Mainly because I’ve been pretty busy and using Twitter to goof off.
As I mentioned before, my family will be taking a vacation in NYC in June and we have been watching Ric Burns’s 8-part documentary on the subject. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s damn good (and boy do they take a chunk of flesh out of Robert Moses in a later ep) but it was originally planned for seven parts. Then, while they were in post, 9/11 happened.
We’ve been borrowing the DVDs from the library, working our way through them over several months. My son was spell-bound by the early episodes, but not terribly interested in the modern history. I had part 8 on hold for some weeks so it wouldn’t be too much too soon for him. I finally picked it up on Saturday.
Then Osama bin Laden was killed on Sunday.
Well, that made it pertinent, didn’t it? We put in the show and watched last night.
God, it was three hours long, and the filmmakers didn’t have the distance to make a compelling narrative out of the whole thing, the way they had with earlier stories. They included the whole thing, including the Rockefellers’ original plan to build on the eastern side of the island and the politics of the Port Authority. They also talked quite a bit about what a bad idea it was originally, how ugly it was, how old-fashioned the ideas behind it were–even as it was being designed. They also talked about how long it took for the office space to be filled.
The last hour focused on the attack. Not once did they mention bin Laden’s name, but they did show that video. Yeah, I wept. It was pretty powerful stuff, and a good counter-point to the Abbattobad news cycle.
Finally, about that news cycle: The story of what happened that day is already changing, as I knew it would. Don’t take anything as gospel truth. Not yet. Remember Jessica Lynch? Remember Pat Tillman? Hell, there are still people who think the 9/11 hijackers snuck into the U.S. from Canada, because irresponsible talk hit the media and the corrections did not reach everyone.
The media is basically reprinting White House press releases. Withhold judgement, I say.
Day 332- Was struck by an arrow again last night. The cursed skeletons come out of the sea after sunset every day now, more and more of them it seems. Where they come from I do not know, but I have found evidence that make my previous ideas seem like a child’s daydream.
While exploring a nearby island, I discovered a cavern at the shoreline. Upon descending, carefully, out of the daylight, I came upon a strange cage set into the beach sand. Within burned a fire without fuel and a small, spinning spider-totem. I loitered past sunset to confirm my suspicions and yes, spiders appeared fully-formed in the vicinity of the cage as though they had been transported from some other dimension.
Are spiders the only creatures summoned thus? Perhaps the zombies and skeletons are not, as I suspected, created from the corpses of my previous “deaths” and also the deaths of others who might have lived here previously. Perhaps they are summoned here by other cages, and perhaps, most horrible of all, there is a cage buried in the sand where I am continually reborn. Perhaps if I dig a certain distance, I will discover an unquenchable fire and a tiny, spinning figure of myself.
In a sudden, blind rage, I nearly smashed the spider’s cage, but fear stayed my hand. more »
It is day… 112, I think? It’s hard to tell. The days are so short here, I know I miss some cycles while I’m underground searching for the coal, iron and other minerals I need to survive.
Yesterday I found some reeds beside a lake. After some time at my crafting table, I figured out how to make them into paper, then how to turn the paper into a book. So… this journal. I hope that when I am killed for the last time, this record will be of use to some other lost soul.
This place… It’s hard to know where to begin describing this strange land I’ve appeared in. The physics doesn’t make any more sense than the biosphere. There are no birds here except chickens, no mammals except cow, pigs and sheep. No reptiles. Nothing lives in the water, as far as I can tell.
There are no insects here, either. How do the trees and grasses survive without insects? The only bugs of any kind are the giant spiders, each one larger than me. They’re dangerous, too, once the square sun has gone down; their feeding frenzies begin at night.
I have to be careful of the spiders. They can kill me, and did so once–I’ll talk more about that later, when I’m ready. I’m not… I’m not ready yet–but I don’t hate them. The zombies and skeletons are less dangerous. They are easy to kill and immolate in the sunlight anyway.
It’s the creatures I’ve begun to call “creepers” I hate most of all. They’re ugly and silent hunters. They emerge at night and persist unharmed in the daylight, jumping at the edge of my fenceline as soon as they see me. I know what they want, too. If they can get close enough to me, they explode.
They’re suicide bombers, like the antibodies of this world, sacrificing themselves to destroy me. What manner of beast sacrifices itself in the destruction of its prey, I dare not ponder. Three times have they destroyed me, but after each death I reappear again in the same spot on the beach, naked…
More later. The square moon is setting and a glow in the “east” tells me the square sun is about to rise. I need to venture past the fenceline to collect more wood to extend the fence and find feathers for my arrows.
I’ve decided to stick with this numbering system for the days. I have no way of knowing if it is accurate, but it doesn’t matter, I don’t think. God, I hope it doesn’t matter.
I found a giant spider on top of my High House this morning. Can’t understand how it got past the fence line. I know they appear in very dark places, like unlit caverns and hilltops, but I have seeded my whole property with the strange, unquenchable torches I make–it shouldn’t have been dark enough for that. Maybe the trees are too overgrown?
No matter. At least it wasn’t another creeper. I shot it with arrows until if fell over and vanished in a puff of smoke, the way all the living things here die. All it left behind was a couple lengths of string. Even my arrows have been transported away.
As stated, all living things here expire in the same manner: they vanish in a puff of smoke and leave some small object to fall to the ground. The chickens and zombies leave behind feathers. The skeletons, arrows. The creepers, gunpowder (which I have plans for, oh yes).
The farm animals are the same. The first time I killed a cow, I was shocked to discover that the entire carcass vanished except for a strip of leather suitable for protective clothing. Nothing else, nothing else that could be called a comestible–an entire cow! The sheep leave wool (without dying, unless attacked repeatedly) and the pigs vanish, leaving behind nothing but a large chop. So far, that’s the only food I’ve found here. Good thing I’m not a devout Jew or Muslim.
Not that I’ve ever been hungry (or sleepy, but never mind that now). The only use I’ve found for the steaks is that, once cooked, they will heal me of the wounds inflicted by my enemies, or the damage I take falling in treacherous places.
Which means it is not food I am eating. I am replacing damaged parts of myself with the meat from these weird ghostly pigs. What am I becoming? What has happened to me?
I have not yet seen a calf, piglet, chick or lamb. The chicken lay unbreakable eggs which I collect but are nothing more than paperweights. I strongly suspect that, each time I am killed, I vanish and reappear just like these creepers, cows and spiders.
I live as a dead thing, but without burning in the rays of the square sun as the zombies do. If these creatures vanish and reappear when killed, as I do, how am I to win my war of survival? All is futile.
Yet I dig, and chop, and build. Somehow I will find a way back to my own world and my own body. I will be reunited with my wife and children. I will.
After several days of planning and work, I have constructed a house out in the bay. It is made of glass and barely extends above the water, and the glass-covered walkway that connects it to my fenced compound is well below the water, and even deeper once it reaches land.
It is a simple, humble structure, but I felt I needed it. I was feeling too like a prisoner and needed a place beyond the fence where I could stand and look at the stars. I needed a place of my own that was beautiful and defiant of this abominable situation.
Still, while I was digging the walkway through this strange rock, a zombie wandered about on the glass roof of my Water Room. The creature’s moaning filled me with dread; I knew it could do nothing from the other side of the thick glass, but if it had been a creeper, I suspect my house would have been exploded and the weird, viscous water of the bay would have flooded in on me.
Thus, while I am proud of my low glass room, I can find no peace there when the stars are out, nor when they are not. My defiance was perhaps ill-advised.
Still, at night, when I stand in the doorway of High House, the torchlight flickers prettily beneath the waveless water. Perhaps I should learn to be content with this.
Attempted parlay with a zombie this morning, just before the sun came up. It is, after all, a man, is it not? In reduced capacity, I’m sure, but active, aware, and perhaps not immune to reason?
I spoke to the fellow in as frank and unthreatening a manner as I could devise, but it was no use. It could only moan and attack me, so I slew it.
I am truly alone here.
The rest of the day was spent in furious physical labor to forestall such morose thoughts.