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Neversleep illustration 6

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Neversleep illustration 6Illustration for chapter 6 of 'The Man Who Never Sleeps by Levin Diatschenko
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The Man Who Never Sleeps - Part II - Chaz's Manuscript

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Neversleep Part Two - Chaz's Manuscript title Neversleep p2 -1 Dear reader, I expect you'd like to know who I am. Who is this man who can kill your kind off at his leisure? And why do it? Allow me to explain. As far as the `why' goes, at first it was revenge, quite simply. However I've presently come to understand that one cannot wreak vengeance from `people' in general, but only from specific individuals or groups. And I have no grievance against anyone specific. Quite. Therefore revenge is no longer the motive. I've come to view your society as the literary character Robinson Crusoe would view a forest, indeed, with your citizens representing the trees; whenever I desire material to make my own stranded existence more comfortable, I take it -- the material in this case being the energy that occupies the same space as blood. It's as simple as that. And any attempts at my capture will only succeed in amusing me. My advice is to accept it, as you will eventually be forced to do so in any case, regardless of your decision. But so saying, I will not have myself viewed as an evildoer. Having set down the nature of our new relationship, I'll now show you that I am completely justified in my deeds. Charles Aaron Darf is my name, for I've no fear of revealing myself. Until some years ago I lived a quiet lifed in accordance with the customs of the culture I was born into. Very much like most of you do in regards to your own culture. Never did I seek to harm a soul; never did I have reason to. Nevertheless everything I knew was destroyed -- not just my family, friends, work, and love, but my whole culture was destroyed. And it was done so by your society. Not deliberately, I'm forced to admit, but I'm left stranded and alone all the same. The end of my way of life began with the changing of mass opinion. Mass opinion itself evolves in accordance with the gradually developing `group intellect' of the masses over generations. Therefore, as stated, no individual can rightly be blamed. However, it did start with an individual, and I can even pinpoint the very day it started. On that day my home was invaded by one of yours. His name was Toby --- I know that because the idiot tattooed it on his arm with a skull and a snake. It was by no means an accident, for my abode was so situated that for any one of yours to reach it, they would have to venture completely out of their usual way. Hence our secret service obtaining background information on your Toby. We found that he was a poor and uneducated man suited to a life of labour. The young man had just resituated in Adelaide from the country. He went exploring the city that day; it was his first time there. Although it is a small city by worldly standards, it must nevertheless have filled a country lad like Toby full of excitement. Not to mention curiosity. Quite so, and surely he gawked at the different kinds of society as he went. For instance, the number of beautiful ladies that modern cities have to offer must have delighted him. The city is also never lacking in people who dress in suits and ties. My theory is that this deeply impressed a young fool like Toby. I would postulate that none of his family or friends ever donned suits; suits are for `high rollers', wealthy people like myself, La Peu, who have everything under control. It was the suits and brief cases and black shoes that impressed Toby the most about the city. He half admired and half loathed suit-wearers, because they had what he didn't have. Toby was, you see, childish in his understanding of the world. It was, as it were, `inbuilt' in his and all his peers' consciousness that one is either born a millionaire -- a suit wearer -- or born a worker. “There's nothing you can do about it,” his self-esteem would have decided, “so leave the subject alone.”  Eyeless So the rich, like myself, were like a different race or species of human who dwelt far off in our untouchable mansions, somewhere. Or high-rise buildings. Toby constantly gazed at the tops of the high-rise buildings around him. Then he'd bump into someone and look straight again. This I know for sure, because he stopped at one. Then something inside him made him enter. When he entered, he began ascending floor by floor. If anybody inquired what his business there was, he answered that he was visiting someone. I still don't know how, but he made it right up to the second-to-top floor, where the elevator ends. Then he entered the second elevator that travels to the top floor. He waited in that lift enthusiastically. I could tell that by the look on his grubby face when the door opened. The enthusiasm changed to disbelief when he saw my abode. This is what he saw: The top floor was almost one big, carpeted room. In there was a bar, a bookcase and a dining table --- all in polished pine -- with high-backed wooden chairs around it. There was a computer with a large screen of approximately three metres by three, and there was a mechanical contraption with buttons and flashing lights in the corner -- but I doubt Toby noticed that. After a very quick survey of the room, his eyes became fixed on a beautiful fem who was lying on a couch --- that was my Marietta. A second later, Toby noticed her deformity and his disbelief turned to shock. She too was caught by surprise and stared back in fear, my poor Marietta. Then Toby became aware of the throne-like chair towards the back of the room. On it was a young man of pale complexion…wearing an expensive suit, of course. He had an angular face with almond shaped eyes and thin red lips --- and handsome too if I may say so myself. That was me. My brown hair was parted and slick and I sported a thin moustache. I looked Toby over, considering this new presence. I knew I had to act immediately. There's absolutely nothing, you see, that these lower classed savages wouldn't do if you gave them half the chance. On my lap was a plate of food. I put it aside, took the knife I was supping with, and calmly advanced towards the lift. We stood face to face for a moment, me with the knife shaking behind my back. Then, still with shivering hand, I thrust the knife into his stomach. Both he and my Marietta cried out. I yanked the knife out and raised it. His stunned eyes only stared back at me. His hand pressed his wound. I drove the blade down into his neck. Gasping, he collapsed in a heap with the knife still buried to the hilt. With no desire for the sight of blood I turned my back and speedily left the lift. When Marietta screamed, Rose, my maid, appeared from the kitchen. I was pacing nervously, and she, seeing the seriousness of the situation, made directly for the teleporter and summoned Nate Rutter. She's very good, you know. I nearly bumped into Nate before I knew he was there. That's how quick he was -- and carrying a firearm too. “He's in the lift.” My voice was shaky and my heart was still pounding. This was the first time I'd seen one of these Neanderthals face to face. Nate went over and inspected. From where I stood, Toby's leg and a puddle of blood were visible. Nate closed the doors. “Well done, Chaz!” he said. That's short for Charles, you know. Rose was calming Marietta. “A scary business though,” I said. “How the hell did he get up here?” asked Nate. “I have no idea. Quite no idea.” I went to the bar and started to mix myself a drink. Back then I possessed the finest wines and spirits. “That must be a first,” I said. “Why, yes. You're right,” said Nate. “This is going to make some noise!” I handed Nate his usual drink then threw mine down my throat. “I've never heard of anything like it,” Nate exclaimed. “Have you ever been in the country, Nate, and had a bird fly in your front door, then shoot around the room looking for the way out again?” “I'm not sure I follow you.” “These sorts of things --- chance occurrences --- they don't usually happen singularly. They're usually in two's or more, in my experience.” “I believe you're being superstitious, Chaz.” I started to mix another drink. “No, I'm merely illustrating a point. How can one make allowances for things like that? You follow me?” Again I emptied my glass. “…I'm merely illustrating a point.” Neversleep p2 -2 That was my first kill. I was quite perturbed by it. Unfortunately the matter did not end there. Three months later, the Toby incident remained the prime topic of conversation world wide -- among the gentry, that is. For that's what I was then. “The first time in history!” “Is this the beginning of the end?” “If one human came up there's sure to be more!” “This Chaz Darf fellow is quite a man!” These are examples of what folks were saying. I might here explain that it had become fashionable, or perhaps customary, for us not to refer to ourselves as `human'. We were of course humans, but because of our lifestyle and past…well, as there are only two of us left I suppose I should briefly explain our past. Not long after the Second World War, our grandfathers had made an agreement with each other: The wealth (and power) of the world had to stay in the hands of the few; and this for no other reason that they, our grandfathers, were the few. To do this, their first act was to step completely out of view of the world; that is, to separate from society. Thus, for the common citizen, our kind did not exist. We were only an abstract, an idea; there were no individuals. This was a perfect position from which to work. By the late Nineteen-Sixties our society was perfected. We were settled in the cities on the top floors of every skyscraper in the western world, and in secluded mansions in the country. All this is very `anti humanity', hence our, if I may say, honest custom of not referring to ourselves as human. We called ourselves La Peu, the few. So, where was I? …Since the Toby incident I was invited to many parties and dinners, and I had many more visitors than usual. Because it is a rarity for us to deal with humans of Toby's class in person, I was snowed under with questions from everyone I spoke to. Apart from the implications of the incident, this was all a welcome change to my humdrum life -- an exciting holiday in which I was the centre of attention. One gentleman who didn't visit me was my new neighbour. The old tycoon, who lived in the highest building in town just across from me, had died about a month before the Toby incident. The tycoon's nephew, a Mr. John Spaper, had moved there from Europe apparently desirous of a small-town haven away from his frenetic business life. Although I well felt his presence in the Australian stock market, I hadn't seen or heard from him in person. I dropped in twice but he was out. I left messages inviting him to my parties but received no answers. Then one afternoon, when the hype was beginning to die down, I had a most unexpected group of visitors arrive at my teleporter. First came my long time partner and friend Nate Rutter who, as he often does, just dropped in to drink, smoke and talk money. Nate was a flabby gentleman with glasses, and blond hair that was destined to fall out in the shower. He was in his early twenties, as was I, but was already a keen cigar smoker -- as was I. Yes, those were the days! Then within five minutes of Nate's arrival came the elusive Mr. Spaper (of whom I only recognised because he introduced himself) with two old gents. The old men were sons of two of the original Seven; that is, the seven men who made the agreement after the war -- the founders of our `behind the scenes' society. The two elder men were in their early seventies. One was named Mr. Yesh, and the other, Mr. Van Leer. Though I was unprepared, I did my best to make them comfortable, with Rose running about thus and so, fetching refreshments and cigars. They didn't seem to care though. Spaper and the two old men were somewhat intoxicated already. Quite so. We all reclined and smoked. Mr. Spaper introduced everyone to each other, except for the enthusiastic Nate, who introduced himself to everyone. They all commended me for my initiative in stabbing Toby in the neck, and I tried to give them a modest and flattered impression with my replies.  Eyeless But I forget myself. All chances are that the reader of these pages is of the lowest breeding. What about police, you're thinking. Investigations? Forget police. Each corporation had their own police. And forget uniforms too. Uniformed police are for human control. The only law with us was survival of the richest. My killing Toby affected nobody important. The inquisitive poor are the common enemy. “Mr. Spaper,” I said. “I was beginning to wonder whether you disliked me for some reason.” “Please, call me John. We're neighbours now, after all,” he said. “I've been meaning to drop in, chief, but I've been busy lately. You know how it is?” Spaper always addressed people with names like `chief' and `captain'. It was one of his little novelties. I think he was fond of the sound of it. As far as he was concerned everybody was named `chief' or `captain'. We continued chatting lightly about money and people. Spaper was just a little older than I, maybe two years older. He was definitely a people-person and both Nate and I took an immediate liking to him. The two old gents acted towards him as one would towards a close friend of the family. He was the nucleus of our party and seemed full of enthusiasm. I noticed at the time, without actually thinking about it, that his skin was slightly darker than the rest of us. I should have taken note. You see, our kind had separated from humanity for so long, we had kept a pure Caucasoid bloodline. That coupled with our lifestyle even made us appear different to `humans'. We were pale even compared to the human Caucasoid, but Spaper had a little more rose in his cheeks than did we. He wore his tie loosened, and had the top buttons of his shirt undone. I would learn later that he dressed like that all the time, as if showing that he didn't have to neaten up for anybody. Eventually we arrived at discussing the wider implications of the Toby incident, and whether or not anything need be done. “I still say that this is all linked up in globalisation, and it's starting to feel like we're losing control!” said old Mr. Yesh. “And damn it, Yesh, I still say the globalisation of humanity does not and will not affect us!” said old Van Leer. “Well I don't like it!” Our kind had already had a `globalisation' of our own, thanks to the many technological advances that we've had and kept exclusively for ourselves. But a globalisation of humanity seemed imminent in time and some of us, Mr. Yesh included, saw it as a threat to our way of life. “I don't see how it can affect us, Mr. Yesh”, joined Nate. “Not when we don't exist as far as they're concerned.” “But that's just what globalisation will do!” said Yesh. “Come now, we're not exactly on the information super highway”, said Van Leer. “This kid coming up here didn't have anything to do with the Internet,” said Yesh, “nor had he any money worth speaking of, I agree; but just what do you think it was that made him so curious? What's wet his appetite to go sticking his nose outside of his natural borders?” “That's all very good but we need only to remain non existent, and that will not be a difficult task,” said Van Leer. “How can we remain separated from humanity while our money is very much entangled with it, and indeed conditioning it?” That was Spaper. He was less passionate than the others were. He was even smiling. “Have you seen the figures of how many humans have reached the billion dollar mark now? No? Well I can't remember the exact figures but I'll tell you, just the number of working class shareholders has increased dramatically within the last few years." “Look,” said Van Leer. “The key issue here is whether there will be more like this Toby, venturing up to our homes, and whether it will be easy to stop them.” “Toby was a stupid fellow,” said Yesh. “Thus he was easy to get rid of --- no offence, Mr. Darf.” “None taken,” said I. “His coming here was in itself a freak occurrence,” Yesh continued. “But, my friends, what if the next one, or ones, are cunning and intelligent? What if they're war-like and with purpose?” There was a pause as each took that last thought and turned it over to see what we could make of it. “An intelligent human would never come up,” said I. They gave me their attention. “And why not?” asked Spaper with his confounded smile. “Well, sirs,” I explained, “Toby was a childish person who knew nothing of how the world works.” “Yes?” said Spaper. “You see, the whole reason he came up here was because of his childish picture of things: that the rich are up in high rise buildings, coupled with the curiosity to see it for himself.” “And an intelligent person?” “An intelligent person has better things to do with his time, like learning how to make money or, I don't know, studying psychology.” Everyone laughed. “So then, this globalisation of humanity will be a good thing,” said Yesh. “We'll educate everyone and give them money, and they'll not care to venture up here!” Our conversation drifted to light-hearted topics from then on. We ate and drank some more then in the evening they bid me adieu. And that was that. to be continued...  Eyeless To be notified when the next chapter of The Man Who Never Sleeps is published on Undergrowth.org sign up for the Neversleep email list here.
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Neversleep illustration 3

Neversleep illustration 3illustration for Part II: Chaz's Manuscript from 'The Man Who Never Sleeps' by Levin Diatschenko
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The Man Who Never Sleeps - Chapter 2 - The 'Arse Bandit'

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The Man Who Never Sleeps - Part I - Chapter 2 - The Arse Bandit title Perhaps a week into Chaz's absence I bought a newspaper with the headline, “Woman Murdered In Street”. The accompanying photo filled just about the entire front page. It showed a rainy city street, and the dead woman being whisked away on a stretcher. Police officers were all over the scene. The photo actually gave the impression that the photographer had to find a gap between cops to take the shot. I'm not the kind of person who buys the paper every day to keep up with the news, but the next day I went past a newsagent and saw an equally urgent headline: “Second Murdered In Two Days”. The photo showed a suburban house taped off and a group of police officers standing at the front. One of them -- a barrel-chested man -- wore plain clothes. His size and broken nose gave him the appearance of a simple brute. The picture caught his beady eyes and stiff lip in a look of unspecified annoyance. The article identified him as Detective Chip Dushan, the man running the case. Two weeks later the tally reached four victims. By then there was little doubt that the murders were connected; there were four factors consistent with each. The victims were killed during heavy rain, all were slit at the throat, the killer/s took no money, and in the cases of those killed in their homes --- the killer/s left no trace of entry or escape. By this time the whole city was following the case - and you can imagine how I felt about it after my run-in with Chaz. The most significant aspect was withheld from the press. Nowadays it has leaked out, and there are all sorts of theories about what really went on. I'm talking, of course, about the blood. In all cases the victims were drained of a large quantity of blood, although the killer/s left barely a stain behind. It was because of this that Dushan -- the detective -- consulted Lars Yenin, who was already known then as an authority on the occult. Now Dushan didn't for one minute think that this clown (or clowns) was a vampire, and that's what he told Yenin. “No?” said Yenin. “No,” said Dushan. “But there may be an obsession.” He and his partner --- Detective Gus Branchflower -- were at Yenin's inner city library. It was crowded with books and periodicals, either organised neatly on bookshelves or stacked in piles on tables and in aisles. It was closed. This is where Yenin stayed when he was in town. “The reason I'm here,” continued Dushan, “is to ask you about vampirism in general.” “Okay.” “And to ask you, if you would be so kind, to try to recall if you may have dealt with a possible suspect. Maybe a mental case or something.” “Anything I can do to help.”  Eyeless Yenin was a peculiar looking man. He had one glass eye, his right, the iris of which was a little clock face --- and it actually ticked. He was perhaps thirty then with sunken cheeks and big mutton chop sideburns. He also had heavy eyelashes that you couldn't help notice. When Dushan first met Yenin, he asked him why he had a clock in his eye. Yenin said, “I'm a reminder.” “Of what?” asked Dushan. “Of how long you have left,” answered Yenin. Dushan looked at his watch presently. “What time is it?” he said, suddenly turning to Branchflower. “I don't have a watch,” said Branchflower matter-of-factly. Branchflower was a short man with a long, brown fringe and sunglasses with round lenses --- kind of like a brunette Andy Warhol. “What kind of a man doesn't wear a watch?” said Dushan. “The band broke.” “Oh. Well mine's run out. You got the time, Yenin?” “Four o'clock,” said Yenin. When he said that, Yenin was looking out of the window. He did not wear a watch. “How can you tell?” Dushan said. Yenin turned to him and tapped his glass eye. “I'm guessing.” The door to a back room opened behind them and a pale man of thirty something came out. His tie was loosened around his neck and the top buttons of his shirt were undone. “Four o'clock, is it, Spaper?” Yenin said to him. The man named Spaper looked into Yenin's eyes, smiled and said, “Right on the chin, chief.” Yenin introduced the newcomer. “This is my associate --- John Spaper.” The two policemen shook hands with him and introduced themselves. “They're asking about vampires,” said Yenin. “It's in relation to those murders.” Everyone took a seat. Spaper took a cigar out of his pocket. “Think it might be vampires then, do you?” He sounded earnest. “No, no,” answered Dushan. “But they might be imitating them. Say, do you mind not smoking?” Spaper stopped himself from lighting up. “Not at all.” “Say, these people were murdered pretty close to each other weren't they?” said Yenin. “They were all killed within three suburbs,” replied Dushan. “Glenelg, Camden Park and the City.” “Is there a cemetery between those suburbs?” Dushan thought for a moment then said, “Yes. Why? What are you getting at?” “A vampire, as far as I can remember,” said Yenin, “would take his victim's blood back to his body, which would most likely be buried in the cemetery.” “What do you mean? Don't they break out of their coffin and suck the blood?” “That's the movies. The vampire is an astral spectre that hasn't fully separated from the physical body at death. To sustain his physical body he will take the energy of the living, through their blood, and feed it to his own body.” “I see.” Dushan considered for a moment then said, “But that doesn't work.” “What do you mean?” “This bloke has taken the blood out of four people. If the killer is keeping the blood, he's storing it somewhere. Where are you going to put it in a cemetery?” “Won't he take it to his body?” Spaper intervened, again sounding sincere. “Yes Mr. Spaper,” said Dushan. “Perhaps it would be easier for us if vampires did exist.” “What do you mean?” asked Spaper. Dushan looked annoyed. “It sounds like Yenin's already gotten to you.” Yenin smiled. Dushan stood up and buttoned his jacket. “Well, we must be off. We have some other things to check on.” Branchflower followed. “I'll get that information to you by the end of the week,” said Yenin. “Very interesting,” he said, once alone with Spaper. Anything strange and unexplained interested Yenin. “Perhaps it's best we follow this up,” said Spaper. “That Dushan doesn't exactly strike me as…well… a genius.” “Dushan's a smart man,” said Yenin. “I've met him before, about two years ago. We weren't working together then -- more like competing with each other to solve the same case.” “Was it solved?” “Yes, by Dushan. Of course, he restricted my access to a lot of evidence, but all the same he proved to be more perceptive than I was -- Even if he's also more opinionated.” “But he won't even consider the vampire theory.” “That's true,” said Yenin. “We'll have to make that our task.” “As usual, I'm completely at your service,” said Spaper. “Thanks, John. I want you to check on all local deaths that happened two weeks prior to the killings. I'm going to the cemetery.” As I said previously, Yenin had an incredible abnormality. He didn't need sleep --- not a wink. It's true. This was because of something that happened in his past, of which I will explain later. He accomplished a great deal in his life in a short time simply because his working day continued well into the night. His nickname among those who knew of him was `The Man Who Never Sleeps', and this was of course how I decided to title this account. Nobody who used that nickname then, however, knew that it was literally true. It was just thought that he worked hard and had late nights. I don't expect you to believe it. Just wait until I finish the story. Yenin went to the cemetery that night and waited until dawn for the vampire to show. If there was a vampire, it didn't come.  Eyeless The next morning Yenin got a call from Dushan informing him that the killer had struck again in the night and to meet Dushan at the crime scene. The latest crime-scene was an entire block of units. There were nine units all up in the building and every single tenant who was home the night before was found dead. It was, as it happens, the very block of units that I lived in. Luckily I'd been out with another of the tenants, attending a birthday party. There were signs of struggling, and a large percentage of blood was extracted from each victim, a knife being the apparent tool. Once again the intruder/s left no trace. The reason why Dushan wanted Yenin in on it was because of the situation with unit number four --- Chaz Darf's unit. Here's the situation: Chaz wasn't home, yet there was a stain of blood on the carpet --- a recent stain. This was after Chaz hadn't been seen for a month, since that last time I saw him. Chaz didn't work, and he had no known next of kin; Dushan was thus unable to find him. To add to the mystery of Chaz's identity, his home was cluttered with over three hundred paintings, all of which were pictures of the same subject: a beautiful but strangely deformed woman. Where her arms should have been, this woman instead had another pair of legs and feet about the length her arms would have been. Every painting was titled `Marietta'. She was mostly depicted nude. She was within landscapes, posing on chairs, in religious and historical scenes, in fantasy scenes, and in portraits. She was painted with realism, in cubist style, in abstract, in impressionist and futurist styles. She was done with all the colours and in black and white. She was also painted in a variety of positions. There was one painting (the only one amongst them all) wherein Chaz depicted her with arms and hands. It looked to be his last, remaining unfinished because of his absence.  Eyeless When Yenin arrived, a uniformed officer led him to number four. Dushan was there, tugging on his moustache while he studied one of the paintings. Yenin took a handkerchief from his pocket, wiped his artificial eye then replaced the handkerchief. He looked around the room. It was very small, apart from the paintings there were ashtrays here and there full of cigar butts. “This place is…worrying,” said Yenin. “Do you recognise her?” said Dushan, referring to the paintings. “I mean she's not a Hindu god or anything is she? They have arms all over the place, don't they?” “No,” Yenin replied. “She's not a Hindu god.” “Egyptian?” “None that I've heard of…” “So far there were no witnesses. Nobody heard a thing. I certainly hope that will change.” Yenin knelt and looked at the bloodstain on the carpet. It was only as big as his fist. “Do you think the killer took the man who lived here?” he said. “I'm still trying to find out who the man was,” said Dushan. “I suspect he might be an illegal alien. Might even be mixed up in all this.” Yenin went into the bedroom. “Check this out,” he called. “There's a photocopier in here!” Branchflower entered the room. “Did anyone miss me?” he asked. “No, I covered for you.” said Dushan. “Thanks.” “But I can't do it for ever. How was the gig, then?” “Not too bad. Small crowd, but they were into it. I only woke up twenty minutes ago.” Branchflower was also a musician. It was getting to the stage where his two professions were clashing and a choice had to be made. Yenin returned from the bedroom. “Come on, Lars,” said Branchflower. “Let's have a look at the other units.” As they did so, Dushan kneeled to study the bookshelf. “At least the bloke read some fine literature,” he murmured. When they returned to number four, Dushan had found about fifty thousand dollars in cash stashed inside books. Theorising that Chaz would want to return for the money, the three decided they would stay in number four that night. My role in the story ends here but is taken up again later. I returned to my quiet routine of writing, and working part-time. The fate of the case was in the capable hands of Yenin and company, who each (except Dushan) told me their accounts in great detail.  Eyeless Up until one o'clock in the morning, Yenin and Dushan spent the time arguing with each other over Freud's psychology vs. Jung's. Dushan championed Freud. Branchflower sat quietly and played with his revolver. At regular intervals he got up and peered out the window. Four more officers were positioned in my room across the hall. I stayed at a friend's place. The argument eventually ran out of momentum. “What's in that case, anyway, Four-eyes?” asked Dushan. Yenin had brought a black case along, about the size of a saxophone case. “None of your business, Big-nose.” Three hours later Dushan was asleep and Branchflower was on the brink of it. Yenin remained wide-awake. Like Yenin, Dushan also had an abnormality. Some people have the condition of sleepwalking; well get this: Dushan sleep-smoked. He smoked cigarettes in his sleep. In fact, he chain-smoked them. While he was awake, Dushan couldn't stand cigarette smoke and would not even let others smoke around him. He was a fitness freak, a former Greco-Roman wrestling champion. But when he slept, occasionally he would reach for the packet of smokes that he didn't even know he had. A few people knew he did it (his wife, for instance) but he had no idea. He'd usually drop the cigarette from his lips upon waking and then complain about “who the hell's been smoking?” So, then -- as Branchflower dropped off to sleep, and as Yenin sat patiently watching the door, Dushan took out a cigarette and a lighter from his pocket then started chuffing away in his sleep. The cigarette just hung there, and in between snores he took a drag. Yenin saw it but didn't know what to do. “How very interesting,” he said. “Oh well. What are you going to do?” He clicked open his case and took out a short, shining sword. The blade was straight and double-edged, the handle big enough for only one hand. He admired it for a moment then walked over to the window. When he turned around again, there was a man standing in front of him. He was tall and wore a grey suit, with a crooked green bowtie. His face was pale and he had a pencil-thin moustache. They stood hesitating, both surprised to see each other. The stranger (Chaz, of course) shot a glance at the bookshelf then back at Yenin. Yenin opened his mouth to speak, but just as he did, the man drew a dagger and lunged at him. With a cry, Yenin sprang to one side and swiped with his sword. The blade clipped the attacker's shirtsleeve and hand. The dagger dropped. The man grunted in surprise and stumbled out of range, clasping his wrist. “Wichcfneg?” mumbled Dushan, a cigarette falling from his lips. “Coffee to start with,” said Branchflower, also dazed. But they quickly jumped out of their dreams and seized their guns. Neversleep illustration 2 Chaz, poised like a cornered animal, addressed them: “So! You've come to finish the job, have you? Damned animals! But I'll tell you -- you come inadequate; it took a whole society to create me and it will take the same to bring me down!” “Now just a minute,” started Dushan. But the man launched himself and dive-rolled across the floor, to the bedroom door. It slammed behind him. Yenin prepared to ram it. “Hold it!” shouted Dushan. Yenin stopped, looked back. Dushan pointed at the sword. “Put that bloody thing away! What do you think this is?” Yenin stood back while Dushan entered the bedroom, pistol first. The room was empty. The window was open an inch. The lights on the photocopier were on and it noisily pushed out some paper. Dushan swung himself around to face the wardrobe. He pulled open the door but found no one. He looked under the bed: no one. He went over to the photocopier and picked up the piece of paper. “He's taunting us!” Branchflower turned the light on. “Where'd he go, Chip?” he asked. “Wherever he went, he must have been fucking fast,” said Dushan. He showed Branchflower and Yenin the paper. On it was an impression of the man's buttocks. “He still had time to photocopy his arse!”  Eyeless Two mornings later Dushan and Branchflower were sitting at a café. Dushan was reading a newspaper with an artist's likeness of Chaz's face on the front page. Branchflower was sitting quietly, playing with his revolver. Near them was a group of Japanese backpackers, and some office workers getting their morning coffee fix. A waitress came over. Branchflower put the gun away. “Are you ready to order?” she asked. “Coffee to start with, please,” said Branchflower. “Strong and black.” “A large orange juice,” said Dushan. She went away. “What a load of bullshit!” grumbled Dushan into his paper. “Hmm,” sounded Branchflower. “Unemployment is the highest it's ever been world wide, and they're still saying young people just don't want to work. Bloody idiots! And look at the pensioner situation. I tell you we're on the verge of another bloody depression! I'm not sticking around here, Gus. I'm going to leave the force. Look after number one.” “Hmm.” Dushan turn a page. “Refugees? Don't get me started on fucking refugees!” “What do we do now?” interrupted Branchflower. “I don't think the Arse Bandit will show up before he kills again.” Dushan put the paper down. “We can only wait, my friend,” he said. The waitress came with the drinks. The detectives each took theirs. “He can't make a move now without being seen,” Dushan continued. “Somebody's bound to recognise him and step forward. In the meantime we still have to go through his unit. Might find something.” Dushan picked his paper back up. From the other side of the table, Branchflower studied Chaz's portrait. “Bullshit!” said Dushan. “All they ever talk about is creating jobs! It's going backwards I tell you!” “Hmm,” sounded Branchflower politely. “If I knock my juice off the table I'll create a job for the waitress. But the floor is already clean! You follow me?” “Hmm.” “A society built out of boredom, I tell you!” Gus was used to this.  Eyeless A week later Dushan and Branchflower marched into Yenin's library. A woman sat at the reception desk. “I'm Detective Dushan of the S.A. police,” said he. “Is Lars Yenin still in town?” “Mr. Yenin? Why yes he is. If you'll wait a moment…” The woman stood up. “That won't be necessary,” said Dushan. He went straight to the back room ahead of the woman and pounded on the door. “Yes?” said a voice. Dushan opened the door. “You have some explaining to do,” he said to Yenin, who was inside, sitting behind a desk. On the desk was a half full bottle of white wine, and a glass. “I'm sorry Mr. Yenin,” said the lady from behind. “That's quite alright,” said Yenin. “Come in, Dushan. Have a seat.” Dushan and Branchflower went in and closed the door behind them. It was an untidy but cozy room that reminded Branchflower of a gangster's hideout. They remained standing. “Where is Spaper?” Dushan demanded. “What's the idea?” said Yenin. “That friend of yours -- John Spaper. Where is he?” “Why do you want Spaper?” “He knew the Arse Bandit.” “The what?” “Charles Darf,” explained Branchflower, who found a seat next to Yenin. “The tenant.” Yenin looked confused. “How long have you known this man Spaper?” said Dushan. “Little over a year,” Yenin answered. “You're not implying he has anything to do with the killings, are you?” “Gus,” said Dushan to Branchflower. Branchflower produced a black folder from his coat and gave it to Yenin. “We found this in Darf's home,” he said. “It was written by him.” Yenin took it and opened it. Inside was a thin manuscript. “What is it?” “We can't tell whether it's an attempt at writing fiction, or whether Darf is psychologically sick,” said Dushan. Yenin flicked through the pages. “It sure sounds like he believes the things he writes,” said Branchflower. “And it sure sounds like he's our murderer.” “What's Spaper got to do with it?” asked Yenin. “Spaper is mentioned in the book,” explained Dushan. “Bloody carpet snake!” exclaimed Yenin. “What was that?” said Branchflower. “That's an expression he uses,” explained Dushan. “Like saying, `well I'll be damned!'” “Oh.” “I know: he's an idiot,” said Dushan. “Sit down, for goodness sake!” said Yenin. “What does it say about Spaper? Are you sure it's the same man?” Dushan found a crate and sat down on it. “That's why we have to interview him,” said Dushan. “But he fits the character.” Yenin sighed, took out a handkerchief and wiped his artificial eye. “I think it's more than that.” “What!” sounded Dushan. “What do you know, Yenin?” “When I first met him...” The detectives looked at each other. “What about it?” they said in stereo. “Well,” said Yenin. “I saw right through him.” “What do you mean?” said Branchflower. “I mean literally. He walked into my office and I mistook him for a ghost because I could have sworn I could see through him.” The detectives just looked at each other wide-eyed. “What does it say about him?” asked Yenin. “Read it for yourself,” said Dushan. “But first --- where is he?” “Right now, I don't know. But he'll be coming here this afternoon.” “Good. We'll be here too. But read the book --- I want to ask you about some metaphysical stuff mentioned in it.” The detectives started towards the door. Alone now, Yenin took a sip from his wine and opened the folder. The writing in it was done on a cheap typewriter. I, Lev, your narrator, have a copy of the manuscript in my keep. It has never been released to public eyes. I present it to you here for the first time. This is exactly what Yenin read, as written by Charles Aaron Darf: to be continued...  Eyeless To be notified when the next chapter of The Man Who Never Sleeps is published on Undergrowth.org sign up for the Neversleep email list here.
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Neversleep illustration 2

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Neversleep illustration 2Illustration for the second chapter of 'The Man Who Never Sleeps' by Levin Daitschenko
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The Man Who Never Sleeps - Chapter 1 - The Missing Body

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Neversleep Part One - The Missing Body title I'll start with the man named Charles Aaron Darf, or `Chaz' to those who knew him. I met him in Adelaide in August, the year 2000. I'd just moved into a unit in Glenelg for a hundred and forty-five a week -- a lot of money for somebody who was on the dole. But it included electricity, water and furniture, and living in Glenelg would save me money on transport. Besides, it was just what I wanted. The building had two stories that comprised nine units all up. Apparently it was no less than a century old and had originally been a brothel. I could imagine that when looking at the layout --- thin corridors, dimly lit, with dull and identical doors all along them. The foyer was thin and long, the floors and staircase always creaked. I holed up there hoping to have solitude until I finished a novel. It didn't end up that way, of course, because like most people I was addicted to company. Whenever I was off guard and tired from writing I would seek it out. That's how I met Chaz. He was always sitting on the front steps of the building smoking cigars. One day I had to get away from my dank room, so I joined him and we got to talking. When he found out I was writing, he took to me right away. It turned out he loved all forms of art, more enthusiastically than anyone I've ever met. He was a painter himself, but he owned a vast collection of literature. When we became more familiar, we were constantly lending books to each other. Neversleep illustration 1 Chaz was a sickly looking man. His skin was so pale that when I first saw him, I seriously had to stop short and look again. The only colour in his face was of the grey bags under his eyes. I supposed it was because he smoked so many cigars and hardly went out. He had a lean build, and always wore what seemed to be the same grey suit with a crooked green bowtie --- not exactly a common look. He had a slight accent that I couldn't pick, but with his kind of name I assumed he was of German roots. The only time I ever saw Chaz was on the front steps. Either I'd pass him on the way in and out, or I'd grab a cup of tea and join him for a chat. He didn't seem to have any friends, and he wasn't interested in anything besides art. To me, he seemed detached from everyone and everything that happened around him. His attitude suggested that something had happened in his past --- something that altered him and prevented him from moving on. I didn't know him well enough to ask, and the more I spoke to him the more I began to see that his love for art was no mere interest. Art was to him what a lifejacket is to a drowning man. Another piece in the puzzle is that Chaz had a knack for making money. I was surprised when Bill, the landlord, approached us one afternoon and asked Chaz for financial advice. But as it happened, Chaz had more than once guided him to fruit-bearing investments. When I think about it, Chaz only appeared to be in his thirties yet he never worked. One time I was reading a book he'd lent me --- The Food Of The Gods by H.G. Wells I believe it was --- when I discovered a bundle of hundred dollar notes stashed between the pages. Of course I returned the money immediately. All the same I often wondered why he was living as he was in his little unit. Whatever conjecture I could make, the truth was stranger still. Bill told me that Chaz had been in the building longer than any other tenant. He also told me that Chaz had originally shared his room with his cousin, a man of similar appearance. Nobody had seen the cousin for years.  Eyeless One afternoon as I was heading down the corridor to my room, I saw an unfamiliar man opening Chaz's door. By the time I reached my room, he had gone in and closed the door. I admit I was curious because Chaz never had visitors --- least of all visitors who would let themselves in—and because the man was almost as pale as Chaz was. He wore a tan suit, and I remember his tie hung loose around his unbuttoned shirt-collar. If there hadn't of been a peephole looking out at me I would have put my ear to Chaz's door. Instead I entered my own room and stood a moment listening from my closed door (my room was directly across from Chaz's). I heard nothing. Later in the night, as I was slugging away at my book, I heard voices coming from Chaz's room. Curiosity got the better of me and I again listened at my door. Chaz was having a heated discussion with the stranger. The stranger did most of the talking, with Chaz adding a sentence or two in the gaps. I couldn't distinguish what they were saying, but I could tell that the stranger had the same accent as Chaz. Then I went back to writing. Although I didn't know at the time, that night marked the beginning of our story. The next day the stranger was gone. I didn't see him again until years later, when I became his disciple. For a while after that everything was back to normal, except that during our sessions on the steps Chaz seemed preoccupied. One Sunday morning he was so quiet that it bordered on sheer rudeness. “Are you listening to a word I'm saying?” I asked him. He was staring at the burning end of his cigar. “What do you write about?” he suddenly asked. “Eh?” I said. He had completely changed the subject. “What is it that you write about?” “Well, I write what I like to read. I try to tell a good story.” “Quite. But what is it about?” “It's entertainment.” “Entertainment is heroin.” He was annoyed. “I've taken you to be an intelligent man, Lev,” (Lev is my name), “You're not another entertainment-pushing idiot are you?” “You're in a fine mood today,” I said. “What's wrong with entertainment then?” “Entertainment is for people with nothing to live for. You ignorant fools are as big a problem as any criminal. If you had any idea the problems you cause unconsciously!” I made no reply. Chaz got like that sometimes. I suspected from his anger that what he said had something to do with his visitor. “What do you paint about?” I asked. I'd never been into his room although he more than once said he would show me his paintings. But he wouldn't be challenged. He gave me a dramatic sermon about why “creating a work of art is nothing short of godlike!” Chaz had the annoying trait of being overdramatic at times. “You take a blank page or a canvas,” he said. “It is a void. And you can create a universe of your fancy to fill it. The writer becomes a god, you see?” “Sure,” I said. ` “Nonsense!” he snapped. “You don't see. Otherwise you wouldn't be producing shit.” “Well, why don't you fill me in?” “As the writer, you can provide the perfect environment in which to experiment. In this way the artist is also a scientist.” He paused, waiting for me to comment but I decided against it, so he continued: “The characters are your guineapigs. You have absolute control! A mere human could walk along on the dirt, then suddenly lift off and fly away. You have all this potential. Do not waste it! The last thing we need is more shit.” He actually blathered for longer than that, but the above is the bulk of what I remember. Soon after, he stormed away to his unit and I didn't see him again for a week. Out of the blue he knocked on my door. I opened it and he came in with a book I'd lent him. I sat down but he remained standing, fidgeting with his hands as if he had something on his mind. “Interesting book,” he said. The book I'd lent him was The Supernatural Tales Of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I was drinking a tea so I offered him one. He said no. “Sit down!” I snapped. “You're making me nervous.” He floated over to the bookshelf and started browsing. “What do you know about alchemy?” he asked. “A little bit -- producing gold artificially. That's the most well known objective, anyway. The alchemists were the first chemists.” “What do you mean producing gold?” “Well gold doesn't just exist. It's created inside the earth over the years from, like, the compacted layers of rock there. The theory goes that all matter comes from one primal substance. You know, when the earth was formed this one kind of matter varied itself into the different elements. The alchemists tried to make a universal solvent that would break down anything into that original form. If you can do that then theoretically you could find a way to make gold like the earth does.” He nodded. “Hmm. But they're just quacks aren't they? I mean they never succeeded.” “There have been claims of success -- some from well known scientists. One bloke made like a `laboratory diamond', whatever that is. Depretz was his name.” “Have you anything on it?” “Nothing that detailed. But there's something on it in the Blavatsky.” He took the book from my shelf then sat down with it, and lit a cigar. “One substance, eh? Can you break that down?” he asked. “According to that book you can,” I said. “You believe that?” “Beats me.” He skipped through the pages for a bit then said, “Can I take this book?” “Yeah.” After some more page skipping, he stood up to leave. “See you later,” he said. “Alkahest!” “What?” “That's what they called the universal solvent” --- I'd just remembered the name. “Alkahest.” “Oh.” And he went. It was a strange conversation for us to have, because up until then Chaz had never expressed any interest in the occult. In fact, he had expressed aversion to it. From then on, I never saw Chaz sit on the steps. As I went about my own life I hardly saw him at all and the bastard never returned that book.  Eyeless Perhaps my oldest friend is an American named Schaffer. He grew up in Australia but moved back to the States for college. Now he's living there designing computer chips for satellites and mobile phones. While I was living in Number Three, his brother --- a wheeler and dealer of sorts -- was in town as part of an Australia-wide holiday. He and his medical student friend came around and I spent the day with them at a wildlife park. That night we sat at a restaurant and shared a bottle of wine with our meal. The restaurant was up the road from where I lived so when we parted I walked home from there. I was mildly drunk when I came dragging my feet to the back of the building. It had just been raining heavily, so besides me, the streets were empty. Then, in the dark ahead, I saw the silhouetted form of one man helping another to walk. I assumed that they were a couple of rummies staggering home from a pub, but when they passed under a streetlight I saw blood. The fitter man was Chaz; he saw me and called to me for help. I rushed over. Chaz and I supported an arm each over our shoulders. “We'll get him to my place,” instructed Chaz. As we carried him, I had to hold my breath. The injured man reeked of dry sweat mixed with blood. While Chaz was opening his door, I supported the stranger by myself. He looked up at me, and an expression flashed on his face that unnerved me. Besides the pain, I can only liken the expression to the way a thief might look at you after you've just flashed your wallet in public. But the expression quickly gave way to suffering. I carried him in and Chaz directed me to his couch. There was very little room as the unit was crowded with paintings. We laid him there and Chaz closed the door. The man had a wound in his chest, not unlike a bullet wound, but it seemed to have stopped bleeding. He was very old and wore slippers and an evening robe. Strange. “Where's your telephone?” I asked Chaz. Chaz shook the man by the shoulders and yelled, “We're here now, so speak up!” This shocked me. The man was about to pass out. “Chaz!” I yelled. “Your telephone?” “William!” shouted Chaz, ignoring me. I hesitated between running for my phone and pulling Chaz away from the man. The man coughed and laughed. Then he said to Chaz, “You're as big a bastard as I am!” He pulled Chaz's head down and began whispering something into his ear. He let go and a look of relief came over his face. Then he closed his eyes and passed away. Chaz stood up straight. He looked dazed, as if he had heard some revelation. “Is he dead?” I asked. Chaz didn't acknowledge me. “Chaz!” He looked vaguely in my direction. “We've got to call the police!” “Dead?” -- he snapped out of it. “Oh, yes. I'm afraid so. Quite dead.” “Your phone?” “Oh don't worry,” he said smiling. “I'll deal with that. Thanks for all your help.” “What are you talking about?” “I'll ring the police right away. Thanks.” “What happened?” “Oh I just found him on the …on the jetty.” “Who was he?” “Who? I've no idea. Just some fellow.” “But you called his name!” “You must be mistaken.” He came and put his arm around my shoulders, gesturing me to the door. “Thanks for that, friend. You'd best be off now.” “But I have to stay until the police get here!” I said. “Why's that then?” “I'm a witness, you idiot! What's the matter with you? Now where's your telephone?” “Alright then,” he said. “I'll tell you what: you'd better call them from your place. I don't have a telephone.” “Are you sure?” I looked over his shoulder. He sure was acting strange. “Absolutely,” he said, but I saw no phone. “Quickly: go and call the police, man!” He shoved me into the hallway and slammed the door. I guess I was in shock for a moment, but when I came to my senses I raced into my room and called the police. After I hung the phone up, I raced back and found the door locked. I knocked and called after Chaz. There was no answer. I called and knocked again, still nothing. I put my ear to the door: nothing. Not a sound! “Shit!” I exclaimed. For a while I kept listening for sounds and calling Chaz. But there was nothing. What the hell is he doing? I thought. I contemplated ramming the door, but the frame-like decorations on it would have dug into my shoulder. I kicked it hard once, and again. It would give if I persisted. Suddenly I realised that Bill had spare keys to every unit, so I flew up to his home on the second floor. Luckily Bill was there. By the time he dressed, found the key and came downstairs, the police arrived. I introduced myself and told them what was going on. Bill unlocked the door and opened it. As we filed inside I was shocked to see Chaz slumped on the couch smoking a cigar and reading a book. There was no dead man. “What's going on?” he said, looking up at us. Everyone looked at me. “Where is he?” I asked Chaz. “Who?” “The dead man!” “I don't follow.” What happened next was both embarrassing and frightening. The dead man had disappeared and Chaz played completely dumb. He insisted that he had no idea of what I was talking about, and that he'd been sitting quietly all night reading. He didn't mind at all if we searched the place, which we did and found nothing. I then insisted that we check around the building, but at about that time everyone noticed that I was drunk. Bill had known Chaz much longer than he did me, and so they assumed that alcohol and I didn't mix. They were right. However, that wasn't the point. The police gave me strong advice about waiting until I was sober before making allegations. They left me alone and humiliated that night. I went by myself to check around the building and found nothing. Locking my door and windows, I fell to pacing my lounge room. Because I saw the dead man, I feared what might happen to me. What kind of evil man was my neighbour? If he decided to kill me later then surely he'd be able to dispose of my body just as efficiently as the first. “I don't need this!” I kept telling the walls. “Why me?” They didn't answer.  Eyeless The next day I had no reason to go out. I couldn't quieten myself to write so I spent most of the day staring through my peephole at Chaz's door and pacing my lounge room. In the afternoon there was a knock at the door. I looked through the peephole and saw Chaz. His hands were at his sides, no weapons in them. Maybe he has something in his pocket, I thought. There're no bulges but I can't be sure. I opened the door and stood opposite him. If he reached for anything I'd crowd him --- go for his throat, take him to the ground. “What do you want?” I said coldly. “Sorry about last night. May I come in?” His face was friendly yet there was a twinkle of satisfaction in his eyes. I saw it…and I could have knocked him down for it. “Fuck you!” “Don't be like that. It's complicated, Lev. I had to do it.” “You're a fucking murderer. Piss off before I…!” His calmnes enraged me. “I've come to warn you.” “I don't want to hear it.” His face turned cold and he forced a smirk. “You're not so stupid,” he said. “Maybe I'll give you another chance when you've calmed down…maybe.” He turned and entered his unit. I closed my door and locked it. That night I put chairs in the middle of the floor and in doorways, so that any intruder would stumble over them in the dark and wake me up. I put a kitchen knife next to my bed, and as I lay awake I contemplated my future. Leaving would be cowardice, so I couldn't do that. I'd have stay and watch him. The police wouldn't listen to me now and at the time I had no money to pay for a private detective. Doing something myself would only make me the criminal and ruin my own life. I just had to carry on. But I knew he'd get his eventually. It's a simple matter of cause and effect. No man is an island, as they say. Chaz couldn't expect to step out on his own and profit from harming others. When he looked proudly down at me -- a poor man with no connections -- and gloated over what he'd done, he might as well have been looking down at the rest of the human race. He might as well have been looking down at God. You can't expect to get away with that. As it happened I never saw Chaz again. He went away somewhere the day we last spoke, and weeks later he was still gone. Number four did not get rented out to any new tenants, so I assumed that Chaz was not gone permanently. I was no longer on good terms with Bill so I didn't ask. No murder was reported for the dead man I saw. To Be Continued.  Eyeless To be notified when the next chapter of The Man Who Never Sleeps is published on Undergrowth.org sign up for the Neversleep email list here.
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Neversleep illustration 1Illustration for Chapter 1 of The Man Who Never Sleeps E-Book Art by Levin Diatschenko
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The Man Who Never Sleeps - Part I - Chapter 1 - The Missing Body

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Neversleep Part One - The Missing Body title I'll start with the man named Charles Aaron Darf, or `Chaz' to those who knew him. I met him in Adelaide in August, the year 2000. I'd just moved into a unit in Glenelg for a hundred and forty-five a week -- a lot of money for somebody who was on the dole. But it included electricity, water and furniture, and living in Glenelg would save me money on transport. Besides, it was just what I wanted. The building had two stories that comprised nine units all up. Apparently it was no less than a century old and had originally been a brothel. I could imagine that when looking at the layout --- thin corridors, dimly lit, with dull and identical doors all along them. The foyer was thin and long, the floors and staircase always creaked. I holed up there hoping to have solitude until I finished a novel. It didn't end up that way, of course, because like most people I was addicted to company. Whenever I was off guard and tired from writing I would seek it out. That's how I met Chaz. He was always sitting on the front steps of the building smoking cigars. One day I had to get away from my dank room, so I joined him and we got to talking. When he found out I was writing, he took to me right away. It turned out he loved all forms of art, more enthusiastically than anyone I've ever met. He was a painter himself, but he owned a vast collection of literature. When we became more familiar, we were constantly lending books to each other. Neversleep illustration 1 Chaz was a sickly looking man. His skin was so pale that when I first saw him, I seriously had to stop short and look again. The only colour in his face was of the grey bags under his eyes. I supposed it was because he smoked so many cigars and hardly went out. He had a lean build, and always wore what seemed to be the same grey suit with a crooked green bowtie --- not exactly a common look. He had a slight accent that I couldn't pick, but with his kind of name I assumed he was of German roots. The only time I ever saw Chaz was on the front steps. Either I'd pass him on the way in and out, or I'd grab a cup of tea and join him for a chat. He didn't seem to have any friends, and he wasn't interested in anything besides art. To me, he seemed detached from everyone and everything that happened around him. His attitude suggested that something had happened in his past --- something that altered him and prevented him from moving on. I didn't know him well enough to ask, and the more I spoke to him the more I began to see that his love for art was no mere interest. Art was to him what a lifejacket is to a drowning man. Another piece in the puzzle is that Chaz had a knack for making money. I was surprised when Bill, the landlord, approached us one afternoon and asked Chaz for financial advice. But as it happened, Chaz had more than once guided him to fruit-bearing investments. When I think about it, Chaz only appeared to be in his thirties yet he never worked. One time I was reading a book he'd lent me --- The Food Of The Gods by H.G. Wells I believe it was --- when I discovered a bundle of hundred dollar notes stashed between the pages. Of course I returned the money immediately. All the same I often wondered why he was living as he was in his little unit. Whatever conjecture I could make, the truth was stranger still. Bill told me that Chaz had been in the building longer than any other tenant. He also told me that Chaz had originally shared his room with his cousin, a man of similar appearance. Nobody had seen the cousin for years.  Eyeless One afternoon as I was heading down the corridor to my room, I saw an unfamiliar man opening Chaz's door. By the time I reached my room, he had gone in and closed the door. I admit I was curious because Chaz never had visitors --- least of all visitors who would let themselves in—and because the man was almost as pale as Chaz was. He wore a tan suit, and I remember his tie hung loose around his unbuttoned shirt-collar. If there hadn't of been a peephole looking out at me I would have put my ear to Chaz's door. Instead I entered my own room and stood a moment listening from my closed door (my room was directly across from Chaz's). I heard nothing. Later in the night, as I was slugging away at my book, I heard voices coming from Chaz's room. Curiosity got the better of me and I again listened at my door. Chaz was having a heated discussion with the stranger. The stranger did most of the talking, with Chaz adding a sentence or two in the gaps. I couldn't distinguish what they were saying, but I could tell that the stranger had the same accent as Chaz. Then I went back to writing. Although I didn't know at the time, that night marked the beginning of our story. The next day the stranger was gone. I didn't see him again until years later, when I became his disciple. For a while after that everything was back to normal, except that during our sessions on the steps Chaz seemed preoccupied. One Sunday morning he was so quiet that it bordered on sheer rudeness. “Are you listening to a word I'm saying?” I asked him. He was staring at the burning end of his cigar. “What do you write about?” he suddenly asked. “Eh?” I said. He had completely changed the subject. “What is it that you write about?” “Well, I write what I like to read. I try to tell a good story.” “Quite. But what is it about?” “It's entertainment.” “Entertainment is heroin.” He was annoyed. “I've taken you to be an intelligent man, Lev,” (Lev is my name), “You're not another entertainment-pushing idiot are you?” “You're in a fine mood today,” I said. “What's wrong with entertainment then?” “Entertainment is for people with nothing to live for. You ignorant fools are as big a problem as any criminal. If you had any idea the problems you cause unconsciously!” I made no reply. Chaz got like that sometimes. I suspected from his anger that what he said had something to do with his visitor. “What do you paint about?” I asked. I'd never been into his room although he more than once said he would show me his paintings. But he wouldn't be challenged. He gave me a dramatic sermon about why “creating a work of art is nothing short of godlike!” Chaz had the annoying trait of being overdramatic at times. “You take a blank page or a canvas,” he said. “It is a void. And you can create a universe of your fancy to fill it. The writer becomes a god, you see?” “Sure,” I said. ` “Nonsense!” he snapped. “You don't see. Otherwise you wouldn't be producing shit.” “Well, why don't you fill me in?” “As the writer, you can provide the perfect environment in which to experiment. In this way the artist is also a scientist.” He paused, waiting for me to comment but I decided against it, so he continued: “The characters are your guineapigs. You have absolute control! A mere human could walk along on the dirt, then suddenly lift off and fly away. You have all this potential. Do not waste it! The last thing we need is more shit.” He actually blathered for longer than that, but the above is the bulk of what I remember. Soon after, he stormed away to his unit and I didn't see him again for a week. Out of the blue he knocked on my door. I opened it and he came in with a book I'd lent him. I sat down but he remained standing, fidgeting with his hands as if he had something on his mind. “Interesting book,” he said. The book I'd lent him was The Supernatural Tales Of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I was drinking a tea so I offered him one. He said no. “Sit down!” I snapped. “You're making me nervous.” He floated over to the bookshelf and started browsing. “What do you know about alchemy?” he asked. “A little bit -- producing gold artificially. That's the most well known objective, anyway. The alchemists were the first chemists.” “What do you mean producing gold?” “Well gold doesn't just exist. It's created inside the earth over the years from, like, the compacted layers of rock there. The theory goes that all matter comes from one primal substance. You know, when the earth was formed this one kind of matter varied itself into the different elements. The alchemists tried to make a universal solvent that would break down anything into that original form. If you can do that then theoretically you could find a way to make gold like the earth does.” He nodded. “Hmm. But they're just quacks aren't they? I mean they never succeeded.” “There have been claims of success -- some from well known scientists. One bloke made like a `laboratory diamond', whatever that is. Depretz was his name.” “Have you anything on it?” “Nothing that detailed. But there's something on it in the Blavatsky.” He took the book from my shelf then sat down with it, and lit a cigar. “One substance, eh? Can you break that down?” he asked. “According to that book you can,” I said. “You believe that?” “Beats me.” He skipped through the pages for a bit then said, “Can I take this book?” “Yeah.” After some more page skipping, he stood up to leave. “See you later,” he said. “Alkahest!” “What?” “That's what they called the universal solvent” --- I'd just remembered the name. “Alkahest.” “Oh.” And he went. It was a strange conversation for us to have, because up until then Chaz had never expressed any interest in the occult. In fact, he had expressed aversion to it. From then on, I never saw Chaz sit on the steps. As I went about my own life I hardly saw him at all and the bastard never returned that book.  Eyeless Perhaps my oldest friend is an American named Schaffer. He grew up in Australia but moved back to the States for college. Now he's living there designing computer chips for satellites and mobile phones. While I was living in Number Three, his brother --- a wheeler and dealer of sorts -- was in town as part of an Australia-wide holiday. He and his medical student friend came around and I spent the day with them at a wildlife park. That night we sat at a restaurant and shared a bottle of wine with our meal. The restaurant was up the road from where I lived so when we parted I walked home from there. I was mildly drunk when I came dragging my feet to the back of the building. It had just been raining heavily, so besides me, the streets were empty. Then, in the dark ahead, I saw the silhouetted form of one man helping another to walk. I assumed that they were a couple of rummies staggering home from a pub, but when they passed under a streetlight I saw blood. The fitter man was Chaz; he saw me and called to me for help. I rushed over. Chaz and I supported an arm each over our shoulders. “We'll get him to my place,” instructed Chaz. As we carried him, I had to hold my breath. The injured man reeked of dry sweat mixed with blood. While Chaz was opening his door, I supported the stranger by myself. He looked up at me, and an expression flashed on his face that unnerved me. Besides the pain, I can only liken the expression to the way a thief might look at you after you've just flashed your wallet in public. But the expression quickly gave way to suffering. I carried him in and Chaz directed me to his couch. There was very little room as the unit was crowded with paintings. We laid him there and Chaz closed the door. The man had a wound in his chest, not unlike a bullet wound, but it seemed to have stopped bleeding. He was very old and wore slippers and an evening robe. Strange. “Where's your telephone?” I asked Chaz. Chaz shook the man by the shoulders and yelled, “We're here now, so speak up!” This shocked me. The man was about to pass out. “Chaz!” I yelled. “Your telephone?” “William!” shouted Chaz, ignoring me. I hesitated between running for my phone and pulling Chaz away from the man. The man coughed and laughed. Then he said to Chaz, “You're as big a bastard as I am!” He pulled Chaz's head down and began whispering something into his ear. He let go and a look of relief came over his face. Then he closed his eyes and passed away. Chaz stood up straight. He looked dazed, as if he had heard some revelation. “Is he dead?” I asked. Chaz didn't acknowledge me. “Chaz!” He looked vaguely in my direction. “We've got to call the police!” “Dead?” -- he snapped out of it. “Oh, yes. I'm afraid so. Quite dead.” “Your phone?” “Oh don't worry,” he said smiling. “I'll deal with that. Thanks for all your help.” “What are you talking about?” “I'll ring the police right away. Thanks.” “What happened?” “Oh I just found him on the …on the jetty.” “Who was he?” “Who? I've no idea. Just some fellow.” “But you called his name!” “You must be mistaken.” He came and put his arm around my shoulders, gesturing me to the door. “Thanks for that, friend. You'd best be off now.” “But I have to stay until the police get here!” I said. “Why's that then?” “I'm a witness, you idiot! What's the matter with you? Now where's your telephone?” “Alright then,” he said. “I'll tell you what: you'd better call them from your place. I don't have a telephone.” “Are you sure?” I looked over his shoulder. He sure was acting strange. “Absolutely,” he said, but I saw no phone. “Quickly: go and call the police, man!” He shoved me into the hallway and slammed the door. I guess I was in shock for a moment, but when I came to my senses I raced into my room and called the police. After I hung the phone up, I raced back and found the door locked. I knocked and called after Chaz. There was no answer. I called and knocked again, still nothing. I put my ear to the door: nothing. Not a sound! “Shit!” I exclaimed. For a while I kept listening for sounds and calling Chaz. But there was nothing. What the hell is he doing? I thought. I contemplated ramming the door, but the frame-like decorations on it would have dug into my shoulder. I kicked it hard once, and again. It would give if I persisted. Suddenly I realised that Bill had spare keys to every unit, so I flew up to his home on the second floor. Luckily Bill was there. By the time he dressed, found the key and came downstairs, the police arrived. I introduced myself and told them what was going on. Bill unlocked the door and opened it. As we filed inside I was shocked to see Chaz slumped on the couch smoking a cigar and reading a book. There was no dead man. “What's going on?” he said, looking up at us. Everyone looked at me. “Where is he?” I asked Chaz. “Who?” “The dead man!” “I don't follow.” What happened next was both embarrassing and frightening. The dead man had disappeared and Chaz played completely dumb. He insisted that he had no idea of what I was talking about, and that he'd been sitting quietly all night reading. He didn't mind at all if we searched the place, which we did and found nothing. I then insisted that we check around the building, but at about that time everyone noticed that I was drunk. Bill had known Chaz much longer than he did me, and so they assumed that alcohol and I didn't mix. They were right. However, that wasn't the point. The police gave me strong advice about waiting until I was sober before making allegations. They left me alone and humiliated that night. I went by myself to check around the building and found nothing. Locking my door and windows, I fell to pacing my lounge room. Because I saw the dead man, I feared what might happen to me. What kind of evil man was my neighbour? If he decided to kill me later then surely he'd be able to dispose of my body just as efficiently as the first. “I don't need this!” I kept telling the walls. “Why me?” They didn't answer.  Eyeless The next day I had no reason to go out. I couldn't quieten myself to write so I spent most of the day staring through my peephole at Chaz's door and pacing my lounge room. In the afternoon there was a knock at the door. I looked through the peephole and saw Chaz. His hands were at his sides, no weapons in them. Maybe he has something in his pocket, I thought. There're no bulges but I can't be sure. I opened the door and stood opposite him. If he reached for anything I'd crowd him --- go for his throat, take him to the ground. “What do you want?” I said coldly. “Sorry about last night. May I come in?” His face was friendly yet there was a twinkle of satisfaction in his eyes. I saw it…and I could have knocked him down for it. “Fuck you!” “Don't be like that. It's complicated, Lev. I had to do it.” “You're a fucking murderer. Piss off before I…!” His calmnes enraged me. “I've come to warn you.” “I don't want to hear it.” His face turned cold and he forced a smirk. “You're not so stupid,” he said. “Maybe I'll give you another chance when you've calmed down…maybe.” He turned and entered his unit. I closed my door and locked it. That night I put chairs in the middle of the floor and in doorways, so that any intruder would stumble over them in the dark and wake me up. I put a kitchen knife next to my bed, and as I lay awake I contemplated my future. Leaving would be cowardice, so I couldn't do that. I'd have stay and watch him. The police wouldn't listen to me now and at the time I had no money to pay for a private detective. Doing something myself would only make me the criminal and ruin my own life. I just had to carry on. But I knew he'd get his eventually. It's a simple matter of cause and effect. No man is an island, as they say. Chaz couldn't expect to step out on his own and profit from harming others. When he looked proudly down at me -- a poor man with no connections -- and gloated over what he'd done, he might as well have been looking down at the rest of the human race. He might as well have been looking down at God. You can't expect to get away with that. As it happened I never saw Chaz again. He went away somewhere the day we last spoke, and weeks later he was still gone. Number four did not get rented out to any new tenants, so I assumed that Chaz was not gone permanently. I was no longer on good terms with Bill so I didn't ask. No murder was reported for the dead man I saw. To Be Continued.  Eyeless To be notified when the next chapter of The Man Who Never Sleeps is published on Undergrowth.org sign up for the Neversleep email list here.
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Heart of the Sun

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Heart of the Sun
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a science to peace?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The science of peace.

 

 

  

For the world citizen of today, perhaps the most pertinent question regarding the people of that world is: How to make the `united nations' a reality?

  If a therapist can get groups of angry people to cease arguing and get along with each other, why not a group of Nations, religions or political parties? If there is a science to it then it can be done. 

   Looking back a little, we can find instances where some of Humanity's forerunners have succeeded in their own spheres at producing a peaceful unity. Assuming that their successes were based upon a deep understanding of nature, let us not be surprised if their methods turn out to be the same.

   Here are some cases in point.  

 

 

In 1884 the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy wrote his book titled What I Believe. “In affirming my belief in Christ's teaching,” he says about the book, “I could not help explaining why I do not believe, and consider as mistaken, the Church's doctrine, which is usually called Christianity”. It was consequently met by barrages of criticism from every side of Russian and European society. The Church in Russia soon exercised its influence and had the book suppressed.

   Oddly though, rebuffs against the book were freely published and distributed. There was no shortage of rebuffs, either. The Church and State did not approve of Tolstoy's theories, but neither did the non-religious revolutionaries.

   In his later work The Kingdom of God Is within You, Tolstoy took the argument back up in further detail in order to meet every criticism. In it he put forth the idea of “Non Resistance to Evil by Force”. He stated that within the story of the New Testament there is easily found a formula that, if followed, will bring about unity from separation, peace from war, or fellowship from enmity. Furthermore, this modus operandi apparently applies to humanity as a whole as well as to individuals alike. Tolstoy puts it simply here:

 

 

   “The question amounts to this: In what way are we to decide men's disputes, when some men consider evil what others consider good, and vice versa? And to reply that that is evil which I think evil, in spite of the fact that my opponent thinks it good, is not a solution of the difficulty. There can only be two solutions: either to find a real unquestionable criterion of what is evil or not to resist evil by force.

   “The first has been tried ever since the beginning of historical times, and, as we know it has not hitherto led to any successful results.

   “The second solution --- not forcibly to resist what we consider evil until we have found a universal criterion --- that is the solution given by Christ.”

 

 

The most obvious and widespread criticism was that the strategy is simply not practical and could not bring results. Tolstoy acknowledged this in the second book:

 

 

“[…] the principle of non-resistance to evil by force has been attacked by two opposing camps: the conservatives, because this principle would hinder their activity in resistance to evil as applied to the revolutionists, in persecution and punishment of them; the revolutionists, too, because this principle would hinder their resistance to evil as applied to the conservatives and the overthrowing of them.”

 

 

 

However, all this was before Gandhi.

   Mohandas Gandhi, the Indian barrister, read The Kingdom of God is Within You while he was in South Africa in 1894, the year after it was suppressed in its native Russia. It left an “overwhelming” impression on Gandhi, as he said in his autobiography. “Before the independent thinking, profound morality, and truthfulness of this book, all the books given me by Mr. Coates seemed pale in significance,” he said. (Mr. Coates was a Quaker and friend of Gandhi's.)

   Gandhi wrote Tolstoy a letter and they both began a friendship that lasted until the Russian's death. When Gandhi established a lodging house for families of the Independence movement, whose fathers and husbands were in British jails, Gandhi even called it `Tolstoy Farm'. 

   In 1906, Gandhi stepped into the spotlight of the world and became the spark that ignited a mere idealistic theory into a practical demonstration, on a scale that had never been done. Like a social scientist and self imposed guinea pig, the man we now know as the Mahatma (or `Great Soul') put the theory of non-violence to the test and qualified it --- defeating the British Empire and winning India its independence. Looking back, the modern world can no longer hold a sober argument that the strategy is ineffective. We must at least acknowledge that it can work --- and with the contagious power to unify people -- as it once did under certain circumstances, in India.

   Nevertheless, as B.P. Wadia, in his book The Gandhian Way, says: “What was obscured till Gandhiji appeared on the scene and courageously proclaimed, to all and sundry, the mighty and majestic truth Ahimsa, Non-Violence, is now acknowledged by everyone […] as the real panacea for all human ills; but how many legislative and reform bodies are there which act upon that beneficent principle?”

 

 

The answer is hardly any. The reason may be that nobody is confident enough to try the strategy. It seems that successfully demonstrating it is not so easy. A deeper understanding of how and why it works, or what laws it is based on, is needed.

   Therefore, we must also acknowledge that the simplistic view of the strategy as being mere `passivism' or `non-participation' is inadequate.

   “In making the British quit India,” says B.P. Wadia, “Gandhi made the people justly evaluate and appreciate [the British]. That single event in his life-drama reveals the strength of Hercules, the generosity of Hatim Tai. This hidden aspect of his `Quit India' mantram remains mostly unrecognised.”

    The strategy, which Gandhi called Satyaraha (or Truth-Force), is based upon a fundamental perception that Unity is a reality. Whereas passivism can be the refuge of cowards, Satyagraha takes well-cultivated courage to express that unity.

   “For Gandhi,” says Oxford's The Concise History of India, “the pursuit of satyagraha involved a range of behaviours that together would create an India, both of individuals and as a nation, capable of self-rule. Above all it involved settling disputes by seeking truths shared with an opponent whom one must always respect, even love.”

   So, “The truth shall set you free” is by no means a strategy that is exclusive to Christian doctrine. But as Tolstoy pointed out, it is highlighted and emphasised through the story of Christ. Although Gandhi called it Satyagraha, it is also found in Hindu doctrine as Yama, or the five commandments, consisting of harmlessness, truth to all beings, non-stealing, continence and abstention from avarice.  

  

Indian independence was not the first time the `New Testament Strategy' has ever been effectively demonstrated. The example stands out because of its scale, and because Gandhi openly named it as non-violent resistance. But, across the ocean in England, before the Indian Independence movement had run its course, Charles Bradlaugh had used it too.

   Charles Bradlaugh --- known as “Our Charlie” by the workers of Northampton -- was an English politician and lawyer, renowned as a champion of Free-thought or Atheism. But his stance on religion has somewhat overshadowed his deep commitment to improving the conditions of the poor.

   In the election of April1880, he ran for Member of Parliament for Northampton, as a Radical, amidst a bitter campaign wherein the Church, Tory's and especially the Whigs, widely slandered him for his Atheist views. (Remember, this was at a time when Atheism was relatively new, and feared as a justification for immorality.)

   Bradlaugh won easily. When he went to swear himself in, he claimed the right to `affirm' instead of taking the religious Oath of Allegiance (with hand on the Bible), for obvious reasons. His request was spitefully denied, and so he offered to take the Oath after all, for the sake of the workers who voted him in. The House, however, denied that too. Thus, because he could not take the Oath, Bradlaugh's right to take his seat was forfeited.

   He took it anyway and was promptly arrested and imprisoned in the Clock Tower of the Houses of Parliament. A by-election was then declared for Bradlaugh's seat.  

   This was not the end, however: `Our Charlie' was re-elected with even more votes than before. The nature of the war was set: the House continued to refuse him the right to take either Affirmation or Oath, and Bradlaugh continued to take his seat anyway, on the grounds that the people of Northampton voted him in. He was regularly escorted from Parliament.

   Bradlaugh was voted in four more times, always with an increased majority. He was even fined 1,500 pounds, in 1883, for taking his seat and voting illegally as a member.

   On the last time, however, crowds of workers gathered and surrounded the House, violently calling out their support for “Our Charlie”.

   They had in previous months, formed into mobs and threatened Bradlaugh's opponents with violence. But in these times, Bradlaugh himself rushed from his home to the rescue of his enemy, and chastised his frustrated supporters.

   Earlier the day of the election, Bradlaugh gave his second, Annie Besant, an order: “The people know you better than they know anyone, save myself; whatever happens, mind, whatever happens, let them do no violence; I trust you to keep them quiet!”

   But the crowd was angry. The man they had continually voted for was not deemed good enough for the authorities. Where was the democracy?

   This time Bradlaugh refused to leave.

   No less than four policemen were called in to wrestle him from the house. Although he struggled to remain, he did not harm or attack the officers. They, on the other hand, bruised him badly and tore his clothes, as well as putting him through great humiliation. When they were finally seen emerging from the door, the workers charged the gate with a force too large for the police to contain.

   But Besant -- well known to the workers -- leapt in their way and implored that they stop.

   Fortunately, they did. Even Bradlaugh himself nearly lost control, as Besant relates in her Autobiography. “I nearly did wrong at the door,” he admitted to Besant later. “I was very angry. I said to Inspector Denning, `I shall come again with force enough to overcome it.' He said, `When?'. I said, `Within a minute if I raise my hand.'” But Bradlaugh overcame the rage inside him.

   The aftermath was a barrage of criticism by the press, at the behaviour of Parliament. The so-called respectable government of England had inflicted violence on a man so obviously wanted by the voters, and so civil in his own deportment.

   Because of the outrage, the next time Charles Bradlaugh entered parliament, he was not only allowed to take the Oath and his seat in Parliament, but he also established the Affirmation. He went on to promote home-rule in Ireland and in India. He was the first Freethinker in parliament. When he died, Bradlaugh's funeral attracted thousands of mourners. The Mahatma Gandhi was one of them.

 

 

Notwithstanding what words they used to express what they stood for, Ghandi and Bradlaugh used the same strategy. And they both succeeded.

Both Gandhi and Bradlaugh refused to retaliate with violence, or to harm their opponents (whether in deeds or in words). On top of that, they both went out of their way to help their so-called enemies -- all this, even to the point of taking on suffering for themselves. Indeed, absorbing the violence so others did not seems part of the Strategy.

   One might theorise that it is inevitable for those persons who are humanity's foremost in both intelligence and strength of courage to perceive the same natural laws. Christ also taught a very similar strategy at the Sermon on the Mount: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” And later: “Love you enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if you salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others?” Etc.

   In theory, the Strategy seems quite illogical. 

   As Christ healed the ear of the soldier who came to seize Him, Christ chastised His disciple for cutting the ear; similarly, Bradlaugh too chastised his supporters for violently threatening his oppressors.

   As Christ willingly went forth to the crucifixion --- something he'd predicted many times --- and sacrificed himself, so too did Gandhi enter on fasts to starve himself either until death or a cessation to India's violence.

   Another strange and interesting coincidence is that Christ declared that no man should take Oaths, for to swear allegiance to an exclusive group would compromise one's allegiance to all of humanity. Charles Bradlaugh also refused the oath of Allegiance to the British Government --- even if it was on the Bible!

   Before continuing, note one more interesting coincidence: both Gandhi and Bradlaugh's opponents were violent in their method, yet incongruously called themselves `Christians'. The Hindu and the Atheist did not call themselves Christians, yet they imitated Christ almost exactly.

  

 

 

Next let us take our discussion to Japan, and to the martial art called Aikido. The founder of this style of fighting was named Morihei Ueshiba, but to this day his followers refer to him as O Sensei, meaning `The Grand Teacher'. O Sensei (born in 1883) founded Aikido, the martial art that he described as “love in action,” on account of its non-malicious nature and its technique of cooperating with the opponent. This art specialises in redirecting --- rather than resisting -- and using the opponent's weight and force against them. The more force with which you attack an Aikido practitioner, the more the same force hurts you. It thus forces the attacker to `sympathise'.

   O Sensei trained under many renowned masters throughout his life. Eight of his years were spent under the guidance of Deguchi Onisaburo, a master who advocated non-violent resistance and universal disarmament. He once said: “Armament and war are the means by which the landlords and capitalists make their profit, while the poor suffer.”

   It rubbed off on O Sensei. His goal in life became clear. In his words it was, “To teach the real meaning of Budo: an end to all fighting and contention.” (Budo is a word that covers all the Japanese martial disciplines.)

   In 1927, he left his master and began his new style in Tokyo. It attracted a huge following that included many high-ranking instructors. Some of them were so impressed that they sent their own students to O Sensei.

   Later, in 1942, O Sensei moved back to a farm in the country, saying that Budo and farming were one and the same. It was at this time that he first used the name Aikido. 

   It is related about O Sensei, that at this time a high-ranking soldier in the Japanese army journeyed to find him, and upon seeing O Sensei, the young soldier demanded that he come back and serve in the war. It was a matter of patriotic duty, he said.

   O Sensei refused.

   Angry, the younger man drew his sword and attacked. O Sensei disarmed him without hurting him, then calmly tossed the sword away. The young man retrieved his sword and attacked again --- once again, O Sensei disarmed him and tossed the sword. A third time the soldier attacked with the same result.

   This time, the soldier became O Sensei's disciple.

 

 

The similarities in strategy needn't be pointed out. But there is a subtle relation that might be missed. Gandhi, when on trial, went on to “invite and cheerfully to submit to the highest penalty that can be inflicted upon me”.

   Oxford's The Concise History Of India relates:

 

 

“The judge, on his part, said that the charges carried a prison term of six years, but he added that if the government later saw fit to reduce the sentence, `no one would be better pleased than I'.

 

   “Gandhi also used this trial to articulate in dramatic fashion central elements of his political style. Refusing to be placed in the powerless and humiliating position of the usual defendant, Gandhi defiantly pleaded guilty and even took upon himself responsibility for the acts of others. In the process he at once embraced, yet repudiated as incompatible with colonialism, British notions of `justice'. At the same time, by bringing suffering upon himself, he enhanced his saintly role as one who sacrifices for the good of all.”

 

 

 

Gandhi's influence caused a “surprising amount of reasonableness, if not actual goodwill,” to pervade the dealings between the British and the Congress. This showed itself most visibly in jail, where “Congress leaders were accorded a special A-class accommodation that allowed them books, visitors, and food not permitted ordinary prisoners.”

   Here, then, is the subtle relation: Gandhi refused to retaliate, and, consequently, he morally disarmed his prosecutors. O sensei refused to retaliate, and, he physically disarmed his opponent.

   (Again, Christ agrees: “And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.”)

  

England gave in and left India; the House accepted Bradlaugh; O Sensei's attacker became his disciple.

   Of course, Rome became the centre of Christianity.

   Here is one last similarity between all parties: Jesus the carpenter's son was later named `The Christ,' or `anointed.' Bradlaugh became `Our Charlie'. Mohandas Gandhi became `The Mahatma' Gandhi. Morihei Ueshiba is now called `O Sensei'.

   The names, of course, are not part of the Strategy, as they were not self-given. But they may be a result of the Strategy.

 

 

The implications are three: From a practical point of view, Christ and his teachings have been tested and qualified as pertinent, not outdated or irrelevant; similarly, the other major religions and atheism, have equally been qualified; lastly, the truly sincere members of any of the above ways are in actuality following the same way. Or, in other words: the true separator of humanity (and consequently the cause of war and oppression) is language.

   A church-goer would do well to ask himself: “Am I converting people to a way or a word?” A hater of the church might do well to ask: “Am I an enemy of the way of Christ, or of those who clothe themselves in Christian terminology?” It is a question of the baby and the bath water.

   This tool of ours called language has drawn the attention of humanity away from truth (and each other) for so long, it is perhaps our greatest enemy. Like the Sabbath had, words were created to serve Man, but have ended up ruling him. Today, there seems to be a rush to convert all the Wisdom of the Ancients out of mystic terminology and into the language of physics --- as if the modern clinical labels are allowed and the more poetic images of the past forbidden. Both are clothing the same truth. 

   Shakespeare once pointed out that even the Devil can quote scripture to justify his own purposes. If you read the bible, it is important, is it not, to pay more attention to what Christ did than what he said? For example, he said: “I bring not peace but a sword!” Out of context this could mean much mischief. But Christ never once took up a sword against any person in the literal sense.