The civilian cart nearest me lurched to a halt; the driver, his wife, and daughter were arguing. “Move!” I yelled without breaking stride. “We have to get to cover! The next wave is coming, and we have to get indoors!”
They stopped at my harsh words and stood there for a moment. Then a distant screeching echoed off the ruined buildings. They dropped everything and ran, the parents half dragging their young child who was sobbing. Urgent yelps of concern rang out down the line of people as everyone abandoned their wagons and freed as many of the mules as they could but time was running out. “Leave everything, including the pack animals!”, Rick yelled from the back. “The streets here are too full of debris and ruin, going on foot is the only way forward. Move!”
“He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
A Visit from St. Nicholas, Clement Clark Moore.
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.”
Alternative names: Berchtold, Bokkenrijder, Nikamund the Red.
Everyone knows about shoggoths. Everyone knows how dangerous one can be – and is! — let alone an army of them. And all those grotesque, wet eyes. Bubbly, shiny, like blisters waiting to be popped.
They’re hard to kill but Hildy Allbright took out plenty during the Unspeakable War when she still belonged to a team with a purpose.
I abruptly awoke into darkness. Screaming, someone was screaming.
“No, NOOOO!!!”, a male voice from beyond the darkness pleaded. That voice: it was so full of terror, so soaked in fear, and with the pitch of one who is about to…a deep snapping squelch cut across the darkness with finality. The screaming stopped.
I held my breath and listened, not moving a muscle. My awareness grew and my heartbeat was deafening in my ears. Surely it could be heard for miles around it was so loud. I had to get control of myself. My thoughts were a jumble but some of them cut through the panic and chaos; what had killed the screaming man? Was I next? What the hell is going on?
“Good morning. I’ve brought you your breakfast.”
Reluctantly, I awakened. I’d been having the loveliest dream—something about warmth and sunshine, and some gleaming object in the palm of my hand. I fought to hold onto the images, but they slipped away from me.
It never leaves me. Wherever I go, it follows me. Always watching. Always staring. At the office. At the park. Standing over my bed at night, those giant black eyes just inches from my face. I scream at it to do something, to kill me. It does nothing. I put my hands around its throat, trying to pull its bulbous head from its scrawny, skeletal body. It doesn’t even fight back. Just dies, staring me in the eyes the whole time. But it’s not over. It’s never over. I kill it, and there are two more a couple of days later.
Alternative names: Those That Watch.
It’s Christmas Eve again, and it’s been the worst year of my whole life. I snuck you and this pen out of the trash, so I have to be careful. I’m hiding under my covers with a light right now so I can write everything down before I start forgetting even more about what happened last Christmas.
The others are all asleep, and if she catches me up past bedtime . . . I don’t even want to think about what she’ll do to me. None of the others that she took away have ever come back. But I don’t want to forget my life from before, and it’s getting harder and harder to remember. After I write everything down, I’ll hide you in the secret hole I made in my bed.
I can already hear that thing outside in the sky again. Like it’s calling to me with that deep groan that echoes in my brain and makes my heart beat weirdly. I have to hurry now before I run out of time.
Evelyn Mullins knew she sometimes saw things that weren’t there. Where other people saw only the harmless moving shadows cast by streetlights or car headlights or lights spilling out from buildings, she would often see more alarming things hiding in the darkness. She had learned not to warn others of these lurking dangers. What other people could not see; they could not believe. And what they could not believe, they pitied or mocked or scorned.
It started last week. I was at work and the dead man was just there, standing, staring at me. He was clearly unaware he was quite dead. I was startled, to say the least. I turned and grabbed at my coworker in the next cubicle, frantically sputtering.
“Frank! Frank!” but Frank was on the phone. He glared at me, annoyed, his hand cupped over the receiver to mute my yell. I stopped shouting, regaining some sense, and instead gesticulated wildly toward the corpse.
“Yeah…,” Frank businesslike as always, stayed calm, but after a moment of me pointing wide-eyed with fear he added, “Robert? Let me call you right back.” He hung up angrily.
“What the hell is your problem? I’m trying to work!” Frank scowled at me. I pointed towards the water cooler.
When next the bell rang, it was all he could do to keep his feet. He steeled himself for another meal. Fray Joachim led them into the dining hall and took his seat at the head of the long table. A platter of raw corn and a jug of water awaited them. The bell ringer brought the monks a plate of ears of corn. Fray Joachim took them one by one and ate them, cobs and all. Hull took a mouthful of corn and chewed it throughout the meal, drinking his water and silently battling Obregon for the rest of the jug. McKeever sat staring straight ahead as he fisted the corn into his mouth like a pig on market day.