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Short Fiction story - Am I insane?

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This is just something I wrote up while travelling to work on the train. It is not based on personal experience, I had a great upbringing and a loving family. Inspired more from stories of serial killers I've been reading/watching recently.  All comments welcome.

 

Am I insane?

Common wisdom says if you can ask the question then you are not, but can the human psyche really be broken down to a single question? Does the other cliché, to repeat a task expecting different results, overcome the fact the task being repeated is to question your sanity?

I looked at the man bound and gagged, firmly taped to a steel chair, and wondered if he knew my state of mind. I could see the terror in his eyes, but also the hellfire that burned there, clear sign of demonic possession. I knew others could not see the demonlight shining through their eyes. Why had God seen fit to grant me this insight but not others? Who could know the mind of God?

My first test subject, a homeless man lured home with the offer of a warm meal and a bed for the night, had convinced me that he was indeed human and not aware of the demon inside. It was an important distinction to make, the knowledge that the demons are influencers and watchers but not in complete control of the body they possess.

This was my third test subject and he was to have a battery of experiments run on him, all designed after extensive online research. Exorcisms take many forms and there was no agreement between religions as to any method being universally effective. I began by removing the test subjects gag, only to be met with a string of babbling. I paused momentarily thinking he may have been talking in tongues, but quickly realised it was only his fear robbing him of coherent speech.

For the next hour I prayed for him, sprinkled him with holy water from a half dozen different churches and laid a dozen different holy books upon his sweat slick skin. Nothing. No unearthly voices, no levitation, not even a flinch when invoking the names of any of the gods. There was only one place to go for answers, I went to refer to the word of God.

 

Mother.

I had been raised in a strict religious home, an upbringing I’m amazed I survived. The first words I remember my mother say was that I was sent as punishment for her lust. I’m sure she would have loved to kill me, but she was worried God would see her avoiding His punishment to her. While she could not end my life that didn’t stop her from making it a misery. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” was a phrase often repeated and she appeared to believe that any hard object to hand was a rod worth using.

My Father had left when I was no more than two. Mother said he had fallen to sin and left to dwell with Satan but having seen her fits of rage I was sure he had fled from Satan, not to him.

I was home schooled and, I hate to admit it, poorly educated about the world we live in. The only time we left home was to go to church or church arranged events. We did travel overseas one time, a pilgrimage to the holy land, but my fear of setting my mother off on one of her constant rages left me unable to enjoy this once in a lifetime trip.

My life changed when Father Thompson took me aside. He knew of the abuse I suffered and wanted to help. He was the first and probably only person I met who showed me kindness. I told him I was weak, both of body and soul. I saw the punishment as sometimes my fault and, at only 14, I was not able to fend for myself. He told me the one rule that changed my life; “Let God direct your life. Refer to the Bible, but let God show you the meaning of His words”.

I had pondered those words for weeks before finally having my eureka moment. Let God lead my reading, just pray for guidance and flick to a random page, then read the words that God had directed me to. It was around midnight at this point, when I first picked up my King James version of the Bible and flicked randomly. “God” I prayed “How is my life to go? What hope is there for me?”

I stopped on Ephesians 5:15 “Be very careful how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil”.

It worked. The words were a message to me alone. Gods message to me to trust Him no matter what and not to be afraid of the opportunities he was going to give me. All doubt left and I knew the question I had to ask “God, what should I do about my mother? Do I flee while too young to look after myself?”

My random verse, Mark 13:12 “And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and the children will rise against their parents and will have them put to death”.

Her body still lays wrapped in the bedsheet I murdered her in.

 

Perhaps you imagine a feeling of justice? Of revenge? That was not the case. Imagine putting a rabid dog down. You do what you must, but you do not celebrate the task. You are glad no one else will be hurt, but you take no pleasure in the kill. I had never smiled in my life and taking the life of my mother failed to tempt one from my cold heart.

You may think I kept the body to gloat or perhaps in some sick sexual fantasy, but it was nothing like that. My retention of the body was purely practical, how was I to dispose of it such that I wouldn’t be implicating myself? I ran through many options in my mind; perhaps buried in the yard? No, the neighbours might see. Maybe cut up and carried somewhere to dump? I couldn’t drive, so it would have to be within walking distance of home and no well-hidden locations came to mind. I had to be careful and was deathly afraid of what would happen if I was found out. Not fear for myself, but because I knew I still had God’s work to complete.

 

Am I insane?

If I was delusional then how would I know? My reality is what I experience, so if it is real to me is that real enough? If my powers were unique in the world then how can I expect anyone to understand my position? When no one can see the truth should you attempt to live a lie to fit in?

Every day the questions buzzed around my head like the bluebottle flies on the corpses in my basement. I needed a clear answer, as the extremes of my position meant I was either saving the world from the devil or killing at his whim.

I needed another test subject, but this time I decided to test a woman. Perhaps my failure to gain any information was due to the males being strong of body and of will. Women were given to sin, being the first cursed by Eve’s fall. It was clear in my mind that this was the right course of action and the feeling of purpose clarified that it was God’s will working through me.

I selected a young girl, pale of skin, hollow of cheek and with the tell-tale demonlight marking her as possessed. She was a prostitute working for little more than her next fix. She was reluctant to travel to my home, but once she had the cash in her hand her objections faded away.

I merely had to wait until her back was turned then proceeded to choke her unconscious. She woke like the others, firmly secured to the chair in my basement but unlike the others sat mutely staring. I was used to the pleading or threatening, but the look of a girl whose soul has already been crushed by life affected me more deeply than anything she could have said.

I left her there and went to converse with God. “God, how should I purge the demon from this girl?”

My finger fell upon Genesis 29:9 “While he was speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess”. I stared at the passage for a long time, but no revelation came to me. She was a shepherdess? The junkie in my basement was something special? The passage gave me no indication of what to do about the demon, but I knew it was my lack of understanding rather than God’s message being incorrect.

I brought a plate of food down to her, her head snapped around at the sound of the door lock disengaging. What I saw stunned me. Her eyes no longer glowed with the fires of hell. I quickly put the plate down and ran to her, staring at her dark brown eyes which only minutes before had been blazing with the demonlight. Cured? But how? I had performed no rituals and taken no steps but clear as day she was no longer possessed.

“How do you feel? Do you feel any different?”

She looked at me in apparent confusion “What?”

“Do you feel any different to when you first arrived here? Clear of mind and soul?”

She took her time replying, perhaps looking for the answer that would please me most “I’m cold and a bit hungry”

She obviously didn’t notice the demon before and hadn’t noticed his departure, but why did he leave?

I untied her and left her to eat, while I started pacing, my mind a whirl. There was a trap here, something that the demon had thought of that I’d missed… then like a bolt of lightning I had it. I couldn’t kill an innocent. She was fully human, so it would be sinful to harm her now and yet she knew my face, my home and the nature of my work. The demon had left a witness.

 

It took me another two days to formulate a plan. I began cashing out my mother’s bank accounts, only using the daily limit from the ATMs and a small amount taken out while doing over the counter purchases. It took a further two weeks to have the money together and my bags packed. I had not decided on a destination but asked the travel agent when the next flight to Europe was. In a few short hours I was boarding a plane to Paris, carrying little more than clothes, cash and my well-thumbed Bible. I would call the police from a pay phone once I touched down, knowing the girl would be fine until then. I was free to head in any direction and hunt demons where ever they may hide.

 

Am I insane?

The news reports certainly say so, but I know they simply can’t see the supernatural war that rages. I am righteous and strong, sanity is subjective.

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I believe your writing shows promise.  As a retired psychiatric social worker I see some bits of different patients thinking.  To them it is logical. My heart went out to some of them when they could not understand why others didn't see it the same way they did.

 

It reminds me somewhat of some of the "Twilight Zone" TV series stories, and Alfred Hitchcock movies which always intrigued me.

 

You may have a gift for this kind of writing, and if you have an interest in pursuing it, I would encourage you to do so.

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