's 2017 Horror Write-off:

Look what I can do!

Submitted by Anonymous

I was the first to see it, but Isabel was the first to touch it. Things could have unfolded differently, but as soon as we were in the general area, that thing was impossible to ignore and impossible to resist.
You know how it is. Once something has been discovered, it cannot be unseen.

We had been wandering through the woods for hours, and it was already getting dark. I can't speak for everyone, but by then, I had reached that stage where you're about 75% sure you know where you are going... but the nagging feeling of uncertainty just keeps growing.

We reached the cliff just as the sun was about to slip under the horizon. The path we had chosen led us to a clearing right on top of the hill, and right there on the highest spot, we saw that rock. A black shape against the red sky, like the horn of a giant, sleeping beast who's overgrown back we had been crawling on for hours in blissful ignorance.

"Okay, so this was not on the map", Anna said.

"Are you kidding me? Who cares about the map? This is GREAT", Isabel said. She walked up to the black rock. "That's what this trip is all about! I bet we can see the cabin from up here!"

"At least we'll be able to confirm where we are", Jake said.

Isabel gasped. "Forget the cabin- you can see the CITY from here! This is amazing!"

She stood at the edge of the cliff, leaning against the rock.

She was right. With every step, I could spot new lights popping up in the distance, a lake of stars.

"Damn, that's where the city is? We must have ended up all the way east. We'll never make it home for dinner", Jake pointed out.

"It's getting cold", Anna said, shivering reproachfully. I smiled and patted her on the back.

Isabel was surprisingly quiet, all of a sudden. I turned my head and saw that she was still leaning against the rock, her hands traveling over its rough surface absent-mindedly as she was staring into the distance.

"Isa...? Is everything alright?"

"Shhhh... Let me just..." 

She turned around, and now all of her attention was focused exclusively on the black rock. It was like she was giving it a massage.

"Something is... It's almost like..."

"Did you find something?", Jake asked.

"It's like there is something written here... Carved into the stone... Something that..." She gulped.

Isabel let go of the rock and walked a few steps away.

Slowly, she lifted her arms and pointed at a tree stump just a few feet away.

There was a flash, and it erupted into flowers.

We all cried out. But no one as loud as Isabel.

"How did you do that?!", Jake asked.

There it was again, that triumphant cry. Isabel fell to her knees.

"What is going on?!", Anna cried.

But Isabel just laughed and screamed. Laughed and screamed.

"IT'S SO EASY!! It's. So. EASY! It all makes sense now!! Yieeeh...!"

Something was happening to her voice. Her triumphant cries sounded distorted. More like the call of a bird of prey than a human voice.

"Yeeeeeeeeeeh...! Yieeeeeeeeh...!"

She pointed at the nearest tree, and it collapsed into a pile of snakes. Then she pointed at a spot on the ground and the sky at the same time.


A fountain of black liquid erupted from the earth. Petroleum, by the smell of it. A flock of birds fell from the sky. I don't know what species, they were all deep-fried.

Mesmerized by this scene, I hadn't noticed Jake going back to touch the rock himself. I was only reminded of his presence when I heard a second voice screaming, shaking me to the bone.

Something like a giant arrow made of... rainbow flew right over my head, into the darkening sky.

I turned around to see Jake making that same pointing-gesture as Isabel. 

The grimace on his face made me wince. Even though there wasn't much daylight left, I could see that he was straining every single muscle in his face for the sole purpose of distorting it beyond recognition. His eyes were bulging out. His mouth was wide open, incredibly wide, like he was trying to eat his own neck.

When our eyes met, he let out his loudest cry yet.


He pointed at a pile of bones in front of a tuft of grass, and it turned into some kind of rodent heading straight for the cliff... and falling into the abyss with an incredulous squeal.

Then Jake jumped into the air. High up into the air. Now he was floating high above the ground, zapping through the sky like a giant hummingbird. I saw him take aim for random points in the forest down below, and one tree after another burst into flames. Some even darted straight up into the sky.

I turned around to find Anna cowering on the ground, sobbing.

When I raised my head, I met Isabel's gaze. Whatever had happened to Jake's face, it was much more advanced in Isa's. Nothing had changed physically, but the grimace she made was so far removed from any expression that is comfortable for a human face to hold that I started shaking all over. It was like she was trying to turn into another creature entirely. A giant owl, perhaps.

When she noticed my incredulous stare, she opened her mouth for the most abhorrent grin I had ever seen.

She put her hands on the ground to pick up a fist full of dirt. I watched as it turned into a human fetus, then grew into a crying baby. She let it drop to the ground as it grew into a somewhat disoriented looking child and man, only to fall apart and have his flesh devoured by a swarm of giant, bioluminescent woodlice. All of this happened in a timespan of about four seconds.

There was nothing human in the noises Isabel made... but it reminded me of laughter. Mindless euphoria.

As I stood there, like frozen, Isabel slowly turned and pointed her finger at the still sobbing Anna.

Anna's head exploded. Her torso dropped to the ground like a sac of potatoes.


Before I knew it, Isabel had darted up into the sky as well.

Jake and Isabel were dark shapes, dancing above the forest in erratic patterns, leaving colorful explosions wherever they went. A gigantic glas bottle, as tall as a cathedral, rose up from the forest, burst open and inundated a nearby village with its bubbling contents. A torrent of panicked and increasingly deformed elephants was raining down from a cloud of green fire. The last specimen was nothing but a ring of flailing trunks around a snapping beak made of tusks and molars. Just when it hit the ground, a ring of glowing orbs appeared, like a halo hovering over the valley. The orbs spread out, like sentient shooting stars performing an elaborate choreography. Two of these orbs raced straight towards my position. They just kept shrinking and shrinking; when they hit my chest, they were no larger than my fists and had lost so much velocity that it didn't even hurt. Ploff, ploff. When they dropped down in front of my feet, just before they stopped glowing, I saw that they were tiny creatures shaped exactly like your grandmothers' heads. They ran for cover, pulling themselves foreward with their upper jaws, making little chirping sounds.

Isabel and Jake were heading towards the city.

I fell to my knees. Tears were running down my face as I clutched Anna's hand. Blood was still streaming out of her head-stump.

It was getting cold, alright. Isabel's and Jake's haunting cries were riding the howling wind through the star-covered winter skies.

Somehow, I was able to get back up on my feet. I waddled towards the black stone. I think I stepped on one of the little head creatures. I barely even noticed the mushroom cloud in the distance.

I touched the rock, searching for the carvings that Isabel had talked about.

There were tiny symbols all over the surface. I hadn't been able to see them earlier in the dark. I realized now that the rock was really a sort of misshapen monolith.

Even though I had never encountered these symbols before, I could read it all. I realized that this was only the very tip of the monolith, that it extended deep into the mountain, all the way down. All of it was covered in symbols. And I could access it all, just by making the connection. I would be able to bring Anna back, if I reached all the way down. If I just tried to understand.

It was so easy. Everything was so easy. The stone would give me knowledge. The knowledge would give me power. It was all about power.

All I needed was power.