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“...Look, I’m telling you, you're wrong.”

“Then what is it, genius?”

“You can't die of alcohol poisoning, dipshit!”

“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?”

“YOU'RE JUST MAD BECAUSE YOU KNOW I'M RIGHT!”

This happens every time we hang out. Paul and Ray get too drunk and argue over dumb stuff. It’d be annoying if it wasn’t so entertaining.

“Hey guys?” I said.

They both looked at me.

“Why don't you drink more and find out?”

“Why don't YOU drink more, dumbass.” Ray said.

“To be fair,” Donnie said, looking up from his book. “He’s gotta drive you two home.”

Ray squinted. “When’d that get decided?”

“When you chose to get hammered.”

Ray scoffed. “That’s not a choice at a get-together like this.”

Paul threw his hands up. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT’S NOT A CHOICE YOU FUCKING ALCOHOLIC?!?”

“I MEAN IT’S NOT A CHOICE!”

Suddenly, we heard a loud smack. Everyone looked in the direction of the sound and saw Lou, with his fist curled up and resting against the table.

“I swear to God, can you guys go a single guy’s night without arguing?” He said.

“In my defense, Donnie and I weren’t doing anything.” I retorted.

“Vic, I know. You’re fine. " He sighed. “I’m tired. You guys are definitely waking my neighbors. Paul, Ray, Donnie, get out.”

“What?!? Why me?” Donnie shouted.

“Because this is my house!”

“Fine with me!” Ray grabbed his keys and walked toward the door.

“Hey Ray, maybe one of us should drive-”

“I SAID, FINE WITH ME!”

He opened the door and paused.

“Raymond, get out.” Lou said.

“...Lou, where’s the outside?”

Everyone looked at him.

“What the hell are you talking about, Ray?”

“I mean, where’s the outside?”

I walked up next to Ray and looked out.

Where the hell did the outside go?

There was nothing. It was pitch black, with no signs of anything out there. It looked as if someone put a sheet over the doorway.

“Lou, toss me a beer.”

After he tossed it to me, I opened it and began to pour out the door. It splashed out of the can into the inky blackness, never to be seen again. I dropped the can, hoping to eventually hear it hit the ground.

There was no sound.

Oh god.

“...There’s no outside.”

Lou, Paul, and Donnie ran up to the door and looked out.

“What…”

“Where is everything?”

“Oh my god…”

Lou closed the door, completely pale.

“Donnie, call your mom.”

Donnie frantically dialed his mom’s phone. No answer.

“S-She’s not picking up, Lou.”

“Vic?” Lou said, looking at me.

“What?”

“Did you drop the can?”

“Yeah.”

“Was there a sound?”

“No.”

Lou put his hands on his head and sat down on the ground.

“Vic?”

“Yeah?”

“Where are we?”

I wiped sweat from my forehead. “I don’t know.”

Paul ran to the bathroom. We heard him puking from the living room. It was as if the darkness had killed all ambient noise.

“Shit. Shitshitshitshit.” Ray started to pace.

“What did we do? WHAT DID WE DO?” Donnie yelled, grabbing Lou.

“Hey! Get off!” He pushed him off. “How am I supposed to know?”

We heard a flush and watched as Paul weakly walked back in.

“Paul, are you okay?” I asked.

He grimaced. “I don’t know, why wouldn’t I be?”

“Sorry.”

An hour passed as none of us said anything. Lou hadn’t moved from his spot. Donnie walked through every corner of the house looking for reception. Ray drank more. Paul weeped into the couch pillows. I stared at the TV, watching as it refused to turn on.

“Maybe there’s an end to the darkness.” Ray finally said.

“Ray, you need to stop drinking.” I said back.

“Fuck off.” He poured another shot.

I went upstairs to Lou’s room and sat on his bed. I opened his bedside drawer to see if there was any way to find the outside world.

“Whatcha doing, Vic?” I heard Lou say behind me.

“Do you still have your gun?” I asked back.

“Yeah. Of course.”

“Where is it? It’s not in your drawer.”

Lou faintly chuckled. “Sorry, I tend to hide it in different places.”

I looked at him. “Isn’t that inconvenient?”

“Maybe to you.”

Lou hugged behind me. His beard rubbed against my shoulder.

“Lou, not with the guys downstairs.”

“I know, but I’m scared.”

I said nothing and patted Lou’s cheek.

“Where’s the gun?”

He hugged a little tighter. “Under the bed.”

“Thank you.”

He let go and I grabbed the gun. I’m not as familiar with guns as Lou, but I know how to fire one.

“Okay guys, let’s test something.” I said, descending the stairs.

“What’s up?” Donnie asked.

I showed the gun to the guys. “Boom.”

I opened the door as the other four guys crowded around me. I held the gun in both my hands. It was a shiny revolver, never used.

I aimed and fired into the abyss. The muzzle fire failed to illuminate the darkness, and the bullet was gone before we could even think.

“Well that didn’t work.” Ray said.

It was then that we heard the groan.

Breaking free from the complete silence was a loud, gravelly groan.

Lou closed the door.

“Oh god.” He said.

“WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?” Ray yelled.

“We don’t know! Stop yelling!” Paul retorted.

Ray turned around and punched Paul in the stomach. Paul recoiled in pain, sliding to the ground.

“HEY!” Lou tackled Ray. Ray is a man of large stature, taking the combined force of Lou, Donnie and I to get him to the ground.

“Chill out, Ray!” I yelled.

“GET OFF!” Ray screamed.

Lou put him in a headlock until he passed out. We got to our feet and carried Ray’s unconscious body to the garage and locked the door behind us.

“Fuck.” Donnie said. He chewed at his nails as he watched Ray through the window.

“Go check on Paul.” Lou ordered.

I ran up to Paul.

“Hey, hey buddy! You okay?” I lightly slapped him.

“Yeah…” Paul winced. “God… It hurts…”

“Lemme look.”

Paul unbuttoned his shirt. His stomach was purple in the area where Ray punched him. I lightly applied pressure, causing Paul to gasp.

“Does that hurt?”

“YES! YES IT DOES!”

After wrapping some ice cubes in a rag, I gave it to Paul.

“Hold this on your stomach.”

He said nothing and put the pack against his skin.

“Don’t move, okay?”

He groaned and fell asleep.

I walked back over to the TV and tried to turn it on again. No dice. I turned around to join Lou and Donnie at the garage until I heard that damn groan again. I looked out the door into the darkness, mortified.

A faint light shone at the other end.

“HELLO?!?” I screamed.

No response.

“HELLOOOOOOO?!?” I screamed again.

Still no response. I closed the door.

“...Vic?” Paul asked. He was pouring buckets of sweat and half awake.

“What’s up, Paul?”

“Was that a light?”

I looked down. “Yeah.”

“Is it help?”

I could feel my eyes get hot. “I don’t know.”

“...Oh.” He coughed.

I sat beside him. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“I can’t do anything.”

Paul coughed again. “It’s okay.”

I sat next to him until Lou came back into the living room.

“Ray’s awake.”

Paul blinked and widened his eyes, repeating several times.

“Vic, is he okay?” Lou said.

“He needs a doctor.”

Lou swore under his breath and adjusted his glasses. “Okay, we need to get out of here.”

“I saw a light, Lou.”

He went silent. “That’s good, right?”

“I don’t know.”

He frowned. “Oh.”

We heard loud slamming.

“What is that?!?”

“That’s Ray!”

Lou and I ran to Donnie’s side and watched Ray slam himself against the door repeatedly.

“LET ME OUT, DICKHEADS!”

“Ray, you hurt Paul.” I said.

“GOOD!” He retorted.

Ray opened the garage fridge and started searching for alcohol.

“A-HA!” Ray yelled as he started pulling bottles of hard liquor from the fridge.

I looked at Lou.

“So, he’s not coming back, is he?”

“Oh, hell no.”

We heard glass shatter. Ray threw a bottle against the door.

“FUCK! MISSED!”

He’s trying to kill us.

“Vic, how much ammo is left in the gun?”

“I don’t know, I left it with Paul.”

I ran to Paul, who was trembling.

“Paul, buddy, oh my God.”

“I wanna get warm.”

I helped him onto the couch and put a warm blanket on him. He fell asleep, still trembling.

Don’t die on us, Paul.

I grabbed the gun. No ammo.

“NO AMMO!”

“GET SOME FROM UNDER THE SINK!”

I ran under the sink and grabbed a tiny box. Six bullets. One man.

I really don’t want to do this.

“GOT IT!” I yelled, making my way to the commotion. Ray was still drinking whole bottles and throwing them at the door. His intoxicated state has left the window on the door unscathed.

“RAY!” I yelled. I put the gun against the window. “STOP!”

Ray laughed. “DO IT THEN! I AIN’T STOPPING!”

The groan returned.

I handed the gun to Donnie.

“You hold onto this.” I said.

“I don’t know how to use this!”

“Well, hopefully you won’t have to.”

I ran back to the front door and opened it. The light was back, but had evolved into a red, pulsating glow.

“HEY!” I yelled.

I heard a response.

“VICTOR ROSENBERG.” A voice spoke. It sounded like both a man and a woman speaking at the same time. I fell back.

“Wh-Who are you?”

“I AM THE ONE KNOWN AS MIASMA.” Another red glow appeared.

“M-Miasma?”

Another glow appeared. More and more appeared. Eventually it looked like the night sky, but tinted red.

“THE EMBODIMENT OF NOTHING. PURITY THROUGH EMPTINESS.” Miasma spoke once more.

“Why…”

“HAVE YOU EVER HAD A FAINT MEMORY OF SOMEONE, AND YOU AREN’T SURE IF THEY EXISTED OR NOT?”

“O-Of course.”

“THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM.”

The lights formed together, making what looked like a face. It had no features aside from two black eyes and a mouth with no teeth. It pierced through the void.

“SOMETIMES, PEOPLE DISAPPEAR WITHOUT A TRACE. NOBODY REMEMBERS THEM. IT’S NOT THEIR FAULT. IT’S NEVER THEIR FAULT. THEY JUST EXISTED AT THE WRONG TIME.” Miasma’s mouth didn’t move.

“S-So how do we get out of here?” I asked.

“YOU DON’T.”

I heard a crash. Donnie and Lou ran into the living room.

“HE’S BREAKING IN!” Lou yelled.

“Shit!”

I turned away from Miasma, yet its voice still spoke in my head.

“THE VOID TAKES ALL IN TIME.”

I said nothing.

Ray stepped out of the garage door and through the broken glass. His feet bled. Donnie fired off three shots, missing all of them. He broke into a sprint and tackled Donnie to the ground, wailing on him. I froze and Lou backstepped.

“GRAB HIM.”

I put Ray in another chokehold.

“GET OFF OF ME!” Ray slammed me into the wall. The pain was immense but I refused to let go.

“DON’T LET GO.”

I kept hold on Ray, tanking every hit. Eventually I got him into the doorway.

“LOU!” I screamed.

Lou wiped tears from his face. “VIC!”

“I LOVE YOU!” I said.

Kicking on the wall, Ray and I fell into Miasma’s endless void.

I clenched my eyes, never letting go of Ray, until I felt him become light in my arms, finally slipping out from under them. I opened my eyes and found myself floating, the house nowhere in sight.

Unfortunately for Ray, Miasma held him in stasis.

“VICTOR.”

I stared at Miasma.

“I LIED.”

I watched Miasma’s black eye sockets glow a sickeningly bright pink. The glow loudly groaned, getting brighter. Ray stared in horror. Miasma’s maw opened wide, loud screams emanating from inside. Hands reached out from inside. The hands grabbed Ray, pulling him within. Miasma closed its mouth, causing Ray to disappear forever.

“A-Am I next?”

Miasma smiled.

“NO.”

“What now?”

“CLOSE YOUR EYES.”

I clenched my eyes shut.

“OPEN.”

I opened my eyes.

I was back in Lou’s house.

“Wh-What…”

I sprinted to the door and pulled it open. I saw things. I saw the outside. I saw my car. Ray’s car. Donnie’s car. Paul’s car. I saw the neighbors' houses. I saw the moon. I saw the road lamps.

I broke down and cried.

“L-Lou… We’re home…”

Nobody responded.

“Lou?”

I walked throughout the house.

Nobody was here.

I looked in the garage. There were still bottles of hard liquor and broken glass strewn about, but no Ray.

I looked back in the living room. The blanket was on the couch, but Paul wasn’t.

On the floor, a puddle of blood was on the ground, making an outline of where Donnie should be.

I checked Lou’s room. His gun was still under the bed.

“Lou…”

I felt the faint memory of his arms around my body, his beard scratching my neck. I found one of his shirts on the ground. I smelled it. It was nice. It smelled of Lou.

I sat there for what felt like hours smelling all I had left of him before taking it with me to my car. It was cold out, just lightly sprinkling. I turned the keys in my car.

I drove away from the house and began to cry.

Miasma was right.

My body may be home, but my heart remains trapped in Miasma.



Written by SerenaWrites
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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