From Confessions of a Writer, a collection of my short stories (2004). Persian text.
The writer, sitting behind his desk for hours, tires. He looks at the pile of papers on his desk, throws his pen aside in frustration, and to walks toward his bed. The roaring wind rattles the window panes. He narrows his eyes as he gets up and thinks autumn is not his favorite season.
He hears a human voice, but no one is there in the room but him. He peers through the window into the darkness and sees nothing but his reflection. Terrified and puzzled, he searches each corner of his small room asking, “Is anyone there?” He hears nothing but the tree branches scratching the window and the loud whistle of the wind. He takes steps toward his bed in the corner when he hears the voice again
“I am here.”
“Where?” he asks, wheezing. “I don't see anyone here.”
“You wrote me, therefore I am. I sound like a philosopher, I like that.”
The writer looks at the clock on the wall. Its three hours past midnight. He runs his fingers through his hair with confusion, “I must get more sleep.” With a disbelieving smile, he again walks toward his bed.
“You have not lost your sanity, I am Jacob.”
“I don't know any Jacob.”
“You do. You know me better I know myself. We are related.”
The writer desperately pleads, “Where are you?”
“Don't pretend you don't know me and don't hurt my feelings by ignoring someone who has done so much for you. How many lives should I take to prove my friendship? We are blood buddies. You write the plot and I carry it out flawlessly. This is the most deep and lasting of relationships.”
“I am going nuts. Only a lunatic argues with the character of his own book let alone with the most demented one of all.”
“Help me escape or get rid of me forever, I am worried.”
“Your future will be as it was in previous stories. You get away without a trace. Everything will be fine. You live. You live in the hearts and minds of my readers, in the darkest labyrinth of their souls.”
“I used to do it without fear, without remorse. I had no hate. I did it just for the pleasure of doing it. Do you remember the old couple I killed for less than a hundred dollars? Money I didn't even need. My only enjoyment was to see them suffer, to see them beg for their lives. But something has changed. Now my hands shake. This is the end. If I get caught, I won't have any excuse.”
“That's why you won't get caught. That's the beauty of you. If you kill for a reason, you leave a trace and eventually get caught. The idea is not to have a reason. That's how you survive. Be terrified of being scared. Don't you see? You are as innocent as your victims. That's how I created you. No one understands you but everyone relates to you. That's who you are.”
“But you don't understand.”
“I understand you. You suffer from a pain down deep in your soul. From a disease that more or less everyone has and constantly denies. That's why the readers relate to you. You make sense in the darkness of their soul. If you were normal, police would have captured you by now. There must be no pattern in your work. All of your cases are still open in four states because you are unique. But that's not the end of it yet. You will live forever. Your future works will astonish everyone.”
“But I am losing my touch, I get emotional. Last time I was terrified seeing blood on my hands. I'm becoming fucking normal. I am scared.”
“I must go to sleep now and you don't worry, as long as you are who you are, you will do fine. Just be yourself.”
“That's my problem, I am too good to be in your books, and I am real. That's why everything you write comes true.”
“Yes sir, you are real. Don't ever doubt that. This is the art of writing; I made you so real even you don't think you are in the book. I created you. I gave you life, I gave you meaning, you are an anti-hero and you will live. But now I wish I had given you a little more common sense. Leave me alone, I need to sleep.”
“Remember Julia? Julia who was found dead in the New Hampshire woods three years ago? I am talking about the same innocent looking waitress who worked in the Red Castle restaurant. Do you remember the day I ordered a hamburger and told her that her innocence would get her in trouble one day? Guess how many times her beautiful and innocent face was cut when they found her body? Everything that happened to her was exactly as you wrote in your book. Police had no trace of the killer and no clue of the killer's motive. But you and I know what happened.
“Two months later you wrote about Carlos. The FBI is still wondering why a boxing champion like Carlos did not defend himself. His hands were free at the time of murder. No marks of any kind were found on his wrists when his body was found. It looked like he cooperated with the killer!
The shocking news of his mysterious murder was in the papers for months all across the country. His horrific death took away the sense of security of everyone in New York. No one felt safe anymore. Finally, a couple of years later it was announced that the cops had arrested a suspect and as he attempted to escape he was shot dead. That was the best they could do to put people's mind at rest. What a big lie. But we know what really happened.
A few weeks later, the news of disappearance of a little girl named Amanda cane was out, police picked up a man in a neighborhood where who was allegedly trying to lure a little boy in his car. This poor bastard had been in jail three times for petty theft charges. His criminal record spoke for itself. And he didn't have an honest face to help him in the court. They said they had found victim's hair in his car. And that was that. Who better than him could pay for a crime he didn't commit? His entire case in the court didn't last more than a couple of days. The jury found him guilty in less than one hour and three weeks later he sat in the electric chair. Case closed. The people's minds were at rest.
The writer checks the newspaper archives on the Internet and discovers that both of the murder plots he wrote were carried out precisely as he depicted them. The details from police and reporters' investigations exactly matched what he had written in his stories. His unpublished stories. The times and places of the crimes were identical. Even the names of the victims were the same. The only things that didn't match with his writings were speculations and theories of the FBI regarding the killer's motives and where about. And those were exactly what he had not written.
As Jacob said two innocent men had been executed in two states for the crimes they had not committed.
The writer rushes to the shelf where containing manuscripts of his unpublished work. They were all there intact. He rubs his temples with his two index fingers and walks back and forth a few steps. He then lights a cigarette and as he deeply inhales the smoke he looks at his hands and says to Jacob, “Your hand must not shake! This is the secret of your success. This is the only way you survive.”
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