's 2014 Horror Write-off:

" The Flesh Thing "

Submitted by Melanie Lee

A chill wind heralding the coming of winter rustled the hair of a boy in his early teens. He stared, inwardly terrified, at a fence coming to a stop well over the top of his head, and a sign depicting a cartoon family enjoying themselves on a ride, but the boy felt a wall of doom around him. He wanted to turn back, but the jeering eyes of his peers shot knives into him, popping the traitorous thoughts like balloons above his head. With a gulp and one last backwards glance, he jumped and began to climb the chain-link barrier between him and his projected popularity.

With a dull thud and a mumbled curse, he dropped to the other side, rolling off of the impact, much to the amusement of the eyes watching him from outside the fence. He took a few steps forward, fumbling with a keychain flashlight he had brought along. He jumped at the shadow cast by a ride before him. Hushed laughter barely reached him, and he turned beet red at his own fear. He wanted to cry out at the injustice, but feared the ridicule of the boys more than the darkened amusement park.

The boys waiting in the bushes had hidden a small trinket somewhere in the amusement park, the key to the boy’s car. A cruel, but ultimately harmless hazing ritual.

He walked in near silence through the quiet park, starting at every shadow, every ride creaking in the wind. He felt the same unknowable horror as an inmate walking towards his own death. He stopped, winded from his continual fear and leaned against a support beam. Then, he made the mistake of looking upwards.

Hanging like some pallid hell-bat was a mass of gangly bones and flesh, culminating in a perfectly round lump forming a cruel mockery of a head. It slowly, ever so slowly began to slide down towards him.

The boy backed way slowly, transfixed by the way the bones of the thing stretched its skin so, by how it moved as if every bone it had was broken, how walked on malformed limbs that would seem alien even to the maddest of doctors. It was mere feet away from him now, staring at him with empty sockets behind a thin sheet of flesh.

Through the haze of terror the instinct to hide came to him again and he rushed onto one of the nearby rides. As the thing leaped after him, it turned to the controls. It stopped, and carefully pulled the lever to start the ride.

The boy watched in horror as the thing jumped gracefully into the ride with him. He wanted to be sick as he watched the wretched thing inch closer and closer, toying with him like a cat playing with a mouse. He felt as though his heart might pound its way past his ribs like some god-forsaken chisel. He tried to back away, back pressed against the glass around the ride. The thing reached towards him and he saw something glimmer in its paw.

As the realization hit him as to what it was, the ride came to a screeching halt. The force of the stop drove the boy against the glass, which shattered into a rain of glass and blood as the boy fell backwards from the top of the ride.

The thing heard the glass shatter. Carefully, it picked its way towards the sound of the chill wind blowing through the hole in the shield. It poked its blind head out of the cabin curiously. Where did friend go? As the ride began its descent it jumped out landing in something that was rapidly cooling. Friend was nowhere to be found. The thing slowly plodded back to its resting place. It was okay. It would hold friend’s small thing until he came back. Whenever that was.