Chapter Seventeen

Discolouration on wall now two-feet tall and one-foot wide. A column. Paisley hasn’t moved in two days. Tried to drag him away. He growled fiercely at me. I backed away. I am terrified and alone. Not even the dog will look at me. The baby hasn’t come back either. Haven’t seen anyone outside for two days. Sand in room two knuckles deep. 

So alone I cried in sleep. Awful to admit. Shameful. Can’t remember dream. Remember now only fog and an orange light. A beacon. In my mind it is far, far from the beacon of the helicopter-dream. I had to read back to find out the origin of that beacon in the fog and smiled when I did, not because I remember it, but because the system is working. Liquid Man was good to document everything and teach me how to do so also, I am happy to continue the work.

I feel brave enough to walk out of the room. For sure, even the Evil-Eyed wardrobe does not affect me now. Though a moment ago I was deathly alone and dog had spurned me, the beacons in my mind have given me a little sense of contentment, as beacons do. 

Back from leaving room. Went to front desk of hotel. Old Teller wasn’t there. No Sleepwalkers around either. Must keep missing them. I suspect they keep to the west of Pripyat, (wind blows from the west, thus taking poisonous dust away). Hotel is in the east so that, at least, could explain my solitude. Noticed on Old Teller’s desk a newspaper. It looked fresh. Paper still white. Ink still holding onto pages. Headline read ‘Oil Tanker spillage – Exxon Valdez runs aground. Engineer at fault.’ Doesn’t mean too much to me. I wonder if it would have to Master G_? Will look back over notes to discover any mention. All else is quiet outside. Less concrete than I remember. More sand and wood-panelled shacks. Old rusted carousel on hill now made of wood, too. Sand in shoes. 

Came back after looking out of porch. Nothing out there. Nothing to see. I am alone. 

Back on bed now. Read over yesterday’s entry. Continue.

Brekker had vanished and Master G_ went into hiding. Locked in his room, pouring over old stenographs of the lovers, writing notes, journals and stories. He said he believed that if he wrote down every instance of their life together, he could rebuild it. Could turn the clock back. Idiot. But when he told me, I saw true belief in his eyes. Remorse? Possible. He was sorry for his actions, that much was certain. But he also loved Lucy to his core. But, as humans do, he let his eyes lead his heart. That’s what he said anyway. Didn’t understand it myself. 

Then came ‘The Dream’ he said. After four days in reverie (he could not recall how or why he had remembered that length of time so vehemently when all other measurements were utterly lost to him) he fell into a deep sleep. He found himself in a vast desert at night. Not like the desert to the east of Holstenwall. This one was cold. Real. Earthly. He found himself by a fire next to a rail line. Four men sat round it. Hobos. He sat by them. A train pulled up, silently. Just appeared out of the dark and sat on the line next to them. Odd design of train. Sleek. No steam. Like a bullet. Just sat there. One man by the fire said he could commune with the dead. Master G_ asked if he could speak to Lucy. Man said he could ask one question. Master G_ asked; “now there is no pain, are you happy?” The man replied that she was not. Man said that there was no happiness on the other side. There is no memory, so there can never be happiness. There is only stillness. Emptiness. He said that Lucy was sad. In eternal sadness. Adrift. In a vacuum. Sad. Master G_ woke from that dream in sweats. How could that be? How could the afterlife be a place of mourning? And his (our) Lucy there, alone and sad!

At that, he gathered up all his notes and stenographs. He packed them into a briefcase and stood in front of a mirror. Taking his father’s old folding razor in his hand, Master G_ sliced open his throat, spilling his blood into the sink. His journey was beginning. He said he had to know the truth, and if it was true, if she was in eternal sadness, he would take her and bring her back and, if he couldn’t do that, then he would stay with her and spend his eternity fighting off the sadness. Defending her heart from it. I was touched by his noble gesture, by his verve and commitment, (admit, for a moment I forgot about his part in her decline and death). He said the last thing he saw in the mirror, as his life blood gushed into the sink, was a reflection of Brekker. The Dark Machinist said to him; “Meet me in Couldwell, old friend, I know the way to Lucy. I am the engineer of TheNeverRealm.”

Master G_ then awoke in the waiting room. Train late. Days late maybe. Boy on floor shooting toy soldier at him. Collar itching. Woman with baby on her lap. This I have assumed from reading first entry. No mention of stenographs or pictures, save one. It is possible that in transition from there to here, they got lost. Not everything survives (conjecture). 

Looking back over the last entry and reading back over the journal, I do not understand why Master G_ wrote so affectionately about Brekker and why this architect of degradation so important? How did he know where Lucy was? Why didn’t Master G_ note down any sense of caution or mistrust? Or further, any hatred for him? What twist had the world put upon Master G_ to make him love Brekker again?

Things to investigate:

  • Why searching out Brekker?
  • True reason for searching Lucy – through remorse? For forgiveness?
  • Who am I? Am I real, or a just a character in Master G_’s dream?
  • Why is Paisley ignoring me? 
  • What is that discolouration on the wall? Since writing it has grown by nearly 6 inches.

Cyclone on the horizon has come into view. Super-massive. Wind is whipping up a dust-cloud. Coming straight for Pripyat/Couldwell. Paisley won’t back away from stain on the wall. Cloud is coming in. 

Speeding up! Coming in fast! 

Pressure mounting. 

Nose bleeding.  

Here it comes.

Graham Thomas