Wanted to preface this by saying this is an old work. It isn't as good as I would like it to be, but it is worth releasing because I'm still proud of my works.

Inspired by andyl4nd on Instagram.

Inspired by ANDY LAND on YouTube.

Ben and his drunken sister, Ruth, walked up the stairs. She danced around and almost fell down several times from the alcohol running through her brain, but Ben was there to catch her.

"You should stop drinking." Ben guided Ruth's hands to the handrail just in case she fell again.

"Drinking? What's that?" Ruth's slurred speech made it hard for Ben to understand, but because he'd been around her for his entire life, he could decipher it in a few seconds.

"Never mind..." Ben decided to stop talking. Whenever he tried to get his sister to stop drinking, nothing seemed to work. She would always brush it off. And he could never find the right situation to talk to her about it because whenever he did, she would blame him for ruining her good mood.

"Ah, right... Tomorrow is your 23rd birthday so happy early birthday, idiot~." Ruth punched him in the chest, knocking the air out of him.

Ben easily blocked the next 22 birthday punches after that. If there was one good thing about her being drunk, it was she couldn't hit him very well. And every year for his birthday, she would bruise him slightly with the number of birthday punches he received.

"Yeah, yeah... Now let's get you to sleep. Wouldn't want our parents to wake up only to find you drunk. They'd get pretty mad." Ben led Ruth into her room and laid her down on her bed. "When you wake up, I'll have some chicken noodle soup to cure your hangover."

"Sure. Love ya, bro. And good night." Ruth sprawled out on her bed until Ben neatly tucked her in and turned the small night light beside her bed off.

When he closed the door, he walked over to his room and laid down on his bed. He stared up at the ceiling and took a small trip down memory lane.

He was going to be 23 tomorrow. It was crazy to think about. Crazy to think that he used to be a small child, but now he was all grown up. An adult with responsibilities.

He had finished college for his bachelor's degree in accounting just a few weeks ago, but no one hired him yet. It felt like all the work he put in to grab that degree felt useless. He was hoping to get a job right away and start making money, but it seemed like life had other plans for him at the moment.

As for his sister, she had a job as a physical therapist. She had completed college three years before him, and she was hired straight away to work for Catron, a famous company known for having the best physical therapists in the United States, but she spent about half her salary on drinking and partying.

She could have moved out and rented an apartment with her boyfriend by now, but here she was, living with her parents. The same could be said about him, but at least he had an excuse.

Ben closed his eyes and listened to the small clock ticking away in his room. The ticking noise seemed to grow louder the more he concentrated on it until it suddenly vanished. It was replaced with a quiet and eerie silence.

Tomorrow would be his 23rd birthday.

Ben couldn't tell what was going on, but it felt like he was trapped inside of a body. A body shaped like a stickman. He usually had a moderate amount of fat on his waistline, but for some reason, it felt thin. As if his body was stuffed through a tube.

He still couldn't see anything. He tried moving his arms and legs, but they didn't budge. Not even a single millimeter.

Above his head, he heard the clack of what sounded like a casino machine. Even though he couldn't see it, he could somehow tell that it said 23. The number of his age tomorrow.

Slowly, a song played out from some speakers above his head. It was calm yet disturbing. And if he wasn't mistaken, he could identify the song because it was the song his parents always played for his birthday. He hated it, but his parents always loved it.

His eyes suddenly snapped open as the music played and he could finally move his upper body, but his lower body was glued to the chair.

The vision of the small room he was in flooded into his eyes, but the sight that greeted him wasn't pleasant.

In front of him, a table with a red tablecloth was present. A polka-dotted plate with a fork and a napkin placed on the side were the only things adorning the table. And a small cup was placed just a bit further from where the fork was sitting.

But the thing that got his heart racing was the two people sitting down on the four chairs that lined each side of the table. They had a stick figure like-esque and their bodies were painted with a yellow color.

One of them lay face down on the table and the other laid on the ground with its face planted on the ground. It was almost as if they were dead.

The more Ben looked around the room, the more reasons he had to fear. The screams from his vocal cords only produced a muffled noise that reached deaf ears. Pounding the table with both his ball-like fists, he tried everything he could in his current power to escape, but the music played on and so did the birthday party.

With a creaking noise, another yellow-colored stick figure sitting in a blue desk on the far right corner slowly turned its body around to stare at him. The birthday hat on top of its head along with the two black dots and smile painted on its face made the situation even worse. And the constant twitching of its body was blood-chilling.

Ben slammed the table with more and more powerful hits, but the table withstood it all. And the party still continued.

On the far end of the table, a small pink figure with a red dot on its head began dancing on a birthday plate that looked similar to the one lying in front of him. If Ben didn't notice the dancing figure before, now he did. And the creepy dancing only served as fuel for the fire of fear.

On the left side, a door frame with a dim light shining through it stood while two black silhouettes producing TV static-like noises circled around it. They walked around clumsily and awkwardly as if they didn't know what they were doing there.

The next thing that happened almost scared him to death. His heartbeat spiked as the static black figures appeared beside him and began cradling him with their scrawny bodies.

The muffled scream spilling out from Ben's mouth the whole time went a few notes higher as fear coursed through his veins. And because the two black figures were holding him, he couldn't slam his fists into them, even if he wanted to.

But it was supposed to be his birthday tomorrow. Why was he here? Where did his family go? Why wasn't he in his bedroom? Was this the afterlife? Was this hell?

This wasn't how he wanted to celebrate the day he was born. This wasn't how he wanted to celebrate his birthday. His 23rd birthday.

His twenty-third birthday! His 23rd birthday! His twenty-3rd birthday! HIS 20-THIRD BIRTHDAY! HÎ$ TŴËÑTŶ-THÏRD BÌRTHDÃŶ¡ H̴̳̚Í̴̫S̸̟̽ ̶̲̽T̵̼̐Ŵ̸͔E̵̤̔N̶̤̽T̸̳̚Y̵͖͑-̴̠͊T̵̠͊H̸̩́I̷͓̚R̸̩̊D̷̻̈ ̶̱̿B̵͈̓I̷̺͗R̷͙̾T̵̗̓H̷̩̏Ḋ̵̡A̶̹̒Ỳ̴̝!̷̗̽

Suddenly, the music fizzled out, and everything in the room stopped moving. His body went limp and slumped into the chair. And the terrifying vision that once poured into Ben's eyes transitioned to black.

Tomorrow would be his 23rd birthday.