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Messages - Slimebeast

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Post anything you want to see here. I assume nothing since the forum isn't used. Just wanted to offer anyway.

General Discussion / Re: Punk Musics!!!
« on: 10:53:07 AM 07/12/20 »
no u

Slimy Stories / Canines
« on: 02:58:24 PM 05/20/20 »
Ever notice something that should've been obvious from day one?

The rotten bruise on a piece of fruit you just bought. The scratch or ding on a used car that looked spotless on the lot. The immediate red flags that should've told you a relationship was bad news.

I've found that the point at which you're most contented is when you should be the most worried. Arousal deafens you. Endorphins cloud your judgement. Adrenaline gives you tunnel vision.

I grew up in the 1980s. The era of unchecked overgrowth of consumerism. Happiness was getting the latest Ninja Turtle action figure. Un-boxing a gaming console was ecstasy.

That temporary state of nirvana probably explains why nobody noticed the dog.

It was my birthday. Everyone I knew was there, and as a child that felt as if my entire world, small as it was, had stopped just to watch me blow out candles and open presents.

My parents took photos of everything. The cake, me with a slice of cake, the other kids with their slices of cake, and so on. That year, they ordered said cake in the shape of He-Man's head. I was jazzed then, but looking at the photos now, the diced up pieces of a grinning face seem unintentionally morbid.

I was looking through those pictures in the middle of last year. One of my childhood friends, P.J., had passed away. Car crash. I wanted to remind myself what he had looked like before we had randomly parted ways for no real reason. The funny thing is, I never even knew what P.J. stood for, back then. I just accepted the name immediately and never asked.

The dog looked frightened. It sat there, tail between its legs, positioned beyond the sliding glass door in the background of a group shot. The party-goers, myself included, smiled for the camera as the flash lit up the animal's eyes outside.

I could barely make out what the dog looked like, since that night had apparently been black as pitch. All I saw were the twin blueish-green lights of its eyes, a curve of its body and tail, and a snout that almost seemed to end in a dramatic frown.

The sight disturbed me at first. Some dark, random beast lurking in the periphery of an old, creased photograph. However, reason stated it was just some lone stray that responded to the sound of children laughing and playing. Hell, it could've been a neighbor's pet trying to figuring out which house it belonged in.

I felt sad by the time I put the photo back into the old shoe box it had spent decades in. We hadn't noticed the poor thing. Who knows how long it waited by that door, only to be scared off by a camera flash?

P.J.'s funeral was out-of-state, so I couldn't find time to get out there and attend. I don't think anyone would have known who I was. He and I probably wouldn't have even recognized each other if we met on the street. In fact, maybe we had. Who knows?

I found a couple more photos of interest in the box. One of P.J. and myself using Super-Soakers to pretend we were Ghostbusters, and another of a cub scout troop we had both been a part of. I set them aside as the phone rang.


No answer. I repeated the greeting two more times.

"Can't hear you. Might need to call back." I said quickly before hanging up.

In that moment between taking the phone away from my ear, and pressing the button to end the call, I heard what might have been a response.

It sounded like a high-pitched whine. Like a dog.

My mind only registered it after my thumb reflexively pressed down.


The sound put me off right away. That wasn't a coincidence I could ignore. I waited several minutes for the phone to ring again. My brain told me it was just the sound of someone's phone dying, while the deepening, cold void in my stomach tried to convince me of more irrational things.

No call. Just a broad quiet that, in and of itself, became more eerie the longer I waited.

I told Alexa to play AC/DC. The complete opposite of silence.

Going back to the nearly bare drawing table I had used to search through the photos, I let out a tense sigh and instantly felt better.

"The Ghostsoakers". That's what P.J. and I had called ourselves on that hot summer day. We ran around the yard in our bathing suits, shooting water at nothing and screaming incorrect lines from the movies. My mom had to stop herself from giggling in order to snap the image. I don't know if she was laughing with us or at us.

It took a short time to notice the dog.

Cowering behind a tree, almost completely cut off on the left side of the image, it sat looking toward the camera once again. This time, the pronounced frown was gone -- replaced with what I can only describe as a flat expression.

I gasped. I had never gasped before, at least not to my recollection, and I'd only ever seen people gasp in comics and cartoons. I dropped the picture back down onto the table and physically pulled back from it.

Within seconds, I grabbed the second photo and began frantically studying it. There was my cub scout group, mostly kids I never actually knew, seated together at a wooden picnic table. The picture was taken by our den mother while we visited White Leaf park to earn our "insect study" badges. I don't even remember which child was hers.

I let myself relax again as my eyes swept across the scene and I found nothing out of place. Just smiling faces, spotless uniforms, and half-eaten snacks scattered all over the table.

I was playing a real-life hidden object game, and I was happy to lose.

Then, I realized I shouldn't be looking for a dog. I should be looking for those blue-green dots. The eyes reflecting the camera light.

The table.

Underneath it.

Between a criss-cross web of legs and walking sticks, in the dark shadow beneath us, I found the lights. I couldn't see the dog itself, just those eyes and the pearly white gleam of a slight grin.

Before I thought about the absurdity of what I was about to do, I was dumping the entire shoe box out onto my bed. I spread all of the photos out and flipped each one face-up. Holding the lamp from my night stand in one hand, I peered into each image and frantically searched the dog.

Eventually, I sorted them into groups. Photos that included me, photos that only included other kids, photos of adults, and photos of landscapes or objects that had no people visible at all.

Landscapes and objects were ruled out quickly. They had very few spots for anything to hide, as most depicted open areas or displayed vehicles.

It wasn't until I eliminated the pictures of the adults that I realized what I had been doing. Saving the most likely candidates for last. I had planned to look at the other kids next, then finally myself.

I knew, somewhere deep inside, that I'd only find the dog in that last group.

Sure enough, when night came and I was still sorting through it all, I discovered that I was right.

I held the lamp close to a photo of a school Christmas play. I stood on the stage, dressed in winter clothes and singing (badly) while someone in an awkward Christmas tree costume danced around me.

The dog peered menacingly around the bunched up stage curtain. Beneath the nearly white, glowing eyes, what had previously been a grin was now an over-sized, impossible smile full of nothing but canine teeth.

The dog's fur was black. Featureless. Seeing it on a lit stage instead of hunched in darkness was somehow more disquieting. It didn't even appear to have individual strands of fur. Its dark body was simply the smooth, fabricated shape of a normal dog.

The phone rang again.

Maybe it had been ringing the entire time. Between the music and my hyper-focus, I couldn't tell you which was the case.

I grabbed my phone and, without answering, checked the caller.

Paul Jerome Thomas. It was P.J.

Beyond all the other obvious reasons that didn't make sense -- he never even had that number. Looking back to the previous call, the whine, I found it had supposedly come from the same person.

Perhaps needless to say, I didn't answer. I turned the ring off and slammed the phone into a drawer for good measure.

In stark contrast to my previous reaction, I didn't throw the picture down or recoil from it. For whatever mindless reason, I clung to it, held it close to my chest, as I moved through the house. I closed blinds, checked locks, and searched closets. There was no reason to think I wasn't alone, but it seemed like a good idea nonetheless.

I sat up all night, sleepless, staring at the Christmas photo and wondering why the dog was tormenting me. I questioned whether it had actually been there that day, or if it was simply appearing to me now. I watched for it to move, but thankfully it never did. Thus, I convinced myself that it would indeed move if I stopped watching.

I woke up around noon, having no recollection of falling asleep or even feeling drowsy. I guess I should have made coffee or pounded some energy drinks.

Realizing I had looked away from the photo, I checked it again. The dog was still there. So much for my paranoid theory.

With a fresh mind and calmed nerves, I was able to make some sense of that photograph. Just a little, mind you.

The "Christmas tree" that was dancing around me during that musical.

That was P.J.

The memory made something fall into place, and that would have to be enough, I suppose. It was never about me. It was about him. The dog appeared in every photo I had of P.J. and, unless I had missed something, never appeared in the others.

I thought about how he died. A car accident. I would bet anything that he swerved off the road to avoid hitting a dog.

A dog with eyes lit by high-beams... and maybe even an unrealistic grin.

I took the pictures to P.J.'s grave. I didn't know what else to do with them. I considered making copies, or even taking photos OF the photos, but all that would do is create more copies of the dog.

When I arrived at the cemetery, I wasn't sure how long it would take me to find the right plot. I didn't tell anyone I was visiting, and I wasn't even sure I'd make it all the way before turning back out of dread.

That worry was forgotten when I saw a small, dark form in the distance, sitting beneath a specific headstone. It loped away and into the tree line before I could get close enough to actually fully see it.

When I arrived at the spot, I found it had dug a hole.

A hole just deep enough to bury a few photos.

Rap Battles / The Cryptkeeper vs. Rod Serling
« on: 12:03:59 AM 04/29/20 »

Good evening,
Boils and Ghouls!

It's your dear,
decaying mummy,

here to tell
a dead-time story,

that'll twist and
turn your tummy.

I'm a hellish. haggard
horror host,

boasting the most
gruesome ghosts.

A wormeaten wordsmith,
and rigor mortis roaster,

Drowning in shock comedy,
like I'm bathing with a toaster.

This black-suited buffoon
has his audiences snoring!

They must call you "Rod"
because every twist is boring!

Rod Serling:

In a world, where the
dead rise up to talk,

they tell awful jokes,
and can't seem to stop.

You're entering dementia.
See, you aren't sound of mind.

Your wit is like your penis.
Impossible to find.

Wait, I'm battling a puppet?
What is this wretched thing?

Someone drop it off the air,
like a gremlin on a wing.

Your show was so-so. Your
film franchise was a flop.

I built a tower out of terror,
you couldn't be my bellhop.

Pack your bio-hazard bags,
you'll be travelling alone.

It's time to take a trip -
Next stop; nursing home.


You dare to diss me?
EC's ghastly MC?

I'm so fuckin' freaky, the
comics code couldn't stop me!

Oh, I heard they tore down
your twerpy little tower,

for some Marvel movie
with more merchandise power.

Disney bought new toys, and
they're demolishing your dreams.

Hmm! I guess space fuel
really melts steel beams...

By the way, Serling,
haven't YOU been replaced?

Jordan Peele turned your zone
to a spooky safe space!

I binged all your shows,
and now I wanna purge!

You're so stiff, your theme
should be a funeral dirge!

And I won't take a diagnosis,
from a chump who chain-smokes.

I'm laid out in a coffin,
but you're the one who chokes!

You lived a cautionary tale,
and it ended in disaster.

Tonight's episode is called,
"To Serve Cancer".

Rod Serling

Your jokes are so dusty,
they belong on a shelf.

Please climb into an urn,
and go skull-fuck yourself.

Let's talk about your comics.
What putrid pulp trash.

They're lazy and lurid,
for the sake of quick cash.

Frankly, I agree, no kid
should ever read a story,

from a nightmarish novice,
who thinks horror is gory.

Your plots empty,
your morals? Naive.

Viewers see themselves
in the tales that I weave.

I show men their fears,
and leave critics clapping.

You show half-naked girls,
to get teenagers fapping.

Watch me stack the dread,
like a mountain of madness.

I make a Rorschach test,
you leave stains on a mattress.

If I need your thoughts, I'll
ask the moths in your head.

I'll stop beating you now,
'cause you're already dead.

Rap Battles / Pavlov vs. Schrodinger
« on: 12:01:33 AM 04/29/20 »

The name is Pavlov, punk. Does it ring a bell?

The canine commander of taste, sound, and smell.

I make bitches drool when I ting-a-ling my ding-a-ling.

Got more brutal bite than all the bark you can bring.

So don't step to me, or you're bound to get bitten.

Now go climb a tree, you hissy-fit'n kitten.


The internet was built to be a scientific fixture.

But open your eyes, Ivan... It's full of cat pictures!

Dog memes are dead, now. Such sad, much wow.

Kitties litter Reddit, they're a killer karma cash-cow!

I'm a feral feline physicist who no foe outfoxes.

I'll bury you, I'm used to putting pussies in boxes!


Have you been eating cat food, or is that halitosis?

Your spitting here is worse than when you had tuberculosis!

I'm big on animal testing, and studying digesting,

but I find what's infesting your intestines distressing!

You said that life and death are both unknown until observed,

but a poisoner dying of illness? I know that's deserved.

You're German, so I'll put this in terms you can define.

You had nine lives... Now you have Nein.


You died of double pneumonia, so that's a little unfair.

A student sat by your bed, because no one else cared!

You took money from Stalin, and look where that led you.

Didn't like the commies, so you bit the hand that fed you.

You wrote them nasty letters, and they couldn't have been ruder,

but you grabbed the cash, and that still makes you a colluder!

So dice up all your dogs, and massacre your mutts,

but mess with kitty, get the claws. Death by a thousand cuts.

Slimy Stories / It's Still A Zombie
« on: 10:35:30 PM 11/08/19 »
Well. You're still here after all that, huh?

I guess you've read my account of what it's like, being a deadbagger. It seems like it's been forever since I sat down and wrote about my first job with Final Returns. Thank you for taking an interest in me, even though I'm just one zombie hunter, and we all probably have similar or identical stories to tell.

Thanks for your condolences about Pike. I forwarded them to the guy who runs the Final Returns newsletter. He's working on something for a memorial, since we're coming up on the anniversary of his death. I think it'd be nice to show how many people have heard about him by now.

Putting that aside for now, I wanted to talk about something that keeps coming up. I know a lot of you have a variety of questions. What is rot nose? What happens when you have to remove a zombie from a crime scene? I'll get to all of these questions eventually, but for now I'm just going to go with the biggest one.

"You killed Bigfoot?!"

Again, it wasn't an actual Sasquatch. They don't exist. I don't know how much I can stress this, but... it's always a zombie.

I thought I made that pretty clear, but I'm not exactly the best at this stuff.

I knew something was up when the other guys at Final Returns were snickering behind my back. A call had just come in, and when it's a weird one, they usually try to stick me with it. I guess I have that kind of way about me. "Stick it on him, he LIKES the strange cases."

For the record, I don't really mind them either way. I guess that lack of annoyance gets mistaken for interest.

"Alien?" I asked, knowing full well what was going on.

Trying to guess probably didn't help with the misconception that I was enjoying the routine.

"Try again, Van Helsing." came the typical reply.

Thinking for a moment, I considered the fact St. Patrick's Day had just passed. Maybe someone got dressed up for a parade, drank way too heavily, and smashed their head on the dumpster in an forgotten alleyway.

"Tell me it's not supposed to be a leprechaun."


"Alright, just hit me with it."

Before the answer could come, Richter (one of the newer guys) came bounding into the break room like an ape, grunting and tossing papers. It left the guys in stitches, but the implication just set me on edge.

"Bigfoot." I clucked my tongue and nodded. "Let me guess - we're going hiking."

I'm not a woodsy guy. Never was. Give me four undead Jehovah's Witnesses in some guy's basement any day. It's a secure, easy-to-scope-out location. Hell, they'll probably line up on the stairs for you. If you're good enough, that's one bullet. Out in the brush, though, you could have a crawler by your ankle and never know it.  Hell, you could get mauled by a mountain lion, forget the zombies.

Luckily, the new hire partnered with me at the time had been a girl scout... or a brownie... or something like that. The employee she was supposed to shadow was out of commission due to finger reattachment surgery, so she got kicked around to random mentors for a while. She was one of those rednecks that lived for the challenge of tracking footprints or pieces of torn clothing. Shit like that. Her name was Stephanie, but everyone called her "Trapper".

When I told her we were going out to White Leaf Forest, her eyes lit up like sevens on a slot machine.

"I've been there. Helen and I camped there last spring!"

"Great," I smirked, "Tell you what... you can take the lead on this one. It'll be a test to see how much you've learned so far."

If she knew I was just passing all of the bother onto her, she certainly didn't seem to care. I could almost see her reverting to a more feral state in front of my eyes. She was ready to chase down whatever crossed her path and hit it straight between the eyes with that bright yellow "safety pistol". I'd be lucky to keep up.

It was a long drive out to the boonies. The call had come in from a park ranger. The authorities had been on the scene, but the circumstances called for specialists. It's not a good idea to send K-9 units after something that's going to bite them back.

The entire ride down, Steph was all questions. I tried turning the radio on a couple times, but she turned it back down every time she thought of something new to say.

"So, we're absolutely SURE-"


"But what if-"

"It's a zombie. Trust me."

"I mean, there have always been stories of-"


The only moment of silence came when we pulled up to the park gates. The whole place had been shut down, naturally, and a group of onlookers had collected in the parking lot. At first, I figured they were just hikers, campers, and weekend BBQers whose plans had been abruptly cancelled. Then, I noticed their accessories.

Guns, all-terrain-vehicles, comically over-loaded packs...


"Oh, great." I sneered, turning to Steph and gesturing toward the crowd, "Your people."

By the time we made our way to the gates and met with a Ranger Stevens, the crowd had grown loud and obnoxious. I guess they figured we had been called in because the "sasquatch" had killed someone. Now it had a taste for human blood, they figured, which made it much more of a threat than before.

"Hey, you're gonna let a couple'a diseased deadbaggers in, but not us?" called out a stout, red-faced man with a beard that could've housed a family of wrens.

"I told you before," the Ranger called back, "There are no cryptids here."

Beard-man turned to one of his buddies and chuckled. "So that's the Government's official statement, huh?"

The crowd booed as the gates were unlocked and we slipped past.

"Thanks for coming." the ranger said, quickly leading us down the path toward a  small cabin.

"I guess word got out." I replied, gesturing back toward the wannabe survivalists pressing their faces to the iron bars that separated them from a stuffed and mounted myth.

"A pair of picnickers saw something in the tree line... like a man, but covered in thick fur." The ranger paused, knowing exactly how outlandish it sounded, "It loped along, bit the head off of a squirrel or chipmunk, and disappeared back into the woods. I wouldn't have believed it, but I saw the evidence it left behind. They called the local news station before anyone else."

"Of course they did." I chuckled.

At that point, I glanced over at Steph for the briefest moment. Her grin was wide, and so were her eyes. I knew I'd be proven right in the end, but for that moment she was a genuine, authentic yeti-stalker.

"How long ago was it sighted, and how far from here was it?" she chirped.

I just hoped it was close enough to get out of the park before night fall. Just because of the mosquitoes, to be honest. Of course, I didn't get my wish and in time I could feel the blisters on my feet rising like bread dough.

Suddenly, Steph shushed us both. Until that point, the ranger and I had been discussing our shared tastes in music and whether or not Victor Victorious was going to reunite for one last tour. She stopped about three feet ahead, after leading us most of the way.

"What's up?" I asked, absently pawing my hip holster and surveying the unremarkable green landscape around me.

Steph didn't answer, instead electing to drop into a crouch-walking position, silly safety-weapon held two-handed at arm's length in front of her. We followed carefully and quietly.

"So your partner is a tracker?" the ranger asked under his breath.

"I think so." I whispered back.

It was a welcomed change from the usual kids they stuck me with. Less than half stayed on for more than two jobs, and none of them pulled their weight. Being able to actually rely on someone who did more than complain and pick their nose was a little too nice. Snapping to my senses, I realized I was the one who wasn't carrying his share this time.

"There." Steph croaked, gun pointed to a crowd of overgrown bushes full of vividly purple flowers.

"Step aside," I ordered as I cautiously moved past her. The idea of losing a mentor AND a student drove an icicle through my chest. One could be forgiven, the other was a career-ender. I guess when you deal so directly with death and danger on a daily basis, self-interest can kind of overtake everything else.

The leaves rustled, and it wasn't the wind.

"Are we shooting it or capturing it?" Steph called after me in a hushed, low voice.

My shoulders slumped and I let out a sigh as I drew my pistol.

"Shoot. We shoot zombies, Stephanie."

"Uh... right." she coughed.

My attention snapped back to the leaf cover again as the branches rustled and parted.

"We are licensed representatives of Final Returns, and we are about to open fire." I shouted, "If you are currently living, notify us now by speaking or raising your hands."

"Holy shit!" came a voice from within the plants.

I lowered my weapon and let out a string of profanities. Steph did the same, but without the colorful outburst.

A man in his 20s crawled out into the open like a snail with an over-stuffed backpack for a shell. He held a shotgun ahead of him as if he was offering it to us as tribute.

"I'm sorry!" he called, "I'm sorry! I just followed everyone else! Don't shoot!"

The ranger was on him quickly, slapping a pair of handcuffs on his wrists.

"What do you mean 'everyone else'?" The ranger demanded. "Who's here?"

The human snail did his best to roll onto his side, mud clinging to his face and 'I BELIEVE' t-shirt.

"Well... okay, don't get mad... but after you three left, some of us MIGHT have hitched a chain up to the gate. Then, someone MIGHT have used their pick-up to pull it down. Not me, though. I just followed."

The impromptu interrogation was cut shout by another call from an unseen location.


Following this, the ranger was the one spewing profanities.

"Curtis, where you at? The bigfoot getcha'?" called the disembodied voice in the distance.

Ranger Stevens made his apologies to us, hauled the young man to his feet roughly, and dragged him back down the path we had just traveled. All the while, he spoke frantically into a walkie-talkie.

"What do we do?" Stephanie asked after a dumbfounded moment.

"Hell if I know." I laughed. "We could stay on the trail, but we'll just keep running into trigger-happy yokels with more ammo than brains."

I could see the color draining out of Steph's face. She had been like a kid on Christmas morning, but now the tree had burned down and the family dog got into the presents. Really, her heart was going to be broken one way or another. After all, no matter how much you want to think otherwise, it's still a zombie.

Suddenly, the sound of shots rang out. Not just the crack of a few bullets, but a hail of gunfire befitting a small war. Shotguns, hunting rifles, semi-automatic weapons. There might've been a stick of dynamite, but my memory could be playing tricks on me at this point.

"C'mon!" Steph called out, sprinting toward the obvious danger with the drive of a linebacker going for the star quarterback who just insulted her mother.

I was right, I was lucky to keep up.

Country music filled the air, piped from the speakers of a weathered boombox. A group of about ten hillbillies had gathered in a clearing and were crowded together around something.

"Final Returns!" I called out as we approached, though I had nothing to follow that up with.

"Hey, you're too late." called a toothless, gangly albino with a coonskin cap. "Done got it already!"

The group passed around unintelligible murmurs and guffaws.

"Head shot?" I called back. Steph and I didn't slow down, guns still drawn, as we closed distance with the group.

"Whut?" the albino replied, pronouncing the 'u' very clearly.

"Did you get a head shot?!" I repeated, louder.

The stout man with the beard turned from the group and faced us as we finally arrived to the shitshow. The others followed suit, fixing their dilated pupils on us.

"Boy, you must not hunt. Y'all NEVER shoot a trophy in the head!"

A gutteral, gargling moan rose from the center of the group. For a moment, everyone was frozen, ignorant smiles still smeared across their faces. Every one of us knew what had made the noise... though we would've disagreed on what to call it.

"Damn Hell, it's still alive!"

"Well shoot it AGAIN, Bill!"

"Jesus Christ!"

The words blended together and turned into screams.

The hunters parted quickly as one of their own fell backward, his leg clamped in the teeth of a felled, hairy beast crusted in muck and old animal blood. He shrieked in pain before spasming and passing out on the ground.

Three others pumped bullets into the creature, filling their friend with holes in the process.

"Clearance?" Steph asked, her voice uneasy and sick.

I pulled a couple guys away from the chaos, tried to level my gun, but was bumped by one of them returning to the confused storm of reflective vests and camouflage pants.

"No clearance." I replied.

The albino unloaded a shotgun into beard-man's abdomen, blowing his guts out across a nettle bush. I think he was checking to see if it was loaded. The creature climbed to its unsteady feet, pulling itself up on the albino's clothing. When it reached the top of the human ladder, it took off a large portion of his face.

"C-Clearance?" Steph asked again. She was wide-eyed again, but the grin was gone. She backed away slowly, nearly falling on her ass.

I tried to bring everything into focus.

Beard-man. No insides. Slumped over and not moving.

Immediate threat of turning. Head shot.

Albino. On the ground. Thrashing and screaming. No face.

Immediate threat of turning. Head shot.

Mustachioed flannel-clad guy in glasses. Jaw taken out by a stray bullet. Standing in shock, watching the carnage. Doesn't even know he's bleeding out. Won't make it back to civilization.

Immediate threat of turning. Head shot.

Morbidly obese man in cargo pants and undershirt. Probably dead in a couple years on weight alone. As it stands, covered in zombie bites and various other injuries. Without speedy amputation, will die from infection.

Immediate threat of turning. Head shot.

"We have clearance."

The "sasquatch" hunched itself over the scattered human debris, eating noisily.

Steph didn't say a word.

"What do you see?"

Still nothing.

"Steph, what do you see?"

She shook her head and blinked a few times. Something I'd only ever seen cartoon characters do.

"A gillie suit."

She was right. I motioned for her to holster her weapon and stood over the supposed bigfoot. It was dressed in an outfit of synthetic leaves and vines that would help him blend in with the environment. Now, covered in dirt and black blood, it took on the brown, heavy appearance of fur.

"And the face?"

Steph crouched down again, staring at the thing's decaying, sunken flesh.

"Camo-painted.  He was a survivalist. Maybe... ex-military? Or just a hobbyist?"

Without another word, I fired into its forehead. I don't know if Steph flinched, but I would've.

"What was it?" I watched the body crumple.

Steph was quiet for a moment.

"A zombie."

That brings me to another question people ask a lot. How can you tell when it happens? How do you know the exact moment someone goes from dying... to undead?

I guess the easy answer is that you can't. Not with complete accuracy, that is. If someone's non-verbal, if they don't respond to attempts at reason, and if they appear to be fatally injured... who's to say if they're a zombie or not?

If I had a daughter... or any kid for that matter, I don't think I would want them in this line of work. I think Steph is cut out for it, though. She didn't leave after two jobs, she doesn't complain, and I've never caught her picking her nose.

Being a deadbagger is dirty, unpleasant work, and not just in the physical sense.

It can be hard to know exactly when something is dead. Especially when it's a part of yourself.

Slimy Stories / The Halloween Mask [REWRITE]
« on: 05:10:14 PM 08/20/19 »
It's been nearly a year since I first set my eyes on the Halloween mask.

It was a pumpkin. A white one. I had never personally seen them in any color other than orange before that very moment. Something about the pallid, drooping latex made it seem cold and bloodless.

I had grown about a decade too old to go out Trick 'r Treating, so instead I took my place at the front door of the house. The job of handing sweets out to each new crop of tiny ghouls had been handed down to me. Thankfully, I had my iDevice on hand and the music pumping through my earbuds kept me from getting grumpy due to boredom.

The house was nothing remarkable, but it was nice enough. Just another suburban foreclosure taken by the bank when the previous “Hanes family” didn't make their payments. My parents snapped it up almost exclusively for the extra bathroom. I guess that living in close quarters with their “adult child”, if you'll forgive the oxymoron, had worn pretty thin for them.

That's what I've been reduced to; an oxymoron. It wasn't supposed to turn out that way, but attending college did very little for my employment opportunities. I barely learned anything, as a matter of fact, due to equal parts partying and absent professors who couldn't care less.

“Who are you supposed to be?” I asked a kid in an obvious Dracula costume.

“I'm a blood guy!!” was his disappointing response.

“Welp, here ya go.” I tossed a ridiculously undersized candy bar into his bag. “Don't bite any strange necks – you don't know where they've been.”

I got back a face-palm. From a child.

The old cliché held true that night. Halloween had indeed become generic and over-commercialized, something that would've horrified my younger self. I saw five more discount Draculas, an entire coven of weak Witches, and more licensed cartoon characters than even I could name.

Worse yet were the kids – even teenagers – who threw on whatever they had lying around. Putting on your fancy church clothes does not make you a “CEO', or “The President”. It just makes you a lazy-ass. Two tween girls showed up in beauty masks and towels, which was several levels of wrong.

It was around eleven o'clock when the stream of nougat-faced beggars finally began to taper off. The candy was almost gone as well, proving my parents were great at planning just about everything in my life. They must have factored in the ten pieces I would invariably steal over the course of the evening.

I thought the job was done. I put away the media player. Then, when my hand reached to flick the switch and turn off the porch light, a sharp, sudden knock jarred me out of my walking sugar coma.

Actually, I was more of a solid palm-strike than a knock. The frosted glass panes of the door rattled.

“Shit!!” I shouted, startled. It took a moment to compose myself. “I mean... SIT... tight. Sit tight, kids! You didn't hear what you think you heard.”

Whew. Quick thinking saved the day.

I grabbed the barren bowl of candy and awkwardly thrust the door open.

“Okay! Who do we have-”

There was no one. Not only were there no children waiting at my door, but I couldn't see a family traveling anywhere in the neighborhood. Only the dim lights in the widows of my neighbors confirmed that there were indeed other human beings somewhere else on Earth.

“If you want to play ding-dong-ditch, you have to ring the doorbell!” I called out, careful to keep from bothering others in their quiet homes. “It's the whole 'ding-dong' part...” I added under my breath.

I shook my head with a smirk, remembering how Halloween used to be the one night I'd get into any and all trouble I could find. Anonymously sass-talking adults, shoving past other kids, taking any unattended candy I found. I was a complete asshole.

As I was about to close the door, I finally noticed the very out-of-place gift that had been left on the doorstep. It was the mask.

The white pumpkin was created to look as if its facial features had rotted out as opposed to being carved like a normal jack 'o lantern. Something about this odd choice in design caused me a moment's pause. My brain took a jarring, stuttering half-step before it made the progression from “disembodied face on the floor” to “harmless costume accessory”.

“It's mine, now!” I called out again, looking toward the bushes. I scooped the jiggling empty head off of the stone step and closed the door with a smug flourish. Whoever lost it would have to come back and beg me to return it. At least, that's how I saw the situation.

“Weird kids tonight.” I called up the staircase, to the second floor where my parents had decided to sit out the festivities. There was no reply, and I reasoned that they had failed to stay awake at this late hour.

I got back around to turning off the porch light and made my way to the living room, darkening each overhead light as I passed. I liked nights, for the most part, because it was a calming time when I had full run of the house.

Plopping down on the couch, I tossed the white pumpkin face onto the coffee table. I turned on the television and sank back into a glassy-eyed stupor.

“With the Jar-A-Ma-Jig,” explained the onscreen pitch man, “you can avoid these meal mistakes... and so much more!”

Late night programming wasn't my thing, especially not infomercials. I cast a quick glance toward my gaming console and considered a late-night session. Getting in a short, casual round didn't seem appealing, either. When I played, I was in it to win. With my fatigue, that could mean staying up all night in search of a single victory.

Another bang echoed through the house. I jumped, flinging the remote control through the air. My surprise quickly turned to anger as I realized the kid must've come back for his crappy mask. I grabbed the thing up again and contemplated the idea of throwing it in the trash and going to bed.

“Coming!” I shouted. “Break down the door, why don'tcha?!”

As I passed the sliding glass door that lead to our backyard, I noticed something that stopped me dead in my tracks. It was the word “BOO!”, crudely scribbled on the glass with what looked like dog crap.

“You gotta be kidding me.”

I stormed over to the door and peered into the blackness. Someone, somewhere, was messing with the wrong adult child.

It was then that the smell wafted to me. It wasn't the rank stink of animal feces. It was sweet, familiar, and comforting. It was chocolate. Only moderately relieved, I turned away from the back door and fully intended to give the kids outside a solid piece of my mind.

It wasn't until I was nearly out of the living room that I thought about that strong smell. Going back through my thoughts, I came to a distressing conclusion. The writing was on the inside of the glass.

I could've done any number of things at this point. I could've leapt out the back door and into the yard, calling for blood. I could've gone to the front door and picked the kid up by his collar, scolding all the while. In that moment, however, I took the third option.

“Mom! Dad!” I flung the mask down and run upstairs screaming like a banshee. “Get up! There's someone in the house!”

When I opened their bedroom door, nearly crashed through it, really, they weren't there. The bed was made, the lights were off, and the room was empty.

“Are you still awake?” I shouted, sprinting down the upstairs hallway. “Did you heat what I said?”

I pulled open the door to dad's cramped home office, fully expecting to see him hunched over some boring paperwork, brow furrowed. When I entered, however, I witnessed an entirely different sight.

Dad was on the desk, seated, knees pulled to his chest and wrapped with his arms. His papers were strewn all over, and where torn and crumpled. Not a single photo on the walls hung straight, and a few had their glass broken out.

“Dad?” I whispered as he simply sat on the wooden pedestal, visibly shuddering.

He looked up at me slowly, like a child waking up from a dream. On his head, he wore the same type of pale, horrible mask I had held in my hand just moments earlier.

“Don't bother me.” He muttered, long strings of thick saliva dangling from the mask's mouth. “I'm finishing up the Schweitzer report.”

He jerked is head to one side, turned his face upward, and let out a demented, agonized scream.

I backed out of the doorway, nearly toppling over the railing between myself and a nasty drop to the first floor. Propping myself on that rail, then the walls, I hurried to the bathroom where I'd last seen my mother preparing for the night.

“Mom?! Something really terrible is-”

Again, my entry was halted by a disorienting sight. There mom was, sitting on a stool in front of the mirror over the sink. The mirror was broken into a spider's web of cracks from what looked like a straight-on headbutt.

She sat quietly in her bath robe, its collar and shoulders stained with flecks of red. She applied lipstick to the asymmetrical, gaping mouth of her white mask.

“Mom!” I screamed, my brain once again lurching along like a smoking jalopy.

She turned slowly, just as dad had looked to me. She instantly threw the lipstick onto the tile floor as if she were enraged by my mere presence.

“Why aren't you in bed?” She demanded nonsensically. “Why aren't you asleep?!”

In one quick, awkward motion, mom stood from the stool and wrenched a long, jagged piece of glass from the mirror. Her blood trailed down the length of the reflective blade as she raised it over he head and ran for me.

“WHY AREN'T YOU ASLEEEEEEP?!” She shrieked in a shrill tone I'd never heard from her before.

I barely slammed the door shut in time. All at once, I felt the same dread I had experienced as a child when I was about to be punished... mixed with the level of terror that only comes from knowing your life is about to end in the must unpleasant way you can think of.

I looked the screen on my phone and started dialing 911, completely unsure of what to say.

A blood-red hand came down hard on the phone, knocking it out of my grasp. Stunned, I looked up to see my father standing over me.

“No phone privileges.” He groaned, sounding as if the words were bubbling through a mouthful of something I didn't want to see.

A single fist rocketed toward me. I lowered myself just in time as my own father's knuckles passed through the drywall inches away from my face. Moving to escape, I was instead caught by his other hand. The letter opener clenched in it jabbed through my side as easily as if it were piercing a water balloon. When he roughly withdrew the improvised weapon, blood sprayed out, painting the far wall.

I screamed again, though this time it was a wordless, mindless howl that came from some primal place.

Clutching the fresh would in my gut, I made my way down the stairs, stumbling and falling as I did so. I landed at the foot of the staircase with a heavy thud. There, I was reunited with the mask that had been left for me. It laid where I had thrown it, and its empty, mocking stare seemed to say, “Bet you're glad you went up there, huh?”


Another palm-thrust at the front door.

“G-Go away!” I yelled, crawling away from the noise as best as I could. “Leave me alone!”

“Police officer!” A gravely, authoritative voice came from beyond the door. “We've received several complaints about the noise. Open the door.”

“Oh God.” I pulled myself to my feet and hobbled to the door, hunched over in pain. “Thank God.”

With my last ounce of strength, I turned the knob, leaving streaks of my blood across its shiny gold surface.

Standing at the door was a tall, well-dressed man in dark green. Though he was wearing a nice suit, his costume didn't seem say “CEO” or “The President”. A necktie that was little more than thorny, braided vines hung from his neck like a noose. On his head, he wore the mask I'd seen three times that night... though his was a vibrant green and seemed to have a more jolly expression.

“Trick 'r treat.” He said snidely.

I couldn't run. I couldn't fight. All I could do was collapse with a soft whimper.

“Awww. Looks like someone's already tricked you!” The mask man sounded anything but empathetic. “Well, don't worry. I'll make sure you're safe from now on.”

From there, things are a bit fuzzy. I must've blacked out and awakened several times as the masked man went to work. I remember blood... gauze... the pinch of stitches... and the cold surface of a kitchen counter top. I remember the basement, and my head striking the wooden stairs as someone dragged me by my feet.

I saw the secret doorway in the basement wall, one that no one in my family had found over the months we'd spent living in the house.

Most of all, I remember what the masked man said.

“Forgive me for not making proper introductions.” He dragged me to the middle of a stone floor and took a key ring from a hook. “The name is Samuel Hanes. You can call me Spooky Sam. Now, I admit it's a nickname I gave myself, but I think it fits.”

He walked over to a barred door and placed a key into the lock. As he pulled that door open, a human corpse fell forward, landing almost face-to-face with my all but paralyzed body.

“This is MY house, you see. The people down here were my friends.” He rolled the corpse to one side. “Hell, they were my family as far as I'm concerned. My little trick 'r treaters. Ah, the fun we had together!”

My mother stepped into view, joining the strange man. I hadn't even known she was down there.

“Unfortunately, things got kind of... complicated. I had to go away for a while, and I couldn't really ask a neighbor to come by and feed them. I'm sure you understand.”

The masked man chuckled as he lead my now obedient mother into the cell, closing her in and locking the door tight.

I could hear the man opening another cell, though I couldn't turn my head to look. I heard the soft fall of another corpse, followed by the heavy footsteps of my dad. Another click of the lock told me he had been stored away, as well.

“I'll miss them, even though I have you, now.” The masked man sighed.

He stepped into view again, this time holding the mask that had been left for me earlier in the night. He turned it inside-out and dabbed a wet cloth against the interior, right where the wearer's nose and mouth would be.

“This probably doesn't make much sense to you right now.” The man flipped the mask right-side-out again. “But that's only because...”

He slid the latex over my head. The strong smell of chemicals invaded my nostrils.

“... You're not in your right head.”

All at once, I could see why it happened. I could see why it had to be that way. I was just a nobody – a twenty-something failure with no future. Then, Spooky Sam appeared to me and gave my purpose.

It makes sense when I think back on it, now. I thought the masks made my parents insane. Now I know it's the other way around! We're the only ones with a solid grip on reality. Everyone else is bonkers!

So, as I said, it's been about a year since all of that happened.

What a long year.

What a long wait.

Sam says it's almost time to come out and play with people.

Almost time for trick 'r treat!

Slimy Stories / Re: When I Met Uncle Ty
« on: 04:21:25 AM 05/11/19 »
Social media has ruined me. I tried to like/favorite your reply.


Slimy Stories / When I Met Uncle Ty
« on: 11:19:52 PM 05/01/19 »
I grew up way too fast. I don't want to sound like a stereotype, but the street was more of a teacher to me than anyone in school. Better lessons, too. I picked math up quicker by collecting money than mindlessly repeating shit in a classroom. I guess when your ass gets beat for forgetting to "carry the five", you figure shit out quick.

My parents were exactly a lot of help. Dad was a good man, but "thick as a red brick", as he put it. I guess his parents didn't do him many favors, either. Mom... well, Dad had full custody, and since that never happens, you know she was a bad bitch. It took me a long time to forgive some of the shit she did. To me, to Dad, to the dog SHE gave me as an apology present... Hell, I guess it's still taking me a long time, I'm not going to lie.

Family wasn't a big thing for me. I didn't even know I had any uncles until Uncle Ty came around for dinner one night when I was about twelve. He got a new job, Dad wanted to congratulate him and I guess make sure he kept at it by rewarding his work ethic. I learned later that uncle Ty was kind of the black sheep in a family of black sheep. Not an easy task.

Uncle Ty showed up at the door in a suit and tie, and even if he was kind of rumpled, he could've passed for someone who just came out of a business meeting with semi-important people. What ruined it was the smell, like the man had stale onions and garlic warming in his armpits. Dad knew his brother wasn't faring well at the job, and at that young age, even I knew adults didn't go to work stinking like an Italian dumpster.

The smile on uncle Ty's face was, again, almost reassuring. He gave something to my Dad, something warm and wrapped in tin foil, then hung his suit jacket and stepped into the apartment.

For about an hour, uncle Ty took a load off on the couch. He and Dad laughed over old stories, girls they'd met, stuff like that. Things I really shouldn't have been listening to, but to be honest I'd already had sex. Seventeen year old girl moved in down the hall, and I guess I was the one who got the housewarming gift.

When it came time to eat, I was already starving. Spent my lunch money badly, and not on food. Uncle Ty said grace, but all I could think about was tearing into the food and passing out under the black light in my room.

My appetite was tested, though, when dinner started.

"What's this?" I asked, toying with the meat on my plate.

"Eat it." Dad snapped, putting a forkful into his square-toothed mouth.

I looked at uncle Ty, sideways, eyebrows arched in that 'you serious?' kind of way. He smiled at me and chuckled.

"It's cave rabbit." Uncle Ty explained.

Same look, this time at my dad.

"Cave rabbit." I repeated, looking down at the gravy-coated gristle. "Never heard that."

Uncle Ty shook his head. "Kids today, man. Shit. Think just because you ain't heard of something, means it don't exist. Exists well enough for me." He took a huge bite and laughed again. Dad joined him. "People die hunting cave rabbit. Get lost in the shadows. All turned around. Cave rabbit is smart, see, they know when you're after them."

Again, the message was made clear. "Eat it."

I knew the deal. Dad didn't me embarrassing uncle Ty. Or... didn't want me embarrassing him... I don't fucking know. Some shit about pride. Either uncle Ty would get offended that we didn't like his cooking, or he'd feel bad because he bought the single worst chicken from the back of the shadiest meat truck in the city. Either way, I chewed on that shit until my jaw got tired, then I swallowed it down, still whole.

By the time dinner was over, nothing was left. I'd like to say I did a good job making things disappear, but the truth is dad kept going on about how hungry he was, and wolfed it down like a boxer taking one brutal dive. The man looked half-dead by the end. Eyes bugging out, sick look on his face. Mouthing "Mm-MMM!" through greasy, tired lips.

Uncle Ty got a shower and shave before he left. Didn't think it was strange at the time, just something guys do. You can use someone's toilet, so why not the shower, right? Seems a lot less rude that sticking your bare ass on someone else's property and shitting into it. Maybe that's just me.

Didn't find out uncle Ty was a schizophrenic until a couple years later. Never saw him again after that dinner... well, unless you count the funeral. Someone found him on the sidewalk, under a blanket of newspapers. Mighty cold that time of year. November. Couldn't have an open casket, on account of the decay. Nobody checked on him right away. Figure he was lying there until one day when someone finally decided to get him up and clean where he was sleeping.

Sad thing is he could've come to dad for help. Turned out, uncle Ty didn't have a job. Went in the interviews, and eventually he must've gotten so tired of being rejected that he just made something up. Come to find out, he was real good at making up stories. Covering up shit. Mostly to hide what he was doing, but also to keep people from worrying about him.

Like "cave rabbits". I don't want to look at that like crazy talk. I want to think about it like fantasy stuff. You tell a kid the tooth fairy left them a dollar, instead of saying you're keeping pieces of their skeleton in a jar. Wherever uncle Ty bought that ugly, withered morsel, that didn't matter as long as he could convince me it was something really rare and magical. Dad and I were worth the best to him, so he pretended we got the best.

Even though I never knew him, he was still family, so I want to remember him like his stories. They way he wanted to be known. I like to think of uncle Ty living in a penthouse apartment, with two really bad bitches and his own bar and shit. When I picture of him, I see a powerful businessman sitting behind his desk in a corner office. (With a hot secretary he's banging, too.)

I do my best to forget everything I was told about some sad bum who spent his life underground. I mean, plenty of people live down in those old, rat-infested subway tunnels. Not uncle Ty, though. Never him.

Slimy Stories / Re: Disappear Hole
« on: 09:06:02 PM 04/21/19 »
Hi, as long as it's not monetized, its no problem! :) (license is non-commercial, etc.)

Two players donated for items recently, but didn't fill out information. Please check your emails. :)

Hell Rising / Re: Suggestions
« on: 07:45:16 PM 02/19/19 »
I'm Mo.

When you said something about a "falling out" I just figured I didn't get what you meant.

Hell Rising / Re: Suggestions
« on: 08:57:49 PM 02/18/19 »
It's just really, really hard to find a programmer who:

1.) Knows what they're doing.
2.) Does what they're asked. (Instead of, you know, doing their own project which would make them happier.)
3.) Does it for free or for small payments. (Donations were split between me for domain/hosting and whichever dev I was working with at the time.)

Scroll Wars died because of 1 and 2.

1 introduced a fuckton of bugs and other problems, 2 introduced features I wasn't even told/asked about that caused huge game play problems while the fixes and features asked for were ignored. etc. etc. etc.

Hell Rising / Re: Suggestions
« on: 12:44:12 AM 01/23/19 »

When you think of World War II, the first thing that comes to mind is probably Adolf Hitler. The man who heil-handedly ruined an entire style of mustache. The early 1940s were an implausibly dark era for humankind, testing both concepts of humanity and kindness. Like a DC comic, most of us are secure in the idea that a single evil individual was stopped by a Justice League of Nations. However, like a DC movie, the truth is much more bleak and over-complicated.

After the fall of Germany, the Allies weren't just tasked with rebuilding what they had destroyed. There were rather a lot of prisoners of war to deal with. While the smarter ones (scientists, technicians, engineers, and physicists) were put to work faster than you could say "Paperclip", others weren't as lucky.

That brings us to one of the most morally questionable events in U.S. history. An experiment dubbed "Project Briar Rose" was conducted at a clandestine research lab on an undisclosed island in the north pacific. While most of the researchers conducting the experiment were from the good ol' U.S. of A., the project was conducted jointly with allied operatives.

The German government had wanted to create an army of tireless soldiers who were alert and at the ready 24/7. American officials wanted a non-lethal chemical weapon they could secretly use on enemies to disorganize and undermine them. Somewhere in the middle was Briar Rose, one of the most grisly experiments in history.

So, you knew this was coming... what could POSSIBLY go wrong?

#5 - The Lead Researcher was a Real-Life Super-Villain.

Remember how we compared this debacle to a bad comic book movie? Hang onto your bat-hat...

The lead researcher on Briar Rose was one of the aforementioned German prisoners of war. Among this peers, he was referred to by the code name "Dr.  Albtraum". I'll save you the trouble of running to Google -- that literally translates to "Doctor Nightmare". (Another example of Germany's ongoing war against the concept of subtly.)

A three-time widower with twelve children and a long line of mistresses, Dr. Albtraum wouldn't seem to have much time for science. He must've been pretty quick in the bedroom to have time for more sex and horror than a season of True Blood. (Care to guess how his wives died, by the way? That's right -- in their sleep.)

Dr. Albtraum gained a bit of fame during the war, due to his love of anesthetizing and vivisecting prisoners. After sedating his victims and removing limbs or even organs, he would then wake them up and ask questions about how they felt. If you thought getting up early for a final exam was bad, imagine taking a pop quiz while your spleen is on the desk.

While the good doctor may have unwittingly invented the board game "Operation", that was far from his only contribution to society. By mixing several nerve agents with vaporized stimulants, Dr. Albtraum created a concoction he dubbed "Schlafwach", which roughly translates to "Waking Sleep".

Luckily, he was captured before he finalized that special recipe.

Hooray for the heroes, right? Except...

#4 - We Totally Helped Finish The Sleeping Gas.

Whoops. As it turns out, Uncle Sam is the kind of uncle no one talks about. The one that gives you fun "sleepy juice" and says it'll be your little secret.

There were many initiatives after WWII that made use of German scientists, but they all get overshadowed by the previous Manhattan Project and its work on the atomic bomb. Flash over substance, as they say. Millions of dollars and tons of resources were put into the Briar Rose project, but it was all funneled through fake programs, so you can be forgiven for not knowing about it.

German prisoners of war, the less lucky ones as I mentioned, were used as test subjects. Exact numbers tend to be unreliable, but somewhere close to a hundred German soldiers were placed in a room about the size of an airplane hangar. There, they were strapped to hospital beds and monitored by a variety of machines. Before you start to feel sorry for these guys, remember -- literal Nazis.

Dr.  Albtraum insisted on administering the gasses himself. It was noted that he made U.S. Soldiers at the facility a bit uneasy, mainly with his tendency to sing old world lullabies to his struggling "patients" as they slipped into unconsciousness.

30% of test subjects never woke up after their first dose. As far as anyone was concerned, that was an acceptable loss on the path toward expanding human knowledge. Each new death brought information that helped refine the concoction.

The ones that died quickly got the best deal, because...

#3 - A Majority of Test Subjects Tore Themselves Apart.

After several months of testing, Project Briar Rose hit an unforeseen snag. As it turned out, the "Waking Sleep" was taking its toll on the Insomni-Axis. They became frantic and agitated, while simultaneously existing in a glassy-eyed stupor. Sort of like hyper-active toddlers who were also suffering from a sense-numbing stroke.

Several patients slipped their bonds by using the straps like sandpaper. This wore the skin from their wrists and lubricated their hands with blood. Guards and nurses suffered random attacks because of this, causing even more patients to die from beatings, and even  gunfire.

If nobody else was nearby, however, the patients who freed themselves began working on self-harm. They ripped their skin, wore their fingers to bone, and gouged their own eyes. Documents leaked decades later mentioned it was as if they could no longer identify with their own physical bodies and saw themselves as a stranger to attack.

Making matters worse, Dr. Albtraum had been up to his old tricks. Multiple patients had been surgically tampered with. They managed to open their own sutures and would un-spool their innards onto the floor. They would then die from blood loss or organ failure... you know, because said organs were thrown against a wall. Think about that next time you see kids gathering around a pinata.

So who's ready to dial the crazy up to eleven?

#2 - The Patients Who Survived Believed They Were Gods.

If you managed to live through all of that, you could be forgiven for thinking you were somehow special. Believing you're an angel, or demon, or metaphysical being, however, is a bit of a stretch.  The remaining patients, now down from one hundred to about ten, took that leap in logic.

Dazed, crazed, and yearning for the glory days of goose-stepping in parades, test subjects began speaking in language described as "flowery" and "ominous". Journals of their statements were recorded, though having so few German-speaking staff members left a majority of their statements lost to history.

One patient who had removed much of his face described himself as the archangel Gabriel and proclaimed that all around him would suffer when judgement day came. Another whose limbs were amputated due to infection began speaking of Mjolnir and Odin and the destruction of Ragnarok.

The spookiest of all was a man who had suffered no injuries. He had been a zeppelin pilot and had surrendered to allied forces at the very end of the war. This patient had done nothing but smile pleasantly since he was first dosed with the chemical agent, and for all intents and purposes he was thought to be brain-dead.

The pilot began speaking only after the island facility had descended into chaos, finally breaking a vow of silence no one knew he had taken. Unlike the others, he didn't identify himself as a spirit or a mythological figure. He said, plainly, that he wasn't even real. He declared himself to be the waking sleep, a figment of everyone's imagination. Everyone around him, everyone in the world, was dreaming, and this young pilot only existed in their subconscious.

Is that enough to keep you up  tonight? No? Well, how about this? As soon as he started talking, everyone else shut their mouths. Even the other patients. Even the ones who had plunged out their own ear drums and couldn't hear him. After what seemed like an eternity of ceaseless madness, the massive room fell silent except for the slow, calm monologue of a single grinning patient.

#1 - And Then Everyone Killed Themselves.

An unnamed soldier did what most of us would probably want to do in that situation. He put a gun to the pilot's head and, to absolutely no one's surprise at that point, put a bullet in him. Seeing that the dead man was still smiling, the soldier took a nurse hostage, turned his gun on everyone else, and demanded they drop their weapons.

Then, he shot the remaining patients, three fellow staff members, Dr. Albtraum, and himself.

At this point, there's no way to know where the prisoners were buried. There's no record of their interment, so it's very likely they were either thrown into a mass grave or the surrounding ocean. The facility was left to decay, and the island is still off-limits to anyone without proper security clearance.

In the years following project Briar Rose, twenty thee soldiers thought to be associated with the experiments have committed suicide. Six researchers did the same. The difference in numbers probably says something about which field has more difficulty with their conscience and moral code. I'm just sayin'.

While Dr. Albtraum survived the initial shooting, he was found dead several years later. He had tried to dose himself with the same chemical used on his test subjects, and it's still unclear if he intended to take his own life -- or if he had always been working toward something else entirely. Maybe he was really trying to build a bridge between the physical and metaphysical realms. If so, that "bridge" dropped him like a third grader made it out of Popsicle sticks.

I guess he hadn't heard the motto; "never die on your own supply".

T.P. Wong is a staff writer for and enjoys home-brewing his own "Schlafwach" solution by mixing energy drinks and horse tranquilizers. You can buy his new book, "Everything You Know is Wong", online or in stores this November. Would you like to write for Submit your list now.

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