Category Archives: The Map Series

The ongoing, episodic series of a DNR researcher in over his head with the paranormal.

Infection, The Map Part 13

I lie in the hospital bed coming in and out of consciousness. I’m aware enough to catch the doctors and nurses repeating one word: infection. My side burns and throbs as it feels like poison is ripping through my veins. Whatever the creature did when it clawed me, it’s kicking my ass. I can occasionally see Gaby reading the book as she sits next to my bed, leg in a cast. Each time I drearily open my eyes she’s there. I try to reach out to her but my body does not cooperate.

My dreams have gotten increasingly restless. I find myself in a vast underground city. The angles are strange and it hurts when my eyes try and follow the lines of the cyclopean buildings. The walls of the ruins are slick with some kind of ooze that glows ever so gently, dimly lighting the entirety of the city. It stretches further than my eye can see.

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Graves, The Map Part 12

Gaby and I walk across the grass, the grounds of the asylum now pitched in darkness. We slowly begin making our way towards the old hanging tree, our flashlights and lantern off. Its silhouette is highlighted against the brighter sky making finding our way just a matter of dodging thorn bushes and fallen logs. When we get there it’s easy to see why it’s still known as the hanging tree. Torn and shredded lines of rope still hang from the dead, thick branches. They sway in the wind like morbid streamers.

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Tunnels – an Aside: The Map Part 11

I hear the loud heartbeats and wonder how long I have been dead. I think that it is my heart, starting again. Shaking dust free of rusty pipes and ducts, but the men broke my heart when they left. Others have visited since then, but they never stay. They always leave.

I hear more heartbeats. The heartbeats were brought by two. They hide, but they also scare away the infection. Are they here to stay? To fix my broken heart and bring life into me once more?

I have seen much death. Ants wheeled in, ants wheeled out. All the while my heart would beat and the world would turn. The ants would cry and die but they would keep appearing until one day the ants broke my heart and took all the other ants away.

Now there are two ants. They chase the ones from the ground. They must be warrior ants because the fake ants do not frighten easily. They are sick and do not deserve their heartbeats. They tunnel in to me, around me. They eat the remains of the fallen ants. They look like ants, but they are not. It is a trick to fool me. It does not work.

The two true ants wield the symbols of the queen ants. They make fire and destroy the false prophets. They will stay to be my heartbeat, and I will not let the men take them. The warrior ants will stay until they are taken by time and I die again. I will not allow otherwise. I must be cleansed.

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Circuit breakers around the asylum hum once more with the gentle flow of electricity. Gates begin lowering on their own, cutting off vital sections of the facility, including all exits. Still, the ghouls flow in and out of the facility by their tunnels. They honeycomb the land as they feed off the pockets of the dead.

The ghouls have never seen the facility this active. It frightens them, and they return to the safety of their dirt home. They will leave the two intruders in peace for it is not safe anymore.

Dead meat is good, but live meat is better. Live meat is not worth their lives though, so they slink into the Earth and wait for the current storm to pass.

Asylum: The Map Part 10

The flashlight I bought for the shotgun pierces the darkness in front of us. Even though it’s day out, the boarded windows prevent any hint of sunlight from entering the building. The building is four stories tall, connected to a few sub-buildings via an underground tunnel system. We have agreed to stay out of there.

Gaby is following close behind me, her hand on my shoulder. I can tell she’s having second thoughts. She didn’t bring a weapon, didn’t think she needed one. Now she’s probably regretting that. She grips my shoulder tighter and I know that she feels what I’ve been feeling for weeks. We’re being hunted.

The hallway is beyond decrepit. Water has done its damage on the walls and ceiling. Some hallways are completely impassable due to the floors collapsing.

Creak.

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Old Records and Lost Tomes: The Map Part 9

My doorbell rings. It hasn’t done that in months. I disconnected the phone about 2 months ago, and if I didn’t have the mail slot, the postmaster probably would have sent some cops over to do a “wellness check” and make sure I hadn’t kicked. After what happened in the mountains, I was put on a ‘voluntary’ unpaid leave of absence from the DNR. I had started to show up late, finish my projects well behind schedule, and take several more days to get somewhere than usual. My boss likes me, so I figure this was the chance to fix myself up before I get shit-canned.

I bolt awake and feel the weight of the heavy black shotgun pressing into my chest. After I lost the rifle, I needed something with a bit more kick than the .45, but also cheap. The salesman showed me a pump-action shotgun. It had a short barrel, enlarged magazine, and a smaller than normal stock for self-defense in the tight spaces of a home. I bought it on the spot and picked it up the next day. I had taken it out behind my house a few times and test fired it. The steel and polymer gun shouldered differently than my now lost rifle but was easy to pick up nonetheless. I wouldn’t be winning any skeet shooting competitions, but I know how to at least clear a jam and roughly where to point the end of it.

The doorbell rings again and I slink off the couch, carrying the shotgun by the receiver. I try to knock the plates and empty pizza boxes out of my was as quietly as possible.

Then comes the knocking. Knock knock knock, right on my front door. Don’t they know how rude it is to knock on a man’s door at 3pm?

Continue reading Old Records and Lost Tomes: The Map Part 9

Superstition Mountains, The Map Part 8

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My mapping project started to find missing planes and ended with me nearly dead in a car accident fleeing from some kind of monster.

Weeks have gone by since Kylie’s house went up in flames, taking whatever the hell that thing was with it. I was on edge, having trouble sleeping, finding myself hiding in my room with the rifle and .45 by my side. I was searching the internet for anything I could find on the occult no matter how insignificant. Anything from ways to protect myself, ward my house, or interpretive dances to ward off vampires.

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Kylie, The Map Part 7

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I just took another dose of painkillers so I hope this will be somewhat coherent by the time I’m done. The doctor said that once they popped my shoulder back into place most of the pain would disappear, but I think she was just trying to make me feel better. Tonight I’m going to destroy the map. I’m backing up my files and digital copies on a flash drive, but plan on locking it in my safe deposit box at the bank. The physical evidence though, I’m going to burn.

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Tunnel of Love, The Map Part 6

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Ending up at the closed Excitement Park carnival complex in Pennsylvania was honestly a bit of a twisting road. One of my new habits in the morning is to check out the urban legends and hauntings site I’ve bookmarked and look for updates in the areas I’m visiting. Usually they’re pretty mundane and the same story over and over and over again. I swear if I ever hear one of those stories about the bus load of dead kids who will push your car over a railroad tracks I’ll have a mental breakdown. Every once in a while I’ll actually find something that feels right. In this case, it was reports of a wild man that stalked the ruins of a carnival somewhere in the forests of Pennsylvania. It seemed to be a relatively recent legend too, popping up within the last 10 years or so, pretty much springing to life in the digital age.

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Majestic, The Map Part 5

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I don’t feel alone in my home anymore and that scares me. Since visiting the prison and getting the cryptic message, I have noticed things going on here that before I would have brushed off as non-threatening. Lights flickering when I enter a room, footsteps on the stairs when I’m lying in bed, and even now I can hear the sound of something being dragged in the attic. It’s the sound of wood scraping against wood.

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Guardian Angel, The Map Part 4

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I tried to keep the details of my recent research secret from my friends. I didn’t want to be the weird guy in the group, and I also didn’t want my friends to bring up that I was the one who liked to look for ghosts anytime they introduced me at a party. So, I’ve kept my research relatively quiet. One night though, I did end up slipping.

I had a buddy from college over to my house one night. He had stopped back in town to visit family, and since he can’t stand to be around them for more than a few hours at a time, I let him crash on my couch for the night. Ted works for the Illinois Department of Corrections, and we compared the usual job stories, both funny and frustrating. After a few beers the conversation turned to spooky things he’s heard about on the job. He told me some stories he heard about Joliet Prison, and rumors of the ghosts of murdered inmates that stalk the halls.

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