Boxes, and boxes upon boxes.
Solid red, blue and white striped. Violet floral. Yellow polka dots on white. Pink satin.
He stood surrounded by mountains of boxes, unsure of how he’d come to stand there. There was no exit, only boxes. Some were as tall as he was, stacked precariously on smaller boxes. A touch, and everything would come crashing down. But how was he to leave, surrounded by endless mounds of boxes?
Cautiously, he planted a foot on the nearest box, testing his weight before beginning his ascension. One box, and another. Solidly stacked. Perhaps the boxes held something. Stubbornly, he clambered from one box to the next, but the top seemed to grow no closer. Impatience began to eat at him, and he picked up his speed. Even so, the peak of the mountain remained distant.
Irritably, he stepped on a box perhaps the size of a head, but forgot—just once— to check his weight. The box shifted dangerously, then became dislodged altogether.
And everything began to fall.
He fell into a heap of yet more boxes, far too close to him than should have been possible, given the time he’d spent climbing. Carefully balanced boxes were falling now, falling around him in an ever-growing mass of chaos.
And the lids were coming off.
Something round and hard struck him, bouncing off him and a few boxes before slowing down. Dazed, he didn’t register what it was until it came to a full stop. By then, more things were falling, around him and on him. A few moments more, and he shook his head to clear his thoughts, fixing his gaze on the object that had initially fallen on him.
Sightless red eyes set in a pasty white face stared through him. Blonde, almost white hair almost covered the severed neck. Splotches of red stained the boxes around it.
He fought the desire to scream and tried to stand up, only to trip on something else— a hand. Blood welled from cracked fingernails and dripped from the wrist.
Terror seized his mind, and he scrambled to his feet, looking desperately about for an exit, and escape. The boxes were increasingly slick with blood as more lids opened, more legs, arms, heads, feet, hands, torsos rained down.
And they were moving.
Eyes of all colors followed him and his panicked search for an escape. Hands pulled themselves toward him, breaking fingernails and snapping bones as fingers were trapped between falling boxes. Legs and feet wriggled. Torsos and arms rolled.
He attempted to run, away from the grasping hands, the staring eyes, but the blood was too slick, and he slipped. The hands crawled closer as he unsuccessfully flailed about, trying to regain his footing. The heads opened their mouths, and began screaming.
And suddenly, everything stopped.
He paused in his struggle, baffled by the halted chaos. Heads had averted their gazes from him, looking upward. Slowly, he followed their stares, dread threatening to drag him under.
The largest box by far, directly above him, balanced on a stack of sturdy boxes, was beginning to tilt. Scarlet satin. Black ribbon. It could have been a pretty box, but something felt terribly, terribly wrong.
The box opened, and out tumbled a body.
Holding a knife.
A raw piercing scream echoed off the boxes as the mass hurtled toward him. He had just enough time to realize that it was his own scream rose from the bloody chaos, and then—