Bogleech.com's 2018 Horror Write-off:
Submitted by Harold Riggs
By Harold Riggs
The Annotated Dream Journals of Isabel Tennebraun
Entry One: October 16th
I’m in the kitchen, dressed casually, the early morning light golden and crisp. I’ve just woken up and I feel amazing, eager and sunny and full of energy. It’s a weekend, and I have a big day planned ahead of me, but after the shower, drying my hair, brushing my teeth, and all my other morning exercises I’m hungry. Starving.
I have a bowl of fruit on the counter; strawberries, blueberries, grapefruit, peaches, mangos… they’re all artfully arranged in a delicate pile, fresh and fragrant and ripe with beads of morning dew clinging to their curves. I open my pantry and take stock; there’s oatmeal and cereal and powdered sugar ready to be dusted over confections and pastries. And then I look in my refrigerator. I have bacon, cured ham, tinned biscuits, butter… and eggs. A carton of eggs, almost entirely full.
It has to be eggs. I know it instantly. Maybe some fruit from the dish and a biscuit from the pantry to tie it all together, but eggs is what this morning demands.
And then I’m by the stove. The top sparks blue and then burns steady as I lower the pan. A slab of butter skitters around its surface as it melts and boils. I season it with a dash of oregano. I wonder if I should wait until the eggs are fried before I season them. I’m stalling.
Hesitantly, I reach out to the carton. I grab an egg, a big one, jumbo-sized smooth and white. My hand trembles. I can feel the familiar slosh of yolk and embryonic fluid. A life that never was. Protein and fat and precious calories. A death neatly prepackaged for my survival. Just like any other egg.
I crack it against the side of the pan and it splits open like an over-ripe melon. A black, beaked head comes spilling out, drenched in yellow muck. It’s connected to a too-long neck, all bones and withered jerky-flesh, disproportionately large eye sockets empty and staring. The rest of the chicken fetus pours out of the egg, and I’m aware that the thing sprawled on my frying pan is far too big to have come from the dripping shell in m hand.
But just before the shock and revulsion wake me, I notice that the thing moves. The neck twitches and the head jerks in my direction, those giant empty, dripping eye sockets making contact with my own.
Well… this is off to a great start.
I almost didn’t include this one. I hate this dream, and it seems like a bad foot to start off this whole journal with. But if I don’t start somewhere I’m never going to make progress with this thing, and the new therapist really seemed to think this would help. Might as well be this damned dream then. It would show up sooner or later.
It’s… not quite a recurring nightmare. It’s more like a recurring theme. The details are fuzzy, like dreams usually are, but the moment just before I wake up is usually fairly clear, and a lot of the time, that final moment is me at a kitchen cracking an egg open, only to be greeted by some malformed chicken-fetus-monstrosity.
I have to admit, it gets me up with a start. If I’m lucky, the shock and revulsion will have worn off by the time I’m finished with my shower. Otherwise I have to skip breakfast and I wind up starving by 11:00 AM.
The cause is pretty clear. This actually happened to me once, when I was a little girl, maybe eight years old, and mom was showing me how to cook scrambled eggs. I was excited in the way only little kids can be to learn something new and important, and mom trusted my motor skills enough to let me crack the second egg into the pan. And, lo and behold, it ended up being cracking open to a hearty serving of chicken fetus. I don’t think I have to explain why eight year old me lost her shit.
I like to think I’m mostly over it. I mean, yeah, I refused to touch an egg for like five years after that, but I make them today. I’m not egg-phobic. At least not while I’m awake. Subconscious me… well, the dream speaks for itself, and since my therapist says this journal won’t help if I’m not being honest with myself, I guess I should admit some trepidation. Whenever I crack an egg there’s always a little pang of dread that another dead chicken corpse will come spilling out (as opposed to the unborn chicken embryonic soup that’s supposed to come spilling out). I know it’s astronomically unlikely (I never buy farmer’s market eggs), and even if it does happen, then it doesn’t really matter, I just throw it out and scrub the pan. It can’t hurt me.
But there’s still that lingering mote of fear, and I still get this dream. I guess it’s the closest thing I have to a normal anxiety dream. Whenever things get hectic or stressful of busy or my subconscious decides I’m getting too much rest, then wham! Whatever I was doing in the dream beforehand gets interrupted by the sudden and important urge to make an omelet.
I don’t know why I’m having these nightmares so often just now, though. I did just move in with Jacob, but I did that like six months ago, and the dreams only started reoccurring recently.
It’s an anxiety dream, I know. My subconscious is telling me I’m nervous. Stressed out about my job, about my relationship, about my future… and I guess my subconscious thinks the best way to process that is to relive first-grader me’s worst morning?
You know, some days I really hate my subconscious.
Entry Two: October 18th
It’s raining outside and I’m hungry.
I hear the soft pitter-pat of constant raindrops. It sounds like a spring rain. Not the dreary and smothering hail of a heavy autumn storm. It’s comforting. It’s the rain that will bring green and flowers. I smile as I walk to the kitchen.
I stop as I enter the kitchen. I feel empty inside my gut, but the familiar room, those white counter-tops and clean tiled floors, they make me uneasy. The sight of the refrigerator fills me with dread.
There’s an uneasy moment as I linger on the threshold.
No. I decide I can get food elsewhere if I’m so hungry. I turn and leave the kitchen, leave the fridge, leave the cold dead things inside of it. I turn the corner, walk the hallway, and open the door without thinking of the rain.
The sky is soft and grey and it stretches forever in every direction. It’s not raining. There is no doorway behind when I step outside. My feet are bare, and they are suddenly cold and wet. I feel something hard and sharp and brittle crunch underfoot as I walk forward.
My eyes adjust to the gloom. The world is flat, covered in shallow water still and dark as glass. I can make out jagged, curved shapes cutting through the surface, and I know they are fragments of shells. I’m walking on eggshells in an endless shallow sea, beneath a blanket of grey clouds.
I keep walking, my home and hunger long forgotten. I trek for hours across the featureless vista.
And then I see it, perched atop a small hill, the first feature I’ve seen in long ages. It’s wiry, stooped like an old man, a too-long neck curved upward, a large head perched on its end. It’s something between a human, a bird, and a mummy. I can see its flesh is dead, black and withered and dried like jerky. It’s skull is avian, with empty eye sockets the size of dinner plates and a short, tapering beak. It’s arms are pitiful, useless things. It’s wrapped in rags, and I can see the tattered cloths squirm, as though they conceal feasting worms digging into a stillborn chick.
It sees me. It raises its head and lurches forward, like a marionette jerked into life. It turns its head to me, fixing one sideways-mounted eye socket in my direction.
I awake with a jolt, panting.
Well, that’s a new one.
I guess this is another anxiety dream? Nothing much has changed since the last one. I’m a little nervous about work and stuff, but nothing out of the ordinary. I’m liking the new living arrangements more and more every day.
The chicken-thing was startling. I woke up Jacob when I saw that thing. It looked sort of like the thing from my last dream, the fetus in the egg…
Maybe this is a baby thing? I don’t want kids right now, and Jacob and I are in agreement on that. I have my birth control pills, and I stick to that schedule. I mean… eggs are symbolic, right? I am going to be so pissed if this turns out to be a subconscious desire for motherhood.
It’s weird… I don’t remember ever having this dream before, but writing about it, I sort of have this sense of déjà-vu… like, remembering another dream, while you’re still dreaming? I can’t put my finger on it, but something about this seems familiar.
Entry Three, October 19th
I’m shopping for groceries. Nothing in particular, just some things I can cook over the next few days so I don’t have to waste money on take-out. I recognize the clean off-white tiles, the clean florescent overhead lights, the comforting background music and strategic layout of organic produce from the outlying farms. I’m in West-Traders. I like shopping here; the prices can get a little steep, but I’ve always been happy with their food.
I walk down familiar aisles. The avocados feel ripe, so we’ll have to eat them in the next couple days. The bananas were too green for my liking. I hesitate near the yoghurt in the dairy display, but decide against it; too much sugar in the tasty stuff, too little flavor in the healthy stuff.
And then I see the eggs. They’re perfect! Exactly what I was looking for. Recipes are going through my mind as I look over the opened refrigerator. I pick a carton of jumbo grade-a eggs, nice and big, but before I put them in my cart I need to make sure they’re all whole and unbroken.
They were full of worms.
Every egg is shattered and crumbled and writhing with pale, slimy worms. They pulsate and squirm, digging into some black muck that lingered within the shattered shells.
I close the carton, carefully, and put it back. These eggs have gone bad. So I try another. Again, I’m greeted by a carpet of writhing worms. And again, and again, and again. I realize that the worms have eaten through most of the cartons, and I can see them squirming and pulsating, shuddering in the cold.
My attention is torn by the hard ‘clack-clack-clack’ or something hard hitting a linoleum floor. It’s getting closer. I turn and find myself face-to-skull with a chicken-thing. It’s six feet tall, hunched at the shoulder, a withered, almost skeletal neck stooped, raising a beaked skull at me. Yellow gunk drips from its empty eye sockets, splattering on the white tiles below. Its lower body is swaddled in writhing rags, wizened black skin stretched too-tight over its neck and torso and featherless, useless wings. It stands on skeletal avian talons, black gunk and white worms dripping from the squirming cloth wrapped around its torso.
It stares at me. It expects something.
“I’m sorry, but I think your eggs have gone bad. None of them seem whole,” I say, gesturing to the pulsating gunk and mass of worms squirming from the egg refrigerator.
The bird-thing adjusts its head, taking in the display with one empty eye.
“Do you have any fresher eggs?” I ask.
It bobs its head, slowly. I can hear its vertebrae creak beneath its blackened, pocked skin. It pivots its too-long neck, extending its skeletal head over my cart. Leaking egg-yolk from its sockets splatters against the carrots and potatoes I picked up earlier.
Its body rocks, heaving, and I see something swell past the hem of its tattered clothing, pushing its way up its long neck, until it crowns past the thing’s opened maw and slides out, drenched in slime.
Its large, and fat, and perfect. It has so much potential.
The thing keeps heaving, and I smile as egg after egg is pushed through its withered gullet, slipping past its empty beak, plopping delicately into my shopping cart. Each egg is nearly the size of a volleyball.
It goes on, until about two dozen eggs in my cart is nearly overthrowing. Yellow gunk has splattered through the bars, drenching the floor by my feet. All my other food has been crushed.
“Thank you!” I say happily, and with an effort push my cart away from the worms and fetal chicken-thing.
Oh, god, that was bizarre.
Writing it just now I could feel my skin crawl. That was positively grotesque. But I didn’t feel any of that in the dream. It all felt so… so normal.
I know that place. It’s the West Trader’s I do most of our grocery shopping at. It was all so normal, until it wasn’t.
These dreams are getting worse, more vivid. I’m trying to set up an appointment with Dr. Ovid. This is starting to get to me.
I asked Jacob to do the grocery shopping today. I’m too freaked out to handle the West Trader’s right now. He hesitated for a second, but smiled and agreed to pick up some stuff on his way home tonight. It’s a detour for him, but he knows I’m stressed right now. God I love him.
Entry Three: October 20th
I am reclined upon a chaise lounge, my eyes facing upward. The room is small but comfortable, filled with shelves crowded with dense, leather-bound books. A ceiling fan rotates languidly above me. The walls are painted in a soft green, the color of a gentle sea or old turquoise. Weak light trickles through the spaces between the window’s blinds.
“I see you’ve been keeping a journal, Isabel,” I hear a woman’s voice say. It takes me a moment to recognize Dr. Therese Ovid. This isn’t her office. This isn’t where we’ve held our sessions. This isn’t her voice. But somehow, it is, and I recognize her if not by her exact pitch and tone and surroundings, but by the ideas of them, and the knowledge of what they represent.
“I’m not sure if it’s helped.”
“It’s difficult to tell this early on. For now, if it can help you remember your dreams then it may help you order them, understand them, and in time influence them. It can take a while, but I’ve had several other clients who reported lucid dreaming after a few months.”
“And will that help me stop them? These dreams are getting worse. I’m scared.” I say, and I mean every word of it.
Dr. Ovid is quiet for a long moment. Her voice is sad when she speaks again. “Things will get worse. And I’m not sure they will ever get better again. But there actions that must be done. And you must be ready to do them.”
I don’t know what to say to that. I stare at the ceiling. She continues.
“Keep writing. Keep thinking. Keep your eyes open.”
“But why eggs?” I ask, aware that I’m conscious of the dream now. I can feel it slipping away. I awake before she answers.
Hell, now my dreams are getting meta. Is that a Freudian thing? And I’m dreaming about my therapist now, too?
At least no aborted chickens vomited eggs at me. So I’ll count tonight as an overall win.
As for why I had this dream… guilt? I’ve let this dream journal stall a bit. And I need to schedule another appointment with Dr. Ovid. Maybe my subconscious wanted to remind me of that?
Jacob went to West Traders’ for groceries yesterday. When I opened the refrigerator last night, I saw that he’d picked up another carton of eggs. We haven’t even touched the dozen I bought over the weekend. I didn’t ask him about it.
Entry Four, October 22nd
I’m home, with Jacob. I’m curled up next to him on the couch. We’re watching a movie, streaming onto our TV, but I don’t care what it is. His arm is around me and I feel content and comfortable.
I’m happy. I’m safe. There’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be right now. I relax against his warmth and scent and the rise and fall of his chest as he breathes.
No perfect moment can last forever, and Jacob shifts a bit.
“Honey, I have to get up,” he says.
I sigh and shift to the other side of the couch. The cushions are cold. Jacob unfolds and stretches his legs before standing up. He’s heading to the bathroom and he’ll be back in a minute. I nod and pause the movie and relax against the pillow.
I feel content as he walks away. Serene. Aware. Things are right, things are all in place, all as they need to be. I look at my glass of wine on the coffee table and think about refilling it. I feel empty inside, but I decide it is not thirst or hunger or want. It is the emptiness of old silence, and it is right and as it should be.
I begin to feel bloated. Uncomfortable. I look down and see my belly growing. I adjust myself so I won’t fall off the couch.
While I move, while it feels like my skin is growing tight and my torso begins to lose its shape, I peak over the back of the couch. Jacob should be back by now. I don’t see him, but I see an eyeless face with a hooked beak, peering in from outside. The gunk of ancient eggs seeps from its eye socket. It moves languidly, past the window, its taloned feet clacking against the stoop as it approaches our front door.
It’s becoming hard to move. My blouse has been stretched too far, its tearing at I can see my skin beneath, rigid and unbending, convex, my breasts and belly and sides all merged into one round form. I’m not breathing. The shell wouldn’t allow such movement. But I need not breathe. What is within has no need of it, and the vessel certainly does not.
The withered one approaches. I don’t know how it opened the front door; it’s wings are as atrophied and useless and my arms are now, hanging limply from its shoulders. Its movements are slow, measured, bird like legs stalking through my living room as human hips waddle absurdly. It leaves behind a trail of wriggling muck.
I cannot move anymore. I rest on the cushions as it approaches. My body is rigid plate, six feet around, oblong, my head and limbs hanging off at useless angles. What is outside becomes hard to think about. What is inside is what matters.
The withered one draws close. I can smell it now. It is a stench of rot, sickly sweet, but it is perfume, strong and bold and masking what is beneath. Beneath is the scent of ages, of moonless skies, of long nights, of placid waters and endless stillness.
It unfolds its bird like legs and straddles the couch. I feel its torso flatten as it comes to rest on me. It spreads its withered, featherless wings as wide as they could, flattened soft rubs against my curvature, the nameless mush beneath its swaddled body mushing about be as it attempts to roost. I feel the worms wriggle within it.
I feel content. Safe. I feel what is within and I know this is right, how all things should be, and how all things are.
Finally, Jacob returns. He doesn’t seem perturbed by new body, or by the withered thing perched atop me. He appraises me, looking over my hard white body, his face thoughtful.
“It’s almost ready. But it will need help.”
I understand. I don’t flinch as he raises his knife.
I am never taking Ambien again.
Entry Five, October 23rd
I’m floating in something thick, viscous, and dark. I stroke with slow, languid movements, drifting beneath a roiling black sky. I can’t see anything in the gloom, but I don’t have to. I’m safe. The world is still, and the water that isn’t water stretches out in every direction.
The shell looms above, and it curves below. It encompasses everything, within and without.
I feel serene. All is right in the world, silent and still and unchanging. The silence within the egg. It wants to hatch, and it will.
I feel movement in the water that isn’t water. I feel mass rising. I feel the orbs bob against the surface. My hand reaches out, caressing a hard shelled egg floating on the surface. There are dozens. There are hundreds. Rising from the viscous deeps by the second. I smile. Eggs are futures, and these futures are certain.
Other things begin to rise. Old dead things with withered limbs and empty eyes and unmoving hearts. They are futures from the hatching eggs, stillborn, but each connected to the greater end. Like fragments of a greater shell.
I almost laugh as I feel the world stir. The firmament rumbles, and I feel that the egg is ready.
It contains the future, beginnings, and endings, all nourished by gifts of yolk and time. As what is within is without, as all eggs are one, and all must hatch.
Well, this one was… an improvement?
At the very least, it was more confusing than disturbing. It was all about dream logic. I’ve written it down as quickly and clearly as I could, but it just doesn’t quite translate to waking thoughts. Like, it made sense when I started writing, but as I became more and more awake, the more it started sounding like gibberish.
I always hate dreams like this. They’re not nightmares, like I’ve been having, but things that seem profound when they’re happening. Like you’ve just had some grand realization or eureka moment, but it all evaporates when you open your eyes. In the dream, it all felt so grand, profound, everything seemed so… connected. Like what my old stoner friends would babble out, symbolism and connection, and something about birth and death?
Maybe this dream is a chemical thing? I’ve stopped taking my sleep pills, so I’m tossing and turning a lot before drifting off. I’m not sleeping well. This has to be some sort of anxious episode or attack. Maybe Dr. Ovid will be able to pinpoint some root cause when I show her this journal. I really hope it helps, because these dreams are really starting to freak me out.
I looked at the eggs in the refrigerator. I opened the two cartons and just stared at them this afternoon, before Jacob got back from work. I stared at them for ten minutes, and I’d swear I saw something move beneath the shell. Something squirm.
I took my gardening spade from the closet. The ground is hard now, but it yielded with enough effort. I buried the eggs in the backyard, two feet deep.
Entry Six, October 24th
Jacob and I are out on a date night. We’re dressed up, he’s dashing in a suit and tie and tie that brings out the golden flecks in his eyes, and I’m in my favorite black dress, the golden necklace he gave me on our anniversary glittering about my neck.
We needed reservations for this restaurant. Tonight had to be booked weeks in advance, but it’s all so perfect. We look like we belong. Soft music filters through the gilded walls, oil paintings and dark scarlet curtains painting the ambiance. Delicious scents waft from the kitchen and neighboring tables, and a dozen soft conversations create a vibrating susurrus about us. Nobody can hear us as we chat and flirt, and I laugh and sip sparkling wine. I feel glamorous.
A waiter approaches us. He asks if we’re ready to order. I smile and ask for the crab-stuffed monkfish. Jacob just nods. He’s ready.
He pushes back his chair and stands up. I can see his body expanding, his fine suit straining at the buttons. The waiter brushes off the plates and glasses and candles from our table and helps my lover onto the table. He needs the help; his arms are withering, and they hang limply from swollen round shell by the time he’s ready.
I smile, sipping from my glass as the changes continue. His clothes tear as his body grows. I see the hard white shell beneath as the scraps of his fine suit and shirt flutter downward. His limbs hang limply from the oblong sphere he has become, his round mass filling our table entirely.
And then I see a crack. A hairline fracture from the center, what was Jacob’s chest before. I watch the dark fissure spread, widen. I notice that the other patrons are withered, wiry things, and I’m aware of two dozen pairs of eyeless gazes fall upon us. They’re waiting for the hatching, just like I am.
The waiter runs his hands over the egg, reverently. Jacob’s head has stopped moving. The shell fractures, black gunk weeping from the crack. Finally it fractures, a spider’s-web of cracks running through the rest of the white shells, the round dome collapsing.
Inside Jacob is something withered. It’s the size of large child, or a very small ostrich. It doesn’t move. It’s fat and matted in sticky colorless feathers. It has no eyes, and too many legs. It’s draped in sickly yellow gunk, black viscous vitriol leaking from its open beak. A sickly yellow yolk-sac is attached to its breast, deflating as I watch, sweet smelling yellow gunk spreading over the table.
I release a breath I didn’t know I was holding. There the sense of something grand, something looming, something that almost was. It has passed. But it was a close thing. It could have been something magnificent. But it’s not quite over yet.
The waiter sighs and shakes his head. “Not right. Not ripe. But close,” he says.
The withered bird things turn their beaks at me. They begin to caw and croak, bobbing up and down in unison. I nod in acknowledgement.
I brush aside the goo-stained shells of Jacob, sending the withered dead-thing toppling to the ground. I slide onto the table. I feel myself grow wide and round and gravid like a swollen tick. I feel the egg, and although I feel no movement, no pulse, no life within, I know it must soon hatch.
What the fuck?
Jacob is missing. Jacob is missing and I’m scared and there’s nothing I can do I’m having fucked up dreams about fucking eggs?!
I’m scared. I can’t get a hold of Dr. Ovid. Jacob never came home last night. I’ve called the police, but I can’t even file a missing person’s report yet. I’m just… I’m just waiting.
I don’t know what to do. I’m burning through my sick leave, but I’m too much of a nervous wreck right now to go to the office right now. I’m afraid to open the refrigerator. I can barely step foot in my own kitchen.
I’m… I’m missing some of this dream. Jacob and I were talking at our table, before things became bizarre. We were talking about something important, but I can’t remember what it was.
I really don’t want to think about this.
Entry Seven, October 25th
I’m lying down on a familiar chaise couch that never existed in waking life, in a familiar office I’ve never actually stepped foot in. The sea-green walls and faintly musty books piled high on crowded shelves are comforting, familiar. I feel safe. I know it cannot last.
“The egg wants to hatch,” I say. I cannot see her, but I can feel Dr. Ovid grimace.
“Will it?” she asks.
“I can feel it. It’s old and dead. It doesn’t move. It’s inside me, but…”
“You can feel it elsewhere, can’t you?” She finishes for me, “As all eggs are one, and all shells must break. It wants to be, and eggs are sympathetic to its yearning. They have their purpose, and you have yours.”
I nod. I’m not surprised when a fissure begins to tear its way across the turquoise-green ceiling, when the books topple from their lofty perches, when dead light begins to leak through the cracks.
“When the vessel breaks, everything will change,” Dr. Ovid says. It’s hard to hear her; she has begun to crack and fracture. The room is crumbling. I squeeze my eyes tight so I cannot see what lies beyond. I feel plaster crumble over my face. I smell iron and sulfur and the must of ancient ages.
“The egg will hatch,” I say, and I mean it, and I wake up.
This is bad. This is very, very bad.
Dr. Ovid hasn’t returned my calls. I drove by her office yesterday, and I found it cordoned off with police tape. Jacob hasn’t answered me. I think he’s gone. The backyard is crawling with worms. My refrigerator is filled with cartons of eggs, ones I never bought, ones I would never buy; chicken eggs, quail eggs, duck eggs, goose eggs, caviar, frog eggs, some giant shelled thing the size of a melon that I think is an ostrich egg, and a closed and sealed plastic container labeled as ‘pig ovaries x 5’.
I don’t think Jacob is coming back.
And I think things are getting much, much worse.
Entry Eight, October 26th
I’m standing in the sea again. I realize the water between by bare toes, eddying around my ankles, is nothing of the sort. It’s viscous, thick and sticky. (Had it always been that way, or had it just changed?) The stench is overpowering, notes of iron and sulfur and possibility. I’m standing on yolk the size of an ocean, spanning from one grey horizon to the other, staring at a lightless sky.
I’m not alone. There are others, dozens, maybe hundreds. None of them look remotely human. I see the crumpled form of the skeletal chicken-thing that has visited me so many times, yolk oozing from its empty eye sockets, its withered skin slick with amniotic ooze. I see a crawling, shambling thing with a hooked beak for a face, too-long arms with too many joins hefting its caved-in torso above the gunk. A giant, twenty feet tall, looms over me, its long neck craned upward, the withered skeletal visage of a hawk’s skull replacing its own head. We are all staring at the vault of the heavens above.
I find my voice. “What is it?” I manage to ask.
“The sky will crack open,” breathes the crawling one. Its mouth doesn’t move.
“The egg will finally hatch,” the giant murmured. The gunk around my feet ripples with the force of its voice, even though its tone is distant and subdued.
Others nodded and swoop their heads. There is agreement.
“What happens when it hatches?” I ask. My voice is still human.
“The sky will open,” croons the crawling one.
“The future will root,” murmurs the giant.
“There will be light. And blood. And shattered shells.”
“Futures tremble. Skeins unweave.”
“The sky will burst and all things will change.”
They grow enthused. They look like corpses and far-gone carrion, but now they are animated, bobbing heads, cooing agreement, twitching gangly limbs.
“All things will change, as all shells must break, as all eggs are one. This sky will break open, and the next will crumble before the birth. They will be one and nothing at the same time, and the future will spill into the waiting void.” I recognize the voice; the thing closest to me is hunched with a crooked back, hanging arms ending in sopping slick feathers, an eyeless avail skull peering at the blank sky, but it speaks with Jacob’s voice.
“The sky will break. The eye will open. The egg will hatch.” Speaks the first one, the one I recognize from my dreams, from my market.
The flock corns and bobs their heads, and I feel myself follow suit. I feel myself anticipating the future, when the first mote of light breaks through the skin of the old world. When everything changes.
Movement underfoot. The world shifts and churns and my flock-mates cheer and cry and squawk and shudder vestigial limbs as the sea of embryonic muck churns and parts. Swells in the fluid before me resolve themselves, rushing at me as the horizon heaves and buckles under similar strains. The sea and the ground beneath it are toppled back as a great, yawning nothingness opens up before us.
It’s darker than black; it drinks light and spews chaos, a font of the unreason that consumes the laws of light and heat. I can feel its darkness like a physical force. I can see nothing within the thousand yard wide dome of its concave form. It has no iris or pupil, but it contracts and heaves and spews. Those standing nearest its rim trip beneath the back-surge of yolk, some toppling in, falling through the thing’s lens and vanishing into the endless dark below, voices cackling in a manic sound that is nothing light laughter.
I feel the eye’s presence on me. I feel the weight of futures. Of possibilities. Of a billion billion paths that all exist at once. I feel full again, gravid and bursting with potential. I look up and I can see the uniform grey dome of the heavens tremble. I yearn for the birth, for the change, for the blood and shell afterward, and with a howling start I awake in my room certain, with the utter knowledge that the egg will, that the egg must hatch.
The egg must not hatch.
I can’t trust my dream self. Can I trust my dreams? I can feel it, deep and empty and dead inside me. But it’s not just me. All eggs are connected. That’s important. They can all hatch. This one must not, or we will never see the light of life again.
I don’t know why this is happening to me. But I know what I must do. I know my path. I know what choices are left to me.
Today, all eggs will fear my touch.
The previous documents were transcribed from a spiral notebook found within a car registered to Isabel Tennebraun. She had parked her vehicle cross-wise at the end of her drive-way. Positioned there, her car survived the fire that consumed the ranch house she and her boyfriend were leasing, and at the same time blocked emergency vehicles from approaching the building in time to effectively suppress the fire.
Tennabruan’s case has proven to be the most peculiar thing the county had ever seen. The October 26th rampage has become a local legend.
Investigators are still trying to piece together what actually happened that morning. From firsthand accounts, forensic evidence, and a handful of surveillance recordings, officials have been able to piece together a rudimentary timeline.
At 3:13 AM, neighbors called emergency response about a fire in Isabel’s house. Isabel had repositioned her vehicle to block emergency response some time before then, as there were no disturbances in the field of ash and debris that coated her driveway by the time firefighters arrived. By 5:15 her vehicle had been towed and firefighters had successfully contained the flame to the building’s lot. Nothing could be done to save the building itself. It burned to its foundation by 5:40 AM.
At 5:31 AM, about thirty miles away from Isabel’s house, an early commuter called police to report a car-jacking and possible murder. A woman wearing tattered clothes approached a truck stopped at an intersection. Witnesses reported that she looked in distress and suggested she was bleeding from minor wounds along her face and arms, as though she had just survived an animal attack or vehicle crash. The truck driver opened his cabin door and the woman, believed to be Isabel, produced a firearm form her coat and entered the cabin, yelling. The witness could not discern details after that because the truck’s windows were too reflective, but he heard the sound of a gunshot and the truck began speeding away, nearly hitting him as it accelerated through the intersection.
Numerous traffic light cameras and surveillance systems document the truck’s journey over the next twenty minutes. The truck, connected to an eighteen wheel semitrailer carrying compartment, was transporting produce, including about six tons of chicken eggs and eight tons of miscellaneous vegetables. This was a routine delivery.
Before reentering the town borders, the truck, now presumably driven by Isabel, rammed two other delivery trucks off the road. Each of these trucks were delivering produce to various grocery stores and markets. Two of the drivers survived with only minor injuries. The third truck, however, was engaged at approximately 5:41 AM on a road approaching town. Rubber residue and tracks on the highway suggest that the driver of this truck, a Mr. Harris Cooper, attempted to accelerate as Isabel overcame him. Eventually he was pushed off the road, wherein he lost control of the vehicle near the top of a forested hill. He collided with seven trees before the cabin was dislodged from the truck-bed, although it is believed he died from a branch that shattered his windshield near the beginning of his descent.
Following this third and final truck, Isabel drove her commandeered vehicle at dangerous speeds back into town, arriving at the West-Traders grocery store at 5:52 AM. Isabel frequented this grocery store; debit card account records suggest she patronized this specific location about twice a week. She ploughed the rear loading bays, which were open and awaiting their overdue delivery.
At this point details become vague due to a lack of firsthand accounts or video evidence. What is known is that a PA message was broadcast at the store urging shoppers to evacuate. Some of these individuals stayed near the grocery store, and comment that staff closed and locked the front doors as the last shoppers were evacuated. They report hearing gunfire, from multiple locations and with enough variety that most are certain several parties exchanged shots within the store. A fire alarm went off at 5:59, and police arrived 6:02, following reports of the carjacking and vehicular assaults. The West-Traders’ building was visibly on fire at this point. Smoke obscured the front windows, preventing witnesses from seeing anything that transpired within. Police attempted entry, but were rebuffed by terrible smoke and heat. Firefighters arrived at 6:09, but by this point no sound of activity had been heard from within the building for nearly ten minutes. Firefighters extinguished the blaze around 6:32 AM. No living persons were found within the West-Traders’.
By the time missing persons were tallied, eighteen people were believed to have died in the morning’s events. However, only eleven corpses were recovered from the ruin of the West-Traders, and none were found in the remains of Isabel’s home. Notably, none of the recovered bodies could be identified as belonging to Isabel Tennabruan, Jared Whitman, or Dr. Therese Ovid, none of whom have been seen or heard from following the day’s events.
While the investigation is technically ongoing, I have it on good authority that police have largely given up hope of making sense of that morning. Various theories exist, the most popular of which suggest that Isabel’s declining mental state culminated in a full psychotic break. This theory rose to prominence after a copy of her dream journal was leaked and posted onto the internet.
Despite that, police are reluctant to conclude Isabel was even involved in the morning’s rampage. The fire at her home was found to be arson, as there was extensive evidence of accelerants in the debris, both on her house and across the back yard. No explanation has been offered for how Isabel could have intercepted the delivery truck thirty-odd miles away, but investigators speculate that the fire was set earlier in the night and only noticed later in the morning. Furthermore, she may have hitched a ride to the crossroads of the carjacking.
No physical evidence connecting Isabel to the carjacking and rampage exists, save for her bizarre dream journal, which implies some vendetta against eggs. It has been noted that the dream-journal was left in a location where investigators couldn’t possibly miss it, leading some to suspect it was planted in an effort to paint Isabel as the perpetrator. While Isabel did have a history of psychiatric consultation and medication, her only diagnosed condition was general anxiety disorder, and had never presented psychotic symptoms in her life. Those I spoke to believe that the arson at Isabel’s home and the attack on West-Trader’s were likely unrelated.
There are other oddities surrounding this case. The grocery store had been insolvent and had let its insurance expire only the week before. While it was equipped with an up-to-date sprinkler system, this failed to activate during the morning’s events. The store’s owner appeared to have been present, conducting a team-building meeting within the building when events unfolded. It is suspected that he may be responsible for the odd decisions taken after the truck’s collision, from which it seems unlikely that a driver could have survived. It is unclear how the fire in the West-Traders started in the first place, although there appears to be evidence of a gas-line rupture.
As a final quick of this case, people in the area have complained of numerous spats of salmonella and stomach-illnesses over the last year. Every one of these outbreaks seems traceable to contaminated chicken eggs. However, when officials inspect their providers, they find that both their chickens and their eggs are clean, and that while they distribute eggs to numerous towns and locations, only this one seems to suffer adverse effects from them.