A/N: This was inspired by 'Squidward's Suicide' - hooray for creepypasta? Needless to say, this is very dark, if rather vague.

The cold was closing in on him - Squidward could feel it growing in him a little every day, so that he had begun to dread mornings. And he did not know how much longer he could take it.

The dreams...they were getting worse. He couldn't - even if he only closed his eyes, he saw them. He hadn't been able to sleep properly in days, now; he could catch bits and snatches of sleep in between curling around the terror and trying not to let it eat him alive.

He didn't know now how long it had been since the dreams had started; how long he had been closing his eyes and letting his mind conjure images most foul, of death and torture, blood, pain, horror, the world setting him alight body and soul, and crushing him to death and he would jerk awake and fight sleep until his body forced him to relent and begin the cycle anew.

It was, in the end, inevitable that both body and mind would fail him. When it happened, he sat, still dressed, on the edge of his bed and staring dully at the floor. Slowly, oh so slowly! his eyelids drifted closed - inexorably, if fitfully, he dozed, and then slipped soundlessly into a deeper, more dreadful sleep.

This dream started on a better note than the dreams in nights and days past; he was onstage, playing his clarinet for an audience, indulging himself in the way he liked best. But it turned wrong, as he would have known it would had he not been dreaming.

His audience began to voice their displeasure; first, an unhappy murmur spread through the crowd, and then they started to boo, their voices full of anger.

They were judging him as unworthy.

Fearfully, he clutched his clarinet to his chest and swept his eyes over the booing fish, desperately searching for some sign that he was not hated in this moment. He searched, and found...

Spongebob. Was booing him, rage intent in his face. There was Spongebob, rejecting him utterly; and there Sandy, and his boss, and...and everybody in Bikini Bottom. But it was the child's rejection that hurt the worst, and he would have been surprised at himself if he hadn't felt so terrified and so overwhelmed by despair.

And he knew, in that very instant, that he would do anything at all to end the crushing pain.

Squidward woke with a gasp, trembling. He did not notice that he was covered in sweat; that his face was contorted in a rictus of agony. No, all he could think of was the just in case thing he had in his basement...but no.

He looked out of his window; the sun was rising. He would do this thing; but he would give the universe once last chance before he did.

He would go to work today, pretend that everything was normal as he'd been doing since his mind had begun to tear his soul to shreds. He would go, and if anyone, just one person, noticed what was going on behind his eyes and tried to comfort him, he would seek help that very moment; if not...well, he thought of the thing in his basement, and could almost have smiled.

And so he went. And scowled and grumped through his day, as was his wont. He acted, in short, like a perfect imitation of himself, with the quiet despair and terror lurking just behind his eyes, if anyone had bothered to look.

Nobody did.

The day's only odd moment was when he left and, impulsively, left his hat on the counter. He almost wanted it to serve as a memorial of himself, if he indeed deserved anyone to remember him.

He turned to leave, but a voice behind him stopped him.

'Squidward?' It was Spongebob, all smiles and innocence and oh, the malice...

He turned to look at the child. 'Yes?' There was no hope in his voice, and none of the irritation that usually characterized him when speaking to the other. He was hard pressed to tell what he wanted out of this interaction.

'You forgot your hat.' A yellow hand held up the 'forgotten' article, and he took it.

'Thanks, Spongebob.' His voice was strange, even to him, but he turned to leave, not betraying himself by only the thinnest margin.

He did not and would never see the look of concern on his neighbor's face. It was a concern that made no true difference in the end, as the sponge didn't know what to do with it, nor how to act on it.

And it was too late for Squidward anyway.

The octopus staggered home in a fog of anguish; as he walked, he began to sob quietly to himself. Fortunately or unfortunately, it didn't matter to him, but he encountered no one on the walk home, as though the town itself were rejecting him as unacceptable.

And oh, he was.

As he reached his house, the wind around him picked up, whipping around him and through him, and for a moment, he was almost glad to reach the safety of home, until he remembered the thing he had retrieved him his basement and put on his bed, in anticipation of tonight. He had also, while he was at least moderately coherent, written three notes; one of them he'd sent to his mother, one to his neighbor, and the last, he had place just so on his nightstand, to be discovered...well, whenever they discovered what he'd done. He rather suspected that Spongebob would be the discoverer, and for a moment he regretted it. Until, that was, his pain rose up to grasp him by the throat - and then he started crying in earnest, harsh, dragging sobs that spelled out his anger and pain in the clearest of detail.

Over his cries, he could hear the wind building to a storm. He wept, and he could see the dreams now, with his eyes open, terrible things flashing through his mind - and he screamed to see them so closely, so openly.

His only escape.

Fighting back the dreams, he stretched out with his left tentacle and wrapped it around the thing he'd brought up from the basement this morning - a shotgun. This, then, would free him.

Now, he would willingly go into death, which he hoped would be dreamless.

Squidward shuddered, tears still pouring from his eyes. Swiftly, he brought the barrel of the gun up to put it into his mouth; he raised one foot and placed it upon the trigger, said a silent goodbye - though he did not know to whom he said it - and pressed down.

His world exploded in a rush of pain, and then he fell away from it, into the merciful dreamless dark.