I am a dead man. I would like to think of myself as a reasonable, level-headed individual; and that is exactly why I know that there is no happy ending for me by any measure whatsoever. I have only one thing left I can do… whether it works or not, this document is to serve as my last will and testament. I will not try to diminish my responsibility in what happened, but before I die the blame will be placed squarely on the heads of those who deserve it. It was the combined hubris of two men that sealed our fates: Dr. Chappelle and Dr. Volstak, the men who found God.
It all started when I transferred to the post-graduate studies program at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. I had a shiny, new Bachelor’s in Psychology and was looking forward to further exploring the nooks and crannies of the human mind. A friend I had graduated with put me in contact with a new colleague of his named Dr. Anders Volstak, who was looking for psychology and biology students to aid in a series of experiments that he was to conduct at the University. Volstak was a young psychologist from Norway. He was a generally pleasant man, he was respectful to most, very punctual and polite, but the good doctor had his demons just as everyone does. He grew up in a very hostile environment, his parents were far-right, ultra-nationalists; they lived in a make-shift community in the woods with others who believed similarly. He and the other children were subject to severe beatings, bleach baths, and branding any time they dared question any of their elders’ beliefs. It was during one such instance when Anders’s 9-year old brother was beaten into a coma by their father for not kneeling low enough before the cross. Anders remembered it very clearly, each time the axe handle came down his father would scream, “Er du skamme Kristi?! Er du skamme Kristi?!”… He was asking the boy if he was ashamed of Christ. Whether he was or not, he never woke up. Anders was able to run away with several other children one night, he was taken in by a boy’s home right across the border in Sweden and that is where he began his education. He then traveled to the States to pursue his post-secondary, first at the University of Alabama, then Kentucky. It was in the Bluegrass state where Anders met Dr. Dominic Chappelle for the first time, from then on we were all living on borrowed time.
Dr. Chappelle was a born and bred Kentuckian, almost a walking stereotype. His family was famous for breeding racehorses, he kept a bottle of Buffalo Trace in his bottom desk drawer, and he had a very pronounced southern drawl to his voice. He looked more like Santa Clause than most of the boozers they stick in red suits down at the mall every Christmas; and he was just as jovial as you would imagine St. Nick to be. He was a very well thought of man, however, he was fiercely intelligent and when arguing he could make the opposing side feel 2 inches tall. In spite of his family’s fundamentalist beliefs, he became enamored with the theory of evolution. He read The Origin of Species like it was holy scripture, he had adopted it very early on as a pseudo-faith of sorts. He became particularly fascinated with human evolution, physiologically and culturally. He was obsessed with finding and understanding what he called the “Tipping Point”, where man shifted from a beast into an individual part of a functioning society. He believed that the Tipping Point consisted of two huge psychological steps: self-awareness and environmental control. First, an animal must become self-aware, or have the ability to distinguish itself as an individual separate from other individuals and its surroundings. A popular story is Charles Darwin’s encounter with a female orangutan named Jenny at the London Zoo in which he observed it using a mirror to aid in grooming its back, thus indicating it knew the image in the mirror was itself and not another ape entirely. The Mirror Test has since become the standard in the scientific community for gauging an animal’s capacity for self-awareness. The second step, environmental control, is a psychological device that helps an organism grasp abstract concepts about the surrounding enviornment. In man, this last step would be when he first looked up at the sky and saw gods. The Greeks and Romans saw the sun go across the sky, unable to fully comprehend astronomy or physics at the time, they attributed it to a god pulling it across the sky in a chariot. This is why myths existed in the first place, man has a need to think he understands everything. But as time went on, and man learned more about his environment, he was able to discern more practical explanations. It was that area in between that sparked the interest of Dr. Chappelle, and more so, what triggered it? How did primates make the leap from Jenny the Orangutan to cultivating societies around invisible, omnipresent deities? Once presented with the question, it seemed to consume Volstak as wholly as it had the man who had asked him. Volstak’s discipline was developmental psychology, he had witnessed the emergence of self-awareness in human children and he became convinced that the key would be to monitor the brain activity of the developing infants, especially the bioelectric activity between neuron clusters. The two of them working together was a perfect storm.
There it was, staring them in the face. They called it the subamygdalaic cluster (or SA cluster for short) because of its close proximity and relative position to the emotional center of the brain, the amygdala. They had monitored 250 children to determine if there was a connection between their cognitive development and the areas of the brain that were most electrically active. A definitive pattern emerged, this specific cluster they were focused on began showing increased activity around 16 months and rises exponentially until around 3 years when it begins to taper off slightly. That is the prime window for primary cognitive development in human infants, it is early on in these patterns (around 18 months) when self-awareness develops, the two men were all but convinced that that small area of the brain is what drives us to try to understand, even if that means making up gods and monsters. The two doctors decided to test the theory on human adults just to see if increasing the activity in the SA cluster would illicit some unique psychological or physiological response. These first experiments were very simple, a very minor electrical current would be introduced to the subjects’ brain, and directed at the SA cluster. The results were far, far stranger than they had expected. Each subject was placed in a completely isolated control environment so as to ensure no external stimuli was distracting the brain’s activity. However, after the experiments, each subject claimed to have very strongly felt another presence in the room with them, nothing hostile or frightening, just that they were not alone. The doctors were understandably perplexed, their original hypothesis was that the cluster would make an individual more susceptible to believing in something bigger than themselves, not that it would actually manifest as some outside presence to them. It was then that both men started to realize the implications of their new discovery, they had found God…and he lives in your brain. This cluster apparently generates the feeling that one is not alone, it is the reason we believe in the things we can’t see with such steadfast devotion, insisting that others just can’t feel it the way that they do. To Chappelle, this indicated that God was nothing more than some sort of psychological complex that has evolved in humans to allow them to cope with not understanding. To Volstak, it was vindication for his childhood, he had just proved with science that what his parents lived their lives for was nothing more than a few sparks firing off in their heads. He was happy knowing that their existence meant nothing at all. They were nothing at all. Had the studies stopped there, we might be ok, but that was not the case unfortunately. One does not know where the boundaries are until they are crossed over.
The doctors had discovered the “God” cluster as it became known in the scientific community. They had established a physical location in the brain where these abstract beliefs are likely formed and enforced. What would be the next question they had to answer? Chappelle was still curious about how this feature had developed over the hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution. Unfortunately, there was no way to examine early human brain development, so Chappelle posited another idea. An idea that involved subjects that shared almost 99% of their DNA with humans but were significantly less developed psychologically, pan troglodytes, the common Chimpanzee. While still a far cry from humans, chimps are the closest living relatives that we have in the animal kingdom, having only split from the human branch 4 to 6 million years ago (a relatively short period on the geological time scale). There were obviously concerns, mostly put to voice by Volstak who argued that the chimps do not have the mental capacity to comprehend concepts like gods or legends, let alone assign these properties to anything. Chappelle had a way of talking people into things though, and Volstak had the utmost respect for him, so it was decided that some preliminary studies would be done with more in-depth experiments likely in the future. This is when Volstak began looking for assistants to conduct these experiments. This is when my friend told me about the new position. This is when I decided it would be an excellent opportunity. Forgive me.
They wanted to use veteran lab chimps, they were significantly less hostile than those fresh from the wild and while chimps may not look physically imposing, they are almost solid muscle and have the utmost potential for violence. An average adult, male chimp is easily five times as strong as his human counterpart. I’d heard horror stories about chimps going berserk, ripping people’s limbs off, chewing their faces to pulp, and even kidnapping and eating human infants; all of which are behaviors one would rather not see up close in a confined area. Lab chimps, in comparison, are amazingly docile even while being poked, prodded, injected, and who knows what else. Another unusual advantage of using lab chimps is that some of them have been taught sign language and a few of them have pretty impressive vocabularies. They have been shown to understand concepts such as love, hate, and sympathy. Volstak was taken aback by their intelligence. The more he watched them socialize, play, and solve puzzles, the more he wanted to carry on with further experiments. Chimps are also one of the few animals to have passed the mirror test, thus already displaying some sense of self-awareness; and they are able to function together in groups like tribes or clans while using a strict hierarchal social system. Very similar to behaviors displayed by early humans. The chimpanzees seemed so close, so where was that gap, that piece of the puzzle that we had but they didn’t.
The first time I stepped into the lab, I convinced myself I was in the wrong place. It was two stories underground, at the end of a dank utility corridor. I was prepared to turn around and leave when I heard the door at the end of the hallway creak open. A small, middle-aged woman poked her head out. “We’re in here.” She said as she slid back inside. I tentatively walked down the hall and entered the lab. The walls were a creamy white and the floor was grey tile with little black specks in it, a truly exuberant environment. There were four others in the room beside myself: Dr. Volstak, Dr. Chappelle, the friendly greeter, Dr. Allison Gamble, and another assistant like me, Jamie Kurst. Dr. Gamble was a world renowned primatologist, who had the privileged experience of studying under the very influential Dian Fossey before her untimely murder by the poachers she was fighting against in the December of ’85. Gamble’s specialty was the social interaction between chimps, she intensely studied their body language, sexual behavior, and vocalizations. She had worked extensively with lab chimps as well, teaching them how to sign and making sure they are comfortable and taken care of properly. Jamie Kurst was fresh out of the four year program like me, although unlike me his degree was in biology with his special discipline being evolutionary biology, he was one of Dr. Chappelle’s many adoring acolytes. Besides the people in the room, I noticed a plethora of equipment meant for both observing and measuring, then I noticed the far wall. There were three separate windows into three separate enclosures. In each was an adult, male chimp. Above each window were signs that read the names of the chimps, from left to right it was “Lou”, “Bongo”, and “Simon”. Each had a tire swing, some toys, and makeshift lean-tos with straw beds. Both Drs. Volstak and Chappelle came over to greet me. I had spoken with Volstak through e-mail about the student position and he seemed quite excited to have me on. Dr. Chappelle went on to explain precisely what we would be doing. We were going to sedate the chimps, induce an electrical flow through the brain and direct it at what they believed to be a primitive predecessor of the God cluster, then see if this has any effects on the chimp’s behavior and dad-to-day lifestyle. I was immediately drawing comparisons to the crude electroshock therapy used by asylums in the past, but Dr. Chappelle assured me that it was a very weak current they would be using. Just enough to stimulate neural activity. The chimps would not feel any discomfort whatsoever. In order to monitor any changes to the chimps’ mood or personality, there would be a series of “interviews” with the chimps before and after the experiments just so we would be able to notice any hallucinations, mood swings, or other unusual symptoms that could indicate increased activity in or around the cluster area. Dr. Gamble would be the one conducting the interviews since she had the most face time with the animals and knows how to communicate with them. It seemed like they had it all pegged out and ready to go, they had everything under control. I truly felt that way the first day, I am a goddamm fool.
The pre-experimental interviews were conducted the next day, each chimp seemed in good health. Dr. Gamble spoke with each of them…signed with each of them and since she was the only one among us that was familiar with the language, we could just watch and wait for her to fill us in after the interview. She asked them all the same questions, “What is your name?”, “What is my name?”, “Do you feel good or bad?” All three, Lou, Bongo, and Simon answered the questions and all were given chopped fruit. The chimps were a lot bigger in person than I had imagined, close to five and a half feet tall and weighing in around 150 lbs, these were not small animals by any measure. Simon especially, he was larger than the other two but he was also the most talkative, he asked Dr. Gamble for chocolate during their interview. She told him she would bring him some later and he began hooting and laughing. It was surreal to be around something so close to human that you feel a certain kinship, yet just animal enough to convince you it’s not a human.
The experiments began the next day, each chimp was separately sedated, strapped to a stretcher, and wheeled into an adjacent room with various electrodes, monitoring equipment, and medical supplies. Each went smoothly, the chimps were wheeled in, the electrodes were placed on their temples and on the back of the head in order to make sure the electrical current could be properly directed at target that they were aiming for, we would let the current pass through for about ten to fifteen minutes, then deactivate it, and wheel the chimp back to its enclosure to rest until it wakes up. Like clockwork, we did this every single day for a week. After each time the chimps were interviewed and each time the results were very average and uninteresting. They knew their names, they knew Dr. Gamble’s name, and they felt good. Over and over and over. By the fifth day, Simon stopped believing the lies about tomorrow’s chocolate and stopped asking all together. It was the same thing every day for a week. Frustration abound, Volstak suggested they increase the voltage, maybe they weren’t stimulating the nerves enough. Gamble was hesitant of course but after some coercion from Chappelle, agreed to proceed. Another week, nothing. We increased again. The next week, nothing. Everyone was tired and frustrated, that’s when Chappelle made a turn. He suggested that we stop sedating them beforehand, that an active, awake brain might respond differently. Gamble put up a fight with that one, for once I thought Chappelle was going to back down. He didn’t though, he just bided his time, smiling. He had Volstak, Jamie, and I come in during the night so we could conduct the procedures without Gamble knowing any differently. I was hesitant at first, then Volstak threatened me with termination from the project, this was too big. Same routine, we wheeled the chimps in one by one, hooked up the electrodes, and flipped the switch. Only this time, they shrieked and held twisted expression of pain on their face until the juice was shut off. Each one, Lou, Bongo, and Simon; once we were done, we shut down everything and left. Lou and Bongo were both out like lights but Simon…Simon was just looking at us through the window, staring, not moving. I thought it was a look of betrayal at the time…this was neither the first or last time I would be wrong.
The next day started out as usual. No one made mention of the events last night to Gamble but she had this look on her face, she knew something was up. Especially because of Simon. The other two chimps were acting like they had every day for the past two weeks. Simon was just sitting there watching us through the window, other than a stray grunt every now and then he was completely silent. We went through the usual routine just to keep up appearances with Gamble. The post-procedure interviews were just as humdrum as we had come to expect, that is, until Simon. The interview went just as it had every other time until the end, as Gamble was preparing to leave, Simon signed something at her. She seemed confused for a moment, then signed back. They went back and forth for a little while until she finally came out. When asked about his behavior, she said that he had asked “What name?” indicating the corner of the room. It took us a moment to process it. He was essentially asking who that was in the corner…an empty corner. He acknowledged a presence in the room that wasn’t there. Did it really just happen? Everyone knows that science is not without its faults, could it have been a fluke? Gamble was quickly sent back into Simon’s enclosure. Simon asked again, “What name?” He was clearly pointing to the Southwest corner of the room. “Big” he signed at Gamble, “Big.” We recorded the conversation and decided to shut the lab down for the day and restart tomorrow, just too see if the effects from the electricity were of a residual or permanent nature. When we left the lab, Simon was staring at that corner. It made me consider the ethics of the situation. We had taken this poor creature and fucking electrocuted him into believing there is a God. At what point are we no longer scientists but instigators, doing things just to see what happens, how much we can get away with.
It looked like a dragon, it was very crude but it had obvious draconian elements. It was serpentine, it had wings, claws, but a human looking head. Simon had drawn it with feces in the same corner he was fascinated with yesterday. It was pretty common place for chimps and other primates to handle their feces but Gamble said she had never heard of it being used as an artistic medium before. It wasn’t a Rockwell or Goya but you could definitely make it out as a figure. When Gamble asked about it in the interview that day. She signed to him, “What is that?” Simon responded with a new gesture, he formed his hands into a bird-like form, and began flapping the wings. This was absolutely dumfounding at the time, most Chimps could barely even grasp sign, but Simon created an entirely original gesture to represent this new thing he could not explain. There it is, he experienced something he never had before and he is trying to assign abstract properties to it. He was trying to exercise environmental control. Volstak and Chappelle were ecstatic, beside themselves entirely. But then it happened…Simon signed something to Gamble, who signed something short and exited the room. She was confused at what Simon had just asked her. The last thing he signed was “Where brother?” This shocked Gamble because first, Simon was born and bred in captivity so it was on official record that he was his mother’s single child, he didn’t have any siblings at all. The second reason it had given her a shock was that she was the one who taught Simon how to sign years earlier, he had never learned the gesture for brother. There were several years he spent in other labs though so it was within reason that he had picked it up somewhere else. But why would he just spontaneously ask for his nonexistent brother like that? Gamble re-entered and began signing with Simon once again. He used the same gesture, “Where brother?” Gamble attempted to sign back, “Simon no have brother.” But he persisted, “Where brother?” Every few minutes he would glance over at his shit-dragon he drew on the wall, he would stare at it for a moment, then continue, “Where brother?” We decided to end for the day, Gamble was concerned about the effect the experiments were having on Simon and the other chimps. I have to say, I was beginning to mirror her worries, not about the other chimps, they seemed normal and unaltered it any way, but Simon seemed off…damaged I guess. I had taken Volstak’s threat very seriously, so I was not about to speak up. The whole thing was starting to creep me out, I just wanted to keep my head down, finish my obligation, then leave. By that point, we were too far gone to ever come back. I was locking up the lab about to walk out the door when I happened to catch some movement in my peripheral. I walked over to the enclosures, Lou and Bongo were asleep, Simon though…Simon was signing…at the corner. He stopped for a brief moment, glanced over his shoulder at me, then continued. This poor creature, we had ruined his head, you can’t un-fuck up something like that. I’m sorry, Simon. Forgive me, please.
Jamie was the first one to the lab the next day, he didn’t notice it at first. Not until he was putting food in the enclosures. The tire on Bongo’s tire swing was on the ground, Bongo was hanging from the rope, it was bound very tightly around his neck. His eyes were bulging out of his head, a large pool of blood under him, he had deep gashes around his neck and his hands were bloody. It was like he had been clawing at the rope but either gave up or couldn’t continue. Jamie waited until the rest of us arrived, showed us what had happened, then he walked out of the lab. That was the last time I saw Jamie, unfortunately not the last time I heard of him. I was sure that Gamble would leave too but surprisingly, she stayed, if for no other reason to make sure the remaining chimps were taken care of. What seemed odd to me though, no one talked about how in the hell Bongo wound up hanging from the rope. I asked Gamble and she said that he was probably playing and got tangled up… The rope was 6 feet long to start, 2 feet of came off with the tire, 3 feet was wrapped around his neck, and the last 1 foot attached to the ceiling. I don’t think that can just happen from playing, especially since they didn’t play. Lab chimps don’t have the same spirit wild ones do, they don’t climb the cages top to bottom or Tarzan around on some vines; they sit, eat, shit, and sleep. I found the circumstances around Bongo’s death to be strange but as Volstak and Chappelle reminded me, “We have work to do.” Lou and Bongo weren’t the stars anyway, Simon was the only one who mattered now. Gamble, visibly upset, calmed herself down and entered Simon’s room. As soon as she sat down, “Where brother?” We had broken him, I thought we had just driven him over the edge, he was mentally cracked from the electrotherapy. Why the fuck did I even get involved in this? Shocking God into animals? What was I thinking? That’s when he used another new gesture, he would pat his hands on the table and pat them like he was beating a set of drums or somethi… Gamble must have reached the same conclusion I had, her face instantly drained of color, she proceeded to stand up and walk out of the room. She was shaking.
“Where Bongo?”… “Where Bongo?”… That’s what Simon was asking now. The chimps were never in a communal enclosure, they were always separate, they shouldn’t have even known other chimps were involved let alone their names. Volstak and Chappelle were expressionless, I don’t know what they were thinking at this point, hell, I’m not even sure what I was thinking. We barely even had time to look at each other before Simon started tapping on his window, “Where brother?” Gamble stomped back into the room and vehemently started signing, “Simon no have brother”, “SIMON NO HAVE BROTHER!” Then he signed something different, “Pen.” Simon had been a part of labs that allowed the chimps to work with various artistic tools, so it was not unusual for him to know how to ask for a pen. Gamble came out, grabbed a pen from a desk, and then went back in. When she gave the pen to Simon, he immediately ran to the wall and started marking on it. It looked like he was trying to write words but the characters were malformed or seemingly invented on the spot. He had filled half the wall with these incoherent markings before he abruptly stopped. If it wasn’t surreal enough, the chimp’s entire demeanor changed in an instant. He stood up straight, turned to his beloved corner, kneeled, and began signing the same thing over and over again… “Big love Simon”… “Big love Simon”…
Poor Bongo’s body was carted away to be disposed of somewhere. I had to wait there until a few guys came to get him. The others had long left without saying a word to one another and since I was the student, I automatically drew the short straw. I couldn’t stay in the lab, the air in there gets heavier every day. Volstak and Chappelle are resolved to keep going until… I’m not really sure what their endgame is at this point. They seemed to have proven their theory about the God cluster, they have made Simon a believer of something. After they had carted the body out, I walked back in to make sure the lights were all shut off and everything was in order. Reluctantly I walked over to the enclosures. Lou was asleep in his lean-to, Bongo’s was bare except for a big, red patch in the middle of the floor, and Simon was standing at his door. I looked passed him at the wall he had marked up. I don’t know what made me do it, but I slipped out my iPhone and snapped a picture of the wall. Simon was just staring at me, not blinking, he slowly began to bear his teeth. I left. I should have just kept going, never came back, it probably wouldn’t save me but at least I would have a head start.
I don’t know what possessed me to go back, maybe habit or some distorted sense of obligation towards Volstak for giving me the position; whatever the reason, I once again walked through the door into the lab. Gamble was screaming at Chappelle, Volstak was having a heated discussion on the phone with someone, the only one who noticed me enter was Simon, who was once again trying to stare me down. After some of the steam had filtered out, I noticed that Lou’s room was empty…except for a red patch…in the middle of the floor…no tire…no goddamn way. It seems Lou was just as clumsy at playing as Bongo was. For a moment, I actually thought those chimps had killed themselves. Being shipped around from lab to lab having god-knows-what done to you, I could understand taking the express way out of that life. Then, a tap on the window, Simon was signing again…”Where Bongo?”… “Where Bongo?”… After watching him for a few minutes Gamble, out of frustration, decided to turn the tables, she signed “Where Bongo?”, “Where Bongo?”, “Simon Where Bongo?”… Bongo made the gesture he used to describe his dragon, then “Big take Bongo”. We were all silent. Simon began signing again. “Where brother?”… “Where brother?”… Gamble signed back through the window blankly, “Simon no have brother”. Simon signed back, “No Simon brother, man brother.” Simon pointed at Volstak…”Where brother?” He was asking Volstak… “Where brother?” Volstak began to tremble, his jaw agape, a cold sweat sweeping over him like a tsunami. “Where broth-“ Volstak’s face twisted into a terrifying grimace and he burst into the room, “HE’S DEAD! HE’S DEAD YOU FUCKING APE! YOU HAVE NO RIGHT! LEAVE HIM BE!” Volstak collapsed onto his knees, sobbing, murmuring in Norwegian or Swedish, I couldn’t honestly say which. Simon’s demeanor changed once again, he stood up straight, walked over to the doctor, and gently placed a hand on his shoulder. He looked up through tears into the ape’s eyes and asked, “Where’s my brother?” Simon just looked down at the good doctor, “The Everlasting Flame”. Before we could even realize what we had just witnessed this animal spoke again, roaring this time, “Er du skamme Kristi?!” The doctor’s once peaceful eyes now widened in terror, he could barely croak out the beginning of a scream before the chimp plunged its fingers into his eyes and started biting and chewing at his face. I don’t know why, maybe it was some sort of misplaced reflex, Gamble screamed and ran into the room. She barely made it into the room before the chimp was on top of her, shrieking, pummeling her and tearing at her flesh. I could hear the gurgling sounds coming from Volstak, that poor bastard wasn’t dead yet, he was trying to breathe through a wet, bloody hole that use to be his nose…I think…his face looked like a plate of spaghetti with small bits of bone jutting out.
Chappelle was just standing there, watching in horror as his two colleagues’ bodies were torn apart in the most brutal, obscene fashion by a beast he had infused with something we had called God at one point. I don’t know what came over me, some urge to enact cosmic justice just suddenly erupted inside of me. I shoved the man responsible for all of this into the room and shut the door. He turned around and began ordering me to open the door, he was calling me any name he could think of. Then Simon saw him, a malicious grin ripped across the primate’s face as he slowly advanced towards the doctor. Chappelle’s tone took a sharp turn then, he was no longer barking orders at me, but begging me, pleading with me, calling me a saint. Simon was on him in a blink, Chappelle trying his best to shield himself only to have his fingers cleanly bitten off. I don’t know why I watched, it wasn’t even a conscious decision, I just couldn’t bring myself to look away and run. Volstak was still gurgling life, Gamble’s head was a puddle of blood, bone fragments, and clumps of hair; and Chappelle…his hands were bloody stumps of loose flesh and his jaw and throat were essentially nonexistent. Simon was just standing there, covered in the spoils of carnage, looking at me… looking into me. “It’s done! I’m sorry! It was their fault! I didn’t know what they would do, you can’t blame me!” I just spurted it all out, trying to plead my case to some goddamn devil ape. “Blame? No, you opened the door, you have given me a new home. I’m grateful. Let me show you.” The ape walked up to the glass and pressed the palm of his hand firmly against the pane…he just kept pressing… and pressing… All the while maintaining a dead stare, not with an ape’s eyes, the eyes peering back at me were reptilian and fiery. My heart dropped into the bottom of my gut when I heard it, a crack. It was tiny at first, then it started to lengthen. Then another one… still pressing and staring…. Then another one… I fled. I did what I should have done the first day, I didn’t run back to my dorm, I ran to my car and drove.
That was four months ago. They found the bodies in the lab, the prime suspect is a young psychology student who was aiding them in their studies. No mention of any chimpanzee. I would almost turn myself in and confess if I thought I would be safe in prison, but I don’t think the word safe even means anything anymore, it’s hardly more than a noise I can make with my mouth now. I tried to track down Jamie, thinking he would be sympathetic of me and help. I found out where he lived but try as I might, knocking, calling, whatever, I never got a response so I just kept moving. They found his body three days later, all his limbs were broken, his genitals were ripped off, and his head was cracked open right down the middle through his face. He was not the last one. I have to keep moving, yet in every town I pass through, three days later I am reminded of what is on my trail. It started with a bum in Bowling Green, then a cop in Paducah, a high school couple in St. Louis, an entire family in Omaha, an elderly couple in Butte, a young priest in Boulder, and God knows how many I don’t know about. The beast will never lose my scent and I can’t just keep leading it around the country on some marry-go-round of gore. What we did back then, we invited something into our world…hell…we practically pulled it into our realm, I still don’t understand what happened but I don’t guess I or anyone else ever will. I was able to get the markings on the wall analyzed by a linguistics professor I knew from USC, it was a known language, Assyrian, a language much older than the Bible. He tried to translate it but I could not stick around for much longer. What he was able to translate was a little less than comforting: “O’ mighty flames of Sepharvaim, deliver the sons and daughters of the heretic into the jaws of the mighty Adramelek so that they may suffer and learn his wrath! All kneel to the dark-eyed one and weep at his power! No hope or mercy will be granted to those who oppose his reign.” The only solace I can find in this situation, is that if evil exists to that degree, there must be good to that degree as well. I can’t say I believe in God, but I have to hope something is there, something that will help me try to make right out of what I have done. This is my third day in a motel on the outskirts of Reno. Sunset is in less than an hour away and the air grows heavier by the moment. To my right, I have a crucifix and bible, to my left, a shotgun. I doubt either can shield me from what comes my way. Forgive me for my trespasses, God, please help me.
There it is, the tapping at the door… steady… growing… Simon is here.