-->How much do you remember about your childhood?

'''''Pen Pal''''' started as a series of short stories about the childhood of one young man named Dathan Auerbach that were posted as an online horror story on a forum. It quickly drew popularity from its readers and soon there were illustrations, audio recordings, and short films made of it. Then it was revise and expanded to be turned into a full length book.

The story of ''Pen Pal'' is a young man, in an attempt to understand his childhood, investigates seemingly unrelated, strange, horrifying, and soul-crushingly tragic events that occurred over the course of his life. Beginning from his early days in kindergarten and persisting well into his teen years, he discovers that these incidents are actually part a single frightening tale that have molded his entire life and affected everyone around him. Ever played in the woods a little too long after dark? Ever had the feeling that you being watched, and by someone with less than noble intentions? Do you remember you first friend you ever made and how strong that bond was? Well, then ''Pen Pal'' has something for you, and it is a journey you won't soon forget. [[BrainBleach Though, you might just try, anyway.]] Also, make sure to being [[TearJerker a box of tissues]] Whether this is a true story or not has been left ambiguous.

The book is divided into six chapters, ''Footsteps'', ''Balloons'', ''Boxes'', ''Maps'', ''Screens'', and ''Friends''.

The book is available [[http://www.amazon.com/dp/098554550X/ref=cm_sw_su_dp here]].

You can listen to an online dramatic reading [[http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYK-9Ji21LirW0rmQ05_aufB7MFLKRK1h&feature=view_all here]], by Mr. Creepypasta of [[WebVideo/TheMidnightSociety The Midnight Society]].
!!''Pen Pal'' has examples of:

* AdultFear: This isn't a supernatural horror story. It's much, much worse.
* AnachronicOrder: The chapters aren't organized by sequential date, but rather come as revelations as the narrator remembers more, or asks his mother for information.
* AndIMustScream: [[spoiler: Josh. Poor, poor ''Josh.'' His relationship with the narrator causes the stalker to turn his focus towards him. The stalker kidnaps Josh, leaving a note on his pillow that states he has "run away" so there won't be an investigation. For two years, the stalker detains Josh doing God knows what to him (the narrator himself states he doesn't allow himself to think about what must have happened), all the while pretending Josh is the narrator; he dyes his hair and forces him to wear the narrator's old clothes. Ultimately, the stalker decides he wants to go out with a bang and ends up paying Josh's ''own father'' to unknowingly fill up the hole he is going to place himself and Josh in. When their bodies are found, it's clear that Josh was still alive when he was buried and was being embraced by his kidnapper and torturer.]] It's no wonder Josh's father [[spoiler: basically has a mental breakdown when he finds the scene and realizes that what he thought was some ordinary construction work led to his son's death.]]
* ChekhovsGun: Josh and Dathan are said to be strikingly similar, to the point where Dathan's mother says that the only way she can tell the two of them apart is by their hair. [[spoiler:So when the stalker seemingly can't find it in himself to go through with his plans for Dathan, he settles for Josh.]]
* {{Diary}}: The story is told in the first person by the main character writing down the results of his investigation into his past.
* DontGoInTheWoods: The first story has our protagonist wake up in the woods, not knowing how he got there. Future sojourns into the woods spell danger for anyone involved.
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler: The stalker gets almost exactly what he wanted in the end, and explicitly died smiling.]] Dathan reflects on the injustice and cruelty of the world.
* NothingIsScarier: See PresentAbsence below. It makes the stalker a ''whole'' lot more frightening.
* PresentAbsence: [[spoiler: Dathan's stalker is never seen, described, or even identified, and only was one real line in the story.]]
* StalkerWithACrush: Of the most horrifying variety. [[spoiler: The unseen main antagonist of the story is an obsessed pedophile that began stalking Dathan when the boy was five. It started with a kindergarten project to release balloons with a letter and picture of the child who sent it. The purpose was for whoever received the balloons to take pictures of the area they live in and mail them back. Dathan's came to him. Instead of following the instructions in the letter, the stalker instead tracked it to the source and began stalking Dathan for about ten years and killed anyone who got too close to the boy. The victims included a sweet old woman who always watched over Dathan, the family cat, his best friend, and later, Dathan's potential girlfriend.]]
** While the reason for his actions may seem to be ForTheEvulz, Dathan's mother states that, [[spoiler:upon looking at his dead body, he looked like an ordinary man in love.]] This arguably makes him even more terrifying, since he must have thought that he was truly being romantic while [[spoiler:stalking Dathan and killing anyone whom he thought got in the way of their love.]] There's sick, and then there's FUBAR.
* TheyLookJustLikeEveryoneElse