By Yves Kobina
Living in New York, there is rarely anything that surprises me anymore. Reading the New York Times or even the Post is an exercise in despair- to paraphrase Bret Easton Ellis by way of Timothy Price, “In one issue, strangled people, babies thrown from rooftops, Mafia boss wiped out, Nazis, various maniacs, surrogate mothers, the Yankees losing again…” When I moved here from Greece, where the most we have issues with is an immigrant doing some crazy thing late at night, it was definitely a surprise. But those times had passed, and I’d go so far as to say that I’m almost an honorary New Yorker now. Nothing could shock me.
Page MM32 did it. May 13, 2012. This has just happened, yeah, but it feels less like days ago and more like minutes ago. When you’re reading the Times, bored because your roommate left to the Rangers game, what can you really expect?
So I see the headline Trouble, Age 9 and really can’t even muster up the courage… To care. Seems like some article about crappy kids, the screaming brats you see more and more often in the markets; the horrible youth that seems to be a staple of the newest generation. “For years, Anne and Miguel have struggled to understand their eldest son, an elegant boy with high-planed cheeks, wide eyes and curly light brown hair, whose periodic rages alternate with moments of chilly detachment.”
I shrugged. It seemed to be something about a bipolar child or something? I recall saying out loud, “slow news day”, and reaching for the remote control to turn on the television when I looked down at another page of the article- and an excerpt stopped me cold.
Shrieking, Michael ran to the bathroom and began slamming the toilet seat down repeatedly. Dragged out and ordered to bed, he sobbed pitifully. “Daddy! Daddy! Why are you doing this to me?” he begged, as Miguel carried him to his room. “No, Daddy! I have a greater bond with you than I do with Mommy!” For the next hour, Michael sobbed and screamed, while Miguel tried to calm him. In the hall outside his room, Miguel apologized, adding that it was “an unusually bad night.”
From the bedroom, Michael called out: “He knows the consequences, so I don’t know why he does it. I will hurt him.”
Miguel: “No you won’t.”
Michael: “I’m coming for you, Allan.”
To explain just what “stopped” me about that exchange, I’m going to have to go back to a part of my life that I’ve spent many years trying to forget.
There is a significant part of my childhood that I am not proud of. When I was around six or seven, still in Greece, I used to have a nameless imaginary friend. Actually, that would be an incorrect start to this little bit of exposition- she did have a name, but one forgotten to me thanks to the sands of time. She was taller than I, but appeared to be the same age, very pale, long black hair.
Her sclera was black, and her eyes, gold. I don’t know what I called her, but I do remember a picture I proudly hung on the refrigerator- a portrait of us, done in crayon with all the artistic ability of a grade school student. Above me, my name- Antonis. Above her, ∆.
I guess that was her “name.” Whatever she went by, she told me to do a lot of things. We were inseparable- I never stopped to question her suggestions for a new adventure. Eventually I was labeled as the problem child, the bad kid, the kid who stirred the pot. Did I really care? No, because ∆ was there for me. I don’t know half of the terrible things I did and the grief I caused my parents, but I do remember one evening, clear as day. I had been made fun of in school the previous week- some kid had called me a headcase, and it was probably true. But I was inconsolable for a couple of days- then she was there. Spoke to me. She never talked any louder than a whisper, but to me, it was like a train whistle, all I could focus on.
“Why are you crying?” ∆ asked me.
I told her about what had happened, and she wrapped her arms around me and told me just exactly what had to be done.
During that conversation, she stopped, and looked me in the eye. “Do you know about the devil?”
Of course I did. Even as bad as a child I was, I was inherently frightened by him, just like any other kid.
She said, “You have to be careful around him. He did a trick and fooled a whole lot of people.”
And I asked ∆, what?
“Making you believe there was only one of him.”
After what happened the next day in school, we moved to America and I was immediately sent to a psychologist.
Long story short, I took medication for a while, and ∆ eventually disappeared. By the time I was 12, I was essentially “fine” again. But I’m not completely fine. You can see that clearly. I wrote this down to explain how a news article almost caused me a nervous breakdown, and I’m going back into childhood memories I forgot I had.
What scared me so much is that kid in the article, Michael, reminded me of myself. I knew exactly how he worked, what made him tick. Initially, I had thought it was ∆ herself, whatever name she was under now, but I remembered what she said.
There are a lot of devils out there.
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I am sixteen years old. Yves Kobina is a pseudonym- I have been writing "creepypasta", or horror stories for some time but never sought to get them published. Getting them featured anywhere would be a gigantic honor to me.
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