's 2019 Horror Write-off:

New Management

Submitted by John Sanders

In a neon and rain drenched city, a man stood holding up his sacrifice to alien, incomprehensible intelligence. The strange God of the New Flesh manifested with a warping of space and a crackling of plasma. Taking a shape somewhat like a shark and somewhat like a humanoid, it stared blankly forward with a false bony head, an abstracted facsimile of a doe’s skull. It reached out with a limb, bloody and skinless, and plucked the tiny limp shape of the man's former employer from his arms. The portly, six-two, chloroformed businessman was barely the size of the entity’s hand as it clutched him, its “fingers” already melding with any exposed skin or hair of the unconscious CEO, while millions of pseudopods undressed him to make the absorption process smoother. With more gravitational lensing and burning, inexplicable plasma,the god’s avatar and the sacrifice were gone.

The man stood stock still for a moment longer than necessary, paranoid he was still being watched by the Flesh God or one of its attendant spirits, before breaking composure and slouching over, loosening his belt and taking a long swig of whiskey from the bottle handed to him by his assistant standing to his left.

“I fucking hate these New Gods, Nao.”

“Why is that, sir?” The short intern cautiously took two steps back, trying to distance herself from the man blaspheming towards the deity he just made a pact with.

“They put so much emphasis on their entrance, they really want to make a big impression, and it just….. Annoys me on a deep spiritual level.” The man had a bored look on his stubbled face as he ranted and intermittently took drinks from his rapidly emptying bottle. “Like the old gods-” Nao took another step back as the blasphemy reached new peaks “-they were my kind of gods. You wanna make a shady divine deal? They didn’t announce themselves with a thunderclap and a mindbreaking shape meant to confuse you, they step out of the crowd as a buff old dude with an impressive beard, with the same jaded, bored look you’ve got on your face. They’d been around for thousands of years, and they just…. Got it, y’know?”

“I think I see where you’re coming from, especially as a drunkard who just sacrificed their boss to a questionably moral entity to sidestep bureaucracy.” Nao made a point of prying the whiskey bottle from the man’s fist as she spoke. “Let’s go sit in our fancy new chairs now, before you sober up and realize what you just did.”