"s 2015 Horror Write-off:

" Sal "

Submitted by Jared Ludy

-Okay, to be honest, i have no reason to even be writing about this. nobody except for me is probably ever gonna read it, but…. i just feel like i need to get this out…. somewhere. There’s…. There’s something very strange about my neighbor, Sal. Now, personality wise, he’s completely normal. he has a house, he has a job, he has friends and family that visit every so often, he even has a dog, named Max. what’s strange about Sal is his ...appearance. not that he's particularly ugly or anything, but he looks…. very abnormal. quite frankly, he doesn’t even look human. the closest thing i can compare him to is one of those “grey alien” things. you know, the ones people are always claiming to see, with the big heads and grey skin and big black eyes. Sal shares many of these features. his head is smooth and melon-like, he has large, black, insect like-eyes, grey skin. but he also has an abnormally long neck. Not too long mind you, but definitely longer that an average person’s would be. his skin is also very snake like. it’s dry and very smooth, but gives it an almost slimy look to it. I’ve never noticed scales or anything though. aside from that,he also has no noticeable facial features. he doesn’t have a nose or a mouth, or even any sort of defined jaw for that matter. he does have a barely noticeable seam running down the middle of his head/face though. Right under his eyes, his seam sometimes unfolds into a quivering, yonic orifice that he uses to eat, but other that that, there’s just about nothing under than than his round, unblinking eyes and the few wrinkles underneath them.

But Sal’s appearance is far from the strangest thing about him though. Oh no, the strangest thing about him is the fact that I’m the only person to ever NOTICE his appearance. Ever since i first moved next to him, not anybody’s said a word about how he looks or noticed a thing different about him. When he goes to the shops everyone treats him normally, when he walks his dog nobody blinks an eye, and whenever he’s on his porch reading, everyone just walks on by like nothing’s out of the ordinary. I think he might even have a girlfriend. some lady’s always visiting him and usually stays the whole day (even nights sometimes).

now, i have no idea why nobody notices him, but i’ve come up with a couple of theories. my first idea is that he IS an alien, but nobody notices because he has some sort of weird disguise that works on everyone but me for some reason. maybe he has psychic powers that make people ignore his appearance and makes up an artificial one that i can’t see.

or maybe i’m just outta my damn mind.

- Alright, so i started thinking about something. it’s kinda creepy that i’ve just sorta been observing this guy right? looking at him through the windows, watching him from my porch, following him around. it’s probably not very appropriate, especially from his point of view. i’ve decided i’m just gonna try and talk to him from now on.

i was really nervous when knocking on his door. i could only guess what he thought of me. did he know i was watching him? did he know how i saw him? if he did know, what would he do about it? i got close to leaving before he could answer, but i stuck it out and waited for him. once he answered the door, he invited me in and offered me a drink. This was the first time i heard his voice, or lack thereof. the only sound i could hear was a sort of garbled static and radio feedback.

Despite this, i could somehow understand him perfectly. i accepted his offer and he brought me a can of sprite and asked if i wanted a straw. i declined the straw, and he got himself one, along with an orange soda. guess he likes sugary drinks. so while we were sitting next to each other, he asked what i came over for, so i just told him i wanted to chat for a bit, ask some questions. He was alright with this, so i started asking away. first i asked him where he was from. he said he moved here from New Hampshire. i didn’t know if he was telling the truth, but i went with it. Then i asked him a few questions about his personal life, and he had a ball with that one. he rambled for almost 20 minutes about his hobbies, his job, vacationing in maine when he was a teenager, all sorts of stuff. After that, I asked him about his girlfriend. apparently, he didn’t have one. yeah. that was just his sister, who was in town recently. His perfectly normal human sister.

There goes the alien theory.

-I’ve visited Sal a few more times since my last journal. I haven’t been given too many answers. i doubt he could be any sort of “alien” i’m familiar with. the only candidates i have left are “transdimensional being” and “i gotta see a doctor”. I’ve actually grown pretty fond of him lately though. The other day we ate lunch together and talked about what t-v shows we like that are on. his favorite is “Orange Is The New Black”. The more i learn about him, the more fascinating he is, even though i have no idea what the hell he really is.

Me and him are going bowling tomorrow…..

- so it’s been about two weeks since we went bowling, and i must say, we’ve been hanging out a LOT more. like, i go over to his house almost every day at this point. i barely even ask him about himself anymore, we know each other so well there wouldn’t be a point to it. Hell, we even have inside jokes now. But even though we know each other so well, there’s still something…. uncomfortable about being around him.

I still can’t shake this feeling that there’s something majorly wrong. Everything seems weirdly confusing, and things i’ve felt my whole life are suddenly being turned sideways. Sal just has this mysterious aura about his appearance, about him. the most trivial of tasks seem so surreal when he does them. smoking a cigarette, drinking, eating, texting, it all seems somewhat irregular. It makes me feel tense, and confused.

I can’t help but feel like something is….. escalating. but i don’t know what.

- I finally decided to confront sal about his appearance.

At first he had no idea what i was talking about, but as i continued to explain, i could sense he had a flash of realization. he told me he heard of things similar to how i described him, and that it was a symptom of a commonly documented mental illness he heard about. he recommended a doctor for me to see and told me it could be treated with medicine.I’m glad we were able to settle this, and i look forward to talking to that doctor he recommended. As far as we’re both concerned, I need some professional help. Maybe then i can finally see my friend for how he truly is.

-I finally got around to seeing that doctor, and after talking to him about my condition, he gave me a bottle of pills to take. he said to only take one per week, and that i should probably fall asleep after taking just one, since drowsiness was a side effect. I’m about to take my first one as I write this, and I can’t wait to meet the “new” sal.

- after I woke up….. everything seemed exactly the same. i felt the same as before and i couldn’t wait to go see my friend Sal. I ran downstairs, left my house and headed towards Sal’s place. I knocked, and when he answered, he invited me in and asked if i was hungry.

Sal looked exactly the same.

At first i was confused. i had already taken the pill, and according to the doctor, it should’ve definitely gone into effect by then. as confused as i was, i was really tired and didn’t want to bring it up right away. so, i just accepted his offer and came into his house. he got me some dinner from the kitchen and i sat next to him on his couch to eat with him. i was kinda confused why he had made so much food for just himself, so i asked him. he said his sister was visiting, and wanted to introduce me to her. she was in the bathroom at the time, so once she was done washing up, she came into the living room and sal introduced us to each other. and sal’s sister looked very different to me this time. very different.

bald head, black eyes, grey skin, seam down the face.

I had no idea what to say. the last time i saw her, she looked just as normal as me. now, her resemblance to sal was uncanny. i hid my shock and shook her hand, with a uneasy feeling in my gut. as we ate dinner huddled around the coffee table in sal’s living room, i contemplated possibilities to myself. curious as to what the explanation to his could be. after dinner, i silently looked out the window while sal and his sister chatted, thinking and thinking, going over everything in my head.

then I saw some people walking down the street.

bald heads, black eyes, grey skin, seam down their faces.

i panicked and ran towards the bathroom. “what the hell did that doctor give me” ran through my head over and over, almost ringing into my ears. I started getting nauseous as i splashed water onto my face. i was seeing things. i was sick. something was very wrong. very wrong.

then i looked up and saw myself in the mirror.

you can probably guess what i saw.