Dear reader,
This is the last part of a three piece story. To follow up with the story, click the link Masks of Insanity | Probability.

The first thing I notice once I regain consciousness with a sneeze is the putrid stench that almost suffocates me.

In a fit of coughing which I pray clears the disgusting taste in my throat, I make to sit up but the pang in my head that follows humbles me back to my resting position.

Inhaling, I steady myself with shut eyes trying my best to push the smell and taste out of my subconscious.

The fit goes and I try to sit up, this time around with a gentle push upward. I am not successful though. My hands are spaced apart above my head. When I try to bring them down, I hear the clink of metal against metal but they don't move from their position. My legs also are spaced in the same way and I feel like a human star.

In a different setting with me waking up on my comfortable bed with appendages spread like it is, it will pass as funny. Now though, it is anything but that— it is frightening to say the very least.

Am I in coma? I think to myself. I doubt it's possible but it rather be coma than any other dangerous situation.

I try adjusting my eyes to the darkness but end up seeing disfigured shapes I cannot identify. I give up when the shapes begin to look like something from my imagination and with a thud on the hard metal behind me, I rest my head.

Following my little rest are moments before my collapse. They come first as flashes then as slides, reminding me of my fright and safety that I do not have.

Soft footsteps shuffle their way to the distant corner of whatever place I am causing the erratic beating of my heart in my chest.

I try again to lift off my support but the force of my shackles pull me back to my lying position. I jiggle my wrist and the sound of metal against metal fills the room.

“Took you long enough,” a voice— calm, deep, relaxed in a way that can send me to sleep— says. A click later and an overhead lamp forces me to shut my eyes from its blinding flash.

My eyes stay shut with me trying to will the situation away but the footsteps draw closer towards me with my ever dwindling heartbeat showcasing how much of this is reality.

The next I open my eyes, the sight of Clarence hunched over and breathing heavily on my face startles me.

His eyes, frenetic, stare at me with a glint of mischief which equally spreads itself in the smug smirk stretching his lips to meet his ears. I am confused but too frightened to make a sound.

Clarence stays in this position like someone paused somewhere in space leaving me with only the opportunity to break out in cold sweat when what I presume are minutes begin to drag away.

“Clarence,” I say in a breathy whisper but even with the close proximity of his face to my lips, Clarence does not acknowledge my call. My skin is beginning to crawl in an unpleasant way under his unwavering stare.

“Clarence please listen to—”

“Do you know why you are here?” Clarence stands upright, his hair falling over his eyes that now focus somewhere on the other side of the room that faces him.

“No,” I whisper.


“I said no. I have no idea why I'm here.”

“Neither do I,” he says and walks away from me. “One thing is certain though,” Clarence stops, “you won't be out of here anytime soon,” he says and continues to a far corner of the room where after a while of squatting and clinking, he returns to me.

His arm is in an embrace round his chest and spilling from it are tiny metal tools which I recognise from surgeries on reality TV shows.

“Clarence,” I call out in a voice that is drenched in shivers but he ignores me. “Clarence please.”

“Hmm?” he says as he lets the tools spill over the top of a metallic broad high stool with an ear-shattering noise.

He examines his tools with the help of the overhead lamp and each time he assembles a tool in a straight line after examination, I feel the overpowering thump in my chest run even wilder and a rush of adrenaline through me.

“What are those for?” I ask not actually expecting an answer. “Clarence! What do you want with me?” Tears spill from my eyes as I scream my question at him.

“You don't by chance think all those art you saw on arrival come straight out of my imagination. Surely your brain's more than that,” he says with a nonchalance that threatens to drive me nuts.

“ You kill for—”

“The cats were awful, really. Dogs just looked on with sorrowful eyes and only made an effort at escape when my blade met with some deep part of them. But the cats? They always made weird noises like I was some kind of abomination to humankind. That was annoying,” he says while still clattering through his armoury of tools, sparing no glance at me and having me clenching my teeth from the noise.

I struggle with the cuffs keeping my hands in place on each sides of my head.

“You really don't have to bother, you can't escape and no one comes down here. For some weird reason I think they do know this place exists but don't bother checking what goes on within its four walls because they believe this is my safe space. Crazy old dummies.”

Clarence finally spares me a look. His eyes have lost their shine and the lines of tiredness around his face makes me wonder what he is going through; only for a split second though.

“But why?” I'm a sobbing mess by now. I know it will not help me but I can't help myself.

“Because,” he says and goes for an apron hanging from a hanger on the wall, “I saw what you tried doing downstairs. Trying to get cozy with my father, weren't you?”

“No. Clarence, I swear I wasn't at all—”

“Or maybe that's not it.” He ties the apron around himself. “I think you look attractive enough for my blades. Downstairs, earlier, your insides had screamed for a taste of my blades.” His thick eyebrows push against each other as his face looks enchanted, like a man finally beholding his favourite art piece after a long wait.

I try processing everything he is saying but nothing makes sense to me.

“Count to ten,” he says and without warning, I feel a prick then a strong push through the veins in my wrist.

I look up at him and let out a muffled sob but before I start a bout of interrogation, I feel woozy. My body feels cold, warm then outright hot. There's a dizziness that overshadows my sight and everything begins to dim into darkness.

Darkness overpowers me again. This time it feels hot and hostile.


This is where I end this work. It has been such a journey and I hope you enjoy reading this just as much as I enjoyed writing it. Let me know your thoughts on it in the comments section and don't forget to leave a ❤️ on your way out. Thanks!❤️