I learned at an early age that it would be my weakness, my undoing. At least in the eyes of ‘civilized’ society. I got my first taste of it way back in 5th grade when I had been appointed class monitor while the teacher when to lunch or a meeting or something. The pure joy I got at being in control of my fellow students fate intoxicated me. I had the power to cause others to get detention or extra homework or demerits.
Years later I heard the phrase ‘Perception is reality’, but I never really understood what that meant. Did it mean that what I see is real? What about what others saw, how did that affect the ‘reality’ I saw? It wasn’t until I remember being the class monitor that it dawned on me. As a monitor you had no ‘real’ power, it was all an illusion. You had the ability to influence the teacher who could, but in the end it was ultimately up to them as to wether or not to discipline anyone. But everyone thought it had power. Everyone ‘perceived’ the position had the power to do all those things.
After that my life path was set. I wanted power and knew that I didn’t actually have to have any, just needed to appear to have some. I didn’t need power to get others to do things I wanted, I just had to appear to them that I did have the power. I simply had to alter their perception of reality.
Then I found the book.
At first I had no idea what it was, I just knew it was something special. I could feel it, sense it. That first night I paged through it reading the list of names and what turned out to be their manner of death but at the time I didn’t know that. I recognized some of the words as ailments and sicknesses and others were things like car crash and infection. Some were quite lengthy, one even describing in intimate detail the manner in which someone had died including when and where.
I keep using the past tense but that’s incorrect. I ultimately learned that the death descriptions were not in fact how they had died, but rather how they would die. The book predicted the death of the person listed. But again, I didn’t know this when I first found the book. All that would come later, and at a fairly high price.
I began researching the names listed and eventually learned that the manner of death listed was in fact the manner in which each person had died. It meant nothing at the time because there was nothing to indicate it was anything other than what it seemed; a book of names and how they died. No dates. No locations. Just the names and how they died.
That was until I looked up the last name. Michael Waterson. He was still alive. In the book he had been listed as having been killed in a motorcycle accident involving a crane and a water truck. It didn’t strike me as odd that it had was so specific because it hadn’t been any more specific than any others.
Nothing prepared me for finding out he was alive. At first I began to doubt myself, I had to have picked the wrong Michael Waterson. There had to be more, one that was dead and had died in the manner specified by the book. I don’t remember why it mattered so much other than it upset me. So I went back to searching. I spent 3 days digging into obits and police reports online from around the state, then the country trying to find the right Michael Waterson.
Then, thankfully, I found him. Except it was the same guy I had located originally that was still alive. His obituary was listed in an online newspaper somewhere in Ohio. He didn’t live in Ohio but rather in Maryland so why was he listed in Ohio I wondered. Because he had been traveling cross country to visit relatives. And had driven through Ohio, right through a major construction zone. A motorcycle had tried to cut across several lanes of traffic, the effect of which was that another driver had tried to avoid the cyclist, plowed into Waterson and driven him off the road.
Into a crane.
And it had happened yesterday.
At first I refused to accept what my brain was telling me, that the book had predicted the death of Michael Waterson. It was insane. A book can’t do that.
But people can.
So maybe someone else had written Michaels name and manner of death in the book. That too was insane. How would writing that name and death in a book cause someone to die? It was absurd. Completely and totally absurd.
So I decided to try an experiment. I wrote the name of a someone I found in the phonebook and beside it I wrote ‘fire’. And waited.
I did it for no other reason than to prove to myself that the idea was completely absurd. That I was marginally insane just for thinking this could happen, could be real.
Then the guy died when his house caught fire.
Disbelief didn’t even begin to describe how I felt. Although I still didn’t believe it was anything more than a coincidence. So I did it again, only this time I wrote ‘drown in kiddie pool’ as the cause of death.
Five days later the obit appear in the local paper. The person I had randomly selected from the phone book had in fact drown to death in a freaking kiddie pool. I did it 3 more time with increasingly odds manners of death just to prove… something. Anything.
Every single one came to pass. Every. One.
The book was power. Power over life. Over death. So many questions. So many possibilities. I had no taste for death really, the others had simply been to prove that it was real. I felt a twinge of guilt over each one but I hadn’t actually killed them, just written their name in a book.
I didn’t know if that was a legal recourse or not, but I also didn’t know how anyone would be able to link things back to me. It’s just a book. If anyone found it I could simply say it was a record, a diary of deaths for a project of some kind. I had no idea what kind of project, but wasn’t going to worry about it.
However I was insanely curious. Did the deaths have to be sudden and violent? Could I give someone cancer with the book? It seemed like there was a window of five days in which the deaths took place but what about something like leukemia. That took longer than five days.
Could I give someone the plague? Could I give someone a disease that they had already been inoculated against like chicken pox or polio?
What if I wrote down that someone would die on a train but then tried to shot them before they got on the train, would they die from the gunshot?
Could I simply give someone a disease that didn’t kill? What about one that killed but not a physical death? What about something like Parkinsons? Or alzheimer’s?
Could I make someone else kill another person?
All this ran through my head as I tried to sort things out. I now had real power. I had to protect it, to insure that it would server me.
I decided then to run two more final tests. I had been having issues with a group of thugs down the street so I decided to have one beat another one to death. I wrote it in the book and added a time and date to see what would happen.
Ten minutes before the time I had chosen I started walking down the street on a path that would take me directly past the group that had been harassing some of the locals. In short order an argument started and everything began to happen just as I had written. One started beating the other, blood and teeth flying everywhere. I smiled and continued walking making sure not to pay too much attention.
I walked in a coffee shop, ordered a drink, sat at a table and took out my new notebook. I smiled to myself as I began to write my fathers name, the man I hated most in my life. Beside his name I wrote a single word: Alzheimer’s.
I was smiling the entire time.
(yes, I realize the similarity to the Deathnote anime. It’s partly what inspired this, and partly the image of the guy smiling as he gave his father Alzheimer’s)