's 2014 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Olita Clark

"Put the thing in the thing."

The metallic voice drags you back into consciousness with sharp pitched claws. An array of sensations, none of them pleasant, assault your newly awakened senses; bands of unyielding pressure around your chest and legs, bound to some cold hard surface that twisted at sharp angles. Head throbbing, guts twisting with stabbing pain, cold air against bare skin, a heavy musk of rot and copper. Your eyes open, focusing slowly in the dim light of Perhaps prison cell would be a more appropriate term. Made of metal joined by heavy rivets, it reminds you of the hull of some old battleship. The dull grey surface is heavily laced with a network of something deep red that pulsates to a slow rhythm. Rust. Rust, and a trick of thick shadows. Has to be.

Then, of course, there was the table.

The chair in which you were trapped (It was a chair, you were sure of that now.) had been pulled up to what an old scratched cafeteria table, the cheap plastic kind that dominated every public school dining experiance. Its roughly textured surface was stained by countless blotches of what you hope was (Ordinary. Nonliving.) food. Two lines of seemingly random objects-from a carefully sharpened butcher's knife to a giant novelty pencil, half melted popsicle lapping blue sludge at the gaudy plastic of a cheap squirt gun-lay upon this surface. Your still foggy mind struggled to nail down a precise number, but made what seemed to be a safe guess at 20 or 30 things total.

"Put the thing in the thing."

It was a little louder now. A little more urgent.

"h-hello?" The weak croak slipped from your mouth almost involuntarily. Fear began to chill your veins.

"Put. The. Thing. In. The. Thing."

The rust (Oh but since when did rust glisten like that, form such smooth shapes, not flake but raise in a single blister like lump?) quivered a bit at this more commanding tone.

"I don't und-"


Did they-or it-mean the junk on the table? The bands that hold you in place allow for just enough movement for one trembling hand to reach out and grasp the farthest, a strange and gnarled seed roughly the size of a tennis ball. But where-?

Thick meaty slimy lapping at your wrist. Pink and covered in tiny dots. A tongue. Your eyes numbly trace the impossible thing down, in, the base curves towards your stomach-

-gash gutted mouth no bulging intestines glittering white teeth set in gums of fat no nonowrongwronggaspsforbreathwithyou-


Tongue (Your tongue from your mouth.) wraps itself around seed, easily takes it from limp fingers, pulls it in. You can feel your abdomen lurching up and down as it chews. Your mind lurches in circles and howls "nightmare" in an endless loop, a chanted prayer to ward off impossible demons.


Operating off blind panic now. A klakon begins it haunting wail as you desperately try to follow its instructions. Broad sweeps of your arms swiftly shovels table things in to the mouth thing, entire body jittering with the force of its gnashing smashing jaws. You taste metal and plastic and blueberry flavoring and flesh long left to rot.

Yet still the voice screams, individual words now slurried together with speed in to a single wrenching shriek. Yet the klaxon grows faster and more high pitched, a record forced to a blinding whir, needle gouging deep canyons into the red (No sound like that was black it was red it had to be res) vinyl surface.

You scream desperately over the cacophony, "I'M PUTTING THE THING IN THE THING!" ALL THE THINGS IN THE THING!".

Rotten fruit, more plastic, more metal. Can't risk checking the table for a remaining number of things. Might slow down. Might get a good view of the not rust beginning to creep over the dull edges hungrily.

Voice and klaxon cease abruptly. The silence in the wake of their absence threatens to rob what is left of your hearing. Arms pause, confused; you wait for something, validation it punishment. Did you win?

A sharp pitched metallic voice whispers softly into your ear.

"Too slow."