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His prose was frightful.
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Below are 20 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in dan's LiveJournal:

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Monday, May 6th, 2002
3:08 am
this is not for you
I'm not in love with formless virtue cold,
Nor empty smile and eyes that shine too bright
To be so lit by any thoughtful mold -
Only both together bring delight.

But why am I afraid to meet your gaze?
To look up to the balcony that I
Imagine you within? My dreaming days
Are spent with thoughts of you upon the sky.

I fear the breach of life into such thoughts,
For what if I am truly so below
You as as I feel? Or worse: if I am caught
By form alone? I do not want to know.

I'll stay below; I'll stay* within my hope,
And keep imagined love from truth's noosed rope.

(an english sonnet)

you know, i had intended this to be a pleasant little love poem, as you can see in the first stanza. it seems to have veered off rather cynically. oh well.

* in the version i wrote for class, this was "I'll stay below; entombed within.." to better fit the sonnet conventions which we had to show we understood. but i like it this way much more
Saturday, April 6th, 2002
4:28 pm
the directions things go
King Nixon (3:54:30 PM): i want to write but i have nthing i want to write about
aimes core (3:54:35 PM): amy
King Nixon (3:54:39 PM): heh
King Nixon (3:55:10 PM): i dont think you want to be in one of my stories. somethign absurd is liable to happen to you
aimes core (3:55:56 PM): um
aimes core (3:56:00 PM): make nice things happen
King Nixon (3:56:13 PM): i'm bad at that.....
aimes core (3:56:50 PM): BUT
King Nixon (3:57:20 PM): myes?
aimes core (3:57:50 PM): ?
King Nixon (3:59:10 PM): well you never finihsed... BUT [...]?
aimes core (3:59:19 PM): BUT ME
King Nixon (3:59:43 PM): well yes, but.... plot
aimes core (4:00:15 PM): AMY
King Nixon (4:09:09 PM): ta da!!
King Nixon (4:09:10 PM): the thing that happened that was good

One day, full of sunshine and happy trees, there was a girl named Amy running through the forest. Giant evil squids were chasing her, to drag her down to the ocean depths and make her their squid queen, because they had fallen in love with her, like everyone else in the world. But luckily, a rock fell out of the sky and crushed the squids. then all their smushed squidy bits were hit by lightning for good measure. THen a tree fell on them.
She wrote 73 haikus about her adventure and they were all published to universal acclaim. Rabbits danced for her and jesus rose again to pick her wildflowers.

King Nixon (4:09:56 PM): i want to write but i have nthing i want to write about
breathedirt (4:10:13 PM): then write about something you dont want to write about
King Nixon (4:10:23 PM): that doesnt sound nearly as fun tho..
King Nixon (4:10:49 PM): see, i'm trying to avoid writing hte papers i have to write in a couple days. if i'm writing things i dont want to write, i may as well do them, and that would defeat the purpose
breathedirt (4:10:58 PM): true
King Nixon (4:11:22 PM): inspire meeeeee
breathedirt (4:11:35 PM): ha
King Nixon (4:25:19 PM): ta da!!
King Nixon (4:25:20 PM): the shortest distance

inspire me, i said
and she laughed
and i was

the moral of teh story is, if you say yourself, you get a silly story. if you laugh, you get an oblique poem (not oblique as is, but i think i like it more without hte last line, so that shall henceforth be removed):

the shortest distance

inspire me, i said
and she laughed

(with or without the last line - thoughts?)
Thursday, January 31st, 2002
3:52 am
best laid plans
i hope soon to get a whole buncha stuff up in this piece. it's been awhle since we've seen much in the way of updates. things change, oh yes they do. just you wait

3:51 am
there comes a time in a young man's life
in a very determined manner
in a selfish utterly lost screaming frame of mind
i want to declare my apathy towards you and this whole situation
to you and all your friends and all those like you and all those not
you know who you are. stand to attention. pay attention.
i say, oh yes i say--
so burn your trees and their leaves with red veins paint-dripping down
so uproot your cities and temples and varnished floors with workboot footprints
and most of all
fuck gravity, you heartless coward
we'd all rather be flying

(for linebyline)
Tuesday, November 6th, 2001
1:11 am
This is what it's all about, you know. I'm finally set for good -- flash! spin! duck! weave! -- and now off, out into the ether, god knows where and god knows why.
No, I know why too. I know why.
They're walking faster behind me, I can hear the hollow steps. But they'll only fall farther behind. Inevitability is on my side today.

(for http://www.livejournal.com/talkread.bml?itemid=13776374)
Friday, August 17th, 2001
12:38 am
excuse my clarity
if it weren't so cold
   i would dance naked in the streets.
      if it weren't so lonely
     i would hug you to death.
    if it weren't so dirty
     i would lick your face clean.
   if it weren't so sad
    i would smile when you sing.
  if it weren't so true
i would know what i mean.

(for linebyline)
Thursday, August 9th, 2001
2:22 am
but in jest
i've failed again, my friend
i've failed again and again
by trusting you to know


as anythng more than a
of your own self

i've failed again, my friend
to hear you talk to yourself
while i laugh at you
but you only hear when i stop

so let go of my hand, my friend
so fuckin' scrap it
so fuckin' anything
so crash through signs and mountains and me
until you find where you're going and
there forever

(written for linebyline)
Thursday, July 19th, 2001
5:18 am
quick exhalation
swimming is harder in the air
because we're all really fish
we just like to pretend those aren't gills
not flippers
not tails
not our lungs bursting out onto the sidewalk when we cry
not our blood streaming out the corners of our eyes every day
when we look at the world that's not around us
because we're fish
and fish live in water.
Wednesday, July 18th, 2001
4:23 am
like so much smoke
so many empty words
best left unsaid
(and do remain so)
to keep us from floating off together like intertwined (streams of) smoke
burning from two lit matches
held between my lips
until they burn into nothing but dirty and charred air

so lie there and pretend
nothing needs to be said because
it's easier than knowing for real

a quick grope behind
what we'll call the school dumpster in the past
when we knew each other then
only it's right there on your couch
and today the day we met
out in the open
but let's lie anyway

we'll say it's romantic

they'll say it's romantic

so lie there and pretend
nothing needs to be stopped because
it's easier than living for real
Saturday, June 16th, 2001
4:42 am
deep colors bleed
Didn't I just see this corner? I thought I'd gone around it moments ago. Sometimes it all bleeds together - do something often enough and you tend to lose track of where you are. I couldn't count how many times I'd driven these same roads. Back and forth, this way and that and back again, it felt sometimes like I did this every day. It was all habit at this point, every turn and street sign a reflex. I stopped paying attention, so sometimes I got a little confused.
Have you ever suddenly realized you were doing something? You're thinking or listening to music or whatever else, and you snap to attention and discover you've been reading, or talking, or driving, and you have no memory of what just happened. Your mind goes off on a completely different tack and you lose yourself. It can be very startling. What if you come to attention and you find that you're driving and you're about to go off the road or hit a pole or careen off of a bridge abutment? What is there to do then but crash? Maybe it's too late to avoid the accident. Maybe your gas tank cracks just a little, it would only take one small spark to set the whole car ablaze. It would be quick, I think: before you know it, you're trapped, flaming, burnt, dead.
It can be so easy to lose yourself while driving. On the highway, at night, there's nothing. In the dark all you see is the road directly ahead, the small pool of headlights spilling onto the dark cracked pavement, that oscillating white line always in the same spot, no matter how many turns you follow it around. And always, the same frame - you view the scene through the same windshield with the same steering wheel in front of you. Drive for hours and nothing moves an inch. Maybe there's no traffic to wake you, maybe you have the cruise control on, it's almost hypnotizing. You lose track. You lose control.
Watch the road. There's nothing there, follow the same road.
Didn't I just pass that road? I could've sworn I had. Drossers Ave, I'd seen it go by, that meant 3 more houses until my left onto Hovill. Is there a street with a similar name? Maybe I should back up and look, but it's too much bother. Just pay attention now. It's late, your thoughts are wandering.
Do anything often enough and you'll lose track. How many times have I gone down this street, in the dark? Always at night, when I'm heading home. There's a light up ahead, I can see it twinkling among the trees. It must be over the hill, to be appearing through the trees. I don't think I've ever seen another car out here, especially this late. These aren't well-traveled roads. I could be alone for miles; the few people nearby would be safely asleep by now. Wouldn't they? No, I have seen traffic here! Once, I remember watching their headlights sweep over the mailboxes, through the pine trees. I remember them illuminating that big old house on the corner, with the oddly carved doorframe. It must have happened, how else would I have ever seen that frame? I've never been here in the day, have I? Have I ever seen the frame? What if it doesn't look anything like that, what if that car suddenly sweeps by, lights up the house, and the doorframe is plain and austere, a veritable puritan of a doorway? Did I imagine it?
Did it happen? Have you ever told a lie so often it became true? Have you ever forgotten you were lying? Tell a story one too many times, and one day you wake up and remember, no, this never happened! What am I talking about? I never did that. It was my cousin, who told me about it one night; my brother, who let it slip some summer morning, after a long sleepless night of too much to drink; or perhaps, no one at all, merely from my own imagination. I want to stop, get out, look at that door. It could be anything, really. I'm mostly seeing shadow, it might not even be a door. Some sort of alcove, a bend in the house, a curiosity of the design. Even supposing it was there, just as I pictured, what does that prove? Can't you lie and be right?
The light's up ahead, I'm coming around now. Maybe it's not a car - it doesn't seem to be moving. It's too dark to see from here, I'll know in a moment. Just around this bend and I'll--
Wasn't I just here? I remember this, I thought all this just moments ago. I saw the car, drove around the bend, over the hill, and... and what? Was I here? Was anyone else? Maybe his car stalled. That would explain why he's not moving, maybe his car stalled and he's trying to get it going again, in a moment it will roar to life. Or there's something wrong in the engine: a spark plug stopped sparking, a gas cap uncapped - it could be anything, really. Any number of reasons why someone might have to stop for a moment. Maybe he's waiting, I'll come around the corner, see him stopped, apparently helpless. His car has died, he needs a lift. I live just around the bend, he says, in the big house with the carved doorway. Could you give me a lift?
Could you? Just a short way, I'm afraid to walk alone in the dark. You never know who's out there.
I remember him asking. I don't see a face, his voice floats in from nothing, from the darkness and the light flashing through the trees.
There's nothing. I just came around the corner. Nothing. No car, no man, no light.
Did I already drive him home? Did he come into my car? Where has his car gone, then? Did I imagine it?
Anything's possible. This late, things bleed together. The mind plays tricks, you know. Sometimes I'll imagine something, see it so strongly it seems real. Have you ever forgotten you were imagining and thought it was a memory? Have you ever suddenly realized you were driving, and there was a tree just up ahead? Maybe you won't have time to turn. Maybe it's too late to avoid the accident. Maybe your gas tank cracks just a little, it would only take one small spark to set the whole car ablaze. It would be quick, I think: before you know it, you're trapped, flaming, burnt, dead.
It can be so easy to lose yourself while driving. That light really looked like a car, through the trees. Like a police car, even, those flashing lights. Maybe there was an accident, someone crashed, the police had to come help out. Or clean up. Anything's possible. These narrow roads in the dark, it would only take going a little too fast to miss a turn. Maybe someone was tired, they weren't paying attention, drove off the road. Maybe the man in the big house with the carved doorframe sees the fire. Maybe the car burst into flames, trapping the driver inside. The man in the house would call the police, they would come help out. Or clean up. Maybe the car had burned up by the time they get there, the man trapped inside, his charred body still in his seat. Maybe the seatbelt melted into his flesh as he burnt away, just down the road from his big house with that carved doorway.
It would be tragic. I thought I saw flashing police lights just up ahead. I thought I saw the smoke, the silhouettes of people moving in front of the raging fire. I turned the corner, and nothing. Maybe I imagined it. What exit was that? I didn't see the number; I think it was my exit. I wasn't paying attention. When did I even get onto the highway?
I feel very disoriented for a moment, before it comes back. Yes, of course I got on the highway, I remember the onramp. Of course I remember it, I've driven it hundreds of times. I could see every detail in my mind, I remember it very clearly. But do I remember going up it tonight?
Where am I going? Am I heading home? to work? I think I'm going home. Must be, it's night, I'd be going home at night. So I want exit 6, did I just pass exit 6? There's a sign ahead, I'll know in a moment. There are very few cars out this late, even on a major highway. Just a few, silent friends cruising along with me at 80mph, seen only as floating lights. At night, a car is its headlights. If one of the lights floats off on its own, what then? They must have been motorcycles. That would be simple. What if one goes up, or off to the side, beyond the guardrail? What if they're just not there anyone? Some headlights in the rearview look like eyes.
Eyes flying along behind you, watching you. Maybe a whole face, can you see the face? Just a hint of a nose in the light of that hellish glare, glowing eyes. Don't some insects have glowing eyes? Don't ghosts? There's a terrible face following you, getting slowly and silently closer. Turn up the radio. There's no face. There is no face watching you.
What if you're watching that face in your mind, watching the rearview for an imaginary hint of features in the headlights behind you, when suddenly there's a real face, with a senseless grin and a sharp axe? Maybe he's been lying in the backseat the whole time, waiting for the perfect moment to rise up. Did you check the back seat before driving away from the big house with the carved doorframe? Did that man you were dropping off ever get out of the car? Do you remember anything? Maybe the man strikes, the axe sinks deep into your shoulder, severing the muscle. Your right arm goes dead. Maybe, with the pain and panic, you can't undo the seatbelt with your clumsy left hand. You can't even turn to fight him off. Maybe the car goes out of control. Maybe it's too late to avoid the accident. Maybe your gas tank cracks just a little, it would only take one small spark to set the whole car ablaze. It would be quick, I think: before you know it, you're trapped, flaming, burnt, dead.
It can be so easy to lose yourself while driving. Weren't there headlights behind me a moment ago? I remember seeing them, thinking they were a face.
A terrible face following me, wielding a manic axe, floating up and away. Am I home already, dreaming I'm still on the road? Following the streets I know so well, that it seems sometimes I drive down every day. Day into night. Did I ever get to my exit? Did I ever get home? Do I have a home? I can't remember not being in the car, driving along these empty roads at night, the police lights up ahead, the fire in the woods, the burning car, I'm trapped inside. It was quick, I think: before you know it, you're trapped, flaming, burnt, dead.
It can be so easy to lose yourself while driving.
Saturday, June 9th, 2001
4:08 am
everything has been backdated to approximately when it was written. just cuz i wanted to. i have that much power over these, you see. bwahaha. yeah. and hey, do feel free to comment in here, no one has yet. if i didnt want peopel reading these and giving their thoughts, i woudln't post them after all..
Wednesday, May 9th, 2001
4:26 am
they know not what they do
They will soon be to come here. I see them here, I see them below, I see them learning, flying. It will not be long now that they are to come.

There was nothing about, but cinders and smoking dirt. My village had been razed down to ash; bombs and napalm had melted us down. There was nothing left - a caved-in hut, still burning brightly against the purple sky drowned in smoke; a small boy, perhaps five, lying in a small patch of thirsty brown grass, somehow untouched except for the tree branch which had been speared through his face in the initial blast; entire families blown apart, what was left of them mixed and swapped together, then melted down in the heat. They boil together and their essence floats off on the smoke. Many homes are gone entirely, a burnt patch of ground like so many others where once people had happily lived. The American bombs have left nothing of our lives.
And yet, here I stand, surveying all this. And yet, there are others, my whole village, standing about in confusion. And yet, there are our homes, just as they had been. The boy, his face whole and unpierced, cries for his mother. And yet, below that, all the death still lies about, everything still burns. The world as it should be, superimposed over the ruin it had become.
I do not understand these things.

"Payload delivered, on target. Five oh five, to base, five oh five. Payload delivered, please advise."
I have always said, the worst part of the job is this stupid military speech. As if we can erase what we're doing by talking like robots. Of course, it's not my fault, just following my programming. Well, we were all following programming, but that was no excuse. Nothing can erase this.
This was my first bombing run. Flying now back to base - I hope that's where I'm going, I haven't gotten a radio response yet - I can't stop thinking about it. I'd had time to watch the bombs burst, to watch the napalm pour slowly out and down, like syrup, like hot fudge for the sundae of their village. (Extremely hot fudge.)
"Five oh five, to base. Payload delivered, please advise. Repeat: five oh five, to base, please advise."
I watched their huts collapse and shudder and blaze; the people running in blind terror, or falling to the ground, bloody and desperate. I watched until smoke obscured my view, and then I started thinking about it, watching it again in my head.
This was what we were fighting for.
(We had to destroy the village to save it.)
I could not believe that. I knew I had to, to live with myself, to continue in this war until I could go home, but I couldn't yet. I hoped, with time, I could hide from my morals.
"Five oh five, this is five oh five speaking to base camp alpha. Please advise, where am I going? Payload delivered. I need some directions here."
Why don't they answer me?

We were all finding each other. Some people had been hiding out in the brush and trees, confused, thinking the bombing continued. Perhaps it did. Mothers searched for their sons, daughters for their fathers. Then we began to find ourselves. People lay dead on the ground, people who walked about. We stopped and examined our own bodies lying in the dirt. I lay under a tree, bloody and burst. I had no desire to look at myself. Walking further into the village, I caught sight of my wife. I could see she did not yet know she was not dead. I will give her time.
I watch a ruined hut - in my right eye, it was merely a cracked wall, burning and sending up clouds of smoke; in my left eye, it was as it had always been, a home for the Nyugin family, the walls muddy brown, the thatch roof contentedly basking in sunlight. Slowly, the left image became clearer, stronger, until I see it with both eyes.
Looking about, everything has returned to its self. There is no destruction left, no fire, no smoke. We are all whole.

They are float up to me on dark billowing wings. They do not see themselves flying, poor souls. Poor blind souls. I will help them see, if they let me. Behind me, I hear the gates to tremble at their approach.

My radio was silent. There's not even static, not any homing bleeps, not any ghosted voices from other channels. The radio had to be broken, there's always something coming through.
If it was broken, it wasn't showing it. The lights and dials all seemed fine, normal. The little green bulb by the power switch was confidently shining. Green means go. Keeping one eye on the sky ahead, I reached under the seat for my emergency handset. I try to think of something witty to tell myself, to make me laugh and stop worrying for a moment. Wit has never been my strong suit.
"Hello?" A slight static fuzz came through the speaker. Realizing I hadn't set it to the proper frequency, I set things up and try again. This time my Hello came through the speaker, loud as I had just been in person. The slight echoed delay quickly became a feedback screech, and I clicked off the handset.
The radio was still receiving properly, I knew that now. Therefore, that means they're not transmitting anything. That is simply not possible. Someone is always sending something to someone. Even if it's not on my channel, I would get static. There would be white noise for it to screen. However, it was simply not picking up anything at all. Not possible.
I switched frequencies to the homing beacon. It would beep beep me back. That never shut off. There was no beep beep. It was never shut off. Except for now.
Without any forethought at all, I turn my plane around, heading back the way I came. As I hadn't thought about it first, I didn't know exactly what I planned to do, but I knew I couldn't keep going. Not with nothing to go to.

The death and bombing had entirely faded away. We are all wandering our village, looking at everything, for even the slightest sign of what had occurred. We want some sign of the destruction, need it, if only to prove that it happened. We find nothing. It never happened, nothing had been destroyed, we had not been dead. Somehow, this is worse than if it had been real, still there, waiting for us.
Behind me, there is a shout. I turn at the noise, and see blinding light. Overwhelming light.

I am come to walk among them. I am come to show them the truth. They all are hide their eyes from it, my brightness. They see only fire, only my feathered hide. I will speak to them.

This is only getting worse. The village, the people I destroyed, I am flying over it and it is whole. Not even some smoke, some fire, some damage, it is entirely whole. Am I over a different village, somehow? I know I'm not, I know this is the only one in the area, I know I flew back perfectly from when I turned, but this isn't possible.
Distracted by my confusion, it takes me a moment to realize I am now walking -walking - into the village. People turn to watch me, they see I am American and become visibly tense. There is a bright light behind them.

I bring the other, the one who saves. He sees less, even, than them. He fears. I have plucked him from the air. He understands nothing.

At the sound of footsteps, I turn and see a man walking towards us from the clearing. He is in the uniform of an American soldier. Will he try to shoot us? We have nothing to defend ourselves with, the most we could do is throw stones. Except...
Except we survived being bombed, we survived the napalm. What else can they do? I look back at the light again, and this time it speaks to me.

What is that light there? It's so beautiful, but it's blinding - I can hardly see the villagers around it. I don't understand any of this. Everything here was destroyed, I watched it be destroyed. I destroyed it myself. But now here I am, here with them, watching this light.

I am come to show you truth!
They do not hear me. I must to speak to them individual at a time.
Old man, I am come to show you truth! Now he hears, he looks at me in confused, he speaks in whispers. I hear him in whispers.
"What are you? You're so bright. Why all this?.."
You are free now. You will come, I take you to the gates. You are been saved in the fires.
"I don't understand." The man is sad. He trembles, he is in fear.
Your little girl daughter, she has come. You will come, you will see your little girl daughter and together go to the gates.
I extend the little girl daughter hand. He quivers at sight of its waving. He reaches slow, takes it, and comes in. Now I move on.
Woman, I am come to show you truth! They will all come in.

They are walking into the light. One by one, they go stiff, then slowly shuffle forward into it. Their feet barely move as they go, they could be mannequins dragged along. It is very hot, this close to the light. My dog tags get hot and I tear them off, throw them into a bush. With a hideous soft rustle, the light turns and speaks to me. Not normal speech - it has no mouth, being light. It isn't telepathy either, I am hearing this. Perhaps something in between the two, or something altogether different. I suppose it doesn't matter.
You have saved, now you come. I show you truth!
I stare blankly. Not that I'm frightened, by this point I have stopped noticing that the situation is impossible. I simply don't know what it means. "I have saved?"
You have saved. You rain down fire that saves. You destroy village. Village is saved.
"I destroy?... rain down..." My mind plunges into my gut, as the words click together. We had to destroy the village to save it. I have destroyed the village. Is this to be some punishment? Is it mocking me? "What do you want?"
I am come to show you truth. You save village, you save you. I bring you to come here, I pluck you from your air machine. You destroy much, be proud.
"Look, I don't even believe... I mean, this isn't really what I want. I was drafted, I had no choice. They told me to come here and bomb; I didn't know what it would be. I thought there would be an enemy base. I didn't know..."
But you save much! Why this fear?
"I don't know what you want. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to hurt them. I never believed it: we destroy villages to save them. I'm not in charge."
Believe? It is so. All is so.
"It... what? That's true?"
All is true. There is no untrue. You see. Come now, the gates are to open. You will come, you will see. You destroy, you save. All are saved, they come too. They thank you, you come now. You are saved.
I can hardly breathe. Could it be telling the truth? They're all saved? By destroying the village, I saved it? I look around. Everything is pristine. The village is perfect, not a scratch, not a burn. This place I bombed and burned and killed, is whole and good again. I can't understand. But so what?
"I come now."
Tuesday, May 1st, 2001
11:11 pm
soup of the day
today's special,
invented by our chef, in his kitchen
thronged by rare and fragrant spices
saffron and cardamom scenting the air, saucepans quietly simmering as he
creates his masterpiece,
or perhaps stolen from some brilliant parisian
living in the gutter,
boiling rats in discarded mustard-
(do you assume he has no taste for the finer things?)
that true gourmet.
11:10 pm
that dark-haired man of impeccable taste
that dark-haired man
of impeccable taste
has a secret he confided to me one dark night
over too many glasses
of fine
now, whenever he retires for the evening
for a stroll about the neighborhood
i share his guilt
because i know
and say nothing.
if i do
i know i will
his next victim, but
that is not why
i stay silent.
it is because i enjoy taking part
in his crimes
from the comfort of my livingroom.
Friday, February 9th, 2001
11:53 pm
i'm going to have a headache today i can feel it. the corners of my head are throbbing lights are blurry sounds are sharp. it's going to be a bad one.
maybe i should lie down.
i'm gently massaging my temples, trying to will away the coming deluge. my eyes drift slowly shut. the world becomes sound and sensation. cars drive past people walk by chattering dogs bark trees rustle in the breeze. the wind is chilly but the sun shines brightly today. it makes my skin glow - the warmth feels good. i'm sitting in a plastic chair on the sidewalk in front of my apartment. it is friday afternoon.

--Hey, are you all right?
remove hands from head. open eyes. look up.
--Are you ok? You look messed up.
oh, it's John. maybe he can help.
--Man, I think I'm getting a headache. Can you run up and get me some Tylenol or something?
--Sure, yeah. Are you sure you're ok? You really look weird, man. Like you've been sandpapering your face off.
i wordlessly toss him the keys. my face is not the problem. watch him shrug walk away to building up steps through door out of sight. now i run my right hand over my face, savoring the nerves' impulses. it seems the same as always. nose still in place, still the same shape. skin's texture unchanged. same face. what was he seeing? i wish i had a mirror.
blink and breathe and breathe and blink.

the pain hits so fast: the first thing i feel is my mouth pull into a grimace beneath my fingertips. i have time to wonder why i twitched, why my eyes have suddenly dilated, before everything dies in a red haze behind my eyes / before shards of ice claw through my brain / before i have the worst migraine of my life. i might have screamed. i might have clawed my eyes out. i might have died, for all i could tell. finally after daysyearsdecadesforever - the pain recedes. i collapse against the plastic chair back gasping, sweating, in shock, eyes clamped shut.
i'm calm. it was only moments, in reality. it only felt like forever only felt like forever only felt like forever. i hold my poor head in shaking hands for a moment then look up at the world again. all the pretty things without headaches: trees don't get headaches: i'll look at the trees.
breathe and breathe.
breathe again.
the leaves are rustling in the breeze pretty in sunlight bright shining pretty. i like the view. i see the wind swiftly pick up, leaves and branches fly in pummeling hurricane gusts. but it's not there. the leaves quiver is all. barely move in slight breeze. what did i see? did i see it? it felt like sight.
scratch my beard, rest chin in palm, fingers idly tracing my cheek. watch the cars and trees and air. watch it all.
something changed. i rub my eyes and try to focus. the sunlight is making me squint. something changed. that car, the red one. it was there then wasn't then was again. but different.
sudden realization: my eyes are still closed. from the pain. which still hurts. a sound like wind and torrents swirls my ears, making all other sounds a steady faint moan, far far away. lights flash in my head behind my eyes everywhere. every muscle i have clenches and burns. can't see can't hear can't feel can't think can't--
again, it's gone. what just happened? had i opened my eyes? had it ever stopped hurting? it's all i can do to breathe now. i don't know what's happening.
breathe. just breathe. and blink now.
my fingertips are touching (thumb and indexfinger, middlefinger right to the side). i can feel them pressing together. they'd been on my cheeks when the pain hit and my hand clenched. they're touching. through my cheeks my fingers touch through my cheeks oh god. i can't feel my face.

five minutes. sitting here five minutes, i'm afraid to move. holes in my cheek i can't feel, i don't want to know they're there. it's like the wind the car the wind, it's not there it's not real. all i can think. i can't wait longer - for John, where is he? - pull hands from my face, fingers from my mouth and cheeks and away from me. feels like nothing. no pain, no wind on my face. gingerly feel around, there are no holes. my face is fine no holes at all how did the fingers touch through no holes? look down at my hands (are my eyes open this time?) hands look fine. no they don't. it's wrong, something's wrong. it's so wrong i don't see it at first. i have no knuckles. my fingers bend smoothly, one graceful horrible curve. flex my hands, feel the muscles pull and push tendons bones it's all fine. feels fine inside. looks alien.
pain again. again and again waves sweep across me, scraping me raw with it. i think i'm dying and exploding and melting and the world is ending and on and again and on. i think i'm shaking, shuddering uncontrollably. i don't know, can't feel see hear anything, but i think i am.
someone came back. who was it went walked away to building up steps through door out of sight? can't think remember i know who it was can't think straight. John! John came back i feel him. he's here now he'll save me. save me.
hand on my shoulder i feel his fingers. on the skin on my shoulder in my shoulder pulling tearing flesh pulling the cracking the bone arm torn off falls wetly to sidewalk blood everywhere blood everywhere PAIN i can't feel anything is there blood can't see anymore head hurts it hurts all hurts i can't stand it

it stops

it stopped

i think i'm ok. open eyes look around. nothing. listen. nothing. feel. nothing. i'm blind and deaf and numb. nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing

where am i? why am i alone? i've lost all my senses, just thinking blindly to myself in myself. it's so lonely.

i am nothing in nothing. i am deaf and blind and numb and dead. am i dead? i decide i am dead. dead and gone and forever. it feels nice in a way. from far off and forever, i hear a voice. faint and long-ago-sounding but unmistakably John.

--Hey, are you ok? Are you all right? Hello? Answer me, man. Come on, say something. Focus. Please say something, look at me, are you there? Please? Are you even in there? Look at me! Something. Come on, come on I know you're there please talk say something look at me look at anything make a sound something squeeze my hand something don't be dead oh don't be dead say something wake up. Look at me look at me look at me. Say something. Hello? ... Please? ...
Monday, November 6th, 2000
12:52 am
...and words failed them
Jack was at a loss. This was an odd sensation for him: he usually was a font of words. Whether useful or not, whether sensible or not, he never stopped talking. But now he was caught with absolutely nothing to say. He cocked an eyebrow at her and shrugged, hoping the idea would get across.
She didn't seem to be having any more luck, across the table. She gestured vaguely with her left hand. She did at least have the excuse of chewing at the time, and he hoped she would say something substantial once the chicken had found its way down her throat. A sliver of chicken was still clinging to the fork in her right hand, looking clammy and unpleasant. He hoped it was better than it looked; he'd never been to this restaurant before, so couldn't vouch for its relative value himself. Perhaps she was keeping silent rather than complain - a stoic. All the same, he'd prefer a complaint to the absolute silence they were staring into, across the table from each other.
With a start, he realized just how absolute that silence was: it stretched far beyond the confines of their table, across the room, across the restaurant, out onto the street. No one was talking. People, slowly noticing this for themselves, looked around at each other in confusion. A few made some futile gesture, tilted their heads slightly, foreheads wrinkled contemplatively. No one was eating, or cooking, or driving, as far as he could see. Especially, no one was talking. By virtue of this simple fact, all other actions had ceased. If humanity fell silent, would you drive on, oblivious?
Every so often, someone would open their mouth to speak, pause for a moment, then shut it again, defeated. He could hear the slight click of their teeth coming together in the silence. Outside, a few cars still idled; many had turned their cars off entirely. Even in the presence of miracles, the frugal did not waste their gas.
Someone dropped a knife. It hit with the dull heavy thud of silverware on a tablecloth, and then fell to the floor, clattering on the tile. Amidst the stillness, it was deafening. A waiter, who'd been standing frozen in place the whole time still holding a pitcher of water, started to move towards picking the knife up off the floor before he stopped himself. He stood back up, looking about the room self-consciously.
Jack was unsure how to feel. He eventually settled on apprehensive, as a compromise with terror. This was so far outside the realm of anything he'd seen or heard of, this complete suffocating lack of words in the air, he was afraid if he went to terror, if he started screaming in blind panic, he would never stop. Even so, it was all he could do not to shriek out some frenzied word. It didn't really matter which - any word, to shatter the stillness - but it felt wrong, somehow, to even think of it. Any word, any scream, would be trite and pitiful. Not entirely sure who it was meant for, he shrugged again. Even that felt stupid and obvious. His shoulders slumped in defeat.
One man, without a sound, his face frozen in bug-eyed terror, stiffly pushed his chair back from his table and stood up. He turned, almost militarily, every movement carefully weighed and weighted, towards the door. He walked out onto the sidewalk, out onto the street, threading his way between cars full of horrified drivers and passengers. Finally, seeming almost climactic and inevitable at once, someone - too far off for Jack to tell if the driver was male or female - pushed his or her gas pedal swiftly to the floor. The car jumped forward eagerly, catching the man at the waist. He seemed to just snap in half, his torso flopping limply against the hood of the car as his legs dragged beneath. The car rammed into the car in front of it at a wild angle, and began trying to climb onto it, but then gave up the effort and rolled halfway off. The man was now gone, he'd been lost in a spray of blood in the collision.
There was a sharp intake of breath throughout the room. People stared stone faced out the windows. A woman stifled sobs, face in her hands. A man in the corner was making some sort of choking sound. The manager of the restaurant walked out of the kitchen, weeping silently, locked the door, and pulled the shades on all the windows. It was unclear if he intended to keep everyone there from leaving, or to keep the rest of the world from entering. Perhaps it was to keep himself from leaving.
Jack saw a movement out of the corner of his eye and turned his head. She stared at him from across the table, desperate and imploring. She wasn't moving, wasn't even blinking. He wasn't sure what movement had caught his eye. He had no comfort to offer her, but felt obliged to try. He opened his mouth, the "It's not so bad, things will be all right soon" forming on his tongue, but it didn't come. There were no words. Everything he could say would be trite and clichéd and blatantly feeble. There were no words.
He realized what the movement had been - she'd quietly placed her fork down on her napkin. The sliver of chicken was still stuck on it, a greasy-looking fleck on the middle tong.
Anything that came into his mind sounded used and worn. That was it, he knew. It had all finally been said: every possible thought and idea had been expressed; all the words had been used and reused until they lost any meaning and novelty. It seemed such an alien concept, but it was the only way he could think to describe the feeling, as he sat there, mouth open, with nothing to say.
There had to be something, there just had to be. There was always a new idea, a new experience. This, right here, what was happening to them just then, wasn't it new? What he was thinking, wasn't that something to say? Out loud, for the world to hear. But even that was trapped in his throat, the muscles almost constricting to keep it in. He was moving towards that endless panic, inch by nerve shattering inch. His eyes flitted about the room, catching on her fork. Amidst it all, that fork sat there on her napkin, glinting dully, small bit of chicken trapped on it.
It was the hardest thing he would ever do in his life. His right hand clenched so tightly on the arm of his chair that two of his fingers broke. He grimaced, but could not give in. Slowly, it crawled up his throat, across his tongue, between his teeth, past his lips, into the world.
"How's the chicken?"
She began to cry. The slight splash of each teardrop falling onto her plate was deafening, in the silence.
Friday, March 3rd, 2000
11:13 pm
drag me out
crawling in mud
despicable mud
i'm nourished on famine and flies.
cold and i shiver
whimper and quiver
alone, i can't but despise.
sound of a bell
heaven or hell?
sunlight pours into my eyes:
the mud is a bed
satin and thread
the famine a feast in disguise.
thank you again
truest of friends
dragged me from darkest of hell.
to crawl through the dreck
all for the wreck
that was me in the dark where i fell
is proof of your valor
that no slip could shatter
no fall to the mud could betray.
when roles are reversed
and you're at the worst
of a long dreary stretch of dark days
i'm there with no thought
of you left to rot
'cause i know that you've done the same.
whatever you need
blood? then i bleed
i swear that it's never in vain
Tuesday, May 25th, 1999
11:51 pm

...if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
--Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

He was home. Finally. He'd had a hard day and needed some rest. At least, he liked to think he'd had a hard day, an important job, but actually, red tape kept him from achieving either. This was to his benefit - he didn't have the jaded sociability needed for importance, and he would have burnt out a week into his added responsibility. Heading for his den, he collapsed into a raggedy, overstuffed chair, which visibly shuddered at the extra weight suddenly foisted onto it. After getting settled, he reached into the cooler kept beside his chair and pulled out a beer, setting it by his left foot. He picked up the remote and clicked on the ancient portable TV sitting on his near-empty bookcase. He wasn't thirsty, and there was nothing on, as usual. After aimlessly flipping through channels for a few minutes, he struggled up out of his chair, forgetting the beer he hadn't really wanted anyway. Not feeling particularly hungry, he walked down the hall to get a snack. He counted the doors as he walked past, as if suspecting a room had been stolen during his absence. "1..2..3.." Rounding a corner he stopped, the "7" dying on his tongue, and gazed into the hole where his kitchen had been.

...time passes...

Settling back into his chair, he returned his attention (such as it was) to the TV, hoping to forget his house's newly acquired window. His window into nothing. Not even noticing what he had on, he switched over to the news, hoping to see someone having a worse day than his.
"...and, on the lighter side of the news, Mrs. Hasley of Bremsdale woke up to a bit of a shock this morning. Her cats had been strolling the neighborhood all night as they usually do, but this morning was anything but usual. As Mrs. Hasley opened her door to let her various felines in, she noticed a kitchen on her lawn. The entire room, wall to wall, floor to ceiling, with all appliances intact, was lying on what, until that morning, had been a large oak tree. Says Mrs. Hasley, 'I just didn't know what to make of it. I mean, the thing was just sittingon my lawn. I walked out to have myself a little look, you know, but Miss Mittens started mewling in that way she has, so I had to go and feed her. Then the rest of 'em got in on it, and by the time I had them all fed, half the neighborhood was hammerin' on my door, askin' about the kitchen and all. I just don't know what to make of it. And to top it off, the garbage men won't take the blasted thing away. Now, I ask you, what should I do with something like that?'"
Sighing, he turned off the TV. He got another beer out of the cooler, not even noticing the other one by his left foot, sitting just where he'd left it. Until it wasn't. Wondering if maybe there was something on another channel, he absentmindedly reached down and placed his beer where the other one had been sitting a moment ago, noticing too late that there was no longer a floor on that side of the room. Scrambling out of his chair just in time to watch it fall into oblivion, he tried in vain to remember a prayer.

...time passes...

"So what do you make of that?"
His neighbor looked into the void, absentmindedly adjusting his hat with his left hand. He didn't know what to make of it, and he said so.
"I don't know what to make of it." After a moments thought, he added, "Was that your kitchen on that old lady's lawn?"
"Yeah, it was. Just put in a new stove, too."
At this, his neighbor turned away from the void and said, "But you don't cook."
"It was on sale," he replied, as if that was a perfectly good excuse for all of life's problems. Perhaps it was. Looking back at the void, he continued, "Not that it matters now."
He stared into the void. And the void stared back.

...time passes...

Lying on his thoroughly lumpy bed in his thoroughly disheveled bedroom, he flicked through the channels of his TV. He'd rescued it when the void had overtaken the rest of his den, which had ended up in Dunbark, of all places. There was still nothing on, so he turned off the TV. Same as always! In a sudden fit of rage, he whipped the remote across the room. Realizing he hadn't heard it *thunk* against the wall as he'd wanted, he glanced over and saw the void sweeping into his bedroom. He jumped out of bed, grabbed the TV, and lumbered into the hallway, hearing that crinkling sound that seemed to follow the void everywhere, as if reality were being crumpled up and thrown away. Maybe it was.
Standing in the doorway, he stared into the void. And the void stared back.

...time passes...

He was running out of places to sleep. He'd lost the couch yesterday, his guest bed (not that he ever had guests) the night before, so he was sleeping on the floor. He'd made a small mound of a few blankets and towels he'd found in the linen closet and burrowed in for the night. It never occurred to him to leave.
After all, he still had his TV.

...time passes...

He woke up, hearing the crinkling after a moment. It seemed louder than before. He rolled over to have a look and almost fell into the void. Jumping up, he looked around and realized he was surrounded. He was standing on an island of worn Formica on an ocean of blank emptiness in the middle of his yard, with nothing but a few rapidly unraveling blankets, some stained and faded towels, and an old portable TV.
Across the sea of nothing, he could see his neighbors staring at him. He stared back.

...time passes...

The void was still moving in, slower than before. Too late, he saw his TV teetering on the brink. It fell in, the antenna snagging momentarily on the edge of reality.
He stared after it, into the void. The void stared back.

...time passes...

Now he barely had room to stand, just a sliver of his house, floating on nothing. Not white or gray or black, just nothing. He had a headache from watching nothing for so long. He felt tired, so he went to sleep.
His body toppled into the void.

...time passes...

She came home to her empty apartment, her empty life. Flicking on the TV, she wandered into the kitchen for a snack. While she rummaged through the old take-out Chinese and the unidentifiable mold colonies in their Tupperware homes, she listened to the news drifting in from the other room.
"...who seems to have been swallowed up by his own home, yesterday. No one seems to have an explanation for what happened. Says his neighbor: 'Yeah, he dragged me on over there to look at that crazy thing. I just didn't know what to make of it. I mean, how often does a hole just open up in your kitchen? Now, don't get me wrong, I don't just mean some ordinary hole. I mean it was just a hole, like someone had just popped his kitchen right out. There just wasn't nothing there, it was like you was blind. No color or light or nothing. Just nothing.'"
She smiled, faintly and without humor, imagining being swallowed by a house. She didn't notice a crinkling sound coming from her bedroom. She was listening to the TV.

...time passes...

People came from all over to see the hole, marveling at the "Window On Nothing" (as the press took to calling it) until their eyes watered and their head ached. It was quite an attraction for a while, but eventually people - as they tend to do - lost interest in it. There were bigger and better things to see: a cat which could write in Arabic with its tail; a butterfly with twelve wings and the initial of an Apostle woven into the design on each; a boy born with horns, whom the tabloids began calling "Devil Boy," prompting a lawsuit that, while successful, wasn't enough to save the boy from years of psychological torture by his devout uncle. There were many sights to see, and the Window On Nothing had gotten passé. Besides, it seemed to be closing itself up, leaving not the house in its receding wake (the house had been reassembled and was on display in the town square, though they never found the chimney) but an unsettling, semi-gelatinous field of off-white glup. The void was packing up and embarking for parts unknown, almost as if it had gotten what it wanted and had no further business with our world.

...time passes...

She was leaning against a red plastic lawn-chair in the middle of her kitchen, eating potato chips without tasting them, one after another. Reflecting on her day, she started mumbling to herself. "No one remembered. No one at all. Not fair. I always remember. I always call, send a card, something, but for me: nothing. Can't believe I'm thirty already."
To celebrate her birthday, she grabbed another handful of greasy chips and headed down the hall to her bedroom, leaving a trail of crumbs as if to find her way home.
Popping the last chip in her mouth, she went into her room and nearly choked to death. Staring, bug-eyed, she retreated into the hall.

...time passes...

He was floating in the void. He couldn't see anything, no matter how he squinted and stared. There didn't seem to be anything there at all. He didn't know what to make of it. He couldn't even see himself. He knew he was there, but he didn't seem to be. Grinning at the absurdity, he laughed into the void, stopping suddenly when he realized he couldn't hear himself laugh. After a moment's consideration, he continued laughing.
Off to the side, his TV floated by. He didn't notice.

...time passes...

"So, you're what got him, eh?" she said to the void, almost expecting a reply. There was a sentient quality to it, an empathic aura that nearly brought her to tears. It's lonely, she thought.
She'd often wondered what it was like to be blind. Watching it creep into the hall, she found that it hurt her mind to see nothing at all. Eyes watering, she tried to wrench away her gaze but couldn't quite look away. She wondered what had happened to that other man, and what it wanted with her.
She stared questioningly into the void. The void stared back.

...time passes...

He was still there, still floating. He wondered how long he'd be there, but it didn't really seem to matter. He had an odd feeling growing in his mind, a seed spreading its tendrils throughout his head, pervading his thoughts. The only way he could think to describe it was bright. He wasn't bored floating in nothing: there's so much to think about. His inner eye was red-hot and he could feel himself expanding, though in what sense he wasn't sure. He thought he might try to sleep again, wondering what he would dream about, when he saw a flicker of something out of the corner of his eye. He turned to it, as well as he could with nothing to stand on or push off of.
It was a face. A woman who looked to be about 37. She was fairly pretty but looked very tired, as if she hadn't slept in weeks.
She was staring at him and he stared back. Out of the void.

Monday, March 8th, 1999
11:26 pm
a morning encounter
[wrote this 3 years ago for a class. it is loosely based on frankenstein. dorky, but kinda cute]

To Mr. Sechalet, San Francisco
San Francisco, April 8th, 19--
I must tell you of the wondrous event which has befallen me. It is an unbelievable narrative, so I will endeavor to prevail in telling it so that, I hope, it will prove itself true from the internal logic of its circumstances. I do hope it will be as amazing for you to read as it was for me to experience.
Many have spoken to me of the foolishness of my chosen profession, but I must continue on with my work. The chance that I might be the vessel of knowledge that will save mankind is a prize impossible to resist. And I know that I can this way increase humanity's bounty of life and I must do so, despite the possibly consequences to myself. Where would science be, after all, without human lab rats?
My tale begins with myself stranded in traffic, whilst driving to work. There was a horribly snowstorm the previous day and the streets were coated with ice, as far as the eye could wander. As I sat and waited for my chance to move, I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a man ride by on a bicycle. I did not get a good look at him, but the approximation I formed was of a man of tremendous countenance. This did surely seem noteworthy, for few dared go out in the elements this day unless it was out of dire need, such as mine. I risked all on my quest of assisting the medical sciences in any way I could. If only I hadn't flunked out of college…
A moment later, another man goes by on another bicycle. His conveyance is not in a healthy state however and gives out beneath him. He lies in the street for a moment before getting back to his feet. He seems dazed but I can see from his pallor and lack of fingernails that we are men of a similar trade. I help him into the back seat of my vehicle and eventually, after lying still for what seemed hours, he recuperates a small bit.
He sits up and we begin to converse. I am instantly fascinated by him. He seems as if broken under some massive weight but his gently manner and civility are unmistakable. I feel as if we could be brothers, had but life taken a different turn. The topic of our discussion soon turned to my work. I showed him my latest scars and the rash covering my left arm. Though I already feel as if we are impossibly linked, I felt it best to not yet reveal the third eye. All things in due time.
His agitation grew as I spoke of the experiments I was involved in. Finally, as if no longer able to suppress his thoughts, he burst out with, "So you too are experimenting? Do you not yet feel the unholy pull of what you do? Can you not see the evils that will befall you?" I thought that it was good I had chosen to not reveal the eye. He continued, saying he would tell the tale of how he had come to his current state, in the belief that it would show the folly of my path. He seemed afraid to even be enclosed with me though, and got out of the car. He leaned in to speak to me through the window, his back to the street, to the sea of unmoving cars seemingly frozen in place. His tale began as follows, which I set down exactly as he spoke it, for it is wondrous indeed.
"I shall begin with a complete history of my family history for no particular reason, for I have no other way to fill this narrative. I am by birth a Canadian. My father was a national hero for first using the words 'aye' and 'aboot.' We lived in luxury and joy. He had a friend however, by the name of Foley, who was reduced by a series of misadventures and ill luck from owning much of Nova Scotia to living in a van down by the river. Being a proud man, he hid his condition, continuing to make the rounds at cocktail parties. It was some time before my father could discover the truth, after a suspicion of Foley's sudden "conversion" to a religion which required he no longer shave or wash his clothes. He soon appeared on the site of his home, only for the van to slide into the river upon his arrival. Only Foley's daughter survived, for she had been gathering firewood during the accident. She came into my father's care, and three days later they were wed.
"They often would visit the poor, feeling it almost their duty due to the circumstances of my stepmother's previous condition. They would roam the trailer parks and back alleys of the nation, searching out the poor. What they did upon finding these unfortunates was never made clear, but they found them often I assure you. On one such excursion, they discovered a family of 37 living in an abandoned shoe factory. One child immediately stood out; her radiant beauty shone through the dirt and grime of their home, making it almost livable. My mother resolved to remove her from this location. The lady of the house, seeing our interest in the child, told us of her origins. It seemed she was the daughter of the owners of the factory, which had gone suddenly bankrupt two years back. She had not been born of a poor family, which accounted for her not being ugly and dirty like the other children. After some cajoling, it was consented that we would take her into our care. Later that night, when she was presented to me in wrapping paper, with a pretty bow on top, I childishly took this to mean she was mine.
"Now I may speak of the relevant events of my life which I feel shall dissuade you from your chosen path in life."
While we had both been lost in the unfolding of his life's story, traffic had cleared up around us. Sadly, before he could continue his tale, he was struck by a taxi and immediately killed. I, at this point, continued driving to work with all due haste.
And that, my dear boss, is why I was late to work this morning.
Your faithful employee,
James Dalier
Tuesday, September 15th, 1998
11:35 pm
An Unknown Ancient Text
(another for class. after reading beowulf, we had to write the story from grendel's point of view)

[Editor's note: the text you hold in your hands has not been changed, except for the unavoidable effects of translation. The original text was found deep in a lake seven years ago, scrawled on the sloughed off skin of an apparently huge snake, though no traces of such a creature have been found. In addition, there were no traces of the original author of this work. While this is assumed to be a work of fiction, for obvious reasons, there are some facts which suggest there may be a grain of truth buried within. Such as the location of its discovery, a prehistoric underwater temple of immense proportions, not at all suitable for use by humans]

[section I] I am hungry again. The [unknown word, possibly referring to the aforementioned snakes] have changed. They cannot be eaten. Many of us have died from the poison; it is too terrible to think about. I fear we may die out altogether. We must take the humans: they are many. There will be enough to sustain us, and damn the Elder's [1] warning of caution. Caution, always caution! They would sit and ponder while we starve! The fools!
It is our only hope.
[1] this word seems to have multiple layers of meaning. It is alternately referring to a leader, a wise man, the elderly, and an almost godly creature. It may also be plural. There seems to be no absolute concept of its existence as a specific thing.

[section II] I have done it. Killed those people, eaten them. They cried and wailed in terror - some tried to escape, some fought against me. It made no difference, they are dead. My hunger is sated.
I feel little remorse [guilt? shame? there are shades of meaning] for my actions against these creatures. I believe now they are to blame for the sickening of the ["snakes"]. In building their grand new hall, they have taken materials from the river which feeds this whole area. There is nothing else that has changed. This must be it. I have told the others what I believe, but they do not understand how it could have made such a plague in the ["snakes'"] flesh. Neither do I, but I believe it did, all the same.

[section III] I fear the Elder's warning may have been true. It takes many people to keep us fed, and still there seems not to be enough. They are growing fearful, and there are less people in their hall every night.
I wish they didn't squirm or try to fight when the time comes. I would make it swift, but it is so taxing. They are all running around and I can't catch them, so I have to lash out. It makes such a mess; it is hard to eat food in this condition.

[section IV] They think I am evil! Me! It makes me sick to think about it. I am only doing what has to be done to survive. It is no more than any of them would do to me, if [the rest of this section cannot be read]

[sections V through VII cannot be read. the writing was faded beyond legibility]

[section VIII] Many are dead. Some refused to eat the people, and others simply could not get enough to satiate their hunger. Only a few of us are left. We take turns going out, and try to bring back enough bodies to feed us all, but there are less and less each time.

[section IX] I have been lost. They took my claw; I fear I do not have long to live. There was one lying in wait for me, a strong one. I did not know they could get that strong.
The hall was full of them - a feast laid out before me. I took one, ate him, and then moved on to another. But as I grasped him, he grasped me in return. He bent back my claws and held me tightly. I thrashed and twisted, trying to escape, but to no avail. I could not get away. Then my arm was torn off whole, freeing me. I was almost blind from pain, but I ran home. I ran home quickly, knowing I did not have long before I had bled out my life. The others needed to be warned. I do not know what they will do. It is no longer my concern. This will be the end of my record. I pray [wish? plead?] it is found by someone who understands. Someone who will hear.
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