Answer by Deepak Mehta:
Here are some of the best ones (link in the story title):
If you’re reading this note, I’m sorry. I assume you’re in the same situation as me—that smug bastard drugged you and dumped you in these catacombs, with only a candle to find your way out.
I don’t know how many people he’s done this to, but there have probably been a lot. He wouldn’t spend so much time on it otherwise, would he? He told me the catacombs are a maze, and he’s set traps and deadfalls at every turn. But he promised there’s one safe way out, if I’m lucky enough to guess the correct path.
I’m not lucky. I’m just an art student, here on holiday. There’s no way I’m getting out alive. But I want someone to. I want revenge.
I’m sure you do, too, so let’s help each other. I still have my sketchbook and pencils. Before each turn, I’m going to leave them behind for the next person, writing down which way I went. If I survive to another passageway, I’ll come back and leave a page like this one. If I don’t, then it’s up to the next person to carry on and go the opposite direction.
Eventually, if we keep leaving breadcrumbs, one of us will escape. Get to the police and find that bastard. Do it for those who didn’t make it.
My name is Jeff. I went left here.
Reading the note by candlelight you feel a glimmer of hope, until you realize you’re reading from the sketchbook itself. Jeff never returned to tear out the page, and you’re the first person here since him.
You look to your right, where the dark maze awaits.
“Mr Johnston, it says here that you have schizophrenia with severe violent tendencies,” the psychiatrist murmured checking his notes, his reading glasses resting on his nose.
“Sharing with me won’t reduce your prison sentence,” he continued, “But it may go someway to clear your conscience, you understand?”
“So, where would you like to start?”
“The voices,” I said, staring at the artexed ceiling.
“Voices, hmmm; are they threatening?”
“Do they make you angry?”
“You could say that.”
“Do you hear them now?”
The psychiatrist sighed, I winced at the cracking of his wicker chair as he sunk into it.
How much longer do I have with this criminal piece of shit?
“Around thirty-five minutes doc,” I responded gritting my teeth.
Startled, he replied, “I’m sorry?”
“You have to talk to this criminal piece of shit for thirty-five, hang on, thirty-four more minutes.”
“I… I… don’t understand?”
Can he hear my thoughts?
“Yes I can.”
“Oh, uh, how unique. Can you hear everything I am thinking about, son?”
“Oh my God,” he said panicking, “I… I… think you should leave!”
“But what about my conscience?” I said in a sarcastic tone.
He scrambled to his feet and ran to the door; he opened it and closed his eyes tight, pointing the way to my exit, “Please leave!”
I pushed myself off the couch and made my way to the door.
Don’t think about your daughter, don’t think about what you do to her.
I stopped and turned, “I’m sorry? What do you do to your daughter?”
I grimaced, and put my hands around his neck, “You sick fuck!”
There was no pearly gate.
The only reason I knew I was in a cave was because I had just passed the entrance. The rock wall rose behind me with no ceiling in sight.
I knew this was it, this was what religion talked about, what man feared .. I had just entered the gate to hell.
I felt the presence of the cave as if it was a living, breathing creature. The stench of rotten flesh overwhelmed me.
Then there was the voice, it came from inside and all around.
“Who are you?”, I asked, trying to keep my composure.
“You know”, the thing answered.
I did know.
“You are the devil”, I stuttered, quickly losing my composure. “Why me? I’ve lived as good as I could”.
The silence took over the space as my words died out. It seemed like an hour went by before the response came.
“What did you expect?”
The voice was penetrating but patient.
“I don’t know .. I never believed any of this”, I uttered “Is that why I am here?”
I continued: “They say the greatest trick you ever pulled was convincing the world you don’t exist”
“No, the greatest trick I ever pulled was convincing the world that there is an alternative”
“There is no God?” I shivered.
The cave trembled with the words: “I am God”
Have you ever walked into a room and found a vampire?
No, not the sexy kind, but a foul creature with bony limbs and ashen skin? The kind that snarls as you enter, like a beast about to pounce? The kind that roots you to the spot with its sunken, hypnotic eyes, rendering you unable to flee as you watch the hideous thing uncoil from the shadows? Has your heart started racing though your legs refuse to? Have you felt time slow as the creature crosses the room in the darkness of a blink?
Have you shuddered with fear when it places one clawed hand atop your head and another under your chin so it can tilt you, exposing your neck? Have you squirmed as its rough, dry tongue slides down your cheek, over your jaw, to your throat, in a slithering search that’s seeking your artery? Have you felt its hot breath release in a hiss against your skin when it probes your pulse—the flow that leads to your brain? Has its tongue rested there, throbbing slightly as if savoring the moment? Have you then experienced a sinking, sucking blackness as you discover that not all vampires feed on blood—some feed on memories?
Well, have you?
Maybe not. But let me rephrase the question:
Have you ever walked into a room and suddenly forgotten why you came in?
“If God exists, why is there so much evil in the world?” It’s a common question, but it is misplaced.
All things must have balance. Light and dark. Good and evil. Sound and silence. Without one, the other cannot exist.
“So if that’s true, then God does NOTHING to fight evil?” That might be your follow up question.
Of course he fights evil. Relentlessly. I am Dartalian, one of His most Holy and Righteous angels.
I roam the Earth, disposing of evil wherever I find it. I kill the monsters you don’t ever want to know about. I crush them completely so you can sleep at night. You humans have no idea how many of you live because of the work I do.
“But what about Stalin? Hitler? Ted Bundy? Jack the Ripper? ”
Well, those are the minor ones I had to let live. For balance. The ones I destroy are ….too horrible and vile to survive.
What’s funny, is while I would wager you never have heard the name Dartalian in any relegious texts, I bet you have heard of me.
Americans, for example, have their own name for me.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Hello, my dear. You do not know who I am, but I know you. I am one of the three demons that were assigned to you at birth. You see, some people in this world are destined for greatness, destined to live happy, fulfilling lives. You, I am afraid, are not one of those people, and it is our job to make sure of that.
Who are we? Oh yes, of course, how rude of me. Allow me to introduce us:
Shame is my younger brother, the demon on your left shoulder. Shame tells you that you’re a freak; that those thought you have are not normal; that you will never fit in. Shame whispered into your ear when your mother found you playing with yourself as a child. Shame is the one who makes you hate yourself.
Fear sits on your right shoulder. He is my older brother, as old as life itself. Fear fills every dark corner with monsters, turns every stranger on a dark street into a murderer. Fear stops you from telling your crush how you feel. He tells you it is better not to try than let people see you fail. Fear makes you build your own prison.
Who am I, then? I am the worst of your demons, but you see me as a friend. You turn to me when you have nothing else, because I live in your heart. I am the one who forces you to endure. The one who prolongs your torment.
I pointed the gun at the sick bastard who killed my wife. He sobbed as he feared for what was to come. I pulled the trigger.
If only he spoke and tried to reason with me then maybe he could’ve lived. But that was obviously not going to happen. After all, he was born just a few minutes ago.