Quaid: Watching the fear of death, the pinnacle of all dread approach, that was the limits. Someone once wrote that no man can know his own death. But to know the death of others, intimately, to watch the tricks that the mind would surely perform to avoid the bitter truth, that was a clue to death's nature, wasn't it? That might, in some small way, prepare a man for his own death. To live another's dread vicariously was the safest, cleverest way to touch the beast.
Quaid: Maybe I'm not being clear enough. Maybe I need to be honest with you and tell you what I want.
Cheryl Fromm: I grew up in a small town in upstate New York. My mom worked at the local supermarket and my dad... and my dad worked at the... at a meat packing plant about 20 miles outside of town. They'd slaughter cattle there and supply our markets with corn-fed organic beef. And he'd work late. And by the time he'd get home, my mom would always be asleep. I'd lay there on my pillow and... listen to the sound of his boots walk to my bedroom door. I don't know if my mother just pretended not to know what the fuck was going on or if she was just too weak.
Stephen Grace: You don't... you don't need to do this.
Cheryl Fromm: But what I remember the most about it was the way... the way his flesh smelled when he'd come home from work. This heavy, metallic smell that would follow him home from the plant... like warm blood on the grass... cold fat in the freezers. I can hardly stand to look at a piece of meat now, let alone think about eating it.
Joshua Shaw: I suppose that is the worst part of it all. You live with the notion that the thing that causes you the most terror could come back at any time.
Stephen Grace: I lead a pretty dull life. Fear doesn't cross my path very often.
Stephen Grace: It's good.
Quaid: The painting? It's a hobby.
Stephen Grace: You have any others?
Quaid: No. I trash them when I'm done. I can't stand all these eyes staring at me.
Quaid: What if we did a fear study? Compile a survey on people's fears and what causes them. You have access to equipment through the film program, right? And you need a project for your thesis.
Stephen Grace: Yeah.
Quaid: Call it an experiment in catharsis. To live another's dread vicariously, that's the... that's the safest way to touch the beast.
Stephen Grace: Yeah. See, I don't think I really want to touch the beast that you're talking about.
Quaid: My parents were killed when I was six years old, Stephen. They were murdered right in front of my eyes. Killed with the axe from my father's tool shed. They never caught the man that did it. I don't know how I got away, but I did. I ran and I ran and... I've never really stopped.
Abby: I can vividly remember my first day at kindergarten. I was wearing a light blue dress, and I was there no more than 10 minutes before some boy asked me what was wrong with my face. That was the first time I realized I had something to be ashamed of.
Stephen Grace: You have nothing to be ashamed of.
Abby: Stephen, you're supposed to be impartial, remember?
Stephen Grace: Yeah.
Abby: Listen. I could have a lot worse than a birthmark covering my body. But that's kind of hard to swallow whenever I have to look in the mirror to fix my hair. Or when I look at my sisters. What that boy asked me when I was five years old is what people want to ask me every day of my life. And every time I have to meet someone for the first time, I'll always be that five year old girl again.
Quaid: My life is a labyrinth. A map of its complexities is etched on my face in a thousand tiny expressions.
Quaid: I want your soul to open up for me. Spread-eagled like a split beaver so that I can gaze into its secrets.
Joshua Shaw: Gentle Jesus, meek and mild. Look upon this child. Pity my simplicity. Suffer me to come to thee.