One Ugly Chair


So a few months ago my friend picked up this really ugly office chair. It was a hideous thing, with this ludicrous zebra-stripes pattern on its back, but my friend always had a soft spot for this corny “bad taste” kind of stuff, he thought it was funny. So anyway, he got this chair at some garage sale or something. At that time neither of us thought much of it. It was just the latest item in his large collection of ugly things.

The first time he specifically mentioned the chair to me was several weeks later. He told me that if the room was dimly lit, with a little imagination you could see a face in the stripe pattern.  By then he still seemed to find that amusing.

Over time however the chair started more and more to creep him out. One night he said, he got the scare of his life, when he woke up in the middle of the night, only to see a skeletal face staring directly at him. It took him a few sweat-soaked seconds, before he realized that it was just the chair, standing beside his bed.

Now, having seen the chair a couple of times myself, I could sort of see where you could imagine a face in the pattern, with this shape looking a little bit like a jaw line, and that one could be a shadow under the nose, but that was quite abstract. Making a skeletal face of that seemed to require some seriously overactive imagination, to me. Only, perhaps, if the light was really bad…

In the following days however, my friend seemed way more disturbed by the incident than he should have been in my opinion. He even started to cover the chair up with a blanket, so he wouldn’t have to look at the stripes anymore.  At first I made fun of him for that, but his imagination only seemed to grow more feverish from there. He even insisted that there was movement under the blanket when he saw it only from the corner of his eye that stopped immediately when he focused on it. At that point I was quite plainly worried about his mental health.

Then finally the phone rang me out of bed at 3 am one night. When I answered it was him, nearly hysterical, claiming that he had woken from the touch of something cold on his leg, and when he opened his eyes, he found that the blanked he had put over the chair had slipped to the floor and the face was grinning at him again. Of course I told him that it was just a coincidence, that his imagination was acting up and that he needed to calm down, but nothing I said had any effect on him. In the end, all I could do was agree to him coming over and sleeping on my couch.

The next morning I told him to get the fuck rid of that chair if it was really creeping him out that much and he sourly agreed, that this was probably the best thing to do. But even though it was bright morning, with sunlight shining through every window, he was very reluctant to go back to his own house.

It was not half an hour after he departed when the phone rang again. Of course it was him and this time he was screaming. “It’s happened AGAIN!” he yelled, “It’s not just a face anymore! I can see part of a spine! And HANDS! It’s GRASPING FOR ME! I’M NOT FUCKING CRAZY, IT’S RIGHT THERE! COME OVER HERE, NOW!

When I rushed over to his place I found the front door open and all the shutters still down.  The chair stood in his room, innocent as a chair can be, with no trace of a face or hands recognizable anywhere in the pattern. My friend was nowhere to be found though. I walked the entire house up and down, calling his name but he just didn’t turn up.

That was a week ago. Nobody has seen him since, so three days later I went to the police to report him missing. They said he probably just had a nervous breakdown and ran away, and they’re pretty confident they’ll find him soon. But I’m not so certain anymore.

Because, you see, I went to his house one more time, to have a look.

And I could fucking swear that the damned pattern on that damned chair had changed since the last time I saw it.