"Oh, he's a bad, bad man. Now he has a mind to go to Texas."

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Read this, my confession, and know me, the beast. I am the infinite void. I am deepest black. I am evil beyond wicked. I am spoiled beyond rotten. Pen in hand, I scrawl these descriptions of my crimes, smiling all the while, occasionally giggling ghoulish. After the last word, I sign my name 'Perverse' with a trembling flourish, and I know you are full of improving knowledge, having read from the first.

The blackest chapter of my story begins, "I am born." Drawn forth unwilling from the steam of bloody guts, fists clenched tightly about squirming clots, I sucked my first breath to sense the stink of this world, and I found myself cast into a crooked soul, much as hot steel may be poured into a cracked mold. From the first moment of self-awareness, I felt… different, colder and harder than any thing born of flesh should ever feel. Indeed, as my first earthly act, I killed my mother within the womb, having long chewed upon the sinew and seams of her bowels while in a tossed state of violent nativity. She bore me in a spurt of hemorrhage and a spray of rupture.

Eyesight all of red, the color of blood, and thoughts of purest night, I grew into this human vessel as a large thing forced to swell within a cramped cage. Before I could speak, I wondered silent webs of wickedness within the damp shelter of my skull. Before I could walk, I dreamed strolling visions of wantonness and mayhem from the safety of my outwardly innocent slumber. Before I could take implement in hand, I lay upon my back to watch a society wrought in order and delineated by rules, and I conspired its demise upon the reverse sides of my drooping eyelids.

At the age of three, I learned enough of my nursery world to undo my teacher. She was a fat, matronly schoolmarm type, as I recall, and I loathed her the instant my wealthy father hired her to replace my murdered mother. I hated her for her diligent care of me, for the kindness of her icy-blue eyes, for her constant cheerfulness and her incessant singing. While she handled me with the tenderest of touches, I managed her fate with the bumbling certitude of the blackest intentions. I watched her carefully until I learned her well. As soon as I was old enough to walk, I crept into her room while she slept and I replaced her medication with poison. I knew enough by then to understand the concepts of poison and medicine, which formulate a simple equation of intended and opposing effects. Medicine, I knew, should heal her, so she took it into her body happily. Poison, I knew, would kill her, so she would never consume it. By substituting the latter for the former, I tricked her into taking her own life.

I laughed and played happily over her body. I cavorted over her grave, after her funeral, thrilled by secret knowledge that I alone possessed. Of all living souls on the planet, I alone understood what had become of my nanny. The knowledge of the crime was mine, as was the power of it.

Of course, my father immediately replaced the old nanny with the new, and I quickly realized I could not kill them all without arousing suspicions, even of one so young and apparently guileless. Still, I killed as many as I could, and the rest I staged for thieves and embezzlers. My father came to believe that all his hired help were drawn from the lowest stages of human life, and he never questioned me.

None of them questioned me. None of them suspected me. I could never understand it, I confess, since I saw the monster clearly whenever I glanced into a mirror. I could stand before the silver glass and stare into my own eyes to see the bars of my cages and the monsters raging maniacally beyond.

Behind the passive mask of a young boy's angelic face, I concealed the beast, since the beast longed to hide and not because I felt I should hide him. Upon its command, I could laugh, weep, wail, protest, languish, parade and further merely to suit the appearance of a situation. None of it was real, as my life entire has been a carefully crafted performance staged behind the thick lenses of showplace windows fixed into the forefront of a false façade.

The bit players of this world pass before my highly polished plate-glass display, admiring it as they may, lingering to their doom. For mine is never a passive act. From the outside, it may seem wholesome and I certainly enact it to appear alluring, but my company, whatever its form, is never safe.

As I grew older, my father sent me away to expensive, prestigious boarding schools kept exclusively for the brood of planet Earth's rich and famous. There, I learned worldly lessons from its books and from the men and women assigned to administer those books. From the guise of aloof innocence, I also managed many a wicked disaster there, which cost more than one employee or student his or her freedom and, occasionally, his or her life.

Left alone briefly by our mentors, I murdered one of my playmates during my first month in attendance, when I forced and held the child's head under the pristine waters of the school's natatorium. It was my first lesson in physical violence, and it taught me many surprising rules of life. Without a boring recitation of entirety, I confess how that first act of murder taught me 1) people want to live, for whatever reason, no matter how I feel about it, 2) they will fight to live as long as is humanly possible, I could never understand why, and 3) the strength imparted by looming mortality can be truly astounding. That boy almost broke both my arms in his struggle to survive my assault, and the scratches were deep and painful.

I learned other lessons of death, too. I learned that, when dying, a person becomes incapacitated in many ways and, at the same time, uncannily able in others. For instance, the boy defecated, urinated and vomited into the pool, but his kick grew so powerful that he breeched the surface and snatched desperate breaths more than once. Like a trained dolphin bursting forth from the waters to dance hilariously, he pushed me away, though I pressed atop his head with all my strength and weight and despite the lack of footholds and handholds. I almost failed to finish the deed because I laughed so hard, but in the end my little friend sifted facedown to its white plaster bottom.

The coach, who I intended to be the true victim of my crime, returned to find the boy sinking lifeless to the coldest depths of the pool. Immediately, I knew he would fear for his freedom and his job, and I knew he would do anything to avoid complicity in the death. When I told him the scratches resulted from my attempts to save he child, he sent me back to my dormitory with instructions to keep silent about all I had seen.

Later, I learned how he manipulated the details of the incident to indicate the boy had gone to the pool alone, unauthorized, where he drowned accidentally. For many days, the authorities of the school and the local police believed him, and nothing further happened. An anonymous letter changed the direction of the investigation, however, when the constable searched the coach's campus apartment and found several pair of the drowned boy's underwear intermingled with pornographic lithographs depicting young male models. This, combined with unexplained abrasions and contusions on the boy's body led to the instructor's arrest and eventual hanging, despite his protests of innocence.

Though I caused this travesty to unfold, I felt no responsibility or remorse for it. I told him when I first met him that I loathed the pool and his course's requisite swimming. He, in turn, insisted that I complete twenty laps every day.

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