"s 2015 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Zach Metz

It was a peculiarly rancid odor that attracted my attention upon opening the refrigerator that evening. The stink was most similar to the smell of a well rotted corpse than anything, although there were subtle hints of both fungal and warm ocean stench mixed in. Slamming the door shut, I staggered backwards and gagged fiercely, wafting my arm in front of my face furiously. The smell had come suddenly and viciously, and my first response was a helpless flight to the rearmost sections of my apartment. My lodgings were quite small, consisting of a bedroom, a living room, and a small kitchen, so this did not sufficiently remove me from the pervasiveness of the stench.

After several hours of running my fans on high in every room and opening my singular window, I managed to air out the creeping odor. But now I was left with the far more intimidating task of clearing out whatever had caused the stink in the first place.

I approached the problem as scientifically as possible; to remove the threat of once more being overwhelmed by the smell, I bound my face around with a bandana I had received from my friend some time ago, and to accost the source of the smell I wore gloves and wielded a dustpan. Thus prepared, I eased the smooth, pale white door open inch by inch. The smell seemed like a physical thing; I could almost see the cartoonish green smoke billowing forth as it pressed itself against me in a wave of heat. My skin crawled unpleasantly as I continued to open the door.

When the door was fully open, I at first saw no sign of oddity there. A mostly empty six pack of beer, some cheese blocks, and a can of Wyrm’s Fire Chili, with a tiny smiling dragon on the front. A handful of grapes, some unlabeled lunch meat, and the remnants of milk carton rounded out my meagre refrigerated supplies. There was nothing at all strange… except the small Tupperware container behind the beer case.

I reached around and gripped the container. As I did so, the heat pressure of the smell seemed to intensify, so I could almost smell it through my mask, and as I gripped the container I realized it was incredibly slimy to the touch, slipping easily from my hand until I began to use both. Drawing the mysterious object out, I set it on the counter and resumed exploring the hindmost reaches of the refrigerator. I found nothing more of note, so I turned my entire attention to the container, after taking a brief swig of beer to prepare myself, of course.

The Tupperware was totally innocuous externally, with only a dark blob inside of its somewhat tinted depths to indicate it was the source of the smell at all. However, it initially resisted all attempts to open it; eventually I was forced to employ a screwdriver and pry the lid off with a great effort of strength.

With the lid thus removed, the container actually DID billow forth a green blast of gaseous stink so potent my bandana actually failed to defend me, and as my eyes teared up I released a gurgling cry, collapsing to the floor and staggering away from the container in the same motion, to the end that I fell to the floor and lost consciousness.

Shortly after I came to, and was confronted with a sight that was somewhere between utterly repugnant and horrifying beyond description. Out of the container had crawled a tiny thing formed, it seemed, out of raw rot, predominantly flesh but also vegetable matter, that was oozing its way to the edge of the counter. Maggots squirmed in it like grotesquely engorged parasites, and a host of miniscule fruit flies buzzed angrily around its form. When it reached the edge it gathered itself and stretched upward, as though attempting to seem intimidating. Then a gaping hole opened in its tiny form, filled with sharp, plastic looking teeth, and it let loose a massive belching sigh of gaseous green smoke. I stifled a cry, but was unsuccessful in preventing my gagging cough as the cloud hit me.

As I did, the creature turned its body towards me and out of the mouth extended a large eye. The eye was horribly human, but attached to a stalk of rot that oozed and scabbed like the rest of it, and the eye itself kept me, somehow, totally fascinated as the beast crawled down the side of the cabinet and onto my leg, where I lay prone.

It continued to ooze up my leg as I watched, never breaking eye contact with me, even as a host of fruit flies began to congregate on its iris. Tiny, rotten pseudopods gripped my clothing and pulled the primary body forward with an inescapably weak manner that was nevertheless terrifying in its insistence.

Finally it reached my face and brushed a tentacle pseudopod against my chin. Without thinking, unable to stop myself or even consider the action, I opened my mouth. The creature flowed in without a backwards glance, gone in less than a minute. All that was left was the smell and a trail of rapidly drying rot juice that marked the trail from Tupperware to my neck and across my chin.

I tried to vomit the creature up once its spell had weakened and I was free again, but to no avail. I simply vomited up bloody green bile flecked with dark black chunks that stank and seemed to leave stains on any surface.

               For 3 long hours I tried, with no success, to extract the creature from my body. Eventually surrendering that option to the realm of failure, I drowned my problems (and, a part of me hoped, the ooze) with the remaining beers. Soon after I was comatose to the world.

               Upon waking, I crawled to the bathroom to relieve the aching needs of my bladder, only to be accosted by a terrifying sight: the reflection of my face, but with flaking skin and a light green pallor, eyes yellowed and teeth cratered. An almost otherworldly shriek tore from my throat as I staggered back once again. I stared at my hands, tore off my clothes and examined myself. The light green was spreading quickly, but the flaking was only on my head and neck thus far.

               After taking 3 exceptionally hot showers, I gave up on attempting to remove the flakes. Now that I was aware of them, I could almost watch their growth, and the deepening shades of green my body was turning alarmed me more and more as the hours passed. By the end of that second day, I was covered in a deep green mass of skin flakes.

               Before these events I was a writer, not a scientist or a student of the occult. My understanding of this transformative process is limited to the language I can use to  describe them; but perhaps that will be enough.

               My skin is separate from my body proper. It is as though I am wearing somewhat lose clothing that is formed of sharp scales set in a viscous coating of slime. Every movement is a painful experience as the sandpaper-like shroud drags across me. Half of my outer face-skin has been sloughed off due to an unfortunate incident with the door. My eye on that side, surrounded by naked muscle and oozing pus, has extended outward on a muscular but thin stalk of flesh. As this process was undergone, the eye itself has swollen to great size comparative to the other.

               My hair, what remains of it, is lank and dead. It never grows longer or shorter, it simply is. My nose, or what humans would recognize as a nose normally, is gone. It was replaced with a trio of tentacles that I have no control over. It adequately fills the old nose’s duties, but has given me an odd, if not unexpected, appreciation for such smells as feces, bile, rot, and black mold. The tentacles occasionally help me eat, as well. My mouth was toothless for a long time, until I discovered I could replace my old teeth with everyday objects. Currently I am using 4 nails, 6 glass shards, and almost 15 wood slivers from one of my doors. I much prefer the nails, as the glass breaks frequently and must be replaced. My mouth is always bleeding now.

               The right side of my body seems to resist the spread of whatever this infection is the most heartily. My right arm and leg are much the same, apart from the skin itself and the replacement of my fingernails with makeshift claws. (The fingernails themselves fell off within the first week)

               The left side of my body, however, is undergoing a deeper change. My arm is boneless, tentacle-like, and ends in a lobster like claw. My leg is triple jointed and my foot was accidentally lost some time ago. I replaced it with an old boot that I filled with rotten hamburger. Now it just squashes pleasantly.

               My genitals are gone.

               I was forced to relocate from my apartment in the second week; my evolution had progressed too far for the normal people by the time I was losing my teeth. My retreat to the dump through the sewers was an adventure, but the rats helped me find my way home. And now I lay here under the hot light of the sun, reveling in the decay it brings and enhances. My body oozes with maggots, flies, and cockroaches. A small rat has taken up residence in my right thigh. As my lower body melts away and my form becomes less and less human, I will finally Ascend.

               My fingers do not work so well anymore. I am writing this carefully and slowly as I can. I can feel my brain melting; it feels as though it is SWEATING itself away. I have reread this account time and time again, and I realize every time how little of it I wrote lucidly. This creature has taken from me my body and my anonymity, and I can do nothing to fight it. If these are my last conscious words, the last real thoughts of ME, I hope they help someone out there.

               Keep this from happening again.

               I can hear maggots chewing in my ears. And on my ears. My lower body is gone. What replaced it is unspeakable. But I can still feel it, feel the tunneling rats. And I know what this creature is doing. It’s breeding. It’s parasitizing me, and using me to spread itself.

               If you find this message, please see it to the authorities. I can only move when it wants to, now. Only my right arm is my own, and I can feel that changing too. Please, do not let this happen again.

               Ahh the maggots have reached my br