Article #33 (Intercepted Email Transmission)
The Mafia hit against William's uncle was botched and the uncle spent the next week in the hospital recovering from knife wounds. The uncle's name was Sergei Rostropovich. Death visited him three times over the course of the week, and three times he encountered the loathsome gateway that he had pontificated upon for so long, studying his nephew's art. On the third time he crossed it.
For in crossing it this time, he did not want to exist anymore. He wanted death, the annihilation of all thought and the total destruction of his personal identity, in order that he may experience no separation with the universe; no thinking, no feeling, no willing, just being, pure being without beginning or end. The more he immersed himself in this feeling of self-loathing the faster his spirit propelled itself through voids of inner space.
The astral knowledge that he gained in Inner Space poured back into his etheric aura immediately upon the resuscitation of his physical body. Re-entering the physical dimension after the near-death experience was like awakening from a soul-shattering nightmare. Voices screamed at him from the Deep:
"It is time for eugenics to rebirth from a century of darknesstoday, right now!a mechanistic eugenics capable of rising up and, in one mighty stroke, sweeping the globe clean of genetic mediocrity, disease, and mental illness.
"Nature will not do this for us. We ourselves must eliminate these deficiencies in the human genome if we expect to control future technologies. The biological incorporation of computer technology directly into the physical embodiment is now a necessity. Man must become machine."
The voice faded as Sergei awakened on an operating table. The image of nurses and doctors replaced the fiery Akashic pictures flashing before him within the luminiferous ether. His nurse looked down at him as if from a great height where, seconds ago, the Anti Christ preached before a small audience.
The nurse was outlined by a surgery lamp, aglow in the artificial luminosity. "Everything is going to be all right," she kept telling him. "You've relapsed. We're taking care of you." Then a stab of pain cut through his insides and the glow of her presence faded into a wall of fog.
The EKG flat lined. He heard it through the fogthat single, un-varying note. The surgeon applied the paddles of a defibrillator to Sergei's chest. The nurse detonated the charge button, and 1000 volts of electricity surged through the paddles; the body lurched from the operating table. Still the EKG flat lined. "Again!" the doctor ordered, and the nurse pushed again: and again the electrical discharge went from the paddle through the heart to the other paddle: causing the body to lurch a second time.
Yet Sergei felt nothing.
In the vastness appeared the luminous gateway. This time he was unafraid to surrender himself to the tides of thought rushing into its vortex. Impelled by suicidal disgust, he abandoned himself to the psychic riptide pulling into the endless chasm. Inside the gateway he was a vapor among vapors, a cloud among clouds. The clouds were gorgeously luminous and shuttered like gaseous light-entities forming themselves into glowing, self-shining, nebulae of the most subtle color variations. This angelic Intelligence communicated to him through the propagation of prophetic dream imagespart-word, part-picture in nature:
The wisdom that the Anti Christ will bestow upon humanity is essential if ever mankind is to understand the universal force of Death and transcend it, either through the workings of the Spirit or though the gross materialism of Sorath. In terms of his impact upon philosophy, religion, science and art in the twenty first century, he will be a monumental thinker. Through him flows epochal-making forces that everywhere make themselves manifest in the peculiar spirit of his work. He is not just a scientist. His insights are the result of universal evil acting directly upon his inner being.
Again, Sergei woke. After laboring from his bed he filled the bathroom sink with hot water. The first gush of water swirled around the edges of the bowl and produced bubbles that rose to the top as the sink filled. Billy, my little Billy, he repeated in the steam. What do we do now, Billy? My Billy Boy. I'm broken all over. What do we do now? How do we get out of this?
He turned the water off, reached for a wash cloth and started polishing the mirror until his face and body was no longer obscured by the fine layer of mist. Sooner or later they'll come after me again, Billy, if they haven't already come after you. Surely they'll finish the job this time. Surely they won't botch a second attempt. Did they botch yours too? Usually they cleanly and professionally finish their jobs, typically with a shot through the head, and not by pummeling their targets into incoherence. I'm wasted, Billy, wasted. I can't believe this is the price you pay.
Talking to him self in the mirror produced a rudimentary form of consciousness that helped him re-establish his connection with reality. The mirror showed that he existed, that he wasn't merely a collection of thoughts and sensations, that he had substantialitya self. The mirror also showed the gruesome black threads sewn into his stomach and chest, where he had been slashed with a knife eight days ago.
Sergei submerged his hands into the water and splashed his face in an attempt to dispel the dizziness. The water felt incredible. Then he froze. A sound had come from somewhere outside the bathroom. The Mafia?
His face, wet and dripping, lifted straight up from the sink. He looked toward the door expecting that it would crash down.
"Sergei? Are you in there? Are you all right?"
The voice had a high, lovely, feminine tone, which he recognized. The voice belonged to Monica, his nurse. Again, she asked: "Sergei?"
"Yes?" he answered.
"Are you all right?"
He emerged from the bathroom seconds later. After he plunged his face into a towel, and rubbed vigorously, he handed her the towel without replying. He was in no mood to hear her grievances over his restroom habits.
"You're supposed to call me when you need to go to the restroom," she said. "And you're never to dislodge your I.V.! That's crazy!"
"I didn't want to trouble you."
"You should not be out of bed in the first place."
"I feel fine, leave me be," he said. The dizziness was unbearable. He required her assistance when climbing into bed.
"Are those men still in the hallway?" he asked, laying in bed.
"They've been there for over an hour. You can't leave your room, Sergei. You mustn't it!"
He rested his head on the pillow and stared at the drizzle beading on the window. The room was basked in shadows of raindrops streaking down the saturated panels of glass, but the pain killers that he was on dulled the pain at the expense of incapacitating his ability to think and reflect upon the beauty. Eventually he fell unconscious.
Tides and tides of beingness washed over the length of his body, drawing him irresistibly into the liquid-floating sensation of a shallow, half-conscious sleep; and it was a sleep filled with dreams. Mental images appeared and disappeared around him, ebbed and flowed through his mind; devils dimly glowed within a transparent mind-substance. He dreamt of the alley behind his restaurant, of the thunder and lightning, and of the devils kicking him and stabbing him in the alley, and of himself lying there, beaten to the point where he was oblivious to the pain. He was dying in the alley that night. And dying, he found, was the easiest, most natural, most cowardly thing he had ever done.
It was facing the astral body of the Anti Christ that was brave.
His nephew, Billy, faced the Anti Christ many times. For six to twelve hour everyday William could be found either laying in bed above the covers or sitting upright in the lotus posture, his eyes closed, his legs crossed, and his face pale and bloodless looking from prolonged astral travels. Rarely did he leave the basement other than to use the restroom or to ungraciously possess his nightly dinner plate, lovingly prepared by his mother. Pictures of the Anti Christ filled the basement.
Through the years Sergei had watched his nephew Billy Bayber sink deeper and deeper into the abysses of his mind sacrificing personal happiness. The boy seemed committed to an ascetic lifestyle, and yet grew increasingly bold, daring, and erratic. It was not uncommon for Billy Bayber to spend the whole evening lying on the cool night grass, looking up at the stars; or riding his motorcycle through the remote hill country; or attending ballet performances, clothed in black leather. Naturally, people believed he was disturbed. He rarely smiled or laughed, and rarer still spoke. It was as if Billy Bayber had grown mute, or as if some problem weighed heavily on his conscience. When awake, and not meditating, he meticulously painted other-worldly beings which have never occupied the earth, but evidently occupied Billy Bayber's imagination.