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The Nature of the Crime

Colin Warren was as nondescript of a man as there ever was. Everyday, he followed his routine. Wake up, go to work, come home, sleep. Everyday of the week. Wake, work, home, sleep. He lived alone in a commodious apartment in the grand location of New York City. He spoke mostly to his colleagues, and the conversation was usually work related. He had one friend, Curtis, who he ate lunch with. His life was dull, and he knew it.
All of that was about to change.
It began on a Thursday. Colin woke up and went to work, as usual. He worked at a finance firm in Manhattan, and he neither liked nor disliked his job. He merely saw it as a way to keep himself occupied. He was well paid and had much more money than he could spend.

That morning, his boss introduced him to a new employee at the firm. The employee’s name was Matthew McDougal. He had a plastic smile and power hungry eyes. He talked loudly and obnoxiously. When he talked, he was confident and unrelenting. Colin hated him. He hated every aspect of him: his overly organized desk, his clean, perfect clothes, his artificial face, his hungry eyes. Those eyes. Colin hated how they looked down at you, degrading you, shrinking you to a mere speck.
He had never felt so much hate for a human being before. Colin despised Matthew more than anything, yet he was forced to work with him. For the next week, Colin dealt with those condescending, power hungry eyes, his forced smile, and his loud, blaring voice. Even though Colin loathed his new co-worker so much, he never once consciously showed his hatred. In fact, one would think the two were becoming good friends.
Colin felt like he was losing his mind. The hate was eating him alive; he had to do something, fast.
Then, exactly a week later on Thursday, a thought occurred to him. He thought, just for a split second, I want to kill him. It was a passive thought, and he quickly dismissed it, knowing it was morally wrong. Yet, the thought occurred to him again, this time it was clearer. I want to kill Matthew McDougal.
Colin knew it was absurd and completely wrong to take the life of an innocent man, no matter how much he despised Matthew. Colin also considered the fact that he will definitely spend the rest of his life in prison or be executed for his crime. Despite all that, the thought was still there, sitting restlessly in his head.
For the next two days, the thought grew louder and louder until it screamed inside his mind every minute of every day. It pounded like a drum, making his ears bleed. It drove him mad. He couldn’t sleep, he couldn’t eat, and he couldn’t think of anything else.
An opportunity for the crime presented itself three days later. Matthew had invited Colin to dinner at his house that night. At first, Colin made several excuses, all of which were unsuccessful. Matthew was persistent. He had detected no signs of Colin’s intense, obsessive hatred for him and had grown to rather like Colin as a friend.
Colin eventually gave in, realizing that this was the perfect opportunity for his crime. He left work early that day and began to plan. He wanted more than anything not to be caught afterwards, so he had to take all the necessary precautions. He packed gloves, so the police wouldn’t find his fingerprints anywhere, and a raincoat, so he wouldn’t leave Matthew’s building covered in blood. He had planned to kill Colin with a knife since a gun would be too loud. It would have to be a surprise attack, so that Matthew doesn’t scream, and it would have to be quick. Colin had it all expertly planned.
At 7 o’clock, he arrived at Matthew’s apartment and was invited inside. The apartment was, like Matthew’s desk and clothes, overly neat. Colin was disgusted by it. He clenched his fists and told himself to be patient. After saying the usual formalities, Colin excused himself to the restroom. There, he put on his gloves and raincoat and got out his knife. He quietly made his way back to the kitchen, where Matthew was standing with his back to Colin.
Knife in hand, Colin slowly crept up to him. Matthew must have heard Colin because he turned around to face him.
“What are you doing?” Matthew asked in his obnoxiously loud voice.
Colin saw his opportunity and plunged the knife into Matthew’s chest. Matthew did not scream for he was in utter shock. Before he could gasp for breath, Colin stabbed him again. And again. And again. And again.
Colin felt the life drain out of the man with each stab. When he eventually stopped stabbing the now lifeless body on the kitchen floor, he fell back, realizing what he has done. Immediately, a strong sense of panic set in, and Colin felt as if he couldn’t breath.
Gasping for breath, he quickly got up and took off his gloves and raincoat and stuffed them, with the knife, back in his bag. He ran out of the apartment and got in the elevator. On the way down, a woman got in on the 15th floor and smiled at Colin. He started to panic again. He thought, she sees right through me, she knows what I’ve done. His heart began to beat faster and faster, almost to the point where it might burst out of his chest. He started breathing heavily, and the woman looked at him strangely and asked if he was alright. He quickly nodded and exited the building as fast as he can once the elevator reached the lobby.
Out on the street, it felt as if everyone was staring at him, seeing right through him, accusing him of his crime. Colin was overwhelmed, he had never felt so exposed. He attempted to calm himself down and return to his apartment. He called a cab and caught his breath on the ride.
That night, he couldn't sleep. The murder played over and over again in his mind. He remembered the feeling of the knife plunging into flesh, again and again and again. The massive deluge of blood splattering on the raincoat. The part that scared him to most was that, deep down, he enjoyed it.
Stabbing Matthew gave him a new satisfying sensation, and that terrified him. Am I a killer? He asked himself over and over again that night. I killed a man. An innocent man. And I enjoyed it. He kept wondering, what is wrong with me?
He got out of bed the following morning even more tired than he was the night before. He made himself a cup of coffee and was about to head out when the doorbell rang. A thousand thoughts ran through Colin’s head. The police have found me. They have traced the murder back to me. I'm going to jail. He opened the door, and there stood Curtis, his only friend in the world.
“Hey man,” Curtis said cheerfully, “how was dinner with Matthew last night?”
Colin was surprised by Curtis’s visit and relieved that it wasn’t the police, so it took him a moment to realize that Curtis had said something.
“Yeah it was good,” he replied.
At that moment, he realized that Curtis knew about his dinner with Matthew, and that he would be able to connect the dots as soon as he found out about the crime. Curtis would be the one to put him in prison. He started to panic yet again. He had to do something.
“Are you alright?” Curtis asked, “you look awfully tired.”
“Uh… yeah. Um… couldn’t sleep.” he replied, his mind screaming at him to do something.
“Yeah, no kidding. Can you pour me a cup of coffee?”
“Sure. Um… come in.”
Colin invited Curtis into his kitchen and poured him a cup of coffee. While Curtis was enjoying the coffee, Colin saw, out of the corner of his eye, the kitchen knives on the counter. In a moment of spontaneity fueled by fear of being caught, Colin grabbed a knife and stabbed Curtis from the back, in his chest. His friend fell on the kitchen floor, a pool of blood collecting around his body as the life drained out of him.
What have I done? Colin thought to himself. I killed Curtis. I killed Curtis. I stabbed him. I killed him. He’s dead. What have I done?
Colin couldn’t breathe. His heart was pounding out of control. He had killed another innocent man. Not just a man, Curtis was his friend, his only friend. He screamed, tearing out bits of his hair. Tears filled his eyes as he started to weep.
He couldn’t stand the guilt that was destroying him. He couldn’t go on like this. He was a murderer, a cold blooded murderer. He hated himself, despised himself. He was disgusted at his actions, so disgusted he vomited into the sink.
Colin couldn’t stand it anymore. He reached for the phone and dialed for the police. A woman picked up.
“911, what’s your emergency?” she asked.
“My name is Colin Warren, and I am a murderer.”

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