Well, it’s time for some Halloween bonus material for all of you listeners. Halloween is a special time of year where we at The Storage Papers like to give a little bit of extra content… and we like to step things up a bit too. What I mean to say is, well, these episodes are just a little bit more horror than usual. We’ve listed our content warnings in our show notes if you want to take a look before you decide you’re going to listen. Let’s just say that when you decide to press play, we hope you aren’t eating.
We recently asked our listeners for single-word writing prompts and this story was written by me, Jeremy Enfinger, based on the prompt, Depraved. I hope you enjoy.
My ears rang and my vision was blurry as I opened my eyes, not entirely sure where I was or what happened to me. I attempted to reach up and rub my eyes, but no matter how much I tried, my hands wouldn’t move. It was like they were asleep, but without the needly, tingling sensation. The same thing happened when I tried to lift my head and look around the room. I didn’t have enough control over my neck muscles to be able to lift my head. I could just barely manage to roll it to the side.
I could tell I was in a dark room but I didn’t know where or for how long. I heard what sounded like a leaky faucet. To my right, I could make out what looked to be like a stairwell leading up. I muster all my strength to flop by head to the left, where I see another person lying on a table. I weakly let out a “hey”, but the person doesn’t respond. I figured they were asleep like I had been. Then I heard footsteps approach and a familiar gravely male voice say, “It’s about time you woke up. We have work to do, Mr. Potato Head.”
I asked the man, “Who are you?”
He replied, “Well, what’s the last thing you remember?”
I thought for a moment and then it came back to me. I was approaching someone’s house after getting out of my car. I remembered having a phone conversation with the male voice addressing me now, though I hadn’t seen him yet. I was nearly up to the porch, walking across a dirt driveway after sunset. No other homes were in sight.
“Tim?” I asked.
“Well, that’s me,” the man said, “but I have to confess that’s not my real name.”
I remembered on the phone, he claimed to have definitive proof that a creature from a local urban legend was actually real, and he said he could show me where the creature lived. We had a brief discussion over the phone and I agreed to interview him before we set out to find this creature. I was doing this for work.
“Looks like you’ve got quite the lump on your head,” he said, indicating to me that I was knocked out.
Still a bit confused, my vision started to clear up a bit. The man had been standing at my feet. He was a large man, at least six foot three or six foot four with a bushy, salt and pepper-colored beard.
“You don’t have any memory problems, do you?” he said. “What’s the date today? Who’s the President of the United States?”
He almost chuckled, but I was put off by the casual nature of his inquiries. I didn’t bother answering his questions. I was more concerned with why I couldn’t move.
“What happened?” I asked.
He said, “I just gave you some medicine to help you relax.”
I looked to my left to see if the person next to me was awake. To my surprise, the person was looking right at me with a blank expression. I blinked my eyes a couple more times and squinted to see if my vision could clear up a little more. It was then I noticed he wasn’t moving. He wasn’t breathing either. His skin was blue and his eyes were bloodshot as they looked right through me. I began to panic and noticed the man’s legs were gone. Just bloody stumps nearly up to the hips. The leaky faucet was no faucet at all. It was blood that was still draining from this man’s body.
I managed to let out a “What the fuck!”
The man said, “Now you’re catching up, aren’t you?”
He walked around to the side of the table, between me and the dead person lying on the next table over. Lowering his face close to mine, he said, “I suppose I wasn’t entirely honest when we talked on the phone.”
I said, “You need to let me go… right now!”
“Oh no,” he said. “Then you won’t meet the creature. You see, I lied to you about a lot of things, but the creature is very real. And we’re going to go meet him together, right now.”
By that time, I was starting to regain some control of my neck, but nothing below it. I lifted my head and was able to see that I was shirtless, but I still had my pants on, and I was restrained, tied to the table.
I said, “Just let me go!”
Ignoring my plea, he began to explain, “You know, my mother was the first person to see the creature back when I was a child. I remember it like it was yesterday because I got my first glimpse of the creature right after she conjured it. It’s funny how urban legends begin, you know? I mean, I never told anyone about it, but someone must have seen it at some point to start the rumor mill. Anyways, every time I saw it back then, it looked lonely, so I tried to be its friend. It only came out at night, so I often stayed up too late and would fall asleep in school during the day.”
I said, “Why are you telling me all this?”
He continued to ignore me, saying, “Momma was always disappointed in me when I got called to the principal’s office and she had to leave work to come and get me. One night, she asked me to come inside, but I wasn’t done playing with the creature just yet. When we had an argument, and she raised her hand to slap me, creature got upset. That’s when it ate her. Gobbled her all up in about five minutes.” He laughed. “You should have seen it!”
He walked to the head of the table, leaned down and lifted that end of it. The foot end had wheels that allowed him to maneuver me around the room. I was parked near a set of double-doors that were chained closed. He continued speaking casually as he pulled a rink of keys from his pocket and approached the door.
“What are you going to do with me?” I asked.
When he didn’t acknowledge my question, I tried to spit on him, but missed. He didn’t seem to take notice.
He continued on, “Ever since then, we’ve had this sort of understanding… the creature and me. It got a taste for human blood and it wouldn’t accept any substitute. When momma first brought it into this world using whatever kind of witchcraft she used, we would feed it animals. She thought it would make a good friend for me, like a pet , and she was right. But I think the creature started to bond with me much more than with her because I was always the one to feed it.”
At that point, I was frightened and angry, and said, “Let me go you sick asshole!”
It was like I wasn’t even there and he never even addressed me as I spoke, but continued telling his story. “At first, the creature didn’t really have a shape. It was humanoid-looking I suppose, but there was no face or really distinguishing features. I noticed that when we’d feed it rabbits, it would inherit the features of the things it ate. It started growing long ears and these two really long teeth in the front. Then I fed it a goat, and he grew horns and hooves. When it ate Momma, it started developing more of a feminine shape, you see.”
I started crying, knowing that no matter what I said or did, I couldn’t talk my way out of the situation. I just hoped I would regain the use of my muscles again soon, and then I’d try another tactic.
He unlocked a padlock on the double doors and unraveled the chains that held them closed, then proceeded. “These days, the creature has learned that it can take whatever body parts it wants and use them as its own. Then it just eats whatever other parts it wants until it’s full. For some reason, it didn’t think the last Mr. Potato Head on the other table over there was very tasty. Not sure why. I think maybe he did drugs or had some kind of disease, and it always knows. But the creature liked his legs and ended up using them. Now, normally, I’d need to feed it once a week, but since it didn’t eat that guy, I’ve had to bring you here today. You don’t do any drugs or anything, do you? You’re not sick?”
“Not nearly as sick as you!” I said.
He patted me on the shoulder and said, “I suppose it won’t eat you at all if you are.”
He made a clicking noise with his mouth, and that’s when I heard movement from within the darkness beyond the doorway. I watched as a nearly eight foot tall silhouette approached me. Its legs entered the dim light first, and appeared to match the skin tone of the dead man from the other table. As it came closer, its abdomen looked like a deer’s. Its hands looked human, but there was green polish on the fingernails, which extended about an inch beyond the fingertips. It bent over to examine me and sniffed. I could see two black horns that appeared like goat horns, confirming that part of the man’s story. The face looked canid with a mouth full of sharp meat-eater’s teeth, and its hot breath was putrid. But one thing was very obviously missing. There were no eyes.
“What do you think about this one?” the man said. The creature straightened up and gave a guttural grunt indicating approval. Then the man said, “Go ahead.”
The creature’s hand turned palm-down a few inches over my face and the fingers splayed out as it paused there for a moment. Then, agonizing pain as the long fingernails sliced through my upper and lower eyelids and pried behind my eyeballs like shovels gaining leverage. My screams didn’t matter. My vision went dark and I could feel a jolt of intense pain as the nails severed my optic nerves, followed by spurting of blood running down my face, into my mouth, and pooling off my cheeks behind my head.
I still couldn’t move, and though I was in excruciating pain, I forced myself to stop screaming to try to hear what was happening around me. To my surprise, after a few moments, my vision started returning. It was blurry like before for a moment, but as it quickly started to clear up, I found that I wasn’t looking up at the creature. I was looking down at my own body.
Confusion set in as I violently shook my head back and forth, but observed it shaking from a different vantage point as blood slung right and left from my empty eye sockets. The next thing I saw was a hand reaching outward toward my bare stomach. It was the hand with the sharp green fingernails. It was then that I realized I was able to see through my eyes, which were now being used by the creature.
I was forced to watch as the fingernails pierced my skin to make an opening to my stomach. The creature forced its other hand into that opening, then the hands pulled in opposite directions with brute strength, tearing the skin wide open and spilling my intestines onto the floor. Then handfuls of bowels gripped by the hands with the long fingernails brought my insides to the creature’s face as it began to feast.
I recall a moment, so briefly before I blacked out where I felt no pain. I was captivated with shock and awe as I watched my body being devoured in such a carnal way from the perspective of the predator, yet I could feel everything I was watching unfold before my eyes… before the creature’s new eyes.
The last thing I heard was the gravelly-voiced man walking away slowly, and as he ascended the stairwell, I could hear him say, “Well, I guess we’re good for another week,” with a depraved indifference to my suffering.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this bonus Halloween episode. Tomorrow, we’ll be releasing our regularly-scheduled plot-based episode of The Storage Papers, but we’re definitely not finished with the bonus material. We’ll be back in a couple days with more extras for you. Until then, sleep tight and be careful which urban legends you choose to dismiss.