All posts by Torben Jensen

Archi’s Diary is going on hiatus!

ARCHISDIARY_CoverArtBlog_ByPatrickCrookerToday I decided to put Archi’s Diary on permanent hiatus. It’s been a hard decision for me, but a lot of things are changing in my life and truthfully, I’m having trouble deciding on a direction that I’m willing to commit Archi to. If the story is going to be written I want it to be the right story, instead of writing myself into a corner.  

Although I left Archi on a cliffhanger, trapped in an air vent without food or water or a plan, fear not, I’ll keep working on his story. Hopefully he’ll be resurrected in the future, with a more elaborate story, but for now he’ll have to stand aside to make room for new projects and new ideas.

The diary format was supposed to be an experiment in episodic storytelling, and for me to find a way to build a writing habit by posting an entry every week. And it has done its job perfectly. I’ve consistently posted for 21 weeks (and I aim to keep that habit going), however I feel that the format no longer works for me. So for the time being I’ll go on without Archi.

While this may feel like a partial failure, this experience has taught me some very important lessons about myself and my writing, and I am looking forward to bringing you new content very soon.

End of Archi’s Diary?

Did you like and follow Archi? Let me know what you thought of it. About the story, the writing, the posting schedule, all of it. Whether it’s good, bad, ugly or strangely attractive. Let me know and stick around for weekly posts on reading, writing and life in general.

And do like, share and subscribe. Stay tuned!

Archi’s Diary – Episode 21

Welcome to the next episode of Archi’s Diary, a weekly entry in my favorite amnesiac’s journal as he tries to adjust to a world he doesn’t remember.

Episode 21 – May  2016ARCHISDIARY_CoverArtBlog_ByPatrickCrooker

Last week has been full of pain and bad decisions. I arrived in Cancun on Sunday and rented a cheap room on the outskirts of town, planning to do some research, maybe get a tan and meeting with the reporter Susan Sanchez. That turned out to be more difficult than expected and came with spectacular unintended consequences.

On Monday I went to her office downtown to get a meeting, or maybe get access to a recording or something. Seems to work in the movies, so why not try. The bruises on my arms testify to the lack of success in this endeavour. When I got there I asked for Miss Sanchez. The receptionist, a nice lady in a frilly dress told me to wait, and was replaced by a humanoid mountain of steroids wrapped in a black suit. I say wrapped, since he couldn’t have dressed himself with his gorilla-like appendages. He gestured me to leave and when I reacted slightly slower than he fancied, he grabbed my arms, pushed me to the floor, punched me in the face and dragged me outside by my legs, clutching both with one hand if it matters. Outside he proceeded to kick me in the ribs a few times. That really pissed me off, but what could I do about it? He was big and ugly, smelled bad, was probably unloved by his mother and yes I’m bloody angry! Who does that? Who punches and kicks somebody for merely asking a question? It’s not like I offended him or anything.

Afterwards I returned to my lodgings to weigh my options and decided that I should break in and see if I could find Miss Sanchez’s office or an archives room, where they might keep the Chichen Itza footages. I’m blaming that particularly bad decision on watching Oceans 11 with Alvarez recently, and on getting punched in the face. Could have a concussion. I spent most of my time Tuesday and Wednesday planning my little ‘heist’ and procuring the tools of the trade in form of a roll of climbing rope and a crowbar. Not exactly up to scale with Ocean’s replica vault, but I figured it’d do.

A quick online search gave me the office layout. Also on my last visit I noticed that the building had an external fire escape, and I felt a plan taking shape. First, get to Susan Sanchez’s office, then the archive; I’ll leave the media room last if the other two don’t have anything. There seems to be some renovation going on on the fourth floor, which means I can use the scaffolding to get up and inside unnoticed. I noted that last night the building emptied around 10 PM. The guard-shaped Hulk who drives a red muscle car (go figure) was the last to leave, and only the occasional offices remained occupied. If I dress casually and stay calm I might be able to move freely. If I ignore that I’m white, and most people are usually familiar with their co-workers, I’m sure I won’t stick out as a sore thumb. In any case, turns out that wasn’t what caused my downfall.

Thursday I broke in at 23:22 assuming the place would be empty and went to Susan’s office directly, where I had my first surprise for the evening. Completely cleaned out. A desk, a chair and a lamp was all that was left. Cursing, I headed to the archives, which took me on a nerve wrecking elevator ride to the basement with the cleaning lady. She attempted small talk but was turned off by my lack of response. At least she didn’t call the police. Must be used to people working late. Didn’t ding anything in the archives either, so I used my laptop to connect to the network and started looking around. Zip. Absolutely nothing. AT that point I figured that hanging around was a bad idea. Found a stash of microfilms, but nothing relevant for my search (still, microfilm, how cool is that!). The media office was my next stop, located on the top floor along with the editing bay, which is where everything went wrong. Turns out, that’s one of the few places with very expensive equipment behind secured alarmed doors. I managed to get my crowbar in the frame before an ear-splitting ringing broke the silence. And I panicked.

I don’t mind admitting it, that in my panic I didn’t think straight. Instead of running down and out onto the scaffolding which might have given me an opportunity to escape, I decided to stay and hide. Where would you hide in an office building you have never been in? Well, I personally opted for the nearest air vent and climbed inside. And the air vent happened to be temporarily blocked off because of the construction. Fuck me.

Now it is Friday morning and I haven’t been able to escape because the office was crawling with guards and police after the alarm went off. Small piece of advice: DO NOT EVER SLEEP IN AN AIR VENT, if you can avoid it, that is. All the time I was scared that somebody would hear me snoring or I get discovered in some other way, and I really need the bathroom.

What was I thinking? What did I expect to find here? All I knew was that the reporter had been at Chichen Itza, nothing more. Not if there was footage taken or a report filed or anything. I have made an ass out of myself, based on a stupid assumption that I would find some incriminating evidence on her desk, like in the movies. This was stupid and dangerous and now I’m stuck here. I was desperate for any kind of information, and I put myself in harms way. Maybe I’m too stupid to know better. This would be hilarious, if it were happening to somebody else.

As of right now I have very little water or food left and I can hear construction workers starting work below. I don’t know what I should I do.

End of episode 21. 

If you like what I do and know others that would love to get a weekly dose of Archi’s Diary and the occasional post on reading, writing and life in general, then please like, share and subscribe to follow. Stay tuned!

Archi’s Diary – Episode 20

Welcome to the next episode of Archi’s Diary, a weekly entry in my favorite amnesiac’s journal as he tries to adjust to a world he doesn’t remember.

Episode 20 – May  2016ARCHISDIARY_CoverArtBlog_ByPatrickCrooker

This past week I’ve been looking at the files quite a bit to see if there was another event about to happen in the near future, but alas it was mostly for naught. Any Dee related events near me are about a month off and I would have to make my way to the US for that, New Mexico to be specific. For now I’ve tried to get all the info I can about this place, but Alvarez remains stoically silent on the Chichen Itza incident, so I’ve decided to pursue the only other avenue of inquiry I have available: the news crew that was here. They came from Cancun International, a local newspaper with their headquarters in Cancun, so I guess that’s where I’ll have to go. The reporter that I saw that day, a woman named Susan Sanchez, was listed on their site. I called her, but I couldn’t get through, and she hasn’t answered any of my emails either. I’m going to try and catch her at her office. Hopefully I won’t have to jump through hoops to get to her or see their footage of the incident; they might be videos of angry soldiers telling her to piss off for all I know.

Also been wondering about the naming… I mean Dee is a weird choice for a project name, unless it’s an abbreviation like the Funny Business Incorporated or whatever alphabet agency that might actually exist out there. The D.E.E….  

Department of Energy and Expenses?

District of Excitement and Ecstasy?

Dumb and Extraordinarily Exhausting?

Denmark Exhilarates Eels?

If it’s a name, then what’s the reference? My best guess is still John Dee, a historical figure associated with spying and dark magics. And apparently a central antagonist in a bunch of young adult books that I subsequently purchased out of sheer curiosity. Don’t think it might be relevant, but who knows. Maybe I learn something new from the books. Of course the name could refer to the lead researcher, or could have been chosen by a computer at random. But what else can I do than try and make sense of this madness, see a pattern, any pattern and try to piece my own story together; have my brain sort it all out.  

Now that I’ve stayed at the cafe for another week, I think I better get ready to leave. It’s been fine, I suppose, considering I came here with no actual plan or any real resources (not a great idea for sure). Serving tourists was fine and Alvarez has been more than generous with his time and hospitality, but just the other day he asked me nicely, when I expected to continue my journey (his words, not mine), and how he could help me along. Point taken, my good friend, point taken. This is not a hostel, but a business and you want me out of your hair.

I promised him I leave today, which he seemed very happy about; not in a negative way, but happy that I had a goal and a willingness to move forward with something. So I got my pack and left this morning. Still pretty sure he was keeping something from me, but that’s up to him. Every time I tried to broach the incident, he’d become sad and changed the subject or left the room. I left him my email address and told him to keep in touch.

So now I’m by the coast not far from Cancun, debating my options. Funny, how I ended up by the sea again, but then I started thinking that most cities and transport hubs are near rivers and oceans, hinting heavily at our dependence on in now and historically, which seemed to calm me with a sense of destiny. Anyway, it’s nice to be by the ocean again, it’s so tranquil here. Willy once mentioned that we all came from a primordial ocean an incomprehensible amount of time ago, how we adapted and overcame, even recommended some books on how we started our evolutionary journey. Life moves forward. Sometimes fast, other times painstakingly slow, but it does.  

So I realise that moving forward is my only real choice right now. I’ve made my decision to move forward with my life, looking for more information about all that’s happened and hopefully find something of value. It’s not in my nature to give up. Especially not now.

End of episode 20. 

If you like what I do and know others that would love to get a weekly dose of Archi’s Diary and the occasional post on reading, writing and life in general, then please like, share and subscribe to follow.

If you happen to be at Comic Con in London over the weekend, hit me up on Twitter on @wordsarecrooked. I’ll probably fire off the occasional tweet as well. Stay tuned!

Archi’s Diary – Episode 19

Welcome to the next episode of Archi’s Diary, a weekly entry in my favorite amnesiac’s journal as he tries to adjust to a world he doesn’t remember.

Episode 19 – May  2016ARCHISDIARY_CoverArtBlog_ByPatrickCrooker

And then life went on for a few days. Didn’t know where to go and this whole Chichen Itza event boggles my tiny mind, so I decided to stay. Alvarez is a godsend. He offered to let me stay in the cafe in exchange for helping out. He has a few tables and a basic kitchen setup and serves overpriced snacks to tourists with too much money, so I thought… sure, why not? It’s simple and straightforward enough, nothing to worry about, except burning the food during the day and mosquitos at night. There is some serenity to it.

Which is what I need right now. I feel a bit lost, with no idea of where to go now. I don’t even know why I came here, what I expected to find or why it mattered so much. The Koldberg personnel probably had some general idea of what they were sent here for, and all they found was death and pain. I had no idea what to expect, I’m just some guy with amnesia reacting to things around him. I have no past, and as things are going, probably no real future. Even a simple plan or objective would be nice, just a little hope of knowing where to go or what to do. Ever since Steve tried to kill me, it’s like an alarm went off in my head, telling me to run and never stop. I still have no real idea what I’m running from or why it’s even dangerous. I don’t like feeling like a victim of my circumstances, but I can’t help wondering why this is happening happening to me. There are simply too many questions for one guy to answer. But at the same time, do I have a choice, really?

Anyway, the blockade is now gone, so is the news crew and any sign of the disaster that happened here. Someone cleaned up the mess and left nothing to indicate any danger or the troublesome events had transpired here. I’ve been on site in Chichen Itza every day since last week and it’s like nothing happened there. Even went online on Tuesday to see if there was anything about it in the news but I couldn’t find anything, even with Alvarez’s assistance. He seemed very reluctant, like he knows more than he’s letting on, which is suspicious as hell, but I don’t know what to make of it yet. I also looked up the reporter and her crew, but couldn’t find anything about their visit. Yet I saw it very clearly that something had happened here, so this whole thing looks more and more like a cover-up. Might try and contact the news crew later. I think I should also keep an eye on Alvarez.  

I have many questions and some of them are quite scary. For now, I’ll try and distance myself from this whole mess, of everything that has been going on around me and get some perspective. Maybe dig into the files again in a while, but I want to give myself some time so I can look at it with fresh eyes. Another tourist bus is coming now, so I’ll be in the kitchen most of the day. I like making food for others. Didn’t think I would, but I actually enjoy working with my hands, it feels good to create something, even if it’s cheap and simple

End of episode 19. 

If you like what I do and know others that would love to get a weekly dose of Archi’s Diary and the occasional post on reading, writing and life in general, then please like, share and subscribe to follow. Stay tuned!

Archi’s Diary – Episode 18

Welcome to the next episode of Archi’s Diary, a weekly entry in my favorite amnesiac’s journal as he tries to adjust to a world he doesn’t remember.

Episode 18 – May  2016ARCHISDIARY_CoverArtBlog_ByPatrickCrooker

What if you were suddenly told:

“Look (*insert-fantastically-improbable-phenomenon) really exists and you will have to deal with it right now, or you might die”?

I would probably panic, at least freak out a bit, maybe run away and observe it from a distance, but most likely just run away without looking back. Luckily nothing like that happened to me. But I did find some remnants of one, I think… it’s kinda hard to tell.

It’s around midday right now and I’m sitting in a small cafe with a thatched roof by the road leading up to Chichen Itza. The owner (his name is Alvarez) saw me coming down the road and was nice enough to take me in. I must have looked like I was about to collapse from the heat (which I totally was), so he took pity on my poor dehydrated lobster-red form and gave me a meal with a cool coke on the side. Let me tell you, getting to Chichen Itza wasn’t an easy feat. I hitch-hiked part of the way here, but I had to hike the rest, since all the tourist services had cancelled their tours indefinitely. The place being “just around the corner” turned out to be 15k in the roaring sun. Lesson learned, when hiking, always bring more water than you expect you’ll need. Like thrice as much as expected. Just in case.

Anyway, I can see further up the road from here. There are uniformed guards (probably military or police) with a lot of firepower and an aggressive demeanor, and there’s a roadblock ahead. There is a local news van not far from the blockade with a small crew, but other than that the place is pretty much empty. They probably evacuated the area, whatever happened here. I probably should’ve mentioned that the sky above Chichen Itza has a purple-orange hue, like something inside the ruins is projecting lights into the sky. It’s dark, yet everything is still perfectly visible, kind of what you experience during a solar eclipse. And while fascinating, this is not the *fantastically-improbable-phenomenon* though. That would be whatever happened to the local Koldberg personnel.

Across from the cafe are three flatbed trucks parked with the remains of white Koldberg vans. I recognise the logos on the side from my time at the institute. Or rather what’s left of them. I was considering sneaking closer, but the trucks are heavily guarded. What I can see from here, they will never ever drive again. I can’t really explain it, it’s like they’ve been crushed from the inside; like some massive force was generated inside them and then pulled and pulled until they collapsed inward. Even their metal frame buckled. I try not to think much about the people inside, since I saw the dark rivulets of matter running off the wrecks, forming dark red puddles underneath the vehicles. I think I need to go to bathroom for sec, the thought alone is making me si….

Ok, I’m back. Had to take a short break, so no more food for now. I’m going to hang out at Alvarez’s for the rest of the day, see if I can spot something interesting. He has nothing to do anyway and doesn’t seem to mind the company. I’ll update if I manage to get more information.

Update one: It’s evening now. The purple/orange hue might be diminishing. It’s getting darker now and while it’s still visible, it appears to be less bright. There might not be anything left to see tomorrow. Going to try and get inside the perimeter during the night. Alvarez told me via a creative use of gestures, that he knows a back way into Chichen Itza, or he might be fond of pointing and saying “aha” a lot for no reason. I’m kinda hoping for the former.

Update two: It’s night time now. Whatever lights caused the purple/orange hue are gone. The ruins appear abandoned (like normal I suppose), but strangely there is no military presence either. The place is completely empty. In front of the main temple (is it a temple?) however, there is a roughly circular cordoned off area. Whatever happened here, happened in that space. The ground is flush with debris and remains, probably of Koldberg people that were outside the vehicles when the incident occurred. Not sure why it hasn’t been cleaned up. I mean, it’s been more than a week since the incident supposedly took place. Or maybe the date in the log is wrong. Who knows… It’s very quiet here. Completely quiet. Chichen Itza is surrounded by jungle and the jungle is not a quiet place. It’s very eerie, like the whole area is terrified of what happened here. Going to see if I can take some pictures, then get out of here. The stars should give off enough light for the pictures.

We made it back to his cafe without incident. And no, the star light does not seem to have been sufficient. I sneak back in later. Alvarez seems to be taking all this in stride, but I don’t want to freak him out. I’ll try and talk to him before I leave, he might know more about this incident, or the one from last year. Our conversations are a bit sketchy, as we don’t speak each other’s languages well. He set up a hammock for me in the back of the cafe, and I think he tried to convince me to stay. I’m considering to stay for a few days and help him out, see what I can learn from him.

Personal note; I don’t know entirely how to deal with this. People have clearly died here, but why and how? Were they looking for something or testing something? Were they observers or experimenters? Innocent bystanders even? The equipment and the remains left little for interpretation, so it’s anyone’s guess what happened. I feel all jittery, but exhausted. I really should get some sleep. Hopefully no nightmares this time. I really don’t want them back.

End of episode 18.

If you like what I do and know others that would love to get a weekly dose of Archi’s Diary and the occasional post on reading, writing and life in general, then please like, share and subscribe to follow. Stay tuned!

Raison d’être

This is a response to The Daily Post’s weekly Discover challenge Raison d’être. And my partner asked me; why I choose to spend my time creating/writing and, since she’s doing a post on it here, I decided to write one myself. So why do I write, in my diary, on my book projects, on the blog series? What is my raison d’être? I don’t make a living out of it (yet), so it’s not about that. It took me a while to pin it down, as there isn’t a singular reason to my writing, but a multitude of interconnected and complicated reasons, many of which have only emerged over time, and through much deliberation. So let’s boil it down to five themes.

Building worlds and telling stories – I write stories. I like telling them. Whether it’s epic action sequences in aliens worlds, or three people chatting about the latest in-world politics, I love the creativity involved. Planning out the text, choosing what to embellish and what to cast aside, picking a viewpoint, tweaking it so it’s just perfect, etc. Whether it’s a short story challenge, a piece of nano fiction, working on my blog series, or my continual attempts at long-form writing, it’s all part of the course.

Dealing with life – Life can be grim. Disease, death, sexual abuse, etc. all exist and whether you like it or not, you will probably have to deal with it. I started using writing for dealing trauma initially when my parents divorced, then dealing with the loss of a family member, and later when I was a victim of abuse and violence. By writing it down I externalise it, then analyse the motivations to try and find out what went right or wrong (which is very much a stream of consciousness kind of thing), which has helped me cope with these experiences.

Thinking through a problem – Taking notes started as an attempt to distil the essence of an argument or a problem and then source verifiable data to prove or disprove it. I spent hours at university doing deep dives on various topics mostly for classes, but essentially for anything that tickled my fancy. This allowed me to form a defensible position on any subject. Too often people pick and choose their opinions without giving it sufficient thought. Part of my writing is figuring out what my position is and whether I can/want/choose to defend it.

Playing with words – This is often a matter of personal pride and satisfaction. Wordplay, puns, obscure references allows me to take delight in seeing a reader having ‘aha’ moments, a quiet snicker at something I created with my brain. That’s something powerful, something great, and should be appreciated.

Clearing my mind – Some people use yoga, others use mind-altering substances or use music to soothe their inner turmoil. I write. I write about my thoughts and ideas, I write stories and shorts, I write silly jokes and I write and I write and I write, and at some point my head goes quiet enough that my metaphorical demons can’t find me. And then I feel ok and can deal with the rest of my existence.

Or, if I have to put it succinctly: I write because I cannot not write.

Why do you choose write or paint or sculpt or whatever is your thing? Why do you choose to create rather than not create? Let me know.

Archi’s Diary – Episode 17

Welcome to the next episode of Archi’s Diary, a weekly entry in my favorite amnesiac’s journal as he tries to adjust to a world he doesn’t remember.

Episode 17 – May  2016ARCHISDIARY_CoverArtBlog_ByPatrickCrooker

After my recent experiences I started thinking. How much trauma can a person endure? How much can the psyche take before you snap and lash out at someone unsuspecting, like Steve did? These last couple of months have been eventful to say the least, and I’ve had my fair share of big-time emotional traumas. Considering the circumstances I think I’m dealing with it in a constructive manner. But what about other little pains? The small everyday pinpricks of annoyance and discomfort, the tiny traumas in disguise? Stress in all its little facets, from your credit card being declined at the shop, or the barista getting your latte wrong, to someone honking at you crossing the road, for being slower than they expect. You should try and mitigate the damage, right? So you work on suppressing it a little bit every day, just to feel every new strain becoming a little more painful than the previous one. And there it is, the most painful hellhole on Earth… the airport.

This was my first encounter with airports and air travel in general and, as if the stress of navigating through the crowd and getting through security with all your limbs intact wouldn’t be enough, it’s made worse by screaming infants and people seemingly oblivious to the existence of showers. I was not entirely comfortable with the idea of getting into a large metal tube in the first place, but the whole experience now makes my eye twitch. Security appeared to be designed to get the worst out of people, passengers and security personnel alike. The queues were very long, I was subjected to inane and arbitrary rules, and they treated me like I was a criminal (technically I am, but let’s not get into that now). The guy in front of me was told to take out his tablet for inspection and then to put it away, because (and I quote) “it’s just a mini”. That doesn’t make any sense, I mean a tablet, phablet or phone all have the same capabilities from a security standpoint. Another man was yelled at for not taking his shoes off, despite the fact that another security person (do you call them guards? whatever!) told him beforehand that he doesn’t have to.

I got really stressed very quickly by all the rules, the amount of people, all the questions (which felt more like interrogation to me). At one point they took me aside (I immediately thought I was going to get arrested again), but all they wanted was to have me me walk through a body scanner (which malfunctioned spectacularly for some reason). They also asked me questions about my passport, which was held up in front of me, with the information clearly visible. They didn’t even try to hide it or anything, I could read the answers straight off the page. In a similar nonchalant attitude they asked me about my religious orientation. Not that I have any, but what’s that got to do with anything? Is religious orientation part of some profiling effort? Does it actually matter what I answer? I could just… you know, lie. Shocking, I know. Anyway, I finally got away from the smell of burning electronics and got to “pleasantly” wait for my flight..

Maybe it’s different in other airports considering I have nothing to compare this encounter to. In any case, security seems inconsistent and ineffective, more like a farce really. A theatre o,f security? Maybe it’s all designed to make people feel scrutinised, so nobody openly challenges the rules. But inspecting me in a way that borders on harassment, then tell me it’s for my own safety, seems a bit of a contradiction to me. It sure as hell didn’t make me feel safer. More annoyed? Definitely. Anyway…  As I am writing this, I’m finally out of the airport, cruising safely towards Mexico, and this part is really nice. I was hoping to get a flight out before May 1st, but anything we found was too expensive on such short notice. Kerstin finally found a late cancellation, that’s how I got on this one. I just realised it now, how much I’m going to miss her.

Not much happened in the days leading up to my departure. No dark sedans following me around, no shadowy figures lurking in corners and no breakthroughs in my research. I had a few nice conversations with my friends and a few shifts at the cafe, met a very nice puppy, a golden retriever with a splash of black across its snout, named Spot. Not that I wanted a big farewell party, but my leaving feels anticlimactic after all that’s been happening. Might even call it a bit boring. I considered going back to my (Anthony’s) house for another rummage through the place, but I didn’t want to tempt fate, just in case the place is being watched. I’m leaving the keys for that house behind, along with any stuff I won’t need on the trip; hopefully I’ll be back for it someday.

I’ll be signing off now. Turns out the plane has a somewhat stable internet connection, so I’m going to spend some time looking up local news regarding Chichen Itza. Looks like some kind of incident is happening or has taken place there. Found some footage from a few days ago, showing government troops closing down the site, and turning away tourists and news reports saying that the area will remain closed for foreseeable future. If this has anything to do with Project Dee, I might already be too late. I’ll be landing in 6 hours time, hopefully I’ll have something more concrete by then. I also need to get some sleep, glorious sleep!

End of episode 17.

Some incidents reference to in this episode are based on actual experiences I’ve had in airports around the world. Fun times all around. Sadly, no exploding body scanner though.

If you like what I do and know others that would love to get a weekly dose of Archi’s Diary and the occasional post on reading, writing and life in general, then like, share and subscribe to follow. Stay tuned!

Archi’s Diary – Episode 16

Welcome to a new episode of Archi’s Diary, a weekly entry in my favorite amnesiac’s journal as he tries to adjust to a world he doesn’t remember.

Episode 16 – April  2016ARCHISDIARY_CoverArtBlog

Well, I didn’t make it back to the house in time to close the laptop, remove my research, or intercept the letter left by the authorities. So I took Kerstin and James on a picnic in the forest today to try and explain why their living room looks like Sherlock Holmes’s thinking room, why the police came to visit, and why I have weird videos of myself on my laptop.

I told them the truth. Sort of… since you don’t want to tell people, genuinely interested in your well-being and happiness, that you had to kill a human being to escape, I left out the whole Steve incident. But I dished everything else that happened up until today, including my waking up at Koldberg with an amnesia, my experiences with Willy, my escape with only a few things in my possession, the cache of files on the drive I subsequently lost, and finding the empty house with my passport in it. Naturally they had many many questions, most of which are still unanswered, as the answers are a mystery to me also.

I have to say, they took it all in strides. They had no real problem accepting my story, including my amnesia, they even insisted it might not be permanent, and I must have family and friends that miss me. A nice thought, but if the house is any indication of my prior circumstances, whatever those were, I probably wasn’t the most popular man. We even discussed the video with no real conclusion. My portal idea was dismissed outright as a special effect or some weird rendering artifact, which I couldn’t argue with. I don’t even know how it came about, so their guess is as good as mine. It raises the question though: why would someone create a false video record, what purpose would it serve?

What gave them trouble was accepting the fact that I lied to them from the start. I’m not sure what I could have said that wouldn’t have made me sound like a crazy person. I never intended to lie, and it never felt right, but after I initially placated Kerstin, the whole thing got a life on its own. Not that it matters anymore. They trusted me, and I violated that trust, so they asked me to leave as soon as I felt ready. I’m an unknown quantity, and I can’t blame them really. I can only be grateful for all they’ve done for me so far.

So I’ve decided to leave as soon as I can. Not exactly how I imagined our parting ways, but probably for the best, considering the police, or someone worse might come looking for me. Getting arrested probably didn’t go unnoticed, something must have registered somewhere, and if anyone is looking for me… I don’t know. Maybe it’s just paranoia, but ever since the arrest, I’ve been looking over my shoulder, as if Koldberg would knock on the door the next second. So far nothing happened, but that doesn’t mean they’re not out there. James told me everyone feels that way, just like everyone feels a sense of existential dread or hunger from time to time. Not sure if he was serious. The point is, I don’t want to involve Kerstin and her friends any longer, they’ve risked enough as it is. They gave me a chance to get a break, which I’ll never forget, but I was deluding myself thinking I can hide here for long. I really should take some time to get my shit together. With some money in my pocket, it also feels like I finally have a fighting chance.

The files I was studying (the recurring event described in Project Dee) gave me an idea where to go next. So I’m going to take a chance at Chichen Itza. The event always happened on May 1st, so if I can get there ahead of time, I might be able to see what this event really is. Getting on a plane with my own passport is risky, but since the police didn’t arrest me for murder, I trust I’ll be able to get out of the country. Kerstin promised to help me buy a ticket today so I can fly out as soon as possible. If I’m being honest, considering other expenses, I only have enough for an outbound ticket, but I don’t really feel the need to return here anytime soon. After Chichen Itza, depending on what happens, I might spend some time exploring the Yucatan. Get some thinking done, work more with these files, get my head straight.

Side note: I might send Willy a postcard from the Yucatan. I miss him a lot. All those good nights under the moon… I feel sort of a kinship with him, like he knew me and my pain, or at least understood me better than most people I’ve encountered.

Anyway… Tonight’s to-do:

  • Get ticket
  • Pack for the trip
  • Set goals

Later I’ll have a little going away party with James and Kerstin. Hopefully we’ll meet again when I managed to sort things out.

End of episode 16. Share, like and follow for weekly updates. Stay tuned!