[There is the sound of something big shifting and moving, and then
glass shatters and crunches. There is a big, breathy sigh, and then a
low groan.]

Ah… Fresh air.

[There is the sound of the big thing moving more, and then a massive,
echoing hiss. It reverberates through the chamber, heavy and pitched,
and then it lets out a sigh.]

Of all the species I have encountered, humans… humans are the most
ambitious. So small, so insignificant, but so convinced of their own

[There is a muffled scream, and then a series of uncomfortable

St… stay back! Stay back!

[There’s a muffled scream, abruptly cut off with a series of crunches
and a sigh.]

It’s not often that I’m… hungry. Usually I control my appetite but
tonight… Tonight I’ll make an exception.

[There’s a series of crunches, and a whimper, and a gunshot, and the
sound of the bullet glancing off tough scales.]

Oh, little humans and your machines. Did you think that would stop me?
Me? You think you can do so much, but it’s all so futile. Your desire
for life. It has no place here, any less than a bird has a place in a
serpent’s nest. No matter how resilient you attempt to build your
wings, you’ll always, always encounter the sun. That’s your hubris,
and I do not love you for it as the Owl does. There’s nothing about
you worth loving.

St… stay away from me! Get back! Get back!


[There’s a crunch, and the sound of liquid slopping out all over a
concrete floor. More crunches, and then a great gulp.]


[There is the sound of more movement, dragging along the ground, and a
buzzing light. Something shatters, and the buzzing stops.]

There was a woman here… The clipboard woman… A pathetic life form, but
so desperate to be recognized for her efforts. They studied me, to
find out how to guarantee reincarnation. That is my calling in this
world, and they sought to corrupt it. Humans will always be humans -
greedy, self-serving, obsessed with gaining the upper hand. It’s in
their very nature.

N… no!

[There is a crunch, and a pleased hiss, a great gulp, and a sigh.]

If only they knew that in all their greed, the only hunger they’d feed
was my own. So many of them to devour… I need to be sure that I save
room for her. She has more than earned her place.

[More gunshots, four of them, and there’s a hiss and a series of

Humans are so obsessed with change, but they don’t change, do they? Of
course they don’t. Humans are so obsessed with change, but they don’t
change, do they? In all my eons as the Serpent, the one that presides
over the souls that shouldn’t have passed, even as I shed the skin of
their past lives and see them born again in a new world, they haven’t
changed. They drive each other to their deaths and say nothing can be
done about it. They make the same mistakes, over and over. There's
nothing special about them except how easily they kill each other. A
comedic tragedy, in four parts.

[There’s the sound of another light breaking, and a whimper, a sob,
followed by a crunch. Liquid drips on the floor, and the Serpent lets
out a breath.]


They’re just so predictable. Even when they reach the pinnacle of
success, they always… Despise each other. There’s always someone to
hate, someone to hurt. Someone to force to kneel. That’s how they’ve
always functioned. The only time the script changes is when they bite
off more than they can…

[The Serpent swallows.]

Chew. There’s no harm in a meal now and again. And some humans deserve
to be crushed, to be macerated, to be devoured. I can already feel the
plastic splintering between my teeth. I wonder which will be louder -
the clipboard, or her screams?

[There is a shaky breath.]

I should have known you were the one tearing through the facility. All
the alarms, all the screaming… You’re searching for me, aren’t you?

(pleased) Yes… I am.

Well, you’ve found me. There’s no need to keep searching, just leave
everyone else alone.

I always wondered, you know. I’m nothing if not observant - it’s clear
that you outranked the rest of them. And yet, you still took the time
to visit me nearly every single day.

It was my job to visit you.

No, it was your job to oversee the project, to make a final
determination. You insisted on seeing me face to face, yet you can’t
even turn to face me now. Tell me why.

You were… You are the most dangerous specimen I’ve ever had under my
roof. I suppose I wanted to see exactly what we were getting ourselves


Oh, is that all?

(firmly, but shaking) That’s all.

I don’t think that’s everything.

You’re free to think what you wish.

Well, what do you think about what you’ve gotten yourself into now?


I… I think we made a mistake.

A mistake? No, no, no, I don’t think you made a mistake. I think you
made a conscious decision, and now your hubris has caught up with you.
But you intrigue me, so I’ll make you a deal. I don’t think it’ll
matter much, in the end.

[There is a crunch as the woman steps forward into glass.]

What kind of deal would the devil make with me?

[Chuckles] I assure you - I am not your devil. All you have to do to
survive me is run.


You run. If you look back, even once, I eat you alive.

Why would I…


[Hissing] You humans are such fearful creatures. Whether it’s base
instinct or pure distrust, you will turn and look at me eventually.
That’s what you always wanted anyway, isn’t it? To look at me? Now’s
your chance.

[Quietly] Why do you have such a low opinion of us?

[There is a stunned silence, and then a great, wheezing laugh rises up
from the Serpent. It shakes the world, big and reverberating, deep and

Did you think there would be no retribution for what you have done to
me? All this for the pursuit of science while my domain languished,
while souls passed on without their chances at a second life. In your
dreams of godhood, your sickening, disgusting, hubris, you thought you
could unravel the possibilities of reincarnation for your own thoughts
of immortality, your own selfish desires.

All I have to do is run?

All you have to do is [forcefully] RUN.

[There is a pause, and then the sound of running footsteps and feet
crunching on glass. Harsh pants, somewhere between a whimper and a
whine, and then a trip, and the sound of someone falling. Ragged, loud
breaths, and there is a hiss.]

Well? Have you given up?

[There is scrabbling on the ground, and there is shifting on top of
broken glass.]

Go on, get up. Or let me see your face.

I thought we were doing good work here, you know. I thought I was
doing good work here. You’ve got to believe me - if we had known what
you are, I mean what you truly are, the importance of what you do, we
would have never tried to contain you. I would have never allowed it.


Ignorance. You all always claim to be unaware of your crimes. You
claim you don’t realize the consequences, but you do. You do. You
didn’t stop once to consider that I was alive. My purpose shouldn't
have mattered to you. I speak. I feel. I am alive. What could you
possibly say to that?

[There is more shifting, and a scrape, before she speaks again.]

I’m done running. [voice breaking] There’s no hope left for me, or
anyone else here. You’ve made that abundantly clear. But I won’t give
you the satisfaction of my fear.

[There is a slick sound as she slits her own throat. There is a pause,
and then a chuckle from the Serpent, which rises to a roiling laugh,

You’ve made your choice, then. I’ll see you soon.