's 2018 Horror Write-off:

Dark Winter

Submitted by Shakara

The night is cold and damp. The road is coated in crushed red leaves. I sit here with my only light-source, a candle with the scent of plum and sandalwood. I daren’t leave my home, for I know that they are coming. They're coming, and we cannot run.

The door is blocked, and the windows are barred. I have taken no chances with the preparations. Though the glass is covered by the thick wooden boards, I can look out upon the barren neighbourhood. All the houses are covered up. Windows blocked, doors shut and locked, double-locked, triple-locked… We cannot risk a single break-in. If but one of the beasts get inside, then we are all lost.


I don’t know how to explain it. It’s like a virus. Once it gets into your blood, it takes over. You’re not you anymore. You’re… them.

I don’t want to think about it. I mustn’t. If I do, the fear will spread through me as certain as the frost will. Frost… Frost! Damnation, I’d forgotten about heating!

Another thing. They had cut off our power. No lights, no heating, no running water. I have everything I’d ever need, but not heat. I must find some spare clothing…




I’m wearing three jumpers. This weather certainly is cold. It has stopped raining, but the ice is spreading. I keep looking out the window, looking for them. They’re not inconspicuous, so you’d know when you’ll see them. A flash of emerald and crimson, sometimes gold, and then they’re gone, leaving their victim infested with their virulent madness.

I have father’s hunting rifle. … We lost him to them last year. If it’s one small mercy that they have, it’s that they only come during this time. Only for two months.

Two months. I just have to wait…


I shall sleep. I’ll need to conserve the candles.




I’ve not written recently, but why would I have? Nothing interesting had happened. I’m grateful it’s been quiet. Almost too quiet. I can’t even hear the occasional crow or squirrel. They, too, are gone.

I don’t dare look out to check my neighbours.

Some good news, I’ve found an old oil lantern. This should provide more light.

Food supplies are good, although I am getting sick of butternut squash and pumpkin. I long for some beef. Get some warmth into my bones.





They’re here. One, at least. 

One, and only one. It was today, just as I was waking up to check the supplies and barricades. There it was, standing out in the cul-de-sac entrance, with hide of crimson and emerald, and eyes of white. Just… standing there.

I ducked back down, fearing it had seen me. I did not rise back up until it was midday. After that, it seemed to vanish, which was worse. If one of them is in our town, then I’d very much like to know where it is, and know if it’s close. If I can’t see it, it’s more frightful.


It’s colder today. The frost is still there, and it’s getting thicker.




Not frost, snow. Of course, it has to be snow. Thick and fast, it started coming down.

Five jumpers, now. And two pairs of socks. Knitted them myself. If it’s one thing isolation can do, it can unravel your mind. I just have to keep a hobby.


I don’t have much of an appetite today. The thought of them out there just makes me sick to my stomach.
I hate the cold. The clothes do a good job of keeping me warm, but not enough at night, even when I’m under the covers.

I’ve burnt the last candle. What was it again? Maple and apple?



A second one? No, no- A third



Five more of them have cropped up. Wonderful, now we have six of them.

I’d expected them to start clawing on the doors at any moment, but they don’t seem to be doing anything.

Have they given up? No, they’d never be that merciful. Last year was particularly awful, with almost a whole city levelled by their advances. The government had to carpet-bomb the entire damn area. They didn’t have any time to evacuate the rest of the uninfested.





Oh. I see why they’ve not been clawing on my door.

They’ve attacked the other houses. All my neighbours.

It was so quiet.

So quiet.



Back door or front door?


I should check the back door




Oh, lord. Oh, sweet merciful lord.

It was there. One of them, standing right outside the back door, glaring through the frosted glass. I froze, clutching the hunting rifle, ready to deck the halls in gore and bloodied bone, but it didn’t do anything. It just looked through the window, just staring at me.

Hideous things. They’re eyes are like glassy orbs, milky and sparkling like gemstones.

Staring. Waiting… I’m next.


Several more of them came around, looking through the window at the back garden. Even through the boarded windows. Red and green hides everywhere, daylight sun shining off their empty eyes.

I’ve pushed the sofa in front of the back door. No entrance here is open.

I am officially closed off.

The kitchen’s closed, boys. You’ll go hungry tonight.


I’m hungry.

I should have some dried fruits somewhere.




They’ve arrived.

All of them.

I tried to think that if I get to the roof, I could fix my satellite and

I saw them


Every single one of them is out there in the cul-de-sac. Not a single square metre of road was left uncovered by the mad beasts.

The satellite is entirely broken. Even if I somehow tried to power it, the frost has completely screwed the circuits. I doubt it’d receive anything but static.




I fired every bullet I had down at the crowd, felling several of them. Bullets right between their empty eyes. They didn’t even fight back.

And I didn’t stop. I just kept on shooting, even as I began recognising some of them, some of my neighbours who had been turned.

David, my neighbour and childhood friend. Ona, the friendly old woman who’d always partake in charity bakes. Elle, my sweetheart…

Eventually, I ran out of bullets.

I’ve yet to run out of tears.




Another one. Not crimson and emerald. A different one of them.
It was taller. Stronger. 

It was robed in gold, with eyes like rubies. It strode through the crowd, with a cape of pure ice-white. The snow seemed to thicken under its feet. All the others looked up in awe, some flicker of half-remembered emotion crossing through their empty eyes.

It went right up and looked at me. Right at me.


It’s lookING at me




The snow is falling


It’s colder now

The smell of cinnamon and apple pine and holly

Ah my skin



Emerald and crimson

So beautiful



They’re looking at me allll of them at me and now I am with them


It’s smiling lala


I’m smiling



It’s eyes glitter as we walk out of the cul-de-sac

Onto the next city, my friends It is singing

I’m singing

All our voices, as one, determined as we walk along




DEEEEEEEEEE--- Deck the hall with boughs of holly,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
'Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Fill the meadcup, drain the barrel,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Troul the ancient Christmas carol,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!