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🗿 Nox 22/10/11 (Fri) 01:02:34 #40000011


My grandfather's basement.

Have you ever watched those old-timey cartoons? Those animated flicks from the 30's and the 50's? Toons like Bosko and Merrie Melodies in that black-and-white rubber-hose animation style. The grainy screen with the scratchy audio; there's always something that draws people in with the surrealistic and twisting landscapes of the cartoon world. When you're an animator; you draw the same character doing different actions over and over again. It's tiring work and back in the day, the studios would've worked you to the point of exhaustion and you were payed somehow even less than what you started out with.

My grandfather has a bunch of those old cartoons just sitting inside his basement in a box collecting dust. He collected them all over the years and stored it in his basement. For any purveyor of animations from the golden age, this would be the jackpot. Being a 20-year old film student, I couldn't help but be attracted to this sort of shit. When I visited him, I asked if I could take his box of old tapes to watch and study it. He agreed and told me not to drop or break any of it.

Some of the tapes I put in the player didn't work. The others that did were barely watchable; they were covered in static from all that generation loss over the years. To keep things brief, the cartoons that I could discern from those tapes weren't anything interesting. It wasn't like you stumbled upon a lost film. No, instead, what I got was the standard talkatoons and sing-along melody shorts from Disney and Warner Bros. Some Bosko here. A little Bimbo there. Some of them were interesting but it was already 2 in the morning and my eyelids were already getting heavy.

I finished up nearly all the tapes in that night. Before I could turn in, there was only one tape in the box left. I figured I might as well finish it up since it's the last one. All of the tapes were labelled at the side with their proper title cards and studios but this tape was simply titled "for you :)" in black marker. I put it in the slot and pressed play.


Still of the title card.

What followed after was a heavy haze of that static snow. It went on for a couple of minutes until it immediately cut to the title card. I couldn't see the studio that made the animation; it was just cut from the cartoon entirely. That wasn't even the strangest thing though: The cartoon itself was… surprisingly smooth and high-quality. There was no visible static or noise and no off-colored pictures. For a first generation VHS player (which is already old as shit), this thing ran smoothly.

I was pretty excited about this tape. It was my first and only big find worth checking out over. Not only was it in, like, HD, but it was also a new cartoon I'd never seen or heard of before. I thought that this could've been a lost film by Disney or the Fleischer brothers.

What followed was a panning shot of an old manor in a state of disrepair; your stereotypical haunted house setting. This cartoon was about a ghost after all, obviously set in some spooky house. There was no music, only the sound of the wind and creaking of the house settling in there.

And then one of the scenes changes to a living room with white sheets draped over all the furniture. With one of the sheets being suspiciously outlined and drawn differently than the all the others. All of a sudden, there's some music accompanied by the sheet as it began to move and lift itself up from the chair it covered; it floated high up and twirled around in the air before it landed on the floor, three black holes appearing across the sheet.

What followed next was a sheet ghost floating up and down to the beat of growing music. It was barely audible and I couldn't tell if it was because of the player or the tape that was messing it up but I didn't care too much about that.

The ghost was just happily prancing around and playing with the furniture in the house.

Next thing I knew, the light in the basement along with the player and the tv went out. I thought that squirrels went inside the fuse box outside and chewed the wiring. I turned on the flashlight on my phone and went up the stairs.

It was eerily quiet throughout the house. My parents weren't home yet and they, for some reason, were not returning my calls.

I swear as I was heading through the backdoor, I could hear some hushed giggling outside. I thought it was just my mind replaying the same cartoon noises in my head over and over again (I mean, after watching an entire box full of old cartoons at 2 in the morning, you start getting a bit delirious). I didn't think much of it when I went outside; that's when shit started getting real weird.

You see, my neighborhood has houses with lights on the inside. Doesn't matter what time of day it is, there's usually lights on. But now? There wasn't a single porch light. I thought that the entire street lost power but the street lamps were still on so it couldn't be that. I thought I was hallucinating from lack of sleep because I heard the giggling again but this time it was louder. It came from across the street, and I was really freaked out. I couldn't tell whether or not it was my imagination or there was some creepy hobo hiding outside waiting to jump on me or whatever the fuck.

That's when I saw its feet emerge.

Out of the darkness between two houses, there were these sickly, emaciated legs and overgrown feet stepping out from beyond the shadows. I was… unsure of what I saw. Call it morbid curiosity, but I felt like I needed to get a better look at what the hell that thing was.

What came after were two equally large arms and outstretched hands that came out from the dark. I stepped back a couple inches until I heard the laughter. I fucking turned heel and bolted to the front door and locked it when I went in. That laughter was so goddamn loud and inhuman, I didn't think, I just fucking ran like there was no tomorrow. I jumped the flights of stairs and hid inside the closet in my room.

I was so scared that I didn't stop to think about locking the backdoor.

I sat there, exhausted, sleepy, scared, and confused, all while cursing under my breath and worried sick that that thing is going to enter from the back. So I stayed inside the closet for hours.

And then the door crept open and I saw those damn hands.

They reached out like feelers on an ocean floor, spreading and searching for me. I stayed as silent as I could inside the closet, but my heart was racing so fast, I could hear every breath I took.

And then the door slowly widened and that thing went in. It was a white sheet ghost with two dark holes cut through. From under the sheet was its elongated arms and legs. I held my breath and covered my mouth to muffle my breathing.

Out from under the sheet, more arms and legs emerged from within. All sickly-looking and dirty. The limbs that came out had too many joints and they were all looking around the room for me.

I stared at that thing for a solid minute before the sheet turned to face my way.

It crawled over the bed like some spider with arms and legs that had a mind of its own. Stopping just before the closet doors.

I was already face-to-face with this thing. I closed my eyes and held my mouth as long as possible, I didn't even know if it knew I was looking at it. I tried to hear for anything, but there was just dead silence. It didn't make a sound. It didn't even breathe. It felt like I've been doing this for hours.

I don't know what happened next after that. I must've slept, because the next thing I knew, I woke up to the sound of my mom yelling at me for not locking the backdoor and tracking mudprints throughout the walls and floors of the house, all while asking me why on Earth I was sleeping in the closet.

I didn't give her an answer. I don't think I could even come up with an answer of what I experienced last night.

🗿 Nox 22/10/11 (Fri) 01:24:03 #40000095

After all that went down, I spent the next thirty minutes pacing around my room. Talking to myself about what I'd just seen. I didn't tell my mom or dad. I just didn't tell anybody about what the hell happened that night.

I went to the car and drove over to my grandparents' place. Returned all the tapes, including the one named "Gary". I didn't say a word, I just dropped it off on their front porch, rung the bell, and went out with the car to think.

It took me a few days to process everything that happened to me last night. I couldn't sleep without thinking about it. I got paranoid over every shadow and dark form being cast over my room late at night.

Eventually, I decided to go back to my grandfather and ask him about the tape. I went up extra early in the morning, drove the car out of the driveway, and I was already there in less than twenty minutes. Frank was outside sitting on the porch smoking one of his cigarettes. We met up and he asked me what I was doing so early up to visit them.

I asked him what the tape with the name "Gary" was about. He fell silent for a couple seconds before taking one big puff of his cigarette and told me to sit down.

Gary Mayhew was the name of a man who used to work for both Walt Disney and Max Fleischer. He was also a close friend of my grandfather back when he used to intern in Disney's offices. Gary stuck up with the Fleischer brothers drawing dozens of artwork and concepts for the studio. There were complications between the brothers that caused their fall by the start of the 40's, Mayhew was one of the unfortunate employees to be fired. He went and took up his chances with Disney in hopes that he could continue his work there.

Things took a turn for the worst when he was fired from the company and placed under arrest. Frank said that his superiors at Disney made him work overtime to finish one of their films. Gary was already at his breaking point trying to make ends meet with a pitiful salary and a baby on the way with his wife. Gary told my grandfather that he couldn't see his wife until he finished a set number of character designs before he could leave.

Frank said that Gary's wife went into labor early; Gary didn't even know about it since he wasn't allowed to check out of the office. Frank got a call from Gary's wife to help bring her to the hospital because he wasn't picking up. He drove her to the hospital but it was too late. She died in the process and the baby was stillborn. When he told him the news, he immediately hung up on him through the phone. Frank and Gary stopped talking after all that happened. He could still see Gary in his office, finishing up on the project that took his wife and child away. He said that when it was finally finished, Mayhew submitted it to get it ready for the film and put it in the projector for his bosses to see.

What happened after, grandpa wasn't there to see. He was in his office filling paperwork and left the office at that time. When he came back the next day, he heard from his colleagues that the film that Gary submitted was so abhorrent and disturbing, that one of the audience members had a seizure and even vomited during the screening. When he was approached by one of his bosses asking him what the hell he just made, Gary responded by slicing his throat with a cutting knife.

At least, that's how my grandfather heard how it went down.

My grandfather said that all copies of the film itself were destroyed, the murder of Kenneth Walsh (One of Gary's bosses) was covered up, and Gary himself disappeared. A warrant for his arrest was placed but the police couldn't find him. He became a ghost.

A month after the ordeal, grandpa got a package in the mail. Whatever it was, that person knew where he lived and addressed himself as "a friend."

What was in the package was, apparently, a tape of the only film Gary Mayhew ever made. It wasn't one of the copies; it was the original film. The very film that caused such distress in the test screening and lead Gary to murder one of his superiors.

When I asked him why he kept it all these years, he said that he did. He tried to get rid of the tape by throwing it away or destroying it. Each time, it always found a way back to him. When I asked him why he couldn't get rid of it, he said that if he couldn't get rid of it, he could at least forget it ever existed.

[ending stuff. find a way to end the story yadda yadda. don't fuck it up.]