Note: the pieces by Jack Rollins are not eligible for the SubDemon Go! competition and were produced purely to set the scene in the new competition. If you’d like to judge or enter this free competition, please check out the terms and conditions here – you will find a link for registration at the bottom of that page.
When the first attacks came, everyone blamed stray dogs, feral cats, freakishly large sewer rats, anything you can think of, really. And in a way, that was the problem. They only considered what you can think of. You can’t do that when the truth is unthinkable.
Then of course, people tried to photograph and film the attacks for evidence. Youtube became infested with shaky images of blurred, hunched animals clawing and biting at their prey, screeching and howling all the while. Since there were never any clear shots of the creatures themselves, the authorities said the films were faked by attention-grabbing teenagers and discredited the footage at every turn.
It worked, generally speaking anyway. There were believers, but by and large people believe the things that are easiest to swallow. Then the big boys arrived, and although the images and footage of them were still polluted with the streaks and speckles of white light, just as had been the footage of their diminutive brethren, the sheer ferocity of the attacks and scale of the carnage these adult-sized beasts wrought, could not be ignored, covered-up or denied.
Finally, the world was forced to admit it: something unearthly had landed in our midst. Some blamed aliens, some blamed government experimentation … some conspiracy theorists blamed a combination of both … but hell, they always will, won’t they? I swear that was about 90% of the entire internet’s content before all this shit kicked off. It was, however, the religious nuts who spotted markings etched into the flesh of the beasts. They said it was angelic script.
Scientists eventually cracked the mystery of the blurred footage. When these creatures break through, a split appears in the fabric of our reality … some sort of portal. Their volcanic homeland, which, let’s not beat around the bush here, we know it’s Hell, can be glimpsed through the open portals as these sub-demons enter our world. The portals emit a peculiar radiation that clings to these creatures for weeks, distorting photographic images of them. The techies said this radiation is not harmful to humans, but I don’t know … I’ve heard rumors of people getting cancer from being around these things too long.
I can see you wondering why anyone would be around them for too long. I mean, these things are sub-demons and, apparently, an indication of the coming of the end of the world. Doesn’t mean we’re not going to have some fun, though … maybe make a little money on the side …
Jack Rollins was born and raised among the twisting cobbled streets and lanes, ruined forts and rolling moors of a medieval market town in Northumberland, England. He claims to have been adopted by Leeds in West Yorkshire, and he spends as much time as possible immersed in the shadowy heart of that city.
Writing has always been Jack’s addiction, whether warping the briefing for his English class homework, or making his own comic books as a child, he always had some dark tale to tell.
Fascinated by all things Victorian, Jack often writes within that era, but also creates contemporary nightmarish visions in horror and dark urban fantasy.
He currently lives in Northumberland, with his partner, two sons, and his daughter living a walking distance from his home, which is slowly but surely being overtaken by books…
Jack’s published works are as follows:
The Séance: A Gothic Tale of Horror and Misfortune
The Cabinet of Dr Blessing
Anti-Terror, in Carnage: Extreme Horror
Home, Sweet Home in Kill For A Copy
Tread Gently Amidst The Barrows
Spores, in Black Room Manuscripts Vol 2
Conquistador, in What Goes Around
My Last Easter, in Easter Eggs and Bunny Boilers