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My name is Nathan Franks, and around this time, it was the job of one of my friends and me to sift through the seemingly endless piles of submissions that fans had sent, pick out all the ones deemed suitable, and send them in to the address it told us to in the magazine. Back then, I was still rather young, too young to drive even, but I knew everything about the games. I loved collecting the cards, playing the games, watching the shows, you name it.
Anyhow, since we were ordered not to let anyone else see these submissions, we drove out into what we called the middle of nowhere. We lived in Waco, a mid-size city in Texas. The place we drove out to was a small, one-story, one-bedroom house that was more of a shack, judging by its condition. My friend who I mentioned earlier went by the name of Michael. He was a bit older. My dad drove us both out to this crumbling house, and from the way he acted, even he was too scared to stay the night at this place.
I'll admit, it was creepy. Literally NO ONE came out here. There were no stores, no gas stations, nothing. Just fields of overgrown grass dotted with a few long-dead trees, and a small amount of other houses, mostly forgotten and abandoned. If something bad ever happened, there would be no help out here. Michael and I just sucked it up and went inside.
It wasn't honestly that bad. Kinda like the house you'd expect your grandparents to live in. There was old, slightly dusty furniture, a few dim lights, mildewy wallpaper with a nondescript pattern on it, and not much else. So we unpacked what little we brought, as it was obvious neither of us wanted to stay long.
I dumped out the cloth bag of design submissions onto the dusty wooden table in the dining room. We were there most of the day sifting through them. It was a rather tiresome job, though we did see some pretty creative drawings in there with the scribblings of kindergartners. By late night, we had almost looked through all of them.
There was about 5 left, so Michael offered to finish the job himself, knowing I didn't like to work much. So he started filing away the few that we had deemed okay to submit. I got up to get a drink, and thought my friend deserving of something to eat, as he hadn't all day. So I got him one of the sandwiches we brought, and gave it to him on a plate. It was pretty big, but by now the guy was starving, so he started on one half of it rather quickly, as I walked out of the room, and sat down by the TV to watch for a bit.
I would come back in the dining room periodically to check his progress. When I came back, I noticed something strange beginning to happen. The other half of his sandwich began to distort and twist in a way. Micheal was still looking through the few submissions that were left, with one hand on his face. I asked if something was wrong; he said he was fine, so I walked back out. After a few minutes, Michael flipped over the last submission to look it over. Minutes later, I came in, and I just didn't quite know what to think.
My friend was sitting at the table, having used his own fingernails to pick almost all the skin off of his face, almost screaming in pain. Blood ran all down it, to his neck. drenching his clothes. He looked almost unrecognizable as a human. He couldn't even speak, save for these odd ramblings unlike any language I had ever heard before.
What made this even more strange is that his sandwich had seemingly melted into some sort of viscous, red liquid not of this world, and it seemed to melt through the wooden table, slowly, like acid. The whole time, he was staring at the final submission, before eventually succumbing to blood loss, collapsing lifelessly. I was scared out of my mind. I could barely even breathe. I called 911, but after about 20 seconds, the dispatcher's voice faded into strange whispers not of this world.
I called my dad, and told him to rush down here and pick me up. I ran out of that house like bats out of hell soon after, not even taking anything with me, including the submissions. I dared not look at the last one, still sitting there on the table. My dad got there in a heartbeat, and drove me outta there at 88 mph. Since neither of us dared go back in the house, I could only tell him what happened, and he didn't believe most of it, probably due to my age.
No one believed me, but it damn sure well happened.
After the horrific events that took place, the contest was essentially called off. None of the submissions were ever sent in, and it was never spoken of again. There is no record of it ever happening unless you happen to own that particular issue of the magazine.
Still don't believe me? The house still stands, untouched by humans since that day, in the small, mostly deserted area on the outskirts of Waco. So if you ever come down to Texas, give yourself the challenge of finding this hallowed site, if you dare. Inside, all the sights I saw that day are still there. So if you don't believe me, go inside.
Venture into the dark, dank dining room, and gaze upon that final submission of art that caused my friend to do what he did. Who knows, the red, otherworldly goo might still stand there stagnant like a swamp.
Heck, people who drive by that house even told me personally that they hear strange, ethereal whispers all too similar to the ones I heard on the 911 call.
So why not give it a try, if you're a skeptic, or just someone who wants adventure.
Maybe, you can tell me about what you saw on that dining room table, if it doesn't traumatize you as it did my friend.
Maybe you can tell me.
I'll even make us some sandwiches while we talk.