Dear readers, tonight we have with us a budding serial killer, a member of a self-styled psychopath club. He’s here to tell us about life, high-school, and the ability to move between alternate realities.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
Er, no. It was as boring as all hell to live through and it would be as boring as all hell to make you read what some book I had to read in school called “all that David Copperfield kind of crap”. I was born; I was given a stupid name, with an even stupider spelling that nobody ever gets right; I grew up; I reached my teens; my parents divorced and my mom moved to the Midwest. There are probably some good parts of the Midwest. I live in a town called Muldoon. It is not one of those. It’s tiny and it’s cold and it’s boring. I want out so badly.
What do you do now?
I go to high school with an assortment of jocks, fools, inbred assholes and garden-variety losers. You read books, right? Then you probably went to school with similar types.
But I hope you aren’t like me in other ways. No easy way to say this, so out with it: for years I’ve wanted to kill people. Made plots and plans. They might have worked, too. Only I’m too chicken to follow any of them through.
Or I was.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
Okay, here it gets weird. I ran my car off the road and suffered a brain injury. I deserved to have killed myself, but they saved me. Only now… I have this weird thing that happens, where I slip between alternate universes. (Except, guess what, Muldoon still sucks in every single one of them that I’ve seen.) I can’t control when it happens or where I go. I’ve found myself in universes where I died in that accident. People see me and think they’re seeing a ghost. It’s fun to play along with that.
What did you first think when you discovered this ability?
I thought I was crazy. Wouldn’t you? Honestly, I sorta kinda think I still am. Especially since – well, go on and ask the next question, we’ll get to why else I think I may be nuts.
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
Ever since the accident I keep seeing this… thing. Creature. Person. Demon? I don’t know what Horsehead is. He won’t say. Any time I try and ask him questions, he just turns them round into questions of his own and fires them back at me. It’s enough to drive you crazy. Except I’m seeing a guy with a horse’s head instead of a human one, and talking to him, so I’m probably crazy anyway. Likely he’s just my brain injury talking. But what if he’s not?
Well, if he’s not, things get even more interesting, because – in so far as I can figure out anything at all about him – I think he wants me to do what I’ve always been fascinated by. To kill people.
What is the best thing about being able to go between alternate worlds?
I found out after a little while that if I make too much of a change in a universe I don’t belong, I get jerked back to my starting point, the place and time I left. Which means I can do pretty much anything I like and never have to carry the can for it. How about that, huh? I can break things. Steal things.
Only – well, go on, I can see you’re bursting with more questions.
What is the worst thing about being able to dimension-hop?
Here’s the thing. Take, oh gee, anyone. Take my high school principal. Old Tidmarsh. He’s a royal asshole. Say I go to an alternate universe, and I cut his wrinkly old throat. I get pulled back to my own dimension and the cops can’t follow me there. But Tidmarsh is still alive here. And still rides my ass every chance he gets. I could kill him a dozen times in a dozen different universes, and he’s still alive in the place it matters. There are millions and millions of these alternate timelines and even though I’m able to go between them and mess things up locally, I don’t make any difference overall. It’s bad enough being one human being in one single dimension. Try being one human being in an infinite series of the damn things.
Tell us a little about your friends.
I bet you’re thinking I’m a bitter, twisted loner with no friends, right? Ha ha, you lose. There’s a bunch of us, who got together because we were the outsiders at Straus High. Self-preservation, really, but they’re as okay as other people can get. Vanessa, for instance, the goth artist. I found a timeline where we were dating. That blew my mind. And Beth, who’s creepy-quiet. Maybe in another universe I’m dating her. Then there’s Joe, who’s queer and clever, and Rowdy and Chuck, who are okay as long as they aren’t talking Dungeons and Dragons.
And there’s Horsehead, of course. Is he my friend? He says so. I don’t know if I believe him.
Any romantic involvement?
Uh. See above. I’m still processing what I learned about Vanessa and me. Dating a fat goth chick for a few hours in an alternate universe is one thing, but asking her for a date in a dimension I can’t skip away from… that’s different. But I like her. I think. I wish I could tell her about what I can do. She’s the only one I know who might stand a snowball’s chance in hell of understanding what I can do, and who I am.
Sometimes I imagine her telling me “I know what you are, and I love you anyway.” That makes my toes curl up when I think of it.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
My parents, to start with. And I already told you about old Tidmarsh. Then there’s most of the other staff at Straus High. Every one an asshole. And the other kids. The worst is Ed Crowe, who’s got muscles all over, including in his brain. And the bunch of jerks who go around with him. They should all die in a fire. Maybe one day I’ll arrange for that to happen. Ha ha! Just kidding. Maybe.
What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
I read comic books. Collect them, too. And I like to go online and read about true crime – all about serial killers and what mistakes they made that let them get caught.
I don’t drink alcohol. My mom does. She’s kind of a soak. I don’t want to be like her.
Favorite color? Orange. Got a couple of orange t-shirts. They stand out. They say, hey, look at me, I’m not like other people. I’m an individual. (Though I’m not, of course, for reasons already given.)
What does the future hold for you?
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
I’m scared of myself. Only I can never figure out whether I’m scared of myself because I’m a psychopath, or because I’m not.
Any final thoughts or advice?
Don’t be afraid to do what you want. Nothing you do makes an atom of difference to any timeline but your own. So you may as well have fun. Right?
When Sandra Bond was aged eleven her school held a mock census. One of the questions was “What do you want to be when you grow up?” She was the only one who put down “novelist”. (Not even “writer”, note; “novelist”.) She spent too many years working as a lawyer and pretending to herself that writing fiction was just a childhood fantasy, but eventually she came to her senses, quit the law, found a less toxic work community in the craft brewing industry, and now juggles that with writing in her first love, the sf and fantasy genre.
You can find Darroll on the pages of The Psychopath Club.
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