THE ZALGO INCIDENT
(Zalgo – Urban Dictionary definition - To invoke the hive-mind representing chaos. Invoking the feeling of chaos.)
Homeless, destitute and struggling at odds with his senses, the man with flesh of darkest night shivered, feverish and cold. His soul held but a glimmer, cast to the shadows of obscurity by the burgeoning weight of so many dead; lives snuffed mercifully by his large, powerful hands. His sorrowful eyes carried a perpetual tear, mourning the souls of those departed. Each killing was looked upon by him as a godsend. Not murder, but a release from pain and misery. This didn’t lessen his own pain, however. It was his fate, his duty to help those who had lost all hope to find peace. He saw no wrong in his deeds, only compassion. He cared deeply for humanity and couldn’t bear suffering. Suffering was all he knew now.
In his late twenties, he was an odd sight. One so young, with what should be his whole life laid out before him, he sat huddled in a shopfront; an ineffectual shelter from the bitter night’s cold. His life had taken a bad turn several years earlier, when he and a few of his then close friends foolishly decided to dabble with a Ouija board. Only he had heard the voice. His friends were oblivious and had a good laugh when he asked if they heard it too. Clearly, the voice was in his head, but he was certain it wasn’t his own. The voice told him it had a task for him; one that would set him on a path from which he could never again step.
“Matthew,” the voice had said, clearly, as though beside him in the very room. “We have a task for you. You will be our agent in your world.”
With all the suffering in the world, the task they had set out for him had been one which was never in short supply. In taking the lives of the suffering; those who had lost all hope and had given up on life, Matthew was commissioned to release them from this pain – release them from this mortal world. For each time he extinguished the life of an unfortunate, his skin bore a black mark. Each mark, a physical manifestation of his patient’s soul – a counting of which he had long ago abandoned trying to keep up with, and which had now become literally impossible. Matthew had once been a fair skinned, blonde haired young man. Now, after many years of accruing these black marks of death, there was very little of the old Matthew left. What stood in his place was a prematurely haggard husk of a man who reflected the darkest shadows of humankind upon his flesh, and indeed within his tortured soul.
Whilst under the illusion he was doing a compassionate service, Matthew was in fact being used nefariously by the denizens of a demonic realm. The voice which had first come to him at his friend’s house had remained a constant companion. It manipulated Matthew’s every thought, no matter how small or insignificant, to the point that Matthew began recognising the all-pervasive voice and the thoughts he entertained as his own. The illusion was Matthew’s reality. In essence, Matthew no longer existed, only a near soulless killer sat in his place.
Constantly on the move from city to city, town to town, Matthew survived largely on the waste found behind supermarkets. For the most part, what food he could scavenge would be itself unspoiled, but the sources – industrial bins where unsold food was discarded wastefully – were riddled with disease and rot. Sickness had long taken hold and he was slowly wasting painfully away. It didn’t matter though. His usefulness was nearing its end. His purpose known only to the demonic entity which possessed him, all Matthew was aware of was the fact his sickness dug its claws deeper with each passing day.
From the very first death, Matthew had been on the run, but now he didn’t even know what he was running from or why, such was his conviction that what he was fated to do was right. The demon would direct him to one in need of a merciful release from the agonies of life, and with a tortured mix of sorrow and compassion, he would perform the deed, swiftly and without hesitation. It was an essential part of the nefarious plot that Matthew would remain on the move, spreading to as many places as his human shell could carry him before finally giving out. Initially, in his mind, he moved on to escape the law. Although he knew (or believed) he was doing a service, he had been perfectly aware others wouldn’t see things in the same light. That was no longer a concern for him now, so many years later. Murder, the law, indeed all human concerns and fears had become alien to him. He just went where the voice directed him, a mindless puppet of death.
As he shivered uncontrollably, he scrutinized the blackened hue of the flesh of his hands. Something tugged at the corners of his mind, but he was unable to grasp what it was. It was the memory, held at bay by the demon, of who he once was - a fair-skinned, healthy young man. The years which had passed had robbed him of his old life and the memories which came with it; the darkness of his murderous actions visibly evident on his now black flesh and the memories reduced to all but a jumbled whisper in the darkness of his mind. Save for two small patches on his lower back, which he was obviously unaware of, Matthew was near complete as the monster which would bring about a new epoch.
Every muscle, every bone ached terribly with the violent shivers which racked his body and Matthew decided it best that he move on. Staying here, he would likely freeze to death. He needed to walk to get the blood flowing and hopefully warm up somewhat. The shopfront only served to block out the icy breeze and nothing more.
His left eye stung with the build-up of mucous turned crusty, which he dug at in annoyance with a dirty finger as he walked. He’d felt as though his body had been shutting down systematically over the past several days and an urgent sense of desperation plagued him. He was tired of the killing – of the constant state of misery he felt. He knew in his heart that his years’ long mission was coming to an end; this gave him a mixed feeling of relief and a fear of what was to become of him once he could carry on no further.
The sound of raised voices reached his ears, taking some moments to register through the haze of his dark ruminations. An argument – a man and a woman. One violent and angry sounding, the other more a pleading, shrill voice, tinged with fear and indignation. Matthew zoned in on the commotion and changed his path, the thoughts of his sorry predicament fading instantly, to be replaced with his familiar resolve. Somebody was begging for death. The demon in his mind took Matthew into that familiar territory once again; the mindset of a mentally detached killer, and he made his way in the direction of his new target. It spoke to him with conviction, telling him the victim of the man’s abusive tirade was tired, resigned and trapped in a cycle she saw no way out of. He was to be her salvation.
His eyes blurred with tears as the sounds of conflict got closer and more pronounced. The unintelligible voices took form in a series of heart-wrenching words from the female voice, which tugged on Matthew’s heart and quickened his step. He felt her misery in every fibre of his being and rushed to put it to an end. The violence in the voice of the man kept pounding against Matthew as he advanced, yet failed to slow him down. He stepped from the gutter and onto the front lawn of the offending house in an eager trot. Though his body ached terribly with fever and illness, the demon drove him forward without relent until he reached the front door.
Matthew knocked vigorously on the jamb and the voices inside stopped, followed by stomping footsteps echoing closer down the hall inside. The door flung open and there stood a diminutive looking fellow with a food stained shirt and the evidence of scratch marks on his face. As the man opened his mouth to redirect his abuse, Matthew charged forward, barging past the man and knocking him to the floor as he entered the abode. Stunned, the abusive spouse sat slumped against the wall, watching this stranger storming down the hall towards the living room.
Matthew entered the room to find a woman cowering on the floor and without a moment’s hesitation, he walked up to her, lifted her from the floor by her throat and began to squeeze. The man came in moments later to see this huge, dark monster effectively doing what he had so many times wished to do himself but didn’t have the balls. His ego wouldn’t allow it however. With a twisted justification he used to convince himself, he attempted to play the hero and rescue his spouse from the deadly clutches of this maniac.
Assaulting from behind with a series of solid blows to the intruder’s lower back and kidney region, the man desperately attempted to force Matthew to drop, but he didn’t. The demon was in full control now and Matthew was impervious to the attack. He continued to squeeze, crushing the woman’s windpipe and rupturing her carotid arteries, sending the weakly struggling young lady to the afterlife, before releasing his grip and letting her slump into a pile on the floor.
Matthew turned to look at the now stunned and horrified man behind him. Eyes as black as his flesh bored into this pathetic excuse for a man, who stood, mouth agape in horror and disbelief at what he’d just witnessed and what now stood towering over him. The demon Matthew had become grimaced and reached for his throat. The man may have been a cowardly abuser of women and a deplorable human being, but unlike every last patient of Matthew’s, this man had no inherent desire to expire. He was happy with his life, albeit in a self-deceiving way. He was, however, a witness to Matthew’s crime and therefore had to perish.
One of the two remaining patches of unmarked flesh on Matthew’s back had already darkened in pigment to ebony and as he choked the life from the flailing man in his crushing hands, that final blemish of Matthew’s humanity slowly faded from existence, along with his victim’s life.
Standing over the two fresh corpses, a fire grew inside Matthew. His throat parched, his eyes watered profusely and his brain sizzled and popped inside his skull; he dropped to his knees with hands pressed firmly over his ears as he let out an inhuman wail of agony. The sound which issued from his mouth reverberated around the room in which he knelt; a tortured howl dancing in tandem with maniacal laughter as the demon realised its absolute power. This was the culmination - the consummation of its diabolical goal. It was time to summon the hordes.
Matthew slumped forward, planting his face roughly onto the hardwood floor, the life escaping his now inert shell as the demon assumed its position in the physical realm. No longer a mere voice, it filled Matthew’s corpse, animating his limbs with spastic jerks and violent twitches, his head beating the floor in a macabre rhythm. As if drawn up by a harness, he rose smoothly and suddenly to his feet. A triumphant glare spewed maliciously from his solid black eyes and he raised his arms high as he began to recite an incantation in a long forgotten ancient tongue.
The dead man and woman at the demon’s feet began displaying the same jerking movements. It wasn’t long before they too stood, their bodies now housing demonic entities – entities with a singular goal and purpose; to kill, devour, recruit. The three demons vacated the house, went their separate ways and continued to the neighbouring abodes.
All throughout the four states Matthew had traversed over the years, corpses reanimated. The bodies of his victims taken over by the demon hordes, no matter the state of decomposition, there was chaos and death on a mass scale, but on a scale more epic than one would imagine. Each new corpse would become a vessel for a new demon to enter and continue with the mass extermination of humanity.
Matthew’s killing spree was by no means an isolated incident. Ouija was the means by which his particular demon had taken hold, but on every continent, similar cases had occurred. People the world over, who dabbled in things they knew nothing about, captured the attention of this demon realm and invited their emissaries to move in and carry out their diabolical plan on a worldwide magnitude. Almost simultaneously, the dead stood up and it would now only be a matter of weeks before humanity steps aside as this realm becomes home to the new inhabitants.