Written by Sarah Low.
Graphic by Peyton Cabaniss.
I found Salome again. I found her in my dreams.
Indeed, I am reporting that the entire ‘exchange’ had happened for months. And for the sake of finding your daughter’s remains ever again, I ask that you heed my word and my warning. First, I can assure you that I am a mentally stable and physically intact being. Unlike the others who claimed to have found the adolescent girl, I am far more superior in strength and mental capacity, and I am neither a criminal nor a liar.
My name is Arli. I work as a scientist for an organization known as Morning Star Research (MSR), and we have come to the conclusion that Salome’s disappearance is the work of a longtime business enemy of ours who call themselves The Dominion. Though we would like to label The Dominion as little more than a malevolent, fanatical cult that must ultimately be destroyed under any and all circumstances, Salome’s abduction has unforgivably compelled us to reveal the truth to the masses.
The MSR has been monitoring The Dominion since its conception. Ours is a feud born of
misunderstandings snowballed into a metaphysical business competition: that being said, we have the utmost reason to believe that a) The Dominion must be destroyed, b) The Nephilim Venture has been launched, and c) The Dominion has integrated Salome into its psychonaut program. Here at the MSR, our best interests align with those of mankind. We apologize for the discomfort the truth will inevitably bring, and we will try our best to explain the circumstances of this calamity.
From the beginning, mankind was pure and constituted of pure energy. The known galaxies within our universe that mankind inhabited (indeed, Homo sapiens never were solely native to planet Earth; in fact, humans never were native to Earth) ran on pure energy and resembled that of a whirlpool; infinite, gluttonous, and alive. Likewise, there existed dark matter to surround pure entities and curb their appetites. As part of The Design, pure energy and dark matter repelled each other.
Nephilim were born from the interbreeding between pure and dark energies. This incident is known to most as the ‘Big Bang’, and through the synthesization of two energies designed never to interact in any way—the holy and the unholy—the half-human, half-demonic Nephilim were born. As soon as The Dominion had collected Nephilim specimen and found that the conjoining of pure and dark energies yielded energy levels similar to that of the atomic level, The Dominion requested permission to ‘reap’ (kill) all Nephilim for ‘harvesting’.
We refused their proposal. Despite the Nephilim being the result of a flawed design, we had observed that they were thriving, intelligent beings with emotion and feeling nonetheless, and to push the damnation of such lifeforms at the time was outrageous and immoral.
Before The Dominion could declare war on us, we first purged the Nephilim of dark energies to the best of our ability by stripping them of their memories and identities so that they may not only never facilitate contact with The Dominion ever again, but also forget the gruesome horrors that their kind had faced. We then relocated the Nephilim and sanctioned the survivors on planet Earth.
The Dominion blindly criticize us for our actions. Appallingly, they even dare to accuse us of mass murder and argue that the erasure of identity and memory is equivalent to the killing of unique individuals. But what were we to do, then? Should we have sat idle as the universe fell silent?
Salome dedicated her life to the imaginary Dominion. The girl was ridiculed and spat upon. Those who befriended her only saw Salome as the caricature of downtrodden conviction. Nobody believed Salome, and she was hopelessly in love with the archaic lies inseminated within mankind’s progenitors centuries ago.
Her insatiable lust for the absolute truth made her the perfect candidate for The Dominion’s psychonaut program.
They revealed themselves to your daughter through ‘divine intervention.’ You see, thanks to your ignorance and lack of foresight, Salome was often persecuted and seized for her beliefs. For an example: once, during the night, schoolmates and friends attempted to permanently silence your daughter. They dragged her through the streets until her knees went red with the dawn and tied her to a stake. But even as the flames roared to life, Salome did not burn. The townspeople stared in disbelief as a howling, powerful gust of wind swept the hilltop and extinguished the leaping flames. All was silent. Even Salome could not hear herself cry as the hallowed winds, with the secrecy and vigor of a stalking beast, raged through the field.
The Dominion terminated the divine winds and shut the gales off. Hope filled Salome’s heart as she saw the men angelically descend from a white halo. Tears gathered in Salome’s eyes and dribbled down her chin as she cried, “I knew you would come, I knew it!”
When they did not reply, Salome began to realize that something was wrong. The Dominion was not interested in the countless nights she had spent praying to them, nor were they interested the shrines she had built.
They were here to abduct her.
The world’s first psychonaut was then created within several months. They mentored Salome with such enthusiasm that she came to love The Dominion, and she believed The Dominion loved her.
As a psychonaut, Salome learned to manipulate consciousness with the surgical precision of a programmer and learned to walk in people’s dreams. She was taught chaos science, and the knowledge she deftly practiced blurred the line between gods and mortal men. Most importantly, unlike the previous lab-grown psychonauts who all proved to be pretty on the outside but were fundamentally useless, Salome was a success.
Phase one of the Nephilim Venture was complete, and mankind was prodded one step closer to the guillotine.
As part of my mission guidelines given to me by the MSR, I must unapologetically and candidly report that your daughter has indeed suffered in the later stages of the Nephilim Venture. As mentioned before, the Nephilim Venture is a ‘business’ enterprise headed by The Dominion and may spell the end of the world as we know it. Although we (the MSR) have previously purged the Nephilim of dark matter, it was impossible to completely exterminate the chromosomes for dark matter within the Nephilim genome. Furthermore, you may recall that purified Nephilim were essentially human and were the earliest progenitors of the human race on Earth. The dilemma lies within the observation that the percentage of dark matter slowly began to accrue after each generation as these genetically modified hybrids continued to reproduce.
Modern-day humans have devolved to phenomenally become more like their Nephilim ancestors than ever before. It is highly unfortunate that the resurgence of dark matter contained in living organisms has caused The Dominion to be athirst for the premium hybrid energy provided by humans.
Thus, the aim of the Nephilim Venture can only be fulfilled by the butchery and harvesting of the human race.
Salome walks in all of our dreams. She is a psychonaut, and as a psychonaut, her greatest agency lies in her ability to reach into our consciousnesses and twist our dreams into ‘nightmares.’ In this way Salome is instrumental to the progression of the Nephilim Venture; only through a psychonaut can The Dominion contact the human race, and like lambs to the slaughter, prepare and guide their souls for the harvesting.
She came to me last night. In my dream, I was floating within the vast emptiness of space when I sensed a presence. My fears had been confirmed once I noticed that the presence was self-aware, and as the scenic dreamscape around me began to shift into an angry, blaring red, I observed a pattern of deliberacy within the changes and recognized the fine work to be none other than that of a psychonaut.