November 3, 2024

A phone shrilling in the middle of the night is far from usual for me unless the call’s coming from Matt. Annoyed at the disturbance, I picked up the phone, curious to know the reason behind his call. He started talking very fast as soon as I put the phone to my ear, mumbling the most random things almost inaudibly that I had to urge him to calm down and get straight to the point.

“Can you fly back here? It’s urgent.”

“Why?”

“I can’t tell you over the phone”, was his reply.

My plane landed at the airport around 3 A.M. I took the first cab waiting outside to Matt’s penthouse, went up the elevator and found myself in front of a slightly opened door. I knocked and announced my arrival without any response, so I pushed the door noiselessly and ducked inside. The first thing I saw were drips of blood spread on the glossy floor leading to the doorway. There were stains on the walls too. Alarmed, I called Matthew’s name again and he didn’t respond. I made my way inside following a blood trail that led to a bigger, stickier pool of blood right in front of the living room. I browsed the entire room and finally found him, sitting at the kitchen bar all covered in blood, with an 8-inch cook’s knife in hand. On the floor, two dead bodies lied.

“You did this?”, I asked, trying to regain my breath.

He nodded.

My suspicions were finally cleared then. Matthew was a psychopath after all.

I turned to leave and he stopped me. It was clear he wanted to involve me in his crime to test and see whether or not I’d be a suitable partner he could use as an accessory to murder. At some point, every killer needs a sidekick to sustain the excitement of committing more murders, someone who’d drive the getaway car. I was shocked to see him walk casually and blatantly talk about what he did as if it wasn’t a big deal. Then he tried to justify killing them, stating that the man was a business partner he’s been recently getting a weird, untrustworthy vibe from. His wife was killed out of convenience because she was here.

“This is who we are, Felix. This is what we do. We eliminate people who are a hindrance to us.”

Streams of soundless tears fell down as I heard him say it. I’ve lived in denial for so long. I’ve tried to convince myself I wasn’t a bad person. But I am. I am bad. I’ve done very bad things. However, even though the awful and immutable truth about the kind of people we both are has finally emerged, I still refused to engage in a conversation with him and resisted the pressure of being involved in the murder. Totally ignoring how I felt about the situation, Matt went ahead and undressed both of them, throwing each piece of clothing in the fireplace as he did so. He asked me to help him carry the bodies into the bathroom to submerge them in the tub to eliminate his fingerprints from their flesh and I unhesitantly declined which seemed to irritate him. He stopped and looked at me, his eyes turning into the creepiest I’ve ever seen them; like beams of ice. I stared right back at him to show him I wasn’t threatened although I was, and he proceeded in carrying both of them on his own, washing them one body at a time as I revoltingly watched. Once he was done cleaning them, he grabbed two sheets and covered each body individually before wrapping up the scales and cramming them in two separate suitcases. I helped him transport the suitcases down to the parking garage, and inside the trunk of his car. As he loaded them in, I noticed a shovel, an axe and a Maglite. He asked me to get into the car, and although a voice in my head urged me not to, I obeyed. I kind of wish I didn’t because getting in meant I was crossing the line from being an observer to a participant in the crime.

We drove for an hour in the pitch-black darkness until we arrived in front of a secluded, almost unreachable forestial area covered by mist. Matt picked a path and drove in as far as his car would go, parked it, and increased its headlights. He got out and walked to the trunk while I walked up to the front and stumbled due to the intense lights giving me an eyeful. I put one hand up, trying to see what he was doing. He took out the first victim, slinging the makeshift sack over his shoulder and lumbered to the front of the car. He grabbed the ends of the sheet using both hands and swung it forward, releasing it and letting it fall heavily on the ground. He repeated the same thing with the other one. I stood there, numb and shivery as I watched him dig a hole in the ground. To distract myself, I focused on the external aspects of my surroundings; the wailing wind running aggressively through the trees, the stinking smell of wood rot, the briars caught in my jeans. It almost felt like I wasn’t there. My bewilderedness was cut short when he called my name and found myself to the sight of him holding an axe aimed towards me, the throat of its handle right in front of my face. I refused to grab it. But then he started jabbing it and threateningly ordered me to take it, and I finally did.

It was in the midst of this nightmarish ordeal that I started to realize I was gradually succumbing to Stockholm-Syndrome. I was disengaged and in deep, chilling shock when I took the axe from him and incredulously butchered the bodies into pieces, emulating everything he did as if helping him was my duty. What I was mostly scared of was turning something as fearful as this into pleasure. I didn’t want to enjoy doing it, but to a certain extent, I kind of did. Harboring that feeling meant that I was losing the little bit of sanity I had left in me. I felt like I was coming apart and coming back together as somebody else. I still can’t believe I did it.

After separating the different body parts and burying a few, I asked him what he wanted to do with the remaining ones, and his answer was that he wanted to scatter them all over the city to increase our chance of getting away with the crime. After the burial, he wanted to make sure no one came across the two bodies, so I helped him lift and move a nearby rock, setting it right above them on the surface of the ground. On the way back to the city, we stopped at a gas station five miles away from the dumping zone. I ran to the restroom and compulsively washed my hands, scrubbing them hard to get rid of the dirt stains, while Matt filled the car with gas. I took off my soiled shirt, disposed of it and walked back to the car wearing only my jacket. We drove back to the city, the adrenaline finally subsiding. I felt an odd sense of relief although I knew that this would haunt me as long as I lived. Matt dropped me back at his place and drove off to dispose of the rest of the victims’ body parts and dumped their car in a shady alley around South Dearborn Street, an area known for its largest number of homeless people. Matt’s idea was to leave the car unlocked and running with its keys in the ignition, hoping someone would steal it in the early morning. I walked inside Matt’s apartment, and found myself in the sight of Umbra licking blood off the corner of a wall, a sinking feeling slowly dawning on me as I watched and realized the place was now a crime scene, causing me to become self-aware of my recent insidious actions and behaviors. A line has been drawn, one that separates me from other people. I’ve created yet another identity for myself. One that tolerates and rationalizes outright, deadly criminal behavior.

I’ve become a killer.

What kind of person would stay with a psychopath, enable his wrongdoings, participate in them and then help cover them up?

I guess someone like me would.

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