He was standing outside his house when he saw four figures in his dream. One of them was a man. He was towering over the other three. He was dark, although the merchant couldn’t see him clearly as the vision was faint. The other three were standing beside him. Two of them were grown women of a lighter complexion. The fourth figure was small. It looked like a child. One of the women was holding the child. The child was dressed in a shiny little black dress whose length was knee-high. The four blurred  figures were each carrying something on their hands, which was not clearly visible . The merchant tried to rub his eyes to know what the figures were carrying but could not see anything. The four figures started moving towards him. The merchant moved away fearing that their aim was to attack him. The figures moved closer and the merchant moved further. The four figures, each with something which was not visible to the merchant on their hand, approached him until he could move no further. He had moved backwards, and had gotten to a wall where he could not move. He was so frightened. He felt tiny as the figures coming towards him appeared bigger to him than they actually were. Even the little girl looked like an elephant to him. His shivering and shrinking body (For he thought his body was reducing in size) started sweating.

He looked at his arms and saw that he was sweating blood. Where was the blood from? Though armed, the figures had not attacked him. Why was the blood  oozing from all parts of his body if no one had attacked him? The figures approached closer and were now two meters away from him. His clothes had now been soaked in blood. His nose was bleeding, his ears too. A tear drop fell on his shirt and left a dark red stain.
“What do you want from me?” He gathered some courage and asked the figures. None of them replied. They moved a meter closer and stared at the now scared to death merchant, like how a scientist examines a specimen while in the laboratory. The figures said nothing. The merchant looked at them waiting for an answer but they didn’t respond. They moved half a meter closer. The distance between the merchant and the figure was now fifty centimeters.

They moved ten more centimeters towards him. The merchant made a slight movement as if trying to crack the wall, so he could create some way. Seeing that he was trying to move, the figures moved ten more centimeters towards him. He could hear them breath. They were breathing heavily like he was. He could smell their intimidating breath. It smelled like anger. They looked angry. The merchant was breathing heavily due to the fright but the figures were breathing heavily due to anger. Why were they angry? Why were they directing their anger towards the merchant? He wondered.

The distance between them was now thirty centimeters. Though, that close, the merchant could still not recognize who those figures were. They appeared dark. He looked at his feet and could not believe what he saw, his feet had turned red. Dark red. The blood oozing from all parts of his body had made his feet red. He looked up to see what the figures were up to to but they were not doing anything. His body was shaking. The four figures, now thirty centimeters closer to the merchant, raised their hands as if to hit the merchant with what they were carrying. The merchant tried to protect himself with his hands but could not.

He then woke up. Breathing heavily, sweating, confused and worried. That was a  surreal dream. His mood changed after he woke up. He was not the bubbly passenger that he was when he boarded. He abhorred everyone. He felt insecure and avoided direct eye contact with anyone from that time. The scary dream made him annoyed and vexed at the same time. What was that? Who were those figures who made him afraid and why did they want to hit him? He thought. He could not catch any sleep from that time henceforth. He wished time would fly fast so could get home soon.

The ship docked at his home sea-port. Stressed by the dream he had had, the merchant silently pushed his bags out. Cogitating and in a devastating mood, he went home. He thought deeply, pondering on what to do about the dream he had had. who were those figures? Was the one question that rotated in his mind.

The ship docked
The ship docked

He had walked for half an hour when he suddenly stopped. He dropped the bag he was carrying like he had just realized the bag had been having a snake inside. He stood still, his hands on his head and looked above. “Maybe the dream has a hidden meaning, maybe, just maybe…”  He said out loud. The path he was using was a narrow, lonely path which didn’t have many passers by. He trudged a little then halted.

“Of course! Of course my outlandish and eerie dream has some significance! My dream has some hidden meaning.” He yelled like a wacko.
“I have to do something.” He said, now in a lower voice as if he had just realized that he had been shouting.
The merchant did not move a spot, he sat down where he had been standing. What followed later  was a soliloquy.

The merchant sat down and what followed was a soliloquy
The merchant sat down and what followed was a soliloquy

“I have to finish them, yes I have to before they get me. I should probably use a sword”
“Where will you get the goddamn sword?”
“No, a knife is better. It’s easier to carry, and use too.”
“What about a gun? Why don’t you get a gun you dullard?”
“You’re right wise one, a gun is the easiest to use.”
“Where to get the rifle is the problem. How do I purchase one at this minute?”
“Forget the rifle, just use whatever weapon that’s easy to use.”

“A knife?”
“Hmmm, the knife it is.”
That was the last statement he uttered before going to do the unthinkable.

While seated at the narrow path, the very addled merchant had tried to interpret the dream. He visualized the four figures in his dream. All of the four figures had to be people who were close to him.  The first was the smallest. He pictured someone who was that small and close to him too.

It was his daughter. His immaculate and innocent five year old daughter had tried to attack him in the dream. He loved his daughter and she loved him back. Why would she want to harm him in a dream? The tallest figure happened to be his brother, he had mused. The other two figures had been his wife and mother. His wife adored him and he adored her more. They had been together for almost a decade and there was no time she had shown any sign of harming him. Why would it be his family that wanted to attack him? As the minute hand on his  golden wrist watch went on ticking, he pondered more and more. His very loving family wanted his treasure, he concluded. They wanted to snatch all that he had toiled for. They planned this while he was away, and had agreed to pounce on him once he arrived. The treasure he had worked so hard for, for six freaking months. The treasure which made him leave his amiable hometown and go to an un-known land for half a year. He loathed his interpretation but there was something he could not comprehend, which convinced him that he was accurate in his interpretation. He had to eliminate them. There was no way anyone could take away that which he had worked so hard for.

What if my interpretation is unfounded? What if my thinking is erroneous? He had questioned himself severally but had ignored that thought. They have to be after my fortune. The Supreme one has just saved me by showing me who my adversaries are through a dream. They are my bloodline yes, but no foe is allowed in my circle. I have to annihilate my enemies before they get to me, he reasoned.

Getting a rifle had been a complication, the sword too. He couldn’t think of where he could get a new, shiny and sharp sword which he would slay his enemies with. The knife was easier to get. He actually had a pen-knife in one of his bags.While in the foreign land, for reasons he could not understand, he had bought a small silver pen-knife which had a black, plastic handle. He never needed the pen-knife, he had just bought it. Maybe to promote a fellow tradesman like him, or to give it to someone at home, he couldn’t tell why himself. He had actually forgotten about the pen-knife until then, when he was deciphering the dream.

He went to check the bag to ensure that he had carried the now vital tool. He frowned his face making him look three decades older, as he opened one zip of the bag after the other. He checked the whole bag but didn’t get what he so urgently wanted. He then checked to the second bag. He glowered as he glared at the first bag, as it did not contained what he was looking for.
A sudden grin showed on his face, making the creases which had formed on the face disappear. He had found it. He had gotten the weapon which would terminate his foes. Cheerily, he took the pen-knife, wiped off the dust it contained using his shirt and placed it in the back pocket of his pants. Satisfied with himself, he picked his bags and went on with his journey home.

The distance he was to walk would be half a kilometer before getting to his house. His mood instantly and magically changed as he walked. It’s like the pen-knife had performed some sort of sorcery, which raised his spirits. He was humming excitedly as he strode.

He was no longer the grumpy individual who was intensely absorbed in thoughts. His abrupt change of mood was incomprehensible. What’s there to be happy about if your next action is to put an end to someone’s life? Who gets jolly when they’re about to commit a crime of such magnitude?

Conscience could not make the enterprising merchant alter what he had plotted. Did he even have a conscience? The dream had made him lose his mind.

The trader could see his daughter from the distance. She had been siting outside his house, playing with her barbie doll and other toys. He could see her, but she could not see him. She had been siting with her back facing the entrance to the trader’s compound.

The trader's daughter was playing outside.
The trader’s daughter was playing outside when he approached her.

Normally, the trader would call out her name any time he came in, while she was playing at that particular spot. It happened to be her favorite playing area in the compound. She would then turn around, face him and run towards him shouting “Daddy!! Daddy!!” The loving father would always lift her and throw her up in the air severally before putting her down. They would then go in the house together to have a snack. It had been a routine, and the young girl had gotten used to that.
But not that day, things were different on that vile day. After spotting his daughter, the tradesman, silently and without any cacophony approached her, felt his back pocket, got out the pen-knife and…… Ouch!!!

The daughter let out a sharp cry. He had stabbed her. The knife went through her dress and to her skin. The daughter cried in pain as blood stained her lovely dress. He impaled her some more until she stopped crying.
That was the end of her. The ceasing of her cry marked the end of her life.

His wife had been in the house, busy with household chores when she heard her daughter cry. She quickly stopped what she had been doing and rushed outside. She met with her husband at the doorstep. A bewildering look showed on her face when she saw her loving husband smirk as he stared at the pen-knife he was holding. “What’s that?” Was her last words before her husband pierced her on the chest. She was defenseless, she had not expected anything like what had happened. She died without knowing that her only daughter had died before her. She had last seen her an hour earlier.

“Where’s my barbie doll, mommy?” is what her innocent daughter had asked her an hour earlier, when she wanted to play. “I’ve placed it in one of the drawers”, is what she had answered. The girl went out to play, and she went on with her chores. That’s when she last saw her. She would probably see her next in the other world, as they had now both left our world.

The merchant, even after doing the unthinkable, did not at any one time feel like he had gone berserk. He had no conscience left, he  had no mind left. He had only one thing left with him, insanity.

Bloody pen-knife
The pen-knife which put an end to the trader’s wife and daughter’s lives.

He glanced at his blood-stained wrist-watch, let out an evil laugh and muttered something to himself. “Two down, two more to go.” Is what he said and left.

He took his bags, three of them, one containing the fortune he had made, one his attires and the other carried some other belongings; old magazine scripts, old shoes and other things. It was the third bag which had had the pen-knife, which had brought him the calamity. The calamity he relished so much.