We passed upon the stair
We spoke of was and when
Although I wasn’t there
He said I was his friend
Which came as a surprise
I spoke into his eyes
I thought you died alone
A long, long time ago
Oh no, not me
I never lost control
You’re face to face
With the man who sold the world
3.27. You wake up in a clammy sweat choking shout. With your fingertips you hold your hair and the first thingthat your wide open inflamed eyes snatch out from the stringy twilight of the living room are three blue numbers dimly glowing in the night silence. 3.27. They are again. Again…
You often see the same dream. At first it isn’t different from ordinary screensavers that your consciousness tries to occupy you with for some hours of its midnight work. It is not special, this dream, and you can never remember it, truly, you don’t try keeping it in mind for too long. The main thing, that you are exactly sure of something had happened. Motion, action. Bamf, and your sleepy hollow is full of something. It isn’t empty.
But then… Then something not good happened. You will never remember precisely, but the sense of looming nightmare and taste of despair, like a shadow, will follow you from the cloud-cuckoo-town when you wake up once again in the middle of the night with horror, throbbing in your temples. You will never remember what made your back goose-bumpy and then you will awake, why? -Because you have nothing to remember. – Because you dreamed of emptiness. You dreamed about dark adhesive nothing, where it lives – something, that makes your heart go into a mad fit due to incomparable, savage terror.
That one living thing in the void has seen you too. It knows that you are afraid of it. It is dissonance spawn of emptiness, rejected by nature. It cannot exist and at the same time it exists. – Exists specially for you. In order you to meet it one beautiful night. And it knows that you’ll meet. And you know that too.
It resides in emptiness in the Nowhere. It has no shelter except nowhere. And the Emptiness that gave birth to it is the deafest and the darkest. This is human’s void. Its smithereens pierced each of us, so somewhere in the Nowhere it is waiting for you. It lives in cracks of the parquet and in the flowers you forgot to present, in the depths of the wardrobe shelves and in the last train tickets that have never been bought; under the bath and in every café, in the windows of abandoned buildings and in the words you didn’t say. Your own personal nightmare. It exists. And it is waiting.
Have you ever wondered what death is? What it is dressed in and how it sounds? What awaits me and you in seven minutes after our last breath? Have you ever wanted to measure the length of infinity? I know. You wanted. And I also know how much you want to know what its reeky grey mists hide.
However, it is unlikely, that you want to stay a part of it very much. Very unlikely. Of course, there are number of exceptions – shadows, voluntarily dissolved in a cloud of ash and dust; but I would agree with the current opinion that self-destroyers, if sort it out, are people who want to live most of all. Then, as one intelligent man said: “Our whole life is one long suicide”. And no matter what someone says, I will always choose the one idea. I want to live. I want to think, feel, touch, drink coffee, lose keys and crunch fingers. I. Want. To. Live. I don’t want to die just to experience death.
Unfortunately I don’t know what about you, but in my situation it is very complicated. I’m 25 years old and I have a very disappointing diagnosis: I have three months left to live. Three months, – Jesus Christ! It is damned poco! And how much more can be done during this time! Three months to interline in one human life – one handsome, successful and young, devil’s why, life! Why me? I am worthy of life. Mischief, I’m really well-deserved of it. I deserve life like no one else.
Who am I? I’m “a spirit who had left his body-shell many years ago. It is a pity that a piece of meat remained of me”. A literal quote. My ex-girl told me that when she came back to pack up her junk. I would like her to dumb me after my fatal diagnosis. It would be easier for me to call her a hypocritical damned wretch then. Anyway I’m doing it well.
I have never loved her. I don’t believe in love at all – it’s just a chemical reaction taking place in our organisms. Love is a self-perceived addiction: it is worse than cheap coke, but at the same time, it is a powerful phenomenon with all this set of animal instincts. Love for the weak ones can’t cope with usual explainable dependence. – For her. Not for me!
Why? Well, she was pretty good -looking, with nice face and stature and she had always hanged about me. What a decent dandy walks without a girlfriend, huh? I have never understood her – truly, I even didn’t aspire to. It did not interest me too much. Why was she waiting for me in the park without knowing about huge corporation, I inherited from my father? Without knowing that my socks are from Falke and I go to Kagos by jet? Why her two-three snotty words were enough to dissolve in me completely? And she would love asking me, who we were for each other. Why she didn’t feel me (while I was lying next to her), why I was so detached and empty? In situations like these “two-three snotty words” usually help too… and then she packed up her things and went away. From me, from my money, she went away, imagine? She had never been too smart, and her actions had never been too logical, but I could never understand that.
I also remember that a few days before I was told the diagnosis, and Ann was still living with me, and I used to think that young people live forever, I had lost her to the casino owner in poker. Those days I risked losing everything. To be honest I did not need money, I had played just for fun. And then casino owner offered me the choice: she or my company. And I told her: “If you aren’t against, then…” I always say that on meetings. “If you aren’t against, then…”
And she looked at me and repeated: “And you aren’t against it ?”. And then she started crying, kissed me and went away. Went away to the casino owner. In the morning Ann came back to pick up her things.
I was fighting. Was fighting, using sufficed powers and recourses. I was fighting until I understood: private doctors want to cash on my problems and my illness is incurable, this was confirmed in the state clinic. Never believe private doctors. They are Evil.
So, I lost about a month from the remaining three and a decent portion of father’s capital. I don’t want to die just to experience death. I don’t want to die. But I have to.
Having money, it’s not complicated to find questions matching real answers. Science and money really make the impossible possible. Glory to Lord, I was lucky to be born now because only 40 years ago, in the far 2018, science was at an embryonic stage. I have read that humans were dreaming about flights to Mars, telepathic moving of objects and solving the problem of overpopulation at that time.
This morning I have been checking Google-news. Next week a squad of 5,000 colonists will be sent to the planet PSR J1719-1438b to install a protective dome and oxygen generators. 5-6 months to adapt the surface and they will be building residential areas, I think. And telekinesis is such a trifle today: it costs a few green ones and works on Bluetooth. If you pay more, it will have greater range of its work.
Dr. Fritz Gaber. Notes from 21.10.59
“If you have never seen how scientific discoveries look like, come to have coffee with me.
This is my best creation. These are the first steps of the God’s creatures to celebrate victory over nature. There is no death. There will be no death very soon.
The client was non-contentious. The nice little one, – he is not one of those, who want to look good in stranger’s eyes. Not one of those, who will play games and pretend. And he is also something like a step into eternity, someone who helps me start my work and get the result. He didn’t spare either funds or… funds. He came to me with the only condition: “Help me to know what happens with humans after their last breath”. Yeah, he wants to face death without dying before. Nice little one!.. It is sad, he has little time left.
I had to work monstrously fast, engrossingly fast, but I was ready not to approach the bed or the fridge if only my experiment was going to be successful. Jesus Christ, it was a great time to quit smoking or start believing in God! This research became part of me already then. Now every drop of the “Bundle-sh4” breathes with my blood and is soaked with my soul.
If I could trust paper, I would not fail to share with you the fascinating process of creating a better development within the Milky Way, but I do not trust it. I managed to use DNA of Turritopsis Nutricula along with one of the biological mutagens – that’s all I say. It was said that posterity and media will definitely find this notebook after my funeral. After that my name will be mentioned in the Swedish Academy during the award process, my body will be bequeathed to science, and “Bundle-sh4” will be improved and turned into a cure for death itself.
My bae “B4” (let’s call it simply in a family way) represents a vaccine, a liquid with an unpleasant greenish tint, without an obvious smell, it can be stored in the freezer indefinitely. By its properties it is similar to poison like viruses: it settles and parasitizes in the host’s organism, but not more than 13 minutes. Then biological death of the carrier occurs. What are its amazing properties?
The vaccine begins to act almost immediately after entering the host’s lymph. For a short time, the carrier experiences clinical death; however, Broca’s centre, the auditory centre and some parts of the right hemisphere of the brain remain active. It deprives the owner of sight and movement abilities, etc. at the same time he/she is able to hear and understand sounds (speech) from outside and maintain dialogue. In our case, the main thing is that the test subject can describe his posthumous hallucinations and answer questions from outside. “B4” also managed to extend the reversible boundary state between life and biological death (clinical death) almost three times: we have whole thirteen minutes instead of the usual five. The only drawback is that effects of the experiment will be fatal for the test subject. Defeating “B4”, clinical death for the carrier becomes an irreversible terminal state and after specified thirteen minutes he/she dies”.
It did not have long to look for the client. Celebrating like Pacha for 30 days before my last one chord, I went home, broke my knee while going upstairs to take a shower, got enough sleep and threw my body into the streets.
The city had been monotonously humming, filling the space in my head. I was dressed like a bantling from a mass-market and I walked up the street, counting the steps, exhaling clouds of steam. Were they cars, or people, or pigeons whirring or it’s ringing in my ears – it had no matter. Measured hum was rumbling across glass and concrete, crawling up the buildings of skyscrapers, it was flowed into the windows, into the mouth, nostrils, auricles, into the eyes. I walked, squinting at sunset and quaffing the automobile’s smoke by the full lungs, and the city was crooning and humming, and it was full of hum, and I was full of hum, and together we were not empty.
I dived into the bus and bought a ticket to the suburbs. Hated the public transport, but I couldn’t take my car: doctor prescribed not to attract excess attention.
He was found quickly. Twilight reigned here -the place was quiet and deserted. The last bright rays of the sun illuminated the gloomy cage of the houses and highlighted the grey dirt on the road. It was still light. He was sitting on a piece of crumpled cardboard, propping up the blank rusted wall of an abandoned boiler room; he smelled like bleach and enthusiastically viewed something in his hands. Thin shabby bomber, black jeans and baseball cap without strap. Classy trainers on his feet alerted me a little, but they didn’t emanate any gloss and well-being: toe-caps were worn off, the soles were of an indefinitely-brown colour, different laces and the dusty faded logo finished the picture.
“Okay, let’s check”, – I said to myself.
He raised his head and looked somewhere past me. There was a box from under Walmart tangerines next to him, like for alms. I looked narrowly. Young and tragic. “Too fast to live, too young to die”, – it was about him. Well-developed thrasher, higher than 1.80, may be quite a bit older than me. Seemingly hardy. Seemingly like a client I needed. But even then too young to die…
“Doesn’t matter”, – …
Hair is black, cool coiffure even considering the current position of the stranger. It looked as if his haircut was made in the barbershop long time ago, but now it was grown and untidy. Fighter’s straight nose, square cheekbones and chin. Grey eyes are planted a little wider to call his appearance middling. Despite his total insolvency, he didn’t leave a negative aftertaste. Even his chlorinated shabby bomber. In his hands he held something like catnip. I grinned.
One glance at his Chinese eyed face was enough to understand that he is having his own party. But even considering this fact, he kept cool; he looked at me with a direct and calm gaze. Too direct for a stoned junkie, too calm for a homeless idle! There was something exceptional about him, and it was hooky. That all seemed as if he had just come out to sit on a piece of cardboard on a clear October evening – not because of money, but just for fun. For himself, for the passerby.
He wasn’t a racketeer. He really had no money. This isn’t difficult to pick people like him out of the crowd by only one glance, even if they aren’t sitting on the asphalt wearing dead High Dunk sneakers. I always could distinguish them. Their hands don’t smell of bucks, but his hands were special. They looked as if he didn’t need money. In his red muddy eyes there were no bitterness, grudge or injustice pain typical for people in the same situation. It was dissonance. I understood how deeply he needed money and how… free he was from it.
Thoughts rushed in my head and resonated as if they were ready to tear down houses. It was the first one that came to my mind, the first one that I really wanted to know about him and maybe the first one that I really wanted to know about another person.
- What do you mean?
Speaks at ease. He characteristically stretched words, his tongue was faltering, -not surprised, actually.
- – I understood I sounded stupid.
- Can’t you see, eh? – The stranger lifted his catnip with his fingertip and giggled.
“Smile’s so light”. And I felt sorry for him again.
Thanks God, besides other charms the hash always makes people’s tongues loose. Just in case I had prepared in advance old chap Jack Daniels, but it seemed like I would not need it today.
His name was Addison Goode.
I was as friendly, sensitive and sweet as I could pretend. Rather, I had made him loose. Huh, it wasn’t very difficult… I was proud of my work: so far everything went according to the plan.
- Yeah, dude! My Shelly… I thought I would live two or three days longer than her … Oh, if you loved someone so much that you were ready to tear out your heart alive and give it to her, you would understand me… She was a part of me, man, I breathed with her and I was living for her, and then… there is no her more.
Suddenly Add shuddered. His gaze became detached and empty. He had silenced a bit. It seemed he was ready to sob, but he didn’t. There was drama in his words, and this drama dried tears out. And for some reason it hooked me. And for some reason I told him about it.
- See you, – he answer, – emptiness can be felt differently. It is the same cold, lack of taste and feelings, but a bottomless abyss can lie between these senses. Someone had the emptiness happened because there were no feelings at all, but someone has it because feelings had become too much.
- Okay, maybe you’re right. But what’s matter with her?
- She was founded dead. – His voice stood muffled. – Near our house. With traces of beatings and twine on her neck. I found her. She… she was dead.
- But… who?
- That is just the point, man! – Add dragged on the catnip. He didn’t even need to ask questions. Fine! – We moved here no more than a month ago. We have not had time to have friends or acquaintances yet…
- .. – I couldn’t believe my luck. It seemed like nobody was going to search him. But I had to clear everything up. – But how have you moved? Well, maybe for some international program or something like that? Or you have travelled by yourself?
- By ourselves, sure.
- Well, all right! So, why did you decide to move from your country?
- Huh, dude, every dog knows that your country is the land of plenty for technological progress and scientists! You live in one of the most developed places in the Solar System…
- I see, are you into science?
- .. Well, sort of. I am a hacker, but Shelly was… – he faltered, – Shelly was a scientist. Shelly was a really good scientist. She even started some interesting project… hum… something like chemical-biological research. If I am not mistaken, she and another scientist… cannot remember his name now… they were working on some kind of Super-Mega-Vaccine which was associated with the X-Woid disease, maybe you have heard of it before…
“Yes. Jesus, yes! If you only may have known, how much I’ve heard of it before!” My palms got sweat. A bit unpleasant, I would tell, to talk about the thing that is going to kill you in 30 days. But I quickly pulled myself together and decided not to interrupt Add.
- …so, then, – one more puff, – her part of work was to create something like biological mutagen that can fight the virus of the X-Woid. She brought her samples into the laboratory, where they had been working with a scientist, but that day she had not come home. I was calling her for hours, and, having no answer, understood that something wrong had happened. I called the police and they started… started search… So… So, you know how it had ended.
“Oh. My. God”
I knew him. And I knew his girlfriend. I knew that as clear as I knew that he was going to die tomorrow.
I continued to play my drama.
- .. But what… What had the policemen said? Were there any evidence? At least one clue?..
- Ugh, – he smiled sadly. – Sure. Me, for example. They put all the blame on me. But how could I do it?!.. So, anyway, I’m the main suspect. The best thing I would hope for was an electric chair. I tried to tell them about those scientists and I also gave them the address of the laboratory, where she used to come to. But I think, he hadn’t told Shelly his real name, so my information was declared as false. As for the address, the police couldn’t find any laboratory there. There is no stealth laboratory, man!
- Yeah, this is a complicated situation… But how could you run away? I mean it’s impossible.
- Man, I used to think so until my escape. I could suggest that they would come to arrest me because everything proved that they were right… – he dropped the catnip from his shaking hands and I realized that he could no longer lift it. – But… had run away. I had to break the window and injured faces of some policemen… And, you know, dude, they had guns and they even shot me, but could not kill! Look at…
He showed me a deep, fresh scratch from a bullet on his leg with a completely blank facial expression.
- Just scratched! Those day I could not image that I will be alive today, man!
- Oh my, you’re so lucky! – Poor nice little Addy.
- And, would you know, my friend, – he looked at me. His pupils were narrowed to the size of the Universe. – I ran away not just for fun. I wish… I hope… dream… No, damn it, no, I know that I would be able to find the killer of my Shelly. And I want to continue her experiments with the X-Woid vaccine and save human’s lives around the world. She wanted to finish this project so much, my poor little ray of kindness… She wanted to help people too much, dude. And I know I could do this. For my … for Shelly.
I knew that he did spoke sincerely, he really believed what he was talking about. And I also knew that his dream would never come true.
He always could hide his tracks not only well, but even gracefully. Small trick with the super-mobile-fake-laboratory was easy to perform. The only thing that he had never acknowledged was committing the suicide…He found her on the Internet. She was a young scientist and wanted to take part in an “Interesting Charity Project”. She had recently moved here with her boyfriend, was really keen on his professional profile and looked talented. Nobody knew her here. Nobody cared about her. And he needed an assistant.
He did not make a mistake: she was brilliant and did her work very well. Now he could not imagine reaching amazing results of his experiment without her help. Sure, he couldn’t tell her about real goals of their research. But all the same, one day he had to do it. When she found the truth out, he asked her to leave his little secret only between them. She didn’t agree. Shocked, but not surprised, she didn’t even try to lie to him.
- …I’ll tell the truth about your terrible creation in the Intergalactic Court! The world mustn’t see it. It’s horrible, how can’t you understand that! It’s unnatural, ..
“No one should know. Once all worlds will start speaking about me, but now I can’t let someone know. I can’t”.
She was resisting – for herself and, apparently, for people she wanted to protect from him. But the fight was unequal. It was identification of victory over fragile, stupid justice, which, in fact, killed itself with the purity of its intentions. And he thought about it tightening the twine around her neck.
She wheezed something like “Jack, no”. He squeezed the ends of the twine tight in his hands.
- Fritz Gaber, – he said, releasing the rope and watching how unnaturally her dead body was lying on the floor. – Sadly, but for you I would always stay Jack.
“Subject 1: male sex, blood type A(II), negative rhesus factor. 29 y. o., height 1.88m, weight 80,8kg. A double dose of the vaccine is needed. No pathological diseases, condition at the time of experiment: healthy. Notes from 30.11.59”
Dr. Gaber turned the fountain pen off, pushed the notebook aside and put out a cigarette on the bottom of the aluminium ashtray.
“I promised to help him with money and project, but brought him here”
Addy was lying on the couch with bloody nose and busted lip. His hands were tied up to the armrests. While he was still under the stuff, we easily coped with him together. I even hit him on the door jamb, when he tried to resist. If he were fine, we would hardly have been able to do this without problems. The stuff had made him numb, but now Add was okay. Dr. Gaber examined him and said that we may start.
- …so, I can offer you a choice, – replied Dr. Gaber when Addy said he would not answer our questions after taking the vaccine. – I have one more nice idea to propose you,- he pulled a closed tube with a clear liquid out of his white lab gown. – This nice little stuff gradually turns the blood of a living creature into acid. It destroys away flesh, blood vessels and internal organs. It is a nasty thing, shortly. 20 hours of agony, total internal haemorrhage and painful death. Principles, of course, are more important, but I think you would not make mistake.
Yeah, “principles, of course, are more important”, but Addy choose “B4”.
- Cool choice, man, – grinned Dr. Gaber and went away for the vaccine.
I stood with Add. Suddenly I thought that we were very much alike. We both were so deuced young and so doomed, that all the fires of the world were not enough to incinerate terrible tragedy of our destinies. You are not the master of your body. You want to live, but once your body will be taken and you die and you wouldn’t be able to do something with this. Add is naive and stupid. As for me, I really deserve life, but can’t live it. Great joke! My laughter ripped the silence that had reigned in the operating room. Naive and stupid… He even didn’t try to lie to Dr. Gaber while refusing to answer questions. Just like his dead girlfriend. And just for fun I decided to tell him.
Addy did not answer anything, but from appeared desperation in his eyes I realized that he started guessing what I mean. And just for fun, I told him a bit more about his girl’s death. I watched how misunderstanding in his gaze was replaced by the hope, that it couldn’t be true; how hope was replaced by pain and hatred, and then by hopelessness and emptiness. “It’s just because his feelings have become too much”, – I remembered his words. As if through a dense mass, I heard his shout and saw how his tears were washing the blood from his lips and cheeks. I remember hearing a nasty crunch: apparently, he was so deeply moved of my story that broke his phalanx squeezing the armrest. But when I caught his gaze again, I felt myself thrown in the cold.
Like those, sentenced to hanging, were looking into the court’s eyes, feeling the rope around their necks and the earth going from under their feet. He didn’t say anything, but this chilling look was enough.
“The court is me, – I thought. – But am I able to judge? I am like a sheep in wolf’s skin. I like Themis, devoid of blindfold”. The court is me. I took away love, not a name for this feeling, I’m completing human destiny without having the right to do so. I’m playing big without having return rate, do you see? Sooner or later it will be noticed. Somebody will come to me and charge me for all my games. And what will they have to get when they see that I have nothing to pay? This monstrous awareness came to me just now. I was so scared only when I used to wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat and with horror in my eyes. As you see, I often dreamed the same nightmare which I had never remembered.
…when I looked at Add again, he had already been lying with rolling eyes and froths at the mouth. He had been shaking, the tips of crooked fingers turned violet and a morbid blush appeared on the cheeks as if he was phthisic. I don’t remember how Fritz had come in, but now he was near special apparatuses. I felt badly and scared. All in all, that was done for science.
- Right, Mr. Gaber?
- Sure, man. Why is he really croaking so scary? – Fritz jabbed his finger at Addy’s convulsive body and smiled in a smugly way. – Is that a kind of right reaction to the best achievement of world science in recent years?
With these words he brought a capsule with the “B4” to the fluorescent lamps lights, tapped it and with the skill of a professional filled a new syringe with liquid. Then he walked over to quiet Add and injected him a second dose.
- We have to wait a little, – Fritz came back to the apparatuses. He checked the indicators. Thin white cords stretched across the room from the dashboard to the right temple of what used to be Addison at one time. – Do you worry? You have turned pale.
Probably I really looked so-so, but my sudden panic attack stepped back as surprisingly as it had started.
- Well, I have never talked with the dead men before.
- Your truth, – giggled Dr. Gaber. – When you ask questions, don’t speak very loudly. I’ll check the time. Remember that, don’t spin out. You’ll have no second chance, at least with him.
The scientist showed on the body with his eyes.
Add became pale and very quiet. His hands laid limply along the body, the mouth was ajar and a bit of foam remained at the corners of his lips, – that was all reminding about a living human. Recently I was sitting at an abandoned factory next to him. And now we were here. I shuddered. I didn’t need to check his pulse to understand: Addy was not breathing.
And then something abnormal began to happen. The foam from his lips disappeared somewhere and lower lip twitched convulsively. Then entire lower jaw slowly and almost imperceptibly crawled down with trembling rhythm. The body squeezed wheezing.
- It’s time!
I took a deep breath, went to the couch and sat down on a small metal table next to it. Now… or after 2 months.
Add was continuing sending ventral wheezing.
- Addison Goode… Do you hear me? Hey, Addis…
- I don’t hear his breathe. Only rhythmic rustling wheezing.
- What?.. Come on, speak to me. Ad…
- Don’t. Call. Me. This name.
“What a twist!”
- She called me so. With every sound his speech became clearer. He was speaking not loudly, but distinctly.
- Can you see her?
- What can you see? – His eyelids trembled slightly. Tiny capillaries piercing them were unnaturally blue and dead in the light of fluorescent lamps.
- It is very dark and cold here. There is always very dark and cold here. I hear eternity’s breath. I can’t feel my body. Can’t stir, scream, breathe, speak… Oh, God… Oh, God, if only I would know I’d asked to cremate me…
I wanted to ask something, but I felt like someone kicked out my nape with an iron hammer, so I could not. Having heard things like that from the dead man is deuced horrible. “What if it is really waiting for me after my death?” For the first time I thought that unknown truth isn’t always bad.
- .. No. I can feel reducing of my fingers. I’m feeling. I can… I can stir. I am going.
- Don’t know. I can’t understand where I am and which side I should go to. I can see nothing. Or I am blind, but it is very dark here.
- I don’t feel cold anymore. It stepped back. I can hear something is squishing under my feet… I know that it’s the water. The black water. I’m going up the black water. It still seems to me that I’ve gone blind, but I know for sure that it is not so. I’m here to see. I’m here not just for fun.
- What are you here for?
- I don’t know. But I came here to know.
- Do you know now where are you going?
- I went here to know where all the Universe roads lead. I’m going somewhere black water will end.
- Are you alone?
- But I won’t go away alone. I’m here to find It.
- It… I don’t know how it looks yet. But I came to know… Drops of black water are falling from the up. The dead do not drown in black water. Nobody is forgotten, nothing is forgotten. It will be reward to everyone. I hear voices singing about it…
On the left something is lightning. This light is cursed. It can’t shine, it was created to burn. This is a product of human faith. But it won’t hurt me because I don’t believe in it. Faith is fear. Only something that you’re fearing of can hurt you, so I’m not afraid of cursed light. Fire had never hurt anybody yet. We are choosing by ourselves: light up or burn.
I pass through the flame, and it opens in front of me. The fire is reflected in the black water, here they don’t argue any longer with each other. Speed up the step. Burning forest is left behind. I go forward without turning; wherever I turn, I’ll still go forward anyway. Darkness thins… black water has receded, now it crawls with me up the huge pipes… That’s looks like a tunnel.
There are hundreds of thousands stone idols. Everyone is identifying the strongest human desire – the desire to believe. Desire to hear and to be heard. These are the hosts of the gods that people had created in order not to live without faith. This is the loudest and most desperate Cry, thousands of voices merge into it and I can hear it myself and I scream with them. In all times people need an Idol. God, food, Buddha or phone’s screen.
I see the light ahead. It is bright and white like your lamp… – I flinched again. Fritz and I looked at each other. – I’ve gone to the wasteland. I see the sky, which is a bottomless grey dome above scorched desert of stones, clay and sand. There is nothing here. Here I’m alone… I see the space around me starting to fade. It’s devouring the wasteland… I’m…
Panic horror once again squeezed my heart in a red-hot grip.
- I’m afraid.
I felt like I lost my heart. I had been sitting with fingers on the iron table top and as if spellbound, was gnawing the dead man’s face. I could not turn away. Couldn’t look away. It only remained to watch.
Addy’s dead face… twisted grimace of mortal horror.
Not a single thriller will show or cause a living creature to have so animal, insane fear, like that – reflected on his face. Oh, no. So only dead man could be afraid, the man who saw the smile of Death, caressed the lights of Purgatory, heard the unison of the devilish voices, but had never seen what Add was looking at them. There is no place for this primeval nightmare in the sublunar world, – and he went down to find it there, deeply, deeply under the ground.
I could see how his lips were shivering, how he slowly opened his mouth in a silent scream. No longer I felt how I was pounded by chills and how the air in my lungs was turning into stone. I don’t want. Enough. Don’t want to know…
The voice of the thing on the couch like a machine-gun burst bumps into sticky silence flowed around the operation room. Cutting, sudden and unnatural sound as if it hits me on face, kicked out tears and cold sweat. I don’t want to hear it. Please, stop. Don’t want to…
- .. It is watching me…
- Who is it? – my voice comes from afar and it seems to me so alien that tears begin to stream down my cheeks again.
- It had been forever. Monster of the creation, which appeared before the heavenly bodies. It is devoid of eyelids and flesh, there is no shelter in any of the worlds for it. Abuse of nature itself, it was rejected by nature. It lives everywhere and it’s always waiting. It was created to meet every creature that had ever lived under the moon. And the name for it is Emptiness.
I no longer noticed how tears were rolling down my face. I lost control. I couldn’t control my body any more. It didn’t belong to me anymore. I’m feeling how something alien, right inside me raises its head and wants to talk to the dead man, wants to say something to him, and now it is just waiting time.
- I don’t feel fear any more, – ventral wheezy voice kicked me out in the nightmarish reality again. – I am not afraid of It
Addy’s facial features suddenly became calm. The thing inside me made me talk and I asked choking back tears:
- Really? Is It going away?
- Where is It now?
- He stood near me and It is still staying. It isn’t moving. We have turned to the exit from the tunnel.
- What is It doing?
- It is just staying, watching and waiting – as usual. We are waiting for something together.
- What are you waiting for? – I didn’t recognize my voice at all. Why are there wheezing ventral notes in my voice?
- I know that we’ll meet what we are waiting for.
- And It knows?
- It had always known.
- What are you waiting for?
Jesus. It was looking at me.
The thing that used to be Addy, was looking at me.
Wide-open inflamed eyes, where dead wasteland of my nightmares fell over. The black dots of the pupils looked right into my soul, burning all living things on their way, all alive left in me. It looked inside me with empty eyes leaving behind itself a desert and suddenly I realized that he had no eyelids.
- Do you want to know who are we waiting for?
- We are waiting for
Radio Broadcast from 30.12.59
“Someone Fritz Gaber has burnt his house and presumably has been running away from country. He may be involved in disappearance of 2 emigrants: Shelly Raise and Addison Goode… If you know any information about him, please call us: 346-1873-89-00 or report it to the police. The investigation is underway”
He was found on 28.12.59 dead in his own bed. He had been lying on his back with wide-open eyes, froth in corners of his lips and reflection of mortal horror on his face. In his hand he clutched a bronze crucifix so hard that one of his phalanxes had been broken. His eyes were empty, – he had no pupils.