Darvey. I won't forget you. Your life, condensed into the 24 small pages of paper, is now part of my narrative. Your memories intertwine with my own. Where you begin and I end has been blurred into a gross brown of moments once lived. Darvey. Your story has been read. Your story will be told. Your story will become a rumor, a myth, a legend. You will be made again into a character, bigger than life, unbelievable, a fable. Remember Darey, is what they will say. Remember Darvey.
I held my hand and stub near to the fire in hopeful search of warmth, yet none was found. Had I started this fire? Let's say that I had, let's say a irrepressible rage swarmed through me when the undead I had so rancorously shoved to its death stood up again and, ever more feebly than before, began to shuffle-skiff away. I wouldn't have it, I wouldn't—had it started snowing? How... nostalgic. Were I alive living instead of dead living then I assume a lump would have welted in my throat while I stood, unabashedly fighting back tears at the sight of those beautiful ice pixies dancing their Zapatistas dance in revolt against warmth.
A unfeeling, undead creature vainly warming its hands upon a fire lit from a body of a husk of an existence amidst rebellious snowflakes... believable? Morbid? Melodramatic? Darvey flickered through my mind. Where had he gotten in his story? Let me check.
"Where to start, yes, where indeed to start my investigation into these creatures," I thought—cooly?—as I stood wavering outside the door which I had shut thirty or so undead creatures behind. I stroked my chin thoughtfully, attempting to conjure up one of those majestic characters I had read about. Instead I probably just looked a fool. An obvious imposter. Yes, that was what I, a—no... focus. Focus.
I didn't particularly like having them around, but then again, one had to make sacrifices for the sake of scientific inquiry and discovery. So...?
Oh... yes... I must start my discoveration (my word, don't judge), so I may be rid of their blighted presence, it stains my sanctuary. The library ma—hadn't I named him...? Darvey.
What about Darvey?
I grabbed its hand and pulled it with me. It mumbled a groan in meek protest, then off snapped its hand. It didn’t make sense. They seemed almost superhuman when they devoured poor library man, but how easily they seemed to come apart when I attempted to move them. Not that my existence made much sense either, but still, there had to be some rhyme to reason behind how these things functioned, and perhaps gleaning the secrets lying within them would unlock whatever mysteries I contained.
Where did I lose that diary? Well, at least I think, that I lost it. But why now am I recalling those words? I can still picture them shapes of the letters written within; minuscule and with serifs. Cramped line after cramped line. No punctuation. Did I ever learn his name? Was it Darvey? Must have been Darvey... and let's say Richardson, yes, that sounds good. Darvey Richardson. Can you hear me? I thought not. Why? Because you are dead. You have been for quite sometime now, but in case you didn't know, I thought to remind you... or... am I actually reminding myself?
The library man. I still didn't know who he was, but. . . did I actually want to? What did I hope to gain from reading about what little he left of himself upon those crumpled pages? Did I feel guilty for his death? Tch. He was the fool who failed to comprehend my gestures at communication. He wrought his own death. A fitting end for a coward. Indeed... well then... hmm? I do suppose seeing him how he currently was did stir anger within me. I suppose reading his words would bring me some solace and to him homage to his last breath.
“I know yor in there an’ I know yor thinkin’, I can hear ya. Tho’ I must ammit that I’m not shore why ya been thinkin’ so clearly. Ya shuldn’ have s’much contr’l over ya min’…”
I didn’t know where I was, nor where the man’s (I don’t know what to call him yet), voice was coming from. As far as I could tell I was walking—not shuffling—unaccompanied down the paved sidewalk. I glanced down at my hands; they weren’t rotten, lacking color, yes, but no visible bones or festering lesions or peeling skin. Hands. I had two. How long ago was this memory? Memory? Is this a memory or has everything else been prescience?
“Reach out your hands,” I tell myself, “there is another world there, hidden behind this veneer of reality.” But my hands don’t lift, and that man’s voice continues in my head.
“Open yor i’s chil’. Let me look at’cha, see if yor back in there. Open up.”
My eyes opened and a deep ebony skinned man came into focus, hovering mere inches from my face. He stared deep into my eyes, reading some hidden sign. Slowly his lips stretched into a grin, his yellow teeth shone between them.
“Yor confused ya bet,” Heghheghheghhegh, the man chortled, “but alivin’… sor’ove… but how wassit?” He turned from me, gently patting my forehead as he moved out of my view.
“I tried ta be ginnel wi’ ya,” I felt a tug somewhere at my chest, “bu’cha struggl’d more than I thought ya wud,” another tug, rougher than the first, “Wat fo’?” another tug, then another. A suture? Had I been injured? This man’s a doctor?
"All the others I’ve snatch’d came nice’n easy. Jus’ let me take ‘em. But’cha… had ta be quick in sealin’ ya back in, so’s I hope ya remembering yor’selve well. Ya alreddi caus’d me more trouble than I wan’ned.”
I guess not then.
I couldn't stop reading, I just couldn't. I had to know what this man had been through. I had to know what had caused this cataclysm. This diary, it was a true page turner. It was a treasure trove of memory, of loss, of doubts, of rediscovery, of life. I suppose that since I had met this man before his death, I felt that he was writing to me, and that his words carried a sense of urgency. They screamed at me: "read us!" So I did.
Twelve pages laid one on top of the other, folded in half, then stapled down the center to a thin cardboard-cover. The entire notebook was hand-made from repurposed scraps of paper trash. Aside from seven blank pages at the end of the book, small tight letters filled each page from gutter to paper edge. A diary of the terrors he had survived? Or were these written before the cataclysm? Only one way to discover which—but am I violating him by reading his private thoughts? Am I stealing from him if I re-record his words? But why write if not to have read? Just think your thoughts. He is dead anyhow. So...?