You feel a weight upon your chest. Even before you open your eyes, you can smell the putrid breath of some creature. It is rank with the decaying flesh of those that it has consumed, it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. You open your eyes with expectant terror and immediately you see its gaping maw. Its many teeth are right before you, able to bite into your unprotected neck at any moment, it lingers.

The dog stops yawning and you scratch it behind the ears. It was an unexpected treat, but there’s no better way to wake up than to the affection of another, be it animal or otherwise. You leave the bedroom and perform your morning routine, preparing to leave the house for the day.

The unborn sit perfectly still. You had taken from their numbers before, and you planned to do so again. As you hold one in your clutches, you can feel its insides churn and swirl. You care not. Without second thought, you break it. You love the feeling as it breaks under your control and hisses onto the surface waiting for it. You cut into it with hungry intent and manipulate the remains.

You sigh to yourself. You never were very good at making omelettes… Scrambled eggs it is. You eat it quickly and rush out the door for work.

The screaming hulk of metal careens toward the hushed onlookers. Huddled together they watch in silence as it swoops toward them, faster than they could ever run. They accept their fate as one by one they are consumed by the thing. Unsatisfied with its meal it lurches forward in search of more victims.

You have never really enjoyed public transport, but it is convenient and relatively cheap. You take your seat, you are now on your way to work. Thankfully, despite the crowds, no one sits beside you for the entire journey.

You are placed in front of your stony faced overlord, in fear of impoverishment and sickness you are subject to its demands. At its whim, you work hoping only to please others long enough to escape from this hellhole. You are locked to your seat, with guards and enforcers constantly circling. Others are affixed to identical contraptions of torture near you, you cannot see them, you only hear their heavy breathing and occasional outcries of suffering.

You never imagined yourself working in an office job when you were younger, but the work suited you and the pay was good. It was easy enough sitting in front of a computer all day, and people rarely had reason to take issue with your work.

At the end of the day, you return home, the dog excitedly greets you. You like this dog. It is not your dog, but you like it. Finally free to relax for the night, you wander up to the bedroom and lie down next to the person who used to live here. Their arms and feet are tied to each of the bedposts. They are long dead. There are well-practiced cuts up and down their body. Some deep, some shallow. All adding to the deepening crimson stain on the bed. It took a while for them to die, as their screams through the makeshift ball-gag sent shivers down your spine. You smile and close your eyes. Finding comfort in the knowledge that — even if only for a brief moment — this person saw the world through the same terrifying lens as you.

Words by Joshua Paddon