Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Last Thoughts of a Man On Fire

Hello, world.

Here's a sort of fragmentary idea I had, in the form of a letter to a named but as-yet-unknown recipient. It's a part of what I've begun to think of as "The Last Thoughts of a Man On Fire". This man is becoming violently insane, or perhaps already has. Where the work is headed from here isn't altogether clear to me yet, although this is already a very stark change from what I usually produce. Thoughts and criticism are welcome, as always.


November 23, 1884


As I write this, my mind is in anguish. Reality has forced me into a corner and surrounds me on all sides. The truth, sordid and ugly, closes in to steal my joy and leave my sanity in ruins.

Granted, I have earned this forceful siege of my mental defenses through poor choices and bad company. My passions have always been my bane, and it would appear that the same principle applies even now in my crisis of the mind. I have loved past the point that my love is sanctioned; I have indulged in pleasures too great and numerous to be called pure. Slowly, the innocent and harmless became evil and poisonous, and the mark that was being gently branded on to me became more and more prominent. A new part of me was formed...or rather, collected its many horrid pieces hidden across all aspects of my life and became whole, making itself known.

It was the other side of the coin of my heart, mind and soul; a cruel mockery of the man I once was. Just as Dorian Gray had his accursed portrait, so had I my dark caricature...hidden within my mind, ever-changing and ever-deforming with each new sin I committed. At times, this monstrous phantom would take hold of my thoughts and words, tainting them and soaking them in hatred and rage. It grew - this black thought, this devil in my conscience - to the point where I would, from a state of absolute placidity, become violent and enraged. It taunted me with its mere existence, a shattered mirror whose reflection showed only regret, darkness, and self-destruction. For although my ghostly doppelganger steadily gained strength and influence over myself and my actions, I knew with a certainty I cannot explain that the thing wanted only to destroy us both. At times I wondered if the beast was formed as a penance of sorts, a horrible kind of punishment for the wrongs I had done. Other times I would question whether any of it was even real, if such a thing could truly be possible. Were those thoughts placed in my mind by my vile inner twin, a discreet tactic to make me blind of its presence as it did its evil work?

It had become obvious at that time that my mental stability was quickly beginning to deteriorate. My lifestyle had become reckless; danger intoxicated me. I took risks without any sort of premeditation, seeking refuge in the bursts of adrenaline that would come naturally to one who flirts with Death in such a way as did I.

I reached a point in this descent into madness where the darker side of me began to really win, and its death-wish was brought to slow fruition through the actions of my own hands. I, the unwitting servant of that dreadful imagined tumor in the back of my mind, began to mutilate my own body in an attempt to quell the violent urges I experienced, as these were becoming progressively more frequent and terrible. In my mind I thought I was protecting the people around me, my family, and the other men I worked with at the foundry, by casting that vivid and terrifying urge to kill, tear down, and destroy onto myself instead of them.

Looking back now with a retrospective eye, as I write these words and my soul and psyche crumble away at their foundations, I know the truth of the matter. I was merely following the orders that came sweetly whispered from that hateful inner voice, an unknowing and unwilling soldier in the war to bring me to ruin. Now, with my pen to this page and my mind inching toward the brink of insanity, my hateful twin is suddenly silent. I suspect this change in the behavior of my tormentor is out of satisfaction, stemming from the knowledge that it has achieved its goal and that I have been beaten down to the very edge of sense and reason. Whatever speculations I may make, however, do not change the stark truth of what has happened to me, your old friend and teacher. I have lost the fight, and let the darker part of my nature desecrate and take over who I am. Who I was.

May God have mercy on my soul, for the terrible sins this monster has committed.

Dr. Charles M. Kilner


Until the next time, world...enjoy.

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