The man with the satchel over his shoulder staggered down the street, looking behind him as he went. Questions like "Who is this man?", "Why is he staggering?", or "What's in his satchel?" are unimportant. What is important is the story I'm going to tell you.

Sweat and blood rolled down from the gash on his forehead and over his unkempt stubble as he looked around frantically. His eyes were wide, as if searching for an answer, a question, or both.

The street around him was very suburban, with clean houses, swing sets, and basketball posts. He stumbled and limped past overturned tricycles; it was growing dark.

He took deep breaths and slowed his pace. He was going to have to conserve energy if he was going to outrun- Wait, was that a noise? He stopped. There it was again. A noise; a sort of thumping sound. Taking a deep breath, he spun around.

Nothing. The only truly clear noise was the distant squeals of children, probably playing tag. He sighed with the faintest hint of a whimper.

He turned back in the direction he was walking, and moved a reasonable pace, now looking back more frequently. 

But there it was again. The now almost constant thumping, like a heartbeat, pounded in his eardrums. The thumping filled his brain, his body. He was screaming. Screaming for it to go away.

Then, he realized he wasn't walking anymore, or even running. He was on the ground, crying. The thumping was gone; it was now replaced by a pulsating ringing, as if he had just survived an explosion. 

"Um... Sir? Are you ok?" asked a voice.

Yes, he wanted to say. Yes, I'm ok.

But he wasn't. Not really. 

Sitting up, he looked at the source of the voice straight in the eyes. He slowly unzipped his satchel while standing up. Walking towards the source the voice, he still heard the ringing, egging him on. 

The voice stammered nervously. "Oh my god. Your forehead... You need an ambulance."

He withdrew a knife from the satchel, and gutted it.

When he was finished, he stopped to make sure it was dead. But now, as he was standing back, it was almost as if it wasn't a monster. At first, he thought it was just a trick of the light, but then he realized the monster he had just killed was a man.

A tumorous fear grew inside of his stomach as he realized he had just murdered someone. The more he thought about it, the more the tumor grew.

But then another thing grew: An epiphany. The thumping he had heard was just his satchel bouncing on his back. 

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no! He thought. This can't be real. It isn't. It's just a dream. I'll wake up, and everything will be fine. He tried pinching himself as he heard a woman screaming from down the street. She was looking at him.

A new epiphany grew in his head when he started hearing sirens in the distance. If this is a dream, I should just kill myself. He looked down at the bloody knife buried in a pool of sopping crimson arteries. Picking it up, he screamed in fury as the sirens grew with the tumor in his stomach and the epiphanies in his brain. After he stabbed himself, things became darker, more cloudy.

More peaceful.

Written by Ameagle
Content is available under CC BY-SA