I’m going to him now. I’m done fighting. He wants to protect me and I don’t get a choice in the matter. So I’ll give him what he wants. We’ll probably be together forever. He’s kept me alive this long, I doubt he’ll let me die a normal human death.
So I’ll go to him, and dwell with him. Perhaps not alone. In time, he could see fit to give me companions, other protectors. He may give me trinkets with which to amuse myself. It mightn’t be a bad life, and, if it is, it could be that I’ll convince myself it isn’t.
Or I could be left in a shack on my own, with nothing but my delusions for company. Maybe that’s already what’s happening. It doesn’t matter. There is no choice for me. He’s too powerful. He’s too beyond.
He’s been following me for over five years. In that period, I’ve attempted to commit suicide exactly 121 times. But he always intervenes. He leaves me nothing to live for and then prevents me from following everyone I’ve lost into the abyss.
It doesn’t matter how I approach it. When I took action to kill myself, he stopped me from dying. When I tried to kill myself through deprivation, he forced me to live.
I live because he wills it. What he wills, is. There is no death for me, just as there is no life.
An excerpt from one of the files that Tom gave me;
"It was Christmas Eve of 2007, three weeks after we lost her. We were in a hotel in Richmond, Virginia. I’d gone down to the store to get some coffee. James had been drinking all day for the thirteenth day in a row.
I didn’t see the funeral man at any point along my walk. I paid for the coffee with change. I think I saw a Sacagawea dollar in there.
When I got back, he was slumped against the far wall, with all his books scattered around him. Some of them appeared to have been ripped. I closed the door and went over to help him but got a faceful of handgun for my troubles. I backed away slowly and sat down on the farthest bed. His lip trembled as tears tore their way out of his eyes.
"If we keep running, we’d just be dragging out the pain until we die. If we stop running, we’d just be lying down and taking it. Either way, we die."
He laid the barrel against his Adam’s apple. There was a trace of a smile on his lips.
"It’s a regular Catch-22."
Looking back, it’s weird how I remember everything up to that point so clearly, yet everything that follows is a blur. I couldn’t tell you who came knocking first, the manager or the cleaning lady. I have no concept of the timeframe on which anything that followed happened, hell, I barely have a concept of what followed. I think I was interviewed at a police station. I might have been taken to hospital for shock. It’s just as possible that I floored the person who came investigating and ran. There’s nothing I can meaningfully say about what happened after. I have no idea.”
He was protecting me all along. Or he thought he was. Protecting me from other people and from myself. That’s why the kainic acid treatment wouldn’t stick. It didn’t matter that I’d forgotten him because he just wouldn’t leave me alone. He had to keep coming back to watch over me.
He really was benevolent once. The first time he intervened, he saved me from rape. But he didn’t understand, or at least that’s how I like to rationalize it in my head. Maybe he can’t be spoken of in terms of logic or reason, but I feel like I can almost grasp him as a concept in my mind.
He’s too powerful to understand the difference between doing something consensually and doing something forcibly. There’s no way you can agree to anything with a being like him. What he wants, he gets, he can’t be opposed. So he saw me fleeing my would-be rapist and, in whatever way he “thinks”, he didn’t see that it was the force that was the problem, he thought the sex itself was at issue…
Or so I tell myself. Maybe I’m trying to make him make sense so I can construct a chain of events to explain how my life went wrong. But it explains a lot, I think. It explains why he’s tried to keep me away from men like James but not the women at the shelter or Valerie. It explains why he always seemed to get extra aggressive in the aftermath of love-making.
It explains why he ripped my baby from me.
iamdrunek off mhy fuacking face and ti feels goooooopd because i don’t have to trememer all the bad shi t I can sjust shoocse to fogeret if I want i can’ just foarget about thse world and jsut worry abnout what’s i agoing on inside my haead. thra’st wahat alachol is for ; it makes use too durnke to thinkab out thw world so we have to look inside and think abotu ourselves, with out fear of the ugleiness whewr might find sinseide
i;m ugly insid ebut I’m treiy ng to be a morse bueaitfu person. i’m try9ijng really ahrd..
I’m sorry I haven’t updated. I just don’t know how to deal with everything I’ve learned. I just don’t know at all.
Tom is a member of an organisation that he refuses to name but with whom he says some people reading this should be intimately familiar. When I asked if it was the people doing those experiments in my dreams, he confirmed that was the case but clarified that my audience will have heard of the organisation before that…which I’ve taken to mean that there are people reading my blog right now who know about the funeral man, just like Valerie did. Tom confirmed this too but I didn’t want to pursue the topic because Tom had more things to tell me and limited time. But I have free time here, so I should probably review how I met Tom in the first place.
After discharging myself from the hospital, I gathered the remainder of my resources and tracked down the hotel I’d been referred to by the receptionist back in Wichita. It was a dismal little place full of damp and murk and it didn’t cost much to book a room for the night but they didn’t have anything computerised and I wasn’t able to find out the room I’d used last time, so I had to play Russian roulette with the thirty rooms available. That night, as I slept, I had yet another dream. This time, I was perched on an iceberg, accompanied by a polar bear that starved, grew sick and died right next to me as we floated in the sea. I floated for what felt like hours as maggots chewed on its flesh and coat until a sudden tipping of the iceberg woke me up.
When I woke, Tom was in my room. He barely stopped me from screaming in abject terror and I was very shaken for a few hours afterwards, but he eventually convinced me that he was a friend or something akin to it. We left the hotel and he took me out to lunch, where he told me a story. Once there was a girl called Stephanie Cayetano who wanted to forget a life that had been ruined by a monster in a dark suit. So she found an organisation dedicated to fighting the monster in the dark suit, an organisation where a brave man had once died in the pursuit of a solution which, if injected directly into the hippocampus, would allow people to forget the monster forever. Stephanie really wanted to forget and was willing to take the risk of serious and permanent brain damage if the procedure went wrong - after all, if she was brain dead, at least she wouldn’t have to deal with the monster in the dark suit.
Or so she thought.
The procedure was a resounding success. But Stephanie eventually found her way back to the monster in the dark suit and had to have the procedure repeated again. And again. And again. And again. Until she finally realised that she could never escape the monster in the dark suit because she wasn’t just another victim. It had a personal fixation with her that she couldn’t shake and, no matter how hard she tried, she could not escape him. Then she was introduced to a man called Tom Barker, who had a radical new suggestion. By associating the monster in the dark suit with certain neurochemical reactions, the procedure could be adjusted so that her brain would screen her from seeing the monster in the dark suit unless those neurochemical reactions were active. Stephanie suggested it be associated with the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC - the active ingredient in marijuana, because she would never in a million years consume cannabis. Tom agreed and performed the procedure, leaving Stephanie in an abandoned apartment in Chicago, where she would get one last chance of happiness.
You all know the story from there, though more of the details are now being filled in, like why I started seeing the funeral man again at all. It was the Pushers and their joint-smoking in the dorms that set it off, starting with my dreams, but when I was sick with fever, my brain was weak enough that the smoke in the dorms was enough to drop the screen and let me see him. After I left Chicago, I started smoking it voluntarily for the express purpose of seeing him, until the screen just collapsed completely by the time I got out of the hospital. And now there’s no going back, because Tom’s organisation is dead, wiped out by the funeral man. He was able to salvage some syringes of the solution but he used them all up trying to save others before he gets killed and the procedure dies with him. Or so he tells me. Maybe he doesn’t want to waste any more of it on a lost case like me. I wouldn’t blame him.
After lunch, he gave a briefcase with a modest sum of money to help me along the way and a ton of documents I’d given to the organisation in case my memory started to surface. Turns out I’d asked that the hotel in Wichita be watched and Tom got a call from the manager when I checked in, under the impression that I was a psychiatric patient with amnesia and that Tom was my doctor, which isn’t wholly untrue, to be fair. He tracked me down here to tell me the truth this one last time, give me the briefcase and wish me luck. He gave me a kiss on the cheek as he left.
Once he was gone, I decided to move along from Glendora before I was tracked down and ended up in Des Moines. I’m probably not in the motel that James mentioned in his diary but I wasn’t really looking for it anyway. I just needed somewhere secure to go through all these documents. I’m about halfway through and what I’ve read so far is upsetting, unsettling and raises more questions than it answers. Once I’m done, I’ll provide some snippets of what I’ve learned and try and update you all on my plans for the future.
For now, I am Stephanie Cayetano, 25 years old, born in Texarkana, Texas on June 1st, 1987, signing off.
I’ve discharged myself from the hospital. They were muttering about Chicago and drugs and stuff, so I figured I needed to get out. Didn’t particularly want a police visit. I’m in an alleyway by a MacDonald’s jacking their wireless. All I’ve got right now is my laptop, some clothes and a bit of cash, which I need to investigate that hotel. If I don’t, I’ll lose the trail.
Unfortunately, these intense dreams haven’t stopped since I left the hospital. I’m trying to distinguish memories from nightmares but it’s not always easy. Last night, I had one where I was on top of a skyscraper in the middle of Chicago, smoking a joint and looking out over the city lights. Somewhere behind me, I could hear feathery footfalls but I didn’t turn. I knew who was coming. A couple of seconds later, the funeral man walked into view, or something akin to it. Like before, I couldn’t see the ends of his legs and I didn’t try to look. I just kept watching the city for hours, sitting there with folded hands.
When I woke up in the alleyway where I was sleeping, he was standing there, just like in the dream, but at a distance. Since then, I’ve been seeing him around all day. Always watching. Never acting.
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