The Beast Within

To those who have convicted me,

I am quite certain this letter will go disregarded, if not entirely unread. However, I feel I am compelled to write it regardless. I am not the man you think you have convicted and sentenced to death, although I admit it appears to the force of law that I am guilty.

My story begins, as I suppose most interesting stories do, on a dark and windy night, in the depths of autumn. I was working late at the laboratory where I was a research scientist. My project, as the world now knows, was over budget, past deadline, and generally causing stress to myself and my fellow scientists. The actual thrust of our work is unimportant, although it is salient to note that I was working with ancient biological samples recovered from aeons-old rock cores drilled in Greenland. I had high hopes that I would soon finish a key phase of the project, and be able to turn in my results to my superiors.

On this particular early November day, as I recall, I had just cracked open a new chamber of biological material. The most extraordinary thing then happened -- I felt suddenly cut off from my mind, or perhaps from my body, my consciouness receding to a dark corner of my mind. I was walled in by something which can only be described as resilient, spongy thought-material. Its closest physical analogue would be heavy treacle, except it didn't flow. The more I pushed at it, the more it resisted, at the same time attempting to suck me in. There was nothing I could do; I was trapped in my own mind.

There was no voice, no consciousness pushing me aside. I could discern no intelligence at work in the rest of my mind, but rather something so primal as to be unimaginable to modern man. It was raw, and seething, and left me with an impression of many teeth and an unquenchable thirst for blood.

I battered myself, as much as one's mind can batter against another part of one's mind, against the intruder, but to no avail. It, he, was far stronger than I.

As I calmed down and tried to think intelligently about the situation (a difficult task, I must admit), I felt the invader wake up in some way, and come to his senses. It was definitely a male presence, as the time passed and things became clearer to me. In any case, he awoke somehow, and became aware of his new situation.

Once this awakening had happened, things went from bad to worse. My lab, my now-infamous lab, became his first feeding ground.

I watched in horror as the beast used my body without hesitation to brutalize the other scientists working late with me. They were completely unprepared: how could they have known what was to happen? The beast attacked with a ferocity I had been unaware my untrained body was capable of sustaining.

Poor Simmons, he was the first to go. I watched, unable to avert my consciousness, as his head was split in twain by the blows the beast struck with my body. Blood flowed, such a horrible cascade; the invader in my body lapped it off the floor.

Palmer and MacPherson were next -- they stumbled upon the scene (Simmons hadn't even had a chance to scream, such was the ferocity of the attack), but didn't stand a chance. The vile creature had Palmer's intestine out within seconds as MacPherson simply stared in disbelief. She couldn't comprehend what she was seeing. Alas, that fatal pause was all the creature needed. I was forced to watch as he crushed her ribcage in one violent, percussive blow.

What followed was too horrific to describe. My memory churns and rebels at the thought of replaying the events. All I can recollect at this point is a period of blackout -- except where memory should have been black, all I can remember is red. Endless, endless red. I have no idea from my own memory what happened in that time, nor how much time elapsed.

From the trial, I know what happened. As that is now a matter of public record, I see no reason to recount it here, in all its gruesome detail.

My memory returns somewhat at the point where the beast was satiated. My body was showing signs of distress, which I guessed were from the prodigious flow of adrenaline flooding my circulatory system, combined with a diet which consisted of such a repast as I've never imagined. Whatever the beast may have been, he was not an herbivore. In any case, his hunger was slaked for the time being, and the onslaught of terrors slowed.

I had thought perhaps the ordeal was over, when the creature discovered that my body still knew how to operate a car. He was initially put off by this foreign mode of transportation, but he craved speed as well as blood, and my neglected Toyota must have looked promising.

I watched with renewed disgust as the beast, in cooperation with my own unthinking muscle memory, started my car, and set off down the road, accelerating the entire way. Road signs were ignored, laws broken, and soon a string of crumpled cars left behind us.

My horror redoubled when the foul beast discovered that human beings could be swept up with this new device. I have never witnessed carnage such as occurred that day. He didn't even stop to feed, apparently satisfied simply to be ending lives and causing an unholy chaos to erupt.

At some point, the officers of the law arrived, and attempted to intervene. They might as well have tried to reason with a volcano. He was through the first officers who arrived like tissue paper. I can only be thankful that he didn't understand the terrible destructive power represented by the firearms the policemen carried on their persons and in their vehicle.

He set off on foot now, the car a twisted, undriveable pile of scrap. I am sure more people died, but the memory of it has by this time blurred into a blood-soaked collage.

At some point, more officers arrived, doubtless alerted to the danger by their fallen comrades, lying twisted and broken by their squadcar. It's a wonder they didn't simply shoot me dead on the spot, but instead they employed the new "non-lethal" methods on my battered, adernaline-ravaged body. The barrage eventually broke a number of bones, and left my lungs gasping for air that didn't taste of noxious chemicals. I remember the red-hot rage the beast felt as he was slowly taken down by the fusillade, my body having finally exhausted its last reserves. I didn't expect that my body would survive the onslaught, and had similar doubts about my sanity, before I finally, gratefully lost consciousness.

When I came to, I was in considerable pain, but master of my own body. Whatever that thing was, he had fled my mind while I was unconscious. I was exuberant, and felt like hugging the first person I saw, a large male nurse with a hypodermic needle. Of course, I couldn't, as my arms and legs were constrained by traction equipment, and what wasn't in traction was securely strapped to the bed.

You know the rest of the story, of course. My subsequent interrogations, protestations of innocence and incredible explanations of what happened.

The trial and the sentencing passed in a blur, my hastily procured lawyer unable to stem the tide of hatred I now engendered in anyone who'd heard the story.

Honestly, I couldn't blame them for feeling that way. It's a wonder I didn't take my own life, but a bizarre sense of obligation left it for the state to take.

In the wake of the beast's infestation, I can find no trace of his presence in my mind. Some days, I even question that the invasion ever happened, although there is simply no other way for me to explain what happened. I know my memory is trustworthy, impossible as it sounds.

I am still healing from the wounds the beast caused to my body, of course. I am confined to a wheelchair until my legs and arms heal from the damage caused both by the police and the beast himself. It remains amazing to me that the police didn't simply shoot me dead on the spot.

Justice will prevail, and the corporeal body which caused the harm will be punished for that harm. Although you have sentenced an innocent man to die, there is no other possibility. I only regret that I cannot summon the beast up before you for trial.

Finally, to anyone who has actually finished this ultimate missive, protect yourself. The beast is still out there. He will attack again. Incredible though it may sound, these were not the actions of a mere crazed man. That foul invader remains vigilant for another mind to inhabit. He will hunger again, and humanity will pay the price.

I hear the jailers coming. My day has arrived. I only trust that, if there is an afterlife, the beast cannot follow me there.

Yours for the next 15 minutes or so,

Robert Wilbur Slater

Written and copyright by Ian Johnston, 2006. All rights reserved.