Chapter Nine

I'm trapped inside my own head, and finding that it is a dark and scary place in the middle of a very nasty neighborhood. People think that they can read me like a book, but in reality they are only reading the pages I am willing to show them. I'm spiraling downwards in a maelstrom of despair, and I don't know how to pull myself out of it.

It wasn't meant to be like this.

For two years, Monica and I were happy. No, happy is not the right word. We were much more than happy together. We were in love, and just having each other to speak to every day made the world a much better place than it was for either of us before we met. But now she is gone, and I can't help but wonder if it is somehow my fault. Am I to blame for what happened to her?

I don't believe in God, and unless I see conclusive evidence to the contrary, nothing will change my mind on that particular subject. But karma is different. The idea that if you do good things, then you will only get good things in return is one that I like the sound of. It does, however, have a negative context, in that bad things are also repaid in kind.

And I am guilty of some very bad things.

So maybe that was why she was taken from me. Perhaps it is some sort of karmic payback for me going around killing people before I met her. Is it possible that the only reason I met her, and was allowed to get as close to her as I was, to fall in love, to know that she was the one, the only person that could ever make me truly happy….

Is it possible that the only reason all of that was allowed to happen was so that it would hurt me so much more when she was no longer there?

I don't know. I'd like to think that it is just my mind over analyzing things, as I know that is something that I have been prone to do in the past. I want to believe that I am just looking for something to justify the senselessness of the whole thing, and perhaps even suffering from some sort of guilt for the fact that I am still here, and she is not.

I think I want to blame myself, deep down, for what happened. I need to feel responsible, as if I can't find a way to convince myself that I am the reason she is gone, then it means that I don't have control over my own life, my destiny. And without that control, I have nothing.

Don't get me wrong, our relationship wasn't perfect, not at the start anyway. Monica's father was ultra-protective of her, especially after the fight that got her pulled out of school, and he didn't think she was making a good decision to get involved with me. I wasn't exactly what he had envisioned as the ideal suitor for his daughter, even without him knowing about my homicidal tendencies.

But we won him over, or rather, Monica won him over. More accurately, she made it clear to him that she was going to date me whether he supported her or not, and although she would prefer to have him in her life, she would have no hesitation in never speaking to him again unless he could come to accept the two of us as a couple.

When she put it to him like that, I guess he didn't really have much of a choice.

I passed my exams, and went to college with Monica, where both of us studied journalism. Like all my previous studies, I found it fairly easy, but at least this was something I was actually interested in for once. And being able to spend my days with Monica made it all that much easier.

It turned out I had a natural talent for grasping the nuances of the subject matter, whereas for Monica it was a lot more difficult. So I started tutoring her, helping her with the things that she didn't understand. For a lot of couples, I think this would have caused a rift in the relationship, but for us it just brought us closer together.

She needed help, and I was more than happy to provide it for her. The fact that we loved being in each others company as much as we did just made it so much easier for us both, and we had a strict rule of never spending more than 15 minutes straight working together, after that we had to do something more fun for a little while.

At the start of the second year in college, we moved into an apartment together, and we both knew that this was only going to be the first home we would share together. We were in this for the long haul, totally committed to one another. Then six months ago, on Monica's 18th birthday, I decided that I wanted to take things one step further between us.

And so I proposed.

Now you're probably thinking at this point that she got cold feet and ran away, deciding we were both too young to be making such a commitment to one another. And if that had been the case, I wouldn't be feeling like I do now. I would have understood if she had felt the need, or the urge, to spend some time with other people before making the decision to spend the rest of her life with me. But that wasn't what happened.

The look on her face when I proposed. Man, I have never seen anyone look so happy. I knew, right there and then, that we would spend the rest of our lives together, and I'm sure she saw the same sense of joy reflected in my eyes when she said yes. Even her dad managed to whip up a little enthusiasm for the situation, despite the fact that he still hadn't really accepted me and what I stood for.

He knew that I made his daughter happy though, and regardless of the differences there may have been between the two of us, we were at least both agreed on the fact that Monica was the most important person in the world to us, and we wanted nothing more than to see her happy.

And then, at the moment in my life where I was at my happiest, the world came crashing down around my ears. Am I to blame in some way for this? I want to think that I am, that my earlierdecision to go around taking lives at random was in some way responsible for the life that was most important to me being taken away from me so suddenly. Because the alternative is blind chance, or bad luck, and I believe in luck about as much as I believe in God.

This seems stupid, I know, as it was nothing but blind chance that put each of my victims in the perfect position for me to plunge a knife into them. For every one of my victims, there were so many other options on those train station platforms. And yet, I don't think of it as blind chance for any of those people.

Yes, they could have caught an earlier train, called in sick that day, travelled in a different carriage, or a myriad other things might have happened to prevent them being on that platform at that time. But once they were there on the platform, something more than just luck or chance came into play. That something was me. I was the one that held their lives in my hands, made split second decisions as I walked along the platform, assessing each and every person that I passed, until I chose the one that I wanted to die.

So you see, it wasn't bad luck, or blind chance that killed them, it was me. Which brings me back to karma, and my belief, no, more of a feeling, that what happened to Monica was in some way meant as payback for what I have done in my life, or, more specifically, the lives I have taken.

It was leukemia, in case you were wondering. A particularly nasty strain, more virulent than normal. By the time she was sick enough to go and get herself checked out, it was too late, and all I could do then was sit there, hold her hand, and tell her how much I loved her.

Why is the world so fucking unfair?

She was such a beautiful, kind hearted, intelligent girl, where I am a monster. And yet she is dead, and I am here, left behind to try to pick up the pieces of my life. A life that I am not even sure I want to pick up the pieces of.

Monica has been dead for exactly 27 minutes, and as I sit here besides her, trying to come to terms with the fact that she is really gone, and work out what I am supposed to do now, my mind is completely blank. Her parents were here when she died, and, like me, they are sitting there, on the other side of the bed. They have an expression of numbness on their face that I am sure is reflected in my own, their eyes full of pain and suffering, and yet I can detect relief there as well.

A relief that the aforementioned pain and suffering is finally over for their beautiful daughter.

I share the relief that Monica is now free of anything that can harm her, and yet I feel a rage building inside me. I have felt anger before, but nothing that could prepare me for this terrible thirst for revenge that is welling up inside me.

I try to rationalize my feelings, something that I am usually good at. How can I take revenge on a disease, an illness? I can't, there is no way. I know that it is twisted logic even as the next thought comes into my head, yet I allow myself to begin the journey down a path that I know, deep down, will lead to my own destruction.

How can a world as advanced as ours still have these illnesses? This is the thought that sets the slippery descent in motion. Within a few moments, my normally rational mind has come up with a totally irrational way to seek my revenge. I can't hit back at an illness, but I can try to destroy the world that allows the existence of that illness.

I shakily get to my feet, and lean over the rail of the bed to give Monica, my beloved, one final kiss. Then I turn and walk out of the room, my back becoming straighter with each step that I take. By the time I reach the door, I am, in my mind at least, an indestructible force, ready to go out and wreak havoc in the name of justice.

In my mind, I am already mentally planning the first moves in the private war against the world that I am about to wage. The first thing I have to do is find a store. I need to buy some new knives. Unless my memory is mistaken, there is a train from Edinburgh due to arrive in 45 minutes, and I intend to be there to meet it.