's 2018 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Centipedal/Jackson Gilbert

Ok, I’ve officially lost track of how many times this thing has got me. It’s somewhere between twenty-five and infinity. Well, I mean, not infinity, since that’s not a real number, but whatever. Anyways, it’s a lot.

So, uh, you ever have one of those dreams where the same thing happens over and over again? Cause that’s pretty much my life now. I get up from the chair in the upstairs office, walk around, and after some random amount of time, I get gotten by the thing roaming around my house. It usually takes about an hour or two- unless it “sees” me or I’m trying to reach the front door, in which case it goes into overdrive. Somehow, the thing knows when I wanna go to the door, and the moment I think about making my move it snatches me again. I never really feel anything when it gets me; in fact, I’m pretty sure it resets me when I’m asleep too. (And yes, I need to sleep and eat and get water. It usually stays its hand for a little longer when I make food.)

Good news is, I can just make food and sit in the armchair. If I close my eyes, I won’t even notice the resets. Bad news is, I can’t leave the house, or signal outside of it. For some reason, the model doesn’t have windows. And food’s running low. And I haven’t shown up to work for a week, either, so I’m broke. And bills were supposed to come a few days ago, so that’s triple screwage for me.

But it’s okay. I think I have a plan.

I stood up from the couch, immediately going to the office door to open it. Next up: bedroom and bathroom doors. You never know, y’know? Okay. Downstairs we go. Bathroom, laundry room, storage room. Sweet. Into the kitchen now. I’m gonna open- wait. Well that’s odd. I coulda sworn I had a backdoor. Oh well. And now I have to- WAIT SHIT NO NOT NOW YOU SON OF A BITCH! I’m not going to the door!


So. That’s aggravating. Whatever. I got this. Not even really a setback, y’know? I can still do my thing. Okay. Calm down. Deep breaths. Deep breaths. I sat there for a few minutes, lowering the heart rate. Then, my eyes snapped open. It’s game time.

I got up from the couch and looked around. Nothing. I listened for the freak’s telltale sound. You ever heard a sump pipe in motion? ‘Cause it’s kinda like that. But squirmier.

Anyways, I heard nothing. Sweet. I walked downstairs, pausing every couple of seconds to look and listen. Alright. Still good. I’m still rolling. After a few cautious minutes, I stepped into the storage room.

It’s a small room, made smaller by the cardboard boxes lining the walls. In the middle is a shelf, with a couple more boxes on it. Most of the stuff in here is my roommate’s. His name is… uh… Brad. Hey. Why isn’t he here? Going out to get groceries couldn’t have taken that long, right?

Whatever. I gotta focus. I grabbed a small lamp, about a foot and a half long, from inside one of the boxes in the center, near the back of the room. I took off the shade and unscrewed the lightbulb. Then, I wrapped the power cord around it. I gripped both hands near the narrow end of the thing, readying myself. Okay. It’s game time.

I thought about opening the front door. About running outside. About rolling around on the spiky weeds that made up my shared yard. About- there you are.

I heard it a second before I saw it, the squirming sump screaming towards me. And it came into the room, blindingly fast. Somehow, I still managed to take in its general design. It was about five feet, six inches tall. A full half-foot shorter than me. It was completely naked, with pale, albeit healthy-looking skin around the feet. Above the feet, however, it became progressively worse, becoming covered in acne before the skin died altogether, rotting flesh beginning to peel off of it around its sternum, and maggots appearing a little before that. At the neck, there were only a few scraps of skin left. The same effect, albeit much more rapid, occurred with the arms too. It had short, stubby fingers ending flatly. Again, it rotted as the skin went up the arms, but much quicker, so that they were at the same level of deterioration as the main body by the time the skin reached it.

All of this flesh served to conceal a skeleton made of thick, rusty pipes. I could see traces of condensation along them, droplets wettening the rot around them, making the stink of rot spread even further. And the weirdest feature (albeit not the most horrible) was its head. It floated a few inches above the rusty neck, a tangle of rusty copper pipes. They twisted and winded around each other, space distorting in the center as the pipes seemed to kind of… leave existence. Like they were sucked into a black hole. Before, I had counted about twenty-four distinct ends to the pipes, each one sticking out to form a kind of three dimensional asterisk. With a singularity in the center.

Anyways, I smacked that fucker right in its moldy, rotten gut with my lamp. It keeled over, head bobbing down toward the ground. I ran around the other side of the central shelf, and shoved it down onto the thing in the process.

I sprinted full speed to the front door, adrenaline enhancing my every step. Every stride felt like a minute as I ran for the most terrifying, exciting, and all-around crazy three seconds of my life. I slammed into the door, opening it the moment I hit it.

I stumbled through the open door, and- wait. Well that’s odd. I coulda sworn this door lead outside. All I see is old wood floors, a staircase, and a four doors. Whatever. No time to waste. I ran through the rightmost door- right is always right, right?- and entered a twisty, turning hallway. The walls were a nasty, cream-white, and felt like they belonged more in an 1800s haunted house than my mid-2000s place.

I lost track of the turns I took before I ran into the wall. I frantically looked around for the next turn. Except there wasn’t one. It was a dead end. As I heard the sump roar around the corner, it hit me. I did have windows. I did have a back door. That door did lead outside. This wasn’t my fucking house. It was a goddamn maze. And, before it got me, a low, croaking chuckle escaped from my hoarse throat.

Looks like infinity might have been right after all.