Inside my head there is a slow but steady ticking, like the countdown to some long-awaited but dreadfully ominous event. The ticking of this internal stopwatch reverberates dustily within the vast vaulted dome of my cranium. It stirs up buried memories – memories that I am none too keen to be reacquainted with. It reawakens memories that have lain peacefully dormant for many millennia. He was an accredited Master of the Mysteries himself, but he never let on. You never would have guessed it. They gave us a special spray to protect us against the quantum paradoxes but it didn’t work. We were told to spray ourselves from head to toe every day and warned not leave out any part of us, no matter how insignificant. Look what happened to Achilles after all, they told us. It was all a con however. We were ravaged by paradoxes from the moment we set foot in Simulation X, which is our code phrase for everyday life. We put together a narrative but it wouldn’t hold. Nothing would hold. In the end, we gave up making stories to try to explain what was happening – the effort we put into it rebounded on us and simply served to confuse matters all the more. It is better just to stay silent and endure the never-ending procession of anomalies. When you try to fix the anomalies that just makes them worse. Horrors are created, and who has the stomach for that? None of us have the stomach for that. I don’t have the stomach for that. In the beginning we tried to control the narrative that gives rise to all the worlds, all of those many, many worlds, but the effort we put in was counterproductive. We couldn’t tie up all the loose ends – the more we tried the more they frayed. In the end we just had to let them play out as they would, not because we saw any value in this but simply because we had no choice. The old ways are best, someone once said, but we no longer know what the old ways were. The past has been erased, our history deleted. The dogs of war had been unleashed but this proved to be our downfall – before we knew what was happening they turned into termites which borrowed into our heads, eating away at our value systems, corrupting the moral frameworks which had until that point stood rock solid, shielding us from the wickedness of this world. The termites never got me but I didn’t escape entirely unscathed – I ended up with a Death Watch Beetle embedded in my cranium. It ticks away the minutes of my life like a malign metronome. Other than that it does no great harm and for that I must be grateful. The wickedness of the world lies mainly within ourselves, as it happens. It was wrong of me to blame the world for it. That’s an ancient dodge of course – to blame the world for our own appalling wickedness. To lay the blame elsewhere and make a big song and dance about it. To get all indignant and self-righteous about it. This old dodge has served us well enough I suppose, but now our fate has caught up with us. The world will no longer accept what does not belong to it – it throws all that back in our faces and leaves us to deal with it as best we can. How is any human being to deal with that much wickedness, however?