's 2016 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Ron MacGillivray

I had recently moved to New York, and I was taking the subway back home. It was just me, this homeless man next to me and a bunch of other people around my area. Everything was pretty peaceful so I decided to distract myself by taking out my phone and opening Twitter. As I was scrolling down the page, the homeless guy next to me moved forward,  leaned in and said

"My names Terry. I was in a show once."

I ignored him and started checking my newsfeed. He started again.

"No, really, I was. It was...avante-garde. We'd walk around town and act out these little plays in public. Some people ignored it but there were always others who payed attention and loved it. You know how it is, right?"

I didn't answer. I tried to use my silence to tell him to leave me alone, but he kept talking.

" was pretty great. We'd act like morons and give speeches and shit . Just having fun. Acted out little scenes wherever we felt like it. We were doing it for ourselves, that's what we thought. Then we kept doing it even when we were alone. We just always felt like someone was watching. We realized we were playing it all out in front of the real audience. We started hearing them around us."

I was listening to him, if only to know what was going through this crazy person's head. He looked up at me, and this crazed look came into his eyes.

"We could hear the real audience! The one we were playing for all along! So we changed the show. Made it more...edgy, you know? Exciting. We'd wait till people were alone and we'd hurt them. Give them a hard time and shit. The audience loved it. We had total freedom. Anything we wanted, we could get (here he leaned forward and whispered in my ear). Anything. Or anyone."

Now I was fully listening to the guy's story, but when I turned to look at him his hand was deep in his pants. Shocked, I turned to the other people in the train with me but they were ignoring it. One woman in a suit shrugged her shoulders as if saying "sorry, it's your problem". I had never hated someone as much as I did in that moment.. The pervert next to me continued.

"Yeah...Anything...We started really hurting people. The whole show shifted when we first killed someone. The first time it was an accident. But the audience loved it! They cleaned it all up...almost licked it clean. So we had to give them what they wanted. We started killing more people, doing awful things to them."

He still had his hands in his pants when he said it, and had begun to pant loudly.

"We did whatever we wanted, whatever we desired. We'd catch people alone and devour them, use them, and the audience cleaned up. Nothing could touch us. We were primal, like animals, totally free. We've killed kids. Animals. There's so much pent up in us, it was like a breath of fresh air letting it all out."

His hand was out of his pants as soon as he stopped talking and he grabbed me by the neck. He forced me to turn to his dirty face and I was too terrified to fight back at all. He looked deep in my eyes and smiled widely. That was when the train started slowing down. It wasn't screeching to a halt, just slowing, like time itself was stopping outside the window. I stared at the people around me, yet somehow they didn't notic.The homeless man's face went blank then, and he let me go. I breathed a sigh of relief as he got up and said to no one in particular:

"No guys, she's okay. We'll have the show later."

Then the train started to speed up, but not by much. Time seemed to be shifting back to normaI, but we were still in the tunnel. I looked back to the homeless man as he walked casually to the doors. I took a moment to try to explain to myself what was happening. I then stared in utter shock as every person that had been around me got up and moved down to the same doors.. They stared at me with bored looks but a couple of them smirked with pure malice in their eyes. Then the same businesswoman who had shrugged said:

"Sorry folks, really, shows over. Terry said to leave her."

Then from all around me came sighs. From every direction and every place came disappointed, resigned sighs. I looked around wildly for loudspeakers or microphones, but I found none. The voices were coming from no one yet I could feel them all around me. Then time shifted abruptly back to normal and the train pulled into the station. I was hyperventilating, not able to piece together the train of events.The group shuffled out into the station, and Terry said to the group, pointing to a teenager going up the escalator to the exit:

"There. He's perfect."

And the entire group of people followed him out of the station towards the boy, as the sounds of claps and hollers that seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere echoed through the station .