Tobias watched as the Dark man lit a match, illuminating the room in a sudden eerie glow. The shadows danced with one another, darting around the room as the Dark man moved towards Tobias, standing up and walking slowly, holding the match out in front of him to stop it from extinguishing itself.
In his other hand was a candle, which Tobias had previously not noticed in the corner, but as the Dark man had picked it up, it was apparent what it was. As he held the match, which was quickly burning out, to the candle, the flame passed from the wood of the match to the wick of the candle, letting it burn a little more brightly, providing enough light for Tobias to refamiliarise himself with the monster in front of him.
As the candle was gently placed on the floor in front of Tobias, the Dark man and him shared a quiet moment of eye contact, which neither of them could bring themselves to break, at least not of their own accord. Tobias looked into the dead eyes, examining carefully every blood shot streak, every time the pupil dilated even the slightest bit. A watery grey colour filled the eyes, and looked unnatural, but was probably the price which the Dark man paid for his constant struggle and endless torment.
The silence was only broken by the Dark man suddenly looking down to the candle, and squinting to block the light from searing into his mind. He groaned, then moaned, then let out a sort of howl, which took Tobias completely by surprise and made him jump a little.
Through his suddenly deep and hacking breaths, the Dark man was able to utter a curse, then rise violently and jerkily to his feet, at which point he clamped his hands over his ears, screaming louder and louder with every second that passed.
Tobias was scared now. Obviously the Dark man had something wrong with him. Maybe a mental condition that plagued him and made him think that what he was doing was right. Or maybe what he was doing now – the screams, the swearing, the fierce grip he had on his own skull – was a symptom of the Voices and their changes to accommodate his ethical stature.
Screaming loudly once more, Tobias felt the floor shake as the Dark man fell to his knees, banging his head against the floor with some significant force which Tobias couldn’t distinguish between deliberate or accidental. After a second more, the Dark man released his head, went somewhat limp, and continued to breathe heavily as he fell on his side and lay on the floor. Tobias hoped that maybe something had happened to kill him. Something unexplained, but as the breathing was evident, and the Dark man’s chest slowly rose and fell, Tobias accepted quickly and painfully that the murderer in front of him was not yet dead.
‘Those fucking Voices…’ He muttered under his breath, almost as if he were talking to himself. However, Tobias couldn’t help but feel that the Dark man only used such vulgar language because a nine-year-old innocent boy was present and he wanted to intimidate him. It only half worked.
‘They’re evil, like you are.’ Tobias once again suddenly became conscious of what he was saying. He was insulting the Dark man, which could make him angry. Just because Tobias and Danielle and the Voices classed the Dark man as evil, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he himself considered himself and what he was doing to be bad. He may have been influenced by the Voices in his own mind. Voices that were evil. But they were only evil because he was evil in his core. Tobias quickly ruled out that explanation.
‘I’m not a bad person, I promise.’
‘But you kill people that are no different from you.’
‘It’s the Voices. Always yelling, always screaming at me. Telling me what to do.’
‘They tell you what to do because they simply follow what you want deep down. Just because you don’t accept that you’re evil, doesn’t mean you’re not.’
This killed the conversation. Tobias was worried that maybe the Dark man would hit him now. Maybe he’d annoyed him enough, and was no going to discourage the prisoner from speaking again. Maybe he’d knock him out for the second time, but it seemed unlikely. If the Dark man needed Tobias like the Voices and he himself said he did, he wouldn’t want to knock him out at every opportunity.
‘I’m not a bad person.’ The Dark man spoke again after a short pause.
‘What makes you killing people okay to do? That makes you a bad person!’
‘I’m saving them. They live with this torment. They live with the Voices all their lives, and they don’t realise that they are not being liberated. They are being fucking controlled!’ Tobias winced as the Dark man used the F word again, but simply because he had not been expecting it so much this time. The Dark man ignored the sharp intake of breath, and continued. ‘They don’t know of the demon inside them. Inside all of us. I’ve tried to suppress it and failed. I’m strong, and I failed. We have no choice in this. I am giving us a choice.’
‘This was never about being the Last of the Gifted, was it? You didn’t want the glory? The personal pride?!’
‘Of course I fucking didn’t, little shit.’ The Dark man sounded both patronising and as if he was holding back tears at the same time. Tobias was curious as to what to make of his expletives mixed with emotion.
‘Then what? Why are you killing us?'
‘I want to save you! I want to free us all! We never had a choice, not once in our lives. They get in early, before we have minds of our own. The Voices infect us, and we can’t resist. You know it’s true. You’ll be running around after them until you die.’
What had started off as rage now seemed to have developed into tears of a madman. The flicker of candle light reflected off the Dark man’s sparkling tears, which wiped away a certain amount of dirt from his unclean face, leaving a thin trail of natural skin.
The emotions of the Dark man seemed to be being washed away by this flood of sudden emotion. He seemed so passionate about his opinion, and as much as Tobias fought a small part of his brain, he agreed with his enemy.
Tobias knew with a very small but very significant part of his brain, that the Dark man was partly right. Tobias had never had a choice, and would never again.