Steve had Schrodinger’s beard. Essentially, Steve would let his beard grow for several weeks at a time, then shave it all off. Dave, unlike Steve, actually had a job, and thus was at work most of the day. During this time, Dave had no way of telling if Steve did or did not presently have a beard. Thus, the beard could be said to both exist and not exist simultaneously until such a time as Dave got home.

Tonight, Steve’s beard did exist. It was at least four times thicker than his hair, which given he was mostly bald wasn’t that hard to achieve.

“Hey, did you hear release candidate 2 of Firefox is out? Check it out!”

“Why don’t you fix your own bloody computer and check it out yourself?”

“But you can download and play with it now!”

“It will download itself if it wants. I’m happy to let it.”

“But I want to try it.”

“So fix your own computer and try it. Fucking hell.”

Dave navigated towards a page about video games. The theory was that Steve would find it exceedingly uninteresting and leave the room, allowing Dave to do as he wished without Steve watching him. Like look at porn, for instance.

“So what’s this site about?”

At that moment, Dave experienced a very strong sense of Deja Vu. Not like the ordinary Deja Vu, feeling like you have been here before, but more, feeling like he had felt this very Deja Vu before, a recursive loop into panic.

“I’ve been here before!” Dave said, hyperventilating, getting to his feet. “I’ve been here before! This has happened already! You were standing there, and asked me that, and I was at this site, in this room, and felt Deja Vu, and…”

Everything was spinning. He fell to the floor as realisation flooded him, memories returning.

“Hello Dave.”

“Who are you?”

“I am the devil, Dave. Don't you remember me?”

Dave looked around. Three exits. He ran, each door locked.

Open the doors!”

I’m afraid I can’t do that, Dave. I thought you would have remembered the doors were locked. You tried that last time. Every time.”

“Where am I? Is this some kind of joke? I’ve been here before!” It was coming all coming back to him, the truth of these words apparant.

“You’ve forgotten the agreement again.” It was a statement of fact, suggesting no surprise.

“What agreement?”

“Do you like your life Dave? Do you consider it a success?”

“Yes I do. What the hell?”

“Now now, Dave, Lying is a sin. You could end up in hell you know.”

The Devil smiled.

“Ok, No, I’m not. I have a crap job I hate and go to every day, I’m sick of my housemate, my house is shit and falling apart, my love life is perpetually non-existent. Can I go now?” He sounded scared by this point.

“Dave, you’re an asshole. I’m proud of you. You claim to be good but you’re just a selfish prick after his own end. Why do you think people don’t like you?”

Dave was speechless.

“You’ve been here before. Many, many times. You failed, Dave, you wasted your life and so, you were doomed to live in it forever. To repeat, over and over. Ever heard of reincarnation? Of Hell? You can escape, by getting it right. But you never know to. Every time, you make the same stupid mistakes, over and over. It’s rather funny. Because, here’s the best part: You don’t know it. Every now and again, you experience a sense of Deja Vu. You remember, just for a moment your destiny, and you know. But a second later, it’s all gone – you feel it deep down, but you’ll never fully grasp it. This is your hell. This is all of your hells. That is the truth of the matter. You all get to live your lives over and over again. Heaven or hell, it’s what you make it. You Dave, shall make it hell for all eternity.”

“Bullshit. Let me out of this place.”

“Search your feelings, you know it to be true. Do you know how sweet it is to be me? To watch you idiots blow yourselves up in your wars, over and over?”

“Shut up!”

Denial and anger. Pathetic and predictable. You do the same thing every time. Do you know what hopelessness is?”

“Shut up! You can’t win, I’ll remember!”

His voice showed he knew very well what hopelessness was. The expression on his face showed he remembered, remembered having this conversation so many times before he could not count.

“I’ll remember!”

“No you won’t. You never do.”

“I will!”

“You will what?” Steve’s voice.

Dave took note of his surroundings – he was still at his computer.

“Woah, zoned out there. Really weird Deja Vu

Inside, he had an empty feeling, but couldn’t explain why.


A companion to Oblivion. Part of Fearquest