-- Suppose there is a girl walking ahead of you. What will you do?
-- What girl?
-- I ask the questions. Another breach and the test will be discontinued.
Am I clear?
-- But I need to know about the girl… what's she look like? It would
determine what I do, to some extent…
-- At this point you can only make out a silhouette in front of you.
Still not clear?
-- Now more or less... Then… I will follow her...
-- Very well. Does she see you?
-- If she turns around she sees me.
-- How close are you?
-- Pretty close. Five, six yards.
-- Then she can hear your footsteps and will turn around at least once;
is that right?
-- Therefore she sees you. Concentrate please... The girl starts
to walk faster. What will you do?
-- Perhaps I will speed up too.
-- Perhaps, or will you?
-- Perhaps I will.
-- I see… Please look over there. Can you see clearly?
-- Is that effective?
-- It is indeed.
-- Those two did not pass the test. And the one in the middle refused
to take it altogether. Do you have any questions?
-- I am listening. I imagine you want to know what will happen to those
-- No… I mean, not just that... What will happen to those who do the
-- You will find out soon enough. Don't rush into hell before daddy.
-- You do not know what "hell" is?
-- I don't know who "daddy" is.
-- Father, lord, creator, chief, leader, totem, patron, boss, godfather,
benefactor… words from dead languages. Do you recognize them?
-- Except the first one.
-- 'Father' ?
-- Approximately the same as "totem", but let us get back
to our lambs... I will explain this expression at another time… should
such arise. (Noise, and now it can be made out as laughter.) Suddenly
the girl dives into a doorway and locks the door behind her. What will
-- Try to open it. I wouldn't break anything. There are a lot of ways
-- Do not get distracted. I will introduce another variable: the girl
is dangerous. She has UHS. Do you know what it is?
-- What is it?
-- It's... the phenomenon concluding the Final Phase. Compared to UHS
all the diseases of the Final Phase: plague, influenza, AIDS... anything...
compared to it they are like a head cold. A carrier with UHS infects everybody
within a 10-foot radius and must be destroyed immediately. And whoever
destroys him, and whoever destroys the destroyer also... Therefore, sometimes
the carriers and the destroyers come together...
-- Very good. What does UHS stands for?
-- I don't know...
-- I remind you that it is better to answer wrong.
-- In school… we would say "Unsaid Horror of Silence."
-- Well... not bad... anyway, why not... So, the girl must be destroyed,
and everyone in that house as well. The house must be burned down, and
whoever burns it must be destroyed, and whoever collects the ashes, even
if they are robots... Do you know what robots are?
-- Yes, they are characters in the folklore of the Final Phase. According
to some apocrypha they were created by man without the help from God or
His Sister. Humans were punished… This in some sense brought about the
end of the Final Phase…
The noise is louder.
-- Very good. Thank you… (still laughing) After all, why not…
Now, everything is clear about the girl, isn't it? If these measures are
not taken she will infect the entire block, and afterwards… right?
-- Yes. I can't imagine what would happen.
-- Precisely. Needless to say, you will be destroyed too. It was enough
to be so close to her.
-- I was not close!
-- Anyway, you entered the house, touched the same door… But why are
you so nervous? This is just a thought experiment. A figment of imagination,
as they say.
-- What about them, over there... are they a figment?
-- Possibly… I ask the questions. In all fairness I should stop the
test, but since you will be destroyed anyway...
-- So this isn't a thought experiment? I refuse to take the test!
-- Too late. I can remind you of another old saying: Don't twitch
if you're in the Devil's teeth... What? You do not know what "Devil"
-- Yes, it's a curse. I don't know what "teeth" are... but
that's all the same! I will not answer anymore.
-- You will answer even if you do not want to. Your guilt is
monstrous and indescribable. Therefore you will not simply be destroyed.
I will be destroyed too…
-- I do not think you are going to enjoy watching it, not to mention
-- That's right. You wanted to know what happens to the testers? Now
you know. Don't you remember that every thought immediately takes form
in reality? At least those of the middle head. What? In school they called
-- I will not speak with you!
-- Will you speak with the girl? (Laughing much louder) She will be
brought in presently. And those who bring her will be destroyed. By you.
Then you will have to destroy me, and then… I think you understand: the
one who refused to take the test, made the best decision. Although at the
last moment they say he screamed that he changed his mind... At any rate,
we do not get too many like him. Although lately we have seen a few… But
you are not the type. And now, get ready: -the girl is here!
Loud continuous noise: now both of them are laughing.
* * *
-- Wake up, wake up, please!
-- …Huh?! I was yelling, no?
-- Not yelling… such a strange sound... so unpleasant...
-- My God, it was just a dream! Thank God. Thank you, thank you!
-- For what?
-- That you wake me up in time... that you're here... give me your
-- To hell! I'm still dreaming!
-- So wake up, silly! Let's go for the morning hunt. There is a southern
current. So nice... Come on, hurry up, sleepy, we'll miss the hunt!
-- Right, we shouldn't miss the hunt... I'm hungry…