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Choke.exe

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Well, I'm not sure where to start.

The past few weeks have been pretty rough for me. I'd lost my mother last Spring to cancer, it caused a great deal of grief among my family. However, my father took it the worst. He was never the same after Mom's death. He'd lock himself in his house, all alone, spacing himself from the rest of the world. Spacing himself from me. It was odd. Throughout his entire life, he's always been so outgoing. My mother, my sister, and I were all he had. Now that my older sister had grown up, married, and moved a few towns over, I guess I was all he had now.

Two Weeks Ago

I'd received a call. I was on 4Chan, an infamous image-board site, reading comments in one of those "You Laugh, You Lose" threads. Ugh, What ever happened to Original Cont- Oh. Right. Straying away from the topic.

Having been in front of my monitor for hours in dead-silence, I'd been caught offguard when my ringtone, Joey Scarbury's "Believe it or Not", blared from my phone's tiny-yet-powerful speakers. I nearly jumped out of my seat. I grabbed my phone, and checked the caller ID.

Choke

It was the local hospital, calling to tell me that my father had killed himself.

A Week Later

My sister came down for the funeral. It was nice to see her again after all these years, even if it was under harsh circumstances. She didn't bring that douchebag of a husband with her, either. We shared a few hugs, talked about the deceased for a while, and then she was on her way.

His house, and all of its contents, were given to me. Needless to say, it was a nice step-up from my one bedroom apartment. I decided to go snooping around in my new place the following day, maybe clean the place up a bit. Honestly, I had no clue what I'd find in there. For all I know, he'd lost all sense of modesty following the death of mother. I half-expected to see shit smeared all over the walls, along with wrecked furniture.

I was at the front door. Upon grabbing the doorknob, an instant feeling of dread overcame my body. I froze up. The idea of being in the same room that my father had hung himself in didn't sit well with me. I shook my head, and swallowed my disturbed feelings. I took a deep breath, preparing myself. I closed my eyes, and opened the door...

The front door lead me into a hallway that split in two directions. In front of me was a door, leading into the bathroom. To the right was the living room. Expecting the worst, I turned the corner... To my surprise, everything was in pristine condition. I scanned the area. There were a few couches surrounding an ancient-looking television set. My father had never been all that tech-savvy. What caught my eye though, was the large fireplace near the seating. I didn't remember this. Granted, I'd only been in the house a handful of times before, but from recollection, this wasn't here before. Now, the fireplace isn't exactly what caught my attention. It was what was mounted above it.

It was a large framed painted portrait of my mother, surrounded with candles on the fireplace mantle. Something just seemed a bit off. She had a condescending smirk on her face, as if to say, "I know something you don't". Again, that eerie feeling. I really felt as if I wasn't supposed to be in this house. Being the dumbass I am, I decided to stick around for a while longer. Venturing into the kitchen, I snooped around. Cupboards were filled with new-looking dish sets, and the fridge was filled with nothing but beer and water. Good ol' dad.

A thought crossed my mind. I should check out the master bedroom, the room where he'd hung himself. I pushed back any unsure feelings I had, and started heading toward the back of the house. The door to my father's room was slightly open. Knots in my stomach growing ever-so-tight, I slowly pushed the door ajar. The hinges let forth an obnoxiously loud creak. I had no idea why I was being so quiet. I tried hard to convince myself that I was the only person in the house. The butterflies in my stomach refused to go away.

The master bedroom was normal. Everything looked clear, I took a few steps whilst scanning the area. There was a nightstand to the right side of his bed, his glasses resting atop, seemingly untouched. He never liked wearing them, said they made him look like a "sissy-boy". To the left of the room was a door. Something, I don't know what, drew me to this door. I wanted to open it. No. I needed to open it.

Making my way over to this mysterious door, I made sure to be quiet. Again, don't ask me why. I just felt like I'd be disturbing something if I made noise. I bit my lower lip, placing my hand on the knob. I was trembling in anticipation. I closed my eyes, counted down from three, and quickly opened the closet...

Coats. Lots of coats. Some pants, and shoes too, if that's what you're into. It was an ordinary walk-in closet. I took a sigh, relieved, but secretly disappointed.. until I saw it. Something shiny on the floor. Kneeling down, I moved a few shoeboxes out of the way. It was a brass handle, bolted to the ground. I had also noticed a crease in the carpeted floor. It was a small hatch, leading into the basement. My heart raced. What could be down there?

My lust for adventure had gotten the better of me. Without thinking, I grabbed the brass handle and flung the hatch open. I peered inside. It was dark. All of my instincts went against what I was about to do, but I completely ignored them.

I jumped down.

Luckily, it wasn't that high of a drop. I'd be able to pull myself out if need be. The basement was dark, and extremely dusty. Fishing into my pocket, I pulled out my Zippo lighter. It took me a few tries, but I finally managed to get a steady flame to light up small portion of the room. That's when I saw the last thing I'd ever expect to see in my father's basement. A computer. Sitting at the edge of the room was a small desk, keyboard, mouse, and monitor. One of those white plastic chairs was pushed into the desk.

Curiously, I walked over to the station. The computer looked new, as if it had never been used. This couldn't be my father's. Why would he have a nice rig like this sitting in the basement? I pulled the flimsy chair from the desk, and took a seat in front of the monitor. I crossed my fingers, leaned over, and tried booting up the computer. Eureka, it worked. The Windows 7 boot logo appeared on the screen. Again, it strikes me odd that my father owns such a nice, and expensive looking, computer. It required me to select a user. There was only one.

"DISAPPOINTMENT"

A chill went down my spine. Disappointment? Why would he name his profile that? I clicked it. It asked me for a password. I grinned, and typed "Cheyenne". My mother's name. I'll be damned, it worked. I cocked my head to the side. Something was wrong. His desktop background was solid black. There was no Start Bar, and there was only one icon. In the middle of the screen was a single executable file.

"Choke.exe"

My hands trembled. I had no idea what I was doing here, why I came here in the first place. I wanted to turn around, and get back to the comfort of my apartment. Curiosity wouldn't let me. I couldn't control myself. Almost against my will, I hovered the cursor over the icon, and double clicked.

The screen flickered. I figured there was something wrong with the cord. I reached my hand behind the machine, feeling for wires.

Impossible. Nothing was plugged in.

The computer emitted a high-pitched buzz, almost as if it were working itself too hard. Shades of blue, red, and green flashed on and off in the monitor. The computer's whining became louder and louder, sputtering with life, increasing with intensity with every second. All of a sudden, everything became quiet again. I looked at the screen. There was a red dot in the very middle, text underneath, simply stating,

"DISAPPOINTMENT."

My heart was pounding in my chest. Everything had come to a standstill. I relaxed, for what seemed like a few seconds. Until I heard it. The sound of heavy breathing, and footsteps behind me, coming closer. I didn't dare look shift my gaze from the computer monitor. The footsteps stopped. Whoever, or whatever was behind me, had leaned over. Their mouth was right next to my ear.

I heard a familiar voice whisper,

"Choke."

With great force, a rope had been wrapped around my neck. I screamed, loud as I could. The rope had tightened, I'd been yanked backwards out of my chair. I couldn't breathe. My neck was sore. My vision slowly started to fade away due to lack of oxygen. I was going to die. I gagged, and clawed at my neck.

There was nothing there.

I was on my hands and knees, gasping for air. My vision had returned, I stood up and staggered around, trying to regain my bearings. I was in the living room, right in front of the fireplace. Looking down on me was the portrait of my mother, looking down upon me with that condescending smirk.

Present Day

As I sit here writing this, in my dingy one-bedroom apartment, I can honestly say,

"There is no place like home."

I have no idea what the hell happened.

Honestly? I don't want to know.

All I'm sure of, is that I'm never setting foot in that house again.

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