A person can only take so much emotional trauma before his foundation begins to crumble, deep inside…
After the incident with the fire the very sight of an open flame would set Kurt off on a raging tirade. “I’m not crazy!” he would scream in their faces. “You’re all going to burn! Don’t leave me alone in here!”
His rantings were often long and violent and as a result he became a regular visitor to the round, rubber room. Solitary confinement. The orderlies seemed to take pleasure in putting him in a straight-jacket and leaving him to bounce around, probably scattering whatever brain cells he had left.
On day three of his most recent stint, Kurt had a visitor. He’d been sleeping when suddenly his cot began to shake and rise off the floor. Panicking, trying not to fall off the side, Kurt found himself six feet in the air, closer to the the high ceiling than to the floor of the room. His breath coming in short, shallow gasps, he blinked slowly as time seemed to slow down, opening his eyes to see the most hideous figure of a man he’d ever had the misfortune to look upon standing inside the locked room. Kurt began screaming and thrashing about. His throat tightened up and he started hyperventilating.
“Stop your foolishness,” the figure rasped at Kurt in a voice like gravel in a coffee grinder. “You know why I’m here. It is time for you to go!” Spittle formed on the drawn back lips of the figure, its head barely more than a skull with dried bits of flesh stuck to it in places. Kurt had only been lucky last week, his rescue simply delaying the inevitable. He’d never have imagined dying this way.
As if reading this thoughts, the figure bellowed into Kurt’s face, “You’ll not be dead, oh no. Your agony will last an eternity!” The figure grinned and laughed, a horrid, retching noise, its face, if that’s what it could be called, contorted and livid. Kurt realized he was now standing inches in front of the monster and had to swallow hard against the vomit rising in his throat as he watched two small horns force their way through the matted hair atop the figure’s head. He tried to turn his face away. “Look at me!” the figure snarled.
As Kurt locked eyes with his tormentor his body convulsed in shock and pain. A burning he’d never felt before ripped through his chest and he nearly lost consciousness. His body flew backward across the room and slammed jarringly into the wall, jolting him back to his senses. The padding offered nothing to absorb the supernatural force of the blow. Crumpling to the floor, he felt as if every bone in his body had been broken.
“Just kill me,” Kurt choked out, tears flooding his eyes, the bitter, coppery taste of blood in his mouth. “End this, please.” The horned figure laughed again, a sick, oily sound. Kurt felt as if nails were being driven into his ears and drifted out of awareness once more.
When the orderlies woke him for the evening meal, Kurt could still feel the burns and cuts though his body showed no signs of distress. It pained him to breathe. That had been no dream.