Warning: Violence and explicit language.
Voices for the Voiceless
Red. Blue. Red. Blue—that's the sight of fate barreling toward you. Add in a pair of those beautiful, screaming sirens, and you have one hell of a concert. Best of all, the tickets are free.
The clamor vibrates my toes, sends a shiver up my spine, and paints the four corpses in front of me with bright colors. It's a beacon for them, a curtain closing on their journey and steering them to the afterlife. It's only fitting I stay to watch the lingering light leave their eyes. As my grip tightens on my pistol and a tear rolls down my cheek, I wish I could see where it leads.
They feel freedom, but I'm left standing in a living room breathing the carnage wrought by a god. Chest heaving, smothered in blood, I don't try to run when hearing boots of authority pound on the outside patio. Don't try to flee when those red and blue lights bleed in through the windows and crawl up the walls. Lifting one foot to step closer to their bodies is effort enough—for I'm glued to the carpet by their crimson tar.
The door is reduced to splinters, woodchips bouncing off my bare back. They yell for me to get down and put my hands over my head. They tell me if I move they'll shoot—but there's no danger in or outside the body of a naked man. No danger in a gun that's run out of bullets. They converge on me like Pharaoh and the Red Sea, sweeping me off my feet and yanking my arms behind my back.
Cold steel bites my wrists, cutting off my last hope of salvation. The only part of me not covered in evidence—my face—is shoved into the wet carpet.
Taking a deep breath, I smell iron. Sticking out my tongue, I taste death.
And it's fucking liberating.
"Marc, I asked you a question. What do you see?"
Snapping up my head, the world falls back down around me. The sirens fade. The lights vanish. Peeling wallpaper is replaced with white-washed walls: an inescapable labyrinth of tests and handcuffs. The sterile tile reflects my haggard face, casting aside the memory of that blood-red carpet.
I settle my racing heart and still my hands. My fingers ache when I stop clenching and unclenching them. Licking my lips, I still taste death, but I concentrate on the doctor instead. Try as I might, I can't stop seeing their bodies inside his blue eyes. Such a breathtaking view.
Their souls drip from his smile.
From his seat across the metal table, he holds up another inkblot and waits again for an answer. I don't know why he bothers—he's learned by now all I see is blood.
"The sooner you answer me, the sooner we can get this over with," Doctor Goldberg says with a flat voice.
I concentrate, narrowing my eyes on the offensive black dots.
"I see a unicorn." Grinning, I tilt my head.
With a firm jaw, he drops the paper and sighs. Scooting his chair away, he stands and leans over the table with a leery gaze, propping himself up with a hand on either side. I look up and match his stare, lacing my hands in my lap and leaning back. Balancing the chair on its two hind legs, I tempt Doctor Goldberg to tip me over.
Go on. We both know you want to. After all, the whole world fucking does.
Fall with me, doc.
"I'm trying to help you, Marc," he claims. "The state wants to give you life in prison. Trust me, a mental asylum is heaven compared to that hell."
"You want to help a murderer, huh?" I lift a brow. "What would your wife and kids think, doc?"
He doesn't have an answer to that. Sitting back down, he deflates, shoulders slumping. I shouldn't be so hard on the guy. After all, I'm locked in a sound-tight room—and he claims to be my only voice to the outside world.
"Don't talk like that," he says.
"Why not?" I settle my chair and straighten. "Isn't apathy what you want to hear? Or are you afraid, after all these years of dealing with people like me, that it's starting to rub off on you?"
His eyes flash and widen. Looking away, he stares at the wall. A vein on his forehead is barely detectable under his blond bangs, but I see it—no—I feel it thumping to the tempo of my heartbeat. Now he's the one finding it difficult to keep his hands still. Is he imagining wrapping them around my neck?
Let it out, doc. We all have a killer hidden deep in our hearts. Those closest to discovery are the ones most curious of its motives.
Let me out.
C'mon, let me out.
"Why did you do it, Marc?" he asks, voice a barely audible whisper.
"I don't think that question's part of the tests, doc."
"I know that, but I need to understand."
"So you can stop it before it happens to you?" I laugh and run a hand back through my long, blond hair. "It's a bit too late for that, though. And even if I told you, you'd never understand."
Try you? I don't think you know what you're asking me to do, doc, but alright.
I'll try you.
Smirking, my tone changes, tasting each syllable with the hunger of a murderer. "It's like standing at the breaking point, looking down a cliff and wondering if it's high enough to kill you as soon as you hit. Wondering if there's a hell waiting for you on the other side—if you'll just break right on through the fucking dirt and fall in Satan's lap, you know? You wonder if the heat on your back is really the sun, or if it's fire chasing you down an endless rabbit-hole of shit and piss. Sometimes you think you should just stop and face it—because what's the worst that can happen? Pain? Incineration? Death? If anything, it'll give you an escape from the madness and despair."
He lifts a hand. "Marc, I didn't mean to upset—"
I ignore him and continue: "Have you ever wondered which would make more of a mess—shooting yourself in the head or slitting your wrists? Ever weighed which would have the greatest chance of getting the job done? Because no suicide victim, especially if he's desperate enough, wants to be called a drama-queen if it fails. No suicide victim wants to be called a coward when he forgets to save a bullet for himself after killing his entire fucking family. And no one, no one, wants to die naked and alone."
"So is that the reason?" He leans forward, swallowing over a lump, voice quivering. "You killed your wife and three daughters because you didn't want to die alone?"
I sit still and wait for the silence to eat us alive. Wait to see the understanding in his blue eyes—eyes that mirror an identical face. But he stays blank, as clueless and informative as the pile of inkblots sitting between us. Rolling my eyes, I lean back in my chair, balancing again on the hind legs.
Insanity is a balancing act—and it's one he's perfected in his endless studies. One he's dissected to the point of infection.
"No, doc," I tell him. "Don't you get it? Look at your hands. See the blood? Remember the metal pressed against your palm? How it shook with each bullet? The smell of gunpowder? The light leaving Lisa's eyes—you loved her the most out of your daughters, didn't you?"
His forehead wrinkles. We both stop breathing. The thumping of our hearts reaches its peak, so loud I fear the roof will collapse.
"They were going to take them from you, weren't they, doc?" I use my voice as a weapon. "And your wife saw it first. That conniving bitch thought your mind was deteriorating. She was working against you—hell, they were all working against you, doc. And there was only one way to fix it—one way to keep your girls with you, right? Only one way to devour their souls and make them a part of you so they'll never escape. Only one way to not die alone."
"What the hell are you talking about?" His voice drips with panic.
"For being a medical expert, you sure don't have a fucking clue about your own stability, doc." Laughing, the front legs of my chair clash to the floor. "But maybe all those years of study was just so you'd be able to put a name on your own mental problems, yeah? Multiple personality disorder—does that ring a bell, doc? Does any of this shit I'm saying make any fucking sense to you?"
"I… I don't—"
"It was you, Doctor Marc Goldberg. You killed them."
His jaw slackens. "What?"
Standing, I brush the pile of inkblots off the table and lean forward, reaching for him. He cowers away, tries to escape, but I grab his wrist and force him to look.
"Look into my eyes, doc, and tell me: What do you see?"
I've hidden in the shadows far too long. A curtain of his blond hair falls into his face, but he still sees me on the other side. Looking into my eyes, venturing deeper through my stare, he sees what his guilt made him forget. He witnesses what his mind wants him to remember.
"Well, doc? What do you see?"
The floor collapses from underneath us, dropping me back into a past I've tried so hard to forget. The blood, the screams, the mayhem—it doesn't compare to the police sirens threatening to split my skull in half.
I'm yanked from the floor, my stare lingering on Lisa's young face, the eyes now empty and hollow. I crawl into myself, deep down inside myself, seeking sanctity in the identity of another. I create a wall between me and the outside world. Only the red and blue lights can penetrate the shroud. Not even the tempting song of a siren reaches me here.
"Marc Goldberg," says the officer steering me toward the front door, "you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law."
But I have nothing left to say because there's nothing worth saying. The world is numb, dull, and foreign. My body is a cage. The sun burns as I'm lead outside. Squinting my eyes, wondering if I'll catch fire, I'm shoved toward the vehicles lining my driveway. Red and blue lights flash, their subliminal message all too clear.
I did this—
I did this!
'Well, doc?' A laughing voice echoes between my ears. 'You still haven't answered me. What do you see?'
Author's Note: This is for the Review Game's Writing Challenge Contest: December. Don't forget to vote for your favorites!