's 2013 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Maxx Mann

The other day, something weird happened.

I am a fashion enthusiast. I adore shows, I worship designers and I pine for the wearable art they create. My favourite designer is Markuss Mortuss, a rather eccentric and enigmatic character who designs the most exquisite, otherworldly garments. Constructions of exotic leather and treated fabrics with organic themes. Of course, like most high-end fashion designers, most of these clothes are hideously expensive, the most basic shirt selling for quad-digit prices.

If I had the money, I would buy one of his coats. I love his coats the most.

But I’m getting off topic; I’m here to talk about this thing that I witnessed. A few days ago, I was lucky enough to actually get into a Markuss Mortuss show. Normally you have to pay a fortune to get in, but I was forwarded a free invitation from one of his associates. I guess they were just handing them out at random to spread the label’s visibility, either that or this associate saw me at another show and noticed how invested I was. Either way, I don’t care; I got to see the work of Markuss Mortuss in person for fucking free, which was an event I’ll never, ever forget.

The invitation was just an image in an email. A mass of jumbled and corrupted TV static, with the address, date and the Markuss Mortuss logo just barely visible. Also, in the bottom right corner was a single, fairly visible word: “recycle”. This couldn’t have been instructions for what to do with the invitation, you can’t recycle a jpeg (I bet Markuss could, the man’s a mad genius).

I made my way to the address on the day, which was a door in the wall of a particularly shady alleyway. Just a door. A black, rectangular, blank door with a cast-iron handle. No number, no sign, not even a street number. I let myself in, to witness a group of other fashion enthusiasts scattered around a polished concrete room decorated with a few simple chairs. Music was playing; a swirling, noteless, ambience that calmed me immensely, but I was still frustrated at these other people.

I hate these pretentious pieces of shit. These stupid fashion slaves standing around gormlessly, trying to out-“deep” one another, constantly honking and screeching about art and design with such a smug air. Some of them were wearing Markuss Mortuss coats and this just angered me further.

“You don’t deserve that.” I smouldered to myself. “You’re not worthy to even look at such beauty.”

Just before my tightly-contained rage got out of control, the lights dimmed and a monotone voice spoke through the darkness. “Please be seated, ‘Recycle’ will commence immediately.” This was a little odd but I wasn’t complaining. I dashed to the nearest seat (before anyone else, mind you. Stupid fucks were too concerned with their iPhones to hurry.) and I waited. A rather large and bearded man plodded next to me, draped with black fabric in an attempt to hide is massive gut. He regarded me and I forced the most genuine-looking smile I could and nodded towards him in a friendly manner, which caused his neckless head to rotate back forward wordlessly.


The ambience stopped, almost instantly, and the lights shut off entirely, leaving us all in pitch-blackness. After what seemed like a full minute of sitting silently, the room was filled with pounding industrial dance music and the centre was illuminated with a spotlight. My heart skipped a beat as the first model strut into view, clad in baggy pants and an incredible hooded jacket that hid his eyes. I grinned wide, imagining myself clad in it, hiding from the world in plain sight. He reached the end of the room, stopped briefly, then turned and left. The next model was even better, his high heels elevated him above the other one and his motions were fluid and confident. Someone from across the room yelled “gaaaaaaaaaay” lazily, which elicited a loud and furious shush from myself. The third model was by far the best, wearing a seamless leather jacket that looked like a cocoon or some kind of protective covering the model himself formed naturally. He was walking a lot slower than the other two models, slowing more with each step and eventually stopping directly in front of me, much to my unseen delight. I had a burning desire to touch that coat, but I held myself back and just stared.

I stared.

And stared.

And realised that the model was staring too. Not at me, but the fat man next to me. The model’s eyes were transfixed, unmoving, just….staring. In the darkness I couldn’t make out his face, but his eyes shone out luminously, like a nocturnal animal’s. Even though his head wasn’t facing me, I felt uncomfortable. I felt like those huge eyes were observing me. I can only imagine how the bearded man felt, he was probably terrified, and that loud, grating, scratchy music probably wasn’t helping. After an unacceptably long time, the model left, but he didn’t walk out calmly like the others, he ran. Or rather, he scampered into the darkness.

The show continued for a while longer, but I wasn’t as invested as before. I felt uneasy, like those eyes never stopped watching me, watching all of us. Eventually the models stopped coming and the spotlight died away, leaving us in darkness once again. Just as my eyes fully adjusted, the main lights shunted on, practically blinding everyone to a harmonised chorus of their frustrated objections. I covered my eyes with my sleeve and recoiled, my ears ringing. As I collected myself, I realised there was no sound from the crowd. No cheers or applause or even idle chat. Furious at these ungrateful elitists, I threw my arm away and blinked into the alien light, ready to let them all know exactly how I felt about them.

But then I realised why they were so quiet.

The fat, bearded man next to me was being recycled.

I ran. I ran faster than my body could. I ran home as quickly as I could and slammed myself into the door to shut it. I compressed my temples with both hands and tried to remember what happened. There was silence….and….iron. Black, organically shaped iron, Twisting tools and bones wrapped in leather.

Leather, yes! So much leather, seamless, blackened leather. Sweet, protective coverings.

Protect myself.

Wearable bunkers. A cocoon to incubate and transform within. Those models. A portable home to hide in. Hiding. Hide from the models.


Treated hide. Protective coating. Coated. Coat.

It was a coat.

His coat.

I want that coat.

I want to be a coat.