's 2014 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Thomas F. Johnson

Crack, crack, crack went the timbers on the pier as the agent in the hazmat suit stepped off the one-person government-issued motorboat. Flap flap flap went the tape marked “Do Not Enter” “QUARANTINE” being pushed back as the agent stepped under to see what the damage was.

Hiss went the compressed air to the cattle-bolt-gun, and the sigh as the agent thought that at least their deaths will be quick and painless. And shriek went the man dragging himself down the pier, screaming under the weight of the cartoon-witch-head-shaped tumor crushing his spine.

The agent looked down. The man was weeping and moaning, as the great green head-tumor cackled mindlessly. It was proper protocol to take out any stragglers in the course to “Patient Zero”. He placed the bolt-gun to the man's head, and mercy was granted.

The cachophonous hecatomb became more evident as he stepped into the town of Port Risley. A cartoon halloween hell out of Bosch, cartoonish spooks growing like great fungal cancer gardens of orange and black and purple. Cackling jack-o-lanterns grew out of the sides of buildings like fleshy warts, and ghostlike white masses dragged their way out of a sewer as he walked past.

A dog was dragged past the agent howling, as the giant goggle-eyed spider attached to it's head walked down the asphalt. Mindlessly drooling pseudo-Draculas, pseudo-Frankensteins tugged at the cars they bulbously protruded from, dragging their useless limbs in a way that should not exist.

There were corpses everywhere of course, colorful blights of spooky cancer crushing pale and bloodless bodies of men; women and children like piles of Halloween decorations, almost comical if there weren't so many of them crushed between twitching goblins; mummies and eyeballs smothering the faces of the dead clawing screaming against sidewalks and edifices of still-moving mummies and eyeballs and stretched black cats.

The agent felt like he was choking on his own heart as he walked through the streets, granting bitter mercy to whatever he could, men, women, children, animals. There was no cure for this sickness of the world, no escape, whether as a victim or a watcher. Every step he hoped it might get better, and every step he was further gouged in the soul as the baroque Halloween plague continued unstopping.

The living amongst them were the worst. A line of huge skeletons merrily danced on streets of tumorous jack-o-lanterns and black cats as the people growing out of them screamed in pain. A child was dragged by its leg as a huge purple owl flapped and flew from building to building in the same mindless pattern over and over again. A tangle of humans were trapped scalp-first in a meaty rat-king of Draculas and Wolfmen as they fought over the scraps of corpses living in the street. A whole haunted house the size of a port-a-john was dragging itself through the street leaving a smear of the wreckage and humanity growing out of it as it went nowhere in particular. All were given mercy as the agent could as he walked towards his destination.

A sign reading “Cost-Lo Costumes” was his destination in the middle of the piles of dying and undying that nearly blotted out the heavens, the brickwork and windowsill barely visible amongst the meat growing from the rancid edifice when he stepped upon it in the heart of this hell. The Halloween core. If one could find it in some discount aisle on November first, it was growing from that building's walls, moving, howling, hooting, croaking, laughing, cackling, moaning.

A ghostlike lump of white pointed at the agent, going “Oooooooooooh” as he went in. He paid it no mind.

The lumps of pumpkin, witch and skeleton were only denser inside here, with only a few glimpses of musty floorboards and half torn piles of costumes being gnawed upon by mummies and tiny haunted trees.

“Why,” the agent thought “Why did you have to do this to yourself, to them, why didn't you listen...” He reached the back door, grabbing the knob and the eyeball growing through it. And, inside, upon the wall, covered in the tumors to the point where it was almost impossible to tell where the tumors began and the human ended, was a man in a shredded cheap magician's outfit, with eyes begging for death.

“Sch-Hello Sch-Marty” the man on the wall slurred, drool coming out of what could barely be seen. A limp wand lay in his right hand, a busted top-hat upon his head.

“Hello Frank.” the agent said, as he walked up with the cattle-bolt-gun.

“Sch-Marty... I guessh I went too far thish time.” the man said

“Yes, yes you did” the agent said as he put the cattle-bolt-gun against what could faintly be discenred as the man's “head” amongst the pumpkins and tumors.

“Sch-Marty... Pleashe... Kill me...” he breathed. The tumors pulsed as they sounded in hollow; mindless screams. And the agent obliged.