Bogleech.com's 2013 Horror Write-off:

"My Happy Place"

Submitted by Wyatt Hill

Iíve finally found my happy place.

It lies through the old chimney in the forest, the one surrounded by the little blue flowers that look like bells and weep when you say their name.

The chimney is empty.

Donít light a fire; fire scares the man with the wooden face. He likes flashlights better. Stick a flashlight or one of those cheap, dollar-store LCD lanterns and youíll be good to go.

On the other side is my happy place.

The ground is made of fingers that squirm. They make a crunching noise when you walk on them. It made me wince a little the first few times, but the round thing assures me that they feel no pain. Now I traverse the carpet of fingers freely and without remorse.

Thereís a hole behind the chimney. All of the fingers just drop down into nothing. Itís not pure black, or pure white, or any color at all. It is simply nothing. Not color, or light, or noise, or existence. Sometimes I see things squirming down there. They look like horses with no legs and scream like grown men.

The trees are made of rubber, or something that feels like it. The man with the wooden face says if you cut deep enough into them, you can find water. Iím not sure he knows what water is, though; I cut about halfway through a rubbery tree one time, and no liquid came out; just a bunch of little, metallic beads that smelled like sulfur and dissolved when they touched the ground-fingers.

The round thing lives in a tall house on a cliff. It is upside down, but then again, so is he. His eyes donít seem to shut. It creeped me out a bit at first, but the round thing has grown on me since then. He gave me a pet once; a little, four-legged reptile the walked with its mouth and spoke with its tail. Heís told me to name it whatever I want. I named it Andy.

The man with the wooden face does not like the round thing much. He says he is boisterous and rowdy, and is very distracting. I donít think he likes me much either, but heís taken a liking to Andy. He tried to steal my little pet one time, but I severed the man with the wooden faceís seventy-fourth leg, and he would not leave without it.

It is very nice here. I have fashioned myself a house of the living and screaming yet immobile slabs of hair I found piled at the base of the hungry mountain. The mountain lent them to me, but he says I must return them if my elbows should ever revolt.

The man with the wooden mask has promised to teach me his trade in exchange for a favor; I must break the chimney. He says if I leave through the chimney again, the gallowbirds wonít come back and the round thing would start his old business again.

Iím going to get rid of the chimney.

I didnít want to leave, anyway. This is my happy place, after all.

***

I met a man today.

He had scrabbling, squeaking lice where his hands and feet should be and his head looked like a giant earthworm with a face at the tip, flailing wildly back and forth and screeching incoherently. His genitals were split into a pair of long tendrils, each tipped with a single bird-like beak.

I asked him his name but he did not respond. Instead, he wrapped his genital-tendrils around my torso, and I heard the beaks squawking. I'm fairly sure this is a display of affection.

When I went home to my hair-house, he was still following me. I invited him inside, but he didn't seem to hear me. Then he began to bang his worm-like mass of a head against the furry walls. They growled in irritation.

The round thing came to visit me, but when he saw the man, he got angry. He walked off in a huff before I could ask him why.

I figured I'd ask him tomorrow and I lied down on my bed - a little patchwork quilt that I had lain over the fingers - for a nap. When I awakened, the lice-handed man was nowhere to be seen.

The man with the wooden face and the round thing agreed that it was a good thing he was gone; he was nothing but trouble last time.

***

The man with the wooden face and the round thing are arguing again.

One of the gallowbirds from the east flew in, losing its clay feathers as it flapped around. It was obviously sick, as it could fly for only a meager few seconds, whereas most gallowbirds can at least stay in the air a minute or two.

None of them had seen a gallowbird die. The round thing liked to say he did, but we all knew that wasn't true. Andy told me. He says the round thing lies a lot and only tells the truth when the grey tides seep through the ground and drown the fingers temporarily in muck.

We weren't sure when exactly the gallowbird passed. All of us were huddled around a little hardened slab of rubbery tree material for the better part of an hour. We only knew it was dead when the man with the wooden face tried to touch it.

When one of his long, seven-jointed fingers came close, the dead gallowbird wobbled upright and skittered away. It's common knowledge that dead gallowbirds don't like to be touched.

I never really bothered to ask how we got that knowledge exactly when nobody's ever actually seen a dead gallowbird.

***

Today I watched the round thing bludgeon a creature.

It appeared to be a tiny dog with a hairless chicken for a head. In a shrill, harsh voice it came into my house as I was conversing with the round thing and demanded we let him borrow our chairs.

It promised to return all of them in precisely fourteen-thousand and ninety-seven days, but the round thing was furious. He tore one of the large metal rods from his coat and smacked the chicken-dog across the head with it.

He continued to do so until it stopped moving.

At first I was disgusted, but the round thing assured me that it did not die. He said it would awaken within an hour, albeit with one less mind than he had before.

The round thing and I continued our conversation.

***

The man with the wooden face has not spoken in days. The round thing has tried to coax him into a conversation, but he still will not speak.

The ground feels distressed as well. The fingers are squirming, crunching, with a fervor I hadn't seen since I first found my happy place. Once they grabbed my foot and would not let go until I stomped them all into.

Andy and the round thing have become distressed. The gallowbirds have fled, and a colossal creature claiming to be a flower has taken up residence in the round thing's house.

The flower has no arms, save for a pair of blunt, metallic bars protruding from its shoulders and waist, and a single pink-tinged eye takes up the place where its neck ends.

The flower speaks in rhymes, although he rarely says anything beyond emphasizing how much he enjoys gaining nutrients from the sun.

***

No, no, no, no, no.

Somebody has come to my happy place. I can't place his name, but I remember the face. He's found a way in.

There are other entrances and exits, and it seems anybody can invade my happy place whenever they want. Destroying the chimney did nothing but disable one way in. For all I know, there could be thousands.

I think I'm crying for the first time since I've arrived. Is this even my happy place anymore now that anybody can just saunter in? Yes. Yes, it is. It belongs to me, and to Andy, and to the round thing and man with the wooden face.

He is looking at me with a terrified expression. Yes, he must know what is about to happen. He must know what he deserves for trespassing in my happy place.

What's happened to my hands? They are so beautiful now. Nothing but featureless stumps with small, puckered holes leaking colorless liquid. My stomach has grown to envelop my legs. I've never felt so great in my life.

He doesn't scream or cry when I bludgeon him with my arms. The translucent fluid is covering his body. It truly is my happy place again. Not his, nor anybody else's.

The fingers on the ground have calmed again. I turn and can see the man with the wooden face speaking with the round thing in the upturned manor.

I find a silver pool and look at my reflection for the first time since the discovery of my happy place. I am glorious. Everything is in the wrong place; my mouth is an inside-out, bony structure, and my eyes appear to have grown legs. I feel perfect. I am like all of them now; the round thing would be proud.

Everything is fine. If anybody stumbles into my happy place again, I will kill them as well. It is mine. My happy place.