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  • Writer's pictureArthur Mills

Candle Face Victim #28: The Torment of Betrayal

Candle Face Victim #28: The Torment of Betrayal

April 30, 2024


Retirement life offers its share of surprises. Some days, I find myself occupied with household chores, while on other days, I’m deep into endless scrolling on Facebook and YouTube. Today was one of those latter days. I must have spent 12 hours lounging on my couch in my boxers, watching video after video. The soft glow of the screen illuminated the room, casting shadows that danced across the pale walls. Around 4:00 a.m., the sound of footsteps descending the stairs. Assuming it was my son, I initially didn’t look up. But then, the sound of a woman clearing her throat made me pause—it seemed she wanted to be noticed. Glancing up, I saw a woman in her early thirties, a man’s tie knotted tightly around her neck. Her eyes, filled with a mixture of desperation and determination, instantly grabbed my attention. I immediately wondered if this spirit would attempt to attack me like others have in the past. Recognizing the signs of a story waiting to be told, I sat up and pulled out my notebook filled with paranormal investigation forms, ready to document her testimony. She took this as her signal to start and narrated her story in a scratchy, high-pitched voice.

Repetitive conversations and predictable routines had come to define our lives. Each day was a mirror image of the one before, marked by the same words exchanged without conviction and passionless kisses that barely registered. We were stuck in the well-worn groove of our marriage, circling the same patterns with unwavering consistency.
“Planning for Christmas shopping?” my husband asked, his voice devoid of genuine interest as we sat in the dimly lit restaurant, the clatter of dishes and murmurs of nearby conversations serving as the backdrop to our well-rehearsed dialogue.
I dipped my fingers into my purse, retrieving my lipstick with a practiced motion. Without making eye contact, I replied, “Trying to beat the holiday rush.”
Our synchronized movements continued as we both rose from our seats, “Love you,” he said, a phrase that had once carried the weight of devotion but now felt as empty as the restaurant on a Tuesday night.
With a heavy heart, I replied, “Love you too,” and we exited the restaurant, his hand slipping into mine out of habit. The routine continued as I drove him back to work, our conversation drifting into silence, punctuated only by the sound of traffic.
Once he closed the car door behind him, I sped away, driven by an urgency that only I could comprehend. The destination was familiar: a nondescript apartment in North Austin. I had come to find solace and excitement in the arms of my boyfriend, a man who represented a stark contrast to my husband. Our relationship was built on philosophical debates, shared adventures, and a passion that had been missing from my marriage for far too long. These clandestine encounters had become my lifeline, a way to escape the monotony of my daily existence.
The door to the apartment swung open, and the familiar scent of his musky cologne mixed with the faint smell of old books greeted me. “Finally,” he said, his voice deep and filled with anticipation.
In his embrace, I found refuge from the mundanity of my marriage. My boyfriend’s allure was his ability to awaken something dormant within me, to breathe life into the hollow spaces of my heart. These stolen moments were our escape, a secret world where passion and desire reigned supreme.
But on this particular night, as I nestled into the warmth of his arms, something felt different. His eyes, usually filled with longing, were now brimming with tears. “You shouldn’t have ridiculed her,” he whispered in my ear, his voice shaky and regretful.
A sudden gust of wind made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and the dimly lit room seemed to come alive with dancing shadows. Among them, I saw a haunting silhouette, its eyes empty of life and its mouth twisted into a grotesque grin.
Panic seized me, and I pulled away from my boyfriend, searching for an explanation. He began to chant in a language I couldn’t understand. His words synchronized with the dance of the shadows.
“Why? I trusted you,” I pleaded in a choked voice, my heart pounding with fear.
Tears welled up in his eyes, and he spoke tremblingly. “She requires devotion, of which you’re empty. And I must indulge her.”
The atmosphere grew heavy with wicked energy, and laughter echoed ominously around the room.
Weeks passed, and my absence remained unexplained. Rumors circulated about my mysterious disappearance filled the air. My husband and boyfriend found themselves face to face in a secluded bar on the outskirts of Austin.
Taking a gulp from his drink, my boyfriend broke the silence. “I didn’t wish for this,” he admitted, his eyes haunted by the unfolding events.
My husband’s reply was even more disturbing, his voice lacking remorse. “It was either her or us.”
“Faith holds strength,” mused my boyfriend, his gaze fixed on the swirling patterns in his glass, “but doubt can be fatal.”

The lost soul tugged at the tight necktie around her neck, attempting to loosen it, but it only tightened further. As she attempted to adjust the tie, she caught my gaze with a knowing look, her eyes weary yet intense. She smiled at me and offered a piece of advice: “Don’t be discouraged about helping the lost souls,” she began, her voice soft yet clear in the room’s stillness. “We’re not all bad. If you’re an asshole in life, you’re an asshole in death too.”

She paused, likely contemplating what she had observed from Candle Face’s hell, then continued, “But it’s not just the bad; the good carry on too. People who spend their lives spreading kindness and love don’t lose that when they pass. They remain kind, gentle spirits, seeking to guide and comfort the living. In death, as in life, our spirits mirror who we really were.”

Her words hung in the air, a simple truth that suddenly made the world of spirits seem less mysterious and more like a continuation of what we already know. She gestured towards the shadowy portal that shimmered in the corner of the room—a gateway between her world and mine.

“Just as misery loves company, joy seeks to spread happiness. Remember, every soul has a story, and each reflects its life. So when you meet one of us, think not just of what you see but of what we were.”


Key To Understanding

To ensure readers grasp the full context and significance of this article, it’s crucial to be familiar with Arthur Mills’ award-winning memoir The Empty Lot Next Door, inspired by actual ghostly events in Austin, TX. The book provides essential background information, and without it, the nuances and depth of this article might not be fully appreciated. Therefore, reading The Empty Lot Next Door is highly recommended for a more enriched and coherent understanding of this article’s content and implications.

To purchase The Empty Lot Next Door, please visit Amazon



Antique typewriter, a portal to the chilling narratives within Candle Face Chronicles: The Journal. Immerse yourself in user accounts, victim stories, and paranormal clues. Join the investigation, unravel mysteries, and contribute to the collective knowledge in this gripping journey into the supernatural.

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