's 2018 Horror Write-off:

Early bird

Submitted by Coral (email)

12 years too early and already you begin rotting before your time.


A cold draft seeps in through your window as you desperately remind yourself that you are alone, and that the rot is a mere skin condition.


Fooling yourself won’t help, but nonetheless you keep telling yourself those falsities, if only to mask the threat posed by the rot… if only to stop yourself from paying attention to the long, slippery appendages groping around in the darkness.


Many days and nights pass and as they go you are reminded of how little time you have. Something pale and slimy slides through the hallway behind you, making sounds of concrete scraping against metal as it goes.


4 hours have passed and you’re in your bed, trying to keep yourself asleep as something presses against your body in a cold, painful embrace. You feel cold yet at the same time unbearably warm, and can hear wet slapping against your body as the warmth envelops you, pressing into you again, this time more roughly, more intense. Hot breath hisses against your body, and you can feel eyes on your cold, helpless form.


Another day has passed and there is an overwhelming smell in your house. Mold, burnt wood, something metallic, a dead stinkbug, oil and rotting grapefruit… it’s too much, the stench burning your nostrils and sinuses. As you collapse to the ground and cough up blood, bones and organs, you can feel many eyes watch you fall.


5 weeks it’s been and you’ve boarded up the windows and doors, nailed them all shut and barricaded them. You’ve filled your house with the scents of vanilla and rust to deter the thing that has been in your house. You never learn, do you?


You collapse onto your bed, your brain not registering anything seen by your eyes. Everything is dark, so very dark. Why not welcome it?


4 days and the outside world is poisonous to you. With every step, you could feel limbs reaching up from the concrete to grab you. With every breath, you can feel something forcing its way down your throat, violently writhing and spasming as more blood pools out from your throat. Why not accept it?


10 weeks it’s been and you’ve locked yourself inside. You eat whatever you have in the fridge and cupboards, no matter how stale or moldy it’s gotten. You’ve stopped sleeping, because every night of sleep results in a dream where you are surrounded by walls of pale grey skin, toothless mouths expanding and contracting as if to welcome you into them. Why keep fighting? There’s not much time anyway.


You can still hear them can’t you? Those horrible wails and cries, more like some kind of instrument than any living thing… and the long limbs battering and pawing at your walls, as if in an effort to break through.  Not much time left now.

0 days left and you’ve gotten your first night of sleep. You wake up, no longer in control of your body.

Not your muscles, not your veins, not your bones, not your limbs, not your brain, not your eyes, not your organs, not even your cells.

You cut off your fingers and toes, because you knew they could be used against you… but large bony pincers pushed their way out through the bloody stumps, and now they will tear away the fragile mask that you have worked so hard to maintain.

You begin walking over to the door and with your pincers you rip open the barricades and burst through. No longer do you have to worry about breathing the suffocating, poisonous air that fills the outside world, for you no longer have a mouth to breathe with. Why do you think that is?

It is because your mouth and vocal chords have been removed to make way for my voice.

You walk over to the shed nearby your house. Kind of funny, really– you put so much effort in trying to keep me out, but never even thought about the fact that you easily could have just locked me in there, sealing me away until one of us died. Oh well, too late now, right?

You pull open the door.

I am standing at the far end of the shed, the darkness almost completely shrouding my form. You walk over to me and collapse on my shoulder, sobbing. I run my hands through your hair as I pull you back up to face me.

I reach out one of my hands and press my fingers into the sockets of your eyes until the eyeballs finally pop out. A long, slimy tendril reaches out from the darkness and scoops up the eyeballs before they hit the floor of the shed.

I lead you over to a large metal table and place you down onto it.

You’re going to change now, and you will feel very different.

Don’t worry though; I’ll take good care of you… I will make sure that you are not conscious during the process.

Metamorphosis has begun, and with it, all you know will be reborn anew.

The clock comes to a stop. Twelve o’ clock

12 years too late now, Tick tock tick tock.


Early bird gets the worm.