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The Dark Side of the Mouse

Nobody Lives Here But You

09 Sep The Darkish Aspect of the Mouse

Half 1 – The Happiest Place on Earth (Abby’s Story)

My identify is Abby, and I work within the Happiest Place on Earth.

Properly, correctly, I work in the Starbucks in the midst of Epcot. Day in and day trip, I get to cope with impatient, rabid Disney families and the occasional inebriated school college students, dying to get their caffeine fixes. And all the while, I get to do it with the power of a Disney princess moonlighting as a barista. It’s not terrible, but making an attempt to keep a cheery smile on my face and a certain pep in my step will get troublesome typically. Especially recently.

You see, I’m one of the newest hires. So I get tasked with all the worst jobs, like operating the large luggage of latte-saturated trash to the underground trash compactor, opening most days and closing most others, and the occasional odd job. What would become one of the scariest days of my life started like that, as an odd job. I dreaded it, positive, however it was innocent sufficient, proper? The job was uncommon instantly, because it wasn’t in my area. Hell, it wasn’t even in Epcot in any respect. Again in the day, Disney used to operate a water park referred to as River Nation. A few of you Redditors will undoubtedly keep in mind it fondly – as you must. The entire concept of the place was that it was presupposed to look “natural,” in order that they built a bunch of realistic-looking rock formations and tried to blend into the wildlife as much as attainable. They took the theme even farther by connecting the pools to the adjacent Bay Lake – principally damming it off. The bottoms of all the “swimming pools” have been sandy like a natural physique of water, and the water was all filtered from the lake. It was a genius concept, and the park was a hit ever since it opened in the 1970s.

In 2001, the park closed for good. Disney gave numerous the reason why, but the actual one was simple; that they had a demise on their conscience. Growing up in Florida like me, you hear plenty of speak concerning the “brain-eating micro organism” that reside within the water. These are naegleria folweri, micro organism that stay in warm freshwater. They will get to your mind via your nose and cause a deadly infection. Here in Florida, a child will die of it each ten years or so, and it’ll be everywhere in the information. In fact, it doesn’t put you off leaping into the lakes and rivers. Your mother and father simply inform you to hold your nose shut like all the opposite youngsters and bam – no naegleria fowleri for you. Because it turns out, Disney’s filtration system wasn’t enough to get every part out. The water in River Nation, pumped in from Bay Lake, was contaminated with naegleria fowleri, and it took the lifetime of an 11-year-old boy. After the deadly flaw of River Nation’s design was uncovered, it was shut down. Moderately than demolish it, Disney decided to desert it. Every part still stands in the present day, intact and eerie, slowly however certainly being overtaken by nature.

How do I play into this? Properly, as if the story of River Nation isn’t foreboding enough, all the lights and music still run on the place. I’ve heard a number of reasons for it, all the things from “preserving the remaining magic” to the notion that the light and sound system is shared with a few of the resorts. Whatever the purpose, somebody has to go out and alter those lightbulbs once they go out. Final night time, one went out – and that fortunate soul that was to exchange it was yours really.

It definitely wasn’t an task value protesting, however I additionally wasn’t wanting forward to it. With the newest marathon operating via the parks, the day was swamped. By the point I was capable of seize the lightbulb and trek out to River Country, it was twilight and my shift was almost over. It was an actual shock shifting from all the laughter and smiles and exuberance that embody all the rest of Disney to this place of lifeless silence and vacancy.

The place lived up to my expectations, at first. Nature had made some critical progress on taking every little thing over. The water was murky and green, calm on the floor but with god knows what beneath it. Branches began to grow over the water slides. The seashore area was no extra. An indication stood on the entrance, cheerfully saying the park was closed. The sunshine bulb I used to be to vary was situated previous the employee area, behind the park. As I walked, I kicked apart branches, brambles, and the occasional yellow ticket, almost floor into the dust by now. A stray internal tube sat off to my proper within the woods, coated in pollen and principally deflated.

By now, the solar was drawing close to the horizon. If I didn’t get the job finished quickly, visibility would grow to be a problem. I picked up my tempo, however couldn’t help but to shiver as I sped previous the pool the place that boy had caught his fatal infection. I was starting to grow uneasy, and it was starting to affect me. Each time I turned, I might see a shadow. At first, it just seemed like individuals. Then youngsters. Then, Disney characters. I swear I saw a well-known mouse staring out at me from deep in the timber, nevertheless it was too darkish to tell. But my mind needed to be enjoying tips on me, proper?

Lastly, I reached the worker hut. As I walked beyond it, I saw a glimpse of colour behind the dusty window. Stopping lifeless, my coronary heart beginning to race, I debated turning around. The wind was choosing up, and leaves have been rustling all around me. Goosebumps rose up all over my skin. I made a decision towards it, and speed-walked to the one dark lightbulb on the property. Just as I used to be about to breathe a sigh of aid, the previously-dead lightbulb started to flicker. My heart almost stopped, however I stepped forward anyway. Now, the light turned on and stayed shiny. I took one other few steps, then stopped in my tracks. Now, all the remainder of the lights within the park have been flickering. In shock and worry, I dropped the lightbulb I’d been carrying and it shattered on the ground. As the hairs on the back of my neck rose, I swear I heard something. And don’t snicker, however dammit if it didn’t sound like Goofy within the background. I know, it sounds insane. But if you spend as much time across the characters as I do… I knew his voice, and his snort. I might’ve acknowledged it anyplace. And I heard it echo via that place. The subsequent second, all I might hear was my breath as I turned and ran. I attempted to cease myself from wanting by way of that window as I raced by, however I couldn’t – and what I saw haunts me to this present day. Goofy was behind the glass, dressed in his silly swimsuit together with his internal tube. Tick maroon blood was dried throughout his black and white outfit, caked in his fur. Moss coated part of him, dust the remaining. The worker hut was filling with water as he stood there, banging on the glass, smiling a wicked smile. I can still hear the sick thumping sound of his fists on the window when I try to sleep. Thump, thump, thump. I might see the fur on Goofy’s costume getting wet, see the water starting to flip pink, see the movement that meant he was something however animatronic. Simply as I noticed simply how actual he was, the glass window shattered and the fowl lake water spilled out. Goofy stood there, laughing and laughing and laughing, starting to crawl via the window. I turned to run, however I felt chilly, slimy arms on my shoulders, holding me back. Whispers have been coming from throughout me, including from in my own head. The subsequent thing I knew, my head hit the bottom.

Once I got here to, it was pitch black and I used to be sitting in the first assist space of Epcot, surrounded by co-workers. In fact, they wouldn’t tell me something. Warmth exhaustion, they stated. Handed out at River Nation, they stated. Found by maintenance, they stated. But I knew what I saw. I might hear the laughter ringing in my ears, and feel the sticky, toxic lake water fermenting on my work garments. I might still feel the clammy arms on my skin. Please consider me, Reddit. No one else does, and I’ve to go back to work quickly.

My identify is Abby, and I’m terrified of what else The Mouse may need in retailer for me.

Part 2 – The Dark Aspect of the Mouse (The Forged Member’s Story)

Ever because the “incident” with Abby happened, all of us Disney forged members have been on edge. None of us need to work the night time shift. Whispers seem to call from the shadows once we do. It’s a bit of more durable to keep up the plastic smiles, understanding what happened to certainly one of us. But most of all, the anger on the higher-ups is consistently buzzing around the parks. In fact, the information of what happened unfold shortly, and so the administration knew about it instantly. They hadn’t stated something about it yet, and I couldn’t help however marvel if they might earlier than the tensions got here to a head.

Once they advised Abby she had to go back, she threw a fit. She screamed, she cried, and she or he had a panic attack, nevertheless it didn’t matter. That they had informed her to vary the lightbulb, and change the lightbulb she would. She begged and pleaded, and demanded to know why upkeep wouldn’t do it. It was an excellent level, in fact. But all they might say is that the most recent forged members should undergo some grunt work – in a world where grunt work is the stuff they will’t get anybody who knows any higher to do.

Abby advised them that sounded an terrible lot like office bullying, and threatened to go to the authorities. It wouldn’t have mattered if she did, since they’d throw her case out the second she talked about her ghostly Goofy. But Disney threatened to fireside her nonetheless, and that was the top of that matter. So when she acquired despatched again out to the remains of River Country, she requested me to go together with her. In fact, it was flattering, however greater than that, I remembered the errands they’d despatched me on once I first took the job. After the whole lot I’d been by means of, I couldn’t assist but to go together with her.

We left proper after my shift. I didn’t even have time to vary out of my Naveen outfit, so I ventured into the twilight dressed like a valiant prince – which was precisely the other of how I felt. Abby started to get really anxious as quickly as we acquired close. She walked so close to me our pores and skin touched, and I might feel her shake. As we approached the entrance to the abandoned park, I might see the push of goosebumps rise on her pores and skin. As much as my very own coronary heart was pounding, I led her into the park. Immediately, I observed that all the lights have been out.

“Okay, there have to be something incorrect with the circuit. We will’t do all of it, we’ll should get maintenance,” I stated with aid. A smile crept onto my lips regardless of the eerie, silent night time. “I need to see the employee hut,” Abby stated, her voice all of a sudden decided and indignant. Before I might say anything, a huge giggle echoed throughout the park. It wasn’t Goofy, like I used to be anticipating, but Mickey, and it sent an enormous chill down my backbone. It was so loud, it sounded prefer it was being pumped in from speakers, and it echoed and echoed till I used to be positive I might hear it in my own head perpetually. As it occurred, Abby screamed. Earlier than I knew it, she bumped into the darkness in terror. Nice.

I couldn’t depart without her, so I went towards every part my physique was telling me and ventured in further – in the direction of the worker hut. Identical to Abby had stated, the glass on the window was shattered. Murky water had risen high within the hut, and was lapping on the window. In it floated little white fragments that seemed like bone. Within the corner, bouncing towards the wall with the stream of the water, was a plastic character eyeball. Towards the window pressed a white-gloved hand, utterly indifferent from the remainder of the costume. There was nothing there to keep it in place, nevertheless it stayed as if somebody have been pressing arduous to get out. My abdomen lurched. As I turned away, Abby was in my face. I flinched exhausting at what I noticed, choking back a scream. As I stood there, frozen, the image of her standing there burned itself into my mind. Had it not been for the little blonde wisps of hair peeking out, I wouldn’t have been capable of determine her. Her head was encased in an historic, rotting Mickey Mouse character head, and her physique reeked of lake water. Patches of moss-covered the oversized Mickey ears. Lake water was dripping from each inch of the fur that remained. Fur was missing in patches in all places. It seemed like a huge chew had been taken out of the mouse’s jaw. The left eye space was utterly ripped away, right down to the mesh, however I couldn’t see anything however blackness behind it. And she or he stood there, unmoving, the mouse head sat crooked and off-center. Abby started to tilt her head to the left, and as she did, a trickle of blood began to make its approach down her neck. The wooded park was silent apart from the sound of her heavy, ragged respiration. Then, a deep, rasping voice started to venture from the mouse head.

“Assist us,” it hissed.

And then, I’m ashamed to say, I turned and ran. In my wrestle to get away, I tripped over one of many artificial rocks and fell onerous. My arms and knees have been all the sudden slippery with blood that couldn’t have been my own. I might hear clumsy, heavy footsteps approaching me, utterly in contrast to something Abby might’ve made. I rotated just to see the demented Mickey fall, seconds before I felt it hit me. The load was crushing. The one factor I might assume09 to do was to pry the Mickey head off of Abby’s body. As soon as I started to attempt, a guttural hissing sound came from inside. Rabid foam began to pour from underneath the costume head as I pulled and pulled. Lastly, the top collapsed in my arms, as if it was manufactured from cardboard. My heart pounding, I moved the broken elements away from Abby’s face.

Her pores and skin was white and clammy, burning scorching to the contact. However that wasn’t the rationale I screamed. Lying there unmoving and unaware, Abby’s eyes have been vast open. Her mouth was frozen in a huge, artificial smile. By all accounts, she appeared lifeless, however I might feel her pulse beating irregularly underneath my fingertips. And so I carried her out of there, leaving the lightbulb and the damaged Mickey costume behind me. All the best way to the automotive, she giggled. Never as soon as did she blink, simply giggle and giggle identical to the Mickey characters do all day. Proper earlier than we arrived on the hospital, she went utterly silent. What came out of her mouth next made my coronary heart stop.

“Assist us…”

One thing’s happening right here, and somebody has to consider me. Her identify was Abby, and I’m unsure if we’ll ever get her again.

Half 3 – Beneath the Floor

I swear to God, for this reason we don’t ship the new youngsters to do my job. It’s widespread information that Disney staff undergo a hazing course of once they’re first employed. They get stuck performing some easy upkeep jobs, often within the creepiest elements of the parks or resorts. It’s presupposed to be enjoyable, you recognize? It’s imagined to deliver us all collectively. In fact, everybody knew it was sure to be a disaster – besides, it wasn’t. For a very long time, things have been truly going okay. The new youngsters thought it was a enjoyable little joke. And then little whats-her-face got here alongside. Amy? Amilea?

…. Abby. That’s her.

Then she received scared out at River Nation, and everybody else obtained slightly spooked. Okay, one thing slightly creepy may need occurred. Everyone was ready to maneuver on with their lives. But then the bosses made her return – perhaps to point out her there was nothing to worry, perhaps for something more sinister. In any case, it’s not my job to take a position, it’s my job to repair the issues everyone else screws up. Anyhow, then she dragged David out there together with her, and once they came back, Abby wasn’t quite right. David stated he had thought she was dying when he found her, which was straightforward to consider. When she got here back to work, she was a ghost of herself.

Pale, wide-eyed, mascara all the time smeared, pretend smile plastered in place.

She seemed no extra real than the animatronics. And she or he wouldn’t converse to anyone but friends. She even ignored David. However she showed up each day nonetheless, stiff and frozen. However the worst thing was her stroll. After her return, it was jerky… staggering…. like a marionette. Or some shit you’d see in a type of freaky video games, you already know? It wasn’t natural. And it undoubtedly wasn’t human.

No one appeared to note however me.

A couple of days after she came back to work, the bosses lastly gave the original job to upkeep: Change the lightbulb, and check out River Nation. Be sure there’s nothing there that needs to be… disposed of. In any case, if anything acquired out to the general public, it will be disastrous. And we couldn’t have that.

And that’s how Jim and I discovered ourselves standing in the midst of the swampy, humid stays of River Nation.

To start with, the place may look scary at night time, but in the course of the daytime, it’s just pathetic. The water is gross and green, the buildings are falling aside, and the local wildlife is taking up every thing. Gross, yeah. Scary? Perhaps to a 22-year-old Starbucks woman, but I’ve seen worse. Especially at Disney.

Discovering the lightbulb took 5 minutes. The glass was shattered on the ground in a circle around the light-post. Each bit was virtually similar – a pointy little glass triangle. A couple of, though, had drops of blood on the floor.

“Uh, Max,” Jim all of a sudden spoke up. “Is that blood recent?”

Nevertheless it couldn’t have been, as a result of nobody had been right here for days. It should have been Abby’s or David’s dried blood from tripping and falling, or one thing else solely.

“Nah, there’s no method. Let’s simply change this bulb and get out.”

“Uh, yeah. I’m going to go look around when you do this. Two birds with one stone, you recognize?” Jim proposed, clearly nervous.

I shut my eyes and sighed.

“Positive. Don’t fall in. And Jim, stop bein’ a wuss.”

“Yeah, in fact, Max.”

After which he wandered off, leaving me to work in peace. The lightbulb took only a moment to vary, however bagging up all the glass took me a couple of minutes. It seemed like each time I rotated, more glass appeared. And over time, increasingly more of it appeared to be bloody. The shards I was holding began to drip, leaving purple smears throughout my palms. Not blood, proper? It couldn’t be blood.

As I crouched with a hand filled with glass, I heard thundering footsteps and my identify being yelled. In my shock, I clenched my fist and drove the glass into my flesh. The ache was instant, intense, and aching.

“I FOUND HER! MAX, I FOUND HER!”

I heard the sound echoing via the park and the woods and my head. Jim was screaming it time and again, from somewhere deeper in the park.

“I discovered her,” Jim stated, breathless, as he approached, staggering and twitching. “I found her I found her I discovered her I discovered her-“

“What’s the matter with you?” I yelled. “Stop!”

His face was white, his eyes broad. He appeared virtually like Abby, however without that eerie smile. Gasping for air, he wouldn’t cease saying it.

“IfoundherIfoundherIfoundherIfoundherIfoundher,” he wheezed, as if in a trance. Whilst he struggled for breath, he didn’t blink. He didn’t bend over. He didn’t show any signs of apparent distress apart from the gasps, and it was freaking me out. At any price, I couldn’t even hear myself assume over his little message being repeated time and again and over.

“Present me, then!” I lastly yelled over Jim.

Nonetheless whispering underneath his breath, he walked over to me, stiff as a board. He took my hand, which I immediately tried to tug away. However his grip was like a vice. A chilly, clammy vice. Jim led me, slowly, via the park in a zig zag. The pace felt like a funeral march, however our path was going nowhere. Out of the blue, Jim broke into a run, almost pulling my arm out of its socket within the course of. He ran with me, emitting a guttural screech, till we reached the primary pool.

“I discovered her,” he growled, pointing into the depths, still latched onto my hand.

“Jim, I can’t see-”

“I FOUND HER!” he bellowed.

Slowly, I crouched down, taking him with me. As I peered into the depths, I noticed what seemed like a shadow. As my eyes probed the murk, I began to comprehend what he meant. The shadow at the bottom of the pool was Abby.

“Jim, who’s going to work,” I whispered hoarsely, “if this is Abby?”

I turned to take a look at my coworker, who was fixated on me, smiling a frozen, synthetic grin.


Credit score: Emily C. Burch (Official Blog • Reddit)

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