“I've been clinically diagnosed with sociopathy,' I said. 'Do you know what that means?'
'It means you're a freak,' he said.
'It means that you're about as important to me as a carboard box,' I said. 'You're just a thing - a piece of garbage that no one's thrown away yet. Is that what you want me to say?'
'Shut up,' said Rob. He was still acting tough, but I could see his bluster was starting to fail. He didn't know what to say.
'The thing about boxes,' I said, 'is that you can open them up. Even though they're completely boring on the outside, there might be something interesting inside. So while you're saying all of these stupid, boring things I'm imagining what it would be like to cut you open and see what you've got in there.”
“In my biology class, we'd talked about the definition of life: to be classified as a living creature, a thing needs to eat, breathe, reproduce, and grow. Dogs do, rocks don't, trees do, plastic doesn't. Fire, by that definition, is vibrantly alive. It eats everything from wood to flesh, excreting the waste as ash, and it breathes air just like a human, taking in oxygen and emitting carbon. Fire grows, and as it spreads, it creates new fires that spread out and make new fires of their own. Fire drinks gasoline and excretes cinders, it fights for territory, it loves and hates. Sometimes when I watch people trudging through their daily routines, I think that fire is more alive than we are–brighter, hotter, more sure of itself and where it wants to go. Fire doesn't settle; fire doesn't tolerate; fire doesn't 'get by.'
“APD is primarily defined as a lack of empathy,' I said. I'd looked it up too, a few months ago. Empathy is what allows people to interpret emotion, the same way ears interpret sounds; without it you become emotionally deaf.
'It means I don't connect emotionally with other people. I wondered if he was going to pick that one.'
'How do you even know that?' she said. 'You're fifteen years old, for goodness' sake. You should be ... I don't know, chasing girls or playing video games.'
'You're telling a sociopath to chase girls?”
“Fear is a ... it's a weird thing, when you think about it. People are only afraid of other things, they're never afraid of themselves.”
“It doesn’t matter what other people think when you’re right - John Cleaver”
“I'm a good person," I said, "because I know what good people are supposed to act like, and I copy them.”
“Fear is about things that you can't control. The future or the dark, or someone trying to kill you. You don't get scared of yourself because you always know what you're going to do.”
“I used to have a list of people I was going to kill one day. It was against my rules now, but sometimes I really missed that list.”
“I simply felt alone, one leaf sitting miles away from a giant, communal pile.”
“Sow a thought and reap an action, sow an action and reap a habit, sow a habit and reap a destiny - John Cleaver”
“The monster behind the wall stirred. I'd come to think of it as a monster, but it was just me. Or the darker part of me, at least. You probably think it would be creepy to have a real monster hiding inside of you, but trust me - it's far, far worse when the monster is really just your own mind. Calling it a monster seemed to distance it a little, which made me feel better about it. Not much better, but I take what I can get.”
“You're a punk?'
'What do they call people from the eighties?' I asked.
'Oh,' she laughed. It was a beautiful laugh. 'I'm my mother, actually. I mean, these are her clothes from High School. I guess I should tell people I'm Cyndi Lauper though, or something, because dressing up as your mother is pretty lame.'
'I almost dressed up as my mother,' I said, 'but I was worried what my therapist would say.'
She laughed again, and I realized that she thought I was joking. It was probably for the best, since telling her the second half of my mom costume - a giant fake butcher knife through the head - would probably freak her out.”
“I'm on the edge, Neblin, I'm off the edge - I'm over the edge and falling into hell on the other side.'
'Calm down, John,' he said. 'We can work through this. Just tell me where you are.'
'I'm down in the cracks of the sidewalks,' I said, 'in the dirt and in the blood, and the ants are looking up and we're damning you all, Neblin. I'm down in the cracks and I can't get out.”
“Please help me, I begged her silently. "I'm fine." I'm not fine, and I am going to kill someone, and I don't know if I'll be able to stop "I'm fine, let's go back.”
“Exposure to nature - cold, heat, water - is the most dehumanizing way to die. Violence is passionate and real - the final moments as you struggle for your life, firing a gun or wrestling a mugger or screaming for help, your heart pumps loudly and your body tingles with energy; you are alert and awake and, for that brief moment, more alive and human than you've ever been before. Not so with nature.
At the mercy of the elements the opposite happens: your body slows, your thoughts grow sluggish, and you realize just how mechanical you really are. Your body is a machine, full of tubes and valves and motors, of electrical signals and hydraulic pumps, and they function properly only within a certain range of conditions. As temperatures drop, your machine breaks down. Cells begin to freeze and shatter; muscles use more energy to do less; blood flows too slowly, and to the wrong places. Your sense fade, your core temperature plummets, and your brain fires random signals that your body is too weak to interpret or follow. In that stat you are no longer a human being, you are a malfunction - an engine without oil, grinding itself to pieces in its last futile effort to complete its last meaningless task.”
“Love's not the point. We just do what we always do, and we get by.”
“I cursed him then, not because his tears were fake, but because they were real. I cursed him for showing me, with every tear and every smile and every sincere emotion he had, that I was the real freak.”
“Even if I didn't have any empathy, she did, and that meant I could use it against her. Where logic failed, guilt might save the day.”
“I'm a sociopath, Mom, I don't love anybody. By definition.'
'Is that an implicit threat?'
'Oh, for the-! No, it was not a threat, Okay, I'm leaving.”
“I think,' I said, watching his face for a reaction, 'that fate wants me to become a serial killer,'
He raised an eyebrow; nothing more. I told you he was calm.”
“I didn't know how to explain what I meant; sociopathy wasn't just being emotionally deaf, it was being emotionally mute, too. I felt like the characters on our muted TV, waving their hands and screaming and never saying a word out loud.”
“If other things must be destroyed in order for fire to exist, that's all right with fire. As far as fire is concerned, that's what those things are there for in the first place.”
“The project I did last year was on Jeffrey Dahmer,' I said. 'He was a cannibal who kept severed heads in his freezer'
'I remember now,' said Max, his eyes darkening. 'Your posters have me nightmares. That was boss.'
'Nightmares are nothing,' I said. 'Those posters gave me a therapist.”
“She thought no one could see her. I thought she was beautiful.”
“You have a lot of predictors for serial killer behavior, I know—in fact, I think you have more predictors than I've ever seen in one person. But you have to remember that predictors are just that— they predict what might happen, they don't prophesy what will happen. Ninety five percent of serial killers wet their beds and light fires and hurt animals, but that doesn't mean that ninety-five percent of kids who do those things will become serial killers. You are always in control of your own destiny, and you are always the one who makes your own choices—no one else.”
“When a clown kills somebody, that's new—that's something you've never seen before. Here's someone you thought was good, and he's doing something so terrible that normal human emotion can't even deal with it—and then he turns around and does something good again. That's fascinating. It's not weird to be obsessed with that, it's weird not to be.”
“Alone we were just one weird kid who talked to himself and one weird kid who never talked to anyone; together we were two weird kids having a semblance of a conversation. It wasn't much, but it made us look a little more normal. Two wrongs made a right.”
“Being really good at something you shouldn't be doing doesn't make it any better," Mom said.
"It's a history class," I said, "and serial killers are a part of history. So are wars and racism and genocide. I guess I forgot to sign up for the 'happy stuff only' history class, sorry about that.”
“An organized killer was like Ted Bundy suave, charming, and intelligent, who planned his crimes and covered them up as well as he could afterward. A disorganized killer was like the Son of Sam, who struggled to control his inner demons and then killed suddenly and brutally each time those demons broke free. He called himself Mr. Monster.”
“Being partially to blame for your own therapist's death is a tough thing to deal with, especially because you don't have a therapist any more to help you through it. Sometimes irony just kicks you in the teeth like that.”
“Love means never having to be apart”
“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”
“Parallel tough-guy nods. Man fix boat! Man be strong!
"What now?" I asked, hoping to divert the two from actually beating their chests.”
“If you don’t take an interest, then what happens is your fault.”
“I took a deep breath and said: “I fell in love with a vampire.”
And like that, I was blinded by light.”
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