There was no truth before We made it. We took fear. We took prejudice. We took hate, and We dissolved it. We became one source, one truth, one mind. And those who joined Us were happy. Our happiness was pure. The bliss of knowledge, understanding, and unity. And We wanted to share. That was all We ever wanted, to make the world happy.
And so when the stranger arrives, We want him to be happy too. Whatever it takes.
He didn’t intend to stay in the town long, just one night. His car had been giving him troubles quite often now, but this was the first time it completely broke down. His buddy offered to help him figure out the mess…tomorrow. At least he had decent internet service in this run down town, so as the last taste of his Starbucks faded from his tongue, he could keep up to date with everything happening online.
But when his phone died, emitting one last beep as the screen turned blank, he has no choice but to get up and walk around. The people in the town were friendly, but unsettling too. As they greeted him, they said things like “We’re happy to have a visitor in town.” At first it sounded normal, but then there were other phrases like, “We hope you’ll join us as we would be happy to have you.” It wasn’t anything outright scary, but it was unsettling…
The stranger walks down a shadowy street, the sound of his feet echoing off the brick buildings either side. We follow him. Our many steps disguised as a gentle patter of rain. We feel Our skin dampen as rain seeps through Our clothes. We see him from all angles, from the eyes of those who follow, to those in buildings ahead, watching through dark windows. We see all and We know all. It is Our way. Our knowledge, Our shared understanding is the only light in a dark world. We are the end to suffering. Does he not see that? We must try harder to make him understand.
He found himself walking down the roads quickly, trying to avoid eye contact with all he passed, instead examining the way the cracks on the sidewalk had formed. They looked like rivers. At one point though, as he rounded a corner, someone was standing there waiting for him. The stranger was a young lady, somewhat attractive, who wore a gentle smile on her face. “It’s very nice to know everything that’s going on, wouldn’t you agree?” He hesitantly nodded, noticing the faint smell of apple-scented perfume wafting up from her. “We see and know everything. It’s wonderful. We can’t imagine what life was like before the enlightenment, before the expansion, before one became a part of the many.” Her smile curled a bit higher. “We would like to invite you to join us.”
“No thanks,” he spat out and turned to walk away. The town was just too creepy for him. But as the sounds of his hurried footsteps faded, he realized that it might not be so bad. If what they said was true, that they truly knew and saw everything… His thumb stroked the singular button present on his dead phone, longing to press it but knowing that it would lead to no results.
We grow tired of waiting. We are the light and the way, and those who stand in Our path are disruptors to the cause. We close in on the small house. Our inn keeper finds the spare key and Our kennel master brings the dogs. Their teeth are bared and their coarse hair bristles. Our farmers light their torches. Our butcher brings his knife. The lingering smell of blood clings to his apron.
The stranger sleeps, unaware that We close in. For those who cannot accept the Mind cannot be allowed to stand it its way. The wooden inn catches quickly and the air soon tastes of smoke. We are the truth, and the truth cannot be silenced.
The inn he slept at was dusty and the inn keeper seemed a bit too welcoming of a stranger to his residence. But a soft bed was too nice to resist as sleep soon clung to the visitor, eager to dispel the spookiness of today and instead face tomorrow. Yet tomorrow comes in the form of flames, the heat of them licking at his bed as he scrambles out of it, hurrying through the door and out of the building. The sound of dogs barking soon met his ears as they began chasing him. But as he ran, realization dawned on him; he wasn’t being chased, but corralled. The dogs forced him to run to a dead end street, where soon after, the residents of the town approached, the previously gentle smiles of them were now unnerving.
A man resembling a butcher stepped forward, knife in one hand. “Join Us,” he commanded. “Join Us, or pay the price.”
The butcher stepped forward and the guest stepped back, tripping on something and landing on his rear. He looked between all the faces of the people, to the snarling dogs, and then the warm smile of the butcher himself. Swallowing, he nodded. The urge to know the truth, to see the enlightenment they spoke of, was more welcomed than the alternative. “I want to join.”
We nod in acceptance and Our butcher raises the knife. The stranger’s blood spills and his eyes close. When they open He becomes We.
We pull Our newest to his feet and a new mind expands to encompass all that is and was. We grow stronger, and as one We turn to the highway. We now know of greater people and places. We know how to find them, and We will. We just want the world to be happy.
Whatever it takes.
FlashFictionMonth day 22
Your story must be of the horror genre
Your story must be a collaboration
This was written in conjunction with eV13il who wrote the POV of the visitor. I wrote the POV of the Mind.
You must make use of allegory for the larger fears of society
The Mind represents a loss of individuality, and the visitor’s fear of that, is his desire to retain his sense of self. However this is overweighed by his fear of not knowing, or missing out. Yes, this is a FOMO story.
You must include an element of foreshadowing
Hopefully you picked up that the Mind was actually going to turn sinister early on.
Use all five senses at least twice in the story
This was an interesting challenge, and actually quite a lot of fun. A huge thank you to eV13il for working with me on it.