I think about killing myself a lot, and I have for a very long time. It’s in large part due to my disorder and the trauma that drives it. Despite the fact that thinking about killing myself is fairly normal to me, I know that it isn’t normal for other people. I wish I could say something like “don’t worry about it” with the confidence that they were just overreacting, but I don’t honestly know if I can say that, most of the time. Suicide is never far from my mind, after all. I’ve made multiple attempts to kill myself. It’s why I feel uneasy saying “don’t worry about it” to people when trying to assure them that I’ll be fine.

I’d used a hot bath and a slit wrist before. I even took care to cut along the vein. I bled a lot for a while, but I didn’t even feel light-headed. That was the first time. I sat in the bath for a few hours, surfing the internet with my perfectly balanced computer before I made my second attempt. I got frustrated and dropped my computer into the red water, plugged into the wall and everything. The breaker switched, the house went dark, and I was perfectly fine.

If dropping a toaster in the bath should kill you, why not a high-end laptop while it was charging? If nothing else the plug ran directly into the wall so it should work like that, right? It actually is possible that I misunderstood something when I tried then, but not the third. You’d think mangling your arm with a knife would be enough. I jammed a french knife through my flesh six or seven times, aiming for the one artery I actually knew about. I remember blood pooling at my feet, pain searing my bones from severed nerves desperately trying to pick up signals from the rest but realizing that they’d been, for lack of a better phrase, cut off. I couldn’t move my fingers very well or feel them very much. I also couldn’t hide this attempt from my roommates.

I was taken to a hospital and somehow, with my arm in meaty tatters and wrapped in bloody bandages, I managed to talk my way out of a seventy-two hour hold. It wasn’t that I didn’t think I needed the hold- I certainly agreed that I did at the time- but I had also promised to cover a coworkers shift that weekend. I suppose now is as good a time as any to mention that I was a DSP for developmentally disabled adults during this time period. As trivial a concern as it may come across as, I couldn’t simply let my co-worker or clients down.

The trigger for these suicidal episodes was pretty clear cut: stress. The particular disorder I have has extremely high suicide rates compared to the rest of the population, and the rates for attempted suicides are in the neighborhood of seventy percent of people holding the diagnosis. Stress affects our mind, and it can be acted on by any other disorders that can inspire stress. Adrenal issues, anxiety, post-traumatic stress… more than that as well. For brief moments that are difficult for us to notice, as we get worked up, our perception of events can change just so much to create a massive episode. Self-harm, destructive acts, and of course suicide.

It’s a little scary to know that if I have a particularly bad day, my brain might decide to start a chemical reaction that prompts me to actively work against my own prosperity and survival. I’ve gotten better at resisting it. Better, but I’ll never be cured of whatever this is. I think my most recent suicide attempt was what drove this home for me. After failing to bleed to death twice, and avoiding electrocution once, I tried a more painless method.

I swallowed a few bottles of sleeping pills. Bottles. I was trying to be absolutely sure that I’d overdose while asleep. I remember that I laid down sometimes afterward, and drank a little bit of some water I’d had beside me. My thumbs twiddled, I rolled over and stared at my wall. Tears welled up in my eyes and a smile laid across my face. It would end. All of it would end, and I would be so, so happy.

I thought about all the times I’d heard people discuss suicide as a selfish act, as though they disregarded the things that underlined it. God forbid my chronic condition be invisible, god forbid I ask for mercy. Once I started fixating on suicide, I simply couldn’t stop. It was a permanent solution to a permanent problem- one where brain chemistry would have to always be tempered by will and effort. And my only acknowledgement for feigning wellness was a pat on the back, yet if I showed the symptoms of being sick I’d have my entire life taken from me. Prison, or men in white coats- how I would be pushed on a weak day defined my future entirely.

I elected that I would be the one to take my life instead. I decided that I wouldn’t drain anybody else’s resources any longer. I wouldn’t be a burden to myself. They’d be free, I’d be free. These justifications drove my resolve as the darkness crept through my vision and overcame my sight. And then, there was nothing. There was stillness. Everything was black.

Then there was... something. Something I didn’t comprehend. Then, I was awake. In my bed, pill bottles empty next to me, and not dead. I started to cry big, sobbing tears. There is nothing quite like going to sleep secure in the knowledge you won’t be waking up and then, against all odds, you wake up. The outside world still continues on, and that part’s fine because you knew it would. But you’re still there. I was still there.

I worked that night. I had plans that day. The weight of still being rolled down my shoulders and crushed my back. I struggled out of bed, groggy but not otherwise harmed. As days would pass it would prove that I had no brain damage or other obvious side effects. But, the key word is obvious. It was a few weeks later when I had my first in a series of very vivid dreams. I dreamt that I was floating in the sky, above a desert but beneath the clouds. I wasn’t frozen in place. I could move just fine, aside from the fact that my position was fixed to this single point in space.

I heard a loud noise from above me, like tons of metal scraped and screeched together. I turned towards the source of the sound, rotating to face the clouds. At first, I saw nothing. Then, suddenly, the clouds opened up. I saw the tip of something golden breach the sky, and as it emerged further the sun sank behind it, blocking out the light and casting the structure into a silhouette. The sheer size of what was falling was overwhelming for even the sky to completely behold.

Its tip surged towards me and I winced as it collided, my eyes opened wide as I screamed and coughed into the darkness of my room. Something wet, thick and tasting of iron bubbled out of my mouth. I didn’t need to turn the light on to confirm that it was blood, but it wasn’t as though I was in any condition too. My chest had a literal hole in it. I confirmed it as my hand grasp at my heart. Blood trickled out of my lips, down my chin, and as the shock settled in my legs grew weak and I stumbled over into the wall. I’m certain that it was this combined with the blood loss the knocked me unconcious.

I woke up only a few moments later, the darkness well settled while the smell of blood was still settling. I felt the pain and grasp at my chest again, finding only that sticky wetness coating my torn shirt, and my body completely intact. I stood up in a daze not of blood loss but confusion, and stumbled my way to a light switch. There was no way what just happened transpired, and the light would reveal the truth of the situation. But, it did happen. The blood stains from my bed to my floor were the proof. I threw open the door and ran into the bathroom, panic rising as my head started to feel hazy from fear.

I was covered in blood. Some crimson speckles dotted the upper bit of my face, but blood stains cascaded down my chin to my neck. Then, just below that bit where the blood faded into the fabric of the neck of my t-shirt was more blood. Darker stains, all the way around to my back, and to the top of my pants, still slick with my own gore. In the darkness of my house I made feeble attempts to stifle my own screams, squawking and squeaking quietly as snot and tears choked out of my face. I fled back to my room, the smell of iron, or perhaps even copper, hanging in the air. It was blood. My blood. I was smelling my own blood as it polluted the room.

I shriveled in the corner until morning, the dawn peeking through my blinds inquisitively only for me to shut it out frantically. I can’t rightly recall how long I spent cowering as my own fluids congealed and decayed around me, but I don’t imagine it was very long for my roommates to discover me. The few people I talked to probably grew concerned quickly- I made it the business of my closest friends to know my suicide history, and if I ever get silent to check up on me. I’m almost confident they checked on me before the end of the night. But what they found was a scene from a horror movie.

I struggle to recall much for what happens next. I was hospitalized, fully and completely. I remember pills, and tests, and questions. I don’t completely remember being released. I just remember one day sort of snapping back to myself at work, knowing what I needed to do and remembering relevant parts of the few days previous. Details were scarce. The blood in the room was confirmed mine, but they found no possible explanation for what had happened. My roommates were still in that house, but it wasn’t for long. They explained to me that after the incident they had discussed the issue with the landlord, and she was allowing them to move out without incurring penalty. I, however, was meant to stay behind.

I was somewhat glad they were gone. I felt awful for whatever it was that had happened, as though it had been my fault in some way. I knew that probably wasn’t true, but they experienced something genuinely horrible and I was still the center of it, unwitting or not. But even that said, the reason I was glad they were gone was because I had been through something horrible too, but where they had each other, they set me aside and laid the blame on me. I’d have rather been alone than in a hostile environment. Before they left, they were sure to tell me that I was on some ‘weird demonic shit’.

Shortly afterwards, news of what had happened reached my boss. They weren’t particularly thrilled that somebody who was suicidal and potentially violent were around their vulnerable clients. I understood why they made their decision to begin a slow process of letting me go, but while I didn’t begrudge them for it my resolve to kill myself only intensified. I cut the shit, and I quit. I didn’t know what happened to me, but it wouldn’t happen again. I had bought a handgun. Not the most powerful kind because I’m not made of money, but one that would do the job if I shot myself in the right place. I was through with the games. There would be no failure this time. I would succeed. Everything would be alright.

But it wasn’t alright. That night, after I had loaded the gun with a bullet and reaffirmed my conviction, I pulled the trigger. I was greeted to the sound of nothing but the hammer clicking. I opened the chamber, only to see that the bullet didn’t fire. A dud, I presumed. I smiled wryly, chambering another round as I braced for the second trigger pull. Again, the hammer clicked, but there was no result.

I tried one more time to the inglorious sound of the hammer striking once again, to no effect. My hands shook as I placed the gun down, and I stared at the box of bullets. I ran my hands over my head, fingers tangling in my hair before I forced my resolve to renew. I reloaded the gun, a full clip this time, and flicked the safety on as I shoved it into my pocket. I left my house that night, the small box of ammo in the other side of my pants, and headed into the woods that surrounded the house I resided in.

Deeper into the trees I went, deeper still, until I could hear no cars from the road nor see any light from my home. I found a downed tree and sat upon it, placing the gun to my temple first before pausing. What if, just like all the other times, this didn’t work? No, it had to. I was lucky that the first three bullets were duds. It gave me the time to realize that there would be less clean-up this way. I pulled the trigger, knowing that the gun would go off. For the fourth time in a row, it did not. I grunted and shouted incoherent gibberish, before aiming the barrel at the ground and pulling the trigger. The next bullet fired. I fired five more times in rage, leaving myself with a single bullet in the chamber.

I turned the gun on myself, pressing the muzzle against my scalp, the heat of the metal burning my flesh. This time it would work. I had to be through all the duds, I had to be. I pulled the trigger, and there was nothing once more. I dropped the gun, grabbed the bullets from my pocket, and chucked them and their god damned box somewhere into the forest. I stormed back to my house that night, quietly crept up to my room, and I closed the door behind me. The room was darker than I had realized- I was seldom up at these hours, so I had no reason to know so thoroughly the darkness dwelling beside me. I sat down on my bed, reclining back into a position where I laid down.

It was then that I noticed a smell that was very out of the ordinary. It wasn’t the blood- with my roommates gone, I had sought a new room now that I could pick. My old room lay messed with blood stains still, and I discarded it at the first opportunity. Still, this was a scent different than one of blood. It was one of animals, of body odor, of stale breathing and still bodies. I went to sit up, and I felt a hand appear on my chest. It was a gentle touch yet I was frightened. Whose hand was it? I felt it press against my chest with a careful urgency and I obeyed it, laying back into the ground.

I heard something emanating from the darkness beyond. It sounded like the growl of a prowling predator. I felt the hand retreat from my chest, and moments later I felt the hot, rancid breath of something upon my face as claws clicked on the ground beside me. It became dreadfully clear that I was no longer in my bed. I heard the beast growl before it trotted off, its footfalls trailing until they stopped. It shifted in the distance as it settled into place.

My arms began to feel around. I felt warm torsos, and legs, and other hands. People, all clearly alive, all lying motionless in the dark. I turned my head back to the one that had touched me. I whispered in the most quiet voice I could to it, “where am I?” In response, the thing in the darkness bounded towards us, and I felt its teeth clamp upon my arm. I started to scream as its foot pressed into my chest, its claws sticking into my meat and my bones cracking.

I awoke again covered in blood, injured, woozy, and shrieking. I rolled off my bed with one of my arms dangling by strands of meat as the other clutched at my torn chest. I flopped on the floor as I felt my body seize, and darkness swept over my spirit like a vacuum, sucking it away into nothing. Then, with the dawn I awoke again once more covered in blood and completely healed, with another room ruined, as well as more clothing. That was to say nothing of my mental state.

I was at a sincere, honest loss. What would I do to explain this? Where would I turn to? Was I actually going crazy? I had to be. These… occurrences. The blood, my vanishing wounds, and my tattered clothing… I knew enough to be certain that I had no idea what to do. I had an urge to attempt suicide again immediately, but finally apathy and resignation had made significant progress in their steady creep to overtake my existential despair. Suicide was an option but… not a viable one. Not while fate continued to taunt me, not while bullets didn’t fire, not when overdoses didn’t deliver on their promises. I meandered about my house for a few days, only leaving to out applications in at jobs that I couldn’t personally justify having. It felt insincere, to have been wishing for death amongst these people. I felt it in their expressions, in how they conveyed their perceptions and read experiences. There was an emptiness in my heart, and it lead to my superifical sincerity.

I felt them inhabiting some middling existence that they had managed to find happiness with. Maybe not consistently. Maybe not a whole big lot of it. But, their days weren’t filled with an undercurrent of self-loathing so powerful it could drag a ship down, down, down into inescapable depths. I watch people move around me day in and out for another week, myself merely a hole shaped like a person hiding out amongst real people. I picked up a new job fairly quickly as a cart pusher at a local supermarket. It wasn’t ideal, but it would work. I would endure it until I might find something better… not that I had the particular motivation to look.

It was the end of that week where things changed for me yet again. I was a fixture in the parking lot, a constant that was expected but whose specific absence would not have been noticed by customers. Sometimes, I wasn’t noticed by people in cars either. I’d had plenty of near misses before, but never had somebody been so inattentive as to actually collide with me. It was all so, so quick. A crack, and I felt myself in the air. My legs hurt as they were thrown upward, but the sensation was dulled. I was disoriented. I didn’t know what direction I was facing, and then it was dark. It was like the great darkness you see when you’re trying to remember what it feels like to be asleep, only I didn’t have to recall it. I was in that absent space inhabiting the mind.

That incomprehensible feeling I had by this point dismissed and forgotten from when I tried pills returned. I felt something whose properties I have no words for touch me. I burned. I froze. I hurt. Then that hurt spread across me like a fire and I started to scream. I felt for a brief moment that I was falling, and then I hit the cold ground beneath me. I was not in the parking lot when my eyes fluttered open. I was somewhere entirely different. A city to be sure, but not like any kind I had ever seen. For starters, it seemed to be made mostly of gold, with gems and other precious metals comprising the more minute details.

I couldn’t place the architecture. That’s not to imply I’m an expert on what other cultures made things look like… but it wasn’t something obvious to me. These buildings were triangular, and jutted out of the ground at varying angles. They looked like crooked tombstones with the way they loomed above me in the sky. I could see the sun, but not a single cloud in any direction. The sky itself was a slightly darker shade of blue the father from the horizon it was. It seemed that I could faintly see the stars. I shivered, and put my hands around my body. The air was cold.

I could hear people. I’m not sure when the ones around me actually got there- I hadn’t noticed them before, and I couldn’t have missed something so overt right? They didn’t seem to notice me either, bumping into me without apparently having any reaction. That’s when, from immediately behind me, I heard a loud scream. It was ghastly, as though somebody was being gutted. I spun on my heel and the world went dark, but I did not pass out. I was still standing, stumbling and dizzy with confusion, until I realized that I had somehow moved a mere moment later.

The screaming was louder in this place. I could hear wet noises and low growls that sounded unfortunate amounts of familiar. I smelled body odor and gore in the air. I felt the air enter my lungs in shallow breaths. Unmanicured claws clicked quietly against the stone floor. Then something brushed against my arm- something warm and wet. Instinctively I pulled back and a silent gasp escaped my lips, though it was not my faint cry which gave me away. I heard the beast roar mere inches from me and I turned to run, only to exit the darkness onto a street.

I did not initially stop running. It was only after a few seconds that I realized the danger had passed, and I plopped down on my rump. What in the fuck was happening to me? I hugged my knees to my chest, and felt with one arm the fresh blood that had been wiped upon the other. I was standing again and in tears from shock and horror. I turned around and I saw a door before me. A big, metal door to a small building. It had no windows, and inside of it I could hear the screaming that I had been hearing. There were markings scrawled upon the building, a language that I couldn’t read. But I watched those symbols bend and twist themselves into new forms, into english. I could read words now.

This building was simply called, “Chamber of Lions”. Apt, if my experience was true. I put it together. A dark room full of people with hungry lions. It sounded like a bible story I’d heard when I was really young- David and the Lions. Only, David doesn’t get devoured like the poor bastards inside. Was it a sacrifice of some kind? I don’t honestly know for sure. I heard the rattling of chains, and turned around again. My eyes fell upon a contingent of three guards with a little boy bound in rags and chains.

His hair was long and unkempt, hanging over his eyes. I couldn’t see his face, but I could read his scars like a map of tragedy. Cuts, gashes, stab wounds and more were all clearly visible on his arms and legs. His torso was bruised and overall he looked harshly battered. The guards each held a section of chain like a leash, with strips of cloth tied around the outside of where the chains crossed to better keep them in place. They were all silent as they ushered him to the room. They didn’t even unbind him to put him inside- pulled the door open, shoved him in quickly, shut the door. They seemed woefully disorganized in the process, almost like they’d never done it that way before.

The screaming inside died down. The building fell silent once more as the guards walked away from it. But I listened. I moved closer to the edge of the building, and very faintly I could hear what sounded like metal scraping against stone. My vision was interrupted when my eyes opened yet again, and I awoke in a hospital bed. Yet even as the florescent light violated my eyes, the gentle sound of chains behind the stone walls took time to dismiss itself. I was disorientated and groggy, though I find myself still unsure of whether it was from the dream or the drugs.

I was hooked up to a machine and an IV drip when I woke up. I felt no pain from the accident that I clearly remembered. My legs were in a cast, but they didn’t hurt and I could move them. There were bandages around my head that covered one of my eyes which was no doubt for a concussion. Bandages covered my skin in patches and bundles, and I quickly figured out that my torso was also in a cast. I wasn’t certain how long I had been there, or how long I had been unconscious, but I was alarmed to note that the substance in the drip was morphine. The bag looked half empty, but I was unimpeded mentally. Sober, to be direct.

The hospital buzzed with sound beyond my door. I could hear intermittent voices and footsteps outside that room, and my finger slid up to the call button on the television remote at my bedside. Then I waited for somebody to come. It was probably twenty minutes later that a nurse arrived, after I’d already turned on the TV as a personal distraction. She was confused to the point of shock. She probably had assumed a visitor hit the button, that a visitor was watching TV. She must have never thought the patient with a broken body would have been awake and alert.

Only, there was dissonance. The doctor came and explained to me what had transpired. The car accident where I was hit broke my legs from the force, and due to the speed that the vehicle driving through the parking lot possessed, it sent me some distance over and behind the car. There, my head cracked against the pavement. If the impact wouldn’t have killed me then, the other car that failed to use its brakes in time must have, for it ran across my spine and torso to crush my body.

When paramedics arrived on scene, they didn’t think I would make it. As a matter of fact, they nearly called for a mortician, but despite all the damage I had maintained a weak pulse. Even if I had survived, they said that the cranial trauma would leave me in a vegetative state. And now, scant hours later, I wasn’t just conscious. I was completely healed. My case was not made private. Locally, after my release, I was something of a big deal. People called my recovery nothing short of a miracle. They found my recovery incredulous. The doctor presiding over me was both frustrated by this, and unsurprised.

His reasons were a shock. As it turns out, I was not the first case of this… whatever it was. While it was relatively new and exceedingly rare, he revealed to me that in the previous year alone there had been forty-seven reported cases where people not only survived from terrible accidents, but made miraculous recoveries. I was flabbergasted. Now, at my home, I sat with the information he had given me. One of the first people afflicted with this condition was asking to hear from others with it. The man was himself a doctor, and he was researching what had been happening.

I was nervous as I held the paper in my hands. My phone sat upon my coffee table, still and silent as the red sun crept lower on the horizon. The few shadows that it cast into my home as the light faded were long and jagged. A number was illuminated with pink light from the window, the same pink light that invaded my house through the long windows. My living room felt dead. I was a living legend locally, but my roommates- my friends- refused to even speak to me when I called them after. I had needed a ride home, but to be so flatly rejected.... My heart stung. I was isolated, I could never know when my next torturous dream may come, I apparently had become unable to die, and worst of all? I was still suicidal.

This story could have ended there, but even though I honestly did not need answers I wanted them. If there was somebody researching this because it had been happening, what could they tell me about my condition? I would have been much the wiser for simply choosing to remain uninformed, despite how ignorant I would have been to the nature of my condition. A condition… riight… how far have we come that the second we discover immortality it gets relegated to a medical condition?

It was that night I made the decision to call the doctor. We had a very brief but hopeful chat, wherein I discussed the car accident as I recalled it. He seemed incredibly interested, and wanted to meet with me the next day. He gave a brief explanation of his benefactors. They were a relatively rich group of men who wanted to unlock the secret to eternal youth, and believed that it began with these cases of immortality. It was a promising lead, they thought, and they felt there was nobody better suited to the task than him. I felt a lump in my throat. Was it nerves? Cold feet? I did not know, but I was gripped with a terrible feeling, and possessed with the compulsion to decline. Yet, I caved to his insistences despite lightly-made attempts to backpedal from the situation. He booked a ticket to my town on the spot, and would be landing the next morning.

When I met the doctor in person, he was a small middle-aged man with round features and very few wrinkles. He dressed as you imagined a well-off gentlemen might, with a bushy mustache and brown dress clothes. He was balding, rotund, generally unimpressive, and greeted me with a big smile. We had met in a coffee shop that sat beside the train tracks in the middle of town, and it was there that he revealed what had happened to him, and how he had discovered his own condition.

It was late night, over a decade ago. He had been home with his significant other for a rare night of relaxation and bonding, when their home was burgled. He and his wife were both seemingly executed, but he woke up in a body bag and suffocated twice before they went to ready him for transport and realized he was moving. Before they saw that the man who had been shot through the head, who had been declared dead on the scene, who was definitely deceased, have no apparent injury when examined further, aside from shock and being covered in their own blood.

Cases like his, he said, were remarkably easy to sweep under the rug due to their sheer implausibility. Often, the physicians themselves were the ones to report it. They weren’t actively trying to keep these cases secret, even if they did have some concerns regarding what their publicity could mean. And interestingly enough, the cases were somewhat localized. The sweeping majority of the cases reported came from the eastern part of the United States. All of the cases came from the Appalachia region. There wasn’t enough data to be any more specific, but the doctor told me that he believed there were likely more cases that just hadn’t been reported. Miraculous cases where people survived impossible accidents without a scratch, or cases where people completed suicide only to find that they weren’t dying.

That struck a chord. I coughed, shifting in place as I informed him that I might have known about this before my accident. I explained my history of suicide attempts, and my two recent events. His eyes seemed to narrow when I started to talk very superficially about my odd dreams. I paused upon glimpsing his expression, realizing that perhaps I had gone a little too far into unbelievable territory. At my stall, he took a moment to affirm me, and asked me to tell him about my dreams. I went into depth about them, explaining to him the vividness, the injuries they left me with and how they healed, and the sheer horror they left in their wake. To this point, he had been taking notes. I did not see the kind nor do I know how detailed they were, but his pencil was moving at a furious pace while I described what I had glimpsed. Then he asked me a question that chilled my blood.

“During any of these dreams, at any point, did you feel like you touched something?”

I knew then what it was to have frost in my veins. “Yes,” I replied. I described the first time, after taking the pills. It was not so difficult to recall the indescribable feeling. Something happened to me, something that I experienced as though I was under the influence of powerful drugs. I could not recall it in specifics, only that it had transpired. He seemed mildly frustrated by this, but I informed him that there was another time that I remember more clearly.

I told him about my experience after I had been hit by the car, the way the touch of that indefinable something made me feel- like my very soul was being twisted up and wrung out. I could recall the the sensation near perfection, but I was completely unable to described it. Still, he seemed unsatisfied. He told me that he wanted to meet me at my house later that night, and that he’d be bringing some equipment to check out the bloody rooms. I agreed. I did so reluctantly, but I did agree.

The machines he brought to my home were not anything that I would have pegged as too unusual. They looked like medical equipment you might find in the depths of a hospital, though. Not giant machines but things resembling life-support equipment. At least, I think it was life support equipment. Maybe the weirdest thing about them was that they each seemed to be connected to some kind of jar. I watched him through the window as he unloaded them from his vehicle. It was a large box truck with a hydraulic lift. But, as I was saying, it wasn’t the machines that were unusual. It was the sheer number of them. By the time he finished unloading, there must have been at least a dozen. I think I started to get nervous when I saw what looked to be some kind of industrial-strength nail gun in his palm as he strode to me door.

What did he intend on doing? I saw that he was palming something in his other hand, but I was fixated on the implications of the nail gun. What was he about to do to my house? We made eye contact through the window, and he quickly averted his gaze back to the door. No smile, not friendly greeting, and I didn’t find it too weird because I thought that this was just a business thing. He was focused, I believed, on whatever it is he intended to do. There came a knock upon my door. I opened it, and was immediately hit with a taser. Before I could recover he shoved a needle full of something into my neck. I stumbled up, running to the kitchen as I clutched at the injection site when I felt another shock ripple across my body. This time, while I convulsed on the floor he bound my hands.

He dragged me into my own living room, and revealed the nail gun, roughly the size of his forearm. This one was made to drive nails into metal struts. He pressed it into my shoulder and fired, pinning me to the wall as I screamed. The head of the nail vanished deep into my flesh, leaving a bloody pit behind while blood poured from the wound. I screamed in agony while he did it again to the other shoulder.

I spent hours there. But in the early morning where darkness reigned, after he had set his machines upon the rooms, I found it in me to struggle once again. I pulled against the wall, feeling an internal sensation that I never had before, stifling grunts and sniffling as I yanked myself free. I hit the ground with a loud thud. I felt the nails tear from my skin and muscle, cracking through my bones. The surge of agony was cut short by the adrenaline that flooded my veins as I heard running from the hallway that led from the living room to my room. He was coming.

It was slow getting up, but perhaps not nearly as slow as I had imagined it to be. I was off the ground maybe a second after I had heard him coming, and bolted towards my front door. I tried lifting my arms before that point, to no avail. My shoulders were too damaged, I couldn’t raise my arms at all. I threw myself against my front door, trying to break through it. The doctor wasn’t a very fit man at all, and when he rounded the corner he failed to stop, sliding into me body first. Our combined mass shattered my front door, and sent me spiraling off the porch and into the yard.

Freedom. I could taste it in the grass and dirt that sprayed into my face as I ate shit. But it didn’t stop me. I was halfway to the woods when I heard the decompression of air and felt a spike of pain hit me square in the spine. My legs froze. I toppled over. I couldn’t crawl with my shoulders in that condition. So I wriggled on the ground, desperately trying to escape from this horrible man. I didn’t feel him grab my foot, just felt pain in my back as it was lifted. Then he started to drag me back to the house.

I could do nothing but scream my head off as he stole me away. When we returned to the house, he pulled me into one of the rooms I had bled in, and there again he brandished the nail gun. He pressed it firmly against my stomach, and fired. I felt one nail meet the other inside my guts, heard the wet schluck as metal pushed gleefully through my flesh. I felt the hot blood come up my throat and pour over my face as I vomited. “I don’t think you’ll be able to run this time,” he commented. “Really, now I have to keep an eye on you as I do my work, even as I doubt you could escape that predicament.”

I felt warm tears well up in my eyes as the throbbing pain continued. “Please let me go,” I begged him quietly. “Please, please let me go.”

“I will,” he replied in the calmest tone I’d heard him speak in- even counting our meeting at the coffee shop. “I can’t keep you prisoner forever, nor have I found a way to kill people like us. If I cut out your tongue to keep you from talking, you’d probably grow it back. Same with any injury I inflict, truth be told. I’ve had a while to test the limitations of this. Even foreign bodies will be pushed out eventually, so surgical implants aren’t an option either” He continued to fiddle with one of those machines he had brought, set up in the corner of my old room.

“I don’t make house calls very often. This is a special occasion,” he remarked. “I’ve tried to get in contact with the other people from cases I know about, and most of them skirted me. But the ones that didn’t? I made leaps and bounds from their… contributions. Through fearful eyes I peered at him, silent and with no obvious way out. He wouldn’t heed my pleas… if he had done this before, he’d probably grown numb to cries for mercy.

“For those I haven’t met, I have been able to get medical and psychological profiles for some of them. It wasn’t incredibly easy to do, but I did manage. There was only one thing they all shared- a history of suicide and, eventually, disturbed sleep patterns. The files I’ve read don’t go into depth on those disturbed sleep patterns but I have some theories.” I watch him stand up from the thing he fiddled with as more blood bubbled from my mouth, leaking into my eyes. They started to burn and I shut them tightly, tears streaming down my face as I struggled to breath.

He walked over to the other side of the room, and I heard the sound of metal utensils shifting among one another. “Ah, this one.” He then walked over to where I lay, kneeling down as he used a scalpel to cut my shirt free of the giant nail. He exposed my torso, and I felt him tap the scalpel against my chest. “I’ll need a sample,” he explained, “before we can start. Don’t be fooled though, just because I’m tapping your chest. It might not be from there. I’m honestly debating on maybe taking an eye… it’ll grow back anyway, you know? But I’m sincerely torn between the heart, and the eye. I’ve been doing this a long time, you know. The dreams have shown me things too,” he ranted. I whimpered as he drew the scalpel across my chest in circular motions, as he tapped it against my sternum.

“Different things than what you have seen. Death triggers those dreams, those visions. I’ve killed the others a lot before, I’ve made them tell me their dreams. Each time, consistently, they dream after they have tried and succeeded in killing themsleves. There is only one thing inconsistent with your story. You had the dream after the incident in the forest, even though your gun ultimately never fired.” He pressed the scalpel into my skin, and I felt its sting as it very lightly cut my flesh. “It must have counted somehow…” He mused, and I felt him drag the scalpel up my chest, up my neck, and to my right eye. “The eye will work as well as the heart, and be less of an affair don’t you think?”

I clenched my eyes shut even more tightly. “Please, please no…” The answer I received was his blade shoved through my eyelid, behind my eye. I felt its sharp edge violate the integrity of my eye as the small organ spilled its contents into my socket and I screamed. He withdrew the blade, and I could detect distaste in his voice. “Oh, now you’ve gone and done it. I’ve only got one more good, easy shot. If you won't cooperate…” Blood rolled down the side of my face, gushing into my ear as it started to ring like sirens. I watched from my other eye as he brandished the nail gun, and clenched it shut again as I felt it press against my head. “Just dream something for me, then. I need you to be still.” He let the gun linger on my face. I opened my eye reluctantly. The look on his face was maddening. He was savoring my fear. Then, there was darkness.

I felt an incredible coldness. I tried to speak, but no noise came from my mouth. I couldn’t see my body, I couldn’t feel my own lips. Then gradually, I became aware of a speck of blue light in the distance. I merely stared at it, apparently unaware that there was anything more I could do but gradually my faculties returned. I started to walk towards the thing, striding over a vast stretch of nothingness. With each passing step, a profound sense of wrongness took root in my heart.

I think… I think it saw me. Whatever was behind that light was sentient. I can’t say it was alive. I don’t know that the term living could apply to it ever again as we understand it, but it was active and sentient. It showed me something. It showed me a terrible truth. I discovered there and then that humanity was meant to die. That we were supposed to die. This heavy, dark thing I that hide in the shadows behind that neon-blue light stared into my soul, into my very being, and I felt unprecedented despair.

It lies on the periphery of existence, something more potentent and infinite than innumerable universes. It was dense, but that density was so superficial. Beneath all that weight was something empty, something contradictory to what it pretended to be. Something that lived in the absence, in the places we aren’t observing, hand outstretched to grab our mortality and try to claim our deaths as its own.

It stays still as a statue, its form indiscernible, but I could tell you that it sat upon a curtain of stars. And very, very occasionally, I saw it blink. I watched its head fidget, and the stars that lay beneath it would flicker out of existence. We stared at each other for eons. I didn’t breath. I didn’t think. This ancient force compelled me to a state of reverent silence. Then, I heard it rasp something. It was so quiet an utterance in a language I did not know, yet the force that invaded my skull propelled me awake. I woke up, the nails in my body exploding outword as I shrieked. I jumped to my feet and stumbled forward, slammed into the wall before beating my skull against it. I beat myself unconcious.

I woke to laughter. Not a loud or riotous laughing, but something more nervous and quiet. I peeled myself away from the damaged, bloodied wall and turned around, slumping against the floor as my new eyes searched the darkness for the source of that noise. The doctor lay in the corner beside his machine, a nail pinning him to the wall ironically by his shoulder. In his hand he grasp a notebook of somekind, in the other a pen. In his machine, hooked up with an electrode and some horribly grafted wires, was my eye. It stared back at me, lifeless, almost as lifeless as the eyes of the man who laughed beside it.

His laughter was devoid of life or joy, as though he had been drained of all vigor. His head lulled towards me, and he motioned to the machine vaguely. “Your eye helped me see. It made the machine see,” he pet the device- the unimpressive, innocuous, generic machine- and stared at me. “It doesn’t matter what you do,” the doctor told me. “Not what any of us do. The future of our world is the state of what I was shown.” I bolted down the door, fleeing my own house as the doctor shouted after me. “They drew its attention for just a moment, and now… all it had to do was touch the universe…” He raised his free arm and grabbed at me. “It lives inside all empty things.”

I pulled my arm free from his icy grip, jerking away with a start as I panicked. He continued to chuckle weakly. “I think… it must truly be something terrible… even death won’t challenge its claims.” I tried to back out of the room, dizzy and disorientated, tripping as I bumped against the door frame and falling against a row of those damn machines. It was then I realized that they were connected together through cords, and that connected to each machine was a glass jar with a body part in it. Mostly, eyes and hearts, though there were some other things that I could not identify and in one instance, a whole brain.

I turned in both horror and a growing rage towards the downed doctor, getting to my feet and seething. “You’re a fucking monster,” I burst into tears as I choked out the words. “A fucking monster!”

He let his head roll to the side again. “No,” he replied quietly. “I’m just a doctor.” A deranged grin spread from ear to ear on the man’s face. We stared at each other for but a moment longer before he broke the silence. “Your new eyes are so, so beautiful.”

I flew into a rage. I rushed the pinned man and I proceeded to put the paws on him. I let fists and fingers pound and tear. I savaged him as an animal might. The whole entire time, he laughed. I felt as if he was mocking me. It wasn’t until my foot stepped on his journal that he stopped laughing. He seemed to rouse himself somewhat, aggressively shoving at me with his working arm. “Off of it, bastard! Off!” I kicked him in his god damned teeth, and while he was disoriented I reached down and stole his book away.

He stared at the book in disbelief, then cast a frightened glance at me. “You shouldn’t read that. Not with those eyes.”

I has stepped back, brandishing my prize at the beaten doctor. I looked at him in a mix of anguish and curiosity. I asked him. “Why not?”

His face was stern. “There are answers in there.”

I swallowed. Not spit, not snot from my drying tears. I swallowed a heavy sense of fear. “Answers?”

He simply nodded. I looked at the bound book, placing my hand atop it. Dare I open it? My fingers grazed lightly against the cover, eyes flirting with both it and the doctor. I didn’t know what he meant by that. I don’t know that I wanted to know. “I’m taking this,” I informed him. “I’m going to burn it.” I could have learned so much from the notes he had taken on the people he had tortured, but that as why I refused. I didn’t want that knowledge. I didn’t want to know what was in his book. But at my telling him this, he started to laugh.

“Good luck,” he hissed. He peered at me from a broken grin. In his gaze I felt an unprecedented festering malice.

Even if I wasn’t in the best state to answer all the police’s questions- why i was covered in blood being one of them- I told the authorities about the doctor in my house, about the things he had wanted to do, about his industrial nail gun and machines full of body parts. They naturally didn’t believe me. I had no injuries to back up my claims, but I was suspicious enough- again, covered in blood- that they ended up detaining me and sending somebody to my home anyway to check it out.

There they found more than they bargained for. They found the doctor in a comatose state, still nailed to the wall. His contingent of machines with body parts connected to them were on full display. They did eventually do a genetics test to try to confirm who the body parts belonged too, and as far as I know they only matched my eye to the blood on the doctor’s jacket, on his hands, on his face. Obviously, that blood was mine too. Nails were found scattered about the house with my blood upon them. And still, they refused to even entertain what I was telling them could be partially true.

The doctor, for his part, was not dead. But sometime after I left he entered a deep state of trance, unable to be shaken out from it by even the most vigorous and powerful men available. No stimulants could rouse him either. Nobody could explain his condition, just as nobody could explain why I survived with a giant spike in my head. I doubt they just dropped the investigation, but for the time they let me go. But go where? To my house, where I was just murdered? Where I died twice even before then? Where guns don’t work if you try to use them on yourself? He was perfectly able to use his nail gun on me. I couldn’t trust my ex-roommates. They’d reject me flatly. I didn’t have any family around. Ultimately, as uneasy as I felt there, I returned home.

And now I’m here, sharing this story with all of you. This incredible, terrible story. I’m somehow, someway, unable to die. I tried to burn the Doctor’s book and it did not work. I doused it in gasoline, threw it into a fire pit, and at the end of everything it wasn’t even singed. I tried throwing it in water. I tried to rip the pages out and they wouldn’t even tear. I tried so, so hard and I failed. Even as I type this, it sits next to my computer taunting me with terrible truths I’m too afraid to examine.

I don’t know what to do anymore. I moved out of that small town. I moved away from that tortured home. After that incident rumors swirled about me, and made living their unbearable. I wanted to try to kill myself yet again, but I refrained. I worried about what I would see next. I wondered if next time, that dark thing might be closer, might be hungrier, might be angrier. So I have sat, and I have tried to work middling jobs to make my existence feel full. But I still feel empty inside. I still want to die. I’m just not allowed to.

I think after I post this, I’ll open the book.

Written by Kyle Meadows
Content is available under CC BY-SA