I wrote this a few years back. It is about an internal struggle of a serial killer. Actually, he only killed twice, so he’s not a serial killer yet. I have always been curious about a human mind, about what makes us what we are and this short story is my view into madness.
A short story about a descent into madness!
Again I’m sitting in front of the mirror staring at those cold, threatening eyes. There’s a man in front of me in the mirror, an old friend, yet it seems like I’m staring in the eyes of some ancient ghost, trying to drag me into the darkness of its own eyes and swallow what I call conciseness.
There’s a glass in front of me, and that familiar smell of alcohol fuels the desire to drink. What time is it? I don’t know. I think it’s dark outside. There is always dark in my apartment, even when I have the lights on. I remember when I moved in. The place seemed brighter. Then it grew dark as if the walls drank my madness and transformed it into … well me.
I gaze at the eyes in the mirror again. I look at them every day. They’re hungry. When did I sink so deep within the dark? I cannot see the surface anymore. There’s this self-destructive and sadistic side inside, each trying to gain control. Both locked in a struggle to dominate.
I don’t know what the outcome will be, but they both threaten to devour me, my soul I guess. And they both use alcohol to do it.
»Drink!« I stare at my face, and as always I cannot see myself in the mirror. There is somebody else there.
Drink! Five letter word that could mean the change of balance between life and death. My own of course.
Sometimes I imagine myself standing at the top of the Mount Everest, watching the world beneath me drowning in alcohol. I can never decide which kind and it doesn’t matter. I laugh with sadistic satisfaction as I watch all the people in the world drown like rats.
»You’re insane. Drink!«
I pick up the glass and the golden brown liquid circles on the inside of the glass. It doesn’t taste as good as it looks, yet it fills a part of me that desperately desire it. Maybe I should get some curtains? Something cheerful, to make this shithole I live in look brighter. I know no curtains can do that. My soul, maybe my aura has eaten its way into the walls and somehow transformed space and time of this place. I wonder if those two girls noticed it. Did they saw what I see?
“You’re the only one that can see it. You disgust me. Now drink!”
I like that oily flow of the drink pouring into the glass. There’s something hypnotic about it. There is true self-destruction in it. A part of me knows what I am and is trying to destroy me. Or itself.
»Bravo! A Nobel fucking prize for the shrink of the year.«
I stare at the mirror and watch my features. I am a handsome man if I look at myself from a distance. But as soon as I start to focus on some detail, I can see how ugly I am. The eyes are cold, and there’s a spark of madness in them. I can fake it though. The women always tell me how beautiful my eyes are. How come they cannot see the madness within them?
The reflection grins at me. “Maybe you’re not the only one with suicide tendencies out there.”
“You think they knew?” I ask him.
“Maybe everyone is looking for his or her killer.”
I pour some more scotch down my throat. I love the mix of pain and pleasure the drink makes on the way down. I have to be careful. If I drink too much, I won’t be able to go out.
“It’s just one glass. Drink!”
“Why do you want me to drink? You know who … what I am.”
“Who the fuck are you?” He laughed at me from the mirror.
“I’m the dark angel who runs the destiny of those who meet me …”
He laughs again. “Nothing … That is exactly who … what you are. Maybe an end of destiny. Sure, you have some romantic vision of yourself, but you are nothing. Not even a drunk. Now, pour another.”
When the hell did I finish the first one? I remember drinking two sips, but the glass stood there empty like my soul. There were two blocks of ice melting in it. I grabbed the bottle and poured another, although I didn’t want to. I hate myself when I’m drunk. I’m like Mr. Hyde who changes into a whole other type of a monster when he’s drunk.
»I don’t want to be like this.« I almost scream into the reflection.
“Of course you do, if you wouldn’t, you wouldn’t be like this. Everybody wants to blame something else: God, Satan, whatever. You enjoy it, admit it. You relish in the pain of others, and you enjoy in your pain for feeling like this. You even enjoy when you punish yourself for what you are. You’re a fucking paradox, and you appreciate that too. You enjoy every second of your pathetic little life.
Now it’s my turn to laugh at him. “You’re like a child.”
“Maybe, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. As a child, you believed in things. Now you’re just a pile of bones, waiting for death. Too bad you’re not waiting for your own. Don’t you want to end it?”
“You’re a sick fuck. Especially because you know the difference between right and wrong.”
That’s true, I do. I do it for my pleasure; he’s right about that. I love fear, total domination. I love the moment when life battles with death and that orgasmic feeling when death wins. I would die for that. I just read that a mind still exists inside a dead body. At least for a short time and I can imagine what it would be like, just lying inside your waiting for your consciousness to simply fade away. It makes me smile.
“Then die, for fuck’s sake.”
Again I don’t remember when I finished the second glass. He’s trying to get me drunk. When I’m sober, he’s just a nuisance, when I’m drunk, he could control me … I think.
I admit I couldn’t sleep after the first one. There was excitement, terror, and expectation.
“You said you’ll only do it once. That it was just an experiment. Kind of your Crime and Punishment experiment.” He laughed and again it rattled me how different his laugh was from mine. I am aware that I’m talking to a mirror reflection, though.
“I was plunging into deepest darkest corners of my being. I want to understand the essence of violence.”
“Oh fuck you. You did it because you liked it. There was no other reason, and you know it. At least be honest with yourself.” He had a twisted grin on his face. “Then again, maybe you never actually did it. Maybe your sick brain just projected the images into your head.”
“Maybe.” Honestly, I was afraid of that. The feelings I had when it happened were so overwhelming I’d be crushed if it wasn’t real.
“You don’t like talking about them, do you? They were not important. All that mattered were your feelings. You egotistical, selfish bastard.” He paused for a second. “Will you do it again?” It was a half question, half statement.
“At least you are honest this time. Drink!”
He poured me another one, the son of a bitch.
“You disgust me!” He screamed at me, and I laughed at his face. He’s pushing me. We play this games that can actually be dangerous. I know he’s trying to kill me. I know now, he’s trying to gain control through alcohol, and he’s doing a good job today. I drank three glasses without really realizing that I did.
“Kill you? Of course, I’d like to kill you. You said it yourself that there is something suicidal in the scotch.”
“Yet alcohol killed far more people than I ever could. It’s a weapon and people like weapons.”
“Is that how you absolve yourself? That we are humans and killing is in our nature?”
“Yes,” I believe that this was the first time he agreed with me.
I ran with it. “Evolution gave us a weapon. It gave us violence.” It’s true, that was one of my favorite excuses that I give myself for being what I am. “If we weren’t the most violent monkeys or whatever, we wouldn’t be here. Some other species would have wiped us out. And it’s not my fault that in me violence turned to delight.”
“Of course it is. Who else could you blame?”
“Maybe I had a difficult childhood.” Damn it. I drank my fourth glass, and I forgot who I’m talking to. The son of a bitch is pouring me full glasses of scotch.
He’s laughing again. “The game began, my dear.”
Maybe I do want him to win. Am I subconsciously transferring responsibility to him? Is this bastard in the mirror right?
“Difficult childhood? Yes, you were a sadist since a child, but you could have learned some self-control.
Can you be born evil? Are monsters born or are they made? My parents didn’t beat me. Nobody raped me, and I never felt any fascination about corpses. As far as I remember I always cried when I hurt myself and I’m not sure I lack empathy. Well true empathy sure, but I could imagine their pain and fear. It was because of their fear and pain that I did it. It was that transfer from them to me. It wasn’t quick. I mean with those two girls.
Hm, I wonder if masochism is a desire for the moment when the pain stops. Maybe I should find someone who wants to be tortured.
“You’re deluding yourself again. You do not enjoy in pleasures of another person, no matter how twisted they may be. You enjoy in their suffering. Like in that joke: you would torture a masochist by denying him torture.”
I laughed at that. He was probably right. “Who do you think is the voice in whose head?”
“You mean which one was the first?”
I nodded, which is funny. He knew what I was thinking. But it was also pointless to talk, yet we did anyway.
“Maybe we were both there from the beginning.”
“Maybe. I remember being there from the start. I ripped the legs off of spiders and wings off of flies. I was horrified by what I was doing, yet I couldn’t stop.”
“Wouldn’t stop,” he corrected me.
“I could imagine their pain. I mean if someone would do that to me. Rip my arm off or something like that.”
“Do you know there are people, who amputate their limbs for no physical reason. They don’t feel right with both arms or legs. It’s fascinating.”
“The neighbor lady saw me when I killed the cat.”
“You disgust me.”
I was sent to a psychiatrist, but he found me normal. I read a lot, and I knew what to say to him. I swear I didn’t hate that cat. I loved it … for what it gave to me.
“I’m sure it felt the same about you. You see, it’s all about you.”
“I know that. The whole human race, well except people like me, wants to be loved. Me, I don’t care to be loved.
“Maybe that’s your problem.”
I do know how to love, but don’t care to be loved either. Is that a paradox?
“Well it’s true, you do know how to love. The problem is, your love destroys for the sake of your pleasures.”
“I am a slave to my desires. My studies of death …”
“Will you cut it out? You study nothing. You do what pleases you. But what if someone would do the same to you?”
I thought about that. What if I was a prisoner of some sadistic killer? I’m sure there are plenty of them out there. Maybe he (or she) lurks somewhere in the dark, fighting his own battles with self-control. What if I sat in some dark basement, tied up in a chair. Would I cry, beg? Laugh?
The bottle was nearly empty, and I felt drunk. He laughed and leaned out of the mirror. I pushed my chair from the table and fell back. Luckily I have the wooden floor, so I didn’t crack my head. I slowly got on my feet.
He was grinning. “Come on let’s open another one.”
I didn’t feel like going out anymore. I was drunk enough to let go of the desires. At this point, I was just glad I had someone to talk to. Whatever he is, he’s the only being that understands me.
“The only living being you mean.”
The only thing in the world that knows what I am and I don’t feel ashamed because of it.
“I am sorry, you know. Sorry for them. I know I shouldn’t …”
“You’re drunk, but not drunk enough. Open the vine; it doesn’t matter now.”
“You’re right.” I staggered towards the refrigerator and took out the bottle. I was glad I had it. The plan I made for today was somehow too binding. Now that I changed it, I felt relieved, even though the desire was even stronger when I was drunk.
“You won,” I almost spat the words into the mirror.
“Not yet. When you choke to death on your vomit, then I win.”
“Maybe you’ll be the one that chokes.”
He laughed again. “That’s what – I’m talking about.”
“I know. Fuck’s sake, you’re way too serious. I know what you’re trying to do. You got me drunk. Well done, I’m not going out.”
“You know,” there was sadness in his voice. “I felt sorry for them — only twenty years old. And you’re a smooth fuck. You have money. They fell for you. Who knows what they might have achieved in life; Became mothers had beautiful children.”
Or monsters like myself.
“You didn’t give them a choice. A chance to fuck their children up, like obviously, you were. Maybe one of them would become a mother of a genius who would cure some horrible disease, or bring world peace.”
“Now who’s lying to himself?”
“I’m just saying you never gave them a chance. You didn’t take away just what they were but also what they would be. You could live with your desires. You know you could control it, or at least end it all.”
“What do you have if you don’t have desires, dreams, goals? What are you? Dead, that’s what you are!
“I guess, but do you have to destroy others to fulfill them?”
I tried finding solutions …
“All you found were excuses.”
I have no idea how much I’ve drunk. I think there’s still something in the bottle, but I’m not sure.
They didn’t believe that it is real, that it’s going to happen.
“You’re disgusting. They liked you. They wanted to be with you, even if just for one night. But you took everything from them, love, passion, honor and in the end – life.”
I could see it in their eyes they couldn’t believe even when those beautiful eyes lost the spark of life. I grab the bottle and hurl it into the wall. I looked at the mirror.
“I’ll do it again. Tens, hundreds, thousands. I am a dark angel of all that is evil — the monster that murders and eats souls. I come from ID. I’m a monster that waits under the beds of children, a demon in the closet, silent footsteps in the dark …”
“You’re just a small desk clerk in a crappy hotel.”
I could smell my drunken breath, and it made me sick. I grabbed a glass and threw it in the mirror. I mustn’t drink anymore. If I pass out, he might take control. All he needs are a couple of seconds of control. Log enough to open a window and throw me out.
“I have to do it; otherwise you’ll kill again.”
I stare at the broken pieces of the mirror. I can still see him — that other part of me that rebelled against my nature.
“If you tried harder, they might still be alive.”
“I see the blackness of your soul. I was there, holding you back. But ever since you won … there was no turning back. I had no grip anymore.”
“I was drunk.”
“Not as drunk as you are now.”
I laughed, but I was scared. “Do you think you can stop me? I’m in control. Always have been. Always will be.”
It was his turn to laugh. “If you fall, you’re mine.”
I picked up a piece of glass and raised it to my face.
The blood poured from my fingers, and for a moment I stared at the beautiful red. “You know what? I’m tired.” I could feel my grip slipping. It was like something was ripping apart inside of me. Staring at my death would be nice.
“No,” I screamed. I almost let go. I have a powerful will to live. When I look out of my window, I feel like a child in a toy store.
“That is why I can’t let you do this anymore.”
You’re just a conscience. Would it make you feel any better if I only killed men?”
He laughed. “You really wouldn’t care would you?”
I really wouldn’t. This wasn’t about sex or rape. This was about murder. But men scare me. I feel more comfortable with women.
“You’re also afraid of heights.”
He surprised me with this one. “Is that why you want to throw me out of a window?”
“Let’s call it poetic justice.”
“You know. I’ve been trying to get you drunk too.” He wasn’t surprised by that.
He was an invisible straight jacket. Holding me back but I felt him slithering out of me, like some strange mist, just pouring out of my body. His influence grew weaker each day. He is still strong. I must not underestimate him. And right now I mustn’t fall asleep.
“All I need is one chance.”
“I know what will cheer you up. Let’s do the phonebook thing.” I always wanted to do this. I think I saw it in a movie once.
“Come on; it will be fun.” I looked at the broken mirror straight into his horrified face. “I know you enjoy it, too.”
“No … I don’t.”
Fucking hypocrite, he was there. I felt him there, horrified and he almost vomited, but he didn’t shut out.
“I wanted to stop you.”
“Liar. You’re just like the rest of us. You feel sick to see mutilated bodies and blood, yet like the rest of us, you can’t help but look.”
“I will not argue with you. If you fall asleep, you’re mine.”
“You’re an idiot. You have no idea of how free I am.”
“You’re fucking stupid. This is precisely what makes you a slave.”
“Am I a slave if I want to be a slave?”
He laughed hysterically. “Of course.”
So I’m a slave. Where’s the phone book?
“Please don’t do this.”
At this point I was amazed. He never begged me before. He was always commanding.
The first two were sort of accidental. It just happened, and although it was sexual, I didn’t consider myself as a sexual predator. All I am interested in now was sadism and murder. I look at rape as something beneath me. Well, we each have our styles, I guess.
I picked up a phonebook. I think this for me means a kind of perverse form of denying the existence of God.
“Why don’t you just drink some more!”
I can’t drink anymore. I am a lousy drinker. I can’t drink much, and I get sick fast. And I always hated myself when I’m drunk. I was out of control, and when my psychopathic nature spills out, people get frightened.
I looked at the phonebook. I saw this in a movie once, and there were butterflies in my belly. I was excited, even turned on. I know I’ll stalk my victim for a few days, withholding the pleasure almost until I explode.
I picked a knife and slammed it hard through the cover. I opened the book with the knife, and it was stuck on the letter K.
The other me watched me intensely.
“You’re gonna kill him?”
Sure, why not. I hoped it would be a woman, but maybe it’s time for me to take a man.
“Almost like winning a lotto?”
“Not really.” His voice was sad.
“I don’t know. If he suddenly disappears, he will become the most important person in the world, for the people that are close to him. For the family and friends.”
“Now they take him for granted. When he vanishes, they’ll miss him. His disappearance might give him the only purpose he had in his lifetime.”
“And if he’s some lonely old man, waiting for death, with no one to miss him?”
Everybody has someone that at least knows him. If nothing else, they’ll wonder, and when his corpse is found, maybe someone will shed a tear.
I laughed. “And you think I’m cruel.”
“No, you’re just a sadistic bastard, who wants to clear his conscience with word games.
He still thinks I feel guilt. “That’s why I have you, my dear other me. You feel guilty enough for both of us.”
“And what did you say before? I’m sorry for them. I know I shouldn’t?” He mimicked my voice.
I guess it was a moment of weakness. But I think I did feel sorry for them, about an hour ago. I started laughing. I laughed so hard I puked.
I watched the almost transparent mess with chunks of food in front of me. We’re so disgusting, everything that comes out of us is utterly disgusting.
“You’re wrong. You have no right to judge anyone. There are a lot of beautiful things in the world. A lot of beautiful people.”
“A lot of horrible things, too.”
“There is a lot of love in the world. You and people like you cannot destroy that.”
“Love?” I laughed again. “Love is the most destructive force there is.”
“It can be, yes. But not true love. The one that creates.”
I know he didn’t mean sex. He meant love for life, for creating, for actually living. I love what I am, what I do, yet I know it’s not the same. I’m jealous of him.
“I have no compassion …”
“That’s not true. What you called weakness a minute ago, was compassion. It’s still in there somewhere.”
Maybe. “I do feel bad. Especially for you, my dear other me. How you must suffer as an accomplice?”
“I tried to stop you.”
“Isn’t it interesting that as a conscience, you’re a stranger inside me. I have to think, while you have to speak.”
“You’re an idiot. In my point of view, I’m thinking, and you’re talking.”
Hmph, I never thought about it. I am insane, that’s for sure, but at least I know that I’m insane. He’s right; I am a paradox.
Again I gazed at the name of a man I’m planning to kill. He’s probably sleeping now.
“You’re going to kill him just because the point of the knife stopped at his name?”
Does that seem so unreasonable? Are there any better reasons to kill a man?
“I guess not, but a man will cease to exist, just because you stuck a knife through his name.”
I think the saddest part is that he doesn’t know. He might be asleep; he might be making love to his wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, mistress or whatever. Maybe he dreams about being rich, happy, famous or perhaps he plans, just like me, to rape or kill some innocent soul. He doesn’t know that he just got caught in a storm. He’s going to die and doesn’t have a chance to do anything about it. That’s what I think is sad.
“Are you fucking with me?”
Not really. I’m sad. The world is a dark place. “Look at these walls.” I looked around me. “I don’t remember them being so dark when I moved in?”
“The world is a beautiful place. It’s men like you that makes it dark and horrible. You’ll take a life. You’ve done it before, and their death forever marks people around your victims. There is no sense in murder.”
“For them? No. For me … He’ll give me everything.” It’s what I am.
“You are what you decided to be. Take some fucking responsibility.”
I accept it.
“Then let me take you. I am strong enough. I’ll do it. If I want to, then you must also. Let me save that man’s life.”
“You’re so adorable,” I laughed at his face. “I bet you’re the kind of guy, which parents like.”
“I will not let you out of the room.”
He’s strong. Alcohol made us weak, but he’s angry, and rage gave him extra strength. The left hand moved towards the broken glass on the floor. I don’t remember which one of us broke the mirror, now.
“Could you kill me?” I asked.
“In a heartbeat.”
He’s no better than me then.
“Fucking do it.”
I let go. My left hand was in his complete control. It moved slowly towards my neck. It’s not so easy to kill a man. If nothing else, skin, flesh, and tissues aren’t as soft as they seem.
I felt the cold glass on my neck.
“All I do is pull, and you’ll bleed out.”
He’ll die with me.
“I’m the conscience, remember?”
I remember you being with me. Even with the cat. “Don’t be a fucking pussy and cut it.”
“I’m not like you.”
He was scared. I felt it. For a moment I didn’t know who had control over the arm. I got scared too. I felt a little pain on my neck; he was going to do it.
“Fuck off,” I screamed and got control of the hand again.
He didn’t say anything. This was his chance, and he fucked it up.
I stood up and went to the window. I had no idea what time it was, but it was dark out. There were people in the streets, so I don’t think it’s too late.
For some reason, I remembered the song from Sweeney Todd.
There’s a hole in the world like a great black pit
and the vermin of the world inhabit it
and its morals aren’t worth what a pin can spit.
I like the idea that I’m more than just a murderer. I know I’m not, yet … can’t I have at least that? Fantasy in my head?
“No. If you are what you are, at least be honest with yourself. Don’t pretend to be something more.”
He’s right. I’ll turn around and stop looking out the window. After all, I promised the phonebook.
“You’re not going to do it?”
He still doesn’t understand me. Not anyway. I can’t stop. It’s what I am, what I grew up to be. You cannot turn into a monster and then just switch back.”
“It happened before. People do horrible things in wars yet manage to get out of it.”
They were pushed to do horrible things, me I was born with a monster inside. I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to.
“That is complete bullshit, and you know it. I won’t let you.”
He took me by surprise. I was shocked by his strength. He took over, lifted me and ran with me towards the window.
Just three, four more steps and we reached the window, smashing through it with my head. I managed to jam the arms on the sides, preventing the fall. I managed enough strength to throw myself back then everything went dark.
When I woke up, I laid beneath the window. The son of a bitch still tried to throw me out after I lost consciousness, but wasn’t strong enough.
“I almost made it.”
We lost a lot of blood. I might have to go to the hospital. And him? We’ll continue this dance.
“You disgust me! Drink!”