's 2016 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by James B. Davis

I woke up on the cold cement floor with a headache. My eyelids were stuck together with dry blood, my nose was bleeding, and blood was dripping from my lips. I shot up to a sitting position and began spitting out the irony, red fluid. I wiped the dry blood from my eyes and wiped the blood from under my nose. I then began coughing like a chain smoker; clots of coagulated blood and phlegm coming up with each cough.

It wasn't till I stood up that I realized where I was: a massive maze of hallways lined entirely with shelves. The walls were only 7 feet tall, but there no way of climbing them because of the translucent oil that coated them. Above the maze was an empty black void that went upward for what seemed like forever.

The shelves on the sides of the maze were filled with jars. The variety of things in these jars were insane (however, the jars where I was laying were all filled with blood, which I assume was mine). There were jars holding hot dogs, fetuses, toy cars, human organs, CDs, living insects, living cats, crumpled papers, frogs both dead and alive, horse hooves, shark fetuses, human eyes, human skulls, wood shavings, bible pages, rusty nails, tumors, human teeth, poop, green slime, paint, pieces of vinyl records, maggots, flies, water, root beer, used underwear, new underwear, toy soldiers, computer parts, keyboard keys, duct tape, honey, cheese, pee, chocolate, squids, tapeworms, cassette tapes, wine, potato chips, ground beef, rats, ticks, hair, toy dinosaurs, dry skin, yarn, buttons, doll eyes, hot glue sticks, peaches, guitar strings, SD cards, clay, calculators, finger nails, spiders, ice cubes, porno magazines, snails, starfishes, eggs, markers, gummy worms, earthworms, bobbit worms, origami cranes, spray foam, rubber bugs, fake plants, dirt, and things I can't even begin to describe.

At the end of the hall, which split in two directions, was a backpack and belt with ropes hanging from it. On the backpack was a note that read "COLLECT".

Collect what? There was nothing around but those damn jars. I assumed that was the note meant. I picked up the backpack and belt, not for the sake of following the orders, but because they might have come in handy.

I wandered the maze for days and before I knew it I was collecting. I started by taking things that seemed useful; food and water and medical supplies. However, after a few days, I started collecting things that simply interested me; things like small toys, insects, fish, chalk, clay, paper, pencils, plants, and any small animals I could find.

It wasn't long till I found somewhere to stay and set up a camp of sorts. It was a large hole in the wall with some kind of lamps inside. The hole was about the size of a bathroom and the walls were lined with cardboard and newspaper. This is where I left my food and things that I collected. It was also where I slept and relaxed and enjoyed my collected items.

After three years of living in the maze I made my hole in the wall into the perfect place for living. I also found a kitten in those years and I've had him for 4 years now; his name's Hot Sauce because his orange fur reminds me of habanero peppers.

I saw other collectors a few times; always the same though, hunched over, gray transparent skin, gaunt, and they all look near death . Their backpacks were stuffed beyond their limits and dozens of jars hung from their belts; I guess they never found any holes in the walls like I did.

I love Hot Sauce...

I love my hole in the way...

I love my jars...

I love collecting...