's 2013 Horror Write-off:

"A Thousand Bodies"

Submitted by Adam Bellamy

 I can feel the scratching in my head again. I’m losing time and it seems like I lose more every time. The scratching was barely noticeable before but now it’s constant. I do what I can to ignore it and carry on working, nothing special mainly heavy lifting and looking after the children; I want to climb.

 I said I can feel a scratching in my head but I thought wrong, it’s more like a tickle, like fingers rubbing my brain. I thought I was letting people down as I felt my responsibilities weren’t important, like I wasn’t important. I want to climb; to feel like floating. Everyone else does what I do and they might even do it better than I do, maybe I’m not important and maybe I should climb. They can feed the children, they can keep moving forward. I’ll climb. I’ll climb high and float in a thousand bodies.

 I was myself again for a long time. I was a worker again and I cared about the children and I did my duties happily, the children were important. I began feeling the tickle again and I feel like I’m losing myself all over again. I want to care, I should care, but I can’t and all I can feel is a tickle. It’s moved and it might even be bigger, it’s at the front of my head now, behind my eyes. I should climb. Should I climb? I never wanted to climb before. My feet should be on the ground and I should be working but I don’t want to climb, I want to climb. I have my duties and I’m loyal to them.

 Someone I knew left today; just walked out. They didn’t say anything but as I watched them leave I felt like I knew. I followed them outside and watched them climb as high as they could until I couldn’t see them anymore, and I felt like I knew what to do. I’ll be floating. After seeing someone else leave I started to become disillusioned again only this time I don’t feel as bad about it. Other people noticed people had gone and they’re worried, they keep on working but they’re worried. I’m not worried, I want to climb. I saw people climb and I feel like I need to, to climb and float. Would I? Can I float? A thousand times over I feel it, like something in my mind tells me to go higher and feel the wind around me as it takes me in a thousand different directions. Maybe I don’t have a choice anymore. My feet keep taking me outside and I find myself staring up at the sky. They aren’t even mine anymore. I’ll climb soon.

 The tickling fingers in my head don’t tickle anymore, they’re grabbing me now. They don’t tickle they hurt. They move me and they take me places. I woke up high, I’d climbed and I didn’t even realise. Climbing isn’t enough anymore, I can’t climb and float I need something more. My jaws ache. The others mean nothing anymore and I barely remember the children or the other workers. They’ve seen me climbing and they won’t stay near me now. I want to climb. The fingers take me and I let them. I’m so high up and I can feel the wind but I’m only one body. My jaws ache again and I just have to bite something. The fingers tighten their grip and it’s unbearable. They force against my head but it isn’t my head its alien to me. Was it my head? Or was it someone else? All I want is to float and there’s a wind around me.

 The wind, the wind is so nice. It uplifts me, all of me. The wind blows and it’s liberating and I fly. In a thousand bodies I fly away.

 I’m not me anymore. I was many but now I’m alone. Can I be me by myself? After a last gust of wind I was somewhere else, somewhere inside. I’m growing. There are other thoughts here but they only want to work. I want to climb. I want to climb…

 There’s a scratching in my head I never felt before. I only ever wanted to work but now… I want something else… I want… I want to climb…