's 2016 Horror Write-off:

a boy walked home alone at night

Submitted by Anonymous

It's the middle of the night. He has been drinking a few beers with his friend Toby. Toby needs to get up early in the morning, so he sent him home.

Now the boy is walking alone through the night, on that long, straight road leading back to his own village. Harvest season is long over, and an icy wind is whistling over empty fields that stretch as far as the eye can see on both sides of the road.

The boy is walking swiftly; he can already spot the lights of his village on the horizon.

For no particular reason at all, a sense of both dread and euphoria is sweeping through his body, and he smiles, sucking in the cold air through clenched teeth.

It's so quiet that the mere sound of his feet scratching over the gravel and the sand is sending shivers down his spinal cord. He wants to start running, but then he sees a large shadow further down the road, heading his way. He isn't startled right away, as his brain takes a second to process the information. But when it hits him, it hits him hard.

After a few seconds, he realizes that it's a tiny group of people. Even at this distance, he can hear that they are talking, though he cannot make out a single word. He slowly starts breathing again. Cautiously, he keeps walking.

Now he is fairly certain that he is looking at three girls about his age, probably from the other village, returning home just as he is. Even if he has met them before, it's too dark and they are too far away to identify them.

The girls must have spotted him as well by now. They have stopped talking.

The boy is trying to walk at a constant speed, though he notices his movements have become kind of awkward. His knees and his shoulders are moving too much, for one thing. He keeps his eyes firmly on the lights of his village, still way too far off in the distance.

The girls are close now. A few dozen meters. They have slowed down. Trying to make no sudden movements, the boy moves closer and closer to the side of the road, until he is walking on the edge of the drainage ditch.

The girls have stopped now. He still cannot see their faces.

He keeps walking, looking straight ahead.

He walks past them.

And they scream.

They are screaming their lungs out. The boy has never heard a scream like that in his entire life.

There is no fear in it. There is only fear outside of it.

It's like an icy punch straight to the spine.

He is almost tumbling into the ditch.

He hasn't even fully regained his balance when he starts running. Running like he's never run before. His vision is getting blurry.

His village doesn't seem to be getting any closer.