Chernobyl

Chernobyl, HBO

As the perspicacity of unbearable radiation started burning the insides of his eyelids, Sebastian thought of the last thing he saw before closing his eyes: a yellow warning board with the symbol for extreme radiation. Beneath the symbol there was a sentence written in black marker – “You are not alone.” Sebastian was walking into the poisonous perimeter of the Chernobyl radiation zone. As he walked down the path of agonizing death he remembered something he was told years ago, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, suffocation and suffering. And you will be favored by the entity who loved you from the moment He created you.”

A room filled with soothing white light at the end of a dark passage. Sebastian could literally feel the haunt of a deserted place as he walked along the lonely passage. The only thing that was keeping his mind sane was the divine light at the end. The warmth of the restful light floored upon his skin as he entered the room. Kind of like a mild touch of genuine affection. Everything in there was blurry. The more he tried, the less he could see. Walking further in Sebastian saw something in the room. It appeared to be a distant glimpse of two shadows. Sebastian was startled as the shadows smelled a lot like his parents. He tried to stretch his sight as far as he could and suddenly he heard someone whispering, ‘You are not alone!’

With the speed of lightening Sebastian opened his eyes. His heart was beating like the raging wind of a desert storm. He found himself lying on a bed in a small motel room. Sebastian got up from bed. He was still confused about the dream he had. The words, “You are not alone” did not make any sense to him. However that was not the strangest part of the dream. Sebastian was pretty sure that he saw his parents. The fragments of a fragile dream left him with a lot of questions. Getting up from bed he looked outside the tiny window of his room. Everything around him looked extremely calm and quiet. At that very moment he was in a border town in Belarus, only 14 miles from the city of Tripyat.

The morning was the gloomiest Ivan had ever seen in his life. On his way towards the local bar he observed every little detail. Too many years of being a mercenary had polished his observation well enough. There was an inhuman silence everywhere as if the place was nesting some evil entity. There was never too much of a crowd or noise in the town but that silence felt paranormal. Ivan was a captain in the Russian Army. His extraordinary combat skills and ability to see beyond conventional strategies made him one of the most lethal soldiers in Russia. Six years ago for an anonymous reason Ivan left the army. He started working as a mercenary in these parts of the world. He used to smuggle goods in and out of borders. From a normal handgun to a grenade, from a trained animal to a human being he had smuggled almost everything. Just when Ivan thought that he had had his share of unusual experiences in one life, he got a bold mail. It was a week ago. An unknown person from faraway Belarus offered Ivan two million dollars to take him to Chernobyl. At first Ivan was a bit suspicious. Somebody offering that much money to travel to a place as lethal felt too good to be true. However he ended up taking the job. As he was thinking Ivan saw the porch of the bar. He was too drenched in his thoughts to notice he had already reached the bar. He went inside and saw his friend Igor sitting in a corner. He walked upright and sat beside him. Igor looked at him and asked,

“What about the job you had? Did you smuggle that idiot into Tripyat?” Igor had a way of asking blunt questions. He always asked with a crooked smile.

“Yeah” Ivan replied indecently. “First he came to Belarus. I sent one of my men to bring him to the border town. I met him there. Then I crossed him inside the Ukrainian border and took him to Tripyat. Then I gave him directions to get to Chernobyl from there.”

“Had any troubles with the Army?”

“No”

Ivan was absent minded throughout the conversation. Something did not feel right. He grabbed his drink and started sipping from it, with his eyes on the horizon.

Demonic possession had always been explained as a severe phase of paranoid schizophrenia. The perception of the possession of the human body by an inhuman entity is nothing but a taboo in urban society. While in the lower classes it had been treated too overwhelmingly to define. And due to two completely different reasons this supernatural phenomena had always been unscathed. Sebastian was no different than that. They say that the greatest trick the devil ever pulled off is to convince the world that it does not exist. Sebastian was a software engineer in a prestigious IT company when it all started. It was one fine sunny morning. Sebastian woke up and discovered himself in different clothes. He had no memory of the night whatsoever. He just remembered going to sleep sometime around 11 pm. However he was too busy to waste time thinking into such matters. Just like every other day he freshened up and turned on the TV. Every morning he watched the morning news over breakfast. As he was watching the news that morning, he saw an unusual story. There were reports of a murder on the east side of town. The victim’s body was burnt from the inside. Authorities could not figure out how it happened. There was no scientific explanation from the physicians either. Police kept up with the investigation although there was not much luck regarding the suspect. Sebastian finished his breakfast and started for the office. He got busy with his life. Meanwhile there was another murder the next week.

The way of death was pretty much identical to the previous one. The following week witnessed two more murders. And every day Sebastian found himself dressed differently as he woke up. He was confused. The whole town was in a frenzy of barely surfaced fear. The police had no suspects. Amongst all that horror, suddenly the police found a witness. Although her confession was mostly suited to an aftermath of hallucination. The witness said she could not come out before as she was too afraid. According to her the suspect was not human. It had reddish black scars all over the face. The most bizarre: the eyes. She told the police that the suspect had yellow eyes. Sebastian did not want to dig into the matter that deep. Everything was going as usual for him until the day police came looking for him at his office. At the moment it did not make any sense. They showed him the sketch prepared according to the description of the witness. As Sebastian saw the sketch for the first time he froze for a few moments. The sketch had obvious similarities with his face. It was like somebody had drawn an evil version of it. However police did not hold him up for long as he had an alibi. There were headlines in every paper claiming the dawn of a serial killer.

It was the weekend. Sebastian got up late in the morning. As he woke up, he noticed an infrequent thing. His laptop was turned on and a video was running. He could not remember turning it on or even saving a video. Out of curiosity Sebastian started watching it. And that was the very moment his entire life turned upside down. It was a self-made video. The person in the video looked identical to the sketch showed to him earlier by police. It took Sebastian quite a few minutes to realize that it was nobody else but himself. His eyes were yellow; he had reddish veins all over his face. It was like the face of a demon. And shockingly he did not have any memory of shooting it. Sebastian could not think clearly. If the things said in the video were true, then he was possessed by a demon named Leviathan. It was using his body to perform the evil deeds it wished. It was Leviathan who was responsible for all the recent murders. Technically, Sebastian had been murdering people. But in reality he was only the puppet of the world’s most deceiving ventriloquist. Sebastian was in a state of shock. He thought that he had gone crazy. He contacted a psychiatrist immediately. During the session he shared everything with him. A day after that he recieved a mail. It said, “‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, suffocation and suffering. And you will be favored by the entity who loved you from the moment He created you.’ Sebastian, I am really sorry but I have to let the police know of everything. May you find your own salvation!” Sebastian knew the intensity of the danger he was in. He fled town. The psychiatrist was dead the next day.

Sebastian was walking towards the Chernobyl radiation zone. He walked all the way from Tripyat. As he was marching towards death, he remembered the day he decided to come here. After escaping, Sebastian tried many things, read a lot to get rid of the demon. He emptied his bank account and started researching. At one point he did find out a way to spit the demon out. It was a book of an ancient religion. According to the book, there were two ways to defeat the demon. One was to face the demon with an indomitable will to claim one’s own self from it. The other way was to burn the body to ashes without fire, as fire would only feed its hunger. Sebastian tried his heart and soul to claim his body from the demon but there was no luck. At last with all hope gone, he decided to burn himself in radiation. He made his way to Chernobyl. As Sebastian was drenched in all those thoughts he saw a warning board. The venomous radiation of Chernobyl had started burning his skin. Suddenly something hit his mind. It had been a week since the demon got control over him. He remembered every single second of the previous week. He was so focused towards Chernobyl that somehow it blocked the demon away. He could finally realize the true connotation of the mail he got from his psychiatrist. And in that moment he knew that he had the courage to face Leviathan. He turned around and started heading back. In his mind he was thinking of the dream he had. He knew that he was not alone. But it was too late. Extreme radiation had already burnt major parts of his body including his eyes. Though he exited the perimeter of the radiation zone he could not see anything. Suddenly he felt someone grabbing him. He never knew Russian but he could evidently tell that he was saying something to the stranger in the language. Within fifteen minutes Sebastian died in his arms.

Ivan was not sure why he followed that strange man into Chernobyl. He chose not think about it. He only remembered running, running towards the man as he walked into the radiation zone in Chernobyl. Ivan stood there helplessly as the man walked inside. When the man turned back and tried to flee the inhuman burns, Ivan was there. He caught him on his fall. None of these episodes affected Ivan as much as what the man said in Russian just before he died, “There will always be demons in the world. But that is not the worst part. The worst part is that they will be inside us. And not choosing to believe in the demon will not protect us from him. The only way to protect ourselves is to face him, with strength and rejection.”

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