Hello. My name is James. Yes, I am that James, the one everyone has been talking about. I am the one who is supposed to be dead.
Rye, however, always knew I was alive. That was primarily because I forced clues through to him.
I should explain things, but let me make a few things clear.
1. This is the last post that will ever be on this blog. This blog was technically my brother's, although its posts were almost entirely focused on events concerning me.
2. I am clearly not 8 years old anymore. Although I do not know my exact age, I am probably somewhere between 20 and 40. There may be a way for scientists to figure out my age, but I do not know. Something in there is different from how it is here. I suspect it has something to do with light speeds, although I did not have sufficient education in the sciences in Father's realm.
3. Rye is most likely dead. Father does not appreciate anybody who intrudes in his realm who is over the age of 12.
Now let me tell you what has happened over the course of these years. I do not remember much from when I was first taken, but I remember that I had been seeing Father for a short period before he took me. I called him Locust at that point when I talked to him because he suggested that name to me.
I also know I voluntarily went with him. Something about him was just attractive. Even if I had known how long I would be trapped with him, I do not think I would have resisted. He was just too powerful in his way.
Father took me up into the mountains and kept me there for a few years. Again, I do not know how many. I was too young to even think of keeping track. I was never there alone. There were always one or two other children there, along with Father from time to time. Father was never there long, and he just stood in the corner and watched us.
There were always toys there. When I think back, I believe that any toy I wanted or remembered from home was always there the next day.
After my time in the mountains, I was just moved down to the base of the mountains. Just out of the blue, I wasn't up high, looking out over the plain. I was on it. There were many people down there. There were camps set up.
I have a feeling that was the day I turned 12. As I said before, Father does not like humans over 12.
That was when I realized I needed to get out. The people on the plain were just like me, but older and hungrier. There was barely anything to eat on the plain save for some strange, hairy rodents.
I talked to almost nobody before I decided to back into the mountains. That's when I saw what Rye called the Howler. Except I just called him Brother in my mind. He was related to Father somehow, and that was the easiest way for me to remember.
The closer I was to the cave, the more I could exploit the imagination of anything I wanted. I imagined books, I got books. I imagined food, I got food--albeit a bit tasteless. The books was how I managed to learn over the years. I had a lot of time on my hands.
After watching Brother travel in and out of the cave, sometimes with papers, sometimes without, I managed to grab some from him as he passed me. He had seen me before, but had not assumed me to be a threat.
I saw there were just random letters on the page. On another page I saw the words "YOU WILL NEVER FIND HIM". Before Brother managed to grab them back--which was easy, considering how long his reach was--I tore a corner from both pages.
I tore a corner from every page I managed to grab over the years. And I waited a long time to gather enough. Luckily I was able to scrounge a pencil and pen as well, so I was able to pass messages on to Rye.
At that point I realized how much older than Rye I was. I knew he would come to save me, but I did not know of any way to tell him I was older now. I also did not know if he would even recognize me. And most importantly, I did not know how we would escape. That is why I waited to tell him to come for me until I figured out a way.
When I did figure out a way, Brother was already gone. I had to force the clues to Rye myself, sneaking into the cave and putting the notes through the rift every time Father left. That was the way I had figured we would get out. I could not go myself, because the rift had to be supported so a human body could pass through. Someone had to hold it open while the other passed through. However, the rift stayed open long enough for me to pass a note through.
I hoped the notes would get to Rye. I had no idea where Father was going, but fewer children had come through since Brother had disappeared. I thought he was more preoccupied with me and Rye, just from what I had picked up from him. So I hoped he was going to Rye, so the messages would at least be near my brother.
Then, finally, Rye came. I knew he was coming, because Father's world gets upset when someone intrudes. The sky turned a darker shade, and wind whipped across the mountains and down onto the plain. But it abated a few days later. Rye had failed.
A year later, he came again. This time he got all the way here. He was wearing a survival backpack, and he looked as if he was about to collapse. He looked almost the same, except he was so haggard and thin. He held a knife in front of him.
"Who are you?" he shouted. As I had thought, he had no idea who I was.
"Rye? It's me, Rye. It's James."
He dropped the knife, and just shook his head. He started crying when he finally recognized me.
"God, it took so much," he whispered.
Once we had sat there and talked--well, he told me more of what had happened, as his 5 months had been far more exciting than my years, although he still could not get his head around the fact I had aged far ahead of him--I told him what the plan was.
He thought it was too dangerous. I told him it was the only way out.
So we waited, watching the cave, waiting until Father--or Locust, as Rye called him, as I did in the drawings of mine he had found--came back, and then we waited until he left again.
We waited a few months, at least. Time was very strange at this point. Rye had upset something in the balance. Some days lasted forever, and some were very short.
But finally, Father was there. And he left shortly after he arrived. We ran to the rift he left behind, and I held it open until Rye got to me. He told me to go first.
I stepped through the rift and I was back home. I was literally in my front yard. I turned to hold it open for Rye, but then I saw what I had left behind.
Reilly was being dragged backwards by his feet. Father had an arm wrapped around Rye's legs, and was pulling him fast. As I watched, Rye reached back, into the backpack that was dragged behind him. He withdrew a gun as he was approaching Father. He aimed, and shot directly at Father.
Nothing happened. The bullet was just gone. Rye was still being dragged forward. I screamed and lunged back into the rift. That's when Father noticed me. He threw Rye against the wall, and lunged towards me.
I did not mean to do it. I jerked backwards, and my fingers slipped from the rift. It closed just as Father's arms reached through for me. They sheared where the rift closed, and lay twitching at my feet.
I had gone through all the possibilities in my head. I knew there was a great chance one of us would get hurt or killed. But seeing Rye get trapped in there like I had was so much worse than just thinking about it.
I just sat on the ground for a few moments before getting up and running to the house. I rang the doorbell and waited. Mom opened the door. Dad was in the kitchen.
I grinned, bittersweet, and said, "Mom? Dad? It's me. It's James."
A few days later, after my parents could actually accept the fact that it was actually me, and I was allowed my room again, a piece of paper appeared on my bed.
A fair trade. Wonderful game.