My name is Natalie Gartman, more commonly called Noodle, for childhood memory purposes. I'm twenty one years old, at the moment. At the time that this story that I'm about to recall happened, I was about seventeen. I'm not a college student, I never decided to go, and I live in my parents' house. Hopefully, this story will give you some idea of why I'm not out, partying with friends or studying for classes. It'll seem pretty explanatory by the end.

I don't know what I did to deserve the terrible fate I have met. I can't take much more of this. I've locked myself in the closet with several highly caffeinated beverages. I'm hoping they'll keep me awake long enough to publish my story. After I tell my tale, I'm leaving. Permanently. He'll be glad to spare me the trouble of doing it myself.

It all started when I got that stupid cloth doll, or whatever it was. My family had gone on vacation to the Caribbean. The place itself was absolutely breathtaking. I wish I could say the same for the people we had met. As my dad worked a very low-paying job, we couldn't afford to go on a cruise or stay in a nice part of the Caribbean. No, we stayed in the old vacation home that my grandparents had purchased when they were newly married.

It was in a fairly small part of the island, and you couldn't pass through a street without being catcalled by homeless men or offered drugs by random people, some of them having kids with them! I wasn't a big traveler. I preferred my own home. This place definitely wouldn't have been on my top ten list, so my attitude wasn't the best the entire trip. Up until the beach festival.

The beach festival was something the locals arranged every year, simply to celebrate living. They all brought well-cooked meals and decorations for the gathering that took place when the sun went down along the sandy beach. I was eager to meet some people who, hopefully, didn't offer me drugs or some form of alcohol, and were maybe around my age. We were planning on being on vacation for about a month, as it was summer and I was off school, and my father was off work, as he was a teacher for a middle school. My mother went on and on about the festival all day before it started.

Her grandparents had taken her there when she was a young girl and she wouldn't shut up about how amazing and beautiful the whole thing was. Keep in mind, I love my mother, and her stories, but the ones she was telling had been told a thousand times before in previous years. She told the story of the men who got on stage and sung together beautifully, and the time that an older woman had knocked down a table and sent food flying. I gave weak laughs and the occasional "That's great, Mom," throughout her excited rambling.

As the day grew darker, I grew more and more excited to see what was in store for the night. I got ready, making sure to wear reasonably nice clothes, and waited in the living room for my parents to be ready as well. They didn't take too much longer, and we all had an old family friend, I'll call him Emilio, drive us to the festival. Emilio was an older man who had babysat my mom when she was much younger, and he was in his teens.

He had grown up next door to my grandparents' vacation home, and his family had often come to stay and visit Grandma, Grandpa, and Mom. When we approached the beach, laughing and yelling could be heard from the torch-lit place. I nearly leapt out of the car and walked down to the beach, not bothering to wait for my parents or Emilio.

I looked around the festival as I got down to the beach. It was large, stretching across a good part of the sandy landscape, with many tables and lots of food around. I approached one of the tables and grabbed a plate. I made my way through the line and got some of what appeared to be pork from the friendly man behind the table, then sat down at the table with a lit candle in the middle. As I pushed my plastic fork down into the meat, I heard someone clear their throat. I looked up to see a little boy shuffling his feet nervously.

He looked about fourteen, at the most. I smiled at him. "May I help you?" I asked politely. He coughed nervously, and with shaky hands, set something down upon my table. I picked it up and inspected it closely. It appeared to be a small, cloth doll. It was beautifully sewn and appeared to be quite old. It was a small boy had button-like eyes. It didn't appear to have painted clothes on, but had a cloth body.

I looked back up to ask the boy if he was giving it to me, and, if he was, to thank him. But when I looked up, the boy who had given me the item had gone. I scanned the crowd around me, but didn't see him. I shrugged and went back to eating, not giving the boy a second thought, but putting the doll in my backpack, certain it would be a good memorial for this beautiful occasion.

The rest of the party went by quickly. I danced, ate, chatted, and did what any person would do at a party. When the festival drew to a close, my family and I drove back with Emilio. As we got out of the car, my parents thanked him kindly and went inside. I was still getting my stuff out of the back, as I had bought a few things from the vendors that had set up shop there, assuming it would be good money.

Emilio stopped to help me, taking a few of the heavier bags from me. I paused, remembering the doll and decided to ask Emilio if it meant anything, or if it was valuable in some way. As soon as I pulled it out, he paled slightly, an uneasy expression immediately replaced his usual kind and calm one. I gave him a quizzical look and he laughed shakily.

"I think that boy may have liked you, Noodle," he said with fake happiness in his voice. "No, it doesn't look valuable, and I don't think I've seen anything like this before. Perhaps you should just keep it for a while, or give it to one of your friends eventually." I smiled.

"Okay. Thanks anyway, Emilio." The man nodded and quickly took my things inside, telling me to have a good night, and leaving. I took no notice of Emilio's strange behavior, and went to bed.

That night, a boy came to me. He looked about my age, maybe a bit younger, and was wearing a very dark hoodie and long pants. When he looked up at me, I saw that a patch was crudely taped to one of his eyes. He reached into his pocket slowly, and took out a piece of paper with a foreign word marked on it. A grin spread across his face, getting wider and wider until his cheeks actually began to split, blood blossoming at the tears in his dark skin.

He tossed the paper at me, and when it was about half way towards me, it caught fire and disintegrated immediately. The pile of ashes fell to the otherwise clean floor. I stared at the ashes before switching my gaze back to the boy who was fumbling at the tape holding his make shift eye patch in place. An awful ripping sound met my ears as he peeled the tape off.

It sounded as if the tape had mended with his skin overtime. The white patch fell away from his closed eye and touched the floor before immediately burning up, just as the note had. The boy then opened the eye, or the eye that should have been there. Where the eye was supposed to be was an empty black socket, very slowly leaking thick, red blood. The boy suddenly screamed in agony, so loudly that I could feel my own eardrums burst. I quickly covered my ears and felt blood against my fingers. I couldn't drown out the inhuman sound of his painful shrieks.

I woke up, panting and sweating, and sat up in my bed. I looked around the room, recognizing my own room, at my parents' house. I don't know why the memories of that vacation night haunt me, or who the boy in my dreams is. But I've started calling him Diablo. I tell my therapist and many other doctors of Diablo often.

They always ask me the same things. "Do you recognize him? Does he remind you of anyone? Is it ever anyone else?" No, no, and no. I've never seen Diablo, though he looks vaguely familiar. He doesn't remind me anyone I've ever seen or met. He is utterly inhuman. No human can make such noises, such movements. No human can snap their own neck and stab you with their spine.

I've been having visits from Diablo every time I fall asleep, ever since that dreaded trip. My parents recently left for another trip, this time for my grandmother, who was on her death bed. They insisted I not come, thinking something so traumatic as that would only worsen my nightmares. So I stayed. The above is a recollection of my first dream in which Diablo made his presence known.

That doll has appeared in some of my dreams as well. Whoever that boy was, he knew of Diablo. He had seen him. That's why he had seemed so nervous. He had already long since cracked. He thought he may be able to sleep again. But I've heard others screams as Diablo tortured me in my own special prison. They would never be safe again. They would never again have a pleasant dream.

If you ever find the doll described, leave it. Don't touch it, don't talk to it, don't even think about it. Just. Leave it. It's too late for me. He's been clawing at my door for about half an hour now. He's run out of patience. He needs to take the rest of my sanity for him to keep on going. He's explained it to me before, as he raked his fingernails down my back and laughed at the sound of my screams. I can hear the wood of my door splintering. I'll wrap this up quickly.

If you can, ignore the things that aren't meant to be noticed. Live normal lives. Don't tamper with or even think about the unknown. Just leave it be. What is hidden among the dark shadows of your mind, no, scratch that, of the universe, must stay hidden. At all costs. And they will do whatever it takes not to be noticed. They'll make sure that the ones who notice, don't stay sane enough to explain.

On an ending note, I looked up what that word on the note meant. It was Italian, for:


Repetitive dreams

Diablo's doll.