I’m not dead. At least, I’m not any more. I came to life about three seconds ago. Maybe ten seconds ago if you normally read books from the Twilight series. Maybe one second ago if you’re a speed reader. But if you are a speed reader, do me a favor and slow down.
Wherever you are, I’m there, watching you read. I’m scrutinizing your face, trying to determine what you’re thinking, or maybe more importantly, feeling. It’s rude to stare, I know that, but maybe it’s less rude since you can’t see me. At least I don’t think you can. I couldn’t see anyone watching me when I first read that letter titled Jessica. But I’ve never been all that observant, so maybe Jessica was there, watching me as I read her. Watching my face as she heard her words, read in my voice. I could be dramatic and say A MESSAGE FROM THE GRAVE! But that wouldn’t strictly be accurate. A message not from the grave, but from somewhere unspoken and unknown. But in a sense also a message from here. Here and now.
In movies a character often has the foresight to prerecord a message that will start with him saying “If you’re watching this tape, I’m probably dead.” He knows something, is in danger because he knows it, and wants you to know what happened. It’s a bit selfish really, dragging you into whatever situation resulted in his untimely death. Or maybe timely, he predicted it after all. But I’m here to say the opposite. If you’re reading this, I am alive. I’m not going to tell you what I know. Because I don’t want you to end up staring at strangers as they read your words, or rather, read you.
I’m alive as long as you keep reading. Once you reach the end, I reach mine. I’ll be back of course, assuming you don’t destroy the letter. When the next person starts to read me I’ll again be alive, now watching them. Hopefully the Twilight reference will make no sense to them, having faded into obscurity. Hopefully it makes no sense to you I suppose. I apologize, I’m rambling. No one has more sympathy for Jessica than I do but she rambled on and on and on. And on. Anything to keep you reading a little while longer. I promise, I’ll be brief.
Jessica’s letter was quite lengthy, a novel really. And it gave me all kinds of detailed instructions. Go to X, wait until the moon is at Y, recite Z (I’m censoring myself, I don’t live on Sesame Street or something.) She talked all about her childhood. Her lonely childhood with only her books to keep her company. She had so much love for those books, it was kind of sad. She knew she was lonely, but I don’t think she really knew how alone she was. And how alone she made herself, devoting so much of her life to those lifeless words. I hope that she is happy, now that she has joined those writing she so loved.
I’m no scholar, I don’t understand her love of the word. I read, I like it well enough. But she traveled to different times and places through her books. She read about all the things she wanted to see, the things she wanted to do and to feel. So maybe she’s happy now that she continues to leap across the expanse of human experience. Others will glimpse into the past through her words, and she’ll glimpse into the future as they read.
Myself, I’m not thrilled by the prospect. I’m sure you’re nice and all, and maybe we’d be great friends. Maybe we’d laugh until we cried until we laughed again. Maybe I’d learn great truths from you. Maybe I’d love you, or you’d love me, or best of all, we’d love each other. But that’s not what I get.
I get you, reading my words. And I don’t even particularly like my words. I haven’t taken a writing class since my Freshman year, and I did not do well. Being alive is something, but if that life is just an echo chamber of my own inane thoughts and inconsistent grammar, blinking out of existence once you finish the page, I’m not sure what that’s worth. I get to hear a new voice, but the words are the same. Always the same. I get a glimpse of wherever you happen to come across this letter, or wherever you do your pleasure reading. I hope you’re not on the toilet. But wherever it is, it will be gone in a minute. Less if you’re a speed reader.
So I’m not going to tell you about the Transcriptus as Jessica told me. I’m not going to tell you about X,Y or Z. If I did, you may feel compelled to go, to see how this could possibly be true. I won’t do that to you. Because there’s life beyond life and another’s memory can become your future and what we write can change our world. What we write can change us, capture us, become us. Even what we read can change the world. What we read can become us. It will become us.
Without telling you of the Caligo Scriptor, I can’t fully explain how I got here or impress upon you the importance of not pursuing this matter. And if you’ve found this, you might have found Jessica’s letter with it. DO NOT READ JESSICA’S LETTER. Or novel, as it were. I don’t know if she enjoys being read, she very well might. But I read her letter and found myself visiting Arkham. It’s not like me to drive across the country on a whim. I can’t help but feel that I wasn’t fully myself. That Jessica or Marduk or something else entirely compelled me to begin the series of events that has led me into your hands.
I didn’t mean to give you those details. As I state my intention not to, they burst forth. I must stop writing or I fear it will continue. I know now why Jessica prattled on, explaining everything at such great lengths. Apart from being a woman. It’s a hard thing to silence yourself, when silence banishes you.
Don’t read Jessica’s letter. Burn it if you have it. She spoke of Siegfried’s letter, and you should burn that as well. If you have already read Jessica, I hope you are stronger than I am. I will try to lend you my strength.
Burn this letter. Burn me.