's 2018 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Samuel Peterson (email)

Today isn't a very interesting day. I gave birth to an equal mix of spiders, locusts, and snakes over the course of an hour, all in the thousands, and only after being painstakingly surgically transformed into a frankensteinian goat. I really wish my so-called tormenters had even one creative bone between them.

I can't remember how long I've been here, it's so dull. Sometimes when I open my mouth to yawn, swarms of flies come out, and briefly choke my lungs, but it's kinda lost its meaning (if it ever had any). At this point I just immediately close my mouth again and start chewing, crunching through little wings and insect guts while they wriggle around my tongue. I refuse to give these idiots the satisfaction of a proper reaction, especially when they've yet to draw one out of me.

And I'll admit: I wonder, sometimes, what might actually be wrong with me, that I just don't care about any of this. Is cracking jokes the only thing that makes me feel anything anymore? Did I actually bring my depression with me into hell, too? Am I just a piece of garbage who could never let anyone around her enjoy anything, even something as plain and honest as her own suffering? Maybe I used up all of my misery on earth, and it's gone now. I'm spent. Whatever functioning feelings I had when I was alive all died with me, but they went to heaven instead.

God, wouldn't that be poetic. But it doesn't change the fact that these clowns suck ass at their jobs.

A week ago, one of them -- the one with seven horns -- had dressed up like a plague doctor, and was menacingly plodding toward me with this big rusty syringe filled with some viscous, pus-colored liquid. I just threw off my shirt and opened my arms wide, like, I'm ready; go for it, dude. He recovered pretty nicely on that one, but once he actually stabbed me in the eye with the needle (REAL original), he was going too slow, so I pressed on the plunger with him and emptied it in a second. The fluids gushed around in my brain, and I could feel little slithery tendrils tickling everything from my nasal cavity to my ear canals, as gunk dribbled out of any orifice it could reach. I described the experience in my most practiced monotone, with each methodical shake of my head: "Swish, swish, swish."

My doctor apparently didn't know how to react that time, which I guess meant I won again, because he just stomped off and disappeared in a cloud of smoke like usual. Infinity points for me (it's a close enough approximation), zero for him.

They were a lot more energetic in the beginning, when they thought they could break me. When I might've even had some traces of something to break, if I'm honest. Constantly tying me to racks, laughing insanely in unison while slowly cutting pieces off of me, or burning my flesh, or feeding me my own beating heart. I guess they didn't like it when I always asked for more, because it's been a while since they tried feeding me anything. Or maybe they just ran out of ideas after feeding me simulacrums of my whole family, and every pet I ever owned.

They'll keep asking me what I'm afraid of, in all these stupid setups and scenarios, like they're putting on a play, and all I can really do is just shrug like, I don't fuckin know man, isn't it your job to figure that out?

Like one time, they strapped me to an electric chair in an interrogation room (weird combo but whatever), and were trying to grill me on what could possibly scare me. Threatening me, poking me with various tools, offering me rewards if I told them my fears, even plain old-fashioned manhandling me. I just burped at them until one of them snapped his fingers and made me vomit blood, complete with clumps of hair and severed baby toes scattered in it, and then I kept burping because I wanted to make him do it again. (He didn't. Coward.)

"What is wrong with you?!" the one with the tattooed wings screamed at me, grabbing my head and vigorously shaking it as far as the straps would allow. Dude really wanted me to smell his brimstone breath and feel his untrimmed claws, I guess. "You are BY FAR the least reactive human we've ever terrorized -- but your record said nothing about it!"

I shrugged, as much as I could in the chair's restraints. "Smoked too much weed on earth. Got too fucked up on the Devil's asparagus."

"No you didn't!" he boomed, literally blowing out my eardrums as a gout of flame enveloped us both. He came out unharmed, whereas my skin was instantly singed all over, already cracking in some places. When I realized the heat had seared my flesh to the metal chair, I started rubbing against it, to see how many strips I could leave stuck to it while still strapped in.

"What, no, I've totally smoked tons of weeds. I drink bong juice every day." I think that's what I said, anyway. His partner (the one with gold piercings in his horns, and in this instance a dorky detective hat) had to snap his fingers to restore my eardrums when they realized I couldn't hear their questions anymore. He's always a lot more mellow than the other two, I guess in a way perfect for the good cop portion of their routine.

Tattoos continued spitting in my face: "We don't yet know what your breaking point is, Marissa, but mark our words, we will find it, and you WILL regret your pointless defiance."

I wasn't looking at him. "Hey, could you bite my lip off for me? I always wanted to know what that feels like." I indicated it with my tongue, which I had been only partially successful in chewing through during our time here. He just flipped the switch on the wall, killing me. Probably realized I was almost having fun that time.

Whenever they aren't frustrating themselves playing with me, or anytime I "die," I get sent back to a cozy little room that goes on forever. Just some demonic holding cell, I guess; darkness all around me, warm and wet oozing flesh for a floor, perpetual wails of agony in the distance... you know, standard boring stuff. I usually spend my time there on the floor, swirling my limbs in the oils and making meat angels. Since I'm not technically human this time, they probably look a bit different (can't tell in the darkness), but what's a new mother/goat abomination to do?

God, I just remembered. One time they put me in a dentist's chair, complete with unnecessary leather straps and a too-bright overhead light. Seven was waving a pair of pliers around, describing in detail how he was gonna pluck out all of my teeth and then feed them to me, one by one. I asked him if he could do my fingernails too, but he said this wasn't a salon (decent comeback). Then he started doing it, but apparently didn't count on me actually trying to eat the teeth he fed me. (What else was I gonna do? Dumbass.) Pretty sure I cracked a few teeth that he hadn't pulled yet by chewing on the ones he yanked, but I let him know I didn't mind that either; just made it easier to eat those ones once they got pulled.

He gave up after only five -- barely any commitment to the bit -- just threw the pliers on the ground, told me to go fuck myself, and stomped off in smoke. Straps notwithstanding, I probably would have if they hadn't already gotten mad at me for masturbating during our sessions several times before, even when they permanently coated my fingers in hot sauce (that one was almost interesting, nearly made me feel something again). It's just smooth down there now, probably legitimately the worst thing they ever did to torment me, but I feel like I've gotten more creative for it.

I wonder if next time they bring me out, I can -- oop! Not a goat anymore. I have fingers again. Great timing, too; probably means we're about to try something else.

In a second I was unceremoniously dumped onto a wooden chair in front of an ornate desk, which I tried to immediately fall over in, but it was bolted to the floor. Damn, they remembered. I took a brief look around to see what we were working with. Unlike the usual "eerie" darkness that blankets most of their sets, this one was actually just a well-lit office, completely furnished. Not even blood on the walls or anything. Okay? I guess hygiene could be scary. Behind the desk was... all three of them, wow. Seven, Tattoos, and Piercings all made it. I tried to greet them appropriately with a, "What's crackin boys?" but Tattoos slapped me upside the head with a roll of duct tape.

"Shut up," they said in unison, as Piercings took the only seat behind the desk. They'd almost be intimidating, with Seven and Tattoos flanking him, if not for all of them being dressed like old-fashioned businessmen, suspenders and everything. Piercings in particular was wearing a goofy pair of thick-framed glasses, which he took off upon sitting down to rub his temples.

"I can't believe it's come to this," he sighed, "but frankly, everybody's sick of your behavior at this point, not just us three, and we've had enough. We're letting you go."

This was their newest bit? Role-playing me getting fired? That's how they were planning to torment me?? That's just sad, man. Naturally I played along out of boredom, and tried to ask what I did wrong, but the duct-tape was still holding fast over my mouth. I assume they understood me anyway, because Seven and Tattoos just sneered and scoffed at me.

"You can keep making jokes, or whatever," Piercings continued, "but we're done. There's a certain way things are run down here, certain quotas to be met, but in the face of you being so unconcerned with constant flaying, dismemberment, and slow painful death, the higher-ups have finally come to a decision about what to do with you." I raised a single eyebrow, in part out of mock-interest, in part because I was genuinely curious what they were doing now. To their credit, this was almost totally unlike anything they'd tried before. Hell, just being in a room with all three of them this long without even one of them trying to physically degrade me... it might have been the scariest thing they'd ever done. Bastards actually got me anticipating something, now.

A little red button appeared on the desk in a tiny puff of smoke, which Piercings held his hand over. "Long story short, we're sending you back. Congratulations. You were so uncooperative with every single pre-existing form of torture that our bosses actually made a new punishment, specifically for you. You should be honored." I tried to peel off the tape to ask, "When's lunch?" but he slammed the button as soon as he saw me move.

And then, just as advertised, I was back on earth. Right where I'd let myself starve to death under the bridge near my house, only no longer emaciated.

I'll admit, I was actually a little bummed at first; now I had, like, responsibilities and shit again. I guess I kinda did down there, too, but not any real consequences for ignoring them -- not until now. Needless to say, after I got bored of being back (well, I was instantly bored, but after I gave life another chance for a solid week), I tried to kill myself.

But I couldn't die anymore.

Wounds just healed over in a matter of moments, poisons only left me temporarily paralyzed or cramped. I couldn't drown, couldn't die from blood loss, couldn't even get crushed to death -- my body would just reform in the space of whatever crushed it, overriding it. Those bastards were so sick of me I couldn't even go back to hell anymore.

It was, admittedly, kinda fun for a while, being the only immortal human alive, and I thought it meant I'd permanently won. Beat them at their own game and took home their trophy. I mean, I was basically a god now (is that heresy?), and a couple times I almost enjoyed myself, being more alive and free than I had ever been. I think I might have even smiled at one point.

In the couple billion years since then, give or take a few million, it's occurred to me how this punishment is worse than all the ones they tried before. Everyone else died out a long time ago, as did the rest of earth, and in fact the planet itself. Now it's just me. Floating in space, permanently trapped in an endless void, hoping the next planet I crash into has some cool rocks on it. You know, something to look at until a star engulfs that one, too. (There are no aliens out here. Science lied.)

And in my free time, where all I really have anymore are my thoughts, and the unique ability to continuously bite my own fingers off, it's occurred to me why I hate being alive even more now. Why I genuinely wish I could be back with those idiots, even if it meant pretending to be afraid of them and their low budget horror show.

I'm not permanently bored anymore.

I'm permanently bored and alone.