Title: Crazy Like a Fawkes

Rating: R (WARNING: graphic descriptions of violence/death and an abundance of dark thoughts)

Category: angst, drama

Spoilers: Pilot, Tiresias, TOIM, and probably bits of all of season one, though none are significant enough to prevent you from reading it.

Summary: Quicksilver Madness is not a pleasant experience...just ask Darien.

Archive: If you want it for your site, let me know.

Disclaimer: Much as I would like the fate of The Invisible Man to rest with me, it does not. Don't sue, because I can assure you that college students don't have much for you to take.

Dedication: This is for my best friend Linnea, who introduced me not only to I-Man, but to the world of fan fiction in general.

Author's Note: This fic completely disregards the notion of "stage 5 madness." Please also be aware that any contradictory statements or unresolved ideas are intentional...if you have ever analyzed your own thought process, you know that logic and reasoning (despite their definition) don't always work in a logical manner.





She asked me, once, what the madness was like. I couldn't tell her then, but I am trying now. No matter how bad the memories of the madness are, no matter how sharply I recall the pain, the torment, the anguish of my very soul, the edges have been smoothed away. I can only wait, in fear, for its inevitable recurrence. Then, in the moment, I will recall my foolish words of approximation, laugh at my attempts to describe the demon tearing me apart. It is easier to show her, but I cannot, not really. Words, which had always been there for me in times of need, inevitably fail. They must. Nothing can describe my torment. You have to live it, feel it, fight it knowing you will lose, and then, having lost, you must fear. Fear what you are doing, breaking, destroying, killing, even as you scream that it is not you.



What kind of lie is that? It is you. Undeniably you. You who laughs like the devil. You who knows no feeling, no emotion, but lust. Whether it is a sexual lust or a bloodthirsty lust is of no consequence. It is all the same, without distinction, in the end. The initial pain is awful, unbearable. I cringe each time the headaches start, almost more from the anticipation of pain than the pain itself. But it is nothing. Nothing. She doesn't know, she doesn't understand. She pities me, she has her "clinical interest" in me, but in the end she fears me, as she must. I live for the fear. I crave the fear. It is almost sweeter than the violence itself. Almost....



I want to ask her if she has ever heard the cracking of bones. The delicious sound made as the pressure becomes too great, as the bone shatters, tearing muscles and spilling blood as it does so. Ahhhh, such a sweet symphony. Choking, though, is my personal favorite. What good is a gun? It is so cold, so impersonal. But to choke the life out of a human being...that is art. To watch the tender flesh begin to discolor under your fingers, to hear the person gasping for air that will not come, to feel the throbbing of the blood vessels against your fingertips as you watch the emotions flash across their face. First is the shock, the fear. Then they plead with you - silently with their eyes, insistently with their hands, grasping and clawing as the world begins to spin around them, flashes of color and light. Then comes true panic. Death is just moments away. You could twist your hands, snapping their neck, granting them their release, but that would require kindness, and you know nothing of that. All that you know is that their suffering is your joy. The smell of fear, so palpable you can taste it, is your reward. The death itself brings no release, it only brings a need to find another. To cause them to fear you. To cause them pain. To send them from this world with the power that has been released from within the confines of your mind.



But I am getting ahead of myself, really. I'll start over, from the beginning, so that she knows exactly what they do to me...what my brother did to me...yet somehow manage to justify their actions with words like "duty," "patriotism," and "the greater good." My freedom (not that I actually have freedom) came at the cost of my sanity - but not only that, not only my sanity, but the lives of those around me. When the madness takes over, there is no limit to the damage and pain that I can inflict. She tries to brush it off, almost, tries to tell me that I am not responsible for my actions while in the throes of quicksilver madness, but that is small comfort for me. I must live with what I do, with what I have done, and I feel the guilt of my actions which both are and are not mine simultaneously. When sane, I deny the demon, claiming that it is not me; in the moment, though, I watch my hands do their bloody work from the corner of my mind, hear the thoughts that run through my head as my control slowly slips away, falling farther from myself until I no longer know anything at all. It is me. It isn't me. I cannot decide, I truly do not know, but when I first recover from an episode, the only thing that I do know is that I do not want it any more. The responsibility, the pain, the guilt...I want all of it to go away. There is but one solution, and that is death. I know that, though no one else is willing to accept it. They will. Soon enough they will. I'll make them understand, I'll make them set me free. Just wait a little longer...



She's calling to me now, impatient to begin our session. I can almost see the thoughts racing through her head today. She's so eager to find out exactly what the madness is like, but she is also perplexed by my willingness to share. I know that the question is forming on her lips, even now, but she is hesitant to ask it. Why now? Why am I ready to share this information with her, when I was so reluctant each time she asked before? If I actually hear her say the words, I might just tell her. But that would ruin everything. I'll keep that to myself. She won't mind, too much. She'll be too interested in everything else that I have to say.



The madness starts easily enough. My head is filled with whispers, almost, snaking tendrils that cling to my brain. The first time, at the compound, I was completely unprepared. It woke me up - I thought that people were conversing in my room - but finding the room empty I simply figured that I was going mad, shrugged, and returned to bed. I laugh now at my foolishness. We take insanity so lightly...I took insanity so lightly. The first time was the worst; now, in fact, I often don't hear the whispers at the onset of madness. Quicksilver madness is, inexplicably, very unpredictable and irregular. There may be stages of madness, but they can vary in length, time of onset, intensity, or even be skipped entirely. I can offer no explanation, and I doubt that anyone else can either.



Usually the headaches start next. A dull ache at first which eventually develops into crippling pain. It is so hard to describe the pain, so difficult to give an accurate description. It's like an earthquake, the epicenter at the base of my skull where the gland is. Slowly it spreads, filling my head with its insidious pain, washing over me in waves. At each jolt of pain I gasp, unable to keep silent while I'm being torn apart. It is a paralyzing pain, crippling me, forcing me to writhe in agony, leaving me unable to do anything at all to prevent it. It is as if someone has jabbed a knife in my head and is slowly twisting, tearing my brain apart, stripping me of rational thought. Eventually it subsides, releasing me and retreating back to where it came from so that it is once again only a dull ache. It is a slow process, and I have noticed it starting as early as halfway, or as late as just one segment green. Like I said, each bout with madness is unique...has its charms, you might say. I almost believe that the madness feeds on my fear and anticipation, hoping to draw me out until I am completely vulnerable.



While I begin to fight this internal battle, those around me begin to notice external changes as well. My eyes become threaded with red, increasing slowly with my other symptoms, until they become completely bloodshot. More than that, even. They become completely red, not a speck of white remaining. It frightens them. How could it not? It would almost frighten me, but it is rare that I see myself in such a state. Eyes of blood. A warning of things to come, almost. If one's eyes are truly the window of the soul, what does this say about me, about what I become? No, not what I become, but what I am. Myself. A reflection of my inner torment, my anger, my rage.



How is it that I do not claim the dark side as myself? Why do I embrace the light, rejecting the other half of me as something that is wrong? It lives in me, always, waiting patiently for the madness to release it. It is as much a part of me, this side that I lock in the corner of my mind, as the part which I accept. Isn't it? Aren't we all capable of evil as well as good? Free will. God gave that gift to us...why shouldn't we exercise it? But if we do have free will, if we truly can act in accordance with our deepest desires and cease to be restrained by the confines of society, why does it feel so wrong? Why do I scream in protest each time I feel my control begin to slip away? Control. Perhaps that is not the right word. It connotes restriction, an active effort to hold back something which naturally wishes to occur. But it isn't true, or at least I don't believe it to be, not really. It takes over...whatever "it" actually is. Arnaud called it my Id, but even he, though he engineered the defect in the gland, could not know what it would do. He's never experienced the madness, no one has but me. It is a lonely place, a lonely feeling, and I think that I would go insane if it weren't taking me there already. I am not releasing my innermost desires, I am not simply reduced to a primal state. The madness attacks me, scratching and clawing its way through my brain until it has broken free completely and left my soul imprisoned in its place.



Yes, that's it. That is the closest that I have ever come to describing it. Outwardly, I lose all rational thought, and do indeed become the base creature who only wishes to inflict pain. But inwardly, inwardly I don't want it to happen, don't actually want to feel the release of...of whatever it is. It may be, inherently, a part of myself, but it is not me. I cling, frantically, to the one remaining tendril of my humanity that the madness has not destroyed yet. As I watch myself say things that I do not mean and do things which I would never consciously do, my soul screams in protest. I cannot say that it is my brain which protests, because thought seems to be beyond my level of function. It has reduced to me to almost nothing, pulled me away from conscious action, but I scream from within the confines, struggle against my restraints. I do not feel the freedom of being released from my inhibitions, I feel the torment of being forced to watch my body destroy everything around me. No matter how much I begin to crave the bloodshed, no matter how well I can taste the fear of those around me, some small part of me resists. At the time, I may not even be aware of it, but it is always there. It has called me back from the brink of the abyss on more than one occasion, but it is weak in that state, and cannot always protect me from myself. When I tried to kill Hobbes, I attempted first to turn the gun on myself. The small part of me that was still recognizable would not let me harm another person, would not tolerate the pain and guilt that it would bring. Eventually the evil won out. I think it's inevitable. My inner strength is gradually stripped away, layer by layer, until all I have left is an emotional impulse - the feeling that comes from the deepest part of my consciousness, of my soul - which tells me that my actions are wrong. And while I may cling to that, may use it to draw me temporarily back to myself, it is never enough. It cannot be. And that is what I fear the most.



I fear myself because of what I am and what I am not. The madness releases something which is not me, cannot be me, yet is. Is it a lesser me? Something which I subjugated long ago in my need for decency, for humanity? I am not sure. At times, I think that it was always there, this capacity for destruction, but that it has just been dormant. But at other times I am just as positive that it is not true. Part of myself, but not of me. A locked box, found within us all, which was meant to remain closed. Isn't that the same thing, though? No. No, it most certainly is not. It is a fine line that I must walk when describing the inner workings of myself, and even as I try to describe it I know that I may be wrong. I have only my beliefs to guide me, for when all is said and done, what remains but them? The madness takes them away, in the end, and that is how I know that all of the philosophers in the world were on to something. Without a belief in something - anything - we are nothing. When man is stripped down to the core of his being, and has no faith, no beliefs of any kind, no restraint of any kind, he is worse than an animal, for even animals possess some of what we selfishly call humanity. That base creature is me. That is what I become. A lustful predator, hungry for fear, feeding off of the pain of others, filled with a compulsive need for domination and possession. But I have strayed far from my intended topic...



She is looking at me curiously, cautiously, seemingly apprehensive of my prolonged silence. Or maybe there was no silence, perhaps I have said all this aloud. It is of no consequence to me. It is better that she understand it all, that she knows the thoughts with which I torment myself nightly. She opens her mouth as if to speak, but she has promised not to interrupt my narrative, so she does not. Her brow is furrowed in concentration, though, and her eyes are alight with something akin to compassion. Perhaps she is beginning to see. I do not ask for pity, not even for understanding, but I do hope for forgiveness and a release from the permanent prison of my mind. Surely, then, I've told her all except for that...left out that I have found the one solution that will resolve my torment. It is too late to wonder now. Either she knows the thoughts which run through my head, attacking my brain almost as insidiously as the madness, or she does not. I think she does.



My eyes. That is where I abruptly left my narrative so long ago. Right around the time the blood begins intermittently to streak my eyes with red, I become more blunt and aggressive. Or so I'm told. I don't tend to notice the difference in the beginning; in fact, I don't take note of it until I feel the surge of increased strength. It is like an awakening, a revival. I can almost feel the quicksilver coursing through my veins, releasing a bit more of my potential with each wave. It is as if one moment I am weighted down, struggling with tasks which should come so easily, and the next my bonds have been released. Again, I do not know if the strength is always there, always present within me, or if the quicksilver madness bestows it upon me. It is another thing which I do not really care to know. The worst thing, for me, is discovering the demon within. To discover what is and is not me - and possibly some deeper truth about human nature - scares me beyond words. I turn to these thoughts only in my darkest moments, or in dreams, but almost never consciously. Despite all of my theories about the gland and the madness, I try to avoid that last, deepest introspection, because I know that if I ever discover the answer - no matter what it is - I will not be able to live with the knowledge. Once you know, you cannot forget.



It is better to ignore it whenever possible, to pretend to live this thing that I call my life, to laugh with my friends...or friend, as the case may be, to endure the poking and prodding, to complete the assignments, to listen to someone tell me that it was a job well done, never mind the fact that it is driving me to the brink of insanity, in more than one way. A life on the edge has always been a somewhat appealing idea which I could never quite manage to obtain - despite the obvious risks involved in my former profession. I didn't mind, too much. After all, I am just as content reading philosophy and classical literature as, say, bungee jumping or engaging in high-stakes espionage. I'm not even sure what made me become a thief when everyone told me I had so much more promise - it was rebellion, mostly, that and the fact that my sense of morality got knocked out of whack, but that's a whole different story. Too bad I'll never get to tell it...well, Kev, you certainly unleashed my potential. Be all that you can be, right? I have my life on the edge now, and I don't want it. I stand at the edge of a precipice, eyes closed, blindly trying to find my way to something. I can't do it anymore. I have fallen one too many times, hitting bottom only to brush myself off so that I can fall again. I would continue, hoping to eventually find my way back to solid ground - sometimes I even think I've made progress, found gratification and even a little happiness in my new life - but there's a problem that I cannot resolve. Each time, having plummeted to the earth, it is not me who is hurt, not myself who receives the injuries for my misstep. It is someone else. Someone innocent. And I cannot live with that. Invisibility may be an incredible gift, I truly believe in Kevin's vision that it can be, but with the current imperfections it is a burden too heavy to bear, and too costly to my soul. I have a gland in my brain that doesn't belong there, and I'll rid myself of it, one way or another. She'll listen to me, in the end, bend to my will - she'll have to. I just want her to know, if not understand. She cannot excuse it away like every other time, cannot hide behind her medical theories or scientific gibberish. She must forgive me for who I am, who I am not, and who I refuse to become.



Refuse to become. It is odd that I say that, now, even as I prepare to force myself to that state. I will bring the madness about so that they can eliminate it out of necessity and thereby feel less guilt. It is necessity which drives me, as well. I cannot live with it any more. Cannot. But just as she wondered what prompted this sudden narrative on quicksilver madness, I have wondered what brought me to this conclusion having lived with it so long already. I am no doctor, but I think that the reality and seriousness of it are just beginning to seep into the deepest levels of my consciousness, that I had successfully blocked most of it out for a while and now it is returning. Sort of like post-traumatic stress disorder. It swallowed me up and I hardly noticed. I don't see a way out of it, save this, and perhaps that is for the best since the cause of my problems cannot be resolved. I was walking around, only semi-conscious, and now I have truly awoken. When Simon Cole asked for the gland to die, it didn't matter to him because he was already dead. Knowing that I would have to die as well, he said, 'he can thank me later.' His words haunt me. I didn't understand then, but I do now. The burden of permanent invisibility was too much for Simon, and the burden of madness is too much for me. It isn't the physical pain, as excruciating as that might be, but the pain I suffer from the knowledge of my deeds, and the fear of my capabilities. Hopefully, when it is done, she will have realized enough to prevent further implementation of the project before the defect is corrected. I know that that possibility should concern me more than it does. I do not want another to suffer as I have suffered. That is why I am doing this, to end this ceaseless anguish and fear in myself and to prevent the pain others will suffer at my hands. Will suffer. Not might suffer. I have to keep reminding myself of that, because no matter how firm my resolve is, I am held back by my voice of reason. I cannot afford to hesitate, I must act. As he lay dying in my arms, Kevin told me that he was sorry, and that I was always smarter than him. I have truly forgiven him, finally, and that realization has in part prompted my current actions. As for me being the smarter one...well, I am smart enough to realize the precariousness of my current position, and smart enough to realize that because I care, because I value the lives of others above myself, I need to let go. I do have things to live for, people to live for, and I know that. I do not want to die, would fail to bring about my own end, but I know that it must happen. That is why I need to strip my reason away, why I need to willingly bring about the madness so that I can kill my soul and allow them to kill my body.



I should be more cautious, now. I am growing more intent on the task at hand, and she is beginning to become suspicious. Or, at least, I think she is. It is hard to tell what words I have allowed to slip from my mouth, which I have kept silent, which I have muttered under my breath. I think - I think - that I have continued to give her those trivial details of madness which she was so eager for. I think that I have managed to maintain my facade, concealing the turmoil within. I think that the time is growing closer, closer to the hour of my release. I think that it is time to bring the demon out to play. Not just yet, though, not quite. I must fight harder now than I have ever fought before, because more is at stake. It is not the life of my partner, not the life of my Keeper, that I fight for, not even mine. When all has been satisfactorily prepared, I will bring the quicksilver madness - which is now so far away that it should have been days before I felt it - to it's height as quickly as possible. I will give it freer reign than I have before, yet also exert more control. They need to think that I am past it all, believe that they have no alternative, just as I believe. I will only repress it enough so as not to actually kill anyone, though it is a dangerous game that I play and can make no promises. I glance at the clock. Hobbes will be here soon. I have time to begin it - enough, but not too much. Perfect.



Casually I leave my chair, meandering around the room. Her gaze follows me, never wavering, sharp mind knowing that something is amiss. I hear her stand as I open the refrigerator door, a questioning "Darien" escaping from her lips. Making no reply, I choose instead to push aside the container of half-eaten Chinese take-out and pick up the vials of counteragent. Three vials. I hold them up, the blue liquid glistening beautifully in the light. I am holding my sanity in my hands. The weight of what I am about to do falls upon me once more, and it is only with great effort that I quell the rising tide of emotion. It doesn't help that she is talking to me, that she is telling me - as if I wasn't already aware - that I do not need my shot yet, not for two more days. I look up at her, a sad smile forming on my lips, and tell her that I know. Releasing my grip on the vials, I watch her face as I hear each one hit the floor and shatter, broken shards flying out in all directions. Not giving her time to react, I vanish from sight.



Backing up slowly, she calls to me, insistently, demanding that I come back. What am I doing? If I don't shed my quicksilver soon, it's possible I'll suffer the madness before I get my shot. I don't want that, do I? She needs time to synthesize more counteragent.



I laugh, and she spins quickly in the direction of my voice. She still doesn't get it. I don't want the madness, but I don't want the counteragent either. I approach her quietly as she continues to plead with me. She knows what the madness does to me, after all I had just finished telling her everything, and she does not want me to suffer from it needlessly. Too bad she cannot see that it is necessary. There is still a tinge of regret in my heart, a small piece that wants to end all of this now before it truly begins, but I repress it. She has stopped talking, deciding instead to run for the phone and alert someone to come to the lab. But I had anticipated this, and she arrives only in time to watch it be ripped from the wall. Undeterred, she heads exactly where I predicted she would - the location of her tranq gun. Weapon in hand, she sweeps her gaze once more around the seemingly empty room. No need to draw this part out - I can already feel the first twinge of a headache. I will make it easy for her. With a deep sigh I stop the flow, quicksilver flaking and falling to the floor. She catches the movement out of the corner of her eye and turns, shooting a dart without hesitation.



Now, I'll be the first to admit that she's a good shot, and I saw her relax visibly as the dart lodged itself in my body. But I didn't fall to the ground. The confusion flashed in her eyes for an instant, but then she raised the gun and fired another dart. Aside from the slight pain of impact, there was nothing. Pulling the darts from me and flinging them carelessly aside, I raise my head to meet her gaze. Slowly, mechanically, she places the gun on the counter by her side and steps toward me. She has figured it out. Last night, after I saw her leave, I had replaced the darts - they were useless now.



Why? She stared intently, waiting, but her voice had wavered, and her eyes were filled with terror. Not terror of me, not yet, but of what I was doing. I glance down at my wrist as the first true wave of pain, still somewhat gentle, swept over me. Three segments green. I hold my arm up so that she can see that I am not mad, not yet, and slowly cover the distance between us. I reach out for her but she cringes, still unsure of what to think. I wish I knew what was going through her head right now...I wish I knew what was going through my own. This is insanity, what I am doing, and I cannot use the quicksilver for an excuse. I reach out again and she backs up, into the corner, as far from me as she can get. I match her step for step, pausing only when I feel the pain again. I tilt my head, bringing my hand up to massage the back of my head. I see her eyes widen, alerting me that my own must no longer be fully white. This time when I reach for her I do not hesitate, catching her wrists so that she cannot fight me. She hadn't resisted, could wrench her hands from my grasp if she had really wanted to, but instead waited patiently. Her breathing is slightly uneven, but she is trying her best not to appear scared. The fear is plain in her eyes, though, and I'm sure that it is evident in mine as well.



Now that the moment had come, I was unsure of what to tell her. My heart felt constricted, a dull ache which spread throughout my chest. I bow my head for a moment, and when I look up again I can feel a lone tear trailing down my cheek. Please, Claire...please forgive me, help Bobby to forgive me, and know that I have already forgiven all of you. It's for the best. I drop her hands and vanish from sight once more.



I had done my part, had explained my anguish to her as best I could, and now could only wait. Shaking my head vigorously in an essentially useless attempt to fend off the impending madness, I retreat to a different corner of the room. I can still see her clearly, standing as I had left her, staring at the spot where I had last been. She must not know what to make of my revelation. That's good. I hardly knew what to make of it. It would be better that she was confused, that she didn't have the time to think this through rationally, as a scientist. A sudden wave of pain washed over me again, subsiding only to allow an insistent throbbing in my temples, a pounding in my ears. I tilt my head to the side again, but only feel dizzy. Movement in the corner of my eye proves to be Claire, finally recovering from the shock. A smile forms on my lips as I hear her begin to talk to me again - no, not to me, at me. I was being stupid, foolish, I knew what would happen if I went quicksilver mad. Bobby would be here soon, would I talk to Bobby?



No. Certainly not. With Claire it had felt safe enough to talk, but with Bobby...he might just have success, and a victory for him now would surely lead to his death later on. Bobby wouldn't be able to understand that, he would only care about what his partner was doing to himself, the pain he was suffering. I wouldn't give him a choice. I wouldn't let him try to save me. Soon I will be past saving, soon I will be set free. But why does it hurt so much?



Foolish words. Almost as soon as they flashed across my brain, the demon lashed out, reminding me that the pain in my heart is nothing compared to the pain that resides here. It felt like my brain was being clawed apart, and I dropped to the ground, suddenly unable to support myself. I can feel myself rocking back and forth on my knees, clutching my head. Still not satisfied, the demon struck again; this time it was so swift and unexpected that I bit my tongue - hard - to keep from crying out. Unfortunately, tears of quicksilver froze and dropped to the floor, the subtle sound surely alerting Claire to my location. While the tears are evidence of my remaining humanity, I gasp in pleasure at the coppery taste of the blood I had drawn. It incensed me, and only served to encourage the demon. I roll my tongue inside my mouth, savoring every bit. Too bad there is not enough. Violence. Violence would bring the hoped for blood. It could not be tasted, but it could be enjoyed. The smell of it, mixing with the smell of fear. The feel of it, trickling down my fingers. The sound of my victim, screaming first in terror, then in pain, and then maybe, just maybe, in death.



A hand brushes my head, then my shoulder, and I jerk at the touch. Claire. Claire had found me. At her soothing voice I shudder, reality struggling to come back to the forefront of my mind. I try to roll away from her, to keep her away so that I will not hurt her, but the pain cripples me, forcing me to remain. The demon laughs. I laugh. The pain hits me again, and again, and again. It's getting hard to think, difficult to maintain a train of thought. Is she talking to me? Doesn't she see that her life is in danger? I can only hold back for so long, and then -



Why not just give in? Surely it would be easier than this pointless struggle. If I hurt her, Hobbes would surely shoot me then. Yes, that would make everything go faster. And faster's better. I reach out for her, drawing a finger across her cheek. She smiles for a moment, thinking that I am coming to my senses, but then realizes that that is the exact opposite of what was happening. She got up and ran for the door. I fight with myself, reason screaming that I do not want to hurt her, madness screaming that her pain will bring my pleasure. It takes only a split second to make a decision, and then I am up and running for the door.



I tackle her mere inches from her escape, sending her swiftly and harshly to the ground as I land on top of her. I smile as I hear her moan, struggling for consciousness. Even now she is trying to convince me to stop. Stupid. I slap her across the face, creating an almost immediate bruise. Her eyes rolled in her head, body winning the fight over mind, but amazingly mind won out once more. She attempts to sit, but her arms are pinned beneath me. I slap her again. This time, blood trickles from the corner of her mouth. I place my finger there, gently, and pull the gathering pool of blood, streaking it down her chin and neck to the top of her blouse. I lick my lips in anticipation, then stop, mentally slapping myself for what I was doing. This is why I need to die. This is why I cannot live this life any longer. I roll away from her, already deeply ashamed and sorrowful.



But part of me is not content. Part of me still wants this, still wants to hurt her, still wants to be the cause of her fear and pain. The pain in my head begins mounting again, striving to convince me to resume the assault. I fight it, blindly, attempting to retreat deep enough inside myself so that it cannot drag me away. Madness is not so easily beaten. It raged, it screamed, it fought. Pulling, destroying, tearing, clawing, annihilating my small resolve. All of my convictions became useless as they were torn down around me. I screamed, but whether it was because I was losing the battle or because the madness had not yet won I did not know. Rage filled me, terrible, incredible rage. The pain only serves to strengthen the rage, my anger feeds upon it, and the demon grows strong. I clutch at my head, tempted to claw away at the madness in my brain as it had clawed at me.



The lab doors slide open, startling me from my internal struggle. I fight the pain, managing to open my eyes partway. It is Bobby, idly humming an unknown tune, but he jerks to a stop and the song dies on his lips as he takes in the scene around him. He runs to the Keeper, not knowing that he had almost tripped over me in the process. He wants her to speak, to tell him what had happened, but I do not want her to. I stand, hoping that I have progressed far enough in the madness for the headache to begin it's retreat. She manages to gasp out my name before I punch her swiftly in the gut and her voice dies to a soft whoosh of air as she clutches her stomach in anguish. Bobby pulls out his gun, rising to a standing position and now fully alert. He probably can't be sure if Claire's latest pain was her own or if I had induced it to silence her. Eyes darting suspiciously around the room, he calls to me, attempting to coax me into sight. At the same time he continues to try to talk to Claire, but consciousness is fading fast. I have to fight the impulse to laugh, but allow myself a smile of twisted pleasure. This was too good. I could kill both of them easily - either slowly or swiftly, however I chose. But somewhere, deep inside, I protest. I don't want them to die, not them, they are supposed to live. The pain begins to subside, and I sigh in relief, realizing too late that that means the madness is fast approaching it's height. I fight wildly now, clinging to the last tattered shreds of my sanity, wondering if what I had done was terribly wrong but not thinking clearly enough to know. Despite my brain's protests, my body, guided by the madness, begins to move around Bobby in a wide circle, hoping to attack from behind. The thin wall holding back the full fury of the madness continues to erode, to crumble around me, and both the screams of resistance and of triumph echo in my head. Somehow I manage to hear Claire speak again, though her voice is soft and broken. Bobby didn't look at her as she spoke, still searching intently for a man he could not see.



The words which fell from her mouth were sweet to the demon, bittersweet for the part of me who hated the madness but wished for my demise, and horrifying to my partner. Destroyed the counteragent...intentionally. I watched with glee the reaction on Bobby's face. I have never seen him look like that before, not when I had tried to kill him, not even when I had saved him. We were closer now, of course, but I would never have predicted he would look so...anguished. Some mix of anger, sadness, and betrayal which contorted his face momentarily before the mask of duty and professionalism takes over out of necessity. Friendship can only stretch so far, and while Bobby might have been willing to die for me, the same cannot true when I become the demon. Good. He understood what he had to do, and he would do it. One last blast of white-hot pain shoots through my body, and the wall falls, crashing to the ground and allowing twisted, murderous thoughts to flow completely through my brain. No more need for invisibility, the final madness will soon come of its own accord. I laugh manically as the quicksilver shatters to the floor, the sound reminiscent of the counteragent vials.



Bobby spins quickly, ordering me to stay exactly where I am. I don't listen. I am beyond listening to him, to all of them. I know what I want. I want them to die - slowly, horribly, painfully. I want to hear them scream for the mercy that they did not show me, to watch them suffer as I have suffered, and to refuse them a release from their torment. I walk toward him slowly, purposefully, but he does not waver, still foolishly trying to call me back. Don't you see that Darien is dead? His gun is trained on me, ready to fire the long-hoped-for bullet, but he persists in trying to talk me down, calling me buddy, partner, attempting to convince me that this is not really what I want. Of course it is what I want. His words anger me, and I grow tired of being patient. I launch myself at him, watching his eyes widen as he pulls the trigger. My body seems to pause in midair, then falls to the ground with a thud. I wail, but it is not in pain. Bastard. The bastard shot me in the leg. From the corner of my eye I watch him approach me. One hand reaches out to roll me over while the other holds the gun steadily. I let him. Better to allow the fool think that he was succeeding, and then I could rip his throat out.



He kneels by my side - a big mistake - and turns my head so that he can see into my eyes. He looks sad, almost as if he were repentant for having shot me. Too bad he had not done what I wanted. He should have killed me when he had the chance. Now it is my turn, and currently I do not have the same objections to killing him that he had of killing me. Bobby looks away for a brief moment - probably for the missing phone - and that is all the opportunity I need. My arms shoot up and wrap themselves around his neck, squeezing hard. He pulls at my hands for a minute, gasping for air, then abruptly changes tactics. I found myself being flipped over his head, landing hard. Undaunted, I slide across the floor, grabbing for his gun. He tackles me from behind, but I twist around and my fist makes contact with his face. Now we have become a tangle of limbs, rolling around on the floor as we exchange a flurry of punches. He may be better trained, but my strength has the upper hand here. I force him on his back, pummeling him with punches, the sight of blood only encouraging me further. I feel a sudden sharp pain in my chest as Bobby manages to half free himself from my grasp and his fist makes contact. Tired of my game, I decide to end it, wrapping my hands around his throat in an iron grip that I know he will be unable to break. The flesh around my fingers begins to purple, and his breath comes in sputtering gasps. I press harder, relishing the fear and pain so evident in his eyes. He pulls at my arms, but is fast losing strength and barely succeeds in irritating me. Just as his eyelids began to flutter, indicating final defeat, my skull exploded in pain.



I let go of Hobbes to grasp my own head, the world growing dim and fuzzy. Claire. She must have regained consciousness, and now I fight for my own. I roll to my side so that I can see her, hearing Bobby gasping faintly beside me. She is pointing the gun at me, standing unsteadily. I laugh as my leg shoots out, sending her crashing to the ground with a cry of pain. Reaching over her I grabbed for the gun, but she resists, attempting to kick me. Her first effort was of no consequence but the second time she manages to kick the wounded leg and I howl in pain and rage. I slapped her, punched her, but still she fights. Holding both of her arms down with one of mine, I throw my good leg across her body, pinning her to the floor. With my other hand I brush several stray hairs from her face, slowly tracing the line of her jaw with my thumb. She stops fighting, paralyzed with fear. As I lean in she turns her head, but I pull her hair severely and she faces me once more, eyes flashing. Such fire for someone so scared. I lean in again and she flinches, but does not turn away. I can smell the adrenaline, the fear. Kissing her roughly, I can taste the bitter sweetness of her blood. My mind was spinning from the pain of my injuries and the ever-increasing demands of the demon. I am unsure if I should kill her now or wait to see what else I can do with her. She murmurs something against my lips, and I stop, suddenly curious to hear her. Claire is pleading - not for her life as I would have expected, but for me. She still believes that I care whether she lives or dies, whether Bobby lives or dies. She doesn't want me to hate myself for what I am doing. I recapture her lips in a kiss, pressing harder against her so that I do not have to hear her words. A small door in my head had opened, though, and I screamed at the me who was not me. Startled, the demon released his prey and turned his fury upon this disturbance, determined this time to vanquish me more permanently. Distracted by myself, I did not have time to react when Hobbes grabbed me from behind, pulling me from Claire. Quickly shoving reason to the furthest corner of my brain, I lash out, but both Bobby and Claire attempt to hold me now, and my strength is ebbing slowly as blood flows from my neglected gunshot wound. Internally I scream, howling in rage, but do not free myself from my captors.



I will get them yet. Claire is dizzy, weak, foolish enough to consider my injury before both hers and Bobby's. Ahhh...what I had originally hoped would be a fatal wound to the chest is merely a flesh wound. The bullet lodged itself shallowly in my calf, creating a lot of blood but not much else. Good. I relax further, allowing them to think that I am weak, that I have been beaten. I hear the doors to the lab slide open and crack my eyelids to evaluate the new arrivals. Two agents, Clark and...somebody else. My lips begin to curl into a smile but I suppress it, buying more time. I can feel the beginnings of a headache, and some pain arches through my chest as I breathe, but I am in far better shape than the others. The guys in suits won't be much of a problem, and if they prove to be difficult at least I can be assured that they are impartial enough to shoot me the right way. I know that my time is growing short - it is getting more and more arduous to force myself to think straight. The part of me that the madness has claimed, which is all but one or two little specks in the corner of my brain, is irrational and violent. It would act without thinking, strike without fear of consequence, attack with the pure joy brought through violence. But the rational fragments remaining have at least some control, since I am lying here, waiting for a time to strike and die. The demon does not want to die, Darien does. I do not want to, I want to. Is it the same? No more debate. Whoever I am - whatever I am - doesn't matter anymore. They are distracted relating recent events, and I feel Hobbes grip on my arms loosen. I quicksilver and while his grip intensifies momentarily to prevent my escape, the cold forces him to let go. I scramble to my feet, and the hunt begins again.



Bobby calls out to me but his voice cracks and he coughs violently. If I had pity left within me, I think that I would pity him. I nearly killed him, both him and Claire, but still he thinks that there is something inside of me worth saving. If he only knew how right he was, yet at the same time so wrong. One agent has blocked the exit, hoping to contain me, the other is moving cautiously through the room. Claire is leaning against Bobby for support, neither quite well enough to stand alone. I smile as I watch four pairs of eyes scan the lab for signs of an invisible sociopath. I walk halfway to my destination before I stop, suddenly unaware of where I was going and why. I try to think but can't form full thoughts, know only that the fury within me is approaching its zenith. I hunger for fear, for blood, for violence, for death. I ache for superiority, for power, for domination. Think, dammit. Why can't I think? But blind rage takes over, and I fling myself at the nearest person. The violence is sweet, intoxicating, enhanced by the cries of pain coming from the body beneath me. Strong arms grasp me and fling me from my prey. I land on the floor with a cry of anger as my body involuntarily sheds its quicksilver coating. I hear noise, feel myself being held down, find myself unable to stop them.



No! The thought echoes loudly through my now empty head, yet somehow I realize vaguely that I am completely and utterly mad. I fight. I punch. I claw. I yell. I am held down. My limbs are yanked harshly and I feel rough cloth against my skin. A metallic click. Dragging. Wrong. Something is wrong. I fight again, but cannot move. My eyes cannot focus, dim shapes surrounding me, and my ears are filled with an unearthly sound. It fills me completely - it is in my head, crowding to fit, pounding behind my eyes. It is in my chest, drowning out the beating of my heart. It is everywhere. Loud. Terrible. Inescapable. Intolerable. I want it to stop. I close my eyes against it, attempt to curl my body away from it, try to close my ears against it. The sound ceases abruptly when I close my mouth. It was my scream. Eyes flutter open to see nothing but white in the now deafening silence.



I sit up slowly. White. White all around me. Surrounding, oppressing. I turn my head and see more white, in all directions, save one squarish patch of gray. Getting to my knees carefully, unsteadily, I groan at the pain. I move my arms to help me stand but they do not obey. I look down but do not see them, I only see more white. With great effort I stand, staggering towards the gray. I can see something. My eyesight is blurry and I am unable to focus properly, so I tilt my head to the side. The object moves. I move to one side and it follows me. I close my eyes against a sudden pain which shoots through my head, barely managing to remain standing. I cry out. When it subsides I turn away from the grayish shape, frustrated that I do not understand. I make my way across the vast whiteness, finding as I go along that it has a shape, limitations of size. I walked into a wall, and though it was soft it was also unyielding. I turn. After a while I encounter another wall, and turn again. Slightly more confident, my pace quickens, and I find the walls again, and again, and again. Out. I need to get out. How do I get out? I move faster, running now, searching for a place to escape. A few paces and I hit the wall. Turn, run, hit another. Turn, run, hit another. I continue, endlessly, growing more and more agitated, until I can run no longer. As I impact the wall I stop, sinking to the floor, and there is a wetness on my face as I hear my breath begin to come in shuddering gasps. I am trapped. I lay there, sobbing, until I ache everywhere, unable to move. I want to rub my face so that I can see, but my arms betray me once more. Bleary eyes stare into whiteness, into a nothingness that is everything. I close my eyes and still see - there is no darkness here, no refuge, but I am exhausted. I sleep.



Hollow. I feel an emptiness, an ache. I try to swallow but my throat is dry. My tongue runs across parched lips. I open my eyes and the world explodes in pain. So bright, such agony. I struggle to sit. Squinting to block out the light, I look around. Whiteness surrounds me. I think that I can make out the faint lines of a wall, but all else is white. No, not everything. I can see gray in the corner of my vision. I drag myself along the floor until I can see it more clearly. A gray shape. Is it a way out of the whiteness? Have I seen it before? Standing, I make my way over to it. It is like a square, and flat. I can see other things in the flatness - muted, fuzzy things that are neither white nor gray. I reach out to touch the shapes, but nothing happens. My arms do not move. They are there, I can feel them, but I look down and do not see them. This frustrates me. I reach out instead with my head, and find the grayness to be smooth. I look up and see the shapes inside the gray move. My head touches the smooth, flat grayness again but I cannot feel a difference where the other things are. I step back, watching as they move. They are not the same as the grayness, but how can they be there if I cannot feel them? I am angry. The shapes move, following me, but I do not know where they come from. I want them to go away. They must go away. I run as fast as I can into the gray shape. I feel pain, but the strange shapes remain. I do it again. Still there. They keep moving as I move, pursuing me, mimicking me. I scream into the silence, a rage with no outlet filling my hollow body until I am whole once more.

I hear a sound and turn my full attention upon it. There is a hole in the white wall now, and talking colored shapes stand near it. One moves forward, towards me, so I step back. It is a person, talking to me in a low, calm voice. I am not fooled. The calmness is fake. It is scared, scared of me, and it should be. I want the whiteness to go away, I want the light to go away, I want the people to go away, I want it all to go away. I can make it leave. My anger tells me that I can. I let it come closer, draw it away from the others, and then I pounce. We hit the ground and I reach out to kill it, but I cannot. The others rush to pull me away and I fight them, but it is hard to fight when my arms do not obey the commands of my body. I struggle, kicking those that I can, the anger only growing stronger. I escape momentarily but soon am helpless to free myself as they grab me again and I begin to feel the pain of my aching, tired body above the strength of the rage. I wail. I do not know how many there are, but their hands seem to be everywhere, confining me, holding me down. Their hands hurt me, seeming to burn themselves into my tender flesh even as one of them speaks softly to me.



Just as I adjust myself to this new feeling, and to this new prison, my leg is aflame with sudden, sharp pain and I involuntarily arch my body away from it. I cannot keep myself from crying out as I frantically struggle to free myself once more but am only held down more securely. The quiet voice speaks again, soothing in tone, as I lay there helpless to defend myself and unable to harm the bringers of my agony. They touch my leg again, causing an even more intense pain which does not subside. I struggle, weakly, as sobs wrack my body. After an eternity it stops, and I quiet immediately, fearing what they will do next. Hands grasp my head so I quickly turn it, biting that which wishes to contain me. It elicits a howl of pain, but victory is short. The others hold my head steady and force open my mouth as I am shoved into a sitting position. Water. As it hits my tongue I momentarily cease to curse my captors, but they stop too soon, before I have been satisfied. I cry out, hoping for more, but nothing comes. Instead they let go of me, making the hole in the whiteness appear and take them away before I am able to get to my feet. I run towards it, dizzily, but it is gone and I collapse.



I can feel the bright whiteness burning behind my eyes, so I do not open them fully. I do not need to. I know that the whiteness is there, with me, and that we are alone in our misery. My leg throbs, pulses of pain slowly spreading, diffusing. I am hot. I twist my body in an effort to hide from the whiteness, but scream at the aching in my chest. I want to curl up, to keep it all away from me, but I cannot. It will not go away. It refuses. I sit up, opening eyes a little wider now, adjusting to the pain of the brightness. I want to stand but it is hard. I fall several times before I find myself successful. I begin to walk around, searching for the hole in the whiteness that is my escape. A wall. Another. Another, and another, and another, and another. Nothing but walls, nothing except for white, soft, immovable walls to trap and confine me. I do not know that there are tears until they pass my cracked lips, a sharp, stinging pain to add to all the rest. I lean into the wall, angry and empty. It is darker with my face against the wall. I could lay down, here, and escape some of the whiteness. I hear a click. I wheel around to face it, but immediately regret it as vertigo sweeps over me and I fall to my knees. They are back.



I struggle to stand as they approach me, kick and fight as I did before but again to no avail. They hold me down again, keeping me firmly in place as the soft voice drifts to my ears. No. Not again, not...aaaahhhhhhhhh. My leg is on fire, burning, they are burning my leg. Through my screams of pain I can hear the voice - calming, pleading almost, speaking soothingly as it brings about my agony. The pain stops abruptly, leaving behind a dull ache, and I let out a shuddering breath. I open my mouth, expectantly, hoping for water like they gave me before. Nothing comes. I open my eyes, thinking despite the fact that I was being held down that they had left me. They were there. Many of them, dark shapes which stood out against the white. Water. I want water. I open my mouth again, and again I receive nothing. I cry out, but what used to be sadness turns into rage. I begin to fight again, blindly, wildly, their attempts to hold me down only fueling my anger. They lean in, crowding over me, using their bodies for leverage against my rage-induced strength, hoping to keep me on the ground. I do not want them to. I want them to let me go. I want them to give me what I need. I want them to let me kill them. They hold me tightly, but it is not enough. I see my opportunity and I take it. As an arm passes near my head I strike, teeth sinking deeply into the exposed flesh.



Ecstasy! I do not know what is better, the howl of rage and pain which I have caused, or the feeling of power, strength, and superiority I feel within myself. There is panic all around me, chaos as they struggle between holding me down and ripping me from my victim. They cannot do both. The grip on one of my legs is loosened and I kick blindly, soon freeing the other as well. I fight to free the rest of my body, arms pulling futilely against their restraints. I struggle, gaining more and more ground as I feel their control crumble around them. I can smell their fear, their panic, their pain. It encourages me. Soon I am free, and run towards escape. They catch me quickly, though, forcing me to the ground where it is easier for them to keep me, to hurt me. I do not want them to hurt me again. I feel tears upon my face, and I know that my anger is dissipating as my vision becomes clouded. I am so tired. I want to get out of the whiteness, but I cannot, they hold me down. I want to stop the pain in my leg, in my chest, everywhere, but they only make it worse. I want to hurt them for all that they do, and I know that they fear it, but I am too weak. Now the rage is leaving me, leaving me aching and empty once more, allowing me to feel the fullness of my pain. Full of pain which leaves me empty. Will it never end?



As I wake I find myself still tired, still aching, still...incomplete. I try to bring my anger to me - since it seems to stop the hurting, if only for a while - but it does not come. I am exhausted, defeated. Squinting at the bright, unwavering whiteness, I scream. The sound echoes in my head long after I have stopped. I look around me, wanting to return to sleep, but see something new this time. Red. On the floor, there is something red. I crawl towards it, as well as is possible, and stare. Scattered spots of crimson, dark and beautiful against the stark contrast of the white. I breathe in, slowly, and know that it is blood. I look around me for the cause, but find nothing. I am not pleased. My stomach rumbles, discontented, and I leave the beautiful blood behind, only somewhat unwillingly. I want to sleep again now. I move as far away as possible, searching for a small corner of relief for my aching eyes. Dropping my head to the ground, my eyelids flutter closed and I escape to sweet nothingness.



The silence wakes me. I want to make noise, a sound so that the whiteness is not so oppressing, but my parched lips produce no sound. I roll to my side, slowly, testing the pain in my ribs. I think I can sit. I am successful for a moment, but I feel dizzy and fall backwards, hitting the wall. The wall will help me sit. I look around, searching for the now-familiar white and gray. I remember the red, too. My eyes focus slowly, looking for it, but there is nothing there. The red is gone, leaving me alone once more in my world of whiteness. Perhaps I only dreamed it, and it was never there. Like the shapes I saw in the grayness...I thought I saw them there, moving, but I cannot feel them, so they must not be there. I wait to hear the click. They should be coming again, coming to hurt me. They will hold me down, in fear of me, while that one speaks soothingly as pain increases. I do not understand.



I hear them, they are coming. This time I do not rise to meet them, do not stand to fight them. I wait. Hearing them approach I wince, preparing for the pain which I know that they will bring. They roll me over, pulling my legs down, securing them with their hands. I can sense their fear, greater than it was the last time, but make no move to free myself. I am too tired, too hungry, too aching. I wait for the stinging, shooting pains in my leg, still failing to keep myself from crying out. I wait as they examine the rest of my body, a small whimper escaping as they press down upon my chest. I wait as the voice talks to me, an incomprehensible jumble of soft-spoken sounds. I wait as they raise me to a sitting position, tilting my head back, looking into my eyes. I am rewarded as I feel the water touch my lips. Once again it is taken from me too soon. They release me slowly and back away, watching me warily, waiting for something. I open my aching eyes and stare back at them, wondering what will happen next. Will it be different now? Will they take me from the whiteness? One of them speaks, another answers, and then they leave as abruptly as they came, taking my faint hope with them. I will never leave this blinding nothingness. I will never be free. I am tired, so tired, so empty. I cannot even cry.



I have been pacing again, searching out the walls which are the only real thing I am sure of in this empty, hollow, white place. I stared at the grayness for a while, still struggling to understand what it was doing here in the world of nothing, but my frustration made me walk. I am getting tired now, but it is nice to hear the faint sound I make when I move, and it is nice to feel the softness of the wall as I lean into it before changing directions. I never know when the wall will come to me, the whiteness has burned so thoroughly into my eyes that even the faint differences have become blurred. White. White is all that I know. I can see it, I can feel it, I even think that I can hear it, for it is complete in its nothingness. Everything and nothing. So I walk on, find a wall, and turn so that I can do it again. I have just left the small comfort of one wall to search out another when I hear the loud, distinct click that means I will no longer be alone. I cringe, sinking back to find the wall, unsure that I can withstand the pain again without the anger taking control.



They come, grabbing me and dragging me towards the voice. I am torn between the fear of pain and the sudden, bursting joy of my senses. Through bleary eyes I can see colors, movement, and can hear sounds, but I can also feel their hands upon me, and this dampens my exhilaration, grounding me and making me cautious. I struggle slightly when I feel a touch on my leg, but I do not feel the burning pain I remember from before. Instead, the hand leaves almost instantly, and I wait uneasily. The hands which held me up now push me down, so that I am first sitting, then lying on the ground. I want to curl up, away from their prying eyes and hands, away from the sounds, but I am held fast. What was first bliss is now torment, and I ache to be alone once more in my silent, white world. And then I smell it. I inhale deeply and a thousand things burst inside of me, overpowering and overwhelming every inch of my body. I feel a flame inside, a burning desire which is not pain, but instead the purest combination of pleasure and anguish. I look for the source of this sensation, blurry eyes focusing on a patch of pure, perfect blue. I lick my lips, craving an increase in this ecstasy, but find myself shuddering at the sight of it. Something about it is evil. I close my eyes to shut out the image, and the desire for it returns completely. I cannot resist any longer, do not want to resist any longer, so I look at it again and once more feel repulsion. I stare at it, mesmerized, torn between two emotions, until suddenly I can see it no longer as it disappears in a flurry of sound and movement. I feel hands at my head and neck, holding me immobile, and the soft voice speaks in a tone that conveys both fear and hope. I close my eyes, gathering my strength so that I can break free of them and find the blue object which has ignited me entirely. Just before I lash out there is a sudden, sharp pain in my neck and then I am aflame with intense, burning pain which courses through my veins and kills all other desire as I scream out in anguish. I scream, sobbing violently, the pain searing and destroying every other impulse until I can feel nothing at all, hear nothing at all, see nothing, know nothing....



I wake slowly, brain cloudy and still clinging to unconsciousness. I want to open my eyes, to find out where I am, but it is obvious, painfully obvious. I have failed. Without bothering to move my aching arms I can feel the restraints of the straightjacket, without opening my eyes I can feel the bright lights burning upon me, without truly listening I can feel the oppressive silence. The padded room. Of all the times that it has been hateful for me, of all of the times that I have feared it, I know that this time will be the hardest. The last few days are nothing but a hazy blur but I know that they must have caught me and kept me here - mad - until they could make more counteragent. Why? Why would they try to save me? I wanted, I needed, to die...not to live. They will come in here as soon as they realize I am awake and tell me how irresponsible I am. But they don't understand. I felt that I was being responsible, that I was taking responsibility for my actions - past, present, and future - in a way that they cannot even comprehend. I wanted to save them all with my sacrifice, I even wanted to save myself. Now I don't know what to do, cannot predict what course of action they will choose...I do not even know what it is that I want. Everything has changed now, irreversibly, and they will burst into this silence looking for answers that I can no longer provide, reasons that I can no longer explain. I thought that I had prepared myself for death, had resigned myself to a fate I believed to be inevitable, had acted in accordance with the deepest part of my conscience. But I am alive. I, Darien Fawkes, am alive...still a lab rat, still a pawn, still weighted down by my faults, still not quite sure of where I am and where I must go, or even where I've been, but alive. Now I cannot keep the tears from falling, cannot stop the shuddering sobs which engulf me and drive all conscious thought from my brain. I cry for all that I have lost and all that I will lose, and the one thing that I have gained.





*****



If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?



~Alexander Solzhenitsyn



*****