The last smart phone recordings of Kitsume Client

The last smart phone recordings of Kitsume Client

Number One: A little misunderstanding concerning the date of my death.

My Domovoii is misbehaving again. The Peryton House security app is suppose to protect my smart phone against hacking and viruses. But the expensive app with the little hairy meme is misbehaving increasingly appallingly. In fact since I tried to contact J E F Rose my Domovoii has been contrary to the extreme. Leaving nasty emails. Leaving dirty digital footprints all over the screen. Its hairy little meme face snarling at me. Blowing raspberries at me. Making nasty noises instead of a polite alarm to wake me up in the morning. Waking me up in the middle of the night by electronically farting. Scrambling my emails. Hiding some. Like my messages to and from J E F Rose.

J E F Rose is a retired professor turned e book writer of digital penny dreadfuls. He is the old guy who sent me an email warning me not to investigate Kitsume’s death. My Domovoii app hid the emails from me. I know that to be a fact because yesterday I ambushed the elusive retired professor outside his quant old Dwarve’s Town townhouse as he was getting into his retro Williams stream automobile to leave town. Suitcases and fishing equipment in the back seat. When the short, slightly portly professor saw me he knew me immediately and growled ‘How many times must I return your emails? Stop harassing me! I have told you over and over that I am not going to discuss the sources of my research about the Wellus House Robbery or spontaneous combustion. I am leaving for a long vacation to get away from you. Fishing in the Blue Mountains! I am sorry I even left that one email warning you against investigating the why and wherefore behind the death of your friend. If you want to get yourself killed so be it! But you are not going to drag me into your messy end! Goodbye!’ Then the eccentric retired academic hit the throttle and roared off!
I promptly accused my Domovoii of concealing the emails to prevent me from pursuing J E F Rose. The hairy little app meme promptly stuck out its digital tongue at me and filled my smart phone with digital farts. All last night it kept up its digital peevishness as if a poltergeist instead of a smart phone protecting spirit app. Alternating screeching out alarm sounds as if a demented Night-watchman or else making moaning sounds. Then sticking out its meme tongue at me all of this morning while blowing raspberries. And today it has been going from bad to worse!

The berserk thing has been throwing digital muddy footprints all over the screen. Or else the Guardian Spirit app throws smart phone apps at me as if broken dishes. It won’t do its chores of managing my emails or search engine. It refuses to route my phone calls correctly. I keep getting Horoscope apps or else funeral homes. And even when I try to appease it the damn hairy meme won’t stop blowing raspberries at me. Even when I offered to buy it a game app so it could play at night between recharging! The pesky thing won’t stop tormenting me!

As I was rather close by, J E F Rose lives in Dwarve’s Town, I marched to Peryton House to lodge a personal protest of their lousy security products. I buzzed at the secured front door and then gestured at the camera obscura with my smart phone screen. The Domovoii’s meme face stuck out its hairy tongue and blew the camera obscura a digital raspberry! ‘I want to lodge a protest of your defective product!’ I bellowed. I assumed I would be told to bugger off and lodge a complaint digitally so I was surprised when a disembodied voice said ‘The Customer Service and Support Office is to your right’. So I marched to the Customer Service and Support Office which in fact was housed in three other historic townhouses next door to Peryton House which had been bought over the years as Peryton House expanded. The three massive townhouses, each seven stories tall, each with an attached warehouse wing and enclosed courtyard behind security walls and gates, plus massive security vaults deep inside the gigantic Durham Viaduct, handled the various businesses of the Media Empire. The Peryton House Recording Studios. The Peryton House TV & Radio Studios. The Peryton House Digital, Internet, Streaming, & Youtube Studios. I entered the later and marched up to the foyer reception desk and again brandished my smart phone. The Domovoii Guardian Spirit meme promptly blew a raspberry and then stuck out its digital tongue. The young Millennial at the front desk paused. ‘I am impressed!’ she said as I held my smart phone before her petit face to digitally spit at her. ‘Have you tried giving it biscuits and milk?’

‘Game apps?’ I said. ‘Yes! The suggested Peryton House Game apps no less!’ I snapped.

‘When did your Domovoii Guardian Spirit turn peevish?’ she asked as she put other calls on hold to study my smart phone. ‘Poor wee thing! What has perturbed you?’ she said in a voice as if to a peevish child.

‘I was trying to contact J E F Rose who writes those dreadful penny dreadful e books to ask him where he got his research into the Sykes Robbery of Wellus House and ….’ At that the Domovoii Guardian Spirit hurled app icons into the screen! Each app digitally ‘breaking’ as if crockery. All as it howled at the top of its digital lungs!

‘Your smart phone Guardian Spirit has ignited its Night-watchman function and you have been ignoring it! No wonder the poor wee thing is having hissy fits!’ the receptionist explained. She buzzed an intercom. ‘Night-watchman Oversight Office. I have a very upset Domovoii Guardian Spirit app here. Its owner has provoked it into a triggered a rancorous cascade. Yes! Yes! It is ….. is your avatar moniker Kitsume Client? Yes! Right! We have been expecting you!’ Then the Millennial hug up and buzzed. A security door further down the rich but austere hallway opened. ‘That way! You have been expected!’

I was awed but I resolutely maintained my outrage as I marched into the office. There were two tech support Millennials in Peryton House T shirts emblazoned with the company logo. One was blowing bubble gum bubbles. The other was drinking a Red Bull Energy drink. At the desk was a middle aged supervisor wearing a Hawaii shirt. He was buzzing a com. ‘Yes. Yes. Mr Kitsume Client has arrived now with the aggravated Demovoii! Yes! Yes! If you can come in and check it out I would appreciate it!’ Then he gestured. I passed the possessed smart phone over to him.

‘I did not know I was paying to download a poltergeist!’ I snarled.

‘Wow!’ one geek said with awe as the Domovoii meme spat at him. ‘Neat! I have never seen one of our Guardian Spirits go into berserk Night-watchman mode before! Neat!’ He blew a gigantic bubble gum bubble.

‘I designed the meme personally’ the other nerd said with pride. ‘It is working so wonderfully!’ He added with pride as he sipped his Red Bull.

‘It is not working wonderfully!’ I protested as the meme blew a raspberry at the screen. The digital razz spattering in a digital hail of computer codes before dripping down the screen as computer generated vomit.

The supervisor in the Hawaiian shirt put on his reading glasses and studied the smart phone as the berserk app’s meme persona snarled and spat and stuck out its tongue. ‘You have to admit the graphics are first rate’ he said as he peered at me over the tops of his reading glasses. He punched in a code for a free Peryton House gaming app but the berserk Guardian Spirit just hurled it at the screen where it symbolically went splat in an eruption of computer code.

At that moment an old woman came into the office with a teenager in tow. The Shadowy One picked up the smart phone. The Demovoii Guardian Spirit screamed at her. The teenager gestured. She took the smart phone and tapped a message on the attached keyboard with her thumbs.

‘What did you do to aggravate the Domovoii?” the Shadowy One asked me.

‘I was trying to contact J E F Rose who writes those dreadful penny dreadful e books!’ I explained.

‘I like J E F Rose!’ the young apprentice witch replied as she tapped magical hexes into my possessed smart phone. ‘I love his Fairawayland movie novellas about Daffy Gilbert – Blackheart!’

‘They are dreadful!’ I barked. ‘Like your app here!’ I added.

‘It is a great app!’ the nerd protested as he drank Red Bull.

‘It has great graphics!’ the geek added as he blew bubble gum bubbles.

‘This is a Guardian Spirit App’ the supervisor explained. ‘Not your generic Microsoft computer app. It is sentient! We download genuine House Spirits to protect your smart phone and computer. And our App comes with a ….’

‘Twenty page warranty and warning!’ I said. ‘And who reads the warranty and warning?’
‘I wrote that!’ the supervisor said as he ruffled his Hawaiian shirt with indignation.

‘No one ever reads the warranty and warning!’ I retorted.

‘There is a reason why there are warranties and warnings’ the middle aged supervisor protested.

‘This is not just a computer program’ the Shadowy One retorted as she looked at me with disapproving if acutely nearsighted eyes. Her demented Baby Boomer hippy couture looking very demented indeed. Her John Lennon Granny Glasses fogging over. ‘It is a genuine Domovoii House Spirt adopted to guard your smart phone and computer and also you! You pissed off the Domovoii! It is not our fault if you piss off the Domovoii!

‘Welcome to Insalubrii Funeral Home. How may I help you?’ a disinbodied voice said from the smart phone.

‘Who contacted you?’ the young apprentice witch asked the disembodied voice.

‘Kitsume Client’ the funeral director’s disembodied voice said. ‘To arrange his funeral. Cremation by spontaneous combustion. I have explained that we don’t do cremation by spontaneous combustion. We do ordinary cremation. We are arranging a very nice cremation and funeral.’

‘When is the cremation and funeral of Kitsume Client scheduled?’ the young apprentice witch asked.

‘On October 31st at 5:00 P.M.’ the funeral director announced. ‘The morgue said spontaneous combustion does not leave much left for an autopsy so we can proceed briskly as you have requested Mr. Kitsume Client.’

‘When does Kitsume Client die?’ the young apprentice witch asked.

‘October 30th’ the funeral director said blandly.

‘Thank you’ the girl said equally blandly.

I grabbed the smart phone and yelled ‘I did not book my funeral!’

‘But you did Sir!’ the funeral director protested. We are booked to pick up your corpse in the warehouse where Christophere Kitsume died at exactly one minute to midnight. Your Domovoii Guardian Spirit app has arranged everything!’ the funeral director explained.

‘Who is invited to attend the cremation?’ the Shadowy One asked as I held the smart phone. Despite working for the Tech Division of Peryton House she clearly did not even know how to speak into a smart phone. Much less own one herself.

‘Oh. Let me see. Um…… yes! Jon Marlowe and Jack Phillips. But your Domovoii has contacted us that Jon Marlowe has died so only Jack Phillips will attend your cremation.’

‘I am not planning to die!’ I protested. ‘What did you say? Jon Marlowe is dead? I just talked to him yesterday! He is not dead!’

‘Oh but he is and you will be Sir!’ the funeral director protested. ‘Your death is calendered and your cremation is scheduled. Oh! Wait! There is another entry here. It must have just been added. A J E F Rose has been added as a mourner at your funeral Sir. We have lovely plans! When do you want to visit us to confirm your plans for your funeral Sir?’

‘I am not dying on Oct 30th!’ I protested. ‘With or without a funeral and cremation on Oct 31st!’

‘Oh but you are Sir! So you want to be surprised? I quite understand Sir. See you on Oct. 30th at one minute to midnight Sir!’ Then the smart phone went dead as the pixilated screen screamed a blood curdling scream.

‘Oh dear!’ the Peryton House staff said in unison. ‘The Domovoii Guardian Spirit has just predicted your death Sir. Oh dear. Perhaps you might want to pay your final month’s usage early Sir. We do like our accounts to be tidy.’

‘I am not going to die on Oct 30th!’ I protested.

‘This is fantastic!’ the geek exclaimed as he blew bubble gum bubbles. ‘I did not think our Guardian Spirit App would work this well!’

‘Yeah! You are our first prediction of death! Congratulations!’ the nerd exclaimed as he gestured to me with his Red Bull drink.
‘Please tidy up your outstanding accounts on your way out’ the supervisor said as he peered at me over the tops of his reading glasses.

Wait! Wait!’ I protested.

‘Look at it this way! You have over a month to prepare for your death!’ the Shadowy One said as she pulled off her thick John Lennon glasses to wipe them with the hem of her long hippy shirt.

‘No! Wait!’ I protested. ‘You can’t be serious! I can’t die on Oct 30th!’

‘At one minute to midnight!’ the young apprentice witch added. ‘But as that is when your corpse is due to be picked up your actual death is sometime before then!’

‘Wait! Wait! This is not funny!’ I protested as the apprentice witch tapped a code on my smart phone.

‘We have deleted the Domovoii Guardian Spirit App and will credit your account’ the supervisor said.

‘So anything the Domovoii Guardian Spirit has been trying to protect you from will be manifested’ the young apprentice witch warned me. ‘Don’t wake the dead!’

‘Wait! Wait! You can’t do this to me!’ I protested as the apprentice witch led me out of the office to the front desk to pay my final bill minus a credit. ‘This is not funny!’ I protested.

‘But your smart phone is working now’ she said. ‘Check your bank balance!’

I did. ‘The Domovoii dinged my bank and electronically paid for my cremation and funeral!’ I protested. ‘The cheapest funeral!’
‘Well that was thoughtful’ she replied blandly. ‘But now that you have no Guardian Spirit to protect you Mr. Kitsume Client so you might want to contact your horoscope daily to at least get some sort of warning when and how you are going to die on Oct. 30th’ the apprentice witch suggested as she led me to the door.

‘This is insane!’ I protested. ‘And what about Jon Marlowe? What do you mean he is dead?’

‘Oh he died yesterday. Time slip! Right in front of Peryton House! There one minute and vanished the next! Oh! He is dead all right —- relatively speaking.’

‘Relatively speaking?’ I protested as I was gently shoved out of Consumer Services and Support Office.

‘Well! There is death and there is death’ the apprentice witch explained as she shut the door in my face.

Dazed, I looked down at my smart phone. Then I realized the Domovoii Guardian Spirit App had also paid and uploaded a new app on my smart phone: the Kikimora Horoscope App. I punched it. ‘This is your daily prediction. Today will not be a very good day. Beware Oct. 30th. You only have 42 days left to live….’

Number Two: Don’t wake the dead.

I decided someone was playing a practical joke which has ceased to be funny. But when I contacted my private investigator at the Blue Mountains his emails sounded vaguely hysterical considering the fact he is a hardened private investigator. ‘You have no idea what has been happening here!’ ‘The police have been concealing the extent of the serial murders! I think they are over their heads! I know I am!’ ‘The question is not if Christopher Kitume murdered someone but rather how many!’ ‘No one had any idea how many deaths are involved!’ ‘Everyone says your friend was the murderer! Or at least one of the murderers!’ ‘Yesterday a police detective died suspiciously. But that does not clear your dead friend! It is a cascade of deaths you see!’ ‘I am over my head here! Something is terribly, terrribly wrong!’ ‘You are in danger no less than me! You are implicated! You did not tell me you were implicated no less than Kitsume! We are both in danger! From them! Them! And I am in danger because of you! I am in danger —– from you! You know who they are! Are you throwing me over the altar as your scapegoat sacrifice?’ Someone has wakened the dead!’ And finally: ‘Why did you hire me? You are involved! All along! You have been involved! The gods are demanding another sacrifice! I am not taking going to be it!’ Then the emails from the private detective I hired stopped. I can’t contact him. It has been two days. Where is he? Has he abandoned the case? Or is he a victim of foul play? And why is he accusing me?’

Then I tried to contact my collage at Oxford only to be informed someone contacted them to cancel my next set of classes. When I tried to confirm who contacted my college all that anyone said was ‘Someone told us you were dead Sir. Or to be more exact: terminal. Only forty one days to live.’ When I protested that I was very much alive and was planning to fly back to the UK after closing up loose ends around the violent death of my tragically unstable childhood friend my college just kept returning my emails with ‘All classes slated after October 30th have been canceled’. But I could not pin down who canceled them. Then my emails to my estranged parents came back unopened! I know we are not close but by the Fiery Fissure! It is cold even for them to refuse my emails!

Then there was that email. You know! That email! I resolutely refused to open it even as the Kikimora Horoscope kept rearranging itself to draw my attention toward it. I swore I would not open it. The Kikimora Horoscope app. But that email refused to go away.

I told myself I was being suckered into some conspiracy created to freak me out. But I am being freaked out! And each time I delete that damn Kikimora Horoscope app it keeps reappearing! And that email refuses to go away! And I dare not open it! And I dare not delete it! Why did that missing private detective accuse me? I am not involved with this dreadful series of events which resulted in the murder of poor Kit! I am an accidental bystander in this unfolding slaughter! If only I had stayed in Oxford! Why did I come ever back to Zendula? Everything was going so well in Oxford! The shadows were gone! The shadows could not reach me there! Oxford was this shining place of reason and logic untainted by shadows and strangeness! Why did I ever come back here?

I remembered a concert I attended at Oxford just before I left to come back here as Kitsume unraveled. ‘Scenes From Faust’ by Schumann. The Grey Sisters knocking at the door of Faust’s home. His skin crawling. Like that saying ‘By the pricking of my thumb something wicked this way comes!’ His skin crawling as shadows knock at his door in the depths of night. Something creepy crawly scratching at his door. In the wee hours of night. Utterly alone. No one to turn to. The air perfectly still. The dredges of fire flickering in the fire place. Moonlight shimmering spookily. And ghostly fingers scratching at his door.

And Faust knows evil has come. And he dares not open that door. And he dares not stand at that door even to frantically try to bolt it securely. And that door is shaking. The single lock is flimsy. It can’t hold what is outside! But Faust can’t move from his chair even as the door raddles and ghostly fingers scratch on the surface of that flimsy door. And shadows crawl across the walls of his moonlight drenched room. Spooky as the graveyard. Frantically Faust tries to stoke the fire back into bright light to chase away the clinging fears. But the enraged fire casts huge shadows of terror flickering across the walls of his room even as his room starts to shrink as if into a tomb. His tomb! And ghostly fingers keep scratching on the door. Something evil is on the other side of the door!

And Faust desperately tries to reason away the nightmare. But something keeps scratching at that door. And Faust desperately tries to forget the black magic he learned long ago which has embroiled him in damnation. And Faust shakes in his chair, unable to move. The chains of irrational fear and superstition paralyzing him. His reasoning mind unraveling. His greedy, arrogant soul cowering for the first time. No longer the master. No longer in control. As if Evil has thrown a spider’s web about him so that he cannot move. As if he is in a waking dream. That strange state between waking and dreaming when you cannot move. You desperately want to move but you are petrified into immobility even as a nightmare bestrides your chest as if a succubus with both withered hands around your neck strangling you. And still you cannot move! Either to wake or else to fight off the fiend! All as the terror wraps itself around your brain! And Faust stares at that door as he muses with paralyzing fear which is more terrifying. Opening that door to see a fiend. Or opening that door to see nothing there at all!

I remembered some old Twilight Zone Marathon TV show. A young James Kirk before he starred in Star Trek. Stranded at a desert town as his car was being fixed. Stranded at a desolate dinner. With his girl friend. Each dingy table boasting a coin machine with a bobbing red Devil’s head. A jokey fortune telling machine. As a joke he drops a coin into the machine and out spits a cheap prediction. Great news! But then when he casually drops in another dime the next prediction is more sinister. A warning of his death. And he narrowly avoids death! Accidental death! And he becomes hooked. He keeps dropping coins into that damn fortune telling machine as prediction after prediction spits out. Each one entangling him deeper and deeper into a paralyzing net of fear. His rational mind crumbling just like Faust, crumbing into superstitious fear!

His girl friend watches with fear as the man she loves turns into a possessed creature entangled by terror. Entrapped in superstition and dread. As if fallen into a bog slowly sucking him down. The car is fixed. But he can’t leave that dingy dinner or that obscene fortune telling machine. His dream job is about to be lost. He can’t move! Finally she delivers an ultimatum! Leave with her! She is driving out of that hell hole! He is torn. But he breaks away. They drive off. But the other dinners in that dingy dinner cower. Each cowering at their dingy table. Each cowering as they desperately insert dimes into those grotesque fortune telling machines. Each desperate to leave. To escape the nightmare. Each foiled as time and again the prediction spits out. ‘It is not yet safe to leave!’ So they are trapped! Each trapped by their own superstition and fear!

I refuse to tap that damn kikimora horoscope app! But that email refuses to budge! I am paralyzed! All day I stared at the email lodged on my smart phone. The warning ‘Don’t wake the dead!’ echoing in my ears. Finally I open the email with the little monkey aviator addressed to my sock monkey aviator. ‘Help me!’ the email said. I hastily deleted the email and hid my smart phone. But when I pulled it out from under my still unpacked suitcase there was another email from Christopher Kitsume. Again it said ‘Help me’. I tapped ‘Prove you are who you are!’ and pressed the send. Immediately another message came back. ‘I was born in a caul as only you know. Being born in a caul is seen by the superstitious as an ill omen. So I never told anyone about it except you.’

I stared at the email with terror mixed with compulsion. One compulsion to reply. One compulsion to throw the smart phone against the wall to silence it forever. So I buried the smart phone under my suitcase adorned with the Gatwick Airport stickers all of that night. But at dawn the message was still blinking. So I tapped ‘You are dead Kit’. I hit the send and the screen blinked. Blinked. Blinked. Then another message appeared. ‘I don’t feel dead. I just feel anxious. Why didn’t you make our rendevous Sockie? I am so alone! So alone! Why didn’t you come when I needed you most? Aren’t we monkeys still friends?’

I stared with terror at the petit screen. Then I remembered that I posted my emails with Kit on the Kitsume web site. Anyone could be copying those! But how did anyone know about the caul? To be born still in the caul membrane from the womb amniotic sac is a big taboo. It is such a taboo all such births are registered at Probate Court as ‘potential unregistered pedigrees or else hexes’. And that is secured under seal. How could anyone know that poor Kit was born thus? Then I tapped ‘You are dead Kit! You died in that dreadful warehouse where the Guttersnipes perished. You died of spontaneous combustion. You died screaming in terror. Then your killers stomped on your cell phone to silence it as they silenced you! Forever!’ I pressed ‘Send’. Then another message appeared. I starred at the petit blinking screen for half a hour. Afraid to open the replying email. Afraid not to. Then I opened the email. It said ‘Why do you keep saying I am dead Sockie? I am not dead! I am scared! I am in hiding! But I am not dead! Why do you keep saying I am dead?’

I remembered what the apprentice witch said so I tapped ‘There is death and there is death Kit’ and send the email off into the digital void. Another message appeared. I shuddered as I opened it. ‘Meet me at our previous rendevous Sockie. Are we not still childhood friends? We Monkeys need to hang together or they will surely pick us off separately. Kit.’
At ghostly predawn I stood at the last agreed rendevous as the notorious Havens fog drenched the street and sidewalk and blanketed the sky. The fog so dire automobiles and people appeared and disappeared for only moments as if ghosts. Then a solitary figure momentarily appeared in the dense fog. It was ….. Kit. I flinched and retreated before the vison of my dead friend. ‘You died of spontaneous combustion’ I told the ghostly shadow in the fog. ‘I picked up your corpse at the morgue. I had the few remains cremated. You are dead Kit. Please go away! Please stop haunting me! It is not my fault you died. I came as soon as I could. You did not meet me here at our last prearranged rendevous. Whatever happened to you is not my fault. Please stop haunting me! Please stop sending me ghostly emails! Stop haunting my smart phone! Stop haunting me! Go away Kit! You are dead!’

The ghostly shape writhed in dense fog whimpered as he reached out one hand toward me. ‘Are we not friends anymore Sockie? Toward the end you were the only friend I had! At the end you were the only hope I had! I even covered up for you! I even lied for you! I did something evil for you! I killed the twin who threatened you! Because we are friends! Please Sockie! Please! You are my only friend! You are my only hope! You are the only thing holding me together!’

I stared at the hand reaching out toward me. It was black from the smoke of spontaneous combustion. It stank of spontaneous combustion. The blackened skin horribly blistered. The innocent gesture of helpless neediness horribly sinister. I backed away from the hideous vision as the dense clammy fog writhed around the vision of my dead childhood friend as if a ragged grey shroud revealing hints of his incinerated corpse. ‘I collected your remains at the morgue. I paid for a funeral for you. Full ritual rites for those who die untimely. You should not be haunting me Kit. I did what I could! I could not save you! You could not save yourself! You are dead Kit! You are dead!’
The shadowy vision before me shuddered as that charred hand reached out plaintively toward me. The blackened fingers gesturing helplessly. Appealingly. ‘I don’t feel dead!’ the ghostly form in the dense fog replied softly. ‘Aren’t we still friends Sockie? I even covered up for you! I even something evil for you! And that evil has weighed on me ever since! That evil led to my unraveling! To my demise! But I did it! Evil! For you! Evil to ward off evil! The twin that would have been your demise! You did not ask me to! I did it voluntarily! Out of love for you! My childhood friend! My only friend!’

‘I don’t know what you are accusing me of!’ I replied. ‘But as your friend I am telling you that you are dead. I know you died scared! Alone! Screaming! I am sorry! But you are dead! Please stop haunting my guilt! Or I will have to contact a Shadowy One to exorcize you!’ I quietly insisted as that charred hand gently, plaintively reached out to touch me. The hand quite solid despite its horrible scorching and nauseating stench. ‘You are a Revenant Kit. You don’t realize that you are dead. Your tormented soul haunts this life because you died untimely and unseemly and terrified. Weighted down by guilt! Weighted down by evil! I am trying to solve the mystery of your death. That will ease your torment. Pass over Kit! Pass over into the West! I will find your murderer!’

The ghost of my poor dead friend wept as it retreated back into the damp and clammy fog. Then a ghostly voice whispered ‘Are we not still friends my dear Sockie? We monkeys need to stick together! Don’t wake the dead Sockie! But that is what you did Sockie! You woke the dead Sockie! In that cave! In the Blue Mountains! Don’t investigate my death! Indirectly it circumnavigates in a maundering detour of corpses back to that cave! To the evil you did for which I took the fall! to the twin that will be your undoing! I am not accusing you! I am not blaming you! I am still trying to save you from ……. him. Them. Sockie! Sockie! As an orphan you were the only person I could ever turn to! You! A fellow orphan despite both parents still living! Sockie! Sockie! Don’t you understand Sockie? You only have forty days left to live! The dead move fast! You must move faster! Run Sockie! Run faster! You need to run faster than death! from him! Them….’

Number Three: I only have thirty nine days left to live….

‘I only have thirty nine days left to live!’ I told myself worriedly as I stared into my reflection in my smart phone. ‘This is madness! What do I do? Continue the investigation? Stop the investigation? I can’t contact the private detective up at the Blue Mountains. I don’t know what is going one. And I sure as hell don’t want to go back there! And then there is the question how Jon Marlowe died. No one can or will explain to me how he died.

Is the web site I adopted from my poor dead friend haunted? Or did I carelessly gave away too much information to my friend’s killers which has set into motion my own death? Has that site become like a trap street? A paranormal anomaly? A dead end detour which only exists on arcane maps but cannot be located except by the damned?

So what do I do? Do I post that I am giving up my investigation and then shut down the web site? Hope that will appease the killers from coming after me? Or do I keep investigating because the probability is Kit’s killers will still come after me? Who is ‘he’? Who are ‘they’? Who or what is this twin? What was Kit accusing me of? I don’t even remember exploring any cave in the Blue Mountains! With or without Kit! Kit was having an nervous breakdown and now his ghost is infecting me with his nightmares just as his death is embroiling me in his destruction! So unless I discover who ‘he’ is and who ‘they’ are I bloody well might be killed! Perhaps the same way! In the same place! By spontaneous combustion! I might find myself reliving Kit’s horrible death! Dying the same way! What do I do? I only have thirty nine days left to live!….

Number Four: Nemesis Stalks My Footsteps!

My landlady has just refunded me six months of money from my lease. Deducting thirty eight days of course. I only have thirty eight days to live. I asked her why. She reacts as if mystified. ‘You contacted me by email asking for a refund for the time you will not be needing this apartment. Here is the refund. Are you implying I am trying to cheat you?’

I stare at the refund tidily computed to the last thirty eight days left of my life as it ticks down day by day. As if a nightmare I cannot wake from! As if a conspiracy to scare me to death! I try to distract myself by posting some of Kitsume’s propaganda images on the internet. Posting images collected by a dead man while waiting for the private detective to contact me. Except he doesn’t. I leave a message with Jack Phillips but he does not contact me either. It is as if I am walking in Kitsume’s dead shoes as I post his dead images from his dead web site while living in terror of someone or something scratching on my flimsily bolted door! Like Faust, the Grey Sister, Care, has invaded my mind! And now I cannot enjoy a moment for fearful anticipation of the future! Oct 30th!

Why did I voluntarily take over a dead man’s web site? An obvious paranormal mistake! As if I have voluntarily assumed his curse while waking the dead. Or at least waking the murderers of my dead friend to my existence. Why did I do this? Why am I doing this? I don’t even know how to investigate the murderers of my friend. That is what that private detective was suppose to be doing! Except he is not replying to my emails! Or the police! An ‘ongoing investigation’! What the hell does that mean? And malevolent emails from friends of The murdered Tagger keep popping up. Trolls trolling the site. Nonstop harassment getting steadily nastier all of the time! My emails to J E F Rose are greeted with silence. He is up at the Blue Mountains…… the Blue Mountains! Why do events which clearly occurred here in The Havens keep rerouting back to that distant place where my private detective as apparently vanished and where Kit’s ghost accused me of waking the dead? All I remember is fly fishing while Kit became embroiled in a serial murderer. How am I involved? But I have to do something as the days of my life tick down! So I start my investigation with J E F Rose!

J E F Rose is an retired history professor. After he retired from thirty years of respectable if boring academia he started writing e book penny dreadfuls about Zendula’s slightly bizarre past which the Mundanes and Normies across the Internet assume is fiction. Our past certainly can sound like fiction to the Mundanes and Normies. We have strange genetics so our past is bound to be equally strange. When I went to Probate Court where the genealogy of every Zendulian is kept over three thousand years I found out that J E F Rose’s family genealogy was totally banal. Heartlands. Merrach. Short, stout, ruddy, mundane genetics so boringly normal it is as accurst as being outed as being a ‘normie’ by Pepe trolls. As boring as utterly possible. Until….. I found an redacted section blacked out and stamped ‘Under Seal’.

I try to pursue it but I am foiled as everyone is foiled by Probate Court’s secured Registers of Pedigrees. The Secret Pedigrees. The Hidden Pedigrees. The Restricted Pedigrees. So I investigate Christopher Kitsume’s Pedigree. It is redacted too. Under seal. That caul of course! So I investigate my mundane genealogy —- and find a redaction! Back I go to the Redaction Desk. I request to see my full genealogy. My family’s history. And for the next two days I struggle. I have to produce birth certificates and confirm my identity over and over. As I am estranged from my distant pater and mater I must do everything myself without help from them. Typical! Even as days tick by. Finally! Finally I get my redacted file! I open it. And I stare at it with terror!

I am a twin! A surviving twin. My twin with whom I shared my Mother’s womb was still born. To be more exact: my twin was born dead because the cord was wrapped around its neck so that it strangled to death as it was born. I murdered my twin!

Well! The charge of murder was cryptic as superstition always is! As over charged as ADL charging Pepe with being a Nazi hate meme! My Mother’s birth labor commenced perfectly normally. Both of us were well positioned in her womb to be born successfully. The midwife was confident. So was the doctor. The Shadowy One saw no dire shadows. Everything was proceeding normally. But somehow in the process of birth my twin brother became entangled in the cord and suffocated as he was ejected from the birth canal —- with my hands around the cord as I was ejected next. It was just a sort of tragic mischance. An appearance of brotherly murder. Well. Brotherly murders. I was a triplet. We were three to the womb. But my other brother died in the womb and his tiny body was absorbed by his brothers. Well. To be exact: me.

Well! This is a normal if bizarre and tragic occurrence! One in fifty thousand! Sometimes a twin or triplet in the womb dies and its tiny body is absorbed by its sibling or siblings. It is called ‘Vanishing Twin Syndrome’ or ‘Fetus in Fetu’. Except Mother and Father never told me about my dead siblings so is it is creepy that I actually had siblings — Dead siblings — or that I had an operation to remove a ‘growth’ which proved to be bits and pieces of one of my siblings absorbed and incorporated inside of my body. Or that I was born twice the size of my other sibling who apparently did not absorb any bits and pieces of our third sibling. Only I ‘ate’ my triplet sibling and only I was born with both my tiny hands around the cord wrapped around the neck of my surviving sibling —- who died at birth strangled —- sorta —- by me.

Look! It is a biological anomaly! One in fifty thousand! Ok! Science nowadays explains it! In fact it probably happens a lot more often than everyone realizes. But per superstitious tradition my birth was sealed as a case of fratricide because evidence existed of bits and pieces of my missing or doomed siblings. Foul play in the womb. Otherwise I would have been listed as a twin missing his sibling which would have placed my name on the Nemesis Ledger such as the Black Eald found himself listed within. That would mean my missing twin was still at large and destined either to be murdered by me or else to be the murderer of me. I quipped that to the bureaucrat to deflect the creepiness of my situation of finding myself accused of natal murder. But the bureaucrat was not amused. She gestured to the file.

‘You misread the number Sir’ she told me. I looked down. The file said my mother was originally carrying quadruplets. One sibling ‘vanished’ from the womb. The other was absorbed or ‘devoured’ by me. The fourth was ‘murdered’ by me. ‘Your missing twin is out there somewhere Sir’ she explained. ‘You are on the Nemesis Register Sir. See that stamp there? You are also on the Nemesis Register Sir. Beside this Restricted Register of Fratricide. Either you will murder your ‘vanished’ brother of the womb or else your identical alter ego will murder you Sir. You are destined to kill or else be killed by your identical alter ego. Your vanishing twin. Your doppelganger. Your nemesis. He is out there Sir. Your nemesis. You have a nemesis! And either he will take your place or else you will take his place!’

Naturally I protested all of this superstitious twaddle! My ‘missing’ or ‘vanished’ sibling or siblings were simply absorbed in the womb leaving no evidence after his, their, initial bing on the sonar. Happy news Mom! You are carrying quadruplets! Sad news Mom! You are now just carrying twins! Ok! Ok! No bits and pieces of one of the ‘vanishing’ siblings were left behind. No teeth. Yeah! Ok! Ok! Look! Ok! Ok! Ok! During the operation done to remove the bits and pieces absorbed into my tiny body from my ‘vanished’ sibling or siblings were found bits and pieces of embryotic limbs and organs and skin and bone and two teeth. All right! Creepy! One in a million! But it happens! Fetus in Fetu! It was not a clean ‘absorbing’ as my ‘vanished’ siblings were biologically recycled in the womb to as it were….. nurture …. me! Ok! Ok! The bits and pieces of one or both of my ‘vanished’ siblings kept growing inside of my tiny body! As if the ‘murdered’ sibling or siblings kept trying to grow inside of me! Absorbed! But stubbornly still trying to grow inside of me! Its ‘murderer’! Using my tiny body as a sort of substitute womb! That is how the bits and pieces were found when I was nine months old! Weird things happen! How can I be accused of fratricide when I was just a tiny baby?

One of my ‘vanished’ siblings kept growing inside of me! The other ‘vanished’ sibling probably was cleanly recycled in the womb! I mean! No grown identical twin of me can be out there somewhere who I don’t know about! Mother would have told me! Ok! Ok! She did not tell me! And this might explain my mater and pater’s life long coldness toward me! Superstitious fear of normal if rare biological anomalies! But there is no identical ME out there prowling Zendula determined to hunt me down and kill me in revenge for long ago fratricide in the womb!

But there was no way to remove my name from the Nemesis Ledger or repudiate the accusations of fratricide of my ‘vanished’ or ‘stillborn’ siblings. Tradition is tradition and Probate Court protocols are protocols! Fortunately both files were sealed! No wonder my estranged Mother and Father never told me about any of this! I went home and threw up! Then I got drunk! Passed out! Woke up with a hang over. Threw up again! And then I checked my smart phone. I have thirty four days left to live….’

Number Five: Walking in my vanished twin’s footsteps.

I drank too much last night. I am nursing a terrible hangover. But can anyone blame me? My nights are filled by nightmares. I take hangover remedies which don’t work while I post more dead images from a dead man from his dead web site. Then I pursue J E F Rose. Rose was apparently writing another penny dreadful about some supernatural missing occult book when I raddled him into heading toward the Blue Mountains where my private detective has apparently vanished. The police call it an ‘ongoing investigation’ so I can’ find out anything. And I fear this occult book lead might just be another rambling detour misdirecting me down another rabbit hole further away from Wellus House and the weapon of mass destruction which Kitsume hysterically claimed caused death by spontaneous combustion. But it is the only lead I have as another day is torn off the calender of my life. I now have thirty two days left to live!

It does not help that the internet is suddenly hysterical. Or to be exact the memes are hysterical. Hillary Clinton raved and gibbered that Pepe was a racist communistic incarnation of all things evil sort of Russian anarchist Alt Right talisman of reactionary doom destroying the entire earth. So now the internet is hysterical. Pepe trolls are trolling everyone. The lamestream media is ranting and raving that the sky was about to fall. Paranormal paranoia. It can be true actually. Pepe the Frog is a juvenile internet cartoon of bad taste and worst drawing which accidentally, synchromystically echoed Kek the ancient Egyptian Frog God of Chaos and Darkness and Destabalizing Anarchy.

Apparently the name Kek in Egyptian hierogriyphic writing looks like a funny little man staring into a computer. So now Kek Pepe is the new incarnation of the old god of chaos. Old chaos. New chaos. Chaos and anarchy incarnate in the new counter culture. The new outsiders roaming the dark wasteland of the internet and scaring the Establishment silly. Everything banned by the Regressive Left and the Tyrants and Big Brother and Lamestream Media and the New World Order and Soros roams the internet wasteland as exiles from polite politically correct civilization.

The internet has become the land of the banished outlaws. The desperados. The alienated. The outsiders. The losers. The troubled. The angry. The bitter. The nonconformists. The rebels. The unmanageable. And anyone disgusted by the insanity of micro aggression obsessed social justice warriors determined to crush all evidence of personal freedom, unruly liberty, impolite rebelliousness, and uncontrollable defiance. Those accurst are now labeled a basket of deplorables by the politically correct demi-tyrants. Anyone defying censorship of Big Brother is now damned as unredeemable who have no right to exist. The anarchistic anti-social trolls defying law and order, good taste, and authoritarian control. Even the unconscious I suppose. Pepe meet Freud. Kek meet Jung. The Meme Unconscious meet Hillary Superego. Or is it Meme Harry Potter meet Hillary Dolores Umbridge?

Pepe The Subconscious ID. Pepe the Right Brain of the primitive man. All instincts and emotions and repression and confused memories and archetypical symbols as well as the subterranean clutter of psychic debris of half forgotten events and half forgotten gods awakened by this moment of crisis and demanding sacrifices. 555. Doubly forewarning because the last time such an threatening age existed was in 666 when the Cult of Mohammad swept across Late Classical Hellene World and devoured the entire beau civilization which nearly extinguished the then Advanced World Western Civilization. And 555 warns that history is repeating itself as the Cult of Mohammad threatens yet again to sweep across Europe and extinguish the present Advanced World Western Civilization.

ADL posted the green cartoon frog on its hate site next to arcane hate symbols like White Aryan Genocide despite the fact European genetic experts are statistically projecting when White Ayran Europeans will in fact go become an imperiled minority before going extinct as Europe is flooded with Muslims and Africans who are actively displacing and replacing them as well as raping and murdering them. Though called a majority, White Europeans are actually a biological minority in the world at large and rapidly becoming a biological minority in their own home countries. They are becoming statistical anomalies as the conquest of a beau Advanced World civilization by Soylent Green over population from the Third World of failed states relentlessly proceeds. The biological conquest blessed by an aggressive religion which pathologically hates the West in general and Europe in particular which has been packaged as a tragic migration crisis by Soros who pathologically hates the West in general and Europe in particular. The Western Advanced World is literally crumbling into chaos and anarchy and civil war and perhaps even WW III. And so appears the new prophet: Pepe Kek. But Kek was the god of chaos who ushers in the light of Osiris and Isis. Now Pepe Kek is the god of chaos presiding over the end of civilization and the coming of darkness as the Advanced World of the West is destroyed. Physically. Economically. Socially. Culturally. Religiously. Genetically.

How is a factual statistical projection of actual genetic extinction which will also be a historic extinction of the Western Advanced World of beau Europe and perhaps the entire Western Advanced World of the entire North West Hemisphere suddenly become hate speech? Unless the ADL considers the White European Race to incarnate hate the way Hildabeast says all white males incarnate hate? Thus justifying extinction? Is being a member of an endangered species of an endangered civilization protesting its approaching demise as violence and chaos and terrorism and civil war rips it apart suddenly considered hate speech? Is the actual approaching extinction ie extermination of all White Europeans, their nations, their laws, their government, their peace, their security, their prosperity, their achievements, their civilization, their culture, their heritage, their values, their ideals, their past, their future, blessed now? Is genocide suddenly politically blessed? By the ADL no less?

Because some Germans were Nazis must all Germans be exterminated now? Because Europe had a techy relationship with Jews must all Europeans be encouraged to go extinct now? Is the Dalai Lama a xenophobic racist too? Can’t Germany stay Germany? Can’t Europe stay Europe? Their nations torn to pieces? Overwhelmed? Invaded? Taken over? Devoured by out of control migration of millions of men and boys of war age marching relentlessly into a beau place and tearing it to pieces? Like the migrant who marched into four priceless Italian churches and smashed hundreds of years of art and beauty to pieces? Like the Nice terrorist driving down innocents watching fireworks? Like the Catholic priest beheaded at his own altar of his own tiny village church? Like the Paris terrorists blowing up peaceful sidewalk cafes and a music venue and a soccer match?

A beau people finally driven to their knees by nonstop chaos and anarchy and violence only to be beheaded by the religion of peace-ful submission to the Divine Slavery? Devoured by terrorism and criminality and war and sheer gross over population? The first jihad conquest of an entire continent by openly hostile and contemptuous enemies who were not only voluntarily invited inside the citadel but given total access to the dole and welfare and every perk and benefit and freebie by too tolerant hosts who were too tolerant of their guests’ arrogant intolerance and gross entitlement? The Trojan Horse enemy inside the citadel and exploiting the best of the West to finance their war on Western Civilization? Beau Europe devolving into Third World failed states as their Advanced World civilization dies as they die?

Is extinction now politically correct genocide because it is not done via the gas chamber but rather biological and cultural and economic and sociological extinction delivered by terrorists and criminals and anarchistic migrants and ‘ child refugees’ who are twenty years old suffering from ‘sexual emergencies’ who cannot control themselves at swimming pools and rock concerts who openly pathological hate? Social cohesion and national cohesiveness deliberately frayed as national identity is deliberately destroyed? Everything done to destabilize the nation until it implodes? All to facilitate take over of an indigenous species by an invasive species blessed by the EU and UN and Soros? If it is good enough for the dinosaurs and the dodos then is it good enough for White Europeans and their White Civilization?

Who needs White European Western Civilization anyway? What has White European Civilization ever done for humanity other than creating democracy, meritocracy, human rights, the rule of law, the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, science, technology, modern medicine, the work ethic, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, great music, great literature, great arts, great architecture, great infrastructure, great cities, the Agricultural Revolution, Age of Exploration, the Industrial Revolution, Capitalism, the largest middle class in history, the Great Divergence into unparalleled prosperity, the man on the moon, the revolution of communication from the printing press to the internet, and 95% of all inventions know to humanity up to 2000. But heck! Who cares about any of that!
Every other species and race can have its homeland except White Europeans who do not deserve to exist now? A biological minority? Only the Jews a smaller biological minority? Their homeland and their wealth and their prosperity and their achievements and their assets are now to be confiscated and appropriated to every other race and species by some sort of divine right of entitlement as declared by Soros the Demigod of Europe’s Demise? And all Pepe Kek the Frog God of Chaos can do is digitally scream in feral pain as Europe is disemboweled?

Is an artificially created migrant crisis resulting in the displacement and replacement and erasure of Europe and Europeans suddenly the politically correct form of extermination? Voluntary genocide? Genocide as politically correct suicide? Wouldn’t that include White European Jews? So is the ADL joining Soro’s Social Justice Warrior Crusade to deliberately speed up the extinction of White Europeans and the utter eradication of Europe and European Civilization and everything it ever achieved or stood for suddenly a moral crusade? The cure for racism? Is aiding and abetting the eradication of one species by another species suddenly not the new hate or the new racism or the new bigotry or the new genocide but instead the new politically correct morality of socially correct Lemming Nihilism?

Doesn’t genocide still mean the deliberate displacement and replacement and erasure of one species or race or culture or religion or indigenous group by another species or race or culture or religion or invasive group? Especially as the invasive species and race and culture and religion of the invasive group which is displacing and replacing and erasing the indigenous species and race and culture and religion of the indigenous group also pathologically hates Jews? So much so the Jews of Europe are actually fleeing Europe for Israel as the Muslim Invasion is proceeding? European Jews saying it is now literally ‘open season’ on them? Open season by the Muslim Invasion which openly speaks of the Muslim End of the World when every tree and rock shall shout out ‘Behind me! A Jew! Kill him!’ The Muslim End of the World portrayed as the glorious moment when Muslims literally exterminate every single non Muslim on the planet so the entire earth is inhabited only by Muslims? But according to the Hildabeast and ADL that is not genocide!

I don’t get it! But anyway! The internet is having a collective hissy fit as meme Pepe Kek trolls generate every incarnation of a stupid cartoon frog to troll the ADL and Hillary Clinton and Soros and the New World Order Establishment and the lamestream media! Probably much of the antsy hissy fit is a collective jerk to Obama’s cowardly surrender of the Internet to the UN dictators like China, Russia, and the Oil Kingdoms. Why is it ok for the Saudis to fill the internet with loathsome blood libels about Jews while advocating the mass extermination of every Jew on Earth and every none Muslim on the planet? But now anyone who dares to criticize Islam as something other than the most perfectly perfect religion on the face of the planet or the Ubermensch Ummah who are divinely destined to conquer and rule the earth will now become criminals to be prosecuted by Blue Helmet goons of the new Islamic Big Brother Inquisition? And every tyrant and warlord big or small can now censor the internet? Silence dissent? And shut down free speech and free digital assembly?

I mean! The Internet is the greatest transformation of Mankind since the invention of the printing press! This hand over of the internet to the UN which has just ripped up its own Human Rights Charter to bless tyrannical censorship while cowering to dictatorships like Russia and China while handing control of ‘Human Rights Committees’ over to War Lords who are massacring their own people and Saudis who openly advocate the extermination of every Jew and indeed every non Muslim on earth is comparable to people announcing after the printing press was invented that it and all books generated by it should be handed over to the absolute control of the Catholic Church and the Spanish Inquisition. Or else handed over the Ottoman Empire to be banned. And the Catholic Church did try to impose censorship and book burning after the printing press was invented. And the Ottoman Empire did ban the printing press and books generated by it for two hundred years while burning whole libraries before ‘rationing’ books! And now tyrants and dictators in collusion with the New World Order Big Brother are going to do the very same thing now? Hand over the technological free market place of ideas to the Ministry of Truth which generates censorship and propaganda and brain washing? And Obama won a Nobel?

And Washington is going along with it? In effect blessing it? And Silicon Valley is blessing it? And the Establishment and Lamestream Media are blessing it by refusing to report it? And to hell with the Bill of Rights or the wishes of Humanity to stay free at least on the internet and in their own tiny computer nooks as their nations and their world are controlled by tyrants and dictators and censors and propagandists and brain washing and utterly berserk SJW nutters under the aegis of Big Brother? Freedom of conscience and freedom of expression and freedom of the internet press and freedom of internet association extinguished forever? Big Brother invading your mind through the internet as Big Brother Silicon Valley invades your mind through computer algorisms and high tech mind manipulation while Big Brother Lamestream Media invades your mind through control of TV and radio and the dying press? Like mad gods invading your mind? Nowhere free even to post a bad taste meme of a silly green frog? Much less think one uncensored thought? Until we are reduced to mere puppets at the mercy of invisible powers beyond our control?

Anyway! Pepes have erupted on the Kitsume site as if mushrooms! like mumps! As if the pox! The world is jittery and erupting with little green frogs as if a plague on Ancient Egypt. And my two front teeth are infected. I don’t know what to do. Clean them out? The Pepes? Ignore them? Or have my two front teeth yanked? Funny! I keep thinking about that dreadful file. About my vanished brother and absorbed brother and stillborn brother. When I was a wee bairn not even a year old I had to have surgery. Two tiny teeth were found in my tiny body. How weird is that? Two tiny front teeth. Bits of skin and organ and muscle. A bit of brain. And two teeth. And now my two front teeth are festering and have to be pulled. How weird is that? And my tiny surgery scar from that old operation is festering too. As if it is infected and the wound is reopening. How weird is that? The moral? Don’t feed the trolls Hillary!

Please note humanity that the Hildabeast thinks handing the internet over to tyrants is wonderful! Hell! Why not? The tyrants about to impose Big Brother on the world are big time payers of her pay for play illegal foundation which spends 10 – 15% on actual charity and takes the rest in ‘expenses’. Tax free no less! Why wouldn’t she want the internet taken over by her cronies? Especially as the internet is mostly her counter culture opposition! Hell! That is why Obama is betraying humanity while ripping up the digital Bill of Rights!

What good is the Bill of Rights if everyone is not actually allowed to engage in any freedom of thought or expression or association anywhere? Not even on the internet? Not even to post a silly green frog to ridicule the Establishment which is in bed with tyrants and mass murderers? What good is the Bill of Rights if everyone is too scared to use it? Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely! Obama and the Clintons and the Democrats have almost absolute power and they have been absolutely corrupted by it! And we, the people of the world, will pay for that corruption!

Anyway! My hangover is not going away. I am drinking whisky to numb it and also the pain of my two festering teeth. And the Blue Mountains Police won’t tell me if the private detective I hired is alive or dead. Or if J E F Rose is alive or dead. Or who is involved in the Blue Mountain Murders. Or why the case is still ‘ongoing’. Apparently he was there when I was there with Kitsume that month. J E F Rose. Yeah! I didn’t know his face to recognize him back then. But yeah! I confirmed the short, stout, Merrach scion of long ago peasants with a redaction in his Probate Court file was there when we were there. Kitsume and myself. During the height of the Blue Mountain Murders. I though the murders were solved. I thought the murders had stopped. I though the case was closed. But now it looks as if the Fiery Fissure has exploded again. Why did Kit say I was involved? Why did Kit say he did evil to protect me? A twin. Something about a twin. Creepy eh? Considering…..

Anyway! J E F Rose was researching some arcane missing occult book. So I will follow that lead! But first I want to visit the Mater while the Pater is away at work. I need to confront Mother with the file. My file. So I took the Underground and then walked to my parent’s home. As I approached I saw someone getting into a cab. I gasped and ran panting as the person stared at me before hastily jumping into the cab to be whisked away! Shouting out the name of a street! The cab roaring off as I ran up! So I shouted at Mother ‘Who is he? Who is he? Don’t deny it? Who is he? My mirror image!’ Mother turned and fled. Trying to enter our home and shut the door against me. I shoved my foot into the door to stop her. Then I grabbed the door and forced it open. She shouted as she backed away from me. As if afraid of me. She was somehow smaller than I remembered. I grabbed her by one fragile arm. ‘Who is he? Who is he? My alter ego me!’

‘You know who he is! I was warned by Probate Court that you accessed the redacted file! So you know! And you know why we never told you!’

‘Him! Him! Him! My brother! My missing brother! The vanished brother! The fourth brother!’ I shouted. ‘Not dead! Alive! For which I was blamed in the file!’

‘You weren’t blamed! The Nemesis File warns that either you will murder him or else he will murder you! Either he is destined to take your place or else you will take his place!’ the bitter old woman retorted as she backed away from me as if an interloper. ‘Are you satisfied at last Lledrith?’ she shouted at me as she shook as if with physical pain.

‘Don’t use that name!’ I protested. ‘What sort of mother gives her only surviving child such a moniker? The name of co-walkers! The name of doppelgangers! The name of Nemesis’ I protested. ‘By naming me that accurst name you damned me! I had to change my name to try to avoid the implied curse!’

‘We had to save Anthrope! The only way to save him was to claim he perished in my womb! The Shadowy One whisked him away as he wailed bloody in her arms! I never even got to hold him once! To secret him away from —- you! Er you murder your brother the way you murdered your other two brothers!’

‘How can you blame me Mother? A wee bairn? For biological anomalies?’ I protested.

‘You murdered your other brothers and you are destined to murder Anthrope!’ she shouted as she shook with fear before me.

‘If I did who would blame me Mother?’ I protested. ‘You treated me as a murderer from the moment I was born! And how long have you been contacting this Anthrope anyway?’
‘I am not telling you! I would beg you to spare Anthrope but the hate and jealousy I see in your eyes betrays you! Go away! I am calling your Father! Go away Lledrith!’ She ran for the pathetically old fashion land line telephone so I grabbed it away from her.

‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ I snared bitterly before storming out. I retraced my steps to the Underground and then traveled to various rare book stores. But the jealousy and hatred I felt not only toward my parents but my vanished brother Anthrope filled me with rage! Instinctive hatred! How long have my parents been in contact with him? How long have they been showering him with the love they denied me? Then I remembered the name of the street Anthrope shouted to the cabbie as the cab roared off! It was next on the list of rare book stores! I took the Underground and then marched there!

The street was located in an old part of town. The Lower Heights. Next to Durham’s Bones. The massive underground vaults which form a maze underground where precious things are secreted. The buildings ancient. One building especially ancient. Sibylline’s Rare Books on 555 Upper Mermaid Lane. Talk about synchromystic! As I entered I recognized the young witch who worked at Peryton House. She was talking to the owner. She ducked behind a pile of books in the ancient store. Books stacked everywhere from floor to ceiling. Hundreds of books crammed into every nook and cranny. The owner suddenly eyed me with suspicion. I marched up. ‘So what is the difference between Virgin parchment and Unborn parchment?’ I asked.

‘You were eavesdropping Sir’ the owner, a withered old man, replied. ‘That was a private conversation Sir’ he added.

‘So what is the difference?’ I asked as I gestured to boxes of ancient paper and parchment behind the battered old counter.

‘Virgin parchment is the skin of animals prepared to be used to substitute for esoteric papers. Unborn parchment is the skin of the still born or aborted or else the caul which is used when all other esoteric forms of parchment or paper are not fit for the purpose. Some books can only use special esoteric paper or else parchment.’

‘In place of blood sacrifice’ I replied. ‘The echo of life’ I added.

The owner moved uneasily behind the counter. ‘Please leave Sir’ he said. ‘This is a private establishment and I have a right to pick and choose my customers Sir. I did not invite you across my threshold.’

‘Did you invite Anthrope Bane across the threshold?’ I asked. The owner jumped involuntarily and then looked desperately behind the curtain. I forced my way past him and invaded his inner rooms. Forcing my way from room to room. But I found no shadow of my vanished sibling. So I marched back into the public rooms of the arcane store.

‘Sir! Please leave!’ the aged owner cried as the young witch came over and stood by the trembling man’s side.

‘Whatever you are searching for you have failed to find it so leave!’ she said.

‘My vanished brother asked the cab to drop him off at this address!’ I protested.
‘And did you find him?’ the young witch asked.

‘No! Nor did I find a rear door! Every building has a rear door! Especially an old building! Where is the rear door of this building?’ I demanded.

‘Please leave!’ she told me.

I saw an old map of the city behind the old man so I gestured. ‘I am buying that map!’

‘It is not for sale!’ the old man said.

‘You can’t afford it!’ the young witch added.

‘I grabbed it and gestured to use my smart phone to buy it.

‘It will cost you dearly!’ she retorted. ‘Three thousand gildas!’

I could not afford it! But I found the location of the store and then gestured to a tiny alley drawn on the map. ‘There is an alley located behind this store! But there is no rear door!’ I announced as the owner hastily confiscated the ancient map.

‘That is a trap alley!’ the young witch announced. ‘Jealous map makers always drew tiny alleys or streets which did not exist to catch others who dared to copy their work. That tiny zigzag is a trap street. An alley which does not exist. Go away!’ And with that I was forcibly ejected!

I spent the rest of the day struggling around a tiny block area of very old buildings trying to find that trap street. To no avail! There was no street or alley that I could see. But why did that old store have no rear door then? My vanished brother Anthrope told the cabbie to take him to 555 Upper Mermaid Lane! To that store! That store was perfectly placed to block access to the trap alley called Ambuscade Alley — if it had a rear door! That store was physically concealing the entrance to Ambuscade Alley! It was physically blocking entry! There had to be a rear door! A concealed rear door! And I was going to find it!

Number Six: Am I my brother’s keeper?

I have twenty nine days left to live! That tiny ancient surgery scar is infected and oozing pus. Perhaps I still have bits and pieces of my absorbed sibling inside of me. Perhaps that long ago surgery did not remove all of the partially absorbed bits and pieces of one of my doomed siblings. And I had to have my two infected front teeth yanked. I am falling apart! And my nightmares are getting worse and worse. I can’t sleep! I never had insomnia before but I can’t sleep now.

I found every map of this old city in governmental offices as well as the internet. But no Ambuscade Alley! But I confirmed that Parchment comes in three forms. Recycled. The original words laboriously scrapped off. Virgin. No words yet laboriously hand printed. And Unborn. The parchment created from flesh of the unborn or still born or else the aborted or the caul. Animal of course! Though of course flesh of humans would be more effective. Human sacrifice is always more effective than animal sacrifice. Unborn parchment is the needful thing for any occult books because it comes as close to blood sacrifice as is legally possible today. But J E F Rose was hunting for Recycled parchment. He was looking for parchment where the original words were scrapped off. Under ultra violet light such lost words can be found hidden under later script. There is a whole science to finding such words. Lost words. Like lost streets and lost siblings. But I found out something else as well.

Standard Shadowy One protocols exist when such births as mine occur. The caul or still born sibling is hastily swept away. Or if another sibling actually survives, he , she, it, is also swept away. Concealed. To prevent Nemesis Murders. And this is the kicker: the Shadowy One uses the caul or flesh of the dead still born to craft into parchment to cast ‘weavings’ of hexes to protect the vanished child or else to try to ward off doom for the accurst child. Such a thing of course is very close to taboo and only Shadowy Ones have the Thiess Guards license to do it. But as I was named at Probate Court as Lledrith I know my parents did not ‘weave’ a spell to protect me! But rather to protect Anthrope!

I also found out by stealth that my parents had previously picked out the names for their quadruplets. Horsham. Adrian. Bell and/or Bella. Valentine. The latter two names could be male or female. So Horsham became Anthrope. What would the name have been of the sibling I absorbed? Adrian? Would the still born sibling’s name have been Bella? And my name was suppose to be Valentine. Instead, it became Lledrith. Co-walker. Instead of Valentine the sweet and loving I was cast as Lledrith the Accused! No wonder my life has turned out so troubled!

That night I broke into the cellar of 555 Upper Mermaid Lane and made my way to the rear of the ancient building. Then I searched for the concealed rear door. It had to be accessible. Easy to use! But I simply could not find it! So I climbed up to the upper floor. I realized that formed part of the residence. I quietly eased a rear window open and climbed out onto the roof. Then I found a drain pipe and worked my way down. And I landed in Ambuscade Alley! What a surprise!

Ambuscade Alley was a twisting alley of very old buildings. Gaslight and fog. The fog seemed to sink into the bones of the depths of the alley. I could not see my hand before my face. But I precariously made my way down the twisting alley in the dead of night. Under a street light I saw a shadowy form. Then the form, the dog, morphed upright into the slim shape of the young witch. ‘We have been expecting you Lledrith’ the Werewolf said.

I flinched but then she simply gestured to a pub. We went in and sat down at a table. She gestured. The barkeeper came up with two beers. The few people in the ancient pub stared at me. They knew I was a trespasser. I demanded a whiskey and drank it at one go. Then I demanded another. The Werewolf calmly drank her beer. A pentacle dangled from her neck. ‘Why won’t you take the hint Llerith?’ she asked softly. ‘Anthrope does not want to meet you. He is no threat to you. He only met your mother a few times after you left for Oxford. You were talking of staying there. England. Never coming back here. He was not trying to steal your place. You were talking about vacating your place. Your mother has cancer. She is dying. She was desperate to see her vanished son. He was simply being kind. Why are you pursuing him? You are going insane. Do you know that? And by the way. You stink of alcohol.’

‘I have twenty one days left to live!’ I retorted bitterly as I downed another whiskey. ‘That is enough to drive anyone to drink! My best friend was found horribly murdered! And he became revenant! And he accused me of some evil! Jon Marlowe mysteriously died! Jack Phillips won’t contact me! Today I got a sinister trolling email from someone warning me that ‘They know! They know! They know!’ But who the hell are ‘They’? The private detective I hired has vanished! I find out why my parents never loved me! I find out that I have a vanished brother! My domovoii protecting spirit has turned into a poltergeist! My kikimora horoscope is keeping a countdown of my approaching death while warning me that I mustn’t leave my apartment because each time I do I am doing something which merely hastens my death! ‘Self Fulfillment of my doom’! The Grey Sister, Care, has moved in full time with me! My life is falling into ruins about me! My hopes for a future in England, away from this nutty country, are gone! England, Europe, is doomed. And unable to kick out the people dooming it, England has kicked out foreigners like me! My green card as been revoked! I am running out of money! I am manning a haunted web site! I am walking in a dead man’s shoes! And I am starting to have alcoholic blackouts!

I wake in places I don’t remember! I am accused of doing things I don’t remember! My nightmares are getting worse and worse. Like my seeping scar. It is oozing pus and is inflamed as if Adrian is still inside and trying to claw his way out. At least dead Bella is not haunting me. Or are the nightmares I can’t remember Bella accusing me of strangling him? And the Blue Mountain Police have asked me to train up and have a friendly conversation with them in their headquarters about the Blue Mountain Murders!’

‘Anthrope is afraid for his life’ the young witch said softly as she drank her beer.

‘I just want to confront him!’ I protested as I downed another whiskey.

‘To do what?’ she asked.

‘I don’t know! Accuse him of stealing my life perhaps!’ I retorted.

‘Why don’t you go to the Blue Mountains and meet the police?’ the witch suggested. ‘They will subpoena you if you don’t go voluntarily. And all you are doing right now is everything wrong! If anything, you are stumbling right into your worst nightmare! Aiding and abetting whoever is going to kill you on Oct. 30th. Why not leave town? I won’t let you confront Anthrope. No one in this alley will let you harm Anthrope.’

‘I don’t want to harm Anthrope! Just confront him!’ I protested. Then I downed my whiskey and passed out.

Number Seven: The Blue Mountain Murders.

I woke up in some dump somewhere and staggered home dirty and hung over —- and missing three days. I now have eighteen days left to live. I shower and put a fresh bandage on my suppurating scar. The flesh is all inflamed around it. But I won’t go to hospital. How can I explain it? My dead brother Adrian who I absorbed into my wee body while still in my mother’s womb is clawing away inside of me to escape? Then I take a train up to the Blue Mountains after my Kikimora app warned me not to leave my apartment on pain of my life. Apparently I am ‘weaving’ my own shroud! Or at least according to that damn app!

I sit in third class and watch the landscape change to remote mountains tinged a steely blue. Hence the name: The Blue Mountains. It is a wild and desolate region of rugged mountains, wet forests, wild moors, deadly bogs, icy rivers, remote villages, obscure farms, and a hardy people inclined to privacy and secrecy. Tourists are kept on short leashes here. The inhabitants are not that desperate for tourist money to sell out to commercialism if that risks their intense sense of privacy and personal liberty. Libertarianism is the official religion. Hands off! They have this mindset that nothing is worth enduring if that means putting up with bullshit.

I check into the same tiny bed and breakfast I stayed in before. With Kit. By chance I get the same room. The room where Kit suffered his second nervous breakdown. Now I feel as if I am suffering a nervous breakdown. I drink whiskey out of a hip flask as I stare out of the window at the desolate moors. Instead of meeting the police I march out onto the moors to find the cave where the police found Kit gibbering and crying. Disheveled. Bloody. It is upstream where I was fly fishing. The cave is in a remote crag of jagged hills dotted by prehistoric monoliths. The sky is damp and grey. The air is curiously damp but still. The grey monoliths inspire a fearful reminder of lost gods and forgotten rites. I would not be surprised if the basket of deplorables are doing human sacrifices to Pepe Kek at some monolith! It takes me a while to find the cave. I had to find it by way of the landscape view of the meandering river through a knoll of wind tortured trees. It is early spring and there is no green growth yet. Only bleakness. Forlornness. Loneliness. And brooding desolation.

I finally find the cave and make my way inside. I turn on my small torch and the halo of light bobs off jagged grey stone. The walls are damp. The floor is tottering. The ceiling is low and jagged. I can’t imagine why Kit was found in here. Kit would never have voluntarily wanted to explore this damp, dire, dank place. My skin crawls with the wetness. There are distant drips of dampness which echos eerily. I remember the kikimora horoscope app. Its usual dire warning. ‘Beware inopportune side trips or confrontations with ancestors. Do not wake the dead.’ I make my way deeper and deeper into the cave. To hell with superstitious warnings! Then I see a light ahead! So I carefully crawl over jagged stones until I all but crawl into a large maw of darkness illuminated by a silhouette holding a large lantern. Then the silhouette turns around and reveals himself to be J E F Rose.

The short, stout, aging, ex-professor waves his lantern at the Maw to cast creepy shadows among the jagged stones. The Maw appeared to be an immense cave of apparently bottomless depths and heights. The quivering shadows cast by the lantern are unable to illuminate the far reaches of the vaguely sinister place. ‘I heard you coming’ the eccentric retired professor said. His words echoing. ‘I thought you were someone else. You are a tenacious man Mr. Lledrith.’ Rose added. ‘That can be both good and bad.’

‘I am not here about Wellus House. Things have become more complex than Wellus House’ I said. ‘What is that over there?’ I asked. My small torch could not clarify the massive excavation which covered the immensity of the jagged floor as well as one towering wall. Rose gestured. He professionally eased his way along the maze of wooden planks of the massive dig toward a fresh hole. In the hole I beheld a jumble of bones. Rose gestured with his lantern. Every excavation hole had bones. Hundreds of bones. Thousands of bones. The entire Maw was one gigantic hoard of bones. Bones on top of bones on top of bones. Eons of bones on top of bones on top of bones in compacted dirt. Bones in every stage of excavation. Some bones just hinting of their concealed presence. Some bones painstakingly excavated until they were almost freed of their ancient imprisonment. ‘Is this some sort of gigantic prehistoric graveyard?’ I asked. ‘How far down does it go?’

‘All the way to Hell perhaps’ Rose said as the stout, aging professor studied the bones in scientifically excavated holes all around him. ‘We still have not reached the bottom. Since the beginning of time when Mankind first walked upright sacrifices have been done here by the ancient people to their ancient gods. The blood is the life and the only sacrifices which have ever counted have been bloody. The Ancient Gods were suppose to dwell here. This Maw of Darkness was their paranormal abode. This is the portal to their Underworld.’ Rose explained. Over there by that far wall is the sacrifice stone. See?’ Rose gestured to a massive but crude stone of curious shape high up over our heads on a sort of pillar of un-excavated earth against the far wall. ‘It was found carefully placed over a bottomless stack of bones compacted in ancient earth’ Rose said. ‘So we cannot excavate there.’

‘So it is a marker’ I said, ‘indicating how far down you busy chaps have been digging’ I added.

‘Over there is the Ritual Circle’ Rose said as he gestured to another strange mass of small stones arranged in a mysterious ritual pattern high up over our heads. Likewise, it had not been fully excavated so now it rested on a defacto exposed column against the far wall marking how far down the excavations had proceeded. Like the sacrificial stone, the now exposed column of compacted soil revealed hints of thousands of years of sacrifices in the compacted earth.

‘It marks your busy excavations as if a barometer’ I said.

‘Likewise the magic stones curiously arranged in a supernatural circle were continuously moved and arranged and maintained and blessed as the Maw slowly filled up with the bones of eons of sacrifices’ Rose explained. ‘The little idols witnessing and presumably blessing priests as they slashed the jugulars of the sacrifices to bleed out the life in a torrent of blood over the ever raising stack of bones as sacrifices slowly but relentlessly filled this bottomless Maw of Darkness. Both sacred things literally raising up with the level of the ever raising bones of nonstop sacrifice. Thousands of years of sacrifices going back to the very moment the first ape stood upright and conceived of gods and sacredness and magic and sacrifice’ Rose said as he gestured with his lantern to the sinister sacred stones which now towered high up over us as if still mighty gods demanding our obedience.

‘Apparently the ancient gods were implacable in their hunger for sacrifice’ I said.

‘The Blood is the life’ Rose said dryly. ‘During winter solstice the fearful, seeing light and life ebbing away, would offer sacrifice to bring back the sun. Spring. This cave is by chance oriented along a sight line with the winter solstice as it existed thousands of years ago. Changed now of course. The sky has moved. The gods have gone. Or at least their worshipers have gone. More or less’ Rose added dryly.

‘More or less?’ I asked.

This orgy of blood letting apparently started during the iconic era of the Ice Age: the Pleistocene Epoch when gigantic creatures roamed after the demise of the dinosaurs. Wooly Mammoths. Mastodons. Gigantic Terror Birds. Dire Wolves. Gigantic Sloths. Upright walking short snout nosed Bears. Huge Moose, Musk Oxen, and fantastical Goats. Bison. Saber Tooth Cats. Amazing Lions. Huge bizarre armadillo-like creatures called Glyptodonts. Primitive Horses. Towering Camels. Huge, hideous Hyenas. Enormous Sea Lions. Fantastical Sea Monsters. Even huge Rodents the size of cows. Wooly Rhinos. Amazing Yaks. And us too of course. Various species of Humanoid.

All as the super continent called Pangaea broke up into Laurasia and Gondwana which then floated around the world’s oceans as they broke up in turn into today’s mini continents. Even during the Pleistocene Epoch, after the continents started to assume their modern shapes, the climate cycles continued to be wildly extreme. Alternating between extremes of ice and warmth. The fluctuations not only amazingly extreme but amazingly rapid. Glacial and inter-glacial periods battled each other for dominance. As if a war of the Ice Gods and Father God of Fire and Mother God of Merciful Waters. Sometimes changing from ice to paradise and then back again in the course of mere decades. Even the span of a single human life.

The battle between ice and warmth igniting terrifying floods and deadly droughts. Even oxygen changed. The very air creatures breathed changed. Volcanos erupted with devastating impact. So-called nuclear winters when summer did not come. Rivers appeared over night and then vanished just as abruptly. Pastures and coastlines which nurtured one decade turned deadly the next. Forests appeared and then disappeared. Habitats were dangerously volatile. Nothing could be trusted or relied upon. The very earth wobbled on its axis on the Polaris/Vega Shift.

The volatility caused evolutionary changes as rapid as the environmental changes. Species appeared and disappeared. Some gigantic. Some tiny. Die offs occurred resulting in masses of bones. And mankind appeared amazingly resourceful for such a puny species in exactly carnage as well. Extinction was a terrifying reality. And of course during this period one species of humanoid, Neanderthal, went extinct, aided and abetted by another species, Cro Magnon, before it too went extinct.’

‘So was born this bone cache’ I said.

Rose nodded. ‘Terrified humanoids begged cruel gods to spare them with escalating sacrifices. First the blood and bones and glistening fat of the hunt. But during dire times the best of life and death. Currying desperate favor of gods without names who demanded ever more sacrifices.’

‘But by the Barbaric Age and the Savage Wars Mankind adopted other gods. Better gods’ I said. ‘Human sacrifices were declared taboo. Only the Dark Lord still demanded human blood.’

Rose nodded. ‘This Maw of Darkness became still. Only the Shadowy Ones still kept the memories alive of the ancient blood letting. Not human sacrifices of course! Other rites and rituals. The echo of life with parchment and weavings of spells with ink of human blood. But during the Mini Ice Age life again turned especially dire’ Rose explained. ‘Damp. Dank. Dark. And deadly.’

‘In London the Thames froze’ I said.

Rose nodded. ‘We found that there are two distinctive layers of bones separated by an era of minimal use featuring traditional Shadowy One magic of a recognizably beneficial mode. Very, very, very old sacrifices which inhabit the bottomless depths which we are just accessing now. And a top layer of bones from the Mini Ice Age. The deeper layer of course is from the Ice Age. It is a priceless cache of every now extinct species Zendula ever witnessed. A priceless record of evolution during turbulent fluctuations. It is the most perfect record of evolution we have. So perfect is it we simply cannot resist it’ Rose said with an enigmatic tone to his soft voice. ‘The bones of hunts and sacrifices of species now lost were brought here for ritual sacrifices along with the occasional human sacrifices when fluctuations turned dire. The pattern indicated the interlopers, an invasive species known as Cro Magnon were taking over this area and sacrificing the indigenous species, the Neanderthals, to the cruel gods when fruits of the hunt or beastly sacrifices failed to woo or appease. The interlopers adopting the bloody carnage and the merciless rituals while sacrificing the expendable. The Neanderthals. Then of course as the Ice Age fluctuations continued between ice and warmth the new Humanoids resorted to sacrificing the best of the best —- themselves —– in human sacrifices.’

‘So the bone cache also contains a priceless evolutionary record of the various species of human’ I said as Rose’s lantern cast quivering shadows among the masses of bones. Including human bones.

‘Yes’ Rose said. ‘An irresistible treasure trove which cannot be resisted’ he added in an odd tone of voice.

‘It sounds like what is happening to White Europeans as the Muslims invade Europe’ I said. ‘The Ubermensch Ummah are violently sacrificing the indigenous species they loath to their Moon God of the Black Meteorite of Mecca. Why sacrifice your own if you can sacrifice inferior expendable Untermensch blood?’

Rose nodded. ‘During the Mini Ice Age the primitive inhabitants living in the ruins of a previous, prosperous age unraveling and devolving into chaos and anarchy saw life ebbing away. Literally. Freezing starvation. Winter without summer. Famine. Disease. Death. Barbarians and outlaws attacking everyone who possibly possessed dregs of wealth of previous eras. Crumbs of previous civilization. Scraps of food. Relics of metal. Even so much as a sickly harvest. Anything! People stole and murdered each other for anything! Raiding sacred tombs for old metal! Collapsing civilization devolving into barbarity. Their ancient memories surfaced as their more genteel gods failed to bring back the sun and the summer and lost prosperity.

It was the time of the Barbarians. The Dark Ages. The Age of Gildagad was a fading memory. Everything was falling down. Everything was failing. And their world was dying. They were dying. So they did the older sacrifices here as of old. Pigs. Dogs. Horses. But the sun did not come back. Winter without summer. They racheted up the sacrifices. From slashing of jugulars to torture. Then another winter without summer. They racheted up their sacrifices. More animals. Young animals. The best animals. Another winter without summer. They racketed up the sacrifices. To human. The dying. Another winter without summer. They racheted up the sacrifices. The rulers. The chosen. The anointed. Another winter without summer. They racheted up the sacrifices. The young. The beautiful. Another winter without summer. They racheted up the sacrifices from slashing human throats to human torture. Another winter without summer. They racheted up the sacrifices. Well…. you get the idea…’ Rose said as he held up the lantern to illuminate the gigantic sacrificial maw filled with the bones of the sacrificed.

‘Finally there was simply no one left to sacrifice. And no novel way to sacrifice them with ever more grisly gore and blood. Everyone was starving. Everyone was dying. The gods apparently had gone mad. Their worshipers certainly did. Go mad I mean! They defiled the ritual sacrificial stone. They knocked down the sacred circle of idols. They lobbed off the heads of every talisman. They hacked off the cave carvings. They defaced the sacred. Then they ran away. We know that for a fact because this region was uninhabited for over a century. Ancient memories said the land was cursed by a dire bane of madness and death. Then as the Fourth Age of Astel restored law and order and civilization the people came back. Slowly. As memories faded. Except for one memory. A curse. A bane. A taboo. This place. This excavation did not start here until the 1950s. I was a young student then. It was my first excavation. We found the motherlode of bones. But the last bones of the slaughtered which we excavated first told us a terrible tale!’

‘I am surprised the Slaugh Unforgiving Dead don’t haunt this place’ I said as the brooding darkness of the Maw concealed the worst of its terrible history in quivering shadows.

‘The Slaugh Unforgiving Dead do haunt this place’ the now aging professor replied softly. Over twenty five people working on this site have gone mad. Committed gross murder. Slashed the throats of babies. Beloved ones. Then themselves. To appease mad gods.’

‘They woke the dead’ I said softly.

‘Yes’ Rose said. ‘They woke the dead. ‘Their greed for priceless bones drove them to their ruination. Their Left Brains, their reasoning, scientific brains, refused to admit what their Right Brains were experiencing. Breakdown after breakdown. Murder after murder. Suicide after suicide. But still they kept coming back. The cache of bones here was simply too priceless! Too irresistible! Even today they come back! The bones are too priceless! Too irresistable! We have reached the best of the Ice Age! The bones are literally worth their weight in gold! We cannot stop! It is impossible to stop! To abandon such a motherlode! We keep telling ourselves that surely we have dug through the curses to the primeval! And still every season at least one excavator goes mad!’

‘What happened to…..’ I asked.

The aged professor chuckled ruefully. ‘What happened to me? What did I see here one night while toiling alone with a particularly precious set of bones?’ Rose said. ‘I heard a voice inside my head telling me ‘We need another sacrifice Jay’. I kept insanely digging. The bones were so priceless! A particularly rare set of bones. Intact! Perfect! A royal sacrifice of a War Lord’s daughter.’ The aging academic grimaced as if with acute pain mixed with acute rapture. ‘Then as I dug blood appeared. As if the bones of the exquisite twelve year old girl were suddenly bleeding. And I stared down. And the blood was oozing everywhere! And I was stared at the blood as it baptized the exquisite bones. Blood spewing everywhere! And I stared dazed! Amazed! Then I realized I had slashed my wrists and it was my blood bathing the exquisite bones! And I passed out!

I woke in hospital. I was incredibly lucky. Another excavator was coming and he saw my crumbled body just in time. He stopped the hemorrhaging and dragged me out of the cave. To his car. To hospital. He saved my life. I could not even remember doing it! Slashing my own flesh and blood! I was still in hospital when I heard a week later that after working alone one night excavating a particularly exquisite set of bones my rescuer returned home and slashed the jugular of his baby girl! He is still in an insane asylum to this day! This is the very first time I have ever returned here’ Rose said softly. ‘The police have been interviewing me you see.’

‘The Blue Mountain Murders!’ I gasped. ‘This is the epicenter of the madness! The serial murders! This is what drove Kit insane!’

Rose looked at me bemused. ‘Your friend Kitsume never entered this far into the cave Mr Lledrith Bane. But you did! There are motion detectors and video everywhere! They serve as a back up to the Mannax Gate paranormal warning.’

‘I did not see a Mannix Gate!’ I protested. ‘I was never here! At least….’

‘….The motion detectors and video prove you were here Mr Bane’ Rose said softly. ‘The police are here too. The policeman I have been expecting is standing right behind you. Everyone knew you would come back here Mr Bane’ the funny little ex-academic said softly. ‘Everyone who ever heard the gods whispering always try to come back. Everyone hearing the same voices! The same words! ‘We need another sacrifice!’’

‘Look!’ I said. ‘You can’t pin the Blue Mountain Murders on me! They were occurring before I arrived here! And after I left! No less than Kit! You can’t pin the serial murders on me!’

‘No. Not all of them’ the policeman said as he ambled out of the shadows. ‘Just one. A farmer’s small son. For which your friend murdered the other twin son to conceal the only witness to your murder. The murder of twins. I believe you are a surviving twin are you not Mr. Bane? Blood was found at the first killing site. Blood tracing out a word. Part of a name. Adri. Adrian perhaps?’

‘You can’t prove it or else you would have arrested me by now!’ I protested.

The policeman looked at Prof. Rose who shrugged. ‘Not yet!’ the local policeman said . ‘Plead insanity Mr Bane!’ the policeman added softly. Pleadingly. ‘It is not as if it is your fault! A deal! A compassionate deal! The survivors of the farming family need closure’ the policeman pleaded.

‘You can’t pin this on me!’ I shouted as I retreated before the two men. ‘Or you would have arrested me by now!’

‘Your friend took the fall for you!’ the policeman pleaded as I fled the cave. I all but collided with the towering Mannax Gate with its sinister warning of paranormal doom. How did I not see this before? Then I ran across the desolate moors as if the hounds of hell were giving chase!

‘You can’t pin all of the murders on me!’ I shouted as I ran as if for dear life. My cries echoing across the wild moor.

‘I agree’ Rose said as the stout, funny old man tried to run after me. ‘Please! Please! You are not the only one! And there is more to the serial murders than the troubled souls who hear the Mad Gods echoing in their brains! Dabblers in the occult come delusional that they will contact powerful gods! Ancient gods! And they do! And they awaken the dead! And they awaken the supernatural! Help us! Please! Help us! Someone told you to come here! This is way off the spot where we found your fly fishing rod and gear! Kit said you would never do this willingly! We are not blaming you!….’

‘You can’t scapegoat me!’ I shouted as I ran across the moors.

The funny old professor staggered to a stop, panting. His silhouette small on the wild moors. The pallid partial moon only casting shadows and strangeness across the dark emptiness. ‘Are you having blackouts?’ Rose cried as I ran away.

I took the next train back to The Havens. I holed up in my apartment drinking. Staring at the computer screen! Staring at the dead man’s web site! Then I went to the calender to tear off a day only to realize I was missing a week! I now only had seven days left to live!

Number Eight: It is either him or me!

I have just bought a gun off the blackmarket. Dogs are trailing me! I see them at night prowling outside my apartment complex. Prowling but never howling! Just staring up at my window as I stare down at them! I think the police are hounding me. Or else Shadowy Ones. So I have just bought a gun to protect myself. Everyone knows some police are Were. Thiess Guards. They police the paranormal and supernatural being paranormal and supernatural. They are hunting me because I am on the Nemesis Register as well as the Restricted Register. I am a paranormal murderer. Along with a cheap gun I buy another shopping bag of liquor. Now I sit before my computer screen as if Pepe Kek downloading a dead man’s propaganda images while drinking whisky out of the bottle.

The whisky bottles come wrapped in old newspapers. How quant! Someone still read newspapers! I unwrap each bottle as I drink it and read the crumpled newspapers. They report a series of horrific mutilations occurring in the city. A serial killer is on the loose. I drink whisky and upload images from the collection of a dead man. The Guttersnipe propaganda. They met nasty deaths in that desolate warehouse. The Guttersnipes. Why did Kit end up there? The same desolate warehouse. Well! I won’t end up there! If I don’t go there then I can’t die there can I? Ha! So much for that damn Domovoii curse! If only I can shut down that damn Kikimora horoscope app as well!

Every day it warns me to stay inside my digs and never prowl the night. But I don’t prowl the night! I have insomnia. I can’t sleep. So how can I prowl the night? Well! Except for the blackouts! And every day some troll keeps posting emails on Kit’s site warning me that ‘They know! They know! They know!’ So besides the cheap hand gun I found the biggest kitchen knife I have when I used to cook and keep it by the gun by the computer. The wound where my two front teeth were yanked won’t heal. And Adrian keeps clawing in my side as that old surgery scar rips open larger and larger as if an oozing and festering wound. And every day I rip another page off my calender.

Number Nine: The End is Nigh!

I wake screaming! I feel something pawing! Ripping! Scratching! Attacking me! I run to the bathroom mirror and pull up my bloody T shirt to see a human hand clawing its way out of that festering wound in my side! The skeletal hand with nails like talons clawing the wound open! Then the whole skeletal hand explodes out! The skeletal hand clawing the air in its fierce determination to attack me! So I rush to the computer and grab the kitchen knife and attack it! But the skeletal hand grabs the knife and plunges it right into my chest!

And I wake screaming to find a succubus bestriding my bloody chest with both skeletal hands around my throat! Strangling me! Its visage at once hideous and at the same time recognizable! As if looking into a grave to see my own corpse! So I grab Adrian’s hideous visage in my two hands to strangle him! Each sibling trying to strangle the other! Each brother trying to slay the other! Adrian’s face a grotesque skeletal copy of my face! My long dead sibling screaming as he tries to murder me! His murderer!

And I wake screaming —– as the landlord pounds my door shouting for me to shut up! I am waking the whole apartment building! No wonder I have insomnia! No wonder I can’t sleep! No wonder I have blackouts and find myself in some urban wastage somewhere each dawn!

I wake panting and exhausted. My bed a ruin. My apartment a ruin. Dirty take out food cartons and empty bottles of whisky everywhere. My kitchen a mess. My bathroom a mess. The landlady comes and I speak to her through the chained door. She wants me gone. I am frightening the neighbors. I plead with her. After all! I only have four more days anyway before….. well…. so she leaves sullenly.

I peal another page off the calender as the police come to politely ask me to come down to police headquarters. I protest that the neighbors are cads for complaining about my nightmares but they say it is about another matter entirely. So I dress to go to the police station. One policeman asks what the scribble on the mirror means. Someone used lipstick and scribbled ‘We need another sacrifice Lledrith’ on the bathroom mirror. The police bags the lipstick as evidence as I protest that they planted the lipstick.

At the police station they give me my warning and then grill me about the murderous mutilations. I ask how what the mutilations are. They hedge. I tell them how the hell can I be the serial killer if I don’t even know how I am suppose to be mutilating the corpses. They hold me overnight. Another precious day of my life lost. But then I think! This might be a good thing! How can I die in a jail? If I am here behind bars then how can my murderer murder me at that desolate warehouse where Kit and the Guttersnipes perished? This might be good thing! But during the night there is another murder. I am released even though I hear the police debating whether or not the killing is a copy cat. Genuine serial murders always bring out the copy cats.

I go home and stare at the computer screen as I upload the last images collected by poor dead Kit. I have only two days to live. I have to do something! More emails warn me that ‘They know! They know! They know!’ My Kikimora Horoscope app warns me to not leave my house on peril of life and death. Someone’s life. Someone’s death. And someone has left a package for me. In my apartment. Where the police found that mysterious lipstick. I find a package poorly hidden, wrapped in newspapers with headlines of the serial murders. The manner of mutilations hinted at. Not revealed. Just sensationally hinted at. I unwrap the mysterious package to reveal an old book on magic. I drink whiskey and flip through the pages of the parchment of the very old book. It is in obscure Old Twilight Elvish. I turn on my computer and use the translation function to ferret out some of the spells. Funny. The book has a ribbon book mark. And the book falls open to one particular spell. I know it the moment I see it. Even before I laboriously translate it by computer. I just know it is the spell I need. So I tear off the back page of parchment and laboriously scrap off the painstaking print. Then I slash my arm and use the blood and an improvised quill from a feather to painstakingly write the spell of Nemesis with my blood. But nothing happens. That night under the waxing moon I do the spell again. I use my festering wound with its oozing pus and black blood. I do it on the floor by the window so the waxing moon can cast its mithril light over the parchment as I laboriously weave the spell. But nothing happens. Tomorrow is Oct. 30th. It is the last day of my life. And even magic has failed me!

But then I realize that of course the magic would fail me! The parchment is recycled! It is not even virgin! Much less stillborn! There is no echo of life on it! Even with my pus festering, tainted blood! No wonder the spell failed! So I carve the runes into the flesh of my own arm so the blood forms the words! But still the magic fails! Of course the magic will fail! There is only one way to make the Nemesis Spell work! So I go to Mother’s home with my knife.

Please understand! I am not a monster! It was not to kill her! Though she is dying anyway! I wait in the hospital knowing who will come at night to her bedside as Pater falls into and exhausted sleep. I need to lure Anthrope out of his trap alley to that hospital room! I need to drag him to that warehouse before midnight to do the spell at the full waxing of the moon in a desolate place where his screams cannot be heard. Please understand! I am not a monster! It is a question of life and death! Someone’s life and someone’s death! Killing Adrian a second time is useless. He is a festering mass of noxious pus and oozing black blood! And magic requires a life for a life! I need a life to save my life. I need a good man’s pure blood on still born parchment or else fresh flesh. Carving the spell on fresh bloody flesh. And I need my identical twin to take my place! Become the fall guy! Literally! For Wellus House! Almost no one knows that I have a secret identical twin! The Wellus House assassins would assume Anthrope is me! Then I can take Anthrope’s place! Please understand! I am not a monster! I was always destined to do this! This has always been my fate! How can anyone elude their fate? This is fate! Destiny! Nemesis! And now I press the Delete button. ….

Postscript: The cremation and funeral is proceeding very nicely. Our funeral home always does such things very well! Even if the funeral is the cheapest it is still the principal of the thing! Every i dotted and every t crossed and every ritual done! It is the principle of the thing! If you do something you are obligated to do it well! That is the Insalubrii Funeral Home motto!

I am surprised to see the pater of our client here. Not the mother of course. She is still in hospital. Coma. Pity. Mr Jack Phillips as I expected but also a J E F Rose. They sit together and whisper quietly. There are police in plain clothes here too. I am not sure why. A pretty young girl with a pentacle. She has been crying throughout. She is siting alone and crying. She has not stopped crying since the open coffin public viewing. That was tricky considering the condition of the corpse when it was picked up at the dismal warehouse. The apparent spontaneous combustion and gruesome mutilation and all. That must be why the police are here in plain clothes. The mutilation might be connected to the string of serial murders. Though the police seem to think the serial murders will now end. Except for the copy cat killings of course. When there are serial murders there are always copy cat killings. But the copy cat killings do not know the exact nature of the mutilations. The mutilation on the body of our client was certainly dreadful! The crude attempt to burn it did not conceal it!

The landlady is sitting by herself. I am surprised she bothered to come considering the mess left in her boarding house. Across the room are some unpleasant friends of someone called Tagger. They grouse unpleasantly as if trolling because my client, Kitsume Client, apparently maintained a web site for a dead man they accuse of killing their friend during the riots. So they are quietly, unpleasantly, trying to troll this cremation and funeral. I think that is very rude! But the Shadowy One stops them from doing more than grumble with her withering glare. They keep whispering about something called ‘Bleach Bit’ or something or other digital which wipes hard drives —- or not.

In the very back is seated an odd, thin, runty sort of man in stark black with strange blue goggles concealing his pale eyes in a pale face. His skin is as white as alabaster but dotted by lesions as if allergic to sunlight. His hair is of such a white blond as to appear to be white. He watches quietly. No one speaks to him. Nor does he speak to anyone. His black gloved hands rest on an ebony cane with a mysterious silver nob crafted to appear to be a number. Number two. Odd that. His black sheathed fingers appear so long and skinny as to be spidery.

I prepare to give the signal for the cardboard coffin to roll along the conveyer belt into the cremation chamber as I prepare to open and then close the curtains. Everyone watches intensely. The fire is bright behind the fireproof glass concealed by the curtains. The coffin, after a short public viewing of course, quietly rolls along the steel conveyer belt into the fire chamber as my assistant behind the fireproof glass pulls the safety lever. As the cardboard coffin vanishes from view I pull the curtains close. The canned music plays quietly. My Shadowy One writes a ‘weaving’ of runes on a piece of virgin paper and then burns it as she waves the smoke across the room. Then I gesture that the funeral is complete. Everyone stands up to leave. As everyone leaves Mr Phillips whispers to Mr Rose ‘Do they know?’

‘Of course they know!’ Rose whispers as they stand up to leave. ‘Why else are the plain clothes police here? Thiess Guards no less!’ Then they leave. The Pater leaves first. His face drenched with tears. Then the young Shadowy One who wept during the open coffin viewing comes up to my Shadowy One. They converse softly before they leave arm in arm.

The tagger trolls leave while still grumbling. ‘If the bastard just hit the Delete Button we can still retrieve whatever he left behind and plaster it across the internet! It is the only revenge we have …’

Everyone leaves except the mysterious man in the back of the room. Again he comes up to me. The strange man with the strange cane in his strangely gloved hands. His long, spidery fingers fondling the silver Number Two. He peers between the curtains to see the fire blazing in the cremation chamber. Then he nods and leaves.

After he leaves I lock the door. Then I unlock another door and go into the back of the funeral home to where the cremation chamber steel conveyer belt moves quietly out of the fire chamber. The fire chamber is as fiery as the Fiery Fissure. The steel tray originally inside the cardboard coffin rolls out quietly with the last bits and pieces of ash and cinder and brittle bone. Then the Thiess Guards gesture. There is a morgue specialist there too. They collect the ash and cinder of Mr Bane. Or at least a Mr Bane.