So a few days ago, I was working on a piece in which I wanted to insert a little joke about the terrible nineties flick 8MM starring Nicholas Cage, and then I decided that in order to make sure the joke was accurate, I had to re-watch 8MM. (But I didn’t, really.) Then, halfway through the film, I was hit with one of those urges to Google something inappropriate. We all know that feeling: you’re watching Law and Order: SVU, and you think to yourself, “Is NAMBLA really real?!” And then you go to type in “North American Man Boy Love Association” into your search bar and realized, “Oh shit, what if someone thinks I’m actually looking for NAMBLA as opposed to just, well, verifying that NAMBLA is a thing?” Or perhaps you’re trying to write a short story about someone who builds a bomb, but you have zero idea how to build a bomb yourself, so you go to the library, but then remember that checking out The Anarchist’s Cookbook might get your name on quite a few government lists.
But the other night, my inhibitions lowered by lack of sleep, and also comforted by the fact that probably a million people have Googled “snuff film” before, I went for it. And one of the first hits was this random story on Reddit, which I thought, in my delirium, might be true but of course it’s just the ramblings of a horror writer trying to drum up a few readers by pulling the old “it’s true, really!” card. Still, someone should consider making a movie of it. Nic Cage could star.
Please, please believe me.
My Dad was an odd man, quiet , reclusive and with a weird sense of humour. But it was a safe strangeness, a slight eccentricity that I assumed all aging fathers had.The strangest thing about him was the fact that his left hand only had a thumb, a forefinger and a little finger. He never explained what happened, and the one time I was to ask – when I was nearing 16 – he very calmly stared at me and told me to never ask again. It was the type of calm that chills you, the type of calm that’s only formed through utter, utter rage. I’d asked my Mum about it and she’d always quietly replied “Ask your father.”. Apart from that he was relatively normal.
My Dad used to stay up late, watching old VHS’ in the attic whilst we (my mother and I) went about our business downstairs, me playing on the computer and her cooking, or whatever she got up to. The room at the top of the House, essentially a converted attic was his domain. My Dad didn’t ask much, but that room was his and only his. My and my Mum were never, ever allowed in. I took it for granted at the time, assumed everyone had their ‘me’ place, and for the most part brushed it off. I was never allowed into the top room – I assumed when I was younger it was because it was his secret lair, though as I grew older I thought he could be watching porn.
The truth is far more sinister.
My Dad never left the house except for working whilst I was at school, he didn’t seem to have many friends and so I never had a chance to see what he was really hiding. I tried once to look for Christmas presents, and once more when I was older… for porn. Both times the door was locked, firmly and the thought of my Dad finding me looking made me terrified. His temper flared rarely, and nastily.
After bunking off school after lunch to finish a project at the fine age of 19 to finally conquer the room, driven by a desire for independence and to satisfy my endless curiousity. I got in today. My Dad was at work, and judging by the half finished bottle of whiskey sitting on the stairs, he’d been drinking. He forgot to lock the door, which was a rarity. The past times I’d tried the door was double locked, but I assumed that in the rush my Dad had simply forgotten to lock it- assuming I’d be out all day. On opening I was assuming something dark and dangerous would appear, I’d see a dead body – or something hiedous, but instead all there was was a box of old VHS a faded armchair, and an old, large TV.
I instantly leapt to the videos, knowing I didn’t have much time and that my Dad would be furious if he was to find me looking through them. I found a large amount of old movies, old taped TV shows – I was about to give up – until I found a tape simply labelled, in childish, scrawled hand ‘PACT’. The reason I noticed it was that it was clean, the white case it was in was dog-eared, but clean. All the other videos were dusty but in pristine condition, and this film hidden at the bottom seemed to have been watched over and over.
Taking a deep breath, and listening to hear if the door unlocked I slipped it into the TV.
This is where it gets weird…