They told you to sit and wait, someone is coming to talk to you, so you just shrug, there is plenty of time. They say someone, but you know it’s the psychiatrist and the same young man who has a mole on the left side of his chin. He always introduces himself, does he think you forget.
‘My name is Doctor Waterford-Crawley,’ he says when he walks in.
You nod because he is familiar. He remains the same as there is no change in his appearance or demure of disinterest. But then why should he change, after all he is normal. It is you who has to change. In any case, you would recognize him anywhere, you smile, because his mole appears darker.
‘How are you today?’ he says, as if he sees you every day.
‘Just back from Majorca,’ you tell him.
‘Travel a lot then?’ He scoffs at the joke then sits down and opens the folder. In reality it is a tome depicting their version of your life. You know what he is going to say next but you wait because you have plenty of time and when he speaks you’ll pretend it’s a surprise.
‘We are still reviewing the opportunity for early release.’ He pauses and looks at you. You know he is trying to interpret your reaction or a sign of acknowledgment, a response.
You sit motionless at first and then just to please him you smile. You sit up as if this is the first time you have heard the word “release”. You know it is meaningless because you are in for “life” and that means no possible chance of freedom for thirty years. Yet, you know this is a game he replays, since perhaps they need the space for some more deserving inmate. It has only been fifteen years and still they prod for an act of redemption from you and in return this young psychiatrist will torture you with hope.
‘If you confess and show some remorse it could be possible.’
‘Wow,’ you say as if you have never heard that before.

But you know you are innocent, you didn’t kill anyone. You can’t remember being there, but then again they said it was you and at the same time you know it couldn’t possible be true. There was a deep presence, a disassociation from yourself, that had taken control of your mind and you told the police that you were a reluctant observer. Why didn’t they understand the helpless agony you felt watching? You told them you saw “him” kill that poor woman, you told the policeman how you screamed as “he” cut her throat. You told them you loved her. You broke down into hysterical tears and uncontrollable sobbing because you couldn’t bear what “he” did to the little girls. You saw them naked in the bath. Your own innocent daughters, you heard them begging; “No daddy, no daddy”, as their blood splashed in the water. There was nothing you could do but watch and you were the prime witness to what “he” had done.
‘Who?’ They had demanded.
‘Him,’ you had told them, over and over, ‘him’, but they didn’t believe you.

‘I am innocent,’ you tell Dr Waterford-Crawley. ‘We are all innocent in here.’
When you say this you know he will slam the file shut. He will stand and look down at you for a moment before he storms out. But this time he doesn’t, he folds the file shut.
‘Tell me about him.’ He sits back in the chair and absently sucks on the end of his pen.
‘He is pure evil.’
‘Who, the Devil?’
‘The Devil, no, no he’s not evil. He only deals with the sins of pleasure.’ You pucker your lips, you see him flinch and he pulls the pen quickly from his mouth.
‘Everyone is responsible for his own actions,’ he says, and sits forward to flick through the file. ‘There is always a plausible explanation.’ He finds a photograph. ‘She was a very attractive woman.’
‘Do you find her attractive?’ You say and watch for his response.
‘My wife, do you find her attractive?’
‘She was having an affair,’ he states, ‘were you jealous?’ He stares at the woman in the picture and rubs his hand over the hair and face, and then lingers with his fingers over her breasts.
You know that’s not true, an affair would never cross her mind.
‘Are you married?’ You say and stare at him. You feel your heart racing and see that the doctor is not wearing a ring. ‘If you had the chance would you?’
‘Would what?’
‘My wife.’ You form a fist and hold it tight in the closed palm of your hand.
He slides the picture back into the folder, sits back and taps his pen on the desk.
‘Tell me about “him”?’ He smiles at you.
They never believed a word you had said about “him” so why should he go over it again, and again? It’s in the file categorized under psychopathic delusional madness, but there is plenty of time so you decide to try again, perhaps he’ll understand, you have another version.
So you tell the Doctor, pure evil is a residual code embedded within the human DNA and it is a natural function of the human survival response. When the mind perceives a threat, electrical pulses are triggered within the body to release a hormonal discharge, which consequently creates an emotional escalation. The mind amplifies this emotion, it is fear and panic, until eventually evil is released from within the depths of a primeval DNA chain.
You feel intelligent because you have been reading all about this chemical mind in the library.
‘Yes people snap, but afterwards they usually feel guilty and fill with remorse.’ He nibbles the edge of his thumbnail. ‘Understandable, it is a moment of uncontrollable outrage followed by continual regret.’
Yes, you explain, after every incident the mind changes its form and evil becomes predominant. You tell him how the DNA sequence is only a trigger and once the chemicals are mixed in the brain evil expands its growth and takes over. It lives and like a virus it becomes infectious by accelerating the disintegration of the mind and multiplies in evil intensity with the host’s diminishing empathy.
‘So the “he” or “him” should I say is “you” out of control.’ He looks directly into your eyes.
Is he accusing you? You know it isn’t your fault.
‘You can’t control evil.’ You shout at him and tighten the hand around your fist. You jerk you chair back slightly, which attracts the attention of the guard who steps forward next to you and he grabs the chain. You grin.
‘It is embedded in everyone.’ You tell Dr Waterford-Crawley. ‘Control has nothing to do with it.’ You feel calm, you hear “him” laughing, only you know.
‘It’s Ok. Charlie.’ The Doctor tells the guard, and shakes his head. The guard returns to his position by the door. From the folder he slides a picture across the desk. ‘Is this a present from “him”?’
You look at the picture of a fine gold chain with a ruby encased in a gold band.
‘She loved that necklace.’ You say and lower your head.
‘A present from “him”?’
‘Our anniversary, she wore it to the party.’
‘Did she keep the box?’
‘What box?’ You never saw the box it came in.
‘Very expensive.’ he says and rubs his hand over the picture before he replaces it into the folder. ‘Now tell me some more about “him”.’
‘When “he” came she would cry.’ You say and feel tears well up in your eyes. ‘I tried to stop her talking to “him” but “he” kept shouting.’ You pull at the straps on the chair.
He takes out another two pictures and places one face up. It is of the girls in their summer frocks swinging in the park.
‘No. No please.’ Your heart is racing and your tears start to stream, you know what he is going to do next. ‘No please.’ You stare back at him and struggle against the restraints.
Then he flicks over the second picture showing the bloody little bodies in the bath floating in the mixture of diluted blood. Their small round faces ripped, torn, slashed and the gouged eyes floating, they seem to stare with accusations, but you only see them plead, “no daddy, no daddy”. Their beautiful blue eyes that once would greet you when you came home from work, eyes that were so full of joy.
‘You bastard.’ You scream, and close your eyes, you gasp for air and thrash about pulling against the chain attached to your seat.
He returns the pictures into the folder, you see him hesitating slightly as he rubs his fingers over the hair of the girls.
‘I see,’ he says, ‘Would you like to get out of here and go home.’
He says nothing. He waits for you to give him a reason. It is the same reason from last time but you have improved it, it’s much better.
He eventually speaks. ‘You know if only you took responsibility, accepted and regretted what you’ve done -.’
‘What! Of course I regret what happened.’ You interrupt and shout. You stare at him.
‘Then I would recommend a course of psychotherapy.’
‘I’m a psycho, is that what you think?’ You snigger at the suggestion.
‘A psychologist will work with you to get rid of “him”.’ He taps his pen on the folder.
But you know you are being responsible by remaining in the hospital as they call it and so you are keeping “him” locked up. The world is safe from “him” and you know it is up to you to keep the world safe by destroying this evil presence piece by piece.
‘What about “him”?’ You point at the folder. ‘Oh Never. You can never be rid of evil.’
‘I think we can if you let us try.’ The doctor scoffs then smiles. ‘We can help.’
You guess that this Dr Waterford-Crawley is mad and definitively delusional in his ideas. You tell him that Evil is the most natural human trait in the world, every day it stalks you, talks to you and taunts you. The results are on the daily news showing an army of infected souls spreading hatred and death. You feel calm and happy as something inside your brain crackles.
‘What do you suggest?’ He crosses his arms and sits back. ‘We could try hypnosis to stand up against “him”.’
You warn the doctor not to look too deep into your eyes least “he” escapes, you see it isn’t you he’ll see behind your stare, no it’s “him” looking out. Careful you tell him if “he” detects a slight sense of sympathy or a gently thought of pity, “he” will grasp at the weakness. “He” will inhabit your mind and take control. You explain it’s “his” way of escaping and of running wild once more. No “he” can’t be stopped unless you are burned alive.
‘Could you burn me alive?’ you say. ‘No because you don’t understand and I might be innocent, yea we are all innocent in here.’
You continue, you accept the burden of evil and want to be free. Can the doctor accept the responsibility to stop this evil now and crucify you, burn you? You know if you burn you will be cleansed as the evil turns to ashes and to dust. Yes you know there will be no resurrection and your sacrifice will put an end to the recurring evil that stalks our souls.
He stares directly at you. You had warned him and glare back into the Doctor’s eyes. It is then you feel a calm sensation wash over you, a release of evil leaving you, during this moment of intense silence.
The guard at the door coughs, he shuffles about awkwardly aware of the impasse.
Dr Waterford-Crawley stands up, grabs the folder from the desk, and stomps out.

Dr Waterford-Crawley put his briefcase down beside the small table in the hall and walked into the kitchen. He stroked his wife’s hair and face.
‘How did it go today?’ Mary took hold of his hands.
‘Pointless, utterly pointless.’ He looked at the leftovers on the plates by the sink. ‘Where are the girls?’
‘I’ve sent them upstairs to get ready for their bath.’
‘Ok,’ he said, ‘I’ll go and check on them.’
‘No’ she snapped. ‘John, they’re fine really,’ she lowered her voice. ‘Have your dinner first.’ She took the plate from the oven. ‘I’ll bathe the girls while you eat.’
He picked up the butcher’s knife from the table.
‘Here’s your dinner John,’ Mary said and put the plate of food on the table. ‘You can read to them in their beds, later.’
John placed the knife into the sink and sat at the table. He stared at Mary’s back as she left the kitchen, a tear dropped onto the table. With one swipe with his arm he sent the plate across the room and it crashed against the door, and the broken pieces of porcelain and food splattered across the floor.

4 responses to “Innocent

  1. I remembered this one as I started reading it James – very unsettling piece and the unusual aspect of involving the reader through the use of “you” heightens the sense of unease for the reader. You feel like you are collaborating in this episode which adds a voyeuristic feel to it that makes the reader uncomfortable – perfect for this kind of dark subject matter.

    Interesting read – was going to have an afternoon nap but I might stay awake now!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it is where the reader is taken into the confidence of the unreliable narrator and inviting you to agree and take his side. He was not responsible for his actions, you understand, don’t you, of course you do….

      Thanks for taking time out to read this..

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A very unsettling piece. I have never used this POV I must give it a go sometime but you have handled it well here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am not sure if this could be used throughout a novel, it might get a bit tiresome to read. However, if you had an unhinged character it might be possible to have a short chapters of one – two pages. These being interjected at the appropriate stages of the story giving the thoughts of the unstable evil villain type.

      James Oswald used a similar technique in his book “Prayer for the Dead”, where he uses a first person narrative for the villain. The chapters are very short and keep the reader guessing. However, it also means the reader knows more of what is going on than Inspector McLean.(Police procedural genre)

      Just an idea.


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