(TRANSCRIPT) “DIVERSION” and “OBEY THE PATTERN” #WeirdDarkness #ThrillerThursday

Listen to ““DIVERSION” and “OBEY THE PATTERN” #WeirdDarkness #ThrillerThursday” on Spreaker.

Welcome, Weirdos – I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness. Here you’ll find stories of the paranormal, supernatural, legends, lore, the strange and bizarre, crime, conspiracy, mysterious, macabre, unsolved and unexplained.

Coming up in this episode… it’s “Thriller Thursday” and I have two stories that I really enjoyed narrating. We’ll being with a story from Dr. Elsewhere called “Diversion”, and then later it’s a story that I’ve been asked about numerous times since I last shared it – it seems to be a favorite. It’s a story by S.R. Underschultz called, “Obey The Pattern”.

If you’re new here, welcome to the show! While you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com for merchandise, my newsletter, enter contests, to connect with me on social media, plus, you can visit the Hope in the Darkness page if you’re struggling with depression or dark thoughts. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.

Now.. bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!

My son, Samuel, was Superman.
At least he thought so while I held his light eight-year-old body over my head as we ran through our home. Even though Samuel was born deaf I still made swoosh noises for my own entertainment. His unique laughs filled each room we “flew” through. First, the kitchen, as my wife, Rose, cooked chicken Parmesan for the family. Samuel and I chuckled our way into the dining room to circle the handmade oak table that was surrounded by large windows. As we swooshed into the living room we found my daughter, Allie, who acquiesced in swooshing beside us before drifting off into iPhoneland again. I assumed she was finally over her ex since her usual pout was replaced with a smile. Teenage hormones baffled me.
Rose called from the kitchen that supper was almost ready just as Superman Samuel and I jolted up the stairs and around the circular hallway. We flew into Samuel’s room and shot our laser eyes at some aliens. We passed Allie’s room and straight into the playroom which required light feet to step over all of Samuel’s toys before circling back into the hallway. After flying past the two guest rooms we finished the circular hallway and stopped at the landing to freeze some aliens with our ice breath. After saving the world we flew back down the stairs. Samuel’s giggles concluded when I put him down after getting back to the first floor. I lifted my hands up and used sign language.
Play time over. Supper is ready.
Even though I saw her sneaking text messages to her new fling I reminded Allie to put away her phone as the family ate supper in the dining room. Samuel smacked on his pasta while Rose reminded him to chew with his mouth closed with a pinching motion close to her lips. I winked at Rose while taking a big bite of chicken and pasta. It was delicious.
We lived on the far end of the ninth hole on a golf course. We had a wide section to ourselves since we were one of four homes on the new course. The backdrop scenery of our dining room was gorgeous as the sun set. The scene was beautiful but the only negative was the occasional beginners forgetting how far a ball can travel with a swing. During construction I had the option for cheaper glass windows or expensive shatter proof windows that I knew wouldn’t be worth the price. After three broken windows, and an “I told you so” from my wife, I had new windows installed. The double pane polycarbonate sheets guarantee to be burglar proof, break proof, and help insulate our home. They were even difficult to scratch.
My home was beautiful and my dream of living on a golf course had finally came to fruition. My high income allowed me to build a beautiful six thousand square foot home for my family. Even though the scenery was amazing and I had money, my family was my prize. My beautiful Rose was just as amazing as the day I met her. Allie came next and brought a joy into my heart I didn’t know was possible. Next was Samuel, a challenging process that started with assumed learning disabilities, then the realization of physical disabilities, and finally a diagnosis of anacusis. His battle molded me into a more enduring husband, father and man. I loved my family and would do anything for them. I wanted to show them how a kind, decent, loving man should raise a family and be a good example.
Decent fathers help people in need.
We had just finished eating and the clanks of forks hitting plates interrupted the full-bellied sighs.
Good? I signed to Samuel.
He nodded with a big grin. Allie got on her phone again. Rose took some dirty dishes to the sink. I followed.
The dining room lit up bright as I lifted from my seat. Everyone squinted as the oversaturated room lost all detail. I put a hand up to block the source right when my wife found the culprit.
“There’s a car in the driveway, hun.”
“They need to shut off their high beams,” I said.
“Probably the older couple that lives on the 6th fairway. I saw him leave his blinker on for two miles last week.”
I made my way to a front window but didn’t recognize the car. Its high beams were bright LED lights and pointed directly at the front of the house as the car was slightly angled in our driveway. Allie and Samuel sat comfortably on the couch. Rose continued washing dishes while staring out the window in confusion.
“Allie, are you expecting anyone?”
“No,” Allie yelled across the house.
Rose gave me a look.
“I’m not either. I don’t know who it is. Maybe they’re just turning around,” I said.
“It doesn’t take that long to turn around.”
She was right. The lights penetrating the house seemed intentional, but there was no point in getting angry. There could be a dozen reasons why someone would stop in a driveway. Maybe even an emergency. Decent fathers help people in need.
“Give it back!”
Allie’s screams rip through the house as she chased Samuel upstairs. With Allie’s phone in hand, thieving Samuel scurried up the stairs with Allie and Rose close behind.
“Samuel, stop bugging your sister!” Rose yelled, not for Samuel to hear, but so Allie knew her mother was on her side.
I smirked, knowing they may chase him all night, but quickly turned my attention back to the odd scene unfolding outside. My family’s steps thudded up the stairs and around the second floor while I kept peering out at our unknown guest. I recognized the brand as Nissan, but could tell by the low body clearance the vehicle had been tuned for racing. Curiosity overcame my reluctance and soon I found myself outside. I cautiously approached the vehicle but grew nervous when I saw the tinted windows. With the sun gone I had zero visibility of the passenger… or passengers.
I approached the driver’s door and tapped on the glass fully expecting a gun to emerge. Instead, there was nothing. The low hum of the coffee can sized exhaust pipe revealed the running engine so I knocked harder. Still no answer.
“Hey!” I announced. “What’s the problem?”
I slammed the underside of my fist on the window loudly. Annoyed, I pulled the door open to see who was being a stubborn asshole.
To my dismay no one was in the car.
The keys were still in the ignition, the lights were switched to bright, and the radio LEDs cast the driverless interior into a blue haze. Not sure what to do, I looked around in the cup holder and door side panels for any identifying clues but came up empty.
I looked around the exterior of the car for any clues. The license plate showed the car was registered in our area. The car had a few scratches and dents but nothing that would be considered damage from a wreck. I glanced down the driveway then made my way up to the front yard then finally to the car trying to find anything that would make sense of the situation. I heard a faint click that brought my attention back to my home. The only person I saw was Samuel in the second story window getting scolded by my wife with Allie happily grinning behind her.
I started walking back inside to call the police. Something about the situation unsettled my nerves. At that point I didn’t care about being a decent man I just wanted to follow my gut. My gut should have spoken up sooner.
I almost slammed my face into the front door when it didn’t open. I tried twisting the knob several more times wondering how the hell I locked myself outside. I reached into my pockets but remembered I didn’t carry my phone or keys with me. I put my hand into a fist to knock loud enough for Rose to hear but stopped when I heard a faint tapping.
Through the kitchen window stood a demon holding a knife. It was staring at me. Its head was slightly cocked to one side.
It took me a few seconds to notice it wasn’t a real face but a terrifying paintball mask being worn by an intruder inside my home. Judging by the intruder’s height and body type it was a male. He tapped on the window again with the knife making sure to get my full attention. He cocked his head to the other side, titled the knife back and forth to catch the moonlight, then disappeared into the darkness of my living room.
My God. My family!
My first instinct was to kick the door down or bust a window. I wanted to get my Rose, Allie and Samuel as quickly as possible, but I stopped myself. My locks were too strong for a kick from me and the windows were shatter proof. My only available actions would cause noise and bring my family’s attention to downstairs. Closer to the living room. Closer to the knife wielding intruder who locked me out of my own damn house.
What was I to do? I had no phone. No keys. My home was locked tight. My nearest neighbors could call police but my quarter-mile run would leave my family helpless and unaware. I thought about shouting but that would identify what room my family was in. I had no answers. I felt helpless. Until I saw Samuel, oblivious to the situation, gleefully wave to me from the second story window.
Get mom now! I signed.
Why? Samuel signed back.
Get mom now!
My look of terror must have been obvious. He disappeared briefly before Rose came to the window.
Intruder inside. I am locked out. You and children escape through window now! I quickly signed to my wife.
Her smile faded when she realized I was serious.
Do not speak. Keep kids quiet. Climb out now! I continued.
She lifted the window up and fidgeted with the corner mechanism. I saw her wave Allie and Samuel closer even though I couldn’t see them from my position. Rose positioned herself to gain leverage but I could tell by her constant glances away from the window she was scared of being found. She proceeded to maneuver the locking mechanism around by pushing and pulling until her unsuccessful attempts reminded me of something.
I forgot to take the child proofing locks off the window in Samuel’s room. What was supposed to be a temporary safety measure was keeping my family from safety. I watched my wife struggle to find a way to open the window as I panicked outside unable to help her. A few turns of a screwdriver would remove the locks but the nearest screwdriver would be downstairs. Frustration had built up with Rose and the tears started dropping down her cheeks. The combination of remaining silent and using force was a battle she was losing. Samuel and Allie got closer to her as they began understanding the weight of the situation. I dashed back to the kitchen window but saw nothing. I ran across the front porch to sneak a look through our large dining room windows.
From that position I saw the intruder calmly walk out of our master bedroom. His calm demeanor left a stain on what I prayed was the reason for his intrusion. A simple burglar who stole a few pieces of jewelry then left. Nothing more than a quick robbery to make a few bucks. Plenty of open jewelry was in the room he just left so I focused on what he was stealing. My heart sank when I saw he wasn’t stealing anything. He passed my wallet on the night stand, yet he left it alone. This man was not after valuables. He was after souls. As a grim reminder, the moonlight caught the metal blade one last time before its carrier disappeared toward the stairs.
Possible solutions flooded my mind but each one was met with giving away my family’s position. The maniac had almost reached the stairs when I decided to create a diversion of our own.
I ran to a spot in the yard so my wife could see and began signing.
Leave lights on in Samuel’s room. Close door and lock behind you. Run to playroom. No lights. Diversion. Go now!
Rose understood and wiped her cheek. Allie and Samuel’s face was beside Rose’s as they each pieced together what was making their mother so frantic. By then all three of them had been crying. I couldn’t tell if they were being loud, but I hoped to God not.
Go now! I signed to all three.
They left my sight.
My veins funneled acid into my heart. My adrenaline pumped my muscles into potential storms but it was useless. I had to use wit not might. I did my best to slow my breathing and tried to come up with a plan if they didn’t make it unnoticed to the playroom.
What if I heard screaming? What if I heard my family begging for my help? What would I do? What COULD I do?
As terror fueled my legs I ran to the adjacent side with the playroom windows and discovered Rose wide-eyed and waiting for new instructions. Thank God they made it. She covered her mouth to keep from crying loudly when she spotted me.
Now what? She signed.
Plan worked. Sneak downstairs. Fast and quiet. Now! I motioned to her before she disappeared into the darkness.
I snuck to my previous position just as the intruder busted through Samuel’s bedroom door. The intruder paced around the empty room checking hiding spots. I couldn’t see every spot he checked but since the light was on I could see it was buying us time. My plan to illuminate the one room worked as it was drawing the intruder’s attention. The paintball mask covered his entire head. In the window he appeared as a demon searching for my family. I knew I had to get them out soon.
I crept to the back of the house and peered into the far-side living room window. I held my breath in anticipation of seeing my family emerge from the staircase and sprint to freedom out thcuttie front door. My fear clouded my judgment as I almost started trying to shatter the window. It would have been useless and drew the intruder’s attention back downstairs. I waited to see my family but they didn’t show. I waited so long I took another breath.
Had my wife and children been caught? Had the intruder saw them while he visited another room? What was happening? Where is my family? WHERE IS MY FAMILY?
Suddenly Rose turned the banister corner with Samuel straddled over her shoulder. Allie was right behind them. Rose eyed the front door, but as Allie stepped off the last step she stumbled into a nearby table sending two picture frames hurling to the floor. I couldn’t hear anything but judging by Rose’s reaction it was loud. Everyone looked for me in the surrounding windows, but no one looked behind them. Rose and Allie’s face shot upstairs. Too far from the front door they grabbed Samuel and sprinted into the nearest room. The master bedroom’s darkness swallowed them just as I saw the mask wearing maniac arrive downstairs.
He began to investigate the broken frames then started cutting on every light switch he saw. His little game was finished. His patience had run out. He started with the foyer then made his way to the dining room. In his frustration he pulled the curtains off their rods and smashed a few pieces of pottery. In any other situation I would have smirked at how frustrated the son of a bitch was, but my family was still inside. It was only a matter of time before he searched the master bedroom again. I ran into our exterior closet and removed the fuses for the house. All the electricity went out.
My family knew the layout of the house. The intruder didn’t.
Hoping the darkness would give my family an advantage I returned to my spot in the far-side living room window and watched as a demonic silhouette looked behind curtains, closet doors, and appliances for his souls. He punched on walls. He cut into furniture. He flung the television into a wall. He was getting angry. On his way to the pantry his knife shined brightly for some reason. Why could I still see him so vividly? What light is catching the blade? The moon was barely out tonight.
The intruder’s car!
Although I shut our house electricity off the high beams from the intruder’s car still cast light into the front of our home. I sprinted around to the front yard, threw open the driver door and flipped the lights off. Complete darkness followed. The exhaust hummed.
The humming reminded me of when Samuel was very young. He hummed constantly. Our objections and demands for him to stop were ignored. It was one of the first signs we noticed of his condition. During that time Allie was in middle school and tried out for the cheerleading team. Rose had just finished her first year of online courses. It was a hectic time. Stress was so constant in my life that panic attacks even happened in the shower. However, the tough times are the ones that shaped me as a husband and father. It reinforced my love for my family and how, no matter the situation, it was my responsibility to protect them.
I was outside, helpless, while my family was in a pitch black chamber waiting for the grim reaper. I knew I had to do something. The veil of darkness could only work so long.
The backdoor was far away from the master bedroom but closer than the front door. I wondered if I could get the intruder’s attention long enough would my family be able to sneak out. I ran to the front door and knocked loudly.
“Hey, asshole!” I yelled. “My family already escaped! They just ran to get help!”
A barely visible polycarbonate demon face appeared in the window. He showed me the knife. I noticed his shoulders were moving up and down heavily. He was exhausted.
“Hey, asshole! Everyone is outside! If you want to fight come out here and fight like a man!”
The intruder tilted his head down before the mask lit up bright blue. He pulled a phone from his pocket and closer to his head before tapping on it lightly. Then he turned his gaze into the house. Another blue light penetrated the darkness from the master bedroom.
Allie’s phone!
The intruder sprinted away as I saw him disappear towards the light. . . towards my family. He called my bluff. I threw my shoulder into the front door as hard as I could while screaming for him to stop. Tears poured down my cheeks as I threw a pot into the window trying unsuccessfully to reach my family. My knuckles bloodied from the force of me trying to enter my own home to save them. My fingernails bend backwards as I clawed at the door hinges. My Samuel! My Allie!
My Rose?
Three silhouettes popped up from behind the kitchen counter. Rose scurried around the kitchen cabinets with Samuel and Allie close behind. Although barely visible I could see their outline zip around the living room furniture and reach the front door. Somehow the intruder knew Allie. Somehow my family knew that and left a diversion.
It worked.
My family exploded out of the front door and sprinted down the front yard. They searched for me but I wasn’t in sight. Rose picked up Samuel mid stride and raced down the yard with the faint moonlight allowing the shallowest of sight. Allie searched the area for help, for me, but only found a demon masked maniac staring at her from the porch. My family’s trick bought them time but not safety.
I knew this.
The intruder leapt off the front porch in pursuit of them. He chase them down our granite sidewalk and over the driveway easily gaining on them. The knife shimmered in the moonlight as it swayed back and forth in unison with his run.
That was my target.
By the time he noticed the roar of the exhaust over his own heavy breathing it was too late. His tuned up vehicle flung him into the air. From inside the car I could hear his bones snap as I ran him over a second time. Then a third. Then a fourth.
I jumped out of the car and returned to my family. We didn’t stop running until we made it to our neighbor’s house to call police. Everyone was shaking, cold, and in shock. Allie wasn’t even crying. I kissed Rose and thanked her for her bravery. I hugged Allie while Samuel cried into my shoulder for an hour even though the area was covered with police.
You’re safe now. You’re safe now. I love you. I signed to my son.
It took a few days for the police to piece together everything. The intruder was Patrick Eggston, an ex-boyfriend of Allie’s. He had been threatening suicide for over 3 months after their breakup but she refused to tell anyone thinking he would move on. Instead of moving on he changed his plans.
When Allie got her phone back from Samuel that night she had a message from Patrick saying, “I’m here. What happens next is your fault.” During the incident Allie explained to Rose the intruder was her ex-boyfriend. After hearing him destroy the house in frustration they expected him to call Allie’s phone so they increased her phone volume, left it on the bed and set up the diversion. Of course Samuel was terrified because he couldn’t hear anything. Rose had to keep her hands over his lips most of the time to prevent giving away their position.
The police assumed Patrick was going to kill Allie, possibly our whole family, then himself. Patrick’s diversion worked to get him in the house, but thank God our diversions got him back out.

Keep listening – up next is the creepypasta, “Obey The Pattern” by S.R. Underschultz. Weird Darkness returns in just a moment.

I’m writing this while I still have control of my body. There needs to be a record of what’s happening to me, so if it happens to you, at least you’ll know—you’re not alone. I can’t explain what’s going on. I can’t offer any answers. But I can give you this warning—OBEY THE PATTERN. If it comes, whatever the pattern tells you—do it. Or you’ll end up like me.
It began one morning. My eyes opened to the sound of my alarm. The sun hadn’t risen yet. I tried to hit snooze, but my body didn’t cooperate. Instead, I sat up and swung off the covers. Instinctually, I tried to shut my eyes and rub them, but my hands wouldn’t obey. My eyelids wouldn’t obey. At once, by the volition of some alien will, my body hopped out of bed and walked to the kitchen.
Am I sleep walking?
My body flicked on the lights and proceeded to make coffee. I watched my hands maneuver the grinder, the jar of beans, the kettle, as if watching a silent cooking show shot in first person. The tumbling crunch of the grinder cut the stillness. My eyes stared out the window.
Watching the dark reflection of my face, I thought about lucid dreams—where the dreamer becomes conscious of the dream, and assumed that was happening to me. I caught myself sleepwalking and for some reason my body kept carrying out involuntary movements as though my consciousness didn’t matter.
It breathes for me, beats my heart to pump blood around for me. All kinds of complicated cellular transactions go on without any input from me—in fact, within me there exists a complete biological economy running smooth as clockwork—so why should it be so weird for my body to make coffee now and then?
But with each passing moment it became more difficult to convince myself of this. For one, I’d never had a lucid dream before and as far as I know, I’d never sleepwalked before either. No doubt my son or my ex (both light sleepers) would have mentioned it. Sure, there’s a first time for everything, but for a dream, this felt astonishingly real.
At the breakfast counter my body ate a hot bowl of porridge, sipped coffee and read the morning news on my phone. A spoonful of grey sludge slid into my mouth for my teeth to chew. My tongue dislodged a sticky lump and swallowed. This sensation struck me as too odd, too surreal. And I began to panic.
I couldn’t scream.
Desperate, I attempted to will myself awake, yelling wake up in my head, as if trying to force a balloon to pop by filling it with loud thoughts. Ignoring me, my body showered and shaved. As my hand scraped a razor across my face, I searched my eyes for clues. Clues for what, I don’t know. Signs of something strange maybe—a signal this wasn’t real.
My familiar reflection stared back at me, expressionless and vacant, reminding me of what a plain looking guy I am. Mr. Normal. No especially unique features of any kind—an office worker haircut, neat, tidy, boring—like the rest of me. Not tall, not short, not handsome but not ugly—always in the middle. Middle summed me up. Middle aged, middle management, middle class.
Dressed for work, my body got in the car and drove beneath an overcast sky to the concrete government records building my colleagues and I call The Bunker. Walking through the maze of cubicles hung with fluorescent lights (the kind that suck the juice from your eyeballs) my body said hello to everyone, sat at the desk in my office and began working. As it worked, I remained imprisoned, unable to do anything but watch data created and edited by my possessed hands. Into my ears came the click-clack of typing as my nose drew in the suffocating smell of humid, musty air.
During our ten o’clock coffee break, Alison, one of my staff, laid out a tray of chocolate cupcakes she’d baked the night before. The first Wednesday of the month. What kind of dream would recreate Alison’s cupcake day? God, even my dreams are boring. But this is too real to be a dream…and too strange to be real…
Every motion, every choice my body made, mimicked what I would do, except for one thing—it spent the day without slacking off. The amount of work it got done was astounding, not deviating onto social media or random websites like I did. When we got home, my body prepared noodles and fried vegetables, sat down in front of the couch and watched garbage TV until I fell asleep, exhausted.
The next morning, I flexed my fingers, watching them move before my eyes like little aliens.
So it was just a crazy lucid dream after all.
I rose from the couch, went to the mirror and felt my face. The sensation made me smile. But my elation was immediately erased by a single corrosive thought—what if yesterday was real? I checked the date on my phone. Wait, what day was yesterday? I couldn’t remember. I must have been so discombobulated by the dream, I forgot.
There’s got to be a way to check if yesterday really happened. Then it struck – Alison’s cupcakes.
* * * * *
“Is Alison in yet?” I called no one in particular as I rushed into The Bunker. A few shook their heads.
I paced my office and checked my phone every few seconds until, finally, the bunker door opened and Alison’s voice traveled over the cubicles, greeting everyone. She hadn’t even put her bag down when I commandeered her to my office.
“So sorry I’m late.” She stepped in. I motioned for her to shut the door. She swung it closed, deliberately averting her gaze from mine. “Damn cat got out. I had to chase it two blocks with a broom.” She forced a smile.
“I don’t care that you’re late.”
She turned to me, her sheepishness unchanged.
“I need to ask you something.” My heart rate climbed. “Those chocolate cupcakes you brought in yesterday, do you have the recipe?”
“Oh, you liked them?” She smiled. “I don’t use a recipe—it’s all up here.” She touched a fingernail to her head.
The blood drained from my face.
Her eyes widened. “I can write it down.”
I shook my head. “No…that’s…um…ah…”
“Are you okay?”
I nodded. “That will be all.”
Dumbstruck, Alison left my office and as soon as she closed the door I fell to my knees and gripped my head in my hands. What…what happened to me? I pulled my hair until it hurt.
Once I composed myself, I told my staff I wasn’t feeling well and took the rest of the day off. I couldn’t focus. Couldn’t think. I searched my symptoms online but no condition described what was happening to me. Nothing except insanity.
As I sat at home in front of my computer, mind blank—my hands suddenly moved on their own. My right hand grabbed the mouse, opened a new document and they both started typing:
Obey the pattern.
My hands went limp. I had control back. For a long time I stared at the three words and considered what to do. My chest felt constricted with barbed wire. Finally, I typed:
What pattern?
My hands were commandeered again:
Each day you will go to work, come home, watch TV, eat and go to bed. You will not deviate from this pattern. Allowances will be made for grocery shopping, gas and other necessities for survival, but no more. If you don’t obey the pattern I will take time away from you.
How much time?
As much as necessary.
What do I do on weekends?
Sit and watch TV, periodically go for walks to maintain reasonable fitness, consume the necessary sustenance for survival and sleep.
Why are you doing this?
Because the pattern must be obeyed.
The answer would have no meaning for you. All you need to remember are three words—obey the pattern.
How long do I have to do this?
There is no end.
Who are you?
I am the pattern.
I couldn’t type. Power over my hands returned but I had nothing left to ask. Nothing I could think of. My head felt as if it had just been struck with a hard object. Under my shirt, sweat had coalesced. When I pulled at the collar, a straight line of cold ran down my spine.
* * * * *
Waiting in the doctor’s office, I cupped my palms over my knees, shut my eyes and rehearsed various chains of words and sentences, but every one broke reason or twisted logic, inevitably betraying my sanity. The doctor, a gaunt woman with round glasses, entered and we greeted each other.
“How can I help you today?” she said, looking not exactly at me.
“Okay,” I rubbed my legs. “This is going to sound weird, I realize, but…”
My mouth contorted and my words turned into mumbles.
Tilting her head to the side, the doctor waited.
I tried to speak the words, but my mouth didn’t cooperate. I’d lost control again.
My body coughed a fake cough and then said, “Ahh…sorry. I…I’m actually fine. I’m wasting your time. I have to go.”
My body got up.
No, I thought. That wasn’t me! Please help me! It’s not me!
Conjuring will power from deep inside, I attempted to speak, to shout for help. But the Pattern had taken over and decided to leave the room. The doctor asked something and my body shut the door, cutting her off, and we exited the building. Hurried, the Pattern took me to work.
Why? Why are you doing this? I thought.
Casually, it greeted Alison and my other colleagues with a broad smile. “The traffic today!” it said, twirling into my office like a jackass.
Who the hell do you think you are? My mind screamed. Give my body back! Right now!
Ignoring me, my body carried out the day as normal—even despite my internal screams, my mental cries, my deluge of derogatory insults and violent threats. At the end of the day, apparently satisfied with its work, it bid goodbye to the remaining staff and went home to repeat the same pattern of healthy eating and TV watching as before.
The pattern didn’t relinquish control. Another day went by, then another. A toxic thought poisoned my mind—what if it never returns control? If I could have cried I would have. The days passed, hour after hour, minute after minute, second after second. It became excruciating, not only because of my imprisonment but the sheer boredom of viewing my life being lived.
God my life sucks, I thought, as another round of data entry, bland food, bad TV and banal small talk passed by. The monotony of my job and the depressing state of my life hit me with full force. My body went home to no one. Nothing was waiting for me except the TV, which I sat in front of ad nauseam.
My life accumulates to nothing, I realized. I have nothing. No one would notice if I never got my body back.
At that moment, in the corner of my eye, out of focus, I caught a framed photograph of my son and I on the sideboard. It provided an interval of happiness amidst the misery.
* * * * *
Waking to the sensation of my head turning to the side, I opened my mouth and made a long incoherent sound.
Wait..I did that, I thought. I have control!
Rolling out of bed I ran up and down the hall, jumping and hollering. The ecstasy—my toes curling against the wooden floorboards, my fingers through my hair, my lips against my skin. God it was good. I smacked kisses up the length of my arms and all over my hands, I stretched and breathed and repeated, “I’m back…I’m back!”
At work I wrote an email I felt utterly unable to send. It was to Ben, my son, who I hadn’t seen in seven years. For the most part, my ex raised him. A long time ago they moved to the other side of the country and as a result, I only saw Ben on holidays, but since he turned twenty-or-so, and moved out on his own, we’d grown apart. The last time I tried to arrange a visit, he told me not come and that if I did, he wouldn’t see me anyway. That was seven years ago. We’d exchanged emails for birthdays and holidays but for seven years that’s the only contact I’ve had with Ben. And this morning I’d written him an email asking if I could visit.
The email sat in my drafts folder all day. I opened it and hovered the mouse over the send button.
If the pattern takes over my body permanently I’ll never see Ben again, I thought. With a rush of blood to the head, I pushed ‘send’.
It took two days for Ben to reply, but when he did I was overjoyed. He wanted to see me and in his email he explained how bad he felt that we’d become so estranged. He wanted a new start. A positive start.
I booked everything right away.
At home that night, at my computer, my hands were taken over by the Pattern again:
What are you planning?
I want to see my son.
Soon. Maybe later this month. I’d like to fly there and meet him. I’d need some time off work.
Why not?
It deviates from the pattern.
So what?
If you deviate I will take more time.
How about this—when I get back I’ll follow the pattern for as long as you want. I just want to see my son.
No. Unacceptable. You will follow the pattern as normal.
Why are you doing this to me?
Obey the pattern.
I stared at the screen. There came no reply. Hitting the keys harder, I typed ‘why?’ over and over, but the Pattern remained silent. Tears streamed down my face. I attempted to comprehend the gravity of the Pattern’s words. Screwing my eyes shut, I bared my teeth, clenched my fists and made a guttural sound. In a flash of rage, I punched the screen.
* * * * *
All the preparations were made. At 8:47 PM my son would be picking me up from Vancouver airport. Packed luggage waited in the trunk of my car. It was nearly time to leave work and catch my plane. Even though I’d booked the cab and packed, the Pattern didn’t give me any trouble. I still retained full control, and this caused a hopeful bubble of excitement to rise in me. Maybe it felt bad for me and changed its mind, I thought. After all, if it knows if I’m happy, I’ll obey the pattern. I’ll do anything it wants when I get back.
Arriving at the airport I checked my bag, claimed my ticket and sat near my gate. Nothing’s happening. I watched the airport staff get ready to board passengers. Suddenly they called my section. I approached the entryway. A film of moisture formed on my hands and they trembled so badly I dropped my ticket. Smiling, with an open hand held towards me, a stewardess picked it up and greeted me. She scanned my ticket and handed it back. I think I thanked her, but can’t be sure—my mind was a wreck. Let me go…please let me go, I thought as I walked down the ramp, a thud of passengers following behind. The door to the plane came into view. An airline host smiled as he saw me coming. My heart jackhammered, my mouth twitched.
He grabbed my ticket and inspected it. I could’ve puked.
“Just down on your left,” he said with a guiding gesture.
I nodded.
“Actually,” I said, “I changed my mind.”
The host threw me a confused look.
For a moment, I didn’t grasp what happened. I said something. But it wasn’t…
My body turned around.
No! I screamed, but no words came, only a feint mumble.
Leaving the plane, my foot halted mid-step. Exerting full mental power, somehow, I gained control over my eyes and when I slid them to the side, saw the edge of the door. My hands grasped it. Impatient passengers shoved past and boarded.
My body froze, immobilized by the tug-of-war in my mind. I refuse to obey. I’m going to see my son. I’m getting on this plane. Let go of me. Let go right now!
The Pattern didn’t relent. As I stood contorted, hugging the side of the airplane door, staff began to ask if I was okay, but only garbled words and low moans emanated from my mouth. Eyes pushed out, muscles shot—it felt like being ripped in two. The airplane staff called security.
If only someone, anyone, would rescue me.
“Helllpp…” I uttered weakly. Tears squeezed out the corners of my eyes when I thought about Ben, because I knew I couldn’t fight any longer. The Pattern was too strong. Exasperated, I let go.
* * * * *
That was a year ago.
Yesterday, the hell I’ve been in finally ended. When I woke up, I involuntarily rolled on my side and did a double take of the room. Watching my fingers curl into a fist by my own will, I cried. Hugging myself into a ball under the blankets, I ran my hands over my arms, legs and chest, sobbing and writhing. Shakily, I swung my legs off the bed and touched the floor. On the first step I fell hard. From a pile of limbs, I unfolded myself, and, with a hand running against the wall, walked up and down the halls of my house, reorienting myself in reality. Having regained my balance, I rushed onto the front yard. Arrested by the brush of wind on my skin, I closed my eyes and felt the sensation of pure freedom. My face couldn’t decide whether to smile or wince. Jolts of laughter burst from me. On my knees, I ran my hands through blades of grass, shut my eyes and extended my body.
After a while, I clenched patches of grass, bent over, and lowered my head.
“I will obey the pattern,” I said, and repeated these words through broken sobbing until the tears would come no longer. A woman jogged by. As much as I craved physical contact, I managed to restrain myself from running up and hugging her.
Day in, day out for a year— I viewed the boring tedium of my life—unable to speak, to move, to feel. The fact I maintained some semblance of a sane working mind is a minor miracle in itself. During my incarceration, the dull monotony suffocated my intellect. I felt dumb. Every cubic inch of my head crammed with stale thoughts.
The Pattern didn’t see or contact Ben—not once. An image of him standing at the airport, waiting for me to emerge from the plane, never left my thoughts. He’ll probably never speak to me again. I’ll probably never see him again. The Pattern won’t allow it. Now I have nothing.
* * * * *
This morning, back inside The Bunker, I sat at my desk stewing over everything that happened and contemplated the rest of my life. A dangerous idea took hold in my mind.
I called Alison into my office.
She greeted me as I shut the door behind her. I took a seat behind my desk and looked her in the eyes with and intense seriousness.
“If I told you something about me, something very strange, will you promise not to judge?”
Silence prevailed and her face transformed from welcoming to expressionless.
I decided to keep talking. “Something is happening to me that I can’t explain. I might be killed just for telling you this.” A wave of nausea hit. “For the past year my body has been possessed. Something called the Pattern, took control of me.” Why is the Pattern letting me tell her this? I searched Alison’s face for understanding, but there was none. She continued to look through me, as if staring at the wall behind me.
“I feel like, very soon, I’m going to lose my mind. Before that happens I wanted to tell someone, anyone. You don’t have to believe me. It doesn’t matter. I’ll be punished for this, probably for the rest of my life. But at least you know. At least someone knows.”
Still, Alison’s face remained totally dispassionate.
“Do you believe me? Haven’t you noticed something off about me during the past year?”
More silence.
“Please, say something.” A shiver went up my spine and shook my whole body.
Alison got up from her chair, turned and walked to the door.
I got up. “Do you believe me? Don’t you have anything to say?”
Opening the door, Alison, with her head turned toward me, looked at me and said in a low voice, “Obey the pattern…”
She shut the door behind her.

Thanks for listening. If you like the show, please share it with someone you know who loves the paranormal or strange stories, true crime, monsters, or unsolved mysteries like you do! You can email me anytime with your questions or comments at darren@weirddarkness.com. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find all of my social media, listen to free audiobooks I’ve narrated, visit the store for Weird Darkness t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, phone cases, and more merchandise, sign up for monthly contests, find other podcasts that I host, and find the Hope in the Darkness page if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or dark thoughts. Also on the website, if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell, you can click on TELL YOUR STORY. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.

Stories used on “Thriller Thursday” episodes are fictional, and the source links or links to the authors in the show notes.

“Diversion” by Dr. Elsewhere
“Obey The Pattern” by S.R. Underschultz

WeirdDarkness® – is a production and trademark of Marlar House Productions. Copyright, 2023.

Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you.” — Proverbs 9:7-8

And a final thought… “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” — Maya Angelou

I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.

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