When you have been in darkness for as long as I have, any light you see seems brighter than it actually is. Then again, this particular light was made to be intense for people like me – well, us. We the wolves among the sheep, the fingers behind the triggers – the dark in the light. It was as though they were trying to rid the darkness they saw in the pits of our eyes with blistering light; rid the cold blank stares that reminded them of the darkness within themselves. Maybe it was in hope of revealing what little light there was within us… but they were – oh – so wrong. That is why I sat here on this cold metal chair with my arms shackled tightly behind me. The air smelled sterile, hiding the barely imperceptible smell of blood from past interrogations no doubt. And who were they? S.A.P.D, Hawks, INTERPOL and for those outside of my home country they don the masks of the F.B.I, C.I.A etc. They are all the invariably the same.
And what would they want with me? Well that is a tale for another time…a long tale. In fact relating to that, I once heard someone say “It’s what you do that defines what you are.” but I disagree. The truth is, it’s what we do that reveals who we are. That in itself should say so much about me. But what does that say about the person who tells that one white lie, or takes something small that doesn’t belong to them? Oh but we can’t define people on such trivial matters can we? Well I say yes, yes we can. It is those very trivial things that reveal who we are.
Take for instance a bug born poisonous. One day it realizes that with each step it takes, it poisons whatever it touches. Would its attempts to tread lightly on whatever it touches change the fact that it is poisonous? Is it the action that makes it poisonous or does the action reveal that the bug is poisonous? Is it not the same with us… humans, born corrupt? When we fall, do we not reveal the very nature of what we are? Sure we aren’t as bad as we could be but that doesn’t lessen the potential does it? A lion is dangerous whether it chooses to kill or not – and we are the same.
The crackling of the intercom reverberated through my ears, bringing my attention back to the real world. My arms had grown numb but I wouldn’t let it show, not when I knew that they were watching me. I had an agenda and it had to be brought to their attention and yet even with that, one thing that troubled me deeply was the knowledge that whomever I was dealing with, regardless of voice or face – position…or whatever else they threw at me to assert their authority, I was dealing with a just another fallible, imperfect, depraved human – like me. The voice rose over the intercom, a man’s voice. Recognizable.
“October 17 1998, the Lido hotel was burnt to the ground – 50 casualties. January 20 1999, Meyersdal Mall was attacked by a gang of thieves that left 12 people dead and 63 injured. March 1999 – bridge collapses from explosion, 105 casualties, July 2000, December 2000… February 2001… March 2001…the list goes on and on and on. We know you were behind these attacks, we know you’ve orchestrated each one. We know all there is to know about them…except one thing, why? Money wasn’t the issue you come from a wealthy family, as you have so kindly stated to us. You have been deemed psychologically fit. You have no personal vendettas or motives and yet here we have almost two decades worth of crimes and casualties. And as much as we hate this fact, the only reason we know all of this…is because you told us when you turned yourself in – and that wasn’t due to remorse now was it?”
“Rhetorical questions aren’t going to give you the answers you seek, mister van Rensburg…ask a more direct question.” I knew my reply had rattled the man, the fact that I knew who he was without seeing him put him on the defensive side – the silence told me. He managed to continue however as though unperturbed but there is only so much emotion you can hide in your voice
“So, what was your motive? Why hand yourself in? Do you take pleasure in knowing what you have done you sick psycho?”
You would think that each of those cases would boost my pride, fuel my sick desire for destruction, to see lives taken but in truth it all sickened me. It sickened me right to my core. Not the actions, no, those were purposeful. What sickened me was the overwhelming evidence that regardless of the evil that was present – there was no hero rising to the occasion. No hardened vigilante seeking justice for the crimes committed and the task force employed for such matters were just as corrupt or worse – indifferent. And what punishment would I get if caught? Rehabilitation. Rehabilitation for what? Will that bring back all those lives lost? The livelihood of the people affected? No. Instead I’d be “living” with the guilt of my actions or whatever nonsense psychologists have dreamt up to save their clients, and I can hope to one day recover and become a civilized citizen – what utter nonsense. And the saddest thing about the whole system is in the fact that not even the citizen’s themselves are civilized. They keep hiding behind their petty masks! I ask you where are the heroes combating the crimes, rescuing the kids from desolation, the women from their abusive husbands, the people from the gangs? Oh that’s right, they are staring at me from behind their two way mirror, peering at me under the intense light. I replied to them,
“Plato once said ‘The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs, is to be ruled by evil men.’ or for a more potent adaptation of that particular line, ‘All it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.’ So am I implying that you are doing nothing, that is, if you are good men? ” I took that moment to shrug my shoulders both in an effort to relieve the pressure in them and to disgruntle the onlookers. I let the question sink in for a while, then continued,
“Well that is up to your interpretation but that is not the focus here. The focus is on the common man. What are they lacking in themselves that prevents them from standing up? From being the good men who are not indifferent? Surely if one can be as “evil” as I can be, why can there not be one who is the complete opposite, the “good” one, the hero, the good Samaritan that is so popular in Christian Literature. So you ask me what my motive is? That is exactly it – the search for that elusive Samaritan. I mean look at the facts, two decades worth of crime and not a single trace linked back to me, no evidence, not even any effort to try and catch me and even worse…no hero to stop me. This…all of this… was in pursuit of that hero – unfortunately one did not come and I fear that saying I once heard is true that, ‘There is none who does good, no not one.'”
With that last statement hanging in the air, I pulled my wrists out of their shackles, the metallic clasps, unhinged, falling onto the cold hard floor with a loud clang. I stood up and walked to the glass and at that moment the door burst open as armed officers entered the confined room, but I ignored them. They would not touch me. I continued.
“So rather than seeing if one exists, I am here to raise one up, take him along the road less travelled. You see, mister van Rensburg and colleagues, I’m in pursuit of a hero…and you know where to find him. And that is why I am here.”