Read The Secrets You Hide: A Mind-Blowing Thriller (The Psychosis Series) Online

Authors: Alex Crimson

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Crime, #Psychological Thrillers, #Teen & Young Adult, #Crime Fiction, #Noir, #Thrillers, #Psychological

The Secrets You Hide: A Mind-Blowing Thriller (The Psychosis Series) (7 page)

BOOK: The Secrets You Hide: A Mind-Blowing Thriller (The Psychosis Series)
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“Yes”, he said promptly, “That’s accurate. A very popular actor in the past is known to have driven taxi cabs around New York to prepare for his role in a movie. In extreme cases, actors have been known to take psychotropic drugs to get closer to the intended mental state of a character.”

I waited for more details. I thought about warning him against experimenting with drugs as they could cause a further deterioration in his mental state.

“I am trying something similar, doctor…you could call it method writing. You can think of it as living what you are writing. Or maybe, writing what you are living…it’s very similar to writing a journal in some sense.”

I stared at him blankly. I can’t exactly describe what I was thinking then. I felt stung by something that instantly paralyzed my body and mind, blocking any and all thought of the world outside that room. It felt like a premonition, a vision of the immediate future which was right before my eyes but which I still couldn’t see. The question I asked him next felt like a natural reaction in that moment. I would realize only later that it was intended towards a logical goal that my mind had already recognized for me.

“Have people done something like this before? Method writing?”

He didn’t move in his seat, his body as motionless as mine. “Yes, doctor. But I am doing something more. I have extended the scope to involve others…others who will write with me to create a story together…a story written from multiple perspectives.”

It was then that I finally saw the truth which my subconscious had identified much before my conscious mind caught up with it. It was him–Jack was the caller. He was the one who had taken Annie and Sarah.

My brain went into overdrive, extracting the maximum out of every second that followed. Time itself seemed to slow down. I was piecing together everything I knew about Jack–his history, his motivations, his sickness. And when that puzzle came together, one singular and scary implication stood out.

I was certain that Jack was suffering from some form of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. He had shown an obsession with using a pen in a very specific manner and ensuring that everyone around him did the same. He had an obsession with having things arranged in a manner that agreed with his preferences. But what if his obsessions did not stop at that…at his need to control his immediate environment? What if he was obsessed with the idea of orchestrating the actions of specific people that he came in touch with? And what did it mean if that obsession manifested in the form of a compulsion which required him to control the lives of other people…people that he might have picked at random for the experiment he was conducting? Was Jack even aware that he was sick? Was he even aware of where this disease was taking him? Was he aware of the rules of normal behavior and the rules of law that he was breaking? Was there any hope for him?

There was no way to immediately answer any of those questions but I had to tread carefully and make sure that nothing I said fueled an over-reaction from him. I could not expect him to act rationally. I had to agree with his obsessions till I had the opportunity to show him the mirror. I had to prepare him, and myself, for that conversation which was bound to be a difficult one.

“Jack…” I almost whispered. I could see that he had heard me even though he was sitting a few feet away. “Are you the caller?”

He smiled. “Am I the…? Sorry, what are you talking about doctor?”

I changed the question. I decided not to challenge him directly.

“When you say that you’ve extended the scope of the experiment, what are you really saying, Jack?”

He shook his head. “I am not sure what you are asking, doctor.”

A tense silence followed. The entire conversation I had had with him in the past hour played in my head again. He had spoken of pretense, of how everybody in the world was pretending, of how the two of us were pretending. Everything we had spoken about seemed to have assumed a different meaning. And, I saw what it all meant.

We were both in that room, staring right at each other, aware that we were adversaries, aware that we were in battle…not physical, no…but psychological…a psychological battle. And we both pretending like we did not know, like each of us did not see the other for who he was. In that moment, we represented the world for what it was–a web of pretense, a collection of synthesized appearances, a bundle of lies.

His eyes flicked to the right and I followed his gaze to look at the clock. Five minutes to go.

I turned back to him, “On the topic we were discussing earlier Jack…do you think maintaining appearances serves any purpose in the world?”

He nodded, just once, ever so slightly. “Maintaining appearances is what’s stopping this world from total destruction, doctor. Can you imagine what happens when we, as an entire race, stop doing that? Revealing our true nature–selfish, remorseless, and devious. And when…if that ever happens, doctor…how do you think we will look at each other…without bringing death and destruction upon ourselves? The important questions is…is it the right thing to do?”

The message was indirect but it could not have been clearer. He wanted me to continue the game of maintaining appearances with him. I had to continue to act like I did not know that he was the kidnapper. He wanted me to treat him like any normal patient.

My mind made rapid strides plotting the course of action for dealing with a patient like Jack, who was suffering from OCD.

First, I would have to help him identify specific obsessions which were preventing him from leading a normal life. I would have to show him the error of his behavior and how it was potentially hurting him and others close to him in a manner which was unnatural. I had to convince him, with empirical evidence, that his behavior was abnormal. Any progress I expected to make with him would be possible only after there was acknowledgment from his side that he saw the distortion of his ways.

“When was the last time you slept Jack?” I asked. I wanted to drive his attention to the extreme measures which he was taking to pursue his obsessions. I could tell from the look in his eyes that he had been sacrificing sleep to do whatever he was doing. I guessed that it was probably because he was investing all that time in observing me.

He blinked, visibly unhinged by the question. But he did not reply. I hoped I was getting through.

“When was the last time you had food?” I checked.

He said nothing.

The clock blared in the quiet of the room and Jack stood up immediately. His eyes were fixed on me.

“Will you write about me, doctor? Will you write about me in your journal today?”

I did not reply. He smiled, turned around and left.
Finally, the kidnapper had shown himself.

 

 

8: Robert’s Recollection – Of Day 9

 

I watched Jack turn around and walk out of the room. I did not know how to respond. I just stood there stuck in that moment, paralyzed from head to toe. I remembered what he had said the previous night. “…
you might even find Annie and Sarah at home when you return from work in the evening…whether you find them dead or alive depends on how well you continue to cooperate.

Had I cooperated well enough? What did cooperation mean in that moment at 6:03 pm when I stood alone in my clinic after he had left? I sat back down as the next patient walked in. I had no choice but to continue to act like everything was normal. That’s what he wanted me to do.

I saw my last patient out at 8:15 pm that evening. I rushed, packing everything I needed from the clinic and then drove back home zooming through the traffic with my heart pounding at the top of its capacity.

I parked the car opposite my house and stepped out. I stood there for a second and looked around, trying to spot any sign of Jack. Nothing. I walked slowly to the door with my breath growing faster and faster with every step.
You might find them home…

I knocked on the door twice, just like I always did and I waited to hear a familiar voice. Nothing. I knocked again, my eyes filling with tears and blurring my vision. Nothing. I fumbled as I extracted the keys out of my pocket, dropping it to the ground. I picked it up, my hand shivering. I struggled to put the key into the keyhole and succeeded only after a few attempts. Finally, I twisted the key to open the door.

I stepped in, expecting a frightening image worse than any nightmare my mind could have conjured. I scanned the space just inside the door, looking for a light blue envelope identical to the one I had found the previous day. There was none. I walked slowly through the house–to the hall, through the corridor, to the kitchen, to Sarah’s room, to the bedroom I shared with Annie, to the attic on the floor above, to the basement below, to every bathroom inside the house. I searched every corner once and then I did it again, mistrustful of my eyes and what they were showing me. I was expecting tragedy waiting to grab me behind every door. Every empty room made me sadder that Annie and Sarah were not back home and the same empty rooms made me hopeful that they were still alive.

After looking through the house twice, I did not find them…alive or dead. I walked to the table in the bedroom and glanced out of the window. I drank some water from a bottle washing down the taste of fear and anxiety from my mouth. I looked at my watch–it was 9 pm. I placed my bag to a side of the table and switched on the laptop. I placed my mobile phone next to it. Then I sat down in the chair and waited. I felt like my body had declared war on itself. My ears rang in the silence, my eyes burned dry, my skin tingled like it was on fire. I felt strange like I had given up, because I was not only fighting Jack now but also my own body. And I did not realize when sitting in that chair, I fell asleep for the first time in over forty hours.

Some time later the phone rang, breaking through every defense that my body could put together to preserve my state of sleep. I opened my eyes and looked at the phone’s screen. The call was coming from Annie’s number. I looked at the top right corner of the screen to check the time. It was 10:10 pm. I had been asleep for about an hour.

“Hello,” I whimpered into the phone after clearing my throat. I was not sure if I was ready for a conversation yet. I was not sure if in that state of being half-sleep I would be able to comprehend everything I heard.

“Hello, doctor. Do you know what you are going to write in your journal today?”

My mind raced, scampering to find the appropriate response. How direct could I be with him now…now that I knew who he was.

“Yes, Jack,” I said, “I know what I have to write in the journal.”

I heard a faint laugh from the other side of the phone. “So…now you know who I am, doctor. I gave you the answer to the question you had asked me yesterday night. Does that help you?”

“A little…” I paused, before adding, “I know you don’t want to harm my wife and daughter, Jack.”

“Don’t be so sure, doctor. You have fifty minutes to write and share your journal with me…the first part of your journal for the day. Why don’t you get to it if you are done sleeping?”

“First part? What do you mean?”

“Good catch, doctor,” he snapped. “Today is a special day. I have something more waiting for you once you are done. There will be more than one thing worth eternalizing in your journal today.”

I kept the phone aside and rushed to the bathroom. I splattered water on my face, staring at the mirror as the water trickled down my skin and drops of it landed on my shirt. It felt like time had stopped as the water stains grew larger in size. I stood there a bit longer before getting back to my laptop in the bedroom. The strange headache which was gripping me before I had fallen asleep was gone. I had managed to get very little sleep but it had just been enough to help me recover and process the situation more clearly. The fear seemed to have disappeared, leaving behind a sense of control. Whether that sense of control was fake or real, I was in no position to tell. But I was willing to take anything that allowed me the clarity of thought to act against Jack with the right amount of restraint.

Sitting down in the chair, I took a deep breath thinking how I could turn the situation around to my advantage. Jack wanted me to write about the conversation I had had with him in the clinic a few hours earlier. He wanted to use my journal to peek into my mind and understand the thoughts and emotions I was going through. He wanted to use that understanding against me.

As I placed my fingers on the keys of the laptop, I realized that I could use the journal against him. Underlying his insistence on making me write the journal was the assumption that I would not conceal the truth or blatantly lie in it. But what if I was to break that very rule. What if I was to manipulate the situations that I described in it to get into his head?

While I had made a decision to use the journal to my advantage, I also chose to keep that weapon aside for later. There was very little scope to distort the description of events which Jack had participated in himself–like the conversation earlier that day. I had to wait for a better opportunity. I reminded myself that the only thing which could ensure Annie’s and Sarah’s safety was my ability to intelligently distract Jack. It was not about plain and simple cooperation anymore.

I had no idea where this strategy was going to take me but for the first time I saw a glimmer of hope in knowing that I had a plan to counter-attack him. I started writing everything I remembered of the conversation with him in the clinic. I made sure to represent the visible truth–everything that Jack had seen and heard–as is. And I revealed as little as possible of the invisible truth–the confused state of my mind and the anger seething in my body.

I sent the journal to him a few minutes before 11 pm and then I waited. Less than a minute later, he called me again.

“Thank you for sharing your journal, doctor. Now, go through the script that I had slipped under your door today.”

I shook my head, “What are you talking about? I looked for it when I came in. There was nothing inside.”

“Of course, you did not spot it when you entered the house. That’s because I left it there while you were busy sleeping.” I could imagine him smile contentedly on the other side of the phone. “Now go…get it. Read it quickly while I go through what you have sent me. Prepare for your next performance.”

I rushed to the living room and found another light blue envelope identical to the one I had found the previous day. I extracted a set of pages from it as I walked back. The top page of the set once again consisted the same three words–
Follow the script.
However,
this new set of pages was much lighter, consisting only five pages in all. Those five pages hurt me more than anything else that Jack had written in his script.

BOOK: The Secrets You Hide: A Mind-Blowing Thriller (The Psychosis Series)
6.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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