's 2017 Horror Write-off:

A Body Like Clay

Submitted by Regis Ethell (email)

Shapeless, malleable, a form that will warp itself to your whims.

It is your wish and it you shall have.

It began slowly, didn't it? It always does.

Every time your mother gets drunk, every screaming match you overhear, you recede into yourself a bit more.

Just until it ends.

You forget what you looked like before.

Perhaps you were this small to begin with.

No matter.

You are yelled at for frowning, so a wide smile you shall always have.

For averting your gaze you gouge out your eyes.

She seemed pleased.


those things never last, do they? The novelty wears off and it's no longer good enough.

She never laid a hand on you.

Well, once or twice.

But you had that coming, didn't you? You're being too sensitive, and you know damn well that's true.

So why are you even thinking about this? You have a nervous stutter, and she yells at you because it makes her angry.

You rip out your throat to show you're sorry.

You're so arrogant.

Nothing's actually happening, you just think something is happening so you've convinced yourself that it is.

Stop being a martyr.

You're not gay, you just think you are because you're intersex.

Get your hormones fixed for at least a year and you'll be fine.

Your body is not your own, and you can't trust your own thoughts.

Besides, some people choose not to be gay.

Wouldn't that be easier?

And so you cut out your heart.

You need to stop thinking.

What you think is wrong, always wrong.

You don't think those things, you've just convinced yourself you do.

Be silent, be still.