My Dearest Helen and Darling Rebecca,
Should you receive this letter, then I am most assuredly dead. I fervently pray that I was successful in my death, for otherwise you are in the gravest of dangers. If so, then you will know of this danger shortly if you do not already and no warning I can give could save you. If we were successful, it is best not to speak of these dangers and instead to simply be thankful that they are gone.
I know I have much to apologize for, and you deserve some explanation. I have grieved these past months, uncertain as to whether or not my wife – the love of my life – was alive or dead. I do so hope you still live, Helen. You do not deserve the fate that my broken mind played upon you. I can not apologize enough for my transgressions; I only wish you could learn to forgive me. I could give excuses, explain why this happened, but the truth is – I was weak, and it was my own fault, though I knew not what would come of it at the time. I am repentant, my love, and though I know I do not deserve your forgiveness, I wish for it all the same.
Rebecca, you possibly deserve even more of an explanation than your mother. I never wanted my curse to befall you as well. I have come to realize that I have followed the classic Kübler-Ross model of coping with tragic events or illness. At first, I shut myself away from my curse, denying its mere existence. Eventually, I came to accept its reality, but I became angry at its existence, and attempted to ‘fix’ the problem. I bargained, thinking I had leverage enough to remove the source of the problem entirely. I though I had succeeded until your mother showed me those pictures and lit the lighter. I reached the stage of depression, and have existed within that stage for the past months. But now, I have come to accept the curse, and even come to see it as almost a blessing in disguise. The things this curse caused prior to my acceptance of it can never be forgiven or considered a blessing, of course, but after my mind accepted it and stopped fighting, my life became much clearer.
I realize this is no true explanation, and you deserve more than that. Please understand, this is not an excuse or an attempt to justify my actions. I know and understand that I have done wrong and deserve to be punished; if Hell exists, it would not surprise me to find my soul there after all is said and done. With that understand, I will explain to you what occurred these past few years, and perhaps this explanation shall give you solace.
Several years ago, I suffered a traumatic psychological event. I do not wish to go into many details regarding its details – it would be much too hard to believe from a simple letter; if I could explain in person, I would. Suffice it to say, I was confronted with a situation that my conscious mind would not and could not accept. At that time, my mind fractured and broke in two – one the personality that you had known from me up until that time, the other a cold, practical personality obsessed with learning about this new phenomenon – a mind that could accept what the primary personality could not.
I, the respected psychiatrist, went insane. It was a major, classic case of disassociative identity disorder. My primary personality did not discover this for some time – I had begun experiencing blackouts, as I have mentioned in the past. These blackouts were times when the alternative personality took control. I’m afraid to say, this alternate personality – he had no conscience, no limitations on his actions, and precious few emotions. I suppose my mind needed this alternate personality to deal with the trauma, but it had some decidedly negative effects later on.
You know the Blackstone House had some issues with missing patients a while back. I don’t like to admit it, but they were caused by my alternate personality. He was experimenting on them in cruel, inhumane ways… often times leading to deaths. He was a complete sociopath, and acted like it.
I only discovered what was happening relatively recently. Unable to truly accept what was happening, I disposed of the evidence and attempted to bargain with the alternate personality, warning him that if he should continue I would turn myself in to the police and confess it all. I believed I had succeeded – I began to suffer blackouts less often, and my mind was once again my own. But I was wrong. I was so, so wrong.
My alternate personality did not take kindly to threats; he arranged for me to be photographed with other women, to terrorize my lovely Helen – to sabotage everything I loved in my life. If I had only turned myself in when I had discovered what he had done, I would not have hurt you like I did, Helen, and you would never have lit that fire. But no, in my hubris and my weakness, I bargained instead – and the devil turned that bargain upside down. I only realized what had happened when you confronted me, Helen; I wish you had come to me earlier, that it had never come to this, but wishes help no one now.
As you dropped the lighter, I blacked out once again. My alternate personality escaped the house and drove off in the car, leaving me a message and a warning – that he could hurt me just as I could hurt him. I intended to go straight to the police, to turn myself in after my alternate took away everything that was dear to me – but before I could, you contacted me, Rebecca. That conversation still haunts me to this day.
I don’t know whether you arranged what happened next or not, Rebecca. I came out from the fog and found a place of salvation, hidden inside an eternal punishment. For the past months, I have been grieving – but I also have been healing. My mind, once fractured, is now whole. I have come to grips with the trauma that I have experienced. I am even in the care of an agent of the government, and should I have lived, I would have submitted to their judgement. I wish I could have seen your faces once more, to deliver this message in person, but it was not to be.
I love you both, and I shall always love you.
Your loving husband and father,
Dr. Orson Hall