Friday, April 29, 2011

This is it.

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.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Entry #88

I think I posted it on my Twitter, but Danny's funeral was Friday, and James's was yesterday. I barely got through Danny's funeral. His parents weren't even crying, they were just frozen in their seats. I didn't even see them blink. Aidan, Katie, Danielle, Alex, and even Mike were all there. I tried to say something for Danny, but I couldn't. My throat just closed. I had to walk down the aisle in front of all the mourners. I feel like they knew it was my fault.

Then there was James's funeral. Tons of people came to pay their respects to the eight year old who isn't even dead. I couldn't stand it. I went out a back door as everyone was filing in. I walked home. It wasn't too far.

My head had been hurting all week, really badly. Even though it had been fairly nice outside (it is spring, after all), I just stayed in my room. Every time I got up to go downstairs or to the bathroom I got really dizzy. Like, borderline fainting dizzy.

But when I got home and sat down on the porch, I felt a sort of pop in my ears, like something had broken. And my headache was completely gone. I looked around, just testing to see if I was still dizzy. I wasn't. But I saw someone walking down the driveway. He was in a black suit.

I knew it was him. I knew I needed to meet him, head on, so I could get James back. And he knew I was there.

I ran after him, across the grass and down the driveway. But the second I lost sight of him behind a tree, he was gone. When I rounded the bend in the driveway, well--

Our driveway wasn't there any more. It stopped abruptly, and little wood chips began where the driveway ended. It was the goddamn playground, the sick twisted warped hellish playground I went through James's closet to find.

It was completely deserted, though. Locust wasn't anywhere I could see. I tried to go into the playground, but I hit something and fell back. I turned to get up, and I saw someone walking in the playground out of the corner of my eye. I sprang to my feet and turned around. I was ready to punch or kick whatever was keeping me back from getting to Locust, but then I saw it wasn't Locust.

Danny was standing on the other side of the window, the glass, whatever it was. He put his hand up against it and gave a sad sort of smile.

"It's not your fault, Reilly," he said. His voice was sort of muffled. "You can't help any of this."

I think I started crying. I don't even know. Somebody else walked into the frame behind him. It was Ken. He looked serious, but he nodded at me and said, "Danny is correct. These are forces you can't help."

I just nodded. I couldn't do anything else. My legs gave out and I sat on the ground, staring up at them. Danny turned, and faces away from me. He gestured to someone behind him, and then turned back. He looked so somber now.

The person he had been motioning walked up to the window now, and I saw who it was. Katie was standing behind the glass. She smiled and said, "Hey Rye. Don't worry about us. We might even get back. Just make sure everyone else is safe. Get your brother back. And trust our friends. We trust you."

Danny said, "Bye Rye. Maybe we'll see you soon."

The window disappeared, and I felt someone grab my arms. I didn't move, even as whoever it was tried to pull me up.

It was Mike. He slapped me in the face, hard. "Get up," he shouted, "and listen to me."

I got up and turned to face him. I couldn't say anything.

"You need to go back and get James. I saw what you were seeing just now. That means that Katie's dead now, too. Do you get that? Katie. Is. Dead. Do you want anyone else to die?"

I stammered, and shook my head no.

"I didn't really think so." He laughed. "I don't know how you're going to get James back, but I brought you a survival kit.

"I've seen Mr. Slim before. I know what he's capable of. And I don't think knives or anything like that will hurt him. So I brought you Ken's gun. I took it from the house before my parents took his stuff."

He took off his backpack and unzipped it. He stuck his hand in and felt around for a second before finding what he was looking for. He took out a white pistol. There were carvings up the sides of the handle, little carvings of trees, branches, vines.

"I loaded it already. And take the backpack. There's real military rations inside, from my dad. Go tonight or tomorrow, before any more of us die. That's two of us, plus Ken. Do it for all of us, not just James."

He left the backpack on the ground and ran to the bottom of the driveway. His bike was there. He rode off and left me standing in the middle of the driveway. I must have stood there a while, because I saw my parents' car turning into the driveway. I was still holding the pistol in my hand, so I shoved it into the backpack and ran toward the house.

I went around to the back of the house, near the pond. I waited out there until late yesterday before I went in. Then I had to deal with my parents, asking where I had gone. They didn't even yell at me, just asked me. I could hear how exhausted they were. I didn't want to hurt them any more. I answered all their questions, then hugged both of them and told them I loved them.

I'm going back through the closet as soon as this post publishes. I'm not coming back until I find James, or until I starve. Here's to hoping we both end up alive, and my friends too. But I don't think that's likely.


Reilly :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Entry #87

They found Danny. He wasn't alive. He was

No. I won't even say it. You probably know what happened, anyway.

The funeral is Friday.

I dreamed I walked into a fire and just sat in it. I watched my hands burn away.

My head is hurting. Really hurting. My right eye has been going fuzzy because of it all day.

I've been hitting my head on the wall. That hasn't helped the headache. I'm sure my parents wondered what the banging is. A shower got rid of the blood.

I don't know what to do.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Entry #86

I haven't had the will to type anything up lately. All my energy has been sapped. I don't even feel like writing this, but I know people want to see what's happening. Good Lord, this isn't why I started a blog. I started this blog to write about my life, about music I love, about my sports. And now it's turned into some sort of exploitation of my brother's goddamn abduction. Now Danny's disappearance, too. Nobody ever deserves this. My family doesn't deserve this.

I don't have any energy. I helped with the search parties for Danny. I described him to the police, when I last saw him, if he was acting strange (he wasn't), so on. They weren't very optimistic. Danny was--is--seventeen. Usually seventeen-year-olds don't go missing. And of course I couldn't say anything about Locust.

I can just feel everything piling on my head, all the stress weighing me down. I have friends' lives in my hands. And I can't tell the police, because they'll think I did something to Danny. They already think my mental health was affected by our ordeal with James.

To top it all off, remember that I mentioned my parents were talking about the funeral? Well, the funeral is the weekend after this. They told me this morning. I told them I knew they were planning it already, and then I just went back to my room and didn't say anything else. My dad left for work without saying goodbye to me or my mom.

I haven't seen anything chaotic, anything that could let me find Locust or James. It's strange, now, how I automatically think of James and Locust together. I need to find something bad, no matter how much it hurts the people involved. I think even a car accident would be fine. Anything in this area would be fine, because not much happens. James's abduction and Danny's disappearance were, in fact, the largest happenings since a serial killer in the 80s.

Now the police are afraid the newspapers are going to run big articles about this. They're afraid the reporters will be able to piece together that both people were on the swim team. I hope the news people do find that out. It would be the best way to protect the others without me telling them.

I'm going to end this post here and try to find something constructive to do. Not likely, but I can always try.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Entry #85

There were six of us during the prank. Six. Me, Mike, Danielle, Katie, Aidan, and Danny.

Now Danny is missing, and Mike told me this was going to happen.

I was going to try to type up the post two days ago telling you what Mike said, but my computer shut down completely, for no apparent reason. Now I suspect it was Locust, just trying to keep me from thinking about my conversation with Mike.

I finally managed to make Mike talk to me two days ago. I had seen him at swim practice since Wednesday, but I was always too busy swimming or talking to someone else to actually go up to him and ask him about it. Even though I should have, I just didn't. So on Saturday, I saw him at the mall. Completely by chance, I was just getting some clothes with my mom. He was just sitting on a bench on the second floor, drinking something.

My mom went into the bookstore, and I went over to Mike. He looked dazed, and quite disheveled. He also looked very, very upset. I sat down on the bench next to him and said, "Hey, Mike."

He jumped and almost let go of his drink. He hadn't even seen me walk over. I almost laughed, but I stopped myself because I knew that would have been mean.

He relaxed onto the bench, but he was gripping the rail so tightly with one hand that the knuckles were turning white. He didn't even say hi, he just said, "What do you want?"

I just asked him. I didn't want to play around. "What do you know about Locust?"

He looked genuinely confused. "Locust? You mean the cockroach things?"

"No, the man in the suit who took my freakin' brother. You know something, what is it?"

Now he didn't look confused. He just looked nervous again. He leaned closer to me and said, "You mean Mr. Slim, don't you? Mr. Slim is Locust, isn't he? Tall guy in a suit, right?"

I nodded. Mike gulped. He looked as if he was about to throw up. He took a deep, shuddering breath and kept talking.

"Mr. Slim killed Ken. He told me so."

I tried to interrupt. Mike had been talking to Locust. I was on the right track. But I didn't interrupt, I just closed my mouth and listened.

"You and I were the only ones who saw anything in the parking lot at the hotel. Well, I didn't see anything, I more...felt something. It felt like something had gone through my stomach, and then I just felt so weak I fell down. I saw you coming out the door. I couldn't turn my head to see where the others were, but I just knew they weren't there. I tried crawling toward you, and then I saw him."

"You saw Loc--Mr. Slim? I went inside because I had seen him earlier. I shouldn't have. I should have warned you guys. Oh God, I'm so sorry."

Mike just gave me a haunted look and went on. "He was standing in the little alcove by the door. You came out the door, and I just felt the strongest urge to turn away and scream, but I asked you that question. And I know the answer now. You did bring him here."

He buried his head in his hands. "You fell down next to me after I asked you that. You were unconscious. And Mr. Slim was walking toward us. I don't know what happened to me, but I still wasn't able to get up. I tried to get up to run, to get away, but I couldn't.

"The weirdest thing was, it barely looked like he was walking. He was more gliding. He's not human."

I laughed. "No, no, he's not. I know."

"God. Well. He was pretty close when I blacked out too. But I woke up in bed. When I got out of bed, I noticed I had a little note folded up in my pocket. It said, in this cursive script, 'Six of you. One week. Then you begin to disappear.'"

He leaned even closer to me. "He means us, Reilly. The six of us who were out there. He's going to take us, like he took your little brother."

And Locust did. Danny is gone. The swim team is fundraising for his family and organizing search parties. They aren't going to find him either. But Mike said something else, something that mattered more to me. He said, as his last words before he got up from the bench and left, "Whatever Mr. Slim is, he likes small children and chaos. If you see either of those, I'd advise you to turn the other way. A playground, a house burning down...either way. I'd leave. And you, to me, are chaos. So I'm leaving. Goodbye."

If I see Locust, it's going to be near something bad. And I'm not going to run away, I'm going to run straight towards it.

I wonder who's going to disappear next?


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Entry #84

I'm so sorry for not telling you what's been happening. It's just...there's been so much going on. Everything happened at the last swim meet of the season. It was out in Long Island, 3 days in a row of races.

Saturday night, the second and last night at the hotel, we swimmers decided to pull a prank on our head coach. We wanted to trash his room, but he went to bed too early. So we decided to saran wrap his car. It was pretty late, but we ran to a nearby grocery store, got five rolls of saran wrap and found his car. Only six of us were in on the prank (including Mike. He was back to swimming a while ago, I just never asked him about Ken), and I got a whole video of it. Well, video of most of it, up to the point when I saw Locust.

We were being really cautious, checking to see if the coach was looking out his window, and hiding if we thought he was. I was looking up at the window, and pointing the camera at the window, when it made a squeaking noise. Sort of like nails on a chalkboard, painful and metallic. The screen glitched out, went to static, and shut off.

None of my friends noticed the noise, they were too involved with not tearing the saran wrap. I was trying to fix the camera when I saw him. Locust was just standing in the shadow by the corner of the hotel. I could tell he was watching us. All the blood rushed to my head and my vision got really fuzzy.

I was stupid. I shouldn't have left my friends out there with Locust standing there. I made an excuse that I had to see if the night clerk at the hotel's front desk was telling our parents about what we were doing, and I went inside. As soon as I got in the door I felt better.

I sat in the lobby for a few minutes, playing with the camera and trying to make it work again. It still doesn't work, even now. After a while, I went back out to see if they were done, because it was almost midnight, even though I didn't want to chance seeing Locust again.

I stepped out the door, and I saw Mike crawling toward me. There was a trail of red behind him. None of the other kids were in sight. I couldn't speak. I stammered, I don't even know what I was going to say. He grabbed my leg and whispered something I couldn't hear. I bent down. My legs were shaking so badly I practically fell on Mike.

He said to me, "You brought him here, didn't you?"

All I could do was nod. I sat there for a moment before I turned to run into the hotel to get help. As I got up, I saw a black pant leg directly in front of me. Except they weren't pants. They were little masses of swarming black tentacles, forming the general shape of pants. His suit was made of tentacles, just like his hat.

The last thing I saw before I blacked out was his head, towering far above me.

I woke up in my hotel bed, next to my parents' bed. It was time to get up for breakfast. I didn't want to know what was happening, but I had to. I got up, got dressed, and went to breakfast before my parents could wake up.

Sitting at one of the tables were all the people involved in the prank, all of them laughing and eating. Including Mike.

I sat at a different table, far away from them.

I don't know what the hell happened there, but now I know Mike knows something. Even if it's secondhand knowledge from Ken, I need it. I need it to be "ready" for whatever James is saying I need to be ready for. I took these three days off from swimming, but I'm going back tomorrow. And I'm confronting Mike.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Entry #83

I jumped. I decided to just gather what courage--or stupidity, I don't actually know which--and simply walk into his room and jump.

I wasn't so stupid that I didn't gather stuff I thought I would need. After all, it was pitch dark, and windy, so I knew it was going to be deep. So I brought a flashlight, my Swiss Army knife, and a backpack I filled with little snacks. Granola bars, little cereals, stuff like that.

I decided not to tell anyone in my family about this...escapade. They would know I was crazy. Heh, I know I'm crazy. Especially now.

So four days ago, I put the backpack on, walked into his room, opened the closet, and jumped in. I was prepared to break my legs, or at least bump hard and bruise myself. I had closed my eyes, but after a few seconds of falling, I opened them. A sense of peacefulness had come over me, a feeling that I didn't control. In fact, I knew I should have been panicked, but I wasn't.

It was slightly less dark, and it grew brighter the longer I fell. I knew I was falling, I could hear the wind whooshing past my ears. I must have been falling for at least a minute.

Then I saw the ground. It was the same ground I had seen when I had killed the Howler. Except this time it was rushing up to meet me. I didn't even bother bracing myself for impact, I knew I was going too fast to survive. So I just closed my eyes again.

I must have blacked out for a second, because I woke up and I was lying on the ground. Something must have caught me, or something really strange must have happened. HA, "really strange", like none of this is really strange? Impossible, more like. Impossible.

I rolled over and saw the sign. A little wooden sign propped up on a stick, with the cursive engraved on it. "Let's play," it said. A little arrow pointed ahead, with an even smaller word saying "champain". I stood up and saw past the sign. A field of reddish grass stretched before me. There was a severe line, cutting the green grass I was standing on from the crunchy red grass ahead.

I stepped over the little line, and felt a shiver run through my body. I knew I couldn't turn back even if I wanted to. I looked at my watch. The date was 3-17-11.

It took me 3 weeks to walk across that plain. I ran out of food and water by the end of week 1, but every time I sat down, there was an exact clone of my water bottle and a few granola bars when I looked behind me. By the time I got to the playground, I was stumbling badly. My legs were giving out. The watch said 4-7-11.

The playground was a sick, warped vision of a normal playground. The slide stretched up for what must have been 10 stories, the swings covered with spikes. The steps were impossibly tall, and the jungle gym had nettles--red ones--growing and winding over it. The playground endlessly repeated, stretching to each side.

It was a nightmare. I collapsed on the sand in the playground and fell asleep. I hadn't been sleeping well on that plain, I had nightmares every night. But when I fell asleep on that playground, it was the best sleep I had ever had.

When I woke up, there was a black door in front of me. It was perched on the sand. There was a grotesque door handle that looked like it was carved out of part of a bone. Attached to the door was another cursive note.

"Face yourself. Look through the door."

I had to do it. I opened the door quickly. Before me was a pit. The pit was full of motionless bodies, bodies standing completely still, shoulder to shoulder.

All the people in there were me.

They each had some deformity, some part of them twisted, missing, decayed. And they all were staring at me, grinning. I couldn't stand it. I screamed, and slammed the door closed. I turned to grab my backpack, and there was suddenly another door in front of me. It was the same color, same texture as my bedroom door.

I barely read the note on it before I flung myself through the door. It said, "Go back. You aren't ready yet, Rye."

I flew through the door and blacked out again. When I woke up on my bed, the clock by my bed said it was 3-20-11. My watch still said it was 4-7-11.

I know I'm going back. I just don't know when.