The house by the lake (PS: Epilogue)

Years had passed since the day on which I had found your lifeless body in your bed.
A smile on your face, the gentle rays of the sun illuminating the room, a gentle breeze that moved the curtains of the windows.

You seemed… content.

I was at first broken. A small child with no mother, a lot of responsibilities that I now had to carry on my own. Debt, joblessness, depression.

I found some solace in music and made it my passion and my sole purpose for the following months, neglecting our child and my responsibilities. I had some savings that I made use of during that time.

When I played the piano you felt alive again. I escaped into a world where you were still alive, ill, but alive. I could tell you about my worries, about my fears, about how our child was growing up, how the house we had acquired was slowly turning into a home thanks to your love for detail and good taste.

During the piano sessions, I was free.

But then came the crash…

The savings, which I knew could not last forever, did indeed run out.
Social services deemed me unfit for parenting and took our child away.
My family decided that I was too much of a burden to take care of and stopped writing to me and inviting me to their lavish celebrations.

I was alone, broke and alone.

Looking back I doubt I would be where I am today were it not for the pit I dug myself into. Maybe, deep down, I knew that the only way for me to rise was to burn everything to the ground and build it back up from scratch.

It took me months to find a job and a few years to regain custody over my child, I was lucky though, since to this day they have no memory of us ever being apart.

The passion and despair I felt back in that time fueled a torrent of emotions that helped me produce what, to this day, is considered one of the best, if not my best work.

I have gathered the courage to write what I hope will be the first of many letters. I know it has been a long time since we spoke… I would not be surprised if you hated me a bit for having taken so long, but I needed the loneliness, I needed the despair, the depression, the depths of the pit to claw myself out of.

Alex is growing up to be a fine child. I take them for long walks in nature and tell them about the different trees, I tried getting them into music, but it seems that the musical part of us is dying with me. Who would have guessed though, right? Child of two musicians refuses to partake in their parents hobby. I guess that is how children are, they have to find their own way after all.

I am doing fine now, I know that there are other ways I can get in touch with you, goodness knows I needed this, but was partly afraid, partly too numb to realize.

I hope this letter finds you well.

I promise I will be sending you one of these every month to keep you updated on how Alex and I are doing.
Yes, I promise I am fine, you do not have to worry now, I am capable of taking care of everything. Except decorating the house… that is something only you could do well… Alex does have your good taste though, so I let them buy decorations every once in a while to give the house a more homely feel to it.

My studio is sacred though, I need the chaos to reign absolutely supreme in there!

I have to go now, Alex is ready to go out bird-watching and is beckoning me to hurry up.

I loved you, I still do, and I forever will.

Yours only,



Like a moth to a flame

I can distinctly remember the moment I was mesmerizingly staring into the flame just one second shy of his sickle slitting my throat.

In that flame I say a great deal many things:

beauty expressed through my beloved walking through a barley field, the soft breeze gently swaying the picture with a loving caress.

Love through a fiery and sensuous night of carnal desire and uninhibited lust.

Promise, a small child slowly walking towards me, bright eyes, playful smile, not a worry in the world.


But as soon as those soothing images had vanished from my head, I saw the other side of the coin:

Famine: a small child starving as the obese walk past him, greasy food in their hands.

Ugliness: a corpse washed up by the shore, its entirety swelled up and putrid.

Loneliness: Myself strolling through the empty streets of the biggest metropolis imaginable

I saw all those things and more the moment before the sickle sliced my throat, and now I am trapped, condemned to relive that moment again and again along with the rest of the victims he claimed for his amusement.

Now and again we can avert our eyes from those visions and see the real world outside the lamp, the only distortion the green, eerie light that emanates from us and to the world of the living through the impenetrable glass of the lamp.

The world has changed.

He no longer inhabits the isles, he no longer murders for fun. He has yet again become a shadow of his former self, now fighting in the league for some bigger purpose than himself.

But here we are, trapped, for it was ruled that, since we give him power, we are to be the sacrifice made for the greater good.

We were attracted to the lamp like a moth to a flame, and now we shall inhabit it forever.


A stranger I used to know

Its funny...
The day I saw you on the street, that day I think I remember having had a dream about you.
I dont recall what it was about or why you were in it, but I guess it was somewhat of a warning.

You had not changed at all, still all the same, nothing would change you.

I on the other hand was completely different, I had changed, for better or worse. Maybe that why you did not recognize me, you were, I guess, expecting me to be the exact same as back then, but I had moved on, I had done things, I had shaped my life in the way I wanted it to.

We crossed as any other two strangers cross on the street of a crowded city, but I knew that we were not just any other couple of strangers that pass each other on the daily.

We had known each other, shared memories, good ones, bad ones, but they were ours. They had no meaning now, though.

You passed me, did not even spare a second glance. And I made no effort to correct your mistake, what good would that have brought? It was over for a reason, and nothing would change that.

Before I realized it you were behind me, just like we were, in my past, and I would not dare to look back to get something positive out of it. It was my past and I vowed to leave you and everything else there.

Part of me would have wanted to grab a drink, ask about how you were doing, the better part of me kept me from it.

The duality of what we had been, what we could have been, and what we were still haunts me to this day, to this moment


The Solution

"But at the end of the day, there is not that much crime to be accounted for, people are unlikely to commit crimes"

'And how exactly does one run such a vast complex without much crime, it is a lot of people confined to a relatively small area'

"It was the 4s idea, one of the very first actually"



'Quite, to be frank'

"You see, the development of technology did not only bring with it the advancement of soul surgery, as we like to call it. We were also able to develop simulations so real, that the subjects were in no way able to discern between reality and fiction"

'I am acquainted with the advancements made by the enclave'

"No doubt you are. Anyway, the 4 decided to conduct a little experiment. They based the eventual positive results of their method on the premise that, once the soul has saciated its innermost, darkest desires, the mind is at ease and the individual can carry on with their normal life"

'Enabling their fantasies? That hardly sounds feasible, legal or moral'

"It is if their actions have no repercusion on the real world"

'Simulation of the crime?'

"Precisely. We would abduct the individuals that presented certain patterns of behabior associated with crime proneness and introduce them to a simulation tailored to their personalities in such a way that they would be enabled to act on their impulses without realising that what they were doing was part of a simulation"

'I have to admit that I am quite skeptical of the notion, yet it does seem to bear most satisfactory fruit'

"It is a costly and meticulous process, but I can assure you that it is worth every second and credit spent on it"

'There is one question that comes to mind though: Do you tell the subjects that their actions have had no repercusion in the real world?'

"We tend not to... that way they live in fear of getting caught and judged. They make model citizens after the crime has been commited"




I am the strenght needed to make the decisions that must be made.

I am the force that fights against the injustices in the world.

I am the fortitude against the odds, against the enemies, against ignorance.

I am the resolve necessary to take challenges head on and never waver.

I am the bravery in the moment of truth, the courage that fills you when you need it most, the valor required to take the step to a brighter tomorrow.

I am Fortitudo, one of the four heads of the Enclave.

I enforce the laws dictated by Iustitia, defy Temperantia while heeding the warnings of Prudentia.

I command the police force, the military

I praise those that, through me, achieve their dreams and desires, change the world for the best, fight for what is right. In moments of need, praise my name, summon me to your battlefield, no matter the time, no matter the place, let me aid you in your effort.

No battle shall be resolved without me by your side, no justice can be achieved without me.

For I am Fortitudo, bearer of truth.


Coming Clean

To whom it may concern,

I have done terrible deeds, betrayed, killed, stolen...

Betrayed my loved ones.

Killed my dreams.

Stolen someones heart.

But here I stand before you, with the firm belief that sin can go unpunished as long as there is a will to change and the determination to do it.

With the promise that I wish to make amends and to change my ways, prove useful to the world, prove useful to myself.

With the hope that one day not only justice, but also my loved ones will turn the other cheek and forgive my past mistakes, look forward to my bright future.

With the wish that there is no fate for any one of us, that we can shape both our and others´ future with the blood in our body and the sweat on our brow, the blisters on our hands.

With the plea that my past does not have to determine my future or the judgement thereof, that there is hope even for the hopeless, absolution for the sinner, a heaven for the unbeliever.

To whoever reads this I ask, do not judge me by the actions I took in the past, lest it is in its proper context and with a clear and sound mind free of bias and judgement. Things I did I am not proud of, but I would do again if the situation demanded it.

/ --- /

Four heads nod in agreement after reading the letter.

Judgement has been passed.



"Remember the day we got here?"

*Hard to forget...*

"We made it though, our strugles were worth it"

*Meh, we shall see about that, too much ahead of us, too many amends to make*

"True... True..."

*I had never seen such an intense rain. We were cold, starving, drenched, alone...*

"And yet we found kindness in those around us nevertheless, kindness we did not spare towards our friends..."

*What do you think has become of them?*

"I hope they are alright... The banshees... I dont know, I just hope they are fine, or at least alive. I want to share with them the grief my treachery caused both me and them. I could only hope for their forgiveness, though I certainly can not and will not expect it."

*I think they will forgive us*

"What makes you so sure?"

*She knows us, she has experienced other hardships with us, she knows we did not mean it*

"Not meaning it is not enough, we endagered them needlessly..."

*We have to get stronger*

"But how?"

*That I do not know yet, but I know we will find out together*

"That is certain"

We looked at the crowded street that lay beyond the end of the alley we had been living in for the past week.
We had a long way to go, but at least we had been able to finish this chapter of our lives almost unscathed.

With renewed vigor, hope and determination, we made our way into the new world that lay beyond our alley.