Horror and Thriller Fiction posted April 12, 2016


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There is a thin line between sanity and insanity

Justifiable Delirium

by CEO2020


The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.
JUSTIFIABLE DELIRIUM

My name is Byron Lee. In the fourth month of 1884, my wife Rebecca and I traveled as newlyweds across the Atlantic en route to our new home in Warren County, New Hampshire.

As the crowded ship of Englanders prepared to dock on the murky waters, I was pursued with repulsive looks from the locals. And when I departed the ship, I was called a nigger by the children begging the new arrivals for a nickel. But my happiness to arrive in America wasn't deterred by the unpleasant welcoming because Rebecca was happy, so I ignored the prejudicial comments surrounding me.

As we quickly left the rotten and derelict quay, we boarded a Brougham my father arranged to carry us to our new home. Riding with open curtains, the staring from the residents was an intense feeling of jealousy and hate. But I smiled at their unwelcome looks; refusing to be disheartened by their bigotry.

When Rebecca and I arrived at our estate, in her exhilaration, she jumped out of the carriage and ran excitingly into the mansion where servants greeted her. I stood next to a bevy of cherry blossom trees, marveling on the dream to build a town without discrimination.

Elated at the idea of such a place, I turned my attention to Rebecca, who was moving around the house like a child in wonderland.

"Byron, I'm so happy. I love you so much," she said, running into my arms with the splendor of azure eyes and long black hair dangling between my fingers.

"I love you more," I replied, from the deepness of my heart.

Shortly after that, Pastor Henry, a tall starched pinkish man, and his wife Caroline, a pudgy woman an inch above a dwarf -- rode up in an open wagon to welcome us. His wife attempted to smile at me, but a smile didn't come. But in my friendly nature, I ignored her grudging face and invited the Pastor and his wife for tea.

As we sat in the sitting room, Pastor Henry asked, "What brings you to Warren County, Mr. Lee?"

"When my mother died two years ago, my father returned to his homeland in Beaverton County to bury her. After graduating from Oxford, I married Rebecca, and my father bought this land as a marriage gift for us to raise a family."

"Ahh. We heard this land belonged to an Englander, but we weren't expecting a negra. Your father is a wealthy man. Where did he get his wealth?"

"My parents owned several bakeries in England."

"Ahh...cakes and pies. But why didn't you just move another mile into Beaverton County?"

"I was planning to move to Beaverton, but my father gave me this land, and I see why."

"Yep. This is a beautiful piece of land. What's your father's name?"

"Uranus Lee."

"Well, I hope you know we already have a bakery in town."

"I'm not opening a store in town. I'm opening a store in Beaverton."

"Well, that's good to hear. We don't need anyone stepping on toes around here. Getting people all riled up. God doesn't want strangers infringing on the profits of others. You know what I mean?"

I paused in thought -- looking at this redneck disguised as a man of God, before humbling myself, and said, "Sir...you can tell the townspeople that I'm not here to compete with them. I'm sure if I sold cakes and pies from my home, no one from town would ride three miles to buy one."

"Well, thank you...that's good to hear. I see you are a Christian Mrs. Lee. What a beautiful cross around your neck. Solid gold I presume?"

"Why yes Pastor, my husband gave it to me as an engagement present."

"My my, what a generous man. We love Christian families around here. So I look forward to seeing you both at the church on Sunday?"

"I'm coming pastor, but my husband isn't a church-going man."

"No? Mr. Lee, you're not a Christian?"

Appalled by the question, because I had a matching cross visibly displayed around my neck -- I said in disguised anger, "Pastor, I believe in serving the Lord. I just don't believe you have to go church to serve him."

"You've got to change that way of thinking, Mr. Lee. God said to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Sunday is the Sabbath, and he wants you to come to his house for worship. Please accept my special invitation to join us on Sunday. We look forward to welcoming you and your beautiful wife to our town."

"Thank you for the invite. I accept your invitation."

A few minutes later, Sheriff Morgan arrived -- a big-bellied and un-groomed man with ears like an elephant, riding on a white horse. Strutting like the judge and jury, he entered my home and looked directly in my eye and said, "Nigger, what you doing here with this white woman."

I had enough sense to know Sheriff Morgan was trying to provoke me, to give him an excuse to shoot me dead. So I withdrew the anger I was feeling and humbled myself. My father had taught me not to be confrontational with authority -- so I held my peace with silence.

"Answer the question nigger! What you doing here? Who did you steal those fancy clothes from?"

Humiliated in front of my wife, I submissively said, "Sheriff...these are my clothes, this is my house, my land, and my wife."

Then Pastor Henry intervened and said, "Now Sheriff that is no way to talk to our new neighbor. Mr. Lee is a good negra. He and his wife are newlyweds from England."

"They got rich niggers in England?"

"Let me apologize, Mr. Lee, for the Sheriff. Sometimes he forgets that he's a deacon in the church."

After Pastor Henry said those words, Sheriff Morgan abruptly left, galloping towards town. Pastor Henry and wife quickly followed.

The next day, Rebecca and I traveled the five-hour carriage ride to visit my father in a quadrant of Beaverton County populated by African-Americans. I could sense he didn't like Rebecca when I introduced her, but he welcomed her into the family and was elated to learn of her pregnancy. We spent four nights at his home -- during which time he and I shared several private moments together. The one I remember most is when I told him about my plan to build a town without bigotry, and he responded with conviction, "That is why I bought you the land."

Embracing me, he asked, "Are you sure your wife loves you for the man you are and not for your wealth?"

"Yes," I confidently, said.

He smiled and hugged me again before reciting this scripture -- "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9) Then he said, "Keep your eyes open because wisdom is greater than love."

Like everything my father told me, I kept close to my heart. But I didn't know the meaning of the scripture, and I didn't ask -- because I wanted to learn the meaning on my own.

During our return home, I asked Rebecca, "Why do you love me?"

She looked at me with the beauty and smile I cherished and answered, "I love you because you make me happy when I am sad."

Hearing those words from her delicate voice removed any doubt that tried to creep into my mind. As if it was possible, I felt more love for Rebecca and was happier than the day I married her. Passionately rubbing her gravid stomach as the sun beamed its morning light through the windows of the carriage, I repeatedly kissed her fourth-month bulge, privately praying for the birth of a son.

The next day was Sunday, and after attending church, I took Rebecca to visit Doctor Millerson and schedule weekly visits. Doc, as everyone called him, was a very jovial man who dressed every season as the town's Santa Claus -- he was the only one in town respectful towards me -- but he never accepted my dinner invitations.

Over the next three months, Rebecca spent most of her free time volunteering at the church. During this period, my father became very ill, and I was traveling back and forth every week to visit him. When Rebecca's expectancy was near, I received news that my father's death was imminent. I found myself in a dilemma -- my wife is expecting to give birth any day -- but I have to be at my father's side when he dies. With a live-in nurse referred by Doc, I was comfortable leaving Rebecca, hoping my child wouldn't be born until I returned.

To ease my worry, I commissioned one of my servants to travel back and forth daily to keep me updated about my wife -- and on the fifth day, he brought me the news that my child was stillborn. Devastated, I neglected my father and hurried home, finding Rebecca distressed and secluded in our bedroom. Sobbing fussily at the sight of me -- she spoke in broken words with rampant tears flowing over her mouth, "It was a boy, and he looked exactly like you."

I was speechless as my head dropped in a flood of tears. When I asked to see him, Rebecca told me that she buried him immediately to spare me the agony of seeing a dead son.

She kept repeating in a voice of distress, "I'm so sorry our son died...I'm so sorry for disappointing you."

But I was blaming myself. I believed if I had stayed with her, my son would have lived. For the next two weeks, I mourned his death -- refusing to leave Rebecca's side for anyone or anything. But then a new guilt fell upon me when I received word of my father's death. I felt shameful because I forsook him in his last days -- adding to my shame was the belief that he tried to stay alive until I returned. The only love I had left in the world was my love for Rebecca -- and I used that love to sustain me in the misery of losing my son and father.

In onus and guilt, I rode to Beaverton to bury my father and settle his property. Expecting to be away for three weeks; it was less than two, and I hurried home to surprise Rebecca.
Slowly riding my horse in the twilight, I could see in the far distance a light from my bedroom window. As I rode closer, I was wondering why the servants' quarters were dark in the early evening.

With my mind racing, I saw the horse of Sheriff Morgan latched to the post and began questioning the purpose. A hundred yards or so from my front door, I stopped and inquisitively looked up into the bedroom window and saw Rebecca and Sheriff Morgan in a lover's embrace. I felt my heart ripped from out of me, and a vast emptiness that inherited my soul became the evidence that my eyes were not deceiving me.

The only thing that could heal me at that moment was an ensanguined Sheriff Morgan. Brokenhearted and distressed, I hid my horse and quietly entered my home to retrieve my gun and knife from the study. With a Colt 45 in my right hand and a scalping knife in the left, I heard the footsteps of Sheriff Morgan leaving and the voice of Rebecca, "I love you" -- in the same manner, she spoke those words to me.

I felt like a fool -- like an idiot -- stupid in every way. I thought to kill Rebecca first, but I hated Sheriff Morgan more. So I hid and followed him as he rode back towards town -- ambushing him in an isolated place. He didn't have a moment to react before I stuck the barrel of my gun against the side of his enormous head. He was startled when he saw my face but knew the reason for my actions, and in a whimpering voice, cried, "Please don't kill me, Mr. Lee...your wife seduced me. Please don't kill me!"

With his body trembling in fear, I removed his gun and threw it among the boulders. With crazed eyes, I yanked him from off his horse and shot the horse before pistol-whipping him with vile hatred. I watched the spirit of his boldness and toughness vanish as he crumbled petrified, crying like a woman, and begging me not to kill him.

With teeth missing because of my violent blows to his mouth, and blood spread across his swollen face, he cried, "Pastor Henry mounted your wife before me."

I was stunned by that information and momentarily lowered my gun before remembering my purpose and blowing out his brains. But one shot didn't satisfy me -- so I unloaded the remaining bullets into his face as the night air echoed the gunfire.

Hollering and standing like a coyote over a kill, I cut off his ears in a wild frenzy. After I had wiped the blood that squirted on my face and clothing, I took his badge and stuck it on my shirt before turning my rage to Pastor Henry. Careful not to be seen, I rode towards town.

Leaving my horse at the edge of the township, I took the knife and rope from my saddle bag and crept to the Pastor's house. With the rope and knife securely hid, I calmly knocked on the door, and his wife opened with the look of audacity. She didn't invite me in but yelled, "That rich nigger is here to see you."

She blocked the door, seemingly to prevent me from entering -- and because she kept her loathsome eyes fixated on my face, she didn't notice the sheriff's badge on my shirt.

When Pastor Henry came to the door, I quickly pulled my knife and slit his wife's throat for the thrill of killing. He stood in shock as a river of blood flowed down her breasts before she fell dead at his feet. With his mouth frozen open in horror, I pushed him against a pillar inside the home with the bloody knife at his throat. Binding his hands and feet to a chair, he was sobbing for his dead wife and yelling that I will burn in hell.

With the insanity of a madman guiding me, I was unconcerned about his voice alarming the neighbors -- so I ignored the thought to gag him -- I was enjoying his vain calls for Sheriff Morgan.

When he noticed the Sheriff's badge, he started begging for his life. But my ears were deaf to his relentless pleas for mercy. Then in one seemingly last ditch effort for clemency, he cried, "Doc killed your son!"

My thoughts stopped. My head dropped in deep despair from the realization they murdered my son. I lowered my knife as if I would grant mercy -- then remembering my purpose, I cut out his tongue before slashing every part of his body -- leaving him to bleed to death. My rage had reached a point of no return as I calmly walked into the street without feeling a threat from the townspeople.

A realization came to my madness that this town is full of cowards without Sheriff Morgan -- so I was brazen as I calmly walked towards Doc's home -- knowing the townspeople are watching but afraid to confront me.

When I arrived at the other end of town, the house was dark except for candles in an upstairs room. In love with the thrill of surprising my victims -- I furtively went to the back of the house and broke out a window -- pausing a few seconds before entering.

With my footsteps moving slowly and quietly towards the staircase, I heard a faint conversation from upstairs. Slowly making my way up with a trail of blood, the steps in my consciousness were squeaking loudly -- so I paused and made my steps slower and lighter. But I couldn't stop the rapid beating of my heart that sounded like the whole county could hear. I couldn't stop my confused state of mind. I couldn't halt the feeling to kill without mercy -- a sensation that led me to the top of the stairs and outside the door where I could clearly hear the voice of Doc and the nurse.

With a new wave of rage surging, I snatched open the door, and the naked nurse was able to bellow a short scream before I slashed her throat and calmly watched her blood flow like a stream down her lifeless body. With Doc's mouth shut frozen in shock, I yelled in a disordered speech that sounded like a foreign language.

Doc pissed on himself as he stared at the nurse's lifeless body. Then I coherently shouted, "Why did you murder my son?"

Terrified in deep fear, he struggled to speak before mumbling, "Your wife begged me to kill it."

"Kill it! It! It was a human being. It was a baby!"

Raising the knife in extreme mental excitement to cut his throat, Doc cried in a crumbling voice and apologetic tone, "When your wife saw a black baby, her exact words to me were 'Please kill it!' I didn't want to do it. She begged me to kill the child."

"Liar! Rebecca knew our baby was black!"

"No, she didn't Byron. She thought she was pregnant before she married you. She believed her pastor in England was the father. She told Pastor Henry and Sheriff Morgan about your plan to build a black town. Sheriff Morgan was planning to kill you when you returned home from settling your father's estate."

I lowered my knife as those words rang true in my ears with the hurt and pain of a thousand blows, and the knowledge of a greater betrayal. I looked at Doc with mercy in my heart -- and in a harmless voice, asked, "How did my son die"?

He hesitated as if afraid to say, then shamefully answered, "Your wife told me to hit him in the head with a hammer."

Delirium overtook me, and I found myself in the dichotomy of humanity. The mercy I was prepared to give disappeared as if it never existed, and I proceeded to cut off Doc's head without pity. Listening to him squealing like a pig, I saw a beast and not a man. Doc wasn't human in my eyes. How can a human kill a baby with a hammer?

Covered in blood without remorse for my victims, I slowly rode Doc's horse through town as the townspeople looked and did nothing. I could hear their whispers, "Where is the Sheriff?"

They were unaware that I had left his dead body for the buzzards -- so I shouted several times for the whole town to hear, "I shot the Sheriff!"

Then looking into their horrid faces, I yelled, "I'm the new Sheriff."

Most of them looked away when our eyes met -- some ran away in fear that I would kill them too. No one tried to stop me as I rode through town in defiance -- even the deputy trembled and ran for the Marshal in Beaverton County, as I dragged Doc's severed head behind me.

Expecting to be shot in the back by one of these cowardly fiends, I was secretly praying that I wouldn't be until I had spilled the life of Rebecca like dung. Waiting for the sound of a gunshot that never came, I slowly rode to my home, as this temporary insanity lingered.

When I arrived, the only light was from the moon. Listening to the chirping of crickets, I stared at my bedroom window, as if in a trance on how to dismantle Rebecca. With vengeance for the cruel death of my son motivating me, I dismounted and walked nonchalantly into the barn. With an adrenaline rush, I took the hatchet and entered my house.

With darkness all around me, I felt like the angel of death as I walked up the long staircase that led to my bedroom. I lugubriously opened the door and saw Rebecca asleep. My thoughts were those of love and hate.

I stood over Rebecca reflecting on how I had taken her from out of the poor white trash and loved her unconditionally -- fulfilling all her dreams of prosperity. But she hated me from the beginning -- and hid her hatred in her quiet demeanor -- using her activeness in the church as an excuse to spend time away from me and the opportunity for adultery. How could my heart not see the evil of this woman? How could my love be so blind? I neglected my father because of this whore -- my son is dead because of this slut.

With the mind of a wild beast, I pounced on Rebecca with my left hand clutched around her throat, pinning her arms with the weight of my knees. She was gasping for air with eyes frozen in fright at the sight of the hatchet above her head. Her hands were clutching the sheets as she struggled in vain to escape my grasp.

With the spit of lunacy and smell of death emanating from my breath; I savagely yelled into her terrified face, "You killed my son...you whore of Babylon."

Her eyes were bulging in fear, and her body was trembling in horror at the sight of a man she had only known as good-natured. Seeing her looming death reflecting in my eyes, she changed her eyes to reflect a sincere love for me, hoping she might seduce me to spare her life. But all my love for Rebecca was gone -- there was only hate -- and she quickly realized it.

When her eyes noticed Sheriff Morgan's badge covered in blood, I laid the hatchet to my side and grabbed the ears of Sheriff Morgan and the tongue of Pastor Henry from out of my pocket, and shouted, "This is what's left of your lovers!"

There are no words to describe the horror that came over the face of Rebecca at that moment. Curious to hear her last words, I eased my hand from her throat. And in a desperate attempt to convince me, she said in the voice I once loved more than myself, "I love you Byron, you're the only man I've ever truly loved. I didn't kill our baby. I was so happy when I saw him. Doc killed our son. I lied because Sheriff Morgan threatened to kill you if I told the truth. I love you, Byron! Please believe me! Trust me honey! You know I love you!"

Before she could speak another word, I clutched her throat to choke the lies, then swung the hatchet into the side of her head. With blood gushing like a punctured water hose, I began cutting every limb from her body. I was a maniac -- a monster like the many monsters pretending to be human.

After dismantling her petite body with the vigor of a wild animal, I calmly retrieved a wheelbarrow to carry her limbs to the pigpen as the morning light rose with the tweeting of birds. Without saying a word or moving a step, the servants watched -- looking with expressions of sympathy and approval. I didn't blame any of them -- because I ignored the warning signs they had given me for months.

But even if they had told me in words, the man I was back then wouldn't have believed them but fired them -- and they were smart enough to know that. And in my final act of this temporary insanity, I buried the heads of Doc and Rebecca in the dunghill.

With my sanity restored, I sat in my study and revised my last will and testament -- leaving my father's inheritance and all my possessions equally divided among my servants. I took a bath, put on my Sunday best, and waited on the porch for my arrest. Remembering the words from my father, "wisdom is greater than love," I discovered the meaning of the scripture.

Knowing if I plead insanity, that would void my revised last will and testament, I plead justifiable delirium. But was convicted of six murders in the first degree.

Many have asked, "Do you have remorse for the murders?" I give the same answer, "No...because killing demons is not murder."

I was a mild-mannered man when I arrived in Warren County. I wouldn't carry a gun because I didn't want white people to fear me. I only wanted to be seen and treated like a human being. I never judged a person by the color of their skin -- and I won't judge those who convicted me because of the color of my skin. If I were a white man, my delirium would be justified. But I'm a black man -- so the same laws don't apply to me.

I have to end my story now -- because the guards are here to escort me to the hangman.


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