Of Emerald Towers And Crimson Children

📅 Published on October 11, 2023

“Of Emerald Towers And Crimson Children”

Written by Matt Martinek
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 10.00/10. From 11 votes.
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You know that feeling you get when you are deep in the forest?  Like something is watching you?  Maybe even following you?  But, of course, you continue on, because it’s just your imagination.  Except that it’s not.  The feeling you have is instinctual, and you should always trust your instincts.  In the forest, there are always eyes on you.  Too many to count.  Why?  Because you don’t belong, and your presence makes the residents feel uncomfortable.  See, the forest is pure.  But man, he is not.  When you step foot in the forest, you are entering the only true church.  And as we all know, when you go to church, you must confess.

I kneel to the powers accordingly, no matter how righteous I may think I am at the time.  The woods used to scare the shit out of me when I was a kid.  Too much of the unknown…too many creepy-crawlies.  And the hideous noises…of things I could never even begin wrap my head around.  As I grew, however, I began to look at things quite differently.  The hustle of the city and the falsity of manmade things tend to give a person the wrong idea of what it means to be alive.  If you trek into nature, you often see the reverse of what you have previously known to be the truth.  The forest is a self-sustaining cycle of birth, flourishment, and rebirth.  Death does not exist in the heavenly green.  Of course, states do change, but for the greater purpose only.  If a creature loses its breath, it becomes sustenance in order to strengthen the breath of others.  If a modern man loses his breath, he is encased in wood, concrete, or a metal receptacle.  It is a finite end of things.  The rot serves no purpose.  And that is not right.  Such death is only for the ignorant.

With such thoughts in mind, some might find it amusing that I am a man of the law.  I mean, whose law is it?  Surely it is not the rule of a higher power, but more along the lines of a kind of restriction on beauty and true freedom, written up by creatures who haven’t a clue.  This being said, I do try my best to make the world continue to spin on an axis of morality and general good feeling.  Hell, that’s why I signed up in the first place.  Men are not to be trusted, and need to be treated as such.  I bought in, 100%.  I made detective in just a few years.  I was making a dent, and it was noticed.  It’s nice to be noticed, by peers or otherwise.  It means you are doing your job.  And that’s all I ever wanted to do.

I remember the searing pain of the ligaments in my knee tearing away from the bone as I kicked the door in.  The little blonde-haired girl (who we had been searching for, for 6 weeks to be precise) screamed with a shriek that made the hairs on my neck stand on end as her captor sprang from the chair in that dimly-lit kitchen, obviously startled.  It was a big case, and all of Philly was searching for this girl.  I hadn’t slept in weeks.  It was fucking with all of us.  The details were terrifying…the perversions of the sexual abuse, the statements from the school, the confessions from the mother…it was one of those cases that you just can’t get past.  And the fact that the father fled with the girl instead of facing the charges like a man only made us salivate for closure even more.  I swore to the heavens that he was grabbing for his piece, but he wasn’t.  I don’t know exactly why I did it.  She was found, alive, and it was over.  But still, I painted the wall behind the man with the dark crimson of his brains.  And felt nothing.

It was during this time that I began my treks into the green, when I was at both my highest and lowest.  I was applauded as a hero for bringing this girl home.  It had national attention…interview after interview, camera upon camera.  I was the fucking man, no doubt about it.  But the secret began to tear at me.  I would hike for hours, limping along, looking for answers.  I would admire the emerald spires that jutted into the sky with impunity.  I daydreamed of climbing into them, up to the top-most branches, and simply staying there for days, until my body would give out from starvation.  The birds would violently pluck my dripping eyeballs out of their sockets and take them to their nests to share with their families.  Hunters could unearth my skyward remains by the end of next fall, when the leaves would go to rest.  But this act I’ve just described could be seen to some as cowardly.  And that just ain’t me.

Time passed, as did bits of sanity.  Amongst my peers, I became known as the man who could get things done, as well as the man who could find anyone.  I began to answer interesting questions, like “How many fingernails can you rip out with pliers before a pimp will talk?” or “How long does it take for a rapist to completely bleed out from a singular chest wound?”  I continued to make headway, and continued to do my duty.  The legend grew, as did my confessions.  My prayers were footsteps tread into the damp soil, my communion was the mushroom patch I found below the riverbed.  When times were particularly tough and actual guilt would rear its ugly head, I would dig my hands into the rotting cavities of expired animals and massage their purpled entrails, until the worms and ants would crawl onto me and attempt to feast on my living flesh.  I was not without penance.

I was at the very height of my powers, and had reached the crux of popularity.  I was now a public figure.  I had ‘fans’, as I guess you would call them.  They followed the cases, and, in some instances, followed me physically as well.  Honestly, it became annoying.  At the same time, though, it was all I had.  The job became my life.  I never married, never had kids.  Girlfriends were few and far-between.  My reputation fueled me, and the fame sustained me.  My confidence overflowed, along with the blood of these men, which I shed in the name of justice itself.  The skeletons were clawing at the door, but my bravado always kept them at bay.  I could not stop.

Her name was Madelyn.  Little red-haired girl, 11 years old.  Taken in broad daylight, right outside her home.  Her father had apparently done some bad things, and Madelyn was the payback.  It felt like the first time to me, when I had rescued that first little girl and blew her daddy’s brains out.  It kind of freaked me out a little.  It was somehow more emotional to me than other cases, and had my heart pumping even more than usual.  As the days fell away, and the severity of the situation grew, I found myself again without sleep.  But I knew I would find her.  I had no doubt in my mind.

We were looking for any and all leads we could find.  We even set up a hotline, specifically for Maddie’s case.  But nothing much was coming in, and the things that did pop up ended up being bullshit… “I think I saw her at the market”, “I think I saw her at the playground”, things like that.  Every moment that passed was another moment of pain and doubt.  I began taking longer trips into the comfort of the forest, a tainted man amongst the leaved obelisks that I had so admired.  I was no longer searching for confession, however, but instead for the power and grace to bring closure to this new issue the city was facing.  Most of the time I was perched on the stone outcroppings, thinking away, or with my feet dipped in the freezing stream as I wished for baptism, as I longed for grace.  I began to think about Madelyn’s captors, and what I was going to do to them.  It wasn’t going to be pretty.

I did have my sources on the street.  Most of them couldn’t be trusted, of course, but every once in a while you had a guy who knew how important it was to not burn a bridge.  So, surprisingly, seven weeks into the search for Maddie, I received a tip from an informant that the little girl was being held in an apartment downtown, near the historic district.  I should’ve alerted the department immediately, but I knew I had to go in alone.  If this was a worthwhile lead, no partner on earth would let me get away with what I was planning.  And the lead was probably bullshit anyways, so I didn’t want to make too big a deal out of it.  So, in the middle of a rainy, filthy night in Philadelphia, I set out to find Madelyn and destroy whoever it was who took her.

The apartment building was decrepit and nearly unlivable.  The musty smell of rot and fungus hung heavy as I moved carefully through the hallway.  It was amazing to me how such tenements were able to stand.  My heart beat faster with every step until I reached what I was looking for.  There it was…Room 104.  But something was unusual.  The door was slightly ajar, and I could see that it was dark inside.  Without any knock or audible warning, I pulled my gun, pushed the door open the rest of the way, and proceeded to hit the light switch.  The room was empty, except for one table in the kitchen area.  I could see that there was a piece of paper sitting on this table.  I smelled something strange, but couldn’t place it.  The lump in my throat began to grow.  I approached the table, afraid of what the paper might say.  The note read: TOO LATE, YOU PIECE OF TRASH!!!  Every word was written in marker, but the word “trash” was scrawled in what looked to be brown, dried blood.  Without pause, I rushed outside to the back of the building, in the midst of a full blown panic attack.

Every fiber of my being was banking on my instincts being wrong, but the truth was revealed to me as I ripped and rummaged through the black garbage bags in the stinking, rusty dumpster.  The scent of death hit me hard as I tore one of the bags open, and whatever heart I had left proceeded to shatter right there amongst the refuse.  It reminded me of doll parts, dipped in a red paint.  Arm here, leg there, hands off to the side, dismantled by an angry child in a fit of rage.  And there was poor Madelyn’s decapitated head, sitting at the bottom of the bag, her pretty blue eyes staring at me, missing the eyelids that used to accompany them.  Her mouth was contorted in some sort of frightful grimace of pain, her teeth clenched tightly.  I found her.

After Homicide was called to the scene and I struggled to provide a coherent statement, they carted me off and drove me to hospital, where I stayed for an entire week, apparently doing nothing but sobbing, screaming, and rambling about the green and how it had failed me.  I did the best I could to make it through the funeral, as I watched Maddie’s parents lose their minds in front of the tiny, black coffin, which held the bagged portions of their murdered daughter.  The situation broke me into pieces, and I was sure that I would never be able to be put back together the right way again.  I withdrew, and retired from the force, with nothing but shame, guilt, and the memory of Madelyn’s bloodied parts to keep me company.

What becomes of a man after he loses his identity? The man who I had prided myself on being no longer existed.  I failed that girl.  Not once, but twice.  I failed to rescue her, but I couldn’t pull myself together enough to find her killer, either.  No one ever did.  For all the people who I had saved, it was the one person I couldn’t help who made the rest of my career meaningless.  No more interviews, no more talk shows, no more façade of importance.  I faded into nothingness, and grew old and grey along the way.  I vowed never to return to the woods.

Maybe the verdant green had failed me.  Or maybe I was too tainted to be saved.  But the one thing that I knew as truth was that death did not exist in the forest.  Only rebirth.  It took years of feeling sorry for myself and unlimited moments of pain to piece myself back together.  I did not look the same, and I did not feel the same, but I knew that there was more for me to do.  My reputation was tarnished, and I wished nothing more than to get it back…to return to some semblance of the man I once was, howsoever tainted.  And then it happened.  Another missing girl.

I was no longer a detective, but simply an old, broken down man who wanted another shot at the past.  But I figured, it would be enough.  It would have to be.  Her name was Jocelyn.  Brunette, 9 years old.  Simply never came home from school one day.  The media was abuzz with the details and her photo, and it began to feel like history repeating itself.  I did contact some old friends at the department to see if I could get access to any leads myself, but they urged me to stay out of it…that I would only get in the way.  Apparently, even after all I had done, they had forgotten about me, too.  Pink jumper, white and blue tennis shoes, and her photo.  That’s all I had to go on.  But I would at least have to try.

The woods had not been kind to me.  I had searched for power, and had received failure.  I looked for purity, and found guilt.  But I knew that I had nothing to lose, and after much soul searching, I decided that I would return to the green, one more time.  One last confession, and one last pilgrimage.  I set out on my usual trails, admiring the beauty that I had missed during those lost years.  The perfect ecosystem, allowing me to behold the trees and stones and streams that seemed to know the secrets of humankind itself!  Again, I walked for hours, thinking of every drop of blood that I spilt, and every criminal who I had dismantled in the name of righteousness.

The thoughts turned to Maddie’s blue eyes, staring at me from underneath her red curls.  I wept until the soil around my feet was moist with hurt.  After I composed myself, I moved further, beyond the trails, into places I had never been before, yet seemed strangely familiar somehow.  My feet ached and my brow glistened, but I trudged on, until I spotted something out of place.  I saw a rusty drain pipe, off to my right, about two feet wide, popping out of the middle of a thicket.  What a crime…such a manmade construct ruining the natural beauty around it.  Very strange, I thought.  I moved closer to the pipe, and nearly fainted when I realized what I had found.

The shoe came into view first, then the pink dress.  It was Jocelyn.  Tears returned to my eyes as I got closer and saw the poor girl’s contorted body crumpled up inside the pipe.  Apparently the animals had already gotten to her, as most of the skin was missing from her face and hands…the bloodied skeletal features were plainly in view.  Whatever skin I could see was a transparent mush.  The water coming from the pipe, mixed with the girl’s remains, supplied the stream below with a steady, dark brown liquid.  Nature was claiming her body for its own.

The police were amazed at my find…they simply could not believe it.  As I was interviewed for the local news, it felt like old times, if even for a moment.  I had found her when no one else could.  I brimmed with pride, as I was again the hero of the day.  But deep down, I knew that I needed to return to the heavenly green, for another confession.  The only reason I was able to locate the body is because I was the one who had placed it there.  Men are not to be trusted.

Rating: 10.00/10. From 11 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Matt Martinek
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Matt Martinek

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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