Warning: This story contains mentions of wild animal death, suicide, and stalking.

Did you ever wonder why there are whole towns that are just uneasy?
Whole communities that just seem to be so lifeless that simply sends chills down your spine?
That almost seems inhumane in their ways of social life, just empty, sometimes even cruel.
I personally have started wondering about that a while ago, how everyone can just be affected by such negativity.
It was odd to me so, I tried to figure it out. Anyone sane would, right? Well.
I think I figured out why,
but I really hope I am wrong.

I do not want to scare you off, but this story is not fiction,
or a delusional old man that did not take his pills for a day (I am 20 just so you know).
My name is Presley Holder. That’s my pseudonym at least.
Do not try to find out my identity,
trust me when I say you do not want to discover where I live, well, lived.
I restrict this information for your own sake.

There is no avoiding the subject as much as I wish to, so I’ll try and explain where it began.
I lived my whole life in the town I was born in;
it is safe to say I have been around long enough to know what my town used to be like.
It was not always as heartless as it had become.

Back when I was 15 years old things actually still seemed to be going well,
but it had warped and twisted into such a grim image of itself within those 5 years.
Honestly, even I was affected by this negativity.
This town seemed to age me twice as quickly just by how demotivating it had become.
I already mentioned my age, but I bet you did not expect I look in my damned 60’s by this point.

Every time I look in the mirror it feels as if I am looking into a stranger’s face,
my eyes are large and childlike, but the rest of my face just makes it all look so empty,
my black hair is thinned out and is already graying at the roots.
Looking at myself I feel old and cruel, I even creep myself out at times by how empty I look.
Please take my word for it,
I do not want to spoil my identity by posting a picture (and being genuine, I am insecure about it.)

If you think the physical effects on me are already strange, you wouldn’t believe what happened to my town.
The last time I had seen leaves on a tree was back in the winter of 5 years ago,
this was when it all had begun. The grass had become nothing but dried and odd soil the two weeks after.
I have not seen a single bit of nature in that town in 4 years.

I tell you this was not climate change catching up to our irresponsibility,
if anything, the temperature there is not risky at all for what used to be our greens, and rain is frequent.
Yet this all just vanished in one year’s time.
There is no way this happened naturally.

Animals were acting odd by now too.
Beginning the 5 year deterioration of my home there were a lot of dead insects around the area,
with that I mean a lot.
I could not take a step outside without seeing at least a whole ant colony just motionless on the sidewalk,
bird picking at these unfortunate insects more often than not.

I used to not care about it though, but thinking back to it, I should’ve figured out something was wrong sooner.
You would guess I would’ve gotten to my senses when this chain of constant death transferred to larger animals,
like birds and frogs. Unlike the bugs,
these all died of obvious starvation by the extreme death rate of the smaller creatures I used to ignore.

By the time I left we had no animals anymore, even pets got neglected by their owners due to these strange happenings in the town.
Fortunately I stopped being so ignorant about the situation when I stepped on a dead bird during one of my walks
(I had to buy a new pair of shoes because it grossed me out so much,
the squishing and slight cracking are noises I truly wish I could forget).

I knew what was wrong however, it finally dawned on me:
the insect deaths. I did some research and realized how important these small creatures really were to the environment,
and during these researches I finally realized how much people are affected by such grand negative change in said surroundings.
I tried to tell them, I went to the police, the news, everything.
I was just declared crazy;
I almost got myself put in a mental facility just trying to help.

I had to let the issue go before I had to spend my days in an isolation room.
By this point the suicide rate had gone up too much,
Every one of those were barely handled with any care,
one time a suicide victim was left on my street a week long until something was done about it.

I had never seen a dead body in my life before this, but in the past few years I have seen too many,
and unfortunately my very own brother was one of those that I had to witness.
I hate to say I have become neutral to death just by living there;
it pains me to say my brother’s death affected me less than I wish it would’ve.

Now, what I am going to tell you will likely sound insane,
you might think the people I tried to warn about the insect mortality rate may have been right by calling me delusional.
But if you believed my story so far, I hope you can believe the following events as well.
Because what happened next is something I am still questioning its truth of myself,
but it is not an experience I will ever be able to forget.

It started a week after my deranged begging for help at every source of potential help I could reach,
by now I had given up really. I went back to my usual life,
trying my best to ignore the deterioration of my town I had grown used to.

I usually follow a pretty decent routine which would avoid most people.
I couldn’t bare another negative look towards my direction,
let alone in the night after another bad day of rest
(That may sound weird without context, I used to work at midnight till seven).
I did not want to become as empty as they were yet, so avoiding seemed like the only solution.

As per usual I expected to meet nobody in my path, it was still dark.
I would just walk to my shift as a gas station cashier like I usually would, my way guided by the street lamps.

On the route I was all too familiar to I was suddenly overwhelmed with the most intense shiver down my spine,
as if my body was alerted in an instant. When I tell you it was extreme, I mean it.
This shiver left me shaking even when it was over.
In the state of anxiety it caused me I started looking around to see if anything may have caused this odd sudden movement,
what I saw at that moment did not help my state of shock at all.

I will tell you now I have never seen anyone on this route for the 2 years I have walked back and forth every night.
You can imagine how I must’ve felt when there was someone, or even something at the end of the path behind me.
It just seemed to be watching, almost out of my sight.
The sidewalk was surrounded only by the street on one side and a large field of by now dried up soil on the other,
so you would assume I could’ve spotted it easier.
But it was such a long distance away; it was just a silhouette to me.

But that alone was something that froze me in place. It just stood there, unmoving.
Maybe if I wouldn’t have been startled by that shiver from prior
I would have foolishly shrugged it off as someone who happened to take the same route as me by accident.
But at that moment, I just felt deep down that this individual was definitely not human.

From afar I could not really put my finger on it at that moment, but thinking back I realize why.

No human could stay so still. It did not walk towards me, it did not look around.
It did not lean or swing to the slightest. It was perfectly still,
so perfectly still that no human could do so even if they tried.
Worst of all, it was faced towards me.

We were both frozen in place, faced towards one another for what felt like hours,
but it was likely just a minute.
However I eventually came to my senses and sprinted to the gas station.
I locked myself in the storage room my whole 7 hour shift,
I used the security camera the whole time to make sure I was present for any potential customers,
or to have this thing on tape if it were to approach.

Fortunately, it was a quiet night once again; nobody came into the gas station, lucky me.
When my shift was over I called my mother to pick me up with her car,
I lied that I was exhausted from not sleeping well.
As much as her presence wasn’t the brightest, everything was better than walking the same path back home again.
I asked if she saw anyone on the route, but she said she did not.

I wish this was a one-time encounter but if that was the case I wouldn’t be bothered to write down this story.

I slept all day to ignore the situation,
but the following night I got the stupidest courage together to try and travel by foot to my job again,
shrugging the day before off as just one of those strange things that happen once in a while.
My town was odd enough to just assume such things tend to occur.
So I made my way to the gas station again.

No matter how hard I tried to ignore my fear, I was still paranoid from the night before.
I was looking around, on full alert to notice any oddity in and around my path.
I was so focused to what was around me however that I accidentally forgot to look in front of me.

But it was not truly necessary,
the smell that suddenly overwhelmed my nostrils into a slight discomfort
was enough to make me look right at the direction it was coming from.

It was the same thing I saw the night prior,
it was right by the gas station entrance this time.
I was still a fair distance away, so I froze right away to prevent coming anywhere close.
I was much closer compared to the last night,
it could be identified more than what the shadows offered me earlier.

It had black hair that looked as if it was a cheap wig,
a plain black shirt that would match the black shoes
that were barely out of sight by the loose openings of its equally black sweatpants.
Its face looked so blank,
it had features but lacked any kind of neither familiarity nor personality from afar.

This was all observed within a second of pure panic however,
the moment I saw that thing facing me, still unmoving as I always knew it to be,
I did not doubt my actions for a moment. I ran straight home.

My boss was obviously not happy when I asked a sudden week off;
I am not surprised if he was planning to fire me.
But these two incidents scared me so severely to the point I was too paranoid to leave my apartment any more.
I just hoped this would all blow over after some rest.

Like I said, it is still hard to believe this all was happening.
It was too bizarre and surreal to be real.
I genuinely thought I was actually losing it.

So, I just expected some actual proper rest would solve this all,
bring me to my senses.
I would head straight for my bed, and decided to grab the newspapers that I had gathered over the months
so I could entertain myself with the horror story that is my town.

As much as it was probably not a smart decision to get even more negative information stuck in my brain
considering how shaken up from the events that happened just an hour earlier,
I just wanted a distraction of any kind.
Everything was better than thinking of that thing that seemed to be everywhere.

I was so.. So wrong.
I opened the newspaper to be met with the usual grim suicide scene pictures.
Like I said, this unfortunately became regular occurrence in my town,
and as I mentioned: I am not at all affected by these images no more.

But what made me regret my decision was the fact that the moment I looked at the first picture,
I saw it.

It was in a distance, staring at the scene.
Nobody noticed it being there, but it was right there.
I recognized that damned silhouette by now; there was no doubt in it.
I flipped the page,
a completely new tragic imagery where another poor soul was so mentally drained they killed their self,
another innocent person dead on the ground.

And it was just There again, standing, doing absolutely nothing.

I looked at the next image, again. The next image, again.




In every tragic image in every newspaper of the past few months it was there in a distance,
watching, unmoving,
just watching it as if it was theater.

Needless to say, I had to rush myself to my toilet to throw up the lacking food I had in my system already.

I spent my whole night and day in that small restroom, I lost track of time.
I lost most of my memory of that moment;
Thoughts were so rushed all over that time seemed like nothing other than a concept.
I only got the courage to leave the moment my hunger got nauseating.

After collecting some food and drinks I went straight to my room and locked it.
I spent the following few days in there rotting away in my bed eating pretty much my whole food supply in the darkness,
windows closed, doors closed, everything.
I was too paranoid to handle doing anything other than that.

I just wanted a break, but unlike sitting scared in my bathroom, this break seemed to go by too quickly.
My week was over; I had to go to work again.

I was still afraid, but the time had calmed me enough to be able to handle getting my life together again.
My apartment was a mess of trash, and the stench was horrendous from my neglect on it.
I had finally gotten myself to clean the place before going to work,
thinking I wouldn’t get any happier coming home to such filth.

I just wanted to get rid of this awful smell.
After throwing away everything I tossed out on the floor during my resting period
I finished up the cleaning by washing myself,
the house did not smell the best so I just assumed I was the cause.
I was the last filthy thing in the house after all.

Oddly enough, even when I was washed the smell had not faded.
I scrubbed so hard to the point my skin got red, but it would not go.
I decided against making more efforts, I was getting late for work.
I could not afford wasting time on an odd smell.
I just got myself dried up; I got my pants, blouse and sweater on.
I slipped on the walking shoes that by now were perfectly shaped for easy access.

Ready for work, I put my hand on the lock. But before I unlocked it my body froze on the spot.

I finally realized how I recognized the smell.
I quietly and cautiously took my hand off the lock I was planning to open so carelessly a moment before,
not making a sound. I slowly moved my hand towards my pocket,
as if any sudden movement would cause something bad to happen.

I got a hold of my phone which was tightly tucked in my pants pocket,
opened its camera, and steadily put it to the peephole the apartments provided.
The only noise would be of the click of the button,
the soft tune confirmed I did in fact take an image.

This was said image.
The image was of a blurred figure with thin hair staring blankly into the camera through the peephole. It's face seemed to be a mask of sorts, its eyes were large and strangely far apart from one another.

I did not leave my apartment until my boss came personally to check on me.
I do not know how long it took since my memory was a blur after that event.
It may have taken months knowing how lacking care there is in the people here.
The moment he was at my door I frantically packed my things with his presence there,
I told him I quit.

I had the most emotionless sounding argument with him, he did not even care I left so suddenly.
But I just wanted to make it an issue so he would be around long enough for me to pack.

I left in my car soon afterwards; I’ll admit I almost got myself a fine by how recklessly I drove.
But I just could not handle another second in that town with this thing stalking me.
I do not know what it wanted; it never spoke a damn word.
But it was almost as if it warned me.

I’ll never forget that image I took, I am so glad I did not look through that peephole myself.
The image alone is haunting enough,
those soulless eyes staring at me from under some kind of odd perfectly sculpted mask,
so eerily calm.

I can’t help but try and imagine what must’ve been under it,
but everything I come up with in my head are the most inhumane and twisted facial structures,
disgusting imagery I wouldn’t even dare put to words.

I refuse to believe this thing was remotely human.
I did not even talk about that smell,
that smell was definitely not human.
The stench it gave off I can only describe as decomposition mixed with vomit, it was sour and painful.
Only when I was at the door I actually noticed how disgusting that smell was.
It still stung my nose by the time my boss arrived even if that thing must’ve been long gone.

But there is one last detail I did not recall until I started writing this story for you,
and reliving the events in actual written words.
It’s that, in the moments while I rushed off away from my home in my scrambled state of mind,
I heard a sound I used to be all too familiar with years prior.
It just did not dawn upon me until now.

I could’ve sworn I stepped on some dead bugs.

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