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I swiped again.




Wiped it with my shirt.


Wiped it with a spare Clorox.


Made sure it was going in the right way.



I called a worker over to look at it. Blue-collar pricks. They literally did the same stupid ass thing I did, just with some trash "checker" thing they carry in the back of their ass. After less than a minute of observation, they spit in my face:

"It's not the card."


Vending machine...




A different check out station from before...












I slammed it in the trash can in the kitchen. Fucking no good piece of shit waste of goddamn plastic. Works perfectly for nine...ten years and just croaks like a rip in the gale. Not even the bank would help me. Great. Just perfect. All that hard earned money. Gone. Up in smoke.

I needed to calm the hell down. I took a shower and turned on the TV. I watched some Game of Thrones while reading Lord of the Rings for character comparison to complete my book that would mix the two, played Xbox and Nintendo for a couple hours, played outside, made a few memes, checked my card on the table, took a nap on the cou...

Wait. Hold up. What? My card. It was on my dining room table. It was still in my house; I had taken the trash out about an hour ago. I didn't take it out of the can. That means...

I heard footsteps above me. As I listened to them, I looked at the table to see that the card had vanished. Panicking, I got my grandfather's shotgun from the basement. It had rarely been used since he had come home from Vietnam fifty years ago. It was preloaded with two shells, and one of them was incendiary. Although I wasn't a cannon fodder myself, I had been taught very well to handle a gun by both grandpa and dad, a tradition passed down from generations since either the colonial era or early modern era.

The footsteps appeared to occur in a pattern. Every few seconds or so, they would move from one room to another (this being my childhood home, I had memorised where all the rooms were, even better than I could memorise my lines for Wizard of Oz). I first heard them in my parents' bedroom, then the bathroom, and finally my siblings' rooms. Even though they didn't live with me, I still shuttered at the fact that something was up there in their rooms.

Eventually, the footsteps stopped. As soon as they did, I walked up the stairs slowly and quietly. When I finally reached the top, I began to search the rooms. I first checked my siblings' rooms. Nothing. Bathroom. Nothing. I checked the attic, even though the footsteps didn't come from there. All that was up there were boxes of old toys and games I used to play with all the time. Finally, I went to my parent's room. Once again, no one was there. However, there was something very peculiar on the bed. It was a miniature version of the self check-out machine from the store that I have never seen before. My card was right next to it. I knew where this was going, but I swiped it anyway.


I sighed in frustration, but then:

Valid card, insufficient payment method. Blood required.

What the hell is that supposed to mean?!

They (behind you) will provide assistance.

"THEY?!" Who-

I turned around. There, standing right outside the doorway, was the most bizarre creature I had ever seen. It was a being that was combined of a human and an ATM machine, with the ATM features on the upper half of the body, and human legs on the lower half. It had sharp, blade-like arms/hands, and a screen for a face, which displayed an angry frown with a red background.

I was frozen in place. I didn't know what to do at first. I had my gun pointing right at the wretched thing. I wanted to shoot it and end this godforsaken nightmare, but at the same time, I feared that shooting it would cause more problems. Suddenly, the creature inched forward, making a weird, slightly distorted beeping noise. I was so startled, I shot the gun at its centre. It was the incendiary shell! It exploded on the thing and everything started catching fire, even myself. I was scared of burning to death, but then, unexpectedly, the creature let out a roar from...A SECOND MOUTH FROM THE STOMACH?! With the roar, it splashed water everywhere, dousing the fire. As it came closer, I prepare to fire another shot, but the thing knocked the gun out of my hands and kicked me onto the bed.

The creature the proceeded to tie my to the bed using the sheets and blankets. This was terrifying. It then ripped my shirt off. I didn't care so much for the shirt; it was just one of my millions of plain whites. However, that did not make what happened next any better. The thing used one of its blades to scratch my chest and stomach. It was so gross. I felt so violated, I thought I would throw up. Then, it gently, but firmly, cut open my chest. They obviously didn't cut hard enough to kill me, though it was as if I was in my grandfather's shoes, experiencing the process of his numerous heart surgeries.

After cutting me open, the creature picked up the self-checkout machine and semi-roughly stuck beneath my heart and between my ribs, which somehow stayed intact. The machine then showed a "processing transplant" message, before I felt a little pain in my chest. The machine...turned organic. It became a living part of me. The slot, the buttons, everything minus the screen, was flesh. It was surreal. I felt like I was a completely different person. Maybe not in a positive way, but it was wild. Then, the thing picked up my card and, with no hesitation, swiped the card, slowly. I felt the edge of plastic sliding through my new part of skin. The pain and sound was unbearable. It was even more gross than the brushes. When the sliding was finally complete, there was a loading screen. Suddenly, I began to feel dizzy. My vision began to blur. This is the moment where I eventually blacked out.

And that's where my memory stops. I don't know where that thing is, or what it's goal is/was. I also can't help but wonder if that worker had known anything about it, given that he knew that something else was broken, and not the card. But the most mysterious part was the last thing I remember seeing before blacking out.

The last thing I saw was the creature's expression had changed to a smiley face with a green background, and the machine in my body, displaying that one heart-dropping word: