Brutal Murders. Victims Stabbed 83 Times. Those were just some of the headlines above stories filled with truth and lies. Stories about a sociopathic monster. Surely a villain made for novels and movies. Those were the only places I had ever come across someone described as such. That is until I came across… a mirror.

Were the thoughtful green eyes that stared back at me capable of hiding such a person? Others had described them as kind, or mischievous or wise. Was a sociopath any of those? I didn‘t  think so.

But maybe I was wrong.

I rubbed my weary face with my right hand, fingers running across lines of care that weren’t there a day ago. I caught sight of my hand in the mirror through splayed fingers, masking my face. Holding my hand close to the mirror, I inspected it. Inspected it for the caked and dried blood that I had scrubbed so hard to get off my first night in jail. It was clean. So…very… clean. Not the hand of a murderer. Not the hand of a monster.

Then I raised my left hand. I feared what I’d see. I knew what I’d find. It raised slowly. It trembled rapidly. The mirror showed the truth, even though my mind tried to lie. A jagged gash ran from my ring finger, past my pinkie, almost severing the tendons. I flexed them, as if by curling the fingers away, I could hide my deeds. A fresh line of crimson snaked its way down my hand to drip, drip, drip and leave starred spatters on the concrete floor.

Blood called to blood. I was catapulted from present to past. This time, I was an observer, not a participant. Who was this man I saw with madness in his eyes? Why did he scream and cry as he cut and stabbed? Didn’t he hear their pleas, their screams?

Why, why wouldn’t he stop? “For God’s sake, stop!” I screamed.

But I was just an observer and my voice was soundless.

At some point—a minute, an eternity later–the man stopped.

He fell to his knees weeping amidst the gore. His tears could have drowned the world, but they would never be able to wash away all the blood. He crawled to a phone, leaving smears with his passage, pulled it down and called for help. Help for them.

Help for him. Help. He needed help.

Darkness overcame all. Then, light. Blinking back salted emotion, I was in the present once more, staring at a mirror.

Staring at me. I turned away, never wanting to see that man again.

Jason Cooper is serving two consecutive life sentences without parole for two murders. 

Jason Cooper #AA2968

RJ Donovan / D20-219 480

480 Alta Road

San Diego, CA 92179