's 2017 Horror Write-off:

"Float" or "A Short Period Between Long Periods Of Isolation"

Submitted by Brendan Cleary

You know, being alone on a flat, featureless plane isn't that bad. It's when I have company that it becomes unbearable.

They show up frustratingly often. It's impossible to keep track of time in here, so I can't tell you if they're on some sort of schedule, or if there's anyway to predict when they will show.

In the early days, they never appeared, or at least I never noticed them. I was desperate for interaction then. I would wander around the plane for what seemed like days, marking out every scratch in the floor until I could recognize each individual detail in the marble.

I walked for so long that I found the edges of this place. I walked so long that I found that this place had edges. They don't want us to think there are edges, it would add to our sense of hopelessness if we think this place stretches out to infinity. But it has limits. In its own way, knowing this place is basically a box creates a whole different type of existential despair, doesn't it?

You ever play any of those early 3d video games? Your Mario 64s and the like? It's kind of similar to that. There are barriers, limits, but you wouldn't realize unless you walk into them. And when you do, you realize that this seemingly open area is just a facade, and it's just a well painted box.

I'm sorry, realizing now you maybe couldn't have gotten that reference. I don't know what time period you got pulled out of. Judging by your outfit, probably not one where what I just said means anything.

It's just... think of it as a cage. A cage that disguises itself as everything but a cage.

Grey ground, black sky. From here to the edge of the box, that's all there is, sad to say. Didn't even have the common decency to give their fake sky stars or something.

Oh, watch your step there. There are cracks, some of them get pretty large. All of the indentations and such in the floor seem man made, I even found some markings that I swear but I can't for the life of me scratch the floor or make any kind of mark. I can't leave an impact, you know? Another cruel joke by them again.

It feels weird that I know my captors so personally. I'd wish they never showed their face, leave me to stew with my countless questions and potential explanations. That would have been more effective, right? If I never got a glimpse of who was pulling the strings here? Thats... they say that something is scarier the less you know about it. It makes sense, once you see the thing you're in fear of, it becomes tangible. They become... a living breathing thing whose properties of what it can and can't do get rapidly defined with every extra second they're in view. That's not scary, giving evil a face doesn't make it scary.

... Okay, now assuming all of that is true, why does every second they're in view just make my fucking blood turn cold?

I should back up here, I've been saying so much about them and I haven't even described what they look like, or what they even are.

The first time I saw them was... it had to be months into my imprisonment here. I was sitting, trying to get my thoughts in order and alphabetically categorize all my memories, when she appeared. I would later call her “Diane”, but at the time I didn't have a name for her.

It was terrifying how slow it was. All of a sudden, above me, from the left, a giant figure was moving into view. In response to this, the “sky” suddenly got lighter, as if someone had turned a light on. This was the first change in the sky I had seen in the sky since.... Since forever.

It was massive, I don't know how far up she was, but even if she was floating only ten feet in front of me, she would still be larger than any creature, thing, or object I could remember.

The size alone was enough to bring me to my knees. She didn't have to go any farther, but she did.

She looked like someone had stretched out a person and pushed and pulled them in every direction they could. Like silly putty that had been warped and then frozen, guaranteeing it would never lose its current shape.

Her movement, despite her size and strange placement of her limbs, was surprisingly graceful. She moved like a creature who, through years of practice, had adapted to an environment she had no place in being. Like a whale.

You know whales? Their ancestors were land mammals. One of the few evolutionary paths that went back to the sea after spending a few million years on land. Imagine that. What was wrong with living on land? What did they find lacking that no one else did?

Her size and silhouette weren't the worst part. Her skin though, now that was troubling. You could convince yourself that, like whales, her body structure and size where all the products of a strange, roundabout evolutionary misadventure. But her skin, one couldn't write away her skin as just a consequence of evolution.

I saw colors that I could of sworn were so bright and garish that only a lab specializing in candy food dye could have conjured them up. Overdone and inane patterns and designs that nature was smart enough to never willingly bestow upon a creature. The biological rule of symmetry was thrown out the window, a conscious effort seemed to have been made to make this creature seem anything but natural.

I was looking at a being miles long and kilometers wide, a beast who, for no discernable reason, had the aesthetic and design sense of a cheap prize you'd find at a fair.

There was nothing natural about this thing. The giant purple and pink gradient stripes adorning it's concave belly look painted on, I could of sworn I saw other previous designs and colors hiding behind it's massive and expansive head, older color schemes that were simply worked over instead of being erased. This was a messy, overused canvas of a creature.

And then, a part of it that I didn't expect to be its mouth suddenly opened. It talked.

‘Woosh. Wish. Slip. Slide. I'm the williest woosher. I'm the fastest floater. None of the others can top me, no siree!” It said in a voice that was distinctly feminine. I felt the voice everywhere, like it was coming from speakers located both high above and deep within the earth. I wondered if the mouth I just saw opened was just for show, and had no actual use or purpose. Purely for my benefit.

That was the first time they spoke. I was thinking at the time, okay, that was a weird fluke. It won't happen again, it was too weird and unexplainable to become normal behavior. I was so wrong. And a part of me knew I was wrong the first time I dared to assume it was a fluke. Because I didn't want to even consider the idea that that voice would become a part of my daily routine. But it did.

Now, everytime they show, I can expect at least one of them to say some variation on “I'm the fastest floater” while attempting to show off how fast they are. They sometimes have “races” with each other, with one of them declaring that there will be a race, but it's very rare that any of the others acknowledge or seem to notice, and it even rarer that one of them actually joins the race. The races, when they do occur, never last long, with one of the competitors seeming to forget they're in a race half way through and wandering off.

I've been trying to ascertain if there's some sort of rule to their behavior, some action or aspect of them that I can grasp onto. I felt like Jane Goodall at first, watching these enigmatic creatures as they went about their daily routine, but it became obvious pretty quickly that there was no secret to their behavior, no hidden meaning behind their declarations of how they were “the williest whoosher” or their easily forgotten races.

I've never seen one of them mate and give birth, I've never seen one of them eat, I've never seen any of them attack, kill, or even just touch another.

They just float. That's all they do, every fucking day. And all I do now is watch them. Because that's all I can possibly do.

I see a lot of them more than once, and it seems like more and more of them have been popping up recently. The one you're going to notice first is the one I've nicknamed “Christy”

You know why I named her “Christy”?

I don't fucking remember. HaHaHaHAH how's that? I don't fucking remember why I've named any of them, and i've named every single one of them, and for some reason i can't forget any of their names.

But “Christy”, what separates her apart from the others is that, out of all of them, she comes the closest to resembling a human. She doesn't do a good job, I never said it does a good job, but you can definitely tell she's trying, to the best of her ability, to look like you and me.

She doesn't seem to realize though, that humans aren't naturally neon blue. They aren't the size of a small moon either, and they definitely don't have ears where eyes and mouths should be.

You wanna know something fucked? Christy doesn't talk like the others, even through I have a feeling she can, she just waves.

She just waves, she waves too far, moving it hand in an arc that goes too far down on either side.

It's the only one that seems to notice me, the only one trying to contact me. I never wave back.

Out of all of them, Christy is the one that gets to me the most.

And for years, it had to have been years, they were the only thing I had. These bloated, technicolor nightmares that I just know are behind all of this. I was scared for a very long time, still am but the fear is lessened, that one day I would forget about humanity, forget about my past life. I was terrified that one day I would wake up, and when I saw their faces, I would feel,not fear or terror, but recognition.

And that's why, finding you, just... lying here on the ground, same as me when I ended up here, is so amazing, so... so fucking perfect. I'll have someone, finally. You'll have someone. I can finally have someone to talk to, and you'll never run the risk of going mad from isolation like I did. This place is gonna be okay now. Maybe not okay, but better. I'll have someone else to look at.

Yeah, Isolation. That's what I said. I don't consider the others, the things above, people. Even when they're above me in incredible numbers, frighteningly large and frighteningly close, I feel alone. In fact I feel the most alone when they're here. It really drives the point home that I'm so far removed from reality that something like them is possible.

Oh.. speak of the devil, here they come! God... I'm sorry this has to be your first exposure to them, it's not usual for so many of them to appear at the same time. This may be the... jesus... this may be the largest group yet. There's a few I don't recognize, like the one shaped liked a collapsed lung in the front.

They're talkative today, really antsy and energetic. Don't be scared but I think it's because of you. I had the luxury of them slowly “introducing themselves” to me. The first time they appeared it was in the singular. Just one.

Hey... come on, you don't have to look at them. I know it can be overwhelming, a lot of times it's best to just look away. They want you to look at them, you know? Just dont even give them the...


... Why are you smiling at them? Don't smile.

Don't laugh! It's not funny, they're not funny. Those fuckers aren't funny.

Look at me. Look at me. Don't look at them, look at me! Just look at me, look at me, look at-

FUCK. NononoNononoNOnonononono Stop doing that. You gotta stop doing that, darling, please. You gotta stop it.

Oh god, oh god. What even... what is this?

I've got you, I won't let you go. I can see it in your eyes, you don't want this. They're controlling you, they've got strings on you. They don't want to let you go. But I'll be the one to cut those strings. It's okay you're safe. See! I'm slowing it down, I'm slowing it down, soon you'll be back on- no. No, no.

Stop it, stop fighting, don't hit m- FUCK.

Oh god... no. No... she's gone now. You took her away from me. The one good thing that has happened to me



All of... fucking ALL of you.

You're hiding her now with your fucking... disgusting candy colored bodies! But I know she's there, behind you, and you're doing god knows what with the only other person I've seen. The only other person that's ever fucking been here. The only fucking person that's like me... or seemed to be like me.

I could have been happy, this could have been bearable for once. But it's not. And it never will be. You just... you can't just let me be happy. It's been so long, and I don't even remember my own name at this point. I can remember all of yours but I can't remember mine.

Why did you... why did you have to make her float away.


Why can't I float?