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The Setite Without a Name


Part I : Life
“Did you wear a black armband when they shot the man
who said ‘peace could last forever’ ?
and in my first memories they shot Kennedy
I went numb when I learned to see”

The bullet left the rifle, its inexorable path ending in the forehead of the man smiling as he waved to the crowd.

In an operating theatre, a newborn’s first wail could be heard.

The First Lady screamed.

A sombre voice interrupted the classical music playing on the radio…“Ladies and gentlemen, the President is dead…”

For those who lived through ’63, no event stands clearer in memory than the death of JFK. Ask anyone – and they can tell you exactly where and how they first heard of the event that marked the end of the generation of free-love.

I was christened John Fitzgerald, as, I believe, all other babies born that fatal day.

No matter.

My childhood was as one would expect from the only child of a businessman and a lawyer, spending more time alone reading than in human company. Of course, I scored straight As and was accepted into Harvard, to major in business.

I soon found my fellow students to be of sufficient intellect to hold my interest, and joined the Dramatic Society, the Gun Club and the Society for Egyptian Studies (mainly because their ‘meetings’ were hash-parties). I did find in myself an unexpected interest, and picked up fluency in the Egyptian language as well as some culture and history).

The transition from introverted geek to the highlight of campus party life was marked by a steady decline in my grades, though it wasn’t so much the myriad diversions as my increasing disillusionment with life that led to my academic fall from grace. And thus my mortal existence climaxed in a phone call from my disappointed parents on the night of my 23rd birthday.

They had received a letter from the school, stating quite clearly that a paper I had written for Ethics – in which I had denounced human life in the 1980s as a farce wherein getting an MBA was the moral equivalent of becoming a better evolved rat – was the last straw, and I had better shape up or ship out. I told my father I’d gladly choose the latter. He chose to disown me.

Bitter and angry, the telephone-voice of my sobbing mother echoing in my head, I stumbled downstairs to a party in full swing, shot up, and ODed.

Part II : Death
“The mediation of the snake was necessary: Evil can seduce man, but cannot become man.”
– Franz Kafka, Aphorisms, #51

I awoke the next night to the smiling face of a fellow member of the Egyptian Society, a gorgeous ’lil thing I would have died to bed. I raised an eyebrow, she responded with a quick kiss, then smiled at me as a serpentine tongue came out of her mouth to lick her wrist, leaving behind an open wound, blood pooling slowly. I remember realising I didn’t panic, that everything had a strange rightness to it, as if this was the way things were simply meant to be. My anger and bitterness faded as I drank the blood she dripped slowly past my lips. I remember the euphoria, who ever forgets their first taste of the juice ?

After we made love, she related the history of our clan and of what I had become. I easily believed her – her narration filled in the missing pieces I had always wondered about in my youthful readings on the occult and, more recently, Egyptian mythology.

She explained that my Embrace was without permission, and after all, which Prince would willfully allow the existence of another Setite ? she smiled wily.

“Leave tonight, I have bought your life at risk to my own.” she whispered, “Do my choice justice, and may Our Lord Set watch over you…” She faded from view as I mouthed my goodbye, and mayhaps her eyes bespoke a sorrow.

Part III : Afterlife
YODA: Anger… fear… aggression. The dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice.
LUKE: Vader. Is the dark side stronger?
YODA: No… no… no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.

I revelled in my new life, the first drained body I left behind proving to me the fragility and ultimate failure of human existence, it was a divine sign that I was right all along – the stamp of approval, the mark of Caine’s damnation.

And then I found myself in Chicago, and I decided to settle down.

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