's 2015 Horror Write-off:

" 5 Stories "

Submitted by Trash Face (


He sucked in. Sucked at the cigarette until he felt ashes hit his throat. His lungs filled with scratchy fibres, like nylon wool, then burst into flame. He held his breath until he couldn't bear it. Exhaled a cloud into the fog hanging around his head like an expanding halo. He was a volcano, burning quietly underground. He breathed in again, sucking in the smoke. Around him, the house breathed in sympathy. The slick walls glistened as they creaked in and out. He was an Incan mummy, his matchstick legs pulled up tight to his chest like a foetus', his ribs poking through his sides as if the smoke was clawing to get out. He breathed in, the smell of burning dust filling his head. He was naked, but all of his body hair had long burned away to join the strata of ash around him. His own personal island, that ash piled up, solidified like concrete. Stubs of cigarettes like stained and scattered teeth poking up toward him, in worship of their deity. In the centre of the ring of ash, a hole below his chair. Ringed with a thin film of feculence, leading down as if to Tartarus itself. The stink emanating from the hole, and the things that lived in its depths, were turned away by the smoke, suffocated. He breathed out, and the smoke billowed from his nostrils, worming its way through his empty sockets and through the top of his scalp like hair flowing underwater. The walls screamed as they blew outward, tendons twanging. The body of an old, old man. From the ceiling hung a shaggy fur of black moss or hair, curling slowly like the fingers on his hands, curling restlessly around the cigarette. The walls, like the stink, despised his smoke. They waited for him to suck again at the cigarette, his ribs poking through his skin as he inhaled, and they inhaled with him.


I never thought I'd fall in love with anyone. But when he came to me, wrapped in the night and cold, his skin prickling with goosebumps, I felt a pain inside. As if a piano wire run through my chakras had been suddenly pulled, like pulling a molar from inflamed gums. A steady hurt, in time with my heartbeat, in time with the pulsing of my loins. He asked me for help, he said his client had attempted to drug him, to exceed what they had agreed on. I stood there in the doorway, my erect penis a silent accusatory finger beneath my jeans, my breath clouding and forming a film of moisture on his face. "Yes, come in." and I opened my world to him.

We sat in my kitchen, on the metal chairs that I inherited from my mother when she died, drinking gin. He asked if I had any peanut butter sandwiches, but I hadn't been to the store for some time. He asked if he could call his employer, and I said not until he did something for me. The look in his eyes sent a needle of ice through my heart. We sat across the small table. He sipped his gin with shaking hands adorned with golden rings. The hair on his arms was pale and fine, the hair of a newborn baby. He smelled like a newborn baby too. Underneath the perfume and makeup, he smelled like blood.

After several glasses of gin, I took him into the bedroom. A bare mattress perched upon stacks of crumbling Playboy magazines, Hustler magazines, Penthouse magazines, sits in the middle of my bedroom like a pagan altar in a stone circle. The walls and ceiling are covered in clippings from the magazines. Smiles and breasts and tufts of brittle bleached pubic hair stared down from all directions. In some places, disembodied parts had come loose and drifted to the floor like a layer of autumn leaves, or hung partially detached like the shedding skin of a reptile. They rustled as I closed the door behind us, fluttering in the breeze. I heard the lice scrabble behind the clippings glued to the walls, agitated by our intrusion. He lay down on the bed and began to unbutton his cutoff jeans, as I pulled off my t-shirt.

When I woke up, he was gone. The only signs of him the makeup coating my tongue like mold, and the fluids crusted in my sheets. I later found his clothes, shoved behind the oven, and the lice seemed to be rustling louder than ever before, coming down the walls like a cleansing wave.


Fucking hell, the drain was clogged again. Mike quickly finished his shower before the dirty water could reach his ankles, then went to his room to get dressed. This was the third time this week that fucking drain had backed up, and Mike was about ready to crack and finally call a plumber. He prided himself on being his own handyman, but he didn't really feel comfortable trying to clean out his whole plumbing system with no experience, and he was tired of this goddamn drain clogging. I guess that's what he got for having long hair. His mom still called him a hippy, but Mike had refused to cut his hair since he was 15 years old and wasn't gonna give it up now. A man can have long hair if he wants to and keeps it maintained, can't he? Damn right. Now, about that drain.

When Mike returned to the bathroom after getting dressed, he found a mess. Thick, brownish water filled the tub almost to the top. Jesus christ, there were little bits floating in it too, eeeeugh. He rolled up his sweatshirt sleeve, kneeled down, and reached into the foul water to pull the cover off of the drain. A small wave of dingy liquid slopped over the side of the tub, soaking his shins. It just gets better and better, doesn't it? He tugged at the cover, but it seemed to be stuck somehow. He reached his other hand into the water with no regard for his other sleeve, since he'd have to change his clothes again anyway. He got his fingers under the edge of the cover and pulled even harder, but the metal circle seemed to resist him, pulling back. After a few minutes of splashing and pulling, the cover came free, and Mike raised it in triumph, then recoiled in disgust.

He now saw why the cover had resisted him. Dangling from the disc in his hand was a thick rope of tangled hair, caked with dirt and soap scum, leading down into the drain. The hair was threaded through the holes in the drain cover and stuck together. He'd need a pair of scissors to get it off. Then he realized that the water wasn't draining. He tugged at the rope of matted hair, slowly pulling more of its length out of the drain, but eventually it gave resistance. Great, there must be a big old clump of hair stuck down in the drain. He couldn't use Drano because of the water, but his trusty pipe snake would probably break up the clog. He gingerly dropped the drain cover back into the tub, wiped his hands on his jeans, and went to the cupboard. The snake had always got the job done if nothing else did.

Mike carefully threaded the end of the snake into the drain, then began to unwind its length down into the murky depths. He unwound almost all of the snake, but there was no change in the water level, no sudden "pop" of a clog being freed. Eventually, he encountered resistance. He forced the handle around and around, but the snake seemed to be pushing against something solid. A tree root maybe? But there weren't any big trees near his house. Then he saw a thin wisp of something dark curling up from the drain. A bit of escaped hair? It curled like smoke in the murky water. He sniffed, and caught the faintest scent of blood.

The next day, the plumber pulled in front of Mike's house in his blue van. The mustached man introduced himself as "Greg", and asked what seemed to be the problem with Mike's plumbing. Mike hesitated, trying to frame his situation, then merely motioned for the plumber to follow him. They both stood staring down at the bathtub, by now the water a thick opaque brown.

"So you tried a snake?"

"Yeah, there's something really stuck down there. And, uh…"

The plumber raised an eyebrow. "And?"

Mike stared at the tub's soupy contents.

"Uh, nothing. Never mind." He muttered. "What would you recommend?"

The plumber scratched his chin and looked up in mock pensiveness.

"I'd say we dismantle the pipes downstairs and drain the water, then see if we can extract your, uh, blockage." He eyed Mike, who only nodded.

"Well, you're gonna have to shut off your water, and bring me every bucket you have. I have some in my truck, but they'll probably not be enough."

Thirty minutes later, Mike and the plumber were down in Mike's damp cellar, surrounded by around thirty buckets of various sizes. Mike had shut off the water, and Greg was turning a valve on one of the exposed pipes to seal off the rest of the plumbing from the bit most likely containing the problem. The man coughed and pulled a large wrench from his belt, then looked at Mike meaningfully.

"Be ready with those buckets, okay?"

Mike nodded. Greg carefully unscrewed the curved pipe leading directly up to the flooded bathtub, leaning back to allow Mike to position a large paint bucket underneath. Suddenly, small streams of water burst from the end of the almost-freed pipe, spraying both Mike and the plumber, and staining the wall with splashes of watery brown. "Here we go!" Greg yelled as he twisted the pipe free. He tugged at the bent tube in the stream of filthy water pouring from the ceiling, but it was attached by that same length of tangled hair. "Fuck!" He yelled, then spitting out the disgusting liquid as it splashed in his face. He stumbled back, and Mike attempted to catch most of the flow of water in his bucket.

Mike and Greg stared dumbfounded at the thing coiling from the pipe. Greg had severed the cord of hair and removed length after length of pipe before finally removing the one that contained the, um, blockage. The reeking mass had slid from the tube and flopped to the floor like a used condom. A thick, rubbery tangle of… limbs, tendrils? Covered in filth and slime and long clinging hairs. It seemed to move slightly as the two men stared in shock. Then it seemed to hit them. Greg turned around and vomited noisily in one of the nearby buckets. Mike sucked in a gasp of breath, filling his mouth with the taste of wet hair and urine. He had just seen the… face. The thing had a face. It was looking at him. And even stretched and elongated bonelessly by the confines of the pipe it had been in, he still recognized that face.

It was HIS face.


James Efferman woke up at 7:30AM. He made a pot of coffee and realized that he had forgotten to buy milk, so he ate his cereal dry. He grabbed his keys and his coffee and stepped out into the warm night. And wondered why it was so dark out. It was summertime, the sun should definitely be up by 8:00AM, yet he could barely see a few inches in the gloom.

Then James realized.

It wasn't dark.

It was spiders.