's 2013 Horror Write-off:

" Red "

Submitted by Nicky Norden

I love Red.

Red has been my friend for as long as I can remember, a quiet friend, but warm and kind. Red would always be there for me no matter what happened, he would be there and he would never leave me for anything. When it was dark Red would never complain about me slipping in with him, he would always keep me warm when I was afraid. Red was always humble, he always shared his food with me when I had none for myself, and he never asked anything in return. Me and Red were best friends forever, we were always there for one another, no matter how much we grew we were never apart... or so I thought.

One day, without warning, somebody took me away from my good friend Red. Maybe he thought I was too old to be Red's friend, maybe he was jealous of all the attention Red gave me. All I knew at that moment, however was that he grabbed me and soon I couldn't see Red at all. I tried to cry for Red to help me and that cruel Mr. White (as I'd later call him) struck me. That just made me cry harder. I looked all around but Red was completely gone, nowhere to be seen. Before I could tell what was going on that Mr. White was handing me off to strange creatures I didn't know, monsters I've come to know as the Pinks.

Oh how I loathed the Pinks.

There were three of them, the Pinks, one of them was a gargantuan brute, unbelievable in size and hulking in stature, a veritable colossus. The second was equally large, but thin and spindly, its arms sickeningly long, ending in sharp points. The third, however, looked exactly like me in most every way, a doppleganger if ever there was, disturbing in its near-perfect imitation of my own form. The three of them took me and covered my face, nearly smothering me as they grabbed me, I could feel them moving me about as they drug me back to their den, a long, long trip of darkness and the sound of the strange gibbering squeaks that they emitted.

Before I could tell what was happening they had unbound my eyes and I could see that the things had locked me in a cage, where they would pester and torment me at every possible opportunity they had, never giving me a moment alone to think or lament my seperation from my good friend Red. The longer I stayed in their wicked den, however, the more I got accustomed to their torturous ways, the less fear I felt when they would glare down at me from above the bars of my roofless prison. Eventually I began to tolerate it completely, not even caring when they came around to toy with me or mock me.

I still despised the lot of them, though.

As I was living with the nightmares that were the Pinks I began to see weaknesses in my prison, little structural weaknesses I could exploit. One particularly brave day I used these to escape my bonds and make it to the rest of the lair. The walls were the widest I had ever seen, and the ceiling was equally high, though it makes sense considering the sheer size of those monstrous Pinks. I met other people that they had imprisoned while I was exploring, as well. There was Green, locked behind a wall of glass and bound to the floor, Blue, who was always moving, never stopping unless he was layed out on the floor completely, and many, many other captives of the monsters as well. Out of all of them, though, the strangest had to be Grey.

Grey was cold and silent, a lifeless and empty slate with no way to read his thoughts, mood, or intentions at all. His imprisonment was an interesting one, though, all day and all night, at least until he was needed, they would keep his head shoved in a large stone, the slot just the perfect size to keep his cranium snugly secured in the confines of the stone. All that time with pressure on his head and unceasing darkness must've not helped his disposition, as Grey was the cruelest prisoner of the lot of them. He was unfeeling and uncaring, he would kill if his masters told him to, never questioning anything and never having any allegiance, doing only what those who would use him made him do. In spite of this, Grey was my greatest ally while I was trapped with the Pinks.

One day, long after I had stopped counting the days I had been in the lair of my captors, I finally broke. My mind was just about ready to snap completely, but before then I knew that I just had to see Red one final time. I was as mad and insane as I have ever been and I was going to escape the hellhole in which I had been locked, and if not, I would at least take one of these cruel monstrosities with me. I managed to climb through the empty roof of my cage and made it over to Grey in his block of stone. I pulled Grey from his confinements and told him of my plan. Unlike me, he held no hope for it working, but like I said, Grey never had allegiance for either his peers or the Pinks, he just does what people would use him for, and I was going to use him to escape. I took him out into the hall and searched for my key to escape. The doppleganger. If I could use Grey to get rid of him for just a minute then I could take his place and escape back to Red, even if I would have to wander forever until I could make it back to him, wherever he could be.

After several minutes of short, quiet breaths and soft, quick steps I spotted my quarry. He was with Blue, toying with him. He'd grab him and watch him slip and squirm out of his fingers before hitting the floor again, unable to do anything but lay there. As he did this the thing laughed an awful shrieking laugh before doing it again. I clenched my teeth in rage at his tormenting of my fellow inmate and grabbed Grey. Suddenly the youngest Pink whipped around, his eerily similar eyes gazing into mine. It was in this moment that I thought for sure that I would never see my best friend Red again. In utter panic and fear I grabbed my fairweather comrade and shoved him directly into the body of my oppressor. As I began to turn for the door and run, I began to notice something strange.

The monster was silent.

Normally it was constantly making noise or in motion, clumsily walking or crawling about, shrieking that awful shriek, but after I shoved my compatriot into it, it ceased moving altogether. I sat and watched, still afraid of what might happen, and afraid of what would happen if I looked away. After a good five minutes I walked up to the thing and began to pull Grey off of its chest. And there, as I yanked and wrenched my companion from the now eerily still demon, I saw something that made me light up in joy.

For inside the thing was my warm, warm friend.

On the inside, it was Red.

I love Red.