Monday, 31 October 2011

In which I valiantly attempt to check out a book from a library

I have taken to walking the streets of this city at night. Or at least when the sun isn't up, since "night" and "day" don't really have the same meaning here as they do in the real world. Hmm. The real world -- I still think of this place as unreal, unbelievable, impossible. Yet I've lived here how many weeks? Seen how much of this unreal city?

In all likelihood, I've only seen a fraction of a fraction. I see new buildings everyday here. Some I recognize as buildings I've seen before, but with new additions, new floors, new terraces, or the exact reverse. Skyscrapers which are now one-story tenements. Plazas which are now trash heaps (and yet all the trash looks clean, as if it isn't real trash at all, but the image of what trash should look like, if you understand what I'm saying).

And then today I found a library.

Look at it. Doesn't it look beautiful? Look at the arches (down the nights and down the days, down the arches of the years).

And how did I know this was a library? There were windows.

Ah, did I say windows? I meant glass displays of gorgeous rooms filled with books.

So I, of course, entered this library, passing from room to room, looking for a book to read. I passed from shelf to shelf, my fingers touching spines, until finally, giddy in spite of myself, I took down a book and opened it:

Eruyy Jpbr-Sol-Siwln

si noh
J oazf zirold. M nbsx cl pyopslfk.
Tljz ppbje mt davqld eok tm ja tajztie hnh J jar'u zei uoe apvd jpy tlf arifz. IM nh wvpugie hnh nbsx cl pyopslfk.

I flipped through the book. Every page was like this. Complete and total gibberish, not even with recognizable words like the signs at the movie theatre. Nothing I could comprehend.

I set the book back and picked up another:



I chose another book:

Samantha picked up the book, opened it and read:
Samantha picked up the book, opened it and read:
Samantha picked up the book, opened it and read:
Samantha picked up the book, opened it and read:

I shut the book quickly. Even if this was the only non-gibberish book in the whole building, I have a feeling I still could not read it without going mad.

Finally, after hours of searching, I left the library without a book in my hands. My search had been a complete and utter failure.

And then a revelation hit me: what am I? I am a writer. Why am I here?

I am here to write.

All the books are gibberish. So I will write my own. I will write a book about this city. This is what I am here to do. This is my purpose.

Sam Norton

Friday, 28 October 2011


Sometimes, I forget who I am.

I mean, who I really am. I'm Paragon, yes; but there is a person behind the name, a real, living, breathing person who was fired from her job and fell hard on her luck. That's me.

But... I'm beginning to lose myself. There is a reason why I did not share my name initially, but that has been lost to yesterday, just as my name itself has. I could not share it now, even if I wanted to. The question of "who am I" suddenly has graver impact on me then it would have before.

I am who I am, though. If I am Paragon, then it matters not who I was before. Right?

No, no, no... that isn't right. I want to be the person I was. I want to be happy. I don't want to be here, in Paragon's shoes. Paragon is starving, Paragon is parched, Paragon is going to die. If time existed for Paragon, Paragon would be counting the seconds. For Paragon, the sun has not moved an inch in the sky since she first saw it. It rests steadily overhead, as if staring at Paragon's desperate attempts to struggle against what is coming to her; how foolish of her, haha. Poor Paragon.

Such a shame that I am in Paragon's shoes, isn't it? I was happy, at least in hindsight. I did not feel emptiness clawing at my innards after every step; I did not have a pain that erupted (as a volcano would) after each step.

But that's what I am now. I'm Paragon. I can't run away from who I am; I've lost who I was, so I must merely focus on who I am now. The question is: what can I do to escape the situation? I don't know, so I'm posting here. Maybe that'll do something.

I feel... confined. I can walk as far as my lame leg will take me, to the furthest horizon; I feel that I've walked more now then I ever have before. But I'm still caught in this cage. There may be no bars on this cage's walls, but it is a cage all the same. Whether it is a cage of my own weakness, or a wilderness of such large proportions that I am caught in the ravine of a canyon, and have yet to scale it's cliffs: I do not know, and perhaps shall never know.

My body feels the rhythmic pain of fatigue; unrelenting and constant. The ground here is as soft and comforting as the roughest gravel, so I cannot rest. And even if I could rest, that would merely eat at what time my body has remaining. And that time is, if nothing else, growing shorter by the second, and I can do naught to lengthen it.

My breath is coming in gasps and pants; my nose occasionally spits a little blood, and my leg does nothing but ache, with the occasional jolt of pain, like lightning breaking the roughness of the sea. The rest of my body grumbles and growls, demanding sustenance. And yet, there is nothing to eat here, unless my digestion system has acquired a taste for concrete recently. But no matter how much it hurts to do this, I cannot stop. Not here, and not now.

Because there is a little something called hope.

Futile, unjustified, beyond reach. But there is hope all the same. Hope for an escape. Hope that I must reach; hope that, around this corner, I will find what I'm looking for. It is because of hope that I must not stop. If my hope flickers and fades, I am dead. I must endure, then. I will keep going. For if this is a cage without bars, I will keep going until I fall out. Why?

Because I remember something. Something before Paragon. Someone told me that they loved me, and I told them this thing back. I want them to hear it again.

And they will. By God, they will.

Thursday, 27 October 2011


Still here. Yup... still... here... Show ended a while ago. Was not a good ending. It was a feed of Maddie staring at the wall of her room-cell-thing at Happy Acre. Looks like it was shot with some sort of security cam. Are they allowed to have those in the rooms? Adam was there, just staring with her as he got bigger and bigger, then he began to chant.
I couldn't get a lot of it, it creeped me out, but it was something like:

Empty city, it's calling your name
Something something...
'Til you've forgotten your name, where the streets are lined with pain
But I can't stay away
something something...

I don't know. It seemed important at the time. It's a loop now of some war footage. Really gruesome stuff. Every once in a while it flashes something. I've watched it enough to have caught it all, which is kind of why I decided to write again. I couldn't figure out why I was seeing Maggie's show. Aside from Adam, it was a nice little distraction from whatever is going on in here. That probably should have been my first clue, you know? Limbo isn't about entertainment, it's about preparing one's spirit to enter Heaven, like, blasphemous as this is, showering before entering a pool.

I already know I was a bad sister, I acknowledged that and the show ended shortly afterwards. Ads didn't, but those are just kind of weird. Now this, all these people dying throughout the ages. That's weird, and disturbing, but had nothing really to do with me. I was never a soldier, I never killed. Never even hit a cat with my car. Anyway, rambling. It helps calm me down though. Anyway, the title card doesn't last long. I could never be 100% sure what it said. This last time, everything slowed down. Like, way down. Have you ever watched a man die in slow motion? I was in tears before the first segment ended. Now, the title's sort of stuck on the screen, though the audio's still going, all slowed down and everything.


I don't know what to make of that. I don't want to be in here anymore. I wonder if food is popping at my base whenever I upload? I wonder if I'll ever figure this all out and move on? I wond


There is nothing under these bleak skies; there are bricks, and there is tarmac, and there is glass, but that is nothing.

I have wandered since I awoke in the room; I found nothing. No support for my leg (which is growing ever-harder to walk on), no food to eat, nothing to drink. My throat is as dry as the Arctic, and my stomach growls as if a feral beast.

But I can't stop; I can't give in. I just have to keep walking and looking; I have to find something.

Speaking of finding, I believe that there may be something following me. When I turn around, I always see something out of my eye's corner. Nothing solid, nothing tangible; just a shape, dancing and weaving away from me.

Much like sanity, as of late.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

In which a message is left, but the meaning is unknown

"A" left me another message. At least, I think it was A. They didn't sign their name this time.

I don't know how they can navigate this city so well, but they appear to be able to know where my room will be at a given moment. Or perhaps it was merely luck that the message appeared where it did.

Today (well, tonight, actually, since the sun didn't rise as it usually did), I opened my door and saw a hedgerow. And in the center of the hedgerow was an envelope.

Seeing as the envelope bore my nom-de-plume from this journal, I decided to open it. Inside was a card with writing on the front and the back.

At first I was confused. The envelope was addressed to me, but the name on the card was "John." And was the date of November 26th important?

And then something clicked within my mind. John 11:26.

And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

This fits with A's other "believe in me" note, though I'm not sure why they are now using a Bible quote. Are they asking if I believe in them? Well, I believe they exist. What else do they want me to believe in?

Sam Norton

Saturday, 22 October 2011


I have found a bed. This is important.

From here on, I shall be marking my sleep-cycles in the progress of this blog, so that I do not forget them. I have undergone several since I began typing, but have already lost count. Thus, I shall call this Sleep Cycle 1.

From last time, I staggered down the street; after several steps, my right leg began to give way under me. That was the side on which I hit the floor, so colour me unsurprised as to why it began to give way. In any case, I reached the end of that street, and leaned against a wall for support, breathing heavily.

I am not the apex of human fitness. After the days (?) I've been having, I think I could be forgiven for my imperfections. Just maybe.

In any case, I closed my eyes and breathed deeply; I opened them once more, and noticed that I had been fortunate enough to have leaned on a door for support. Thanking my fortune, I placed a hand on the handle, and it gave way easily. I found myself in a room much like I first found myself in, but with some key differences.

For one, a bed. This is important. Beds are important; never forget that. A human who knows where their bed is has their head together.

Secondly, there was a second doorframe in the room; I walked through the door (which gently swung shut behind me), placed the laptop onto the bed, and walked through the second doorway. I found myself in a bathroom, which had been built by someone who had no concept of what a "bath" was. There was no bathtub; there was a shower cubicle and a sink, but no taps or showerheads. And I do not mean to say that there were holes where there should have been those things, they had just been built to lack them.

There was still a mirror in there, above the sink. I do not normally indulge in the vanities of appearances (it takes a special kind of plain-ness to be as plain as I, and I have just that amount), but I did feel a need to. After my meeting with the tarmac outside, I think there's a very good chance that my nose may never fully heal. The rest of my face is grazed, also, but that will heal in time.

And now, may I sound a little mad? A little madder then normal, in any case.

As I looked in the mirror, I felt my head split in two, as if the river of my conciousness had arrived at a tributary. I still felt my life continue as part of the river, but I could also feel (and remember) the path of the memory-tributary which grew there.

In this path, I stared into the mirror; my eyes grew wide, as my vision began to become red and distorted. As if I'd remembered a downright hilarious joke, my mouth suddenly opened in a manic grin; I saw a human figure in the doorway behind me (reflected in the mirror), but I could make out no features, for I moved at that moment. I had, from somewhere, procured a gun; I held it up to the side of my head (covering the doorway), and pulled the trigger. My distorted vision continued, as my body hit the floor once more, and the familiar red of blood covered my eyes once more.

At the same time, I continued to stare at the wrecked face in the mirror, still perfectly fit and alive, and seeing in full colour.

I do not claim to understand this. What can I do but disregard it? I laid down on the bed in the other room, moving the laptop to the floor, and I slept.

I awoke for Sleep Cycle 2. My nose began bleeding while I was sleeping for some reason, and I awoke to a rather red pillow. At least it wasn't my clothes that I was sleeping on. I have not left the room since I found it; I shall try the door now, and see what else I can find in this city. I will have to find support for my leg, and pray that I do not get an infection on the facial cuts.

Diary Entry: I can't think of something witty

So, set out like I planned, reading that paper. Not all of it was in English, headlines, obituaries, most of the articles, etc. were unreadable. Some looked vaguely Asian, and I swear, I keep flipping past one that looks almost Cuneiform. Of course, I can't locate it now. In fact, as I write, the letters are getting fuzzy. I think it served it's purpose anyway.

I swear I just saw my handle in here somewhere.

Anyway, back to the plot. I could read a few advertisements. Library is having a puppet exhibit, The Book Garden recommends this week's best seller by some author I've never heard of,and I can get 15% off my bill at Fugue's Genuine Italian Restaurant. The only thing that's actually standing out to me is an ad for a theater, which is where I'm writing this. I've lost count of how long I've been here, the concession stand was stocked, so this place must be another of those "right choices".

My sister used to have an imaginary friend, and they used to have an imaginary TV show. And that's what's playing here, The Maggie and Adam Show.

Our mom was... well, that both me and my little sister were born somewhat normal is nothing short of God's own intervention. She drank fairly heavily while with Maggie, I was 18 at the time, pregnant with my first too. Nothing's weirder, by the way, than having a son as old as your sister. I was a crappy sibling anyway, rarely visited because of our Mom, who thought it would be simply hilarious to imply that my husband was Maggie's daddy too. He wasn't, and we had the blood test to prove it. Mom was probably at the height of her insanity. She accused her boss, several married male coworkers, the dean of the university I went to, and God knows who else too. She got fired, naturally, and decided to home school Maggie. So, no dad, no chance of meeting anyone her own age unless she was at my house, and a sister trying to raise her own toddlers. No wonder she took in with someone who wasn't there.

I mean, someone who was there. Someone who was always there.

Okay, so the show usually goes like this, Maggie is sitting in her room, looking at her closet, or dancing for the camera, or just being adorable. Sometimes she looks right at you and grins. Honestly, if that was it, it would be kind of cute, you know? I miss Maggie. Anyway, after you've settled in to watch whatever it is she's doing, she twirls to the closet and loudly announces "And the other star! Adam!" or something like that.

I can't even begin to explain what Maggie calls Adam. Trying to look at him is like trying to taste a sound. Look, I've been without people for... who knows how long. I never really felt it until right now though. It's worse because I need to put this into words that I do not have.

I wonder how long I've been in here? I need to get away from this. It's starting to get overwhelming.

Door's locked, guess I'm not done.

In which I walk and reflect

The sun is shining very brightly and yet it is still cold. How long have I been here? A week? I would try marking the days, but "days" and "nights" seem arbitrary here. I saw the sun rise and set within an hour one time. Does that count as one day?

I went outside again today. There was no more department store or Italian restaurant. Instead, the streets were lined with steel buildings, the sun glaring off them, blinding me. I walked amidst them, each building reflecting my image back, until at one point I was between two mirrors, my reflections arcing back and forth into infinity.

I turned the corner then and found myself in front of a movie theatre.

There was nothing on the marquee, though, and no posters within any of the frames.

There were notices on the doors, but they were all in gibberish. Things like "the gostak distims the doshes" and "reduction occurs step wise though the essence is all one."

I couldn't even get inside the theatre -- the doors were all locked. I have a feeling that if I had been able to go inside and sit down and watch one of the films, it wouldn't make any sense at all. Perhaps it would simply be a white screen and I could make my own movie with shadows. Perhaps it would like the notices, just snippets of complete nonsense. Or perhaps it would have made perfect sense and revealed all secrets of this city and how to leave it.

After trying to open all the doors, I just turned around and walked back. The row of mirror-buildings had become sloping houses with brick exteriors. I glanced back and the theatre seemed to sit there, lonely, on the corner.

Sam Norton

Friday, 21 October 2011

January 24, 1923

Today I awoke to find that my location had changed. my window now showed a different scene than it did yesterday. That strange and fascinating city of glass had been replaced with an alley, surrounded by walls of brick and mortar. Upon the walls were a variety of scratch marks, though from where they came, I do not know.

The day passed by slowly. I have found that I am strangely not hungry or thirsty. I remain confined to this room with little with which to pass the time, and I fear that these conditions are beginning to take their toll on me.

I spend most of my time thinking of Grace. I find myself thinking of my home in Georgia and the green pastures and forests that surround my town. Oh how I loved to play in those forests when I was a boy. I wonder what happened at my cousin's party? What happened when the guests and my cousin realized that I was unaccounted for?

There! Just now I blinked at the scene outside my window changed. I saw the pastures and the forest, and I saw some large black animal moving about through the trees, but I blinked again, and the alley returned.

Thursday, 20 October 2011


Since my arrival in this chaotic space, I found my senses dulling themselves; my hearing was failing, I was losing my ability to see. I was losing my ability to balance; I did not hunger, thirst or feel tired. But I can now safely say that those feelings are gone. I feel hunger, thirst, tiredness... and pain. I can't forget the pain.

From my last post, I closed the laptop, picked it up and pursued the ghostly figure who I had seen from the corner of my eye. It did not take me long to find the first dead end I had encountered since I had entered the maze. The place had been a straight line; white walls and white floors, all moving forwards. Twisting around corners, yes, but never splitting into two.

I shrugged; likely, I'd missed a turning at some point or another. Nothing to be done about it. I turned around, and walked, face-first, into a wall. I stumbled for a moment, as if I'd suddenly taken a stiff drink of my favourite vodka. I shook my head, and looked around. Instead of the path being how it was (which is to say, a straight line from the last corner to where I was now), it had changed. The path to my behind no longer existed, but a path to my new left did.

I sighed, and shook my head. I walked down the new path that awaited me, until I came upon a flight of stairs. This place had elevation, at least; I went down them at a brisk pace, until I found myself in front of a door. Nothing special about this door, really; I attempted to push it open, and was surprised to find that it didn't budge a single inch when I did so. It was practically impassable; perhaps I'd taken another wrong turning?

Oh, no, no, no. It was a pull-door. My mistake.

I pulled it open, and stepped into the street; the temperature around me instantly went through the floor on it's way down. I felt as if I'd been teleported to the Antarctica, and that an iceberg was working it's way up my spine. As if attempting to defrost the iceberg, I took a step back; this time, with a caution that turned out to be unjustified. The door was there, but closed; I put a hand on the door. I pushed against a door that did not give away.

I looked down the door's side; it had become locked. I had not heard it lock, but I had been rather concerned with the matter of half the Arctic trying to work it's way down my trousers. I sighed, and looked around in the street; fog surrounded me, limiting my vision. I shivered, and attempted to find a place to get back into the mild climate that appeared to be the inside here, since the outside stood a considerably high chance of meeting the Abominable Snowman.

As I walked across the street (and that is what it was; I walked off a pavement, across two lines painted with yellow paint, and onto the road), I found a shape coming into focus; a tall building, perhaps an apartment block. But as it did so, I could see a dark marking; upon it, black paint sloshed into a circle. The same shade of paint used, for a single letter within the circle, it's points touching the circle. A.

A in a circle, huh? Is that not what an anarchy symbol is? I pondered on this for a moment, before stopping. I could hear something behind me.

I called: "Who's there?" I turned around, staring into the fog.

A reply: "Me." A corny reply, to be sure. What had a distinct lack of corn was the sudden rapidness that the footsteps gained; I turned my head to observe, just as I felt a distinct sense of pain, as I was tackled to the cold floor.

It is curious, is it not, that I'd be able to give such a recollection of a scene which, to be honest, went by far too quickly for me to really remember it. I am as surprised as you, let me assure you.

From the floor, I felt a foot rest on top of my head, as my attacker got to their feet. The foot lifted, and then it fell. Ouch.

I startled, then spoke: "who are you?"

The foot did not rest on my head again, as the voice spoke: "why, I am myself, and none other, as I said. Weren't you-" I felt a foot-stomp on my back. "Listening~?"

"I was... but that doesn't answer my question." Despite my aforementioned coldness, the temperature had stabilised again, While I was in a rather bad position to judge (what with being quite literally under someone's feet), I did not feel the icy chill that I once had; the mildness of the buildings had come over me. I could feel something warm on my face, but ignored it.

The figure sighed; I heard them crouching down, but couldn't see anything but their shadow. "Let me answer that question, then. I am the shadow that creeps from your feet; I am the little voice that says do it." A giggle from the figure, and then a return to a seriousness as chilly as the atmosphere had been. "The aspiration to greatness; the desire to be that person; the urge to consume all that there is because you can." And then I felt a fist hit the back of my head, driving my noise into the tarmac once more. Ouch. "I am human nature incarnate! The apex of what it means to be human!"

I felt the hand that had smashed my face down grab my hair, and drag my head backwards, until I was looking into a face. A face that looked older then it should be; greying hair, wrinkling features, on a face that could not exceed twenty-five. But in their eyes, I could see a spark of vitality and youth; but the spark was outweighed by the roaring fire of malice. "Some call me an Aspect; some categorise me; others still call me an Elemental. But some, some call me a Fear. I like that~!"

"My name is A, and I am the Fear of Humanity."

As they were largely the ravings of someone who was clearly a lunatic, I paid little heed to them; I was more concerned by the slightly-tasty liquid coming into my mouth. The warm liquid that had come across my face; unsurprisingly, I was bleeding. Well, it's unsurprising for me in one sense, but surprising in another; this was the first time I'd really felt alive since I entered this place. But that was an aside; I think the contorted face above me was concerned more for itself then for me.

"What? Has my beauty scared you shitless, little human~?"

I tried to gargle a reply, but was unable to; a spurt of blood come out. The figure looked at me with some combination of disgust and mortification. They released my head; I gratefully took the urge to lean forward, and, uh. Shall we say, "vomit"? That's a bit graphic, but it works. So, yes: I took the urge to lean forward and noisily vomit onto the floor.

I didn't hear or see them leave, and didn't particularly care to. I think I crawled away from the pile of my own... releases and over to where I had dropped the laptop, and fell asleep there, in the middle of the street.

I awoke only moments ago; I typed this post up as soon as I could. The apartment blocks with the anarchy symbol have vanished, as have the... releases. My body aches with pain; my nose is no longer running with blood, although I cannot imagine that my face is clean, based on what I can feel. None of the buildings on this street have an open door; I am going to try and stand now, and then find somewhere to sleep. If I find a single soft spot, I shall be very happy for it. I shall try the building I left yesterday first, but I hold little hopes that it has unlocked itself.

Something to eat, too, would not go amiss.

Day 8

I have finally made my way out of the tunnel system. When I exited it, I found the large expanse of this city portion of the Testing Area. It was dark when I emerged, and the lights from the windows in these grand buildings seemed to be constantly blinking. But I did not assume that they were blinking because someone was actually in them, but rather that they were blinking on their own. I believe this because they were all blinking in a similarly uniform fashion, having one light turn off, then turning off and the one above turning on, and so on until it reached the top of the building, and then it moved to the right, and down, and to the left. This continued for the whole night, on every building. Then it turned to day, and while the light is harder to see now in the light of the sun, it is still faintly visible. I dare not enter any of these buildings.

-Bruce Wright

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

In which a picture is worth a thousand words

I found a camera today. It was waiting on my doorstep. At least, I assume it's a camera. It takes pictures; however, similar to the typewriter I'm using now, the pictures appear on a small screen instead of an actual piece of paper. If I hadn't already been in this city for several days, I would be fairly impressed.

I have taken a picture of what's outside my window right now. The streets have changed again and I want to see if taking a picture will preserve it. Will the picture itself change when the street does? Let's find out.

I followed the instructions on how to upload it - it was fairly simple. I'm surprised I could even take this picture. I assumed this city was like a vampire, no reflection in mirrors, won't show up in photos. I thought the image might turn out distorted or degraded, but it isn't.

And yet I can't help feeling that there is something about this image that isn't right. Or maybe I am simply paranoid.

Sam Norton

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Diary Entry: Skinner Boxes

It's remarkably easy to train people. Think of almost any computer game, a lot seem to be based, given a sufficient stretch, on task->reward. You do something, something good happens, or something bad stops happening, likewise, if you do something bad, bad things happen, or good things stop happening. Whenever I post, I get food to survive. I see now how clear that was, even replying to the "comment" from proxiehunter lead to some small snack. I think now it is just a random jumble, something about time periods or something ending in a question, to make me post something. I did mention something about a proxy blocker, so even the name makes sense.

Honestly, I don't like being manipulated like this, but I'm hungry again, so here's another entry. I'm still pretty sure I'm dead, and being tested somehow to determine if I can ascend. I never thought about it, but people in Limbo would still probably be subjected to their earthy needs, it's not Heaven, after all. I'm going to pack up this computer, what clothes I can find, and try setting out again.

Right, okay, that must be the right choice, because as I typed that, I heard something fall into the mailbox. No one was there, of course, the walls were still all marked up, but now there's only one path. In the box was a newspaper. Going to pack it and read as I walk.

I just hope... Yeah, we'll leave it at that. Going to hope.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

In which I wax philosophical

I'm chewing on a cracker watching the morning light hit the streets. Is it the morning already? It felt like the sun just went down. It felt like the night passed in minutes. In the darkness, the streets changed position, like a strange game of musical chairs, and the only one left standing after the music stopped was me.

Sorry if I'm getting a bit too depressed. This place is getting to me. I haven't received any more notes from "A" -- whoever they were -- and I've been conserving the food they left me. Water isn't a problem -- my room is equipped with a small washroom, including sink. I don't know where the water comes from, but it's clean.

Sometimes I look out into this city and feel that it's amazing. It's everything I dreamed, everything I wrote in my little science fiction stories, a gleaming metropolis of the future. And sometimes I look out and feel like it's a cruel joke, a city without people, without animals, without sounds echoing or smells wafting, a city devoid of everything except its structures. A hollow city.

Sorry about all that. I just had this great feeling of ennui well up and I had to let it all out.

Sam Norton

Diary Entry: I need out.

Ahh, hello again. I had sort of hoped to never see this room again.

It's not a fluke, then, there really are no people at all. There are signs of human life, stores and the like, but no actual people. I have explored further, hoping for some way back home, but all I found indicates to me that there will be no escape.

For one thing, I'm here again.

I set off in one direction, making a mark with a bit of rock to indicate where I had come from when I reached an alleyway or something. After walking what was probably half a day, I went to automatically make a mark, only to find one already there. I looked up, and the walls around me were littered with scratches. I don't know how, but I backed up into a door that wound up being the same one I left this morning. It wasn't me that made all those. I don't think it was. My rock was worn down a lot, but not that much. Or maybe it was me. Maybe some part of me is still out there, looking for a way out? It makes as much sense as anything else. I'm exhausted now, and starving. There was food yesterday afternoon, then a little snack later in the day. Doesn't seem to be the case today though. Today being a relative term itself, it seems. These clocks are terribly unreliable, every time I choose one to follow, it seems to speed up or slow down.


I have not been able to sleep since my last entry to this blog. The damnable dripping sets my nerves on edge; sleep is quite impossible. And it has followed me. For I have left the room.

There were no doors; no exits; no entrances. The room was a closed circle in the shape of a rectangle; I had walked it's perimeter too many times to count in my boredom. And yet, after restlessly trying to ignore the nerve-shattering sound of water, I turned in my makeshift bed; I saw the doorway as clear as day. From the white wall, a black corridor. I jumped to my feet, and found myself hit by chilliness.

After converting my makeshift bed into clothes once more, I took the laptop computer and peeked my head out of the door; the corridor went far to the left, and only a half-metre to the right. I noted that I'd left my boots to one side, and went over to put them back on.

Upon trying to leave the room once again, I turned to the left; only to found myself facing the wall. I turned around, and instead saw the path to the 'right' (which was now straight ahead of me). I thought nothing of it, and walked along it. The path bent and it curved; I was faced with many crossroads, and merely took whichever path I thought looked promising. Surprisingly, I ran into not one dead end.

But... I tired of it. My body did not tire; as if built not from sinews and muscles and blood and bone, but from axles and gears and oil and metal. One step after another; I began to feel the world freeze around me. Everything was the same; nothing was new. Every corridor the same as the last; I could walk for an eternity and get nowhere. I could feel rushing despair take my soul by it's neck; I cared not. For that period of time, everything became stale; I walked because I had walked.

And then I saw someone.

I had reached another T-junction, or was about to. As I neared it, I saw a person walk down it in the other direction. As monochrome as the rest of the place, they marched straight past me, not even looking in my direction.

And then I paused and sat down to write this. These corridor are like a warren; it should not be too hard to find that person again, if they are as lost as I am. Or incredibly difficult. Either way, it is a break-up from the monotony of walking.

Friday, 14 October 2011

In which I go shopping, feel hunger, and find a note

God, I could kill for a cigarette. That's the only thing I've been unable to find.

I've started to explore this city and noticed something odd. Well, odder. The city seems to be providing me with everything I need to live here.

For example, as I walked out of my room (I'm getting use to thinking of it as "my" room - is that bad?), I wondered if I would have to stay in the same clothes for the entire time I was here. At that exact moment, I saw across the street a department store, it's windows filled with mannequins displaying all sorts of clothing. The sign above the department store declared in large block letters that it was called "LACUNARY'S".

Inside was aisle after aisle of every article of clothing I could possibly wear. I'm afraid I may have gone a bit overboard in my selection, as I had never been able to afford such outfits, so I ended up piling article after article of clothing into a basket and then whisking them away back to my room.

Perhaps I was lucky even to find my room again, though, since the city seems to change around me. At one point, after my third trip, I realized that I was quite famished and when I turned around, LACUNARY'S had changed. There were no more mannequins in the storefront, no more outfits -- instead, the sign declared that it was "FUGUE'S GENUINE ITALIAN RESTAURANT". The windows had enticing pictures of pasta and pizzas and, as I cautiously opened the front doors, my mouth began to water at the smell of fresh baked dough and tomato sauce.

The smell was a lie, however -- or perhaps a delusion of my own fevered imagination -- because within the restaurant I found no pizza, no pasta, nothing except empty tables and chairs. Besides, who was to make the food anyway? As for as I could tell, there was no one else in this city except for me.

At that thought, however, I heard a rattling sound. It was coming from the kitchen area of the restaurant. I didn't know whether I should run towards the sound or away from it. I eventually compromised and opened the kitchen doors slowly, trying to see if there was anyone there. I saw no one, so I stepped inside and took a look around. Still no one -- except there was a cabinet that was ajar.

Inside the cabinet, I found an array of dry and canned foods (along with the helpful addition of a can-opener) which can probably last me a few weeks or possibly even months if I ration them out. Tucked beneath one of the cans of food was this note:

You are not dreaming. You are wide awake.
This is a city of the lost, the fear of being lost and abandoned and forever wayward. It likes you now. It enjoys playing with you, like a cat enjoys playing with a mouse. But in the end, it will consume you like it has consumed so many others.
I can protect you. I can provide for you.
All you have to do is believe in me.

I have read this note a dozen times now. I packed all the food away in my room (I have no idea how I am still able to find it -- all the streets have changed, yet whenever I try to find it, I always see the door to my room). I do not know if this "A" person is telling the truth or whether I should trust them. I do not know if I shall continue to find food or if when this supply runs out, I'll just simply starve.

The only thing I know, right now, is that I want a cigarette badly.

Sam Norton
January 23, 1923

To whoever finds this journal and looks through these pages, I beg of you to help me. I do not know how I came to be here. I fear for my life. Help me.

My name is Benjamin Johnson. I was attending a party when I found need to relieve myself. After excusing myself from the guests, I made my way through the hallways of my cousin's home and came upon an ornately carved which I had never before encountered. Curiosity soon seized me, and I opened the door and stepped through it.

What I found beyond it was a large city of wooden homes and cobblestone streets. Gaslights burned within their lampposts and illuminated the night. As I walked through these streets, I soon became aware of an oddly foreboding feeling. Slowly, I began to sink deeper and deeper into dread. For you see, there were no people in this city. Try as I might, I could find no signs of life.

I walked until the sun began to rise, and I suddenly found myself face to face with another door, identical to the one which had taken me to this city. I stepped through it and found myself within a strange room.

The walls are made from a material which I cannot recognize, but which is solid and white. A window shows on one wall, which reveals a sea of oddly shaped structures which seem almost to be made of glass. There is a wooden desk against one wall, with a stack of papers and a typewriter resting upon it, and on the opposite side of the room is a small bed.

The door vanished as soon as I stepped through it, and I am now trapped in this room.

And so I have little to do but write this journal.

Help me

Earlier I asked that whoever found this journal help me, but now I realize the foolishness of that notion.

By the time anyone reads this, I will most likely be dead.

Day 2

In case anyone is curious, I should probably explain how I know this is the cause of alien lifeforms. You see, before I had exited the building through which I had entered into this Testing Area, as I shall refer to it from now on, I believe I saw one of these E.T.s. It seemed to wish to blend in to our culture by wearing a man's suit, so as not to cause alarm, but it could not hide one very obvious feature, the lack of any facial features. I theorize that perhaps it contains all of its perceptual body parts within its head, and perhaps that it feeds through some sort of filter method. At any rate, despite its lack of eyes, it seemed to be staring at me through a window. At first I thought I had just not seen clearly as I walked by, but now I know better. I have not seen the creature since, but I believe it was the alien that sent me to this Testing Area. I am still trying to find my way through this tunnel.

-Bruce Wright

Diary Entry: There's a signpost up ahead. The next stop: The Twilight Zone

I wonder what it says about my generation that the first thing a girl like me does upon waking up in a strange place is to go right for the computer?

Did you ever see that old episode of The Twilight Zone where the couple wakes up in someone else's house after a party the previous night? Of course you have... er... of course I have? Really, who else is going to be reading my journal? Anyway, since writing keeps me sane, back on topic. So, this couple wakes up in this nice house in this nice neighborhood, only there are no people. They can hear church bells ringing, and, being Sunday, just assume everyone is there. Simpler time, I suppose. So they head on over there, and, surprise, it's empty. The whole thing is just like some kind of movie set because it turns out they were caught and placed in this intergalactic zoo.

What I woke up to is like they're trying to film some gritty reboot of that. House is alright, I suppose, graffiti all over the outside walls. It's obviously not the affluent part of town, more like where I grew up. I haven't found anyone yet. I have theories as to what that means, but at least half of them suggest that I, or the rest of this town, am/is dead.

I said up there that this computer is the first place I went. I wasn't lying, but I've explored a little since then. Honestly, there's not much to say. Take an inner-city area and just delete the people... and the animals... Computer is interesting though. It's a bit outdated, came complete with log-in instructions and an annoying proxy-blocker. I'd kill for an area-specific ad right about now.

I'll be testing my theories tonight. Write later

-Sinopa (apparently)


I have slept twice since my last post to the blog, and not a single word from the other contributor to the web-page, the ever-elusive A, or from any other onlookers. Given that measuring time accurately seems to be quite impossible in this place, my sole measure of time is sleep cycles. Thus, I will set my clock by them.

But it on the matter of clocks that I wished to speak, for there has been a noise within my room for the past three-hundred countings of "one-elephant-two-elephant-three-elephant"; it was likely going on prior to this. It started after my second sleep cycle, but I was attempting to navigate this webspace, so I was not paying a particularly high amount of attention.

If you were to stand in a cave with sufficiently good acoustics, the sound would be akin to a droplet of water landing into a lake. The dripping of the water is in the room with me, it seems. It seems to occur once every two seconds, with an occasional moment when it will be silent for three. It is hard to concentrate with such a sound in my life.

The sound drowns out all else; the steady rhythm of fingers-on-keyboard is occasionally overcome by the dripping water. But it is not a loud sound; rather, silence falls for the sound to rise.

The water makes me think. I have not eaten or drank since I found myself in this place. Although I am quite done with growing, a girl still needs to eat at some point or another; metabolic processes require it. I am thus curious as to why there is no rumbling in my stomach and no croak in my throat. I remain as fit and healthy as I did since my first awakening. But, again, I cannot hold a stable command over the time in this place; two sleep-cycles may be only a few hours, if I had the possession of a clock.

Apart from the noise, there is nothing new in this place. The floor is now not as cold as it once was; it is almost a reasonable temperature. Given that there is nothing in this room besides myself and this computer, I have taken to using my clothes as a make-shift bed on the floor, as despite it's reasonable temperature, the floor is as hard as ever. The parts of my body that I cannot soften now have rather unpleasant bruising, which is worrying if I am to spend an extended period of time in this place.

I can only wonder as to my reason for being in this space, composed of order and nothing but.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

In which I walk through a door and find myself somewhere else

Hello. I'm still getting used to using this thing. It's not that different from my old Smith-Corona typewriter, except I don't need any correction fluid, I suppose.

I guess I better introduce myself: I am Sam Norton. Well, okay, "Samantha" is my full name, but I never go by it. I'll be twenty-eight this November and I am a writer by trade. And, well, I'm lost. Completely and utterly lost.

So, here's the scoop: as stories are my bread and butter (actually, I'm lucky if I can afford butter), I went out today to mail my latest yarn to Astounding Science-Fiction. Usually, I can only get one or two of my stories into Astounding in a year, so I also send my stuff to Weird Tales and Fantasy & Science Fiction. Anyway, I had my stories all bundled up and I walked into the post office and sent them all on their merry way.

Then I saw a side door. I mean, I had been to this post office lots of times, but I hadn't seen this door before. And I was curious about where it led. Did they just install it? So, my curiosity firmly peaked, I went over and inspected the door. There was no lock on it, nothing labeled "Employees Only", so I opened it.

It led to a fairly large room with completely blank walls. There was a bed on one side (very neat, the sheets all tucked in, you could bounce a quarter off of it) and in the center was a desk. It was a beautiful desk made of dark wood and in the center of the desk was this typewriter I'm using now. I mean, it looks kind of like a typewriter, but it's not; above the keys is a screen, like a television (not that I've owned one). The screen was turned to this page where I could enter these entries, like a diary. And there was a note next to the typewriter: Hider, this is your password: (password). If you hide, they shall seek.

Thinking that someone must have been staying here, I went back to the door and opened it to leave. Except where the post office used to be...wasn't. Like, while I was in the room, someone had just moved the entire post office away in wheels silently and I am someplace different.

It doesn't look like any city I've been in. I keep looking out the windows, but the streets all look different, I can't keep track. I'm afraid of leaving this room now. I think it was meant for me. That's kind of crazy, isn't it?

I mean, I write stories about space aliens and flying saucers and robots and sometimes the occasional weird fantasy thing, but this...this is out of my wheelhouse. I kind of want to curl up and wish this whole thing away, but that ain't going to do anything.

This whole typewriter thing can be compressed. It can fit down so I can hold it in one hand. Maybe I should start walking? Start exploring? Can I find my way back? Man, Dorothy never had it this bad.

Sam Norton

Day 1

I write this in the hopes that it may be found by another believer, or at the very least, that I turn out to be deluded and that someone will know my story. Or at least, what I believed my story to be. My name is Bruce Wright. I come from Santa Fe, New Mexico, the United States of America, Earth. I do not know where I am, but it is not of this world. I had been on a trip to New York City, where I had exited a building, and suddenly, found that every street was empty. Upon reentering the door, I found the interior of the building had been rearranged entirely. And similarly, everywhere within this "city" seems to change periodically. If this seems confusing, and believe me, it is, may I explain that I believe that this is the work of extraterrestrials. They seem to be performing a test on me, most likely to see how humans react to isolation. They have given me a strange device, with a pad of letters to type into a glowing screen. Exactly what goal in mind they have I do not know, but I will attempt to update this journal as frequently as possible. Until then, this is the end of this entry. I shall attempt to find my way through this tunnel system I am currently lost in.

- Bruce Wright


Yesterday, I got fired from my job. Or, rather, "made redundant"; the company, in grateful accordance with the Austrian economic model, thinks that there can be no gain without pain, and is thus tightening it's belts. And instead of laying off someone who's earning six or seven digits, they fire someone barely making four. No pain for them, just gain for them. So I went home, sat on my bed, sighed and went to sleep.

And woke up here. I haven't moved a single inch since I woke up. I found two items besides me; a torn piece of paper and a laptop computer. The laptop computer looks like it has been modified somewhat; there's no identifying features on it. The brand logo on the lid has been painted over; the ports have been removed. If there was a charger here, I could not put it in; same if I had a USB memory stick. It is, in short, a keyboard and touchpad attached to a screen. The vast majority of the system seems to be closed off to me, due to "administrator restrictions". The clock on the screen is in clear error; the four digits change at random intervals, as confirmed by "one-elephant-two-elephant" counting to sixty; in that time, it changed thrice. When I did so again, it changed twice. There is an irregular beat to it.

This is the only website that loads; not even the Google homepage works. On the paper, the following words were written, in this colouring: Paragon. -Account Password-. If you seek relief, release. Not quite sure what that means, but I think I should post here.

But that's aside from the point, in my eyes. You may wonder, mysterious Internet denizen, as to why I'm not freaking out, or assuming things at the moment. For one, panic is irrational, no point in panicking. Secondly, I'm either mad or something is "going on". I would think that I'd drank my sorrows away and passed out in this room, but there's three problems with that.

Firstly, no hangover. I'm terrible for hangovers.

Secondly, I don't own this laptop. Never seen it before in my life; given the paper, I'm thinking this is a gift from someone else.

Thirdly, I'd have quite a bit of trouble getting into this room from the outside, on the basis that there aren't any doors in this room. And I do mean that it's just a room; about two metres by two-and-a-half, at my reckoning. The walls are painted in ghostly white, as is the ceiling; the floor is painted jet black. The room is bare; there are no chairs, no tables. Just the hard floor, upon which I am sat now, typing this.

The walls are all solid; I have paced it several times, resting my hand upon the walls as I did so. I cannot reach the ceiling, even if I take a running start at the wall and try to push myself up with my foot. Thus, this room seems to be a closed circle of sorts; I cannot exit, and anything on the outside cannot come in.

I drum my fingers upon the wall as I type this; boredom has begun to set in. I may do some more thinking as to the nature of this place, but from what I can observe, this may be the strangest place on the planet Earth.