A/N: This was inspired by Porphyria's Lover by Robert Browning, the text of which can be found here ().

Reflections of a Killer - by The White Lily

Outside, the day is heavily overcast, and a strong westerly wind surges over the countryside, violently ravishing the trees with its tortured song. A tree outside the barred windows crashes persistently against the windowpane, but despite the commotion, two crows squabble over the carcass of a rat. I can only wonder what sort of omen this may be - I saw a similar dispute between two cats on the morning of the day Bridget died. This weather makes me uneasy: despite being 'safely' tucked in the psychiatrist's office, I cannot shake the forbidding feeling I have. Perhaps it is simply because I have been in the asylum for so long that I can no longer simply dismiss that which sane men would, but I think that this is not the case.

I have surely been indelibly changed by my time in the asylum, but not in the sense that I have become deranged. It is not that the institution drove me mad where I wasn't before; it is merely that now I find a great deal of humour in that which I would never have found amusing before. For example, one of the most rewarding practices I have taken up since being imprisoned here is my now deeply ingrained habit of conversing darkly and secretively with myself. The mixture of fear and pity that exudes from passers-by (both staff and visitors) is almost comical; they conceive of themselves as so much more rational than I, and pity my from their lofty peaks, when truly, I know that all of their responses are due to my own manipulation! How I treasure my cynical pleasures!

I must admit it, there is one particular staff member whom I attempt to disconcert far more than any other: the psychiatrist, Natasha. I'm not entirely sure why her reactions mean so much more to me than anyone else's do, although I would guess it is because she reminds me of Bridget. Whatever the reason, whenever I observe the deliciously satisfied way in which Natasha chews her pencil when she thinks she can finally fit me into a category, I delight in giving her the 'wrong' answers to her questions, and cherish the sweet opiate of her confusion.

I see her resemblance to Bridget so clearly now in the way her hair, so scrupulously pinned back, springs free into dark winsome ringlets. Bridget always did have her auburn hair just so, but by the end of her day at work, various exuberant little strands had fallen out of place, giving the fleeting impression of a rather large, but still somewhat fetching ball of fur. Natasha hardly resembles Bridget physically otherwise, but their mannerisms are strikingly similar, and their attitudes are almost identical. Bridget never considered me to be important until the last, although I know that the only way she could ever have been happy was to commit herself unreservedly to me. Now, it seems, Natasha looks upon me as an insect, when I am the very reason for her occupation, and her presence here. Bridget's only flaw was her incurable vanity, but this disfiguring vice ran so deep that it ruthlessly and deleteriously subdued the demands of her heart, replacing them with the rules, regulations and restrictions of public life.

There were many times when I offered Bridget a place by my side, but her vanity stood between her and her happiness, and although her fleeting liaisons with me existed, they were neither consistent nor committed. In her eyes, night after night, I saw that she loved me, but was not strong enough to commit herself to more than ephemeral encounters. One night, however, when I looked into her eyes, I saw something different: I saw that she loved me, that she truly revered me, and would give herself to me as I wished. What else could I do to preserve her perfection but end her life, at the one moment when she was truthful to herself, and had let her heart win over her pride? She wanted me to do it; she could never have sustained her flawlessness for more than a moment, and the wild look in her eyes pleaded me to let the serene death of my knife slip into her heart, to keep her purity static forever in the unchanging grave. Love could do no less.

As my thoughts drift back to what Natasha is saying, I realise that her eyes are frightened again, because of my stony silence, and penetrating glare at the wall. She jumps, discomfited, at the deafening thunderclap signalling the beginning of a torrential downpour and I stare stoically ahead, only half hearing her counsel.

Another thunderclap, and with it comes a realisation; finally I see the hidden message in her endless lectures! I now recognise the underlying plea I see in Natasha's eyes: the seductive supplication underlying her every word, every gesture, every breath, and every breath not taken. I understand the significance of the crows squabbling against the backdrop of the stormy sky. And I perceive the import of the gleaming metal letter opener in the tray on her desk. I know what I must do. On the distant hills, the thunder crashes again, and the uncaring rain runs down the windows.