The HellMachine

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a short story written a year ago for MacMillan writing contest. It's got qualified as runner-up and was published in an anthology. Sadly, I have had to shorten it to match word count and have lost original. It's still good piece of writing, at least in my opinion.

Submitted: September 06, 2015

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Submitted: September 06, 2015



I walk up to my attic, it’s all cluttered with miscallaneous cases, varying in both shapes and sizes. From teeny-tiny round ball-like casing, probably from some sort of a ball, up to a piano covered by some anti-dust sheets. Everything near the entrance is covered with dull light, coming from one old lightbulb, which is trying with all its strength to keep up with all this darkness. The darkness coming from the very end of the attic. If you tried to seek for a source of all the shadows in this graveyard of memories, it’d be a chunky shape, hidden somewhere beneath old Nintendo Entertraining System and old grandma’s old clothes. If you were brave enough to remove these, you’d see that it’s about height of an adult man. If you removed the bedsheet covering it, you’d see a box.

A box, that was once a source of great joy for me. But one day… I realised… I realised, that this, once fun-giving box, is in fact a window to hell. Not Hell, as antonym to Heaven, but particular hell. Hell, in which only one person was trapped - lonesome, tormented and limbless, crawling through an endless maze, using nothing but his toothless jaws. He had nothing to satisfy his thirst, and the only way to feed himself was to eat white, round pieces of some unnamed substance, occasionally he would find a single cherry. He couldn’t die. He couldn’t drink. He could only crawl and try not to starve.

No one would be able to withstand such conditions for long, and he had been trapped there for decades, so it was pretty much expectable for his mind to alter under such terryfing amount of pressure. Ego damage made him see his old friends, whom he had left long ago. They were there not to encourage him, but for revenge. And so he had some sort of entertainment. Running, or at least crawling, faster, away from the ghosts of the past. Eventually, he came across some sort of medicine, thanks to which he was able to chase bad dreams away, or just chase them. Just for fun. But even medicine effects would eventually fade away, so he would try to find another pill. And so the loop closes. Eat, flee, eat, chase. His skin turned yellow, his eyes vanished in the neverending night of his prison, his body changed its shape, to help him crawl using jaws more easily.

While I was staring in silence at the old yellow crate, my best friend, Steve, came upstairs with the intention of scaring the hell out of me. And there was Steve, sneaking up like some child, who is going to steal some candies, but when he noticed, what I was looking at, he froze. “Sick, dude!” Tom shouted. “You have had Pac-Man machine all the time, and never ever told me about this?”

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