I sat there, shaking and momentarily breathless at the words he had uttered. My own comparisons of myself to Seth Caine whirled through my mind; it all seemed so uncanny and twisted. I felt trapped in a spider’s web, what’s more, the spider sat opposite me in such close proximity that I felt unable to breathe, his unblinking piercing eyes looked deep into me as if examining my every thought and memory.
The room suddenly seemed much darker, more oppressive, almost claustrophobic, it even seemed smaller as if the walls had gradually moved in on us, like a fairground funhouse. What had started out as an interview by me of Severin Frost now felt like an examination or interrogation of me by him!! I genuinely wanted to leave, make up some sort of excuse, no matter how lame and get the fuck out of there. But I was also compelled to stay in my seat, my mind was tearing itself apart. I knew that I had to get as far away from this man as possible but I was being drawn so far into his world that I simply couldn’t (or part of me wouldn’t) move.
He inclined his head to the left again, in that unnerving way as he ‘listened’ to his dark guest. I’d decided that that was exactly what he was doing, it wasn’t an affectation after all and what’s more he seemed to be agreeing with what his visitor was saying to him. He didn’t at any time actually speak to anyone but me, I assume he did in his mind, though physically he would nod in his agreement. I couldn’t say if he was aware of himself doing this, in all actuality I doubt he would even care what I or anybody else thought, but to see this and to know what I knew of him plus our conversation so far all added up to not only an unsettling experience but to be honest, a complete mind fuck for me.
With the thoughts of my early departure being almost forcefully pushed down by my desire to stay, partly for myself but also partly for my Grueheads of course, I decided to refer back to my notepad. As if this whole meeting had been scripted, I was shocked to read what my next question was supposed to be, but as he waited patiently I read it to him anyway.
“You continually appear unperturbed, comfortable in your surroundings and unflappable in the extreme. Contrarily, others have been reported to have left your company rattled and distraught. Do you get some sort of perverse gratification from playing with people’s minds?”
The question couldn’t have been more apt, rattled and distraught was an understatement of how I felt, I do hope you appreciate the depths that I go to dear brothers and sisters!
“But of course I do” he said with a delighted sneer, could a sneer be considered to be delighted?
“I am here in this place, sadly physically I can do little to harm you or anyone else” he raised his arms rattling his metallic restraints to illustrate his point “or so you are led to believe” the sinister gleam on his face was directed not only at me but also the guards still standing in place. I sensed them turn to each other and shift slightly, I wondered if they were thinking “Are those chains secure? Did I check them? Did he check them?”
“But let’s say for arguments sake that you are in no physical danger, you are safe from harm” Severin continued although safe is the last thing I felt “my only other outlet is mental torture” he grinned again but with an ecstasy not a sneer, his genuine relish of the subject was etched all over his face.
“The thought of a person coming in here to try to delve into my mind, trying to understand me, yet leaving so shaken that they are helped from the room or are disturbed and affected that they need professional help, as has happened on numerous occasions so I’m told, delights me no end. No disrespect Keeper, but I’m used to being analyzed by professionals, academics, psychiatrists, the kinds of people who should be able to handle wars of the mind, well at least that’s what they think upon their arrival. Yet on many, well in fact most occasions they leave as gibbering wrecks” He laughed heartily to himself, shaking his head in glee no doubt at his recollections of past failures by psychoanalysts and the like to plunge the deep murky depths of his darkness.
“You my dear Quill have been a breath of fresh air, so far…”
I smiled nervously at the “so far” portion and thanked him.
“Why do you consider me to be a breath of fresh air?” I asked.
“Well, you are clearly approaching me and this interview from a different angle” he replied, more thoughtful now though all his thoughts appeared dark “You may be asking similar questions to the academics about what moves me and the like, you are still trying to dig deeper into my psyche but I can tell that you are filled with an awe and wonderment akin to that of a child. I respect that.”
I admit that I could almost feel myself blush like a teenager caught in a girls underwear drawer but there was some truth in his observation.
“Thank you, I respect you too, while I consider myself to be an intelligent man, I don’t claim to be an academic, just inquisitive about you and my beloved subject of horror and the darkness.”
“You are a blank slate Keeper, I mean that in a positive way however, in that you are fresh and open. Despite your nervousness at various junctures of our conversations, you have stayed whereas others would have fled, your inquisitiveness is what I find refreshing. You seem as if you aren’t here to learn about me for a book or an academic study, you are here to learn from me, I sense you want to learn my ways, my teachings” he stared ever more intently, I felt as if he held both my heart and my mind in the palms of his great hands, surveying the possibilities “I have much that I could show you, you could be a follower, a true disciple.”
I felt immediately that I was sliding back down Seth Caine’s rabbit hole from the book, I admit I was getting scared again. Did he really think that I had ambitions to be a killer such as he? This was suddenly taking a severely wrong turn, my respect for him was being misconstrued. I had to change the subject, turn his attention from me to something else, quickly!
“As regards people studying you” I hurriedly made up on the spot.
“Academics and psychiatrists come and go, what about priests?”
Immediately his mood changed, he looked away from me and into the corner of the room at nothing in particular. His brow furrowed and his jaw visibly clenched as did his mighty fists now resting on the table between us.
“Priiiieeessssttttsss” he hissed like a monstrous serpent
“They come in to my domain, they try to understand me, they try to save me, they try to befriend me. They have absolutely no idea what they are dealing with. They read their ancient books, they fill their heads with filth and lies, then they try to pour their toxic bile over others…”
Just as Severin was about to unleash further with his hatred for the subject, the guards stepped forward, a hand was put on my shoulder, forcefully, a whisper in my ear came and I was told that that line of questioning was to cease or I would be escorted from the building immediately. Evidently Frost would be uncontrollable if too far enraged and clearly that subject was the trigger that no one must pull. There was questions that I wanted to ask but obviously wouldn’t be able to so I quickly asked another, one which would hopefully give me peace of mind regarding my own security after this interview was over.
“I’m of the assumption that you could leave these grounds at any given moment, what binds you to the Hoffman Institute?”
Much to my relief his anger subsided almost immediately but was replaced by a disconcerting calm, he looked up at the guards first and then back at me with serenity before saying
“Oh yes, Keeper, I could leave here. I have many, many friends, the darkest of all friends, as I have alluded to but now is not the right time and timing is everything. I’m not bound to this place as you suggest, I came here because it suited my purposes and that of my Dark Lord of course. But there will come a time, our plans will come to fruition, I will not need to do anything so mundane as escape nor will I simply or legally be freed by judges, I was found guilty by my peers but I have no peers on this plane. That situation will be rectified and I shall retake my place higher than before, I shall reign and reign with fear and darkness. What is more, come the time, I shall send for you and Mr Giles and the rest of your cohorts to join me”