You were maybe 4 years old, a night like any other. Mom told you to go to bed but you snuck downstairs and tuned to BBC to catch an episode of Doctor Who. It was an episode with the Daleks and you watched in horror as those fearsome tin cans of pure hate brought humanity to the brink. Your mother caught you, for reasons you don’t quite understand, cowering behind the sofa, and marched you straight to bed.
It was the first time your eyes were open to the horrors of the world, the dark things that lurk in the night. That was the first time your eyes were open to the dark, and the dark looked back at you. We were haunted by the ghouls that went bump in the night. They lived in our closets and under our beds, coming out at night to take us away. Our parents never believed us and it’s really a wonder we survived. It’s a wonder that we grew up and forgot. Well you’ve denied the truth long enough.
In your closet and under your bed is the nexus of a portal to a dark and ghoulish place. All the things you feared are real; they know your name, and they want to get you. This guide should be memorized, even as an adult. Children should be made to recite it. It is of vital importance, there is more at stake than you realize.
Know Your Enemy
Before you can learn can win a war, you must first know your enemy and the lay of the land. Likewise, if you are to survive an encounter with the denizens of the Otherworld within your closet, you must know the most common threat you will face. Let me dispel the most obvious myth first. We don’t live in magical fancy la-di-da land. Within your closet is NOT THE MAGICAL LAND OF NARNIA. Aslan is a story told to lure children into feeling comfortable with being molested by furries. Let’s get down to business.
Types of Ghouls
Screamers: They make a lot of scary noises. No one’s really sure what they want because they tend to vanish when adults walk by. *heavy breathing, slow heavy steps, clawing, etc
Snatchers: They are here to take you away. No one knows where because few one’s ever come back. Those that return are left mute and mentally vacant, presumably due to the horrors. Snatchers tend to stalk and materialize out of the shadows to snatch you up and drag you under the bed or into the closet and beyond.
Tormenters: They exist to torture and hurt you. When night falls and you’re alone, they come for you and rather than take you away, they scare you and hurt you. Look for bruises and bite marks. There is even, on occasion, a sexual component to them. Tormenters will sometimes take the guise of someone you recognize, like your step father or a priest. Just in case, you might want to tell the cops about this one.
Peepers: Unlike the traditional ghouls, these ones live in the corner of your eye and can only be caught in glimpses in your mirror. They take the guise of little kids (barely), always looking upset and pale and hungry. They capture your soul and use your inattention to crawl out to freedom where they slaughter all that you love before killing you slowly.
Growlers: Don’t worry, that’s just someone snoring, stop being a little scaredy cat and go back to bed.
Welcome to Otherworld
So you’ve awoken to find yourself in a very frightening place. The first step is to identify where you are. You may be in Otherworld, the ghoulish nether realm in the back of your closet where all of the ghouls that go bump in the night come from; the place where, in a perfect fantasy world, you would find Narnia. Questions that should be running through your mind:
- Are there large dark ominous trees casting shapes everywhere?
- Are there beds randomly strewn around with darker patches of shadow emanating from beneath them?
- Are you surrounded by closet doors and mirrors hanging around for no apparent reason?
- Are you definitely not home and in bed?
- Are you certain you’re not on drugs?
Did you answer yes to all but the last question? Shit just got real. I hope you sleep with a flashlight, an extra blanket, an alarm clock, and a tape recording of your father saying “don’t be silly, there’s nothing there, and if there is, it’ll have to deal with me.” I know you don’t, this is a case of wishful thinking. But we’ll act on the premise that going forward you will go to bed with everything I tell you to take with you. If you do exactly as I say, you may survive.
Rules of the Road
Plan A would have been to definitely not end up here. Failing that, we move on to plan b. Let’s be perfectly honest with each other. I say you may survive but if you’re already on the other side, you’re probably definitely going to die. Your chances of survival are laughably small. But if you’re going to have a chance, you better have these rules memorized. Keep them in mind and maybe, just maybe, you’ll survive. (I have to sell hope, but pragmatically speaking you’re probably not going to make it).
- First off, don’t panic. Half the denizens of this place feed off fear. You might as well send up a flair saying “dinner is served.” Try to remain calm. Coming to terms with the fact that you’re almost definitely going to die will go a long way in helping you achieve calm, probably. Don’t bother wondering why this is happening to you. It’s probably because you masturbate too much, but could just as easily be random luck of the draw. On second thought, it’s definitely because you masturbate too much. It’s not like you weren’t easy to spot.
- In Otherworld, you have no friends. Think of this otherworld like you would Australia. Anything that moves, and most things that don’t, are out to kill you.
- The scariest things are the things you need to be least worried about. Screamers, for example, want to scare you but don’t seem to have any other purpose. The more scared you are, the more they feed, but not much else beyond that. I suggest you adhere to rule number 1.
- Peepers are a delicate subject. Technically speaking they have no use for you in Otherworld because they need you to physically be on our side in order to escape. They are, however, deeply twisted and evil creatures that may play nice with you to help you escape and then use you as a portal to unleash their darkness on the world. They’ve also seen you dance naked and sing into your hair brush like it’s a microphone in front of the mirror. So it might be a bit awkward too.
- On that note, do not fall for the sobbing of a child. Anyone who seems lost in Otherworld with you would already be dead if they were the type to sit sobbing with their back turned. This is a trap. It may be a Peeper trying to bond with you so that it can escape, or worse, a tormenter trying to lure you in by lowering your guard. Tormenters are capable of far more pain and torment in Otherworld than in our world.
- It goes without saying that the world you are in can only be accessed through your closet. The portal under your bed is a one-way portal and only sound comes from there plus the occasional claw grabbing your leg to scare you). If you are in Otherworld then you were dragged in through the closet. You can’t just walk through closet doors to get home. The closet doors you see all around you are closet doors to even darker parts of Otherworld, so be warned. You definitely don’t want to go deeper.
- Be wary of the mirrors too. Just because you’re in the world of the Peepers doesn’t mean there aren’t darker things than Peepers lurking in deeper parts of Otherworld that are trying to crawl out of the corner of your eye. Mirrors are the most frightening things in Otherworld. Your reflection will often take a life of its own and try to kill you, and that’s the least frightening thing mirrors in Otherworld do. For all that is holy, please do not break any of them.
- A fleshlight (No. that’s what got you here in the first place) flashlight is your most useful weapon. None of these ghouls can stand the light. Be warned that batteries tend to inconveniently die early in Otherworld. A strategic use of it is to gather as many ghouls around you and flash the light in one burst. This will scatter them and should buy you some time. Once the battery dies, you’re left with your second most useful weapon.
- I hope you have your voice recorder with your father’s voice saying the message I told you earlier. This is important. It doesn’t matter how old you are. It has to be your father or your favorite uncle. If you have neither, or are an orphan, I’m so sorry; this will not work for you. You will have to rely on the flashlight and your most powerful weapon. The recording will seem to be the most effective because it carries furthest and scares most types of ghouls away, but unlike the flashlight, they figure out very quickly that it’s fake. You may only get two or three uses out of this. Like the flashlight, try to conserve it. You might want to wait till you are surrounded by many of the ghouls, rather than waste it in one-on-one combat.
- Use your alarm clock to scare them into thinking it is wake up time and that the sun is coming. Like the tape recorder it is highly successful but for a very limited time. You might only get one use.
- Before I get to your most powerful weapon, an important note. I must reiterate that you have no friends in Otherworld. Ghouls do not attack groups, so your friends would not have been dragged in with you, nor would you have been dragged away at all if they were around. You would have to have been alone. If your friend is with you, I assure you, it is not your friend. You’re in even greater danger if it’s a parent. You’re in the presence of either a Peeper or a Tormenter, and a very powerful one at that. Whatever you do, do not alert it to the fact that you’ve figured it out. It will rip your spine from your body and devour your flesh slowly (assumption based on unreliable witness testimony). Play along but try to lose it. If you lose it and it finds you, make it seem like you got lost and you’re happy to find it again. If you try again and are found again, be advised that it may figure things out. Your flashlight will help but may not be bright enough to do more than burn and annoy it. Enter your most powerful weapon: your blanket. This requires its own section.
Otherworld’s most powerful weapon: Your Blankie
Every ghoul of the Otherworld variety has a few weaknesses: the voice of a parent, light, and your blanket. Don’t waste your time with prayer, it does nothing but alert them to where you are if they can’t see you. Your blanket is your most powerful weapon. Every five year old knows that all you need to do is to cover yourself with your blanket and you are encased in an impenetrable shield. Some enterprising young lads protect themselves by building blanket fortresses during the day and sleeping peacefully at night. Why does the blanket work?
A peculiarity of ghoul biology, perhaps as a product of evolution (or whatever passes for it in Otherworld), is that ghouls exist in a perpetual toddler state. If you go to a toddler and cover your eyes, it believes you are invisible and can no longer see you. Open your eyes and it is surprised to see you materialize in thin air. By covering your eyes they fail to see you, but they can still sense you. Something about a blanket adds an additional layer of protection in that it masks all your other signals and you in essence cease to exist to the ghoul.
Basically, hide your eyes with a shirt or aviators and they can’t see you but you better not make any sound or fart and give off a scent, or move (for the ones that track motion). Cover your eyes/head/body with a blanket and you completely vanish, but only if you stay in the same small area (no more than the area of a king sized bed at most). If you move too much, you become an invisible but loud and smelly idiot with a blanket over his head. So with this, the ghouls pass over you and through you and you can wait till they’re out of sight before you continue your journey. This is clearly a brilliant defensive technology, but how is it a weapon?
It’s a weapon because it works on the ghouls whether you hide yourself or them. If you throw a blanket over a ghoul, an interesting thing happens. It can no longer see or sense itself and it begins ceasing to exist. You trigger an existential meta-crisis (thanks Doctor Who) or as I like to call it, dividing by zero. It knows it exists yet it clearly doesn’t exist so it mustn’t exist but then it’s here thinking about the fact that it doesn’t exist and it’s pretty sure it existed a moment ago but clearly no longer and… *mind blows* The problem with this weapon is that depending on the size of the blanket, it can only take one ghoul at a time. The ghoul doesn’t cease to exist immediately; it takes a few seconds to cycle through its existence-non-existence before fading into nothingness. In that time, you are exposed and in danger. The simple solution is to have two blankets. Since this is an unplanned excursion, this may be unrealistic. My studies find that bath robes and towels; while not as powerful as blankets, do offer more protection than other items of clothing. Perhaps this is due to their close relation to blankets. Peepers are the exception. You really are screwed if they decide that they don’t like you and don’t want to help you escape so that they can also escape and kill everyone you love (this is routinely the case when they are either bored, hungry, or both). Luckily, they are the fewest in population and some theorize that they are all just one Peeper, the same Peeper. ‘Peeper’… more like creeper, amiright?
If you hope to survive a trip to Otherworld (unlikely) these are the things you have to make sure you go to bed with every night until you either grow up (not just age) or find a life partner who spends every night with you: One or two flash lights, preferably LED because they are brighter and last longer while using less energy; spare batteries; two blankets; a bath robe and a towel; tape recording of your father saying the above mentioned message and a spare recording of your favorite uncle; and an alarm clock. If you have a cell phone, don’t neglect the simple strategy of calling 911 in the event that you’re actually having a drug induced episode. I assure you, if you’re in Otherworld or use AT&T (possibly the same thing), you’ll get no signal.
If you’re reading this in a book or on some device, you’re probably okay, but if you’re recalling this from memory and you’re already on the other side, you really truly are doomed. Assuming you’ve survived and become some sort of commando in Otherworld, tune in for the next chapter of this guide where we teach you how to come out of the closet, into the happy embrace of your family and friends…
So let’s recap in gallery form: