“Home Coming”(Prose)

“Welcome back,” they said to you.

Half their faces were covered by their chipped, decaying masks, only their perfect white teeth showed as they grinned. Their dresses and suits were pristine, ballroom formal and clean, yet they stood in a small, humble living room of a cabin house.

Everyone began to clap and once their applause ceased, a woman clothed in a sparkling, cream colored dress approached you. She had long hair and a mask shaped with the ears of a rabbit. They were yellowed and chipped.

“We got you a present to celebrate,” she said, pointing to a giant box sitting in the middle of the room. “Here, you will need this.”

The woman removed something from behind her back. It was a mask; a mask resembling a dog.

The box shook.

“Take it and put it on,” she said with everyone watching.

You donned the mask. A perfect fit. You peered out from the neatly cut eye holes. The woman stepped aside. Everyone was still smiling with their perfect, white teeth. You went to the box and removed the lid easily.

The whole box fell apart, revealing a medium sized dog. It was a German Shepard mix. The dog barked, wagged its tail, and looked up at you.

You turned to look back at the woman and she was by your side, close enough to startle you. Everyone laughed. She held out her hand. A knife was in it.

“I’m glad you came back,” she said. “That you changed your mind before we got you.”

There was no turning back. You took the knife then plunged it into the dog’s head. It would be quick. You stabbed repeatedly, ceasing its whimpers so you wouldn’t have to hear them anymore. The blood dripped from the knife. It dropped to the floor.

“Instead of being chased, you are now the chaser,” she said. “The god demands our sacrifice. The Beast Below calls for blood.”

You could hear a ringing in your ears. The room smelled of blood. Sweet and delicious.

“Hail the Beast Below,” they said and began to clap for you.

“Remember, the time will come,” the woman said. “When you hear the call, the hunt begins.”

You shuddered and picked up the knife. You were nothing but a dog; a dog of the Beast. There was no escape.

You licked the blood from the knife then felt the corners of your mouth, slowly, pull into a smile.

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