In an eternal lightning storm there lies a corpse. Corpses don't have names, but this one recently answered to the name of Yuri. He lies spreadeagle, skewered on a stalagmite, the perfect lightning rod. When struck the old circuitry still responds, sending the body into spasms, an amateur's puppet. For a moment the eyes glisten as tear glands are activated and saline water streaks the creases down the side of his face. Then he stills, the salt drips to the ground, and his eyes glaze over. He is a corpse again.

His eyes are rolled back into his head. That is because they are watching a delightful slide show, better than any theatre will ever offer. A romance featuring a beautiful woman, her white-blonde hair tied up in a pretty blue bow. Alice, she calls herself, and the viewer wishes it was more than a movie. Oh, but it is...he finds himself giving the dead name, Yuri, and the girl smiles a little awkwardly, both because she is still frightened from the train and because she does not think much of his manners. But no romance lets the boy get the girl right away.

She is in danger, and he protects her. Cannibals, Dehuai, Albert Simon--nothing will touch her, he makes sure of that. Strangely, sometimes she rescues him. It makes him feel a bit emasculated, but at the same time--loved. There is a tacit agreement: his life with hers and her life with his. And is that not the deepest of vows...?

There are other, minor, characters, but only Alice's is important; only she can look at him with those round blue eyes and make every danger seem merely a trifle.

Now they are nearing the resolution. It's apparent because they have finally taken care of the greatest obstacle and now they are going to see her mother so she can marry him. She wants to, and that little thought makes a torn heart pound as he watches her sleep on the train, her small frame completely still. He leans forward to kiss her and suddenly all turns black. The viewer is reminded he is in a theatre, not a train. The film must have broken. Annoyance sets in; what on earth was about to happen? He's seen the film in its entirety before, he knows it. Yet he cannot place the next event. Well, the hero must have kissed her, and that must have woken her up...she wasn't a deep sleeper...

Lightning strikes and the body spasms. A new film starts, the most delightful slide show. It is a romance featuring a beautiful woman, her white-blonde hair tied up in a pretty blue bow. Alice, she calls herself, and the viewer wishes it was more than a movie...willingly, he dives in as the lead actor in the corpse theatre, starring opposite his doomed love. Outside his body hangs, his head blankly grinning as bright eyes roll inward to watch the show.

Author's Note: This is part of the reason I believe Yuri is alive in the good ending; when I started picturing him as dead and going through his adventure again...well, this was the result.