"If I scream until my throat hurts, will it all go away?

"If I sink a knife into tender flesh, will the pain leave?

"I ask myself these questions…all the time. It is my daily ritual. Lying awake in bed, searching for the answers. I have so much pain, so much bottled up and needing release. I have no reason for the pain, but it's still there." Jake crouched on a dusty wooden box in an old abandoned warehouse, his elbows resting on his knees. His hands were clenched together and supported his chin. Long hair dyed deep blood red fell into his face, hiding his features.

"The pain is the reason I ask myself those questions. I finally found the answer. That's why you are here." Jake jumped off of his perch, his black duster billowing behind him. The effect made it look like he had leathery wings. He walked over to the makeshift operating table, and stopped just a foot away from the man who was gagged and bound to the smooth cold metal. A wicked grin curled itself onto Jake's pale lips.

"Do you want to know the answer, my friend?" The only response he received from the gagged man was a muffled whimper. Jake took this as a yes, and continued.

"There are two parts to my answer. The first part is yes. Yes it will help. Screaming and bleeding and cutting are all the answers. The way of my release." As Jake spoke, he circled around the table, mild enthusiasm seeping into his voice.

"But as I said, that was just the first part. The second part required me to answer a few more questions. You see, I do not like speaking loudly, let alone screaming. I can't stand the sight of my own blood. As for pain, well, I cannot stand any form of physical contact whatsoever, and inflicting pain on myself does not sound enjoyable. So, how can I have my release? How can I hear the screams, see the blood, cut the flesh? I found the answer to these questions as well. Just outside of here, in fact, in the alley." Stopping for a moment beside the table, a look of reminiscence came over Jake's still hidden face. "Just last year, I was walking to this warehouse to contemplate these questions of mine. A man, a mugger, jumped out of the shadows and attacked me. I had with me my switchblade, which I always carry with me for the very reason that I might get attacked. I pulled out the weapon and sliced the mugger's thumb clean away from his hand."

Jake resumed walking, and became deathly silent. His left hand wandered into his jeans pocket, and fiddled with his switchblade. Then he stopped walking again, at the head of the table. He placed each of his hands on opposite sides of the gagged man's head, still holding the switchblade in his left. He just stared straight forward, smiling. The gagged man looked up at Jake with fear, anger, shock, desperation, and any other emotion you could connect to a man that was about to kill you.

"He screamed so loudly, so perfectly. It was so satisfying to feel my blade slice through his flesh. The scent of his blood was…exhilarating. I had to have more. So, as he backed away from me, I lunged at him and brought the blade to his chest. I dragged the tip down, ripping through his shirt and skin. Blood welled on the white fabric. It was a truly beautiful sight. I can remember every detail of his face and emotions as I sliced into him again and again, faster and faster. He was too slow, too weak to compete with me. Finally, I sliced his throat, and let him lay there to die. Miraculously, I did not even get the tiniest bit of blood on me. But I felt so free. I felt so alive and…utterly satisfied in every sense of the word. I had found my release." Jake chuckled and looked down at the gagged man. "Other people's screaming, other people's blood, other people's flesh. These were the real answers. The way for me to have a release. I've done it at least once a month since then. I've never gotten caught, and doubt I ever will. And now, now you are going to be my next release. You should feel special. I don't just choose anyone. I've been watching you for weeks, and it seems that you are perfect for my release." Jake grinned and brought the switchblade to the gagged man's cheek, and drew a line over the flesh. The gagged man whimpered and closed his eyes, tears welling at the corners. He felt a trickle of blood tickle his cheek. His gag soaked up the blood greedily.

"Now…I suppose you'll have some questions for me. It is understandable, and I always let people ask me whatever questions they want. So, go ahead. Oh…" Jake grinned, and brought the switchblade underneath the gag. "I suppose you'll be needing this off to speak, won't you?" With a quick motion, he sliced through the gag, cutting the man's cheek again. The bloody rag fell to the table and the man gasped for breath.

"There you go. Now, go ahead, ask me any question you would like." Jake walked over to a chair he had set up next to the table and sat in it the wrong way, his arms resting on the back of the chair. His head in turn rested on his arms as he looked at the man strapped to the table, waiting for him to speak.

"Are you crazy or something?" The man shouted, staring wide eyed at Jake. Jake simply smiled a moment before answering.

"I've often wondered if I am sane or not. Perhaps I am. Perhaps I'm not. But maybe, I am just imagining all this and in reality, I am sitting dull eyed and lackluster in a little room I can call my own. Therefore, it wouldn't really matter if I did this to you, because you don't exist. Now, ask me another one."

"Who do you think you are?" The man shouted again. Jake sighed to himself, shaking his head. This one was perhaps, a little too loud.

"Perhaps the better questions is 'what do you think you are?' I do not know. I'm not human; I've discovered that much. For I do not need to eat, drink, sleep, or do anything a human does. I am not a demon, or an angel, or any sort of mythological creature I can think of. I just am. I don't even have a childhood. I woke up one day and came into existence. I have found no purpose for my existence. No reason for my being here. But I am all the same. I've met God. He came to me one night. I asked Him why. Why am I? He never answered. He simply smiled and left." Jake sighed and closed his eyes. "I hate God. I hate Him for creating me, and I hate Him for not telling me why." He chuckled and looked at the man again, grinning. "But I know why He created humans. He told me. You want to know? He created humans because He needed some for of entertainment. He made you to be His playthings, His video games, His television. Oh yes, He had fun creating you to be what He thought would amuse Him. But enough about Him. I'll let you ask one more question."

"You're nuts. You know that? You're flippin' nuts. You're going to go to hell."

"Been there, done that, moving on. I've lived more than just this life, you know. And each one is more pathetic than the last. I've been to heaven, where I don't belong. I've been to hell, where I don't belong. And I don't belong here. I just don't belong, but I exist. Now you know the real pain. I grow tired of your talking." Jake stood, his switchblade ready. "It's time for release."