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"I plead insanity, but beg for imprisonment anyway. I'd rather be free to walk than "free to walk," if you know what I mean. If that makes me crazy, isn't that what I am begging you to believe?" Our protagonist pauses here. It's to be expected this is for dramatic effect. Then he carries on, dipping his next thought in explicit resentment before serving it.
"You don't care, though, do you? No, all you care about it is my reason. My motive. Why did I do it? I don't know. If you could see me now, I'd be shrugging. I'd be smirking." He chuckles.
Then he adds, "You'd be angry."
Somewhere within the dark black a phantasmal voice emerges. It responds to him, meekly, but resolutely, "Surely someone ought to be outraged at your actions every once in a while. You so rarely see the horror of your self on your own."
He waits before responding to the voice. Perhaps he's afraid. Surely, he must be afraid. It was presumed he thought himself to be alone.
Yet, when he responds he seems excited rather than fearful.
“Of course you believe that. Why is it everyone thinks I’m proud of my actions? I suppose I am. I suppose I can recognize the merits of how skilled and conniving a person has to be to achieve what I have. I know I’m abnormal, though. And I understand I’m wicked and how. Tell me, though, why it is that to merely not deny this fact is to, in hand, embrace it?”
The voice crawls through the black emptiness between them, and responds, “To merely not deny this fact is to, in hand, only admit to it. To merely acknowledge this fact, however, does nothing to repent for it.”
Our protagonist nods to himself, unfazed. He chuckles again, though he seems to be unamused. In fact, in most respects he seems bored, and perhaps even disappointed. In some unclear way this voice is letting him down.
“Much to my own chagrin, I have repented in many ways. It’s silly that I thought you were. . .” He trails off, distracted by some sudden new thought. Shortly thereafter he realizes himself, and remembers where he is and where he was. He continues, placidly, “I blame myself for the confusion. Might you tell me who you are?”
The voice responds simply, “I might.”
In this our protagonist finds little humor, but he does his best to humor the voice despite this. He also decides to begin pacing in deliberately stretched strides, counting each step by mouthing the number. He is on step seven when he replies.
“Never mind.” And he quickens his pace.
The voice seemingly has no response to this, which he seems to have expected because he is unperturbed. It is not until step two hundred that he finally speaks again.
“I know I’m insane. I know there’s something wrong with me. Yet, I wouldn’t plead insanity if I could remember what I’ve done. I know it’s bad. I know I did something unforgivable. I just don’t know what I need forgiveness for having done. That’s why I don’t know what my motive was. I won’t admit that.”
The voice doesn’t speak again. Our protagonist either does not realize or does not care, as he continues to talk.
“I know the evil I committed. I know of all I have done up until this point. Some would possibly consider me a vigilante, though. They’d call it a lesser evil even. This was different, whatever it was. It was an act of rage. I can remember that.”
He stops pacing to look up, with a queer expression on his face. Whatever he was feeling at that moment, he shakes off. Then he begins to pace again, but this time chooses not to account for his steps.
Abruptly, he outbursts, “I cannot remember.” He repeats this. “I cannot remember. I cannot remember. I cannot remember.”
Before his pacing was calculated. Now it’s erratic. He’s chasing his mantra of a forgotten deed, aiming to step on the period as it marks his “remember” and introduces his next “I.” He fails more often than he succeeds, but it seems to help him regain composure.
As he begins to wear down, he says the phrase less times a minute in greater regression. Eventually, he silences. He does not still, however. Rather, in that regard he speeds up. He switches from his erratic pacing, to a frantic back-and-forth of sprinting.
Although he does not achieve hyperventilation, his breathing is heavy and rapid. The next thing out of his mouth escapes his lips in a raspy sound.
Only after he voices this does he stop running. He comes to a stop, and he closes his eyes. He deliberates for an unending moment that he struggles to break.
The way he breaks it is with a clumsy motion. For whatever reason his movement, which is noticeably unnatural, is awkward in a way that catches him off guard. It appears he wants to rise despite already standing up, as he lifts his leg and stumbles, shocked at the position he finds himself in. Brushing it off, but clearly somewhere else, he only shakes his head.
If one were to inspect very closely it could be discovered he had been crying, but only then. Otherwise, his pain would go undetected, and people would believe he was never able to see the horror of his self.
He says it one more time, in a faint and weak whisper, “Never mind.” Then he turns on the light.