“I WISH I WASN’T A MEMBER” and 2 More Horror Stories of Fiction! #WeirdDarkness

I WISH I WASN’T A MEMBER” and 2 More Horror Stories of Fiction! #WeirdDarkness

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IN THIS EPISODE: 
In this Weekend Archive Episode I’m reaching back to a #CreepypastaThursday from last year when I shared three stories. First, I’ll share the traditional creepypasta “I Wish I Wasn’t a Member” by Boothworld. Then it’s an original creepypasta story from Weirdo family member Randy Hogan called “The Dinner Party From Hell”. And finally, we’ll wrap up the episode with a classic bit of horror from M.R. James called “Lost Hearts”.

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STORY AND MUSIC CREDITS/SOURCES…
(Over time links can and may become invalid, disappear, or have different content.)
“I Wish I Wasn’t a Member” by Boothworld: http://bit.ly/2OYlTRo
“Lost Hearts” by M.R. James: http://bit.ly/2MOYgrZ
“The Dinner Party From Hell” by Weirdo family member Randy Hogan, submitted at WeirdDarkness.com.
(I always make sure to give authors credit for the material I use whenever possible. If I somehow overlooked doing that for a story, or if a credit is incorrect, please let me know and I’ll rectify it in the show notes as quickly as possible.)
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TRANSCRIPT

DISCLAIMER==========

Stories and content in Weird Darkness can be disturbing for some listeners and is intended for mature audiences only. Parental discretion is strongly advised.

SHOW OPEN==========

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

If you’re new here, welcome to the podcast – and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss future episodes! If you’re already a Weirdo, please share the podcast with others – doing so helps make it possible for me to keep creating episodes as often as I do!

Coming up in this weekend archive episode… 
I’m reaching back to a #CreepypastaThursday from last year when I shared three stories. First, I’ll share the traditional creepypasta “I Wish I Wasn’t a Member” by Boothworld. Then it’s an original creepypasta story from Weirdo family member Randy Hogan called “The Dinner Party From Hell”. And finally, we’ll wrap up the episode with a classic bit of horror from M.R. James called “Lost Hearts”.

While listening, be sure to check out the Weird Darkness website. At WeirdDarkness.com you can sign up for the newsletter to win monthly prizes, find paranormal and horror audiobooks I’ve narrated, watch old horror movies for free, plus you can visit the “Hope In The Darkness” page if you are 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!

STORY==========

I WISH I WASN’T A MEMBER

I’m sure that all of you on /r/nosleep are used to the cry for help type stories by now. Help me, help me, blah-blah-blah. I won’t bore you with another. Even if I wanted your help, you couldn’t give it to me, because your help is useless.
Why?
Because you’re not a member.
I just wish that I wasn’t either.
It all started innocently enough. With a phone call.
I’d been up for a few hours, unpacking and cleaning, waiting for the plumber to call. I just moved into a cabin and the contractors fucked everything up. Because of that, I now have the wonderful task of making calls to competent people that can fix what the original contractors did wrong.
The phone rang at 12:06.
Not bad, I thought. Usually plumbers don’t bother to call or show up until 5.
When I picked up the phone I didn’t even get a chance to say hello before a woman on the line told me to “Please hold for the next available operator.”
I hopped up and sat on the cabinet in the kitchen. It was one of the few places in the cabin not occupied with boxes. Elevator music leaked into my ear. I’d started to drowse off when the music stopped and a piano chord that sounded like it was three notes that didn’t quite go together played through the receiver twice.
A voice came on the line.
“Welcome to Boothworld Industries. My name is Samantha and I will be your operator today. Name?”
I didn’t know what to say so I told the operator my name.
“Sir, we know who you are. I’m your operator. Please give me a name to access.”
“I don’t understand,” I said.
“It can be anyone, sir. We just need a name.”
“Uh, okay,” I said. I made up a name. “Harold Withers.”
“Sir, as your operator, I must point out that fictitious names, or the names of people that you don’t know, cannot be used.”
“Used for what?” I asked. How had she known that I’d made up that name? The whole thing felt like it was some sort of prank, but hardly anyone knew my new phone number.
“Remodeling.”
“Remodeling? Is this the plumber?” I asked.
“Welcome to Boothworld Industries. My name is Samantha and I will be your operator today. Name?”
I took that as a yes and gave them the name of an old ex-girlfriend. “Jessica Goodwin.”
I could hear the clicking of a keyboard on the other end of the phone. It sounded like the woman was pounding the thing with her fists. After a few moments of this, she returned.
“Jessica Goodwin,” she said. “Remodeling is scheduled for August 21, 2015. Would you like to reschedule?”
I was silent on my side of the phone. I couldn’t believe this. Someone had to be playing a prank on me.
“Who is this? Is this you, Jessica? Are you playing a prank on me?” I asked.
The woman didn’t respond for a long time. I thought that whoever was on the other end of the phone was holding in a laugh.
“Hello?” I asked.
“Yes or no, Sir?” The woman asked back.
“Yes?” I said, not understanding what the woman was asking.
“I have a Tuesday appointment available. Will that work?”
At this point I thought I was going insane and that it actually was the plumbing company.
“What about today?” I asked. “Do you have anything available for today?”
“Normally we can’t arrange for a reschedule on such short notice, but today we had a cancellation. How does three o’clock work for you?”
“Three o’clock is fine,” I said.
“Three o’clock it is then. Would you like a courtesy call?”
“Sure.”
“Wonderful. We at Boothworld Industries say thanks and welcome to the club. You have a marvelous day.”
That strange chord played twice again and the line went dead. I rolled my eyes and went back to unpacking.
My phone rang at three o’clock on the dot that afternoon.
“Hello?” I said.
“Sir. This is Samantha with Boothworld Industries again. Your courtesy call begins now.”
“What do you-” I began to say, but was cut off by those diminished chords blaring into my ear, then I heard Jessica’s voice.
“Why are you doing this?” Jessica asked. I could hear the tears in her voice.
“Jessica?” I asked.
“Sir,” the operator said. “She cannot hear you. This is a courtesy call. The appointment has already concluded.”
“Please,” Jessica begged. “Please don’t do this. I’ll do anything you want. I’ll-”
Jessica’s voice choked off into a wheeze and all I could hear on the other end of the phone was the rustling of clothing and more wheezing. Eventually it stopped and someone picked up on the other end.
“The scheduled work has been completed,” a man’s voice said. “We at Boothworld Industries say thanks and welcome to the club. You have a marvelous day.”
“Sir?” The operator came back on the line. “Was that to your satisfaction?”
I sat there for a long time, cold sweat dripping down my ribcage. Jessica was my ex, because I walked in on her and my best friend fucking at a party in high school.
I smiled and whispered, “That was perfect.”
“Wonderful,” the operator said. “We at Boothworld Industries aim to serve. Would you like to make another appointment?”
As I stared at the water leaking from the door of the dishwasher, I smiled even bigger.
“Yes,” I said. “Yes I would.”
“Name?”
“Dan. I don’t have a last name. He’s a contractor.”
“Dan Arencibia. July 13, 2032. Would you like to reschedule?”
“Yes,” I said.
“How would Wednesday work for you?”
“Didn’t you say you had a Tuesday appointment available?” I asked.
“I did, but unfortunately that slot has been filled by another member. Would Wednesday work for you?”
“No,” I said. “I have a job interview that day. What about Thursday?”
“Unfortunately Thursday will not work. You are due for remodeling Wednesday night.”
“What?” I asked.
She repeated the exact same thing to me again.
“Can we reschedule my remodeling?” I asked.
“Of course we can, sir,” the woman said. It sounded like she was smiling on the other end of the phone. “There’s always a way.”
I waited for her to tell me how. She didn’t speak.
“HOW?” I asked.
“Boothworld Industries is always looking to add new members. We are, of course, a membership by invitation only club. Sadly, our membership numbers have fallen in recent years. Economic recessions. Wars. Politics. What we would like you to do, in order to avoid your own remodeling appointment, is help us add several new members.”
The light at the end of the tunnel, I thought.
“How many members do you need?” I asked.
“One thousand.”
I choked. “One thousand?”
“Yes, sir. Otherwise we’ll have to keep our scheduled appointment. We must inform you that the member that scheduled this appointment did request a courtesy call.”
Everything stopped at that point for me. All my life I’d just skated by, not doing anything, not making a difference.
My mouth actually dried up. I’d always thought that was just a thing people wrote in books to be dramatic.
It’s not.
“I’ll get you your one thousand members,” I whispered.
“We at Boothworld Industries say thanks and welcome to the club. You have a marvelous day.”
The connection ended.
I hung up the phone and stared at it for a long time. I’m scheduled for remodeling on Wednesday, and somewhere, someone will be getting a courtesy call to listen to my last few breaths if I don’t get one thousand members to join Boothworld Industries.
It’s funny. I’d always wanted to join an elite club. Skull and Bones. New World Order. I’m not sure how I got in, but now I’m a member. I’ve got until Wednesday to enjoy it.
Like I said at the beginning: even if I wanted your help, you couldn’t give it to me, because you’re not a member.
Membership is by invitation only.
I’m inviting you in.
You can help me.
Just call 630-296-7536.

WEIRDO STORY==========

THE DINNER PARTY FROM HELL

The long stretch of highway seemed to go on for eternity as we drove the Louisiana backcountry, me and my bestfriend Brian were at the end of our trip across America visiting popular paranormal sites. A old folk tale had brought us to Louisiana, a tale of a plantation located right in the middle of a swamp, a plantation as most know are old southern mansions that oversaw fields of crops tended to by black slaves so why in anyone’s right sense of mind would they build there plantation in the middle of a swamp ?. Well as legend goes the owner of the plantation a man named Jeramiah Wilkins was a satanic who used the plantation as a cover for his brutal rituals on his slaves, townspeople did question Jeramiah the reasoning for building his plantation in the middle of the swamp but he would always say that he was harvesting a rare swamp plant. But the legend gets weirder cause just like the ancient Mayan’s the entire plantation, blood and stone, one day just simply disappeared, many said Jeramiah’s satanic ways where behind the disappearance. Now the reason we are here in Louisiana to look for said site of the damned planation grounds, we have been here for almost a week with a dozen different leads and they’ve all pointed to nothing that was until earlier tonight while me and Brian were out at a bar drinking and thinking about calling it quits hen a strange fellow crept up on us saying he had overheard our conversation and said for a fact that he knew 100% where the site is located and could take us there free of charge and would let us pat him down before he got in the car to make sure he had no weapon, that he sincerely wanted to help, I was skeptical cause he could still be leading us into a trap but brian said we were at the advantage and had nothing to lose to which I thought to myself “yeah,besides our lives, car and what little remaining gas money we had but I decided to just go with it. so now that brings us to now and the further we go the further away from civilization and life. back roads and man made paths until finally the man said to stop because we had to do the rest on foot and to make sure to bring our flashlight as it was as dark as a endless abyss. To say I was a little creped out would be a understatement it was by far the scariest place we had investigated so far and the further into the swamp we traveled the more it felt like we were entering a forbidden place, I even thought about a few times telling Brian “hey lets just turn back we should do this when its light outside” but instead I just kept my mouth shut. after about ten minuets of following the strange man I suddenly began to have a pressure in my chest and felt a strong panic attack coming on, I told Brian that I couldn’t go any further and had to stop and possibly head back but as soon as i began to open my mouth the strange man interrupted me and said ” we’re here” I looked up from between my legs in amazement as I saw a huge old plantation house covered in swamp growth, “my lord its real” said Brian and the man then said I’ll take you inside to at which point I sprang up and said no I had to head back, but unfortunately Brian was too intrigued and accepted the mans offer and asked me to wait and he would just be a minute and off they went. I saw both the man and Brian enter the house and began to wait but after ten minutes my stomach had that horrible feeling of tight knots when you know something bad has happened yet you have hope that its not true, I noticed a red glow emitting from one of the windows as I looked for any sight of Brian , I called out his name but no response I had no choice but to get closer. i slowly began to inch closer to the house as i continued to call for Brian but still no response and i as i finally reached the window with the red light emitting from it I saw to my horror a dinning room filled with ghostly looking people with pitch black eyes and horns protruding from their head and in the center in the room was a large red beast with large bat wings on his back. as I stood there frozen trying to comprehend what I was seeing a dark figure brought a silver dinning tray with a large lid to the table and removed the lid to which would be the final image I would ever see with my eyes, on the tray was Brian’s decapitated head and the beast viciously consumed in one large bite and began to let out a disturbing deep laugh and the entire dinning room flashed a bright burning red light and I fell unconscious. when I came to the next day I was blind in a hospital bed , the police had found me on the side of the road with my eyes burned like a flamethrower had been directed right at them, I asked about Brian and the police said they did find the old plantation house but when they investigated the house all they found was a old rusty dinner tray and inside was Brian’s wallet all burned up.

BREAK==========

Up next, it’s the classic horror story “Lost Hearts” by M.R. James, when Weird Darkness returns!

(HOPE IN THE DARKNESS) Whether you live paycheck to paycheck, or live the life of royalty… whether you work as a cog in a machine or you are a celebrity, we all have one thing in common. We are, all of us, human. And I have yet to meet a single person who hasn’t had times in their lives when they were struggling to keep it together – be it financially, or because of a shattered relationship, or due to mental illness, or any number of things. The important thing is that you never give up hope. That’s why WeirdDarkness.com has the “Hope In The Darkness” page. There you can find find help if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety, or even extreme loneliness – there is FREE help through my friends at 7 Cups. If you’re having thoughts of suicide, or know someone who is, you can call or chat with someone right now, again, for FREE, through the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. And my friends at iFred are still doing what they can to research the causes of depression and to educate people on what they can do to reverse those dark thoughts, even creating a FREE curriculum anyone can download to teach kids how to bring hope to themselves and those around them. Find these resources and others on the Hope In the Darkness page at WeirdDarkness.com.

<COMMERCIAL BREAK>

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STORY==========

LOST HEARTS

It was, as far as I can ascertain, in September of the year 1811 that a post-chaise drew up before the door of Aswarby Hall, in the Heart of Lincolnshire. The little boy who jumped out as soon as it had stopped, looked about him with the keenest curiosity during the short interval that elapsed between the ringing of the bell and the opening of the hall door. He saw a tall, square, red-brick house, built in the reign of Anne; a stone-pillared porch had been added in the purest classical style of 1790; the windows of the house were many, tall and narrow, with small panes and thick white woodwork. A pediment, pierced with a round window, crowned the front. There were wings to right and left, connected by curious glazed galleries, supported by colonnades, with the central block. These wings plainly contained the stables and offices of the house. Each was surmounted by an ornamental cupola with a gilded vane.

An evening light shone on the building, making the window-panes glow like so many fires. Away from the Hall in front stretched a flat park studded wit oaks and fringed with firs, which stood out against the sky. The clock in the church-tower, buried in trees on the edge of the park, only its golden weather-cock catching the light , was striking six, and the sound came gently beating down the wind. It was altogether a pleasant impression , though tinged with the sort of melancholy appropriate to an evening in early autumn, that was conveyed to the mind of the boy who was standing in the porch waiting for the door open to him.

The post-chaise had brought him from Warwickshire, where, some six months before, he had been left an orphan. Now, owing to the generous offer of his elderly cousin, Mr Abney, he had come to live at Aswarby. The offer was unexpected , because all who knew anything of Mr Abney looked upon him as a somewhat austere recluse, into whose steady-going household the advent of a small boy would import a new and, it seemed, incongruous element. The truth is that very little was known of Mr Abney’s pursuits or temper. The Professor of Greek at Cambridge had been heard to say that no one knew more of the religious beliefs of the later pagans than did the owner of Aswarby. Certainly his library contained all the then available books bearing on the Mysteries, the Orphic poems, the worship of Mithras, and the Neo-Platonists. In the marble-paved hall stood a fine group of Mithras slaying a bull, which had been imported from the Levant at great expense by the owner. He had contributed a description of it to the Gentleman’s Magazine, and he had written a remarkable series of articles in the Critical Museum on the superstitions of the Romans of the Lower Empire. He was looked upon, in fine, as a man wrapped up in his books,and it was a matter of great surprise among his neighbours that he should even have heard of his cousin, Stephen Elliot, much more that he should have volunteered to make him an inmate of Aswarby Hall.

Whatever may have been expected by his neighbours, it is certain that Mr Abney – the tall, the thin, the austere – seemed inclined to give his young cousin a kindly reception. The moment the front door was opened he darted out of his study, rubbing his hands with delight.

“How are you, my boy? – how are you? How old are you?” said he – “that is, you are not too much tired, I hope, by your journey to eat your supper?”

“No, thank you , sir,” said Master Elliot; “I am pretty well.”

“That’s a good lad,” said Mr Abney. “And how old are you, my boy?”

It seemed a little odd that he should have asked the question twice in the first two minutes of their acquaintance.

“I’m twelve years old next birthday, sir,” said Stephen.

“And when is your birthday, my dear boy? Eleventh of September, eh? That’s well – that’s very well. Nearly a year hence, isn’t it? I like – ha, ha! – I like to get these things down in my book. Sure it’s twelve? Certain?”

“Yes, quite sure, Sir.”

“Well, Well! Take him to Mrs Bunch’s room, Parkes, and let him have his tea – supper – whatever it is.”

“Yes, sir,” Answered the staid Mr Parkes: and conducted Stephen to the lower regions.

Mrs Bunch was the most comfortable and human person whom Stephen had as yet met in Aswarby. She made him completely at home: they were great friend in a quarter of an hour: and great friends they remained. Mrs. Bunch had been born in the neighbourhood some fifty-five years before the date of Stephen’s arrival, and her residence at the Hall was of twenty years standing. Consequently, if anyone knew the ins and outs of the house and the district, Mrs Bunch knew them; and she was by no means disinclined to communicate her information.

Certainly there were plenty of things about the Hall and the Hall gardens which Stephen, who was of an an adventurous and enquiring turn, was anxious to have explained to him. Who built the temple at the end of the laurel walk? Who was the old man whose picture hung on the staircase, sitting at a table, with a skull under his hand? These and many similar points were cleared up by the resources of Mrs Bunch’s powerful intellect. There were others, however, of which the explanations furnished were less satisfactory.

One November evening Stephen was sitting by the fire in the housekeepers room reflecting on his surroundings.

“Is Mr Abney a good man, and will he go to heaven?” he suddenly asked, with the peculiar confidence which children possess in the ability of their elders to settle these questions, the decision of which is believed to be reserved for other tribunals.

“Good? – bless the child!” said Mrs Bunch.”Master’s as kind a soul as ever I see! Didn’t I never tell you of the little boy as he took in out of the street, as you may say, this seven years back? and the little girl, two years after I first come here?”

“No. Do tell me all about them, Mrs Bunch – now this minute!”

“Well,” said Mrs Bunch, “the little girl I don’t seem to recollect so much about. I know master brought her back with him from his walk one day, and give orders to Mrs Ellis, as was housekeeper then, as she should be took every care with. And the pore child hadn’t no one belonging to her – she telled me so her own self – and here she lived with us a matter of three weeks it might be; and then, whether she were somethink of a gipsy in her blood or what not, but one morning she out of her bed afore any of us had opened a eye, and neither track nor yet trace of her have I set eyes on since. Master was wonderful put about, and had all the ponds dragged;but it’s my belief she was had away by them gypsies, for there was singing round the house for as much as an hour the night she went, and Parkes, he declares he heard them a-calling in the woods all that afternoon. Dear, dear! a hodd child she was, so silent in her ways and all, but I was wonderful taken up with her, so domesticated she was – surprising.’

“And what about the little boy?” said Stephen.

“Ah, that poor boy!” sighed Mrs Bunch. “He were a foreigner – Jevanny he called himself – and he come a-tweakin’ his hurdy-gurdy round and about the drive one winter day, and master ‘ad him in that minute, and ast all about where he came from, and how old he was, and how he made his way, and were was his relatives, and all as kind as heart could wish. But it went the same way with him. Theyre a hunruly lot, them foreign nations, I do suppose, and he was off one fine morning just the same as the girl. Why he went and what he done was our question for as much as a year after; for he never took his ‘urdy-gurdy, and there it lays on the shelf.”

The remainder of the evening was spent by Stephen in miscellaneous cross-examination of Mrs Bunch and in efforts to a extract a tune from the hurdy-gurdy.

That night he had a curious dream. At the end of the passage at the top of the house, in which his bedroom was situated, there was an old disused bathroom. It was kept locked, but the upper half of the door was glazed, and, since the muslin curtains which used to hang there had long been gone, you could look in and see the lead-lined bath affixed to the wall on the right hand, with its head towards the window. On the night of which I am speaking, Stephen Elliot found himself, as he thought, looking through the glazed door. The moon was shining through the window, and he was gazing at a figure which lay in the bath.

His description of what he saw reminds me of what I once beheld myself in the famous vaults of St Michan’s Church in Dublin, which possess the horrid property of preserving corpses from decay for centuries. A figure inexpressibly thin and pathetic, of a dusty leaden colour, enveloped in a shroud-like garment, the thin lips crooked into a faint and dreadful smile, the hands pressed tightly over the region of the heart.

As he looked upon it, a distant, almost inaudible moan seemed to issue from its lips, and the arms began to stir. The terror of the sight forced Stephen backwards, and he awoke to the fact that he was indeed standing on the cold boarded floor of the passage in the full light of the moon. With a courage which I do not think can be common among boys of his age, he went to the door of the bathroom to ascertain if the figure of his dream were really there. It was not, and he went back to bed.

Mrs Bunch was much impressed next morning by his story, and went so far as to replace the muslin curtain over the glazed door of the bathroom. Mr Abney, moreover, to whom he confided his experiences at breakfast, was greatly interested, and made notes of the matter in what he called “his book.”

The spring equinox was approaching, as Mr. Abney frequently reminded his cousin, adding that this had been always considered by the ancients to be a critical time for the young: that Stephen would do well to take care of himself, and shut his bedroom window at night; and that Censorinus had some valuable remarks on the subject. Two incidents that occurred about this time made an impression upon Stephen’s mind.

The first was after an unusually uneasy and oppressed night that he had passed – though he could not recall any particular dream that the had had.

The following evening Mrs. Bunch was occupying herself in mending his nightgown.

“Gracious me, Master Stephen!” she broke forth rather irritably.”how do you manage to tear your nightdress all to flinders this way? Look here , sir, what trouble you do give to poor servants that have to darn and mend after you!”

There was indeed a most destructive and apparently wanton series of slits or scorings in the garment, which would undoubtedly require a skilful needle to make good. They were confined to the left side of the chest – long, parallel slits, about six inches in length, some of them not quite piercing the texture of the linen. Stephen could only express his entire ignorance of their origin: he was sure that they were not there the night before.

“But,” he said, “Mrs Bunch, they are just the same as the scratches on the outside of my bedroom door; and I’m sure I never had anything to do with making them.”

Mrs. Bunch gazed at him open-mouthed, then snatched up a candle,departed hastily from the room, and was heard making her way upstairs. In a few minutes she came down.

“Well,” she said,”Master Stephen, it’s a funny thing to me how them marks and scratches can ‘a’ come there – too high up for any cat or dog to ‘ave made ’em, much less a rat; for all the world like a Chinaman’s finger-nails, as my uncle in the tea -trade used to tell us of when we was girls together. I wouldnt say nothing to master, not if I was you, Master Stephen, my dear; and just turn the key of your door when you go to your bed.”

‘I always do, Mrs Bunch, as soon as I’ve said my prayers.’

“Ah, that’s a good child: always say your prayers, and then no one can’t hurt you.’

Herewith Mrs Bunch addressed herself to mending the injured nightgown, with intervals of meditation, until bed-time. This was on a Friday night in March, 1812.

On the following evening the usual duet of Stephen and Mrs. Bunch was augmented by the sudden arrival of Mr. Parkes, the butler, who as a rule kept himself rather to himself in the pantry. He did not see that Stephen was there: he was, moreover, flustered, and less slow of speech than was his wont.

“Master may get up his own wine, if he likes,of an evening,” was his first remark. “Either I do it in the daytime or not at all, Mrs Bunch. I dont know what it may be: very like it’s the rats, or the wind got into the cellars; but I’m not as young as I was, and I cant go through with it as I have done.”

‘Well, Mr. Parkes, you know it is a surprising place for the rats, is the Hall.”

“I’m not denying that , Mrs Bunch; and to be sure, many a time I’ve heard the tale from the men in the shipyards about the rat that could speak. I never laid no confidence in that before; but tonight, if I’d demeaned myself to lay my ear to the door of the further bin, I could pretty much have heard what they was saying.”

“Oh, there, Mr. Parkes, I’ve no patience with your fancies! Rats talking in the wine-cellar indeed!

“Well, Mrs. Bunch, I’ve no wish to argue with you: all I say is, if you choose to go to the far bin, and lay your ear to the door, you may prove my words this minute.”

“What nonsense you do talk, Mr Parkes – not fit for children to listen to! Why, you’ll be frightening Master Stephen there out of his wits.”

“What! Master Stephen?”said Parkes, awaking to the consciousness of the boy’s presence. “Master Stephen knows well enough when I’m a-playing a joke with you , Mrs . Bunch.”

In fact, Stephen knew much too well to suppose that Mr. Parkes had in the first instance intended a joke. He was interested, not altogether pleasantly, in the situation; but all his questions were unsuccessful in inducing the butler to give any more detailed account of his experiences in the wine-cellar.

We have now arrived at March 24, 1812. It was a day of curious experiences for Stephen: a windy, noisy day, which filled the house and the gardens with a restless impression. As Stephen stood by the fence of the grounds, and looked out into the park, he felt as if an endless procession of unseen people were sweeping past him on the wind, borne on restlessly and aimlessly, vainly striving to stop themselves, to catch at something that might arrest their flight and bring them once again into contact with the living world of which they had formed a part. After luncheon that day Mr. Abney said:

“Stephen, my boy, do you think you could manage to come to me to-night as late as eleven o’clock in my study? I shall be busy until that time, and I wish to show you something connected with your future life which it is most important that you should know. You are not to mention this matter to Mrs. Bunch nor to anyone else in the house; and you had better go to your room at the usual time.’

Here was a new excitement added to life; Stephen eagerly grasped at the opportunity of sitting up till eleven o’clock. He looked in at the library door on his way upstairs that evening, and saw a brazier, which he had often noticed in the corner of the room, moved out before the fire; an old silver-gilt cup stood on the table, filled with red wine, and some written sheets of paper lay near it. Mr. Abney was sprinkling some incense on the brazier from a round silver box as Stephen passed, but did not seem to notice his step.

The wind had fallen, and there was a still night and a full moon. At about ten o’clock Stephen was standing at the open window of his bedroom, looking out over the country. Still as the night was, the mysterious population of the distant moonlit woods was not yet lulled to rest. From time to time strange cries as of lost and despairing wanderers sounded from across the mere. They might be the notes of owls or water-birds, yet they did not quite resemble either sound. Were not they coming nearer? Now they sounded from the nearer side of the water, and in a few moments they seemed to be floating about among the shrubberies. Then they ceased; but just as Stephen was thinking of shutting the window and resuming his reading of Robinson Crusoe, he caught sight of two figures standing on the gravelled terrace that ran along the garden side of the Hall – the figures of a boy and girl, as it seemed; they stood side by side, looking up at the windows. Something in the form of the girl recalled irresistibly his dream of the figure in the bath. The boy inspired him with more acute fear.

Whilst the girl stood still, half smiling, with her hands clasped over her heart, the boy, a thin shape, with black hair and ragged clothing, raised his arms in the air with an appearance of menace and of unappeasable hunger and longing. The moon shone upon his almost transparent hands, and Stephen saw that the nails were fearfully long and that the light shone through them. As he stood with his arms thus raised, he disclosed a terrifying spectacle. On the left side of his chest there opened a black and gaping rent; and there fell upon Stephen’s brain, rather than upon his ear, the impression of one of those hungry and desolate cries that he had heard resounding over the woods of Aswarby all that evening. In another moment this dreadful pair had moved swiftly and noiselessly over the dry grass and he saw them no more.

Inexpressibly frightened as he was, he determined to take his candle and go down to Mr Abney’s study, for the hour appointed for their meeting was near at hand. The study or library opened out of the front hall on one side, and Stephen, urged on by his terrors, did not take long in getting there. To effect an entrance was not so easy. The door was not locked, he felt sure, for the key was on the outside of it as usual. His repeated knocks produced no answer. Mr. Abney was engaged: he was speaking. What! why did he try to cry out? and why was the cry choked in his throat? Had, he, too, seen the mysterious children? But now everything was quiet, and the door yielded to Stephens terrified and frantic pushing.

On the table in Mr Abney’s study certain papers were found which explained the situation to Stephen Elliot when he was of an age to understand them.The most important sentences were as follows:

“It was a belief very strongly and generally held by the ancients – of whose wisdom in these matters I have had such experience as induces me to place confidence in their assertions – that by enacting certain processes, which to us moderns have something of a barbaric complexion, a very remarkable enlightenment of the spiritual faculties in man may be attained: that, for example, by absorbing the personalities of a certain number of his fellow-creatures, an individual may gain a complete ascendancy over those orders of spiritual beings which control the elemental forces of our universe.

“It is recorded of Simon Magus that he was able to fly in the air, to become invisible, or to assume any form he pleased, by the agency of the soul of a boy whom, to use the libelous phrase employed by the author ofthe Clementine Recognitions, he had murdered. I find it set down, moreover, with considerable detail in the writings of Hermes Trismegistus, that similar happy results may be produced by the absorption of the hearts of not less than three human beings below the age of twenty -one years. To the testing of the truth of this receipt I have devoted the greater part of the last twenty years,selecting as the corpora vilia of my experiment such persons as could conveniently be removed without occasioning a sensible gap in society. The first step I effected by the removal of one Phoebe Stanley, a girl of gipsy extraction, on March 24, 1792. The second, by the removal of a wandering Italian lad, named Giovanni Paoli, on the night of march 23, 1805. The final ‘victim’ – to employ a word repugnant in the highest degree to my feelings – must be my cousin, Stephen Elliott. His day must be this March 24, 1812.

“The best means of effecting the required absorption is to remove the heart from the living subject, to reduce it to ashes, and to mingle them with about a pint of red wine, preferably port. The remains of the first two subjects, at least, it will be well to conceal: a disused bathroom or wine-cellar will be found convenient for such a purpose. Some annoyance may be experienced from the psychic portion of the subjects, which popular language dignifies with the name of ghosts. But the man of philosophic temperament – to whom alone the experiment is appropriate – will be little prone to attach importance to the feeble efforts of these beings to wreak their vengeance on him. I contemplate with the livliest satisfaction the enlarged and emancipated existence which the experiment, if successful, will confer on me; not only placing me beyond the reach of human justice (so-called) but eliminating to a great extent the prospect of death itself.”

Mr. Abney was found in his chair, his head thrown back, his face stamped with an expression of rage, fright and mortal pain. In his left side was a terrible lacerated wound, exposing the heart. There was no blood on his hands, and a long knife that lay on the table was perfectly clean. A savage wild-cat might have inflicted the injuries. The window of the study was open, and it was the opinion of the coroner that Mr. Abney had met his death by the agency of some wild creature. But Stephen Elliot’s study of the papers I have quoted led him to a very different conclusion.

SHOW CLOSE, CREDITS, A LITTLE LIGHT, AND A FINAL THOUGHT==========

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Do you have a dark tale to tell of your own? Fact or fiction, click on “Tell Your Story” on the website and I might use it in a future episode.

Stories on Creepypasta episodes are works of fiction, and links to the stories or the authors can be found in the show notes.

“I Wish I Wasn’t a Member” was written by Boothworld

“The Dinner Party From Hell” is by Weirdo family member Randy Hogan

“Lost Hearts” is by M.R. James

Weird Darkness theme by Alibi Music.

WeirdDarkness™ – is a registered trademark. Copyright ©Weird Darkness 2020.

If you’d like a transcript of this episode, you can find a link in the show notes.

Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”. – Colossians 3:12b

And a final thought… “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” – Epictetus

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

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