I know what I’m a shadow of now.
I’m safe for now. I found an apartment building whose door was unlocked and snuck inside. I’m in an apartment on the top floor. There’s no power or heat, but it’s out of the wind and I don’t think the Beast will find me up here. I miss Sage’s house. Too bad the place burnt down. I should’ve checked the oven over before using it…stupid move on my part. Oh, well. At least the car was still running, though I’ve now lost that as well. I’ve been here so long…at some points, I think I can feel the atmosphere seeping into my skin, turning it grey. It’s cold and still, like a missile solo in the split-second of absolute calm before the engines ignite and thermonuclear doom is catapulted into the stratosphere atop raw plasmic fury.
It’s like death. This entire world is dead. Living things are the anomaly here, including me.
(quiet, tired sigh)
I’m getting off-topic. My shoulder’s healed from the bruising it had just a few days earlier. My ribs and leg are still sore, but I can walk alright now. It’s slow, but enough for me to get around. I’m planning to stay here for a little while. I can see the Tower from this apartment’s windows, its weathered rock exterior jutting from the destroyed city center. It just…erupted there, a few days after I found the city. At first I thought it was an earthquake, until I heard the rock beneath me literally tearing apart. I never knew a thing like that was possible. It sounded like the earth itself was screaming in pain as this…this EDIFICE rose slowly out of the ground, the city blocks around it buckling, buildings collapsing. I was frozen in place, even after it stopped growing and the noise died down.
I think it took me around three hours to recover enough to continue. I didn’t head for the Tower right away, of course. I explored the city first. Judging from newspapers still sitting in the newsstands, this is a city called New York. The newspapers are dated "January 14, 2019”, and most of their front page stories detail rising tension between two countries, the United States of North America and the apparently Communist superstate of the Southeast Asian Economic Cooperation Zone. None of this meant anything to me, though the name New York seems familiar. I may have visited it at some point in my past. In any case, the newspapers didn’t tell me how the city had arrived here, so I moved on. After almost two weeks of exploring I was forced to conclude that there was nothing here. There were no bodies, no new information, nothing useful aside from a few new weapons I found in an abandoned police station. I’m still using the gun I arrived with as a sidearm, but it never hurts to have backups.
I eventually found my way to the site of the Tower’s emergence. It appeared to be sitting in the center of what was once a massive, level dirt field. The dirt itself was a greyish-brown, a powdery lifeless mass that had probably never held a plant. The Tower itself was surrounded by jagged, broken shards of earth, making it look like some sort of naturally-formed fortress. It was easily taller than any of the skyscrapers in the city. It seemed to absorb what little light there was in the air around it, and I could feel something inside myself drawn to it. For a moment I was reminded of Sage, the sick insanity shining behind his eyes as he stared at my naked body. I couldn’t help it, though. I…I started walking toward it.
(sound of quiet crying and breath hitching)
What I found inside was…was something I’m not ready to talk about right now. Maybe later. For now, I…I need to do something. Something that doesn’t make me think about what was in there…
(sound of tape recorder being dropped, gun cocking. Quiet) Something’s outside.
(sound of quiet, slow steps. A door slides open. A scream, several gunshots in rapid succession. A bestial roar. Recording ends)
I shouldn't have gone to the tower.
It was a stupid thing to do. My DI would've had my ass for such a basic mistake, walking right into an unknown situation without even basic recon.
...what's a DI?
(sounds of labored, pained breathing for approximately 3 minutes)
My leg is broken. I think a few of my ribs are too. Hurts like hell. I took some morphine I found at the military base, but it's not helping. I just feel...foggy, like my mind's no longer quite in sync with reality. I wonder if this is what it feels like to die. Dunno. I'll tell you what, though. It's pretty awkward.
(pained gasp, sound of water sloshing in a container)
My shoulder's hurt too. Must've been from when the shadow threw me through that wall. What WAS that thing, anyway? It looked...
No. Not gonna talk about that.
I'm gonna die here. I know that now. This is...this place, it's what's left behind after time passes through. Places like this are the tracks the universe leaves behind. I thought the tower might provide a way home. I was wrong. There is no way home. Time left me behind, and there's no way to catch up.
It's cold here now. After months of gloom, the sun is starting to set. I wouldn't be surprised if it begins to snow soon. The long dark winter of the soul is beginning to set in. If I could move I'd go look for shelter. Something tells me that the Beast likes the dark. It's his time now. He'll be looking for me. I think I'm the only prey he has left.
I need to get out of this wind. I'm losing feeling in my heart. Goodnight, stars. Goodnight, clouds. Goodnight, trees. Goodnight, stones. Goodnight, Beast.
I'm so lonely...
(sounds of quiet crying. Recording ends)
It’s been one week since the confrontation detailed in my last entry. I have yet to leave the house where Sage and his followers had been hiding. This is mostly because my injuries from the car accident haven’t been healed enough to allow travel. I HAVE been exploring this house, though, and have found several things of interest.
First, this house has electrical power. There’s a diesel generator down in the basement. It doesn’t seem to fit the rest of this world, though. It’s too shiny and new, as if it were brought here from somewhere else. The electricity means that all of the house’s appliances work as well. Last night I finally got up the nerve to try my hand at cooking with some of the food in the refrigerator. Spaghetti with marinara sauce has never tasted so good as it did then, slurping noodles off a cracked plate, sitting at a rough-hewn wooden table in this house’s kitchen.
I found one other useful item in my poking around. A working radio, the first one I’ve seen. It’s an old 80s boombox, the kind you’d expect to see some kid carrying on his shoulder. I turned it on and tried the stations. There were a couple of spots where I thought I could hear voices through the static, but I was unable to tune the stereo accurately enough to make out what was being said.
Finally, this house has a working water heater. I’ve become so rank since waking up in that other room that I thought I was starting to ROT. I must’ve spent 3 hours in the shower since finding out about the boiler. It feels better than I would’ve expected to be clean again. I’m currently sitting on a sofa in the main room, floor lamps casting a muted, comforting yellow glow across the pages of the book in my lap. I’m finally reading this book of stories from my pack. They’re interesting, really, and I see why Martin was giving them as a warning to Dresden. The moral of each seems to be that people will live or die based on their own decisions and morals, and that if you stray too far to the amoral side of things the universe will come after you with a vengeance.
I keep wondering something. Why does it seem like I’m the only sane person here? Every other person I’ve met is irrational, unpredictable, more animal than human. Why am I different? For that matter, why am I here at all? I keep coming back to the girl at the docks. She said I was a “mirror” of someone. That that someone had brought me here for some reason. She called him the “dark man” or something like that, if I remember correctly. Could she have meant the monster I saw? The thing hasn’t shown any signs of sapience. I don’t see how I could be a mirror of it. No, it must be something else…something or someone I haven’t met yet.
There’s a map here that I found in what must’ve been Sage’s room. If it’s correct, the simplest route into the city is to go back, turn my car right-side up, see if it’s still running, then just continue the way I was going. The road the house sits on seems to loop around and head straight into the city center. I feel….apprehensive about going there, though. Something in my gut tells me there’s something else I need to do first. I suppose I’ll know what when the time comes.
I’ll worry about it tomorrow. For now, I need to do some more practice with exploiting the physical laws of this area before I go to sleep. Over the last few days I’ve been able to produce some very basic things (simple clothing, a comb, two carrots) out of thin air with nothing but willpower, as well as some basic telekinesis and teleportation, but doing any one of these things even once leaves me too exhausted to stand. I assume that like any OTHER skill, it requires regular and thorough practice to master. I’m feeling healthy enough now to resume travel, so I also need to prepare for that.
This is X, signing off.
After yesterday’s events, I have decided to stay on the move as much as possible. It most likely will not affect anything, but for some reason it makes me feel secure. I am currently stopped at what appears to be the remains of an observatory, sitting high above the dead grey ocean. Dead. That is the only adjective that properly describes the water below me. For that matter, “dead” would be an appropriate way to define everything I have seen so far, save only the young woman who attacked me back at the shipyard. Things here feel old, decayed, as if suffering from centuries of neglect. It is a world without humanity. I wonder what that says about me, that I can exist so comfortably here…
I’m sitting on the hood of the Jeep’s engine compartment right now. The air is cool and somewhat moist, though it carries a small bitter smell, as of rotting marine life and salt. The smell seems familiar, almost reassuring. Digging through my backpack, I’ve come across the book that was among my initial possessions. Its cover is black, well-worn, with the title and author inlaid upon it in what appears to be a pale tan leather. Its yellowed pages are slightly musty, but in a way that reminds me of quiet places and soft light. Another reassuring smell in this foreign place. Strange that I’d find so many. I open the book. On its title page is an inscription. It is written in a small, strangely flowing script. The writer was probably left-handed, as all the letters slope that way.
Those who fight monsters are often in danger of becoming monsters themselves. Please try to remember that. I worry about you sometimes.
I have no idea who Martin or Dresden are, but the note itself speaks volumes. A quick examination of the book reveals it to be a collection of short stories, each dealing with death and destruction, usually by some sort of cosmic horror but sometimes by simple human greed and hate. Whoever Martin was, he was obviously trying to warn Dresden against becoming like the people in this story. She…why do I think Dresden was female? There’s no reason to. It just…fits. She must have been important to him. I read one of the stories, a slightly surreal tale about a man being haunted by his own past and eventually murdered by the ghosts of all those he’s killed in his life, then put the book back in my bag. I’m starting to miss sunlight. I can’t remember ever seeing it, but something in me cries out for blue skies and bright light instead of this incessant dim gloom.
I’m climbing back into the Jeep’s front seat. As I fire up the engine and pull out, I realize that there’s something I’m missing more than sunlight. I miss human contact. I just want to talk to someone. Again, it’s something I have no memory of and yet desire. I just…I seem to need it. I’ve taken to listening to my own audio recordings, just to have something to listen to so that I can imagine there’s a companion sharing my journey. I have also discovered several audio files on my computer. I’ve only listened to one, labeled “hatespeech.oga”. It appeared to be several minutes of static and labored breathing, followed by heavily distorted radio chatter in some sort of Middle Eastern language and a woman screaming. I had dreams about it last night, the first dreams I’ve had since arriving here. I shouldn’t say dreams. I should say nightmares. Horrible, surreal images full of blackness and eruptions of hideously cheerful scarlet blood. Everything was monochrome but the blood, and there was so much…
I need to stop thinking about this. I need to be alert, and fear dulls the senses. It distracts. It
(sound of squealing tires as I slam on the Jeep’s brakes, fishtailing wildly on the dirt road I’m following.)
I’m climbing out of the Jeep now, gun at the ready. The projectiles changed again this morning, now being warm to the touch and smelling strongly of iron and roses. I have no idea what they might do. The reason I stopped is that I thought I saw something moving back in the trees surrounding me. If it’s a human being, I have to try and contact them. I’m moving through the trees. They appear to be mostly birches, though there are quite a few oaks and what appear to be Japanese maples scattered throughout. It seems somewhat darker under the canopy, most likely due to the leaves blocking out what little sunlight there is. I pull out a flashlight that I found in the bag this morning, holding it with my right hand and resting my gun hand on top of my right wrist. No sense in walking blindly into whatever might be waiting for me.
(small skittering noise, as of some sort of rodent moving very fast through the leaf cover. I freeze)
Me: Is anyone there? (said cautiously, awaiting a reply. None comes, and I continue)
I continue. The noises continue at odd intervals, always staying approximately 55 yards ahead of me and slightly to my right. I’m obviously being led. The question is one of intent. Am I being led to safety, or to a trap? Either way, I want to be prepared. For the noises I’m hearing, it must be a group of people leading me. Because of this I’m using tree trunks as cover, moving from one to another with the practiced ease of training that I must have received at some point. I’ve been in this forest for at least half an hour so far, but I have yet to see any change in my surroundings.
The trees are changing. As I move deeper into the woods the trees appear to become older, with oaks and hawthorn trees predominant. It also seems slightly darker, probably due to the increased cover from the oak trees. I think
(sounds of spluttering and flailing, as well as some spitting)
I’ve just walked into a…a rope of sorts. It’s black and slightly oily, strung between two trees at approximately head height. A quick sweep with my flashlight reveals that more of these ropes are all over the area. They’re entwined in tree branches at all levels, crisscrossing and wrapping together in a fantastically complicated pattern. I stop, trying to take it all in. Then I realized I couldn’t hear the sounds that had led me here. In fact, this entire area seems…desolate. Even more silent than the rest of the world.
I can see something. It’s moving slowly, on the other side of the ropes. It’s…I don’t know how to describe it. I’ll try to go one piece at a time. If I didn’t feel so detached right now, I would have collapsed in terror. This…thing stands approximately nine feet tall. Its torso is that of a human, though abnormally long and skinny. Its arms are equally spindly, the elbow joints unnaturally sharp. Its hands end in visible talons. Its torso and arms are black, superficially resembling clothing, perhaps a suit. I can see where it joins the thing’s “skin”, however, showing that in this case appearances are deceiving. Its skin appears to be slick, pitch-black except for its face. Its face is ivory, hairless. It retains the shape of a human skull, but lacking in any facial features aside from a gaping mouth. This mouth has no lips. It’s a horizontal gash across the thing’s face, the edges retracted slightly. I can see the glimmer of teeth inside. It appears to be drooling a reddish-brown substance. Its final defining feature is its legs. Its body splits at the waist, segmenting into eight spindly but very rigid arachnoid appendages. These must have been creating the noises I’d been hearing. This THING knows I’m here. Why isn’t it attacking me? Why is it just-
(sound of an earsplitting, bestial howl/roar/snarl)
Me: (terrified scream) IT SPOTTED ME!
(twenty minutes of noise follows, mostly me panting and crashing through the forest. The monster’s skittering legs can be heard behind at several points, as can three more roars, each as terrifying as the first. I managed to reach the road a few steps ahead of the monster, diving into the Jeep (which I’d left running) and gunning the engine. There’s a thump as the monster lands on the hood, crouched, facing in at me, its mouth open. The reddish liquid is flowing freely now, splattering on the windshield and making it difficult for me to see)
(I begin shooting at it through the windshield. The glass splinters and cracks, shards flying into my face as the Jeep accelerates. As each bullet hits the monster it visibly jerks. After a moment it starts having what appear to be seizures, flailing wildly while remaining latched onto the hood. Thanks to all the visual obstructions, including blood flowing into my eyes from several facial lacerations, I can no longer see the road. We hit a large rock and the Jeep flips, rolling wildly. I lose consciousness at this point.)
(Some time after, I half-wake long enough to see the monster dragging itself off into the woods, bleeding a tarry black liquid, two of its legs limp and dragging. I can dimly hear its labored, pained wheezing before I black out again. When I finally return to consciousness, I’m in another bedroom. This one has faded blue walls, paint peeling from neglect. The bed I’m on is large, but completely sprung. My facial injuries appear to have been crudely bandaged using strips of cloth. I sit up, seeing that the contents of my backpack have been carefully removed and examined, then laid out on a table near the bed. A man was sitting in a worn-out armchair in the corner, watching me.)
Man: (voice oddly calm as he stared at me with deep-set eyes. His emaciated frame seemed more fitting for a stick figure than a human being, his pallid skin and intense gaze making him seem somehow vampiric) You’re finally awake. Good.
Me: (still slightly groggy) Who are you?
Man: You can call me the Sage. (his tone never varied from its calm, a slight smile playing across his thin lips)
Me: (cautious, head beginning to clear) Alright. Where am I?
Sage: In my house. My family and I live here.
Me: (shocked) You have a FAMILY?
(I was still reeling from the monster’s attack and the shock of meeting a sane human, so my social abilities were probably not at their best. The Sage smirked. It was…unpleasant to see)
Sage: Well, not a family per se. Just a group of people who live together.
Me: (standing, finding myself naked. It was embarrassing to say the least. I wrap myself in a blanket) Look, where are my clothes? I need to get on the move again before that THING tracks me down.
Sage: (eyes lighting up in a disturbingly feverish manner) Thing? You mean the Slender Man? You saw him?
(he stood, advancing toward me, eyes gleaming as his smile seemed to widen)
Sage: How about you stay a little while? You’re safe here, I promise.
Me: (clearly not believing him) Just tell me where my clothes are. (I started packing things back into my bed, trying not to mind that I couldn’t hold the blanket up at the same time. I turned around when I was done, unsurprised to see this Sage man staring avidly at my body. Tone cold) Which way’s the exit?
Sage: (sighing, though his smile didn’t drop) Just follow me.
(He led me through several halls. This appeared to be a moderately large mansion. As we travelled, we picked up almost a dozen followers, half women and half men. Sage led me outdoors. It was raining, to my surprise. I could hear thunder in the distance, and see the occasional bluish-white lightning flash. Sage and his…family stood around, as if waiting for something. I tried to ignore the several men and women staring at me, focusing instead on keeping track of my surroundings.)
Sage: (whispering, probably not meant for me to hear) It’s now…the time is now…
(As one, the “family” began chanting, a single line)
Family: The core has fractured. We belong to you. Make us like you.
(they repeated this over and over. I realized at that point that I must have been out for several days for my wounds to have healed as much as they had. I shivered in fear as I realized what they must be chanting for. Sure enough, the monster emerged from the woods across the road. It roared, the sound considerably lower and more threatening this time. It advanced slowly. To my shock, Sage went out to meet it, smiling beatifically)
Sage: Finally…take me with you, please…please…
(He opened his arms wide. The monster tilted its head to the left, seeming almost puzzled before screeching and driving its two front legs through his chest. The legs then forced their way out to the sides, neatly separating his upper torso from his lower. I fumbled in my backpack for the gun as the other cultists ran forward, all grinning and crying to be “taken with him”. The thing rapidly finished with them and turned toward me, drooling, blood dripping from every one of its appendages. I scrambled backwards, finally finding the pistol’s grip and pulling it out. I pulled the trigger. The thing shrieked as it was knocked backwards by some sort of concussive wave, slamming into a tree. Even from hundreds of feet away I could hear something inside its torso crunch. It shrieked again, skittering back into the woods.")
Since those events I’ve been holed up in this now-empty house, raiding it for supplies. I finally found my clothes, and I’ve now locked myself in a small bedroom on the fourth floor. I’m going to head into the city tomorrow. I need to know more about this world, and especially that THING.
really matters anyone
really matters to me…
my name is (x) not X the sign not the symbol mirror not mask mask is mirror mirrored by everything everyone the darkness closes in he closes in he is me I am him everything matters because nothing does the world is a miracle miracles are abominations as are we nothing-
(I erupt into incoherent screams and howls at this point, a state which continues for over an hour before I finally fall silent once more. The recording ends five minutes later, the last sounds being a quiet gurgling noise and a small click)
The above is a transcript. I forgot to turn my voice recorder off when I fell asleep last night, and this was on it when I awoke. I decided to leave the restaurant as soon as possible, after extracting the security computer’s hard drive and adding it to my backpack. As a note, my gun’s ammunition has changed once again. The bullets are now solid and black, feeling cold and slick to the touch. The gun’s firing mechanism has also changed subtly, seeming to be a kinetic or electric launcher rather than a traditional explosion-igniting hammer. I left the building, continuing to hike north along the cliffs. I was hesitant to head into the city proper, for reasons I couldn’t identify. After several dull hours, I came across a small auto garage. It had several vehicles in the lot, ranging from a late 1990s model Harley-Davidson to a World War II vintage Jeep that appeared to be in perfect working condition.
I entered the office, noting the keys hanging in a neat row behind a desk. As with the other buildings I’d seen, this one appeared to be in a state of advanced disrepair. It was clean and orderly aside from the decay. I poked around, but found nothing of interest aside from the keys and a pistol-grip shotgun under the business office desk. The bottom right drawer contained over 250 rounds of ammunition. I placed the shotgun, ammo, and the rest of my supplies in the Jeep, then stretched out in the backseat with my gun and my computer. The battery on this device has yet to drop from full power at all. Combined with my own lack of need to eat or drink, and I almost think entropy doesn’t work the way my instincts tell me it should. Things only decay under certain circumstances… for some reason, this leads me to think of a certain quantum physics principle. It’s said that, due to the nature of reality, a thing only exists if it is observed, and only WHILE it is observed. Observation can include interacting with any other particle, but still…if a thing only exists when observed, then observations create reality. If I observe something to be true, and believe it, then it will be true.
Would it be possible to materially influence the world this way?
It’s something to think about, certainly. Perhaps I should attempt it tomorrow. I can see no reason why this wouldn’t work, so I at least believe in the basic principle to be tested. That should help. I should probably draw up some parameters for-
(small whispering noise from outside the Jeep. It’s very sibilant, but quiet)
Other: (more hissing. They seem to be words, but too faint to be heard on the recording or by my ears at the time)
Me: (sits up, quickly closing the computer at the above cutoff point and picking up the gun. I slide out the other side of the Jeep, looking under the chassis. No sign of anyone. I speak quietly) Hello? Is someone out there?
Other: (more hissing, slightly louder now, but seeming to have not moved.)
Me: (after the incident with the girl at the docks, I was taking no chances. I slipped around the back of the Jeep, gun ready. There was no one there. I turned slowly, dropping the gun with a sigh. I heard the hissing again, but this time I could make out words)
Other: not…alone…here together…not alone…
I…realized something at this point. The hissing was coming from my shadow, which was moving without corresponding motion from me. Something in me knew that this was WRONG. It terrified me to the point that I didn’t even consider fighting. I dove back into the Jeep, curling up in the backseat and shaking. It’s only now that I’ve been able to calm myself enough to finish this entry. I’ll be leaving this place tomorrow, though I have marked it on the map I’m constructing. I’m going to try to sleep now, though I don’t know if I’ll be able to, despite my fatigue. Goodnight.
I have begun drawing in the notebook. These are two of the results. The first picture’s caption implies it is some sort of map, but I can find no correlation to any geographical or man-made features I have seen thus far. It may be an encoded set of coordinates, or some sort of key to a larger map, but I can’t say. The second picture appears to be of some sort of abstract construction, placed in the center of a city under heavy rain. The caption, “Torre di Lacrimae”, is a badly mangled attempt at the Latin for “Citadel of Tears”. I vaguely remember drawing these things, but I do not know where these pictures or their captions came from. For the time being, I am assuming that an external force is motivating certain aspects of my behavior, such as my sleeping patterns and these drawings.
While I was drawing last night, I could hear things moving outside this restaurant. I was careful to keep the gun close at hand, but the sounds were quiet and faded away. I have decided not to leave this building today, instead focusing my energies on exploring. I am currently going through the management office. Everything seems to be in a state of moderate decay, with-
I have just found two interesting things. The first is a calendar. It appears to be from the year 2014. That seems wrong to me, somehow. Still, for the time being I will assume that is the current year. The second item is a small generator, which I will now attempt to start.
(panting) After several unsuccessful attempts, I’ve gotten the generator to run. There appears to be enough fuel to run it for several months. I’m attempting to fire up the computer in this office to see if any more information can be gleaned from its files. As a side note, there is a bag of potato chips on the desk. I’m still not hungry, but I’m eating them anyway. They’re incredibly tasty.
The computer is up. Whoever built it didn’t bother to put a password on, and it appears to be a UNIX-based system. I’m now navigating the file system, looking for anything I might be able to use. There appear to be a cache of media files. Opening the first one now.
(a clattering noise caused by me dropping the voice recorder. Muffled sounds of scrambling, panting, and what may be screaming from the videos. More clattering as I retrieve the recorder, panting heavily) I…I won’t be watching any more of those videos. I don’t want to discuss what I saw on the one I watched, not today. I think I may now know what the things look like, the things I heard last night. I’m just wondering one thing.
Where did the bodies go?
My inventory has changed again. The gun now holds a full clip of 9mm hollowpoint rounds. They look…strange. Possibly modified payloads of some sort. Of special note is the fact that they do not appear to be copper or any other metal. The rounds appear to be made of stone, highly polished and slightly warm. I know this is unusual, but for some reason it doesn’t bother me. In addition, I now have three notebooks and five pens, each in a different color. It seems that I’m supposed to use these items for something. What that is is beyond me, but that…symbol from the charnel house is still in my mind.
Huh. Charnel house…unusual phrase. I don’t know how I know it.
Aside from the noted changes, the rest of my inventory is the same. I am now continuing into the city I saw yesterday. It appears to be closer to the house than anticipated, as I’m almost there after approximately ten minutes of walking. I appear to be walking along a high coastline. The ocean below is grey and seems slightly oily, its waves slow and shallow. The cliff is sheer, dropping approximately four hundred feet to sharp rocks against which the surf beats. The nearest city feature to me is what appears to be a concrete dockyard, with drydock facilities, cargo cranes, and dozens of berths large enough for supertankers. All of this is in an advanced state of decay. Concrete is crumbling, exposed rebar is rusted and flaking. There is graffiti everywhere, much of it the ordinary urban variety. In several places, though, the graffiti appears to be storytelling in nature, a form of concrete tapestry. I am now proceeding into the dockyards. I am attempting to stay near the coastline, as it is the only landmark I have right now.
There is a single ship in its berth here. It is a medium-capacity cargo hauler of the type used to transport semi truck containers. It is in a state of decay matching that of the facility, but it is somehow still afloat despite several visible rust patches which have eaten through the hull. I am not going to explore it at this time, but I am marking it down for further inspection.
(muffled sounds, as of a scuffle. Following section transcribed in dialogue style for clarity)
Me: (alarmed, openly hostile tone. I am pinning the attacker to the ground. Her face is pressed to the concrete, as I am resting my knees on her back with the gun against her skull) WHO ARE YOU?
Her: (babbling, incoherent. She spoke in a terrified, manic tone that held through our entire discussion. She is filthy, pale, and emaciated, seeming more skeleton than human. She has red hair and blue eyes, most likely of Irish descent. I estimate her age at somewhere between 17 and 22.) Nobody nobody nowhere nobody please please I see him I see the man in black the man with death in his caress the man the man-
Me: (confused, still hostile) Shut up! Tell me where I am. Tell me what’s going on!
Her: He brought you he made you he is you you are him you are a mirror he wants you you want him I want you I want to hurt you I want to END THIS SET ME FREE LET ME GO LET ME LEAVE SET ME FREE!!!!!
At this point the woman displayed improbable strength, somehow forcing herself up with enough force to hurl me approximately fifteen feet away. She came after me, growling, running on all fours like an animal. I shot her four times, discovering in the process that the bullets in my gun are in some manner incendiary. Each one exploded into purple flame upon impact, spraying high-velocity stone shards and killing the woman instantly. I dumped her body into the ocean, in case any companions of hers came looking for her. You cannot follow a trail when the first link is missing.
I have found shelter for the night in the crumbling remains of what may have been a small restaurant overlooking the dockyards. I have not observed any change in the lighting of this place yet. There is a slight breeze, but the air still seems stale and flat. For some reason, I can’t stop thinking about what the woman said. Who is the “man in black”? And what does he want from me? How am I a mirror of him? Most people would dismiss the woman’s words as mad ramblings, but I am not one to dismiss any possible lead on why I am here. In any case, I’m starting to feel tired again. Before I go to sleep I’m going to open one of those notebooks and see what happens.
My possessions have been added to again. In addition to previously listed supplies I now possess a small tarnished key (made of silver or pewter) and what appears to be a small handgun with a single round of ammunition (Beretta M9A1, US Armed Forces standard issue). I am starting to believe someone is taunting me. I still have no idea who I am or why I am here. My only option is to explore. With this goal in mind I am about to leave this room again. All of my supplies are in my backpack, including the handgun. The only exceptions are the dog tags (which I am wearing) and the multitool, which is in my pocket.
I am proceeding down the hallway. It appears to extend approximately 50 feet past where the window’s view showed empty air. The hallway dead-ends, with the only option being a stairwell going down on the right side. I am now following it. There is a landing at the bottom that twists left. Now taking that. There are brownish smudges on the wallpaper, many purely random but some seeming to form designs. The smudges appear to be blood. For some reason, this does not worry me. The house is silent aside from my footsteps and a slight echo from my dictation. This stairwell appears to spiral down into the atrium of what was once an elegant two-story-high grand foyer, which is now in an advanced state of disrepair. Large sections of the plaster ceiling have collapsed to the floor below, the wallpaper is covered in more brown smudges, and-
(sounds of vomiting)
Sorry. There are bodies here. Dozens of them. They appear to have been in the process of some form of cannibalistic sex orgy when they were all killed by what looks like gunfire. The bodies are dessicated, almost mummified, but somehow their features are not distorted. Primary hypothesis is now that the blood on the walls was left there in the process of this orgy. I am now standing in front of the main doors. There is a message on them, written in blood. It reads:
“Even if you escape, you will never leave.
He sees all, he knows all, he hunts all.
You are His and He shall have you in the end”
Another of the circled Xes was scratched into the wood below this message by what appear to be human fingernails, each groove then filled with blood. I do not know who “He” is. Perhaps the person who brought me here. Perhaps someone else. I don’t really care at the moment. I am pushing the doors open.
I have now stepped outside. The air smells slightly acrid and bitter, but very moist. Everything is enveloped in a moderately dense fog. I appear to be on the outskirts of a small town. All details match what I saw from the window, though judging by my route down the window would have to face into the center of the house. Perhaps such things are normal. There also appears to be some form of time-distortion in effect, as even after such a seemingly short period I am tired again. I am going to attempt to walk into town before resting, but first I am going to type up these observations.
Why am I not hungry or thirsty?
I am recording this account one day at a time. I am defining a “day” as the time period between two sleep periods. There is a single translucent window in this room, which appears to emit a steady light that does not change with the passage of time. I also found one (1) backpack, black, with a circled X burnt into the nylon main pocket’s front, made of red wax. I have filled the backpack with my possessions, and it is now sitting next to me on the bed. I also found a small digital voice recorder among my possessions which was not there yesterday. I am now using this recorder to take dictation, which I will transcribe before my next sleep period. The appearance of these new items implies that I am being actively watched. They also imply that there is at least one access route to this room that can be used without disturbing a sleeping person. I am now attempting to find it.
The room is small, approximately 8 feet by 12 feet. The walls appear to be solid, as pounding on them produces no resonance indicative of a hollow space. The door appears to be the only method of entry. Oddly, the window is set into the wall next to the door. What little I can make out through it seems to imply that I am three stories in the air. Why would someone put a door in a wall that leads outside? It makes no sense. I do not know WHY it makes no sense, but something tells me it is wrong. I am examining the door. It appears to be made of a light wood, possibly pine or even balsa. The lock mechanism and knob are tarnished brass, appearing to be quite old and disused. I didn’t find a key in the room, so I cannot attempt to unlock the door. It wouldn’t do me any good anyhow, as the lock appears to be filled with a viscous, tacky grey substance. I was able to remove a small amount using one of the screwdriver heads on my multitool. I would compare it to saltwater taffy, but grey and foul-smelling.
I will not be able to unlock the door. Picking the lock is also out of the question. The door appears to be loose on its hinges. I have no way to remove those hinges, as they appear to be on the outside of the door. I am wearing the hiking boots, and all my other materials are in my pockets or the backpack. I am going to attempt to kick the door hard enough to shatter the lock. Something tells me I am capable of this. I can somehow see precisely where to plant my foot and how hard to shove. I am attempting it now.
The door flew off its hinges. It was much easier than I’d anticipated. The hinges tore out of the rotted wood at the same moment as the lock cracked and fell out of its mount space. I am now stepping out into the hall. It extends in both directions for a surprising distance. The worn, dark wood floors are covered with a red runner. The runner is threadbare and dirty. The walls are covered in a greyish-blue wallpaper which is as dingy and decaying as the runner. This hallway shares the same air of neglect as the room I woke up in. I’m looking in both directions. Judging by the dust and disrepair, it doesn’t appear that anyone has lived here in years. Possibly decades.
My room had a window. Granted, it could have been faked, but that would be extraordinarily high-tech compared to the rest of the house. Something isn’t right here. I am walking back into the room, being careful to kick broken bits of lock out of my way. The window appears no different from before. It is a single pane of glass, frosted but slightly translucent, appearing to be old-style handmade lead glass. I am using the multitool in its folded configuration to tap on the window. Sound is consistent with visual analysis. It’s just glass, not a computer screen or projection. I am kicking the window out. Outside is a landscape consistent with any mountainous forest in the Pacific Northwest of the United States of America. The window appears to open onto a small town, which this house seems to sit on the outskirts of. The woods surround the town, with mountains dimly visible in the near distance. The entire town and surrounded areas are enveloped in a dense fog. The sun is not visible thanks to cloud cover. I have leaned out the window and verified that this is not a projection. It is reality. Yet the hallway outside crosses in front of this window, meaning I should see nothing. This seems wrong somehow. However, the evidence is plainly in front of me and I must accept it.
I do not know how long I have been awake, but I am feeling tired again. I will explore the rest of this building tomorrow.
Things currently in my possession: One (1) Gerber multitool, each blade stained with something brown that won’t scrub off. One (1) Sony VAIO F-Series laptop, running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit edition. Two (2) T-shirts, black, no tags. Four (4) pairs jeans, various cuts, all identifying tags removed. Three (3) pairs each bras and panties, black, plain. One (1) notebook, empty. One (1) pen, black, Uni-Ball Signature brand. Five (5) pairs ankle socks, black. One (1) pair hiking boots, black, all tags removed. One (1) pair sneakers, Converse Chuck Taylor Hi-Top brand, size tag removed. One (1) book, copyright 1893, titled “No One and Nowhere”, author one G. B. Allain. One (1) metal chain, fine, holding two (2) metal identification badges (“dog tags”) written in a language I cannot read.
Things I know about myself: I am female. I have long brown hair held in a ponytail by a knotted string. I am of average height and weight, though I am not aware of how I know what “average” is. I have facial features consistent with an individual of Asian descent, though again I do not know how I know this. I have brown eyes. I am left-handed. I appear to be proficient at typing and computer use. I have no visible scars or injuries of any kind. My hands and feet are callused, as if I spend considerable time climbing and running barefoot. I am between 25 and 29 years old.
Things I do not know: My identity. My past. How I arrived in this place. Where this place is. Why I am here.
Current location: A small bedroom, dingy as if from long misuse, mold growing up the pale yellow walls. There are rotting shelves with “my” belongings sitting on them, an old unvarnished dresser holding the clothing, and a bed, twin sized, with brass poles for headboard and footboard. The mattress is thin and smells strongly of mold. There is a single door, set directly across from the foot of the bed. It is made of wood, rotting, and appears to be locked. My efforts to turn the handle have not met with success. I must get out.