I've never understood the killing. I mean, on an intellectual level, it makes sense, a compulsion the execution of which gives you pleasure. Being a slave to my own compulsion, I do, to a certain extent, get it. But, in my gut, I don't think I'll ever understand why death is what some seek to inflict.
I see a lot of death already. Not so much, since I've gone into private practice, but my early days as an intern were spent in a facility that saw more than it's share of man's inhumanity to man. And I've been angry, ragingly angry, at times. What human hasn't? Never so angry, though, that murder ever became even an idea. Does that make me better than other people? I don't think so. I'm a bit different, is the thing.
My mentor, Colin, saw a difference in me. I was an orphan, a street-rat, with no education and an intellect geared only towards finding food to eat and safe places to sleep, before Colin came into my life. Had he not taken me in, I've no doubt that I would have ended my days as a John Doe in the city morgue, or dying in jail. Under his guidance, I have become so much more than that street-rat could have imagined. A respected medical professional looks back at me from the mirror, tall, strong and clean-limbed, well-dressed, with the best teeth money can buy.
Undressed, scars that would shock and disturb those who think they know me best appear. Scars that paint a picture of a life much different than that which they assume I've lived. But no one sees me undressed, other than Colin. When I take care of my esteemed mentor, I wear as little as possible. I feel I owe it to him. After all, most of the scars are his work.
I have more personal reasons, of course.
Our first days together were... difficult, for both Colin and I. When he took me in, I couldn't see the gift I was being given, for obvious reasons. I was thrust into a world I didn't understand, and became angry and intransigent as a result. The more Colin tried to mold me, the more I insisted on not being molded. I confess, I did all I could to frustrate him, and the more I did so, the more scars I earned. Looking back, I can see how close Colin was to simply casting me aside, giving me up for a bad job. When it all came to a head, though, we got through it, Colin and I. An understanding was reached, and our relationship became something altogether wonderful, something I can say without fear of correction as being the defining thing in my life. Everything I am comes from it.
The years that followed were idyllic, truly. I learned and grew and became something wholly new. Colin's fascination with the human form ignited my own passion and led to my career in medicine, and helping him with his compulsion helped give form to my own.
But I never understood the killing.
We would spend weeks hunting, capturing and breaking our subjects, just to murder them. Then what? You have a body to dispose of. There is meat to be taken, of course, but most of the corpse has to be gotten rid of, without anyone being able to follow a trail back to us. Hundreds of pounds of bone and viscera had to go, and hours had to be spent in planning and executing the removal, all with the threat of discovery hanging over us. I can't even tell you about how many close shaves occurred, how many on the fly murders had to be committed, how much terror was experienced and perspiration shed, during the course of, essentially, taking out the garbage.
I don't remember when I first understood which part of the process truly engaged me and drove me to continue. I suppose, though, it was when I first saw the family of one of our subjects on television, pleading for someone to give them hope. I began to collect such displays, drinking in the misery of the father, the mother, the siblings, the children, wallowing in their naked fear of the unknown.
Colin was focused only on our subject, but I found myself fascinated by what he considered meaningless ephemera. We quarreled, for the first time in a long while. In our disagreement, our true difference became apparent. Colin wanted to kill. I believe that, if he could have, Colin would have simply walked the earth, killing indiscriminately. Heaven, for him, would be humanity on an endless conveyor belt, allowing him to murder each person as they drew in front of him, watch the light die in their eyes, and them move immediately on to the next. For all his skill in torture, for all his careful mutilations, Colin only did these things for the same reason a man puts off lighting a fine cigar, to increase the frisson of the moment he finally allows himself the pleasure.
My need, what I thought of as the meat of the experience, however, was the pain caused by our exercises. The look in a subject's eye the first time you caused them pain; the disbelief that it could be real, the pleading... The change that occurs as the days go by, as their world contracts to the simple binary state of being or not being tortured, and how the pain brings terror anew each time it is applied...
I confess, I become immoderately excited simply thinking about it.
Colin reacted badly to my suggestion that our modus operandi change. I can't blame him for that, nor was it unexpected. Words were exchanged, and finally, blows. But Colin was not the man he had been when he first took me in, and I, I had grown.
So my new path was undertaken alone. So be it. I must be true to myself, don't you agree? Our workshop had always been a theater of pain, but now the pain became primary. Pain would begin here, and spread farther and wider than Colin could have imagined.
How, you ask? By eliminating death! Death is an end, that is all. As a medical professional, death was the enemy, and so it was with my hobby. Death ended the experience of pain, and my enjoyment of that experience. Inevitably, death had to go.
Take the Pianist, for example. A young, fresh-faced girl, not a genius but unarguably skilled, a person who obviously lived for her art. To take her, watch her as her hands were destroyed, simply to kill her? A waste. But to do these things, then return her to the world? To see the happiness of her loved ones curdle into horror as the full implications of what has been done to her become apparent. To watch, as the mother begins to drink, as the sibling becomes afraid of the world, as the father becomes a martyr to the needs of his damaged child? To observe the classmates try to understand how such a thing could occur, to see the teacher who doted lose faith and retire... this was something worthwhile.
The music lover? Damage the eardrums, let tinnitus make a mockery of their former joy. Singer? Remove the tongue, damage the jaw, destroy the throat. Athlete? Joints never heal correctly. Surgeon? Destroy the fine motor control in the hands and possibly the eyes.
Colin? Keep him alive. Remove the feet, arms, and one eye. He was fastidious, so remove his ability to control his bladder. He was a dedicated vegetarian, so force him to survive on meat, often from his own body. He loves to kill, so force him to watch the torture of others without the sybaritic end he needs.