's 2013 Horror Write-off:

" Imbunche "

Submitted by Raven

There never really is a feeling so good as attending the birth of a family member. My little brother was going to be a daddy, and he was standing with me in the delivery room. I clapped him on the back in celebration. “Congratulations, Frankie. So, have you given any thought as to what you're gonna call the little tyke?” Frankie smiled back at me. “We're naming him after his uncle, Donnie.” I started to tear up and hugged Frankie. This touching moment was interrupted with the sounds of Hannah entering the late stages of labor. I gave a short smile to my little brother as I was quickly ushered out by the obstetrician. It was a major disappointment that I couldn't witness my namesake's birth, but there was nothing I could do. I got back in my red Taurus and drove back home.

Frankie called me three hours later. Donnie Junior had died suddenly.

After that, I didn't see Frankie as often. On the few occasions we did meet up, he seemed like a completely different person. He didn't bother to shave anymore, causing his normally cleanshaven face to look like a forest of wiry blond hair. Hannah, a naturally vivacious woman with a ruddy complexion, had lost 3 stone and had grown sallow. Both of them now had sunken-in eyes, bleary and pink from grief. Each time I saw them, they looked even sadder than before.

It was about 13 after Donnie Junior's death when I got the invitation to Hannah's funeral. I drove to the funeral home 2 hours away to see the body. The funeral directors had done a masterful job, making Hannah look like she did before the tragedy. The interment was a solemn procedure, and Frankie didn't bother to say anything about his deceased wife. As the mourners drove home after the ceremony, I was left with Frankie.

Frankie walked over to me and fell into my arms, crying. “C-Christ, Donnie... she's gone. Swa-allowed an entire bottluh sleepin' pills. They ast me why she didit. I hadta lie, Donnie. I burned her note and wrote a-a new one, sayin' itwas about Junior's death. It was a lie, big bro.” I was dumbstruck. “Frankie, what was a lie?,” I said with caution. “Th-the reason. It wassnabout his death. The truth is... Junior never died. After the doctor pushed you out of the office, he payed us to keep quiet when he took your little nephew. The nurses're in onnit too. They wrote up a fake death certificate 'n ev'rything... I'm so sorry...” As Frankie's words turned into sobs, I had a new mission. I needed to get my nephew back, and I needed to kill that bastard of an obstetrician.

I had to call in a lot of favors to an old (and rather unscrupulous) friend to get information on the doctor. His name was Jaime Valenzuela. He emigrated from his native Chile at the age of 26 to work at an esteemed hospital. His home address was only a few hours drive from my house. With Frankie in the passenger's seat of my old red Taurus, and with a loaded Remington and a bottle of kerosene behind me, we were off to end Valenzuela's wretched life.

At 2 in the morning, we arrived at Valenzuela's house. It wasn't as big as one would expect a doctor's house to be, but it was still impressive. As my unscrupulous friend instructed, I cut the phone lines to disable the security. Using the Remington as a ram, I busted down the oak doors. The inside of the house was sparsely lit, but there was enough light to see where everything was. We split up to cover the house. I took the ground floor, and Frankie took the basement.

I tiptoed into the kitchen. It smelled like rotting meat. As I approached the pantry, the stink grew worse. I grabbed the doorknob and pushed the pantry door open. Lining the shelves were dozens of jars, full of what looked like fetuses. I kept myself from vomiting, when I heard Frankie's bloodcurdling screams coming from the basement. A second later, the screaming stopped.

It took me all of 2 seconds to be at the basement stairs. Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. Hovering over my brother's body was a twisted monster, gore dripping from its maw. Without a moment's hesitation, I took aim and shot it between the eyes. With a shudder, the beast expired. I then took notice of Jaime Valenzuela, who was frozen in panic. He was screaming about “el imbunche.” From his pointing, I gathered that he was referring to the hairy beast. I fired and hit him in the stomach. His death wouldn't come quickly. I strode over to the dead monstrosity who had killed Frankie.

The imbunche's left leg was twisted over its back. It was fixed there with what looked like twine. Its head was twisted all the way around, so that it looked down its own crooked back. In its bleeding mouth, I saw a tongue gruesomely split in half. On its two arms and one good leg, the nails were grown out into yellowed claws. The imbunche's skin was leathery and dark, and its hair was coarse and thick, covering its entire body. Only when I looked into the beast's eyes did I notice it. Despite its hairiness, its crookedness, its wrongness, it was totally human. For its entire life, the child had known only abuse and hatred. Valenzuela fed him upon the flesh of children and fetuses, often giving the imbunche the child alive to slay himself. I closed Frankie's eyelids, then I closed the imbunche's. I whispered a prayer for both of them, spilled the bottle of kerosene, walked away, and threw a match. As the house started to burn, I whispered, “It was good to see you one last time, Donnie Junior.”