“Between the emptiness and the nothingness there is a half world with a darkness of its own and this darkness has a gravity.
“Here is the Glimmer. It is light were there should be no light.
“The Glimmer casts light on the shapeless things in the darkness. Here was born thought that gave shape to the shapeless things.
“The darkness created time for the first thought to unfold. The darkness became aware of itself…”
So began the work I had been asked to translate. It was not the usual thing I would read through in the study room. This would need a moment for me to think.
I looked up at the photograph on the wall of the church study room. It was of my family including my parents my sister and myself. The photograph had been taken by the church two years earlier and had appeared in the local newspaper. We were in the foreground and behind us were a crowd of people waving British flags. It was the year of the Queen’s Jubilee 1977 and the people there were so welcoming for us especially the volunteers who worked for the church, they had been so incredibility kind to us.
It was the year we had managed to escape from Latvia our homeland. My parents both doctors had been making too many friends amongst the wrong kind of people. As time passed my family’s new friends were all starting to disappear.
I never knew the whole story at that time I was only sixteen at the time and no one told me anything , all I remember was being woken up late at night by my parents told to dress, to pack only my essentials and be ready. What followed was a long journey lasting a week of being moved from the back of one van to another till we were on safe territory.
When we arrived in England it was the church that helped us. They organised legal help to get us asylum, they found us somewhere to live and work, they did nearly everything for us. They helped me improve my English to a point were I could speak and read as well as anyone.
The church and its volunteers were our closest friends, they were like an extended family. They never forced their beliefs on us, but out of obligation we attended the services and the gatherings of which there were many.
It was by way of gratitude that I volunteered my help to the church. We all worked together in the church study room. There were Polish, Czechs, Russians, Romanians and myself the Latvian. Here we would translate into English harsh criticisms of the communists from the Christian point of view from those still there left behind in our homelands.
I would come in about twice a week as I had these last two years. A big box would be by my table and in it written accounts in the forms of letters, or detailed diaries of the Christian witnesses to the atrocities in Eastern Europe.
This day was a very different day. Amongst the documents that had been smuggled out of my country of Latvia was this large manuscript of 175 pages. It was typed, usually most of my stuff was handwritten.
It spoke of the great darkness, a darkness that some how became alive in the presence of a tiny point of light called “The Glimmer”. It spoke of the beginning when thoughts and shapes were the same. When time began the two became separate.
I took the work home and that evening read as much of it as I could taking down notes as I went along. Such a strange document and this was just the first page.
Unlike any other work given to me it had no reference number or code. When something was given to us at the church group it usually had a number or something to identify whom it was from. We had our regular writers their names were never known to us personally the translators, but we had their code names or numbers so that we could compile a chronology of their stories; for example I would get letters from someone called “Zeme” meaning earth in our language. He would tell of protest groups being beaten up by the police or the prostitutes of the local civil servants who publicly tried to enforce a moral standard. I would get about one letter a month, then suddenly they stopped.
With this manuscript there was no reference except that is for a symbol. Often mistaken for a cross but was in fact a symbol for a knot, it was the “Ankh” the ancient Egyptian symbol for life placed at the top of the page just above the text.
From the pages two to five it spoke of the shapes: the greater shapes and the lesser shapes. These formed ‘realms’ or ‘worlds’ of their own and in the light of the Glimmer they cast shadows on one another. In the light of the Glimmer there was life in the first worlds, but in the shadows only the remembering of that light, only enough for the half alive and the shapeless.
The strange thing I noticed as I took notes was how easy this was to translate. It appeared to me at the time the original language it was written in was not my native Latvian.
Another language is more than just one word for another, every language has a ‘flow’ of its own. This ‘flow’ for want of a better word was like English or a similar language, perhaps German. I would have loved to know where this book came from, not only that but how it made its journey to the church and be in our possession.
The church naturally would not let anyone know its sources. It had people to protect and we the volunteer translators had to work making no judgements on anyone. However I thought, perhaps in this instance there may be someone I could talk to. Someone who would recognise an exception.
He was Mr Curtis our supervisor and team leader at the church. A very friendly man about early 50’s. He was also a friend of the family so I had his home telephone number. When I phoned he invited me to his house that evening without me even mentioning the book.
The reason for him seeing me so soon became obvious. Mrs Curtis was away that week visiting her mother in France. I was amazed at how helpless he was without her. The house was a mess compared to the last time I visited with the family, he had been living off take away meals, and he did not even know how the kettle worked.
After an hour or so helping him to clean up and showing him how to make tea and coffee we sat down in his front room. I had brought with me the pages of the book and the translations I had made. I showed these to him.
“Strange,” he said “not seen anything like this before.”
“But do I continue translating?” I asked “After all its not normally what we do and does not help our cause”
“Perhaps, perhaps not, but your role as a translator is not to make judgements. No disrespect but you are here as just a filter for the works of others and when your finished you simply get on with the next task at hand.”
“It might help if I knew where this came from, only a rough idea or just something of who wrote it I could get things into perspective.”
“We at the church cannot do this for you. I know it would help you a lot, but everything you are asked to read comes from a source that is not easy to trace back. We have a lot of freedoms here they do not have. I should not have to tell you this. However to make it easier for you I will say; perhaps you are asking the wrong questions, maybe you should ask different questions.”
“Why in translation does it flow so well? Yes that’s what I need to know, its original language.”
“Yes that is a good question, but not the only one you should be asking. How far along are you with the translation?”
“I have been working on pages 6 to 10 Where many worlds are formed including the worlds of the humans, us. Also the formation of worlds not for humans occupied by beings not like us but of equal intellect. These worlds are separated by an unseen force, unseen to all except at the furthest point of everything an ‘all seeing eye”. The eye sees the light that was there at the beginning and where it falls now on all that became alive. Where the light stayed the longest, they became awake or aware and knew were being observed.”
“Do you know what the writer is doing here?”
“He or she is writing some legend, perhaps some folklore story. Latvia like anywhere else is full of creation myths.”
“No Christian that is not it. Instead of asking where it was written or by who, ask yourself when it was written.”
“There is nothing so far in the writing to tell me when the original text was written. No passing references to our own time, so far no mentioning of chariots or pyramids or things from the past. This work could be thousands of years old or could have been typed up last week for all we know”
“Exactly! However I think that was the idea all along. The writer of this work not only wanted to hide where he was, but when he wrote this. All we know is that he wanted it hidden, but from what? The Romans, the KGB or for that matter the Christians lets not forget the inquisition. Where there has been the written word there has always been those to oppress it.”
“At the top of the manuscript there is the sign of the ‘Ankh’ it is the ancient Egyptian symbol for life.”
“I know what it means and so does anyone who has seen ‘Logan’s Run’. Those that delivered it simply gave it a symbol so they could check with us that it had got through to us at the church. This work could be anything. The Kremlin never throws anything away The KGB have been known to keep sacred documents or secret books in their secret libraries. They have ancient manuscripts from the first century never been seen before that tell of the historical Christ, most of them believed to be authentic. They let little bits of information slip out from time to time to mock the Vatican.”
I made Mr Curtis a cup of coffee and then I left.
In my bedroom I would continue reading the pages of the work that had been given me and writing down the translations in my note books. Easy to translate, but difficult to understand. ‘The All Seeing Eye’ as a Christian I did not want this to be mistaken for god, or the ‘eye of god’.
This problem first arose in translating pages 11 to 16: When a mortal of our world looks through the great eye perceiver of all things what does he see? Empires rising and falling, the meaning to all things? No.
He sees first of all himself. Not as he is but as he could have been, had he not made mistakes or fallen from grace. The form near perfect not weakened by greed and loved for not being vain so close to perfection.
The observer weeps to see what he could have become or what he could have been. Most wait too long before they look through the eye, there is no time left to undo what has been done to change for the better. The form of close perfection haunts them burned into their own eyes.
The ones who look through the great eye become immortal, unable to die but imperfect and dark. They are aware that they do not deserve their immortality; they hide in the shadows hopping the great eye will not gaze upon them again.
It was late in the week. I had just back home from college and I was met in the hallway by my mother and sister.
“I have some bad news for you Christian,” my mother said “David has been in an accident.”
“David?” I asked
“Mother means Mr Curtis.” my sister said.
From what I had been told Mr Curtis had been involved in accident on his motor bike. He was in hospital and he was in a bad way. The doctors needed to amputate his leg for him to survive. He had refused to give them permission for them to do this. They tried to get hold of his wife, when he fell into unconsciousness, but by then it was too late. He died a couple of days later.
This all shocked me by how fast things can change and that there is no certainty. The rest of the family knew him better than I did, but nevertheless he was no longer there to help me and from now on would have to work on this book without his guidance.
Things went on as normal for two weeks and as October began in the church in came Mr Curtis’s replacement a Mr Chomsky. From the moment I saw him I disliked him He had acne all over his face and always looked pensive and sweaty. He had soulless eyes and a smile so obviously fake.
The first time I met him he asked how my work was getting along, I mentioned to him how far I had been getting along with certain manuscripts and how I had been working on them in my spare time at home. Then he angrily said to me as if I was some kind of criminal “Documents are not allowed to be taken home, they must be worked on here in the church facilities and all work to be handed in to me at the end of the day.”
“You mean I have to travel all the way down here to work when I can do so much more from home”
“If you don’t like it you can get out.” he said as he walked away.
I had not brought with me the manuscript I had been working on before Mr Curtis died which was lucky as this new man had us all searched leaving and entering the church. At this time he did not know what I had still left at home from the translation pile.
It became a soul destroying ritual entering the church study room. If I came early in the hope of getting more work done I would have to wait for this Mr Chomsky to search my bag. Often I would have to wait for him to finish his cigarette to very end in his little office before he would search me.
Often he would stand over me whilst I worked. He forbade the radio being on, yet would whistle the same tune everyday
The beauty and romance had gone from my work. No longer did I feel like a secret agent or that I was working for god.
“How long have your family been over here?” he asked me leaning over me as I was busy working on various transcripts trying to get as much done as I could before setting off for work.
“Since 1977” I replied.
“In the two or more years you have lived with us there has been a change of government. The British borders are a lot more tighter now. It is a lot more difficult for foreigners to get asylum here. I’m not saying it’s right, only that you should think yourself to be very lucky.”
“Foreigner!” This from a man called Chomsky. What was he second or third generation Polish? I did not know, I did not care.
I stayed on as we all did within the group. We had to get the words and stories of those we had left behind.
As time past he became more devious. On my parents wedding anniversary he had sent my mother a large bouquet of flowers on behalf of the church far more than I could afford at that time and another two weeks later on my mothers birthday. He was getting my parents on his side making sure I would not be making waves and it was working I had weeks of my parents saying what a wonderful man he was.
I still had at home in my bedroom cupboard the copy of the book waiting have its translation finished. This had got me wondering, sooner or later he would be looking through his records of the work we had done and notice something was missing and I was right. There came in the post a letter, recorded delivery asking me to return the manuscript as soon as possible to the church.
Over the next couple of days I worked hard to complete the translation as best I could. I had already written out the first 90 or so pages in original Latvian in my note books, still writing out the extra pages in just two days was hard work.
I returned to the church. I went into Mr Chomsky’s office to wait to be searched. He was on the phone and dragging the conversation on as long as he could pretending to be important to whom I did not know. I could see the clock behind him ten minutes had elapsed, then he started making small talk with the caller.
This was enough for me. I opened the contents of my bag and threw them on the table, then passing every object including the manuscript under his nose. I walked out and into the study room, I sat at my table and began my work.
About an hour later I heard “Christian, can I see you a moment in the office” it was him again Chomsky.
We sat opposite each other at his desk. “This manuscript is about two hundred pages?” he asked.
“One hundred and seventy five” I replied.
“Ok one hundred and seventy five then, yet only the first twenty pages have been translated”
“I did not see it as a priority, as I cannot take work home any more I must concentrate on the people in my home land in the here and now and get the story of the oppression that is going on here and now, not some book on mysticism.”
“The pages you handed in. Where are the notes? I usually see background notes, or variations of different words or phrases not even scrap paper notes with doodles of bunny rabbits in the corner.”
“It is an easy work to translate…”
“So easy that you’ve only translated 16 pages.”
“If your not happy with my work…”
“We are very happy with your work. With your parents busy and your sister moving away, your the only Latvian translator we have.”
“My sister has not told me she was moving.”
“Wait your right… I am getting her confused with someone else, Lolita perhaps . Nevertheless you don’t have the same numbers as the Polish and Russian speakers. Lets face it most people in this country don’t even know Latvia exists, it may end up being absorbed into Russia the same as Tibet was with China. And here our conversation ends…”
He ushered through the door and walked me back to my table.
I did not go straight home after study , but stopped in a local café for a coffee. I did not want to go home tense and angry here I would sit a while and try and unwind.
In came Rasia a typical Polish woman, walking into a greasy back street cafe like she was walking down a cat walk waiting to be photographed.
She sat opposite me with her cup in hand both hands and said “He is an ass hole”. She lit a cigarette
and tried her best to smoke like Marlene Dietrich, but only letting the smoke obscure her face. It did not hide the strong smell of her cheap perfume. My guess was that she must have bought from the market near by. My small cup of coffee probably cost more than a large bottle of that scent.
I could see the staff putting up Christmas decorations. Cheap tinsel around the window frames and a sad little tree in the corner.
I said to Rasia, “We Latvians invented the modern Christmas, the tree, giving cards…”
“Oh please! Your from Latvia, not even the Albanians know where it is.”
I felt like saying “You look like a man in drag.”, but instead I stirred my coffee as loudly as the plastic spoon would let me and gave here a evil stare.
“I am leaving the church after Christmas,” she said in a low husky voice “I’m not happy there any more. I will take some work home and do as much as I can over the Christmas break and in the new year hand it over to him and walk away.”
“He lets you take work home!”
“The poor unfinished creature thinks he has a chance with me I can do things you can’t. He believes because his father is Polish we will marry and have lots of babies.
“Like you I have to tell the western world what’s going on in our countries and what better way than in their own words and to do that we need his assistance and contacts.
“Which reminds me. That book your working I’ve looked through what you’ve translated, it reads like somebody who thinks their going to be the next Alistair Crowley, mystical trash. Poland was full of them ten years ago, your people are so behind the times.”
Now came Rasia’s exit scene as she walked from the table to the door she turned and said “On your way home try to avoid going down Corporation street, the sewers are broken, very messy, it might make you home sick.”
How like a Polish woman.
It was Christmas eve and out of obligation I attended the midnight mass, I was surprised to see that Mr Chomsky was not there.
I managed to get a lift home, it was 1.30 am and to my surprise all the lights were still on in the house. As I came into the living room I saw what every Latvian fears: The family were rolling out the big map.
“Where is it this time?” I asked my parents.
“Afghanistan” My mother replied.
What would have been a normal Christmas day was over shadowed by the Russian invasion it dominated all conversation. Naturally at that time we were thinking and asking where next?
Strange for a Christian to say but I hated Christmas. Everywhere is cold, everywhere closed down nowhere to go. My family would be watching television, that left me alone in my room listening with my headphones to Indie music on the cassette player. I was merging well into the western way of life a depressed teenager reading through a book of secret knowledge that only he knew.
I took out my notes and worked my way through translating pages 17 to 22 of my hidden book.
Here it mentioned the soul for the first time. Do we have a soul? Yes. Do we own our souls? No. The soul may be returned to us in times of need or if we are deemed worthy of it, but until then we are never the true owners.
The soul is owned by what we believe in. If you loose someone in the emptiness far beyond the reach of the light, find what they believed in and you will find them.
We may believe in the wrong things, things that are not true. Until we recognise the illusion the soul is truly lost.
I woke early the day after Christmas and was the first to wake up in the house. It was 7am and as I went downstairs to see on the door mat an envelope. Nothing strange in that a late Christmas card probably put through the letter box late at night by one of the neighbours.
I opened the envelope which had my name written on it and inside was a card, but it did not look like a Christmas card. To me. The picture on the cover of the card was of an “Ankh” it had been hand drawn. At a casual glance it would look like a cross and merge in with the other Christmas cards on the tables.
I opened the card all that was written was the number ’27’.
Then I remembered something Rasia said at the café a few days before. “On your way home try to avoid going down Corporation street, the sewers are broken, very messy, it might make you home sick.”
How did she know Corporation street led on to my own street where my family and I lived?
It had to be her to give me something only I would understand to anyone else it would just look like a badly drawn cross on a home made card from some cheap skate acquaintance.
After breakfast I went straight to the book and worked on the next set of pages these were pages 22 to 30.
Contrary to the other books on the mystical hidden things there are no evil beings from outside our sphere waiting to take over the world. They have no interest in owning our world of decay and death.
The creatures from the outside, they have only one interest in our world and that is it can sometimes act as a bridge between their world and another.
Every now and again there are ripples in the force that separates the worlds of the humans and the worlds of unnamed beings. These ripples allow doors to be created and living things equal to us can move into our world.
When they enter our worlds they must work with haste to find the way out to the next world where they intended to be. Whilst in our realm they are subject to decay and change as we are.
They must find someone to guide them amongst our kind. One who will find for them the next door to go through whilst there is still time. In return they give their guides knowledge or power.
Not all of them find their guide in time. They are forced to remain in this world. They have the choice either to decay and die or change, but if they change they will loose their state of near perfection they had worked so hard to achieve so they may enter the other world.
They know not what they will become, they only know that in their new form they cannot enter the next realm or return to where they came. They must remain amongst us in this world of ours forever.
Some may become angels, some demons and some in appearance human. Few if any will speak of the world they came from.
It was the 7th January the day I had not been looking forward to. Having to go back to the church group.
I returned to the study room to see Chomsky rummaging through a large cardboard box. He looked up and said “ Rasia’s current boyfriend dropped this off. It’ll take me all day to sort through this. Happy new year by the way.”
“Happy new decade” I replied.
Then he asked me: “’Naida’, that’s a Latvian word, isn’t it?”
“Yes it means ‘hate’, it would all depend on how…”
“Thank you, that’s great, please get on with your work.”
Even behind the closed door I could hear mutter the word “bitch” over and over again and the sound of objects being thrown across the office.
At the end of day things appeared calmer. He had not left his office to bother me and I had a peaceful time working on some letters and essays.
I went into Mr Chomsky’s office to have my bag searched. There was a small pile of cassette tapes on his desk and he was putting a tiny black mark on each of them. “it’s so they know it comes from us.” he said to me. “You have to be careful these days, they can receive a tape from anywhere and find it messes up the whole machine, the KGB are very petty that way.
“All these are copies of Pink floyd’s “The Wall”. I know we’re breaking copyright, but it’s hardly the greatest of sins and it is important to them for some reason. To my ears it’s just one and a half hours of some old, has been, pretentious rock star moaning.”
“Well that’s one thing we both agree on.” I said. This was the first time I ever saw him laugh.
He handed me some photocopies and said.”These you defiantly can take home to work on . These are the lyrics if you could copy them out in Latvian as soon as you can I would be most grateful.”
“It never made sense in English, but I will try” I said, this time he did not laugh or even smile.
“Just do what you can. Goodbye and have a nice evening”
To me the year 1980 had begun with no real difference to my life. It certainly did not feel like a new decade to me.
Things did seem to look up for a while. I now had a morning job as a store man for a large department store so I now had some spare money to buy things I wanted more than needed.
I had less time however and for a little while forgot I had a hidden copy of a forbidden book in my bedroom. It felt good mischievous fun, not only was I hiding this from the secret police back home but also from Mr Chomsky. My first free day I went back to translating:
Pages 23 to pages 37 explained the meaning of the ‘Worlds of the humans’. There is more than one according to the book. There are four.
There is our world which needs no explaining then there is a world populated by human beings like us in form, but in behaviour they never left their animal state. Naked they scavenge for food having no tools to hunt. They travel in herds like beasts and in intellect they are no more than beasts.
The world after that they are like us in thought and perception, but they do not die, they are immortal. They age as we do for a while but instead of dying they change from male to female or female to male in a youthful form. This includes fatal accidents and ‘murder’, but instead of dying they change gender.
Because of their condition they a vane. They are the only ones aware there are four worlds with beings like themselves, but they will not act upon it. They keep the knowledge of ourselves and the others like us merely for their own amusement.
Then there is the last of the four worlds of human kind. It is the world of echoes. This world is exactly like our world in every detail and in every person. It is in likeness our twin world, but in likeness only.
The beings of this world are not awake, they merely mimic what we do in our own world. They have no real consciousness. They play out our lives and plans and are forced to die when we die having no choice.
In this world there is only one true mind amongst all the living things here. In appearance anything he or it wishes to be and can pass amongst them unknown. He survives on the emotions that they feel without thought as to why. These poor beings like us still feel but no not why they do so.
He or it is known as ‘semblance’ and even though he can shape, he has an ultimate form he must return to when he feeds. This form is repulsive to all human kind in all the worlds except this one where they cannot be aware of him.
The book mentioned before the ripples that sometimes happen in the force that separates the worlds and these can allow ‘doors’ to be created between the worlds. These ‘doors’ need not be physical. They need only big enough to allow an idea to get through.
With that one idea one of these human like creatures becomes awake, they become aware of themselves, they have free will and truly human. He cannot explain it to the others, they only respond to the physical twin in our world.
The semblance that controls this realm can sense the birth of his rival. The one who is awake must hide or escape to look upon the semblance in his true form would drive him insane.
The semblance is all powerful, it is his world and he has fed from it since its beginning. The semblance can take this world outside of time and all is still. The new one will grow old and die truly alone. The semblance creates a new likeness to take his place and time begins again.
After my morning job and having got my pay packet I went looking through the shops. I stood in front of a shop window, wondering whether to buy a shirt on display, when man in a thick overcoat, slightly smaller than the average man said to me “Labrīt, Labdien! Kā jums klājas.”
“No, its afternoon now your watch must be a little slow.” I replied. Then I realised he was talking to me in Latvian, or trying to. Then I asked “Who are you?”
“Like you I am a translator, amongst other things. If you wish I can tell you more. There is a little coffee shop near by. The shirt is not your style.”
Being a lot bigger than he was I was still cautious but followed him a few streets to this café. We went upstairs and he sat me by the window. The room was warm yet he did not take off his thick over coat. I could make at the shirt underneath was about at least one size to small for him and the knot on his tie was a lot bigger than the norm.
He went over to the counter ordered two coffees. Also the woman behind the counter handed him something which he carried over to our table. They were sheets of paper, which he put on the table saying “The Wall”
I looked through the pages. It was indeed a translation into Latvian of the lyrics to Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”.
“There is also the English version running side by side with cross over notes.”
The waitress put two coffees on the table saying “There you are handsome”. The man did not respond.
With his small hands he put them into the sections laid them out on my side of the table. “You’ll be happy to know, it was not me that translated these for you. When we met that was really embarrassing, but I had to get your attention some how.”
I looked at this man, this was too amateurish for the KGB, but there were the others. The eastern European countries all had secret police of their own including Latvia , who kept information of their own and would only share it with the Russians if it was in the interests of both of them The KGB already knew what they knew, but recognised this as a sign of loyalty.
“This café is a great place,” he said “On one side is a brothel and on the other is a gay bar. Across the road is gambling den and next door to that is were they make pornographic videos. It is highly unlikely we will see anyone from the church here and if we do, they will have to explain what they are doing here ”
“I wont ask how you…”
“They call me Viltus”
“Viltus is not a name, it means fake or false, but perhaps you already knew that.”
“Ah yes, but I’m a real fake.”
Interesting,very interesting. When he said “I’m a real fake” it raised my attention a lot more, as if it was not high enough. The man spoke Latvian very badly but seemed to understand our play on words well. My guess would be that he would be native to Latvia, but leaving the country at a young age about five or six only having a basic grasp of the language. It would be like forgetting most of the words of a song yet still being able to hum the tune.
“You will understand in time,” he said “I am the closest thing you have to honesty at this time. I could well become your only true friend. Hard to imagine I know, then again if you want to continue living here in Britain you will have to learn to have a sense of irony.”
“I don’t know you. I work for the church ours is the way of the light. I have friends many friends all of us friends with our lord Jesus ”
“That’s fine with me, however Jesus might be busy and may have to send someone else. Perhaps that someone is me.”
“I don’t think so.”
“The book you worked on. At first I thought it was all just a piece of fiction, with tiny pieces of facts now and again to try and give it authenticity, sort of another ‘Necronomicon’. However it matched up to earlier versions of the text going back centuries, some on stones much older than Jesus.”
“I cannot discuss anything with you, I have a contract of confidentiality with the church.”
“I know that and that is not what I want from you. I can easily guess what’s in the text, what I need to know is where it came from. What original work was it translated from and by who. The longer we wait the colder the trail becomes and the less able I am to help you.
“You have no idea how all this works do you. You can talk all you want about Soviet tyranny and people oppressed for their beliefs, but who did they learn it from?”
“I see where this going you mean the Spanish inquisition, burning witches, the Roman catholic priesthood torturing people in dark dungeons. I had all that in school back in the homeland. Let me tell you two wrongs don’t make a right a child can see that. A child did see that, I was the child and not the only one.”
“A child who could not see the twice dead. I speak not of any evil power be it communist, be it Christian. You take letters and other documents from supposed isolated Christians in Latvia, perhaps they are isolated and oppressed; but that does not stop them being a pretentious elite who think their world view is the only one.
“Imagine if you will the communists oppressing the Christian’s in your home land and they in turn oppressing others or ignoring them. You will never ask your family the true reason why they had to leave. You were always one of us Anton, you belong with us and you will return and it will be of your own free will.”
“My name is now Christian!”
“You can call yourself Captain Scarlet, but you still die just like the rest of hopefully later than sooner. As you wish, Christian. When we meet again, it will not be me looking for you it will be you looking for me. I have faith that you will be clever enough to find me”
With that he left the café. I looked through the window down on to the street bellow yet saw no man of his description crossing the road or walking along the street. I must have waited twenty minutes before I had the courage to leave this place. I looked in all directions, there was no sign of him. I could have just hallucinated him until the waitress ran out after me handing me the sheets of paper.
That night I fell fast asleep easily that night despite the “cloak and dagger” meeting in the café.
I went in as usual to the church study rooms to find an empty office. I asked one of my study friends Kristina “Didn’t you hear,” she said “He was in a car crash yesterday afternoon. He was the passenger, the woman driving is dead. We don’t yet know who she was, the hospital wouldn’t tell us.”
“How badly damaged is Mr Chomsky?”
“We don’t know.”
My pity for this man was brief as I decided to take a good look around his office. There in a large box in the corner, piles and piles of documents all in Latvian! This excuse for a man had been hoarding away letters from our friends in the home land, chronicles of those in prison and those who had risked their lives to smuggle their stories out. Records of their tortures and their only hope that somehow the rest of the world would get to hear their story. All this hidden away so I could complete some obscure book on the occult.
I said on my way out. “I am taking this home and then if he lives I will be contacting a lot of important people in the church. Either way he’s not coming back here!”
That was not all, as I worked away in the privacy of my bedroom through vast piles of manuscripts, I found a cassette tape “The Wall”. ‘It will do as background noise I suppose’ I thought.
I put the tape in the machine, but I did not hear music. Instead I heard conversations, I could not make out all they were saying too many voices, but I could make out they were speaking in English . Then there was ten minutes of silence. Then what I heard something that froze me there and then. This time I could make out the voices. It was members of my family talking on the phone my mother, my father and sister. Different conversations at different times. The conversations were all one sided no sound from the other person. There would be a ‘click’ noise the sound of a pause button, this would be when the other person would be speaking.
All the talking would mostly be about me; my mother talking about how I was enjoying my new job or my sister thinking I had a boyish crush on Kristina at the church group and of course my father saying I should work harder at my study or end up in that shop for the rest of my working life. All of the conversations were in English.
My hands shaking with anger I took the cassette. After many attempts to insert the tape my hands shaking I began playing side two. There was five minutes of silence the I heard Rasia’s voice. It sounded like she was talking on the phone. Most of it was what I assumed to be her screaming in Polish, it was a safe assumption to think most of these were swear words. Then she changed to English. “I am having your little bastard you bastard! I’m pregnant you moron”. I could not make out the other voice. She went on “Don’t ever call me that again! Call me that again and I will kill you!”
Then everything went silent again on the tape for about ten minutes then a conversation to quiet to make out the words being said or by who. This lasted till the end of the tape.
By now I had calmed down enough to study the cassette tape. I took out my magnifying glass, there was no tiny pen mark that Chomsky left on his tapes to be sent out. This was his way of identifying this tape.
I did not tell anyone else including my family and instead of taking it to the police I took it the next day first thing to the leaders of the church.
I sat in front of the five most senior members of the church and played them the tape. I could see the looks of concern amongst them and they would pause the tape only to ask me if I knew anyone on the tape. I gave the names of my parents and my sister and that the last voice could well be Rasia.
After playing the tape all the way through and reading the rough transcript I had made out one of them turned to me and said. “Thank you for not taking this to the police. Rasia’s family have suffered enough”
“ Rasia?” I asked, then realised. It was Rasia that had been driving the car. Mr Chomsky was her passenger. Only he would know whether it was accident or she planned to kill both of them.
“She suffered a great deal in the Polish prisons about four years or more. Perhaps her mind could take no more.” he said.
He went on “Its not lying as such, we only ask your silence. So far the authorities think it was an accident, it might be very well that. The church has a record of the medication she was on in case of seizures. She should never have been behind the wheel of a car.
“ Rasia’s family may never know she was pregnant at the time and for that reason we have to overlook Mr Chomsky’s affair with her. On that matter we also ask your silence. It is a thing we Christians must do difficult as it is.”
“I have made no copies.” I said.
He handed me the cassette tape, I snapped it in half and ripped out the tape inside. I handed a collection of broken plastic and tape back to him.
“I think we all have an understanding now,” everyone nodded as he said this
Three weeks later Mr Douglas Chomsky returned to the Church. His face was a mess swollen two huge black eyes, from then on we nicknamed him “The Panda”. I had already been at my desk half an hour,when he came in. He could see all the piles of work I had done when he was away. I smiled at him over the mountain of work I had done without his help.
He thanked us all for the cards and gifts we had sent him in hospital, thanking us all individually including me which was odd I had sent him nothing.
He was not alone, he had brought someone from the local mosque “This is my friend Aashir,” said Chomsky “he has friends in Afghanistan, he has come to see our work. He is thinking of doing something similar at the mosque. He would like to say a few words to you all…”
Aashir spoke to us all saying what an inspiration we all were and Chomsky was standing beside him and he noticed me holding a cassette tape in my hand, playfully moving it through my fingers as magician would do with a card.
Chomsky walked over and stood next to me, pretending to be listening to Aashir . Chomsky whispered to me clearly behind a fake smile “Let me guess ‘The Wall’.”
“I don’t know how you did this, but do it again and I get the police.”
“ ‘Another Brick in the Wall part two’ you’ll find it on side one of the tape, it has the lyrics ‘Hey teachers leave those kids alone’ and do you know who sings it the most? Teachers. All of them drunk at the staff Christmas parties singing that same song, over and over again now the little brats have finally gone home.
“The Soviets are the same, high ranking officials in the secret police hang on their office walls the cartoon caricatures of they find of themselves. Nearly always in high quality frames. After all they could be valuable when the artist is dead, hopefully before he makes a cartoon of his rival in the next office.
“Nothing we do here is important. Nothing!”
The speaker had stopped and we began clapping. I turned to him and said “You are nothing!”
He went over to the shake the speakers hand. I watched him with a cold stare, not noticing the man next to me on my others side,not noticing something being slipped into my work folder.
As I was leaving for the day and walking down the corridor I heard a man’s voice “Aren’t you forgetting something?”. It was Chomsky.
“No,” I replied “If want me searched then call for one of the church seniors to look through my bag, I will wait. You are not touching anything of mine. Ever!”
“That’s fine,” he replied “I trust you. Have a nice evening”
Its was not till I got home and after dinner in my bedroom did I open my work folder and there was inside a sheet of paper and on it a cartoon figure. It was a drawing of Mr Douglas Chomsky. He looked hideous his head huge and that evil grin of his and those vacant dead eyes and bruises around his eyes and cheeks. The person who drew this must have been standing near by listening in to our conversation. It was of great detail considering that person would only have had a couple of minutes to draw this man in.
That night I had the strangest dream. I was behind the wheel of a car. At that time I had not yet learned how to drive. The machine was out of control and I was panicking. In the back seats were two people, Viltus the man I talked with in the café and next to him on his left a woman that I did not recognise.
Viltus was reading out loud from a book. “Keep on driving man!”
He handed the book to the woman of which she read out “Your nearly there!”
“But I can’t drive we are going to crash!” I screamed back.
Both of them held the book together and from the pages they both read out “Now!”
The car crashed into a tree and my face hit the steering wheel with a huge thud. Then I woke, so realistic were these images. “Just a bad dream” I said to myself.
It was only an hour before my alarm for work and not worth me going back to sleep. I made myself a coffee and looked again through my folder at the cartoon of Mr Chomsky. Something the artist had picked up on that I had not. The bruises around his eyes and cheek bones all formed into a semi circle. The dream! The semi circle of bruises. A steering wheel! He was the driver of the car that crashed not Rasia. It was his face that hit the steering wheel of the car he was driving when it crashed!
February became March and March, April. I would be busy at work getting things ready for the sale before the New Easter stock came in. The great thing now however was that I had managed to translate the whole of the book in my bedroom. All that remained now was to make out a copy and that could wait.
It would be about this time I must have posted to the church the cartoon of Mr Chomsky. It was late April I met him on my way to the study room. He took me into his office and showed me the cartoon that had been drawn of him. It was in a quality frame hung on the wall.
“Do you know who made this?” he asked
“No” I replied.
“It’s a pity,” he said looking up at the image on the wall “Now my face has healed up well. I would have liked another one done of me.”
“It is a work of quality, despite the subject. He has done your sarcastic grin so well and those dead soulless eyes.” I had grown tired of being polite to him.
“Who knows one day it may be very valuable.” he said slowly and clearly.
I never mentioned the half circle bruises like the imprint of a steering wheel. He could so easily destroy the picture now his face was healing up.
I went into the study room not noticing the empty table by the window.
At home I went back to copying out the book I had translated, it would also be an opportunity to double check the flow of the text. I had reached pages 37 to 49
As already been mentioned there were four realms or worlds of human kind. The final world being exactly as ours but its inhabitants merely replicates of ourselves with no waking thought merely duplicating our actions and this place being ruled over by the ‘semblance’ feeding upon them.
This ‘semblance’ may rule this world but he did not create it. This last world of human kind, was created by the first ones. The first to take human shape. They knew our world that we inhabit now will be destroyed. It will be enveloped by darkness and be no more. The last of the worlds was created for us for when our own world will be annihilated.
After the time of great darkness when all around us is no more there would still be this new realm to go to.
All this comes at a price for there must always be four worlds of human kind. When the world we live in is no more and we move on there will be a creation another world of human kind, one not like any other. They will be the cleverest of them all and will want all the four worlds of human kind to themselves.
The first ones who took human form have long since moved on, far beyond the vision of the all seeing eye and the light of the glimmer.
However one of them will return. He will tell us when the time of great destruction will happen.
He will show us all the time when the doors will open to a world exactly as our own, but not chosen by the great darkness.
As for the ‘Semblance’ he will not challenge him. The ‘Semblance’ by this time will have taken on a new form’ either a great and beautiful creature of light or that of a great and powerful darkness that would destroy the four worlds of human kind. It is our actions that will decide this.
My Mother’s behaviour was becoming strange. She would often loose her temper for apparently no reason. Most of her temper was usually directed at my father. Then would come days or even weeks when she was perfectly calm.
It was Friday the 30th May. I was in the study room of the Church when one of the Church seniors came in. He had an announcement to make to all of us there. Dorin one of the Romanian translators had fallen down the stairs in the local tower block where he lived. He had suffered severe concussion and was in a coma.
My first thought was “who was Dorin?”, then I saw everyone look towards the empty table near the window.
I went home as usual to be met by mother. The moment I entered. She had her coat on and was holding her bag. “We are going to the hospital to see your friend Dorin.”
“I hardly knew the man” I replied.
“Just do as your told!” there was no reasoning with her once she was in one of her moods.”I will drive us to the hospital. We will go in to see your friend”
As she opened the car doors I asked “What if it’s not visiting time? We don’t know how bad he is”
“I have friends at the hospital. We will see him and I will tell you how bad he is.”
Despite having parents who were doctors I hated hospitals and here I was being driven to this cold clinical place by my mother to see someone I would probably not recognise if I saw him in a crowd .
We made our way to the critical ward. I saw my mother talk with one of the nurses and hurry back to me. “His sister has gone to get a coffee that gives us a few minutes alone”
Dorin lay in bed covered in bruises monitored by machines that I did not understand.
My mother rushed to the figure in the bed and looked at his arms and hands.”Help me” she said as she pulled back the sheets to look at his lower body.
“Mother!” I shouted.
“Don’t make a scene! Mother knows what she is doing” She said looking at as his legs and the huge dark bruise there.
“You have seen your friend now its time to leave.” she said.
“Mother will you explain yourself!” I said as we walked down the corridors.
“Not here, I tell you in the car” she said to me.
As we were walking out I saw the most beautiful woman I had ever seen before in my life, luckily she did not see me. She was at a coffee machine.
As we drove home I sat with me arms tightly folded glaring at my Mother.
“When you fall what is the first thing you do?” she asked.
“I don’t want to play a game of questions Mother!” I angrily replied.
“Humour your dear old mother. Think what is the first thing you do when you fall?”
“You put your arms out to stop the fall or try and grab hold of something.”
“Yes we do so by pure instinct. There no marks of any kind on his hands or lower arms, no scratches or bruises, nothing. I would expect to see some bruising, as he fell onto those concrete steps.”
“How would he do that?”
“He folded his arms tightly as you are doing now. He would rock himself to and fro. And then throw himself down the stone stair way making absolutely sure he could not reach out to save himself.”
“He tried to kill himself?”
“Yes and he was trying to make it look like an accident. The most probable reason is that this way would not bring any blame to his family.”
“If he gets better will he try something like that again?”
“Oh yes, this wasn’t the first time. The bruises down his side they weren’t from the fall they were at least a week old. My guess would be he threw himself in front of a moving car . The driver braked just in time, but still left him heavily bruised.”
“What would make him do that? And how did you know to go down to the hospital?”
“Instinct. We know when something is not right.” She stopped the car and said “Just like your father”.
She gave out a hollow laugh and said “I wake up first and pick up the letters. It was instinct that made me open the letter addressed to your father.”
She continued laughing saying “You have a little brother.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I should say half brother. He would be about twelve years old now his name is Mikus. It was an affair your father had with one of the nurses long ago.
“The letters continue coming. On how the child is progressing, how he is getting on with his education, how he is growing. Of course she has been put up to it by the authorities, it would be them saying ‘we know, we still have one of your children’”
“Oh my god!” I said
“He hasn’t seen any of the letters. I can’t show him anything. No matter how angry with him I am cannot let him know anything. Your Father must continue thinking they don’t know about his other son. I don’t want him doing anything stupid.”
“Like going back home…”
“This is home now. If anything bad happens back there we must not let him know, he is the type that can be blackmailed.”
Two weeks later Dorin was dead.
I would dread going to the church study room. One day I would really loose my temper and do something stupid. No way would I resign from the group of translators.
On meeting Chomsky I said to him before he could say hello “One way or another you are leaving here. Whatever it takes I will get you out.”
“That’s fine,” he said “I have obviously offended you in some way.”
“You have offended me in every way.”
“Do you think it has been in any way fun working with you. Your constant moaning, your sentimental causes. I am here to stay boy and stay I will. No one cares about your little Latvia and its little clique of pretentious Christian writers.”
“You are a sad little man trying to look important.”
“The book. How far along are you with it now?”
“I am not sure. Other work must come first then I can get on with it”
“The book has waited centuries to get to English, it can wait a while more, what difference does a few more weeks make.”
“How do you know it’s centuries old? There is nothing to say how old it is.”
He gave out a slow evil laugh“You have never been honest with me. Why should I be with you?” he said to me as he started sharpening pencils avoiding my gaze. He started making notes with his pencil in the margins of documents. “The cartoon of me on the wall,” he said whilst still looking down making his notes “that was done by Dorin. The young man who had that accident. Would you like to see his other work?”
From his desk drawer he took out the drawings and put them on the table for me to see.
All the drawings were of myself. “It seems you had a secret admirer.” he said behind a cruel smile.
There were seven drawings of me and all of them were in great detail. Myself at my writing table, there was me sitting on a park bench. There was one just of my head.
“A lot more flattering of you than me,” Chomsky said “Your look like the perfect ‘pin up boy’. Take them home with you if you like, its nothing to do with the church. His funeral will be held here at the church next Friday 11 am. I don’t know where everyone is going afterwards, all I know is I wont be there. ”
As I put the drawings into my folder and walked to the door I turned to him and said. “He was a good artist. Your cartoon. Look closely, see how the marks on your face start to form the top half of a big circle… Like the imprint of a steering wheel!”
I turned to leave and heard the sharp sound of breaking wood like pencils being snapped.
At home when I knew I was alone, I opened up my folder took out the drawings and looked through them. Not only did I look in awe at the detail of the images. It was the first time I noticed that I was a handsome man. It did not feel strange that I had been admired by another man, I found it flattering.
I could tell that those seven drawings of me had been done over the space of at least a year. I could place them in order starting with the skinny 17 year old with a boyish face, from then on to a slightly more masculine face a few months later and so on till the man in the final drawing. There I was in a white T shirt, my arms a lot bigger from doing heavy lifting and still having a small waist.
Dorin’s funeral was mostly members of the church including the study group. There were only two people I had not met before. Of these two people one I recognised as the woman at the coffee machine at the hospital, she must have been his sister an incredibly beautiful woman.
I had to sit next to Chomsky in the church. As we waited I could see he was aching to tell me something. “You don’t read the news much do you?” he asked.
“No, I only what I need to know” I replied.
“It all makes sense now.”
“What does you little piece of shit”
“Dorin. I was checking his work making sure everything was in order for anyone who wanted to take over…”
“And what did you find?”
“Letters from people in Romania. Guests from a party held by one of the high officials in the Romanian secret police. Well not so much parties as orgies with some ritual to some ancient half forgotten deity. Photographs as well, all showing the faces and other parts of that department, including their mistresses.”
“That would be embarrassing.”
“Instead of translating and handing it over to the church. He decided he would do his own way. He handed it all over to the press, pictures as well. He thought he could get back at them. It all gets published in the weekend papers and other outlets across Europe, news gets back to Romania… ”
“I know where this is all going.”
“Oh yes we all do. All that stuff was sent by another department of the secret police. They were using us to get rid of their rivals. With the others disgraced and forced to resign or face a mock trial, some devious social climber pushes their way up.
“Here is where it gets really interesting. The wife of one of those swingers is very high up in the Romanian elite. She ‘arranges an accident’ for two of the women at the party one of whom is pregnant with her husbands child.
“The new boys take over and they are a lot worse, more people go missing, more people tortured forced to make false confessions.
“Dorin was a dreamer, he never questioned his sources or the reasons why he was being given this information.”
“You must have been aching all last night to tell me this.”
“This is to warning to all of us, not just you. Imagine if that book you pretend to be working on gets into the wrong hands.”
“Like the KGB or the Romanian secret police are going to be interested in the occult or some spiritual bridge between hidden worlds.”
“You sound like you’ve translated more than you say you have.”
“You sound like you don’t need me to complete the translation.”
“I am getting oh so bored with this. Like you say nothing we do is important. This isn’t the only church. I have had enough. I will write to the church committee…”
“And what what, resign like some angry young man making a stand. That’s fine with me. You wont give me what I want so be it. Say what you want about me to whomever you choose I don’t care, I really don’t care.”
Adela was her name she was Dorin’s sister and she was beautiful, very beautiful. She met with all of us one by one to thank us. Instead of shaking my hand she placed her finger just bellow my ear and ran it along the line of my jaw, her finger rested on my chin saying“Thank you for being here today Christian”
We all went back to a large house. There was food and wine laid out. Apart from the church group there was just Adela and her friend. Gradually as the afternoon went on everyone left until all that was left was just the three of us.
Instead of asking me if I had any where to go she asked “Would you like some more wine?” and without waiting for an answer she filled my glass.
“This is Becky,” Adela then said to me “She is still in shock, we both are, but Becky and my brother had such plans together.”
“Were you…?” I tried to ask.
“He was my boyfriend.” Becky said as she bust out crying and ran out of the room.
“Perhaps I should be going.” I said to Adela
“Please don’t,” Adlela said “Its not your fault. Becky goes like that all the time. It is a lot worse for her, she is carrying his baby.”
“There is a room full of empty chairs please sit”
We sat opposite each other and she said to me, “I was never that close to my brother Dorin. Truth is I do not really feel anything, nothing of any significance or how one should feel at loosing a brother.”
“Maybe it hasn’t sunk in yet.” I said.
“I thought that at first, but there really is nothing. I dread having to look after Becky, one of her parents at least could have come to support her at this time, but they wont have anything to do with her. Oh they will send her money. This house its all hers it was meant to be for both of them, Dorin and Becky after that they wanted nothing to do with them. As always Dorin has left me to clean up the mess after him.”
“Where did he learn to draw? He was very good.”
“He was better than good, he was brilliant. No one taught him he just took to it naturally. His work would appeal more to you than me, mostly naked women, stacks and stacks of them. The occasional rose perhaps and after more women in seductive poses. The only time he would do men would be on request, but in fairness the quality of his work allowed us to see a man from a woman’s point of view. His field was art whilst my work was in make up.”
We must have talked for at least an hour just the two of us. “You are very nice man Christian,” she said “such a pity it could not have been at a better time.”
She walked me to the door saying “Please feel free to call round again. I have enjoyed your company greatly.”
She waved to me as I walked down the street to the bus stop.
I waited two weeks in which I did not attend the church. Chomsky would be thinking I would come straight away to resign, I wanted him to wait a while.
I threw the letter on his desk “This is a copy of the letter I have given to the church committee,” I said to him as he sat there smiling at me “it outlines the reasons why I cannot work with you and letting them know I will be happy to return if you ever leave.”
“I see,” he said back to me “well all I can do is wish you happiness in any further endeavour you chose to do with your life. We appreciate the work you have done for us and remind you of our own policy on confidentiality.”
“I have done all that I am obliged to do.”
“And I am sure the church well let you know if and when I leave here”
“Then all I can say is good…”
“I hate you far more than you can ever imagine, but God help us your the only one here that can read Latvian!”
“’Us’? Who is this ‘us’ certainly not the church.” I said watching his face turn white.
“Just hand in the notes from the book and we… I mean I can work on what we’ve got.”
“I am sorry that it has come to this. We both will loose now. Your pride might well kill both of us. So be it.”
“Why? Why are you so interested even obsessed with this book. What kind of hold does it have on you?”
“There is an opening in Manchester, more or less the job I’m doing now. Give me the full translation and I promise within a month I will get transferred over there. You will never see me again ever!”
“You seem very certain of that job in Manchester.”
“There are people in this church who owe me a lot and I mean a lot. If the church can give it to me they will and it means I wont be around to remind them.”
“This ‘Vacancy’ how long will this be left open for?”
“They want my decision within the next ten days.”
“Then I will give you my decision within the week. Until then you can sit here and sweat.”
“I am sure you will come to the right decision.”
“I am sure I will, until then goodbye” and with that I slammed the door.
Sometimes our best and worst choices happen in moments of anger. If God would not help me then maybe the Devil could.
I made my way to the seedy café that stood between the gay bar and the brothel. I made my way up the stairs to the counter and was met by the same woman at the counter that I had seen last time.
“A small coffee please.” I said to the lady.
“Anything else?” she asked.
“No, just the coffee.” I replied.
“Are you sure sir?”
“You see a lot of people here and probably don’t remember the man I was with and it was a while back.”
“You mean Viltus sir. I remember both of you well. Do you want me to get him for you?”
“I will bring your coffee to your table sir and if he is available which I am certain he will be I will let you know”
I waited with my coffee at the table. The place was busy with strange looking people.
The woman at the counter came to my table. “Mr Viltus is on the phone please follow me” she said.
I followed her and she took me to a small room and on the wall was a telephone off the hook. “I will leave you alone now” she said.
I picked up the phone saying “Hello”
“Is that Christian?” the reply.
“Its Viltus. Good to hear from you again. Do you have the book?”
“Not with me.”
“That’s not a problem at the moment. Have you given a full copy to anyone yet?”
“No doubt you’ve had a lot of heavy persuasion. Otherwise you wouldn’t be coming back to me. Whatever you do, do not give it to anyone else no matter what.”
“Why should I give it to you?”
“Do you recall me ever asking for the book?”
“Not that I recall.”
“All the more reason to trust me. This isn’t just about a book, This is so much more.”
“Who do you work for?”
“When we meet face to face again I will tell you and we will both laugh together.”
“Ok then. I am prepared to meet you again.”
“Excellent, are you free tomorrow afternoon three o’clock?”
“I can arrange to be.”
“The young lady behind the counter will give you an address to go to. Until then Christian be careful tell no one, watch everyone.”
He hung up and the lady behind the counter gave me an address written on notepad. “Do not knock or ring the bell, the door will be open.” she said.
I arrived home to see a police car outside the house. “We have had a little drama whilst you were out today,” my mother said to me as I came in. “Next door has been broken into, number five”
“The ones with the dogs.” I said.
“Yes those German Shepard dogs. Obviously he didn’t know that you can still see the blood on the street outside. I just heard the barking and saw this man from the back running past the apartments at the end of the street. Well not so much running as limping very fast”
It was the whole topic of conversation at the table. Normally the dogs were great with people they knew. We would be good neighbours and take them for walks when the lady next door was away visiting. I remember my sister hated them both they would lick her face vigorously she would only make to the end of the street with them then completely loose patience.
The end of the street! My thoughts started racing. The street we lived on ended on a corner with the apartments at the end, but the apartments being on the corner and only recently built were numbered as the end of the next street. Someone seeing our street for the first time would think that the apartments were number one and by counting the houses up as they went along could mistake our house for the neighbours number five.
I did not mention this to anyone, it was a stupid idea anyway, as if someone who wanted my notes could not read the numbers on the doors.
However I would be taking no chances. The book notes and translation as well as the sketches Dorin had done of me along with that strange delivery I got the day after Christmas were all going with me.
Before I set off I took a good look at the door of our neighbour. It had no number. The door opened and I said “Hello Mrs Armstrong I just wanted to see if your ok after what happened yesterday”.
“I am fine Christian, tell your family not to worry I have my boys looking after me.” she said looking down at the two big dogs. “he didn’t get the chance to take anything, lucky for him he managed to get out in time. I think they both took some big bites out of him.”
“I noticed there is no number on your door would you like me to pick one up for you when were out shopping. I could put it up for you as well no trouble”
“That is so kind of you, but that’s already being taken care off. My son will be down later today, he noticed it too. Like you he is very good son. Please don’t let me keep you I am sure your on your way to meet some pretty young lady. Tell your Mother and Father everything is fine”
It was three o’Clock and I entered the house from the address given to me. Not knocking or ringing the bell I entered into any empty house no furniture not even carpet all was bare wood.
“Upstairs” I heard shouted down to me in the hallway. When I made it to the top of the stairs I heard “In here”.
I entered a room that was totally empty except two chairs one with a large over coat hanging over it and a young woman. It was Adela!
“Please sit down” she said.
“Are you waiting for someone as well?” I asked.
“No,” she replied “he is already here.”
She put on the large thick over coat and in a deep dark voice she said “When we meet face to face again I will tell you and we will both laugh together.” It was the voice of Viltus.
“You were Viltus all along!” I said startled.”but why?”
“I did not want you to know who I was at that time nor did my friends. Now it does not matter any more. I did not want you to know that Rasia and I once shared this house together.”
“Who are these friends of yours?”
“Let me start by telling you about the book. We don’t know his name only that he lived during a time of great persecution probably under the Christian Roman Emperor Gratian, he declared a war on all non Christian beliefs. He persecuted those that did not follow Christianity. This unknown man wrote his work in secret.
“He belonged to a sect of believers called ‘The Essence’. My friends and I are merely a continuation of ‘The Essence’ and their knowledge. We have friends in every country on earth we are everywhere , but most of us are in Eastern Europe. We are also known as the friends of Mr Dolinsky.”
“Who is Mr Dolinsky?”
“Mr Dolinsky has not yet been born, but we have to call him something whilst we are waiting. The book will lead us to him without the need for anyone to even read it.”
“There is method in madness. The author of the book knew that more than anyone.
“The problem was we never knew whether it was authentic. The answer was easy we let it slip into the hands of the Russian secret service, the KGB could authenticate anything”
“And how do you suppose your going to get that information back? They know everything and you know nothing.”
“As I said we have friends everywhere and at the end of the day they did not know the significance of what they had translated. All they had was a date well into the future and a place outside their reach. It did not matter what they knew all we needed to do know was whether they believed it or not.
And believe it they did . Through the grapevine they started to ask questions. That meant what we had was the real thing. That was our signal to go ahead and translate”
“I get it now; Mr Dolinsky is the code word for your messiah. Your part of some religious cult”
“If you want to think of it that way. Time will tell, It is the act of making the unbelievers believe without them knowing it. That is how everything is created.
“Think of it like this Elvis Presley if everyone in the world went deaf back then, what would he have been? Without his listeners he would have been nothing.
“The book keeps resurfacing in different obscure languages from time to time that are translated in bits and pieces and the secret police in far away lands are made to look like they are hiding this great knowledge from all of us. Then big waves start being made. People start wondering what is this book?
“And then there is the missing part of the book. The one with the place and time of where a new god will be born!”
“I am sorry, but we cannot help each other. You are welcome to believe what you want. I am leaving now.”
As I stood up she grabbed my arm and whispered in my ear “Listen there is someone else here in the house. Someone downstairs.”
“Ok, I hear the footsteps too, we leave together. Is there another way out?”
“No, only the stairs down to the door. The windows are sealed shut, the glass to thick to break”
Too late the footsteps were coming up the stairs.
It was Chomsky that limped into the room. Both hands in his pockets.
“Hello to both of you.” He said.
“This is not my doing.” Adela said.
“Then how did he know I would be here?” I asked.
“You think all of this revolves around you. I come here everyday Rasia and I were lovers. I look to see if anyone has been here, I look to see if anything has be disturbed. Even in an empty house I can tell if anyone has been. The book was never yours Christian.” Said Chomsky.
“No one truly owns a book. All things written are second hand views of the world.” Adela said back to him.
“Let me have the book,” said Chomsky “I will give it to those who understand it. If I knew it would take so long and cost so much I would have learned Latvian.”
Chomsky pulled out a pistol from his left pocket and pointed it in our direction.
“Give me the book. I walk out of here. Neither of you will ever be troubled by me again!” He said.
“No!” I said.
“Just give him the book.” said Adela.
“Your right handed,” I said noticing he was holding the gun in his left “What’s wrong with your other hand. Let me guess, its heavily bandaged.”
He took out his other hand and it was heavily wrapped up with rags with the blood soaking through.
“Happy now?” he said.
I saw the pool of blood around his left foot. “And your leg?” I asked.
He was about to bend down to show me then stood upright quickly saying “Oh no! Nobody messes me around, nobody!”
“You need a doctor,” I said to him“Those dogs must have taken some big chunks out of you.”
“Let him take the book. Our job is done,” Adela said “We don’t need a book. Without readers a book is just black marks on thin wood.”
“Listen to the crazy lady,” he said his hands shaking”give me the translation.”
“How many of your late girlfriends pills have you taken.” I said to him “I hope you have read the side effects. Rasia was not a well woman, she must have been well stocked with medication.”
“Give him the translation!” Adela shrieked as she tried to grab my bag, I pushed her away.
“If necessary I will shoot.” Chomsky pointed the gun right at me.
“Where did you get that gun from?” I asked but no answer.
“I want you alive Christian,” Adela said now crying “I want more than sketches on paper.”
“The sketches! Your brother did those sketches for you!” I shouted across to Adela.
“Yes!” She screamed back at me “Even now with you behaving like an ass I still think you handsome…”
“Will he look so handsome with half his face and brains splattered over the walls! Give me the book and you and your pretty boy here live!” shouted Chomsky.
“If I give you the translated book will you please go to a hospital.” I said to him “Those wounds are going to get septic, you need treatment very badly.”
“Why should you care?” he asked
“Because I still try to be a Christian” I replied “Even with you pointing a gun at me, I will offer my help willingly”
“You said that from the soul without the need of a book,” Adela said “give it to him, he needs it more than you ever will”
“Here take it and the notes.” I handed everything to him that was in my bag.
By instinct he grabbed everything with his bad hand. His grip was too weak and his hand too damaged for him to hold onto anything the papers and documents flew everywhere in a spasm of pain. Some fell into the pool of blood at his feet.
“Shit,” he screamed “help me you idiots. I don’t care how long it takes just put everything back in order. Did you number the pages?”
“No.” I replied.
“No that would be way to much to ask for,” he said furiously as he pointed the gun, the pain killers looked like they were starting to ware off “The two of you work together get everything back in some order. Now!”
Adela and I crawled around the floor picking up the pieces of paper. She then handed me the pages as I sat there putting things in order.
“Hurry up!” he screeched.
As I worked my way through the mess of documents I asked him “Who are you really?”
“A whore pure and simple. I don’t know who I am working for and I don’t ask. I am paid through an account set up by the church.” he said.
“I know who he works for,” Adela said “tell your bosses Mr Chomsky that our records state that Mr Dolinsky will be born on either the 31st August 1996 or 1st September in England born to foreign parents, this can all be verified. They will be happy with you for that extra piece of information.”
“Fifteen years your friends plan well ahead Adela,” I said laughing “plenty of time to learn Latvian.”
“He is lying,” Adele said “he may have started out as a mercenary spy giving out information for money, but he made the mistake a lot of them make; he started believing in the cause he was working for. He saw the chance to see himself as important.”
“A journey from mercenary to martyr.” I said laughing and then Adela and I both laughed together.
“Remember there is a man holding a gun to your heads!” Chomsky shouted down to us. He really was shaking now.
“Were not afraid of you any more.” Adele said to Chomsky “Your too week, your too feeble to pull that trigger. You’ve lost too much blood man, its like your three hundred years old.”
Mr Chomsky fell into the chair opposite me still holding the gun, sleepy but still conscious.
“I am nearly finished just a few more pages to go.” I said.
“This is probably the first time time he has ever held a gun,” Adela said to me “that pistol must be older than he is and may never have been fired. He must have got it from some dodgy backstreet dealer. The Russian black market perhaps. He so wanted to please his masters.”
“It is complete.” I said to him.”We will leave it here on the floor everything is in the correct order.”
He raised his gun to me saying ““Wandering stars for whom it is reserved, the blackness of darkness forever!”and pulled the trigger.
I closed my eyes. I heard the loud bang so deafening it echoed through the empty room. I felt a wet feeling across my face and felt something ricocheting across my face. I heard Chomsky scream. I opened my eyes.
What I had felt on my face was Mr Chomsky’s fingers hitting ripped from his hand by the explosion. The gun had exploded blowing his one remaining hand to pieces.
The answer was simple an old gun that had not been cleaned in decades. It may have been faulty to start with, ex army gun that had been building dust up inside and a man who had never handled a gun before in his life.
I looked on in hysterical shock.
“We really have to get him to a hospital.” I said.
“The phone downstairs is still connected we can ring for an ambulance.”
“No ambulance!” Chomsky shouted.
“If you don’t get help you will die!” I said to this man.
“I would have killed you! Why do you still…”
“If not the hospital, then your friends. Do they have a number?”
“32768, ring it they will come for me. Tell them I have the translation, they will take care of me now.”
Adela took from her pocket some tissues and wiped my face. “We have to get out of here really quickly!” she said
“So much blood, I must make the call!”
“Hurry!” she said.
I picked up the phone dialled the number I heard a deep voice say “Hello”
I said “Your friend has the book, he is in a bad way. Please help him he is at…”
I heard the voice on the other end say “We know the address to go to.”
“We really must hurry! And I mean hurry!” Adela pleaded with me.
She dragged me outside the house to a car parked nearby. She drove us of at high speed. We kept driving and driving until we were in the country side way outside the city.
She stopped the car in the middle of what to me was nowhere.
“We were lucky!” she turned to say to me “Very,very lucky. You have no idea man!”
I started laughing and pulled from under my blood soaked shirt a strange small object covered in blood. “Look its one of his fingers!” I said laughing. “It must have got under my collar when he blew his hand off!”
“Unfortunately I don’t have an address you can post it to.” She said unmoved by what I had shown her. “By all means keep your weird souvenir, but just remember by now the place we’ve just from will be being cleaned up. This time tomorrow, no trace of anything, it will be as it was. Like he and us were never there.”
“The card I received the day after Christmas. Did you put it through the letter box?”
“I still have Dorin’s work clothes in the boot of the car. He wasn’t the big athlete you are so may not be a good fit, but still it will draw less attention than the blood soaked rags you’ve got on now.”
“Why do you change the subject?”
“I could not wait until valentines day. So I sent you the Christmas card instead.”
“And the number 27?”
“The number of missing pages to the book you were translating.“
“No doubt they will be found in some dramatic situation.”
“Oh yes, Hollywood style. Not in Latvian this time, perhaps mediaeval Italian, I hear Dante is coming back in to vogue.”
She drove me to a remote bus stop from which I had to wait two and a half hours for a bus and then another hour and a half to be within an hours walk of my home all this time in clothes that did not fit me and look ridiculous.
Everything changed mostly for the better. Chomsky was replaced by a very nice woman called Anita at the church. She let us get on with our work and also arranged meetings so we could discuss any problems we had.
I did not see Adela again until the 9th September that year. I met her at her new home, the one she shared with Becky.
“How are you?” She asked me.
“Fine, more importantly how are you?” I asked.
“I am well thank you.”
“Chomsky I never knew what happened to him.”
“His friends would have come for him. They would do the best they can for him, hopefully there would be some amongst them that would have medical knowledge. If they arrived in time he would have lived. But why care about him? He would have killed you and no doubt me as well. Only by his ignorance of guns, or some unknown grace do we both live.”
“You never really told me who he was working for.”
“The other friends of Mr Dolinsky. It is difficult to explain. They see power and opportunity where we see knowledge and belonging. They would have found Chomsky lying there nearly dying screaming in pain trying to hold on to a translation of some ancient book with his few remaining fingers and so the legend grows within the group and passes on to the homelands and they are the ones who will really take notice. Think of it like two groups of children scheming and plotting against each other for the love of a parent. ”
“It sounds like your trying to create your own god. By enough people believing or fearing this new god he takes on a reality. All from some book that has no name.”
“Oh the book does have a name it is known as ‘The Book of Ironia’. It is not totally without a higher intervention. Without the prophecies we would be just making all this up as went along. They are the shadows of his coming.”
“’The Book of Ironia’, let me make a wild guess ‘Ironia’ in your language means ‘Irony’. It is the easiest word in the European languages to translate, but the most difficult to explain. Like the word ‘time’ we can translate it, but not explain it. And what of the shadows of his coming?”
“Seven years before his birth the soviets will start to loose hold of Europe and nation after nation shall become free of Russia, Five years before his birth communism will be no more even in Russia.
Other events are listed. Within a year of his birth the Queen of England will die.
“If these prophecies and others are not met then we will just have to say ‘Ah well, lets all go back to the church. We don’t follow blindly.”
“Even so you have nine years of waiting just for the prologue and another five till he is born. Then years of childhood, we will all be old before we can talk to him as an adult.”
“A lot of things will happen between now and then. You will change and I will not be able to help you.”
“How will I change and how do you know?”
“We have the house to ourselves for the day. Make love to me. You and I naked. In time you will love someone I could never compete with. You will reject me and must reject me by your very nature. But until that day make love to me.”
“What will happen?”
“You will read a book.”