grown stronger. Not stronger in the sense that the quality had improved, or even changed, but his actual life force had increased as if he'd gone back several decades in time. “Where were you? ” I blurted out as he walked past the kitchen. “H-hey, kiddo, didn't realize you were still awake, ” he stuttered. “I- I- just went to the pub. Needed time to think, didn't mean to wake you. ” “Think about what? ” “I haven't been feeling like myself lately, just needed to get some thoughts in order. ” At that point his mysterious disappearance gave way to a hint of anger. “And you were drinking and driving? ” “Just half a beer, I would never drive impaired. ” He walked over and hugged me, promising everything was alright, and without any further explanation he said he needed to sleep. Maybe I was naive, and should have dug deeper, but at the time I blindly accepted his explanation, and that was that. A few years passed, and my Grandpa remained his strong, hard working self. I myself had just reached eighteen years of age, which meant I was legally an adult, and had successfully sent out a bunch of college applications to be rejected, while I worked part time. Each year I'd made a tradition out of visiting both my mother's and Lucy's graves on their respective birthdays. I never felt like I'd gotten closure following my mother's death, with the doctors failing to explain what killed her at such a young age. I put flowers on their graves, and spoke to them for an hour, hoping they had found peace on the other side. Even without being particularly religious, it helped me cope with the loss. In the meanwhile, it seemed my Grandpa had developed a ritual of his own, or maybe it was one I just hadn't noticed before. Over time his aura kept growing weaker, and as it did, he would disappear for a couple of days at least once a year, blaming it on either a business trip, or old friends, only to return with an aura as strong as ever. Since I learned to control my ability, I'd seen auras come in all shapes and forms, but never had I seen someone with a fluctuating aura, and with his biannual disappearing acts, I had started to grow suspicious. After some contemplation, I decided to follow him. To prepare for the eventual stalking, I kept a close eye on his constantly diminishing aura, knowing that once it reached a certain point, he'd leave on one of his trips. December quickly rolled around, and he made the excuse that he had to visit an old friend who had fallen ill earlier in the year. With my part time job I'd finally saved up enough money for a car, and in the snowy weather, following him discretely proved to be an easy enough task. He drove a couple of hours over to the next town, and eventually pulled into a street leading to a run down neighborhood. I observed him from afar, and made sure I parked my own car on the next street over. I quickly sprinted over to follow him on foot, while he waited outside the door to an old house. After what felt like an eternity, he knocked a second, and then a third time. Once the door opened, he was greeted by a man in his late eighties; Too frail to keep upright without the support of his cane, and his aura just as feeble. He took one look at my Grandpa, sighed, and invited him inside. I snuck over to one of the windows, and watched them walk into the kitchen. They sat themselves down around a table without speaking a word, and the old man poured them both a tall glass of whiskey. While my Grandpa didn't touch his drink, the old man instantly chugged his own in one large gulp, before snatching the other glass. “How did you find me? ” the man finally asked. My Grandpa responded quietly, inaudible through the window. “And now you've come to collect what little life I have left, huh? All so you can keep on living for another hundred years, ” he said matter of factly, without the faintest hint of surprise or fear. Grandpa didn't respond, he just sat quietly and stared at the man. “Well, I'm half way dead anyway, no point fighting it. ” “Any last wishes, James? ” “How about fuck you? I should have killed you when I had the chance, ” the man said as he chugged his second glass of whiskey. He slammed his empty glass down on the table, and stared into Grandpa's eyes. “Get on with it then. ” After a short moment of intense silence, and the two men staring each other down, my Grandpa reached out his hand, grabbing the old man by his arm. The man instantly froze in place, and his angry expression was replaced by one of intense agony. He tried to pull his arm free, but his muscles were paralyzed by the grip, he could do nothing but watch as his own life force drained. “Fuck you, ” he let out one last time. Within the span of ten seconds, his aura had completely vanished, and he fell over dead on the table, all the while my Grandpa's aura improved ever so slightly. I slumped down on the ground in shock, horrified by what I'd just witnessed. Heartbroken by the fact that the only person I'd relied on since the death of my mother was a murderer. As I heard my Grandfather open the door, I quickly ducked out of sight around a corner, where I patiently waited for him to leave. Once I heard his car drive away, I darted into the house to the dead man's aid, frantically trying to call an ambulance. It felt like hours passed between dialing the number and the ambulance arriving, and be it out of morbid curiosity or the need to figure out how to prevent more deaths, I went searching through the house for answers. The two of them had clearly known each other, and if I was lucky, maybe I could get answers. His mail read: “Gordon Lewis, ” which didn't match what my grandfather had called him, so I figured it could be a fake name. I kept digging, through closets, drawers, and wardrobes, desperate to find any information at all before the paramedics arrived. As I rummaged through his bedroom, I noticed a box stuffed under his bed, marked: “Charles Bishop. ” I opened the box to find newspaper clippings and several bundles of pictures. Some of the older, more worn out photos were sepia toned, and pictured a middle aged man holding a Ring-Necked pheasant he'd hunted, alongside a smiling kid diligently holding onto a rifle. The date on the photo read January 17th 1939, and the back read “Charles and James Bishop, first hunting session. ” The pictures were all dated in the late thirties and early forties, and as I studied them I realized that the man bore a striking resemblance to my grandfather. I grabbed another bundle that seemed to contain pictures from the seventies, and the same man, albeit slightly older, appeared in most of the photographs. It was, without an ounce of doubt, my grandfather, except in the span of the past eighty years, he'd barely aged. Most of the newspaper clippings held stories about mysterious deaths and murders throughout the 20th century, while the rest were just obituaries. At the bottom of the box, I pulled out a much newer photograph, one with the date October 10th 1992. I almost dropped it in shock when I realized I had seen the photo before. It was one of our own family pictures, just my mother, my grandfather, and myself as an infant. I quickly shuffled through the photos again to make a basic timeline. The man who had raised me, who I had called 'Grandpa. for the better part of my life, had to be at the very least, over a century old. As the ambulance arrived with its blaring siren, I collected some photos from the box, and met them at the door. A couple of paramedics barged in while a police officer started questioning me about what I'd seen. At a first glance, the murder scene didn't look suspicious at all, just a heart attack that I happened to witness. A part of me desperately wanted to tell them about my grandfather. That I'd seen him suck the life out of the poor, old man, but I knew that would more than likely put me in a psychiatric institution, and that if he ever figured out that I'd accused him, he might come after me. So, I made my own plan to bring him down. Once I drove home, I snuck in through the garage, which lead into a back room where we stored our hunting equipment. I grabbed one of the rifles, figuring that if I were to confront him, I should at least have the chance to defend myself. I quietly made my way into the kitchen, to find my grandfather sipping on a glass of whiskey, visibly distraught. Without letting him notice me, I put the rifle down behind the corner, and placed myself in the doorway, a safe distance from him. As he noticed me, he tried to shake off his miserable demeanor and quickly put on a fake smile. “Hey kiddo, didn't see you there, where have you been? ” he said, trying to sound casual. Speechless, I just threw the bundle of pictures onto the table. He took one glance and immediately recognized them. “Where did you find these? ” he asked nervously. “I saw you, with that man, ” was all I managed to get out before the words froze in my throat. With the context provided he didn't need to ask what I meant. He knew he'd been caught red handed. “I followed you today, to that house, where you-” the words froze in my throat. He stood up from his chair, wearing a worried expression on is face as he walked towards me. “It's really not what it looks like, ” he started saying. Before he could reach me, I grabbed the rifle and pointed it directly at his chest. “Woa, what are you doing? ” “Stay the fuck away from me, I saw how you killed that man! ” I shouted on the brink of tears. He started backing away with his hands raised. “Please, you- you don't understand, just- just put the gun down. ” I kept the rifle pointed at him with trembling hands, as he backed into a corner, almost falling over. “I saw the photos, I know how you kill people to stay alive, ” I said. He froze in place as I inched closer. “How many have you killed? ” “No, it's not like that, they- they weren't good people, I wouldn't- I- I-” Whether it was the intense emotion of that moment, or if it was just the next stage in my developing ability, I don't know, but something about his aura changed. As if the hundreds of souls he'd stolen started to split apart, enough for me to recognize each individual person he'd killed. Hundreds of lives sacrificed only to give him a few extra years on Earth, and though the vast majority of them were strangers I didn't know, I recognized the old man he'd killed, and I saw one that sent shivers down my spine. mother. “I chose them specifically because they hurt others, please, you have to believe me, ” he begged as I snapped back to attention. “My mother? You- you killed her, ” I said with barely a whisper. “She- she threatened to stop me, I tried to talk her out of it, but she wouldn't listen. I'm- I'm sorry. ” He tried to approach me again, but I quickly pressed him back. “Are you going to kill me? ” he asked in terror. I thought about for a moment, a part of me desperately wanted to pull the trigger, to avenge my mother. Unfortunately, I couldn't separate the monster that stood before me from the man that raised me, a person I still loved and cared for. “No, but I'm going to call the police, ” I said as confidently as I could. I picked up the phone to call the police, looking away for a split second. “Stop that! ” my grandfather shouted as he grabbed onto my rifle, trying to snatch it away from me. As I tried to get it back, I pulled too hard on the trigger, accidentally firing off a shot that hit him straight in his chest. He let go, and without speaking another word, he fell, dead before he even hit the ground. Following the shot, my memory went hazy. I vaguely remember dialing the number, the paramedics showing up along with the police. They asked me several questions, but in the end it was deemed an accident, and with the various aliases the police found linked to my grandfather, no chargers were pressed against me. He had lived an extraordinary long life, at the cost of others. Whether most of the people he killed deserved it or not, I do not know, but I'm certain he didn't do it to better the world. As for me, nothing has been the same following my grandfather's death. Not only because I've been left alone by everyone I ever loved, but because as his life drained from his ancient body, our powers merged into one, and while he knew how to control it, for me it's something that always lurk in the background. I can no longer stay too close to people, because the more time I spend with them, the more I passively drain their life force, stealing it unwillingly as their aura slowly grows weak. Maybe I can learn to control it, or maybe this my grandfather's punishment for killing him. Whatever the case, in a twisted turn of events, I've been given the choice between living forever while those around me die a premature death, or to fade away alone. I've already made my choice, no one will get hurt because of me, so I will observe from afar, letting people know when their time is near in the hopes that they'll make the best of what they have left. In the end, it's not the time we're given that matters, but what we do with it that makes life worthwhile...

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Watch Movie Beneath using. The best defense against revolution is a large middle class - they have something to lose in a revolution so they work to keep the unwashed masses from starting anything, and they keep people believing that even if you can't aspire to a private island, a least you can aspire to own your own home in the suburbs if you work hard and eat all your vegetables. In a lot of nations, this role is served by the military - they get fed well and have a few luxuries, they see how much worse off they could be, so they support the status quo. I'm not saying I want it to happen, because civil war is not going to be fun, but if the middle class actually does get reduced to a sufficiently small group, it's going to get messy.

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Hi, my name is Brandon, and my mom needs your help. I guess I do too, if you can get to me. Either way, I hope you can help me figure out whats going on, and how to help my mom. My sister and I were walking home from school yesterday when we saw a car speeding down the street. My sister pushed me closer to the lawn near us, keeping me away from the incoming car. Shes a great sister, and always does her best to keep me safe and out of trouble. Shes sixteen, and Im ten, but sometimes she seems even older. She always looks so worried about something, but Im afraid to ask what.  When the car drove past, she cursed, which I was going to joke about, but her face was very serious, and she looked even more worried than she usually does. Then she did something she hadnt done since I was a little kid; she picked me up! She told me to wrap my arms around her neck and hold on. I squirmed and complained, not wanting to be treated like a little kid in front of the neighborhood—even though I didnt see anyone outside—but I quickly stopped when she said that something was wrong, and we needed to get home as fast as possible.  I wear a leg brace, from when I fell down the stairs a bit over a week ago. I can walk just fine, but moving any faster is a big hassle, and I get tired very quickly if I try. So, I let her carry me. Even with the weight of my backpack and hers, she practically jogged all the way home, and I waved at the few people we saw on their lawns and in their garages as we went by.  We got home only a few minutes later. The walk usually took up about fifteen minutes. Our Dad was standing on the front porch, and he my sister both shared the same faces of worry. My sister—Linda, I forgot to say—put me down, and she ran up to dad. They whispered for a while, and I heard my dad mention something about it being too early to get more of the medication. He said that he —someone else*—*couldnt do anything for her.   Linda looked up our parents' bedroom window, and then my Dad told me to go to the kitchen and make a snack. Even though I hadnt done much walking, I was still a bit hungry, so I happily agreed. I knew not to ask too many questions when things got serious.   We all headed inside, and Linda and my dad went upstairs. I went to the kitchen and started making a burrito from the leftovers of last night, and waited for the muffled sounds that I knew would come, and could—if I really listened—sometimes hear.  I chewed softly, so that the noise wouldnt cover up any sounds from upstairs, and eventually I heard them. On every occasion—including this one—I'd hear my dads voice, soft and comforting, and my sisters, doing the same. A third sound, sort of like animal growls, was always present, but it would eventually go away, and Id hear my mom start to talk after a while. I usually didnt hear her voice for about ten minutes into all this, and until then, the weird animal noises would get louder or quieter depending on my dads voice.  After it was all done, my sister would come down first, and then my dad shortly after, and mom would a few minutes later. She always looked like she had just woken up, and my dad and sister would always have smiles on their faces; but I knew there was still worry beneath those.  So, I waited, patiently eating my ultra-burrito—beef, shredded cheese, salsa and rice—until the usual happened. I heard footfalls on the steps, and my sister came into the kitchen. She messed up my hair and asked if I saved her some of the ground beef—I did—and went to the fridge for some water. Dad came a few seconds later, and he messed up my hair as well. I knew it was their way of saying, “everything is alright. ” and that made me happy.  By the time mom came into the kitchen, the three of us had made burritos—I was on my second one—and we greeted her happily. Rather than mess up my hair, she kissed me on the forehead and asked about my day. Dad, practically choking on his burrito, quickly asked the same; apologizing for not remembering. We all laughed, and I told them about how we had bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches on Texas toast and tater tots for lunch, about how we started practicing for the Pacer test in gym, and how Jacob—my best friend—shot a rubber band in the music substitutes coffee cup. I didnt tell them that I had given Jacob the rubber band.  Later, we all went upstairs to what my dad calls the “game room”, and watched some stuff on Netflix in there. It was Friday, and I had already finished most of my homework, so after the movie they said I was free to play video games as late as I wanted—which really meant only until midnight, when the timer for the Wi-Fi shut off and didnt turn on again until 6am.  Near the end of the movie my mom started looking that way, which is sort of like shes hurting, but I can never figure out exactly where. My dad and sister immediately got those looks of worry on their faces, and my dad said I could go play games now if I wanted. The movie hadnt ended, and I really wanted to see what happened, but I knew better than to talk back during times like that, so I went into my room and turned on my PlayStation 4.  I was confused, because my mom only got like that once or twice a week, it had already happened this morning. It happened last week too, the same day that I fell down the stairs after getting up from bed to go get some water. I remember it more than most times because my dad looked pretty shaken up, and unsure of what to do. After a few moments he had eventually given my sister the keys to his car, and she drove me to the hospital while he helped my mother upstairs—who was apparently in one of her moments of pain. I dont remember exactly what had happened, but my sister spoke for me once we got to the hospital; explaining that I had fallen clumsily and awkwardly, landing on my leg. I agreed, even though I for some reason couldnt remember falling.  As I played my game, I heard my mom moan in pain, and my dad and sister trying to calm her down. I heard shuffling footsteps, which passed by my room after a while. Then I heard the door to my parents room close, and my moms moans of pain started to sound like howls. I turned the volume of my headset up, so that all I could hear was the audio of the video game. I stopped trying to listen, and instead focused on the gameplay. After a few minutes and kills, Linda opened my door and peeked in, and I gave her a smile. She shot one back, but still looked extremely worried; sad, even. She then quickly looked away, and hurried off; forgetting to close my door.  I really hated when they did that—leaving it open. So, I took off my headset—which was wired, and too short to keep on to reach the door—and went over to close it.  Without my headset, and with the door open, I could clearly hear the sounds coming from my mom and dads room. That weird, animal-like growling noise was the loudest, and beneath it I heard my dad and Linda talking fast and harshly. There were other sounds, too. Something that sounded like scraping, and slapping. I knew I shouldnt listen in, knew that I should just close my door and ignore it, but the sounds were so weird, and I was so curious.  I had never questioned them, and always did what my parents said, but I was worried too, and wasnt a little kid anymore. If I could play violent games and watch scary movies, I could know what was going on with my own mom.  So, disobeying my dad for the first time—to his knowledge, at least—I crept out of my room, down the hall, and up to the closed door of their room. I put my ear to the door and listened. I heard those strange noises, which at that point had become very creepy. The weirdest thing about them was that they sounded familiar; even though I was sure that I hadnt heard any animal sound like that. I heard footsteps walking around what mustve been the bed, and I assumed they belonged to my dad and Linda. My mom rarely left the bed when she started having pains.  The animal noises rose from the muffled growls of before to angry-sounding shouts, and I heard the footsteps that I assumed belonged to my Dad and Linda scramble away from the bed. Things were silent for a while, and then another angry, animal cry erupted, and even shook the house! It was so loud that I gasped, but thankfully the sound of the shaking house covered it up. My dad, in a voice that sounded totally scared, said:  “Hey, its okay. Just calm down and well get you through this. Linda and I, see? Shes right there. Im right here. Just relax and well help you get to sleep. ”  I heard him approach the bed, slowly and carefully, and the animal voice responded with a low grumbling, but did not roar again. From the other side of the bed I heard my sister come closer as well. My mom, who I had figured out to be responsible for the animal noises, kept up a low, belly-deep growl, but did not shout at either of them. I was relieved, happy that my dad had managed to calm her down. Feeling a bit ashamed for having listened, I started to turn back, but then I heard something which froze me in place.  From within the room I heard a voice somewhat different from the animal one—a voice that was much calmer, and for some reason its calmness made me uneasy.  “The boy is listening. Let me see him. ”  My dad, who had been whispering calming things to my mom, stopped talking at once, and all the other sounds within the room quieted. I heard Linda, in a voice that sounded like she was crying, say, “Please. No. Not again. ” My dad pretty much repeated what she had said, and he hadnt even tried to hold back the sounds of his sobbing.  Before I could run, or call out an apology, or even think to do anything, the door opened, and I saw it all.  My mom was lying on the bed, with a blanket tightly laid over her legs. The ends of the blanket had been tucked beneath the mattress, as if it was meant to hold her down. Her head rested on a pillow, and her eyes were closed. Her thick brown hair was draped over the pillow, and her face was slick with sweat. Her arms were crossed across her chest. She was obviously sleeping.  My Dad and Linda stood on each side of her, and both had turned to me with expressions of utter horror. I smiled, sheepishly, and—out of nervousness—waved. My dad choked out a noise, which sounded vaguely like “No”, and Linda just stared; open-mouthed and wide-eyed.  Then I realized something odd—beyond their shocked expressions. Mom was on the bed, and Linda and Dad flanked her. So, who had opened the door?  As I asked myself this question, I heard that same animal growling of before, and even though my eyes flicked to my mom, I realized that the sounds hadnt actually been coming from her. The growling originated above me, and my dad and sister both cried out.  Before I could look, something wrapped itself around my neck and pulled me up, as if it meant to hang me. I struggled, and my hands clamped around something felt unusually soft. I could dig my fingers into it, could brace it with my hands and feel something, but it didnt feel solid; didnt feel like it had any real substance.  My dad ran forward to try and help, but whatever had grabbed me had other limbs or hands, and knocked him back roughly. My sister screamed, and grabbed the lamp from the nightstand beside the bed. As my vision became red, and my breathing became hard, she hurled the lamp at something above me, and I was released from the hold of whatever monster had grabbed me. I heard it roar in pain or anger, and before I could thank her, Linda had scooped me up and carried me out of the room.  We ran down the hall until we reached the door of her room, which she kicked open. She set me down on the bed, closed the door, and told me to help her move her bookcase in front of it. I asked about dad, reminded her that he was still trapped in there, but she yelled at me to obey her. I did, reluctantly, and we blocked the door with the tall wooden case. I again asked about dad, and she insisted that he was safe, that the thing wasnt after him.  When I asked who it was after, she started crying, then went and sat on the bed. I didnt know what to do, so I just stood there, half-listening to her crying, half-listening for any sounds of some approaching creature. After a few seconds she wiped her face with the sleeve of her cardigan, then silently motioned for me to come sit by her on the bed. I did as she wanted, and she put an arm around me.  “Do you know what happened before you were born? ” She was eerily calm as she asked this, as if remembering something terrible that could only be spoken from a distant and deeply sad state of mind. I shook my head, assuming she hadnt meant her birth, or any of the moments of her childhood I knew about. She nodded, and continued.  “When you were still in momomach, still a baby inside of her, there was another kid in there as well. Mom and dad were told that they were having twins. But a few months into the pregnancy, the other twin vanished. Disappeared from her belly. You were of course born once it was time for her to give birth. ”  I looked at her, confused, but she didnt offer any other information beyond that brief story. “What happened to it? Where did it go? ” I didnt want to say the word, but I knew that somehow it had died.  “Doctors said that it was an abnormality—a weird event—of birth. A lot of complicated science stuff goes on with the body, and things dont always happen the way they should. ” She looked extremely sad as she said this.  “So, is this related to why mom has always been sick? ” I was starting to piece things together, I thought.  “Yes, in a way. Normally, when such a thing happens, parts of the other baby are absorbed by the remaining baby. It doesnt ‘vanish from thin air, or anything. But somehow” she struggles here, and the tears gather in her eyes again, “somehow, the other baby, your twin, survived. It persisted as something else, and lived in our moms body. There is a man who has been helping us with this situation. Hes the one you saw driving very fast away from our home earlier that day. ”  “What does he do? ” I didnt mean to interrupt, and knew she was going to tell me, but I was so curious about this other baby that shouldve been born with me.  She smiled, tears falling down her face, and continued. “Hes a kind of doctor. This other baby, it lives on in our mom, somehow. As a sentient—er, aware—clump of cells, I guess. Its able to think, to feel, and sometimes tries really hard to do those things through our mom. So hard that it makes her sick. This is where the doctor comes in. He gives her medication that basically quiets the unborn baby, and allows her to feel okay. Years ago, when you were younger, the other baby only tried to talk once or twice every few months. But as the years go by, it gets stronger, and tries to talk more often. The medication is expensive, and aside from that, hard to make in the way we need it. ”  A sound from down the hall interrupted her, and I heard something approaching her bedroom door. The noise was odd, because it sounded like someone walking, but as if they wore only one shoe, and if that shoe were actually a really heavy boot; compared to the relative softness of the other.  Thud for one foot, and a soft pat for the other. It was easy to tell between the two on our hardwood floor.  Linda looked terrified, and had involuntarily grabbed my arm. I put my hands on hers, and told her the bookcase would hold—even though I had no idea if it would. I urged her to continue the story, and she did—while keeping an eye on the door.  “See, mom loves you. She loves me. Shes a great mom, and wouldnt think for a second to let either of us come to harm. And well, she feels the same way about the unborn child. She could, you know. ” I nodded, understanding what she meant. “with the medication, with a high enough dosage. But she cant bring herself to do it. So, she just keeps it quiet for as long as she can, and bears the pain when it crops up. But even though shes tolerated it, even though shes loved it despite the pain it brings her, its not satisfied. It wants to be born. ”  The noises outside her room finally reached the door. What sounded like someone blowing, or the wind coming through a window and hitting a curtain, beat softly against the door. A few books shifted, but otherwise the door was holding strongly.  Linda continued. “One day last week, the other child got really upset. We didnt have much of the medication with us, so we could only give mom a small dose. It wasnt enough, and the thing broke out of her while she slept. Were still now sure how, but apparently it can manifest—come into the world—as a spirit of some kind, or a sort of elemental specter. Like those enemies in that fantasy game you like, where you need a weapon with a special type of enchantment in order to deal damage to them. Well, it got loose, and unfortunately it did so at the same time you happened to be going to get a glass of water. ”  Then, for the first time since it happened, I remembered. I woke up, weirdly thirsty. The air in my room felt very dry, and I couldnt manage to go back to sleep. I got out of bed and left my room, intending to go downstairs to get some water. Before I could go down one step, I felt something wrap around my leg. I dont remember the pain exactly; I know it hurt, and I know it hurt so much that I almost passed out, and only really became aware of things once Linda and I had arrived at the hospital. I never saw what had grabbed me, so I believed that Id just fallen down the stairs.  Linda bent down towards my leg, and started removing my cast and brace. I asked what she was doing, and she said that she was showing me the truth.  When she removed everything and lifted up my pant leg, I saw my leg bare for the first time since the accident. A thick black line, like an unsteady paintbrush stroke, wound up around my leg, from my foot to my kneecap. The blackened skin looked hard, but was soft to the touch when I felt it. Only a few small areas of the skin werent stained by the blackness. I didnt feel any pain, but there was a strange hollowness about the leg, that I cant really describe as anything other than that. Even though the leg was there, something about it felt missing.  “It seized you. It took some of your leg. Nothing to keep you from walking and using it, but stole enough for it to have an idea of what having a leg is like. ”  “Why? ” I asked, with obvious fear in my voice. The barricaded door was still holding.  “Because it resents you for being the one to survive. It wants to be you. Or wants your body. Or wants to copy it. Im not sure, and mom never tells us more than that. ”  Just then, we heard the noises against the door stop, and our dads voice replaced them. “Linda? Brandon? Where are you? ”  “Were in here! ” We said in unison. Linda hopped off the bed, and I joined her; hobbling behind, leaving my brace on the bed. We moved the bookcase aside, and opened the door. Our dad stood there, looking a bit roughed up, but otherwise alright. He looked down at me and started to stutter out something, but Linda interrupted him, saying, “He knows. ”  Dad nodded grimly, then turned to Linda and said that mom had managed to pull it back, but not for long. He told her to take me away from the house for a while. She argued, saying that she wasnt leaving him, but he cut her off and firmly ordered her to do as he said. Im sure Linda wouldve protested more, if dad hadnt suddenly been pulled to the ground. Before we could grab him, he was dragged across the floor back towards his room, and violently thrown inside. I saw his body hit the wall hard before the door slammed shut. Linda screamed and ran forward, but I was too terrified to move. She ran straight ahead but something—something invisible—stopped her and she fell back onto her butt. She was then raised up into the air, as if something had grabbed her by the throat and lifted her up. She was suspended there for a moment, then whatever held her slammed her against the wall. She was slammed, over and over, by some invisible and powerful force. She screamed the first few times, then went suddenly quiet. Despite this, she was still slammed against the wall a couple times more. A dark patch of red—barely visible in the darkness of the hall—had stained the wall. When Lindas body was totally limp, and horribly smashed, the force that held her tossed her body down the stairs.  I had stood there, the whole time, watching my sister be killed. It wasnt until I heard her body land downstairs that I finally thought to act, to do something. I ran back into her room and shut the door. Using all my strength, I managed to push the bookcase back in front of it, barricading myself in.  I then heard those weird, mismatched footsteps approach the door again. The windy, breath-like sound attacked the door, louder this time, and I stumbled to the bed. Lindas laptop was on the bed, and I grabbed it and held it against myself while sitting in the corner. The sounds continued for a while, then stopped.  I didnt want to open the door and check on if the thing was still out there, knew even at my age that that was a dumb idea. So, I just listened closely. It mustve known that I was listening, because I heard that same voice which had spoken earlier; moments before I was grabbed by the neck while standing in the doorway of my parents room.  The voice said: “Brother? May I borrow a sock? My foot is so cold. ”  That was an hour ago. When I did not respond, it laughed, and the power went out a bit later. I dont know what its planning, but the bookcase seems to be strong enough to hold it, even if it could somehow managed to break the door.  I dont have a phone of my own—too young to—and Linda mustve had hers in her pocket when she. I opened her laptop and figured that I may as well write and post somewhere about what happened. Someone, please help us. I know Linda is gone, but my mom and dad could still be alive. Right? Please, you have to help us.

Watch Movie Beneath.
Watch movie beneath usa.
Watch Movie Beneath us.

Watch movie beneath 2013. Ill never forget it. The day I subscribed to unimaginable sorrow. I didnt know what I was doing. I know I cant be blamed for it. I was young and naïve. “Here Danny this is how you play! You prick your finger like this, and then you write your name with the blood, fold it up, make your wish, and burn it in the candle. ” Came 10-year-old Marks voice. I watched as he held the paper out over the candle that sat centered in the middle of our sloppily drawn pentagram. “Here you try. ” He handed me a small piece of ripped paper. I never considered what the consequences could be. “What did you wish for Mark? ” I asked trying to figure something out. “If I tell you it wont come true. ” I shouldve known that. Thats how birthday wishes work to. After some careful consideration I decided to wish that Zack would get hurt super badly. Zack was my school bully and I hated him. I pricked my finger with the needle and wrote my name with the small amount of blood. I held it over the candle and only released it when the flame began to burn my finger. A few weeks later Zack was in a horrible car accident. Both his parents and sister were killed, and he was left in a wheelchair. I had wanted Zack to get hurt, but not like this. His family didnt deserve any of that. I was traumatized by the incident, but I never told anyone that it was my wish. I Asked Mark if his wish came true and he got mad at me and stopped talking to me. In my head that confirmed it. I decided I would never mess with this stuff again. Years later, during college I met Jackie. She was curt, matter of fact, blunt. She dressed in loose jeans and dirty flannels, giving the image that she didnt care about her appearance. I really didnt care for her as a person, bit was forced to work with her on a project regarding the intricacies of modern art. I was only taking an art class an elective because I enjoyed drawing, but my major was Computer Science. She was okay to work with and did her part well enough. I managed to graduate with an associates degree and got a decent job working for a large semi-conductor company. “Happy one-year anniversary Danny. Make sure to check the company website and make your 10 hours of vacation are added. ” My bosss voice conveyed no congratulatory tone. He handed me a cupcake with a “one” shaped candle and walked away from desk. I finished work for the day and decided to stop for some coffee on my way home. I wanted to get the deck re-painted before the sun went down and needed an extra kick after a long day. I was waiting for my Coffee when I heard my name. “Danny? Is that you Danny? ” Came a female voice. I turned and found myself looking at a rather pretty girl about my age. She seemed familiar but I couldnt a figure it out. “Yes, do I know you? ” I asked with no small amount of suspicion. She laughed in a manner I found rather cute. “Yes, you do. ” She stated flatly, waiting for me to recognize her. After a moment she sighed. “Its Jackie. Im Jackie from college. Remember the super boring art project? ” She inquired. I was stunned, and apparently my face showed it. “Pick your jaw up, you look like an idiot, ” she teased with a laugh. We both got our coffee and sat at a table to catch up. When we decided to leave, I worked up some courage and asked her for her number. “Oh, I get it, now youre into me, but in college I wasnt good enough for you? ” She teased with a gleam in her eye. I shrugged apologetically and decided to play her game right back. “To be fair, in college you dressed like a bum. Acted like it to if I remember correctly, ” I fired back with a smirk. I was sifting through my memories, trying to remember if she had ever showed any interest in me. She sat up in her chair for a moment with a look of surprise, and then settled back down, resting her chin on her fist. “Touché, ” she conceited. A small smile appeared on her lips. “Hand me your phone. I think that I would like to see you again after all. ” I couldnt help but feel a little flattered. Again, I wore my emotions on my sleeve, and she saw right through me. “Your blushing, ” She stated. I could feel my cheeks get a bit hotter. She giggled that cute giggle again, and with that we said our goodbyes and headed our separate ways. We continued dating for some time. Things were going incredibly well. We spent many evenings out together, frequenting bars and clubs, or sitting at home, watching movies and shows with just each other as company. We decided she would move into my apartment, as it was larger and closer to her work. To commemorate the occasion, we got a kitten. Despite Jackies tomboyish nature, she insisted that we name it Mittens. I avoided using the name at every possible chance, preferring just to call it cat. I could feel second hand embarrassment every time she would say its name in her baby voice. It was a few months later that the big news came. Jackie was pregnant. I was overjoyed. I was scared. I was happy. I was sad. Emotions flowed through me like a river, but they eventually stabilized, and I felt nothing but excitement. While the pregnancy was not planned, we were financially okay, and I was planning to propose anyway. I had a dream that night. A lone candle burns in a dark room. The flame grows larger and begins to stutter. From the flames a piece of torn paper emerges. The paper floats wistfully into the air, unfolding. Written on blood on the paper is the word “Danny. ” A white flash. A car is driving through a four way stop light. They have the green. They start driving and are immediately struck in the side by a large SUV that ran a red. Two dead adults in the front. A dead young girl in the back. Zack, unconscious and bleeding in the back, legs crushed. An unfamiliar young boy stands next to the ruined car, staring at me, his hands coated in blood. I woke to up a loud booming in the hallway. I looked to the door as the pounding approached. “Rooaar, I am wifezilla! ” Jackies voice rang out as she entered the room dressed in sweats with her hair frizzy and unkempt. I smiled as I looked at her, my dark dream fading into the back of my mind as the woman I loved filled me with light. I decided this was the moment. “Well, actually you arent Wifezilla, ” I said to her as I casually reached under the bed and grabbed the ring from out of her line of sight. I could almost feel her gaze piercing the back of my head. “However, ” I continued as I dropped to one knee in-front of her, “I would like you to be. Jackie, you have made me the happiest man alive, and know that sounds cliché but I dont know how else to word it. I cant wait any longer. Will you marry me? ” I opened the black velvet box, revealing a sparkling diamond ring. She fell to her knees with me and gave me a resounding, tear filled “Yes. ” The baby was born nine months later, healthy as could be. Soon after we were happily married. We bought a new house together, a nice place to start our family together. The cat had a hard time adapting and kept peeing in random places, but after a few months started to use the litter box again. During that time, we shared many secrets and shames, and she became the first one I ever told of how I had wished for Zack to be hurt. She had hugged me and said there was no way it could be my fault, and our life together moved on. “Vroom here comes the airplane, ”I said playfully as I tried to get Ethan to eat his food. He smiled happily until the food entered his mouth. His face scrunched and he began crying loudly. I figured I wouldnt like mashed carrot either. After picking him up and calming him down I decided to try one more time. I placed the baby food on the table beside me and tried to feed him. He screamed again, and I heard glass shatter. I looked down and saw the baby food on the ground, shattered glass and orange mush flung all over the floor. I mustve bumped the table? It was the only explanation. He was just old enough now that he started to sleep in the crib. He showed incredible dexterity and was able to climb out the crib if we didnt raise the gate correctly. He did not like the crib. He cried every night unless he fell asleep with us. We let him lay with us until he was asleep, and then would carefully transfer him to his crib. In the middle of the night I woke to my door creaking open. I strained my eyes in the dark, trying to see what opened it, but it was useless. Quick as a dart I turned on my bedside lamp only to find Ethan in the doorway. My heartbeat began to normalize when I realized there was no danger. Upon returning him to his crib I noticed that somehow, the gate had been lowered. By the time Ethan was two years old he was finally sleeping in his own bed. On this particular night we had decided to stay up late to watch a movie together. Ethan snuggled with Jackie, and we watched Pixars newest movie as a family. Ethan pointed to the floor at his sippy cup and looked back up at Jackie. She set him down to go get it when he accidentally stepped on the cats tail. Mittens back arched, and with a loud hiss she scratched Ethans arm before darting off into another room. Ethan cried loudly, a small amount of blood seeping through the shallow wound. After some comforting and a bandage, we were able to calm him and send him to sleep. In the middle of the night we were woken by a loud, violent yowl. There was a crash, another loud yowl, and then nothing. Jackie and I both jumped out of bed and ran to see what was happening. In the kitchen we found Ethan sitting, drinking happily from his sippy cup. Not four feet from him was Mittens. I heard Jackie stifle a gasp. Mittens neck was turned at an impossible angle, clearly broken. A small amount of blood dripped from her mouth. We looked for intruders but found no sign of forced entry. We never had an explanation. I suspected Ethan, but Jackie wouldnt hear of it. Ethan was seven now. He was in the middle of second grade. He had been doing well in school and was learning to write. We received a call from his teacher, Mrs. Connie. We were told he written a rather inappropriate story and were asked for a parent teacher conference. When we arrived, we were told that Ethans behavior had begun to degrade. He was starting to lose friends because he was being mean to them. We told the teacher that at home Ethan acted as normal as ever. She handed us his sloppily written story: I have a cat. Her name is Mittens. Mittens is nice to me. Mittens is soft. One day Mittens was mean to me, so I gave myself to the other me, and he made Mittens go away. The story sent shivers down my spine and all but confirmed what I had already suspected. Jackie only scoffed at the idea of her angel doing something so brutal. Besides it wouldnt even be physically possible, given his age at the time, right? We thanked Mrs. Connie for her time and headed home. Once home, we sat Ethan down to have a talk about his story. “Ethan, ” I started, “Did you write this story? ” I handed the paper to him. He looked it over and nodded up at me, with his big child eyes gleaming with life and energy. “Did Mrs. Connie show you my story? ” He asked. I nodded to him. “I told her not to. She wasnt supposed to. Now I want Mrs. Connie to go away. ” He crossed his arms and pouted. “Thats no way to talk about a teacher. Mrs. Connie is only there to help you. Ethan, who is the other you? ” I wanted answers fast. My child was possibly suffering from mental illness and I wanted to put an end to it as soon as possible. Ethans demeanor seemed to change with the subject, his eye glazing over, losing that childish look and adopting the gaze of someone who had lived a millennia. “There is no other me. Its only a story. ” The voice sounded like his, but the rhythm was different, almost old. “Ethan, I need you to be honest with me. ” I refused to relent. “There is no other me! ” Ethan shouted with surprising authority. Ethan eyes suddenly conveyed murderous intent. Ice cold dread shot through my body. He got down from the couch and walked to his room, slamming the door behind him. I looked at Jackie, “What the hell was that? ” She shrugged, visibly shaken by the ordeal. Ethan didnt come down for the rest of the night. Jackie received a call from the school the next morning. Connie had been found dead in her classroom. She hung herself from the ceiling, found by one of the kids that would come in early for extra help. Jackie told me she tried to have a sit down with Ethan about suicide, but he would only sit silent. Right in the middle of their conversation he just got up and walked into his room, shutting the door behind himself. It went on like this for weeks. Ethan wanted nothing to do with us. He would still go to school, eat and do everything required of him, but without a word. Tonight, I was up to get a late-night snack in the middle of the night. I walked past Ethans room and heard something. I put my ear to the door. Whispering? “Make them go away. Make them both go away. No, its wrong. They are nice to us. No! They make us do things we dont want to do. They get us in trouble. Let me make them go away. Just like Mrs. Just like Mittens. ” I lost my balance and stumbled, making a small thump on the floor. The whispering stopped. Ethans door slowly cracked open. I was terrified. From the barely cracked door I could see one of Ethans eyes staring intently at me, wrapped in empty darkness. “Hey bud, Im just on my way to get a snack, would you like something? ” My voice was a little shaky. Ethan stared with his single visible eye for a moment more before ever so slowly shutting his door. I shivered as goosebumps coated my body, my appetite suddenly gone. I returned to my room and appraised Jackie of what I heard. She sat up in bed and listened as I told her my suspicions of mental illness. Jackie only nodded, finally relenting to me that she did not want to believe that our child might be a sociopath. As I talked to her about options I watched as her face suddenly drained of blood, her eyes focusing behind me. I turned to find Ethan standing in the doorway. When had he opened the door? He stepped into the room, impossibly making no noise at all. The door shut behind him, affected by an unseen force. “There will be no mental help. ” He stated flatly. “I am not a sociopath. ” He looked at Jackie. “Ethan did not kill Mittens, I did. ” He looked to me. “And I also killed Mrs. ” It was startling to hear such words, and such confidence conveyed in the voice of a little boy. He stared with dead eyes from Jackie, and back to me. The door opened behind him, and he walked silently back to his room, again shutting the door behind him. Jackie and I were frozen in mute shock, both horrified by what our child was doing. We stayed up the rest of the night, discussing new options. We opted for church. We wouldnt tell him, we would simply show up. But the next day Ethan was back to normal. He was talkative and seemed to have no recollection of what had happened. He attended church with us happily, and even joined in the singing sessions. During this time of peace, I decided to start some research into the occult. Possession, curses, and even voodoo. The local library had a surprising amount of literature pertaining to all things supernatural. For the first week or so I read a lot of interesting things and more often than not found myself reading simply because it was fascinating. I was will flipping through a particularly old leather volume, aptly named Ritualia, when I saw an illustration that made my breath catch in my throat. It was a simple drawing. A single candle, in the middle of a pentagram, a piece of paper burning in the flame. Memories of my childhood flooded through my vision. The guilt of Zacks dead parents, and his paralysis. I gulped, and read the passage beneath the illustration: The Ritual of Desire: Simply draw a pentagram, place a lit candle in the middle, and burn parchment with your name written in blood. Then you may state your desire. Be forewarned, the simplicity of this ritual betrays its price. Should your desire be answered, the being behind the veil will extract the price of the firstborn. For the firstborn to be returned into the custody of our world, the one who states their desire must forfeit their life, or the life of a loved one. An exorcism may also work, but no such research exists to back up this claim. This was it. I found exactly what I was looking for. I could find no author or credit otherwise anywhere within the book. When that thing returned to Ethans body, I would be ready. I returned to the church that evening before heading home. I found Father David sitting at a desk in a back room, sifting through various papers. I did not know him well, having only been going to his church about two weeks, and only having two face to face interactions with him. He welcomed me warmly and asked what I could do for him. I stumbled for the correct words. “Father, if you believe in god and heaven, then you must also believe in the devil, and hell, right? ” I questioned. “Of course. Lucifer tempts us everyday and it is our duty to believe in the lord to protect us. ” He explained. “And demons to then? And the rituals used to contact them? To ask favors of them? ” Father Davids smile vanished, and he stood up from his chair, eyeing me now with a look of suspicion and fear. Before he could speak, I began talking. I explained everything to him, from the incident with the candle, Zacks accident, and all the strange and terrifying incidents with Ethan. I told him of the book I found in the library, and its suggestions. During my explanation of the situation, Fathers gaze transformed from fear and disgust, to stone cold determination. Finally, I stopped talking, waiting for a response. “Tonight, ” Father David started, “We do the exorcism tonight. Everyday is another day he could hurt you or anyone else. ” I was caught off guard, but I was not about to argue with him. I watched as he grabbed a few items. A large, ancient looking bible, a large silver crucifix, and an ornately decorated glass bottle filled with water. In the back of my mind, I hoped Jackie wouldnt be mad at me. I walked in the front door first. I was going to tell Jackie what was going on before I invited Father David in. I didnt have the chance. The house was dark, save the light of the silent TV, casting long shadows throughout the room. Jackie was on the couch, her knees up to her chest, her hands hidden under her crossed arms. Her expression conveyed pure terror. She looked at me with both relief and fear. Her eyes darted around, looking for something. Where was Ethan? “Church dad, really. ” Came the voice of child. Ethan entered the living room from the kitchen. He walked into the living room, his strut signifying that this territory belonged to him. Jackie let out a pained sob. In the darkness before I had not noticed the tears running down her face. Ethan walked in front of the TV, the glow giving his facial features a sickening white look, fringed with deep shadows. He held something up before his eyes, carefully examining it. It caught the light on a strange, reflective way and I felt my stomach turn as I recognized Jackies wedding ring, still on the finger. My voice lowered to a growl. “What have you done? ” I whispered a tone more threatening than I thought myself capable of. Ethan only smiled at me and dropped the finger on the ground. I took a step back and flung the front door open. “Father its happening now! ” I yelled into the darkness outside. Ethans smile disappeared, betraying his surprise. Father David busted through the door, his crucifix now on a silver chain around his neck, bible open in one hand, holy water in the other. Before anyone could respond Father splashed the water onto Ethan, who fell to the ground and scooted away from the priest as fast as possible until he hit the wall. Again, the priest splashed him with the water, reciting words from the bible in Latin. After a minute of small splashes of water followed by Latin passages from the bible Father David looked to me, “Quickly we must restrain him, this wont work for long. ” Through strange snarling noises Ethan began to laugh, but it was quickly put to a stop when Father David splashed a large amount of holy water on him. I grabbed a nearby lasso from Ethans toy box. It may have been a childs toy, but rope was rope and this would due. I quickly restrained him while he was stunned from the constant stream of water. “Please Ethan, come back to us. ” I whispered in his ear as I tied his arms behind his back. I stood up when the job was finished. The priest used the last of his water, and then dropped the empty bottle, replacing it with the silver crucifix. Long, powerful phrases boomed from Father Davids voice. He held the crucifix inches from Ethans face, shouting holy phrases at him. The commanding tone of his voice could not be mistaken. I rushed to Jackies side. She was holding her left hand to her chest, crusted blood covered the front of her shirt. I took her hand and gently inspected the wound. She had no ring finger, only a fleshy wound of torn skin and meat. I met her eyes with mine and smiled. I would be her strength. I used the sleeve of my shirt to wrap the wound and contain the bleeding, kissing her forehead when I was finished. I looked at her a moment, enjoying the silence with just me and her. I perked up. Why was it silent. I turned quickly around to see Ethan standing over Father David, who was now on the ground, clutching his crucifix to his heart his face still wrought with determination. Blood seeped freely from his mouth. In his hand Ethan held a long, glistening mass of red and pink. I realized with horror that is was Father Davids tongue. Ethan, now panting, and covered in more sweat than holy water, bent down and picked up the ornate bottle. He smashed it against the wall shattering it, leaving a razor-sharp protrusion in his hand. “Ethan no! ” I shouted as a leapt up. It was to late. Ethan slammed the razor glass in Father Davids throat, burying it nearly six inches deep. I fell to my knees. I felt Jackie embrace me from behind. It was an embrace motivated of pure love, and hapless sorrow. She whispered to me, as we both watched Ethan slam the glass over and over again into Father Davids throat, now a mess a blood and flesh, “I read Ritualia years ago, when Ethan first started exhibiting strange behavior, ” She explained. I felt her lips kiss the side of my head as she rested on my back. “I know you saw it to, and thats why you brought the priest. I know what has to be done. ” Those words shattered any sense of hope I had left. The color left the world, and even Ethans terrible acts seemed numb before my eyes. I couldnt stop her. I couldnt will my body to move. I watched as she leaned down and picked up a piece of the shattered glass, placing it in my hand and wrapping my fingers around it. She moved in front of me and placed a palm on my cheek, looking lovingly into my eyes. She picked up my hand with the glass and brought it to her neck. “You have to be the one to do it. ” She said softly. “Please, ” she pleaded “No, ” I whispered back, “I…I cant. ” She smiled softly. “You have to, or we all die. Theres no more time. ” Ethan stopped stabbing Father David, and looked at us, noticing what was happening. “No! ” Came two voices from Ethans mouth. He started towards us, and I looked back at Jackie. She was still smiling at me. I couldnt stop the tears. They just flowed, unrestrained. I didnt understand how there could be so many tears. I laid Jackies body down, clutching her head into my chest as I listened to her final breaths leave her body. I stayed like that for hours, sobbing loudly, my entire world, crumbling around me as I held her. Eventually I couldnt cry anymore. It was as if all my emotion had left my body. Everything was numb. I looked around my living room. It was a as if a tornado had come through. The sun had come up at some point, but everything was grey. There was no color left in the world. I gently laid Jackie down and moved to examine Ethan where he had fallen. No heartbeat. The possession had proven to much for his frail body. I walked upstairs and grabbed my gun, loading a single round into the chamber. These are my final words, as I sit in my living room, surrounded by the body of my soulmate and our child, and the innocent man who tried to help. Dont play with rituals. Dont play Bloody Mary. Dont play with Ouija boards. You never know what might be real.

Watch beneath us movie. I met twelve-year-old Bradford only an hour ago. Now his head is smashed in and hes lying in a pool of blood in the middle of my basement floor. The police will be here any minute to arrest me, no doubt. Theyll gather testimony from the other three boys that were here tonight, then from the nearly one hundred other boys that have visited my basement over the past seventeen years. Alright, writing that down makes me sound like a pervert, but Im not a pervert. Lets get that out there. This is my final confession. It all started in the year 2002. I had just graduated with a masters in psychology and was working at Top Hat Video to pay the bills while pursuing research on Psychedelic Therapy on the side. While exiting the local Cinemark after seeing M. Night Shyamalans Signs on opening night, I noticed a group of four boys gathered around the ticket booth, one of whom I recognized as a neighborhood kid, Jimmy McConkie. They had just learned that the 11:15 pm showing was sold out and were trying to figure out whose mom could pick them up. Jimmy saw me and called out. “Hey Marcus! Hows it goin? ” “Jimmy, whats goin on? ” “Signs is sold out, ” he said, visibly disheartened. “Damn, sorry man. I just saw it, ” I said. His face lit up and his friends gathered around. “Well, how was it? ” he asked. “It was horrifying, ” I said. “So good. ” “Oh man, well, well have to try tomorrow, ” he said, turning to his friends. They nodded in affirmation. Then I started thinking. My latest research had been on the use of psychedelics to treat early childhood trauma. In theory, the drugs would help access a higher plane of existence, which, with the guidance of a licensed professional, could be used to gain a deeper understanding of the trauma. Of course, much of what I was studying back then is almost common knowledge in progressive psychiatric circles today. LSD, MDMA, and Psilocybin (as found in mushrooms) are used regularly in underground guided-therapy sessions nowadays, but back then, no way. In the 1960s or 70s? Sure. Early 2000s? No. On a whim, I invited the boys over to my house. I told them Id give them a preview of Signs without spoiling too much. Since the kids still didnt have a ride home, they accepted my invitation. They packed into my Subaru Outback and I took them to my home. For all the talk about stranger danger, these twelve-year-olds were much too confident coming with me. Though, again, I had no ill intent. I never did, at any point. It sounds so creepy writing it down like this, but a handful of willing kids was exactly what I needed to test my methods. If the combination of psychedelics and hypnosis could work for trauma, why not for fun? I served the four of them Pepsi while I got the basement ready. I set up four chairs in the middle of my unfinished basement, turned on the surround-sound speakers, and got a bell from the storage room. I ground up tablets of MDMA and fed them into the dry powder inhaler. I brought the boys down and invited them to take a seat. “Im gonna set the scene for you, ” I said, handing them blindfolds. “Imagine youre on a farmhouse in the middle of rural Pennsylvania. ” Once their blindfolds were fastened, I started the binaural beats on the speakers. “You are surrounded by hundreds of acres of cornfield, ” I said and rang the bell. I took the powder inhaler to each one and instructed them to inhale on my count. “One… two… three… breathe in, ” Id say, spraying the ground MDMA. “This will help you envision the scene a bit better, ” I told them. They were giddy with excitement as I walked them through the story. I could tell when the drugs kicked in because their reactions became more animated. Once I realized my power, Ill admit I embellished the details a little bit, but the boys were having the time of their lives. Although I wanted to go deeper, I stuck with the story, making sure to get their permission before veering into spoiler territory. I ended on a strong note then let the high wear off before driving them home. The boys decided, on their own volition, that theyd tell their parents they saw the movie as planned and that it was fantastic. They knew it was sketchy going over to a single neighborhood mans house under the radar, so they promised each other to keep quiet. As the months went on, that same group of four boys returned a few more times, asking me to take them on some sort of adventure. Sometimes they had specific requests–I want to fly; Lets do a haunted house; How bout a creepy version of Disneyland, etc. Other times, they let me call the shots. The process was simple enough. I played around with drug types and dosages, along with my hypnosis techniques and music. Eventually, I had formulas for every type of occasion. As that group of four boys got older, they brought their younger brothers and other neighborhood kids as a kind of sacred rite-of-passage. In 2007, Jimmy graduated high school. He went on to other things and I stayed in the same place, continuing my research. Eventually, I got a job teaching Psychology 101 at the community college. By that time, I had myself a group of about eight regulars aged twelve to fifteen that would come over about once a month and allow me to take them on whatever adventure they (or I) wanted. Again, not a pervert. After applying blindfolds, dimming the lights, putting on music, and giving each of them a couple inhales of my special powder, I told them to imagine various scenarios. Id give only a basic level of detail and allow their drug-infused brains to fill in the gaps. Ill admit I pushed the boundaries sometimes to see what kind of reaction Id get. It was around the year 2015 when I made my first real breakthrough. I had a group of six boys, I think. After the regular setup, I decided to do something a little different. To the best of my recollection, heres how the session went: “I want you to imagine youve arrived at an abandoned mansion in the middle of the desert. Its the biggest house youve ever seen. Very dark, very creepy. You open the rusty gate that guards the property and walk through, kicking your feet through piles of moldy leaves. “You slip past what remains of the front door and walk in on a grand entrance. Double staircases, a giant crystal chandelier, granite floors. It smells of mildew and dust, like it hasnt been touched in years. Cobwebs cake seemingly every corner. As you step in and take in the utter beauty of this masterpiece of a mansion, you hear something—the faint lull of a cello. “Intrigued, you follow the sound, taking you down long, winding corridors to a two-story library. The shelves are stocked with books, but they are dusty and rotted much like everything else in the house. The faded sun makes its way through the large stained-glass windows, giving off glares of all colors. In the center of the room is a beautiful woman. She is the composite of every beautiful woman you have ever seen. ” Each of the boys shifted, smiles creeping on their faces. I couldnt help but smile too. “That beautiful woman is the one whos playing the cello. She plays with such fervent passion. The way it reverberates through the library sends a chill down your spine. As you stand there, watching her play carefully with seemingly her whole body, you notice that the second-floor mezzanine is beginning to fill up with people. People you know. Friends, family, acquaintances. They wear somber looks as they take their place standing above you. None of them seem to notice you standing there. “Suddenly, you realize why theyre there. Off to the side, behind the cellist, is an open casket. Your heart sinks as you begin to understand the situation you have walked into. You cautiously approach the mahogany casket as the cello croons in the background. You lean forward to get a closer look at the body. There, with taut white flesh, closed eyes, and caked in makeup, is your dead body. ” One of the boys yelped and fell out of his chair. The others snapped out of hypnosis, ripping the blindfolds off. A couple of them had tears streaming down their faces. I turned off the music and nervously watched them compose themselves in silence. There were so many emotions in the room, I couldnt get a good read on the boys. Eventually, once things relaxed a bit, one of the boys approached me. “Im gonna go home, ” he said. “Okay, do you need a ride? Are you okay? ” I asked. “Im… Ill be fine. I just—” he paused for a moment holding back tears. “Ive been an asshole to my little brother lately. Now Im worried that Ill die, or hell die before I have a chance to make things right. I dont want things to end like this. I want him to know—” He looked around to the other guys and saw that their emotions seemed to match his own. “I want him to know I love him. ” He walked upstairs, out the front door, never to be seen again. A few of the other boys expressed something similar—that there were a few people in their lives that they had been jerks to, that they had lied to, that they hadnt been nice to. They wanted to make things right. For the first time since I had begun this endeavor, I felt good about myself. It was the first time I had dared do anything meaningful with the therapy and it seemed to be effective. These boys lives were changed for good because of this simple session. Fast forward a few years and I have had almost a hundred different boys come to do guided psychedelic therapy sessions with me. They all understood the gravity of keeping it on the down-low—a point that tended to be baked into the initial invitation. Tonight, however, I took things too far. Rather than using the therapy as a method to help the boys explore themselves, I attempted to use it as a method to learn the secrets of the universe. Just a few hours ago, a group of four boys, two of which I had hosted before stopped by, asking if I could conduct a session. I had nothing else going on, aside from a little reading and late-night solo drinking, so I let them in. They had just come from basketball practice. They followed me into the basement and took their seats. The two boys that had been there before—Adam and Bryson—explained the process to the two new boys—Bradford and Trey. The two new boys seemed nervous, as most first-timers are, but they trusted their friends enough to proceed. I started the music, dimmed the lights, and instructed them to place the blindfolds on. I took another sip of whiskey then walked the inhaler around, giving each boy three puffs of my special sauce. Aside from generalities, I dont usually plan these ‘adventures too far in advance. I suppose it was the late-night reading of Lovecraft infused with alcohol and a relentless thunderstorm that led me on tonights particular excursion. I started the session slowly, allowing about thirty minutes for the drugs to take full effect, all while occasionally ringing the bell. “You find yourself in the middle of the woods one evening, the pink sky filtering through thick rows of pine trees. You walk carefully, mindfully through the woods, the soft padding of fallen pine needles cushioning your every step. ” The boys slouched in their chairs as they fell deeper into hypnosis. “As you walk along, smelling the sweet smell of the pines, hearing the chirping crickets, you find a fallen wooden sign half-buried in the ground. You dig it out and brush it off. On it reads something quite peculiar. ‘This way to the end of the world, it reads. You find a tree with an old rusty nail about six feet up and determine that this must be what the sign was attached to. “You continue trekking through the woods, all while keeping an eye out for whatever the end of the world might be. The further you go into the forest, the darker it gets. Pretty soon, you start to feel something. You start to internalize the gravity of the situation. Although you thought the sign was silly at first, you now believe it. You become confident that you are about to discover something groundbreaking. “The chirping crickets suddenly stop. Ahead of you is a metal stairway that leads down into a wide hole—about fifty feet in diameter. You edge closer to the hole and realize that the fading daylight doesnt offer you enough to see the extent of its depth. “You consider turning back, but the unwavering sense of curiosity gets the best of you and you decide to descend the stairs. You go slowly at first, testing the loadbearing of each step carefully. After about twenty stairs, you feel safe and start descending quicker. Another hundred feet down, you happen upon a heavy metal door with rusted bolts and hinges. “You push the door hard and it squeaks open revealing a man playing basketball alone in an empty arena. Each time the ball bounces, it echoes through the building and into the stairwell you occupy. ” Some of the boys sit upright, smirking. “After making a long three, the man grips the basketball and turns slowly to face you. He walks to you very carefully. As he gets closer, you realize the man is huge. ” The boys grip their seats. “Once hes about fifty feet away, you recognize him. Its Lebron James! ” The boys laugh in excitement. One of them stands up and pumps his fist. I cant help but chuckle to myself at my spontaneity. Lebron James is probably the only current NBA player I can name. “When he gets to the doorway, standing right in front of you, a serious look passes on his face, and he begins to speak. ” I clear my throat and drop my voice. “I know that you think youre just having a fun time, going on a psychedelic adventure, but you have to understand something, he says. ‘This journey is important. Very important. What you are doing has the potential to unlock all the mysteries of the earth. You just have to keep going. Promise me youll keep going. ” One of the boys swallows hard. All of them nod in agreement. “Then, the ball hes holding turns to fire. He dribbles it a few times and spins it on his finger, apparently unfazed. He hands you the ball and you hold it with both hands. The flames dance around the ball without burning you. ‘This will help light your path, he says, then slams the door. Lebron James is gone. You continue down the stairwell, your path lit by the flaming basketball. “After another hour of descending the stairs, you reach a second door. This one is equally heavy and rusty as the first. As you push it open, you hear the sound of waves crashing. You lean your shoulder into the door, as you did with the first one, and shove it open. Sand spills onto your feet. You look upon a beautiful endless beach of white sand bordered by blue, crashing waves on one side and lush jungle vegetation on the other. A cool, saltwater mist touches your skin. “When you hear the ding of the bell, the sun will disappear, ” I said. “One… two… three…” I dinged the bell and waited for a moment. A couple of the boys leaned forward. “You can still hear the waves crashing and feel the ocean mist, but the world is pitch black. No stars. No moon. You can only see the few feet of sand in front of you, as illuminated by the flaming basketball. As you focus on the sound, you hear someone walking toward you. When I count to three and ding the bell, the sun will reappear, and your mother will be standing there. One… two… three…” I dinged the bell again. The boys smiled nervously. “This woman brought you into the world, she fed you, clothed you, changed your diapers. Your mother sacrificed so much for you. You feel this. In this moment, you internalize an undying gratitude for your mother. You would do absolutely anything for her—youd take a bullet for her or jump in front of a bus. Absolutely anything. ” I wait for a moment, allowing my words to marinate. “Your mom stands in the sand about fifty feet back, looking at you with a smile. She invites you in, but you cant move—youre stuck in the stairwell. As soon as you realize this, you see someone else approach. A man dressed head-to-toe in black emerges from the jungle with a machete. His identity is concealed by a leather black mask. “Your mom continues to smile, unaware of the man in black approaching. You try to call out, but you cant speak. You wave your hands furiously until she pays attention. A look of fear passes over her. As she turns around to confront her attacker, the man hits her over the head, knocking her unconscious. You notice for the first time that there is a large cage in the sand behind the attacker. The man drags your unconscious mother into the cage, slams the door, and locks it. You look at her limp body sprawled out on the metal floor of the cage and are filled with rage. “You try to move again but cant. You try to scream but cant. The man in black notices you and approaches. When he is standing right in front of you, he dangles the key to the cage and laughs a deep, ugly chuckle. He then throws the key out of the door, over your head. You hear it clank down the staircase, disappearing far, far below you into the void. The man pulls his mask off revealing a horrific, warped face with gaping, bloody holes where his eyes should be. He speaks again: ‘one more door. The door slams shut, booming into the stairwell. ” One of the boys shakes his head furiously. The others look angry. Its working, I thought. “As you continue descending the stairs, lit by the flaming basketball, you feel brave and confident, like you can confront whatever lies in the third and final door. You can get the keys to the cage. You can save your mother and you can find the secrets to the end of the world. You have to be—” Thunder cracked outside, loud enough to make me jump and snap the boys out of hypnosis. They ripped their blindfolds off and stumbled to their feet, breathing heavily. “Oh my god, that was intense, ” Adam said. “You dont want to keep going? ” I asked. “Man, that was enough for one night. Great trip though, I loved meeting Lebron James. That felt so real. Didnt that feel real? ” Trey said to the others. They nodded in agreement. “Damn lightning woke you guys up, ” I said. “Well, thanks for havin us over Mr. Marcus, ” Bryson said, picking up his hat. As they started up the stairs, I noticed that not all of them snapped out of the hypnosis. Bradford sat still, blindfold on, still gripping his chair. “Should I wake him? ” I asked the others. This was Bradfords first session and I didnt want him to freak out when he awoke. “You guys go ahead, Ill wait for Bradford to wake up, ” Adam said. Bryson and Trey disappeared a couple minutes later after making plans with Adam to meet up at Bradfords house when. Adam then took a seat in the corner, excited to watch the session with Bradford proceed. “You continue descending the stairs, a blast of cool air blowing past you, ” I said. Bradford visibly shivered. “Whats your strategy? ” Adam whispered to me. I turned the music up, allowing Bradford a few minutes to descend the stairs. I walked over to Adam. “The key is to get each of the patients in touch with as many emotions and feelings as possible. Happy, sad, afraid, amused, etc. Then I try to create sensory experiences—exposing them to heat, cold, smells, tastes, etc. The more the hypnosis can infiltrate their brain, the more effective it is. ” “Whats your end goal with this session? ” Adam asked. I smiled. “We have five senses, right? ” “Yeah. Sight, smell, touch, taste, and… whats the last one? ” “Hearing, ” I answered. He nodded. “But a lot of our brain is unused, right? ” I posed. “Yeah. ” “So, what if we can experience other senses, but dont know how to activate them? ” I asked. “Like in the same sense that birds or whales know how and when to migrate. Or how any number of animals and insects can locate food or water in almost any scenario. They have these intuitions that we dont quite understand. ” “And you think these sessions can activate those extra senses? ” “I dont know if its possible to activate them in the real world, necessarily, but I do believe that we can activate them within the hypnosis. ” “What kind of senses? ” I took another sip of my whiskey. “Its still a theory, but I think we can tune our inner antenna, so to speak, to understand the secrets of the universe. ” “Like what? ” “Like if were alone in the universe. Like how all this came to be. Like what happens to the souls who have passed, ” I said. Adam sat in contemplation for a moment then smiled. “Damn, well lets hope Bradford can bring us home, ” he said. I tipped my glass to him, sipped my whiskey, then took my place at the front of the room. Bradford hadnt moved an inch. “As you descend the stairs, you begin to hear voices calling from above. You hear your dad, your siblings, your friends. They all voice their support. You can do it! Keep going! Youre almost there! Be brave! ” Bradford sat up tall in his chair. Getting closer, I thought. “The flaming basketball finally finds an end to the staircase. You step onto a cobblestone landing and look around you. You have descended into a large silo of some kind—maybe a cave or a well—with nothing but a door of similar size and configuration as the first two against the wall. On the ground, a flicker of light reveals the location of the cage keys wedged between two stones. However, before you pick the keys up, you realize that you must first open the door. “Just then someone descends the stairs behind you, but you dont feel scared. The person steps into the light of the flaming basketball and you realize that its you. You are standing face to face with yourself. He smiles at you and you smile back. ” Bradford smiled and I looked to Adam, he gave me a thumbs up. “The other you puts his hand on your shoulder and looks into your eyes. Hes almost like a more self-assured version of yourself. Hes fearless. Hes brave. Hes a hero. ‘You must understand, he says. ‘You have been endowed for this mission. You were chosen long ago for this mission. Behind this door lies a cloud of knowledge. When you open the door and step inside, you will be immersed in this cloud. You will be met with a deep understanding of the mysteries of the universe. You will see the origins of creation. You will understand the immensity of all that exists. You will know these things and understand them in a way that will allow you to communicate your findings to others in the real world. ” I took a deep breath and looked over to Adam again for approval. He nodded, a look of utter anticipation on his face. “Do it, ” he mouthed. “The other you stands aside and disappears, leaving nothing between you and the door. You understand what you must do. You take three steps forward, place one hand on the cold metallic door and apply pressure. As you do so, you feel something trickling down your upper lip. You stop pushing and wipe your nose. You are bleeding. ” Adam and I watched Bradford carefully for about fifteen seconds before he gently wiped his nose. He motioned his head to look down at his hand and opened his mouth in surprise. There was blood—actual blood—on his hands. “Holy shit! ” Adam whispered to me. Frankly, I was more shocked than he was. Bradford was my first completely immersed patient. He was in my complete control. This was not an empowering thought, mind you, it was a horrifying one. I briefly considered pulling the plug on the whole thing right then—guiding him away from the door and back up the staircase to the real world, but I didnt. Goddamn Lovecraft. I swallowed hard and held my bell steady. “Now, Im going to count to three and ring the bell. When you hear the bell, you will push open the door and become immersed in the cloud. After a few moments in the cloud, I will ring the bell and you will exit the cloud and close the door behind you. ” I repeated the instructions then took a deep breath. “Here we go, ” I mouthed to Adam. “One… Two… Three…” I said, then dinged the bell. Bradford jolted, flailing his arms and grunting. His chair rocked violently. I instructed Adam to steady it, so he didnt tumble off. How responsible of me. The jolting stopped after a minute and Bradford sat still. Both his nostrils were bleeding now. “Now, when I ring the bell again, you will exit the room and close the door behind you. One… Two…” Bradford stood up abruptly, sending the chair and Adam sprawling onto the floor behind him. He ripped his blindfold off and looked around frantically, like a trapped animal. “Bradford, its all okay, ” I said, but I knew it wasnt. He didnt wake up on his own volition. Nor was there an external stimulus to wake him up—my bell, or a loud noise like the thunder before. Something inside of the hypnosis woke him up. Adam stumbled to his feet. “Bradford, its alright buddy. Its me, Adam, right here, ” he said and reached for him. “No! ” I yelled. “Dont touch him. Come here, ” I told him. Adam obeyed and stood next to me against the wall. Bradford looked around anxiously for another minute, his feet unmoving, then fixed his eyes on the concrete block wall on the opposite side of the room. “Stay here, ” I said to Adam. I walked to the other side of the room, between Bradford and the wall, the bell clutched in my hand. Frankly, I didnt know what to do. I had to assume he was still under some kind of hypnosis, though I didnt know whose. “Bradford, when I count to three and ring the bell, you will come out of hypnosis. Again, when I count to three and ring the bell, you will come out of hypn—” He bolted straight at me, knocking me to the side and plowing straight into the wall, headfirst. “Shit! ” I yelled, stumbling back to my feet. Adam ran over. Between the two of us, we held Bradford down. He had a large gash on his head and a steady stream of blood pouring down his face, but he didnt seem to be in pain. “Bradford, listen to me, ” I said. He turned his head toward me, revealing jittering pupils, as if there was an earthquake behind those eyes. Adam was crying. His phone buzzed across the room, diverting our attention for a moment. “Do we call the cops? ” he asked. “Yes, call 911, ” I said, trying incoherently to piece together a story in my head. Once Adam got to his phone on the other side of the room, Bradford began seizing, knocking me on my ass. I backed up, recognizing my feeble body to be no match for his apparent raw animal strength. “Please, Bradford, breathe with me, ” I said. He again eyed the block wall and ran at it with full force, his skull crunching on impact. Blood spattered on the wall and the floor. He fell onto the ground with a hollow thud. Adam screamed. I tried to lay Bradfords lifeless body straight when his eyes shot open, a look of pure terror on his face. “No! ” he screamed and rolled away from me. He got onto his hands and knees, breathing heavy. As I carefully eased toward him, he let out a loud grunt and began hitting his head on the concrete floor with inhuman intensity. The sound of his head repeatedly crunching against the floor like that will haunt me forever. Blood continued to pool beneath him. I backed away from him, helpless. Adam screamed in horror. After five or six hard hits, Bradford finally collapsed onto the ground, splashing in his own blood. Tears were streaming down my face. Adam was sobbing uncontrollably. A few moments passed in bone-chilling silence. “Did you call anyone? ” I asked with a shaky voice. Adam stared unblinking at Bradfords mangled head resting on the ground. “Adam? ” He snapped out of it. “Uh, no, I—” he said, swiping through his phone. “Okay—the story—our story—” I started. Then Adams eyes grew wide. “What? ” I asked. “The others. Trey and Bryson, ” Adam said, staring at his phone with his hand covering his mouth. “What is it? ” I asked. “When they got to Bradfords house, they found Bradfords mom on the kitchen floor, ” he said and looked up at me. “Shes dead. ” “Shit, ” I said. “Its the hypnosis. It has to be, ” Adam said. “No, thats impossible, the hypnosis cant control someone who isnt under hypnosis, ” I said, nervously. “It cant be related. No way. ” “You said that the goal is to tap into other senses, right? To activate other parts of the brain? ” Adam said. “Well, yeah, thats a theory, but either way, how would that kill Bradfords mom? ” “I dont know. The only thing I can think of, is that, clearly Bradford was all-in. I mean, you hypnotized him into a bloody nose, didnt you? Maybe when you put our moms in a cage on the beach… I dont know, ” he said and slipped his phone into his pocket. “Which—oh shit—I need to check on my mom, ” he said and darted up the basement stairs. Now I sit here in my cold, mildewy basement with this dead boys body, penning my final haunting confession. For the record, I want to apologize to Bradfords family. I take full responsibility for his death. And in the case that I am the cause of Bradfords mothers death, I apologize for that, too. I dont really want to think through the scientific implications if that is the case, to be honest. All I know is that whether I spend my days as a free man or behind bars, I dont know that Ill ever be able to sleep again wondering what Bradford saw when he opened that door and stepped into the cloud. Something he saw drove him to this madness. That much is clear. I hear the police sirens outside now. One last note to the psychiatric community or those who may be looking to build upon my research: Some things are better left unknown.

Watch Movie Beneath us airways. Watch Movie Beneath user. I enjoy movies/shows that challenge me by not being predictable. Does anyone have any favorite “did NOT see that coming” movies they can recommend? Here are some I have enjoyed over the years: The Game (Michael Douglas) Cabin in the Woods Sliding Doors Sixth sense Usual Suspects Girl with all the gifts Total Recall (original) Fractured (Netflix Orig) Awake (TV series) Butterfly Effect (first one) Final Destination (first one) ———————. Edit: For others making a “watch list”, I am adding some of the suggestions: 12 Monkeys 500 days of summer A Tale of Two Sisters (Kim Jee-woon) Adaptation Arlington Road Arrival Atonement Awake (TV series) Barton Fink Beneath The Planet of the Apes Bruges Butterfly Effect (first one) Cabin in the Woods Donnie Darko Dream House Enemy (2013) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Event Horizon Evil Dead 2 Fallen (1998) Fight Club Final Destination ( 5) Final Destination (first one) Forgotten (2017) Fractured (Netflix Orig) Frailty Girl with all the gifts Hereditary In the mouth of madness Incendies Inside Man Jacob's Ladder (the 1990 original) Limitless Lucky Number Slevin Maleficent Match Point Matchstick Men Memento Michael Clayton Monty Python and The Holy Grail Mother (2009) Mr. ROBOT Mulholland Drive Mystic River No Way Out (1987) Oldboy (2003) One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Pain and Glory Planet of the Apes (original one) Predestination Primal Fear Prisoners Prisoners (2013) Psycho Radius (2017) Ready or Not Reborn Repo men Saw Se7en Shutter Island (Some disagreement on this one) Signs Sixth sense Sliding Doors Snowpiercer Sorry To Bother You Source Code Spoorloos Suspiria (2018) Synecdoche, New York Take Shelter Taxi Driver the crying game The Game (Michael Douglas) the Host from Bong Joon-ho The Illusionist The Invisible Guest (2016) The Invitation The Machinist The Mist The Others The Prestige (Suggested by multiple people) The Sting (1973) The Talented Mr. Ripley The Village The Visit The Wailing The Wave (Justin Long) The Witch (2015) Too Many Husbands Total Recall (original) Triangle Unbreakable Uncut Gems Upgrade Us Usual Suspects Vanilla Sky You're Next (2011) Your Name Zodiac.

Watch Movie Beneath us weekly. Watch Movie Beneath us on twitter. This is going to be long as shit because this is a story that took place over the span of about a year, and I'm going to tell you as much detail as I can remember. Honestly this shit gets so horror-movie script-sounding that I won't blame you in the slightest if you don't believe a word of it. I've never typed it out to the internet before, but all of my friends know about this series of events. I'll try and keep this as coherent as possible and give back story. I'm 30 now. When I was in my teens and early 20's I was really into "weird" stuff. There's a few local shops that sell unusual oddities and antiques. Like art made from dead animals, skulls, pickled specimens, things like that. I started pickling my own specimens around age 20, when I figured out it wasn't that hard. I had some articulated skeletons, but stuff I was really interested in was supposedly "cursed" stuff. I bought things people claimed were "cursed" on eBay and even drove to different states to buy things from people they claimed were haunted. I bought 3 different Dybbuk boxes supposedly cursed from eBay, I bought numerous "haunted dolls. whatever I could find. I had some weird taxidermy items too, like a couple two-headed baby chickens, a snake with 2 heads, etc. I had a few things I wasn't supposed to have, either, but I won't get into that. Long story short, nothing weird ever happened. Not a thing. I never had one unusual, creepy experience with any of this stuff. I should start this off by saying I've never really believed in the paranormal or supernatural. Like, I wouldn't say I'm a "skeptic. because I think to use that term you have to go into something deciding it isn't real and operate from that perspective. I'm fine with saying "I have no idea what that is, and I can't explain it. I won't say I don't believe in ghosts, because I don't really know what a ghost is supposed to be. I've always been into aliens, and was really obsessed with them when I was younger, but still never fully believed in them. I just kinda' liked the idea of them. I'd never seen one, or seen any real proof of one, despite pouring over documentary and late night History channel binges. So, on the subject of all things paranormal, you could say I'm a Fox Mulder and I "Want to believe. but never really did. Anyway, needless to say, after the following series of events my mind is quite a bit more open. Though I won't pretend I can tell you exactly what was going on. So I'm like 21 years old, and I'm working at Wal-Mart at the time. We had these steps we would smoke on that were outside the tire shop that lead up to another parking lot for a different building. I went out to smoke one day and was by myself, and sat at the top of the stairs. As I was smoking I noticed a paper bag sitting kind of underneath one of the bushes that was there. I dunno' why, but I looked in it. I was expecting to find some empty beer bottles or something, but inside of the bag was a porcelain lamb. It wasn't particularly creepy looking tbh. It didn't have bleeding eyes or whatever. It just looked like something that would be on your grandma's shelf. It had a red ribbon around its neck and looked really new. When I picked it up, there was a note underneath it in the bag. The note said "Take me home, I'll be a good little bitch, I promise. No, really. I know you're already about to stop reading because that sounds corny as hell, and it does, but that's literally what it said. It was written in red ink, and looked like female handwriting. Really neat. It was written on a piece of torn-out standard notebook paper. Again, I know how stupid and cliche` that note sounds, but that's actually what it said. So of course, being me, I brought the thing inside Wal-Mart and stashed it under a register because I was totally gonna' take that home. I showed it to my friend who was working there and was kinda' like "Dude, look what I just found outside. Look at this note. And he was like "Uhhhhh, you should definitely not take that home. But of course I was going to take it home. I lived for that kind of shit. Anyway, as soon as I set it down I realized it was a music box, because I jarred it enough I guess to make it start playing. I looked at the bottom of it and it had one of those metal twist pins you wind up and it plays a tune. So I turned it, and, it was the least-intimidating melody ever. It wasn't creepy at all. I was actually getting legit disappointed because if you wanted to pull a prank on someone with some scary object, this thing was doing it all wrong. I don't know what the melody was, I'd never heard it before, but it was in no way ominous. Fast forward to the end of the work day, I get in my car, come home, and show my (then) girlfriend. She was into all the same weird shit I was, so she was equally excited about this weird find. We cleared a space on our dresser for it, and from then on we just referred to it as "the lamb. Shit started going down, immediately. Like, the next day. So, me and my ex didn't have a great relationship, and I spent most of my time in the living room. She hung out in the bedroom. I'd work until around 11 at night and get home and stay on my computer playing games until like 3am. Then once she was asleep, I'd go in the bedroom and go to sleep. This way we didn't really spend that much time together, and we both quietly preferred it that way. So the very next day, I'm sitting in the living room, and I hear a rustling sound coming from the kitchen. I could see the entire kitchen from where my computer was and I assumed it was one of our two cats messing with something, but both cats were actually on the floor staring at the kitchen, just as confused as I was. The sound seemed like it was coming from on top of the fridge, and it sounded like something was rustling around the cereal boxes and bags of chips and such that were up there. I assume it was a mouse, because we'd found a mouse in the house before (The first specimen I ever pickled myself, actually) and went over to the kitchen to check for a mouse. I turned on the light and as I walked in the kitchen, I heard "the grudge" noise. I've only seen The Grudge once, because it was one of the only films that has ever actually scared me. I'm not easily frightened and I generally don't much care for horror movies, but something about the... sound of the Grudge freaked me the fuck out when I was younger. The only similar thing that's scared me recently was the screaming bear in Annihilation. Anyway, I start walking toward the fridge, and I'm totally hearing the Grudge noise. This is ONLY impactful because this is literally one of the only things I've ever been afraid of. And it was coming directly from the top of the fridge, where the rustling sound had been. I froze dead in place, and so did my cats. They didn't want to go anywhere near that either. I had no idea what to do. I was literally on the verge of passing out. So I tried to articulate this in my head and I decided that the fridge must be broken, and that a fan or something in it must be grinding. I crammed that thought into my head and sat back down at my chair and put on my headphones. (I did leave the light on, I'll admit. Normally I sat in the total dark. In my head, I was really trying to convince myself the fridge was making that noise, but I was finding it really hard to do. But I also was in panic mode, and I was like "What do movies and ghost shows and shit say? Don't acknowledge it exists. So I became the dad in every horror film and I just said "Fridge is broken" and went back to playing WoW while on the verge of jumping out of my own skin and using my headphones to drown out the noise. I actually sat there for way longer than I normally played WoW, because I was genuinely terrified to either move, or take my headphones off. I had this horrible thought in my head that as soon as I removed my headphones, I would hear the noise like right next to my ear and turn and some old woman would eat my face or some shit. I have no idea how long the noise went on, or when it stopped. So I literally sat there until sunrise. I never went to sleep, and I used an Elvis playlist and chatting to my guildmates in WoW to distract me as best I could. But I literally just sat there frozen in terror the entire night, until the sun came up, and my girlfriend woke up. She came in the living room at about 8am and was pissed off at me because I never went to bed. She complained I played games too much, even though we both knew she didn't want me around anymore than I wanted to be around her. But our relationship issues aside, she was badgering me about being on the computer all night and I just said "I don't want to talk about it. And she kind of let it go. She softened up quite a bit, looked a little confused, but I think she could tell I was freaked out. Then she proceeded to freak me the fuck out even further. She showed me her arm and said "The cat scratched the fuck out of me last night. And she indeed had what appeared to be a cat scratch down the length of her forearm. Problem was, she kept the bedroom door closed, and like I said, both of the cats were in the living room with me, and I hadn't moved from that chair. No one let the cat in the bedroom. They were in the livingroom with me the entire night. In fact, when sunrise finally came, they were still almost in the exact same spot staring at the kitchen that they had been when I went back to playing WoW. I didn't say anything about it. I just said "Oh. Dang. And felt like I was going to be sick. Since I hadn't slept, I called into work that day. Even though in reality, I just really wanted to leave. So I did an unusual thing and me and my girlfriend went bowling for the day. Then to a movie. Then dinner. I was clearly acting weird because we never really did anything together, and I was clearly trying to avoid the house. I actually asked if she wanted to go night fishing and she finally asked me what the fuck was going on. I didn't tell her though. I didn't want to talk about it. She declined my generous offer to fish in the dark and we ended up going home. We started our nightly ritual. She retired to the bedroom to watch TV, and I stayed in the living room. The Grudge noise started within an hour of me sitting down. This time as soon as it started I willed my completely stiff-in-fear body to get up and walk down the hall to the bedroom. I left my computer running and WoW open, and said I felt like watching TV. My girlfriend again remarked that I was acting fucking weird and I again declined to talk about it. I couldn't hear the Grudge noise from the bedroom. I took some Benadryl and went to sleep when she did, which was hours before I normally went to sleep. The next day I went to work, and at around 9pm she called me. I was the manager of the Toys department (Shut up) and had a bit of lee-way in using my phone since no one really supervised me. So I answered and she was on the phone freaking out. She was screaming into the phone and I could hear knocking in the background and couldn't really make out what she was saying. Finally I made out a sentence. She was saying "There's banging, someone's trying to get in, through the walls" I left work and drove home and stayed on the phone with her the whole time, and at some point on my drive home she left the house and started running down the street. I picked her up in her pajamas as I was driving back and she said someone was trying to break through the walls. She heard banging on all the walls of the bedroom. By this point I was pretty fucking certain I knew exactly what she was hearing but I still didn't want to say anything about it. I wanted to calm her down, and told her that it was squirrels. I said I'd seen some squirrels going into a hole in the side of the wall and was afraid we might have them in our walls. This was entirely made up. But it actually calmed her down. She didn't know squirrels could live in your walls and I convinced her this was the case and I told her I'd call an exterminator in the morning and have them come out and check it out. We went back to the house, much to my despair. My squirrel story had calmed her down, but that was short lived. The way our house was set up, we had a bathroom that was connected to our bedroom, but not by a door. Just by the wall. So you had to leave our bedroom and the bathroom was the next room on the right, so the bathroom wall and our bedroom wall were the same wall. Make sense? Anyway, we got inside, she went to the bathroom, and immediately started screaming again. I came into the bathroom to see what she was screaming at and it looked like a tiger had been clawing at the bathroom wall. The one that connected to our wall. The wallpaper (Who wallpapers a bathroom anyway. was torn off about six feet high and there were large gashes in the drywall beneath it. Reminder, this is all like, about four days into having this fucking lamb. At this point, we got in the car, and I told her about the Grudge noise. Her initial reaction was that we needed to get rid of the lamb, but something told me I couldn't. She wanted to just donate it to a thrift shop or something but I had this weird sense of unease about doing it. I felt like we couldn't get rid of it that way. I felt like someone had to know what it was, and want to take it from us. I can't explain why I felt that way, I just did. So, at this point we did what you would probably not expect, and we actually just. fuckin' lived with it. Like this went on every day. We had rules about it. The first rule was we never talked about it in the house. We never even mentioned it. We pretended the lamb did not exist. It was like that episode of Family Guy where they had a giant octopus living in the house and just no one wanted to talk about it. When we had something to say about it we would always say "Let's go for a drive" and we would know what it meant. The clawing at the bathroom wall was getting deeper all the time. Eventually there was a huge hole in the drywall, and it was starting to claw through the drywall that was connected to our bedroom. That was when I really started freaking out. For about a year we lived with everything. We just ignored it and pretended it didn't happen. Every night I sat with the Grudge noise. Things would fly off shelves. Doors would slam. Straight up Paranormal Activity bullshit, every day. One of the worst ones was one of our pickled specimens' jars exploded. It was a bird we'd had for a while, and the mason jar exploded on the mantle in the living room. Glass went everywhere and it took hours to find it all, the bird ITSELF also completely exploded, sending body parts splattering around the living room. It was hell. And I had a few friends I would tell about it every day when I came into work. Like, they'd ask for updates on what the lamb had been doing, and I'd tell them whatever freaky story we had for the previous day. It was literally a daily occurrence at that point. But then it got to a point we couldn't ignore anymore. My girlfriend was waking up with bruises and scratches almost every day, to the point it started to look like she was self-harming. She had a lot of piercings and tattoos so she wasn't too troubled by the pain but didn't really enjoy having to wash blood out of the sheets every day. When it got too much was when I was sitting in the bathroom, browsing my phone, and I heard a female voice say "Hey, come here. So I finished my business and walked in the bedroom and said "Did you call me. And she replied with "I was really hoping that was you. This is about six months in. At this point, it started TALKING. Like literally speaking. It had a little girl's voice. I know, again, that's so cliche` and stupid sounding, but it would occasionally speak and we could hear it. We never responded to it. Everything we'd read on the subject told us to never, ever respond. We'd hear it at our door at night, saying things like "Hey, can I come in, please. Please let me in. At this point you've probably tuned this out and chalked this up as some kind of excessively-long, poorly-written creepypasta, but I promise you, it isn't. Her whole family knew about it as well. All my friends did. Everyone knew about this thing. When we had friends come over, they'd ask us about certain shit "the lamb" had destroyed. like 'What's up with the bathroom wall. And we'd just respond by shaking our heads, and they got the message. Eventually no one came to our place anymore. Everyone said it freaked them out to be there and they were terrified just to walk in. Even her parents stopped coming over. Her mother wouldn't even drive down our street. Still, we ignored it. As best we could. Until one night, I'm sitting on my computer, and a voice right behind me says "Hey. I thought it was my girlfriend, so without turning around I said "Yeah, what's up. And the voice responded "Nothing. Then I realized, it wasn't her voice, and I spun around, and nothing was there. I just broke the cardinal rule, and I fucking talked to it. I shat a brick, grabbed my girlfriend and told her what I did while we drove around in the car. She proceeded to call me an idiot for an hour and asked what we were going to do now. So finally, I decided to Google local paranormal investigators. I contacted a local paranormal investigation "agency" and sent them an e-mail with a more condensed version of everything I've just told you. They responded in a few hours, and asked me to send them a picture of the lamb. That was the first time since the day we set it down, that I had ever touched it again. (Also I should note, it did not collect dust) I put it in the middle of the kitchen table, grabbed my camera, and took some pictures of it. I sent the pics away in an e-mail thing. Until this point these people had been responding to me in a matter of hours, and now suddenly a day had gone by. Then two days. In those two days, everything had escalated tenfold. The house was never quiet now. The Grudge noise could be heard OUTSIDE of the house, and it never stopped. Half the electronics didn't work. The TV barely worked, it would flicker on and off. The power would go on and off, the taps would start running and then close, the garbage disposal would turn on, the doors were slamming and opening non-stop. It was completely out of control and we couldn't stay in the house anymore. Mind you, I wasn't rich, I'm living on a Wal-Mart salary here, but we got a hotel room. I brought a laptop and I e-mailed the paranormal investigators again. They replied to me this time, and told me the lady who answers the e-mails was also, medium, or whatever, and that when I sent her the pictures, she locked herself in her house and has refused to come out for the past two days. They told me they were sorry, but whatever I had was out of their league. So fucking great, right? My house is fucking possessed, and it's now gone apeshit because I talked to it, and the paranormal investigators don't even want to fuck with it. I contemplated calling a Priest or something but I'm not religious and I didn't know if I would have to have faith in the lord Jesus or whatever for it to work. I contacted another paranormal investigations company in the area and sent them the same pics, and basically begged them for help. THIS TIME, they actually responded, and were helpful, and they drove down from about 2 hours away to help us. When we showed up at our house, nothing was happening. It was quiet, and everything looked normal. The doors were all closed, no sounds, nothing. Worse yet? They busted out all these gadgets that I'm not going to pretend I knew what they did or what they were for. Some had lights, some made beeps, some buzzed, one made little lasers all over the house, they had recorders, microphone equipment, they saged the house, walked around waggling electronics at various locations. I don't know exactly what the fuck they were doing, but I at least appreciated that they seemed to be trying. They weren't getting shit though. Nothing was happening. I even recorded bits of it on my camera. Then all of a sudden, stuff DID happen. My camera quit working, out of nowhere. The battery just KO'd. All their noisy equipment started making noise and something was over 9000. There were 3 people and they started talking to it, like "If you're here, give me a sign" and then they asked it to knock on stuff, and this all went on for like two hours. Eventually, they wrapped up, and the woman who was with them said that she believed the thing inhabiting our lamb wasn't a spirit. She said it wasn't ever a person, and it was something else. She said it was pretending to be a little girl to try and trick us, and the fact that we weren't being tricked was angering it. They left, and told me that she'd call me the next day. She said she knew someone who might be willing to take it. I couldn't fathom who would want this thing, but my girlfriend and I spent the night in the hotel again, and I did indeed get a call from the woman the next day. She said she had spoken with someone named John Zaffis and that he was excited, and wanted the item. I didn't know who that was at the time. She told me he was "The Haunted Collector" but that meant nothing to me. They said he had a paranormal museum. They came back to the house, got the lamb, and mailed the thing off to him. Later I realized that the dude had a TV show and was the nephew of Ed and Loraine Warren. And that's basically the end. Once this Zaffis dude had agreed to take it, everything stopped. We never had another weird incident again. I never fixed the bathroom wall though. We moved out when we split up and left it like that for the people we sold the house to. So, on a side-note. I recently (The last six months) watched The Conjuring movies. In a very short scene, in, I believe, The Conjuring 2, there's a shot of the Warren's daughter sleeping in her bed. On her nightstand, is an identical lamb to the one that I had. When I saw it, I almost started crying in horror. Though the one in the film has a blue bow around its neck, and the one I had I'm pretty sure was red. The one in the film also doesn't appear to be a music box. Before anyone asks, yes. I do actually still have the pictures of it that I sent to the original paranormal team, but unless you really, really want them, I would rather not even touch the memory card that contains them. Edit: I got asked for pics, so I mustered up the nads to go get pics of it from when the investigators were there. I don't know how to add pics to my post, so I'll post links to a couple.

Artist: clipping. Album: There Existed an Addiction to Blood Listen/Purchase: Bandcamp Spotify Google Play Music Tidal iTunes/Apple Music YouTube Background - provided by /u/yung_hokage_stef Comprised of rapper, actor, film producer, Tony award-winning thespian and frequent Sesame Street guest Daveed Diggs, alongside noise producers Jonathan Snipes and Bill Hutson, clipping. is an experimental hip-hop group hailing from Los Angeles, California. Since their inception in 2009, the trio has steadily released numerous projects to online audiences, each receiving acclaim from music publications and experimental fans alike, and in doing so have built up one of the most unique and critically celebrated discographies of the decade. Known primarily for their incorporation of harsh noise elements, clipping. have continuously rejected the comfort of familiar time signatures, standard song structures and catchy beats in lieu of hideously distorting them beyond recognition with unlikely inspiration from early avant-garde musicians such as John Cage and Pierre Schaeffer. Ambient art rap for the apocalypse, if you may. And yet, despite their near-inhospitable soundscape, clipping. have remained firmly rooted within hip-hop, proudly embracing the genres spirit of interconnectivity, anti-establishment and DIY ethics. From collaborations ranging from Hellfyre Club to Gangsta Boo, a consistent use of out-of-the-box samples, and ever-present political undertones, clippings discography is more like the music of yesteryear reprogrammed for a digital age in which every point of history has coalesced into one. Sonic Youth spliced with ODB. Kendrick Lamar aboard the Event Horizon. And now, Afrocentric mythos on Elm Street. Though clipping. consistently push the envelope by seemingly tearing down every expectation of what rap music should be, they simultaneously harken back to its earliest and purest forms. It doesnt take long to see how Public Enemy collaborators The Bomb Squads harsh, music-concrète-inspired production holds as much influence on their sound as industrial pioneers like Throbbing Gristle. Their first release in 2013 saw the group turning West Coast hip-hop on its head with the mixtape midcity, depicting the inner-city life and gang culture of California in perhaps the most disorienting and oppressive way imaginable. The G-funk of Long Beach and the bounce of Bay Area hyphy remained only in spirit as Diggs wove nihilistic passages of drugs, sex, and violence smothered between brash walls of static and ear-piercing synths, sometimes resembing a beat. Like E-40 on a Merzbow record, this dichotomy of old-school hallmarks blended with the hellish pulse of the future was enough for midcity to garner considerable online coverage and favourable reviews despite minimal promotion. They signed to the record label Sub Pop three months later. With Sub Pops backing they wasted no time getting to work on their self-titled debut, CLPPNG, taking the ideas they had with midcity and weaving them into a more digestible offering without compromising the abrasive qualities that drew fans in initially. With the harsh noise infusion taking a slight back seat this time around, clipping. focused their efforts on earworm hooks and upbeat instrumentals that were just fringe enough to keep the party going while making you question what the hell you were listening to. If a commercial rap album was manufactured by the deep web, it would materialize as CLPPNG. Released in 2014, it would go on to receive glowing reception, finding its way onto several year-end lists. In between tours of Broadway juggernaut Hamilton where Diggs starred as both Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette, clipping. dropped the hypersexual EP Wriggle to tide fans over until the release of their upcoming full-length, Splendor & Misery, slated to drop later that year in 2016. An Afrofuturist space opera, Splendor & Misery tells the story of a lone survivor of an uprising on board an intergalactic slave ship where the AI becomes infatuated with the protagonist. A soundtrack born from a barely living hull, the survivor wrestles between relinquishing his freedom in hopes of salvation, or sentencing himself to a lonely existence in the black ocean of space. Intertwining the slave songs of the Underground Railroad with 2001: A Space Odyssey, its an incredibly ambitious work of art that feels more like a play than an album at various points. Aside from clipping. s typical critical fanfare, Splendor & Misery would go on to receive a nomination for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in Short Form, the first album in the awards history to earn that honour since 1970. Aside from releasing aquatic musical novella “The Deep” in 2017 (also nominated for a Hugo Award) clipping. would remain relatively quiet for the next three years. On August 14, 2019, their vow of silence would be broken when they dropped the song “Nothing is Safe” paired with the announcement of their upcoming third studio album There Existed an Addiction to Blood. Billed as a “transmutation of horrorcore”, listeners prepared for a revisiting of classic horror tropes through the lens of clipping. s dystopian workings, supported by assisting singles “La Mala Ordina” and “Blood of the Fang”. Unleashed a few weeks later on October 18, There Existed an Addiction to Blood would arrive just in time for All Hallows Eve. Review - provided by /u/yung_hokage_stef Much discussion can be had from the title of the album alone, There Existed an Addiction to Blood. On the surface, it clearly echoes vampiric imagery, supported by the numerous wooden stakes on the albums cover. But with a few Google searches, one comes to find that the title pays homage to Bill Gunns 1973 experimental horror film Ganja & Hess, specifically a line from “The Blood of the Thing” composed by Sam Waymon for the films OST. Regarded as a landmark within African-American independent cinema, Ganja & Hess tells the story of Dr. Hess Green, an anthropologist studying an ancient civilization of blood-worshippers originating from Africa, the Myrthians. After his assistant attacks him with a Myrthian ceremonial dagger, Hess discovers his newfound immortality as a vampire, and with that an insatiable sanguine thirst. Amidst struggling to cope with his addiction, his assistants wife, Ganja, comes to Hess looking for her husband who has since killed himself. The two quickly form a bond, with Hess turning Ganja into a vampire, and they soon begin to live out their ghastly lives together. Unfortunately for Gunn, Ganja & Hess was the exact opposite of what its financiers had hoped for. Hot on the heels of box-office hits like Blacula and Blackenstein, a modest budget of 350, 000 was supplied to create a cheap, sufficient black horror film that would satisfy audiences with mainstream horror schlock and blaxploitation tropes. Instead they got a challenging, albeit rewarding piece on addiction, religion, black identity and cultural assimilation/extinction. To the chagrin of Gunn, the films producers pulled it from release shortly after its first post-Cannes Film Festival premiere, where its length was cut drastically, its name changed, its rights sold to another company, and it was ultimately forgotten (though it has found a home amongst cult audiences. Why bring all this up? Because the inspiration Gunns film has on clipping. s newest outing goes far beyond a title. Much like Ganja & Hess, There Existed an Addiction to Blood uses the classic horror iconography of violence, mortality and the paranormal as a vehicle for something far more poignant and political. Topped off with masterful storytelling, mind-bending flows and production that is both breathtaking and bone-chilling, clipping. s third LP is a contorted portrait of the fragility of life within a city stained with shit, piss, and of course, blood. In true clipping. fashion, the project begins with an “Intro” track, typically characterized by Diggs setting the stage for what's to come through snappy rapid-fire flows, essentially a capella save for some ambiance and background noise. Over the sound of what appears to be somebody digging a grave, Diggs details a rushed story in second-person about a former drug dealer haunted by past ghosts, the scent of death approaching. Aside from being an enticing introduction, if youre a first time listener its an apt summation of Diggs capabilities as an MC. In a near-robotic fashion, Diggs breakneck vocals start and stop on a dime, with the ability to switch between intricate flows fluently as his sharp, careful diction enunciates each and every word with a precision that demands your attention. Amongst clipping. s organized chaos, Diggs is alarmingly calm and calculated. While his all-too-perfect delivery has been criticized in the past for being monotone and hollow, I think its a perfect match for There Existed an Addiction to Blood s grisly themes as he approaches the macabre with the numbed ease of a seasoned killer. A testament to the trios appreciation of horror media and its history, the following 10 tracks each contain their own concepts inspired by specific films or tropes, but still ultimately come together. Take “Nothing is Safe” for example. A faithful ode to the works of John Carpenter, “Nothing is Safe” features a sparse piano-based instrumental eerily reminiscent of the score to Halloween. Continuing the Carpenter homage, Diggs bases the plotline of the track on a clever reimagining of Assault on Precinct 13, a personal favourite of his. The original film follows a team of police officers tasked with defending a defunct precinct from swarms of gang members in response to brutal police killings. The album, however, puts things in reverse. The protagonists are now gang members holed up in a trap house, taking turns keeping watch as they continue their drug-dealing duties. To the dismay of our protagonists, it's not long before things go south, starting with just one casualty, and then eventually a full-blown police raid as the surviving members are picked off one-by-one while they stare imminent death in the face. It's an excellently paced track, with Diggs nimble vocals slowly becoming more hostile as the night draws on, and when all hell breaks loose, the ominous chorus becomes backed by 80s horror movie synths. The transformation of police officers into inhuman predators is simple but effective, but it also iterates on a common thread found throughout There Existed an Addiction to Blood. For a genre that regularly defies the laws of nature, much of the horror clipping. shines a light on is all too real. The squalor of poverty, the looming threat of law enforcement, the depravity of gang conflict, the specter of white supremacy. Struggles of survival in spite of all this is what propels each individual narrative that clipping. offers here to the fullest effect. The Ed Balloon-assisted “He Dead” finds a small-time trapper on a run for his life from cops, likened to werewolves, as he scrambles to find his allegorical silver bullet amidst a sea of racist profiling and violence. An all-too-common result of the mistreatment of minorities via the powers that be, subtle nods to PTSD and anxiety are given but brushed aside as our lead shifts gears to one thing and one thing only: “stay alive at all costs”. An excerpt from Ed Balloons intro carries the point home: Cause they don't think you matter, oh no They want to take your power, oh no And make you even lesser, oh no And add you to the number Don't let them get close They're screamin' out murder You've got to be cautious Before they destroy ya Conversely, “The Show” transports us to the set of a fabled online "red room" where unlucky contestants get horrifically mutilated for the viewing pleasure of others. Equal parts Saw and Videodrome, Diggs presents the listener with gory details of his victims torture over a clunky mechanical beat of whirrs and drones. Broken bones, flayed flesh, all to the tune of paying customers, and it does a formidable job of displaying how easy it is to be dehumanized when you're merely pixels on a screen for someone else's entertainment. Now, while itd be unwise to label There Existed an Addiction to Blood as simply horrorcore, it does aim to scare, even with its heavier implications. Horror is a genre where sound design is many times more important than what's actually on screen, and with its pantheon containing some of films most iconic soundtracks and effects, one should expect an album that is equally memorable. Thankfully, the work of Snipes and Hutton on this album is brilliant, combining their trademark noise and usage of ambiance with a darker, more sinister sound pioneered from the cassettes of Memphis hip-hop. The end product is a score that is stunning, if only for how downright disturbing it manages to get. Snipes and Huttons production stays loyal to Diggs ill-omened air, elevating already-morbid vignettes into something hideously captivating. Whether an urgent tense rhythm or a drumless vacuum of dread, There Existed an Addiction to Blood s instrumentals compliment Diggs every step of the way. “Club Down”, the byproduct of Vaudeville Villain and Night of the Living Dead swapping zombies for drug addicts, is a production highlight. Diggs sets the stage for a city rife with trash, drifters, and criminal activity, and though his harrowing account does more than enough to make the listener uneasy, it's the restless, carefully built atmosphere that makes this track a standout. Beginning with hefty industrial clangs and a gravelly bassline, its not long before the odd reverb-heavy scream gets thrown into the mix. Things only ramp up from here as Diggs, certain of the citys implosion, becomes nearly enveloped by the screaming, the cries for help getting louder as the gutter rises to the surface. By the end of the track the shrieks have echoed into each other creating an endless stream of pain and suffering that doesnt let up until the very last second. Its easily the most frightening song Ive heard in recent memory, and its execution shows Snipes and Huttons understanding of the nuance it takes to craft something truly terrifying. On a lighter note, There Existed an Addiction to Blood also continues clippings tradition of inventive audio techniques. The most notable example is “Run for Your Life”, a tale in which a kleptomaniac tries to evade a murderous drug queenpin after doing her wrong. The track relies almost exclusively on ambient recordings of a downtown area, but occasionally the sound of a car driving by can be heard blasting a Three 6 Mafia-type beat from its speaker as it passes the narrator (in a recent AMA they confirmed that they actually recorded real cars driving by them playing the instrumentals. This is what serves as the rhythm for Diggs flow, and its diegetic use, along with the ambiance, brings the urban setting to life. This song isnt about somebody scrambling for survival, the song is somebody scrambling for survival. Another sonic layer is added to the fray when guest star La Chat enters. The music heard in passing becomes the backbone of the beat as La Chat raps from the perspective of the pursuer, transporting the listener into her car, the very same car from which the music was playing from earlier! While reinforcing the self-contained world building without seeming gimmicky, its an ingenious artistic choice that adds much to the track and makes it yet another highlight on the production side. Even with numerous releases under their belt at this point, its endearing to see clipping. as eager to innovate as they were when they first broke out. The hip-hop spirit that clipping. carries with themselves still rings true on There Existed an Addiction to Blood, most notably with its guest appearances. In contention for most unexpected collaboration of 2019, “La Mala Ordina” features Benny the Butcher and El Camino of Buffalos Griselda collective. A reference to the 1972 crime drama The Italian Connection, “La Mala Ordina” exposes the rap tropes of the gangster lifestyle with its harsher, more cruel realities, making several allusions to Mafia-related matters. Doing his best Leatherface impression, Diggs rhymes of cracked skulls, peeled skin and dismembered limbs like an unhinged hitman, calling out all glorified “actors” who fail to understand the gravity of the set they supposedly claim. While Camino and Benny pull off solid performances, their verses arent that much different from what they usually offer, and I do wish they played more into the theme of the track (especially with a stage name like “the Butcher”. Regardless, the fact that this pairing simply exists still makes it one of their more notable guest appearances. Painting the mob life as a grainy, sleazy slasher film and recruiting two artists that embody the mafioso styles of 90s East Coast rap is a smart concept, bridging the seemingly incompatible worlds of horror films and organized crime into something very fluid. It continues with the aforementioned La Chat feature, which has clipping. paying respect to the city where sampling Halloween is a rite of passage: Memphis, Tennessee. Host to artists such as Tommy Wright III, Al Kapone, and of course Three 6 Mafia and its associates, Memphis, while perhaps not the birth place of horrorcore, served as a breeding ground for the subgenre in the 90s. Hundreds upon hundreds of cassette tapes would spawn from the region at its peak, featuring double time flows, satanic subject matter and lo-fi production, like the audio equivalent of a cursed VHS tape. Memphis is an absolute treasure trove of the stuff, and anybody willing to dig a bit beyond the reach of modern streaming services will find a scene that is bountiful as it is twisted (in fact I even did a writeup on some lesser known tapes from the city a while back. On the topic of La Chat, her appearance on There Existed an Addiction to Blood is clipping. coming full circle, melding old-school traditions with cybernetic bedlam. Aside from her inclusion, the likes of horrorcore pioneers Geto Boys, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Brotha Lynch Hung can be heard all over this album in Diggs' flow, mannerisms and subject matter, revealing yet another tether that keeps the otherwise astral trio grounded. Though its packed with subliminal stances beneath all its guts and gore, There Existed an Addiction to Blood s political angles are at their most overt on “Blood of the Fang”. Returning once again to Ganja & Hess, “Blood of the Fang” samples the titular line from the films OST throughout the song, interspersed between Diggs bars and breaks in the beat. Its a fitting use, as the topic at hand is indeed a need for blood. Not involving ancient vampires however, but rather, the history of bloodlust towards African-Americans brought forth by white supremacists. In a political climate where the deep American tradition of racism has more willingly emerged from its hiding places as of late, “Blood of the Fang” is clipping. s militant call to arms against those who perpetuate it. Serving as a celebration of black empowerment by way of the Black Panther Party, Diggs pays tribute to the numerous activists who fought to reject the normalized ideals of white nationalism whilst urging others to follow suit. There are no dissenting “opinions”, respectful debates or nebulous “both sides” cop-outs. Quoting Malcolm X, Diggs reiterates that the civil liberties of black people is something that will be fought for, “by any means”. The first verse is structured as an origin story for the Black Panthers, referencing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the subsequent founding of the Panthers in 1966. Brief recounts of the opposition faced are alluded to, but the most striking aspect of this section is the framing used to portray the Panthers. With the opening line Drink it up, fifty years 'bout enough, time to come back. its as if Diggs is summoning them from the depths, depicting them as a primordial force amid slumber, patiently waiting in the shadows for whatever cursed act awakes them. Its an extremely powerful metaphor given that the Panthers were dissolved, but certainly not forgotten through their cultural impact, while also playing into the campy horror aesthetic. After a nod to social activist Angela Davis, the song bursts into a lively chorus sampling a work song from the Bongili people of the Congo Republic, furthering “Blood of the Fang”s Afrocentric themes. Diggs rolls with the topic of revolution, and by the third verse has assembled a newly resurrected Black Panther Party, back from the dead, unclaimed by the murderous attempts of White America. Like an undying Jason Voorhees in the eyes of racists, the reanimated likes of George Jackson and Bobby Seale to David Hillard and Afeni Shakur have risen from their graves, thirsty for blood and ready to strike. The song is a lot to grasp, squeezing several historical metaphors into three tight verses, but the hook sums it up flawlessly: Look back, blood on the ground Look straight, they still shooting' Jump back, still here Now what that tell you 'bout death? Death ain't shit, you got to- The history of black people in America is bloody to say the least, with the usual suspects being slavery and Jim Crow laws, among other things. Despite overcoming said hurdles, their long lasting effects cut deep. Whats more, in the present gun violence towards black people is still an all-too common occurrence in the form of police brutality and domestic terrorism. But still, the fight against racism persists, for not even the great equalizer of death is enough to stop those who spit in the face of oppression. It is hopeless and optimistic. Desolate and empowering. This is without a doubt one of clipping. s finest pieces. Lastly, I felt that this review wouldnt be complete without glossing over “Piano Burning”, the albums closer. Its audio of a piano. burning. For 18 minutes. This track serves as a tribute to composer Annea Lockwoods 1968 performance art piece of the same name. After contacting Lockwood herself for permission to recreate the composition, clipping. proceeded to follow its instructions and do just that. Im not going to pretend I understand it, and admittedly its something Ive only sat through once, skipping it on every subsequent listen. I doubt itll get many spins from anybody, but I do commend clipping. for adding it nonetheless. Its something that could easily be viewed as pretentious or detrimental to the albums experience, and yet, clipping. saw fit to incorporate it into their vision out of love for the music experimentation they hold so dear to themselves. As the piano is softly reduced to ash you are left with nothing but dead stillness, a ghostly but oddly welcome respite from the onslaught of death and decay you just bore witness to. For the second time this decade, clipping. have managed to take the medium of the concept album to a plane few artists would dare travel to. Lacking neither the theatrics nor the pure musical foundation to direct whatever splintered views they conjure, the trio regularly draws attention to previously dismissed perspectives while inspiring new ones. Much like a horror film, There Existed an Addiction to Blood to many will be viewed as abhorrent, distasteful and downright unenjoyable to engage with. But for those willing to stand in the crossfire of clipping. s digital warpath, an electrifying, forward thinking and politically charged love-letter to outsider art can be found. Favourite Lyrics They hunt as a pack and they packin' more firepower than you ever imagined The pack on your back rattles back and forth, no slack Go faster, go faster, they masters of trapping and You just a trapper who went for a Masters And dropped out when it didn't matter no more Your body of work didn't embody bodyin' bodies And watchin' them pile on the floor So what them books got you but dreams of everything lost? What does sleep bring you but screams at night when you toss? And turn hope into stone, your motto embossed Stay alive at all costs “He Dead” Rock, paper, ice pick, nice trick, no homonym Cutouts from a magazine, make letters for your mom n them Who remember arts and crafts, these killers is artisans With an arsenal to elevate your arteries, start again Rock, paper, zip tie, that slow burn, that drip dry That fissures in your field of vision make your world a fish-eye That round edge make it worser when the bubble burst you just cry Laid out on the floor without a tongue, trying to ask why Rock, paper, gunshot, classic out in some spots If you prefer the sweet life maybe you can die like gum drops Smooth and round and melting if you're left out when the sun's hot This is the preferred method of smart killers and dumb cops “La Mala Ordina” The symphony is tectonic, it shifts as the Earth is settlin' Precious metals are mined and a million minds have been meddlin' with time In the hopes of getting a golden noose for the neck Golden goose from a fairy tale, shittin' Fabergé eggs “Club Down” Fist in the sky if you ready, dice a ofay like confetti They thought you was playin' Though really the game was more trainin' There finna be (Blood) And much of it blues Time to fly, cause you know time fickle So cold, finna snow, swing a icicle Takin' out a police or a politician issuing a statement sayin' Turn it on a dime or get the nickel And it ain't just money, B, this ain't honey Sweet, but it's funny to think of them wantin' to speak When this pain is deep and ingrained in (Blood) “Blood of the Fang” Talking Points Much of the subject matter on this album (at least on the surface) could easily be viewed as edgy and repulsive. Do you find it easier to overlook and go along with content thats rather unpleasant when its intentionally done in the name of being scary or unsettling, much like with a horror film? Does this album have enough merit to rise above the pigeonholed categorization of a “Halloween rap album” and stand on its own, or could you only see yourself spinning this whenever October comes around? What is it about clipping. 's music that you find allows them to utilize rather outlandish backdrops (a sentient space station, the paranormal etc. in an evocative and effective manner when drawing parallels with more grounded topics such as racism or civil rights? Given that this album is heavily inspired by a cult-classic independent horror flick, are there any obscure horror films you feel more people should know about.

Watch Movie Beneath usb. Watch movie beneath us full movie. Watch Movie Beneath usa. I loved Michael. Even if he was a serial killer. He went missing one day before the police finally caught on. I had no idea. I was stunned. Not to mention betrayed. Depressed. Absolutely horrified by my husbands crimes. But what could I do? Michael and I were close but apparently, not close enough for him to draw me into his many murders. His torturous, systematic slaughter of over twenty women. Nor show me the way he photographed each and every one of them both before and after sending them to their gruesome deaths. Michael always the sadistic shutterbug. I felt for his victims and their families. I really did. I cried every night for eleven months straight. Long ago came to the conclusion I was oblivious to living with a monster. And I fucking dealt with it. I wasnt defending shit and certainly not Michael. Maybe the same psychopath who was able to lure countless women to their deaths could dupe his devoted wife? Who knew… and why was that so hard to believe? Especially with a man as sweet and handsome as him. But like buzzards, the media tore into my fragile flesh. I was The Dumb Housewife to what they dubbed The Perfect Husband. Just the dumb blonde. Nevermind, I had a PhD and worked at St. Francis hospital here in Columbus, Georgia. Goddamn social media was even worse. The abusive comments swarmed me. Everything from I was a dumb bitch to apparently an ugly old hag at forty-four. Apparently, I was so jealous of other women and all my failed pregnancies, I let Michael do the dirty work. Let him exterminate those beautiful fertile women. Yeah. This was “the narrative. ” As suspicious as they were, the police and D. A. still cleared me. But not before a final press conference where the prosecutor played the “not enough evidence” card. Just teasing the press enough for his own fifteen minutes of fame. To be able to be featured in the surefire “documentaries” where Lifetime and E! would rip me apart. How could she not know when the murders happened under their roof! In their own basement! The tabloids tormented me. More than the memories to be honest but I had no idea. Michael wasnt that way around me. I thought he was my soulmate. The love of my life. Wed met in college over twenty years ago. Both of us honor grads. At first, we bonded over photography. Nature. The arts. The very hobby that would become Michaels terrifying trademark. Michael wasnt tall but stayed in good shape. He ran everyday, and I certainly wasnt complaining when he kept his morning run ritual over the years. Like I said, he was handsome. His chiseled face complete with irresistible dimples. His brown curly hair as soft as those green eyes. When we first moved to our big house on Whitesville Road, I thought this was it. Our life was set. Michael and Sam Downing now had the American Dream. Of course, being with someone so attractive and charming only intensified my own insecurities. Even moreso once I became a suspect. A media punching bag. Only unlike O. J. and Casey Anthony, I didnt have a trial to lean on. Didnt have anything to leak out to the public. I was never given a voice. Or chance. At least the hospital stood by me. Columbus, Georgia like a support group away compared to the skeptical outside world. I guess we took care of our own out here… Regardless of whether or not my friends and family thought I helped The Perfect Husband kill those girls. Most of the time, I kept to myself. No more traveling or exploring. Instead, I just stayed inside our big brick house. Two stories of soulless superficiality. Michaels gorgeous grin still stared at me from our many photographs. His spirit stuck in every cat ornament or surreal portrait he ever bought for me. I felt him everywhere. Except the basement. I damn sure never went back there. I didnt care how much the police had collected evidence and washed out the grisly scene. I couldnt dare face the Downing slaughterhouse once more. Couldnt face the horrifying reality. What was worse was there was no closure. The cops took what they could and that was that. But Michael was still gone. Hed taken his Nikon D5 camera with him, so now wed never know how many women he killed. How many corpses hed have on display for his personal art exhibit. And I thought we probably never would. Michael was too smart. Too clever. Beneath the harassment on-line and from the paparazzi, I wilted away for another agonizing year. My blonde hair now started to grey. Bags started popping up under my eyes. Like a virus, a deadly combination of stress and mid-life crisis crashed upon my once good looks. I was far from curvy but I only grew skinnier. To my horror, even my tits started to sag. At this point, I had no chance at dating. At least, I didnt think so. No longer did I feel attractive or talented. Much less confident. When I felt at my lowest, loneliest, and yes, horniest, I sought attention on-line. All under an anonymous name. But the only compliments this desperate girl got were from the more desperate guys. Not to mention the hybristophilia-addled men and women wanting me just for my undeserved infamy. I didnt talk to hardly anyone at all. Sure, the Columbus community didnt harass or insult me. Not like the national media did. Or national zeitgeist for that matter. But no one was exactly eager to swing by my house. No one invited me over. Forget margarita nights with the co-workers, my own family didnt even have me over for Christmas. Instead, there was only one person I interacted with on a daily basis: my neighbor Sean Winslow. Nearing eighty (or at least looking it) Sean was polite and respectful. The grandfather type who never married or had kids. Like me, he was all alone. And by sheer coincidence, all the other homes on Whitesville Road barricaded themselves from their neighbors with fancy iron-pike fences and gates. Quarantining themselves from Sean and I… Not that their isolation helped while Michael was on the prowl. Especially considering how Michael kidnapped and killed Tarra Falls, one of the wealthier people out here. A mutilation by machete. Sean welcomed me back with open arms. His skin was still so smooth. His stark white hair so straight. His body muscular, his movements spry. As if wed swapped aging patterns, Sean seemed to grow younger and more spirited while I grew decrepit both inside and out. To my relief, Sean believed me because he too had been duped. Felt betrayed by the love of my life. Every weekend, Michael and I used to visit Sean. So he too had been close to this living monster. Days after the shitstorm ensued, Sean had let me stay the night at his place. Sure, maybe he was just being an old perv. This was before the stress tarnished whatever good looks I had, after all. But Sean didnt make any moves. He never did. Instead, he comforted me. There at his kitchen table, the two of us shared one of his older Cabernets. The wine warmed me from the dread. And so did Seans pleasant company. I looked out a window. Out toward the blue lights. The news vans. The media assault on 6660 Whitesville Road. An investigation still ongoing to this day. Sympathetic, Sean grabbed my hand. The supportive hold of a parent rather than a lovers lust. “Its okay, Sam, ” he told me in his genteel Southern accent. “You couldnt have known. ” I looked into his piercing hazel eyes. No longer did I cry. Not now. Not when I knew I wasnt alone. “No one could, ” Sean reassured. But then came a miserable milestone. The first of what I was sure would be a never-ending cycle of pain. One that wouldnt stop until my death. The one-year anniversary of our lives being buried. The January day Michaels darkest secrets were discovered. By me, the community, and the world. And the day Michael slaughtered my personal life. His first kill without a blade. Of course, the networks were chomping at the bit. Just passing twelve months meant more coverage, more specials. Televised investigations handled by incompetent talking heads and clickbait reporters. There would be exploitative re-enactments of Michaels methodical crimes, theories on where he is now, and theories on how I got away with murder. I had nothing new to say. I didnt know why Michael did what he did. Why he killed, why he used all sorts of vicious weapons from knives to hammers to kill so many women. Or why he used his favorite weapon of all: the Nikon. The same exact camera he used to take pictures of his bloody trophies. At the recommendation of lawyers and loved ones, I declined the biased interviews. Even when I knew that wouldnt be enough to turn down the army of press camping outside my door when the twenty-first arrived. But Sean came to the rescue. Yet again. The offer of staying at his place during this tasteless “holiday” was too much for me to pass up. An escape from both the limelight and lynch mobs. And one that was less than a hundred yards away. On that cold January dawn, I migrated inside his house. Well before the news crews and cameras began their stakeout. Before I could become prey to this malicious pop culture. Seans house was spacious. Clean. Besides the abundance of wine, he liked art as well. The many framed photographs and paintings perfect for his homemade museum. Throughout the day, we hid inside. Far from the madding media. No one bothered us. Seans security cameras scaring away even the creepy Michael Downing Fan Club. But like a ghost, Michael still haunted me. The T. V. talked about him constantly. So many stations stayed dedicated to anniversary coverage. To discuss Michael… or to accuse me. So Sean guided me back toward the kitchen table. Back to the site of our better memories. Together, we shared a few bottles of Pinot Grigio. “Well, Im glad I stole you away from them, ” Sean joked. Grinning, I took another sip. “You and me both. ” Behind a warm smile, Sean poured more into my glass. A generous helping as always. “I just got this bottle yesterday. They got that vineyard out in Albany, you know. ” “Oh really? Thats cool. ” Sean leaned back. His muscles well on display through the jeans and flannel shirt. The killer biceps. “I just wanted to mark this special occasion, I suppose, ” he joked. Even I cracked a smile. “Great idea…” “Well, I knew youd be here, ” Sean said. He leaned in closer. “I always appreciate your company, Sam. ” My eyes scanned the room. Doing everything they could to avoid the sickening soap opera outside my front yard. But the huge Keurig, the catalog of Seans nature photography did nothing to ease the anxiety. Nothing to stifle Michaels deep voice. His piercing gaze. The elegy of our good memories. “Honestly, it gets lonely out here, ” Sean went on. Feeling drunker by the second, I leaned against the table. Trying to keep myself upright. Sean shook his glass. White wine splashed out. I now realized it was a glass he hadnt touched in quite some time. Unusual considering both of us were alcoholics. “I miss the old days, Sam, ” he said, his voice sinking to a low tone. A Southern accent shifting from high exuberance to deep reflection. The drinks caught up to me. They hit so quick. So sudden. I looked over at Seans refrigerator. At the many magnets and photos. Several pics looked familiar. There was St. Simons Islands beautiful beaches, Pasoquans psychedelia in Buena Vista. The same places Michael and I loved to visit… “I miss when we could all be together, ” Sean said, his voice drifting away. “Before those amazing murders. The kills. ” My eyes drifted out of conscious. The room got blurry. Everything faded to black. The glass slipped through my hand and smashed against the marble tile. A deafening sound now reduced to a hollow echo. Through the haze, I confronted the bottle. What I was sure was drugged Albany Pinot Grigio. Sean reached toward me. “I want all of us together, Sam. ” That was the last thing I heard. I fell backward in my seat. Entered an unconscious realm. What felt like centuries was mere hours. I awoke later that night. Confused, disoriented. I knew Id been drugged. Lying on the ground, I looked all around me. Bright bulbs lit the claustrophobic room with clinical lab precision. Immediately, terror sunk in. Surrounding me were hundreds of photos. Enclosed in the gaudy frames were bodies and bodies. All of them women. Some nude, some in torn clothes. But all the girls were bound-and-gagged in duct tape. All of them dead. There were dissections, bludgeonings, decapitations. Visceral, grisly murder at the hands of many different tools. And at the hands of one horrifying serial killer: my husband. Like Michael, the Nikon D5 showed no mercy. Every corpse was captured in a captivating light. In all their disturbing glory. From the walls, the collection of corpses watched me. The few faces that werent mangled still had their eyes open in fear. The faces of death. Right by the red door was a long metal table. Its surface covered by an arsenal of vicious weapons. There were knives, machetes, axes… and gallons of dark dry blood. The blades ready to tear through flesh. And all they needed was a killers hungry touch. I now knew where I was. The houses in this neighborhood all had similar layouts. But there was no way this was my basement. Even if looked just like the scary scene police had shown me one year ago. Somehow, Sean had made a shrine to Michaels work. A terrifying tribute to his prolific serial killer career. Then a muffled cry hit me. As did a nauseating smell. Turning, I saw a red-headed woman lying a few feet away. She was bound-and-gagged in duct tape. Her ripped clothes covered in blood. Her pale body covered in bruises. She couldnt have been older than eighteen… but she still fit Michaels M. O. Or whatever the Hell Seans “type” was. The womans eyes begged me for help. She squirmed beneath the tape. Too weak to even crawl. “Oh God! ” I yelled. I jumped up and ran toward her. Desperate to help the young woman escape. Tears streamed down her eyes. Shivering, the woman struggled to move closer toward me. This up close I saw she was missing patches of skin. Her pants stained with days of piss and shit… I reached out toward her. Then the red door burst open. In came Sean. A sly smile on his handsome face. A silver hammer in his hand. A Nikon D5 in the other. Startled, I jumped back. My eyes watched Sean charging forward like a wolf ready to pounce on a vulnerable lamb. I stood petrified in fear… even as I heard the young woman shriek through that tape. Heard her body flounder on the floor. Without hesitation, Sean sunk the hammer claw straight into her face. Right between the womans screaming eyes. Blood blasted all over us. Each of us coated in a quick crimson shower. The girl fell straight back. Her body silent and still. The hammer an arrow into her foreheads bullseye. A fast flash caught the postmortem photo. The young woman now a most morbid model. Perfect for Seans morbid museum. Sean lowered the Nikon, revealing an even bigger smile. Pleased at his latest trophy. Horrified, I glared at him. “What the Hell are you doing! ” all I could scream. Seans cackle became a soundtrack to this slaughterhouse. In his death basement. Angry, I took a step toward him. “What the fucks wrong with you! ” I waved toward his latest victim. “Did yall do this together! Both of yall sick fucks! ” “Not at all! ” Sean yelled in a deep, proud voice. Crying out, I lunged toward him. Toward the old sack of shit. In one quick push, Sean pushed me straight down. His strength so sneaky. I fell hard. Groaning, I looked up at him. His muscular physique. The shoulders and chiseled chest so unnatural for someone near eighty. With a theatrical flourish, Sean withdrew a switchblade and flicked out the shiny blade. He set his hungry sights on me. “Ive been waiting a long time for this, Sam. ” Disturbed, I watched him lean in toward me. But inside, I built up courage. Or at least tried to. “You have no idea, ” Sean went on. He put the blade to my face. Faint blood stains were all over the fucking thing. Bits of female flesh included. I suppressed the tears. But stayed sickened by everything around me. “I want you…” Sean teased. Embracing anger, I threw a first punch. Right at Seans nose. My aim perfect. Covering his face, Sean staggered back. “Aw, fuck! ” Then I looked on. Simultaneously stunned and scared. Unable to move. To make a sound. There stood Sean, clutching his bloodied nose and dangling, filleted flesh. The long strands of skin like shredded paper. He glared at me behind one green eye and one brown one. Through the blood, pale powder smeared across his hands. Red rain had washed away the disguise. And now it was all clear. Especially when I saw that hazel contact lying by Michaels latest victim. Raising the switchblade, my husband confronted me. Standing tall in the death room hed recreated in Seans basement. A sadistic smirk now plastered on his face. “Looks like were together again, Sam! ” his deep voice bellowed. “Right where I always wanted you. ” I staggered to my feet. Too nervous to stop the chills but too upset to shed tears. “Why, Michael! ” I yelled. With cool indifference, Michael ripped off the remaining latex. The make-up now wiped clean to reveal the face of a cold-blooded killer. Fake skin still dripped off Michaels fingertips. But his grip on that blade stayed steady. On the camera as well. “Why are you doing this! ” I hurled at him. Michael took a calm step toward me. “I had to escape, babe. ” Both his hands now grabbed on to the Nikon as he got closer and closer. “So I did the only thing I could. I came here. ” This Michael was similar sure. Still handsome and charismatic. Still the man I married. But deep down, I felt dread. Disgust at the Michael Downing who fooled me. The Perfect Husband I didnt know. Betrayal battered my senses, but I wasnt gonna cry. Not over him. Not ever again. Just inches away, Michael pointed the camera at me. A crude spotlight for my fear. “I killed Sean, ” Michael went on. “It was tough but I had no choice. You know Im not crazy about killing dudes, Sam. ” I just glared at him. Watched Michael as he got ready to take a photo. “Happy anniversary, babe, ” Michael teased. There right in front of me, he took the picture. With no regard for Sam. For all the years I loved him. Instead, I was just another temporary thrill. Yet another victim. Grinning, Michael lowered the camera. “Oh, Ill take my time with you, Sam. ” I stood there, silent and still. I felt violated, sickened. Hurt. Cringing, I let Michael caress my face for one final time. “Just like I always wanted to, ” Michael said. Relishing the torture, he leaned in close. His movements soft and slow. “Now how about a kiss for The Perfect Husband, babe. ” I then made my move. A quick punch into Michaels firm chest. My long year of agony now released in that one act of violence. Groaning, Michael fell to his knee. He dropped the knife. My onslaught continued. I just laid into him. One hit after the other. Now I was glad to have kept the wedding ring on… more force for that left-handed hook. Michaels muscular frame hit the ground. Lying parallel to his last victim. Two bodies for this basement funeral. A funeral for my ruined past. For my shattered dreams. Crying out, Michael struggled on the ground. His face battered and bruised. Blood pouring from his broken nose. Power surged through me. Strength. Confidence. All the violence sent me into a pure state of euphoria. The most pleasure I felt since the honeymoon stage... Excited, I snatched up the Nikon from Michaels weakened grasp. Aimed it at him as if the camera were a pistol. The smile long gone, Michael glowered at me. “You bitch! ” he cried. “You fucking bitch! Gimme that! Defiant for the first time in this horror movie marriage, I held the camera steady. The lens more unflinching than my harsh gaze. “Gimme the fucking camera! ” Michael yelled. Rage won out. As did desire. I snapped my first death portrait. But did you really think Id turn Michael in? Expose his existence for all the world to see. Clear my name for these fucking assholes? Of course not. Sure, I ended up dumping Carla Dowses body off on Whittlesey Boulevard. A chance for her family to get the closure I finally got… But I did nothing with Seans place. Nothing other than take a few souvenirs with me. Months later, and the kills still keep me aroused. Keep me excited. I think about those tied-up bodies. The naked young men helpless to my touch. Their blood, the slow slaughters. The way the boys flinch when I take that fun first photo. And then how I position their beautiful corpses for the even more fun final shoot. Photography hasnt been this exhilarating since college, Ill tell you that. I renovated my basement. Now its my death room rather than Michaels. Sure, I got a similar layout. A pink wooden table full of vicious sharp blades at my disposal. But at least I keep the slaughterhouse stylized. I love the pink wallpaper. The psychedelic (now blood-stained) rugs. But most of all its my personal museum. The framed photos of dead hot guys running up and down those walls are my victims. Not to mention my newfound pride and joy. The fetish I never knew I had. Late at night, Ill fall asleep thinking about the kills. Fantasize over them. Salivate over taking those pictures. Dream about murdering those fineass men. By now, the photos of Michael and I are gone. Everything that reminded me of him are gone with them. The cat figurines, the surreal portraits. This is my house now. Especially that Goddamn basement: Sams Slaughterhouse. The only thing Michael has left me is himself. The crumpled prisoner in my death room. Like an entrapped lab rat, he just lies there in duct tape. Too beaten and bloodied to do anything. Both his Achilles are sliced, his tongue ripped out, fingers lopped off. I dont mind toying with him from time to time. But I do have other studs to tend to… more alluring hotties to play with. Their photos now form my basement trophy case. That Nikon my deadliest weapon of all. I understand Michaels desire now. I get why he was a serial killer. The same motive fuels my bloodlust in the basement and in bed. What I do behind that big red door gives me exhilaration, an escape from the boredom. So much pleasure I carry it with me to the bedroom every single night… Now I never feel lonely. After so many murders, I feel better. The carnage a catharsis for my confidence. Ive matched Michaels strength. Now muscular and fit, I look amazing. The blonde hair is back. The wrinkles held at bay. I look ten years younger, and I use my attractive looks to my advantage. Just like Michael did. In the basement, I scan the many framed photos. The many victims Ill be thinking of later tonight. And the same murders Ill be dreaming over for eternity. I steal a look at my unconscious husband. Divorce closer than ever considering Michaels dying state. His cuts and scars have only been growing deeper these past few days. Then my eyes drift toward Adam. The college kid I picked up last week. A jock with a nice smile and long black hair. The slit throat now made him even prettier. So did the blood all over that amazing body. A perfect picture for my gallery. A sharp vibration cut through my admiration. A phone call from my latest date: Johnny Cullen. He was acute, skinny black guy in his thirties. One with a sympathetic heart I couldnt wait to carve out. Dressed to kill, I turned toward the table. Toward the butcher knife I planned on using later. Not to mention the other tools forming my hardware horror fantasies. The media always wanted me to be a killer. And so did the rest of the world. Even Columbus, Georgia. Even my friends and family. And now… well. I was gonna give them that bitch. Meet Sam Downing. Photographer and serial killer. The Perfect Wife. 14.

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