's 2017 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Zach Rebey (email)

Imagine God.

                Something told Sarah it was going to be a really bad day. She didn't have any real reason to think this- she had just woken up with a twisted feeling in her gut. Sarah glanced out her window. It was at least noon and the sun was shining bright, almost painfully so. Sarah pulled her blanket over her head to return to the dark. This was far from an ideal Sunday.

                Just then, Sarah's phone started to buzz. She didn't need to check to see who it was- she knew it was her mom. Mom always called after Sunday service, mostly to guilt Sarah for not going to Sunday service anymore. This call did not break that trend. Trying to change the subject, Sarah mentioned that she had feel feeling off this morning, though she knew how her mom would respond to that.

"Did you remember to take your medicine sweetheart?"

                It was profoundly frustrating for Sarah to constantly have her emotions brushed off as a consequence of her condition. It was even more frustrating that she was usually right. Sarah exhaled, away from the phone so her mom wouldn't hear. The two talked for a bit longer but Sarah couldn't stay focused on the conversation. The light from outside only seemed to be getting more intense and it was hurting Sarah's eyes. She quickly shuttered the blinds, then exchanged half-hearted "I love you"s with her mother before hanging up.

                Sarah pushed her feelings aside for the time being and finally started her morning routine. Since it was a Sunday, said routine consisted mostly of transferring herself from her bed to her couch. She felt around her windowless living room for a moment looking for the light switch, but recoiled the moment she actually hit it. The artificial radiance from Sarah's ceiling fan made her feel exposed and vulnerable, like she was underneath a surgical light. No matter where she went today, Sarah felt drowned by light.

                Eyes shut tight, Sarah slapped the light switch back to its original state. It was okay. This was okay. Sarah had gotten very good at reassuring herself things were fine when things were definitely desperately wrong. Maybe she had just woken up at the wrong time. It had been a late night, and Sarah's friends always joked that she was a zombie without 12 hours of sleep.

                Yeah that was it. For sure. She'd just fall over onto the couch and she'd feel better once she woke up. No doubt about it.

                Sarah was asleep when it happened- it was already dark out by the time she woke up. God, she was lucky. 

Imagine what God thinks They are.

                Sarah was sat very still on her couch. It had been- two days? Maybe? Time was blurry, for a while all Sarah could remember was hyperventilating and fading in and out of consciousness, but she had managed to calm herself down. Sort of- as best she could at least. If nothing else, she was able to take stock of her situation. There was enough food in her apartment for a week or two, maybe a bit longer if she was smart about it, but she couldn't stay long-term. There was likely more food in the rest of the complex but, even given present circumstances, Sarah wasn't comfortable with looting. That left her without many options. Going outside to get food was going to be a problem though.

You couldn't go outside when the sun was out. Sarah figured that one out quick. She peaked through the blinders of her bedroom-just as a precaution she kept them shuttered even at night, she couldn't risk light coming through them. She glanced around the street below her. It made Sarah's stomach turn. Deep down she hoped they were dead. The thought of living like that made Sarah's throat clench up. Poor bastards, no one deserved that.

Sarah didn't want to think about that right now. She didn't want to think about anything right now. Things were very, very bad, and Sarah struggled at times to handle mundane stress, much less this. She didn't know what she was going to do. God, what could she do?

Sarah started crying. She didn't want to, but what could she do to help it? This was too much for her. This was too much for anybody. Fuck, why was this happening? What had Sarah ever done to deserve-

There was a pounding at the door. Not Sarah's door, her neighbor's maybe, but it was loud enough that she could here it from her room. Sarah tensed up liked a scared animal. She hoped whatever it was would be quick about it.

Then Sarah heard someone shouting.

"Is anyone else here?! Anyone?"

They think They created everything- that there is nothing beyond them.

 "Can you pass me the lighter?" Sarah didn't approve of Gabe's smoking, but she wasn't in a place to nag him about it. She didn't approve of a lot of things about Gabe, but he was friendly, and he helped talk her through the anxiety attacks, so she put up with him. Even if she barely understood how he kept managing to find enough nicotine to feed his habit. Sarah skid the lighter across the table, refusing to make eye contact as he lit up the cigarette in his mouth.

"So how much do we have left?" Sarah asked.

"Huh? Oh uh, like, four or five packs maybe?"

"Not the cigarettes, jerkoff," Sarah hated how obtuse Gabe could be sometimes. She hated that someone as bright- no, no smart as him could be so dense. "Food."

"Oh." Gabe looked to his feet- he always did when he was doing mental math. "Five, maybe six days?"

Sarah slumped in her chair. She knew he was going to say that, it was like clockwork. Every two weeks they had to go back out to scavenge for food, but every time she still hoped that they had managed to stretch it out just a bit more, even it if only bought them a day. It would be her fourth time leaving the complex, but every time she thought about having to go outside it felt like spiders were crawling up her spine and her insides twisted around in decorative knots. She thought about having to go outside a lot. It didn't help that she was getting a migraine from the fluorescent light.

"You know we can't live like this forever." Sarah looked at Gabe as he took a drag on his cigarette. The smoldering end glowed as he did so and Sarah had to look away.

"No one can live forever."

They are wrong.

 "Come on Sarah, keep up." Gabe's words were stern, maybe even harsh, but they were also caring, full of comradery. The duo was making good time, but they couldn't afford to slow down. Baker Street was still a block away and while those... things were sluggish at night, they weren't immobile. Sarah and Gabe each were carrying as many gas cans as they could, and if something happened they wouldn't be able to defend themselves. They were taking a big gamble on this.

Sarah rounded the corner and felt a weight lift off her as she spotted the cyan van. Against all odds, they had found it in working condition. Most everything that needed electricity seemed inoperable now, but the van still worked, and the two had spent the last week stocking it with food and tarps that could block the sun during the day. It was their one chance to get out of the city and they had to take it. They had to go somewhere else, find others. There had to be others.

Sarah agreed to take the first shift driving. The roads were full of dead cars so she had to drive down sidewalks and bike paths. Not like there was anyone to care. For the first time in a long time, Sarah felt relaxed, happy even. She and Gabe spent hours talking, sharing stories from when they were kids, joking, laughing. For maybe the first time ever, the two were allowed to just be friends. Then Gabe asked Sarah something she didn't expect.

"Hey," Gabe took a sniff before he continued, as though he was second guessing what he was about to say. "You believe in, uh, God, and all that?" Sarah was quiet for a minute before answer.

"I don't think so."

"So, you don't believe in Heaven or any of that stuff?"

"I guess I don't," Sarah paused before continuing.  "Do you?"

"Yeah. It's... comforting, sometimes."

 Sarah didn't respond.

Imagine a God that can't look outward.

"So who do you think built this place?" Sarah asked Gabe as they stepped off the lift elevator.

"I dunno, mad scientist or something?" Sarah mused that, while the response was definitely meant as a joke, it was actually conceivably the correct answer, given the present state of things. The moment Sarah and Gabe had seen the warehouse, they couldn't resist checking it out. A building this big, this far out from any town, city, or even road posed to many questions not to look for an answer. The two only grew more baffled when they found the place still had, against all odds, running electricity. Unfortunately, whoever had built this place kept their secrets well hidden- there wasn't a scrap of evidence or info anywhere in the who place. As far as the two could tell, the entire massive building was completely empty, barring some abandoned furniture in what the duo assumed where offices.

Sarah was looking through one such room, trying to see if anything had been left behind, when she heard Gabe call out to her from the hall.

"Hey Sarah! Could I get some help over here?" Gabe had found a locked door- seemingly the only one in the entire place. The two pried at the sealed door to no avail. The two were at a loss. The door was completely smooth- no lock, knob, keypad- anything that could give Sarah a hint as to how to get in. Just a metal slab blocking off what was clearly a door frame.

"It's no use." Gabe said, out of breath from pounding at the door. "Come on, we gotta get out of here before the sun comes up.  Gabe turned his back on the door and started heading out of the warehouse. Reluctantly, Sarah followed him.

That strange warehouse haunted the imagination of the two for a while, but eventually, like everything else, those thoughts faded away.

Such a being can never know the limitations of itself, it can only believe it is all powerful.

"Please, please, please Gabe just hold on," Sarah was sobbing as she clutched Gabe's left hand. "Gabe, you can't do this to me please!" The gash across his stomach was deep, she knew no amount of pleading would fix that.

How did this happen? They had been so fucking careful. They had plans for everything. This wasn't fair. It wasn't fucking fair. Gabe was the only thing Sarah had and it was about to be taken from her by some grotesque thing with twisted joints and deformed features. She stomped the pile of skin and meat and bones again. It was dead. Sarah knew it was already dead, but she wanted to hurt it more.

"Sarah, Sarah look at me," Gabe's voice was faint. He had lost a lot of blood. Fuck. "Sarah, you're gonna be okay. Just leave me behind."

Sarah tried to respond, she tried to tell Gabe he was a fucking idiot and that she hated him, but she couldn't. She just sobbed into Gabe, snot and tears dripping down, eyes clenched tight, silently begging him to stay with her. For a moment, all Sarah heard from Gabe were shallow breaths. Then he spoke again.

"Do you see it Sarah?" Sarah pulled her head up and opened her eyes. Gabe's face was the most blissful she had ever seen it, devoid of any of the pain it had had moments ago. It scared her. "It's so beautiful."

Sarah felt every muscle in her body twist and tighten. She felt light flood over, choke and contort around her in a vibrant miasma. She couldn't breathe. Was it sunrise already? No, it wasn't possible, Sarah knew that for certain. What was happening?

"Look Sarah. It's an Angel."

Sarah had a lot of regrets, more than most people. She regretted how she didn't mean it the last time she told her mom she loved her. She regretted never telling Gabe how much he meant to her as a friend and companion. More than anything, in that instant, she regretted turning around.

It was an Angel.

 Light poured out of the thing like an overflowing ocean, sending waves of nausea to Sarah, twisting her head and building a pressure in her brain that made her feel like her eyes were going to rupture. Sarah vomited.

 It reached past Sarah to Gabe, who embraced it the way a lost child embraces their mother. It held Gabe close to its divine form. Gabe began sobbing, but it wasn't out of fear, or sorrow, or anguish. They were of joy. Gabe sobbed and laughed and smiled as the Angel held him. The blank visage of the thing began to rupture. The skin, if it was skin, peeled off, revealing wet sinew and uneven, malformed teeth. The newly formed yonic orifice gaped as the Angel lifted Gabe, the way a Roman emperor lifts a cluster of grapes above their mouth.

The lips of the thing gnashed and smacked as it dropped Gabe inside itself. The foul ritual of unbirthing had begun. Nothing could stop it. As he was absorbed into the great thing, Gabe shouted, "Sh'ma Yisra'eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad!" as his bones crumpled and splinted and his flesh rend. And then, for the first time Sarah could remember since that day, it was quiet.

The tear in the Angel closed, returning to it's original blank state. The thing showed no interest in Sarah. As quickly as the Angel had come, it left.

Sarah vomited again. It was so bright. She wanted it to end.

In a way, it's very sad.

I remember back when I was little, back in Kindergarten, I was the only kid that didn't know what they wanted to be when they grew up. I still don't. That's probably why I do what I do, why I have the life I have. It's a bit lonely at time, sure, but that's never bothered me any. I prefer being alone, to be honest. Maybe that's weird. I couldn't tell you the exact day I decided to live like this. It's been a long time since then.

Anyway, that's not really important right now, what matters is that today is a special day, a red-letter day! It's not often I find an abandoned building this big or interesting. Place looks like a damn warehouse, or factory maybe. No idea who builds a factory this far out from... well, anything really, but I'm not complaining. Looking around this place is certainly a nice change of pace.

Okay, this place is really odd. Like really odd. It's been abandoned for, well, I'm not sure how long actually, but it's been a while at least, the outside is overgrown with plants- but it's still getting power somehow? The only way to get up to the higher level is a lift elevator, and it's still working. I don't see a generator anywhere, and even if I did there's no way it would last very long. Another weird thing is that most of this place is stripped clean. I figured it'd be full of old filing cabinets or scrap metal or... I dunno, something. There are a couple desks and chairs but nothing else. Besides the running electricity, this place may not be as interesting as I had hoped.

There's only one room left- it's the only door that's been locked so hopefully that means something juicy's inside. I pull my sledgehammer out of knapsack- I always bring one with my when I go looking around, never know when it might come in handy. The thing didn't open, but eventually I managed to knock the door out of its frame and bust through.

Oh-ho ho! This room might be what I was looking for! There's a computer in here- a big ass one, it looks like it covers most of the wall. It's still on too! The glow from the monitor is lighting up the whole room. Above the monitor are two big letter printed in chipping white paint- "E" and "L". I figure it's the logo of whoever built this place. Whatever. Let's give this thing a look.

Whatever this computer is, its definitely not in English. Not even in the Latin alphabet, actually. Looks like there's only one program on this thing though, and I think it's running idle in the background. Might as well check it out.



Oh God.

I took a swing at the computer with the sledgehammer. Then another. Then another. Then another. I don't know how long I did it for. By the time I left, the sun had gone down.


I don't think I can live alone anymore.

Gods can die, too.

Everything was dark, and there was no Heaven.