I sat in my room at the table. A candle was flickering. The four
men sitting across from me projected ghostly shadows on the wall.
"I'm sure you knew Roald McGreen. The one who recently was
found dead in his bed. He ran into a tree with his car a while
ago after he lost control on a slippery road. The car was totaled
and Roald, who broke an arm and suffered a concussion, was admitted
to the hospital. He awoke in a run-down, smelly hospital room.
He was the only one in the room and there was no bell to call
for a nurse. He laid back into the pillow and tried to relax as
he noticed a squeaking sound. He noticed it right away because
there were no other noises. It came from the right corner where
he had already spotted a hole in the wall. As he looked around
he saw a little, gray mouse jumping towards his bed. It came closer
and closer. It had already reached the bedpost and started to
climb it. Roald, who stilled suffered from the concussion and
was unable to think clearly, felt threatened. He started to sweat
and stared confused at the bedpost whose end the mouse had just
reached and now jumped off onto the covers. Curious, it hurried
towards his head. He panicked. He wanted to slam the beast off
the bed but the pain stopped him from doing so. He started shaking
his head wildly although this made him feel dizzy. The mouse settled
next to his head and squealed. But to his luck he didn't realize
this anymore because now he passed out.
After a while when all the wounds had healed, he was released
from the hospital. A great fear of mice remained. He consulted
his doctor who advised him to see a psychiatrist.
The psychiatrist sent him to a clinic in the mountains. But there
too he was stricken by panic attacks. He left again.
At home everything went well for a few days. He was working again,
looked after the garden. Also, he was able to sleep undisturbed.
Once he paid me a visit and told me the whole story. He wanted
to talk about his ailments and I believed that I could help him.
Already the following night he had a nightmare: Carefully the
window was opened by a dark-gray creature. The creature turned
out to be - only in his dream - a giant mouse. It came towards
Roald McGreen who was tossing and turning on the bed. The long,
pointy fangs flashed in the pale moonlight that lit the room only
sparely. With a pointy fang that caught special attention it crawled
next to the bed, lowered its head and bit. He probably experienced
a stinging pain in his chest, then he lay still and it was quiet
in the room.
In the morning the maid probably wanted to wake up Mr. McGreen.
She saw him and let go a scream for on the bed was Roald, still
and dead. Blood flowed from a small wound in the chest. The covers
were blood red. That's how I imagine it was; on that next morning."
The four were wondering why their host knew the cause of death
so accurately. There was nothing about it in the newspaper. There
was basically only one answer. That thought made them shudder...
It all started so innocently with an invitation to a poker evening.
What was the real reason for the invitation now? It didn't feel
quite right anymore.
"I made up the story about the nightmare but I thought that's
how he must have perceived my visit," I explained while I
pulled out a blood-covered knife and showed it to my guests. The
true reason for the invitation was about to be revealed. Confused
and not even that surprised they retreated a bit.
In a triumphant voice I said: "That's what I stabbed him
with. I climbed into his room where he was laying in bed covered
with sweat. His eyes were gleaming and widening. Maybe he was
horrified because I appeared somewhat frightening in the pale
moonlight. I positioned myself next to the bed and rammed this
knife into his chest. He was dead on the spot."
"Then you are a murderer." The four made long faces.
"No, I am not a murderer. I just freed him from his fears",
I joked. The men crammed into corners because they wanted to be
as far away from me as possible. They knew that I did not like
them very much. Now they were afraid. I closed the door. The draft
almost made the candle go out. The shadows of the four were shaking.
I couldn't tell if the flicker of the candle caused that or if
they really quivered liked that. Either way, I proceeded to scare
my victims: "Before you now leave and hide in your apartments,
double-locking the doors and peeking out the windows to see who
might come visit you, I now have to tell you the reason for my
invitation tonight and the purpose of the story: "For a long
time already I hate all of your guts. I hated Roald McGreen's
guts too...". I approached one of the four men. He froze
like he was nailed to the floor and stared in my eyes while the
others stepped aside. He was shaking all over and his face appeared
devoid of color and blood. I started to speak in a beseeching
tone. The flame of the candle got even lower and the room was
"Fredy", I began, pleased. He would have liked to crawl
into the wall. "That you suffer from hallucinations comes
in really handy. You will be afraid that your sleep isn't deep
enough. You'd have to witness how the killer sneaks into your
room and stretches out his hands for your throat. Not very pleasant,
is it? So you will quickly swallow as many sleeping pills as you
can and the murder is perfect without the murderer ever touching
I turned away from him. I was hoping that this was sufficient.
He sucked in air with deep breaths. The remaining three pressed
against the wall and tried to act as invisibly as possible. I
believed that the eerie atmosphere and my words were enough to
scare them and drive them to suicide. That way I didn't have to
get my hands dirty but the disturbing factors in my circle of
acquaintances were disposed of. Two birds with one stone.
"Fear not as I am not going to hurt you, at least not directly.
But even if I had to kill you myself I would be to skilled for
the police. You can choose". One walked over to the table
determinedly, contemplated the knife and finally took it in his
hands. Just then the candle went out. It was dark in the room.
Only the gray smoke of the candle rose to the ceiling. There was
a scream and something fell to the floor with a thump. The remaining
three made their way to the door. They were scared stiff and that
was good. I let them go.
As I dragged the body down to the basement I believed to hear
several screams in the neighborhood. Satisfied I went to sleep.
Copyright © 1979, Wasty, Anguish
German title: Gesteuerte Selbstmorde
Reading time: approx. 7 1/2 minutes
Written as a school essay in German class (Fritz Fischer, the teacher, even liked it and nicknamed me "Hitchcock" from then on...)
Last updated February 12, 2001 by Martin Mathis, e-mail lastbandit.com