This story is over 5 years old.

The First Annual Fiction Issue

"Gjennom Nattens Identitet" ("Through the Identity of the Nighttime")

This is an excerpt from the book Nasjonalsatanisten (The National Satanist) by Erlend Erichsen, translated for Vice.
Κείμενο Erlend Erichsen

This is an excerpt from the book

Nasjonalsatanisten (The National Satanist)

by Erlend Erichsen, translated for


. Erichsen is from Bergen and has played drums for a bunch of different Black Metal bands, including Gorgoroth (he went by


, or “Seargent,” with them). The book has only been printed in Norwegian so far, but we got our friend Ren Powell at the publisher to whip a little bit into English for us.

e’d walked a good distance up into the woods when Winterblood suddenly told me to shut up and stand still. I didn’t know what it was at first, but I watched him sit down calmly on a rock. It’d gotten considerably darker since Hilde left, and it was harder now to make out our surroundings. I stood still in the middle of the thick woods, listening to his labored breathing. I heard the wind in the branches, whistling and rustling softly. I saw Winterblood slowly lift his head and tilt it backward, as though he were looking for something up in the swaying treetops. His eyes were closed. He inhaled deeply and sighed. “Are you going to conjure the evil spirits again?” I asked. No response. The grim figure just sat there in front of me, among the trees. I could hear the sound of cars in the distance, voices from the houses below us, and doors being opened and closed. Night was settling. “What do you think of kids? Of little children?” he said suddenly. As I was wondering how to answer, I heard the high, piercing scream of a child coming from the subdivision below us. My body froze. “Fuck. What? Are you psychic or something?” “What do you think about children as creatures?” Winterblood pressed the question. I snapped a branch off one of the spruce trees as I backed up the hillside away from him, as though he were something I had to be wary of. “Children? What do you mean children? We’re supposed to be finding a place to shoot the pictures now. Why are you talking about kids?” Winterblood just sat there—unmoving among the trees—while I stood staring into the woods. He turned to me, with a familiar glow in his eyes. Even in the dusk, I could sense the hard and evil glow that was sometimes there. He started talking quickly—aggressively—while peering at the houses below. “‘The child is the father of the man.’ A great poet said that once. Wordsworth, I think. Children are like little sparks—sparks in the darkness! If the unformed and untamed individual that exists within each child had reared the whole of mankind, then I think we’d have come further, reached greater heights. You shouldn’t underestimate the child as a creature; children believe in things—but not in gods. Children are little sparks—they can ignite things! They believe in other things—just like I do. I still believe in other things, too. That’s the whole point: I still believe. I was a tyrant as a child; I loved the solitary and the strong—often sided with the unheard, the untouchable, and the powerful. Summer was the season for rage. I hated the summer. When the other kids left on vacation, I was stuck at home in Norway for weeks, and my hate for other countries, especially the warmer countries, grew stronger. I developed a symbolic hatred for companionship and warmth. I sat at home in the dark spruce forest and made friends with the rain. I contemplated my own inner existence, and I developed my own ideology. That’s why I’m so imaginative and strong now. That’s one of the things that made me a…” I stood with my back against an old spruce and listened to what he was saying. I tried to follow, to see the world through his eyes, like I had so many times before. He didn’t look at me as he spoke but stared into the empty space between the trees. He was talking without breathing—talking loudly but in a hoarse whisper—like an old man. “I think people lack dramatic tension—from a purely aesthetic standpoint. People even look weak and boring, and this is what I’ve always wanted to change… The two of us, we don’t look like other people. We have a completely different appearance. And this is what is so great about Stormvold and so many of the other black-metal bands: We don’t look like other people. We fuckin’ look like hell—but in a different way than the way people usually mean when they say, ‘look like hell.’ We have style. And this style is what separates us from the masses.” Winterblood was using his arms now as well. He was waving them in the air as though he wanted to scare off something lurking in the trees around us. He still wasn’t looking at me. It seemed as though he’d forgotten I was even there, and he was talking to the rocks and trees. “Parents pollute their children because they tame them, you know? Parents teach them to give a shit. I was never tamed, and now I am nearly 21—I am the ruler of my own world!” The wind was blowing his long, black hair around his shoulders. We were standing nearly at the top of the hillside, near all the creeks, trees, and sharp rocks. I could just see the peak of Lyderhorn in the distance: “The mysterious witch-mountain,” I thought. “The mountain where they say the witches performed their satanic rituals thousands of years ago.” Winterblood stopped talking and jerked his head as if he’d seen something out of the corner of his eye—something that had ripped him from his stream of consciousness. He pushed his way through branches and then headed down a steep slope. “Come on,” he yelled. I followed him and found myself in a little gorge full of moss-covered spruces. The gorge widened into dark and rotting underbrush: A place the sun had probably never touched, a place that was apparently lifeless. Inhaling the smell of rot and of damp rocks, I followed Winterblood further into the gorge. “We’re going to take the picture of the band here, Ljåvold. Stormvold is going to meet here at night. What do you think?” I looked around the gorge, taking in the darkness by way of its stench, the scent of earth, water, and stone. I felt the pull of the mountain, the mountain tugging at me, drawing me inward on a boat of open, tangled roots and dripping moss. It was as though all sounds stopped in there, where the mountain closed in on the underbrush, bit by bit—each drop, the silence. I closed my eyes and heard one of our own tunes; I thought about death and music. “Yeah, it’s a great spot. Nothing warm about it. Not a trace of humanity,” I said. We pushed our way through the trees again—up over the slope where the woods thin out and the trees don’t grow as tall. I hadn’t been able to completely digest Winterblood’s rant about kids. I wanted to ask him a few more questions while we were walking up the slope, but he just kept talking. “There are children who don’t have any limitations, who don’t have any internal roadblocks. And it’s these roadblocks that most adults try so fuckin’ hard to build in them. They want to create limitations for their children. But some children are more like animals or like demons—some children don’t have the false masks that nearly everyone wears his whole life. And some children don’t let this happen. That’s because these children who don’t let it happen are original. The younger the children are, the easier it is to see the wildness in their behavior. It makes me furious—the fact that everything is supposed to be under control, that everything rational and peaceful is praised by the whole of society. I like the night but not the night’s silence. I like the uneasiness and the wrath of the night. I hate the cowardice of the people! I hate that as much as I hate money!” Winterblood grabbed a big rock from the slope and threw it toward the subdivision far below us. It banged and thumped its way down along the mountainside, crashing into bushes and trees. “The masses will always be my enemy because if the individual ever dares to give in or dares to follow me, I know it’s only a matter of time until they rejoin the masses. That’s when they rejoin the majority and stand there with frightened eyes, yelling at me, the loner, because they feel like they’re being controlled by an unknown force. And they rarely even dare to cross the ‘one’ representative of the masses when they are all alone with it!” The mountain was quiet and darkness has come. I felt like I was so very far away from the town and from myself. “Strong children get lonely and lonely children get strong, Ljåvold! I am feeling ever more strange—stranger—and everything inside of me is disintegrating; it’s filling me with what has become Stormvold. Even though children are newcomers to the family and therefore to humanity’s Christian cowardice, I still believe in the unformed, open, and wild child—the smoldering crave for freedom, the selfishness that many children have within them. And I have this recurring dream, a dream in which I see hundreds of gruesome and fearless children walking out of the woods, carrying torches. They split up—each child going to a different church—and they ignite the churches by throwing the torches through smashed windows. It’s THE DREAM, Ljåvold. The dream I love! I thought about Winterblood’s dead sister. I imagined her walking out of the woods, walking toward me with a torch. Smiling. ERLEND ERICHSEN
Nasjonalsatanisten is available from Damm Books, if you speak Norwegian. No word yet on if there’ll be an English edition anytime soon.