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Ben was awoken by a loud crackling noise. He sat up in bed, disoriented, and tried to figure out what could have caused the strange, but oddly familiar sound. Deciding that it must have been thunder, he stood up and walked toward the window. He peered through the blinds, to look for any other signs of a storm, but it was too dark to see anything.
Turning back toward his bed, Ben began to feel the after-effect of the two glasses of water that he drank before going to bed. He walked out of his bedroom, making sure to close the door behind him to keep his cat, Lucy, from wandering in, and navigated the hallway in the dim light provided by a few night-lights that were plugged in just above the baseboard. Approaching the bathroom door, he noticed that it was slightly ajar and stopped short.
"I thought I closed that." Ben said to himself.
Assuming that the door must not have latched properly, he proceeded into the room and did his business. While washing his hands, Ben looked in the mirror at his old, worn-out t-shirt; its once deep green faded to a pale mint, with the last remnants of an all but forgotten logo dotting its front. Wondering what time it was, he reflexively reached into the pocket of his sweatpants for his phone, but found only a large hole. It was one of many and he briefly considered finally throwing them out, he never liked plaid anyway, but he once again decided that they were good enough to sleep in.
Ben mused that he was closer to the kitchen than his bed and decided to fix himself a midnight snack. He started toward the kitchen, but as he neared the doorway he saw that the kitchen light was on and someone was looking in the refrigerator.
He crouched down, almost hitting his head on the laundry room doorknob, and tried to disappear into the shadows of the hallway. He quietly ducked into the laundry room and watched the kitchen doorway through the cracked door. In his panic, Ben saw the intruder close the refrigerator and walk toward the kitchen counter, their back toward him. Ben could now see that it was a man wearing a mint green t-shirt and plaid sweatpants. As he struggled to understand what was going on, Ben heard the crackling sound again.
"That's the third time in 20 minutes. What is it?" said the man in the kitchen, in a familiar voice.
Shortly thereafter, Ben heard his bedroom door open and close.
"No no no! This can't be happening." he said, under his breath.
"I thought I closed that." said the same voice a moment later, from the hallway.
Trying my hand at writing a short creepypasta.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2017-04-18
Recursion by johnhmaloney ( Featured by doughboycafe )
:iconinkyyrose:
Inkyyrose Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2017  New Deviant
Very interesting ending!
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:iconjohnhmaloney:
johnhmaloney Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2017
Thanks :)
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:iconinkyyrose:
Inkyyrose Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2017  New Deviant
No problem! :)
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:iconcaoliewolff:
caoliewolff Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2017  Student Writer
oh goodness, that gave me the most unsettling feeling omg. Congrats, by the way!
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:iconjohnhmaloney:
johnhmaloney Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2017
Thanks :)
Reply
:icontricetra:
tricetra Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2017  Professional Artisan Crafter
Brilliance :-)
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:iconjohnhmaloney:
johnhmaloney Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2017
Thanks :)
Reply
:iconbornwiththesun:
BornWithTheSun Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Oh wow... that ending is terrifying. I can't imagine waking up to that situation. I have so many questions (I think I'm supposed to) and none of them are answered... that's part of what makes this so terrifying.

Congrats on a well-deserved DD! :)
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:iconjohnhmaloney:
johnhmaloney Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017
Thank you :)
Reply
:iconspectacledelf:
spectacledelf Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017  Student General Artist
THIS IS SO GOOD I LOVE IT
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:iconjohnhmaloney:
johnhmaloney Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017
Thank you :)
Reply
:iconspectacledelf:
spectacledelf Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2017  Student General Artist
No problem!!
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:iconjasawesomemouse:
JasAwesomeMouse Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Wow, I like it!! Congrats on the DD :)
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:iconjohnhmaloney:
johnhmaloney Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017
Thanks :)
Reply
:iconbomberhead67:
Bomberhead67 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017
Cool story, really creepy!

An idea I just got: What if the Ben were to strike the intruder dead when we has his back on him, THEN notices his face, panicks and tries to get rid of the body? After that's taken care of, he returns to his home, only sit down and process everything while he doesn't notice his own footsteps approaching him...
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:iconrandompasserbyer:
randompasserbyer Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That makes me think of Homestuck when Dave had a bunch of Daves show up from the future and die right in front of him after telling him not to do that idea he was just thinking of. XD 
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:iconbomberhead67:
Bomberhead67 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017
DAVE: ok whatever i can deal with this in a jiffy.
FUTURE DAVE: looks like you already tried to.
DAVE: huh.

lol I think it went kinda like this :D
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:iconrandompasserbyer:
randompasserbyer Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
lmao Exactly. XD Exactly like that.
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:iconmidnighttiger8140:
MidnightTiger8140 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That... that... wow. That would totally throw me. :XD:
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:iconjohnhmaloney:
johnhmaloney Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017
Thanks :)
Reply
:iconlostgryphin:
LostGryphin Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
Amazing! Congrats on the DD.
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:iconjohnhmaloney:
johnhmaloney Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017
Thanks :)
Reply
:iconprincesskittehh:
princesskittehh Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017   Filmographer
Congratulations! 🖤
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:iconjohnhmaloney:
johnhmaloney Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017
Thanks :)
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:iconprincesskittehh:
princesskittehh Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017   Filmographer
Most welcome! 🖤
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:iconcatluvr2:
catluvr2 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
I thought that the crackling noise was a clone materializing, but then when I read that it was the third time, it obviously couldn't be.
Well done, congrats on the DD! :+favlove:
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:iconjohnhmaloney:
johnhmaloney Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017
Thanks :)
It still could be. The earliest version of him in the story doesn't happen to find any previous Bens, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he's the original.
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:iconcatluvr2:
catluvr2 Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Ooh, more mystery.

I LOVE IT.

I just had a thought. What if the original one actually died, and this was the universe's way to try to "fix" it, but the copies just keep on dying, but only after they progressed slightly farther than the one before?

That could explain why it keeps happening, and if the sound happens at odd intervals...
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:iconglacione:
glacione Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
THEN WHAT HAPPENS!??!?!?!!?!??!?!!?!


THIS SO GOOD I WANT TO KNOW!!!
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:iconjohnhmaloney:
johnhmaloney Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017
Thanks :)
That's the nice thing about open ended stories, the rest of it is whatever you want it to be.
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:iconglacione:
glacione Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
I guess that something good. 
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:iconcreativelyaddled:
CreativelyAddled Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
I really like the feeling of suspense you established very early in this piece. It made me keep reading wondering who this mystery intruder (or force) could be and when you find out, it manages to add another dark layer to the entire narrative. There's something very interesting in the concept of finding one's life in a loop. Has it always been this way? If so, for how long? What caused it? These questions are now running through my mind and I actually really like how so much could be left up to speculation. 
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:iconjohnhmaloney:
johnhmaloney Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2017
Thank you :)
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:iconc-a-harland:
C-A-Harland Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2017  Student Writer
What a great little loop you've got going here. I love how everything is very commonplace, yet still just slightly unsettling, throughout the whole piece, right up until the end. Then it all comes together very rapidly, and you are left with a dozen burning questions.
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:iconjohnhmaloney:
johnhmaloney Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2017
Thank you :)
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:iconbattlefairies:
BATTLEFAIRIES Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2017
What a concept. Very nice!
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:iconjohnhmaloney:
johnhmaloney Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2017
Thanks :)
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:iconsleyf:
Sleyf Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hi there!
Congratulations, this piece has been features in WritersInk's
Monthly Round-up!

Thanks so much for sharing!

 :iconwritersink:
Group Rules | Journal
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:iconmmryan0:
mmryan0 Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Good story, John. Recursion is a great topic for producing paranoid terror, and those strange half-awake moments familiar to us all makes an ideal setting.

I would recommend altering the time-scale of this a little bit: it could be effective to change "A few minutes later, Ben heard his bedroom door open and close" to "A few seconds later" or "A few moments later." My reasoning here is that a few minutes is a long time for him to be wondering about his double. It produces a strange gap since we have no window into his thoughts or actions during those minutes. Also, hearing the door close a few seconds later creates (for me) a more urgent, hammering, claustrophobic rhythm, as if these doubles may begin piling up on each other.

That said, very enjoyable and a good first creepypasta. Thanks for sharing.
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:iconjohnhmaloney:
johnhmaloney Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2017
Thanks for the feedback. After reading your comment, I realized that a few minutes does seem a bit too long. I think a few seconds wouldn't be long enough for Ben 3 to do what Ben 2 did at the beginning of the story, so I changed to shortly thereafter. That way, the reader can decide what they think is an appropriate time period.
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:iconmmryan0:
mmryan0 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
and congrats on the DD 👍🏻
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:iconjohnhmaloney:
johnhmaloney Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017
Thanks :)
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:iconprincesskittehh:
princesskittehh Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2017   Filmographer
All done. youtu.be/Xr-8ocsBk_k 🖤
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:iconjohnhmaloney:
johnhmaloney Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2017
Thanks :)
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:iconprincesskittehh:
princesskittehh Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2017   Filmographer
You're welcome and thank you too! 🖤🖤🖤
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:iconjohnhmaloney:
johnhmaloney Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2017
Hug 
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:iconprincesskittehh:
princesskittehh Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2017   Filmographer
:tighthug:
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:iconshining-scribe:
Shining-Scribe Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
I love the ending. Chilling while leaving the reader to wonder what's happening. :o
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:iconjohnhmaloney:
johnhmaloney Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2017
Thanks :)
Reply
:iconsquanpie:
squanpie Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Haha, I love the ending!

Some of the prose feels a bit clunky in places, like how you shove in the description of his pajamas - though when you get to the other guy in the kitchen, I can see why you did. Perhaps details like that could be a bit more naturally included.

On the whole though, it's a fun (and creepy!) concept. :)
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