I have heard again from the person who first spoke to me earlier this week. Apparently he wishes me to understand his motivations. To say the least, this makes me somewhat uneasy.
HUNTER AND HUNTED: THE DARK RAMBLER
Communication from the Highway
"If you ever plan to motor west:
Travel my way, the highway
that’s the best.
Get your kicks on Route 66!"
I believe I will.
You don’t know me. You don’t want to know me. I may be your worst nightmare - the agent of your abduction and release from your miserable life. You see, I have a talent - not a pleasant one, granted, but a talent nonetheless - the ability to see within you and sense your pain. That taste of anguish draws me to you, as is a philatelist impelled to possess a rare stamp. It compels me to free you from your misery and send you on to what comes after, in the hope that I may one day be quit of this curse with which I have been burdened. I do not enjoy killing, but I crave the sensation that overcomes me when the agony that you harbor within flies out from your soul and for a brief moment, you understand what it is to experience ecstasy rather than unending torment. The undiluted sweetness of that moment is simply incomparable to me, and is all that renders my wretched existence tolerable. Whether a gift from God or a scourge from Satan, this talent is my only true possession, for it necessitates that I must remain forever a vagabond, a rootless wanderer, never owning more than I can carry in a suitcase or the trunk of my vehicle.
I do have a redeeming quality, though you may not perceive it as such. If I should meet you some sable night, if I should sense that the vessel of your soul is o’erbrimmed with the bitterness of bile, I will make certain that your death is rapid and without discomfort. I have had practice in the art of quietus, and my blade is honed to a precise and deadly edge. Only a few times has my work caused distress to someone, and then, I am almost ashamed to say, it was deliberation, rather than compulsion, that impelled me to act, despite the fact that when the time came, I was just as overwhelmed with necessity. Certain people that I meet arouse in me a sour antipathy- I feel a dark glee radiating from their souls that is quite as compelling, in its own way, as the agony of despair that I sense from others. It speaks to me of pure evil latent or actual, and to eradicate that psychopathy, I must occasionally deviate from my role as dark angel of mercy, and don the vestment of the purveyor of awful vengeance. This act, rather than fill me with ineffable joy, causes a spate of bitterness, vitriol that sears my very soul, to rise within me, and the finesse that informs my merciful releases is blunted, coarsened, and I become no more than a vicious butcher, a harrower of flesh and spiller of blood. When the fury has passed I experience, not the exhilaration that results from my acts of compassion, but an exhaustion and self-loathing that gnaws at me for days afterward. Each such occurrence leads me to forswear my vocation, to move on and begin afresh, and I keep my promise to myself for a few hours or a few days, until I enter a new town and prepare to embark upon a new exploration of life, and then ...
You must have divined that my nomadic existence has forced me to forgo any semblance of normality, that to live I must take from my (why be coy?) kills whatever money they might have been carrying, or to hire myself out for any temporary employment that may present itself, and to assume a species of protective coloration so as to better mingle with those who may have not been afforded my opportunities for a decent education. I have schooled myself in the vernacular and mannerisms of the folk with whom I most frequently associate, and I find it much easier than I once did to blend in without causing awkward misgivings. I find that I am able to acquire possibilities with more deftness, and the ground I now till is quite fertile and produces so much of what I require to fulfill my need.
You may consider me a monster. The acts that I perform, while they may seem horrible to you, are perhaps less so when viewed from my perspective. If you cannot offer me your sympathetic understanding, much less even a crumb of empathy, then at least extend to me your pity. And, if I should someday encounter you, and sense your exigency, then I solemnly promise that I shall do the same.
There’s a road sign comin’ up there on th’ right. Looks like it says ‘Moriarty’. ‘ppropriate, doncha think? An’ it’s only a short ways from Albuquerque on good ol’ I-40. Guess it’s time I started lookin’ for a new job an’ a place to hang, and I’m sure wantin’ ta meet some new friends an’ swill a few beers, an’ see can I figure out the lay a’ the land. Be seein’ ya ‘round.
I hope I do not hear from this gentleman again.
P.S. My hope has been dashed. To be continued ...
Copyright Malcolm Mott 2006