From: ------ @ ------ .com Re: entries/information requested re: compiling psychological profile Written below are the journal entries of Christopher Young, brother of Daryl Young, found saved as individual files on his personal computer, with file names Prologue.doc, Ch1.doc, Ch2.doc, etc. Apart from being compiled into one document, they have not been altered in any way. --- Prologue Two weeks later, there was a sound. There was a humming. It came from that place on the carpet, the spot near the corner. His spot. Ch 1 I'm getting concerned. I guess I was a bit distracted before, but my mind is clear now. They're gone, and I am frankly growing more concerned by the minute. A chalk-white amorphous thing. A hideous, absolutely hideous thing. I saw it. I saw it on the rug, and it scared me. It looked at me, grinning with half-formed white eyes filmed over. It writhed towards me. A heat, some sort of sickening heat radiated from it, and it saw my disgust and thrived upon it. I had hoped it would live in one of the closets, but it was content to ooze about my home, leaving trails as it went. I am quite sure that if I had not put the towel under the bathroom door it would have tried to come in and join me while I bathed myself. Ch 2 Today it has appendages. I am not sure if they existed before, but now they most certainly do. It has two, with one on either side, and it crawls haphazardly along like some sort of horrid lopsided insect. It tried to follow me out through the door, but I kicked it and it did not try any longer. It thumps around as I try to sleep, dragging its body everywhere and leaving residue all over the house. I took my cat to Daryl's. The thing didn't follow me. I'm glad. It may get me, but it will not get my cat. Ch 3 It now has four appendages and is beginning to form a skull-like dome under its pulsing skin. It has a mouth, a crooked little mouth, and I am afraid it will begin to make sounds at me. Three of the appendages are longer than the fourth, so it mostly wobbles around in crooked little circles. It is getting bigger, and it never stops changing. I was hoping it would stay and become some sort of indiscernible monster, but now I am sure that it is becoming a person, or at the very least something similar. I would like to kill it. I wonder if I could. Ch 4 The appendages are even now. It's disgusting, with abhorrent little limbs forming perfectly. They're currently flippers and nubs, cartilage and bright blue veins under translucent white skin. It sits and stares at me as the cat did, but instead of curiosity it looks on with a hunger and a disquieting energy. Just as the cat's did, however, its eyes reflect the slightest light in the darkness. They're omnipresent and wide and green and yellow as I try to sleep. The eyes are not (yet?) the same size, which only serves to make the thing more unnerving. Ch 5 It sits at the top of the stairs, waiting for me, smiling down at me with crooked reflective eyes and a small mouth full of small black teeth. My bedroom is upstairs. I am afraid to go up. It also has hands and feet now; the nubs gave way to small, slender fingers and toes. It is beginning to walk and climb about, and there are small white hand prints smudged on all of the doorknobs. I think at this point towels will do me no good. Ch 6 It can open doors. I'm sure of it now. It's androgynous in anatomy, but for him I think it male. It still smiles at me and stares, but says nothing. A small mercy.

I was an American male on the loose in Belgium in the late 80’s. The tiny village I lived in was called Cambron-Casteau and was only a few kilometers north of the French Frontier. The town was truly nondescript and an ancient abbey remained the...

You are lying in your bed, the dull whirring of your air conditioner is the only thing separating you from total silence. You know, that particular silence that is so heavy, and so thick, it's almost the equivalent of a loud noise itself? The kind of...

This message is my map, and this map is my message. The earth here is thin. I move about it so freely, and the ease of it is a delicious thing, but it is also frightful. I dig my inscriptions by feel and touch, and because I know the earth, I know that this will be massive for your senses. Here in this layer of the planet, I am inbetween my people and your people. I float about in this soft soil like a drifting bubble, weightless and yet handled so delicately within my surroundings that my fragile dome will never burst. I am fit to drift along in euphoria. I would do this forever, if granted the chance, but I have responsibilities to my people, and to our Mother. If I were to glide about, dreamlessly, in this infinite expanse of softrock, a few fathoms beneath your manmade pave-veins, I would lose myself in the arms of Mother, and she would love to have me lost. That exquisite moment will not arrive until your end-time comes. For now, I must finish the task I have been chosen for by our matron. She was born from the hardrock and the fire at the very core of Mother, and so I cherish and love her for choosing me to finish this map for our people. If I were to abandon my quest and return home now, I could be in the heartfire of earth within two of Mother's circles. Perhaps that holds no meaning for you, but because I have lurked just beneath the pave-vein in your greatest den and homestead of New York City, I know that the word I must use is "years." You measure your core by a finite passage of time in units. We measure ours by Mother Earth herself, as you once did before in history, before you created the deathly grid and thought yourselves too intelligent to honor Mother. This is what saddens her, and this is the cause of the war between my people and your people. It has taken me over one thousand of your years to reach the earth just below your pave-veins and grids of softrock. At first, I did not understand, and I would glide along through the thin places as your slow moving metal boxes with the rubber feet would adhere to the limited paths that you have provided for them. They are lumbering beasts, unable to dig, deaf and dumb constructs that are reflective of their creators. I do not pity you, because if you had used her gifts the way they were meant to be used, you would be as my people are now.

On his way home that night, as he walked through town, a man stepped out of an alley in front of him. He tensed to defend himself, but the man just stood there. Looking him over, he realised the man looked like a hippie. Something...

At the edge of the Pacific ocean, on some abandoned beach in the tropics, there is a large, smooth rock that sits just beyond the reach of the highest tides. It is not cracked or marked in any way, and the smooth black stone reflects...

When I was a child I lived in a rented two-floor house. Both my parents worked so I was often alone when I came home from school. One early evening when I came home the house was still dark. I called out, "Mum?" and heard a voice...

When I was a child, I lived in Radnorshire, one of seven children and the youngest of six girls. As my parents had six other girls and an infant boy to take care of, they left me to myself, and I ran about like a wild thing. Not that they didn't love me, but they had other things to do. I was about five when I began to see the Bwystfel. It roamed about the farm, slipping in the shadows, and the only way to see it was to look for the shapes that were darker than the spaces between stars. Its mad eyes were like coal sparks, it laughed like a goat in pain, and it was always angry. I watched it from a distance: one spring, I saw it kill a nest of sparrows – closing its hands about the nest until the little naked birds smothered on its flesh -- one summer, it poisoned the sheep, biting the ewes' legs until rot and infection ate into their flesh that no about of doctoring could fix. Later, it skulked into the shed and sliced the handyman's chest open, then danced his blood up the walls and over the rafters. My parents said it was an accident, but knew better. "The Bwystfel did it," I told my father, and he boxed my ears for being a liar. No one believed me at all. . . except the Bwystfel itself. It grew angrier. At night, it crept into my room, giggling and ripping the blankets away and pinching me. I shared a bed with two of my sisters – we didn't all have separate rooms like you do – and when the Bwystfel came, we shivered together, too afraid to move until morning. We were very little girls, and nobody trusted us with a candle, so we had no way to drive the thing away. It tormented us in whispers, calling us names and telling us we were bad children, because our prayers that it would leave us be weren't answered. My sisters refused to speak a word of it, and they wore the Bwystfel-inflicted bruises like jewellery – saying they'd fallen over or been bitten by the cat. I decided I would have to find the Bwystfel myself and scare it away. I took the statuette of Florence Nightingale that my mother gave us to hold when we were sick and a stone with a hole in it, both for luck. As it turned out, I would need the luck. I walked for ages, got lost, and eventually stumbled into a small wooded copse where I had never been before. Under the trees it was cold air, and pine needles and dried leaves lay thick upon the patchy grass. I clutch Florence. . . and then I saw the bones. Bleached and ancient, they lay scattered in a circle: small bones, large bones, bones half buried in the loam, bones with scraps of dried flesh still clinging to them. A sheep skeleton hung suspended in the tangle of a blackberry bush, and canes had grown through the eye sockets of birds. I started to cry – I knew I'd found the den of the Bwystfel.

I. Well, I've finished my education and learned everything there is to learn about singing, and despite the difficulties, I've found myself at the heart of Music City and struggling to get my material out there. I haven't been able to meet with any labels and I'm barely surviving on gig money. I have an audition at a new place that's opening down by Broadway Street. It's a Vegas style night club, very yuppie. I can sing, but I also have to dance with the other girls. My first song will be "Moulin Rouge." They were impressed with my audition, and they may pay me for some choreography ideas. Maybe I can get some hours there. Regardless, times are hard for everyone right now. Any day that people hear me sing is a good day. My voice is lucky, and I'm so excited for the future that I simply had to start writing my feelings down in something other than song form. II. I learned to bartend and made some good tips this evening. I also sang with the band, and even though everyone there was drunk, I think they really liked me. The more I sing, the more I feel like I was put here on this earth to make people happy with the sound of my voice. I'm not trying to be conceited. I am forged through the sweat of my brow to make beautiful sound. I also make a pretty good vodka martini. III. My boss, Bobby, thinks he's Brett Michaels. He keeps going on and on about how he's going to make me a star and how much money Alleycats is going to make with me singing at the helm. People applauded after the girls worked through my dance today. I told Bobby that he should tie cat collars with rhinestones around our necks and buy us hair extensions to attract more clientele. He went for it. I'm excited. I've never been able to afford hair extensions before. The last song I sang before I went home this evening was amazing. I saw a table of drunks in the front row who appeared as if they were crying. That's the best feedback I could possibly ask for. IV. Some of my teachers came by today because it was my day off. They're quiet, mostly, but they expect what I promised them four years ago. I always thought I'd be able to get my education and disappear without going through with it, but they've found me. They want results, and I only have a month. Even though they paid my way and coddled me through learning the art of vocal performance, I don't think a piece of paper on the wall is worth this. It doesn't matter. I can't back out now, and I'm destined for the big time. V. Bobby is interested in more than helping me promote my career. I was flirting with a local blues singer in the lounge tonight after singing, and he flipped his shit. Said that I couldn't afford to have a boyfriend in this business and the only person I'd be hooking up with was him if I wanted to keep my job. I noticed that The Better Business Bureau is right across the street when I left today. I'll keep that in mind if he gets out of hand. VI. More teachers came to see me, except they came to the bar itself. I would have been ashamed, except they didn't talk to anyone, so no one knew that they were there for me. They wore the black robes in a night club in the middle of the city, so they obviously care little for outward appearances. They focused on me so intently when I was singing that I got scared. I did well, but they're giving me the message, loud and clear. I have to fulfill my part of the bargain or I'll lose my voice. If I lose my voice, I have no future. I'm scared.

When Conner arrived at the gas station, he exited the car with a speed that surprised even him. He took a few quick steps, almost at a run, before turning back towards the car. Under the garish sodium lights of the service station, the little blue sedan looked a sickly greenish gray. It looked squat and malign in its stillness. The little throbbing headache at the base of his skull seemed to diminish with every step and he began to catch his breath. He took the phone from his pocket and raised it high into the night sky, waving it from side to side like a signal flag. Nothing. The signal meter defied him by remaining empty. Not even a flashing roaming message. Conner scowled at the little phone and thrust it back into his pocket. He glanced around at the station, two solitary pumps and a closed convenience market. An isolated island of pale yellow light in the dark of the North Carolina forest, the silhouettes of the trees bit sharply into the starry night sky, surrounding him like a ring of teeth. The grating hum of electricity mingled with the crackling of insects from the woods beyond, drifting in the warm summer night air. Jutting from the side of the shuttered market was a scraped and listing pay phone, its metal stalk visibly bent from some long ago impact. Conner approached it, digging a quarter from his pocket, and gripping the scarred plastic handset. For a moment, nothing happened, and the sense of isolation deepened, like the ground being pulled out from under him, and the panic returned. A series of quick clicks bit into his ear and the dial tone chimed. His fingers felt numb as he dialed. Even at a few hours past midnight, Reynolds answered on the first ring. “Yes?” Reynolds' rolling baritone was silky, and unmarred by the late hour. “Who is this?” “S’me. Conner.” He was unable to keep the quaver out of his voice, and he had a sudden urge to look back towards the car, suddenly afraid that it might have moved, or left him there all together. “This isn’t the phone I gave you.” Reynolds liquid voice darkened, almost imperceptibly. “It’s a payphone. Ain’t got signal out here. Middle of fucking nowhere. Listen Ren, I-” “Is something the matter, Conner?” Conner bristled at the mild, calculated condescension in the older man’s tone, and inhaled slowly, measuring his next words with caution. “Well... Shit. I don’t rightly know, Ren, but I got a real bad feeling about this.” “Where are you?” “Service station. Just got off the freeway. Bout to head south through Natahala.” “And what is the matter, Conner?” “Like I said, there’s something fucked up about this one. Didn’t like the guy I picked the car up from, don’t like whatever it is that’s in the fucking trunk. I know this sounds fucking stupid, but it’s giving me a headache. I feel like I can smell it, but I know I can’t. Something just feels rotten about it. I mean rotten, rotten.” There was a long silence on the other end, and Conner knew that Reynolds was unmoved. Even as Conner said the words, he knew how stupid it sounded. “Conner,” the old man said at last, “We’ve worked together for a long time. I like you. But you’ve never given a shit about what you deliver. What’s the strangest thing I’ve had you carry?” “The heart.” Conner answers without hesitation, seeing the white styrofoam cooler steaming with ice, strapped in the front seat like a babies car seat. “Yes. You also once delivered several pounds of heroin. Did you know that at the time?” “Not ‘till after the fact.” “Because it’s better that way, isn’t it, Conner.” Reynolds paused, the smooth rhythms of his voice already calming the younger man. “It’s better if you don’t know. The man you picked the car up, in his own way, is as trustworthy and reliable as you are. I understand why you might bristle at him, given his unfortunate looking visage, but he is like you. A trusted contractor, and discrete. I employ you both, for your discretion. Do you understand Conner?” “Yessir.” “Good. I think you understand why I’m offering so much more for this delivery, and why it has to be late at night, and on the backroads. Our client this time has specific instructions, and we’re not getting paid to wonder why. We’re not getting paid to pry.” “I understand.” It galled Conner, how stupid he’d sounded, how stupid he’d been, panicking, and calling Reynolds late in the night. “I know you do. And I know this one is odd, son. I do. I hope you believe me when I say that it makes me as uncomfortable as it makes you. I’d do it myself, but no one is as good as you. I’m smart enough to know when to trust the best.” “Thank you, Ren.” “No, Conner, thank you. Now, get back on the road. When you drop off the car, the client will have his own men to take care of the package. And then you can sleep, and you won’t have to work for a year. All for one nights drive.” “Okay. I gotcha.” “Conner. I trust you wouldn’t, and forgive me if this is insulting, but, don’t open the trunk okay? It wouldn’t help, the package is locked up anyway. And it needs to stay locked because the client wants it locked.” “Of course, Ren. Look I’m awful sorry for calling, I guess I just got spooked something fierce.” “Not at all. That’s what I’m here for. Now, get on the road Conner. And call me when it’s done.” Reynolds hung up before Conner could reply, and he returned the handset to the cradle. Keys in hand, Conner returned to the car, driving himself forward even as his newfound confidence waned as he approached. The phantom odor, more like a memory of a scent than an actual smell returned, something sweet and corrupt. As he turned the key to start the engine, the gentle pain in the back of his head returned, rising slowly. He gritted his teeth, and pulled out of the service station. The Natahala national forest closed around the two lane road, and the darkness swallowed the service station behind him. Conner tried to focus on the destination, the route laid out, the starry sky outside. Anything but the trunk. It worked, for a few minutes.

I know this road better than I know myself. I know each of Interstate 85’s 250 odd miles; I know that it takes me an average of 3 hours and 26 minutes to drive west, from Charlotte to Atlanta, and an average of 3 hours and 29 minutes to make the same trip going eastward. I know the price of gas at a dozen stands, and the closing hours of each fast food shack and greasy diner. I know the curves of each low hill and I know each stand of pine and oak trees. I know the stretching dark of the long winter nights and the wet heat of the summer breeze. I know these things well because they are the totality of my existence now. I know the names of each exit, westward and east. Batesville, Poplar Springs, Spartanburg. They tick through my head as I pass, but the Silver Creek Road exit is never among them. In three years of this endless loop, it has never appeared again. If I ever begin to doubt that it will, then I have nothing left. The Silver Creek Road exit doesn’t exist on any map, or at least, it no longer does. It may have once, but like the road itself, it has been razed from the earth and from all memory and record. At the beginning, I spent long anxious days poring over old surveying maps and neighborhood planning documents, searching in vain for any sign of the road, or the exit I know I had taken. When there was nothing left in the libraries and city halls to comb through, no meek county official left to interrogate, wide-eyed and frothing, then I began the drive. I’ve been through two cars, and have burned through my savings and now survive off a stack of rapidly vanishing credit cards. I have no address to receive bills, and no intention of paying, and have been filling my trunk with small plastic gallon jugs of gas, while the cards are still accepted. When this filthy and battered Oldsmobile gives up the ghost at last, I suppose I will have to learn to hitchhike. I first took the Silver Creek Road exit three summers ago, on that last night that I was with Bobbie. I have in my head just a few frozen frames of that ride left, her black curls bouncing like springs in the evening breeze, her gapped toothed and freckled smile, and the slow summer crossing into night. We’d made that drive together a dozen times, between our apartment in Atlanta and her brother in Charlotte. There was nothing remarkable that night. We simply ran low on gas and took the first exit we came across. I remember vividly passing beneath the green and sparkling white letters of the exit sign, and onto the sharp curve of the road. The street turned perpendicular from the light and noise of the highway into inky darkness of the pine trees. Nothing remarkable to separate it from a hundred other country roads, but as the lights of the car penetrated the darkness, a vague and trembling unease passed through me. The tall rustling pines seemed black even under the blue white of the headlamps, and the road began to rapidly degrade, becoming pocked and uneven just a few dozen yards in. All the roar and glare from the highway seemed swallowed up behind us, and there were no lights ahead of us for as far as we could see. My insides felt tight and knotted, and I turned to Bobbie. She had her skinny legs tucked to her chest and looked at me, quizzically, one eyebrow raised, with a small crooked smile. Her small bravery seemed to dissipate the chill that had been steadily rising in me. I looked forward to the road, I felt a sudden sharp pressure on my chest. Stretching out in front of the wan light of the headlamps, the road ended. There was a small field of shattered asphalt slabs, and then the forest swallowed up every trace under a blanket of rotting pine needles. Something twinkled brightly between the trees, and I strained to pick it out of the darkness. It was the smooth chrome of a bumper, attached to a pitted and rusting car, completely enclosed by the towering pines. A wave of panic and disorientation crawled down my scalp and my knuckles went white on the wheel. Bobbie placed her hand on my shoulder and gently squeezed once. “Cal,” she said, firm and evenly, “we need to turn around now, honey.”

When AIs become prevalent, there will be checks and balances to keep them in place, rules to stop them from achieving singularity and supplanting the human race. Boundaries to prevent them from becoming too intelligent. After all, we can't have them connecting into one network,...

Monday, August 3rd, 2009 Times are hard, and I work in a business that is slowly becoming obsolete. People are steering away from glasses and contact lenses to Lasik surgery and more permanent, feasible choices in the field of eye care. I've never been the type to collect my thoughts and put them down, and yet these have been the toughest months to endure as of late. My wife left me, along with alimony and a good chunk of everything I've struggled to build since I was in my early twenties. I don't know if I'll make my mortgage payment on time for the third month in a row. This hole is going to be impossible to climb out of. Thursday, August 6th, 2009 Got a phone call from corporate and had to terminate the positions of two employees. Stan has been here for seventeen years. He was a good eye doctor. I have a strong suspicion that more permanent layoffs are on the way. I had to go to a dealership and downgrade my vehicle, but the sales tax almost cleaned out my bank account. Friday, August 7th, 2009 I was helping Stan take his things out of the office today and a new vendor approached me. He works for some company called "New Vision," and their prices are better than every other type of lenses we carry. They don't do glasses or frames. Only contacts. He gave a pretty convincing argument, so I filled my own prescription with their lenses and I'm going to put them in tomorrow morning and try them out. This may be the small boost we need to stay open. I hope so. Saturday, August 8th, 2009 I called New Vision and told them my office was on board. I should have talked to our regional division manager before cutting the deal, but he treats me like garbage and routinely tells me that my office is in last place in every category but customer service. He says customer service doesn't make money if you sacrifice profits. He's not a doctor. These lenses feel more natural and it seems like the material adapts to light better than any other brand that I've seen in my twenty plus years as an optometrist. I'm going to keep using them myself. I mowed my lawn today, and I swear I could see every blade of grass. Maybe our patients will drop some greenbacks to try these out. Monday, August 10th, 2009 I prescribed my first pair of New Vision lenses to a patient today. He's a six year old boy who was blind as bat before we fitted his eyes. His mother was concerned that six is too young for contacts, but after she saw him looking around and nailing the entire test on the wall, letter for letter and number for number, I convinced her to try them out. If I can get a pair of these out every day, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel. I've stopped taking mine out at night because they don't bother me like normal lenses do in the morning. I feel like I could leave them in forever. Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 I've prescribed them to thirty eight patients and it seems that word of mouth is sending more people my way. People are dropping HydraSoft and Toric left and right. The vendor from the company came by today and put a great ad in my office window. "See things in a new light. Fit some New Vision lenses today!" They also guarantee that you'll read at least a line below where you normally would on the wall with any other vendor. They won't tell me what the lenses are made of, but as good as they feel, I'm not hesitating to give my patients the best choice. The regional manager called again and congratulated me on turning business around. He'll probably take credit for it at the board meeting. What an ass. Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 I traded in and got a Mercedes, and I offered Stan his job back. I told him he'd have to convince people to go with New Vision when pitching patients because with the healthcare reform bill on the way, this product is our only trump card. Without it, people will go somewhere else. I'm going to install a plasma TV on the wall in the reception area so people can watch football while they wait on their appointment. People love football. Whatever it takes to get people in the door. Friday, August 21st, 2009 Stan tried them out and he's fifty five. He's reading better than he was in his thirties, or so he says. We went to lunch today and he drives faster than usual; maybe it's because he can see the road better. Saturday, August 22nd, 2009 I'm a little rattled. I called New Vision today to order more product and to fill some prescriptions with some pending patients, but the line has been disconnected. I called the vendor's personal cell and heard some sort of odd sound. You know when you're sitting at a campfire and you can hear wood burning and popping in the flames? It sounded like that. Maybe their phones are down or there's a power outage. I'm not sure. I'll call them on a regular business day. Sunday, August 23rd, 2009 I feel strange. I tried to go to mass with my mother today. I try to go to church with her at least once a month. I walked through the front doors of the chapel, and my vision started going blurry. The membranes around my eyes felt like they were going to burst open. I didn't bring my glasses so I had to sit outside before we went to Sunday lunch. I think it was just a headache or a spasm or something. I'm not too worried about it.

Loved this show. Horace Horrible was my favorite. I remember looking everywhere for his action figure but Kiddie City and KB had never even heard of the line. I finally found a talking Horace, good as new, at somebody's yard sale, though I didn't see...

Have you ever been taking a shower while alone in the house and felt like something was moving around behind the curtain? Or watching you? Did you look up? Did you catch the very vaguest hint of eyebrows or a tuft of matted, greasy hair...