“Please tell the court Mr Wilde, did you or did you not murder Daniel Sanderson?”, Mr Lawthorn asked me. The sinister tone of his voice turned my blood cold. He knew the answer to the question, everyone in the courtroom knew. I had murdered my best friend. So why did he ask? I can only assume it was to instil a sense of guilt in me that would display itself like an aura and ensure my prosecution. It was a futile effort however, as there was no way he could give me any more guilt than I already had.
The fear and disgust in the eyes of that jury reminded me of the same look I received from the guards every time I walked down the dingy corridor of the facility, on my way to be encaged. Each month they would look at me with a degree of such harshness that it left no doubt in my mind that I was a monster, regardless of what I had been told by “society”. Their stares were particularly intense on that one night. Besides that however, everything was perfectly normal. The routine carried out as it always did, giving me no reason to think that something could go disastrously wrong; but it did. The guards had gone outside for a smoke, when I noticed something was not right. There was no red light, meaning the door was not locked. I cannot put into words the panic and shear horror that set in me at that moment. I had no sooner jumped up to alert the guards, when the change came over me. The unimaginable pain hit me as it did every month, as if I were being torn apart from the inside. It’s something you could never get used to. Bones stretched, skin ripped, my whole body reshaping itself from God’s image to the Devil’s. After the agony subsided, there was blackness. I remember nothing after that. It’s like going to sleep.
I sometimes dream while I’m changed, although these dreams would be more suitably described as nightmares by any account. I often relive the night I was infected. Science may call it a virus, but I still call it a curse. That thing that came out at me from the darkness was not a species, it was an abomination. As it’s teeth sank into me I remember thinking, please let it kill me. As strange as it sounds however, I actually prefer that dream. The other dream involves me chasing someone through the woods. I eventually catch them, tear them apart and consume their innards; and I enjoy it.
No matter how gruesome the nightmares were, and gruesome would often be a gross understatement, I would always wake up safe and sound in my cell. On that night however, the nightmare did not end when I woke up. I was in the middle of a field drenched in blood. It was as if I hadn’t woken up at all. The nightmare would never be over.
The case was all over the news. The containment facilities had a spotless safety record up until that point. The tabloids had a field day. Walking into that court room I immediately felt like I was being condemned by every single person there. Justice, equality, you see those are just buzzwords. No matter how far mankind advances there will always be prejudice. Part of me was convinced that I wasn’t really a monster; I just had an illness, no different to a turrets sufferer. However, another part of me saw the anguish and hate in the eyes of Dan’s family and came to a very different conclusion.
I had a good lawyer. We couldn’t afford the best but we were lucky enough to find someone who actually sympathised with my case. And also lucky enough to find someone who would object at the very moment I was struggling to think of an answer to the prosecution’s manipulative question. “I’d like to remind the court that the circumstances of Mr Sanderson’s death are not the focus of this trial”, he responded. “I reiterate my earlier point that my client was not in conscious control of his actions and therefore cannot be found guilty of this crime!” It was a valid argument, but I could still see doubt splattered across the faces of the jury. Then the moment finally came for them to reach a verdict.
Posted by Frank Short