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Pass It On
It started out as a normal day. My little brother, Brandon, and I are exploring the attic when we find an unlabeled box.
“That’s weird. Grandma took pride in labeling her boxes perfectly,” I say to my brother.
He came over. “Wonder what’s inside.”
I open it up to see a homemade disc inside a transparent case labeled “Do Not Watch.”
I pick it up. “Should we watch it?”
Brandon shakes his head. “No. No we should not watch it. What if it’s something really bad?”
I roll my eyes. “It’s probably not that bad. I’m watching it. If you want to watch it with me, I’ll be in my room.”
I climb down the ladder and go into my room. I place the DVD into the video player on my laptop. It takes a minute for the movie playing program to come up, but eventually it does.
The first part of the movie shows a girl, about my little brother’s age (ten) with long black hair and a simple white dress.
The image goes fuzzy, and the next image is of the girl swinging from a noose.
I flinch away from her glassy, unseeing eyes. As I watch, the girl’s neck straightens out and she blinks.
My eyes widen. “Holy-”
The image goes staticky. The next image is a person being beheaded, and then a witch burning, and then a firing squad.
That night at dinner, I can only think of the creepy movie.
“Lilith?” Mom asks. “What’s wrong, dear?”
“Nothing, Mom,” I reply.
Brandon shoots me a Look.
“What?” I ask him.
“Nothing,” he says, clearly knowing that I is freaking out over the movie.
It isn’t even that scary. Calm down Lilith!
But I can’t.
“You have to pass it on,” the girl from the movie tells me.
“Pass what on?” I ask her.
“The disc. Pass it on. You have to pass it on,” she repeats.
“Why?” I ask.
The girl glares at me. “Pass it on.”
I wake up in a cold sweat. I stare at the disc, glinting in the moonlight. I stand up and go to the bathroom. As I’m washing my hands, I look up into the mirror. Written in the steam are the words “Pass it on!”
I scream and run out of the bathroom, back to my room.
The disc is gone.
I run into Brandon's room, just in time to catch him opening the disc.
“NO!” I scream, snatching the disc from his hands. “You can’t watch this!”
“Why not? Why did it scare you so bad? And why were you screaming in the bathroom?” Brandon asks me.
“That’s none of your business, Brandon,” I snap.
He rolls his eyes. “You don't have to be rude about it.”
“Just promise me you won’t ever watch this,” I beg.
“Fine. I promise.”
It’s been a week since my sister was murdered. I’m sitting in her room, sobbing my eyes out, when I catch sight of the DVD she made me promise not to watch.
Underneath it is a journal. I pick up the journal. Scribbled all over the front are the words “Do not watch,” “Pass it on,” and “Rachel NeeSmith.”
I open up the journal. All of the pages are covered in the words “Pass it on” written over and over again hundreds of times.
What is this?
I take the journal back to my room and tuck it under my mattress. I’ll study it later.
“Brandon, come here please,” I call out to my son.
He comes out and stares at me questioningly. “What?”
“Where you in your sister’s room again?” I ask.
There’s a flash of guilt on his face before he says: “No.”
“Promise?” I ask.
Brandon bites his lip and stares at the ground. “Yes?”
He runs off before I can ask him anything else.
In my daughter’s room, I see a disc on her desk. I pick it up. It’s labeled “Do Not Watch.”
Why is this in here? What was my daughter watching?
I take the DVD to my room and shut the door. I play it on my TV.
When it’s over, I am confused. Why is it labeled “Do not Watch?”
It’s just a bunch of corny execution scenes! There’s a knock on the door. “Mom? Can I come in?” It’s Brandon.
“Yes,” I reply.
The door opens. “I was in Lilith’s room. Something’s missing. It’s a DVD, labeled “Do not Watch.” It’s like it disappeared.”
“Why did you want the DVD, Brandon?” I ask.
“I wanted to watch it. To see what all the fuss was about,” he replies.
“You’re not watching the disc. And stay out of her room!” I yell.
Brandon’s eyes fill with tears. He nods and runs out of my room.
I hear his door slam a few seconds later.
“If you don't pass it on, you’ll end up like your daughter,” the girl tells me. Somehow I know her name. Rachel.
“You killed my daughter?” I ask.
Rachel smiles cruelly. “Of course I did. She couldn’t even follow simple instructions. She had to be taken care of.”
I feel a hot flash of anger. Only, not at Rachel. The anger is directed towards Lilith. If she couldn’t pass on a stupid DVD, then she did deserve to die.
“How long do I have?” I ask.
“One week,” Rachel says, smirking.
I wake up to someone shaking me. It’s Brandon.
“Mom, you were talking in your sleep,” he tells me.
“What was I saying?” I ask him.
Brandon frowns. “Pass it on. Why were you saying that?”
“No reason. Go back to bed,” I mutter, rolling over.
There’s a soft click as the door closes.
There’s something wrong with Mom. Just like with Lilith before she died. It’s the DVD, I know it.
When I woke up this morning, Mom was gone. There was no note or anything.
I poured myself some cereal and stared into it. An hour later Mom came home.
Now I’m staring at the DVD in my hands. I have to get rid of it. It has to be destroyed.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Mom snaps, coming in. Her face pales when she sees the disc in my hands.
“I have to get rid of it,” I tell her. “It’s what Lilith would want.”
“Lilith was a stupid girl,” Mom snaps, snatching the DVD out of my hands.
I feel tears stinging my eyes. “Lilith was not stupid! You’re the stupid one!”
I run out of the room and down the hall to my room. I slam the door behind me and flop on my bed.
That night, I’m woken up by a firm shaking. I open my eyes sleepily. “Mom? What’s going on?”
“Come with me,” she orders. When I don't do anything, she grabs my wrist and drags me out of my bed.
“Ow!” I protest. “Mom! Stop it!”
She doesn’t. Instead, she drags me all the way to the living room and sits me on the couch.
Then she hits “play” on the machine. She keeps my head facing forward as a gruesome movie starts playing.
When the movie is over, I can feel something or someone worming their way into my mind.
It’s Rachel, the girl Lilith wrote about. It’s her.
I try to fight back, and Rachel lashes out, snapping something in my mind. My vision goes white with agony.
And then I pass out.
What have I done? It’s like waking up and not remembering your dream, I’m confused and unsure of what’s going on. All I know is that my son is passed out on the couch, occasionally screaming in pain. Did I do this to him?
Oh, God, please help me.
I pick up my son and run to the car. I have to get him to a hospital.
My eyes open slowly. I’m in an unfamiliar place, a cold place, a grey place.
Rachel stands before me. “You tried to fight me.”
It’s not a question. “Yes. I did.”
“You know I snapped something in your mind. You may never wake up again,” Rachel smiles evilly.
I nod. “I know what you did. I’ll fight you here.”
Rachel’s smile only widens. “You cannot beat me here. Here I am a goddess.”
I clench my fists. “I’ll do my best. You killed my sister and made my mom crazy.”
“Your sister was too stupid to follow simple instructions. Your mother was smarter, only she chose you, her own son. Your mother cares nothing for you,” Rachel says. “I care for you, Brandon. Just give in and I’ll heal your mind and let you live.”
I only glare at her. “No. I’ll never give in.”
“Hmm. Too bad. Looks like you’ll have to die,” Rachel says with false sadness.
“I’m not going to die easily,” I say, glaring at her.
“We’ll see about that.”
Rachel’s mouth opens wider than a normal person’s. Out of that gaping mouth comes a strong gust of wind. It knocks me over. Rachel sends fire at me. I roll out of the way, and it scorches the ground where I had been lying.
Rachel sends wave after wave of fire at me. I dodge each one.
“Looks like I was right,” I say to her. “I won’t die so easily.”
Suddenly, I am engulfed in flame. It burns my skin.
Suddenly, it stops.
Rachel looks as surprised as I feel. “What is happening?!”
I glare at her. “I won’t die that easily.”
I send wave after wave of fire at her, not enough to kill, just to subdue her.
She cowers on the ground, whimpering. “Stop it! Stop! I’ll go, please stop!”
I glare at her. “You killed my sister and countless others. Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t kill you right here.”
Rachel bows her head. “I don't have a reason.”
I’m getting the next wave of fire ready when she disappears. Only her voice is left.
“You may have won this round, Brandon, but remember, I am a goddess.”
I wake up in the hospital. A beeping monitor keeps track of my vitals.
“You’re awake!” Mom is sitting in a chair by my bed. She pushes the call button. A few minutes later, a nurse walks in.
“You’re awake!” he says.
I try to speak, but I can’t. I try again.
It took a year, but eventually I was able to speak again. It’s been four years since I fought Rachel inside my own broken mind.
I haven’t seen or heard from her since then.
I broke the DVD and burned what was left.
I’m standing in the field where I had battled Rachel. Suddenly she appears in front of me.
I gasp and back up.
“W-what do you w-want?” I ask her.
She smiles. “You have one week to pass it on. Or you’ll end up like your sister.”
When I wake up, I’m shaking. It was just a nightmare. Rachel is gone. I banished her and broke the disc. She’s gone.
As I’m washing my hands in the bathroom, I look up into the mirror.
“Pass it on!” is written in the steam.
I open my mouth and scream.