Funny Horror

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

You wake up to a foggy dawn, which is normal for the coastal town you’re in, but realize after a moment that you’re lying spread-eagle in the middle of a parking lot, which is rather less normal. You try to remember how you got here, but there’s a thick fog in your head rivaling the one outside of it, both worse than anything you’ve ever experienced. You would guess hangover, but there’s no headache or nausea. You’re not even thirsty.

But you are unbelievably stiff, you realize, as you try looking around. All directions prove equally impossible to turn in, your head feels like the lid of a stuck jar. You commit to looking left and throw all your strength into it. There’s a loud crack as your neck snaps a sharp 90 degrees, but no pain. Strange.

Anyway, you’re now looking into the shattered headlights of a car (your car?). The entire front of it is wrapped around a street lamp, which has folded over on impact to smash the top of the vehicle and, apparently, a few more behind it on the road. One of them is a little bit on fire, but there’s no one attending to it. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be anyone around at all.

With great difficulty, you test the rest of your joints in an attempt to get up. You manage to move your shoulders and hips, which feel like rusted-stiff hinges, but your elbows and knees are almost impossible to bend. With a lot of heavy, ungainly flopping about, you finally get up to a seated position and then, with several more loud but painless cracks, to standing. Not bad.

With some careful foot shuffling and a few more 90-degree neck snaps, which you’re starting to get the hang of, you discern that you’re in the 10-car parking lot of a small store (7-Eleven?), and that it’s not early in the day at all, the sun is actually directly overhead. So why hasn’t this morning fog burned off? And, come to think of it, was everything always black and white like this? Where did all the color go? You blink hard to clear your vision, then lift your hand up to rub your eyes but only succeed in smacking yourself hard in the face with your arm. Right, no elbows. What is going on?

You look back at the car and see that there’s a hole in the windshield, on the driver’s side, that has nothing to do with the street lamp. After a moment of straining to remember something, you lift your arm back up, slowly this time, and rub the top of your head with it. A few large shards of glass dislodge and fall to the ground with a surprisingly loud clink, and some chunks of dried blood flake off, too. You are just noticing again how there’s no pain when you hear a horrible screeching noise down the street. You snap your head to look but it’s really hard to see much in all this fog.

You can make out the weak beams of two wildly swerving headlights that are speeding towards you. More importantly, you can hear the awful music blasting from that direction. When it’s about a block away, you notice that there are actually people on top of what appears to be an SUV, as well as inside of it. Before they get much closer, the ones inside jump out while it’s still moving, and the ones on top roll off after them. They all land hard on the ground but you don’t see what happens next because the car continues barreling towards you and that horrible music is getting louder and louder–

The car swerves past you–luckily without knocking you over because god forbid you have to stand up again–and slams to a stop against the store, taking out all of its display windows with an ear-splitting crash. You cannot believe how loud that impact was, or how loud the music still is (were you always this sensitive to sound?). You stumble towards the smoking, somewhat blood-covered SUV, determined to stop that commotion. The doors are closed and your stiff fingers flap uselessly at the passenger side handle until you realize the windows are already smashed open. You fling your body in and try to shimmy towards the stereo, but the jagged glass left in the window frame has sort of pierced into your chest and is now lodging you in place.

But that cacophony must be stopped, so you reach your arms in and start bashing at the controls. You’re not sure how long you’re at this for when you become aware of someone else hanging in through the broken driver’s side window, doing the exact same thing. It’s hard to think over the blaring music, but this seems like a good development so you keep doing your part.

Finally, with a crunch of plastic, the music dies. Wonderful silence follows. You snap your head up to look at your co-conspirator and meet his milky white eyes. You open your mouth to thank him but, unfortunately, all that comes out is a groan. Your counterpart seems to understand, but you don’t catch what he groans back because you notice for the first time that, oddly, about a third of his face has been ripped off. You can see his teeth and jawbone through what remains of his left cheek, and blood is dribbling like treacle from the gash and caking down onto his soiled clothes. Something about this doesn’t seem right to you, but you can’t quite place it. Well, what does it matter, he helped you stop the noise!

After you both wiggle and flail your way off the broken glass and out of your respective windows, he ambles away. You can’t help but admire how quickly he can employ his stiff-legged shuffle, even with one of his feet bent all the way out to the side like it’s broken. He seems to know where he’s going, and you’re about to follow after him when you hear movement from inside the store. You snap your head to look in that direction. Silence. Still, you go to investigate. Someone might need help.

The fog is somehow also inside the store, not even settling near the ground in a cool, atmospheric way, but pervasively stuffed into all the corners and stacked right up to the ceiling. You drag your feet through the broken window glass and down the aisles, the shelves of which are all empty (that’s weird, right?), with the exception of a display of lottery scratchers and selfie sticks. You hear the movement again, coming from the restroom, and this time there’s muffled crying, too. Someone is in distress! You quicken your pace, managing not to slip in the puddle of blood by the Slurpee® dispensers, and fling yourself at the restroom door to open it.

After the fact, you realize how lucky you were that the lock was already broken, that might’ve really hurt otherwise. Or it could’ve been a pull door instead of a push door, how embarrassing.

Anyway, as you go crashing into the restroom, you trip and fall onto a young woman, who is no longer trying to muffle her crying and screaming. So, so piercing. You appear to have landed on her foot, which is also bent very far the wrong way like it’s broken and seems quite swollen as well, kind of like a water balloon made out of a medical glove. You’re pretty sure that’s the reason for her wailing. You yell an apology over the noise, but all that comes out is a guttural roar that sprays her with spit and blood. It’s awkward for you and apparently upsetting for her because she starts shrieking even louder and hitting you with a selfie stick. This is very discouraging, you are just trying to help.

You start to tell her about the man you just saw whose broken foot didn’t seem to be bothering him and maybe there’s a way she could reach that state as well–perhaps through positive thinking and meditation–but she isn’t listening to you. It’s really hard to think of ways to help her when she just. Won’t. Stop. Screaming.

Through the beating that is much more irritating than painful and the torrent of sonic abuse that is huge amounts of both, you clumsily claw and drag your way up her body (second base?) and towards her head where all the noise is coming from. You start to slap it with your hands to make it stop, like you did with the car stereo, but the technique doesn’t seem as effective here because she just starts to swing more frantically with the stick. You fumble to a loose grip on her face and try hitting the back of her head against the tiled wall she’s backed up against, and this seems to work marvelously! It’s too bad about the loud thudding with each impact, but pretty soon she stops screaming. Finally!

Now, where were you? Right, trying to get rid of her pain.

But just then, you notice a light starting to appear. It’s the brightest, clearest thing you’ve seen all day, and you realize it’s leaking through a thin crack in her head. What is that?

You thud her against the wall a few more times until the crack widens. You lift up one side of it until a chunk breaks away, and light comes pouring out. It’s warm, delightfully warm against your skin that you didn’t even realize was cold until now. Reaching for the light, you realize that it is actually solid under your fingertips, and you tear off a piece of it. Like a kid with a shiny marble, you pop the light into your mouth.

Instantly, the fog clears from your eyes and color comes rushing back into the world. You feel warmth spread through your whole body and the stiffness loosens all the way out of your joints. It’s the most delicious thing you’ve ever eaten. Greedily, you grab more of it by the handful and bite into it. Like a perfectly ripe peach, its juices run down your arm in trickles of golden light, scattering reflected rainbows across the walls and ceiling. It’s sweet, it’s savory, it’s slightly chewy before it melts in your mouth with a creamy finish.

This is the best moment of your life.

And, much too soon, it’s over. The light fades into a dull gray mass in the woman’s head and takes all the other colors with it. The fog creeps in from the edges of your vision until everything is clouded over once more. Your body stiffens again, the warmth flickers out like a snuffed candle. You prod at what remains of the soft clump, all that you didn’t get to eat in time.

Suddenly, the woman’s eyes fly open and she snaps her head to glare at you with their milky whiteness. You shout and stumble backwards, what a terrifying way to move your head!

She grunts what you understand is an apology, and then makes a gesture as if to help you. Then, realizing how stiff she’s become, she instead starts to flop around in an attempt to get up. You start flailing, too, and after smacking each other and the surrounding walls a few times, you both get to standing. Her swollen foot doesn’t seem to be a problem anymore. Success. Maybe there are more hurting people you can help, together even! Perhaps one day, you could become a whole tribe of people-helpers! But, first things first–

Are you hungry? you groan at her.

She grunts back, and sounds a little worried to you. It's probably the fog.

Don’t panic, it’s all going to be okay because I’ve just discovered this new food you’ve gotta try…

And the two of you drag and shuffle your way out, groaning in excited conversation, stiff arms flailing out occasionally so you don’t bump into anything in the fog.

September 09, 2022 00:32

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