This story contains dark themes. If you can't handle things such as suicide, the murder of a child, self harm, possible insinuation of child abuse in many forms, gore, body horror, sexual abuse, drowning, being buried alive, or obviously ghosts and other ghouls, then this story is not for you.
If you can handle those things, go ahead and read on. However, this story only gets more twisted as it unfolds. You've been warned.
"Okay," Craig muttered.
He laid back in Tweek's bed and got comfortable. However, the little blond shuddering beside him was too uneasy with his bedroom to pay attention to his friend.
"What is it you needed me here for?" Craig asked. Tweek said it was urgent. There was something odd about his new house, though he wouldn't say what.
Tweek's eyes shifted to the ceiling before he replied in a whisper, "There's a man who lives in the attic."
"A man?" Craig asked with squinted eyes. It was hard to see Tweek in the dim light of the room.
"Yeah. A ghost, I think! At least I hope," Tweek scraped at his scalp with his fingernails. "Oh, god. A ghost would be so less scary than an actual man! I want you to see him too, so my mom will believe me! S-she never believes me."
Craig wasn't alarmed. So many odd things came out of Tweek's mouth over the years. Ghosts seemed tame in comparison to most of his conspiracy theories.
Tweek could sense his friend's disbelief. He grabbed him by the front of his pajama shirt and whispered urgently, "I-it's true! If I lay in bed and listen really quiet, I can hear the ceiling creak under his feet."
They laid in silence as if the eerie groaning of hardwood would fill the space between them. However, much to both of their relief, the sound never comes.
"Ghosts aren't real, you know," Craig said as if he wasn't leery himself.
"They are too!" Tweek persisted. "I've seen lots of them! And this one; he stands by my bed and talks to me while I try to sleep."
"… Maybe you just dreamed it. Sometimes it's hard to tell them apart. Reality and dreams, I mean," Craig clarified.
Tweek was silent for a short while as he contemplated his friend's point. Maybe they were only nightmares or even figments of his imagination. It wouldn't have been the first time he believed in something that wasn't true, but the man was so real. He could still recall the first night he heard knocking at the attic door.
Craig frowned, though Tweek couldn't see it. He leaned forward and slipped an arm around his frightened friend to nestle close.
"It's okay," Craig assured him, "tonight we'll figure this out."
Tweek didn't say anything back. He just laid there with his forehead pressing into Craig's collarbone. He was trying to be brave, but he wasn't so strong at only eleven years old. As time crept on, though, he let himself slip into a sense of comfort. All talk of ghosts and spirits left their minds as conversation veered towards school and the people they knew there.
"You like Wendy and you know it," Tweek teased.
"Psh, she's such a know-it-all, though."
"Craig and Wendy sitting in a tree!"
"Don't you even say that stupid rhyme to me. I swear to God."
Craig playfully clamped his hand on Tweek's mouth. Much to Craig's displeasure, Tweek knew how to get out of it without so much as lifting a finger.
"Ew!" Craig shouted before wiping his hand on Tweek's arm. "You didn't have to go and lick me, you little weirdo."
Tweek giggled and held his stomach as he laughed. That laughter stopped when a noise interrupted their coziness. It was fuzzy and loud like static. It was alarming.
Craig pulled the covers down to his chin and peered at the television across the room. The screen flickered with snow, and the room flashed with its eerie light. Tweek yanked his covers back up over his head. Craig, however, wasn't spooked so easy. Televisions lose reception all the time. They go fuzzy. They turn on and off. They make noise. That's just what happens, and just because it happened in the dark didn't make it any less routine to the braver of the two.
Then again, he didn't know what was coming.
"Oh, come on, Tweek. It's not that scary," Craig said before getting out of bed.
He walked across the room and pushed the power button. The screen went black. All the humming seized.
"See?" Craig announced in triumph.
Tweek peeked back out from under his haven of stuffed animals and blankets. With a small smile, Craig made his way to the bed. He didn't make it back before being startled rigid. The familiar ring of static hummed from behind him.
The television yet again flicked back to life.
Craig saw the remote undisturbed on a nearby dresser. Still, he wasn't scared. Not like Tweek, who was rattled down to his bones. Craig stomped back to the television and ripped its power cord out of the wall. Tweek settled a little, and Craig sighed in contentment when he made it back to bed with no more odd occurrences.
"See," Craig announced. "Your TV is just busted. Wires are probably loose or something, you know."
Then, cold shivers scraped up both of their spines. Their blood ran cold, breath caught in their throats, and their stomachs tied up in knots.
The television was on.
Craig shot up straight and stiff. He couldn't believe what he saw. There it was, clear as day. The white glow still filled the room. The screen still flickered in scrambling white and black specks.
The cord was still laid unplugged on the floor.
Craig could only stare in bewildered fear and fascination. An odd knocking accompanied the screen's disturbing glow. Craig's eyes shifted to the ceiling, where a door to the attic was nestled above the television. The consistent thumping came from nowhere else. That in itself made Craig's skin crawl.
Tweek threw his arms around Craig and dragged him back into bed.
"Just ignore it," Tweek whispered with a stutter. "Ignore it and be quiet. It'll leave us alone."
Craig, paralyzed in fear, decided to take Tweek's advice.
They lay huddled close together. They both tried to steady their breath and keep quiet despite all the noise. It sounded like a single chair dragging across a hardwood floor. It's non-existent legs scraped against a surface that simply wasn't there. In that house, there was only carpet.
The static still blared. Knocking still came from the attic door. It grew ever more violent with each bang. Both of their breaths caught in their throats when a crash resonated throughout the room. All the other noise stopped. All except heavy footsteps that creaked the floorboards.
"Tweek," Craig choked out in terror. The steps were coming closer. They came from across the room, from the corner which harbored the attic.
Tweek clamped his hand over his horrified friend's mouth. If they made so much as a single noise, it would know they were there. The floor groaned louder as the shuffling moved closer to the bed.
It stopped at their feet.
Something tugged the fabric at their feet, and then slowly pulled it away from them. Their small hands shot up and grabbed the blanket. They tried to fight the specter behind the footboard, but they were no match for its strength. Craig let out a scream of the likes Tweek had never heard when the comforter jerked away from them. The fabric collided with the wall, and then it fell to the floor in a heap.
Confused and with no other direction, they both stared at the blaring television. The picture flickered and swayed with fuzz. The cord still lay unplugged nearby. Craig wanted to scream bloody murder for Tweek's mother to come save them. He could feel someone else in the room as they watched from somewhere in the shadows. What was worse, though, was noticing the attic door gaped open.
Their breath was heavy between them. Craig's fingers curled around Tweek's arm like a vise when they both noticed the dark mass lingering beside the television. It was darker than dark. As if it absorbed the blackness around it.
Craig let out a strangled whimper of horror. He was too afraid to even scream anymore. Tweek looked at his friend with a similar expression. He could practically see the color dripping off of Craig's once self-assured face. He was paper white, and his mouth gaped open. The boy's wide eyes trained on the entity invading their space.
On the ghost.
Tweek grew angry.
Usually, Craig was the all-knowing protector. He'd never encountered something like this. He wasn't haunted every night for the last two weeks like Tweek had been, and he wasn't used to coming face to face with such horrors. Craig was afraid, and the black creature looming in the corner was to blame. Tweek glared into its eyes. They were crimson and glowing like that of a demon. Two orbs that floated together in a black puddle on the wall.
It had never been so violent and angry before, but neither had Tweek.
"Go away!" He demanded. Craig's stronghold only tightened when he wrapped himself around Tweek's right arm. Tweek could hear his friend's fear in the rapid breath in his ear.
The malicious force would not recede.
"What do you want with me?!"
The temperature plummeted. It looked back into Tweek's eyes. Those red orbs felt like a scorching fire that board holes into his skull. Craig's gasping breaths stopped.
He saw the attic. It flashed inside Tweek's eyes like an old film.
He recognized the bare, vaulted ceiling made of two by fours and open insulation. It was dark, though illuminated like it was caught in the beam of a flashlight. There was no sound or movement.
There was one exception.
A single rope hung from a rafter.
It swung back and forth.
Back and forth.
Tweek's vision flicked like the pattern on the television. It melded in and out as the pictures switched from the creature's invasive eyes to the swinging rope.
A child's happy face.
A woman with kind eyes.
A man smiling in a living room he recognized.
The man was wearing the same unsettling grin as he swung. As the noose in the attic caught his fall and his wide, bulging eyes remained locked with Tweek's. The toothy grin didn't subside. His eyes didn't break away from Tweek's, even as he was strangling to death.
Craig didn't see the happy people, the rope, or the eerily wide grin of the man hanging from it. All he saw was Tweek himself, laying back on the bed with wide eyes and mouth hanging open like a hatch to a cellar.
In tears, Craig shook Tweek. He shook him until their tormentor faded back into the shadows. He shook him and cried until the television flicked off and the bedroom door busted open. Tweek's mother rushed inside, and Tweek blinked.
"What's wrong? What's with all the screaming?" She demanded in a panic.
She saw Tweek on his back and Craig cradling him in tears. Horrified, she bolted for the bed and got down beside him.
"Tweek? Baby, what's wrong?"
"He strung himself up."
She and Craig both exchanged looks of confusion, though Craig's chest was heaving and his eyes were wide with fear.
"What?" she asked in a worried tone.
"He put a rope around his neck. He hung from it in the attic."
"That's ridiculous! Who told you such terrible stories?!"
Tweek still struggled to catch his breath. The image of that disturbing grin lingered in his eyes like a bad taste. That ever unsettling, toothy, grin.
It would never fade away.
"No one," Tweek confessed as tears spilled down his cheeks. "He showed me in my eyes."
"He showed me in my eyes."