Story listed as: Fiction For Adults | Theme: Science Fiction | Subject: Coming of Age / Initiation | Published here : 11/17/2016
|Your Skin A Womb (Part 2 of 2)||
| By MONGIWEKHAYA
|Born 1981, M, from Johannesburg, South Africa
We have metaphysically neutered mankind of his morality. Whilst we have the license to do what we wish, we do not know what we wish for. The New Man no longer has a reflection of himself in history or in nature.
The Novum of Technology by R. Kahn, former Agent of TASC 2093
Mordare awoke in the middle of the evening Hindu river blessing.
The sun was setting, casting a gold pallor on the Ganges before taking a dip into the mysterious waters. Opening his eyes from his position on Kelly’s bed, Mordare watched her, still as a statue staring out the window down to the terraced ghats of the river Ganges. Through the cacophony of chants, drums and gongs, he remembered what happened. Being outwitted by a child. No not a child. Kahn.
He got up and came to stand next to Kelly who had not moved. Outside the priests swung their conical lamps, their wicks soaked in purified butter, each a gift to some deity. There must have been a hundred tongues of fire licking the air. A cloud of light in the thickening darkness.
‘It’s an endless procession,’ said Kelly, ‘People coming to wash in this dirty river.’ Mordare patted his pockets but found nothing. He was starving.
‘And when they die,’ said Kelly, ‘the dead are burnt here at those structures. Their ashes are scattered into the river. They call it the bridge to eternity.’
‘Where is Dingleberry,’ asked Mordare. Irritation flashed across Kelly’s face.
‘Bhai Sahib is still in his cell,’ she said, ‘I thought it best to leave him and get you away from there.’ Mordare grunted.
‘I guess he’ll keep,’ he said, ‘and that boy? Kahn.’ Kelly turned to face him, silent on that score. Mordare shook his head.
‘A doubtful mind is a luxury our kind cannot afford.’
‘We’re not the same kind.’
‘No,’ said Mordare, ‘maybe not. Let’s go find Cassandra.’
Kelly took Mordare to the warrens of Pilikothi Kotwali where the Ganges does not reach and the spectacle of light does not enter. The aromas of home cooking mingled with the ever present stench of putrefaction amid the incessant clack-clack of the handlooms. The Varanasi silk, which the priest of the river and the spectators wore, began life in the Islamic textile quarter of the city, the place the madman claimed Cassandra hid.
There were no clear street names or addresses; the usual symptom of a city’s forgotten places. But they queried their way to the old abandoned warehouse, dilapidated and crushed by the entrepreneurial businesses that swarmed like locusts around it.
Mordare kicked down the door and they entered. There used to be a second floor. It had been ripped out and almost all the partitioning walls removed, save for the privacy of a toilet. A chain link walkway hung above.
The room was divided by cargo containers. Kelly opened one of the cargo doors. A filthy mattress lay on the floor with a candle stub and incense next to it. It was the desiccated corpse that caught their attention.
‘Is this some kind of slave pit,’ asked Kelly. Mordare shrugged and walked around the corpse. He stopped just behind it.
‘Come look at this.’ Kelly entered the container. The corpse looked to be a woman, her nationality unknown, since dried out corpses tend to lose all but their gender-bias features. It sat in the lotus position, and when Kelly came around to the back she had to stifle her voice. The back was ripped open as if something had burst out.
Mordare touched the corpse. The skin was hard.
‘How many containers do you think are in here?’ he asked.
They methodically started going through all the containers, finding corpses in various stages of decay, all with their torsos blown out, the insides empty of organs and bone.
A moan from the back of the warehouse caught their attention. Mordare nodded to Kelly as he unholstered a double-barrelled pulse shotgun. They moved swiftly past the other containers to come upon a cleared open space.
A laboratory operating theatre, fully kitted out, stood in the clearing. To the one side a bank of computers hummed and were operated on by an Indian man, back turned and intent on his work. Under the bright circular lights a gurney contained Cassandra Ivor’s body. It was strapped down and bloated twice the size they remembered it being. The body shook. A soft tearing sound was heard, and the fingers of a little girl emerged from the chest.
‘That’s it Cassandra,’ said the man, ‘you’re almost—’ the man had turned to see Mordare and Kelly. He said nothing, quickly turning to the computers, typing furiously. Mordare looked at Kelly who shook her head no. Mordare held her gaze as he shot the Indian man in the back of the head. The blood bloomed on the screens and the man slumped over.
‘Was that necessary?’
‘The hardware’s more important.’
A skinny pale arm emerged from Cassandra’s body, gripping the edge of the gurney. Its little muscles tightened and a head emerged. Large grey eyes that blinked at the light. The pale child, half out of its cocoon of an old woman, lurched and gagged and vomited down the side of the gurney.
The Indian Solution.
‘I think you may have killed the inventor,’ said Kelly, waving at the dead man on at the computers. Her voice startled the pale child who blinked furiously trying to focus.
‘Kelly,’ said the child.
‘Yes,’ said Kelly. The Child looked, saw Mordare and with a wail, dragged herself out of the body tumbling to the floor. She crawled into the darkness.
Mordare holstered his gun, crouching low.
‘No use trying to hide Cassandra,’ said Mordare, ‘You’re in no shape to escape us.’
‘We’ve done nothing wrong,’ said Cassandra, ‘why can’t you leave us alone?’
‘Well now, why don’t you come with us and we’ll try to figure out what happened here.’
Cassandra stepped into the light. She was naked, slick with ichor. Cassandra stopped and looked at her own arms, legs studying her transformation.
‘It worked,’ she said.
‘Was it painful?’ asked Kelly.
‘All followers of Kahn know suffering is the greatest of Skadagami, to be accepted.’ Cassandra looked at Kelly, a desperate pleading in her eyes.
‘She is not executor here,’ said Mordare, ‘I am. Kelly observes and learns. Nothing more.’ Mordare smiled at Cassandra holding out his arms. ‘Let’s take you back with us. See what you really are.’ Cassandra sighed, stepping forward with her arms around her body.
‘I’m naked,’ said Cassandra, ‘Would you at least find me something to wear?’ Mordare tilted his head graciously and looked around the room. He spotted a lab coat on the chair of the dead man and strode over to fetch it. Cassandra looked again at Kelly. They both knew; Mordare would never let Cassandra go. She’d be some kind of guinea pig at best; or a corpse in an unmarked grave.
‘Mordare —,’ said Kelly.
She did not finish that sentence as the Mordare casually turned and blasted Kelly in the belly.
The projectile from Mordare’s custom-made snub nosed pulse shotgun fired so fast as to warp the air between them in expanding concentric waves. Mordare always found it pleasing to watch the rings occur in slow motion when he replayed the kill at home. Cassandra was thrown off her feet. The gurney with the husk of the old woman lifted into the air smashing into the computer banks. The concrete floor cracked along the target line as the shot connected with Kelly. The projectile’s tip ionized as it struck her, melting into a plasma that blossomed as a luminous discharge, enveloping her. But it was the EM field it created that threw her across the length of the warehouse, through the wall and out into the warren alleys.
Mordare’s eyes glowed gold.
‘Ordinance 357 approved,’ he said. He unloaded the spent cartridges and loaded another two before returning the weapon to its holster. God he loved that gun. He looked to Cassandra lying on the floor staring in the direction that Kelly had vanished. Cassandra turned to Mordare who shrugged.
‘There’s no redeployment with our kind,’ he said, ‘and when you’re fired its literal.’ Mordare laughed, offering her the lab coat. Cassandra stood up and took it. Mordare’s nose quivered, sensing a shift in the air of something heavy moving through it. He looked up to see a large shadowed object flying towards him. One of the cargo containers.
Drawing out the shotgun, he hip-fired at the advancing object. A damn good shot under the circumstances. The shells struck their target, plasma enveloping the left half of the container. The EM blast flipped it off trajectory mid-air dropping it towards Cassandra who had seen nothing but heard the report of his gun and crouched.
Mordare swore and leaped to her. Grabbing her round the waist he flipped her out of the way and rolled. The container crashed onto the concrete, molten metal rapidly cooling. Groaning as only tortured metal could, it tilted and crashed, pinning Mordare’s left arm. Mordare screamed as he felt the shockwave of pain coursing through his system. Anti-shock drugs and pain killers swathed him, numbing the agony. Cassandra stood up.
‘Stay where you are,’ said Mordare.
Cassandra ran. Mordare holstered his weapon and grunting, shoved hard against the container. His entire body strained, muscles bunched, his titanium bone structure bearing its maximum load capacity. The container lifted enough for him to draw his arm out. It was a mess; flesh shredded, the fingers mangled. The drugs would hold off his physical awareness of the trauma, but he had to get this sorted, and soon, or he would lose the arm. He could do a temporary fix-up once he got back to his safe house, but he needed his Handler sooner rather than later.
This is turning into a wonderful evening he thought. He jumped up 20 meters to the walkway above. It gave him a vantage point to assess the threat and keep watch of Cassandra’s movements. She was headed towards the bay doors which were ajar. Unloading the spent cartridges and loading two of the unshelled, Mordare looked around but Kelly was nowhere to been seen. He was curious to know how she survived those shots at such close range. He aimed the shotgun at the retreating Cassandra. There wouldn’t be plasma this time. No shell. But the EM wave would shock every nerve in her body. Incapacitate her. Non-lethal but the pain would be something else to experience. Mordare fired. The walkway swung crazily at the recoil and as the wave reached Cassandra, it struck an invisible object that shimmered into the shape of a woman, shielding Cassandra from the worst of the blast. The invisible figure hefted the girl into its arms and bolted through the bay doors.
We exist so deep within technology that nature itself has become the last foreign country; the interaction of the human hand with primary materials a closed book; and the ultimate customer (humanity) is embedded in a cocoon of derivative artefacts designed so that no chance of the natural can impede humanity’s enjoyment of the sensual. Occasionally original nature plays a decorative role as a lovely piece of driftwood set on a table, or a seashell cunningly posing as an ashtray.
The Novum of Technology by R. Kahn, former Agent of TASC 2093
Down the labyrinth of alleyways, just a short way from the warehouse stood the textiles factory. The machines that operated there were noisy, being semi-automated weaving looms. In fact, the handlooms of Varanasi are still famous to this day, and the Banarasi sari, made of Varanasi silkworm silk, a rare gift. It is said when the infamous fashion designer Cooper Noir (current whereabouts unknown) decided to return to primitive materials, it was the words and work of the Varanasi weavers that gave the theme to his Hacteria IV collection:
As the Divine weaves his designs let us feel the delight of being woven!
It was Noir’s involvement in the local Islamic community known as Ansari that caused the renaissance of the art of weaving and brought back the semi-automated looms that required the human touch. The community was revitalized by Noir’s patronage and the giant machines ran day and night. Of course this meant that the community never slept, as someone had to work the looms. Even now, at midnight, the mothers of the loom stood at their stations, talking of local gossip as their hands worked in semi-automatic patterns.
The door burst open and a pale child in white cloth floated into the building. The child floated! Well, stranger events had happened in the world, according to the television, so no one screamed. They merely waited for what would come next in this life.
A dark skinned woman materialized under the child. She was naked, struggling to walk. There was a wildness in her eyes as she shivered and jerked forward. Sweat covered her, fear etched a pattern on her face. She spoke only one word:
For the first time in as many years as could be remembered the looms were left to their own devices, forging the pattern of the weave without human guidance, as the mothers gathered around the woman and child. The mothers wrapped them in the traditional clothing of their people. Characterized by the long flowing garments that provided protection from the sun, yet allowed the body to breathe, and of course the timeless burqa which offered the wearer modesty and concealment.
The unconscious child was lain amongst the sleeping children who would take the morning shift on the looms. The trembling woman was given a loom to work on—not a moment too soon! The door burst open and a large man with a nose fit for royalty entered. He was simply enormous and riddled with deformities of the flesh that spoke of western violence. His left arm a gory mess of flesh and metal hung at his side. A machine beast they would later say to their husbands. The man questioned them all, asking after the hidden woman and child. He said his royal nose could smell they had come this way. Of course the mothers said they were willing to tell all and tell all they did, a convoluted story which made no sense and in a foreign tongue. The man grew angry and smashed a loom awakening the children. He grabbed one of the children, held some type of weapon at the child, asking for the truth and in the Queen’s English thank you very much. The mothers went mad, leaving the looms once again to chance. They screamed and clucked and stampeded that man right out the door.
The machine beast left then they told their husbands over the morning meal. But they knew he watched. When the sun finally dragged its lazy form up from under the horizon, a shadow crept out of the retreating dark and stalked off. The foreign woman had long since fainted in a heap amongst the children. Once the husbands came to take over the day shift from their wives and the children, the woman and child were strong enough to vanish themselves back into the world they had come from. They were never seen again by the mothers of the loom. As to the quality of workmanship done by the semi-automated looms without human assistance? It was agreed by all that the artistry was of poor quality.
Technology is Destiny made manifest.
The Novum of Technology by R. Kahn, former Agent of TASC 2093
Grace Kelly and Cassandra, stood hand in hand dressed in Banasari garments.
‘Cassandra,’ said Kahn sipping tea, ‘Would you pour tea for yourself and our guest?’ Cassandra nodded, letting go of Kelly’s hand. Kahn waved Kelly to the seat opposite him.
‘Civility is essential in a rational being,’ said Kahn.
Kelly sat down as Cassandra poured the tea. Once done, Cassandra kissed Kahn on the cheek.
‘She saved me,’ she said. Kahn nodded and Cassandra sat next to him.
‘What do you think of India?’ asked Kahn.
‘It’s annoying. Either its soaking wet or bone dry, no middle ground,’ said Kelly.
‘Yes, yes all or nothing. That’s the way of it.’ He offered the hookah pipe. Kelly politely accepted.
‘You’ve come a long way in search of a man.’
‘I have not.’
‘You have not come a long way?’
‘I have not come seeking a man.’
‘to understand a pattern.’
Kahn cupped his face with his hands and leaned forward.
‘Interesting,’ he said, ‘and what will you do with this knowledge?’
‘See its purpose. I’m here to decide your movement’s fate. You know this.’
‘Why can’t you let it grow wild?’
‘There is no place left for the wild in this world.’
Kelly sipped the tea. She took a long hit from the hookah, her eyes locked with Kahn’s own. They were large eyes for a child.
‘Not all life can be expected to follow the same pattern,’ said Kahn.
‘I used to believe that,’ said Kelly, ‘used to be part of something different. It could not survive in this world’ Kelly looked at her hands trembling, ‘The world is dying Kahn, the old ways with it. The future’s come to feed on life.’
‘You believe in this new world?’ asked Kahn indicating to the window. Kelly followed the sweep of Kahn’s eyes to the busy streets. Streets like others around the world, filled with billions of people being swept ever forward.
‘I want to believe in it,’ said Kelly.
‘Oh well now,’ Kahn shrugged, ‘let’s hope that’s true Dosojin Kelly. Dosojin,’ Kahn chuckled to himself, ‘Your handler, Dr. Mistry Koukei, is not always as subtle as she thinks.’
Kelly reacted sharply to the name but remained seated.
‘Cassandra,’ said Kahn, ‘you are the last. Gather the others.’
Cassandra got up and ran out into the streets.
‘Listen well now Sotapanna,’ said Kahn, ‘Dr. Koukei did not call you Dosojin by accident. She did not send you on this mission on a whim. Humanity still matters. Dr. Koukei does not want you to give up your beliefs. They have become essential in this moment in history. Know your place’
Kelly nodded and listened.
‘There must always be more than one reality. The Dosojin lives on the crossroads, where many paths arrive. The crossroads must be protected. So long as the Dosojin stands at the place of meeting, so humanity goes on.’ Kahn looked out the street window. Cassandra was waiting outside with several children. He stood up and placed before Kelly, a vial of black liquid with a remote.
‘The Indian solution,’ he said.
‘Wait,’ said Kelly, ‘I need to know. Do you consider yourself human?’
‘To live for others,’ said Kahn, ‘is to be human.’ Kahn bowed deeply and stepped outside. From the window, Kelly watched as the children played. Kahn smashed a hydro pipe which sprayed out a bevy of water upon the alleyway. He stood in front of it and let the water cascade off his body. Children began to pour into the street and the furnace heat of the sun flared off the water as they joined enmasse. They danced in the fabricated rain. They laughed and tumbled, flinging off clothing until most stood naked in late afternoon. Kahn took the hands of Cassandra in his own. As one they turned and ran into all the buildings around them. Kelly got up and followed.
The children gathered on the roof tops; already their skin was steaming as the sun drew the water from their bodies. Their playfulness intensified; they stroked, bit, caressed, fondled each other; slowly they began to find suitable partners (some even played like this in groups). Cassandra picked up a shard of broken window glass that flashed like solidified light. Gently she leaned in, kissed Kahn between the shoulder blades. Kahn shivered, eyes closed. She then lifted the blade of glass and slit open his back. Kahn groaned, his face contorted in a mixture of pain and pleasure. The slit she had made started just below the base of his neck, all the way down to his pelvic bone. The blood flowed freely even as she turned to his left side and cut the same way again.
Kelly looked around incredulous. What did the other children think of this—only to find them all engaged in similar violence! The masochism took Kelly’s breath away. Surely this was an act she was meant to put to a stop to! What kind of sickness was this? She tensed her body as she prepared to intervene—until she saw strange protrusions erupt from Kahn’s back. A bloody and wet membranous material was pushing out, as he crouched low, body tense. Cassandra stood watching; her shard of light and hand covered in blood. Elsewhere the same metamorphosis was in process. It seemed that a huge bubble was growing on the backs of those cut—until one burst and out fluttered a delicate forewing. It fluttered quick-slow, drying itself. 3 more followed in quick succession as if the first was practise and all other motions were easily perfected. Kahn stood there in the light, shaking his new acquired appendages that slowly dried in the sun.
Quickly he turned, taking the blade from Cassandra and proceeded to slit her back open. In a few minutes all the children stood in the light fanning their wings. The sun was beginning to set, and the chanting from the Ganges filled the evening air. One of the children tested the strength her wings fluttering madly to the cheers of the others. She lifted off the ground, swaying uneasily before falling back ungracefully to the floor.
The other children joined in and there was shouting and challenges, curses and merriment as they perfected their technique.
Kahn approached Kelly.
‘Now you see,’ he said, ‘we are merely children, products of our time in history. Do what you will.’
Kahn turned to Cassandra taking her hand and like graceful swans, they rose together circling the building before flying off in an easterly direction. Across the city, on a hundred roofs, dark waifs followed. A swarm of children buzzing in the twilight toward some unclear destination.
Dying for a cause—that’s the easy part. Many people have done that. To live for something… now there is a true sign of courage.
Towards the act of being by R. Kahn, the Shaman Underground 2101
It was their old place; the Hookah bar they used to go to together. Outside the neon lights glowed green, blue and red, playing off her face. Above in the rich tender centre of the city, on the giant holo-board, the Indian musical star Rajesh Duji thrusts his pelvis back and forth through the humid night.
Kelly put down her tea and called Mordare.
‘Hello Kelly. I’ve missed you.’
‘Why don’t you come see me at our hookah bar?’
‘How fitting. I’ll see you soon.’
The phone went dead. As Kelly set up the hookah pipe, she considered the fact that this could be her last night. She smiled to herself. It was early yet and the restaurant had a jukebox. She got up.
Kelly searched and found a Lana Del Ray song, born to die, and pressed play. She allowed the first swish of the violins to draw her to the centre of the room where it began in her hips, her chin nearly on her chest, lips mouthing the words—feet don’t fail me now, take me to the finish line—lifting her hands above her head, tracing the violins with her fingers, eyes closed, mind lost, the Banasari silk dress whirling to her mincing steps that took her around the room as the music built itself up to a crescendo, as the words took on her form, pelvis gyrating in orgasmic trance, repeating over and over—cause you and I, we were born to die—and everyone there stood still, staring, drinks forgotten, and understood something they could never explain to absent friends.
She returned find Mordare smoking the hookah pipe. A bottle of their shared wine was waiting. His left arm was in a black cast, immobile. They said nothing for a while.
‘I guess an apology just won’t do in this case, ’he said.
‘From me? Or from you?’
Mordare gently scanned her, ‘I see you’ve activated that rock in your head.’
‘It activated itself,’ said Kelly, ‘Instinctual response that bypassed my consciousness.’
‘What does it do?’ Kelly told him all she knew; that her skin was not her skin but photochromatic particles that refracted light and emanated an electromagnetic aura around her body.
‘That’s why you were invisible in the warehouse,’ said Mordare. He’d have to get one of these implants, soon has he got back to the States.
‘Exactly,’ said Kelly, ‘and you know what the weirdest thing about it is?’ Kelly’s ebony skin turned white and her short crop hair extended down her back, blonde. She smiled and her skin darkened to a copper tone as a moustache grew on her face, her hair shortening. Then she reverted everything back to her normal face.
‘So,’ she said, ‘not 100% human anymore.’
‘No you’re not,’ he said marvelling at the creature before him, ‘you’re beautiful. You know that’s why I chose the Pulsed Shotgun to shoot you with.’
‘You guessed who I am,’ she said.
‘You were that terrorist who was shot 2 years ago with non-lethal cartidges.’ Kelly nodded.
‘That non-lethal attack fried my nervous system. Ionized most of my skin,’ she said, ‘burned my face off. You couldn’t even tell that I was a woman. I was just… muscle on bone.’ Kelly reached into her pocket, pulling out the small vial, half-filled with the thick black liquid that Kahn had given her. She placed it on the table between them.
‘This is the Indian Solution,’ she said, ‘Case Closed.’ Mordare picked it up and held it to the light.
‘So this is what turns men into boys,’ he said.
‘You wouldn’t want to drink even half a vial,’ she said, ‘Painful death if it occurs too quickly.’
‘You have to dilute it?’
‘Yes.’ Mordare pocketed the vial.
‘We’ll take it back, have it checked out.’ They sat staring at each other in silence.
‘I will find Kahn as well, ‘said Mordare.
‘I know you will.’ She said, ‘you’re Mordare.’ She caressed his name. Aw hell thought Mordare. Might as well try the truth. He leaned forward.
‘The thing is,’ said Mordare, ‘you got to think of your own future. See, my Handler and I got this deal. I bring him everything I find, he reverse engineers it and we both win.’ Mordare opened his hands and laughed.
‘And this is the big score darling,’ he said, ‘eternal life. You grow old, we turn your body into a cocoon and you give birth to a younger self. Over and over again. That’s the holy grail!’ Mordare slammed his fist on the table, disturbing the wine bottle.
‘Who’s your Handler,’ asked Kelly. Mordare leaned back. He’d have to kill her properly this time.
‘You try the wine?’ he asked, trying to delay the moment longer.
‘No thank you.’
‘You haven’t had any of the Hookah,’ he said.
‘I’m still working.’ Soft. Gentle was her voice. Dangerous.
‘The agency is recalling you,’ said Kelly. Mordare masked his surprise.
‘You were right,’ she whispered, ’Our task is to hunt manufactured monsters.’
Suddenly Mordare understood. He couldn’t believe it but there it was. She had been sent to assess him. The agency clearly knew of his private enterprise and decided he was a liability. But no, not this little thing. She did not have the skillset. Maybe if they sent Agent Warshick or Adams, but this child? It was downright insulting!
Kelly produced the small remote Kahn had given her.
‘This is the activator of the liquid in that vial.’
Mordare took another hit of the Hookah pipe.
‘Give me it to me, growled Mordare, ‘and I will let you live.’
‘Are you enjoying your hookah,’ asked Kelly. Mordare paused mid pull.
‘What is in the Hookah?’
‘I’ve thought a lot about you,’ she said, ‘about how powerful you are. A killing machine. With a taste for blood.’
Kelly activated the remote as Mordare’s hand came up for her throat.
‘The Indian Solution,’ she said, ‘is fascinating. It does more than reverse the aging process—they grow wings. Can you believe that? I mean, who knows what else it does to you on the inside.’ She held the Mordare’s agonizing gaze, ‘I suppose not everyone wants to be a butterfly.’
Mordare’s hand began to bleed as his shrinking flesh ripped off the metallic bones. His mouth lifted into a grotesque grin that stretched wider and wider, his mouth tearing away from his monstrous teeth. The skin of his nose stretched taut until it burst revealing the intricate mechanical structure underneath. Kelly stared at the knowing nose of Mordare revealing itself under tortured flesh.
She put away the remote and took up his wine. She saluted.
‘I’m off the clock now.’ Kelly drank all that was left in the glass. She lifted her feet as the blood spread. That was when the other clients of the bar began screaming. Kelly retrieved the vial from Mordare. She took a last look at his body pierced by the tools of his trade. She walked to the exit.
The waiter stopped her pointing to Mordare.
‘What is he?’ the waiter asked, ‘what’s wrong with him? Who is he?’
Kelly shrugged. She said him:
‘What does it matter what you say about people? He was some kind of man.’
She walked out. Barely a few minutes later she found herself puking in a dustbin. Mordare took several hours to die.
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