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Foreword by the author


Last year I wrote an article. It was called “About Psychoologists and Keys”. I just had some thoughts and shared them on my page and in What is Good group. The fact that my article was voiced became a sign for me: it was interesting for people. That is why I began to expand on that and wrote the second part. I did not plan to write a sequel. I thought that I put a bold end to “psychoologists” by the story “On the Other Side of the Screen” but something went wrong. The images appeared again and again. They did not leave me alone and insistently demanded a continuation. I understood that it was not the end of the story. I set to work even without imagining what it would be.

As a result it seems that a new genre has been created. I have called it “a 3D story” or “a stereo story”. But to achieve an effect of volume reading you should read  the previous part. See the links above.

According to the established tradition this plot will be inside of the previous one. Such a matryoshka story. One more time but from the other optical angle I will try to show what happens THERE behind closed doors of human psyche during a movie watching.

About “psychoologists” and keys to films. Part 3

That seems to be all. The last preparations are over and this white and black text is in front of you. It remains to paint it in all colours of your imagination. Be in a hurry: the movie is about to start…

VIEWER No.53


1


Sergei was the last one who ran into the cinema hall. Having stopped in the entrance he hastily looked around. He was a young man in a violet T-shirt with an image of the British flag on the weak chest, torn jeans bridge with a child face and long oblique highlighted bangs. With one hand with unreadable tattoo hieroglyphs he was trying to hold a satchel bag with big paper cup of Coca Cola. With another one with a lot of colourful bracelets he was holding a tube under his arm and a big cup of popcorn. As he did not have the third hand he had to clench a bright glossy ticket in his teeth. The young man was in a hurry. By his calculations the movie should have already begun but, fortunately, the session had been probably delayed. Those present looked lazily at the entered as it was he who they had been waiting for.

Today was the premiere. The audience having flocked like flies to the smell of a new action movie chose mainly a centre of the hall. Sergei chose a place on the side away from the main audience. A day session has its own advantages: less people, a big discount, a possibility to be the first to watch a movie. “I hope the movie is worth it. Not for nothing have I had to skip two higher math classes”, thought Sergei making his way deeper into the hall. The trailer was promising: cool cars, glamorous chics, brutal guys, bucks, arms, fascinating colourful life – all that a without-moustache second-year student of the Faculty of Trade and Finance lacks so much.

And here the lights turn off. The audience are in anticipation.

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“What’s your number?” asked a stern voice in the darkness.

“The seventh place in the forth row. But here you can sit where you want, look how many free seats”.

“The serial number of your ticket?” interfered a man.

“Hum… I don’t know…”

“He’s bothering me”, thought Sergei, “he is possibly a hall employee or a meticulous verifier”.

“The fifty-third,” read he highlighting it with his cell.

“Yup”, sighed the stranger obviously having got upset by such an answer, “you’re unlucky”.

“Why?” Sergei was surprised.

The man did not answer. Instead of that he relaxedly as he was at home plopped into the near chair.

“Shit, here are so many free seats, why he chose this?!”

“What do we have today?” asked the stranger impudently.

“What do you mean?”

“Horrors have been promised”.

Sergei rejoiced.

“It means that you are mistaken, here is an action.”

“I am never mistaken”.

The music started playing solemnly. The screen flashed brightly illuminating the audience.

The light fell on the stranger. It was a high man of 30 in an up-to-impropriety old-fashioned suit.

“Fancy dressed clown, what times have you come from?” thought Sergei. “And maybe he is an invited actor?”

“Let me introduce myself”, said a man in a long black tailcoat as he guessed that the thoughts were addressed to him.

“Starring,” a narrator began to speak in a nasal voice from the speakers. “Richard Gordon…”

“Richard Gordon,” the stranger introduced himself.

“No, I know who you are, you are a psycho”, guessed Sergei. “How many of them are around now! Damn freaks, they watch anime and fantasy and then live in their fairytale world with fairies and dragons”.

“So, you have come to watch an action with the ticket No.53, hum…imprudently, though… Mine was the first at all…

“How it is interesting”, said Sergei showing great sarcasm on his face.

Fortunately, it was a moment when the movie started and “Richard” stopped talking thoughtfully looking inward vanishing captions. His face was absolutely indifferent as a mannequin’s one. It seemed that the happening on the screen was absolutely out of his interest. And even when everybody started to put on 3D glasses he did not stir as in his thoughts he was somewhere but not here.

At that time the plot was developing quickly. Incomprehensible shooting and chasing started from the first seconds. At first, a busy city street appeared on the screen. An endless stream of people flowed in grey brooks. An absent-minded passer-by stopped at the bank's glass doors. For some reason, he began to look at his reflection in them. Suddenly the doors swung open, knocking the clumsy man off his feet. Robbers ran out of the Bank. The alarm went off.

"Get out of the way, scarecrow!" barked one of the bandits at the fallen man and shot him several times as he walked. Stepping over the body, without slowing down for a second, the criminals jumped into a car that came out of nowhere and disappeared. The unlucky passer-by stayed motionless on the steps.

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“Yes, it wasn't a good day”, remarked cheerfully Sergei looking at his neighbour. The man's gaze was still not on the screen, but somewhere far behind it, as if he was looking through a window. It was clearly noticeable that the crank does not watch the movie and at the same time he saw something there, in this huge stereo window. Neither the shooting, nor the fight, nor even the vulgar joke about the oblique Chinese caused this idol any emotions. "Is he alive?" asked Sergei, cringing in his chair. There was something eerie about that blank stare.

“Have you noticed that almost all Hollywood movies are made according to the same template?”  murmured slowly Richard without looking away as if he was talking to himself. “And it seems that something new, bright, original constantly comes out, but this strange feeling of déjà vu does not leave you, as if you have already seen this story and these characters more than once... As if all these films have the same AUTHOR.”

Sergei looked painfully towards the exit. “I'm not going to be able to watch the movie properly,” he realised.

Suddenly a prominent beauty appeared on the screen. "Wow, this is..."

“...As if you were going around in circles and learning the same lesson over and over again,” continued Richard in his monotonous monologue. “Don't you see that all these movies are so far from life that watching them is like looking into a crooked mirror with a distorted reality?”

Richard turned inquiringly to his neighbour. But now he was leaning back in his chair, not noticing anything except the third size of a lustful blonde.

“Oh, you bastard! Stop it!” she shouted, brandishing a tiny lady's pistol.

Sergei laughed. The bimbo accidentally touched the trigger and the big man who tried to rob her fell heavily to the ground. Sergei laughed even harder.

"Oops," the lady said with a simper.

The second robber tried to run away, but help was already close. There was a long burst of machine-gun fire. The body of the unfortunate man was shaking violently under the hail of bullets.

“He must have been in pain,” commented ironically the student.

“He is not in pain,” Richard said as detached as ever. “These characters go through the mandatory depersonalisation process. They are raised for slaughter, like pigs.”

“What are you talking about?” Sergei looked at his neighbour in amazement. The same man was sitting in front of him, but now he was wearing a medical gown over an old-fashioned tailcoat.

“When did he have time to change, this very, VERY strange guy?! I will try to ignore him as much as possible.”

“You wanna a trick?” Richard started to speak less formally. “I was recently taught a trick here.”

“That's right, he is a psycho.” The guy turned away, pretending not to hear, and even if he did, he wasn't interested.

But the other didn't back down.

“How long has the movie been running?”

Sergei didn't answer, trying hard to concentrate on robbing another bank. But Richard's insistent gaze did not allow him to look calmly at the hostage-taking.

“I don't know, maybe... ten minutes,” replied irritably the young man, giving up under the weight of those unwavering eyes.

“How many people have died in that time?”

Sergei tensed, taken aback. It was not the stupid question that confused him so much as the fact that he really didn't know the answer.

“Three, no, four, oh, and that nigger. Five.”

“Seventeen.”

“Come on…”

“Have you ever seen shot people?”

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“Are you kidding me!” Instead of answering, Sergei got up to sit down and say goodbye to this obviously inadequate friend forever. As he got up, he clumsily touched the glass of Coca-Cola and it completely spilled on the neighbour. Embarrassed, Seryozha took off his glasses, preparing to apologise. Strange Richard's snow-white medical gown was covered with dark purple spots that looked like blood. The student glanced into the hall, looking for someone who might have seen it, and then an icy dread gripped every cell of his body. Here and there, the audience was frozen in unnatural positions, with the same bloody bullet marks as his mad "friend".

A shot rang out sharply from the speakers. Sergei shuddered.

"Eighteen," the man in the robe said without looking up from the screen.

Another viewer slumped in his seat. A black puddle slowly spread across the floor.

Unable to remember himself from fear, Sergei screamed in a way he had never screamed in his life. It came naturally, and when he came to his senses, he was also afraid of his own voice, which still echoed in his ears. The guy looked at the people hopefully. To his surprise, no one turned around. Everyone was chewing tensely on popcorn and watching someone tormented someone with a screwdriver.

“It doesn't feel good, does it?” Richard noticed his confusion. “I have something very, very important to tell you. You are methodically exterminated here! Wake up before it's too late!”  the lunatic was clearly mocking. Abruptly, his face became serious again. “They can't hear me. They don't want to hear anything. It's like sleeping with their eyes wide open.”

“I'm dreaming!” Sergey grasped this thought as a drowning man grasps at a straw. He looked around the room again. Indeed, the sounds of the movie had faded into the background, became quieter and seemed to come from somewhere far away, as if from another world. But everything else seemed realistic. As if nothing had happened, the audience sat in the semi-darkness, the light of the screen revealed fascinated faces in the darkness. Their skin and eyes reflected the elaborate scene of torture in details. And then, among others, the unfortunate man saw himself! “That's right, it's a nightmare!” The guy ran to the spot and began to furiously shake himself by the shoulders. But the double, like everyone else, kept his eyes on the movie.

“Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!!!”

In the reflection of his face, Sergei saw a close-up of a tortured man being finished off at point-blank range in the movie. Another viewer slumped in his chair.

“Nineteen,” Richard said coldly, “so what do you say your number is?”

“Please Wake up. Hey!” Sergei pleaded in vain, turning to himself. The "twin's" hand reached for the popcorn indifferently, then he busily rummaged in his satchel, took out a can of cola and washed the corn down with pleasure.

The student was already close to despair, and suddenly the viewer looked at him through his glasses as if with a conscious glance. Sergei froze in hope. His heart was ready to jump out of his chest. “Come on!” A series of shots rang out. The double laughed out loud spitting out bits of popcorn right in the face of the stunned self.

“That's hilarious!” commented he looking through his “brother”.

Four viewers sitting nearby dropped their heads.

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Terrified Sergei ran to the exit as fast as he could. The way to freedom was blocked by an armoured door with a lot of heavy locks. The prisoner screamed helplessly and beat her with all his might. The audience in the hall simultaneously laughed at some flat joke. No one noticed anything unusual.

“Where are you going? Why did you get this desire to run away from any problem? Is there anything THERE?” Richard stood up from the armchair. “Is there any other world beyond these doors? Where? WHERE do you want to run?

The world outside the cinema, isn't it FANTASTIC? A world without bandits, drug addicts, traitors, enemies, poverty and slavery? The land of happy citizens who are confident in the future, the land of intelligent, bright INDIVIDUALS who are able to create and empathise with their neighbours, a conscious society in which people are not tortured with screwdrivers...” Richard snorted bitterly. “We've been locked up here for a long time. Get it?! We're all locked inside this damn cinema hall with all these 3D effects. You need keys to get out of here. EVERYONE should have their own keys to the bright world in their pocket…”

“Who are you?” asked Sergei finally leaving the door alone.

“I don't know,” said Richard lowering his head. “My memory has been deleted. I have no past. There is no fate. No history. I was depersonalised and shot for the amusement of the audience at the very beginning of this film. You didn't even notice. When I was dying on the steps, you were eating popcorn in this very chair. My image was immediately blocked. I am not showed up in the audience's memory. We are even forbidden to scream before we die, so that they will not accidentally remember us. As the doctor says: the shorter the memory, the longer the rows in the cemetery will be. This is his formula. “HOCUS POCUS”…

Richard unclenched his fist. In his palm was a "lucky" crumpled ticket with the number one on it.

“I'm the one who didn't have a good day, the guy who's going to die first, a random passer-by, one in a million, dry statistics, a snippet from the crime news, an empty seat in this auditorium… I was supposed to go into oblivion, but apparently Doc saw some perspective in me. He has a nose for such things. I was “honoured” to become his disciple.”

The student stared at Richard. The blue face, the pale lips, the glassy stare, the scant expression, the blood-spattered robe...

“You are a ghost...” either asked or stated the astonished young man. “Why is this happening to me?”

Richard went straight to Sergei.

“Not with you. This is happening to EVERYONE now. But these chairs…” the ghost ran his hand over the back, ‘they are so comfortable, these special effects (there was an explosion on the screen, some tough guy was lighting a cigarette in the foreground), they are so realistic. And no matter what horrors happen on the screen, the main nightmare always happens here. In the auditorium. Fifty people have just witnessed so many murders, and NO ONE has even batted an eye! This is the thing that is really scary. The lack of compassion has almost reached the level of reflex. No one but you ran in a panic. They think they're not the ones being killed here every day. “Save our souls!” Do you hear this ubiquitous call for help? And I don't hear it. Everyone is happy. All are PUT TO SLEEP.

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The second thing Doc does after PUTTING TO SLEEP is DISTORTING. A distorted consciousness consumes lies like a viewer consumes popcorn - enthusiastically, unconsciously, immensely, more and more. Consumer society deprives you of a sense of proportion. And as a result – reason. An unquenchable hunger for spectacle, violence, lawlessness, drug addiction, the cult of money, murder... Yum-yum, wash it all down with a cup of cola. Like this. You like IT. Oh, come on. You like all this mud. You like it when they throw this mud at you. You like living in mud. You like to complain to each other about mud. You like BEING this dirt.” Richard look around the hall. “This is what a distorted mind looks like. You like everything…”

On the screen there was a burning man running back and forth to cheerful music. The audience smiled. The smell of roast meat appeared in the foyer.

“You like it…”

“No!” exclaimed  Seryozha. “No! No!”

Richard pointed at the armchair where another Seryozha was making  some sharp jokes about barbecue.

“You are one of them. You are a bright representative of your unintelligent species. The only reason you can see everything that's going on right now is because I managed to shut you off from the instruments without you noticing. It wasn’t easy. IT's always watching, you can't hide anything from it. It's already begun to suspect.” Richard spoke in riddles. “What could be worse than WAKING UP from an anaesthesia in the middle of an operation? But you have to go through it. This is OUR only chance.”

“What operation? What does this mean?” Pleaded the student.

The screen turned black and white, and sad music began to play.

“They will do to you what they once did to me,” said the ghost, coming close to Sergei. “You will be depersonalised.”

“Why… Why are you doing this?” he whimpered.

“Why are YOU doing this?”  Richard either mimicked or redirected the question.

“What? What have I done?”

“Why do you come here? Do you like the way people are killed?”

The girl's pleading face appeared on the screen.

“Of course, not!”

“Then stop killing her! They kill her here for three sessions a night and one more day session at a big discount! She is killed as scheduled, at the same time in thousands of cinemas right now, and then she will be endlessly killed on TV!.. Open your eyes at last, it is EXECUTIONS!” shouted Richard in the hall “This is where you all really go to have fun on holidays and weekends.

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Sergei broke into a cold sweat. The screen was still showing this hideously long moment. The little girl's frightened face looked up at him with a look of hopeless appeal.

“This is all for you,” Richard turned away. Shots rang out. At once, two spectators slumped forever in their seats.

“Twenty-five... and there is less and less time. The depersonalisation process has already started. You have just been hacked. Now the doctor will start hunting. Your name is already in the end credits.

“My name!”  Sergei asked in horror, tears glistened on his cheeks. “I don’t remember my name.”

“No character, no destiny, no past. Now you’re number 53.”

2


“Well, it's all a dream, I’ve already figured that out. I'm sleeping, right?”  Sergei asked expecting Richard to agree immediately. He nodded.

“Much longer than you think. But now it's just the opposite.”

“What’s going on here?" I want to know the TRUTH!”

“The truth is that not everything in this world can be explained in words. There are things that simply cannot be explained. They can only be understood by feeling them. I should have shown you all this. Otherwise, you would never have known the truth. No one knows what’s going on inside him when he's watching movies.” Richard frowned “Prepare. You must be strong. The TRUTH is a FORCE that weak people can't handle…

You are in great danger. Your soul is at stake. Right now, we're hiding from the doctor deep inside your subconscious – not the safest place to hide, but the only place to hide when they dissect your mind. The operation is in full swing. They're getting closer. Invisible, thin fingers have already entered your head. Your mind is drugged, distorted, and disfigured. One by one, they remove your memory, your freedom of choice, your conscience, your compassion – all the things that make you a PERSON…

“Why did they choose ME?”

“Don't flatter yourself. Nothing PERSONAL, you're just a patient to them. Number 53. Just a number in a long list.”

“Who are they?”

“I call them PSYCHOOLOGISTS. Professional brain washers. Programmers, sysadmins and hackers for hacking the psyche. Invisible puppeteers with a monopoly on spectacle. The real AUTHORS of almost all modern films.

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In order to control and control people, they calculated and calculated all the features of the human being with the cold calculation of a computer. Everything but the soul. And this loophole is our only chance. I managed to insensibly disconnect part of your mind from their manipulations. The last place the doctor had not yet reached. All the good things that are left in you are gathered here. And I must say – there is not much. You've been dissected so many times… It couldn't last forever. Everything will be decided today.”

“What should I do? What should I do?!”  Sergei pleaded. He realised that this terrible man was the only one who could help him.

“Think. Analyse. Thinking is like picking up the keys to the door to awareness. Sometimes the armour is very thick, but behind there is freedom. Psychoologists know that and are most afraid of this. They won't let you out of here just like that. A free, conscious man is more terrible to them than an atomic war, because he does not believe in the lies which all their power is based on. A lie is not just INFORMATION that does not reflect the reality, the lie is a CONDITION in which we all live. State of insanity. We are all seriously ill…

But today you must fight back. Give these scoundrels your own action movie. Mix up the cards. Give them a good thrashing. I'll teach you a few secret tricks that will help you kick the psychoologists in the teeth.

First of all, you need to know that in each film, the audience also has its own role. You have to guess yourself in this movie. Then you will stop being just a viewer. You will not be an indifferent spectator – you will become an active participant in your life. You can influence the situation. Act. This is why psychoologists rely on spectacles. So that we can sit still and never know our true strength. "Every cricket stick to his last". They put everyone in their seats, chained and fixed them in their neatly arranged chairs, immobilised them and blinded their eyes with 3D glasses. They imposed their own illusions. Mesmerised. They connected all their brains to the same screen. And I'm not talking about a specific movie, but about television in general.

TELEVISION is not a caged animal. It's not locked in a kinescope. It doesn't have an outlet or an “off” button. It's everywhere. Every lie and stupidity here is multiplied by the number of TV sets on. Television is a MEDIUM. Our habitat. Whether we watch it or not, we all participate in the TV show. With prizes, Snickers and the "bankrupt" sector on the reel. We are inside this “very funny” box for degradation. Funny puppets tied hand and foot by a TV cable. Do you feel that piercing, all-seeing gaze from the other side? I don't want to think that someone on the other side of the screen has pointed their remote control at you for a long time…

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To break out of this insidious network, you need to decrypt the CODE. In order to get free, you need to find ALL the keys hidden in this movie. Non-stereotypical, critical thinking will help you see the hidden tricks and not fall for them. One of these traps is public opinion. If you follow his lead – you will stop hearing your mind. This is the strongest factor affecting a person, so the most vile ideas are promoted by psychoologists here. Don't be fooled by millions of views, likes and high ratings. Not everything that is approved by the crowd is good. It is very easy to go with the flow all the time. But only dead fish do that.

And finally, the heavy artillery against psychoologists – you have to do what all these viewers could not do, you have to hear the voice of conscience. This is your main weapon. Wake her up. The doctor is powerless against CONSCIENCE.”

“But that's not all” Richard paused, choosing his words for the most unpleasant news.

“Doc will try to open the doors. If he lets THEM out…”

An ominous shadow moved across the room.

“We can't handle images like that. THEY will take over what's left of your mind. You will lose yourself. If they take over your worldview, you and I will be locked up in a secure prison forever. They will enclose all the bright images in the released chambers of your subconscious. This is how they turn people into their obedient slaves. The third, penultimate stage, after EUTHANASIA and DISTORTION – is SUBMISSION. The doctor is raising an army. There is a war going on. The most terrible of all wars. A war in which weapons are not bullets and bombs, but various types of information influence. And the goal of the conquerors is not cities and countries, but much more valuable. Your head. Your mind. Your soul. Everyone is a hostage to their own worldview. If they win, they will not own any territories or states. They will own man... Humanity.”

Pale Sergei listened to Richard neither alive nor dead, struggling to understand his incredible words.

“Did you really think you were just going to be entertained here?” laughed bitterly the man.

“Why do you help me?"

“You have to stop this. I want to turn the doctor's methods against him and turn them to dust. Bring this charlatan to light. I am not so naive as to believe that everyone will suddenly wake up and become aware. But if EVERYONE knows the secrets of his tricks, no one will buy these cheap TRICKS. People will just lose interest. We can do all of his tricks USELESS. In fact, we can ruin and crush these psychoologists in an instant. THINK. It's not as difficult as it sounds. Do not underestimate the enemy, but also do not overestimate its capabilities. You have a great mission. You must get out of here and tell them,” Richard pointed to the audience, “that there is another world. In which PEOPLE are not a desecrated herd of intimidated consumers who don’t want to think with their own heads and don’t know how to do it, but reasonable, bright individuals who are intolerant of any evil. You have to remind them… I'm tired of dying on the dirty steps several times a day for the amusement of this crazy public, who have a long time ago forgotten that every death is a tragedy.”

On the screen, the main character, still holding the bottle, was crying over a photo of his wife and daughter.

“They must not be killed again. Our deaths should no longer be used by psychoologists for their inhumane purposes... Enough!”

“What will happen if I fail? Me too…”

The ghost lowered his eyes.

“Stage four ... the doctor's final focus... EXTERMINATION.”

“What the hell? It's just a funny movie. Movies can't kill people!”

“Yes, they can,” said Richard, “tell number 26 about it.”

Having sprawled like a king in a cramped chair, a swollen, flabby viewer number 26 was sitting bored. Without distracting from the screen, he greedily sipped secretly brought beer from a bag. In the light of the projector there reflected bread crumbs on the untidy stubble and sweaty shirt. His face was bleak and melancholy, and he cursed the stupid laws that forbade smoking in cinemas, and he waited impatiently for this annoying homeless drug addict to be shot.

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In a second, his expectations were over.

“Devil!” Sergei closed his eyes.

“We don't have time to talk anymore. It's time to act. Now your personal "action movie" begins. The action movie in which you can win not with your fists and a gun, but only with your mind and heart. So what do we have… You've seen so much of this stuff. This is a good base. Your trump card. In fact, you know them much better than you think. You need to get ahead of them. Gather all your thoughts together and analyse step by step what is wrong with these films. Inconsistencies in the plot, holes in the script, ridiculous dialogues, impossible in real life tricks do not interest me. I'm interested in the KEYS.”

"I have some suggestions," Sergei began after a pause. “Remember when you said that action movies are public EXECUTIONS? It turns out that all these characters, both bandits and the police, are ... EXECUTIONERS?”

"Bravo!

There was a click as one of the locks on the armoured door fell to the floor.

The faces of the actors became covered with executioners’ masks, rough grey burlap with slits for eyes, and it was no longer clear who was who in the movie.

“Distortion. You took off the bright wrapper, now look at what’s inside.”

“So they all have the same face in these movies. There are no positive characters here! And there is no difference between them. They all work for a single goal” continued Sergei.

Another heavy lock clattered down.

“Perfectly. Develop the idea, you are close.”

“Purpose. They always have the same goal! Well, as if it is constantly different - a valuable hostage, a suitcase of money, drugs, a chip with secret information – but it's all the same image transferred from movie to movie. This is the key! In movies, it is presented as a GOAL, but... it is not. This is a false landmark – just a DECOY. something that will justify the entire movie for any vile actions.”

Another lock clattered to the floor.

On the screen, the engine roared deafeningly, and a swift chase began.

“They’re afraid of you. Feel your power. They’re on the run. Don't miss them!”

“I noticed another pattern. In the pursuit, at high speed, the main character necessarily goes to the oncoming or sidewalk. Here, just like now! Did you see it? And passers-by always dodge at the last moment. ALWAYS. Here again as you can see all remained intact. A tough guy will punished scoundrels, and no one will remember this "little" incident. But in fact, he just put the lives of dozens of random people at risk for the sake of his "goal" without blinking an eye...”

“What’s the message here?”

“A man's life is worthless. You can and should sacrifice people for your own interest.”

“Put it simply.”

“It turns out that the end justifies the means.”

Several cars crashed head-on at the same time. There was an explosion.

“Congratulations, you have solved the main message of this genre. It turns out that you are a capable guy, it's a pity that you’ve never used your brain before.

“Moreover not only the methods of solution are used only by force and violence but the goal itself is false,” Sergey was surprised at himself. “Why didn’t I know that before? The same methods of propaganda, they are so primitive and simple… We were all deceived!”

“So what is their true purpose? Name it. And you can get out of here right now. This KEY will open all the locks at once.

“Their goal is…” the student thought deeply. “I don’t know," he sighed after a long silence. “... Maybe they want to show that they are cooler and smarter than anybody else?”

“Wrong!” said Richard with annoyance.

A dented car came out of the fire. From the tinted window, Sergei felt someone’s bestial, hypnotic gaze on him. With an angry growl of the engine, the car spun around and slammed on the gas and  disappeared into the nearest gateway.

“Went away…”

Eleven viewers did not survive the chase.

“The closer the end, the more victims. The final carnage is coming. Think!”

“I'm trying, but that sound!”

“They turned on Tam-Tam.”

“What is it?”

“Another TRICK. When frames flash quickly on the screen, when special effects change like in a kaleidoscope, epic music is turned on, accompanied by special beats. Haven't you noticed it before? A low drum sound with the desired frequency begins to beat with a certain rhythm. The doctor's imagination is immense. New technologies – new keys. A zombie-like measured thud, a "pendulum" of frames in front of your eyes. Does it remind you of anything?

“I can't hear you well! What is this ... Hypnosis?

“Something like that. They muffle the voice of reason in such a way. They usually launch a "Tam-Tam" before or during the final slaughter. This means that a good half of the operation is already over. Usually the doctor opens the door with this "music".”

“What?!”

"Get ready!"

The ominous shadow moved across the hall again.

The sound stopped abruptly. The scene changed. There abruptly began a "lyrical" retreat on sex in the movie.

Sergei held his ears in horror.

“That sound almost blew my brains out.”

“Don't worry about it, do you have any bright images?”

“What images?” the student did not understand.

“We need help right now, and your subconscious is filled with negativity to the brim. What happens when all this comes out? When was the last time you read a good book?”

“Yesterday”

“What was that?”

“50 shades of grey”

“We’re finished.”

Suddenly the screen went dark. The cinema was plunged into total darkness. The sounds faded.

“They're already here,” whispered Richard.

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The ominous silence was broken by the piercing rasp of claws. It came from the other side of the screen. The monitor began to brighten. All the executioners of the film gathered in one place. Huge black shapes crept silently to the edge. Their eyes glittered like wolves under their grey masks. Everyone was there. Not looking up, killer angrily looked at Richard and smiled. They went to the final slaughter. Now the doctor will release them into the wild…

“Can they see us?” whispered the guy fearfully. The ghost didn't answer.

Agonising minutes passed, but nothing happened.

“Ha! He can't open the door,” guessed Richard.

“Is this the end? Have we won? Happy end?”

"Tam-Tam" hit. Sergei bent over, covering his ears with his hands as strong as he could.

“The doctor won't just give up! Now he will take a cruel revenge.”

Loud bursts of gunfire rang out. Maddened executioners crushed each other right and left. The audience fell from their seats one by one.

“Find the main key and guess yourself on the screen!!!” shouted Richard over the sound of gunfire and the zombie drum.

“I can't hear you!” shouted Sergei at the top of his voice.

There became quiet again. Exhausted and half-deaf, Sergei stared at the screen in horror. He was shaking. Tears ran down his cheeks. He was the only one left alive in the hall. All 52 viewers were dead. The only one who could still escape - right now just to get up and walk away from this nightmare forever – stared with admiration at the bloody spectacle. Only two characters survived in the film.

"Here we are, Fyodor," said one of them. “You're going to bed early tonight.”

The unfortunate Sergei realised all the stalemate: HE would die anyway.

One of the executioners lunged at the other. Several shots were fired. The guy clenched his teeth and closed his eyes. But not. Everyone was still alive.

“What did they want from you the whole movie? What do they want to TEACH you?” pleaded Richard.

Sergei slowly turned to the ghost. He no longer heard his words: the inevitable fate, anger, and despair had taken possession of him. A fire was burning inside. The Tam-Tam beat belligerently in his ears.

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“You!!!” he shouted in an inhuman voice. “YOU lured me here!”

"Resist! Don't let the doctor finish the operation!

“It's YOU. This is all your fault. I hate you, do you hear? I HATE it!”

“Listen to my voice! This is your last chance! Hear your conscience!”

“I can't hear you anymore. Your strange words. I never believed them. Why do you follow me all the time? You read morals. You think I didn't recognise you? You've been nothing but trouble all my life, and you're always making it difficult for me to live the way normal people do. "It's not good", "it's shameful", "it's not right", "it's not fair»... Ugh! I don't need you. Get away from me! You've deprived me of so many opportunities.”

The student lunged at the ghost with his fists.

“I'm sorry,” said Richard painfully and went back to the screen, leaving his protégé completely alone.

From the speaker, as in a confession, came the insidious plans of the villain, bringing the inevitable closer.

“I hate you all!" shouted  distraught Sergei fiercely in the hall. “From number one to number fifty-two. Burn in hell! You all deserve it! Stupid gapers! What are you looking at?! I'm going to be killed here!”  Sergei hit the screen with all his might. “Do you like this kind of movie? Yes?”

The corpses were silent.

“Do you like executions? With jokes, in soft chairs, with a full mouth, under a beer… Why don't you clap? You are all dead! You have already come here dead, you can not help, soulless bastards! How do you like this movie?!”

“...And after I crack the master code, I'll take over the whole world, ha-ha-ha!” did not stop the movie killer.

There was nowhere else to develop the idea. The student has seen too many action movies in his life not to know that it will all be over now.

There was a click, someone ran out of ammo.

“I hate you!” shouted he at the villain. “I hate you!” shouted he at the main character.

The man demonstratively removed his mask. In a face contorted with hatred, Sergei recognised himself. They met the fierce gaze of each other. All three of them: one on the screen, one in front of the screen, one in the chair.

“H-A-T-E!”  They all shouted in unison.

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The main character pulled out a knife from a bloody leg and accurately threw it into the hall. The bright light hit in the eyes. The movie is over. Evil is defeated. All 53 viewers came to life and stood up from their seats. Sergei was the last to get up. Next to him there was an empty chair with a spilled glass of Coca-Cola. For a moment, in the eyes that were unaccustomed to the light, there was a distinct image of a short man. His face was covered with a gauze bandage, but even under it there was seen a wide, satisfied smile. The vision immediately disappeared. “See you soon, my dear loyal friends,” came a barely audibly whisper, punctuated by silent music that accompanied a slowly floating list of countless unreadable names and surnames.

The operation was successful. All 53 viewers left the hall. The cinema was empty, and the credits went on and on, lightning up the empty rows of identical electric chairs in the dim foyer. Only two of them stood out from the crowd. On one there was a fallen cup, on the other a satchel and a tube.

“How was the movie?” a tall man asked the student on the way out.

“Cool,” – he muttered.

Sergei went outside. His head was still buzzing. He had left the cinema so many times with this slight headache and the addition of some other incomprehensible feelings that are difficult to characterise. Usually it was something unpleasant, as if he had witnessed or participated in something bad and vile. But there was nothing like that today. There was a new sense of absolute emptiness. It was as if something inside him had died forever. As Sergei went down the stairs, he completely forgot the plot of the movie he had just watched. When he left the hall, firstly he threw away his ticket. It flew away an urn filled with identical ragged twin tickets and lay on the dusty steps. By that time, Sergei no longer remembered the name of the movie.

He walked for a long time looking down at his feet. First, he was going home. Then he just walked. When he stopped, he did not remember neither where he lived nor what kind of a city it was, nor what ear it was... “Who am I?” flashed and extinguished his latest thought. No.53 looked puzzled at a busy street, where people were passing by, andeveryone had a blurred face. Identical and impersonal, they went on and on in a never-ending, terrible stream. No character, no destiny, no past. Someone had wiped faces of an entire city. All together, passers-by merged into a single grey background. It was like static on an old broken TV screen.

No. 53 turned his bleary gaze to glass doors of a large building nearby. Something about them caught his distracted attention. He no longer felt anything. Slowly, the guy walked over to the front door. The mirrors reflected his own blurred face. No eyes, no nose, no lips. With the last of his strength, he tried to see something human in himself, but nothing. Just a faded, indistinct silhouette. Suddenly the glass doors swung open, knocking the clumsy man off his feet. Robbers ran out of the bank. The alarm went off. “Get out of the way, scarecrow!” one of the bandits barked at the fallen man and fired several times without slowing down. A moment later, the criminals jumped into the car that came up out of nowhere and disappeared. The unlucky passer-by remained motionless on the steps.

“Wow, went to get some bread!” commented Igor ironically. His girlfriend giggled loudly.

“It must have hurt.”

"It doesn’t hurt," someone said from the darkness of the cinema hall. “What is your ticket number?..”

Tokha Ha


Translated by Xenia Shmonina

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