's 2019 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by D. Sierra (email)

On August ██, 2███, this disk was brought to our attention. It was initially found beneath a table in an upscale restaurant near the capitol.

[For the first fifteen seconds, the disk shows white text on a black background, saying “CLASSIFIED - GREEN CLEARANCE OR HIGHER”. After this, it shows what appears to be security camera footage from what looks like a police interrogation room. Seated on one side, facing away from the camera, is a curly-haired woman in a white coat. Seated opposite her and facing the camera is a skeleton in a pinstriped suit, with a pink flower pinned to its lapel.]

Skeleton: “Listen, doc, I don’t know what to tells ya. There ain’t no rhyme or reason to it, far as I know.”

‘Doc’: “You mean to tell me that you have no idea why you’re here? Or how you got here?”

Skeleton: “Why’re any of us here? If I could fill ya in on that one, I wouldn’t be stuck down here, that’s for sure. … As to how I got here, whaddaya think?” 

[The skeleton lifts a leg and waggles a foot]

Skeleton: “I walked.”

‘Doc’: “This isn’t helpful. We know you ‘arrived’ in Dupont Circle. That’s where you were spotted, and that’s where we found you.”

Skeleton: “Like I said, I don’t know whatcha mean. I wanted a nice, greasy, hot dog. Right from the cart. So I walked down and asked the nice man ‘Hey pal! Give a guy a frank?’ and then everyone started screamin’. Incredibly impolite, I tell ya.”

‘Doc’: “Do people not react to a dead man walking up to them and asking for food wherever you come from?”

Skeleton: “Why would they? Yer not makin’ a whole lot of sense, doc. Not that anyone around here seems to anymore.”

‘Doc’: “What do you mean by ‘Anymore’ ?”

Skeleton: “Well hell I’ve only frickin’ lived here since my -Oh yeah! Why’s everybody a fleshy, huh? Where’s yer betters?”

‘Doc’: “...And what on earth do you mean by that?!”

[The skeleton holds up its hands in a placating gesture]

Skeleton: “Whoa, sorry there pal! Didn’t mean to cause no offence, jeez. The P.C. police out in full swing now huh?”

‘Doc’: “ This is clearly getting nowhere. Should I end this interview and leave you alone until you’re feeling more informative?”

Skeleton: “Hey, easy now toots, I really didn’t mean no harm by it! I wasn’t implying you fleshies are in any way inferior or nothin’. What I meant was ‘where’s your leaders?’ That clears it up, right? ”

‘Doc’: “... It absolutely does not. Also, under no circumstances will I be taking a walking skeleton to ‘Our leaders’.”

Skeleton: “Wowie zowie how thick can ya be? You know those aren’t their REAL faces right? We just wear ‘em to make you feel more comfortable. It’s common knowledge, walk into any frickin’ school and ask the kids.”

[While the skeleton is speaking, ‘Doc’ begins typing rapidly on a cell phone]

Skeleton: “WAIT! Did the other kids never tell ya?! Ahahahahahaha, jeez, what are ya like thirty? Texting your parents now, eh? Mad that they lied to you? Next you’ll tell me Santa’s gonna give me coal for being such a meanie.”

[‘Doc’ says nothing, but continues to type on the phone]

Skeleton: “Ordering pizza, doc? Hawaiian for me, thanks. Get me a nice pizza, and maybe we’ll start to overlook this whole unlawful detention, huh?”

[‘Doc’ gets up, and the sound of a door opening can be heard. Brief conversation can be heard, but too distant for any words to be audible. ‘Doc’ returns to the table momentarily, holding a rectangular device with three antennae]

Skeleton: “Ooh, what’s this lil box of fun huh? Some kinda enhanced interrogation tomfoolery? Look, this is why fleshies can’t be trusted to make decisions. Yeah you’re gonna zap the truth out of a skeleton, that’s gonna work real swell.”

[‘Doc’ fiddles with some dials on the device, and reads the screen. After a few moments, she swears explosively and looks at the skeleton]

‘Doc’: “We need to talk about history.”

Skeleton: “Why’s that? I know you soft guys only last, what, a hundred years tops? But c’mon, ya can crack open a history book.”

‘Doc’: “Humor me. If these readings are right… Well, assume I know nothing.”

Skeleton: “Ah, got a leg up on ya there doc.”

‘Doc’: “So? What’s all this ‘fleshies’ stuff?”

Skeleton: “Well… you are. You’re a fleshy. On account of you’ve still got all of it. Y’know, your flesh. And that’s why yer not in charge of nothin’.”

‘Doc’: “I certainly do not know. Explain yourself. Wherever you come from, it’s normal for skeletons to be in charge? Has this always been the case?”

[The skeleton sighs deeply and makes a melodramatic gesture]

Skeleton: “Man, you really don’t know nothin’ huh. Welllll fine then, my educationally-challenged lil fleshy, strap in for a history lesson courtesy of yer good pal and benevolent superior, L.M. Skalaverus!”

‘Doc’: “I’m listening.”

L.M. Skalaverus: “ As ya’d know if ya knew how to read, we made our presence known in the year 1970. We’d always been there, watchin’, waitin’, spookin’ some fleshies for giggles’n’grins. But for soooooome reason, that year someone decided we had to be responsible. Y’know, seein’ as we’re around so much longer and know so much more. So that’s when they formed the FCC and-”

‘Doc’: “Wait, the Federal Communications Commission?”

L.M. Skalaverus: “What? No, don’t make up fake stuff. The First Corpse Council, obviously. So the FCC went public and issued a proclamation, lettin’ the rest of you know that if you didn’t stop screwing everything up, we’d come in and take charge. And sure, there was a lil teeny tiny bit of, let’s say ‘unrest’ at first, but once you fleshies figured out that bullets didn’t work so good on us you stepped back and accepted our magnanimous offer of aid.”

‘Doc’: “So you’re saying that skeletons overthrew the U.S. government in the year 1970?”

L.M. Skalaverus: “God yer dense. No, not ‘overthrew’ that early, for a while there I think ya could say we were just ‘advising’ the U.S. government. But then we got to 1980, and you morons had to nominate Ronald Reagan to the presidency. 

See that was, and pardon my French, a complete dumbfuck move that only idiot fleshies with no concept of decency would pull. And THEN it might be accurate to call what we did an ‘overthrow’.”

‘Doc’: “Go on.”

L.M. Skalaverus: “Oh, y’know how it goes. The FCC shows up in every branch of the government, and gives most of the representatives what I’d reasonably call an early retirement. Set themselves up as the new, better government, and issue the Edict Of Stewardship. Simple legal stuff really, ‘Fleshies don’t know whats good for em, yadda yadda, can’t vote or hold positions of power’ and so on. And anyway, here we are!”

‘Doc’: “So the living are second class citizens where you’re from? Is that what you’re telling me?”

L.M. Skalaverus: “Geez, that’s a harsh way of puttin’ it, as if yer implyin’ we don’t take good care of ya. Besides, I still ain’t got a clue what yer jabberin’ on about ‘where you’re from’, lady we’re from the same place and that’s DC. So why don’t you let me-”

[ L.M. Skalaverus is interrupted by a loud banging noise from somewhere off camera. ‘Doc’ gets up, and the sound of a door opening is heard. Hushed conversation grows louder as ‘Doc’ and this new arrival walk back towards the table. ‘Doc’ sits back down and a person wearing what looks like a guard’s uniform comes partially into frame, holding something]

Guard: “-said not to interrupt you doctor Wright, but you need to see this. There’s more.”

Dr. Wright: “More of what, exactly?”

Guard: “More of him.”

L.M. Skalaverus: “No shit sherlock I’ve told ya that six times now.”

[The guard places what he was carrying on the table. It is a laptop, and the screen is visible on camera. The laptop screen shows a video of a group of skeletons in tuxedos in front of the White House. One stands behind the podium and appears to be giving some kind of speech. The guard turns up the volume on the laptop]

Tuxedo skeleton: “-ellow citizens it is an honor to inaugurate this great and momentous day. Let us never forget the day we assumed the mantle of rulership, and took on the burden of caring for the living. On this 50th anniversary of Reanimation Day, let us be joyful and-”

[L.M. Skalaverus exclaims loudly, shouting over the sound from the computer]

L.M. Skalaverus: “OH! That’s what’s goin’ on! It’s Reanimation Day, it always sneaks up on me. Cause yer ‘solar calendar’ is so frickin’ short that’s why. Ooh! Ooh! I bet the telethon’s going, take a look! Call me a softie, but I love it, brings back so many good memories.”

[As he says this, the image on the laptop cuts to a skeleton in a black dress sitting behind a desk. This skeleton has red circles painted on its cheekbones.]

Dress skeleton: “And a happy 50th to you too Mr. President! Just like every other Reanimation Day, we’re here to roll out the hits all day long! We’ve got all your favorites, from Ulna Kendrick to Jason Sternum. For now, let’s check up on the March of the Living, where our precious charges remind us how much they appreciate our love and care.”

[The image on the laptop cuts to a parade, not of skeletons but of living humans. A parade float can be seen depicting a skeleton holding out a loaf of bread to a living child. A pair of banners held aloft by marchers read “THANKS, SKELETONS!” and “ #BONES ZONE”. Before more can be seen, the guard shuts the laptop.]

Guard: “It’s on every channel in the metropolitan area. We don’t know how, or where it’s being broadcast from.”

L.M. Skalaverus: “Hey, c’mon! I was watching that!”

Dr. Wright: “Inform Field Ops immediately. Keep me posted with any new developments.”

L.M. Skalaverus: (mockingly) “Duh keep me posted with any new developments look at me I’m the dumbest fleshy ever I don’t know what a skeleton is.”

[Dr. Wright begins to speak but then she pauses, and she and the guard simultaneously reach for their cell phones. A few moments pass in silence, before Dr. Wright puts her phone away and reaches for the laptop again.]

Dr. Wright: “Oh no, tell me this is a joke.”

[She opens the laptop and goes to her email. She opens an attachment, and a new video begins playing on the screen. Clearly shot with a cellphone, the video shows dozens of skeletons in athletic garb sprinting through a crowded city street, and living humans running in terror and screaming.]

Dr. Wright: “Where are they coming from?! That’s downtown, right now. Go get field ops and contain this!”

[The guard leaves the frame, and L.M. Skalaverus stands up]

L.M. Skalaverus: “Look, it’s been fun and all guys, but I’m gonna go join in on the festivities. The lot of ya can look forward to a sternly worded complaint to yer superiors about this unlawful arrest.”

[He begins to walk towards the door, and Dr. Wright gets up as well. She attempts to stand in his way, but he grabs her by the shoulders, picks her up, and places her behind him. The guard’s voice can be heard at this point.]

Guard: “Freeze! Stop moving and step away from Dr. Wright!”

L.M. Skalaverus: (laughing) “Boy it’s been a while since someone pointed one a those at me! Go for it kiddo, gimme yer best shot!”

[ L.M. Skalaverus begins to laugh even harder, nearly doubling over with laughter at his own joke. Dr. Wright retreats out of frame.]

Guard: “I’m not warning you again!”

[ L.M. Skalaverus takes a step forward, still laughing. There is the sound of a gunshot, and his skull spins around and falls off of his body. The sound of his laughter continues, and his body, still shaking with giggles, bends over and picks up his skull. He continues advancing, moving off-camera. A loud thump is audible.]

Dr. Wright: (from off-camera) “Shit! Guards, guards! Escape in progress!”

L.M. Skalaverus: “I told ya! Bullets. Don’t. Work. So. Good. Anyway, here’s yer friend back!”

[Something strikes the camera, which falls over and the screen goes to black. The last 15 seconds of the video show white text on a black background, reading“CLASSIFIED - GREEN CLEARANCE OR HIGHER”.]