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The Word Once Spoken

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As Gregg stared at the monstrosity that now stood before him, he tried to rationalize the situation and simultaneously come upm with an escape route to no avail. As the creature moved closer, Gregg found that his back had found its way to the wall he was trapped with no hope of escape. Doomed to face his fate like a restrained animal about to be put to sleep. Whilst Gregg was lost in his panicked frenzy of thoughts of what was to come, he snapped back to reality as he heard the sound of its voice.

It was a terrible, choked hiss of sorts, as though some serpent was trying to swallow something too large and choking but disguised under that the worst part lay in plain sight, the laughter. Laughter unlike anything rightfully of this world, a dark, wretched laughter that seemed to anchor in one's very soul and attempt to rip it out of one's being. The creature, now Gregg's certain doom, spoke but one word before Gregg's life flashed before his eyes and in that word Gregg apprehended his mistake, all too late.

It all started on the midnight walk in late October; the night the world would be forever changed. The town had been under martial law in preparation for an approaching hurricane, so Gregg and his friend Tyler had seized the occasion to dance in the now empty streets. As he walked out of the warm, familiar glow of the streetlight and into the cloak of night, Gregg shivered.

"You know, Gulick, I don't know if we should be walking out and about like this at night," he said.

"I swear a saw a face outside of Paul's window earlier," he added, disdainfully.

"Oh, come on now, I think you've been ready too much Creepypasta," Tyler said. The two fell into silence on their walk down the street for a time, until Gregg became startled at a sound only he had heard.

"Did you hear that?" he asked.

"Hear what?" asked Tyler.

"I thought I heard footsteps," Gregg responded.

"Well, even though it is only Conklin, sometimes there aren't the best people around. Especially during a state of martial law; it wouldn't surprise me if it attracted some looters. Maybe you're right; maybe this was a bad idea. Should we turn back?" asked Tyler.

"Not yet, maybe it was just my imagination," said Gregg.

Suddenly, the street lights went out at once, plunging the two into complete darkness. Startled, they started to turn back around and return to their friend Paul's house, at which they were spending the night. And then they heard it.

A terrible sound, like metal scrapping against metal. At this point, they began to run back to their destination, clinging to the fight-or-flight instincts for survival that all humans share.

As they reached Paul's house and were walking up the steps leading to the front porch, they stopped, halted by fear. In the reflection of the window in front of them through which Paul's kitchen could be found, they stared at a figure under the streetlight back on the road behind them, unable to move. Behind them stood a black, hooded figure who seemed to be made of shadows, or even the night itself. In its hand, it held a long, curved, wicked scythe that seemed to be transparent, as though it was not entirely on this world.

As they watched helplessly, the figure raised what appeared to be an arm, revealing a skeleton's hand that had been shaped into a pointing, accusing finger. And as they continued to watch in horror, it stood on the street, pointing at them, as though it was marking them. Suddenly, the streetlight flickered, and when it returned, the figure was gone. Unwilling to so much as think and accept what they had seen, Tyler and Gregg walked into Paul's house without saying a word to one another. Upon entering the living room, where they would be sleeping and where their friends Paul, Trevor, and Noah were located, they were acknowledged but not greeted, as Paul, Trevor, and Noah were caught up in various video games. They sat down across the room from each other and pulled up their laptops, Gregg silently reading short horror stories on Creepypasta and Tyler doing research as to what had occurred.

The two almost yelped with fear as Paul suddenly shouted out, "Alright!! In Garry's Mod I'm the Porygon Overlord! I also made internment camps for trees due to me being the CEO of the Lumber Liquidators and all."

They spent the rest of the night trying to forget what had happened, what they had heard; what they had seen. When morning came, the group found that there was hardly any rain at all, as the hurricane had apparently changed paths at last minute, avoiding them completely. In the months following that event, the two rarely contacted each other, until one day Tyler approached Gregg in their town's local high school, and said simply, "I'm going to die."

Before Gregg could respond, Tyler had already left, swept away by the crowds of students seeking their individual destinations. By next week, it was all over the news. Tyler had been found bisected in his room, and between his jaws a sign had been found that read, "You. Are. Next." Gregg saw this on the morning news while eating breakfast and vomited instantly. How had this happened? What had done this? As Gregg reluctantly listened to the rest of the report, the police stated that there had been no evidence of any struggle, broken entries, or fingerprints within the home.

Excluding the cat hair and paw prints of the cats that he lived with of course. The police's first thought was his mother may have been the culprit, but she had been out of town for over a week on vacation with Tyler's sister; she couldn't be the culprit. For the next few weeks, Gregg could not sleep, had trouble eating, was doing poorly in school. Unbeknownst to all but Gregg, this was not a result of his friend's death, but rather a worry that the sign found still clamped in the body of his friend had pertained to him; that he was next. And then, all at once, the visions started. Gregg would see things out of the corner of his eye, at first dismissing it as nothing, but as the occurrences became more and more frequent, he began to harbor a deep rooted fear.

Then he started making out silhouettes; some human, others he was not so sure. until finally one night, it happened. He awoke, startled from a nightmare (A now nightly occurrence.) and sat up in bed. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness of the room, he became horrified at what he thought he was seeing at the foot of his bed, but trying to rationalize it all the same. In the dark he could make out a large, lumbering figure that was - WAS it laughing?

Yes, yes it was, he could see that now, oh god no - or appeared to be laughing at him. As he sat in bed, terrified, he decided to quickly move and turn on the light, hoping that there was nothing really there; hoping that if there was something there, it would disperse with the light. In life, we always make bad decisions. But some turn out to be worse than others.

In Gregg's case, this was the worst decision he had made in his entire fifteen years of life, and the last decision he would likely ever make. As the room was flushed with light, he saw the figure more clearly. It was black, and like the figure before-hand, it almost seemed to be made of shadows. But there was something even more strange; the increasing tone of laughter that seemed to bring insanity, despair, and fear all at once. Upon closer examination, it was made up of black, swirling shadows. As he continued to look at this monstrosity before him, unable to do anything else, he realized that these swirling shadows were people, or what used to be people, rather. As he watched, he thought he saw - no, he knew he saw - Tyler's face swirl past in the cloak of shadows.

Then he heard a sick, choked hissing with an undertone of laughter to it. A very dark laughter. He flung himself out of bed, again choosing the flight instinct of survival, and began to run for the door to his room. As he reached the door, it slammed shut, almost catching his hand in the frame. And he turned again to look at the creature; to check its progress, only to look into vibrant red eyes with unimaginable intelligence and bloodlust behind them. With nowhere to run, the creature now approached.

As Gregg stared at the monstrosity that now stood before him, he tried to rationalize the situation and simultaneously come up with an escape route - to no avail. As the creature moved closer, Gregg found that his back had found its way to the wall - he was trapped with no hope of escape, doomed to face his fate like a restrained animal about to be put to sleep. Whilst Gregg was lost in his panicked frenzy of thoughts of what was to come, he snapped back to reality as he heard the sound of its voice. It was a terrible, choked hiss of sorts, as though some serpent was trying to swallow something too large and choking; but disguised under that, the worst part lay in plain sight: the laughter.

Laughter unlike anything rightfully of this world; a dark, retched laughter, that seemed to anchor in one's very soul and attempt to rip it out of one's being. The creature, now Gregg's certain doom, spoke but one word before Gregg's life flashed before his eyes, and in that word, Gregg apprehended his mistake; all too late. On the night that he had seen the hooded figure, the one that had marked he and Tyler, he had heard - or thought he had heard - it say something as it pointed towards them; the same word the creature about to end his life and steal his soul spoke, "Game."

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