's 2018 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Centipedal/Jackson Gilbert

Tim and I ran like hell down the street, illuminated by the orange glow of the streetlights. Whatever was behind us was silent, but I knew it was gaining on us.

“Christ, man! What is this?” Tim yelled.

“What? Why do you think I would know?” I screamed back, in between heavy breaths.

We had been checking in on our buddy Toby, since he hadn’t been seen for the past few days. Our boss had made it clear that if he missed another moment of work, he was fired. So, at around ten o’clock, we visited his house. We knocked a few times, then let ourselves in with his key. Everything in his house was pitch black.

In the darkness, we heard Toby’s panicky voice. “Shut the door! Now!” We did, then started laying into him.

“Dude, why haven’t you been at work?” Tim said.

I followed up with, “Where the hell were you?”

Tim finished it off, saying, “Come on, man, everyone was worried sick.”

“Don’t turn on the lights. It can only live in them.” Toby whispered to us.

“Jesus bud, are you on acid?” The guy was as straight-laced as they come, but something had to explain this.

I walked towards him, tripping on a table. Ugh. This place was a minefield in the dark. I touched my hand to the wall, feeling along it before reaching a light. Before Toby could say a word, I flicked the switch. And a neon green, globby thing covered in arms materialized in the center of the room.

“Run!” Toby screamed as it moved towards him. We obliged.

And there we were, running down the street like a pair of madmen. The thing was shaped like a lightbulb, with a small, rounded part facing towards us and a bulbous end covered in arms that continuously shoved against the ground. As its arms moved, blood slid off of them.

At the end of the cul-de-sac was an abandoned house. For whatever god-forsaken reason, in an unspoken moment we decided to go in. I knocked down the door, and we both ran to the back of the house. It was pitch black in there. I leaned against the wall, panting. I think Tim was too scared to speak. I know I was.

Then, a series of vibrations came from Tim. He pulled his ringing phone out of his pocket. The glowing screen lit his face up- wait a second. Oh shit.

Out of the phone grew another phone. This one was shaped like one of those old rotary phones, with the big central dial. It had a large, square, metal body with a dial on it, the body supported by legs that looked suspiciously like oversized fingers. The phone cord waved sinuously in the air, holding a massive smartphone aloft. On the end of the smartphone closest to us, a human arm grew. On the other end, I thought I could see some kind of opening, kinda like one of those jawless fish.

It grew huge- about the size of an elephant- before I fully realized what was happening. I grabbed Tim’s arm before starting towards the back door. Then, I felt something grab Tim. The creature’s hairy human arm wrenched him from my grip. While he screamed, space itself distorted as the arm forced him into the abomination’s gaping hole.

My balance lost, I tumbled out of the back door. Then, after tossing my phone, I started to run again. I leaped the fence, running into the field behind the abandoned house. I ran and ran, until I was far away from any source of light. My lungs burned, and I crouched down. Thank god for the overcast night. I was in complete darkness. Wait. Oh no. I was in complete darkness.

My exhausted mind went into overdrive, imagining all kinds of bogeymen surrounding me. I could’ve sworn I saw specters laughing in the darkness. I told myself that these things weren’t real, that there was no such thing as monsters. Well, except for that… thing. I shivered. Why wasn’t it here? Toby’s words came backk to me. Could it only exist in the light?

Just as I was about to go back the way I came, I saw a flash like a camera’s in the distance. Then, another, slightly closer. And another that moved a little further. And another. Eventually, I could see something in the flashes. A humanoid figure, with a big, square head. Each flash brought it closer to me. I steeled myself, ready for what came next. The flashes were right next to me now. I could almost see the thing in them. Closer… closer….

The light surrounded me, engulfed me. And I was blinded.