“Are you sure it’s okay?” I asked Murry. He had been my best friend for over 20 years. He had a good heart at his core, but his morals were a bit grey. He was driving us to ‘The Spot’. I had a couch that seemed impossible to get rid of. No one wanted the ugly thing. It had yellow upholstery decorated with brown flowers. I put it on the curb and no one touched it. I posted an ad, and no one called for months. Then I posted another ad without a picture. The one guy that did come look at it punched me for wasting his time. I even tried burning it one time, the timing on that one was too perfect. For absolutely no reason at all a fire truck was driving by. They put out the fire, and I earned a hefty fine and a stern talking to from the Fire Marshal. I bought it while drunk one night, and seemed cursed to own it forever.
“Yeah man, don’t sweat it. I dump crap in there all the time,” Murry said while he drove. Everyone knew about The Spot, but no one knew anything about it. Government scientists had tried researching it. They sent probes, guys with cables, everything. Nothing ever returned. It still felt like dumping to me, but my mind relaxed a bit when I saw a federal truck driving away from it. “See man, even the feds do it.” Murry reminded me. I wondered what they were dumping, and realized I probably didn’t want to know. After another five minutes we reached The Spot. The area was like a crowded town square.
People were walking around buying things from shops set up by enterprising folk. The Spot was a bit out of the way, so the trend started out easily enough. Someone set up a stand to sell drinks and sanitary wipes to help clean up after dumping. Then someone started selling food. Within a year it became a tourist trap, with the added bonus of easy clean up. They just swept all the trash into the dark hole in the ground. I glanced at the small line of people waiting to dump. It seemed silly that there would be a line, but due to all the food stands around the hole there was really only one place left to dump from. As soon as we parked some kid ran up to us pulling a dolly behind him.
“Hey Murry. 5 or 10?” the kid asked. Murry handed him a five dollar bill.
“Just the dolly,” Murry said. The kid handed him the dolly and ran off.
“You really do this all the time, huh?” I chuckled. “What’s 10 bucks get you?” Murry pointed to a big burly guy that looked like an older version of the kid that rented us the dolly.
“Help,” he said. I climbed up in the bed of the truck and we worked the couch down and onto the dolly. We got it to the back of the line with minimal fuss. “Hey man, want a beer?” Murry asked me. I saw him waving down the same kid that provided the dolly. I nodded, then reached into my wallet.
“It’s on me, thanks for your help.” When the kid arrived I handed him a 20. “Two beers, and keep the change. “
“THANKS!” he smiled broadly at me and ran off. I smiled at him and remembered my younger days. That kid seemed full of energy running everywhere. I smiled when I saw more children running, and thought to myself that this was kind of a nice place. Almost like a park. I saw a couple of adults running too. It was nice to see the parents playing along with their children. Then, I noticed more adults and kids running, some adults running while carrying kids. All in the same direction, away from the hole. I heard a scream. I turned my head and saw a skeleton climbing out of the hole.
“That’s never happened before,” Murry said. I almost lost myself to panic, but his comment kept me grounded. I let a small chuckle escape. I liked Murry. In our long friendship, I’ve never known him to panic or over react. He calmly placed a hand on my shoulder. “Let’s go somewhere else,” he said. It seemed like such an obvious thing, but he said it so casually. He sounded like he was disappointed with the menu choices in a restaurant. We left the couch and dolly there and walked back toward his truck. People ran all around us, and I started seeing more skeletons appear. They pounced like wild animals on anyone that they saw running.
The walk was difficult. I mostly kept my eyes on the back of Murry’s head while he paced forward, almost as if he were taking a Sunday stroll. Any time my eyes looked somewhere else I saw blood and death. The once bone white skeletons were now covered with crimson. The screams were horrifying, but I focused on the back of Murry’s head. I was so focused on the back of his head I didn’t realize he stopped walking until I crushed my nose against the back of his skull.
“OW!” I said, then felt immediate shame. People were being slaughtered around me, and I was annoyed because I bumped my nose. I looked over Murry’s shoulder to see why he stopped. Several feet in front of him stood the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. A pair of under developed horns jutted out of the top of her head. She had long jet black hair that reached her waist, and her eyes glowed with red light.
“You look level headed enough to hold a conversation,” the woman said. She walked toward Murry and me. “Can you tell me why there’s a thriving economy built around filling my home with trash?” the woman asked. She stood a foot away from us and stared at Murry in the eyes. She ignored me completely, something I was thankful for. For his part Murry just shrugged.
“We didn’t know it was your home. We didn’t know it was anyone’s home. It was just a hole that goes nowhere,” Murry said. I felt something brush my leg and looked down to see Murry pulling his knife out from it’s sheath on the back of his belt.
“No hole goes nowhere,” the woman said. “I like your honesty. That hole shouldn’t have been there anyway, but unfortunately my piece of shit son is an idiot.” She looked Murry up and down, then looked at me. She turned her head to look around. No sign of another living person. The skeletons surrounded us.
“It’s not often someone keeps their cool when I show up. This world is mine now, but you guys get to live.” She waved a hand at us dismissively. Several skeletons moved out of the way to let us pass. I glanced down and Murry let his knife go.
“What do you mean this world is yours? You just got here. Sure it’s easy to kill a bunch of people having a day out, but do you think our governments are just going to kneel?” Murry asked. The same thought crossed my mind, but I kept it to myself to avoid warning her.
“Oh. Obviously you don’t know who I am. I’ll tell you, just so you keep in mind how generous I’m being by letting you live. When I say this world is mine now. I mean…” she raised a hand into the air and black holes began to dot the sky. As far as I could see across the horizon, the sky looked like swiss cheese. Skeletons rained out of each hole. “… this world is MINE. NOW.” I jumped as a skeleton landed next to me. It shattered on the ground, but pulled itself back together. It held a bone sword and began walking towards the nearest town. Dozens more skeletons continued to fall and head towards town.
“My name is Ballisea the Demon Queen.”