The sound of her heels echoed through the narrow corridor, the path taking longer than it usually would. Small doors, barely able to fit a child dotted the sides of the walls, holding in them some of the world’s most deranged minds. She could feel the guards patrolling shudder as they walked by, something in the air making their skin crawl. It's the thought, she had long before concluded, of sharing the same breath of the supposed good and bad guys. Almost as if they’d catch the same madness that had possessed these beings to commit the heinous crimes they did. Only if they knew the truth like she did: madness isn’t an infection to be caught, it is a disease that slowly breeds within.
The corridor had finally ended, the words ‘Isolation Unit’ staring back at her. It’s been a long time since she interrogated a criminal alone, something she sought to ensure never happened again after that day. But there she stood, sweaty palms, racing heart, mind a jumble of voices within, and her task lay just behind the heavily fortified door.
The lone light in the room shone upon a mop of black hair, bent across the table in such weariness, stoop in his back pronounced by the bones that seemed to just protrude beneath his skin. At the sound of her footsteps, he lifted his head slowly from the table.
He’s just a kid.
She’d ignored her voice, albeit with a bit of a struggle for she too couldn’t deny the facts staring at her face. His eyes held an innocence that she didn’t want to acknowledge as she sat down on the chair opposite him. They were quiet and a thought flitted her mind.
It is almost as though we are in the jungle, her the predator and him the prey.
She shook her head at that, knowing probably who it came from. The silence encouraged them, so she needed to start talking.
“Hello Evan. I am Agent Keller. How are you feeling today?”
He stared blankly at her, almost as if he couldn’t hear the words.
Maybe he is innocent?
She wanted to scream at the voice to just shut up. “I am sorry about the cold. If you’d like me to, I could get someone to get something warm for you down here.” She looked at him, her eyes silently beckoning him to give her something to work with.
She wouldn’t rise to the jabs, she knew how this worked. She had it under control. She could do her job.
Could you now? How can you when you can’t even silence the voices in your head?
He was quiet, almost eerily so. She wasn’t even sure he was breathing for he barely moved since she got there. She needed him to get talking and soon. Otherwise she’d have to resort to the final measure, and her self restraint was already thin from how long it has been since she had done away with one.
There was really nothing to hold her back as he was sentenced to die and she’d gotten the green light to carry it out if she must. But she wanted him to show her something to prove his innocence or guilt, something to do away with guilt when she takes the information she needs. But his silence was making a hard argument against her patience. Maybe her approach was all wrong. It wasn’t her job to know the truth, simply to find out what he knows. If he was down here, he was guilty. It was simple as that.
Not always though, is it? Isn’t that why you are hesitant?
She wished she could shut them up. Or atleast talk back to them. But it was like a one way channel ever since she discovered the voices in her head weren’t imaginary. They talked and they talked and she had no choice but to listen. It was like a 24/7 radio station, all those evil deeds swirling around her head. She assured herself they were better as voices in her head than hands and feet on the streets. That way their crimes were only a replay in her mind. Their lives and every heinous act just memories in her head, ones she just couldn’t silence. Or so she told herself. But some days she found herself etching to go out at night, her hands twitching in some perverse need to sin, before she roped back in whatever voice had tried to take over her body. But she was just a container, a container who was soon becoming full and in her darkest nightmares, she kept playing the day she would finally lose control and every one of those acts would taint her skin.
“It is such a delightful temptation, isn’t it?”
She almost thought it was one of the voices in her head, but the timbre of it was unlike any she’d heard before. That was when she shook from her reverie and eyed the man before her. His eyes were blank as ever and his lips were still, but the echo of the words from the walls told her they were his.
There was a glint in his eyes now, one she hadn’t caught previously. He nodded towards her, his head tilting slightly towards the ceiling.
“The memories. All that darkness, all of their emotions when they performed those acts, their enjoyment in it. Makes you wonder what drove them, makes you want to find out, your own fingers want to betray you to do them, don’t they?”
For the first time in a long time, she felt a shiver down her spine. Who is this guy? How did- How did he know about the voices in her head? Was he- was he-
“Like you? I suppose you can say I am the closest you will find to someone like you.”
Her heart was racing. Someone who knew her secret. This was bad, this would compromise her whole life if it gets out. Maybe- Maybe she could just for this once-
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, Agent Keller.” His voice was cold, still, as though it had no remorse in it. “Wouldn’t you want to know more about us?”
I sat back in the seat with a deep breath. “Why would I want to do that? I already know what I am.”
He seemed to be laughing at her. “Do you now? You know what you are capable of. Reading minds is a trick as old as time, some would say, you don’t need voices in your head for that one. But you, you are special, aren’t you? You don’t just read them do you?” He leaned forward, and despite the space between them, it felt like his words were crawling on her skin. “You consume them, all those deranged minds that probably gazed this room.” He chuckled, “Your officers were probably too scared to come down here with you, too scared to see the depths of their own depravity, but you and I, we live for the darkness. We thrive in it.”
That’s when I stopped him. “NO! I am nothing like you! I don’t enjoy whatever deranged pleasure it is that you all seem to enjoy!”
He sat straighter, quiet for a while, before he spoke. “So you say,” his words measured, “but your hands are dirty too. You killed an innocent. Her voice is right next to the others talking to you as we speak.”
Don’t listen to him.
He continued, “That’s what you are most afraid of now isn’t it? You’ve had a taste of the blood that wasn’t yours to take and now you want more of it.” The voices in her head agreed. She could feel it in her bones, her fingers etching to replicate some of their memories. Such dark temptations, beckoning her to try and find out just how deliciously pleasurable the wrong thing feels like.
He’s manipulating you. He is inside your head. Push him away. Push them all away.
It felt like a pressure in her head, As though it was overflowing with people. She pushed her mind trying to tune out his words even as he kept speaking.
She had her eyes clenched shut so she didn’t see him writhing in pain, his head in his hands as though he was in pain. When it was over she opened her eyes.
The voices were gone. All but for one.
You did it.