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This occurred not long after I turned 18 years old. My girlfriend had also just turned 18 a few days ago, which meant her parents had finally trusted her and I to be alone in the house while they went out for dinner. My girlfriend had always been a fan of horror films and creepy things in general. She loved reading Creepypastas and watching dark and gory films such as Hostel and Saw. One evening, I was sitting with her while she finished watching the last few minutes of The Human Centipede. We both had a few drinks and I was about to go to bed, but she suggested we look for other horror films to watch online. Despite my tiredness, I obliged.

A few minutes of searching on her laptop revealed all of her favourite online film sites had been taken down. That’s when she suggested a chilling alternative.

“Ever heard of the dark web?” she asked.

I had heard whispers around school about it, but never took much interest.

“Yeah, I have,” I replied, trying to act brave.

A smile of excitement appeared on her face, I could tell she was slightly drunk and in that sort of "I don’t care what happens" mood. I decided to go to the kitchen to fetch her some water. When I came back, I noticed she had a site opened called "CensorView". The site displayed the pictures of movie posters I had never seen before; I correctly assumed it was a site that sold banned horror films from other countries. All of them looked pretty unoriginal, nothing I hadn’t seen before. All except for one. The one my girlfriend was hovering the mouse clicker over. The movie was called "The Visiting". The display picture was simply a white background with "The Visiting" written in Arial Black font.

We were both fascinated as to what it was. I took out my iPhone and searched for the plot of the film, yet I found nothing. Just a few stupid YouTube videos and irrelevant forums. However, when I looked back up from my phone, I caught a glimpse of my girlfriend typing in her name and address into various boxes on a page titled "order details", before, to my horror, she clicked the "submit" button. I was caught in a state of anger and shock. I manically shouted at her, explaining how dangerous it was dispersing her personal details into such a fucked up place as the dark web. I could see my attempts to correct her were futile, as the alcohol was hitting her hard and she was not paying attention whatsoever. Frustrated, I went to bed deciding to discuss it with her the next morning.

The next morning she seemed to have little regret over her actions. She spent the morning explaining how she was "curious" and she was in no danger. She even commented that the experience would be "fun". However, I wasn’t convinced. She told me not to tell her parents, fearing they would not trust her to be alone in the house again. I promised not to say anything and headed back home.

Three days later, I was visiting her house again. Her parents had gone to meet with some friends from work for a drink and we were watching The Exorcist on DVD. During a particularly non-eventful part of the film, my girlfriend began joking about how horrified I looked a few days ago when we were discussing the dark web. She said she had only received a fairly professional looking email confirming the order and nothing else. I began to yield to her argument, perhaps I was overreacting.

It was merely seconds after our conversation finished that an aggressive knock came from the door, it sounded like it was from two doors, but I dismissed this as an echo. I began to look concerned, while my girlfriend began laughing once again at the look of terror on my face. I put on a fake smile as I walked towards the door. It erased clean from my face when I saw who stood outside. A tall, stocky man wearing a ski mask and dark clothes stood at the front door wielding a hammer. I was about to call out to my girlfriend to call the police, when a bloodcurdling scream echoed through the house; I raced back into the room to see my girlfriend pointing at the window facing the garden. An identical man stood at the window, only he was holding a small bat. I grabbed my girlfriend's hand and sprinted up the stairs. We hid in the master bedroom while I called the police on my mobile, who told me they would be there as soon as possible. As I finished the call I heard one of the doors smash and loud rapid footsteps heading up the stairs. They were in the house.

Without thinking, I pushed the window open and told my girlfriend to jump, run and not to look back. She jumped and landed safely onto the grassy garden below. I was about to follow, but hesitated, wondering if I could put up a fight and in doing so, allow my girlfriend more time to escape. It was then I heard a deep aggressive voice just outside the room. The man shouted something in a foreign language whilst I heard laughs from two other men outside. All bravery evaporated and I jumped, landing harshly on my ankle. The adrenaline racing around my body allowed me to power through the pain and I eventually caught up to my girlfriend. We were running for what seemed like hours, but in reality was most likely ten minutes, we ended up next to the local park, a safe distance away from the house. My girlfriend began sobbing and I comforted her, trying to avoid my own desire to breakdown. It was not long after that when the police called me on my mobile, they were at the house and as far as they could tell, the attackers were gone. After taking a few minutes to compose ourselves, my girlfriend and I made our way back.

There were three police officers at the house: one was examining each room for any damage or evidence left by the men, one was comforting my girlfriend, while the other asked me questions. The shock was clouding my memory; I was only able to tell them a few details about their clothing and the fact they spoke in an Eastern European language. My girlfriend handed over her phone and computer for the police to investigate and they left. They advised us tell the homeowners of the situation, lockup and suggested that everyone spend the rest evening with friends or a relative. So we both spent the night at my parents’ house, while my girlfriend’s parents stayed with friends. I remember my girlfriend crying over the phone while telling them about the situation; they were furious.

A few days later the police visited my girlfriend; it was by luck that I was at her house that afternoon. Their investigations had led them to some disturbing findings.

It turned out "The Visiting" was a nickname locals in a small Polish town gave to a number of brutal murders that occurred in the 90s in the local area. The murders were committed by an unknown gang and were initially dismissed as home invasions gone wrong; all the victims were bludgeoned to death in their homes, although nothing of value was taken from the house. It was only two years after the murders began, that a family survived an attack by the gang. The husband was able to give the Polish police a few details of the attackers, but all that he revealed was that they wore ski masks, wielded blunt objects and one had a video camera. However, the crucial evidence was that one of the attackers had dropped a backpack, containing one blank videotape and three other tapes with content on them. The three tapes showed the horrific murders of the other victims of the attackers. The police came to a shocking conclusion that these men were creating snuff films to be sold to whatever sickos paid enough for them. A nationwide manhunt began, but after years of investigation, nothing was found.

I remember feeling incredibly cold as the police told me their findings. They went on to tell me that the men most likely fled Poland during the police search and could possibly have entered the UK as workers when Poland joined the European Union. The only thing they knew for certain was that these men were operating once again, decades after their last murder, and they were using the dark web as a way of deciding on their next victims.

The police told my girlfriend’s family to move in with a relative while the investigation was on-going. It was not long after that when my girlfriend broke up with me by her parents’ wishes. I assumed her parents suspected me of forcing her into the using the dark web. My girlfriend discovered later that various documents containing her information had been taken from the house. I’m not allowed to see her, but our parents still speak. From what they tell me, her mental state has become incredibly fragile. It broke my heart to hear this.

I can safely say the police will never find the attackers using the information I gave. Which means they will most likely strike again. I can only hope the next time they do, it will lead to those bastards ending up behind bars, and not the creation of another tape to add to their collection. Be safe and avoid the dark web.

Written by Tales From The Abyss
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