My name is Jason Harrow. I am 21 years old, and I’m currently on vacation with my Fiancé, Mary. We moved in together two years ago, we’re going to have a son in six months and we’re due to be married. I would be the happiest man alive…
…if it were not for my secret.
I awake in the morning to the fresh smell of coffee on my bedside table. The apartment has freshly made the bed opposite mine and the room has a warm soft feel too it, making it all too welcoming.
I gently grab the handle of the coffee, and pull it up to my face, taking slow gulps. The taste splashes in my mouth and I feel it cooling down inside me. As I wake up and become attuned to the world, I hear the splattering of water. Mary’s showering. As I slowly lean out of bed I find myself eating a breakfast she had prepared for me earlier. Within minutes, she’s out of the shower, fully dressed. God, she’s grown to be so beautiful. I push my spectacles up the brim of my nose to get a better look at this woman I love. Her brown sandy hair, the perfect freckles around her cheeks…this woman I will be marrying in just a few weeks. “Hello, honey.” she greets, as our lips meet. “I’ve missed you.” She swings her arms around my shoulders, her gentle hands soothe the pain I have inside…my secret escapes my mind…for the time being.
As the day progresses, we spend each passing hour together; enjoying each other’s company. It’s all we really ever need.
Everything goes awry around ten o’clock in the morning when she starts to read the paper. I notice her glaring intently at a familiar face whose past is known only to me. The stubble upon his chin, the cold, emotionless, uncaring eyes, his square jawed chin, and his broad shouldered frame...It's him all right.
“Oh, God.” she whispers, “Jason, honey, did you see this?” she covers her mouth while reading the text. She's shocked, and after all, who wouldn't be? “A man known only as ‘Caligula’ has killed his eightieth victim today…why would someone do that?”
I do my best to drown out her words.
“—listening to me?” she asks, “You’re a psychologist, wouldn’t you know these things?” Her words go on and on, and slowly I am lost in my thoughts. My secrets come flooding back to me. Her voice echoes through my skull and reminds me of past sins and transgressions.
The twitching starts at the face, and starts to move down my body slowly. Finally, I can contain it no longer.
“ENOUGH!” I cry. “I’VE HEARD ENOUGH!”
“What…what did I say?” her voice is like a frightened puppy dog.
“Mary…it’s time I told you the truth.”
My words drift off, and the story seems to tell itself.
I’m a psychologist; a leading one at that and one of the best in the country. I know how every bit of the human brain works. So much so…
I was able to create my own.
That’s right. I managed to replicate my own brain. I cloned my brain and put it inside a test subject—
At that point she stops me. “Where did you find a test subject?” the only reason she hasn’t left the room yet is because she’s in shock. I see it on her face…it seeps through her body and adulterates her.
“You don’t want to know.” I state. Emotion is lacking from my voice. Telling her this, telling her my secret is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
It was a paradise at first, I tell her. It was perfect to have someone to talk to with the exact same hobbies and interests as me. For all intents and purposes I was talking to myself….
Three weeks later he stopped wearing clothes. He refused to eat cooked food…it only became worse from there. Within a month, I had asked him how he was doing, and he threw my head into a cabinet. He nearly beat me to death…at the time, I had no idea why.
By now Mary’s face is pure shock….she doesn’t know what to think…what could she think? I’ve just told her an unbelievable story. She’ll probably leave me soon.
“That man,” I tell her, “the man in the paper is me. I created him.”
Her eyes swell up, and she swallows saliva. “But then why isn’t he like you?”
“That’s where I went wrong…I never introduced him to society.” I’m at my moment of truth. My theme of my story. “Society keeps us sane. Even when we’re born, we’re told what to do. We have to change ourselves to fit into society…we have to become something we’re not, lest we be mocked by the common bully. This thing is me without the rules of society…this is me without my moral code….deep down inside us…lies a monster.”
As I see her face, my stomach sinks down to my testicles. I don’t know what words I can say to comfort her. For hours, we simply stare at each other…there is only silence…a never ending void of silence.
Finally I stand up.
“Where are you going?” she asks me.
It’s a fair question
I don’t give her an answer.
“Take care of the baby for me, okay?” I tell her.
And with that, I walk away…out the door, I leave the hotel. I can never see anyone again…I can never see her again. My wife…my life….is gone.
The words ring through my ears, over and over again like a bell that won’t stop ringing. I know there’s something wrong, yet I can’t do anything about it. My head starts to hurt, yet I keep walking. I become a prisoner in my own body…for a moment I forget who I am…then I see it. I know why I’ve been walking. I see Caligula…blood on his hands, watching me from afar with cat like curiosity.
And then I blink. He’s gone.
I convince myself it’s just my imagination…