“Madness is a funny thing isn’t it? I don’t mean amusing funny, but curious funny. Alright, sometimes it can be amusing funny too! I once saw a man kissing his cell-wall. Very amusing! However, I mostly find madness interesting. Since finding my way here after getting lost, I’ve seen many mentally damaged individuals who were simply fascinating. The scientist in me finds it all very invigorating. I see a new manifestation of insanity every day it seems. Just yesterday there was a woman who spoke compulsively and inexplicably in a completely new language every time she opened her mouth. Fascinating! Now obviously, I’m not insane, I’m the Hag-Man after all. I just got lost and ended up here. Nope, I’m not mad even if we are all mad here.
I wanted to tell you about a particularly mad man I met just the other day. We spoke over the space of a few hours, about many different subjects. He has odd views on the weather, I’ll tell you that for nothing. We spoke at length over a few mugs of ale and were rather jolly. This man called himself the “Cultmaster”. He told me of his past, over many ales. Oddly enough, he never became intoxicated. I daresay he was some kind of sorcerer. That lot tends to be able to avoid drunkenness. He was a small, stout man. With short, parted blond hair and a clean shaven face. Quite unremarkable really, apart from having quite brilliantly blue eyes. They almost glowed eerily.
He claimed that he was from a small town in the USA. He told me of a relatively uninteresting childhood and young life, I mostly switched off for that part. The most intriguing things he told me about were his love of theater and of a particular disdain for romance. He adored tragedies. I believe he said he loved to see partnerships shattered and marriages collapsed. His words, not mine. He didn’t actually tell me where that thought came from. Where this unrestrained hate came from. I’m assuming he had a particularly terrible love life. Most likely insane as well. He was bitter when talking about people he knew getting married and gritted his teeth often. He said he was beyond that. Far too good for that. Ahh, yes, quite the narcissist he was.
He told me more about his love of the theater, how he watched everything ever written by Shakespeare and commonly listening to opera. A man of culture, you could say. He told me how he wished to be a playwright of some kind. He had been practicing with puppets, which he called “Lost Souls”. He wasn’t a huge fan of people so he had learned how to fashion small doll actors out of cotton and arcane power. He then produced from his coat a pair of little dolls. They were about a foot tall. Entirely black, with cartoonishly large heads. They had a red cross on their torsos and green crosses for eyes. They were inanimate and silent. The Cultmaster then clicked his fingers and the dolls sprang to life. At first they just stood there staring at one another. Then one started to softly smile, and waved at the other. The other doll then smiled back and waved in response. It was as if these dolls were friends. The dolls waddled closer and then embraced. The Cultmaster looked on, unflinchingly.
The dolls became closer, embracing more and more. The first doll even managed a simple kiss on the cheek of the second. These dolls seemed to be in love. It seemed so real and poignant, despite the toy-like features of the actors involved. These so-called Lost Souls didn’t seem all that lost to me. Then it all seemed to go wrong. The Cultmaster clicked his fingers again. The second doll stepped away from the first, looking away, and held out a hand to push the first doll away. It appeared to be sobbing all of a sudden. The first doll began to cry uncontrollably. Were they breaking up? Why? Why did I care so much? Was this the Cultmasters influence?
The Cultmaster pulled out a third doll and clicked his fingers once more, bringing it to life. The third doll walked quickly over the second doll and took its hand. It was stealing it away from the first! The second doll embraced the third and then kissed it soundly on the mouth. The second and third dolls then waddled to the other end of the table hand in hand, leaving the first alone and apparently heartbroken. The Cultmaster grinned quite menacingly. He threw what could only be described as a miniature rope to the first doll and clicked his damned fingers again. What happened next is almost burned into my eyes. The first doll, still sobbing, picked up the miniature rope and tied it around its own neck. It then slowly looked longingly at the other two dolls and walked to the edge of the table. I couldn’t watch. The doll attached the end of the rope to the edge and, sobbing softly, leaped from the table. There was a short silence and then nothing.
A doll committing suicide sounds insane, in and of itself. But somehow this really hit me in the gut. I don’t usually show emotions, but I somehow couldn’t help tearing up, watching the lifeless form of the doll hanging from the table. The Cultmaster laughed hysterically at this point and clicked his fingers a final time. All three dolls went limp and lifeless. The feelings of sorrow and misery suddenly and bizarrely vanished. It felt like it had all been drained out of me in an instant. He laughed for what seemed like an age and then collected his little actors. He didn’t seem at all fazed by the horror that we both just witnessed. This was some kind of magical puppet show.
The Cultmaster called the little Lost Souls the Pint-Sized Cult. He was their master and he told me how he made them fulfill those same acts we just witnessed constantly. Sometimes he would vary the act somewhat, but the result was the same. It was a miniature shattered romance, but with full sized emotions. He told me that he watched these same acts over and over again, savoring the heartbreak and melancholy. Not only is he a narcissist, but he’s also a monster in my eyes. The Cultmaster traveled around and outside the Asylum, “performing” this play to crowds and taking in all of the sorrow. He seemed to feed on the heartache somehow. Perhaps it was the sorrow that gave him his powers? Did he simply live to create grief? With a slight grin and a wave, the Cultmaster promptly left after his show, leaving me feeling somewhat empty and violated.
I didn’t really know what to make of this madness. The Cultmaster had an amazing power, to be sure. Begrudgingly, I can’t deny that. The way he manipulated the Pint-Sized Cult was marvelous, but the sickening stories he imposed on the Lost Souls was not something to applaud. I couldn’t help feeling that there was some kind of intelligence behind the dolls eyes. Almost as if someone was trapped within them. Perhaps that is where the name Lost Soul comes from? That thought left me shaken. The horror of witnessing the play could not be anything compared to the horror of acting it in over and over again. Terrible.
So there you go, I’ve told you a story of the one of the most bizarre individuals I’ve met thus far. If you ever were to meet him, be sure to leave swiftly. Do not watch the play, it could be the end of your heart…”