“Just a matter of time before I reveal to the world that you are, not only a wonderful person, but a horrible one. That your whole life is a façade, and that you have nothing to lose. But I’ll tell them anyway, just for the satisfaction of seeing you fail at last.”
“You are the same as me, so you will be dragged down as well.”
“Yes, but I hardly care.”
They both went together downwards, tied together by a chain. Even though they were both crying and had their faces covered in blood, one of them was smiling. The dungeon opened up its darkened corridors, as millions of prisoners called out to them trying to get their attention. The smiler suddenly felt the urge to laugh and did so, she laughed all the way to the cell, drowning out all the horrified voices that wanted to speak with her.
When they arrived, they were crammed inside but they were not untied. There was no window to look out and nothing to see but the absence of light.
“You didn’t say a word like you say you would.”
“I did not. I panicked as I tend to do. I am a coward.”
“That’s why you’re here, then?”
“No, I’m here because everything is rotten in the world, and I am one of its victims. I killed someone who wronged me and wronged others, someone who exploited without a care in the world. I don’t regret it, but I laughed. You know why I laughed? Because I realized that I would hate killing you, even though you are both the same.”
“They will kill me if you don’t. I rather it be you and then I can tell them, I can tell them what you did.”
They both stayed quiet after that trying to find their ways around their cottages in the darkness. Since they were joined together, they had no choice but to sleep side to side, listening to each other breathing, making out their eyes in the darkness. They couldn’t go back to sleep, although tired and hungry, they spoke in whispers.
“You killed enough for a lifetime, but your crime is that you only killed the right person only once.”
“That dozens and hundreds could hate me, that they could hate you as well, for completely different reasons, and we both stumble upon each other. A wonder, I say. A most beautiful consequence.”
“You are afraid.”
“I am almost afraid, afraid of what I become. But you know, everyone should be afraid. Of what they become, but not because of something intrinsic in them, but something that goes way beyond their mortal means. Something insidious and hidden, that is barely tangible, something that pushes people to madness and misery and selfishness. That’s why I killed, that’s why I killed for the very last time.”
“You have nightmares about it, huh?”
“No, not about something so unfair. I would do it again, perhaps not gladly, and I would have made sure that all my deaths had been of someone deserving. I atone for the sins that are real, the ones that were actually innocent.”
“I should have said it. I should have told everyone what you did, even if you didn’t tell my secret.”
“Your secret is known. Or it will be. Your face reveals it all. Your lies are pathetic. Your voice shakes at the mere thought of truth. You will die in this place by someone’s hand. You will hang in the yard, or fall down the pit, or be smashes against rocks.”
“You don’t know that. You can’t know that. Enough of your blathering.”
It did happen, much later than they had anticipated. He was kicked and hit against the wall, until only he remained a whimpering nobody who cried its last breath. He was spat upon and his companion, tied as she continued to be, dragged his corpse across the prison for days and weeks and months. Although many offers were given to cut off the arm that tied them together, she simply stared silently and shook her head. She never let it happen.