I’ve committed the perfect crime.
I sit here, in the room they think is fit for me — a bed with a single pillow and blanket, bare walls with only one window barred from the world. I wrap my puppet in a warm embrace, the last remaining reminder of my daughter’s existence to everyone who knew her. No, I am not in prison. My door is not locked though I am advised not to leave the facility for my safety. They think I’m crazy. I laugh at the most inappropriate times and talk to my puppet like she’s alive. No, I am not crazy. This, and everything that happened after her death and everything that will follow, is all part of my plan.
“How are you this evening, George?” Martha, one of the many nurses in this building, asks.
“I’m fine. Thank you for asking, Martha,” I answer with a smile.
“Good, good. Dinner is ready, you might want to head to the dining hall.” She pauses, eyeing my puppet then adds, “You know what? You can bring Alice with you tonight, so she won’t be lonely.”
“Papa,” echoes Alice’s tiny voice, “may I kill her?”
Martha shudders visibly while I laugh and say, “Silly thing, no. We like Martha.”
The puppet slumps into a saddened heap. Alice the puppet is not a beautiful puppet. It is not meant for children who wanted sleep and dreams. Why? Because the puppet is the picture of my daughter’s last moments, injuries and all.
“Ex-excellent performance, George. Well then.” Martha escapes with hurried steps.
The kitchen staff provides nutritious food for us deranged people five times a day though the food’s nutrition factor seems to contradict its taste. I don’t complain.
I eat in silence, occasionally offering some to my puppet Alice, which often gives others the excuse to laugh or throw confused looks at me. Some just ignores me, content in their own misery and bliss like me.
“George?” Martha hesitantly asks. “Dr. Martin wants to speak with you. I believe it’s important. Will you please come with me?”
“Of course,” I say. “May I bring Alice?”
She leads me to my personal psychiatrist. Dr. Martin is a formal gentleman who is too good at what he does. I do feel that sometimes Dr. Martin knows that I am not really crazy, that what I do is just my façade though if my hunch is true, it makes me question whether the true crazy is him and not me.
“Welcome, George,” says Dr. Martin. “How are you feeling?”
He always opens up our conversation with that question into which I answer, “Fine.”
He is uncharacteristically quiet this evening but I do nothing to break the silence.
“I am so very sorry to be the bearer of bad news but,” he hesitates, then adds in a morose voice, “your wife has died.”
A shrill laughter erupts from Alice’s open mouth, making Dr. Martin flinch.
I look Dr. Martin in the eye and say, “My wife has been dead to me since she twisted my Alice’s arm till it broke. She had me tied to a chair and made me watch as she carved my daughter like a fruit. Alice was a strong girl and I prayed and prayed that she were not. I shouted at the gods for my daughter to loose consciousness as that bitch dragged a knife across Alice’s pale stomach, spelling her own damned name.” I am breathing heavily now, clutching my puppet tight to my chest as the scenes of my daughter’s death flashes again and again on my mind. “I stopped feeling when the bitch went for my Alice’s eye.”
Dr. Martin grasps my hands in his tightly and looks into my wild eyes with sorrow and pity. “I understand,” he says. “You are safe here, George. Beyond safe. I just want you to know that I am here for you should you feel the need to share what you are feeling now.”
“I feel like it’s a dream come true,” I whisper.
“Alright. Why don’t you get some sleep first, Martha will take you back in your room, and we’ll talk again tomorrow.”
I nod and let Martha guide me.
I sit in my bed and lift my puppet to look at it straight in the eyes.
“Thank you, Alice.” Because of it, somewhere in a mound of earth, lies the bitch that killed Alice, buried deep into the ground. Because of my puppet, I will sleep without anyone suspecting me of murder.
The puppet’s arms move and envelop me in an embrace.
“I love you, Papa.”