The Changling

This ‘excerpt’ I wrote as a concept for myself to see if I liked the idea of a killer who was obsessed trying to make himself into psychopath, focused almost exclusively on trying to eliminate his ability to feel empathy. I wanted it to be a thriller where he was being tracked down by a detective, but never got beyond this concept. Though I still kind of like the story idea today. I think I wrote this because at the time (around 2012 I think) there was a lot of news coming out about the physiological differences a psychopath’s mind has vs a ‘regular’ mind.

            “There isn’t anything profound about psychopathy. Mr. Adams.  It all boils down to one simple factor, a lack of empathy.  But it’s different for me, different from other psychopaths, because there was a time when I could empathize, Mr. Adams” Ranted Tomas, as he reached for his handkerchief and wiped away a portion of the blood trickling down his temple.  “You hit me rather hard, don’t you think? Mr. Adams” continued Tomas, stepping out of the gazebo, and back into the rooftop garden.

            Randall wasn’t listening to anything Tomas said, or at least he wished he wasn’t. Randall was limping across the garden to the rooftop door, then the stairs, then the- there was a bang as Randall fell, grasping at a potted tropical fern. The plant toppled over, rolling away from Randall, as he lay gasping and fumbling about in his pockets.  Randall’s leg was still bleeding, and a trail of blood followed from the gazebo to where he lay now.

            “You see Mr. Adams, I made a choice. That’s why your profile doesn’t fit. You didn’t take into account one thing… choice.” Continued Tomas, slowly walking towards Randall, his gate controlled, he was forcing himself to slow down, “I started with my Hippocampus, opting for self-induced post-traumatic stress syndrome to shrink it-” he paused, “It didn’t quite yield the results I had wanted.”

            “Results?” Coughed out Randall, no longer able to ignore Tomas’ rant.  He still lay on the ground, but he had found what he was looking for in his pocket, and held it firmly tucked in his fist. “You sought out traumatic experiences? To what? To alter your brain? Change your mind? You didn’t need to do something so drastic to become messed up, it takes a messed-up person to want to do something like that in the first place.”

            “I suppose if we are going to accuse each other of things based on misguided reasoning Mr. Adams, I should point out a well-worn proverb, it takes one to know one.” snapped Tomas, pausing mid stride, then catching himself and regaining his composure, “The traumas proved to only give me the generic list of symptoms, without the desired result.”

            Randall stumbled to his feet, his leg now covered in soil and blood, “Even if you managed to shrink your hippocampus significantly, it wouldn’t make you a psychopath.  Its more complex than that.” He shrugged off the pain and turned around and continued limping to the door.  Fumbling with something shiny in his hands as he went.  “Being a psychopath, lacking empathy along with all the attributes, doesn’t make a person a murder.”