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Mortimer

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing this to complain about my childhood, or to prove anything. I’m just trying to get some closure. Before I start I have to tell you about myself so that everything more or less makes sense. Hopefully you can handle the bore.

I was born in a small town in Minnesota. (I apologize, but for privacy reasons I’m not going to give away the name. Besides, I don’t want to be held responsible or anything if you visit this town out of curiosity.) I don’t want to give out my full name either, so I’m going to refer myself as Jimmy, my first name. There’s never been anything that wrong with my parents, but they never really said much to me at all to me when I was small. They were very overprotective though, they never let me go out with friends, play outside without surveillance, and all that kind of stuff. When I was thirteen my only three friends were Neil (who I hung out with mainly because he was my next door neighbor), Chris, and my best friend, Jack.

I lived in the suburbs which, in a small town, doesn’t amount to much. It was difficult to play outside not just because I had to get supervision, but because it rained constantly. We managed to make do with what we had, but I really feel sorry for my thirteen year old self. The majority of our “play time” was had in my room. We would usually tell each other scary stories we heard at school. Almost all of them were horrible, mainly given the fact that they all sounded the same.

I never really had any of these stories to tell, but Chris sure as hell did. He was fat and pretty unpopular; not only because of his appearance but he’s also pretty strange. The stories he’d tell were just different versions, or possibly continuations of, his first.

In them, there was never the same protagonist of each story, it was one of those stories that they try so hard to make you believe they're real. The monster was called “The Creeper”, “The Stalker”, “The Watcher”, “Eyes”, and my favorite “Mortimer”. I don’t know why I love the name, but it was so human-like that it felt real. Basically, Mortimer is this humanoid creature with white skin (so you can see him in the dark, I guess) and long, black, oily hair that stalks people. He never fully lifts up his head and just watches you with his grey eyes. You’re supposed to just keep walking as if you never saw him. In his first story, that’s essentially what happened. The main character saw Mortimer on his way home, thinking at first it was a pervert, but then realized that this thing was following him. The scariest part was that he didn’t hear it move, it just sort of teleported. Whenever he looked back it would get closer and closer, until the protagonist stopped looking back (smart guy) and just ran home. Then, the story ended. Of course, given that we were twelve, this was the scariest thing we had ever heard. Chris felt good about himself, scaring us and all, so that’s probably why he kept repeating it.

If this is all that happened I wouldn't be writing this, so I assure you things get pretty interesting. The day after we heard the “Mortimer” story, it was the only thing we heard at school. Chris told everybody, and it spread fast. There was some girl saying things like “I saw ‘The Eyes’ the other day when I was walking home from school. It was broad daylight too! Monsters aren’t supposed to be out during the day”. This was obviously a lie, she even admitted to it a couple months later when the police got involved and all. Chris was gone that day, so we freaked out and thought he was dead. Turns out he was home sick; we found out from his mother when we called. Like all rumors, it faded away in a couple of weeks, which in small town standards is long. That didn’t stop Chris though, he just kept on telling them.

In his next story, which he told about a week and a half after his first, it was a woman who saw Mortimer. She was nice, she went over to Mortimer and asked his name, if he needed help, and all of that kind of stuff. Mortimer didn’t say anything and just stood there looking at her like a dumbass. She eventually gave up and began to walk away. When she was only a few feet away she turned around once again to ask if Mortimer was sure he didn’t need any help. What she saw was Mortimer looking straight at her, inches away from her face. Chris never said what happened next, his stories tended to do that.

Next, let me tell you a little about Jack. The two things I remember most about Jack was that he had short, curly hair and he was the fastest runner in our school. As I told you before he was my best friend. Him and I were like co-leaders of our group. We were the first two members to start telling scary stories to each other. My mom essentially made me invite Neil over, which started one of the three arguments that we ever had. Jack was the one who told me we should have Chris in our group. Without us, Chris wouldn’t have any friends. It’s cocky, I know, but he always obsessed over things and then completely forgot about them a month later. I trusted Jack’s judgement, so I let him in too, begrudgingly. The stories were almost always told at one of our houses. I remember very well that we were at Jack’s house when Chris told his next story.

We all gathered in a circle and turned out the lights (We always did that at Jack’s, I was too afraid of turning of my lights when we held it at my house). I’ve got to admit, the third story creeped me out a bit. This time, it was an old man that saw Mortimer. It was early in the morning, and the man was taking one of his morning walks. He turned down his street and there he was, standing in the middle of the street a good distance away from him. The old man just kept walking though, his house was only four or five houses behind where Mortimer was standing. As the man walked past him, Mortimer's eyes followed him. This irritated the old man, so he kept yelling and cursing at Mortimer as he walked past him.

He was a good ten feet behind Mortimer when the man heard Mortimer say, “That’s not nice” with a normal voice. (It’s weird, I know, I thought he would have some sort of demonic or sweet voice, but Chris just said it was a normal person’s voice.) The old man didn’t want to put up with this, so he turned around to yell some more but Mortimer was right behind him. His face was tilted to the left, and his eyes were a darker gray than before. The old man ran to his house, not looking back. He locked the door and ran into his kitchen. He grabbed the phone, dialed 911, and when he looked out the window in the left corner he saw Mortimer, staring at him with his tilted head. It’s not clear what happens next.  

That story gave me nightmares. I was in my bed, with the covers over my head, hoping Mortimer wouldn’t be staring at me through the window. The next day Jack told me he had the same experience. We were just kids, so I’m not surprised that it scared us. When we met up with Chris and Neil the next day we tried not to talk about the story, but Chris wanted to have another “scary story day” that night. We never had a routine of when we told them, but it was usually once a week. Both Jack and I looked at each other for a moment, and then looked back at Chris. Jack told him he had to go to a family reunion that night, then Neil kind of mumbled something about homework. Next was my turn to lie, so I told him it was family night. I told you before my parents almost never talked to me, so you can understand why I had to hold back a smile. Chris just stood there, as if we just greatly insulted him. He smiled a little and just said, “Okay then, soon.” He kept repeating “soon” as he walked away.

That night, things became interesting. I was just goofing around in my room, making airplanes and tossing them at my wall, then my mom came into my room. I remember her being really quiet, telling me “Please come here Jimmy, there’s someone here to talk to you”. I got up and followed her out. Neil’s mom was at the door. Her eyes were bloodshot, she was obviously just crying a while ago. “Have you seen Neil?” she almost yelled at me. “No ma’am, I haven’t seen him since school. He stayed for soccer practice so I didn’t walk home with him today.” Practice ended five hours before our conversation. She thanked me, still trying to keep her cool with me, and told me if I saw Neil that I needed to tell her right away. I didn’t have the guts to ask Neil’s mom what happened. Part of it was because I thought I knew exactly what happened; Mortimer got him. My mom told me to go to bed, and to make sure my window was locked. That night I kept thinking that I was going to be Mortimer’s next victim, maybe it was real and Chris was a psychic or something. His subconscious was probably trying to warn him and us, but we didn't listen. You know, crazy stuff like that. Man, I really wanted to get a good sleep that day too.

The Mortimer stories became popular again the next day. Everyone kept speculating that when Neil was walking home from school he saw Mortimer, and kept looking at him because he was a “non-believer” and all that crap. It really irritated me, Neil was my friend. I kept telling myself that Neil just got lost, or hell, maybe he got caught by a rapist. It was bad, but it wouldn't be as bad as if Mortimer caught him. Jack, Chris, and I didn’t talk much about Neil’s disappearance.

If you can believe it, Chris was asking to have a story night again. I looked right at him; he was smiling. I wanted to hit him so badly, but Jack got to him first. Jack’s punched that smirking fat boy right in his face. I felt happy that Chris got what was coming to him until I saw that his face was bleeding. He was also crying a bit. Jack looked at Chris’s bleeding face and told him, “Pick yourself up and ask again.”. Chris stopped crying, got up, and wiped his bleeding face. “Sorry guys. I didn't mean it. I was being selfish.” he said, rubbing his eyes. Then, he walked away.

For the next week everything was normal. We all still ate lunch together like usual, and we tried our hardest to forget about Neil. But, as you’d expect, there was another incident. This time an old man was found dead in his house. He died from a heart attack. His body had been there for a little over a month. He must have died a few days after Chris told his third story.

Chris was freaked out the day they found the body. He told us that he knew the man because they lived on the same street. He was a regular crotchety old man, and very early in the morning he would go on daily walks. He told us that it’s where he got the idea for the story in the first place. Boy, was he freaked out about it. Jack and I had to tell him it was just a coincidence. He was old, so it’s not that crazy that he died of a heart attack.

If you can believe it, nothing happened in the town for almost a month. The police weren’t able to find Neil, but by then we had already gotten over his disappearance; we had to get on with our lives. That night Jack, Chris, and I were supposed to walk home together like usual, but my mom picked me up because there was a wedding we had to go to. It was probably the most boring thing I’ve been to in my life. I knew no one there, and I just sat down at one of the tables. I thought about Neil a lot while I sat there. I imagined how funny it would be if he actually got lost, lived in the forest for a while, and then found his way back when we were in high school. That made me feel sorry for not knowing him as well as I should have. Later that night I got another visitor. This time it was Jack’s mom.

I knew what happened the moment I saw her. I began to cry, and Jack’s mom hugged me. We did the same spiel I went through with Neil’s mom. She told me that they were going to find Jack, but I knew better. I looked at her with bloodshot eyes and told her, “You're never going to find him. Mortimer got him.” Jack’s mom looked at me like I was crazy. She must have thought Mortimer was some rapist that hung around town. I had to spend an hour explaining to her who he was. It was crazy though, she even laughed a little bit. After Jack’s mom left my mom gave me one of the few speeches she ever gave to me. She told me the typical parent stuff: monsters aren’t real and everything is fine. I cried myself to sleep that night.

My alarm clock woke me up the next morning for school. My mom ran into the room and turned it off. She rubbed my head and told me that I didn’t have to go to school that day and to go to sleep. I got right up after she told me that. I needed to go to school that day. This “monster” took two of my friends, and I wasn’t going to lose the last one.

When I got to school I saw Chris run his flabby ass over to me. He was out of breath when he got to me. “You... you hear what ha-happened to Jack, right?”. I nodded. “He dropped me off at my house, and told me goodbye and how he’d see me tomorrow. Then his mom came to my house that night and…” I stopped him and told him that I had the same experience with Jack’s mom. Then, I told him, “Tonight we need to have another ‘scary story night’. This time we’ll have it at your house.”  I wanted to stop this thing, and if Chris could predict his weakness, someway to defeat him, we could save ourselves. He smiled like I just gave him a godamn cookie. The whole rest of the day he told me he had several more stories he wanted to tell me.

That night I had to sneak out of my house because I knew my parents would never let me walk in the dark by myself because of the recent disappearances. When I was walking to Chris’s house I jumped at almost every noise that I heard. Then, when I was only a block away from his house I heard someone walking behind me. I didn’t turn around to look and ran.

I knocked on the door when I got there, very violently too. Chris answered the door. He told me that his parents went out to a play. He also said that they do it a lot, and that they're almost never at the house. I felt bad for him, but it was very convenient for me, given that his parents knew mine. He rushed me to his room, which was all the way in the back of the house. When I got inside I was amazed. He had all the coolest toys, and he had figurines hanging on the wall. It was a typical spoiled kid’s room. He pointed at a chair in the corner of his room. “You can sit there. I’ll get a candle to set the mood. I also need to get a match…” He walked out of the room and closed the door behind me.

Chris had a pretty nice desk, it had its own built in lamp. I walked over to it to check it out. On the desk was a single notebook, it was a big five subject one too. Instantly, I thought it was for writing down the Mortimer stories. I didn’t hesitate to open it.  At the beginning of the notebook, I saw his first set of stories. Then, the stories were no longer in writing, they were drawn out. I flipped through them. They were drawings of people being chased by Mortimer. It was horrific, especially Chris’s depiction of Mortimer’s face. The last drawing really interested me. Instead of a man or woman, it was a boy being chased by Mortimer. The boy had curly black hair.

The boy wasn’t on any other pages, just the one. I closed the notebook shut. It could just be a coincidence, but I knew better. I needed to know more about what happened to Jack. I immediately began to check the rest of the room. In the drawers of the desk there was just blank pieces of papers. Under his bed were even more expensive toys. I opened his closet, and inside was a large chest. I hesitantly opened it up. Inside I saw the most horrific sight I have ever seen in my life. There were limbs, heads, and torsos of two people inside. The chest was filled halfway with blood. I also remember that it smelled pretty horrible, but it’s not any easy smell to describe. I couldn’t see the heads of the corpses on top, and there was no way I would dig through the chest to find them, but I recognized the bodies right away from their clothes. It was Neil and Jack. I heard footsteps coming towards me so I quickly closed the chest and the closet and then sat in my seat. Chris entered the room with a candle and a book of matches. He looked at me while he turned off the lights. “Ready for some scary stories Jimmy?”

At that point, I just wanted to kill him. It sounds, horrible, but this bastard was probably the one who killed my friends. I had to hold in my rage so I could see if I could get more out of him. For all I know, Mortimer could have placed those bodies to prevent me from learning his weakness. Chris took out one of his matches and tried to light it. It was pretty pathetic, it took him like thirty seconds. While I watched him light the match I swear he had gray eyes, but when he finally managed to light it I saw that his eyes were actually blue. He lit the candle, put it on the floor, and began his story. I remember the story well, I can almost recite it word for word.

“Not too long ago a man named Jim was walking home from a hard day at school.” The second I heard the name I knew he was going to try to kill me. “You see, he just came back from practice, and his legs were tired from all the suicides he had to do.” I don’t think it was a coincidence he used the word “suicide”. “Jim misbehaved a lot, he didn’t listen to his coach, and so the coach made the whole team run that day. While he was walking he saw a beautiful sight; it was Mortimer staring at him from afar.” This was the first time he actually called the creature Mortimer. “He was scared of Mortimer because he didn’t understand him. Mortimer was worried for Jim, you see. Jim yelled at him and told him to go away. Poor Mortimer.” He said that last part with a sweet, sympathetic voice. “Mortimer was persistent, though. He still wanted to help the misguided boy.

Jim became angry, he even punched him in the face and made him bleed. Mortimer didn’t like this. He genuinely wanted to help him, to take him off the horrible path he was following. So Mortimer followed. He touched the ground softly, like an angel, and when Jim turned around he was surprised of Mortimer’s persistence. Jim began to run. This scared Mortimer. If he lost him, Jim wouldn't be able to be saved.” Chris was actually close to crying at this point. I honestly felt bad for that crazy fat boy. “The more Mortimer saw the boy’s face, the more depressed he became. The misguided boy was too fast for him, and Mortimer wasn’t able to catch up. Mortimer was less than an inch away from grabbing his throat, but Jim managed to enter his house and lock it. Jim ran to his room, still believing it was a dream. He ran to his bedroom, pulled his covers over his face, and just kept breathing heavily. Mortimer was looking at him through the bedroom window. He was watching over Jim, trying to help him. If Jim wouldn’t accept his help then Mortimer would have to force his kindness on him. Mortimer entered the room through the window, undetectably, and watched Jim lying in his bed.

Jim slowly began to pull the covers from his face to see what was there. He saw Mortimer and screamed; he didn’t want to be helped. But Mortimer knew best, he helped him anyways. Mortimer had two reconstruction tools, two knives, which he brought especially for Jim. Jim resisted by pushing away Mortimer’s kindness and screaming for his parents. The first thing that needed to go was Jim’s voice. Mortimer balled up a blanket and shoved it into Jim’s mouth, using his hand to hold the blanket in place. For the reconstruction he need only one hand, anyway. His arms were second to go. This was very difficult, it took a couple minutes for each of Jim’s arms because of the bone is so hard to cut through. You know what I’m talking about, right Jimmy?” He looked at me with a smile, like he was telling me something completely normal.

I couldn’t put up with it anymore. There may have been better ways of doing it , but I was direct with him. “Why did you kill Jack and Neil, Chris?” Chris looked back at me, confused. “I didn’t kill them, it was Mortimer. They needed to be changed, so he helped them.” Jack got up and walked towards his closet. He opened the door of the closet, and then the trunk. He pushed away the limbs until he reached a head, which he pulled out with both of his hands, and showed me. It was missing all of the skin, leaving just the bones and muscle. “Doesn’t he look better now? Mortimer fixed him. They’re my friends, so he let me keep their bodies.” I saw my only chance to escape, given he had his hands full. I bolted to the door. Chris didn’t chase after me. I turned my head around, and I saw that he looked confused. “Where are you going Jimmy, you want to hear the rest of the story, don’t you? If you don’t, Mortimer’s going to have to help you.”  I ran out of the door. I was going to get home, call the police, and have Chris locked away forever. I didn’t even get half a block away before I tripped. I messed up my knee pretty badly. I tried to get up, but it was pretty painful. It took me at least a minute to finally get up, but I looked back and saw that Chris wasn’t chasing me. I began limping back to my house.

I’m an idiot, and I know it very well. I heard something behind me and I immediately looked back. I thought it was Chris, but it looked nothing like him. I didn’t get to see the whole body of the figure behind me, I only saw its face. The face was pure white, and had black hair. This freaked me out. I kept running, even though my knee was throbbing. The figure called my name, whispered it even. “Jimmy, why do you ignore me?”. I looked back again, still believing it couldn’t be Mortimer. The figure was at least ten feet closer. How did he get that close? I kept thinking. I just kept walking and walking until I couldn’t take it anymore. I fell to the ground and turned onto my back, finally seeing what was chasing me.

It was definitely Chris’s body, but he had a mask on. If it was plastic I’d probably be dead right now, but the mask was made out of Jack’s skin. Chris was holding two knives in his hands. His head slowly tilted to the left. If I was going to die, I was at least going to put up a fight to this monster. I kicked that bastard straight in the balls. He grabbed his crotch (While he did, that idiot even cut himself!) and staggered backwards. I got up and pushed him to the ground. Then, I jumped on him and grabbed the knife out of his right hand. He stabbed me in the side with the knife in his left. He’s not very strong, so it didn’t go deep enough to be deadly. I lifted up the knife, even with my throbbing knee and side, and stabbed him straight in the chest. I made sure I didn’t stab his heart or his lungs. I didn’t want to kill him right away, I wanted him to bleed out.  It’s sick, I know, but I wanted him to suffer. I was going to go home and call the cops on that madman.

Right as I was walking away, Chris called to me. “Jimmy, can you please let me tell you one more story? You know...” He coughed up blood as he was took off the mask. “...before I die?” I turned back to him and said to him rudely “Make it quick”. My side hurt like hell, so I could care less if he was dying. He spoke as fast as he could seeing he didn’t have much time left. “Scaring you guys was so much fun, you have no idea. I wanted to scare other people, to feel the same joy. I tried to scare that old man. I was wearing my Halloween mask, it was all just for good fun.” He smiled. I was surprised how well he could talk with a knife in his chest. “But I scared him too much, when I showed myself in the window he just grabbed his heart and died. Then I wanted to scare Neil. I went to scare him with the mask too, that time I brought some of my kitchen knives.

He freaked out, and then… and then he attacked me. And then I stabbed him” He looked at me, and the face he was making made me actually pity him for a second. “I needed to hide him, so I cut him up and hid him in my closet. Then the day with Jack, I continued because I enjoyed scaring the first two so much. I took the knives I hid in my backpack and I…I..” I didn’t want to hear it. Gladly, Chris stopped talking about it. “I just wanted to have friends. But I killed all of them. Except you of course.” He gestured towards me, and I shuddered. “I’m crazy, Jimmy. I never wanted to be, but it’s just the way I am. After I killed Neil, I just wanted everything to be fine. But it just couldn’t.” He was crying now, and his voice became weaker. “Mortimer haunts all my dreams. Every night I dream Mortimer is following me. He wants to change me. To me, he’s real. He doesn’t want me to be sane. He wants me to be crazy, just like him. So, I wrote the story for closure. I thought if I treated Mortimer like he was fake, just a story, I’d begin to believe it. I actually became normal for a while. But you guys didn’t want to hear my stories.” Chris looked down at the knife protruding from his chest. I felt really bad at this point. I felt like if I would have helped him, none of this would have happened. Chris then said his last words, “You understand me, don’t you Jimmy? You get why I acted the way I did, don’t you?” I nodded my head. Chris smiled, and then he died.

The walk home felt like it took forever for some reason. When I turned onto my street I saw Mortimer standing in the middle of the road, under the light of the streetlamp. He was staring at me with his gray eyes and his his head tilted down so that he looked up at me. I ignored him, walked right past him, and then didn’t look back on the way to my house.

Afterthoughts:

Let me sum up the rest of the story: The police found the bodies, we had funerals, and I didn't go to jail for killing Chris, and after the incident my family moved out of that town. My parents didn’t think it was safe to live there anymore, which is probably the truth. I could bore you with the details, but all of it is just depressing.

I’m going to try to answer all the questions you most definitely will have:

First, Do you think Mortimer is real? No, I don’t think he’s real at all, he was the delusions of a madman. It was created by his mental instability or some crap like that, and the reason I saw him was because I was mentally unstable at that moment. That’s the story I’m going to stick with, at least.

Second, Do you have any hard feelings towards Chris? Again, I’m going to say no. I thought I would never forgive Chris when I saw the bodies, but I got over it after his little speech. In fact, I wouldn’t blame Chris for hating me in hell, where he currently resides.

Lastly, Have you been back to that town? For a third time, no, and you couldn’t ever ask me to go back. I don’t know why, but I don’t care about that town anymore. In fact,  I haven’t really thought much about the town since I wrote this.  

In the end I got my closure, and you got to read an interesting story. I wish I could have given you a happier ending, one where all of us survived and we still hung out on the weekends, but the idea of a happy ending died with Neil. I’m okay with it though, I have a pretty good life now, aside from the Mortimer nightmares I have now and then. I’m not going to end up like Chris though, I promise. I want to forget everything I know about that lonely, misunderstood, psychopath. The only thing that’s stopping me is that I still miss the scary stories he used to tell.

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