's 2013 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Gabriele Guandalini

14/03/2150 D.C.

It all started 15 years ago.

I was the head of a team of qualified researchers, we were working on something that could change history forever.


Yes, in the secret lab in New Rome, the capital of the great empire that brought peace in our world for the last 80 years we were researching something that could finally improve mobility to a new level, we dreamed that we could travel in space, that roads would not be necessary anymore.

Teleportation was the answer to all.

Finally, after many years of calculations, prototypes and experiments we thought we had found a way to make it possible. We were going to distort both time and space trough a portal to open another one practically anywhere and connect them, it was not instant body transmission, but it was very close.
We made every possible simulation and we built a prototype that gave us complete assurance that the distortion wouldn't leak out of the portal once we opened it, we needed total assurance that no one would be in danger since we were playing with very dangerous things.

Exactly 15 years ago we decided to test it in action.

And it worked just fine.

It opened on one side and our team on the target for the other portal reported a successful opening. We tested it, we made many objects pass through it, then I and other teammates passed too inside a protective vehicle.

For five years humanity had a breakthrough. Many other portals were created and the whole economic system was revolutionized.

We all became rich and famous, held conferences and continued our research.
Then something happened, it was nothing at first, just weird things happening around the world around the areas where the portals were built, just people that felt something different, like if the ground, or the pavement, was breathing, slowly.
Psychologists simply told it was a case of stress linked to the sudden change in everyone's life.

Then the nightmares started, people woke up with weird scars on them after dreaming about being in a huge mouth.

An increasing number of posts in the social networks appeared talking about shapeless shadows spotted at night appeared everywhere around the world.
Recordings of uncommon screams during the night could be found everywhere in the net.

People started disappearing, completely, without leaving any trace, even people that are almost constantly under the eye of the world.

The government decided to take action, they brought together experts from all around the world along with military corps in order to understand and stop this madness, and I and my team were among the scientific section of this massive task force.

In order to eventually shift responsibility we all had code names, I was the Mind.
We chose areas where the sightings were common and started patrolling them with teams made of five, well equipped, soldiers and two scientists with every possible miniaturized instrument they thought they could carry.

On the second night my team, led by the general known as Dancer found something.

As the witnesses told us it was like a shadow, its shape constantly changing with limbs that shifted between thick beastly claws and delicate insect legs, a body expanding and retracting without any intelligible rhythm, no eyes or mouth could be seen. Two of the soldiers panicked and started shooting their rounds at it, me and my colleague started taking measurements.

The thing moved fast towards us, in a way I never thought was possible for a living being.

It was extremely jerky, like if it suddenly appeared and disappeared a few meters ahead.

We started running, the creature touched with a limb one of the soldiers that were shooting, they immediately became of the same shadow-like color of the thing and fell to the ground, and then dissipated in a black fog leaving only their clothes empty on the asphalt.

Then the creature simply hopped on a wall and slithered on it, almost losing its shape, and disappeared.

We all came back to the base very shocked.

That night every team met a creature, we lost 20 men, in one night, a disgrace.
I went into the lab to analyze the measurements and recordings along my colleagues.

There was nothing, that thing didn't emit any heat, there were no radiations, no uncommon substances in the air, nothing anywhere, almost like it didn't exist, even the videos we took with the cameras on our helmets barely showed anything, but those soldiers were dead, it could not have been nothing.

Among all unsolved questions there were some that bothered me during the next days:

What were those things?

Why do they only appear at night?

Where are they during daytime?

Why are they invisible to our apparel?

We decided to start checking sewers and abandoned buildings during daytime in order to find some answers.

The situation was getting critical, five years passed since our task force was assembled and things have been getting worst day after day, the creatures started attacking whoever wandered at night.

Every time we faced the creatures was the same, we tried equipping our men with every possible weapon, in order to kill or capture them but it was useless, we even started using drone squads when the death toll became too high, they never gave any sign of being harmed or tired.

The number of them increased every night all around the world, thanks to the teleport we could operate almost everywhere at the same time, there was no rest for anyone.

I will never forget that day five years ago, the first time our instruments gave a reading on them.

We were checking an abandoned building, a huge skyscraper that many people used to call home, it would have been demolished next month.

The drones went inside while we controlled them from outside, and it was full of people.

There wasn't barely any light, the drones had flashlights installed on them so we could see, there were tens, maybe thousands of people in there.

But they weren't normal, it seemed like they were kept alive by some mysterious force since they were so thin you could see each of their bones clearly, more than the limit of anorexia.

We slowly went up the stairs, each floor was filled with people, the higher the floor was the more the bodies were twisted, yet they crawled slowly up the stairs to the next one.

Finally we arrived to the highest floor, the walls had been taken down leaving only a huge room.

Exactly in the middle of it there were many creatures, but they were different, instruments could sense them, the unlucky bodies of the people who dragged themselves there were lifted and dismembered, the muscles and sinews came together and shifted, matching the irregular shape of the things, becoming part of them, all was happening without a sound, once a creature had its body completely made of flesh it went to a corner and waited the others.

How long has this thing been going on? There were hundreds of them packed up in that corner and other shadow-like creatures appeared from the floor in the middle of the room.

We decided to unleash all weaponry on those things, the floor literally exploded and sunlight came in, all creatures, even the ones made of flesh, slithered away at lightning speed leaving a trail of blood behind them which disappeared after a couple of seconds.

We started rescuing the people trapped in there, the facial scan revealed that they all were victims of the nightmares, and most of them were given for goners.
We realized something awful, our leader, Watcher, suffered from those nightmares for the last year and avoided human contact for the last months.
We rushed to the base, broke into his office and we saw him, seated on his chair, pale like a corpse, a creature hovering upon his head, black tendrils attached to his spine.

We tried to talk to him but he only uttered one phrase "You opened the door to us, there is plenty of food here, now it is ours", then he was torn apart by the thing.

In that moment the results of the scanning on the creatures arrived to my communicator.

The creatures seemed to distort time and space and were somewhat a distortion themselves.

There was only one thing that all cities infested by the creatures had in common, a central teleporter, we ran to the nearest, it was maintenance time, where all human access was restricted, while the droids were repairing and cleaning the huge portal thousands of creatures flew out of it and ran away in the airing system. There was only one way to stop this madness, we had to turn it off. Immediately tens of those distorted figures rushed to the control room, blocking its entry. Our general lost his calm and shot at the portal with the biggest gun we had. It was torn to pieces but, for a moment, the security measures that kept the anomaly we created from overflowing were lifted, time and space all around the world began to expand or retract, objects belonging to our time started to appear in museums while others were lost forever.

We informed the government, they decided to tell the population that a problem with the portals occurred and to not panic, meanwhile they spent most of public money to expand our orbital bases in order to sustain a large part of the population.

In these last five years we have been fighting the creatures we all learned to call "distortions" in order to keep safe a part of the citizens that will sojourn into space for the next years.

It's no use, only a small part of humanity is left but we are ready to evacuate.
When the evacuation will be completed our government will use all of its warheads on the surface of the planet, the large amount of energy released should erase the consequences of the portal's explosion and kill all of the distortions, earth won't be inhabitable for a long time.

I wrote this memorial in a very resistant material and covered it in protective fluid in hope that it could be spared by what we will unleash here. I will throw it in an area where time is distorted, if someone is going to read this I hope that humans will be able to live on earth again, don't look for me, I probably died a century ago, or, in the best case, I am not born yet.

This collection of tablets was found in a ruin of a temple in the middle of Africa, it was impossible to establish when it was written due to incongruences met during tests.