I sat, stunned, as the doctor hurried outside to confirm that the unthinkable was indeed true. He came back inside, to check up on my father, and to call the funeral home to take my mother's body away. I just sat, mortified by the event that had unfolded before my very eyes. My father had gone into shock, and the doctor feared that he too would break down soon. How soon, he wouldn't say. A matter of days, weeks, hours? The doctor started reading through the books I had brought him, determined to find a faint sign of a cure, but he was clutching at straws. The books were so full of unimportant, neglected knowledge, they were worthless. Every now and then, the doctor would stop and jot down a few things on his notepad, before opening up more books, taking a few more notes. He'd usually end up ripping the notes out and discarding them. A few times, he took the notes, and pulled out his medicines, and tested his cures on my father. Out of the half dozen times he tried, he gained nothing. In fact, a couple of the medicines seemed to agonize my father even more than the "normal" tortured delusions, and make his condition all the worse. I just sat in my chair in the doctor's office, and watched him, as the hours ticked by, until he closed the last book.
He held in his hand one piece of note paper, littered with his scrawled handwriting. He was about to take something out of his medicine bag, when there came a knock at the front door. He pulled two small bottles from his bag, and hastily poured one into the other.
He handed it to me and said "give this to your father, I'll answer the door."
I got to my feet, and walked into the downstairs bedroom, where my father sat on the end of his bed staring into nothingness. The doctor had moved him downstairs to prevent an incident like that of my mother's death from happening again. I knelt beside my father, and showed him the bottle. He winced, and turned away, quite childishly. I held the back of his neck for support, and pushed the bottle up to his lips. The amber liquid spilled into his mouth, and slid down his throat. I could faintly hear the doctor talking to a man at the front door. It must have been the people from the funeral home, here to collect my mother.
I could just make out their words. "She's just in the front yard" the doctor said, pointing in the general direction.
"No, that can't be right." The other man spoke, "there's no-one there at all."
I felt my throat swell up, I couldn't believe it. I later discovered that the man was speaking the truth. My mother's body had gone, without a trace.
I didn't know how to feel, how to react. I walked towards the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea, to settle myself down, but when I came out of the study into the hall, I saw my father rip open the back door, and dash outside and over the fence. I yelled out in frustration, and ran full slog out the back door in chase of my fevered father. He was running through the grass fields behind the houses leading into town. He looked over his shoulder at me, his eyes infused with insanity. He turned down an alley between two small cottages. I was almost caught up to him, but as I rounded the corner into the dark alley, he was nowhere to be seen...
I continued down the alley, unsure of where my father was, when I heard a blood curdling scream reverberate throughout the dark walls of the alley. I turned every which way, to pinpoint the origin of the horrific cry, when I glimpsed my father, dashing across the street, madness emblazoned in his eyes, and tattooed onto his soul. There was a woman, lay injured on the cobbled road, fear locked in her body, as she watched my father flee towards the town center. I ran after him, post haste, intent on suppressing the beast within him. I caught up to him outside the pub, and wrapped my arms around him, to keep him from fleeing again. He writhed viciously in my grip, and managed to get an arm free. His fist collided with my nose, and I felt a white hot pain blister on my skin. I let go, and held my hands to my bloody face. My father pushed away, and stumbled into an inebriated bystander. It only took the drunk one swift bullet-like punch to the jaw, to knock my father out cold.
The man said nothing, but instead vomited onto the wall of the pub, before staggering into the night to leave my father unconscious. I pulled my arm around him and dragged him to his feet, ignoring the blood running down my face out of my nose. My head was spinning, I felt myself drifting in and out of focus. I held onto my father, despite tremendous back strain. I held onto my father, and dragged him through the streets. A voice inside my head was guiding me along the deserted streets, telling me where to turn, where to cross, until I came to a rest outside a very run-down looking shop. The sign was heavily worn, and spattered with blood and grime, but I could make out the lettering: "The Krankhafte Butcher". My stomach was filled with dread, many a tale of torture and murder have been told of the butcher of Krankhafte. Regardless, I was in no situation to go elsewhere, and there was some unnamed fate that had driven me here, so I took a deep breath, and knocked heavily upon the massive door.
3- The Impending Fate
The door opened, and I was faced with a giant of a man. Fists the size of boulders, and as tough as them too, this cleaver-wielding giant was the pinnacle of the evolution of man. He must have seen the body in my arms as an offering, as he greedily snatched my father out of my arms with little effort, and sunk back into the dank building that was his meat shop, indicating me to follow. Stunned into silence, I followed, anxious to discover the fate of my father.
As a child, I had heard stories of this meat shop, blood running down the walls, corpses lying on tables with their insides removed, and their hollow shells stitched back together with clumsy needlework. In reality, the only blood in the room was that which my father and I had brought in, and there were no corpses, no tables... nothing. Walls, ceiling, floor. Maybe his killing floor is hidden away, my mind was starting to feel regret for leading me here. Nothing made sense. We came to the end of the room, and followed some stairs down to the basement. It was almost pitch black, and I carefully navigated my way down step after step. There came a point where I expected to find the flat, cool surface of the basement floor, but the stairs kept going down and down. The stone steps were venting cool air into the narrow stairway, evaporating the sweat beads as they rolled down my cheek. My muscles tensed up and my concentration towards descending the stairs doubled. I had the feeling that if I lost my footing, I would plummet through the darkness to my eternal death...
We kept going down and down, we were deep under the village by this time, and I noticed that the sound of my footsteps suddenly became more dense and less echoed. My next step sent an unexpected shiver through my body, as my foot fell ankle deep in ice cold water. The figure ahead of me kept going down, so I clenched my teeth and kept right on behind him, even though a few more steps would have completely submerged me in water. However, we had at last come to the bottom of the stairs. I saw the silhouette of the giant in front of me grab a torch from its bracket on the wall and light it. The shocking reds and oranges of the flickering torchlight stunned my eyes and I was temporarily blinded.