's 2017 Horror Write-off:

My Parents Didn't Let Me Talk To Great Uncle Ed No More

Submitted by Connor W. Drescher

People always said me and Ed looked a lot alike. Sound the same too. I still remember his golden blonde hair, just like mine. He was real old, and yet, his hair didn't go white until just before he died.

He lived in an old cottage, up in Maine. He made some money in computers, I think. He used the computer a lot, the internet, despite being so old. Lived alone, no kids, or anything. But he and I used to get along, I remember that, even if he scared me a little sometimes. "Listen Charlie, you and me, we're different," he'd say. "We got that stuff, you know?" I never did, but I'd nod my head anyhow. I do know now, I think, but I don't know if that "stuff" is any good. His cottage was musty, and never particularly well lit. I remember everything he said to me that day. Every word.I couldn't've been much more than seven, and yet I remember every word.

"You know what a tracer bullet is, Charlie? It's a type of round with a bit of pyrotechnic at the end. You put those in a fifty-cal, and they light up like a ribbon of gold ripping through the sky. It's so the shooter can adjust his firing without looking at the sights or where the bullets hit.  If I had known what I'd find there on that island, Charlie, I would never have opened up my parachute when that jap shot me down that night.

In fact, I shouldn't've, even then. It was the middle of the ocean. There was supposed to be nothin' out there. I knew that. Even if there was, It was the pitch black. I woulda had no idea where I was going. But that's not how a dying man thinks. He grabs anything that floats, even for a couple more seconds of life. Even if that  life's worth shit.

But, God help me Charlie, I ejected and opened up my parachute. The jap shot out a few rounds to see if he could hit me in the air, trying to find me by the light of the tracer bullets. But by the  time he'd found me, I'd crashed down in the water. It was like wasps made of ice, hitting my skin, soaking my clothes. When I came down, there was a storm there that hadn't been there before. The waves rocked me high, before nearly drowning me. Lightning split down from the sky, a sky I hadn't seen a cloud in, only moments earlier.

Something strange happened. I think the fifty-cal grazed my goggles, and the burst knocked me out. Doctors say I still have bits of glass and bullet shrapnel in my skull. Some say that's why I saw what I saw, Charlie, but don't you listen. Shit never touched my brain. I know what's real. I know what I saw.

When I woke up, my head was bleeding. I was on a beach. The sand wasn't soft like in Japan. It was grainy and coarse. It hurt. Worst of all, when i looked at it, it wasn't white, or tan, or even black like those beaches in Hawaii by your Uncle Jack's. It was green. Puke green. The Sky was a musty yellow grey, even then at dawn. It was always like that. I pulled myself up, out of the sand. I'd fucked up my leg somehow. Still don't know how. That's when I saw the first of 'em.

He was crouching on a rock a few yards away from me, short guy, standing against the orange-yellow sunrise. He was wearing nothing, just holding a long crude spear. He was yellow - not yellow like a jap, but yellow like someone with jaundice. Or that time my sister fed your da too much carrots when he was a little baby. He had curly white hair, thin, it rolled around in the wind. And he was old, with long skinny arms and legs, and thin as hell, like the poor jews they pulled out of the camps.

But he just stared at me. He saw I was bleedin', from my head no-less. He saw I'd fucked up my leg. Hell, god knows he probably ain't ever seen a white man before. But he didn't move. He just sat there on his haunches, lookin' at me. Like he was bored. Like he was watching a TV show he might turn off at any time, if something better came up. Even when I yelled at him, first begging for help, then telling him to fuck off. Just stared at me like I meant nothing. With those pale blue eyes. They were all like that.

I got up slowly. You know that feeling when you sleep too long after a long day, and even your bones wanna go back to bed? That's what it was like. I tried to put some pressure on the leg I fucked up. I howled out with pain, and the old yellow guy.... He finally cracked a smile. Joyless. Just there.

I remember flipping him off. Now I think that was a funny thing to do. I managed to straighten up and walk up the beach. There wasn't much there. The sand became paler, further up, turning to a more normal white. But, the tufts of thin grass, were a ghostly blue. Most of the island was like that, but the other parts were brambles, and blue or pink and blue trees and these... huge mountains they looked more like spines of some terrible lizard. Just, giant stone spikes sticking straight up and out, like thorns.

And the plants.... When I got back to the states I looked into it. They were all most like the kind of plants that don't photosynthesize. As if the whole island didn't get any sun at all. But the whole place was hot, all the time. If it wasn't so muggy that you were practically swimming in hot mud just walking around, it was dry enough to make your lips crack!

It wasn't long until I found the first village of the yellow people. They lived behind tall fences, behind which were more fences, in mud huts. They went too and fro, tilling their fields with thin arms. Mostly, they ate fish, I think -raw, like the Japanese. But the fish weren't like any I'd seen, they were all skinny, with huge teeth. They were more like skinny deep sea eels with the head of rotten salmon. They kept their docks fenced off, even into the water, to make it harder to steal a boat.

And the people... they were human but only barely. They had that yellow skin, right, but they were short. Real short. They had thin paper skin.... and their faces.... Their eyes were just barely too big, so pale blue. There was something else - I'll never get them out of my head. I can't really put my finger on it, their cheeks too angular... their noses small. There were these short people in Indonesia a few thousand years ago.... kinda like Neanderthal. I think... maybe they come from them. Maybe. Swiped up in that same world-storm a thousand years ago before mutating.

I limped over to them, hands outstretched. I didn't see the children anywhere. Some of them were mutants. Big boils and warts around their shoulders, and their eyes. One guy only had one eye, in the center of his face, like a cyclops. They looked at me with those lazy, bored eyes, I fell before them into the mud - really their shit, I'd later find out. They just  walk out and shit right there. And they laughed. Laughed like fucking chimps. They laughed and laughed as i got their shit in the wound in my head, and I slipped and slurried. They cackled and roared in their odd language of clicks and clatters - I picked up a little, but I never really spoke it well.

When they stopped laughing at me, walking off after i became boring to them, I managed to crawl out of the pit. I made my way to a forest of strange pink and yellow plants, where I first saw the  children. I saw the really little ones, all only a little more than, three years old. Three to eight, maybe. They were scavenging bugs out of the dirt. Ugly grasshoppers, orange cockroach things, and scorpions that buried in the dirt with just their eyes above the sand. They'd snatch them up by the tail, grab them, rip off the tail, and eat them whole, right where they found them. They looked up at me, with eyes a bit more curious than their parents, but ultimately, were too distracted by their hunger. Sometimes, when they couldn't find anything, I watched them eat rocks and dirt. Parents did that too.

That's when the older kids came out. They jumped down from the hills, throwing stones at the little kids, before they ran away, yelling and screaming in their clicking gibberish. The older kids weren't much more interested, mostly focusing on finding food. They'd eat the grasses too, and gnarled roots in the dirt. I took out my canteen to drink, and the kids jumped and grabbed it from my hands, kicking and laughing at me,making jokes at my expense. I was really too weak to move.

When the kids had their fill, I looked for food. I couldn't bring myself to eat the bugs at first, but it wasn't long before I would. I ate seed pods, for a while, off the grasses, and these little white plants, ghost pipes. Those made me feel a little sick. I had to get through the brambles to make it to the nearest watering-hole. It was muddy, and the only things living inside were hoards of leeches. It wasn't uncommon to go for a drink, and find a leech hanging from your hands and lips.

The animals were mostly big lizards, Many of them freakish mutants, just like everything else on the damn island, with claws, legs, teeth, coming out the wrong places. There were more than a few with two heads. The big pig-things were much the same, except that they ran around on two legs with their stunted legs up. And then there were the monkeys, like gibbons, with tusks as long as your forearm, and claws like knives.

I straightened my leg with a big stick and some viney-grasses, and made my way to the villages, looking for shelter. They looked at me with those dead, bored eyes, and closed up shop. I tried to part the thatch doors, and they pushed me back in the shit pit where they had laughed at me.

For weeks, months, I lived just like that, eating rotten meat killed by the monkey-things and the bugs, just like all the little children. Sometimes the kids would toss a chunk of good meat at me, only to swipe it from me at the last  second and beat me with sticks. They did that to all the weaker children. When I got up my strength, and I realized their parents couldn't have given a shit about them, I began to fight back.

Because they couldn't have given a shit about those kids. They didn't even let them in their compound. They sat outside the compound with me, by the shit pit, staring at me with big blue eyes in the dark. That is, unless they could bring their parents some food. Maybe they'd let them hang by the huts.

Most of the words I learned were about food. GaK, Food. It's all they seemed to talk about. T'chti GaK, Bring me food, Nokgi GaK, more food. Shit like that. They were ruled by hunger. The thing I couldn't figure out is why they didn't ever leave. They had boats that could do it. The hawaiians and polynesians crossed hundreds of miles on boats not much bigger. And some of them did leave, I think. They  had another word, ZatchiKikk. Another place. I don't know if that was us, where we humans live, or some place, god forbid, maybe even more horrible than theirs.

They kept coming back... One would leave for months, saying he'd never return, and month later, he'd come back, without much to say at all. Others had left, I know that too, sometimes for years.  But they always came back. Maybe it was all they knew. Maybe the ZatchiKikk was worse, though I can't imagine how. Maybe they cared for each other more than I thought, and couldn't let the others alone. But I think, Charlie, there was something in their evil, twisted hearts that drew them back to this place. Something in their warped heads kept drawing them back. It wasn't uncommon to be walking around the island, foraging, and to find the corpse of one of them, dead from starvation or exposure. Not uncommon at all. Just curled up in the sand.

A few weeks in, something strange started happening. I saw all the kids running around looking for food. They focused on fruits, and meats, this time, instead of bugs. Instead of eating the food where  they found it, they held it in their arms, or in pouches of leather, and ran off with it. That night, all the adults ran inside, and the kids, they made offerings to their parents, and even the ones who came up short, the rare moment of kindness was shown, and they were brought inside. The ones  who weren't snuck behind the barricades.

I sensed something was wrong. I climbed into one of those weird pink and yellow trees. It wasn't easy, but I nestled at the top, in the flowers, holding myself to the branchless trunk. That night, lit only by the torches around the Yellow People's camps, I saw it. Its body was mostly warts, and inflamed veins, the color of the skin of a white man. It was like a slug, a sea slug, that way, a thick layer of flesh surrounding its body in a ring. And beneath that, hands. Hundreds of hands. It walked with a menageries of skinny human arms, at the end of which were blistered, cracked, human hands. It must've been yards away, but I could smell it.

It smelled like rotten meat and paste, and it squealed like a hog that'd just been touched by a hot iron. It shifted weirdly, occasionally it pulsed and convulsed. When it came out, eyes peered over the stockades, as the villages began to shriek and babble another came out. They Howled and squealed for a while, going in between the villages, side by side. They waited a long time. The monsters started getting real pissed off. They started hitting the walls, and hard, hard enough to break down a part of the barricade. Finally, they tossed out an old man. Just threw him over the walls. The two monsters swarmed him, and tore him apart. First, one held him down  by the body, then tore out his arm. It made a popping sound, right before they tore it away. Then, they took his fore-arm off the other, and then took the rest of that arm, clean from the torso. Then they took the legs. But when they took off his head... It was still screaming. That didn't happen with all of them. Some would just die when their heads were pulled off by the fuckers. But every once in awhile, one would scream until he was hauled off where-ever they took those parts.

But one wasn't enough. They needed another. Eventually a child was tossed out. They'd grabbed em by the ankle and tossed him like that, so that he spun through the air with his arms and legs out. One of the monsters reached up and snatched him out of the air. They tore him apart, and with two, they left.

The next morning, it was like nothing had happened. They just went back to collecting food.

And that's how it went. I don't know how they knew when the monsters were coming. Never figured that one out. I have my suspicions, but I don't want to know, and didn't know enough of the language to ask. The next time it was three monsters, and they didn't leave until they had three people. The next was only one, and it only wanted one person.

I survived for months. Maybe  a year or two. there were never any seasons there. I sold some roots for a knife, I used the  knife to kill a pig thing, and with that ,i got a spear. A few more pigs and I got a net. I lived like them, I ate like them. All the evil little children on their hot muggy island, waiting to die.

Then, one day, I saw the kids rushing to get the food into the villages again. When the sun set, I climbed into the yellow-pink tree. As it got later and later, one of the kids - one of the smaller ones, a real runt - climbed up there with me, nestled in the petals. It let him be. After what felt like forever, the monsters came again. And this time, there were twelve of them. The little villages went ballistic. Three old people were tossed out, then a couple of children. There was a kid, who didn't make it into the village in time, he was ripped apart too. I saw a boat come into shore, and the creatures swam out to kill them.

But the monsters still weren't satisfied. The banged on the Walls, but the people yelled out "T'chalock Kahaktur! T'chalock Kahaktur!" that means "Get the outsider." Eventually the last of the creatures came around. The kid in the tree with me looked at me with big blue eyes. So wide. Wider than the rest. More human.

Don't dare judge me, Charlie. A drowning man, always, always, grabs for what he can. It's human nature Charlie. So by god, I pushed that kid down to the monsters. He whined at me, as I reached out my foot, and kicked him in the side. He held on tighter, as he began to whimper and cry. Squeal. I kicked him again, and he fell... Don't you dare judge me, Charlie. You would've done the same. Anybody would've.

I didn't watch them, as they tore him apart. But the kid still screamed after his head was torn from his body, screaming all the way until the monsters faded over the hills.

That morning, I picked up a spear, and I tracked the creatures. I went through the brambles, seeing their tracks in the sand, until I got to those mountains, like the spines of a great lizard. The place was rocky,  hotter than hell, and every bit as dry, but I could still see the tracks of the monsters by the blood of the body parts. I had to know where they came from, where they were taking them.

It took just about all day, walking across the island. Embedded in the side of one of the terrible mountains, was a stone doorway. It was old, huge, and seemed to be human-made, but the Yellow People never had any craft like that I'd seen. In the door there were dozens of screaming faces, carved delicately, religiously into the stone, incredibly lifelike. I got closer, and closer. An uneven red light glowed out from between the doors, growing stronger as I got closer. Paired with it, was a swirling white, underneath the red. I wanted to open the door... Like it... called to me. It hurt all over, and the only way I could relieve the pain was to open the door, like a junkie itching for heroin. I reached out and touched it. It was cold. One of the faces twitched... and laughed. Not real loud, just a soft snicker, like I'd just told it a dirty joke.

I spent all night walking back, without stopping. Once I got near a village, I dove into the water, swimming along the barricades, until I got to a boat. I stabbed the fisherman tying it to the post with my spear, and pushed him into the water. I stabbed the rope free, and I sailed off.

For days I sailed, watching strange, titanic creatures under the water. Then the storm came, and I awoke on the soft shores of Japan. The War was over, and we had won.

How can you come back from that? After seeing what I'd seen? To this day, I don't know how I did it.

When I finally got the balls to tell somebody about it, to tell them we had to send a battleship and nuke that fucking place, they didn't believe me.

They called me crazy. But you believe me, Charlie. You believe me, don't you? Don't you?"

And I did. I did believe him. I had nightmares for three months, waking up screaming, wetting my bed at least once a week. My parents didn't let me talk to Uncle Ed anymore. Later, the nightmares stopped, I couldn't even remember what they were, and I didn't think about Uncle Ed or his story for a real long time. I only saw him once or twice after that, my whole life. Every once in awhile, I awoke in a cold sweat, but I never remembered the dreams. And Ed, eventually, they took him upstate, to a mental hospital. His hair went white, very suddenly, and finally, he died.

But when I got out of jail, I started having the dreams again. I saw a sea, a sea of hands. I felt the heat, sweltering, covering my skin with a blanket of sweat. I saw a head of one of the Yellow people on the ground. His eyes opened, and he smiled at me. I saw the kid falling from the tree, until he was torn apart. And I saw the doors. Worst of all, I saw the doors.

I knew I had to go. I got what little money I had, and I got a ticket to the Philippines, and boarded a crabbing trawler heading into the deep sea. I don't know why Uncle Ed and I are the only ones, if we are the only ones. Why we were chosen. I think, maybe, like the yellow people, there is an evil in our hearts, that draws us there, across every sea in the universe.

There is a storm rocking the boat so hard it may capsize, and I think it started brewing in an old cottage up in Maine. Maybe in the cockpit of a Japanese fighter plane shooting fifty caliber tracer bullets at a P-51 in the black of night.