The Mandela Effect

“Tell me then, Mr. Grosby. How do you remember it?” Dr. Shelley asked.

The question was ridiculous. The murders were in all of the papers. All of the news sites. LeakVids had gotten ahold of the footage from one of my crime scenes and posted it for the world to see in all its glory. A work of art, if do say so myself. After all, what I do–did–was magnificent. I am–was–an artist!

“Don’t pretend you didn’t see it. My work has made me renowned all over the world” I leaned forward. I could tell I made her nervous. It was delicious. I could have painted the room with her. “Which one?”

“Pardon me?”

“Which one? Which murder do you want to hear about?” I asked her.

“We’ve been over this Mr. Grosby. You haven’t committed any murders. You are going to have to come to terms with that, if you ever want to leave here. As it stands, you have committed no crimes, but your family feels you may become a danger to yourself and to others if you keep behaving this way. They care about you deeply. You are a troubled man, Mr. Grosby, but you are not a bad man. With therapy, we can help you, but you have to want to get better. Do you want to get better?”

“You know nothing about me!” I yelled. “Do you want to know what troubles me, really?”

“Please. Tell me.” She replied.

God, what I could do to her. It would certainly wipe that smug look off her face. You know the one. That “Proud to be educated” look. That “I know more about you than you know about yourself” look. I would find great pleasure in making her regret ever even laying eyes on me, but alas, some … force … has rendered me harmless.

“I’ll tell you alright. I’ll give you every explicit detail.”

If I can’t destroy her physically, I thought, perhaps I can destroy her emotionally.

“Go on.”

I laughed, but it was disheartening. I rubbed my face with my elbows on my knees, slid my hands down my face, and slapped my thighs. I stood up and looked at her. I could tell she didn’t like that I had gotten out of my seat, but she had the remote clicker thingy in her hand that would alert the orderlies, two of the biggest dudes I had ever seen, who then would rush in and save her, before I could do any real damage. That is, unless I could get one good punch on her. One good blow to the soft side of her head, around her temple that would cave in the side of her skull, sending broken pieces of bone into her brain.

But dammit all to hell, they had me on a mild sedative, that made my limbs feel like jelly. Just standing up took more effort than it was worth. I needed her to take me seriously, though, and I don’t think she was. Knowing I was drugged up didn’t help her much; she became visibly bothered by my standing. Of course, I would sit again after I began my story, but by then, hopefully, she would have a different perspective on what I might actually be capable of.

“Alright. Here’s what’s troubling me. I tore a woman apart. Two of them. Years ago. I don’t know the exact moment I decided to do it. Christ, I don’t remember how many years it’s been. All I remember is that they were my first masterpiece. Ah, it was beautiful! I went to the hardware store and chose my utensils as a painter would go to an art supply shop and choose their paints, canvas, and brushes.

I picked up different tools of various degrees of sharpness, and cutting style. I bought polyethylene rolls that would serve as my palette. It was quite funny, actually, I laughed when the clerk said if he didn’t know any better he would think I was about to commit murder. I told him the stuff was for an art project. I guess he believed me so readily, because I wasn’t lying.”

Dr. Shelley was watching me closely, as I began my story. Scribbling her notes. CCTV was recording my every move, and every spoken word. She thought she was perfectly safe, but I was only getting started.

“I took my tools home and setup a studio in the basement. I know it sounds cliché, but I needed a sound proof place to do my work, and I needed to be able to avoid interruptions. There most certainly would have been, as my living room was open for the world to see through large picture windows.

It felt good. When I was finished, I could honestly see myself creating a real piece of history in that space, and it was going to be the first of many. The beginning of the rest of my life. I imagine you can relate. You must have had a similar feeling the moment you decided to become a doctor of psychiatry?” I asked Dr. Shelley.

She just unfolded her bare legs, beneath her skirt, and switched them, while acknowledging my question with a nod. A nod that said she understood, but not necessarily related. She was obviously not willing to allow me to see her as an equal. She wanted me to view her with a patient’s gaze and relating to me on any level would shift the balance of power. Power that was an illusion, but I digress.

There was something else, though. She was flirting with me, as well. She was trying to use feminine charm to soften me up. The way she crossed and uncrossed her legs. The way her face tilted in a slightly seductive manner. The way she fingered her brown locks behind her left ear as she nodded. All slight tokens. All lies. I almost burst out laughing at the thought of it. She still didn’t understand. She would, though. I was certain of that much.

“Anyway, feeling good, I went up into the kitchen to make some food. I wanted to be fuelled and ready to work. I do remember that it was a Friday, and I wouldn’t be expected back at work until the following Monday. So I would have Friday to work my magic, Saturday to clean up the mess, and Sunday to rest. After all, God rested on the seventh day, after creating the world!” I did laugh at this.

I figured comparing myself to God would get some reaction out of her. It didn’t. She was pretty good at her job, though, and I imagine she had probably heard something like that a million other times. Oh well. Standing was getting tedious at this point, though, so I returned to the comfy–surprisingly, unless that was an effect of the sedative–matching plaid arm-chair that I was sitting in before.

“I needed my medium. I felt a female should be my first. Of course it wouldn’t matter, who it was or what gender, I just needed someone. And then the idea came to me. I ran to my computer, and found the LocalList ads website. Plenty of drug-addicted prostitutes to choose from, and I could pay. Cash. I just needed one to agree to come to me. Alone. That proved impossible, but I was able to secure a couple of females that thought the buddy system was all it would take to keep them safe.

When they arrived, I was delighted. They were both very petite. Young. I don’t know what made them think that together they could stop a hormonal teen from going overboard if that were the case, but later I found that both were packing heat in their tiny faux-designer handbags, they brought with them. I imagine they thought that if one got into trouble the other could draw an attacker down, and get away. Either way, I never got a chance to ask them.

As I said, they were petite. A young ebony haired asian girl, and a dirty blonde. Around the same age. Couldn’t have been much older than eighteen or nineteen. The asian girl, Thai was her name, and Glory” I started to chuckle, “Hole, was the other. Glory Hole. She told with a grin. Said she chose the name as way to break the ice. Thai wore a red sequined mini dress that looked like she had bought it from Whores-R-Us. Glory was wearing a pair of cheeky denim shorts, and cut off, sleeveless white Tee. I don’t think I need to explain what I mean by “cheeky.” I said. Dr. Shelly closed her eyes and opened them to show she got the gist.

“I invited them to sit down. Immediately, Glory asked if I wanted to smoke some heroin. She explained that she didn’t want to shoot up at a clients home, but she was willing to chase the dragon with me as long as I paid extra so she could get more. Obviously, I agreed to allow her to do what she wanted, but declined it myself. I was riding a different high.

I wanted them to get comfortable before we went to work. My inspiration was seething, but I didn’t want to spook them. I sat down on the couch and made small talk as Glory pulled out her foil packet and glass stem. She began heating the foil and inhaling the fumes created as the brown powder began to melt, bubble, and smoke. She finished and handed the foil to Thai, who repeated the process.

Feeling good, and ready to party, Glory sidled up to me on the couch, and pushed her ample chest up towards my face. ‘Half up front, the rest after. Anything you want to do. No holds barred. Any … thing … you … want. Five hundred. Each.’ She said, and pressed my nose with the tip of her index finger, like it was a button. I found it very entertaining. I remember thinking that they should be paying me for allowing them to be in the presence of my artistic genius.

I excused myself and came back with five bills. I handed them to Glory, and she cupped the bills in her hand. This was her way of making them disappear. The message was clear: No refunds. I could live with that. Could she?” I paused for effect. Nothing. Damn, she was good, but I really hadn’t gotten started yet.

“After Thai saw the money enter Glory’s hand, she asked, ‘So, we doin this here or …?’ ‘No. Too many windows, no curtains. I have a studio in my basement, will that be alright?’ I asked. ‘Studio?’ Glory asked. ‘Are you going to make a porno? Cause that will be extra, and we’re going to need a contract.’ ‘No. Nothing like that. I’m an artist, but my studio is quite comfortable. It’s cooler, as well. As you can see, I’m a big guy with lots of stamina, things are going to get pretty hot, if you know what I mean?’ I felt like an idiot saying that, but they ate it up. ‘Mm, I like the sound of that!’ Glory said, and squished her breasts together. It was easy to see who the dominant one was in this partnership.

Now, this is where things start to get exciting. It was my first time, and I hadn’t anticipated how the young women would react to seeing the nature of my studio. Needless to say, alarm bells went off, but the morons were too high to heed them.

‘What the fuck is all this?’ Thai said, arriving at the bottom of the stairs. Polyethylene lined the walls, ceiling, and floor. I had hung my new tools on a peg board in the storage closet, so they wouldn’t be seen. Otherwise, they probably would have pulled their weapons and made their escape. Who knows, maybe they woulda put a couple in me just to make sure I didn’t chase em. Instead, they both just looked at me, waiting for an answer. The drugs they were on told them their was a perfectly rational explanation. And there was.

‘I do splash art. The plastic keeps paint from getting all over the surfaces. Every time I get ready to start a major piece, I christen the room with the energy from a night of hot, steamy, nasty sex.’ I thought they were going to say, ‘Yea. No. Bedroom or we’re gone.’ Instead. ‘That is so fucking hot! I love that. This is going to be a fucking blast. You ready to get fucked like you’ve never been fucked before, Sir?’ Thai said. ‘Wooooo!’ Glory yelped, and started pulling her shirt off.

Thai approached me and turned her ass to me, and began rubbing it on my crotch. Now I’d be lying if I tried to tell you that a part of me didn’t want to give it to her right then and there, but I was working. A boxer doesn’t make love the night before a fight, because he wants to keep his energy up. So I resisted the urge, but I had to at least go through the motions. I grabbed a handful of that tight asian ass, and squeezed. ‘I want you two to sit in the middle there, and I want you to make out.’ I told her. I felt odd saying it. I never behaved this way before. It was unlike me, but I needed to be convincing.

‘Mm, okay baby.’ They sat on their knees facing each other and began kissing, and fondling each other. ‘Are you going to join us?’ Glory asked. I nodded. Now it is important that I stop and ask you this, Dr. Shelly. Are you sure you want me to continue?” I asked.

“It is up to you, Mr. Grosby. I will remind you that the sooner we do this, the sooner you can begin to understand what is troubling you. To answer your question, though, yes, I would like for you to continue.” Dr. Shelley answered.

Her mental fortitude was strong, but I sensed her brace for impact. It was like you could hear a mental glass wall go up in front of her psyche. Something that could be smashed and shattered before anything could harm her. I would have to either, smash the wall so fiercely that my words would affect her as well, or do a double attack. I knew my story was powerful enough to fuck her up, but I wanted to destroy her, which meant, bust the wall first. Then go in for the kill. It would all depend on the description. And the words I chose to convey it. The game plan was simple, smash the wall, pull back, show remorse, apologise, show desire for reformation, shatter her again, before she can put up another wall.

“Alright. I just want to make sure you can handle it.”

“I can handle it, Mr. Grosby.” She responded.

“Very well. I watched them make out, and strip off their clothes. I stripped off my clothes. I was aroused, and that seemed to please them. They kissed with even more passion, energy than before. ‘Don’t stop.’ I told them as I approached them from the side. I reached out and put my hands on the backs of their heads and gently stroked their hair for a moment.

When the moment was right, and my inspiration was at its greatest height, I balled my hands into two fists full of hair and then used their heads as if they were a pair of crash cymbols like what you would see in the percussion section of a marching band. Blood and teeth splashed in all directions. Thai gasped in shock, and Glory tried to scream. I did it a second time. More blood, more teeth went flying. I pulled the girls both down onto their backs and went to shut the basement door.”

I stopped to see Dr. Shelley’s reaction. She had winced with the first strike, and again with the second. Her eyes had opened wide, and the corners of her mouth turned downward. I smiled, and she caught herself. She glanced at her notebook, scribbled something, and straightened her face again before returning her gaze upon me. The glass wall had been shattered. I continued.

“That was when I started having second thoughts. I could stop now. The girls would live, but they would be scarred for life. Their faces ruined. They would need medical attention for sure, but they could probably get away. I doubt they would have turned me in, because I would have told them that they would be taken care of if I was arrested. Whatever the case, I know I could have gotten away with it, but …” I feigned a sob, and pressed my thumb and index finger into my eyes. “But I started to think this whole fucking thing was a bad idea. Sick even. I even apologised to the girls. I told them I needed help.”

Then I looked up at Dr. Shelley. You could see the sympathy written on her face. She was convinced that I had never done any of this, but something about the way I told my story made her believe that I believed. Time to take it home.

“Naw, I’m just kidding. I locked the door, and went to the storage and opened the doors. The tools clinked and clanged as I ran my hands over them. The girls tried their best to get up, but blood had ruined their vision, and the plastic had become slick with the stuff. Even I had a bit of difficulty maintaining balance, but hey, my face wasn’t broken into sections. Even I was amazed to see that Thai was in pretty bad shape. A section of her lower jaw had crumbled and was causing her mouth to hang wide open, powerless to close it. Glory, fared slightly better, as she seemed to be only suffering a long gash on her right cheek, and a broken nose. Both of her eyes, were covered in blood, as well, but I think most of that was Thai’s, who had a long tear in her forehead.

As they slipped and fell in their own blood, a came toward them with my first instrument. A stiff wire brush meant for cleaning barbecues. I began spanking them with it, over and over. Until the bristles tore into their weakened flesh. I didn’t want to hit anything vital yet. These girls were going to die, but not until I was ready to let it happen.

Glory began to plead for me to stop. I couldn’t tell what she was saying, but it was music, regardless. It saved her life for a few extra moments, as I went back and grabbed a hatchet with a large head, and used it to chop one of Thai’s arms off at the elbow. I used it to begin my artwork in true Jackson Pollock form, swaying it this way and that, as the blood poured from the limb making streaks, and lines that joined and interconnected this way and that. When the arm was empty I went back and got her other arm.

It took Thai minutes to die. From shock, more than likely, but Glory’s pleas became wails, as she simply could not find her feet no matter how hard she tried. Eventually, she quit trying and just lay there crying and covering her face. I let her. Until I was done with her friend, that is. Then I went to work on her. Using her parts to complete my work. It was truly a masterpiece. A work of ages.

After I was finished, I showered in the basement lavoratory. Cleared my mind so I could view my work with fresh eyes. When I returned, I had a religious experience. First, I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed it before, but the smell was sharp and striking. Metallic. Like standing outside the open door of a slaughterhouse, but the work. Oh the work was amazing. I had never known such pride. I created … this.

After I had felt that I had drunk deeply of my achievement and memorised the entire scene in my mind, I set about cleaning every trace of physical evidence I could find. I know I couldn’t get it all, but as far as I knew, I wasn’t in the system so it would be difficult for the authorities to identify me, as long as I was as thorough as I could be.

Then I went upstairs, and went to bed. The next day, I woke up and returned to admire my work once more and then went about scouring the house of every sign that I had ever been there. Then I left and went home. The owners of the house were away for a two week holiday, and I had used it in the middle weekend. Before I left, though, I released the gas in a small tank of formaldehyde, and sealed the room with duct tape, to slow the decomposition process.

I did this many times, but was never as satisfied as I was after that first time. It was like chasing the dragon. I took joy from knowing that others were out their admiring my work, and the the LeakVid was posted, and I downloaded it and watched it over and over. Honestly, though, I never regretted any of it. I loved it. I was a genius. Not only was my work well beyond what had ever been accomplished before, but I was a ghost. A phantom. I couldn’t be caught. I was like Banksy, only better. Then it happened.”

I could tell that I had shattered her. I wasn’t just sick. I was evil. I was an evil genius, whose skills were unmatched. Dr. Shelley hated me, and was no longer interested in helping me. She only sat there because her time with me was yet to be finished. She would make her report, and recommend I be institutionalised in the dangerous criminals wing, where I would be someone else’s problem. I only had one more part to tell.

“Then what happened Mr. Grosby?” Her voice full of disdain.

“Well, then one day I was feeling a bit down, so decided to watch the LeakVid. It was some kid getting beaten to death by some bullies. I was confused. I was sure, I had opened the right file. There was only one. No. My file was gone. I went to the website and searched for it. “Splash Killer crimescene” it was called. Nothing. I became angry. Maybe the feds found out and took it down, but how would that explain my file changing. Then I tried to look up headlines from some of my other works. Nothing. Article titles from the days I remembered, written by the journalists that reported my work, changed.

I was frantic. I began to search the web for anything that could explain what was happening. And then I found this clip on a video hosting site. “Ten examples of Mandela effect!” Apparently there was some phenomenon of people remembering things one way only to find out that reality had changed, and their memories were wrong. There were tons of examples of this happening to people across the world. I couldn’t believe it, but here it was. I was a victim of the Mandela effect.

I was dissappointed, to say the least, but I still had my memories, and I could always make more. So I did. But then the same thing would happen. I would remember making my art, but noone else would. This infuriated me. My work was for the whole world to enjoy. What good is creating a masterpiece if noone ever gets to enjoy it, or remember they enjoyed it. Well? I asked you a question, Dr. Shelley? What do you make of all this? You’re the expert!”

“We’ve been over this Mr. Grosby. You haven’t committed any murders. You are going to have to come to terms with that, if you ever want to leave here. As it stands, you have committed no crimes, but your family feels you may become a danger to yourself and to others if you keep behaving this way. They care about you deeply. You are a troubled man, Mr. Grosby, but you are not a bad man. With therapy, we can help you, but you have to want to get better. Do you want to get better?”

“You know nothing about me!” I yelled. “Do you want to know what troubles me, really?”


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