The Man from August Ridge: A Playlist to Kill to

Bloody butcher after hunting

Photo Copyright : Sergiy Tryapitsyn  (Follow) used with permission 123rf.com

(Straight Horror trigger warning)

THE MAN FROM AUGUST RIDGE 

The Man from August Ridge

Lives across the O’Neil Bridge

He only comes out at night

To kill one by dawn’s early light

They say he wields a mighty ax 

And stands six-foot-four

Or so goes the lore

Never seek out his house

Deep in the O’Neil forest of oaks 

and pines

He likes to hunt you from above the 

trees and is as quiet as a church 

mouse

He will have you in one of his metal 

traps before your cooked jaws flap

Your screams are in his favorite 

daydreams

He treasures each and every one

Because when your blood is spilled

that is when his fun has truly begun

He’s always been rather odd 

 cut you up and eat you alive

While he has you sing to him

He never misses dinner and a show

He collects your favorite songs

And adds them to his playlist 

To listen to after

So if you find yourself lost and fate 

had not been very kind to meet 

The man from August Ridge

Best you can do is hope death comes 

fast as a meteorite while he devours

You in every last bite

I stood in the school hallway after my last period looking up at the poster of Phoebe Grant. She had been missing for over a week, and most of us figured she had run away. Most of the stoner kids I knew were like that. They were the school drifters in and out a lot, and a lot of them had names, but no one remembered them.  

Phoebe Grant was a name we now remembered because of all the posters decorated the school hallways and lockers. There was even a vigil held a week ago for her. Kyle came up behind me, knocking the wind out of me.  

“Hey, we are still going to the O’neil bridge tonight and look for some local legends like the Man from August Ridge?”

“Yeah, I’m game if you are.”

“Awesome, I’ll bring the camera so we can take some footage for the Senior class YouTube video.”

Casey Culman came over and kissed Kyle on the cheek. “Hey, babe!” she gleefully chimed in my ears like a bullet.

I rolled my eyes. Kyle was the living embodiment of the guy who had everything, including the prettiest girl in school, my crush, Casey, among other things. I would have done anything to be Kyle for a day back then.

“So we are going to scope out the O’Neil woods tonight? I let Matt and Mackenzie know. I am so excited!” she squealed, and I looked questioningly at Kyle, who smiled shrugging.

I had thought it was just going to be a quick video making trip so I could finish our version of the Senior Class movie to play at graduation. Instead, it was double date night and me the fifth wheel.

“Hey, tell Alex to come so it won’t be weird,” Kyle said empathetically.  

“Sure.” I nodded.

My other best friend, Alex, was also girlfriendless; the only difference was he wasn’t into girls. 

We didn’t go straight to the O’Neil woods. To kill time, we stopped at the local bar in town called the Grotto with our fake IDs and got in to see some band. Alex was by the stage when the band started playing. The lead singer was one of those guys that tried too hard to be Chris Cornell but failed at it miserably. Not to mention, there was only one. There were a few other local bands I wanted to see to kill time, but that all stopped abruptly.

“Your band sucks!” Alex yelled, who had already had a few beers before he left his house. 

“Alex, man stop,” I said, patting his shoulder.

Instead of listening to me, he only laughed. “I know music, and this Dude sucks!”

The band abruptly stopped playing. “Look here, you little shit, if you don’t like it get the hell out!”

A few people from the audience cheered.

Alex looked back at the crowd. “I could do a better job at your song than you. Go back to the costume store where you got that shitty outfit and find something better suited like a clown costume.” 

Kyle saw the commotion and then joined me in trying to get Alex to shut up. “What is your deal, man?”

“This guy is a poser. I hate posers.”

“Maybe you should learn to control your friend, buddy.” the lead singer yelled.

“Shut up man; we got it!” Kyle yelled.

Alex shot up his middle finger, and the guy lunged towards Alex tripping over the microphone chord and hitting his chin on the corner of the stage head first.

Alex, being the typical dick he was, clapped. “Best performance, you did all night!”

The audience began to clap too, all laughing at the incident. Some had out their phones making videos of it. 

We dragged Alex out of the building, but not before the now, furious lead singer yelled back at Alex. “You guys messed with the wrong son of a bitch!” 

We left before we could see any of the other bands we had come to mind. 

We piled into two cars shortly after midnight and drove down past the park and through a long half paved road towards the old rundown barn in the center of O’Neil woods. The only light came from our two vehicles, and we kept on driving deeper into the old O’Neil farmstead. Finally, we went to the rundown shack and the old red barn. It was amazingly intact for something so old. I got out of my car first and then walked towards Casey and Kyle, who were kissing in the front seat of the vehicle while Pearl Jam’s cover of “Last Kiss” played in the background.  

I wrinkled my nose at them. Did either one of them even know what the song was about?

 “Hey, you two lovebirds want to get out and start this thing?” I tried to sound light.

 Behind me was Alex standing with Mackenzie and Matt. 

“Yeah, let’s go see some haunted barn action. I was thinking of doing some photography for my portfolio.” Alex said, walking around, looking at the property.

“Gross, there are probably ticks out here,” Mackenzie said, caressing her long blonde ponytail. “Did you guys remember to bring any Off?”

Casey got out of the car then shaking her head at Mackenzie.

“No, but I have somebody spray. She handed her something in a bottle.”

“That’s okay. If I ever want to learn to be a model on the cover of Vogue, I have to learn to be comfortable in outdoor locations, right?”

Casey giggled.

We all began to follow Alex towards the barn looking around. Kyle began to film on his digital camera, and then we halted. There was a light coming from one of the shacks near the barn. We all stopped talking and just looked at one another.

“What is it?” Mackenzie asked

“A light obviously,” Alex said, walking towards it. “Anyone want to follow me or stay there?”

Casey walked on and then nearly fell over. She had stumbled upon something in the grass.

Picking up the object, it was a cassette tape. “Music to kill people to.” 

“Creepy,” Mackenzie said, shivering.

I wasn’t so convinced, grabbing the cassette. “People like to come out here and do weird stuff because of the Legend of the Man from August Ridge.”

“Come on, you idiots!” Alex was yelling.

We followed him towards the shack. I expected to see someone camping out there for the night, but when we got closer, something did not feel right.

There was a smell that I couldn’t place, but it made me nauseous, and I nearly got sick. Alex covered his mouth and then opened the old door to the shack. Mackenzie came up behind him and then let out a scream.

The song “Doll Parts” by Hole was playing on an old cd player. There were white, and pastel pink candles lit all around the small room. They had been lit for a long while because they were melting all around. There were photos of toys and dolls on the walls of the shack and rotten cupcakes with flies still on them. There were hooks and giant clothespins on the table as well and coagulated blood on the walls. Pieces of heavy-duty thread lay around the floor. But in the center was the most terrifying thing of all. Something I will never get out of my mind.

The smell was from the rotting flesh in the center of the room. A body was rotting inside it. There was no mistaking the scent or the now blue and bloated pieces of flesh that seemed to be hanging from purposely placed wires. The arms and legs were not connected to the torso in front of us. Instead, they had been cut off and sewn back together with large black utility thread. They hung from wires over the body, which hung in the middle of the room. The legs had also been severed and sewn into place and hung in a sitting position while the torso and arms floated above it separately. The body had on ruffled underwear and a pink teddy. I could tell that the form in front of me was no wax artistic rendering for shock; it was a real body. However, I could not place who it was because the face had been covered in a mask that looked like a doll baby.  

I had tears in my eyes and had drowned out the screams from the others who were trying to get me out of there as fast as I could. My hand wavered over the unseen face and lifted the mask. Then it let out a heavy breath, and I knew the person whose severed limbs hanging in front of me was alive!

I gulped it was Phoebe Grant, the girl who had been missing over a week, whose torso was now in front of us. 

“Please… help me,” she whispered, barely aware that she was alive or that we were there.

I was unsure how to in my panic, and if I moved her torso, would she fall victim to more injury?  

“Holy shit, we need to get out of here!” Alex was frantically screaming in a cracked voice.

The sound of the screams from my friends now carried weight with me, and I knew I had to get out of here. I also couldn’t let this poor creature in front of me die.  

Then I saw a shadow. It loomed from behind Phoebe, and suddenly she gargled blood, and her head fell backward. A man rose from behind her. How he got there, I had no idea. He was here now and holding a large instrument that I could not see. I only saw it poke through her neck in front of me.

I knew Phoebe was dead, and I wasted no more time trying to figure out who her assailant was.  

We ran towards our cars as though we were on the high school sprint team. Soon Kyle was speeding out of the road, and I struggled to find my grip on the steering wheel.

I didn’t see the man again. He seemed to have all but disappeared.

I sped out of the muddy road following Kyle, all the while trying to grasp what had just happened. It seemed as though fate had other ideas. Kyle swerved to the right, and then before I could comprehend one horror, I was witnessing another. Kyle and Casey’s car went over the road and down into the valley. I stopped the vehicle abruptly, and the other four of us got out of the car running towards the car. Casey was okay. She was just passed out by Kyle.

Kyle’s head was in between the glass that had shattered his truck’s windshield. Glass lay around the seat, and Alex was already screaming for the 911 operator to get there.

I looked up at the road where there was a little streetlight, and a man stood watching us. I could not see his face from the shadows. I watched him standing silently, watching us. He remained motionless as though he were studying our every frame, movement, and voices. 

I looked away for a moment as an ambulance and three cop cars came speeding up the road.

When I looked back, he was gone. 

############################

“We gather here today to say our goodbyes to one of our town’s favorite football players. But Kyle Thomas was more than that. He was my best friend. When I moved here from San Francisco three years ago, I didn’t have anyone. I had a bad attitude, no friends, and just the thought of how much I hated Ohio. Kyle was the first friend I ever made. He was popular, smart, and had loads of girls that liked him. Kyle was also a guy with a big heart. He reached out to me after my first day at school to see if I was okay. We ended up having a lot in common for a guy who was captain of the football team, and me, a guy who’s favorite band was the Cure. For that, I’ll never forget him. When that car went off the bridge, our entire lives changed forever. I just feel lucky we were a part of each other’s lives, even if it was a short time.” I wiped tears from my eyes and forgot the fact people were staring at me. 

I sat down in my seat, and a hand tapped me on the shoulder. It was Casey Culman, the girl that I had liked since I first moved to Medina. She was also Kyle’s girlfriend. I smiled and tried not to think about the fact my competition was gone. It didn’t feel right thinking of my feelings for her even as Kyle’s coffin lay a few feet in front of me.

“Great speech, Jude.” she smiled at me, giving me an empathetic smile I had grown used in the last week since Kyle’s death. She still had a bandage over her eyebrow from the accident and was sporting a pink cast around her arm. The crowd at the funeral stared at us. I knew they suspected us over Phoebe Grant’s death. I think they thought we were some sort of Man from August Ridge Cult and that we had hurt Phoebe. It made me sick to think of anyone doing that to anyone, even someone I considered a stranger. 

I half grinned at her as she approached the pulpit to speak. The wind blew her red hair, and it caught the sun as she read her thoughts to us all about Kyle Thomas. When the funeral was over, I walked by myself to Kyle’s parent’s house, where everyone was meeting for refreshments. I didn’t want to go, but in the back of my mind, I knew it would look suspicious if none of us went. There were six of us, emphasizing the past tense, with Kyle went that left five just me, Casey, Mackenzie, Alex, and Matt. When I got to Kyle’s house, the other five were already there. Alex was vaping some kind of Cappucino flavored vape pen. It smelled awful and, in a way, comforting. I needed normal now more than ever.

“Hey,” he said, standing up and tossing his long hair out of his eyes.

“Where is everyone?”

“Inside,” he nodded towards the door. “With all their accusatory eyeballs.”

“You ready for this?” I asked him, thinking of how things had been in the last week since Kyle died. 

“No, but after today maybe we can try and get our lives back to normal,” he said agitatedly.

I knew he was right.

I went inside and saw MacKenzie standing with Casey holding her hand as tears streamed down Casey’s face. Bryan was eating wings as though he had no care in the world, and Matt was talking to Kyle’s mom. When I went in, I saw each of them look in my direction as though they knew something I didn’t.

I took a deep breath and walked towards Kyle’s mom.

I got a hug from her and a lecture about how there was so much food she was counting on us kids to eat the food. I could tell she was trying to be okay. As okay as you could be with your only child dead. I made my rounds pretending to be interested in the food and drinks, but I was too sick to eat, and I stole a bottle of whiskey from the liquor cabinet and went outside into the back yard.

I hid by one of the large oak trees and tried to get a hold of myself. Then Alex and Matt came outside. Matt had on his letterman jacket over his nice shirt and tie.  

“Well, now what? Do you think he will come looking for us after what we saw?” Matt asked.

“Why am I suddenly an expert?” I was suddenly resenting my friends who were eyeing me suspiciously. 

“You know what we saw up on August Ridge. You know who I should say.” Matt said, turning a shade whiter at the thought.

“I wasn’t the Man from August Ridge. It was some sicko copying the legend,” I said.

“You don’t know that,” said Alex grabbing the bottle of whiskey from my hand and taking a swig coughing as it some of it didn’t go down right.

“Well, so far, everything is okay,” I said, sarcastically grabbing back the bottle.

“It better be. What is the point of any of this? Why did this happen?” Matt asked 

“Sometimes bad things happen to good people,” I said suddenly, wanting to be as far away from anyone as humanly possible.

I stood up bored with the pretending to grieve when I wanted to find the killer that had murdered my friend.  

“Where are you going?” Alex asked me his silvery-blue eyes pierced through me.

“Home,” I said, leaving. 

I walked back through the house and stopped. Standing in front of me was the lead singer of that band Alex had booed off the stage. What the hell was he doing here? Then I saw him turn and look at me and smiling to nod sympathetically. He was with an older man, and they were both talking to Kyle’s mom. I nudged past them all and left, leaving the screendoor flapping in the wind behind me.

I walked in the direction of my house and thought of my mother. She’d be gone when I got home. She worked long hours at the printing factory in town. We had moved back to her home in Medina, Ohio, after my dad and she divorced. I walked through the town square past the Ritzman pharmacy and tried to take my mind off everything. It was quiet, almost too soft. There was always something about a town full of people inside their houses, and you were the lone wolf on the street or sidewalk.  

 When I got home, mail was sticking out of the mailbox. I grabbed it, but it wouldn’t budge. Something was blocking it from moving out of the small mailbox. When I finally got it out, there was a box inside with my name on it.

I opened it up, feeling a sickening feeling in my stomach as I held the item from the box. It was like something you would see in a movie. Strange packages arriving was never a good thing. I pulled it out, realizing it was a cd with crude writing that said 6.

I didn’t know what the number meant, but I opened the cd and loaded it into my computer. It was a video of the same lyric from the song “Polly” by Nirvana. On the screen were the same lyrics blinking across the screen: “Cut yourself want some help? Cut yourself want some help…” and over again, it repeated.

 At the end of the video was an image of someone slicing their wrists. The person you could not see was cutting them repeatedly in a repetitive motion while a shadow loomed in the background. I thought it was weird and I wasn’t sure if it was related to anything. That sickening part in my stomach told me that it had everything to do with what we saw in those woods. 

 I knew my Nirvana tracks pretty well and realized that it was the sixth track off of Nevermind. Was the six on the cd for the sixth track? Until now, I never gave music much thought it was something you listened to, to feel better. Music was an emotional thing to me, and right now, I wanted no sound to come out of my computer. I shut off the cd and took it out to look at it.

Then I saw the X and the O’s and the brand logo at the bottom of the cd cover. “Dead Nails in the Heart.” 

I could not figure out for the life of me what it was for until that moment. Then I saw a note. 

You thought you were golden. You will see how much you shine soon. 

I put the cd back in the case. There was only one person that I could see trying to taunt my friends and me if they were. Maybe it was the guy from the band after he heard what happened. I wanted to accept it was a joke and that it had been one all along. Maybe this was just a bad dream, I told myself. 

I lay in my bed, staring up at the ceiling until I was soon fast asleep.

I woke to a phone call from an unknown number.

“Hello?” 

“Jude! Something is wrong with MacKenzie.” I recognized Casey’s voice.

“How would you know if there was anything wrong with her?” I asked, almost annoyed.

“She isn’t answering her phone.”

“Maybe she is with Matt.”

“I already checked with him.”

“Okay, well, maybe they are doing something private if you know what I mean,” I said, sitting up in my bed.

“I don’t think it’s that because when Mackenzie got home, she called me in a panic. She had this weird envelope on her front doorstep. I had one too.”

I got off my bed. “Was it a cd by chance?”

“Yes. It had these weird numbers on it. It looked like they were written in blood. It freaked us out. We were going to go to the cops, but then I figured we should all go together.”

“I got one too. Have you talked to Alex? Do you know if he got one too?”

“No, Mackenzie was calling Matt to ask him, but that was hours ago, and I’m really worried.”

“Okay, I’ll come over. I’m calling Alex now.”

I picked up Alex on the way over who was none too happy to share the CD he had unboxed with me. 

“It was a song called “Death by Rock N Roll” by The Pretty Reckless. I bet it was that creep. I saw him at Kyle’s wake. He came with his uncle or some shit.”

“Do you know his name?”

“They call him Spazz but not sure about his real name. He’s just using Kyle’s death to get back at us because we pissed him off that night at the Grotto.” 

I drove on without saying anything. We got to Casey’s house, but the first thing I noticed was that the lights were off when they should have been turned on.  

Alex looked at me, and I back at him; there was fear in them. I got out of my car with Alex following, and we walked up the porch of Casey’s house. I knocked lightly and then texted her to let her know we were there.

I knocked on the door again, this time harder. I finally could take the suspense no more, and we entered. There was no one home.  

“Thought she just called you?” Alex whispered there was irritation in his voice.

“I did it! Come on. Maybe she is in her room.”

She was. 

“Casey? Hey, we are here.”

 Above her bed was a giant Lana Del Rey poster that Kyle had bought her at the show in Columbus a few years ago. Her bed had white teddy bears, and flowers from Kyle’s funeral strung about the bed. 

 Facing away from us was Casey sitting at her desk. Her head was leaning back in her big Gamer’s chair. In front of Casey, her laptop wide open. There was a song playing. All I could hear was “writing blood on my walls and shit.”

A number was flashing on the computer screen two, two, two, and the song playing was “Heroin” by Lana Del Rey. Casey’s wide-eyed expression told me she was no longer part of the living. Casey was staring at the ceiling above us with a flower crown on her head in the typical festival and “Lana” fashion with what appeared to be heroin needles sticking into her forehead like a crown of thorns.

“Casey, did you get a hold of -” Alex stopped talking.

Casey was dead. I looked back at the screen and the computer shut off. Behind us, we could see a reflection of a man. I turned as my heart leaped out of my chest to see that the man was gone. It was as though he was a phantom. There one second and gone the next second.

Alex and I were out of the house as fast as we could be, and I was on the phone with authorities. 

Police wasted no time in arriving, but now I was more concerned with where Matt and Mackenzie were tonight. We didn’t stick around. We left before the cops arrived.

We took off down the road and sped toward Matt’s house.

When I got to Matt’s house, I found him in his backyard laying by his pool with Mackenzie fast asleep on his chest.

“Guys!” Alex screamed.

“Casey is, um,”

Mackenzie was already crying before I could get the words out. 

“I’m next.” Mackenzie started to cry uncontrollably.

“No! Don’t say that. We will figure this out.”

“I’m going to kill that bastard if he comes near Kenzie and me.” Matt spouted.

“There has to be a way to get to him before he gets to us.”

“Yeah, if we knew who he was,” Mackenzie exclaimed desperately.

Alex looked at them and then back at me. “I’m going to kill that guy tonight.”

“What song did you get?” I asked her.

“Pictures of you by the Cure. There was this number three flashing on the screen too. I know that means I’m number three. First, Kyle, then Casey, and now me. What is he going to do to me?” Mackenzie was too emotional to speak.

Alex broke the mood, “What about you, Matt?” 

“Man in the Box, Alice in Chains.” 

“Nice. At least none of us got Justin Beiber. Our killer has good taste in music.” 

Even Matt and I had to laugh to cut the mood.

“Unfortunately, I’m last,” I said, looking at them.

There was a call that came in on my cellphone then.

It was from an unknown number.

When I answered it, it was a facetime call. The person on the other end of the call was someone whose back was facing away from us in a chair bound and gagged. I looked at the others.

“Where is this?”

Whoever was holding the phone panned out so we could see the name of the printing building where my mom worked. My heart sunk.

“Don’t touch my mom!” I screamed angrily into the phone.

I started towards the car.  

“Don’t go wait up, Jude!” Matt yelled.

The three of them fearfully piled in my car, and we headed over to the printing company my mom worked. When we got there, it was locked, but there was a back entrance that I knew my mom would go in sometimes if she were running late for work because the locks were not set to an alarm.

We entered, and I could hear the sound of Brown Eyed Girl playing in the background.

My mom had brown eyes, and all I could think was the bastard was cutting them out of her eye sockets or something. I ran in and grabbed a shovel from the warehouse to defend myself. 

There was no one around. I followed the hallways towards the breakroom, where it looked like he had been keeping the person tied up. When we got there, there was no one there anymore.  

Alex, Matt, and Mackenzie were all three behind me. However, when I turned around, only Alex and Matt were there.

“Where is MacKenzie?”

Matt freaked out and started screaming for Mackenzie.

We did not find her right away.

We went down the corridor to the room that printed signs. My heart was beating out of my chest before I even got to the printing room.  

Alex and I saw her first. A man stood over her, taking photos of her as he slid her head under the cutting and creasing machine used in manufacturing advertisements. The light from the man’s camera kept going off like a strobe light in the dark, causing my eyes to dim. I ran towards him with my shovel and hit him over the back of the head with it. The man fell to the ground. It appeared I had knocked him out for the time being, and a rush of relief went through me. 

Alex and Matt tried, unsuccessfully, to save Mackenzie from the powerful machine that had already done so much damage. Mackenzie was tangled inside the machine. Her once blonde hair was now the color of crimson from the blood.

We were so busy trying to save MacKenzie that I looked over towards the machine, and where the man was seconds ago, he was now gone.

The lights went completely out.

I heard Alex scream, and then the lights went back on.

Matt and I stood looking at one another.

“No, I should be next!” Mat was screaming.

“We have to find Alex.”

We heard car wheels spinning out of control. I ran outside and could see a black van exiting the parking lot, and we got inside my car following behind as quickly as I could get my car to go.  

We followed the van through the streets and ran every light. Luckily, there was no traffic on the road. We kept going even when he got on the highway. We followed all the while Matt was crying and hitting the dashboard.

 “This is my fault; I should have saved her. How did I take my eyes off of her for even a second?”

 I looked ahead with one goal in my mind. Destroy whoever this was.

 I saw the driver pulling over and exiting the highway. 

 I continued to follow the van. The driver pulled down a dirt road and then stopped turning the van off. Matt and I sat and looked at each other.  

 We waited for the driver to exit. Instead, he remained inside.  

I could take it no longer. I just looked at Matt. “Screw this; let’s go.”

“Wait, this could be a trap!” Matt said to me, but I didn’t hear it. I was on my way towards the van with a vengeance.

Then as almost on cue, both van doors opened up. Our assailant was not acting alone. I saw someone rush at me and grab me, and then I felt something go inside my neck as I passed out.

When I woke, I realized I was in a rundown house. I was tied to a dinner table and stripped down to my underwear. I looked around the room and realized I was alone.

Where were Alex and Matt?

It was just me, or so I thought.

I heard a voice then.

“How did you like my playlist?”

The room was empty except for the voice on an intercom. 

“What?” where was this son of a bitch?  

“I like this one very much. You made it so easy for us.”

“Who is us? Where are my friends?”

“I have the best for last.”

I heard the sound of a rock guitar spiraling, and I recognized it as the solo beginning performed by “Slash” on the song Anastasia.  

“Beautiful, isn’t it? I find killing people to music enhances my art.” said the baritone voice.

“Who are you?” I asked stupidly.

“Why I am the man from August Ridge. Unfortunately, I had to enlist some help. Don’t worry, I always work alone, but you were already supposed to be alone.”

“What did I do?”

“You liked what you saw, didn’t you?”

“What?”

“That girl was so beautiful, but so deeply tortured. Phoebe, the doll I created. Jude, you thought my art was clever, didn’t you? You just had to touch her.”

“No, you’re sick. Let me go please.” flood gates began to open, and tears fell from my face. I was sure I was going to die. 

“Let me show you my instruments.” 

A hole opened up in the ceiling and dropped Alex to the ground next to me.

I tried to look at him, but I already knew he was dead. His body crumbled like a sack of potatoes in front of me. He had at least seventy broken cd’s sticking out of his eyes, cheeks, chest, arms, and legs.

Tears fell again, and I felt defeated. How was I ever going to get out of here?

Then I saw a figure at the foot of the old dinner table I was lying. When I got a closer look, I realized it was Spazz, the kid from that band.

“We are going to eat you now.”

“Not so fast, Spazz.” said the voice.

Spazz was sitting at the table with a large meat saw and a savage look in his eyes.

Then something unexpected happened. I looked up and then saw Spazz lean over as blood came from his mouth.

Matt was holding an ax and was now untying me from the table. I shot up, and we nearly made it to the door before the Alice and Chains music started. A steel set of spikes hit from beneath our feet, cutting Matt almost in half. His life was taken in front of my eyes.

  All of my friends were now dead, except me.

Then I lost consciousness again.

This time I woke up in the hospital. An older, distinguished man was sitting in front of me. He wore a black silk suit and had dark brown hair. He was a fine-looking specimen by anyone who would take notice of him. He sat across from me, eating something that looked like steak.  

What happened to me? I went to speak, but it hurt to move.

“Wouldn’t do that if I were you.” it sounded like that same voice.

I couldn’t breathe any more; this was becoming a nightmare I could not escape.

“I didn’t kill you, but you may notice some bruising and some other changes,” He said, smiling. “I’m sure we will meet again.” He said, wiping his mouth and placing what looked like a cow tongue on my hospital table. I wrinkled my nose up at him, and then I sat up, still fuming but unable to speak.  

“Oh, and Jude, I left you a parting gift. Until we meet again.” He smiled and walked out.

I grabbed my hospital chart to see what the bastard had done to me.

It was then I realized he cut out my tongue. Even worse still, the monster ate it. 

If I could have been sick, I would have been. 

A few days later, my mother took me home. She was struggling to get back to normal after everything that her son had gone through. They were still looking for the man who assaulted me. I tried to describe him by writing it all down for them, but they never found him. 

The following day after I arrived home from the hospital, I received a box. When I opened it, there was a lot of wrapping inside. The first thing that caught my eyes was the photos of a homemade cd.  

My stomach churned. I opened it up, and inside was a cd with the title “Playlist to kill people to.” 

The tracklisting was as follows:

Last kiss – Pearl Jam

Heroin- Lana Del Rey

Pictures of You- The Cure

Man in the Box- Alice in Chains

Death by Rock N Roll- Pretty Reckless

Polly-Nirvana

BONUS TRACK: SHUT UP by The Black Eyed Peas and smiley face next to that one I guessed was his tongue in cheek, no pun intended way of saying he shut me up.

There were pictures of all the deaths on the cover of the cd. At the bottom, he had signed it with multiple X’s and O’s and, also, said Luv the Man from August Ridge.

That wasn’t the only thing. Much to my added trauma inside the box was something much more gruesome than all of that.

Matt’s head was in wax at the bottom of the large box with a bow around it.

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