Long shows me inkblots, he calls me Walter, and as I pick it up I remember when my life cease to feel like it was ever mine, that my existence is aberration, that she regrets me, that I am a burden. It is also then that I start to feel not alone in my mind. At the beginning, this other is nameless, unpredictable, questionable, but coping means becoming someone else and doing things that were not like Walter at all. Sometimes she is my mother, sometimes she is Walter's mother yet neither of us ever thought or thinks of her fondly.
She slept with strange men who found sex with their wives, their girlfriends, and other female companions to be unsatisfying so they come to her. She always told Walter, told me, to stay out of sight because she would be busy in private and that he should never disturb her. As the years went on, he/I found it harder to ignore the muffled noises coming from her bedroom. Curiosity and concern went hand-in-hand that night as he/I went towards the sounds. Thought something wrong is happening to her. Their shadows are like stains on the withering wallpaper that covers the walls of a place that is not a home.
The door is ajar, it is how I finally saw what she did with those men who left whenever their 'busy' with her was over, and eventually they left her alone again. Tonight the man sounds aggressive, she blurts out that he is hurting her, and instinctively I push the door towards the bedroom. They are no longer shadows, they are in the light. She and he are half in the nude. Both made noises, she moans, he grunts, and then he spots me standing in the doorway.
He is angry and bitter. He intends to leave this place where he sought to find pleasure without interruptions, to do things that he would never do to his wife, and not have kids watching him do whatever he wants to a woman. He desires sex without consequences. Trouble there is consequences happen all the time, no avoiding, no escaping, and now Walter had seen things that are with me until I die. I remember that which cannot be forgotten and there is much that cannot be forgiven.
He complains about her not telling him about Walter. He wants everything without strings yet nothing is without strings in this life. She tries to sound apologetic, appeal to desire. He is already made up his mind, he is done with her. He is almost fully dressed and then he loosely drops a five dollar bill at her kneeling form on the bed. It sounds like he is less generous than the others before him so it can explain her surprise. As he heads towards Walter, he shoves him aside by pushing against his forehead, and who can explain how even with the force in the shove did Walter lead to colliding with the door frame.
The woman calls man a bastard. The man calls Walter a retard. Woman is no longer mother as she grips the left shoulder of Walter's shirt. Walter stutters the word mom as she looks at him with a look he had never seen on her face. Walter's apology is far more sincere than hers to the man. It matter to her sound convincing to the man. It is now Walter's fault, not hers, that the man 'cheated' her. She backhands Walter as she calls him a little shit. Walter reacts in pain. She grabs him by the front of his shirt. Her voice gets louder as she gripes about what he cost her.
It seems Walter is her deepest regret. She tells him that everyone told her to get an abortion. Walter's eyes are increasingly wetter by the second. His screams and tears are useless against her wrath for him. Nobody would know for a long time what she had done to him because in those days they didn't talk about such things that happen to children, to spouses, and others. It was thought impolite because everyone acts like it doesn't happen to them, whether it has or has not, nobody says anything. Walter could never rationalize it for himself and somewhere in that time is when I came into the picture.
I would become what Walter could never be because Walter felt powerless to do anything especially that night. From then on, she would find ways to trap Walter somewhere and use the threat of punishment to silence him. His silence kept, not for her, but because nobody would do what he could not do for himself. It would be many years before Walter becomes my cover, my lie of a life, and soon I saw that the lies that are lives have become a billboard truth.
So I tell Doctor Long a lie for the inkblot. I am sent back to my cell. I am here because they believe I am Edgar Jacobi's killer among others. There are those who are dead because I killed them and there are others who are now in this prison with me. Someone set me up to get me out of the way. I got too close to whoever sent Blake on a one way trip to the literal gutter by tossing him out the window and along with Blake's body so went the idea that anyone who wore a costume is untouchable. Others had taken out costumes before.
Byron Lewis (aka Mothman) was committed several years after HUAC and already been an alcoholic.
Nelson Gardner (aka Captain Metropolis) dies in a car accident or so it seemed back in 1974. Rolf Muller, circus strongman, washed up dead, believed to have been Hooded Justice, previously in a fake relationship with Sally Jupiter to conceal his sexual orientation. Justice and Metropolis were a closet partnership. Eventually the pair faked their deaths in order to escape the publicity of being costumes. They died separately unlike what happen to Ursula Zandt as she and her lover were found murdered in bed together.
Zandt unlike Gardner was quite public about her sexuality to point of being photographed multiple times with her girlfriend. It is believed they were slain by a homophobe, given her sexual preference it is assumed that this is the case. Even aberrations cannot be left to question for long. Speed instead of speculation, indicting over investigating, but again so much to conjecture.
Sally married Laurence. It was not a happy marriage. Laurence knew Laurie's paternity. Laurie like Walter would have overheard things she was not meant to. Things left unsaid are the stuff of tragedies for those who were like modern legends to people who know so little if anything about the personal troubles of the people who dress as we do.
Hollis Mason has already written and published a tell-all as the first Nite Owl. It is not a revelation to those who lived it. Some things about being a costume never change, but what goes on when we were not doing what we do are the things that consume us, consume me, consume what was Walter.
I first came out when two older boys were bothering Walter. He was no stranger to bullies and being picked on. He didn't know what his mother did for a 'living' was public knowledge. His mother was the only family he had even as he can't cope with that lifestyle.
I remember name calling, taunting suggestions, and a pastry in the face. He and I switch places. I can no longer watch him from the inside. The older boys keep it up, so unaware that they were playing with fire, but push someone far enough, they'll push back. They ask Walter to drop his pants for an examination.
I did push back when grabbing the one called Richie by the collar and stab him in the left eye with his own cigarette. He goes down screaming and soon the on-lookers are there to pry me away. I'm not done with him for it never ends when there is nothing there to begin with. They would deny whatever claim they said for my reaction to their words is too violent to be acceptable. I could blame my violence on the woman who Walter used to call mother, but then unlike her I would not displace responsibility by casting blame on someone other than myself.
Walter was eventually taken away from Sylvia who used to be Mommy.
Five years later she was murdered. Walter and I were of like minds about her death we thought it good. It matters not what you call it as we all have it coming.
Women always make me uneasy. Likely due to Sylvia. Not all women are Sylvia yet experience fashions triggers from memory that go off like bullets in the brain that seem to never stop spinning until death brings silence. After Charlton House, Walter works for a garment shop. Woman leaves an inkblot patterned dress at shop because to her it is repulsive. She never comes to reclaim it. Never saw her again until her face appears on the front page of New York Times. She killed and neighbors did nothing.
It is rape and torture then death for Kitty Genovese. Nobody alerts the police, some did nothing, some watch, but everyone let her die by inaction.
The mask had already been before her murder. I cannot look at Walter's face or mine until the mask.
Long believes I have a negative world view. I choose to confront what so many abandon and ignore because it is easier to believe or pretend it is not happening to you… around you. I am suspicious of his intentions towards me because of 'curing' me would earn him acclaim in journals.
Rorschach is his ticket. Others, many in here because of me, also would appear to need Long, but here I am looking back on sessions with him. He is not the only one. Others want me dead for notoriety yet like Richie they continue to learn that they with all their weapons and words have met their match.
The latest came after me with a knife in the prison cafeteria. I splashed him with a tray of hot grease after he announces his intentions towards me. The inmates don't look at me as if I were Walter for to them I'm Rorschach. Nobody could reach me fast enough to stop what I did to him.
Long continues to probe into the emergence of Rorschach. I as Rorschach did not come to be as I am for many years. I did not kill in the early days. Left the criminals tied up with signs of my passage. Violence had its uses yet nothing had driven me or been a compulsion for me to take a life at first.
Walter had friends among the costumes such as Daniel Dreiberg. Partnership between Nite Owl II and Rorschach lasted until the Keene Act then Dan retires from Nite Owl. He keeps a weekly ritual of drinks with his costume predecessor Hollis Mason. Dan's gone soft, not the man he used to be, and now spends more time with Laurie Juspeczyk. Dr. Manhattan teleported me away before I could say what I had already told the others and the disbelief about someone hunting costumes was shared between them.
Blake's death a sign for certain as he could never look or turn away from the world for he had seen as it is and by being the Comedian he accepts what others did not or could not.
Truth is fickle and permission is taken.
"We do not do this thing because it is permitted. We do it because we have to."
Long listens time and again yet it seems the 'good' doctor has already made-up his mind.
"We do it because we are compelled."
He appears to suspect I lied about the inkblot he had previously shown me give the track of sessions. He asks for honesty about the new inkblot. I don't talk about this one to anyone. I rarely talk about anything to anyone anymore. The memories are enough for me. He is still trying to prove me wrong and he almost appears to be considering that I could be right.
I tell him it's a dog's head split in half. He predictably asks what could have done that. I tell him.
I talk of the 1975 kidnapping of Blaire Roche. Her abductors thought she had ties to the Roche Fortune. Same last name, no relation, her father a bus driver, no money and soon case hits a dead end. No word, no demands, maybe they realize they took the wrong kid, and I made promises to her parents to bring her back. I went through fifteen interrogations before any leads bleed. My optimism took a nosedive once I found the address yet at least I had come this far I thought at the time.
The dogs left me alone. I got in by way of front door after I broke the doorknob. The interior layout felt like places from Walter's past coming together as one. Decrepit housing conditions, dressmaking apparatus, inactive boiler, and no signs of Blaire at least not until I found a burnt girl's sweater in the boiler. I was too late for Blaire and so I continue through the rundown house. In the kitchen is a cabinet of butcher implements including a cleaver. All appears clean, well kept, and the total visual opposite of everything else in this place.
The cutting block is laced with chop marks that match the cleaver's sharp end and outside the dogs are both chewing on what looks like a bone. I carry the cleaver outside towards where the dogs are and they look to me in fear. Like with Richie, Walter could not kill them, so I would kill in his stead. Walter closes his eyes beneath the mask as I deliver the killing blows and feel their blood splatter against me.
Their owner Gerald Grice returns to a silent house. He likely wonders why his dogs are not reacting to his presence. He knows soon enough as the window shatters in reaction to the dog carcasses. Gerald starts freaking out and playing as if he is innocent. Soon he admits he is not well and that he thinks I think he did something to the girl thus admitting she was here.
I soon cuff him and leave a hacksaw for him to use if he wants to cut himself out of the cuffs.
He insists I can't do anything without evidence. He already made sure there would be nothing left except the memories inside his mind and what little I found that remains of her. My silence disturbs him greatly. I pour kerosene all around him and tell him there is no use in trying to hack his way out. He wouldn't beat the fire set off by the lit match I drop seconds later. As I walk out, I can hear his screaming as I am sure he heard hers when he did what he did to her for what is that they say?
Let the punishment fit the crime. Oratorical justification undoubtedly one might think in hindsight.
The place burns all night. I am reborn to a world without morals.
I have seen through and found my own meaning. I never regret what must be done.
Long says no more. Guards take me away. Back to the cell.
A/N 1: 1st Person P.O.V. from Rorschach/Walter Kovacs parallel to his sessions with Dr. Long in The Abyss Also Gazes chapter of Watchmen.
A/N 2: This also represents my first attempt of a Watchmen fan fiction.