by Max Barry

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The night was March 21st, 2001.

It was a cold night in New England. The weather was brisk, soothing, yet cold enough to make the body's internal temperature go to dangerous levels. The wind wasn't helping with that either, the speed of the wind, something that would make Hermes soak in jealousy, it's intensity rivaling that of a English football fan riot to the left of Westminster. In some parts of the world, namely New England, the effects of nuclear winter could still be felt. Pakistan, for example, known for it's hospitality and originally having maintained an average temperature of, for example, in June, 104 in Fahrenheit, or 40 Celsius, dropped to an average temperature in the beginnings of summer of 37 Fahrenheit, or roughly 3 Celsius. New England was no different, having been a region known for it's cold, brutal winters. The region had although compared to other regions of the world been relatively unaffected by WW3 directly, the worldwide nuclear winter has still affected it to this day. I had these next four weeks to myself, given that I was put on psychological leave by my boss. I still am Consul, yet I have no power at all. I am still subject to what a normal government worker would have at their disposal, and what they had to put up with, all at my choice. People would complain about this weather. "Oh Christ, why is it this cold when it's almost Spring?" I overheard a woman say.

I myself found no problem with this weather. Ever since I was young, I enjoyed the cold. Something about it had just....called my attention. Being outside in the cold was almost therapeutic, it had brought me down to reality, the feeling of cold air hitting one's skin is calming, it releases all the stress one has in the body, waiting for any, just any day to be released. However, when spring would come along, everything would just...shutter to a halt. What felt like a period of normalcy had come to a stop faster than the British when they went to war with some small island nation in Africa. I had, what my girlfriend and "therapist" called "springtime depression". Did I trust the man who was paid to listen to me bumble about nothing? No. But did I trust my girlfriend? Somewhat. Someone who was paid to watch me for the sake of some corporation who squealed in happiness at the opportunity to watch some bystander supposedly plunge himself into a state of insanity, a company more insane than they think I am. The people they detain, according to them, are "threats to not only society, but the universe" or whatever evidence-less claims they could pull out of their pants. I was grouped with those idiots. That is my therapist, someone who has more similarities with a political lobbyist than an honest individual.

However, when my girlfriend, Katerina, mentioned that, I... I don't know. Maybe I trust her more, maybe I confide in her more than that fraudulent bastard, maybe she just cares about me, and so do I, but whenever she mentions it, it hits like a train. It has more severity, it feels different when that comes from a loved one. The ventral striatum, one of the regions of the brain concerning trust and the social mannerisms associated with that, could send signals to other parts of the brain, likely to the ones dealing with emotions and understanding of speech, detailing how the individual should respond to stressors or what is said to us from a trusted friend, or in this case, a romantic interest. Whenever she mentions that, whenever she talks about what is going on with me, it hits differently than with an individual I dislike immensely.

She and I, earlier in the day, had a conversation concerning that.

"Hey man, how'd you sleep?" Katerina had said to me. I got out of my room, feeling groggy, fatigued, and overall not the best.

"Not great, but I slept at least." I replied to her. My voice sounded fatigued as well, she would point out.

"You don't sound great. Want me to make some tea?"

"Thanks, I could use something to drink."

She began talking to me more while she was making the tea, Chamomile to be exact. The smell of tea overtook the room, it had a inviting, almost natural smell. It was soothing in the moment, and it made me feel more relaxed.

"I don't have anything to do for these coming days, so you wanna do something here, or go out?" She told me.

"I'm not in the mood to step out, so I guess something here." I told her. It took me a while to say what I had said, I didn't want to disappoint her.

"That's fine. What do you wanna do here? Chess? Cards? Use our instruments for once?" She told me.

"You got me on board with the last one, and Chess."

"Chess and instruments it is, then!"

She seemed to be in a great mood, and that made me feel, well, a bit better. Her happiness had begun to affect my mood somewhat recently, and good or bad, all I want is seeing her gleaming, almost therapeutic smile. That made me feel better. That made me feel almost human.

How I miss her smile. I simply cannot compare it to anything, I just can't.

She was a violinist, though at my own suggestion at the time, she began to experiment more with her vocals and her art skills. She and I had made our own little group, dedicated to making anything that had encompassed our emotions. Art as a way of escape, art as a way of voicing ones resentment or happiness has always been popular. Take Fransisco Goya for example, a painter who during his time painting for the Spanish monarchy, had made art that had a although aristocratic feeling rising from it, was light, innocent, happy, compared to his later works. Las Pinturas Negras, his paintings from 1819-1823 were called, are the complete opposite of his earlier paintings. They had a sense of doom, helplessness, resentment, paranoia stemming from them. Goya had gone deaf from an undiagnosed illness, which had plunged him into a state of paranoia and resentment at politics and society. When everything hit the toilet, he had transfered those feelings into art in an effective manner.

"I got a call from your therapist." She later said.

"What did he say?" I asked.

"He said you have an appointment with him Thursday, so in about three days you'll see him again."


"Look man, I know you don't like him. I know you have suspicions about him, I know you hate how he's associated with SCP. Yet you can't let your condition get worse."

"That's the thing. Why in the name of Ezekiel did SCP have a final say in that matter? Why do they want to keep tabs with me?"

"I have no idea."

She later proceeded with finishing the tea.

"Tea's done. You still want some?" She had a slight smirk, and that was more than enough to convince me, along with the smell.


I grabbed my cup, and it had cooled down somewhat by now. I took a sip of it, and it was some of the better tea I've had in centuries. I tried tea leaves grown in French India in 1784, and I remember enjoying it enough to where I purchased a half-kilo of that tea that day. Then there were Vietnamese tea leaves I tried in 1924, and I remember having bought as much as a could, or about four kilos on that sweltering July day.

"This stuff's good." I said.

"I agree immensely." Kat replied.

A couple of minutes passed. By about fifteen minutes, we were halfway done with our cups. I had tried to think of something to strike up a new conversation. Seeing as the whole "springtime depression" debacle was on my mind, I mentioned that.

"Well, about the whole "springtime depression" thing, what do you think of that?" I said.

"Personally? Or in general?" She replied.


"You know, despite the bad opinion you have of your therapist, he does have a point in that regard."

"What do you mean?"

"Your mannerisms, how you appeared, how you dressed, how you responded to peers, and what you reported to staff was used to determine that. Your general mood around this time is arguably pretty sh*t, and from what you've told me, most of your worse moments occur in spring."

"You do have a point."

"Thanks. But the question is, why do you accept that more easily when i say it, but whenever someone who is much better equipped at determining this, you dismiss that?"

"I don't trust them."

"I suppose that's fair."

After that, we had gone into our rooms. I had begun working on a biomechanical drawing, and she was practicing her violin. I had begun to ponder what we discussed, and she did have a point. After I had finished the drawing, I overheard her say "6:30 PM we do what we agreed upon", and that was about eight hours away. I had decided on resting for a bit, and I set an alarm on my clock for 6:00 PM.

I woke up at 4:00 PM, all to a voice telling me to step into the bathroom.

It's voice, a baritone, soothing, yet commanding voice, had a threatening, authoritative, yet blank, emotionless, almost robotic tone to it. It sounded like a mix of a male and female voice, yet if the new voice went through an AI program, was drained of all it's emotion faster than someone's money after they put in their credit card information on a sketchy porn site, placed in a toaster on high heat for 14 hours, and put in the back of a freezer for 8 hours, only to be shot by a 120mm howitzer, then seared by napalm. Being the tired idiot I was in the moment, I conceded to the voice, and once I looked into the mirror, it appeared, at least I think it did, behind me on my left. From what I could distinguish of it's external appearance, it was nothing short of a monk from the Middle Ages, darkness that would make the same infinite expanse of space look as if it was brighter than a thousand sun's, whilst he was wearing a stallion's skull, representing Svetovid, the Slavic god of war and fertility. One could argue it was demonic in appearance, aura, and tone, while the most insane could say it was Svetovid, or Christ himself. Hell, if we were to up the ante, it could be some avatar of Vishnu, Odin, or whatever Englisc nationalists are having a hard on over.

"We meet again." It told me.

"Ah f*cking hell, it's you." I replied to it.

"Yes, I'm back, much to your dismay."

"What do you want, Apis?"

"All I want is to talk to you."

"I don't have the time."

"Time is but a concept. The reason behind our existence, and thus the existence of time as a whole, is only a construct. There is no reason for time to continue as it is, only to measure the time between holy days. Existence isn't much different. Existence as a whole has no defined purpose, why you and I are here is a matter of debate."

"Existentialism. You've been reading Nietzsche again, have you?"


"Can't blame you, honestly. What is your favorite theory of his?"

"Not only existentialism, but the whole "God is Dead" stuff is interesting."

"Doesn't that conflict with your movement?"

"We have killed God. The Enlightenment killed him as a whole, and to resurrect him, we must scale back all the ideas of the Enlightenment. We mustn't be impeded in any way, and Nietzsche has provided us the solution."

"That answers my question only partially. Some members of BRM have such scorn of Nietzsche and his works that their collected fury rivals the heat of WR 102."

"Then they need to be purged, then. Nietzsche was a prophet of Perun, he sent Friedrich to provide us a solution, a way, to bring Perun back. Despite his hatred of non-Germans, he was, and is, Perun's first prophet."

"You do know his alleged anti-Semitism and "hatred of non-Germans" wasn't his, right? His sister was in charge of his legacy, and to suit her views, she made him appear as if he was as you described him."

"His sister died before him."

"He died in 1900, she died in 1935."

"His death was falsified."

"What did you want to talk about prior to this, then?"

"This exactly, and one thing."

"Just say the other thing. Your making my brain cells commit suicide."

"Kill your therapist."

"I hate him, yes, but I won't commit murder."

"He is an active threat to you and your girlfriend. You must eliminate loose ends, my brother."

"Like you did with Grigori?"


"No. I'm not a backwards schizoid savage like you."

"Look who is talking."

Afterwards, it disappeared. For once, it left me after almost giving me a brain aneurysm just less than 20 minutes after it arrived. Grigori, I wondered, why him? He did commit dissent, yes, but was that sufficient reasoning to kill a man? To it, it was more than enough. Afterwards, I had gotten out of my room.

"Hey Kat! I'm ready." I yelled. I felt a nice breeze of cold air hit me, and afterwards, I got my chessboard, the pieces, and by seven-string bass guitar I stole. The pick, however, was made by me, using toenails, hot glue, and pieces from Nation, an album I hated enough to where I was glad destroying it. The pick was recently made, and I could still feel some of the heat from the hot glue.

"You can come in now!" She replied.

"You're in check." Katerina said to me. I had done my best trying to defend myself from an endless barrage of pawns, bishops, rooks, and knights. In the end, she lost all of her pawns, yet no rooks, bishops, or knights she had were lost. I lost most of my pawns, all my bishops, one rook, and one knight. I had begun to think of a way, any way, to salvage this. I then had a plan.

"I'm in check, yes," I said as I made my move. I moved my knight into a position that with any move on her part, would result in her entering check. She moved her rook to try and attack one of my pawns, and I moved a pawn to the end of her side, bringing back one of my knights. She moved a bishop to attack my pawn, and although she took it, she eventually lost it to another pawn. I was down to three pawns. Eventually, I got my knights to trap her king in place, and she went into checkmate.

"but it appears I salvaged this. Checkmate." I finished my sentence.

"Good game. I did good for my first time." She replied.

"You did, yeah. Your a good player."

"I'm glad you think that of me." She said with a smile. Her dark hair flew with the wind, it soared in harmony with the wind like a bird soaring through Cascadia. Her glasses, with a circular rim, black coloring, along with her blue eyes, a calming smile accompanied by a dimple, and her relaxed, soothing tone made me feel....wonderful. Beyond grateful to have someone like her. I could not ignore looking at her, her hair, face, her pink and grey long sleeve shirt, her shorts, her breasts poking out, portruding from her shirt, all of that, well, at least for me, was a turn on. I tried practicing my bass guitar, I played a riff, Future Breed Machine to be exact to get my mind off of her, yet I just couldn't. She was playing Amazing Grace, a song she said her father and grandmother taught her. She loved the track, as it reminded her of when she was young. Mass, the Christian music being played in her household daily, all distracted her from Spain's, or rather Iberia's imminent collapse, the anti-Falangist crime wave that occurred in the '80s and '90s, and the Galician Crack Craze. In this case, however, the track almost brought her to tears, the memories must have been overpowering her, and she broke down. She put her head on my shoulder, and began crying into it immensely.

I couldn't bear seeing her crying like that.

I could've done more in that situation, but all I could do is make an attempt at consoling her, but in the end, I couldn't resist. I began tearing up as well, and I put my arms around her.

"It's gonna be okay." I kept telling her. "Everything is going to get better." I told her.

"You have me here, I'm here to help you. I'm here to care for you, I'm here to console you. I will keep loving you, even at your darkest." I told her.

"You don't have to do this." She replied.

"And yet I am. Why? Well, you matter to me."

"It could be worse."

"And I'll try to make sure that doesn't happen, okay?"

"You care so much for me. Why? Why me?"

"I love you, that's why."

"And I love you too."

She put her lips on mine, and, well, I couldn't resist. We began kissing each other, slowly upping the ante, and in about ten or so minutes, we were bare on her bed. Afterwards, we finally upped the ante to the limit, and we were having full-on intercourse. I had begun to take it slow at first, slowly increasing the intensity.

I could feel her skin growing hotter and hotter, her breathing picking up pace faster than an Olympic runner in the 400-meter dash, her eyes gleaming with a sort of inviting pleasure, as if her enjoyment of the act motivated you to keep going, the moans of pleasure becoming ever more so frequent. I had never participated in it, I was afraid I was impotent, weak, too cowardly to face Goliath, yet I succumbed to my desires. How a mountain lion stalks her pray, how she stares at the innocent creature with lust and hunger in her eyes, how she inevitably charges at the creature with such swiftness that a hawk would be overwhelmed with sheer envy, is how I managed to persevere. In the end, she and I gave up. We had managed to succeed on pleasuring ourselves for once, and no matter how miniscule that victory would be to the common man, we had become proud of ourselves.

"That was wonderful." She had told me after a brisk five minutes went by.

"It was, yes. I'm surprised I even did it." I replied to her, both of us having no energy to deal with the rest of the day.

"You had it in you. It was equipped, waiting like a lion against a gazelle. He was waiting to pounce, and I'm glad you succumbed."

"And I enjoyed every second of it."

Katerina, if you see this, please, come back. I miss you. I'm sorry about all that I did.

Wherever you are, I am here. May we meet again.