Compulsion

The pictures followed him. It was like a bad film, which he had not consciously chosen, but stumbled into by mistake. Whenever he passed a stroller, he saw himself dragging the child out of it and trampling it on the ground. When he saw a beautiful woman go past, he saw himself tearing her clothes off her body and raping her. Were he with his family, he feared he could suddenly take a knife and stab one of them. Were he alone at home, he saw himself setting the curtains on fire. Were he on holiday, he feared hearing the voice of God telling him: “Set off today, go away from here without any belongings, and rely solely upon me from now on.”

It was torture. The more he tried to suppress these gruesome pictures and thoughts, the more they plagued him. Finally he said to himself in anger: “You idiot, you deserve it.” And he began to imagine everything in the smallest possible detail. How he trampled a child. How he raped a woman. How he stabbed his family. How he set his parents’ house on fire. How he went on a far journey without possessions. That day, the pictures lost their power. They became paler and paler.

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