There’s no shortage of depravity in the world. I’ve killed in a cabin; I’ve killed in a castle. Ive killed in everything in between. I’ve never left a fingerprint, or so much as a broken blade of grass to mark my presence.
I leave my body behind to inhabit the mind of a killer. Every. Single. Night.
Believe me, I would stop if I could. My life is agony.
I remember when I was six or seven, my parents watched the local news every night after dinner. The first night of my problem, the big story was of a missing little girl just my age.
A few years ago I dug around until I found the story. At least, I believe it to be the same story; who can truly differentiate fact from fiction at that tender age?
I seem to remember that evening so clearly: missing, presumed dead in the voice of the newscaster, my parents holding hands on the couch. I woke screaming four times that night. Each time, one or both of my parents rushed to comfort me, smoothing my hair down and whispering platitudes, always a variation on the same theme. She was okay. There was no murder. The murdered girl was alive and well.
They didn’t understand, and I couldn’t explain then that it wasn’t that she was gone, it wasn’t that she was murdered, it wasn’t that I feared the same fate.
It was that, somehow, I had killed her.
I know. It’s delusional. It’s fantastical. It’s absolutely batshit crazy. But it’s the truth.
I wasn’t sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night bent on murder. I wasn’t strategically placing stuffed animals under the comforter on my twin bed to trick my parents into believing I was sleeping soundly. I wasn’t physically going anywhere.
At first it only happened once in a blue moon, and my parents chalked it up to plain old night terrors. Scary, but not unheard of. By the time I reached puberty, it was happening weekly, but I had learned to keep quieter, and they didn’t know it was so bad. I dropped out of college when it became a nightly occurrence, and I killed a classmate.
I talked to a doctor, I talked to a specialist. I talked to a therapist, a counselor, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a neurologist, a yogi, an acupuncturist. Each assigned me his special pill or potion or ritual, and nothing changed. You have to want to get better, they all told me, repeating it over and over until I would have been trapped in an echo chamber of those seven little words, had I not already been trapped in this chamber of misery.
Worst of all, there’s nothing I can do about the murders. I have no control; I merely witness. So seldom do killers look at their own identification while in the midst of a murder, I can’t even identify them to tip off police.
And so I wait. I wait for the night when the victim I see is myself. And I pray that I die with me, instead of traveling forever from serial killer to hitman to child abuser, with no voice to scream.