"Who's the fourth?" Gee asked.

"We don't know yet."

Goddamn Tim Bayliss. He had to do it. Give him one last nightmare come true. One last confession. If he could have imagined horrors passing through the lips of the gentle, volatile, thoughtful, and eternally tormented Tim Bayliss, if he had ventured a guess about the confession Tim Bayliss was clearly so eager to give him, never, ever, would it have been what he had heard last night on the roof. God.

I executed him

in cold blood

I murdered a man

And Frank knew, he knew - what Bayliss was confessing, what Bayliss was saying, what he meant was that he had murdered himself.

Tim Bayliss was a living ghost.

I almost ate my gun

it has to be you

it has to be you I tell

it has to be you who takes me in

it has to be you

Goddamn Tim Bayliss. For everything. For betraying himself, for losing himself, for appointing Frank as savior of his soul when it was already so far gone, so beyond saving, so beyond anything in his power. And for making it clear that Frank's choices were to either be responsible for his friend becoming a suspect, a criminal, a defendant, a convict, condemn him to a prison full of murderers they had caught together, or see his grey matter

splattered on a wall, floor, bed.

A choice that was no choice. A choice between two kinds of death for a man who was already so dead. Maybe.

Goddamn him.

xXx

I know you hate me right now, and I understand why but it had to be you - you're the only one who can understand the whys, the whys you said didn't matter

I don't know who I am anymore - when I think about the eight nine years gone by the facesnamesfaces come, images I want to banish forever - the stroke Uncle George Adena Angela Jeannette the endless hospitals alleys homes cars - and Adena again

Forever, still, always Adena

My first in a line of failures.

I remember what I used to think about late at night worrying about what now seem like minor transgressions, inconsequential insecurities of a man I no longer am, a man whose virtue had never been tested

I've slammed up against vice now

I've been tempted tested and have failed spectacularly

And unlike a fellow failure we know, the only one who might know why I did what I did, having done it himself, I cannot go on silent yet knowing what I've done

What I've done it means I'm someone else, someone I never intended to be and who I do not recognize or even acknowledge

This won't surprise you nothing surprises you (see I remember everything) but even if you take me in, and I get full punishment, even death, it won't be enough

And it's nothing compared to how I will punish myself, have punished myself

I still know that much about myself

The infectioncontagionpoison of Ryland still works upon me in me it wears me down in ways I can't describe I feel like I'm losing my mind

I thought maybe I could fix it, get away from it, excise it, exorcize it but how do you fix a soul? save it? reclaim it? A little fly fishing and it's all better? Desperation fooled me into thinking it was possible, but then, then

a way to do it

I saw you. And you knew.

And I think I wanted you to, needed you to

I'm not an idiot Frank - I knew you knew, and I knew you didn't want me to tell you, but my only excuse is I've never been good at holding things back, and the few times I have, I've felt like a fraud, a guy pretending to have grown a thick skin when everything still affects me like a bed of nails

Telling you was inevitable, and you know it.

Death is very close to me tonight. I see him all around me, skulking in the shadows. He is eager. He is patient. I'm trying hard not to give in, not to take the coward's way out, and yet the man who cared about such things, the man I was, has drifted.

I can barely sense him here at all.

You are the only one left to find him, to remind me of him. You're the only one who gives damn anymore.

Well, and me. Always me, caring too much, feeling too much, even about the pathetic wreck I've become.

But I am tired of caring. Tired of everything.

Come soon, Frank. He's coming for me, and I'm in no mood to resist.

END.

I know, I know, it's so depressing - I was continuing the momentum from the movie and this is where it took me. Poor Bayliss.