You know why most of the men want their women to be virgins when getting intimate with them for the first time? The answer is quite simple: they want them to be clean, pure, without a sin. But now, in when almost third of 37th century has passed by, this can apply only to children. And even among them it’s just a few.
Perspective: Father Donovan
- Andrea! Come here, please!
Thirteen years-old girl is coming my way, her friends sitting on the swings and glancing wearily on her back. She is dressed in short nanoskin shirt and a green top without the shoulder straps, obviously, thinking, that it bolds out her chest, that just started to grow. I am feeling real disgust looking at her dressed like that: so much dirt… So much… Sin…
- Andrea, I hear you went to aerodrome again. What did I tell you about this?
- You told me not to go there and not to seduce astronauts. But I did not do anything like that! Me and Lily just wanted to watch the fly-off of the new ship!
- Lily? You took Lily with you? She’s only ten!
- But we did not do anything like that! And we stayed away from the men!
- Do not interrupt me, little girl! Be quick and go change. In one hour be at the laundry room, sister Rosetta will give you some tasks, that will be your punishment for disobedience.
- But farther Donovan…
- Quick! Now!
Andrea pouts and goes to the church, increasing the length of her skirt on the way. I remember that there was something else, I wanted to ask her:
- Wait! Where is Mary?
- Dunno, - she snaps at me…
…It is me who is nearly snapping here…
- Probably playing on the mead again.
- Mea… - I am just a hair from bursting with rage at her: did this bitch gave synthcoke to a five-year-old again? But I am also scared, because this means, he was right about this. This was not a scam.
Perspective: Mary Worpit
This grass is so soft! I like this meadow so much: so vast and beautiful. So many butterflies! And the sky! The sky! So clear and blue, that you can see the stars even midday, and the clouds look like plush animals… That one looks like a bison! And this one… I think it’s some kind of sauros, not sure, how they call this kind.
I like it here more than at home. You can’t see the sky at home, even: just a huge foggy dome with artificial sun. Even on the aerodrome there is just a tiny window, through which the ships fly away, and that is it. Father Donovan says that some time long ago there was no dome in here; that Mars was a beautiful, pure place, but people corrupted it. I do not believe him: home is too… Empty. No animals even. Sometimes I even wonder, if there is anything here besides the church, aerodrome, and a few hotels near it. And the people, they are also so… Empty. Wonder, how it is like outside of the dome? How is it in those places, where the astronauts go?
I roll and laugh from the grass tickling my belly. I see a small rabbit in front of me. He is hopping around in the grass, as if looking for something, twitching his little cute nose. I reach out to it: it presses its ears against its fat fluffy body but lets me stroke it.
Suddenly everything starts to shake, as if there are bombs blowing up under the ground. I jump to my feet, the rabbit hops away in panic. I see the grass turning yellow, corrupting with mold, the earth is cracking as if thin ice under horse’s hooves. I feel my face hurting and burning, as if someone is hitting it. The earth finally cracks under me and swallows me whole along with the world around…
Perspective: Father Donovan
- … wake up! Mary! – I keep slapping her, the girl with wheat-like short hair. I am scared for the life of this little thing: synthcoke can send you to the most beautiful of the worlds, but the sixth dose becomes the last for most of the people. It accumulates in the brain by that time and the last trip simply overloads the victim. And this is the sixth doze for Mary… Some young sluts get synthcoke as payment for certain… Services… They want to feel alive, to feel needed, wanted, to see the world outside the empty eggshell that they live in. And they want their friends to experience the same.
Mary coughs, opens her eyes, still under the influence of the drug:
- Mary? Can you hear me? Mary!
- Father… Donovan? – she can barely whisper.
- Jesus Christ, what are you doing?
- I… I wanted to see the sky… The real sky, father… - her eyes are running in the sockets, unable to focus on anything, still seeing something, that makes her smile like a lunatic, - Real, grass, father. Even a rabbit… I want there, father… There is… Freedom out there…
With these words tears start flowing from her never-stopping eyes, her lips start shaking.
- You are so pure, Mary… So… Holy… - I get my hand on her cheek, wet from tears. Some kind of electricity comes through it, I start to shake, I want to give her this freedom she talks about, I want her to cry not because she is lacking it, but because she is truly free…I want to free her… I raise my hand to wipe away the tears, but… Instead, I grip her head tightly. This desire… It transforms, as my gaze fall on her little shaky lips.
"What… What am I doing? This is wrong… This is a sin…" – I think, as I kiss her. When I let them go, she is looking straight at me, realization of the future in her cloudy eyes.
- Father… - I press my finger against her lips, silencing her. I slide it downwards, to the place, no one but her touched before. I… I want that purity she has. That childish desire that she has. The desire, everyone forgot, voluntarily succumbing to technology and other people to satisfy their bodies and nothing else. She is so… Holy…
She screams as she bleeds. I press my hand against her mouth and whisper that everything will be alright, that she should just believe me. She nods with an empty gaze in her eyes.
When white fluid is spread all over her little a bit bulgy belly, I… I feel disgust. Disgust to this little pitiful tear-stained creature. How could she allow this? How could she allow me to take away her purity like that? I slap her, slap her hard, pulling another flow of tears out of her and animalistic fear settles in her eyes. I slap her again. Again. Again. Her face is getting puffy. She opens her mouth, but not a sound comes out.
I hate this! I hate this! Why was she not protecting herself? Why did she not struggle? I grip her by the throat and hit her against the pillow while choking her. She grabs my hand weakly and whispers with the last strength she has, every syllable to the beat of my hits:
- I… Do… Not… Be… Lieve… In… God…
And then… She is silent. Forever. In her last moment I see a glimpse of hope in her eyes, now truly empty. I started to cool off: "What have I done?" I stand up from the bed, hands shaking, as if I am drunk. She… It… It was not her fault… It was me who was supposed to protect her, protect her innocence, her purity… Why… Why did I… I… I killed her. I raped and killed the girl that I was supposed to protect…
You do not believe in God? How could you believe in someone who let me do something like this? I feel sick of myself, of the dead body before me, of the God, I tried to serve… I look around, searching for something that can tell me just why… This silhouette. I can barely recognize it, in the darkness of the room, but the blood-red eyes are a dead giveaway:
- You! – I shout, - It’s all because of you! You are… You are the Devil! – I run towards him, raising my hand for the strike, even though I know it’s futile, but I need to do something, I need to wash away the sin.
I am standing across a church with shabby walls, covering my face with a palm. The vision is still echoing in my head. I know what to do, how to restore Balance. I need to find Serek Donovan and warn him about one of his wards.
I walk in and feel a sudden chill, but simbiot compensates the temperature fast, even though this was more a psychological thing, rather than the real one. In the main hall I find Donovan standing before the altar, praying.
- Serek Donovan? – I ask, even though I already know that is him.
Man after forty with short chestnut hair and light-brown eyes turns to me and looks at me with raised brow, but not surprised by the simbiot. Probably thinks it’s the suit made of, what they call it here, "nanoskin".
- One of the girls, who lives in the church… Mary is her name. She will die today ‘cause of the overdose.
- What are you talking about?
- Just do not ask unimportant questions. If you want to save a soul – find her quickly.
- This is not funny.
- And I am not laughing. Listen, if it’s easier for you to believe in this, think of it as God giving you a chance to save her life. Just do what I say. Even if I am wrong, you’ll just waste a bit of your time. But if I am right and you do nothing…
Still confused, "holy" father goes out of the church, and I follow him in the shadows.
When he wakes up the girl with a series of slaps, I think, that my job here is done, but I still am not able to port. When I see his naked ass humping away in ecstasy, I feel the simbiot taking over me, fed by the anger I feel for my own inability to stop this, because I still do not have a physical body here. The blood-red scars on my face stretch out in a predatory smile, my eyes are getting hot…
When pastor is running at me, I am finally able to materialize, and I open his belly up and I enjoy the sound of his entrails falling to the floor…
Perspective: Keeper of Memory
He is carrying bodies of Donovan and Mary. The smiley scars on his face are slowly mending and those that made up somewhat like horns over his eyes slide down turning into white lines of tears. He throws pastor’s body to the ground and keeps Mary’s body over the shoulder.
With just a gesture he summons two gravestones from the earth and creates a hole near one of them. Pastor’s body goes into the hole and earth buries it. He takes Mary in his arms, as if a groom – his wife. Her body starts burning and burns until there is only ash left, that is taken up by the wind and spread all over the barren land.
When there is no ash on his hands, but just the burns from his own fire, he shines with white and green and dissipates into nothingness. Only gravestones remain with messages on them. Pastor failed at the duty he chose himself, let the sin take root in his church and corrupt the children further and then even let himself get corrupted by his rage, fear, depression, so his message was: "Here lies he, who forgot himself". Mary was a bird in a cage, wanting to fly freely, so her message was: "Here does not lie she, who chose freedom".
The boy is still struggling for nothing. He thinks that this will restore some Balance, that this will help him with the guilt, but every time, it only creates more guilt for him. There is no Balance, you stupid shit. And even if there is, it does not matter. Do not waste your time on this stuff.
Ah… Whatever… You’ll realize how pointless this is soon enough.
Perspective: Dmitry Kiperov
I wake up. The dream dissipates quickly but leaves one thought: "I am a killer".