Halloweenfest day 2

Sign up to Pins and Needles Official Giveaway running until Oct 31!! 

come on over and meet the creepy gang of cuddly creatures!

An exclusive short story by Nosleep author Anna LaForge



Pins & Needles is not just about creepy-cute dolls and horror accessories. Pins & Needles is a backlash to every no I have ever received in life, every laugh I’ve gotten at what I wear and how I look, every bully and heartbreak!
Each doll represents a part of my personality, some are stronger than others, but they all compliment each other in some way..
— Victoria Malin

The best part? They are having a giveaway!! Look below for more information!

How did Pins & Needles begin? Was this something you had unofficially been doing for a while or did it come together suddenly? 

I have been drawing these guys for years, doodling little creatures and never really thought much of it but when I started making them up into textile creations they really came alive and inspired me to make more. I did start making alongside a full time job then last Halloween I took the plunge and quit my job to go full time on this. I was told it wouldn't work and that I shouldn't leave my job but I did and I haven't looked back... I think the nay-sayers made me want it more.

What goes into the creation of these cute creepy creatures? Do you have a 'black book' of ideas? Do you have a set plan of how often a new creature comes out?

Each starts as a sketch which is then pattern cut into a final creation. For new creatures I look inside myself, a lot of them reflect different times of my life, different insecurities and problems I've over come which makes them a personal experience each time I release a new one into the world to create havoc... I guess each one is a kind of therapy for myself

Is this a team effort? Are there other people who are also behind the creation of the creatures? Tell me a little about your first year in business what are some things that have happened since then.

Just me, I wish there was 5 of me sometimes which how hectic it can get... would ease the stress but I don't think cloning humans is legal yet...DAMMIT!

First year of business has been a HUGE shock in many ways. I didn't realise just how quick it would take off and also didn't realise how much I would learn... not just about business but it's also made me take a long look at myself and has helped me do some soul searching along the way... I believe I have become a stronger person through this year and can't wait for the future of P&N

I know some readers are based in the US do you plan on extending your business to reach customers outside of the UK?

We do ship worldwide already and a lot of our creatures are in all parts of the world as we speak... Apologies in advance! I would love to trade at comic cons in the US so I plan on looking into that as soon as I can, anyone wanna put me and the creatures up ?!

Besides the creatures do you have other projects you are working on? 

I am currently working on Pins & Needles parties, UK Only, but more will be revealed soon!...WINK WINK

What other products can we find on Pins & Needles?

We have creepy cute keyrings, Make Up Bags, Stickers, Badges, Mini Zombies... too much to list! Also looking into having merchandise surrounding each character such as Pencil Cases and Stationary so watch this space, the best it yet to come

Just wanted to add that Pins & Needles is a backlash business... I was told that I couldn't make it and couldn't draw, by a university tutor, so this is where the passion comes for this business. My business is about being proud of who you are and everyone deserves to do what they love, regardless of what other people think or say about you...

Regards,

Victoria

Owner/Designer of Pins & Needles Art Dolls

Imaginative and creative creatures! Why wouldn’t you want one? I love the originality in these creations.
— Brianna Abello, Creator of Eerie Dolls
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What are you doing sign up now!

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WANT TO GET A CREEPY CREATURE? GUESS WHAT THEY'RE HAVING A GIVEAWAY!!!

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WIN ONE NOW GO OVER AND COMMENT!!

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BUT THERE'S MORE!

25% off all items, excluding postage, as a year anniversary celebration for the duration of October!!!!!!!!!!


Immersion

Anna LaForge

It started in my creative nonfiction class. The professor, Mr. Ramirez, was explaining

how many essays writers will put themselves into unusual or unfamiliar situations in

order to give their own perspective. He especially talked about some guy named Charles

Bowden, who I guess did that sort of thing a lot. I guess I should have seen the

assignment coming after that.

“For your next essay, I want you to immerse yourself in an environment you are not

familiar with. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Then write about

how it changed your perspective on things,” Mr. Ramirez said.

“But what if it doesn’t?” Some guy in the back of the class asked.

“Then you’re obviously not pushing yourself enough,” the teacher responded.

From the get-go, I wasn’t excited about this assignment. The idea of getting outside of

my comfort zone was, well, uncomfortable. I could already feel the anxiety bubbling up

into my chest, constricting my heart. That wasn’t the only reason for my reluctance

though. From what the professor had said, immersive writing sounded like a big time

commitment, and, as a college student, I already had plenty of those. How could I

possibly find the time to 1) discover some world I was unfamiliar with and 2) immerse

myself in it long enough to write a decent essay? Yeah, this wasn’t gonna be a fun

assignment.

I fell into my usual pattern when it comes to large assignments: I largely ignored it for

about a week, my mind wandering to it only when I was bored, before promptly jumping

to another thought. I might have gotten bored, but not bored enough to do homework.

After a week though, I decided I needed to at least pick something to immerse myself in.

I hopped on the campus directory of student organizations, figuring a club was the easiest

way to go about this. I flicked through several pages, either completely disinterested in

the clubs I saw or not considering them to be far enough out of my comfort zone to count.

Eventually, I stumbled upon the page of what had to be the strangest club I had ever

heard of. It’s name was the Skar Club. There wasn’t much of a description of what the

club did, other than a tag line: Dedicated to exploring our deepest fears. That was weird.

Some might even say a red flag, but I just figured the lack of description combined with

the weird name spelling meant it was a group of socially inept people trying to be edgy. It

seemed strange enough to count for my assignment, so I sent them a message to ask

about meeting times. I hit send, and that was it for a while.

I started to get worried that I wouldn’t hear back in time before my essay was due. I even

looked up some other groups to join, but I still hoped I’d hear back from Skar. I’d almost

given up when the letter arrived.

It was in a black enveloped, and actually had a wax seal on the back. I had to give Skar

credit; they really went all out. I ran back to my apartment as quickly as I could and

opened the letter, trying not to destroy the intricate design of the seal. My eyes scanned

the letter quickly.

Dearest Samantha,

I would like to welcome you into our folds. Skar is a society dedicated to exploring the

fears that plague humanity and separating the rational from the ridiculous. However,

before you can truly become a member, you must accomplish a series of tasks to prove

that you are truly one of us.

I groaned.

In this letter I have included a list of challenges for you to undergo. After completing

each challenge, you will be given a token. Once you have all six tokens, send them to the

address listed below. Another letter will be sent to you shortly, and then you will become

a full member of Skar.

I wish you the best of luck,

The Moderator

This was looking to be more work than I’d originally planned, but I wasn’t put off

enough to try and find a different club. I flipped to the next page, which held the list of

challenges, as promised.

The Challenges

1. Fail a test.

2. Let a spider crawl across your face.

3. Spend 20 minutes in the 3 rd floor supply closet of the chemistry building.

4. Stand in a ring of fire.

5. Accept a ride from a stranger.

6. Look down from a tall height.

*Please note that once the challenges have started, they must continue until all have been

completed. Confidentiality is a must, and breaking this rule will result in termination.*

Okay, this is getting too weird, I thought. I scanned the list one more time. Yeah, no way

in hell was I doing this. I wasn’t stupid. I would just find another group to do my essay

on. Fuck this weirdness. I tossed the letter into a stack of miscellaneous papers and

focused on other homework. I found a bird watching society that agreed to let me tag

along on some of their weekend excursions. I’d be getting up hellishly early, but at least I

wasn’t worried about being hurt. I’d all but forgotten about the letter when weird things

started happening.

It was in Organic Chemistry. We were taking a midterm. I’d spent weeks studying for it,

but I still felt like I couldn’t do half of the problems. The professor stood at the front of

the classroom, while several TAs walked through the aisles to discourage cheating.

During one of these rounds, a TA stopped by my desk and bent over. I didn’t notice at

first, too absorbed in my test, but then the TA cleared his throat. I looked over at him, to

see an answer key in his hand. I froze. The TA motioned for me to follow him to the front

of the class. I did, with several pairs of eyes peeking up at us. He handed the paper to the

professor, who looked it over, then fixed me with the nastiest glare I’d ever seen.

“Care to explain this?” He asked, hardly trying to keep his voice at a whisper. I was

painfully aware of more eyes looking up at my back.

“It’s not mine, I swear,” I replied. My heart raced, and my brain was in a total panic. The

professor just rolled his eyes and clenched his jaw.

“If you’re going to cheat, then I’d appreciate at least some effort in trying to hide the fact.

I know you college kids like to think you’re smarter than everyone, that you don’t really

need to be here, but there’s a reason why I’m standing at the front of this class, and you

have your ass in a seat. If this is how you’re going to treat my class, feel free to leave.”

“I’m sorry, but I swear it isn’t my—” I tried defending myself again, but the professor

just shook his head.

“This isn’t high school. No little slaps on the wrist before setting you loose again. Here,

we have consequences. You’ve failed this test, and I’ve yet to decide whether or not to

take this up with a higher authority. No more excuses. Get out of my class.”

I walked back to my desk to grab my stuff, the other students not even pretending to

focus on their tests as the ogled me. I heard of few people snicker. I threw my backpack

over one shoulder and booked it out of the room. Tears pricked the corners of my eyes,

and while my stomach felt cold, my skin was burning hot.

I knew I had nothing to do with that answer key under my desk. But how had it gotten

there? Maybe someone else placed it there before class, but I got to the seat before they

could. I clenched my hand around the strap of my backpack. Great, my whole college

career was in jeopardy because some asshat forgot which desk he put his cheat sheet

under. I hurried forward, paying no attention to where I was going until I crashed into

someone else.

“Hey!” I started, nearly bowled off my feet. The other student hurried off, seemingly

unaffected by our collision. I straightened myself out and noticed something next to my

foot. I picked it up. It looked and felt like a poker chip, except instead of the usual

designs, the black chip had a red 1 painted on the face. The other student must have

dropped it. I looked up, but they were long gone. I looked back at the chip. My stomach

twisted, like it was trying to crawl as far away from the little token as possible. My mind

flashed to the letter, still sitting in a pile of papers in my apartment. I started running in

the direction of my apartment.

The letter was right where I had abandoned it. I scanned the list of challenges again,

going over the final warning again and again.

*Please note that once the challenges have started, they must continue until all have been

completed. Confidentiality is a must, and breaking this rule will result in termination.*

“You have got to be fucking kidding me,” I said to myself. Was this seriously happening?

My brain kept trying to rationalize everything, but the answer key under my desk, plus

the token, seemed pretty clear. I sat on the floor, body curled against my knees, and

stared at the evidence before me. I’m not sure how long I stayed like that. I felt frozen,

too scared to even move. The spell was broken by the sound of something being pushed

under my door.

I turned to see a black envelope lying on the kitchen floor. I crawled over to it, still too

afraid to stand. The same wax seal as before stared up at me. This time, it looked more

menacing than cool. I picked it up in shaking hands, pulling it open like I was handling a

knife blade and not a piece of paper. This was the message:

Dearest Samantha,

Congratulations on completing Challenge 1. While it is preferred that new members

complete the challenges of their own volition, help will be given to those deemed too

sluggish in taking action. Please keep this in mind, as we do not appreciate

procrastination, and any more long waits may result in, shall we say, more aggressive

forms of help. Going forward, please also keep in mind the disclaimer at the bottom of

the list of challenges. We take our rules very seriously, and I strongly advise against

breaking them.

Best of luck,

The Moderator

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to vomit or cry. It felt like I might do both. I knew I should get

help, tell someone what was happening, but that warning made me stop. I remembered

the disclaimer.

*Please note that once the challenges have started, they must continue until all have been

completed. Confidentiality is a must, and breaking this rule will result in termination.*

Termination.

Termination.

I didn’t want to think about that word. How literally were they willing to take it? My

stomach couldn’t handle it any longer, and I actually did vomit on the floor. Tears

dripped from my eyes, both out of fear of the letters and the effort of puking. My whole

body was shaking like a lost puppy. This is torture, I thought.

I stayed like that for a while, quivering and trying to rationalize the situation. But I knew

I needed to face reality; I had trapped myself in some sort of sick game. The only way to

be free was to finish it.

I picked up the list and flipped through it. Most of the challenges sounded stupidly

dangerous, but I finally settled for challenge number three:

Spend 20 minutes in the 3 rd floor supply closet of the chemistry building.

I grabbed my keys and headed out, marching towards the chem building with purpose. I

worried if the other students could sense the fear and secrecy pouring off me. I tried to

look normal, but the fear of discovery kept ringing through my head. I was so nervous, I

rammed into another student, stuttering an apology as I kept walking.

Terminated. I didn’t want to be terminated.

I was mildly surprised to find the closet unlocked when I reached it. A part of me was

thankful that I didn’t have to think of a way to break open the lock, but another part of me

wondered if it was always unlocked or if someone was expecting me to come by. A

shiver ran up my spine, but I tried to dismiss it.

I opened the door to the small, dark room. The walls were lined with shelves covered in

various chemicals. There was a mop and broom in one corner. A drain in another corner

laid under some sort of chemical machine. Nose scrunching up at the various chemical

smells, I stepped inside and shut the door. Other than the darkness and heady odor of the

closet, I figured I was in for a boring twenty minutes. Until I heard the lock to the door

click.

At first I thought I must have imagined it, but when I tried to turn the knob, the door

wouldn’t budge. I started shaking the door in its frame, calling for help. There were

classrooms at the other end of the hallway. Surely, if I screamed loud enough, someone

would hear me and come to my rescue. But I had no such luck, and while I was not of the

claustrophobic persuasion, the chemical smells were getting to me.

I eventually stopped abusing the door, accepting that no one was coming to free me. I still

kept one hand resting on the knob, a sort of lifeline in the darkness. At one point, I

reached into my pocket, hoping to check the time on my phone. Reception was

notoriously bad in the chem building, but maybe I’d be able to call for help. Except my

phone was gone. I flashed to my walk over, bumping into the other student. It must have

fallen out of my pocket.

Or they stole it, I thought, turning the doorknob once more, even though I knew it was

pointless. I rested my forehead against the wood door, feeling the slight grooves against

my skin. The fumes were getting to me, and my head began to pound.

Click.

I blinked at the sound. I turned to knob again, and this time the door swung open. Out of

the corner of my eye, I saw someone disappear around the end of the hall. I looked down

at the floor to see a black-and- red token at my feet. The number 3 was painted on it.

I walked home feeling more shaken than I had expected. I knew the challenges were

supposed to be difficult, but I hadn’t expected to be locked in the closet. I fingered the

token in my pocket. How did they even have keys to the janitor’s closet? Anxiety

bubbled in my stomach as I found myself back at my front door.

There on the ground was my phone, along with a jar containing a rather large spider. My

mind flashed back to the list of challenges.

“No. Hell no,” I said to myself, picking up my phone. I planned to leave the spider where

it was, but then I remembered the closet door locking earlier. I looked over my shoulder,

but no one else seemed to be around. Still, I couldn’t deny that I was being watched.

Using two fingers, I picked up the jar and slipped inside my apartment. I put it down on

my desk, behind a stack of books. I may have committed to getting through the tasks, but

I wasn’t quite ready to drop a spider on my face. Instead, I picked up the list and tried to

find something else to complete.

Getting into a stranger’s car sounded suicidal, and I had no idea how to pull off the ring

of fire trick. My eyes settled on the last challenge.

Look down from a tall height.

Unlike with the closet and the claustrophobia earlier, I actually was afraid of heights. But

it was the only one I knew how to pull off. I was getting used to the nausea and shaking

hands that my fear kept triggering. With a defeated sigh, I headed out the door once

again.

It was dark by the time I got where I was going—the campus challenge course. It was

used for team building exercises, but there was also a series of height-based challenges as

well. I had my eyes on the simplest one—a wide log suspended thirty feet in the air,

acting as a sort of bridge between to wooden columns. There were ladders installed on

both columns, making it easy to climb; the real challenge was walking across the

“bridge” in between.

I stared at the contraption in the growing darkness. I glanced to the welcome station near

the entrance. A light was on, but I knew the course was closed. Not that it mattered;

someone had left a side gate open. Or someone had made sure it was unlocked. Did it

really matter at this point?

I slipped onto the course and made my way over to one of the columns. Despite the

sudden dryness of my mouth, I felt the need to swallow before making my way up the

ladder. I inched my way onto the platform once I reached the top. I stared at the “bridge”

for several minutes, imagining every horrible way in which I might fall. Finally, I forced

myself to take a step. Then another. I inched my way across until I was about a foot away

from the platform. I looked down at the ground below, fighting back nausea and a desire

to pass out. I hoped one of those creeps was watching me, because there was no way I

was gonna be able to do this again.

“GET DOWN FROM THERE!” A voice shouted out of the darkness. Startled, I lost my

footing, slipping off the bridge. I fell into a sort of trance as I dropped, time losing

meaning, but I snapped out of it as I heard a loud crack and returned to the earth. I’d

landed hard on my right leg, and now it lay twisted beneath me at a concerning angle. I

was dimly aware of someone running over to me.

“Oh god, are you okay? Wait, Samantha? Is that you?” I looked up to see a guy standing

over me, a look of horror and panic across his face. He was wearing a challenge course

uniform. I stared blankly at him for a few moments before finally recognizing him.

“Connor?” I squeaked out, pain shooting through my leg. He’d lived across from me my

freshman year.

“I’m so, so sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. What were you even doing up there?” He

spat out questions rapid fire. Everything was going too fast for me to process. I tried to

pull myself up, only to cry out when I moved by broken leg.

“Oh god, oh god. Hang on, I’ll get you to the hospital.” Connor scooped me up,

surprisingly strong for his wiry frame. He did his best not to jostle me, but a whimper still

escaped my lips with every few steps. He brought me to his car and laid me in the

backseat, before jumping up front and revving the engine. He whipped out his phone and

started talking to someone. I realized it must be another challenge course employee,

because Connor was promising to pick up more shifts if someone would just cover for

him right now. I wanted to apologize to him for putting him in this position, but the pain

in my leg made it hard to focus. Tears fell down my face, but I didn’t try to stop them.

Other than the occasional moan or whimper, I was silent the whole drive to the hospital.

While we were waiting for assistance—my leg may have been badly broken, but

apparently a major accident had happened on the highway, and there were a lot of head

injuries—Connor tried to get some answers out of me.

“What were you doing up there, Samantha? I thought you hated heights.”

“I do,” I answered.

“Then why do something so stupid?”

I shook my head. “I can’t tell you.”

“Why not?” He sounded irritated, and I couldn’t blame him. Here he was going out of his

way to help me, and I wouldn’t even answer a simple question.

“I, I just can’t, okay? I made a mistake, and now I’ve got to deal with it on my own.

Don’t worry about it.”

It was Connor’s turn to shake his head, except this time with anger. “No, Samantha. I’m

not gonna just let this be. You’ve always seemed like a smart, happy person. And tonight

you climbed up thirty feet, even though you hate heights. Do you have any idea what this

looks like to me?” I did.

“I promise I’m not trying to kill myself,” I replied.

“Then why do something so dangerous?” I looked in Connor’s eyes and immediately

regretted it. His face was washed in concern. He actually looked like he was about to cry.

I felt myself tearing up too. Today had been too much. The test, the notes, the closet, my

leg. I broke down. Body heaving with sobs, I told Connor everything. His eyes were wide

with disbelief, but he assured me that he didn’t think I was lying.

“These are sick people, Samantha. Don’t worry, we’ll go to the police. Get help. They

won’t hurt you anymore.” Connor squeezed my shoulders. For the first time that day, I

felt safe. I sniffled and did my best to smile, but the pain in my leg turned it into a

grimace.

“Hang on, I’m going to see if there’s a doctor free yet.” As Connor walked away,

someone sitting behind me shifted.

“You shouldn’t have done that,” I heard a gruff voice say as a hand reached out and

dropped something next to me. I turned around, but the guy was already hurrying towards

the door, a hood covering his face. I looked down into the seat next to me to see a token.

My stomach dropped. What had I done?

Connor dropped me off at my apartment the next morning. He’d covered for me with the

doctors, saying I’d fallen at work instead of breaking into the challenge course. My leg

was now in a tightly wrapped cast, and Connor complimented my shiny new crutches.

“Get some sleep,” he said. “I’ll pick you up later, and we can go to the police.”

I hesitated. “Is that really such a good idea? What if they try to stop us?” I hadn’t told

Connor about the man in the waiting room. A part of me wanted to believe I’d imagined

it, but the feel of the token pressing against my leg told me otherwise.

“Of course it is, Samantha. I promise I won’t let them hurt you anymore.” His smile was

genuine. I did my best to smile back. Back in my apartment, I threw the token onto the

table and collapsed onto my bed. My mind raced with everything that had happened. I

kept worrying about the warning in the note. What exactly did they mean by

“termination”? Despite my fears, I found myself falling to sleep, too exhausted to fight it

any longer.

I awoke to a setting sun and a new sense of determination. My leg ached in its cast as I

reached over for my phone. I punched in Connor’s number. I was ready to go to the

police. These bastards needed to be taught a lesson. The phone rang. And rang. I listened

to Connor’s voicemail. I hung up and tried texting him. Waited a few minutes, no

response. I tried another call. Voicemail again.

That was two hours ago. I don’t know what’s happened to Connor, but he still hasn’t

responded to any of my calls or texts. I’m starting to assume the worst. I feel terrible for

dragging him into my mess, for not realizing that termination didn’t necessarily apply to

me. Connor, if you’re reading this, I’m so, so sorry.

I realize now that I should have gone to the police in the first place. If I’m still around by

morning, I will, but I’m afraid of just how far these sick people are willing to go for their

secrets. So I’m writing my final essay. I’ll send it to Mr. Ramirez, and the police, if I can.

But sending it to a few people isn’t good enough. They can deal with a few people.

Convince them to look the other way, or get rid of the more stubborn ones. Like Connor.

So I’m posting this online, where god knows how many people will see it. I’m sure some

will think it’s all a sick joke, but I have to hope some people will take it seriously. Please,

stop this from happening to anyone else. I won’t ask anyone to save me, because I have a

feeling it’s too late for that. I fucked up; I get that now. But no one else should have to go

through this. They may try to cover this up, to hurt or threaten people who get too close. I

just have to keep hoping.

They can’t possibly get to everybody. Right?


Learn more about the author!

Writer, artist, Gryffindor, and Pukwudgie.

 

https://www.facebook.com/realALLaForge

http://twitter.com/Anna_LaForge

Note: Eerie Dolls does not own any Halloweenfest stories. All credit goes to the author.


Have you checked out Nightmare 365 Podcast?

Check out one of Eerie Dolls favorite podcasts!!

SPOTLIGHT: Nightmare 365 Podcast

Nightmare365.com

Goblins & Ghouls welcome to my Nightmare 365 days a year. A Podcast of spooky, weird topics related to HALLOWEEN, Haunted Attractions, Horror & the Paranormal

Matt brings you a variety of creators, artists and overall interesting people! The interviews are always fun and entertaining! Be sure to check out the show!
— Brianna Abello, Creator of Eerie Dolls