Cautiously, I walk down the wooden stairs; treading lightly on those peeling areas where I knew the wood would creak. I force myself to keep my feet flat as I repress the urge to curl my toes at the feel of the icy wood beneath my skin. I run a pale hand over the side-rails; the cold wood is rough against my palm and fingers. I dig my other hand further into the pathetic warmth of my pocket; and I feel the ragged seams brush against my fingers, anchoring me to reality.
Images flash through my mind; a mangled corpse from a robbery gone wrong, a dismembered torso packed carelessly into a duffel bag, and finally; the bodies of a family still sitting in their family room, each member with a bullet through his or hers forehead. I shake my head, like a dog ridding itself of water and continue down. “Hello?” I call, my voice resonating through the empty house. Fear claws at my heart, and I feel the icy trickles running down my spine.
A scream echoes through my mind, and I run down the stairs; the chill of the day all but forgotten. The first thing that catches my attention is the blood spatter that lines the wall; still wet, and dripping down the pale turquoise paint. Tears form behind my eyes, and threaten to fall as I run into the adjoining kitchen.
I collapse into a heap as I see a body; I can hardly recognize the face. A stab tears through the corpse from collar-bone to stomach; and there are multiple bullet shots through the skull of the victim. I stifle a scream of terror behind my palm and run out. I stumble into the street; tears rolling down the sides of my face, staining my cheeks. I yell for help; but an eerie silence falls like a foggy mist over the street. It muffles every sound, and then I realize that I cannot hear anything; my neighbour’s dog … the show tunes that the old lady by the store loves to play … nothing.
I stare frantically around; panic bubbling in my blood. A low thud catches my attention; and I turn, and let a scream puncture the still air. As if I had broken a spell of sorts; the mist clears and I see corpses littering the area; all their faces unrecognisable. I collapse again, and bury my face into my hands, I fold myself over; ignoring the strains and discomfort. Screams that are not my own puncture the air, tears run down my cheeks in torrents; I can feel their pain as if it were my own.
I cry silently, waiting for my turn, and waiting for the end to come. I knew that I shouldn’t have … I knew that I … I kne-