We all have the one person in our town, on our street, in our neighbourhood, who is very strange.

Out of their minds, delusional, mentally insane.

Birch Tree Road was no different.

I lived in a small town in Michigan. It wasn’t a pretty town, but it was a nice town to live in. The outskirts of the town contained a gas station, strip mall and a Subway I would frequent for lunches and suppers. The street I lived on, Birch Tree Road, was a quiet, peaceful street. Everyone seemed to have gotten along just fine.

Until “he” moved in.

I’ll call him Mark. Mark was the type of person to harass anyone that didn’t agree with him. He acted like he was a goody two-shoes, a man who could do no wrong.

He had a drug addiction. He was addicted to heroin. He said, “It makes me feel alive.” No matter how many interventions we put him through, he would find his way back to heroin like a long lost lover.

That was the day he snapped.

After the intervention, I talked to Mark. I hadn’t spoken with him much before, mostly because of the work I had to do at the local grocery store in the strip mall. Mark would occasionally come in and buy some junk food, steaks, other essentials. When I finally got to talk to him, he seemed more deranged then all the times I had spoken to him as I scanned his items at the checkout. He seemed on the verge of a mental breakdown. He said that I was a “chill dude”, and that I should avoid him the rest of the day.

When I went home, I went upstairs. My mind was racing with the thoughts of what Mark was going to do. “What if he shot up the next meeting? What if he’s breaking into people’s homes?”

I heard the sound of glass being smashed and shattered, and the sound of footsteps landing in my living room. I looked around for a weapon, finding my pocket knife inside of my nightstand.

Going downstairs, I found Mark. He was crazed out of his mind, and he raised the gun he had posted so many times on Facebook about. “I was right. You are chill! And you especially will be after I put you into the meat freezer with the rest of you!”

The last thing I heard, was the crack of a gunshot.

I woke up in the hospital, hooked up to IV cables and being fed pain meds. I looked at one of the doctors as he said: “I remember you! You’re Alex, from Birch Tree Road! I’m Dr. Mark Brownlie.”

That was Mark's last name.

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