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"Before I’m taken away, I’ll give you the story, every single thing that occurred to the fucking core. Here are my last words on this dreadful planet: you know what that means? You know what that now means for me, right? I’m footing the bill for someone else’s fuckups, for someone else’s incompetence. I bet they were in on it together and orchestrated this whole ordeal, those miserable fucks."

August 23, 1995, 1:35 PM (EST): New York Police Department discovered the corpses of Jose Aparicio, Powell Livingston, Andrew Pearson, and Rudy Kowalski, all who were presumably victims of premeditated murder, to include the mysterious disappearance of Robert Lombardo.  A missing persons report had been filed for the aforementioned subject, however, all attempts to locate his whereabouts have been proven to be futile. The appointed investigating agent [REDACTED] concluded the investigation with 0 witnesses, and all potential suspects have been murdered and/or vanished ostensibly. The investigation had led to the retrieval of small firearms, valuable possessions, disguises -- all under the possession of said persons. The following accounts are told from the perspective of Robert Lombardo.

We’re all gathered together outside your run-of-the-mill pizza parlor here. Smokin’ & jokin’, y’know, the typical things you do with your friends when you’re all out of school. We were all in our late 20s working dead-end jobs, literally doing absolutely nothing fulfilling with our miserable lives.

Who are we? Exactly. Just a bunch of nobodies. That’s who we are, we’re just a bunch of randoms living within the depths of New York here. I’m Robert Lombardo, your stereotypical Italian-American greaseball hailing from New York. Yeah, that’s me.

“Man, we suck. The hell are we even doing here? What, we’re just smoking in the back of some mom and pop restaurant?” Rudy complained. It’s quite typical of him to complain if nothing interesting is going on. That’s Rudy, yeah.

I mean, Rudy’s a good guy and all, but he’s the type of person to complain about everything! Literally, he’d bitch about the littlest thing. You’re off .02 cents with his change? He’d be the type of person to complain to the CEO’s boss’s boss of the company. He’s a Karen; sometimes a joyful, laid back and useful one, but a Karen nonetheless.

“Relax amigo, it ain’t so bad, you know? We in this together, holmes” Jose replied with his thick Hispanic accent.

Jose would be the guy to find every positive moment in a negative situation. He’s your typical “be positive” kind guy, which is probably why he’s either loved or hated by many. Jose’s kind of a slimeball because of his figure. He knows we’d tease him about it, that’s why we all hang out together, too!

“I know what’ll cheer you up, Ruuuudy! How about … these?!” Powell exclaimed, revealing many cartons of cigarettes on his palms. He threw each carton at us, and of course, we all appreciated him trying to shed some light on our daily monotony. We all lit our cigarettes in unison, discussing our future endeavors hoping they would happen.

Trust me when I say this: the overwhelming stench of pizza and cigarettes will absolutely offend even the strongest nostrils known to mankind. That’s pretty much New York City in a nutshell.

After our lovely smoke session, we all returned to our gloomy monotony. Ha. It's kind of funny seeing us -- a group of adults -- all trying to relive our former youthful selves with unkempt facial hair and debt. That's our current life, unfortunately.

“Nothing like a bunch of grown-ass men never outgrowing their childhood,” I commented, with pure smugness, slightly provoking my group of pals..

“Yeah,” replied Andrew. Andrew was the quiet guy. He wasn’t necessarily shy per se, he just didn’t talk as much as Rudy and me do. He’s most definitely not introverted, given his wildness when we used to throw parties back in high school.

Rudy started to complain about the boredom again. “Jesus, guys, what can we do? I want to get outta here and never remember this shithol-” Rudy’s comment of displeasure was suddenly cut off by an incoming flier whacking his face at a rate only God knows what.

Rudy was clearly pissed; he pulled the flier off his face, crumpling it up and tossing it away. We all stood there laughing at Rudy’s unfortunate circumstances. I mean, who the hell would believe that some whackjob would get a flier for God knows what, over God knows where, caked to their face? Nobody did, and that’s why we all laughed.

“Hey Rudy, don’t let the flier hit you on your way out, ya prick!” I remarked humorously, causing an eruption of loud laughs from each of my friends. I know Rudy was mad, but who the hell cares? We were having fun at his expense!

Andrew picked up the crinkled flier, undoing its every wrinkle. The flier was some advertisement for a pet cemetery. Despite the wrinkles all over it, the flier maintained somewhat of its legibility, thankfully. The ad was clearly recent, given its time: July 13, 1995.

“We can make a buck with this, whaddya say? Look at all these fine pieces of jewelry!” I insisted, hoping the group would go along with my idea.

 “Are you saying what I think you’re saying?” asked Jose, with slight hesitation.

 “I think that’s what I’m saying,” I replied sarcastically with the upper-hand.

“Why the hell would you rob, steal, whatever, from a grave? That’s fucking illegal, man!” Andrew hesitated, alongside Jose.

I looked at Andrew with an annoyed expression on my face: “Are you fucking kidding me? We’re lucky to be even given this opportunity. No, we’re not robbing. We’re tactically acquiring. Advertising an area full of items for potential wealth is the equivalent of asking to get robbed.” I insisted once again to Jose’s stupid comment.

Despite their frustrating reluctance, Jose and Andrew gave in to the idea because of the obvious financial gain. Our daily monotony was coming to an end; we were going to experience a fulfilling change of pace, for once. FOR ONCE!

We all decided to have a get-together at Jose’s. We took sips from our coffee as we were discussing how we’d pull this gig off. The area’s small, so the looting wouldn’t be too hard, especially since it's a small cemetery we’re ‘breaking’ into.

“Okay, we’re probably gonna need some small firearms. Those $30-grand a year pension hunters are probably armed, so we’ll need to pack some heat, just in case.” I suggested to our group, hoping they’d see some sense with that suggestion. And they did.

“Disguises, radios, bags for looting, I shouldn’t have to go into detail. I’m sure you guys are reasonably intelligent to figure them out.” I added.

We all had everything laid out: escape routes and the escape vehicle, weapons, bags, and disguises. We’re probably going overboard with this whole mini-heist, but it’s better to be safe than to be arrested by some soon-to-be divorced, child support owing, donut-smelling, fatso cop. I hate cops.

Before we even source and gather the items for this ‘heist’, we obviously needed to take a look at the place, so I volunteered to check it out on my own. It’s a slightly long drive, but I finally arrived at the cemetery. I wasn’t surprised to see the guard shack that small and underfunded. I mean, they didn’t even have any cameras around, so this should be an easy take.

I went back to Jose’s place and warned the crew about the security there: “That place is crawling with those assholes, so be mindful of your surroundings,” I warned them.

“How do you know the stuff there is legit and not some cheaply procured, pieces of plastic shit from some foreign country?” asked Rudy.

“You fuckin’ kidding? Why would some probably nearly-bankrupt company hire some schmuck of a security guard or two to protect valuable stuff there?” I answered to Rudy, with pure smugness once again.

“Makes sense. Let’s go,” said Rudy, with that annoying cocky voice.

We all arrived at the desolate cemetery, sufficiently equipped to pull the job off. The plan’s simple: sneak past the “surveillance”, loot the fuckin treasure, have the car pull up to our nearest exit  point, and run for it. If we’re met with resistance, we fire shots as a deterrence. That’s all, that’s it.

“Jose, you’re driving. Rudy, Powell, and I will be the stars of the show here. Andrew, you’ll be on the lookout for any pedestrians coming by. Just shoo them away. If shit hits the fan, I’ll radio you guys up and stuff. But everything will be just fine. Let’s go.” I told the whole crew.

The nightshift guards luckily finished their umpteenth rounds of walking back and forth from grave-to-shack. As soon as they went back inside, we quietly approached the tombstones of many, many deceased animals.

I found a golden collar that belonged to some cat. “Holy shit this is real!” I said as I picked up the collar, inspecting its very fine golden craft.

“Hey, who’s back there?!” some random guard whom we’ll call Joe, popped out of nowhere. Joe came close enough to witness our intentions, so we had no choice but to quietly beat him into submission. Afterwards, Powell held him at gunpoint while Rudy and I continued looting every last bit of the valuables. Once we collected every findable item of value, I radioed Jose and Andrew we were done, so we quietly headed back to our car.

“Hey, what’re we gonna do with this asshole?” asked Powell, grabbing Joe by the neck.

“Just throw him to the side and tell the cops or guards he got hit by a car. Whatever, let’s go,” I answered.

Powell shoved the beaten guard away and we all ran for it, until the same fuckin’ guard immediately went back to the shack and alarmed the rest of the guards of our hooligan shenanigans. I swear on my mother-in-law, you wouldn’t believe it: the rest of the guards rushed outside with flashlights in one hand, and donuts in the other.

“Freeze! Drop the bag and surrender yourselves!” yelled one of the security guards, flashing us with his trusty flashlight.

Powell shot one of the guards’ legs, forcing all of us to flee away from our felonious misdeeds.

“How’s the wife, asshole?!” I yelled back to the guards, enraged from their pestilent interventions.

One of the guards had to pause himself from exhaustion so that he could catch his breath. His uniform was clearly outstretched from his fondness for donuts -- and his impressive obesity.

“Starting to regret those donuts, huh, ya fat prick?!” Rudy yelled back, as he let out 3 shots from his pistols in an attempt to distract the guards.

Our counterfire successfully distracted the halfwits’ focus on us, evident from the guards all retreating to their shack. We obviously spared no time; fearing for our lives and freedom, our adrenaline’s boost had us successfully retreat back to our car.

“Go. Get out of here, DRIVE!” I commanded, as Jose released the parking brake and sped us out of that misery.

“Fuck,” I said, as I heavily sighed from relief, catching my breath from that sudden rush.

“We got the goody-goodies,” Rudy said, as he proudly held up our bags of victory.

The car ceased its movement. We all looked at each other in confusion, waiting for Jose to resume driving.

“Drive the fuckin’ car, man!” I yelled at Jose with my stereotypical New Yorker accent.

“It’s dead. The car’s batteries are done for!” Jose yelled back at me, with dread in his tone. We were in the middle of nowhere, completely vulnerable to the unknown within our surroundings.

Jose got out of the car to inspect its faults. Sure enough, the car was fucked. Rudy was pissed at Jose for fucking up something so simple, like checking your car’s batteries.

Despite our dilemma, there weren’t any signs of the guards chasing after us. I thought of using Jose’s leftover, half-eaten donut as bait to lure the would-be chasers, but surprise surprise, nobody followed us.

From our distant view, up ahead was some medium-sized school, so we reluctantly made our movement there. Upon reaching the building, the school wasn’t some typically decrepit abandoned one; it looked like it was finally nearing its construction.

It’s kind of, no, it’s pretty weird seeing a random school being built in what appears to be the middle of nowhere, especially in New York.

“Well, let’s go count our earnings in there, then we can call whoever we can to sort this mess out,” Rudy stated. We all nodded in agreement, and one by one, entered the school.

As we all entered, we walked towards the center of the school, witnessing its ever-increasing construction progress. The school looked pretty creepy to say the least; many, many mirrors were emplaced throughout the interior’s infrastructure, for some reason.

 “Huh. I guess this particular school wants to ridicule the newcomers of their physical insecurities,” I jested, resulting in Rudy laughing out loud.

Rudy, Powell, and I proceeded to lay out our bag of valuables. We were going to make a decent profit for such a small job, too!

“We should at least expect a profit of $150,000 profit altogether. Powell, Robert, and I will each get the majority of the sum while the two of you will get a slice for your contributions!” Rudy stated out loud, angering Jose from his words of wisdom.

“What, fuck no, man! My car broke down for this ‘job!’ I need more than that!” Jose protested with frustration.

Andrew didn’t seem to mind his award, although his counterpart indicated otherwise.

What happens next? You guessed it! Rudy and Jose got into a heated argument over the profit shares.

“My work, my sweat-- these attributes make me a worthy contestant! You’re just the bitch-boy driver,” Ruddy added, intentionally provoking Jose.

Jose snapped by punching Rudy’s mouth, which caused him to fall on top of one of the mysterious mirrors.

In a split second, the entrance door was shut on its own, locking us in here. We all looked at each other in confusion, hoping that the guards hadn't cornered us here.

I dashed towards the door, attempting to open. For some stupid reason, the damned thing wouldn’t budge, so I banged on its wooden material with frustration.

“We’re locked in. The damned door won’t open.” I complained to the crew.

 Jose was in disbelief, given his unsuccessful attempts at prying the damned thing. He banged and sighed from our frustration. Who wouldn’t bang on a door, especially after committing multiple felonies? That logic is indisputable, to say the least.

In a matter of moments, the mirror glass Rudy was up against, somehow darkened. What happened afterward was totally unexpected: 2 indescribable arms lunged out of the mirror, grabbing Rudy by his shoulders.

“Ah, what the, HELP! WHAT THE FUCK?!” Rudy yelled out, fearing the mysterious force pulling him inside the mirror.

Despite this totally unexpected moment, despite Jose attacking Rudy, we all came to Rudy’s aid, desperately maintaining our grip to pull him from the force’s might. It was like some twisted version of tug-o-war.

“IT’S TAKIN-TAKING ME IN!” Rudy exclaimed with tears streaming down his face.

Rudy then turned around as we pulled him away, attempting to release himself from the grasp of that unknown being. We all believed we were making steady progress, right until the thing extended its reach and went for Rudy’s legs.

“HOLY SHIT, HOLD HIM TIGHT!” I yelled to the other three, as we desperately pulled Rudy back. Rudy couldn’t kick whatever was grabbing his legs.. then the unspeakable happened: Rudy’s legs were forcibly detached from his waist. The mysterious force pulling him inward suddenly disappeared. How the blood hadn't touched was beyond me, to say the least.

Rudy stared at his painfully severed legs in utter shock, completely in aghast from his horrific demise. We immediately dropped Rudy’s cadaver, witnessing its intestines dangling downward with pints of blood enclosing around his corpse.

“Wh-what the fuck?!” I yelled out loud, devastated by this sudden atrocity.

“YOU GOT RUDY KILLED, ROB! THIS WHOLE ‘JOB’ WAS YOUR IDEA! RUDY’S DEAD! WE NEED EMERGENCY!” Jose shouted, as he too was taken aback by this gruesome sight.

Jose somehow gathered the courage to attempt to flee the scene. I knew what that fucking prick was up to: he was going to snitch to the cops and have me booked. In spite of Rudy’s unfortunate set of circumstances, I wasn’t going to just let Jose off the damned hook.

 “Listen here, you fuckin’ pig. You and the others agreed to the job. You’re just as guilty as I am, moron. YOU FUCKIN’ SNITCH!” I snapped back, possibly considering Jose's murder.

“If you open your fuckin’ mouth to the feds, you’re dead, pal,” Powell stated, also threatening Jose if he dares to try anything stupid like that.

“Listen, it was an arrangement! YOUR ARRANGEMENT! YOU DID THIS!” Jose yelled back, right before he took off, running around the unknown premises.

“Oh, an arrangement, huh? I’m gonna arrange your fuckin’ funeral! COME HERE, YOU DOUBLE-CROSSING PIECE OF SHIT!” I shouted out loud.

Powell and I immediately went after Jose. We were going to fucking kill him. And kill him we did.

“I’m gonna shut that big mouth of yours. Quit running, you slimeball” I threatened, as my menacing voice echoed throughout the desolate schoolhouse.

Powell laughed as he saw Jose’s attempts at hiding: Jose somehow believed he would be safe if he remained hidden in the janitor’s closet. We literally saw him walk in there, Jesus Christ!

“You and Andrew stay near Rudy’s corpse. I’ll finish off this cocksucker,” I told Powell, as he made his way back to the original spot where Rudy died.

I ran to the janitor’s closet and wasted no time shooting Jose. BANG BANG - I shot him twice at the chest. He limped outside with both palms resting on his gunshot wounds.

“Ay-ay-ay, I’ve wasted my life.. and my looks!” Those were Jose’s very last words, right before I cut him off.

“Where ya going, jagoff?” I stated sarcastically, as I placed the muzzle of my pistol on his head and pulled the trigger, scattering bits of his skull and brain matter all over the floor. Upon silencing the coward, I made my way back to the spot where Powell and Andrew are.

 “Local yokel’s bought it,” I muttered.

Nobody’s said a word. And to be quite frank, I’m surprised the two haven’t plotted against each other, or worst, me.

Andrew’s lost; he buried his head into his arms, silently weeping from Rudy’s horrific fate, presumably. I looked away from the others, trying to think what the best course of action would be for the rest of us.

All of a sudden - BANG BANG BANG  - Powell just shot Andrew thrice; two rounds to his head, one to the chest.

“Just tying these loose ends,” Powell stated, as he kicked Andrew’s untouched gun away from his corpse.

“We finish this, part ways, and never see each other ever again. Got it?” I proposed to Powell. He nodded in agreement.

I had this inexplicable feeling we were part of that thing's scheme. It's almost as if it were wanting for us to turn on each other for its own amusement. I took this feeling into consideration just in case the others were going to turn their backs on me.

As we gathered our stolen goods, Powell stared at me with his face blank of any emotion. He immediately collapsed downward onto his stomach, revealing his sudden death: three blade-like claws were stuck at the back of his death. He was more than likely killed instantaneously. I flipped his cadaver over, right as I jumped back from disgust and terror.

Two of the blades swiftly pierced through both of his eyeballs, resulting in tears of blood streaming down his face. The other went right through his nose. I fought every urge to hold back from vomiting; Powell's death was such a repulsive one, one that topples Rudy's in every which way.

As I blinked countlessly, there it was, the damned culprit. It was a cat. The creature had its back facing me, shaking its head side to side. This thing knows it's responsible for its monstrous killings? Of all things, a fucking cat would be behind all this? What? I was underestimating it. My ego was getting the best of me.

What the fuck was I supposed to think? A random feline being the mastermind behind all this? None of this was making sense to me.. until I put two and two together. What if that was the cat revenging against us? I gulped.

Right after I came to this gut-wrenching realization, I heard the forced twist and crunch of bones from the cat. It was its head turning to face towards me. I stood there, uncertain of what's to come. My palms were sweaty, my heart was rapidly beating. I felt like my heart was about to explode all over my body.

“Heh.” the cat muttered.

I struggled to hold back tears after seeing its disgusting appearance: its eyeballs were devoid of any color; they were pitch dark. Those haunting red pupils of it had its gaze fixated on my soul. Its head tilted forty-five degrees while showing off that evil fucking grin, right before showing off its putrid fork-tongue. I wanted to smash its head, but its atrocious appearance had my feet nailed to the surface.

“You stole my precious items that were once gifted to me from my beloved owners. You sabotaged our resting places, taking every piece of valuable you could find, just to satisfy your greed for more wealth.” The cat spoke to me. Literally.

I tried to look away from it, but I knew it was watching me. Each time I looked away, those same eyes would follow my every gaze. Was I high? Was I delusional? No. This was the reality. This was my reality.

“Ho-how the fuck are you able to speak? How are you a-alive?” I stuttered to the cat, as it was feeding on my fear of it.

“This world is plagued with realities quite often disguised as fantasies in order to keep the masses in place.” The cat said, as it started to approach me.

It bared its fangs at me, causing me to flinch and ultimately fall onto my back. The damned thing leaped forward and sat on my chest, with those eyes still fixed on me. I started to pant heavily, bracing for the worst, especially with the creature's face inches away from mine.

“You do not feel regret and sorrow for your misdeeds. I can smell your fear. Heh. You’re the perfect human to join me, in fact.” The cat uttered.

“I-I'm sorry,” I uttered back, trembling from its confrontation.

The cat didn’t reply. Suddenly, the cat penetrated my chest with its claws while it let out a low-pitch demonic giggle. I shrieked from the seemingly ever-lasting pain, crying desperately for anything to make it stop. It sunk them deeper, savoring every moment of my personal affliction. The cat then twisted its claws clockwise, prolonging my suffering. Finally, it brought its face close to mine, licking me as its way of humiliation and mock.

The immeasurable blood flowing out of me sent me to a shock. At this point, I am out of touch with human normalcy. I am on the brink of insanity.

“State your last words. You have nobody to blame other than your arrogance. I’ll be taking you back with me to my own 'world', human," the cat stated remorselessly.

I'm desperately looking around for any hope to get away from this damned thing. I cannot give in. I exhausted every means to accumulate my wealth, only for me to pay my own life for it. I did not--no, I couldn’t accept defeat. I was weak. I was scared. I'm covered in sweat, constantly sniffing because of the intolerable temperature, I'm screwed. I started to giggle -- there is no way that any of this is happening to me.

“You’re not going anywhere, human. It’s quite amusing watching your inevitable defeat consume you. I suggest you quit resisting. In fact, you do not have a choice. I am on top of you, fully in control of your body.” The cat stated bluntly, eliminating the possibility of my escape. I am done for, basically.

“I'm probably a narcissist; all I care about is me, me, and me. You all know what this means, right? I’m footing the bill for someone else’s fuckups, someone else’s incompetence. I bet they were in on it together orchestrating this whole ordeal, those miserable fucks.” I responded back, stating my final words on this dreadful planet, revealing the ugly truth of me. The cat probably already knew that.

The cat hasn't said anything in return. I begrudgingly accepted my grim reality. My grim fate. My crushed ego and my feelings of defeat and hopelessness consumed me to the core. I wasn't even going to be in this world to retell the tale of the horrible realities that roam this very earth.

“I am now tying the loose end here,” the cat muttered, right before I involuntarily vanished from this planet with it.