“He just won’t quit! Listen to that crunch! Such a silly boy!”
Two weeks ago, I woke up at 2:45 AM to a phone call from an unknown number. Imagine that being sung to you as soon as you answer. Well, it wasn’t full-on singing, but a mix of talking and singing. I was in no mood to listen to the ramblings of this woman at that time of day. I hung up and turned my phone off.
It was morning was when I first saw it. I was walking out to my car, in a rush to get to work. There was a man staring at my Mustang. This man honestly didn’t look like a “person”. I mean, he was a person, but something was slightly “off” about him. Picture our “humanness” as a sliding bar out of 100 (and 100 being human) — this guy would probably be at a 97. The guy had to have been in his 70s. He was all hunched over, which made him pretty short (and I’m only 5’6″). He also had this constant frown on his face, but again, not like a normal frown. Picture a cartoon frown where the mouth is a literal arch.
Being the friendly guy that I am, I walked up to the guy and asked him how he was doing.
“I. Really. Like. Your. Car.” he said. His voice sounded forced. It sounded like it wasn’t “him” talking, but rather, someone inside of him.
“Oh thanks!” I said. “You like old mustangs?”
“Yes. I. Was. 21. When. This. Came. Out.”
“Oh, so you were born in ’47?”
“Yes. Great. Times. Have. A. Good. Day.”
He outstretched his hand in a very “glitchy” movement. His nails were really long and the sleeves of his seater were really dirty, but not wanting to be rude, I gave him a firm handshake. He turned and walked down my driveway, still moving like he was a game character lagging/clutching out. I realized that the man had to have been slow.
“You’re a dick,” I mumbled at myself. If I saw him again, I was going to spend some time talking to him about cars.
With that, I got in my car to head to work. I was a couple of minutes away from the warehouse, where I worked, when I got a call. I answered without looking at the number, put it on speaker, and sat it on the passenger seat.
“Hello?” I said.
“Crunching bones to get inside! Crunchy crunchy crunchy! Teehee!”
It was the same woman from last night.
“Hey,” I said. “Who the hell are y…”
But they hung up. I picked up my phone just in time to see the number.
I’m not shitting you, the number was literally just three ampersand signs. I decided that I would call my phone company after work.
I worked with George, my best friend. After my parents died and left me the house (my parents passed away just about a month ago. My dad led a law firm and my mother was a lawyer, so when they passed, I received enough money to pay for the house, gas, and other expenses for a couple of years. They passed away in an an avalanche while skiing), George would switch staying with his parents and my house. That’s how close we were. And work, work was was relatively normal, with the same old, same old. George was telling me a story about how his mom’s place of work had been broken into (she is the funeral director at the largest funeral home in the area). A few of the bodies had been stolen and she was having to deal with the police and the deceased’s families
While on break that day, I was watching the news in the employee lounge. I was about to change the channel, when I saw my neighborhood flash on the screen. A news reporter was standing in front of a house only four down from mine.
“Just two hours ago, the family that lives inside the house behind me dialed 9-1-1.”
The news program switched to the 9-1-1 audio:
Operator: “911 what’s your emergency?”
Caller: “Um…I’m pretty sure there’s a dead body in the street.”
Operator: “There’s a body on your street?”
Caller: “I don’t know, but they haven’t moved for 30 minutes.”
The news reporter came back on the screen.
“But nobody died on this street today,” the reporter said. “In fact, the body that was found on the street of this suburban neighborhood was of Roger Hannah, a man who passed away eight days ago.”
That’s when they put a picture of the man on the screen. Holy shit. Roger Hannah was the guy I met this morning.
“Mr. Hannah’s family are very upset that someone dug him up and disrespected his body like that. Hopefully, the grave robber will be brought to justice. I’m Nikki Cara for News Channel 9.”
I wanted to tell everyone at work that I had talked to this man that morning, but I knew it would sound absolutely crazy. Instead, I told my boss I needed to go home because I felt sick — which wasn’t a lie. After seeing footage, I actually felt sick to my stomach since I was still dealing with the death of my parents, and I thought I was going crazy after I saw Roger Hannah on the news. I was allowed to leave around noon.
Once I got back home, the police were gone and the commotion had long since died down. I really needed someone to talk to, so I took out my phone to dial my cousin Jack.
As soon as I picked up my phone, it started to ring.
God damn it.
“Hey! What the hell do you thi…” I shouted.
“It’s so cold,” a voice shouted, cutting me off. “Dom, I can’t feel my legs. I CANT FEEL ANYTHING!”
It was my mom. I started to cry.
“Pl…please stop…” I cried into the phone. “I’m begging you!”
“BABY HELP US! WHY CAN’T I FEEL ANYTHING!?”
I couldn’t respond. I fell to the ground sobbing. I kept trying to yell back to her, but I would catch a lump in my throat and would I’d sob even harder. I didn’t know exactly when, but somehow, the voice on the phone changed.
“Don’t worry, he’ll warm them both up! Shift the bones! Crunchy crunchy!”
I screamed something that even I couldn’t understand and ended the call. I laid on my living room floor in the fetal position for what seemed like forever. I finally was able to regain my composure, and made myself call Jack. I told him about everything that had happened that day, and he insisted on flying in that night. I could tell he thought I was losing it.
“Dom, just please don’t do anything stupid,” he pleaded.
It would take him roughly eight hours to get to New York from Arizona, so I had time to prepare. But first, I needed to shower. I walked into my bathroom and turned the hot water on. I pulled back the blue shower curtain and I screamed louder than I had ever screamed before. There, in the shower, were my parents. Their skin was blue, still in their skiing gear. Their mouths were gaping open, and the water that hit them caused so much steam it felt like I had stepped into a sauna.
The tears started flowing again as I ran out of the bathroom and slammed the door. I laid with my back to the door. I couldn’t control my sobbing. After a good five minutes of just sitting there, I opened the door again. Guess what? The shower was empty. At this point, I felt cold and emotionless. Stone-faced, I took a quick shower, and headed to my room to take a nap. Maybe this will clear my head, I thought.
“Sweetie…. Wake up.”
I’m groggily turned over in bed. The clock read 5:35 PM, only three hours until Jack was supposed to get here. I thrashed around in bed trying to get comfortable, but I felt a hand on my leg, as if to calm me down. I flipped over on my back and screamed. Standing at the edge of my bed were my parents, looking the same as they did in the shower.
“Come. On. Son. It’s. Time. To. Get. Up,” my dad said.
“Get. Up. Baby,” my mother echoed.
This made no sense, on the phone her voice sounded normal, but now, it sounded like Roger Hannah’s voice from earlier.
I don’t know why, but I was overcome with anger at this point. I jumped forward and grabbed what-used-to-be-my-father’s winter coat.
“DON’T!” it screamed. It sounded horrific, like a pig when it’s excited.
But it was too late. I tore off the coat and revealed his exposed rib cage, an injury that he suffered during the accident. This was his corpse. I don’t know why, but I stared into the open wound. I saw two blood-red circles floating inside the black space which held my father’s insides. Out of nowhere, the circles went away only to come back and stare at me.
I slowly backed up. I felt my heart skip a beat. Those circles were eyes and they are blinking at me. SOMEONE IS INSIDE MY FATHER’S CORPSE!
As soon as I came to this realization, the corpses of my parents ran out of the room. They moved like they were glitching out. Once outside, they started to pull away from me. They were doing what I called “The Sonic Run”. I could have sworn I heard them giggling as they quickly turned to go behind a house. I ran up to that spot, but I knew I had lost them.
I went back onto my street PRAYING for a witness. But no, the neighborhood was empty. Why does it seem like in situations like this, bad luck follows you everywhere?
The cemetery, I thought. I ran to my car and drove out to where my parents were buried. The sun was almost fully gone when I arrived at the cemetery. And sure enough, the graves were empty. I called 9-1-1. To avoid suspicion, all I said was that I had come to visit the graves, and there were bodies missing.
Once the officers got there, I recognized Walter, who had been one of my dad’s best friends for a number of years. We got to talking about my parents and the missing bodies, when I remembered the phone calls.
“Hey Walt,” I said. “I’ve been getting these weird calls…do you think you could look into it?”
“Sure thing,” he said. “Do you have a number?”
“Not exactly,” I said and I showed him the call log. A curious look crossed his face and his usual happy-go-lucky demeanor changed quickly.
“How long has this number been calling you?”
“Since last night. Why?”
“Roger Hannah’s family have been getting calls from this number, hell, if you can even call it that. I think it might be connected to the grave robbings, but I’m not 100% sure on that. I’ll look into it tonight, though, for sure.” That’s when he gripped my shoulder. “I’ll always be here for you buddy,” he said.
Now I don’t exactly know why, I had always been iffy about showing emotions in public, but a mixture of what had happened that day and having to face my parent’s death again, I broke down. Walter embraced me while I cried.
On my way home, my phone started ringing. I was hesitant to pick it up at first, but I saw that it was Jack.
“Hey Jack, what’s up?” I asked. “Did you land already?”
“Hey man, I’m in Ohio right now. My flight is delayed because of storms, I should be there in four hours. Are you alright?”
I felt drained at the question.
“We’ll talk about it when you get here.”
Now out of nowhere, the call was barraged with static, which made no sense because we were both in areas with good cell reception.
“Okay buddy. Hey d—…—know Annie Far—…—keeps calling me.”
“Jack? I can’t hear a word you’re saying. Jack?”
The call ended there.
When I put my phone down on the passenger seat, I felt cold air hit the back of my neck.
“Not yet,” I heard a strained female voice say. I nearly flipped over the car when I looked behind me. A woman sat in my back seat, her face looked like a puppet. Everything about it looked fake. In her hand was a black box.
In shock and fright, I nearly flew off the road, but I managed to get control of the car. I looked back again, only to see that the woman had disappeared, but the black box remained where she had been sitting just a few moments ago.
As soon as I got home, I threw the box onto my counter and opened it. Inside was a folded up piece of paper. I slowly opened it.
The note read: “ANNIE FARHOOD” written in horrible chicken scratch.
Well, this definitely got my curiosity going. I didn’t even bother to call Walt. I whipped out my phone and Googled the name. The first result was an obituary, but the second was an article:
“NEW ORLEANS WOMAN FOUND MURDERED IN HER HOUSE. SUSPECT BELIEVED TO BE THE SAME PERSON WHO STOLE HER FATHER’S BODY DAYS AGO.”
I’ll give a quick overview of the article. It was from May 2013. Apparently, Annie’s father had died of a heart attack a week before her murder. Only a day after he was buried, his body was dug up and stolen. That same day, Annie had gotten a number of calls from an unknown person, taunting her about her dad “coming to visit her.” About an hour before her death, she messaged her best friend saying, “It’s not dad’s fault, he’s not pulling the strings, but I’m going to cut them.” She was found a day later in her bathtub. Her chest had been shredded “like a wild animal got her.”
I felt really uneasy about the article. I started to scroll to the bottom of the article and hit the comments. I nearly dropped my phone. The top comment, which was written in 2013 read: “Don’t cut their strings Dom. Don’t try to fight the puppeteers.”
I put down my phone and looked ahead, outside the glass door. Standing there was a black, furry figure. Its fur reminded me of a wolf, but it had a humanoid face. This being had large red eyes, a razor sharp smile, but lacked a nose and ears. It was staring me in the eyes, I was so focused on it, I didn’t even see what it was holding in its clawed hands until it motioned to it: the corpses of my parents. I slowly got up from the table, but the figure de-materialized.
That was it, it may sound horrible, but I have much better things to remember my parents by than their corpses. I didn’t want to die just to get them back. As soon as I made that decision, my phone rang.
“You’re no fun anymore.” This voice was different than the rest. It was much deeper and booming.
“Goodbye,” I said as I tried to sound confident.
I sat in my living room watching TV until Jack got in at midnight. I explained to him about what had happened, and showed him the article about Annie. The best part was that he actually believed me! For the three days he was there, we did all the research on it that we could.
Dating all the way back to the 1300s in France, there have been legends of creatures that control a dead person’s body. It’s not a ghost or anything. It doesn’t possess the body, but instead it wears the corpse. It feeds off grief and depression, so the creature would do this mainly with the recently deceased so it could feed off the deceased’s family members.
It’s been two weeks since this all happened. Bodies have still been stolen in my area, so I’ve been going around and putting up fliers explaining what the “puppeteers” are just in case those poor families were dealing with the monster.
So next time you see a dead relative, don’t just assume that it’s a spirit. Get close to it. If it’s tangible, you’re going to have to accept that you won’t get their body back if you want to live. As soon as you accept it, the puppeteer won’t be able to attach their strings to you.