An Interview With A Madwoman (A short fiction)

Perhaps We Should Leave's picture

The following story is based on a sleep-dep-induced hallucination of mine that brought on a small epiphany about the nature of life. It may contain triggers, as it involves self-mutilation. Please give your opinion if you read it and care to do so, I'd be interested in the criticism.


"It's all a matter of understanding life. And to understand life, one must see all its aspects from every angle. And that means going out of one's way to subvert every moral principle one has ever encountered. Take, for instance, this knife." Cassandra held up a small switchblade. "Everything we have ever been taught tells us that it is a terrible idea to do... Ungh... This."

Marcus had to keep from retching as Cassandra pushed the knife through her hand and into the coffee table. Cassandra Tondal, de facto leader of the infamous Cult of Artaud, had, for the first time, accepted an interview- live, no less- and he had considered himself the luckiest reporter in the world for it. Tondal had refused to speak to the media for three years, even as her mysticism spread through the country: Marcus was sure that being the first man to speak to her on live television would finally shoot him into the public eye.

As Cassandra's blood dripped to the floor, he realized that he was going to regret this.

"The Cult of Artaud teaches that to deny the teachings of traditional morality is useful only in practice, and that to truly determine the personal desirability of an action is to perform that action." Cassandra grunted as she removed the knife from her hand and proceeded to clean and bandage the room with her own supplies as she continued, "Of course, that's a very, very simplistic explanation. I didn't really prepare for the interview, you see. In any case, the reason that my philosophy is so abhorred by many is that we actively encourage our people to perform so-called 'immoral' acts. Some have resorted to name-calling; I've heard that a FOX News reporter called us 'a support group for sadomasochistic perverts', for example. Others have deemed us 'a religion of madness'. While I would dispute the term 'religion' being used to describe us, myself and my followers would gladly admit to madness- I, personally, feel that 'madness' is the very essence of understanding."

Marcus coughed, his throat stinging from swallowing back his vomit. "Thank you, Ms. Tondal-"
"Cassandra, please."
"Ah, yes, Cassandra, thank you for appearing on the show to-night. Our next guest is Robert- ah, Ms. Tondal, I- what are you-? Jesus, Christ, shut off the cameras! Shut off the goddamn cameras!"