Subject 304

9:00am October 10, 1912 – Austin State Penitentiary

Subject – James McAllister, 32, Irish, short and thin with wily eyes.

Subject comes in on crutches and sits. He is quite animated. I prompt him to tell me how it happened.

I’m the kind of person that can feel things, feel them in my gut before they happen. One time I told my friend John that he was going to drown. Nobody believed me but I felt it, I knew it was going to happen. I told him and he tried to stay away from water, but, well, you can’t run from fate.

Subject grins.

When he went swimming during the summer of his 15th birthday I knew that he wouldn’t be coming out of that canal.

Subject sticks a finger in his ear and cranks it round.

And just like I knew John was gonna’ drown I knew that someone was following me. I could never make out distinct features but I knew they were there. You know that feeling, eyes on the back of your head or whatever you want to call it. I could feel it. Behind me all the time, just waiting. There aren’t a lot of things that can escalate worry into insanity, but the knowledge that someone is waiting for you and you don’t know why is one of those things.

Subject seems to be suffering no abject terror since incident.

I could feel I was being followed, just like I felt that my sister June was going to lose something special to her when she was eleven and wouldn’t you know it she did—her favorite doll. The doll got burned up because I felt it was going to happen. So I knew that man, woman, or beast, or whatever it was, he was coming for me. I dunno what for but he wanted me bad. I would see him in reflections mostly, try and not let on that I had seen him, walk a few blocks and then turn around real quick. Never did catch him face on when that happened, always a flash of clothing, dark tossled hair, worn leather overcoat. I have a second sense for feeling things, he must have had one for knowing when I was gonna turn around.

But I still knew he was there, even if I couldn’t get a good glimpse of him. I felt it, so I didn’t need to see him, always behind me, always following, close by.

Subject wrings his hands.

He would wait outside my work. One night I stayed in the bathroom, I knew he was out there and I couldn’t bear the thought of facing him alone. So we waited—me on the inside, him on the out. Eventually someone came in and I waited for them to finish and followed ‘em out. It’s hard working on no sleep, makes you feel crazy, like you’re a puppet in your own sideshow. He was there all day and it started to itch, knowing he was there, and you can ask any horse—there’s nothing worse than an itch you can’t scratch. I seen a horse break his own back trying to get at an itch it couldn’t reach.

Subject constantly refers to past in an effort to bolster his reputation, truthfulness of accounts is dubious.

Anyways, like I said, I would feel him trailin’ me. Didn’t matter where I went: hotels, library, classroom, service building, bathroom, backyard, even camping he followed me and he must have been fit as a whistle, because I ran for a long while and he still kept up. Sometimes I would wake up and feel ‘em in my room. I never figured how he got in.

So I got to the breaking point. I decided to set a trap for him. My Dad was a trapper and taught me a thing or two so I set a bear trap for my little friend.

Subject is quite elated.

I had to hide in my room a while. Blinds drawn, door locked, while I prepared it, couldn’t let on to what was going on. Even so, I thought I caught him leaning against the house trying to see in but I made sure to set the trap when he’s not looking.

Subject is agitated and uncomfortable, wriggling in his seat.

Now I figure, he knows I’m up to something so I gotta outsmart him. I leave the trap for three weeks. I set it and don’t move it, until he forgets about that night I spent in my room all locked up.

Subject keeps looking from side to side though we are alone in the room. His eyes linger on the door before he turns back and continues his story.

So after a while, I’m feelin’ real itchy so I decide to put it out. I cause a distraction with a fire in another room, and then when I know he’s looking thataway, I leave it out—just on the step where he won’t see it and I creep back quiet as the still moonlight and wait. I lie in my bed for a long time sure he’s gonna come down that step and that’s where it gets weird.

Subject leans in close, like he’s telling a secret.

I hear a scream and the metal clap of the trap about 5:00am and I know it’s him comin’ down to spy on my again and so I rush up cuz I finally got him. But, it’s the strangest thing.

Subject laughs.

He was gone, but he had left somethin’ behind. His foot was stuck in the trap and he must have cut it off to get away, or perhaps the bear trap bit clean through it.

Subject shrugs.

Anyways I call the cops and they arrive with me holding the foot and the bear trap with the house burnin’ and assumed I was mad. So, they brought me here to this great place where the food is free! And I guess my doppleganger got the message because he don’t come around botherin’ me no more. Isn’t that the craziest story you ever heard?

Subject seems unaware of the five killed by the fire; Subject is also unaware that he is both missing a foot and that he is suffering—or was suffering—hallucinations attached to a physical object, in this case his own foot.

Treatment: 3 PET scans, and close guard.

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