's 2013 Horror Write-off:

"Not Real"

Submitted by David Haire

In the beginning there was darkness, but the darkness wasn’t empty.

I awoke one morning to the sound of hysterical crying emanating from downstairs. Or laughter. Honestly, it could’ve been either.

Still sluggish from the embrace of sleep, I clumsily made my way down the stairwell. The sound subsided as I reached the bottom step. I assumed it had come from the television, but when I rounded the corner into the living room, I saw that our box bore nothing but static.

Movement caught my eye and I turned towards the dining room where I saw my wife seated at the table, hunched over my six-year-old son. Not entirely sure what I was looking at, I approached slowly. My wife gave a muffled sob. It sounded like she was eating something. “Honey?”

She turned at the sound of my voice and my breath caught in my throat. My son’s abdomen was a soupy mess, which was understandable as my wife had pulled his intestines out and was chewing messily on them, dribbling insides down her chest.

She looked at me, her eyes brimming over with tears and swallowed. “He-e-elp meee!” She bawled.

My son, miraculously still alive, turned his head and stared at me with glassy eyes. “Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt.” He grinned a red grin.

I was clearly still asleep. I had to be. This simply couldn’t be real. Delirious with terror and revulsion, I stumbled out the front door and heaved my stomach contents onto the porch. It was moving.

Not real.

I saw my neighbor sitting with his back against his van. I walked towards him, stumbling as my foot caught the curb. There was a great swath of red across the side window and he was slowly rocking back and forth, giggling softly. “It’s all bullshit.” He snorted. “There’s no god.” There was a small, battered revolver in his hands. “No god. Nothing. There’s nothing.”

He noticed me and looked up. “It’s better this way.” He burst into tears. “Better s’way. Safe. She’s safe.” He choked back a sob. “Can’t hurt her. Safe.” He lifted the gun to his chin and pulled the trigger.

The worst part was the sound. It was quieter that I thought it’d be. Just a short, sharp crack. My face was wet. It wasn’t real. It was moving.

I walked past his car and wandered down the street, past the houses where my friends lived, past lawns strewn with pieces of things and what I suppose were people. I walked past the school and ignored the shrieks. It wasn’t real. It wasn’t.

I found my way to my favorite park and slumped against a tree. It was moving. It wasn’t real. A dozen yards away or so, a woman was crouched above an over-turned stroller, devouring her infant. I didn’t move.

I saw the sun split open and empty its veins across a sky of raw meat as roaring clouds of flies filled the air. I saw the oceans fill with boiling shit and great fissures open in the churning earth. Fissures filled with gnashing, grinding teeth.

I couldn’t move. I could hear them, singing, screaming, whispering inside my head. I’d try to claw it out, but I don’t have any hands. They’re inside me, trying to get out. The leaves are all falling. Not real. It’s not real.

Even if I shut my eyes I can see it. I can see everything. I can see them. Oh god, I can see them. It never stops. It never ends. They’re inside me. I see them. I hear them. It’s real. It’s all real. They’re coming back

They’re coming back.