's 2019 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Modnar

As the sun goes down the city's lights come up.
The lights create safety in the streets, allowing people to come and go in what was once the night's domain.
But the shadows grow stronger as the neon glows.
The alleys are avoided, un-adjusted eyes not able to make out their content.
What would they see if they could?
A woman huddled in the trash with no home to call her own?
A stray cat trying to court a queen?
A young child digging for scraps of food?
But there is one alley unlike any other in the city. Darker than most, right next to the brightest square.
The unknown beckons some into the shadows. If they return, they are changed by the dark.
They become skittish, unsure. They breathe quicker. Their eyes dart around nervously. It is always easy to tell when someone has fallen prey. And they always return to the shadows.
Eventually, they stay in the darkness.
Everyone knows someone who's gone into the alley, never to return.
Coincidentally, the city's officials are growing concerned.
There's an infestation running amuck.
They run throughout the streets, some even braving the light.
They are fast, and some question if they're even there.
They cannot be gassed, they cannot be squashed. They're always just a little faster than the foot or the fumes.
Rat infestations no longer shut down restaurants, or there would be no places to eat in the city.
They have an affinity for theft, and everyone's been robbed by the rat hoard at least once.
No one understands them, but everyone has a theory.
Some say the rats are nothing but unusually smart pests.
Some say the rats are a representation of society.
Some say the rats are the next masters of the city.
Some have correctly drawn correlation between the shadowy alley, and the rats.
As more people disappear into the darkness, the horde grows.
The officials and bureaucrats claim to have it under control, as they try and ship their wealth out of the city. The shipments are always accompanied by rats. Some wealth escapes, but most of it dissapears into the darkness.
They lie and say it will end soon, as they try and exterminate the rats.
But the shadows keep beckoning and my horde keeps growing.