“I have spent years chasing the tail of my ‘darkness’, as, uh, some of you call it. I’ve always preferred to think of it as a unique awareness of the world we live in, one that, um… most people sadly do not share.” he said, calm and congenial in his tone as ever.
Our session was just getting underway, I had been assigned to assess his mental state by the authorities just a few weeks ago. It should have been a state psychiatrist but the high-profile nature of the criminal and his crimes had made them reach into the private field and with my reputation, I was asked.
“So tell me Prateek, what did you find in all those years of your explorations with your ‘unique awareness’?”, I asked.
A twisting little smile played across his lips, my choice to refer to it as he did pleased him, “Oh my dear doctor! Why can’t you call me by my real name?”
“But Prateek is your real name. It’s the name your parents gave you, the one you’ve had your whole life.”
“Ah but Prateek was never really my real name! It was just a label I carried for all those wasted years I didn’t know any better. Until I realised who I really was, until I found myself!”
“Would you prefer to talk about that today? How you found yourself?” I ventured.
“Oh we can talk about whatever you want, but, uh… only if you address by my proper name.”
We simply sat and stared at each other for a few moments after that as I tried to decide whether to acquiesce. It was about control with people like him and while I was loathe to give too much, a little like this could be beneficial in getting him to talk. He was a ruthless killer, working for no one and nothing except himself and desiring nothing but to burn the world down or at least so it seemed, my job was to know for sure. A little for a lot it was then.
“Alright”, I finally answered, “If that is what you desire, tell me about how you found yourself Sanguin. Maybe you can even tell me about how you chose that name.”
“Oh that’s no secret! But all things in order!” he said with a slightly jovial tone that scared me more than a little, “I was a boring little boy in a boring little town where nothing ever really happened. Anything of consequence was always on the news, happening somewhere else, never there. So you can imagine, um, my boredom! Turned out I was actually a little on the exceptional side in terms of intelligence but neither my painfully average parents nor the painfully average schooling could tell or was interested in anything but being humdrum and pointless.
My natural intelligence got me what was considered a good life and I travelled around the world a bit as I worked freelance photography jobs. Visiting museums however, that was the real highlight! The art gave me more insight into the human condition than anything ever had and I devoured everything from Cezanne’s The Card Players to the sculptures of Jerome Abramovitch and everything in between!”
For a brief moment he was elated as he recalled his experiences, eyes closed and hands flowing, but then just as suddenly, it was gone.
“It was during this time that I realised the extent to which I had been missing the world under the layers of rubbish that society had heaped on me.”
He had suddenly fallen silent and I waited but after several minutes I felt compelled to break the silence.
“What’s wrong Sanguin?”
“Are you angry?”
“Are you sad?”
“No, I’m not.”
“Are you afraid?”
“Not at all.”
“Well then, are you happy?”
“Because we’ve gotten to the good part!” his smile started to creep back, “Because we are where the violence began, the stuff that scares all of you.”
“It doesn’t scare me Prateek.”
“SANGUIN!”, he roared, rearing up in his chair, only his chains attached to the floor keeping him from fully lunging across the table right at me.
The doors burst open and the guards came in, tasers and batons at the ready.
“It’s alright, just a moment of excitement.” I said, waving them back, to which they complied grumbling.
I waited till the door clicked firmly, “Now, shall we get on? Our organisation needs you out in two weeks.”
AFTERWORD: Thank you so much for reading folks, if you enjoyed this, I’d recommend reading the first installment of what I have dubbed The Janus Archives and is my newest attempt at building a loosely connected world of dark crime-fiction revolving around a mysterious character feared by all who hear whisper of his name and known only Janus.