Chapter 1 – Slaughtering Day Monday, November 20th, 2023 Father says that being thankless is a sin–the worst sin, but I haven’t found much to be thankful for this past week and I’m trying really, really hard. I promise I have been and I’ve been praying too. Zygomar is usually the loudest so I started by invoking him–this all started in his name after all–and when that didn’t work I even prayed to the lesser gods Yogtroth, Trula and Vaneshka for help or guidance. For bravery, retribution or wisdom anything at all they might bless me with too, but I haven’t heard a single one of them since all of this started.
I don’t know how to begin. It might not matter where I begin. You might not even believe this. I don’t even know if I do. It’s been almost two days and I’m still hoping this is an awful nightmare and I might wake up. Any minute now I might wake up. Please, please wake up. This all started yesterday. I brushed my teeth when I went to bed the night before. They were all there. I didn’t count them or anything but they’re my teeth, so what I’m saying is…have you ever chipped a tooth? You know when it’s happened. Almost immediately.
Some nights I wake and everything is just as it was the night before and I’m still okay. Some nights I wake and it’s there. It’s never stopped; not even after all of these years. Decades. I wonder how many people grow up to find that they’re still surrounded by every single one of their same high school friends even twenty years later? It’s probably not a lot.
We look the same and we always have but we couldn’t be more different from each other. I think that’s the best place to start with this. Some identical twins have a lot in common. They like the same foods, the same things on television, some even spend their entire lives dressing in the same clothes, but we were never those girls. For as long as I remember, it’s been hard for even our own parents to tell us apart were it not for our very different personalities. Our own mother can’t tell the difference between our voices over the phone to this day. We even have the same laugh, but after that we diverge. I’m extroverted and would much rather be outdoors than inside where she is bookish and reserved. As far as personality traits go, Lily and I have always shared very few.
Part I by Norma Gacy I guess this all started with the flu … or at least that’s what I thought it was. I’m not so sure anymore. I’m hesitant to share this experience because you’re going to think I’m nuts. I woke up a little over a week ago with a fever. Every part of me hurt and the sun was blinding. It set the motes of dust that fell between my bed and the window on fire with light.
There’s a Raffle that’s been going on in my town ever since I was a little boy. They started doing it in the 90’s. People seemed to have a lot of opinions about it. Everyone’s always said it was stupid and they hated it. I think some of those people are lying. People say we should get rid of The Raffle but they never do anything to actually change it. It’s all a bunch of talk and no action. The Raffle’s been going on so long I was numb to it for a long time but I’m starting to feel some way about it again. I started to read between the lines and understand what was actually happening in our city. If you live here too, just be glad you haven’t won yet.
They shone in the moonlight, scattered all directions on the sand. Glistening with the borrowed shine of distant stars. Some came in their slippers. The majority forged their way through the howling dark in socks or the bare feet they rose with. Abandoning their beds in the quiet dead of after-midnight, the hordes of somnambulists shuffled through the drifts of New Mexican desert sand, painted black by dark. From every compass point, the masses shared one destination.
“Let us pray.” “Heavenly father, we are the family of Holy Cross. Bless us and guide us as we pray together in our church. Teach us wisdom and give strength to our community. Keep our family safe and our moral compasses true. We ask this in your name. Amen.” The congregants voices rise in unison to echo off the rafters of the old wooden building off north Main, just outside of town square. “You may be seated.” Pastor Thomas, with his palms up, extended, directs them. His wife Gwen mounts the steps to the podium.
“Hello, my class is taking a field-trip and I’m selling magazine subs—” I slammed the door in his tiny, stupid face. He might have been eight-years-old, and my reaction might have been cruel, but the kid’s gotta learn the world is a harsh place sometime in his life. Why not now?
I got into an argument with my friend Wil on Facebook last week while I was supposed to be working overnight security at the zoo. It’s an easy job: nobody ever breaks in and the animals never break out. I literally get paid to spend my entire shift writing horror stories sometimes, and if I’m not doing that, I’m watching Netflix or porn on my phone. I wish what I was about to tell you was just more of my fiction. I wish it weren’t true.