Saturday, January 31, 2015

Heads lifted, no. II and counting

It was hard to believe there was anything beyond the sand. And yet, there it was. As we stood on top of a mountain, we saw a sea of green. I think people in the past called it a forest. At least that’s what Ocie told me. I looked back. There could be no mistake – the sand wasteland was stretching farther than the eye could see. There was no end to it. Back on the other side, the green patch of forest was small and insignificant compared to the rest of the view below the horizon. The land seemed to end halfway there, with a gaping black void beyond the forest.

“That’s a pretty big hole,” I said to Ocie. She had been rummaging in her bag for some time now. She lifted up her head and took off her goggles. Her round eyes scanned through the area, tangled hair billowing in the wind.

“I told you about this, Aidan,” she murmured.  Ocie was a records keeper, as I liked to call her. I had been left to die in an underground bunker, rejected by my own people as someone who could not fit into their new era, and she rescued me. Unlike the people in my bunker, she seemed to know everything about the times before the collapse. She saved me only because she wanted me saved. Ocie’s people reportedly lived beyond that precipice, deep in the darkness below the cliff. They sent out scouts to find abandoned people and take them in. I had always said I work best alone. But being stuck alone for days in the darkness, with only the bones of the slain, one even by my own hand, can change a person a lot. For me, Ocie had become a crutch of sorts. A companion I knew I could rely on, I knew I had to rely on. I wanted her to protect me and I wanted to protect her. I needed her to live, even if she didn’t need me.

“Yeah, you’re right. You told me people grew arrogant and scarred the Earth. She made it so that people of the surface would repent for their sins, and the land beneath the outer shell would be a safe haven. So the righteous ones would thrive, free of limitations, awaiting their rightful salvation.”

“I didn’t expect you to remember it word for word. I’m impressed,” she said without so much as looking at me.

“Well, I am a trained professional, you know.”

“At remembering fairy tales? Better take a look,” she pointed to a couple of irregular, mirror-like surfaces. “There’s some lakes and rivers there. Water. We need to refill our supply. That trip through the desert left me with fewer water than I expected.”

“Let’s get to it then.” The descent went pretty smoothly. The slope was gentle, which was to be expected – Ocie’s people had done escapades like this in the past numerous times.

And then we reached the ground. The forest was much more imposing up close than it looked from above. The trunks of the trees were black and thick, so tall that I had to cock my head up to see the top. The leaves covered the branches so densely that, even though it was around noon, the place was dark as night. I reached to my backpack and pulled out a bundle of glowsticks, then broke one. The greenish light didn’t do much to dissipate this darkness. These things work much better in tight hallways after all.

“Well that was pretty pointless,” Ocie muttered. “You could’ve let your eyes get used to the forest. Now you just wasted the thing, and you’ll need to wait longer to actually see anything.” She put her goggles back on. “You wait here, then. I’ll be right back, let me just grab some water. I know of a stream really close.”

“Hey, let me come, too.”

“You leave that thing behind, you’ll be all but blind for ten minutes. I don’t need you to slow me down. It’s safer this way.”

“Right. Hurry up, then.”

The trees seemed to form a tunnel in front of me, their trunks and branches twisted as if in desperate need to touch one another, effectively blocking out the sun. I gazed at the vermilion abyss, a scene so alien to my eyes, and yet so enticing. I heard something crack. I turned around – no one was there. I told myself I’d probably heard Ocie step on something in the distance. Then I heard someone humming. It was a male voice. A voice that sent shivers down my spine. A voice I knew. From deep within the abyss I saw a pair of mismatched eyes, shining ominously, becoming larger as they came closer to me. Eyes I knew. Eyes that I saw as I extinguished the lights out of them with one firm grip. Eyes that would not let go of me in my dreams. And yet I wasn’t dreaming, I was sure of that.

“Don’t come any closer,” I shouted at the eyes, but they wouldn’t listen. They were getting larger and larger, huge as basketballs, glaring at me, condemning me, wanting me dead. “No!” I shouted as I closed my eyes and covered my ears. I didn’t even notice when I started sobbing. When I opened my eyes, Ocie was with me, her arms around me. She was doing her best to soothe me. The eyes were gone, the voice was gone. Even though it was probably never really there, it was all too real for me.

I don’t think I can ever get away from that.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Dear Laylah

Dear Laylah,

It’s me, Bear. Your fiancé. At least, I used to be. We don’t really talk nowadays, do we?

I thought it might be a good idea to ask you how you are, how life is, but that’d be pointless. I mean, I didn’t go far away. I still pass you as you walk down the street every day. I can still smell the perfume in your hair as I follow you for a short distance when you go to work.

I know you can feel it too. And I miss you so much. Please, acknowledge my existence.

We used to be happy together. It all ended so soon. We could have had so many more happy memories together. So why won’t you speak to me? I’m here. I’m watching over you. I can protect you. I can follow you as you sit there in the corner of your living room, silently sipping your coffee, staring into the distance. I can follow you as you take your bath, soaking for hours on end with a blank expression, your head filled with darkness.

I can follow you as you make your way down that route, to the place where it all ended. I can keep watch as you kneel down beside the tree, lay down a single flower, and shed silent tears. I can hear all your words. I know you miss me. I miss you too.

So please,

                listen to me.

                                               I am here.



I take out and envelope and fold the paper into it neatly. I seal it, go down the stairs and put it into my mailbox. As I lay in the bathtub, I start wondering if I’m going crazy. How nice a fantasy I’ve carved for myself. But he didn’t write that letter. It was all make-believe. He’s gone, he’s not following me. And I’ll never see him again.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


A voice echoes in the compartment. We’re having a 15-minute delay. I can hardly hold out any longer. Two more minutes and I’ll probably start biting my nails. Two more minutes, and it’ll get worse. I really fucking hope this train stops soon. I really wish there wasn’t a ban on smoking on trains. I really wish I could quit. Or maybe I really wish I would just keep find excuses not to. Who cares? Just get me off this train. The lady opposite me is trying to hide it, but I can tell that she’s been watching me throughout the whole ride, turning her head away whenever I looked back. Her gaze is piercing and judgmental, as if she’s trying to make me feel guilty for something.

“Excuse me,” I say to her quietly. I point my shaky hand to her fat left cheek. “You have a, uh…” I then gesture to my own cheek and start scratching, hoping she’d catch on that there’s something on her face. And she catches on. Now I can relax for at least a moment without the need to worry about some old hag silently judging me for God-knows-what.

After what seems like an eternity, the train finally stops. I get up and pull on my cloak in a hurry. One of the many boons of travelling light is that I can leave the train really fast, since there’s no luggage to slow me down. I get out of the car in what can be described as an almost-leap. It’s hard to contain the excitement.

My hands shake as I flick the lighter on. The gentle sizzle when the flame finally touches the cigarette is music to my ears. I close my eyes. My lips close on the cigarette, embracing it like an old friend that they haven’t seen for years. I breathe in and life starts to have meaning again. I open my eyes to finally see the coldness around me. The platform is covered in a thin layer of fresh snow, the frosty panes of the train’s windows are almost opaque. I can feel a breeze behind me, accompanied by a painful noise. And so my train was gone, but I didn’t feel like moving at all. The train in front of me starts to move.

Then I notice something. A person, barely glimpsed in the corner of my eye. A woman. A breathtaking piece of art. She makes her way across the tracks to the platform in front of me, by the looks of it. Her thick black hair bouncing off her big cloak that did little to cover her long legs in aggressively red high-heels, as she keeps walking, dragging her suitcase behind her. Her lips are just as red, vivid as blood on her white, porcelain-like face. She glances in my general direction, but pays me little mind. That one look, though, is enough for me to want her. Those chocolate eyes with eyelashes that seem to beckon me closer. I almost move, but the smoke keeps me there. Someday, I think. I feel a chill on my face. I bury it deeper into my scarf. The girl disappears behind the train. Maybe, someday.

It’s me and the smoke, and the chill, yet again. Another whiff, another surge of warmth. I am drowning in bliss. I picture the girl, I can see myself take off that cloak, caress those legs. The train moves away in a heartbeat, and I see her again. She has her back to me, the cloak dominating the whole picture this time. I can imagine how warm she must be now. How safe it must feel, being with her. She’s probably seeing someone already, though. I don’t think you get dressed like that for a family visit. I wonder if she has children. She looks my age, so that’s more than old enough to have kids. I bet she’d make a great mother. Someday.

Her train comes. She starts walking towards it. But then I notice she left her suitcase by the bench.
“Excuse me, miss!” I shout. I drop my cigarette. Now or never. “You forgot something!”

She turns around, a puzzled look on her face. She looks so adorable I could die. She notices the suitcase and runs up to it. She notices me. “Thank you so much!” she shouts back with the most endearing smile I have ever seen. Now or never. Say something. “What a scare, huh? How about we exchange numbers? I lost my bags too.”


She gets on the train. It goes away without a trace. I light another cigarette. And another. It’s getting colder. I can’t even feel the smoke anymore. Trains rush past me one by one, and before I notice, the sky is dark. I can’t help but feel heavy. I finally decide it’s time to go somewhere. Where to this time, I wonder? Maybe someday…

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Kill the lights

The lights went out. I’m scared shitless. I know they’ll come. They always do when the lights go out.

The lights went out. The heady smell of roses seemed to fill my whole head with lustful thoughts. I headed into the bedroom. I knew it was his doing. He always remembered  our anniversary.

The lights went out. Now how the fuck am I supposed to prepare for finals?

The lights went out. They were out for quite some time. I could tell my fingers had been wrinkled for a long time now. Maybe this was a sign. Maybe it was time to end it all.

The lights went out. Ten minutes pass. Eleven and a half. This isn’t what I pay my bills for.

The lights went out. I tripped over my coffee table. How glad I was that I had cleared it earlier that day. Just a couple minutes ago there would’ve been a large mug of coffee on it. I turned the screen of my phone on and touched around in search of a candle. And there it was. I lit it and set the table back to its original position. I sat down next to it, the candle warming up the air in the night. This is nice.

The lights went out. I gulped. The staircase was pretty terrifying with the lights out. The bouquet in my hand suddenly seemed very heavy. Calm down, man. You can do it. After a couple of moments of heavy breathing, I could finally make out the stairs, so I started making my way up. But which floor did she live on again?

The lights went out. I’m scared shitless. The whole building will be at my throat if I don’t fix this soon. Why do I always get stuck with the evening jobs? I should’ve listened to Bob. “Their wires are pretty fucked up,” he said. “You’d better get your flashlight, just in case,” he said. “Nah, I’ll be fine,” I said. I reach down to my toolbox and pull out what I think is a screwdriver. I take a deep breath and tighten my grip around the tool. Please God, don’t let me die today.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Path to Eden I - Sergei (2/2)

The hotel room was dimly lit. I took a look at my watch. It was morning already. I grabbed my phone and made a quick flight booking to Chicago. I had little time to lose. The faster I found the Contact, the better. I sat up and began to stand up from bed when a hand slid out from under the sheets and grabbed my wrist in a firm grip.

“And where do you think you you’re going, Seryi?” Petya grumbled, his gruff baritone as raspy as it usually was in the mornings.

“I thought you were asleep, Petya.”

You may be old, my friend, but my ears still work perfectly fine,” the stocky forty-something sat up. He rubbed his hands in his scruffy, round face, then proceeded to ruffle his short, thick, black hair. “Why are you going to Chicago?” he asked in a monotone he often used when he was annoyed by something.

I wanted to tell him. If anyone in my life deserved to hear an explanation for all this, it was him. But I knew he wouldn’t believe me, and the clock was ticking. Someone could reach the Contact before me, and then I would fail my mission. Why bother to go through with all this, however? I asked myself. What’s in it for me? – The fate of humanity, I told myself. But there was something more to it. There was now something in me that compelled me to do it, against any logic I may present against it. I guess it doesn’t matter if he knows or not. It’s not like all this really meant anything in the grand scheme of things. It’s not like it was really worth fighting for...

“You know, this whole scandal…” I began. Perhaps it was a stroke of luck? I used to think all the reporters gathered around my house, making me seek refuge at a hotel, were an inconvenience. Now it turned out they could be used as a perfect excuse. “I think I need to disappear for a while.”

“And you didn’t think to ask me to come along with you?”

“Well, I know you wouldn’t have come. You and your little résistance have some business to attend to, do you not?”

Petya scowled at me. I knew he hated when I said it like that. To be fair, I really respected the fact that he had enough passion to do what he was doing. We are a castrated nation, he would say. Our pride has been stomped upon on this new global government and we will fight for our individuality. Perhaps I was too old. Perhaps my wish for peace made me lose my edge. After all, Petya always claimed it was my lectures that had inspired him to begin this underground movement.

“I will be back as soon as I can,” I lied. I had no idea if I could ever come back.

“You’re probably going with someone else and just won’t tell me,” he said in a mocking tone.

“Oh my, you’ve seen right through me,” I smirked as I buttoned up my shirt. “You see, the papers were wrong. I didn’t rape that student, because she and I are actually having an affair and I’m taking her to Chicago to be as far away from you.”

“That really hurt me, Professor,” he said with a pout. “My whole life is a lie. You could’ve at least told me you liked women,” he said with a straight face, but then we both laughed.

I hastily packed up my things and took one last glance at my watch to see how much time I had left. I should make it.

“Seryi,” Petya’s voice called to me from the bedroom. “Come back safe, okay?”

I hesitated for a moment. My hand curled into a fist. “I will,” I lied yet again. “Goodbye, Petya.”

I hastily made my way down the chilly streets of Saint Petersburg. The sky was clear that day, the dim sun dying the sky in a multitude of colors so awe-inspiring I could hardly believe they existed. Still, I couldn’t stop to take in the view. I was walking quickly, glancing at my watch at regular intervals, covering my face with my scarf and the hood of my coat to avoid any chance of being caught by paparazzi. After a long trek that included several metro rides, I’d finally made it to the airport. The flight seemed very short due to all the sleep I had. In my dreams, I saw plenty of eyes, ebony towers. Petya was there too, always just out of my reach.

As I dismounted the plane, I set my watch to the correct time. It was still very early, but I had no time to lose. The faster I found the Contact, the better. I still needed a place as a sort of base of operations, so I quickly booked a room at some hotel my phone found for me. It was pretty expensive, but right in the middle of the city. A perfect place to start my search.

A monorail took me to the hotel. An eerie feeling filled me at the station. For a second I thought that meant Angela was near. Sadly, it was not her, but I did discover something intriguing. I noticed a petite woman with long, curly, golden hair adorned with a beautiful, meticulously crafted hairclip, making her way to the monorail. When I laid my eyes on her, the list I saw in the dream that I met Abaddon in showed up in front of my eyes yet again. The name Hope Beaumont became highlighted. Interesting, I thought. So, I can recognize all the others at a glance as well. A minute later I saw a teenage girl run towards a monorail whose doors were closing. She tripped and fell face-first to the ground, but someone held the door for her and she managed to catch her train. Eleanor Morgan, the list said. Angela’s sister, perhaps? I can’t be too far off.

As I went down the street, however, I encountered no more people from the list. Perhaps they simply haven’t made it here yet. And so, I made my way to the hotel. After unpacking my things, I started looking for a place to eat. It had actually been a long time since I last ate. I found it strange that I wasn’t hungry at all. Still the receptionist was kind enough to tell me the way to a lovely little café at the corner. The coffee was delightful, and the little cakes they served were divine. I was just about to sink my teeth into my fourth dessert, a strawberry cheesecake that looked stunning, when I felt my phone vibrate. I’d received a text message from Petya.

The house seems to be surrounded by even more people. I have to say, it wasn’t my face all over the Internet. How are things on your end? Was your flight okay?

I talked to him just a bit and then proceeded to devour three more pieces of cake. Once I decided I was full, I stood up and started walking again. I took in the views. The city looked nothing like Saint Petersburg. My home looked as if it had been stuck in the 2010s. This one was completely modern, with clear white buildings reaching the sky in spiraling spires.  Apparently, most of the city had been rebuilt after 2020, as was the case with most countries who joined the Federation early on. We had yet to achieve that level of development.

After walking for several hours, I had that feeling again. I noticed a young man run down the street. A slender youth with dark brown hair, a white strand standing out at the front of it, a short chinstrap beard on his face, he seemed like he was in a hurry. The list once again appeared in front of me. Chance Fauntleroy Donovan, it highlighted.

I didn’t encounter the people on my list for a couple more hours. But then, as the sun began to set, I noticed her. She came out of a game shop, her figure curvy, her hair brown and cut quite short, and she was hurrying towards the monorail. I followed her as fast as I could. The crowd at this hour was big for me to reach out to her, however, so I simply followed her. And then, a very amusing thing happened. I had a peculiar sense of déjà vu as I noticed the young woman fall face-first on the ground. I was then certain that that Eleanor was clearly this woman’s relative. The monorail door was closing, so I chuckled a bit under my breath and ran towards it to hold the door. “Hey!” I shouted out to her. “Come quickly, you can still make it!”

“Thank you so, so much,” she told me as she gasped for breath. The list appeared in front of my eyes yet again. The golden Angela Morgan flashed. I had found the contact. Though one thing worried me. I was still not on the list, even though there were still only eleven people on it. I kept my cool, however, as we engaged in small talk. Then, she extended her hand to me.

“I’m Angela, by the way.” I took her hand. And then, miraculously, the list flashed again. An invisible hand scribbled crimson words at the bottom of the list. Sergei Volkov, it read.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Angela,” I said to her. And what an unexpected pleasure it was. They must have programmed me to be this ecstatic when meeting the contact, as I have no logical explanation for that feeling.

After parting ways with Angela, I went back to the hotel. I was immensely tired, so I made my way straight to bed. That night, I had a dream that seemed eerily familiar, yet was alien at the same time. The set the Ophanim had planned for us was different, much more pristine and efficient than that of the Nephilim. The eye that descended was similar to Abaddon’s first form in our encounter, and yet there was something different about it, and the colors weren’t the only differentiating factor. I could recognized the names and faces of the eleven people surrounding the Contact. A smirk appeared on my face, as I saw them all gaze in bewilderment at the eye in the sky. A red light emerged from Angela’s forehead and was promptly absorbed by the white eye. Was this being one of the Ophanim?

I woke up in a sitting position. Acting on instinct, I ran up to the window and saw them. Countless white spots in the sky. Again, a smirk found its way to my face. I’ll be there for you soon, Angela. We both have an important destiny to fulfill.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Path to Eden I - Sergei (1/2)

I thought I had died. The dim void embraced me, an everlasting grayness surrounded me. For a while, I was suspended in blissful stillness. Sadly, the stillness came to an end as I felt my bare feet touch the ground. It was cold and smoother than glass. I looked down to examine this curious surface. Only then did I notice that my eyes had been closed the whole time. I opened them to see the ground – an endless smooth block of ebony stone, similarly black, angular towers of stone protruding from it in an orderly fashion, lined up in front of me. My vision was perfectly clear, even though my glasses were gone. Above – an endless night sky, dotted with countless stars and nebulae that I had never seen before. In the middle of it all, an unfamiliar white, colossal moon in full shone down. It was the only source of light, yet, against all reason, it reflected in all the ebony structures. The view captivated me. I started walking straight ahead, my steps silent against the glassy surface of the ground.

I then saw a star fall. I saw it hit the ground in a waterfall of rainbow light just ahead of me, without making a sound. It made no crater. It didn’t appear to be a rock. From the deluge of light in spewed out emerged a dark oval shape. Once it opened, I saw it for what it was – a large object resembling a human eye with a rainbow iris, surrounded by what looked like wings made of black flames. The flames would dissolve into feathers, blacker than the ground illuminated by the pristine moon, that would fall down gently. The silence was suddenly broken by a voice that seemed to start tremors within my very soul. Despite all that, there was a certain gentleness to it.

“Son of Adam, Sergei Volkov,” it said to me, its tone indicating a command. “The time of your awakening has come.”

“Beg pardons,” I said in a shaky voice. “Who are you exactly?”

“Foolish fleshling, birthed in this lowly prison of Earth!” the voice boomed, a purple flame exploded in the eye’s pupil. “Have you no fear of God?”

“I am terribly sorry to disappoint,” I managed to say with a smirk. There was something about this being’s tone that amused me. “But I’m afraid I don’t quite believe in God.”

“Oh?” the deep, alien tone carried a hint of bewilderment. I never imagined I’d come face to face with an Eldritch being beyond human comprehension. What I expected even less was that I’d hear a tone of surprise in its voice. Then, even more bizarrely, it let out a short chuckle. “How utterly delightful. It appears that we have miscalculated the fearfulness of humans. Allow me to take a different approach.”

The black flame wings coiled around the eye, whose rainbow iris seemed to swell and grow, glowing ever brighter. The result was a rainbow nebula surrounded by a charcoal halo of feathery flames. Within, I saw a silhouette that was moving ever closer. A man was walking casually in my direction, black feathers falling to the ground behind him. He was wearing a particularly fine black suit that fitted his slender form perfectly even when he held one of his hands in his pocket. As he came closer, I could make out his features more clearly. His pale skin seemed almost deathly white, although that was probably due to this strange moon’s light. His long, black hair was slicked back, revealing a very handsome, clean-shaven face with prominent cheekbones and perfectly proportioned nose. On his neck hanged a silky emerald tie with golden swirling shapes resembling snakes, embroidered into the fabric. It was hard to make out his physical age, but I wouldn’t judge it as any older than early thirties. His deeply set eyes were closed, but once he opened them, the view was striking. His left eye was a vivid shade of green, while his right eye shined bright crimson. He now stood there face to face with me, only three feet away, a smirk on his beautiful face.

“Let us start again, dear Sergei,” he said in quite a different manner this time, although it was still unmistakably the same voice as the one that I had heard just moments ago. This time, he was speaking it with his lips, and I was hearing it with my ears. Only now could I appreciate what a pleasant baritone it was. “Perhaps you’ll find this form more approachable. My name is Abaddon. I come to you on behalf of the Nephilim.”

“It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Abaddon,” I replied in a courteous tone. “But I am afraid that still means nothing to me.”

“I understand,” he smiled. “That is why I shall do what is in my power to explain to you what predicament you have found yourself in.”

“Oh, have I truly died then?”

“Oh, heavens no,” Abaddon chuckled. “It would be most unfortunate if you were to die now. No, no, we still need you alive.”

“Fine. Explain yourself then, Abaddon.”

“There is not much I can explain to you at this point,” he said as he shrugged his shoulders. “My time here within your psyche is limited, and I have been forbidden from telling you certain things, lest you lose the drive to find the truth yourself.” He made a pause, put his left hand on his chin and looked down, his bright eyes obscured by thick eyelashes.

“Well, get on with it, kind sir.”

“Ah yes. Forgive me. This form has some limitations. It has been a long time, you see,” he smiled at me. “To the point. We Nephilim are a race as old as the Universe itself. We have existed long before you, and we might exist far longer than you. We have come in contact in the past.”

“The Nephilim,” I muttered, thinking. Then I remembered. “You were the giants of legend?”

The man laughed. “Perhaps we may have been a bit larger than the average Earthbound human. But yes, those records most likely refer to us.” He ran his fingers through his silky black hair and carried on. “We weren’t the only ones to come into contact with you, however. The Ophanim are as old as we are. They have been watching you for eons. Once humans became… cultured enough, they made direct contact with your leaders. They have guided you along a path to peace, so that one day they may welcome you aboard their ark and take you to the next level.” His smile had faded at some point during that speech. For a moment, Abaddon seemed lost in thought once again.

“You don’t seem too pleased with that,” I remarked.

The man laughed again. “If I had enough time, I would give you the details as to why that thought does not sit well with me. The point of this whole conversation, however, is this.” He pulled out the hand he was holding in his pocket all this time. Once he opened his fist, I noticed a small, violet orb of light lying on his palm. “As the custom goes, the Ophanim elect twelve representatives of each sufficiently developed culture to serve as that race’s proxy in what is to come.”

“And what is to come?”

Abaddon’s lips twisted into a joyless smile. “You will come to know. Among those twelve, there is one called the Contact. That person is the main means of communication between the Ophanim and the new race. The other eleven people have at some point in their lives come into contact with that person.” The man took a deep breath. “The Ophanim have already elected their Contact some years past. You have met this person. You must find them and make sure you are one of the twelve elected. Henceforth, you are our Contact.”

The man flicked the violet orb in my direction. It shot in a straight line, right at my heart. As it pierced my chest, I felt no pain, only a pleasant chill filling my body. “What is the meaning of this? How am I supposed to find this person, and why?”

“The Ophanim have the same goal in mind as us,” Abaddon’s expression turned stern. “Yet our methods are very different, our alliance very fragile. They can never lie to a new race, yet they would hide our existence from you. We simply want humans to have the means to find the truth on their own, the means to carve their own path, not having to rely on the accounts of one side. You have been marked. If you become one of the twelve, the Ophanim cannot deny us. They will treat your mark as a stigma, however. They will name you the Anti-Contact and treat you like a pariah. You may never be fully trusted and accepted by them. Prepare for the humans to mistrust you as well.”

“That does little to worry me,” I grinned. “The trust of other people has averted me for the longest time. Now, where can I find this person.”

At that second, a list of eleven names in English script lit up in front of my eyes. The first one was shining gold. Angela Morgan, it read. “You will find this person here,” with one snap of Abaddon’s fingers, the firmament shifted. The stars all swirled and changed their position into a much more recognizable state, with only the eerie gargantuan moon staying in its place. In the very middle of the night sky shined a lone blue planet – Earth. It appeared to be coming closer. The globe shifted, the clouds dispersed. I was now looking at North America, though tilted at an angle that made it difficult recognize.  Though I could not have simply known that by looking at the globe, the knowledge of where to go seemed etched in my mind for some reason. Two shining points in the sky beyond Earth drew my attention. Those definitely weren’t part of the night sky I was familiar with.

“What are those?” I inquired.

“That’s Merkabah, the Ophanim ark,” the man said pointing at the slightly larger, pale blue light. “And this is Gehenna, the ark of the Nephilim,” Abaddon pointed at the reddish star. “Though the way you see them here is not exactly their true location or form. I suppose an explanation will be given to you later.”

The man took a few steps to the left, turned on his heel, then took two steps in my direction. “I know you have many questions, and I sincerely apologize that I can’t answer them. We have very little time left and there is one question I wanted to ask you, actually.”

“Yes?” I asked in a higher pitch. I was truly bewildered, wondering what such a creature could ask me.

“Earlier you said you don’t believe in God. Considering the level of humanity’s technological advancement, that notion seems to be reasonable on one hand. On the other, it seems pretty arrogant, considering how incomprehensible our science will inevitably seem to you.”

“And I would say you presented a very arrogant notion yourself, Abaddon,” I smirked. “I said I don’t quite believe in God. Were your mind as developed as you boast, I figure you’d be able to spot the significant semantic difference this one little word introduces. My views on the matter are fairly complex and I’ll gladly divulge further once we meet in the future.”

The man laughed. He laughed for a few good seconds, honestly amused by what he had just heard. “You humans are most fascinating creatures. Our time is up. I bid you well for now, then, dear Sergei. I sincerely hope to speak to you again soon.”

The black towers and the moon swirled into a vortex of black of white. I lost my footing and it felt like I was falling down yet again. For the second time, I let myself be whisked away by the void. The blank grayness, the silence, was a soothing feeling that there are no words to describe.