Creepypasta, Practice, Short Stories

Creepypasta #1

I pulled the comforter up over my ear, snuggling down into the bed, consolidating whatever warmth could be found. It was well past midnight, but I couldn’t seem to get settled. My thighs ached from trying out my new bicycle this afternoon, and my body tottered between too hot and too cold no matter whether I snaked a foot out from under the sheets or not.

Plus, there was that thing with the Wi-Fi speaker.

I’m not sure of when it began – I’m generally a heavy sleeper – but I know it’s gone on at least a week now. Sometime around midnight, Google answers a question.

I know it sounds insane. Maybe I’m hearing things. Well, certainly I am. I’m hearing the generic male voice I chose respond to… something. I don’t know. Even I think it’s insane.

You may ask, do you talk in your sleep? and yes, I have in the past and have no reason to believe I haven’t continued to do so. But here’s the thing: my phone’s screen is dark. I didn’t activate the Assistant, at least not from my phone. The app isn’t even running. Not ever. I checked every time.

There has to be a logical explanation. Right? I mean, I’m pretty bright, but I can’t think of anything except a serial killer toying with me or ghosts looking for directions to the nearest Starbucks.

That’s why I got the camera. Fancy infrared and everything. I set it up almost defiantly, my back stiff, hackles raised. If there was a ghost watching me, I did not want it to think I was afraid of its translucent ass. I mean, I was. Obviously. But it didn’t need to know that.

Maybe I should get a cat? They can see ghosts, right?

I shook myself back to the task at hand, brushing my hands together and padding back over to my laptop to check the camera angle. I pulled up the feed and saw the seafoam puck centered on the screen. Running my thumb over the touchscreen on my phone, I verified that I had the same view in the app. Nodding in satisfaction, I softly closed the device.

***

I sat bolt upright. A quick glance at the clock showed 12:01 am, my phone next to it, the screen dark. The darkness was almost palpable, thick and heavy around me. And still. As if every atom held its breath.

I scrambled for the phone, nearly dropping it in my haste to open the camera app. The light stung my eyes at first, but quickly adjusted.

Nothing.

Not a damn thing was happening on camera. The light on the puck wasn’t even on, indicating that it had spoken.

But it had.

I heard it. I heard it plain as day, as if I had been standing right next to the speaker as it answered yet another question. And while I had no idea what the question was, my heart nearly stopped at the answer.

Just two little words. Spoken succinctly in that confident, baritone voice…

She’s upstairs.

Musings, Practice

So what now?

Anyone else now in their 50s, but still have no clue what they want to do with their life?

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve done some cool things in my life: Flown a jet at 45,000 feet while viewing the Northern Lights. Written four published novels (so far). Narrated five audiobooks (and counting). Started and ran multiple businesses. But I’m just now starting to realize that the things that I do and who I am are not as separate as I believed.

Most of my life, my sense of self has been tied to how I make money. Isn’t that the way for most of us? We ask strangers, “What do you do?” as if their only purpose for breathing is to be a cog in the wheel of Capitalism. We judge people based on their jobs. A doctor or pilot is thought to be intelligent and trustworthy, while a retail service worker might be considered uneducated and replaceable. But our jobs are only a costume we wear to navigate the world. It is not who we are. We are so much more.

We are all experiencing what it means to be human, but we are all on an infinite number of paths leading through a kaleidoscope of possibilities to a shared, final destination. Each path is our own and no two paths are exactly the same. Our choices are what make us who we are.

As a Scorpio, I understand the value in re-inventing myself. But this is the first time I considered consolidating all the facets of my life and looking at myself as a whole. All of the things that I am, author, entrepreneur, mother, narrator, pilot, wife, dreamer, woman, American, and more, distilled into the very essence of what it means to be me. But I don’t think knowing myself completely is attainable. I’m not the same person I was 20 years ago. I’m not even the person I was last week. Circumstances, choices, even thoughts, can change us, as a snowball rolling downhill gathers more snow as it descends, altering it constantly as it travels. So too do we pick up thoughts, ideas, perceptions that alter us on our journey through existence.

And now I’m fifty years old and almost ready to embark on the next chapter of my life. My children are grown enough to not need me 24/7 as they did when they were little and I have a bit more time to do the things that I enjoy. The problem is, I feel like I’ve spent most of my life up until now doing what was expected of me, and I no longer know what it is that I want. I don’t know what will make me feel fulfilled and content. Happy.

So I invite you to join me on this adventure. Walk beside me for a time or just drop in for a cup of coffee. Maybe as I try to find my place in this world, you’ll recognize a bit of your own journey, too. We are not meant to navigate this world alone and my intention is to have some fun along the way.

Practice

Writing Practice #1

Disclaimer: I am drunk.  Any grammatical or typographical or uh, logistical errors are due to my inability to hire an editor on such short notice and the irrefutable fact that I am currently drunk.

Author’s Note: My homesnakes! I wrote 714 words!  I’m on FIRE!!!  Please check back for news of this woman’s return to the Tawnlandian Imperial Writing Nook.

My inebriated treatise on an article entitled, “You can now attend a “mansplaining” convention — strictly for women — at the low price of $2000.”

As I first open this link, I believe the post can only be satire.  I mean really, dudes can’t possibly be that dumb, right?  So, I grabbed a glass of prosecco, cracked open my laptop, and dove in.

Hilarity ensued.  Mostly in my own mind.

Me: What the hell…? Oh, fuck yeah, I’m gonna follow that link…

[Clicks on 22convention.com]

[Instantly hoarks up bubbly]

I am nose deep in a landing page featuring a bearded studmuffin with long, wavy tresses, another more distinguished older gentleman, pink watercolor splotches on a steel gray background, and a ‘Murican flag asking me if I want to get on the VIP list.

Fuck. Yeah. I. Do.

[Types in email address and pours more prosecco]

::licks lips:: Aight, let’s go down this rabbit hole.

[Clicks on Reserve Your Seats]

EARLY BIRD TICKETS ON SALE! SAVE 60%!

Shit. Now I want to go.  Can you imagine?  I’d be all drunk and mouthy and they’d be all make me a sammich and I’d be all suck my dick and it would be frikkin hilarious. I seriously check my calendar and everything, before remembering that it’s in Orlando, I am not in Orlando, and I am poor.

[Scrolls down]

Then I see it: The premium ticket (today only $999.00!) includes a pass to 21 UNIVERSITY for a full year.  So I think, I wonder what their curriculum is?

[Googles 21 University]

[stares for like a full seven minutes]

It’s “Positive Education for Men” and says:

With our videos you will…

  • Take command of your dating life
  • Get healthy, grow strong, and build muscle
  • Create wealth, earn more, and master your career
  • Author your life and become your own ideal man

And now I’m kinda scared.

But I get over it pretty quickly when I realize it’s just a bunch of MRA Incels that got together, made a bunch of videos spouting off their own bullshit, and then packaged it as a Netflix-esque online video “university” to sell “memberships” to their own personal cult.

And suddenly, I’m impressed.  I could do that.  I mean, it’s kinda genius in a sociopathic way.  All you need is a smartphone (check), some computer skillz or the mad cheddar to hire some (check), a way to take payment (check), and nefarious intent… ::places pinky on corner of lip::

[Scribbles notes on future plans for the Tawnlandian Empire Cyber Expansion Initiative]

Then I spot the Founder and CEO, Anthony Dream Johnson’s (hahahahahaha!!! I said “dream johnson”) bio and this little tidbit: “Anthony credits a great deal of his current success in life from repeatedly experiencing the incredible videos from this live event, in a pure, hyper-focused learning environment with zero distractions.” (emphasis mine)

My homesnakes.  “Repeatedly.”  This guy is like Al Bundy from “Married With Children” reliving his high school football team’s championship touchdown over and over again while he shakes hands with the milkman. ::winks::  And he has devoted EIGHT YEARS OF HIS LIFE to this nonsense. Eight. I haven’t had a full set of nice glassware last that long despite my extraordinarily delicate nurturing of said glassware…

I digress.

In conclusion, mostly because I am nearing the bottom of the bottle and kinda feel all fuzzy and… Where was I?  Oh yeah. These Neanderthals are making hella coin off of young men that have been steeped in a patriarchal line of “Ideal Man” bullshit and haven’t quite gotten a handle on social interaction or even really just how to be themselves in this world.  AND THEN they are indoctrinating them into the toxic masculinity required to offer rape-y courses like “how to turn friends into girlfriends.” That’s from their course list, by the way.

America. Git yer boys.  I mean it.  We need more Mr. Rogers and fewer Rambos in this world. Fuck.