“Show me Guacamole!” There was a buzzing noise, followed by the image of a red X. This family would definitely not win the feud.
Josh turned off the T.V..
Josh turned the T.V. back on.
Then off again.
“Good.” Josh voiced aloud. Normally, this would be considered crazy, but Josh lived alone so it didn’t really matter.
Josh’s living room was spotless, it always was. The couch was exactly 7 feet away from the television, and they were exactly parallel to each other; so they wouldn’t intersect, obviously.
It was night time, but you wouldn’t be able to tell in a home like Josh’s. Each and every light was meticulously and mathematically positioned, so nothing in the house would cast a shadow. The devil hides in the shadows.
Twenty-one three course meals. Each course separated from the other and hermetically sealed. For Josh, this was logical. He was deathly afraid of mold, and he couldn’t eat food that had been touching other food. This explains his special plates: divided into three triangles, made out of plastic for easy sterilization, and one triangle bigger than the others for the main course.
Josh opened his spotless microwave and slid his special plate into the center of it. He looked at the clock to see how close it was to 6:00PM.
“Three minutes and fifty-three seconds,” he said, accounting for the thirteen seconds that it took to say that sentence and type the cook time into the microwave.
Josh laughed rather hysterically, his mouth full of food. He was back in front of the television, and The Simpsons was particularly funny on this night. Josh could only watch cartoons and gameshows. There was a complete absence of evil in these genres, and Josh was a very scared man. If Josh didn’t have the ability to record these shows, he’d sit in front of a lifeless television screen all day.
Josh Thanatos was more extreme than the textbook example of an obsessive compulsive person. His condition was in control of his entire life. The door of his Los Angeles apartment remained locked for the majority of the day, except when he would receive food deliveries once a week. He wouldn’t have any source of cash if it wasn’t for his sound business investments, which he acquired out of pure serendipity. His OCD caused him to buy stocks with the “godliest” share prices, and these stocks just happened to skyrocket. He was an enormously blessed, enormously strange man.
Josh’s wristwatch chirped wildly, and he looked down at its digital readout. It displayed the time to be six thirty-two and thirty-two seconds.The watch had stopped. That’s odd, he thought; and with that thought, a light flicked off behind him. Josh paused his television.
“H-hello?” he called out. There was no answer.
Josh retrieved a new lightbulb from his laundry-room cabinet. His heart pounded furiously against the confines of his ribcage. He did not like shadows. He did NOT like shadows.
A sense of relief settled over Josh as his fixed lamp clicked back on. He returned to his couch and pressed the play button on his remote. Nothing happened. Still nothing. Josh frantically rammed his thumb against the play button, hoping for a response. Suddenly, the television’s picture distorted and emitted a sound similar to tuning a radio. Slowly, Homer Simpson and the town of Springfield twisted into the shape of a dark sinister figure. A menacing silhouette now filled the screen.
“FUCK!” Josh shouted, throwing the remote at the television. It missed and shattered against the wall.
“Hello, Joshua,” spoke a low voice, with the texture of an atomic explosion.
Josh was shaking violently, and tears were streaming uncontrollably from his clenched-shut eyelids.
“Wh-Who are you?” Josh managed to utter, almost silently.
“You know who I am.” he voice cut through the air with grotesque precision.
“Yes, Joshua. I am Death.” Death’s voice filled every corner of the room. There was no way not to hear it.
“Is it my time?” Josh was sitting still now, the shaking ceased, and his eyes opened. The voice had entranced him.
“No, Joshua. Now is not your time, and it won’t be until you repay me what you owe.”
“What? What do I owe you?”
“You’ve lead a charmed life. Did you really think your exceedingly good luck was all by random happenstance?”
Josh’s eyes widened. He looked at his surroundings: a large LCD screen television, a leather couch that costed around five grand, the walls adorned with fancy paintings (some originals, some replicas). He really didn’t have it hard at all.
“What do you want me to do!?” Josh blurted, digging his nails into the seat under him.
“ I want you to replace me.” Death’s voice did not echo.
“But I’m just a human, I would be murdering people.”
“The is no natural death, Joshua. Just well planned murder. You have no choice in the matter. Either you do my bidding, or death becomes history; and the natural balance of nature is destroyed.”
With that statement, Josh blacked out. He awoke the next morning with a piece of paper clenched in his hand. He unfolded it to reveal that it was blank.
“I must have been dreaming,” He said hopefully.
His hopes were dashed as letters began to write themselves on the blank paper. They formed a name: Daniel Levy.
Josh’s stomach turned with the thought of what this name meant. Daniel Levy was Josh’s third grade teacher. He had to kill his third grade teacher.
Vomit erupted from the pit of Josh’s stomach, and he watched the contents of last night’s meal cover his shag rug. What did Josh eat that was bright orange? He raced to the kitchen to get cleaning supplies. Unclean he thought as he scrubbed furiously. Unclean unclean unclean unclean.
Josh deposited his vomit-soaked rags into a plastic bag. Oh God, Josh thought as he remembered why he puked in the first place. “Why me?” he asked the wall. “Why me?” He asked the television. Josh looked at his brown rug, it was bleached white in the area where last night’s dinner had landed. “God fucking dammit!” Josh clutched the edge of his damaged rug and pulled vigorously. His couch tipped from the force. “FUCK!” Josh put his foot through the television. “THIS DOESN’T MAKE SENSE.” One by one, Josh smashed every lightbulb in his apartment. He continued on this path for quite some time. He had to break things, nothing meant anything to him anymore.
In the darkness, Josh pulled his curtains open to reveal the natural light of the sun. He hadn’t seen it in ages. He turned around to see his monstrous shadow occupying the majority of the floor. Nearly everything in Josh’s apartment was broken. His floors were covered with broken wood and glass, and blood was dripping from his hands. Josh stood up. He slid a bloody hand into his pocket, and produced the strip of paper that had inspired his anger. The name Daniel Levy stared defiantly in his face. Josh checked his wristwatch, it was 2:30PM. I can do this, he thought.
Josh extended two fingers of a bandaged hand, between them was a twenty-dollar bill. Josh was in the back of a taxi cab. “Keep the change,” he said to the driver. Josh was dressed as inconspicuously as possible. He wore a black coat over a plaid shirt, and a pair of blue jeans. On his head, he wore a baseball cap with the bill pulled as far down as it possibly could be without obstructing his view. In the interior pocket of his coat was a pair of leather gloves.
Josh walked slowly down the halls of John Adams elementary school. He did his best to look like a parent, and even better to keep his hands in his pockets. He still remembered Mr. Levy’s room number by heart. It was number seven. Josh looked up and down the hallway, it was uninhabited. Josh put on his leather gloves and turned the handle to door number seven. He pushed the door open slowly.
“Hello?” spoke the kind voice of an older man. Josh looked in to see Mr. Levy sitting behind his desk, shuffling through a large stack of papers. The clock on the wall read three twenty-six. “Can I help you, sir?” Josh removed his hat, and Mr. Levy gasped. “Joshua, is that you? My how you’ve grown. Have a seat boy, please. I insist.” He gestured at a green plastic chair adjacent to his desk.
Josh walked through the classroom desks for what seemed like an eternity. His heart was pounding. He looked at the walls of the classroom. They were adorned with the works of many different children, exceptional works that Mr. Levy wanted the world to see. Works that Mr. Levy would never see again. Finally, Josh arrived at his seat.
“What brings you here, my lad? Wow, look at you. You look great.” A tear rolled down Josh’s face as he made eye contact with his teacher, the man who had taught him how to read when no other teacher could. “Josh? What’s wrong?”
“Mr. Levy, I’m here to…” Josh choked on his final word.
“You’re here to what?” Mr. Levy looked puzzled, but the expression quickly turned into a look of terror. “Oh god. No, no no no please.” Josh looked at his hands, then to the throat of Daniel Levy. “I’m sorry. I’m so so so so sorry. I’m a terrible person, and I’ve probably ruined your life.”
“What? What are you talking about?” Josh stared confusedly into the face of his teacher, which was twisted with angst and regret.
“I can’t believe myself. You were the only one, I swear. I’ve never regretted anything more in my life. I’m a monster!” Mr. Levy’s eyes bled profusely with tears.
“I don’t know what you’re-” at that moment, a memory jarred itself loose in Josh’s mind:
Josh sat rather still in a chair. He was a child. School had been over for at least an hour, and he had stayed late to review with Mr. Levy. Josh was looking at flash cards with various words written on them. “Cat,” chimed his youthful voice.
The sound was abruptly stripped from Josh’s flashback, and eventually Josh was only seeing pictures of this particular memory: Mr. Levy behind a camera, Josh sitting in the chair without clothing, Mr. Levy without clothing, Josh crying.
Josh’s gloved hands gripped the seat of his chair. Mr. Levy had done something horrible to Josh, he remembered now. His brow furrowed with anger, and he stood from his chair.
“Joshua, you have to believe me. You were the only one! I’m sorry that it even happened at all!” Mr. Levy retreated into his chair as much as he possibly could. His face was moist with tears, and his hair disheveled from running his hands through it nervously.
“You deserve to die.” A darkness had filled Josh, and his voice was distinctly absent of emotion.
Josh lunged over Mr. Levy’s desk and seized his neck. He felt his thumb close Mr. Levy’s windpipe with ease, a gratifying feeling. Daniel Levy’s eyes rolled gracefully into the back of his skull. He did nothing to fight back, his body only squirmed slightly as his breath escaped him. Josh let go. The limp body of Josh’s third grade teacher slumped back into the leather chair. A chair fit for a teacher.
Josh felt amazing. He felt empowered, he felt like death. Josh was interrupted abruptly by a feeling of intense panic. There was man that he killed right in front of him. Something had to be done.
Josh grabbed the chair containing his teacher’s corpse and rolled it into the center of the room. “What do I do with you?” he directed at the dead man.
He looked around the classroom. There were many desks, but aside from that it was pristinely clean. Josh threw a stack of papers from Mr. Levy’s desk. He had no idea what he was going to. He looked up at the ceiling, and noticed that there were fire sprinklers. Without much thought, Josh removed Mr. Levy’s belt and stood on a desk. He made a loop, and wedged one end securely into a fire sprinkler. Josh struggled to lift Mr. Levy over his shoulder, and stood on his leather chair. He slipped Mr. Levy’s head through the belt and let go. To his surprise, Mr. Levy hung from the ceiling rather convincingly. Josh positioned the chair under Mr. Levy’s feet and began to clean the classroom vigorously. He re-stacked the papers he had knocked over, and positioned the chair he sat in so it looked like nobody had been in the classroom.
“Goodbye, Mr. Levy.” He felt like a crazy person, talking to a dead body. As he left the classroom, he checked the hallway to make sure that nobody was around. He sprinted to the front door of John Adams Elementary, and returned to the normal world.
As Josh walked home, he could not help but feel good about what he’d done. The man that he had killed was deserving. He was filled with a sick sense of pride. I am death, he thought. It was a pleasing thought. He was doing nature’s bidding.
He returned to his destroyed apartment, “Honey, I’m home.” Josh laughed to himself. He never thought he’d feel so euphoric for doing something so monstrous. He examined his apartment, not a single part of it was clean. Josh didn’t care, he didn’t want to clean. In fact, he wasn’t going to clean and he felt fine about that. Josh made his way to the bathroom and flicked on the light. He stared at himself in the mirror, and laughed whole-heartedly. He was holding himself confidently, like a regular human being. He smiled at his reflection. For once in his life, Josh Thanatos felt like he was an attractive man. He felt capable, in charge, commanding. He was on top of the world.
Josh looked at his wristwatch; it was ten minutes until six o’clock. He decided that he wanted to eat dinner out that night.
Josh sat at a table at one of the nicest restaurants in his city. He ordered the most expensive item on the menu, and laughed riotously with his waiter. He drank merrily, and before long he was quite intoxicated.
After five long hours, Josh stumbled out of the restaurant. What a beautiful night, he thought. He walked alone through the well lit streets of inner city LA. Every shop was closed, but every club was open. Josh smiled idiotically at the people waiting to get into various venues. He heard muffled music through their doors, and the voices of many people. Many people who would eventually die, and by his hand. Josh laughed at this thought.
Josh arrived at his apartment complex, and fell like a ragdoll into his bed. He slept better than he had in years.
Josh awoke with a headache. His room was dark, because his blinds were shut tightly. He pulled them open to let the light in. “Good Morning, World,” he said to nobody. Josh sang in the shower as he thought about who he would have to kill on this day. Maybe he would make this one look like a car accident, or maybe he would poison them. Every method seemed enticing.
Josh dried himself off, and put on his clothes for the day: A black polo shirt, a pair of black Dockers, and his finest pair of dress shoes. He found his magic strip of paper in the pocket of yesterday’s jeans. Today’s victim was Evan Lowry.
Evan Lowry. Josh thought hard about this name. He knew that name. Then, it dawned on him. Evan Lowry had made fun of him in High School. Josh was a strange kid, and was prone to being laughed at; but Evan Lowry was the king of these people. He went out of his way to make Josh’s life a living hell. If Josh did anything abnormal, then Evan was there to be an asshole. Josh remembered one time in particular:
He was walking home, counting his steps aloud. Every time he counted a multiple of seven, he would clap. This was his ritual, and it made no sense to anyone else. Suddenly, Josh heard laughter come from behind him. He spun around, but there was nobody there. He continued walking, but his flow was broken, he had to start over. “One-two-three-four-five-six–” someone clapped. Josh looked around again, there was nobody. “One-two-three-four-five–” once again, someone clapped. Josh began to feel anxious, it didn’t feel right. His ritual was disrupted. An applause broke out behind him. Josh turned around a final time to see a group of kids following him. The group was lead by Evan Lowry.
“Do you like counting, you fuckin’ freak?” Evan displayed an evil smile.
“I-I-I have to,” Josh managed to return.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Do carry on then.” Evan stood nonchalantly, waiting for Josh to begin counting.
“One-two-thr–” The crowd applauded again. “Pl-please stop.” Josh’s throat began to develop a lump.
“What, or you’re going to cry?” Evan laughed maniacally.
“Maybe!?!?” Evan laughed again, this time rather hysterically. “You are a complete nutcase.”
Josh clenched his fists as he tried to keep himself from bursting into tears.
“What? Are you going to fucking hit me? Hit me, tough guy.” Evan spat on the ground, and presented his face to Josh.
Josh swung with all of his might, and connected with Evan’s cheek. Evan stumbled backward. He felt his cheek. An enraged smile crept onto his face. “Self-defense.” he stated, as his fist flew into Josh’s stomach.
Josh grinned as he combed his hair in the mirror. “I’m going to enjoy this, Evan Lowry.” He said to his reflection.
Josh retrieved a phonebook from his kitchen and looked at the L section in the white pages. He called three other Evan Lowrys before he finally found the right one.
“Hello?” Spoke the voice of a bully.
“Evan? Evan Lowry?” Josh said into the receiver, doing his best to sound like an old friend.
“Who is this?”
“You’ll never believe it. It’s Josh. Josh Thanatos.”
“I’m sorry, who?”
“Come on, from High School? The OCD kid.”
“Oh my god, Josh Brandt?” Evan’s voice was surprised.
“No, man. It’s Thanatos. I don’t know where you got Brandt from.”
“Really? Shit, I could have sworn it was Brandt. Sorry man. How are you?”
“I’m normal. I’ve got the OCD under control, and I’m a functioning member of society.”
“No fuckin’ way, man. That’s fantastic. Hey, look… I know I was an asshole to you in high school. I was an ignorant teenager, full of stupid pride. I’m really glad you called me.”
“Hey buddy, that’s all in the past. How about we meet up for a drink. I’d like to see how you’re doing.” Josh began to laugh in his head, it was surprising how easy it was to lure someone into a trap.
“Of course! That sounds great. I’m buying. How about the blue tattoo at 3:00?”
Josh looked at his wristwatch, it was 12:30PM. “It sounds like a plan, I’ll meet you there.” He hung up the phone and began to devise a plan. Josh was going to get Evan drunk enough, and lead him into a dangerous situation. The rest would be easy.
“Who died?” Evan joked as Josh walked in through the swinging doors of the Blue Tattoo. He was commenting on Josh’s attire.
“Haven’t you heard? Black is slimming.” Josh firmly shook the hand of Evan Lowry. Evan laughed. The laugh disgusted Josh.
“Seriously though, you look great. I’m really glad you’re here. Ecstatic.” Evan held up his hand to the bartender. “Two shots of Whiskey please!”
It was surprisingly easier to get Evan drunk than Josh had thought. After a while, Evan was so inebriated that he didn’t even notice Josh had stopped drinking.
“Get this man another beer!” Josh would say playfully, and he and his “old buddy” would laugh in agreement.
As the time passed, Evan descended into a drunken stupor. “But-but seriously man. You’re great. I’m so glad to see you aren’t a freak anymore! Haha.” Evan belched.
“You’re too much, Evan! Seriously man, let’s get you out of here.” Josh carried his “friend” out of the bar, and nobody was the wiser. Josh smiled at his acting job; he believed he deserved an oscar.
“Hey, thanks for this. I was getting really depressed at home. My wife left me not too long ago, and she was really my only friend.” Evan stumbled into the parking lot of the Blue Tattoo towards his car. “Hey, this is an odd question… but do you think you could drive me home? I’m definitely not good to drive.”
Josh’s eyes widened, everything was falling into his lap. “Of course! I wouldn’t want you get in an accident.” Evan handed his keys to Josh. Josh approached the drivers side door of Evan’s red pontiac firebird, the same one he drove in high school, and opened the door.
As they drove, Evan laughed and made even more of an ass of himself. Evan lit a cigarette and rolled down the window. “Do you want one?” Josh shook his head.
Josh pulled into the driveway of Evan’s home. “Thank you so much for the ride, buddy. I had a really good time… Hey, do you wanna come in and see the batcave?” Evan once again laughed at his own joke.
“Shit, with a name like that, I’d be missing out if I didn’t come in.” Josh forced himself to laugh, but he was getting impatient.
“Yeah, so this is it.” Evan extended his arms in what attempted to be a luxurious gesture. Josh looked at Evan’s ranch style home. The floors were wooden, and the walls were decorated with various pictures of family members and friends. His couches were leather, and the throw pillows were decorative pastels. A woman’s touch.
“Wow, Evan. This is a nice place. You must love it.” Josh sat on the arm of the couch. He was filled with silent rage, waiting for the right moment to strike.
“Yeah, it’s pretty nice. But seriously, I know I’ve said it a million times, but today was grea–”
“Today was great. Today was great. Today was fucking great. I get it.”
Evan looked at Josh with a puzzled expression. “Yeah.” he said, adjusting his gaze to his wooden floors.
“You’re a real fucking asshole. You know that, Evan?”
“I said you’re a fucking asshole.”
“Why the sudden change of tone?” Evan was becoming emotional in his drunkenness.
“It may have seemed sudden for you, but I never came here to make amends.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m here to kill you, Evan.”
Evan laughed uncomfortably. “Hey, come on man. Let’s stop joking around. I like to joke as much as the next guy but-”
“I know you like to joke. I noticed. You’ve been laughing at your own jokes all day. You fucking prick.” Josh said through a clenched jaw.
“Look, you’re really beginning to scare me.” Evan’s confused tone began to quiver.
“Good. I should scare you, do you know why?”
“I am your worst nightmare, you piece of shit. I am death, and it’s your time.”
“Holy shit, you are a fucking nutcase.” Evan started to run for the door, but his attempt was in vain; he tripped over his own feet in a spell of drunken clumsiness. Evan’s head smacked loudly against the wooden floor, Josh laughed. He stood over Evan’s body, and examined him for a moment. Evan had knocked himself out.
“God damn, if you were any more of an idiot, I would have been able to convince you to put a revolver in your mouth.” Josh dug through Evan’s pockets and retrieved his pack of cigarettes. He then proceeded to drag Evan to the kitchen.
“You like to smoke, mother fucker?” Josh turned on Evan’s stove and lit a cigarette with the burner. He blew out the flame and placed the cigarette in Evan’s hand. “Smoke up.”
Josh was halfway down Evan’s street when the house burst into flames. Mr. Levy was a bit sloppy, but Josh felt really good about this one. It looked like a complete accident. A drunk man lights a cigarette, blows out the flame on his stove like an idiot, and falls and smacks his head in a kitchen slowly filling with gas. Josh was damn good at his job.
It had been one month, and Josh had succeeded in killing thirty people. A strange thought, though it never occurred to Josh, was that each and every one of these people was linked to Josh in one way or another. Josh was about to realize this connection in a very large way.
He awoke in his apartment to begin his daily routine. “Hello, Death.” He said to himself in the mirror. He brushed his teeth, showered, and combed his hair. He was ready to kill. Josh found his piece of paper, it was folded and stuffed in has wallet behind receipts for various things: bleach, draino, a sledgehammer, gunpowder, rat posion, and many other murder weapons. He unfolded the piece of paper to reveal his victim of the day: John Thanatos.
“WHAT?” Josh read the name again. and again. and again. The name was his father’s.
No no no no no, Josh’s mind was racing. “I can’t fucking do this!” He directed at a pile of trash in his living room.
Josh’s Dad had never wronged him. He was always there to support Josh through thick and thin. John Thanatos had stayed up on countless nights singing to his son in a brightly lit room, hoping that he would fall asleep. John Thanatos had identified every single one of Josh’s rituals, and had done his best to fulfill them so his son’s day wouldn’t be too tough. He was the most supportive, understanding father that a kid with obsessive compulsive disorder could have.
“I’m not going to do it!” Josh shouted angrily. “NO! I’d rather kill myself.”
“You have to. You know that.” A familiar dark voice that ground like a garbage disposal filled the room.
“Fuck you! I’ll never kill my father! I don’t car if I’m death.” Josh turned around. A man was standing directly behind him. He wore an all black suit. His eyes were like staring into a black abyss. Josh knew without asking that this was the body that belonged to the silhouette he had seen that fateful night.
“You have to.” Said Death, with a matter-of-fact tone.
“You can say that all you want, that doesn’t change a thing!”
A sinister look crept over Death’s pale face. “If you refuse, then I will make you.”
“I’d like to see you try!” Josh screamed into the face of Death.
“That was the wrong thing to say.” With that statement, Death reared back with all his might and delivered a punch with the force of a thousand men into Josh’s stomach. Josh looked down to see that Death’s fist was inside of him. “Time to go, Joshua.” Death too a step forward and disappeared completely.
“You sadistic bastard!” Josh screamed, “Why are you doing this to me?”
“It’s your calling, Joshua,” Death’s deep voice echoed inside Josh’s skull.
Josh began to move against his will. Before he knew it, he was inside a taxi heading toward the home of his parents. The taxi driver stared at Josh as he argued with himself in the backseat. “Please stop! I’ll kill anyone else. Anyone!” The taxi driver raised his eyebrow, but kept on toward his destination.
Josh stood on the sidewalk in front of his home. The home that he had grown up in with his loving parents, whose lives he valued more than his own. At the front door, he noticed a sign that read “The Brandt’s”. That’s odd, he thought. His last name had been Thanatos for as long as he could remember. How long could he remember?
Josh began to turn the doorknob. “It’s time, Josh.” Josh looked over his shoulder, Death had exited his body. He pushed Josh through the front door.
“Hello?” came a voice from the kitchen. A pleasant looking old man wearing a plaid shirt walked into the room. His face had wrinkled in some places from smiling too much. His head was balding, and his glasses were as thick as coke-bottles. He was holding a knife, with the remnants of breadcrumbs on it. “Joshua?!” John Thanatos dropped his knife. “Where have you been? Oh my god, my boy! I haven’t seen you in ages!” He approached his son for a hug.
“I’m sorry, Father.” Josh’s face twisted into a look of anguish.
“It’s okay son! What matters is that your here now! You’re mother and I thought you were dead!”
“No, Father. I’m sorry for what I’m about to do, but I have to.”
“What are you talking about?”
“It’s my calling. Don’t you get it? I was destined to do this!”
“Son, you’re speaking gibberish.” He began to move backwards toward the kitchen. Josh walked toward his father slowly.
“Please, forgive me. It’s your time!” Josh picked up the knife that his father had dropped and raised it high above his head.
“Oh my god!” John Thanatos seized his chest. “Oh. my. m-m-myyyy,” Josh’s Father fell to the floor. He let out an agonizing scream, and began to squirm violently. Then, there was nothing. Josh was perplexed.
“I thought I controlled death? I thought I was the decider! My father just died naturally!” he directed these statements at Death, but Death was nowhere to be found. Josh was alone.
At that moment, the front door opened. Judy Brandt walked in, clutching bags of groceries.
“Hello? John?” She dropped her bags at the sight of her son in the fetal position next to the corpse of her husband.
“Josh? Is that you?”
“M-m-mom… I’m not death, am I?”
“Sweetie… Where have you been? Nobody’s seen or heard from you ever since you escaped from the asylum.”
The Asylum? Josh had heard this word before. Only then did he remember:
Josh Thanatos was not Josh Thanatos at all. He was Joshua Brandt of Los Angeles, California. Josh Thanatos was the name of his first victim, the man whose identity he assumed after he escaped from an insane asylum in Hollywood, California. Why was Josh in an insane asylum? He was not an obsessive compulsive at all.
Josh remembered vividly sitting in a chair in front of a panel of doctors and psychologists. The diagnosed him as a paranoid schizophrenic. Josh had been committed after he told his Mother that he had participated in a conversation with death in his bathroom mirror. Evan Lowry was right, he was a nutcase.
Josh stood up from his fetal position, and stared his mother directly in the eye. “Mom, I’ve been a terrible person.” Josh was still clutching the knife in his right hand.
“Sweetie, it’s okay. Just put the knife down. Please.”
“No. I can’t”
“Yes you can. Put it down, and we’ll call the asylum.”
“No mom, don’t you understand? I don’t deserve to go there!” Josh raised the knife high above his head. Judy Brandt screamed loudly as the knife came down. Josh had stabbed himself in the chest. As the blood pumped from Josh’s wound, he noticed a figure standing over him. His vision was fading, but the silhouette was undeniable. It was Death, and he was laughing.