Lily's sinister secret provides her an oasis of calm in a banal life, but maintaining this precarious balance is something no one around her would truly understand.
Content Warning: Graphic Descriptions
The untold secret:
Lily looked up with a polite smile as Mrs. Cooper approached the bank teller window, exchanging brief pleasantries. While Mrs. Cooper requested a cash withdrawal, Lily picturing grabbing a letter opener and plunging it into the elderly woman’s neck, vividly imagining dark blood spurting out and Mrs. Cooper frantically grasping her throat as she choked and gurgled.
“Here’s your cash,” Lily said warmly, handing the money under the partition. Mrs. Cooper thanked her, and Lily wished her a lovely day while envisioning the woman stumbling outside, collapsing on the sidewalk as blood rapidly pooled around her until she stopped breathing.
So went Lily’s days, filled with friendly customer service and shockingly violent thoughts. Where some found relaxation in yoga, nature walks, or by simply reading a book, Lily was soothed by imagining gruesome harm befalling anyone around her – loved ones and strangers alike.
She conjured these vivid scenes effortlessly throughout the day, like during a morning coffee break with cheerful coworkers. Lily would picture grabbing the boiling hot pot and brutally disfiguring her colleagues with it as they laughed and chatted in her company. Or while cashing a check for a polite elderly gentleman, she might imagined bashing his head face-first into her desk until the wood splintered, leaving his features a pulpy, unrecognisable mess.
Quite often, on her commute home, Lily sat tranquilly in the back of the bus, picturing herself suddenly grabbing an assault rifle and mowing down the other passengers in a hail of gunfire. She envisioned their blood and brain tissues spraying the windows as she methodically fired hundreds of rounds, empty shells cascading to the floor. In her mind’s eye, Lily remained composed amidst the carnage, feeling a soothing sense of calm.
These were not expressions of anger or vengeance, but Lily’s own peculiar version of peace and relaxation. Allowing her mind to wander to unthinkably depraved acts, silenced her nagging thoughts and worries, inducing a sense of calm presence. For Lily, imagining the unimaginable was merely a way to briefly retire her rational mind and unwind. A mechanism, albeit an extremely unusual one, for relief.
Of course, Lily kept this secret closely guarded, aware that others would scarcely comprehend it. She knew revealing her bloody thoughts could mean losing her only reliable form of relaxation. And so she carried on, concealing her shocking visions behind a pleasant façade. Outwardly, no one would guess that kind, reserved Lily’s mind frequently swam with scenes of brutal murder. It was her carefully protected secret, one that brought an odd yet profound serenity amidst the rhythms of an ordinary life.
On the surface, little in Lily's placid suburban upbringing hinted at her eventual retreat into deeply disturbing reveries. Her practical parents provided for her needs without nurturing her sensitivity or paying attention to her inner workings. Lily grew up unremarkably, neither excelling nor struggling.
As a somewhat lonely teenager, Lily withdrew into books, art, and her own complex thoughts. She found inspiration in paintings bursting with idyllic natural beauty and romance. Yet, as she gazed upon them, while sitting on a bench at a museum, Lily’s mind would invent the most vivid scenes of her brutally attacking the innocent and unknown person passing in front of her.
She continued her quiet routine into adulthood, working a clerical job. To her mild-mannered coworkers, Lily seemed an inoffensive and civil woman, if rather private. None could guess that her daydreams brimmed with blood and anguish.
As time passed, Lily realized that picturing progressively more shocking violence induced an almost trance-like calm. By mentally violating all moral bounds, she found liberation from rumination and worry. The lines that limited others failed to constrain her vivid imagination.
Whereas her coworkers unwound with relaxing yoga sessions, Lily envisioned strangling them one by one with their yoga mats, finding serenity in those vivid mental images of their demise. Or while friends met for pleasant needlepoint gatherings, Lily pictured gouging out their eyes with the sharp embroidery needles, feeling tension melt away as she envisioned their agony.
At night, Lily’s dreams overflowed with ever more nightmarish visions, providing endless inspiration for her waking mind. Try as she might, she could not pinpoint the origins of her unusual proclivities. But neither did they trouble her. She accepted them as a facet of her psyche, no more confusing than a penchant for detective novels or tea over coffee. They were simply a part of her, neither good nor evil in her eyes.
Outwardly, Lily was regarded by all as a perfectly lovely woman – kind, polite, if rather private. Her disturbing thoughts remained carefully guarded, shared with no one. In fact, it was precisely her intense, brutal visions that allowed Lily to be so pleasant in her day-to-day life. They offered an escape when needed, a pressure valve helping her cope with her daily worries.
Lily occasionally wondered if someday the weight of her imagination might grow too heavy, requiring her to seek help unpacking their meaning. But for now, they granted a release she found too precious to relinquish. A sane mind perhaps finds peace in saner places. But for Lily, serenity lived in the unthinkable where destruction became her distraction.