Thomas and Simon are twins that share everything. Including the same body….
A Story of Double Identity
The Confessions of Thomas Knell
By Ash Warren
For the Hunter Award
The doctor’s telling Simon to shut up now.
‘Shut up Simon. I want to talk to Thomas. Is Thomas there? I want to talk to him.’
Over and over. Simon’s shaking his head. He’s thinking: aggressive type, this psychiatrist. Rude. We don’t like rude people. And we know what you do to them, don’t we Thomas? The rude people. You don’t want to talk to him do you Thomas? Do you?
‘Is Thomas there?’ the doctor is saying again.
He’s keeping on asking Thomas. What should I do? Look, you talk to him. He wants me to be quiet anyway…..
And you tell Simon it’s ok. You’ll talk to him. Make him go away.
It’s OK Simon.
The doctor is staring at you now. He’s surprised at the sudden change that’s come over his patient. And he’s thinking that the room feels colder.
‘Am I speaking to Thomas now? asks Dr. Carlsen, leaning forward in his chair toward you.
You lift your eyes to him and see the faintest flicker of fear. Just a tiny squeak of fear, but it’s good.
And you say, very smoothly;
‘I am Thomas Knell, Doctor. How nice to meet you….’
‘And you Thomas.’ says the doctor. ‘Can we have a chat? I’d like to get to know you better if that’s alright.’
‘Well of course doctor. What would you like to talk about?’
Look around the office. Comfortable place. Lights are dimmed a little. You are sitting in a nice leather armchair facing the good Dr. Carlsen.
‘Simon tells me you’ve killed people, Thomas. Is that true?’
You wonder if he is from Denmark. His accent has that slight Danish lilt to it. And his suit looks expensive. European tailoring. Whereas you are in your orange prison jumpsuit.
You give the doctor a half smile, the one that makes you look like a well-intentioned rabbit, and nod.
The doctor makes a note in his black moleskin notebook.
‘And have you killed many people, Thomas?
You have to think for a moment.
‘Yes, I suppose I have.’
‘And just for the record…. How many?’
The doctor is pretending to be very nonchalant about this. Like it wasn’t very important. These Scandinavians were good at that with their flattish sounding English.
But still, it was a good question. So hard to keep track of these things.
‘Well… a great many, you know….’ you answer truthfully.
The doctor is making more notes.
Pictures on his desk. Family? A little girl with blonde hair. You’ve remember one or two like that. The knife went through them like they were butter.
Yes, the knife was always good. Quiet. Get to see the fear as it goes in. Guns were for the efficient, not for the beautiful. Not for the artistic…
‘Just to be clear Thomas…’
‘Do you think you could call me Mr. Knell, doctor? Just until we are a little better acquainted?’ He needs to stop talking to you like you are a child. Time to assert a little more control. You like that.
The doctor looks a little taken aback. Good.
‘Very well…. Mr Knell. Please tell me. Has Simon killed anyone?’
What a laughable idea.
‘Simon? Why no. He wouldn’t hurt a fly….’
‘So… that’s all you then is it? The killing?’
You just nod. Sigh a little. Stand up. Stretch your arms towards the ceiling. Walk over to the desk.
‘It’s what you might call a division of labor….’ you say, picking up the photograph of his little girl.
The doctor looks a little nervous now.
‘Your daughter, doctor?’ you ask quietly.
The doctor nods. His eyes are open wide. You can tell he’s fingering a security alarm under the arm of his chair.
You put the photograph down on the desk again.
Sit down again. The doctor seems to relax a little.
‘Thank you.’ he says. ‘So….. Mr. Knell. I’m sorry but could we talk about a recent case? The Ambrose family? You remember them?’
Cross your legs. There’s an image of these people in your mind. They are all sitting at the dinner table, with their hands cut off. You arranged the bodies like that. A reflection, naturally, of their lack of table manners.
The hands themselves were piled up on a plate in the middle of the table with silver foil wrapped around the wrists. Just like chicken drumsticks…..
The doctor leaned forward again.
‘Would you like to elaborate on what happened? We can’t seem to put a finger on the particular… motive….’
You look at the doctor calmly and smile a little disparaging smile.
You consider the word. Roll it around in your mind like a marble. Motive? They were just meat. A bit of entertainment. That’s how you thought about all your kills. We all just entertain ourselves in various ways before we shuffle off this mortal coil, don’t we?
‘What’s the date today, Doctor? ‘
Dr. Carlsen looks surprised.
‘June 25th. Why do you ask?’
‘And the year?’
You decide it’s time. After all, why not? It’s your birthday. And Simon’s too. Time for a little present, you think.
The doctor has sat back suddenly in his chair.
‘What’s that in your hand Mr. Knell?’ he’s asking.
Now he’s pressed the button. There is a sound of running outside and a shout.
But it’s too late. And you smile at the doctor as you stand up.