Who am I to deny a dead man his final wishes?
It’s been a year. One year ago, they took me and locked me away in that room a second time. One year ago, they abandoned me there, only opening the door to give me food, water, and pills. For seven months, they left me with my grief and with my demons. It was just me, in that blank white room, with the faceless man and the burning thought.
I spent the first however long afraid, trying to struggle out of the straightjacket they’d put me in, always staying as far away from him as I could. I’d blackout often. Sometimes, I’d wake up free of the jacket. More often, I’d wake up with cuts, bruises, and the occasional broken bone. The staff would always come in, fix my injuries, and strap me in once again. It never ended. I lived in fear: Fear of the monster outside, fear of the monster inside, fear of their never ending war.
During those rare, peaceful moments when the monster outside left and the monster inside remained quiet, I’d cry. Everyone I’d ever loved died. Everything that ever meant a thing to me had been torn away. What was left of my innocent childhood had been tainted by the realization of my parents’ secret lives. My future had been burnt to the ground under the faceless man’s unending gaze. My own mind was not safe from the creeping danger of an idea gone out of control. And everyone I’d ever loved died. At some point I realized there was nothing left of me. Everything I’d ever been, ever was, ever would be was gone. I realized Damien was dead. All that was left was a shell, still existing when everything else had been taken away. Some part of me remembered that my other half had said once. The souls that the monster killed went somewhere else, somewhere terrible. I didn’t know if what he said was true. I didn’t care. I wanted to see the ones I loved again. I needed him to kill me. It had to be him.
The faceless demon came back after my realization. I stepped up to him, unafraid. He simply looked at me. I begged for him to kill me. He simply looked at me. I threw myself against him. He simply looked at me. I tried to summon the monster within. He simply looked at me. We went like this for what felt like forever. He simply looked at me.
And the monster within was gone. I don’t know exactly when. I don’t know exactly how. It was just gone. It may have been when I accepted death. It may have been when I realized that there was nothing left of me. It may have been when I finally gave up on the idea that the monster outside could be beaten. I’m sorry, Alex, but I don’t know how I got rid of it. I don’t know how to save Judith, outside of putting her out of her misery. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
Finally, one day, exhausted from the sweat and the tears, from the crying and shouting, I sat down across from the creature who’d destroyed my life, and thought. It didn’t want to take me. It didn’t want to kill me. It was toying with me. I needed a way to get its attention, to make it want to tear me apart like it did to Ted, to Emily, to Amelia.
A voice whispered in my head. It sounded like my own, but it felt wrong. It whispered, “Kill the worshippers.”
It made sense. I’d found my purpose, and I found my way out. If I killed the monster’s followers, it would have to retaliate. It would have to notice me. It was simply a matter of getting out, and doing what needed to be done.
I mentally prepared myself for what felt like months. One day, out of the blue, my cell opened. Instead of an attendant, Kiera walked through the door. She couldn’t explain at the time, but she’d dreamed months prior that she had to break me out. She wasn’t even sure I was alive at the time, but she dug and she found the records she needed. Kiera is resourceful, Alex. You’d do well to trust her and believe in her. She’s the most valuable ally I’ve ever had. We didn’t work out as a couple. We did as partners. Keep her close. Keep her safe.
We escaped. And you know the rest of the story. He’s watched me this entire time. I’ve killed so many, and still he watches. He watched as I killed each of those seventeen members. You didn’t see him on the night I saved you from the police officer, but he was there. And he’s here now, as I sit in Peter Sullivan’s living room, his body hanging from the ceiling, as I write my final words. His stance has shifted, though. I think he’s nearly ready to take me now. I only have one last thing to do.
I want you to post this on your blog. I want everyone to know my story. He wants them to know too, I think. I’d be dead otherwise. Post this note, and let them know that there is no victory in this. There is only acceptance. He’s beyond us. He’s beyond words, and he’s beyond thoughts. You can only fight for so long.
All you can do is live, so later you can die. And you’ll want to, in the end.
I’m ready now. I’m finally ready. I’m going to see them again soon. Tell them my story, Alex. Tell them my story.
Damien delivered this note to me just minutes ago. As soon as he did, that thing walked out from the shadows. My vision swam. It was like the world distorted around it. It was like the monster was the only thing that was solid, the only thing that was real. And then Damien became solid too. He started to smile. There was a glimmer of light in his eyes. He turned, and stepped towards the faceless man. It opened its arms, and Damien walked into them.
And then they were gone.