It started on a warm day in the beginning of June. I found a package sitting inside on the floor in front of my front door. My mom was out of town for work, I don’t know my dad, and I didn’t remember bringing a package in.
That was my first clue.
Goddamnit I knew something terrible was going to happen the minute I opened that box. It was a small cardboard box containing a figure of a WWE wrestler. I never did learn his name. Its leg was cut jaggedly halfway through and his foot was cut in half lengthwise. I knew immediately what it meant.
Last year, when I was twelve, my best friend Tony and I were at my house getting ready. It was snowing lightly on and off for three days. Most kids would be bummed out by the lack of snow, but we didn’t care. See, we lived in San Antonio where it rarely snows, so first of all, we being twelve, were happy that there was snow at all. Secondly, we loved going through the trails on our bikes. It was both our favorite thing to do, and we thought it would be cool trailing while it was snowing. The snow didn’t have enough time nor was it heavy enough to build, and it wasn’t that cold despite the snow, so we decided it was a good idea and stuffed our backpacks with our pellet guns, sandwiches, water, and some toys to put holes into.
The woods were almost right behind my house so it wasn’t difficult getting to the trails. At the entrance there was a long, smooth, concrete road that ran for dozens miles, splitting off in three directions after the first, and was used to enter the many trails on either side of the concrete, and to find your way back. Before the fork, we entered a novice trail for a warm up. The rocks were wet, and the floor was a bit squishy, but we didn’t mind. The little bits of actual mud that were around were easily avoidable, and the wind was non-existent. Not even after riding for a while did our chests feel any bite from the low temperature outside. We thought it a perfect day for trailing while it snows.
After our warm up, we headed down a winding path not too far down the trail we were on. The new trail led us toward a small waterfall and river. If you ride through this path, you come up to a small part of a river with a waterfall that sits on top of a big slab of rock. The river is about ten to fifteen feet wide after the waterfall. To the left of the waterfall, under it, the stone was uneven and smooth to a degree where we could sit comfortably. Beside this is a tree that grew too close to the stone, making it a great place for shade and rest. There were smooth stones along with flat ones of all shapes and sizes along the stone bed that the river created. This made up our “hangout.” Last year, our parents agreed that we were skilled enough to at least ride without my dad coming along to keep an eye on us, so long as we only went on anything higher than intermediate when my dad was around. Our parents trusted us, and since then it was our spot.
We set some stuffed animals on the stones along the small river to shoot at. We were almost always able to retrieve the toys when they fell into the water because the rocks that stuck out crowded the edge along the water. After knocking them down, the next place to set them up was on some stones in the middle of the river. We usually lost those since there weren’t many stones jutting out in the middle, so we would use some rubber WWE action figures about a foot high and about three inches wide. (I now understand the danger of shooting at rocks and rubber with pellets obviously, but we were adolescent kids who thought they knew better than what their parents told them. This fact is trivial though, as we soon had bigger problems.)
The reason we had these in bulk was because Tony had seen a big box with a little more than three dozen of them at a yard sale for 25 cents each and decided to buy them all for ten bucks for this very reason, since we were having trouble finding disposable things to shoot at. We obviously didn’t care about the environment very much.
Handing four dolls to Tony, I told him, “Hey bitch, take these and set them up.”
Taking them with a jerk, he told me to “stick a stick, prick,” or some other juvenile vulgar insult twelve year old friends use on each other.
He started toward the knee deep water with the dolls, but as he stepped on the first stone close to the water, he slipped.
“Goddamn it! Jon watch out, the stones outside the water are icy as fuck.”
Laughing my ass off I told him to stop being a bitch.
“Fuck, my phone broke!” he added, taking a smashed LG phone with a slide keyboard out from his pocket.
“Your fault, dumbass, now hurry up. My trigger finger’s itchy.” I went up to him and pushed him into the cold shallow water.
“Hey dick! The water’s too cold, fuck this I’m getting out.”
He tried to get out, but I just pushed him back. “You’re in there now so just do it really quick. It’ll take maybe a minute.” With that, he reluctantly walked over to the first stone.
We had holes in the spot between the doll’s supposed butt and balls (or as some will call it, “the gooch”) filled them with play dough so that sticking them on the sharp ends of the rocks wouldn’t be so difficult. The rock he was working on was shaped like a triangle with one corner sticking into the ground, and the longest edge coming up at about a sixty to seventy degree angle from the water. The other corner looked like a ninety degree angle, and sat a few inches lower than the former. As he pushed down on the legs, trying to stick the doll firmly on the rock, I noticed the corner opposite of the corner in the ground along the long end shift a little downward. Tony didn’t seem to notice, and I wrote it off as unimportant.
Now, what happened next involved a couple of factors that I’d like to point out. First, Tony was what you would call “big-boned.” He really did have a large structure and was quite a bit taller than me. He was also a little fat, but not so fat that he couldn’t ride through the woods. Second, the corner he was sticking the doll on was the highest corner. (This was about as high as his waist.) As he pushed down, he slipped on a smooth stone from the bed. As he fell he grasped for the corner of the rock, causing it to dislodge. The jagged edge fell like a guillotine as his feet went under it. The edge caught him in an awkward position; one leg was pinned just above his knee, and the other was pinned by the foot, past his toes, close to the corner that used to be lodged into the bed.
It happened in a second. His scream was piercing. Looking out to where he was, I could see the water turning red. His neck stuck out of the water, but that’s all. This was because the awkward pin the rock had on him.
I ran out to him in a panic, but slipped on the icy rocks. The edge of an uneven rock cut deep and indented into my thigh. My pain subsided as the adrenaline increased and I limped closer to my friend. His face was already white. He sat with his stomach against the current, and the rock in front of him. The clear water revealed his mangled leg, protruding from the opposite side of the rock in an odd angle. His other foot was visibly shattered past his toes. Even the skin had been brutally scraped off.
“Please. Get me some help.” Tony gasped and shuddered. “I’m cold. The cold water feels like it’s rushing into my cuts. It hurts Jon. Go get your dad. Hurry. Please go. GO,” he said with shallow, interrupted breaths.
I couldn’t hear anything as I picked my bike up. I felt deaf. I turned around to look at my friend. He hugged the rock as best as he could for any warmth he could muster. As I pushed down on the pedal, the bike moved forward on the wet grass, but a sharp pain glided up and down my leg as I fell. I looked down and saw blood. A lot of blood. I pulled the opening the rock had made to look at the cut. It was really bad. A chunk of skin was tugged back, and looked like a wet piece of white jerky. The cut itself was toothed. Blood gushed out, and I threw up on the grass. I felt dizzy.
“No,” I said to myself out loud. “I can’t pass out. I have to get help.”
I painfully pushed myself off the ground with my bike. It hurt so much to pedal with my right leg. Every bump was searing pain, and I was starting to get dizzy. My left handlebar hit bark as I came up to the concrete that led back home, and the bike sent me flying onto it.
I awoke to paramedics putting me on a stretcher. Some joggers had found me north of twenty minutes after I flew off my bike. I pleaded with them to go help my friend. I frantically explained the situation as they lifted me into the ambulance. They left in a hurry to look for Tony as the driver of the ambulance rushed me to the hospital. He used his radio to call another ambulance and more police to help with the search.
I had a broken collar bone, and shoulder. The cut on my thigh needed 43 stiches. When I was able to see my mom, I asked her about Tony. She said he was in a room in ICU. He was asleep, and will wake up soon. Relief washed over me.
The next day, I was able to walk and decided to visit my friend. When I went to the ICU, I asked what room he was in.
“Son, there isn’t anyone by that name here,” the receptionist told me.
Why wouldn’t he be here? Maybe my mom meant in a different hospital. I called her at work and asked her where he was. She told me she was on her way.”
I patiently waited on my bed and, when she arrived, I immediately saw her grief stricken face.
“Mom, what’s going on?”
“I’m sorry hon, I wanted to let you know, but I couldn’t stand to hurt you. I didn’t think you’d be on your feet so soon. Guess that was silly wasn’t it? Of course you would seek out your friend. I’m so sorry Jon… but Tony died. When they found him he was already dead.”
I decided to put the doll in a drawer in my desk. As I picked my head up, there was a message on my computer screen. It read, “I would be thirteen today. It’s your fault.”
I almost shit myself. The message read as a command prompt popped up on my desktop with only one button, “Lend.” There was also no exit button. I decided to figure it out later, and turned the machine off. I hadn’t eaten so I went to the kitchen to make a sandwich. When I was done, I went to the living room and turned the TV on, taking my first bite.
I choked on that bite.
The screen had a picture of Tony pinned under the rock. His head was halfway sunk and lifeless in the water. Suddenly, the flat screen broke inwardly. The cracks on the screen read “PAYDAY.”
My spirit shattered. My guilt felt like thick syrup pumping into my heart, and fear consumed me. I guessed playing along with the spirit would get me through this quicker, but I was frightened. What would happen if I clicked “Lend” on my computer? Would that give him some type of permission? Does he need permission? I decided to sleep on it.
The nightmares were horrible. I was the one pinned under the rock this time. I looked to the edge of the river, and Tony was standing by his bike, laughing. He called me a pussy and said it wasn’t that bad.
“Put the fucking doll on the rock fag!” He bellowed.
I couldn’t speak. All I could do was look around. The rock started moving just then. It started moving into the ground, pulling me with it. I tried screaming for help, but the words wouldn’t come out. Then I was underwater, but it was so thick my body couldn’t move, and I could still breathe. Tony appeared just then.
“I can’t move on Jon. My last thought in this world was how you pushed me into the water, and didn’t let me out. My last feelings were of hatred of you, for letting me die. Did you know I died from drowning and not blood loss? I guess you could say it was both, but the lack of blood caused my head to tilt back into the water. It felt so heavy that I couldn’t even lift it out of the water and keep myself from drowning. What took you so long?”
I could only stare back.
“It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I can’t move on until I drag you with me.”
My lungs started to fill with water, even though I felt air. It was an odd and painful sensation. I panicked and tried to move. In my struggle, I woke up. I found myself drowning in the same river Tony did. Had I sleepwalked here? That did it. When I finally got home I turned my computer on, and instead of starting up, the command prompt immediately appeared. I clicked “Lend” on my computer.
My arms and legs moved by themselves. I heard my voice just then.
“Thanks Jon. I was only able to possess your sleeping body until I sent you that contract.”
That was a contract?
“Indeed it was. Yes I can hear your thoughts. They are our thoughts now. Thanks to you, I am able to literally drag you to death with me.”
My mind reeled. I fought him, but he had control. My body awkwardly walked into the woods. I arrived at the river. I was so desperate, I started to gain control of parts of my body, but not completely. My voice was back, so I started to scream. It was daytime, and people are usually out riding through the trails at this time. I sensed him realize this, as he flung my body into the water. He tried to make me limp, but, as I was gaining control, I caught myself with my knees and palms. I felt him pushing down as I struggled to keep my arms straight. I screamed at the top of my lungs for help.
Without warning, my body was picked up by a stranger. A couple out on their bikes heard me screaming. Confused with what they found they asked, “What the hell were you doing?”
“My friend is possessing me. He’s dead and he blames me!” I sobbed hysterically. I must have looked mad because they called the police, and I was thrown into a mental institution. Tony has tried to kill me in here too, with any crude tool he can get his hands on, but it’s never worked. Here I’m always being watched, and I’m grateful, but it’s hell in my head. Tony tortures me. He feeds me delusions, and I’m never silent in my own head. He has rendered me a crazy person. I’ve even attacked a few people here on my own account. Slowly, I’m losing every trace of sanity in me, so I’ve decided to document my story. It’s all I can do now. Tony tells me he’s got a plan to end me soon.
Written by Pantry Monster