A Wandering Mind

March 14, 2008
By Jordan Knost, Cumming, GA

There was blood. There was a lot of blood; on the floor, on the wall, outside in the snow, and on my hands. I looked down and saw quite a bit of blood soaking into my gray shirt. I loved it. I loved seeing it, touching it, and even cleaning it up. An overwhelming ecstasy overcame me every time I drove an object into someone’s flesh. I was addicted; I needed it all the time. But as I took more and more, an erotic craving for it started growing in me. At first I was fine with slitting the neck or wrist, watching it spill out, the dark red fluid of life abandoning the body of my victim. But soon, I needed better methods; I needed better tools and equipment, anything that would bring agony to my prey. I used nail files, filing further down into the finger when the nail was gone, pliers clenching toes and ankles savagely, hacksaws tearing through ligaments and blood vessels, power drills that I drove into tissue of the legs and chest, and even unthinkable objects such as cheese graters and glue guns, committing unthinkable actions by my hand. I was sick and my disease was progressing further every day. On the news they called me insane, they gave me nicknames, and spun lies about my identity and patterns, but they know nothing. They know absolutely nothing. They could never understand what it is like when every waking moment is nauseating and painful, when the only moment of relief is when I am standing over a mangled corpse.

My only other distraction from this unconscious pain of my life is art. Fine art, especially music, can take my permanently unconscious being and throw it into an incredible sensation, one that seems to awaken me and draw out my thoughts. Everyone on earth should experience art for all its worth, since the ability to experience it is a privilege. Mankind is the only species with the mental and emotional capacity for art. We are the only beings that can express thought, whether it be black thoughts, yellow thoughts, blue thoughts, or any other shade imaginable. Every human has the ability to transfer his feelings from their supernatural state inside the winding pathways of the mind to the tangible paper or canvas, or as sound in the form of music.
However, certain vessels of the imagination and thought process tend to be more successful than others in conveying their message of emotion. For instance, a master of the hammer and chisel can create an exemplary figure from his stone, displaying a truly moving and glorious piece of art, just as a virtuosic composer can compile a collection of pitches and sounds to evoke an incredible level of emotion in the listener. Contrasting to this is the art of a painter, which has a significantly lower potential than work of the others. Feeling that is plastered onto a 2-D plane of limited color loses much of the effect it would have if one was to see it in its natural state, or even in a photograph.

I fill my entire head with thoughts like these, trying to satisfy myself when I am not harming some unfortunate person who has become the victim of my sickness. And in fact, these thoughts tend to come to me even when I am committing acts of engrossing torture, such as now. At this precise moment, I was in a small abandoned house off the road with a female companion. It was very cold outside, as it usually is during Massachusetts winters.
Earlier today, my blood lust had started raging again, and I felt that excruciating nausea that I needed to relieve. My car was blazing down the icy morning roads, and I noticed this woman pulled over to the gravel off the side. Calmly, I pulled up next to her car and asked her if she wanted a ride to a gas station where she could call someone. She politely thanked me and seated herself in the passenger side of my small economy car. I looked over at her and smiled, and soon enough we arrived at this run down shack, with her bleeding on the table in front on me.
“Hmm,” I pondered to myself, “I’m in the mood for something new…”
I looked over at the table to my left, running my hand over the cold metal of the menacing appliances, eventually stopping my hand on a fairly large nail gun towards the far end of the table. As I lifted the device slightly above my shoulder, the woman let out a high pitched squeal that was muffled by the black tape over her mouth.
“What was that?” I asked the woman as I swiftly pulled the strip of tape off her lips, causing her to flinch slightly.
“Please stop,” she mumbled, her voice shaking in pain.
“Oh, I’m sorry, does your leg hurt?” I looked down at the mangled flesh that used to be her lower thigh.
“Can I do anything to make you more comfortable? Do you like music?”
I walked over the stereo I had placed on the table with my other tools of torture. I pressed a button and Arnold Schonberg’s Pierre Lunere started playing.
“What an intriguing piece,” I said to myself, “the atonal work of Schonberg is really an acquired though, and you may not appreciate it like I do.”
I picked up a doctor’s mask laying in front of me and slipped it on. The woman looked at me in terror as I stepped close to her.
“How do you like it?” I asked her, indicating the music. She looked up at me shocked and bewildered.
“I’m sorry, I must have assumed wrong. You probably aren’t a fan of music.” I chuckled as I loaded several nails from a box into the gun.
“So then, what do you like to do? Any hobbies?”
She looked up, still terrified but responded, “Well, I enjoy painting,” she gulped and cleared her throat and I clenched my fist around the nail gun, “I especially love Van Gogh.”
I instantly pulled the trigger and released a nail into the meat of her shoulder. She shrieked harshly from the pain.
“Painting is the lowest form of art in m opinion,” I said calmly, pacing around to her back. She was still shrieking and grabbing her shoulder, dark red blood pouring out. I started to raise my voice over her screams.
“Honestly, painting is just two-dimensional patterns and colors. And to be a fan of painting! It simply ridiculous! That’s like being a fan of color, a connoisseur of shapes. It depicts nothing of reality; it simply projects life onto a flat prison, limited by both dimension and color. An human face cannot express an emotion from a single brushstroke!”
I paced around her, grasping the nail gun, wrapping my fingers around the handle. Painting always got me in a blazing fit of anger, but I was put back into a good mood as I gazed at the blood all over her arm.
“Now, sculpture is a truly impressive visual art. I find it incredible how the geniuses of the chisel can capture such accurate human form from a block of mineral! And what do you think? What are your thoughts on sculpture?”
She looked up into my face, saliva and vomit covering her chin as she gasped for breath and cried. I looked at her and motioned with my hand, implying, “Well?”
“It’s – it’s,” she took several short breaths, “fine, I-I suppose…”
“Fine?! My dear, can you not respect the brilliant work of the hammer on stone?! It is truly a divine gift for such perfect beauty to sprout from the hands of man.’ I held the device in m hand up to her temple and lowered my face right in front of hers, our eyes locking.
“Or, perhaps… it is too dull for you? Not bright enough for a painter?”
I walked back over to the table and put down the nail gun. I gazed over the tools, finally picking out a large bone saw. I turned it over a few times in my hand, calculating my next action. The stereo was now playing Pierre Lunere, Part 9, and the shrieking recital of the German poem combined with the horrifying dissonance seemed to disturb her.
“I see you are not enjoying the music,” I said.
Her face was expressing immense fear as I knelt down and placed the bone saw against the back of her knee. Her cry of pain as I ripped across the tendons and flesh was like beautiful harmony to the music playing in the background. She shook from side to side like a small child throwing a tantrum. The stream of blood was flowing down the back of her leg onto the floor, puddling around her foot.
“Well then,” I said as widened my eyes and raised my eyebrows, “this is where I bid you farewell.”
I grabbed a hatchet off the table and swung it forward at her, hard. She didn’t even have time to yell, but her sudden expression was the only thing I needed. The hatchet hit her right in the face, and I felt the crack of her cheek bone and the crumbling of her nose. The music in the stereo rose into a roaring crescendo as her head was thrown backwards from the impact, fragments of tissue being shot into the air. It was beautiful.
If she wasn’t dead yet, I wouldn’t have been able to tell. It didn’t even matter. Her face looked like some abstract art, maybe Picasso. I picked her up and laid her on the ground, folding her hands over her chest.
I poured a bucket of water onto the floor the thin the blood out a little bit, and threw my tools into a garbage bag. No need for precautions like eliminating fingerprints and other methods of disposing of evidence. There were already several blue lights flashing outside, and several S.W.A.T. team members were racing to the door. A few of them brushed past me as I exited the doorway and they entered. They would never find me, even if they know where I am.
As satiating as my previous indulgence had been, it only set my cravings into a stimulated hunger, longing for more of that wonderful taste. Today’s cravings were different than usual; they seemed to be more intense and were lasting longer than any before. I felt like my mind kept wandering off into the alleyways of itself, drifting away and hiding in the darkest, most horrific corners of my imagination. And no matter how hard I looked for it, to gain some control and think about what I truly want instead of what my mind demands. But it was no use. My consciousness had hidden itself away, and would not reveal itself until I gave it what it wanted. So I stepped into my car, and drove further down this black road to my mind’s demands.
I sped down the road, starting to sweat from this increasingly painful craving for pain and death. It was getting very late now, and I knew I would be lucky to see anyone. I looked nervously to the sides of the road, needing to see someone, but there was not a soul anywhere near. I desperately pressed my foot on the pedal, harder and harder, throwing myself blindly towards my goal. Where was this goal? I really didn’t know, I just allowed myself to be pulled along to where my consciousness was drawing me.
After several tortuous minutes that seemed like an eternity, I started to be in the midst of buildings and people, walking along the sidewalks and enjoying their bustling night life. I pulled up to a relatively nice looking bar and walked inside. There were a five or six people gathered together in one of the booths next to a window, talking rather loudly. I could not help to notice that they were in an argument about art, which inevitably caught my interest, so I took a seat close by and silently listened in.
A young man sitting next to a girl about his age was the current speaker.
“As a matter of fact John,” he said in a confident tone, “I have been on a tour of Europe, and I have seen work of some of the greatest artists who have ever lived.” For some reason, the name John set off some type of spark within my brain, as if the name was something important, but I did not think on it; John is a very common name.
The man he had indicated now chimed in, “And why exactly would you describe these artists as great? Is it for their realistic paintings, just lesser versions of nature? Are they great artists because of talent alone? I take art more seriously than that; it requires creativity and passion, not just brushstrokes mimicking nature. If I want to see nature, I’ll look at a photograph.
“And I suppose you have never considered this in your closed mind, but music is a better form of conveying emotion than any visual art has ever been.”
I was very surprised to hear this man’s statement; he felt exactly as I did about art, something I felt very passionate about. And just like his name, John, had affected me, so did his voice. It seemed very familiar, but I could not place my finger on it, so I tried to discard it like I had with the familiarity of his name. But it would not leave my mind. I could not force it out of my head; my mind was greedily holding onto it. All I could think about was how I needed to see this man, so I stood up and approached the table.
However, as I stood in front of the table and awkwardly greeted him, they continued talking and laughing, as if I wasn’t there. John turned and seemed to give me a sort of side glance, but I could not determine whether he could see me or not. I walked back over to where I was previously sitting and sank back into the seat. Maybe he had seen me, but tried to show no sign of it since he was with companions. I decided that I would follow him when he left that night, and when the group stood up and exchanged farewells, I stalked behind him at a safe distance.
He went out into the parking lot and headed for his vehicle. It was parked near mine, so I followed him in that direction. When I arrived at my car, I saw John’s light up and drive past me. He was the last person to pull out of the lot, so it would be fairly easy for me to follow him. We drove into the night, heading for the same destination, which was wherever he stopped.
For some strange reason, focusing on this man seemed to relieve my bloodlust, as if he had subconsciously take hold of my mind and would not let it wander off into the alleyways of my disease. John’s mind was clenching mine fiercely, keeping it from falling into insanity, and not allowing me to think on my own. But for some reason, the lack of longing for torture left me feeling empty, as if I was not a complete person and needed this other man, John, to combine with me and form a whole being. I was only part of the whole, and I was the part that was unused at the time. I hated this feeling of being ignored, I hated how I could not act on my own or do anything for myself. Everything I could do at the moment was dedicated to John. So I blindly drove behind him down the dark icy roads; I was nothing but an unconscious body being dragged along.
After a while, John’s car pulled into a parking lot in front of a motel, and I was pulled next to him, stopping my vehicle directly beside his. Then, suddenly, I felt extremely weak and became immersed in a deep sleep. When my eyelids closed against each other, I was thrown into another world, another life; it was the most vivid dream I had ever experienced.
I was standing in a hallway, a dark and infinitely long hallway. For seemingly no reason, I started running down the narrow corridor frantically. I clenched my chest in pain as I gasped for breath, sprinting wildly. I raced down this hall for an excruciatingly long time, wishing I could stop and regain my strength. All of a sudden, when no air was left in my lungs and my vitality had been completely sapped, I stopped and a deep boom briefly resonated in my ears. I was now in a very small white room with a mirror hanging on the wall to my left. Instinctively, I strode over to the mirror and gazed into the reflection of myself. In shock, I staggered backwards when I realized what the image looking back at me was, but I kept my stare fixed on the reflection. It was the image of my face, but only the right half the right half was recognizable. The left side appeared to be unraveled and scattered across the mirror, completely obscured and grotesque. It looked as if someone had pulled off the side of my face in strands, unraveling it and scattering the lines across the reflecting glass. On the normal hemisphere, my expression was fixed in a menacing scowl, and uncomfortable and irritated face of anger. My mouth opened slightly out of trauma, but the reflection remained in the same expression, plastered onto the mirror like a painting.
I turned to my left swiftly, trying desperately to break my contact with the terrible picture of myself, only to come face to face with another demon. It was my own image again, but the only part possible to make out was the left side; the right side was bloodied and disfigured into a revolting mass of ripped flesh. The figure started at me through a half-squinted eye and a cackling smile. I stood in front of him, paralyzed in fear, looking up into the disgusting face in terror. All of a sudden , another boom rang in my head and the spectrum of color in my plane of vision switched to black and white for a fraction of a second, before completely disappearing into darkness.
I awoke in a cold sweat, panting heavily. My nauseous longing to kill had returned, and it was worse than ever. I clenched my abdomen hard as the cramping and contracting of my insides set on, like some kind of creature was going to explode out of my torso. I stumbled around the room, placing my arms on a dresser to hold myself straight. The room was totally unfamiliar, and after a few moments of examination, I realized I was in a motel room. It was dark outside, and after a glance at the clock on the dresser, I discovered it was 2:25 in the morning.
Out of confusion, I raced out of the room and out the hotel entrance. One white streetlight illuminated the parking lot, and my car was the only one in the area. Instantly I remembered the previous night and John, how I had parked next to him and fallen asleep, but I discarded the fact that his car was gone, I just wanted to get rid of this sick feeling. I started up my car and sped back to the bar I had first encountered him at, hoping desperately to find someone, anyone, to kill. To my good fortune, I noticed a two men at the bar; one sitting in front of the tender drinking, and the other seated on the other side of the room. I ran in, pulling a small knife out of my coat. The man looked over at me and his eyes widened in fear. I clenched my teeth and ran the knife into his lower ribs. He let out a scream and I heard several glasses crash to the floor as the bar tender panicked and left the shop. Not a bit of satisfaction or relief came from this stab, and my nausea was getting progressively worse.
“Why isn’t it working?!” I lamented furiously through my teeth and pulled my knife out of him. I rolled the bleeding man on top of the bar and started carving up his stomach. His wails of pain were not like pleasant music, but they banged around my skull like a beating from a hammer.
“Gahh!” I screamed out as I slit his throat and reached up to hold my head. I ran over to where the other man was seated. He had not panicked or even reacted to my recent kill. I ran up to him holding my knife up to his eye. I took a look at my next victim, and to my horror realized that this was the horrible face from my dream, it was my face. Behind him on the wall was a painting that was and exact replica of my reflection in the dream mirror.
“Noo!” I screamed uncontrollably, “This isn’t real!” I drove my knife into his face, into my face.
“Are you going to kill me John?” he asked calmly, his face mangled and bleeding.
I stepped back from him and fell onto the floor. Blood was dripping down onto my clothes and the floor, coming from my face. The man stood up and walked over to me. He pulled out a knife of his own and held it to my throat.
“It’s time for this to end,” he said, looking down into my face, “Maybe we can both be whole, in the next life.”
He pressed the blade against my neck and slid it across, and my nausea disappeared completely. But this time, when John released me from my disease, I didn’t fell empty, I felt whole, for the first time in my life.

"This will certify that the above work is completely original."

--Jordan Knost

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