I woke up from the blare of an alarm clock coming from a bedroom across from mine.
With groggy eyes, I looked over at the digital clock next to me. It was 7:00 A.M.
That was a surprise.
I sat up and rubbed my eyes. Did it really say 7:00 A.M.?
I looked at the clock again. It did.
“Wow,” I muttered, “Did the visitor forget he was supposed to come yesterday?”
But with my luck, I doubted it.
Well, no need to question good fortune. I’ll take it wherever I can get it.
I began to get up when I heard a knock on the door.
“Uh… Come in?” I called.
Connie walked in holding a set of clothes.
She gave a small smile then said, “I didn’t think you would want to wear the same clothes for two days straight, so here.”
I blinked at the clothes and then looked back at her. Wow.
“Uh…Thanks.” I took the clothes. It was a burgundy t-shirt and a pair of blue jeans.
“I hope those will fit you.” She added before walking out. I pulled on the shirt and slid into the new pants, but not before taking my knife out of the olds ones. I went ahead and put my old clothes into my bag. I was about to put my hoodie in there too, but at the last minute, decided against it, choosing to put it over my shirt instead. Just as I put it on, I realized I’d probably offend Connie by not showing the shirt, so I unzipped the middle of the hoodie. Thank God it’s a zip up.
After everything was done, I grabbed my stuff and went to the kitchen. Connie was already there eating a bowl of cereal. She smiled when she saw me walk in.
“Glad to see they fit,” she said.
I glanced down at my new get-up before replying, “Yeah, they do. Thanks again for the clothes.”
“Welcome. Are you hungry? There’s cereal in the cupboard.”
“Ah, no thanks. I’m good for now.” And I really was.
She shrugged and resumed eating. As she munched on her breakfast, I wondered what I should do next. The Sender had never put me in a situation like this before, ever. I wasn’t sure what he wanted me to do.
Perhaps this has to do with Connie.
“Um...Mrs. Connie?” I asked.
“Just call me Connie,” she said, without pausing.
“Right, Connie. Um…Out of curiosity, where did you get clothes that fit me?”
Connie slowed down her eating, and then put the spoon down. And after a brief moment of silence, she said, “It was my son’s.”
“Your son’s? Huh. Where’s he at?” I regretted asking that the moment I saw Connie’s reaction.
She clenched her eyes shut; a single tear ran from one of them. “He’s dead,” she whispered.
“Oh. I am so, so sorry.” I felt so stupid for asking that. It should’ve been obvious he was dead.
She opened her eyes, and nodded her head, “It’s alright. You didn’t know.”
Her eyes looked into the distance, glazing over as if she was looking into the past. “It happened a long time ago anyway,” she said, “but I never really did get over it.”
At the hearing of this, I got the impression that this was related to the story.
“If I may ask,” I ventured, “how did he die?”
She stopped and looked at me hard. I wondered if I’d crossed the line with that question. Thankfully though, I hadn’t.
She sighed, then after a brief nod began. “Two years ago,” she said, “my daughter Lyra and my son Toby were both in car accident. Lyra was killed in the crash but Toby hadn’t. He was sitting by her when it happened, and they were both very close…so Toby took her death hard.” She paused to take a breath, and, I could tell, to keep herself from crying.
I thought about telling her to stop because I could see it was too painful for her, but I needed to know what had happened.
She continued, “A few weeks later, after Toby had gotten out of the hospital,” she said, “he started to become withdrawn from everyone. So much so that it came to a point where we had to take him to doctor, because he…he…gnawed most of the…flesh from his fingers.”
I winced at those words. This kid, sounded really disturbed.
Connie kept going, “We later took to him to a counselor, hoping that maybe it could help him cope with his sister’s death but something went wrong that day. He came home and,” she took a breath, “killed his father.”
She stopped, tears poured down from her eyes.
I regretted making her tell me this, but she’d already come this far. I put an arm around her, and tried to give her some comfort.
“Keep going,” I told her, “It might be good for you to let it all out.” Or so I hoped.
She took a shaky breath and resumed the story, “Toby” she said, “had always blamed his father for what happened to Lyra. That’s why, I assume, he killed him. I was horrified by what he did so I called the police. Toby ran right after that and was chased by the cops. But before they caught up with him, he’d grabbed a jerry-can from our garage and poured gasoline all down the road and around himself…then...then lit it on fire.”
“Oh, jeez,” I breathed as I pictured that scene.
But Connie wasn’t finished. “But after the fire,” she continued, “t-they didn’t find his body. But I know there’s no possible way anyone could survive being burned by that, and he’s been gone for two years. He’s gone,” she said, closing her eyes. “He’s not coming back.”
Her head sunk as she finished. I continued to stand there thinking about her son’s story. I remembered reading something like this before from a Creepypasta but it had been a long time ago.
“I’m sorry Connie,” I tried to sympathize with her.
“It’ll be okay. I’ll be okay,” she sniffled. “If it’s alright I’d like to be alone now.”
I nodded, understanding and turned to leave, but at the last moment, hesitated, “Um, Connie? One last thing.”
I bit my lip not knowing how to ask this. “Where exactly did the fire happen at? I’d like to go see it, if it’s alright with you?”
Connie hesitated for a moment, no doubt struggling whether or not to tell me. After a few seconds, she answered. “It’s a few miles down the road from here,” she said. “towards the town’s center. You can’t miss it. The trees nearby are still black from the fire.”
I walked out the door and immediately set out. If I wanted to find my visitor and get home, I bet he’d be there.
The sky was still gray with clouds and I could hear the rumble of distant thunder. I stood on the sidewalk across from the woods that Toby had set fire to almost two years prior.
“So this is where it happened, huh?” I murmured.
The road was black where the fire had burned, the trees too.
During my walk I’d finally been able to recall the name of the Creepypasta this had taken place: Ticci Toby. But as for the main plot, and what he’d looked like, I was still clueless. Damn it, I thought, I should’ve paid more attention to that story.
However, if there was one thing I was certain of, it was that Toby hadn’t died that day. The only question was: what had happened to him?
I looked around for a clue or anything that may’ve been left behind, despite how long it’d been. I didn’t see anything, the streets were still empty and as far I could tell, I was the only one in the area. I was starting to wonder if this place was a ghost town, I mean, didn’t anybody walk around there?
My eyes went back to the woods across from me. Perhaps there were more clues in there. Taking in a nervous breath, I walked into it.
Looking around, I noticed the trees were still covered in soot from the fire, and that there wasn’t much vegetation left in the area. I knew that wasn’t natural at all. Two years had been more than enough time for the plants to regrow, yet it still looked like the fire had happened only yesterday. This was just plain eerie.
Alright. So what am I looking for?
I had no clue.
“Looking for something?” A young voice asked.
I stopped walking and turned around. The guy I’d seen the day before was leaning against one of the burnt trees with his arms crossed.
“Um…I’m not sure.” I looked him up and down. Now that he was up close, I could see exactly what he looked like. He was my age; I had no doubt about it now. He had a gray bandana covering his mouth and there was a pair of orange goggles resting on his head. He was still wearing the hood and he had his head down so I couldn’t see the top half of his face.
“You’re not sure of what you’re looking for, or you’re not sure you’re looking?” he asked.
I narrowed my eyes, nice sarcasm buddy. Not.
“I’m not sure what I’m looking for,” I said, gesturing at the burnt woods around us. “I heard some kid burnt this area down about two years ago and that he supposedly died in the fire, but there was no trace of his body. I thought I might find something that could indicate he was still alive.” I took another glance around.
The kid jerked his head to left, with a loud pop. It startled me a bit, but I didn’t say anything.
“So,” I ventured, “why are you here?”
The kid’s head rose a bit, but still not enough for me to see all of his face. A low chuckled escaped from him.
I didn’t know why, but I suddenly had a bad feeling about this guy.
“What’s so funny, if I may ask?”
The kid started shaking his head, and chuckling some more.
Okay man, seriously? What’s so funny?
I was about to ask him just that when I realized something. Toby had been seventeen when he’d disappeared, which was two years ago, so he’d be about my age, nineteen. This guy in front of me looked and sounded my age; not only that, he had the same brown hair I’d seen from the photo from the guest room. More importantly why would he laugh unless he knew who I was looking for, which meant…
“You’re Toby!” I exclaimed.
He raised his head and pulled the bandanna off.
I took step back the moment I saw his face. “Holy…!” I trailed off.
The left side of Toby’s mouth had deteriorated, exposing his teeth and gums. His eyes were both gray and foggy, like Teri’s, and had cataracts.
He grinned at my shock, which made him look even more gruesome.
“The one and only!” he said.
He reached behind the tree he was leaning on and pulled out a silver hatchet.
“Um,” I gulped. “please tell me you only pulled that out because you’re planning to cut down a tree.”
Toby raised an eyebrow at me, and then laughed, his neck cracking as he did.
“Run,” he told me.
“With pleasure,” I bolted.
I ran in the opposite direction of Toby, towards the road. I prayed that I could somehow make it there before his hatchet made its way to me.
I tossed a quick look back to see how close he was.
To my surprise, he was still leaning against the tree, smirking at me.
What the heck? Why’s he not chasing me?
He suddenly stood up straight and took a few simple steps forward with the hatchet in his right hand, what he did after that, I didn’t see, or care. I stopped looking back and kept running.
Just ahead of me was the edge of the forest and through it, the road.
Yes, I grinned. I’m going to make it! No way he’s catching up with me!
That’s when I heard a whistling noise come from behind me. I turned around just in time to see a hatchet come sailing through the air towards my head–which was then followed by a large flash of white light.
The large welt on my forehead throbbed when I awoke. It was dark now; the storm I had seen earlier that day had finally arrived. I was still in the forest, but nowhere near its edge. The wind was blowing hard through the trees and lightning would light up the area every few minutes.
Why am I still alive? I prodded my forehead with a single finger only to flinch in pain. I got lucky. I only got hit by the dull end of the hatchet.
Still hurt, though. I sat up just as lightning struck. The area around me lit up, revealing Toby standing in front of me with a hatchet in each hand–the new looking one he’d hit me with earlier was in his left hand, while an old worn one with a wooden handle was in his right. His bandana was back on and he pulled down his goggles (well, at least I didn’t have to see his mouth anymore).
“Hi, there!” he said to me.
“CRAP!” I started scrambling back from him.
He laughed. “Don’t bother trying to escape now,” he said, the grin apparent within his voice. “You’ll get your chance in moment.”
I stopped moving. What?
“I’ve been watching you since you showed up yesterday.” He rested both hatchets on his knees and leaned down to look at me. “And compared to some of the other people I’ve killed, you don’t look like much.”
I narrowed my eyes at him, my fear turning into resentment. “Oh, really?” I spat. “Have you taken a good look in the mirror lately? I wouldn’t necessarily say you look like much either. You’d probably just make the mirror crack.”
He cracked his neck with a chuckle. “Still good-humored even in the face of death, maybe the boss was right. This will be fun after all.”
“You have a boss?” I asked. “Who?”
He straightened up. “If you make it through the next little bit, maybe you’ll find out.”
He gestured with his head towards the center of the forest. “Here’s the deal. I’m going to count to ten, and you’re going to start running. If you can somehow get away, you win.”
Another flash of lightning lit the area.
Toby continued, “But if you lose…” He cracked his neck.
That needed no interpretation.
“One,” he began.
I was already gone by the time he said, “Two.”
(Oh, by the way, what is with these freaks and the game, “Hide and Seek” if I may ask?)
As I ran, it was hard to see anything in front me, it was pitch black. My only source of light would be the occasional lightning strike every several minutes or so. The wind and pouring rain didn’t make things any easier.
After running for God knows how long, I stopped behind a tree to catch my breath. I couldn’t keep running in this darkness without some form of light. My backpack ruffled a bit as I leaned against the tree.
Oh, I clenched my eyes and teeth, I’m such an idiot. YOU’VE GOT A NIGHT VISION CAMERA, MORON!
I pulled off my backpack and pulled out my camera and slid the knife out of my pocket and not a second too soon. I clicked the camera on just in time to see a hatchet coming sailing towards my head.
“OH-!” I ducked at the last second. Another lightning strike revealed flying splinters from the tree I’d leaned on and Toby’s orange goggles, glowing within the light.
Toby sliced down with his other hatchet. I rolled to my right, barely avoiding the blade. Scrambling to my feet, I held the camera in front of me to see where Toby was. I could see him stand back up with the hatchet he just swung, then point at me as if to say, “Just you wait.” Then he turned and yanked the other hatchet free of the tree. I managed to pull my hunting knife out of its case, only to stared down at it, then stare at Toby’s hatchets.
You know what? I REAAAALLLYYY need to switch this out for a pistol. There’s really not much of a point in bringing this. Is there?
I put the knife back in my pocket. Plan B. I about-faced and hightailed it. I could hear Toby chasing after me every step of the way. I tried to think of a way out of this but my ideas were fresh out. Damn it!
Toby’s footsteps stopped abruptly behind me. Is he giving up? The wound on my head started to throb, reminding me of how he’d caught me earlier. No, WAIT! I dove to my left just as a hatchet whistled through the space my head had just been. Whoa! That was close!
“Damn it!” I heard Toby curse over the wind before running again. I held up the camera and tried to see where the hatchet had landed.
There! Just a few feet ahead of me, was the hatchet. It had gotten embedded in the trunk of a tree. Dropping the camera, I scrambled over to it, and began trying to free it from the tree.
“Come on, come on, come on!” I yelled as I continued to yank and yank at the hatchet.
“Almost there!” I heard Toby yell.
“Not helping!” I yelled back.
The hatchet moved an inch.
Toby got closer.
I pulled once more; it budged another inch but still held fast.
I looked back to see Toby just over ten feet away.
“DAMN IT! COME ON!!!!!” I yelled.
With one last burst of energy, the hatchet flew free from the tree just as Toby reached me. He swung his hatched down at me. I barely had enough time to horizontally raise my hatchet with both hands to catch his. Sparks flew when the blade hit the metal of the handle, the force of the blow jarring me and nearly causing me to drop the hatchet. Toby was unfazed and quickly raised his to strike at me again. I swung the hatchet upward as I rolled to the left, but Toby stepped back, just missing the blade's edge.
“Close!” He shouted, then ran forward and slammed his foot into my side. “But not close enough.”
“GAH!” I dropped the hatchet and rolled over in. Toby went to swing his hatchet down again. I looked up to see my backpack just a few feet in front of me. Desperate, I grabbed it and flipped over with it in front of me right just when Toby slammed the hatchet down. Sparks flew as it cut through the bag and into my laptop (forgot I had that in there). Toby hadn’t expected to meet any resistance, the sudden jarring caused the hatchet to fly out of his grip as it bounced off the laptop.
I glanced at my ruined bag and computer then back at Toby. “You owe me over three hundred dollars, pal.” I shouted then threw the bag into his face, causing him to stumble back. Before he could recover I picked up the wooden hatchet and swung it full force into Toby’s direction. I was aiming for his side but lightning struck at the same instant I swung, throwing off my aim.
“Aah!” Toby yelped in surprise as he stumbled back with the hatchet stuck in his leg. I sat up and grabbed the other hatchet lying beside me. I heard Toby grunt, as he fell against a neighboring tree, trying to free the hatchet of his leg.
Panting, I got up and approached Toby with the hatchet in hand. He continued to struggle and attempt to remove the hatchet as I walked towards him.
When I stepped in front of him, he stopped and slowly raised his head up to see me towering above him. I have no idea what I looked like to Toby then, but the amount of anger and hatred I felt for him must have made me look like a monster, like him. Holding onto the hatchet with both hands, I raised it to strike. Toby looked for anything that could help him, but there was nothing he could do.
The moment I went swing the hatchet down, I hesitated. The image of Connie and her tearful face filled my vision. Was I really about to do this? Was I really going to kill her son? Gritting my teeth, I did the one thing nobody in their right mind would’ve ever done.
Knowing I’d probably regret this, I threw the hatchet down a few inches away from Toby’s face. He jerked back surprised, staring at the hatchet and then at me.
“Why?” he gasped.
I leaned toward him then said in a low voice, “Your mother lost all hope that you were alive for the past two years. She thinks you’re dead, and I’m sure as hell am not going to be the one who makes what she believes true.” I stood up and turned to leave. “I’m done here.”
The moment I took a step forward; Toby began to laugh. I paused then turned to see what was so funny.
His mouth was still covered, but I could tell he was grinning. “You may have won this,” he said, “but it’s not over. Heheheh! Look behind you.”
That doesn’t sound good.
I slowly turned around.
A figure wearing an all-black hoodie stood in front of me with his arms crossed. The top half of his face was hidden by the hood. He was smirking.
I felt swelling hatred burn through me. “YOU!” I shouted.
The Sender’s smile grew wider.
Bracing into a tackle, I raced at The Sender. Lightning struck again, just before I made contact. Everything went white causing me to lose sight of The Sender, but I still ran on…
Only to slam into my car door.