And we’re back on our Twitter account: @ostiumpodcast! Did you miss us? What happened? We went through a door we didn’t mean to and it took us a while to find our way back to the Ostium Network.
For those who might be wondering what’s going on with the Ostium Network Twitter account @ostiumpodcast, well I thought it would be fun to change the start date to “January 1st, 2017” when Ostium first started, and this violated the terms of service since it would make the “owner” under 13 years of age and promptly locked the account.
But have no fear! I’m working on getting it back as soon as possible, and thank you for your patience with my stupidity.
Hi everyone, as you can tell, we’ve spent the last few days on revamping and updating the website to give it a sleeker look and hopefully make it easier for viewers to find the content they’re looking for. We hope you like it.
We’ll continue working on the site as more content and details become available and necessary for the site.
You can now find all the Ostium-related shows and the other shows Alex works on all in one convenient place.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see if we can get that missing content up for you.
We also have some big news in the works that we’ll be putting up here as soon as it’s announced.
The Ostium Network . . .
MONICA: I can’t believe it’s really you . . .
JAKE: I can’t believe you’re actually here, in Point Mystic.
MONICA: How did you even get here?
JAKE [smirking]: Same way you did: through a door.
MONICA: I feel like I’ve been doing that for fucking ever. Met lots of interesting people, visited some really crazy fucking places. But never found you. Though I got close once . . .
JAKE: You did? How do you know?
MONICA: The porcelain lily.
[Gasp of shock from Jake.]
MONICA: Well, half of the porcelain lily that you told them to put in that lockbox.
JAKE [Absolute shock]: Oh my god, you found it. It really got to you. That’s incredible. I never really expected it to work. It was totally a Back to the Future move.
MONICA [Not believing him]: Never expected it to work? Really? JAKE: Okay, I was really hoping, but was never certain. But it did work. Here’s my piece.
MONICA: Yep. And they fit.
[Porcelain scratching sound]
JAKE: Just like us.
MONICA: That’s fucking terrible. But I’m going to allow it, because you’re as wiped as I am, I’m sure.
JAKE: Not all it’s chalked up to be?
MONICA: And now I want to punch you. That didn’t take long at all. It might even be a record for you, Jakey.
JAKE: I try.
MONICA: So how did you know I was here?
JAKE: Once I arrived, I got introduced to Christopher. He wanted to interview about how I ended up in Point Mystic. I said sure and told himmy story. And then he asked me if I was looking for someone. That’s when I started getting excited. Then he told me you were here.
MONICA: Did he say where to find me?
JAKE: No. He basically just said go walking around the town. You’ll findher.
MONICA: [Snort] Typical of him. He told me the same thing, essentially. So I just started walking around. Eventually I saw there was a lighthouse andgot drawn to it. Wanted to check it out.
JAKE: That was the first thing I noticed. I figured I’d give it a shot and then started searching the rest of the town. But I wasn’t worried. I’m not under a time limit here.
MONICA: Yeah, me neither. I don’t know what it is. Is it something about
MONICA: Yeah, me neither. I don’t know what it is. Is it something about Ostium this place? Point Mystic. It’s pretty unique.
JAKE: Yeah. Has a kind of magical feel to it, like it’s not quite real. A place you’ve got to find for yourself. And it’s not on any map. Nobody outside of town really knows about it.
MONICA: Kinda sounds like a certain other place we found.
JAKE: Yeah. No kidding. But Ostium feels a long way off from here. MONICA: It sure does.
JAKE: Maybe it’s because we finally found each other. That’s why we don’t have to leave anymore, or at least right away.
MONICA: Could be.
JAKE: Why did you come after me?
MONICA: Are you kidding? I had to Jake. I wasn’t going to let you fucking leave me behind again. Plus I knew the state you were in. I needed to do whatever I could to try and get to you and help you. I wouldn’t let anything hold me back. Nothing could stop me. I wasn’t going to take no for an answer from anyone. I just wasn’t going to let it happen.
JAKE: Well, I could say something about how much it means to me to hear that, but words wouldn’t do it justice. But I appreciate it. More than youwill ever know.
MONICA: You sure about that?
JAKE: Yes. Undoubtedly. Wholeheartedly.
MONICA: Okay. Good. So what’s next for us?
JAKE: I figured we’d go through a few more doors, check out a couple more worlds, and see what’s happening.
MONICA: Sounds good to me.
MONICA: Fuck no, Jake. I’m done doing that. I want to get back to Ostium. Some-fucking-how. And then take a really long nap.
JAKE: That sounds . . . really great to me. Let’s make it happen. MONICA: Do you know how?
JAKE: No, not really. But I have an idea . . . well, more of an inkling. Do you have all the talismans from the different worlds you visited? MONICA: You betcha.
JAKE: Good. I think they’re going to be important. So, step one is . . . MONICA: Go through a door?
JAKE: You guessed it. How about that one?
MONICA: The lighthouse?
JAKE: Yeah. It’s the closest one to us. No reason not to use it. MONICA: Sounds good to me.
JAKE: Good. And I’m going to need to hold your hand. I feel like that’s part of it.
MONICA [Serious]: Okay Jake.
[Old squeaking door opening, then closing.]
JAKE: Where are we?
MONICA: Somewhere dark and stuffy.
JAKE: Let me see if I can find a light switch.
MONICA: Oh my god. We’re fucking back baby!
JAKE: Holy shit. It’s the clock tower. We’re inside.
JAKE: Okay, I can’t really see much outside, but I can see shadows of buildings, and the hintings of streets. Yep. We’re definitely back in Ostium. Fucking-A.
MONICA: You ready for some grub?
JAKE: Shit, yes. I’m starving. Let’s get cooking.
[Eating sounds: utensils on plates]
MONICA: So, I know it’s a big fucking step that we’re back here, but we still need to get back to the Ostium Network. Somehow.
JAKE: I know.
MONICA: We need to get back to Steve. He’s probably worried shitless about us. And . . . I really miss him too.
JAKE: Yeah, I do as well. I’ve got the stirrings of an idea, but not till the
JAKE: Yeah, I do as well. I’ve got the stirrings of an idea, but not till the morning. Once we’re done eating, it’s time to get a good night’s sleep. MONICA: Shit. Yes! That sounds wonderful. And in the morning a hot shower!
JAKE: Perfect. After sleep, a shower, and some breakfast we’ll be able to think a lot clearer and I should have the plan all worked out by then. MONICA: And I’m not gonna set an alarm.
JAKE: Hell no!
We get a really good night’s sleep. We shower . . . together, but that’s all the detail I’m giving about it. We have a hearty breakfast and clean up, and then we’re ready. I lead Monica to the map table.
JAKE: I need you to put all your trinkets on the map table, in no particular order. But hold on to the porcelain lily.
Monica does so. Then I do the same, keeping my porcelain lily. Nothing happens.
MONICA: Is this right?
JAKE: I think so. Just going through the steps of my plan here. Not sure if anything’s going to actually happen, we’ll see.
I then place my porcelain lily in the center of the map table.
JAKE: Now you place yours, joining up with mine, so they’re one. JAKE:
Monica slowly does so.
Then we stand.
[Porcelain clicking sound]
The sound of the pieces joining makes us both jump. We move closer and soon have our arms wrapped around each other. Comforting. Then a rumbling begins. I feel Monica tighten with fear. I do too, a little, but I recognize the rumbling as different from the earthquake we experienced so long ago in Ostium.
The rumbling increases, then there’s a bright flash of light that blinds us both.
[Electric fizzle sound]
I open my eyes once again and can see nothing at first. Dread races up my body like rising icy water as I wonder if I’ve gone blind from the flash, but then details come back into my vision and I know I’m going to be okay. Thirty seconds later we’re looking at each other. We’re both okay. Our
Thirty seconds later we’re looking at each other. We’re both okay. Our sight back to normal. Mostly.
We look down at the map table.
All the trinkets are gone.
MONICA: Was that it?
JAKE: I don’t know.
MONICA: Do you think it was enough? Can we leave Ostium now and get back to Gibraltar?
JAKE: No clue. Maybe.
MONICA: There’s only one way to find out.
She leads me out the clock tower and down the street. We’re walking really fast, then she starts running and I do too. We’re running hard until we make it to the gates. Those very same iron gates I looked upon the first time I arrived at Ostium.
There’s no padlock in sight.
Together we push the gates open and they swing easily and without sound.
On the other side is not endless blackness, a chasm of emptiness and despair.
Instead there’s a rectangular black doorway. Then there’s that fizzle sound again.
And I can start to see something. Details on the other side of that doorway. It looks like it might be the inside of that lab or whatever it was where they kept the door to Ostium. The one that was in the Ostium Network. The one that Steve first went through. And then Monica.
But I’m not certain.
I look to Monica. She looks at me.
She’s not certain either. Then she gives me a shrug. I nod and take her hand.
We step through the doorway.
Point Mystic Interviews #68, #71
[Sound of tape recorder starting. Ambient sound of a coffee shop in the background]
CHRISTOPHER: Testing 1-2-3. This is – hold on – interview #68 in my investigation into how and why people are finding their way to the place known as Point Mystic.
MONICA: Is this going to be on your radio show? Point Mystic?
CHRISTOPHER: You’ve heard of the show?
MONICA: No. (pause) I mean I’ve heard of the place.
CHRISTOPHER: I’m not necessarily going to use this interview for the show – I’ve been investigating this question for a long time. What Point Mystic is. Why it calls people. You could say searching for Point Mystic started all of this – inspired the show.
[Break (Music begins) ]
Sixty Eight interviews of how people found their way to Point Mystic. So far the common thread is this: Most people who find this place feel they have been called here. For what reason, we do not know. It is a mystery that binds us together.
To many who come to Point Mystic, it is more than a town. It’s a refuge. A place of escape. Wherever they’re coming from – other towns, other countries . . . other worlds – they’re often trying to get somewhere safe. Whatever has happened to them, it’s enough to push them away from somewhere they used to call home, but is no longer. Sometimes they have heard of the legend of Point Mystic and are seeking this place, and sometimes they are simply running away from someplace else and find themselves here. It doesn’t matter. This place doesn’t judge. It opens its doors and lets them in.
These interviews that my partner Marguerite and I have recorded investigating how people find their way to Point Mystic span back years, a map of our own journey to find the way back to Point Mystic. But we aren’t the only ones to have felt the call and found the doorway open. Whatever force is calling people to Point Mystic. It’s accelerating.
CHRISTOPHER: Can I have you state your name?
MONICA: Monica Chase.
CHRISTOPHER: How did you find Point Mystic, Monica?
MONICA: I wasn’t looking for Point Mystic. If anything, it found me. I’ve been traveling for a long time now. Going through lots of doors to different worlds. But never staying for long.
CHRISTOPHER: Is Point Mystic different from other places you’ve visited?
MONICA: I’m not sure yet, I’ve only just arrived. But I think so. There’s something about this place I haven’t felt with the other places I’ve seen. I don’t want to be disparaging to those worlds, some of them were pretty fucking bleak.
CHRISTOPHER: People who find their way here have usually been through a lot. Speak however you like. I just want the truth.
MONICA: Good. I can do the truth. I have been through a lot – seen a lot. This place here just feels . . . purer. More real? That probably doesn’t make a lot of sense. Different from all the other worlds I’ve seen. I’ve also had this . . . ability, for lack of a better word, which tells me how long I have left in each world and when I need to leave.
CHRISTOPHER: Like … a countdown?
MONICA: Yeah. As if I’m on borrowed time when I’m there and when that time is all used up I need to get the fuck out of there.
CHRISTOPHER: What do you think would’ve happened if you had stayed in one of those worlds beyond the deadline?
MONICA: Huh. Good question. Hadn’t really thought about it. I’ve just been running nonstop and I’ve never taken the time to even consider it. But I’d have to say . . . maybe I’d be stuck there. Whatever was letting me go through doors on to other worlds would stop. Be severed. And that would be it. I’d have to stay there for the rest of my life. Or maybe it’s worlds themselves that are ending. And if I think back to that last world where most of the planet was dead . . . Yeah, it’s a chilling thought.
CHRISTOPHER: You aren’t the first person to tell me something like this. And you don’t sense this feeling with Point Mystic? No countdown?
MONICA: No. It’s really weird. It wasn’t exactly a ticking clock in my head, but the mental equivalent. It was always there. Letting me know. And now it’s just not. It’s just gone. Maybe it’s a safe place. For now.
CHRISTOPHER: Are you going to remain in Point Mystic, for as long as it feels safe?
MONICA: I don’t know yet. I guess we’ll see. It’s nice to have the fucking choice for once. Does everyone stay?
CHRISTOPHER: Some people move on, some choose to stay – if they feel called to. Do you feel called?
MONICA: I don’t know. Doesn’t really matter if I did. Point Mystic is not what I came searching for through all these worlds.
CHRISTOPHER: Why were you going through the doors?
MONICA: [Laugh] Good question. I’m looking for someone. The love of my life, Jake. He got lost through a doorway in a place called Ostium.
CHRISTOPHER: You’ve seen Ostium?
MONICA: You’ve heard of it?
CHRISTOPHER: The empty town of doorways in Northern California? Yea. I’ve been there. Investigating the supernatural is what our radio show is about.
MONICA: Maybe you can help me then. (Breathes)
We were in this dark place fighting for our lives, and Jake had rescued what we thought was a monster, but was in fact a helpless thing that didn’t know what was happening to it. And… It’s so fucking stupid… Jake opens up a doorway to bring us back to Ostium. It took everything he had left in him to do it. He sent me and that poor fucking thing back through the doorway. And he didn’t leave any strength left for himself. Jake tried to bring himself through the door. He tried. He screwed it up. The door closed on him and now he’s lost out there somewhere. In time. He’s dissapeared on me a few times in the past and I wasn’t fucking having it this time. So I went after him. I went through another doorway — I didn’t care to where, or how dangerous — and I went after him. And I’ve been trying to find him ever since.
CHRISTOPHER: I’m sorry. I almost lost my son, Fox, through a doorway. I would have done the same as you, jumped down the rabbit hole after him, if he hadn’t come out of it. (Pause) Have you considered if Jake might have ended up here in Point Mystic?
MONICA: Not till you just said that. Huh. I guess it’s possible. CHRISTOPHER: I’d look for him here.
MONICA: Do people drawn to Point Mystic magically find what they are looking for?
CHRISTOPHER: No… No they don’t. But they usually find what they need.
MONICA: So how should I look? Start walking around town? Put up WANTED fliers? Yell his name from the fucking mountain tops?
CHRISTOPHER: There’s a lighthouse at the end of the point. A lot of people who try to find Point Mystic end up at the guesthouse. I’ll take you there. There’s someone else I’m supposed to interview there today. You are the third person to find your way here this week that I know of.
MONICA: Is his name Jake?
MONICA: The person you are interviewing.
CHRISTOPHER: Sorry, no. It’s someone named Logan. Found his way to Point Mystic through a crossroads in the middle of Georgia, of all places. I haven’t met a Jake. He could be here. I mean people come and go from Point Mystic all the time. There are many doors. Come with me.
MONICA: You know what? I’m good. I think I’m going to just sit here and finish my coffee. Maybe he’s here in Point Mystic. Maybe he’s not. But you’re right about one thing. There are many doors.
CHRISTOPHER: I really, do hope you find him, Monica. If not here, then somewhere. Calliope rents rooms upstairs if you’d rather stay in town.
MONICA: If you see a guy walking around looking for someone named Monica, you’ll let me know, right?
CHRISTOPHER: I will .Thank you for speaking with me. And really – Monica, if you need help, call me.
MONICA: Thank you… really. It’s all fucked up. But you and everyone I’ve met here have been kind. And it’s been a real long time since I could just sit with a cup of coffee and look at the ocean, and not wonder when my time was up.
[Sound of tape recorder stopping]
[Sound of tape recorder starting. Ambient sound of room interior or exterior, ocean waves in the distance]
CHRISTOPHER: Testing, Testing. This is interview #70? – 71. Subject appeared out of thin air right outside the lighthouse.
JAKE: Could we speed this up? I’ve got a lot of questions for you, too. Like where the hell I am.
CHRISTOPHER: Look you’re safe. You’re in Point Mystic, at a lighthouse called The Light at the End of the World… that draws people to it. I know this is all probably pretty confusing. Do you know how you got here?
JAKE: I went through a door and ended up here, outside this lighthouse.
CHRISTOPHER: What kind of door?
JAKE: Standard bathroom door in an abandoned McDonalds.
CHRISTOPHER: Does that usually happen when you go through doors?
JAKE: Normal people, not so much. Me: par for the course. It’s kind of my thing. I’m a time traveler of sorts, and traveler of many worlds at this point, I guess. In the past twenty-four hours – though time is kind of blurring for me right now – I’ve gone through so many doors and visited so many places I can’t keep count. This place is definitely nicer than most I’ve seen.
CHRISTOPHER: So you weren’t looking for it?
JAKE: No, not exactly but it does feel like something was leading me here, if that makes any sense.
CHRISTOPHER: Do you know what that is?
JAKE: A sensation that’s been pulling me forward? I knew it was real as soon as I arrived because it stops here. This place is not like the others. It’s . . . freeing. Unencumbered. It’s hard to put into words exactly, and not all those places I went through were necessarily bad, though some of them definitely had their downsides. Like the guy who went kind of crazy at the end and wanted to kill me. But this place, even though I haven’t been here very long, I can tell things are different. I feel . . . I know it’s a weird way to put it, but I feel at home here. There’s also one other big change.
CHRISTOPHER: What’s that?
JAKE: I don’t have to leave. The thing that’s been calling me — it’s here. Is it this place?
CHRISTOPHER: It might be. Is your name Jake?
JAKE [Shock]: Yes! How did you know?
CHRISTOPHER: I think you should come with me. There’s someone here in town, who’s looking for you.
[Sound of tape stopping]
From the moment I open my eyes, I know it is going to be a rough day. Another one of my down days. One of the really down days, when I just need to get away from everyone for a while. My mother, even though she is the queen of the realm, and technically I am a subject of Namaste and therefore a subject of hers, understands what I’ve gone through. She gave birth to me. She knows me; she understands my moods, even at her advanced age. She may be frail and need help going from room to room, but her mind is still there in its entirety. Not a single one of her advisers can sneak anything by her. Not that they try, but every once in a while they will make an attempt. And fail. It can be quite amusing if you are in attendance and get to watch.
But back to me and my current not so good mental state. I have my duties as the daughter of the queen; everyday duties as I am in training and preparation to take the throne once she passes or perhaps abdicates. ThoughI am almost fully convinced she will simply stop breathing one day, as she sits on her throne, dealing with her subjects and controlling the law and order within her realm. Her heart will just stop and that will be that.
It only takes a single message via my favorite attendee, Nessie, to my mother, and I am free to do as I please for the day. She knows. I know. I believe everyone in the palace must know by now.
They know my heart is broken. Torn asunder. When I lost her. When . . . I lost my Thyra. The full moon of Gammá is almost upon us once more, and it was right before the full moon of Etá when Thýra left Albion. For good? For ever? I know not. I surely hope not. No! I have to believe it not to be so. She will return to me one day. And we will be reunited. Finally. Oh, how my heart will sing and my eyes will run when that day comes.
Thýra was taken. That is what I have been told and what I now believe. It is what the one witness who saw it happen told me. Thýra was taken through a portal; an opening in reality. I read the truth in the witness’s eyes as she told me. She didn’t see who it was, but she saw what happened. Saw that Thýra was taken and then the rupture closed up like it had never been. I immediately began to research, once again with the invaluable help of Nessie, and we found a few instances of something like this occurring, but they took place three hundred, and over a thousand years ago, respectively. I cannot put my complete and full belief in those ancient entries. But it is better than knowing nothing. It . . . it gives me hope. It has happened before; it has happened recently; and eventually it will happen again.
I have hope. But that does not mean that these days where I feel I will remain alone for the rest of my life get any easier.
So today I am spending my time alone. To think and wonder.
[SOUNDS OF A BOAT, WATER, ROPES, A SAIL BEING RAISED] PRAGMA NARRATION:
The waters have always been a refuge for me. My place of escape, but also of rest and relaxation. A place that always brings me calm. I have had this wee sailing vessel since I was a child. My father taught me to sail and nowI feel just as at home on the waters as I do walking the marbled floors of the palace. And on a day like today, I need escape more than ever.
I head out into the open waters, away from my home, with no particular direction in mind. Naturally, when you are sailing, there are only so many directions one can go as the prevailing wind allows. But after a short while, I pull on the tiller and alter course, heading for a small island I have visited on occasion. It is uninhabited by Albions, but lush with flora and fauna. In many ways it is an extension of the quiet, calm waters: a place of dry land and solitude where one can reflect and contemplate.
Except today things are different.
I can see someone standing on the shore of the island looking right at me. She is dressed in most unique clothing; I’ve never seen material like this before. The colors are all different. Wrong in some way. One might even say alien.
But I am not about to let this intruder significantly alter my day. I am also as curious as the proverbial seabat.
[CRUNCH OF BOAT HULL BEING PULLED UP ON A GRAVEL BEACH] MONICA:
I’m sorry, is this your island?
In a way . . . I suppose. It belongs to the realm of Namaste, and my mother is queen of this realm.
Dang! I’m in the presence of royalty. Talking with a real life princess. I’m honored, your majesty.
I am unfamiliar with that last word, and detest the word princess. My role in serving as the daughter of the queen is far greater than that. MONICA:
Shit, I’m sorry. I should really watch what I say, since I’m in a whole new place again and all that.
You are a visitor here? I have traveled the many ends of the realmin my years and seen many. But not you. I have also frequented this island on a number of occasions. You are new here.
You got me. I’m . . . from another place. Far, far away. Really fucking far. Different time too.
And how did you reach Albion, and by turn, Namaste, if you are from somewhere so distant?
Good question. Let’s just say I come from a place where there are many doors that take you to anywhere and anywhen. Well, I’ve been traveling through those doors, from one to another, looking for someone. And nowI’ve ended up here. In Albion I believe you said?
Yes. The world of Albion.
And I can see you have two moons. That’s pretty dope. Tatooine style, only lunar and not solar.
So far I have yet to comprehend any of your references.
That’s okay. Don’t feel bad. I get that a lot.
The person you are looking for? You must care deeply for him. To travel so far. Do you feel you are getting closer?
To be honest, I don’t have a fucking clue. But yes. He is . . . my love. My heart. And I very much want to find him.
I too know of the pain you speak. The pain of loss. I too lost my heart. When she was taken from this world. Not too long ago. And each day is agony for me.
Damn. I’m so sorry. I’d say it gets easier, but it hasn’t yet for me. PRAGMA:
Nor I. However, I do find it interesting, perhaps even serendipitous, that you appear to have a similar mode of travel as that through which my Thýra was taken.
Thýra? That’s a beautiful name. She could open doors like I can? PRAGMA:
I know not. But she was taken through a door. Against her will. And she is one of the Circe.
They are the sorceresses of this world, who wield much power, but always for good.
[NORMAL PACE, SERIOUS:]
What color are her eyes?
What a strange question to ask . . .
A dark violet.
Just violet? What about the left eye?
Her left eye . . . her left eye possesses a speck of silver; a sparkle. MONICA:
Yes! It does. You’re fucking right. That’s her!
What on Albion do you mean?
She is the one we rescued. We didn’t know who she was. She was weak and broken and frail, but alive.
She’d been trapped for a really long fucking time. Her power almost spent. But I asked . . . no, [SADLY] I made her open a door for me to get through. To find Jake.
To find your love. I . . . as much as it pains me, I understand. But she is well and alive?
I don’t know how well she is, but she is very much alive.
Oh, thank you. This brings me such joy. My hope is now everlasting. One day she will return to Albion. To my arms.
And if . . . no, when I find Jake, and when I make it back to the OstiumNetwork, I will do everything within my power to get her back to you. I promise. PRAGMA:
[EMOTIONAL , SOMEWHAT GIDDY:]
Oh, you are too kind and wonderful. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Would . . . would it be possible to give you something? A trinket to take with you? To give to her when you meet again?
Hell yes! Of course. Actually, I need to bring something back with me fromAlbion.
Then I give you this.
[SOUNDS OF HANDING OVER ITEM]
A ring? It’s beautiful. Special. Must mean a lot of you.
Thýra gave it to me on our first anniversary.
You guys are married? That’s wonderful!
We are wedded, yes. But this was for a . . . different kind of anniversary. But just as meaningful.
Okay. Gotcha. Thank you. I will keep it safe and give it to her as soon as we meet again. I vow it.
Thank you. Thank you so much. She will know where it came from and it will give her hope, just as you have given me the same.
Looks like I came to just the right place. It was . . . wonderful meeting you and maybe, hopefully we will meet again one day? With you and Thýra. PRAGMA:
I would like that very much. Safe travels.
Thank you. And . . . stay safe. So when she comes back to Albion you’ll be right here waiting for her.
Oh, I most certainly will.
[DOOR OPENING, CLOSING]
When she is gone I feel a momentary loss, but this is soon overcome by the bursting sense of hope within me. What a fortuitous meeting to have happen to me on this day of all days. I will eagerly now return to the palace and my duties, my faith restored in what will one day come to pass. In time.
Whelp. It was just a matter of time. With me traveling through all these doors, it was bound to happen eventually. Still, it’s really hard to take in and believe, but . . . I finally ended up in a fucking post-apocalyptic hellscape!
Okay. That might be a bit too harsh. Everything still seems to be here and in one piece, for the most part. But I can hear occasional explosions in the far distance, and the smoke plumes tell me there are some pyromaniacs out there having fun. And I know they’re all fucking dudes doing it. I’ve seen a few people, all with that deer in the headlights look, and don’t fucking touch me or come closer vibe, mixed with a healthy dose of please, I don’t wanna die!
And just when I thought I’d made a terrible mistake . . . Well, I already knew this was simply the next in a series of mistakes, and had serious thoughts about getting the heck out of this hellhole – see what I did there? – I run into Jo Prendergast and her gang of truly awesome women. [Break]
Location update. We finally made it to the next town, it took forever. It’s been at least a week of serious traveling, lots and lots and lots of farking hills. Scout acted like it was farking nothing. Stomping up an incline with so much confidence that she almost ran into a mountain lion. Yuppp. She backed away from it with the same amount of confidence. Speaking of almost pooping ourselves, bathrooms have been particularly rough this part of the trip. We’ve been doing this a while now. I’ve got my routine down. Even my pooping. Though I need to make sure I’m far, far away from the rest of the group. It’s just that the ground is a lot more rocky and hard to dig a hole in. Not that Scout cares, she barely goes behind a tree and makes us all move away unless we want to hear things we really don’t want to hear. Jee-Hyun . . . Er . . . Jee Hyun . . . I’ve never seen her . . . I don’t know if she pees, or when, she probably does it late at night when we’re all asleep. Or just intimidates her bladder till it evaporates.
So I’m happy to be in a town again, somewhere where we can fake civility and go in the premade holes of the bathrooms that once be, even if every toilet ever is backed up for eternity. But also, no running into mountain lions when trying to do your business. But before we even made it inside the building we ran into a very strange woman named Monica.
As if the blatant arson and triggering of various ordnance in nearby towns wasn’t enough, I swear I’m hearing growls from the nearby hills that might just be a fucking mountain lion.
How do I know it’s a mountain lion?
Well, what else could it be?
No! Don’t answer that.
That’s why I’m creeping around town like I’m expecting someone to jump out and point a machine gun at my face. And that’s when I see the small group of women
I’m hesitant at first. These women look like they’ve been through a lot. They look tough. They look . . . Badass. I assume Jo’s the leader because she’s the first person I talk to, but nothing against Jo – she’s great and all – yet it doesn’t take me long to realize why she’s hanging out with the others. Elliot is knitting a scarf and seems really chill, the sort of person you really want around when the world is ending and you’re trying not to lose it; they also know a lot of stuff, seem to have an answer for everything. Very useful.
I get along with Scout right away. She has a great laugh. Tough as nails. The kind of person you want with you in a dark alley, because whatever shit is going on there, she’s got your back and front and makes it so you don’t have to worry. Someone else might think her kinda crass, a little over the top, but she’s my kinda of gal. She also has an answer for everything, whether you want one or not.
Then there’s Jee-Hyun. She doesn’t say much. Next to nothing, actually. A handful of kinda murmured words. But the way she looks at me; studies her surroundings. I’ve seen her type before. Back in the Ostium Network. Smart. Really smart. Brilliant. And calculating. If Scout is the person who deals with any shit coming your way, Jee-Hyun is the one who can get you out of any bind or problem you’re stuck in. She’s a Houdini and a sharp-shooter and the one who can make a weapon out of anything, all rolled into one.
A hot McGuyver if you will, not that he wasn’t easy on the eyes too. And then there’s Jo Prendergast. The chronicler. There’s got to be one. When it’s the end of the world, and only a few remaining souls traveling the roads, eking out a living, with the will to carry on and keep going; to live to tell the tale; there’s got to be someone to remember the story. Record the events and happenings for posterity. To make it so everything’s not completely forgotten. To provide the details for anyone else who comes along, who wants to know what happened. Also you can be ready if you get stuck in the same situation again.
Don’t worry. The significance of all this is not lost on me. Jake is a chronicler, just like Jo. He’s been doing the same thing from the very beginning, recording and preserving the tales of Ostium, and what he did there. What we did there. So we know and can remember and can refer. So others can know too. Steve did the same thing, even when he was Dave . . . Especially when he was Dave. He thought he knew his past, what’d happened to him, but obviously wasn’t completely sure. Not to mention the deal with his parents disappearing on him. So when he set out on a new journey, a personal journey and a physical one, he needed to record it. So he would know and remember and be able to pass it on to other people.
And then there’s me. Who wanted more than Jake doing his recordings. Who wanted to start her own daily journal . . . Well, maybe not daily, but it was definitely a “dear diary” situation. And it started with me even before Jake, back in the Ostium Network. The entries I would record every night after a long fucking day of work and learning. And when I was all alone in Ostium, I know for a fact doing those recordings are what got me through all that, and what ultimately led me to figuring a way out of Ostium and back to the Rock. Would I still be stuck there if I didn’t have those recordings?
But sometimes . . . Sometimes I get the sense we’re all doing this for another reason, these recordings. And here I include all the interesting people I’ve met in my joyriding through the doors of Ostium so far: Thomas and Kalila, and now Jo, and probably whoever else I’m going to run into during these travels. We’re all telling and recording our stories not just for ourselves, or even the people we’re with . . . It’s almost like . . . Like we’re doing it for some imaginary audience out there that’s somehow listening in. I think Jake actually joked about that once or twice. His many listeners, even when he was stuck on an untethered Ostium, he still acted like those listeners were still out there, waiting for the next entry, the next installment, the next episode . . . [Break]
Location update. We need a break, so we’re resting in this cute little house for a bit. Scout tried to body slam the door open, I think she was trying to impress Monica, but Jee-Hyun ended up kicking it open with ease. Not to be outdone, Scout walked in and threw her axe into one of the pillars. So hard that she got it stuck in the pillar. As she was trying to yank it out, Jee-Hyun was like, “No axe throwing in the house.”
Monica is an . . . Interesting person. Not exactly a weirdo but she seems…like she hasn’t been doing this long. Surviving all this. For instance, once we went through the usual intros of I’m not gonna hurt you, you not gonna hurt me? Okay! We offered her a bit of one of our MREs and she farking pounced on it. No one pounces on an MRE, no matter how starving you are. . She said she couldn’t remember the last time she ate anything and would really farking appreciate some grub. Well, she actually said fu- the F word. A lot. Maybe even more than Scout. I bet that’s why she likes her.
Scout found one can of beans and we all got excited about a change of food, even Monica, she’s learning fast. Elliot gutted the stove to make a pretty decent fire to cook the beans on. And as we ate, Monica told her story, and . . . it was farking weird, fellow survivors.
She said she was a time traveler. A farking time traveler!! Now that’s a new one. She was sort of lost. Okay, she said sorta lost but from the sound of it, she’s really, really lost. Going through doors and ending up in different times and places. She never knew where she was going to end up. It was a surprise to her every time. She’s apparently looking for a guy named Jake, who’s also lost. Also going through doors. They’re both trying to find their way back to some place called Ostium, which I’ve never heard of. She also said she was collecting trinkets along the way. Talismans. I’m pretty sure those two words aren’t interchangeable but I have no way of checking. But we all just kinda let her talk. Just nodded and let ourselves have dinner and a show.
I mean, hey, we all gotta tell ourselves something to keep surviving all this, right?
Scout gave a big dramatic yawn which was the signal for all of us to hunker down for the night. She was asleep and snoring by the time Jee-Hyun offered first watch. Monica made it clear she was ready to move on, pulling the classic stand up and look at the door, I’m leaving the party move. Said something about going through another door, sure “time traveler.” She said her goodbyes, gave the sleeping Scout a gentle pat, and when it was my turn, she had some questions for me.
MONICA: Why do you do the broadcasts ? Do you think there’s someone or a bunch of someones out there listening?
JO: Oh I know there are! I’ve talked to my friend Dave, there’s this other woman on the radio, I think I once heard
MONICA: No. Not just them. But others. Lots of others, who are always there. Waiting for your next recording, your next entry. Wanting to know what all of you choose to do next.
JO: Uhhh, I hope not? I kinda get a bit personal.
MONICA: Yeah. It’s fucking weird, isn’t it? I’m not sure what I’m really saying. I’ve just got this feeling. Kinda like you get when you’re being watched. Except this is about recordings. They’re always there, listening to them. Waiting for more.
JO: Okay. Monica. Well . . . It was really nice to meet you.
MONICA: And you, Jo. Thanks again for the food. Oh fuck, I still need to find a talisman from here.
JO: Umm, I’ve got . . . I’ve got this that I know I’m not gonna need anytime soon.
MONICA: A condom? Silky Skin. Yikes. Still in its wrapper. Where the hell did you get this from?
JO: Er . . . We helped out a bunch of sex workers aways back. And they just gave it to me, even though I didn’t want it.
MONICA: Wow. Okay. Are those teeth marks? Now I kinda wanna stay and hear this whole story, but I know I’ve gotta go. Maybe I can find your entry for it somewhere out there where all our recordings go . . .
JO: Okay . . . Monica. Stay safe, fellow survivor.
MONICA: Will do. Thanks Jo.
Location update. Still in the house, I’m having trouble sleeping. Partly because Scout’s on guard duty and she’s been humming “back in time.” But mostly because I saw something . . . something weird when Monica left. She turned back to me. Winked at me, which totally didn’t make me feel anything. Then opened the door and stepped through. And for a second . . . Just a second, Ad oculus, I saw something else. Like metal, maybe a metal wall with a window. And I swear, I saw farking space through that window. Like I was looking through the window of a starship.
Ooof, okay, my stomach hurts, maybe those beans were a little too expired.
Well, talking about it made me feel a bit better. Maybe I can sleep. Catch you on the next frequency, Jo out.
Have you ever ended up in a place – a building – where you can immediately tell what sort of place you’re in; what the climate is like outside . . . Whether it’s hot and arid or cold and icy? The building and its insides appear to absorb the conditions of the place where it’s located. I’m in one of those right now. As soon as I stepped through the door I got the sense for it: the stark, concrete walls and floor; the stark, limited furniture; the harsh whiteness of the light; and the physical temperature of the place. Everything feels cold and uninviting, which leads me to infer I’m in a very cold place. I’m just going to take a stab in the dark here and guess we’re in . . . Antarctica.
Yeah, feels about right.
So let’s go find out.
It’s way too bright in here. Starting to feel like I’m in some sort of prison, but like in some weird hidden place that no one knows exists, and keeping you in constantly, blinding light is one of the forms of torture . . . Or I’m in an asylum. Hopefully not Arkham Asylum. I walk down a staircase into a dim hallway with lots of closed doors. I feel I’m in my element here. You know, with all the doors and the walking. Like I’ve done this . . . A lot of times before, so I’m calm . . . Cool and collected, emphasis on cool. Actually, I’m more cold and collected.
Where do these doors lead? To store rooms and closets and bedrooms? Or will one lead me to the edge of the universe, while another takes me to a pressurized village at the bottom of the Pacific ocean? And of course, none of them will be Ostium. None of them will take me back to Gibraltar. None of them will return me to Steve, Zhang . . . [Sadly] Or Monica.
But if there’s anything I’ve learned through all this . . . It’s that I can’t give up.
And that’s when I start to hearing a humming.
[MATTHEW HUMMING TUNE, MAYBE THE STATION BLUE THEME SONG?]
It’s coming from further down the hall. I keep walking and it gets louder. I don’t recognize the song at all. It’s kind of haunting, but . . . In a good way. Nice and minor. It’s calming in a way. Makes me feel . . . Less worried about the state I’m in. I guess. And then I’m at a set of double doors where it’s coming from. I reach for the handle to open the door, then stop.
No. That’s not right.
Instead, I knock three times, then step back and wait.
Seconds pass. I start to wonder if I need to knock again, and then there’s a clanking sound and the door opens. There’s a man standing there on crutches with a bandage covering his forehead, and he looks . . . Fucking terrified.
I can’t blame him.
JAKE: Hi. I’m . . . Sorry if I startled you. My name’s Jake Fisher. I . . . I have this ability. I can travel through doors . . . And through time and space. I never know where I’m going to end up. And looks like this time I ended up here, in this cold place. Where are we? The Antarctic or something?
MATTHEW: We’re in Antarctica.
JAKE: You’ve been here . . . A long time . . . by yourself. Haven’t you?
JAKE: So if I said I’m a sort of time traveler from a place called Ostium and I travel through time by going through different doors, and then I started being able to make my own doors, except the last time I did it, I . . . I lost concentration. Just for a second. I was exhausted. And now I’m . . . Lost in time and trying to find my way back to Ostium. Well, technically it’s the Ostium Network. But you’d be cool with that?
MATTHEW: That’s a lot to unpack.
JAKE [laughing]: Oh, yeah, I guess it is complex. Have you ever seen Back to the Future?
JAKE: Oh, well they’re these great movies about time travel. In Back to the Future 2-
MATTHEW: Do you want tea? I’m making tea.
JAKE: That would be great actually. I love tea. What kinds do you have?
MATTHEW: Black. So what’s the Ostium Network?
JAKE: Well . . . It’s the corporation that came up with this whole time-traveling scheme. It’s on the island of Gibraltar . . .
MATTHEW: A Corporation…
JAKE: Yeah. Apparently at some point in the future, it looks like it gets blown up, but really this guy who runs the Ostium Network . . . Er . . . Somehow made it disappear from the real world and reappear on another plane of existence.
MATTHEW: That’s a little hard to believe.
JAKE: Tell me about it.
MATTHEW: You hungry? I was about to start some dinner.
JAKE: That sounds great. I can’t actually remember the last time I ate anything, but you just mentioning food made me realize I’m starving.
MATTHEW: Good. It’s not going to fancy but hot food beats cold cereal.
JAKE: Sounds great.
MATTHEW: So you’ve been time traveling. Using doors. And you can’t get back to your home. How are you holding up with all that?
JAKE: You know, I haven’t really taken a second to stop and actually take stock of how I’m doing. Everything’s been so hectic. I guess . . . Stressed. Definitely stressed. And lost too. I mean . . . I may never get back to Ostium. This might be the rest of my life now: traveling through worlds looking for a way home.
MATTHEW: That sounds horrible.
JAKE: I’m doing what I did before. Collecting . . . Er, I don’t know exactly what you’d call them: trinkets? Talismans? Little things, objects, that I bring back with me. In Ostium there’s a map table showing where all the doors are. And that’s what we did before. Brought those trinkets back and put them on the map table. And then some crazy shit would usually happen.
[Matthew serves the food]
MATTHEW [Sitting down]: We?
JAKE: Yeah. Her name’s Monica. She was also traveling through the doors. Looking for her son. And she eventually found him. And we were all together. For the first time. It was going great. And then we had to deal with . . . Something that was causing these rifts. And we took care of that too. Monica and I. Kicked its ass basically. And that’s when I screwed up and lost them. Lost. Monica.
MATTHEW: She means a lot to you doesn’t she?
JAKE [chuckle]: Yeah. I’m still very much in love with her. Even though she did some . . . questionable things that she thought were helping me, and were helping her continue looking for her son. They weren’t the best choices she ever made, but she thought they were the right ones.
MATTHEW: Does she love you?
JAKE [breath]: I think so . . . Yeah, she does. At the end there before we had to deal with the big bad, we were okay. Things were right again. And then . . . [sad] I lost her.
MATTHEW: Maybe she’s looking for you, like she was looking for her son.
JAKE: Huh . . . I never thought of that. I don’t know. It’s possible.
MATTHEW: Maybe she’s doing what you’re doing: going through doors, trying to find you.
JAKE: That would be amazing and, honestly, totally like Monica. This food is great by the way.
MATTHEW: It’s not bad in the cold when you’re hungry and it’s your only option. Didn’t you say you could create your own doors?
JAKE: Yeah, I did. But that last time, when it got screwed up and I ended up somewhere I didn’t decide . . . I don’t really know what happened, but I can’t do it anymore. I remember how I did it, but when I try nothing happens. It’s like in the Subtle Knife . . .
MATTHEW [shock]: What! What did you say?
JAKE: The Subtle Knife. It’s a book by Philip Pullman.
MATTHEW [anger]: I know what the Subtle Knife is. It’s my favorite book. Why are you talking about it?
JAKE [confused at Matthew’s anger]: It’s . . . The knife. It can cut through reality. Take you to another dimension. And then the knife breaks and it doesn’t work anymore. I couldn’t help thinking it’s kind of similar to my situation.
MATTHEW: Oh… sorry, it’s just . . ..
JAKE: Your favorite book. It’s one of my favorites too. I love the whole trilogy. I can remember reading it for the first time and each book just blew my mind. As soon as I was done I just had to tell someone how great they are . . .
MATTHEW: Yeah. Someone very important shared those books with me.
JAKE: Who was it?
JAKE: She sounds like a special person. Sarah.
MATTHEW [breath]: She was one of kind.
MATTHEW: The tea should be ready.
JAKE: I didn’t mean to upset you.
MATTHEW: It’s fine.
[He gets up, puts something in the tea and sets it down in front of Jake]
MATTHEW: Here. Drink up.
JAKE: Thank you. I understand if you don’t want to talk about Sarah.
MATTHEW: It’s just… she’s far away. And there’s just not a lot I can do about that here.
JAKE: At the bottom of the world. As far away as possible from anyone else on the planet.
MATTHEW: Yes. Exactly.
JAKE: You can’t stay here forever.
MATTHEW: Recent events would disagree with you. Your tea is getting cold.
[Jake drinks some more then sets his cup down]
JAKE: Was it worth it?
MATTHEW: Was what worth it?
JAKE: If you never see Sarah again. Never get to reconnect. If you never have anyone else in your life like her. Are you okay with that after having the time that you did together?
MATTHEW: [to himself] I don’t know. Eventually the pain… do you want to see the first book she bought me? The Subtle Knife? I have it in my dorm.
JAKE: That’s sounds wonderful.
MATTHEW: I’ll be back in a minute. Finally getting the hang of these crutches. Finish your tea.
[JAKE:] I sat there and thought about Monica. Matthew’s tea wasn’t as good as hers, even if it was nice to have a hot drink in a place like this. Were we ever going to be together again? Was she ever going to make me tea again?
As I finished off the rest of the tea my reminiscing was interrupted by something at the bottom of my cup. It looked like a small tab of paper. Nothing like your typical tea bag.
I heard glass breaking out in the hallway.
It was probably nothing but I figured I should go check it out. The lights started to dim a little. When I walked out of the kitchen something was different. The hall was longer than I remember it being. And at the end of it stood Matthew, a crutch in one hand, a fire axe in the other.
MATTHEW: At first I thought you were with The Flower Company… somebody sent back to fuck with my head. Time travel? Lost with no way home?
But then you started talking about the book. Getting me to think about Sarah. Talking about Doors. Even your name, Jake. My grandparents had a dog named Jake. You’re not with the company. You’re not real. You crawled out of The Door.
JAKE: Matthew, put the axe, down, I am real, I’m not here to hurt you.
MATTHEW: I’ve heard that before. I won’t fall for it again.
[JAKE:]The hall continued to stretch. The axe in Matthew’s hand started to extend in an impossible way. The lights shot off rays that glowed and dimmed with the beating of my heart. Something was wrong with my head.
JAKE [Disbelief]: You drugged me.
MATTHEW: I wondered why she left those here. Now I understand.
JAKE: I’ll leave! Just let me leave and I won’t bother you again!
MATTHEW: Can’t risk it.
[JAKE:]He came at me. Even though he looked far away I knew my perception wasn’t accurate. I turned and ran; at least I tried to. My balance would swing me forward, then back. I would normally be able to outrun him without trouble, what with his broken leg and all, but the hallucinations were getting worse. The doors around me were shaking like hundreds of people were trapped behind them and trying to break out. The lights poured liquid radiance over the ground. I tried holding on to a wall, it melted in; breathed against my grip. The whole station was alive, trying to eat me.
I needed to get out of here. But I still needed an artifact.
I turned the corner and opened the first door I saw. It was a storage closet, and there on top of a cabinet was the exact thing I needed. A clay white rabbit. A grabbed it and fled back to the hall, only to trip on something. Matthew’s crutch.
I rolled over and saw him looming above me, only it wasn’t quite him, his mouth had taken over his entire face, it opened into an endless voice, his broken leg had white bird wings sprouting from it, the hall curved around him as he brought down the axe.
I barely rolled out of the way.
The next thing I knew I was running down the hall, or was it a tunnel? I could almost feel the grass sprouting from the ground, the ticking of a pocket watch. I clutched the white rabbit in my hand and thought of Alice in Wonderland. I saw a large rabbit hole to my left and I took it. Matthew’s voice came from every surface except for one, a Door at the end of the rabbit hole.
MATTHEW: [distorted] You won’t trick me again! You won’t lure me in! I’ll be waiting for you! You hear me!? I’LL BE WAITING!
The Door was reflective. Like a mirror. I used my ability to create an escape. Through the looking glass I went, leaving Antarctica and its prisoner forever.
[A bright day in late spring, birds chirp nearby, wind rustles
through the leaves.]
I awoke with sun spilling on my
face. Above me was the collapsed roof
of a small cabin. Moss, and small
plants had already begun reclaiming
this area; sprouts of grass poked up from
between floor boards. Vines wrapped themselves
around the rusted metal frames of bunk
beds long forgotten. I blinked the
dreariness out of my eyes. The warm
sun a welcoming sign; a kinder
awaking than I’d had in the past, but
I knew first impressions were often
[Monica gets to her feet, floorboards creaking beneath her feet.]
Despite the collapsed roof, the rest
of the cabin seemed to be fully intact
That’s when my mind started
catching up everything.
Why was the roof collapsed?
How long had this cabin
been left to rot? What was on the
other side of the cabin’s door?
[The door creaks open, heavy rusted hinges groan for the first
time in a long time.]
A summer camp. An old one, lost to
time. In the center of a dirt lot
stood a tall totem pole with various
caricatures of animals. Next to it, a
dusty tattered American flag hung limply.
Across the lot were three other
cabins, in much better shape than
this one, and to my right, a large
building with rusted “gold” lettering
that read “mess hall.”
[Monica steps down the cabin steps.]
Judging by trees, and distant outlines
of mountains, and the familiar flag, I
figure I must be somewhere in the
Rockies. Maybe as far up as
Washington, or as low as New Mexico.
Then there’s the fair weather, and light
breeze. I assume I’m somewhere near
Colorado or Utah. Any further north,
and the warm sun would be outdone by
the cold wind.
[Monica walks around the gravel patch between cabins.]
Behind the cabin I awoke in is a
crystal clear lake, extending at least
a few hundred feet before meeting more
trees. In the distance, I can’t
quite make it out, but it looks like
something yellow. A small triangle. A
few of them in fact.
Disregarding them, I turn and spott a cabin I
hadn’t seen before. Right next to the
dining hall. It’s large, looking
much more lavish than the six small
cabins circles around the totem pole.
As I head towards it I see something
that gives me pause: The front door is
splintered at the handle, as if forced
open. The windows shattered, and large
muddy footprints walk around the
exterior of the cabin. I feel a lump
forming in my stomach. Fucking great.
As I enter the cabin, my suspicions
are confirmed. Everything points to
signs of a struggle. Overturned
cabinets, remnants of broken
glass, and a few bloody marks across
As my eyes scan the room, they come
to rest on a desk sitting between
two broken windows. On it is a
collection of yellowed pages, likely
worn by the elements, and a bulletin
board with similarly yellowed
Maybe… Maybe this will help.
[Glass and leaves crunching under footsteps, wood groaning
with each step.]
The bulletin board has seen much
better days: dirt has started to
obscure the print, and wear away at
the photos, but one decaying slip of
paper, hanging in the center of
everything else tells me all I need
“Camp Clarity Camper Gone Missing.”
I read on.
Tuesday, July 25, 1972, Joseph, age
nine, went missing the night before
Camp Clarity’s program was set to end.
The rest of the children have been
brought back into town and the U.S.
Forest Rangers have already begun
searching the nearby woods.
I start looking at the other
clippings, trying to discover
everything I can as quickly as I
can, and then I hear the crunch of
glass behind me. Before I turn
around, a bag is pulled down over my face,
and I’m pushed to the ground. I
can feel a knee pressing into the
center of my back. Glass and twigs
dig into my chest, feeling like
small sharp teeth.
[GEORGIA: Maybe you could record some groans and moans as Monica is being subdued to create more of a feel]
What’s your name?
[Slightly muffled:] Monica.
Why are you here?
[Hesitation for a couple seconds]
[Slightly muffled:] I’m just a tourist!
Yeah? You miss the fences and warning
signs all around the camp?
The yellow triangles, of fucking course! I
should’ve known. But even if I was
trespassing would that be reason
enough to put a fucking bag over my head and . . .
[Handcuffs clink behind Monica’s back.]
C’mon. To your feet, “Monica.”
The man with a gruff voice pulls me
up by my restraints, and keeping one
firm hand on the cuffs, puts the other
on my shoulder, guiding me out of
I’m sorry if I was trespassing. I came
in the night and I didn’t even see the
signs . . .
I woke up in one of the cabins-
You slept here?
Yeah, just wanted to get under some
He’s not buying it. My ham-fisted
attempt at a lie is just backfiring.
Where’s your stuff?
Yeah, if you’re a camper, where’s your
gear? Backpack, food, sleeping bag?
We’re miles away from a highway, even
further from a city.
Oh, uhm, I-
See “Monica” I think you somehow sneaked
past all our security measures. And I
want to know how.
Lies obviously won’t work on this
man, so I resort to the truth.
Would you believe I teleported here?
Actually, I would. And that’s why I’m
taking you to my boss. You see, there
exist two possibilities. 1. Someone
sent you here using technology similar
to what my employer has been working
on, or 2. You’re something from the
technology we’re working on. In either
case, they’re going to want to talk to
Who’s going to want to talk to me?
If you’re lucky, Hicks. If you’re not,
I’m left in a stunned silence,
trying to understand what kind of
place this door has taken me to. I
try to ask more questions, but it
seems my captor is in no mood to
talk, as he silently marches me up a
growingly steep hill. It isn’t until now
I realize how fucking hard it is to hike
without having your arms at your sides.
Multiple times along our route I lose
my balance, and either fall or am
held up by my captor. He seems to
show no remorse either way, despite
the growing number of bruises and
scrapes on me. He remains stoically
Then, we reach the mine. Oh shit.
[Cave SFX, light water droplets, a slight echo.]
I can feel the heavy, damp air
on my skin, and the darkness
swallows us up whole as we proceed
without hesitation into the mountain.
It feels like we have been walking for
well over an hour: my legs are
throbbing; the blood from my
scraped knees is sticking my pants
to me. And it hurts. I’ve been on many adventures
in risky situations, but this time it
Just feels worse. Escape seems
hopeless. Then I feel a tug on my
Are we… there?
I do as instructed. Around me I can
only hear dripping water somewhere
far into the cave, and a man’s steady,
disconcerting breathing behind me.
Something’s not right.
A chill runs down my spine. He sounds
scared. Something’s not right.
He takes his hand off me, and I
hear the click of his radio.
Base, this is Vulture 2-6. I’m in
possession of an intruder and
approaching the Mine entrance. I heard
movement somewhere near the collapse.
I’m requesting an additional unit,
Confirmed, we read you Vulture. Hawk
and Mole nearby. Please wait.
There’s a short pause.
Alright Vulture, units are en route,
ETA five. Over.
Affirmative base. I’m going to-
[Small rocks fall nearby.]
Before my captor can finish, I hear
rocks shift, and then light footsteps.
Base: hostiles approaching.
Affirmative Vulture, additional units
What the hell does that mean?
I hear the man draw his gun from
its holster, and then feel it press
against the nape of my neck.
Are these your compatriots?
No. I swear: I came alone!
I don’t believe- Agh!
Suddenly the gun is gone, along with
Get back! All of you!
[Officer fires twice, waits, then fires again]
At the sound of gunfire I throw myself
to the floor, which is a big mistake, as I
end up slamming my injured knees to
the ground and banging my head on the
rock wall I can’t. The pain comes to
me as more of a surprise than any
actual serious injury and after a
moment I’m able to get my bearings.
I can’t make out much with the bag
over my head, except for movement.
What’s going on?!
I think- I think they’re gone…
What did they look like?
[The sound of dirt skidding nearby]
No you don’t!
(Grunts as he is
sliced and stabbed)
I don’t need to see to know what
happening: the sound of meat being
sliced and blood flowing makes it
clear. Okay. My captor’s dead, and I’m
likely next. I can sense three, no,
five, maybe eight sets of slow
footsteps coming at me from every
angle. Having nowhere to run I push
myself against the stone wall, hoping
for the best.
Then I felt a sickly chill come over
my body as a freezing hand touches my
shoulder. It’s small, no bigger than
that of a child. It feels as if the
hand isn’t actually pressed against me, but
rather has sunk into me, like ice
cutting into my skin, and for a moment
I think maybe that is exactly what is
happening. It takes me a second to
realize the shadow is trying to move
me away from the wall. I do just
this, and a moment later I feel
the tension in my wrists release as
the handcuff chain is snapped. I
immediately reach up to pull the bag
off my head, and as I do hear the
faintest sound of wind blowing past
By the time the bag is off my
sweaty, matted hair, my rescuers are
I look over to my captor, trying to
avert my eyes from his wounds, but
searching for- Yes- On his belt, two
small silver keys hang from a loop. I
unlock each cuff, allowing blood to
flow back into my hands.
In the distance I hear footsteps
coming from where we first entered the cave.
I need to get the fuck out of here. But to where?
Looking into the darkness I find only
a wall of rocks, likely where the
“collapse” had been. I reach out to
grab one of the smaller rocks, and
my hand passes right through it.
Keeping a strong grip on the handcuff keys,
I take a step forward and feel the rest of
my body pass through the seemingly
This must be the door.
I walk forward, my eyes unable to adjust as
the light slowly seeps out of the
world, and plunges me into darkness.