The Unnamed

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Kerri slipped off one of her too-expensive, too-uncomfortable black stilettos that her roommate had convinced her to wear to the awards ceremony. Digging her thumb into the ball of her foot, she groaned, earning a short laugh from Jim as he flopped down next to her, loosening his tie and handing her another glass of champagne.

“I still can’t believe you went for this,” he mused, leaning back in his seat, the massive auditorium now blessedly empty after the horror film festival award ceremony.

“Like I said, after everything that happened, the best way to protect the tribe’s secret was to bury them in the desensitized ocean of horror fiction. …Though I suppose I hadn’t expected to win ’best found footage film” in an international film festival.”

Kerri had come up with the idea while she was still on the chopper, knowing there was no way she and Jim would be able to keep the entire viewing staff and tech team from talking about the tribe and its sinister duty. She’d instead formulated a plan for a collaborative effort to turn Wild, the wilderness survival series, into Savage, the found-footage horror flick about a reality show gone wrong.

They’d been able to convince the early contestants of its legitimacy after a healthy payout for their subject-blind participation. And Holly, the only later contestant still alive, already knew there had been an emergency that had taken her out of the running early, so was fed a hybrid story about another contestant having an accident that ended the competition early, and that the footage was actually being used for a different purpose. She had then been awarded her $50,000 for winning the show and signed a release to be featured in the new concept, Savage.

“Nothing is as frightening as the fear of the unknown,” Kerri had said to Jim when she’d been trying to sell her point. “And the Unnamed gains strength from people’s fear. This is how we stop that.”

And she had been right. Now the terrifying image of the Unnamed had been credited to cult-worthy makeup effects, and antler headbands were being sold in the lobby of every movie theater from Cali to New York.

Content, Kerri leaned back in her seat. No. Thanks to the blatant commercialism of the film industry, no one in the modern world would ever need to fear the legend of the Unnamed.

Lifting her glass, she tapped it once against Jim’s.

Then she smiled, and took a contented sip.

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