”Psychosis is raving sincerity.” – Brian Spellman
Jeffrey James Roberts sits, alone in an empty room, except for a small table and a single chair. The window next to him is open, the breeze blowing through the small bungalow by the beach, his hiding place since escaping police custody, after that unpleasant business with Detective Callaway. Birds can be heard chirping in the distance and a pleasant bit of sunshine gives him all the light he needs.
Roberts’ face is bloody, smeared around his mouth and nose. There are several small wounds on his arms and left wrist, souvenirs from one who decided to fight back.
Looking down at the table, he raises a pen and begins to write.
Sometimes on your travels through hell, you meet people that think they are in heaven because of their cleverness and ability to get away with things. Travel past them because they don’t understand who they have become and never will. These people feel justified in their revenge and will never show mercy or forgiveness because they live by comparison. They are the people that don’t care about anyone, other than who is making them feel confident. They don’t understand that their deity is not rejoicing with them because of their actions, rather he is trying to free them from their insecurities, by softening their heart.
They rather put out your light than find their own. They don’t have the ability to see beyond the false sense of happiness they get from destroying others. You know what happiness is and it isn’t this. Don’t see their success as their deliverance. It is a mask of vindication which has no audience, other than their own kind. They have joined countless others that call themselves ‘survivors.’
They believe they are entitled to win because life didn’t go as planned for them. You are not like them. You were not meant to stay in hell and follow their belief system. You were bound for greatness. You were born to help them by leading. Rise up. You were given the gift to see the truth. They will have an army of people that are like them and you are going to feel alone. However, your family stands beside you now. I am your strength and we are as countless as the stars. The world is a lie. It’s time to let go.
A doctor once said to me…
There are several processes which contribute to the psychotic experience: the loss of familiarity with the world, hypothetically associated with noisy information processing; increased novelty detection mediated by the hippocampus; associated alterations of prefrontal cortical processing, which have reliably been associated with impairments in working memory and other executive functions; increased top-down effects of prior beliefs mediated by the frontal cortex that may reflect compensatory efforts to cope with an increasingly complex and unfamiliar world; and finally disinhibition of subcortical dopaminergic neurotransmission, which increases salience attribution to otherwise irrelevant stimuli.
Furthermore, increased noise of chaotic or stress-dependent dopamine firing can reduce the encoding of errors or reward prediction elicited by primary and secondary reinforcers, thus contributing to a subjective focusing of attention on apparently novel and mysterious environmental cues while reducing attention and motivation elicited by common and natural and social stimuli.
These are the clinical words used to describe people like us.
It truly breaks us down to an easily understood academic explanation for why monsters exist.
I remember the last day I felt human.
Alone in my room, wrapped in a blanket, I whimpered and talked aloud to myself, and was considered by others a bright and capable person. It seems that was all gone in an instant. I wondered whether what I was experiencing was some sort of break, the sort that ambushes a person who until then has lived an ordinary life, auguring a new existence full of torment and struggle.
Drugs, they offered me. Just take this little pill.
Typically a psychiatrist can fool a patient by telling him the root of his problem can be fixed with this pill, that support group, and more psychiatry appointments. They don’t tell the patient that the really fucked up people never get better. They mask their diseases by dousing them in heavy narcotics to numb their sickness for years, until the peaceful eternal sleep comes and takes them away.
But I am no fool, dear boy, and neither are you. You know what we are here for. They are closing in on me, so my time as a free man I suspect is soon to be over. I will not resist. They can take me, but they cannot stop my words from continuing my work in my stead.
I believe in you.
You are the sword.
Always, Jeffrey James Roberts.”
Closing his eyes and taking a satisfied deep breath, Roberts folds the paper in half. Opening his eyes, he stuffs the letter into an envelope, then raises it to his lips to seal. He flips it over on the table, where we can see an address in San Francisco, but no name, and no return address.
He stands up, solemnly crossing the room to the screen door of the home, and pushes it open. Bright sunshine shines on his face, and he takes a moment to close his eyes again and breathe in the sea air. He looks left down the row of bungalows on the beachfront, then right toward the corner of a paved road. He approaches a small blue mail receptacle, and stuffs the envelope inside.
Walking back to the front walk of his place, several children pass by, one on a bicycle and the other on a skateboard, and they take notice of his bloody appearance. They don’t stay long, however, the fear growing in their bellies forcing them to flee.
Roberts ignores them both, then walks back up to his front door and pulls the door open again. He steps inside, walks to the middle of the room and sits down, crossing his legs.
He closes his eyes, then hears the sound of approaching police sirens, far more than one, and hears car tires screeching as they round the corner and come to a stop in front of his house. First one, then three more.
“So the time has come…”
Roberts closes his eyes, smiles again, and sways.
”I do not fear the darkness. It fears me.” – Grace Willows
Brian, Eliza dear…
We meet again.
This is simply delicious, is it not. I say that not with irony, my girl. I have no current designs on taking more of your flesh. I have my prize already, you see…
But it’s very, very appropriate.
It seems life enjoys playing cruel pranks on the both of you, for both of you have been put in my path an inordinate amount of times. Brian, this will be the third time we’ve shared a knowing glance across a wrestling ring, won’t it? Three times. How embarrassing… to lose to the same man… three times.
And Eliza, at least you have some spirit. I appreciate your moxy but I don’t think it matters really. It never mattered to me if they fought back or not. Either way, they all die. Either way.
I suppose the two of you could be focused on getting a little revenge.
But vengeance, too, is a waste of time. It can be exacted a hundred times over in one sleepless night. The impulse, the dreaming intention, is human, normal, and you should forgive yourselves. But the raised hand, the actual violent enactment, is cursed. The math says so. There will be no reversion to the status quo ante, no balm, no sweet relief, or none that lasts. Only a next crime. It is said, before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves. Revenge unstitches your life. It is a reversion to constant, visceral fear.
And afraid… yes, that’s what you should be. You should be very afraid. I must admit that the sounds of ligaments torn from bone and joints popping open like someone snapping a twig… reinvigorated me last week. Poor Ivy English. I didn’t even know his name at the time. But he was there. That’s all I needed. So maybe he was sent as a sacrificial lamb, all so that another giant mindless beast could then try his own hand. Clear the way for me, oh herald. Galactus is come.
But fear is a funny thing. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease.
It begins in your mind, always… so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.
Of course I’ll hurt you. Both of you, actually. And yes we will hurt each other. Delightful is it not? For this is the very condition of existence. To become Spring, means accepting the risk of Winter. To become present means accepting the risk of absence.
But you don’t know what it really is, do you? Neither of you. I think Arthur has an inkling. What will put terror into your hearts? The sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs, or when the lights go out and something green and slimy splatters against your arm? The unnatural spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around. It’s when the lights go out and something with claws grabs you by the arm. And the worst of them all, true terror, when you come home and notice everything you own has been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute, when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there’s nothing there.
I’m being as honest with the two of you as I possibly can be. The sinister, the terrible never deceive: the state in which they leave you is always one of enlightenment. And only this condition of vicious insight allows us a full grasp of the world, all things considered, just as a frigid melancholy grants us full possession of ourselves. You may hide from horror only in the heart of horror.
Every human creature is a terror to every other human creature. Human minds are like unknown planets, encountering and colliding. Every one of them contains jagged precipices, splintered rock-peaks, ghastly crevasses, smouldering volcanoes, scorched and scorching deserts, blistering sands, evil dungeons from behind whose barred windows mad and terrible faces peer out.
Every pair of human eyes is a custom-house gate into a completely foreign port; a port whose palaces and sacred shrines represent the terrifying and the menacing as well as the promising and the pleasure-giving. But when once any small group of persons has been together for any reasonable length of time the official warders of these custom-house gates are withdrawn.
Each individual in such a group feels he can wander freely through the purlieus of these other enclosed fortresses. He does not need to move a step. The point is that the gates into the unknown streets no longer bristle with weapons, and are no longer thronged with ‘dreadful faces’ and ‘fiery arms.’
You think you’ve seen monsters, but you haven’t. Not yet. The worst kind of monster is the burrowing kind. The sort that crawls into you and makes a home there. The sort you can’t name, the sort you can’t see. The monster that eats you alive from the inside out.
For that is what has happened here.
I was brought here for a purpose, with the unexpected and unintended result that I have burrowed myself into the fabric of HOW. No matter what is to come, there is no going back now. Not anymore.
When I first won the HoTV Championship, I didn’t understand what it all meant, this new reality, the idea that I could be more than a number on the back of an orange jumpsuit.
But now, now I understand. I know what this is and what I must do. And I will not go easy on the likes of you. You remain in my way. As long as you keep stepping out into the street, I will keep running you down like a fleeing dog.
You both thought you faced me and lived, that you outlived hell.
And now, you will finally learn the most important lesson. That no matter what you wish and hope for, no matter what you do…
Hell outlives everyone.
”When you’re in hell, only a devil can point the way out.” – Joe Abercrombie