As moonlight cast haunting shadows upon the frayed edges of the journal, I could almost envision the young author, their sanity slowly unraveling, as they chronicled the sinister events that unfolded, blurring the lines between reality and nightmare in a dance of malevolent intrigue. The very act of transcribing their experiences onto paper appeared to invoke an ancient evil, one that lingered between the lines, eager to claw its way into our realm once more…

A third entry awaits…


A Stray Souls Story

Journal Entry #3 - ``Nocturnal Checkout``

September 9, 2000

Life’s been keeping me pretty busy lately, and my gig at the video store is turning out alright. I even snagged a promotion to shift lead – nothing flashy, but it’s a job that pays the bills. Best part? Unlimited movie rentals, which led me to finally getting myself a TV and a VCR. I’m making up for lost time by diving into all those films I missed growing up.

Over five hundred movies devoured since the last time I penned anything here. Guess I’m better at jotting down titles than keeping up with this journal.

Days have turned into this routine. Wake up, punch in at work, return home, enjoy a movie or two, hit the sack, and then rinse and repeat. Meeting new folks? That’s proven trickier than I anticipated, even though I do manage to find companionship with my colleagues.

Everyone’s got questions about my past, and that’s where the whole connection falters. Not ready to spill the beans with another human being just yet. Not sure they’d get it, and I’d rather not be labelled the “eccentric” one.

But let’s be honest, my past? It’s definitely got its quirks.

Holding onto those memories can be a struggle, yet writing them down feels like a release. Though, in the process of putting them to paper, I end up revisiting them – they’re so vivid.

It’s as if I could step right back into those moments, reliving them fully… Experiencing those emotions…

Nights are the real challenge. Insomnia hits me hard. Just as I’m about to drift off, I snap awake. Sometimes it’s a repetitive dance until the alarm signals the start of another day. And on those rare occasions when I do manage some shut-eye, the dreams elude me. Still, I wake up frazzled, drenched in sweat, and with a lingering sense of stress.

I hope time’s on my side, that I’ll outgrow this phase. But for now, it’s all about putting on a mask each time I step out. Not prepared to let anyone in, so I head to work, fulfill my duties, and retreat back home.

I even snatch up extra shifts whenever I can, just to avoid being alone with my thoughts at home. It’s exhausting, concealing that fatigue, unable to express it, and keeping everyone at arm’s length about what’s truly going on.

Susan, my boss, had the idea of inviting me to her family dinner. I declined in a heartbeat. The mere thought of mingling with her and her husband while their wild kids run amok… Nope, not my cup of tea.

Strangely enough, I can’t figure out why her kids get under my skin. Back in another life, I looked after a whole bunch of youngsters and found joy in their company… Or maybe that’s just tinted nostalgia. We were all captives in a way, and getting along wasn’t a choice, but a survival tactic to avoid trouble…

Older kids kept watch over the younger ones. That was the code, and questioning it was off-limits. If you dared, you’d end up in the “Hole,” a sort of solitary punishment. Some kids changed after a visit there, and some never returned.

My group, though, stayed on the straight and narrow, except for one troublemaker. Funny thing, he never saw the Hole. Probably had something to do with his mom…

Remembering all this is a challenge, and as the days roll on, those memories from that “life” grow fainter… Can’t even recall that kid’s name or who his parents were. But there’s a sense that beneath his mischief, he was dealing with a hell far worse than the rest of us.

But you know what? That’s all in the past. I’m out now, and I’m determined to keep it that way.

Time for bed. I’ll try to spill a bit more in the coming days. Maybe it’ll dislodge some of those cobwebs, letting me purge more of this negativity… Let’s hope my brain cuts me some slack and grants me some rest tonight.

That’s all for today! Thanks for joining us for an inside peek at Stray Souls!

As always, if you have any content to share or questions for the team, please feel free to reach out. You can stay in touch with me and the rest of the Versus Evil team by joining our Discord and following us on our various social media channels.

~ VS | Renee
Stray Souls Community Manager