While I lay surrounded by the inpenetrable darkness, my skin trembled beneath its glistening coat of cold sweat and my nightclothes clung to my body as if cling-film wrapped around fresh meat. My fingers grasped the edge of my duvet, while my eyes stared toward the curtained window opposite my bed. What was that? I held my breath while my heart pounded inside my chest.
My eyes squeezed shut while invisible hands squeezed my brain. I gritted my teeth and grabbed my sweltering head. The cold sweat gushed down my blistering face and coursed along the trembling skin of my body.
I screamed while scaled flesh slithered against the softness of my brain. The endless chatter from the unknown creature: “Kill yourself you weak, feeble bastard! Do the world a favour and slash your throat like the pathetic sheep that you know you are.” My fists clamped my soaked hair and shook the gravelled voice from within my head.
Resistance was pointless because while I lay drowning in a cold sweat, a large claw wrapped around my throat and yanked me from my sopping bed. Without the protection of my duvet, I lay shivering on the floor. My heart thumped from inside my chest; it longed to escape. My bulging eyes stared ahead into the intense darkness while I wrapped my arms across my body.
As if I were a puppet on a string, the sharp claw pulled me to my feet. My skin continued to shiver while my brain burned. My eyes rolled in their sockets. I could do nothing but obey my reptilian master.
My entire body tingled while images of human suffering and misery invaded my thoughts. While blood pumped arousal through my veins, my heart felt empathy and compassion fade. Visions of savagery flooded my mind.
“Good. Very good. You’re enjoying this aren’t you?”
I squeezed shut my eyes while I grabbed my hair again. “No, I’m not.”
“That’s not what your body says. The images of people suffering turns you on.”
“Stop it. No they don’t. They sicken me.”
“Stop lying to yourself. Embrace who you really are. Go on, touch yourself while you imagine innocent people suffering by your hands.”
I wrapped my arms around my aching stomach. “Leave me alone. You aren’t real.”
The room filled with the sound of booming laughter. “You know how real I am; you feel me slithering on the inside of your head, and you hear my voice brush against you ear drums. I am the realist thing you’ve ever experienced in your timid little life.”
“I will not kill myself.”
“We shall see about that.”
Throbbing began deep inside my brain. I clenched clumps of my wet hair in my fists while I screamed. Tears streamed from my squeezed shut eyes. The throb increased to a heavy thumping against the inside of my skull. I collapsed to my knees still clenching my pounding head.
Sweat gushed down my grimaced face while I writhed on my knees. My stomach jumped inside bringing me closer to vomiting with each thump from inside my head. Through gritted teeth, I begged for the pain to stop.
“I’ll do whatever you ask. Please, just make it stop.”
Before my next breath the pounding ceased. My entire body lay on the floor. Sweat poured from me while I panted against the coolness of my wooden bedroom floor. I kept my eyes closed while the sound of my racing heart filled my ears.
“Good boy. Now you finally understand that resistance is fruitless. You finally understand who is in charge here.”
In between laboured breaths I said, “Please, I beg you don’t make me kill myself.”
“It is not I who make you need to kill yourself but your perverted lust to slaughter others.”
My heartbeat increased once again. “That’s not true; you’re lying!”
“You keep telling yourself that if it brings you comfort.”
“I have no wish to kill anyone.”
“Really? Have you forgotten how those pathetic sheep infuriate you and your superior intellect?”
“Allow me to remind you of what you really think of those brainless idiots who you call friends, lovers, family and colleagues…to their face.”
The thick, heavy claw grasped the temple of my head. When the claw clenched tighter, white heat seared through my brain. My eyes rolled in their sockets while my fingers scratched at the wooden floor beneath my writhing body. Then with one hard squeeze of the claw my breath stopped and I lay still unable to move.
I floated through my mind and saw how the behaviour and conversation of other people caused my eyes to roll upward and me to yawn; they were ridiculous, gluttonous creatures; no better than pigs needing to be slaughtered. I couldn’t endure one more day surrounded by these sad excuses for human beings. What value could they possibly bring to the world?
A close friend sat in my lounge drinking beer from the can and laughing at some stupid joke he had probably told a hundred times already.
I crept up behind where he sat. “Hey, Mikey, how’s this for funny?”
Mikey spun around. “What, mate?”
With one smooth swing the axe in my hand swooshed beautifully through the air until it’s blade made contact with Mikey’s grinning face. The delectable sound of bone cracking filled the room while the blade of the axe detached Mikey’s lower jaw from the rest of his head.
Sweat poured down my face while my heart raced in my chest. My penis swelled inside my shorts and my skin tingled from head to toe. Mikey’s hot blood sprayed in all directions covering the axe, my hands and leaving sprinkles on my face. The taste of hot iron filled my gawping mouth.
“Good boy. You enjoyed that didn’t you?”
“No; I didn’t do anything. You’re lying.”
“Then why is it you who is covered in Mikey’s blood. And why is it you with spunk filled shorts?”
My stomach jumped forcing bile to burn at my throat before spilling out over my chin. The blood covered axe fell from my trembling hands. My wild gaze looked at Mikey’s blood-gushing corpse that lay on my lounge floor. My stomach lurched again when my gaze fell upon Mikey’s detached head laying at the foot of the lounge curtains.
“You need to clean up this mess, boy!”
“Yes, I will do that now.”
With the blink of my eyes, I was sat on my sofa and my lounge was clean. Mikey’s body was nowhere to be seen and there was no blood on me or anywhere in the room. I looked at my clean hands. Did they really swing an axe into my friend’s face? My gaze travelled around my bland lounge: magnolia painted walls; beige carpet and sofa; cream curtains; a coffee table from Ikea; and a small TV in the corner. Nothing on the walls and no colour to be seen. Did Mikey’s axed body really spray life into this lifeless room?
I stood and headed toward the cupboard under the stairs in the hallway. When my hand grabbed the cupboard’s handle my heart beat increased a little. My mouth dried as I pulled the door open. My trembling hand pulled the cord to switch on the light.
My mouth fell open and my heart pounded in my chest. I reached my trembling hand forward to grab the bloodstained axe that rested against the back of the cupboard. I lifted it toward my face to allow my stare to examine it closer. I turned it slowly in my hands. I gagged when I spotted tiny congealed human remains on the blade.
“Looks like you forgot to clean something, you stupid boy!”
I threw the axe to the floor while my entire body shook. “No! You’re lying; I didn’t do this. Mikey is alive and well.”
“Correction, your friend is dead and dismembered underneath your house.”
I grabbed the edge of the cupboard to steady myself. “You’re lying. I didn’t kill anyone.”
“Denial doesn’t make it go away. You slaughtered your friend, and you enjoyed it.”
I swallowed back the urge to vomit. ”No! It’s not true.”
“Open the hatch inside this cupboard and see for yourself.”
My eyes flung open and my stare fixed on the hatch that led to the crawl space underneath the house. My heart thumped hard against the inside of my chest while a cold sweat swamped my trembling body.
“Go on, you know you want to look.”
I stepped away from the cupboard and looked up and down the hallway. I rubbed the back of my neck, squeezed my hair and glanced over my shoulder toward the hatch.
“Go on, take a quick peek.”
I rocked on the spot while wringing my hands. My skin tingled and my heart continued to pound in my chest.
“Do it you spineless bastard!”
“Okay! Stop going on at me.”
I inched toward the cupboard before kneeling down over the hatch. Bile filled my gullet when I took the handle of the hatch with my trembling hand. My heart thumped so hard it felt as if it were stuck in my throat. I panted when I lifted the hatch door.
Once the hatch was open a waft of ripe blood and human death blew across my face. My stomach lurched upward projecting bile out of my mouth and straight down the open hatch. The hot bile splashed over the headless body of a man who was dressed in the same clothes Mikey had worn to my place earlier.
“You really are a pathetic excuse for a man.”
I wiped away the bile from my lips and chin. “Shut the fuck up and leave me alone.”
A loud belly-laugh echoed around my home. I stretched out my left arm and grabbed the edge of the cupboard with my trembling hand. After a few deep breaths, I eased myself up onto my wobbly legs. My stare was fixed on the open hatch and the headless corpse that lay in the crawl space.
My heart thumped inside my throat and the inside of my skull pounded. Mikey lay murdered underneath my house. Even though I didn’t remember putting him there I must have done. I also must have axed him to death too—it hadn’t been a nightmare after all.
In a daze I edged into the kitchen, brushed away the tears from my stinging cheeks and poured a cool glass of my favourite tonic. I knew it would erase the pain, at least for a moment. It wasn’t long before my mind calmed and I experienced a period of peaceful bliss.
I strolled to the bathroom because I ached to soak away the demon terrorising my mind. Once inside the bathroom I shut and locked the door. I lived alone but the act of locking the door gave me a strange sense of security.
While looking in the cabinet for my favourite bath salts, I spotted several boxes of my medication, which I took daily to ease my mental suffering. I heard the voice of the demon possessing my mind.
“Go on kill yourself. You will experience so much peace and warmth.”
“Leave me alone.”
“Don’t be such a coward. Take the razor and release your agony. There is so much love and peace over here.”
I necked my drink before pouring another one. After a couple more gulps, I turned on the hot water to fill the bath. While gulping more neat gin, I watched the steaming water fill the tub. I turned on the cold tap and poured in the bath salts.
“You’ll be free over here. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be a pathetic little sheep anymore. Don’t be the person others avoid. No one will miss you.”
I necked the last swig of the glass of gin before immediately pouring another one. Tears gushed down my face. While resting the glass of gin on the edge of the bath, I started to unbutton my shirt.
After stripping off all my clothes, I stood gazing at myself through the mirror. Beady eyes gazed back at my puffy, red face and pasty below average body. My chest had no definition, my belly bulged a little and my limp, useless dick just hung there.
“Look at the state of you; it is no wonder no one wants to be around you. Just kill yourself and put the world out of its misery. God, your body makes me want to weep.”
I reached for my medication and took them with me into the hot bath. Once laying in the soothing water I refilled my glass. I popped my medication from the foil. One after another, I swallowed ensuring to chase each one with a swig of numbing liquor. I felt the peace approaching and my mental darkness easing.
My eyes explored the room until my gaze landed on a razor blade resting on the side of the bathtub. My heart fluttered at the idea of sweet release.
My mind spun as the medication and alcohol danced a number within my blood. I stretched for the blade and held it in front of my face. I admired it while I glided my finger along its sharp edge.
I sunk into the welcoming heat of the bath water. I knew I could float away into peace, and escape the pain of mental darkness. I felt tired of being crazy, I felt tired of my friends’ ridicule, I felt tired of my country’s inhumanity…and I felt tired of being me.