“Sam, get the last of these crates unloaded so I can go home!” an angry male voice yelled.
“Alright, quit rushing me!” I shouted back. My boss could be such a slave driver at times.
It was evening down at the docks. Several seagulls could be heard overhead as my co-workers and I busily unloaded the last of the cargo off of a medium sized ship. This particular vessel had just come in to port this morning, and I hadn't seen it before. I've been working here for about ten years now, and I've seen many of the same boats come by to unload their cargo before heading off to wherever their next destination is. However, this must have been a new ship, as I didn't recognize any of the crewmen.
“Where do you want me to set this boss?” I asked.
“Just put it in the back of that truck over there,” my boss said, pointing over to a red pickup truck near an empty cargo container.
I carried the crate over to the back of the truck and set it down. The crate felt unusually light.
“What's in this crate, boss?” I asked.
“I pay you to unload shit, not to ask questions,” he yelled, “Now get out of here, and don't go lookin' in any of my boxes!”
I thought to myself, “What an asshole,” before leaving the docks.
The sun had already set by the time I made it home. I lived in an apartment complex overlooking the harbor. For dinner, I stuffed down a cup of instant ramen and followed that with a beer. It wasn't much, but it washed away the taste of a bad day. I had noticed recently that my boss had been acting strange. I had seen several unmarked vans pull in and out of the loading bay within the past two days.
“I wonder what the boss has been up to?” I thought to myself before heading off to sleep.
I drifted in and out of consciousness for awhile, tossing and turning for what seemed like hours. I had barely managed to get a half hour of sleep before the sound of a distorted scream woke me up.
“What the hell was that!?” I exclaimed. The scream sounded like someone had stepped on a cat's tail or something. I got up and looked out the window at the other apartments. Nothing. I looked towards the dock. Still nothing. After a few minutes of waiting around for something to happen, I decided to just try to go back to bed.
When I finally fell asleep, I found myself stranded on an island at night. I stood in the presence of a mansion that looked like it seen better days. Its structure was a twisted and charred mess of wood and stone. The roof had collapsed in places and the tiles leading up to the front door were broken and battered. Something devastating had gone wrong here, and with no one around to ask, I decided to go inside and search for whatever answers may still exist.
The inside of the mansion was in an equal state of disarray: books were scattered across the ground, tiles were missing, and debris was littered everywhere. Surprisingly enough, despite the apparent ruin, it seemed like someone else had been here before me. A large red carpet, though frayed and burnt, had been thoughtfully cleared of debris. I walked straight and turned left down a narrow hallway. The hallway was dimly illuminated by a single bulb that swung around wildly above on a spindly cable. Reluctantly, I proceeded onward, unsure what to expect next.
I had only walked maybe ten feet or so when I noticed something written on the wall:
The letters were irregularly shaped and sloppy; it looked like a child had wrote it. I progressed further down the hallway, noticing the message appear more and more the further I got. As I walked on, I began to hear voices all around me speaking in hushed whispers:
Don't look...Don't look...Don't look...
I felt a chill go down my spine, as everything went black. I stood in a soundless void. In the distance I noticed a glimmer of light. I Rushed towards it. As I neared it, the light began to form letters until a message appeared:
The Truth inside requires Sacrifice
“What does that mean?” I thought to myself.
It was then that I noticed a crate underneath the message. I walked towards it, and with each footstep I took, the voices from before began to chant their warning:
Don't look...Don't look...Don't look...
The hushed whispers became more audible until reaching a crescendo as I laid my hands on the lid. I hesitantly removed the lid. A deafening shriek from inside threw me back to reality.
I woke up in a cold sweat, my heart trying its damnedest to jump out of my chest. When I regained my composure, I got up and went to the bathroom. I splashed some water on my face and thought about my dream. What did it all mean? I had to find out. I threw on some clothes quickly, grabbed a flashlight and a crowbar, and headed down to the docks.
It was eerily still outside. I went over to the area I had been working at earlier and spotted the truck from before. I went over to it and opened the tailgate. The crate was still in the same place I had left it. I looked around, readying my crowbar. Slowly, I opened the crate. The top popped off without much resistance. I set my crowbar down behind me and turned my flashlight on. I looked inside the crate, almost retching in disgust from its contents.
Inside was the mangled body of a small cat-like creature, it's pink fur rust-tinged and matted. Lifeless, its eyes locked onto mine, a twisted grin forming on its face.
“You shouldn't have looked!”
I felt a sharp pain on the back of my head before everything went black.