I march through the woods, darkened by my hands.

Chained to others who are similarly damned.

The carrion call of flesh exhales out through morning mist.

The gallows drag us by its chained tongue tightened around our wrists. 

Mud spattered high on the imposing wooden frame. 

A reminder of the life I chose to take, what I became. 

I am to face the death deemed fit for my crimes. 

A bell toll of my end, crescendoing chimes. 

I stand shoulder to shoulder with men much safer than I. 

As they have not seen what I have seen with these cold dead eyes. 

The rope tightened around my neck feels oddly comforting in light of the blood on my hands. 

I lose this life happily knowing the things that breed beneath these lands. 

Anticipation is overflowing by the time I drop. 

But there is no neck snap, to lifeless flop. 

I hang in the air, by a rope that should have ended me. 

The crowd is in awe, begging for answers how this could be. 

They yell and proclaim, “The devil inhabits him, I have no doubt!’

Despite my current state I respond, 

“It’s not the devil you should be worried about.” 

Sacrifice is needed to slip beyond. 

“I killed not for the pleasure, but to get them to respond.” 

One scared woman asks, “Who?”

A rope digs in, despite it I struggle through. 

“Old things that live in older places.”

“They infest time and unknowable spaces.”

“To know them is to truly see the divine.” 

“Perfection is in their Aberrant thoughts and design.” 

With a final breath my soul leaves. 

But I stay aware of what the old ones use me to conceive. 

I am but a vessel for a beautiful thing. 

It rips its way from my abdomen, letting my viscera swing. 

Even through it all I remain to see beyond its birth. 

Using my meat as material, stitched flesh of worth. 

A beautiful cephalopodic something new. 

Rearranging ignorance like our flesh, into something true. 

Something so much more than me, more than you.

The Pit

Piles of bones, shone the bright light you preach to me.

Eyes fit for a king, sing my insanity to little regretful me.

A mass grave of all the decay i coughed up for you.

Miasma of drought.

Poison clouds pull me down.

Plague bearer, denounced.

Brought to me on the backs of that gold laced chariot.

Dragged by the souls of the forgotten now forced to ferry it.

With it a wake of un-life,  a gaseous knife to end us by the thousands.

Plague bearer, denounce us.

Queen or shriveled wretch, we all serve the same lord in death.

Death cloud or madness we consumed, we will all loose our precious breath.

Bow down to the lord of flies.

Sheer white lace, just enough to hide the lies.

One by one sever our mortal ties.

Flesh from bone, flayed next to those we chose to chastise.

The pit is the pit, with or without you in it.

A king of man, just one or the many dammed.

A Mass grave to sire fourth walking un-life.

Walk across the trenches, the very chains of death we fight.

The pit spits up those who rage against light.

We are legion. We are swarm.

We move as one flooding form. 

Muse upon sight

Laying on my back supine among the grass and rocks, I feel life give way to death every second. 

I look at the stars so impossibly far a mere shift in my weight may kill something that I did not acknowledge as there.

I lose myself within the sight of the turning black above my head, swimming in thoughts of what lies beyond any knowledge I could dig up. 

Would I or anyone understand the things that could be lurking beyond our minds capacity to replicate?

The disjointed pieces of flesh and bone, chitin and crystal, unknowns grafted to unknowns.

Eyes don’t come in rows, they come in waves, across inky nebulae and gas giants far from our sight.

We were made within this goldilocks zone of space. 

Not only was it just so perfect as to nurture life, but far enough away from the vast reaching horrors of the abyss that would sooner extinguish us with a simple shift of its weight.

Insignificance personified in every life brought crying into the world. 

Every belief that puts us at the center of some great plan.

We are merely a little thing upon a rock. Just so lucky that we didn’t get found yet.

I know the eyes I speak of. 

I see them in the sky when the stars flicker.

I can see the digits at the end of long chromatic tendrils that move through air as oil moves through water.

Splitting dimensions in two to feed on the sight of our fear; To feed on the bits of our flesh is hardly sustenance for the lesser of these beings. 

One million beings of unfathomable blight bring a soaring miasma across the cosmos, star to star; an exhalation of breath from a monumental titan of thought-twisting might.

As I lay here wondering about the coming jaws that have swallowed stars, crushed moons within their teeth. 

Do you worship such a thing, or fear it with every bit of your being? 

Do you end the life you hold sacred to forget the image of its sensory organs wrapping around earth, constricting and pulling apart cities without thought as it places it upon its tongue?

Not mere musings, I witness it in my dreams. 

Speaking to me in low grumbling tones of twelve planets grinding together within its throat.

I do not understand, nor would I define these things as words. More a horn of arrival, a thumping step of an idiot man walking across an ant hill. The precursor to something we can’t explain, for explaining it would kill us just the same.

I’ve seen white burning light from the cosmos—infinitely more consequential than anything tangible here—snuffed out in the abyss beyond thought.

We hurl towards the unthinkable maw of some great leviathan that drifts towards us in the dark, cold reaches of empty space.

I am excited to finally greet it.

The Butcher of London

I was sitting wretched in a penny sit-up, my hands and face caked with the dirt of the day—reflecting the filth this place sees me as. I was one of many who died to the beast of social class. I was nothing to anyone who had a full belly and more than a handful of pennies in their pockets. I am nothing.

The air was stagnant despite the number of bodies that chose to fill this place. My hands lay face down across the roughly cut wooden table. A candle placed every few feet or so illuminated the scars on my skin and the caked-in dirt under my nails. A cough would echo through the area, overshadowing small conversation tired men were having to merely stay awake, as for just a penny, you were not allowed to sleep here. In fact, someone would periodically saunter around the rows of tables and be sure to wake anyone who did fall asleep.

For a penny, you got a dingy roof held up by decaying brick walls, kept only semi-warm by the bodies that paid for the privilege of inhabiting it. You wanted to sleep?—well that would cost you two pennies, and you’d gain the luxury of becoming part of the great mass of men and women sleeping standing up, with only a rope to lean over supporting all of your weight. I’d sooner piss on the pennies and use the same rope to hang myself. Is this really the life I live? Murdering myself for the privilege of surviving? Surviving was a strong word at that.

Lost in my own thoughts, a man sat down next to me, placed a bag down on the bench between us—an empty burlap sack that appeared empty. The man sat almost perfectly upright, and was wearing a nice coat and long-brimmed hat. His eyes were shaded and just in the corner of my sight, but a smile was all too apparent. I ignored him. I paid my way in here to relax, not to make small talk.

“You look awfully tired, my boy.” The man spoke in an unfamiliar way—something about his accent. It was comforting, charismatic even, but somehow disconcerting.

I slipped a small glance to him before refocusing on the few inches of wood grain in front of me. “We are all tired.”

He gave a low, cadenced chuckle. “A penny can buy you a bench and a roof. You might think a handful could buy you a better life, wouldn’t ya?”

I didn’t want to respond, but he persisted. “Didn’t you hear me, friend?”

I felt his hand grip my left forearm before my eyes shot to it. His hand was black as night—covered in coal? I looked into the man’s eyes, or rather the place eyes would be. The shadow and dim lighting covered them. I could see only small specks of light reflecting from the glossy wet spots on his face.

“Get your hands off me. I don’t mean any disrespect, but I want to rest, not talk.”

The stained yellow teeth appeared in the dark like a wound being cut open. He clacked them together once before letting go and facing forward. My heart was as uncomfortable as I was, beating practically through the buttons on my coat, but I couldn’t get up or move away. He seemed like the type to cause a scene.

“What brings you in for the night?” I decided to ask, most likely to my future regret.

His hand reached into his left coat pocket and pulled a small pipe from his coat. He packed it full of tobacco; the smell was unmistakable, and honestly a refreshing change amongst the sweat and soot that permeated this building.

“The night brings me in.” He pulled a match and struck the pipe, the flash briefly illuminating a face, pale white, contrasted by the black coal color that reached up to his neck and ears. He had angular and sharp features, including a rather pointed, crooked nose. Scars littered his face in no discernible way. I was almost so distracted by catching a glimpse of the strange man that the answer to my question didn’t sufficiently shock me as it should.

“I’m sorry? The night?” I attempted to regain what little composure my mind had to afford.

“Yes. It gets cold. Needed a place to rest.” He gave a slight exhale as smoke filled the air around him, almost hanging in the spaces the light chose to settle.

“Oh, of course. I’m sorry. I’m weary. Long day. Long life.” My voice trailed as it neared the end of my thought. The space around me had gone quiet. It felt as if I sat alone in an empty room with the strange man. The candle flame flickered.

“Life is a struggle, a fight. For some, the fight is lost at birth.” He grinned, his pipe clutched in his jaws.

“What are we to do? It can’t be changed. Like you said—lost at birth.” I let out a small cough. The taste of sickly mucus filled and coated my tongue before swallowing it back down.

“You lost this fight, absolutely.” He took a long drag of the pipe. “But suppose you start another?” He let out the smoke, causing the candle to flicker, almost fade. “Become Goliath.” His smoke filled the space in the air that was illuminated by the wisps of flame in front of us. It hung, lingered around us.

I had no idea what in the hell he was talking about. A tickle in my throat welled up. Just before I leaned into my abrasive wool coat, I heard another cough erupt a few rows back. I leaned to peek at the man fighting a coughing fit. Some patted him on the back, some scooted farther away.

“A struggle…” His voice lingered like the smoke as I watched the man continue to cough, stand and choke on his own lungs. No help was offered, only one of the men that kept us awake to grab him by his flailing, grasping arms and drag him out. In-between the spaces well lit by the poor flame, I could see the bright red crimson running down the man’s white shirt as he was being evacuated from the space.

Was it another disease? A new one? I wouldn’t doubt it. I couldn’t doubt it; it seemed like every other day a dead body was being dragged out of alleyways and factories. We, the wretched squalor, were not only disregarded by those that thought themselves better than us, but by the entire world, as it seemed to be trying to expel us with a horrid miasma. My sight lingered on the door the sickly man was dragged out of, watching the heavy wood sway and slam shut against the metal frame, echoing a call throughout the quiet interior. If it weren’t for the man sat next to me exhaling another cloud of sweet sickly smoke I might have never refocused.

“It’s like the world wants us dead. Like the stars want us dead.” I said, my thoughts fleeting, tremors running up my hands.

“You are quite something to think you are important enough for this cosmos to acknowledge you in the slightest.” His words dragged out slowly, like he wanted me to interrupt him. I don’t know what I would interrupt him with. My mind felt hazy; it felt farther than it had ever before. “But you could be truly seen, by those stars you deem your executioner.” He spoke with the pipe gripped in his jaws. 

This man spoke as if he knew something no one else did. He seemed proud of it. I sighed deeply trying to catch some breath that had left with the dying man and leaned into my hands, my elbows resting against the rough table before me closing my eyes. 

“You talk as if you know, stranger.” I spoke purposefully and mumbled into my hands.

He tapped his dirt-filled nails across the wood grain like a chittering insect on the hunt. 

“These eyes see through so much. Little bitty puppet. I can see your strings.” He smiled a toothy grin that cut through the shadow like a blade through soft skin. “Wonder who is gripping onto those frail little strings?” He stopped himself. “Or maybe not a puppet—a pig waiting for the butcher’s knife.”

His voice was punctuated by a cacophony of coughing men. Hacking and gagging simultaneously amongst the building. My stomach rose to my throat. My head spun as if I had been drinking all night. Nauseating pain shot from my temple down to the base of my neck. Within the dark of my closed eyes, spots of light began to erupt, breaking the black. Despite the pain, it was beautiful. I didn’t want to open them. It felt like floating in the night sky, out beyond the clouds. My stomach turned violently, my eyes shot open at the sudden upheaval of my insides and I gripped my mouth as if that would stop it. I tried to overcome the feeling. After a moment that seemed like many, it passed.

“Sick of being the pig, aren’t you?” my eyes lazily dragged over to him as he spoke just as calmly as he had when he first sat down.

“What are you talking about? Have you lost your mind?”

He pulled in another long breath of smoke. As he responded it came pouring out like a dragon eyeing a new piece of glittering gold. “Want to feel what it’s like to be the butcher?”

My stomach reeled. My arms began to ache from shoulder to fingertip as if they were covered in boiling oil, like my skin was being cooked. My eyes flashed around the room looking for anyone to help. Barely standing, I tried to call out, but all I could manage were grunts and groans.

The small embers of lights that illuminated the surrounding tables were going out, as if some hideous demon was going around blowing them out swiftly. I could hear shifting in the dark, swift ends to screams snuffed out quickly. The man still sat, pulling in more of his pipe.

I grabbed hold of his jacket, intending to demand answers, but again, I couldn’t. Nothing but a warm liquid flooded from my throat, cascading down the front of my chest. I released him to try to cover my mouth, but far more came erupting out with a sickening pulse. The black liquid tinged with the bright red crimson of my being poured out over the dam I made with my hand and the resulting pain brought me to my knees.

My grasp tightened at the stranger’s coat as he calmly stood up and, with a flick of his boot, kicked me free of him. He leaned down to show me that pale white face running a black as deep as the void I felt consuming me. Another damned smile crept along his face before he took two long steps out of my sight.

I was left with only agony—my mind splitting open and a song of coughing and pain surrounding me.

A sharp pain started at the tip of my chin and slithered into my stomach, with a crack and a sickening squelch from within me. Starting at my jaw, I felt myself bifurcate. My tongue went loose with no jaw to keep it in my mouth, my viscera spilled across the loose gravel before moving like living snakes, latching onto anchor points and other writhing bodies in the dark.

In the bloody split I could see snapping ribs rearranging into teeth. My eyes followed, but my brain felt as if it was long lost. A scream so deep that would make the devil flee escaped from me—not from my throat, but from the new mouth gifted by the pain.

Between each horrid mutation, images flashed of starlight, of distant globes floating in the void, dead cities and rotting populace, screaming denizens of space and time unknown. The pain reached its peak and emptied from me in the form of another deep guttural scream. I felt like a blade against a throat. I felt power.

My eyes rolled back into my skull, tearing themselves from their homes with a quick snap. Shadow was all I was offered, shadow and the sickening sounds of my flesh becoming something alien, a heresy to life, beautiful. I could feel myself being dragged along by the length of my guts—my new means of locomotion?

In the black of my own thoughts I witnessed the screams and shouts of the populace not only in this wretched place, but from all of London. It didn’t take long before I had new eyes to see from. Pair after pair gave me new sight to see the horrid perfection I had been granted. I took from man what had been taken from me—life.

My body was not mine anymore; it was a mere vessel of the cosmos. No control would be had. I merely got to watch, lose myself as more and more pigs were added to the pile, merging flesh with flesh, bone on bone, and mind on mind. I reveled in it—a beautiful spectacle of ancient cravings I had not known, primal and unrelenting. 

I become we. We became more than what we were as individuals. Feared, the Butcher of London comes knocking to reveal the truth you all know yet refuse to show. 

You are nothing.


Tell me—
Could your mind handle it?
When the earth cracks and trembles in fear,
When a leviathan hand and an eldritch being appear.

Tell me—
Could your mind handle it?
When your mouth spreads open and your teeth fall out.
The god within your flesh brings you to your knees praying, even more devout.

Tell me—
Could your body handle it?
When your flesh starts to tear and your bones begin to rearrange,
Slowly becoming deified with every abhorrent change.

Answer us—
Is our mind better now?
Fields of ruin replaced with fields of shimmering orchids.
Ignorant to lives slowly changing into something less morbid.
Become beautiful within ourself.
One billion minds and bodies divide like your cells.
Becoming something so painfully perfect after we expel—


Tell us.

Oh ossuary mine

Lay down next to me, supine, and hold your hands together like you’re praying.
Disgust those around you. Focus on the part of your mind that hates you, on what it’s saying.

Blade close to flesh and flesh close to me.
Open me up, lift open the skin, break the ribs.

Within the abyss of life lives rotting death.
Lean your head back and chant through laggard bre-e-eath,

“Oh, tomb you are. I’ll wear every scorn as individual scars.
Hold me within those cages, oh ossuary mine.
I’ll die for you in time, and curse every inch of my undying design.”

Within my chest I’ll hold you. Close to my heart.
As you rot away within me I’ll pull you into all my favorite parts.
Organized by importance and severity of regret,
The Shattered memories as bones and tears turned crystal black jet.

In their reflection we will sing,

“Oh, tomb I left behind. To walk the world I left burned in kind.
The dead will climb out of my chest and choke me slowly to death.
Oh ossuary mine, I’m fed up with this design.
I wish to be with you, constant in my chest.

A memory of bones,
My ossuary blessed.

The Gloam: Chapter 1,


The only thing I learned down in that tomb they called Site 112 is that I—we are nothing.

The rain beat down hard across the cement as the team’s boots entered the soundscape of millions of droplets. Illuminated by flood lights painted over the grey and blue hues of cold ground, the six of us moved through the open air towards the massive bunker door implanted into the side of the mountain. The rain cascaded down our gasmaks, creating a deafening torrent across our hazmat suits.

As we approached the massive metal door it groaned open like a hungry beast waiting to ingest us. The locking metal spokes, the teeth, the inside of the maw, and the single freight elevator at the back its throat.

As we all entered the elevators, I heard our commanding officer Lt. Auger call out, “Weapon and gear check.” 

Her voice echoed through the comms in our ears, a muffled undertone suffocated by her gas mask. I wiped the rain from my mask and checked my M4. I pulled the magazine and looked at my reserve ammo count on my vest. Slid it back into the weapon, pulled the slide back to chamber a round. Letting it dangle on its sling I pulled my sidearm and did the same. I was checking through my vest when the comms buzzed.

“I want us close down there, understand?” Her green eyes even managed to pierce through her rain-spotted mask. 

We all gave a decisive nod and a “Yes ma’am.”

Her black rubber gloves moved along her weapon, checking it as she continued to speak.

“As I was told, there are no expected survivors on sight. Regardless, keep steady and don’t fire unless absolutely sure.”

The elevator hitched, the lights flickered.

“This is a containment breach. Asset 11-b1 has broken out of its cell. We aren’t sure about other assets being released. So are to assume the worst. Move quickly and quietly, find asset 11-1b, and contain it by any means necessary.”

She took a deep breath, as if to calm herself. That scared us the most.

“The asset is considered to be extremely volatile. I have been instructed to shoot on sight. Do not attempt to communicate with it. We don’t have much to go on in the way of threats, what it can do. I was just given a brief description of it. Three meters tall, a humanoid posture, digitigrade footing. Eyeless and covered in a thick oily black chitin. Tendrils along its back that are believed to be used as sensory organs. Try to keep your minds clear.”

Her voice at the end dropped, as if concerned. The elevator doors opened to the sterile white lobby of Site 112.

The talk stopped as we moved into the white room, weapons up. It was nothing but a lobby. A bathroom door to the right and locked door going into the elevator to the different levels.

We saw no signs of bodies.

Auger’s eyes connected with Blaine and Wesley with a hand pointing to the restrooms to clear them. There was a slight whisper from the comms. 

“Abbot, get on the lobby computer.”

“Yes ma’am,” he said as he moved behind the counter and sat in the rolling chair.

My eyes darted from corner to corner, weapon down but finger still hovering over the trigger guard. After just a moment Wesley and Blaine exited the bathroom with a fairly loud “clear.” We all somewhat relaxed, and could then hear Abbot’s tapping on the keyboard.

“Ma’am any other loose assets in the facility?”

Auger’s eyes looked as if she hadn’t thought of that. 

“I’m not sure, Gates. But we deal with it bit by bit. The higher-ups only told me about the one. So I hope that’s the only issue going forward.” She looked back to Abbot. “Anything?”

He spoke without stopping the keystrokes. “I have limited security footage. Nothing current. The cameras seem to be down throughout the facility, some door access as well. The system is a mess, Ma’am”.

Auger looked at the four of us standing waiting for an order and then back at Abbot. “Alright, Fredericks you’re staying here with Abbot. There are two floors below us. Wesley, you’re with me. We’re going down one floor.” 

Wesley moved promptly over to her side.

“That means Blaine and Gates, you are going to the sub level.”

We both gave verbal confirmation. In truth, I was happy. I’d much rather be with someone I knew well. Wesley only joined our squad a month or two ago. He’s gotta be talented to make it into the squad, but not knowing him well would give me another variable to deal with. Blaine and I had fought alongside many times. It comforted me knowing he was going with me.

“Abbot, keep us updated as best as you can. Let us know if you find anything relevant to the asset. The rest of you, let’s move.”

The four of us moved towards the sealed door as the tapping of a keyboard ended with a decisive click. The door hissed and slid open. The hallway wasn’t more than 10 or so meters, with a stairwell door on the left and an elevator straight ahead. We all piled into the elevator. Auger pushed both buttons. B1 and B2. The doors closed and the elevator shifted as it took us on our descent. 

Only a moment passed before it dinged and opened. There was a stark difference from the floor and the sterile white, untouched lobby. The lights were barely on and flickering. All of our guns went up as Wesley moved into the room. Before Auger followed she shot us both a look—the kind a worried parent might give. She exited the elevator. As the doors closed, mine and Blaine’s weapons lowered.

Blaine was checking his master key, the underbarrel shotgun on his M4. He was always a fan of being able to use it whenever he could.

“Let’s make sure to stay focused.”

Blaine only responded with a half chuckle before looking up at me.

“100% all the time. We got this.”

The elevator dinged again, sounding warped and distorted. The doors struggled to open.

Blaine and I moved through the opening hall quickly, rifles up, our eyes darting under the thin layer of protection.

Every door we passed—closed, requiring more clearance than either of us had. We came to a double door. A large sign above the door said “subject testing.” The text was in blue, contrasting with the surrounding white of the walls.

I pushed on the door. 

“Sealed. See if Abbot can get it open before using your key?”

The sentence that indicated restraint on using his favorite tool seemed to sadden Blaine, but he gave me a quick nod of approval.

“Abbot? It’s Gates.” I could hear a slight echo from Blaine’s comms.

“What’s up?” He said, almost mockingly.

“We are outside subject testing, sub level 2. Any access from there?”

It was only a second before the comms clicked back.

“I have none. Auger asked me the same about administration. I can barely load up security footage from more than a day ago.”

“”It must be Christmas,” I whispered before I answered the comms. “Understood. You made Blaine happy.”

“Have fun. Over,” he said quickly, knowing how much the master key meant to him. With one quick concussive shot the middle lock burst open. I entered first, followed quickly by Blaine. 

The room was massive. It was a circle, desks and computers lining the walls, some still on and working. The center was raised, on it an inner circle of desks. In the center was an almost glass aquarium, but with no water.

We skirted around the room, clearing it before regrouping to search for anything that could give us a leg up on the situation. We both imminently started digging through papers, working computers, anything. The sound of us rummaging echoed through this almost hollow feeling white room. It felt like an eternity before I stumbled on to something.


Made contact with an unknown entity through The Veil. It returned multiple times on separate occasions. Wasn’t overtly hostile. Not sure if it even knew we were there. Its presence did seem to provoke some adverse reactions in some of the newer staff. One even went as far as to mutilate their eyes with a pen.  After that incident we only have had senior staff working around it and only short intervals to be sure.

We were able to lead it to containment. It absolutely senses our presence, even without obvious sensory organs, other than perhaps the tendrils coming from its back section. Once in containment it just stood in the center of the cell. Not moving. No sound. Nothing.

Our first test to gain a deep tissue sample was a failure. The dark chitinous plates that cover its body  made such a thing impossible without a powered drill. I fear such a device may startle or aggravate it.

“Anything?” Blaine called out from across the room.

“Yeah, this thing is 100% not terrestrial. Look for something about The Veil. It’s mentioned in this report. It’s some kind of device, I assume on site.”

Blaine started to search through his pile of discarded papers and documents. Just as he started, the lights turned off with a loud hum. The sound of his papers stopped. I lifted my weapon.

“Flashlight isn’t turning on,” I heard Blaine in the dark, immediately trying to switch my shoulder flashlight on my vest. It just clicks, nothing. Same with the comms, nothing.

“Fuck, comms aren’t on either.” 

My mouth felt dry as I said it. I could hear my heartbeat in my ears as if it was echoing in my gasmask. Apart from that, I heard the occasional sound of mine or Blaine’s hard boots stepping against the tile floor. My eyes started to settle in the dark as shapes were starting to be visible. I could see Blaine.

“You see me?”

“Yeah, back to me.” He shuddered as he directed me. I heard another footstep. Heavy, slow. Couldn’t be more than 10 meters away. Our guns went to our shoulders.

I felt like I could hear both of our hearts stuttering in unison. Every shape in the dark felt like a threat. We rotated, scanning and trying as best we could to see everything.

“Gates, did you bring any light sticks?” Blaine whispered as low as he could.

I lowered my weapon and started to search my vest. I did. I had five on my lower vest. I slid one from its home and snapped it quickly against my leg. I threw it to the center of the room, illuminating us in an eerie green glow. That’s when both our guns raised tighter to our shoulders and fixated on the form just on the other side of the containment cell.

Its vaguely humanoid form was distorted by the low light and layers of glass. A low groan filled the room, like a rumble that felt like it shook my bones.

I glanced at Blaine. His gun was up but his eyes were drifting. His composure faltered. Even through all the gear, I could tell it was getting to him.

There was a loud weighted clang like that of metal on stone as the creature took two large gated steps around the cell. I took a step back and almost slipped off the raised floor. Blaine stood still.

The creature’s large, almost cocoon-like silhouette moved along on its beastly legs laggardly. The rumble filled the space within my gas mask along with my hyperventilated breath. Its form made little sense. A head with no features. No arms seen. Blaine still hadn’t moved. I hesitated to fire.

My head flashed with pain, a piercing migraine that reached into my neck. I stifled vomit.

“Blaine. Hey.” I tried to grasp his attention as calmly as I could, but he didn’t break his stare.

“Fuck Blaine! Look at me!” I couldn’t hold back the panic anymore. It got him to turn his head to me, and I saw that tears were running down his face. I heard the creature take another step towards us. 

“We need to leave. You understand?” I said, beckoning him with a hurried motion. He started to stumble towards me as a sickening sound filled the air. Wet stones rubbing together, a sickly sliding of flesh and chitin. The cocoon silhouette grew in my periphery. Eight armored tendrils unfurled from its back, leaking some liquid across the dimly lit floor.

The creature was feeling, moving things around as it kept its slow pace. Blaine’s eyes had moved back towards the thing as it metamorphosed into something else in front of us. His gaze once again fixed to that horrid point.

I took a step forward to try to grab Blaine by the back of his vest, but as I did, one of the tendrils cracked like a whip and moved across the floor in front of Blaine, cracking and shattering the tile.The rumble oscillated as I backed off.

I had to deal with odd things—violent things—in this squad, but nothing like this. I knew they wanted me dead, but this thing? I didn’t know what it wanted at all.

I raised my rifle tight against my shoulder. It moved closer to Blaine, but its featureless face fixed on me the entire time.

It dwarfed him as it closed the distance, his eyes staring up at it as it started to wrap him up with its armored appendages. I wasn’t just going to watch. I squeezed the trigger, aimed for its head. I had to. It’s tendrils moved like lightning, covering its face as the rounds skipped and chipped chitin from them. The rumble turned to a hiss as it stumbled back.

As the last round in the magazine left the barrel, I was already grabbing Blaine by his vest and dragging him away. With my free hand I dropped the magazine out of the weapon, still trying desperately to drag Blaine with me. He was fighting me. Struggling.

“Blaine shake it off. Focus. Please!”

He turned and lunged at me. He was like some sort of zombie, his eyes still filled with tears.

“Let me be.” He said in an almost choking voice.

With my eyes fixed to his I didn’t see the tendril wrap around his waist. It pulled him from me and pushed me forward. I landed on my face. 

I fought to get my rifle out from underneath me, rising to one knee as fast as I could. By the time the new magazine was in and the slide snapped the round in the chamber, the creature was gone. It left as quickly as it came. 

The lights flickered on. Immediately I felt tears running down my cheeks and Abbot in my ear shouting.

“Gates, Blaine. Respond!”

“Contact. Blaine was taken. Tell Auger! Get them both to me. ” I could hear my voice crack.

“I haven’t been able to contact them, Gates. ” I could hear the frustration in his voice. My heart dropped along with my rifle.

“What do we do, Gates?” Abbot pleaded.

“I’m falling back to you. “


My family wasn’t one to indulge in my life choices.
Within opulent halls that perfectly echoed crow calls,
I would steal out into the night.
Collecting teeth, body parts, ashes for one of the many voices.

I would sequester in my room during the day.
Fearing that the absence of my treasures would alter and sway without me to keep them safe from the cold dark violence.
I would consume out of compulsion, oddly not feeling anything linger on my conscience.

The halls of the manor echoed with fear as more and more of my family noticed my emotional and physical changes.
My increased reclusion became all the more normal as my outward appearance began one of its many rearranges.

My jaw would creak and crack as it seemed to separate from the muscles gifted by God.
My teeth felt sharper each day, grinding my lower lip bare.
My skin would stretch and tear, wrack my hands against the stone of these halls, not in pain but despair.

Despite my self-disgust, I continued to indulge in my fixation on the ingestion of human flesh.
It was getting to the point where the carrion I gathered would not placate or satiate it,
It would only drive me further towards the walking fresh.

Become one with the monstrosity I had sired within my skin.
Hunt the crimson life that walks ignorantly through the foggy streets,
Consume the flesh and all things therein.

This realization haunted me for a mere minute. Before I took to the town, bones shone and became apparent.

Breath after breath, the air marked my excitement.
The light mustn’t show my approach,
My disproportioned gate, misplaced joints.
I rushed through the streets like an otherworldly cockroach.

Fingernails ripe with dirt and decay,
I fell upon the scent that stuck with me, drew me closer, did not dissuade.
It was brilliant and bright. Citrus and clear.
The woman stood in the open air without knowledge of me there,
Ignorant to the fear.

A protracted arm reached through mist-filled air.
Fingers wrapping around the delicate waist, so unaware.
With a grip that dares to break her in two,
I pulled this feast into my serrated hug before even a slight scream would cut through.
I consumed my darling prey in the night,
Losing myself completely, no longer a wight.

I would consume the town and all therein.
Fuse the bodies and drape them over the house of mankind’s sin.
A chapel of abhorrence,
A dead city’s moan.
I became one with the beast within my bones.


I see through the seams of my reality.
Living split between a further separating duality.
See the Watcher pulling the strings.
You can see the tear appear and the tears it brings.

The glass cage I put myself in.
A scream a day, not one of you hear me curse this skin.
The broken shards from the previous cut into my feet.
Forever and a day away from happy, from feeling complete.

Within my veins breeds life from other worlds.
There isn’t much left of me, maybe less then one-third?
The courage to keep it close to my heart.
I still keep it close, it’s the best part.
A voice tells me to bear with the pain.
After all this time, I fight the voice in my brain.

A new arm, five split-pupil eyes form across my skull.
An echoed scream, a cracking storm waiting for a lull.
I can see the webs you spin across the cosmos.
Long lines of thread to place me among the one you love most.

I love my mutations, my millions of variations.
Witness the worst. This won’t be the first.
Between immortal and ephemeral,
Between life and death,
I savor every single final breath.

Fighting to stay in this torturous state.
Breeding new pain, finding new ways to hate.
They take me far away from my decaying foundations.
I love my mutations.


How can I get it through your head?
This constant turmoil.
I know what I said.

Give me my six feet of soil.
Tell me what I can do to start the quiet.
Something beautiful and violent.
Tell me this was meant for me.

I don’t want to be free.
Give me my six feet of soil.
Drop me in and despoil.
Leave my bones.
They remind me of all my false thrones.

Give me what I want.
I’m tired of of the constant personality shunt.
Give me the crushing black.
Somehow end this all and give me myself back.

Build our kingdom from my blood and bones.
Write our scripture with pretty, violent undertones.
Leave me at the top so I can feel like I contributed to this kingdom made of me.
I only had to die to give you all something to see.