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It was a bitterly cold evening with the icy winds cutting through the night air. The neighborhood was still, the unfettered cries of children long since lost to slumber. The laments of the lovers and the temptations of the shopkeepers long since lying dormant.
I rolled the black Mustang SVO around the last bend and eased along East 57th Street until I reached Avenue 250 and the safe haven of home. Parking the Mustang in the underground carpark, I heaved my weary legs out the door and lifted myself out of the drivers seat. Shutting the door of my car and locking it, I made my way home.
I had been working 14 long hours from 8 in the morning to 10 in the evening and was absolutely exhausted to the point where I felt I was gonna collapse right there in the middle of the road. Such hours are an insane proposition but as an ambulance driver, I was bound to these reckless endeavors.
Crossing the deserted road, I trudged down the broken sidewalk and headed towards my apartment block. The stillness of a quiet and deserted street was haunting and disturbed my already weary mind and sent cold shivers of unrest down my lumbered spine. The chilling breeze swept through my jet-black hair and into the creases of my unzipped dark leather jacket.
With every step I took, the clip-clopping of my black muddy runners against the pavement was amplified by the unearthly silence. I felt pangs of fear and near-paranoia, my ears pricked for signs of trouble. Along closed shops, filthy cars and dimly-lit apartments I hurriedly paced until finally my apartment block came gloriously into view. I reached for the rusting handle and heaved the door open. I was stood in the bleak reception area where Steve, the receptionist, worked long into the night.
He threw me a half-hearted smile and I nodded back, a token gesture towards a stranger who had my security and the security of all the tenants in this building in mind but whom I never gave much credence to. I was started towards the elevator and waited patiently for it to reach the bottom floor. After about half a minute waiting, the door flew open and I stepped gratefully inside. I pushed the button labelled "27" and alone in this fragile box, I watched the numbers on the digital reading change, "1...2...3...4...5..." Eventually the elevator hit 27 and the doors flew open yet again. I stepped out into the red-carpeted hallway and shuffled exhaustively down the corridor towards my apartment.
Reaching number 275, I fumbled in my jacket for my keys, pulled them out and pushed them into the lock. Turning them in the keyhole, I made for the door handle and then paused. I was instantly gripped with a strange reservation, as if entering my own apartment was to bear witness to the horrors of hell itself. For a moment I stood steadfast, my hand laying wrapped around the door handle but reluctant to push it downwards. After what seemed an eternity, but which was merely a minute or so, the feeling in my gut passed and uncertain as to what had caused it to appear, I pushed open the door.
Throwing my keys onto the kitchen counter, I eased my jacket off and tossed it onto a nearby chair. I should've headed for bed right then and there but I figured a bit of telly wouldn't hurt so I flopped down on the sofa, grabbed the remote and aimed it towards the 15-inch Philips box, sat atop a VHS player. The screen came shuddering to a start and into view came the irrepressible Detective Buntz ably played by Dennis Franz in Hill Street Blues. I settled deeper into my sofa and enjoyed another gripping episode as the force protects the elder neighborhood people from a violent mugger and stake out a possible fence. I kept my eyes on the television but after a few minutes I could feel myself nodding off. I blinked a few times and kept focus on the program. I knew I should be sleeping after such a hard day but I just didn't have the energy to move so I stayed where I was seated knowing that if I fell asleep, at least it would be on the sofa and not out on the streets or in the middle of a shifty-looking tenement. I yawned to myself and tried to keep up with the story being played out in front of me.
I fell into a blank nothingness where voices soared with no earthly throat to contain them. Somewhere in the distance, a voice was warning me to look out for bike riders on the road. Still drowsy from the moment's confusion, I listened half-heartedly as this sagely person was interrupted by another disembodied voice. "This concludes our broadcast schedule for the day. Portions of the preceding day were prerecorded. For the best in entertainment, stay with WNBC-TV channel 4 in New York. This is Fred Facey wishing you a good night on behalf of Channel 4. We will return to the air tomorrow with more of your favorite programs. And now our national anthem."
I listened blindly as Star-Spangled Banner rang out from a black void, stirring majestically from the very heart of the earth itself. It took me a few seconds to get my bearing before I realised that I had, as I feared I would, fallen asleep on the sofa with the TV still on. I lay there motionless, too tired to move an inch as the NBC sign-off came to a soaring swansong as the brass band sang of the land of the free and the home of the brave amidst the visions of historic buildings, proud drummers and the American flag waving oh so proud. The monitor than turned blank before a rainbow-colored test card made its appearance, accompanied by a mono-toned eternal ringing. I would have stood up and grabbed the remote to switch off the TV, but frankly I had no energy to move, so I lay there, staring blankly at an unflinching screen, the monotonous tone ringing in my ears. For a few moments, I blanked out, my head too encumbered to even think.
I was stirred suddenly by the mechanical whirring of an electronic device, stirring into activity. A sharp clunking of plastic against plastic preceded more robotic noises as gears shifted and turned. And then to my utter bemusement, a playful theme began to play. A child-like, innocent theme. A theme I knew well as the theme tune to a show called "The Herbs", a children's 3D animated show made in Britain. I sat up sluggishly as my brain began to stir into action once again. I looked over at the plastic black-rimmed clock hanging up on my wall and realized that it was half-three in the morning.
I glanced over at the TV screen and saw that it was indeed "The Herbs" that was playing out in front of me. A horrified realization overtook as I came to several conclusions all at once. First of all, no child's show would be airing on TV at half-three in the morning. Second of all, the channel had signed off until about 6am, and finally no show was actually airing at this particular time. Glancing at the video player made me realize that what was playing in front of me was not actually a syndicated program, but rather a videotape, as the video player was fully operating at this very moment. Which led me to my next two conclusions: I had not even had a video of such an obscure cartoon such as The Herbs and, more horrifying than that, I had not even had a tape in the player and nor had I pushed a tape in.
Which inevitably meant that someone had actually pushed this tape in to show me. But if this was the case, then how come I hadn't noticed anyone in the house? Furthermore, if they had left the room, surely I would have heard a door slam. Confused and utterly baffled by this strange turn of events, I began watching this children's program. The Herbs was a strange beast in and of itself. It contained a collection of talking herbs who lived in a magical-walled garden in a country estate. Its characters being talking herbs and it being live-action, the imagery in this show was bound to be trippy and perhaps, being a stop-motion cartoon, a little weird as well. Nevertheless, it was well-received by the British public and I, spending my childhood in a housing estate in Cheshire and being a child of the 60's, had caught all 13 episodes as a child. I, in my childish innocence, had quite enjoyed it too. Enjoyed it enough to have had every episode ingrained on my mind for all eternity.
Which is why I was a little disturbed by this current episode being shown to me. It was unlike any of the previous episodes I had seen at all. In fact, it looked as if it were a completely new episode altogether. Which is impossible because no other episode was made after its cessation in 1968. There was a spin-off of the show called "The Adventures of Parsely" but this wasn't one of those episodes as the title had definitely been "The Herbs". Intrigued and quite terrified, I began watching to see what was to come.
First came the opening sequence, where two stone cherub statues appear. The cherub on the right rotates on his pedestal until he finally faces the audience with a label covering up parts where pants were distinctly lacking. It flies off him, hits a wall and then falls to the ground. It then meshes itself into the gravel and morphs into a label with the name of a herb, the name representing the particular herb involved in the show. As the music fades out, the dulcet tones of the narrator is noticeably absent. I had noticed in all this that the theme tune was distorted, like a music box that was coming to the end of its life, its high-pitched nasally shriek off-putting.
It may well have been owing to my tiredness, but in my groggy state, I could see the characters acting out their roles on screen, and although they were speaking, I couldn't understand what they were saying. The volume was on high when I checked it but their conversations seemed muffled rather than coherent. Stranger still, the original show was known for the sardonic musings of its narrator but his role seemed missing from this episode. Each of the characters seemed unusually happy, judging by the upbeat tone of their voices but something seemed wrong.
I couldn't quite put my finger on it. A few seconds later, I felt this chillingly terrified feeling in the pits of my stomach. I couldn't explain it but something seemed wrong or misplaced. I continued watching as Dill the Dog is conversing under a paper tree with Sage the Feathery Owl. What they were conversing about I could not tell but they seemed strangely animated. After a few seconds, the cleanliness-obsessed gardener Bayleaf interrupted their conversation. Upon making his appearance I couldn't help but feel a sharp chill run down my very spine, as if having witnessed a great horror even though this character was a regular feature in the show and someone I was used to seeing.
He had directed his piece in this oddly muffled and inelegant conversation firstly at Dill and then at Sage. As I watched and listened, finding it impossible to figure out what was going on or what was being said, I felt a painful throbbing in the center of my forehead, right above my nose. It had started suddenly without forewarning. The screen jumped a bit, as an old video is wont to do, and in that split second I thought I had seen some image appear, all too brief to piece together. It may have been my weary mind playing tricks on me in the early hours of the morning so I let it go.
It had not occurred to me to rewind the tape and try to freeze frame it and I probably should have but I chose instead to continue watching this strange video. It was bizarre that this one scene would stay transfixed in one location but Dill, Sage and Bayleaf hadn't moved from their individual spots. And yet as their indecipherable conversation continued, the throbbing in my head became an overwhelmingly agonising thud. My eyes dimmed with the pain and my vision darkened. I sat with my hand pressed against my forehead yet I could not take my eyes off the screen.
Into this mix came Constable Knapweed, the resident "by-the-book" police officer, charged with keeping order. Instead of joining in with this lively discussion, he stood off to one side as if observing the proceedings. One by one the characters noticed his presence, something they previously hadn't, and looked at him with deep fear and suspicion. Slowly but surely, he began to add his piece, his words again muffled and imperceptible. To me, it seemed as if he was running the rule over each one of them, reading them the riot act or merely warning them for some abhorrent behavior. The screen skipped again, thrice this time and it slightly distorted the image on screen, each character turning ever so slightly grey, each image pulled sideways and forwards as the screen jumped about. As Knapweed lectured them, I could feel my heart beat rapidly in my chest and my temperature soar. My breath was stunted and shallow and the room seemed to feel smaller, the walls shrinking in on the sofa I was sitting on, the roof bending and flexing towards my head. I sank deeper into the sofa, pinning myself against the back support. The screen enlarged and shrank the characters, pulling their limbs in all different directions, making their eyes bulge and the landscape shudder as if hit by an earthquake. As my eyes watered and shook in their sockets, the screen threw all these images into one black and white mess until the whole thing shuddered to a halt. The snowflakes of static filled the screen, the harsh buzz of nothingness echoing around the room.
I stared into this black and white abyss, completely transfixed until the monitor eventually shuddered to a halt, the static replaced by a black void. For three seconds, nothing happened. Before I could even move, the video began to whir again, its gears meshing together, plastic bouncing off plastic, the electronics pumping themselves into life once more. The cassette entrance opened up in expectation of this strange tape.
I sat in the arches of the sofa, my eyes glued to the opening, awaiting this mysterious video. After some expectant and impatient waiting, a black cassette popped out. It sat there for two seconds before being violently shunted in my direction. The videotape landed at my feet yet I sat there staring at it, unmoving and terrified. It lay there, completely blank, no label or any sort of identifiable description. As I stared down at this blank cassette, my eyes felt heavy. As the whirling mists of confusion and weariness caressed my brain, I blanked out.
I swam in the nether regions of a blank void, swimming helplessly in a dark vacuum ebbing to and fro. My stomach lifted and dropped in my abdomen, my brain buzzed and gracelessly vibrated in my skull. I felt centuries whizz by in an instant. I felt the harsh winds of the worst winters in history blow the skin from off my bones. And then in a rapid turn, I felt a piercing burn on the surface of my chest.
It zipped first to the left then changed direction and headed up towards my neck. It shuddered to a halt and started along the base of my chest before rapidly racing in all directions. It felt like coals from the lava of the Vesuvius and the stench of molten liquid made my eyes well up with tears. Then nothing. In the haunting silence a lone ghostly voice whispered, "Soooooooonnnnnnnn!!!" It penetrated the furthest deepest corners of my befuddled mind, echoing relentlessly around my skull, sending a chill down my spine.
I awoke in a daze. With little clue as to what had caused my weary mind to conjure such horrors, I sat motionless on the cushy sofa and tried to summon the energy to move. My mind briefly remained blank until some semblance of sense returned. I turned my fatigued head towards the plastic-framed clock and found that it was half-seven. With merely a half hour to go, I needed to fill my stomach and get my head together. After what seemed like centuries had passed, I gingerly staggered to my aching feet and lurched listlessly towards the bathroom.
I pulled open the white oak door and proceeded on in. I caught sight of a ghostly image in the mirror only to realize that it was in fact my own pale entity standing before it. I reluctantly gazed into the mirror, my eyes dark with black tired rings, my face a picture of terror and my skin pale as snow. But something extraordinary had caught my eye and caused my shallow breath to catch in my lungs. There, clear as day across my chest, was a red-hot scratched symbol, as if tattooed by a hell demon. I could not make out precisely what it was meant to be but the fact that it was there on my chest sent waves of horror crashing deep within me.
It seemed to glow a visceral red, as if coming to life. It extended as far as my nipples and sprawled across all areas of my chest. And there scrawled right across the mirror in the lava-like shade of red was one simple message: "VESTUSARIA". I had never heard of this word and had no earthly idea what it was telling me but it struck me as probably being an ancient word meant to express to the viewer doom and demise. Whatever it meant, to me it meant only one thing, I was done for, there was nothing for me to do but accept my fate. As I gazed into an unearthly abyss, I felt the room begin to contract and waves of red cascade across the bathroom. The lights begin to fade as my entire apartment evaporated into nothingness. In the darkest reaches of an eternal nothing, a disembodied whisper pierced my eardrums: "Yoooooooooouuuuuuu'rrrrrrrrreeeeeeeee Miiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnneeeeeee!" I faded into obscurity and reluctantly surrendered to the void.
I knew not where I was nor where I was going. The very fabric of time had come to a shuddering halt. It felt like months had passed like centuries. I couldn't tell how long I had been here or where indeed I was but I knew that I was not of any living world. I was instead swimming helplessly in nulity. My fear had gradually turned to anger. I needed someone here with me. Someone to share my pain.
Someone whose soul I could consume and keep as a pet. I only needed to lure them in with curiosity and then condemn them forever. I just needed to catch their attention, have them resort to a child-like state of innocent curiosity and then pierce their mind with one single word, a word so powerful that it could shake the heavens and cause civilizations to fall. A word that brings outright surrender. My soulmate would be here. Soon.
I'm glad I managed to complete this and get it uploaded. I had gone through several ideas in my head and not only settled on this and composed it well enough. I'm hoping that this, my very first Creepypasta, is enough to capture your attention and take place in the esteemed archives of this wiki.
A curious incident happened to me though which I am compelled to relay to you all. Not minutes after typing this all up, I fell asleep on the sitting room sofa for about half an hour. When I woke up though, I heard the CD drive of this laptop whirring into activity and have now been presented with a bewildering video of Rugrats playing on Windows Media Player. I remember watching this as a kid and am now feeling a wave of nostalgia. I paused it a bit to type this up but will for curiosity's sake watch it. From the few seconds I saw of it though, it doesn't look like any Rugrats episode I've seen before. Strange but I'll keep watching......