“Why do we live?” asked Charlie White as he sat through yet another session of therapy, in which didn’t change anything. Yes my mind is delusional but it isn’t my fault. Torment is what pushes someone over their limits, pushed too far and one’s spirit could snap.
“Charlie, you know that I can’t answer such a question,” responded my therapist Dr. Whitney Johnson who was dressed in a brown coat with wire frame glasses. She was about 42 years old but she didn’t really help my problem. My problem was that I was depressed, my dad was a raging alcoholic and my mother died when I was a young child. In school I had no friends and was bullied often by a kid named Grayson. The only person I talked to was the school therapist and even I could tell that she wanted to leave as soon as possible. She constantly would check her watch and towards the end of each session would always rush to leave as soon as she could. So if you think about it, no one wanted to talk to me without being paid.
“Can I just leave now? I have nothing I want to talk about,” I suddenly broke the silence.
“Charlie you know I can’t let you leave, maybe if you want we can work on your social skills,” responded Dr. Whitney.
“I don’t care for social skills I just want to leave,” I responded with a bit of anger.
“Charlie for the last time you can’t leave,” responded Dr. Whitney.
“Screw this I’m getting out of here,” I said as I started walking out.
“CHARLIE!” she yelled I held up my middle finger and walked out. She grabbed me and slapped me on the wrist with a ruler and I screamed out loud.
“F**K THIS I’M OUT!” I screamed.
“GET BACK HERE MISTER,” she responded but I continued on with leaving and didn’t plan on returning.
Upon arrival at school for the following day I was greeted by the school principal, he clearly was not impressed with me. I was called to the office and forced to apologize to the therapist, I wasn’t genuinely sorry but I pretended that I was to get it done and over with. I walked over to my locker only to see it being blocked by Grayson and his friends. Slowly I walked over but Grayson looked at me and smirked.
“What’s up loser?” he said as his friends started snickering.
“Just go away Grayson I don’t want any trouble,” I stuttered. Suddenly he opened my locker, how he knew my combination, I have yet to find out but he went over and grabbed me.
“GET IN!” he yelled.
“GET YOUR HANDS OFF OF ME!” I squirmed and fought but my attempts were futile. He shoved me in my locker banging my head in the process and locked it. Him and his friends walked away laughing, I even heard one bragging that they got it on camera. That was the last straw. No one can be such a terrible person as what he was to me. No one should suffer what I’ve suffered. I sat in my locker crying.
As the horrible day of torment came to an end I walked home and trudged upstairs where I could be alone, away from those who have tormented me. I lived in the “shady” part of town and was living in poverty, much like most kids at my school. I hated this city and wanted to leave, leave everyone I ever knew behind. What I wanted the most was to see pain in Grayson’s face, I want to see him breakdown and cry. I wanted to show him that I’m not a loser but more so a winner. Yes, a winner. I like that thought I said to myself. I was sick of being a joke, sick of being the joke. Anytime someone gossiped about someone, I was normally involved in it somehow. Even the nerds picked on me. I couldn’t deal with it anymore. I pondered what life would be like elsewhere. Somewhere I was free, free from the pain. Then I was flooded with extremely dark thoughts. I tried washing the thoughts away but nothing was changing. I became angry and screamed. Shortly after my dad came in to see what was happening.
“Charlie are you alright?” asked my dad.
“Yes I’m fine,” I lied. Yes I was angry, angry and sad. “Dad?” I asked, “why do we live?” I continued.
“Well son, some people believe that there’s many reasons why we live. Some think it’s to continue on the human race,” responded my father.
“How do I continue the human race if no one likes me?” I asked.
“Son, it may take some time, I was just like you as a child until I met your mother…” he trailed off. We try not to normally mention my mother but sometimes it happens. She was gruesomely murdered years ago after someone broke into our apartment and shot her with a gun on Christmas day. I was far too young to remember but just the thought of me being there that night scared me.
“It’s okay dad, it wasn’t your fault,” silence proceeded.
I awoke abruptly in the middle of the night hearing whispers, calling my name, asking me to come and play… the whispers sounded like they came from my closet but I was too afraid to check. I just laid there while the whispers slowly grew louder, and louder until at one point they sounded like screams. “Come play Charlie” is what they kept repeating. I hid under my covers and put my earbuds in to try and ignore it when suddenly it felt like someone was touching me. At first just a cold faint touch, but gradually it became more noticeable. It started to hurt, I could feel the blood circulation being cut off. I tried letting out a scream but nothing came out. Suddenly my neck started to compress, the thing was grabbing me by the throat. I was gasping for air, anything for air. My vision started fading and I managed to let out a loud cry for help. My dad immediately came into my room and I blacked out.
When I finally woke back up again, something felt off. Something just didn’t add up but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I soon realized that I was dreaming but the dream felt so real. In the dream I was in a black trench coat and black gloves on. I was in an apartment building and that was all I knew. There was snow outside so it must’ve been winter. Suddenly I lost control of myself and started walking, I couldn’t slow down and I couldn’t control where I was going. I got into an elevator and pressed the button labeled with “4”. The elevator arose and when I reached the floor the doors opened. I walked down the hallway right to a door that read Apartment #341. Uncontrollably I rang on the doorbell and preceded to crouch. I pulled out a 12 gauge shotgun and waited. The door opened and what I saw made me want to cry, at the door was a younger version of my dad sitting with my mom. Then I looked around and saw a baby, that baby was me. Without control I hit my dad on the head with the gun, he fell on the ground lifelessly. I closed and locked the door and had a sickly smile on my face as I stared at what appeared to be my mother, alive and looking as amazing as she did in the pictures I’ve seen. I pointed my gun at her and pressed the trigger. Everything went blank from there.
I shot up out of my bed in what appeared to be a hospital room. I was on life support and saw my heart rate monitor going like crazy, it wasn’t a constant ring which gave me relief that I wasn’t dead yet. My dream from when I was out still burned in my mind. Right up till the end when my mother was crying and holding a baby version of me. It was unnerving but then I realized what I had gone through the previous night, or was it the previous night? How long had I been out? Was I in a coma? So many questions left unanswered. I wanted to see my dad, I wanted to comfort him, tell him that everything will be alright. But what is alright? I’ve just been in a coma for I don’t even know how long, I had such a dark dream, and chances are that video Grayson had of me has gone viral on YouTube. For all I know I could still be dreaming, so I tested it. I got up and walked around my room and found something sharp, it was a scalpel. I cut it into my wrist and felt instant pain but saw no blood. I dug deeper and started to draw a line with it. Still no blood, I thought to myself that I was still unconscious so I decided to explore. I walked to the door and opened it. It looked like your average hospital but a bit more decayed. I ventured down a seemingly endless hallway until I found two doors. They both had signs on them each with its own text. The door on the right read “Keep out, Medical Personnel only” and the door to the left read “Section B rooms #346 – #446”. I tried the door on the left but to my surprise it was locked. Seeing that I had only two choices now, go back to my room or open the door on the right, my mind had a mini debate. Just as I decided to return to my room I was surprised to find out that there was just a wall blocking my path. It wasn’t there a minute ago, was it? “If I stay here any longer I’ll surely become insane” so I tried the door on the right. It was unlocked. My heart instantly dropped.
Inside the room was the dead corpses of dozens of people. It smelt so terrible and made me want to cry and puke. In the middle of the room was a wooden chair with a cadaver on it. The rotting cadaver’s expressionless face stared directly at me. I recognised that face. It was me. It’s lifeless corpse was slowly decomposing with open flesh wounds and a deformed face, It was missing teeth and had no eyes. It’s hair was in tiny patches at the top of his head. He reeked of dead animals and rotten flesh and even had mold growing on it. I suddenly passed out.
I awoke suddenly in a bright white hospital room yet again but this time my dad was at my side. He was so excited to see me wake up.
“Where… What happened?” I decided to ask.
“Son, you had a heart attack,” he responded. How could I of all people of had a heart attack? I was 15 and was decently athletic.
“How long was I out for…?” I asked.
“Close to a month, we were all so worried, the doctors were afraid they would have to take you off life support. To my left was a heart rate monitor and many other medical machines. Flashbacks of what I saw immediately attacked me, my dad lying lifelessly on the floor, my dead corpse staring at me, my mother…
“Is everything alright?” my dad asked with a concerned tone.
“Ye… yeah…” I stuttered.
“How much longer do I need to be here…?” I asked my dad.
“The doctors say about a week, they want to monitor you and to see why you had such a violent heart attack for someone of your health.” he responded.
“Aw man, I want to go home,” I said in a sad tone.
“Me too,” he said with a teary voice.
My first day back at school was surprisingly great, people actually wanted to talk to me and I felt accepted. People kept asking me if I was good and in better health which to be honest gets a little old but at least someone wants to talk to me! I even befriended a kid named Cory Wilson, he is a lot like me, not too many friends and is normally bullied by Grayson. Also surprisingly even Grayson laid off of me! I could never have been happier. My life was finally starting to get a little better! It was going good until I got called to the principal’s office.
I arrived at the principal’s office and was met by a police officer. The officer was about 6 foot 2 and had a buzz cut and a thick mustache across his lip. He had a strong build and looked like he didn’t take anything from anybody.
“Charlie White?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I responded.
“Come with me,” he ordered. I didn’t move. “Get in the car Charlie” barked the officer.
“Uh shouldn’t I wait for my parents or at least tell my parents?” I asked.
“They’ve been notified,” he snapped back. Feeling a little cornered I realized that I pretty much had to go into the vehicle although I didn’t want to.
The first thing I noticed as I got in was how little leg room the back seat had. The seats were made of leather and I could barely see out the window. I’ll admit, it was kind of an interesting experience, it felt kind of badass to be back here like a real criminal but at the same time it was a bit nerve racking to be back here. There was just something about it that just felt weird, although these past couple of days certainly have been a whole new kind of weird.
We drove out to some weird forest in the middle of nowhere, that started to make me panic. There was no cell service so I couldn’t text my dad to tell him where I was and we weren’t even on a paved road anymore. I asked the officer where we were going but he said nothing and just focused on the road. After about 15 minutes of driving in the middle of nowhere, he finally pulled over.
“Get out,” he said with a stern look on his face.
“What why?” I asked.
“Get. Out.” this time a little more frustrated. I refused to move until he opened my door and grabbed me. I screamed for dear life but of course no one would hear me.
“COME PLAY CHARLIE,” the officer yelled, “YOU’LL LIKE IT OUT HERE WITH US”. At this point I was so scared tears came down my cheeks and my blood felt cold. “COME PLAY CHARLIE” he yelled even louder. In a moment of shock I noticed the taser on his belt, I grabbed it and tased him right in the gut. He let out a shriek that didn’t even sound human. I kept tasering him, hoping to kill him, he wasn’t a human and I knew that. Slowly but surely he stopped moving, I grabbed a pistol that I found in the glove box of his car and shot him in the head.
I found a box of ammo and reloaded my gun. “Great,” I thought to myself, “All alone in a forest full of strangers that want to play with me.”
I decided to sit in the car for a bit and keep warm, I was a little underdressed for surviving in the wilderness. All I had with me was a red t-shirt and a black pair of shorts. My phone was low on battery and I thought to myself it would be best to conserve its power. I tried turning on the radio but was greeted with static but then something out of the usual happened. I tried contacting the nearest police station through the walkie talkie device in the car and I did get a response. They asked me where I was and I gave them my location and all that I knew about where I was. Their voices suddenly changed, the person I was talking to’s voice became broken and staticky and he started chanting “Come play Charlie, we know where you are. We see you right now sitting in the front seat of that police car. You may have killed one of us, but we are onto you. We want to play Charlie” exclaimed the voice in a dark and twisted way. At this time my heart did a backflip in my chest and my only instinct was to drive away. Only problem was that the keys were with the dead officer and if those things were watching me, chances are they aren’t too far away. All I had with me was a gun and a box of ammo. I couldn’t risk going anywhere due to the fact that I would most likely be murdered or forced to “play” with whatever these things are. Then I heard banging…
I screamed at the top of my lungs at the site that I saw, a humanoid creature banging on the passenger door window screaming. It was grey and had no eyes, it had hair but only tiny grey strands of it and razor sharp fangs. This was it for me, I was doomed. I couldn’t escape this thing, it was going to end my life one way or another, and then the window broke. My heart was racing faster than any race horse has ever gone before. The thing grabbed my leg and pulled with strong force, I tried fighting it but nothing could stop it. I kicked it in the mouth and broke a few of its teeth and then remembered the gun in the car. I shot the creature right in the face and it became a motionless pile of what was once something deadly. I heard whispers in the background telling me to “Come play Charlie” and realized that wasn’t the only one of them. My window was broken so I thought it wouldn’t protect me for much longer, so I got out and booked it as fast as I could.
I ran so hard my lungs began to hurt and my legs began to tire. I heard loud shrieks coming from behind me and thought that this was how I was going to die. No, I was going to survive and kill anything that gets in my way. This dirt road seemed endless and muddy. It started raining making it even more muddy and slippery. I was panting hard now but I was determined. I kept running until I noticed a house. It was a tiny rundown cabin but I decided I could hide there for a bit. The door was unlocked and I entered.
I closed the door behind me hoping that I could hide from whatever was out there but was greeted by the gut wrenching smell of rotting corpses. My eyes adjusted to the dark room and I had a mini heart attack. I was suddenly back in that room full of corpses in that hospital I dreamed of. There was corpses everywhere, decorating the walls, floors, and even hanging from the ceiling. Then there was that corpse in the chair. I got a better look at it this time, it was definitely me. It had the same nose as me, same jawline, same everything except it was dead. It has been rotting in here for a long time. The scene paralyzed me, I couldn’t move, all I could do was stare at the dead version of me. But then I wondered, how is it possible for there to be two copies of me in the same universe? Were these creatures just messing with me and have basically trapped me? This is going to be my death bed, lying down on a floor covered in dead corpses soon to join them. The corpse in the middle of the room twitched a little, gradually it turned into a full on seizure. Twitching and convulsing, that corpse was alive! I tried opening the door, it was locked from the other side. I kept banging on the door trying to get out, I banged harder and harder. The corpse stood up. It started walking towards me, still twitching, with its jaw wide open as if it were mocking me. Making fun of me for falling for this trap. I cried and frantically banged on the door harder and harder. I body slammed the door and it opened up. I got out of the door and slammed the door shut while jamming it with some heavy crates that were near it. What shocked me the most was that I wasn’t in the forest anymore, I was back at the hospital.
There I was, was I dreaming? How did I get here? Once again, more questions then there are answers. I looked around and once again had two options that I could choose from. I could find my old room from the dream, or I could go down the other door. I tried the door and it was unlocked, so I ventured in. The hallway I entered smelled of a fine perfume, it was surprisingly pleasant considering what’s in the other room. This hallway looked like it was evacuated in a hurry. Papers were strewn all over the floor, the lights above me flickered at an inconsistent rate. All the doors were closed tight and seemingly locked. I continued down this dark hallway until I saw an open door. Curious, I walked into it. The door slammed immediately behind me locking me in.
The scent hit me first, it smelt of mold and dried blood. There was very little light, ruining my visibility. I yelled “Hello” and was answered with silence, of course. I noticed that I still had my gun and held it out in my hand. I tried opening the door but was met with utter disappointment, it was locked. So was I just going to die in here? I couldn’t escape. I banged on the door non-stop when suddenly it opened and I was met with a living corpse.
The corpse came in and took me by surprise. He was on me and he knocked the gun out of my hand. It was a one on one fight. He had me pinned, wow the amount of times I wondered if I was going to die. I couldn’t die, i’ve been through so much, this wasn’t how I was going to die. Suddenly I couldn’t move, I was paralyzed. It’s teeth dug into my neck. Blood came out of my neck and was getting everywhere. It felt like some force was entering my body, it didn’t feel right. I could feel my very life coming to an end. Yes it was a sad thought considering how far I’ve come but at least I could leave all of it behind and maybe start a new life. The pain hurt so much but it started to fade, everything started to fade. My life was being sucked out of my body. Slowly everything became a blur and it all faded out.
“Good day Charlie,” said a voice out of nowhere.
“What the hell?” I mumbled while still in a daze. Where was I? I was certain I died but here I was. Was this the afterlife? All I could see was darkness. Black and nothing else. I couldn’t feel anything and I couldn’t see anything.
“Come play Charlie,” I heard.
“Where am I?” I yelled.
“The afterland,” called out a voice. Afterland? So I was clearly dead, the Afterland must’ve been the name for the afterlife here but this afterlife seemed a little plain. If I was dead, how could I remember what happened?
“To the light Charlie,” called out a voice. In the corner of my eye a white flash appeared and I decided to follow it. I had nothing better to do because you know, I’m kind of dead. I followed the light and was greeted by a strange character. It wasn’t human, it was like a crab, a four legged crab made of entirely flesh. It had three eyes, two in a normal spot and one in the middle of it’s forehead. It stared directly at me but I wouldn’t know how, I was invisible.
“Charlie, welcome to Afterland. To answer the question you most likely have, no you aren’t dead yet. You are however not alive,” said the crab.
“Allow me to introduce myself, I am Xenu, king of Afterland. You are in the midst of a cycle. This isn’t the first time I’ve met you Charlie White,” continued the crab.
“What…? How is this possible…?” I stuttered.
“I’m sure you’ve seen the striking resemblance between you and that corpse that originally brought you here. That use to be a living breathing you, it was cursed to kill in a sense, you for eternity.” exclaimed the crab, “it needs to possess you in order to escape, but he has in many previous cycles. With each cycle it grows stronger and will eventually have enough strength to break free from its prison and unleash hell on earth,” continued the crab.
“How do I break this curse…?” I asked.
“You must break the cycle,” responded the crab. “In a second you will wake up, the corpse has possessed you, stole your body in a sense,” continued the crab.
“You must prove that you are stronger than the corpse to break the cycle, for it to stop wanting to play…” finished the crab.
“How…?” I asked. My question was never answered…
I was awoken by a blinding white light. I wasn’t where I was before, not the hospital, not the cabin in the woods. Not even at school. I didn’t know where I was but it felt oddly familiar. There was people talking around me. I was alive, I didn’t know how I escaped that creature, how I survived any of this, and how I actually got here. The atmosphere felt cheery and festive. I noticed a Christmas tree in the corner of the room so I assumed it was around December. There was a desk with young girl attending it. She was about 20 with beautiful blonde hair and blue eyes. Without warning I walked over to the desk. I asked the lady for directions to room #341, I had no idea who lived there and why I wanted directions to it. The lady said it was on the fourth floor to the left. Without control my legs started moving, I couldn’t stop them. They kept moving until we got into the elevator. My arm raised out of nowhere and pressed on a button labeled with the number four. Then the elevator ascended to floor four. The doors opened up to a long hallway, my legs started moving again against my will. I followed the lady’s directions down the hall to the left and found apartment number #341. My arm raised and knocked on the door, my body crouched down and pulled out a shotgun. I was beginning to fear what was about to happen. I waited for about 15 seconds and the door opened up. A man in a green shirt and brown hair answered.
“Hello, can I help you?” asked the man. My arms raised the shotgun to his chest and my legs started walking in. The room, the one from my dream… this couldn’t be happening, could it? As soon as I made the realisation, I knew that was my dad, a younger version of my dad. And there was my mother, she looked better than she ever did in all the pictures I’ve ever seen of her. She was young, seemingly full of life, and alive…
“Turn around,” my voice uncontrollably said. My dad turned around and got onto his knees. Without warning, I whacked him on the head with the back of my shotgun. He let out a cry and crawled over next to my mother. She went over to help him but then the thing possessing me yelled at her to stay put and on her knees. I looked around and there I was, the baby version of me. He sat there playing with a toy car not understanding what was happening. My arm suddenly pointed the gun at the infant.
“NOOOO PLEASE ANYONE BUT HIM,” my mother yelled, I proceeded to point the gun at her. Something started to happen. I looked over and there was a strange colorful beam slowly moving towards infant me. My parents didn’t seem to notice but it was clear to me what had to happen.
“Break the cycle” I recalled from the strange flesh crab. I realized my whole life was supposed to be used to break the evil that possesses me’s curse. It has done it countless times and I’ve been through this before, although I may not recall it ever happening, I knew it did. Slowly but surely I began to gain control again, I knew now what had to happen. The thing that was inside of me was transferring itself into baby me, I waited and watched as the evil entity slowly possessed the child. Suddenly, I gained full control and I shot the baby.
My parents let out both cries of sadness and disbelief, I wouldn’t blame them. All this time, I’ve been used, I was supposed to of shot my mother, but I didn’t. I shot the baby version of me. The evil entity that was once there was dead, the thing that wanted to play. It was all over. I realize now that nothing is stronger than a mother’s love. That’s why in the cycle, I would’ve normally of shot my mom, but I didn’t. Looking around at the scene observing the gruesome murder I just committed, I took off the black ski mask that was on my head and smiled at my parents. “Mom, dad, it’s over now” I said with tears in my eyes. A puzzled and confused look on came down on their faces. “Good bye mother and father” I said as I faded away from existence.