's 2017 Horror Write-off:

Strange Autumn Town

Submitted by Conner Burgess (email)

"Did it just get warmer all've the sudden?"

The other, a few meters ahead, stopped for a moment.

He looked back at her and took off a glove to feel the air.

"I really couldn't tell."

"Maybe it was just me."


They continued walking. She followed him, a few meters

behind, looking at the countryside as they went. Even through

the damage of it all, she was amazed by the beauty and

determination of nature. The grass was still green, many of the trees were shedding their leaves into the autumn wind. Somewhere, she was sure, there were still animals living and surviving in the wilds. She tried to hope there were people, too.

They had begun walking up a shallow incline, and as they reached the top a town came into view. The man said, "Stay close to me.", and she took his hand and followed him.

The town, just like all the others, suffered from it all. There were no

people, no rats, no cats, no dogs, not even many birds. Most knew

not to go into the towns. Only ravens and crows lingered, fleeing at the

first sign of danger and being smart enough to recognize it. She felt worry

setting in despite the comforting grip of his hand.

They made their way into the town, ignoring the outer buildings. Anything

that these houses, restaurants, hardware stores, and the like could offer

was not needed. Food was not too difficult to come by, they had no need for many tools, and they were not seeking shelter. They moved inwards, the man looking for something in particular, although she did not know what.

"What are we looking for?"

"Gun store, shooting range, anything with bullets. We're getting a little low."

She frowned and looked down. "That sounds awfully violent..."

The man stopped and turned, placing one hand on her shoulder and

continuing to hold her with the other.

"I need you to be quiet, and I need you to be calm. Try to stay focused,

please." The man forced a half-hearted smile, continuing to walk and bringing her with him. She followed, still worried.

"I don't think we should be doing this, why can't we just go back home?

I'll make us some tea and we'll watch some TV. We could visit my sister a

little lat-" the man quickly leaned to her face and put his hand to her mouth.

"Do you hear that?" She shook her head, but then, she began to hear something. She nodded,

slowly at first, then with more intensity. A soft rumbling. They walked further

into the town. The woman saw it first as they rounded towards a park.


Hundreds of bodies, laid out horizontally and stacked on each other neatly, no

more than three high. A great heat radiated from the park. The rumbling was

coming from here, and the visible distortion from waves of heat lingered over the



The man, without thinking, grabbed the woman harder by the arm and began to run.

The woman looked back as she was pulled, and saw a large thing emerge from behind the stacks of bodies. It threw one over its shoulder, and walked back into the heat.

The woman did not sleep well that night.