The story of beautiful Russian domainer Anthousha and her tragic death on this day two years ago

Anthousha was 24 years old when she died - a promising young Russian domainer

Anthousha was 24 years old when she died – a promising young Russian domainer

I was sipping my third gin and tonic, surrendered to the fact that the final night at the domainer’s convention had passed without as much as a hint of romance. Those domainer dames were beautiful yet vicious, like technocrat Vampirellas that spared no man in their path.

The music playing was a mix of jazz with overtones of southern blues; either the pianist was very old school or the wall of smoke in that seedy bar was three feet thick in all directions. I didn’t care about the poisoning of my lungs; all I wanted was the delusion of being a social member of the domainer elite, the rich, the powerful, the trendy.

“What’s going on, Johnny?”

Through the smoke I saw his white teeth first, then the golden rim of his glasses, then the rest of him – like a ship that breaks through the foggy waters surrounding a sleepy port at night. Evgeny Kosmac, dressed in a dark suit with a bright blue and red tie approached me by the bar. I set the glass down and shook his hand.

“Nothing ever happens”, I said. “Have a drink with me, tell me about the girls back in Russia. Or something interesting from your life.”

Evgeny laughed again, his fine white teeth perfectly filling a Joker-wide smile. He pulled a stool close to mine and signaled to the barman who approached with a bottle of vodka. He poured two glasses and set one in front of me.

“Real men drink vodka!” said Evgeny, looking serious at me. “But Johnny, listen – drink and I will tell you a fine story about a beautiful Russian domainer, Anthousha, you want me to?”

“Sure, Evgeny. Anything less grim than this shithole. I need to take my mind off the events of the domainer conference. It really sucked this time.”

“Well, you’re right, my friend. So here it goes. Anthousha was 24 years old, a bright student of Information and Arts at the Moscow  University. Almost six feet tall, her body slender like hay – with a head full of curly, golden hair. So blue-eyed that you’d drown in her eyes.”

My vodka glass was quickly emptied, while listening to Evgeny and his Russian dame story. He poured me another one from the bottle, then continued.

“Johnny, I met her at the same conference you and I attended, but that was back in 2004. It was hard to get in back then, only extremely intelligent individuals could attend the conference by invitation. It was, how do you say, a VIP club – a circle of people only entrusting themselves. A selfish company of domainers, if you could say that.”

I had seen pictures of the tall Russian girl at the celebrity photo section of DNJournal and had it bookmarked. She was a knockout, all dressed up as if she belonged to a Paris fashion show catering to the elite European society, instead of a club of nerd domainers talking about PPC and typo-traffic revenue.

“She was found dead a couple of years ago, wasn’t she?”, I asked Evgeny.

Vodka was already filling up every cell of my bloodstream that gin and tonic had failed to penetrate. Seeing how Evgeny did not respond, I asked him again. “Evgeny, what happened to her, she was only 24 years old.”

My Russian friend took a long sip from his glass, then set it down, still holding the base of his drink with both hands. Then, he reached out with his left hand and set it on my arm.

“Johnny, you really want to know? Anthousha died from unexplained causes, in the most bizarre circumstance. But I know, Johnny, I know what happened. You want to know? Ok, I will tell you, Johnny, but you must promise never to tell anyone else.”

I was getting uneasy with this turn in his demeanor, as he firmly clenched his hand for a second or two. Then he pulled it away, picked up the bottle of vodka and filled our glasses with the fiery liquid.

“Anthousha was a brilliant girl. She had developed algorithms at the Moscow University, that allowed her to profit from the domain market. She’d manage PPC conversion for her own company, a start-up that would package and sell the software to other PPC corporations. Everything looked promising, until that fateful night in late October 2007.”

I had been watching Evgeny and despite this Russian entrepreneur’s famous poker face, I couldn’t help noticing sudden waves of wrinkles taking over the canvas of his facial expressions. He looked concerned, tired, aged beyond his mid-30’s. I wondered what dark secret could Anthousha’s untimely demise behold.

“She was so beautiful, Johnny. I fell in love with her at the University. We went to the countryside together, I felt like Tolstoy romancing this beautiful woman. Anyhow, she had bigger dreams. She pursued famous domainers, like Zenon Pappas, Tim Kimmens, even the Chapello brothers at some point. But Johnny, she wasn’t in love with any man. Until she met Frantz Schiller, the German millionaire. You know, the guy who moved to the Caymans from Bavaria, with a portfolio of 1.5 million domains.”

Ah, Frantz Schiller. I should have known, the DNJournal photos of them together made it so obvious. He was all over her, his one arm around her waist, the other feeding her shrimp from the Indian ocean and caviar from the Caspian sea.

“Frantz Schiller left Germany after a family dispute over a castle that once belonged to his paternal great-grandfather. What I found, Johnny, after Anthousha died, could be devastating to a lot of people. But I will continue with my story, my friend.”

It was getting late, well past midnight and my instinct told me to just pay for the drinks and leave, before this story fully unfolded. But Evgeny’s face was now full of wrinkles, a far cry from his calm, smiling demeanor and that kept me in my seat.

“Anthousha and Frantz spent a lot of time together in the Caymans. She had told Frantz about her development of the PPC software that would revolutionize the industry. And Frantz, well, Frantz was a mystery to many. He was nice to everybody, but secretly he was after her invention; yet, she could not see it. See, Johnny, Anthousha was in love with this man.”

Evgeny took a deep breath and looked into my eyes, then carried on with his agonizing story.

“After he had earned her trust, he took her on a trip to Bavaria, to show her the old countryside where his family had resided since the 13th century. One day, he drove her to the Schillerstein castle – the place where his great-grandfather, Claus Meine Schillerstein had mysteriously disappeared a century ago, leaving behind nothing but a lab full of strange vials and a huge bill from the largest pharmacies of Koln.”

I felt strangely uneasy, all of a sudden, not knowing why, not sure where this story was getting at. Anthousha, a fine technocrat, a domainer so young and beautiful – dead for two years now. What was she doing in Bavaria with a strange, 40-something German castle heir?

“It was a quiet, yet dark night when they arrived. On October 31st, 2007 they visited the Schillerstein castle to spend the night there. Frantz was accompanied by a peasant from the village of Rudmel, a sleepy constellation of old houses about 20 kilometers away. That peasant was about to witness a terrifying event, that forever changed his life.”

Under the dim lights of the smoky bar, Evgeny looked ominously pale, as if a ghost had taken over his body, demonstrating its presence by absorbing the color of his face; as if it had drank his blood.

“The peasant, Niklaus, saw them in the old castle where they’d spend the night together. He brought them food from the village and served it to them. Frantz was loud and jovial, he said, and Anthousha was – well – she was as beautiful as ever in the dim candle light, sitting at the large eastern room which overlooked the woods of Rumenst-Salke.”

Evgeny poured the last drops of vodka from the bottle and into his glass. I could not but notice how tight he held onto it, his knuckles all white around the thick short glass.

“After dinner was over, Niklaus prepared to leave. On his way out, he passed by the library room and through the ajar door he saw it. He stood there, watching with his own eyes the rapid transformation of Frantz Schiller – from a middle aged man, to a wrinkled, creepy creature with long gray hair, whose age he could not determine. Niklaus stood there, frozen, as the man slowly turned around and faced him in the distance of the room, with dark hollow eyes that seemed to follow every life in the castle at once. And then, the man smiled wide and laughed, his creepy voice vibrating in the room, echoing like the brass bells of the Saint Mathias church by the ravine after a storm; a laughter so uncouth and demonic that there was no way for it to be human. Because that man, Claus Meine Schillerstein, one hundred plus years old, stood in the library embracing Anthousha’s slender body; his long fangs deep inside her neck, sucking her blood out, smacking his lips in utmost pleasure and gratification. And Niklaus ran, dropping the basket with the fruit onto the wet ground of the castle’s yard, ran into the cold October night that felt horribly quiet, ominously silent – except for that final scream coming out of Anthousha’s chest, and the vibrating, echoing, demonic laughter of the man who had seduced her.”

My hair stood on its end, while streams of sweat ran down my forehead and the sides of my head; my hands were wet and shaky, my throat was dry and my heart was racing. It was a revelation beyond anything imaginable, a disturbing abomination of nature.

Evgeny, on the other hand, looked surprisingly relaxed, having shared this dark secret with someone else. And at that point in time, I knew that I had to share it with others, to unleash its evil that consumed my soul – thus inadvertently breaking my promise to my Russian friend.

As I sit here in yet another seedy bar, after another domainers’ conference has come to an end, I am typing up the story of beautiful Anthousha and her macabre death – with a half-empty bottle of vodka waiting in front of me. I have to share her story, before the dark demons of this October night overcome me, as it happens every Halloween.

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