The small fishing boat had sailed with only one fisherman in it. Prepared for the usual sudden, and violent storms proper of the season, the man wore a yellow raincoat despite the deceitful calmness of the sea. The day was hazy, and although he couldn’t see much, dark cloud storms were forming faraway.
As he drifted far away from the land, everything around him became fog, making the cliffs and the mountains on land nothing more than dim shadows, lost in the immense sea. He was not afraid however, with the confidence that only experience can give, for he had sailed those waters daily for many years. That cold silver ocean was more his home than the one he had on land; the gray on his beard, and wrinkles of his face, all acquired at sea, at that cold and unforgiving sea, to which he kept coming back, every day of his life.
As the clouds thickened, and a strong wind began to loom, the fisherman pulled the net out of the water. Ready to call it a day, he turned the engine on the boat and began heading back to land. He could hear the churning of waves in the distance, and one or two thunders deeper into the ocean, the gale was approaching fast and it was wiser to return home. As the boat crossed the tempestuous waters, at a fast speed, the motor began making a strange noise, and it suddenly went quiet making the boat come to a complete stop. “God dammit not again!” -the old man exclaimed, as he began hitting the gas tank with his hand. He checked the kill switch, and tried to reignite the engine with the key, but the motor was completely dead, he was now officially stranded in the middle of a sea storm.
The waves were becoming more aggressive and it was getting dark; the thunders were louder, the unyielding rain which saw no reason to dwindle hit the fisherman’s face, like a cold, salty and sharp slap. The fisherman was an expert, he’d dealt with storms before, and although this was a nasty one, it was far from the worst he had ever survived. So, armed with courage, and a pair of paddles, he began rowing back to shore, crossing the stormy sea below, which sometimes lifted the boat off the water with an incredible force, tossing him around like a ragdoll.
As he continued to row, he heard a loud knock under the boat. It wasn’t uncommon, but not ideal given the current situation, so he ignored it and continued rowing through the storm.
Suddenly, the knock became a loud bang, which lifted the entire boat off of the water, with enough force to scare him. This was no wave, there was something underneath.
Out of all of the creatures lurking beneath the water, creeping up to the surface once in a while; which could be so powerful to do that to the boat? He wondered in anguish, holding on to the rims, petrified, with terror in his eyes. “What the hell was that?” -He whispered to himself, aghast still from the tremendous force of whatever hit the rusty bottoms of his swaying craft. Then, it happened again, something hit the boat, this time sending it and its occupant flying a couple of feet away. He held on for dear life, but didn’t know what to do, whatever prowled under the wild water underneath was big, and powerful, and he was in a little wooden speedboat, in the middle of a squall, in the ocean.
He wondered about what it could be, a whale, maybe? It had to be something about that size he calculated, although he wanted to remain hopeful, and blamed it on the bad weather.
So the unthinkable happened, and whatever creature skulked underneath, decided to stop toying with the boat and hit it with such tremendous force, that ended up destroying it, and threw the fisherman into the water. Desperate, and frightened like never before in his life, the panicked man began to act out of instinct and started swimming away from the sinking debris, or at least what remained of it, as pieces of wood from the wrecked boat floated around like a remainder of the true power of whatever was after him.
He couldn’t avoid the feeling of being chased, of being watched from underneath the water, what an unfair advantage do deep-sea creatures have over us surface dwellers, when they can see us, but we cannot see them, it is a most natural fear of all humans, to freight the depths and darkness of the ocean, the darkness of the unknown, the unseen. As he swam, he felt a faint and delicate touch on his leg, and no matter how soft, or faint, the paralyzing fear he felt, made that slight rub feel like the sharp teeth of a great white sinking deep into his skin, ripping and tearing his leg whole’.
Out in the distance he saw a miracle, standing tall. Fighting against the waves, were two rock formations, protruding from the water like two rocky angels, ready to save him, welcoming him into the comfort of firm land. He swam as fast as he could, not looking back and not thinking either, just trying to get away from whatever sea monster was trying to eat him, he then reached the rocks and practically jumped out of the water and into safety.
Agitated, panting like a dog at the park, he rested against the rocks; the rocks were sharp, but felt as comfortable as the softest bed there was, giving him nothing but safety and relief. That’s when a strange calmness settled around the ocean, as if the ocean was almost done torturing the poor old fisherman.
That’s when it happened, a loud and bright thunder illuminated the water in front of his eyes, making a figure visible. It was serpentine in shape, probably as big as a whale, with the behavior of an alligator on the prowl; with half of his face sticking out of the water, patiently waiting for its prey to come close to his domain; Although the eyes… those yellow-golden eyes, as bright as a car’s headlights, shone like stars in the black water after it went dark. Those piercing orbs, as bright as the moon, taunted him, lured him, mesmerized him.
The rain was heavier on land than on the ocean, the wind made the old crooked wooden sign of the town sway with the wind. It was an old and picturesque Norwegian fishing village, locked in by mountains and the ocean, with old wooden houses and barns, and boats, more boats than people anchored ashore, waving with the storm.
In the middle of the rain the fisherman had resurfaced, he was walking through the empty streets of the town as if nothing had happened, carelessly walking slow, drenched and uncaring. He came to a house, and knocked on the door, a rather large woman opened the door, with an exacerbated expression on her face. “Where on earth have you been? I have been worried sick!” -She exclaimed as she grabbed the man by the raincoat and shook him. But he looked dazzled, he was speechless, with his head down, barely able to say anything. “Well, say something Olaf!” -She grumbled. “Go… G… go to your room Hans.” He said to a boy who was terrified watching the whole thing unfold, from the dinning table, then the young boy stood up as fast as he could, and ran to his room. “Let the kid stay!” -She protested. – “Let him see the kind of father you are, let him remember you for what you do, how you leave your family alone, to go out with God knows what whore this time!” -She continued yelling, but the man, possessed by an unexplainable calmness, and an unusual poise, simply walked inside, and into the kitchen, leaving the woman screaming alone at the entrance. “Are you going to leave me arguing with myself?!” -She protested again, as he then reappeared, but this time holding a large harpoon on his hands, and without hesitation, and without saying much, he shot his wife with the harpoon in the head, killing her instantly, spurting the wall behind her with her blood and brains.
It was a swift and silent kill; it was brutal too. His composure was almost… maniacal in a sense.
He walked to the fridge, and took a cold beer can out, then walked over the dead body, and came outside to a rocking chair, where he sat with his beer, to peacefully watch the storm.
Three months later
The young woman woke up to the soothing warm light of a Norwegian summer morning as it entered her room. Her hair was messy, and her eyes half-shut, she stood up, to look at herself in the mirror. “What a mess” -she lamented, as she wet her face.
She was a young and beautiful woman, probably in her early thirties, with blond wavy hair, hazel brown eyes, a pointy thin nose, and naturally red thick lips. She went down the stairs now fully clothed and ready to go out, when she found hot cup of coffee waiting for her on the kitchen counter.
“Thanks for the coffee dad!” -She yelled at the emptiness of the room, and then sat down to drink it. “You’re welcome” -Answered a voice behind the counter that startled her.
Her dad appeared out of nowhere, as clean and well-dressed as she had ever known him to, holding the morning papers as it had become a habit since he had retired. -“David called, he said he needed to talk to you. He is bringing those smultringers from that one place you like in Frogner.” –
He said with his usual calmed and appeasing tone of voice.
-“What!? No dad I don’t wanna see him right now!” -She objected solemnly. “Well, I told him it was ok for him to come, I think you two still need some things to talk about, and to figure out.” -He said as he glanced over his daughter over the top of his round glasses.
“I have nothing to talk to him about, everything between us it’s pretty much figured out. Plus, I hate that Camilla that he is with now, and the last thing I want is to have to see her stupid face right now!”
“He’s coming alone” -He replied swiftly.
- “Well that’s a first. What an actual surprise she would actually let him leave the house without her, specially if it is to come to see me. She just annoys me like you have no clue, going everywhere he goes, flashing those stupid perfect teeth. I mean, who has perfect teeth like that? It’s unnatural!”-
- “I do” -Her dad joked.
- “Yes, dad but you have dentures, it doesn’t count!” -
- “Listen Britt, you have to get past what happened, and look to a brighter future. you have a career, and many good things ahead, but you continue to be affected by what happened in the past, I can tell. That’s why I think that talking to David can do you some good.”-
- “Dad seriously, am good. And I have to go now, so if David wanna see me so badly, he’ll have to catch me after class.”-
Later that afternoon, Britt was in a room filled with students, at the university of Oslo, about to give her lecture. The lights were off, and a big screen was projecting images.
- “Welcome to forensics.” She commenced. “Over the years, and throughout the entire history of policing in this country, and in Europe overall, forensic specialist, and crime analyst have been baffled about the complexity of the criminal mind. We as a society have been fascinated about stories of people who would do things, unimaginable things, things that we wouldn’t do ourselves, simply because it’s wrong, or worse yet, because we are too scared to do them ourselves. The truth is that governments have spent millions in research, in studies, trying to figure out what makes a person tick, trying to figure out how the criminal mind works. I’m here today to tell you about a specific kind of criminal, once whose behavior has been romanticized by the media, movies, books. I am here to talk to you about the psychopath.” -She made an earnest pause and then resumed.” “I’d like to start by telling you a story, the story of Astrid Johansen.” -She said as the picture of the woman displayed on the screen.
- “Astrid was a stay-at-home mom, mother of two sons, she lived with her family in sunny Stavanger. Astrid had everything she ever wanted, a family, loving husband and stability. Her spouse was a cardiologist working from a prestigious hospital there in their native town.” -Then she hit the clicker, and move to the next slide, which showed the picture of a beach.
- “Everything changed for Astrid one fateful day of August, when she and her family had gone for a little summer fun at the golden beach. Picnic day, playing in the sand, swimming, like any normal loving family would. However, that was the day when her husband Oliver died.” -She moved to the next slide as she recollected her thoughts.
- “Oliver went for a swim. Not too far away from the shore was his wife Astrid and their two twins, both of them five years of age, at the time of the incident. Oliver gets a cramp on his leg, and can’t make it back, he gets desperate, and he drowns, in front of the horrified eyes of his wife and children.” -She then put up the slide of Oliver’s recovered decomposed body on the screen.
- “After the police investigated the case, they concluded that Oliver suffered death by drowning. and Astrid… well she saw the whole thing, from the whopping distance of ten feet away. When questioned by the police as to why she didn’t jump in the water to save her husband whom she had clearly noticed was drowning. She responded, and I kid you not, by saying that she didn’t want to because the water was too cold.” -There was then a general murmuring heard across the classroom, as the students heard that last line.
- “Now who can tell me what’s wrong with Astrid’s decision?” -Britt asked the class, as half of the students raised their hands.
- “She is guilty of manslaughter, or negligent homicide at the very least!” -Answered a male student.
- “She’s evil!” -Exclaimed another student.
Then Britt proceeded to talk. - “See, this story has been used by law enforcement ever since as a case-study. When I first took this very course, my professor told us that statistically speaking it was likely that amongst my entire class there would be one or two psychopaths. A psychopath is a person unable to feel empathy, it doesn’t register on them the same way it does on us. They don’t understand the other’s pain, making them in a sense more practical, and less… human if you will. Also making them ideal for a law enforcement career, because they can think way before they feel. This story is the perfect test to see who is a psychopath. Whereas my first and also your first reaction would be to judge Astrid for standing by and letting her husband drown and die. -
-A psychopath would think that she was happy to see him die, that she wanted him dead.
…But why? Well, a psychopath would understand that she’s lying, and would call her out on it. Because way before seeing what’s wrong with her actions, a psychopath will see what’s wrong with her statement. And that is, that in August the water is not cold at all at the Golden Beach in Stavanger. The cold water was just an excuse, she just hated Oliver, and wanted him to die.
Only this kind of people would understand that.
They are not necessarily criminals, hell! Sometimes they are not even bad people. They are your politicians, your CEO s, your teachers even. Psychopaths are just people, who have an advantage over us if you will…”