Chapter 25 – Conversations with a Killer
The forest had come alive, in the darkness of the night even the slightest of sounds could be heard. Emily sat in the corner of the cave, watching the small fire that had been lit on the far side. She wasn’t scared of the forest or this cave, not even of her captor. But today she wanted to live, after many years of wishing she was dead. Forgiving her mother and meeting her mother’s family had given her a reason, a hope to move on. The bushes were ruffled, and she heard the sound of twigs being broken as someone came inside this damp, hidden place. A large shadow entered, ‘I brought you this’. He threw a can of food down, it had been opened. Emily looked up, ‘Let me go, please. Don’t do this, its madness’. He walked across to stoke the fire that he had lit before leaving the cave. Emily’s words and her plea were falling on deaf ears. ‘Madness is forgetting those you once loved. Not even remembering their name, like they never lived’. His language was coarse, harsh like the terrain that surrounded them, his accent was strong like a country boy and his words were remorseless. ‘My father taught me to shoot, right here in this forest. We’d shoot rabbits, foxes, anything that moved. I remember seeing them things bleed, their blood on my hands. I remembered how they were alive moments ago, and now I got their blood on my hands’. He looked down at his hands as Emily stared at him, ‘It takes away the meaning of being alive. Killing somethin’ makes you God. It ain’t no different. I ain’t no different, because God takes revenge, Yes he does’!
’Michael Martyn may well be suffering from a condition called ‘dissociative identity disorder’ or as it was once called, ‘multiple personality disorder’. Dr Rogers looked across at Hans, then at Kay. ‘I’m fairly sure he is. Miss Winters being from the big city, will know about this condition’. Hans looked at Kay, ‘I know abit about it but how is Michael suffering from it, what evidence can you see’. ‘Alot’, Kay looked at Hans, realizing that what Dr Rogers was saying made sense.
‘It’s possible, Mr Mansell. Michael talks about his brother who died. Maybe he is hallucinating, which can be a result of the trauma he suffered. Or what is more of a possibility from what you have told me is that something frightening has happened’. ‘Which is’?
‘Michael has split himself into another person, he is now also Gabriel’. Hans looks at Doctor Rogers as though it is the doctor who is in dire need of a psychiatric assessment. ‘How can that be’?
‘It happens to people like Michael Martyn. It’s not common but he is a prime candidate to be affected by this condition. He was a victim of childhood trauma, a terrible incident that must have left an emotional scar on a young boy. See no-one thought about that, about what effect his father’s tragic death had on him as a little boy. Then you mentioned, how he became a loner, spent alot of time in that forest where let’s face it, most kids would be terrified of going’. Kay looked down visualizing a young Michael as though Doctor Rogers was taking them on a journey through the troubled and tortured mind of a young boy who no-one actually knew. ’He wasn’t able to cope with that trauma, so his mind split into another personality called an ‘alter-ego’. A stronger version of himself but it’s not him. It is someone else. That ‘someone else’, is Gabriel and he appears when Michael cannot cope with what’s happening’.
Hans sat back, ’So why has this other ‘personality’ appeared now’?
’Well, I can’t say. But my guess is that ‘Gabriel’ has always been there, in the shadows of Michael’s psyche but after the attack on his life, Michael needed ‘Gabriel’ to manifest himself more than ever, so he did’.
‘Fuck’. Hans sighed as though he had been hit hard and had fallen to the floor. ‘We don’t know any of this, it’s just speculation, right? It may just be Michael using his brother’s name to cover up what he’s doing’.
‘Michael is not a killer’, Kay interrupted Hans, ‘why do you find it hard to believe’? ‘Because we don’t know any of this’.
‘That’s right, which is all the more reason we need to find Michael, and prove that he is sick. He needs help not the death sentence’. Hans looks across at the Doctor, ‘He’s already got the death sentence. They just gotta find him to deliver it’.
Hans and Kay walked out of the hospital, ‘You don’t believe it, that Michael has this illness’. ‘I’m not saying that, but it’s just a theory. We need to know more’.
’Mr Mansell, you believe Gabriel has come back, don’t you? Just like Shane Martyn said he would’. Hans looks at Kay, she had said something that even he hadn’t the courage to say or even to think. ‘That’s just a theory too. But I do believe that the supernatural has some truth, they are not just fables and fairytales’.
‘I’m not saying that but what the doctor said makes more sense. I have studied this but never come close to anyone effected by it, not this close’. ‘But until we don’t find Michael and he is not assessed, there is a chance that Gabriel is alive and he is the murderer. Just as it may be Michael who killed Kevin Cunningham and maybe Del Toro too, and he’s blaming his dead brother’. Kay looked at Hans and then looked away, acknowledging they were all possibilities and she remembered what Hans had once said to her. He had told her that she was scared of looking for the truth, because she didn’t know what she was going to find. It was true, she was scared because the truth of what was happening in this small town was bizarre, and maybe she could no longer deal with what was coming ahead.
‘Ma’am, we have orders if you fail to co-operate, we will take you down to the station’. Ethel looked at the officers who were stood at the doorway of her house, ‘I don’t know where my son is, and if you take me to the station, that fact won’t change’. The two officers looked at each other, ‘Ma’am I don’t want to take you down to the station because I know you. I use to say the Lord’s Prayer behind you in church’.
‘And you forgot everything that you were ever taught. Put that uniform on, joined Vincent Cunningham’s army of bandits and began to terrorize this town’.
‘Sorry ma’am, you will have to come with us’. A voice came from behind, ‘She ain’t going no-where’.
The officers turned around, a man stood there. He was a tall, black man, wearing a long overcoat. He stood still on the sidewalk, staring at the officers. ‘Now who the fuck are you’? The man walked up to them slowly, ‘I suggest you ask your superiors who I am. My name is Ant-man. I’m from the West side’.
‘We don’t care where you are from, this is police business and you……’, ’Whatever this is suppose to be’ Ant man interrupted, ‘it ain’t gonna go any further, you see if I was to drop your sorry asses on this sidewalk right now, your boss would not be able to do nuthin’ to me’. One of the officers, spoke into his radio while the other watched the man closely. This unknown figure who had dared to intervene in ‘police business’ spoke with an air of confidence, a self-belief of someone who knew his own power. ‘Ok, we gotta go, for now’, the officer who had just spoken in his radio gestured to his partner. The officer looked back at Ethel and brushed past the Ant-man. ‘Don’t be coming back now’.
The man walked up to Ethel, ‘Don’t worry Mrs Martyn, I will have couple of men here looking out for you’.
‘I don’t know you’.
‘I was sent by Big Jake, Jake Martyn’. Ethel looked closely at this towering figure, it was safe to say that Jake wouldn’t know anyone other than a gangster like ‘Ant-man’.
‘Jake knows about what happened’?
‘Yes, and he knows that Michael is on the run. He wants my men to be here protecting you’.
‘I don’t need you here. I’m not like that, I don’t agree with what Vincent has done, or my husband or what any of you do’. Ant-man lowered his eyes for a moment, ‘I know Mrs Martyn, I would never expect you to agree with who I am. But I owe your family alot. So I’m here and I got your back’.
The forest has many tales that have never been told, like an old wise man who is known around the town yet conceals many truths and the legends of a time gone by. He remains silent and hides the pain from years of suffering. Emily couldn’t sleep, she lay on the hard surface of the cave. He had given her a blanket and an old sheet, but had none of that himself. She had pretended to be sleeping but had remained conscious most of the time, her eyes closed, listening to what was happening. She had heard rats, even seen one but they didn’t bother her, as they were more scared of their unexpected visitors. Her captor never slept either, and seemed to disappear for a while, going further into the tunnels. She had heard noises most of the night, they were coming from further away. It’s always been a mystery about this deep part of the forest, all the caves are adjoined, connected by tunnels, which lead into different parts of the town. They are like a large maze, that’s what her father would tell her. The old folk in the town knew some of the routes but not all of them. Gabriel said he knew them well, the mines were also linked to these caves and he told Ethel that he would wander into them while the other men worked. He would scare the kids with stories of skeletons being down here and said he heard ghosts. It was Emily who was hearing something now, reminding her of those stories. Emily realized her mind was playing tricks on her, there was no-one else here, not for miles. She tugged on the rope that was used to tie up her hands and her feet together, it was tight and the rope was long. This meant she could move her arms and legs freely but couldn’t walk. She opened her eyes and stared at the fire that had been lit on the far side. The fire was like an ally, a fellow prisoner trapped with her in this stone prison. Emily sat up, like an unseen presence had seized her, suddenly a fear had crept into her heart of being deserted. Maybe he had been caught and she would never be found in this maze. She would die alone in this cave, with that fire as company and the rats would watch her die before eating her. As those thoughts darkened her mind, she lay back down accepting whatever fate awaited her. She was tired, maybe de-hydrated or just lonely. Emily was lonelier than she had even been before, she thought of Vincent and her house. She than remembered her shiny friend who had been waiting for her in the cabinet all those years, she thought of the times she had embraced it and wanted to disappear into a world far away. The world she was in now was scarier than any place she had ever imagined. This was a place of cold insanity, a personalized man made hell, borne out of someone’s vengeance, and she was trapped inside. This cave, its darkness and these eerie sounds were part of a world created by a maniac. It felt like she hadn’t entered a place but it was someone’s mind. A thwarted mind, disturbed and derailed, one that only thought about destruction, blocking out daylight and warmth. Emily couldn’t even escape into her sleep, she couldn’t sleep here, not without her pills. Sleeping had always been her way out, an exit into a world where she was left alone with distant memories and jumbled thoughts but now this had also been taken away from her. She couldn’t sleep, and her nightmare wouldn’t end until she did.
Emily opened her eyes and there next to her lay her mother, ‘Mum, is it you’? ’Why did you leave without telling me? Am I really that bad? Was I who took Dad away, was it my fault’? Her mother’s face changed, ‘Thanks Em’, it was actually Kevin! Emily jolted as she woke up, pulling at the rope again and now she was in complete darkness. Her burning friend, who had kept her company had deserted her as well. But someone was there, sitting beside her, ‘I put it out, don’t be scared. The rangers will be looking for us, so that smoke would find a way out of these caves and would be easy to see in the night’. Emily cried, ‘Let me go, please’.
‘So you can leave, and forget my name ….. again’. His harsh voice echoed against the walls of the cave. ‘This town forgot me, and everyone who died in it, people no longer hear our voice. I was a kid when they hunted me in this place, I lived here scared, hungry, cold and alone. While you married the sheriff, and my Ma’am lived happily ever after with her kids. RAISED…… my brother Michael to be a no good coward. I looked out for him, and all of yous. Watching from above. FATHER …….. FATHER’. His voice bellowed through the tunnels, echoing to become a thousand voices. I CAN HEAR YOU FATHER! Put the gun down. I HAVE HIM …………… WE HAVE HIM’! Emily cried, as his sinister words engulfed the darkness around them. He walked away and she heard a thump, as someone cried out in pain. There was someone else there, there was another prisoner.