Death’s Head (Part 1 of 3)

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

This is the face I see in my dreams. A young man is sitting at the foot of my bed, his butt on the bedstead, his feet planted across my legs. He has a gun in one hand, casually dangled over one knee. He has a cigar between his teeth, and his teeth are set in a raw white skull, an ever-grinning death’s head of my own.

He plucks the cigar out and crawls over my body. When his eyes are looking into mine, he draws in his breath – sssssss – and he puts the gun to my head. He starts to say something. And then I wake up.

And everyday, the face, the eyes, stay behind my eyelids, taunting me as I face each day. In my job as a night-watchman, it probably doesn’t help to see things.

Tonight is a night like any other. I leaf through a magazine waiting for daylight. Behind me, the factory hums although the machines aren’t actually producing anything. Every few days, the foreman stops at my booth and tells me that they have to keep the machines running or it’d take hours to get them warm again. He did this tonight before leaving. I responded with a dutiful nod.

I expect tonight to be as dead a night as any other. And then I hear a click in front of me. The face looms in front of the glass as usual, a ghost impression that never leaves me. And behind the glass, I see the same face in real life.