Estimated reading time — 12 minutes
Dear Person of Interest,
You most likely do not know me, but I on the other hand, know you too well. It has come to my understanding that you are of a very dangerous type of individual. I know that you spend the faceless part of your life, taking the lives of others. Now, before you become alarmed, I assure you I have no intentions of prosecuting you for what you are and what you have done. In fact, I find your hidden craft more or less beautiful, for it is the mind of the unstable that thrills my line of research. I invite you to join me for a little social experiment of sorts. All I want is to delve into the minds of the wicked and make some sense of these senseless acts. Thank you for your participation and I cannot wait to work with you.
Sincerely, Dr. Joseph Connors
One does not expect to walk into a room filled with murderers. It brings me great curiosity as to where this idea first came into being. The work of a psychiatrist is found as professional and done in neat, organized methods. I did not plan to be interviewing madmen in an underground operation while I was at medical school, but I must take the risk in order to pursue a breakthrough in mental health science. My work is not always clean, for my hands have been slightly dirtied with the types I associate with. How I came into contact with these people is something no one needs to know. What should be brought to your attention however is that my unorthodox methods are strictly for scientific purposes, and of course the financial benefit of being the first man to ever reveal the deep inner workings of an American serial killer. This process demanded a lot of time and care. There is no way to get results by posting a Craig’s List add looking for a group of people who are all wanted for homicide. Every step must be thought ahead, just like in a ruthless game of chess. I needed to be cautious in dealing with this unstable element known as the human mind. My intentions were to help them mend their tainted lives and in doing so hope to boost my personal success.
The timing was excellent. Have a little chat with America’s most frowned upon and be back home before my fiancé, Carmen, suspects that I am not at my office, but am instead in an empty warehouse with the criminally insane. She had a reason to distrust me, but I was not about to fill her in on such a dark corner of my life. She meant the world to me, and she deserved all the best I could offer. That is partially why I carried on this secret life of night therapist. The public exploitation of personal motivations does not come cheap, and a life of wealth and minor fame is the best I can give my soon- to- be wife.
You would have expected my new patients to be horrific and unjust, but in reality, they came from the same walks of life as anyone else. But still, my imagination got the best of my courage and the first thoughts of backing down overwhelmed me. As I approached the doors to the abandoned warehouse not only butterflies, but wasps could be felt in the pit of my stomach, beating their wings throughout my sternum as my nerves worsened. What if I had walked into a room filled with savages who want nothing more than to watch as the remainder of my miserable life spilled onto the floor? The only order of business left unsettled would be: who will kill me first? The metal door swung itself open and my questions became the answers I sought after.
Placed about the room were five foldable chairs, forming a sort of ring. The nightly brush of cold clawed its freezing nails against my body. My pulsating veins hammered away at my flesh as the blood flowed relentlessly underneath my wretched skin. The dim light of candles gave me a sickly ambiance as my eyes came into contact with four other pairs staring back at me. These eyes gave no emotion, but as I observed closer, the faces were made apparent. Four masses now filled the small space, and maintained a distance of feelings. As far as I was concerned I was looked at strange yet humane people. People you only meet in a rare lifetime. I set my briefcase upon the floor, took the last vacant chair and smiled at my acquaintances.
Someone had to say something, something to break the ice and start us off. I suppose the best candidate would be me, seeing as I set this journey in motion. “Why don’t we start with our names and…” what else am I supposed to say, “…and your preferred method of murder?” I had to say something and in desperation I just killed the white elephant in the room. The rest of the congregation looked awkward, seeing as no one had ever so blatantly discussed the darkest crevasses of their worlds. The silence was concluded with a nod of confirmation and we began in a clockwise direction.
To my left was a man with sleek jet-black hair that fell into his face. His skin was sunken in and resembled more of a corpse then a living organism. His expression was aggressive and his brow was almost stuck in a cringe. His voice was harsh when he spoke, “My name is Maxwell. I haven’t been called that in a while, but that’s my name.” He stood firm and stiff with his arms crossed against his grey tank top. At this time I noticed a tattoo on his shoulder, which was a snake winding through the open mouth of a cracked skull. He startled me when he spoke again, “I have killed seven people, the past four times I have locked them in my basement and let them die away.” Ok, we were making progress although I needed to keep it moving along. “That’s very good,” I said trying to be enthusiastic.
I looked to the next person to the right of the circle. She was a middle aged woman who emanated a constant feeling of sadness. Her greyed gown left only her head as the little bit of visible flesh. Her hair was withered down and absent of any remarkable color. “Hello, my name is Mrs. Victoria Grahame. I can’t honestly say I prefer a method of murder but, each time for me has been the same. I have a nasty habit of… poisoning people and watching as the life is choked out of them.” She dropped her head, it seems as if this is the first time she has ever spoken to anybody let alone having a conversation of this kind. Once again it was the silence that propelled me to speak up, “How wonderful. I think we are really making progress tonight.” With that we all turned to the figure sitting across from me.
It had taken me until this time to notice how unique this one looked. His eyes were coated in thick black makeup that ran down his face as if bleeding from his eyes. Barely hanging from his limbs were the torn remains of what was once a classy outfit. His button down shirt and vest had been drenched in mud. His hair was the most remarkable feature. I could not count each of the colors dyed into his roots. Red, purple, green and yellow are all streaked through his once blonde strands of wavy hair. By far he was the most energetic and laughed at himself as he spoke, “I am Nicolai. I kill people in many ways. My personal favorite is to cut out their heart under sacrificial circumstances. They bleed out so very quickly. Ha!” I was utterly astonished at this individual, so creative and so very interesting.
Keeping up this rhythm, I turned to the final person seating to my left within the circle. He looked up shaking and trembling his arms and head, but then turned away quickly as if afraid. He was wearing a brown turtle neck and a pair of blue jeans. He rubbed his hands together anxiously. From in his pocket he took out a pen and notepad and scribbled something down as if his life depended on it. He hands it over to me, the content I read out loud. First it said the name Bradley and second it said: study the people, know their life and then kill them. Very well not the most descriptive man I know. I figured we could work on that later.
I began to explain my intentions and personal goals to be accomplished within the time we had together. They did not comment, yet I could tell that they understood what I was meaning to say. We carried out our business in a surprisingly well fashioned formation. They responded well and showed so much potential. I needed to keep them engaged, however. I did not want to lose their attention so early on. I asked another set of questions. Who they were, what they do and where they came from. This was so very generic, so very boring when you get right down to it. It was necessary I know more about the internal taboo that each of them possessed. “If you could, tell me about your most memorable homicide.” With this I wanted to get them thinking, get it personal. They each replied shockingly well, very simple answers to such a deep question. Maxwell went first: “This house wife, I did not know her. But she seemed so perfect. She married rich, so life came just peachy for her. She had kids I believe, three of them, and a husband, but I didn’t care. I knew she would be a great victim of mine.” This was all said with no remorse, no sympathy. He is truly a man with no regard for the value of human life.
Next was Victoria who smiled for the first time. “He was this politician. Such a high and mighty man of society, I felt it my personal responsibility to bring down the ignorance he spewed from his words. So with detailed preparation I poisoned his coffee before his big reelection speech. I sat in the audience and watched him choke and gag every vile fluid from within him.” Suddenly I felt excited with how real and authentic these people were and how much their deeds signified.
I looked to the almost raccoon looking eyes of Nicolai. He could hardly talk between his laughter. “I killed a police officer. He was as much a pig as a human being. He abused the law for his own sick amusement. It was more like putting down a sick animal then a person. I took his unconscious mass to an old crypt. He was strapped down to a tomb when I cut him first. He was too lifeless to make any noise when his heart was beating out of his chest.” I tried hard not become nauseated with this comment. I kept myself together, because I was here to learn from, not be squeamish, about these horror stories.
Bradley wrote from his journal again. For the entirety of the meeting no one had heard him speak more than a word or two. The note handed to me was paraphrased from real sentences so; I tried to piece it together as I read to the others. “Beautiful young girl, she worked for a company. A mortgage, I remember. I followed her home one night. She was walking from the gym like every night. I caught her and killed her in the park.” I looked to him and smiled. He faintly replied with a smirk. Tonight was a good night.
Like all things in this world our meeting came to an end. Within one simple gathering I have a feeling of total connection and safety with these patients of mine. As insane as it sounds looking back, I was glad to say they were a part of my life. We each adjourned with the simple promise to return tomorrow night and continue our vibrant discussions. Home now in my bed, sitting next to the love of my life, I could not wait for tomorrow.
The images of the mind’s eye are known to haunt the lives of those who dream them. The fragments of our peculiar imagination dwells within our hearts, so in what way am I disturbed tonight? What has conjured the dreadful beast that scars my petty soul? My body is weak as fear provokes me, as terror submerges me and as nightmares become seemingly real.
Shuddering as I awoke, the brightening sun illuminated my bedroom. Within my daze I crawled out from my covers. Carmen had already woken out of her sleep and by the smell of it, making breakfast. My head began to ache as my body lurched down the stairs. I cleared my eyes one last time and I was met with the smile of my future bride. I clumsily smiled back as if a school boy. She laughed and continued about her morning routine. “So, how did you sleep last night?” she asks. The words echo through the corners of my brain. I reply, “Good,” gritting my teeth from the painful lie. “I have been meaning to talk to you about the wedding,” she continues, “It is coming up you know, and we haven’t had much chance to discuss, with you being so busy and all.” I looked blank and expressionless as I prepared myself, for it was normal me who asked all of the questions. “Sure sweet heart, what should we talk about first?” I took a seat at the kitchen table while she performed her craft amongst the dishes and pans. “I need to know who you are inviting, so I can get invitations out accordingly.” Seeing as I have hardly made a friend in my life, I just told her my mother and father is all I wished to attend.
“What about your family?” I asked. I felt slightly puzzled because when I came to think of it, I had never once heard about her family nor have I ever met them. She looked troubled but keeps herself firm. “Honey,” she goes on, thinking of the best way to put this, “my family is… dead. I haven’t told you because I… didn’t think it much of an appropriate conversation at the time.” I am in a confused awe. Why had I not known this before now? I searched my thoughts for the correct words yet I feel as though I have failed to find a perfect response. “How did they die?” this I said and another white elephant dead on the ground with a stupid remark. She looked emotional but I could see that she was strong and had long made some form of peace with this situation. “They were all killed or… murdered I should say. All on different occasions.” She now seemed fully prepared to handle this conversation. “I had a mother, a father, a brother and a sister all of them are dead due to homicide.’’ I fished for another question. “What did they do in life?” I asked. “My father was a politician, my mother kept up the house, my brother was a cop and my sister worked for the mortgage company.”
I needed answers. There is no possible way this added up. I just now came into contact with four serial killers all proclaiming the murders of my fiancé’s family. I am behind the wheel of my car, not paying any attention to the road, but on the fact that I associate myself with potential maniacs. Sweating and breathing heavily I realize that tonight is going to be one hell of a group discussion.
It’s 9:00 p.m. I am still seated in the driver’s seat of my car. I am parked right outside my destination, the warehouse. I stared at it coldly mesmerizing myself in its wickedness. It is time. I stepped out onto the gravel and marched myself towards that big steel door. I honestly had no idea what to expect but I knew it is going to be far from a pretty sight. The door swung open leading me into the solemn room. That one glowing candle made its mark upon the floor, and encircling this one candle were five empty chairs. My pace quickened and my heart beat increased. I reached the circle but found a complete absence of everything from the night before. Everything except a hand gun and a letter addressed to a one Dr. Joseph Connors was found bestowed upon my former chair. I split open the envelope and unfolded the letter for me to read. It was in Bradley’s handwriting and it read: Home is where the heart is Doctor, so you better go and save her. Ha. Ha. Ha.
Back in my car, driving faster than I was meant to be going, the gun in my lap and the letter clenched tightly in my whitening knuckles, I needed to make things right. “I swear to God if they hurt her…” I needed to stay calm, even in a time like this. Even faster than I expected, I was pulling into the drive way of my humble abode. “Carmen!” I shouted praying for any response. I crack open the front door and stormed inside. The lights were dim and flickering from a power surge of some kind. I travel towards the kitchen and discover another letter placed upon the counter. Much like the first it was from Bradley and it read: She is in a safe place, Dr. Connors, but I implore you to think ahead and mind your actions. I took the paper, crumpled it and threw towards my feet. It was dead silent as I began to sob. The gun was still placed well in my grasp. I stood still and listened. From behind me I heard the floor boards creak and the faint whisper of, “Honey what’s…?” I turned around and through a natural impulse of anxiety… Bang! The mass of darkness before me fell to the ground, a pool of blood crept from its shadows. I dropped the gun and rushed to the freshly slain corpse. With a closer look I recognized the face. My heart sank to the lowest possible level and I screamed in horror. She laid there with a wound through her chest; home really is where the heart is seeing as hers was now splattered against the wall. Carmen, my dear sweet Carmen… she is dead.
Where else could I go? What else could I do? I was now wanted for murder, the murder of my precious soon- to- be wife. I had to flee the scene of the crime, my crime. I was exploding down the highway, looking for a sanctuary to wash my bloody hands. There was but one place I could think to go. The metal door swung itself open and my questions became the answers I sought after. Placed about the room were five foldable chairs, forming a sort of ring. The nightly brush of cold clawed its freezing nails against my body. My pulsating veins hammered away at my flesh as the blood flowed relentlessly underneath my wretched skin. The dim light of candles gave me a sickly ambiance as my eyes came into contact with four other pairs staring back at me. These eyes gave no emotion, but as I observed closer, the faces were made apparent. Four masses now filled the small space, and maintained a distance of feelings. As far as I was concerned I was looked at strange yet humane people. People you only meet in a rare lifetime. I set my hand gun upon the floor, took the last vacant chair and smiled at my acquaintances. This time it was five patients seeking a refuge from a troubled past. No longer was I their doctor, but an equal of sorts. I became the same breed as them. We now formed a group of individuals that shared the same title of vicious killer. In agreement we all nodded our heads and began our next session. The circle was complete once again.
Credit To: Pierce Matthew Morrow