V.O Artist: Seraphim
Listen to this Chapter.
I Killed the Immortal
By: Oro Prizyvaushiy
Ah, what a nostalgia. I shook my head, getting rid of the remnants of the dream. Compared to the other things I did back in the day, the memory I saw in the dream was just the tip of the iceberg. Well, the task to kill an immortal demands an extremely nonstandard approach by itself. Thus, in my attempts, I had almost reached… perfection.
My current problems were nothing compared to that task, and the question was not if I would succeed or not. In fact, there were two questions: “When?” and “How?”
The answers lied in the surrounding reality and depended on how fast I could figure it out.
That morning I had no desire to rummage through myself nor figure out how much mana I had left after yesterday’s magic tricks. I’ve had enough of that for the last twenty years, and now… I was back in my home world, after all. I wanted to get enough of it, to see it in the daylight and to finally understand how much it changed.
Just the fact that the demons showed up there was already making things awkward. We either didn’t have them before… or they were successfully disguising themselves, just like my recent acquaintance. After all, if he hadn’t revealed himself, I would’ve taken him as a human. No, in the world I left, the demons were considered mythical creatures.
I took them for granted only in Vissarion’s world, so yesterday I wasn’t surprised by mister “I have an offer you cannot refuse” and his good news. Yeah, it would be wiser to take my safety seriously and prepare for any shit possible. But… no. I don’t want to. Not now.
My empty stomach also suggested that simple needs come first, and only then subtle matters. I wanted to pig out. I was going to check out that nice eatery where I used to go often in the old days. Maybe a miracle happened, and it didn’t go into the dusty archives of the past.
I decided to not take the crowbar, just shook off the dust from the clothes and checked the wallet for the quantity of cash. There was something.
The city has changed. I already noticed these changes in the corner of my eye at night, but darkness, tiredness, and emotions didn’t let me fully evaluate them. St. Petersburg used to be a large city before too, but now it has turned from a regular metropolis into a vertical metropolis.
I didn’t know if the Fog’s spread was stopped or not, but I myself saw that it was adjacent to the city and even took parts of the outskirts. Probably, that was the reason for such changes.
The buildings were skyrocketing. People could no longer build in terms of length and width because of the Fog, but they still had height, so they used it to the maximum. Even with my head up, I couldn’t see the tops of the buildings above the clouds. And, you know, most of them were residential…! I wonder how much electricity is needed to maintain the lifts.
Almost all wide streets in the outskirts turned into narrow piled up structures. Deficiency of free space at its finest. I just hoped that the center was still not affected by these changes.
And that hope had something to support it. The city wasn’t fully changed like this. Looking in the direction of the hill where yesterday’s cemetery was located, I saw that it wasn’t built up and overall remained almost unchanged. Why? There probably was a reason for that, but there was no point guessing now.
Signboards have changed. Old brands were gone, new ones came; some signboards became brighter and gaudier, some didn’t. New monuments that I didn’t remember appeared. They were concentrated exactly here, on the section of the central road, where they didn’t try to save every millimeter of land.
The signboard of a phone and other digital technology store caught my eye, and I decided to enter it. Ha…! Even such a simple store had security, and not just one bored fat guard, but around ten focused guys who were watching me closely.
However, the phone selection hasn’t changed much for twenty years. Looks like the notorious ‘progress of consumer goods’ has stopped, and there was no longer time for showing off with slightly thinner cases.
Sadly, the demon didn’t carry much cash with him—he probably preferred cashless payments. The prices were so high for me that I couldn’t even afford the simplest second-hand device. Well, it’s not surprising, considering the situation. 32% of the planet was in the Fog. I don’t know where the factories were located now, how logistics of the products’ details were organized, how complicated the transportation routes between different places became… but shipping clearly wasn’t ending up cheap. Now phones and other high-tech things seemed more like luxuries rather than items that anyone could afford.
I would’ve really liked to get a phone to access the Internet, even if only through public networks. SIM cards had to be bought with a passport even in the past, and it’s unlikely that something has changed now.
Well, reading the news over a cup of coffee didn’t work out, sadly. However, I hoped that I, at least, could afford the coffee itself. It would be unlucky if it became ‘an exclusive product in the state of deficiency,’ because I really missed it.
The next disappointment awaited me when I remembered the way and finally got to the place. There was no coffee there. I looked around twice, trying to understand if I went the wrong way, but no, it was that exact place.
However, there was something better, and that something surprised me. At the place of the eatery, there was… an Internet café? If that place could be called like that.
Twenty years ago, I wouldn’t have even thought that their time would come again. The business that no one needed and had been living through its last days was now flourishing. There was a large complex with multiple floors, including, according to the plan, about ten underground ones. There were stationary computers, VIP areas, private rooms, a capsule hotel for an overnight stay, eating halls—whatever it—and so on. And, just like in the technology store, a shitload of security.
It all looked like… a very profitable business, the culture and the scope of offered services of which had been developing for at least ten years. Well, yeah, damn deficiency. Not every family could afford to buy such equipment for their home now.
After studying the plan for a couple of minutes, I decided to enter. Not a VIP area, of course, but the prices for the common hall seemed acceptable.
I was worrying until the last moment that they would ask me to show my documents, but no—a smiling girl in glasses told me the price and, upon receiving the payment, said that the computer number 621 was turned on and that I could go to my place. Well, all the better; on my way there, I also bought a couple of sandwiches at the checkout. Eating at the computer is not the best habit, but I didn’t want to waste any time.
I leaned back in a computer chair and clicked on the browser icon. Now the main thing was to not get stuck in there for the rest of the day, after all, twenty years without access to the World Wide Web was no joke.
At first it was exactly like that. For the first half hour, I’ve been mindlessly clicking on links and headlines, reading everything I saw. A new movie release? Nice, let’s see what was on trend in Hollywood—and if Hollywood was still intact. Politics? That was also useful. Sports news? Well, I was glad to find out that the Olympic Games were still hosted, despite the Fog. New memes…? “Hedgehog in the Fog” is trending? Wonderful, let’s watch these too.
TL/N: “Hedgehog in the Fog” is a 1975 Soviet animated film directed by Yuri Norstein and produced by the Soyuzmultfilm studio in Moscow.
But then I actually pulled myself together. I needed the news sites; the whole night passed, so there was no way there was no news about the triple murder. It had to be found.
I was interested in some particular details of that news. I need to find out who they were and, more importantly, their fathers.
Well, I found that out, however there was almost nothing else in short and dry notes on the news portals. “19-year-old Gunther Crane, the son of a famous benefactor and politician Michael Crane, and his 18-year-old friend Liam Simm, whose father works for Crane’s security service, were murdered.”
That was all. Poor demon! He wasn’t even mentioned. As well as the other details. Neither time, nor place—only official words “Michael Crane insisted that the details of the case should not be disclosed until the end of the investigation”.
Michael Crane… I frowned, trying to remember that name. Something was coming to my mind… some old acquaintance from my past life. He clearly wasn’t one of my best friends because I could hardly remember his face, but I still knew someone with such a name.
So, that meant he killed me and then all of my family…?
As for the details, they were coming up on their own. Forums, commentaries of the news feeds, publics—everything was full with the discussions of the day’s main news. However, half of that was nonsense. Someone saw a whole cavalcade of Cranes’ cars moving towards the old cemetery. Somebody heard a day ago at a nightclub that Crane Jr. said something about Sergey Gottfried’s grave and some artifact which was supposedly buried with him. Some people were expounding completely different versions that had no connection to reality—like assumptions of the connection between the victims and drug mafia or ideas that it was just internal political intrigues.
But the next one was interesting.
“You won’t believe me,” someone wrote on one of the forums, “but one of the graves in Gottfrieds’ crypt turned out to be empty.”
I leaned back from the screen. I wonder how he found out.
The reaction to that rumor was interesting. “The revenge of the disturbed dead?” Ha. What a crazy imagination people have. I switched to the next page.
Another news site didn’t give me anything special, other than maybe the appearance of Michael Crane. As soon as I opened it, I saw a video which served as the main news there. “Michael Crane’s appeal” and today’s date.
However, for a minute and twelve seconds, he only said the most basic things. Today was a tough day, blah blah, let’s do our best, they will not go unpunished… He wasn’t lying. You could see even through the screen that it was hard for him to speak because of the grief. However, he had to because of his position.
Burn in Hell, bastard. I promise if I could kill you last, I would.
There were no commentaries under the video. It was a pity; they always contained the most interesting info.
And I already found the best proof of that on the next page.
“The Gottfrieds’ revenge?” Someone with a nickname of letters and numbers mixed was asking. “Don’t make me laugh. The only living Gottfried is Valentine, the one who helped Cranes destroy his own family back in the day. Who is going to take revenge? Him?”
Oh boy. The appearance of my second cousin immediately came to mind. When I left, he was sixteen; a regular guy, he wouldn’t set the Thames on fire. He was a bit dodgy, but not enough to suspect a future traitor in him.
Of course, you shouldn’t trust just one commentary. Everything could’ve been completely different, the truth could’ve been overgrown with rumors or even myths. But, anyways, I had to search for the details of the circumstances of that old story. I needed to find out how it all had happened, what exactly had the argument with Crane been about and why had he decided to deal with my family so cruelly.
And I also wanted to find out where my only rumored surviving relative could be found.