“Some people get vengeance and karma a bit confused with the other. Karma is something that simply balances the scale of action. Vengeance however, is a punishing action purposely inflicted onto another solely for self-gratification. And the guilt that follows can take you straight to hell.”
The term, ‘insanity’ gets thrown around a lot these days. However, even with the amount of horror movies, books, and legends there are out there, no one has ever really explained it in its full detail. In all honesty, the only way to understand true insanity is to experience it. As for me, I think my insanity began with forgetting to let my dog out.
He wasn’t really the brightest of mutts. I got him when I moved to Tennessee for my new job. I wasn’t really used to living so far away from my family or all of my friends back home, so I at least wanted a pet so as not to feel so lonely. Over the course of two years however, he had gotten quite annoying. He would bark for no reason late at night and keep me up for hours on end. I hadn’t slept since I got him. I’d always show up to work with circles under my eyes and three mugs of coffee.
I couldn’t even leave him alone unless he was outside; because if he was inside, he would destroy anything he could fit those teeth of his on. His teeth… Those damn teeth of his chewed through everything. Table legs, chairs, doors, papers, curtains, pillows, blankets, sheets, window panes, leashes, his own toys, it didn’t matter. Even worse, whatever he recently chewed, he’d track all over the house for me to pick up. My job didn’t leave me time to pick up after him every two seconds, so I eventually left him outside no matter the weather until I came home.
Except for one day.
I was running late and he wouldn’t go out. He didn’t bark much that night, so I decided to let him off easy today. Nine hours later, I came home to a dented remote, cotton and feathers all over the floor, large wooden splinters from my table and chairs, ripped papers, shredded clothes, and a broken dog food bag spread all over the floor. I even got to step in an extra special brown gift he left just for me; in my only pair of work shoes. Then I saw him panting innocently, his teeth just gleaming at me.
That was it. I had to stop those teeth from chewing through my life.
I had put some powerful sleep medication into his food bowl and just patiently waited. Twenty minutes later, he just dropped. Dead asleep. I quietly stood up, and slowly crept into the spare room to get my toolbox. When I sneaked back, he was snoring loudly. Very loudly. So loudly, I saw no need to be as quiet. (Which made fumbling around in my toolbox all the more relaxing.) I then thought about how long the sleep meds would last. Finally, I pulled out what I needed.
They weren’t rusty whatsoever. In fact, they were brand new. I was just going to pull out each of his teeth. Not give him Tetanus. Then I’d most certainly be going to my grave with something to repent for. I had to make sure this was precise. I didn’t want make too big of a mess to clean up. Slowly I crept up to him. His wrinkled face was stuck to the floorboards. His dark eyes closed in a peaceful sleep. His body inflating and deflating from his deep snores. I drew my face close to his… and peeled back his lips to reveal my enemies: Gleaming pearl white. With unimaginable softness, I slowly gripped the pliers around his canine. I wasn’t even shaking. Closing my eyes and taking a deep breath, I cleared my mind of any fears, of reluctance, of everything. Then, I yanked.
The tooth came out with a loud, crack-sounding pop… I stared at it dangling in the pliers in my hand, and my dogs bleeding lips…
I suddenly craved retribution.
All the years this damn animal had chewed through my life were about to be well paid for. I began yanking his teeth out like I was pulling weeds from rocky soil. Some came out smoothly, others needed some extra… force. About halfway through the operation, I realized I was smiling. Maybe even laughing. I can’t really remember… It all just happened so fast. When the deed was done, I let out a huge sigh. I had barely been breathing as I performed this little checkup on my mutt. He surprisingly didn’t bleed too much, and whatever blood still leaking from his toothless mouth was soaked up with cotton and soft towels. He just lay there still snoring as loud as ever.
I slept longer and deeper than I had in ages that night…
Before I knew it, morning came. It was Saturday. I remember lying in bed and thinking that I had the whole day to myself. But then suddenly I heard this… really weird sound coming from the other room. It was really high pitched, but not very hard on the ears. It was kind of like a muffled scraping sound. Curiosity and uneasiness got the better of me, and I walked into the other room to see what it was. There, on a dog food covered floor, was my dog… whimpering… Through his whines, I could see his mouth open sharply and close again as if he was trying to chew… He was trying to eat his hard food without teeth… Every time he tried, it just fell out of the sides of his mouth… with a few stains of blood…
I watched him as he pawed around the floor desperately trying to eat… I felt sick… What had I done…? The pain… The undeserving pain I had caused… to my own pet… I knelt down quickly and cuddled my broken pet… He just looked up at me with sorrowful eyes… I could feel them ask me… ‘Were you mad at me master…?’ To which I just teared up, and then, cried… I cried harder than I had ever done so even as a child…
After a few minutes of just sitting there, rocking back and forth with my aching dog in my arms, I finally wiped my tears and picked up his food bowl. He needed to eat somehow. So I poured some milk into his bowl and began to mash the wet food into a warm, pasty substance. He began lapping it up like he had never tasted food in his life. I was still feeling incredibly guilty…
A week had passed since that Saturday. Ironically, my dentist had called me set up an appointment for the following afternoon. A routine checkup never hurts. Besides, I had kept my own teeth in pretty good condition.
My dog’s teeth however were in a plastic bag hidden behind an old mug in my cupboard I never used. Well out of his sight. He was in the living room sitting in front of a fire I started for him. I sighed. His teeth deserved a better place than that dusty old cupboard. So I took them into the living room. On the walls hung pictures of me, my family, and a few famous crowd portraits. A bookshelf stood against the farthest wall. On the fifth shelf was a small box filled to the brim with more photographs and old memories. I decided to place the teeth in this box because they were still part of my dog. They might have held a lot of value to me down the road somewhere… A few photographs caught my eye. It was a small stack of recent photographs people had taken of me and my dog. I sighed. I was feeling pretty terrible anyway so I sat down and began to flip through them.
I flipped through all the way to the last one. It was a picture of me and my dog on our first walk in the park. I still couldn’t pick out why I kept this one. Some guy had randomly taken it with an old school Polaroid camera. There wasn’t anything too extraordinary about it either. Just me with a dopey look and my dog next to me, both of us caught in mid-walk. A few people a far distance behind us, blurred, walking their own dogs, or just taking scenery walks on the pathways. Then, I noticed something a little off about the picture…
In the far background, there was a man who was walking alone. His figure and clothing didn’t really stand out; they were blurred like the rest of the objects in the background. But the weirdest thing was his… face. That face just didn’t sit right with me. It was really blurry of course so I couldn’t see much of it, but what I could make out of it was that this person had the largest, darkest mouth I had ever seen. Not to mention, even with how far away he was, his eyes were pitch black. What really unsettled me though was that it was the only face in the entire picture that was looking in my direction…
And it was smiling…
I guess I just hadn’t noticed that face before. Then again, I didn’t really look at the picture much before anyway so I didn’t really blame myself. Sighing with disbelief, I put the stack away and got out another. My college years. Nostalgia started rushing over me as I saw the faces of old friends and neighbors whisk by in the paper flashbacks of my childhood.
I flipped to a picture of me walking in a crowd of people. And there, about five people behind me, was the face… Attached to the head of someone else… again staring in my direction. I felt a small chill run through me. The first time, I dismissed it as a film defect. This time, although still a bit blurry, I could see some minor definition on the image. The eyes were indeed black just like I thought. And the smile was still there, large and dark. It practically took up the entire lower half of his face. But… I could barely see any teeth, only blurry white dots. Other than that, nothing was inside that hideous smile… My eyes were glued to the photo while my sweated hands began to tremble… He was a bit closer to me than he was in the last picture, hence the better clarity… his eyes were darker… His smile, wider…
I was getting too worked up about this. These were just pictures. Someone had to have tampered with them. Whoever this person was, they were still committing a crime. I stood up to walk to my telephone with the intent to hire a private investigator.
Suddenly, I realized that this ‘joke’ wasn’t humanly possible. Because when I stood up, hanging in a frame on the wall… I saw it… The face…
Its eyes were two black beads staring blindly… its mouth agape to reveal what seemed like two types of teeth… One set was human, but the other… was extremely difficult to make out, given I only looked for a split second before sheer icy terror griped at my heart. I looked away to another framed photograph. There was the face. And another. Still there. With every single glance that thing’s complexion became more and more visible until finally… on the nearest photo… I worked up my courage, and stared at it to figure out what I was seeing…
Its eyes were darker than charcoal. Pasted in the very center of its eyes were ghoulish irises… Void of any color… of any life. Its hair was slicked back, but not fully… it was uneasily messy around the edges… which made it even more dis-comforting… Its smile… My God that smile… It practically stretched its face side to side… It had no lips… Its gums hung low like a horse’s and the teeth they held… The first set of teeth was human. Of that I was sure. But the second… they were canine teeth… They had to be… I would know since I had removed… no… they couldn’t have been… quickly I checked the bag to be sure.
My dog’s teeth were missing.
I could feel my eyelids peeling back as my heart began to shake me with how hard and fast it was beating. I turned again to see the face in the picture only to see it missing as well. It was gone. Completely gone. Missing. I dropped to my knees. I could swear I was hearing some kind of soft ringing in my ears as my eyes fell to my dog. Who just sat there panting and drooling… mouth void of teeth.
Disoriented and close to a heart attack, I trudged to my bathroom sink and began to splash my face with cold water. There really is something purifying about the feeling of cold water. It’s relaxing. It helps you feel sane again. It’s soothing. Familiar. I kept splashing and rubbing hoping to maybe either keep my imagination from ever getting that wild, or wake up from whatever nightmare I was having. The latter didn’t work, but I was at least rid of the face. It was nowhere to be found. To be sure of this, I had taken down every photograph on the walls and thrown the rest into the fire. My dog however was vacant from the living room floor. But he eventually came running softly to me cheerfully. I put my hand down to pet him and he began licking it.
“You’re a good boy,” I softly whispered.
He looked up at me hearing what I had said. My eyes shot open. My heart stopped. My skin went ice-white. Staring back at me, attached to my dog’s wrinkly neck, was that demented, twisted face. It found me. It had been looking for me in the pictures and it found me. It was here. It was real.
Suddenly, the world went silent for me, except for my heart beating violently, and the muffled scraping sound of my dog’s whimpers echoing in my mind. When the world became recognizable again, I felt a cold sensation on my hand. I looked at it hesitantly. I was holding the fireplace shovel. And it was dripping. Then I looked to my dog. His head was severely sunken in. The only places of it that were reminiscent of a dog’s head were bloodied and ripped. Blood was slowly oozing out of every orifice in his head darkening his coat and the carpet. In the heat of whatever this madness was, I suddenly fell to my knees. Something in my head told me that this was all over. Whatever that face was, it was gone now. There was nowhere left for it to attach itself. I slowly let my breathing slow.
A few hours passed. I was now sitting in the chair awaiting my appointment. After about thirty minutes of waiting, my doctor finally arrived. I had been going to him for about five years now so I knew him pretty well. He noticed that I was shaking. I told him that I was a bit unnerved because my dog had recently passed away, and I had buried him in the yard before I left. I spared him the details of the events before the death to save my sanity. I still quivered at the thought of it all.
He sat me down in the chair and started to look at my teeth. He found a bit of a problem: A cavity. And a deep one too. He told me that I’d need to be numbed for the treatment to proceed. So he prepared the needle and injected the chemical into my gum. It was fast acting. Soon I was sitting as comfortably as I ever could have been. I could barely even feel the chair. Hell, I could barely even feel my limbs… My limbs… My limbs had gone numb. My entire body was numb. I couldn’t move anything but my neck. I protested to the doctor suggesting that he may have given me the wrong chemical. He only stood there with his back towards me.
I felt whatever hope and safety that was left in me flow out of me violently. When he turned around, a pair of sunken, charcoal black eyes stared me down. His smile, filled with human and canine teeth, hung low on his twisted and peeling face.
I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t breathe. My heart was practically breaking my rib-cage open. I could only watch in terror as he slowly took something out of his pocket: A pair of pliers. My pliers. I could feel a stream of tears trickling down my cheeks as every last shred of color was squeezed out of me just looking at that horrifying face. Then it walked towards me. My heart had beaten so fast that it stopped.
I could only manage one syllable as it drew closer… “Why…?”
As if to answer, I could feel it forcing my mind race against my will. My thoughts stopped on an old Latin phrase I learned a long time ago: Mens-Rea. It meant… Guilty Mind…
Oh god… This thing had come to punish me. To condemn me. It knew I was guilty.
I suddenly heard a sickly familiar sound… a kind of… muffled scraping sound...
And the last thing I did before my entire world went black was scream…
A few paramedics rushed into an old dentist’s office. Outside, the main dentist was being interviewed by another paramedic about what had happened.
“I honestly have no idea what happened. He just came in to get a cavity done and I gave him a simple dosage of Novocaine. He thought his whole body was numb and when I turned to face him… I’ve never seen a more terrified face in all my life. It’ll probably haunt me forever… then his scream. He was screaming so loudly I could barely do any surgery. But he didn’t move an inch or try to struggle. It was like he really believed he was drugged numb.”
“Then what happened?”
“After I finished he began to slam his head repeatedly into my tools. He got my drill lodged in his skull. That’s when I called you all.”
Just then, the paramedics returned with a screaming patient on a stretcher. He was speaking in incoherent babbling most of the time, but he kept yelling the phrase, ‘Mens-Rea’ between each few strains of speech. The interviewing paramedic took a quick look at the patient. His mouth was completely void of any teeth. Only gaping holes remained.
“Just one more question. How did he lose his teeth?”
“He had a terrible infection and they all had to be removed.”
Written by Jaxonian