Quiet. The room was void of movement, sound, and joy. Gray cement floors and dull faded sheetrock held no decoration or presence, the only vivid color was the black of the one way mirror and the hard green plastic on the chair facing the detained.
The door to the room creaked as it opened, and a man in a blue business suit stepped inside. A manilla folder was his only tool, the guard outside having frisked him twice before opening the room. The analyst sat down and slid his chair in. It's terrible grating noise on the cement causing the prisoner across from him to slowly look up.
Their eyes met. Blue eyes regarded the green. The nonchalance of that gaze gave pause to the newcomer, he had expected hostility yet there was none. He blinked, cocked his mouth to one side to suck his cheek in, and flipped open the folder.
"Eliza Ada Hopper", he read from the sheet. "Responsible for the death of 5 co-workers, including your supervisor and… her dog. Also accountable for $6000 in property damages, possibly more for psychological trauma and damages to the families." He read through another paragraph, "well, the families that survived your continued… adventure." He looked up at the passive face. Flicked the next page back and continued reading. "Responsible for 9 additional deaths of the afore mentioned individual's family members and friends of—including multiple children and an infant. Ms. Hopper, do you have anything to say?"
The woman across the table blinked slowly, shifted her legs, and raised an eyebrow. "About?"
"The results of your actions, of which I have just listed."
"Not really, those were the results, as you say."
The analyst thumbed the page and was quiet for a moment. "It says you were quite peaceful when you turned yourself in. No attempts to flee, no resistance at all. Do you want to tell me why?"
"I had done what I needed to do. I was at peace"
"After murdering over a dozen people, you were at peace?" He stared quizzically at her.
"Wouldn't you be?"
"I don't believe I would, someone who does such things seems, to me, someone who is disturbed."
"Do you mean insane?"
"I most certainly wouldn't categorize your behavior as sane."
Eliza's face changed. A bewildered look taking form as she leaned towards her interrogator and moved her hands apart, as much as the handcuffs let allowed. Palms up, she tilted her head.
"I don't understand."
"How long did you work with your co-workers?"
"Over a year for each, more than 4 for my boss"
"And you got along with these men and women?"
"Oh yes, I knew their families, attended birthdays, and enjoyed their company immensely." She replied happily, smiling as she listed off events attended.
A little unnerved by the smile on her face, the man cleared his throat and held up a hand to stop her. "You sound like you thought of them as friends."
"Of course. What else could they be but my friends?" Eliza cocked her head to the side, "what does this have to do with sanity?"
"Eliza… May I call you Eliza?" He waited for her nod, "most people do not murder their friends"
"I don't understand. Do friends not want their friends to be happy? To be entertained?"
The interviewer leaned forward, feeling that a breakthrough was about to occur, "entertained? You killed these people for your entertainment?"
"No. For theirs."
He leaned back, taking a pause to feel the recorder in his pocket and ensure it was on. "Do you mind telling me about that?"
"About what entertained them?" Eliza shrugged at his nod, "the same things that entertain most people. Everyday they'd go home and watch their televisions. Watch the news."
"They watched the news for entertainment? Did they tell you that?"
"It's all they ever talked about. So and so died, there was a car crash on the interstate, a murder happened at some house. When it wasn't the news it was watching shows with similar situations." Eliza shifted in her seat, "all if them were enthralled by it, they loved the violence. When there wasn't something happening they were glum. So I fixed that."
She had spoken so matter of factly about it. As if the only conclusion from the habits of her friends was to bring the news to their doorsteps. The analyst studied Eliza's face for a moment before pressing, "so you brought the news to them."
"Naturally, it was what any good friend would do."
"And that none of their other friends had ever considered this… service of yours did not make you wonder if it was wrong?"
"Not everyone can be a best friend" The man leaned back in the table, gauging the woman in front of him. Deciding if she was just blunt or trying to antagonize him. His pause seemed to affect her, and she turned her head slightly away before continuing.
"I am sane. I killed those people. I know these are facts, and I've admitted them. Why are you asking such tiresome questions?"
"Because the state has tasked me with determining who's responsible for your actions. Situations like this happen, and blame must be placed somewhere and investigations filed. The temporary insanity plead—which you've refused to take—is your best course of avoiding death row. Only an insane person would refuse an option to live."
"Who's responsible for my actions?", Eliza turned her entire body towards him, eyes glaring for the first time since he had entered the room. "I refuse your handout because I am not insane, and I am not a liar" she exhaled, her mouth set in an indignant line. "Who's responsible for my actions? I am. This was my choice, my decision, it was the only option." her upper lip curled in disgust, "your state, is asking the wrong questions"
Feeling he was getting somewhere having provoked more emotion from her, he leaned in and returned her stare. "Then what, is the right question?"
"Who's responsible for me"