"s 2015 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by HISHAM H.

New Zealand.

A land seemingly frozen in prehistoric times.

The air was cool and wet.

The ground thick with ferns.

He trudged gingerly, taking great care to stay on the path.

You can never be too careful.

Untouched wilderness was beautiful but dangerous.

This was pristine enough. Ignored by the majority of tourists, but visited enough to leave a trail.

He was very careful. He had told the lodge where he was heading. He had parked the rented car in a place where it could easily be seen from the road.

You had to be careful. This far from civilization, there was no reception, no ability to summon help.

Every year, idiots get lost in even the most well-known, well-tread national parks.

He walked along the path. It cut into a rocky hillside. 

He was careful to stay away from the edge. Even a gentle slope can make for a nasty tumble if you lost your footing.

He looked at the scrubby vegetation growing along the hillside. If someone did take a tumble, there were plenty of bushes to halt one's descent.

He looked around, and took a deep breath

This is what he sought. The quiet. Nature.

Away from the hustle and bustle of civilization.

It's not that he hated people, just the crowds.

He didn't mind sharing nature with other like-minded trekkers. Fellow travellers into the wild.

He trudged on.


He stopped, startled.


A plaintive, desperate shriek. A woman in pain, possibly with an injured jaw; it sounded like she had trouble saying the words.

He approached the edge of the path and listened.


A second voice joined in, sobbing hysterically and shrilly. It was hard to tell if it was a child or a woman.

The cries echoed all around. They seemed to originate from somewhere downhill.

He hesitated. There was no reception here. Should he turn back to the car, drive until he got a signal?

A shriek of pain, followed by more sobbing.

No, not now. They could be seriously injured, in need of emergency care. They might die before he even made it back. He had to be sure of their immediate well-being. 

He cursed as he realized that like an utter fool he had forgotten to put his carefully packed first aid kit back at the lodge.

He walked along the path a little further, looking to see if there was another way down.


He had no choice.

He started to make his way down the hillside.

It was an arduos trek. He kept slipping on loose gravel or moss-slick rock. Only by grabbing at the nearby bushes did he save himself from complete disaster.

No wonder those idiots got themselves hurt.

The hills had a strange effect on the cries. Sometimes they seemed to be closer, sometimes farther. First one way, then another.

Finally, he reached an area where the land evened out a little. He was quite out of breath.

He looked back the way he came. The vegetation was thicker here; easily concealing anyone from the main path.


It seemed to come from behind a bunch of low scrubby trees.

He pushed through into a small clearing.

There was a gully leading further downhill, choked with shrubs and spindly trees.

He frowned.

When the wind blew, some of the branches didn't swing in time with the others.

They swayed as if they were weighed down by something heavy.

Sudden movement. A flash of gray brown. Black beady eyes

A kea.

Two kea, in fact. Their olive-green and brown plumage had camouflaged them almost perfectly against the vegetation.

They looked at him, heads cocked, showing the inquisitiveness so typical of parrots

He knew about kea. They were highly intelligent opportunists, readily taking carrion. Some even hunted the chicks of sea birds, pulling them from their nest burrows.

He frowned. They were bad news. These wily parrots were known to attack even healthy sheep, tearing away the wool and flesh on their back with hooked beaks and claws to feed on the kidney fat.

An injured, helpless human would be a tempting target. They would probably pick at wounds, exacerbate any existing injuries.

"Shoo! Get out of here!" he yelled.

He windmilled his arms.

"Go away!"

The two kea turned torwards him.

Then one opened its beak.

"IT HURTS!" it screeched.

They exploded from the surrounding vegetation. They flashed the tangerine colored plumage under their mossy wings as they attacked. They mobbed him.

They tore at clothes and skin, hair and eyes. Beaks as sharp and curved as meathooks robbed him of sight.

He batted at them, screaming and shouting, the hot blood cloying and metallic running down his face.

He felt a hook slip beneath his jacket collar and sink into his neck.

He heard, and felt, his neck rip open.