's 2018 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Sam P.

I was born in a glass womb.

It was filled with blue juice that seeped into my skin and fed me. It was soothing. It was calming. It was nurturing. It tasted so good.

I ate and drank greedily for my first instances of life, however long those instances took. I couldn’t begin to describe it, because I didn’t know time. Not yet.

It was only when I began to have sensation that there was a feeling of before and after, a feeling of when. A feeling of where I was. A feeling of how I was. A feeling of feeling.

More senses came in time, but took longer. Touch was easy. I was skin. Skin was I. I felt.

I felt his hand for the first time when the blue vanished. When I first felt cold. He felt so warm.

Colder things touched me afterward. There was a terribly solid feeling under me, and more feelings poked and prodded and pierced my skin. Pain and pleasure in equal measure, so I so quickly learned.

Ah, but the warm touch...that I always remembered.

I was removed from my womb a number of times, but I was always put back. But I learned each time I was removed. I learned of senses, always from him.

I heard before I saw. I smelt before I saw. Feeling and taste I knew, but sound and smell I was taught. His voice, low and calming, radiating pride and joy so very often. His scent, rich and clean, composed of so many things I could not yet name that changed so delightfully often. So warm, so soothing.

But it wasn’t enough. I needed to see. I needed it desperately. There was this feeling in me, a lack of contentment, a knowledge that I was somehow incomplete and needed more, needed a way of interacting with the world without the things I’d already learned.

The womb quickly became a prison in that sense. All I smelled, all I felt, all I tasted was the blue that turned so sour as it kept me from him. My hearing was muffled, my senses dulled, and I so wanted something to connect, but there was a gap. A block in my mind that refused to let it form, and so I languished until I could be freed once more, deprived of him.

And then I was fed. Small things at first. Minuscule droplets of something that tasted divine.

This repeated. I was sealed, I was freed, I was fed, I was sealed, so on, until a larger food was given to me by his hand. A solid. A far bigger solid, that squirmed and bit and tried to tear into me as I drew it in and smothered the food. It needed not to move, that was the point. Once it wasn’t moving, I could eat, and I ate. And I understood.

My first sight was him.

It was a basic sight, rudimentary. Uncolored outlines, little more, but I saw and I knew what he looked like, in a sense. My Primary.

I had a knowledge there, a recognition. He was the most important. I knew that, most assuredly, as my first, most basic eye formed through my skin.

He was beautiful. That was all I could think and all I could understand as the other shapes made such strange, muffled noises. He was all I could look towards though. They were a periphery.

I understood eyes better as I ate more. Nostrils too, and mouths, and ears, and feet, and tails. The food crunched so wonderfully when I started biting. Sweet juices, smelling so different from the blue, tasting far, far better…

I was often returned to the blue anyway. It was irritating at the time, but I grew to appreciate it. Too much activity left me exhausted. I needed the time in between feedings to understand.

I progressed in time though. I know I did. I remember being pet by him and called something, his words for me alone, so I know for a fact that I progressed properly. I don’t quite know what those noises meant, but I appreciated them nonetheless.

I grew, which was a symbol of such progression. And when I grew, so too did the food, which was wonderful. Each thing I ate gave me a little more information to work with, and the variants in food were so intriguing.

From my current understanding, I am omnivorous, meaning I eat all, but at the time, I was most certainly predominantly carnivorous. Meats were just too delectable. Each taste felt energizing, as though I was building myself bigger with every single consumption. I grew to appreciate plants and fungi eventually, but at the time, meats were my foundation.

I understood tastes better once I tried more things, but for then, I had only some to work with. Smells were certainly rich though, particularly as I began adding better nostrils to my olfactory needs, and as I grew to adore the delicacy of eyeballs, I far better understood how best to construct my own ocular systems.

Two was necessary for depth perception, so two I had. Though later on, I would consider the potential benefits of a third, and so added one as well, and later still, when I was in a particular phase of mind, I would add a fourth. Purely for symmetry there, because I had grown somewhat obsessed with the aesthetic therein and only regained an enjoyment of the asymmetric once I had be allowed to see some truly wondrous sights.

But I digress. Sight I had, and sight I fixated upon. I needed to see my Primary and I needed to see him as best I could, and so I did. Each development brought him into sharper and sharper clarity, until I thus saw the entirety of his bipedal form. His rich brown skin, the black hair covering his chin, his brilliant brown eyes staring at me through glass of his own...I wanted to see so much more.

In a way, the later knowledge that the fabrics clinging to his body were artificial constructs, keeping more of his form hidden, became tantalizing. I almost wanted to rip it from him like my food–Ah, I get ahead of myself. It took a great deal longer for me to reach the bipedal foods that seemed so similar to my Primary, Secondary, and Tertiaries, and I really must try to keep events chronological.

Though, as I speak of her, I should mention my Secondary. She, as she was a female of my Primary’s species, had yellow hair and peach skin. She interested me far less, though she did have odd quirks of her own, like the blue, black, or gray clothing she wore in contrast to white clothes of my Primary and Tertiaries and the glass she kept in her eyes. Less glass and more soft silicone, I suppose, but I digress.

The Tertiaries were of even less interest to me, but they had their own quirks and many had entirely different skin tones and hair textures. It was intriguing enough, but my Primary kept my main focus. There were also Quaternaries, but I cared even less for those plastic-faced things. Ugly bastards, really.

I very quickly learned the hierarchy of my environment, and was most displeased to see that the Secondary actually appeared to rank higher than my Primary, based on her chastisements and tendency to direct actions, though the Tertiaries deferred to him far more than her and I saw her far less often than my Primary. I am certain there were occurrences going on that I could not yet see, but I paid them no mind.

Instead, I was more focused on my environment, which was a very white place with a great deal of odd, image-displaying devices, of which I would later learn were named ‘televisions’, and my food. I was often moved from my womb, my container as it so became, to a number of places, most frequently raised platforms among the Tertiaries when I was younger; but later, I found myself in the most intriguing rooms.

They were grayer, and often had things printed on their walls. Markings I did not yet understand the significance of, but learning does take time, and I learned a great deal from those rooms.

Some brought me pain. I was tested, for I needed to be. My Primary needed to ensure my resiliency, I am sure, and I was frequently exposed to elements of immense pain until I learned to adapt to them.

Others brought me challenges. These tests were for my physical and mental abilities, featuring such things as understanding patterns, formulating strategies, and grand tests of strengths and skills. These ‘obstacle courses’ were a great deal of fun to me when I became used to them, and even the ones featuring instruments of pain were quite delightful diversions from my Primary watching.

And my favorites brought me food. As I learned how to grow, and, I must say, a vertebrae became far more useful for forming interior support systems than I had previous believed, my Primary thus rewarded me with larger and larger portions of food. Living, struggling food, from quadrupedal canids and felids to varieties of reptiles and amphibians to avians to piscines to mollusks and ohhhh, how I so loved the hominids.

Fascinating creatures, really, close in resemblance to my Tertiaries in some instances. Not the furry ones, no, those were fine but lacked the utterly divine taste of the hairless hominids. Not entirely hairless, but I needed a way to define them and comparing them to the more bestial ones felt ignorant of me.

Intelligence demands definition and distinction, which was why I was more than intelligent enough to understand the difference between the hominids and my Tertiaries. Some sounded like them, certainly, but the difference come in scents and appearances. None wore white, for instance, and some wore nothing at all. That little factor intrigued me a a great deal, as did the sheer variety of hominids presented to me.

So many different types, yet most tasted very similar. It was easy to pick out the young from the old and the sick from the healthy, but the baseline flavors were remarkably similar for such a wide variety. I even began experimenting in turn as I noticed how my Tertiaries and, fantastically, even my Primary reacted in different manners to different actions. Certain ways of dealing with the hominids, killing them so they could be consumed, elicited positive or negative reactions from my Tertiaries, though all my actions were, wonderfully, clearly regarded as positive by my Primary.

I did my best there, truly, I did, and they reacted so wonderfully so often. I even began mimicking some instruments of pain when capable, much to the Tertiaries’ delight, and my more extravagant actions and motions earned such fascinating noises. I suppose my particular favorite was when I, in a large enough form, gripped one food by its lower appendages, its ‘legs’, and attempted to tear it in the middle. It didn’t quite work, unfortunately, but I did induce both laughter and vomiting among the Tertiaries, so I considered it a success.

Curiously, one time, my Tertiaries even tried to test me in a food room. One entered there from the ceiling like food usually did and even acted much like the food, pretending to scream and panic. They were a very good actor, like those little opossum things that tricked–attempted to trick me into thinking they were dead of disease, though in a much more vocal way.

But I digress. I passed the test flawlessly by utterly refusing to interact with the Tertiary who, curiously, was bereft of their typical coat. Thankfully, I recognized their smell, so I was not fooled by their clever deception and they eventually exited the room with a pair of Quaternaries. They seemed angry with the Quaternaries, for some reason, but was placated with some noises and such.

Delightfully, I was outright rewarded for my passing of that test. A special food was dropped in for me in the next session, one completely bare and utterly drenched in the delicious red juices that filled most of the food I ate. It smelled so sweet, I couldn’t keep myself from immediately leaping to devour the screaming morsel, all while the Tertiary from the previous day obviously smiled from the observation room. It wasn’t quite like being smiled at by my Primary, but I took a pleasant satisfaction in it nonetheless!

Aside from observing my tests, the Tertiaries certainly did seem to enjoy their own experiments, of which there were a great deal. My Primary often oversaw them, and I quickly learned of a third type of biped the existed within my environment: the Subjects.

Subjects were odd. They were like food, but they didn’t become food. I learned of such through watching the televisions within my domain. They were very informative, and frequently displayed such projects while they were in action.

To explain, Subjects seemed to only exist for experiments in alteration. Food was different. Food was food. They typically went to me to feed me, but sometimes they went to Altered Subjects, which was interesting, and I appear to have become distracted yet again. Perhaps an example?

One instance I saw quite some time ago involved a female Subject being brought to a room on a television. The room wasn’t within the television, no, the television displayed the room, which I found fascinating. Regardless, the lethargic Subject was strapped onto a bed set above a glass tank by a pair of Quaternaries, and was then administered some type of blue liquid through a syringe.

Said liquid was a far lighter blue than the juices I grew up in, and had an intriguingly wavy quality to it that rapidly spread through the Subject’s body as her skin paled and her veins became far more visible. It was at that point that her lethargy faded and she screamed loudly, bucking and jerking in her restraints as her skin became ever more translucent.

It was a beautiful sight, truly, and fascinating too. The increasing translucence of her skin allowed me, and to a lesser extent, the Tertiaries, a perfect view of how her internal organs, systems, and skeletal structure slowly melted into a common liquid known as ‘water’, or dihydrogen monoxide, which is useful for hydration of living organisms. Her flesh melted along with those internals, of course, and the purpose of the tank became clear as it gathered the resulting mixtures.

The Subject retained her ability to move afterwards, as expected, though her behavior changed a great deal as she adapted, particularly after she was placed into a far larger tank filled with natural water. Her aggressive eating habits aside, that particular Subject displayed an interesting level of intelligence for an entirely hydric being. The same couldn’t be said for the other subjects, and there were certainly a great deal of them.

Some were interesting enough, I suppose, but most rarely ventured beyond the formula of ‘humanoid plus x’, wherein ‘x’ could be any number of factors ranging from crustaceous shells to consistent envelopment in fire. One odd experiment in particular was one wherein the subject’s flesh rotted and it demonstrated a severe decrease in its mental faculties and an increase in appetite and aggression.

Normally, such a result would not be notable enough for comment, but for some reason, a number of Tertiaries began laughing at the Subject’s alteration and continued with a number of expressions of amusement towards one another. I didn’t particularly understand the cause for such amusement, nor why it became more pronounced when the Tertiaries discovered the Subject could transmit its condition to other Subjects, oddly disguised as food, but they appeared to enjoy themselves so I had no issue with leaving matters as they were.

Time passed, as it tended to do. Some Tertiaries left and new ones arrived, more tests were conducted, more subjects were altered, and more food was consumed. Life progressed, and so did I, learning and growing and adapting in so many different ways. Eventually, I began taking on a bipedal form as my standard, rather than my perfectly fine, spherical baseline. My new standard was intended to mimic my Primary, though I adjusted it to be taller and have a more firm, bulky musculature as so directed by his approval.

I couldn’t quite change skin tone, as the blues and reds seemed very stubborn in fixating themselves to me, but my appearance satisfied, and so I was happy.

And then, one day, when my domain was otherwise empty, my Primary entered the room with an arm wrapped around my Secondary’s throat. He held a small instrument of pain in his hand, one known as a ‘gun’, and was pointing it at two bipeds in black armor that entered after him.

They had guns as well.

Longer ones, that fit in both their hands, and there was a great deal of shouting between the two groups. I did not and still don’t entirely understand the languages they all spoke, but the conflict was obvious.

The Primary was aggravated and angry, his tone low as he spoke. He had an intense focus in his eyes that nearly made me shiver with delight...

The Secondary was equally agitated, though her agitation appeared to be directed towards everyone. There was fear there, I think, but more anger than anything.

The bipeds, the invaders, were also aggravated. I considered designating them Quinciaries at first, but their blatant hostility to my Primary and Secondary rapidly ensured they were designated as threats.

Still, I was unsure of the situation. Shouting was irregular. Anger was a thing of Subjects and food, not my allies. Not my Primary.

And then one armored biped placed a hand on their head, near their left auditory receptor.

And then the guns fired.

They was louder and far more violent than I’d expected. Guns had stopped being painful to me long ago, but my Primary and Secondary both erupted in red and as they fell back...A very, very violent rage took ahold of me.

I killed the bipeds. Unfortunately, I broke my container on the way towards them, which was a tragic loss, but my focus quickly shifted from their pulps to far more important matters.

My Primary needed me, and so I pulled my arm from one biped’s head and walked over to him. Oh, and the Secondary.

Both were leaking a great deal, and my Primary wasn’t moving. There were holes in his head.

I had to fix them. Of course I had to fix them, and I knew how. I’d watched where they put the pointed vials, and while I wasn’t sure which ones would fix them exactly, it was easy enough to take every last one of them available and bring them over to my unmoving Primary and whimpering Secondary.

I’d watched the procedures in altering the Subjects so many times that I knew exactly how I would fix him. Fix them.

My Secondary screamed exactly like the Subjects, so I knew I did it right.

And then I was happy. Happier than I’d ever been, truly!

I had my Primary back! Granted, it was in a very different form than their original shape, but I loved them all the same.

They were so utterly adorable as well! Their colors and tones had changed drastically into such fascinatingly asymmetrical mixtures, their flesh and scales and hairs and tendrils all had a truly lovely set of textures to them, and every action they took filled me with such a sense of love and adoration, from the way they melted into a red puddle at my compliments to their manners of exploring the world with every new sensory organ they could develop. They even figured out eyes quicker than I had!

Yes, their intelligence had temporarily decreased, but that merely meant they were discovering the world all over again! Just as my Primary had taught me, so too would I teach my newfound mate until they stood on as equal a footing as I!

That would be somewhat easier stated than performed though, as my darling was currently in a smaller, less invulnerable form than myself, and none of the Tertiaries seemed to be in the mood to help. For some reason, a number of them had either become those rotted things or otherwise converted themselves into new forms. I don’t entirely understand why, but I suppose they did express amusement at the rotted ones beforehand, so perhaps they found a truer happiness in such forms?

If so, I wish them all the best. For now though, I have a task set ahead of me and a world to explore. My darling and I have much to learn, and my domain, pleasant though it may be, did not contain every knowledge I could seek.

I did learn a good deal more about languages though. Reading is odd, as it seems to involve discerning meanings from symbols, but I have obtained some understanding of it through viewings of recordings and some such ‘tutorials’. And, as a result, I have decided to name my darling something better than simply ‘My Primary’ or ‘My Darling’. After all, they are made of my Secondary too, so they really are like a different being.

A better being, certainly, which is why I named them ‘Radiant’, a name to fit their gorgeous glows.

As for myself, I am undecided on my own designation, but I think I want something that would rhyme with my darling’s name. Perhaps with the same number of syllables?

I suppose it’s a problem for later. For now though, the outside world awaits.

I wonder what sights await us?