"Where in the blazes am I?", thus would sound the shriek emitted by baby infant upon its seeing the darkly shadows of reality for the first time, thus and none otherwise were the baby endowed with the blessing of language at the time. It is a truly tragic misfortune that the baby, though agitated, palpitating and dearly frightened has only to scream as loud as its undeveloped lungs permit him to, that it cannot communicate to the fullest extent the multitude of its feeling to those around him; that the chief of its initial development, its journey from the animal to the human is doomed to be undertaken not only in compulsion but also in utter solitude. Through the darkest and most perilous crevices of life the baby infant must traverse alone and without the aid of any light or aid whatsoever.

The whole and terrifying truth is that the baby hardly ever makes the journey, it is distracted by the most insidious monster, a deceiving Rusalka, a beautiful and ever- coveted temptress who attracts the baby with light, guides it farther and farther to the source and when it comes to realize that the light is in fact that of fire most perilous, it is already too late. We never come out of infancy as we should, we never undertake the journey to the end, we are distracted by such monsters, initially these shadowy creatures of perdition take the form of our mother, or to be precise, the oral contention that their succulent nipples and the milk thereof promise. We suck and suck and are the greatest parasites the world has ever seen and we continue to live upon our mothers' deceiving goodness for the rest of our lives. True, mothers die but then arise other pleasures to indulge, fully-fledged sexual copulation, eating, music, religion, they all come to make up for the loss of our mothers but they are not any less dangerous than the former.

And its all bright and its all wine and song and pleasure and indeed it appears, the Gardens of Eden, here on Earth and nowhere else. But then, one a very stormy day, our lives DO come to an end. Death's razor blades rush to reap our souls and it finds, with a mixture of mocking amusement and joy, that indeed we are too weak to force our weary bodies into any resistance; and we perish.

James Cutters was a very intelligent baby, one of the brightest babies of the XXI century. By the time he reached his forties, already had he devised, with the slight aid of his scientific research team, successful treatments for almost all variations of cancer, barring the instances of brain tumors. He was able to synthesize an array of chemical enhancements, body-building, muscle-enhancing, mind-boosting drugs which were very soon accepted and greedily consumed by the whole of the population. James Cutters was considered the most prominent scientist of the century and not only that, the most charitable man the world had ever seen. Millions in ICCs (International Currency Credits) were invested in the foundation of charity institutions. "A little bit of Haven for Everyone", was his saying. When asked if he was a communist, his famous reply was "By no means good sir, in the future world there will be wealthy and less wealthy, all I intend to change is that the word "poor" is rendered obsolete in modern language.".

In all possible particulars, unquestionably and indefinitely James was the perfect example of a happy man. An accomplished philanthropist, a content lover and a wealthy, rich scientist who pursued both his moral as well as scientific passions, his level of happiness easily exceeded that of an average human being of the time. There is, albeit, a flaw in even the most apparently perfect diamond, one must simply look at the right angle, from the right point. For James it was the ticking of one certain clock, one that he had forgotten long ago, forsaken for the sake of other clocks. Like Captain Hook, James was the fighter of clocks, but there was within him one particular, most crucial to his being, that James had shunned.

It was a day as bright as many others before, the day of James' birthday in point of fact, when the sun would be dampened merely by the occasional line of lily-white clouds which, however, did not so much ruin the landscape as they improved it, lending the sky an artistic value, an aesthetic attribute that could be cherished, but not quite so easily defined. Indeed, on that very day, James Cutters was admiring the artistic sky in melancholy silence, inhaling every bit of the atmosphere, devouring the bright sea blue and grasping greedily the white cream upon it, partaking as he always did, of every possible sense, every possible pleasure he could in life. Then was the smell, a homely scent of his own private office, his own blessed sanctuary. A lovely mixture of oak wood, metal chrome and natural leather of his personal arm-chair. He refused to use synthetic leather, stating whenever asked about his viewpoint on animal rights:

"Animals cannot be treated equally with humans. When given, they return but they cannot be treated with morality. What is a few hundred dead mindless animals compared to millions of humans happily living without the fear of cancer? Morality for humans is understandable for it brings comfort to us, giving us aid and support. We aren't animals therefore it is only reasonable to make the utmost of their existence without the slightest care for their suffering, morality is for societies, for human beings, not for animals, thus nature made us and that is one nature's rule I do not intend to oppose to. I am not one to decide, but my dear fellow people, I ask you the question, whichever do you prefer: To live happily at the expense of animals or to let animals live likewise at the expense of your lives? Consider that and then if you still believe my actions undesirable, I will do nothing to impose happiness upon you against your will."

And the sound made him the most ecstatic, peaceful silence barring the rhythmic(he adored all that could be predicted, despised all that required the folly of randomness) sound of Newton's Cradle's balls happily bouncing against each other. Every action results in an opposite reaction. But the force required to break small and uncontrolled waves, failing to cooperate together, is nothing against the great mass that is humanity, its petty and therefore negligible.

How his mother would be proud, had she lived, a philanthropist, the world's savior, a moral, happy man. So many people's lives prolonged and all thanks to his wonderful cancer cures, so many lives improved, thanks to his enhancements, he could easily laugh at those fools who donated petty money to people's cause, he dedicated his own life and not a small amount of money too, he was the perfect example humanity could ever imagine. Oh how it made him happy, all the people content and alive, if it could simply go on for eternity, never-ending bliss, never-ending…

A knocking sounded at the door.

Jeremy startled, who was it? Who could it be? It was for a minute until he realized it must be his personal doctor coming for the appointed visit. Why was he so terrified, what did he fear? Somewhere, subconsciously, a supposition did occur, but it was quickly repressed.

The knocking repeated, now more intensely. It was then that James realized it must have relapsed at least five times now. Quickly he pushed the open button at his desk(people are like children, they are adorable and relatively innocent, but they can make foolish mistakes, a possibility he tried to prepare for). A buzz sounded and the hinges slightly squeaked as the door was opened a crack, the doctor's time-worn, wrinkled face demurely sticking through it. "May I, Mr. Cutters?"

"By all means Jeremy, and do call me by my name. After all, we are all part of a big family. No need for formalities", James forced a hearty smile on his face, wondering simultaneously about the cause of his timidity. It was highly unlike Jeremy, what made him feel so uncomfortable?

"So Jeremy", he said, waving his hand nonchalantly towards the guest seat, "I take all the annual tests have reaped no extraordinary results, hm? Nothing worrying, yes?

There was a pause of about a minute during which time Jeremy did his utmost to utter a single word, scratching himself nervously on the head during the whole process.

"Not quite so, I am afraid"

Again a pause, this time broken by James' furious eruption.

"What do you mean, in the Union's name?

"I know, Mr. Cutters, that you are not a man to meddle with so I will make a long story short. We have diagnosed a cancer…"

"But truly, I've devised successful treatments for all kinds of cancer, its no longer a problem for humanity of modern day! Wait, you don't mean to tell me it's the ONE?"

"Indeed, a brain tumor is rare nowadays, non-existent in fact among the younger generations, owing to your special prevention programme. A man like you, having not the luck to be born a few decades later, is still very vulnerable. You can't imagine how we are all bereaved by the news. Truly, a man like you… Unthinkable! The good news is, you still have about a year to live, the tumor isn't too malicious."

James turned pale, livid almost. It seemed to him, that the passion of the moment, the grief, the shock would surely render him dead of heart attack before the cancer had the time to work its poison.

"Its like a slow poison, it will eat you day by day until you are nothing but a semblance of human being…", he slowly yet immaculately articulated the phrase, lingering on each syllable, as if in a hypnotic trance.

"Well, look at the time. I'm afraid I must really be going. I surely am glad to have done it away with, its hard to be the bearer of bad news. I will be glad to meet you at the pre-mortem funeral, its going to be just brilliant, I assure you, already arrangements have been made to make it a truly special celebration! Well, take good care", the doctor reached out his hand. James did not return the gesture, did not in fact move or even twitch a trifle, was too paralyzed by grief and perplexed shock to speak a word, let alone order his muscles.

Gritty, metallic sound resounded, blades, razor-sharp blades sliding against each other, knives, scythes, torture tools of all kind waiting to indulge in his pain. Pain, long, prolonged pain and then Death. What was beyond Death? It could be anything, most likely non-entity, but maybe worse- Hell? Haven likewise but what if Hell? And what if non-entity? When given a choice, a life most painful is still more sensible then Death. After all, what human would consciously choose to plunge into a dark abyss, hoping like a little child that its not perdition that awaits in the darkness, but rather Haven cleverly concealed. But it now occurred to James, he wasn't even so much a child. He was a child gone wrong, an idiot child, a child that grew up but remained in certain aspects, hidden aspects infantile. Death, why didn't he see it coming? He helped so many people, and now what? Where is the reward? What was the point all the time long? And now, look at them, he nearly cried out loud, they are like little children, they suck on and on and when you die they just find other people to parasite upon. The king is dead, long live the king. But he wasn't yet dead, and yet those ungrateful idiots were actually celebrating! What a better occasion to get drunk and eat lavishly if not the death of a noble man. Yes, let us celebrate, whe-hee!

The door opened, James realized when it was already too late that he forgot to lock the door. A man barged in, gasping as he stooped to catch his breath. It was his chief executive for Medical Care Department, it was James who made him what he were, so ludicrously rich merely because he wished so. But it was all in people's name, it wasn't money, it was philanthropy, the best things possible. And now he was going to die, die indefinitely, gruesomely…

Finally catching his breath, the man started in a sqeuakish voice:

"Oh I'm so glad to have caught you Mr. Cutters!"

He called him Mr., why not "Mr. Dead Cold", James wondered.

"You can't imagine what a party its going to be, the best pre-mortem funeral the world has ever seen, as the Union be my witness! Thousands of firecrackers, a great hall richly illuminated by lights of all colors and above all- your epithaphium will hang. The people will be delighted!"

The people? People? He was dying, what were they thinking, that he was some bloody circus show? A freak of nature, dying so young? What has he wrought? The ungrateful wretched lot!

"Get out!", he snapped out, stern and bitter

"But Mr. Cutters…"

"Leave, this very instance!"

Still the man would linger on, confused perplexion on his now pale face. This was too much for James, he took the pendant clock on his desk and threw it furiously, mightily at the man. To his own utter regret, he missed but the act had its effect, in a blink of eye the irritating thing was gone; and there was silence once more.

The clock, it was broken, smashed into pieces. It ceased to tick, was destroyed, heathen. The metaphor struck him like a lightning bolt. What a fool he was, mending others and neglecting his own. As if to emphasize his self-reproach, James started to bang his head against the wall. So furiously did he hit the wall that when he had had enough, his forehead appeared swollen and crimson like blood, a pulpy mess of blood and destroyed tissue. This procedure, however savage, appeared to have had its effect, a sort of resigned calmness now ensued in James' mind, a calmness as soothing as it was terrifying in its close resemblance of the eternal rest that awaited in the very near future.

The window, it now occurred to James, a thought that appeared at the time most sensible, it was the cause of everything , all the troubles! It was as he stared at it, calm and unsuspecting, that the whole tragedy unfolded. It was surely its fault! Grabbing the armchair with the little reserve of strength he had left, the desperate man charged, screaming curses, at his enemy, the bay window. As he neared its very surface, he threw out the chair and gasped in glory as he saw millions of shards of the shattered window erupt to and fro and fall upon the floor as well as upon his body. The pain of hundreds of shards embedded under his skin seemed trifle in comparison to the current glory. It was nothing, he reflected, in the light of Death he was doomed to regardless, nothing compared to non-entity.

Cold wind rushed into the room, enshrouding in its freezing embrace the whole of James' body.
Death's blades hath come to reap his soul, he could well hear the gritty sound, he could feel the frigid breath of Death's lifeless existence, he could sense life's forthcoming end, all seemed clear. All life long he lived in ignorance of his own good, detracted from the long-distance by the short-term temptations, by the small and silly trifles that made a human happy only for the short instance, however sweet. And the consequences here, dire. All life long he lived like a baby, not thinking but doing, driven by instinct and morality, not by his own long-term welfare. Now the people are happy, they continue to suck when he is dying. A grim, horrible mistake. He wanted to cry like the little child he has been for his whole life, but he was no longer as such. His development came too late but now it was all crystal clear to his mind. All was understood, his purpose- pure, ensuing enlightenement was blissful if short-lasting.

We are all little children, never quite developed, James reflected as the wind continued to blow in his face, splattering the blood from the flesh wounds all over the place, always ignorant and short-sighted, seeing only the very tip of the iceberg. He had seen, they still had not. But one day, they would, and they would want to cry, but it would no longer seem logical. They should learn upon their mistakes but the consequences would always be dire, perilous.

Long, gruesome death- it was something entirely undesirable. Be it Hell or Haven or non-entity, it was pointless, all pointless. The spectre of Death finally came forth, revealed its dark shadowy figure. James no longer shivered, as a child frightens the monsters in the closet, he stood firmly, emotionless and cold as the breath of Death itself enshrouded his very being.

A party of James Cutters' employees entered the room, all dressed in festival costumes and laughing heartily as they went. They wanted to show Cutters what splendid costumes they had prepared, what a fun it was going to be, what a blast! But the smiles were quickly replaced by grimaces of mixed anxiety and confusion. First, they saw the general disorder of everything in the room, the broken clock, papers and documents strewn around the room by the wind. Then their attention was fixed to Mr. Cutters, bleeding heavily as he stood before the shattered bay-window, his hands raised above his head. Finally there erupted a scream of a most frantic tone: "You shall torment me no longer, spectre. Be gone, scram!" the last word was uttered in such a shriek that the window would have surely shattered if it hadn't been already laying in pieces upon the floor. They tried to stop the man, screamed to calm him down(the screams however only served to agitate the fellow). It was in vain, in a blink of eye, the man jumped and he was gone out of their sight. Mere vanity of the air around them remained.

In the last seconds of his life, as he flew downward into the abyss of Death, James Cutters didn't think any longer. There was not even the expression of fear or anxiety on his face, had there been anyone to see, no expression whatsoever. Only cold stare that seemed to stare at something faraway, unperceived by a simple soul, was seen in his empty eyes. As he neared the floor only one solitary thought passed, at the speed of light, through his mind, if it were to be expressed by words, and it is not always entirely possible, it would sound thus: "If only before…".

Faraway James could hear Rusalkas cringing with delight, their ends reached, then diving again to the depths of their deadly lakes.

He fell, crushing his bones and brain. The baby was now dead, the clock stopped ticking and now, to the grief of all grateful clocks in the world, there would be no pre-mortem funeral. Oh poo!