's 2013 Horror Write-off:

" Bleach "

Submitted by Prophet Storm

Have you ever noticed that when you glance into an animal's eyes--like a cat's, or a rabbit's, or a deer's--at the right angle, in the right light, you can see a flash of light reflected back? Eerie, isn't it?

I knew a man who tried to photograph all possible lights reflected in a cat's eyes. He sedated the poor thing, cut its eyelids off, strapped its head into a cradle and fed it intravaenously while he took hundreds of photos. I got the first three in the mail before I even knew what he was doing. I knew he had to be stopped before the animal rights activists came by and bludgeoned him to death with his own camera.

The first photograph showed the cat's eyes still a little bloody from where the lids were removed. The label read 'Contaminated. Repeated rinse needed.' The next showed the cat's eyes fairly clear, without a flash, so no light behind the eyes, just the pupils. The lable said 'Eyes clear. Prepared for experiment commencement. The third photograph showed a camera flash producing a laser-like blue light in the cat's eyes. It read, 'Canon T50. Unusual blue light.'

I had to stop him. I went to the man's house. Funny....I can't recall his name.

I argued with him that he needed to limit this experiment and put the animal humanely. He ranted at me that this was science, this was progress, this was something that couldn't wait, and must not be interfered with. However, in an effort to bury the hatchet, he invited me to dinner. I excused myself to use the bathroom, dampened a handkerchief in bleach, and smothered the poor animal.

I came back to the table, where I finished my salad. I glanced at the covered dish as I dabbed at the dressing on my face with a napkin. "What's that?"

"The main course." He took the cover off, showing a sumptuous-looking roasted animal I couldn't quite identify. It was a little bit stringy, but very, very tasty, and was braised masterfully. I walked home satisfied and full, but worried at what he would do when he found the dead cat in the experimental cradle.

I shouldn't have. Two days later, I got another batch of photographs of another cat. The first showed a yellow flash in its eyes. "Canon EOS 5D Mark III. Redeye-Removal."

Green flash. "Canon EOS 5D Mark III. No Redeye-Removal."

Red flash. "Nikon D800. ISO 100. Peculiar sound made by specimen on flash."

White flash. "Canon T70 with custom-mounted ISO 150 flash. Specimen started standing entirely still, nictating membranes non-active."

I went back to his house that night, making sure he was occupied in his greenhouse before I smothered this cat as well. To be entirely sure it was dead quickly, I used more bleach than I had before. Then I left.

The very next day I found an envelope on my deck. No postage. No writing. Hand-delivered by its author. I opened it: More photographs, and a faint scent of bleach.

A third cat. Blue flash again. "Canon T60. You're interfering."

I blinked. I was certain he wasn't aware of my mercy-killings.

A fourth cat. What? A green flash. "You're not doing any good for anyone."

This seemed almost spiteful. But the third photograph chilled my bones. It was a room, with rough stone walls and a single lightbulb shining on walls and floors lined with all manner of cages, each one holding two or three cats. None of them had eyelids. Some of them didn't have eyes.


I shook my head abruptly. This couldn't be happening! I ran all the way to his house, where I found the door covered in photographs of cat's eyes, labeled with words like 'Greed' and 'Pride'. The smell of bleach was overpowering.

I walked into the experiment room and I gagged on the smell of bleach, then vomited when I saw the man. His head was in the cradle, his eyelids on the floor. His face was slowly turning blue. Scattered across the floor were photographs.

A cat. "Their eyes see things ours don't."

Another, in his garden. It was hissing at something off-camera. "They are our only line of defense against something we can't see."

A third, atop the roof in a thunderstorm. "I've been trying to find the secret behind their preternatural sight, and all you've done is hinder me!

His face in the cradle. Red flash. "They've found me."

Same angle, his face. Blue flash. "We must find the secret behind these cats' eyes."

This time he was looking right at me. No flash. Tears were streaming down his face. "I am beyond help. This is science. This is progress." On the flip side: "Clean the laboratory. The specimens are in a hidden room beneath this one. We must find the secret. Only then will we be safe.

A final photograph, this one of his face as it was now: Dead and blue. Written on this one, in hardly legible scrawl: "I can't see anymore. They've blinded me. Contaminated. Additional rinsing need"

So I did what he requested. I cleaned the place up. The rest of the cats are in the secret room. The door is behind that bookshelf, it swings out on a hinge. I've been feeding them mice and moles from the traps around here. But please, don't take them away. Don't take me away. I've cut out my own eyelids to continue my research as long as possible. This is science. This is progress.

We must find the secret behind these cats' eyes.

We must.

Or use the bleach.