One Year Ago
He stares out the window, the lights of the city burst, pop, flicker and shake, he spins around, clutching his neck, as he feels something cold touch him, but the room is empty. He slowly turns around, looking back out the window again, and freezes in place. In the reflection of the window he sees a shadowy figure standing behind him.
“What do you want?” he asks, he clutches his ears tightly, as whispers erupt, his eyes pulsate, shifting in and out of focus, the room spins and he drops to one knee.
“Please, leave me alone, I won’t do what you ask, I can’t!” He yells, the voice rips into him again, and he falls to his knees, collapsing onto the floor.
“NO!” he yells, tears running down his face, his head, throbbing with pain, and then, it stops, and he is once again staring out into the city.
“I can’t do it,” he says softly as he looks over towards the open laptop on the table in front of him, the open document has a single word written on it, he rubs his eyes, and looks back out to the city, lost, in his thoughts, until her voice pulls him back into reality, and he turns, smiling as she runs towards him.
“Daddy!” she yells as she leaps into his arms.
“Hello possum,” he says as he squeezes her tight. “Did you have fun?” he asks, she pulls herself away, a beaming smile on her face.
“It was so much fun, you should’ve been there Daddy, can we go tomorrow, then you can see it!” he smiles and kisses her on the forehead.
“It will be over tomorrow, and I have to work anyway,” he looks over as she walks in with Sally, asleep, hanging over her shoulder.
“Everyone okay?” he asks.
“Too much sugar and running around, she was out as soon as I started the car, did you get everything done?” she asks as he gently takes Sally out of her arms and they kiss.
“Almost, just a few things left, nothing that can’t wait until morning.”
“Can I go look?” He smiles and she kisses him and excitedly runs down the hall.
“Daddy,” she says softly in his arms.
“Hey knucklehead, did you have fun?”
“Yeah, you should’ve been there, it was…” she says with a smile, as she snuggles into his neck.
“Write, or I will kill them all,” a disembodied voice, whispers into his ear, he spins around, his heart pumping a million miles an hour, sweat pouting off his body, Sally sits up, staring at him, her eyes, black pools of nothingness.
The lights flicker as the dead girl stares towards Steve, he can feel beneath his feet, a light tremor, as she opens her mouth to speak.
Four Months Ago
“I’m telling you it’s the perfect idea, I was thinking of just running it as a story I’d write every now and then like Bad Day, but I think Halloween is the perfect time to do it. Have a whole week running chapters of this one story, each day, until the big end on Halloween night. The only problem is, I think, maybe, I might change the name to something like The Deadhead or something like that,” Marty says excitedly.
“Dude, I love the idea, but I’ve got to disagree about changing the name, I’m a fan of The Roundhead, it’s the perfect name. Changing it now would be, well, it’d be wrong. I mean, I know that’s only because I’ve read the original short, and in the end the decisions yours, but, I say, stick with The Roundhead,” Gareth says.
“I don’t know, I just, I guess I just feel it doesn’t have that serious ring to it, people might not take it the right way.”
“Nah man, it’s an awesome name, you’ve got to keep it, it works, trust me. It’s the only name it needs.”
“Yeah, maybe you’re right, I don’t know. Anyway I love the sketches, you’re starting to get an idea what it looks like, what, it really looks like.”
“Cool, I’ve almost got it sussed, but, I’m still just missing something. I’m sure after I play around with it some more I’ll get a real good image of what it looks like, then I’ll be happy. Have you finished the end yet? I really want to know how it all turns out.”
“Almost, I had the ending, but I think, that’s going to change, there’s too many things that don’t work and the whole mythology, it has to be solid. I liked where it was going, but, I think I can make it better, or, it can make itself better, I don’t know, it’s a work in progress. One thing I’m definitely changing is Jimmy dying at Sonia’s, I mean, it didn’t fit the rules, not at that stage of the game anyway, so it can’t work, jerks will pull that thread apart straight away.”
Gareth laughs, “Who cares, if it works, it works, you’re always going to have people picking shit apart, but I can’t wait to see how it ends.”
“You will, I just want to make sure it’s all sorted first, once I’ve done that, once I’m on top of all the mythology, I’ll send it to you.”
“Its power grew strong from the words that were written, read and spread, so strong that the beast broke free of it cage, now the stories no longer hold it at bay, for the world knows it by its name, so dare not say it for it will come, dare not hear it for it will know, dare not see it for it will be, say it once and you will see, come now say it with me, The Roundhead, The Roundhead, THE ROUNDHEAD!” She screams before disappearing like all the other heralds before her. Sweat runs down Steve’s brow, his eyes dart around the call centre, and he can see the fear, the panic, in his colleague’s eyes, then, the screaming starts, for it is here. He smells it first, before he feels it’s hot, rancid breath on the back of his neck, everyone begins scrambling away in panic, and Steve, slowly turns around, starring into its dead, black, soulless eyes. Its teeth grind against each other like fingernails down a chalkboard and it lets out a low, inhuman growl before it attacks. The pain is everywhere, all at once, as it rips one of its massive hands through his chest and wraps its powerful, fingers around his insides, he convulses, the beast tightens its grip and then, he flops forward, silent, void of life, as it crushes his heart, lungs and most of his rib cage, then tosses his husk to the side. It looks around the building, stalking its prey, then attacks, like a rampaging bull, storming towards the fleeing crowd.
Three Months Ago
“It’s evolving, the more I work on it, the more it changes, the more it’s started to drag in reality, the more pieces of my life become part of the story. And it’s grown, it’s not just one story, but three, maybe more.”
Gareth laughs, “Taking it to the next level, that’s crazy man, I can’t wait to read the changes once you’re done. I gotta say, I really liked the first draft, it worked so well, like nothing I’ve ever read before. You know, I’ve been thinking, it could easily be a movie, or a TV series!”
Marty laughs, “It could be, I don’t know, I see it as a movie, I see how every scene plays out, sometimes, I can almost touch it. But I’ve gotta say, the closer I get to the end, the more I find myself getting scared. Like, I’m actually fucking worrying that this whole thing is something more, something real. Things like this conversation, it, it belongs in the story, like its part of its web, like it had to happen here, to happen there.”
“Marty man, you’ve got to take a step back, don’t let it weird you out. I think it’s awesome you’re drawing reality into it, I think it’ll draw the reader in more, bends it, shapes it, and gives it a real creepy feel. Fuck man, I think it’s an awesome idea, but, don’t lose it, don’t get too deep that you can’t find your way out.”
“Yeah, well I’m trying to take care of that, but, we’ll see, I’ve still got heaps of time to do some changes. And the sixth chapter, it has to have a complete rewrite, Steve just doesn’t fit into it as well as he did when it was just his story, but, I don’t know, I just know the whole ending will take place in the precinct as The Roundhead starts hunting them all down, and then, it’s still not clear yet, but it’s almost done.”
“Man, it’s the original, I mean, I know what you’re saying and all, the whole scene plays too soft, like they should be more stressed out and shit. But, don’t get me wrong, I still love it, but, you might need to get rid of the whole Patto and Steve scene and just smash cut to the call centre or something, I know you’ll work it out.”
“Yeah, I don’t know, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see where it goes.”
“This can’t be real, it just can’t be real!” Patto mumbles to himself as he sits, huddled underneath his desk. He flicks his phone on and fumbles with it, as his shaking fingers fail to follow his commands, but, finally after a few frantic seconds, he manages to dial triple zero, and he sits, waiting.
“Police, fire and rescue or ambulance?” the voice asks on the other end.
“Police,” he whispers.
“One moment,” the woman replies, seconds pass and the line begins to ring, as does a phone two desks away.
“Fuck!” He hisses as he hangs up and redials again, suddenly the desk is ripped away, it stands, looking down at him, and growls.
Two Months Ago
“Dude call me back when you get this message, something weird is going on, I-I think its real man, I think somehow the story is starting to cross over from the page to reality. I know it sounds crazy, but something I wrote, something, fuck, something actually happened, it actually fucking happened. I’ve decided I’m not going to post the story, I can’t, call me back when you get this.”
It pulls Patto’s limp body into the air and with one squeeze of its massive hand, crushes his skull, his legs quiver around like a fish out of water, then, flop lifelessly down. It tosses his corpse to the side, as it takes a gigantic step forward, and another, before the beast turns, its soulless, empty, eyes, come to a stop over one of the cubicles where a couple have taken refuge. The woman lets out a scream as it looks straight towards her and the man grabs her from behind, desperately shoving his hand over her mouth, trying to muffle her cries, but, it’s too late. The beast rips the cubicle apart around them, until there is nothing between it and them. They both cower before it, begging for their lives, then, just as it’s about to strike, it stops, and slowly, the beast turns its head, looking away from them, letting out a low growl, as a shadowy figure moves forward, strobing, in and out of focus.
“How is this possible? Your sin is mine,” it growls.
“Your little weapon failed, she may have finished me off, but she never claimed my sin for you,” Jar says, as he stares down the beast.
“What makes you think you can stop, what the very creator of life could not? Did you know he buried me, hid me away, because he could not destroy me, did you….”
“I don’t really care about what he couldn’t do, anyone smart enough to create something like you, is not as bright as they think, and anyway, I’m not here for a history lesson, I’m just here to send you back to wherever you came from.”
“You will do no such thing, I am the beast, I am what your parents warned you about when you were but a child, you will not stop me, you will only lose.”
“I never came here to stop you, I just came to keep you occupied, while they do that part,” he says, with a sly smile. “You may’ve killed me, but I’m going to make sure you go back to where you came from, and you’ll never come back.” Suddenly ghostly images being appearing, and a chorus of voices begin chanting the same words over and over again.
The beast falls to the ground, onto all fours and screams in agony, “NO, THIS IS MY STORY, NOT HIS,” it screams, as the room implodes in darkness, then a blinding white light tears through it and Marty screams, as he leaps up from the bed, he searches the room, frantically, squinting into the darkness, as Abbey barks furiously at the doorway.
“What the fuck is going on?” he says to himself out loud, leaping up from the bed he pulls the door open, and Abbey charges out into the hallway, it’s then that he feels his phone vibrate vigorously, while Abbey continues to bark like crazy out in the hallway. Slowly he pulls the phone from his pocket and places it to his ear. “Gareth, it’s late.”
“Dude I tried not to, but I fucking couldn’t help myse…”
“Shut the fuck up, we’ve done this already,” he says softly into the phone.
“What? What the fuck are you talking about, are you fucking watching?” Gareth says.
“Gareth, I said, we’ve already done this part.”
“It, it, it’s gone motherfucking viral, world FUCKING wide, just like it’s supposed to, you’ve gotta see it Marty, people are sharing it thousands at a time! I can’t believe it, I can’t, but it’s happening, it’s really fucking happening!”
“For fuck sake, snap out of it, the story’s restarted again.”
“Oh god, it’s been happening the whole time hasn’t it?”
“Gareth, I-I-I… FUCK!” He stands there, in silence for a few moments, before he presses a hand against his forehead, and closes his eyes. “You already said it, but I guess, you didn’t really want to admit it, word for word,” he says as he takes a deep breath and waits, Abby barks furiously out in the hallway, then lets out a yelp, followed by silence.
“Marty, dude, I-I-I…”
“I know man, don’t stress, like you said, it’s only a story,” Marty says as he takes a deep breath and walks out into the hallway, the lights flicker violently, exploding seconds later in a shower of glass and flames, he can make out Abby’s still form a few feet away, and standing over her, as he knew it would be, is a massive, hulking shape, looking towards him, with deep, black, pools for eyes.
“WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME!” he screams.
“I want you to stop fighting me, I want the story to end my way, I want, what is mine,” it says in a deep, gravelly voice.
“FUCK YOU!” he yells, the beast charges towards him, and drives its hand through his chest, ripping into him with its razor sharp claws, and, as Marty’s life drains from him, the beast stares in his eyes, watching, savouring, devouring, all that Marty once was. Then, releases its grip, letting his lifeless body crash to the floor, and Marty’s dead eyes stare towards the phone, lying a few feet away.
“Marty! This can’t be fucking real!” Gareth yells into the phone.
Static tears through the phone and Gareth pulls it away from his ear, as he feels it’s warm, hot, putrid breath on the side of his face, followed quickly by these words, “You both shall die, over and over again, over and over until the ends of time, until you stop fighting, until, your world, is mine.”
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All artwork by Yazgar, check his stuff out when you can!