"It's because I killed him, isn't it?" He slumped over in his chair, his hands clasped at the back of his neck, wrists bandaged.
"I don't think you're as deeply at fault as you seem to believe."
Norman's eyes, half-downcast, watched her cross her legs in the chair across from him. She watched as she partially pulled her shoe off with her other foot, watched her slide it back on.
"It's not your fault you've been moved to the high security ward."
There was a resounding silence. The faint humming of the florescent light above their heads was deafening.
Norman raised his eyes. "I guess." He cleared his throat. "But it doesn't matter. Who knows, besides us?"
"No one. Right?" He seemed deep in thought, there was something of himself behind his eyes. "That's okay. I guess it was my fault to some degree. I mean… if I did it, but I didn't do it… that is, it was still me."
"Norman…!" Margaret bit her lip.
"What?" He hid his face in his hands.
Head bowed like an angel, she stood and crossed the room. She smiled sadly as leaned down in front of him and placed her hand on his, gently moving his hands to meet his gaze. "It wasn't your fault. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise."
Norman realized her hand was in his, and for a moment held it there, as if he could transfer his bad memories away, as if years of pain could be relieved by touching her.
With a look of earnest apology, Margaret pulled her hand away.
"I… I've been thinking. I need to speak with Richman," Norman mumbled, blushing fiercely.
"I'll bring you to him."
Margaret unlocked the door as Norman rose from his chair. "Will you stay in the doorway?"
She gently closed the door and walked down the corridor. Norman leaned against the cold metal and looked through the wire-crossed window. It was only wide and tall enough as a visor for his eyes. His line of vision was limited.
He wasn't sure what had come over him, but he was terrified. Shaking. It was as if he was living his childhood again, alone in the dark with no one to comfort him, no one to teach him comfort. Something about the door across the hall drew him in.
A gravelly voice called from across the hall. "Norman Bates!"
Norman flinched, his eyes growing wide with terror, and whispered. "No."
An unseen hand pounded on the door that trapped it twice. The metal clang echoed in Norman's ears. "Bates. That's your name, isn't it?" It was a young man, no older than Norman himself.
Norman stammered. "I—I, ah…"
The voice laughed, and a pair of cold eyes sparkled cruelly at him through the window. "Cat got your tongue? Jesus Christ! You dumb or something?" There was a sharp edge on his words. "I thought we got over that."
Norman could feel the man smiling behind the metal door. It made him sick.
"You're a schitzo, aren't you?"
Cold sweat began to bead on his brow. Norman felt something familiar begin to tug at his core. Heat. The color red. Tenseness at the back of his neck, in his shoulders. Anger. He brought his arm above the window and leaned his face on it, breathing deeply. Breathing in the pressure in his head. He was weakening.
"That's alright," the man sneered. "Don't answer me."
Norman groaned softly, furrowing his brow.
"Did I hurt your feelings? I'm not picking on you, you know. I look up to you." The man leaned forward. "Five years ago, they put you in here. You were twenty-five then. I was twenty-two. I saw you on TV." He cocked his head. "I saw you. You were cracked. Catatonic. Completely unresponsive. And I thought that if some poor bastard could do it and completely lose his cool, I would be able to walk away unscathed." He laughed bitterly. "Perfect murder. Of course, by now I realize there's no such thing. But you're the lunatic that landed me in here with blood on my hands. What about you, Bates?" His voice lowered to a whisper. "Do you have blood on yours?" With a grin, he snickered cruelly.
Norman turned away, pressing his fist into his clenched teeth as he rested against the wall, eyes shut tightly. As a child, he thought that closing his eyes would make the voices go away. It wasn't helping.
Norman, hissed his mother in the darkened caverns of his tortured brain. Norman. Norman.
"Stop. Stop." He reeled to the back wall, head spinning.
They know about you. Everyone knows about you. This game is over, boy, do you hear me? It wasn't me. It was never me. I never did a thing. You killed them. You killed them all.
He leaned on the bench. "It wasn't my fault."
I can control you. I can kill you the way you killed me. I can kill her the way you killed those girls. Are you listening, boy? You will never get rid of me.
Norman's eyes were stone-cold. "You won't touch her." There was silence. For a moment, triumph. Then a whisper.
The door opened quietly. Margaret stepped into the room. "Norman… I can take you to see him now." He looked up at her, dizzy and terrified. "Are you feeling alright?"
He rose to his feet. "Yes... yes, I'll follow you."