's 2016 Horror Write-off:

The steel witch

Submitted by Anonymous

So on my way here I came through a small village what had been recently abandoned, by the looks of it.

It must have been a depressing, desolate place, even when it was still inhabited. A few dozen wooden cabins gathered around a makeshift church that doubled as a school. Hidden deep in the forest.

When I got there, though, things had clearly gotten much worse. The place looked like it had just experienced a close encounter with hatred itself, manifesting as a force of nature.

There were big, sometimes man-sized holes in almost every wall. Several cabins had been leveled altogether. The area was littered with broken furniture, household appliances, torn-up clothes and shreds of paper. The abundance of toys and kids' clothes suggested that this had been a breeding colony, founded by one of them fertility cults that seem to pop up everywhere in the lost territories these days. Like they want to make up for how the old nations aged themselves into oblivion (good luck with that).

Even as every fiber of my body told me to get out of there as fast as I could, I decided to head for the church and try to get a better sense of what happened here. Do you know that feeling where you're almost positive someone is watching you from some hiding place, calmly taking aim at your neck?

As far as I could tell, there were no bodies. Not a single splash of blood. Which was odd, especially since there were plenty of traces suggesting that people had been dragged all over the ground and thrown against the walls. What I did see where several piles of clothes, arranged as if to give the impression that their owners had evaporated, sucked right out of this world. Perfect, I thought to myself, trying to remember what kind of underwear I had put on that morning.

When I reached the church, my eyes were immediately drawn to a piece of paper that had been nailed to the door.

It had clearly been printed out with a computer, though the illustration at the centre was a copy of an ancient etching that looked reasonably authentic. I had some trouble figuring out what I was looking at. The etching appeared to show a shiny sphere smashing through a brick wall, like a polished canon ball. A man was trying to jump out of the way, but he wasn't fast enough to save his right leg from being pulverized by the raging sphere. Through the hole in the wall, you could get a glimpse of the path of destruction the sphere left in its wake, tearing through vehicles, structures and people alike.

On top of the picture, there was just one line of text.


That's when I heard a faint whistling sound, coming closer at an alarming pace.

Anyway, it didn't take me long to get here, I can tell you that. Never traveled this fast in my whole life, and I've been a traveler for years.