I Have To Do This, And You Will Too

I have to do this, and you will too. That’s what it said. I saw it everywhere, scrawled on walls and the pavements. It didn’t make much sense to me, of course, not until it was written on my front door.

I have to do this, and you will too.

It took a little while to get through to me, but things began to get a little clearer when I started to see the blood.

I started to see it on Wednesday morning. My bus was late, as usual, and my mind was preoccupied with anxiety about yet another detention for yet another late mark on my attendance sheet. I had almost forgotten the writing on the door.

My Dad was scrubbing at it with soap and water as I left for school, so it had faded to the back of my mind. Maybe it was just kids? Or some pretentious Banksy shit? It didn’t seem to matter.

The driver and I exchanged smiles as I got on the bus, and I strode down the aisle to the only empty seat, breathing a sigh of relief as I sat down.

The hand rail beside the seat wasn’t something I’d normally look at, but my tired eyes seemed drawn to it, tracing up the yellow metal to the centre of the pole. A small smear of blood clung to the edge of the bell. I recoiled, my hands covering my mouth to keep a scream inside.

Nobody else seemed to notice, but as I looked around the bus, I began to see blood everywhere. Little drops here and there, small smears on the metal, little pools of it, baked into the seat upholstery.

That’s how it starts. They’ll send you a message, and then, the blood will begin to follow you.

I have to do this, and you will too. I don’t have a choice. You have to do what they say. Life seems normal, and then it isn’t. Once they speak to you, they’ll be everywhere.

I’d see them peeking behind corners, watching me from across the street, following just a few footsteps behind me, with gleeful, gurning smiles.

The smiles were the only features of their faces I could make out. They had no eyes, but always seemed to be watching, and beyond their smiles, their faces were just a bleak sheet of grey skin.

Every time I looked around me, I’d spot a new one. They’d point at the blood that surrounded me with thin, twig-like fingers, throwing their heads back as if they were laughing, but never making a sound.

Who’s blood was it? Who knows. I suppose it doesn’t matter. When you get involved in this game, things seem to matter less.

You’re playing now, do you understand?

I started seeing it everywhere. Little smears of blood on walls and windows, and then pools of blood, like puddles, everywhere. I’d ask others around me, but they couldn’t see it. It was like I was going mad.

The streets began to fill with fog, the tennis courts and car park at school too, even inside the classrooms. It was everywhere, thick and threatening. I knew it meant something, but they wouldn’t tell me.

My shoes sloshed through the blood that began to fill the floor, but nobody but me could see it. I could see it, feel it even. I knelt down on the floor, running my fingers through it, but my friends couldn’t see what I could see. I mopped some up with my fingers, letting it linger on my lips, dripping down onto my tongue. It was sweet, a kind of soft sweetness I’d never tasted before.

I have no idea why I put it in my mouth.

They began hiding in the fog. It got everywhere, and so, they were everywhere. I’d go a minute or so without seeing them, but then, they’d appear, bright smiles, no eyes, all lined up around me, silently sniggering as I shoved past them.

I thought I might be losing my mind, but that’s just how it feels to play with them. I have to do this, and you will too. I saw it everywhere. Scrawled on the walls, written on the boards in all the classrooms, scribbled in textbooks and on toilet walls, and everywhere I saw it, I saw them, and I saw blood. It was so sweet, and I began to want it.

You’ll want it too.

They began to whisper my name, and it was nothing but a sweet song to me. I longed for it when they left me in silence. I didn’t know why, but it felt integral, and I ached for it.

Sometimes, they’d tease me, whispering, leading me towards blood and watching my face fall as it faded away. They’d cackle, quietly, watching me fall to my knees, scrambling on the floor for what I needed.

I didn’t go home for three days. My phone rang but I threw it into the fog. They were always with me, following me everywhere, pointing with gleeful grins at the blood that began to surround me. It was everywhere. Endless. So delicious. I couldn’t get enough. Lost in the fog, swallowing down every drop of sweet, sweet blood that I could find.

My Dad found his way into the fog, but he wouldn’t drink. I told him, just as I’m telling you. I have to do this, and you will too, but he couldn’t hear me. We all just laughed, not making a sound. We all just laughed as he fell to his knees and bled. I was bleeding, and I was drinking.

I had to do it.

He had to do it.

They had to do it.

You have to do it.

You think you won’t, but you will. Everybody thinks they won’t, for a second, but then they will.

He faded away, and then, I saw him. Lifeless on the floor, his hands and feet all out of joint, sprawled across the floor. He tried to hide it, but his lips wouldn’t leave the ground, surrounded by slowly disappearing, sweet scarlet. In his last moments, he did it.

He had to do it, and you will too.

I can see that you don’t believe me, but you’ve already seen it. Maybe it was written on a wall you passed, or something you scrolled past on social media. You’re starting to think back over the last few days, haunted by how familiar it all sounds.

Do you see the fog? It’s just a wisp of smoke to you now, but it will find you. You’re starting to remember the blood, aren’t you? And as you comb through the last few hours in your mind, you feel… hungry.

I wanted it so much that I forgot everything. I stopped thinking about how strange it all was, how scared I should be. All I wanted was the blood. The whole world was lost to the fog, and time seemed to slow to a stop. All that mattered was the blood.

It tasted so sweet. As it passed my lips, it was like everything was okay. It was like all my worries just faded away, and so did I.

You have to play with us. Don’t you see? I have to do this, and you will too. I need more. I need it so much, and so do you.

You can feel it inside of you, can’t you? You can feel the hunger, beating in your heart, pulsing through your veins, ripping up every inch of your brain as the fog begins to settle.

Ask someone. Ask them if they can see me. They’ll tell you that they can’t, and the more people you ask, the quieter the response will be, until you hear nothing but your name, whispered all around you, and then, you will know that you’ve won.

I have to do this, and you will too. I just… I can’t live without it, and neither can you. I promise you. I’m not lying. All of you will do this, eventually, but right now, it’s just me and you.

We all have to spill. It’s what makes the world go round. Everybody is so hungry, and it’s all so sweet. We all have to do it, and you will too.

Drink with us, and then we’ll laugh.

Everything will feel like a dream.

A sweet, scarlet dream.