An incredibly small town resided within the undiscovered depths of a desert with a single road of which stretched miles and miles to vaguely connect the town with the rest of the world. The town remained quiet and peaceful beneath the penetrating rays of the sun, and the community of just sixty-three citizens survived within the town with emotions of jubilance.

Until each citizen was alphabetically listed upon a posted roster that appeared to be stained in blood — it was simply referred to as the list.

The list was advertised upon the town’s only lamppost, beginning with

Black, Robert

Clay, Daniel

Cruz, Stanley

Hall, Bryan

Hart, Andrew

and it alphabetically displayed all sixty-three citizens, concluding with

Parks, Heather

Price, David

Ross, Richard

Scott, Michael

Wright, Rachel

All other citizens were also listed with every last name, first name displayed and aligned. Other names included Linda King, Calvin Lee, Ashley Moore, and every other name of which belonged to the remaining fifty citizens.

The citizens were all single—whether they were divorced or widowed, a bachelor or bachelorette, they were all lonely and ranged from young adults to the retired elderly. In this town, the only family that these people had was each other.

Until the first listed citizen was murdered in his bed with a bullet lodged deep within his floorboards as it vertically traveled through his sleeping head with an entrance wound existing over his entire face — the exit wound was worse with the back of his head exploded against his pillow with its fabric and stuffing soaked in blood in addition to the brain matter and skull fragments. Suicide was improbable — there was no gun to be found and Robert Black was known as a pacifist who refused to own a weapon.

And then Daniel Clay was found dead with a cord wrapped around his neck and blood dribbling from his mouth—the cord was emerged from an open window of one of the upstairs rooms and his body dangled before the town. The citizens watched Daniel slowly sway as his deceased body presented enlarged eyeballs that had nearly been forced from their sockets in addition to his torn and bloody neck.

And after that Stanley Cruz was found with multiple stab wounds within his chest and one in his eye socket and was added as another nearly decapitated victim—the bones within his neck were exposed and the blood was erupting from the cavity accompanied by the dripping of his brains due to the knife’s vicious attack. Stanley occupied the third body bag that had been used in just a short couple of days.

The alphabetical pattern of deaths had been realized, and the remaining sixty citizens within the small town were scared and frightened and terrified—especially Bryan Hall. He knew that he was next on the mysteriously advertised list. The entire town obviously knew their ABCs, and this meant that they knew who was next and who to protect.

Bryan Hall was petrified—he was an innocent boy who had just escaped his teen years and began his life in the small town in the middle of nowhere. He locked his door with a trembling hand and refused to sleep for there was an unknown killer loose within the town and Bryan was next on the list.

There was a knock on the door followed by “Bryan, open the door,” but Bryan refused with a quivering lip and streaming tears. “We’re here to protect you… open the damn door!” it was the voice of Andrew Hart, accompanied by Calvin Lee and Heather Parks. Bryan remained huddled within an empty corner of the room as he refused to answer the door to allow death’s entrance and could only close his eyes and clap his hands around his ears as he was engulfed in horror.

“He’s not opening the door,” Andrew announced as he returned to a handful of the worried citizens of which resided in a group to ponder and interpret whatever information was presented.

“Fucking dumbass,” one of them said, and then another shouted, “Bryan’s the killer!” and then the frequency of a gunshot traveled upon rampaging wavelengths and pierced each of the citizens’ eardrums with fear and fright.

“Shit…” and Andrew sprinted back to Bryan’s house. He approached the front door and discovered that the deadbolt had split the doorframe with shards of wood at the house’s entrance. Beyond the doorframe and at the conclusion of the living room was Bryan—shot in the abdomen and severely bleeding. He was still alive but violently coughing up blood, and just as Andrew began to approach the wounded citizen Bryan was capable of speaking only two words: “No, wait!” but Andrew had already stepped through the doorway.

A fragmentation grenade with a freshly pulled pin was stationary just inches away from Bryan’s gunshot wound, and the millisecond of Andrew’s entrance was the precise moment that the grenade decided to explode. Once the fuse had been devoured by the ignition and the chemical delay became nonexistent, the explosion occurred.

The detonator triggered the combustible reservoir within the military device and produced a spontaneously massive eruption of the serrated cast-iron. The grenade’s shell scattered within the flames and produced fragments of metal that appeared to be microscopic but had enough force to kill both Bryan and Andrew.

Bryan’s house was destroyed by the single damned grenade that the poster of the list had applied — the majority of the walls had collapsed with shattering brick and enormous portions of the roof were removed with clouds of fire that unriveted the tiles and instantly cremated the corpse of Bryan Hall.

While the flames were feasting upon Bryan, the explosion’s pulse of sonically transmitted force launched Andrew several yards from the front door; the pointblank contact of the heat wave literally melted his face off in addition to fragments of the grenade implanted within his skull. Andrew’s scream of surprise was brief — the grenade had immediately killed him, and now the first five listed people were all terminated.

Funerals were simultaneously applied to the town’s citizens every single fucking day—the entire town would participate and tears would be wept as the bodies mutated into closed casket corpses with a stench of death’s disease as the cadavers silently resided in their body bags. The holes were painstakingly constructed and a dead body of nearly half of the entire goddamned town occupied each hole.

Richard Ross was another elderly man and watched each and every bag of death tumble into the crumbling holes.

“How many…?” Richard asked with a depressingly slow shake of his head.

“Thirty-three…” Heather Parks responded between her sobbing cries. The body count had been accurate with each and every brutally gruesome death—Linda King had her throat jaggedly slit and her spine had been partially retrieved through the incision and Calvin Lee had his four limbs severed and stuffed into a garbage bag with his decapitated head resting on top with blood profusely leaking from the flexible plastic.

There were only thirty citizens left within the small town of despair, and the population would only decrease—one death at a time in alphabetical order as it corresponded to the list. Ashley Moore, a beautiful female in her early twenties, was the next listed victim.

“This is fucking bullshit,” and Ashley aggressively positioned herself behind her car’s steering wheel and slammed the door, peeling the treads of her tires as she accelerated onto the dirt road and abandoned the town and its terror.

The spectators watched Ashley’s sedan travel to the horizon, and just prior to its concluded visibility, the vehicle burst into an explosion of flames. It appeared that there was a bomb of which was planted beneath her car and its detonation combusted the vehicle in addition to the next listed victim.

The town had no escape—an emergency exit from death was impossible with the doomed destiny of the list and its listed victims of the damned. The population was essentially fractionalized as the bodies were buried by the masses—additional graves were produced for those who have not died yet, but they would die.

Countless limbs were snapped and severed and skulls were smashed and splattered; with every death adding to the gallons of spilled blood, the dusty terrain of the desert was softened with the dampening layers of flowing blood as the listed citizens continued to have their jaws snapped from their skulls… Their eyeballs ripped from their sockets… Their craniums battered into seeping brains. Every goddamned death was undeserved, unpreventable, and maliciously fucked up.

Heather Parks was the next listed citizen upon that bloodstained list. She was among the last five citizens within the town of damnation and she huddled against Richard with an attempt to discover closure within his applied comfort as if he was the grandfather she never had. Heather was half of Richard’s age, but their friendship was tightly wound with indestructibility as they hugged each other with tears in their eyes and on their cheeks.

“I’ll keep you safe… I’ll protect you…” and a whistling .30 caliber shattered the window and instantly made contact with Heather’s head — the metal jacket and its steel core impaled Heather in her temple at approximately eight hundred miles per hour, ejected from a distant sniper rifle. The only description for her death was that of her head being literally exploded and leaving her neck and shoulders alone as the unresponsive body slipped from Richard’s arms and collapsed to the floor.

Richard was unaware of the sickly cruel reality until his brain was capable of responding with the intake of the undesired knowledge of the realization. The body that was alive and in his arms a mere second ago was now decapitated upon the floor with her blood splattered across the walls and ceiling and dripping as if stalactites were being constructed for hell. Richard acknowledged the blood that had been seeped into his clothes and splattered across his face; for the first time in his life, he swore, “Fuck!”

David Price was the next listed victim — he remained isolated from Richard, Michael, and Rachel for he believed his testicles consisted of enough testosterone to successfully tackle the murdering asshole alone. David recently turned thirty with enough nerve to grope his hand into the killer’s body and retrieve its stomach to consume whatever partially digested food resided inside the organ.

David waited — he paced around his house waiting with a knife in his belt and a gun in his hand… He waited, and then he was attacked.

A gas of lurking nausea crept through the vents of David’s air conditioning with a vengeance for death. It immediately intoxicated his lungs and violent coughs emerged from his chest with a gulping riddance of his blood. David staggered through his front door as his flesh mutated into blotches of peeling skin with his blood seeping through the decaying tissue.

The body of David Price had been poisoned with an unknown gas that had a grotesque appearance of putrid green—its uninvited linger of death inhabited his body, and just as David stepped through the doorway and into the small town of massive murders, his body had been converted into an uncontrollably bleeding effect of the gas. The ultimate result was of David Price with his bone being exposed from beneath his muscle and his life being vanquished.

Richard, Michael, and Rachel watched as the list progressed through another victim.

“Get out of here—now,” and Richard handed the remaining two citizens his car keys. “No one’s touched my car; it’s been locked in my garage for months.”

“Come with us!” Rachel pleaded, “You’re gonna be next,” but Richard only shook his head.

“I’m already too old for this…you’re gonna be next,” and their acquaintanceship concluded with the departure of Michael and Rachel in the elder’s classic Ford pickup truck. Michael drove the vehicle as they journeyed along the road, and then another explosion was suddenly conjured with what appeared to be the forces of hell itself… It was as if an atomic bomb or nuclear missile had erupted from the nucleus of the town, annihilating it in addition to Richard Ross. “What the fuck…?” Michael exclaimed with massive mushrooming clouds of smoke and fire and flames visible within his rearview mirror. “Who—” was the only word of his interrupted sentence before a pistol’s barrel was peripherally noticed. Rachel Wright wielded a weapon with her index finger within the trigger’s loop. Without hesitation, she blew the brains out of Michael Scott, and just as the steering wheel began to operate itself, she committed suicide with her brains ejecting from her skull.

And then every goddamned listed citizen was dead.