What are you doing over there? I asked him. I could see him sweating all over the place, he seemed to be carrying something heavy , like a black plastic bag maybe, I couldn’t see very much in the dark even after all the days he had kept me tied up in his basement. “Nothing out of the ordinary sweetheart, just dumping these headless bodies in the creek. Don’t worry I’ll be back soon”. It felt like somehow he could read my thoughts. While he was out, I tried to get used to what my eyes were witnessing , and like every single day that I had been here I just couldn’t. it was quite weird how even after seeing all this, I felt nothing. I am completely numb to what twists and turns my life was taking in front of my eyes. And the worst part was that this feeling of numbness would never leave, as if it was teasing me with its eternal quality. I could see more than fifty tall shelves neatly stacked all over the dingy and dark basement, and on those shelves were hundreds of precisely severed heads in glass jars. I couldn’t remember anything about my life before I was forcefully brought here, frankly speaking I couldn’t even remember how I got here. I couldn’t move a single muscle in my body, no hands to untie myself, no legs to run away to safety. But I feel like it could be the Stockholm syndrome tightening its grip around my mind that I somehow feel safe with him too, I want to get to know him, I want to know why he does what he does, I might even be attracted to him… I am worried that something might be wrong with me as I have never been disturbed or bothered by the fact that he kills people so mercilessly and with such ease. I could hear the noise of all my confused thoughts in my head like a busy marketplace or the noisy pitter patter of heavy raindrops on a window when suddenly the loud crash of the door jolted me into reality. “I’m back”. He said with a grin that could almost feign innocence. I just looked at him and realized how he had square jaws and a good 6 foot build.” Like what you see?” he said laughing heartily. I felt suddenly exposed and embarrassed. I wondered how he was so good at body language signals that he could read my mind perfectly every time. Can I ask you something? I asked. “Anything that you feel necessary and I shall be obliged to answer”. I just wanted to know more about you… especially why you kill all these people. He chuckled and replied” I was wondering why you hadn’t asked me yet”. Suddenly his look went from charming to solemn and I wondered whether I had hit a wrong nerve with him. He continued, “ you see, I had a pretty messed up childhood, after I lost my father at a young age, my mother took care of my, or so she thought. She was relentlessly religious and quite steadfast in her practices, she never let me play with other children my age as she thought they were not as religious as they should have been. She didn’t even let me speak to girls, and dating was a distant dream. She taught me from an early age that all women were attention seeking lewd creatures and nothing else except her because she was just and a servant of the true God. I couldn’t disagree more with her teachings but I never challenged her. I didn’t even have a sibling to play along with. My mental issues started taking their toll on me and I had to go into therapy. I couldn’t even finish my education because she died so suddenly and abruptly and left me completely shattered. I think I was 14 when I first killed. It was our local mailman I think, ah yes, it was him. But I kill for the reasons that haven’t crossed your mind yet. I kill to preserve. As contradictory as it seems, it is true. I’m quite selfish you see, I don’t preserve people but their emotions and their connections and their conversations with me. Whenever I feel any emption or connection worth preserving , I keep mementos for myself. All these severed heads you see all around are my companions in times of darkness and loneliness. I speak to them regularly and they say and feel what I want them to”. I was taken by surprise but I could still see that he was fundamentally not a bad person. I could empathize with him. I guess we weren’t that different from each other. He started pointing to various lifeless faces. “the mailman I spoke to you earlier about, was the first father figure of my life and this teacher here had sexually assaulted me and I felt so furious that I wanted to preserve it forever. In a way I’m immortalizing them, adorning them with a hint of eternity and color in my life as they’ll always live on in me”. He turned towards me suddenly. “and when I saw you, I saw the personification of eternal beauty and sophistication, I felt love and affection projected to the universe through you, I immediately felt deprived of your presence in my life, that’s why I brought you here to live with me.” I felt panic rise in me like the lapping waves at the shore that come back stronger and stronger each time they hit land. I was running out of breath and hyperventilating. I tried to calm myself down and somehow managed to voice my thoughts. But if you love me so much, why haven’t you killed me yet and immortalized me too? Why am I the only living soul here except you? WHY THE HELL AM I STILL ALIVE? He replied in a single emotionless and morose sentence, chuckling in a hollow laugh, “BECAUSE YOU AREN’T”.