You might already have heard of the TV broadcast hijacking in Seneca, South Carolina; the story’s gained pretty wide currency on the Internet, and part of the broadcast is available on YouTube, assuming it hasn’t been taken down for whatever reason.
For the uninitiated, the Seneca hijacking is one of the lesser-known broadcast signal intrusions. It was big news here, but the nation news media barely touched on it. Anyway, I’ve decided to jot down my impressions of the whole thing, even though other eyewitnesses have already described it more eloquently than I could.
I was home on winter break when it happened, making chemistry flashcards in front of the TV. No one else was around. After watching the umpteenth Law and Order rerun, I got bored and started channel surfing. A couple minutes later, I stumbled onto this shitty public access channel where, bizarrely enough, my old high school Latin teacher was reciting a poem while wearing this dorky three-cornered hat.
I watched for a few minutes and had a good laugh—I remembered him as a pretty serious guy, not the sort of person who’d embarrass himself in public like this—when suddenly there was this static-y crackle and the screen cut to this multi-colored test pattern.
Before I had time to change the channel, there’s another crackle and this weird cartoon shows up on screen. The animation style was detailed, but kind of jiggly and rough—it reminded me of those old anti-drug PSAs. Anyway, it seemed “normal” enough at first—an ordinary-looking middle-class family eating breakfast together at a round kitchen table.
There was a mom with an old-fashioned hairdo, a dad, two cherub-faced kids, a boy and a girl—all very Norman Rockwell. The family is making banal small talk: the dad complains about his day at the office, the kids prattle on about soccer practice, and so on.
Gradually, though, the scene starts to get slightly sinister—a green light is seeping through the open window, and the family starts to acquire a jaundiced, unhealthy look: their skin changes color and their eyes become sunken. In the background, a droning radio broadcast slowly becomes perceptible: the announcer gives the date as November 15, 2017, and starts to go on and on about some strange crisis—you can barely hear what he’s saying.
He says something about a green light, melting flesh, mutations, strange shapes emerging from the sea; again and again, the phrase “Report to the nearest shelter immediately” is audible. Still, the family keeps eating breakfast as if nothing was happening.
And here’s where it gets really macabre. The family finishes eating breakfast and the mom loads the kids into a minivan. By now they look *really* unhealthy: their bodies are skeletally thin, the whites of their eyes are a sickly yellowish color, and their hair is disheveled.
The car drives through a landscape bathed in the green glow from before. Strange shapes bob in and out of the screen, but you can’t quite tell what they are, and all the buildings the car passes look weathered and deserted. Finally, the car stops at a playground and the mom drops off the kids before driving away.
There are large, odd-colored rocks all over the ground and moaning can be heard in the distance. The kids hang mirthlessly on the monkey bars for a while. Eventually, the camera pans over the playground, and you see that the rocks littering the ground aren’t rocks at all but naked human forms, horribly disfigured.
They seemed to be either growing into or from the ground. I can’t say which. And they are very much alive. Behind the monkey bars, a tree can be seen with a human face growing from the trunk—its features are writhing and contorted in agony.
The scene suddenly shifts to a white collar office where the children’s father is stooped over a desktop, typing away. His features are as sunken and diseased as that of the other family members, and the office is covered in a green glow. In the other cubicles, fleshless corpses sit upright at their desks, frozen in death.
Finally, we see the family return home for the evening, walking through the front door together. Their skin is no longer simply jaundiced but actually melting off—dripping from their outstretched arms and running down their faces in drops.
As they are literally falling to pieces, the family sits down in the dining room and begins wordlessly to eat dinner. Their flesh becomes more and more amorphous, ribbons of skin dangling from their bodies like the tendrils of an octopus. I can barely describe it, but they somehow begin to…merge with the chairs they are seated on—or rather, their skin grows over them.
By now, their skin has the consistency of melted ice cream, and they are barely recognizable as human—except for their eyes, which somehow remain intact. The camera zooms closer and closer to the table, and finally their eyes all move directly towards the camera, conveying a feeling of unfathomable sadness.
The screen goes black and large white letters appear on the screen: “Report to the nearest shelter immediately. Remaining at private residences is strictly prohibited.” And with that, the screen turned to static. I stared in stunned silence for a few minutes before the banal local channel switched back on.
And that’s all I know, really. I almost thought I was dreaming until the paper reported the story the next day. God knows what really happened: a ridiculously elaborate prank? An ill-advised viral marketing campaign? The crazier parts of the Internet have their own theories.
When I was a small child, I was terrified of the dark. I still am, but back when I was around six years old I couldn’t go a full night without crying out for one of my parents to search beneath my bed or in my closet for whatever monster I thought was waiting to eat me. Even with a night light, I would still see dark shapes moving around the corners of the room, or strange faces looking in on me from my bedroom window. My parents would do their best to console me, telling me that it was just a bad dream or a trick of the light, but in my young mind I was positive that the second I fell asleep, the bad things would get me. Most of the time I would just hide under the blankets until I became tired enough to stop worrying, but every now and then I would become so panicked that I would run screaming into my parents room, waking up my brother and sister in the process. After an ordeal like that, there would be no way anyone would be getting a full nights rest.
Eventually, after one particularly traumatizing night, my parents had had enough. Unfortunately for them, they understood the futility in arguing with a six year old and knew that they would be unable to convince me to rid myself of childish fears through reason and logic. They had to be clever.
It was my mother’s idea to stitch together my little bedtime friend.
She collected a large assortment of random pieces of fabric and her sewing machine and created what I would later refer to as Mr. Ickbarr Bigelsteine, or Ick for short. Ick was a sock monster, as my mother called him. He was made to keep me safe while I slept at night by scarring away all the other monsters. He was pretty damn creepy, I had to admit. Honestly, looking back on it all now, I’m still impressed that my mom could think of something so strange and disturbing looking. Ickbarr had the stitched together look of a Frankenstein gremlin, with big white button eyes and floppy cat ears. His little arms and legs were made from a pair of my sister’s black and white striped socks, and the half of his face that was green was made from one of my brother’s tall football socks. His head could have been described as bulbous, and for his mouth my mom attached a piece of white fabric and sewed in a zigzag pattern to shape a wide grin of sharp teeth. I loved him at once.
From then on, Ick never left my side. So long as it was after dusk, of course. Ick didn’t like the sun, and would get upset if I tried to bring him to school with me. But that was okay, I only needed him at night to keep away the boogeymen, which was what he was good at. So every night at bedtime, Ick would tell me where the monsters were hiding, and I would place him near the section of my room closest to the spookiness. If there was something in the closet, Ick would block the door. If there was a dark creature scratching at my window, Ick would be pressed up against the glass. If there was a big hairy beast under my bed, then under the bed he went. Sometimes the monsters weren’t even in my room. Sometimes, they would hide in my dreams, and Ickbarr would have to come with me into my nightmares. It was fun bringing Ick into my dream world, as he and I would spend hours fighting off ghouls and demons. The best part was, in my dreams, Ick could talk to me for real. “How much do you love me?” He would ask.
“More than anything.” I would always tell him. One night in a dream, after I had lost my first tooth, Ick asked me for a favor.
“Can I have your tooth?”
I asked him why.
“To help me kill the bad things.” He said.
The next morning at breakfast, my mom asked me where my tooth went. From what she told me, the “tooth fairy” didn’t find it under my pillow. When I told her that I gave it to Ickbarr, she just shrugged and went back to feeding my little sister. From then on, every time I lost a tooth, I would give it to Ick. He would always thank me, of course, and tell me that he loved me. Eventually though, I ran out of baby teeth, and I was beginning to get a little too old to still be playing with dolls. So Ick just sat there on my bookshelf collecting dust, slowly fading away from my attention.
Over time the nightmares, however, became worse than ever. So bad that they even began to follow me to the waking world, terrorizing every dark corner or rustle in the bushes. After one particularly bad night biking home from a friend’s house where I swore a pack of rabid dogs were chasing me, I got home to find something strange waiting for me in my room. There, on my bed, standing fully upright in the soft glow of the moon light from my window, was Ickbarr. At first I just thought my eyes were playing tricks on me again, they had been all evening, so I tried to flick on the lights. Another flick of the light switch. Then another, and another, with no change to the darkness. It was then that I started to get nervous.
I backed away slowly towards the door behind me, my eyes never leaving the shape of Ick’s silhouette, my hand awkwardly outstretched behind reaching for the doorknob. I was just about to get my ass out of there when I heard the door slam itself shut, locking me into blackness. In nothing but shadows and silence, I stood frozen in place, not even breathing. For how long I can’t say, but after what felt like a lifetime of cold fear, I heard the shrill, familiar voice.
“You stopped feeding me, so why should I protect you?”
“Protect me from what?”
“Let me show you.”
I blinked once, and everything changed. I wasn’t in my bedroom anymore, I was somewhere… else. It wasn’t Hell, but the comparison wasn’t far off. It was some sort of forest, a horrible, nightmarish place where partial embryonic abortions hung from the canopy, and the ground swarmed with carnivorous insects. A thick fog wafted through the air and with it the stench of rotting meat, while chartreuse lightening flashed across the night sky. In the distance, I could hear the agonizing screams of something not quite human. My head throbbed like it was about to explode, the pain forcing out a river of tears. In my mind, I heard his voice again.
“This is what your reality would become without me.”
I felt earth shaking footsteps approaching fast.
“I’m the only one who can stop it.”
It was behind me now, huge and angry, hot breath across my back.
“Bring me what I need, and I will.”
I woke up before I could turn around.
The following day I raided my parent’s closet for my brother’s baby teeth, giving them all to Ickbarr. Almost immediately the night terrors ceased, and I was more or less able to go on about my life as normal. From time to time, I would have to sneak into my little sister’s room and snatch what was meant for the tooth fairy, or strangle one of the neighborhood cats and pry out its sharp little incisors. Anything to ward off the visions, anything from a shark tooth necklace to a cavity ridden bicuspid. I also began to notice that Ick would move about my room whenever I left for any length of time, rearranging my stuff and hanging additional curtains. He was even beginning to look more lifelike, somehow. In the right light his teeth would glisten, and he was warm to the touch. As much as he creeped me out, I couldn’t work up the courage to just destroy him, knowing perfectly well where that would leave me. So I went on collecting teeth for Ick throughout all of high school and college. The older I got, the more things I would learn to fear, the more teeth Ick would need to keep me safe.
I’m 22 years old now, with a decent job, my own apartment, and a set of dentures. It’s been almost a month since Ick’s last meal, and the horrors are starting to crowd around me once more. I took a detour through a parking garage after work tonight. Found a man fumbling with his car keys. His teeth were stained yellow from a lifetime of cigarettes and coffee. Even still, I had to use a hammer to get out the molars. When I got back to my apartment, he was waiting for me. On the ceiling, in the corner. Two white eyes and mouth of razors.
“How much do you love me?” He asks.
“More than anything,” I reply, taking off my coat.
“More than anything in the world.”
Credit To: Stephan D. Harris