So this was what it was like to go mad.
From outside, I caught snippets of voices – real or ghostly, I could not tell – rising and falling, high to low, a ululating mass with a thousand needle-sharp heads burrowing into my ears. My brethren screaming somewhere in the dark, the soft brutal hissing of the silver at my throat, the faint mental echoes of my parents’ clanging orders and, faintly, unknown voices talking very fast.
Why wouldn’t it be quiet? No figment of my pain-crazed imagination had any right to be this strong. It was soft, it was sad … it was infuriating. With every whiff of her scent, it would set up another demented cacophony of protestation. Within the hour, attempting to stifle it was no longer enough. I wanted to kill it.
The room suffered. I could practically hear the stones screaming as I forced every milligram of strength I had into the minute stony cracks, trying to find some relish in the destruction. But still, it wouldn’t go.
In fact, it only seemed to be getting stronger.
Stop this, it cried, don’t you see what you’re doing to yourself? Stop it, please, stop it!
I hissed and scourged a deep gouge into the floor, wishing for some vague incarnation of satisfaction. As it gained volume and vehemence, her scent was only growing more prevalent. And with it, my frustration was mounting ever higher. I could tear this room apart, and it wouldn’t be enough. I wanted her.
Wait! Suddenly the voice was no longer talking to me. Wait, wait, don’t leave me here!
What was this? I paused, fighting to hear over the clamour of my own insanity. It was like trying to swim in the middle of a whirlpool – too many sounds and smells and screams pulling me, pushing me, pounding me until I breathing itself was nearly impossible.
But, somehow, I heard it. Three sets of rhythmical taps against a hard floor, voices dropped low for fear of being overheard. Her smell, growing fainter by the moment.
It caught me off guard. Before I knew what was going on, I was across the floor and pounding the door with all my strength. My limbs obeyed a will that was not my own, and in my throat I tasted bile that I had given no cause to rise. Too late, I realized what had happened. Weakened by pain and fear and battle, I had let slip my control. Reduced to railing like a lunatic, trapped in my own head while this thing, this other, this brutal, violent, murderous monster, stole my body and threatened to tear apart all I had.
I stopped dead, frozen against the unvanquished solidity of the door. The footsteps were quieter now, but I no longer cared. I was too distracted by the howling, screaming, carnal thing careering around my skull like some rabid beast. Its bloodlust was unbelievable, I had never felt anything like it. That ranting, raving, screaming voice … I knew it. I’d used it. I’d been it.
I was it. It was me.
What was it?
Who were we?
Who was I?
I broke. With a last frantic effort I lurched to my feet – its feet, our feet – and, like a mute who had just discovered their vocal chords, I – we, it, – cried together.
“Morgan! Morgan! MORGAN!"