The Midnight Paper (Episode 8/8)
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It was Wednesday. 10 PM. The sky above me was dark and overcast, but not cloudy enough to hide the bright spot I knew was the Perfect Being.
Over the last couple of days Stephanie, the Removal Doctor, and I had been watching it, tracking its slow descent almost obsessively. It was like a meteor falling in slow motion. It would be just as destructive.
The wind was picking up, swatting at my face with what felt like invisible hands. I didn’t mind, the cold felt nice against my aching forehead.
I took one step forward, the concrete crunching beneath my shoes, and reached the edge. The cold, dark asphalt of the street below was like a second night sky, tiny chunks embedded in the tar twinkling like stars.
I lifted one foot over the edge…and it began.
A barrage of visual information exploded through my brain. This wasn’t like a dream, wasn’t like picturing something in your mind. This was different. The pictures were clearer than any dream I’d ever had, as clear as reality itself, and they had a strange weight to them…like what I was seeing was true somehow, like it was a fact etched into the very nature of the universe.
I saw a row of houses: windows broken, blood splatter on the driveway, one of them spitting fire and pillars of smoke. I saw a group of people: wild-eyed, mouths open wide, teeth bloody and lips mangled and ripped. I saw a blinding light: a light with arms and legs and—
“What the fuck are you doing?”
I opened my eyes, I hadn’t even realized I’d closed them. I turned around to see Stephanie walk out of the door to the stairwell.
We were standing on the rooftop of the shitty motel we’d been staying at.
“Did you leave me with that psycho to come up here and do this?” Stephanie asked.
“Where-“ I began.
Then Stephanie opened the door wider and The Removal Doctor walked out and onto the concrete roof.
“This is stupid. Seriously stupid. You don’t know how The Ledge Game affects people. You don’t know if playing it causes the visions to come true!” Stephanie said.
“Well, they’re going to come true anyway, aren’t they? You both have, and I read about you in the Paper.”
“Nice. Thanks for lumping me in with this guy,” Stephanie said.
The Doc walked over to the roof’s edge. I was worried he might try The Ledge Game out for himself, but instead he just stared at the light in the sky. His creation. His Perfect Being.
“Can you talk to it?” I asked him.
The Doctor shrugged. “I haven’t tried. It should be able to hear and understand speech, it has all the right organs, in all the right places. I implanted the ability to speak up to ten languages. I guess it’s up to it if it wants to use those gifts. Or any of the ones I’ve given it.”
“Well,” I said turning to Stephanie, “there you go. We might be able to talk to the thing, explain what’s going to happen if it lands.”
“Yeah,” Stephanie said, shrugging herself, “but if that’s its plan, talking to it won’t make a difference.”
“Guess we’ll have to wait and see,” I said. Suddenly, a cough forced its way out of my throat.
“You okay?” Stephanie asked.
“Yeah. Must be coming down with something.”
“Well let’s wait in the room, okay? The new Paper’s due soon.”
Two hours later, I was sitting on my bed in the motel, a wet towel over my eyes. The migraine had gotten worse, once again. The pain was like a mountain range, just when I thought I’d hit a valley and it would subside, another peak would rear its jagged head and spear me right in the brain. It seemed that one of my hands was always clasped against my temple, massaging it. I was starting to get nauseous too, to the point that I hadn't eaten anything since noon.
“We need to go to an urgent care or something,” Stephanie said. “I can’t believe I’m saying that with a doctor in the room.”
“Well he’s not exactly a normal doctor is he?” I said, massaging my forehead again. “Besides, if I get into a car now I’m going to puke. Just let me rest for a bit. It’ll get better. It always does.”
“Mhm,” Stephanie said, “and we’re just gonna pretend this has nothing to do with the Paper, right?”
I shrugged, “I don’t know what we can do about it now anyway. We have to stop the Perfect Being. That’s more important than any migraine, no matter how bad it is.”
“Yeah, yeah. You’re not reading the next one, that’s for sure.”
“Don’t think it’s coming,” I said, covering my eyes with the towel again.
“What do you mean?”
“It’s almost 12:15. The Paper’s never been late before.”
I heard Stephanie open the motel room door and then shut it. “You’re right,” she said finally. “There’s nothing out there.”
“That can’t be good, right?” I asked.
“No. I guess there has to be a reality for the Paper to predict. Without it, there’s no reason to deliver it.”
We turned out the lights shortly after that.
The next morning, when we opened the door, there was no Paper either. For some reason, not seeing one there made me feel uneasy. I’d grown accustomed to it, looked forward to it, migraines and horrible events and all. Now that it was gone, the world felt a little less exciting, a little more mundane. But I knew that was stupid. That afternoon was the end of the world, and that was about as exciting as it got. Exciting in a bad way.
The crowd started to form at around 9 AM. People from all walks of life were abandoning small businesses, some were even leaving their cars abandoned by the side of the road, and gathering in droves in the middle of the street. There was nobody to disperse them because the cops were joining in too. Every face, every phone, every pair of eyes, was turned up at the sky. I already knew what they were looking at, but I had to see it for myself anyway.
There, in the sky, was what looked like a star that was bright enough to shine in the daytime. But I knew better.
By noon, the Being had gotten so close that it looked like a second sun. A bigger sun. A sun in the shape of a person. Through my sunglasses, I could make out a head and its arms and legs. I’d seen it before, had been seeing it for the past few days, but that didn’t stop it from sending chills down my spine. It was floating, no, dropping slowly, without a care in the world. It was like a deep-sea diver slowly drifting through the depths, propelled downward by its own weight and the invisible pull of the Earth.
It seemed like the whole town was in the street now. The buildings around us looked deserted, the windows dark, the doors often wide open. It didn’t make a difference, there was nobody taking advantage of the distraction to hop behind shop counters and open registers, or break windows and carry out merchandise. All eyes were glued to the sky.
By 1 PM, the thing was close enough to see clearly without squinting. It was huge, it had to be around 20 feet in length. Sure, I’d known in the back of my mind that it had to be that big, not just because of what the article had said. For something to be clearly seen, at the altitude this thing appeared at, it must be massive. Yet it seemed to retain some sort of elegance. It wasn’t a bulky, unwieldy, hulk of a thing. It didn’t flail as it fell or roll up in a ball in anticipation of the collision…it was holding a pose, head tilted toward the sky, feet pointing down in what could have been a ballet stance. Its arms were held above its head in a ‘V’ shape.
It looked angelic. Important. Meaningful. But it also looked wrong. This wasn’t supposed to be there.
I averted my gaze. It was too bright. Looking at it made my migraine feel ten times worse.
The wailing started not long after that. It was a sort of hum, like an involuntary sound that spread throughout the crowd. It was as if people had been trying to hold in their cries, but once the thing got closer, it was impossible. People were bawling, collapsing to their knees. I saw people making the sign of the cross. I saw people holding hands in prayer. I saw people lifting their hands up to the sky in adoration.
Very few people were wearing their face masks. Maybe some of them thought that this was an angel, something coming down to heal the world, to eradicate this modern plague and make it all right. It would eradicate the plague alright, the problem was that it would take everything else with it too.
“This is fucking wild,” Stephanie said. Immediately, a man shot an angry look in her direction. Like what she said was blasphemy, like you couldn’t curse in the vicinity of something that looked so holy.
This was bad. It was about to get a whole lot worse.
By 2 PM, the Being was so low in the sky that it started to become obvious where its trajectory was leading it…and it wasn’t here. A soft little gasp made its way throughout the crowd. People had been so caught up in admiring the Being, that they hadn’t thought of where it would land. But not that they were seeing that it wasn’t going to land there, they were indignant. Dozens of people rushed to their cars, pushing past each other with absolutely no regard for each other’s safety. It was as if people forgot that other human beings were made of flesh and blood. Elbows flew into faces, hands connected with faces and drew blood. Everyone and everything was an obstacle…and there was only one finish line. The next town over. This was exactly like the article.
Stephanie, the Doctor, and I piled into my car. I started the engine and put the—BOOM. Something connected with the driver’s side door. I was slammed to one side, my neck catching the seat belt as my body tried to launch itself across the car’s cabin. My headache screamed in response. I turned to look at Stephanie, she was in a similar state of pained anger. She was rubbing her neck and the places in her torso where the seat belt had held her in place.
“What the fuck was that?” she asked, her voice raspy.
“I don’t know!” I said, my head pounding. My brain seemed to be a growing, angry thing, one that was beating away at the insides of my skull in retaliation. I coughed again, this time so hard that it spread burning agony through my chest. It felt as if my lungs were falling apart.
I turned to look at the Removal Doctor. He hadn’t been wearing a seat belt. He was slumped over in one side of the car, but his eyes were wide open. I saw him stretch, heard his joints pop, then he simply scooted over and resumed his place in the backseat. He didn’t look hurt in the slightest.
“Are you okay, Doc?” I asked.
He nodded. “No permanent damage on both of you that I can see. I can remove the pain anyway.”
“No thanks,” I said.
Finally, the safety of everyone in the car confirmed, I turned to look out my window. The glass was a spiderweb of blurs and distorted shapes. Whatever had hit us, it’d dented the driver’s side door beyond recognition and popped the window inward. Miraculously, the glass hadn’t shattered, just moved. I could still see some shards lining the side of my seat like overgrown pieces of hail.
Then the door creaked, shuddered, and began moving back.
I heard the shriek of tires, and the pop of metal on metal as whatever hit us moved in reverse and struck a lamppost. It still didn’t stop, peeling out with a squeal that made me shut my eyes in agony, then it was gone. It was a police cruiser. Its occupants were much more concerned with getting to the other town than with the state of the people in my car.
I would’ve shaken my head, but I don’t think I would have been able to handle the pain. I put my car into ‘drive,’ tried in vain to check both side mirrors, and drove off.
My migraine spiked yet again as my car turned out of the town. The road seemed to blur and distort with every throb of my head. The world was a wobbly, unstable, too-bright mess of shapes and painful, sharp sounds. Traffic. Sirens. A few cars wrapped around streetlights or each other. It was chaos.
Soon, I could see why. The military roadblock was ahead of us, hidden by the crowd. The cars in front of us were empty, their windows open, their occupants piled into a writhing, pushing, screaming mass that converged on the roadblock.
“We’re getting out,” I said. Stephanie nodded.
Almost immediately after getting out of the car, we were assaulted by the shrieking voices of the mob. They were demanding entry into the town, claiming that the roadblock was some sort of ploy to keep them away from the Being. If only they knew.
I scanned the angry faces, not finding anything out of the ordinary.
“What are you looking for?” Stephanie shouted. A mass of bodies pulled and pushed, taking us to the roadblock whether we wanted to or not.
“The article made it seem like there was a reporter, right? Someone who witnessed the events in town and then wrote about them in their point of view. But there's no one that looks strange, there hasn't been anyone like that at any of the events that have come true.”
“You’re right. I hadn’t thought of that. Maybe they look like a normal person,” she said, glancing sea of bodies that churned and bobbed ever closer to the military personnel.
Someone slammed a shoulder into my back, almost toppling me over. Stephanie grabbed my arm and pulled me up. With one hand. Her article had been right. She was stronger than she looked.
I turned around to grab The Removal Doctor’s collar.
“What are you doing?” Stephanie asked.
“We can’t get separated, and we shouldn’t be standing here.”
“Holy shit,” Stephanie said, her eyes wide. She had remembered the article too.
Stephanie took control, she pulled me, and the Removal Doctor, as she moved. With one hand held out in front of her, and the other wrapped tightly around my wrist, she began working us toward the side of the road.
“Fuck off!” I heard her yell as she thrust her free hand into a man’s chest. The man crumpled like she'd tackled him instead.
I had to focus on keeping my feet grounded, otherwise, Stephanie’s strength would have dragged me off my feet. I pulled the Doc along, my fingers aching with the effort. It took her almost half an hour, but Stephanie broke through the crowd and pulled both me and the Doctor onto the sidewalk.
I massaged my wrist, she was so strong that her fingers had left bruises on my skin. I didn’t mind, the new pain took the focus off of my migraine.
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“Jesus Christ,” I said, looking at the crowd. It seemed to have doubled in size. They seemed to have gotten angrier too. The people at the head of the beast made of hundreds of bodies were shouting at the men and women in fatigues. The fact that the people behind the roadblock were armed seemed to make no difference at all.
One of the women in uniform tightened her hands around her rifle. The men and women next to her did the same. There was a shared tension, one that was getting worse by the second. It was as if they were all part of one big, complex muscle. One that was struggling against a massive weight. One that was just about to snap under the pressure.
I didn’t see where it happened, but one of the people in uniform pulled the trigger. A gasp erupted through the crowd. It was a tiny, gentle thing. Like a whimper. It didn’t stay tiny or gentle for long. Soon there was shouting, indignation spreading like a virus. People were getting bolder, moving closer, hands pulling up into fists, fists pulling back.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
I saw the rifles this time. It would have been hard not to, almost all of them had fired. The people who were hit got up in seconds. There was no blood, only limbs that flopped weirdly, bending at angles they weren’t supposed to. Rubber bullets.
A few pops exploded across the crowd. White smoke ballooned in seconds, swallowing clusters of people whole, seemingly erasing them from existence. All that was left behind was their gagging and their coughs. Tear gas. It had just occurred to me that the uniformed men and women were wearing gas masks.
I saw one man run toward his car, throw open the driver’s side door, and hop in. Several other people followed his lead. I looked away. I knew what was coming next.
Tires shrieked, engines roared…and bodies smacked against metal. The screams were the worst. There was surprise in them. And hurt. That too.
The first car was hit by a barrage of bullets, real ones, but it didn’t matter. It slammed against the roadblock anyway. Another car followed its lead, then another.
“Let’s go!” Stephanie said, grabbing my arm again. I grabbed the Doctor’s arm in response. Stephanie pulled us through the crowd again. It was easier that time, because there were fewer people pushing and pulling, but it was harder too…because of the blood and the limps poking out next to us like broken branches.
Stephanie pulled us through one of the holes in the roadblock. Next to us, one of the cars that had made it was turned over. The engine hissed and popped like some strange mechanical insect. We kept moving. The world was too bright now, far too loud, far too busy. My head pounded, the white-hot claws of agony were sinking into my brain incessantly now, the black tendrils of sleep were digging into my vision.
I don’t know when we got to the town, but once we did, it was impossible not to notice the eerie silence. After all the shouting, it was as if the world had fallen away like someone had turned the volume all the way down.
I opened my eyes…and immediately wished I hadn’t.
The asphalt of the streets around us was covered in brown splotches. Those same splotches had been tracked up on walls, on the sidewalks, on broken windows and busted-in doors. They were the rusty color of dried blood.
“You need to stay awake!” Stephanie shouted, pointing at the sky.
I looked up. There was a second sun in the sky, and now it was much, much closer. A group of people was gathering below it. They were bloated, bloody, filled with about a million cuts and black bruises. The article had been right, their faces were the worst part.
I turned to the Removal Doctor. “That’s your creation, right?” I asked “Tell it to stop. Tell it to go back or go away or fucking whatever. Tell it to get as far away from those people as it can.”
The Doctor wasn’t even looking at me, he was staring at the Perfect Being, a dazed smile on his face.
I grabbed him by the collar and shook him violently. “Listen! You know what’s about to happen, right? So stop it! Help us stop it!” I broke out into a series of coughs.
By the time I got my breathing back in control, I saw The Removal Doctor finally turned to look at me. “I can’t,” he said quietly.
“What?” Stephanie shouted, “why the fuck not?”
“It does what it wants,” the Doctor said, “don’t you understand? It’s better than me, better than all of us. It doesn’t have to listen to what I say, even if I am the one who made it.”
“Oh, you’re fucking useless!” Stephanie shouted, “I can’t believe we dragged you around for this!”
“What do we do now?” I asked her, the migraine was making it hard to think. I just wanted it all to go away, wanted the world to turn off and go away, and leave me alone.
“I know what I’m doing,” Stephanie said. She walked into the middle of the street. There, next to a discarded, bloody uniform, was a rifle.
Stephanie picked it up, turning it around in her hands as if studying every bolt, every groove, memorizing it.
“Do you even know how to use that?” I asked.
“Not yet,” she said. She lifted it, ejected the magazine, studied it, slammed it back in, and aimed at the house across the street. She pulled the trigger.
My migraine spiked in response. I shut my eyes tightly and waited for the pain to subside, only to see her aiming at the house again. The first shot had missed it entirely. She took a deep breath, readjusted the rifle on her shoulder, and pulled the trigger once more.
I shut my eyes. When I opened them, I could see that there was a hole in the home’s front door.
Stephanie re-positioned the rifle and took aim again, this time at a wind chime swaying gently in the breeze.
I massaged my forehead, looking up to see that the wind chime was spinning wildly.
Stephanie had fired once more. Now, the wind chime was on the ground. Above it, twirling with the wind, was the piece of string that had held it in place. She’d cut it. With the bullet. There was that ‘strange intelligence’ that Bailey had talked about. In less than a minute, she’d learned how to fire the rifle and had perfected her aim.
I didn’t have to think hard about where she was going to aim next. Sure enough, Stephanie turned the rifle toward the sky, toward the shining figure that was still dropping slowly.
The thing in the sky didn’t even flinch, but I could see that Stephanie had hit it. A trickle of light seemed to be rolling off of one of its legs. A drop of pure white slammed down into the asphalt in front of us. The air shimmered around it, colors appearing and spreading, as if someone had spilled motor oil over the air itself, and the very surface of the around it was covered in broken rainbows.
“Uh, Stephanie,” I said.
But she was already aiming her rifle.
This time I saw the bullet hit the Being’s midsection. More of the white blood spilled out and onto the street below, but so did something else. A shining, golden-white chunk of flesh smacked against a sidewalk. Instantly, the air began to shimmer and distort, exploding into a kaleidoscope of rainbows and geometric shapes.
“You’re not helping!” I shouted.
“Fuck!” Stephanie shouted, lowering the rifle. A few of the hungry people were walking toward the rainbow spill where the Being’s flesh had landed. They weren’t shambling like corpses, or crawling like monsters. They were walking normally, almost casually.
Stephanie raised her rifle. I looked away. A series of bangs filled with air. When I looked back, the people that had started walking toward the Being’s flesh lay crumpled in the street.
I felt hot bile burning its way up my throat.
“Are you alright?” Stephanie asked.
I shook my head and dropped to my knees. I could feel vomit forcing its way up my body. Cold sweat broke out across my face. I shivered. It was as if the air around me was suddenly much colder. I gagged, opening my mouth and getting ready to vomit whatever it was that was making me sick…but nothing came out. I just coughed again. It sounded worse, felt worse too.
“Wait a minute,” Stephanie said. “Look at me.”
I turned to look at her and she was already crouching next to me.
“Turn your head up,” she said, pushing my chin up and tilting my head back. “Jesus Christ! How have you not noticed this before?”
“What?” I asked.
“You’re…there’s something coming out of your nose when you breathe.”
“What do you mean?” I asked, then I felt it again, like hot bile in my chest, like the very air in my lungs was burning up and forcing its way up.
I coughed again, this time, spitting something out through my mouth.
“Holy fuck!” Stephanie shouted. “Look!”
I turned to look at what she was pointing at. There, on the ground where I’d spat out, was a black…something. It looked like tar, like an oily substance. I wiped my lips with the back of my hand, and some of it tracked on my skin. I held it up to the light and noticed that it wasn’t entirely black, not really, it was spit. Spit that held thousands of tiny black particles. Particles that were starting to break away and float up into the air. Like tiny black embers. Like pieces of something that was breaking up into smoke. That was when I realized what it was: it was the Midnight Paper. Pieces of the Midnight Paper…it was the black smoke that had been coming up from the pages.
“Oh,” I said
“Yeah, ‘oh,’” Stephanie said, “Reading them must have…done that to you somehow. Breathing in the fumes they expel.”
“My migraines,” I said.
“Started right after reading the Papers, right after breathing that stuff in. Jesus, what if that’s what causing all this?” Stephanie asked. “What if the Perfect Being is real, and the Doctor, and me…all because that crap's in you?”
“I don’t know,” I said. I turned to the Doctor, who was too busy looking at the Being. Crap, it was so much lower in the sky now, about two stories from the ground. We had to do something, and fast.
“Can you remove this from me?” I asked, showing the stuff on my hand to the Doctor.
He turned to look at it, disinterested. “If I do, I’m going to take something else.”
“What?” Stephanie asked, “why? Isn’t that thing compete?”
“I don’t plan on adding it to my creation,” the Doctor said.
“Yeah? Where are you gonna put it then up your-“
“Stephanie,” I said, “if it stops that thing, what does it matter?”
Stephanie didn’t seem convinced. Then she looked up. The thing was so close now that it lit up her face with golden light. “Fine.”
“Really?” I asked "if that thing goes, you’ll be gone too. And the Doctor.”
She shrugged. “Better to go this way and save the world than die at Bailey’s hands.”
“I’m sorry,” I said.
She shrugged. “It’s not like I was ever real to begin with, right? Not in the article, not here.”
“That's not true,” I said. “You are real.”
“Okay, don’t make me change my mind. Let’s get to it then. Doc! What do you need?” Stephanie asked.
The Doctor produced a black medical bag from…somewhere.
We moved into one of the houses. Stephanie and the Removal Doctor cleared the dining room table.
I took off my shirt, then hesitated. “Do I uh, need to take off anything else?”
The Doctor shook his head. “Just the shirt is fine.”
Stephanie looked out the window.
“What are you gonna take?" I asked
“Something you won’t miss,” he said.
“Hurry up!” Stephanie said, “that thing’s almost at street level!”
“Okay, I said, lying down on the table. “Thanks, Stephanie, for everything.”
Stephanie walked over by the table and patted me on the shoulder. “Don’t worry about it. I'm going to be watching this guy. Wouldn't want him to take something too important, right?“
The Doctor zipped open his bag. He pulled out something I could barely recognize. It looked like a metal bug of some kind, with legs, a tail, even a cluster of black eyes along its metal face.
The Doctor pulled my mouth open and began wrapping the thing's legs around my head. It was almost impossibly cold. He then inserted the things tail into my mouth. I heard it hissing, releasing some kind of gas. “Breathe naturally,” he said.
I took an uneasy breath. Immediately, I began to feel reality slipping away, the room darkened. My eyes grew heavy. The last thing I saw, just as I closed my eyes, was the living room window filling with golden light.
I woke up what felt like an eternity later. I was staring at a white ceiling. I was lying on something soft. I got up slowly. What struck me first was that the migraine was gone. Finally gone. I’d gotten used to living with it for so long that its absence was shocking
Then I realized where I was: I was in my room. My room at my parents’ house. I was shirtless, just as I had been in that town, and was wearing the same pair of pants, the same pair of shoes.
I rushed downstairs practically spilling out of the front door. There, in the driveway, was my car. There wasn’t a single scratch, a single dent, on the driver’s side door. Or anywhere else, for that matter.
It was nighttime. How many hours had passed? How had I gotten back here? Why was my car fixed all of a sudden?
When I got back inside, I went straight for my computer. It was Thursday. 10 PM. I started searching online. No mention of The Ledge Game, except for in my post on Reddit. No mention of The Removal Doctor, except for in my post on Reddit. No mention of Mark Bailey or Stephanie Carson, except for my in my post on Reddit. No mention of The Hunger. No mention of The Perfect Being…there was nothing. It was all gone. It was as if none of it had happened.
I almost felt like laughing. A wave of relief washed over me...but then I thought of Stephanie. She was gone. Erased. Forgotten by the world. I wished there was a way to bring her back, but a part of me knew that that would bring back everything else too. But she still didn't deserve being erased. If I had a choice, I would have taken her place. She was special, smart, would have done something important with her life. Next to her limitless potential my life seemed dull and inadequate.
I sighed and leaned back in my dad’s chair. Then I saw it. It was a notebook, one of my dad’s, exactly like the hundreds I'd found in the boxes that filled his office. The notebook was taped up underneath his desk, hidden from view unless you happened to look underneath it. I’d completely missed it before.
I ripped the tape away and pulled the notebook loose.
There, on the front cover, were the words I was dreading to see, "The Midnight Paper." I couldn’t resist. I opened it. Dates. Headlines. My dad had recorded the Papers that had been delivered to the house. I didn’t recognize any of the words or any of the headlines. They were new articles, each with the date that their corresponding Paper was delivered.
Three knocks exploded across the front door. I looked at the time at the top of the computer screen. A little after midnight. No. We stopped it. Right? We had to have stopped it.
I made my way through the front door and looked through the peephole…only to see an older man on the other side.
I opened the door cautiously, half-expecting the man to have vanished, leaving a Midnight Paper in his place. But he was still there.
“Hey there,” the man said. “I live across the street there. Didn’t know you lived here, I thought it was an older fella.”
“Um, yeah,” I said, finding my voice, “that was my dad. He passed away a few months ago.”
“Oh, I’m sorry! That's awful. He seemed like a nice guy. Kept to himself.”
“Sounds like him alright,” I said. Then froze. The man was holding something. Something I knew all too well.
“So listen, someone knocked on my door and left this on my doorstep. Scared the crap outta me. It seems like a bunch of us got it. Did you get one?”
I looked at the welcome mat. It was empty. “Uh, no. But I wouldn’t open that. It might be dangerous.”
The man chuckled. “I was thinking the same thing. Oh well, thought I’d ask around. Have a good night!”
“You too!" I said, then froze. ‘A bunch of us?’
I ran out into the street like a madman. One. Two. Three. Four. It was at every house. Every house on the block. Except for mine. Now I knew what The Removal Doctor had taken, and where he’d put it. Whatever it was that made me get the Paper. And now who knows how many people had it.
If you’re reading this and you hear three knocks on your front door at midnight. Do not open the package on your welcome mat. Whatever you do, do not read the Paper. If anyone you know tells you that they got one too, please tell them, beg them if you have to, not to read it.
Read Episode 7
Episode 1 of My Son has no Mouth will be published 11/4/20
Written by u/MidnightPaper