• February 28, 2024

Psychogenic Dumpster Fire – A Horror Short Story by Walter Harris

Anxiety stabbed Consciousness to death in front of us.

I just stood there watching in a dull fascination as everyone else ran in panic.

It didn’t make sense I thought as Consciousness herself stretched out an arm in a dying plea for help.

“You can’t just stand there, come on!” A voice screamed from behind me as someone yanked at my arm. Reason.

We ran through what felt like quicksand for a time, before catching up to the others.

Foresight screamed at everyone the need to move faster.

I glanced back behind us. Consciousness’s body was gone, blood and all. “It doesn’t make sense…” I said breathing heavily and Reason turned to look at me with weary eyes.

We rounded a corner and the 5 of us posted up there for a moment to catch our breaths.

“What is going on…?” Confusion asked, voice cracking.

“We have to get to building 32!” Reason spoke, glancing around the space in observation.

“They’ll both be there.. It’s the only way out of this.”

“I can’t!” Fear said in tears. “I… I can’t do this…”

Foresight looked at her sternly. “Get it together. We either run, or we sit here and die, your choice.” He glanced down and picked up an elongated pipe and gripped it in both hands as a makeshift weapon.

Fear only looked back at him, pale faced and terrified.

Confusion fixed a stare onto me and I nodded my head in reassurance. “We’re going to figure our way through this.” I said. “Like we always do.”

I grabbed her by the hand as we all leaped back into motion. We could just make out the building 32 in the distance.

“It might make more sense for us to split up….” Reason panted and I chimed in immediately.

“No, we stick together. We’re stronger moving in a group.”

The buildings all around us took on darkened hues while seeming to curve inward towards the group as we ran. An odd sensation, leaving behind a type of disorientating pressure on the senses. Tunnel vision.

We rounded another corner and nearly ran into the two standing there, Lies and Depression. Foresight raised the pipe he’d found above his head in defense and Lies threw his palms into the air. “Whoa whoa, don’t hurt us. We’re in this just as much as you are.”

Foresight hesitated. “It’s ok.” Confusion spoke from beside me. “I know the two very well. We can trust them.”

Foresight slowly lowered the pipe but kept watchful eyes on the two.

Lies let out a breath in relief. “So what’s the plan?”

“We’re headed to the 32 building.” Reason said.  “Makes sense.” Lies replied. “We had the same idea, but you can’t make it that way.” He pointed behind him. “It’s been blocked somehow, and there’s another of them that tried getting us.” Reason frowned.

“That’s the most straightforward path.” I spoke. Lies turned to face me. “There’s another route that will take us right up to the back of the building. We were headed there before encountering you guys. We can show you the way.” It was my turn to frown now. “That doesn’t make sense. There aren’t any other paths to the building I can recall.” Lies glanced at me. “You’re Logic, right?” I said nothing in response. “Yeah, I remember you. We’ve met in passing before. I promise, you guys can trust us. It’s not that far. Let’s go.” The two began walking and we all reluctantly followed.

I moved in closer to Confusion. “How well do you know these guys?” I whispered. “We grew up together.” She responded. “Depression’s always been a little quiet, off center. Lies has had a rough go at it but always seems to pull through.” I looked towards the two. Depression’s face was sunken with a darkness around the eyes. I took a deep breath. Foresight seemed to be pushed towards the back of us and Lies led the way. Reason trailed closely behind the two.

We rounded another corner and came across an open space between two buildings. There was overgrown brush and debris there that obscured the path, making it very difficult to see through.

“Here.” Lies said. Fear shook her head. “I don’t think we should go that way…” Tears began to stream down her face. “It’s safe, I promise.” Lies spoke. “I’ve been down that way many times. Clear shot to the 32 building.” “I agree with Fear.” Reason said.

“Doesn’t look safe.”

There was a mild droning from the darkness behind us and Foresight hushed us before raising the pipe and taking a step back to look.

Anxiety seemed to materialize out of the darkness as the man-like creature jammed its large blade in and out the center of Foresight’s neck.

Foresight let out a wet sounding gurgle, dropping the pipe, stumbling back before collapsing to the ground. Blood flowed violently from the hole in his neck.

Fear screamed. “We have to go now!” Lies cried and rushed forward into the path. Confusion yanked at my arm as I looked back towards Foresight’s fallen form. Anxiety stood over him, glaring down intently at the body. A notion of tense restlessness radiated off the creature. I got the sense that it wouldn’t stop hunting us. That it couldn’t stop until we were all gone. Confusion pulled at my arm and I followed her into the narrow space.

We hurriedly pushed through overgrown brush and decrepit tree branches, watching the others moving forward and slowly fade out of view within the darkness of the path. Confusion gripped my hand tightly while calling out to the others to no response. We increased our pace as shuffling could be heard close behind us. Confusion glanced back at the noise and seemed to get turned around, stumbling on her own feet, losing her balance and causing us both to go stumbling to the ground. The darkness of the space felt like it was closing in on us as I pushed myself back to my feet and grabbed at Confusion’s arm.

We made our way through what felt like an endless darkness and finally out of the path to find Fear sitting on the ground with her head between her legs.

“What happened?” I cried out, staring down at her. “He killed him…” She said numbly rocking back and forth. “He killed Reason!” “What?” I asked as I caught movement from up ahead. Lies walked out of the darkness there with a rusted looking blade in one hand. His clothing was covered in blood. I could feel Confusion’s heart rate increase through our tethered hands.

Lies took a step towards us, spreading bloody arms. “It’s ok.” He said. “You can trust me…”

“Why are you doing this?!” Confusion screamed.

Depression blindsided us both as he leaped from the brush, falling onto Confusion and knocking her from my grasp. The two fell onto the ground in a heap. I turned to act right as Lies came running forward with his bloody weapon clutched tight between both hands. He thrust it towards my face and I tilted at the last second, causing the blade to slice across my left shoulder. I yelled in pain as I reached out grabbing at both of his arms. He recoiled from me and sliced the blade across my left cheek. I acted on instinct, pushing forward and tackling him onto the cold concrete. He let out a loud sound of expelled breath before going limp below me. I lifted myself up to see the blade he once held now shoved to the hilt into his chest nearest his heart. Blood spewed out from the wound and the awareness in his eyes slowly faded into blank nothingness.

I stood up from his corpse and immediately turned towards Confusion. She lay there lifeless and limp, Depression nowhere in sight. “No…” I spoke in a whimper staring at her body.

Fear was still huddled where we’d first seen her and she cried softly in place. I made my way there, trying my best not to look at Confusion’s body, until I stood over her. “We have to keep moving.” I said, my tone numb and void of emotion.

She looked up at me, her face white as a ghost. “You can do this. Together we can do this.” I said.

She stared at me for a long moment before extending a shaking hand. I clasped it into my own and slowly pulled her to her feet.

The two of us ran, not looking back for a second.

We could see the 32 building now, sixty feet or so in the distance.

“There’s no point to any of it…” A morbid voice echoed across vacant air. The suddenness of it caused Fear’s steps to falter.

30 feet now. “Together!” I yelled encouragingly to her as we continued forward. 20 feet.

We rounded the corner of the building to see Anxiety standing there, that large and bloody knife still in hand, blocking the remaining 10 feet before the double door entrance. We stopped abruptly and Fear’s feet skeeted forward causing her to fall onto her backside.

“No, no, no….” She cried while covering her eyes with both hands.

I took a deep breath staring ahead at the creature.

“There’s no point to any of it.” Spoke that voice again from behind us. Depression. I took a step to my side in an attempt to keep an eye out in both directions. Depression stood about 10 feet behind us.

The sunken eyed being took another couple steps forward.

“Nothing means anything.” He said, staring numbly ahead at me. “There’s no reward for anything we do, no pleasure to be had or experienced.” He took another step and I noticed the knife in his hands that was embedded in Lies’s chest.

“Hey.” I said sternly to Fear below me. She turned blurry red eyes up to face me. “You have to get up. You have to keep moving.” I glanced from Anxiety and back to Depression before extending my hand to her again. “Never quit.”

Our eyes locked onto each other and what felt like a spark of realization went between us. Something unspoken but true to the core of our existence. Something whole.

She grabbed my hand and sprung to her feet, staring intently at me for a second. I nodded to her and she turned her head towards the double doors of the building.

“LOGIC, you can obviously understand why it’s not worth trying, can’t you?” Depression asked.

I turned to face him and could see Anxiety take a step closer from the corner of my eye.

“I’m not sure about that.” I said. “And I’m not Logic. I’m PERSEVERANCE and now that I think of it, I believe Lies was right… We have met before.” Depression’s mouth dropped open slowly in realization.

“Now!” I screamed and Fear took off for the building. Both entities rushed towards me, the Anxiety creature completely ignoring Fear and fixating onto me what seemed like daggers in its dark eyes.

I turned to face Anxiety, knowing I’d been able to work my way through Depression before, and fortified my stance. In the distance I watched the double doors of the 32 building open suddenly as both Self Love and Rationality hurriedly shuffled Fear inside to safety.

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