The Horror Zine
Eric J. Guignard

The April Editor's Pick Writer is Eric J. Guignard

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Eric J. Guignard


by Eric J. Guignard

What do you mean, why are you here?

You came to me, I didn’t go to you. You’re the one who’s sick here. It’s not me, Jack, it’s you. I guarantee you that much; signed, sealed, and delivered.

Yes, I know I may look sick, people tell me that all the time. But I’m going to give you another guarantee—this’ll be two, in case you’re keeping track: Im the healthiest person youll ever meet.

Don’t judge me like the others. Appearances, as you know, can be quite misleading. There’s so much more going on that you simply cannot see.

People say I’m too skinny; they call me bulimic or anorexic.

I’m not bulimic. Bulimia is when the sufferer binges on food and then purges it out. I simply don’t eat.

Nor am I anorexic. Anorexia is the fear of gaining weight. That’s just ridiculous. Who worries about such things when the real horrors of the world surround us at every moment?

Oh, and when I say surround, I mean live within.

It’s the parasites, the microbes, the creatures that live inside us.

They’re eating me alive. They’re eating all of us alive. Did you know that the human body is host to over ten thousand species and strains of germs and mold and bacteria? Sweet Jehovah, can you imagine them, coating your lungs and trespassing on your very breath in order to procreate and create bastard offspring?

And worms, oh so many worms. There are pinworms, tapeworms, yeastworms, hookworms, whipworms, even humaworms. Have you heard of humaworms before? They spread in your intestines, living undetected for years, but growing strong, growing to incredible lengths, twenty feet, thirty feet, forty feet, and more. Their size is boundless if left unchecked. The human host dies before the humaworm does, that’s for sure.

Then there are flagellates, the very harbingers of disease, self-reproductive and ravenous. They eat of your marrow and nerves, like filthy vampires. They form algae and attach to your blood cells, travelling the vascular highways of the body. Flagellates can even be passed through saliva or sweat. God forbid some sick crone ever sneezes on you.

Oh, don’t get me started on protozoas...

But you know all this, don't you?

Of course you do, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be condescending; I just tend to ramble some times. Everyone knows these things that I’m saying. Everyone knows their body is a sloppy all-you-can eat buffet for germs and bugs. Like a calf being fattened for the slaughter, our bodies grow plump and rich. Our bodies are a garden of delight to parasites. Heck, not just a garden, but a universe. We know it and we accept it—we are after all, just carefree hosts to bacterial rapists.

They’re eating us alive from birth, these things. They drink and feast and spread, bugs and parasites and other creatures which even scientists with their high-and-mighty microscopes can't see or begin to understand. Think about it! There are organisms living inside our body which defies the rationale of even the greatest of scientific minds.

That’s a fact, Jack.

And the world is perfectly happy to continue to let these things feed off of them. Laissez Faire to the microcosm.

But not me, no.

That’s why I don’t eat. I’m not starving myself, I’m starving them.

Are you surprised at what I say? Did you ever consider how else to defeat these monsters that live within us?

Did you know that when the body starves, it will eat itself? Essentially, deep down inside, every one of us hides a personal cannibal. To survive, the body needs protein and sugars and all the other building blocks of life. That means that when it runs out of these things, it will turn inwards and start to digest those blocks that already preexist. The body digests its own muscles and fat first…but so too, does it the bugs, devoured finally by the body’s response system.

That’s how I'll get them. I’ll starve and they’ll starve, too. The difference is that I’m stronger than any single-celled organism. I’ll live, and they’ll die.

I have no doubt I will outlast the parasites. It’s survival of the fittest. You see, the land the microbes have settled will grow desolate, barren. They will compete for the withering resources of my flesh and organs, until they perish, one-by-one.

Yes, it’s true they may become more desperate. They will struggle to survive, as all life does. They may even adapt or…

Never mind. It’s like I told you—I’m stronger than they are.

Do you see this? Already, their home inside me has dried and forced them outwards to the surface. See this lump here? No, this other one on my arm. Yes, the stitches are sloppy—I put them in myself, and it’s not easy to do in my state. But you can’t trust doctors to do that sort of work on you. They’re filled with the bugs themselves—hell, they’re mind-controlled by the bugs. They would recognize me as a free-thinker, as having escaped the pattern of host for the creatures and they can't allow that. I think you know what they’d do to me if they discovered my freedom…

Ugh, you distracted me. What was I saying? My head hurts, the mites are scavenging—I think they’re in my brain.

Oh, I was talking about the lump, the one I had to stitch up. Well, I sliced it open the other day. It wasn’t any accident—I knew exactly what was going on. The lump was swelling like a pregnant whore, and I knew the parasites were retreating from my innards. They were being forced out, so as not to be digested by my starving body, and they were huddling under the outermost layer of my dermis, their number growing with other germ refugees. The lump grew and I took a razor and sliced it open. It only confirmed my suspicions. What came out of that lump was yellow and speckled and filled with shrieks and pleas. I had rid them from myself—I had killed off the sycophants, the leeches, the murderers of my beautiful, beautiful body. I was victor!

From there, I opened up the lumps on my chest as well, and my thigh and neck and face. More of the parasites oozed out—that's how I knew I was getting rid of them. They’re dying and I’m living.

You need to do it as well, you know. Before the bugs tip the scales in their favor—before it’s too late.

But baby steps might be in order. Not everyone is as strong as me.

There’s a bottle of Lysol on the table. I have cups, if you’d like. I didn’t drink it straight the first time—I’m not crazy. I watered it down, fifty-fifty. I felt it burning inside me, the acid eating away the bacteria, the fire of purification.

It worked wonderfully—even the ad on the bottle says so. See for yourself. The label reads: Kills germs…

True, I had a lot of bleeding inside, but I’m pretty sure it was the blood of the bacteria. I vomited out all of their dead corpses. I told you I’m a winner, Jack. I’m a survivor—don’t ever forget that.

Oh, another thing. Did you know your hair and fingers are the filthiest parts of the human body? Who would have known! I would have thought it was the rectum, that portal for filth to make its great exodus. But the hair and fingers…

That’s why I shaved all my hair, head and body. Easy enough and only sensible.

The fingers were a little more difficult, though. I bore no misconceptions as to how life would be much more difficult without fingers, so I compromised. I cut off only the tips, right at the juncture of the first knuckle. This way I can still live a normal life, but the germs can’t hide under the nails or the cracks of my cuticles.

Like I said, it’s a war. You gotta make sacrifices to win. These vermin never tackled someone like me before.

Why are you looking at me like that? Has the horror set in? Have I opened your eyes? Do you realize now the nightmares that cover every inch of your skin, scouring, feasting, sexing, defecating, all over you, inside and out?

Oh, and be careful what you breathe. God have mercy on your soul, should you inhale the wrong kind of toxins or microbes. I wear a respirator at all times—I only breathe fresh, clean oxygen from this here tank. I suppose in my case, there isn’t actually much of a choice anyway—I burned off the inner lining of my lungs by inhaling hydrochloric acid.

I might have gone a bit far that time, but we can only grow from experience.

Speaking of inhaling, did you know that dust is seventy-five percent shed human skin? You heard me right—that’s what you could be breathing in every second of every day. The filthy, germ-coated skin of other slobs, just floating in the air, waiting to find a new home, a new human host, to infect. You don’t have to worry about that in my home, though. I scrape and bleach my skin every morning.

But anyway, that's why you’re in the cellar. Sorry, I do tend to ramble for awhile, but I wanted to answer your question. I had to explain myself so you’d understand.

I’m working so hard to be cleansed, killing these things. I can’t have you come into my house, infecting my environment. Your germs are strong right now, they're potent. They’ve outgrown you and they’re looking for a new home, a new host. I can hear them, excited, scrambling and ready to pounce on the unsuspecting passerby. Even now, your skin, your hair; it’s all falling off you and spreading the disease, the creatures.

I don’t care that you were only selling magazine subscriptions. You’re infected like the others. The parasites don’t make particulars regarding your occupation in life.

That’s a fact, Jack.

But I can help, if you let me. I offer the light of salvation, the proverbial hope for your very survival.

If you cleanse yourself, I will let you out.

Oh the others? Yes, sorry you must be confined with them, but that can’t be helped. I’m not going down there to touch them. Look at the mold and rot on their bodies. Filthy and putrid, really. They were infected, just like you. What am I supposed to do, quarantine everyone individually? That’s just silly. I don’t have those kinds of resources.

But you’re different, I can tell. You’re reasonable. Not like that one in the brown uniform over in the corner. He came to make a so-called delivery. A delivery of lice and infection was more like it. I offered him help, but he refused. Even spit at me. I closed the door and cleansed myself in a bleach bath. I heard him screaming a week later, but then it stopped.

That other one—that one by your foot who’s wearing a tie—tricked me. He wanted to sell me a vacuum cleaner, so I let him in. Of course, I let him in—at least he was trying to help clean the world...or so he claimed. The next thing I knew, he had poured a pile of soot onto my floor as some kind of twisted way of making a sales pitch. Lord! Can you imagine? Needless to say, his was a hopeless cause.

But you…again, you’re different. I can tell. I think you’re ready to start, Jack.

What will you begin with…the Lysol or the razor?








Eric J. Guignard is an award-winning author and editor living in southern California.

He writes fiction short stories in the genres of horror, speculative, and young adult. He also writes research and knowledge-base articles in genealogy, woodworking, and ecology. Eric has been published in numerous print and online media, recently including publications in: A Very Short Story competition (first place), Coscom Entertainment, Hall Brothers, SNM Horror Magazine, Another Realm, Indie Gypsy, and many others. He is editor of the acclaimed anthology, Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations (Dark Moon Books).

When not writing, Eric designs and builds custom furniture and is also an amateur entomologist.

Most importantly, he is married to his high school sweetheart, Jeannette, and father to an adventuresome toddler son, Julian James.

Dark Tales























































































Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations