Sacred Sex

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CHAPTER 12

I’m falling.

Blurred red colors. Hot colors. Steam. Lots of steam. But it’s cold.

I fall, but I’m going up a mountain. Reverse gravity summons me “up,” but I fall. I’m rolling and being dragged up. And yet, I fall toward the sky.

I look at my hands: red earth and a scarlet palm. With the palm of my hands facing my eye, I shed such bloody dust, such a remnant of an ancient sin. And I’m catapulted into the sky. I fall.

Twenty years later. Two thousand and thirty-three.

I get up slowly and heavily. My post-fall existence hurts. A red dust falls from my stiff, aged body and is blown by a frigid, biting wind. I struggle to get up. Still weak and lacking balance, I walk across a deserted landscape. Slowly and coldly. I climb a high scarlet dune that seems infinite. I fall. The high rosy-purple horizon is yet far away for a second. And it seems that such a peak, that such an end, is bound to be unreachable. However, I fall toward it.

“The ninth thousandth time I have this same dream.”

After a daydream of climbing the incredibly high and wide crimson mountain-horizon, I reach its peak.

“But I always have the same reaction.”

My eyes are filled with chaotic images full of fire, red mountains, and a black river in the middle of the road. Dystopia reigns here.

– God damned, I’m dead...

Nineteen years and six months ago. Two thousand thirteen.

I’m heavy-petting with a woman at the entrance to my building, in the elevator, the hallway, then by the door. Tak. Tak. Tak. Our hands reach parts not allowed to be touched in public, and we reach a place where isn’t fun being public. Flep. Flep. Zip. Then, I reach for the keys in my pocket and open the door to my apartment. It’s dark.

We enter.

We’re dropping everything in our way, she takes off her dress and I start throwing my shoes in the middle of the room. Buttons begin to unbutton, the furniture already vocalize their silence – crek, tak – but then...

The lights come on.

Jessica and Peter are sitting on the couch with a somber face.

I stop everything I’m doing, while the woman continues to kiss my neck and exhale sex. Before I even greet them, I see wedding rings on their fingers.

– Dante, we need to talk.

Only after we broke the silence she notices that we have visitors. I push the half-naked woman to the hall right away, and close the door.

Her scent, however, stays.

– Hey, isn’t that...

Peter stares at Jessica.

– Yes, it’s her... – Jessica crosses her arms. – I thought you wouldn’t treat your son’s mother like that.

It’s easy to guess what the pregnant woman—the mother of my future son—would be doing in the hall, waiting, stamping her foot, dressing, smoking, cursing. Masturbating.

– So, to what do I owe the honor of the town’s freshest engaged couple?

Jessica and Peter look at their hands and hide them... it doesn’t take long for them to be holding hands, as in an effort to be brave, in the formation of a greater and stronger entity.

– We need to talk, Dante – Peter says.

– We’re talking, Peter.

Despite that metalanguage, what follows is a brief silence.

You can hear groans outside the apartment.

– Well, that’s right: Jessica and I are getting married. – The two hold each other’s hand with an even stronger grip. Besides trust, I see courage. It’s weird. Were they scared? I wonder why? After all, I helped them get back together.

– Congratulations.

Right, I open a wine and start filling three glasses with animation, despite the serious, somber and taciturn atmosphere. In my peripheral vision, I watch their uneasiness. But I raise the glasses and offer them in the middle of the room. Perhaps it’s just my imagination.

However, no movement is made toward toasting to such news.

My arm holding the glasses slowly goes down.

– Jessica told me what you did... friend. Peter’s face is unrecognizable.

Wine falls out of one of the glasses.

– And we’ve decided you can’t go to our wedding...

The wine falls to the ground.

– Actually, we’ve decided that we’ll never see you again, Dante... – A few minutes later, on the table, there was an empty glass and two glasses full of wine. – never.

The bottle... is also empty.

I go take a shower and a lost look takes over me. I turn on the hot water. It falls on my head, a torrent. A different type of steam gradually emerges, circling the environment. I watch the mist who misses me and takes the bathroom in all directions. Unlike being adrift in the sea with no horizon, no compass, no north, sun, moon or stars, I was surrounded by them all and yet I was lost. Empty. Just an immense nothingness over my head. My hair almost cover my entire face. I remember Lucy taking a shower in this place six months ago, with so many words and questions on her head. On mine, however, there is only one chorus from all my friends: never again.

I closely see my own stagnating look, as if I were out of me. Another one like it, inside it. And another... and another... and seconds later another one with a sour look and wine falling from the shower, reddening all that is matter, body and spirit. The blood of Christ spills over me, ghost tears spill out of me and I hold my body in search of life.

Twenty years later. Two thousand and thirty-three. Me and my dream.

A red river appears in front of me. The light smell of sulfur welcomes my nostrils. Its water runs slow, thick and muddy. The whole place is surrounded by dark lands and bloody plateaus and hills. Yellow and bluish lightning fall and rise from the earth. The wind blows only a slight—and sometimes unforeseen—muffled rush, even if just to give way to frigid, more constant gusts. Fire rises from the ground like a wound on the very place where I stand.

I see a crumbling pier with a decrepit anchored boat.

“I remember that in the Divine Comedy, when Dante climbs on Charon’s boat with his guide Virgil, the boat feels his weight, for he’s the only one who is alive.”

I step on a rock that breaks, and I fall, rolling through the gorge down to the river bank. I leave a trail of dust along my diagonal path. While I’m rolling down the hill I was on, I look up and see the dock up close, with the boat. After hell spins many more times than I’m able to count, I find myself by the dock.

On the black boat, everybody has a “Y” on their chests. That somewhat rejoiced me, for they no longer had within them the justification for all their suffering. I recognized all the pallid faces. However, once I identified the boatman—the oldest and most cadaverous soul on the ship—I toss him a coin. He holds the coin, which I don’t know where I was keeping, and the boat moves a little. Such a figure with the oar doesn’t scare me and I don’t know why. That image somehow seems familiar to me. Then I figure it out.

“It’s not that I’m acquainted with the dead, but rather that I’ve already been here in other dreams.”

I approached the boat.

“The Egyptians weighed people’s hearts on a scale with a feather on the other plate. If it was balanced, it meant that the owners of those hearts had no sins... they would be free from hell.”

I get on the boat and it immediately begins to sink. My weight is so heavy that the red water starts to come in, like a reverse hemorrhage. Inch by inch, a tenth of an inch by a tenth of an inch, the bottom of the river approaches us, the dead. That blood consuming us was unnatural, especially to those who could not pump it out, get it flowing, give it the beat and tone of life.

“For all those who were really evil, there is the river of forgetfulness for the next life. The river Lethe of Hades. The opposite word for wisdom, Alethea, which literally means to turn forgetfulness around.”

None of the other ghostly passengers express anything on their pallid faces. It’s like the worst—death—had already happened, and everything that came after would somehow be a plus or insignificant, even for the boatman. No one moves, no oar goes into the water. Like an empty wooden goblet, the purple water of the river fills, inhabits such space of oblivion. The receiving happens in such a container, and it’s us who leak from it.

I begin to swim with the others in the red river, once the boat has sunk. But it’s incredibly difficult for me. We are surrounded by a liquid that is sometimes muddy, sometimes light. I swallow the water of this river but nothing makes me forget anything, while the others drown, having an emptier look and lost in forgetfulness. An alcoholic taste hits my tongue, and for a moment I think of the blood of Christ entering my lungs. The struggle to swim is enormous and drowning seems imminent.

“I’m gonna drown where I cannot forget myself...

Only the dead can forget and be forgotten...”

Then, I look at my chest and I don’t see a “Y.”

Suddenly, a rope appears in the middle of the river.

“Would this be the rope to exit?”

Lucy asks me what’s more important and intimate in life than sex.

On the tip of my tongue, I answer:

– Only three things. Sleep with one person, that is, close your eyes and trust her the night. Second, the palm of your hand. Third, the truth.

I grab that golden rope.

Nineteen years and three months ago. Two thousand thirteen.

A white ceiling.

White light bulbs.

Ceiling.

Light bulbs.

Ceiling.

Light bulbs.

White.

At the end of the lit hall, as I run, I see it written on a sign above a double green door:

– Obstetrics.

White.

– Rush! Rush! – I hear from all sides while running, even more ecstatic.

Doctors push a stretcher with my fiancée down the long hall. A gloved hand reaches my chest by the door. Distance. I’m barred from going ahead after something that man wearing light-blue or white says to me. I can’t hear him. I stand there inert, totally lost. The door closes, and through the small window I watch the doctors and my wife go to some unknown and distant place.

I’m helpless.

But drunk with adrenaline.

I walk in circles in the waiting room, waiting very impatiently for the doctors in an eternal repetition. I must have walked miles in a space measuring just some square feet. Everyone should be thinking that I had just gotten out of jail and that’s why I wouldn’t get out of such a small area, as if I had been hampered by habit. But it’s not that kind of jail that keeps me thinking about one, and only one thing.

“It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now... It’s now...”

Everybody, there, is living their lives, they are aware of their conditions as if they were governed by the first or second hand of a clock. The usual hands. The hands of the voice. Those that people mention in their daily lives. It’s three forty-five. But from me emerges the secret hand, the caller of hidden time, that of the consciousness of every instant, the unpronounceable, which emerges from the chest as if to replace life itself, to suspend it irreparably. The now.

The door opens.

I raise my eyes to the doctor like a sword coming out of its scabbard.

– You, come here now!

I’m deflected.

The doctor and I start running down the hall. I obey as if I was out of myself. Straight. Three doors ahead. One left. A U-turn. Three doors later, U-turn. A room and again a U-turn. Right. Go straight. Stairs. A door.

Without saying a word, the doctor puts me in a chair, picks up a needle and begins to draw blood from my arm. I can’t even feel the pinprick. A torpor takes me over during the procedure, now. It’s now! Plasma begins to fill the bag. What am I doing here?!

– Hey, what the fuck is going on?!

The infamy of being aware of my position gives me voice.

There is sound.

– There was a problem, sir. – With one bag already full, the doctor closes it and starts filling another with my blood. My blood. – Didn’t the nurses tell you?

“Told me?!”

– What?!

– Shit... – Through his glasses, the doctor looks for someone. – Sir, there was a... bleeding...

We are alone, as in a confessional.

– Oh my God. – Blood seems to flow out somehow easier, too. – Is the baby fine?

– No, sir... – Trembling. I pale. – Both are bleeding.

I raise my eyebrows and feel my own heart sob.

Blood freezes.

– We need more plasma, we’re running out.

The blood begins to fill another plastic bag again.

“Come out faster!”

– You’re blood type O, aren’t you? Your wife and daughter are O.

Then I look at the waterfall of blood falling inside the plastic bag. I stare at it as if it were in front of me... as if it were spilling over me. I see a stain. All that blood flowing out of my arm like from a broken dam, like the red sea closing over the Egyptians and obliterating them.

– No. My blood type is... AB.

Now it’s the doctor’s turn to be startled.

– But then...

Everything is full of blood.

Everything is scarlet.

Two bags show up in the morgue of my mind:

One big.

And a little one.

Twenty years later. Two thousand and thirty-three. Me and my dream.

At the bank of the red-black river, still holding the golden rope, I exit at last, but not without inhuman effort. The thick liquid is slow to dispossess my body. The uncomfortable heat of the river leaves room for the icy, biting air of the terrestrial environment on the other bank. And who would say this fucking place is so cold?!

I can see that the rope is still running underneath the red sand and I give it a tug.

“What’s this?”

I keep pulling the golden rope through the paths of Hell. I climb mounds, hills, and go through strange trees, which are crystallized and buried in amber. I enter the entrails of the hideous and ineffable underworld, having the rope as my sole guide.

“But this is Ariadne’s golden thread to Theseus... it’s in the wrong story.”

Climbing up a mountain, the farthest horizon I found there stuns me with the sight of that extra dark extension of hell.

Bodies keep raining down from the black sky. Some fell like lightning, scorching through the air. Such was the underworld’s climate.

Lava slides and narrows the paths, forming tributaries down the mountain toward the plain, where bodies crowd and ravens prey.

“The smoke and the cold are making hard my.... fuck. Never mind.”

I climb other mountains and cross other rivers of tears, blood and sin. I go through more frozen, burned, petrified bodies, forests, and black, white, and scarlet mists until I reach a temple, still holding the gold thread as my guide.

“The dream is about to end, it has never gone beyond this point.”

I look at the tall marble construction. Monumental.

A very strong light comes out from the temple. It escapes.

“Lucy must be right after this point... after Hell and Purgatory.

This must be the path to the exit...

Just like the golden thread that pointed out the way out of the labyrinth to Theseus.”

The light becomes even more intense and leaves the temple like an entity. It reaches a certain point and seems to be drawing closer and closer. When it dissipates, no longer blinding me, a voice is heard from it.

– “Hello, Hamlet, I am the spirit of your father.”

– Father?!

Forty years ago. Nineteen ninety-three.

Suddenly, I see myself as a child on city-to-city trips. From São Paulo to the Countryside. From the Countryside to São Paulo.

There I am, doing nothing, looking at cars going in the opposite direction on one of so many roads. It’s raining, and the raindrops collide with the side window glass just as fast as they crawl to a near horizontal forgetfulness.

I carefully breathe out on the glass and draw a “circle” and a “plus”.

An “O” and a sign of “positive”.

With the cold air, the drawing soon disappears.

I breathe out again on the glass and now it shows:

– A star and a cross.

Twenty years ago. Twenty thirteen.

Four gravestones.

“My father. My mother. My fiancée. My daughter...”

☼ 12/11/13 † 12/11/13

– Father for one day... just one day... And she wasn’t even my daughter.

I stare deeply at the newly-made tombstones. All in just one year.

– Is this, God, some sort of test?!

I look for a sign from the skies.

The sky is clear.

There’s only silence.

Silence.

My volcanic eyes erupt with an earthquake in my soul, caused by such lack of sound, verb or word.

– TELL ME!!!

But nothing.

No sign.

No answer.

A metallic sound.

I turn and go to a nearby unnamed tombstone.

– They’ve just dug the hole...

The image of a fallen shovel and the hole is the only thing that jumps to my eyes and mind.

At the bottom of the hole, a light seems to form... a seductive and hangover luminosity.

I looked at my chest and a Y was beginning to take shape.

– Maybe I should just join them...

Twenty years later. Twenty thirty-three. Me and my dream.

– So you came to join us? – He—my father—lands from his flight, but he’s still lit with hell in the background.

– Dad... – I sneer. – This is surely where you belong...

– Why, so much hate, boy... Haven’t you realized that this is your place, too?

– OF COURSE NOT! – I look like an animal. It was not hard to hit a nerve. But that comparison is unacceptable.

Everything gets darker around him.

– Ha ha ha ha! – He laughs with pleasure making the whole place echo. I remember Lucy laughing at me. – You still don’t know anything, do you, boy? Everyone thinks that life is ironic... but see: death is ironic! And you know why? Because there is no fucking death! – Another laugh makes the earth tremble.

– Shut up, dad!

– You’ll learn some humor when your time comes...

– I thought you said I was already dead.

– Ah, yes, no doubt about it. The time is when you become aware of it.

– Get out of my way now... I have to go. The golden thread brought me here.

And another humiliating chuckle is uttered by him.

I grit my teeth in anger. My fists bleed. My heart gets darker.

– What is it now?

– Where do you think you’re going?

– I’m going out... I have to find Lucy in Paradise.

My father slowly gets close. Nervousness. He comes closer, even so slowly. I watch motionless as that ghost comes closer. Step by step. Suddenly, he slaps me in the face. – Dante, Hell and Paradise… Couldn’t you be a little less cliche?

Like a flash, my childhood memory of the photo album with drops of blood immediately comes to my mind. But I now instantly... retaliated.

Twenty years ago. Twenty thirteen.

There I am, shaking my arms like Jesus when cleansing the temple from all merchants, purging all evil.

I remember it was soon after Peter and Jessica told me that I wouldn’t be allowed in their wedding; that I would never be their friend; that I would never be in their lives again. Such exile hit me hard that night. And a moral solitude alienates me from all humanity that, even so, I still try to find.

After a long shower, I have some wine and go to a nightclub, leaving the mother-of-my-never-born-daughter-who-wasn’t-even-mine at home. I think it would be a good idea to forget what happened, using all the techniques I knew: alcohol and sex. I was already thinking of the women I would meet with in my Sunday shelter. However, I don’t seek, even while standing in queue, a beautiful, attractive or merely pleasant target. I’m looking for a familiar face, a connection with the past, any connection to my story. Above all, I seek a name that I can pronounce and, by doing it, I don’t feel myself in this spiritual solitary confinement. In the queue, I try to remember the names of the women I’ve already been with and who I could be with again. But nothing comes to me. Even their faces are somewhat indecipherable. I realize, then, that I didn’t drop any anchor at this mnemonic bay, and no meaning gave those women some weight to stay. I was deaf to their names and blind to their faces. In my mind, there was only silence and darkness. And as if infinitely regressing in my historical line, only wombs, like faces, appear in my mind, as an eternal call to the cave from whence I came, where I should incessantly go, into the straight labyrinth of the generation.

However, it sufficed to get in and bump into people for me to realize that my fate, there, isn’t connected to either of the two items above. What I needed at that very moment was to regain the unique nature of my hands, to fall into the abyss that created my essence: violence.

The emptiness of my palms never seemed a black hole that strongly. The twins of darkness itself.

It doesn’t take long and, like a madman disguising my malice as dancing, I begin to move violently, hitting everybody from my drunken pan-exorcism. Like Jesus to destroy the market in the temple. Sacred violence.

I don’t know if a little or a long time passed from the beginning of my ritual, but later I was taken out of the nightclub. An alley. Three men are there, with me. In costumes, they point to a woman who wears a shiny outfit. So I get it. They are the three wise men. They came to deliver their gifts.

Fists abound, but, blessed by drunkenness, I punch the first one’s chin and he falls to the ground.

– Gold.

The second slows down, but I don’t hesitate. I lower my body and hit him in the stomach, his head gets down, I turn my body and punched his temple. His eyes turn up. He starts to shake on the ground.

– Incense.

The third one shows the palm of his hands. But I moved slowly towards him. He moves to stand in front of the shiny woman. I’m more intoxicated by the blood in the voids of my fists that sucks everything in, than anything else. However, there, with the man trying to surrender, I only see the opportunity to feed this insatiable void even more.

– Myrrh.

While I hit him with a smile, and while the blood-covered man lost his existence and walked to the beyond with me helping him in that passage, I noticed I had an erection. My eyes widened. Shame soon followed and I wanted to cover myself from such hideous stain. But there, shining on such a dark spot, I saw the woman...

Close the book.

Between the two of us, I only saw an infinite distance like the one between us, humans, and the stars. A distance between two lives. Two sparks in the universe surrounded by the Empire of Death. Darkness. But there, amidst that ritual, everything seemed possible. It was possible to jump over such a necrological abyss, to approach life by swimming in the sea of Thanatos. The star would guide me. Everything would be all right. Because there’s only truth in death. It’s from death that all creation is made. It’s in the void that things can have life. It’s being a Genocidal, that you can become a Creator.

1+1=1.

I looked at the star and she said to me:

– Just let me live.

And what I wanted was to, precisely, give life.

I told you to close the book...

Twenty years later. Twenty thirty-three. Me and my dream.

A punch in the direction of the dead, my father, and he vanishes in smoke. He materializes behind me. I try once again, but it’s impossible to touch him. Another slap. A memory of childhood jumps into me and soon disappears.

– Foolish child! Any of my other stupid kids would know that a line has two ends and you’re not leaving... You’re coming in!

A golden “Y” going through hell as being sewed passes through my head, as if I had a map of this place, as if I saw it from above. The place is sewn with Ariadne’s thread, and I was not finding the exit but rather the center of such a labyrinth, with the Minotaur, with my father.

One end enters hell, the other enters paradise.

– You never looked to the future... everything you planned: work, friends, marriage, children... it was having me as your motive. “I beheld the wretch—the miserable monster whom I had created.”

– No! – The truth of Mary Shelley’s quote struck my chest.

– Your revenge was above everything, even happiness, boy. You only thought about death while everyone thought about living, creating life... loving! No wonder you have this job... you could never be a father, because even after I died, you never stopped being a son!

My dad hits me with another punch.

– You were so blind that you accepted the first slut who said she was pregnant with you.

– Shut your mouth!

– Stupid... – Laughingstock.

– Shut the fuck up!

He spits on the barren land.

– Poor thing... I, at least, did it right. Perhaps God has done well not making you a father, you sterile...

I scream and hurl towards him like crazy, a thousand punches toward my father, that ghost of him.

My father turns to smoke every time until, in one of them, I miss the abyss ahead and fall, being held only by the golden thread, which is now in my father’s hands.

– “All is in a man’s hands, and he lets it all slip from cowardice...” – He utters the words of Crime and punishment while he maliciously shakes the thread on which I hang. – HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

In a desperate silence, I try with all my might to climb the thread and not fall to certain death. The death of the dead. The effort is almost unbearable. The monsters and dead of the abyss whisper my name, they call my last end and I am sucked in, unable to move. The natural gravity of life.

– “Man fears death because he loves life, and that’s determined by nature.”– my father, now levitating, quotes The Possessed.

From below, I retaliate with Don Quixote de la Mancha.

– “To dream the impossible dream,/To bear with unbearable sorrow,/To run where the brave dare not go,/To right the unrightable wrong,/To love, pure and chaste, from afar,/To fight the unbeatable foe,/To try, when your arms are too weary,/To reach the unreachable star:/This is my quest.”

But he only bursts into more laughter.

– “When we dream alone it is just a dream. When we dream together it is the beginning of reality,” said your dear Miguel de Cervantes. And you’re alone, you fool! You left the one person who loved you! You made the only person who would never leave you, to abandon you! And those choices were not mine, they were YOURS!

– It’s not over yet, I’ll make it! – The thread shakes in the palm of my hands. – I have faith!

– “Forsake all hope, all ye who enter into hell.” Do you remember the other Dante who wrote this? You dream about hell because, deep down, you think you belong to this place... next to your father. What an irony.

– No! This... is not... my... place! – I struggle to keep climbing, but all in vain. It’s impossible.

– Of course not! This is a dream, don’t you still understand? You’ve always been slow to figure things out. But don’t rush. At the right time, I’ll be waiting for you. – My father threatens to let off me, letting go of the line. I almost fall. Fear consumes me. I cling with even tighter to my golden destiny. I look down and see all the mountain-sized demons struggling to see who would stay with my remains.

– No! I have to live!

– Let’s see it then...

And then it happens.

My father pulls me up.

I regain my breath as he destroys the ground with the light he was made of. The whole land on the mountain where he was dissolves in absolute silence, as if it were made of nothing. It ultimately leaves just the temple, supported by a stalk measuring many hundred yards, in the middle of nowhere.

– It’s very simple, son. This is your last lesson from a dead father. Do you want revenge on me while still fucking up the other half of the world that you haven’t yet fucked? Or to see Lucy again? “The light of reason is given to you to distinguish good from evil” – he gave me the maxim, straight from Dante’s Purgatory.

I desperately look around me. There is no way out. There is only abyss wherever I look. My destiny is the emptiness, the mortal disease, eternal death.

“I’m stuck, my God.”

I point to my father. – This is all your fault!

– “Who are you to sit on the judge’s seat, a thousand miles away, with sight that sees a short span?” You know the writings of Dante. You know what to do. If you have faith, take your leap.

On the luminescent horizon, a small mountain supports another wide marble temple with an entrance after a short staircase. “It’s Paradise.” The sun doesn’t come and go from this place. The Sacred can already be felt even from such a distance.

It’s there.

– “Do you see that reason flies, when following the senses, on clipped wings?” “Faith is the substance of the things we hope for and is the evidence of things not seen?” Isn’t that what you believe in? – my father, quoting Dante Alighieri once again, makes the last part of The Divine Comedy my last soundtrack.

Then, like magic, a knife in your son’s hand, me. Dante.

My father flies within two yards of the abyss and rests me on the edge of the piece of land closest to the colossal depths, the mouth of the end.

– This is, in fact, my last lesson. This fucking place has a lot to teach you.

My eyes flicker.

I stare at the knife.

I stare at my father.

– You can kill me now and have the revenge you’ve been waiting for. But when you’re done, you’ll fall into Hell and will have the most terrible monsters and demons as companions. Forever.

I look to the last piece of land before the abyss and then to the entrance to Paradise with its great portal, miles away on the horizon.

– Or, you take the leap of faith and return to life. It’s your choice.

I check my options again.

Knife and father.

Leaping and Lucy.

Being a son or being a husband.

Revenge or love?

– So, which will it be, son?

“What now?”

Hold it with my hands or step into the void?

– Make no mistake: your fall is certain if you come for me. No angel will bring a lamb to save me. You are no Abraham and the angels would not bring such a feast to the hellish joy of so many. So have you made your decision?

I press my fingers around the handle of the knife. I grip it.

“This can end here and now...”

I press my toes against the hard, dry ground beneath me.

“To let him escape will be to forgive him for everything he has made me do with Lucy... With me.”

“Dante, breathe...”

“Close your eyes...”

“Make your choice, come on...”

The red hell with lava, smoke, sulfur, spirits, demons and myself, Dante... another of its many characters.

So the decision was made.

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