It's one step, and then another. You have no idea where you're going, every breath burning your lungs and freezing your throat, but you keep moving. Eyes stinging from the smoke, your throat is still tight from where that thing stole your Sound. They made noise, with every step They took, every breath They breathed, every word They spoke, but your shoes didn't make the leaves crunch and your breaths didn't make any whispers.

The knife is bloody, hanging loose in your hand, and you're in some kind of trance, stumbling forwards, eyes glazed over and full of tears, feet dragging along the dirt. Your backpack is still hanging from your shoulders, but you don't register it, or anything. Not the autumn light or the blood on your shirt, red staining the light blue, already dry and flaking off.

It's like your mind is loading, and it's so slow. Because you know what happened. You saw Them, They saw you, you cried for help, They took your Sound. They crept around you, looking so much like yourself that it hurt, half-hunched over as They were, Their teeth sharper than they should be, eyes glinting and yellow, like something from a book. Nails like claws, the knife you hold now trailing around your throat, over the arteries on the sides of your neck, cold and rusty.

And when you finally moved, They were faster, taunting you, laughing as They avoided each punch and kick. I thought you were supposed to be a fighter, They laughed, cackling as They ducked one strike, side-stepping the next. I thought you could beat anyone!

You can beat anyone. Because They shoved you to the ground, Their breath like mud and dead branches, smile slightly to open, the knife at your throat again, snickering to Themself. But you weren't about to lose. You kicked Them, took it, stabbed Them, right in the eye. Right through the brain, and twisted, and pulled, and slashed through the side of Their throat.

And you started away, through the woods, stumbling back towards the town. You don't even realize that you're making your way down the street, that people can see you, that you're being stared at, clothes covered in mud and leaves, blood on your shirt, knife in your hand, glassy eyes. You don't notice it, because right now, you're in shock. Or you'd think so if you were able to think it right now.

You crumble to your knees at the crime scene that They must have come from, the tape before you, a barrier you can't cross. You fall to your knees, knife scraping the concrete road, sliding from your fingers as you stare blankly ahead. Someone comes closer, is speaking, but you can't listen, because of Them. You still don't have your Sound, you're sure because They never gave it back before They died.

Your name is called, and you look up, staring up at this new face, this face you've seen but don't know anything about right now because everything is fuzzy. Foggy. Mist is in your mind and you're almost floating like you're in a pool, but you're lungs aren't starving for air and you can feel the dry ground below your knees, the tears in the knees of your pants letting you feel the ground, so you can't be in a pool right now.

You stare blankly at them, head slowly shaking, mouth partially open, because you simply don't know what They were, whatever you killed. Some kind of shape-shifter or werewolf or demon or angel or just a hallucination because a lot of people have been hallucinating recently, with those two kids who were found burnt to death buried in unmarked graves, but you're fairly sure it was real.

You try to speak, but your Sound is still gone, and you just close your eyes, trying to breathe, trying to keep yourself going, but you can't, and the next thing you know is nothing because there isn't anything in Existence anymore, not even you, and you sink into Non-Existence because it is so much easier then Existence. After all, Existence has Them.