's 2019 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Anonymous Anomaly

“I am going to the ball today.”

The words hit like a sack of bricks. Jared was not accustomed to being hit with bricks. That was good. The words were not actual bricks. “Why is that?”

“Because I am going to the ball today.”

Jared pondered this answer. It was okay.

“The ball is a great place to be. It is better than the octagon. It is better than the dodecahedron.” Ned was on a roll. He could not be stopped. “It has more sides than any other shape. It has infinite sides, you know. Terribly amazing fact about the ball. It’s all over the place.”

Jared stood up because this was something that made him want to. “Does a ball have more sides than…” His mind struggled with epiphany. “...A ball?”

Ned had no answer to this. He could not answer yes or no. A ball had an infinite number of sides. Did infinity exceed infinity? It was, after all, infinite. This was not information Ned was accustomed to processing, so he had no choice but to let it go. “What you should know,” he retorted, “and I think this is very important, is that I am going to the ball today. The ball is in a location I am travelling to. In a moment I will be next to the ball, possibly inside the ball, and spending multiple units of time in the general vicinity of the ball.”

“But what if,” said Jared, who was on a bit of a roll himself, “you are also the ball?”

“Impossible,” said Ned.
“Inconceivable,” said Ned.

“Imperceptible,” said Ned.

“My dad said he works at microsoft and I’m really proud of him,” said Fred, who had no idea what was happening but wanted to be included.

“You are not included in the discussion.” Ned revealed.

Fred realized he was not included in the discussion.

“But what if,” said Jared, who at this point was an unstoppable philosopher like Ned, “Fred is the ball?”

“You must stop.” Ned was becoming upset. He was agitated. He was a very irritated man. “You are acting like a total square that has less sides than a ball, as squares are wont to do. I do not appreciate that disrespect of basic geometry.” Ned soon left, because he was going to be in close proximity to the ball.

Jared sat back down because this was something that made him want to. A curious thing, his body. It always did what he told it to do. At this moment his mind wanted to cross into a co-planar existence and become negatively charged, but his body suddenly decided to not to that at all and Jared learned what it meant to be disobedient. He decided that if he couldn’t enter a parallel universe and become the objectively best type of charge, he might as well solve a basic philosophical question about balls. “Fred. What is a ball?”

Fred was not included in the discussion, but said “A ball is a shape.”

It suddenly occurred to Jared that a ball was a shape. “Curious. I’ve just realized a ball is a shape. Maybe that is how it has infinite sides!” Jared felt that this connection, while strange, was not entirely incorrect, and was happy for the rest of his life. His contribution to society would last a full three seconds and twenty two minutes before he decided to breathe sand. From there his life entered a two-part act. The first part was him being dead.

The second part was where Fred ate his corpse.

Fred was then happy for the rest of his life, which was significantly longer. The accumulation of Jared energy allowed Fred to surpass his meager existence as a square, and succeed in moving partially across dimensional spaces. Fred learned what it meant to be neutral, and from there made clever deductions on how to be negatively charged. This would have put a tear in Jared’s eye had Jared possessed eyes, which he did, and which were now producing copious amounts of dihydrogen oxide.

“Please stop creating water, you are no longer part of the conversation.”

Jared was no longer part of the conversation.

Fred walked onwards through time and space and was also on a beach because that’s how this stuff worked. They don’t tell you these things in school. They just don’t. The beach extended upwards, downwards, and diagonally to the right. It had no other diagonals because it was not that sort of beach. Fred decided to host a christmas event with severely unseasonal decorum, because part of his character arc was being a raging iconoclast.

His guests included, in order, Number 1, Number 2, and Number 15. Number 4, which was not included in the discussion, went by the pseudonym “Jared”, and said he was stopping by on his way to the ball. He was not himself the ball, and he felt the need to make that very clear. “I am not the ball, but I am about to progress to a state in which I am near what you would identify as the ball, and that will be very cool and fine when it happens, which it has not.”

“You are not included in the discussion Jared. My dad works at microsoft and says you do not exist.” Fred punctuated this with a sip of punch, which was quite good around these parts because that’s just how these things work. Teachers never tell you, but banks despise this fact of the universe.

Jared said he was Fred’s dad. Fred said no. Jared agreed that he had tried to pull a tricky maneuver on what he saw as a mix between associate and rival, but had been expertly foiled. He tried to punctuate this with a sip of punch, but had no arms and was entirely water. “Damn. I have no arms and am entirely water.” Jared was sadly ignored because Number 1 and Number 2 were watching Number 15 use inspect element on Number 42. It was amazing to watch. Really. You had to be there.

Fred, at this point, was not. He decided to go for an intellectual swim, which is much like a regular swim except enacted by someone who contemplated the ball. He did much contemplation of the ball while swimming in water, then reflected that he was technically digesting Jared, while swimming in Jared, while contemplating the ball. The full force of this revelation hit Fred like a sack of bricks. They were not, however actual bricks, but solid uranium pellets, which are much healthier provided you are a professional uranium connoisseur and otherwise not as healthy as the default brick. 

Fred was not as healthy as the default brick, but was an expert uranium connoisseur. Few people connoisseur’d uranium as effectively as he did that were also still alive. Fred realized he was lucky to be where he was, and to be fed uranium pellets while swimming in an ocean of very questionable nature. He then, like the ocean before (and inside) him, had a sudden revelation.

The first thing Fred realized was that bricks were rectangles, a phylum of shapes that included the subcategory of squares. The second thing Fred realized was that he had eaten someone who was previously known as a square. But Fred was an iconoclast. He didn’t eat squares, he consumed pellets. And what shape were pellets? Round. Like the ball.

Fred contemplated the ball. He contemplated the ball extremely hard, which you should never do in a stage 4 psuedo-beach after being a middleman between two elements both named Jared. Again, schools will not tell you this. They are not included in the conversation. The only one who ever knew schools were included in the conversation was Fred, because Fred knew better.

He soared through spacetime and timespace and timetime and spacespace, arriving at the foot of the ball, or the ball of the ball, whichever end of the ball is almost but not quite connected to the ground. He looked up in awe and astonishment, not necessarily in that order. He had finally arrived at the ball.

“Hello, I am the ball. My name is Jared. My name is Fred. My name is Ned. I am all sets of real and fake numbers. I have infinite sides.” Whereas entities such as Fred and Jared were known to reach dangerously high levels of psychological prowess, it was clear the ball was on another order of magnitude entirely. Perhaps several.

Fred felt his pulse rise. Here was the ball, and he was at it. It was time to drop it. “I must ask this for the good of everyone. How is it that you have infinite sides?”

The ball went silent for this, as balls are wont to do. It contemplated the intricate nuances of the question, comparing it to experiences it gained from the past, present and future. Finally it arrived at its answer.

“I am not,” it said proudly, “a raccoon.”

Fred was aghast. It was so simple, so profound. It answered everything, yet revealed nothing. It was the highest form of intellectualism he had ever encountered. He struggled to retain his sanity, but was almost bowled over by a new thought (which, ironically, did not have any bricklike properties).

“I to, am not a raccoon.”

The ball hummed to itself merrily. “That is good. We can both be not raccoons.”

They decided that is what they would be.