Fear (A Short Story)
“I heard Your voice in the garden and I was afraid. And I hid myself” – Adam, Genesis 3:10
I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
It’s 1:43 am and I can’t sleep.
I lie in bed staring at the ceiling, or more accurately, staring at where the ceiling should be. All I see is black. Darkness engulfs me like a suffocating smog. The room is cold. My thoughts seem to echo on the walls. For some reason, my eyes won’t shut. Sleep eludes me. I try counting sheep but in vain. Instead, my imagination runs wild.
I’m on a stretch of deserted road. The tarmac stretches out as far as the eye can see. I’m in a car. A fast car. It’s a car with several hundred horsepower. The kind I can only afford in video games or in my imagination. Around me, the world disappears in blurs of orange, green and blue. Nothing else exists but the car, the road and I. The perfect imaginary world. Perhaps the monotony of driving in a straight line will put me to sleep. It almost works.
I hear a loud sound that snaps me out of my reverie. It sounds like someone walking on iron sheets. The sound is strangely close. I hear it above me. I stare at where the ceiling should be. All I see is black. The sound is amplified in my cold room. It stops suddenly.
All I can hear now is the thumping of my heart in my ears. The adrenaline rushes into my bloodstream. The fight or flight response kicks in. The next thing I hear is a loud thud. Like someone jumped from the roof to the ground.
I hold my breath in the dark room Next thing I hear is someone fiddling with the lock on my door. Bile rises up in my throat. I somehow manage to tiptoe into the kitchen and grab the sharpest knife. The one I just happened to take to Mama Ben’s to be sharpened. I don’t want to switch on the lights just yet. So I search for the knife by touch. I find it and head for the door. I see a shadow of a hand reach in and grab hold of the padlock that secures my premises. Without thinking, I bury the knife deep into flesh. I hear the wail of a grown man outside my door then footsteps running away from the scene. My breathing starts to calm down. I’m still staring at the door when I feel someone’s breath on my neck.
With the knife in my hand, I turn around blindly and make an arc with the blade hitting nothing but air. By now some of my neighbors have been roused from sleep and some security lights are switched on. I turn towards my door and peek through the viewing panes. I can’t see a thing.
I relax my hold on the knife and switch on the lights and head to the kitchen. The knife is bloody and needs to be cleaned. I do this in a hurry and put it away. Turning off the tap I turn around and see a man in the doorway. I back away terrified. My hand searches behind me for the knife I had just laid down. I find nothing.
The man’s bloody hand wraps around my neck in an instant. He smiles an evil smile and squeezes. I feel my air supply being cut off. I kick at his shins, his groin. Nothing. No reaction. He does not stop squeezing. Pressure builds up in my skull. My eyes feel like they’re about to pop out of their sockets. My body is getting weaker and weaker by the second due to the lack of oxygen. I can feel the blood from his hand trickle down my chest.
My vision gets darker and darker; the man raises his left hand. He has the knife. He plunges it into my body, just under the rib cage.
I open my eyes in shock and fear. My heart beats a thousand times per minute. All I see is black. Darkness engulfs me like a suffocating smog. The room is cold. There’s a strange pain in my right hand. My throat is dry. I get out of bed and head to the kitchen to get a glass of water. I switch on the light and find a glass. As I fill it up from the tap I look down and see a bloody knife in the sink. I drop the glass and it shatters on the floor.
I back away from the kitchen sink and walk into the living room. The padlock is bloody. The floor has red splotches leading to the bathroom which I follow. They end in a pool of blood from the body of a man slumped over in the room. The man has dried blood on his throat and a fresh wide gash in his right side. He’s not breathing.
It’s 1:56 am and I can’t sleep.