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To Dr. Henriksen

Estimated reading time — 9 minutes

I’m going to have to ask you to take a deep breath. By now, the orderlies have told you that my room is empty and I can only imagine how you reacted to that. The fact is, I’m gone. You can search to the ends of the Earth, turn over every stone and peer into every corner, but you’ll never find me. If you haven’t already, pour yourself a drink from the bottle you hide in the bottom drawer of your desk. Of course I know about it. After a lifetime spent under analysis, you acquire some basic skills in the trade. However, this letter wasn’t written to get you fired by the Board who will most certainly read it (even though there are many “secrets” of yours that would suffice to do so). I’ve decided that I’d let you have a peek into the skull you spent 6 long years trying to crack open. Don’t get me wrong, you’re a real b*****d, and it gives me great pleasure to know that you’ll be driven insane by the fact that I’ve eluded you. But you weren’t like the others. You didn’t try to glaze my eyes and slur my speech with a mouthful of pills, and you only had me restrained when I truly deserved it. I know you saw something in me, and even though the others scorned you and said I was just a lunatic, you persevered (much to my dismay). What I’m about to say will sound crazy, but it’s not as if you’ve never heard the ramblings of a mad man before. The only thing you’ve ever done to earn any respect from me was trying so hard to break my will. You put up a good fight, and though this might not answer all of your questions, here’s your reward.

Try and recall your earliest memory. Go ahead, this letter isn’t going anywhere. How old were you? My best guess would be two or three, right? Anyways, it was probably pretty brief, wasn’t it? Maybe it’s just a few moments, or perhaps several memories glued together by the fabric of whatever goes on in a child’s brain. I’m guessing, for the most part, you don’t remember your own birth. It would be insane to even ask if you recall what the inside of your mother’s womb was like. So why don’t we have those memories, hmm? I’m sure you would say that the early brain isn’t developed enough to process that information yet. But do we really know? Of course not! Everything you think you may know about the brain, regardless of all of the hours you poured into unlocking its mysteries, is essentially nothing compared to what’s left to discover. The truth is, we haven’t got a clue of what we’re truly up against. I’m sure you’re well aware of this fact, it being your life’s work and all.
But I digress. Where were we, your earliest memory, right? So, try to recall what happened between your first memory and your second. Not what physically happened to you, I mean. Like, what you experienced. Something like a slip back into the ether, or what it must feel like to drift in and out of consciousness after a long night in Tijuana. You’ll hear a different answer from everybody, and some just straight out don’t know. But let me tell you something. That empty area, or oblivion if you will, is where you go when you die. I know you’re probably becoming pretty confused by now, so get used to it. We’re talking about the greatest mystery of life itself, and even though I may appear to be informed on the subject, I’ll be blunt with you: I’m as clueless as the next person. What I do have, however, is a perspective that most people will never experience. You see, I’m not a normal individual, or even a normal lunatic for that matter. But more on that later. Believe it or not, I’ve been trying to make a point here.
You might have picked up on the connection between that strange, empty place and the fact that it occurs both in between the earliest memories of your life and after you have ceased to exist. This isn’t to be confused with dreamless sleep, but it is similar. This area, simply put, is where your soul or spirit remains when away from a living body. For some reason or another, I hold one end of a tether between this realm and ours. This is what you spent the better part of a decade trying to find, Dr. Henriksen. It’s also the reason I killed that man in Lillehammer.

My earliest instance of consciousness was inside of a uterus. Even now, as I sit at my desk and write this letter, I can hear a unanimous murmur of “bullshit” from you and your superiors. Go ahead and believe what you will, because I know that’s what it was. Truth be told, it wasn’t much of a memory. If you think about it, there isn’t much to be had for stimuli within the womb. All of the things you would expect to experience: warmth, comfort, weightlessness and an overall feeling of love, well, I didn’t notice them. I mean, I had never experienced anything else, so it was just kind of a feeling of being there, nothing more than realizing the fact that I was alive. The only distinctive thing I remember were two steady pulses, which of course were my mother’s and my own heartbeat. It only lasted about the time it will take you to read this sentence, but it was and still is the defining moment of my life. But even when I was pulled back into the void, I could still sense my mother’s pulse. I had no body to feel it, but my mind was aware of a sort of impression of it.
Fortunately, I don’t remember being born. I’m sure that must have been an unpleasant experience on all levels imaginable. My second memory must have been around the age of one, one and-a-half maybe. This time, my consciousness was pulled back to it’s perch with a stronger feeling of urgency, as if the forces attracting us were becoming more stable. I opened my eyes to a world of sensory overload. You have to understand that the transition from being suspended in amniotic fluid in a world of pure darkness, to an infinitely bigger space filled with lights, sound, smells, emotions and the like, it’s about as huge of a shock that a fresh soul can handle. That feeling of awareness, of being alive was now amplified tenfold. My ears were filled with overly loud, grating noise. My eyes, completely blinded by the ceiling light of what I would eventually learn was my bedroom. I also realized that I had a body. This sensation in particular overwhelmed me completely, and before too long I noticed that this incessant, piercing wail was in fact coming from me. Suddenly the light overhead was darkened, and a woman’s face came into focus. Even though I had never seen her face before, and I had yet no concept of language, I knew this woman above me was my mother. This dawned on me in the most innate and primal way, the same way that I felt her heartbeat even though I was nowhere near.

Throughout my life, I’ve been able to travel back and forth from this area at will. I could always feel my mom’s presence there with me, and the older I got the more distinct the feeling. Eventually, I learned that I could peer into her mind without her knowing. Her emotions, thoughts, and desires were laid out before me to be observed; all the while she thought I was a quiet and neurotic child. By the time I became an adolescent, however, I realized there were others lurking about in the fog. My neighbors, my peers from school, and even the counselor I saw once a week to discuss my “social temperament” were all under my microscope to be examined. There were some that were more accessible to my ability, and others whose mind remained a wall I could not breach (to this day, I still haven’t the slightest on why this occurs).

One day, I made a breakthrough. I must’ve been about 19 at the time, as I was still in the process of turning the small cottage I’d rented in Lillehammer into my home. From the moment my car had pulled into the driveway, I could tell that someone nearby had a mind open for the taking. Luckily enough, it was my equally reclusive next door neighbor. After several nights of leeching off of his thoughts and memories (which came through in vivid clarity), I decided that I wanted to see how deep into his subconscious I could go. On February 15, 1992, I watched the dreams of that man as he slept. I’d always suspected this was possible, given the right subject. Eventually, it dawned on me that I was no longer just a voyeur, but was gradually becoming an active participant. I was having the dream of another person, essentially taking a stroll through the deepest parts of his mind. This was a level of control I had never even imagined, and as exhilarated as I was by my discovery, a nagging question burned at the back of my mind: “What would happen if I woke him up?”

Doctor, I think it’s important that I tell you something before I go on. While I had always considered the possibility that there were others out there like me, I made the assumption that I would be able to detect such a person had I ever encountered one. At this point, I’d never even found evidence that anyone I observed was aware of me doing so, much less looking back into my mind. I now know that the quiet man who lived next door was much more than he appeared to be. There was no way of me realizing it at the time, but I was not an intruder in that man’s subconscious. He was inviting me in.

When I finally decided to wake him, I received the shock of my life. I opened my eyes to the inside of someone else’s bedroom. At first I wondered if it was just a continuation of the dream, but in the same way I realized I had a body at the beginning of my life, it became certain I’d assumed control of my neighbor’s. It dawned on me that my body was still next door, and there was no telling what could’ve happened to it by now. Panic welled up from within, and before I knew it I was running outside. When I reached my cottage, the door was hanging open, my bed empty. The rest of the night was spent searching; my house, my car, back to my neighbor’s house and eventually the entire town of Lillehammer itself, but to no avail. With no other choice, I retired back to my neighbor’s bed, hoping to God I could take my body back through the void.

My hands were tied behind me, as were my legs. I struggled through two broken cheekbones to open my eyes, only to discover a potato sack over my head. The sack was removed hours later by a grief stricken father. From the bandages wrapped around his broken hands, I had a fairly good idea as to what happened to my face.

“This is him,” he stated coldly, “this is the man who killed my brother.”

You know the story from here Dr. Henriksen, at least what you heard from the court proceedings. I was dragged from the barn into a police car, brought to the station and charged with murder. There was nothing I could I say, nothing I could do. Blood from the farmer’s brother covered my shirt, and there were several witnesses who identified me as the attacker. I remained completely silent until I was able to talk to a lawyer, and when I tried to explain what had happened he grew disgusted with me.

“You have two options here. You either plead guilty to second-degree murder, or you can use your rather shoddy background as basis for an insanity plea. The latter will at least give you the possibility of release in the future, but your mind will picked apart by the State.”

He was right. I’ll never be able to forget the time I spent in court as the lawyer detailed psych evaluations I had been given in the past, my former counselor’s giving testimonies on my “mental instability”, and even my mother professing that I “needed help.” In the end, I was charged not only for the murder of the farmer’s brother, but for my neighbor as well, as he had disappeared mysteriously on the same night. With the drop of a mallet I was deemed a threat to society, and was discarded to an institution to be examined by you. Six long years later, and here we are. You’ve tried your damndest to untangle the mess inside of my head, and I’ve tried to rid myself of this ability. We haven’t done very well, have we?

But despite trying my hardest to explain this all to you, there is one thing that remains unresolved. Why did my neighbor do it? I dwelt on this everyday I spent here, and I don’t think I’ve found the answer yet. However, I might have a theory. I believe that man also holds a tether to this realm, and he had let me into his mind for the purpose of getting into mine. I also believe he’s been observing me ever since the incident. While it isn’t definitive proof, there’s been many times when I’ve had the feeling of someone else being inside of my head. I don’t know why he would kill that man, and I’m even more clueless as to why he’s still watching me, but the only way I’ll ever answer these questions is by going out and finding him again.

So, Dr. Henriksen, take this story as you will. I’m sure most will find it nothing more than a psychotic delusion, but I have a feeling that you won’t. Looking back, I’m just glad that I got it out. Don’t waste your time looking for me. We both know that I have what’s inside of your head within my hands.
-Yours truly

Credit To – Will Waddington

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