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I, Stephanie Carlson, have a secret so shameful that it alarms me to even
whisper it. I fear that the shadow lurking behind me will hear it and shout
it out to the world. I have kept this secret for ten years, and have sworn
to never tell a living soul. Every time I think about it, my head slowly
begins to spin and I feel faint. I am now sitting on an old, rickety street
bench, writing out my secret. I need to write out this jumbled-up confession
because if I hold it in much longer, I fear I will certainly go crazy.
Slowly, the night draws on, just as many nights have during these last few
weeks. My time is short; I know because I have felt a dark and evil presence
follow me in the shadows. It lurks, like a cat prowling for its prey, ready
to pounce when it is least expected. I glance around, paranoid by the sound
of footsteps and the crunching of fallen leaves on the sidewalk. My breath
clings in the cold, crisp air of November, and I watch it slowly drift up
towards the stars. I shiver as the wind dances across my bare, rosy cheeks.
I desperately struggle to remember what made me run and hide in the first
place. Maybe I should start from the beginning.
I was one of the world's most renowned authors of the Twenty-First Century.
Mostly, I wrote horror novels, the ones that make people cringe, children
and adults alike. My stories were terrifying; they made the word "nightmare"
sound like a fairy tale. At the time, ten years ago, I was working on
another masterpiece, so I thought. It was a tale of monsters and demons so
frightening that I was almost afraid to finish writing it. If I could
describe these horrible creatures now, I would, but there is no way to
describe the way they looked. I believed that this novel had real potential,
that it would be one of the best I had ever written. I sat down at my desk
to begin writing, and as I brainstormed, I felt a draft come from an open
window. I heard the creek of the door as it slowly swayed in the wind.
Slowly, I wrote down those words, the ones that still haunt me today. What
was I thinking? Maybe I was trying to eliminate those demons that live
inside me, the ones that live inside everyone. As I wrote, I felt that
something was wrong, that someone was watching my every move. I felt a
presence in the room that day, the same one that is with me at this moment.
If only it would step out from the shadows and reveal itself. Maybe then I
would be able to get a decent night of sleep. For these past ten years, I
have slept with one eye open, worried that whatever was after me would
murder me in my sleep.
Back then, I was a pitiful sight to see. As the days drew on, my lack of
sleep wore me down. I had dark, sagging bags under my dulled eyes, and my
skin became pale, almost chalk white; there was no reason for glowing cheeks
or laughter in my eyes anymore. I had nothing left in my life, except a
painful fear of death. Everywhere I went, I began to imagine people staring
at me, carefully watching my every move. I convinced myself that the
movement in the trees and bushes was that of something or someone following
me. Soon I began hearing whispering, voices calling to me as I wandered
along. As I took each step, I would turn my head from side to side, though I
never turned back; I was afraid of turning to see a grotesque figure
stalking behind me.
One day, I was reading the paper and came across an unusual article about
the massacre of helpless, innocent civilians. Apparently, this had been
happening all over the city, mostly at night in secluded areas. These people
were brutally murdered; their bodies had been ripped apart and tossed around
as if they were only rag dolls. They had random cuts and scrapes along their
bodies, blood gushing everywhere. Their heads were bashed in and their
brains seeped out. When their bodies were discovered, there was no possible
way to identify them. Their faces were distorted and covered in blood; their
bones were crushed and their bodies were oddly strewn about. I could picture
the way they must have looked when they were found. I felt somewhat
responsible, but I really had no reason to be at the time. I had nothing to
do with their deaths, so I thought.
This wasn't the only time I read of such a bloodbath, what a terrible fate
for these people. Each time, the death list lengthened and the stories
became more gruesome. Whatever was killing didn't have any remorse for those
they killed. There were odd reports of large teeth marks, and multiple
occurrences of slashes and cuts made by what appeared to be extremely sharp
fingernails. I suddenly realized that all of this sounded a little too
familiar. Was it in something I'd read when I was younger? It was nothing of
the sort; it was, however, very similar to the workings of my new novel. I
had written about the massacre of these people well, maybe not these people,
but innocent people all the same. Was I really the one who made this
possible? Did I let these demons out to walk the streets and do as they
please? I was worried that they would hunt me down, even if I was the one
who created them.
The days drew by slowly, and I grew nervous. I was unsure of everything at
this point. I began seeing dark figures, possibly figments of my
imagination, but I highly doubt it. I saw their distorted figures in my
dreams. In them, I was in my house sharing my story with some of my friends.
As I was reading my story aloud, we heard something stir, and I knew someone
was in the room with us. I glanced around and I couldn't believe my eyes;
the characters from my story were alive and walking. One by one, these
menacing creatures killed my friends. I was ashamed and believed that it was
my fault, but there was nothing I could do; none of my friends actually
survived. I myself barely managed to survive by darting to the door as
quickly as possible, never looking back. It was a gruesome ending for them,
but it was too late to do anything but run. My dream was unusual, but I
believed that it was the truth.
As I write this, I hear a stir coming from the shadows, and I know
something is out there looking for me. It is coming closer now; I sense
their presence strongly. I believe that they have caught up with me, and
they are here to take what they should have taken many years ago, the one
who got away, the only one who knows of their existence. I may have created
them, but they have minds of their own; I can't control them.
"Is somebody there?" I shout, not sure if I will hear an answer to my
At first I hear only silence, but slowly I hear a growl as they come
closer. I close my ears to shut out their deafening cries. I must not be
afraid; I must face my fears. I can see them now, their sharp teeth and
claws, their menacing smiles, their gnarled hands. I watch their distorted
figures lurch forward oh, how they mock me. I see the twisted features of
their faces, their eerie grins and gaping eyes. How could I have created
these dreadful creatures? Any minute they could get me, and when they do,
they will rip me to shreds, just as they did to those innocent people. Soon
I will be dead, what a way to go. Is there something beyond death? There
surely will be nothing beyond this moment in my life, only suffering and
guilt. Why do they wait so long? What are they trying to do, drive me
insane? If that is the case, it is certainly working. They come closer and
closer, but slower with each passing minute. I see a crazy gleam in their
eyes, and I no longer fear them.
"Come and take me," I yell to them, "I'm not afraid of you!"
They glare at me as I yell, and reach for me with their mangled hands. I
try to yell for help, but all that comes out is a wheezing sound. My hands
shake uncontrollably as I try to write; I must stop trembling and finish
before it is too late.
I can see my own death now. I feel their clammy hands on my skin as they
try to grasp at me. The feel of their claws puncturing my flesh is
torturous, and as they yank my hair a shrieking sound escapes my lips. I
wonder what is to become of....
From the New York Times, November 13 2000:
Local Author Found Dead
The remains of local author Stephanie Carlson were found this morning by a
local resident who was jogging this morning at around 8:30. Her body had
multiple cuts and bruises, though coroners have concluded that she died from
strangulation. Police were unable to identify the body at first, but found
an unusual note that helped identify the body. In this letter, Stephanie
Carlson claims to be responsible for the murders of numerous people. As of
yet, there are no suspects, but police are questioning relatives and friends
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