Excerpt from the journals of Robert Witherstone, archeologist.
July 12th, 1894
We made our first excavations into the structure today. Amazingly, it seems to be a library, stretching on as far as the eye can see. I don’t see how a library of this size could have been lost without any record of its existence, unless it perhaps it is the hidden hall of some ancient Indian tribe. If so, this discovery could be a breakthrough in anthropology, finally giving us a written record of the history of this continent before colonization! I have taken a few volumes back to study and attempt to decode them.
July 12th, 1894 (later)
I have made an amazing discovery — the books are in English! The first one I opened turned out to be a history of the American Revolution. Something’s not quite right about it though. The book claims the war ended at the Siege of Yorktown when George Washington ate General Cornwallis. Perhaps this is a mistranslation from an original, different work written in another language, because this can’t be what the author meant to say.
July 13th, 1894
Read more of the books in the library today. Most of the books on science seem fairly normal, but the fiction is perverse and terrible. Worst of all are the supposed “histories.” I found a volume detailing the colonization of Africa, but rather than referring to the cannibalism practiced by the savages there, it described the Europeans as cannibalizing the Africans they killed! All of this is most unsettling, and I am not sure what to think. I am normally the type of man to laugh at silly superstitions, but the fact that today is Friday the 13th does not help my unease. I will continue to examine the volumes contained here in an attempt to get to the bottom of this.
July 16, 1894
Lord have mercy. I do not know what sort of unholy place we have found, but it has to be destroyed. Today I found a Bible (if, indeed, you can call such profanity a Bible).
The familiar stories were replaced with grotesque and disturbing tales of sadistic violence, culminating in the most awful blasphemy of all. The author of this monstrosity wrote the story of the Lord’s Supper as literal rather than symbolic. Christ order his disciples to literally kill him, drink his blood, and eat him. We have set up a fire in the center of the structure and are burning all the books we can lay hands on. We have also set up explosives to collapse the cave in the morning so that nobody else can stumble on this blighted place.
July 17th, 1894
We collapsed the cave today. Jones was injured in the blast. He is conscious, but his leg is too hurt for him to walk. It is slow going having to carry him.
July 18th, 1894
Returned to the University today. No doubt it is my addled nerves still in shock from the horror I discovered, but something about the students makes me uneasy. I do not like the look in their eyes; it seems alien in some way. While they commonly use strange slang and colloquialisms with which I am not familiar, it recently seems to have gotten even stranger, so much so that I sometimes cannot even tell what they are talking about.
Doubtless I am still in shock from the events of the previous few days and this will pass.
July 19th, 1894
I spoke with Jones’ doctor today. He is a nervous man, continually licking his lips and grimacing. His manner is overbearing, his breath is terrible and his teeth are unpleasant. But I digress. In any case, he told me that Jones’ injuries are much worse than they had appeared at first. Apparently he had a great deal of internal injuries as well. They are not sure if he will pull through.
July 20th, 1894
Jones succumbed to his injuries today. The funeral arrangements are being made.
July 22nd, 1894
Jones’ funeral was today. The preacher was very strange. I’m not quite sure what he meant when he said Jones’ soul was “swallowed up” by the Lord. I did like his point that Jones would be “a part of us forever,” though.
Although there was one good thing. As strange or flippant as it might be to mention, the food at the reception afterwords was fantastic.
“Got any spare change?” asked the Bum as the Truck Driver pushed passed him into the bar.
“The usual?” asked the Bartender as he entered.
“What else?” grunted the Truck Driver, sliding onto the stool. “I don’t know why you work in this dump,” he said, shaking his head.
“We all have to pay the rent somehow,” shrugged the Bartender, mixing up the drink.
“Tell me about it,” sighed the Truck Driver, “But you could do so much more! You’re the Wise Old Man for God’s sake! Couldn’t you have been a professor or a therapist or something?”
“I was self-taught,” sighed the Bartender, “No degree, no fancy title. But hey, you’re not exactly the Playboy Millionaire either!”
“Maybe not,” admitted the Truck Driver, “The Fool got there first, somehow.”
“I heard it was the Trickster,” said the Bartender. “He decided to become a Con Man, then he and the Fool worked together, did some embezzling and fraud, made millions. Of course, then he got arrested and the Fool got to keep all the money. Been living it up ever since, doesn’t give two shits about anything.”
“Hell, man,” laughed the Truck Driver, “why couldn’t that have been us? Ah well, at least I’m still doing what I was meant to. Driving a truck is sort of like being a Wanderer. I get to travel a lot, anyway.”
“Things sure have changed,” sighed the Bartender. “Have you seen the Mother and the Child recently? Now that’s sad.”
The Truck Driver nodded. Back when humanity was young, the Child was all sweetness and light, instead of the snotty little shit he was today. One could almost forgive the Mother for turning from the strong, supportive parent she once was to the henpecking, controlling woman she had become.
“What we need is a Hero to come along and set things right,” the Truck Driver sighed.
The Bartender smiled wistfully. “Every day I wish it more and more. It’s such a shame he was killed back in World War II.”
I remember when I was 10 years old. My mother would send my brother and me to grandma’s house every Sunday, to “spend quality time with her”. So every Sunday, we’d trek three blocks to her house, dressed like we were going to church. Every Sunday we’d sit in her cigarette smoke filled living room, listening to her berate us at length for being the root of all her suffering and woe throughout the years with a heavy middle-European accent. She held us responsible for the pain she had been dealt both during and after the second world war in Poland. She held us responsible for her divorce, for her drinking, for her broken toilet. In her eyes, we were two of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. She spent every Sunday wearing nothing more than a horrible pink bathrobe and matching slippers with a lime green shower cap, a bottle of brandy in her left hand and a lit cigarette in the right, one leg crossed over the other. And if my brother or I made so much as a whisper, she’d leap across the room with surprising agility and hit us both with an old clothes iron. Then she’d threaten to cut off our toes if we ratted on her, “just like they used to do in the old country”. Christmas eve was always fun too. Every year was the same story. Half-way through opening presents, she’d start drinking and by the time we were done, she’d be in a drunken stupor. My mother would inevitably help her upstairs to her bedroom and put her in bed while my dad and I cleaned up the living room. Then we left her house quietly, not saying a word as we walked to the car.