30 Aug Tale of the Roof-Reacher
“Tale of the Roof-Reacher”
Written by Bryce Simmons Edited by Craig Groshek Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek Narrated by N/ACopyright 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
⏰ ESTIMATED READING TIME — 10 minutes
“They say that if you look into this pond, the dead who lie beneath its surface will stare into your soul, and see the secrets you’ve kept hidden.”
“They also used to say that if you touch yourself, you’ll grow hair on your palms. Well, do you see any hair?” Markus shoved his open palm into Claire’s face, smearing his hairless—though sweaty—hand across it. She pushed him away, then kneed him in the groin. He went down, soaking his pants in the pond. Everyone laughed, except Markus, of course. Derek helped him up, while I stood by and stared into the pond that had—according to the crooked post nearby—once been a fairly large lake. Its surface rippled from the occasional landing of a bug upon a floating leaf, or the near-surface activity of a fish. Otherwise, it was placid; undisturbed and clean, despite its proximity to the road just behind us.
We had only stopped there to take a break from our road trip. Once everyone had stretched their legs and relieved themselves—the latter of which Markus seemed to have had difficulty, after Claire’s retaliation—we loaded ourselves and our things back into Derek’s car. We drove for a few more hours, with Claire and Markus bickering the entire time, while Derek talked to me without pause, as if oblivious to the arguments behind us. We were all friends, but Claire and Markus could only handle so much of each other before things soured.
We slowly passed through the Midwest, stopping at diners, “bar & grills”, and steakhouses along the way. When considering our budget for the trip, gas had been the second-most important consideration; the first had been the “Food Fund”, and its use had been limited to items that were grease-covered, flame-grilled, or served by portly women who called you sugar, honey, darling, or sweetheart. It was the one thing Claire and Markus had agreed upon: everyone was required to gain a few pounds on the trip.
A few hours after departing from the pond that had been a lake, we stopped again, this time at a motel where we could rest for the night. I was especially tired, having driven the entirety of the trip up to that point. It would be Claire’s turn in the morning, for which I was thankful; because it meant she wouldn’t be immediately next to Markus. Derek, self-designated navigator, would remain in the front seat. As I pulled into the parking lot, I tried to think of something I could offer Markus in exchange for allowing me to rest my legs across his lap during the next day’s drive.
The clerk at the front desk of the motel seemed young, younger than us even, but he spoke with an air of authority befitting someone much older. His demeanor was also grave, as if he suspected that we were up to no good entirely based upon our age. We’d been polite with him, and hadn’t come in howling or messing around, as you’d expect a group of early twenty-somethings to do at 2 am. While we were set on expanding our bellies, we had sworn off alcohol, since everyone had to take a turn driving at some point. The young man retrieved our room keys almost begrudgingly from their hooks, and passed them to us as if offering his very last dollar.
Despite his unwelcoming manner, we wished him a pleasant night and headed to our assigned rooms. Claire and I were in one, with two beds, while Markus and Derek were in another, with one bed. The arrangement was agreed upon and established by Claire and I, before they could speak up. The clerk had said that he couldn’t spare two, two-bedroom rooms, and we hadn’t bothered protesting otherwise. After all, it was a road-side motel, not a luxury hotel where a little monetary pressure could magically induce room availability.
We unpacked only what we needed—Claire and I hauled out a PS4 and Derek’s monitor—and spent the night relaxing in our separate rooms. We had a call on speaker going for both rooms to casually communicate whenever it was needed, since shouting through the thin walls would’ve probably brought down the ire of the clerk upon us. Claire and I played Resident Evil 5, one of the few games on the console that had split-screen co-op. Derek watched Event Horizon on his laptop, a movie he’d seen probably twelve times before, while Markus played Dead Space on his. Horror, as one might be able to tell, was a shared interest of ours, and the original basis of our friendship. We had all met in a Horror Literature course in college, and bonded almost immediately.
Who could’ve guessed that real, tangible horror would come to us that night; a horror without name, more potent in its awfulness than any real or fictional thing we had ever experienced?
As Claire and I cleared monstrous, skinless, crawling things from yet another corridor of an underground biomedical research facility, we spoke with Derek and Markus about the specifics of tomorrow. In exchange for my aforementioned mode of passenger relaxation, I offered Markus some of my prized Oatmeal cookies, which my mom had prepared for me—and only me, she had insisted—prior to the trip. They’re home-baked, glazed with buttercream icing, and could probably classify as an illicit substance—they are that damn good.
He agreed, as I knew he would. He had tried them before, and it would’ve taken a stronger man than Markus to deny the offer. Derek asked Claire if she had memorized the route, and Claire confirmed that she had, although she questioned why she would need to, since he had appointed himself as navigator. We all knew that Derek had done it solely because he hated sitting in the back, where the air conditioning was broken. Regardless of positioning, the frontal vents never sent their cooling flow back there, either. He quickly shushed us, as if the present moment in the movie was some part he’d never seen before. Claire rolled her eyes, and we returned our focus to the game.
A few seconds later, just when we had reached the area’s end, the power of our room went out.
Claire and I cursed simultaneously, as did Derek and Markus a moment later. Markus, Claire and I had reason to—having lost our progress in our respective games. Markus was watching the movie on his laptop, and hadn’t been interrupted by the outage. Since both rooms had lost power almost at the same time, we immediately, rationally assumed that it was a motel-wide situation. We didn’t suspect that only our rooms had had their power shut off. We also agreed not to call the front desk and ask about what had happened. There had been several cars in the motel lot, so we figured the clerk would be getting plenty of calls already. No point in us waiting for the line to clear only to be told that he—or whoever handled such issues—was working on it.
A knock came to our door about two minutes later. In the interim between the outage and that knock, Claire and I had started to get our stuff ready for the trip tomorrow. We agreed that even if the power came back sooner than later, we didn’t feel like going through the same area in our game all over again that night. Our bags were on our bed, and we were loading the equipment back into them. Within my bag was a can of pepper spray, another gift from my mother for the trip. I glanced at the can as I loaded my controllers into a pouch, but thought nothing of it, and zipped up the bag with the can buried beneath cables and plastic.
When the knock came, I was sure that it was the clerk stopping by to inform us of what had happened. Claire must’ve thought similarly, because she hopped off the bed, flicking her phone’s light off as she did so. She went to the door, unlocked it, and threw it open. Before she could even make a sound, she was snatched up into the air by some long appendage that had descended from the roof of the building.
My mind hadn’t quite processed exactly what had happened, due to the darkness of the room and suddenness of her aerial abduction. So, when the appendage came back down, presumably to pull me into the night as well, I remained on the bed—staring at that over-grown limb, outlined in white by the moon’s pale glow. It wasn’t until the fingers—all three of them—angled inward past the threshold of the door that I thought to get up and close it. I fell off the bed in my haste, but managed to get up and close the door before the limb could come probing the room. I pressed myself against the door, thinking that the massive arm would try to force its way in—given its size and the accompanying strength I guessed that it would’ve possessed.
But it didn’t bang on the door, nor try to rip it from the hinges. To my surprise, it knocked politely on the wood, even though it could’ve easily smashed the thing to pieces. Those knocks, that common, seven-note rhythm I’m sure we all know, brought me nothing but dread. Its use of that friendly greeting somehow made it seem even more sinister than before.
I wanted to call out Claire’s name, but part of me, with some morbid sureness, speculated that Claire was already dead; that as the thing above knocked on the door with one elongated arm, it tossed her bones aside with another. The other part of me was just too damn scared to make any noise at all, even though the thing above presumably knew that there was someone else in the room. Why else would it have knocked?
In my completely justifiable absentmindedness due to the horror of the moment, I had forgotten about the still ongoing call with Derek and Markus. Claire’s phone had been in her hand, and the call had been placed with it. As I did my best to silence any noises produced by my internal organs, I heard Derek’s voice from above, talking through Claire’s phone.
“Hey uh, did you guys drop the phone or something?” I would’ve screamed out, and would’ve assuredly been heard through the walls if not the phone, but before I could open my mouth, someone else opened theirs.
“Oh, yeah. Sorry, can you hear me now?”
It was Claire’s voice, heard from up on the roof, speaking as clearly and as calmly as ever. Claire, who had just been snatched up by some nightmare-sent hand before she even had a chance to scream.
A barely audible sound and the sudden absence of Derek’s voice—which had been in mid-response to her question—indicated to me that the call had been taken off speaker. Claire’s voice continued to be heard, and none of her responses even hinted that she had been seized by some night-lurking thing. Perhaps a bit too late, I realized that I wasn’t hearing Claire at all; it was the creature that had been speaking, perfectly mimicking Claire’s voice. My fear evolved into heart-quickening terror at this realization. I felt dizzy, having come to that dark conclusion. And still the horror of that night hadn’t yet peaked. From up above, I heard Claire’s voice ask if she and I could come over to their room. A moment later, it said, “Great, we’ll be right over.” The call was audibly ended after that.
I heard movement from up above, a sort of shuffling and a subsequent groaning from the structure as if it had been relieved of a great burden. The sounds of movement—issuing from something massive—continued along the roof, until they crossed over towards the roofing of the other room. They suddenly quieted thereon; the creature not wanting the boys to suspects its true nature. It hadn’t cared if I heard. It knew that I already knew.
It took a moment for my paralyzing fear to subside before I ran to the wall. I had considered and dismissed the idea of calling them with my phone in the few steps it had taken; they might not have answered soon enough. I pounded on the wall, shouting through the plaster for them to not answer the door. But coinciding with my beatings on the wall, I heard something calmly knock on their door. Markus mumbled something, which seemed to have been directed at me, but neither properly responded. The walls seemed capable of blocking more sound than I had originally guessed.
I stopped shouting, only so I could hear what was going on. It felt like my body had been drained of all its vitality when I heard the door open. There were no other sounds for a moment, and then I heard Markus’ voice, still close to the wall, call out to Derek—who had presumably opened the door. I then heard the stresses of their bed’s springs being relieved, and the footfalls of Markus as he approached the door. I cried out for him not to go. He didn’t respond, and a few moments later I heard their door softly close. I listened with my ear pressed so closely against the wall that it hurt. For a while, I heard soft sounds throughout the room. Things being picked up and set down, sometimes in different locations. Noises that seemed to suggest the room’s occupant was examining things; as if the environment was new to them.
With my ear pressed so closely, the sudden knock on the wall—though gentle—sounded like a hammer-strike. I jerked away from the wall and unintentionally screamed, confirming—if it had had any doubt—my presence within the room.
Panic and terror drove me away from the wall and to the nightstand between the beds, where I snatched up the car keys—thankfully still in our room—and then headed for the door. I threw it open, wincing in instinctive anticipation of some far-reaching, three-fingered hand coming down to seize me.
But the view ahead showed only the moonlit parking lot. I stepped out, looking quickly to each side. To my left, the wing of the building along which the majority of the motel rooms lay. To my right, the guys’ room, and three others beyond theirs, with the reception area its separate subsection of the wing. The door to their hotel room was open. In a moment of self-acknowledged cowardice, I immediately decided that all my friends were dead, and that they’d at least want me to survive. Having come to this conclusion with pathetic quickness, I sprinted to the car without a moment’s hesitation. I heard a noise behind me, but judged that it had come from within their room—too far a distance, even for the searching arm.
When the headlights illuminated the front of the building immediately before me, I saw something that has given me the darkest, most vivid nightmares ever since. The hand, and the freakishly elongated arm to which it was attached, was still within the room of Markus and Derek; probing the space for who knows what. In the white light of the headlights it was a sickly dark green, like the wet skin of some Hellish crocodile. In the earlier moments of mind-consuming fright, where mere survival took cognitive precedence, I hadn’t thought to really envision the rest of the entity.
It sat crouched atop the building, although I don’t know how the obviously old and minimally maintained structure supported it. It was enormous; a gargantuan, gargoyle-like fiend. It had one massive arm, the hand of which it had plunged into the room immediately below it. Other arms, at seemingly random placements along the opposite side of its body—even up to its hideously elongated neck—waved through the air, their hands opening and closing, grasping at nothing. They all did so in unison, as if mimicking the motions of the primary hand that investigated the room beneath.
Its head was obscured amidst the gloom that had gone untouched by the headlights and the moon. I saw only a vague, possibly horned shape, proportionately large, angled downward at the building. From what I could see in the darkness, it had two forelegs, and four hind legs, all similar to that great arm in size.
Even though every nerve in my body screamed not to, I drove uncomfortably close to the building. It was only for a moment—I wasn’t willing to see whether or not that colossal, snatching fiend could pick up a car with its crane-sized arm. The creature remained totally preoccupied with the room. When I sped past, it withdrew the arm, and for a moment I thought it would actually attempt to snatch or strike the vehicle, but instead, the hand entered the room Claire and I had occupied. I saw only a glimpse of Markus and Derek’s room, but it was enough to leaden my foot and send me speeding hazardously across the parking lot, barely dodging the other cars as I fled.
Within the room, on the floor near each other, were two crumpled forms the size of a basketball. Despite the speed at which I had passed the room, and the inconsistent illumination therein in, I recognized the colors of the clothing Markus and Derek had worn. Those two hyper-compressed objects, almost perfectly spherical objects had once been my friends.
I cleared the parking lot and turned onto the highway, but some morbid pull turned my attention to the rearview mirror. Even as I sped away, putting miles between myself and the motel, I could never seem to remove from the mirror the image of that thing perched atop the building, juggling their crushed bodies.
I won’t go back there, even if the police demand that I show them the exact area myself. I’m sorry, friends, but I won’t end up like that.
🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available
Craig Groshek Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek Narrated by N/A🔔 More stories from author: Bryce Simmons
Publisher's Notes: N/A Author's Notes: N/AMore Stories from Author Bryce Simmons:
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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).