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Clarkson's Columns: "It's time you quit Furious Tweeters Anonymous" & "Up to my ears in Agri-Jargon"

2020.10.26 23:56 _Revelator_ Clarkson's Columns: "It's time you quit Furious Tweeters Anonymous" & "Up to my ears in Agri-Jargon"

It's time you quit Furious Tweeters Anonymous and joined me and the Trots for a quiet pint
By Jeremy Clarkson (Sunday Times, Oct. 25)
All this month, people have been talking about a new Netflix documentary called The Social Dilemma, in which a bunch of stubbly Californian tech start-up nerds on a guilt trip worry out loud about how the internet has been hijacked by enormous companies that are now using it to make — gulp — money.
They say that our phones constantly monitor what we do and who we talk to and what we say. And clever algorithms are used so advertisers can target their products and services at exactly the sort of people who might be interested. And this is what, exactly? A bad thing?
If you are a woman and you are experiencing lady problems, you do not want your Facebook feed to be full of ads for agricultural buildings. In the same way, I'm not the slightest bit interested in hearing about an exciting new breakthrough in tampon technology. Targeted advertising makes sense for all concerned, and if Facebook can make a few quid along the way, good luck to it.
"Ah, but," say our stubbly friends from California. "Exactly the same information-gathering and algorithms can be used by political parties to target undecided voters." And ... what's wrong with that? Seriously. What's the difference between doing that and dispatching some smiley dweeb with a clipboard and a pamphlet full of promises to the swing-state housing estates of Hemel Hempstead?
The Social Dilemma, however, did in the end touch fleetingly on a subject that's been troubling me for a little while now. That Google and Facebook and all social media will eventually cause every country on earth to be engulfed by a bloody civil war. Possibly about toothpaste.
When I was a reporter on the Rotherham Advertiser, I'd go for lunch most days with two people who were in the Workers Revolutionary Party. I liked them a lot, and I think they liked me, even though I was very obviously not a member of the Workers Revolutionary Party. We talked about politics, of course, and we'd argue in a good-natured way and then we'd have a couple more pints. And then we'd go back to work.
It was the same story with my dad. He didn't like my trousers and I did not like his. We didn't have similar taste in music either. He thought Dave Greenslade might be the devil. I thought Bach needed to cheer up. And we'd have lengthy debates about hair too. But we never actually fell out over any of it.
Today, though, things have changed, because we can engineer our lives so we rarely encounter anyone who thinks differently. You think you are chatting to your kids in the evening, but actually you're making noises while they're tuned into Radio Greta on social media.
We all follow like-minded souls on Twitter. We have WhatsApp groups, where we share jokes with others we know will find them funny. We watch whatever news channel echoes what we are thinking. We ignore those on Tinder who like Donald Trump, or those who eat meat or who do anything that doesn't belong in our opinion bubble.
That's why people were staggered when the country voted for Brexit. Remainers such as myself were surrounded by other remainers, so we thought everyone was a remainer. It's why everyone at the BBC was bowled over when Boris Johnson won such a massive majority. They couldn't believe it because absolutely everyone in their electronic lives voted for Jeremy Corbyn.
If you are a vegan, it's extremely likely that you will share vegan recipes with other vegans on social media. You may even share stories that say meat is murder and growing cows is destroying the ozone layer. So when you see a picture of a man eating an actual burger, you are horrified. Staggered. Because how could he be so obtuse?
You are going to send him a message, which, because social media allows you to dispense with the niceties of meeting face to face, will be extremely abusive. And then your friends are going to pile in until, eventually, burger man responds in kind and soon everyone is threatening to kill everyone's children.
If you don't believe me, tell someone under the age of 25 that we shouldn't be pulling down statues. But be warned, the response will be so unpretty your phone may well melt.
I don't think there's been a time when society is as divided as it is now. Women versus men. Black people versus white people. Rich versus poor. Right versus left. There are even heated and abusive online arguments about dental hygiene. And it's because people are always absolutely convinced by social media that they have the majority on their side.
The internet was built so you could get a pizza at four in the morning, and find out where James Garner was born while you're on a beach, but it's become home instead to levels of bigotry, rage and hatred not seen since the Trojans opened up that horse.
It will spill out on to the streets in time. It already has in America, where gangs of white supremacists, utterly convinced by social media that 94% of the world is on their side, are roaming around in packs, with Glocks on their thighs and an AR-15 rifle in the boot, just waiting for one of the nation's six Democrats to look at them funny.
The stubbly start-up nerds say it isn't possible to step back from the brink. They say we've created Skynet and that no one's going to come from the future to save us.
But I think it is possible. We just need to remove the cloak of anonymity behind which all social media users can hide. You used to need a licence to own a dog and could have had it taken away if you didn't treat it well. But anyone can go online and say anything they like to anyone in the world, completely safe in the knowledge that they will only ever be found by Heckler & Koch, which will send them an ad for its latest sub-machinegun.
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My bafflement is sprouting nicely: Pass me the scythe I'm up to my ears in agri-jargon and I don't understand a word
By Jeremy Clarkson (Sunday Times, Oct. 25)
I didn't think farming would be especially difficult. I figured that man had been growing crops for 12,000 years and that after such a long period it would be in our DNA. That it would be relaxing. Monty Donnish even. I'd plant seeds, weather would happen and food would grow.
In my mind, then, farming would mostly involve leaning on a gate while munching pensively on a delicious Dagwood Bumstead sandwich, or enjoying a late summer sundowner from behind the wheel of an air-conditioned tractor. It'd all be a festival of crusty bread, lemonade, fresh air and cider with Rosie. Followed by a cheery harvest festival and a big fat cheque from the EU.
I've learnt, however, that all of it is back-breaking and difficult, that there's never time for a ploughman's in the sunshine, that there's no cupholder in my tractor for sundowners or anything else and that to be a farmer you must be an agronomist, a meteorologist, a mechanic, a vet, an entrepreneur, a gambler, a workaholic, a politician, a marksman, a midwife, a tractor driver, a tree surgeon and an insomniac.
I am none of those things, which is why I spend every single evening with my nose buried in a copy of the countryside bible — Farmers Weekly. It's my new favourite thing.
I especially love the fertiliser and machinery adverts, because they all feature fifty-something men and they're all wearing checked shirts and zip-up gilets made from a material that exists only in agricultural supply shops. I want to buy everything they're advertising because it all looks so manly and proper.
The editorial is a bit different, though, because I can't really get my head round any of it. There will be a picture of some sheep, so I'll think, "Ah. I have sheep. I must read this." But after the second paragraph I have to give up and move on because I don't understand a single word.
I therefore switch to a piece about the new agriculture bill, but all I've taken in when I finish it is the sound of a voice inside my head saying, "Concentrate, Jeremy. This is important." The actual words? No. They've just swum about like fish.
I understand now how life is for people who think they might be interested in cars. They pick up a car magazine, and after five minutes they think that maybe the exciting front cover featuring a Porsche on full opposite lock was a con because the text inside seems to be about physics.
I can read about an electronic limited-slip differential and know what the writer means.
I know terms such as lift-off oversteer and axle tramp and torque steer and scuttle shake and I even have a fairly good idea what the motoring writer Gavin Green meant in Car magazine when he said the then new Toyota MR2 suffered from "tread shuffle"\*. For most people, though, this kind of language is gobbledygook.
We see the same problems today with Formula One. The commentators don't translate tech-speak such as "deg" for the viewers. They use it to demonstrate to the drivers and the engineers that they too are part of the inner circle. It annoys me — so, chaps, can you stop saying "box"? And use the word "pit" instead, because then people at home will know what the bloody hell you're on about.
This brings me on to the world of banking. Like a lot of people I have savings, and that means I occasionally have to speak with people called Rupert and Humphrietta. One said in a Zoom call recently that in the previous few months I hadn't "shot the lights out". I had no idea what she was on about. She then tried to sell me a "product", which, it turns out, is only a product in the way that a casino chip on red is a product. I could be wrong, but I'm in no position to know.
I turn occasionally to the Financial Times for assistance on these matters, but, like the car magazines and the F1 commentary, it's far too complicated. Which is why I mostly end up reading the superyacht reviews in the disgusting but strangely engrossing How to Spend It supplement.
I fear, however, that simplification isn't actually necessary in Farmers Weekly, because the readers don't need the jargon translated. When they read that ex-farm spot wheat values are averaging close to £176.50/t midweek, they know what the words mean and what the implications are. Me, though? Not a clue.
I have been writing these farming columns for six months and I have started buying all my clothes at StowAg, so quite often I'm stopped in the street by farmers wanting to know about the moisture content of my wheat or where I am on the idea of levying a carbon tax on farmers who finish their cattle after 27 months.
I have therefore become very skilled at nodding and then suddenly remembering that I must get in the car and go away.
The worry is that I want to learn how to speak farming, but I have no idea how this is possible. I don't have a boss who can take me under his wing, and while I have a land agent, who's brilliant, he is even more un-understandable than Farmers Weekly.
I could sign up for a three-year course at what is now, hilariously, called the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, but by the time I'd finished learning how to drive a Golf GTI up the steps and how to get home from Cheltenham after a particularly pissed-up day at the Gold Cup, I'd be too old to lean on gates or climb the ladder into my tractor.
Muddling on isn't really an option either, because when our EU money dries up in January, it's very obvious farmers are going to have to adopt a much more scientific approach to survive with dwindling government grants.
I already don't know how a potato grows, but soon it won't matter unless I can use chemicals and boffinry to grow four billion of them. I shall therefore drown in tech I don't understand and can't afford.
I have turned to the internet, of course, and it is neatly split between two approaches. Fantastically simple nonsense written by and for failed City boys who have two acres and a lamb. And head-spinningly complicated equations written by people into chem-porn at Monsanto.
And in the middle of all this there's me, who wants to make good food, well. I think I'm not alone. I think there are a lot of farmers like me who are bewildered and even a bit frightened by what they must do to survive. And I think you, round your breakfast tables, should be worried too.
Because when you take the art and the history and the simplicity out of farming, I suspect you may end up with a lot of food that doesn't taste very nice.
\* I actually don't know what "tread shuffle" means.
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And here's the Sun column: "The first real upside of this Covid business is that Halloween’s dead this year"
submitted by _Revelator_ to thegrandtour [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 20:39 fallFurious0 ILPT: Doing illegal the smart way

I do not encourage or condone any type of illicit activity, and this post is a simple thought exercise with no real world basis or history. You should seek immediate legal advice if you are in trouble already.
Tips for the underworld:
Meeting People
  1. Never get in and out of a car when buying/selling something illegal. Always hop in the car and drive a couple blocks away and then get out. 30 seconds in/out of cars usually screams out "drug deal happening here" to any passersby.
  2. Create a free kijiji or craigslist advert for something small you are "selling" - like a playstation game or controller. The item price should be roughly what you expect to give/take during a normal transaction. You can also create a new ad at the beginning of every week so the ad and item are fresh. When meeting clients, keep this item in your car so if you and a customer are ever stopped and questioned, you can show the ad and then show the game controller as the reason for the meetup and for why there is cash in the car. This won't work if you're in around the same meeting spots all the time.
  3. Never carry large amounts of cash and goods in any one vehicle or on your person at any one time. You can recover if you lose the cash, or if you lose the goods, but probably not if you lose both.
  4. Use Google street maps to scope out a good meeting spot ahead of time. Always look for cameras along shop fronts on streets. Then park your car many blocks away from the main street (but be wary because amazon ring cameras in homes these days), and walk to your meet spot.
  5. Never ever bring your personal phone to a meeting spot. If you have no choice, then turn off the personal phone and take out the SIM before you start heading over to the meeting spot.
  6. Use 3-way calling to have spotters watching an area. You can use the 3 way calling feature on your cellphone to call two friends, and then they can each call two friends, and so on. You can have a dozen people this way covering street corners, mall exits, and any big area you need to have watched while you're conducting business. Using earbuds, it will look like you're just listening to music on your phone but really your whole crew is telling you in real-time whats going on around you. Make sure your crew understands not to use real names and set up a "red alert word" beforehand so if someone sees a problem and yells it out on the call, it means to get out of there no questions asked.
  7. If you have to meet the same person often, then every time you meet them you should tell them where the next meeting spot is verbally, so that you don't have to say the location over text or phone call in case anyone is listening. You can just text "see you at the spot i told you in 30 min".
  8. If you get to a meeting spot early and your appointment guy is not there yet, do not hang around or stand around waiting and staring at your phone. Try walking around the block or the area while you wait.
  9. Never say incriminating things in person. If you have to talk, say something like "here's that thing you asked about" when exchanging goods. Anybody can record anything these days using free phone apps.
Your appearance and clothes
  1. There is a pandemic going on so use that to your advantage by wearing a medical mask on the street anytime you are doing business. Bonus: wear a hoodie with the mask and you can walk around looking like a bank robber and nobody will care.
  2. Try to wear clothes that fit the environment in which you are meeting someone. This is to avoid looking out of place or shady and attracting attention.
  3. Do not wear distinctive clothing like anything that has big writing or stands out. It will be easy to remember and identify later. If you wear plain colors along with a medical mask and hoodie, you're a ghost.
  4. if you have to do something really bad, then wear a backpack, a non-blue medical mask, gloves, tear-away track pants and a hoodie to the spot. MAKE SURE TO WEAR TOTALLY DIFFERENT COLOR shirt and pants under the track pants and hoodie. Then later, after you do your deed and are getting away from the spot, find a private area to take the hoodie and track pants off and put them into the backpack or ditch them altogether. Wear a different color medical mask too. That way your description will be totally different than the suspect at the scene of the incident.
Disposable Phones
  1. Never, ever, ever use your personal cell phone to mix business and personal life. If you have to use your personal phone in a pinch, have code words ready to use and a plausible explanation for whatever it is you have to do.
  2. Pay a friend of a friend to go to a 7-11 and buy a cheap pay-as-you-go phone for you. You don't want to send your own friend or anybody you hang out with because their face will be on the camera and if that phone is investigated later, you don't want someone connected to you on video buying it.
  3. Try to have the friend of a friend from #2 activate the phone in store (tell them to have ready a fake name but a real address w/ ZIP code pulled from google maps) ready to go. If they can't activate it in store, then you should only activate it using a VPN or TOR browser (use ipleaks.net to make sure your IP address is hidden before you go to the phone website to activate).
  4. Choose a pay-as-you-go plan that has a lot of data. This is because you should download a free secure/encrypted app like signal to use for texting and calling.
  5. NEVER turn on a disposable phone for the first time at home or other sensitive location. Only turn it on for the first time near a starbucks or free wifi spot. You need this free wifi spot to do a software update so that the phone has updated security software and to download a secure messaging app like signal.
  6. After the software/security update is done, immediately go into the settings and disable the following:
  7. GPS location
  8. Advertisement settings
  9. bluetooth, airplay, etc.
  10. Any sort of technical reporting settings for apps.
  11. delete any apps you can that come pre-installed or if you can't delete, try to disable them.
  12. ******PUT ON A SCREEN PASSWORD IMMEDIATELY. 6 NUMBERS AT LEAST.**********\*
  13. DO NOT use regular text messages - they are saved FOREVER. Use an app like signal.
  14. Make all of your friends and contacts also download the signal app to use when communicating with you. Remind them this is for their own good too.
  15. NEVER, ever do any of this on a disposable phone:
  16. use your home wifi or any friends' wifi on the disposable phone. Always keep the wifi off.
  17. use or log into any social media apps on the disposable phone.
  18. browse the internet or use it for fun or personal stuff.
  19. use the disposable phone to make a personal call or texts.
  20. use real names in a call or in any text messages (all messages can start with "hey bro")
  21. Do not send out a mass message to your contact list when you get a new numbephone. Onkly send the new number from the new phone to people one at a time. You can use this to cut out any people you don't want to do business with anymore.
  22. NEVER keep the disposable phone turned on during times when it doesn't need to be.
  23. Using tape, stick a small piece of paper over the front and back cameras on the disposable phone.
  24. Throw away and replace disposable phones at least every 5 weeks. Stomp on the screen first so nobody else finds it and tries to use it or sell it. You want that thing destroyed beyond use.
  25. If you sense danger, and there is enough time, then purposely get the password wrong on your phone enough times so that the phone will wipe itself. You can also try to let it soak in strong alcohol or vinegar or any liquid that would destroy the electronics and hard drive in the phone. Then toss it.
  26. Never throw away a disposable phone in your own home's garbage - always use a fast food place's trash can or another business away from your place. And wear a medical mask if you can when you're throwing it away in a business so your face ain't on camera.
Communicating with people
  1. DO NOT EVER use regular text messages - they are saved by phone companies FOREVER. Use an app like signal and make all of your friends and contacts also download the signal app to use when communicating with you. Remind them this is for their own good too.
  2. In some cases, you can use a free encrypted email service like protonmail to communicate with people. This service does not save or track IP addresses and cannot access message content (however the subject line of an email is NOT SECURE, so always leave that blank). Always use a non-identifying username like "PGQR444" and a new password that YOU DO NOT USE FOR ANYTHING ELSE.
  3. Never give a meeting location too far ahead of time. Say the meeting spot location only at the last possible moment. You can tell someone to start heading towards the general area of the meet spot but then text them the exact spot when you are ready and close so that you don't have to wait long.
  4. You can use code words which you discuss with someone ahead of time, so that you don't have to say shady shit on the phone.
  5. if you're dealing with high profile people or people that are well known to law enforcement, then try to get them to send a friend or girlfriend to meet with you instead of them coming out personally to see you. You don't want to be seen with people like this and attract the wrong kind of attention.
  6. Also get in the habit of stepping outside a car where possible to have certain conversations (and leave all cellphones in the car).
Handling Goods
  1. When delivering a larger amount of goods, put it into a single container or bag. Avoid having it divided up into lots of smaller bags...because with multiple smaller bags of goods, you automatically open yourself up to a trafficking charge.
  2. Go buy medical latex gloves from your pharmacy. Always wear these when handling or packing goods so your fingerprints aren't all over the bags.
  3. if you can't get medical gloves, use clear scotch tape instead. Wrap a few layers of tape around the tips of your fingers so your fingerprints are covered. Bonus: you can walk around in public and nobody will notice.
  4. When delivering something large, use a bag-in-a-bag. This means if you have to hand off a bigger box for example, you will want to carry it in a backpack or gym bag or something large like that. Then you can hand off the box inside and still walk away carrying the same backpack or gym bag you already had - so it doesn't look like you handed anything off to anybody.
  5. For smaller items or packages, try to pass off the goods in a food type wrapper or bag. For example, put the goods in a McDonalds takeout bag and have french fries in it. Whoever you meet can reach in and grab some fries (and the goods) and it just looks like your sharing food with them.
  6. If you are making a big exchange. Tell whoever you're meeting to carry it in a specific bag (like a 7-11 grocery bag or whatever store is in the area) and you carry your stuff in the same kind of bag. Then when you meet and exchange stuff, you both leave the meeting holding the exact same kinda bag so it looks like you still have whatever you left your place with.
If you think you're being watched or followed
  1. The best thing to do is step back from any shady activities immediately and try to live a boring life for the next 6 months to 1 year. Surveillance is expensive and there are many, many people on the list to be tracked. So make yourself as boring as possible and eventually they will have to justify the cost of keeping tabs on you or else moving on to other priorities.
  2. DO NOT hang around associates or other people involved in illicit activities - this can be used to justify watching you even if you're not doing anything wrong yourself.
  3. If you must meet someone, have a 5 minute rule for a meeting. This means if you have to meet somewhere busy like a restaurant to discuss business, then as soon as you arrive and sit down, the first 5 mins are used to get all the business talk out of the way asap. If one of you is under surveillance, it will take about that long for a watcher to arrive and get seated somewhere near you to listen.
  4. Always watch for things that are out of place or unusual. An example is if you are hanging at a busy bar or restaurant, and someone comes in alone and sits near you and just sips on one beer for the next hour while staring at their phone the whole time (if this happens to you all the time, you're being watched). Or if a couple comes in and sit near you but don't talk to each other much and drink very little alcohol. These people will never look at you and will try to avoid all eye contact.
  5. Treat your car as if it is bugged and has a GPS tracker hidden in it. Do not use it go anywhere you don't want others to know about. And do not have conversations in it that you don't want heard.
  6. Treat your personal cellphone as if it is spying on your conversations and watching you at all times. Put it in a drawer or a jacket pocket when having certain conversations. Be careful about turning a phone off if you're being watched - because it will be noticed and may perk up someone's attention on you even more.
That's enough for today. Stay safe ladies.
submitted by fallFurious0 to IllegalLifeProTips [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 19:22 Sdd555 Ugh, 3 different dates this week, 3 different disappointments

I’ve (35m) been back on Tinder a couple of weeks and had some good matches which led to dates with 3 different women this past week.
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Date 1 - a walk in the park with someone who I had almost nothing in common with as it turned out. I thought she was nice though so would have met again even though I didn’t feel any fireworks. Got home to a no spark message, unmatch and unfollow on IG. That was brutal lol. But whatever because I had date 2 to look forward to.
——-
Date 2 - another walk, a local lady who I’d had some pleasant if uninspiring convos with. Again, lovely lady but no great desire from me to meet again, but could be tempted into it to give it another chance. Afterwards she complained I wasn’t tall enough but would go for a walk again. I’m 5’11 btw lol, she was about 5’7. I let the convo die out not long after.
———
Date 3 - the one I’d been looking forward to the most. Absolutely gorgeous woman, seemed to click well on messages. Met last night for a few drinks. Seemed to get on well, she delayed her taxi home so we could have another drink at mine first, all going well it seems. Right at the end we had quite a disagreement on how often I see my child. She stays once a week and that kind of works for everyone involved. She had a go at me for not fighting to see her more and the mood sort of changed after that. This morning I got a text saying she couldn’t date someone who didn’t fight to see their child more. I was stunned really.
So today I’ve had a pj day with Netflix feeling a bit sorry for myself. This time last week life was great. Feeling a bit low today and tempted to leave the apps alone for a while. Sigh.
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EDIT: so the childcare thing has definitely split opinion on here! I was interested to see what everyone thought as I was a bit shocked by it but I can understand why that might be of concern to some ladies. It’s opened my eyes a bit actually.
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Edit 2: wow ok, thank you to everyone who has taken the time to comment, good and bad. There’s been a lot to sift through so apologies if I haven’t replied to everyone. I welcome constructive criticism so thanks to those who have given me some insight into the comments I received on my last date, it’s given me something to think about.
I have to take issue with some comments on here though as I feel some people are coming at me to paint me as some sort of terrible, lazy deadbeat dad when just like date 3, you don’t know me or the nuances that make up my situation. I will clear this up as best I can as I can’t reply to everyone.
When we broke up in January I asked for 2 nights a week, I was given 1 because her mum didn’t want to break up the school week. It sucks, but I’m not going to lawyer up or drag this through the courts (I think this is where a lot of you take issue) because I don’t want to lose the night I already have if it gets nasty and the good relationship we’ve maintained becomes bitter and I lose. I don’t know what it’s like where you all live, I live in the U.K. if that makes a difference. I don’t have the resources to get legal anyway.
I’ve had other fathers tell me I’m lucky if you can believe that. I’ve got a cousin I’ve not seen in 20 years because his mother moved him away to spite my uncle, friends have got similar stories, this is what I’m dealing with here. If the mother wants to make your life hell she can.
The ex involved is nice as pie right now because I’ve worked hard to maintain a positive situation, but believe me she can turn in an instant and then I’m screwed. That’s life as a single dad, that’s the truth. Mon-thurs the mum gets an hour tops with her before she goes to bed (we both work full time). I get Friday night and all Saturday day, I’m getting the best quality time. When I pick that kid up from school on a Friday she practically barges other kids out of the way to run and hug me. She tells me she loves me all the time and she’s the best, happiest kid I know and that’s all that matters to me. I’m making the best of a bad situation, believe me.
submitted by Sdd555 to datingoverthirty [link] [comments]


2020.10.24 23:51 ketchupsunshine [Kpop] Irene Degeneres: apparent kpop Karen

I should’ve finished my update post to the Jessica book drama instead of writing this because it’s already like a month late, but I really felt like this needed to be posted to this sub ASAP so here we are.

Background info:

Red Velvet are a popular 5-member girl group with SM Entertainment. It consists of Irene, Seulgi, Wendy, Joy, and Yeri. They are one of the biggest girl groups in Korea at the moment (alongside the likes of Twice and Blackpink). In December 2019, member Wendy was badly injured and has been on hiatus until August 2020. In July, members Irene & Seulgi released a mini-album called Monster as a way for Red Velvet to remain active while Wendy was recovering.
Irene (real name Bae Joohyun) has been one of the most popular members of Red Velvet since their debut. In fact, she's one of the most popular female idols in Korea. Irene’s face matches up incredibly well with Korean beauty standards, so she’s frequently used in ad campaigns and she has also been trying her hand at acting in recent years. Basically she's popular for being hot. Every show she's on, every person she meets, every mention of Irene seems to be followed by a comment about her perfect face. She's so pretty that one of the other members cried after meeting her because she was scared of competing with someone so beautiful. She's so pretty and popular that even Kim Jong Un is rumored to be a fan.
Irene also gained a reputation as an "ice princess", which in kpop fandom is essentially the equivalent of saying "this person has resting bitch face and we're gonna make jokes about how savage they are". Generally fans don't put much credence in this sort of nickname and it's utilized mostly by anti-fans who hate the group or who hate specific members. Most people who followed Red Velvet did not actually think that Irene was an asshole.

Until…:

Kang Kook Hwa, a famous fashion editor, made an Instagram post alluding to a famous female idol verbally berating her for 20 minutes straight until she cried. The relevant part is as follows:
I should have prepared myself from the stories I've heard before I met her. But today, I became speechless as this person stung me with her words that are like electric needles. I had no choice but to stand still with my hands, feet, and even my brain tied together. I had to stand still in front of that repulsive face that was hysterically throwing a fit at me. I had to stand there like a fool without anything I could do. This person did not give me time to understand the situation or even seek understanding from this person. This person didn't even give me a chance to explain because she can't hear anything. I've experienced all sorts of people in this field for 15 years. I thought I had experienced everything in life and thought I had let everything go, but I was wrong.
I experienced hell for 20 minutes in an unfamiliar room. This person skipped the greeting and sat right down as this person began spewing insults at my face with her cellphone pointed at me. This person was so emotional that you couldn't know if she's talking to everyone in the room or just me. But either way, the target today was me. I wondered, 'I guess other people experienced this too? They are experiencing it, right?' The knife from her mouth did not stop as I have been stabbed multiple times by her words, and only tears rolled down my face. I wasn't even in the right mind to feel embarrassed that I was crying; tears just came out. What am I doing this for? Who am I doing this for? What do I want to show? Is it to earn money? Who chose me? Did someone ask for a favor? Why am I going through such an insult?!
I thought deeply about this but could not understand her actions. I calmed down, and I wanted to talk to her person to person like a normal human being. And I wanted an apology. But she just disappeared. I recorded everything, just in case something else would happen. I should take action against this lady. I will state the exact facts through my words.
I was an editor paid to work and was a writer. I'm going to use all my energy and use my brain smartly and cleverly from now on. It's been a long time since I felt revenge be a catalyst #psycho #monster
Notice the hashtags at the end? Red Velvet's most recent release as 5 members was titled Psycho. And the name of the single and mini-album by Irene and Seulgi was titled Monster.
Everyone pretty quickly figured that the post was about either Irene or Seulgi due to the hashtags. And then tons of people who had worked with both of them came to Seulgi's defence. Amongst a ton of stories about how nice of a person Seulgi was, there weren't any similar stories about Irene. The comments on the original Instagram post had comments along the lines of "thank you for speaking up, I'm glad someone finally did", and comments praising Seulgi. Things looked pretty damning for Irene.

And the floodgates open:

Kang Kook Hwa had an Instagram post detailing her experience. She had comments and likes backing her up. And allegedly, she had an audio recording of the whole meltdown that she threatened to release if she did not receive an apology.
The SM Entertainment PR department, often criticized by fans for not defending idols in a timely manner, sprung into action. Irene was taken to apologise to Kang Kook Hwa in person and also posted an apology on Instagram.
Kang Kook Hwa apparently accepted Irene's apology in an Instagram post I can no longer track down, but the shitstorm was far from over. Besides the likes and comments on the original post, or the fact that the post itself mentioned hearing stories about Irene’s behavior before meeting her, more people came out of the woodwork to condemn Irene’s diva behavior.
Belle Shao, a very famous Chinese stylist, said that she had worked with Red Velvet once when they were in China and that she had seen Irene’s bad behavior herself. Belle Shao claimed that the Korean staff who worked with Irene regularly were miserable. Her most ruthless comment was this:
The face she has is wasted on her.
Which is generally being regarded as a sick fucking burn, regardless of your side in this.
A lot more people who had worked with Irene had negative things to say, many of which are listed here. There are also scattered accounts of Irene being mean to SM Entertainment trainees in the past, both old and new.

The damage control:

On the flipside, a bunch of people who have worked with Irene have also come out to say that they had good experiences with her and that she was a nice person. There’s far more than I care to list, but you get the idea.
Reactions to these posts have been mixed. Similar to when American celebrities went out of their way to defend Ellen, there’s a lot of “who asked?” as well as a lot of “your positive experience doesn’t negate someone else’s negative experience.” There are also a lot of people using this to push back against the idea that Irene was an overall nasty person to staff members. Generally, the response of Korean fans has been more brutal than international fans. Part of it is that she was disrespectful to people older and more experienced than her, which is a big no in Korean culture. Part of it, as a few commenters have said, is that Irene has become an “international embarrassment”. Part of it is that for a lot of western fans, celebrities being assholes is pretty much expected. “Celebrities being assholes” is fundamentally opposed to the very concept of idols, as idols are supposed to present themselves as positive role models no matter what, but this is more important to Korean stans than to western stans.

Aftermath:

"Double Patty", a film Irene starred in, is allegedly considering postponing its release due to the controversy. Red Velvet is cancelling appearances. Ads that Irene had modelled for (which there are a lot of) are being taken down.
Fans are divided. Some people said that Irene had only apologized because Kang Kook Hwa threatened to release a recording of her meltdown. Some people think Irene should be forgiven because Kang Kook Hwa accepted her apology. Some people pointed out the sheer number of other people who had either liked Kang Kook Hwa's post or made comments about their own negative interactions with Irene. Some people pointed to the positive posts made about Irene by others who had worked with her as proof that she couldn't have been that bad. Some people said that those posts were made mostly by people who either had worked for SM Entertainment in the past or were currently working for SM and that SM could have either paid them off or threatened to ruin their careers if they didn't post something positive about Irene. Some people mentioned that Kang Kook Hwa had actually worked with Irene before, despite claiming in the post that she hadn’t. Some people claimed that Kang Kook Hwa had been in the industry for fifteen years and wouldn’t remember working with Irene in 2016. Some people on twitter just said that it was kind of hot to know that Irene has a temper.
The angriest people of all? Wendy stans. She was finally able to participate in group activities again after nearly a year away. Or she would’ve been, if Irene’s scandal hadn’t meant the cancellation of Red Velvet’s planned activities and possibly the demise of the group as a whole. Although western fans are generally less angry at Irene for her behavior than Korean fans, Wendy’s popularity among western fans has led to some additional outrage due to her getting screwed by this.
There is also speculation that this scandal will lead to SM Entertainment debuting their new girl group. Red Velvet was debuted when their predecessor group f(x) was dealing with scandals, and it has become a meme that every Red Velvet comeback coincides with something bad happening; now fans think the cycle will begin anew with another group.
Many people are saying that Red Velvet isn’t going to be able to come back from this. Idol groups, especially girl groups, do not hold up well to scandals like this. And when you’re so mean to people that it makes international headlines, you might be out of a career. Although Red Velvet had been gaining in popularity and recognition lately, they are also fairly old for a girl group and fans have been expecting them to be phased out in favor of a new girl group for the last several years. This may be the incident that causes SM Entertainment debut a new girl group to do to Red Velvet what Red Velvet did to f(x).
EDIT: Literally one day after I post this SM drops a teaser for what we can only assume is the new girl group. That was fast. Thanks u/HalberryBlues for telling me!
submitted by ketchupsunshine to HobbyDrama [link] [comments]


2020.10.24 18:27 thehorrorwriter2 The Sasser Flea Market

After the YouTube incident, we had to make another move. And could you blame us? The good news was with Corona running wild, Jess was able to keep doing her classes on-line while keeping her mysterious ESL tutoring gig.
Me, on the other hand, well, by October, Albany, Georgia wasn’t favoring quarantine too much. Then again, most of the country wasn’t. So there I was back on the part-time bartender scene, my latest stop at a shithole club called the Sandtrap. Not to my surprise, every Friday and Saturday night was lit without a mask or anything remotely resembling social distancing in sight. Lucky me...
But while the transition from Tally to Albany meant less cool shit and entertainment, it also meant cheaper rent. And our new apartment wasn’t too bad.
The Greystone was lovely actually. There was a pool we’d never use, but hey, there was also space aplenty for a young couple like us… and an amazing walking trail for our chihuahua Ripley.
Yeah, we’d only been there a couple of weeks but The Greystone checked off all the boxes for Cory and Jess’s latest home. Not to mention there were no neighbors next to apartment sixteen... which was what mattered most to me. Especially in 2020.
From day one, the building’s manager Sara seemed eager to have us. Hell, she even waived the pet fee. After giving us her business card, Sara took us on a detailed tour. Jess was immediately hooked by her showmanship. Certainly, The Greystone sold itself as did the price... But in all honesty, Sara’s hotness swayed me.
As the three of us checked out the apartment, I couldn’t help but check out Sara’s alluring body in that tight business suit. Judging by the excessive make-up and super-stylized blonde hair, she must’ve been approaching fifty but I couldn’t know for sure considering the boobs and ass she was all too eager to flaunt. Of course, I couldn’t also help but notice my girlfriend’s occasional glare. Jess’s jealousy quite notorious during the span of our almost-half-decade relationship.
Just a few feet away from our lakeside view, Sara stopped next to the kitchen counter. The cleavage so obvious… and on point. “So what do y’all think?” she said in her Southern drawl.
“Oh, I love it!” Jess responded.
I stared on at our lovely hostess. The lady more like a socialite heiress considering the immaculate appearance… A postmodern Scarlett O’Hara. “I love the tits too,” I blurted out.
Instantly, I felt Jess’s hand reach behind me. I knew I’d fucked up, and Jess’s quick squeeze on my ass further highlighted the mistake.
“I mean I love it here too,” I corrected. Sara gave me a sly smile. “This apartment, I mean,” I added.
“Indeed,” Sara said. She fixated those green eyes on Jess. “But I can’t blame you, girl.” She lowered those emeralds toward Jess’s hand. Stealing an admiring look at my ass. “Not at all...”
I smirked at Jess. Okay, so I was flattered...
Jess just gave an awkward laugh...
“But I’m glad y’all enjoyed the tour,” Sara said.
Jess’s grip got even tighter. “Well, what else is around here?” she asked Sara. “I know there’s Lake Chehaw and the zoo and all.”
Excited, Sara leaned back against the counter. Yeah, I was still staring at those tits… “Oh yes!” Sara said. “There’s a bunch of nice little places and restaurants! The aquarium’s just up the road.”
“Anywhere to shop?” Jess asked.
Grinning, Sara nodded. “There’s actually a famous little flea market down in Sasser.”
“Sasser?”
Sara pointed out the window. Pointed beyond glorious Lake Chehaw… “Yep, it’s only about five miles down the road, past the city limits.” Sara stood up off the counter. “It’s my hometown actually.”
“Oh okay,” Jess and I said in unison.
“It’s a little community but the Sasser Flea Market is legendary. Trust me.”
“Sounds like we should check it out.” Without hesitation, Jess confronted me. The intimidating RBF putting me on the spot.
“Yeah, Hell yeah,” I replied.
So of course, we moved in. Apartment sixteen now all ours. Most of The Greystone was for that matter. Regardless of the cheap rent, I didn’t see anyone out there. No families, no kids hogging the pool. No drunks being reckless after midnight... No strangers for Ripley to bark at. Call it selective memory but about the only other resident I saw during the day was Sara on her afternoon jogs in those tight yoga pants...
Together, Jess, Ripley, and I warmed up to The Greystone. To this town in general. Plus with quarantine, I now had more time than ever to work on my YouTube channel. My new laptop definitely helped… only the writer’s block didn’t.
But even in the middle of a pandemic, Jess and I did decide to go out from time to time. Albeit with masks and an itinerary of outdoor locations. And this October weekend was no different. The perfect time to visit the infamous Sasser Flea Market.
On that fateful Saturday, Jess and I finally put up our Halloween decorations. The inflatable smiling jack o’lantern, the black cat who sang “(I Always Feel Like) Somebody’s Watching Me”, our assortment of hanging skeletons. And the Bela Lugosi Dracula poster I hung right next to Jess’s framed Justin Bieber picture… one from circa 2012. Don’t ask.
Of course, Ripley wasn’t too happy.. But Jess and I gave her a kiss before we left. Ripley had the whole playpen to go apeshit in, after all. Not to mention pounds of food to eat.
Both of us dressed in our casual Saturday best, Jess and I walked to her SUV. Awaiting us inside was all the beer and wine we bought earlier. That morning, we’d even bragged to Sara about finally going to check out the flea market. Needless to say, she was delighted.
“Y’all go enjoy it!” she’d told us
Slouched back in the passenger’s seat, I retrieved my iPhone. “Let me check on Ripley.”
“Already?” Jess teased. She brushed her straight blonde bangs back. My girl looking nice in that hoodie and jeans.
“I don’t want her getting too lonely.” I pulled up the Blink app. Straight to the live feed of Ripley playing with her chewy toy pumpkin. Too Goddamn cute…
“She’ll be fine, Cory,” Jess said as she started the car.
“I think you might be right,” I chuckled.
My epic Halloween playlist was the only soundtrack we needed. Alice Cooper’s “Caught In A Dream” getting this road trip started...
Jess and I did our best to keep a low profile and avoid as many people as possible… something we did pretty damn well even before Covid. There was the Ray Charles statue downtown. The brewery right next to it. The occasional stopover at one of Jess’s ‘stores’. But hey, we had booze and each other. A perfect Saturday off in my opinion. Who knows, maybe inspiration for another scary story would appear at some point?
Throughout the trip, I checked in on Ripley on the Blink app. Not that I needed to. Ripley was just fine chewing up toy pumpkins and fake bones... Hell, she wasn’t even crying or howling. The playpen her personal paradise.
“I told you!” Jess said.
“Yeah, yeah,” I replied. I raised the traveler’s coffee cup to my lips. One I’d filled to the brim with Miller Light… not that I needed much more booze at this point. Neither of us did actually.
About an hour later, an hour after Jess ambushed the Albany Mall, we pulled up to the Sasser Flea Market. All it took was reaching Sasser, Georgia, passing one gas station, then making that fateful right turn on to a bumpy dirt road.
As Lon Chaney Jr. sang the Spider Baby theme song, I didn’t see many cars greeting us. Then again, the place supposedly closed at seven and here we were rolling in at six-fifteen.
Then again, the flea market wasn’t anything too elaborate. Just two warehouses. Two long shacks essentially.
To our relief, there was no fanfare here. No annoying clerks. Clutching our drinks, Jess and I made the rounds in warehouse number one.
Like a junk museum, we were greeted by many strange items. The type of furniture and memorabilia most would consider trash but Jess and I considered gold. Hip to say the least.
The open front doorway let that fall breeze sweep through us. Jess’s hoodie and my San Diego Chargers jacket little help against its chilling attack…
But Jess didn’t care. Not in her wheelhouse here in the flea market. She had shit to choose from: clothes, posters, decorations. Fucking anything else.
The two of us journeyed through these various Sasser sections. The book station. The sports memorabilia. And of course, the many fucking clothes.
The bland walls and claustrophobia were all offset by the abundance of oddities. Shit this place was just cool. How could we not be entertained?
Soon, Jess guided us toward the flea market’s trinkets. A trash treasure chest.
She got lost in the sea of banners, figurines, and small statues… And as Jess piled up our newest decorations in the shopping cart, I stole another glance around the store. Around this mysterious market.
So far, I’d only seen one clerk at the front counter. A short blonde-haired woman in her forties… possibly pretty if not for the many wrinkles, stained tee shirt, crooked glasses, and yellow teeth she didn’t bother to disguise. Riley read the name tag. And I never saw a smile or sign of joy from her…
“Oh, I love it!” I heard Jess say.
I turned to see her holding up a grinning bronze cat. Just her type.
“We’re so getting this!” Jess said.
“Oh, I know,” I replied. Then my gaze drifted down those many shelves… until I stopped when I saw it. A large item on the ground floor. “What the Hell…”
“What is it?” Jess asked.
I leaned down and grabbed the poster. The Justin Bieber one. The 2012 Biebs in all his smiling, sexy glory. The same exact poster my girlfriend studying clinical psychology had plastered in our very apartment. “Yo, check this out!”
Upon seeing it, Jess cackled. “Oh my God, really!?”
“Hey, maybe you want another one?” I joked.
Jess shoved the poster away. “You’re crazy, Cory!”
I tossed Justin back on the shelf where he came from. Glanced off toward the front of the store-
And then I saw her! The weird clerk Riley staring back at me. Her gaze glowing behind those glasses. Her smile shook me to the core. The one finally making an appearance… Just how long had her ass been watching us?
“Come on!” Jess said. She snagged my arm and pulled me away.
“Alright...” I replied.
Shoving the cart, Jess led us further toward the back of the first warehouse. This first foray in to the Sasser Flea Market’s deepest darkest depths.
Now we neared the restrooms. Jess had us over at the discount section. The one dollar section to be exact. She searched through the artifacts, me at the mercy of her meticulous method. Of Jess’s particular taste.
Still being battered by the wind, I folded my arms in the Chargers hoodie. “You like anything, babe?” I looked off behind us. Off toward the open doorway in the distance. What I got was a brief glimpse of the great outdoors: tall weeds and trees. And the entrance to warehouse number two… a smaller building, for sure. But who knew what the Hell was inside?
“Duh!” Jess replied.
I watched her go through one box in a matter of seconds. Nothing of interest inside, not until the bottom when Jess pulled out a couple of used and abused toy pumpkins. The kind a certain chihuahua would like. “I’d get these for Ripley but someone already got to them,” Jess remarked at the toys’ bitemark scars.
“Her ass’d still chew them up,” I replied. I lowered my mask and took a quick swig of booze.
Laughing, Jess tossed those toy pumpkins down. “Smartass.” Followed my lead with a swig of wine.
Flashing a smile at Jess, I walked over toward the bathrooms, dreading their appearance. “Yo, I gotta go piss!”
“Alright, just meet me back out here,” Jess said.
“For sure! I love you.” I entered what I was sure was gonna be close to a literal shithole and I wasn’t disappointed.
The cramped corridors showed a sink and stall. A rusty lock for the front door my only protection from the flea market for privacy.
Even with one narrow window open, a nauseating stench hit me. Slicing straight through my Goddamn mask. The smell too putrid to be shit much less urine… And this shit lingered. The scent permeating through the bathroom in sickening suffocating fashion. I figured something had died somewhere in the bottom of that murky toilet. Either that or the flea market had attempted to flush down a human corpse many years ago.
I took a deep breath. Hit some Miller Light for courage. Even checked my phone for more courage… No service like I figured. All I could do was show a cynical smirk.
Even if Jess was gonna be holding me hostage till long after closing time, I still had to hurry and get back to her. I put my phone up and stepped up to the plate. Pissed away right there on the spot. Lost in the relief, I tilted my head back...
And then a sudden sound crashed through the smelly silence: barking off in the distance! Nervous, I zipped myself back up. “What the Hell…”
Tracing those canine cries, I stumbled up to the sink. To the window. The closer I got, the louder and more distinct the barking became. I looked on across the dirt driveway to warehouse number two… where those October howls were clearly coming from. Those guttural yaps coming from somewhere deep behind that rusted metal tombstone.
“Weird,” I muttered as I cut on the sink and let the brown water ‘cleanse’ me. All the while, the barking continued. The pup sounding more and more anguished… more and more desperate.
Now it wasn’t just the fall wind unnerving me but the howls drifting in deep beneath this dog dad’s sympathy. Finally, I stepped back into part one of the Sasser Flea Market symphony.
To my relief, I saw Jess over at a Halloween section. One complete with a toy black cat that looked to be a twin to our own beloved decoration.
Scattered plastic jack o’lanterns watched me as I stopped next to Jess. Each October cliche covered in dust everywhere except those wide smiles. Like a cold jury, their crooked eyes pierced into my soul.
Jess faced me. “Hey.”
Trying to downplay the fear factor building inside, I grabbed on to the cart handle. Those many unique trinkets and clothes right at my fingertips. “You ready to go?”
“What?” Jess chuckled. “We still got thirty minutes.”
“I don’t know, this place is…” I looked over at those grinning pumpkins. “It’s kinda creeping me out.”
“Creeping you out?” Jess chuckled.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m a pussy, I know,” I quipped.
Reassuring me, Jess ran a hand along my arm. Along my attempt at a bicep. “Let me just check the other side real quick.”
I gotta say Sasser’s was interesting… Plus, the weather kept this flea market from being a furnace. So I decided to relent and play Good Boyfriend Cory.
Pushing that heavyass cart, I followed Jess through a side exit. Out on to that same dirt driveway I saw from the bathroom. The only item out here a standing poster from the 1930s. A carnival reject featuring two dancing ants, its cursive font in candy colors screaming: Y’all, come back soon!
The isolation did alarm me. A field of tall weeds created a blockade separating the flea market from the highway. Behind the two buildings, I saw nothing offering civilization on the horizon. Just a green inferno I wanted no part of. And that rotten odor remained present… All Jess and I could hear that brutal barking...
I noticed a few cars beside ours but how come the only other person we’d seen so far was Riley? The zombified clerk who hadn’t talked much less offered any Southern hospitality to Jess and I. And some of those cars were clear clunkers. Rusted in place for a permanent parking job. Hell, maybe they were part of the exhibit for all I knew.
“Come on, Cory,” Jess said.
I looked back toward the first shack. Just in time to see Riley standing on the edge of the entryway, most of her body obscured by a hulking scuba diver suit. The lady silent enough to be on display herself if not for those lively bright eyes watching us. Her cryptic smile back again.
Upon entering Sasser Flea Market part two, we saw no other clerks. Certainly no other customers. Even the dog had stopped its howls…
What we got instead was just the same sea of random shit. The many rows of books, clothes, and scattered snapshots of a discarded past. And God knows how far this past went.
I saw a table full of vinyl records by unrecognizable musicians. The covers and productions even looked homemade. Their deep scratches caused by excessive play. A mix of garage rock and church choirs of unknown origins.
Elsewhere, posters aged beyond belief were piling up. Each of them covered in cracked frames. No bands or performers I recognized… None from the last half-century at least.
The desolation then really set in. We were all alone for sure. Under the dim lighting, I got a shotgun view of this warehouse. There was only a bulky wooden door a few feet away from us… otherwise, there were no windows. No bathrooms. No escape. Somehow, the Sasser Flea Market was scarier in the silence.
I had to squeeze my mask. Somehow that sickening smell was still getting through. It’s gotta be more than the antiques, I thought. Hell, I can’t even blame ‘Riley’ now.
“There’s so much stuff,” Jess commented as she pushed the cart further within this antique abyss.
Staying by her side, I nodded nervously. “Yeah…” I needed another swig-
But Jess beat me to it. However, not even fear could slow her shopping spree. Especially when she laid eyes on that furniture section. A cluster right there by the lone door in this warehouse.
Along the way, I stumbled into something! A cold CLANG rang out! “Shit!” I cried. Struggling to keep up, I reached out and grabbed Jess’s arm. “Hey, wait up!”
“I am!” Jess laughed.
I looked toward the site of my near-accident. Saw the sight of a large rectangular cage still rattling… A pretty big one at that. And judging by the rust and dangling padlock, the cage had been used previously… and deep in my unease, I couldn’t help but wonder for what?
Of course, that didn’t stop Jess. After all, she was tougher than me.
“C’mon, Cory!” she said.
I let her pull me up to the first table. In the claustrophobia, I still felt the frigid fall wind… or maybe it was the dread I felt lurking inside.
As Jess examined a green bird box we’d never need, I stole a glance back at that door. One fit more for a castle than Sasser, Georgia. The heavy brass knob hung on for dear life, clamoring for one last grip. Naturally, I couldn’t help but wonder what other ‘treasures’ or terrors this flea market had in store…
“This is pretty,” Jess said.
Turning, I got a front row view of the wooden bird box… but also something else-
That silver beauty beckoned me. “Yeah,” I muttered to Jess. Distracted, I staggered past her, closer to the edge of the table.
“Do you think any birds will fly on our patio?” Jess asked.
The horror wouldn’t let me respond. I stopped and touched the laptop’s smooth surface. Its flawless, brand new appearance so alluring in a dump antique store like this.
This was the same brand, the same model as what I had back at apartment sixteen. Probably the same damn everything. The shiny flashy replacement for my old 2015 craptop.
A scared shiver shot through my veins. Why would this be here? Who brought it here?
“Hey, Cory,” I heard Jess say, her voice unable to hide the obvious concern.
Welcome to the fucking club, sweetheart.
Tracing my hand along the laptop’s front cover, I saw a small card tucked into the keypad. Trapped in there, its edge sticking straight out, just enough to draw me in… Shit! I thought. What the Hell is this…
Jess put the bird box down and stopped next to me. But I didn’t wait much longer.
I snatched out the business card. The big bold letters and dark lake logo all instantly familiar: The Greystone.
The manager’s name stared back at us: Sara Dillon. But what left Jess and I in a state of shock was who was listed as her co-manager: Riley Dillon.
Jess grabbed my arm in a death grip. Hanging on for dear life… “Isn’t that her name?”
Turning, I glanced back toward where we came from. Toward the dirt driveway. The ant sign. The scuba diver guy… Only Riley was gone.
“The lady who runs this place!” Jess went on. “Her and Sara are sisters!”
“It’s crazy,” I said as I tossed the card back on to the laptop. On to what I was sure was my laptop. “This shit’s weird, Jess!”
“No shit!”
Through my drunken panic, anguished concern hit me: Ripley. I retrieved my phone. A Blink notification stared back at me, one from over an hour ago…
I felt Jess pull my arm closer. “Cory, let’s go!”
But not even she could stop me. I clicked the app. Then the clip.
There was our living room, our Halloween Utopia. Only I saw two pairs of legs walking around. I heard two sets of female voices inside apartment sixteen. I knew those longer, muscular legs all too well. Knew Sara’s Southern accent...
Huge boxes scattered in stations around our coffee table. Each of them getting filled up fast.
Now I saw several of our decorations were gone… until I realized they’d been stuffed in those cardboard boxes. All of them along with our other most beloved items. Justin Bieber’s smile amongst them.
Then there was the soundtrack: Ripley’s angry, defensive barks. They were brutal to the ears. And not much different than the ones we’d heard earlier...
Horror hit both Jess and I! Her grip grew tighter, strangling my blood flow.
Like an actor exiting the stage, the other woman walked off camera. But I heard her voice hollering commands. “Get that one, Sara!” “Let’s get that Goddamn dog!”
Through the living room windows, vivid sunlight illuminated this home invasion. Illuminated Sara snatching our singing black cat. My Blink app now a home for snuff rather than those cute Ripley videos I obsessed over.
“Shit!” I cried.
Jess faced me. “Cory, we need to go to the police-”
“Hold on!” I couldn’t turn away. Not when the video now only gave me silence and suspense. “Ripley!” I screamed into the phone.
Popping out of nowhere, a craggy face leaned over the camera, overtaking the screen! Those beaming eyes looked right at Jess and I! The woman’s expression evil, Riley Dillon’s smile absolutely terrifying.
The video ended on this chilling crescendo! Before I could get a full view of her sister Sara, before I could even see them leave the apartment… Or see Ripley.
Suffering from a stomach twisting in knots, I looked over at Jess. “They took her!”
I could see Jess struggling to subdue her own unease. A pitiful attempt. “You don’t know for sure-”
The barking erupted! Ripley’s cries for help.
Immediately, Jess and I both turned toward the door. Where our beloved pet’s pleas were coming from…
“Alright, we get her and get the fuck out of here!” Jess said.
“Amen!” I replied. Grabbing my girlfriend’s hand, I led us both up to that imposing door. Closer to our Ripley. “Ripley!” I cried.
To my relief, the door was unlocked! But I let go of the knob. Just for a moment.
“What the Hell are you doing!” Jess said. She lunged for the doorknob.
I held her back. “Hold on!” Trembling with each and every howl, I raised the Miller Lite to my mask. One lift, one sip. All I needed for a temporary fix to these frenzied nerves. Not that it helped much… but hey, every little edge helped this alcoholic at least.
“Well, Hell, let me do the same!” I heard Jess say.
Upon getting our drunk courage, we threw the door open and burst inside the backroom! The smell was even worse. A sickening mist at this point.
A single dangling lightbulb swung but there were no windows to help its beam. The room was spacious and wide… and all we heard was Ripley. Our Chihuahua trapped in a small cage right by the entrance. A couple of bigger cages positioned right next to her.
Jess and I rushed toward Ripley. But then came to one scared stop.
Bodies upon bodies piled up in the very back. Not so much preserved even in this October cold. The smell of decay was too strong, the corpses ranging from mutilated to a paleness only interrupted by the occasional blood stain. All of the bodies adults… except for the slaughtered children in slaughtered families.
A mother and father’s dead gaze stayed on us. Their throats slit from ear to ear. Their children dissected and now on display.
But it was the framed photo I saw lying at the family’s feet that shook me to the core. A picture taken well over a decade ago. One of a smiling Sara and Riley. Further proof for what Jess and I feared: The Greystone was these sisters’ gore factory. No wonder they had so many cool antiques… and no wonder the rent was so fucking cheap.
Ripley’s guttural growls broke us from our scared spell. Immediately, Jess and I came to her rescue!
In one frantic slide, I unlocked the cage. Ripley jumped into my arms and licked my face!
Horrified, Jess pointed toward the cage. “Cory, look!”
I now saw blood stains covering Ripley’s cage. Being the worried dog dad I was, I inspected Ripley’s body, much to her annoyance. But she was good. No cuts, no scratches. “It’s okay, baby,” I reassured her.
“No, look at the others!” Jess said.
Following girlfriend orders, I confronted those other cages.
They had blood, alright. Not to mention stray pulpy bits collected from organs and intestines of old. All of it human. But what struck me most were the two cages placed by Ripley’s… their doors were wide open. Their sizes exact enough to reserve one spot for Jess and one for me. Another Greystone family these sadistic sisters had hoped for. Had fucking planned for.
Struggling against the nauseating scent, I squeezed the mask again. “Jesus fucking Christ…”
Ripley barked in agreement.
“Fuck this shit!” Jess yelled. She pushed Ripley and I both back toward the warehouse. “Fuck the clothes, let’s go! Run!”
Don’t ask me how but Riley wasn’t waiting for us with a chainsaw. I don’t know where she went nor did I wanna know. Hell, technically, Jess and I never even checked out of the flea market. That shopping cart full of Jess’s crazy shit might still be there to this day…
But we ran outside! Ripley and that beer held tight in my protective grasp. Somehow, Jess’s SUV cranked and we roared out into the night! Somehow, the three of us had survived.
We never went back to The Greystone. Never saw Sara Dillon again. But one thing was for certain: I finally had my horror story... and just in time for Halloween 2020.
14
submitted by thehorrorwriter2 to JustNotRight [link] [comments]


2020.10.24 18:26 thehorrorwriter2 The Sasser Flea Market

After the YouTube incident, we had to make another move. And could you blame us? The good news was with Corona running wild, Jess was able to keep doing her classes on-line while keeping her mysterious ESL tutoring gig.
Me, on the other hand, well, by October, Albany, Georgia wasn’t favoring quarantine too much. Then again, most of the country wasn’t. So there I was back on the part-time bartender scene, my latest stop at a shithole club called the Sandtrap. Not to my surprise, every Friday and Saturday night was lit without a mask or anything remotely resembling social distancing in sight. Lucky me...
But while the transition from Tally to Albany meant less cool shit and entertainment, it also meant cheaper rent. And our new apartment wasn’t too bad.
The Greystone was lovely actually. There was a pool we’d never use, but hey, there was also space aplenty for a young couple like us… and an amazing walking trail for our chihuahua Ripley.
Yeah, we’d only been there a couple of weeks but The Greystone checked off all the boxes for Cory and Jess’s latest home. Not to mention there were no neighbors next to apartment sixteen... which was what mattered most to me. Especially in 2020.
From day one, the building’s manager Sara seemed eager to have us. Hell, she even waived the pet fee. After giving us her business card, Sara took us on a detailed tour. Jess was immediately hooked by her showmanship. Certainly, The Greystone sold itself as did the price... But in all honesty, Sara’s hotness swayed me.
As the three of us checked out the apartment, I couldn’t help but check out Sara’s alluring body in that tight business suit. Judging by the excessive make-up and super-stylized blonde hair, she must’ve been approaching fifty but I couldn’t know for sure considering the boobs and ass she was all too eager to flaunt. Of course, I couldn’t also help but notice my girlfriend’s occasional glare. Jess’s jealousy quite notorious during the span of our almost-half-decade relationship.
Just a few feet away from our lakeside view, Sara stopped next to the kitchen counter. The cleavage so obvious… and on point. “So what do y’all think?” she said in her Southern drawl.
“Oh, I love it!” Jess responded.
I stared on at our lovely hostess. The lady more like a socialite heiress considering the immaculate appearance… A postmodern Scarlett O’Hara. “I love the tits too,” I blurted out.
Instantly, I felt Jess’s hand reach behind me. I knew I’d fucked up, and Jess’s quick squeeze on my ass further highlighted the mistake.
“I mean I love it here too,” I corrected. Sara gave me a sly smile. “This apartment, I mean,” I added.
“Indeed,” Sara said. She fixated those green eyes on Jess. “But I can’t blame you, girl.” She lowered those emeralds toward Jess’s hand. Stealing an admiring look at my ass. “Not at all...”
I smirked at Jess. Okay, so I was flattered...
Jess just gave an awkward laugh...
“But I’m glad y’all enjoyed the tour,” Sara said.
Jess’s grip got even tighter. “Well, what else is around here?” she asked Sara. “I know there’s Lake Chehaw and the zoo and all.”
Excited, Sara leaned back against the counter. Yeah, I was still staring at those tits… “Oh yes!” Sara said. “There’s a bunch of nice little places and restaurants! The aquarium’s just up the road.”
“Anywhere to shop?” Jess asked.
Grinning, Sara nodded. “There’s actually a famous little flea market down in Sasser.”
“Sasser?”
Sara pointed out the window. Pointed beyond glorious Lake Chehaw… “Yep, it’s only about five miles down the road, past the city limits.” Sara stood up off the counter. “It’s my hometown actually.”
“Oh okay,” Jess and I said in unison.
“It’s a little community but the Sasser Flea Market is legendary. Trust me.”
“Sounds like we should check it out.” Without hesitation, Jess confronted me. The intimidating RBF putting me on the spot.
“Yeah, Hell yeah,” I replied.
So of course, we moved in. Apartment sixteen now all ours. Most of The Greystone was for that matter. Regardless of the cheap rent, I didn’t see anyone out there. No families, no kids hogging the pool. No drunks being reckless after midnight... No strangers for Ripley to bark at. Call it selective memory but about the only other resident I saw during the day was Sara on her afternoon jogs in those tight yoga pants...
Together, Jess, Ripley, and I warmed up to The Greystone. To this town in general. Plus with quarantine, I now had more time than ever to work on my YouTube channel. My new laptop definitely helped… only the writer’s block didn’t.
But even in the middle of a pandemic, Jess and I did decide to go out from time to time. Albeit with masks and an itinerary of outdoor locations. And this October weekend was no different. The perfect time to visit the infamous Sasser Flea Market.
On that fateful Saturday, Jess and I finally put up our Halloween decorations. The inflatable smiling jack o’lantern, the black cat who sang “(I Always Feel Like) Somebody’s Watching Me”, our assortment of hanging skeletons. And the Bela Lugosi Dracula poster I hung right next to Jess’s framed Justin Bieber picture… one from circa 2012. Don’t ask.
Of course, Ripley wasn’t too happy.. But Jess and I gave her a kiss before we left. Ripley had the whole playpen to go apeshit in, after all. Not to mention pounds of food to eat.
Both of us dressed in our casual Saturday best, Jess and I walked to her SUV. Awaiting us inside was all the beer and wine we bought earlier. That morning, we’d even bragged to Sara about finally going to check out the flea market. Needless to say, she was delighted.
“Y’all go enjoy it!” she’d told us
Slouched back in the passenger’s seat, I retrieved my iPhone. “Let me check on Ripley.”
“Already?” Jess teased. She brushed her straight blonde bangs back. My girl looking nice in that hoodie and jeans.
“I don’t want her getting too lonely.” I pulled up the Blink app. Straight to the live feed of Ripley playing with her chewy toy pumpkin. Too Goddamn cute…
“She’ll be fine, Cory,” Jess said as she started the car.
“I think you might be right,” I chuckled.
My epic Halloween playlist was the only soundtrack we needed. Alice Cooper’s “Caught In A Dream” getting this road trip started...
Jess and I did our best to keep a low profile and avoid as many people as possible… something we did pretty damn well even before Covid. There was the Ray Charles statue downtown. The brewery right next to it. The occasional stopover at one of Jess’s ‘stores’. But hey, we had booze and each other. A perfect Saturday off in my opinion. Who knows, maybe inspiration for another scary story would appear at some point?
Throughout the trip, I checked in on Ripley on the Blink app. Not that I needed to. Ripley was just fine chewing up toy pumpkins and fake bones... Hell, she wasn’t even crying or howling. The playpen her personal paradise.
“I told you!” Jess said.
“Yeah, yeah,” I replied. I raised the traveler’s coffee cup to my lips. One I’d filled to the brim with Miller Light… not that I needed much more booze at this point. Neither of us did actually.
About an hour later, an hour after Jess ambushed the Albany Mall, we pulled up to the Sasser Flea Market. All it took was reaching Sasser, Georgia, passing one gas station, then making that fateful right turn on to a bumpy dirt road.
As Lon Chaney Jr. sang the Spider Baby theme song, I didn’t see many cars greeting us. Then again, the place supposedly closed at seven and here we were rolling in at six-fifteen.
Then again, the flea market wasn’t anything too elaborate. Just two warehouses. Two long shacks essentially.
To our relief, there was no fanfare here. No annoying clerks. Clutching our drinks, Jess and I made the rounds in warehouse number one.
Like a junk museum, we were greeted by many strange items. The type of furniture and memorabilia most would consider trash but Jess and I considered gold. Hip to say the least.
The open front doorway let that fall breeze sweep through us. Jess’s hoodie and my San Diego Chargers jacket little help against its chilling attack…
But Jess didn’t care. Not in her wheelhouse here in the flea market. She had shit to choose from: clothes, posters, decorations. Fucking anything else.
The two of us journeyed through these various Sasser sections. The book station. The sports memorabilia. And of course, the many fucking clothes.
The bland walls and claustrophobia were all offset by the abundance of oddities. Shit this place was just cool. How could we not be entertained?
Soon, Jess guided us toward the flea market’s trinkets. A trash treasure chest.
She got lost in the sea of banners, figurines, and small statues… And as Jess piled up our newest decorations in the shopping cart, I stole another glance around the store. Around this mysterious market.
So far, I’d only seen one clerk at the front counter. A short blonde-haired woman in her forties… possibly pretty if not for the many wrinkles, stained tee shirt, crooked glasses, and yellow teeth she didn’t bother to disguise. Riley read the name tag. And I never saw a smile or sign of joy from her…
“Oh, I love it!” I heard Jess say.
I turned to see her holding up a grinning bronze cat. Just her type.
“We’re so getting this!” Jess said.
“Oh, I know,” I replied. Then my gaze drifted down those many shelves… until I stopped when I saw it. A large item on the ground floor. “What the Hell…”
“What is it?” Jess asked.
I leaned down and grabbed the poster. The Justin Bieber one. The 2012 Biebs in all his smiling, sexy glory. The same exact poster my girlfriend studying clinical psychology had plastered in our very apartment. “Yo, check this out!”
Upon seeing it, Jess cackled. “Oh my God, really!?”
“Hey, maybe you want another one?” I joked.
Jess shoved the poster away. “You’re crazy, Cory!”
I tossed Justin back on the shelf where he came from. Glanced off toward the front of the store-
And then I saw her! The weird clerk Riley staring back at me. Her gaze glowing behind those glasses. Her smile shook me to the core. The one finally making an appearance… Just how long had her ass been watching us?
“Come on!” Jess said. She snagged my arm and pulled me away.
“Alright...” I replied.
Shoving the cart, Jess led us further toward the back of the first warehouse. This first foray in to the Sasser Flea Market’s deepest darkest depths.
Now we neared the restrooms. Jess had us over at the discount section. The one dollar section to be exact. She searched through the artifacts, me at the mercy of her meticulous method. Of Jess’s particular taste.
Still being battered by the wind, I folded my arms in the Chargers hoodie. “You like anything, babe?” I looked off behind us. Off toward the open doorway in the distance. What I got was a brief glimpse of the great outdoors: tall weeds and trees. And the entrance to warehouse number two… a smaller building, for sure. But who knew what the Hell was inside?
“Duh!” Jess replied.
I watched her go through one box in a matter of seconds. Nothing of interest inside, not until the bottom when Jess pulled out a couple of used and abused toy pumpkins. The kind a certain chihuahua would like. “I’d get these for Ripley but someone already got to them,” Jess remarked at the toys’ bitemark scars.
“Her ass’d still chew them up,” I replied. I lowered my mask and took a quick swig of booze.
Laughing, Jess tossed those toy pumpkins down. “Smartass.” Followed my lead with a swig of wine.
Flashing a smile at Jess, I walked over toward the bathrooms, dreading their appearance. “Yo, I gotta go piss!”
“Alright, just meet me back out here,” Jess said.
“For sure! I love you.” I entered what I was sure was gonna be close to a literal shithole and I wasn’t disappointed.
The cramped corridors showed a sink and stall. A rusty lock for the front door my only protection from the flea market for privacy.
Even with one narrow window open, a nauseating stench hit me. Slicing straight through my Goddamn mask. The smell too putrid to be shit much less urine… And this shit lingered. The scent permeating through the bathroom in sickening suffocating fashion. I figured something had died somewhere in the bottom of that murky toilet. Either that or the flea market had attempted to flush down a human corpse many years ago.
I took a deep breath. Hit some Miller Light for courage. Even checked my phone for more courage… No service like I figured. All I could do was show a cynical smirk.
Even if Jess was gonna be holding me hostage till long after closing time, I still had to hurry and get back to her. I put my phone up and stepped up to the plate. Pissed away right there on the spot. Lost in the relief, I tilted my head back...
And then a sudden sound crashed through the smelly silence: barking off in the distance! Nervous, I zipped myself back up. “What the Hell…”
Tracing those canine cries, I stumbled up to the sink. To the window. The closer I got, the louder and more distinct the barking became. I looked on across the dirt driveway to warehouse number two… where those October howls were clearly coming from. Those guttural yaps coming from somewhere deep behind that rusted metal tombstone.
“Weird,” I muttered as I cut on the sink and let the brown water ‘cleanse’ me. All the while, the barking continued. The pup sounding more and more anguished… more and more desperate.
Now it wasn’t just the fall wind unnerving me but the howls drifting in deep beneath this dog dad’s sympathy. Finally, I stepped back into part one of the Sasser Flea Market symphony.
To my relief, I saw Jess over at a Halloween section. One complete with a toy black cat that looked to be a twin to our own beloved decoration.
Scattered plastic jack o’lanterns watched me as I stopped next to Jess. Each October cliche covered in dust everywhere except those wide smiles. Like a cold jury, their crooked eyes pierced into my soul.
Jess faced me. “Hey.”
Trying to downplay the fear factor building inside, I grabbed on to the cart handle. Those many unique trinkets and clothes right at my fingertips. “You ready to go?”
“What?” Jess chuckled. “We still got thirty minutes.”
“I don’t know, this place is…” I looked over at those grinning pumpkins. “It’s kinda creeping me out.”
“Creeping you out?” Jess chuckled.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m a pussy, I know,” I quipped.
Reassuring me, Jess ran a hand along my arm. Along my attempt at a bicep. “Let me just check the other side real quick.”
I gotta say Sasser’s was interesting… Plus, the weather kept this flea market from being a furnace. So I decided to relent and play Good Boyfriend Cory.
Pushing that heavyass cart, I followed Jess through a side exit. Out on to that same dirt driveway I saw from the bathroom. The only item out here a standing poster from the 1930s. A carnival reject featuring two dancing ants, its cursive font in candy colors screaming: Y’all, come back soon!
The isolation did alarm me. A field of tall weeds created a blockade separating the flea market from the highway. Behind the two buildings, I saw nothing offering civilization on the horizon. Just a green inferno I wanted no part of. And that rotten odor remained present… All Jess and I could hear that brutal barking...
I noticed a few cars beside ours but how come the only other person we’d seen so far was Riley? The zombified clerk who hadn’t talked much less offered any Southern hospitality to Jess and I. And some of those cars were clear clunkers. Rusted in place for a permanent parking job. Hell, maybe they were part of the exhibit for all I knew.
“Come on, Cory,” Jess said.
I looked back toward the first shack. Just in time to see Riley standing on the edge of the entryway, most of her body obscured by a hulking scuba diver suit. The lady silent enough to be on display herself if not for those lively bright eyes watching us. Her cryptic smile back again.
Upon entering Sasser Flea Market part two, we saw no other clerks. Certainly no other customers. Even the dog had stopped its howls…
What we got instead was just the same sea of random shit. The many rows of books, clothes, and scattered snapshots of a discarded past. And God knows how far this past went.
I saw a table full of vinyl records by unrecognizable musicians. The covers and productions even looked homemade. Their deep scratches caused by excessive play. A mix of garage rock and church choirs of unknown origins.
Elsewhere, posters aged beyond belief were piling up. Each of them covered in cracked frames. No bands or performers I recognized… None from the last half-century at least.
The desolation then really set in. We were all alone for sure. Under the dim lighting, I got a shotgun view of this warehouse. There was only a bulky wooden door a few feet away from us… otherwise, there were no windows. No bathrooms. No escape. Somehow, the Sasser Flea Market was scarier in the silence.
I had to squeeze my mask. Somehow that sickening smell was still getting through. It’s gotta be more than the antiques, I thought. Hell, I can’t even blame ‘Riley’ now.
“There’s so much stuff,” Jess commented as she pushed the cart further within this antique abyss.
Staying by her side, I nodded nervously. “Yeah…” I needed another swig-
But Jess beat me to it. However, not even fear could slow her shopping spree. Especially when she laid eyes on that furniture section. A cluster right there by the lone door in this warehouse.
Along the way, I stumbled into something! A cold CLANG rang out! “Shit!” I cried. Struggling to keep up, I reached out and grabbed Jess’s arm. “Hey, wait up!”
“I am!” Jess laughed.
I looked toward the site of my near-accident. Saw the sight of a large rectangular cage still rattling… A pretty big one at that. And judging by the rust and dangling padlock, the cage had been used previously… and deep in my unease, I couldn’t help but wonder for what?
Of course, that didn’t stop Jess. After all, she was tougher than me.
“C’mon, Cory!” she said.
I let her pull me up to the first table. In the claustrophobia, I still felt the frigid fall wind… or maybe it was the dread I felt lurking inside.
As Jess examined a green bird box we’d never need, I stole a glance back at that door. One fit more for a castle than Sasser, Georgia. The heavy brass knob hung on for dear life, clamoring for one last grip. Naturally, I couldn’t help but wonder what other ‘treasures’ or terrors this flea market had in store…
“This is pretty,” Jess said.
Turning, I got a front row view of the wooden bird box… but also something else-
That silver beauty beckoned me. “Yeah,” I muttered to Jess. Distracted, I staggered past her, closer to the edge of the table.
“Do you think any birds will fly on our patio?” Jess asked.
The horror wouldn’t let me respond. I stopped and touched the laptop’s smooth surface. Its flawless, brand new appearance so alluring in a dump antique store like this.
This was the same brand, the same model as what I had back at apartment sixteen. Probably the same damn everything. The shiny flashy replacement for my old 2015 craptop.
A scared shiver shot through my veins. Why would this be here? Who brought it here?
“Hey, Cory,” I heard Jess say, her voice unable to hide the obvious concern.
Welcome to the fucking club, sweetheart.
Tracing my hand along the laptop’s front cover, I saw a small card tucked into the keypad. Trapped in there, its edge sticking straight out, just enough to draw me in… Shit! I thought. What the Hell is this…
Jess put the bird box down and stopped next to me. But I didn’t wait much longer.
I snatched out the business card. The big bold letters and dark lake logo all instantly familiar: The Greystone.
The manager’s name stared back at us: Sara Dillon. But what left Jess and I in a state of shock was who was listed as her co-manager: Riley Dillon.
Jess grabbed my arm in a death grip. Hanging on for dear life… “Isn’t that her name?”
Turning, I glanced back toward where we came from. Toward the dirt driveway. The ant sign. The scuba diver guy… Only Riley was gone.
“The lady who runs this place!” Jess went on. “Her and Sara are sisters!”
“It’s crazy,” I said as I tossed the card back on to the laptop. On to what I was sure was my laptop. “This shit’s weird, Jess!”
“No shit!”
Through my drunken panic, anguished concern hit me: Ripley. I retrieved my phone. A Blink notification stared back at me, one from over an hour ago…
I felt Jess pull my arm closer. “Cory, let’s go!”
But not even she could stop me. I clicked the app. Then the clip.
There was our living room, our Halloween Utopia. Only I saw two pairs of legs walking around. I heard two sets of female voices inside apartment sixteen. I knew those longer, muscular legs all too well. Knew Sara’s Southern accent...
Huge boxes scattered in stations around our coffee table. Each of them getting filled up fast.
Now I saw several of our decorations were gone… until I realized they’d been stuffed in those cardboard boxes. All of them along with our other most beloved items. Justin Bieber’s smile amongst them.
Then there was the soundtrack: Ripley’s angry, defensive barks. They were brutal to the ears. And not much different than the ones we’d heard earlier...
Horror hit both Jess and I! Her grip grew tighter, strangling my blood flow.
Like an actor exiting the stage, the other woman walked off camera. But I heard her voice hollering commands. “Get that one, Sara!” “Let’s get that Goddamn dog!”
Through the living room windows, vivid sunlight illuminated this home invasion. Illuminated Sara snatching our singing black cat. My Blink app now a home for snuff rather than those cute Ripley videos I obsessed over.
“Shit!” I cried.
Jess faced me. “Cory, we need to go to the police-”
“Hold on!” I couldn’t turn away. Not when the video now only gave me silence and suspense. “Ripley!” I screamed into the phone.
Popping out of nowhere, a craggy face leaned over the camera, overtaking the screen! Those beaming eyes looked right at Jess and I! The woman’s expression evil, Riley Dillon’s smile absolutely terrifying.
The video ended on this chilling crescendo! Before I could get a full view of her sister Sara, before I could even see them leave the apartment… Or see Ripley.
Suffering from a stomach twisting in knots, I looked over at Jess. “They took her!”
I could see Jess struggling to subdue her own unease. A pitiful attempt. “You don’t know for sure-”
The barking erupted! Ripley’s cries for help.
Immediately, Jess and I both turned toward the door. Where our beloved pet’s pleas were coming from…
“Alright, we get her and get the fuck out of here!” Jess said.
“Amen!” I replied. Grabbing my girlfriend’s hand, I led us both up to that imposing door. Closer to our Ripley. “Ripley!” I cried.
To my relief, the door was unlocked! But I let go of the knob. Just for a moment.
“What the Hell are you doing!” Jess said. She lunged for the doorknob.
I held her back. “Hold on!” Trembling with each and every howl, I raised the Miller Lite to my mask. One lift, one sip. All I needed for a temporary fix to these frenzied nerves. Not that it helped much… but hey, every little edge helped this alcoholic at least.
“Well, Hell, let me do the same!” I heard Jess say.
Upon getting our drunk courage, we threw the door open and burst inside the backroom! The smell was even worse. A sickening mist at this point.
A single dangling lightbulb swung but there were no windows to help its beam. The room was spacious and wide… and all we heard was Ripley. Our Chihuahua trapped in a small cage right by the entrance. A couple of bigger cages positioned right next to her.
Jess and I rushed toward Ripley. But then came to one scared stop.
Bodies upon bodies piled up in the very back. Not so much preserved even in this October cold. The smell of decay was too strong, the corpses ranging from mutilated to a paleness only interrupted by the occasional blood stain. All of the bodies adults… except for the slaughtered children in slaughtered families.
A mother and father’s dead gaze stayed on us. Their throats slit from ear to ear. Their children dissected and now on display.
But it was the framed photo I saw lying at the family’s feet that shook me to the core. A picture taken well over a decade ago. One of a smiling Sara and Riley. Further proof for what Jess and I feared: The Greystone was these sisters’ gore factory. No wonder they had so many cool antiques… and no wonder the rent was so fucking cheap.
Ripley’s guttural growls broke us from our scared spell. Immediately, Jess and I came to her rescue!
In one frantic slide, I unlocked the cage. Ripley jumped into my arms and licked my face!
Horrified, Jess pointed toward the cage. “Cory, look!”
I now saw blood stains covering Ripley’s cage. Being the worried dog dad I was, I inspected Ripley’s body, much to her annoyance. But she was good. No cuts, no scratches. “It’s okay, baby,” I reassured her.
“No, look at the others!” Jess said.
Following girlfriend orders, I confronted those other cages.
They had blood, alright. Not to mention stray pulpy bits collected from organs and intestines of old. All of it human. But what struck me most were the two cages placed by Ripley’s… their doors were wide open. Their sizes exact enough to reserve one spot for Jess and one for me. Another Greystone family these sadistic sisters had hoped for. Had fucking planned for.
Struggling against the nauseating scent, I squeezed the mask again. “Jesus fucking Christ…”
Ripley barked in agreement.
“Fuck this shit!” Jess yelled. She pushed Ripley and I both back toward the warehouse. “Fuck the clothes, let’s go! Run!”
Don’t ask me how but Riley wasn’t waiting for us with a chainsaw. I don’t know where she went nor did I wanna know. Hell, technically, Jess and I never even checked out of the flea market. That shopping cart full of Jess’s crazy shit might still be there to this day…
But we ran outside! Ripley and that beer held tight in my protective grasp. Somehow, Jess’s SUV cranked and we roared out into the night! Somehow, the three of us had survived.
We never went back to The Greystone. Never saw Sara Dillon again. But one thing was for certain: I finally had my horror story... and just in time for Halloween 2020.
14
submitted by thehorrorwriter2 to Odd_directions [link] [comments]


2020.10.24 18:26 thehorrorwriter2 The Sasser Flea Market

After the YouTube incident, we had to make another move. And could you blame us? The good news was with Corona running wild, Jess was able to keep doing her classes on-line while keeping her mysterious ESL tutoring gig.
Me, on the other hand, well, by October, Albany, Georgia wasn’t favoring quarantine too much. Then again, most of the country wasn’t. So there I was back on the part-time bartender scene, my latest stop at a shithole club called the Sandtrap. Not to my surprise, every Friday and Saturday night was lit without a mask or anything remotely resembling social distancing in sight. Lucky me...
But while the transition from Tally to Albany meant less cool shit and entertainment, it also meant cheaper rent. And our new apartment wasn’t too bad.
The Greystone was lovely actually. There was a pool we’d never use, but hey, there was also space aplenty for a young couple like us… and an amazing walking trail for our chihuahua Ripley.
Yeah, we’d only been there a couple of weeks but The Greystone checked off all the boxes for Cory and Jess’s latest home. Not to mention there were no neighbors next to apartment sixteen... which was what mattered most to me. Especially in 2020.
From day one, the building’s manager Sara seemed eager to have us. Hell, she even waived the pet fee. After giving us her business card, Sara took us on a detailed tour. Jess was immediately hooked by her showmanship. Certainly, The Greystone sold itself as did the price... But in all honesty, Sara’s hotness swayed me.
As the three of us checked out the apartment, I couldn’t help but check out Sara’s alluring body in that tight business suit. Judging by the excessive make-up and super-stylized blonde hair, she must’ve been approaching fifty but I couldn’t know for sure considering the boobs and ass she was all too eager to flaunt. Of course, I couldn’t also help but notice my girlfriend’s occasional glare. Jess’s jealousy quite notorious during the span of our almost-half-decade relationship.
Just a few feet away from our lakeside view, Sara stopped next to the kitchen counter. The cleavage so obvious… and on point. “So what do y’all think?” she said in her Southern drawl.
“Oh, I love it!” Jess responded.
I stared on at our lovely hostess. The lady more like a socialite heiress considering the immaculate appearance… A postmodern Scarlett O’Hara. “I love the tits too,” I blurted out.
Instantly, I felt Jess’s hand reach behind me. I knew I’d fucked up, and Jess’s quick squeeze on my ass further highlighted the mistake.
“I mean I love it here too,” I corrected. Sara gave me a sly smile. “This apartment, I mean,” I added.
“Indeed,” Sara said. She fixated those green eyes on Jess. “But I can’t blame you, girl.” She lowered those emeralds toward Jess’s hand. Stealing an admiring look at my ass. “Not at all...”
I smirked at Jess. Okay, so I was flattered...
Jess just gave an awkward laugh...
“But I’m glad y’all enjoyed the tour,” Sara said.
Jess’s grip got even tighter. “Well, what else is around here?” she asked Sara. “I know there’s Lake Chehaw and the zoo and all.”
Excited, Sara leaned back against the counter. Yeah, I was still staring at those tits… “Oh yes!” Sara said. “There’s a bunch of nice little places and restaurants! The aquarium’s just up the road.”
“Anywhere to shop?” Jess asked.
Grinning, Sara nodded. “There’s actually a famous little flea market down in Sasser.”
“Sasser?”
Sara pointed out the window. Pointed beyond glorious Lake Chehaw… “Yep, it’s only about five miles down the road, past the city limits.” Sara stood up off the counter. “It’s my hometown actually.”
“Oh okay,” Jess and I said in unison.
“It’s a little community but the Sasser Flea Market is legendary. Trust me.”
“Sounds like we should check it out.” Without hesitation, Jess confronted me. The intimidating RBF putting me on the spot.
“Yeah, Hell yeah,” I replied.
So of course, we moved in. Apartment sixteen now all ours. Most of The Greystone was for that matter. Regardless of the cheap rent, I didn’t see anyone out there. No families, no kids hogging the pool. No drunks being reckless after midnight... No strangers for Ripley to bark at. Call it selective memory but about the only other resident I saw during the day was Sara on her afternoon jogs in those tight yoga pants...
Together, Jess, Ripley, and I warmed up to The Greystone. To this town in general. Plus with quarantine, I now had more time than ever to work on my YouTube channel. My new laptop definitely helped… only the writer’s block didn’t.
But even in the middle of a pandemic, Jess and I did decide to go out from time to time. Albeit with masks and an itinerary of outdoor locations. And this October weekend was no different. The perfect time to visit the infamous Sasser Flea Market.
On that fateful Saturday, Jess and I finally put up our Halloween decorations. The inflatable smiling jack o’lantern, the black cat who sang “(I Always Feel Like) Somebody’s Watching Me”, our assortment of hanging skeletons. And the Bela Lugosi Dracula poster I hung right next to Jess’s framed Justin Bieber picture… one from circa 2012. Don’t ask.
Of course, Ripley wasn’t too happy.. But Jess and I gave her a kiss before we left. Ripley had the whole playpen to go apeshit in, after all. Not to mention pounds of food to eat.
Both of us dressed in our casual Saturday best, Jess and I walked to her SUV. Awaiting us inside was all the beer and wine we bought earlier. That morning, we’d even bragged to Sara about finally going to check out the flea market. Needless to say, she was delighted.
“Y’all go enjoy it!” she’d told us
Slouched back in the passenger’s seat, I retrieved my iPhone. “Let me check on Ripley.”
“Already?” Jess teased. She brushed her straight blonde bangs back. My girl looking nice in that hoodie and jeans.
“I don’t want her getting too lonely.” I pulled up the Blink app. Straight to the live feed of Ripley playing with her chewy toy pumpkin. Too Goddamn cute…
“She’ll be fine, Cory,” Jess said as she started the car.
“I think you might be right,” I chuckled.
My epic Halloween playlist was the only soundtrack we needed. Alice Cooper’s “Caught In A Dream” getting this road trip started...
Jess and I did our best to keep a low profile and avoid as many people as possible… something we did pretty damn well even before Covid. There was the Ray Charles statue downtown. The brewery right next to it. The occasional stopover at one of Jess’s ‘stores’. But hey, we had booze and each other. A perfect Saturday off in my opinion. Who knows, maybe inspiration for another scary story would appear at some point?
Throughout the trip, I checked in on Ripley on the Blink app. Not that I needed to. Ripley was just fine chewing up toy pumpkins and fake bones... Hell, she wasn’t even crying or howling. The playpen her personal paradise.
“I told you!” Jess said.
“Yeah, yeah,” I replied. I raised the traveler’s coffee cup to my lips. One I’d filled to the brim with Miller Light… not that I needed much more booze at this point. Neither of us did actually.
About an hour later, an hour after Jess ambushed the Albany Mall, we pulled up to the Sasser Flea Market. All it took was reaching Sasser, Georgia, passing one gas station, then making that fateful right turn on to a bumpy dirt road.
As Lon Chaney Jr. sang the Spider Baby theme song, I didn’t see many cars greeting us. Then again, the place supposedly closed at seven and here we were rolling in at six-fifteen.
Then again, the flea market wasn’t anything too elaborate. Just two warehouses. Two long shacks essentially.
To our relief, there was no fanfare here. No annoying clerks. Clutching our drinks, Jess and I made the rounds in warehouse number one.
Like a junk museum, we were greeted by many strange items. The type of furniture and memorabilia most would consider trash but Jess and I considered gold. Hip to say the least.
The open front doorway let that fall breeze sweep through us. Jess’s hoodie and my San Diego Chargers jacket little help against its chilling attack…
But Jess didn’t care. Not in her wheelhouse here in the flea market. She had shit to choose from: clothes, posters, decorations. Fucking anything else.
The two of us journeyed through these various Sasser sections. The book station. The sports memorabilia. And of course, the many fucking clothes.
The bland walls and claustrophobia were all offset by the abundance of oddities. Shit this place was just cool. How could we not be entertained?
Soon, Jess guided us toward the flea market’s trinkets. A trash treasure chest.
She got lost in the sea of banners, figurines, and small statues… And as Jess piled up our newest decorations in the shopping cart, I stole another glance around the store. Around this mysterious market.
So far, I’d only seen one clerk at the front counter. A short blonde-haired woman in her forties… possibly pretty if not for the many wrinkles, stained tee shirt, crooked glasses, and yellow teeth she didn’t bother to disguise. Riley read the name tag. And I never saw a smile or sign of joy from her…
“Oh, I love it!” I heard Jess say.
I turned to see her holding up a grinning bronze cat. Just her type.
“We’re so getting this!” Jess said.
“Oh, I know,” I replied. Then my gaze drifted down those many shelves… until I stopped when I saw it. A large item on the ground floor. “What the Hell…”
“What is it?” Jess asked.
I leaned down and grabbed the poster. The Justin Bieber one. The 2012 Biebs in all his smiling, sexy glory. The same exact poster my girlfriend studying clinical psychology had plastered in our very apartment. “Yo, check this out!”
Upon seeing it, Jess cackled. “Oh my God, really!?”
“Hey, maybe you want another one?” I joked.
Jess shoved the poster away. “You’re crazy, Cory!”
I tossed Justin back on the shelf where he came from. Glanced off toward the front of the store-
And then I saw her! The weird clerk Riley staring back at me. Her gaze glowing behind those glasses. Her smile shook me to the core. The one finally making an appearance… Just how long had her ass been watching us?
“Come on!” Jess said. She snagged my arm and pulled me away.
“Alright...” I replied.
Shoving the cart, Jess led us further toward the back of the first warehouse. This first foray in to the Sasser Flea Market’s deepest darkest depths.
Now we neared the restrooms. Jess had us over at the discount section. The one dollar section to be exact. She searched through the artifacts, me at the mercy of her meticulous method. Of Jess’s particular taste.
Still being battered by the wind, I folded my arms in the Chargers hoodie. “You like anything, babe?” I looked off behind us. Off toward the open doorway in the distance. What I got was a brief glimpse of the great outdoors: tall weeds and trees. And the entrance to warehouse number two… a smaller building, for sure. But who knew what the Hell was inside?
“Duh!” Jess replied.
I watched her go through one box in a matter of seconds. Nothing of interest inside, not until the bottom when Jess pulled out a couple of used and abused toy pumpkins. The kind a certain chihuahua would like. “I’d get these for Ripley but someone already got to them,” Jess remarked at the toys’ bitemark scars.
“Her ass’d still chew them up,” I replied. I lowered my mask and took a quick swig of booze.
Laughing, Jess tossed those toy pumpkins down. “Smartass.” Followed my lead with a swig of wine.
Flashing a smile at Jess, I walked over toward the bathrooms, dreading their appearance. “Yo, I gotta go piss!”
“Alright, just meet me back out here,” Jess said.
“For sure! I love you.” I entered what I was sure was gonna be close to a literal shithole and I wasn’t disappointed.
The cramped corridors showed a sink and stall. A rusty lock for the front door my only protection from the flea market for privacy.
Even with one narrow window open, a nauseating stench hit me. Slicing straight through my Goddamn mask. The smell too putrid to be shit much less urine… And this shit lingered. The scent permeating through the bathroom in sickening suffocating fashion. I figured something had died somewhere in the bottom of that murky toilet. Either that or the flea market had attempted to flush down a human corpse many years ago.
I took a deep breath. Hit some Miller Light for courage. Even checked my phone for more courage… No service like I figured. All I could do was show a cynical smirk.
Even if Jess was gonna be holding me hostage till long after closing time, I still had to hurry and get back to her. I put my phone up and stepped up to the plate. Pissed away right there on the spot. Lost in the relief, I tilted my head back...
And then a sudden sound crashed through the smelly silence: barking off in the distance! Nervous, I zipped myself back up. “What the Hell…”
Tracing those canine cries, I stumbled up to the sink. To the window. The closer I got, the louder and more distinct the barking became. I looked on across the dirt driveway to warehouse number two… where those October howls were clearly coming from. Those guttural yaps coming from somewhere deep behind that rusted metal tombstone.
“Weird,” I muttered as I cut on the sink and let the brown water ‘cleanse’ me. All the while, the barking continued. The pup sounding more and more anguished… more and more desperate.
Now it wasn’t just the fall wind unnerving me but the howls drifting in deep beneath this dog dad’s sympathy. Finally, I stepped back into part one of the Sasser Flea Market symphony.
To my relief, I saw Jess over at a Halloween section. One complete with a toy black cat that looked to be a twin to our own beloved decoration.
Scattered plastic jack o’lanterns watched me as I stopped next to Jess. Each October cliche covered in dust everywhere except those wide smiles. Like a cold jury, their crooked eyes pierced into my soul.
Jess faced me. “Hey.”
Trying to downplay the fear factor building inside, I grabbed on to the cart handle. Those many unique trinkets and clothes right at my fingertips. “You ready to go?”
“What?” Jess chuckled. “We still got thirty minutes.”
“I don’t know, this place is…” I looked over at those grinning pumpkins. “It’s kinda creeping me out.”
“Creeping you out?” Jess chuckled.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m a pussy, I know,” I quipped.
Reassuring me, Jess ran a hand along my arm. Along my attempt at a bicep. “Let me just check the other side real quick.”
I gotta say Sasser’s was interesting… Plus, the weather kept this flea market from being a furnace. So I decided to relent and play Good Boyfriend Cory.
Pushing that heavyass cart, I followed Jess through a side exit. Out on to that same dirt driveway I saw from the bathroom. The only item out here a standing poster from the 1930s. A carnival reject featuring two dancing ants, its cursive font in candy colors screaming: Y’all, come back soon!
The isolation did alarm me. A field of tall weeds created a blockade separating the flea market from the highway. Behind the two buildings, I saw nothing offering civilization on the horizon. Just a green inferno I wanted no part of. And that rotten odor remained present… All Jess and I could hear that brutal barking...
I noticed a few cars beside ours but how come the only other person we’d seen so far was Riley? The zombified clerk who hadn’t talked much less offered any Southern hospitality to Jess and I. And some of those cars were clear clunkers. Rusted in place for a permanent parking job. Hell, maybe they were part of the exhibit for all I knew.
“Come on, Cory,” Jess said.
I looked back toward the first shack. Just in time to see Riley standing on the edge of the entryway, most of her body obscured by a hulking scuba diver suit. The lady silent enough to be on display herself if not for those lively bright eyes watching us. Her cryptic smile back again.
Upon entering Sasser Flea Market part two, we saw no other clerks. Certainly no other customers. Even the dog had stopped its howls…
What we got instead was just the same sea of random shit. The many rows of books, clothes, and scattered snapshots of a discarded past. And God knows how far this past went.
I saw a table full of vinyl records by unrecognizable musicians. The covers and productions even looked homemade. Their deep scratches caused by excessive play. A mix of garage rock and church choirs of unknown origins.
Elsewhere, posters aged beyond belief were piling up. Each of them covered in cracked frames. No bands or performers I recognized… None from the last half-century at least.
The desolation then really set in. We were all alone for sure. Under the dim lighting, I got a shotgun view of this warehouse. There was only a bulky wooden door a few feet away from us… otherwise, there were no windows. No bathrooms. No escape. Somehow, the Sasser Flea Market was scarier in the silence.
I had to squeeze my mask. Somehow that sickening smell was still getting through. It’s gotta be more than the antiques, I thought. Hell, I can’t even blame ‘Riley’ now.
“There’s so much stuff,” Jess commented as she pushed the cart further within this antique abyss.
Staying by her side, I nodded nervously. “Yeah…” I needed another swig-
But Jess beat me to it. However, not even fear could slow her shopping spree. Especially when she laid eyes on that furniture section. A cluster right there by the lone door in this warehouse.
Along the way, I stumbled into something! A cold CLANG rang out! “Shit!” I cried. Struggling to keep up, I reached out and grabbed Jess’s arm. “Hey, wait up!”
“I am!” Jess laughed.
I looked toward the site of my near-accident. Saw the sight of a large rectangular cage still rattling… A pretty big one at that. And judging by the rust and dangling padlock, the cage had been used previously… and deep in my unease, I couldn’t help but wonder for what?
Of course, that didn’t stop Jess. After all, she was tougher than me.
“C’mon, Cory!” she said.
I let her pull me up to the first table. In the claustrophobia, I still felt the frigid fall wind… or maybe it was the dread I felt lurking inside.
As Jess examined a green bird box we’d never need, I stole a glance back at that door. One fit more for a castle than Sasser, Georgia. The heavy brass knob hung on for dear life, clamoring for one last grip. Naturally, I couldn’t help but wonder what other ‘treasures’ or terrors this flea market had in store…
“This is pretty,” Jess said.
Turning, I got a front row view of the wooden bird box… but also something else-
That silver beauty beckoned me. “Yeah,” I muttered to Jess. Distracted, I staggered past her, closer to the edge of the table.
“Do you think any birds will fly on our patio?” Jess asked.
The horror wouldn’t let me respond. I stopped and touched the laptop’s smooth surface. Its flawless, brand new appearance so alluring in a dump antique store like this.
This was the same brand, the same model as what I had back at apartment sixteen. Probably the same damn everything. The shiny flashy replacement for my old 2015 craptop.
A scared shiver shot through my veins. Why would this be here? Who brought it here?
“Hey, Cory,” I heard Jess say, her voice unable to hide the obvious concern.
Welcome to the fucking club, sweetheart.
Tracing my hand along the laptop’s front cover, I saw a small card tucked into the keypad. Trapped in there, its edge sticking straight out, just enough to draw me in… Shit! I thought. What the Hell is this…
Jess put the bird box down and stopped next to me. But I didn’t wait much longer.
I snatched out the business card. The big bold letters and dark lake logo all instantly familiar: The Greystone.
The manager’s name stared back at us: Sara Dillon. But what left Jess and I in a state of shock was who was listed as her co-manager: Riley Dillon.
Jess grabbed my arm in a death grip. Hanging on for dear life… “Isn’t that her name?”
Turning, I glanced back toward where we came from. Toward the dirt driveway. The ant sign. The scuba diver guy… Only Riley was gone.
“The lady who runs this place!” Jess went on. “Her and Sara are sisters!”
“It’s crazy,” I said as I tossed the card back on to the laptop. On to what I was sure was my laptop. “This shit’s weird, Jess!”
“No shit!”
Through my drunken panic, anguished concern hit me: Ripley. I retrieved my phone. A Blink notification stared back at me, one from over an hour ago…
I felt Jess pull my arm closer. “Cory, let’s go!”
But not even she could stop me. I clicked the app. Then the clip.
There was our living room, our Halloween Utopia. Only I saw two pairs of legs walking around. I heard two sets of female voices inside apartment sixteen. I knew those longer, muscular legs all too well. Knew Sara’s Southern accent...
Huge boxes scattered in stations around our coffee table. Each of them getting filled up fast.
Now I saw several of our decorations were gone… until I realized they’d been stuffed in those cardboard boxes. All of them along with our other most beloved items. Justin Bieber’s smile amongst them.
Then there was the soundtrack: Ripley’s angry, defensive barks. They were brutal to the ears. And not much different than the ones we’d heard earlier...
Horror hit both Jess and I! Her grip grew tighter, strangling my blood flow.
Like an actor exiting the stage, the other woman walked off camera. But I heard her voice hollering commands. “Get that one, Sara!” “Let’s get that Goddamn dog!”
Through the living room windows, vivid sunlight illuminated this home invasion. Illuminated Sara snatching our singing black cat. My Blink app now a home for snuff rather than those cute Ripley videos I obsessed over.
“Shit!” I cried.
Jess faced me. “Cory, we need to go to the police-”
“Hold on!” I couldn’t turn away. Not when the video now only gave me silence and suspense. “Ripley!” I screamed into the phone.
Popping out of nowhere, a craggy face leaned over the camera, overtaking the screen! Those beaming eyes looked right at Jess and I! The woman’s expression evil, Riley Dillon’s smile absolutely terrifying.
The video ended on this chilling crescendo! Before I could get a full view of her sister Sara, before I could even see them leave the apartment… Or see Ripley.
Suffering from a stomach twisting in knots, I looked over at Jess. “They took her!”
I could see Jess struggling to subdue her own unease. A pitiful attempt. “You don’t know for sure-”
The barking erupted! Ripley’s cries for help.
Immediately, Jess and I both turned toward the door. Where our beloved pet’s pleas were coming from…
“Alright, we get her and get the fuck out of here!” Jess said.
“Amen!” I replied. Grabbing my girlfriend’s hand, I led us both up to that imposing door. Closer to our Ripley. “Ripley!” I cried.
To my relief, the door was unlocked! But I let go of the knob. Just for a moment.
“What the Hell are you doing!” Jess said. She lunged for the doorknob.
I held her back. “Hold on!” Trembling with each and every howl, I raised the Miller Lite to my mask. One lift, one sip. All I needed for a temporary fix to these frenzied nerves. Not that it helped much… but hey, every little edge helped this alcoholic at least.
“Well, Hell, let me do the same!” I heard Jess say.
Upon getting our drunk courage, we threw the door open and burst inside the backroom! The smell was even worse. A sickening mist at this point.
A single dangling lightbulb swung but there were no windows to help its beam. The room was spacious and wide… and all we heard was Ripley. Our Chihuahua trapped in a small cage right by the entrance. A couple of bigger cages positioned right next to her.
Jess and I rushed toward Ripley. But then came to one scared stop.
Bodies upon bodies piled up in the very back. Not so much preserved even in this October cold. The smell of decay was too strong, the corpses ranging from mutilated to a paleness only interrupted by the occasional blood stain. All of the bodies adults… except for the slaughtered children in slaughtered families.
A mother and father’s dead gaze stayed on us. Their throats slit from ear to ear. Their children dissected and now on display.
But it was the framed photo I saw lying at the family’s feet that shook me to the core. A picture taken well over a decade ago. One of a smiling Sara and Riley. Further proof for what Jess and I feared: The Greystone was these sisters’ gore factory. No wonder they had so many cool antiques… and no wonder the rent was so fucking cheap.
Ripley’s guttural growls broke us from our scared spell. Immediately, Jess and I came to her rescue!
In one frantic slide, I unlocked the cage. Ripley jumped into my arms and licked my face!
Horrified, Jess pointed toward the cage. “Cory, look!”
I now saw blood stains covering Ripley’s cage. Being the worried dog dad I was, I inspected Ripley’s body, much to her annoyance. But she was good. No cuts, no scratches. “It’s okay, baby,” I reassured her.
“No, look at the others!” Jess said.
Following girlfriend orders, I confronted those other cages.
They had blood, alright. Not to mention stray pulpy bits collected from organs and intestines of old. All of it human. But what struck me most were the two cages placed by Ripley’s… their doors were wide open. Their sizes exact enough to reserve one spot for Jess and one for me. Another Greystone family these sadistic sisters had hoped for. Had fucking planned for.
Struggling against the nauseating scent, I squeezed the mask again. “Jesus fucking Christ…”
Ripley barked in agreement.
“Fuck this shit!” Jess yelled. She pushed Ripley and I both back toward the warehouse. “Fuck the clothes, let’s go! Run!”
Don’t ask me how but Riley wasn’t waiting for us with a chainsaw. I don’t know where she went nor did I wanna know. Hell, technically, Jess and I never even checked out of the flea market. That shopping cart full of Jess’s crazy shit might still be there to this day…
But we ran outside! Ripley and that beer held tight in my protective grasp. Somehow, Jess’s SUV cranked and we roared out into the night! Somehow, the three of us had survived.
We never went back to The Greystone. Never saw Sara Dillon again. But one thing was for certain: I finally had my horror story... and just in time for Halloween 2020.
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2020.10.24 16:19 Kahlen-Rahl Recent arrivals - AE and DHG

Being on lockdown has been absolutely hell on my bank account, and just when I thought I’d made it to Ban Island, I was persuaded to book Christmas in Barbados and then, to cap it all, HAD to book a month because that was cheaper than going for less time, plus since I have to quarantine upon arrival, whilst holding a negative test upon arrival, less time would not have been as appealing.
So, of course, I turned my boat away from its previous destination of Ban Island and recharted a course to China.
THEN LOST MY MIND
For reference, I’m a size UK12, I’ve tried to include mod shots (no comments on my very messy dressing room please ) this is all stuff that I’ve ordered and is either here, or on the way.
Disclaimer... I’m not trying to spend a lot of money on items that are seasonal and that the cost per wear cannot be brought into single figures, plus I’m still psyching myself up to venture into TS territory, the concept of paying for postage😤...
and I like lots of stuff.
And I just lost my job... but that’s ok coz them folks were already working my very last nerve, but anyway, I digress
The following is all stuff that I have received, I’ve included some mod shots so you can get an idea of fit, etc. however, I’ve not ‘prepared’ for a photo shoot so excuse the toes, mess, hair, face ... I think you get the drift.😬
V neck Halter $8.72. link
I got this in black, it’s one size and does fit quite snug around the body without a bra, but a couple of pasties will sort that out and it’s very comfortable, a silky polyester rib type knit fabric.
Mine
Unbranded Manolo Blahnik Fibiona. $49.20 link
All I’m gonna say is BUY BUY BUY, run ladies. I’m a UK 7/EU40/26cm and the fit is perfection. The buckle is pretty much identical to the original, loads of padding on the sole make them comfy as hell, heel is sturdy. The only difference is that the authentic uses moire silk and these are plain satin, but I don’t care coz I cannot justify the cost/wear on the cost of the original, get these bad boys, it’s a no brainer 🏃🏾‍♀️
Mine, inc mod shots
Chanel Pearl Crush 17cm / Grey. $78.86 this link no longer appears to be working, but he did also send me his WhatsApp +86 188 7355 9895
There is a lot both right and wrong with this bag, chain is weighty and doesn’t kink. The ball movement is not smooth but is manageable, only one side is ‘pinched’ in, the turn lock is off center and I’m still waiting to smell leather past the eau de fufu that was overwhelming upon arrival. But it did arrive in a branded box with dustbag and if I’d wanted guarantees of all of the above, I know to damned well go to a TS, but I wanted something cute a that would crossbody with a little flex and I got it. When I use it I know there are enough seasonal variations with some of the above flaws to not worry too much. Oh, they got the interior colour right
Chanel Pearl Crush
Leather coin purse. $8.69 link
It’s cute and it’s leather and the coins don’t appear to fall out, though admittedly I’ve not used it very much
Mine
Two Piece set. $17.86. link
I got this XL in black and I was very surprised with the quality, I was expecting the polyester lining type fabric, and while it is still polyester, it has a reasonable amount of weight to it and again, the fit of the pant goes over my fat ass and chunky thighs and is surprisingly the right length, to wear with a mid heel. Very happy
Mine
Sunglasses storage case. $5.32 don’t be fooled by the price cos the shipping cost me over $10 link
I recently got some glasses from TS Vincent (I’m over the moon with what I received, Gentle monster frame, varifocle prescription with transition and usual coatings, inc DHL to London $130) so needed somewhere to store them, together with the other glasses I WILL be ordering from TS Vincent)
Fufu was strong upon arrival, but nice quality and my glasses are now secure
Mine
Bonus: Glasses
2 piece cotton set. $14.73 link
All I can say is, it doesn’t look like that on me, I look like a granny, it went back in its packaging, where it will remain
Denim Jacket. $22.23 link
I ordered a large and the fit is spot on, lightweight denim
Mine
Toile de Jouy shirt. $11.86 link
I love this, it’s a lightweight cotton that is just the right amount of oversized. I’m a sucker for toile and this shirt instead of having a white background, is in fact almost, I can only describe it as ‘tea-stained’, kind of vintage cream/beige - perfect for autumn, winter vibes,
Mine
YSL sweatshirt. $8.91
I don’t know why I bought this, the XL fits like a small medium, the fabric is cheap, the logo is off center and it has no redeeming qualities, the fabric is so synthetic I cannot even use it a a dustecleaning cloth. Ah, well, I do know better and cheaped out when I purchased this hoping for more and getting exactly what I deserved (link no longer works!)
Straw Panama hat. $10.27
I have a big head, over 59cm which means most hats that are available have to be rammed down on my head, so as to cause both a headache and an indent on my forehead, but I love to wear hats, I look good in them . Plus when I then want to add a wig, hats are out of the question, which is a shame, so I’m always looking for hats. This hat is a really nice quality and has good weight, fits my big head without any discomfort, with an inner drawstring for further adjustment. I’m not sure how it will roll to be packed in my suitcase, but I’m gonna try
Mine
Bucket hat. $4.49 link
It’s snug, but just about wearable
Mine
Beach dress. $8.11 link no longer works
I ordered the L, fits ok. A medium weight cotton dress that will do just great in Barbados
Mine
Bikini. $7.60 link
I like Melissa Obadash swimwear, but I think it’s ridiculous to pay over £200 for a bikini, I mean if somebody can tell me why it’s worth it, I really would like to know... that being said, you can never have too many bikinis, right? It’s well made, the hardwear has weight and the top has more padding than any wonderbra I’ve ever owned, but I’m gonna look proper ‘booby’ on the beach and I don’t care, (though discreetly squeezing out all the wet padding, after a dip in the sea, might be... challenging)
Mine
Last but not least, a cautionary tale.
What I Ordered link
Makes sense, right, I’m going away, need some organizational stuff
Now, please be warned, what you will see next is not for the faint of heart and i take no responsibility for any shock or consequence that may arise from you having viewed my pictures. Please note that when I reached into the bag, at no point in my life did I ever expect to draw forth this monstrosity, bearing in mind, I was expecting packing cubes Viewer BEWARE
This post turned out to be longer than expected, and this is just what has arrived from AliExpress, I’ve got a bunch more on order. Plus there is DHGATE...
Let me know your thoughts
Edit... seems the links ain’t working, I’m on it😬
EDIT. I’ve updated the links, they usually will follow the original attempt at a link but the Chanel bag link no longer works, but his WhatsApp is now included
submitted by Kahlen-Rahl to RepLadies [link] [comments]


2020.10.24 16:13 thehorrorwriter2 Don't Go To Sasser, Georgia's Flea Market

After the YouTube incident, we had to make another move. And could you blame us? The good news was with Corona running wild, Jess was able to keep doing her classes on-line while keeping her mysterious ESL tutoring gig.
Me, on the other hand, well, by October, Albany, Georgia wasn’t favoring quarantine too much. Then again, most of the country wasn’t. So there I was back on the part-time bartender scene, my latest stop at a shithole club called the Sandtrap. Not to my surprise, every Friday and Saturday night was lit without a mask or anything remotely resembling social distancing in sight. Lucky me...
But while the transition from Tally to Albany meant less cool shit and entertainment, it also meant cheaper rent. And our new apartment wasn’t too bad.
The Greystone was lovely actually. There was a pool we’d never use, but hey, there was also space aplenty for a young couple like us… and an amazing walking trail for our chihuahua Ripley.
Yeah, we’d only been there a couple of weeks but The Greystone checked off all the boxes for Cory and Jess’s latest home. Not to mention there were no neighbors next to apartment sixteen... which was what mattered most to me. Especially in 2020.
From day one, the building’s manager Sara seemed eager to have us. Hell, she even waived the pet fee. After giving us her business card, Sara took us on a detailed tour. Jess was immediately hooked by her showmanship. Certainly, The Greystone sold itself as did the price... But in all honesty, Sara’s hotness swayed me.
As the three of us checked out the apartment, I couldn’t help but check out Sara’s alluring body in that tight business suit. Judging by the excessive make-up and super-stylized blonde hair, she must’ve been approaching fifty but I couldn’t know for sure considering the boobs and ass she was all too eager to flaunt. Of course, I couldn’t also help but notice my girlfriend’s occasional glare. Jess’s jealousy quite notorious during the span of our almost-half-decade relationship.
Just a few feet away from our lakeside view, Sara stopped next to the kitchen counter. The cleavage so obvious… and on point. “So what do y’all think?” she said in her Southern drawl.
“Oh, I love it!” Jess responded.
I stared on at our lovely hostess. The lady more like a socialite heiress considering the immaculate appearance… A postmodern Scarlett O’Hara. “I love the tits too,” I blurted out.
Instantly, I felt Jess’s hand reach behind me. I knew I’d fucked up, and Jess’s quick squeeze on my ass further highlighted the mistake.
“I mean I love it here too,” I corrected. Sara gave me a sly smile. “This apartment, I mean,” I added.
“Indeed,” Sara said. She fixated those green eyes on Jess. “But I can’t blame you, girl.” She lowered those emeralds toward Jess’s hand. Stealing an admiring look at my ass. “Not at all...”
I smirked at Jess. Okay, so I was flattered...
Jess just gave an awkward laugh...
“But I’m glad y’all enjoyed the tour,” Sara said.
Jess’s grip got even tighter. “Well, what else is around here?” she asked Sara. “I know there’s Lake Chehaw and the zoo and all.”
Excited, Sara leaned back against the counter. Yeah, I was still staring at those tits… “Oh yes!” Sara said. “There’s a bunch of nice little places and restaurants! The aquarium’s just up the road.”
“Anywhere to shop?” Jess asked.
Grinning, Sara nodded. “There’s actually a famous little flea market down in Sasser.”
“Sasser?”
Sara pointed out the window. Pointed beyond glorious Lake Chehaw… “Yep, it’s only about five miles down the road, past the city limits.” Sara stood up off the counter. “It’s my hometown actually.”
“Oh okay,” Jess and I said in unison.
“It’s a little community but the Sasser Flea Market is legendary. Trust me.”
“Sounds like we should check it out.” Without hesitation, Jess confronted me. The intimidating RBF putting me on the spot.
“Yeah, Hell yeah,” I replied.
So of course, we moved in. Apartment sixteen now all ours. Most of The Greystone was for that matter. Regardless of the cheap rent, I didn’t see anyone out there. No families, no kids hogging the pool. No drunks being reckless after midnight... No strangers for Ripley to bark at. Call it selective memory but about the only other resident I saw during the day was Sara on her afternoon jogs in those tight yoga pants...
Together, Jess, Ripley, and I warmed up to The Greystone. To this town in general. Plus with quarantine, I now had more time than ever to work on my YouTube channel. My new laptop definitely helped… only the writer’s block didn’t.
But even in the middle of a pandemic, Jess and I did decide to go out from time to time. Albeit with masks and an itinerary of outdoor locations. And this October weekend was no different. The perfect time to visit the infamous Sasser Flea Market.
On that fateful Saturday, Jess and I finally put up our Halloween decorations. The inflatable smiling jack o’lantern, the black cat who sang “(I Always Feel Like) Somebody’s Watching Me”, our assortment of hanging skeletons. And the Bela Lugosi Dracula poster I hung right next to Jess’s framed Justin Bieber picture… one from circa 2012. Don’t ask.
Of course, Ripley wasn’t too happy.. But Jess and I gave her a kiss before we left. Ripley had the whole playpen to go apeshit in, after all. Not to mention pounds of food to eat.
Both of us dressed in our casual Saturday best, Jess and I walked to her SUV. Awaiting us inside was all the beer and wine we bought earlier. That morning, we’d even bragged to Sara about finally going to check out the flea market. Needless to say, she was delighted.
“Y’all go enjoy it!” she’d told us
Slouched back in the passenger’s seat, I retrieved my iPhone. “Let me check on Ripley.”
“Already?” Jess teased. She brushed her straight blonde bangs back. My girl looking nice in that hoodie and jeans.
“I don’t want her getting too lonely.” I pulled up the Blink app. Straight to the live feed of Ripley playing with her chewy toy pumpkin. Too Goddamn cute…
“She’ll be fine, Cory,” Jess said as she started the car.
“I think you might be right,” I chuckled.
My epic Halloween playlist was the only soundtrack we needed. Alice Cooper’s “Caught In A Dream” getting this road trip started...
Jess and I did our best to keep a low profile and avoid as many people as possible… something we did pretty damn well even before Covid. There was the Ray Charles statue downtown. The brewery right next to it. The occasional stopover at one of Jess’s ‘stores’. But hey, we had booze and each other. A perfect Saturday off in my opinion. Who knows, maybe inspiration for another scary story would appear at some point?
Throughout the trip, I checked in on Ripley on the Blink app. Not that I needed to. Ripley was just fine chewing up toy pumpkins and fake bones... Hell, she wasn’t even crying or howling. The playpen her personal paradise.
“I told you!” Jess said.
“Yeah, yeah,” I replied. I raised the traveler’s coffee cup to my lips. One I’d filled to the brim with Miller Light… not that I needed much more booze at this point. Neither of us did actually.
About an hour later, an hour after Jess ambushed the Albany Mall, we pulled up to the Sasser Flea Market. All it took was reaching Sasser, Georgia, passing one gas station, then making that fateful right turn on to a bumpy dirt road.
As Lon Chaney Jr. sang the Spider Baby theme song, I didn’t see many cars greeting us. Then again, the place supposedly closed at seven and here we were rolling in at six-fifteen.
Then again, the flea market wasn’t anything too elaborate. Just two warehouses. Two long shacks essentially.
To our relief, there was no fanfare here. No annoying clerks. Clutching our drinks, Jess and I made the rounds in warehouse number one.
Like a junk museum, we were greeted by many strange items. The type of furniture and memorabilia most would consider trash but Jess and I considered gold. Hip to say the least.
The open front doorway let that fall breeze sweep through us. Jess’s hoodie and my San Diego Chargers jacket little help against its chilling attack…
But Jess didn’t care. Not in her wheelhouse here in the flea market. She had shit to choose from: clothes, posters, decorations. Fucking anything else.
The two of us journeyed through these various Sasser sections. The book station. The sports memorabilia. And of course, the many fucking clothes.
The bland walls and claustrophobia were all offset by the abundance of oddities. Shit this place was just cool. How could we not be entertained?
Soon, Jess guided us toward the flea market’s trinkets. A trash treasure chest.
She got lost in the sea of banners, figurines, and small statues… And as Jess piled up our newest decorations in the shopping cart, I stole another glance around the store. Around this mysterious market.
So far, I’d only seen one clerk at the front counter. A short blonde-haired woman in her forties… possibly pretty if not for the many wrinkles, stained tee shirt, crooked glasses, and yellow teeth she didn’t bother to disguise. Riley read the name tag. And I never saw a smile or sign of joy from her…
“Oh, I love it!” I heard Jess say.
I turned to see her holding up a grinning bronze cat. Just her type.
“We’re so getting this!” Jess said.
“Oh, I know,” I replied. Then my gaze drifted down those many shelves… until I stopped when I saw it. A large item on the ground floor. “What the Hell…”
“What is it?” Jess asked.
I leaned down and grabbed the poster. The Justin Bieber one. The 2012 Biebs in all his smiling, sexy glory. The same exact poster my girlfriend studying clinical psychology had plastered in our very apartment. “Yo, check this out!”
Upon seeing it, Jess cackled. “Oh my God, really!?”
“Hey, maybe you want another one?” I joked.
Jess shoved the poster away. “You’re crazy, Cory!”
I tossed Justin back on the shelf where he came from. Glanced off toward the front of the store-
And then I saw her! The weird clerk Riley staring back at me. Her gaze glowing behind those glasses. Her smile shook me to the core. The one finally making an appearance… Just how long had her ass been watching us?
“Come on!” Jess said. She snagged my arm and pulled me away.
“Alright...” I replied.
Shoving the cart, Jess led us further toward the back of the first warehouse. This first foray in to the Sasser Flea Market’s deepest darkest depths.
Now we neared the restrooms. Jess had us over at the discount section. The one dollar section to be exact. She searched through the artifacts, me at the mercy of her meticulous method. Of Jess’s particular taste.
Still being battered by the wind, I folded my arms in the Chargers hoodie. “You like anything, babe?” I looked off behind us. Off toward the open doorway in the distance. What I got was a brief glimpse of the great outdoors: tall weeds and trees. And the entrance to warehouse number two… a smaller building, for sure. But who knew what the Hell was inside?
“Duh!” Jess replied.
I watched her go through one box in a matter of seconds. Nothing of interest inside, not until the bottom when Jess pulled out a couple of used and abused toy pumpkins. The kind a certain chihuahua would like. “I’d get these for Ripley but someone already got to them,” Jess remarked at the toys’ bitemark scars.
“Her ass’d still chew them up,” I replied. I lowered my mask and took a quick swig of booze.
Laughing, Jess tossed those toy pumpkins down. “Smartass.” Followed my lead with a swig of wine.
Flashing a smile at Jess, I walked over toward the bathrooms, dreading their appearance. “Yo, I gotta go piss!”
“Alright, just meet me back out here,” Jess said.
“For sure! I love you.” I entered what I was sure was gonna be close to a literal shithole and I wasn’t disappointed.
The cramped corridors showed a sink and stall. A rusty lock for the front door my only protection from the flea market for privacy.
Even with one narrow window open, a nauseating stench hit me. Slicing straight through my Goddamn mask. The smell too putrid to be shit much less urine… And this shit lingered. The scent permeating through the bathroom in sickening suffocating fashion. I figured something had died somewhere in the bottom of that murky toilet. Either that or the flea market had attempted to flush down a human corpse many years ago.
I took a deep breath. Hit some Miller Light for courage. Even checked my phone for more courage… No service like I figured. All I could do was show a cynical smirk.
Even if Jess was gonna be holding me hostage till long after closing time, I still had to hurry and get back to her. I put my phone up and stepped up to the plate. Pissed away right there on the spot. Lost in the relief, I tilted my head back...
And then a sudden sound crashed through the smelly silence: barking off in the distance! Nervous, I zipped myself back up. “What the Hell…”
Tracing those canine cries, I stumbled up to the sink. To the window. The closer I got, the louder and more distinct the barking became. I looked on across the dirt driveway to warehouse number two… where those October howls were clearly coming from. Those guttural yaps coming from somewhere deep behind that rusted metal tombstone.
“Weird,” I muttered as I cut on the sink and let the brown water ‘cleanse’ me. All the while, the barking continued. The pup sounding more and more anguished… more and more desperate.
Now it wasn’t just the fall wind unnerving me but the howls drifting in deep beneath this dog dad’s sympathy. Finally, I stepped back into part one of the Sasser Flea Market symphony.
To my relief, I saw Jess over at a Halloween section. One complete with a toy black cat that looked to be a twin to our own beloved decoration.
Scattered plastic jack o’lanterns watched me as I stopped next to Jess. Each October cliche covered in dust everywhere except those wide smiles. Like a cold jury, their crooked eyes pierced into my soul.
Jess faced me. “Hey.”
Trying to downplay the fear factor building inside, I grabbed on to the cart handle. Those many unique trinkets and clothes right at my fingertips. “You ready to go?”
“What?” Jess chuckled. “We still got thirty minutes.”
“I don’t know, this place is…” I looked over at those grinning pumpkins. “It’s kinda creeping me out.”
“Creeping you out?” Jess chuckled.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m a pussy, I know,” I quipped.
Reassuring me, Jess ran a hand along my arm. Along my attempt at a bicep. “Let me just check the other side real quick.”
I gotta say Sasser’s was interesting… Plus, the weather kept this flea market from being a furnace. So I decided to relent and play Good Boyfriend Cory.
Pushing that heavyass cart, I followed Jess through a side exit. Out on to that same dirt driveway I saw from the bathroom. The only item out here a standing poster from the 1930s. A carnival reject featuring two dancing ants, its cursive font in candy colors screaming: Y’all, come back soon!
The isolation did alarm me. A field of tall weeds created a blockade separating the flea market from the highway. Behind the two buildings, I saw nothing offering civilization on the horizon. Just a green inferno I wanted no part of. And that rotten odor remained present… All Jess and I could hear that brutal barking...
I noticed a few cars beside ours but how come the only other person we’d seen so far was Riley? The zombified clerk who hadn’t talked much less offered any Southern hospitality to Jess and I. And some of those cars were clear clunkers. Rusted in place for a permanent parking job. Hell, maybe they were part of the exhibit for all I knew.
“Come on, Cory,” Jess said.
I looked back toward the first shack. Just in time to see Riley standing on the edge of the entryway, most of her body obscured by a hulking scuba diver suit. The lady silent enough to be on display herself if not for those lively bright eyes watching us. Her cryptic smile back again.
Upon entering Sasser Flea Market part two, we saw no other clerks. Certainly no other customers. Even the dog had stopped its howls…
What we got instead was just the same sea of random shit. The many rows of books, clothes, and scattered snapshots of a discarded past. And God knows how far this past went.
I saw a table full of vinyl records by unrecognizable musicians. The covers and productions even looked homemade. Their deep scratches caused by excessive play. A mix of garage rock and church choirs of unknown origins.
Elsewhere, posters aged beyond belief were piling up. Each of them covered in cracked frames. No bands or performers I recognized… None from the last half-century at least.
The desolation then really set in. We were all alone for sure. Under the dim lighting, I got a shotgun view of this warehouse. There was only a bulky wooden door a few feet away from us… otherwise, there were no windows. No bathrooms. No escape. Somehow, the Sasser Flea Market was scarier in the silence.
I had to squeeze my mask. Somehow that sickening smell was still getting through. It’s gotta be more than the antiques, I thought. Hell, I can’t even blame ‘Riley’ now.
“There’s so much stuff,” Jess commented as she pushed the cart further within this antique abyss.
Staying by her side, I nodded nervously. “Yeah…” I needed another swig-
But Jess beat me to it. However, not even fear could slow her shopping spree. Especially when she laid eyes on that furniture section. A cluster right there by the lone door in this warehouse.
Along the way, I stumbled into something! A cold CLANG rang out! “Shit!” I cried. Struggling to keep up, I reached out and grabbed Jess’s arm. “Hey, wait up!”
“I am!” Jess laughed.
I looked toward the site of my near-accident. Saw the sight of a large rectangular cage still rattling… A pretty big one at that. And judging by the rust and dangling padlock, the cage had been used previously… and deep in my unease, I couldn’t help but wonder for what?
Of course, that didn’t stop Jess. After all, she was tougher than me.
“C’mon, Cory!” she said.
I let her pull me up to the first table. In the claustrophobia, I still felt the frigid fall wind… or maybe it was the dread I felt lurking inside.
As Jess examined a green bird box we’d never need, I stole a glance back at that door. One fit more for a castle than Sasser, Georgia. The heavy brass knob hung on for dear life, clamoring for one last grip. Naturally, I couldn’t help but wonder what other ‘treasures’ or terrors this flea market had in store…
“This is pretty,” Jess said.
Turning, I got a front row view of the wooden bird box… but also something else-
That silver beauty beckoned me. “Yeah,” I muttered to Jess. Distracted, I staggered past her, closer to the edge of the table.
“Do you think any birds will fly on our patio?” Jess asked.
The horror wouldn’t let me respond. I stopped and touched the laptop’s smooth surface. Its flawless, brand new appearance so alluring in a dump antique store like this.
This was the same brand, the same model as what I had back at apartment sixteen. Probably the same damn everything. The shiny flashy replacement for my old 2015 craptop.
A scared shiver shot through my veins. Why would this be here? Who brought it here?
“Hey, Cory,” I heard Jess say, her voice unable to hide the obvious concern.
Welcome to the fucking club, sweetheart.
Tracing my hand along the laptop’s front cover, I saw a small card tucked into the keypad. Trapped in there, its edge sticking straight out, just enough to draw me in… Shit! I thought. What the Hell is this…
Jess put the bird box down and stopped next to me. But I didn’t wait much longer.
I snatched out the business card. The big bold letters and dark lake logo all instantly familiar: The Greystone.
The manager’s name stared back at us: Sara Dillon. But what left Jess and I in a state of shock was who was listed as her co-manager: Riley Dillon.
Jess grabbed my arm in a death grip. Hanging on for dear life… “Isn’t that her name?”
Turning, I glanced back toward where we came from. Toward the dirt driveway. The ant sign. The scuba diver guy… Only Riley was gone.
“The lady who runs this place!” Jess went on. “Her and Sara are sisters!”
“It’s crazy,” I said as I tossed the card back on to the laptop. On to what I was sure was my laptop. “This shit’s weird, Jess!”
“No shit!”
Through my drunken panic, anguished concern hit me: Ripley. I retrieved my phone. A Blink notification stared back at me, one from over an hour ago…
I felt Jess pull my arm closer. “Cory, let’s go!”
But not even she could stop me. I clicked the app. Then the clip.
There was our living room, our Halloween Utopia. Only I saw two pairs of legs walking around. I heard two sets of female voices inside apartment sixteen. I knew those longer, muscular legs all too well. Knew Sara’s Southern accent...
Huge boxes scattered in stations around our coffee table. Each of them getting filled up fast.
Now I saw several of our decorations were gone… until I realized they’d been stuffed in those cardboard boxes. All of them along with our other most beloved items. Justin Bieber’s smile amongst them.
Then there was the soundtrack: Ripley’s angry, defensive barks. They were brutal to the ears. And not much different than the ones we’d heard earlier...
Horror hit both Jess and I! Her grip grew tighter, strangling my blood flow.
Like an actor exiting the stage, the other woman walked off camera. But I heard her voice hollering commands. “Get that one, Sara!” “Let’s get that Goddamn dog!”
Through the living room windows, vivid sunlight illuminated this home invasion. Illuminated Sara snatching our singing black cat. My Blink app now a home for snuff rather than those cute Ripley videos I obsessed over.
“Shit!” I cried.
Jess faced me. “Cory, we need to go to the police-”
“Hold on!” I couldn’t turn away. Not when the video now only gave me silence and suspense. “Ripley!” I screamed into the phone.
Popping out of nowhere, a craggy face leaned over the camera, overtaking the screen! Those beaming eyes looked right at Jess and I! The woman’s expression evil, Riley Dillon’s smile absolutely terrifying.
The video ended on this chilling crescendo! Before I could get a full view of her sister Sara, before I could even see them leave the apartment… Or see Ripley.
Suffering from a stomach twisting in knots, I looked over at Jess. “They took her!”
I could see Jess struggling to subdue her own unease. A pitiful attempt. “You don’t know for sure-”
The barking erupted! Ripley’s cries for help.
Immediately, Jess and I both turned toward the door. Where our beloved pet’s pleas were coming from…
“Alright, we get her and get the fuck out of here!” Jess said.
“Amen!” I replied. Grabbing my girlfriend’s hand, I led us both up to that imposing door. Closer to our Ripley. “Ripley!” I cried.
To my relief, the door was unlocked! But I let go of the knob. Just for a moment.
“What the Hell are you doing!” Jess said. She lunged for the doorknob.
I held her back. “Hold on!” Trembling with each and every howl, I raised the Miller Lite to my mask. One lift, one sip. All I needed for a temporary fix to these frenzied nerves. Not that it helped much… but hey, every little edge helped this alcoholic at least.
“Well, Hell, let me do the same!” I heard Jess say.
Upon getting our drunk courage, we threw the door open and burst inside the backroom! The smell was even worse. A sickening mist at this point.
A single dangling lightbulb swung but there were no windows to help its beam. The room was spacious and wide… and all we heard was Ripley. Our Chihuahua trapped in a small cage right by the entrance. A couple of bigger cages positioned right next to her.
Jess and I rushed toward Ripley. But then came to one scared stop.
Bodies upon bodies piled up in the very back. Not so much preserved even in this October cold. The smell of decay was too strong, the corpses ranging from mutilated to a paleness only interrupted by the occasional blood stain. All of the bodies adults… except for the slaughtered children in slaughtered families.
A mother and father’s dead gaze stayed on us. Their throats slit from ear to ear. Their children dissected and now on display.
But it was the framed photo I saw lying at the family’s feet that shook me to the core. A picture taken well over a decade ago. One of a smiling Sara and Riley. Further proof for what Jess and I feared: The Greystone was these sisters’ gore factory. No wonder they had so many cool antiques… and no wonder the rent was so fucking cheap.
Ripley’s guttural growls broke us from our scared spell. Immediately, Jess and I came to her rescue!
In one frantic slide, I unlocked the cage. Ripley jumped into my arms and licked my face!
Horrified, Jess pointed toward the cage. “Cory, look!”
I now saw blood stains covering Ripley’s cage. Being the worried dog dad I was, I inspected Ripley’s body, much to her annoyance. But she was good. No cuts, no scratches. “It’s okay, baby,” I reassured her.
“No, look at the others!” Jess said.
Following girlfriend orders, I confronted those other cages.
They had blood, alright. Not to mention stray pulpy bits collected from organs and intestines of old. All of it human. But what struck me most were the two cages placed by Ripley’s… their doors were wide open. Their sizes exact enough to reserve one spot for Jess and one for me. Another Greystone family these sadistic sisters had hoped for. Had fucking planned for.
Struggling against the nauseating scent, I squeezed the mask again. “Jesus fucking Christ…”
Ripley barked in agreement.
“Fuck this shit!” Jess yelled. She pushed Ripley and I both back toward the warehouse. “Fuck the clothes, let’s go! Run!”
Don’t ask me how but Riley wasn’t waiting for us with a chainsaw. I don’t know where she went nor did I wanna know. Hell, technically, Jess and I never even checked out of the flea market. That shopping cart full of Jess’s crazy shit might still be there to this day…
But we ran outside! Ripley and that beer held tight in my protective grasp. Somehow, Jess’s SUV cranked and we roared out into the night! Somehow, the three of us had survived.
We never went back to The Greystone. Never saw Sara Dillon again. But one thing was for certain: I finally had my horror story... and just in time for Halloween 2020.
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2020.10.24 16:12 thehorrorwriter2 Don't Go To Sasser, Georgia's Flea Market

After the YouTube incident, we had to make another move. And could you blame us? The good news was with Corona running wild, Jess was able to keep doing her classes on-line while keeping her mysterious ESL tutoring gig.
Me, on the other hand, well, by October, Albany, Georgia wasn’t favoring quarantine too much. Then again, most of the country wasn’t. So there I was back on the part-time bartender scene, my latest stop at a shithole club called the Sandtrap. Not to my surprise, every Friday and Saturday night was lit without a mask or anything remotely resembling social distancing in sight. Lucky me...
But while the transition from Tally to Albany meant less cool shit and entertainment, it also meant cheaper rent. And our new apartment wasn’t too bad.
The Greystone was lovely actually. There was a pool we’d never use, but hey, there was also space aplenty for a young couple like us… and an amazing walking trail for our chihuahua Ripley.
Yeah, we’d only been there a couple of weeks but The Greystone checked off all the boxes for Cory and Jess’s latest home. Not to mention there were no neighbors next to apartment sixteen... which was what mattered most to me. Especially in 2020.
From day one, the building’s manager Sara seemed eager to have us. Hell, she even waived the pet fee. After giving us her business card, Sara took us on a detailed tour. Jess was immediately hooked by her showmanship. Certainly, The Greystone sold itself as did the price... But in all honesty, Sara’s hotness swayed me.
As the three of us checked out the apartment, I couldn’t help but check out Sara’s alluring body in that tight business suit. Judging by the excessive make-up and super-stylized blonde hair, she must’ve been approaching fifty but I couldn’t know for sure considering the boobs and ass she was all too eager to flaunt. Of course, I couldn’t also help but notice my girlfriend’s occasional glare. Jess’s jealousy quite notorious during the span of our almost-half-decade relationship.
Just a few feet away from our lakeside view, Sara stopped next to the kitchen counter. The cleavage so obvious… and on point. “So what do y’all think?” she said in her Southern drawl.
“Oh, I love it!” Jess responded.
I stared on at our lovely hostess. The lady more like a socialite heiress considering the immaculate appearance… A postmodern Scarlett O’Hara. “I love the tits too,” I blurted out.
Instantly, I felt Jess’s hand reach behind me. I knew I’d fucked up, and Jess’s quick squeeze on my ass further highlighted the mistake.
“I mean I love it here too,” I corrected. Sara gave me a sly smile. “This apartment, I mean,” I added.
“Indeed,” Sara said. She fixated those green eyes on Jess. “But I can’t blame you, girl.” She lowered those emeralds toward Jess’s hand. Stealing an admiring look at my ass. “Not at all...”
I smirked at Jess. Okay, so I was flattered...
Jess just gave an awkward laugh...
“But I’m glad y’all enjoyed the tour,” Sara said.
Jess’s grip got even tighter. “Well, what else is around here?” she asked Sara. “I know there’s Lake Chehaw and the zoo and all.”
Excited, Sara leaned back against the counter. Yeah, I was still staring at those tits… “Oh yes!” Sara said. “There’s a bunch of nice little places and restaurants! The aquarium’s just up the road.”
“Anywhere to shop?” Jess asked.
Grinning, Sara nodded. “There’s actually a famous little flea market down in Sasser.”
“Sasser?”
Sara pointed out the window. Pointed beyond glorious Lake Chehaw… “Yep, it’s only about five miles down the road, past the city limits.” Sara stood up off the counter. “It’s my hometown actually.”
“Oh okay,” Jess and I said in unison.
“It’s a little community but the Sasser Flea Market is legendary. Trust me.”
“Sounds like we should check it out.” Without hesitation, Jess confronted me. The intimidating RBF putting me on the spot.
“Yeah, Hell yeah,” I replied.
So of course, we moved in. Apartment sixteen now all ours. Most of The Greystone was for that matter. Regardless of the cheap rent, I didn’t see anyone out there. No families, no kids hogging the pool. No drunks being reckless after midnight... No strangers for Ripley to bark at. Call it selective memory but about the only other resident I saw during the day was Sara on her afternoon jogs in those tight yoga pants...
Together, Jess, Ripley, and I warmed up to The Greystone. To this town in general. Plus with quarantine, I now had more time than ever to work on my YouTube channel. My new laptop definitely helped… only the writer’s block didn’t.
But even in the middle of a pandemic, Jess and I did decide to go out from time to time. Albeit with masks and an itinerary of outdoor locations. And this October weekend was no different. The perfect time to visit the infamous Sasser Flea Market.
On that fateful Saturday, Jess and I finally put up our Halloween decorations. The inflatable smiling jack o’lantern, the black cat who sang “(I Always Feel Like) Somebody’s Watching Me”, our assortment of hanging skeletons. And the Bela Lugosi Dracula poster I hung right next to Jess’s framed Justin Bieber picture… one from circa 2012. Don’t ask.
Of course, Ripley wasn’t too happy.. But Jess and I gave her a kiss before we left. Ripley had the whole playpen to go apeshit in, after all. Not to mention pounds of food to eat.
Both of us dressed in our casual Saturday best, Jess and I walked to her SUV. Awaiting us inside was all the beer and wine we bought earlier. That morning, we’d even bragged to Sara about finally going to check out the flea market. Needless to say, she was delighted.
“Y’all go enjoy it!” she’d told us
Slouched back in the passenger’s seat, I retrieved my iPhone. “Let me check on Ripley.”
“Already?” Jess teased. She brushed her straight blonde bangs back. My girl looking nice in that hoodie and jeans.
“I don’t want her getting too lonely.” I pulled up the Blink app. Straight to the live feed of Ripley playing with her chewy toy pumpkin. Too Goddamn cute…
“She’ll be fine, Cory,” Jess said as she started the car.
“I think you might be right,” I chuckled.
My epic Halloween playlist was the only soundtrack we needed. Alice Cooper’s “Caught In A Dream” getting this road trip started...
Jess and I did our best to keep a low profile and avoid as many people as possible… something we did pretty damn well even before Covid. There was the Ray Charles statue downtown. The brewery right next to it. The occasional stopover at one of Jess’s ‘stores’. But hey, we had booze and each other. A perfect Saturday off in my opinion. Who knows, maybe inspiration for another scary story would appear at some point?
Throughout the trip, I checked in on Ripley on the Blink app. Not that I needed to. Ripley was just fine chewing up toy pumpkins and fake bones... Hell, she wasn’t even crying or howling. The playpen her personal paradise.
“I told you!” Jess said.
“Yeah, yeah,” I replied. I raised the traveler’s coffee cup to my lips. One I’d filled to the brim with Miller Light… not that I needed much more booze at this point. Neither of us did actually.
About an hour later, an hour after Jess ambushed the Albany Mall, we pulled up to the Sasser Flea Market. All it took was reaching Sasser, Georgia, passing one gas station, then making that fateful right turn on to a bumpy dirt road.
As Lon Chaney Jr. sang the Spider Baby theme song, I didn’t see many cars greeting us. Then again, the place supposedly closed at seven and here we were rolling in at six-fifteen.
Then again, the flea market wasn’t anything too elaborate. Just two warehouses. Two long shacks essentially.
To our relief, there was no fanfare here. No annoying clerks. Clutching our drinks, Jess and I made the rounds in warehouse number one.
Like a junk museum, we were greeted by many strange items. The type of furniture and memorabilia most would consider trash but Jess and I considered gold. Hip to say the least.
The open front doorway let that fall breeze sweep through us. Jess’s hoodie and my San Diego Chargers jacket little help against its chilling attack…
But Jess didn’t care. Not in her wheelhouse here in the flea market. She had shit to choose from: clothes, posters, decorations. Fucking anything else.
The two of us journeyed through these various Sasser sections. The book station. The sports memorabilia. And of course, the many fucking clothes.
The bland walls and claustrophobia were all offset by the abundance of oddities. Shit this place was just cool. How could we not be entertained?
Soon, Jess guided us toward the flea market’s trinkets. A trash treasure chest.
She got lost in the sea of banners, figurines, and small statues… And as Jess piled up our newest decorations in the shopping cart, I stole another glance around the store. Around this mysterious market.
So far, I’d only seen one clerk at the front counter. A short blonde-haired woman in her forties… possibly pretty if not for the many wrinkles, stained tee shirt, crooked glasses, and yellow teeth she didn’t bother to disguise. Riley read the name tag. And I never saw a smile or sign of joy from her…
“Oh, I love it!” I heard Jess say.
I turned to see her holding up a grinning bronze cat. Just her type.
“We’re so getting this!” Jess said.
“Oh, I know,” I replied. Then my gaze drifted down those many shelves… until I stopped when I saw it. A large item on the ground floor. “What the Hell…”
“What is it?” Jess asked.
I leaned down and grabbed the poster. The Justin Bieber one. The 2012 Biebs in all his smiling, sexy glory. The same exact poster my girlfriend studying clinical psychology had plastered in our very apartment. “Yo, check this out!”
Upon seeing it, Jess cackled. “Oh my God, really!?”
“Hey, maybe you want another one?” I joked.
Jess shoved the poster away. “You’re crazy, Cory!”
I tossed Justin back on the shelf where he came from. Glanced off toward the front of the store-
And then I saw her! The weird clerk Riley staring back at me. Her gaze glowing behind those glasses. Her smile shook me to the core. The one finally making an appearance… Just how long had her ass been watching us?
“Come on!” Jess said. She snagged my arm and pulled me away.
“Alright...” I replied.
Shoving the cart, Jess led us further toward the back of the first warehouse. This first foray in to the Sasser Flea Market’s deepest darkest depths.
Now we neared the restrooms. Jess had us over at the discount section. The one dollar section to be exact. She searched through the artifacts, me at the mercy of her meticulous method. Of Jess’s particular taste.
Still being battered by the wind, I folded my arms in the Chargers hoodie. “You like anything, babe?” I looked off behind us. Off toward the open doorway in the distance. What I got was a brief glimpse of the great outdoors: tall weeds and trees. And the entrance to warehouse number two… a smaller building, for sure. But who knew what the Hell was inside?
“Duh!” Jess replied.
I watched her go through one box in a matter of seconds. Nothing of interest inside, not until the bottom when Jess pulled out a couple of used and abused toy pumpkins. The kind a certain chihuahua would like. “I’d get these for Ripley but someone already got to them,” Jess remarked at the toys’ bitemark scars.
“Her ass’d still chew them up,” I replied. I lowered my mask and took a quick swig of booze.
Laughing, Jess tossed those toy pumpkins down. “Smartass.” Followed my lead with a swig of wine.
Flashing a smile at Jess, I walked over toward the bathrooms, dreading their appearance. “Yo, I gotta go piss!”
“Alright, just meet me back out here,” Jess said.
“For sure! I love you.” I entered what I was sure was gonna be close to a literal shithole and I wasn’t disappointed.
The cramped corridors showed a sink and stall. A rusty lock for the front door my only protection from the flea market for privacy.
Even with one narrow window open, a nauseating stench hit me. Slicing straight through my Goddamn mask. The smell too putrid to be shit much less urine… And this shit lingered. The scent permeating through the bathroom in sickening suffocating fashion. I figured something had died somewhere in the bottom of that murky toilet. Either that or the flea market had attempted to flush down a human corpse many years ago.
I took a deep breath. Hit some Miller Light for courage. Even checked my phone for more courage… No service like I figured. All I could do was show a cynical smirk.
Even if Jess was gonna be holding me hostage till long after closing time, I still had to hurry and get back to her. I put my phone up and stepped up to the plate. Pissed away right there on the spot. Lost in the relief, I tilted my head back...
And then a sudden sound crashed through the smelly silence: barking off in the distance! Nervous, I zipped myself back up. “What the Hell…”
Tracing those canine cries, I stumbled up to the sink. To the window. The closer I got, the louder and more distinct the barking became. I looked on across the dirt driveway to warehouse number two… where those October howls were clearly coming from. Those guttural yaps coming from somewhere deep behind that rusted metal tombstone.
“Weird,” I muttered as I cut on the sink and let the brown water ‘cleanse’ me. All the while, the barking continued. The pup sounding more and more anguished… more and more desperate.
Now it wasn’t just the fall wind unnerving me but the howls drifting in deep beneath this dog dad’s sympathy. Finally, I stepped back into part one of the Sasser Flea Market symphony.
To my relief, I saw Jess over at a Halloween section. One complete with a toy black cat that looked to be a twin to our own beloved decoration.
Scattered plastic jack o’lanterns watched me as I stopped next to Jess. Each October cliche covered in dust everywhere except those wide smiles. Like a cold jury, their crooked eyes pierced into my soul.
Jess faced me. “Hey.”
Trying to downplay the fear factor building inside, I grabbed on to the cart handle. Those many unique trinkets and clothes right at my fingertips. “You ready to go?”
“What?” Jess chuckled. “We still got thirty minutes.”
“I don’t know, this place is…” I looked over at those grinning pumpkins. “It’s kinda creeping me out.”
“Creeping you out?” Jess chuckled.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m a pussy, I know,” I quipped.
Reassuring me, Jess ran a hand along my arm. Along my attempt at a bicep. “Let me just check the other side real quick.”
I gotta say Sasser’s was interesting… Plus, the weather kept this flea market from being a furnace. So I decided to relent and play Good Boyfriend Cory.
Pushing that heavyass cart, I followed Jess through a side exit. Out on to that same dirt driveway I saw from the bathroom. The only item out here a standing poster from the 1930s. A carnival reject featuring two dancing ants, its cursive font in candy colors screaming: Y’all, come back soon!
The isolation did alarm me. A field of tall weeds created a blockade separating the flea market from the highway. Behind the two buildings, I saw nothing offering civilization on the horizon. Just a green inferno I wanted no part of. And that rotten odor remained present… All Jess and I could hear that brutal barking...
I noticed a few cars beside ours but how come the only other person we’d seen so far was Riley? The zombified clerk who hadn’t talked much less offered any Southern hospitality to Jess and I. And some of those cars were clear clunkers. Rusted in place for a permanent parking job. Hell, maybe they were part of the exhibit for all I knew.
“Come on, Cory,” Jess said.
I looked back toward the first shack. Just in time to see Riley standing on the edge of the entryway, most of her body obscured by a hulking scuba diver suit. The lady silent enough to be on display herself if not for those lively bright eyes watching us. Her cryptic smile back again.
Upon entering Sasser Flea Market part two, we saw no other clerks. Certainly no other customers. Even the dog had stopped its howls…
What we got instead was just the same sea of random shit. The many rows of books, clothes, and scattered snapshots of a discarded past. And God knows how far this past went.
I saw a table full of vinyl records by unrecognizable musicians. The covers and productions even looked homemade. Their deep scratches caused by excessive play. A mix of garage rock and church choirs of unknown origins.
Elsewhere, posters aged beyond belief were piling up. Each of them covered in cracked frames. No bands or performers I recognized… None from the last half-century at least.
The desolation then really set in. We were all alone for sure. Under the dim lighting, I got a shotgun view of this warehouse. There was only a bulky wooden door a few feet away from us… otherwise, there were no windows. No bathrooms. No escape. Somehow, the Sasser Flea Market was scarier in the silence.
I had to squeeze my mask. Somehow that sickening smell was still getting through. It’s gotta be more than the antiques, I thought. Hell, I can’t even blame ‘Riley’ now.
“There’s so much stuff,” Jess commented as she pushed the cart further within this antique abyss.
Staying by her side, I nodded nervously. “Yeah…” I needed another swig-
But Jess beat me to it. However, not even fear could slow her shopping spree. Especially when she laid eyes on that furniture section. A cluster right there by the lone door in this warehouse.
Along the way, I stumbled into something! A cold CLANG rang out! “Shit!” I cried. Struggling to keep up, I reached out and grabbed Jess’s arm. “Hey, wait up!”
“I am!” Jess laughed.
I looked toward the site of my near-accident. Saw the sight of a large rectangular cage still rattling… A pretty big one at that. And judging by the rust and dangling padlock, the cage had been used previously… and deep in my unease, I couldn’t help but wonder for what?
Of course, that didn’t stop Jess. After all, she was tougher than me.
“C’mon, Cory!” she said.
I let her pull me up to the first table. In the claustrophobia, I still felt the frigid fall wind… or maybe it was the dread I felt lurking inside.
As Jess examined a green bird box we’d never need, I stole a glance back at that door. One fit more for a castle than Sasser, Georgia. The heavy brass knob hung on for dear life, clamoring for one last grip. Naturally, I couldn’t help but wonder what other ‘treasures’ or terrors this flea market had in store…
“This is pretty,” Jess said.
Turning, I got a front row view of the wooden bird box… but also something else-
That silver beauty beckoned me. “Yeah,” I muttered to Jess. Distracted, I staggered past her, closer to the edge of the table.
“Do you think any birds will fly on our patio?” Jess asked.
The horror wouldn’t let me respond. I stopped and touched the laptop’s smooth surface. Its flawless, brand new appearance so alluring in a dump antique store like this.
This was the same brand, the same model as what I had back at apartment sixteen. Probably the same damn everything. The shiny flashy replacement for my old 2015 craptop.
A scared shiver shot through my veins. Why would this be here? Who brought it here?
“Hey, Cory,” I heard Jess say, her voice unable to hide the obvious concern.
Welcome to the fucking club, sweetheart.
Tracing my hand along the laptop’s front cover, I saw a small card tucked into the keypad. Trapped in there, its edge sticking straight out, just enough to draw me in… Shit! I thought. What the Hell is this…
Jess put the bird box down and stopped next to me. But I didn’t wait much longer.
I snatched out the business card. The big bold letters and dark lake logo all instantly familiar: The Greystone.
The manager’s name stared back at us: Sara Dillon. But what left Jess and I in a state of shock was who was listed as her co-manager: Riley Dillon.
Jess grabbed my arm in a death grip. Hanging on for dear life… “Isn’t that her name?”
Turning, I glanced back toward where we came from. Toward the dirt driveway. The ant sign. The scuba diver guy… Only Riley was gone.
“The lady who runs this place!” Jess went on. “Her and Sara are sisters!”
“It’s crazy,” I said as I tossed the card back on to the laptop. On to what I was sure was my laptop. “This shit’s weird, Jess!”
“No shit!”
Through my drunken panic, anguished concern hit me: Ripley. I retrieved my phone. A Blink notification stared back at me, one from over an hour ago…
I felt Jess pull my arm closer. “Cory, let’s go!”
But not even she could stop me. I clicked the app. Then the clip.
There was our living room, our Halloween Utopia. Only I saw two pairs of legs walking around. I heard two sets of female voices inside apartment sixteen. I knew those longer, muscular legs all too well. Knew Sara’s Southern accent...
Huge boxes scattered in stations around our coffee table. Each of them getting filled up fast.
Now I saw several of our decorations were gone… until I realized they’d been stuffed in those cardboard boxes. All of them along with our other most beloved items. Justin Bieber’s smile amongst them.
Then there was the soundtrack: Ripley’s angry, defensive barks. They were brutal to the ears. And not much different than the ones we’d heard earlier...
Horror hit both Jess and I! Her grip grew tighter, strangling my blood flow.
Like an actor exiting the stage, the other woman walked off camera. But I heard her voice hollering commands. “Get that one, Sara!” “Let’s get that Goddamn dog!”
Through the living room windows, vivid sunlight illuminated this home invasion. Illuminated Sara snatching our singing black cat. My Blink app now a home for snuff rather than those cute Ripley videos I obsessed over.
“Shit!” I cried.
Jess faced me. “Cory, we need to go to the police-”
“Hold on!” I couldn’t turn away. Not when the video now only gave me silence and suspense. “Ripley!” I screamed into the phone.
Popping out of nowhere, a craggy face leaned over the camera, overtaking the screen! Those beaming eyes looked right at Jess and I! The woman’s expression evil, Riley Dillon’s smile absolutely terrifying.
The video ended on this chilling crescendo! Before I could get a full view of her sister Sara, before I could even see them leave the apartment… Or see Ripley.
Suffering from a stomach twisting in knots, I looked over at Jess. “They took her!”
I could see Jess struggling to subdue her own unease. A pitiful attempt. “You don’t know for sure-”
The barking erupted! Ripley’s cries for help.
Immediately, Jess and I both turned toward the door. Where our beloved pet’s pleas were coming from…
“Alright, we get her and get the fuck out of here!” Jess said.
“Amen!” I replied. Grabbing my girlfriend’s hand, I led us both up to that imposing door. Closer to our Ripley. “Ripley!” I cried.
To my relief, the door was unlocked! But I let go of the knob. Just for a moment.
“What the Hell are you doing!” Jess said. She lunged for the doorknob.
I held her back. “Hold on!” Trembling with each and every howl, I raised the Miller Lite to my mask. One lift, one sip. All I needed for a temporary fix to these frenzied nerves. Not that it helped much… but hey, every little edge helped this alcoholic at least.
“Well, Hell, let me do the same!” I heard Jess say.
Upon getting our drunk courage, we threw the door open and burst inside the backroom! The smell was even worse. A sickening mist at this point.
A single dangling lightbulb swung but there were no windows to help its beam. The room was spacious and wide… and all we heard was Ripley. Our Chihuahua trapped in a small cage right by the entrance. A couple of bigger cages positioned right next to her.
Jess and I rushed toward Ripley. But then came to one scared stop.
Bodies upon bodies piled up in the very back. Not so much preserved even in this October cold. The smell of decay was too strong, the corpses ranging from mutilated to a paleness only interrupted by the occasional blood stain. All of the bodies adults… except for the slaughtered children in slaughtered families.
A mother and father’s dead gaze stayed on us. Their throats slit from ear to ear. Their children dissected and now on display.
But it was the framed photo I saw lying at the family’s feet that shook me to the core. A picture taken well over a decade ago. One of a smiling Sara and Riley. Further proof for what Jess and I feared: The Greystone was these sisters’ gore factory. No wonder they had so many cool antiques… and no wonder the rent was so fucking cheap.
Ripley’s guttural growls broke us from our scared spell. Immediately, Jess and I came to her rescue!
In one frantic slide, I unlocked the cage. Ripley jumped into my arms and licked my face!
Horrified, Jess pointed toward the cage. “Cory, look!”
I now saw blood stains covering Ripley’s cage. Being the worried dog dad I was, I inspected Ripley’s body, much to her annoyance. But she was good. No cuts, no scratches. “It’s okay, baby,” I reassured her.
“No, look at the others!” Jess said.
Following girlfriend orders, I confronted those other cages.
They had blood, alright. Not to mention stray pulpy bits collected from organs and intestines of old. All of it human. But what struck me most were the two cages placed by Ripley’s… their doors were wide open. Their sizes exact enough to reserve one spot for Jess and one for me. Another Greystone family these sadistic sisters had hoped for. Had fucking planned for.
Struggling against the nauseating scent, I squeezed the mask again. “Jesus fucking Christ…”
Ripley barked in agreement.
“Fuck this shit!” Jess yelled. She pushed Ripley and I both back toward the warehouse. “Fuck the clothes, let’s go! Run!”
Don’t ask me how but Riley wasn’t waiting for us with a chainsaw. I don’t know where she went nor did I wanna know. Hell, technically, Jess and I never even checked out of the flea market. That shopping cart full of Jess’s crazy shit might still be there to this day…
But we ran outside! Ripley and that beer held tight in my protective grasp. Somehow, Jess’s SUV cranked and we roared out into the night! Somehow, the three of us had survived.
We never went back to The Greystone. Never saw Sara Dillon again. But one thing was for certain: I finally had my horror story... and just in time for Halloween 2020.
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2020.10.24 02:28 thehorrorwriter2 The Sasser Flea Market

After the YouTube incident, we had to make another move. And could you blame us? The good news was with Corona running wild, Jess was able to keep doing her classes on-line while keeping her mysterious ESL tutoring gig.
Me, on the other hand, well, by October, Albany, Georgia wasn’t favoring quarantine too much. Then again, most of the country wasn’t. So there I was back on the part-time bartender scene, my latest stop at a shithole club called the Sandtrap. Not to my surprise, every Friday and Saturday night was lit without a mask or anything remotely resembling social distancing in sight. Lucky me...
But while the transition from Tally to Albany meant less cool shit and entertainment, it also meant cheaper rent. And our new apartment wasn’t too bad.
The Greystone was lovely actually. There was a pool we’d never use, but hey, there was also space aplenty for a young couple like us… and an amazing walking trail for our chihuahua Ripley.
Yeah, we’d only been there a couple of weeks but The Greystone checked off all the boxes for Cory and Jess’s latest home. Not to mention there were no neighbors next to apartment sixteen... which was what mattered most to me. Especially in 2020.
From day one, the building’s manager Sara seemed eager to have us. Hell, she even waived the pet fee. After giving us her business card, Sara took us on a detailed tour. Jess was immediately hooked by her showmanship. Certainly, The Greystone sold itself as did the price... But in all honesty, Sara’s hotness swayed me.
As the three of us checked out the apartment, I couldn’t help but check out Sara’s alluring body in that tight business suit. Judging by the excessive make-up and super-stylized blonde hair, she must’ve been approaching fifty but I couldn’t know for sure considering the boobs and ass she was all too eager to flaunt. Of course, I couldn’t also help but notice my girlfriend’s occasional glare. Jess’s jealousy quite notorious during the span of our almost-half-decade relationship.
Just a few feet away from our lakeside view, Sara stopped next to the kitchen counter. The cleavage so obvious… and on point. “So what do y’all think?” she said in her Southern drawl.
“Oh, I love it!” Jess responded.
I stared on at our lovely hostess. The lady more like a socialite heiress considering the immaculate appearance… A postmodern Scarlett O’Hara. “I love the tits too,” I blurted out.
Instantly, I felt Jess’s hand reach behind me. I knew I’d fucked up, and Jess’s quick squeeze on my ass further highlighted the mistake.
“I mean I love it here too,” I corrected. Sara gave me a sly smile. “This apartment, I mean,” I added.
“Indeed,” Sara said. She fixated those green eyes on Jess. “But I can’t blame you, girl.” She lowered those emeralds toward Jess’s hand. Stealing an admiring look at my ass. “Not at all...”
I smirked at Jess. Okay, so I was flattered...
Jess just gave an awkward laugh...
“But I’m glad y’all enjoyed the tour,” Sara said.
Jess’s grip got even tighter. “Well, what else is around here?” she asked Sara. “I know there’s Lake Chehaw and the zoo and all.”
Excited, Sara leaned back against the counter. Yeah, I was still staring at those tits… “Oh yes!” Sara said. “There’s a bunch of nice little places and restaurants! The aquarium’s just up the road.”
“Anywhere to shop?” Jess asked.
Grinning, Sara nodded. “There’s actually a famous little flea market down in Sasser.”
“Sasser?”
Sara pointed out the window. Pointed beyond glorious Lake Chehaw… “Yep, it’s only about five miles down the road, past the city limits.” Sara stood up off the counter. “It’s my hometown actually.”
“Oh okay,” Jess and I said in unison.
“It’s a little community but the Sasser Flea Market is legendary. Trust me.”
“Sounds like we should check it out.” Without hesitation, Jess confronted me. The intimidating RBF putting me on the spot.
“Yeah, Hell yeah,” I replied.
So of course, we moved in. Apartment sixteen now all ours. Most of The Greystone was for that matter. Regardless of the cheap rent, I didn’t see anyone out there. No families, no kids hogging the pool. No drunks being reckless after midnight... No strangers for Ripley to bark at. Call it selective memory but about the only other resident I saw during the day was Sara on her afternoon jogs in those tight yoga pants...
Together, Jess, Ripley, and I warmed up to The Greystone. To this town in general. Plus with quarantine, I now had more time than ever to work on my YouTube channel. My new laptop definitely helped… only the writer’s block didn’t.
But even in the middle of a pandemic, Jess and I did decide to go out from time to time. Albeit with masks and an itinerary of outdoor locations. And this October weekend was no different. The perfect time to visit the infamous Sasser Flea Market.
On that fateful Saturday, Jess and I finally put up our Halloween decorations. The inflatable smiling jack o’lantern, the black cat who sang “(I Always Feel Like) Somebody’s Watching Me”, our assortment of hanging skeletons. And the Bela Lugosi Dracula poster I hung right next to Jess’s framed Justin Bieber picture… one from circa 2012. Don’t ask.
Of course, Ripley wasn’t too happy.. But Jess and I gave her a kiss before we left. Ripley had the whole playpen to go apeshit in, after all. Not to mention pounds of food to eat.
Both of us dressed in our casual Saturday best, Jess and I walked to her SUV. Awaiting us inside was all the beer and wine we bought earlier. That morning, we’d even bragged to Sara about finally going to check out the flea market. Needless to say, she was delighted.
“Y’all go enjoy it!” she’d told us
Slouched back in the passenger’s seat, I retrieved my iPhone. “Let me check on Ripley.”
“Already?” Jess teased. She brushed her straight blonde bangs back. My girl looking nice in that hoodie and jeans.
“I don’t want her getting too lonely.” I pulled up the Blink app. Straight to the live feed of Ripley playing with her chewy toy pumpkin. Too Goddamn cute…
“She’ll be fine, Cory,” Jess said as she started the car.
“I think you might be right,” I chuckled.
My epic Halloween playlist was the only soundtrack we needed. Alice Cooper’s “Caught In A Dream” getting this road trip started...
Jess and I did our best to keep a low profile and avoid as many people as possible… something we did pretty damn well even before Covid. There was the Ray Charles statue downtown. The brewery right next to it. The occasional stopover at one of Jess’s ‘stores’. But hey, we had booze and each other. A perfect Saturday off in my opinion. Who knows, maybe inspiration for another scary story would appear at some point?
Throughout the trip, I checked in on Ripley on the Blink app. Not that I needed to. Ripley was just fine chewing up toy pumpkins and fake bones... Hell, she wasn’t even crying or howling. The playpen her personal paradise.
“I told you!” Jess said.
“Yeah, yeah,” I replied. I raised the traveler’s coffee cup to my lips. One I’d filled to the brim with Miller Light… not that I needed much more booze at this point. Neither of us did actually.
About an hour later, an hour after Jess ambushed the Albany Mall, we pulled up to the Sasser Flea Market. All it took was reaching Sasser, Georgia, passing one gas station, then making that fateful right turn on to a bumpy dirt road.
As Lon Chaney Jr. sang the Spider Baby theme song, I didn’t see many cars greeting us. Then again, the place supposedly closed at seven and here we were rolling in at six-fifteen.
Then again, the flea market wasn’t anything too elaborate. Just two warehouses. Two long shacks essentially.
To our relief, there was no fanfare here. No annoying clerks. Clutching our drinks, Jess and I made the rounds in warehouse number one.
Like a junk museum, we were greeted by many strange items. The type of furniture and memorabilia most would consider trash but Jess and I considered gold. Hip to say the least.
The open front doorway let that fall breeze sweep through us. Jess’s hoodie and my San Diego Chargers jacket little help against its chilling attack…
But Jess didn’t care. Not in her wheelhouse here in the flea market. She had shit to choose from: clothes, posters, decorations. Fucking anything else.
The two of us journeyed through these various Sasser sections. The book station. The sports memorabilia. And of course, the many fucking clothes.
The bland walls and claustrophobia were all offset by the abundance of oddities. Shit this place was just cool. How could we not be entertained?
Soon, Jess guided us toward the flea market’s trinkets. A trash treasure chest.
She got lost in the sea of banners, figurines, and small statues… And as Jess piled up our newest decorations in the shopping cart, I stole another glance around the store. Around this mysterious market.
So far, I’d only seen one clerk at the front counter. A short blonde-haired woman in her forties… possibly pretty if not for the many wrinkles, stained tee shirt, crooked glasses, and yellow teeth she didn’t bother to disguise. Riley read the name tag. And I never saw a smile or sign of joy from her…
“Oh, I love it!” I heard Jess say.
I turned to see her holding up a grinning bronze cat. Just her type.
“We’re so getting this!” Jess said.
“Oh, I know,” I replied. Then my gaze drifted down those many shelves… until I stopped when I saw it. A large item on the ground floor. “What the Hell…”
“What is it?” Jess asked.
I leaned down and grabbed the poster. The Justin Bieber one. The 2012 Biebs in all his smiling, sexy glory. The same exact poster my girlfriend studying clinical psychology had plastered in our very apartment. “Yo, check this out!”
Upon seeing it, Jess cackled. “Oh my God, really!?”
“Hey, maybe you want another one?” I joked.
Jess shoved the poster away. “You’re crazy, Cory!”
I tossed Justin back on the shelf where he came from. Glanced off toward the front of the store-
And then I saw her! The weird clerk Riley staring back at me. Her gaze glowing behind those glasses. Her smile shook me to the core. The one finally making an appearance… Just how long had her ass been watching us?
“Come on!” Jess said. She snagged my arm and pulled me away.
“Alright...” I replied.
Shoving the cart, Jess led us further toward the back of the first warehouse. This first foray in to the Sasser Flea Market’s deepest darkest depths.
Now we neared the restrooms. Jess had us over at the discount section. The one dollar section to be exact. She searched through the artifacts, me at the mercy of her meticulous method. Of Jess’s particular taste.
Still being battered by the wind, I folded my arms in the Chargers hoodie. “You like anything, babe?” I looked off behind us. Off toward the open doorway in the distance. What I got was a brief glimpse of the great outdoors: tall weeds and trees. And the entrance to warehouse number two… a smaller building, for sure. But who knew what the Hell was inside?
“Duh!” Jess replied.
I watched her go through one box in a matter of seconds. Nothing of interest inside, not until the bottom when Jess pulled out a couple of used and abused toy pumpkins. The kind a certain chihuahua would like. “I’d get these for Ripley but someone already got to them,” Jess remarked at the toys’ bitemark scars.
“Her ass’d still chew them up,” I replied. I lowered my mask and took a quick swig of booze.
Laughing, Jess tossed those toy pumpkins down. “Smartass.” Followed my lead with a swig of wine.
Flashing a smile at Jess, I walked over toward the bathrooms, dreading their appearance. “Yo, I gotta go piss!”
“Alright, just meet me back out here,” Jess said.
“For sure! I love you.” I entered what I was sure was gonna be close to a literal shithole and I wasn’t disappointed.
The cramped corridors showed a sink and stall. A rusty lock for the front door my only protection from the flea market for privacy.
Even with one narrow window open, a nauseating stench hit me. Slicing straight through my Goddamn mask. The smell too putrid to be shit much less urine… And this shit lingered. The scent permeating through the bathroom in sickening suffocating fashion. I figured something had died somewhere in the bottom of that murky toilet. Either that or the flea market had attempted to flush down a human corpse many years ago.
I took a deep breath. Hit some Miller Light for courage. Even checked my phone for more courage… No service like I figured. All I could do was show a cynical smirk.
Even if Jess was gonna be holding me hostage till long after closing time, I still had to hurry and get back to her. I put my phone up and stepped up to the plate. Pissed away right there on the spot. Lost in the relief, I tilted my head back...
And then a sudden sound crashed through the smelly silence: barking off in the distance! Nervous, I zipped myself back up. “What the Hell…”
Tracing those canine cries, I stumbled up to the sink. To the window. The closer I got, the louder and more distinct the barking became. I looked on across the dirt driveway to warehouse number two… where those October howls were clearly coming from. Those guttural yaps coming from somewhere deep behind that rusted metal tombstone.
“Weird,” I muttered as I cut on the sink and let the brown water ‘cleanse’ me. All the while, the barking continued. The pup sounding more and more anguished… more and more desperate.
Now it wasn’t just the fall wind unnerving me but the howls drifting in deep beneath this dog dad’s sympathy. Finally, I stepped back into part one of the Sasser Flea Market symphony.
To my relief, I saw Jess over at a Halloween section. One complete with a toy black cat that looked to be a twin to our own beloved decoration.
Scattered plastic jack o’lanterns watched me as I stopped next to Jess. Each October cliche covered in dust everywhere except those wide smiles. Like a cold jury, their crooked eyes pierced into my soul.
Jess faced me. “Hey.”
Trying to downplay the fear factor building inside, I grabbed on to the cart handle. Those many unique trinkets and clothes right at my fingertips. “You ready to go?”
“What?” Jess chuckled. “We still got thirty minutes.”
“I don’t know, this place is…” I looked over at those grinning pumpkins. “It’s kinda creeping me out.”
“Creeping you out?” Jess chuckled.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m a pussy, I know,” I quipped.
Reassuring me, Jess ran a hand along my arm. Along my attempt at a bicep. “Let me just check the other side real quick.”
I gotta say Sasser’s was interesting… Plus, the weather kept this flea market from being a furnace. So I decided to relent and play Good Boyfriend Cory.
Pushing that heavyass cart, I followed Jess through a side exit. Out on to that same dirt driveway I saw from the bathroom. The only item out here a standing poster from the 1930s. A carnival reject featuring two dancing ants, its cursive font in candy colors screaming: Y’all, come back soon!
The isolation did alarm me. A field of tall weeds created a blockade separating the flea market from the highway. Behind the two buildings, I saw nothing offering civilization on the horizon. Just a green inferno I wanted no part of. And that rotten odor remained present… All Jess and I could hear that brutal barking...
I noticed a few cars beside ours but how come the only other person we’d seen so far was Riley? The zombified clerk who hadn’t talked much less offered any Southern hospitality to Jess and I. And some of those cars were clear clunkers. Rusted in place for a permanent parking job. Hell, maybe they were part of the exhibit for all I knew.
“Come on, Cory,” Jess said.
I looked back toward the first shack. Just in time to see Riley standing on the edge of the entryway, most of her body obscured by a hulking scuba diver suit. The lady silent enough to be on display herself if not for those lively bright eyes watching us. Her cryptic smile back again.
Upon entering Sasser Flea Market part two, we saw no other clerks. Certainly no other customers. Even the dog had stopped its howls…
What we got instead was just the same sea of random shit. The many rows of books, clothes, and scattered snapshots of a discarded past. And God knows how far this past went.
I saw a table full of vinyl records by unrecognizable musicians. The covers and productions even looked homemade. Their deep scratches caused by excessive play. A mix of garage rock and church choirs of unknown origins.
Elsewhere, posters aged beyond belief were piling up. Each of them covered in cracked frames. No bands or performers I recognized… None from the last half-century at least.
The desolation then really set in. We were all alone for sure. Under the dim lighting, I got a shotgun view of this warehouse. There was only a bulky wooden door a few feet away from us… otherwise, there were no windows. No bathrooms. No escape. Somehow, the Sasser Flea Market was scarier in the silence.
I had to squeeze my mask. Somehow that sickening smell was still getting through. It’s gotta be more than the antiques, I thought. Hell, I can’t even blame ‘Riley’ now.
“There’s so much stuff,” Jess commented as she pushed the cart further within this antique abyss.
Staying by her side, I nodded nervously. “Yeah…” I needed another swig-
But Jess beat me to it. However, not even fear could slow her shopping spree. Especially when she laid eyes on that furniture section. A cluster right there by the lone door in this warehouse.
Along the way, I stumbled into something! A cold CLANG rang out! “Shit!” I cried. Struggling to keep up, I reached out and grabbed Jess’s arm. “Hey, wait up!”
“I am!” Jess laughed.
I looked toward the site of my near-accident. Saw the sight of a large rectangular cage still rattling… A pretty big one at that. And judging by the rust and dangling padlock, the cage had been used previously… and deep in my unease, I couldn’t help but wonder for what?
Of course, that didn’t stop Jess. After all, she was tougher than me.
“C’mon, Cory!” she said.
I let her pull me up to the first table. In the claustrophobia, I still felt the frigid fall wind… or maybe it was the dread I felt lurking inside.
As Jess examined a green bird box we’d never need, I stole a glance back at that door. One fit more for a castle than Sasser, Georgia. The heavy brass knob hung on for dear life, clamoring for one last grip. Naturally, I couldn’t help but wonder what other ‘treasures’ or terrors this flea market had in store…
“This is pretty,” Jess said.
Turning, I got a front row view of the wooden bird box… but also something else-
That silver beauty beckoned me. “Yeah,” I muttered to Jess. Distracted, I staggered past her, closer to the edge of the table.
“Do you think any birds will fly on our patio?” Jess asked.
The horror wouldn’t let me respond. I stopped and touched the laptop’s smooth surface. Its flawless, brand new appearance so alluring in a dump antique store like this.
This was the same brand, the same model as what I had back at apartment sixteen. Probably the same damn everything. The shiny flashy replacement for my old 2015 craptop.
A scared shiver shot through my veins. Why would this be here? Who brought it here?
“Hey, Cory,” I heard Jess say, her voice unable to hide the obvious concern.
Welcome to the fucking club, sweetheart.
Tracing my hand along the laptop’s front cover, I saw a small card tucked into the keypad. Trapped in there, its edge sticking straight out, just enough to draw me in… Shit! I thought. What the Hell is this…
Jess put the bird box down and stopped next to me. But I didn’t wait much longer.
I snatched out the business card. The big bold letters and dark lake logo all instantly familiar: The Greystone.
The manager’s name stared back at us: Sara Dillon. But what left Jess and I in a state of shock was who was listed as her co-manager: Riley Dillon.
Jess grabbed my arm in a death grip. Hanging on for dear life… “Isn’t that her name?”
Turning, I glanced back toward where we came from. Toward the dirt driveway. The ant sign. The scuba diver guy… Only Riley was gone.
“The lady who runs this place!” Jess went on. “Her and Sara are sisters!”
“It’s crazy,” I said as I tossed the card back on to the laptop. On to what I was sure was my laptop. “This shit’s weird, Jess!”
“No shit!”
Through my drunken panic, anguished concern hit me: Ripley. I retrieved my phone. A Blink notification stared back at me, one from over an hour ago…
I felt Jess pull my arm closer. “Cory, let’s go!”
But not even she could stop me. I clicked the app. Then the clip.
There was our living room, our Halloween Utopia. Only I saw two pairs of legs walking around. I heard two sets of female voices inside apartment sixteen. I knew those longer, muscular legs all too well. Knew Sara’s Southern accent...
Huge boxes scattered in stations around our coffee table. Each of them getting filled up fast.
Now I saw several of our decorations were gone… until I realized they’d been stuffed in those cardboard boxes. All of them along with our other most beloved items. Justin Bieber’s smile amongst them.
Then there was the soundtrack: Ripley’s angry, defensive barks. They were brutal to the ears. And not much different than the ones we’d heard earlier...
Horror hit both Jess and I! Her grip grew tighter, strangling my blood flow.
Like an actor exiting the stage, the other woman walked off camera. But I heard her voice hollering commands. “Get that one, Sara!” “Let’s get that Goddamn dog!”
Through the living room windows, vivid sunlight illuminated this home invasion. Illuminated Sara snatching our singing black cat. My Blink app now a home for snuff rather than those cute Ripley videos I obsessed over.
“Shit!” I cried.
Jess faced me. “Cory, we need to go to the police-”
“Hold on!” I couldn’t turn away. Not when the video now only gave me silence and suspense. “Ripley!” I screamed into the phone.
Popping out of nowhere, a craggy face leaned over the camera, overtaking the screen! Those beaming eyes looked right at Jess and I! The woman’s expression evil, Riley Dillon’s smile absolutely terrifying.
The video ended on this chilling crescendo! Before I could get a full view of her sister Sara, before I could even see them leave the apartment… Or see Ripley.
Suffering from a stomach twisting in knots, I looked over at Jess. “They took her!”
I could see Jess struggling to subdue her own unease. A pitiful attempt. “You don’t know for sure-”
The barking erupted! Ripley’s cries for help.
Immediately, Jess and I both turned toward the door. Where our beloved pet’s pleas were coming from…
“Alright, we get her and get the fuck out of here!” Jess said.
“Amen!” I replied. Grabbing my girlfriend’s hand, I led us both up to that imposing door. Closer to our Ripley. “Ripley!” I cried.
To my relief, the door was unlocked! But I let go of the knob. Just for a moment.
“What the Hell are you doing!” Jess said. She lunged for the doorknob.
I held her back. “Hold on!” Trembling with each and every howl, I raised the Miller Lite to my mask. One lift, one sip. All I needed for a temporary fix to these frenzied nerves. Not that it helped much… but hey, every little edge helped this alcoholic at least.
“Well, Hell, let me do the same!” I heard Jess say.
Upon getting our drunk courage, we threw the door open and burst inside the backroom! The smell was even worse. A sickening mist at this point.
A single dangling lightbulb swung but there were no windows to help its beam. The room was spacious and wide… and all we heard was Ripley. Our Chihuahua trapped in a small cage right by the entrance. A couple of bigger cages positioned right next to her.
Jess and I rushed toward Ripley. But then came to one scared stop.
Bodies upon bodies piled up in the very back. Not so much preserved even in this October cold. The smell of decay was too strong, the corpses ranging from mutilated to a paleness only interrupted by the occasional blood stain. All of the bodies adults… except for the slaughtered children in slaughtered families.
A mother and father’s dead gaze stayed on us. Their throats slit from ear to ear. Their children dissected and now on display.
But it was the framed photo I saw lying at the family’s feet that shook me to the core. A picture taken well over a decade ago. One of a smiling Sara and Riley. Further proof for what Jess and I feared: The Greystone was these sisters’ gore factory. No wonder they had so many cool antiques… and no wonder the rent was so fucking cheap.
Ripley’s guttural growls broke us from our scared spell. Immediately, Jess and I came to her rescue!
In one frantic slide, I unlocked the cage. Ripley jumped into my arms and licked my face!
Horrified, Jess pointed toward the cage. “Cory, look!”
I now saw blood stains covering Ripley’s cage. Being the worried dog dad I was, I inspected Ripley’s body, much to her annoyance. But she was good. No cuts, no scratches. “It’s okay, baby,” I reassured her.
“No, look at the others!” Jess said.
Following girlfriend orders, I confronted those other cages.
They had blood, alright. Not to mention stray pulpy bits collected from organs and intestines of old. All of it human. But what struck me most were the two cages placed by Ripley’s… their doors were wide open. Their sizes exact enough to reserve one spot for Jess and one for me. Another Greystone family these sadistic sisters had hoped for. Had fucking planned for.
Struggling against the nauseating scent, I squeezed the mask again. “Jesus fucking Christ…”
Ripley barked in agreement.
“Fuck this shit!” Jess yelled. She pushed Ripley and I both back toward the warehouse. “Fuck the clothes, let’s go! Run!”
Don’t ask me how but Riley wasn’t waiting for us with a chainsaw. I don’t know where she went nor did I wanna know. Hell, technically, Jess and I never even checked out of the flea market. That shopping cart full of Jess’s crazy shit might still be there to this day…
But we ran outside! Ripley and that beer held tight in my protective grasp. Somehow, Jess’s SUV cranked and we roared out into the night! Somehow, the three of us had survived.
We never went back to The Greystone. Never saw Sara Dillon again. But one thing was for certain: I finally had my horror story... and just in time for Halloween 2020.
14
submitted by thehorrorwriter2 to stayawake [link] [comments]


2020.10.24 02:26 thehorrorwriter2 The Sasser Flea Market

After the YouTube incident, we had to make another move. And could you blame us? The good news was with Corona running wild, Jess was able to keep doing her classes on-line while keeping her mysterious ESL tutoring gig.
Me, on the other hand, well, by October, Albany, Georgia wasn’t favoring quarantine too much. Then again, most of the country wasn’t. So there I was back on the part-time bartender scene, my latest stop at a shithole club called the Sandtrap. Not to my surprise, every Friday and Saturday night was lit without a mask or anything remotely resembling social distancing in sight. Lucky me...
But while the transition from Tally to Albany meant less cool shit and entertainment, it also meant cheaper rent. And our new apartment wasn’t too bad.
The Greystone was lovely actually. There was a pool we’d never use, but hey, there was also space aplenty for a young couple like us… and an amazing walking trail for our chihuahua Ripley.
Yeah, we’d only been there a couple of weeks but The Greystone checked off all the boxes for Cory and Jess’s latest home. Not to mention there were no neighbors next to apartment sixteen... which was what mattered most to me. Especially in 2020.
From day one, the building’s manager Sara seemed eager to have us. Hell, she even waived the pet fee. After giving us her business card, Sara took us on a detailed tour. Jess was immediately hooked by her showmanship. Certainly, The Greystone sold itself as did the price... But in all honesty, Sara’s hotness swayed me.
As the three of us checked out the apartment, I couldn’t help but check out Sara’s alluring body in that tight business suit. Judging by the excessive make-up and super-stylized blonde hair, she must’ve been approaching fifty but I couldn’t know for sure considering the boobs and ass she was all too eager to flaunt. Of course, I couldn’t also help but notice my girlfriend’s occasional glare. Jess’s jealousy quite notorious during the span of our almost-half-decade relationship.
Just a few feet away from our lakeside view, Sara stopped next to the kitchen counter. The cleavage so obvious… and on point. “So what do y’all think?” she said in her Southern drawl.
“Oh, I love it!” Jess responded.
I stared on at our lovely hostess. The lady more like a socialite heiress considering the immaculate appearance… A postmodern Scarlett O’Hara. “I love the tits too,” I blurted out.
Instantly, I felt Jess’s hand reach behind me. I knew I’d fucked up, and Jess’s quick squeeze on my ass further highlighted the mistake.
“I mean I love it here too,” I corrected. Sara gave me a sly smile. “This apartment, I mean,” I added.
“Indeed,” Sara said. She fixated those green eyes on Jess. “But I can’t blame you, girl.” She lowered those emeralds toward Jess’s hand. Stealing an admiring look at my ass. “Not at all...”
I smirked at Jess. Okay, so I was flattered...
Jess just gave an awkward laugh...
“But I’m glad y’all enjoyed the tour,” Sara said.
Jess’s grip got even tighter. “Well, what else is around here?” she asked Sara. “I know there’s Lake Chehaw and the zoo and all.”
Excited, Sara leaned back against the counter. Yeah, I was still staring at those tits… “Oh yes!” Sara said. “There’s a bunch of nice little places and restaurants! The aquarium’s just up the road.”
“Anywhere to shop?” Jess asked.
Grinning, Sara nodded. “There’s actually a famous little flea market down in Sasser.”
“Sasser?”
Sara pointed out the window. Pointed beyond glorious Lake Chehaw… “Yep, it’s only about five miles down the road, past the city limits.” Sara stood up off the counter. “It’s my hometown actually.”
“Oh okay,” Jess and I said in unison.
“It’s a little community but the Sasser Flea Market is legendary. Trust me.”
“Sounds like we should check it out.” Without hesitation, Jess confronted me. The intimidating RBF putting me on the spot.
“Yeah, Hell yeah,” I replied.
So of course, we moved in. Apartment sixteen now all ours. Most of The Greystone was for that matter. Regardless of the cheap rent, I didn’t see anyone out there. No families, no kids hogging the pool. No drunks being reckless after midnight... No strangers for Ripley to bark at. Call it selective memory but about the only other resident I saw during the day was Sara on her afternoon jogs in those tight yoga pants...
Together, Jess, Ripley, and I warmed up to The Greystone. To this town in general. Plus with quarantine, I now had more time than ever to work on my YouTube channel. My new laptop definitely helped… only the writer’s block didn’t.
But even in the middle of a pandemic, Jess and I did decide to go out from time to time. Albeit with masks and an itinerary of outdoor locations. And this October weekend was no different. The perfect time to visit the infamous Sasser Flea Market.
On that fateful Saturday, Jess and I finally put up our Halloween decorations. The inflatable smiling jack o’lantern, the black cat who sang “(I Always Feel Like) Somebody’s Watching Me”, our assortment of hanging skeletons. And the Bela Lugosi Dracula poster I hung right next to Jess’s framed Justin Bieber picture… one from circa 2012. Don’t ask.
Of course, Ripley wasn’t too happy.. But Jess and I gave her a kiss before we left. Ripley had the whole playpen to go apeshit in, after all. Not to mention pounds of food to eat.
Both of us dressed in our casual Saturday best, Jess and I walked to her SUV. Awaiting us inside was all the beer and wine we bought earlier. That morning, we’d even bragged to Sara about finally going to check out the flea market. Needless to say, she was delighted.
“Y’all go enjoy it!” she’d told us
Slouched back in the passenger’s seat, I retrieved my iPhone. “Let me check on Ripley.”
“Already?” Jess teased. She brushed her straight blonde bangs back. My girl looking nice in that hoodie and jeans.
“I don’t want her getting too lonely.” I pulled up the Blink app. Straight to the live feed of Ripley playing with her chewy toy pumpkin. Too Goddamn cute…
“She’ll be fine, Cory,” Jess said as she started the car.
“I think you might be right,” I chuckled.
My epic Halloween playlist was the only soundtrack we needed. Alice Cooper’s “Caught In A Dream” getting this road trip started...
Jess and I did our best to keep a low profile and avoid as many people as possible… something we did pretty damn well even before Covid. There was the Ray Charles statue downtown. The brewery right next to it. The occasional stopover at one of Jess’s ‘stores’. But hey, we had booze and each other. A perfect Saturday off in my opinion. Who knows, maybe inspiration for another scary story would appear at some point?
Throughout the trip, I checked in on Ripley on the Blink app. Not that I needed to. Ripley was just fine chewing up toy pumpkins and fake bones... Hell, she wasn’t even crying or howling. The playpen her personal paradise.
“I told you!” Jess said.
“Yeah, yeah,” I replied. I raised the traveler’s coffee cup to my lips. One I’d filled to the brim with Miller Light… not that I needed much more booze at this point. Neither of us did actually.
About an hour later, an hour after Jess ambushed the Albany Mall, we pulled up to the Sasser Flea Market. All it took was reaching Sasser, Georgia, passing one gas station, then making that fateful right turn on to a bumpy dirt road.
As Lon Chaney Jr. sang the Spider Baby theme song, I didn’t see many cars greeting us. Then again, the place supposedly closed at seven and here we were rolling in at six-fifteen.
Then again, the flea market wasn’t anything too elaborate. Just two warehouses. Two long shacks essentially.
To our relief, there was no fanfare here. No annoying clerks. Clutching our drinks, Jess and I made the rounds in warehouse number one.
Like a junk museum, we were greeted by many strange items. The type of furniture and memorabilia most would consider trash but Jess and I considered gold. Hip to say the least.
The open front doorway let that fall breeze sweep through us. Jess’s hoodie and my San Diego Chargers jacket little help against its chilling attack…
But Jess didn’t care. Not in her wheelhouse here in the flea market. She had shit to choose from: clothes, posters, decorations. Fucking anything else.
The two of us journeyed through these various Sasser sections. The book station. The sports memorabilia. And of course, the many fucking clothes.
The bland walls and claustrophobia were all offset by the abundance of oddities. Shit this place was just cool. How could we not be entertained?
Soon, Jess guided us toward the flea market’s trinkets. A trash treasure chest.
She got lost in the sea of banners, figurines, and small statues… And as Jess piled up our newest decorations in the shopping cart, I stole another glance around the store. Around this mysterious market.
So far, I’d only seen one clerk at the front counter. A short blonde-haired woman in her forties… possibly pretty if not for the many wrinkles, stained tee shirt, crooked glasses, and yellow teeth she didn’t bother to disguise. Riley read the name tag. And I never saw a smile or sign of joy from her…
“Oh, I love it!” I heard Jess say.
I turned to see her holding up a grinning bronze cat. Just her type.
“We’re so getting this!” Jess said.
“Oh, I know,” I replied. Then my gaze drifted down those many shelves… until I stopped when I saw it. A large item on the ground floor. “What the Hell…”
“What is it?” Jess asked.
I leaned down and grabbed the poster. The Justin Bieber one. The 2012 Biebs in all his smiling, sexy glory. The same exact poster my girlfriend studying clinical psychology had plastered in our very apartment. “Yo, check this out!”
Upon seeing it, Jess cackled. “Oh my God, really!?”
“Hey, maybe you want another one?” I joked.
Jess shoved the poster away. “You’re crazy, Cory!”
I tossed Justin back on the shelf where he came from. Glanced off toward the front of the store-
And then I saw her! The weird clerk Riley staring back at me. Her gaze glowing behind those glasses. Her smile shook me to the core. The one finally making an appearance… Just how long had her ass been watching us?
“Come on!” Jess said. She snagged my arm and pulled me away.
“Alright...” I replied.
Shoving the cart, Jess led us further toward the back of the first warehouse. This first foray in to the Sasser Flea Market’s deepest darkest depths.
Now we neared the restrooms. Jess had us over at the discount section. The one dollar section to be exact. She searched through the artifacts, me at the mercy of her meticulous method. Of Jess’s particular taste.
Still being battered by the wind, I folded my arms in the Chargers hoodie. “You like anything, babe?” I looked off behind us. Off toward the open doorway in the distance. What I got was a brief glimpse of the great outdoors: tall weeds and trees. And the entrance to warehouse number two… a smaller building, for sure. But who knew what the Hell was inside?
“Duh!” Jess replied.
I watched her go through one box in a matter of seconds. Nothing of interest inside, not until the bottom when Jess pulled out a couple of used and abused toy pumpkins. The kind a certain chihuahua would like. “I’d get these for Ripley but someone already got to them,” Jess remarked at the toys’ bitemark scars.
“Her ass’d still chew them up,” I replied. I lowered my mask and took a quick swig of booze.
Laughing, Jess tossed those toy pumpkins down. “Smartass.” Followed my lead with a swig of wine.
Flashing a smile at Jess, I walked over toward the bathrooms, dreading their appearance. “Yo, I gotta go piss!”
“Alright, just meet me back out here,” Jess said.
“For sure! I love you.” I entered what I was sure was gonna be close to a literal shithole and I wasn’t disappointed.
The cramped corridors showed a sink and stall. A rusty lock for the front door my only protection from the flea market for privacy.
Even with one narrow window open, a nauseating stench hit me. Slicing straight through my Goddamn mask. The smell too putrid to be shit much less urine… And this shit lingered. The scent permeating through the bathroom in sickening suffocating fashion. I figured something had died somewhere in the bottom of that murky toilet. Either that or the flea market had attempted to flush down a human corpse many years ago.
I took a deep breath. Hit some Miller Light for courage. Even checked my phone for more courage… No service like I figured. All I could do was show a cynical smirk.
Even if Jess was gonna be holding me hostage till long after closing time, I still had to hurry and get back to her. I put my phone up and stepped up to the plate. Pissed away right there on the spot. Lost in the relief, I tilted my head back...
And then a sudden sound crashed through the smelly silence: barking off in the distance! Nervous, I zipped myself back up. “What the Hell…”
Tracing those canine cries, I stumbled up to the sink. To the window. The closer I got, the louder and more distinct the barking became. I looked on across the dirt driveway to warehouse number two… where those October howls were clearly coming from. Those guttural yaps coming from somewhere deep behind that rusted metal tombstone.
“Weird,” I muttered as I cut on the sink and let the brown water ‘cleanse’ me. All the while, the barking continued. The pup sounding more and more anguished… more and more desperate.
Now it wasn’t just the fall wind unnerving me but the howls drifting in deep beneath this dog dad’s sympathy. Finally, I stepped back into part one of the Sasser Flea Market symphony.
To my relief, I saw Jess over at a Halloween section. One complete with a toy black cat that looked to be a twin to our own beloved decoration.
Scattered plastic jack o’lanterns watched me as I stopped next to Jess. Each October cliche covered in dust everywhere except those wide smiles. Like a cold jury, their crooked eyes pierced into my soul.
Jess faced me. “Hey.”
Trying to downplay the fear factor building inside, I grabbed on to the cart handle. Those many unique trinkets and clothes right at my fingertips. “You ready to go?”
“What?” Jess chuckled. “We still got thirty minutes.”
“I don’t know, this place is…” I looked over at those grinning pumpkins. “It’s kinda creeping me out.”
“Creeping you out?” Jess chuckled.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m a pussy, I know,” I quipped.
Reassuring me, Jess ran a hand along my arm. Along my attempt at a bicep. “Let me just check the other side real quick.”
I gotta say Sasser’s was interesting… Plus, the weather kept this flea market from being a furnace. So I decided to relent and play Good Boyfriend Cory.
Pushing that heavyass cart, I followed Jess through a side exit. Out on to that same dirt driveway I saw from the bathroom. The only item out here a standing poster from the 1930s. A carnival reject featuring two dancing ants, its cursive font in candy colors screaming: Y’all, come back soon!
The isolation did alarm me. A field of tall weeds created a blockade separating the flea market from the highway. Behind the two buildings, I saw nothing offering civilization on the horizon. Just a green inferno I wanted no part of. And that rotten odor remained present… All Jess and I could hear that brutal barking...
I noticed a few cars beside ours but how come the only other person we’d seen so far was Riley? The zombified clerk who hadn’t talked much less offered any Southern hospitality to Jess and I. And some of those cars were clear clunkers. Rusted in place for a permanent parking job. Hell, maybe they were part of the exhibit for all I knew.
“Come on, Cory,” Jess said.
I looked back toward the first shack. Just in time to see Riley standing on the edge of the entryway, most of her body obscured by a hulking scuba diver suit. The lady silent enough to be on display herself if not for those lively bright eyes watching us. Her cryptic smile back again.
Upon entering Sasser Flea Market part two, we saw no other clerks. Certainly no other customers. Even the dog had stopped its howls…
What we got instead was just the same sea of random shit. The many rows of books, clothes, and scattered snapshots of a discarded past. And God knows how far this past went.
I saw a table full of vinyl records by unrecognizable musicians. The covers and productions even looked homemade. Their deep scratches caused by excessive play. A mix of garage rock and church choirs of unknown origins.
Elsewhere, posters aged beyond belief were piling up. Each of them covered in cracked frames. No bands or performers I recognized… None from the last half-century at least.
The desolation then really set in. We were all alone for sure. Under the dim lighting, I got a shotgun view of this warehouse. There was only a bulky wooden door a few feet away from us… otherwise, there were no windows. No bathrooms. No escape. Somehow, the Sasser Flea Market was scarier in the silence.
I had to squeeze my mask. Somehow that sickening smell was still getting through. It’s gotta be more than the antiques, I thought. Hell, I can’t even blame ‘Riley’ now.
“There’s so much stuff,” Jess commented as she pushed the cart further within this antique abyss.
Staying by her side, I nodded nervously. “Yeah…” I needed another swig-
But Jess beat me to it. However, not even fear could slow her shopping spree. Especially when she laid eyes on that furniture section. A cluster right there by the lone door in this warehouse.
Along the way, I stumbled into something! A cold CLANG rang out! “Shit!” I cried. Struggling to keep up, I reached out and grabbed Jess’s arm. “Hey, wait up!”
“I am!” Jess laughed.
I looked toward the site of my near-accident. Saw the sight of a large rectangular cage still rattling… A pretty big one at that. And judging by the rust and dangling padlock, the cage had been used previously… and deep in my unease, I couldn’t help but wonder for what?
Of course, that didn’t stop Jess. After all, she was tougher than me.
“C’mon, Cory!” she said.
I let her pull me up to the first table. In the claustrophobia, I still felt the frigid fall wind… or maybe it was the dread I felt lurking inside.
As Jess examined a green bird box we’d never need, I stole a glance back at that door. One fit more for a castle than Sasser, Georgia. The heavy brass knob hung on for dear life, clamoring for one last grip. Naturally, I couldn’t help but wonder what other ‘treasures’ or terrors this flea market had in store…
“This is pretty,” Jess said.
Turning, I got a front row view of the wooden bird box… but also something else-
That silver beauty beckoned me. “Yeah,” I muttered to Jess. Distracted, I staggered past her, closer to the edge of the table.
“Do you think any birds will fly on our patio?” Jess asked.
The horror wouldn’t let me respond. I stopped and touched the laptop’s smooth surface. Its flawless, brand new appearance so alluring in a dump antique store like this.
This was the same brand, the same model as what I had back at apartment sixteen. Probably the same damn everything. The shiny flashy replacement for my old 2015 craptop.
A scared shiver shot through my veins. Why would this be here? Who brought it here?
“Hey, Cory,” I heard Jess say, her voice unable to hide the obvious concern.
Welcome to the fucking club, sweetheart.
Tracing my hand along the laptop’s front cover, I saw a small card tucked into the keypad. Trapped in there, its edge sticking straight out, just enough to draw me in… Shit! I thought. What the Hell is this…
Jess put the bird box down and stopped next to me. But I didn’t wait much longer.
I snatched out the business card. The big bold letters and dark lake logo all instantly familiar: The Greystone.
The manager’s name stared back at us: Sara Dillon. But what left Jess and I in a state of shock was who was listed as her co-manager: Riley Dillon.
Jess grabbed my arm in a death grip. Hanging on for dear life… “Isn’t that her name?”
Turning, I glanced back toward where we came from. Toward the dirt driveway. The ant sign. The scuba diver guy… Only Riley was gone.
“The lady who runs this place!” Jess went on. “Her and Sara are sisters!”
“It’s crazy,” I said as I tossed the card back on to the laptop. On to what I was sure was my laptop. “This shit’s weird, Jess!”
“No shit!”
Through my drunken panic, anguished concern hit me: Ripley. I retrieved my phone. A Blink notification stared back at me, one from over an hour ago…
I felt Jess pull my arm closer. “Cory, let’s go!”
But not even she could stop me. I clicked the app. Then the clip.
There was our living room, our Halloween Utopia. Only I saw two pairs of legs walking around. I heard two sets of female voices inside apartment sixteen. I knew those longer, muscular legs all too well. Knew Sara’s Southern accent...
Huge boxes scattered in stations around our coffee table. Each of them getting filled up fast.
Now I saw several of our decorations were gone… until I realized they’d been stuffed in those cardboard boxes. All of them along with our other most beloved items. Justin Bieber’s smile amongst them.
Then there was the soundtrack: Ripley’s angry, defensive barks. They were brutal to the ears. And not much different than the ones we’d heard earlier...
Horror hit both Jess and I! Her grip grew tighter, strangling my blood flow.
Like an actor exiting the stage, the other woman walked off camera. But I heard her voice hollering commands. “Get that one, Sara!” “Let’s get that Goddamn dog!”
Through the living room windows, vivid sunlight illuminated this home invasion. Illuminated Sara snatching our singing black cat. My Blink app now a home for snuff rather than those cute Ripley videos I obsessed over.
“Shit!” I cried.
Jess faced me. “Cory, we need to go to the police-”
“Hold on!” I couldn’t turn away. Not when the video now only gave me silence and suspense. “Ripley!” I screamed into the phone.
Popping out of nowhere, a craggy face leaned over the camera, overtaking the screen! Those beaming eyes looked right at Jess and I! The woman’s expression evil, Riley Dillon’s smile absolutely terrifying.
The video ended on this chilling crescendo! Before I could get a full view of her sister Sara, before I could even see them leave the apartment… Or see Ripley.
Suffering from a stomach twisting in knots, I looked over at Jess. “They took her!”
I could see Jess struggling to subdue her own unease. A pitiful attempt. “You don’t know for sure-”
The barking erupted! Ripley’s cries for help.
Immediately, Jess and I both turned toward the door. Where our beloved pet’s pleas were coming from…
“Alright, we get her and get the fuck out of here!” Jess said.
“Amen!” I replied. Grabbing my girlfriend’s hand, I led us both up to that imposing door. Closer to our Ripley. “Ripley!” I cried.
To my relief, the door was unlocked! But I let go of the knob. Just for a moment.
“What the Hell are you doing!” Jess said. She lunged for the doorknob.
I held her back. “Hold on!” Trembling with each and every howl, I raised the Miller Lite to my mask. One lift, one sip. All I needed for a temporary fix to these frenzied nerves. Not that it helped much… but hey, every little edge helped this alcoholic at least.
“Well, Hell, let me do the same!” I heard Jess say.
Upon getting our drunk courage, we threw the door open and burst inside the backroom! The smell was even worse. A sickening mist at this point.
A single dangling lightbulb swung but there were no windows to help its beam. The room was spacious and wide… and all we heard was Ripley. Our Chihuahua trapped in a small cage right by the entrance. A couple of bigger cages positioned right next to her.
Jess and I rushed toward Ripley. But then came to one scared stop.
Bodies upon bodies piled up in the very back. Not so much preserved even in this October cold. The smell of decay was too strong, the corpses ranging from mutilated to a paleness only interrupted by the occasional blood stain. All of the bodies adults… except for the slaughtered children in slaughtered families.
A mother and father’s dead gaze stayed on us. Their throats slit from ear to ear. Their children dissected and now on display.
But it was the framed photo I saw lying at the family’s feet that shook me to the core. A picture taken well over a decade ago. One of a smiling Sara and Riley. Further proof for what Jess and I feared: The Greystone was these sisters’ gore factory. No wonder they had so many cool antiques… and no wonder the rent was so fucking cheap.
Ripley’s guttural growls broke us from our scared spell. Immediately, Jess and I came to her rescue!
In one frantic slide, I unlocked the cage. Ripley jumped into my arms and licked my face!
Horrified, Jess pointed toward the cage. “Cory, look!”
I now saw blood stains covering Ripley’s cage. Being the worried dog dad I was, I inspected Ripley’s body, much to her annoyance. But she was good. No cuts, no scratches. “It’s okay, baby,” I reassured her.
“No, look at the others!” Jess said.
Following girlfriend orders, I confronted those other cages.
They had blood, alright. Not to mention stray pulpy bits collected from organs and intestines of old. All of it human. But what struck me most were the two cages placed by Ripley’s… their doors were wide open. Their sizes exact enough to reserve one spot for Jess and one for me. Another Greystone family these sadistic sisters had hoped for. Had fucking planned for.
Struggling against the nauseating scent, I squeezed the mask again. “Jesus fucking Christ…”
Ripley barked in agreement.
“Fuck this shit!” Jess yelled. She pushed Ripley and I both back toward the warehouse. “Fuck the clothes, let’s go! Run!”
Don’t ask me how but Riley wasn’t waiting for us with a chainsaw. I don’t know where she went nor did I wanna know. Hell, technically, Jess and I never even checked out of the flea market. That shopping cart full of Jess’s crazy shit might still be there to this day…
But we ran outside! Ripley and that beer held tight in my protective grasp. Somehow, Jess’s SUV cranked and we roared out into the night! Somehow, the three of us had survived.
We never went back to The Greystone. Never saw Sara Dillon again. But one thing was for certain: I finally had my horror story... and just in time for Halloween 2020.
14
submitted by thehorrorwriter2 to DarkTales [link] [comments]


2020.10.23 06:11 throwaway66988913811 TIFU by losing 10 grand to a fake cryptocurrency trading app

TIFU by falling prey to an internet love scam in October 2020.
It has been 10 days since I realised that I've for sure been scammed and my mental health is taking a toll on me. Never would I have ever imagined to be a victim of a somewhat elaborate internet love scam. I was usually the one to warn against scams amongst my groups of friends and families.
Thinking back, there were many signs and red flags but I had dismissed them as I was able to encash profits I've made through the fake cryptocurrency trading app. That small profit was the bait.
I met the scammer on a dating app and very quickly he had asked for my number and we moved the conversation to WhatsApp. His phone numbers were from Thailand, which did not match where he came from. He had claimed that he used to stay in Thailand and was lazy to change the numbers associated with Telegram/Whatsapp.
We chatted fervently from noon to past midnight daily via text/voice messages. He claimed he doesn’t use his phone in the mornings as he’s caught up with work. I suspect he only wakes up after noon time. He remembers whatever I've said and tailors it according to what he thinks I'd love to hear, and thus appearing very ‘attentive’ and sweet. I had found myself staring at my phone smiling like an idiot whenever I chatted with him. I had truly felt a connection with this fake persona created by the scammer.
It had been a good couple of years since I've last used a dating app, hence I was rusty and did not realised I was the target of a scam. It was also flattering to have someone fawning on and constantly flirting with after being single for more that half a decade. Let's just say he was a refreshing change from the other matches who would either ghost me after a few days, or would just turn the topic to sex repeatedly.
Shortly after, he professed his liking towards me and I noticed he deleted the dating app which he claimed he wanted to concentrate on getting to know someone he likes and also urged me to delete the app as well, so he doesn’t have to compete with others for my attention. He also claims that he's of a shy nature and thus would like to chat with the lady he likes for quite some time so that the eventual meetup wouldn't be awkward. That was exactly who I am too, thus I never forced him to meet up anytime soon.
He mentioned his hobbies, of which included blockchain technology, which his university professor supposedly introduced. He asked if I were keen to try I could download the app. I thought the website looked legitimate due to the https.
Later I realized this was a spoof website, whose domain was registered in recent months, but he had earlier claimed that he has dabbled in this app for a few years.
He was very patient with me by teaching me via screenshots and praised me for being smart in following the steps to buy cryptocurrency and transfer to the fake app’s wallet.
Spent a small amount on my first investment, which netted in a small profit (the bait) and he also made it a point to patiently teach me how to withdraw the funds to my bank account, claiming it was his first gift to me. This was to ensure that I trusted the app's legitimacy as there were no withdrawal issues. He also was very insistent on wanting to help me gain back the losses I've made on other investments.
Looking back, he was very manipulative, cunning, and convincing. For some days he would talk about random lifestyle stuffs, tailored and peppered with sweet nothings without mentioning anything about investment matters at all. Little did I know, the moment I felt the connection with the fake persona, was the beginning of my nightmares.
Through his manipulation and persuasion, I caved in and transferred 2 tranches of a few grand each (which was way lower than his target investment amount), and both tranches "earned" profit. He claimed that it was better for me to leave the funds inside in case there were good market trends, since the process of buying and transfer of cryptocurrency was tedious. He had wanted me to do a third tranche but I kept refusing, even though I genuinely believed I had made profits. I was contented with small profits but he kept trying to goad me to use a bigger capital to reach my financial goals sooner.
He also claimed his daily analysis of the data/trends gave him 80% confidence of making profits during good days.
He shared screenshots of his trades (both losses/profits) as well as his 6-figure holdings on the platform.
I subsequently found his second profile (with different photos of the same guy) on the dating app, but with a different name, age, and profession.
When I confronted him, he flared up at me for distrusting him, and claimed that his photos were stolen.
At the same time, I've tried to withdraw the cryptocurrency from my account on the fake app, but there were restrictions on withdrawals, where I was required to trade 100% of whatever funds I have before I could withdraw them within 24 hours.
The "Customer Service" also suggested that I could top up more money (another 10 grand) to upgrade to VIP status, where there’ll be no restrictions on withdrawal.
I did not proceed, as I was later made aware that this was usually the ploy of scams or online gambling websites.
It was an expensive lesson, one which caused me to lose a very huge chunk of my savings, and also one which caused massive anxiety attacks and insomnia for the past 10 days.
I only have myself to blame for my naivety, gullibility and easy trusting nature. I could only hope that such scammers get their deserved karma soon.
TL;DR: Met a guy on a dating app who was a good communicator and knew how to push all the right buttons. He had convinced me to put in 10 grand in 3 tranches, with the initial tranche making a small profit which could be withdrawn out in cold hard cash. Subsequent tranches with fake profits could not be withdrawn. Customer Service from the app also suggested I top up another 10k to reach VIP level in order to withdraw with no restrictions.
submitted by throwaway66988913811 to tifu [link] [comments]


2020.10.23 00:10 bassingpreeze17 29 [M4F] CA/Los Angeles - COVID Free and College Educated for Cougars and other Curvy Company

Greetings all, I hope my goofy alliteration was enough to catch your attention
I'm Joseph, it's a pleasure.
If you're stopping by this post it's mostly likely because you may be like me. Doing your best to follow the rules during the pandemic, holding on but still feeling like you miss good human connection and maybe want something just a little more than the average hook up and run fair that most are looking for here. (Trust me I feel the heat after being locked in for so long and I'm ready to go to town but I like to make sure we connect a bit first). I've poked my head into other spaces but dating apps feel a bit less personal than a long winded essay about me so here I am
Anyways, hopefully my blurbs and willingness to talk will attract you and keep wanting to chat more and get into it before you get into my pants. If you're looking for something that's a little more than just a hook up, look no further because this one has details that won't completely disappoint. So lets get to it:
Stats (so you can size me up): I'm 29 years old, 6'0 tall, brown hair and eyes, white/hispanic mixed, in decent shape, 170lbs, 7 inches and thick, college educated (BA in Communications, and applying to Grad School), can travel/drive, don't mind some weekend drinking but I watch myself and while enjoy an edible sparingly here and there, I'm drug free otherwise and polite and laid back.
Career and Hobbies:Work wise I work for small businesses as a project and digital media manager, usually helping them grow. Currently I'm with an electrical contractor and I help them manage projects and their digital output (mostly advertising but how they do it online) and I also do a bit of teaching on the side to kids in music programs but that's obvs on hold right now with how the world is turning. And as far as hobbies I'm big into video games, I like to collect and learn about old and new projects and try out new games as much as I can. I also like following movies and shows. I'm a big fan of new cooking recipes and when quarantine isn't happening I do like traveling
My status: I'm single. My last relationship ended months ago and it wasnt a long one, COVID just ensured it wouldn't last. It sucks but we mutually made the best call and we are still friends now. With that, I've taken some time to myself and I'm finding being single to feel good. Still, it's been awhile since I've just been on my own and while I know I'll be fine by myself for now, the pandemic makes meeting new people in a more normal fashion tough so here I am shooting my shot. I'm just trying to see who I meet and if there's any kind of decent connections to be made. No pressure.
What I'm into/looking for: Now here's where you come in, as my title says I'm looking for the pleasure and company of an older lady but considering I've actually gotten some messages from interested ladies my age or younger as well I'm open to anyone really. Appearance wise i don't have a long list of preferences, but thickecurvier body types tend to be what I find myself attracted to. Need my dose of thiccc thighs. Age wise I figure 40-60 is a fair range but if you meet the curvy credentials than as long as your are 18-60 I don't mind, shoot your shot. And I have no ethnic background preference but I've happened to mostly date white, hispanic and asian women (could be that's who I attract, just an observation not a limitation) so that is what it is. Beyond appearance as long as we can carry a conversation together and click in that regard I think we'll get along fine
Anyways, if my description sounds like the kind of man you are after, send me details or what you think we'd have in common and a pic of you will get some of me.
Lets keep each other sane and satiated as we can during this quarantine.
Also, here's some pics so you can gauge your attraction right off the bat: https://imgur.com/a/9eQaRRw
submitted by bassingpreeze17 to AgeGapPersonals [link] [comments]


2020.10.22 20:38 throwaway66988913811 Lost over 10 grand via an internet love scam

It has been 10 days since I realised that I've for sure been scammed and my mental health is taking a toll on me. Never would I have ever imagined to be a victim of a somewhat elaborate internet love scam. I was usually the one to warn against scams amongst my groups of friends and families.
Thinking back, there were many signs and red flags but I had dismissed them as I was able to encash profits I've made through the fake cryptocurrency trading app. That small profit was the bait.
I met the scammer on a dating app and very quickly he had asked for my number and we moved the conversation to WhatsApp. His phone numbers were from Thailand, which did not match where he came from. He had claimed that he used to stay in Thailand and was lazy to change the numbers associated with Telegram/Whatsapp.
We chatted fervently from noon to past midnight daily via text/voice messages. He claimed he doesn’t use his phone in the mornings as he’s caught up with work. I suspect he only wakes up after noon time. He remembers whatever I've said and tailors it according to what he thinks I'd love to hear, and thus appearing very ‘attentive’ and sweet. I had found myself staring at my phone smiling like an idiot whenever I chatted with him. I had truly felt a connection with this fake persona created by the scammer.
It had been a good couple of years since I've last used a dating app, hence I was rusty and did not realised I was the target of a scam. It was also flattering to have someone fawning on and constantly flirting with after being single for more that half a decade. Let's just say he was a refreshing change from the other matches who would either ghost me after a few days, or would just turn the topic to sex repeatedly.
Shortly after, he professed his liking towards me and I noticed he deleted the dating app which he claimed he wanted to concentrate on getting to know someone he likes and also urged me to delete the app as well, so he doesn’t have to compete with others for my attention. He also claims that he's of a shy nature and thus would like to chat with the lady he likes for quite some time so that the eventual meetup wouldn't be awkward. That was exactly who I am too, thus I never forced him to meet up anytime soon.
He mentioned his hobbies, of which included blockchain technology, which his university professor supposedly introduced. He asked if I were keen to try I could download the app. I thought the website looked legitimate due to the https.
Later I realized this was a spoof website, whose domain was registered in recent months, but he had earlier claimed that he has dabbled in this app for a few years.
He was very patient with me by teaching me via screenshots and praised me for being smart in following the steps to buy cryptocurrency and transfer to the fake app’s wallet.
Spent a small amount on my first investment, which netted in a small profit (the bait) and he also made it a point to patiently teach me how to withdraw the funds to my bank account, claiming it was his first gift to me. This was to ensure that I trusted the app's legitimacy as there were no withdrawal issues. He also was very insistent on wanting to help me gain back the losses I've made on other investments.
Looking back, he was very manipulative, cunning, and convincing. For some days he would talk about random lifestyle stuffs, tailored and peppered with sweet nothings without mentioning anything about investment matters at all. Little did I know, the moment I felt the connection with the fake persona, was the beginning of my nightmares.
Through his manipulation and persuasion, I caved in and transferred 2 tranches of a few grand each (which was way lower than his target investment amount), and both tranches "earned" profit. He claimed that it was better for me to leave the funds inside in case there were good market trends, since the process of buying and transfer of cryptocurrency was tedious. He had wanted me to do a third tranche but I kept refusing, even though I genuinely believed I had made profits. I was contented with small profits but he kept trying to goad me to use a bigger capital to reach my financial goals sooner.
He also claimed his daily analysis of the data/trends gave him 80% confidence of making profits during good days.
He shared screenshots of his trades (both losses/profits) as well as his 6-figure holdings on the platform.
I subsequently found his second profile (with different photos of the same guy) on the dating app, but with a different name, age, and profession.
When I confronted him, he flared up at me for distrusting him, and claimed that his photos were stolen.
At the same time, I've tried to withdraw the cryptocurrency from my account on the fake app, but there were restrictions on withdrawals, where I was required to trade 100% of whatever funds I have before I could withdraw them within 24 hours.
The "Customer Service" also suggested that I could top up more money (another 10 grand) to upgrade to VIP status, where there’ll be no restrictions on withdrawal.
I did not proceed, as I was later made aware that this was usually the ploy of scams or online gambling websites.
It was an expensive lesson, one which caused me to lose a very huge chunk of my savings, and also one which caused massive anxiety attacks and insomnia for the past 10 days.
I only have myself to blame for my naivety, gullibility and easy trusting nature. I could only hope that such scammers get their deserved karma soon.
submitted by throwaway66988913811 to Scams [link] [comments]


2020.10.22 16:53 MarkDMill Great deals for 10/22, including the new iPads, a total podcasting setup, Picky Music Player, & more

Announcing MDM Deals 2.8, Yikes, that’s better! Read all about changes to MDM Deals like how to Shut Mark Up, ads that don’t stink (and how to block them with impunity), why you can trust me, and more!
Today I searched over 420 deals and curated the best 25 for you. I saved you from seeing 390+ junk deals--if you appreciate that, would you support this site via Patreon or Buy Me a Coffee? Patreon is ongoing with perks for you; Buy Me a Coffee is one-time; both are awesome and super appreciated.
Amazon Tech Deals for 10/22 ⠀ - Today's Amazon tech deals include:
submitted by MarkDMill to MDMDeals [link] [comments]


2020.10.22 10:31 HinduGodOfMemes Why is it so hard to get a match on ECE Piazza?

Hey guys, so I saw how highly this sub recommends the ECE Piazza dating platform, and since I haven't really been successful in the past with Tinder, Bumble, etc. I decided why not give it a go.
At first it was cool to see that they have a Q&A type of platform so I just posted some info about myself, such as my year, major, interests, shower rate, and for some reason they also wanted my resume haha. I guess girls nowadays are looking for brains instead of looks! I didn't forget to include how nice of a guy I am. Of course I included some pictures of myself. When it comes to pictures on dating sites I prefer giving the ladies a peek under the hood if you know what I mean ;). What do you guys think about my approach? Please lmk if you have any suggestions!
So after I added my initial post nothing much has happened. I didn't get any responses so I became super depressed over the week. Today I had a midterm and I was so anxious because I didn't get a single response on Piazza that I couldn't focus. It's so frustrating sometimes when you try so hard to put yourself out there and nobody seems to care. And it just really makes you feel like you're not attractive or just something else is glaringly wrong but I just can't see it. I think I'm a particularly smart and handsome guy but dating apps like Piazza and Tinder just make you feel so self conscious and make you question yourself 24/7. The worst part is that they tell you the average response time is a few hours, like people are getting matches on there. Maybe I'm just overthinking this guys. Anyways, have any of you guys found success using Piazza? Is it usually this hard to find a match on there?
submitted by HinduGodOfMemes to UIUC [link] [comments]


2020.10.22 03:51 thehorrorwriter2 SHORT STORY PREMIERE: Don't Go To Sasser, Georgia's Flea Market

After the YouTube incident, we had to make another move. And could you blame us? The good news was with Corona running wild, Jess was able to keep doing her classes on-line while keeping her mysterious ESL tutoring gig.
Me, on the other hand, well, by October, Albany, Georgia wasn’t favoring quarantine too much. Then again, most of the country wasn’t. So there I was back on the part-time bartender scene, my latest stop at a shithole club called the Sandtrap. Not to my surprise, every Friday and Saturday night was lit without a mask or anything remotely resembling social distancing in sight. Lucky me...
But while the transition from Tally to Albany meant less cool shit and entertainment, it also meant cheaper rent. And our new apartment wasn’t too bad.
The Greystone was lovely actually. There was a pool we’d never use, but hey, there was also space aplenty for a young couple like us… and an amazing walking trail for our chihuahua Ripley.
Yeah, we’d only been there a couple of weeks but The Greystone checked off all the boxes for Cory and Jess’s latest home. Not to mention there were no neighbors next to apartment sixteen... which was what mattered most to me. Especially in 2020.
From day one, the building’s manager Sara seemed eager to have us. Hell, she even waived the pet fee. After giving us her business card, Sara took us on a detailed tour. Jess was immediately hooked by her showmanship. Certainly, The Greystone sold itself as did the price... But in all honesty, Sara’s hotness swayed me.
As the three of us checked out the apartment, I couldn’t help but check out Sara’s alluring body in that tight business suit. Judging by the excessive make-up and super-stylized blonde hair, she must’ve been approaching fifty but I couldn’t know for sure considering the boobs and ass she was all too eager to flaunt. Of course, I couldn’t also help but notice my girlfriend’s occasional glare. Jess’s jealousy quite notorious during the span of our almost-half-decade relationship.
Just a few feet away from our lakeside view, Sara stopped next to the kitchen counter. The cleavage so obvious… and on point. “So what do y’all think?” she said in her Southern drawl.
“Oh, I love it!” Jess responded.
I stared on at our lovely hostess. The lady more like a socialite heiress considering the immaculate appearance… A postmodern Scarlett O’Hara. “I love the tits too,” I blurted out.
Instantly, I felt Jess’s hand reach behind me. I knew I’d fucked up, and Jess’s quick squeeze on my ass further highlighted the mistake.
“I mean I love it here too,” I corrected. Sara gave me a sly smile. “This apartment, I mean,” I added.
“Indeed,” Sara said. She fixated those green eyes on Jess. “But I can’t blame you, girl.” She lowered those emeralds toward Jess’s hand. Stealing an admiring look at my ass. “Not at all...”
I smirked at Jess. Okay, so I was flattered...
Jess just gave an awkward laugh...
“But I’m glad y’all enjoyed the tour,” Sara said.
Jess’s grip got even tighter. “Well, what else is around here?” she asked Sara. “I know there’s Lake Chehaw and the zoo and all.”
Excited, Sara leaned back against the counter. Yeah, I was still staring at those tits… “Oh yes!” Sara said. “There’s a bunch of nice little places and restaurants! The aquarium’s just up the road.”
“Anywhere to shop?” Jess asked.
Grinning, Sara nodded. “There’s actually a famous little flea market down in Sasser.”
“Sasser?”
Sara pointed out the window. Pointed beyond glorious Lake Chehaw… “Yep, it’s only about five miles down the road, past the city limits.” Sara stood up off the counter. “It’s my hometown actually.”
“Oh okay,” Jess and I said in unison.
“It’s a little community but the Sasser Flea Market is legendary. Trust me.”
“Sounds like we should check it out.” Without hesitation, Jess confronted me. The intimidating RBF putting me on the spot.
“Yeah, Hell yeah,” I replied.
So of course, we moved in. Apartment sixteen now all ours. Most of The Greystone was for that matter. Regardless of the cheap rent, I didn’t see anyone out there. No families, no kids hogging the pool. No drunks being reckless after midnight... No strangers for Ripley to bark at. Call it selective memory but about the only other resident I saw during the day was Sara on her afternoon jogs in those tight yoga pants...
Together, Jess, Ripley, and I warmed up to The Greystone. To this town in general. Plus with quarantine, I now had more time than ever to work on my YouTube channel. My new laptop definitely helped… only the writer’s block didn’t.
But even in the middle of a pandemic, Jess and I did decide to go out from time to time. Albeit with masks and an itinerary of outdoor locations. And this October weekend was no different. The perfect time to visit the infamous Sasser Flea Market.
On that fateful Saturday, Jess and I finally put up our Halloween decorations. The inflatable smiling jack o’lantern, the black cat who sang “(I Always Feel Like) Somebody’s Watching Me”, our assortment of hanging skeletons. And the Bela Lugosi Dracula poster I hung right next to Jess’s framed Justin Bieber picture… one from circa 2012. Don’t ask.
Of course, Ripley wasn’t too happy.. But Jess and I gave her a kiss before we left. Ripley had the whole playpen to go apeshit in, after all. Not to mention pounds of food to eat.
Both of us dressed in our casual Saturday best, Jess and I walked to her SUV. Awaiting us inside was all the beer and wine we bought earlier. That morning, we’d even bragged to Sara about finally going to check out the flea market. Needless to say, she was delighted.
“Y’all go enjoy it!” she’d told us
Slouched back in the passenger’s seat, I retrieved my iPhone. “Let me check on Ripley.”
“Already?” Jess teased. She brushed her straight blonde bangs back. My girl looking nice in that hoodie and jeans.
“I don’t want her getting too lonely.” I pulled up the Blink app. Straight to the live feed of Ripley playing with her chewy toy pumpkin. Too Goddamn cute…
“She’ll be fine, Cory,” Jess said as she started the car.
“I think you might be right,” I chuckled.
My epic Halloween playlist was the only soundtrack we needed. Alice Cooper’s “Caught In A Dream” getting this road trip started...
Jess and I did our best to keep a low profile and avoid as many people as possible… something we did pretty damn well even before Covid. There was the Ray Charles statue downtown. The brewery right next to it. The occasional stopover at one of Jess’s ‘stores’. But hey, we had booze and each other. A perfect Saturday off in my opinion. Who knows, maybe inspiration for another scary story would appear at some point?
Throughout the trip, I checked in on Ripley on the Blink app. Not that I needed to. Ripley was just fine chewing up toy pumpkins and fake bones... Hell, she wasn’t even crying or howling. The playpen her personal paradise.
“I told you!” Jess said.
“Yeah, yeah,” I replied. I raised the traveler’s coffee cup to my lips. One I’d filled to the brim with Miller Light… not that I needed much more booze at this point. Neither of us did actually.
About an hour later, an hour after Jess ambushed the Albany Mall, we pulled up to the Sasser Flea Market. All it took was reaching Sasser, Georgia, passing one gas station, then making that fateful right turn on to a bumpy dirt road.
As Lon Chaney Jr. sang the Spider Baby theme song, I didn’t see many cars greeting us. Then again, the place supposedly closed at seven and here we were rolling in at six-fifteen.
Then again, the flea market wasn’t anything too elaborate. Just two warehouses. Two long shacks essentially.
To our relief, there was no fanfare here. No annoying clerks. Clutching our drinks, Jess and I made the rounds in warehouse number one.
Like a junk museum, we were greeted by many strange items. The type of furniture and memorabilia most would consider trash but Jess and I considered gold. Hip to say the least.
The open front doorway let that fall breeze sweep through us. Jess’s hoodie and my San Diego Chargers jacket little help against its chilling attack…
But Jess didn’t care. Not in her wheelhouse here in the flea market. She had shit to choose from: clothes, posters, decorations. Fucking anything else.
The two of us journeyed through these various Sasser sections. The book station. The sports memorabilia. And of course, the many fucking clothes.
The bland walls and claustrophobia were all offset by the abundance of oddities. Shit this place was just cool. How could we not be entertained?
Soon, Jess guided us toward the flea market’s trinkets. A trash treasure chest.
She got lost in the sea of banners, figurines, and small statues… And as Jess piled up our newest decorations in the shopping cart, I stole another glance around the store. Around this mysterious market.
So far, I’d only seen one clerk at the front counter. A short blonde-haired woman in her forties… possibly pretty if not for the many wrinkles, stained tee shirt, crooked glasses, and yellow teeth she didn’t bother to disguise. Riley read the name tag. And I never saw a smile or sign of joy from her…
“Oh, I love it!” I heard Jess say.
I turned to see her holding up a grinning bronze cat. Just her type.
“We’re so getting this!” Jess said.
“Oh, I know,” I replied. Then my gaze drifted down those many shelves… until I stopped when I saw it. A large item on the ground floor. “What the Hell…”
“What is it?” Jess asked.
I leaned down and grabbed the poster. The Justin Bieber one. The 2012 Biebs in all his smiling, sexy glory. The same exact poster my girlfriend studying clinical psychology had plastered in our very apartment. “Yo, check this out!”
Upon seeing it, Jess cackled. “Oh my God, really!?”
“Hey, maybe you want another one?” I joked.
Jess shoved the poster away. “You’re crazy, Cory!”
I tossed Justin back on the shelf where he came from. Glanced off toward the front of the store-
And then I saw her! The weird clerk Riley staring back at me. Her gaze glowing behind those glasses. Her smile shook me to the core. The one finally making an appearance… Just how long had her ass been watching us?
“Come on!” Jess said. She snagged my arm and pulled me away.
“Alright...” I replied.
Shoving the cart, Jess led us further toward the back of the first warehouse. This first foray in to the Sasser Flea Market’s deepest darkest depths.
Now we neared the restrooms. Jess had us over at the discount section. The one dollar section to be exact. She searched through the artifacts, me at the mercy of her meticulous method. Of Jess’s particular taste.
Still being battered by the wind, I folded my arms in the Chargers hoodie. “You like anything, babe?” I looked off behind us. Off toward the open doorway in the distance. What I got was a brief glimpse of the great outdoors: tall weeds and trees. And the entrance to warehouse number two… a smaller building, for sure. But who knew what the Hell was inside?
“Duh!” Jess replied.
I watched her go through one box in a matter of seconds. Nothing of interest inside, not until the bottom when Jess pulled out a couple of used and abused toy pumpkins. The kind a certain chihuahua would like. “I’d get these for Ripley but someone already got to them,” Jess remarked at the toys’ bitemark scars.
“Her ass’d still chew them up,” I replied. I lowered my mask and took a quick swig of booze.
Laughing, Jess tossed those toy pumpkins down. “Smartass.” Followed my lead with a swig of wine.
Flashing a smile at Jess, I walked over toward the bathrooms, dreading their appearance. “Yo, I gotta go piss!”
“Alright, just meet me back out here,” Jess said.
“For sure! I love you.” I entered what I was sure was gonna be close to a literal shithole and I wasn’t disappointed.
The cramped corridors showed a sink and stall. A rusty lock for the front door my only protection from the flea market for privacy.
Even with one narrow window open, a nauseating stench hit me. Slicing straight through my Goddamn mask. The smell too putrid to be shit much less urine… And this shit lingered. The scent permeating through the bathroom in sickening suffocating fashion. I figured something had died somewhere in the bottom of that murky toilet. Either that or the flea market had attempted to flush down a human corpse many years ago.
I took a deep breath. Hit some Miller Light for courage. Even checked my phone for more courage… No service like I figured. All I could do was show a cynical smirk.
Even if Jess was gonna be holding me hostage till long after closing time, I still had to hurry and get back to her. I put my phone up and stepped up to the plate. Pissed away right there on the spot. Lost in the relief, I tilted my head back...
And then a sudden sound crashed through the smelly silence: barking off in the distance! Nervous, I zipped myself back up. “What the Hell…”
Tracing those canine cries, I stumbled up to the sink. To the window. The closer I got, the louder and more distinct the barking became. I looked on across the dirt driveway to warehouse number two… where those October howls were clearly coming from. Those guttural yaps coming from somewhere deep behind that rusted metal tombstone.
“Weird,” I muttered as I cut on the sink and let the brown water ‘cleanse’ me. All the while, the barking continued. The pup sounding more and more anguished… more and more desperate.
Now it wasn’t just the fall wind unnerving me but the howls drifting in deep beneath this dog dad’s sympathy. Finally, I stepped back into part one of the Sasser Flea Market symphony.
To my relief, I saw Jess over at a Halloween section. One complete with a toy black cat that looked to be a twin to our own beloved decoration.
Scattered plastic jack o’lanterns watched me as I stopped next to Jess. Each October cliche covered in dust everywhere except those wide smiles. Like a cold jury, their crooked eyes pierced into my soul.
Jess faced me. “Hey.”
Trying to downplay the fear factor building inside, I grabbed on to the cart handle. Those many unique trinkets and clothes right at my fingertips. “You ready to go?”
“What?” Jess chuckled. “We still got thirty minutes.”
“I don’t know, this place is…” I looked over at those grinning pumpkins. “It’s kinda creeping me out.”
“Creeping you out?” Jess chuckled.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m a pussy, I know,” I quipped.
Reassuring me, Jess ran a hand along my arm. Along my attempt at a bicep. “Let me just check the other side real quick.”
I gotta say Sasser’s was interesting… Plus, the weather kept this flea market from being a furnace. So I decided to relent and play Good Boyfriend Cory.
Pushing that heavyass cart, I followed Jess through a side exit. Out on to that same dirt driveway I saw from the bathroom. The only item out here a standing poster from the 1930s. A carnival reject featuring two dancing ants, its cursive font in candy colors screaming: Y’all, come back soon!
The isolation did alarm me. A field of tall weeds created a blockade separating the flea market from the highway. Behind the two buildings, I saw nothing offering civilization on the horizon. Just a green inferno I wanted no part of. And that rotten odor remained present… All Jess and I could hear that brutal barking...
I noticed a few cars beside ours but how come the only other person we’d seen so far was Riley? The zombified clerk who hadn’t talked much less offered any Southern hospitality to Jess and I. And some of those cars were clear clunkers. Rusted in place for a permanent parking job. Hell, maybe they were part of the exhibit for all I knew.
“Come on, Cory,” Jess said.
I looked back toward the first shack. Just in time to see Riley standing on the edge of the entryway, most of her body obscured by a hulking scuba diver suit. The lady silent enough to be on display herself if not for those lively bright eyes watching us. Her cryptic smile back again.
Upon entering Sasser Flea Market part two, we saw no other clerks. Certainly no other customers. Even the dog had stopped its howls…
What we got instead was just the same sea of random shit. The many rows of books, clothes, and scattered snapshots of a discarded past. And God knows how far this past went.
I saw a table full of vinyl records by unrecognizable musicians. The covers and productions even looked homemade. Their deep scratches caused by excessive play. A mix of garage rock and church choirs of unknown origins.
Elsewhere, posters aged beyond belief were piling up. Each of them covered in cracked frames. No bands or performers I recognized… None from the last half-century at least.
The desolation then really set in. We were all alone for sure. Under the dim lighting, I got a shotgun view of this warehouse. There was only a bulky wooden door a few feet away from us… otherwise, there were no windows. No bathrooms. No escape. Somehow, the Sasser Flea Market was scarier in the silence.
I had to squeeze my mask. Somehow that sickening smell was still getting through. It’s gotta be more than the antiques, I thought. Hell, I can’t even blame ‘Riley’ now.
“There’s so much stuff,” Jess commented as she pushed the cart further within this antique abyss.
Staying by her side, I nodded nervously. “Yeah…” I needed another swig-
But Jess beat me to it. However, not even fear could slow her shopping spree. Especially when she laid eyes on that furniture section. A cluster right there by the lone door in this warehouse.
Along the way, I stumbled into something! A cold CLANG rang out! “Shit!” I cried. Struggling to keep up, I reached out and grabbed Jess’s arm. “Hey, wait up!”
“I am!” Jess laughed.
I looked toward the site of my near-accident. Saw the sight of a large rectangular cage still rattling… A pretty big one at that. And judging by the rust and dangling padlock, the cage had been used previously… and deep in my unease, I couldn’t help but wonder for what?
Of course, that didn’t stop Jess. After all, she was tougher than me.
“C’mon, Cory!” she said.
I let her pull me up to the first table. In the claustrophobia, I still felt the frigid fall wind… or maybe it was the dread I felt lurking inside.
As Jess examined a green bird box we’d never need, I stole a glance back at that door. One fit more for a castle than Sasser, Georgia. The heavy brass knob hung on for dear life, clamoring for one last grip. Naturally, I couldn’t help but wonder what other ‘treasures’ or terrors this flea market had in store…
“This is pretty,” Jess said.
Turning, I got a front row view of the wooden bird box… but also something else-
That silver beauty beckoned me. “Yeah,” I muttered to Jess. Distracted, I staggered past her, closer to the edge of the table.
“Do you think any birds will fly on our patio?” Jess asked.
The horror wouldn’t let me respond. I stopped and touched the laptop’s smooth surface. Its flawless, brand new appearance so alluring in a dump antique store like this.
This was the same brand, the same model as what I had back at apartment sixteen. Probably the same damn everything. The shiny flashy replacement for my old 2015 craptop.
A scared shiver shot through my veins. Why would this be here? Who brought it here?
“Hey, Cory,” I heard Jess say, her voice unable to hide the obvious concern.
Welcome to the fucking club, sweetheart.
Tracing my hand along the laptop’s front cover, I saw a small card tucked into the keypad. Trapped in there, its edge sticking straight out, just enough to draw me in… Shit! I thought. What the Hell is this…
Jess put the bird box down and stopped next to me. But I didn’t wait much longer.
I snatched out the business card. The big bold letters and dark lake logo all instantly familiar: The Greystone.
The manager’s name stared back at us: Sara Dillon. But what left Jess and I in a state of shock was who was listed as her co-manager: Riley Dillon.
Jess grabbed my arm in a death grip. Hanging on for dear life… “Isn’t that her name?”
Turning, I glanced back toward where we came from. Toward the dirt driveway. The ant sign. The scuba diver guy… Only Riley was gone.
“The lady who runs this place!” Jess went on. “Her and Sara are sisters!”
“It’s crazy,” I said as I tossed the card back on to the laptop. On to what I was sure was my laptop. “This shit’s weird, Jess!”
“No shit!”
Through my drunken panic, anguished concern hit me: Ripley. I retrieved my phone. A Blink notification stared back at me, one from over an hour ago…
I felt Jess pull my arm closer. “Cory, let’s go!”
But not even she could stop me. I clicked the app. Then the clip.
There was our living room, our Halloween Utopia. Only I saw two pairs of legs walking around. I heard two sets of female voices inside apartment sixteen. I knew those longer, muscular legs all too well. Knew Sara’s Southern accent...
Huge boxes scattered in stations around our coffee table. Each of them getting filled up fast.
Now I saw several of our decorations were gone… until I realized they’d been stuffed in those cardboard boxes. All of them along with our other most beloved items. Justin Bieber’s smile amongst them.
Then there was the soundtrack: Ripley’s angry, defensive barks. They were brutal to the ears. And not much different than the ones we’d heard earlier...
Horror hit both Jess and I! Her grip grew tighter, strangling my blood flow.
Like an actor exiting the stage, the other woman walked off camera. But I heard her voice hollering commands. “Get that one, Sara!” “Let’s get that Goddamn dog!”
Through the living room windows, vivid sunlight illuminated this home invasion. Illuminated Sara snatching our singing black cat. My Blink app now a home for snuff rather than those cute Ripley videos I obsessed over.
“Shit!” I cried.
Jess faced me. “Cory, we need to go to the police-”
“Hold on!” I couldn’t turn away. Not when the video now only gave me silence and suspense. “Ripley!” I screamed into the phone.
Popping out of nowhere, a craggy face leaned over the camera, overtaking the screen! Those beaming eyes looked right at Jess and I! The woman’s expression evil, Riley Dillon’s smile absolutely terrifying.
The video ended on this chilling crescendo! Before I could get a full view of her sister Sara, before I could even see them leave the apartment… Or see Ripley.
Suffering from a stomach twisting in knots, I looked over at Jess. “They took her!”
I could see Jess struggling to subdue her own unease. A pitiful attempt. “You don’t know for sure-”
The barking erupted! Ripley’s cries for help.
Immediately, Jess and I both turned toward the door. Where our beloved pet’s pleas were coming from…
“Alright, we get her and get the fuck out of here!” Jess said.
“Amen!” I replied. Grabbing my girlfriend’s hand, I led us both up to that imposing door. Closer to our Ripley. “Ripley!” I cried.
To my relief, the door was unlocked! But I let go of the knob. Just for a moment.
“What the Hell are you doing!” Jess said. She lunged for the doorknob.
I held her back. “Hold on!” Trembling with each and every howl, I raised the Miller Lite to my mask. One lift, one sip. All I needed for a temporary fix to these frenzied nerves. Not that it helped much… but hey, every little edge helped this alcoholic at least.
“Well, Hell, let me do the same!” I heard Jess say.
Upon getting our drunk courage, we threw the door open and burst inside the backroom! The smell was even worse. A sickening mist at this point.
A single dangling lightbulb swung but there were no windows to help its beam. The room was spacious and wide… and all we heard was Ripley. Our Chihuahua trapped in a small cage right by the entrance. A couple of bigger cages positioned right next to her.
Jess and I rushed toward Ripley. But then came to one scared stop.
Bodies upon bodies piled up in the very back. Not so much preserved even in this October cold. The smell of decay was too strong, the corpses ranging from mutilated to a paleness only interrupted by the occasional blood stain. All of the bodies adults… except for the slaughtered children in slaughtered families.
A mother and father’s dead gaze stayed on us. Their throats slit from ear to ear. Their children dissected and now on display.
But it was the framed photo I saw lying at the family’s feet that shook me to the core. A picture taken well over a decade ago. One of a smiling Sara and Riley. Further proof for what Jess and I feared: The Greystone was these sisters’ gore factory. No wonder they had so many cool antiques… and no wonder the rent was so fucking cheap.
Ripley’s guttural growls broke us from our scared spell. Immediately, Jess and I came to her rescue!
In one frantic slide, I unlocked the cage. Ripley jumped into my arms and licked my face!
Horrified, Jess pointed toward the cage. “Cory, look!”
I now saw blood stains covering Ripley’s cage. Being the worried dog dad I was, I inspected Ripley’s body, much to her annoyance. But she was good. No cuts, no scratches. “It’s okay, baby,” I reassured her.
“No, look at the others!” Jess said.
Following girlfriend orders, I confronted those other cages.
They had blood, alright. Not to mention stray pulpy bits collected from organs and intestines of old. All of it human. But what struck me most were the two cages placed by Ripley’s… their doors were wide open. Their sizes exact enough to reserve one spot for Jess and one for me. Another Greystone family these sadistic sisters had hoped for. Had fucking planned for.
Struggling against the nauseating scent, I squeezed the mask again. “Jesus fucking Christ…”
Ripley barked in agreement.
“Fuck this shit!” Jess yelled. She pushed Ripley and I both back toward the warehouse. “Fuck the clothes, let’s go! Run!”
Don’t ask me how but Riley wasn’t waiting for us with a chainsaw. I don’t know where she went nor did I wanna know. Hell, technically, Jess and I never even checked out of the flea market. That shopping cart full of Jess’s crazy shit might still be there to this day…
But we ran outside! Ripley and that beer held tight in my protective grasp. Somehow, Jess’s SUV cranked and we roared out into the night! Somehow, the three of us had survived.
We never went back to The Greystone. Never saw Sara Dillon again. But one thing was for certain: I finally had my horror story... and just in time for Halloween 2020.
14
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2020.10.21 23:44 iyerkartik Manchester United PLC (Earnings Call Transcript)

Prepared Remarks:
Operator
Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Manchester United Fourth Quarter and Full Year Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] Following the presentation, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions]
Before we begin, we would like to inform everyone that this conference call will include estimates and forward-looking statements, which are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from these statements. Any such statements or forward-looking statements should be considered in conjunction with the cautionary note in our earnings release regarding forward-looking statements and risk factor discussions in our filings with the SEC. Manchester United plc assumes no obligation to update any of the estimates or forward-looking statements.
I will now turn the conference over to the Executive Vice Chairman of Manchester United, Mr. Ed Woodward. Please go ahead, sir.
Edward Woodward -- Executive Vice Chairman and Director
Thank you, and thank you to everybody for joining us today. We're looking back today on what's been one of the most extraordinary and challenging seasons in recent history and I'm proud of the way the club continues to respond. There are still big challenges and uncertainties ahead as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our way of life across the globe. This disruption is clear to see in the financial results that we're announcing today, and we expect the impact to remain visible for quite some time to come.
However, the past years also demonstrated the underlying strength and resilience of the club, the special role that sports plays in our societies and the meaningful impact the club can make in our communities through this period of adversity. On the field, we will never be satisfied with Manchester United unless we're winning trophies, but our third-place finish in the Premier League and strong cup runs last year showed us that while there is more hard work ahead and the path is not always smooth, we are making progress.
We have a clear strategy under Ole to build a successful committed team with a core of homegrown talent blended with high-quality recruits that plays fast-playing attacking football. To that end, we are pleased with our recent additions to the first team squad of Donny van de Beek and Alex Telles, two players we've been tracking as part of our recruitment process for a long period of time. And Edinson Cavani, a top striker, who adds a proven new option to our forward line.
We also welcome Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo, who will join in January, two exciting young prospects who we've also been scouting extensively. Added to the arrival of Bruno Fernandes earlier this year, these recruits underscore our continued commitment to strengthening the squad and take our net investment in new players since summer 2019 to over EUR200 million, more than any other major European club over that time frame.
We also continue to invest strongly in our thriving academy. These graduates make up a third of our current first-team squad. The pipeline of new talent looks as exciting as ever, with Ole giving first -- giving first team debuts to eight academy graduates last season; the highest number since the Busby Babes were breaking through 68 years ago. This faith in youth remains an integral part of our identity of the club. Even with the addition of some more experienced players this month, our squad remains one of the youngest in the Premier League with an average age of 25. This means the team has potential for significant further improvement as our young players develop and mature.
We are also tremendously excited by the progress being made by our women's team under Casey Stoney, following the arrival of several new players this summer, including Tobin Heath and Christen Press to -- both two-time World Cup winners with the U.S. National Team. While our commitment to investment remains, it must be balanced with recognition of the extraordinarily challenging environment facing us and all football clubs at this time.
Let me share a few initial observations on this summer's transfer window that finished recently. Gross transfer spend across the Big 5 European leagues was down about 40% this summer, driven by both the lower volume of transactions and lower average fees. The contraction was also felt at the top end of the market with no transactions over EUR100 million for the first time in five years and an almost 30% reduction in the average fee for the Top 30 transfers. There was a material increase in the share of free transfers and loans, which were up 20% and 30% respectively.
At a club level, many of our peers were cautious, with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus and PSG, having combined net spend of EUR9 million. Of course, there were one or two outliers the other way, most notably Chelsea, who are making up for not being able to be active during their transfer ban from Summer 2019. So we need to look across multiple windows to gain a clearer perspective. And as I mentioned earlier, our aggregate net investment over the last three transfer windows compares very favorably with our peers. The bottom line is we are investing and we will continue to invest to back our manager.
More recently, you may have read about the discussions taking place within English football, about plans to address the near-term financial predicament created by the pandemic for clubs in the lower leagues. We've been playing an active role in those discussions, because we strongly believe in supporting the English football pyramid, both in the short-term to address the issues created by COVID-19 and in the long-term to improve financial sustainability at all levels of the game. There will always be intense debate around any changes to the structure of football just as there was before the formation of the Premier League 28 years ago.
Now, at this critical juncture for the game, we must ensure that the huge success of the Premier League is reinforced while ensuring that the wider football pyramid continues to thrive in a rapidly changing media environment. Achieving this will require strategic vision and leadership. We are pleased that the Premier League is committed to work together on a plan for the future structures and financing of English football. Now it must deliver on that promise, and we are committed to playing a leading role in pushing that process toward a successful outcome.
Another crucial issue for the hold [Phonetic] of football is the reopening of stadium to spectators as soon as the government allows. While the situation in Greater Manchester and the U.K. as a whole continues to evolve, our plans for the return of fans are well advanced and we are confident of ours and the whole league's ability to welcome them back in a safe bio-secure environment. Crowds have been permitted to return to varying degrees in over 200 European -- sorry, 20 European countries, albeit with significant capacity restrictions to allow for social distancing. And we urge the U.K. government to follow these positive examples as soon as it is safe to do so.
While we recognize that public health must always be a priority, what is needed is consistency of approach. People are allowed to sit on an airplane for hours or in a cinema or even watch football in a cinema and why are they not allowed inside a stadium environment, which is professionally managed and controlled. If indoor concerts are allowed, why should outdoor socially distanced football fans be treated differently. Fans are the bedrock of this game and some of the inconsistencies out there are frustrating for them and indeed for the clubs.
Despite severe near-term pressures created by the pandemic, we do remain optimistic about the medium to long term. Demand for live football around the world is strong and our sustainable commercial model means we're very well placed to harness that growth, while continuing to pursue what will always be our Number 1 priority, delivering success, entertainment and trophies on the pitch.
I'll now hand over to our Group Managing Director, Richard Arnold, who will update you on our key business activities. Thank you.
Richard Arnold -- Group Managing Director and Director
Thank you, Ed, and thank you to everyone for joining us today. Resilience is a trait closely associated with Manchester United. And since we last spoke in May, that trait has been needed and demonstrated once again. Cliff will walk you through the impact that COVID-19 has had in our revenue streams and the continued impact we expect into fiscal 2021, but I'd like to share a few insights into how we face this challenge.
First, throughout the fourth quarter, we continued to use our global platform to raise awareness and provide assistance to those in need in our surrounding communities, across the U.K. and internationally. We stepped up our efforts by our Manchester United Foundation by supporting local food banks, providing meals for the NHS, making cash donations to partner schools, teaming up with supporters clubs and launching a fundraising contribution -- fundraising campaign. Contributions to date for that are already over GBP1 million and climbing. And as we highlighted in May, we are appreciative of the generosity of our players and our colleagues who've donated their time and energy, and is our intent that these efforts will inspire more sustainable long-term support for our community.
We're also incredibly proud of the individual effort of Marcus Rashford, who served as an exemplary red both on and off the pitch this year by using his platform to bring incredible awareness to a cause that is very dear to his heart, child hunger. Marcus was successful not only championing this very important cause and bringing considerable awareness to the plight of many U.K. school children who were suffering during this pandemic, but he also campaigned for and successfully achieved change that affected children across the whole country.
We also wanted to take a moment this morning to discuss the diversity and inclusion initiatives of the club. Whilst this is a topic that is rightly moving to the forefront of conversations in boardrooms across every industry, we're proud that we've been leading and executing in this area within our organization over many years. Whilst we acknowledge that there is clearly no room for complacency, our #AllRedAllEqual initiative, which commenced in 2016, is the most visible example and is both the guiding principle and remains a vital annual campaign for the club. We are committed to striving for real change within the industry on and off the pitch, both through our own campaigns and through the support of other organizations.
Turning to our business. We have needed and been able to continue to strengthen our digital and media capabilities during the pandemic. This meant we achieved higher engagement levels relative to last year across all platforms during the fourth quarter. To highlight a few stats, despite the pandemic, our total rate from April through the end of the season in July improved by high-single digits against the prior season. On our owned and operated platforms, June and July represented record months for engagement on our mobile app, while it was also a record year on our social channels as we achieved over 1.1 billion social interactions; higher than any season previously and 24% higher than last season.
This engagement in turn contributed directly to stronger e-commerce conversion levels. Whilst our Megastore reopened on June 15th, foot traffic has remained depressed relative to last year, obviously given the absence of fans at Old Trafford home matches and to a lesser extent the continued closure of our museum and tour operations. However, our e-commerce business with Fanatics has performed ahead of expectations and we plan to accelerate our e-commerce initiatives throughout fiscal 2021.
Turning now to our sponsorship business. Fiscal year 2020 was a solid year. And despite the pandemic, it was one of the busiest in the Club's history for our sponsorship team. For the year, we signed eight new sponsorship deals with partners, including Lego, Mondelez and Visit Malta. Manchester United's commercial strength drives not least from its strong and effective commercial partnerships. Pandemic proved an opportunity to demonstrate resilience in delivering to our partners, in particular, migrating to delivering digital campaigns in the absence of games. As a result of this, we've also renewed eight partnerships.
Whilst we remain in the midst of this pandemic, we are mindful of the current tenuous macro backdrop affecting our partners. We've been working very closely with them to support their activities through these challenging times. To that end, due to the disruption caused by the pandemic, we entered into a variation agreement with General Motors to extend our current shirt sponsorship agreement for six months.
Though we can't provide any certainty at this time regarding the precise timing of the return of our supporters to Old Trafford, due to the very fluid nature of recent Coronavirus developments in the U.K., we do remain optimistic. In the meantime, we continue to prepare to welcome back our supporters with hygiene and social distancing protocols as health and safety obviously remains a top priority. Further, we have used the downtime to explore and implement upgrades that we believe will serve to enhance our supporters' in-stadium experience such as contactless entry with mobile ticketing.
I also want to take a moment to highlight the Club's commitment to our supporters in China. Since our first friendly match on the Mainland in 1975, Manchester United has established a significant fan and follower base in the region. Earlier in the fiscal year, we announced a strategic partnership with Alibaba, which includes the Youku platform, and we are now producing more localized Chinese content than ever before. We are also the first and only club to reach 10 million Weibo followers, and we are also the most engaged club on both the Weibo and WeChat platforms. We remain committed to providing our passionate supporters in the country with highly engaged Club content.
As you are aware, in August, the Premier League terminated its deal with its China broadcast partner, Suning's PPTV. And the League entered into a one-year contract with Tencent, while the league searches for a new long-term partner. This means that the Club has its games and content shown on both at the two largest digital platforms as well as the expectation of linear broadcasting. Together with the exciting progress on the Harves Experience Centers, this puts us in a strong position for future engagement with our fans in China.
Finally, as I had highlighted, the near-term economic environment remains challenging, but there remains much to be optimistic about regarding our long-term prospects. We'll be relentlessly pursuing the growth opportunities that remain for our brand. The strong commercial engine of this Club driven by our commitment to delivering the engagement our fans craving demand is what ultimately fuels our ability to continuously and sustainably reinvest in the team.
With that, I'll now turn the call over to our CFO, Cliff Baty, to review our results and discuss our financial outlook in more detail. Cliff?
Cliff Baty -- Chief Financial Officer
Thank you, Richard. Firstly, I'll talk through our fiscal year results, which had been impacted by COVID-19 pandemic, and then I'll provide some details to the upcoming fiscal year. However, we will not be providing EBITDA guidance today. As a reminder, year-on-year comparisons relative to fiscal 2019 have been impacted by non-participation in the Champions League, as well as a number of games played in the year.
In terms of headline figures, total revenues for the period were GBP509 million, down GBP118.1 million versus last year, due to the impact of COVID-19 particularly on Broadcasting and Matchday revenues. Adjusted EBITDA was GBP132.1 million, down GBP53.7 million from prior year. Overall, we estimate the impact of COVID-19 on total FY '20 revenues was GBP70 million; of which, GBP40 million were lost from Matchday closures, Premier League rebates and impact on our Megastore and other operations. The remaining GBP30 million relates to Broadcasting revenues from the '19-'20 seasons' matches, which were played in July and August, and those revenues will be recognized in the current year. We estimate that the adjusted EBITDA outcome for FY '20 had COVID-19 not occurred, would have been an additional GBP60 million, delivering a total adjusted EBITDA slightly over GBP190 million, comfortably ahead of our previous guidance range.
Turning to the key items in the results. Total commercial revenues were GBP279 million with sponsorship revenues of GBP182.7 million, 5.6% higher than the prior year. This reflects the underlying growth we saw throughout fiscal 2020. Merchandising and licensing revenues were GBP5.8 million below prior year at GBP96.3 million, reflecting the closure of the Megastore from mid-March through mid-June. Broadcasting revenues decreased by GBP101 million to GBP140.2 million. This reflects both the lower Europa League revenues in FY '20 compared to Champions League in the prior year, as well as the impact of 10 matches from the '19-'20 season, including six Premier League matches that were played after the period-end.
Revenues were also further impacted by rebates to broadcasters, which we estimate totaled GBP14 million for the full '19-'20 season with around GBP11 million recognized in FY '20. Matchday revenues for the year decreased by GBP21 million to GBP89.8 million impacted by suspension of matches in March. This meant revenue associated with four home Premier League games and the Europa League Round of 16 match was lost.
Moving down to income statement. Operating expenses, excluding depreciation, amortization and exceptional items, decreased by 14.6% versus the prior year. This includes wages, which were down 14.5%, primarily due to the contractual reduction related to non-participation in the Champions League. Other operating expenses for the fiscal year decreased by GBP16.1 million, reflecting the suspension of matches together with the reduced activity and cost saving actions taken in response to COVID-19.
Amortization costs were GBP126.7 million for the fiscal year, a decrease of GBP2.5 million versus the prior year. Net finance costs for the year were GBP26 million, an increase of GBP3.5 million due to foreign exchange movements on the unhedged portion of our U.S. dollar debt. As mentioned in previous quarters, our cash interest costs in U.S. dollars remain broadly consistent year-on-year.
Turning now to our balance sheet. At the end of June, cash balances were GBP51.5 million, down GBP256.1 million against the prior year. This decrease is comprised of three main items. Firstly, as we mentioned throughout the year, player capex is elevated in FY '20 by GBP56 million due to player investments made during the year and the associated accelerated payment profiles. Secondly, the impact of COVID-19, the uncertainty around return to fans to the stadium has meant that the bulk of season ticket moneys, which is typically received by the 30th of June, have not been received this year. We estimate this impact to be over GBP50 million.
Finally, some sponsorship money is normally due prior to 30th of June relating to the 2021 [Phonetic] season have been agreed to be deferred for some commercial partners that have been impacted by COVID-19. This reduced our cash flows by amount in excess of GBP80 million. However, a large portion of this is now been received with the remainder due in installments during fiscal year '21.
Net debt at the period end was GBP474.1 million, an increase of GBP270.5 million compared to the prior year due to the lower cash balances described, together with the impact of unfavorable foreign exchange movements on a U.S. dollar-denominated debt. In terms of cash liquidity, we now have GBP200 million of undrawn committed facilities, have increased our available lines by another GBP50 million. This provides additional flexibility in the current environment.
And turning to our outlook for the fiscal year '21. In line with many other companies, we are not providing any revenue or EBITDA guidance. The main impact on revenue and EBITDA for FY '21 will be the loss of Matchday and ancillary revenues should the entire season be behind closed doors together with the loss of our pre-season summer tour. As mentioned, this will be partially offset by GBP30 million of deferred broadcasting revenues relating to season '19-'20 fixtures and our return to the Champions League. Finally, we expect our committed player capex net cash outflows for this year to be approximately GBP120 million with amortization of GBP127 million.
Before we hand the call back to the operator to take your questions, I wanted to make you all aware that we will not be hosting a first quarter conference call when our results are released in mid-November, just a few short weeks from now. Due to the unusual timing this year related to the pandemic, we will only be issuing a press release with our first quarter financial results. However, we will return to normal conference call cadence for our second quarter report in February.
With that, we're ready to take your questions. Operator?

Questions and Answers:

Operator
Thank you. We will now begin the question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] Today's first question comes from Randy Konik with Jefferies. Please go ahead.
Randy Konik -- Jefferies -- Analyst
Good morning. Can you hear me?
Edward Woodward -- Executive Vice Chairman and Director
Yes, we can.
Richard Arnold -- Group Managing Director and Director
Hi, Randy.
Randy Konik -- Jefferies -- Analyst
Hi. Great. Thanks, guys. Good morning and congrats on the nice win yesterday to start the Champions League. I guess, the first question is, Richard, you talked a little bit about some of the changes or adaptations you made in the commercial and sponsorship segment. Let's talk about, I guess, for example, Chevy, you extended the sponsorship by, I think, six months. Have you done that with any other partners?
And then the other thing I picked up on in the -- in your remarks, you talked about shifting some activations to more digital means kind of gave your partners good return on their -- in their partnership investments, etc. So give us some perspective on what you kind of specifically done more there on the digital side, kind of help the partners kind of get the great value for their sponsorship, just curious there.
Richard Arnold -- Group Managing Director and Director
Thanks, Randy. I think, in some part, the second part of your question answered the first. The overwhelming majority of individual sponsor cases what we've done is worked with partners to build commercial strategy that leverage what is available to us. Obviously, as you indicated, the work that we've done in establishing leadership in our field in terms of our digital engagement techniques with fans mean that we were able to offer them, yeah, something that's pretty cutting edge in the market and very, very effective. And I think that's testament to the work of the team in this area that we were able to do that and also the support that we had from players and others in terms of deriving that content.
Randy Konik -- Jefferies -- Analyst
Got it. And then, anything changes with explorations of deals in terms of the extension of the Chevy deal? I know probably just more of a one-off, but anything there that we should be thinking about with other partners or not?
Richard Arnold -- Group Managing Director and Director
By and large not. Our partners are no more immune to the macro effects than any other businesses in the world. So, you've seen in these results the work that we've done supporting them particularly on the cash flow basis. That having been said, equally, we're hugely fortunate that we have some of the best companies in the world as partners. By and large, the majority of those have rebounded very strongly and have traded relatively well through the period. And I think that the renewals we've seen even during this pandemic and literally during this pandemic in the last three months have been strong. And I think that that's an indication of the high caliber companies we have as partners and the work that we've been able to do with those partners to drive results in even the most difficult of circumstances.
Randy Konik -- Jefferies -- Analyst
Great. Very helpful. Thanks, guys.
Operator
[Operator Instructions] Today's next question comes from Connor Murphy with Deutsche Bank. Please go ahead.
Connor Murphy -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst
Hey, everyone. Just a few from me. Can we first just dig into a little more when you're anticipating fans might be able to come back and any sense of capacity? I know it's a very fluid situation, but I'm just trying to get a sense of how discussions are going and how that might evolve throughout the season. And then, I have a couple of others.
Richard Arnold -- Group Managing Director and Director
Yeah. So, as you're aware, we are subject to government regulation -- the regulatory environment in this regard. The initial expectation had been that there would be a return to partially filled stadium starting on the 1st of October, following on from test events that were successfully conducted in August and September. That advice was changed not because of the effect of what was happening as a result of the partially filled stadia and in fact there is significant track record across Europe for that being executed successfully, but because of what was happening in other sectors, particularly around the return to school and university in the background infection rate.
The government guidance had been at that point in time, the absent what they refer to as the moonshot was not to affect -- not to expect full stadia prior to March next year. Where they refer to moonshot, that is the ability for us to have either variously vaccine programs or quick response testing at a mass scale, so the most often referred to as pregnancy-type test, where people can achieve certified infection-free attendance. At this point in time, it's unclear as to the probability and timing of those two moonshot items. So, we remain subject to the more general situation in terms of the return of fans.
The guidance in respect of the fill rate was a function of distancing both in the access points to the stadium and in the stadium itself and that trended out approximately 30% under the prior regulations. Although again, going back to what I said earlier, the evidence was that the sort of professionally run stadia that had very well developed protocols in this area meant that there was no evidence at this point that that was an infection risk.
Connor Murphy -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst
That's very helpful. And could we dig a little more into this FIFA-backed European Premier League and what the impetus is? It sounds like supporting lesser teams, but just sort of flesh that out a bit and what the advantages of a larger League would be.
Edward Woodward -- Executive Vice Chairman and Director
Are you referring to what was in the press yesterday or you're referring to what...
Connor Murphy -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst
Yes.
Edward Woodward -- Executive Vice Chairman and Director
Okay. I mean, I saw the reports on that and candidly don't know where that story came from, but there isn't really anything for us to say. We are engaged on a very regular basis through my role within ECA and also on the UCC SA with UEFA. With those two entities ECA and UEFA talking about potential changes to the Champions League from 24 [Phonetic] onwards, you might have read, I think, two or three days ago in the press, there was a story about whether the Champions League may go to 36 teams, that -- there the conversations that we are actively involved in. So, I can't comment on your question.
Connor Murphy -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst
Fair enough. And then the last one was, can you talk a little bit about the Premier League contract in China and what the expectations are in terms of a new deal? I mean, it sounds like you guys have a -- it's very popular over there, so I guess your vision would [Phonetic] be for a longer term contract higher pricing.
Edward Woodward -- Executive Vice Chairman and Director
Yeah. If you heard the call early, you'd have had Richard talk about what happened there. So I assume you're up to speed with regard to that. Absolutely, the plan on the back of getting a fantastic partner in which is Tencent in China for a -- you could view it as a stop gap period of one year. It's pretty incredible actually that they've managed to lock that in so quickly. The plan now is to go back to market in due course in a much more measured way and try to do a full year deal to get us back lockstep with the cadence of the cycles. So that will happen in the coming months.
Randy Konik -- Jefferies -- Analyst
Great. Thank you.
Operator
[Operator Closing Remarks]
Duration: 32 minutes

Call participants:

Edward Woodward -- Executive Vice Chairman and Director
Richard Arnold -- Group Managing Director and Director
Cliff Baty -- Chief Financial Officer
Randy Konik -- Jefferies -- Analyst
Connor Murphy -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst
submitted by iyerkartik to reddevils [link] [comments]


2020.10.21 15:16 I-like_cats (Spoilers Extended) Lads, I’ve figured magic out

Part 2

Introduction

I'm going to start by saying that the title of this post is a lie. This theory can't explain every single bit of magic in the story such as the mechanisms for the length of seasons or how dragons can even exist at all.
This isn’t gonna be perfect. Honestly, I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t until George wrote FeastDance that he had the mechanisms of magic fully fleshed out in his mind. He is, after all, into the whole gardening style of writing. As the story progresses magic becomes more prevalent and most of what I will be explaining will be either in Storm or FeastDance.
A couple of fundamental assumptions must be made for this theory to work, but once you accept these it very neatly explains a variety of phenomena with a single fundamental mechanism. Other theories overcomplicate things in my eyes. I don't like "Elemental magic" or assuming that some deities exist while others do not, and that somehow completely contradictory accounts from different religions can all be true at once. This theory can explain how humanoid species in the World of Ice and Fire do their magic. By following these principles I’ve been able to come up with satisfactory explanations for the following:
• Glass candles
• Valyrian Steel
• Euron Fucking Crow’s Eye
• The Others and Wights
• Magic performed by followers of the Old Gods
• Magic performed by followers of R’hllor
• Magic performed by followers of The God Of Many Faces
• Dragon riding and dragon binding
• Ser Robert Strong
• Shadow assassins
• Blood magic
• Prophecy
• The importance of King’s Blood
• Miscellaneous details

Part 1: The Basic Principles of Magic

This theory is predicated on the apparent mind-body dualism present in ASOIAF. Mind-body dualism is the view that the mind and the body are separate entities. Proving that this is a thing isn't hard as we have the POV of a bunch of confirmed skinchangers who leave a body behind for a bit and implant their mind into another one. There is however an interesting bit in Varamyr's POV that's going to be fundamental for this theory to work. This is when he tries to go into a spearwife, fails, and exists non-corporeally for a bit before settling into one of his wolves.
She raised her hands to his face. He tried to push them down again, but the hands would not obey, and she was clawing at his eyes. Abomination, he remembered, drowning in blood and pain and madness. When he tried to scream, she spat their tongue out.
The white world turned and fell away. For a moment it was as if he were inside the weirwood, gazing out through carved red eyes as a dying man twitched feebly on the ground and a madwoman danced blind and bloody underneath the moon, weeping red tears and ripping at her clothes. Then both were gone and he was rising, melting, his spirit borne on some cold wind. He was in the snow and in the clouds, he was a sparrow, a squirrel, an oak. A horned owl flew silently between his trees, hunting a hare; Varamyr was inside the owl, inside the hare, inside the trees. Deep below the frozen ground, earthworms burrowed blindly in the dark, and he was them as well. I am the wood, and everything that's in it, he thought, exulting. A hundred ravens took to the air, cawing as they felt him pass. A great elk trumpeted, unsettling the children clinging to his back. A sleeping direwolf raised his head to snarl at empty air.
Here we see clearly that the mind can exist, even if it’s for a little while, as an entity that doesn’t need a material vessel. A similar thing can be observed with Stannis and the shadow assassin. If we pay attention to the text it becomes evident that Stannis’ spirit left his body behind and killed his brother.
"I beg you in the name of the Mother," Catelyn began when a sudden gust of wind flung open the door of the tent. She thought she glimpsed movement, but when she turned her head, it was only the king's shadow shifting against the silken walls. She heard Renly begin a jest, his shadow moving, lifting its sword, black on green, candles guttering, shivering, something was queer, wrong, and then she saw Renly's sword still in its scabbard, sheathed still, but the shadowsword . . .
"Cold," said Renly in a small puzzled voice, a heartbeat before the steel of his gorget parted like cheesecloth beneath the shadow of a blade that was not there. He had time to make a small thick gasp before the blood came gushing out of his throat.
Then a little bit after we get this exchange.
"I never held him but as he died," Brienne said quietly as they walked through the spreading chaos. Her voice sounded as if she might break at any instant. "He was laughing one moment, and suddenly the blood was everywhere . . . my lady, I do not understand. Did you see, did you . . . ?"
"I saw a shadow. I thought it was Renly's shadow at the first, but it was his brother's."
"Lord Stannis?"
"I felt him. It makes no sense, I know . . ."
Or if Catelyn isn’t to be trusted, then we can hear this from Stannis himself.
“And for Renly?” The words were out before Davos could stop to consider them.
For a long time the king did not speak. Then, very softly, he said, “I dream of it sometimes. Of Renly’s dying. A green tent, candles, a woman screaming. And blood.” Stannis looked down at his hands. “I was still abed when he died. Your Devan will tell you. He tried to wake me. Dawn was nigh and my lords were waiting, fretting. I should have been ahorse, armored. I knew Renly would attack at break of day. Devan says I thrashed and cried out, but what does it matter? It was a dream. I was in my tent when Renly died, and when I woke my hands were clean.”
If we assume that Stannis’ situation with the shadow assassin is analogous to what Varamyr experiences as a formless spirit then we can reach the most important premise in this theory.
The incorporeal spirit of a person can interact with physical objects. This, as seen with Stannis, seems like a very taxing process and thus it makes sense that we don’t see it done directly too often.
"Is the brave Ser Onions so frightened of a passing shadow? Take heart, then. Shadows only live when given birth by light, and the king's fires burn so low I dare not draw off any more to make another son. It might well kill him." Melisandre moved closer. "With another man, though . . . a man whose flames still burn hot and high . . . if you truly wish to serve your king's cause, come to my chamber one night. I could give you pleasure such as you have never known, and with your life-fire I could make . . ."
We have to make another assumption for this theory to make sense. That is that the individual capacity for magic in the ASOIAF universe is on a spectrum. We have greenseers at the very top of the top, regular skinchangers below that, and regular people below that.
"Only one man in a thousand is born a skinchanger," Lord Brynden said one day, after Bran had learned to fly, "and only one skinchanger in a thousand can be a greenseer."
"I thought the greenseers were the wizards of the children," Bran said. "The singers, I mean."
"In a sense. Those you call the children of the forest have eyes as golden as the sun, but once in a great while one is born amongst them with eyes as red as blood, or green as the moss on a tree in the heart of the forest. By these signs do the gods mark those they have chosen to receive the gift. The chosen ones are not robust, and their quick years upon the earth are few, for every song must have its balance. But once inside the wood they linger long indeed. A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees. Greenseers."
Instead of assuming that regular people are completely cut off from magic, I propose that they can project their spirit just like skinchangers and greenseers can but on a much smaller scale so that basically everyone that doesn’t reach the threshold of skinchanging is never aware of this fact. This conjecture comes from seeing Stannis, who doesn't display much skinchanging ability and neither did his brothers, be the one direct example we've seen of someone's spirit leaving their body behind to interact with physical objects.
When Bloodraven speaks of being “Inside the wood” he’s talking about the fact that the COTF can have a second life inside the Weirwood.net. Once inside this net we can see some time travel capacity and remote communication/observation. I’ll get further into why I think weirwoods are like this in another post.
Where am I going with this? Skinchangers can leave their body behind and graft themselves into something that isn't an animal. It's not too far fetched to think that you can graft someone's spirit into something that isn't a weirwood or an animal. And it's not that crazy to think this grafting can imbue an object with some particular physical characteristic. I'm not too much of a fan of using events that weren't directly observed by POV characters to justify my thought process, but if you're skeptical of this claim then look no further than Nissa Nissa.
"A hundred days and a hundred nights he labored on the third blade, and as it glowed white-hot in the sacred fires, he summoned his wife. 'Nissa Nissa,' he said to her, for that was her name, 'bare your breast, and know that I love you best of all that is in this world.' She did this thing, why I cannot say, and Azor Ahai thrust the smoking sword through her living heart. It is said that her cry of anguish and ecstasy left a crack across the face of the moon, but her blood and her soul and her strength and her courage all went into the steel. Such is the tale of the forging of Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes.”

Part 2: Here I’ll finally explain how this groundwork can lead us to a coherent magic system with an example: Necromancy.

I know I’ve kept you waiting long enough for something that can be explained with these esoteric rules. I’ll tell you how Ser Robert Strong, the Wights, Coldhands and lastly Beric, Catelyn post revival, and Melisandre work.
Do you believe in ghosts, Maester?" he asked Qyburn.
The man's face grew strange. "Once, at the Citadel, I came into an empty room and saw an empty chair. Yet I knew a woman had been there, only a moment before. The cushion was dented where she'd sat, the cloth was still warm, and her scent lingered in the air. If we leave our smells behind us when we leave a room, surely something of our souls must remain when we leave this life?" Qyburn spread his hands. "The archmaesters did not like my thinking, though. Well, Marwyn did, but he was the only one."
Look, Ser Robert Strong is Gregor Clegane. We know this, Kevan knows this, Cersei knows this, the most idiotic characters in the Kingsguard know this.
We do not even know if he's alive. Meryn Trant claimed that Strong took neither food nor drink, and Boros Blount went so far as to say he had never seen the man use the privy. Why should he? Dead men do not shit. Kevan Lannister had a strong suspicion of just who this Ser Robert really was beneath that gleaming white armor. A suspicion that Mace Tyrell and Randyll Tarly no doubt shared. Whatever the face hidden behind Strong's helm, it must remain hidden for now.
Knowing that Qyburn is responsible for a successful case of necromancy means that we must examine his methods closely to get a somewhat close look at the inner workings of magic. We can surmise that what Qyburn did involved women who end up very damaged as a result of whatever he is doing to them. After an unspecified number of women is used, Gregor can rise again and function as a champion for Cersei.
Cersei did not like to think about that. The girl had come with her unsuspecting, thinking she was along to serve and pour. Even when Qyburn clapped the chain around her wrist, she had not seemed to understand. The memory still made the queen queasy. The cells were bitter cold. Even the torches shivered. And that foul thing screaming in the darkness . . .
We see Qyburn gets a girl to experiment with and Gregor starts screaming in his cell shortly after.
"There are four. Perhaps Your Grace might allow me two of them for mine own purposes. A woman would be especially . . ."
"I gave you Senelle," the queen said sharply.
"Alas. The poor girl is quite . . . exhausted."
Oh but we’re not done.
Qyburn arrived before the food. Lady Falyse had put down three more cups by then, and was beginning to nod, though from time to time she would rouse and give another sob. The queen took Qyburn aside and told him of Ser Balman's folly. "I cannot have Falyse spreading tales about the city. Her grief has made her witless. Do you still need women for your . . . work?"
"I do, Your Grace. The puppeteers are quite used up."
Creepy.
Then she sent for Qyburn. "Is Lady Falyse still alive?"
"Alive, yes. Perhaps not entirely . . . comfortable."
"I see." Cersei considered a moment. "This man Bronn . . . I cannot say I like the notion of an enemy so close. His power all derives from Lollys. If we were to produce her elder sister . . ."
"Alas," said Qyburn. "I fear that Lady Falyse is no longer capable of ruling Stokeworth. Or, indeed, of feeding herself. I have learned a great deal from her, I am pleased to say, but the lessons have not been entirely without cost."
The mechanisms laid out in Part 1 can fill in some of the gaps of what happened here. We know that a person's spirit can have a physical effect on an object and that it's very taxing for the person doing it. We know that regular people have some magic capacity and that you can imbue someone's spirit into an object. From this, we can conclude that somehow Qyburn was able to bind these women’s spirits into Gregor’s body to reanimate him and he squeezed every last bit of magic they had to give him to achieve this.
This is how I claim that Bloodmagic works in general. You’re taking someone’s spirit and violently forcing it to do some task you’ve assigned to it.
What’s the deal with wights? If the show is to be believed, then the Others are a weapon created to fight the invasion of the First Men by the COTF. Here I'll also assume that the mechanism for magic present in humans and the COTF is present in the Others, they're basically all on the same level of power as a greenseer. Knowing that they're very capable with magic we can assume that they would be very efficient at doing whatever it is that Qyburn crudely did with Gregor. I propose that the mechanism is the same, only that the Others use a single spirit for the reanimation of the dead. They use the spirit of the person they are reanimating.
"Can they talk?" asked Jon Snow. "I think not, but I cannot claim to know. Monsters they may be, but they were men before they died. How much remains? The one I slew was intent on killing Lord Commander Mormont. Plainly it remembered who he was and where to find him."
However, they don’t need the Wights to have very complex internal lives, they need an army of slaves that mindlessly follow orders. How do they send these orders? Massively sending signals through the same channel that Varamyr experienced when he died.
Coldhands is a wight but with an internal life. He is still somewhat a person but a decaying corpse nonetheless. We can safely assume that the COTF used the same process that the Others use to get a wight that does their bidding.
How does necromancy performed by followers of R’hllor work? This one’s different from the last couple of ones because the body doesn’t continue decaying after it’s been resurrected. Wights do rot when they’re taken away from the cold.
"They were dead the first time," Ser Alliser snapped. "Pale and cold, with black hands and feet. I brought Jared's hand, torn from his corpse by the bastard's wolf."
Littlefinger stirred. "And where is this charming token?"
Ser Alliser frowned uncomfortably. "It . . . rotted to pieces while I waited, unheard. There's naught left to show but bones."
Tyrion VI ACOK
Melisandre had practiced her art for years beyond count, and she had paid the price.
.
Food. Yes, I should eat. Some days she forgot. R'hllor provided her with all the nourishment her body needed, but that was something best concealed from mortal men.
.
Some nights she drowsed, but never for more than an hour. One day, Melisandre prayed, she would not sleep at all. One day she would be free of dreams.
.
Selected quotes from Melisandre’s POV in ADWD
This would indicate to me that while the general process is the same, they are working with something more powerful that’s able to give their body the appearance of being alive. Their blood pumps (Otherwise they would get blood pooling in certain areas like Coldhands), they have warm bodies and they can eat food, presumably eventually peeing and shitting.
I’ll explain how they have the appearance of being alive in the next post. Because this one’s already long enough as is and I haven’t yet brought up how I think the different Gods fit into this model. Worry not, Melisandre's lifelike appearance is related to R'hllor.

TL;DR: A lot of the magic we see in the series can be explained by the same mechanism that skinchanging and shadowbinding operate on.

submitted by I-like_cats to asoiaf [link] [comments]


2020.10.21 13:14 Crone_Johnson The Midnight Radio Show

The Midnight Radio Show
The headlights emitted bright beams of light, which illuminated the empty mountain road. Each bump my car went over shook the tree-shaped air freshener under the rear-view mirror. Casting their shadows over the road, a web of crooked branches protruded from the leafless trees on both sides. The hood of my car scattered piles of dead leaves in all directions as I sped through the night.
A few minutes away from midnight and the thirty first of October, the night was young. My nephew’s favorite day of the year, Halloween was something he had been looking forward to for months. I planned on keeping my promise, and being the first thing he saw in the morning, along with a special costume I bought from the neighboring city.
Some music would have helped the time fly faster. Being far away from a city, I couldn’t find a single station. Just as I planned on giving up, something came up.
A short catchy tune passed, signaling the beginning of a radio show, and a man spoke out with his calm soothing voice.
“The clock hit the one-two-zero-zero, it’s midnight, and we are live. As always, shoutout to the nightshift, everyone with insomnia, the night owls, all of you underaged folk who should be in bed, and knowing it’s Halloween... everyone and everything supernatural. This is your host Mark, ready to keep you company throughout the night. A quick word before we start; each night of the year, we sit down, and for a tiny fragment of our daily life, we go to another world. Forget the troubles that await our return, and we laugh, cower, and cringe together. It’s the time when the barrier between that world and ours is the thinnest, so let’s enjoy it.
You know me, I love stories, and each night we have a topic. Can you guess what tonight’s is?
Since it’s Halloween, we will be telling each other anything supernatural we’ve experienced. Anything from your socks mysteriously disappearing, to the ghosts you see in your selfies.
Good thing the night is long; there are a lot of people lining up. Caller number one, first come, first served.”
A quick beep signaled someone was on the line.
“I knew you’d pick me first, I just knew it!” a woman shrieked.
“I’m excited to meet you too,” Mark answered in a friendly tone. “But have in mind that some people are wearing headphones.”
“Oops. Sorry,” she lowered her voice.
“What is your name, and what story do you have for us?”
“Name is Tania. It’s about this pen pal. I’ve been single for almost a year, and everyone on the dating apps were intimidated by my good looks, so I couldn’t find a soulmate there. Then a friend told me prisons have this program where you can write to prisoners. It’s like a dating app, but with a bunch of felons.”
“So a normal dating app?”
“Haha, yeah. I did some searching, and found this really hot guy, whose only crimes were tax evasion and battery. After trading a few letters, I realized we had a lot in common. We were both animal lovers, liked art, liked music; the list goes on, so I wanted to arrange a date. He told me when the visiting hours were. Wearing my hottest attire, I arrived at the prison. The visiting room was this big place with a bunch of tables and chairs. Wouldn’t you know it, he was talking to another woman! Supposedly he hooked up with some bitch, and forgot our date. Could you believe that?”
“How is any of that supernatural?”
“If you saw me, you’d agree that not finding a soulmate is not natural.”
Mark cut the line.
“Caller number two, remember the topic, please.”
“This one is definitely supernatural,” a man answered.
“What is your name, sir?”
“Anthony. Night shift construction.”
“Much respect for your profession; what have you got for us?”
“Thanks, Mark. This is something that happened last week. My team of four finished repairing a small road at the park, and we thought we were done for the night. Our boss, who was always a chill guy, called and sounded stressed. Without giving us any details or time to prepare, he ordered us to repair a road in the outskirts. ‘No need to be a good job, just cover it up’ were his exact words.
The team and I jump in our truck. Getting there fast wasn’t a problem since there isn’t a lot of traffic at night. The old houses were spread a quarter mile apart; the neighborhood, if you can call it that, looked dead. On our arrival, we see chunks of asphalt scattered everywhere. I’m talking big pieces torn out of the single-lane road. A tole truck with a destroyed car moves past us towards the city. I’ve seen car crashes, but that vehicle was something else. I shit you not, it looked like a chewed up dog toy.
We park our ride and get out. Aside the headlights and flashlights, there aren’t any lights. The road looked horrible, I swear I saw gashes and claw marks. And they were big.”
“A monster, which hates roads?”
“Once examined closely, we found a tunnel big enough to fit a grown man. Whatever did that to the road, it came from beneath. Wish I could tell you what it was, but we repaired the road and didn’t discuss it. Guess it will stay a mystery.”
“Giant moles under the city; thanks for the story, Anthony.”
“No prob Mark, enjoy Halloween.”
“You as well,” Mark cut the line. “Much better than the last one. Caller three, keep the ball rolling.”
The beep followed.
“Hey,” the tired voice of a boy answered.
“Hello young sir, past our bed time, are we?” Mark joked.
“Sadly, yeah. My evil teacher brought down a hellish tsunami of homework on my ass. Listening to your show to keep my sanity.”
“Good on you for doing your schoolwork, name and story?”
“I’m Harry. I just finished writing this paper and celebrated, then remembered it was double sided.”
“Sounds really scary.”
“Just messing around. That story is true, but I’ve got a better one.”
“Go on.”
“This happened at school. To draw the scene: my school is big, and this takes place in the cafeteria. There are lots of people and tables. I’m waiting in line to get lunch. You can pick some small side things on the way, but the main course is the same for everyone. My turn comes, and this monster faces me. Our kind old cafeteria lady is replaced with this fat, ugly troll. Doesn’t even wear a hairnet to hide her slimy, short hair. Her stained tank top reveals tattoos and scars all over her arms.
She stares at me as if I’m a cockroach, and slaps a pile of crap on my tray. The old lunch lady wasn’t a five star cook, but the food she served looked like food, and was edible. I sat at the table I usually sit at with my friends, and start digging in the pile, trying to understand what it is. I glance at the lunch lady, and she is staring at me from the other side of the hall. I quickly take a bite out of it, and she looks away. It tasted like a salty banana dipped in barbecue sauce. A few moments passed before a sharp pain ran through my stomach. It felt as something was burning and stabbing my insides.
I got up and bolted towards the toilet. Halfway there, in one of the corridors, I vomited all over the floor. I was feeling dizzy, and my vision was blurred. I collapsed next to my vomit and stared at the ceiling. Then the lunch lady appeared above me. She extended her hand towards me, but grabbed what I threw up next to my head. She lifted the disgusting waste and dropped it in a bucket. Half-awake on the floor, I watched her walk away.
Right before I blacked out, I saw something I’ll never forget. The bucket was shaking, as if something was trying to get out. I heard nails click against its metal interior, and this creepy hiss. I never saw the lunch lady again. Turns out two other guys suffered the same thing, but we’re all fine now. They checked us, and we are healthy.”
“Sentient vomit... doesn’t sound fun.”
“Whatever it was, I’m just happy it’s over.”
“Glad you are ok.”
“Me too Mark, me too. Thanks for having me, but I gotta finish that homework. Wish me luck.”
“Good luck, Harry.”
The beep sounded.
“What an experience that would have been, poor kid. Next caller. Number four, name and story?”
“Name’s Balthasar, barman,” a man answered with his low pitch voice.
“What have you got for us, Balthasar?”
“You ever heard of body modification?”
“I have, but some of the listeners haven’t. Fill them in, will you?”
“Oh I will. Body modifications can be many things. As an example, the most common are piercings and tattoos. Then come contraptions, which deform your limbs, metal rods you stick through your body, getting parts of you cut and sewed back into something entirely different, injecting different substances under your skin to give your body a... different shape; definitely not for everyone, but it is art. I’m personally a tattoo guy with a little piecing here and there.
With that lesson out of the way, I work in an underground establishment for everyone with different tastes. I see all kinda people, but most of them are pretty cool. This nice couple comes each Friday; they mostly stick around the bar for a bit, and leave. I’ll call them Luke and Leia; not to give away names.
This happened last Friday. It’s around midnight, the club is pretty full, and everyone is having a blast. Then suddenly this strange sensation hits me, and judging by their looks, it hits everyone. I was close with my grandad, and when he died a few years back, I couldn’t leave my room for a month. I was depressed. That night, I felt the same way; I could smell the stench of death.
Some people begin to leave. Then this guy shows up, and sits at the bar next to Luke and Leia. Pale as snow, cosmetic lenses, which make his entire eyes grey, and dressed in all black. He casually orders a drink. He had his teeth chiseled; I had seen other guys sharpen, but never a full set. I’ll call him pale man.
While I’m preparing his drink, he is ignoring me. His eyes were locked on the couple. Guy didn’t blink a single time. I couldn’t quite hear him due to the loud music, but the couple sure could. Luke and Leia looked enraged but sat completely still. Really still, like statues. He is talking, then all of a sudden Leia smiles and sits on his lap. Luke is now terrified. And here comes the crazy part...
Pale man whispers something in Luke’s ear and French kisses him. And the kiss is long, like half a minute long, while Leia has this empty smile. He pulls back, and blood pours down Luke’s mouth. A piece of meat is hanging from pale man’s mouth, as he slowly slurps it in, and chews it. Hands all over Leia, he gets up and walks away with her. Luke is sitting alone, paralyzed in fear, blood pouring from his mouth.
At this point, I have no idea what I should do. They didn’t fight back, and the girl looked like she was liking it. I had seen people do kinky things there, but this looked wrong. I’ll call him Han, a huge guy who works at the establishment, came and dragged Luke out. I don’t know what happened to him, but he wasn’t outside when I was closing up a few hours later.”
“Eating someone’s tongue with a kiss, ouch. Sorry you had to see it.”
“Pale man looked pretty frail. If he ever comes back to the club, I told Han to kick his ass.”
“Glad you solved that problem. Thanks for calling.”
“Watch out for crazy tongue eaters, Mark, later.”
“Stay safe,” Mark cut the line.
“Nasty story, all kinds of things happen out there. Caller number... let’s skip the five, caller number six, my unlucky number.”
The beep was shortly followed by muffled noise from the other side.
“Caller number six?”
Heavy breathing became audible.
“Caller number six, do you have a story?”
The breathing continued for a few seconds, and stopped.
Mark cut the line. “Caller number five, we’re going back to you.”
The beep sounded.
“Yo Mark. It’s Fred.”
“Well hello Fred, is this the... sixth time you’re calling? Been a few months.”
“Dude, that’s so rad you remember.”
“What do you have for us?”
“Dude, I found the mermaid!”
“Here we go. Before you start, there might be new listeners.”
“Sure thing. Dudes and dudettes, a few months ago, I hooked up with a mermaid, but she kinda dumped me. Been searching for her since... found her a few days ago.”
“Were you high then?”
“Maybe, why would it matter?”
“Curiosity. But go on, the floor is yours.”
“Thanks my dude. I had her name and a sketch I drew, so I put up fliers, ads in the newspaper, and questions in Internet forums. I also walked up to people and asked them, but nobody knew her. One time I was asking this dude about her, when two huge dudes came and kidnapped me.”
“You are calling in so I’m guessing that ended well for you.”
“It sure did, my dude. They brought me up to this cliff at the coastline, and said I knew too much. Turns out my mermaid ran away from her father, who is now chasing her. He saw the ads, and sent his dudes to check me out. The dudes were actually mermaids too. Or merman. There are a bunch of mermaids who live in the sea as well.”
“Apologies for interrupting, but you should cut back on the drugs.”
“My dude, marijuana isn’t a drug, and all of this is real. They kicked me off the cliff... and my mermaid was there! Just like I remembered her. She kissed me.”
“Im glad you got a happy ending.”
“Not quite. I woke up on the beach again... without her.”
“You kissed a mermaid twice, who can beat that?”
“Yeah, I guess dude. Going to get high and listen to the rest of your show.”
“I know you will,” Mark let out a friendly chuckle. “Next caller. Number seven.”
“Markie, what up?” a woman sluggishly asked.
“Doing fantastic as always. Name and story?”
“Johana. My name is Johana. Second year in college. Do you know Bloody Mary?”
“The legend or the cocktail?”
“The legend. Say her name, spin three times in front of the mirror, and she is there.”
“A classic, would love to hear it.”
“Well... I didn’t summon Bloody Mary, I summoned a similar spirit. Her name is Acid Mary.”
“Acid Mary?”
“You take acid, spin three times in front of a mirror, and boom.”
“Does Acid Mary look like a burst of colors?”
“Yeah, did you summon her too?”
“Wild guess,” Mark cut the line. “Next caller. I feel like a seventeen, caller seventeen, you’re up.”
“Buenas noches.”
“Good evening to you as well. Could you speak in English?”
“Si.”
Mark cut the line.
“Caller number twenty. Name and story?”
“Who am I? If I told you my real name, I might as well sentence you to death. Only the highest of ranks in the most secret of secret organizations know my true identity. Low ranks call me The Carnage Cougar, a nickname I received for successfully completing over ninety-five missions. And by missions, I refer to ones, which usually require an army of hundreds. Assassinations, espionage, cyber warfare, defensive and offensive operations, you name it. I have driven anything and everything, from baby bikes and ice cream trucks, to nuclear submarines and spacecraft. All kinds of entities keep attempting to end my life, from the generic human assassins and hit squads, to eldritch beings and aliens. I know what you are asking yourself, why would someone like me call. Well it is simple, my job doesn’t legally allow me to talk about these things, but telling it here as a fictional story is a loop hole. And why would I want that? I want people to know how amazing I am. So don’t hold back on the worshiping.”
“Alright Carnage Cougar, amaze us.”
“I am currently undercover as a stripper. A biological warfare mutant escaped from the local secret government base, and infected a human. As always, I have to fix the problem. Sounds easy enough, right? Just kill them and get it over with. Well, that’s just it, they act and look entirely human. The special locator device, installed in the zebra themed speedo under my pants, can detect them up to a foot.”
“I’ll have to stop you right there; we’ll be forever grateful you shared this story with us, but this isn’t that kind of show,” Mark cut the line. “Hmm... a lot of people have a story to tell. Let’s look at the back of the line, number eighty-one, what can you bring to the table?”
A few seconds of muffled speech went by before a man answered. “Hey. First time caller.”
“A hey back to you, name and story?”
“My name is Ca-ugh.”
“Your name is Ca-ugh?”
“Ugh... no, I meant to say my name is Conor.”
“Sure thing, Conor. What kind of story do you have?”
“It all happened at the coast.”
“I love coast stories; the floor is yours.”
“My job doesn’t pay well, so to earn some extra money, I own a small boat I’d take out to fish in the sea, just far enough to still spot the city lights. The night this happened was different. I was there to... ugh... enjoy the view. Just as I was about to stop... ugh... enjoying the view... a distant pop focused my attention on the horizon. Opposite the city, far in the sea, a red dot blasted through the air. Someone had fired a flare gun.
While there were other boats closer to the shoreline, the chance they saw the signal was very low, and with no information, the coastguard wouldn’t have known to search there.
I hastily turned the engine on. My boat was definitely not a yacht, however I had mounted a small roof to partially protect myself from bad weather. Since I couldn’t tell the exact location the flare was fired from, I slowed down after relatively closing in, and unpacked a heavy flashlight.
'I’m here to help!' I yelled and moved the bright beam of light through the darkness. 'Say anything!' I kept shouting.
The further I moved away from land, the bigger the waves became. A shiny surface reflected moonlight. I illuminated a yacht.
For some reason back then, I expected a sinking boat or drowning people. Engine problems were far more common and likely to happen.
I was close enough not to have to yell, so I explained I saw their flare, and asked if everything was alright. The well-kept, seemingly new boat, didn’t have any lights on. This creeped me out a bit, so I proceeded to speak in a quieter tone.
The silhouette of a person appeared behind the windows.
'I can see you, I won’t hurt you,' I tried to sound funny and playful, but since no one answered, it came off as creepy. I was anxious. The sea had calmed down, and the only audible thing was my boat’s engine.
Suddenly, quiet, gentle humming came from the dark boat. There was something calming, and welcoming to it.
'Ugh... hi?' I asked. The two boats were getting very close to each other. I said that if they are alright, I’ll be leaving. It felt wrong when I said those words. I didn’t want to leave. Something forced me to turn my engine off, and listen. And not like some evil mind control; it felt calming. The moment I came closer, and the humming could be heard better, it moved away as if it was teasing me. The two boats bumped against one another.
I tried to jump to the yacht, but hit my toe, which in a way, snapped me out of whatever state I was in. The smile I didn’t know I had faded.
The humming stopped, and a figure exited the interior of the yacht. I instantly moved the beam of light on it. A young, pale woman in a blue dress greeted me with a calm monotone voice.
I lowered the flashlight’s brightness, and asked if everything was alright.
A single yes was all she said.
Before asking her anything else, I realized there was blood around her mouth. At first it appeared she was hurt, so I asked if she needed help.
She told me not to worry, since it wasn’t hers. The woman then took a step forward. Her hands, and long, brown hair also had blood.
Scary thoughts filled my head. I asked her whose blood it was.
She said it belonged to those who owned the boat. The woman hadn’t broken eye contact. It felt as if there was nothing behind her bright, blue eyes.
Her answer was in the past tense, meaning they weren’t there anymore. So I asked where they were.
And this is what she answered. ‘A vicious animal tore them apart.’
I turned the engine on, and escaped as fast as possible. The woman calmly watched me the entire time.”
“Killed a ship crew, but let you leave?” Mark asked skeptically.
“I’ll never know why,” Conor coughed, and cut the line.
“Strange fellow. So little night, so many callers. I don’t know about you, but I need a drink. Enjoy some music, while I take a small break. Don’t worry, I’ll be back...”
[BREAK]
“This is your host Mark, the clock hit the zero-two-zero-zero, and we are back. Friendly reminder to those who are joining, the topic is anything supernatural-related. It’s Halloween after all. Caller forty-two, pick up where we left, would you?”
“Only if you ask nicely,” a woman cheerfully answered.
“Would you, please?”
“My name is Rose. I hunt cryptids.”
“Interesting. Go on.”
“I have a team of two. Bill takes care of all the tech: cameras, GPS, vehicles, that kinda stuff. Linda does the research, she pretty much knows everything about any animal on our planet. And I’m the one who gets her hands dirty. My job is to hunt the creature, and tranquilize it.”
“How many cryptids have you caught?”
“Well... we have a lot of footage. But we haven’t caught anything.”
“Has the world seen this footage?”
“It has, but not many people believe it. People call it fake because it tends to be blurry. The story I’m telling has solid footage, and we actually caught something.”
“I think this is something everyone wants to hear.”
“We travel to all different kinds of places. The latest one was up at the desert north of Santa Bacia. Aside a few festivals ones or twice a year, nobody goes there. We picked up on some rumors that the government has been doing secret experiments. Problem is, a lot of other cryptid hunters picked up on it as well, so we had to hurry. We got on the off-road van, and off we went. The desert is a really big place, and we didn’t know the exact location of where these government experiments were being held.
Bill used two drones to scout ahead, which made it much easier. We didn’t think something would come up quickly, but it did. An hour in, the camera caught a big hole in the sand. Perfect square tunnel; led to a busted trapdoor. Complete darkness underneath. We dropped flares, which illuminated this large chamber. It was the real thing. Since there were no stairs, we dropped down ropes. Bill left me and Linda to climb down. First thing we saw was a busted metal detector. It was out of place, recently brought there. We faced a big reinforced door, covered in multiple dents and holes, one of which barely big enough for a human to fit. One after another, we squeezed through.
Now on the other side, we could see claw marks on the door. As if something had been trying to escape...
We found ourselves in a long corridor with doors on each side. Water drops leaked from busted pipes, which ran along the ceiling. The entire floor was slippery and wet.
Even though we had flashlights mounted on our foreheads, it was hard to see in the dark. Linda set up a motion-detecting camera. The place was trashed. A file cabinet was bent into a wall, as if it flew out of one of the rooms. Tranquilizing rifle in hand, we entered the room. Complete mess. Furniture slammed all over the place. File cabinets, desks... and they were metal. No human could have lifted them.”
“Hmm, I’ve got to give it to you Rose, you sure sound brave. This... secret government base sounds scary.”
“Oh it was, but I’m conditioned. I’ve been to worse places. So I’m in the destroyed room, and Linda points out something. Under a pile of metal cabinets, we could see a human arm. It wasn’t normal... it was sickly pale, and had blades protruding from its fingers. Metal blades! We tried to pull off all of the furniture, but it was just too heavy. We didn’t get an answer when we asked whoever was there if he was alright, so...”
“Since you found a corpse, I presume you called the police.”
“We tried, but our phones didn’t work. We called the cops later; I’ll get there. We took pictures of the arm, and kept searching. All of the folders on the floor were in some strange language. There were a few scattered pictures, and they were really creepy. Detailed pictures of bodies. They weren’t entirely human. Some had out-of-proportion limbs, others were unnaturally muscular or skinny. We kept some pictures and folders, and checked the other rooms. More and more useless cabinets. In the end of the corridor, there was a large double door. Of course, it was locked. So we climbed back up the ropes, got in the van, and left. We called the police, and they just told us to stay out of the desert. We came back and the square tunnel was full with sand. Lots and lots of sand. When we returned with some heavy machinery the next day, cops had blocked off the road. There is definitely something down there, and we have proof.”
“A picture of a Halloween costume hand?”
“I’m being serious!”
“Thanks for being on, dear,” Mark cut the line. “Next caller. I’ll keep this number secret. Number you-know-who, care to share a story?”
“Everyone here is a liar. You know it, I know it, they know it,” a man stated.
“You don’t believe in the supernatural?”
“Not at all, Mark. Stories are all cool to listen, but pretending this is reality is complete and utter bullshit.”
“There is no way of knowing.”
“Yeah there is. No proof, therefore not real. Rosie from the last call, you’re a liar, go get a real job. Cryptid hunter, pff, what a joke. Boat guy with the pale girl, get a girlfriend; maybe you’ll stop seeing imaginary people. Mark, listening to you is fun, but all of these peeps talking they’ve seen real ghosts and goblins is pissing me off.”
“Everyone has an opinion,” Mark replied in a friendly tone. “Real or not, taking a break from reality for a second hasn’t hurt anyone.”
“I get where you’re coming from. Love your show, but tonight’s topic is lame. Peace out.”
The line cut.
“Next caller. Caller thirty-seven, lighten the mood a bit, will you?”
“George here, and I’m with the last guy. Supernatural life doesn’t exist, but hear me out before you cut me off. Everything has an explanation. Wendigos? If they exist, they aren’t magical, they are probably some animal. Ghosts? In time, science will explain them.”
“Mystery carries its charm; logical explanations, answers, we always search for them, but maybe we should leave some things unknown.”
“I’ve got a story.”
“Go on, friend.”
“I’m a biologist, and there have been certain sightings in a certain swamp. I can’t mention its name, cryptid hunters might come, and disturb what is potentially a living fossil.”
“A living fossil?”
“Alligators have always been intriguing. They can grow a lot, but the one we’ve found... judging by shedded scales, and prints... it might be as big as a bus.”
“A bus-sized alligator? Wouldn’t that be hard to miss?”
“There have been sightings-”
“Caller forty-two wants to rejoin,” Mark interrupted. “Why don’t you two have a discussion?”
Both Rose and George were on the line.
“I’m a cryptid hunter as well, would you like my assistance?” she asked.
George let out a frustrated sigh. “I’m a scientist. I don’t go on wild goose chases. The creature I am studying is not a supernatural... cryptid as you put it... it is an undocumented species.”
“That’s what a cryptid is!”
“With all due respect, you keep filming people in Halloween costumes, I have research to do.” George cut the line.
“Research? Is that what you-“
Mark cut her off as well.
“Enough with the productive debates. Caller number... number thirteen. You’ve been waiting for a while.”
“Thought my turn would never come, chief,” a man answered.
“Lucky you, it did come. Name and story?”
“Paul. I don’t want to sound insane, but in a way, my story is a warning.”
“Ok Paul, warn us.”
“I’ll just give a quick explanation how I got into my predicament. Basically, law enforcement thought I did a few very illegal things, which I didn’t do, and they sent their guys after me. Late at night, by accident, they stormed into my neighbor’s apartment. I heard screaming and bashing, and got a head start. I’ll skip the part where I climbed a few roofs, had a chase through alley ways, and stole a motorbike.”
“You stole a bike?”
“I panicked. They know I’m innocent about the other thing now, but I’m going to court next week for the theft.”
“Good luck with that.”
“Thanks. So that was the intro. I’m on the bike, speeding through a suburban neighborhood, while three cruisers and a helicopter are on me. Out of nowhere, the brakes stop working. I crash into a pile of trash and bushes, and thank the people in the neighborhood for littering. I get the bike up, and its engine doesn’t want to turn back on. The three cruisers behind me also have that problem. Their headlights and sirens turn off, and they crash into each other. The helicopter can’t be heard anymore as well. My confusion is quickly replaced with fear when I see the officers exit. One of them has my biggest fear... a police dog.
This part of the neighborhood has houses packed really close to one another. I begin to climb over fences, run through backyards, duck in trash and bushes. I hear them shouting and releasing the dog. All of the sounds suddenly disappear. I burst out of some bushes, and find myself around more houses, but they are different. There are absolutely no lights inside. The street lights are also really dim. I can’t hear a sound...
At this point, I’m both happy I escaped in a way, but I’m also freaked out. I start to check the doors and windows, but they are all locked. Not normal locked, felt like they were superglued. Then one of the street lights in the end of the street flickers. I take a step closer to see better. It slightly wiggles like a string. That freaks me out even more. Then two long protrusions emerge from its sides. Its bottom half splits into two, forming legs. The street light takes a super, sluggish step towards me, and transforms back into a normal light. I glance back for a moment, and see the distance between street lights is uneven. They’ve been moving closer... they are gathering around me! I run back at the fences and trash. The creatures jump out of their lamp form and sprint after me. Just as they were about to catch me, all of the houses lit up, the sirens come back, and I feel the dog’s teeth sink into my leg. It tackles me to the floor, and in a second three officers are around me. I was happy a dog caught me, and not the street lamps.”
“What an... intriguing story,” Mark couldn’t find the right words.
“Thanks for having me, chief,” the man cut the line.
“Well, that was weird. I think there is time for one last caller. Number one hundred and one, you’re up.”
The beep sounded.
“Happy Halloween!” a boy yelled.
“Someone likes Halloween, why are you up so late, young sir?”
“My uncle brought me my costume!”
“Your costume?”
“Yeah. Arrived twenty minutes ago. He got me this glow-in-the-dark skeleton suit. It’s awesome. Uncle, say hello to Mark!”
“Apologies,” a man with my voice said. “My nephew loves your show.”
Mark chuckled. “And Everyone here loves him, am I right listeners?”
I could hear my nephew laugh.
“Made his Halloween even better, thanks for answering. Good night everyone," my voice spoke for the last time before the caller hung up.”
I looked at the glow-in-the-dark skeleton costume on the backseat. I was nowhere near the city and my nephew.
“So many people with so much to say,” Mark spoke. “Who knows what stories will be left untold... but hey, we have time. This one is for all the little moments we let ourselves forget reality, and dive into the unknown. Happy Halloween, listeners.”
submitted by Crone_Johnson to mrcreeps [link] [comments]


2020.10.20 22:23 outragedpenguin 33 [M4F] Putting real in relationship (UK based, pics available on request)

Spoiler alert, neither a penguin nor outraged but....very partial to wearing suits. More suits than a deck of cards if you can believe it, and more ties than the entirety of Bangkok. Mhhhmmm. What can I say? Wearing a suit (im partial to a black one, with a white shirt; PENGUIN STYLE!) is so typical for me, I do it going for groceries. Why? For MEGALOLZ. Passively trolling people with my aesthetic nihilism. Shh, don't spoil the secret.
You know something? I detest these profile things. "ZOMG, you like breathing, drinking alcohol and travelling too!? You truly have distinguished yourself from the other 6.4 million people I am liable to be rejected by on Tinder or any other dating apps and your unique persona intrigues me!" (said and thought me never).
I mean what we supposed to put in "long walks on the beach, bubble baths and Chilli HeatWave Doritos?" (Dont like bubble baths actually, just put that for....MEGALOLZ).
When not silently cursing the failings of the medium of profile writing (it sucks yo), or silently weeping at the truly tragic surrealism that is the Trump adminstration (fuck me, did someone lose a bet?) I often ponder the question:
"If dogs dont go to heaven when they die where they do go? And can I go there too?!"
This is in between bouts of mad gaming sessions (ps4 all da way cos I be a mofo console peasant and damn proud of it), finishing up my studies at university (like my dress sense and hairstyle, its flawless, absolutely flawless); and caring for my elderly and bedridden mother. I am single (ladies, orderly line please, don't trample one another running for the exit), and have no children. Well, I was actually gonna say progeny like they do in vampire stuff, but then I triggered myself with flashbacks of True Blood :
I guess, all madcap, zany joking aside, I am just looking to take things casually at the moment with someone. No, that isn't a euphemism for "lets have te sex, I is mad l33t fuckboi a'ight". Rather, I mean this purely as a catch all for:
"Let us organically interact and engage with one another, see how the friendship/dynamic evolves and progresses and if there is a mutual interest and attraction, discuss the possibility of making that a reality."
But thats so serious (WHY...SO....SERIOUS?!...*waits for copyright infringment from Warner Bros) and....yeah, thats it. I judge a person by the totality of their character, rather than outright dismissing them because of X, Y Z. I'm not shallow.
I am more than happy to provide a photo of myself (keep it, use it to warn small children away from mine shafts, electrical appliances), and typically use discord and facebook to keep in touch with people. If you have a ps4 and a headset well that is an even bigger plus, but absolutely not essential.
Some highlights below:
Looking for:
Offering:
So if your curiosity is piqued enough, make my day and send me a wee orange envelope/bubble :)
submitted by outragedpenguin to R4R30Plus [link] [comments]