Come Hither, Girl...

Come!

Come.

Gather ‘round, children. Gather ‘round and huddle close, for the night is dark and cold and there are things that would reach out and snatch you…take you away, if they could…and change you…

Let us talk of fear. But let us not talk of ordinary fear, the heebie jeebies that sometimes come creeping, skittering up the back of your neck…on a night…much like this night…

No, let us talk of true, creeping terror, the kind that yawns at the very center of your soul.

And a girl. Let us talk of a girl. I want to tell you a story…

Once upon a time, there was a girl. I’ll call her Girl. Girl was inquisitive, and carefree. The world she knew was the world she loved, for she knew it as she knew the back of her hand. Each familiar nook and cranny, each beloved thing—it was all hers, all hers, and she would trip-skip-hop through the paths and love it all. There were occasional storms, but she even learned to love these…normally, the weather was bright and sunny and she assumed it would always be this way, forever. She was happy, so happy, and Girl never thought this private world of hers would change.

But as she grew older, she started noticing…something. Something…different. Something…unpleasant. For at the edge of her world, she noticed there was a hole starting to form. Where it came from and what it was, Girl did not know. One day, it was flat and tranquil ground and the next…a hole. Girl did her best to avoid this hole. She knew not what it was, only that she wanted no part of it. So she did her best to ignore it, but it grew and grew, until it was no longer a hole, but a Hole.

Then, it started calling to her.

And soon, it became too much to bear. Girl had to look; she simply had to! So one day, she worked up her courage, and dared to draw close to the Hole. She inched, closer and closer, and soon, she was at the edge.

She looked down.

And what she saw was…the black of forever. And endless, yawning gape in her world, the blackness, the antithesis of all. And swimming in that absolute negation of being, she saw…things. Things.

There was Mediocrity, with its strengthless, wispy bloodroot of a body, slowly wavering past. And as it turned to look at her, she saw it had her face. And Madness was there, a gibbering, slavering, twitching demon and it grinned at her with her lips and her own eyes, glassy and wide, stared back at her. As she stared in horror, Madness grinned a sly, changeling grin and beckoned to her. And Apathy, transparent and fleshless, limbless, with a hollow, whining sound. Selfishness and Manipulation, Siamese twins, twitched past her. Selfishness reached for Manipulation with mangled lovers’ hands and swallowed it whole, only to vomit it out again, and Manipulation cackled with delight as it devoured Selfishness in turn. Depression wove its way through them all, a slithering, grey mist and everywhere it touched died. The blackness died and became something worse than evil, worse than nothing. She stared in bulge-eyed horror.

Her face. They all wore her face. Twisted, misshapen, the deadest things alive, they all turned and stared at her…

“Come, Girl,” they whispered, “Come and see. Come in! Come in! All you have to do…

…is…

…juuuuuuuuuump…yesssss…

For a moment, she wavered. The voices were distorted and garbled, and yet…familiar. She hesitated, frozen. Girl’s eyes glazed over and she shifted slightly. One foot was planted firmly on the ground and the other…the other hung over the abyss. Girl was…gone. She didn’t even notice the loving blackness starting to crawl its furtive way up her leg…then her wrist…

Suddenly, she blinked. She gasped and threw herself backwards from the edge, flinging herself away with a scream that ripped something in her very soul. She ran, and ran, putting distance between herself and the Hole, flying over the familiar ground until she was home.

After that day, she never went back to the Hole. She gave it a wide berth when she was walking around her land, and she tried to shove the events of that day from her mind.

But sometimes, at night, when she was laying in bed and all was silent…she could hear the sibilant whispers…

“Cooome. Coooooooome, Girlllllll…soon, you will come…to love ussssssss…you will be one…with usssssss…”

And she would lay awake, terrified beyond all being…because she knew she already was.