March 10th 2007: “Sheree”—Last name redacted.
(Interviewer asks if subject is comfortable discussing her past addictions.)
Um, yeah, I guess. I mean… This is a cautionary book, right? It’s going to help people?
(Interviewer responds in the affirmative.)
Fine. Well… You stopped dreaming, right? So you don’t sleep anymore; that function of your brain is gone. But the point is: you stop dreaming of living. There’s no more aspirations, no more “I’ll be the next president” or whatever—that bullshit stuff you think of when you’re a kid. There’s no “I’ll get a promotion and a better house and a sweet swimming pool” stuff, either. I mean… I was a f*cking lawyer. I made more money than God. I had everything I wanted and yet still wanted more, you know? You just cease to have these… ridiculous notions of a future. Your future is maybe you live, maybe you don’t. And if you do live, it’s not really living anymore, it’s just surviving.
I had a girlfriend, (REDACTED). We weren’t really dating in the traditional sense; she was just a person who’d been in our… predicament longer. She knew the ropes, guided me, and it felt good to have a person who would care for me when I was struggling. Then she told me about brains.
I thought she was f*cking kidding, you know? That it was some zombie movie bullshit… wasn’t real. “Braaaaiins” (subject says this in a mindless tone, mimicking horror movie zombies) is the joke of our people, right? She fills me in that brains let you see the other person’s life when you consume them, and you watch that… that whole being pass before you. She warns me they’re bad news… that you shouldn’t get involved in them.
I was depressed, though. I was broken and tired. And we were feeding one night, trying to keep low. And there it was…
This guy’s skull was split, and I grabbed a handful. And…
I saw him. I was him… Jonathan Davis. Personal banker. Family man. I was coming home to his family: his wife and his two kids. I felt his love for them. I felt their love for him. Spot the dog comes running up to me in the beautiful little two-floor Victorian, and I’m hugging him goodbye as I leave for work. I’m watching through Jonathan’s eyes, and I’m feeling his entire being. I’m living again. For what seemed like an hour, I was alive.
When I snapped back, it had been a few minutes—half an hour at most. She had seen what I’d done and left me. So now the reality I was in was even worse. I’d been abandoned by my mentor and love… been left a reduced corpse, wandering alleyways. But this guy’s head was full of good. Good things I’d never feel again. A life I had lost.
So I kept at it for… months? You lose track of time. You live lifetimes in other people’s heads. You live the life you wanted to live. I used to say “should have lived.” It’s still hard not to say it, but it’s not your life. It’s not. You start losing sight of reality, and you become… a husk. You’re just a step away from the mindless ones who stagger around and shame us all.
It’s a broken path, kids. A beautiful, broken path. You will cut your toes on it; you will bleed from the feet and the whole time you will believe you’re fine. But you’re not fine.
Living a broken dream.