A bolted-down wardrobe stood in my basement for years, locked securely. But one particular evening, that changed. My friend Ryan and I were packing boxes when the wardrobe slowly opened of its own accord.
Now, I have kept that thing locked since the day I moved in, mainly because I didn’t even know where the key was. Lost, somewhere in this house, undoubtedly.
After this small surprise, we drew nearer and peered inside the wardrobe. I expected to see nothing but junk, at most, but a small, square room with a single wooden chair met our eyes. Ryan stepped in first, and I, a bit reluctantly, followed suit. The only thing in here besides the chair was a rusty, olive green footlocker, which was closed at the other end of the room.
A sudden coldness emitted from nowhere in this room and I was ready to walk out when Ryan called my name, forcing me to revolve on the spot. He had opened the footlocker and was pulling an object out of it. The item in his hand appeared to be a video tape. Ryan informed me that the tape had no label at all, but once I got a good look at it, I saw a drawing of a frowny-face in green marker. I pointed this out to him and he laughed it off, saying that “It’s probably one of those cheesy horror movies”.
As we stepped out and did the remainder of our job in ten minutes, we headed upstairs. Ryan looked me in the eyes, brandishing the tape in front of me. He explained that he was going to take it home, and I accepted his offer immediately, since I had no working VCR player in the house. I kindly asked him to call me tomorrow morning, to tell me what was on it. However, I still felt uneasy about the frowning face as I watched him leave, wondering what it could be about.
The following day, at approximately 12:00 P.M., I checked my messages once again for Ryan’s call, in case I had missed it. Still nothing. He has been known to sleep past this time, so I thought he’d call eventually. I tried calling his phone, only to get a busy signal. Who could he possibly be talking to?
At 3:00 P.M., I still hadn't received any calls, or messages. I tried Ryan’s number again. I had received another busy tone. How long has he been on the phone?
Approximately every hour after that, until 7:00 P.M., I had called. And called. Only to have my auditory senses racked by the busy tone again, and again. I had become very impatient, so I decided to go to Ryan’s house to ask him personally.
As I stepped out onto my porch, I looked down and saw, to my astonishment, a video tape, flipped over on its face. Confused, I picked it up and spun it over. It was in fact the same tape Ryan had pulled out of my basement, yielding that same, weird frowning face on it.
I lowered it from my face and wondered why Ryan would leave it on my porch, and not hand it to me in person, especially since I had asked him to at least call me about it.
I walked to Ryan’s apartment in about six minutes flat. As I stepped onto the threshold of the door, I started to knock loud and accidentally pushed the door open with my fist. Calling out my apologies, I began to look for my friend. I heard a strange noise, exactly like muffled speech, coming from his room. I called out his name as I approached his bedroom door, throwing it open.
He wasn't in there. Ryan’s TV was on, however, showing the generic blue screen from a VCR player once a tape was removed. I looked at my hands and found that I wasn’t carrying the tape anymore. I was a bit angry that I had dropped it in my rush to get here, but as I stared at his entertainment system, one single tape lay on top of the TV.
Sure enough, as I swept it off, my eyes caught the green frowning face, written on the tape. It was time to get to the bottom of this creepy thing. I popped the tape in and sat on Ryan’s bed, staring at the screen.
Immediately, the tape began and showed an old man with bloodshot eyes and a drooping face sitting in front of the camera. He was looking directly at me. I moved a couple of inches to get a good look at the TV and his eyes followed my movement.
I stood up and strafed left. His eyes followed me perfectly. I strafed right. He still sat there, expressionless, his eyes glued to me as if I were the one on TV, and he was watching me.
I sat back down on the bed and I saw him take out a remote control, still staring at me. He appeared to press a button and I felt as if my body had gone rigid.
I couldn’t move my arms, legs, or any part of my body whatsoever. He stood up and walked out of the camera’s view. I couldn’t even move my eyes; I was staring at the screen, at that strange background that held freaky paintings. Thankfully, I could sill breathe.
The screen began to turn into static, and a few seconds later I was watching myself on TV. It appeared as if an invisible camera were coming out of the television and pointed directly at me, sitting on the bed, looking at myself as if I were in a mirror. I was terrified at this point. I wanted more than anything to get out of there and shut this terrible tape off.
As I still stared at myself on TV, I noticed the old man appear from thin air behind me. Right around the bed. I would’ve screamed my lungs out, but I couldn’t do anything besides breathe and stare at that horrifying image. The old man still had his drooping face and began to amble slowly around the bed. I didn’t have any way out of this. I stared at him on the TV silently in terror, and as the man on TV grabbed my shoulder on there, I felt a real hand grab me.
At that moment the hand touched me, I began to writhe and scream, throwing myself off the bed and onto the carpet. I was in tears. I suddenly looked behind me and saw that nobody was present in the room with me. I sniffled, pushing myself back up to my feet to look at the screen. There was Ryan, standing in a black background with a horribly morbid expression, clawing at the screen, apparently trying to get out of the TV. I then saw a hand grab him by the hair and twist his neck 180 degrees, so that the back of his neck was facing me. He slid down and disappeared from view.
Much static began filling the screen. The old man’s face suddenly flashed on again, holding up his remote and pressing another button. I felt extremely odd, like I had forgotten everything. A ringing silence filled my ears, but I could feel myself moving. Suddenly, I found myself back at home, in my kitchen. I was facing Ryan, and he was holding up the creepy tape. He was asking me if he could take it home to watch it.
I promptly replied no, and he left without argument. I threw the tape in the garbage. When I arrived to the second floor of my house, I found it waiting on the bed for me. This happened several times as I tried to destroy it.
Over the years, I lost the tape as I moved again, to a new home. As I explored the house, my landlady, Louise, had called me to tell me she’d be arriving in five minutes to have a face-to-face meeting. A few minutes after the call, I heard a knock at my door. Combing my hair to make a good impression, I opened the door and was about to greet her when I noticed that there was an oddly familiar old man on my porch.
He leered at me with bloodshot eyes, and a droopy face. He held out a tape. I grabbed it and looked at it, trembling with fear at the sight of the green frowning face that had scared me to death years ago.
I raised my head up and saw that he was looking at me with the same, slightly scary, drooping, unsmiling face, dressed in the same outfit as he had in the tape that he had stared me down in. I blinked and he vanished instantly.
Today, this tape is still stuck with me, and I haven't seen Ryan in years. I still haven't watched it again. That old man's face pops up in my brain as I sleep, waking me from a dead sleep. I don't think I'll ever be able to get rid of this thing...