Reddit Writing Prompt #19: Killstealer

You are a being whose sole purpose is to take over a person’s consciousness and experience death for them, so no humans ever have to experience it themselves. –lethalbacon

I swoop, unseen, towards the woman collapsed in the middle of the road, her crutches fallen and her eyes wide with fear as she stares at the truck bearing down on her. I reach her, as I always do, at the last moment. I envelope her mind, shoving her consciousness to the side and taking her place. Her body becomes my body, her fate becomes mine. I close her eyes and wait.

The impact of the truck’s grill slams through her like a tidal wave, like it always does, and I let myself be taken by it, like I always do. The pain lasts only for a second, and then everything goes blank.

I open my eyes. No, her eyes. They can’t be mine. I don’t even have a body of my own. There’s a beeping in the air; a heart monitor, each tone signifying a pulse of my – her heart. It’s a strange noise; I usually only hear them when they flat-line.

The pain sets in like it had been waiting for me to wake up. It burns, bringing tears to my eyes. Her eyes! I open my her mouth, letting out a low cry. Somebody is at my side in a second, and I feel a small, sharp pain in my arm. Then, slowly, the pain fades away, until it’s a thousand miles away from me.

I’m alive, I realize. She’s alive. This can’t be happening. It’s never happened before. The truck should have killed her, I knew it was supposed to kill her, my instincts told me to take her place so she wouldn’t have to feel the pain of death-

Now I’m feeling the pain. And I’m alive.

I try to force myself to leave the body, but I can’t. It was supposed to have been so simple. I suffer the pain of death for her, setting her mind free to move on, her body dies, and I exit the corpse to find the next one. I do it because I’ve always done it. It’s my purpose, though I don’t know why. There’s more like me – many more – but we cannot communicate, generally too busy with our duty.

I can’t leave her body. Her consciousness is gone, ejected by my entry, and I’m trapped.

“I should be dead,” I croak, before the blackness of unconsciousness swallows me up.

They’re the first words I’ve ever spoken.

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