Occasion

It's winter and thick snowflakes whirl through the air. On a Dutch parallel road a light blue Volvo station wagon stops at a gas station. A man in his early thirties gets out of his car and slowly walks around it. With a proud look he admires the car for a few seconds more. It is Robin van Gelderen who has just bought the light blue Volvo. His wife Jane is eight months pregnant, for the fourth time. A sedan simply is no longer sufficient for the small Army on the Rise. He refuels and walks into the station: “Hands up, this is a robbery!”, he jokes.
Trudy (the cashier) is a good friend of Jane and Robin, and regularly looks after their children.

Trudy sticks her hands in the air and shouts out: “I only have FreeBees, mister!”
Robin laughs: “What do you think of my new car?”
Trudy smiles back as she leans forward to look through the window: “Oh, nice car! Jane will love it; how is she?”
Robin takes out his Binance Card and pays: “Jane is fine. Any day now!Robin's eyes always light up when he talks about Jane or their children, “Goodbye, Trudy. By the way, are you coming over, tonight?”
With her hands frantically waving in the air she answers: “Busy, busy, busy!”

On his way out, Robin walks past the flowers that are displayed in metal buckets near the exit. He’d love to buy some for Jane, but he is of the opinion that buying flowers from a gas station is unromantic; he prefers to drive to the florist. A few minutes later, he is on his way to buy some ‘real flowers’. Randomly tapping his fingers on the stirring wheel as he waits in front of the red traffic light. When it’s green, Robin hits the gas. A strange feeling takes hold of him. He seems to float, then a bang. He feels nothing.

A Mercedes pierces Robin's flank. The Volvo rolls over three times, ends up in the ditch, sinks through the ice and fills up with water. Robin hangs upside down and can’t get out. The ice-cold water feels like he is roughly being shaved with sharp razor blades. He panics. The water keeps rising and his head is now completely under water. He inhales, swallows the water, and feels his lungs fill up. He grabs his throat. It feels as if he has cramps everywhere. His eyes bulge out, then he hangs dead still, upside down in the icy water.

The forest in the twilight area

The forest is dark, cold and wet. Every tree has thick leafs, so sunlight barely gets through. Everything is moldy and very slippery. Robin runs like a madman through the forest. There is no path to follow, and everything that makes a forest scary is there: vermin, cobwebs, strange sounds of unknown animals. He recognizes a few: an owl and monkeys. In the distance even, what seems to be, human cries, but most of them he has never heard. Robin has no idea why and how long he has been running, or how he ended up here. Suddenly he hears footsteps behind him.

Robin looks back, but sees nothing. Growling, like a mean bear is after him. He accelerates and the footsteps vanish in the distance. Robin is out of breath. Once more he looks back, when he looks forward again he suddenly stands in front of a big, yellow shed. Before he realizes that he has to keep running he’s overpowered by a greenish monster with black spiky hair and grabby, razor-sharp claws. It grabs Robin by his legs and smashes him in all directions, on the ground, against trees, through thorny bushes. When he loses consciousness the troll throws him over its shoulder and walks into the yellow shed.

Robin wakes up with a flaming pain that flows throughout his entire body. He is in the yellow shed together with the troll. He watches how this beast is breaking his legs in several places. With its big claws it breaks all his limbs like matchsticks. Robin screams out in pain. The beast clearly enjoys this. It grabs Robin's head and with round movements it spoons out Robin's eyes with its nails. It laughs like a hyena, throws Robin’s eyes up in the air. His eyes don’t fall to the ground; they stop and float in the middle of the air, just like that.

The troll rubs his claws, looks up into Robin's floating eyes and tells him in an eerily voice, that sounds like it has multiple layers of people talking over each other: “So you can see what I'm going to do to you!”
Robin doesn't even get the time to think about or focus on anything else, but the pain. His floating eyes see how his eyeless body is helplessly floundering on the ground. The troll holds Robin's body up with one claw and cuts his skin loose with its razor-sharp nails. Robin is being skinned super slowly. He keeps screaming in agony without passing out, until his vocal chords are crushed, as the beast continues the torture, up to the point where Robin is just a red chunk of flesh, skin, broken bones and floating eyes.

Eurovy

The door of the shed is forced open. A figure with a thick white beard, dressed in a dark blue robe storms in. The troll is long gone. The man runs to Robin’s bones, flesh and skin. Robin's floating eyes follow the man attentively. The man looks around the room until he looks up, right into Robin's eyes: “Ah, there you are!”
The man snaps his fingers and Robin's eyes fall on top of the pile of flesh. His eyes look desperately at the peculiar man. Robin sees two hands above his eyes. After a flash and a bang, the shed is left empty.

Robin sleeps, but wakes up with the burning smell and sound of a crackling campfire.
“How do you feel, young man?”
The voice comes from behind the campfire. Robin grabs his arms and legs, looks at the inside of his hands. He is completely intact. He’s filled with relief and asks how this is possible.
The man gets up from behind the campfire and sits next to him: “This is the twilight area, son. Just about anything is possible here.” He takes off his blue robe. The man is wearing some sort of golden pajamas, with golden shoes, “Eurovy is the name.”
Robin sticks out his hand: “I'm Robin. Thank you for saving me. Who was that troll, and where am I?”

Eurovy lights up a big, brown pipe and calmly smokes it as he answers all of Robin's questions: “I'm a Dreamer, that's the name of people who enter the twilight area, after death. Have you ever had a vivid nightmare, or a lucid dream?” Robin nods, “Well, not all of your dreams are yours, most of them are dreamers, passing through you at night. Through these dreams we can revive, and feel like real human beings again, for as long as your dream lasts. By the way, that troll is a demon. On earth it had taken possession of a man who had kidnapped a girl. He was holding her in a yellow shed. While you drowned in that ditch, the kidnapper killed the girl and the demon went back to hell. Somehow you and the demon became entangled, went through a portal and ended up here.”

Robin’s head is spinning: “Alright, but, how did you end up here?”
Eurovy gets a gloomy look and the only thing he lets go about his own faith is, that it was a violent death: “I then ran away, away from the light, until the light stopped searching. This is the place you end up when things don’t go the way it initially was planned to happen. Literally a gray area. Or perhaps I was supposed to run away from the light and even to die the way I did; so that after all these years I could save you from the yellow shed.” Eurovy gets a glassy look in his eyes as he stares into nothing, like he just had an epiphany, “Listen, Robin, I'll help you if you help me, deal?”
Robin feels he has little choice, but to cooperate. What else should he do, stay there in the Twilight Area?
Eurovy puts his hand on Robin's shoulder: “I am tired, son. I want to go into the light now, and the only way for me to get this done, is to do a good deed.”

A matter of life or death

Robin blows his warm breath through his hands: “Tell me what I have to do, Eurovy.”
“I know the place of the portal that you came through. You have to go through it again. You will end up in the yellow shed on earth. You will take possession of the kidnapper and free the girl. When you have done this, I will close the portal by throwing myself into it. The light will embrace me, you will wake up in your own body, and so get your life back.”
“Are you absolutely sure I won’t die, Eurovy?”
“Look, the light doesn't know you're dead yet, it will only come for me. It’s pretty hard to explain, I've been here for a thousand years, you just have to trust me.”

Robin realizes that things cannot get any worse then what’s happening right now, and so he goes along with the plan.
Eurovy and Robin walk through the forest on their way to the portal. After a couple of hours they stop near an old dried up well, in the middle of a green field. Eurovy silently points to the well.
“Thanks, Eurovy. Take care, my friend.”
Robin walks through the knee-high grass field towards the old well. He sits down on the edge of the old well. He feels a strange magnetic force pulling at his legs.

In all this madness he hasn’t even had time to think about Jane and their children, but, sitting on the edge of this darkness, this is all he thinks about. If this doesn’t work out, they’ll never see each other again. He looks back at Eurovy, and the forest he just walked out of—Jane, my babies, hold on! Daddy’s coming home.
Without any further delay he closes his eyes and courageously jumps into the old dark well. The magnetic force gets stronger as he slips deeper into the dark nothingness, and just when his body is ready to get ripped apart, he finds himself in the yellow shed on earth.

Robin lands on his face. He immediately gets up and looks in a little, dirty mirror that hangs in the shed. It shows the shabby face of the kidnapper. He bares his teeth; they’re all black or broken. Robin tries not to freak out, but he is inside an older guy’s body. He’s wearing ragged clothes and has a big, fat belly.
His hands are sticky, and have an unknown, black substance under the fingernails. He looks around, until he sees a little, blonde girl. She’s tied to a chair. The girl is terrified of Robin, who, besides his appearance, is holding a razor sharp kitchen knife in his hand.

He races towards the girl, tells her not to be worried, and cuts the rope from her hands and feet.
Eurovy’s voice echoes through the shed: “Well done, son!”
Suddenly Robin feels a sting inside his head; he falls to the floor in agony.
Eurovy shouts: “The demon has jumped into the well, you must hurry!”
Robin feels the demon crawling inside of him, and a voice speaks from within his own head: “Hello, Robin, wasn't it?”
Robin shouts out: “Eurovy, jump into the well, now!”
“Eurovy hesitates. Are you sure, Robin?”
“Yes! Hurry up! Close the portal! Go home, Eurovy!”
In the twilight area, Eurovy takes one last look around the area, takes one more puff, throws his pipe away, and jumps into the well. Eurovy disappears into the light with a smile on his face, as he watches the portal close behind him.

The Razors Edge

In the shed, Robin fights for his life, and for the life of the girl, with the demon stuck inside his head: “Come, Robin, let's go get that girl back.”
Robin feels every sin inside him, and he experiences the urge to give into it.
His pupils turn into vertical black slits, as he rushes towards the girl with giant footsteps.
Robin shouts at the girl, with his own voice, and with a voice that’s not his own: “She’s mine! Run! You’re not going anywhere, young lady! Oh God, Please run! This whore is mine! Get out!”
Robin is just a few steps away from the girl, that tripped over her own feet while escaping, she now lies on the floor, paralyzed with fear.

Robin now stands in front of the girl. He takes a good look at the girl from head to toe. He sticks out his tongue and wets his lips, while holding a firm grip on the knife. Robin is ready to strike.
The demon talks to Robin with the fat man’s voice: “After I’m done with her, I’m going to skin you again, Robin. I’m taking you with me, to the depths of Hell. Oh, they are going to love you down there, boy!”
Suddenly Jane and their children pop up in his head.

In an act of despair, Robin holds the knife up, and with two hands he sticks it deep into his own throat, twists it a couple of times and pulls it out. The demon cannot comprehend Robin’s selfless act and goes down screaming bloody murder, so loud that the shed literally shakes on its foundation.
The kidnapped girl finally flees the shed, after the kidnapper drops dead on the ground. But Robin isn't dead yet. He still gargles, as he slowly suffocates in his own blood. He closes his eyes and tries to just breathe. It was worth it. His children will lose their father, but it was the right thing to do…
A second later, out of nowhere, he hears Trudy’s voice: “Busy, busy, busy!”

Robin opens his eyes: “What?”
“You asked me if I was coming over, tonight.”
Robin can't believe his luck. He is back at the gas station.
He quickly looks in the reflection of the window, just to make sure it’s actually him. He randomly grabs some flowers from one of the buckets.
“Oh, Jane will love those, you’re such a romantic!” she states enthusiastically. Robin pays with his Binance Card, and walks back to his car.
A couple of police cars race by, with flashing lights and howling sirens.
They stop about a mile from the gas station at the yellow shed, and pick up the girl who was hysterically running in the middle of the road. Inside the yellow shed they find the kidnapper. He cut his own throat and he suffocated in his own blood.

Robin Looks up to the clouds. He wonders about Eurovy. Robin can only hope that the man who helped him is alright. He gets into his car, waves goodbye to Trudy and drives straight home. In the clouds above him, wearing golden pajamas and a dark blue robe, a satisfied man smiles, as he peacefully looks down at our world.