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If Someone Asks You to Make a Supply Run for the Brighter Futures Suicide Hotline, Just Say No
NoSleep Horror Story
I wrote a few episodes for a now completed series on the NoSleep Reddit Community called the Brighter Futures Suicide Hotline (BFSH).
These are horror stories, so if horror isn’t your thing or you don’t want to read fiction that includes suicides, you may want to skip reading the stories about BFSH.
When my father committed suicide last year, my world shattered. I knew Dad suffered from depression, especially after the car accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Dad was a construction foreman.
A burly guy who had the build and the strength of an oak tree. He said he hated being “half a man.” Living on disability, relying on me and Mom to care for him, and using a wheelchair… he just couldn’t deal with his new circumstances.
So he put a .45 in his mouth and pulled the trigger.
The last phone call Dad made was to the Brighter Futures Suicide Hotline. I believed he’d reached out to BFSH because he didn’t really want to end his life. But I figured maybe Dad was too far gone for anybody to help him.
But now I know better.
I made the mistake of believing BFSH was a place where good people work. For reasons that are no doubt obvious, I want to be a psychotherapist. So, the summer before my senior year of high school, I applied for an internship at the Emerald Bay office of BFSH.
The first couple of weeks working at BFSH made me feel like I was doing something positive. Sure, there was the occasional weirdness. Not being able to use the third floor bathroom, for one.
For another, all those rumors about what happened to the old BFHS--before new management came in and turned things around.
And then there was Karen. The custodian. Weird didn’t begin to cover her eccentricities. She was the one who requested the supply run to the BFHS warehouse outside of town.
Five of us piled into our branch manager’s mini-van. I didn’t know Richard Randolph that well. He seemed like a nice enough guy and a decent boss. But he had this strange smile. The corners of his mouth stretched upward a little too much and revealed too many of his perfect white veneers. He always looked like a shark about to attack.
Aside from me, there was another intern named Julio and two call center employees, Troy something other and another new trainee, Paula Richmond.
“How many people does it take to get some toilet paper?” Julio whispered to me. His Spanish accent was kinda calming.
“It’s better than trash duty at the office,” I replied.
As interns, we were stuck in the far back seat. Richard drove, Paula sat in the front passenger seat, and Troy sat behind the driver, holding a clipboard with the supply list. He tapped his pen against the metal as he studied the items Karen had requested.
Troy looked over his shoulder at me. “You’re Chrissy, right?”
“Richard says you want to train to take some calls.”
“It’s why I signed up for the internship.”
“It’s not easy to talk to suicidal people,” he said. His gaze seemed to burn right through me. “Sometimes, you lose them.”
“I know. My dad committed suicide.”
“I’m sorry,” offered Troy. “I’ve lost someone, too. My ex-wife.”
“Que descanse en paz,” said Julio.
Troy sent us a tight smile, then turned around and studied the supply list again.
Traffic was light, but it still took the better part of an hour to get the warehouse. Richard clicked the door opener attached to his visor and the huge bay door slowly rolled open. He pulled the minivan inside and turned off the car, leaving the keys in the ignition.
We all piled out of the vehicle. I studied the dark, dank forest surrounding the warehouse and shivered. The sky was gray and thick with storm clouds. The wind blew past us, bringing with it a sour odor that made my nostrils twitch.
“C’mon. Let’s get this done before the rain starts,” said Richard, gesturing for us to follow him.
We trudged into the huge middle aisle and huddled together while Troy passed out copies of the supply list. “I’ve divvied up the supplies based on sections. Only get the items listed next to your name and only go to the section specified. The warehouse is big and easy to get lost in, so pay attention to the map printed on the other side of the list.”
“Wait. Why do I have to get an urn?” asked Julio, frowning as he studied the paper. “I do not feel comfortable carrying around another person’s soul.”
“It’s a decorative item,” said Paula, rolling her eyes. “You really think BFSH houses dead people in here?”
“Enough chatter. When you’re finished gathering your supplies, put them in the back of the van and wait for the rest of us. We’ll be outta here in no time at all,” Richard said.
We all took off to our respected sections. It didn’t take long for me to get the pens, notepads, paper towels, and coffee. I was the first back and after I tucked the boxes into the minivan, I walked to the bay doors and stared at the woods. Man, it was creepy out here.
I wrapped my arms around myself, wishing I’d brought my sweater instead of leaving it at the office.
Then I heard the scream.
I whipped around, but no one was there.
“Hello?” I called out.
“Senorita!” yelled Julio. “Please! Somebody!”
I’m ashamed that I hesitated. My first instinct was to run out into the woods and keep going until I felt safe. But I steeled myself, and hurried to the echoing sounds of Julio’s cries.
When I arrived at the aisle, Richard and Troy were already there, crouching over Julio. I stumbled backward as I saw the intern’s guts spilling out of a ragged stomach wound. Julio was still, his dark eyes wide with fear, his mouth opened in a silent scream.
I leaned over to the side and threw up. I wiped off my mouth on my shirt sleeve. “Oh, my God. What happened?”
“I… I don’t know,” said Richard. I noticed Julio was holding a gold urn with strange symbols etched on its glittering surface.
“What is that?” I asked.
“The urn.” Troy looked at me. “I need you to pick it up.”
“What? Are you crazy? I gotta call the police.” I reached into my purse and searched for my phone. “We have to get out of here before whatever killed him comes for us.”
A female’s scream rolled over us like a wave of cold sea water. “Oh, my God. Paula!” I cried.
“No, Chrissy!” yelled Troy.
But I was already in motion, skidding around the huge metal shelves. I saw Paula run across the warehouse, ducking into an aisle. I heard the sharp clatter of her heels against the warehouse’s concrete floor as she ran.
I didn’t see who--or what--was chasing her.
Then she screamed again. I heard a strange wet sound. Paula’s decapitated head rolled out of the aisle, coming to rest on its bloody stump. Her sightless gaze stared at me.
My entire body quaked with fear, and I felt dizzy.
“Jesus Christ,” muttered Troy next to me. He grabbed my arm and pulled me back into the aisle, toward Julio. “Pick up the urn, Chrissy.”
The strange tone of his voice crawled across my skin like baby spiders.
I stared at the smear of blood next to Julio and realized it was in the same spot where Richard had stood moments before.
“Where’s Richard?” I asked.
“Never mind.” He yanked me down until I was within arm’s reach of the urn. “Pick it up. Now.”
Without arguing further, I pried the urn from Julio’s grasp. Troy’s grip on me tightened as he dragged me toward the minivan. I don’t know why Troy made me carry the urn.
“What happened to Richard?” I dared to ask again.
“Dead. Like you’ll be if you don’t shut up and do what I say.”
We’d gotten within a few feet of the minivan when we saw Richard, clutching his bloodied stomach, limping around the car and headed towards us. “Get away from her. I know you’re part of it.”
“I told you. Sacrifices are often required in this line of work.”
“Drop the urn, Chrissy.”
“No.” Troy’s fingers dug into my arm, causing me to yelp in pain.
Richard swayed, his face drained of color. Blood soaked his shirt and pants. “Did you know this warehouse has an entire weapons section?” He lifted his hand to reveal the sharp blade of a hunting knife that he pointed at Troy.
“Go, Chrissy!” yelled Richard.
I stomped on Troy’s foot then socked him in the stomach with the urn. He screamed and I heard sizzling sounds as his shirt and flesh melted away at the urn’s touch. I ran. I stopped at the edge of the van and watched Richard leap at Troy, driving the knife into Troy’s eye.
I didn’t see how either one of them would make it out of the warehouse alive. And you know what? I didn’t care. I just wanted to get out of that hellhole.
I dove into the driver’s seat of the minivan and immediately hit the door locks. I tossed the urn onto the passenger seat. I was so glad Richard had left the keys in the ignition. I cranked the engine, put the car in gear, and stomped on the gas.
I drove like the devil himself was chasing me--all the way back to BFSH. I parked the minivan at the back of the building and left it there, dumping the keys into the center console. I didn’t care what happened to the car, the supplies, or that strange urn. I was never stepping foot into BFSH again.
My face felt swollen from crying and the rusty stench of blood clung to my nose as I stumbled across the parking lot. I was shaking so badly, I dropped my key fob. When I finally slid into my own car, I made the mistake of looking up at the BFSH building.
I saw Karen looking down at me from a third-story window. She grinned and waved.
Fresh panic rolled over me. I revved my engine and squealed out of the parking lot. I kept driving. Away from BFSH. Away from the horrors hiding in that building. In those people.
And I won’t ever go back.
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