's 2017 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Sang (email)

There's a truth to be found in emptiness, there is.

From horizon to horizon, farther than any eye could see, there is nothing here but sand, the occasional cactus, and sometimes, another person.

I used to run for any person I saw. Desperate for company. It took me longer than I'd like to admit to discover the uselessness of trying to assuage the loneliness here. When I see another person now, treading the endless dunes, I just look the other way.

Some turned to sand when I turned to speak. Others attacked. Still others ran in panic. But there was no sound. Never any sound but the wind.

Other people turn out to be cruel pranks. When you speak out loud, sand gusts into your mouth, so even talking to yourself doesn't work. Something enforces the isolation here. It's just you and the endless, endless sand.

I can't die. I've tried. My hands weaken when I try to tear at myself. There's no rocks or drops or pits to dash myself against or cast myself into. Sand is too soft to hurt. Eating sand doesn't do anything. Whenever I get too thirsty, there's always a cactus right there. Something makes me drink. There's nothing to do but walk.

Spent some time just sitting. Got covered up by the wind. Eventually stood up, sand pouring off me like water would, if there was enough to bathe in, and carried on.

My skin is sand colored. I tried to scrape it away once, because I'd long forgotten, or maybe never really knew, what I looked like. I kept scraping sand off my hand for over an hour. No blood, no skin, no less hand.

My reflection in the cactus water never stills. I can't...there's nothing there.

There's nothing anywhere.

I said something about truth, earlier. There is. All this nothing, no speaking, no contact, no way to die, no need to sleep, it gets your mind working. I unraveled universal constants. Figured out laws. Peered on the empty throne of God, saw the drift of sand there. Guess it's not just here that's empty. Maybe everywhere is. I think about things like sleep, and food, and death, but I can't remember a time when those things were part of my life. I think of myself as "I" but I don't know who that is.

Maybe there was a world before the sand. Who can say? The few of us here live silent, and if there's an ending for any of us, we'll end silent too.

Everything is sand. Sand and the sky, the red sun in the same place, never sinking. I feel myself becoming sand. Maybe someday I'll be sand too. Maybe that'll be my ending. Maybe my thoughts will live on in the dunes.

It doesn't matter.

It's all sand.