So you and the rest of the gang get drunk and laugh about poor Bob being committed last week, and yet you wonder to yourself about it. Wonder why Bob went screaming mad and wonder why the psychiatric hospital was so overcrowded when you visited him.
As you walk home from the bar along the canal path, wading through the piles of colorful dead and dying leaves, you notice that the trees all around you are dropping leaves by the handful even though there is absolutely no wind. The leaves hit you, bounce off and land on the piles with a satisfying little crunch. Such a nice sound.
But wait, what is that second sound you hear after the leaves stop falling, that ever so faint skittering sound, so much like tiny claws burrowing into the musky safety at the bottom of the piles.
You walk home a little bit faster, feeling itchy from the leaf storm and decid to take a shower. It doesn’t help and you still feel like bugs are crawling up your legs, your arms, your back. You smack at those places and you scratch all night until you finally give up and go to sleep.
When you wake in the morning, you are not refreshed. Although that creepy, crawling feeling has left your body, now your ears itch. Deep inside. Like they were full of water, only they are not. You spend the entire day hitting your ears, trying to shake out the nonexistent water, you try to scratch inside using cotton swabs and the eraser ends of pencils. You even eye the scissors on the desk, but then shake that though off, although by dinnertime, you are eyeing them again.
The itching is driving you crazy. Now the feeling of tiny creatures crawling around is firmly entrenched in your head. You want to scream; instead you drink half a bottle of vodka and pass out.
The next morning you wake up fine, the clogged itchy feeling is gone and when you clean out your ears there is a slight crusty residue on the Q-tip. Yuck!
Life is good, at least for a couple of days. Then the noises start with the sound of miniscule eggs cracking open. Then small chirps and clicks begin, and grow louder, so loud in fact, that you can’t hear anything else.
And that itchy, crawly feeling begins again, but this time it’s in your brain. You wish that you had reached for those scissors the other day and now it’s too late because all you can do is hit your head against the wall, harder and harder, screaming all the while.
The only thought that filters through all the noise and itching is that now you understand why the mental institutions are so full when the leaves fall and you hope that whatever is inside your brain is hungry. Hungry enough to have a fall feast and put you out of your misery.