He was here again. In this room. The walls black and white, in a checkered pattern, the ceiling high and endless. There, in the middle of the room, stood a single chair. However, the usual occupant of the chair seemed to be missing.
Haise wondered. It could not be said that he especially liked the company of the said person, but it was weird for the man to be absent. It gave him a bad feeling, as if something bad could happen any moment, making him tense. He was, however, greeted with not the usual insane voice, but a calmer one, though it still had the slight hints of craziness. The man appeared in front of him this time, a black fog surrounding his head, making Haise unable to see his face.
Haise backed away a little as the man took a step towards him. Seeing this, the man laughed and made his way back to his seat.
Haise was still confused. The man was not acting like he normally did, he was not haunting Haise with sentences like ‘give it back’ or 'accept me’, neither was he creeping up on him.
“Ask me three questions. I promise to answer truthfully”
That took him by suprise, he gazed at him with doubt. The man actually answering his questions sounded unreal, they had never had a proper talk until that point actually.
“Go on, ask. But do not forget, you can only have three answered.”
He decided to give it a chance. There was nothing to lose by doing so anyway. So, what did he want to know?
“Who are you?”
“Who am I? Such a direct question.” The man chuckled. “You already know that don’t you? I’m someone you know very well. Used to know, actually. Someone you were so familiar with yet are complete strangers. Someone who’s secrets you all knew, yet know nothing about.”
Haise waited for him to continue, but seeing that was it, he added “That did not answer my question”.
And the man replied; “I am not inclined to tell any further.”
“You promised to answer.”
“I only promised I would not lie, and I did not. I never said my answer would satisfy you.”
He couldn’t say anything back at that. It was true, the man hadn’t said that his answers would be what he wanted. It was him who had assumed that they would. Knowing it was no use dwelling over it now, he decided on his second question.
“Where is this?”
“This room? This is a place your consciousness has created for you to meet me, obviously, but you already knew that, so why ask?”
Haise didn’t reply, not because he didn’t want to, but rather because he didn’t know the answer to that himself. He had known this was somewhere in his consciousness, it would be stupid of him not to when he only ever came here in his sleep. But the place had a familiarity, a rather unpleasant one, he could not define.
The man seemed to know what he was thinking, and chuckled.
“As long as you do not remember me, you will not remember where this place was. No use dwelling on it.”
The silence stretched.
And it seemed like Haise was the only one bothered by it. The man just smirked, his eyes still hidden behind the black fog that surrounded him.
“Why are you, no, why am I here?”
Haise broke the silence with his third question.
“You? What use is it asking me? You’re the reason you’re here, it’s because of your doubts that you’re here.”
Haise, once again, stayed silent. Deep inside, he always knew. He knew he was the reason for it all, all of these nightmares that haunted him, all these meetings with the man. He knew all the answers to his questions, albeit a little less than the man, maybe, but the man had not told him any more than he already knew.
“My turn to ask.”
The man surprised Haise.
“Do you want to remember your past?”
“You’ve asked me who I am, when you already know I am the 'past’ you. You’ve asked where this place is, and you’ve asked why I’m here, when you already know the answers for both. But you have not asked the real question weighing your mind: Am I a monster? Or, to put it correctly, were 'you’ a monster.”
The man smiled.
“You’re afraid to know, but you also want confirmation that I am you. Such a dilemma you’re in, isn’t it?”
The smile grew even wider, sending chills down his spine.
“Why go into so much trouble, Haise? When you can just remember me and it’ll all be over. Accept me, Haise, and you do not have to care anymore.”
Haise backed away as the man got up and walked closer, but he could not escape him.
His body covered with sweat, some hair glued on his face because of the wetness, panic stretched all over his mind, heart beating erratically, he woke up.
Haise got up to wash his face, hoping the cold water would help him calm down, and he laid down on his bed again, knowing that if he did not sleep he would never be able to work properly in the day, he drifted to a dreamless sleep, a small fear still eating him away in his mind.
.Sleep Haise. I’ll leave you alone for now.