's 2018 Horror Write-off:

The Deadline Meeters

Submitted by Jared Ludy

As the children shuffled out of class to lunch, their teacher stopped the last one before they were out the door. The teacher explained that they needed to have a quick word with them.

They walked the student into the English department, only to press a cloth to their face, almost instantly knocking them unconscious.

The panel on the wall was pulled down, the dumb waiter opened, and the student lain inside, in fetal position. “just in time” the teacher thought. “we wouldn’t want to miss the deadline.”

The student awoke in a dim, candle lit room. The floor was cold stone, and the walls as well.

Before them was an altar. A table with symbols carved into it and candles arranged in an oval formation. Above the table, and the candles, was a hole in the wall. Large enough to crawl through. Above the hole was an elaborate occult sigil. It was drawn on, but with some unknown substance, definitely not chalk or paint of any variety.

Startling the student, an alarm blared, not unlike a stopwatch, though much louder and of a deeper pitch.

As the alarm sounded, the student was paralyzed in place, looking at the hole in the wall. they heard footsteps behind them, as if several people were filing behind. They whispered to each other frantically, before one shushed the rest and shut off the alarm.

The sigil on the wall glowed, lighting up the whole room like a florescent bulb.

The space within the hole in the wall remained an inky black

Two blank, snow-white eyes glowed in the darkness, piercing the student with its blank glare.

A shadow grows over the sigil, blocking some of the light. An iron cross.

A shadowy goat-like head emerges on a long, snaky neck with a filthy mane of coarse hair. Candles are knocked over as it squirms about.

It squeals loud enough to make the child deaf.

A large, bony, obsidian-black hand shoots out like a chameleons tongue, snatching the child and greedily shoving it into the rubbery mouth of the squealing goat, pulling them into the hole like a starving worm.

Afterwards, all the candles in the room go out. In the darkness of the room, A hoarse voice echoes

“We appreciate the new soldier. You get ten more years.”

The figures in the room are relieved. The deadline had been met again, just in time.

They congratulate the teacher who caught the child.

Mr. Storm couldn’t be more proud of himself.

A new delivery of textbooks flows from the shadowy hole, like a faucet.