's 2014 Horror Write-off:

" The Boxes: Internal Scripture "

Submitted by Samuel Miller

I rush through the dilapidated and aging corridors of The Internal Monastery. Dashing past Father Tardigrada, I send out a greeting to the fat and multilegged monk and continue running. I pass doors upon doors upon doors, some open, allowing me to observe their previously hidden contents, some tightly closed shut, allowing no creature to observe their expunged contents. Up ahead I see a large open space, like an indoors plaza, with tents of drab colored cloth erected in a small camp. When I arrive, I kneel down to say a quick prayer to the soothsayer at the marble idol in the center of camp and get up to tell Brother Gluttony of the news which I have discovered.

I walk briskly through the camp, saying greetings to my fellow acolytes when I pass them, moving ever increasingly quicker to the home tent of Brother Gluttony. I arrive at the brown tent of Brother Gluttony and am told to come in by the the nasal and smooth voice of the friar. I slip through the flap in the front of the tent and see the great piles of food of all kinds, brought here from many other Boxes, all set up on tables surrounding the awful, bloated figure in the center of the tent. This horribly fat monstrosity is the friar Brother Gluttony. He reaches out a long and chubby arm tipped with stubby toe-like fingers and swipes a great pile of delicious food off of a table and into his cavernous mouth. After very sloppily chewing for a moment, he opens his maw, still filled with food, and asks, "What are you here for, acolyte?"

I respond, "Something has been found in one of the newly opened chambers. It is important that you see it, as you are the highest ranking individual in the nearest camp, and we must follow protocols, but it is too heavy to be moved from the chamber and you must be brought to see it."

A flabby arm is brought up to his mouth, and he removes a very large piece of rotting food from his teeth before saying, "Well, since we must follow the protocols of the great soothsayer Frubyulok, I shall be brought to this newly found object in my traveling wagon, pulled by my manservant." He gestures towards a shadowy corner of the tent and calls forth a scrawny and frail nearly skeletal boy, wearing but dirty rags and with a face that is completely smooth, with the exception of a nail driven into the center of the face, and the cracks that came from it. This emaciated creature picks up the friar as if he were but a feather and takes him to a red metal wagon. The friar is placed in this small wagon and is pulled out of the tent by the manservant. I follow the obese Brother out of the tent and to the marble idol, where we say a quick prayer to the soothsayer and then depart to the hall that contains the newly opened chamber.

We pass the many doors in the hall on our way to the newly opened chamber, and Brother Gluttony emits prayers of frustration towards the unopened doors, wishing that these vile gates be opened to the prying eye of the soothsayer Frubyulok, and that the hideous items within them be destroyed for the greater good. He continues doing this until we get to the newly opened chamber. The manservant brings the fat friar into the room and all of the acolytes within look at him and then back to the object discovered within.

Sitting in the center of the stuffy stone room is a wooden pedestal. It is beautifully carved, but with horrible and heathen carvings toward unholy gods that those within The Internal Monastery worshiped. Well, we do not know if there was ever anything religious in The Internal Monastery, but how else could all of these vile heathen artifacts have gotten into all of these locked rooms? But the pedestal wasn't what was truly interesting. Sitting on the pedestal was a book, bound in a cover of green, with pages printed with words upon words upon words. The archaeological acolytes in the chamber gestured the friar to the tome. He was dragged towards it by his manservant, and he brought forth a thick log of an arm and began reading the book. He flips through its pages, making grimaces with his sharpened and rotten teeth, and then finally says, nay, screams, "Burn it! Destroy it! Burn this horrid tome!" The acolytes left the chamber to go get flint, steel, and fuel for the upcoming blaze. Brother Gluttony sits in his wagon, looking at the door, sometimes stealing glances towards the book, not speaking.

The acolytes return, carrying with them flint and steel, as well as piles upon piles of dry logs and sticks. They begin to pile up the wood against the pedestal, and once that is finished, they strike the flint against the steel. One spark falls on the dried wood, and it immediately ignites. Brother Gluttony watches on as the flames rise up, licking against the sides of the heathen book, and then makes a grimace of a smile when it is engulfed by the flames. He begins to rejoce, but we do not experience more than a second of celebration when we hear a deafening shriek, and the flames suddenly become completely clear, still there, yet nearly invisible. The acolytes look to the friar, but he seems extremely confused by this turn of events as well. We hear a very high-pitched voice in our ears, sickening in its intensity. This horrid voice says, "You! You are the ones desecrating these holy chambers!"

Brother Gluttony interrupts the vile voice, "Holy! These chambers are not holy! The chambers are heretical, paganistic! We are doing the universe a favor by destroying the heathen artifacts in this Monaster, doing what the soothsayer Frubyulok stated in Her great protocols!"

The voice screams, "The soothsayer Frubyulok! She is an infidel! Her teachings have corrupted innumerable Boxes! Why do you come into this place, a place of worship to those who are not, and destroy holy objects and historical artifacts of those who may be? Why do you do this?"

The friar screams at the fire, but no sound comes out of his mouth. We hear the voice say, "Well, whatever you were going to say, it would be unimportant to me or to those who do not worship here or might worship here. Since you dare to desecrate The Internal Monastery, a place of worship and of safety to those who are not, may be, or might be, you will all become those who are not, or may be, or might be!"

My vision begins to fade after the voice says that. I experience nothing, and then experience something that is not something. I am still within The Internal Monastery, but I am someplace different. I am in a large chapel, with doors that are locked and shut tight. Up ahead of me is an altar, with many artifacts on it. The walls are decorated with carvings to infidels and pagan gods, but I feel compelled to the altar. I move towards it, and I can now see that, sitting in the center of the altar is a book, with a cover of green, and with pages printed with words upon words upon words. It is the tome. I move to the book, and my hands flip a page. I begin to recite prayers to soething I do not know, and I begin to worship something that is not. I am not. I am something that is nothing, and I worship something that is nothing against my will. I am in The Internal Monastery forever, occasionally hearing acolytes and monks and friars just outside of the doors. They try to open it, but they never prevail. They aren't trying to help me anyways. All they care about is destroying more and more heretical artifacts. That's all they care about.