The Sinister Mind
I was standing in front of that godforsaken Mansion, trying to forget a past that I once had. A past that I wish I never had. Silence stained my felicity. A cold breeze brushed through my face and escaped into the vast space. It felt like it whispered something to me. The Mansion had a story of its own to tell me. But it needn't. I knew it better than anyone else. The story in which I had a great role to play. A life changing story, which was it. A more apt epithet. My vision was blurring. Well, that's a first. Tears poured out of my sorry eyes. Lisa…I'm really sorry. I wept, under the sun that showered red light on to the life, sending the creatures away to their nests, marking the end of a day. But the red had more in it than it ever had.
I had been standing in front of the Mansion gate for almost an hour now. I decided it was time to walk home. Home was not far, just across the Carton's Memorial Park. The park was beautiful in autumn. The very bonnie trees were shedding its dry leaves, laying an orange path for anyone who walks through there. I walked through it. The dry leaves crunched as I stepped on them. Lisa and I used to play here. We loved it especially when it was autumn. Lisa loved to bury me under these leaves. She really loved it. I still remember that giggly laugh she used to make. I never liked me being me buried under those leaves, but I did it, for her. The walking was harder than I thought. With each step I took, a memory of her blossomed in my mind. I knew my repentance won't get her back, but I somehow felt it was the right choice to come back here on the 10th Anniversary of her death. I just knew it.
Finally I was outside the park. I could see my home. Stella was standing at the gate talking to some woman. It was our neighbor, I presume. I couldn't notice much about them. I could see them clearly, but my eyes chose not to. I was fast falling into an ocean of emotions. Grief had taken over my body. I was in a trance. I wasn't controlling my legs. They just were working. My arms were shivering. What the fuck? Am I sleep walking?
Lisa…. Her room burning with her in it.
That was all I could see. "Help". That was all I could hear. I walked on. Stella noticed me. She smiled. But I didn't. I couldn't. I just walked into my room and locked the door.
On the side of the bed stood our wedding photo. I looked at it. Stella was smiling. She was happy. But I wasn't. That's strange. I remember smiling that day. I remember that I was happy. I took the photo and gazed at it for a moment. By now my head was killing me. I kept the photo back in a hurry and walked straight into the bathroom. I stood in front of the medicine cabinet. Aspirin. That is what I need. I looked at myself in the mirror. There was no change of emotion on my face. I tried to smile. Nothing. It was like looking down to a statue with a dismal look that even Hitler looked more riant than me. I needed a shower to cool off.
Lisa and I used to be great friends. I don't even remember when this friendship started. Maybe from kindergarten. I didn't remember exactly. As far as I knew, I knew her from the days I knew me. She was there with me, all the time.
And still…what happened? You shouldn't have done it Lisa…
We were really close, so were our families. Her family was rich. The McGrugers. They had a lot of businesses, from small stores to big mills. Mine was just a normal family; nothing too fancy. My family owned a restaurant. That was it. My parents did the work there. We were happy. I was the child. A typical kid. My childhood was a pleasant one, but teenage, I wish I could erase it from my life. It was love that caused all this. I fell in love with Lisa. The biggest mistake I could have ever made. I didn't believe it to be some infatuation; I felt like she was the one for me.
The one? Yeah right!
Losing her was something I couldn't even think about. I even dated her in high school. She was everything to me then, everything.
I don't know when it started falling apart. I never could see clearly. I guess she found me as an irritant. Maybe so. Well, how couldn't she? I was following her everywhere. Even to college. Another mistake by me. But still, these were my assumptions; there could be plenty other reasons too. But the thing is, she broke up with me. I still remember what she said to me that day. "Jack, this is not working. You have been there in my life since I can remember. But I need to expand and meet new people. We should end this. It's better for both of us." She said those words. "We should end this. It's better for both of us."
Both of us? What a BITCH!
I banged on the wall with a fist controlled by a weighed heart. My tears disappeared along with the droplets that flowed through my face.
It was never better for me. Those words rang through my ears for years. I could never be just another guy in her life. I was special. Yes. But I was a special friend.
Well, she finally paid for it, didn't she?
My thoughts were wavering. I was out of my mind. I once suffered a lot; not just because of her, but me. No more.
I couldn't continue in the shower anymore. My head was aching like it was about to explode. I held my head hard. My mind was slipping. I couldn't get a hold of my thoughts. I was being shuffled between past and the present. The water was flowing through my quivering body. The shower curtains and the walls made me feel caged. A Cage? Yes, cage. I was trapped in it. An attempt to escape leads to an array of riddles. Even if I was able to solve the riddles, I was still locked inside, bound and gagged. There was no escape. My head felt heavier. It was like it was making my head tilt because of its weight. I couldn't stand anymore. The last time I had something like this was after Lisa's death.
OH GOD! And that didn't go too well.
Maybe it wasn't a good idea to come back after all. This was bad. I felt it in my gut. I kneeled down, clutched my head in pain and gave a loud shriek. I was writhing in pain. My vision was going blur. I blacked out.
Next thing I knew, I was cozy in my bed. What happened to me earlier? I couldn't stop wondering. I was feeling fine now. A lot better actually. No pain, no shivering. I looked around. Yes, I was in my bedroom. I heard the door opening. I looked over there. It was Stella. She looked pretty in that blue dress. A blue frock, capturing the beauty of lilies in the spring. She was smiling. I glared at the beautiful smile that I once fell in love with. I gave one from me too. She seemed happy that I was awake. I was happy that I had someone like her with me. She had been with me for 3 years. We got married last summer. It was a beautiful day. Yes…really beautiful. A sunny day with everything as pleasant as it could be. I turned and looked at our wedding photo on the bedside table. We both were smiling joyfully. I was smiling. I was happy!
"How are you feeling now? You got me worried there!" Her fury was filled with empathy and concern. "I had a small idea that you weren't well after that walk. Where were you?" She paused for a minute and gathered herself. "Hmmm…the next thing I knew, you were on the bathroom floor. I got the doctor check you out. He said it was just the tiredness."
The way she talked assured me very well. "Yes, maybe. I am feeling fine now".
Yes, I was feeling good. Very good indeed.
I must have dozed off. Stella was sleeping beside me. My head hurt a bit. But I was okay. I looked at the time. It was 7:00 a.m. I called her. She didn't wake up. I called her again. She must have been in deep sleep. I touched her innocent face. Cold. OH MY GOD! STELLA! I cried out loud. She wasn't breathing either. I froze for a second. The blanket was wet. It was somewhat sticky. I switched on the bed lamp and removed the blanket. Her body was drenched in blood. I couldn't breathe. It was like somebody was choking me. Something was in my hand. I took a look. It was a knife. My hands! They were bloody. Breathing became harder for me now. All I could see was Stella's bloody corpse lying next to me with a bloody knife in my hands. I looked for the light switch. I got to call the police. I switched No! Oh my god! I didn't know what to do. I started to panic. I heard someone breathing. "W…who is th..there?" I wasn't able to catch my breath. A man in the shadows. I saw him. I hurried to the switch. "Oh! You know me well Jack!" I switched the light on. Nothing! He vanished. I sighed and turned. "Ahhhh" I gave out a shriek.
"I AM GUILTY"
Written in blood, on the wall. I just stood there, like a lost sheep staring right at the eyes of a wolf. I was sweating profusely. Right then someone gripped my arms. I twitched in panic. It was Stella. I couldn't believe my eyes. It was all a nightmare. And a bloody one too. Yes! My mind was slipping. I knew it. I knew that something bad is going to happen. But I cannot let anything happen to Stella. She hardly knows anything about my dark past. She was still holding my arms. I looked at her. She was worried. Her eyes were speaking for her. I felt relieved. My heart weighed up. "Are you okay? You screamed in your sleep." She asked. "Yes, yes,I am fine". I said and kissed her. She smiled at me. She looked so beautiful at that instant. Her blonde hair falling over her beautiful face, those sparkly eyes and that enchanting smile of her smile make my life feel so much better. I couldn't take my eyes off her. I kissed her again and I went back to sleep again. I couldn't imagine losing her, even for a second.
The second day began in this neighborhood. Stella had prepared the breakfast. She went to meet an Aunt who lived nearby. I woke up only by 9:00 a.m. I thought about the nightmare. I knew it must have meant something. I finished my breakfast and decided to take a stroll to Lisa's Mansion. I walked through the Memorial Park. I walked through the dry leaves crunching the leaves in my each step. There was nothing out of ordinary. No headaches, no shivering. I just walked. This time walking felt much easier and faster. Finally I reached the McGruger's Mansion. The gates were locked. I decided to get into that compound. I knew about a small gate in the back of the compound. I and Lisa usually took that gate instead of using the large, front gate. I walked along the walls of the big Mansion, along the side of the Park. In a moment I saw the gate. It wasn't locked. It must have been used by the caretaker of the mansion. I opened it and entered.
A country tongued fellow came in from the bushes. It was the caretaker. The screeching noise must have alerted him.
"It's me Jack. I came here yesterday with Mr. Graham."
Graham McGruger, Lisa's maternal uncle. He was a nice man. He was the one who gave me permission to enter the Mansion.
"Oh! So you are the one who Mr. Graham told me about, aye? Come in, Sir!" He exclaimed.
He politely asked me to give me a guided tour around the mansion, but I rejected the offer. I knew this mansion like the back of my hand. I walked into the kitchen. This was where the fire started. It was repaired now. It wasn't the same as it used to be. The new wood used didn't seem to be of high quality.
Why did they renovate it? I wondered why no one's living here other than the caretaker.
To make it a memorial, a tomb for the dead? Maybe so…
I brushed my hands through the cupboard as I walked to the next room. I straight away entered the dining hall. It was a huge dining hall. A room that was usually used for a banquet for the McGrugers. They were a large family; 12 members to be precise. The ceiling that once bore the artistic magic now lay black and blank. A princess plucking flowers. That was the theme. I sighed, trying to blow away the lugubriousness building in me. I always used to come here with Lisa. We used to play tag and run around in this huge hall.
I heard a loud scream. A female voice; from the upper floor. I ran to the staircase that was opposite the dining table. I rushed through the stairs. The burnt oak stained my palm. I got to the first floor. I heard it again. The sound was coming from my right. The floor was vast; like a hotel. Rooms everywhere. I tried to track down the sound. I head the scream again. It was louder, clearer and longer. I listened carefully. It was really close. I followed the sound. Finally I found the room. It was Lisa's.
Reluctantly, I pushed the door open. The door creaked open. The sight was undeniably unbelievable. The room was on fire. I could feel the heat on my face.
I heard it again. I was completely caught by surprise.
Am I hallucinating?
I wasn't sure. I cannot distinguish between reality and the crazy images shown to me by my mind nowadays. Could that person be real? I had to do something. I jumped into the flame and ran to that lady hidden in the smoke. Quickly I grabbed her arm and shouted,
"We need to move now, Miss"
Something was wrong. The arm that I was holding was cold. I looked at her. A cold shiver ran through my spine as I saw her face. Lisa? I wasn't sure of anything now. I was losing touch with all sorts of reality. I released my hold apace. I took some steps backwards. The room was filled with enigma.
My eyes were wide open with fear. My headache was back. This time the pain was a bit more than usual. I gave out a loud shriek.
"Are you okay, Sir?" It was the caretaker. I looked at him. He was worried. He might have seen the pain through my eyes. "I…I saw something…" I tried to talk, but the shock had a better hang on me. I was stammering. Everything was okay now. Another hallucination? Things are getting bad. I had to leave this place. But something stopped me. Something so mysterious that even the world around me was acting for it. I felt a strong whisper in my ears, "Get out of here!" But I couldn't. I felt my legs tied to the planks under my feet.
"I'm alright. I just had a headache. I will be okay now." I assured the caretaker. He seemed to be convinced. Or he didn't care much. He was too busy sipping the Beer from a can he held.
"Alright then! I will be downstairs if you need me" He announced turning to the door. Anyhow, I didn't care much about him. I was in Lisa's room. Everything was rebuilt. But not the way it used to be. I looked around. Still the scent remained. The wondrous building burnt to ashes and now rebuilt. But no one is living in it. Why? Nothing was the same anymore.
I don't remember when I met Lisa. The first memory of her in my mind was in a summer. I think I was 5 years old at the time. It was a beautiful summer, trying to give way to the magnificent spring-my childhood. I remember she always wore a hairpin that looked like a butterfly. She was really cute wearing that. I was naughty boy poking her all the time. I never gave her any time of peace. And the best part was, she loved it. My family had moved into her neighborhood just then. She and her parents went there to welcome her to the neighborhood then.
"The McGrugers welcome you to this humble township"
The infantile, yet cheerful voice waved as she tried to recollect what she by-hearted. She smiled at me and me at her. Thus began a very blissful story of two friends. Years went by, and we remained friends. She was a smart girl and, yes, by the middle school, she was very much popular with the boys. I didn't like that a bit.
I guess that started it all?
We joined the same school and we boarded school bus from the same point. We were the one of the most popular couple-friends in the school. Beauty and the beast…I hated that remark. I had once beaten up a kid just for teasing me and calling me 'beast'. As we came to high school the relation had changed. I didn't know how and when. But it just changed, very much. Obviously it was not her, but me. I got lost. Lost in a forest dense with my thoughts and feelings and I picked the wrong tree to climb to look at the horizon. I thought I loved her and she was my soul mate. Yeah right! For a high school student love was nothing more than a crush. An infatuation, more or less friendship mixed with a little attraction. And I was the one who mistook it as love. Felt like I was in a soap!
Love is a feeling that is developed over time, irrespective of the looks and bears a responsibility for each other. It is one of the purest forms of emotion in the nature. But many people misunderstand it for lust. Curse them; they don't know what they are getting into. But still…in a relation where emotions are not involved is better than being hurt at the end of it. But still, compassion was another thing needed for love. Over these years, I felt it. Stella made me feel it. But still I never thought about these things so deeply. It's over my domain. For a person who works as a real estate broker, this kind of philosophy was not at all suited. All I had to do now was just make money and provide for my family. But there was a time when I thought Love was an illusion. There is no perfect soul mate. It is just about living with somebody who can understand and tolerate you. And, it wasn't half false. But I still think that there is no perfect soul mate and it's just the bond that's created between two people. It's also a friendship. And alas, it took me 28 years to learn that.
I was happy when I was with Lisa. I thought I could make the relation work. But I couldn't be more wrong. But still we were a couple by high school. I didn't know how all that happened. I just asked her out, and next thing I know is that I am dating her. I always tried to be with her all the time. The biggest mistake I ever made! I just don't remember much of school because nothing else happened to me besides her. If it was homework, it was with her, coffee, with her. I was more or less a clingy baby by the end of school. By graduation, she broke up with me. She wanted out. I should have expected that. I still remember the disgust she projected when she was talking to me that day. I must have been really clingy. That marked the D-day of my life. A new phase began, erasing away a part of myself, liberating an uncontrolled rage.
Even after the break-up, I was hung on to her, apparently. I followed her to the college. Unfortunately for me, I still couldn't get over the break up. Obviously! I thought I could accept her as a friend, but I couldn't. She grew into me like a creeper, winding my anguished soul onto a pit of hatred. She had become an obsession. I always thought she would give me another chance. But she didn't. Hatred grew on me. The wines were pulling me down. I was not struggling though. It felt soothing, to be pulled down, and down I went into the pit.
My life was an hourglass. Repetition was now the motive. End of an hour marks the beginning of the new hour. My life was the same. It was stagnant. But hatred controlled me for a while, made me do things. I was giving up on myself, on my soul. I got jealous at everyone who talked to her. Getting angry at them was a routine then. But I soon figured that she hated me. It wasn't so difficult. The rusty look on her eyes with a little bit of ignorance told me the entire story. She was disgusted of me. I was in a bad situation. It was obvious that I needed help.
Love was one strange thing. I never understood it. It was too tough for a person like me. It made me do things that I never wanted to do, things I regret doing.
Was it love or lust?
"Sir…it's time for you to leave…Its late already!" It was the caretaker. I must have dozed off in the bed. I was really tired. It was dark outside. The time must be around 7 now. I had to hurry back to my home, to my Stella. I had to escape from this place. It had captured and caged me into a situation I never wanted myself to be. I rushed to the bedroom door. On the way, a half burnt picture of Lisa lay on the dressing table. She was so merry… The picture was taken on her last birthday, before she died, wearing the gold chain that her father gave her. I remembered. I guess they wanted to preserve it.
I paced through the Memorial Park. Poor Stella must be worried now. She told me to come back as fast as I can. As soon as I reached the neighborhood, the blinking red and blue lights caught my attention. It was in front of my home. What the hell? I was worried now. I ran. Two cops received me there. Something bad has happened.
"Sir, Are you Mr. Jack Stevenson?" asked one of the cops.
"Yea…." I told them, as my eyes searched for Stella, trying to catch a glimpse of her, to assure me that she was alright.
"Sir, we are afraid that we have some bad news." One of them looked down, while the second cop looked at the other cop, expecting him to break the bad news. But he continued, "It seems that your wife was killed in a burglary attempt. Whoever broke in, made a mess of the house, and took some jewelry and some money. We think that your wife must have intercepted the burglar and hence killed. We are sorry for your loss"
He was a little sentimental, showing pity to a lonely soul who just met with an accident. I pushed them away and ran to the house. They tried to stop me, but to no avail. The house was just like we see on television, like in a crime drama. There were cops all around. People wearing gloves, sweeping for clues. I ran into the dining hall. The sight that I had there was so aggravating, that I almost threw up.
I closed my eyes as I saw the terrible view. It was too painful to watch. My head was feeling heavier. Her copse lay on the floor with police investigating the scene for potential evidences. The great clock that showed us time now lay on her head. It was obvious I wasn't supposed to be here. No one close to her should be. It was too cruel. The mutilated body was lying limp, but I still hoped that she would wake up and call me.
Her body would be taken to a morgue soon. One of the people there told me it was the neighbor lady who called the police when she saw the dead body through the window. If only, I hadn't gone to that bloody place, I wouldn't be in this situation now. At least I would have been there to save her! Damn you Lisa, why can't you get out of my life?
The dead body lay on its back. The crime scene was quite bloody. The neighbors gathered around like pigeons gathering for food. They walked around and poking around to find more. To hell with them. Stella's face was not so pretty anymore. The Giant Grandfather clock was quite heavy, it seemed. "The Burglar must have attacked her when she interfered. And during the struggle or intentionally, the burglar killed the lady. The victim was stabbed at the abdomen and has suffered a major head injury. It seems that the giant clock was the one that finished the lady off" I listened to the briefing by an officer. This was too much for me, for one day. I was already weak. Now this? My heart was beating faster. My headache. It was back. I had to lie down. I searched in the air for support. It was too late. I collapsed.
The mumbling noise was quite uncomfortable. I opened my eyes. I was on my bed. I saw some people outside my room. They were talking something to each other. One of them was a cop and the rest were some people in a suit. One of them came in. He flashed a badge and said, "I am Detective James Arthur. I will be investigating your wife's murder." This guy looked like one of those hot shot detectives we see on TV. Blue suit, black hair perfectly combed to the sides and clean shaved face. He must be in his forties. But more important was that my marriage came to an abrupt ending. A minute before, everything was the way it supposed to be. Now, it's all over. Just like that. The Detective was blabbering something about murder and how he excelled in the department of homicides, but I wasn't actually listening. I was thinking. I was thinking of the series of misfortunes that befell me as I came to this cursed land. All I wanted to know was who killed Stella and make sure that he gets the appropriate punishment. All I could do was just put my faith on the detective. If the law doesn't do anything, I was ready- ready to go to the extremes.
Lisa and I used to hang out a lot when we were friends. We used to go the Joe's Ice Cream Parlor at the end of the Street and ate the Dark Forest Special. She loved that flavor. So did I. We were in our high schools then. She wanted to be an actress. I, on the other hand didn't care about the future at all. I was really carefree. I was an average student. I was not like the stereotype cool guys at school, who were good at football and sports and stuff; I was just a normal cool guy. Lisa wasn't the only friend I had then. There were Frank, Shawn and John. Out of this Shawn was my best buddy. I shared each and everything with him. We all used to hang out with Lisa and her friends. Hah…those beautiful times. Well, he was the first one who knew about me and Lisa and the one who stood by me when Lisa dumped me. Then he too left me. An accident-he fell from the roof of our school. The investigators said he slipped. I had been lonely since then. For a fact, all the people who were close to me just die. A series of misfortunes... First Lisa, then Stella.
After Lisa's death, I went mad. Torment was more. I was disquiet too much. I spent 3 years in Harrison's Mental Institution. I don't remember much about it though. I don't remember anything for a period- from Lisa's death to my rebirth. After that, I moved to the city. There I met Stella. I didn't meet her as soon as I was there. Getting over Lisa wasn't that easy. I found a job as a real estate broker in a small firm there and I finally settled down.
But I wasn't over the tragedy. I couldn't be the same man I used to be. I was lost. This even bothered my work. I couldn't concentrate. The only place I found as an escape was a small coffee shop in the city. The Great Canadian Coffee Bar. I didn't know why I liked to sit there alone, but it felt good. I always went there in the evenings. I would order a coffee and sit there, silently, staring through the glass window, over to a dress shop, with a butterfly sticker stuck on the window. I didn't know why that was an escape. After my past in the Asylum, people became indifferent towards me. Solitude befriended me. It gave me comfort. Then one day, in this coffee shop, everything changed. She entered into my life that day-Stella. She was a waitress there. I never noticed her. She was just another leaf that blew past me, just like any other. She came to me and said, "Hey" I looked at her. She was smiling. But the smile soon changed to an attempt to hide embarrassment. I didn't mind her at all. She continued, "Um…I have been watching you for a while now. Are you alright?" I looked at her again. Embarrassment showed its glory in that smile. I felt pity for her. I sighed and took off. That place wasn't going to be my place of peace anymore. I stopped going there. I tried a lot of places but finally ended up on my couch to find peace.
We met at other places too. She was really interested in knowing what was behind this great enigmatic behavior of mine. It had to be! But that was not the end of it. As anyone would call it, a tasty fill of the story, was the way we really became friends. I was just walking through the streets when I heard a scream. It was a lady. She was being mugged. The trance had a better hold of me. But this time, I had to do something. Something different. I rushed to aid her. "Hey you! Leave her alone!" I started screaming at the guy. He, out of sheer instinct tried to stab me. I was able to react quickly by moving, but I was hurt. The guy ran. But the lady came to my aid. It was her-Stella. That was the first time I had really seen her. Blonde hair, blue eyes and a cute smile, that spoke to me softly, "You are going to be alright" I felt an undeniable peace of mind then. I looked at her for a while. I saw some people rushing in. I beamed joyfully. I felt something new in my life.
That marked the threshold of my new life. I had finally forgotten about Lisa. I don't actually remember when I fell in love with Stella. It was as if I have blinked through three years, I was married to her. She became my wife. It was a good feeling. Now I see it. Now I see how precious she was to my life. It is as the saying goes- You never know the value of your eyes until you lose them. I could feel the void in my life now.
A cold breeze blew over my face. The window was open. The Autumn. A season when everything starts dying out. I was waiting for the spring to come, like any other creature in the world. I faced myself to the empty side of the bed. It smelled of her. "Coming to this cursed place was the biggest mistake of my life." I couldn't stop blaming myself. Stella was dead. It was a cold truth. The Detective told me it was just a burglary gone awry. I don't believe him. Even though all the evidence pointed to a random burglar, I felt it was something else. But who would want to kill a normal woman like her. She was nothing more than a lady who worked in a coffee shop. It's hard to sleep now. The cold breeze was more than I could take, besides the cold lingering feeling that I was getting form this place. The shadows of the trees in the moon looked like the Grim Reaper's scythe and his bony arms. My legs were uncontrollably shivering. It wasn't the cold. It was fear. Fear of death. Death was lurking around me. But not mine. I was never afraid for me. I was afraid of my past. I knew, even if I had an appointment with the reaper himself, he wouldn't be coming for me. He would just give me a list of people who had enjoyed their lives long enough in this world and who had spent enough time with me. Like a loyal cur, I would do my duty and help to finish them off. Just like Lisa. She should have known that her time was up. Or just like her boyfriend. Now it's time for that Son of a Bitch who was responsible for Stella's death. I will hunt him down or die trying. I closed my eyes; but didn't sleep.
There was a lot of noise outside. The ruckus got me awake. I got up the bed, half asleep. I checked the time piece. It was almost noon. I think I didn't sleep the night before at all. I was feeling tired now. My sleepy eyes unwillingly opened. My back was hurting too. I didn't heed to it. I got up, rubbed my eyes and looked at my bed. It was quite dirty, muddy to be exact. I thought I washed my legs before going to bed. I didn't bother though. I was more interested in finding out what was happening outside. I got up, feeling really heavy, walked towards the bathroom and brushed my teeth and headed outside. It was quite a crowd there. The police have gathered and I saw the same kind of gathering just like this, 2 days before, when Stella died. Ahh…what are these people? Is it sane to call them people? They are like bloodhounds that smell blood. They look for news like they need it for their survival, putting their heads into a crowd trying to sniff out the smallest information they could get. Once they get it, it spreads like wildfire! Damn gossipers! When I saw all of them gathered at my home, without even a hint of compassion or concern on their face; I couldn't resist the burn in my heart. Now I saw them just like that. The cycle of life. I suspired out of annoyance. I did manage to crawl into the crowd. I too became a part of it. The very much I hated it; it was an undeniable fact that it was a very good source of information. Well, as a matter of fact, there has been another murder.
My neighbour's house now looked just like mine the day Stella died. Bloody Hell! The neighbourhood's going nuts! I stood there, gulping down the fear of death that lurked around. Nothing felt safe anymore. The crowd was really a good source of information. Just like anyone, I poked at the one in front of me and asked, "What's this all about?"
"The guy who lived 'ere, Harold, was killed! Can you believe that? I never knew the guy, but still…it's so sad..." I listened to the fat lady, who pretended to be sad, but still, the pretense was so visible in her. Anyhow, the neighbourhood isn't safe anymore, it would seem.
The police put up a blockade around his house. Things were getting really interesting around these parts lately. As I gathered more and more information, I found out that it was way bloodier than Stella's. I didn't feel any remorse for the guy though. I looked at the mailbox. It said Harold Williams. That's funny. I never met the guy, even though he lived opposite our home here!
Harold. I never met the guy. I heard he was into investment banking. I have been here four days and never went to see the neighbors. I was more interested in revisiting the tombstone of my past, rather than making friends in the neighborhood. Stella might have made friends with them. She socializes easily. She knew how to interact, unlike me. I was comfortable with myself. I wasn't a person who would go out and talk. I was more of an introvert.
There were two murders in this neighborhood and people were getting restless. I blended into the crowd watching the crime scene. Harold's body had been taken away. His wife was being questioned. Poor lady. I remember she was the one who was with Stella the first day we came here. I couldn't bear looking at her. Her eyes looked dead. Her eyeliner has been washed away by the tears and has now covered her cheeks, giving out a dark and evil message. Her dead and pale face showed fear and death together. The blood has stained the floor of the house well. I heard that his body was lying dead in his rocking chair, headless. No wonder there was a lot of blood, obviously, coz he had no head! I smiled slightly. Smiling at a death scene! Wow! I was on a roll now! I didn't feel anything for the piteous family. I was just drawing a blank. I just kept watching the police work. I was falling apart, even now. Well, I needed to go now. I walked towards my home. I came in through the front door and slammed it shut. The walk liberated me from the congestion. I was more at ease now. As I walked to the hall, I stopped. Stella's picture hung on the wall in front of me. The black and white photo showed a smiling Stella. Photography of Rafael Bloomberg. He was a professional photographer working in the city. It was a gift from him. Stella on the lawn with her dog, Beatrice. A brief moment of pause just passed by. Heavy tears starting to roll down my cheeks. I didn't cry, exactly. I wasn't sobbing. It was just tears, like water droplets rolling down a giant rock piece that showed little hint of emotion. I was sad; I was missing her very much.
Stella's beautiful face lay on the ground with shards of glass lying scattered on the floor. The police weren't doing anything. The investigation hadn't progressed much. Now there have been two murders. The whole neighborhood was shocked. Is it a serial killer? Or is it just some lunatic out to quench his burning lust for blood? Or is it some part of a conspiracy? I thought on and on, sipping the Johnny Walker. I stared at Stella's broken framed picture. I felt bad for doing that. I wondered what made me do that. It was a sudden rush of anger or any kind of similar emotion, I suppose. The recent happenings were driving me crazy. I might end up doing something crazy.
Like I haven't.
My past was dark, filled with a series of misfortunes; misfortunes that involved too much death. And finally, people looked upon me as a Psychopath. I never got over it. If I was the cause of all this, I will fight, till the end. 3 years in the Asylum wasn't easy. Seeing the guys who were more screwed up than you could make you feel normal, but in reality, it makes you more insane. The Judge put me there because I was guilty of murdering Roger. They tested me and found that I was mentally unstable. Frankly, I don't exactly remember what happened that night. All I remember was I saw him at night walking. The next thing I knew, I had a steel pipe with blood on it. Now I was afraid that problem I had during those days might come back to me. These strange blackouts happening nowadays…I was worried. I eased up on the couch with the drink.
In 3 years, at the Asylum, I was able to control that kind of anger and behavior. The doctors identified that this obsession of mine was the real problem. I am sure they did their best to heal me and made me what I am now. They tightened my loose screws. But not perfectly I guess. I chucked. I didn't see my parent's after that. The last time I came to this cursed town was on my Mother's funeral. I walked and set me up another drink of the Johnny Walker. I looked at the clock. 1:30 a.m. It's late. But I didn't feel like sleeping. I sat in the couch of the guest house of the McGruger's and sipped the whiskey. Lisa's uncle was really a kind man. I knew one thing. On the freshman year at college, I didn't move on. But Lisa did. After the break up after high school, I was kind of devastated. My mind wasn't set for anything after that. To make things worse, we joined the same college. This was my breaking point. She started dating different men. I grew insane. The thought of losing her made me panic. The pain has increased now. It's happened before. Plenty of times. Now it seems to be intensifying. Insanity felt like it gave me strength through those dark times. And survival meant killing. So I killed. I killed that one man who tried to compete with me, who tried to separate me from her. Roger Davis. He was an asshole. Oh yes, he was. I still have no idea why they didn't arrest me for that. Oh yea…they did! That's when they took me to the Asylum. And still I stand here like this. What a sick, fucking, demented joke! I gave a smile to the wall opposite to my couch. A huge stuffed head of a bear accepted my smile thankfully. He smiled back.
I didn't know whether I was drunk or I was going mad. Obviously drunk! All I knew was that I wasn't myself. Someone was taking control over me. I was thinking too much. I resisted, but to no avail. The headache was stronger. Images flashed in front of me. Lisa. I killed her. No one knows. But I killed her. It was easy. The usual gas trick. Burnt the house down. Got away with it too. But how? My vision was blurring. How could I do this to her? Stella...did…I…kill..you…too?
I felt something cold in my face. Water? I opened my eyes. My left eye hurt me while opening it. It was some guy in a uniform who poured the water. White shirt and pants. I wondered where I was. Wait! I was in a prison cell. No…Not exactly a prison cell. It was…OH MY GOD! I gasped at the setting I was watching. I was in a small room with a single bed and a wash basin, one mirror and a chair, nothing else. The barely painted walls showered an obscene feeling to my gut. I was back at an asylum.
But how could this be?
"Hello Simon. How are you feeling today?" It was a doctor. At least he looked like one; the usual attire, white coat and a stethoscope.
Simon? Who is Simon?
"Doc, I think you got the wrong guy. I am Jack, Jack Stevenson."
"Well, it seems that you are finally awake Mr. Jack. Somebody is here to see you." The Doctor went to open the cell door. But it still didn't answer my doubts. Wait a minute, why am I chained to the bed? Was I asleep all this time? Which day was today? What happened to me? I had a number of questions to ask that guy. And why does my body hurt so much? It feels like I was beaten up by somebody.
"Hello Mr. Jack." It was Detective James Arthur. I wasn't sure whether to be happy or to be sad when I saw him. "Hope you are alright now. Dr. Jacob here was telling me that you finally woke up. What do you remember Jack? Tell me." I didn't know what to say. All I could remember was sitting in the couch and sipping a glass of Whiskey.
Please tell me that whatever happened to me was a dream!
"What day is it now? Was I asleep? Tell me Detective." I asked that man in the blue suit.
He smiled. "You have been here for four days Jack. You were in complete sleep. So, Jack, what is the last thing that you remember?" He asked pasting his blonde hair backwards with his hands. I was a bit taken aback by all this. "I was sipping a glass of whiskey in the McGruger's guest house….that's it! That's all remember. What happened to me! WHY THE FUCK AM I CHAINED TO THIS DAMN BED" I screamed aloud. The chains in my hand were disturbing. The clanging sound of the chains was getting into my head. Detective James was pretty shaken by the sudden uproar. He bounced back in defense and fell down. Interesting. I also got a pretty good idea that I must have been a pretty dangerous man when the attendants came rushing in. Well, fortunately, they didn't have to do anything. I was calm. Detective James was pretty shocked by all this, it seemed. Doctor Jacob smiled and gestured him that everything is fine with his face-the slight nod. James approached Dr. Jacob and started discussing something. I looked around. This cell reminded me of that past I forgotten, the three years in the asylum. I am actually getting a feeling I am at the same old one. Amazing, isn't it? A decision to look into the past ended up me being a widower and a mental. Ha! This was all like a prank played by somebody. I wasn't bothered by anything now, a surprising fact. Four days in this hell hole, that too asleep. I looked at the rashes on my arm. How did I get these bruises anyways? And how the hell did the fancy couch changed into this cheap white bed? Somebody should really talk to me. I was feeling pity now, pity towards me and eventful life. I tried to suppress a laughter that came out of it.
Look at where you stand you dumb fool. Let a girl inside your mind and look what she did! I became weak and life took a U-turn. I took a look around. Pathetic! Just pathetic! I tried to wipe away the smirk.
The big guys were done talking now. "Hey Doc" I was calmer this time. . "Can I ask you a question? How did I get here? What happened to me?" I shot out my questions like it was coming from a 'Tommy Gun'. He smiled. "You will know when this is all over." It wasn't enough. I knew there was more to this. But I couldn't just go berserk and ask him! It was too risky. I sat on the bed, like a small child, knees bent and close to my chest, gripping them tightly and thinking. I could have been sleeping if I was drugged from the whiskey; but that's too far-fetched. It's been several hours since the company left. It is night. I could feel the cold wind coming from the barred window. The cell door opened. An attendant came with the food. He was carrying a nightstick and a taser. The guy was black and big. He glared at me for a moment and took off, after keeping the food in a table in the cell. I reached for the food. I was hungry. It seemed like I hadn't eaten for days. Well, who knows? I ate it all up like a hungry dog. I looked through the window of my cell. The trees bore a view that was never forgettable for me. The same hill that always assured me there was a better day coming up. Wow! I was actually back. I was actually back to the hell which I had escaped once. I kept looking at the dead tree on top of the hill. It looked so beautiful standing in front of the large autumn moon. It was that one sight that always made me hope for a future I had outside the four walls of this Institution. Now it represented death. Yes, I am dead now. I closed my eyes and lay on the bed.
The next day was up. I tried my level best to wake up from this nightmare. But, to no avail. I still didn't know what to believe anymore. This was the scratch line of my new life. A life I never expected; a life I never wanted. A life I regretted. More the time I was there in this cell, I felt more like breaking out of these chains and run free, even if it was onto death itself. I wanted to live at least a fraction of a second a free man. The same attendant came in with the breakfast. But why was I still in chains? It was a completely different setup now; nothing like before. No recreation, no chit chat; nothing. I was completely isolated. It was like I was considered dangerous or something. Or maybe it was some kind of conspiracy. Whoa! I should listen to myself! I sound crazy! The man had left. As soon as he left I heard some strong footsteps. Some people were coming in. I waited eagerly. It was Detective James and Doctor Jacob with some attendants. The attendants came in quick, released me from the chains and cuffed me, both hands and legs. This was weird! But I didn't retaliate. I played along. I wanted to know what in the world was going on in here. They put me in a wheel chair. Together, we started to move through the corridor. Some twists and turns, and I was in a peculiar room. A room that reminded me of an interrogation room of a police station. It was completely white, with a table in the middle and two chairs on either side. They put me in one chair. Both my legs and hands were still cuffed. The Doctor sat on the other chair.
"Do you know why you are here, Jack?" He asked me, in a gentle voice.
I widened my ears in anticipation. My anxiety was well noted by the doctor.
"Do you know any Simon?"
I looked at him. Who is Simon? My eyes were telling the entire story, it seemed.
"Jack, you are here because you killed some people who were related to you." The plain comment by the doctor was quite shocking, but it had its effect.
That was it. I was sure now. The headaches. I should have known it earlier. It was a sign of some kind of mental disorder, maybe. Must be my old disease. Oh my god! Stella…did I kill her too? Was I the one who killed Harold? I needed to ask all these questions. I opened my mouth. My throat was dry. My voice was stuck. I started to sweat profusely. My hands were shaking. My God! Am I going to pass out again? No…I cannot let it happen. I looked around. The attendants haven't left the room. They were looking at me with caution. "Jack? Jack? Are you alright?" Doctor looked concerned. Or not. All I knew was that I wasn't too alright. I saw him reach lifting his left arm. He was signaling the attendants. No…I needed to know.
"T,,,tell…me…te..ll m..ee…" I tried to speak. I wanted to know. Did I kill Stella?
"Jack, you need medication now. It's time to go now. We will do this later."
Noooooooo! I roared out. "I n..need t..t..to know. T..tell me. Wh..Whom all?" I managed to say what I wanted.
Doctor looked at me. I saw pity in his eyes. "Okay then. You will need to cooperate with us. We are going to ask a series of questions which you will have to answer. Everything will come to your senses after some of such similar senses. But you will need some medication, to stop that shivering. Jack? Jack? Are you listening to me?" My vision was blurring. No. Not now. I need to…
"Simon. Tell us what you know. How did you kill Harold?" It was the doc. I was still in the room. He was once again calling me Simon. My sleepy eyes were reluctant to wake up.
"Who? Who is S…Si...mon?" I was still stammering. My head was hurting really bad.
"Jack? It's good to see you again!" He seemed to be very pleased to see me! "Jack? Do you know any Simon? From your past, that is. Have you met anyone named Simon? No, let me rephrase, did you have any imaginary friends named Simon?"
Simon? I don't think so. I shook my head. The doctor seemed to have a neutral expression now. He was looking at me sharply. "Well…Simon is your alter ego. So far, we have found out that he is your abnormal aggression. Pure rage. Nothing more. It's been seen that after you have a blackout, he would take your place. This usually happened when you felt in a lot of emotional strain. We also found out that it was Simon who killed your old high school girlfriend, Lisa and her college boyfriend, Roger. But I am sure, you might remember those. That time you had some control over the situation. But Simon took control over you once you became emotionally weak. It is just a matter of time that Simon takes full control of you. Well, you might find it astonishing. After you came here, you were Simon for four days. Police caught you attacking one of your college friends, Frank Miller. The bruising you got now was inflicted to you during that fight. Somehow, he was able to escape Simon's attacks and escape and call the police. Due to this aggressiveness of Simon, we had to keep your body in chains. We also just found out that Simon killed Harold too. Detective James is in charge of this investigation. You were ordered to be committed here by the court, when you were caught. Another thing we found about Simon was that he had a shrilly voice and was quite childish. He doesn't think. He just acts out …" The Doctor kept talking. Simon? Did he kill Stella too? My heart was pounding fast. I had uncontrollable eruption of rage when I was in college. Hence, I was committed here once. After 10 years, I am again back here. Fate was making a joke out of me. Ha! Real funny!
Detective James came bursting into the room with a cold and angry look. "That is enough information for you. The only one who can tell us about the murders is Simon. Now let him out! I haven't got all day!" The Doctor was pretty annoyed by the way Detective behaved. I wasn't bothered. I stayed calm. Well, I couldn't expect a better treatment from a police officer to guy who killed about four people. But I am not Simon. If they need him, he will come. I needed some answers. These people are not here to help me. I knew that. The detective was here to earn his name and credit and maybe an award for capturing a demon, a psychopath, stopping violence and murder. Great. Good for you Detective. I salute you. And the doctor? He was just putting his game face on. That was the thing that earned him money. I can't blame him. If I were him, I would have done the same too.
The two were arguing intensely. The detective has done his part. Now it's time for the Doctor to shine. I was pretty sure they wouldn't tell me what actually happened and how this Simon was born and all. At least from now on, they won't bother telling me. It looked like that. The discussion was fuming out tension. They finally stopped. The Doctor looked at me. I guess he was convinced that all I needed to know had been told to me. The attendants took me up and put me back in the wheelchair, took me out of the room and some twists and turns, I was back in my cell. The cuffs were removed and I was chained back to the bed. Well, I was in the highly violent and dangerous category here. I wasn't done. They weren't done. They wanted to know the truth and it can only be made possible by turning me into Simon and making him tell everything. They will be back, like lupines hunting for flesh. The doctor was here for a breakthrough, the Detective for answers. All I had to do was waiting. They would come to me. A grin passed through my face. I was waiting…
I was up all night. I knew they had some kind of archives here that recorded these sessions. I could find all my answers if I am able to escape from here. But how? I began thinking. It's been almost a week here at the Asylum. The screams in the night time from the other cells, made it impossible to sleep. These people were like animals; more like dogs. A sense of disgust filled my face. Unlike others here, I was normal. I, Jack Stevenson, was normal. I don't know about Simon. It felt bizarre that two people were living in the same body. It was a multiple personality syndrome, I suppose. I have heard about it. I never thought I would experience it. God! I hope this place isn't contagious. I could really get mad with all these noises. I now no longer feel any kind of emotions. I was no longer bothered by anything. I was quite fed up of all this. Not even the recreation was available for me. I had to eat my food all alone in my cell. I wasn't even allowed to see others. I was completely isolated. Damn! This Simon must be some aggressive creature. The Doctor also said that I will soon be Simon, completely. Wow! It's like a battle between me and Simon for this body. I am not resisting, but he is fighting. He might be forging a master battle plan inside me right now. And all I am thinking now is how good he is. Well, I actually don't know what to do at this moment. All I knew was to sit simply. Wait! The Doctor also said that he only comes when I am too emotional. May be that's why he didn't come out till the Doctor said about Lisa and the others. No! No thinking about them. Calm down Jack. You can beat that rapscallion inside you. I should try to sleep. I tried some meditation technique that I once learnt through the internet. I closed my eyes for a minute, took in a deep breath. I found myself floating. Guess it worked. I felt nothing now.
Ha! Beginner's luck. Thank you internet. You are a beautiful invention.
I slept with a gleaming smile.
It was already the next day. I slept well, I suppose. The routine was always similar. When I wake up, an attendant brings me breakfast. Then to an isolated bathroom for showering and other purposes with an attendant on guard. Then back to my own little hell hole. Then nothing for a while. Then comes the lunch and it goes on like that. Life has become stagnant and I was rotting in it. They haven't called me for the session for a few days now. I was waiting for that. I needed them to complete the case. I wanted them to fix me and release me. Or give me the answers I wanted. But the only thing I was more worried about was that whether Simon's return will be permanent this time. I had to resist. Anyways…I needed to get to that archive if they don't give me the answers. And then, maybe I could escape. ***
Days passed. I never knew what was happening around me. Due to my controlled behavior, I was freed from chains. I started roaming around, but not to any other ward. I think, it's been two weeks now. No sign of Jacob or James. I roamed around. No friendly people here. My ward was usually empty. Most of them were chained inside their cells, I suppose. I had nothing to do, but to find out the archives and plan my escape. If they weren't going to fix me and release me, I wanted a plan B. And that plan B was the only thing that is going to help me survive this dreadful nightmare. I had to plan it quite soon. I started moving around inside my block, BLOCK C.
Block C. This was the most secure and restricted block in the Asylum. It was the farthest from the staff rooms and others, surrounded by water on three sides and huge barbed wired walls to prevent any kind of escape attempts. I started planning. From my previous visit here, I knew there were three blocks, A, B and C. Only A had visitors' allowed. B was semi-restricted and C was completely restricted. All I knew about the Block C was that the security was tight and the doors were pretty strong. There were cameras almost everywhere. The guards (the attendants) had a taser and a nightstick for weapons. I haven't seen any kind of firearms till now. Maybe that was good. Now, after some exploring, I had a small idea that the archives were in Block B. I didn't know for sure though. About two days passed thinking of plan to escape this Block. I worked on it for hours. I needed a plan. A plan to know everything. A plan to escape everything…
Finally, a series of footsteps and mumbling caught my attention. It was the Doctor and the Detective. They were here to take me to another session, to find out the entire story…to fill in the blanks. The attendants, the cop and the doc came in. They took me in a wheelchair. I went through the same corridors, on the way I tried to look into almost everything I can. I looked on and on, without catching my company's attention. There. I saw a set of shelves through a window, just before getting into the room. That must be it. I was sure there were some files in those shelves. That must be the archives. I now know. It was in the B Block. I was happy. All I had to do was play along and escape when the time is right. The Doctor had a gleaming look that said that he was going to uncover everything today. I wanted them to record everything today. Let this thing be over. I was sure they weren't going to let me go once this thing is over. I was here till Simon was in me. And soon, I am going to be Simon.
We entered the room. It was the same procedure. Wait! How can they bring Simon back? I wondered. There was only one way. I have to get into a situation where I should be emotional. Burdened by emotion. I waited for the Doctor to make his move. Hypnosis maybe. They could try that. Well, he was the doctor.
"Jack, today we have a great feeling that we could get all the details we need, from Simon. This session could get a little out of hand too Jack. Do you want to know the truth?"
Yeah! Totally! I nodded.
"See, Jack, the thing is, once this is over, Simon would be a little persistent in staying. But I am positive that we can recover you back. Not permanently, just temporarily, at least. So, we need your complete cooperation. Since I want to make the procedure easy for you, I am going to try hypnosis. We could also try the way we did earlier, but it is less recommended, for your better experience and also for Detective James."
Hypnosis? Bingo! I was right. But it could be really dangerous. I'm sure the doctor was trying to assure me. The hypnosis would make me asleep, putting me to sleep, making me vulnerable, unable to fight.
It was the time I met with my fate. I was ready. The Doctor pointed to a chair that looked like a chaise longue. The attendants took me to the chair. I sat down. It was really comfortable. The Doctor took another chair and sat beside me. "Listen to me Jack…" He started in a deep, slow voice. It was the hypnosis. He told me to close my eyes and free my body. I went into a trance, oblivion…no worries…no pain…
My head was hurting a lot now. I was in a different room, better than my cell. I looked around. It must be one of those observation rooms. I noticed the camera on the top right corner. They were watching me. Something must have happened in the last session. I started to shout.
"Hey Doc, what the hell happened to me? Tell me!"
"Things went out of control Jack." The speaker on the top left corner spoke. It was Dr. Jacob. "Simon gave us all that we wanted. The Detective has left with whatever he came for. It is over, Jack. But I am afraid you are still a patient here. By the way, Jack, do you know for how long you have been asleep? You were asleep for 13 hours and 20 minutes." It must be past midnight now. The Doctor was sincere. He didn't leave to his home at least. Or maybe he didn't have one. He should be workaholic then. Well, I wasn't the one to judge.
"What happened Doctor?" I asked.
"The situation went out of control, Jack. This time Simon was aggressive than his usual self. He went berserk when he started answering. The session started out sweet, but ended sorely. We had to struggle a bit with him and finally we managed to push him inside of you. I frankly didn't think you will be back. You are a lucky man, Jack. But you are not cured, not yet. Once Simon is triggered, he will be back, and it's up to him whether to go back or not. So you will have to stay strong Jack. Don't let him take control over you."
"The hell hath decided to stay" I mumbled to myself.
Simon wasn't going anywhere once he's out. I might go mad one day too. I needed to escape from this inferno. I stared at the camera. It seemed I was lonely. Yes, I was lonely. There was no one talking now. Complete silence. Complete desolation. I could even hear my heart beat. This is a really creepy situation. I sat at a corner, clutching tightly my folded legs and looked upon the camera. It was like staring at a dead man. It never moved, not even the shutter. The room was still. Not a single motion. I didn't know what was going on with the others. Are they still there? I couldn't stand this emptiness any longer. I stood up and walked towards the door. It was locked. I wanted to break free. It's been a long time now; more like hours have passed by. I decided to do something. I paced to the door and banged at it. I screamed. There was no response. I could become that demon in this tension for Christ's sakes.
"Let me outta here!" I screamed. Still no answer. They didn't even care if I become that murderer?
Those 3 years, I counted down days and I was happier as each day passed, but sad that the time went slow. The insane crying and the maniacs screaming made my life a horror movie. I looked around. A chair and a table, a camera and a speaker. This was going to be a tough escape. I started thinking. What can I do? I cannot make any kind of quick movements; lest I wanted those guards on my tail like cheetah on an antelope. Well, I knew one thing. My life was finished anyways. I was almost sure that they weren't going to let me out. They knew that Simon was going to be permanent in me. Once he was out, the court might order to kill me as well.
I pushed the table and placed it under the camera. I stood on it.
"Hey Doc! Can you come over here please? I needed to tell you something."
I called out to the camera. I just kept on looking. I saw myself on the camera; as a reflection. I was wearing a very light blue shirt and trousers. I just looked into the camera for a couple of minutes. Then I heard it. The Doctor was coming to the room. This was it. I pulled out the wire to the camera and climbed down of the table apace. Oh boy! This is gonna be exciting! I was sure that I was going to be in deep trouble now. But the thrill was too much. I just hoped everything would just work out well. I heard the door cards being entered into the slots.
I am ready.
The Doctor came in with two attendants. BAM! I hit the attendant on the left most side on his head. I came from behind, from the side of the door. I guess they took me lightly. There was no time to spare. I rushed to the fallen attendant and took his taser. The doctor and the other attendant were quite surprised at the attack. They were down soon, stunned and shivering. The taser had done its part. The reinforcements were on their way. I could hear them. I hurried to the doctor and took the coat. The card key was lying on the floor. I took it up in my hand. Finally! I opened the door and went out. I turned to my side and saw 5 men running towards me. I was lucky. The security room must have been a little away. I had the chair in my hand. I threw it to them. They were staggered for a while. But it didn't stop them. I noticed they had holstered guns with them. This was now serious. I ran to the opposite corridor. All I knew was that I was in Block C. That was all I needed.
I had the card key from the doctor. I could go into the other block now. Hopefully! I ran with all what I had. This might not be the best idea to be done here, but this was the only one I had and I had to keep up to it. Those guards were after me big time. I needed a distraction. I ran through all the corridors I saw. Took all the twists and turns. The guards were still behind me. I pushed down a ladder that was on the way. Could help me slow them down. I ran again, harder, exhausting my legs to the maximum. I threw everything I found at them. Then, near a corner turn, I found some paint tins placed beautifully on the floor. All I had to do was tip them. I ran again. Then, on that turn, I saw a room; the first room. It was some kind of room that looked like a library. I must have been past the out of limits section. Cool! I put on the Doctor's coat in a hurry and entered the room. There was a staff inside it. He looked confused. Well, I was wearing a coat over my patient's uniform. I tasered him in haste and closed the door. Luck was playing by my side for now. There weren't any loud alarms or anything, but I was pretty sure the other guards were warned about a loose patient. A dangerous patient to be exact. I couldn't hide here for long too. I removed the guy's pants and wore them and buttoned up the coat. That was enough for now. I had little time to spare. I was tensed. I looked around. Wait! I think I have an idea. I was going to take a leap of luck. I went near the computer there. I had to cause some distraction. I opened up the computer cabinet and tasered the motherboard. Sparks came out and started smoking. I saw the smoke detector on the roof. In a hurry, I put the burning motherboard underneath the smoke detector. Voila! All done. It was like a tropical forest there. The sprinklers have been activated. A cold smile came across my face. I walked out of the room like a normal guy. With my buttoned coat and the new pants, I had a disguise and a small chance to evade the guards to get to the Archives. After that, the grand escape. I almost had an idea where it was. I had noted it earlier. All I had to do was just walk around to find the exact position.
The guards were looking for me. They were running around. But I stayed hidden from their eyes. Then, there, I saw it. A door with a sign showing "To Block B". I walked straight to it and opened it using the card key, and fortunately, the door opened. Thank God. A small guess actually saved me. I finally made it to the other side. I closed the door in a jiffy and began to walk. Must be the guards; still looking for me. Everything was going perfectly as planned. They were still on alert. I had to go. I walked on.
Finally I was there. I looked at the board above the door. ARCHIVES. It shouted out its glory in a white board with a calligraphy that was quite normal. I felt like I was at the gates of heaven. I finally completed the mission. I didn't know whether the guards were looking for me. But I had more important things on my mind. On the spur of the moment, I kicked the door open. Nice work. I rushed in, to a hall, an assemblage of files. I hurried down to the shelf with a J on it. Jack Stevenson. There it was. I took it out. I was breathing heavily now. I opened it. A compact disc and some papers. Multiple personality disorder. I looked through the file. But my mind was more concentrated on watching the video of the session. My eyes looked around the room in a hurry. I saw a computer on the side. Phew! I needed to secure myself now. I sped to the broken road. The guards could be here soon. I needed an escape plan too. I am sure I will think of something. I looked around. I pushed a shelf to the door and blocked it. Sighing in relief, I looked at the computer and smiled. I was filled with satisfaction, gratified by the achievement of a goal. I switched on the computer and inserted the disc. I played it.
The first day. The day I was completely Simon. I gazed upon the monitor with anxiety. I was horrified at what I could find. It wasn't me on the screen. The face he made scared me away. He was frowning. And his shrill voice was daunting. I looked on at the monster I had become. On the screen, I saw a quite beaten up myself. My face had a lot of wounds. But the face showed little signs of pain.
The Doctor started. "Who am I talking to?" No response. Simon was in a straitjacket. No response from him. He looked adamant. Not speaking at all. His emotion changed. He was grinning now. A deranged evil grin. The Doctor asked again. Still, nothing. That video ended there. I was pretty shaken after seeing my evil self in a computer screen. Who the hell was that? Obviously, not me. I clicked on the next video.
The next day. The Doctor had a couple of attendants with him. He asked the same question. Simon looked at him and gave a grin, a smirk. "Why Doctor? Why do you want to know? Don't you know me?" The Doctor seemed pretty shaken. Had to be the voice. Who wouldn't be shaken up by that? Being in the vicinity of a maniac inside a big dark room must be pretty scary.
"Are you Jack? Somebody said that you called yourself Simon."
"Yes, I am Simon. Not Jack. Simon. Simon. Simon…." He was murmuring the name repeatedly, looking down. The Doctor was noting everything down; felt like he didn't want to miss anything at all.
"You know Doc-tor," Simon started "Jack was a weak man. I told him many times to quit being a loser. Did you have a brother like that Doc-tor?" The way he said Doctor was pretty unique. Shrilly voice and the Doctor being stressed more. That's wicked. Really wicked
"No. Tell me. Why do you think your brother is a loser?"
"He couldn't do a single thing by himself. He needed me, all the time. That means he is a loser. Am I not right Doctor?" Again, the same pronunciation. This is creeping me out! "Hmmm…I think you are right. But why did you attack Mr. Frank Miller? Also some evidences connected you, to the murder of your neighbor, Harold. The police found your prints all over the machete they had. Tell me Simon. Tell me everything. We are all friends here."
Simon looked at the Doctor for a while. Wide eyes and no emotion. The Doctor also played along. He was just sitting there for Simon to make the next move.
"Well, they weren't very nice with Jack. You know, he is my brother. They all have done their part to hurt him. I had to do something! I killed Harold, but I couldn't kill Frank. He was strong. But I was able to kill Lisa and Roger. They were the ones who hurt him the most. I hated them. I HATED THEM…."
He started screaming. WOW! The Doctor was right. He was my anger. That session ended there as he got a lot violent.
But when did Harold or Frank hurt me? They were my friends!
Then came the third day. The setting was the same. Same look in both the party's faces. "Can you tell me something Simon? We are friends, aren't we? So, tell me how you did everything? I am eagerly waiting to know how excellent you are."
Simon smiled for the first time. He looked just like me when he smiled. Innocence. It clearly reflected innocence. I watched the video with my full attention.
"Jack admired Lisa very much. He loved her. But she didn't. He didn't like that a bit. When she got a new boyfriend, everything started. Jack became weak. Listen to this Doc, he cried! He cried, like a little girl and finally he called me for help. I felt so bad. I came and knew that I had to do something. The first thing that came to my mind, eliminate the competition. So, I waited for the right opportunity. On one rainy day, Jack saw Roger walking through the back of the football field. I knew it was my time then. I took his place. Walked towards him. Picked up a broken steel pipe that I found on the way. Then, when I got near him, Bang! A shot to the skull. Then, I did it for a while. Hammering down on his skull, crushing it till I could see a hole in his head."
Simon's eyes were dilated. A grin covered his face. The atmosphere was filled with the stench of fear and insanity. He…he was not me. Never me. That grin slowly changed to laughter, caped in evil.
"Well, that must have been satisfying!" The Doctor was still in control it seemed. He was calm, not at all terrified. He knew what to speak, when to speak. "So, why did you kill Lisa? You have obviously eliminated the competition." But Simon didn't stop laughing. He went on and on. The video ended.
There are only a few videos left. I had to know the truth.
There was surely some ruckus outside. I was almost certain that they won't look for me here. Well, who looks for a person inside an Archives room if he was trying to escape! I started the next video.
The fourth day. This video also began the same way as the earlier ones. But I was hoping it ended differently. "Simon, you owe me." Doctor started in his calmer, friendly voice.
"Owe you? I don't think so. Get real Doc-tor" That voice gave me the creeps again. It was really hard to watch this in a dark room. I swallowed hard. I started to watch the video in anticipation. "Well, you didn't finish your story yesterday, Simon. Even you know that is rude. And ruder if you do it to your friend." Simon grinned.
"Yes, Doc-tor, you are right. You should hear my story. Lisa was really sad when her boyfriend died. And guess what? My little brother Jack went to console her. He gave her the support she needed. A 'friendly' support." Simon said gesturing the apostrophe with his fingers. "Not what he wanted. The fool again went to his depressed state. I was really annoyed. I knew this was a job for me. But Jack wouldn't leave. He too needed to be there. I feared this would fail the mission. My mission. But I knew I was really good at what I do. I took him along. We went to the McGruger's. Lisa was depressed. Her parents were also trying to console her. Ahh…I just couldn't stand all these emotions. I just sneaked into the kitchen, kept the gas valve open and BAM! I was outta there. That was too easy. But the only problem came when that idiot Jack came and interfered. He just couldn't do that. But I showed him! Now look who is happy! Or was…" Simon had a fearsome look now. Not fearsome, simply put, dangerous and deranged. I killed them both. I knew that. Not me. It was Simon.
But still, why Lisa?
"Hey Doc-tor, another interesting thing. You know Stella? Jack's wife?" I paused. I shuddered. My breathing was becoming heavy. Did…did he kill Stella too? No! No…I must control myself. No more Simon…I have to….I will. Thinking about it was easier than doing it. Simon could take my place anytime now. I tried thinking about something else. I shouldn't get emotionally aggressive. The headache. I was feeling it. No! No! No! The breathing exercise. I started doing it. Not working, I was under a lot of tension. I started to sing a song. I knew, deep in my heart, whatever I do, it's going to end in Stella. That was bad. Anyhow the song seemed to work. I started playing the video when my mental state was calmer. I clicked the mouse with my shivering arms. "She died, didn't she? Poor woman. Jack loved her a lot. So did Harold. Jack was too much of a fool to see it. I needed to keep my brother safe. I had to kill him too." He started his sinister laugh. I didn't know whether to be happy or sad. He killed Harold and not Stella. I just stared at the monitor. My face, emotionless, felt detached to me. Suddenly, Simon collapsed. It was so sudden. He just fell into the chair like a magician's rope. The Doctor hurried to him, so did the attendants. They woke him up. "Simon. Tell us what you know. How did you kill Harold?" He was holding me by shoulders, but was cautious. "Who? Who is S…Si...mon?" I closed the video. There was no need to watch that video. So…Simon killed Harold. I gave a cold smile.
Now just one more video. I had no interest to see any further. But still, I thought, I need to see it. I clicked on the next video. It started out. Yes! The time I was hypnotized. I remember that. I went on watching the video. The Doctor put me in a hypnosis spell, and talking out something, awakening the demon inside me. I watched, expecting to see an amazing transformation. I was lying on the chair, half asleep, in a trance. The Doctor kept on mumbling things. I started speaking. Simon was awake. Well, speak of the Devil, he was up. I looked onto the monitor. He opened his eyes. He got up and sat. No way! Was that normal? I kept thinking. The Doctor looked alarmed. So did the attendants. I saw them go for the taser. "Hello Doc-tor, we meet again! You look serious! I am not going to bite you. We are friends here" Ugh! He was grinning again. I have to admit. That may be my body, but I don't grin like that.
"So, back for more, I presume? Last time was interrupted by my stubborn brother. Well, that is not going to happen this time. I am tired of cleaning after him. Oh yes, where were we? Ah, the story." He was blabbering. A new side of him was out. It was like he was telling about the great achievements he had. The Doctor listened keenly. I too did that. "Ehem" He cleared his throat, as if he was going to announce another of his achievement. "Yes. Harold. He was really easy I suppose. Poor Jack was too depressed, about most of things in his life. Well, I wasn't the consoling type, obviously, but I knew that bloody rascal, Harold was hitting on Stella from the time she was in the neighborhood. Jack was too much involved in Lisa's memory to realize that. But I did. Harold's behavior was inappropriate. But Jack neglected. He was too concerned with his past. A PAST THAT I FIXED FOR HIM!" Simon was breathing heavily now. The shouting poured away a lot of spit from his mouth. The Doctor wiped his face. Simon was really aggressive on that last sentence. "So, you killed him because Harold was inappropriately behaving towards Stella?" Doctor finally opened his mouth. I was in a shock. I neglected Stella, for a dead past. Tears rolled down my cheek. I looked on to the video. "No. I killed him because he killed Stella!"
A chill shot through my spine. I paused the video. I was stunned. I was waggling. I had lost all my energy. I was feeling dry. Harold? Harold killed Stella? Amazing. It feels so hard to believe. More importantly, how the hell did he know about it? I played the video.
Doctor started his bit. "Well Simon, how did you know? The police said it was a burglary gone awry!" Simon started laughing. The usual malign laugh. "Harold was a good murderer. He covered up good. He made it look like a burglary and he most probably gave the police an explanation that his prints were there because he was there helping her. Well, that was true though-he tried to rape the poor lady. Well, I still the guy deserved more. All I could do was just chop off his head and give him some small cuts here and there. I should have tortured him" Simon gave a gloomy look. Wow! He meant what he was saying! He continued. "Now, let me tell you how I did it. I went to his backyard, climbed up to his balcony and picked the lock to his room. He was asleep. His wife was out. So I got him alone. Lucky me, right? The rest was easy. I just picked up the machete from his kitchen and voila! You have a dead body."
The Doctor interrupted him in between. "But you didn't answer my question Simon. How did you know?" I had nothing to think about now. I was left in a stupor. I just watched. "I saw. Well, our buddy Jack was too depressed with Lisa's death and the other usual stuff. I was so disgusted. So I went out for a walk because he needed to be fixed for good. I cannot live with this kind of an emotional jug head. I went back to the house. There, I heard little rumble. Now I think, what could that be? I peeked in through the window. Then, I saw it all. Our dear old Harold, trying to attack Stella. Well, you know the usual stuff. She resisted and things ended badly. I think he tried to flirt first. He had to, people like him flirt first all the time. Well, I could only see the half of it. When things got bad, he just stabbed her. Then I think, what an Idiot? Then he realized what he did and did some things to throw the cops off the track. I watched him through the entire process. He then left. He must have been having a pretty solid alibi because cops didn't have anything on him for two days. He was good." Looking away, he said, " Wow! I miss him already!" The Doctor was pretty shaken after hearing all this. I was too. He just stayed there watching. I can't believe what I am hearing. I was slowly passing out. I could feel it.
Suddenly, in the video, the Detective rushed in. He told the Doctor something and went. I watched eagerly. "Simon? What about the clock that fell on Stella's head?" There was a small catch in Doc's voice. "Oh that! I did that. She wasn't dead after what Harold did to her. It would have taken hours for her to die. He stabbed her on her abdomen, I think it has damaged some organs. Her body went into shock. I just helped by pushing the clock down." He was answering like he did something so great. My head started spinning.
"She was too much of a liability for Jack." He smiled. How could he? I was filled with rage. He killed her. That meant I killed her. I kept watching. As the video went on, the attendants started struggling with Simon. I wasn't listening anymore. I couldn't. The head ache came back. This time it was excruciating. "NOOOOOOOO!" I roared out loud.
"I killed her! I killed her! Spite me Lord!" I knocked the monitor down. I still remember a part of me wanted to go and save Lisa on that dreadful day. I thought of running into the burning house but my legs wouldn't let me. I think that was the only time I at least had a fighting chance against Simon. I didn't fight it then and he has gone stronger over time. I was weak then, and I am weak now. The headaches seemed to be nothing in front of the pain of a burning heart. I collapsed. I was losing control of my body.
"Doctor! Doctor! He is in here!" Somebody had found my hiding spot. I guess my scream gave me away. I was lying on the floor, motionless. My vision had blurred. Somebody knocked the door down. The shelf came down with all its glory. I felt the wind on my hair as the mighty shelf fell. The Doctor and the attendants came in. I was fainting fast. I tried to say something. I was having a hard time doing that. The pain has now spread into my entire body. Though writhing in pain, I wanted to say that I killed Stella and to kill me, to kill this demonic creature. I took all my energy and spoke.