Kill Thy Neighbor - A mind-bending thriller and pitch-black comedy
It’s been a long day at work, so you are dead tired. As your car pulls to a stop, you look out the window and let the brutal exhaustion ebb from your weakened body. The energy flows from you in a silent scream.
You wish that it wasn’t autumn twilight right now, just so you could squeeze a little bit more daylight out of the evening. You think to yourself, If only it weren’t so dark out, I’d do something else before collapsing at home. Something completely incredible.
You let your fantasy bloom to suppress the banality of your life. If the sun was still shining bright, then I wouldn’t just wander into my home, collapse on the couch and start watching TV while snacking on whatever’s around.
Indeed, if there were a light to guide to your way, you could fly into the wide world with mad, hedonistic abandon. I’d have dizzying adventures of epic scope. Party like a wild, weekend rockstar on this school night.
Cook a feast.
Write a book.
Climb a mountain.
Learn the banjo.
And then make love to a beautiful stranger well after the stroke of midnight.
If only the damned day would let me!
But as you drearily slam your car door closed, you know you are full of shit. Even with angelic sunshiny weather, you’d still fall onto the living room couch with the same feeble groan. Still flip on the TV to zombify your brains. Just like you would in the middle of July. It’s not the sun’s fault you’re so lazy.
At least your thumb is free and alive when it breakdances across the remote looking for something to watch. Now that is something I’m good at, you sadly admit.
You lament how your sublime soul is trapped in the laziest of cages.
As you lock your car door, your thoughts drift some more. Hell, I almost like the quicker nights of winter. That way I can at least pretend to have an excuse as to why I never do anything with my life. It eases the loneliness and suffering. You hate how bleak your mind can become. Your darkness is the best reason to turn off your brain with food, screen and sleep.
How do I go so crazy in the short walk from my car to my home?
Still holding the keys, you rattle them about one-handed in a well-rehearsed shuffle to select the right one for the front door.
Then you hear a voice. “Excuse me.” It is very close and very calm.
Startled by the ambush, you turn around.
A tall man in a long black coat and hat is standing on the sidewalk behind you. Standing perfectly still like a statue, it is like he has always been planted there and you just never noticed. He is an older man, with pale white skin wrapped tightly over his gaunt and wrinkled features. But despite his age, his wide shoulders and upright posture tell you that hidden beneath his dark cloak is a body not yet close to dying. The man wears an old-fashioned black hat like a gangster would in an old black-and-white movie.
His pupils are bright blue and strangely wide open, giving his brow a crazed intensity. While his eyes are glassy and distant, they are proudly focused on you. His face is solemn, but his peppered eyebrows are pinched together with hate.
“You,” he says in a thin, rasping voice. Me? “I have something for you.” He approaches you with his hands in his coat pockets.
Unable to flee, you begin to pray. Please don’t be a knife. Please don’t shoot me.
And it’s an envelope. With a hand clad in a black leather glove, he presents the plain white paper square to you.
You wonder what it is. A court summons or lawsuit? That’s how they deliver those things, right? You’ve never gotten one before, so you don’t know.
You do not take the gift, but choose to examine the envelope as he patiently waits for you. Maybe it’s some old great second uncle’s cousin passed away, and this is my inheritance! Despite this weird creep, this could be great news, you think.
But it’s probably not.
You become wise and clever. “How do you know it’s for me?” you ask the man. “Do you even know who I am?”
In response, he dips at the waist while never moving his eyes from you. He blindly lays the envelope neatly on the ground. “It’s for you,” he assures.
He stands back up, turns, then walks away without ever looking back.
You study the envelope on the ground some more. It remains motionless, white and flat.
“Who are you?” you call after the man.
He stops, slowly turns, and has a hint of emotion on his face as he thinks. His thin lips are crinkled in a smirk.
He slowly answers, “Consider me a profit.”
Huh? “Oh, I’m not interested in buying anything,” you dismiss him. “No thanks.” What deranged sales tactics these guys have.
His eyes burn with anger. “No, with a ‘PH,’ you imbecile.” And he departs with a scowl.
The headlights flicker to a black sedan across the street, though the alarm doesn’t chirp. The man silently enters the car parked in the shadows.
You look back at the envelope. You realize that if this stranger wanted to kill you, he could’ve murdered you on the spot. But he didn’t kill me.
So it bothers you now that he didn’t provide any more information. Asshole, you think to yourself, feeling braver now that he has left.
Yet your tense muscles indicate you are still ready to dash inside your house in a moment’s notice if need be.
You wait for the paper sleeve to jump at you, screech a horrific noise or show any signs of life. But even a light breeze does not disturb it.
All right then. You bend over to pick up the envelope.
Once in your hands, the man’s car suddenly revs up and races away with the headlights off. You straighten back up with the mysterious paper, alarmed at the notion that the man had never left. Indeed, he had stuck around to ensure that you received the delivery.
So now I guess I have to open the thing. Be it from obligation or curiosity, there is no way you cannot.
But you better make sure you get inside your house first before the next weirdo arrives.
First, you turn on as many lights as you can from the entranceway to ensure there are no other surprises. The eternal semi-mess of your home always looks like someone has just broken in. There’s no one here, you confirm.
So you lock the door behind you.
Now you can take your shoes off and toss the keys on the counter.
You fall into the couch ass-first with a weary grunt. The room is silent, so you should maybe turn on the television to fill your life with some bright commotion.
Before you can find the remote, you remember the envelope in your hand.
You flip the paper back and forth and find nothing special from its clean, blank surface. You think about maybe getting up to examine it in front of a direct light, to x-ray the contents first.
Eh, that’s too much work. You lazily figure that’s a waste of time.
There’s one very simple way to discover what’s inside.
You open the envelope. Its glue easily surrenders to the might of your finger.
You do not die. So far, so good.
It has a neatly folded piece of paper inside. Just one sheet.
You pull out the paper and unfold it.
There is only a single sentence written on the page, center-aligned and nicely typed in the exact middle.
If you do not kill somebody,
somebody will kill you.
You take the page and flip it over, but the backside is completely blank. You stare at the words again to make sure you read the letter correctly.
If you do not kill somebody,
somebody will kill you.
You drop the paper down onto the table top. It conveniently lands upright to remain readable. Its words make other words tumble over and over in your head.
What? Why? Where? When? How? Who?
The questions cannot stop bouncing in your brain.
You go to the front window and anxiously peek out into the street. Except for some parked cars and dark windows, the road is empty. Nothing unusual to fear here.
You turn on the TV and blaze across the channels. You flip on some internet and rapidly surf through your favorite sites.
But what’s this message mean?
END OF EXCERPT