The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves
A Halloween Warning
Words of warning from Dr. M.T. Graves to you. Will you listen to him and heed his words this Halloween, or will you dismiss them at your peril?
Forgive me, dear reader, for this intrusion into your time of solitude, but I fear the consequences would be dire if I did not do so. Although you are reading this in a place where you feel safe, the fact of the matter is much the opposite. In truth, your life is in peril, and to survive what is about to occur, you must place your trust in me and heed every word you read.
Again, I must beg your forgiveness, for I have yet to introduce myself. My name is Graves, Dr. M.T. Graves. I am an observer of lives, a chronicler of tales, and today your sole defender from things beyond this realm.
I know that demanding your trust as you read this — what you perceive as a mere story — requires an incredible amount of faith on your part, but as I have said, it is crucial to your survival. The time of your trial draws near, so I shall do my best to explain to you what is about to occur.
You have shown yourself to have something of a passing interest in the macabre simply by reading this far. It is for this reason that you continue to do so. Perhaps it is to determine if I am nothing more than a smooth-talking charlatan, or maybe you sense the urgency in my warning. I pray it is the latter.
As we near October 31st, the barriers between this world and the next begin to weaken, permitting interaction between denizens of both. Certain of these denizens from beyond are merely mischievous spirits that amuse themselves at the expense of the living; they are an annoyance, true, but theirs is basically a harmless nature. I shall inform you of their presence, but pay them no mind, for their distractions may cost you your life.
Among those remaining denizens, there are those that are beings of pure malevolence — wholly evil. And one of these hellish creatures has set it sights on you.
I know you are wondering what you have done to draw the attention of such a vile enemy, but I honestly don’t know. These things have great lifespans, encompassing millennia, and have abilities beyond those of the average human. Perhaps an ancestor of yours foiled its plans at some time in the distant past, or maybe it has glimpsed your future, or the future of one of your distant descendants, and one of you will do something to affect its future. Regardless of the reason, the words I write and you read have no other purpose than to keep you alive, and trust me, I fully intend to succeed in my mission.
Again, I must implore you to heed my words, for the time of your ordeal is at hand.
Pause for a moment and listen to your surroundings. It is still just the two of us, although I sense something drawing near, so familiarize yourself with the sounds of the mundane; it will help you recognize any sound out of the ordinary. As you listen, observe your surroundings. Get to know every nook and cranny, peer into every shadow, for before this night is through, any of them could hold your demise.
I fear I must insist you hurry, for the first of the spirits is approaching you even now. From this point on, focus only on my words.
As you sit here reading these words, a faint odor creeps into your nostrils. It seems vaguely familiar to you, almost sweet, but there is a touch of something sickening as well. Perhaps it reminds you of rotted food, or the poor carcass of a roadside animal. Whatever the memory that it stirs in you, do not look to see where it is coming from. Remember, it is the slight urges we give in to that can do the most damage. The scent mixes with each breath you breathe, and you can feel it crawling down your throat like a thing alive. It scratches your esophagus on its way down to where it settles in your stomach. You try to clear your throat, but to no avail.
The hair on the back of your neck begins to stand on end, and you can feel the unseen gaze of dozens of leering eyes. For just a second, you can feel their icy stares on your flesh. You shudder. As the invisible gather around you, there is a pressure on you akin to suffocation. You feel as though the world is beginning to close in around you and squeeze the life from you. A passing breeze brushes your cheek, yet your memory assures you that no windows are open. What, then, is the source of this phantom breeze? Is it truly a breeze at all, or is it the caress of a mischievous spawn of darkness seeking to distract you? You raise a hand to your cheek but feel only your own flesh.
A sound reaches your ears. Is it the wind scratching your window with the bony finger of a leafless branch, or do the minions of the Dark One seek to scratch away the security of the walls that protect you? Soft, yet harsh whispers rasp out your name, so faint that you scarce wonder if they are real or merely figments of a mind on edge. In the other room, you hear a bump. Is it your spouse going about some random routine, your pet seeking amusement, or is it something more fiendish clumsily making its way to you? You listen, your ears straining, but you hear nothing else.
A bead of sweat appears on your forehead; wipe it before it trails down into your eye and distracts you from my words.
Anxiety makes your mouth go dry. You run your tongue across your teeth and think of sandpaper brushing against burlap.
Out the corner of your eye, you think you see a shadow move. A flicker of light could be the culprit; perhaps someone or something is passing by outside, or is it merely your mind, alert to what is going on around it, warning you? You are not certain, and this uncertainty sends a shiver up your spine.
And, suddenly, there is silence — dead silence.
Those that annoy have fled, yet they have not gone far. They seek only to be in a place of safety where they can observe and be in the audience of true malevolence.
The lights dim, and you feel the air around you grow colder. There is a buzzing in your head, and a wave of nausea crashes over you. Despite the chill, you can feel a nervous bead of sweat running down your forehead.
Dread is building in you.
You feel a frigid claw closing around your heart, and you are starting to struggle to breathe. Your pulse begins to race.
Calm down. You must calm down, or the enemy will win.
A shape takes form, although whether it is in your mind or before your eyes, you don’t know. Take a moment and close your eyes. Clear your mind. Breathe.
There is a roar in your ears like a mighty, rushing wind; it howls your name. It demands you quit reading. It threatens you if you do not. The voice curses you, your family, your friends; it curses all you know and care about.
The urge to look around gnaws at you like a starving wolf with an old bone. Despite all of my warnings, despite all that I have told you, you still cannot resist seeking out the source of the voice.
But it is too late.
The voice is still. You feel your pulse slow. The coldness dissipates. You feel normalcy returning, and you wonder what is happening. You are curious; is this the calm before the storm? Will you survive the next few minutes, or is your life at its end?
Nothing has changed. Everything is as it was before I interrupted your time of solitude. If you have felt any discomfort during our brief time together, I’m afraid I cannot apologize, for that was my intent. There were no denizens from another realm, nothing that goes bump in the night, nothing seeking to bring about your demise. There was only me, Dr. M.T. Graves. A figure of someone’s imagination brought to life for the sole purpose of toying with your imagination. If you were affected by my words, then consider them a gift on this most hallowed of eves.
To you, my dear reader, let me say this… Happy Halloween.