Septimus is a man. Anything else isn't really certain.

Once upon a time, there was a man who had not the slightest idea what he was doing. His name was Septimus. He wasn't sure, though, where he had got the the name from since, if he recalled correctly, it wasn't the name his parents had given him at the time of his birth. Now that he thought about it, the name his parents did call him by also escaped him. Not being able to remember his name was actually rather consistent with the context, really, since he didn't have a single memory of his birth either.

Septimus was not the kind of man to be associated with such trivialities as pride, self-security or even zest for life. The unpredictable deeds Septimus had a bad habit of committing did not originate from Septimus himself but of some absurd zeitgeist wrapped tightly in an impenetrable veil that Septimus had not a chance to get a glimpse at. The only result Septimus could have come up with was the apparent purposefulness that seemed to gloom over him and his actions. Septimus was not completely sure if he was ready to believe in something quite as ill-fated as fate, but wheather he had faith in it or not, he was at least rather certain that it did not make much difference.

One day Septimus was walking on a street. Why? He did not know. He had no idea what he was doing there, how he had got there or why he was walking. Of course he did have all the said knowledge written in his organic memory banks and he did act accordingly while doing groceries, meeting friends, fondling his bus pass and pace counter - but to fathom out it was he doing all those things as an independent, free-thinking individual... now, that was a completely different story. Septimus didn't have a home. On the other hand, when he pushed his mind to its limit, he did see with the eyes of his mind a place where there was a door to which he had a compatible key in his possession. Actually, behind the said door, there might have been a bed. There might have been a fridge too. There may have even been a broad selection of means to entertain and sustain oneself - Septimus even had a blurry vision of himself utilising some of them. Septimus did not quite like thinking about his home (because, as it turns out, he did have a home after all) since at home he felt the emptiest, and coming from Septimus, that says a lot.

Septimus had failed to notice that he had got on a bus. He failed further to notice that he was currently sitting inside one. What he didn't fail to notice, however, was that he was staring out a window, but still he didn't really see all the things he was watching... people, trees, restaurants, immigrants. Somewhere far away, in the other end of the bus, someone was speaking Swedish. Septimus noticed that he seemed to understand Swedish, although he had no memory of ever learning it. He had no memory of living in Sweden, either, eventhough he had done so for quite a lot of years and had even two daughters there. There was another solution he had made in his youth that he never quite understood.

"Excuse me", said someone to Septimus. Without putting much effort to it, Septimus slowly turned his head towards the voice and aimed his piercing gaze over the shoulder of the young woman who had addressed him. He didn't answer but he stared over her shoulder with such curiosity, encouragement and warmth as humanly possible, without meeting her gaze, at least.

"Do you mind if I sit here?" the woman went on, breaking the awkward silence.

"Of course not", answered Septimus without delay and started to move his backpack out of her way, planning to place it in his feet. While doing so he discovered that he had no backpack with him. Now that he thought of it, there existed a slim chance that he might have thrown it into a river.

The woman took a seat. Septimus spied her from the corner of his eye, trying carefully not to actually look at her. Septimus felt no need to say a thing. Regardless, he noticed he was uttering sentences which he found immensely curious. "Where are you going?"

"To Naantali", said the woman, "and you?"

"You know, I don't really know. I think I'll figure it out at some point during the bus ride. Maybe I'll choose not to. I don't know."

The woman gave a laugh. Septimus found the courage to take a decent look at her and was gravely shocked to find out her large green eyes were directly pointed at him. Somewhere in the depths of those eyes Septimus saw a sparkle. He had seen a sparkle like that before and was not delighted by this discovery in the least. For reasons unknown, he asked her name. The rest of the conversation escaped him. Afterwards, pretty much everything escaped him until morning when woke up beside her. The woman whose name Septimus didn't quite remember was lying nude, partially covered by a blanket of a soothing blue shade. The round breasts that Septimus surprisingly had a faint recollection of were covered by her blonde hair. Septimus couldn't find the strenth to ask himself any questions but proceeded to look for his clothes and putting them on. The another one of his black leather shoes was hanging from a ceiling fan by its laces, just like it was supposed to. While he was putting it on Septimus heard a voice.

"Aaro. Where are you going?"

"I don't know", said Septimus bluntly and closed the door behind him. The staircase was filthy, dreary and ugly. There was no elevator, some of the steps swayed beneath his feet and the beer bottle shattered all over the putrid green wall did anything but elevate the mood. Septimus felt at home here. He sat down. Entranced, he marveled at all the wonderful details, skidmarks on the once white flagged floor, dark footprints on the wall and even at some hardly artistic writing someone had left behind. "Sebe was 'ere '06"

Septimus forgot where he was. After some time, time for which the word 'soon' would hardly be a fitting definition, a door opened somewhere close. It took a moment for the noise and its full meaning to reach Septimus' warped mind. It had not been long since he last heard the very same noise. If he just could remember where...

"Aaro." Oh, that's right. Septimus turned around. Before him, in front of her own home door stood the girl who had become so familiar, yet remained so distant, the girl whose name Septimus knew he knew. "Hi", he said, baffled.

"Have you been sitting here all time?"

"Surely not all time", Septimus answered with a puzzled look in his eyes, "if I'm not mistaken, I've been sitting here merely a part of it."

"Oh..." said the girl, "in any case, I need to be going now. Are you coming with?"

Septimus took a moment to reflect. "No", he said, "I still have unfinished business here." The girl did not hide her confusion as she shrugged her shoulders and took the first step towards the stairs. Septimus wanted to ask her name as he was looking down at his receding back but he didn't. Considering the circumstances, the question did not sound very appropriate to him. One thing the girl had said stayed floating in the air, troubling the mind of Septimus. Aaro. What did she mean by that?

Septimus had much bigger things to worry about than this trivial detail, though, and soon his breathe was completely taken away by far more trivial details of which he saw examples all around him in the shabby staircase. He knew he wanted to be part of this splendor so he commenced to delve into his pockets in order to find something that would inspire him to become one with the world throbbing all about. He found a key. He made a slash into the green plaster covering the wall. He slashed once more at the same precise point. He kept on making slashes until the letter M was distinctively visible in its desolate surroundings. Pleased with his work, he nodded and carried on to the next letter. Then he lost his consciousness.

And then he was somewhere completely else.

Asking Septimus where he was would have usually been a fool's errand but this time, by some miracle, he did know exactly where he was. He was on his knees beside his father's grave. Why had he come here? He hadn't been to this place for twelve years.

Septimus was clueless on how to react. Therefore he made the simplest solution of them all and decided not to react. He placed the flowers on the grave, the flowers that he, to his surprise, found in his hand. He turned his back to the grave. He walked away, away, away... and then he found himself once more kneeling before the grave with a new bouquet in his hand. Now feeling a bit uneasy, Septimus laid these flowers down by the last ones and walked away.

It started to rain. It went dark. It ceased to rain. Sun rose. All this had no effect on Septimus. He was above the laws of nature, although he had never been quite sure why. He was never stopped by hunger, cold or fatigue, actually he didn't recall ever experiencing any of those things. He did recall eating, though. But he didn't recall ever sleeping. He did recall seeing some dreams, though. Sweet beautiful dreams where everything was crystal clear, dreams where he knew things, where things seemed to make sense... to have a meaning. One dream in particular sprang to mind. In the dream he had held his new-born daughter in his arms and been... happy. The word raised many happy memories. Those happy memories, on the other hand, raised quite a few less happy memories. Those less happy memories made Septimus remember why he didn't have a habit of reminiscing. Agonised, he gave up on it. Soon he was sitting on a bench without remembering ever remembering a thing.

The bench turned into a great black mare, swerving and kicking while Septimus tried to hang on with his legs tightly clenched to the croups of the mare. Septimus was not frightened in the least bit, he had done this on several occasions. As the purple lizards were climbing up his shoulders to have a lick at his earflaps, a strange feeling came over Septimus, a feeling of great comfort he had not come by for some time now. The sky was spinning overhead, calling for him, and the earth cracked open, forming a profound bleak chasm. The mare did not fall into the ravine but kept on bouncing and trying to shake off the freeloader as if the Devil himself were whipping it. Sun and the moon came down from heavens to spectate more closely on this grand eventful battle between the mare and Septimus who was finally aware of himself and his surroundings. The heavenly bodies attracted the mare with their gravity, dragging it farther and farther away from the ground. Septimus had the reins in his accustomed grip, pulling on them with minimalistic but deeply concentrated effort. He would have probably had the mare calm down had the scorchingly hot sun not been approaching them making the mare just all the more frantic. The horizon disappeared of sight. Septimus did not feel the heat but by the drops of sweat swarming down his skin, he knew the sun was far too close for comfort. The sun, having changed into a shade of putrid green, pulled the horse and the rider with all the purple lizards intact, deep into its innards, and afterwards, there was nothing.

Septimus was once again kneeling at his father's grave. Two bouquets were waiting on the barrow to be joined by the third bouquet in Septimus' hand. In his other blood-soaken hand Septimus was holding a key, its tip was all worn out.

On the gravestone, beneath his father's name, Septimus saw seven letters written in barely visible slashes: MONSTER


Submitted: February 09, 2012

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BrokenConcise

I like it Boris...Kind of sad to me.. Septimus is a very interesting individual. He seems like someone I would like to know better. Or talk too.. I feel like I was walking with him on this journey to find himself. Anyway I liked it..Thanks!

Mon, February 27th, 2012 9:08pm

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