's 2019 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Jac R. B.

I've been so sick, i cant tell how long I've been in bed. I cant keep any food down, and any i do goes through too quickly.
It hurts, it hurts so much.

I don't know when it started, maybe some few weeks ago, just a small twinge of pain, maybe a little bit of nausea, nothing to get into a big fuss about. But i felt it, the throbbing. It was there in my gut, a feeling that throbbed with every heart beat.
I Thought i was just stressed, overworked, nothing to go to the doctor about, and even if i should have i couldn't afford it.
It only kept getting worse. Each day i got weaker, my pain even greater. But then the dreams started.

Pulsing, throbbing, growing, spreading.
Angry red Veins covering skin like a mold, spreading and spreading until you couldn't see me underneath. I could barely move, i fought and struggled against invisible restraints, a sluggish body nearly paralyzed trying to rip them off of me, but they grew too fast.

I always woke up when it started to get to my eyes, but i would always wake up in such pain.
I know I've been growing paler, i must look white as a sheet, my sister told me so last time she visited, weaker too, I can't barely move or stand to do simple chores, once stumbling into my room I became so weak i nearly knocked over the bookshelf onto my bed when i tried to catch myself from falling.
But now i can barely move out of my bed.
I simply sit, nearly paralyzed by pain and nausea. My world is spinning inside and out.
All i can do is stare at my room around me.

Ive long stopped watching the TV, the lights and sounds too have started to hurt, only my little knick knacks and video game figures on my desk, just a small distance from my bed keep me any company. For a time I was intimidated by my poster on the wall, the strange cover art for my favorite band's best album warping into an unnerving face as i stared for hours on end, but now it seems more like a friend, feeling pity for me.

A deep jet of pain snaps me out of my self reflection as i look to my stomach. I cannot even try to soothe it, since i can't move, I simply watch as something begins to rise beneath my shirt.

Every movement by it is a quick jerking upwards.
Pulse, up, throb, grow.
It doesn't last long before my shirt is ripped through.
I thought 'this is it, im finally hallucinating I'm in so much pain' i couldn't tell if it was real or if I'm so sick that my mind is starting to go. All i know is that the pain is real.
I watch what came out of me continue to rise, some red spike, the tip, twitching, or writhing slowly like some sort of curious worm.

I couldn't do anything but watch as it went.
It grew tall, and it started to reach out from its sides with many limbs, and many more spreading from its base.
Like my dream...

My dream is becoming real. I never dreamt of veins, i dreamt of branches.
I tried to struggle but now, unlike even in my dream, my paralysis is total. I simply cannot move without such extreme pain.
I watch as my body is consumed in a thicket of crawling red, arms stretching out across the open air of my room blindly. I think i hear a noise, the clatter of something on the floor? Maybe. Maybe its only the sound of the thing tapping against my ceiling as it continues to grow.

I see the tree sprout from my stomach, looming over me, writhing the tip of every branch like confused snakes.

They come to me, come to take me at last.

It all begins to grow dark, and all i see are angry, red branches.