*Clem clears his throat as he holds down the PTT, a fireplace cracks in the background*
"John 1:8-10 - If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
*The radio falls silent for a couple of seconds*
"I am full of sin, Father. But if you think you can show me the true way to redemption, i would be willing to meet you, keep in touch.."
*The transmission ends as Clem puts the radio down*
Clemens Benjamin Schmitz, 52 years old Schmitz was born at a small romantic family cottage on the 11th of November 1968 in the French village of Chalon-sur-Saône located in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region, back then Franche-Comté. To Theodore Harvey Schmitz and Antoinette Mathilde Schmitz – Van Asbeck, with his mother being the eldest daughter of Baron and Royal Dutch Navy officer Herman Erwin van Asbeck, and thus being a member of the well-known highly respected aristocratic family, Van Asbeck. He grew up in the Dutch town of Leiden, wherefrom when he was a young boy he felt the pressure to perform at school and college. Clemens never was a superstar at school or an intellectual wonder like his older brothers, but he wasn't a dumb kid either. Eventually, the pressure from his parents and his rebellious nature made him drop out of school at 16, taking on numerous petty jobs before being drafted into the military at age 18. He was posted in Germany to contain the Soviet threat, he left the service as a Corporal 1st Class. After completing his service he traveled around Europe and The United States before returning home to his family, over time he grew closer to his dad, and despite never finishing school his father offered him a job in the Schmitz gas and oil company, which he gladly took. His father seeing his son’s potential, social skills, and adventurous spirit put him in charge of the company’s rapid international expansion. It was 1991 when during a business trip to the city of Moscow that he met his to-be wife Marianna Karela Mokovich the daughter of a Russian father and German mother. They moved in together in Haarlem, The Netherlands. The rest of Clem his life was pretty ordinary, the happy young couple got a daughter together, and had they felt like they were living their dream. This all rapidly changed in May 2019 with the outbreak of the Frenzied Flue... at the moment of the outbreak, Clemens was on a business trip to South-Zagoria, his wife accompanying him with the intention to make a small road trip around the countryside and black mountains after Clemens had concluded the business. They did not bring their daughter as they deemed it too unsafe after all the country had been in a civil war not too long ago, and by the way, with her reaching puberty she much rather stayed home alone. It took Clemens some time to win over the local businessman but eventually, a deal was closed. This was a good occasion for celebration and they drove to the picturesque little cabin they hired in the Black Mountains arriving there late at night. The next day Clemens called his father to discuss the deal he had made but his father, who often prioritized business over anything immediately interrupted him and said “Son, I want you to come home.” Clemens was a bit upset by the serious tone of his father who usually was one of the calmest people he knew, Clemens hadn’t followed the news, yes he knew about this new disease, but he had shrugged the warning signals off and who can blame him, the world has seen worse, right? Despite being upset his sobriety took over and he assured his dad, “It will blow over, we are back in a week, don’t worry too much how is your blood pressure?” and that was the end of that. But you know, and we had to learn this the hard way when society falls, it comes crashing down and there is nothing you can do to stop it. And so it went, when Clemens realized what was going on it was too late, all air traffic was halted and countries were rapidly closing their borders as the world was succumbing to the virus. Clemens and Marianna decided that whatever was going to happen, they had to get back home, they drove to the nearest gas station, looking to get enough gasoline for them to drive home or at least near home. Arriving, the chaos was like never seen before, Clemens urged Marianna to quickly fill up the gas while he went inside to look for a jerry-can and some extra supplies, being inside noticing that the shop was abandoned. Clemens found a loaded, old revolver behind the counter, the shopkeeper, an elderly man appeared to have shot himself. Walking to the back of the store to look for the jerry-can Clemens heard a scream and a loud gunshot, his military training kicked in, and he rushed out of the store, with the revolver in hand. Once outside he saw Marianna laying on the ground next to the pump in a puddle of blood. Besides her lifeless body stood a man while another man was going through their bags in the trunk, his world collapsed in front of him and in the rage that followed he stepped towards the man who in response turned his head towards him, that barrel was the last thing he saw as the revolver kept firing until a click was heard, and another click and another. Clemens still pulling the trigger kneeled striking the gun on the man’s head, over and over again until it was hard to believe that mess was ever a living creature. Clemens realizing there was another man turned towards the trunk of the car where the other ‘man’, a boy barely sixteen, stood watching in horror at the scené that had just unfolded. Clemens on his knees looked at the boy, as their eyes crossed, the river blue of Clemens and the Caramel-brown of the young feller. Seconds which felt like hours passed, the boy pulled his hand forward, holding a pistol, a bang and darkness. Christmas night It had been days, months, or even years, since Clemens Benjamin Schmitz had woken up in a warm bed, situated in a small wooden cabin, an older lady sitting in the corner, knitting something. His wound had been cleaned and bandaged. Clemens stayed with the old Russian lady until he had fully recovered from his injury. Waving her farewell as he roamed out looking for a way to get home. Strolling through the countryside, towns, and cities of this new world, Clemens had become a heavy drinker, struggling with the loss of his wife and the unknown fate of his daughter and the rest of his family, the fact that he had no clue where he was and how to get home worn him down. Eventually, one cold, snowy night, camping out in an abandoned apartment building, being cold, miserable, and intoxicated. Clemen’s sat up, stripped of any hope. He pulled his revolver to the side of his head, put a finger on the trigger, and closed his eyes. Ready to give up, he began to slowly pull the trigger. When suddenly in the distance he heard a melody, he recognized it. Two voices; “Silent night, holy night” Clemens burst out in tears, dropped the gun, and fell to the floor sobbing uncontrollably. he stood up, walked outside, and strolled towards the sound from the apartment across the street, which was dimly lit. Clemens knocked on the door, the melody stopped. The door creaked and as it opened a slim, short man appeared, holding a rifle. Behind the man, he could see a woman sitting at the fireplace, holding a young child. “Merry Christmas,” Clemens said while handing a whiskey bottle towards the man, who reluctantly took it and had a sip. “Merry Christmas,” he replied. The man stood there for a while, “Do you want to come in?” the man said, Clemens gently nodded. Not much was said that night as they sat at the fireplace, but it was pleasant and for the first time since the world had collapsed into chaos and darkness, Clemens and the other people in the room had felt the warmth of human decency and goodness. As the group parted their ways the next day, Clemens wandered into that wasteland with a renewed hope. In his mind the melody and people that had saved his life. From now on whatever will happen to and with Clemens Benjamin Schmitz has yet to be determined, and it is with great interest that I look forward to how this character may develop.