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Motherload

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"Wow, Luke. Look at all this neat stuff!" My mom calls from across the store.

I really see nothing interesting underneath this pile of dust and cobwebs. Just some old board games, a couple of old costumes, apparently from school plays, and 99 cent toys that look like they would break as soon as you picked them up.

The man behind the cash register looked just as old as some of the items on the shelves. His long, grey beard was covered with bread crumbs and cat hair, and he hardly responded when you tried to ask him something. His hair was tied back into a bun, but there were stray hairs here and there. It looked like he had been there for quite some time.

Nothing really caught my eye in this store, except the fact that it was located in an alley way. Something was fishy, but I couldn't really put my finger on it.

There were no other customers in the shop, either. Another reason this place had an eerie feeling. Even the name of the shop was weird; "Motherload".

The only noise in the shop was the whir of the ceiling fan and the creaks and groans from the floor below me.

I look at a bookshelf crammed with old VHS tapes. I look at the names of the videos- some were known movies, such as "The Shining" or a television show. Others were either family videos or Bollywood movies; nothing of my interest. There were even some videos I didn't even know were allowed to be sold in an antique store. But that one video on the second to last shelf; that's what caught my eye. It was labeled as:

"MOTHERLOAD ON TELEVISION"

I really didn't know all along; I saw these amazing antique stores on television all the time, and I never thought I would actually see one in real life. I asked my mom if I could purchase this for the mere price of 3 dollars, and she agreed. The man slowly put the cash in the cash register and slid it back to me. I happily grabbed the VHS tape as we drove back home.

I was pretty excited to see what was so great about this Motherload store. As we pulled into the driveway, I hopped out of the car, dashed through the front door, and popped the video into the VHS. My mom, just coming through the front door, never saw me so excited about a VHS tape. Besides, we never used our VHS for years. She gave me a strange look, then walked into the kitchen where she started to prepare dinner. While the VHS processed the video, I stole a soda from the fridge and sneaked back to the couch.

As I cracked the soda open, the video finally started to play.

What I didn't expect was that it was going to be a local channel.

My hopes and 3 dollars gone, I still decided I was going to watch it. The quality of the video was pretty decent. A Caucasian man began talking into a microphone, but the words he were saying were slurred and fuzzy. But what I really managed to make out was the familiar flashing red and blue lights in the background, and the police officer jogging towards the camera. He told the newsman that he couldn't be broadcasting here currently, and put his hand over the camera.

Disturbed, I rewinded the tape to shortly before the policeman came, and saw paramedics bringing someone out on a stretcher. I decided to keep watching the video, which was longer than I expected. After the policeman finally persuaded the cameraman to stop filming, he brought out a small handheld camera and secretly filmed the crime scene. More medics rushed into the building, removing more dead bodies on stretchers.

"Hey, I thought I told you guys to get out of here," the policeman shouts.

The camera starts bobbing up and down, as if he is running. They run into a car, where the film cuts to an alternate scene. It is now night, and they are returning to the scene, now clear of any police cars or medics.

"Let's just finish this and get out of here," the newsman whispers.

He steps in front of the camera holding a microphone and starts to talk.

"I am standing in front of the antique store, Motherload, in which more than 6 dead bodies were discovered. Customers complained that rotten smells were emitting from the shop's basement, where the manager of the store lived. A few undercover investigators came to explore the basement, and to their surprise they discovered bodies that appeared to be between the ages of 20 to 30. They shortly notified police, who later arrested the owner. The man is currently be questioned at the local police department. Moving trucks are expected to arrive tomorrow to move all of the belongings out. This is..."

Something that appears to be a bottle is hurled from off camera and the cameraman is hit. He falls to the ground, where the cameraman starts shouting, but before he can reveal what was assaulting them, the camera cuts to a different scene.

The scene starts off as being pitch black, no movement. The only noise is the faint whirring of the fan. A small, dim light bulb clicks on and illuminates a small portion of the room, revealing the newsman strapped to a rocking chair. Heavy breathing is now heard from behind the camera, as the camera advances towards the newsman. A piece of tape is over his mouth, and a large gash is visible on his scalp.

He makes a struggle to fight off whoever is torturing him, but fails. The camera focuses on a rusty old saw on the ground in front of the man's feet. The camera is set on a table, as the man picks up the saw and stares at the newsman. The torturer's face is not visible, and as I try to decipher it, he takes the saw and starts sawing away at the man's feet. The newsman's face turns a bright red as the saw crudely tears through the delicate flesh. Blood comes down in a small river onto the dusty ground, and glistens in the dim bulb's light.

After 3 minutes of sawing through muscle and bone, the cameraman's leg just pops off. The torturer brings the fresh foot, still with shoe on, to the camera. He seems to show it off like it is a prize or trophy of some sort, then gently takes off the shoe and begins clipping the toenails with a clipper. At first I didn't know if this was some type of fucked up fetish, and I was actually right; after clipping the toenails, he begins to sniff the feet and lick between each toe. He sets the foot down somewhere off camera and returns to the newsman, who is looking rather pale. Even through the crappy quality, I could still see tears streaming down his face.

The torturer takes the rusty saw and examines the newsman, as if he is a piece of art. The newsman begins to make strange grunting sounds, as yellow, sticky looking fluid spews out from behind the tape. The newsman was choking on his own vomit. Before the newsman died too early, the torturer ripped the piece of tape off him, tearing bits of skin off of his lips. The man spews vomit all over the floor in front of him as he struggles to speak.

"Please...let me go...."

The torturer laughs in a deep voice as he walks over to the camera, and appears to look for a certain tool to use for the job. He finally picks up some players and promptly hustles over to the newsman, still vomiting up the last of whatever remained in his stomach. The torturer forces the man's mouth open, and attempts to yank out a couple of his teeth. He is successful on yanking out three teeth, but the newsman finally gains the power to bite down on the torturer's fingers, causing the torturer to stagger back, obviously in utter shock. He peers at his bleeding fingers and begins to curse the newsman out. The newsman tries to respond, but all that comes out is a spray of blood.

The torturer walks over to the camera and cleans his hands off with a clean white cloth. He snaps some rubber gloves on for no apparent reason and picks up a sledgehammer. The newsman sees the sledgehammer and begins to shout for help.

"SOMEONE HELP! HELP ME!"

These desperate cries continued for a few minutes as the torturer stands in front of him, examining and scheming. He finally raises the hammer and the newsman screams even louder.

"PLEASE! I'LL DO ANYTHING! PLEASE!"

"Sure. You can just stay still,"

The torturer rasps as he brings down the hammer on the newsman's knee.

I bring my hands over my eyes as a loud cracking sound emits from the television. My mom runs into the room and covers her mouth as she sees a newsman strapped to a chair, knee dislocated and backwards. She shrieks and calls the police, who take the tape back to the station for examination. The police tell me that they've been looking for the newsman for awhile, and now they know his fate. The police shut down the Motherload, as it was running secretly without permission, and arrested all the workers, as they were major factors in the investigation.

When the policemen went down in the basement, they were shocked to see a mutilated and dead newsman strapped to a chair, beaten and tortured. A metal table with rusty, bloody tools sat in the corner of the room, possibly the table where the camera was set down.

The cameraman was also found locked inside the closet, where he was stuck for weeks. He was locked down in the basement and had to eat parts of his former colleague in order to stay alive. A few days ago he was locked inside the closet, where he went without food or drink. He was taken into the hospital where he attempted to assault a nurse, and was taken into an asylum for treatment.

As for me, I'm happy that damned tape is out of my life. I have been going through therapy because I've been paranoid ever since I've watched it. I have nightmares weekly, and I am even afraid just to go into my room by myself. But let me just say- I'm never going to an antique store again.

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