December 19, 2011A Story by Brenden Bow
In the spring of 2011, a teenager by the name of Michael Larson posted his very first video to no reviews whatsoever. Yet, the boy continued posting his videos, because, come on, video diaries are fun. By the end of the year, he still had no fans or regular watchers. Well, except for one: me. I don’t know why I watched the kid. He wasn’t funny. He was goofy-looking with way too big, dinner plate ears, but I still watched. His last post was on December 19, 2011.
December 19, 2011
“Uh, h-hi, my name’s Michael. This is, uh, this is my diary, my video diary. I know no one ever watches this damned thing, can’t blame you. But, if someone does happen to watch it, this video, listen. I’ve got something important to say. I’m saying this here because I don’t… I just don’t know where else I can say this without anyone thinking I’m insane. I’m not insane, okay? I’m not, believe me. There’s something odd going on, something weird and I… I don’t know what to do. I need help. I need anyone… please, help me. They’re gone. They’re all gone. Darren, Marcie, Jack, Todd, Lacy, they’re all gone, every last one of them.”
That’s what his very last post said. I thought he was joking at first, pulling a prank on anyone watching. But then, I thought about it. His fear seemed genuine, true terror. He was looking over his shoulder periodically throughout the video, as if some serial killer could be coming after him. I didn’t see how that was possible. His room looked to be locked up tighter than Fort Knox. Curious, I began diligently Googling the kid. I didn’t come upon anything of particular interest at first, a Facebook, a MySpace, that sort of thing. The search seemed pointless, until I tracked down the online journal of one of the girls, Lacy, an aspiring writer. She had written about the event.
It had been a cold fall and didn’t seem like it would be letting up now that it was winter. The gang and I decided it’d be pretty sweet to go on a little hike through the mountains. About a week after our decision to go, we packed up our gear, loaded everything into the bed of Jack’s huge dually, fastened a tarp over the luggage and headed out. It was a long drive into Colorado, but we managed it without too serious injuries.
Along the way, it began snowing. We pressed on, not letting nature deter us. After all, we had two battery-powered heaters, a boat load of batteries and thick thermal sleeping bags. Plus, the tents were so not cheap either. The good ones never are.
Jack steered the truck through the winding road, going farther and farther up the mountain, deeper and deeper into the dense forest. We saw a few deer scamper about, playing merrily. Marcie, sat in the front middle seat, fondling Jack through his pants, thinking none of us saw her. I was right beside her, witnessing the whole lewd act " much to my chagrin. Michael was in the seat behind me, leaned forward, whispering cute little things into my ear. He was sweet. I really wish I had reciprocated his feelings when I had a chance. But, scared of what Marcie might think, I treated him like he was some random guy hitting on me. Todd and Darren played with their electronics, one had a PSP and one had a DS. I don’t right remember which had which.
The trip was taking a bit longer than I thought, so I asked Jack why we weren’t there by now. He said, “Chill, chick, I found us a new place. The cops barely go there and I’ve got a cooler full of JD.”
I was wary, of course, not thinking it was a good idea to go somewhere cops usually never travelled. But, hey, if I had said anything I would’ve been overruled immediately. So, I kept my mouth shut and went along with it.
The gray, snowy skies had gotten darker by the time we arrived at Jack’s “new place”. It was alright, I guess. It seemed like somewhere more experienced hikers would go, but, being the way we were, we liked the challenges, except for Michael. He said it was a stupid idea, something which I respected him even more for. King Douchenstein, otherwise known as Jack, of course, called him a “f****t” for being such a little “b***h”. Everyone laughed, even me.
An hour later, we had our tents all set up and decided we should go hiking. Todd hollered like a wolf and the other boys joined in as well. They were happy to be out there. There was a path leading up the mountain, kind of. It was cramped with foliage and brush, but still traversable if we went two at a time. I was paired with Michael and as we squeezed through the canopy of greenery we talked, sharing a few laughs. He was witty, in his own strange little way. The air was frigid, causing my fingers to go a bit numb. The forest had grown strangely quiet as we conversed. The sounds of the animals were gone completely.
We had gotten separated from the group somewhere along the line and were now going off in a completely different direction. We kept walking, under the impression we had got left behind for being so pokey. Ten or so minutes passed and we found ourselves coming upon a queer little windowless shack. It was dilapidated, rickety-looking. Though, it had a lived-in air about it. So, we went up to it and knocked, hoping our friends were there.
We kept knocking, but no one answered the door. Michael grabbed the door handle, seeing it was unlocked and turned the knob. He pushed the door in. The shack was utterly dark and the sound of more creaking came from within the darkness. Michael pulled out his phone and opened a flashlight app, illuminating the small shack. It was completely empty, save for one thing. There was a rocking chair at the very back of the room, rocking casually back and forth. In it sat a large porcelain doll. Its right eye had collapsed inward, leaving a jagged hole where it used to be. It wore a plain, tattered white dress. There was something… off about it, something not quite right. The look in its one remaining eye was maleficent. The only way I can describe it, the doll, is “wrong”, “other”. Michael cracked a one eye joke I can’t remember and it seemed like, honestly, it seemed like the doll grinned for a split second. I know. I know. That sounds crazy, a doll grinning, but I saw it. Michael didn’t catch it. He grabbed my hand and said, “You’re wigging out, Lace. C’mon, let’s go find the others.” I complied.
We found the others back at the camp site the way we came. They immediately accused us of sneaking off to “do it” and then proceeded to make pointed remarks about Michael being a “one pump chump”. He laughed, letting the insults bounce off. We didn’t speak of the doll to them that night.
Jack downed beer after beer, pounding them back like it was nobody’s business. Marcie squealed each time, applauding or clapping whenever he successfully did it. By that point, Marcie didn’t care if anyone saw her sloppy behavior. She stuck Jack’s hands down her pants, danced around like a mad woman, bouncing her a*s up and down. Todd and Darren fooled around a bit, murmuring sweet-nothings to one another. Everyone was hooking up, it seemed, everyone except Michael and I. Bless him, despite having countless opportunities, he didn’t make a move once other than telling me how pretty and great he thought I was. We regaled each other with stories about our families for a while as our friends fell deeper into their own little worlds, forgetting about us.
A twig cracked in the bushes behind where we sat on a log, interrupting the story about my dad ordering enchiladas at McDonald’s and getting pissed when they couldn’t bring him what he asked for. I looked back and there it was, head poking through the bush, the doll smiled at me, grinning widely. Then, in a flash, it disappeared. Startled, I fell off the log, scrambling away from where Michael sat looking at me like I was a crazy person. He asked me what was wrong and stupidly I said, “Nothing.” Maybe if I had said something, we all could’ve avoided this mess, maybe.
A thick, wispy fog settled around the camp while the snow still fell lazily. It had come out of nowhere, one minute: nothing, the next: boom. Suddenly, the sound of a crying doll filled the air, hitting us from all sides. We had no clue what was going and promptly began a frantic appraisal of our surroundings. We had no clue where it was coming from, but, as the seconds sauntered right on by, the wailing grew louder. Jack, three sheets to the wind, started yelling about kicking someone’s a*s if they were playing a prank on us. Marcie stood by his side, shivering, shaking and it didn’t like it was from the cold, either. The wailing became an off key rendition of a lullaby my father used to sing to get me to sleep.
Hush little baby, don’t say a word.
Daddy’s gonna buy you a mockingbird.
That was the last straw. Todd and Darren hastily picked up the tent, heaters and beer coolers. Michael pitched in a hand, too. We weren’t staying there anymore. Things were getting freaky. The air was thick with the smell of decay as well as fog, which grew more pronounced.
And if that mockingbird don’t sing
daddy’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.
We had to get out of there and quick. We piled into the truck, practically shoving one another in. Michael decided to drive in place of Brad. Once again, bless him. He revved up the engine and we were off. Yet, the song still beset us, attacking our ears through the radio.
Daddy’s gonna buy you a billy goat.
And if that billy goat don’t pull
daddy’s gonna buy you a cart and bull.
And if that cart and bull falls down,
I’ll bury your a*s in the muddy ground!
The last line was sung by a grotesque, distorted voice, cackling at us as it finished its sentence. And after it was done, the radio inexplicably turned back off. We got home, safe and sound, believing our ordeal was over. Boy, were we wrong.
It started off slow at first, little things happened. I was counted absent at school on days where I was clearly in class. My little brother yelled at me for walking him home when he had no idea who I was. No one but that group spoke to me. The others reported similar out of the ordinary occurrences. We had no clue what was going on, but Michael thought he did. He thought it was the doll. We had disturbed it and it wanted compensation. He thought we should tell the others about what we saw. I told him it was a ludicrous idea.
A few days after that, Marcie’s parents found her dangling from a tree in their back yard, rope wrapped securely around her neck, completely naked. An hour after Marcie was found, Jack confronted his parents during a garden party, yelling, “They should know who I am! I’m there son! I’m there son, d****t…” He pulled out a concealed handgun then shot himself in the middle of the crowd of guests, right between the eyes.
That was two days ago, two long days ago. Not going to lie to you, I’m feeling a bit unlike myself. On the bright side, I’ve made a new friend. She’s quite beautiful. Oh, sure, her hair’s not all there and it’s just as white as the snow at our campsite, and her skin is grey, mottled here and there. But, mark my words, she is beautiful. You should see her smile. Her teeth are big, pale as her eyeballs. I think I’m gonna go hang out with her for a bit.
Michael. I can’t get ahold of you, Michael. Where are you? You said I was the best girl in your life. Why did you change your number, Michael? Answer my calls, my texts, anything. Please, I’m scared. I believe you now. I believe you, so pick up, I’m begging you. Don’t keep ignoring me, Michael. I’m ready now. I’m ready to love you. I’m ready to f**k you.
And that's where her story ended: “see". What was she trying to say? I don't know that any more than I know what Michael was trying to say. But, I know I’m scared. There’s something following me, something with too big eyes, too big of a smile.
© 2012 Brenden Bow
Added on June 13, 2012
Last Updated on June 13, 2012
AboutI've been writing for nine years. It's a solitary art, writing; seclusion works wonders for one's evolution as a writer. I enjoy secluding myself for days, sometimes weeks, with my work. more..