Ben Fugman

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on: 03/21/19, 11:17 AM
DISCLAIMER: This is a fictional story, any resemblance to real pesrons or circumstances would be highly disturbing, so I hope that no such resemblance exists. Within this story, the story Marana, by Adia Crozer will be quoted in part, or in it's enetirety more than once. This story will also make direct reference to the story TOP HAT, by Matthew Friedman and Andrew Zolenski. Furthermore some characters in this story are based on the personalities, and using the first names, of real people who I do not know personally and do not claim to have an intimate understanding of how they might truly react in any given situation. It goes without saying that I do not own any of these characters, they are owned by their respective creators my intention here is to build on an existing mythos.

The Return of Marana

It had been two weeks since I moved into the neighborhood, in the house at the corner of Cinnamon Street and Wyard Lane; two blocks north of La Cienega Drive, a fact that I was barely aware of, nor would the dreadful significance of that fact dawn on me, until it was too late. I've never put too much stock in urban legends let alone suburban legends, but I've always allowed for that element of the unexplained, however, even the most seriously strange cases I've looked into do not begin to approach the oddities which unfolded in the following weeks after my move to the house at the corner of Cinnamon and Wyard.

As I indicated it was two weeks after I moved into the house that I first heard that... I'm not sure  what to call it, story? Legend? Hogwash? Whichever of these I may choose, I would include adjectives denoting the frivolity of said... I'm not sure what to call it, so I won't go down that road again. If I had known at that time how serious and unfrivolous the warning was I may not have brushed it off so lightly. Or perhaps, lacking the knowledge I now possess, I may have guffawed at the ridiculous fable, as I must have felt it deserved at the time. As you will learn however, this dread cautionary tale is, in fact, no laughing matter.

 On the morning of April 7th Ethan, a neighborhood kid I'd met the previous day, when he delivered my newspaper, was mowing my front lawn on his, or his parents, riding mower. He had advertised his lawn mowing services when he'd brought the paper to my door, which was probably his usual scheme, I really didn't mind because he charged a reasonable price, and the only lawnmower I owned was an old-style mechanical push mower, which I'd found in the garage when I moved in.

  Having completed a gridwise sweep of my yard the kid came up to the porch and knocked on the door, where I was already standing, since I'd gotten up from my breakfast as soon as I heard the mower's engine cut out. And could see him approaching the porch from the dining room window. I opened the door after his second knock, he pawed the air with his fist, attempting a third, then cocked his head to the side and blinked rapidly six or eight times.

"Whatcha think, mister?" he glanced over his shoulder at his handiwork as he finished his question, I think he did so as a means of gesturing for me to take a look at the lawn.

I surveyed the yard quickly, "Great" I said indifferently, "You did a great job." I tried to sound a little more spirited, but it came out sounding a bit contrived. It wasn't that he hadn't done a good job, he had, as far as I could tell. I'm just not really a morning person, and hadn't had but a sip of my coffee yet.

He held out his hand expectantly, I had already counted out the cash and had it waiting in my pocket, so I forked it over. He counted it out himself, before stuffing it into his own pocket, in a haphazard wad. "You're new to this neighborhood, right mister?" he asked squinting at me. He had asked me the same exact thing, the same exact way, before advertising his services as a teenage lawnmower the day before. I don't think he forgot. I would conjecture he was just re-confirming, or maybe condescending...

"Yeah." I nodded my head as I said it. I imagined myself repeating the action like some kind of talking bobblehead with my curly cockscomb flapping as I nodded faster and faster. I almost laughed outloud at my own pointless imaginings.

"Have you heard about Marana?" he asked, almost gravely.

"Um... I don't think... Wait, isnt that, like, a town in Arizona?" I furrowed my brow skeptically.

"I dunno... Maybe..." he scratched his head. "But there's a girl named Marana that used to live down on La Cienega."

"What about her?" the furrows, which had never left my brow, deepened.

"She is a seventeen foot tall woman with fingernails that touch the floor. She murdered her family and friends when she was twelve. Now she walks the swamps, with blood dripping from empty eye sockets, crying for her beloved dog Carmel." All this he said in a serious and authoritative tone, as though the the nonsense he had just rattled off were a statement of incontrovertible fact. I waited for a change in his expression, there was none, he looked like a stone-cold homicide detective who'd just given a bleak testimony describing his arrival at a grizzly crime scene.

  Since he didn't crack up I did, almost doubling over as I let out a roaring cacophony of cachinnation. Still laughing, I started trying to catch my breath supporting myself with my hands on my knees. As I looked up to see Ethan had turned his head slightly so he could look at me sideways, scowling as he gave me a palpably cold staredown, scowling like Adolf Hitler after realizing someone pissed in his Coca-Cola. I stopped laughing.

"It aint no joke, mister!" The boy was obviously annoyed, but I couldn't see why, to me it seemed like my reaction to the string of nonsense he'd just uttered was perfectly natural.

  "I'm sorry," I offered the sincerest apology I could muster, "but... Really? Seventeen feet tall?" I whistled through my teeth as I shook my head slowly.

  "That's what I said." His tone was still as grave as a headstone.

  "You do realize that's taller than any person in recorded history, right?" I couldn't help sounding more than a little facetious.

  "Not everything that happens gets recorded in history." he had me there, I did have something of an affinity for unexplained phenomenon, so I knew that the realm of possibility stretched well beyond the standard consensus. This sounded like a tall tale though, or some absurd copypasta from the interwebs.

  "And her dog's name," I went on, trying to sound more curious, and less snyde, "Caramel?" I smirked as I spoke the word, and my eyes widened and rolled involuntarily afterwards.

  "No, Carmel," he corrected, "Cee Ay Ar Em Ee El."

  "Well that's even sillier," I refrained from saying out loud, instead I said, "Okay. You seem pretty sure about all this, but why are you telling me all this?"

  He swallowed nothing, as though it were an unchewed chunk of something. "Just be careful, man, she's still out there. My friend, Fred, says his friend, Danny, saw her once, all seventeen feet of her, mostly legs, scrapin' her nails along the sidewalk down by La Cienega. Folks say she likes to pick on newcomers. So just watch your back, and your sides, and your front, for that matter."

  We shook hands, said goodbye, and he walked back to his mower and drove off, as I walked back to my cold Eggs Benedict, and sub-luke-warm coffee. "theres just no way..." I muttered to my breakfast, which was characteristically unresponsive, so I ate it, with all the voracity of Winston Smith downing the regulation Ingsoc party lunch.

  Most of the day passed relatively un-eventfully, I lost another good chunk of my faith in humanity making my hundred somethingth video on the depressingly mind-numbing garbage that people post online, and let me tell you, this one was a real doozy, maybe not my funniest or most depressing to date, but having not done one in a couple weeks... Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah... (ยก-!) No. (((^~^))) I have lost all faith in humanity. This is official I'm officially saying it, again. Except those of you who subscribe to my channel, like, thumbs-up, and favorite every single one of my videos ever made, if it was made before you were born your parents probably shouldn't be letting you watch my videos, so shame on them, unless it's, like, the future, in which case, far out man, but why are you watching this old ass shit? Find some new shit, some relevant shit, people have probably gotten stupider, I almost guarantee it. Maybe, hopefully they've gotten smarter, but hey no way of knowing. Right?

  While my video was uploading I received a text message containing a story I recognized, almost instantly. The message began, "BEWARE MARANA" then, after a double line break it said...

  "Shell is a 17 foot tall woman with fingernails that touch the floor she murdered her family and friends when she was 12 now she walks the swamps with blood dripping from empty eye sockets crying for her beloved dog carmel."

  The text came from one of those TextNow numbers, so of course I didn't recognize the number. At first I thought it was that kid Ethan, still trying to mess with me. The problem with that little hypothesis was that I hadn't given him my number, there'd been no need for it Since he probably surveyed the lawns on his paper rout and walked up and rang the doorbell to any house where the grass was ovegrown. I can't imagine who else would have been sending me Marana shit. Although, it seems like it would be more than a little redundant to send me prettymuch word-for-word what he'd already told me.

  Suddenly my front door began to rattle on its hinges. The wind? That's what I originally thought it was, but the persistence of the rattling, and the absence of accompanying wind sounds begged further investigation. Approaching the front door, I could see it shaking as it clattered, I noticed my heart pounding in time with the arrhythmic thumping. I reached out, taking hold of the leaver-stile Quikset handle, I could feel something repeatedly pushing on the door, near the bottom. After twisting the lock mechanism, with my left hand, the weigh of my right arm pushed the handle down. I pulled the door open quickly, ready to slam it if I had to. The elongated ball of mud and fur didn't give me time to react, instead it darted between my feet and into the hall behind me, loping like a mad jackrabbit, slinging clods of wet dirt in its wake.

  I still slammed the door, as I whirled around the pursue the small muddy animal. I was already pretty sure by that time that it was some kind of small dog. Although, when I saw its face for the milliseconds that I did, I swear it looked like some kind of demon. As I chased after the horrendous little thing, I slipped on it's mud trail careening into my hallway endtable and knocking over my cheap replica Ming vase, which I ironically caught and set back up safely, and the chase was on once more. Every time the little mutt changed direction it it stopped and skidded into a turn then started running again whalloping clods of mud in every direcction. At one poinr it scampered under my dining table I sliped agan and slid hafway under the table, bonking my head in the process and streaking mud up my pants. Mud that I now noticed reaked of sulfer.

  After pulling myself out from under the table, getting mudd on the back of my shirt in the process I saw the capricious canine tresspasser attemting to mount the carpeted stairs, I grabbed it by the scruff, and... A collar!

  "No, no, no." I waved my finger, "Not in my house!" For a moment the little dog struggled and thrashed in my grip, flinging mud on me, the walls, and the carpet I was trying to protect. The it stiffened up and just snarled lettingvout low slow gutteral growls. "Let's get you cleaned up, shall we, I bet somebody's missing you." I brought the dog to the downstairs bathroom and to the tub, still holding onto the dog with my right hand I held the flexible showerhead with my left and rinsed off the sulfrous mud, in spite of the tony critter's ptotests, as the coat of mud disolved away the distinctive long hair, large pointed ears, and supple frame of a papillon became aparent, its hair was white, black, and reddish brown, woven into long distickt dreadlocks that almost made it lopk like a hedgehog, or some nameless sea creature. But this dog had a name... I examined the collar which was old, with patches of loose thread all about, hevily sunbleached from its original purple and green textile patten to a pale yellow and blue on the back, and infused in every cranny with black sand from the bog mud, there wre two tags, one oval shaped, with vaccination info... From 8 years ago! The other was a bone shaped tag with a name on it the name on the tag read, "CARMEL"

  It had to be some kind of sick joke, that's all I could figure. But who would go to all that trouble? After Getting as much mud out as reasonably posible I set the dog down in the tub and quicly slid shut the sloding glass door. As the dog who's tag labeled it as Carmel shook its dreadlocked fur, I was showered with a cascade of droplets that somehow made it over the 7 foot high frosted glass wall.

   I decided to leave mongrel in the tub to dry off, while cleaned up after its mudslinging rampage. Around the time I finished cleaning up the mud, actually I hadn't quite finished yet, I got a call from my friend Justin.

    "Yo, Rob. I just got this new game, Beware Mister Tophat. It's this Indi horror title for PS3. We gotta play this thing for your gaming channel, man. It's supposed to be ptetty sick."

    "Gee I dunno, are we talking sick, rad, or sick, disgusting." I inquired quizically.

    "I dunno, bro, I didn't ask. Both probably? Anyway You know I can't play it myself I get to scared with horror games to play right. That's why it has to be you playing, and me reacting to the spoops." Justin did have a tendancy to shriek and jump out of his seat, or release histrionic shreaks at the scares in games and movies. I have always believed he just does it to make a spectacle of himself.

    "You know Pewdipie does both, right?" I jabbed.

    "Yeah... Well we ain't him." Justin put on a heavy fake southern drawl. "We're Amerkin'!"

    "We're a pubic wig?" I knew what he was trying to say. But I just had to mess with him on that one.

    "What?! Your beard is pubic wig maybe!" He had to go there.

    "Hey watch it, buster this beard is internet famous."

    "Yeah, so's my bare, biny, lasty white ass, but I don't go bragging about it." Nice one...

    "Well I'm pretty busy this evening, but I'd be down to do that letsplay video... tomorrow afternoon?" I still had to figure out ehat to do wit my strange quadrapedal guest. Probbly take it to the animal shelter in the morning.

  "Cool, man, you won't regret it... I think. I've never actually played the game, but the guy on the streeet corner who sold it to me out of his trench coat pocket says it's pretty legit." I hung up the phone and resumed cleaning the oderiferous black mud out of my hall and kitchen. And, as best I could, out of the carpeting on my steps. By the time I was ready to give up on the the stairs I heard a crash of glass shattering from the bathroom.

I rushed to the door and stopped grasping the rounded brass knob. I started to slowly push the door open, creaking lightly on it's hinges. What I saw confirmed my worst fears, the dready little rat dog was drapped bloody, shreadded and motionless over the edge of the tub. The sight made me jump back in stark terror, slamming the door shut before me.

I stood there tasting a coppery twinge of unreasoning dread. For some illogical reason, I thought to myself, "She'll blame me! Marana will blame me for what happened to her dog!" But just as I was about to plumet into abyssal despair I heard the last thing I expected to hear in that moment, a yip. Excited, almost happy by the sound, but how?

Tentativly, I grasped the knob, slowly I turned it as far as it let me, and started to push th door open instinktively my eyes shut themselves against the impending horror of seeing an injured animal clinging to life. When I forced my eyelids open I was shocked to find my frosted glass shower door completely intact I could see Carmel's matted form blurred by the milky screen, thecfloor was littered with curved shards of crystal clear glass, and the thick bottom from the glass I used for brushing my teeth.

The dog yipped again and jumped up in a spiral. "Hang on little guy," I assured, I'll get you out of there, after I sweap up this mess. As I went to get the whisk broom I noticed several spots I missed cleaning up the mud, but I'd have to deal with that later...
« Last Edit: 08/27/19, 10:57 PM by Ben Fugman »