Life has died many years ago…
Having finished smoking, Björn still was thinking about this foul, as it seemed to him, aspect of life. Why so many people think light-heartedly that they live and in fact, what do they understand by this? These strange thoughts were changed by absolutely different idea, allegedly imposed on his perception: "Björn, why don't you look into your mailbox?", - he thought and immediately went to his front door. Having unlocked the box, he found a newspaper and a couple of letters, took them and returned to the kitchen. He added some light to read without tension. The paper was put aside, well, actually he threw it on the cupboard, where considerable stack had already accumulated. He took one envelope and read the return address. "Ha!", - he thought gloatingly, - "still writing? Well, write, write. About how you are alarmed with my state, how you wanna come and help...Go you all to hell!". And with these thoughts he threw an envelope, but not on the cupboard, this time in the garbage can. Then Björn took another deep-green envelope and got wery interested with it, because it was typed: “For Björn Larssen. Sweden, Stockholm.”, well, this was quite typical, but he was addled by an inscription “from” - where was written “nowhere”.
“What the hell?!" - He said aloud, - "If I ever had acquaintances to maintain relations, they would never play such idiotic jokes on me over the years!”. However this odd inscription didn't stand in the way to open the envelope. He took out a sheet of good paper folded in three and unfolded it. Suddenly some events occured. The following picture was printed on the sheet and there was also a line in a large print:
WHO ARE YOU, Björn Larssen?
Björn was poured over with a wave of warm, it was so heavy, that he couldn't lift a finger for the first ten seconds. Then he was swept over a cold wave of the same power, and someone shouted in a strident, malicious, amplified with dense echo voice in his head, repeating the same phrase every time more and more assertively.
WHO ARE YOU, Björn Larssen?
He came to himself in about an hour, when there was 1:24 at the clock. He stood up the floor awkwardly and went back to the kitchen, sat at the same place. His head was aching terribly and above all, he couldn't realize, why he had found himself lying on the floor. Yes, all Björn's appearance showed he remembered nothing of what had happened here quite recently. Still there was some obscure remembrance, remaining most probably to his being unconscious, but this single fragment conveyed nothing to him. He saw himself somewhere in immense space (but was it space?), standing on the brink of abyss falling into something that can be rather defined as nothing, but this all is too faint to describe his visions, and shouting to someone unintelligible "I AM NOBODY!!!". There was a sound of somebody senselessly picking one guitar string and breaking up the amplifiers.
Björn took out one more cigarette and lighted it up, racking his brains over what had happened. He definitely remembered nothing, neither his shouting, nor surrounding voices, nor the letter, by the way, where's the letter, you'll ask? Here is a wash-bowl, a cooker, a suite of furniture, a fridge, a table and only cigarettes, lighter and ash-tray lying on it, but no letter as well as the envelope. However, if they were here, Björn wouldn't guess, how they appeared here. Idle sitting and trying to remember anything brought him nothing but full self-disappointment and depressive mood together with suddenly came wish to leave his flat, filled with disharmonic sounds, as soon as possible. He stood up, peeped into the medicine chest, took a couple of aspirins and swallowed them without water. Having came in the hall, he put on the shoes, took a short black coat off the peg, and seized up the gloves. Being unable not only listening the sound, but even being present at the house, Larssen literally lept out of it, having slamed the door with abhorrence.
December night in Sweden is beauty, not demanding any understanding or some superdeep turn of mind, it needs just contemplation, nothing else. Huge city is practically dead out, a few lone taciturn people, going on their business, and light, met only in big streets and windows of those who is still not sleeping. Snow quietly falls on the ground and if you walk in an old paved lane, the sound of your steps become the only sound existing in the world for you in this minute.
Larssen stood a little at his house doorway, looking first at the night sky and falling snowflakes, then at a strange lion statue right opposite his house. He was standing so for maybe 5 minutes, maybe half an hour, he suddenly forgot about the time, excluded it for himself at least for tonight. He was just listening to silence and coming to himsrlf after that unpleasant and inexplicable feeling that he felt in the flat. A strange and amotivational thought suddenly appeared in his head:
"Why haven't I ever left this dead house,
"Indeed, it's the high time to leave!". A thought of returning into the flat was arousing involuntary fear. Therefore having buttoned up coat collar and took a sip of cognac off the flask, Björn set off aimlessly wandering about night Stockholm streets.
"And you, Björn Larssen, do you know this rule?!!" - someone shouted in his head so unexpectedly, that Björn fell into a stupor from confusion and fear. He wanted to say "Of course, I know!" aloud, but as he thought it, this unknown someone asked a new question: "So, what does it say?!!"
"WE ALL SHALL DIE." - He answered this time neatly and smoothly. - "Why shall we do anything, if our fussy movements are so destructive for such a beautiful planet?"
"So, what prevents you from leaving this world, Larssen?!!" - snorted thick voice.
"There're a lot of reasons... the most banal is physical fear of death, and the most complicated can't be conveyed neither by words nor by thoughts, I can't compare it with anything. The only thing can be used as very relative substitute - moral. But not simple moral - supreme!"
"Well, a good answer for a human! And what do you feel now, Björn?! Sense yourself and think how do you feel now, realize it properly." The voice grew silent and left Björn alone.
"What do I feel, how I am?" - he pensively drawled aloud, - "Indeed, I feel I had a good sleep, I'm a bit exited of this slop happening with me and... oh, no! I understand, this all is just an illusion, no, you just realize THIS! THIS is an illusion!!! After all, in fact, the world and all that consciousness may contain is conditional per se. Damn, I feel apathy of al this... and, and I'm so tired (he uttered last words so quiet, hardly could be heard). And really, people, why the hell are you so glad? Because of seeing green trees out of your window, feeling the smell of scorching asphalt of a pavement, or hearing loathsome old women's laughter in the evenings? Or what are you sad about? About man died, money over or a doggy runaway? You just fear for death and that's why you can't indifferently, not getting on the path of good and bad, kill yourself to be out of existence problems. You cover your weakness with mendacious phrases of loving this life, when just yesterday, having come from the workplaces, were clenching fists and talking about being fed up with this life."
"Well, and what about you?!! Don't you lead a dog's life?! You haven't killed yourself yet!" - asked that SOMEONE.
"Haven't killed," - he confirmed, gritting his teeth, - "but there's not much time left, I'll soon pass the bound... such a deed shouldn't be done in a tumult or seizure, knowing is needed."
With these words he walked further in some really surreal lane, enveloping with darkness step by step. He was walking quiet and leisurely, smoking a cigarette. Suddenly a tall lean shadow came off the left wall and turned to Björn's side.
"Oh, that's a bit too thick!" - he thought. It could be supposed he knew who (or even what) it was, but he didn't, that's just it, he felt somehow that approaching of this man (man?) bodes ill.
"Björn Larssen?" - asked the stranger in a deep measured voice.
"Yes, that's my name, but who I have honour talking to?" - he answered looking over utterly lean man and, chiefly, uncommonly tall - about 6.5 feet high.
"You are fool, Larssen! You understand everything, you have already decided everything and you are ready but still slow for some reason! Bring yourself, you have time till morning!"
Having said all this drivel, the man strided quietly towards the right wall and... as if dissolved in darkness. Larssen had only time to see the shine of some item under the lap of black dress and it reminded him the scythe... He sweared and went further and here some really strange developments began to happen. He walked, having his neck drawn into the collar and hands put away into pockets, and his steps were becoming heavier and heavier, just like lead plates were attached to his soles. Moreover he felt becoming tortured by those villainous disharmonic sounds had banished him from his home. He ran ahead panting for breath left his fear behind and willing to abandon all this as soon as possible. He ran up to the end of the lane and found himself in a desolate patch, almost unlit, where everything was grey-black and only papers were flying over the land as tumble-weed. In the middle of the ground there was a lonely man standing, all in black. Larssen immediately recognized him. If you knew who he was, you wouldn't believe your eyes, however Larssen didn't looked surprised at all because he had understood and remembered everything.
"Hello, Björn! Waiting?"
"Yes, you are almost in time!" - the man said and came out in a feeble light ray. - "Good night!". It was ANOTHER Björn Larssen standing in front of him, but it wasn't twin, it was the same man in the same space, existing only for Björn as he was only his subconscious fact, this was a personality living formerly instead of today's Björn.
"There's no gleam in your life, Björn", - started newly-brought-to-light Björn, - "why should you reject this fact, you have even decided everything, you only torment me with your slowness. How do you think is to sit here in your head, seeing and hearing everything but not being able to do a thing? You just can't imagine how horrible this is, you forced out a man off you and began not to live, but to exist, and you don't need me long since!"
"I'll never be able to answer, why it happened exactly so", - said Björn, - "but what's done is done."
"You've gone too far, Larssen. You have ousted the limits of human with your misanthropy and hatred of the world and came out on thinking categories non-determined for a human being. Hereby you delete yourself from the world evolution, though I give a bet this doesn't grate on you."
"Not only doesn't grate, but even gladdens", - Björn answered, - "I understand that the only one thing won't be conditional for me and in the same time will serve as a proof of understanding the conventionality - this is my death. If I come to this knowingly, in my context this is true, but there's no context of understanding common to all mankind! Religion, philosophy and politics drive the world even more in conventionality!"
"Yes, but isn't it possible just to live and to be happy, to create and consume, perfect and develop ourselves?"
"The man was somewhen formed in conditional time, therefore he isn't eternal, and what's not eternal - passes away. I destroy myself wittingly not from the eternity. Even if life is only one in the universe and just converts in different forms, this doesn't fit me and my choise is free-will leaving."
"And why do you think I am here? I'm here to ask myself or old you to stop all this, to leave this existence." - Suddenly his voice become tough and muffled, he asked - "WHO ARE YOU?"
The whole Larssen's life flashed by in his mind in a second, gleaming as those lights in the streets he scorned, and he caught some black hole in his life and having scrutinized it he saw the same vision he had seen in his flat some hours ago:
He saw himself somewhere in immense space (but was it space?), standing on the brink of abyss falling into something that can be rather defined as nothing, but this all is too faint to describe his visions, and shouting to someone unintelligible "I AM NOBODY!!!"
"Yes, Björn, now you're nobody and I'm nobody, you have excluded yourself with your own will, you are no human, you may be proud of it or hide it - all the same! As you say, this is just a conventionality. Well, it's time to go, it will dawn in an hour or two, and your time is only this night. I think we won't meet again, there's no need, everyone is paid back - you are, I was, but soon you only WILL BE, farewell..." And he dissolved in darkness. Björn went at home with cold and soulless face and glassy eyes, thinking of nothing, because ne didn't need thoughts, he got rid of any conventionality, he would have to perform the final conditional act, taking him out of captivity of this deadlock. He didn't thought about the way, he walked automatically and soon reached home, wearily opened the door, put off his shoes and coat, passed in the room. The first sunlight ray, having barely come through beyond the horizon and lighted the room through the window, foreboded the morning. Björn turned to the wall, where a rifle and a pouch were hanging, took it off, pulled out a cartridge. He sat in an easy chair, face to the window, so strange that one part if his face was alight and the other remained in darkness. He drew the breech-block back, put the cartridge there, restored the breech-block and leaned the barrel against his forehead, his cold, not winking eyes were looking at the sunrise, the last sunrise in his life... Björn Larssen was sitting motionlessly and suddenly, before the very death, after feeling full indifference, smiled. He smiled so wide, as he haven't smiled for many years, almost since childhood.
"At last!!! I'm leaving!!! Forever, this time for ever!!! Ha-ha-ha!!! Ha-ha-ha!!!" A shot of large-calibre weapon beat out blood fountain and brain pieces on the opposite wall. In fifteen minutes risen stockholm sun illuminated entirely the habitual room, where everything was as usual, the only thing that set apart today's morning from the previous ones was dirty bloody wall and Björn Larssen's corpse on the floor...
P. S. :
I dedicate this story to
my favourite band - Katatonia,
which happened to be the main inspirator.
Special thanks to:
Dead (Pelle Ohlin) - former vocalist
of Mayhem, who shot himself
in april of 1991
and to Varg Vikernes (Count Grishnakh) from Burzum,
for the murder of Mayhem's leader - Euronymous (Oystein Aarseth).
Individual thanks to:
Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Baudelaire
For their poetry.