Archive for January, 2010

#119. The Paper Warehouse

Posted in Uncategorized on January 25, 2010 by armaneaux

There’s a vacant lot in the Southwest that’s literally covered in paper: Old newspapers, old photographs, decaying books, fast food wrappers. Anything paper and mass produced. On Labour Day, the lot vanishes and is replaced by a small warehouse. Nobody notices because there’s no way that a warehouse could go up that fast, is there? If you walk inside of the building, you will discover that it is in fact made of all the paper that was on the lot, which has been folded elegantly to resemble brick and sheet metal and concrete.
The building will be furnished like an old importer’s. Don’t put your weight on anything, however, as every last object in the building is made from paper. There will be a display case against one of the warehouse’s walls containing the only wares it has ever housed: a dozen rings. One of them is real, the rest are made of paper. If you pick up the real one on your first try, you’ll be permitted by the aged Japanese man who seems to own the warehouse to take it with you. Never wear the ring, but instead give it to someone you love. For the rest of their life, they’ll never fall ill.
If you get one of the paper rings, wear it. It will bring you good luck and success at the office.

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#114. The DVD

Posted in Uncategorized on January 25, 2010 by armaneaux

In the new Crowfoot Public Library, there is an extensive collection of DVDs that can be borrowed provided you have a card. One of these, which nobody seems to borrow, is inside a blank case that inevitably seems t get lost between shelves or reshelved in the wrong section. The disk inside the case is unmarked as well, although it isn’t a DVD-R. Attempting to borrow the disc will earn you a strange look, but no strong protestations.
Take the disc home and do not watch it until after dark. Put the disc into your player at one in the morning and press play exactly ten second later. The screen will crackle to life in media res, the action already unfolding by the time the camera comes on. The scene depicts the murder of a man named Nick Maharis, gutted like a fish on the platform at Sunnyside Station, his intestines spilling out onto the concrete. The camera is dropped after he hits the ground, and the killers leave.
The camera remains focused n Maharis as he bleeds out, watching the slow progress of his abdomen emptying onto the ground. Strangely, the pattern formed by his entrails differs every time you watch. He will make eye contact with you at the moment he expires. The disc is of no use to you unless you are skilled in haruspicy. If you are, you can see reflected in his innards the current future of the war.

#113. The Cellphone

Posted in Uncategorized on January 25, 2010 by armaneaux

Enter Hillhurst Elementary after hours through the Girls’ Door. Do not use The Key to get in, as the school no longer stands in the desiccated world it opens onto. Instead pick the lock through a more conventional means or secure the key through some legitimate method. Then climb the stairs. The school has collected a handful of ghosts like all buildings; echoes of sound and heartbeat reverberate through the air. But the dead here are slow and calm.
Climb to the top of the building and enter the cloakroom at the top of the staircase. It will be empty at this hour other than a leather jacket too large to belong to the children. You will hear the sound of a cellular phone’s ring from the moment you walk in the room, and after a moment’s effort you will find it in the jacket’s pocket. The phone is an old nokia. Open it and hold it to your ear, but say nothing. Do not even breathe.
For as long as you can remain silent, the person on the other end of the line will tell you everything you need to know to solve whatever problem you’re currently faced with. But once you breathe or speak, she will stop mid-sentence and scream. The scream will be deafening, and you will pass out quickly. Explaining your presence in the school at night, in the cloakroom, will prove surprisingly easy. Claim you came back to reminisce. The principal will ask if you were a student there once. Tell him you like to think you are always a student. He’ll recognize you as an acolyte and allow you to leave, but from then on you will owe him a great and grievous favour.

#112. The Ice Cream Truck

Posted in Uncategorized on January 25, 2010 by armaneaux

Edgemont is haunted every summer by an Ice Cream truck that only comes out after dark. Large and long and old fashioned unlike the small one-person trucks that drive the route by day, this truck and its sonorous, distorted bell fill everyone who hears it with a sense of unshakeable anxiety. The locals are so shaken by it that they refuse to talk about it or deny its existence outright. Its comings seem to coincide with the New Moon.
If you steel yourself and manage to overcome the anxiety you will feel about sighting it, wave the truck down. The man who drives it has dead eyes and will only accept money minted before 1980. The truck’s menu will be illegible with age, but ask for a sour cherry popsicle. The popsicle the man gives you will taste coppery and salty, but swallow every last mouthful without complaining about the taste. The man will smile and ask you if you want to ride along. Never accept his offer, no matter how tempted you feel.
From that day forward, to your eyes the night will seem as bright as the day, and people will glow with the warmth of however many days of life remain for them. No one knows what happens if you flag the man down again or accept his offer.

#111. The Laptop

Posted in Uncategorized on January 25, 2010 by armaneaux

Beneath a nameless overpass is a dry concrete hole that descends into the city’s foundations. Although the hole is open and unmarked, no one seems to fall into it or even come close. In fact, when you find it you will have to strain your eyes to see it. When you do, you will notice that the perfectly circular hole has no means of descent. The walls are too smooth to brace yourself against. The only way down is to jump. So jump, holding on all the while to perfect confidence that you will land unharmed. If your confidence vanishes so will the mattress beneath you to break your fall.
Once you land, get up and walk straight ahead through the dusty gloom. Eventually you will find a laptop computer sitting on top of a milk crate. The computer is on and its battery is perpetually at full, although it isn’t plugged into anything. The screen doesn’t display an operating system, instead showing a list of names that updates with a new name about once every eight seconds. The foolish think that this is a list of who is dying, with each name representing another death.
If you try to remove the computer, your name will appear and you will realize that they’re wrong. The list is indeed of deaths, but it’s about five minutes behind.

#110. The Bookstore

Posted in Uncategorized on January 25, 2010 by armaneaux

There is a hidden book store that can be found in every city on the continent. In Calgary, it can be found in the basement of a pizza shop in Brentwood. Tell the owner that you’re from the health department. When he asks what department, say mental health. He’ll laugh, but he’ll also unlock a door at the back of the kitchen which leads to a long, steep, rickety staircase that descends deeper into the ground than should be possible. At the bottom you’ll find a small, strange shop and a man named Eddie Decae.
The shop specializes in the works of the homeless insane, with sheafs of scrawled mythologies from across North America: The blue lady of Florida, Chicago’s gangster computer gods, and Calgary’s They are described in intimate detail in the unreadable ramblings. Decae sells these sheafs for a dollar a page, and it’s worth it if you have the time to eke what meaning can be distilled from them. However, there is a shortcut to knowledge.
Behind the counter, Decae keeps a bookshelf with over a hundred notebooks, diaries, clipboards, little boxes of index cards and the like. All have been prepared by acolytes and seekers and all describe the roadside horrors and urban attractions that we who favour the night enjoy. Decae will let you have one of these, but for a price: You must prepare one of your own. If you don’t, you will find yourself unable to read anything. The words will swim before your eyes and sort themselves into paragraphs of the filthiest invective.

#109. The Index Cards

Posted in Uncategorized on January 25, 2010 by armaneaux

In a large residential home in Breton Close which was assembled piecemeal over the last forty years. The house is notable for its large back yard and long driveway. Every Halloween, the man who owns the house doles out cotton candy in the garage while his wife remains inside, alone. Never eat the old man’s cotton candy. There’s more than sugar spun in its strands, and if you cross the precipice of his home without his consent after eating it, your body will turn to sugar and air.
In the old man’s kitchen there are a half dozen boxes of index cards. Some document people, vital statistics jotted down in a genial handwriting that belies the exacting and invasive detail of the records. Others document formulas and complicated patterns that signify nothing, even to the most advanced acolyte. Still others are benign. But one set of index cards, kept under lock and key in the pantry, is more straightforward and more immediately of value.
The cards were purchased from Eddie Decae when the couple first arrived on our shores. They were so much older then. They have been adding to the collection ever since. If you have had any success as a seeker or acolyte, you will certainly find your name there. If any of the cards has a red dot in the upper right corner, or the name crossed out with ink from a fountain pen, the person or place or thing it describes will be visited by the old man… and then it simply won’t be anymore.