A middle school student and his best friend investigate why students at their school are suddenly missing. It may have something to do with the murder of an woman in their small town who owned a shop full of oriental artifacts
Tags: horror, suspense, occult, dark magic, horror short story, supernatural, ghost story, curse, scary story
|Publication Date||Aug. 01, 2017|
|BCRS ratings?Learn more|
Latest posts by Dongbaek Sasang (see all)
By Dongbaek Sasang
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“Danny! Another student has gone missing today!” My best friend Adam yelled at me.
“What the heck is going on around here.” I shouted.
“Dunno man, rumour has it Mr. Rubouski is kidnapping children at our middle school and selling their kidneys in Thailand.” He answered.
“Living in a town as small as ours. I think somebody would have seen something, and told the Sherriff by now.” I replied.
“Yea, you’re right, kids are probably just coming down with that Mono thing.” He said.
“Well, the bell is about to ring, so let’s go to class now.” I said as we walked down the hall.
Adam was my best friend, couldn’t find a better friend than him. In fact, our parents were friends before we were even born. They always joked we met inside our mothers’ bellies.He’d do anything for me, and I do anything for him. He was a true friend, through and through. During Mrs. Donaldson’s class, I could see something was bothering her. She usually was all bright and jittery, as she taught us about American history, but today something was clearly eating away at her. Then, in the middle of class, Spencer, who the kids call Spazzy Spence due to his ADHD blurted out.
“Mrs. D. is it true that Mr. Rubouski is stealing children and sending them to Thailand?”
“That’s nonsense Spencer, and you should apologize to him for even mentioning something so absurd within these walls! I personally know Mr. Rubouski. He’s a man of family and God. Students are just getting sick with something. I’m not sure exactly why. Now let’s get back to why America entered World War Two.” She said, scolding the students. She seemed to be bothered by something. I think everyone in class that day, knew Mrs. D. was lying through her teeth, and something crazy was happening in our little sleepy town, yet nobody had any idea why.
The rest of class was boring, dragging on until the end of the day. Finally, the last bell rang, and like always, Adam and I hopped on our daily school bus ride back home to the other side of the county. It was a fairly long bus ride, about forty minutes long to be exact, so there was a lot of time to mess around with my friends. We passed through the center of town, actually more like one small strip of shops for a few blocks. As we passed by the old antiques shop, I noticed the front door was smashed, and it had police tape put up in front.
“I figured it out for real this time Danny boy! The guy that killed the old Asian woman running the antique store is on a murdering spree. That’s why the students are going missing!”
“Wait, so that’s what happened to the antique shop. I was just wondering about that?” I replied.
“Yeah, some guy broke in, in the middle of the night to rob the place, but the poor woman was sleeping in the back room, and he killed her”. Adam answered as he fidgeted around in his seat.
“So, that crazy guy has been killing all the missing students?” I gasped.
A nerdy looking kid from the seat behind chimed in. “Actually, he was brought into custody immediately after the incident. He’s currently incarcerated in the county jail awaiting pre-trial. The silent alarm was triggered when the man broke through the front door. The woman actually lived in the apartment connected to the back of the store. Apparently, it was one of the most horrifying crime scenes the investigators had ever seen.”
“Thanks for the news poindexter, but you really shouldn’t be eavesdropping on us.” Adam was annoyed.
“Sorry.” He replied.
“So, I guess I’m wrong again. But man, that woman was strange, she couldn’t speak a word of English. Nobody knew where in Asia she was from, and she had all these weird ritual objects in the back.” Adam whispered in my ear. The bus then stopped, and we both got off at our stop.
The next day at school was business as usual, but I could see Adam was sneaking around, almost like he was getting to the bottom of this whole situation. During lunch in the cafeteria, he pulled me aside, so we could talk with some secrecy. He told me that he had been sneaking around the school snooping on people. The son of a gun, really hid in the bushes outside the principal’s office, and heard a conversation with one of the missing student’s parents. He was able to do this because the principal’s office window was open, and on the main floor. Adam heard the Mom of the student, say her daughter received a text message from the number 444 4444, and after that she hasn’t spoken a word to anyone or barely moved. They’re trying to get her admitted to a mental hospital, but don’t have insurance.She also said something about her being in some sort “catatonic state”. But we didn’t know what that word even meant. Adam said It sounded like they were trying to figure something out, like if a student was bullying her type of thing. The weirdest thing was the text message she got from that number, didn’t even have any words or anything.Adam was clearly freaked out. He explained everything he heard from the parent, and we ate lunch together, not even saying anything to each other. The rest of the day passed by, and Adam and I were back on the same bus, in the same seats, at the same time. As I was watching the corn fields pass by through the bus window, I noticed poindexter sitting behind us again.
“Hey, I’m sorry for teasing you on the bus yesterday and calling you poindexter.” I felt bad for what I did.
“It’s ok, I get it a lot. By the way my name’s Chris.”
“Nice to meet you Chris. I have a question for you. Do you know anything about the number four?” I needed information, and he would be the best person to get it from.
“Well yes, it’s considered a very unlucky number in China. They don’t use it for elevators, addresses, or phone numbers. If you even say that number in front of a person, they will probably never talk to you again. Also in rural China, the murder rate is almost zero because if you kill somebody, everyone believes they will come back, and haunt the peasants in the village. The only way to not get possessed by the demon is to play dead. According to the legend, the demon is so horrifying, even one view of it, and you’ll enter a vegetative state for the rest of your life. The human brain just can’t handle that magnitude of fear and trauma.” Chris confidently explained as he touched the center of his glasses, while pushing them closer to his face.
“Well, good thing ghost aren’t real.” Adam murmured, but everyone was quiet for the rest of the bus ride. In the distance, I noticed a large storm was rolling in just as we passed by the old antiques shop.
Adam and I got off the bus at our usual stop, and said our goodbyes as we parted ways. By that time the storm was just starting to slam down with full force, and boy was it big. I got inside my house, just before I got totally soaked to the bone. I walked over to my room, and started doing my math homework because we had a big test tomorrow. I laid out my book, pencil, eraser, and phone on the desk, and began to study. After finishing the first chapter in the textbook, I heard my phone vibrate. Adam must have replied to my message. I needed help with question four. I opened the message on my phone, and it was blank, nothing. Why would Adam send me this? As I looked at the sender; I dropped my phone in complete fear. A burning feeling entered my stomach. The lights flickered as thunder crashed in the background. The number that send the message was 444 4444. There was nothing I could do. If I told my parents a ghost was coming for me, they would never let it go. I would be hearing on my wedding day how, as a teenager, I was scared of ghosts. Or worse, they would send me to some sort of religious camp in Puerto Rico, to finish the rest of my schooling because I was possessed by the devil. I decided to just go to bed, and forget about all this. It was getting late, and I was exhausted. Besides, ghosts weren’t real, and Adam was probably playing a joke on me. The fool probably found some App in the Playstore that changes the way your phone number appears, so he could change his number to anything. I wasn’t going to be fooled by this, and I was the one that usually pranked the crap out of Adam, but this was pretty good. I laid in bed, dosing off to the sound of rain splashing against the window in patchy waves. The occasional flash of lightening, lit up my room like it was day time for a split second.
I suddenly woke up, the alarm clock said 204 a.m. Somebody was at my door. I played dead. I didn’t open my eyes or move. I was almost paralysed in fear regardless. The door slowly opened, as I was trying not to open my eyes or move. Something was entering my room, and I heard a clacking sound. I couldn’t take it anymore. I was going to open my eyes and scream for my parents.
“Danny! Sorry to wake you up. I’m just checking the light switch to see if the power is off in the whole house, or if it’s just one blown fuse. I hope I didn’t scare you darling.” My mom chuckled softly, and I was highly annoyed. I pretended I was sleeping, and didn’t hear her. My mom can be annoying sometimes, and I was quite embarrassed. I instantly went back to sleep, but I was soon awoken again. I came out of my sleep to a strange noise. There was a shuffling in the corner of the room, but this time it wasn’t my mom. Soft footsteps creeped closer, and closer towards my bed. My heart started banging against my rips, as if it was trying to escape. The only thing I could do was lie in bed with the covers across my chest. I was motionless with my eyes closed. The soft steps were almost right next to my bed, and I heard the floor gradually creaking beside me. A cold breath sprayed across my face terrifying me; ‘it’ was within inches of my uncovered face. Drops of cold saliva dripped onto my face, making it harder and harder not to move or open my eyes. I heard something next to my head. Then, I felt something touch my ear. It got right next to my ear, and slowly chanted gibberish. It was like, if somebody was quietly speaking in tongues into my ear. I couldn’t take it any longer. At any moment, I was going to open my eyes, and see what was in front of me. It took its leathery cold hands, and stroked the side of my face as its long dirty nails, slightly scrapped my face. The demon made a raspy sound, as it chattered its teeth. It seemed as if, it was thriving on taking its next victim.The fiend then tightly grasped my wrists and quietly hissed “look at me!” It had a drawn-out tone of voice and spoke in a strange accent. A hard object started to press into my chest right above my heart. I felt light flashing outside my closed eyelids. I couldn’t take it anymore; I was going lose this game. I opened my eyes and let out the most blood curdling scream known to man. The first thing I saw was my mom jump up. She was standing at the light switch, turning off the light.
“Baby, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you like that! The power just came back on, and I left the light switch on in your room by accident. I didn’t want to ruin your sleep, since you have a big test tomorrow.What were those weird noises you were making in your sleep?” She seemed like she heard the noises too. It had to be real.
“I don’t know mom, but regardless, you’ve scared the heck out of me, so I’m going to sleep on the couch in your room tonight!” I was barely able to keep myself calm. I was trying not to shake as much as possible. “Ok honey”. That night, I did not sleep for even one second. The thought of whatever that thing was, kept me awake the whole night. Anyone of us in this small town were fair game at that point.
The next morning as I went to take a shower, I noticed a long scrap running across my face, where that thing touched me. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a nightmare. It was a real nightmare. Right before I left for school that morning, the phone rang, and I heard my mom talking with Adam’s mom on the phone.Something happened to Adam last night, maybe he wasn’t so lucky. I quickly shovelled my cereal into my mouth and ran out the door to catch the school bus. I couldn’t stop thinking about why such a horrible thing would happen to our little farming town. When I arrived at school for first period class, Adam’s seat was empty. I shuffled towards my desk and sat down as the bell rang.
“Mrs. D.! Mrs. D.! Is it true that Adam was kidnapped too? Is that why he’s missing today?” Spazzy Spence blurted out in his usually uncontrollable fashion.
“Shut up!” I burst out. I was furious.
“Stop it! Stop it you two!” Shouted Mrs. D. as she ran out of the classroom and slammed the door. The faint sound of crying could be heard outside the door. She soon entered back into the classroom.
“He’s sick, just like all the other students.” She said with no emotion, as she took out a tissue from her pocket and wiped her eyes.
“Class open your math books to chapter 5. It’s time to review fractions.” She muttered, trying to bring herself together. Everyone in the that classroom could tell Mrs. D. knew something about what was going on, but she would not tell us. Why else would such good teacher get so upset over this? Mrs. D. never showed anger or sadness, and always acted professionally. Halfway through class, somebody tapped my shoulder, and passed me a note. “Meet me behind the large trees in the schoolyard at lunch,” was neatly written on the paper with the signature of Chris at the bottom. As I walked through the schoolyard the kids were all just sitting around in groups with worried expressions on their faces. Nobody was playing, there was only hopelessness and fear in the schoolyard. I could see Chris standing behind the group of trees at the back of the playground.
“It is much worse than I could have imagined.” He paused as he looked down. I could see his hands shaking.
“It visited my sister last night, and she won’t talk to anyone or get out of bed.” Chris said, holding back tears.
“I spent the whole morning before school researching rural Chinese customs and traditions, and apparently there is something we can do to fix this.” He went on to say.
“What! I will do anything!” I shouted.
“It won’t be easy.”
“Just tell me!” I yelled.
“We need to proceed with what’s called a forgiveness ceremony at the site where the transgression occurred.” He confidently revealed.
“What does that even mean? Can you speak English!” I cried out at him.
“To put it simply, we need to break into the Chinese woman’s shop at 4:44 a.m., and do a séance, a kind of ritual to beg for forgiveness for our town. It’s the only way to lift the curse on all our friends and family. Please be strong, a lot of people are depending on us.” He explained to me as he pushed up his glasses.
“Ok, meet me in front of the shop at 4 a.m. tonight.” I suggested, and he agreed. Tonight, would be the night, we tried to fix this insane mess. The rest of the day at school, I just sat in my seat starring at the clock. I watched the second hand slowly budge to the next slot, as if it was struggling to move forward. The bell rang, telling everyone it was the end of the school day, and we all crowded in the hallway, making our way towards the buses. I sat down in my usual seat on the bus and watched the fields go by like always. When we made our way into the center strip of town, I noticed a few black vans parked along the street. It seemed very out of place our rural community. As we drove past the woman’s shop the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, and I could feel somebody was watching me.
Around eleven a.m., I went to bed making it seem like everything was normal. I didn’t want to let my parents know something was up. I ended up just lying in bed waiting for what seemed like years to pass. Finally, around three I slowly got out of bed fully dressed to leave the house. I walked very carefully all the way down to the basement. I stepped away from the center of the stairs, so they would not creak and wake up my parents up. I approached our small basement window, opened it, and pulled my self out onto the front lawn next to my house. I left my bike next to the side of the house yesterday after school. I got onto my bike pushed the pedals, as fast as they could go. The streets lights started flickering as I rode past them. I felt an eerie chill run through my body. The road to the center of town was nearly pitch black and had farmland on either side. As I was riding my bike along the rural, vacant road, I saw little flickering lights in the center of the road. I came up to a cow laying on the middle of the road. When I got closer, I could see lit candles surrounding it. It looked like some type of sacrifice with lines drawn around it in a star pattern. Suddenly, I heard the chattering of teeth, my heart skipped a beat. I heard the same gibberish from the creature the other night. My heart started pounding, and I got out of there as fast as possible. After biking a few miles, I stopped my bike. I wasn’t strong enough to do this. I was just a kid, but I needed to do this for Adam. Soon enough, I arrived at the small downtown strip of our town. “Pssst,” Chris whispered from an ally way close to the woman’s shop. I walked into the ally, and saw Chris holding a big black backpack. We locked up our bikes in the dark alleyway, and began to walk out. Swiftly, I felt a hand grab me and throw me against the wall. A police car slowly passed by.
“Close call.” Said Chris.
“You can say that again.” I answered as Chris grasped his black bag.
“I brought everything we need to preform the ritual in the bag.” He assured.
“Ok.” My hands were shaking, and I got really nervous. Chris’ head poked outside the alleyway, and he signalled the coast was clear. We dashed down the block into the alleyway behind the woman’s shop. Behind the store was a small, unlit, dirty courtyard. There was a large wooden door with an strange, red pattern on the door. It looked like it had some traditional Asian pattern carved into it. There was a golden circle with five dragon heads in an X pattern. Rapidly, the dragon’s eyes began to glow a deep purple color. We both jumped backwards. “Keep calm.” Chris said under his breath. The glow soon faded. Chris pulled two thin metal sticks out of his backpack, and began to jiggle them around in the door knob. After a few minutes of fiddling with the door handle, the door just popped open. There was a pitch back hallway leading into the main shop area that could be seen. The shop had old wooden floors that creaked as we slowly crept in. Chris pulled out a long candle stick and struck a match to lite the candle. The main area of the shop still had police tape wrapped around a small area in front of the counter. The walls were dirty and brown and lined with dusty tall shelves. The room vibrated and stopped. Then, it happened again.
“Chris! I’m leaving!” I quickly turned toward the back door, and Chris grabbed my arm.
“Be strong. We need to do this for Adam, my sister, and our whole town.” He looked visibly shaken as well, but he put on a brave face.
“Chris do you see that!” A small, dim orb floated by us and started moving towards the cellar.
“Follow it!” He said, and we began to go down a wooden spiral stair case into the cellar. The cellar was cold, moist and pitch black with a short ceiling. The candle light made freaky shadows through the small stone room. Old cobwebs could be seen, while cock roaches scattered away from the candlelight. The orb gradually landed on the ground in the middle of the cramped cellar. Without warning, the door at the top of the stairs slammed shut, and the room vibrated again. Little bits of dust stone fell from the ceiling, and made little cracking noises as they hit the ground.
“We will do it here.” Chris said, as he set up a small board with letters on the ground.
“What are you doing?” I paced back and forth.
“This is how we will communicate with ‘it’.” He set a rectangular piece of wood on the floor. The board had all the letters of the alphabet on it. “It’s called a Ouija board.” He was digging through his backpacking looking for something. He pulled out a small piece of wood with a clear glass circle in it. He put some stubby candles around the table. Clutching the lighter, he started lighting them one by one and drew a star around the table. His hands were shuddering and sweat dripped from his face. The board jerked and startled us. “It must be possessed.” He said. He put the little piece of wood on the board. It moved towards the letter S and stopped. Then, it moved to the letters A,C,R,I,F,I,C, and E.
“Sacrifice!” I shrieked. Chris’ face turned white as a sheet, and he did not say a word.
“This is worse than I thought.” Chris was deeply thinking about something.
“According to the legends, the restitution will be an eye for an eye, a life for a life.” He softly said. He was slightly weeping.
“I’m not doing it; I want to live.” I firmed said. In that moment, I realized that even though my life was boring and meaningless. I wanted to live, experience, to achieve anything I wanted to. Strangely enough, at that point, I wanted to live so bad. It seemed like I had taken life for granted, and not actually lived my life. Ironically, I needed the threat of my life to be taken away to realize this.
“But, you’ll be a hero. This will give your life meaning and accomplishment.” Chris tried to convince me to do it. He looked scared, and not willing to do it himself.
“The orbs moving!” I shouted. The room shook again. The orb went into the wall, and a dark blue portal opened. The portal swishes and bulged in a mix of dark blue colors. “One of us needs to go in there, or both of us, and our whole town will be doomed.” Chris stated, as he started freaking out.
“Ok I’ll do it.” I hesitated. If it saved Adam, I will do it. If it will save my family, I will do it. If it saves our town, I will do it. A tear rolled down my cheek, and I said goodbye to the world, I have come to known. If my parents knew, they would be proud of me. Adam will get to live a happy life. Marry, have children, work a nice office job. At least I did something for somebody else. Not just living to serve myself.
“I will share your story with the world; I promise.” Chris was bowing his head down towards me. He put his hand on my back and said, “I am honored to meet you.” I took a deep breathed and readied myself to experience the end of my short life. I walked towards the portal, when I heard teeth chattering behind me. The light sound of gibberish and speaking in tongues could be heard. Quickly, something clawed me from behind and threw me on the floor. “It’s here!” Chris yelled. It wrapped its hands around my neck, and I felt long nails digging into my throat. “Don’t look at it! Don’t open your eyes! It’s disgusting!” Chris screamed. Its cold breath blew into my face and drops of freezing cold spit fell onto my face. I was going to pass out from fear. The beast choked me and yelled “look at me,” over and over in an unhinged voice. I knew If I looked at it, I would be cursed. “Help me Chris!” I gasped, while being choked. But Chris didn’t reply. Maybe he ran out of the room, or maybe he was instantly cursed by looking at it. This was the end of my life. It put its face inches from mine. I could feel the chilly air coming from it. Its nails dug deeper into my neck, and its fist gripped tighter. I started failing my arms around trying to punch it as hard as I could. I felt my senses fading when Chris started screaming like warrior running into battle. Something exploded and a large gust of wind blew towards the portal. I grabbed onto the stone floor to avoid being sucked in and everything went black.
When I came to, it was dawn. The first light of the day was shinning into the building. I was confused. Was I in heaven? After a moment, I realized what Chris did. He ran into the portal and sacrificed himself. I honestly don’t know if I would have followed through with it, but Chris became a true hero that day. I ran upstairs and out of the building. I made it home right before my parents woke up. I heard the phone ring from the other room. My mother gasped, and she started crying.
“Adam’s normal again!”. She burst into my room, wiping tears from her eyes. I let out a sigh of relieve, the ritual had worked. I gathered my books and got ready for school. Adam wasn’t on the bus that morning. When I walked into school, Adam and everyone who had gone missing were sitting in their normal seats, like nothing had ever happened. “Adam!” I ran over and grabbed him. I had my best friend back. I was practically crying.
“I have so much to tell you since you left.” I was sobbing.
“You’ll have to tell me all about it, I can’t remember a thing after passing out that night.” He was still drowsy and kind of out of it. After explaining everything to Adam, the full whole story in detail, he was completely shocked, and deeply grateful for what I accomplished. Although, the real hero was Chris. We never saw Chris again after that. His parents reported him missing, and believed it was some sort of kidnapping incident. We built a memorial shrine for Chris in the forest behind our school. We told all the students, what he did for the town, and he became a bit of a folk legend. Some say he went straight to heaven for his sacrifice. Oh, and the next day while we were on the school bus. We saw a new store open in the same location of the haunting. It was some kind of African Voodoo antiques store.
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