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Part 3: Page Zero

I have good days. And I have bad days.

‘Describe a good day.’ The man with the eye patch crossed his legs and leaned forward in his chair.

It’s any day I don’t seriously consider killing myself.

He smiled. One of his teeth was black. The rest were perfect. I wondered why that was. ‘So what’s a bad day?’

You really don’t want to know.

We were in a padded cell. A honest-to-goodness, true-to-life padded cell. Until they put me in it, I didn’t think such rooms existed. Not anymore. Not in 21st century England.

At least for the moment I didn’t have to wear the straightjacket. It was hanging outside the door. Always an option. A last resort when the drugs and the hypnosis and the electric shocks didn’t come up to scratch, when I howled at the moon and ants crawled from my orifices and voices said kill kill kill and Chastity and Ms Grant were there, one in white, one in black, surrounded by mist and light, beckoning me to join them on the other side.

‘Describe a good day,’ said the man with the eye patch.

I already did.

‘No. I’ve only just got here. Remember?’

It’s my mind. You ever see a machine with worn cogs and the mechanism keeps slipping? That’s what my mind does. It slips through time. Sometimes forwards. Sometimes back.

‘Describe a good day.’

It’s when the pain is bearable and I’m not climbing the walls and sirens aren’t going off in my head.

‘Do you have many good days?’

No. This is the first in a long while.

I zoomed in on his black tooth. Saw it wasn’t completely black. There were patches of blue. Like mould.

‘Robert Morganfield is under arrest. We have proof he’s been defrauding Sybernika.’

Oh.

‘We also have proof that the bomb meant to end your life was planted on his orders.’

Oh again.

‘Thanks to him, Anne Grant and Alicia Roberts are both dead.’

Who’s Alicia Roberts?

‘The woman you knew as Chastity. She and Ms Grant were standing between you and the bomb when it went off.’

I still see them, you know. They want me to join them.

‘Maybe you should.’ The man with the eye patch scratched the side of his nose. ‘You’re not going to get any better, are you?’

I’m coming off Fromoxodin. One day, I’ll be able to function without medication.

‘Don’t kid yourself, Mr Jasinski. Nobody’s ever kicked Fromoxodin. It’s the most addictive drug ever made. In the end, you’ll top yourself. Like all frommies do.’

Do you know that Fromxodin is synthesised in the hovels of Mars from the spinal fluid of baby Martians? And that the Venusians are using it to enslave humanity?

‘Oh yes,’ said the man with the eye patch and the black tooth. ‘I know a lot more than you might suppose.’

 

~o~

 

They’ve put me in a wheelchair. I can walk. I can run, hop, skip and jump. But still I have to sit in this fucking wheelchair.

Squeak, squeak, squeak go those recalcitrant, in-need-of-oil wheels. Squeak, squeak, fucking squeak. Putting me in mind of the clack-clack-clack of Ms Grant’s heels. Crisp, efficient footsteps; a crisp, efficient woman.

I once knew a woman like Ms Grant. She wore the same shade of lipstick and eye shadow. Had the same haircut. Wore the same stockings. And I think she was physically ugly but I’m not sure. Because all I saw were the lipstick, the eye shadow, the haircut and the stockings. And I loved those things. As an abstraction.

And maybe there was more to that woman than I saw. But like everyone else I only have so much processing power and my senses can only do so much.

I cannot see infra red. I do not hear ultra sound. God doesn’t speak to me. And I may not perceive all the parts of a woman beyond her haircut and the clack-clack-clack of her heels. I don’t sense souls, read minds or see auras.

My brain is a billion billion times more powerful than the superest of all super computers. But it has its limitations.

 

~o~

 

Listen. Listen. Listen.

I hired a hut in the Scottish highlands. Up there close to Hyperborea.  Close to Conan the Barbarian territory. Not far from the shores of Loch Lomond.

So there was me. And there was Ms Grant and Chastity.

And I noticed that one of Ms Grant’s ears was slightly bigger than the other. And Chastity kept scratching at her knee; her worn-down fingernails raising angry red welts. And one time I saw Ms Grant with a soggy remnant of cornflake stuck between two of her perfectly engineered teeth and thought you poor thing so caught in the same reality as the rest of us and you can recite pi to the 70th part and have your heels go clack-clack-clack and book us into the most exclusive restaurant on Earth and yet there was that night you sat sobbing in my arms for hour upon hour until the sun came up because your daddy used to do odd things to you and your mummy used to let it happen because it gave her a break and you believe in God and humanity and you think everything happens for a reason but you can’t work out why your daddy used to slip into your bed when you were seven years old and your mother would be in the adjacent room singing about laying down her sword and shield and every time your daddy said he loved you it hurt more and more and all you could do to cope was to make sure that wherever you walked your heels went clack-clack-clack so people knew you were in control.

Every Saturday, we drove into Inverness. We bought supplies and had lunch. Then the girls would go shopping and I’d walk around the town, stopping at pubs and looking in the windows of antique shops.

And after a while I thought we were safe. That Robert Morganfield wasn’t going to seek revenge. That he would let bygones be bygones and all that.

But I should have known better. Should have realised the Robert Morganfields of this world never let go. Should have known that anyone capable of murdering their own lover was capable of anything.

 

~o~

 

They let me out of the cell and said I didn’t have to use the wheelchair. So I walked down to the duck pond with the man with the eye patch. Two orderlies followed close behind, but they weren’t necessary. The drugs were working. I wasn’t about to get violent.

‘Do you remember the bomb going off? Or have you erased the memory from your mind?’

There was a fireball. A brilliant shade of orange. The concussion knocked me off my feet. I was pebble-dashed with debris. Some of it must have been Chastity and Ms Grant.

We sat on a bench, the duck pond to our left, Brodwick House – an ugly, sprawling pile of Victorian brickwork – to our right.

What do you want? Who are you? Why are you here?

‘My name is Thomas Bray. I’m head of security at Sybernika and I’ve been charged with finding out how much damage Robert Morganfield has done to the company.

‘We know he’s embezzled millions and misused our facilities. We know all about Avalon III, Calvados Bay and Colette. And we know quite a bit about you, Mr Jasinski.’

Have you’ve come to kill me?

‘I mean you no harm whatsoever. I just want to get a fuller picture of your role in recent events. You don’t mind answering a few questions, do you?’

I’ve nothing else to do.

‘Let’s start with the Schnell Integrator.’

The God Machine.

‘Why do you call it that?’

Because it let me play God.

‘Certain representatives of His Majesty’s Government have been asking how it came to be in Sybernika House. We told them Robert Morganfield was behind its theft, so you’re in the clear. I’d strongly advise you to deny all knowledge of its existence.’

You don’t have to worry on that score. Denying knowledge is my specialty.

‘What did you use it for?’

Would you believe I used it to reverse engineer the Quantium 7000’s operating system?

‘I’m told such a thing’s impossible. With or without a God Machine.’

And yet I did it.

‘So it seems.’

You don’t believe me?

‘Oh yes, I believe you all right. I also believe you somehow managed to circumvent our security and hack into the Quantium 7000. In which case, I am mighty impressed.’

You want to know how I did it?

‘Very much so.’

I did a ghost run.

‘But our Quantium 7000 has never been networked.’

Just the once, Mr Bray. Thanks to a transceiver in the Schnell.

‘The Gilgamesh? That’s just short range. You would have to have been physically in the room to contact it.’

You need to check the security on your utility monitors.

Thomas Bray slapped his forehead. ‘Of course! How else? I take my hat off to you, Mr Jasinski. I really do.’

The security man asked more questions. I answered them, happy in the knowledge that I was helping to damn Robert Morganfield.

As I chatted, a body surfaced in the duck pond. Slowly rotating, it was face down, arms and legs spread wide in an unwitting caricature of Vitruvian man.

The pyjamas and dressing gown identified the corpse as a Brodwick House resident.

The two orderlies tried hauling the body in with sticks. They didn’t want to get their feet wet. When that failed, they tossed a coin to see which of them would bow to the inevitable.

I told Thomas Bray about how I’d trapped Robert Morganfield in his own world and then set about destroying it.

With a curse, one of the orderlies waded into the water and grabbed the hem of the dead man’s dressing gown. He guided the corpse to the side of the pond. As he and his companion pulled it from the water, I was able to study my own dead face.

It was a mask. A blank canvas that gave no hint of what I would be feeling as life gave up on me. Was I at peace or was I in pain? There was no way to tell.

I can see the future, I told Thomas Bray.

‘You just think you can,’ he said. ‘It’s a common symptom of Fromoxodin Induced Psychosis.’

Now you’re talking like a shrink.

‘I came to see if you’d make a credible witness against Robert Morganfield. It’s clear I’m wasting my time.’

They’re going to fish me out of that pond one day. I think it’s going to be soon.

‘Does the name Rhiannon mean anything to you?’

Sure. In Welsh mythology she was a queen. Her name means daughter of Avalon.

‘I’m talking about Rhiannon Morganfield. Robert’s ex-wife. She lapsed into a coma on her wedding day and died months later without regaining consciousness.

You think Robert murdered her.

‘I’m convinced of it. But knowing something and proving it are two different things.’

If it helps, I happen to know he killed Colette. Or at least that’s what she told me.

‘She was lying. We have video of her cutting open her wrists.'

I've long suspected Robert may have given her false memories. With his ego, it would have suited him to make Colette think he'd always had the power of life and death over her.

The orderlies hefted my corpse on to a bench.

‘Fuck this,’ said one, ‘for a game of soldiers. They should just line them up against a wall and shoot the fucking lot of them.’

They won’t let me go to the funerals, I complained. They say I’m too sick.

‘I doubt it’s much comfort to you, but Sybernika are paying Ms Grant’s funeral costs and putting a plaque on the side of the Golden Pyramid in her honour.’

And Chastity?

‘The Church of Everyone are taking care of her. I believe they’re building a mausoleum.’

 

~o~

 

I was in the Crystal Garden, sitting at a picnic table with Papa Bela.

Is this the future? I asked. Or the past?

‘It depends on your perspective,’ said Bela.

Only I seem to have come adrift in time and I’m not always sure of the sequence of events.

‘Is it important? Que sera sera and all that.’

Why am I here?

‘You must know the answer to that. If not, you shouldn’t be here at all.’

You want to canonise me. Because I can see the future.

‘We believe that what medical science calls Fromoxodin Induced Psychosis is actually a state of grace. The drug opens the third eye and reveals reality for what it is.

‘Throughout history, people like you have been regarded as blessed. You were shamans, seers, oracles, priests and prophets. Now, they label you differently. As schizos and madmen.’

You want to make every frommie a saint?

‘We don’t make saints. Only God can do that. What we’re doing is recognising frommies for what they are.’

 

~o~

 

There was talk of the banshee’s other song. I was in a bar in Soho when I first heard about it.

The bar wasn’t so much a bar as a hangout for the Children of the Night. For freaks and nerds and geeks. For sociopaths and schizoids. Waiting staff taking a break from the night shift. Taxi drivers. Actors. Musicians. Prostitutes. Pimps. And the lonely.

For people like me.

It was housed in a basement. The floor was concrete and the walls were brick and painted green. Such décor as there was seemed almost incidental.

The Pit. That’s what it was called. Something to do with Edgar Allan Poe or some old television program called Quatermass.

Anyway, this was before the Fromoxodin got to me. Before I began to lose my grip on reality. I was sitting at the bar, drink in hand, feeling good about feeling bad the way you do when you’re drunk. I felt hard done by and hard bitten. Sleaze was in my blood.

Somebody said something about fast women and slow horses. That seemed to sum it up and I laughed inwardly.

This girl sat on the stool next to mine. She wore a green dress with a neckline that plunged to below her belly button. She was blonde and elegant and her eyes had a dreamy quality to them.

‘Have you heard it?’ she asked. ‘The banshee’s other song?’

Two guys at the table behind me had been arguing about it. Neither of them could agree what it was or how it sounded. They didn’t know whether hearing it was a good thing or a bad thing.

One of them said a friend of his had actually heard it. The other called him a liar.

They went outside to settle their differences.

Without asking if she might, the blonde took a swig of my drink. ‘Interesting,’ she said. ‘What is it?’

‘Russian whisky. They’re getting quite good at it these days.’

The barman placed a glass of green liquor on the bar beside the blonde. She didn’t thank or pay him. Just picked up the glass and nursed it in her hands. The barman didn’t seem to mind.

‘She sings it more and more,’ she said.

I was having trouble concentrating. My wristy had told me to take a couple of tabs of something or another but I’d ignored it. Now there was a buzzing in my head. ‘Who sings what more and more?’

‘The banshee. She sings her other song.’

‘And how does it go?’

‘I have no idea.’

‘Why are you telling me this?’

‘Because I think you’ve heard it.’

‘No.’

‘Are you sure?’

I recalled being in my car. It was night; I was heading into the country for no reason other than that I wanted to get out of London. On my stereo, I selected Mozart’s 40th. It sounded terrible. Like the screech of a locomotive’s brakes as the driver realises he’s about to plough into another train. Like the cries of the damned or the shriek of a crow.

It sounded like many, many things. All of them bad. None of them music.

Is that what she meant?

‘Doesn’t it harbinger death?’ I asked.

‘Not her other song. Her other song opens the third eye and shows you the true nature of reality.’

‘Then I definitely haven’t heard it.’

The blonde took a sip of her drink. She smiled mystery and mischief. ‘Are you quite sure about that, Danny?’

‘How do you know my name?’

‘We’ve met before.’

‘We have? I don’t recall.’

‘About a year ago. In this bar. In fact, you were sat on that very stool.’

‘I still don’t remember.’

‘Perhaps this will jog your memory.’ Her tongue flickered between her lips. It was forked. Her eyes lost their faraway quality; her irises became vertical slits. She hissed with delight as a ridge formed across her forehead and her skin turned green and scaly. ‘Remember now?’

‘Oh yeah,’ I said. ‘It’s all coming back to me.’

 

~o~

 

It’s called the Danse Macabre. A psychotic delusion experienced by Fomoxodin addicts the world over.

They say once you’ve seen it, that’s it: your life is effectively over and has been for some time.

It happened to me in the depth of winter. I was in the dayroom watching television when I noticed the other patients leaving one by one. When they’d all gone, the staff began leaving too.

Soon I was on my own.

I watched the news. A nuclear reactor in Libya had malfunctioned and gone into meltdown. Its radioactive core was sinking into the Earth.

The news item listed a dozen particulate and gaseous radioisotopes released into the atmosphere by the accident. Estimates for the number of cancers and mutations that would follow were given. It was the third nuclear meltdown that year.

I absorbed these facts. My mind played with the figures, converted them into charts and graphs. I calculated how much radioactivity would get into the groundwater and how long it would take for that groundwater to reach the Mediterranean.

I estimated that as a result of the accident, over the next ten years half a million people would die prematurely. Experts in the studio seemed to agree.

The newsreader summed up by saying the incident was equivalent to three Hirsohimas or half a Chernobyl.

I turned the television off and sat there on my own. In the dayroom. In a lunatic asylum. Listening to the air conditioning. To its gentle murmur. I became aware of the harmonics in that sound, several strands of edge-of-perception humming snaking around each other.

My mind broke down the constituent parts of the white noise and I found myself listening to a chorus. Even in chaos, there is information to be gleaned.

The music made me want to dance. But I couldn’t. My synapses had yet to recover from my latest ECT session. I found I could just about walk. It must have taken me a good five minutes to shuffle along the corridor and out the main door.

My fellow inmates and their watchers were gathered on the ornamental lawn which was coated in snow a couple of inches thick. It didn’t matter that it was a moonless night or that the sky was choked with clouds. Spotlights on the roof made day of night. With snow everywhere, the patients in white pyjamas and the staff in white uniforms, the scene resembled an over-exposed photograph.

In pairs, they danced a slow, formal dance. Their movements were fluid yet halting, like the workings of a clock controlled by the smoothest of regulators.

No two people danced the same dance. There were six or seven distinct movements but the order in which they were executed varied from person to person without apparent rhyme or reason.

I wanted to join in but my central nervous system would not co-operate. An attempted sweep of my arm became a wild swipe at thin air. I tried a brise and my legs just spasmed.

So I stood back and watched the dancers in their pyjamas and uniforms. Some wore straightjackets with the buckles unfastened.

It was the Chief Orderly who went first. He was dancing with a female Fromoxodin addict whose hair was gray and unruly. I saw him bow and touch his forelock. His partner turned her back on him. He froze.

It wasn’t that he was still. His inanimation went far beyond that. It was like he was deprived of time and heat. Entropy was his Absolute Master. I had the impression his limbs had somehow locked, that he was now like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz deprived of his oil.

I could have walked up to him and tipped him over.

Over the course of the next few minutes, others followed suit. Their movements ceased, leaving them standing in an array of bizarre postures. Some of the dancers toppled on to the grass; none bothered to get up.

I noticed my breath steaming. It drew my attention to the fact that none of the dancers appeared to be breathing. Yet I didn’t feel the presence of Death.

With a fzz and a phut, one of the spotlights went out.

I walked amongst the frozen dancers like a visitor to an art gallery. The fact that I could move when nobody else could gave me a strange sense of power.

I stood face to face with the Chief Orderly. He was a brutal man who had done me many wrongs. Now I had an opportunity to exact my revenge. But I couldn’t find it in me to be vindictive. What was the point anyway? Whatever I gained by settling accounts, Fromoxodin would soon take away.

I became aware of a smell of burning. A thin spiral of smoke drifted from the Chief Orderly’s left ear.

There was a whirring noise. The front of his face fell at my feet, revealing clockwork mechanisms and circuit boards.

All around me, the dancers shed their shells. Their inner workings were exposed to the chill air. I saw crystals and layers of frost form over nano-carbon muscles and nerves made of copper.

As I headed back indoors, I wondered if that was the way it was everywhere. Perhaps the whole of humanity had been replaced by automatons. All except for me.

It’s called the Danse Macabre. Once you’ve seen it, that’s it. Your life is over.

 

~o~

 

One morning, I woke up in my padded cell to find the door open.

It was after a night of bad dreams. Of sweats and cramps and demons at my bedside. My head ached; my eyes were sore; my muscles felt like they’d been shredded.

I lay on my sorry excuse for a bed – not much more than a wide plank with a paper thin mattress. The door was open. Freedom beckoned. But I wasn’t about to move.

They’ll soon realise their mistake and shut the door again.

My pyjamas, made crusty by dried sweat, itched. I scratched at my right thigh and wondered what time it was. How long till they let me have my next dose of Fromoxodin.

First they’d give me other drugs. Ones that supposedly mitigate the worst effects of Fromoxodin. And then there’d be a quick visit to the ECT room for my brain’s daily dose of electricity. This time I would make sure my bowels and bladder were voided before the treatment. Last time was just plain embarrassing.

Drugs. ECT. Fromoxodin. And then breakfast through a straw. No solids for me. My body could no longer handle them.

After breakfast – association. Time to mix with all the other frommies and guess how far gone they were. How long before total psychosis took over and they either killed themselves or the doctors did it for them.

Officially, we all die – or will die – from natural causes. But the truth is that there comes a stage in Fromoxodin Induced Psychosis when euthanasia becomes a moral dictate.

‘You just going to lay there all day?’ It was Jeremy, one of my least favourite hallucinations: a man-headed insect who of late seemed to be stalking me. Right now, he was hovering in the doorway. ‘What are you? Some kind of hippy?’

Go away, you bug.

‘You’ve got a visitor. They’re in the common room.’

I followed the insect out of my white room into a white corridor, past white walls. Jeremy led the way. Occasionally hovering; sometimes flitting ahead and then back to me again.

The building was quiet. There was no sign of anyone other than myself.

 

~o~

 

I read about the suicide bomber on the Internet. About how he managed to get into the luggage compartment of the Prime Minister’s election bus without being detected.

Unfortunately the PM wasn’t on the coach when the bomb went off. He was standing just far enough away to be slightly injured. Pictures of his bloody face appeared all over the World Wide Web and sent his approval rating rocketing.

Ice, you fucking idiot. At first I didn’t recognise you. The only picture of you the press could get hold of showed you in your school uniform, looking normal and freshly scrubbed. They called you by your real name: Fernández Garcia. It’s not known why you did it, but it probably has something to do with Britain’s occupation of Southern Mexico.

You’re the fifth person to try to kill the Prime Minister since the election was called. I’m beginning to think he’s indestructible.

Your face was on television when I walked into the common room. It was a 3D reconstruction of what you may have looked like before you blew yourself to smithereens.

Annie Palmer was waiting for me. Dressed in white fatigues. Lounging on one of the three settees arrayed in front on the television. An ex-model, she reminded me of a tigress.

‘It’s all gone wrong,’ she said, and I assumed she was talking about the failed Mars mission. The one that had blown up, killing her and her two companions. ‘The control program is out of control. There are too many random variables.’

I don’t understand. What are you saying?

‘Isn’t it obvious, Danny? This world is no longer viable.’ Annie got up. ‘Take global warming, for instance. Every year, the hurricane season lasts longer and longer. The ice caps are one third the size they were a decade ago. Towns and villages throughout the UK are under water. And that shouldn’t be happening. At least not for another hundred years.

‘And then there’s all the wars and occupations. Britain thinks she’s building a new empire. But she’s not. All she’s doing is stretching herself further and further and pretty soon something’s going to give.

‘America’s disappearing up its own fundament. The Chinese are turning their country into an over-farmed, over-mined, over-industrialised wasteland. Tin pot dictatorships are spreading like a rash. The madmen have taken over and they have weapons of mass destruction. And it seems like everyone and his brother is a terrorist these days.’

I get the picture.

‘Do you, Danny? Because I have the feeling you’ve lost track of things. That maybe you’re losing your mind.’

Of course I’m losing my mind. I’m a Fromoxodin addict.

‘That’s another thing. Fifty million Fromoxodin addicts worldwide. All going slowly insane. All being told that’s it: no more Fromoxodin for you. So now the frommies are rioting and killing. Chemist shops and hospitals are being looted. People are pimping their own children for a single dose.

‘In many countries, they’re rounding up the addicts and shooting them. Every Fromoxodin Clinic in America is designed to do one thing – kill frommies.

‘Your own government is drawing up plans for concentration camps.’

What do you expect me to do about it?

‘Come with me, Danny. It’s time to wrap things up and go home.’

 

~o~

 

The ghost of Annie Palmer, Playboy centrefold and astronaut, took my hand and led me down to the duck pond.

Autumn was beginning to affirm its presence. Multicoloured leaves floated amongst the ducks and moorhens.

Some of my fellow inmates were on the lawn. These were the ones who could be let out of their padded cells. It was just after medication time so most stood staring into the void that awaited them. The few still capable of locomotion shuffled in aimless circles.

A clutch of orderlies, sheltering between two bay windows, looked on.

Why are we here? I asked.

Annie squeezed my hand. Her eyes, fixed on mine, drained me of all trepidation. ‘This is Page Zero,’ she said.

The ripples in the pond died away. I briefly caught sight of my own reflection as the water turned to quicksilver.

It began to glow. Bright radiation that was life itself enveloped me. I was walking along a corridor of light, Annie Palmer at my side. The Control Program released my mental inhibitors and all the memories I had left behind came flooding back. And I knew at the end of the corridor Chastity and Ms Grant would be waiting for me.

My time in the current release of Earth was over. With the data I’d gleaned, we’d be able to fix the bugs and build a better version. And then I’d be free to return as whoever I liked.

In the meantime, it was good to be going home.

 

~ o ~

 

Back in my lizard skin.

I climbed from the sarcophagus and gave thanks to the Five Winds for preserving my corporality and reuniting it with my spirit.

Rebirth is a glorious thing.

I left the inner chamber and entered the purification room where I bathed away the aches that inevitably follow an extended stay in virtuality. Then I stepped into the Machine Room ready to be debriefed about my adventures in Earth 12.

Before I could begin, the Chief System Architect was upon me. Something had excited him.

‘I have proof,’ he hissed, ‘of what I’ve been saying all along. Just like the thousand worlds we have created, ours is a virtual construct within a vast cybernetic system. Most people on this planet do not actually exist. They are the stuff of which dreams are made.’

‘Jodpav,’ I said, ‘come to my office and let us discuss it further.’

‘I am going to write a paper. It will make me famous all over the world.’

‘But what’s the point if the world isn’t real?’  The door to my office irised open. As custom required, I walked in on two legs. My underling scurried in on four. ‘Please take a rock.’

Jodpav slipped into the cleansing pool and climbed back out again. He reposed himself on the visitor’s rock. ‘Thing is,’ he said, ‘I don’t think I’m really of this world. I’m pretty sure I’m one of its creators and, although my mind is here, my actual body is in what I call the Higher World. That’s where the mainframe that contains our reality exists. Of course, I deliberately forgot all that when I came here so I could interact as a native.’

‘Very interesting.’ Sitting on my own rock, I opened the drawer of my desk. Under the pretence of rummaging through papers, I secreted a small energy weapon in the palm of my hand.

‘Somewhere around here,’ Jodpav went on, ‘there must be a portal to the Higher World. It’s probably a wall mirror like that one over there.’

I shot him between the eyes, drilled a neat hole through his reptilian brain. It was all right to kill him. Not murder at all.

As soon as I get back to what he called the Higher World, I will erase all trace of his existence. He will cease to be and have been.

 

PROGRAM TERMINATED

(RETURN CODE=0)

 

 

 

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