The Man of Death: part 2 of 2

July 26, 2010
Custom User Avatar
More by this author
I stood there, paralyzed, yet trembling, whispering in a low whisper to myself.
“My name is Ted Runner and I’m not crazy.”
With each whispered sentence there was a tremendous thud as the door bent beneath the might of the mad man.
“My name is Ted Runner and I’m not crazy.”
“My name is Ted Runner and I’m not crazy.”
Where are your shoelaces? Explain that to me.
I closed my eyes and pressed my fingers against my head desperate to find some escape from the pounding and the voice in my head, yet still the noise continued. Where are your shoelaces, and where is your wallet? Just admit it now, you’re insane. That creature of the darkness is just a figment of your imagination.
Look around you, the evidence of your insanity is pasted to the walls that surround you.
Suddenly my eyes sprung open, as I realized that the evidence was indeed surrounding me. The walls that held me in also held the clues to if I was crazy or not, and if I would die here or not, because if I was crazy then the Man of Death did not exist, and he would have no power over me, but if I was sane then he would kill me, I was sure of it. Something in those dead eyes told me that the man would not rest until his needle like teeth had found their way to my throat.
I spun around the room attempting to ignore the repetitive thuds, staring at all of the pictures on the wall, searching.
There was a picture of a lady with sleeping peacefully in her bed with her husband. I turned the picture over, and I saw the man and the woman in the same bed, but now the man was sleeping peacefully, but the woman was dead, bleeding out of a wound in her back.
There was a picture of a man typing at his computer. I turned the picture over, and I saw the man with his head on his keyboard, obviously dead due to a wound across his throat, which had sprayed blood all over the computer screen.
There was a picture of a lady curled up on a sofa, reading a book. I turned the picture over, and I saw the same lady dead, with a bite mark on the side of her neck. Her blood had marked the page that she had last read, it was the last page of the book.
There was a picture of a man climbing down a sewer ladder. I recognized that man as myself. I turned the picture over, and I saw a picture of me floating face down at the base of the ladder.
How did he do that? He must not have a key, considering that he’s trying to break down the door, and he must not come in the way that you came in, because he hasn’t yet. So how did he put all these pictures here?
I answered the voice in my head, aloud once more. “He must have another way in.”
Yes, which means that if you were sane then you’d be in danger here, especially considering that the pounding on the door has stopped. Just listen, the pounding has stopped.
I turned slowly with the icy grip of fear tightening its grip around my heart. Once I had made a full circle I carefully shifted my gaze up above my head, and to my horror I saw a manhole right above me, with a rusty old ladder leading down, and on that ladder I saw a shape. I couldn’t make out what that shape was, but to my horror I instantly recognized the cloudy green eyes, and the sharpened teeth.
For a moment I hesitated to move, but it was not due to fear. I knew that to run was the easiest way to survive. What stopped me was the simple thought that if I stayed near to the light, then the Man of Death would have to step into the light in order to kill me, then I would die knowing.
For some peculiar reason though there was this odd feeling within me that compelled me to run. I suppose you would call it hope, but at that time I called it insanity. After all, I had no way of escaping, and therefore no way of surviving, so why not just accept the inevitable? Perhaps, life is a gift, and deep in our hearts we know that it is wrong to throw that gift away, no matter what waits on the other side, or perhaps life is just a random collection of molecules, and we know that all we have is one life, but either way, whether I was alone down there or not I jumped back into the water, and clawed my way under the brick wall that was on the opposite side of room, from the door.
Once again I clawed my way through filth, the feeling of claustrophobia closing in on me as my back scraped the wall above me, and once again, after I was past the wall, I brought my head above the surface, attempting to vomit, but this time all that I had left in my system was a glob of spit that I spit into the murky waters.
For a moment I supported myself, hands on knees, until the dizziness, and sickness passed. I was about ready to run further along these putrid sewer tunnels when I felt the water rising.
In fear I darted to the side of the tunnel where there was a small ledge to walk on. I clung to that ledge wondering what had happened, but at the same time I knew exactly what had happened, the lunatic had blocked my path that I had come through, so that my escape was blocked, and I would drown in the rising waters.
Run you fool, there must be a manhole nearby, run for the light you fool.
“I’m tired, and I’m sick! This sewer will kill me if I stay in it much longer! No…no, it shall kill me if I can survive that much longer,” I said aloud, while supporting myself with one hand against the sewer wall, “the Man of Death pursues me in the darkness, and I have no way of fighting him in the dark.”
The Man of Death pursues us all at some time or another, his fangs poised around your throat to steal your life away.
This time my response was whispered through clenched teeth. “Steal my life, or steal my mind? Could he just be the Man of Insanity, who only resides in my mind?”
Only one way to find out, but if you’re wrong then what is he, and what lays beyond death?
Reluctantly I straightened my spine, turning from a miserable crawling wretch into a dignified man, then with whatever strength could possibly be left in me I moved my right foot forwards, then the other foot. As I did so I went back to feeling the walls about me, walking like a blind man. Haltingly I took another step then another, then another, until finally I spotted a faint glimmer of light, coming from above.
Step into the light. That is your best defense against the monster that stalks you.
I took a step towards the light, but no more, because at that moment I heard a frightening whisper echo around me, starting out soft, but slowly rising, and rising.
“Where are your shoelace’s Ted? Where are your shoelace’s Ted? Where are your shoelace’s Ted? Where are your shoelace’s Ted? Where are your shoelace’s Ted? Where are your shoelace’s Ted?”
I turned around, staring into the dead, glassy eyes of the Man of Death. He couldn’t have been more than twelve feet away.
I turned to flee, when I suddenly saw a vision of something from my past, as clear as daylight. There were strings, eight in all, each attached to one end of a stick, and oh how those sticks moved! They danced hypnotically, back and forth hypnotically, then a pair of scissors entered the scene and cut the strings. The sticks stopped dancing, for they had no control over the strings, the strings hung there, lifeless.
I turned back to face the man that I had feared.
“Aren’t you going to run like you’ve been doing for the last several minutes?” the man asked, his vicious teeth parting into a smile of pure evil.
I stood, staring into his murky green eyes, my spine straight and my head held high. The eyes were at least a foot above my own, but I was still not as intimidated as I had been.
“It must end here, and now I know why. If I am crazy then you do not exist, therefore if I am crazy, then you cannot hurt me. If you cannot hurt me then I will walk out of here, knowing that I am crazy. However, if I am not crazy then you must exist, and therefore you will have the ability to kill me, but if you do kill me then I will die knowing my sanity.”
I expected the man to stab me, or try to stab me right there, but instead he did something very odd. His smile grew, and he laughed, “I’ve died ten times, and counting, but none of my deaths have ever been like this. A man sacrifices himself, just to discover his own sanity.”
Perhaps I should have suspected my own insanity there, because I smile back, “yes, I do plan to put my life on the line just to prove my own sanity. Don’t you see, we’re all puppets, us powerless people, little dolls only held up and moved by the powerful. So many people search for a way to cut their own strings, creating a separation that removes the connection that the powerful had, so that the powerless could be danced around. However, when the strings are cut the doll falls, a puppet without strings cannot stand. If I am sane the strings are waiting to be reattached as soon as I return to the surface, but of course I’m tired of being controlled, so I might as well die down here. However if I’m insane then you cannot kill me, and the strings are cut already, and shall be until I die raving mad in an asylum bed. Either way though, the strings will be cut, I will be free, and even if I won’t be able to stand on my feet again, straight and proud, I will still be happy just to know that I am free.”
There was a momentary pause as the green eyes seemed to reassess me, before the lips parted revealing the sharpened teeth as the Man of Death spoke, “I will grant your wish.”
His teeth drew nearer and nearer to my neck, until I could feel his hot breath on my throat. In sudden fear I clenched my fist, and though it was hot in the sewer I felt very cold in that moment.
“Yeah this way, I’m sure I heard someone speaking down here.”
I spun around as I heard the gruff voice behind me and the tramping of rubber boots as a small group of bulky men ran towards me, using flashlights to find me in the darkness, but all they found was me, because by the time that they got to me, the Man of Death had disappeared.
Later that day they dragged me out of the sewer. I shouted in protest all the way to the asylum.
“I’m not crazy! I’m not crazy! I’m not crazy! I’m not crazy! I’m not crazy! I’m not crazy! I’m not crazy! I’m not crazy! I’m not crazy! I’m not crazy!”
Once I was in the asylum many people debated whether I had been insane before or after I went into the sewer, but that was not what I wanted to know. What I wanted to know was if I was insane or not.
In the end (I didn’t know it until later) there was one man who considered that I just might have been sane. One man saw a pair of dead green eyes outside his window in the dark one night. That night all that the man could think about was that maybe I could be sane, well that and why he couldn’t find his shoelaces, or move his arms.

Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback