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The original was posted on /r/nosleep by /u/HungryShoulder5305 on 2024-07-15 01:56:46+00:00.

Prior part:

Sorry for the cliff hanger on the last entry, but it looked like it was going to be too long to finish in one post. Plus I needed to take a break to move to a different room. The knocking was starting to get hard to ignore.

The entry that came a page or two after the one bookmarked with Judy's prayer card looked way different than any of the ones before.

Dear Journal,

I understand that I am not at fault for what happened with Alex and Judy. I understand that these connections were only made out of extreme duress based on my guilt and psychotic beliefs following the death of first my father, and then my nephew and sister-in-law. I know now that my death would not bring them back or cause any satisfaction to my brother Adam, who cares for me deeply despite his loss and has been a major part of my recovery along with my mother. The black eyed boy that I was seeing was a result of delusional thinking and hallucinations that have been properly diagnosed by Dr. Hawkins. After months of physical and mental recovery, I will be starting my journal afresh with a new mind after having it returned to me by the staff at St. Peter's Psychiatric Care Center and using the skills from my therapeutic journal to continue my recovery. The staff and Dr. Hawkins have my eternal gratitude for helping me start me life without delusion and begin my adulthood from a place of healing.

After digging through the box the journals had been in, I found what looked like a workbook that I had overlooked considering how identifiable the journals were. Inside were therapeutic exercises talking about guilt, shame, identifying how to distinguish hallucinations, countering delusional thoughts, what looked like unpolished versions of modern safety plans, entries he'd written during his treatment, and letters written back and forth between him, his mother, and his brother between visits. His brother offering him forgiveness and talking about not wanting to lose anyone else he loved. His mother talking about how strong she knew he was. Although I knew that psychiatric treatment had been far less humane in the past, the workbook was honestly inspiring, even least, if I didn't know where the story ended. If I didn't know there were more journals to read.

Still, there was over a decade of pretty standard entries that seemed much more monumental considering the ones I'd read up until now. His brother remarrying and having two children, one named after his father with the middle name of the son he lost and the other with their daughter with Judy's name as her middle name. I couldn't help but wonder what the new wife thought of the latter, but considering the intensity of his loss maybe she was understanding. Either way, there weren't any entries that were negative about it. Blitz passed away as an old man and eventually he got his own dog named Duke that he took with him when he started his own family. Allen got a steady job as a butcher at a store he'd frequented growing up and eventually became the manager. He married. Had kids that his mother often watched for them on date nights and seemed to dote on. Knowing how things were with his kids now it was strange to see how much he wrote about them, how Alicia was "so smart that it caused her trouble", how the middle daughter was "already so kind", how he was so happy to have a baby boy to round out their family.

It made the punch in the gut even worse when the streak broke.

Dear Journal,

I finally remembered.

It's been so long and my treatment was so intense that I really did think I was crazy. That "Christian" was just something that flared up when I got too stressed, like when Dad died or when everything happened with Alex and Judy. Some kid based on the imaginary friend I made up when Adam was getting too old to bring his little brother around. So I'd let it out of my mind for all these years.

But they came tonight.

It was late, maybe 10pm, and Rosie and the kids were all asleep. I just finished looking for Jupiter since it was a clear night. Then someone knocked on the door while I was putting away the telescope. I was worried it was an emergency since it was so late, especially with the neighbor's heart attack last week, but I damn near had one myself when I saw who was there.

There were two little girls at the door that looked just like Alicia and Maisy, down to Maisy's hair ribbons and the studs in Alicia's ears with her birthstone in them. I knew it couldn't be them of course, they were upstairs in their beds, but it was uncanny. I asked them what was wrong and they said that they woke up outside and that they were scared. They even called me Daddy. They were sniffling and whimpering in a way that broke my heart to hear and I squatted down a second to get a better look, starting to wonder if maybe they'd been sleep walking even if that hadn't happened before.

Then I saw their eyes, completely black, even what should have been the whites of their eyes.

And I remembered.

I slammed the door shut and they started clawing and banging the door behind me, sobbing, letting out these keening cries for "Daddy" to let them in and that I was scaring them. They were scaring me. I locked the door and ran upstairs the the girl's room while Rosie was coming out to see what was happening and...there they were. My little girls sat up in bed with that same scared, confused look as the girls on the doorstep. They were mine though, their eyes were teary but they were the same eyes that had looked at me from their little bundles at the hospital the day they were born. Rosie was so worried, she kept asking why the door slammed and what all the banging was and I told her that it was some hitchhiker wanting a ride that gave me a bad feeling. She didn't seem like she believed me, but since she didn't have a better option she let it go. I'm on the couch writing this to make sure they don't come back, and I hope I'm just over tired. I hope to god I'm just tired. Because if not I've got no one to turn to for this.

It looked like things settled down for a while again, almost long enough that he had dismissed the incident, before the girls showed up again.

Dear Journal,

Rosie answered the door after dinner and as I went to go into the living room I saw who she was talking to. It was the girls again. Rosie seemed so confused and even looked back to make sure the girls were still playing on the floor near the couch, especially after I heard them beg "Mommy" to let them in and that they were sorry for going out without asking. I didn't hear anymore because I ran up behind her and slammed the door in their faces, the older girl barely pulling her hand off the door frame in time. Rosie got upset with me and started shouting at me for being heartless, that clearly these two little girls were confused, and I lost it. I shouted back for her to bring the girls upstairs and that those demons were not coming in our house, that it'd be over my dead body. Our girls had never heard us fight before, hell, we never had fought until now, and they ran upstairs like they'd seen the devil himself and he was biting at their heels. I don't know what got into Rosie but she was actually fighting me to get at the door, it was like something had come over her and she was dead set on getting that door open, only made worse by those little demons crying and begging for their mother. I felt like I was going crazy, like my entire world was crashing down on me. The only thing that made me keep going and keeping her away from the door is knowing what those things could do to us, to our children.

And then it just stopped.

The banging and the crying was gone. Rosie was staring at me from about a foot away, looking concerned, and I had my back against the door. The only thing that let me know I hadn't completely lost my mind was the scratches up and down my arms from her nails. She started asking me what was wrong, acting like those scratches were from some cat or from Duke jumping on me, and genuinely seemed like she had no idea what had happened just a few seconds before. I told her that she had come at me over those girls at the door and I asked her if she lost her mind, but she really didn't know what I was talking about. The only thing that helped was when I went upstairs the girls ran to me crying and asking me why Mommy and Daddy were fighting and if something bad happened.

I held them for a long time, kept pulling away to look at their eyes and kiss them on their foreheads, kept telling them that Daddy loves them and that everything would be okay.

I was lying to them. I don't know if anything will be okay.

After this, there were entries about trying to act like everything was normal, and about the nightmares he started having. Nightmares about his own little girls turning into the ones with the black eyes and shooting him in his sleep, choking the baby in his sleep, opening his wife's belly with a knife the way Alex had been shot. There was so many desperate attempts for him to separate those nightmares from his girls and how he was worried that it was effecting how he interacted with his kids. How eventually he even started having nightmares of his baby boy opening his eyes after a nap a...

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Kelev Tov (
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The original was posted on /r/nosleep by /u/HiHiPuffyAmiYumiGo on 2024-07-14 16:21:54+00:00.

Dogs should live forever.

I know that isn't reasonable, so I can compromise. Dogs should live for a hundred years. See how reasonable I am? Dogs belong with us, our best friends, our confidants, our protectors. Our loyal protectors.

When my little sister was a year old, before my mother and father's marriage fell apart, my mother decided she wanted a dog. Dad took care of the adoption paperwork, the supplies and all the logistics of getting the puppy. Mom named him. The shelter said the mother was a Great Dane, but they didn't know about the father and warned us that the dog could be huge. Mom named him Mouse, because she thought that would be funny. She's right of course; it is funny.

Mouse turned out to be gigantic. Mouse was the chillest dog ever. Most Great Danes are like that. When you're the size of a full grown man, you can be pretty confident nothing is going to fuck with you. With that confidence comes calm. There were times I walked Mouse down the street and some little lap dog that was more rat that dog started barking its head off at Mouse. Mouse would just ignore it. What was it going to do, bite his ankles?

Mom loved Mouse. She loved playing with him and cuddling with him. She loved training him and cleaning up after him a lot less. Dad took care of that. As Mouse got big, and he got very big very fast, Mom said she couldn't walk him anymore. Dad and I had to take care of all his walks. We didn't mind, because Mouse was the best dog ever. He never pulled on the leash or anything.

When Mom left and Esther and I were devastated, we would cuddle up on the couch next to Mouse and give him tight hugs. He licked our hair and huffed his hot breath on us. I think it was his way of saying everything would be alright. When Dad started dating my Stepmom, Becky, he was nervous to introduce her and her son Jake to Mouse. He shouldn't have been. Mouse loved them instantly. He walked right up to Jake when he met him and licked his face. Jake was delighted.

When Becky and Dad got married, we got a second dog. His name was Woodpecker. Esther picked it because when she first saw him he was chewing on a stick. We ended up just calling him Woody. Woody is smaller than Mouse. He's only eighty pounds. So, y'know, still pretty big.

Everyone says their dogs are the best dogs in the world. Now, I agree that all dogs are good dogs, but I have to say that every dog owner except my family is full of shit. There have never been better dogs than Mouse and Woody, never. That's no slight against other dogs, who are also excellent. There's just no way to be as good as Mouse and Woody.

When I was thirteen and Becky was pregnant with my youngest sibling, I took Mouse and Woody for a walk one night after Shabbat dinner. Becky felt sick and went to sleep early. Dad was getting Jake and Esther ready for bed. Being thirteen and a newly minted young man, I took it upon myself to help out and walk the dogs. It was dark outside, and Dad told me to be careful. I promised I would be, but I wasn't worried. I had two huge dogs with me, and we lived in an eruv that was also a gated community.

We walked to the end of our street and turned left. I had no particular route or destination in mind. I knew the neighborhood well, and so did the dogs. All three of us could navigate the familiar streets even in the dark. We passed neighbor after neighbor’s house. There were little pools of light under the street lamps that looked like puddles I could jump in. I didn't though, because I was thirteen and too old for such foolishness.

It was so still and quiet outside. No one was watching TV or listening to music. I was alone in the dark with my faithful companions. Some people are afraid of the dark, but I never have been, even after what happened that night. In the dark, when it's quiet, I can listen for the murmuring.

My peace was interrupted by the yowling of a cat. Mouse ignored the cat. He had no interest in them. Woody wasn't aggressive toward cats, but he had the unfortunate desire to befriend them. They did not share his desire. He tried to follow the cat, but since his leash was clipped to the front of his harness he ended up turning himself around. He looked at me with confusion, and I burst out laughing.

He took his revenge by pooping on the next lawn we passed. To be fair, that was the entire point of our walk. I collected the poop and tied the bag tight. We continued along, waiting for Mouse to feel nature's call. He did a couple streets over, but I wasn't ready to head back yet. I wasn't tired, and neither were the dogs. The night was warm and welcoming, a perfect late summer evening.

“Excuse me, young man.”

I almost jumped out of my skin when I heard someone behind me speak up. I turned around. I did not recognize the man who had spoken to me. That was odd, because we knew almost all of our neighbors, and a security guard monitored the only entrance to the community. It wasn't like random people could just wander in through the gate.

“I didn't mean to startle you.” Woody sat down on my feet. He often did that when we encountered someone he didn't know. It was a protective gesture. Mouse stayed standing and stared at the man with his huge brown eyes. “I was wondering if you could help me.”

“I don't know you.”

The man nodded. “I'm sure your mother taught you not to talk to strangers.”

As a matter of fact, she never did. Mom loves talking to strangers. She calls it one of life's great pleasures. Dad isn't such a fan though.

“I'm staying with the Rosens. I'm Debby’s cousin. I needed some fresh air and went for a walk, but I got lost. You must think me very foolish.”

I did know Debby Rosen. She was a nice fat middle-aged mom whose kids were just a smidge too old to want to hang out with me. She gave me a big hug at my Bar Mitzvah and said I read Torah better than she'd ever heard before. She says that at everyone's Bar Mitzvah, but it's still nice. She has cousins, I'm sure. She has an uncle that she says can predict the weather with his arthritis. Presumably he has kids, and presumably they are Debby's cousins.

The thing is, this man didn't look like Debby Rosen’s cousin. I don't just mean that they didn't have similar features, although they didn't. Not everyone looks like their cousins, after all. No one thinks I look particularly like my cousins.

Debby has red undertones to her skin, and thick dark curls. Debby is short and plump. Most of all, Debby has a face that always looks like it's smiling, even when she wears one of her infrequent frowns. This man was pale like his skin had been bleached. There were no undertones to him, warm or cool. He was tall and lanky. His face had neither smile lines nor laugh lines, but it had lines, many lines.

“Can you help me get back to Debby's house?”

I could, of course. I knew exactly how to get there. She didn't live far away, either, just one block up and one over. In fact, if I started back home, I would walk right by Debby’s house on the way. “No, sorry. I don't know where she lives.”

The look the man gave me made it clear he knew I was lying. “Very well,” he said. “I'll just keep looking.”

I nodded. Then I realized I was stuck. I could go home, but that would mean walking past the man. I could go further away, but that would mean I would eventually need to turn around and go back in his direction. I took the second option. Maybe by the time I needed to turn around the man would have found Debby's house on his own.

“Come on Mouse. Come on Woody.” They obeyed me as I resumed our walk.

I wasn't expecting the man to follow me.

I looked over my shoulder at him. He ambled along at a slow pace, reading the numbers on every house he passed. He didn't look at me, but when I turned left, so did he. My heart began beating away at my chest, and I felt like I was going to throw up. I wanted to tell him to stop following me, but I was afraid if I called him out on it he would stop pretending that his path mirrored mine by coincidence.

The solution that I was embarrassed I didn't come up with right away was of course to just knock on a neighbor's door. I walked up Sammy Kane’s driveway and knocked on his door. Mouse and Woody sat in front of the door, intrigued by the aberration in our normal walking routine. The man reached the end of Sammy's driveway and stood there, watching me. I knocked harder and felt humiliated as I started to cry. The man took a step up the driveway.

“Mr. Kane! Mr. Kane, open up! It's Reuben! Mr. Kane, open the door!” The man continued up the driveway, his pace slow and measured. He was in no hurry. It was as if he knew Sammy wouldn't answer the door.

Woody started barking at the door. He was confused as to why I was pounding at the door. I was glad he was barking. It was rude to wake up the neighbors, but I didn't care. I just wanted the door to open. I dropped the two bags of dog poop and began to bang on the door with both hands. Mouse turned to face the man. He did something he never, ever did. He'd never done it before that night, and he never did it after. He growled. He showed the man his teeth. Mouse was a massive, massive dog, and he had huge sharp teeth, but the man didn't care. He just laughed.

I pounded on the door hard enough to shake it in its frame. I don't care how deep the Kane family sleeps, one of them should have heard me and woken up. “Mr. Kane! Mr. Kane! Open the door! There's a man out here, and he's going to get me!”

I didn't look over my...

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