Even before the storm really got going it had become hard to hear the radio. I was huddled in the basement, like I had been taught to as a kid. Normally storms don't really bother me, but I knew it was expected to be really bad, possibly the worst Wellington Street had even seen. Even in the basement the noise was terrible, the thick pattering of rain on the roof still reaching me. I focused on the radio, which I had placed on a local station. But despite the noise, I began to notice a sound emanating just above the volume of the broadcast.
I couldn't make it out at first, and so I turned down the radio in the hope I would hear it better. But as I lowered the volume, so too did the volume of the strange noise decrease. At first I thought it was coming from the radio, but after I turned it off I could still hear it, if only faintly. I began to look for the source of the noise, but only managed to hear it continuing to grow more distant. I heard the house groan and creak, and I figured it was just the house moving in the wind. I sat back down and turned back on the radio. The DJ was reporting on the storm.
“Original patterns had predicted that the storm would be passing through by around three in the morning, but the storm itself has seemed to have slowed down, making those previous estimates off by close to two to three hours. The storm itself is easily the worst I have ever seen. I can actually see the effects of it outside my window. Its hard to see due to the rain, but even at this point I can see a heavy buildup of water just around my building. No worries though folks. This place is elevated so I should stay high and dry.
Those who find themselves in their homes would do well to keep a close eye on their basements, as flooding is possible, especially in some of the older home. I will keep you updated, and as a friendly reminder to those foolish enough to think of going outside, just don't. Trust me. You don't want to be out in this...”
I tried to listen in, but I became aware of the sound again, only this time it was much more distinct. I turned off the radio, and found the sound was not fading but in fact increasing in volume. It sounded like someone whispering. I stood up and began looking again for a source, only to realize that the sound was coming from upstairs.
It was only a couple of days ago that I finally managed to get an interview, though the assault itself took place four months ago. On several occasions I tried to convince their family to allow me to speak to the man, but they consistently refused to let me. It was only after his own insistence that I managed to get to talk to him, which occurred several times over the following weeks. The families reasons are understandable, as his health has been for quite some time under question, and the swelling from the skin grafts has only recently subsided to a point where he has been able to communicate through spoken testimony.
The mans voice is at best rendered as slurred and disjointed as he is still under powerful medicines. However, I was still able to gather what I believe to be a reliable and understandable series of interviews, though I will offer additional information as needed. I will also warn that there has been some manipulation of his words. This has been done simply to tie the bits of recordings I have together, and all changes were passed by the family first. Most of the issues stem from the brevity of the recordings, since the speakers tongue has yet to firmly reconnect itself to its base, making extended conversation painful and dangerous.
It was especially cold this year, this march. I tried hard to avoid walking places, but there was a huge snowstorm that had knocked out the buses. My car had broken down some time before, so I was simply making do until I got another one. I would had stayed home, but I was on medicine at the time and was close to running out. I had stalled as long as I could, since the weather was bad and all. But the days of snow continued to drag on, and I eventually had no choice.
There is a local pharmacy. It stays open. I talked to them the night before. One of the people who work there is a personal friend...said I could come in. But that meant I had to walk. I don't like to walk, especially when it is cold...I arrived there after a half a hour. Normally it wouldn't take as long, but the snow was deep, just above my knee.
It was cold. Really cold. There was a woman standing outside of the place. Had an umbrella drawn low, a black one. I couldn't see her face, but I could tell by her jacket her gender. It was the color of bone. She didn't have a bag, but she had a purse, and I assumed she put her purchases in there.
Last night I met a woman at the bus stop that sits on Wellington Street. She was loaded down with bags, to the point where I was unable to find a place to sit. It was raining, and the storm was only getting worse, making me wish I had stayed home. The woman was a terrible mess, and it was clear that she had left in a hurry, her bags being mismatched and without any sort of order. I asked her where she was headed, and she admitted she had no idea. She was unsure when the bus was supposed to arrive, though she seemed anxious to know.
I told her that it would be arriving soon, and it was clear to me that the delay made her nervous. When I asked her if everything was alright, she broke down crying, pointing at a house down the block. This is the story she shared with me.
Three weeks ago my husband and I began hearing noises in the night. At first we though it was just the rain. It had been raining a lot lately. But the night after that long stretch, the sound of pattering on the roof returned, and when we looked out the window we saw nothing but a clear sky.
My husband and I went outside. Our kids hadn't been woken up thankfully. I found myself breathing heavily, the hairs on the back of my neck rising. I tried hard to control the trembling that was going through my body, hoping my husband wouldn't notice. It didn't take very long to tell he was trying to hide his own fear, and that only made it worse. I turned around every couple of feet, but I saw nothing. Soon I was in the middle of the street, looking up at my roof. I could hear faintly the light noise, like a heavy rain, but nothing was there.
We figured it was just some squirrels. There are a lot of them in the neighborhood, and they are hard to see at night. But as we went to go inside, I could feel myself growing more anxious. By the time we reached the front door, I was shaking, my hands coated in sweat. Had my kids not been inside, and had I not convinced myself I was acting crazy, I may have just left the house then and not come back...I did go back inside though an soon after that the sound stopped.
Every year for the last twenty years, Wellington Street has been host to a festival. The festival is known as “The Lovers,” and though the festival is based in old traditions of the Spring Equinox, it has become a time for young couples to come out with one another, since Valentines day on Wellington Street tends to be especially cold. It is always located in the large field between the theater and the library, and it sees host to a wide variety of classical rides, from the large Ferris Wheel to the various slides and coasters. Alongside these things are the usual arrangement of games and foods. However, there are also a large amount of original attractions that are only available around the time of the festival, which causes people to come from far away for the chance to participate.
By far the most popular of these attractions was for a long time the House of Mirrors, in which it was rumored that all truths were revealed. The attraction was taken out of rotation five years ago however, and plans to bring it back have met with stiff opposition. The reason for this was an incident that occurred shortly before the attractions closing, and though no official has been willing to discuss reasons for the attractions disappearance, it is assumed by many that it was the main cause.
The attraction consisted of two stories, with mirrors lining the walls. There were no windows, and only one entrance and one exit, excluding those emergency exits built in. Though it was not designed as a maze, the House of Mirrors was sometimes hard to navigate, and the flow of people was controlled strictly in order to maintain the sense of isolation among couples.
The festival began normally, with the majority of the attractions being opened up for patrons at around nine in the morning. It had been especially wet that year, and some of the attractions were experiencing technical problems, mostly in the way of the electrical. The House of Mirrors was one of those attractions that were having trouble, and after numerous attempts to get the lights back up, it was decided that instead they would use candles, which were positioned on the floor at each intersection of the hallways. This proved to be a very popular move, and even after the difficulties were sorted, it was decided that the candles would remain.
Throughout the days and nights the candles were allowed to burn, replaced when needed, and inspected every couple of hours to make sure that their arrangement didn't offer a fire hazard. Over the days that followed, the attraction saw a nearly fifty percent increase in revenue, and it would seem that this change would be made permanent in following years. Patrons said that the candles reflected beautifully off the glass, providing just enough illumination to proceed. Some described the experience as romantic, while others found it disorienting and frightening. Whatever the reaction, the house continued to draw in customers, from the opening to close, forcing some to be turned away.
The following letter was sent to a neighbor shortly before the death of the woman who wrote it.
The last couple of months I have been plagued by a recurring nightmare. Although it is common for people my age to have this sort of dream, the frequency of it has become frightening, and I am beginning to see him even when I am awake. Its isn't anything clear, just a flash of image, or a lingering form in my peripheral vision. I have tried to explore it, through therapy and talking with my family. My grand kids are the only ones who will listen, and I hesitate to tell them, even if I just want to know someone believes me. Though my children don't like it, they still will let their kids come and gather around me when they visit, wanting to hear more about the Mahr.
The dream begins on the porch of the cabin my father used to own when we lived in Montana. Though I am the age I am now, all the things are proportioned as they were when I was a young girl. All around w the cornfields I remembered, towering over me. The golden ears of corn hang loosely on their stalks, waiting for them to be harvested. There is a chill in the air, and the sky is overcast, nearing dusk. The air is flecked with moisture, a drizzle of rain laying like a blanket on my skin.
I stand up and go to head inside when I hear a scream coming from the cornfields. I turn around, knowing I should just go inside but willing myself to investigate all the same. I take my first step down the porch, each one resounding with the sound of my heals hitting the wood. I reach the bottom, and at first that is where it would end. But each night I would get one step closer to the cornfields, my actions becoming automatic. I only stopped walking when I heard the sound of something coming.
At first I saw nothing, only noting the parting of the stalks in the distance. And then, way off, far from me but easily visible above them was a shadowy form. I knew he was a man, his walk without any delicacy, his shoulders too broad. Like myself it seemed his movements were automatic, as if no will was placed on them. Just continuous action.
I was walking my dog near my home. It is a daily ritual, one that must occur promptly at five. Otherwise she will start whining and barking, and won't stop until she has a leash on her collar and is heading out the door.
Near my home is a short dirt path, one that I rarely ever pass since it is not on our normal route. That day though I decided to try and extend the walk a bit, something I knew Shelly and I both needed. So I had to adjust the route a bit, and in the end I found myself walking along the dirt path I so rarely traveled. The path curves a little, and so by the time I noticed that there was something settled in the middle of the path I was right on top of it.
Laying in the dirt was an animal, one I instantly recognized as a raccoon. It was small, not small enough to be a baby, but was certainly not much older than that. There were flies crawling all over it, and its leg twitched a bit, which I assumed was the movement of insects under the flesh. I have a strange morbid set of interests, so I am aware of how a corpse can travel several feet after it dies, simply under the influence of the maggots and other insects that feed upon the tissues.
I didn't want to leave it in the middle of the path. It was near homes after all, and after quickly looking up from the body I noticed a large number of children nearby. They hadn't noticed yet, but I didn't know how long that would last. So I took Shelly off to the side and told her to stay while I retrieved a stick to move it to the grass nearby. I began to to slide the stick under it, but I found it hard to get between the body and the ground. Then it stirred and snarled at me.
I reeled back, dumbfounded as I watched it weakly crawl, before finally coming to rest much in the same way I found it a few inches away. I was overcome with confusion, not only because I had no idea how to react, but also because I had never seen something move that was that far gone. It was not the first time I had ever seen anything dying. When I was a child I had unfortunately had the family dog die in my arms. But that was relatively quick. Despite its condition, I knew that this thing still may have a couple of hours left before it died.
The use of insulin to induce a coma stems back to 1927 in Vienna by Manfred Sakel. His research into this produced strange results, and has long since fallen from popularity, if for no other reason than the use of a coma to treat mental illness is at the very least incredibly dangerous, and at its worst, fatal. This is the second piece I have received from the unknown author, and despite my efforts I have still been unable to find where the transcript was sent from, nor any information on the writer themselves.
She had thick black hair, and when she smiled I found myself smiling back. Her eyes were a deep green, and when she talked, I always stopped speaking. Time passes every year and deep down I still believe that if I wish it hard enough, I will see her face again.
I met her years ago, a chance meeting at a local coffee shop. She ended up ordering the same thing, and it ended up getting us talking. We both had plans that day, but canceling them seemed to be the only reasonable thing to do. She smiled and I couldn't help but smile back, and within a few days we shared our first kiss.
A short while later, she began to get sick. She didn't have family, so I let her stay at my place. I knew I was letting it move fast, but the news of her health didn't improve. Sometimes things happen like that, an apparent trauma on the horizon that caused us to try and squeeze in every single second with each other.
Weeks went by, and her condition continued to keep getting worse. The doctors were baffled, and despite their best efforts I struggled as I watched her skin becoming tight against her bones, and her eyes began to glaze over. She said that she could only see me, and that was enough for her. But despite myself, I could barely manage to play along.
As part of my course work I was asked to investigate a specific stretch of road in order to find how communities can develop stories and shared experiences. What will follow will be a collection of the reported true tales, fabrications, and actual works of writing produced by the population of Wellington Street. I cannot verify all that will be included, only speculate. What I can be sure of however, is that there was no way I could have predicted the strange and often frightening quality of the stories I encountered. Names of the people will not be included for the sake of anonymity, but effort will be made to change as little as possible.
The tragedy that befell the most recent residents of this home are not recounted for the sake of entertainment, and should not be used as a act of condemnation of the actions of the deceased. The following events ended in the April of last year. Many of the houses on Wellington Street are quite old, some dating back nearly 100 years or more. The house in question is an old Victorian style home, one of the oldest on the street. Though many of the persons who recounted the story were unwilling to share with me its location, neighbors were quite adamant about which house it was.
The wood that covers the exterior is a vibrant maroon color, with a long, drawn porch that wraps around the front and left side of the building. On its face, just to the right of the door, is a gold plated plaque declaring that the home was established in 1877. Considering the age, the home is in remarkable condition especially considering the fact that over the years the home has had no less than 6 different owners. The roof is a charcoal gray, and the windows and fixtures outside of the plumbing and wiring are more or less the originals for the home.
The molding on the home is a brilliant white color, though the front door is a deep woodland green. Immediately inside one is a wide open parlor, the ceiling a fine example of the fine detailed work that is classic of this style of home. The space which formally supported the chandelier is now covered with finished plaster, and plans are in motion to find a replacement. At the back are a set of twin staircases that curl their way to the top, connected to a long hallway that extends to both the right and left side of the home. Under the hall above the stairwells is a large set of doors that lead into the kitchen, and from there a large greenhouse. To the right of the parlor is a well furnished sitting room with a intricate mural covering the whole of the ceiling, and a deep red carpet across the floor. To the right is a well stocked library with a large open rotunda attached at the corner.
The carpet is of significance as the rest of the house is covered in hardwood floors, save the kitchen which is done in black and white tile.
The last residents of the home moved in around a year before the events took place, and were for all intents and purposes described as quiet, all be it, pleasant people. The couple moved in with the intent of renovating the home. Much of the work that has been done in terms of wiring and plumbing can be attributed to them. The events in question reportedly started when the couple began discussing plans to replace the rug in the sitting room, which even now is well worn.
Pubs tend to be frequented by two types of people. There are those who wish to remember, and those who wish to forget. Most of the time, they just end up finding out how hard it is to do either. There is a local bar, a small establishment that is clearly kept going by the regulars. Like many of the buildings on Wellington Street, it was established a long time ago, and this one shows its age. The tables are covered in layers of scratches and stains, the stools covered in old red vinyl that shows thick splits, revealing the cotton underneath. The bartenders fluctuate from day to day, but the customers tend to stay the same.
One in particular seems to be a consistent regular. Since I started this project I have managed to stop by on no less than five different occasions. Every time I find him sitting in the corner, sporting whatever hard liquor is on hand. His name is Harry, and he looks as haunted as anyone I have ever met.
People in bars like this tend to pretty friendly, and more than willing to share some stories after a drink or so. But in Harry's case it ended up taking much longer. It was only on my third visit that I managed to get him to hold a conversation. It was on a cold night. Frost gripped the windows, the condensation pooling in the corners of the sills. He is a easy person to recognize. He is slightly plump, yet his cheeks seem withdrawn. His head has balding, graying hair, a stubble clinging to his face. His eyes are easily his most stand out feature. They are large, and a very light blue. His eyes are always bloodshot, even after waking up from unconsciousness.
For the life of me, I cannot figure out why he finally decided to talk to me. After formally introducing myself for the third time, I bought him a drink. It didn't take too long after that for him to start talk. This is the story he shared with me, as best as I can recall.
“It was a late night. I used to work at a hospital uptown. There is a train stop near the end of the block. It was normal for me to just take the train. Walk the few blocks to my house. That night was particularly cold. Snow was on the ground. I had the entire sidewalk to myself. Mostly. I kept looking at the ground in front of me. The wind was cold enough to cut right through you, so I just kept my head down.”