Sunday, June 10, 2007

Darkly Dreaming Dexter (excerpts)

I've been reading Darkly Dreaming Dexter, the Jeff Lindsay novel that the Showtime series Dexter is based upon. It's a darkly comic and ironic examination of human life from the perspective of Dexter, a sociopath and serial killer who, instilled with a hard-line sense of morality by his adopted father Harry, only targets other murderers. It's an interesting examination of conditioned morality and ironic detachment. Enjoy.

I secured the priest to the table with duct tape and cut away his clothes. I did the preliminary work quickly; shaving, scrubbing, cutting away the things that stuck out untidily. As always I felt the wonderful long slow build to release begin its pounding throughout my entire body. It would flutter through me while I worked, rising and taking me with it, until the very end, the Need and the priest swimming away together in a fading tide.

And just before I started the serious work Father Donovan opened his eyes and looked at me. There was no fear now; that happens sometimes. He looked straight up at me and him mouth moved.

"What?" I said. I moved my head a little closer. "I can't hear you."

I heard him breathe, a slow and peaceful breath, and then he said it again before his eyes closed.

"You're welcome," I said, and I went to work."


"What do you remember from before?" he asked. "You know. Before we took you in."

That sill hurts, but I really don't know why. I was only three. "Nothing."

"Good," he says. "Nobody should remember that." And as long as he lives that will be the most he ever says about it. "But even though you don't remember, Dex, it did things to you. Those things make you what you are. I've talked to some people about this." And strangest of strange, he gives me a very small, almost shy, Harry smile. "I've been expecting this. What happened to you when you were a little kid has shaped you. I've tried to straighten that out, but -" He shrugs. "It was too strong, too much. It got into you too early and it's going to stay there. It's going to make you want to kill. And you can't help that. You can't change that. But," he said, and he looks away again, to see what I can't tell. "But you can channel it. Control it. Choose -" his words come so carefully now, more careful than I've ever heard him talk, "- choose what... or who... you kill..." And he gave me a smile unlike any I have ever seen before, a smile as bleak and dry as the ashes of our dying fire. "There are plenty of people who deserve it, Dex..."

[Lindsay, Jeff, Darkly Dreaming Dexter. New York, NY: Vintage, 2004. 12-13, 43]

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