Psychopath, noun, a person suffering from a chronic personality disorder manifesting itself in abnormal or violent social behaviour. I think Narcissistic Personality Disorder is more accurate myself, but what do I know? I, it appears, am insane.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Lilith. I am 32. I’ve spent the last 6 weeks in this ‘facility’ for the criminally insane. I suppose faking my own abduction and killing the man I was sleeping with does sound a bit crazy. It was “lack of remorse” that apparently cemented the lunatic conclusion and landed me here, rather than prison, but how do you show remorse when you’ve been set up? And so spectacularly.
You could have called me a misandrist I suppose. I thought they were all the same deep down. All they wanted was to consume and destroy, like a virus, then find themselves a new host in which to plant their seed and coerce into doing their laundry. I don’t know why I thought that way. I just did. Even when I was at school I despised the nose-picking, ball scratching little brats.
The first time I laid eyes on Damon I was temping for a law firm in central London. There were 15 floors of arrogant fuckwits taking bets on which secretary they could sleep with next, but one in particular caught my attention. Damon Jones. A 40-something corporate lawyer on the fast-track to partnership. Married to his childhood sweetheart, projecting the image of wedded bliss, but the way he stalked the paralegals he was probably trapped under the thumb of an overbearing fishwife with a hefty inheritance. Our relationship was symbiotic. He needed someone to dominate. I needed someone to mess with. It was a match of bull vs. matador. Beast vs. hunter. He thought he’d chosen me as his target, but it was quite the opposite.
The sex was degrading. The sort of furious, rape-y sex you’d expect from a bad porno. He was more seven shades than fifty, and it didn’t take long to gather enough on him to out him for the deviant he really was. The photos. The videos. The medical report. I’d collated a file on him that read like a criminal investigation. When a copy of it arrived on the senior partner’s desk, the firm were only too happy to allow me to disappear at their expense in exchange for my silence, so afraid were they of losing their hot shot lawyer. I still wonder sometimes what his wife’s face must have looked like when she opened the copy I sent to her. He never knew for sure that it was me, after all, I wasn’t the only one, but that didn’t seem to matter. He came after me anyway.
Zach was different. It started the same way, it always did, but there was something about him that dampened even my loathing. He wasn’t like the rest of them. None of the name calling. The sick fantasies. Nothing that made me hate him the way I had hated Damon and his ilk. The marriage I’d set out to terminate was already dead. His foreign wife had used him as a tool to get to the UK and gone cold the second it was all official. How convenient. Of course she would never allow him a divorce, so he found satisfaction in illicit affairs with other women, no strings attached. He found in me the kind of emotionally disconnected lovemaking he sought. I found in him a man I could tolerate while still satisfying my need for destruction. He was a married man after all, and the fantasies I constructed in my head should I have ever encountered his wife were enough to satiate me.
I felt with him that it could have gone on forever. A constant state of stasis that made me feel calm in a way I hadn’t before. I wondered if that was what a successful marriage felt like. There was only one problem. Stasis never lasts.
Damon arrived on a dank weekend in March. He must have threatened someone at the firm to find me. I left no trace other than a bank account number for them to put the cash into, but armed with that he knew enough people to have found out where the withdrawal was made. I should have been more careful. I don’t know how long he’d been tailing me, but he knew where I lived. He knew where Zach lived too. I remember coming home in the small hours of Sunday morning and every light bulb in the house had been taken out. Then the photos started arriving in the post. Damon was out to get me, to show me who was boss. I assumed Zach would just be collateral damage. I’d show him, I thought.
I asked Zach to meet me one night, little did he know it would be the last meal he shared with me. We were sat in a lowly lit restaurant, I remember staring out the window at a statue of a woman in what used to be a fountain that was filled with plants and flowers. I had barely touched my lobster. He was sat opposite me, a plastic bib tied around his neck. Sauce had dripped onto his chin. He needed a shave. He kept asking what was wrong with me, studying my expressions for a clue. Clearly I couldn’t hide the fact that I was on edge. In the end he gave up and ate his macaroni cheese in silence.
Don’t get me wrong, a break up with me is always dramatic, but this was a different kind of drama. There wasn’t any of the usual stuff. This time it was serious. The shit was about to hit the proverbial. I felt nauseous. I told him I felt ill and needed to get some air. I can still see the curious expression on his face as I snatched the bag from underneath my chair and walked out. It was fucking freezing outside, gave me goose pimples, but I couldn’t just waltz back in and get my coat could I? I had to get on with it and quick. I swung into the doorway of a nearby bank, tore a clump of my hair out and dropped it on the floor. God knows how I managed it, my scalp still hurts now, but I digress. I scraped my forearm up the wall just enough to make it bleed a little and snapped the heel off my shoe, leaving it wedged in a crack in the steps. I pulled an oversized hoodie from the bag and threw it over my head, swapped my, now broken stilettos, for flats and waved frantically to a passing black cab driver. He stopped and I jumped in the back, making sure the hoodie obscured my face, and asked him to take me to a hotel about an hour’s drive away.
“The hunter has become the hunted,” I thought to myself as I eased back into the seat of the taxi. It seems cruel, dragging Zach into a world of shit like that, but using him to nail Damon was a necessary evil. All he had to do was go to the police, report me missing, show them all the weird shit from Damon and bingo. Probably couldn’t get him done for murder without a body, but abduction would do nicely. Zach held in his hand a loaded gun, all he had to do was aim.
I got out of the taxi at a dingy looking hotel and checked myself into a cheap but functional room. I had to lay low for 24 hours at least, so I ran myself a bath and tried to sleep. I don’t know how long I was out for, but by the time I woke up and flicked on the TV it was already headline news. A sullen policeman stared out, the text scrolling underneath read ‘woman disappears in suspected abduction.’ He held up the broken heel of my black stiletto.
“Would you look at that? I’m a modern-day fucking Cinderella” I said aloud.
He went on: no witnesses, anyone with information call Crimestoppers. Relief washed over me like the warm bath water from the night before. I laughed to myself and lay back on the bed for a while, I really thought I’d won, but when I zoned back in on the screen, there he was. Looking right at me. Damon, flanked by two police officers, holding up a photograph of Zach in one hand and me in the other. According to Damon we were close friends at work, and when I’d left the firm suddenly and unannounced, he’d been searching for me ever since. His theory? Zach, a dangerous sex addict with a history of illicit affairs, had abducted me, and now he had murdered me. Damon? Playing the hero? This was out of character. Very out of character. And where the fuck was Zach? What had he done? Just paid the bill and fucking walked away? Maybe I was wrong about him.
If life had taught me anything it was that you can only rely on your fucking self, so I decided to take matters into my own hands, again.
“They can’t get you for murder if you’re already dead” I told myself.
I waited until darkness fell and went home. I knew he’d be there, and, sure enough, there was Damon’s car. Parked on my fucking driveway no less. Prick. I hauled myself up the guttering to my bedroom window. It was still open, just how I’d left it. As I eased myself through the window I caught sight of him through the bedroom door, sitting at the top of the stairs in the dark staring at the front door.
“Who does he think he is?” I thought, “Does he really believe I’m stupid enough to just walk in the front door? Well he won’t see this coming.”
I always kept tweezers and nail scissors on my dresser, so I swiped the scissors as quietly as I could and pounced out of the bedroom door. I threw my hand over his mouth and thrust the scissors into the side of his neck. I couldn’t see his shirt, but I could feel it was soaked in blood. So were my hands. I remember thinking about how warm it was.
There was only one problem with my plan. He did see it coming. I looked down to stare into Damon’s eyes as the life drained out of him. I wanted to watch him die. But the man in my arms, blood still pumping from his punctured artery, was not Damon. The same curious expression I’d last seen in that restaurant was looking back at me, and there was Damon stood at the bottom of the stairs, watching. I remember the stickiness of the blood between my fingers as I clapped my hands to applause. The rest is a blur.
I have to admit I was impressed. His plan was exquisitely executed. In the courtroom it played out like a TV show. The jurors gasped and gawked at the evidence. I just laughed. If I’d known how clever he was, maybe I’d have liked him. We could have been partners, he and I. Like Fred and Rosie.
So here I am. It feels good though, you know? Satisfying. The way they all look at me with sad, enquiring eyes. As if somewhere inside of me is a lovely, innocent soul that they can coax out with the right medication and some chit chat. Nobody has ever looked at me like that before. Like there’s something more to me than just a nasty girl they’d quite like to fuck.
You think I am insane don’t you. I can see it from your expression. Ah well, maybe I am. Yes, maybe I am.