Covering his ears with the palms of his hands, he tires after writing for hours; he looks at the pile of papers on his desk, throws his pen aside, and walks toward his bed. The roaring wind rattles the window panes. He gets up by supporting his hurting back with two hands thinking that autumn is not his favorite season.
A voice echoed in his little room. He peers through the window into the darkness and sees nothing but his own reflection. “Is anyone there?” No response but the tree branches scratching the gutters and window and the loud hissing noise of the storm. He hears the voice again as he steps towards his bed.
“Where?” he asks, wheezing. “I don’t see anyone here.”
“You wrote me, therefore I am. I do sound like a philosopher, don’t I?”
The writer looks at the clock on the wall. It is three hours past midnight. Puzzled, he runs his fingers through his hair, “I must get more sleep.” He chuckles as he sits on the bed.
“You’ve not lost your sanity, I’m Jacob.”
“You know who. You know me better than I know myself. We’ve kinship unlike others.”
The man desperately pleads, “Where the hell are you?”
“Don’t pretend you don’t know me and don’t hurt my feelings by ignoring someone who has done so much for you. How many lives should I take to prove my allegiance to you?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You fantasize a plot and I carry it out flawlessly. This is the most profound and lasting relationships of all. We’re blood buddies.”
“I must be going berserk. Only a lunatic argues with the character of his own book, let alone, with the most demented one of all.”
“I need your help to escape this time, something is not right. Get rid of me somehow, forever I mean, I’m worried.”
“Your future will be as it was in previous stories. You’ll vanish without a trace. You’ll live. You’ll live in the hearts and minds of my readers, in the darkest labyrinth of their souls.”
“I used to do it with no fear, no mercy and no remorse. I had no hate. I did it just for the pleasure of doing it but something changed in me.”
“You haven’t changed at all.”
“Do you remember the old couple I whacked for less than a hundred dollars I found in their apartment? Money, I didn’t even need. My only enjoyment was to see them suffer, to see them beg for their lives. But something has changed in me, I can’t explain it. Now my hands shake. This is a bad sign. If I get caught, I won’t have any excuse.”
“That’s why you won’t get caught. That’s the beauty of you. If you kill for a cause, you’ll leave a trace and eventually get caught. The idea is not to have a reason. That’s how you survive. Be terrified of having fear. Don’t you see? You are as innocent as your victims. That’s how I created you. That’s the genius of you. No one can ever understand you, but everyone somehow relates to you. That’s who you are, the darker side of everyone else.”
“I am too real.”
“Yes you are, too real and too authentic.”
“No one understands me: no one knows what I stand for.”
“You stand for nothing, nothing at all yet people are scared of you because they’re you, and you’re them. That’s the part they don’t understand. But I do. You suffer from a pain down deep in our soul. From a disease that more or less everyone has but constantly denies. That's why readers admire you and don’t know why. You’re their uncontrollable urge of all human beings. If you were normal, police would have captured you by now. There must be no pattern in your work, no logic. All of your cases are still open in four states because you are unique. But that’s not the end of it yet. You will live forever. Your future works will mesmerize everyone.”
“But I’m losing my touch, I get emotional. Last time I was terrified seeing blood on my hands. I’m becoming fucking normal. I am scared.”
“I have to go to sleep now but don’t you worry, as long as you’re who you are, you’ll do just fine.”
“I’ m only in your fantasies, what you write comes true.”
“You’re as real as life itself. I gave you meaning, a purpose and a mission; that is art of writing; you are an anti-hero and you will live. But now, I wish I’ve given you a little more common sense. Leave me alone.”
He collapse on the bed and shuts his eyes.
“Remember Julia? Julia who was found dead in the woods three years ago? The same innocent waitress who worked in the Red Castle restaurant? Do you remember the day I ordered a hamburger and told her that her innocence would get her in trouble one day? Guess how many cuts she had on her face when they found her? Everything that happened to her was exactly as you wrote it. Police had no trace of the killer and no clue of his motive, but you and I know exactly what happened,” the voice says.
The writer hides his face in the pillow not hear Jacob.
“Two months later you wrote about Carlos. The FBI is still baffled why a heavy weight boxing champion did not defend himself. His hands were free at the time of murder. No marks of any kind were found on his wrists. It looked like he cooperated with the killer! The shocking news of his mysterious murder was in the papers for months all across the country. His horrific death hunted everyone in New York; no one was safe in the city anymore. Finally, a year later, it was announced that cops had captured a suspect and as he tried to escape, he was shot dead. That was the best they could do to put people’s mind at ease. What a big lie. But, we know what really happened.
“Why are you telling me all these damn it?”
“A few weeks later, news of the disappearance of a little girl named Amanda Cane was out. Just one week after that, police picked up a man in a neighborhood where who was allegedly trying to lure a little boy in his car. This poor bastard was a repeat offender and was in jail three times for petty theft charges. His criminal record spoke for itself. And he didn’t have an honest face to help him in the court. They said they had found victim’s hair in his car. And that was that. Who better than a low life like him could pay for a crime he didn’t commit? His entire case in the court didn’t last more than a couple of weeks. The jury found him guilty. Case closed.”
The writer gets up and looks up the newspaper archives on the Internet and discovers that all of the murder plots he wrote were carried out precisely as he depicted them. The details from police and reporters’ investigations exactly matched what he had written in his unpublished stories. The times and places of the crimes were identical. Even the names and addresses of the victims were the same. The only discrepancies between his writings and actual events were speculations and theories of the FBI regarding the killer’s motives and whereabouts and those details were exactly what he had not written. Two innocent men had been executed for the crimes they had not committed as Jacob said.
Frantically he rushes to the bookshelf and finds the manuscript of his unpublished works all intact. He rubs his temples with his two index fingers in wonderment and paces his small room back and forth. He then pauses and lights a cigarette and deeply inhales the smoke. While looking at his hands, he says to Jacob: “Your hands must not shake! This is the secret of your success. This is the only way you survive.”