Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Sickness of Death

Murder. To purposely extinguish the life of another human being. I hate murder. I hate death, as inevitable as it is, but I hold a special loathing for murder. No, let me correct myself here, I despise people who purposely and joyously commit murder. It takes a certain type of sickness to be able to snuff out life without so much as blinking an eye. A sickness, unfortunately, that I am intimately familiar with.
One of the worst things about being a detective in a city like Chicago is that you deal with the horrible aftermath of murder on an almost on a daily basis. Or, such as in my case, you are given the task of finding a murderer, and stopping them before they bring that horrible aftermath into the lives of others. Just like a murderer, it takes a certain kind of sickness to be able to track one down. You have to do something so ugly, so disgusting, so unspeakably inhuman that it defies mere words; you have to learn how to think like them. You need to understand how their mind works. You have to be able to share their particular sickness, to be able to put it on and wear it like a jacket. To revel in that sickness. Not everyone can do it. How many times have I laid awake in bed and cursed God, or the Heavens, or whoever for giving the ability to share that sickness. The sickness that plagues me, that turns my soul as black as pitch, and tortures me with nightmares every night.
Brandy brought that sickness into my life. It's her sickness that I had to wrap around myself and call my own. Brandy forever changed my life. Brandy turned me into what I am now.
Brandy killed her victims joyously. She revealed in it. She took the blood from her victims and smeared it all over the scene of the crime. On the walls, the floors, furniture, drapes, everywhere. Tell me, what kind of monster does something like that? Before I landed the Brandy case, the sight of blood didn't really bother me. Now however, I nearly vomit whenever I see it or even smell it. Not a good trait for a cop to have. We have to be strong as steel in order to do our jobs. We have to turn off our emotions, our humanity, and become robot-like to function. Ever see a robot tossing his cookies into the nearest Dumpster because he saw some spilled blood? I know I never have.
Brandy was able to justify her horrible deeds in her mind because she wasn't killing just for the fun of it. Though she clearly enjoyed the act of murder. She got off on it. It made her feel an overwhelming sense of superiority over her victims. It made her feel like she was in the right, that she was doing the proper and just thing. She was sick. I sit here now at my desk, avoiding my paperwork on a minor case I'm working on, and I have to admit that I fully and completely understand Brandy's twisted mindset. I get her line of thinking. It makes perfect sense to me.
What does that make me? A monster? Something else? I don't know. I search every single day for the answer to that question. My wife tells me I'm not a monster. She tells me I'm the slayer of monsters. Those are her words, "The slayer of monsters." Slayer. A slayer kills, right? My father would tell me that I was a good cop. So would my grandfather. Both of them were cops before me. In fact, it was my father who pushed me so hard into the life of law enforcement. Maybe without his constant coaching, teaching an vigilant guidance, I wouldn't be infused with the sickness of death. Maybe my father is just too easy a target to attach my blame to. Maybe Brandy is too. Maybe I was born with the sickness in me. What if I was? What does that make me?
S.C. Lang has captured my soul-wrenching slide in his book, Original Sin. My courtship with the sickness of death is recounted in vivid detail within the pages of his first novel. You still want to understand me better? You still want to know the full story of how I came to be this way? Then read Original Sin, coming out soon on i Universe Books. Until next time, this is Detective Dallas Holden signing off. I got to get back to my paperwork before my boss catches me and gives me even more mindless mounds of paperwork to do.

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