Gold on the Ceiling

Drip . . . drip . . . drip . . . . The sound was music to my ears. The simple plop of a liquid hitting a solid was like no other sound. I closed my eyes and felt a maniac-like smile creep onto my face. Yes, yes, it was a good sound, a sound that no other thing could beat. It did nothing, however, to extinguish the itching that I felt, the feeling of being trapped.

It was supposed to fix that. It was supposed to get rid of that . . . that feeling! It was the only reason that I had done what I had done! It was to escape!

Deep breaths, Conner, deep breaths. I slammed my fists against the walls with a roar of frustration. The sound was no longer pleasant. It made me cringe. It made me want to rip apart every human being bit by bit. I had to restrain myself, though. I couldn't do that. I had to be smart about this, I had to . . . I had to what?

A new sound had distracted my mind. It was a funny sound, like something you would hear around Christmas time, but it was June. I tilted my head slowly to the side as I realized what it was. Keys. My happiness returned as I started towards the door and peered out of the little view hole in the door. Yes, yes, someone was coming.

Perhaps they could help me to rid the itchiness, to make me feel free. The keys continued to jingle as the person shoved them into the key hole. Such a sad life it must be to be a key. All people do is toss you around and shove you into tight places.

Stop it, Conner, stop getting sidetracked. I ran my hands over my face as I rocked back and forth in the kitchen. The door creaked open and the owner of the apartment stepped inside, oblivious to anything being wrong. Quickly, I picked up the knife off the counter and narrowed my eyes in on the person as they walked into the kitchen, still oblivious to anything being amiss.

That only lasted for a second longer, though. Her eyes landed on me and her mouth opened into was inevitably a scream, but I stopped it. I stopped it quickly. It was simple to knock her out, but it wasn't all so simple to restrain myself from slicing the delicate white throat that she adorned. No, no, I had to wait. I had to wait until she came too and was a bit calmer, more rational. All I wanted to do was talk to her for a moment, just for a moment, and then I would give her the mercy of dying. Yes, that was the polite thing to do. Give in to her pleas and just end her life as she begged me to.

I mustered up my strength and put her into a chair, using articles of clothing to tie her to it. I couldn't have her escaping. No, no, that would be a very, very bad thing. Yes, very bad. I shook my head. Focus, Conner, focus. I placed a piece of tape over her mouth and stepped back to admire my handiwork. It wasn't too bad, if I did say so myself.

I was left to silence, though. The stupid dripping continued. Drip . . . drip . . . drip . . . . I dug my fingers into my ears try and block out the sound, but it just continued on just as loud. Just . . . just as . . . what was that sound?

I wheeled around to a whining sound and found a small dog staring up at me. It didn't move and neither did I. I stared at it, trying to determine if I should restrain it as well. It was merely a dog, though, there wasn't any need to harm a poor, poor animal, was there? I didn't see a point, so I scooped the dog up into my arms and started pacing in front f the woman.

She should be awake soon. If she didn't awaken, I would make her awaken. I wanted to get it finished, I wanted to be free and I wanted to stop being so . . . so itchy. Oh so itchy, oh so trapped! I let go of the dog and curled up into a ball on the floor. It had to stop. I needed it to stop. Just stop! It wouldn't, though; it continued to engulf me, to make the feeling even more intense.

A moan pulled me away from the itchiness for a few moments. I slowly turned my gaze in the direction of the woman to find her eyes wide open, taking me in. I pushed myself up into a crouch position and slowly moved towards her, putting my hand on her cheek to calm her. It didn't work, all it did was emit a whimper from her.

"How are you, darling?" I asked, running my eyes over her. She jerked back in the chair, trying to get away from me. "Now, now, calm down, my dear." I reached towards the tape on her mouth. "If I take this off, you are not allowed to scream, do you understand?" She was shaking, I could visibly see her shaking, but she jerked her head in a nodding motion. I gently peeled the tape off her mouth and smiled at her when she remained silent. "Now, isn't that better?"

"What do you want with me?" she said hoarsely. I stepped back and looked at her, clasping my hands behind my back and tried to ignore the returning itchiness.

"I want to make new friends," I replied simply. "Everyone needs a friend, don't you think?"

"This isn't how you do it," she desperately said. I arched an eyebrow.

"Isn't it? How do you suggest I do it, then, if you're such an expert?" I asked her. She was silent, staring at me for several minutes until she once again spoke.

"My husband will be here any minute," she told me. "He'll call the cops on you." A smile spread across my face and I turned away, picking up the knife off the floor.

"Your husband won't be coming," I explained, wiping the knife on my shirt. "You see, your husband came home an hour ago. Pitiful thing he was, begging and screaming like a small child. He wasn't as big of a man as you might make him out to be. I had to slice his throat just to shut him up."

"What?" she whispered. I turned around to see her chest heaving as she tried to catch her breath. "I'll kill you! I'll kill you!" She began thrashing in the chair, trying to get away.

"Kill me?" I growled, grabbing the chair and making her stop. "Kill me? Are you in any position, do you think, to kill me?" She had tears streaming down her face as she looked up at me. "I didn't think so."

"What do you want with me?" she asked in a defeated voice.

"What do I want with you?" I questioned, arching an eyebrow. "Well . . . I wasn't going to harm you because I thought the death of your husband would be enough, but it wasn't. It didn't work! I need relief and maybe you can give it to me, maybe you can help me to get rid of the itchiness."

"How?" she asked me, shaking her head. I looked at her, gripping the knife tightly in my hand.

"By dying," I told her and sliced her throat before she could say anything more.

I rolled my shoulders, closing my eyes as I did so. There was, like before, relief for a few moments, but not for long. I was itchy again. It wouldn't go away. I let out a scream of frustration. No! it was supposed to have worked! I was supposed to be alright now! The itchiness was supposed to be gone!

"Why isn't it gone?" I whispered, walking away from the woman's corpse. "It's supposed to be fixed!"

The mutt was whimpering in the corner, looking at me. I picked it up in my arms, still trying to determine what I had done wrong, why I wasn't better. It had to be simple, I thought that maybe their deaths would help, but it didn't. It didn't work. Why? Why couldn't it have just worked?"

Slowly, my eyes went down to the small animal in my arms. It looked up at me with its innocent eyes. It wasn't innocent, though. It had all been right in front of me and it could have been solved a long time ago.

"You," I hissed, dropping the dog and scrambling around from it. "It was you all along, you stupid mutt!"

I moved to the kitchen and picked up the knife again. "I'm sorry about this, friend, but it must be done."

There was a final yelp and just like that, the itchiness disappeared.