An illusion. A fable spread by those who seek to impose order on the chaos that they shy away from. For will not a drowning man do the same? Reach out in his desperation, clinging to anything that offers the slightest hope of survival? Undoubtedly so.
So come, sit still and lean back, for now you shall learn the truth, shaded so gray by the lies of those who fear it. This is the tale of a man. Not a special man. All in all, he was but another face in the crowd. Which just goes to show how close to the brink we all stand.
Dr. John Doe, Ph.D., Psychology.
John sat at his desk, turning the bronze paperweight over and over. Staring at it. Staring at nothing.
" I'm getting nowhere."
His efforts had proven fruitless. His research had ground to a screeching halt. And there was only one place left to turn.
" Goddamn it!" He threw the paperweight across the room with all his strength and it crashed into the mirror hanging on his door. Needless to say, the mirror shattered, and the Doctor was left looking at a million fractured images of himself.
"Goddamn it." He said once more, this time his voice resigned.
He picked up the coat hanging on his chair and shrugged into it. He left his study and made his way through the halls of the Weyland Insanitarium. It was strangely quiet this night.
As he walked, he found himself recollecting the last few months. He had spent them researching one of the greatest questions that psychology posed.
What was insanity?
An affliction of the mind? Loss of ability to comprehend reality? So many answers considered and discarded, so much bloody time wasted.Only one thing left to do then. Confront the real thing.
As he reached the holding cells, he asked a passing orderly, Jake something, "Is Mirk in tonight?".
The orderly's eyebrows beetled in consternation. He answered, "Yes, but why?..."
His only response was to turn and keep on walking, leaving the confused orderly in his wake.
He faced the door and hunched his shoulders as he placed his hand on the doorknob.
"This should be fun."
He opened the door, and stepped in.
Haddon Mirk. That was the patient's name.
The most intriguing case the Doctor had ever come across. Mirk had been institutionalized after he had killed his wife, his son and his daughter, two years ago.
By eating them alive.
But unlike what most people expected on reading his chart, Mirk was not violent, raving, delusional, sadistic, murderous, malevolent, monstrous or anything else they might have thought. Indeed by all appearances, Mirk was sane beyond belief. Therein lay the enigma.
But the reason Mirk was being treated was perhaps the ghastliest that the Doctor had ever seen. And he he had seen 'some crazy shit' as his younger orderlies put it.
He closed the door behind him gently, and as he turned around, he found Mirk sitting on his bed, twiddling his thumbs with a smile on his face, as if entertaining a guest. As always, his hair was perfectly combed, his face neatly shaved, his demeanor
perfectly normal. No one would suspect the monster that lurked within.
"Hello Doctor.", Mirk replied, his voice level.
"How do you feel?"
"As sane as always."
The Doctor paused at the ambiguity of that answer. Then he shook his head and took a seat on the bed next to him.
"I want to ask you a question. Is that all right?"
He paused for a second, to throw away any last doubts, and asked, "What is insanity?"
Mirk cocked his head and blinked.
"And here was me thinking you were the doctor."
"Answer the question."
Mirk sat in silence for a while, seemingly content to let the doctor stew in his impatience.
"An easy question, an easier answer."
"Well, I shan't hold my breath for anticipation."
"Sarcasm doesn't befit you Doctor. Indeed some may argue the benefit of angering the seemingly insane."
John held his breath as he realized that perhaps he had taken it a step too far. Mirk was, after all, insane. No telling what he'd do when provoked.
"I apologize. But I would appreciate an answer."
Mirk looked mollified.
"Why all of a sudden?"
"Does it matter?"
The silence held sway again for a while.
"Are you sure you wish an answer?"
And with that, Mirk exploded into motion, the seemingly frail limbs a blur as he reached for the doctor's neck.
"What are you doing?", the words came out as a croak.
"Giving you an answer, Doctor". The voice that emerged from Mirk was almost bestial in the madness it hid.
Mirk edged his face towards the Doctor's head. He opened his mouth, and as the Doctor tried to scream, he sunk his teeth into the Doctor's eyes and bit down.
The Doctor screamed. He screamed from the terror, from the pain, and from the realization of his foolishness. And as Mirk let go of him, the pain rendered him almost catatonic.
Mirk knelt next to him. He whispered in his ear.
"You wanted to know."
And then he began. Whispering into the doctor's ear, every excruciatingly painful detail, of how he had killed his family, of how he descended into his madness, and how he had embraced mankind's oldest legacy. Insanity.
The Doctor felt his mind being pushed over the edge, with the last thought that truly belonged to him, he thought,
"I asked for this."
And with that he began to laugh, the blood running from his eye began to choke him, and he felt weak and near dead, but he laughed. And still Mirk whispered into his ear, no longer an enigma, but a brother to embrace.
The Doctor walked into his office, his coat blood spattered, his face ravaged and bloody. And in his hands he held a nametag "Jake Dylan, Orderly". He walked towards his desk and picked up a recorder. He switched it on and spoke into it.
"Sanity? An illusion..."
And all around him were the screams of the dying and the insane.