's 2017 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Cassie Carryd

I step inside and lock the front door, and the second door behind it. School fucking sucks. It's warm, I need to sit down. I drop my backpack to the floor, and rest on the bed, pulling out my sketchbook. Pencil and paper, all I've ever been good at, and I still suck ass. Ask me to draw you and I'll spend hours trying not to cry, but ask me to draw a fanged beast with spikes and blood, and I'm an artist for once.

Flipping through my sketches, I find no inspiration for my next piece, nothing gruesome or scary coming to mind, but I want to draw something with claws. Claws obviously too big for the thing they're attached to. I start doodling some hands with long fingers with short nails, or hands that are void of fingers at all and just split into masses of keratin. The latter sticks with me more.

I draw blood coming from the area where digits would be, like they shot out from the hand painfully.

Feels warm...

Scars with fresh blood and old like adorn the saggy skin of a monster.


I wipe sweat from my forehead and rub it on the bed, nearly burning my hand. Wincing, I stand up and take my sketchbook with me to the backdoor. Opening the door, the trees behind the fencing are black and charred, little patches of flames littering the floor, but not catching the grass. The blades look wet and oily, but they have no want to be ignited.

It's the coolest thing around, so I'll take my chances to avoid having a heat stroke. I sit in the corner, inside of a tall patch of wet grass. It's sticky, and smells amazing. The smell of gasoline was always addicting as a child. Sketching more to ignore the encroaching heat, I add a long arm, too thin to possibly hold the monstrous growths piercing through the hands.

My eyes flicker, I feel lightheaded...

Shreds of skin on the arm are peeled, revealing stringy muscle and sinew beneath the surface...

My head hurts...

I draw a shoulder and attach a large head, doing a rough sketch of the malnourished body.

My head pulses in pain, and the pencil in my hand stings my fingers...

I add eyes too large to belong on a humanoid, and long tangled hair that looks as drenched in blood as the claws do.

My eyesight gets blurry, the sound of fire crackling on twigs and wood sounds like my psyche being broken...

I hear a long creaking at the back door, and look up and see my mother, her shirt splattered in red, her eyes too large for her sockets, glowing yellow. Her hands end at the knuckles where large black spikes protrude from where fingers should. She looks around and slowly walks towards me, her arms pulling her down.

I stand up and try to act calm, but my breathing can't slow down. She puts a hand on my shoulder, and digs into my flesh, making small drips of blood well up in the wounds. I nervously chuckle. If I wanted to run, I don't know if I could, my body aches from the gas in my lungs. I never thought I'd feel a sting so bad.

If you've ever gotten a cut on your hand that lasts for a bit, it stings enough to keep your attention off what you're focusing on. If you're not focusing on anything, the pain can ring through more of your body than it should, a cut on your finger becomes a sore to your whole hand. When you can't bring anything into focus, and your stomach is slashed open, it feels like your entire body is shaking.

The shaking makes the stinging in your flesh feel like you're being torn apart by the very will of the world itself. Another swipe towards my torso, and I feel my innards fall out, blood eager to leave me and stain the oily grass below me as I'm being lifted by the nails in my chest.

I hear whispering in my mind, and my heart beats like it's being held to my ears.

I see myself standing next to it. Claws has long black nails and hair, dripped in blood, and enormous yellow eyes. She has no mouth, but the whispering I hear is obviously hers. Her ideas are like actual fire, overheating my brain, and leaving markings on my skin. The horns on her head slowly spill more blood onto her minimalistic face. They jut out of her skin, wounds surrounding where her skull forces it's way out of her torn skin that barely covers her bones.

The reality of my body failing hits me all at once. The pain is unbearable, and I can feel my flesh being ripped to pieces. I start struggling to pull myself up by pushing down on the shoulders of my mother, and scream with everything I have, spitting up blood. I throw punches at her face and try to fight, but no matter how much I fight, I can only keep screaming.

It feels like waking up, but I'm still as dizzy as before. The pain feels like it's gone, but I feel sick to my stomach. Her whispers are louder and faster now, even harder to interpret as words, and I can see what was myself. I see her flailing and hear her screaming. The blood splatters and hits the floor, sometimes something more than blood falls out and hits the dirt like a wet bag.

To my left is Claws, she's still just staring and watching. Something tells me to react, to do something. I have no idea what I'm doing, or how I have such control over myself all of a sudden. I grab her by the shoulders and spin her into the fence, smashing her face into wood. Her whispering turns into unearthly shrieks, and she stumbles to the floor. I can't give her any room to fight back.

I sit over her back and pull on her arms, and as they resist, I give it my everything, popping her arms out of their sockets. Standing up, I jump onto her back and feel the ribcage and spine shatter. Remorse has no time to set in before I grab her by the hair and drag her to the front yard. The gate opens up with a mind of it's own, and I step before the river of lava where the street should be. A squid with a massive gash on it's head rises from the ocean floor, opening it's wound to reveal a disgusting visage of eyes and teeth, pulsing excitedly. I've got just the treat.

I lift the emaciated queen onto my shoulders, and fling her into the mollusk, and stomp her in, embracing the cracking of her bones and the cries for help she makes as I once did. Her cries fade to nothing as she sinks to the bottom with her newfound prey, and I fall to my knees.

All artists are mad.