Every Night I Die In My Sleep – Season 3 Episode 12

See Content Warnings
General horror, gore, death, violence, alcohol, and guns
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A note to Ron from Mark Anderson is on top of this week’s papers. It states that the victim was found in her bed, apartment locked from the inside. The only thing of note at the crime scene was a stack of typewritten pages from Ms. Eden (the deceased).
In it, she details a number of dreams she had in which she was someone else who died. A news report confirms one of the deaths actually happened, and events within the dreams show that some happened in the past, some in the present, and some in the future.
Every night she has these dreams, and then afterwards, she always sees the killer in the same order that the dreams occurred. In one of the dreams, the killer spray paints a hand with seven digits and an eye in the palm, a symbol that seems to be associated with Hydra. After another dream, she runs into what seems to be a younger version of the killer in her last dream, who she learns is Detective Ron Hammond.
In another dream, she is killed. She stays locked away in her home, but is unable to avoid her fate.

“Every night I die in my sleep.”

I’d be lying if I said that sentence didn’t immediately catch my eye as I pored over the countless papers from the storage unit – something it feels like I had bid on a lifetime ago. There’s a small stack of papers, but on top of them is a note addressed to Ron.

It reads:

I looked into this one and there’s not much there. The vic was twenty-four year old Barbara Eden. She was single, only child, and her parents had died in a car accident somewhere around a year before her death. Of course, due to the nature of the case, there’s no definite date of death, but the body was found in her own bed on November first, eighty-six. Her apartment was locked from the inside, no signs of forced entry. Aside from how weird that is, the only thing noteworthy found at the scene was what you already have. The pages were stacked neatly beside her typewriter. Let me know if there’s anything else you want me to check on.


As I’m sure you will too, I feel it’s safe to assume this is from Detective Anderson. With the little context he provided in mind, I’ll go ahead and start reading what is apparently the only notable item found at the scene of Ms. Eden’s demise.

Every night I die in my sleep. At least, every night for the past year, roughly. I’ve decided to organize my notes because I don’t know when it’s going to happen. If anyone finds this…if anyone cares enough to read it…I’ll see if I can put this in a way that makes sense. I wrote down my first dream the day I had it. I’ll organize all my papers so they’re in chronological order. I don’t know what good it will do but I need to be able to see the words. I just need to. So, here’s the very first of the dreams.

I’ve never seen anything around me before, but I know right away that it’s all mine. I’m sitting on my couch in my apartment. Everything is vivid to my senses of sight and touch when I focus on them, but I can’t hear anything. Well, I can. But it’s all…muffled. Like someone left the radio on in another room at the other end of the house. I can feel a remote control for the TV in my hand. There’s carpet touching my feet. I’m not able to move my body but this makes sense. I’m a passenger. I know this just like I know everything I see is mine just like I know this isn’t me. I stop fighting for control and begin to focus on the sensations.

I have a slight buzz. I see three empty bottles of beer on the coffee table in front of me. I’m content. The TV is flickering and I focus to see that the channel eight news is on. George Bush has appointed a new Secretary of Transportation, according to the headline at the bottom of the screen. I think that’s strange. I don’t know much about politics, but I guess I just assumed that’s something only presidents do.

My head moves and at first I’m too distracted, trying to pick out everything in my line of sight one by one, to realize that the front door is open. There’s a man walking towards me. There are vibrations in my throat and I realize that I’m talking, but I can’t hear anything. The man’s mouth moves but I don’t know what he’s saying. Whatever he says causes cold fear to grip my chest.

I stand up and put my arms in front of me. He seems unconcerned by this and continues approaching me casually. I focus on my peripheral vision and see that he’s holding a blue translucent rubber-coated wire in his gloved hands. It looks like the type of cable you’d see on a cheap bike lock. My arms raise to push him away and I try to run.

I feel my throat caught, jerking me back. My hands raise to feel the cable wrapped around my neck. I feel intense pressure building up in my head as air is cut off from my lungs and blood cut off from my brain. My arms flail as I try to fight, but it’s useless. My eyes never close as I sink to the floor. I feel my heart slow from its rapid pace to an unnatural end. My body becomes dead weight; I am held up solely by this cable.

Finally, the pressure on my throat eases. My back flops to the ground. I’m staring straight up. There’s a cobweb on the ceiling, hanging stubbornly between the popcorn and the central light fixture. The man who killed me steps into my view, simply staring at me for a moment.

His blonde hair is buzzed. His emotionless blue eyes study me. He looks at me like I’m an object, not a person. He bends down and I feel his hand dive into the pocket of my pants, where he removes something that I can’t see. He stands up and looks around. He moves out of my field of view for a moment, then returns with a knife and a spoon. He gets right up in my face, working with his tools around my eyes. I feel no pain. Instead, just cold metal tearing away at my eyelids, then a spoon edges under my eyeball. My vision is distorted, looking at multiple images at once. I see the knife move and the two images become only half an image. I see him holding my eyeball over my head and studying it. Then he sets it aside before turning to look at my remaining eye.

Then I woke up. This really bothered me. I think it would have disturbed anyone, really. But it felt like a storm looming overhead throughout my day, despite my best efforts to ignore it, because Mondays are bad enough as it is. The storm broke when I was leaving work, though. I couldn’t wait to get home and start a new day fresh. That’s probably why I wasn’t paying enough attention as I exited the elevator to realize that my purse was going to knock over the plant next to the elevator doors until it was too late.

I turned to catch it instinctively, but someone had already caught it and untangled my purse from it. I smiled at the gesture and looked up to thank them, when the words caught in my throat. I may not have recognized the person – I assume they worked on a different floor than me – but I’d recognize those eyes anywhere. I’d been thinking about them all day. This man was a killer.

I shook my head as I walked away without so much as thanking the man. I’d read in a magazine once that you can’t imagine new faces in your sleep, that at most you take bits and pieces of people’s faces that you’ve seen. We worked in the same building. I’m sure I had just run into him before in the elevator or the front lobby on my way into or out of work. Then…had some sort of nightmare. I heard laying off dairy for the last few hours before bed can help with nightmares. I guess I’ll skip the cheese on tonight’s dinner.

I can’t move my arms or legs. That’s the first thing I know. I can feel my heart beating quickly. I am sitting in a chair. I can’t see anything though; everything is black. And then I can. A woman is standing in front of me now, holding a blindfold. She must have just taken it off. She’s talking and I try to make out what she said, but I can’t. My eyes don’t move from her, but I focus on my peripheral vision.

There’s newspapers laid out, filling up the entirety of the living room floor. I think I’ve seen these ones before. I see one about Mayor Hedgecock. But that’s not the most notable thing. There’s a large black circle in black spray paint going across all the newspapers. The image in the middle of the circle takes me a minute to recognize because it doesn’t look right. It’s a hand with seven digits. There’s a football-shaped hole in the palm of the hand.

I refocus on the woman in front of me. I know I want to say something, but there’s something in my mouth stopping me. I must be gagged. But I still talk. Not with my voice, though. There are no vibrations or muffled sounds. I don’t know how, but she heard me. She shakes her head no, and pulls out a knife. My heart beats harder, but now irregularly. I again speak without words, telling her that my heart hurts. She ignores me now and does something behind my back.

I feel myself being shoved forwards. My hands and feet are still bound, but I am no longer tied to a chair. I struggle to move, but it’s useless. I feel something being wrapped around my throat and I can no longer breathe. I’m dragged to the center of the circle. The pressure on my throat eases, but does not let up entirely.

I’m on my back. I look up at the woman, who is standing where the middle finger extends. Her brown eyes turn black as she begins to talk. I don’t know how or when it happened, but there are now three dark figures on either side of her. Each figure is standing at the point of a digit. I try to focus on them, but find that I can’t. I can only focus on her.

Another minute of this and then I am flipped onto my stomach. She pulls my shirt up and I feel incisions being made on my lower back. Things are inserting themselves into me. They’re under my skin, moving around, feeling me. Muscle is shoved aside with no effort and my insides begin to shift. I want to scream but as soon as the thought enters my mind, my throat constricts.

As suddenly as they had started, they stop. I am flipped back over. In one hand the woman is holding a clear plastic bag that contains three metal objects smeared in blood. In the other hand, she holds an open vial of blood. She begins walking the rim of the circle, stopping every other pace to pour out some of the blood. She completes the circle and faces me.

I can see the figures moving but I can’t tell exactly how they are moving. It’s like I can register motion but nothing beyond that. They become still again and it’s then that I realize my heart is once again beating – hard and irregular. I feel pain in my chest. She stares at me until the pain subsides. I am no longer trying to breathe.

I watch the woman step forward as my eyes begin to slowly unfocus. She is holding an open, green duffel bag. She begins to shove my body inside the bag and everything is filtered through its material. The bag tightens around me as it’s closed and picked up. I’m no longer inside my home. The bag is shoved into another, smaller space, and then I hear a loud thump of a car trunk being shut. All I see is black.

So obviously cutting out dairy didn’t help. One bad dream is terrible, but two in a row put me on the verge of a meltdown for most of the morning. It was some time before I was able to bury myself into routine, bouncing between actual work and workplace gossip. I deliberately waited an extra five minutes after I got off work before taking the elevator. I had no desire to run into that man again – actual killer or no. I thought about how I should call my doctor. I’m sure there’s a pill or something I could take to fix this. He’d know best.

I got in my car and began the drive home. I turned on the radio, looking forward to something that could take my mind far away from my troubles. I thought that might do the trick, at least until I could get home and make a call to the doctor. It wasn’t until I was stopped at a light on Market that I found my gaze wandering around. That’s when my eyes met the driver’s at the other end of the intersection. Her cold brown eyes seemed to rip into my soul.

I actually jumped, which meant I let go of the brake and started to roll into the intersection before I realized it. Already committed, I slammed onto the gas and got out of there. I couldn’t tear my eyes from the rear view mirror the whole way home. I was just waiting for her to follow me. I don’t know what I’d do, I was just scared.

I made it home without getting into an accident and I don’t think I was followed at all. I sat in the parking lot, trying to catch my breath and stop my hands from shaking. It was all in my head. It had to be. I had to have seen her somewhere before or something. That’s all.

I was finally getting myself under control when I realized the radio was still on. You know how you can be at work, talking to someone, and then you hear someone on the other side of the room say your name and it catches your attention, even though they weren’t trying to get your attention and you hadn’t even been listening if they were? Well, that’s what happened when I heard the guy on the radio say, “The body was found in a green duffel bag, locked in the victim’s trunk. Nothing was stolen and the police are requesting any information that may help catch the perpetrator.”

I realized I was holding my breath while I waited for more information that never came. That was the end of that news story. I shut off the car and ran inside my apartment.

I need to get an appointment in for the doctor. I can’t deal with this.

I feel thirsty. No, that’s not right. Hungry? No, that’s not it. Ah, it’s…it’s a metaphor. I want to know. That’s what it is. There’s someone in front of me, lying on a hospital bed in my mind’s eye. But this isn’t a hospital. I look around me without turning my head. It’s some kind of warehouse. No. It’s an abandoned home. I’m standing in the middle of it, next to this bed. There’s all kinds of wires hooked up to the person who’s lying on the bed. Some are sensors, maybe. There’s a heartbeat monitor going so that’s probably one of them. Others look like they’re going under the skin, though. I don’t know what those would be. There’s something vibrating in my pocket. I look down as I pull a black rectangle from my jeans. It’s lighting up with the letter H. I touch a red circle and it stops vibrating. I put it back in my pocket and refocus on the bed. The wires. The person.

It’s all there so I can understand. That’s what keeps coming back to me. My hands come into view again and I roughly open the person’s left eye. It doesn’t appear to focus at all, but I know from the monitors he’s alive. The monitors aren’t real, though. They’re a representation of what’s happening from my mind. As I stare into the eye I feel something.

I don’t know how to describe it. It doesn’t make sense at all. I feel like I’m going crazy just focusing on it. It’s like an entire universe enters my mind, exploding in a series of colors that don’t exist. Worlds are formed and disappear, taking unrecognizable creatures with them as they go. A feeling not unlike electricity runs through each light, each color, each creature, each world, and circles back to me. I absorb it all. It is now me. It always was. This feels like it makes sense, although I don’t understand it.

The universe rushes behind me as something tries to pull me away. I turn and see an older, gray-haired man approach. He has a gun in one hand and some sort of needle, like a shot, in the other. He stands there, cautious but sure. Like he’s done this dozens of times before.

I feel the universe burn at my back. He hasn’t done this before. Not to me. He’s just another in a long line of killers. Killers that I can stop. I focus and feel an energy only comparable to the sun build and I begin to focus on him. His heart. If I concentrate, I can hear it. I can-

That’s my last coherent thought. I’m on the ground. He shot me. I’m still alive. I try to breathe, but find I’m choking on blood. He draws closer and hovers over me for a moment. He looks at me, squinting briefly. Before I realize he’s moved his gun again, he’s shot me in the head.

I woke up screaming last night. I don’t think I can keep writing these murders down. The doctor gave me some medicine today and said it’ll help with the night terrors. In the meantime, he told me to get some fresh air, so I took a walk downtown. I think he was probably right about that sort of thing…normally. I think most of the time, that helps people. Just a change of scenery and some time with nature. I stopped at a bench for a smoke and decided to enjoy the fall air.

I found my eyes drawn to a man walking on the opposite sidewalk. I couldn’t figure it out at first, then I realized he bore a marked resemblance to the killer I’d dreamt about last night. I froze, then took a drag to help with my indecision. I hurried across the street and stopped him.

“Hi…have we met?” I asked him.

He looked at me thoughtfully for a moment, then shook his head. “No, I don’t believe so, but it’s possible. I meet a lot of people.”

I bit my lip, and then pushed on with my next question. “I know this’ll sound strange but…is your father a good man?”

He furrowed his brow. “Well, he’s not a bad man, if that’s what you’re after. Why?” he asked.

I knew I couldn’t answer that question without getting committed to an institution, so I dodged it for as long as I could. “And you…you’ve never killed anyone, have you?”

He almost laughed at that, before pulling something out of his jacket pocket. “I try not to,” he said with a half smirk. “I’m a detective with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. Now, is there something I can help you with, ma’am? Are you in some kind of trouble?”

My face turned red. Of course this was ridiculous. It had all just been dreams. Except…the news had confirmed that they weren’t.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” I said, “Detective…”

He folded his badge back up as he introduced himself. “Hammond. Detective Hammond.”

“No,” I answered. “No trouble. Sorry to bother you.”

I felt so foolish approaching him. This had to stop, though. Somehow. Every night I was dying in my sleep. Every day, the very next day, I saw the person who killed me. Three nights and three days in a row. If the pills didn’t help, I wasn’t going to be able to ever leave my apartment without meeting a killer.

The pills haven’t helped me. Right away I dreamt of some teenager slicing into my skull. It’s been weeks now and I haven’t left my apartment. I made a few calls and set up an arrangement with my friend, Nancy. Her nephew is bringing me groceries until I find some medicine that works. Hopefully I can stop this. Or they’ll just go away as magically as they came in the first place.

I made a mistake today. I ordered some Chinese food. Delivery, of course. It took me a minute, but as I dropped the tip into his hand, our eyes met and I remembered. He was the fourth person who killed me: the teenager from my dream. I slammed the door in his face.

I had dreamt of him months ago now. At least I think it had been months…truthfully, I stopped looking at the calendar. Or clocks. Or anything that had to do with time. It all made me feel hopeless, like I was going to die in this apartment, trapped by my nightmares.

This was the first time since I’d stayed at home that I’d seen another killer, and it was the very next dream I’d had. Did that mean every dream I’d had…probably a hundred by now…I was still going to see those killers? Was it inevitable? I don’t want to sleep anymore.

I think that’s all of the ones I wrote down before today. So here’s the dream I had last night. Here’s why I’m getting ready.

I slowly open my eyes. My head hurts. I look up from the ground and see a man in a charcoal gray suit sitting across from me. He says something, but I can’t distinguish his words. He seems very relaxed. His mouth doesn’t move, but I finally hear his voice echo in my mind.

“You’ve been hiding for quite some time now.”

I try to think what he means. He continues as he casually steps towards me.

“You were harder to track down than most. I could just catch whiffs of you inside the others.”

I tried to talk but found my body unresponsive. He noticed my efforts and chuckled. “Nah ah ah, don’t you know that you’re dreaming? You’re not the one in control here.”

Tears streamed from my eyes as I pleaded wordlessly that this was a mistake. He tilted his head to the side as if listening, then responded in my mind. “I’m sorry, you don’t even know, do you? Maybe that’s for the better. Still… there’s something inside that I need. I have to understand.”

My eyes widen and I again plead for my life. He ignores me this time, having a singular focus. I feel my heart pounding. I’ve never been more scared. My heart begins to beat to an irregular rhythm, skipping some beats while slowing down others. I feel a burning in my chest. It begins to radiate outwards and I know this is the end of it all. I jerk my head around, trying to wake myself up. Then I notice where I am. It’s my own apartment. I look back at him, eyes wide, chest on fire. I plead for my life. I wake up. I’m alone in my apartment.

Then I woke up… again. For real, this time. I pinched myself to make sure. I don’t know how long I’ve been trapped in my home now. I don’t know how many people have killed me. I don’t know how many killers I have yet to meet. I just know that one day, I’m going to meet one and he’s going to kill me in my sleep.

There’s a lot to unpack in this one, but at the forefront of my mind as I read this the first time is that Ms. Eden went through a mental hell. Part of me wonders if she would have been an asset to police investigations with her seemingly psychic knowledge of murders, but as someone who has faced and occasionally still deals with malevolent figures at night, I know that wouldn’t make the terror worth it.

If not most importantly, then certainly most urgently, is the fact that one of those killers she faced was Ron Hammond. She described something she wouldn’t recognize at that time – a smartphone. Given that, I believe the Ron she met was far too young to have committed the murder she witnessed. But I don’t know if that’s still true of the Ron that I know.

Sometimes I can’t help but feel frustrated as I get more questions than answers while reading these papers. Who called the person that Ron killed? Maybe I could track them down before it’s too late. Or maybe he had a good reason to kill them. Then again, from the descriptions, it sounds like these may have been organized killings. A symbol described as being spray painted on the newspapers is one I’m familiar with. It’s one I’ve run across in several documents related to Hydra.

Abandoned – Season 3 Episode 11

See Content Warnings
General horror, gore, death, language, inappropriate/immature humor
Need to skip this episode? Click here to see the plot.
A group of five teenagers go into an abandoned building found in the middle of the woods. As they explore, they find remnants of a science lab and offices. They encounter booby traps that seem targeted to keep something inside as opposed to keep people out. One by one, members of the group go missing. Upon going deeper into the building in search of their peers, the two remaining teens encounter a room with ropes that go up to floating corpses. They run with something large chasing them through the dark. Only one escapes, where they run into a park ranger who takes their statement.

Welcome back. As some of you know if you’re on The Storage Papers’ social media, I’ve dabbled in visiting places for the purposes of paranormal research – or as it’s more commonly called: ghost hunting. Some places can certainly be quite spooky, especially the long abandoned buildings like old hospitals. This paper recounts a statement provided to a park ranger from a woman who was picked up wearing just a shirt, a pair of underwear, and boots as she ran directly in front of his Jeep. Some abandoned places were never meant to be explored.

We weren’t even supposed to be there. When we ran into the No Trespassing signs, I told them we should turn back. Nobody listened.

There were five of us: me and David, Kristen and Raul, and Jemal. Raul and David kept goading each other, and Kristen has always been up for anything. I think me and Jemal were the only ones who just wanted to keep hiking. I knew there was no way to talk them out of it, though. Especially David. That’s part of why I’d been so attracted to him. I’ve never been much of a risk taker and he always pushed me to step out of my comfort zone.

It was just past three when we got to the chain link fence. I remember because that was part of my argument for not going inside: I didn’t want it to be dark by the time we got back to our campsite. Raul told David he should just hang back with his girl. David insisted that I was up for this. Then he turned to me and gave me a quick wink – the same wink he always gave me right before my boundaries were about to be pushed.

Jemal pointed out the barbed wire and reiterated how bad of an idea this was. What if it was some top secret government facility or something?

Raul just rolled his eyes and pointed out how unkempt everything was. Whatever this place used to be, it was clearly abandoned. David quickly agreed, trying to get Jemal onboard. While they went back and forth, Kristen was the one who pointed out the direction of the barbed wire at the top of the ten foot fence – specifically that it was angled inwards. She asked if we thought this used to be some kinda prison. The bickering paused as everyone looked at the fence and the roof of the structure beyond. We couldn’t see it very well – between the overgrown weeds and the overall shape of the landscape, it was pretty well hidden.

But, like David and Raul said, there was definitely no sign of human life anywhere within the area. Raul looked from side to side and started shaking the fence. He saw that part of it was loose and David helped him pull it up and away from the fence post. There was just enough room in the gap they created to crawl through, but only barely. Raul went through last and ended up catching his gray t-shirt on the fence, tearing a piece of it off.

Once he was through, him and David took the lead while me, Kristen, and Jemal kinda hung back a little. Me and Jemal really weren’t feeling it at all by the time we got to the building itself. It was a big, concrete structure. It almost reminded me of some sort of bunker, but it was a lot bigger than any bunker I’d ever seen pictures of. There were some windows that were reinforced with steel bars. They reminded me of Kristen’s comment about it being a jail and, even though there’s no way it was an actual jail, it still made me uneasy and I pointed it out.

Raul was unconcerned. He said even if it was a jail, it wouldn’t be the first abandoned one he’d explored, which got him and David talking about going on some sort of urban exploration adventure together or something. I ignored them, hoping David wasn’t planning on bringing me along as I peered through the windows… but I couldn’t see anything at all.

Then Jemal called out that he found a door around the corner. I hadn’t even noticed he’d wandered off, but the guys started celebrating that they’d gotten Jemal in the spirit with them. Nobody seemed concerned about the weather-worn signs plastered on the door saying stuff like “No Trespassing,” “Danger,” and “Fines and Prosecution.” Raul stood at the door with Jemal and asked if any of us had seen something we could pry it open with. I shrugged and looked around to see if there were any stray metal rods that may have broken off from the windows or something, when Kristen asked if they’d tried to open it yet. I rolled my eyes as the guys all looked at each other like dummies, then David stepped forward and turned the handle. It swung inwards.

This time Kristen pushed past them and led the way in. I entered last, pulling my flashlight out of the side pocket of my backpack. As expected, it was extremely dark inside. We all looked around with our flashlights to see that we were in a small, windowless room. There were some old newspapers scattered around the floor, some broken glass, and a bunch of cigarette butts. The light from the doorway cut straight across the room, illuminating the only notable feature: a set of steel double doors with a bracket on either side, holding a four by four in place. With almost no hesitation, Raul and David walked up to the door and removed the wooden bar. I asked why they thought it was there and David shrugged his shoulders and grinned, saying that he didn’t know but we were going to find out. That just made me more uneasy.

They each took a door and tugged them open. The rusty hinges seemed to beg us not to enter as they squeaked. They were heavy doors and they scraped a layer of dust off the ground as the two of them struggled to swing them all the way open. Inside the doors was a long hallway with a chipped tile floor.

Raul asked what this place was, seemingly in awe at the discovery. Nobody answered. Instead we quietly made our way inside. Kristen fell behind with me. I whispered to her, asking if she thought this is what ghost hunters feel like. It definitely had the vibe of some old, haunted school… or psych ward, maybe. The first few doors we came to in the hallway appeared to be some sort of offices. Each of them had a desk, although in one of them the desk was split in half. Most of the desks were adorned with a typewriter, ashtray, and a golden lamp with a green shade, all covered under a few layers of cobwebs. Yellowing papers and old cigarette butts littered the floor. Some of them had windows, but metal plates were bolted over top of them, which explained why I couldn’t see in from the outside.

It was the next few rooms that made me think of an old school, though. There was a chemistry lab – it looked nearly identical to the one I’d used for my chem class at San Diego State, except a couple pieces of equipment looked like older versions of the stuff I was used to and the general state of disrepair, of course. A couple of lab coats hung on a rack by the door, and there were still some formulas written on the chalkboard, almost like everyone had left in the middle of a class.

The next lab smelled terrible. I never actually went in, but David told me it looked like someone had been experimenting on animals or something. There were a bunch of cages, but no animals were actually in them. Instead there were a few small bones and what might have been blood stains scattered around on the floor. That was enough for me to try to get everyone to leave, but now I was alone. While Kristen was grossed out too, even she was determined to find out exactly what this place used to be.

There were a few more labs. When we found beds that had restraints for wrists, ankles, and heads in a couple of them, Raul made a joke about someone being into BDSM, but I was starting to feel like the odd one out for not finding any humor in the situation. I’d seen enough. If it wasn’t for David pushing me… I agreed to keep going.

We came to another set of steel double doors – this one without the security bar. Raul was about to step through when Jemal stopped him. He pointed up and we all looked. Directly above us there was an iron grid, approximately six feet by six feet, with spikes at each joint. Jemal’s flashlight traced a cable and system of pulleys from one end of the grid to a metal box directly over the door Raul was about to push open.

David ran back to an office and returned with a typewriter. We all stood back as he tossed it at the door. Immediately, the wall of spikes swung down, impaling the one door that was still shut. We all looked at each other with wide eyes. That was some Indiana Jones shit.

Raul told us all to be careful, like he wasn’t the one that had almost gotten himself killed in the first place. We pressed on, keeping a close eye anytime we neared a door. David poked his head into another room and was like, “What the fuck?” so of course we all crowded into the office there with him. There was a skeleton slumped in a corner. A beige suit was partially visible under a lab coat that was stained blackish-brown all around the top. There was a large, jagged hole on one side of the skull and the fingers gripped a pistol. Kristen was the one who noticed the message scrawled in black marker on the opposite wall.

“It’s not them” is all it said.

I was more insistent about leaving this time and David finally relented. He stood up from studying the skeleton and turned to leave when Jemal started reading from a small leatherbound notebook that had been on the desk. I didn’t think it made any sense, and whoever wrote it kept jumping around from one thing to another. It said that the bodies weren’t hanging. Something about a maze being all wrong, that it was like a different world or universe or something and the rules didn’t apply. Then how something was more quiet than it should have been except when it talked, or if it was too late to matter.

David told Jemal to take the notebook so we could read it around the campfire so he put it in his backpack, then quickly scooped the gun up off the floor and packed that away as well. When we got out of that room, David looked around and asked where Raul went. I was confused because he had just been right behind me, but I spun around myself and found that he wasn’t anywhere in sight. Kristen started calling out for him, but aside from her own echo there wasn’t an answer. David shook his head, saying that the bastard must have wandered off. Kristen and I exchanged worried glances but followed David as we turned another corner deeper into the building.

There was only one door ahead. David turned back to us, grinning as he pointed at a sign on the door that was clearly missing letters – only an M and an A remained. He said now he knew where Raul went.

“He saw this room was rated MA and was hoping to see some boobies.”

Kristen and I both groaned at the terrible, middle school maturity dad joke. He turned back to the door and, after closely examining around it for any apparent traps, slowly turned the doorknob. There was a loud click, then a rumble and a clatter on the other side of the door. We all backed up and Kristen once again shouted Raul’s name. There was no reply and after a moment the racket stopped and things were once again silent.

David cautiously stepped forward and tried the door again. It swung open towards us and I immediately grabbed David’s arm. Directly on the other side of the door was a gaping square hole in the ground. He stepped back and shone his flashlight into the hole. Neither of us could see the bottom. My heart was pounding but he just smiled at me and said that was a close one. I turned back to Kristen and Jemal to calm down but my pulse only sped up as I realized Kristen wasn’t there. We ran back around the corner and called out for her, but she was nowhere to be found.

David glanced back at the room with the hole in the ground but I quickly pointed out that we know Kristen wasn’t that way because she was behind us the whole time, and Raul wasn’t in that room because he would have set off the booby trap. He agreed and the three of us stood there for a moment, lost. That’s when we heard Raul calling out, “Guys? Hello? Where are you?”

We all turned. His voice had been coming from the room passed the hole. David called after him, “Raul! Come over here!”

There was silence for a minute, then Raul shouted back that he was hurt and needed help. Jemal muttered to himself about how of course Raul hurt himself. One by one, we jumped over the hole and entered the room. As I walked in I realized that this was more than a room. I pointed my flashlight around and found that, while the walls for the next few yards were narrow, I couldn’t see the ceiling, which surprised me. The building had looked big from the outside, but not that big.

We carefully proceeded, looking for any buttons, tripwires, or giant boulders ready to roll and crush us because who knows what the hell to expect in a place like that. The walls were replaced with railing and the floor turned into a metal grate platform. On the end of the platform was a ladder leading down. I looked around us, trying to see beyond the railing, but I couldn’t find any walls around. In fact, even though I had a pretty powerful flashlight, it felt like it was only shining a few feet in front of me.

Before we climbed down the ladder, I yelled out for Raul again, then called for Kristen. There was no response. Not even an echo. David was already climbing down. I looked at Jemal and he tried to give me a reassuring look but it was pretty easy to tell he was just as terrified as me. I heard David yelp and ran to the edge, asking if he was okay. It was all quiet for a sec and I couldn’t even see him below us, then I heard him yell back that he was fine and we should get down there. It was the last thing in the world I wanted to do, but I climbed down the ladder, Jemal immediately following me.

We got to the bottom, stepping on the cement floor. David was nowhere to be seen. I called out for him. It sounded like he was a ways away when he responded and told us to hurry up, he found something. Jemal and I ran towards his voice, unable to see him in the darkness and our flashlights doing little to make it easier. I yelled back, asking where he was and what he found. He just said to come quick. Why wouldn’t he just tell us? We came up to a wall that rose up about ten feet with only one gap to pass through. It reminded me of the entrance to a corn maze. Only pausing for a moment, we entered to find it was a maze, but we continued running.

I suddenly felt myself falling face first as I tripped over something on the ground. I broke my fall at the last second and heard a crunch, followed by Jemal crying out behind me. I rolled over and saw a thin wire pulled around my shoe and beyond that a series of jagged metal rods protruding out of the wall that hadn’t been there a second ago. One of them had gone completely through Jemal’s calf. The rod was connected from one wall to the other with his leg pinned in mid air.

I rose to my knees and tried to move the rod back into the wall but it wouldn’t budge. I was so amped up I didn’t even realize the jagged edges of the rod cut into my palms when I grabbed it. Jemal looked at me, teeth clenched in pain. He told me to just leave him there. I looked around desperately trying to figure something out. I screamed for David, for Kristen, for Raul, for anyone who could hear me to come and help us. The dark seemed to eat my words. I heard David, now even further away, telling me I had to hurry. I was on the verge of tears when Jemal reached out and grabbed my arm and told me to hurry up and go get David, he had a knife that might be able to help us.

I stopped and looked at him. I suddenly remembered – Jemal had a gun in his backpack from the dead guy! Careful not to move him too much, I reached into his bag and pulled out the pistol. I had never shot a gun before and I wasn’t even sure it would work. Jemal looked at me with fear in his eyes, asking what I was going to do. I got on the ground and pointed it at the other side of the rod. I closed my eyes as I squeezed the trigger. I couldn’t help it.

Jemal screamed and I jerked my eyes open. The bullet had broken through the rod, but the force also pushed it backwards, the jagged edge slicing through Jemal’s calf. Free of the metal, he fell to the ground. I looked at the bloodied flesh, panicking. Raul had been the one carrying our primary first aid kit; all I had was some aspirin. I dug through my backpack and pulled out a spare shirt to tie around his leg, creating an improvised tourniquet.

Jemal told me to go again. I knew I couldn’t leave him there, though. Something had been picking us off, one by one. We had to stick together. Ignoring his protests, I pulled him up and slung his arm over my shoulder, forcing him to walk with me.

I couldn’t help but wonder aloud who the hell was doing this to us and why. As we hobbled, Jemal eventually responded between grunts. The traps weren’t intended for us. Everything – from the traps to the windows to the door to the fence – wasn’t set up to keep us out. It was all designed to keep something in.

It wasn’t long before we came to another opening. Ropes hung from wherever the ceiling was and disappeared under a wide pile of clothes that covered the entire floor as far as I could see with my flashlight. There was probably about a solid foot or two of messily stacked clothing. I noticed resting atop the pile was a gray shirt, torn. It was Raul’s! He had to be nearby! I yelled out for him. It took a few seconds, but he answered! I nearly melted with relief. We weren’t alone.

I started searching for him with my flashlight while I asked him where he was. I froze as I pointed the light up. The ropes weren’t attached to the ceiling at all. Each rope rose twenty feet in the air and ended in a noose. Dozens of naked bodies hung upside down, hovering above us in the darkness, tethered to the ground by the ropes that were tied around their necks. They were all pale, seemingly drained of blood and glowing in the light against the endless black. My light had just fallen on the body of Raul when I heard his voice off to my right, telling us he was just a little further and to hurry up.

I dropped my flashlight and covered my mouth to stifle a scream. As soon as the flashlight hit the floor, I heard something shuffling in the distance – from roughly the same area I had just heard my dead friend’s voice. Tears streamed from my eyes as I saw David’s clothes in the beam of the flashlight. I looked at Jemal and whispered that we had to run. He slowly nodded, his wide eyes matching my own. We turned and tried to run back the way we came, but we were barely moving at a brisk walking pace with his now useless leg.

I was already on the ground when I realized that my body had just been spun around like a ragdoll and tossed aside. Jemal was gone. Something had jerked him away from me so fast and with such force that I was now dizzy and on the ground with the wind knocked out of me. I was alone.

Taking time I knew I didn’t have to recover, I unsteadily rose to my feet and staggered forward. I slowly regained my breath and my balance and was able to run again. I ran blindly, knowing that between the traps, the maze, and whatever the fuck was behind me I had no chance, but I had to run. I heard a sound that I didn’t realize until later was flesh being torn apart. Jemal’s death was buying me time.

I finally made it out of the maze and ran in the direction I hoped was the ladder. I had left my flashlight behind and couldn’t see anything in front of my face. I reached out into the blank space before me, praying my hands would make contact with the metal rungs. Behind me, I heard something skittering across the cement floor. It sounded like something with a dozen legs was running at me.

I felt cold aluminum hit my bloodied palm and used my momentum to thrust myself up the ladder, skipping the first few rungs. It was getting closer behind me. I made it over the ladder and ran as fast as I could. I remembered there was a hole somewhere ahead of me, but I couldn’t see it. I leaped with every stride, praying that luck would save me. A doorknob caught my hip, instantly bruising it. I didn’t care, though. That meant I had just passed the door and made it over the hole.

I put a hand against the wall as I ran so I could feel when to turn. I rounded the corner, my own heartbeat deafening in my ears. I kept my hand against the wall. If I wasn’t careful at the next doorway, I would impale myself on iron spikes. I didn’t slow down though. I could still hear it. It had jumped over the hole, too.

I made it through the doorway, feeling my way around the trap and continued running again. Although it sounded like the feet were a dozen yards back, I felt hot breath huffing on my neck. I could see a crack of dusk light ahead. I was almost there. I didn’t dare look behind me. I didn’t want to see it.

I made it to the doors. I grabbed one and yanked at it, trying to close it. I heard the thing slow down – it was at the spikes. I put all my weight against the door. It moved, but so slowly. I screamed in frustration but kept moving it. Inch by inch, it swung shut as blood smeared from my hands across the metal. The thing from inside was past the spikes now and had resumed at an inhuman pace.

I grabbed the other door, crying and screaming as I fought the decades of rust to close it. It skittered with all of its feet, halfway to me already. I shut the door. With strength I didn’t even have, I somehow lifted the four by four and put it into the brackets, just as the doors pounded against it. I fell backwards as it rammed the doors again. I backed away, then got up and ran out as it continued pounding. It was only a matter of time. I ran through the grass and slammed into the fence, dropping to my knees to try to crawl under it. It caught the leg of my pants – just as I heard the sound of wood splintering. I yanked at my jeans, willing them to tear loose of the chain link fence. More wood cracked.

I undid my fly and jerked my pants off, then I ran and I didn’t stop running.

This poor girl went through hell, but I can’t help but wonder what she discovered in the process. I may never find out, though. A search and rescue team went looking in the rough area she had been but found no evidence of the building she described. What’s even more concerning is the fact that a piece of wood was all that stood between whatever was within the belly of that structure and the rest of the world. Who knows how long that will last – if it even lasted at all.

My advice: enjoy nature when you get the chance, but if you run into a sign that says “No Trespassing”… heed the warnings.

Thank you for listening.

A House on the Corner – Season 3 Episode 10

See Content Warnings
General horror, grief, discussion of death, gore, language
Need to skip this episode? Click here to see the plot.
Brianne tracks down friends and family of people whose names are in the medical files she has. Most of them are dead, and one of them had predicted that they would die in their sleep, leading Brianne to suspect there may be a psychic connection between them. She locates one person who is still alive, a real estate agent, and arranges a viewing. After some probing, the individual insists that they aren’t psychic.
They go down to the basement to discover a pyramid-shaped mirror that wasn’t there before. The man goes upstairs to make some calls and find how out it got there as Brianne approaches it. In an instant, she is inside of it, surrounded by flashing images. She sees Ben who seems unaware that he is dead, then he crumples in front of her, dead. She sees her ex from 1:06 and an imagined life that they could have had if he hadn’t died in a car accident. Then she hears the Licker.
She bangs on the surface to try to escape and sees into the basement where her body stares blankly back at her.
She gets the call from Jeremy, continued from [1:06]. Something Jeremy says reminds her of what the man said to her, which makes her realize there is a figure in the room with her helpless body. As she mentally calls for help, the man rushes in and dives into the figure, both of them disappearing along with the object as she is snapped back into her body.
As she leaves, she gets an email from the person on her phone, explaining that he was psychic, after all.

Welcome back to The Storage Papers. This week’s episode is actually an update from Brianne. She’d told me part of this already, but she recently emailed me the whole story. You may recall at the end of the episode [1:06] there was a part of a phone call between us. There was a little more to that call that wasn’t especially relevant to the episode and I wanted more details before I even considered sharing it. Now that I have the full story, I won’t keep you waiting anymore. This is the story of a house on the corner, as told by Brianne Scanlon.

Jeremy, I wanted to give you an update on some things. While I’ve been looking into those medical files, I’ve found a couple of links. I’ve talked to different family and friends of the patients and at least two of the patients seem to be psychic, or at least possess some sort of psychic abilities. The other thing that a lot more of them have in common… they’re dead. And by “a lot more” I mean most, hence the reason it was family and friends I talked to instead of the patients themselves.

I honestly didn’t think to ask about any psychic connection at first. I was probably thirty or so files deep when I got a hold of one of their sisters. The funeral had just happened a week before I called… which sucked. But then Jenny (the patient’s sister) laughed, but in a bitter way, and said, “You know he predicted this. For the past month he’s been saying that he’s going to die in his sleep.”

As you would imagine, that caught my attention… especially given the dreams I’ve been having. It turns out that he had always been that way – usually with smaller things, but often enough that people who were closer to him all seemed to understand and accept that he sometimes just knew things. That’s when I started adding that to my ever growing list of questions and, sure enough, the very next person I spoke with confirmed that their wife had a psychic streak, too.

I thought about circling back to those I’d been able to contact already, but that’s when I realized the next person on the list was not only alive, but worked as a real estate agent in the Hillcrest area which is not only in San Diego but really isn’t that far away. I thought I’d try to get with them face to face but didn’t want to just show up out of the blue… I think we’re still a little ways off from random visits being a thing. Anyways, I found one of his listings and booked an appointment for one of my days off. He sent me a walk-through video, advising me to watch and see if I had any questions and basically asked if I was serious enough to meet in person. I told him I’d like to meet.

I tried to do some digging on him beforehand, but outside of realty websites, he didn’t have much of an online presence. He wasn’t even on Facebook or LinkedIn, as far as I could tell. So when I pulled up to the house, I was actually feeling kind of nervous. I didn’t know the first thing about the guy other than his job and some stuff in his medical files. None of it told me what type of person he was.

I opened my car door, put on my mask, then squirted some sanitizer onto my hands as I stood up. The guy could be a serial killer for all I knew, but at least I wouldn’t be spreading anything if I could help it. I started to walk towards the door when I saw someone getting out of a car on the other side of the street, then hustling towards me.

“Brianne?” he asked. Although some things are harder to tell when everyone is masked up, I’d probably peg him in his early fifties and he looked to be in better shape than many over the past year.

I nodded, then confirmed his name. Because I know this will probably go on your podcast, I’ll call him John or Mister Doe, if you want. Pleasantries aside, he walked past me and unlocked the door before stepping inside several feet then beckoning me to follow. I nudged the door shut behind me and took in the place while he opened the windows and I gathered my thoughts. There was no way I’d ever be able to afford that type of house. Still, I allowed him to lead me around – at a distance – and point out different features, not a one of which I could tell you about. I’m fine in my little apartment, although I’m pretty sure my security deposit is toast now.

At some point, he finally stopped and turned to me, asking what my thoughts were so far. In response, I put forward the most clever transition that I could come up with on the fly.

“It’s a really nice place. Although I’m kind of picking up a weird vibe here. I don’t know, maybe it’s just ‘cause I don’t really get out much – I mean, I guess none of us really do lately – but… there’s just like, an energy or something, I think. Do you feel that?”

He looked at me blankly for a moment, before offering a small chuckle. “Sorry, I can’t say I’m too familiar with that.”

“Really?” I asked. “You never get feelings about stuff and can’t quite figure out why?”

He shrugged and a smile creased his eyes. “Sorry to disappoint. But I can assure you, there’s no cause for any heebie jeebies here.”

If I’m being completely honest, I was fully expecting him to launch into a tirade about how he was psychic or something. I pressed him. “I think it’s just like, tapping into things that are set in stone. I feel like everyone does it to some degree, don’t you?”

He shifted his weight from one foot to the other and I didn’t need to see the lower half of his face to tell he was uncomfortable. There was a flicker of something in his eyes, just for a split second, then it was gone before I could figure out what that was.

“Brianne, if I’m being honest, I don’t really think there are things set in stone. I think sometimes everything is just one big accident. One accident leads to the next, then, before you know it, nine years have gone by, you find yourself looking in the mirror, and only god knows what is creeping up on you.”

With that admission, I realized that I had wasted his time and I was back to square one. I had just felt it in my gut that there would be some sort of psychic connection between all of the files.

He chuckled again. “Sorry, didn’t mean to get all morbidly existential there. Last thing left to see is the basement, and I think you’re really going to like what you see.”

I offered him a smile that, in retrospect, he probably didn’t notice because I doubt it reached my eyes. “No worries, I’m the one who brought it up after all. Lead on,” I said. 

Lead on he did, right down to the basement. It was reasonably lit, which was definitely a good thing. I’d kind of gotten a feel for him so I was more or less at ease, but basements are always a gamble. A cinderblock wall stood opposite some wooden shelving that stretched past the stairs. An empty workbench sat on the far side of the basement. None of that was the focus of the room though. Side by side, he and I paused as we took in the most unusual sight.

Dead center in the middle of the room stood… I’m not sure what to call it. It was three sided and came to a point, so I guess like a pyramid? It was probably about eight feet tall and around three feet wide at the base. It looked like some kind of glass or maybe metal, I don’t know. But it was a nearly perfect mirror. I started walking towards it, unable to take my eyes off of it. I asked him what it was.

“I’ve never seen that before,” he answered from behind me.

“You haven’t been down here?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “I have. I’m the one who recorded the walk-through you watched. If you remember, it wasn’t there then and this is the first time I’ve seen it.”

It probably wasn’t the best time to admit I hadn’t actually watched more than the first twenty seconds of the walk-through video he had sent me. I glanced back at him. “How did it get here?”

“That… is an excellent question and one I’m not too happy that I don’t have the answer, to be honest.”

He stepped past me, leaned in close to the surface for a moment, then suddenly stood straight up and looked around. He almost looked confused.

“I, uh… I need to make a few phone calls. Take a look around and… be careful.”

Before I could ask what he meant by that last remark, he briskly walked past me and headed up the stairs, taking two at a time. I watched his reflection disappear through the doorway at the top of the staircase. I walked in a circle around it. Each side was perfectly clean, not a dust speck or fingerprint smudge to be found. The angle of the mirrored surface kept the floor out of sight and gave me the uncomfortable sensation that I was standing on the precipice of something as a result.

As I stared into it, I couldn’t help but feel like something was just out of reach of my mind, a memory of some kind. Trying to recall it felt something like flicking an empty lighter: all spark, no flame. I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

The lights flickered and I jumped. Looking around, my surroundings were completely different. The first thing I noticed was that to my right and my left were flashes. Pictures, stretching from floor to ceiling, that appeared for less than a second, then disappeared. Some I recognized. Places I’d been. People I knew.

I turned around to find myself staring back at me. The me that was in front of me now was standing in the middle of the basement, motionless. I turned back to the flashing images. Between the constantly changing scenes and the accompanying sound it was extremely disorienting to look at, but I found that if I focused, the images would slow down, then begin to move. It wasn’t easy. I saw flashes of doctors I didn’t know and clinical settings I wasn’t familiar with mixed with the hospital I work at. I saw my apartment and I saw a home I lived in as a child. I saw my old car. I saw Malcom. I saw you, Jeremy. Then I saw him, and that’s when I was finally able to focus enough to stop the stream of pictures.

I didn’t say anything at first. I was too busy crying. He just smiled back at me.

“Ben?” I finally asked.

“Hey, Bri,” he said. Then he stepped forward, out of the image. I immediately grabbed him and wrapped my arms around him. It felt so good to have him hold me in return. We never hugged enough.

I don’t know how long we stood there, me crying like an idiot, but he finally spoke up. “So, how’s life?”

I punched him for that and ignored his feigned confusion. “I don’t understand, how are you here?”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

I wiped my eyes. “I mean like, is this some sort of bridge from the afterlife or what?”

“Bri, I don’t-”

He stopped mid-sentence as his eyes went blank, and his pale form crumpled to the ground. I couldn’t help but scream as his elbow split open and suddenly a bone was jutting out. The worst part was his face, though. That fucking grin.

A bright flash appeared and he was gone, replaced by darkness. Twinkling lights appeared and I realized it was night. I looked down to see I was standing in grass. Beside me was a blanket and two bottles of wine, one empty. Seemingly from nowhere, a giggling couple appeared and fell onto the blanket as they began to kiss. I recognized myself immediately. The man, though… it took me a second before I realized who it was.

The last time I had seen him alive had just been another ordinary night, a quick kiss before bed, lights out… then I’m confirming that’s his body on the slab. I thought I’d eventually get numb to all the death. I mean, it stands to reason, right? Seeing him again, the way he looked at me, it just pulled open a scab I thought had scarred long ago. I was momentarily distracted by a glimmer. That’s when I realized we were wearing wedding bands. I had to close my eyes at the sudden sound of shattering glass and crunching metal, then another bright light flashed before I had time to process any of it.

This time I was left in absolute darkness. I thought I heard something to my left, like someone breathing maybe. I couldn’t see anything, though. I spun to my right as I heard a sound that instantly gripped my stomach with fear, rippling numbness down my arms and legs. It was the sound of a long trail of saliva being created. I turned to face the sound and found two orbs staring at me, unblinking. Then they jumped towards me.

The world once again flashed white and I found myself shaking as I stared at my frozen body in the basement. I stepped forward and reached a hand out. The surface between us was cold. I tried to focus all my energy to connect with myself, staring into my own eyes. I wanted out of this box. I’d had enough.

That’s when my phone rang. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t just about shit myself right then. I pulled my phone out of my pocket, the glowing screen lighting up the mystery surface in front of me. I turned back to myself as I answered.

[phone ringing]


JEREMY: Hey, Brianne, how are you doing?

BRIANNE: I… now’s not really a great time, Jeremy, so… 

JEREMY: Sorry, I’ll make this quick. This is about something I found in the papers that I read and I was wondering if you know anything about. Oh, and since I’m doing this for the podcast, I’m recording this. Is that okay?

BRIANNE: Yeah, that’s fine. What did you find?

JEREMY: It may be nothing, but… do you know any female nurses, or anyone that works at the hospital, I guess, who was seeing anyone in two thousand twelve who… used to go on long night drives? Maybe for work or something?

[a few moments of silence]

BRIANNE: You read about this in the papers?

JEREMY: Yeah. A group of forty people all had the same dream about this person.

BRIANNE: I… I think that was me. Sorry, I know I should be getting used to stuff like this, but that’s… in two thousand twelve my boyfriend went on a back country road at night. They found his body the next day.

[papers shuffle on Jeremy’s end]

JEREMY: That’s… you’re positive? Nine years ago he was in a car accident?

BRIANNE: That’s the kind of thing that sticks out in your mind. Yes, nine years… [to self] …have gone by… looking in a mirror… 

JEREMY: I didn’t catch that. What’d you say?

BRIANNE: Oh shit!

[the call ends abruptly]

Mister Doe’s words suddenly came back to me: “God only knows what’s creeping up on you.”

My eyes snapped to the basement again and I realized for the first time I wasn’t alone in there. A figure was behind me. “Figure” is the most accurate term, because it wasn’t a solid form. It shifted and weaved in multiple directions all at once, like a shadow flickering between several flames. I pounded on the surface, trying to get myself to snap out of it as it drew closer. Every muscle within me tensed as I screamed at the top of my lungs and mentally called for help. I watched helplessly as a length of darkness stretched out until it hovered over my head. My head snapped up and I was suddenly standing in the basement again, a dark figure behind me.

I didn’t have any time to gather my bearings when I heard John give a yell, then saw him diving from across the room into the figure. His body collided with it and in a blink, they vanished together and I found myself staring at an old workbench against the wall. The pyramid was gone. The only evidence that it was ever there was a triangular hole burnt into the flooring.

I ran out of the basement, left the house, and practically collapsed into my car. For a while it was all I could do to focus on my breathing. Somehow the experience from inside the pyramid – somewhere between the horrors of my past and the pain of what might have been – had been worse than when I actually lived through the tragedies themselves. Then to have John… 

My thoughts were interrupted by a chime on my phone. I pulled it out to find I had a new email. It was from John. I quickly looked up at that house on the corner, half expecting him to be standing there and it was all one big joke. The doorway was vacant, though. I looked back down and saw that he had sent it about fifteen minutes ago. My email must not have synced until just then or something. I’ve attached it here. Let me know what you think.


I’m sorry for what you just went through. I wish I could have stopped you, but no matter what path we took it seemed like it was always going to lead to the basement. I didn’t have all the details, of course. Just flashes. I’m sure you can relate. I probably should have just told you. I guess a part of me hoped I was wrong and we’d both walk away from today and I could go on living my mostly normal life. I hope my words helped you. And, most importantly, I hope you know this wasn’t your fault. I do still believe life is a series of accidents. This one in particular was just set in motion a long time ago and there’s nothing either of us could have done to prevent it. Take care of yourself… and I hope you find what you’re looking for.

There’s quite a bit to unpack in that. It sounds like Brianne may be onto something in regards to the common denominator with all of the medical files. The fact that John Doe, as she called him, knew just what to say to get her to snap out of it in time to call for help all but proves he is indeed, like at least some the others, psychic. Stay tuned as we continue searching for answers in The Storage Papers. And to John Doe… if you’re still out there somewhere… Brianne says “thank you.”

106 – Season 3 Episode 9

See Content Warnings
General horror, car crash, reference to a death, brief mention of drinking alcohol.
Need to skip this episode? Click here to see the plot.
A man receives a call in the middle of the night with instructions and drives down a long and lonely road in response. He turns on the radio and encounters a numbers station. He swerves to avoid a car stopped ahead of him and can’t make out the person who is outside of the car. He drives away and now the person is inside the car and the numbers station is emanating from the person. The man is distracted and crashes the car.
Notes from a doctor reveal that was a dream that was shared across 40 participants in a drug trial for a sleeping pill that enhanced or removed the ability to remember a dream. The trial was ended abruptly when funding was pulled and people in suits came and took all the research away.
Jeremy attempts to wake himself at various points of REM sleep to see if he can tap into a shared dream. He has a dream where the person he is dreaming as comes out of a bar and is met with an unnamed thing which recites numbers to him.
Jeremy called Brianne who confirms that the shared dream was likely of her boyfriend who had died in a car accident.

Today I’m going to be skipping my usual introduction to what I’m about to read, more or less, because I’ll have much more to say about this particular set of papers afterwards. So, with no further ado, I’ll begin.

It started with a phone call. Their exact words were unimportant, but the directive was clear. I had a long drive ahead of me. I knew my girlfriend wouldn’t want me to leave without saying goodbye, but I also knew she’d be even more upset if I woke her up at one oh six in the morning when she had to wake up in just three hours to get ready for her shift at the hospital. Instead, I left a note on the counter, letting her know I’d see her when she got home.

I closed the front door as quietly as I could and got in the car. I had a two hour long drive ahead of me and I was relishing the idea about as much as a colonoscopy. But I had to go.

I glanced into the cup holder to see I’d left my thermos in here from this morning. I checked it and, sure enough, there was still coffee in there – now completely cold. Swallowing my pride with the coffee, I felt the familiar buzz as my neurons began to fire up and ask what the occasion was. It wouldn’t last, but it had to be enough because it’s all I had and they weren’t the type to be happy if I made them wait around for me.

Any road is a long and lonely road at this time of night, but none are longer or lonelier than your generic back road under the moonless sky, the forgotten highway that they should really just let nature reclaim. Some would call it the scenic route, but to me it was an inconvenience surrounded by mountains, valleys, and the occasional patch of bushes and trees. Maybe I’m just grumpy because I only ever take these routes at night, but color me unimpressed by the vague shadowy figures that line my night journey.

The one thing that always made this trip worth it, aside from the fact that I had no choice in the matter, was the radio. Usually radio is extremely boring, but when you get in just the right spot you could pick up something…different. If you tune your dial just right…somewhere between the Christian Contemporary music on one oh two point one and the religious broadcast on one oh two point five…there it is.

[numbers station]

Those things have always fascinated me. I feel like I’m still thinking of them in my dreams sometimes. Some people count sheep…I listen to people say numbers, I guess. The really fascinating thing is these things don’t normally play on your regular radio. There had to be a pirate station out there somewhere, which makes it all the more interesting, I think.

I was so caught up with the person reciting the numbers and trying to mentally decode what I’m sure is either gibberish or a code far too advanced for something in my head…I didn’t notice the headlights behind me at first. I checked my speedometer instinctively. If it was a cop, they were being a dick by riding my ass when I’m going a mile or two under the speed limit. I had to flip my rearview mirror to keep myself from being blinded by the lights. After a minute or two the lights backed off some. I don’t know why they didn’t just pass me, but at least they got the hint that I wasn’t going to speed up on account of them. Then they turned off their headlights.

At least I thought they turned them off. Anything that lights up the road was pretty sparse, but there was a lone streetlight ahead. I kept my eyes mostly on the mirror as I passed it, but there was no sign of the vehicle behind me. I hadn’t passed a turn off anywhere so they would have either had to take an illegal u-turn or pull off to the side of the road completely. As soon as I was out of the light and I looked away for a sec, the car was once again on my bumper, barely illuminated by my tail lights.

My foot pushed down on the gas. I had no interest in these games. It was extremely difficult to see, but I was pretty sure I could make out the shape of the car getting further away. I was straining to look in the mirror so much as it seemed to flicker then disappear from view that I didn’t see the car stopped in front of me. I slammed on my brakes and cranked the wheel to avoid a collision, swerving until I was perpendicular to the road. It wasn’t until I had come to a halt with the engine idling that I realized just how loud the radio had become. I turned the volume down as I just tried to breathe.

Once my heart calmed down, I looked at the car that was now to my right. There was a figure standing in front of the car. I squinted, trying to see more detail, but the figure stood in the perfect patch of darkness between our two vehicles. He, or it, I suppose I should say, didn’t move towards me or away from me. It just stood there, motionless. I glanced at the time. It was one oh six in the morning. I’d never run into a single other vehicle on this road at this time before tonight. I didn’t like the odds that the first person I’d run into was driving recklessly, and the second person was standing still outside of their car that was stopped in the middle of the road. And both of them just happened to occur in the same night.

I looked behind me to gauge how much space I had, then, without losing sight of the figure at least in my peripheral vision, I backed up to put my car in line with the road. My headlights lit up the car in front of me…but didn’t reveal anything about the figure. It was like the figure was absorbing the light instead of reflecting it. I double checked the locks, then eased the car forward without moving my eyes from him…it.

It still made no motion towards me, and I immediately accelerated once I had passed the car. I needed to get to the end of my trip before anything else happened. I wondered if this had anything to do with why they had called me tonight. I couldn’t ignore the unease in my gut, despite all the oddities being behind me now.

At least, that’s what I thought, until I saw the absence of light form the shape of the figure ahead of me in my headlight beams. This wasn’t possible. It was standing on the side of the road, simply facing me. It almost seemed like it was flickering. I didn’t slow down.

Within a minute, the figure was once again in front of me, this time standing in the middle of the road. Instead of slowing down, I sped up as I eased into the opposite lane and flew past it. I looked in my rear-view mirror, but of course could see nothing. It was too dark out and this thing, whatever it was, seemed to be made of the darkness. I put some more pressure on the gas. My anxiety was skyrocketing. I wanted to be done with this trip already. I wanted to be back home, in bed, cuddling with my girlfriend until she left for work.

What felt like an eternity passed. I glanced at my clock. One oh six. Just a little longer and I’d be there. My eyes were wide, trying to absorb all of my surroundings, waiting for the next figure to appear ahead of me. I glanced in my rear-view mirror again and almost swerved off the road as I saw it there, in my mirror…in my backseat. It was as motionless as ever.

“Who are you?” I yelled. “What do you want?”

It didn’t appear to acknowledge me in any way. It just sat there. There were no facial features. No eyes, no mouth, nothing. There was static on the radio for a moment, then it sounded like one of my car’s speakers cut out. That’s when I realized the radio station wasn’t coming from my speakers. It was coming from…it. The figure. Without moving at all, the numbers were emanating from this void of a person in my backseat. The voice had not changed at all. It was the exact same broadcast as it had been when my car’s radio had been playing it.

Then it leaned forward and, instead of numbers, it said two words.

“Watch out.”

I looked again at the rear-view mirror and it was gone. I looked back at the road and it was in front of me, running directly at me. This time I wasn’t able to keep the car on the road. Glass shattered and metal crunched as a tree brought me to an abrupt stop. Everything faded away except for the distant sound of my car horn stuck on…and the radio.

I know I had more to say, but just before I get to that there’s one other paper to read for you. This one states at the top that it’s the personal notes from Doctor James Baker and dated September fifteenth of twenty twelve. It begins:

I don’t know if it’s even worth continuing to write these notes with the trial and its study being in the state that it is now. All my other notes are gone already. But, for whatever it’s worth, here’s a brief overview of the most notable work I’ve ever done. A few years ago my department received funding to explore dreams and the brain’s ability to remember or forget them. The potential applications for this study are numerous, but I personally was most interested in the possibility of impact for those experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

About a year ago, we had a breakthrough. This breakthrough was somehow granted approval for human trials at a pace I didn’t think possible. Essentially, we were able to either activate or inhibit melanin concentrating hormone-producing neurons in the hypothalamus. For those not aware of what that means, we were able to either make people remember or forget their dreams completely.

We had enough funding to pay one hundred twenty participants. More than I liked were just college students, but we had a pretty good variety of subjects from all different backgrounds. We split the participants into three equal groups. For a four week period, we didn’t give them anything in order to establish a baseline. Starting with Week Five, Group A took a pill meant to stimulate the neurons, Group B took a pill meant to inhibit the neurons, and Group C took a sugar pill.

Over a six month period, we monitored each group’s sleep and would wake them up at a set interval each week after they had entered REM sleep, the part of sleep where we dream. They would then recite the dream they had to the best of their ability. The results were better than we had hoped.

It didn’t happen immediately, but by the end of Week Six, every single participant in Group A was able to vividly recall their dream at any point that we woke them up. Group B couldn’t remember a single thing, and Group C had similar results to the initial four week period, with a slightly increased proclivity to remembering more details, but nothing that can’t be explained by the placebo effect.

Week Thirteen is when we started to get…unusual results. We had selected that week to wake up all the subjects just one minute and six seconds into REM sleep. It wasn’t until we compared notes at the end of the day that our suspicions were confirmed. All forty subjects in Group A had the exact same dream.

There was no common denominators that we could determine amongst the individuals themselves other than all being local to the San Diego area, but even in that they didn’t all grow up here, so I don’t think that had anything to do with it. And yet, despite their own age, gender, sexual preference, job, living situation… anything like that… they all dreamed that they were in a relationship with a woman who works at a hospital, going for a drive at one oh six a.m. due to a vague phone call. They all listened to the same radio station. They all encountered this figure. They all seemed to lose consciousness within their dreams as a result of a car accident. Every last one of them was exactly the same, down to the smallest detail of drinking day old coffee.

This kept up for five days. The next two days, we woke them up one minute and six seconds in, just as before, but all the dreams were different again. I don’t know who was more relieved, the people in Group A or the staff recording the dreams. It was a creepy dream, after all.

Even though it was all confidential, people talk. To their spouse, their close friend, to coworkers… even to strangers on the internet. I don’t know exactly how it happened, but somebody had to have leaked what happened.

Halfway into Week Fourteen, our funding was pulled abruptly. A few hours later, I kid you not, two men and one woman, all in gray suits, came in and began collecting everything. All the documentation, the pills, the formulas… everything was placed into boxes and carted away. I still had a photocopy of one the dream they all had in my pocket – I had been reading it over and over in what little spare time I had. If not for that, I wouldn’t have anything. They even searched my home to make sure there was nothing from the study or subsequent trials there. They offered no explanation.

Years of my life were taken away from me, and now there’s no hope of understanding what happened in Week Thirteen. So now I have this personal note, which doesn’t even really serve as evidence since it’s all from memory now. Science eventually will answer every question, of this I’m certain. But what do we do when science is stolen from us? I can only hope that whoever stole my work, my life… I hope that they will at least put it to good use. For science.

I read these papers for the first time about six weeks ago now. It bothered me quite a bit. Who is to say that I haven’t had that same dream and it had just gotten lost thanks to the neurons in my… hypothalamus. How do any of us know we haven’t had that dream? And if we have… what other dreams have gone unremembered, and how many have we all shared?

So, six weeks ago, I bought a watch that monitors my pulse and connected it to an app that monitors my sleep. It’s not an exact science and honestly my sleep has been terrible lately which doesn’t help matters, but I’ve been able to have it wake me at varying times after I’ve entered REM sleep. Last week I think I hit on something. The next day I set it to wake me at the same time, eight minutes and thirty-two seconds, and I definitely dreamt the same dream twice. The third day it changed. Whether that was due to the lack of proper tools I had available to me or whether the time changed for the dream, I’m not sure.

Now, I don’t have all the same memory enhancements that were available for the drug trial so I really don’t have much, but I was able to write some things down to the best of my memory.

I just walked out of a bar. I felt relieved. I had finally gotten things off my chest. I knew there was a chance I wasn’t going to come out of that meeting entirely sober, which is why I had arranged for the meeting to be walking distance from my place. I was on San Diego Avenue when I saw it. It wasn’t the first time I’d encountered it and I knew it wouldn’t be the last time. No other pedestrians seemed to notice it. I glanced at my wristwatch. Eight thirty-two.

I stopped walking. Although it was about a block away, the figure sounded as though it was talking right behind me. Just as it always did, it began reciting numbers. It did this for what felt like several minutes, but when I looked at my watch again it was still eight thirty-two. When I looked back up, it was just inches away from me. And then everything was black.

I wish I could remember what the numbers were that the figure was saying, but I just don’t think it’s possible. I don’t think I’m supposed to. But this seems like it confirms my suspicions. I think that there are dreams that we all share. They seem to revolve around this dark figure and numbers. I don’t know what it all means, and I’m even further away from figuring out how it’s possible in the first place, but at least it’s a start. I’ll continue to try this and if any listeners are able to, please send me any dreams that involve the dark figure and how far into REM sleep you were when you woke up. Maybe with enough of us involved in this, we can find out why this is happening.

With these dreams being so heavy on my mind, I had another thought as well. On a hunch, I called Brianne.

BRIANNE:    Hello?

JEREMY:    Hey, Brianne, how are you doing?

BRIANNE:    I… now’s not really a great time, Jeremy, so…

JEREMY:    Sorry, I’ll make this quick. This is about something I found in the papers that I read and I was wondering if you know anything about. Oh, and since I’m doing this for the podcast, I’m recording this. Is that okay?

BRIANNE:    Yeah, that’s fine. What did you find?

JEREMY:    It may be nothing, but… do you know any female nurses, or anyone that works at the hospital, I guess, who was seeing anyone in two thousand twelve who… used to go on long night drives? Maybe for work or something?

BRIANNE:    You read about this in the papers?

JEREMY:    Yeah. A group of forty people all had the same dream about this person.

BRIANNE:    I… I think that was me. Sorry, I know I should be getting used to stuff like this, but that’s… in two thousand twelve my boyfriend went on a back country road at night. They found his body the next day.

Thanks for listening. I’ll explore another paper next time.

The Backwards Man – Season 3 Episode 8

See Content Warnings
General horror, gore, violence, murder.
Need to skip this episode? Click here to see the plot.
Jeremy notes that many of the current type of documents he’s been reading have a symbol on them: a seven-digit hand with an eye in the center of the palm. He read a series of documents in chronological order regarding a medical trial sponsored by SCIC. A participant may be remote-viewing a murder in her REM sleep, but in reverse. A newspaper clipping which quotes Detective Mark Anderson appears to confirm this.

This week’s episode comes from a few documents which were grouped together in a single folder within the papers.  As I mentioned previously, I’ve been able to create some level of organization but it’s still quite a work in progress.  All of these documents had a peculiar symbol on them.  That of a seven-fingered hand with an eye in the palm.  I’m still waiting for someone I know to get back to me regarding the possible symbolism of this depiction, but my curiosity has definitely piqued.  

The first of these documents appears to be notes about some research by a pharmaceutical company.  Most of the pertinent information like the scientists involved, the company name, and the author of the paper have been redacted.  It almost reads as if someone were drafting an email to an employer.  As far as I can tell, it involves a status report from some clinical trials, but it’s so hard to tell without access to the redacted portions.  Two additional things I’d like to note before reading it to you.  Because of the large amount of redactions, I am going to paraphrase to the best of my ability in some areas.  Also, there seems to be a sequential order to how these documents were stored.  This specific document was on top, and I’m going through them in chronological order. This first document reads:

Initial trials of the compound [REDACTED] indicate only a twelve percent efficacy rate in the volunteers in the general public, however, in sub-group [REDACTED], there was an astounding ninety-eight percent efficacy rate.  These initial results are composed through a series of data points collected at thirty days following intramuscular administration.  So far, adverse effects have been significantly insignificant compared to the placebo groups, and we’ve no reason to suspect any risk of anaphylaxis or neurologic regression of any kind when compared to [REDACTED] or its predecessor.  

While we are recommending the cessation of trials of [REDACTED] for the general population for the treatment of chronic migraines, our sponsor for the trials, SCIC, has requested further testing be done for sub-group (redacted).  Because conditional funding for our trials did not include specific information about that sub-group’s population, we have no choice but to hand all research over to SCIC if trials for that sub-group are to continue as they have deemed the identity of the patients in that sub-group as classified, requiring a government clearance higher than my own to view.  It is only by patent ownership that I suspect I’m even being consulted on the matter, but I suspect the project to be defunded entirely if I don’t agree to their conditions.  I have a meeting with them tomorrow morning to discuss.

The second document appears to be a letter of resignation, and it reads:

Dear Doctor [REDACTED],

I just wanted to express my gratitude for these last two years of experience I’ve gained through my employment with you.  I would not be at this junction in my career without your help, and you’ll never fully know how grateful I am for your belief in me.

It is with great disappointment that I must offer you my letter of resignation, effective immediately.  It’s unlike me to do so without notice, but I have received an offer to continue to pursue my research into the compound [REDACTED] with an increased level of security clearance and the tools at my disposal to truly make a difference.  

Thank you for the opportunities you have provided me, and for always encouraging me to follow the science, no matter where that may lead.  



The third document appears to be notes of some kind relating to this mystery drug.  It reads as follows:

Subject [REDACTED] has responded similarly to others in her sub-group until this morning.  While we send our team to follow up with investigatory efforts, we are placing her into a quarantine until we can gather more information.  After much discussion, we have agreed to continue the monthly administration of compound [REDACTED], as she is due for her next dose in two days, while she will likely still be in a quarantine environment.

In addition, we are providing her with resources while quarantined from the rest of her sub-group, to be able to communicate with them remotely.  We want to provide as much inclusion as possible outside of physical presence until we can positively confirm the events described in her most recent session (see clinical notes for details).  Until that point, I will increase our sessions to three times a day for the time being to monitor for any more potential events, and in order to follow up for confirmation of their outcomes.  

The next document appears to be clinical notes taken on a female patient, presumably the patient that is referred to in the previous document.  It says:

11:06 a.m.
Doctor [REDACTED] dictating clinical notes from session with Miss [REDACTED] July first, [REDACTED].  Miss [REDACTED] informed me that she believes her dreams have changed to a somewhat vivid state, only in reverse order.  In fact, she believes she only dreams in reverse order after administration of the compound began, and that within the two to three days following each of her monthly administration injections, she has become convinced that she is actually witnessing through some sort of REM-state of remote viewing, the actual deaths of people “as if watching a movie being rewound.”  

A complete physical workup was performed, showing no signs of psychosis or recreational drug use.  All results indicate she believes she’s telling us the truth about these events.  She is referring to the suspect in her dreams as “the Backwards Man,” due to the nature in which she observes the murder being carried out.  For example, I’m quoting a transcription of her session today below describing one of these dreams.

“It happened just like the last time.  The beginning of my dream is like a still picture.  I’m looking at someone’s bedroom.  There’s a shattered window and a headless body lying in a pool of blood on the bed, with arms out to the sides.  There’s trees outside the window, which I only notice because the branches cast shadows on the bed and the body on top of it.  Then off to the right, I see an inhuman looking being walking backwards toward the bed from the doorway, then it turns to face the body and stares down at it.  It looks just like if you were to rewind a movie.  Everything is happening backwards.  

“The man looks like he’s breathing really rapidly, and then it’s like it goes in slow motion.  I see something moving outside of the window that draws my attention, and it’s coming toward the shattered glass.  As it reaches the hole in the glass, shards that were scattered all over are attracted toward it, and as the object reaches the spot where the window is, the glass combines to form an unbroken window.  The object, which I now recognize as a human head, is still traveling through the air, spinning, and I can see a facial expression of sheer terror.  

“As the head approaches the backwards man, the body that’s lying on the bed looks like it soaks up all the blood from the sheets into its neck and begins to stand up.  As it does, the blood splatters on the wall and bed jump off and start traveling through the air toward the body and the backwards man.  Eventually I realize that the spinning head, the body, and the blood are all traveling to a point of origin.  It’s almost beautiful to watch as the spinning head gets closer to the erecting body, you can tell that it’s going to stop spinning as soon as it meets the neck from the body, and all of the blood will meet at their point of union.  As I watch this unfold, the backwards man’s right hand swipes in a reverse roundhouse swing, and begins walking backward toward the wall.  I think to myself, ‘how could someone decapitate another person with a swing of their arm‘ and it’s then I notice that his arm isn’t necessarily a regular human arm.  It has long, sharp claws at the end that retract a few inches as he reaches the wall behind him.  

“The backwards man then does something impossible.  He places a foot on the wall, and then his other foot behind that one, and proceeds to walk backwards, up the wall.  I notice the man that was on the bed, now with his head fully attached, loses the expression of terror from his face and turns around with his back toward the man… or the thing… walking on the wall.  The man on the ground begins walking backwards toward the bedroom door, as the thing on the wall shrivels into a dark shadowy-looking creature on all fours synchronously until it meets the ceiling at the very same moment the man on the ground passes through the doorway to the bedroom.  Then as if it disappeared into thin air, the shadow shrinks and fades away.  

“I know it sounds like I’m crazy, Doctor [REDACTED], but I think this actually happened.”

The next document appears to be another clinical note from the same patient.  It reads:

9:34 a.m.
Doctor [REDACTED] dictating clinical notes from session with Miss [REDACTED] July second.  Miss [REDACTED] maintains she has not had another dream like the one from the previous night, however, she has admitted to forcing herself to stay awake after consuming strongly-brewed coffee all night.  She fears these dreams she continues to have for more prolonged periods after each intramuscular injection of compound [REDACTED].  

I believe it is for the benefit of the patient to avoid divulging our investigatory findings involving the incident we learned about in Escondido, as I fear it will only induce more serious symptoms, as well as skew the results of our clinical trials.  

There are a few notes I’d like to consider for this week’s meeting with the board of directors involving the ethical standpoint SCIC would like to take in moving forward with this trial:

  1. At what point are the psychological effects of the subjects going to determine the continued research into the compound, if at all.
  2. At what point are we to consider potential risk to the public if results continue to scale as we predict based on incidents like that of Miss [REDACTED] as models predict.

The final document included with this grouping still has the seven-fingered hand with the eye in the palm, but someone took the time to draw it on the document in the top corner of the page, as opposed to the others which had what appeared to be a water-mark on it.  Note to self: ask Ron if he drew the symbol, or if it was like that when he came into possession of the document.  It’s a newspaper clipping, and unfortunately, there’s no date on it.  It’s just a couple of short columns that have been cut from the paper with scissors.  It reads as follows.

An Escondido man, white, forty-three years old was found dead in his home Sunday morning after a neighbor coming home from church noticed a side window had been broken when pulling into his garage.  Jorge Padilla gave the following statement to Police:

“We were coming back from church and I saw the window was broken to the neighbor’s bedroom, so I walked over and knocked on the door.  When nobody answered, that’s when I knew something wasn’t right.  I tried calling the house and nobody picked up the phone, so I walked around to the side of the house, and that’s where I found his head in the bushes outside his window.  I thought it was a prank at first, but then I saw inside the room, and I immediately started to cry and called nine one one.  It scares me to think someone is capable of this in my own neighborhood.  He was a nice guy.  I mean, why would someone do that to him?”

Ruiz also mentioned he and his family are heartbroken and scared.  He claimed to know the victim for over 10 years, and would often barbecue together on the weekends. Police have not released the name of the victim yet, but Detective Mark Anderson was able to provide the following comments:

“At this time we have our forensic team in the building and we’re ruling it a homicide.  We haven’t found any signs of forced entry.  All doors and windows were locked, including the broken window that the neighbor identified.  We have reason to believe that the window was broken from the inside of the residence.  We’re encouraging anyone to step forward with any information about potential suspicious activity in the neighborhood over the weekend.”

Detective Anderson refused to offer any speculation as to the cause or method of the beheading, and that he’d be waiting for the Medical Examiner’s autopsy report.

Spring Break – Season 3 Episode 7

See Content Warnings
General horror, sexual themes, profanity, alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use, blood, paralysis, a character describes someone with a stereotype rooted in racism.
Need to skip this episode? Click here to see the plot.
DeAndre Williams provided a witness statement to Ron. Over spring break he visits his younger sister for a college party. While there he finds himself attracted to a particular woman. While at first this woman appears interested in another woman, Jennifer, she shows interest in him as well. She paralyzes them both and DeAndre blacks out.
When he wakes up, Jennifer is being held to the ceiling by the woman who has transformed into a creature with a hookworm-like face and is bleeding onto him. Upon noticing he regained consciousness, it ran away. When Jeremy cross-referenced their names in the database he’s building from the papers, he found their E.R. results in the medical files from Brianne which show they had an excess amount of fibrinogen and a small amount of curare.

The more I look into the papers, the more I’ve become aware of my surroundings.  It doesn’t matter whether you live downtown in a loft overlooking the city, if you’re in the suburbs where kids are outside chasing each other around until the street lights come on, or whether you’re in a quiet, rural area where you may not run into your neighbors without intention for months.  Maybe it’s this city… I don’t know, maybe it’s everywhere and I’m just now becoming aware of it.  

I’m starting to actually be able to discern whether or not other people have seen things as well.  It’s difficult to describe with words, but they put off a sort of energy, or aura if you will.  Not necessarily a visible one, but there’s almost a distinct level of tension, and a loss of innocence you can pick up on just by proximity.  I’ve felt it for a long time, but didn’t know what exactly was causing it, or what the feeling related to, until recently.

I’ve noticed, the papers, as I read more and more of them, put off that same energy.  It’s almost like I can decipher which ones are total lies and bullshit from those that are documented truth.  Here comes the interesting part.  The part where I can’t seem to wrap my head around it.  If this palpable sensation can be tied to peoples’ experiences, is it the physical body that leaves these traces, or is it something more spiritual or supernatural?  

I selected today’s document because I had it in my hands when the thought occurred to me.  Perhaps, if this is truly something supernatural, not bound by the laws of physics in our dimension of being, can simply sharing a story with this kind of energy make others sense this feeling… this emotion… this distortion?  And if so, does this mean that we are granting it more energy or power just by recalling these events?  Or perhaps there’s another option.  Obviously not everyone believes in these kinds of things.  But the more we read about them, the more people know about them, and the more charged they become.  What if we simply think about them enough that they begin to exist?  

There’s many instances in religious texts that refer to the power of having thoughts, of speaking things, and of the relinquishing of one’s will based on the mind and motives.  This begs the question… would all of these paranormal things even exist if we stopped thinking about them?  I can tell you from first-hand experience.  Once you experience some things, there’s no forgetting them.  But who originally thought of these things?  I suppose it’s the classic chicken and the egg argument.  

For now, I suppose I’ll keep sharing them all with you, but I’m curious to see if anyone else listening gets this impression as I read the statement I’m about to.  The following is a dictation from a voice recorder that Ron used to interview the witness.  It appears that the witness hired Ron for his P.I. services because there’s an invoice in Ron’s handwriting paperclipped to the transcription. Witness statement of DeAndre Williams, Saturday, April 18, 2009:

I can’t go to the cops.  They just won’t believe me!  I told my father everything about what I saw, and he did some research to find you… said you look into these kinds of things.  I’ll start from the beginning.  I drove down here from L.A. because my little sister invited me to a Spring Break party one of her dorm mates was throwing at the Conq.  We call it the Conq because it’s full name is the Conquistador Dormitory.  

Anyways, I hadn’t heard of anything going on at UCLA since I had moved off-campus.  It wasn’t even really my type of scene anymore, but I figured I’d make sure to go and hang out with my little sis… make sure she didn’t overdo the partying so much.  I’ve always been a little protective of her.  I remember seeing her at her first high school party when she was a freshman.  I was a senior then.  I remember thinking I was going to have my hands full because even the guys in my grade were checking her out.  

Anyways, it took me about 3 hours to drive down from L.A. and when I got there, it seemed pretty casual.  The party hadn’t started yet.  On my way to Kianna’s dorm room on the 3rd floor, I passed a few open doors, and right as I was about to knock on hers, which was closed, I heard her call my name from a few doors down.  She must have seen me pass by.  

The smell of stale beer, microwavable pizza, and weed overwhelmed my senses as I greeted her with a hug.  I had once built a tolerance to that kind of atmosphere, but I was surprised at how put-off I felt by it now that I was encapsulated by it again.  She introduced me to her white roommate, Jennifer.  She was really pretty, I remember thinking.  Normally I’m not attracted to skinny white girls, but something about her, maybe the way she looked me up and down and smiled, made me think she might actually be a prospect.  I hadn’t come down here to try to hook up, but I wasn’t gonna turn down an opportunity if it presented itself, if you know what I mean.

We made the rounds while she introduced me to her floormates and her R.A., who shouldn’t have been allowing all this drinking and smoking to occur, but I got the sense that she was the type of person who probably started the whole thing.  Meanwhile, I kept making eye contact across hallways with Jennifer.  Each time we did, that smile just made me motivated.  I was definitely going to get back around to her a little later.  Since I was planning on sleeping on the floor in their dorm, I knew it was inevitable, and I tried to have a good time.  

Apparently my UCLA sweatshirt was pretty popular.  I spent some time playing beer pong with Kianna and some of her friends, occasionally glancing around for Jennifer, but I hadn’t seen her in a while.  I was nearing disappointment, and had to keep reminding myself that wasn’t the purpose for me being there.  So instead, I showed everyone a couple rule variations that us Bruins played beer pong with, and I couldn’t believe it, but I kept losing… even with my own college’s rules.  

As the night wore on, and I became a bit more buzzed, people started calming down.  Half the people on her floor took off and went to other parties.  A few of them tried to convince us to go down to TJ, but it was already after one in the morning.  I used the excuse that I was too tired from the drive, but in reality, I wanted to see if Jennifer was going to be around.  Kianna asked if I wanted to turn in or hang out a little longer, and I was good for a little while more.  We were actually in the dorm adjacent to her.  I mostly listened to her friends complain about a couple of their instructors, and about the quality of the “dirt weed” that they were smoking from a 3-foot bong.

I was honestly getting a bit bored, which caused the tiredness to really set in.  I found myself zoning out a bit, and had been facing the doorway, which was still open.  And then I saw someone that I hadn’t seen previously that night.  She was walking by the doorway in the direction of Kianna’s room.  She looked like she may have been in her late 20’s, and that she didn’t belong there.  Most of the girls here were right out of high school, first-year freshmen, but this… this was a woman.  She was about five foot eight, tan, and if I had to guess, she may have been a mix of middle-eastern and Asian, or possibly Native American.  Exotic to say the least.  Her hair was down to her waist, and it was wavy, like she could have easily been in a shampoo commercial.  Jet black hair with a few inches of the end dyed silver, leading into a purple hue.  She was beautiful.

The way she moved seemed different as well.  I mean, she was taking steps, but it was almost as if she glided in slow motion.  Right before she passed out of view from the door frame, she turned to look at me, and I got dizzy.  She had bright green eyes.  Most of the girls here were wearing blue jeans or sweatpants.  She wore tight black leather pants and a green top that left little to the imagination.  I just had to get up and look for her.  

I walked up and down the hallway looking in all of the open doorways, but couldn’t find her.  I got a little frustrated and gave up.  It was then that I remembered I had left my phone in my duffel bag in Kiana’s room.  Out of all my belongings in that bag, I didn’t want my phone to get misplaced, so I walked in on my way back to find the two women who had captivated my thoughts all night.  The older woman with the hair and the eyes was standing in front of Jennifer with her hand under her jaw.  They looked like they were about to kiss, and then Jennifer noticed me and took a step back from the woman.  

I said, “Sorry, the door was open and I just want to get my phone.”

Neither of them said anything, so I pulled my phone out of my bag and began walking toward the doorway, feeling like I was intruding. But before I could make it there fully, the door gently closed.  I turned around to look at them to see if they just witnessed what I had.  I mean, the freaking door closed by itself!  They didn’t seem phased by it, and were standing near one another again.

I said, “Hello, did you guys not see that?”

They both looked at me, and then while Jennifer was still staring at me, the woman leaned in and whispered something in her ear.  At that, both of them turned to look at me and smiled seductively before starting to kiss each other.  I wasn’t sure what the fuck was happening, but I certainly wasn’t going to excuse myself now.  After a few awkward seconds, they looked at me again, and the woman said, “DeAndre, is it?”

I hadn’t told her my name.

“Why don’t you sit down and I’ll make you a very special drink.”

She walked over to a rolling luggage bag at the foot of Jennifer’s bed, and I turned to glance at Jennifer.  While the woman’s back was turned, the seduction had all but left Jennifer’s eyes, and instead, she stood before me tense, with eyes full of terror.

I mouthed to her, “What’s wrong?”

And to my surprise, I felt a tongue licking my earlobe, then the woman said, “Nothing’s wrong, DeAndre… in fact, everything is juuust right.”

She was clear across the room a moment ago.  I didn’t know how it would have been possible for her to grab the three bottles in her arms and walk over to me without me hearing a sound.  In the moment though, rational thought had left my mind.  I was only filled with desire for this woman.  She nibbled on my earlobe just a bit and when I turned to face her, she was on the other side of the room.  Was she there still, or again?  I was confused, but entranced.  When I looked back at Jennifer, she had reacquired that sultry facial expression.

“Sit,” the woman demanded.

She was both frightening and erotic.  I just couldn’t help myself, thinking of things that would make anyone blush.  Jennifer sat next to me, both of us on chairs at the other end of the room.  The woman was making a concoction for us to drink.  She turned around with two double-shot glasses in her hands.  There was a white smoke being emitted from the liquid within, tipped with green fog.

“What’s that?” I asked her.

She calmly handed one to Jennifer, who began sipping on it, then she turned to me.  Still standing, she grabbed underneath my jaw similarly to how I saw her touching Jennifer when I first walked in.  I couldn’t be sure, but it felt like one of her fingernails grew in length while she firmly held me and pierced my skin on my neck.  She was pulling hard, nearly lifting me by my neck.

Even more sternly than before, she said, “Drink.  No discussion.”   

I took a glass in my hand and looked over at Jennifer, who had finished her drink.  She was slumped down in her chair, looking as if she was about to pass out.  The woman straddled me in my chair and gently grabbed my hand holding the drink.  She kissed me for quite a long time, and I was in ecstasy.  When our mouths separated, I instantly felt the cold rim of the glass touch my lips, and I breathed in the fog that was being emitted from it before she tipped up the glass and I swallowed.  I made eye contact with her as I drank, and her state of arousal grew as she began rocking back and forth on my lap.  Her head tilted up toward the ceiling, and just for a moment when she looked back down at me, her face changed.  It looked like a hologram that, when turned, flashes to a different image, and then back to the original.  I shook my head thinking I must have been hallucinating.

Then my vision became blurry, and I recalled watching the woman strip naked in front of me, and then disappear out of my periphery in the direction that Jennifer was sitting.  I could feel Jennifer moving, rubbing up against me, along with the woman, but I had some serious tunnel vision and wasn’t able to see them right next to me.  I also recall not being able to move my eyes in that direction.  The longer I sat there, the more my vision faded to black, and I could feel myself slouching down in the chair, helpless against gravity that seemed ten times what it normally did.  

I don’t know how much time passed, but I remember being awoken at some point to a tickling sensation on my forehead.  With my eyes closed, I managed to bring my forearm up to my forehead to wipe it.  It was wet.  I tried opening my eyes, but everything was blurry.  The tickling sensation continued on my forehead.  It felt like someone was using a water dropper on my forehead.  In my mind, I thought one of Kianna’s punk friends was dripping beer on me while I slept or something.  But then I remembered what had happened just before I closed my eyes.  

I was lethargic and it proved difficult to move, but my vision was slowly becoming less blurry.  I wiped my forehead with both hands this time, and when I examined my hands, they were coated in crimson liquid, warmer than room temperature.  I smelled my fingers.  It was blood.  At that moment I had realized that not only was there blood on my hands, I could taste that copper-flavor in my mouth as well.  I tried to sit up, but I couldn’t just yet, so I began to wipe my eyes, which apparently had small pools of blood collecting in them.  I began to panic, wondering if it was my own blood.  Or was it Jennifer’s or Kianna’s.  I frantically worked to shift my head and wipe away the blood from my eyes in order to observe my surroundings.  

And then I saw them.  From my back, sprawled out on the floor, I looked straight up and suspended directly above me on the ceiling, I first saw Jennifer’s face.  She had that frightened look in her eyes again, with her back pinned against the ceiling and hair dangling directly down toward me, blood staining the ends and dripping onto me.  She looked completely conscious, with her body jiggling as what was attached to her moved.  Holding her in place was the woman with the long hair… only she wasn’t a woman anymore.  

I don’t know what she… it… was.  From my view, I could tell it was naked.  Both hands and both knees had claw-like appendages that anchored her into the ceiling.  Its head was buried in Jennifer’s neck, and it’s bald, gray-looking skin was soaked in Jennifer’s blood. 

Jennifer mouthed the words “help me” and began crying as her arms and legs dangled.  

I began looking around the room for something I could throw, or at least something that would reach the ceiling that I could use to help get Jennifer free.  Jennifer began mouthing the words “help me” again, this time with a faint wheeze barely making audible speech as she began crying.  Her tears fell and touched my face, diluting the blood that she had already spilled.  

It must have been the noise that got its attention.  It stopped and turned its head toward me to reveal the most hideous-looking creature I’d ever seen.  The once-green eyes had now turned a fiery red, and there were only two vertical slits for a nose.  Its entire face was glistening in Jennifer’s blood, and it’s sucker-shaped mouth was lined with small rows of teeth that didn’t resemble anything human at all.  

It met my eyes with mine, and I still couldn’t move.  I saw that holographic image shift again, only this time in reverse.  For a split second, I could see the the beautiful woman’s face again, with her erotic glance, before it quickly changed back into this emotionless abomination.  The creature tensed up as it looked into my eyes, and I laid there helpless and paralyzed except for my arms.  I began using my arms to try to sit up or roll myself over.  It sat and watched, as if anticipating its next move.

I was finally able to sit up ever so slightly, and as I did, I watched as a long tongue came out of its mouth.  It must have been nine or ten inches, and it wiped Jennifer’s neck clean one last time before releasing her from its grip.  Jennifer slammed against the floor, knocked unconscious.  Thankfully when I sat up, I had moved just enough to avoid her falling directly on me, or I may have been hurt as well.  I wanted to get to Jennifer, but I couldn’t move quickly.  

My eyes watched as it gave me one last glance, and then scurried along the ceiling toward the window, then down the wall a bit before it broke the window and exited the room.  It crawled out and up toward the roof, turning around to duck its head one last time into the window to make sure we weren’t giving chase, then it disappeared into the early morning darkness.  

The longer I sat there, the more I was able to regain my sense of motor control, and Jennifer finally woke up again.  She was able to turn her head toward me, and I could see the wound on her neck.  It was a circular wound, about the size of a drink coaster, with what looked like dozens of puncture marks that were no longer bleeding.  It was almost as if the creature’s tongue caused the wound to clot when it licked her that last time.  I thought for sure she was done for, that she bled out while laying next to me.

I asked her if she was okay, and she tried to move.  She had broken several ribs, her left shoulder, and her left knee from the fall from the ceiling, though she didn’t know all of that at the time.  Kianna arrived shortly after the sun rose.  Apparently she was with another friend and had a little too much to drink and passed out.  We were still not able to move independently when she got there, but she called for help.  Jennifer and I were only separated by a curtain in the emergency room, which we slid back so we could see one another after the doctor’s initial examination.  I could hear everything about her medical history as she told the doctors, and she could hear mine.  

I didn’t know it until the doctor told me, but I had a similar circular wound on my neck too.  I had been so caught up in watching Jennifer’s experience, I was unaware I must have gone through something similar.  I’m not sure if I was on the ceiling or not, but I counted myself lucky.  At least I didn’t have to be awake through that.  Of course, the police came to the E.R. to see what happened.  Apparently the R.A. was notified by Kianna that something went down, and had seen the carpet in the dorm room soaked in blood.  Kianna said it looked like a murder scene.  

Jennifer lied about what happened, saying they were playing a stupid drinking game and was too drunk to remember what went wrong.  She glared at me after she said that, indicating to me that she wanted me to make something up as well.  I agreed, and told the police nothing, saying that I didn’t remember anything until I woke up covered in blood.  The only part I was truthful about was the fact that there was a woman there I hadn’t recognized, and neither did Jennifer.  Kianna was questioned in the waiting room before being allowed to come see us, and she hadn’t known anyone fitting the attractive version of the person, or thing, that was in that room with us.

I just want answers.  Having seen my share of scary movies, it didn’t look exactly like a vampire, or any animal or cryptid I’d ever heard about.  It almost looked parasitic, like the face of a tapeworm or something that would feed off of a symbiotic host.  I just want to make sure I don’t turn into one… I could really use your help.

Ron’s notes:

DeAndre’s account doesn’t sound familiar to anything else I’ve encountered.  It does resemble a dream I’ve heard about before though.  Many years ago.  Back in my tour in Vietnam and the whole Agent Orange thing.  Some of the guys would tell me about these hallucinations they had.  Visions of things I’d long since dismissed.  I admit, some resembled vampires, some of parasitic beings, and some were unique in and over their own, but nothing exactly the same as this.  

I’m afraid for now, I’m going to have to document this among the others that unfortunately I have no explanation for.  

Doing my due diligence, I cross-referenced DeAndre Williams’ name, and Jennifer Montrose’s in the database I’m building.  Strangely enough, I do have medical records from this E.R. visit from Brianne’s computer on both of them.  Apparently their lab results had some peculiar findings.  Aside from both of them having the E.R. doctor’s notes about the measurements and size of the wounds on their necks, samples taken from the wounds indicated an excess amount of fibrinogen… a blood-clotting agent, on the surface of the skin and even deep within the tissue.  In addition, their lab results detected small amounts of curare.  I had to look this up.  Apparently this is a plant extract, non indigenous to North America, but it comes from Central and South America instead.  

Even more interesting, it can only become active in the human body after it is injected directly into the bloodstream, and it’s harmless if taken orally.  There is just a subtle amount of dosage difference that would render a person paralyzed compared to slightly smaller increases in dose that would kill a person, mainly by paralyzing the diaphragm, preventing a person from breathing.  This is why, according to what I found online, it’s possible to eat prey that have been infected with the toxin.  It still doesn’t explain what initially put DeAndre and Jennifer into a sleeping state before acquiring the wounds, but it might explain why they remained paralyzed so long, and why it didn’t affect the creature that put them through all this.  

The Delores Tape – Season 3 Episode 1

See Content Warnings
General horror, elder abuse, murder
Need to skip this episode? Click here to see the plot.
Jeremy recaps what happened in Season 2, Episode 15 “Bait” and discusses the documents Brianne came into possession of in Season 2, Episode 12 “Brianne Scanlon” which contain medical files. She’s been tracking people down in the files but they’ve all died in their sleep.
She believes there’s a man coming for her in her sleep, and may be responsible for the deaths of the people in the files. Jeremy is also having unusual dreams, similar to out of body experiences.
This week’s paper is a transcript of a tape. In the tape, an elderly woman named Delores recounts a man in a khaki suit observing her in her sleep. The man did something to her husband in her dream. When she woke up, her husband was dead.
Another resident tells her that lots of people in their retirement community have dreamt of the man in the khaki suit, and that he’s very dangerous, and photos of loved ones should be hidden lest he find them and hunt them down too.
Jeremy contacts the person who transcribed the tape who says there is no more information from the tape. The retirement community Delores was in burned to the ground after Delores died. According to this person, the retirement community had already been empty for days, which raises the question: what happened to the retirees?
Jeremy doesn’t find answers, but does find a forum post asking about a person in a brown or gray suit haunting their dreams after someone told them about the man.

I wasn’t really sure if or when I’d be back doing this show. 

There were some things that happened during the break that I’m not sure if I should talk about. Others I’m not quite sure I’m ready to rehash. 

I let my phone go to voicemail twice before I picked it up. It was Brianne. I was surprised to see she hadn’t yet run away from all of this; I’ve certainly been trying to. But I have something… something nobody else has. Hundreds (if not thousands) of documents related to the supernatural. What I had let take over my office and my garage… and my life… was a library of the dark and twisted and awful. 

And Brianne needed my help.

A few months ago we put an end to a demon possessing a man named Malcolm Foye but not without great personal loss. Brianne’s brother, Benjamin Scanlon, was killed in the fight, as was a Catholic priest named Father Jonathan Bank. The formerly possessed subject known as Malcolm Foye escaped, though gravely injured, and I thought that was the end: the end of demons influence, the end of the Grinner. But I was wrong.

Under the Grinner’s coercion, Brianne was compelled to gather a plethora of medical documents: mostly neural scans of various individuals. She’s not exactly sure how she obtained the documents (she was in a sort of fugue state) but she’s a nurse so we can make a fairly educated guess. Among those black and white images of humans brains were some labeled Brianne Scanlon and she wanted to know why, so she went searching.

What did the Grinner want with scans of her brain? When did any of this happen and who were all of these other people? Why were these documents labeled Project Hydra? 

She got close, but these people were hard to find. The ones who were still alive at least. You see, most of the people that she had been able to track down were dead. All but one.

She never told me his name, only that he seemed like a completely normal guy. She followed him for a while, sat outside of his house, watched him and his family. She told me they were happy, that she didn’t want to inject her poison in to it by bringing him in to this. But then he died in his sleep.

A man in his thirties doesn’t just die in his sleep (or at least not according to Brianne). It was odd… and awfully convenient. So she started backtracking, making her way through all of the dead people she found in the files, and then she started digging deeper. They’d all died in their sleep. Every last one of them. 

Brianne came to me because she thinks her own dreams are connected. She thinks that whatever happened to the people in those medical documents is happening to her too. She won’t give much detail, but she says there’s a man… or sometimes he’s different men… and he’s coming for her. I’m not certain what she means by that. But at her request I’ve started doing some research using the storage papers as a resource. I’ve been organizing them, trying to make sense of all of the madness, and I’ve found some things that might be pertinent to what’s happening to Brianne. 

I haven’t mentioned it yet – not to Brianne, not to anyone – but I’ve been having some odd dreams myself. Dreams where I find myself floating: floating above my sleeping form. I look down and I see that I’m not breathing… not moving. I think I am dead. I reach out to touch my chest and I fall back in to myself… and that’s when I wake up. 

I want to find out what happened to those people. What’s happening to Brianne. What’s happening to myself. And so I want to bring you along as we search through to Storage Papers looking for dreams… looking for those that have died in their sleep.

This is the first document I uncovered on the subject. It is the transcription of a recording made in the late seventies or early eighties. According to Ron’s notes, he was given the transcription by a colleague some time in the two thousands who referred to it as ‘the Delores Tape.’ Unfortunately the tape itself isn’t in my possession and later you’ll understand why. Instead I’m forced to rely on this transcription and hope my own voice is a suitable substitution. 

With that out of the way, I present to you The Delores Tape: Side A.

To be honest, it felt a bit awkward to say no. At the time it just seemed… rude. I certainly didn’t want to come off as a snob. The man in the khaki suit lowered a paper match to his tobacco pipe, taking a long draw and flicking his wrist to extinguish the flame. 

“As long as I have permission, I would like to stay here and monitor your dream.”

I smiled. “Oh, but of course.”

And with that I carried on. I think I was baking a cake. Yes, I was baking a cake. You see I had preheated the oven and gotten everything ready – let the butter rise to room temperature – but I just couldn’t figure out what type of flour I was supposed to use. Not wanting to bug your grandfather, I decided to just go and pick some from the garden. 

The man in the khaki suit was jotting down notes on his clipboard, and when I looked in his direction he gestured for me to carry on, almost shooing me away. I made my way to the back door, wanting to peruse the garden for the perfect flower for my cake.  I looked back once more to see if the man was following me. He was not. Instead, he was heading towards the den where your grandfather was sleeping in his favorite chair. You know how much he loved that reclining chair.

I warned the man, “Don’t go in there and wake up my dear old Harold. And don’t turn off his westerns if you know what’s good for you!”

The man nodded, but he didn’t listen one bit. Instead, he smiled (an awful snarl) and he disappeared around the corner, deliberately making his way to the den, despite my warnings of waking Harold. Well, I certainly didn’t want him disturbing my sweet old husband from his nap, and I found this behavior to be downright disrespectful. I’d made up my mind that this nasty man had to go, so I put my baking on hold to go give him a piece of my mind.

I made my way in that direction, towards the hallway that led to the den, to my dear Harold and that awful, awful man. But the hallway had become impossibly long. It went on for what looked like miles: the walls stretching and pulling like wet dough. There was a shimmer (like I was looking at a reflection) and I knew if I stepped foot in that hallway I would fall right through the floor. I knew I would die if I made one single step. 

So I closed my eyes. I pictured the den, Harold’s westerns flickering on the television set, and I could see it. I could see what that monster was doing to my poor old Harold. His hand was reaching right in to Harold’s chest. I was in the den now (the twisting and bending hallway behind me) but I was too late. That awful man in the khaki suit told me as much. He told me he was just doing his job. He asked me would I forgive him for what he had done. I couldn’t look at poor Harold. I knew that your grandfather was no longer with us. I was silent. Frozen.

The man in the khaki suit frowned, reaching in to his jacket pocket to retrieve his pipe and a small box of tobacco to pack it with. I felt stuck. I’m just a little old lady. There was nothing I could do. 

When I was a girl I remember walking into the coop to feed the chickens on your great grandparents’ farm only to discover a fox was ripping them to shreds. You have to understand there’s nothing malicious about a predator, but there’s nothing remorseful about one either. I felt the same then as I did when I was a girl staring in to the eyes of that fox, afraid to turn my head and look at all the blood and feathers. The man opened his mouth to say something, but he never got the words out, not before I woke up… alone in bed.

It was unusual to wake up alone, your grandfather being such a heavy sleeper. Never one to get up to get a glass of water or use the restroom, he always slept the whole night through. But not tonight. No, tonight he was gone and I was alone. I had wondered how he managed to get himself out of bed (let alone without waking me), why the door was shut, why he hadn’t turned on the hallway light. As I made my way to the door I heard a strange noise.




And as I opened it and stepped out into the hallway, I saw it: the flickering grey light inching its way up and across the ceiling; the rising sound of static, on and off which each click. It was the old television in the den flickering on and off with its spinning clicking dial.

I’d find my Harold in there, sitting in his favorite chair, head pointed up at the ceiling. They’d tell me it was a heart attack. And maybe it was… or maybe it was whatever that nasty man in the khaki suit did to him in my dream.

After that I stopped having dreams about the man in the khaki suit. At least for now. The nurses come to check on me less, and when they do it’s never one that I recognize. They do odd things too. They forget my medications, or give me the wrong ones at the wrong time of day. They ask me strange questions, personal ones, like if anyone ever touched me as a child, if Harold ever hit me or beat me. They ask me if I believe in God… if I would ever betray God. 

It scares me deeply. It scares me to think of what they might do if I don’t play along… if I tell anyone.

According to a notation at the bottom of the page, its at this point that the recording is interrupted by a visit from one the nurses. Delores is administered one of her medications and someone can be heard whispering something inaudible before the tape recorder is shut off. This concludes side A. 

The following is a transcript of side B.

Franklin was a decent enough man, though your grandfather never quite grew to like him. I think Harold was jealous, afraid Franklin might try to steal me away. After all, Franklin was quite handsome with his tweed jacket, and of course he’d been a bachelor since the early fifties. He’d had to flee Mississippi. Being a black man in love with a white woman still wasn’t easy back then, don’t let them tell you that it was. He’d always held out hope that he’d see that girl again, but that’s a story for a different time. 

Franklin told me that he saw the man in the khaki suit. He told me other folks had seen him too, that he had a habit of doing what he did to my poor Harold. I asked Franklin, “Who else had the man killed?”

And he thought about it for a long time before he responded, in the sweet southern Mississippi accent, “Too many, Delores… too many. Folks don’t want to talk about it. And if you see that man again you tell him leave you alone and you close your eyes tight and don’t open them until you wake up in your bed again.” 

I remember Franklin cupping his hands over mine and saying a prayer. He told me that he’d miss Harold, though I doubt that was entirely true. His eyes swelled up and he asked me to promise him that if I ever saw the man again I’d close my eyes until I woke up, and so I did. He asked me one more favor before he left. He took his hand off of the doorknob and lowered his voice. He told me to hide all of the pictures of my children and my grandchildren. He said if I didn’t then they’d take them away. 

I tried my best to remember but I didn’t think Franklin ever had any children. The next time I’d see Franklin he’d be under a sheet carried out of his bungalow on a stretcher. He didn’t have any family, at least not any that he stayed in contact with. I hadn’t seen him come out for at least a couple of days, and they hadn’t stopped in to give him his medications either. I can only imagine what he must have looked like in there, that poor soul. 

He was a sweet man, that Franklin. You know, I think about him a lot, almost as often as I think of your grandfather. Sadly, Franklin wasn’t the last. Next was Oscar… Charlie… then Isabella and her husband Christopher. This is a retirement community. We are all old or getting there. It may sound a bit crass, but this is what old people do. We die. But not like this.

I’ve lived here for a long time now. Harold and I moved here in our late sixties and as I sit here today, I’m almost 82 years old. And it’s never been like this. Never has death been a daily occurrence. This isn’t right. I’m the only one left. I’m the only one that knows what he really is.

There’s a note at the bottom of the page. It says: “Remaining audio unrecoverable. Tape no longer functional.” 

I was frustrated. I couldn’t help but feel like the last piece of this puzzle was lost to time, so I did a bit of digging and I managed to hunt down Ron’s contact: the colleague who had passed along this transcript all those years ago. 

It wasn’t easy. There was an old cellphone hidden away in a box of office supplies that once belonged to Ron. It wasn’t hard, sifting through the decades old contacts, to find who the old cop buddies were and who Ron’s other colleagues were. I made some cold calls. Most of the numbers were no longer in service and so I was surprised when someone finally picked up. 

I asked her if she knew anything about the Delores tape. She laughed. She’d heard about it, but never got a chance to listen to it. I asked her if she knew who had given the transcript to Ron and in turn she asked me if I had a pen. She couldn’t give me his number, instead she gave me an email address. Told me it was still a shot in the dark, she hadn’t spoken to him or Ron in years. To be honest, I didn’t feel hopeful going on a stranger’s hunch, but it was the only lead I had. If he didn’t know anything about the Delores tape, then maybe he knew someone who did. 

He emailed me back a couple of days later and this is what he had to say.

If you’re looking for Ron, I don’t know that I can really be of much help. If you’re just looking for information on the Delores tape, I’m not sure that I can be of much help with that either. What I can tell you is that she was absolutely a real woman. I met her once. 

I was never able to follow through with a full investigation because a few days after I met with her she was found dead: died in her sleep. There was never a cause of death listed because you usually don’t need an autopsy at that age. When you’re over eighty years old and you die in your sleep… that’s what they call dying peacefully. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you: “That’s the way to go.”

I’m not so sure.

What’s interesting is that the day after Delores passed away, that whole retirement community burned down to the ground. On the news they insisted that twenty-three people had died in that fire. A tragedy. But I had been to that property just days prior. It was practically empty. 

I saw some of the on-site staff of course, though they dressed more like pharmacists or scientists than what I would have thought nurses dressed like. Unless they were having an early Christmas party when the fire broke out, I don’t know how the hell twenty-three people could have died in that fire. I never saw any sign of a single resident except for Delores. 

They never published the names of those that perished. I was never able to track down anyone who had family on the property either. It’s almost like the place never existed before it burned down. But it did. I was there.

But I know the real question you have on your mind. It’s the same question everyone’s asked me about the tape, what Delores was saying when the tape cut out.

The simple answer is that I don’t know. The first time I played the tape, I immediately started making a transcription. It just makes things easier to reference when you have it all on paper. And thank God I did, because when I got to that part – near the end of side B – the tape recorder I was playing it back on just sort of combusted. Not really a big fire or anything, but enough to let off some black smoke and ruin the tape recorder. The tape melted. I was never able to hear the end of it. Unfortunately, I’m just as much in the dark as you are. 

If I really try, I can trick myself into thinking that something wouldn’t allow me to hear the end of that tape. Something wanted that story to die in the fire with everything else. I guess it sort of did. 

The only person who knows what she said is the person who recorded it: Delores’ grandson. And, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get in contact with him since her passing. Believe it or not, he’s the one who reached out to me. I told him to go to the police and he told me that he tried. He was 16, and this was the best he could do. 

None of it really makes any sense. It’s the reason I gave up on paranormal investigating. It’s the reason I passed that transcript to Ron. If I could give you one word of advice, Jeremy… it’s to quit it with the podcast, and quit looking in to this stuff before you get yourself killed.

I sent a follow-up email, just to make sure I had permission to share this exchange on the podcast. He agreed on the condition that he be allowed to remain anonymous. 

I did some more digging after that. I looked for burned down retirement communities and when that didn’t work I changed the keyword to ‘nursing homes’ and then to ‘assisted living facilities’. I couldn’t find anything that sounded quite like what Ron’s former colleague described in that email. 

I did some other searches, looking for anyone else’s experiences with the man in the khaki suit, but I didn’t really find much online. I like the way Ron’s former colleague put it: it all died in the fire. 

However… I did find one thing. Something that cut a bit through my numbness, reanimated some of the fear I must have had resting in my bones since dealing with the Grinner. It was a forum post that reads as follows: 

“Hey, does anyone know how I can get in touch with that girl that was talking about seeing a man in a beige or brown suit every night in her dreams? I remember everyone telling her that they sounded more like nightmares. I’m just a bit weirded out because ever since I read that, I’ve been having dreams about him, too. “

I reached out to the poster but I haven’t yet gotten a response. Something tells me I’m not going to, and I hate knowing that. 

I have a feeling that there’s more to this. This story may have burned away a long time ago, but it’s just a piece of something much larger. Something tells me that the other pieces lay somewhere in these boxes… somewhere in the Storage Papers… I just have to put it all together again.