by William Becker
Roman Toguri finds himself burying the body of a nun in Boone, North Carolina. As the skies darken and it begins to storm, he is forced to shove the corpse into his trunk and take it home for the night, unaware of the torment that playing God will bestow upon him.
Enter Hell with two bonus short stories: The White Shade, an ultra-violent look into the mind of a mass shooter, and The Black Box, a psychedelic dive into weird horror.
When I came close enough, I grabbed one of the wooden planks and hoisted myself into the next room. Gazing around, this room immediately seemed fairly ‘cozy.’ The entire room was constructed from the worn wooden planks that were around the edge of the hole. Several feet across from the entrance to the tunnel was a lamp whose shade had turned an ancient shade of brown, filling the room with the orange light that I had seen from the underground, signalling that I had returned to civilization, or at least somewhere with working electricity.
Perhaps the most important feature of the room was a red velvet couch right next to the map, on which sat my familiar friend, the homeless man. A blank, soulless expression covered his face, his eyes unblinking in his focus, or lack thereof.
This was the first time I had seen him in clear lighting, and the black spots on his face resembled a growth or a scab, seeming to extend and pile up over the top of his skin like mold. It was truly disgusting.
I slowly moved to a wooden door near the couch, waiting for him to stop me, but he stared off in the distance, as if he was watching something behind me. I took another step towards the door when my foot planted down on top of something with a gentle crunch, and seemed to stick to the sole of my shoe as I bent down to examine in; hundreds of black specks scurried away from my feet. Each of these specks hurried past me in a large pack, then crawled underneath the couch where the man was sitting, disappearing from sight. My body locked up and I was forced to cringe when I realized that these specks were baby spiders, and I had just stepped on a large sac.
“Don’t step on those,” the man muttered, his voice sounding hazy and distant, as if the two of us were miles apart.
“What?” I asked, unsure if I had heard him correctly.
“Don’t stomp the eggs,” he replied. His eyes were still locked on something behind me. I glared back, half expecting something to be standing there.
“Because I like them, and they like the cold.”
I watched several of the baby spiders move through the holes in his clothes, crawling into them and creating tiny bulges beneath the fabric. I shuddered, and then his head began to turn. It was a painfully slow motion that seemed to last decades, until finally, his eyes rested on me.
“I’m finally free, you know.”
There was a ticking noise, as if the second hand on a clock was moving, then the orange glow of the lamp was replaced with darkness. The light had been turned off. I wasn’t sure how the man had turned it off, or if the light had simply given out, but despite this, more light leaked into the room from the cracks in the wooden door leading outside, giving a dimmed view of the man on the couch. I glanced back to the floor to see that dozens of the eggs had appeared all across the ground. Had I not seem them earlier? They were a milky white color and about the size of baseballs. A handful of the eggs seemed to wriggle every few seconds, as if they were about to hatch. The light reflected off of them, giving them a shiny appearance in the light.
I looked around, shrugged, then decided it was time to leave. I tiptoed to the door in a state of horrified confusion, leaving the man and his eggs behind.
William Becker is an 18-year-old horror author with a mind for weirder sides of the universe. With an emphasis on complex and layered storylines that tug harshly on the reader to search for deeper meanings in the vein of Silent Hill and David Lynch, Becker is a force to be reckoned within the horror world. His works are constantly unfathomable, throwing terror into places never before seen, while also providing compelling storylines that transcend the predictable jumpscares of the popular modern horror.
His first novel, WEEPING OF THE CAVERNS, was written when he was 14. After eight months of writing, editing, and revising, the story arrived soon after his 15th birthday. During the writing sessions for his debut novel, he also wrote an ultra-controversial short story known as THE WHITE SHADE that focused on the horrors of a shooting. Living in a modern climate, it was impossible for THE WHITE SHADE to see the light of day. Following a psychedelic stint that consisted of bingeing David Lynch movies, weird art, and considering the depth of the allegory of the cave wall, he returned to writing with a second story, THE BLACK BOX, and soon after, his second novel, GREY SKIES.
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