's 2016 Horror Write-off:

The Boxes: Neighsayers

Submitted by Sam Miller

A field. The color green. Neighing. I awake. I see an immense thing, tall gangly legs reaching up into the sky far above. Its lanky limbs covered with pinkish skin and sparse hairs, and its head so far up so as to be invisible. It bellows.


"Uh, hello h o r s e"

Sounding incredibly happy, the creature responds, "OH MY GOSH... THAT'S THE FIRST TIME ANYBODY HAS SAID MY NAME RIGHT THE FIRST TIME..."

"Um, okay. Hey, h o r s e, where am I?"

Rather than responding, the massive equine just bounds over the walls of the chamber I am in, whinnying excitedly. Out of desperation and confusion I look around the room, seeing nothing but the walls and the massive hole in the center. Rather than crawl down into who knows where, I try to climb up the walls to the best of my ability, reaching the top and seeing h o r s e galloping away into the horizon. Looking down, I see an incredibly long fall. How could I have climbed this high in that short of a time? While I am thinking, I feel something behind me push me off the top of the wall, but as I plummet to the ground far below, I look back and see nothing behind me. I fall.

I fall. I hit the ground. Surprisingly, it didn't hurt in the slightest. Looking around me, I can still see the h o r s e off in the distance, but all around me is grass. I get up and start running after the massive equine, grass brushing against my sides. A patch of sharp grass snatches a morsel of my clothing, but I continue on. A warm wind brushes the tall grasses all around me. A small buzzing thing lands on my neck, its high pitched whinny loud in my ear. I slap at it, leaving a small wet redness on my neck. Its many hoofed legs twitch on my neck, small bones and teeth plastered against my skin. Its long head, with spindly antennae points upwards.

I walk slowly through the waving grasses. Up ahead, in the far-off distance, I see a small village in silhouette, finally I found civilization! I sidle up to the entrance road to the town, a small thing made up of only a few houses along a dirt path. It is suspiciously empty.

"Hey there, interloper!"

It is an old man, clad in farmer's garb. He approaches me welcomingly and kindly, arms practically outstretched.

"Uh, hi old man"

"Heh heh, come join us for a nice little meal my interloper friend!"

He grabs my hand, and before I can do anything I am inside of a dusty house, filled with rustic country folk of all sorts, yet somehow not crowded. At the old wooden table I am at sits a bowl of grits. The eyes of the many people in the building gaze at me and at my food wide-eyed, mouths watering in eager anticipation and almost hunger. I take the old spoon placed before me and slide it into the slimy grits, lifting it up to my mouth slowly. The villagers sweat anxiously, desperate for me to eat it. Right before the spoon full of grits reaches my parched lips, spilling forth onto the table, I placed it back down.

"Eh, I'm not really a grits person."

WIth an aghast gasp, the many wide eyed faces of the townsfolk split open into equine forms, long snouts extending from mouths, lanky and knobbly forms stretching through the skin in all manner of ways. Massive horse teeth, many many long ears, hoof upon hoof, all stretching and breaking through the thin human skins that once held them and hid them, all crawling out because of my minor slight. Neighing upon neighing, a cacophony of whinnies. Crawling and squeezing myself between the rippling equines, I am outside once again, the dusty road beneath my feet. For a second, all is peaceful and calm. Then the walls of the small wooden house I was just in fall apart, exploding in all directions from the force of the horses within.

A tangle of equines forces its way out of the shack, writhing in on themselves in every possible configuration. A serpent of knotted hooves and wrapped manes, necks on necks and teeth on teeth. It melds together, a giant mutant of innumerable hoofed horrors, many big eyes gazing emotionless at me, bulging veins and rippling meat under a veneer of skin. Fearfully I run away, scrambling down the dusty path to try to get away from that thing, a serpentine mutant of hooves and neighing. Its fat grub-like body moves much faster than one would think, its many feet pulling it along on the ground, its skin tearing and pulling with each movement.

I am cornered at a simple shack, caught by the horrible horse. It opens a mouth of mouths, teeth upon teeth upon teeth, a mess of ivory and tongues. It swallows me whole, then it burrows into the ground.

I slide out of the horse. I open my slime-coated eyes. It is dark. All around me are writhing things, brown and white and tan and grey. Rubbing my eyes, I see them for what they are. Horses. Writhing and squirming and neighing horses, rooted in the ground like some kind of barnacle or grass. My eyes wide with confusion and fear, I jump back upon hearing something above. It sounds like some crunching or stomping. Looking up, I see it. A blade of grass, immensely tall and with a half-eaten horse hanging out of its sharp plant mouth. The wild whinnying of the horses around me reaches a new violent height as the grass bends down, gobbling up a handful of horses near me. Quickly scrabbling to my feet, I run away as fast as I can, but to no avail. The green blade of grass bends down, snatching me in its jaws as it eats the equines around me. I slide down its skinny grass gullet, and am digested by the frothing green juices within.

H o r s e bends its freakishly long neck down to gobble some grass in its eating trough.