Let it be known that this started as a sort of… forced project. Consider it a writer’s curiosity, but some things, I suppose, are not explored for a reason.

Nearly four years ago, I was mugged. While a lot of people are mugged, this had an unsettling effect on my psyche. Every day I seemed to have strange hallucinations. Pictures of things I had never seen before. Noises that made no sense or didn’t belong there, often times I was quite certain that I was slipping into insanity.

But no, I just had a case of PTSD, and it was showing me the ropes. I suppose I should get to the point and explain my current predicament.

I’m not exactly frightened; I’ve seen enough of this to know it would happen eventually. Initially, I had my doubts due to everyone saying the belief was preposterous, but it stuck with me.

It started with a picture. It was a picture that I couldn’t quite wrap my head around due to its obscure connotations and perhaps dark features. It was a picture of a father. White, dark hair, his eyes quite the pretty shade of green. He gave a smile that spoke quietly to any viewer, speaking calm words of sweet love for his child and satisfaction toward how he was raised them.

Perhaps I’m assuming too much but the picture seemed to say that to me. It was in a work retreat that I saw this picture, hanging on the wall. As soon as I took my eyes off the picture, I then heard the first of many noises that would haunt me throughout the day. The panicked breathing rattled me for a brief moment as I scanned the room for where it might be coming from and then the sound of glass shattering forced an image into my mind of a much more macabre version of this innocent father.

The background was dark and it was in this background that the image of the father slowly contorted and twisted. It would then have a pulsing red mark run through it, the pulses getting even fiercer until what was once a calm smile, turned into a sinister grin. The eyes were now sad, as if they were trying to tell me that they were sorry for me, because this was only the beginning.

What followed, after sticking by my friendly colleagues and trying to keep the image out of my mind, was a series of other pictures. They were all over the house, as we passed each one, I heard the same sound, and then a much darker version of the picture would appear.

Gorgeous landscapes turned barren and defiled with the notion of pure darkness coating the desolate and lifeless soil that made up once fertile land, portraits of beautiful women shifted into aged versions of themselves, perpetual frowns plastered upon their faces with regret at a life lost, dirt coating their clothing and throbbing veins on their throats that would splatter as the image self-destructed. Night fell and I went to a cottage that a couple of my co-workers were sharing with me, and I had the first of the nightmares that would set up stage and show me exactly what to expect.

A smartly dressed gentleman would approach in the pitch black darkness, he would be holding a book in his hand and then read passages from it. The passages being lines from my previous work, each night brought about a different tale that I had written but never finished. Thus, it all began to come together.

I was a writer plagued with writer’s block, an aspiring author who could not even lift his pen, until eventually, my mind decided to act against me and try and force me to finish what I had started. I wrote only horror, thus each picture that I saw was a disconcerting representation of what I would write about if I saw them. The murderous father, the sickly, once beautiful woman, the darkened wasteland. Not only were the dreams attempting to tell me that I should finish my work, but merge it. Each tale was a fabrication of the darkest parts of my unstable mind, each character trying to tell me a different story about their horrible existence.

None of my co-workers seemed to care much about my unsettled expression, but that didn’t so much bother me as it did help me get through this time without being bugged by them about whether I was okay or not.

Eventually, not only was I seeing each image as a twisted, unsettling version of what it once was, but I was also changing real life into this. I knew what was real and what was not, and while that sounds quite confusing, friends do not simply come up to another friend and hold a knife to their throat moving at Mach Ten. After witnessing my boss attempt to drown herself in a sink filled with her own blood and then walk off as the blood faded, I finally decided to take action.

I took a hold of my pen and journal and began composing a story of no less than twenty-thousand words, I wrote of the father, who drowned in a sea of his own guilt as the psychological machine gun claimed another victim, I wrote of a pathological liar, the gorgeous woman who lost her looks due to her white lies that led to her being accosted by a sinfully jealous group of women, and I most specifically wrote of a special picture frame containing a small family.

Something I wanted, but never actually got around to making. The picture frame would change over time into pictures of a broken family, each picture more intensely revolting than the last; they became fewer pictures taken by a camera and more the shots of someone with a photographic memory. I finished the small anthology of little thrillers and one small horror with a side note that read oddly to me: “Do not resuscitate”.

The next day I woke with blood on my pillow, and the police were outside the housing asking questions to my colleague. As I got dressed and gave a final glance to the drop of blood, I stepped outside and spoke with the officers, who revealed that three people had died and each person had a hint at my name near them. One was a man, who was later revealed to have killed his son and then attempted to kill himself, his blood spelled out my initials.

One was a woman, who was apparently beaten to death by a grieving widow after she found out the woman had slept with the man before he died. She almost ritualistically carved my last name into her body. Finally, a small child had died. The youngest of a trio of brothers, apparently, one brother was mentally unstable and tore into the youngest with a jagged piece of glass he had taken from his window. They found him bathed in his brother’s blood and whispering my first name. It was only after these people were questioned that they found a correlation, as they were so close to each other, they were all brought in on the same evening, at around the same time.

They brought me in for questioning, and I have been detained ever since. I’m facing an upcoming trial and at this very moment, I have mannequins of the very people who died standing completely still directly in front of me. I do nothing but wonder about the possibilities of a future opportunity to perhaps use this gift in more constructive ways…Of course, perhaps I’m thinking too far ahead. Perhaps I’m insane. Either way, I feel no remorse for what I may have caused. Simply lingering regret that I did not find out about my ability sooner.