December 18, 2017

Dark awaits


A Hunter carries with them the dead weight of the horrors they've lived. Some can bear it, some stagger beneath the burden uncertainly. Here, an unnamed Hunter recounts the deadly allure of tracking their first target. From their first intoxicating glimpse into the Dark Sight, to their final absorption into the grotesque psyche of their prey, we retrace the boundaries of their own disfigured reality and the gradual unraveling of their grasp upon it.

The following story was originally published on Twitter, day for day. The passing of time between each cipher is marked with two crosses.

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If it's too bright, you can blink and block out the light. The dark waits to take its place. In the shade, all eyes are lidless.

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We, the Hunters, blocked it out for too long. We saw the things hidden there, confined to arteries. Living in the pulse.


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There's ash; it blows like leaves in a storm. They can't be caught, counted, measured, or grasped. But we all see it.


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I hoped it was a collective madness. That the color was drained out the world because we bled our humanity out of us.

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But seeing the first was unforgettable. The distant glimmer, an object of malignant desire. After that, impossible to ignore.

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We argued, but its existence became undeniable. Its baleful pull, inescapable. Shutting eyes only made it clearer. I pursued it.

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I found it, my first, the source of ash. Its cinders erupt and flare into our world. They fall in theirs, cold and blackened.

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They say it's a rend in our world. It burns where we would bleed. Scabbed over. A petrified memory of barbarity. A pile of dust.


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What I remember most? The smell: still lingering, burnt flesh and sulfur. Seeped into the earth, seeped into me. Then the pain.

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I reached into the wound. Tore it open. It engulfed me in billows of fiery heat. I was made to relive the death in its depths.


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A momentary glimpse. Teeth punctured skin. Jaw crushed bone. My hand deluged in flesh, I pushed, only to melt into its maw.

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The world returned. The Faustian revelation, fresh, grinding within my mind. Another anomaly was calling, weak and far.


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You know, the second was much the same. I came undone in a flash. But I took what I wanted from the fire and the fury.

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The third was easy. I welcomed the heat, as I had grown cold. As it ebbed, I was pulled apart, arm from shoulder, leg from hip.

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Ripped. Flesh lacerated. Bones ruptured. Neck torn and twisted, around and around and around. Time ground to a halt.

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When it passed, I was somewhere else. My fear and anger became overwhelming. I raised my hand to my face, to feel if I was me.

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Too many elbows bent and fingers curled. Nails like claws, some torn out their bed. My face bloated, convulsing at my touch.


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The floor was far below. Ovens smoked. A school of strung up fish hung around. Webs covered all. My flesh began to tighten.

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The inverse was constriction, compression, shattering. In the maelstrom, only the image seen remained: the beast's lair, found.