He felt his way through the sparse forest. It was white from a blanket of recent snow. White and green and brown and gray. The pines had bent low to the ground from the snows weight. The sun had not yet come up and the reflection of the white snow was welcome in the surrounding dark. He could not feel his gloved hands. He could not feel anything. But still he walked, awkwardly on uneven terrain.
He had been driving. Driving away from . . . he could not remember. Why was I . . . driving? The thought was barely there, as if it took an enormous amount of effort to construct such a thing. He simply walked. He remembered slowly that he had been running. Running through the forest away from . . . what?
He tried to speak, “hmfp.” He could not form words. Barely a grunt could escape his lips and even that was hard for him to manage. And he did not know why.
The horizon was showing the slightest hints of the suns rise. The gray clouds obscuring any real color the sun could have given.
He found a road, snow packed and slick and dark. He followed the roads gentle downward slope. As he walked he seemed to gain his strength, but still could not feel his hands or feet . . . or anything, it seemed. It was hard to tell.
There was a crash. He could smell it before he rounded the corner. The smell of burnt rubber and steel. The smell of burning gas and of hair. The car, once in view, was in a shallow blaze, burning alongwith another that had rammed crashed into it. There were people sanding around.
He tried to call them, “ayuh . . .” he still could not talk. “Ayuh . . .” Damn it, he thought, slowly, as he made his was over to where those in the accident, what could be wrong with my voice. He felt his neck and coughed. His head became exhausted from the thinking he had done. It seemed unnatural, dirty. He felt like a strander when he thought. It was a feeling—inbred—he did not have to think it, he knew it. Thinking was hard because it was a dirty thing to do.
Someone, somewhere screamed. It was horrifying, and yet, there was an odd sense of glee that came along with it. A sort of, joy. That was the word. Joy. Pleasure in a sound so loud and full of pure humanity. He felt his spirits life and strength grow and he was able to form a single driving thought from the beautiful noise. More.
He listened for a second scream to follow but there was none. He continued towards the cars and the few individuals standing some distance beyond the blaze.
One of the men saw him as he rounded the vehicles and shouted something unintelligible. He was beginning to think all of his normal senses were dulled. Another man, near the first pulled out a pistol and pointed at him as he made his way to the group. He shouted something and a girl near by screamed. There it is, he thought more easily. That sound. That beautiful sound. The sense of euphoria pushed up something deep, something primal within. He needed to hear it again. How could something so pure belong in such a bleak surrounding. He needed to hear it again. He would do anything.
The gun was fired in muffled rounds and he cringed, trying to avoid the bullets. He felt the force hit him, but there was no pain. No pain. He stopped and just looked down at his stomach and chest. No pain. No blood. He could see the bullet holes in his winter coat, but there was no feeling. He looked up at the man, now with an empty gun and ran towards him. Why the hell was he shooting at me? His thoughts were quickening. The anger inside of him was becoming unbearable. He wanted to kill this man. Rip his heart out and split open his skull.
Another, larger gun was fired and knocked him off of his feet. There was still no pain, but the force from the shotgun was unmistakable. The rage he had suddenly felt was unleashed as he ran, faster than he could ever remember. Another bang and he flew back. As he got to his feet he saw them running as well. Up the mountain side on the other side of the road. They were shouting and screaming. He couldn’t help loving that sound. It was pure, raw and real. He stood there, some time listening to the chaos around him. The screaming and the burning, crackling fire. His senses seemed to return to him in this state of mind. In the anger was clarity.
He ran towards the group.
The sun was peaking over the distant mountains now. The clouds slowly dispersing, the sun leaving long shadows over the landscape. The snow, in patches, unshaded by the forest trees was brilliantly white. He could see the group moving quickly through the forest, splitting up at one point. The rage that had embodied him lowered and soon he was merely running to catch up. He needed to catch up for the screams. For the look on their faces when they say him. For the violence of gun shots that knocked him over and made him furious. He needed these things. But mostly, he knew he needed that symphony of screams.
It took him several minutes to reach the group who was still running. They were more scattered, but he could smell them and knew he could find each eventually. As he approached the nearest—a girl—he reached out and grabbed a fist full of long blond hair. Without thinking he pulled down sharply. That beautiful noise escaped her lips as he did so. Pain brings that noise, he marveled. He grabbed her arm and pulled, while bracing his foot against her jaw. There was a pop as it dislocated followed by another loud and burning scream. He knew he could do more. He needed to do more. He needed to hear that sound again. He looked up as saw some—not all—paused, looking on as he pulled and pulled and she screamed until the arm was ripped from her torso. The scream that followed was perfect. Perfect and beautiful and fulfilling. The climax to a wonderful overture. The scream building and building. It lasted several long seconds before the woman took several deep painful breaths, whimpered—another wonderful noise—and passed out from the pain.
She, he thought, will die soon.
Blood pooled around her limp body, flowing freely from her arm. Something about the blood made him smile, or want to smile as he could not feel what his face was doing. A nearby man was frozen in shock upon seeing the mutilation of the woman and so, he ran over to the man and bit his neck. Blood came from the hole he had taken with his teeth, but the man did not scream. He choked and fell to the ground, blood spraying out of the side of his neck. The blood gargled in his throat and mouth as he choked and soon died. There was satisfaction there, but not the same as the scream.
He chased the others, running fast and not tiring. It was an exhilarating feeling. He was free. Completely free. He killed the others. Most of them quickly, but the last—knowing that he was the last—he took his time on. Peeling his skin and eating it. He broke fingers and bit his tongue off. He found several rocks and hit the man with them, listening and loving his beautiful screaming voice. It was ecstasy. Eventually, though, through all of the torture, he slipped into unconsciousness and he bashed in the mans skull with a large rock. And, just before leaving him, ate a portion of his brains. They were good.
His winter coat had been ripped and his bare chest was now exposed. His skin was clammy and gray and peeling. It looked rotten. This should have bothered him, and he knew it, but for some reason, he could not care. All he wanted was that scream. That horrifying and haunting noise. He left the man and followed the trail of dead bodies—five in all—and went looking for the two or three that had split off. He would find them and he would make them scream. He had to. That is all he knew. He needed to hear that addictive noise at all costs and he would, soon. He knew he would hear it.