's 2015 Horror Write-off:

" One of Those Screamer Videos "

Submitted by Sue Donym

So my friend Drew emailed me a link to one of those screamer videos. I know it’s a screamer video because he sends them to our whole friend group on a weekly basis. He think’s they’re the funniest shit, which puzzles me because he isn’t even with us to see our reactions. I always thought that was the funny part. They don’t work on me anyway; I’ve seen dozens and they’ve become totally predictable.    

            They always start by asking you to focus on something, then after 20 seconds or so some scary picture pops up, accompanied by a loud noise. This link, I am certain, is no different. Except for the fact that it is made up completely of foreign symbols. Probably some Wingdings-type deal.

            To humor my friend in spirit I click the link. The links almost always take me to Youtube or occasionally Reddit, but this website I have never seen before.

            The title page is more of those undecipherable symbols in glowy purple. The remainder of the page is a video player on a solid black background. A little rotating loading symbol appears in the middle of the player.

            I look closely and see that each bar of the loading symbol is a tiny, emaciated, nearly skeletal person, and they are all shackled together by their necks, walking in a circle over the surface of an orb of blood. This must be one of those raising-awareness things for human trafficking or something.

            The blood orb gradually expands until the shackled people are completely submerged. That’s some real subtle symbolism, guys. This must mean the video has loaded.

            Sure enough, a minimally drawn maze appears. I’ve seen this schtick plenty of times. You watch the maze for a while and then a zombie pops up and scares the shit out of you. Only this maze is occupied.

            Another one of those little starved-looking people is chained to the wall in a dead-end of the maze, cowering in fear. All right, I’m a little curious. Whatever PR guy put this together should get a raise.

            Then, from the top left corner of the maze a blood red writhing worm-like shape emerges. Giygas springs to mind. I watch in birds-eye view as the worm-creature gropes its way along the walls, leaving dark stains on the floor.

            The little person starts audibly whimpering. Jeez, laying it on a bit thick, aren’t we? The worm-creature seems to recognize the sound and picks up speed, squelching towards the dead-end where the little person is trapped.

            I know what’s going to happen. The very millisecond the worm-creature reaches the chained guy, it will cut to a scary picture and an earsplitting noise.

            The worm-creature turns the final corner before reaching the chained guy, who huddles even further into himself in a fetal position.

            The worm-creature enters the dead-end. It sends out a mouth tendril that wraps around his leg. It pulls him closer into its slimy maw, his shoulder joints threatening to tear as the chains are stretched taut. The chained guy wails in agony.     The worm-creature is up to his torso and – cut! I knew this was coming. It’s not even that scary. In fact, there’s no sound, just the picture. It’s a close-up of a man’s wizened, sunken face, with empty eye sockets and a missing nose. I’ve seen worse; this doesn’t even phase me. How disappointing.

            I move my cursor to the little red X to close the page, but it doesn’t respond. I click a few more times, still no response. The picture has changed, now there are multitudes of little red worms slithering out of the man’s orifices – his eye sockets, nostrils, and mouth. Now the worms are breaking holes in his delicate, papery skin.

            All this time the face has been zooming steadily closer. I try to close the page once more, to no avail. I hold down the power button on my computer… nothing. Okay, this is a little unusual. I bend down to unplug my computer. I sit back up and the man’s worm-filled eye sockets now take up the entire screen. I don’t remember putting the video in full screen.

            It might just be my imagination, but I could swear one of the little worms plopped onto the floor. Now two, three more worms on the floor. Definitely not my imagination. This is a next-level prank, Drew, I underestimated you.

            The worms are starting to crawl up my body. I’m actually solidly freaked out now but I find myself unable to move. All I can do is stare into those empty eye sockets, worms spilling out by the dozens.

            Their cold, fleshy bodies burrow under my clothes, covering every inch of my surface except for my eyes. I sit paralyzed under a writhing layer of worm bodies as little pinpricks of white light appear in the man’s empty eye sockets.

            They grow to fill the eye sockets, then the whole screen, then comes a blinding flash that fills my entire field of vision. I feel the worms slithering off of me, going God knows where.

            I open my eyes and see nothing but blackness. There is something heavy on my neck. I feel a wet, sticky substance beneath my feet. Finally, the loud noise part comes.