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Ticci Toby

Ticci Toby Log 6

Log 6

Saturday, February 22nd

My fingers finished typing the last few words of Log Five, “The Sender”. I shook my head. I just couldn’t believe it. I’d finally met The Sender. And he had looked, normal. I don’t know what I’d been expecting him to look like–maybe some big and hideous scarred-up face monster holding a laptop–but never a human with a hood.

He’s not human. I recalled. I had asked if he was and he confirmed that he was not. So what was he exactly?

“J.T.!” I heard my mother call from the kitchen. “Supper’s ready!”

Oh, right. I hit save and uploaded the article. The Creepypasta page now had one more Log in its collection. Five down, two to go.

***

A quick recap of what happened after Log Five. (I know you’re probably wondering why I’m inserting information like this, but I don’t care. I’ve been through enough already.)

Moments after I lost consciousness I awoke in bed. It was 7:00 P.M. and it was still the 23rd. The Sender had put me back just before the Rake had visited me. While I’m grateful it gave me time to write down the Log, I wish I’d not woken up. The Rake had been the last straw. The others before it had been bearable, but this had been different. I no longer felt ready to face these nightmares. I no longer felt as brave as I had when Jeff had shown up or as witty as I had when B.O.B. had been defeated. I only felt emptiness.

I want this to be done.

I want this to be over.

***

The next morning I sluggishly got out of bed. Great, another day, another visitor.

I sighed. “Man, why couldn’t I have just said, ‘No’ that day when it asked if I wanted a story?”

I glanced at my computer, remembering how this all started, then shook my head.

Best not to dwell on what can’t be changed; now get up, get moving and get ready. There’s going to be another visitor soon and self-pity isn’t going to help. (But knowing that doesn’t make things any easier.)

I got dressed putting on both my jeans and favorite blue hoodie. Now onto the problem at hand, The Sender.

I went to my computer and logged onto the Creepypasta page. The freak had warned me yesterday that whenever he called, I should answer, so I decided to do one better. Call him.

Once everything was set, I waited for The Sender to contact me. I had a few questions for him, and I wasn’t going to take no for an answer to any of them.

I didn’t have to wait long at all, unlike so many other times before. A text box immediately appeared.

“Hello and good morning to you, sunshine.” It said.

I crossed my arms and stared at the screen with a blank face. He’d already drained me of annoyance. There was no need to a show a reaction.

“Oh, going to be quiet again, are we?”

“No,” I immediately answered.

“No? Hmm…Surprising.”

I raised an eyebrow, “Surprising? How is that surprising? You’ve made me endure over five days of hell so far, draining me of almost all emotion.” I narrowed my eyes, “You made me see my family get brutally mutilated before my eyes, you made me suffer death three times over, and you made me witness some of the most terrifying creatures ever created in the world of Creepypasta. So I’ll ask again, ‘How does my answer, surprise you?’” I finished.

The box went completely empty and the cursor blinked for several long moments, before it filled once more with text.

“Your answer surprises me, because most people would have already lost all sanity by now.”

“What?” I raised both of my eyebrows in confusion. Most people? Wait, has he done this before?

The Sender carried on, “You have retained your sanity, which is good. Most people would have lost it by now and made very poor story driven decisions. That is why I picked you over so many others. And yes, before you ask I have indeed done this before, and those sad few chosen were all poor disappointments.”

I slowly leaned back in my chair surprised. The Sender had never been this willing to give out any information like this before, nor talk about previous victims. And this “sanity” thing, what did he mean by this?

“Which brings me to you,” he went on, “A very interesting pick, if I might add, in which I have very much relished in observing. I cannot wait to see how this continues to play out with your next two visitors.”

I continued to sit back, dumbstruck at what I was reading. He’s done this before. He’s caused people to go insane. Why is he telling me this?

I cleared my throat, “Wh-why are you telling me this?”

“Because as I said before, you have done what so many other protagonists have failed to do, retain rational thought. The furthest I have seen one go was to her Fourth Log. She was to say, in the least, an utter disappointment. Could not handle what she had already read, I suppose.”

I think I was beginning to understand what this was all about now.

“So is this what this is all about then?" I asked. "Giving people stories and then watching them suffer through it all for your…” I looked for the correct word, “Amusement?”

“That is correct, but not entirely so. There is much more, but I believe I have told you enough about why it is I do this, not to mention, I have given out much more than what you have asked, without cost.”

Without cost. For some reason, I didn’t like the way that sounded. But then a sudden thought occurred to me, Wait, what did he mean the last person he did this to couldn’t handle what she had already “read”?

“Why did you say read?” I asked immediately.

“I beg your pardon?”

I stared intently at the screen, “You said earlier that the last person couldn’t handle what they “read”. What is that supposed to mean.”

The box cleared once more before it answered, “Very good eye. But I am not going to tell you, for if you are as interesting as I have hoped you are, you will figure it out. And if you do, then the rest of this story will be very interesting indeed. But alas, I believe we have spoken enough for today.”

“What?!” Don’t tell me he was about to pull this crap on me again, “NO! We’re not done talking at all.” I stood up abruptly, placed both hands on my desk and leaned towards the screen.  “I. WANT. ANSWERS. TODAY.” I said each word in a quiet but firm tone.

“Hahahahhahaahha. Look at you, thinking you can get answers from me simply by firmly demanding them. Well, I am sorry to disappoint you, J.T., but there will be no such answers from me, for now anyway. You have to earn answers as you go along, and you are very close to the ending.”

I tightened my grip on the desk. I promise to God, if I get out of this, I’ll kill him.

The Sender didn’t stop, “Also, the closer the end comes the harder it gets. Today’s visitor will be the most interesting thus far. Let us see how well you cope with this encounter.”

The text box disappeared.

“CRAP!” I threw the chair aside. I couldn’t believe he’d do this to me! To give me so much information then to suddenly stop just before all is explained.

“Damn it!” I muttered. I tried to slow my breathing. I needed to calm down, and figure things out. Being angry would just get me killed. 

“BEEP!”  My head shot towards the monitor. Huh? What now?

The text box appeared one more time.  “Oh, before I go,” it read, “I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed talking to you in person yesterday. Good Bye.”

The box vanished.

My mouth slowly opened and I began to shake my head at the screen.

He really knows how to make me hate him, doesn’t he?

***

An hour later I sat alone at my kitchen table with all the Logs I had written printed out. The rest of my family had decided to go out for the day. They’d asked me to go with them, but I told them I couldn’t. I had some work to do.

I started circling the places in the Logs where I had spoken with The Sender. He said he’d given me enough to figure some things out. I just needed to find the clues to piece them together.

So I compiled a list. “Okay,” I said to no one in particular. “This is what I have so far: The Sender sends me seven villains from Creepypasta so I can write my very own.” I paused, “But the ones he chooses aren’t random.” I remembered what Mrs. Hudok had told me the day before.

“There’s a connection between each one and me. The question is: What?”

I looked back at the first Log. “He starts by sending me Jeff the Killer–a story that I am very familiar with from Creepypasta and is one of my favorites.” I moved to the next Log, “Then he sends Tiny Teri, another story I found interesting and just read the day before Log 2 happened. Not exactly one of my favorites, but pretty damn interesting, nonetheless." My eyes moved to the next sheet. "Then there’s Eyeless Jack,” I grabbed Log 3 and began to look it over, “Another classic from Creepypasta that I found very interesting.” I looked at the next two remaining Logs, “Then there’s B.O.B. and the Rake which are also classics and are both very terrifying, but I don’t find them very interesting…Just creepy.”

So what’s the connection? I looked through each of them, detail by detail. The answer was somewhere hiding in plain sight before me. I just couldn’t see it.

“Gah!” I buried my face into my hands and leaned back in frustration.

“Dang it! What is it that I’m missing?” I yelled in frustration. “There’s no connection. There’s nothing similar between me and any of the characters. Some of them don’t scare me as much as the others. Jeez!”

I looked back the Logs. How many times do I have to read these before-

I stopped.

Read. I recalled what The Sender had said earlier, “Could not handle what she had already read I suppose.

I bolted upright in my seat and looked down at the papers scattered on the table. My jaw fell open as it came to me. “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me. That’s the connection?”

I didn’t know why I hadn’t spotted it earlier, it was so simple.

I looked at all five villains before saying, “I’ve read each of these Creepypasta stories.”

Each visitor I had met so far had been from a Creepypasta story that I had previously read in the past. 

I started to laugh, Maybe The Sender was right, I might actually be kinda stupid.

But this discovery didn’t help much. I'd read a ton of Creepypasta stories besides these five, so many in fact that I had no guess as to which could happen next.

My head sagged a bit. Ugh. Great. Well, at least I figured that much out.

My cellphone started vibrating in my pocket. “Huh?” I murmured, pulling it out. My mother’s number appeared on the screen.

I wondered why she was calling, then flipped open the phone. “Hello?” I answered.

“J.T.," she said. "I need you to do me a favor and drive to town to pick up some things from the store.”

Really? Now? I glanced at the clock above our kitchen stove. 11:05 A.M.

Well, I had plenty of time before night came; I supposed I could do this for Mom real quick.

“Okay then," I said. "I’ll call you when I get there.”

“Thanks honey! Love you!”

I hung up, then slid the phone back into my pocket. I stood up and collected my usual stuff before leaving. (Meaning, I brought my backpack, which still had everything I had packed two days ago in it. Always be prepared, right?)

Once everything was set, I walked outside to my car. I just reached the car door and was about to insert the key when a thought came to me.

Hey, isn’t this how things with Tiny Teri, originally went down? With me just at the car, about to leave?”

I lowered the key and glanced around, just to be safe.

No trees, no forest, no singing. I relaxed.

Thunder suddenly boomed across the sky. I glanced up.

“Huh, rain. Great,” I sighed, “because every horror story needs rain.”

I turned to leave, then froze.

The car was gone, the yard was gone, and so was my house (AGAIN!).

“Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me.” I looked around.

I was now standing on a sidewalk in what looked like a suburban neighborhood. It was still daylight out, but the sky was gray from the approaching rain.

I looked up once more at the sky, “Lord? Why, oh, why is my luck, this bad?”

God remained silent.

I clenched my eyes shut, then lowered my head with a sigh.

Well, then, I opened my eyes, first thing’s first, where the hell am I? I scanned around.

I didn’t recognize this neighborhood; it didn’t look like any of the surrounding towns near my home. The sidewalk I was on was near, what I guessed, was the main road, though I didn't see any cars driving down it–which, given how terrible my luck had been, was probably not a good sign. From where I stood, the houses were to my left while the road was to my right and on the other side of that said road was a vast forest. Memories of Teri came rushing back the moment my eyes laid sight of it–the shine of her crimson lips, the sound of her sing-song voice searched for me with her dull, blood-tipped shovel….

I shivered.

Yeah, no way I’m going in there. I’ve spent enough time in the woods to last a life time. My eyes went to the houses. There wasn’t much that stood out about them. The place looked no different than the average suburban community. Innocent enough, but then hell, doesn't everything look innocent in a horror story? 

I stood for a few minutes longer contemplating my next move. I knew standing there and hoping for a miracle that would never come wouldn't get me anywhere. I needed to find out where I was. I looked at the nearest house across from me. Whoever lived there could probably tell me, so I headed towards it.

I just hope this neighborhood isn’t the one from “Children of the Corn”.

When I reached the front door, I took a deep breath, knocked, then took a quick step back, preparing to either tackle whoever answered or run away.

The door opened, I tensed and…

“Oh, can I help you?”

The question caught me off guard.

A middle-aged woman stood at door. She wore an old worn V-neck t-shirt with jeans. Her hair was brown, short and slightly messy, almost as though she had stopped caring for it ages ago. Her eyes were deep green and sunken. I could tell by her complexion and by the dark bags sagging beneath her eyes that she was heartbroken. I had seen this same exact look a few years prior–a woman who’d lost both her husband and daughter in a plane crash had worn it. It was a look I'd never forgotten, and this woman before me wore it well.

She’s mourning, I realized.

I must have taken too long, because she asked again, “Can I help you?”

“I…uh…” It took me a moment to get over my surprise, “I’m wondering if you could tell me where I am.”

The woman cocked her head to the side with a puzzled look for a brief moment before she answered, “8945 Knudsen Street, Denver.”

Huh? I’d never heard of that town (not in S.C., anyway). Ever.  “Uh, okay then, could you tell me which way Charleston is?”

I thought the woman couldn't look even more baffled than what she already was. I was wrong.

“Charleston?” she echoed, furrowing her brow and parting her mouth as if the word she'd spoken was foreign.

Now it was my turn to look at her confused. “Yeah," I said, nodding slowly, "You know? Charleston, South Carolina? The place where the Civil War started.” I said the last line with a punch of sarcasm and as a bit of a joke. But, her narrowing eyes and her sudden stance in posture told me that it was not taken as one.

The woman straightened in the doorway, her fingers curling into themselves as her eyes narrowed on me. “Are you trying to be funny with me?” she said, the tone anything but cordial.

“Huh?” I took a step back in surprise. What the heck was her problem?

“Now, I don’t who you are and I don’t care, but I’ve had enough to deal with as it is and I don’t need some kid to come play pranks with me.”

The woman went to shut the door.  “Please wait!” I shouted, catching it just before it could shut. “I really don’t understand what you mean!” I tried to look as apologetic as I could, “I wasn’t kidding about which way’s Charleston. I don’t know where I am at all.”

The woman stared at me through the small portion of the door I’d managed to keep open. Her eyes scanned me from top to bottom, assessing me.

“Where do you think you are?” she after several seconds of silence.

“South Carolina.”

The woman continued to stare at me for a minute longer, trying to figure me out.

“You’re in Colorado,” she finally said.

I let go of the door and stumbled back in surprise, “What?!” There was no way I’d heard right–couldn’t have heard right. “I’m, where?”

The woman opened the door a little wider. “Colorado,” she said again.

My jaw fell from its hinges as I stood there, processing what I’d just heard. “B.S.!” I shouted after a few seconds, “There’s no-fricken-way I’m in Colorado!”

The woman opened the door completely, surprised by my reaction. “I’m not lying," she said in a calm, yet very concerned, tone. "You really are in Colorado.”

I stepped even further back in surprise. I placed a hand behind my head, trying to comprehend what the frick was going on. No, no, no, no, no, no, there’s no way I’m in Colorado! Why the hell would The Sender put me here!?

If I was in a different state, how could I possibly escape to home when the time came to run? This was beyond unfair!

The woman, now seeing the panic etched into my face, stepped outside.

“Are you alright?” she asked out of concern. I looked up at her still gaping and shaking my head. I wasn't anywhere near 'alright'. I turned away. I just couldn’t believe this.

The woman spoke again, “How did you get here then?”

I knew I couldn’t tell her that. She’d never believe me. I had to come up with something.

I uh…. I uh…” A lie came to me. “I don’t know,” I said. “I woke up on the sidewalk a few minutes ago in front of your house. I d-don’t know why. I mean the last thing I remember was going to bed last night, which is crazy!” It wasn’t exactly too far from the truth, but still I prayed she buy it.

The woman stared at me with skeptic eyes for a minute, trying to spot anything on me that might prove lie false. But I’d shown genuine panic and confusion, which was enough to convince her, for now.

“Alright," she said, "what’s your name?”

“J.T.”

“Okay, J.T. why don’t you come inside with me and we’ll try to straighten this out. Alright?” She stepped aside and gestured with an open hand to come in.

I took one last look around at the world around me, still in utter disbelief. Seeing monsters that shouldn’t exist had been one thing, suddenly teleporting to another state was quite another. But seeing I had no true alternative, I nodded went inside

Twenty minutes later, I found myself standing in the living room of the house, gazing out one of the windows. I wasn't looking at anything in particular, my mind was too busy trying to piece together what Creepypasta story I was in. So far, none came to mind. The woman who had let me in earlier, I found out, was named Connie. She’d been staying at her sister’s house, the one I was in now, for nearly two years. When I’d asked her why, she'd simply shaken her head and walked away. I was able to convince them I really was from S.C. and not some prankster, like she'd first thought. It was quite easy once I pulled out my driver’s license and told them my home address, which they looked up and found. What they couldn’t believe though was me suddenly waking up on the sidewalk with no memory of how I'd gotten there. I don’t blame them either; it was a lie after all.

They were both in the kitchen discussing what they could do to help me get back–my parents weren’t answering their phones.

“Just take him to the police department," I heard Connie’s sister, Lori, say. “They’ll figure out how he got here, and send him home.”

“Lori," Connie said in a low tone, "the police aren’t going to pay for a plane ticket. And they’re not going to find out anything that we don’t already know. The boy already admits he has no memory. There’s nothing to suggest how he got here. And besides, they weren’t much help after…after…” I heard her sniffle, “Toby.” She managed to finish.

Toby, the name struck a chord the reverberated within my skull, like I should know it. But my memory drew a blank, leaving me only to wonder who he was.

“There, there,” I heard Lori whisper to Connie. I looked over my shoulder to duo to see fresh tears trail down Connie’s eyes. They continued to speak, but their voices grew too low for me to hear.

Letting out a sigh, I turned, and pressed my head against the window. What now?

I had no idea what to expect this time. Never before had I been teleported to see a visitor that I didn’t meet immediately, nor had it happened so early in the day.

“It’ll be harder.” The Sender’s words echoed within my head. I hadn’t understood what he’d meant at the time. Now I did.

Thunder rumbled bringing my attention back to the present. The sky had gotten darker outside and the first drops of rain had begun to fall.

Oh yay, rain. I sniffed. Just what every horror story needs. My eyes scanned the forest, passing over lush green, something tall, black, pale, and-Wait, I froze. Tall, black, and pale? My eyes shifted back to where the thing had been. It was gone now, but there was something else instead. I squinted to get a better look.

A guy, no more than my age, I guessed, was leaning with a single arm against a tree. He was wearing a blue-topped hoodie with a gray torso, and jeans. I saw something thing and shiny hanging from the back of his pant leg. I was too far away to tell what, but I guessed that it was either a hammer or a wrench or something. I wouldn’t have thought much of him if it weren’t for that small, tiny fact that I got the distinct impression that he was looking directly at me. He gave me a smirk just as his head twitched to the side in an odd manner. Strange. I thought about going outside and seeing who he was. But, before I could, he turned around and disappeared within the forest.

Okay, weird kid.

“J.T.?” I heard Connie call me. I turned to see her waiting in the kitchen. She gestured for me to come over. I took one last glance out the window to where the kid had been before going to Connie.

“Yeah?” I asked.

Connie was standing with both hands on her hips, biting her lip as if she was debating whether or not to tell me something. Lori was behind her doing dishes at the kitchen sink.

“Lori and I talked about it, and we decided that the best thing to do is to take you to the police station and have them contact your family.”

I nodded. I had no problem with that. I mean, when something's out to get you, what better place to be than a building full of men and women carrying firearms?

“But,” Connie continued, “we won’t be able to go ‘til tomorrow.”

My sudden optimism vanished. “What? Why?”

“The road to the station is closed. It's being repaved. It won’t open until later tomorrow.”

The road’s out? Oh, Joy! I’m going to frickin' die. AGAIN!

“So, for tonight you can stay here in one of the guest rooms.”

Hahahaha, yeeaahhhh. I have only been rudely awakened twice by two visitors. What’s the harm in trying a thiiiiirrrrdddd time?

But I didn’t have any other choice really. So, against my better judgment, I agreed.

***

Later that day she showed me the room I would be staying in, then asked if I needed anything.

“No,” I said, placing my backpack down. “I’m good. Thanks.” And pretty soon I’ll probably be saying 'sorry' too.

She gave me a grim smile then left. But just before she did, I heard her mutter, “You remind me so much of Toby.”

I stared after her, once again wondering who this 'Toby' was. Apparently he’d been important to her, that's for sure. The name though, why did it keep tugging at me, like I should know it but couldn't recall? So far I had no idea which Creepypasta story this was, but I couldn't shake the feeling that Toby had something to do with it.

I took a good look around the room. It was small, about the size of an average bedroom. There was a single window with a lone desk beneath it. On it, right beside the bed, was an alarm clock with a photo next to it. Curious, I picked up the photo. The picture was of a couple and their two children. I recognized the mother at the far right of the picture as a much happier and somewhat younger Connie. I could only assume the smiling blond-haired man next to her was her husband. I noticed he wore a white polo and some slacks but my eyes had wandered off to the two interesting children below. A young brother and an older sister hugging one another. The girl wore a purple shirt and had bright blond hair like her father. I could tell just by the hug between the two that they were close. They didn’t have a problem hugging each other–unlike me and my two siblings when posing for a pic. As for the boy in the picture, his face had faded. The only real detail to be seen was his flat brown hair.

“You must be Toby,” I whispered. “I wonder what happened to you.”

I set the photo down. I could probably ask about him the next day.

I grabbed my backpack and took out my knife.

Just in case, I smiled, examining the blade then pocketing it.

I hopped in bed.

I knew that my chances of having an uninterrupted sleep were next to zero, but I was still pretty tired from the past few days so I gladly accepted going to sleep.

How long will I sleep before I have to run for my life? I wondered, just as I closed my eyes.

***

I woke up from the blare of an alarm clock coming from a bedroom across from mine.

With groggy eyes, I looked over at the digital clock next to me. It was 7:00 A.M.

That was a surprise.

I sat up and rubbed my eyes. Did it really say 7:00 A.M.?

I looked at the clock again. It did.

“Wow,” I muttered, “Did the visitor forget he was supposed to come yesterday?”

But with my luck, I doubted it.

Well, no need to question good fortune. I’ll take it wherever I can get it.

I began to get up when I heard a knock on the door. 

“Uh… Come in?” I called.

Connie walked in holding a set of clothes.

She gave a small smile then said, “I didn’t think you would want to wear the same clothes for two days straight, so here.”

I blinked at the clothes and then looked back at her. Wow.

“Uh…Thanks.” I took the clothes. It was a burgundy t-shirt and a pair of blue jeans.

“I hope those will fit you.” She added before walking out. I pulled on the shirt and slid into the new pants, but not before taking my knife out of the olds ones. I went ahead and put my old clothes into my bag. I was about to put my hoodie in there too, but at the last minute, decided against it, choosing to put it over my shirt instead. Just as I put it on, I realized I’d probably offend Connie by not showing the shirt, so I unzipped the middle of the hoodie. Thank God it’s a zip up.

After everything was done, I grabbed my stuff and went to the kitchen. Connie was already there eating a bowl of cereal. She smiled when she saw me.

“Glad to see they fit,” she said.

I glanced down at my new get-up before replying, "Yeah, they do. Thanks again for the clothes.”

“Welcome. Are you hungry? There’s cereal in the cupboard.”

“Ah, no thanks. I’m good for now.” And I really was.

She shrugged and resumed eating. As she munched on her breakfast, I wondered what I should do next. The Sender had never put me in a situation like this before, ever. I wasn’t sure what he wanted me to do.

Perhaps this has to do with Connie.

“Um...Mrs. Connie?” I hesitantly asked.

“Just call me Connie," she said, without pausing.

“Right, Connie. Um…Out of curiosity, where did you get clothes that fit me?”

Connie slowed down her eating, and then put the spoon down. And after a brief moment of silence, she said, “It was my son’s.”

“Your son’s? Huh. Where’s he at?” I instantly regretted asking that the moment I saw Connie’s reaction.

She clenched her eyes shut; a single tear ran from one of them. “He’s dead,” she whispered.

Oh, crap.

“Oh. I am so, so sorry.” I felt so stupid for asking that. It should’ve been obvious he was dead.

She opened her eyes, and nodded her head, “It’s alright. You didn’t know.”

Her eyes looked into the distance, glazing over as if she was looking into the past. “It happened a long time ago anyway,” she said, “but I never really did get over it

At the hearing of this, I got the impression that this was related to the story.

“If I may ask," I ventured, "how did he die?”

She stopped and looked at me hard. I wondered if I'd crossed the line with that question. Thankfully though, I hadn’t.

She sighed, then after a brief nod began. “Two years ago,” she said, "my daughter Lyra and my son Toby were both in a car accident. Lyra was killed in the crash but Toby wasn't. He was sitting by her when it happened, and they were both very close…so Toby took her death hard.” She paused to take a breath, and, I could tell, to keep herself from crying.

I thought about telling her to stop because I could see it was too painful for her, but I needed to know what had happened.

She continued her tale, “A few weeks later, after Toby had gotten out of the hospital," she said, "he started to become withdrawn from everyone. So much so that it came to a point where we had to take him to doctor, because he…he…gnawed most of the…flesh from his fingers.”

I winced at those words. This kid, sounded really disturbed.

Connie kept going, “We later took to him to a counselor, hoping that maybe it could help him cope with his sister’s death but something went wrong that day. He came home and,” she took a breath, “killed his father.”

She stopped, tears poured down from her eyes.

I regretted making her tell me this, but she’d already come this far. I put an arm around her, and tried to give her some comfort.

“Keep going,” I told her, “It might be good for you to let it all out.” Or so I hoped.

She took a shaky breath and resumed the story. “Toby," she said, "had always blamed his father for what happened to Lyra. That's why, I assume, he killed him. I was horrified by what he did so I called the police. Toby ran right after that and was chased by the cops. But before they caught up with him, he’d grab a jerry-can from our garage and poured gasoline all down the road and around himself…then...then lit it on fire.”

“Oh, jeez,” I breathed as I pictured that scene.

But Connie wasn’t finished. “But after the fire," she continued, "t-they didn’t find his body. But I know there’s no possible way anyone could survive being burned by that, and he’s been gone for two years. He’s gone," she said, closing her eyes. "He’s not coming back.”

Her head sunk as she finished. I continued to stand there thinking about her son’s story. I remembered reading something like this before from a Creepypasta but it had been a long time ago.

“I’m sorry Connie,” I tried to sympathize with her.

“It’ll be okay. I’ll be okay,” she sniffled. “If it’s alright I’d like to be alone now.”

I nodded, understanding and turned to leave, but at the last moment, hesitated, “Um, Connie? One last thing.”

“Yes?”

I bit my lip not knowing how to ask this. “Where exactly did the fire happen at? I’d like to go see it, if it’s alright with you?”

Connie hesitated for a moment, no doubt struggling whether or not to tell me. After a few seconds, she answered. “It’s a few miles down the road from here,” she said. “towards the town’s center. You can’t miss it. The trees nearby are still black from the fire.”

“Thank you.”

I walked out the door and immediately set out. If I wanted to find my visitor and get home, I'd bet he'd be there.

***

The sky was still gray with clouds and I could hear the rumble of distant thunder. I stood on the sidewalk across from the woods that Toby had set fire to almost two years prior.

“So this is where it happened, huh?” I murmured.

The road was black where the fire had burned, the trees too.

During my walk I’d finally been able to recall the name of the Creepypasta this had taken place: Ticci Toby. But as for the main plot, and what he’d looked like, I was still clueless. Damn it, I thought, I should’ve paid more attention to that story.

However, if there was one thing I was certain of, it was that Toby hadn’t died that day.

I looked around for a clue or anything that may’ve been left behind, despite how long it’d been. I didn’t see anything, the streets were still empty and as far I could tell, I was the only one in the area. I was starting to wonder if this place was a ghost town, I mean, didn’t anybody walk around there?  

My eyes went back to the woods across from me. Perhaps there were more clues in there. Taking in a nervous breath, I walked into it.

Looking around, I noticed the trees were still covered in soot from the fire, and that there wasn’t much vegetation left in the area. I knew that wasn’t natural at all. Two years had been more than enough time for the plants to regrow, yet it still looked like the fire had happened only yesterday. This was just plain eerie.

Alright. So what am I looking for?

I had no clue.

“Looking for something?” A young voice asked.

I stopped walking and turned around. The guy I’d seen the day before was leaning against one of the burnt trees with his arms crossed.

“Um…I’m not sure.” I looked him up and down. Now that he was up close, I could see exactly what he looked like. He was my age; I had no doubt about it now. He had a gray bandana covering his mouth and there was a pair of orange goggles resting on his head. He was still wearing the hood and he had his head down so I couldn’t see the top half of his face.

“You’re not sure of what you’re looking for, or you’re not sure you’re looking?” he asked.

I narrowed my eyes, nice sarcasm buddy. Not.

“I’m not sure what I’m looking for.” I said, gesturing at the burnt woods around us. “I heard some kid burnt this area down about two years ago and that he supposedly died in the fire, but there was no trace of his body. I thought I might find something that could indicate he was still alive.” I took another glance around.

The kid jerked his head to left, with a loud pop. It startled me a bit, but I didn’t say anything.

“So,” I ventured, “why are you here?”

The kid’s head rose a bit, but still not enough for me to see all of his face. A low chuckled escaped from him.

I didn’t know why, but I suddenly had a bad feeling about this guy.

“What’s so funny, if I may ask?”

The kid started shaking his head, and chuckling some more.  

Okay man, seriously? What’s so funny?

I was about to ask him just that when I realized something. Toby had been seventeen when he’d disappeared, which was two years ago, so he’d be about my age, nineteen. This guy in front of me looked and sounded my age; not only that, he had the same brown hair I’d seen from the photo from the guest room. More importantly why would he laugh unless he knew who I was looking for, which meant…

“You’re Toby!” I exclaimed.

Toby

Stopped

Laughing.

He raised his head and pulled the bandana off.

I took step back the moment I saw his face. “Holy...!” I trailed off.

The left side of Toby’s mouth had deteriorated, exposing his teeth and gums. His eyes were both gray and foggy, like Teri’s, and had cataracts.

He grinned at my shock, which made him look even more gruesome.

“The one and only!” he said.

He reached behind the tree he was leaning on and pulled out a silver hatchet.

"Um," I gulped, "please tell me you only pulled that out because you’re planning to cut down a tree.”

Toby raised an eyebrow at me, and then laughed, his neck cracking as he did.

“Run,” he told me.

“With pleasure,” I bolted.

I ran in the opposite direction of Toby, towards the road. I prayed that I could somehow make it there before his hatchet made its way to me.

I tossed a quick look back to see how close he was.

To my surprise, he was still leaning against the tree, smirking at me. 

What the heck? Why’s he not chasing me?

He suddenly stood up straight and took a few simple steps forward with the hatchet in his right hand, what he did after that, I didn’t see or care. I stopped looking back and kept running.

Just ahead of me was the edge of the forest and through it, the road. 

Yes, I grinned. I’m going to make it! No way he’s catching up with me!

That’s when I heard a whistling noise come from behind me. I turned around just in time to see a hatchet come sailing through the air towards my head–which was then followed by a large flash of white light.

***

The large welt on my forehead throbbed when I awoke. It was dark now; the storm I had seen earlier that day had finally arrived. I was still in the forest, but nowhere near its edge. The wind was blowing hard through the trees and lightning would light up the area every few minutes.

Why am I still alive? I prodded my forehead with a single only to flinch in pain. I got lucky. I only got hit by the dull end of the hatchet.

Still hurt, though. I sat up just as lightning struck. The area around me lit up, revealing Toby standing in front of me with a hatchet in each hand–the new looking one he’d hit me with earlier was in his left hand, while an old worn one with a wooden handle was in his right. His bandana was back on and he pulled down his goggles (well, at least I didn’t have to see his mouth anymore).

“Hi, there!” he said to me.

“CRAP!” I started scrambling back from him.

He laughed. “Don’t bother trying to escape now," he said, the grin apparent within his voice. "You’ll get your chance in moment.”

I stopped moving. What?

“I’ve been watching you since you showed up yesterday.” He rested both hatchets on his knees and leaned down to look at me. “And compared to some of the other people I’ve killed, you don’t look like much.”

I narrowed my eyes at him, my fear turning into resentment. “Oh, really?" I spat. "Have you taken a good look in the mirror lately? I wouldn’t necessarily say you look like much either. You’d probably just make the mirror crack.”

He cracked his neck with a chuckle. “Still good-humored even in the face of death, maybe the boss was right. This will be fun after all.”

Fun? Boss?

“You have a boss?" I asked. "Who?”

He straightened up. “If you make it through the next little bit, maybe you’ll find out.”

He gestured with his head towards the center of the forest. “Here’s the deal. I’m going to count to ten, and you’re going to start running. If you can somehow get away, you win.”

Another flash of lightning lit the area.

Toby continued, “But if you lose…” He cracked his neck.

That needed no interpretation.

“One," he began.

I was already gone by the time he said, “Two.”

(Oh, by the way, what is with these freaks and the game, “Hide and Seek” if I may ask?)

As I ran, it was hard to see anything in front me, it was pitch black. My only source of light would be the occasional lightning strike every several minutes or so. The wind and pouring rain didn’t make things any easier.

After running for God knows how long, I stopped behind a tree to catch my breath. I couldn’t keep running in this darkness without some form of light. My backpack ruffled a bit as I leaned against the tree.

Oh, I clenched my eyes and teeth, I’m such an idiot. YOU’VE GOT A NIGHT VISION CAMERA, MORON!

I pulled off my backpack and pulled out my camera and slid the knife out of my pocket and not a second too soon. I clicked the camera on just in time to see a hatchet coming sailing towards my head

“OH-!”  I ducked at the last second. Another lightning strike revealed flying splinters from the tree I'd leaned on and Toby’s orange goggles, glowing within the light.

Toby sliced down with his other hatchet. I rolled to my right, barely avoiding the blade. Scrambling to my feet, I held the camera in front of me to see where Toby was. I could see him stand back up with the hatchet he just swung, then point at me as if to say, “Just you wait.” Then he turned and yanked the other hatchet free of the tree. I managed to pull my hunting knife out of its case, only to stared down at it, then stare at Toby’s hatchets.

You know what? I REAAAALLLYYY need to switch this out for a pistol. There’s really not much of a point in bringing this. Is there?

I put the knife back in my pocket. Plan B. I about-faced and hightailed it. I could hear Toby chasing after me every step of the way. I tried to think of a way out of this but my ideas were fresh out. Damn it!

Toby’s footsteps stopped abruptly behind me. Is he giving up? The wound on my head started to throb, reminding me of how he’d caught me earlier. No, WAIT! I dove to my left just as a hatchet whistled through the space my head had just been. Whoa! That was close!

“Damn it!” I heard Toby curse over the wind before running again. I held up the camera and tried to see where the hatchet had landed.

There! Just a few feet ahead of me, was the hatchet. It had gotten embedded in the trunk of a tree. Dropping the camera, I scrambled over to it, and began trying to free it from the tree.

“Come on, come on, come on!” I yelled as I continued to yank and yank at the hatchet.

“Almost there!” I heard Toby yell.

“Not helping!” I yelled back.

The hatchet moved an inch.

Toby got closer.

I pulled once more; it budged another inch but still held fast.

I looked back to see Toby just over ten feet away.

“DAMN IT! COME ON!!!!!” I yelled.

With one last burst of energy, the hatchet flew free from the tree just as Toby reached me. He swung his hatched down at me. I barely had enough time to horizontally raise my hatchet with both hands to catch his. Sparks flew when the blade hit the metal of the handle, the force of the blow jarring me and nearly causing me to drop the it. Toby was unfazed and raised his to strike at me again. I swung the hatchet upward as I rolled to the left, but Toby stepped back, just missing the blade's edge.

“Close!” he shouted, then ran forward and slammed his foot into my side. “But not close enough.”

“GAH!” I dropped the hatchet and rolled over in. Toby went to swing his hatchet down again. I looked up to see my backpack just a few feet in front of me. Desperate, I grabbed it and flipped over with it in front of me right just when Toby slammed the hatchet down. Sparks flew as it cut through the bag and into my laptop (forgot I had that in there). Toby hadn’t expected to meet any resistance, the sudden jarring caused the hatchet to fly out of his grip as it bounced off the laptop.

I glanced at my ruined bag and computer then back at Toby. “You owe me over three hundred dollars, pal.” I shouted then threw the bag into his face, causing him to stumble back. Before he could recover I picked up the wooden hatchet and swung it full force into Toby’s direction. I was aiming for his side but lightning struck at the same instant I swung, throwing off my aim.

“Aah!” Toby yelped in surprise as he stumbled back with the hatchet stuck in his leg. I sat up and grabbed the other hatchet lying beside me. I heard Toby grunt, as he fell against a neighboring tree, trying to free the hatchet of his leg.

Panting, I got up and approached Toby with the hatchet in hand. He continued to struggle and attempt to remove the hatchet as I walked towards him.

When I stepped in front of him, he stopped and slowly raised his head up to see me towering above him. I have no idea what I looked like to Toby then, but the amount of anger and hatred I felt for him must have made me look like a monster, like him. Holding onto the hatchet with both hands, I raised it to strike. Toby looked for anything that could help him, but there was nothing he could do.

The moment I went swing the hatchet down, I hesitated. The image of Connie and her tearful face filled my vision. Was I really about to do this? Was I really going to kill her son? Gritting my teeth, I did the one thing nobody in their right mind would’ve ever done.

Knowing I’d probably regret this, I threw the hatchet down a few inches away from Toby’s face. He jerked back surprised, staring at the hatchet and then at me.

“Why?” he gasped.

I leaned toward him then said in a low voice, “Your mother lost all hope that you were alive for the past two years. She thinks you’re dead, and I’m sure as hell am not going to be the one who makes what she believes true.” I stood up and turned to leave. "I'm done here."

The moment I took a step forward; Toby began to laugh. I paused then turned to see what was so funny.

His mouth was still covered, but I could tell he was grinning, “You may have won this," he said, "but it’s not over. Heheheh! Look behind you.”

That doesn’t sound good.

I slowly turned around.

A figure wearing an all-black hoodie stood in front of me with his arms crossed. The top half of his face was hidden by the hood. He was smirking.

I felt swelling hatred burn through me. “YOU!” I shouted.

The Sender's smile grew wider.

Bracing into a tackle, I raced at The Sender. Lightning struck again, just before I made contact. Everything went white causing me to lose sight of The Sender, but I still ran on…

Only to slam into my car door.



Written by J.T. 
Content is available under
CC BY-NC-ND

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