When I woke up, I found myself lying on my bed with my head facing the doorway. Why is my door open? Why is the door across the room open? It’s dark, but the moonlight shining in through the window across the hall filled the top floor with a haunting calm.
3531 East 22nd Avenue; East Vancouver. I lived here for 6 years; love came and went, and so I left, and then I left again. And now I live on the other side of the world, so why am I waking up in my old bedroom in a deserted house? All there was in my room was the twin bed that I awoke in, and across the hall the room was empty.
But then as my eyes started to make things out, I saw small ovals reflecting the moonlight, and so I went to close the door. This scenario had gone through my mind before, and so I had a plan. Close the door, lock it. Put the dresser in front of the door, climb into the attic. But the door was gone, and so was the attic, and of course the dresser was gone since the only thing that was left was this bed.
So I closed my eyes and hoped maybe they would think I was asleep and ignore me, but as I closed them, I heard the creek of footsteps coming from the other room, crossing the hall, until they were right in front of me. I opened my eyes again. I wanted to tell them: “get out!” But I had no voice. There were two of them, and as my eyes continued to adjust to the moonlight, I could see their faces.
I stood up; they were both so much taller than me. Leave. Please leave! But my distress just made them grin. White teeth in the moonlight. Sick eyes in the moonlight. Please leave. And they stood there, looking at me, knowing I couldn’t do anything. All I could say was “please.” But I had no voice, and they could not hear anyway.
I moved around the room, in the darkness. Around the room that was empty except for my bed. But they would follow and draw closer, and I was always with my back against the wall; counting the distance between them and me. Their arms can reach me, but my arms can’t reach them. If I keep my distance for long enough, maybe the sun will come up, and I can escape.
The sun didn’t come up, but I realized I had a piece of wood in my hand. This must be a dream, because where did the wood come? It was a piece of dowel rod, so it didn’t really serve much purpose. I had two choices: use the piece of wood, or see what happens if I don’t. So I poked at the first man, the taller one. Aside from his awful grin, he was unassuming with curly hair and a plaid shirt. I thrust the useless piece of wood forward, and he fell backwards half a step – laughing at my futile attempt to ward him off. Worse yet, he stepped forward more than I had pushed him back, until he was looming over me, laughing silently, with his perfect teeth shining in the moonlight.
Well, the piece of wood didn’t break, right? No. So I thrust it forward again, towards his chest, with such weakness, but I lost my grip, and it poked him just above his groin. Somehow this caused the curly-haired man to keel over in pain. The whole time, the other man – the shorter man without curly hair – had just been standing there, solemnly. He looked at me, and I pretended that I didn’t know he was there. I grabbed the piece of wood tightly, and again thrust it towards the curly-haired man’s chest. This time, I hit him in the chest, and the paltry, weak piece of wood pierced through his shirt, and to my shock, pierced through his chest and right through to the other side, out of his back.
“I just impaled a man with a piece of dowel wood, and it made no sound. And he made no sound.” It was so strange. I had never thought about the sound a piece of wood would make as it impaled a man, but as this piece of wood sat there in the man’s body, I thought how it was strange there were no sounds of crunching bones; of organs squishing against each other; of air escaping through the wound; no cartoon-like noises. No gasp for breath or screams of pain coming from his mouth. He stood there, as a huge circle of blood spread outward on his plaid shirt from where he had been impaled.
I pulled the piece of wood out, which actually required a lot more strength than it did to accidentally impale the tall, curly-haired man. I looked at the other man, the shorter man. He also had a plaid shirt, but it was blue. As I pulled the wooden rod out of the curly-haired man, blood poured out, and he fell to the ground.
I thought “I wonder what would happen if I do this again to the short man.”
One last time, I thrust the piece of wood forward, this time with some idea of what to do. Again, it pierced through him perfectly. And again, it made no sound; he made no sound. I quickly pulled it out, and he fell to the ground.
Am I safe now? I was dizzy like Meursault when he kills the man on the beach, and wondered if this is what happens to everyone who kills a man. When the dizziness subsided, I realized I was not at 3531 East 22nd Avenue, but in the desert. Had I ever even been at 3531? The two men lay dead on the desert floor, and I knew I had to tell the police, because they would find me even if I didn’t.
A few cacti away, there was a phone booth, so I could go there and call the police. But all I could think about was how strange the sounds were. And I pictured myself saying to my friends “you would think that when you impale a man, it would make a noise. But there was no sound of crunching bones, and no sound of organs squishing against each other as the wood pierces through and mashes them all together. It was so surprising, and so easy.” But now that I’ve done it, what if I do it again?