's 2016 Horror Write-off:

It Took

Submitted by Paracosmos

 Derek ran through the corn field, glancing around. He has thrown all logic out the window, things were not normal, not anymore. Sweat left his pores.

 He could no longer distinguish noise from his movements and noises from the other's, if there still was any. The other could have left by now, and he wouldn't have known. The moon was bright. It made things feel bright. It made him feel bright. Bright and vulnerable.

 Now he was sure, he was sure the noises were gone. But it was in here. And it hadn't lost him.

 Why was it now? It had many other times to do this, darker and easier times. Not that Derek was complaining. He had seen it before, he hadn't seen its body... But... He saw where it was. And at the time it seemed ok, a little eerie, a little off. But yeah, it was ok. And it felt safe to be in the cornfield. Really, this night should've been like any other. But he heard the first footstep, nothing wrong. A second, nothing wrong, maybe the other was curious. It had stopped there, and Derek could see a tiny bit of the other. Then rustling erupted in the corn field, thrashing and throwing quickly towards him. It had taken Derek a moment to react, and he ran the same direction.

 Derek was getting tired, would it win? No. It wouldn't, he wouldn't... Wouldn't...

 Derek felt suddenly hazy, a trickle of dread crawled up his throat. He turned.

 The other. It was there, he just couldn't see it... No, he could... Just...

 Derek closed his eyes, and began to dream. He dreamt while standing, drool lazed down his chin. And in this dream, everything was the same. But now, now he could see it. Only in this dream could he see it.

 An average sized man stood before him. Only this man had no features, nothing. He was blank, bald and... Glowing, glowing green.

 The green man moved to him like a mannequin on a treadmill. No movement from this man, none at all. And when it got to Derek, face touching his, Derek dropped.

 Derek woke. He was lying on the dirt ground like a rag doll. And when the memory flooded him, invaded him, he went cold. He scrambled up. It was sunny, early in the morning. Something had happened, something was changed. Derek began to flail and writhe as if he had seen a spider on himself. He blinked, rolled his eyes, moved his tongue, felt for his eyelashes.

 Everything was there. Not a strand of hair was missing.

 And yet, he felt as if he just woke up in an ice bath with stitches on his abdomen.

 He stood. Stood for a minute, ten minutes. He began to walk, feeling safe in the sunlight. Things were really ok.


 No they weren't.

 Derek resumed his life, staying awake some nights wondering just what had left him, what was taken. He could talk to people, continue to farm, eat, sleep, drink. Something was missing, but it wasn't noticeable.

 One night, he scrambled up with a burst of terror, and checked the mirror, could this be it? Was he missing?...

 No, his reflection was still there. Relief washed over, but also that itching anxiety, the question remained.

 Derek was in town one night. Months had passed, and with it, the question. He made it out of that horrific time, now it was like a faint memory.

 The street lamps were the only source of light. He noticed how this night was considerably darker than... That night... Oh god... It has taken something, it really has and I want it back. 

 Derek was scared. And for the last time, he asked himself the question.

 What had it taken?

 He walked faster under the street lights, he was on the verge of knowing. The verge... Just...

 He stopped. And first, he thought it was impossible. They didn't work that way, they can't be taken. No, they can't.

 But Derek looked behind him, and came to the grim understanding of what was missing. He knelt down to the ground, and put his hand to it.

 The light went through his hand, uninterrupted.