Abbot Mendelvokberto rushed down the spiral stairway and down the hall toward the commotion in the dining hall. Upon bursting in he saw that it was more than a commotion; it was an actual fight; his children were fighting, and he did not know how to becalm them now, for they had indeed become like wolves.

Trogonovskij straddled Lidianov on the stone floor, beating him savagely, shouting about sin and abominations and the weakness of the flesh; blood already oozed from Lidianov's nose and the back of his head as he cried for mercy. Tolvonech, Zacvílec and Tarovskij had joined in the assault, kicking the boy in the ribs and head, raising their cowls as if dancing the can-can. They shared Trogonovskij's belief that the woman was an angel, who had come to the monastery to condemn the sinful relationship between Lidianov and Sapranovich, and that the monastery would not be pure in her and God's eyes until the sinful element had been eradicated.

The other monks had watched the beating in disbelief so far, but their trance was broken when Gregodon cried out: "Stop it! You're killing him!" He rushed up to Lidianov's attackers and, along with Golgonov, Tulkin and Figuravskij, struggled to pull the men away from their half-dead victim.

Eisenstein, meanwhile, tearing at clumps of his sparse grey hair, rushed up to the Abbot Mendelvok, who still stood frozen in the doorway, and grabbed and tore at his cowl: "Abbot! Abbot, do you not see now?! What I said from the very beginning?! The woman has corrupted this monastery! The woman has brought evil -"

"The woman is an angel!" bellowed Zacvílec and lunged at Eisenstein, pushing him back against the wall, with which Eisenstein's head collided with an audible crack.

"Get away – get away, you gluttonous fool," shouted Trogonovskij at the same time as he pushed Gregodon away from Lidianov's body, which Tolvonech and Tarovskij were still pummelling, undeterred by their brothers' attempts to pull them away; Tarovskij had grabbed Lidianov's head with both hands and was pounding it into the floor, flattening it into an indistinct puddle the colour of beetroot borscht. Gregodon fell onto the dinner table, and under his weight it cracked in two, sending the cutlery and candlesticks clattering across the floor. One lit candle fell onto the tapestry of the crucifixion of Peter, and the flames rose at great speed, consuming the adjacent tapestries, then the ceiling beams. Suddenly the room, which now seemed to contain nothing more than fire, smoke and screams, seemed to Mendelvok a vision of the Inferno.

He stepped back from the doorway as his eyes watered and the smoke made him cough. Inside the dining hall, his ten brothers ran about screaming, some of them still attacking each other, most of them engulfed in flames. They looked like demons.

"My children …" said the Abbot.

"What is happening?" said the woman. The Abbot turned his head; the woman stood farther down the hallway, having just come down the stairs. Her expression was one of – that same perpetual wonderment, child-like wonderment – even – was that a – half-smile? A teasing smile, a proud smile.

Alex –" Umberto realizes it, finally. "Alex is in the woman's body."

"You bitch, you know what is happening!" said Mendelvok as he rushed towards the woman, who stepped back in fright.

kill her him yes I have to kill her him here and now; I've got him; I'm a big burly monk and he's just a frail woman

"Don't touch herhim!" screamed someone behind the Abbot, and he felt a burning hand on his shoulder. It was KaspTrogonovskij – KasparTrogonovskij who had come running out of the dining hall, engulfed in flames that were slowly eating through his cowl, his skin, his flesh. And now the flames touched the UmbertoAbbot's shoulder, spreading hungrily through the dry, coarse fabric of his cowl, and Umberto the Abbot knew that he would die now, in great pain.


In front of him, the woman ran down the hallway, a blurred white speck seen from his tear-filled eyes. She Alex turned the corner and was gone.




With a roar of pain and frustration, Mendelvok turned and pushed Trogonovskij's Kaspar's fire-consumed body away, feeling the flames connect with his own skin under the cowl. He charged ahead like a dying bull – the snow, the snow; he must reach the cold balm of the snow – praying at lightning speed to God to save him, to please let him survive the fire, survive this nightmarish night –




- but there was no answer from Glenn or Charlotte God, perpetually silent God, and Mendelvok burst through the doors opposite the dining hall, outside in the icy night air, out in the courtyard under the starry sky and Sapranovich's body still hanging from the tree. Screaming as his skin sizzled and popped and cracked, Umberto Mendelvok threw himself down in the snow and rolled and writhed in its embrace. The flames were extinguished. The pain remained, unceasing, his skin charred. But the flames were extinguished.

He screamed and sobbed, lying there, under the starry night sky, under the mountains. He screamed again and again, like a baby

dying of

the Sickness.

Oh God oh God

And his screams started an avalanche.


Just as Sapranovich had warned the woman of on this very spot, just a few days earlier

No, wait

, the Abbot's screams rose across the steep heights of the mountains above the little monastery, shaking loose their little pebbles and larger rocks, unleashing an avalanche that grew and grew and drew closer and closer to the defenceless building below.

No, this isn't FAIR

Inside the dining hall and the hallways, the brothers were still running, shouting, fighting, engulfed in flames, unaware of the final destruction that would soon reach them and end all of this irrevocably. As Abbot Mendelvok lay on his back in the snow, his body curiously relaxed, enjoying his view of the wave of rocks and boulders rushing down to bury his monastery, his final thoughts were not of God, nor of the devil, nor of the woman, but simply of – the delicious juice of pomegranates.

And so the monastery was buried under a heap of rocks twice its height, and ever since that night, it would look to passers-by as if there had never been any manmade building among these uninhabitable foothills.

In the silence that followed, the only sound aside from the howling of winds was that of footsteps, crunching the snow.

A single figure walked steadily away from the mountains and the buried monastery, across the tundra, toward the invisible horizon.

It was a woman.

This story has ended. Would you like to read it again?


Alex opens his eyes and sits up. He is in the Library. He still shivers, his body readjusting itself to the heat in here. He has survived The Woman from the Snow. Because he chose to be the woman.

Umberto has not survived. His body lies lifeless on the floor. Charlotte and Glenn slowly prop themselves up behind it, glowering across at Alex and Alison. All sitting on the floor like this, it looks like they're in some bullshit meditation group.

Kaspar's body isn't moving either. He lies prone, eyes closed, a trickle of blood from one nostril.

"He sacrificed himself," Alex breathes. "Trogonovskij."

Calmly, Charlotte takes Umberto's pulse. "Fuck," she concludes.

"You didn't go in," Alex says to Alison, confused. He looks over at Charlotte and Glenn and repeats himself. "You didn't go in."

"We thought it best to be … spectators," says Glenn.

"I knew the story," says Alison. "I knew only the woman survives. And you'd already selected her."

Alex nods.

Kaspar coughs up a spurt of blood. His eyes flicker open, focusing on Alex. "Alex … I'm sorry."

"It's okay." Alex bends over him, stroking his blond hair from his sweaty brow.

"You know … that I'm not real – I was just … your friend." Imaginary friend. Yes. Alex knows. Kaspar Freind.


Kaspar's eyes close, and he continues: "I was just … your memory of … an Austrian exchange student … who gave you a blowjob … while you were drunk."

"I know."

"Another …" He coughs up more blood. "Path you could've taken."

There is a MONTAGE of the two girls buying ice cream – talking to the three SPANISH MEN for a moment, then running away –

Paths within paths.

"I know." Alex looks up at Charlotte. She is frozen, lips parted. Charlotte the ice queen. Charlotte with the low self esteem. Charlotte the woman, not the man. Charlotte with whom he's had some good times. Beautiful, difficult Charlotte. He looks back down at Kaspar, pretty Kaspar, easy Kaspar. Imaginary Kaspar. Imaginary because nothing is ever really easy in life. The other paths you could've taken. Might not have been that easy. Nothing is easy.

The Lover is an expansion of the Friend, offering the same helpful attributes, but with the addition of the physical act of sex.

Cut to three YOUNG SPANISH MEN, grinning and watching.

Have you done this before?"

"I don't know," Alex breathes (maybe?

– talking to the three SPANISH MEN for a moment, then running away –

then running away –

and Kaspar is gone.

Alex breathes heavily, his whole frame shaking for a moment, juddering. Eyes stinging.

Kaspar is gone.

Merrily merrily merrily shall I live now

The Friend is gone.

the sprite

"Enough of this," says Glenn, who is now standing above Alex. He kicks him hard, in the head. Alex flies back onto the stone floor, the back of his head banging against it ow FUCK, and Glenn straddling him now like Trogonovskij straddled Lidianov, to kill him, grabbing his throat, thumbs squeezing in on either side of his Adam's apple.

"NO! GET OFF HIM -" screams Alison, rushing in; Charlotte throws herself against her and knocks her to the ground –

- and Alex's vision is swimming; all he sees is Glenn, Glenn's loathsome head, teeth gritted, above it the vaulted ceiling of the Library –

- and he manages to hiss: "Index – take us to -"

"NO!" shouts Glenn.

"- the Laughing Eye of the Ibis – page – 394 -"

Loading ….


.. Boarding school 30%



Cultists ….. 5% …. 30% …



Lisa … 64% … 100

Gretchen 100%

Please choose a point of identification.

Lisa Gretchen Frau Winkler

Cultist #99 Cultist #98 Cultist #97

Cultist #96

You have selected: Gretchen

"Shit, Charlotte – help me out here -" says Glenn in the slipstream

Who do I choose?

"Frau Winkler! She's the villain! He made me watch this shitty film once! You have a chance of killing him if you become her

You have selected: Frau Winkler


Finally, GRETCHEN reaches the end of the TUNNEL, following LISA into a large circular ROOM with walls covered in elaborate hieroglyphics. The ceiling is painted with a celestial Egyptian mural of stars, containing four SHAFTS from which blue beams of moonlight shine down, all CONVERGING on a figure in a black gown at the centre of the room. The figure is standing on a small stone PLATFORM above a moat-like circular pool of BLACK, BOILING TAR. A thin stone PATHWAY forms a bridge from the TUNNEL to the PLATFORM.

LISA runs across this bridge to join the central figure.


(pausing in the doorway)

Stop! Lisa! Stop! Don't go there! You are under the spell of the Black Ibis –

GRETCHEN glances up and notices a strange sight – several SMALL, FEMALE BODIES are hanging in a circle from the ceiling a few metres above her. They are the bodies of her fellow STUDENTS – still in their nightgowns. They have been strung up by the wrists; they appear drugged or otherwise in a trance, only emitting faint SIGHS and MOANS.



What is this …

At the centre of the room, LISA hands the FIGURINE of THOTH to the woman in the black GOWN, who turns around and is revealed to be Glenn FRAU WINKLER.


(smiling, stroking LISA's head)

Thank you Lisa – this is the last thing that was needed.

Character type #9011.382

The Surprise Villain

LISA sits down cross-legged at FRAU WINKLER's side, eyes closed, rocking gently back and forth. GRETCHEN stares, eyes flickering between FRAU WINKLER and the 44 girls in nightgowns suspended from the ceiling.


Frau Winkler Glenn – you must be … an arsehole the leader of the Cult of Thoth.


Clever girl – I thought I'd have to explain it all to you! Luckily you've done your homework, haven't you?


Yes. Yes I have. I know that you –

(becoming Alex)

Glenn – created the Sickness because you want less. You're a man who wants less. You think less is more. You want less of humanity. Less chaos. Less pollution. Less war. Less diversity. Less stupidity and mistakes. Less colour. Less life. Less pain. But I – I - you know what I've realized? I want all of those things. I want more. I want more of it all. Fuck restraint. I want more life. More stories. More characters. More sex. More pain. More people in the world. I want life to spill forth like diarrhoea, uncontrollably. I don't want this – this constipation. I want life to spill forth, ugly and warm and disgusting like excrement. Because that's what it is; it's natural and it keeps coming and you can't fucking stop it. More is more, you cunt.


That's very beautiful and incoherent Alex, but I'm going to have to –

(hitting the side of GRETCHEN's head with the FIGURINE)

stop you there.

GRETCHEN screams and falls over the edge of the BRIDGE, grabbing onto the EDGE with her FINGERTIPS, dangling above the pool of BOILING BLACK TAR.


(stepping on GRETCHEN's fingertips, slowly increasing the pressure, smiling)

Tonight we bring

the Sickness

Thoth into this world, and there is nothing a little girl like you can do to stop us. Look – look up there.

From a series of oblong, dark holes, the APE-LIKE CULTISTS have crawled out and are sitting like insects on the perfectly vertical WALL, waiting. Their bodies are lean and muscular, their skin the texture of raisins or caked MUD. Their faces are ROTTEN and DISTORTED, their eyes nothing more than red SLITS. They snarl and moan, salivating, as they stare down at GRETCHEN. In their hands they clutch SCALPELS.


They are my loyal subjects. The ancient cultists. Ever since the Figurine chose Lisa – when she was swimming alone in the Mediterranean – the cultists have been arising and coming here to this school. Bursting forth from the mud of the Nile Delta, swimming across the sea and crawling across the land to congregate here, where the Rite is to take place. Every night they have been entering the school – your friend told you she'd heard them, did she not? The footsteps in the hall – and the clock striking thirteen; the secret passageway opening – every night …


(struggling to maintain her grip on the edge)

Are they the ones that – killed my friends?


Yes, my dear child. Suzy, Valentina, Edelweiss, Dolores – and soon all of your fellow students.

(looking up at the 44 girls hanging from the ceiling)


You're heartless!


Yes, and soon you will be, too, dear child – literally.

(squashing GRETCHEN's fingers, making her let go with one hand, putting her foot on the other)


(snapping out of her trance)


FRAU WINKLER turns her head for a moment toward the roused girl, and suddenly GRETCHEN reaches up, grabs the headmistress' ANKLE and pulls her OVER THE EDGE.

You're going down Glenn you fucking psycho


FRAU WINKLERlenn falls into the TAR with a blood-curdling SCREAM. She is not immediately submerged; her head stretches up, arms FLAILING, the skin slowly DISSOLVING. She SCREAMS and SCREAMS and is GONE.

AlexGRETCHEN pulls herself up onto the BRIDGE and runs up to her friend. They EMBRACE.


Gretchen, I'm so sorry – I was – sleepwalking …


It doesn't matter now; it'll be fine now.

Contradicting her claim, the CULTISTS start crawling down the walls like insects, some slowly, others DARTING down towards the PLATFORM and leaping onto it. LISA screams. The girls are surrounded by the scalpel-wielding, ape-like men.


(holding her friend protectively, scanning the flock of CULTISTS with narrowed eyes)

It'll be fine Lisa. It'll be fine. I think – I think I've realized now – what I am –

The CULTISTS snarl and growl, inching closer.

Get on with it; we all know what she's realized


I'm – I am the acolyte of Isis. I – I was meant to prevent this ritual. I have the power.

the strongest magic of all

LISA stares up at her friend.


I love you Lisa.

GRETCHEN spins around with her right arm stretched out, almost like a ballerina, still holding LISA, and FIRE shoots out from her fingertips, ENGULFING the cultists. They give out high-pitched, terrible SQUEALS and fall into the boiling black TAR, which consumes them rapidly.

LISA looks up at her friend with AWE and then – a smile, indicating a profound new AFFECTION.


(looking up at the hanging bodies of her school friends)

We need to get them down.

SUDDENLY, Glenn's FRAU WINKLER's skeletal, horribly burned body bursts up from the TAR onto the PLATFORM like a grotesque FROG. HShee rises to heris full height, giggling insanely between ragged, guttural GASPS, hiser grey hair clinging to the flaps of skin that remain on hisher SKULL. She still clutches the FIGURINE of THOTH in one hand; the object is undamaged.


You meddling bitches! Oooeeuurrgh! You bitches! You must die – die – die!

(lunges, swinging the FIGURINE of THOTH)



LISA puts herself in front of GRETCHEN, trying to deflect the attack. The FIGURINE hits the side of the head, and she crumples, bleeding. FRAU WINKLER straddles her, lifting the FIGURINE to strike again.

GRETCHEN screams in inarticulate fury and moves to PUSH the headmistress away, but the palms of her hands do not even connect with the woman before – with the WHOOSHING sound of invisible WINGS – a force flings FRAU WINKLER's body through the air until it hits the wall and plummets once more into the OIL MOAT, taking the FIGURINE with it.

GRETCHEN crouches down by her dying friend's side.



Lisa – Lisa, I'm so sorry … Why did this have to happen? Oh God, Lisa …


It's … okay … Gretchen. I made … my sacrifice. I was your … friend … till the end.

Kaspar is gone


I love you. You are my one true love.


(eyes closing)

You will have … other loves. I'm just glad … that we had … what we had … before … this …


GRETCHEN sobs, cradling her lifeless friend.


The golden light of a summer dawn falls across the gothic SCHOOL ENTRANCE, which is slowly opened from within. GRETCHEN steps out, a confident look in her red-ringed eyes, her nightgown stained with blood. She walks down the forest path, down from the mountains.

Slowly, more girls emerge from the SCHOOL. Scared, huddling together, still in their nightgowns and bare feet, the other STUDENTS, who were previously strung up in the DUNGEON, follow GRETCHEN down the path towards civilization.

As the camera rises up in a smooth CRANE MOVEMENT between the PINE TREES, revealing the path's curving descent across the beautiful, MATTE-PAINTED landscape, towards a distant VILLAGE on the horizon by the orange SUNRISE, we hear on the soundtrack the melancholy, eerie MAIN THEME along with LISA's words from when she read aloud from the book in SC 39:



'In this world, there are three hidden locations (1) where the cult may gather to perform the dark celestial rite, and a gateway may be opened to let the God through. One is in a village at the sea coast. Another is in the middle of a bustling city. And one is … in the silent heights of the cold, forested mountains.'


1. Pupi Soavi had originally planned to follow 'The Laughing Eye of the Ibis' with two sequels in his so-called 'Trilogy of the Celestial Rite'. The project failed miserably as he couldn't find financing, particularly after having carried on an affair with the wife of The Laughing Eye's executive producer Marcos Franzinetto.

This story has ended. Would you like to read it again?


Alex sits up on the floor of the Library.

Glenn is gone. Glenn, Umberto and Kaspar are gone.

Charlotte cradles her former lover's lifeless body like GretchenAlex cradled Lisa's. She doesn't cry. She looks up at him and Alison.

"You fucking idiots. You don't even know what you're fighting against."

"Charlotte," says Alex, exhausted.

"The Sickness is the cure," she says, as if she's told herself that over and over. "It will cure – everything."

"Charlotte. Give it up."

"No Alex, no; don't try and talk to me like that!" She stands up now, strangely intimidating even in her fluffy white hotel bathrobe. There are tears of anger in her eyes. "Don't be so fucking patronizing. Always so fucking patronizing."

"Charlotte, I don't believe -"

"This isn't just another pet project of mine that you can laugh at."

"Charlotte listen, you've never done anything for political reasons in your whole life-"

"This is bigger than you, or me, or that fucking bitch -" pointing at Alison – "or all the fucking idiots in the world who think they can just freely breed and keep splurting out more stupidity, more sources of – destruction and – religion and sickness, real sickness, the real sicknesses that are becoming resistant to everything we throw at them -"

"Charlotte, I don't believe you would -"

"This is about -"

"I don't believe you would be doing this -"

It's my stupidity, isn't it?

"The Sickness is about -"

My uselessness.

"- if you could have children yourself."

She stares at him. Her eyes widen; she is a Medea, a Clytaemnestra, mythologically furious; deeply wounded and ready to wound deeply. She lunges





"Index!" Alex screams with genuine panic


"Take us to


the Seven Agonies of the Magistrate Basseiro, page 993."

Loading ….

Serra da Estrala valley

. Rodrigo the Semen-Fountain 30%

Grey sky


Semen ….. 5% …. 30% …

Semen …..

Hall of Orgies 100%

Chateau … 64% … 100

Virgins … 100%

Please choose a point of identification.

Magistrate Basseiro Guard #1: The Bum-Cleaver Guard #9: The Faun

Guard #10: Rodrigo the Semen-Fountain Virgin #1: Rosette Virgin #2: Federico

Virgin #3: Claudio Virgin #4: Manoel Virgin #5: Francois

Virgin #6: Julia Virgin #7: Figura Virgin #8: Lambina

Virgin #9: Casetta Virgin #10: Raoul Virgin #11:Pier

Virgin #12:

You have selected: The Virgin Alessandra



You have selected: The Magistrate Basseiro.

It was a grey day, a thick and heavy day of doing nothing, of staring out of windows, of waiting, of being listless – yes, a dark day, that final 930th day of the games in the Chateau, which were now reaching their inevitable end. Even the Magistrate Basseiro felt a certain vague ennui, despite the joy he had to look forward to in the evening: The final Deflowering, anal, oral and vaginal, of the final Virgin, Alessandra.

The corpses of the 197 others had all been hung like ornaments from the pine trees surrounding the chateau, where they now attracted ravens and horse flies. Basseiro was staring out at the suspended corpse of beautiful Paolo, with his perfectly rounded arse, a trail of congealed blood running down from the ravaged hole. Yes, Rodrigo had done a fine job of deflowering him. The corpse spun around slowly in the March wind, and Basseiro frigged himself lazily as he watched the callipygian, lifeless lad.

There was a knock at the door – the Bum-Cleaver there to tell him that dinner was served.

"Yes, good; fetch Alessandra. She will eat at my table."

Yes, on this final night in the Chateau, he would break one of his cardinal rules – why not? Rules, like hymens, were meant to be broken savagely, when the time came. Basseiro had, throughout this stay, consumed the most luxurious dinners by himself at his long table, while on the dining hall floor before him, the Virgins scrabbled around naked for the few bits of stale bread that the guards would laughingly throw down.

But tonight, Alessandra would eat at his table.

The girl was a shy eater, despite the starvation she had obviously suffered – her ribs poked at her skin in clear relief. Yet she only ate a few morsels of the delicious fried dove, a few grapes and a single quail's egg, while Basseiro, as usual, gobbled everything down shamelessly. He told her repeatedly that she could eat as much as she wanted, without incurring any punishment (and she should know by now that he never lied.) Yet the girl claimed not to be very hungry.

After the meal, as on any other night, they proceeded to the Hall of Orgies.

There was a strange weariness among the guards as they leaned against the walls, watching Basseiro and Alessandra in the centre of the Hall, where the Master ordered the girl to take off her clothes, which she did without delay or tears, unlike all who had stood in this spot before her. Yes, the girl was still as emotionless as when she'd first set foot in the Chateau. And that emotionlessness inspired a strange apathy in the guards, who would normally be frigging themselves and each other by now, grinning and salivating, waiting for the rape to begin. Instead, only some of them toyed, lazily, with their half erect members. Rodrigo the Semen-Fountain even yawned. Someone else coughed. The Hall, once so noisy with screams, moans, laughter and flesh slapping against flesh, was quiet tonight, like a theatre premiere of an embarassingly bad play with unknown amateur actors.

And now, the strangest thing of all – once the girl had undressed, sat down with her legs spread and, as instructed, forced her whole hand into her dry pussy – Basseiro himself was still not hard.

His member, usually so easily aroused by the slightest whiff of debauchery, hung limp tonight, as limp as the 179 corpses hanging from tree branches outside.

"Rodrigo!" he yelped. "Fetch me the gypsy's powder! Put it in a – a glass of red wine! The Saint-Germain 1665!"

And so, Basseiro drank a bitter cup of wine mingled with the magical powder which he'd purchased from a gypsy in Lisbon. The powder was a strange medicament for the libido – it would instantly make your cock stand to attention, no matter how unexciting the sight before you.

And so Basseiro attained an erection, and lowered himself onto the girl's cold, naked body. Her breasts were small and soft under his hairy chest; her face impassive, blue eyes staring into his dark, bloodshot ones.

"Alexssandra …" Charlotte he hissed in her his usual, debauched voice, but tonight it rang false, even to him; it seemed to require an effort. "AlexAlessandra, you filthy little girl … Just you wait till you feel what I will make you feel … When I put my thick, pulsating, disease-ridden tool inside of your tight pussy … Oh yes, the pain you will feel … And the pleasure I will feel, laughing as I fuck you … Oh, it will be better than any of the others. It will be so much better. A fitting finale."

But still, Charlotte's his voice rang false, even to himself.

Alessandra Alex said nothing. Was that a smile playing at his her lips? No, no.

Basseiro forced his cock into the girl's dry pussy. "Oh, yes …"

The guards watched impassively. None of them frigged themselves. Someone coughed, again.

Basseiro Charlotte fucked the girl her husband.

SHhe did not scream. SHhe did not bleed.

SHe frowned, thrusting. "What is wrong with you?" He stared at Alessandra's Alex's impassive visage. "What is wrong with you, child? Are you not a Virgin? I know you're a Virgin – I examined everyone's hymens personally – and you were kept under watch; you were all kept under watch; no one was allowed to fuck you – before – me – now -"

Still, the girl did not bleed. Basseiro kept thrusting, with his sizeable tool.

"What is WRONG with you, girl?" There were tears in his eyes. "Why will you not BLEED?! Or CRY?! Or SCREAM?!"

Alessandra continued to do none of those things.

"SHIT! I'll make you bleed yet!" said the Magistrate Basseiro – for this was a matter of great distress to him; it was midnight on the 930th and final day in the Chateau, and this, now, was the Seventh Agony of the Magistrate Basseiro.

He reached out and grabbed his dagger from his discarded belt, raising it as he propped himself up from the girl's supine, limp body that he was still thrusting into, his left hand around her thigh. He screamed: "SHIT! SHIT! SHIT!" And quickly, in a blind fury, he plunged the dagger down into the girl's mount of Venus, into her inner cavity and through his own cock.

The girl Alex did not scream.

Basseiro Charlotte did. He screamed in agony, for the first time in – perhaps - his entire life.

Blood spurted in a great fountain from that area of union between the two bodies, from the girl's Alex's entrance and the Charlotte's Magistrate's penetrated tool of penetration, which he tore, screaming, out of Alessandra, as he scrambled to his feet.

The guards came running now, closing in on their Master, shocked and disgusted but ready to help in any way they could, even though they were all torturers, not doctors. They seemed to be feeling an ounce of what they had not felt towards any of their young victims – namely pity.

"DON'T come any closer!" screamed Basseiro shakily, threatening the guards weakly with his blood-dripping dagger, which seemed now like a comic echo of the manhood he had lost between his legs. "Don't! Just – just – stay away from me! Stay away! Let me – just let me – let me FUCK her! I must fuck her! I must … I must …"

Alex you fucker

But in front of him, Alexssandra had now stood, calmly. She was slightly taller than the Magistrate; everyone noticed that now. Like Basseiro's cock, her wounded cunt still bled.

I'm so sorry Charlotte

The Charlotte Magistrate stared at him her. And then, with a despairing wail, he plunged the dagger into his own throat.

I'm so sorry

He fell to the floor in a bleeding, pathetic, wrinkled heap.

The Agonies of the Magistrate Charlotte Basseiro were over.

The guards gazed from his corpse to the girl. They seemed to be considering their options now. They could fuck her, but none of them had the desire to; there was nothing arousing about a girl as stiff and cold as a statue. A girl who seemed to exist in another reality – a reality where men were powerless.

A shiver seemed to pass through the guards.

The only option was to leave the castle now. To go to their dormitories, collect their belongings, then go through the Magistrate's possessions in his chambers and divide the most valuable ones between them, either by agreement or, as was more likely, fighting. And then to head out into the world, back to civilization, back to their old trades as fighters, contract killers, sailors, prostitutes.

And so they hurried off, leaving the girl alone.

Alessandra stepped over the body of the Magistrate and walked calmly out of the Hall of Orgies, up the stone stairway to the entrance hall. She opened the heavy oak gates. Outside the night was warm and humid, cicadas filling the forest with monotonous song. The blood still dripped from the wound in Alessandra's mount of Venus.

She walked down the hillside. Her bare feet sank into the soil. They were smeared with blood, which was absorbed by the grateful earth like seeds.

This story has ended. Would you like to read it again?


Alex wakes up, sits up.

Charlotte is gone. Charlotte, Glenn, Umberto and Kaspar are gone. Dead, on the stone floor.

Alison is left.


your cigarette still burns

She smiles faintly. "Are you okay?"

He doesn't reply, staring down with a furrowed brow at nothing in particular, a point on the floor between the corpses.

"You killed them, Alex. We're safe now."

"I know."

Prospero finally meets with his enemies in a scene of reconciliation, penitence and forgiveness.

He stands up. So does she. They are alone in this world, like the first two. He smiles at the thought. "We should delete this place when we leave," he says. Because they are leaving.

"Really? You don't have to."

"I want to. The thing about Alexandria is; it burns. It burned down. It's what should happen. In the end."

"Okay." She hands him something. A lighter. He takes it, smiling at her. She smiles back.


Character type #99281.4930

The Angel

Alex walks up to the nearest bookshelf, flicks the lighter and holds it up to the dry spine of an ancient atlas. The flame licks at it, then grabs hold. First it spreads sideways across the spines, then gradually around the already termite-eaten olive wood of the shelves. It spreads in a widening triangle, up to the vaulted ceiling which is already hidden above a roiling sea of black smoke. Flaming books and pieces of rock and wood fall down in a gentle hail. Not a biblical destruction, not a punishment, simply a long, slow sigh, as if the building itself has chosen this.

Alex and Alison walk out through the main entrance, into the sunlight.


The sunlight is warm and dry. Alex feels as if his young body has been deprived of it for a long time. It hits him irresistibly, through the thin white toga. He is holding Alison's hand.

They walk down the broad stone steps, past the tall statues of Thoth, past the palm trees.

Behind them the Library has disappeared in billowing fire.

They stop at the edge of the bottom step. The Mediterranean laps at the stone, droplets landing on their toes. The sunlight glimmers on the waves and in Alison's hair, in the fabric of her Velàsquez dress.

"I'm in love with you," she says.

"I know." Yes, somehow he knows this.

She looks up at him; she seems to be in pain. The pain of uncertainty. He puts a hand on her cheek.

"Alison. I'll come back to you. We can be together. We can build something new here." The area is still his; the hideout. They will be two ghosts, floating in the Net, together. Not quite real anymore. Tricks of the eye. Trompe l'oeil. He will be lavished with admiration after he's publicized his cure for the Sickness. But he can't think of anyone he'd rather spend his time with now than her. Nothing else seems to make sense. Charlotte never made sense. Not to him, not to herself. The poverty of life, the unhappiness; it can make some people want to destroy it. Or it can make others search for more.

"I'll come back to you," he repeats. "But I need to give them the cure for the Sickness. I need to go into the Net."

"I know. Do it."

They don't kiss. There will be time. Not every story needs a kiss.

He dives into the Mediterranean the Net

I'd had too much coffee that night I couldn't sleep

leaving her on the step waiting


Live a little

cuts a smooth curve through the water, rising in a rush of bubbles towards the surface again, ascending

So many stories

ascending into the Forum of the Congress in Milan, to join his fellow doctors

So many stories end with


an ascension

ascending and breaking through.