It was all his fault.
All his fault…
Without realizing it Dia fell to his knees clutching at the ground. He didn't even feel the sharp pain of his knees hitting the uneven gravel, or the sound of the cry ripped from his throat. All he saw were the dead bodies, everywhere. As far as the eye could see, were dead bodies, all piled on top of each other, each emitting its own putrid, decaying smell. It overwhelmed him, filling his nose with the stink of death. He couldn't even command himself to wrack up any sympathy for all the people whose lives had been lost.
All he could think about was trying to get as far away from it all as possible.
As suddenly as he had fallen to his knees, Dia took off running in the opposite direction of the corpses. But he couldn't seem to get away! Wherever he turned, wherever he looked, there they were; lying atop one another, some partially hidden behind trees and shrubs, some out in plain sight for all to see and some lay behind parked cars, as though they were hiding before they had been shot. Dia couldn't tell at what point all these people had died. Near some of the bodies, the spilled blood had already dried, but on others it was still damp in their clothes or lay in shallow liquid pools around their bodies.
Dia felt himself shaking with fear. He could feel himself breaking down; the horror of what he was seeing, was staring to affect him. He could feel his stomach tightening and the bile rising in the back of his throat. It was all his fault. He had killed all these people; he had taken their lives. How many were there? How old could they have possibly been? Most of the dead were young, some men and women, but a lot of children as well, most not older than himself.
What could have possessed him to do it? Why would he do something so horrible? The thought of killing anyone nauseated him, filling his whole body with remorse, yet he remembered it so clearly…
The AK-47, he remembered, rested awkwardly in his hands, heavily rocketing against his body as each bullet left the barrel at an amazing speed. He never saw the bullets, only the affects of them as each victim fell to the ground, no longer screaming. How could he have done it so emotionlessly? How? The thought of it now hurt him.
All of a sudden, he heard a sound directly behind him, a rustling of leaves or maybe a snapping of twigs. When he heard it, he realized that it had been unnaturally quiet. Surely there should have been some sound like wind blowing through the trees or the distant cry of a bird?
He spun around in alarm, only to gasp in horror at what he was seeing.
The bodies, the people…moved.
Slowly, one by one they stood, shakily, forcing themselves to their feet. They each got up almost mechanically as though they no longer controlled their movements, yet at the same time understood what was happening and obeyed with no objections. Almost as though moving as one, they all looked at Dia. They recognized the cause of their deaths; and they lunged.
Dia immediately turned to flee, but they surrounded him, blocking any possible escape. Helplessly, he looked around, his head swiveling crazily in desperation, searching for a way out. But already the closest body was less than 6 meters away.
"Please!" he called, "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to-"
He dodged under the flailing arm of one of the dead bodies and accidentally pushed against it in his terrified run for safety. It reeled sideways and fell to the ground. The other "things", whatever they were, saw this and they reacted furiously, forcing themselves forward towards Dia.
One of them grabbed at his clothes and Dia turned, trying with hopeless fear to shake it off.
"Please," he begged, "You've got to believe me. I didn't know. I'm sorry, I don't know how- I don't why- I –I-"
But it was too late. They were all grabbing onto him now, clutching hair, tearing his clothing, they forced him to the ground.
This was it. He was going to meet the fate he had forced onto these people. He understood their pain, their anger at being robbed of life, and he knew it was happening to him now.
"I'm so sorry, I'm so, so, sorry…" he faltered with tears rolling down his cheeks. And then he was gone.
Dia could feel the cold sweat collecting in droplets on his forehead, and he felt his heart hammering against the inside of his chest as he tried to shake off the dream. Trembling, he drew his rigid legs to his chest, laying his stiff arms across his knees and breathing a deep breath.
It was only a dream. He had to remind himself it was only a dream and that it wasn't real. It couldn't hurt him.
Except that it was real and it could hurt him. To him it was too real, since it was the same dream every night, every three hours, every time he fell asleep. And when he was awake he was always thinking about the dream. Thinking about how close it really was to the truth, and how he might actually deserve to dream that dream every time he closed his eyes.
It was no wonder he was so afraid to go to sleep.