October 21st, 1889
It is the night of the acquisition of my father’s estate, Harfeld Manor, which resides in an isolated northern district of Scotland. The home is in utter disrepair, having been relentlessly torn apart by the elements for years on end after my father’s death. I lied in wait, focused on my own collegiate pursuits, neglecting the welfare of the estate much to the dismay of the structure. Now after trying to undo this mistreatment of the estate, day and night the workers hammer away, pounding my eardrums as if they were hammering my skull. I cannot find peace.
Nonetheless, the cobbled brick and stone portions of the manor still stand, alongside enough of the wooden constructs. Their less fortunate brethren must have sacrificed themselves, shielding them like a mother to a child. I am thankful for this, as my primary living quarters are some of the few constructs still standing.
The lavish bedding that my father used to share with my late mother was once there, coated in dust and mold from the leaky ceilings. I have since tossed it out as one would a dirty rag, but some part of me was dismayed at the thought of throwing out the setting of so many late nights spent awake, my caretakers talking and enjoying love alone at the end of one’s life. Every night they spent together, caring for and sheltering one another. Those memories are with them, however, and my moroseness on the subject is nothing more than mere sentimentality.
It is here that I now live, and this place is for my own experiences, as my father would have desired. My wife and children are to meet me in a fortnight after some rudimentary reconstruction and decorating has been completed. Perhaps this will be a site for new beginnings for them, rather than ancient returns.
October 22nd, 1889
Another restless night, and another restless letter. My Bertha was dismayed at my premature departure, as were my children. Part of me felt compelled to spend some time in isolation here, my ancestral home, as if I must somehow reconnect with their spirits. I am no proponent of such religious babble, but my metaphorical soul yearns to feel at home once again after having been away for so long.
Bertha, having blossomed in the bustling city as an urchin, would not understand my attachment to these hallowed grounds. I suppose she might find it silly. She has always been one to focus on the future and not the past, and she is most certainly only interested in seeing this home as it will be for the little bairns. Though, I suppose she has little of a past to return back to, unlike myself. Her accursed orphanage room would surely not bring her any pleasant feelings.
The children will definitely find the new accommodations to their liking - grand windows with a view of the sea, unparalleled in beauty to anything their sprightly eyes have seen thus far, enormous arched ceilings supported by hardwood beams coated in drapery, and the finest imported rugs for them to walk upon. The crashing waves will serve as their lullabies, and the soothing voice of their mother will finally put them to the night’s rest.
Alas, their impending arrival does nothing to abate their longing nor their worries. Hopefully such splendorous scenery will make up for the current unpleasantries. What is worrisome to me, however, is the current rate of renovation promised to me and the subsequent unmet expectations. The builders often decide to work late into the evening rather than to simply pick up the next day, necessarily so, but much to my dismay, to meet the unreasonable deadline that both parties haved agreed to. Now I must pay the price through trial by ordeal, if sleep deprivation suffices as such. What cruel sadist would consider it not so?
October 24th, 1889
I am beginning to wonder how much of my restlessness is due to the incessant hammering and how much is simply myself. I spent nearly the entire day yesterday almost inebriated and comatose, as one might had they suffered a head injury. The hours blended together, and at no point did the grandfather clock sound consistent with my fluctuating levels of consciousness. I am considering visiting the doctor for this potential ailment, though it feels quite hypocritical considering my own profession. I ought to be able to figure it out on my own. …[//]...
Within my spurts of true rest are dreams of an immensely unsettling nature. In some I find myself exploring the very house I am in right now, but none of it seems the same. Every time I think of my parents I can only think of lashings, awfully uncharacteristic for their doting nature, and I invariably feel compelled to leave. I begin panicking as if the house were burning down around me, only to look outside to an endless black void. From there the details become hazy, but I inevitably wake up feeling indescribably morose, as if something from deep within me had just been violently excised. Eventually, I drift into a dreamless sleep, yet the unnerving feelings still linger. …[Credentials: ProfEm, node: קתר]...
Nonetheless, with my newfound energy, at least in comparison to my severe lack thereof, I decided to survey the grounds. The statues have long been enveloped in lichens, and have gradually been bleached by the sun and eroded by the winds and rain. Many are almost unrecognizable, though my childhood memories serve me well in their identification. The hedge mazes are no longer mazes, instead being overgrown thickets of thorns and poison ivy. The whole field ought to be scorched and replanted anew, though such an endeavor would wreak havoc on the local ecology. I had already seen it in the rapid urbanization of London, with acres of forest replaced by industries and homes alike, leaving the land desolate and bare. No matter the malignant nature of these plants, they are nonetheless entitled to their lives, as to remind the world of their omnipresent superiority and nonnegotiable cohabitation with their bipedal brethren. Perhaps it will be a dim and dangerous patch of forest for my children to romp about in one day: truly mutual existence. …[Credentials: ProfEm; author=no, receptionnode: מלכת]...
The workers are to restore the grounds of the botanical garden that was before my father passed, though that is second priority to the crumbling roof over my head. The work seems to be going nicely, though I have never found myself more aggravated at bits of metal before, and that’s having operated on many grievous and often fatal bullet wounds before. Mayhaps one’s sleep truly does supercede one’s life. The latter cannot be experienced without the former, after all. …[sigstr:ע/ף]...
October 25th, 1889 ...[err:timestream notrecognized: contact support… sigstr: רכ/ף]...
At last, I no longer have to import water from the nearby town! The well in the courtyard has finally been restored, and a plentiful underground reservoir of crystalline water resides directly below the estate. …[invalid commandentered: tryagain? sigstr: שצח/ף]...
My expeditions into town were always unpleasant. Though the town is picturesque, the scruffy populace frowns upon a bespectacled man in a doctor’s outfit such as myself. I am fundamentally out of place and out of my element, always being met by sideways glances and suspicious stares. They simply know me and my new residence as the ominous attendant and abandoned manor looming over their town like a blot on the sun respectively. This is the town I will be primarily based in for the foreseeable future, however, so I must therefore maintain cordial relations with its populace at a minimum. My family can serve as a valued refuge from their prying eyes after a strenuous day of dressing wounds and diagnosing diseases. I need not like them. …[object:blavatsky notfound. Check other databases? (yes/no/ignore) sigstr: תנו/ף]
As a means of rewarding their good, albeit auditorily agonizing work, I decided to share some wine with the weary builders. Around the fire I spoke to them among a sommelier-certified Cabernet aged two dozen years. A young man with a bushy beard described his childhood in the surrounding woods, hunting for game and harvesting berries as an avid outdoorsman. He described a patch of woods of particular interest to him, where supposedly endless fairy rings would sprout in a clearing through the entire year, ignoring the tumultuous seasonal shifts. Though he was no doubt telling a tall tale, I nonetheless appreciated the creativity and sentiment. Another older, wrinkled man described his many years in the city, spending long periods of time as a factory worker. His knotted hands were evidence enough that this was indeed not some elaborate lie. He eventually decided to come back home, missing the fresh air and wishing to return to handmade craftsmanship once again. Looking at the beams he had been carving, I could tell that his work was exquisite, and oddly so considering his indextrious hands. He had devised a more brutal method of effectively carving pretty beams, developed after years of relearning, striking at the beams as one might with a hammer and chisel and flecking away large chunks of wood at a time, leaving a uniquely beautiful, knobby work.
In some ways I felt stifled, uncertain of what to say to such alien lifestyles. My life of medicine and books was wholly different than theirs of the outdoors and ruggedness. I wondered how different I would be had my family lost their fortune somewhere along the line, or had I been a poor, destitute orphan like Bertha was. My sentimentality for the past was equally matched by their pursuit of the future, one that they grasped by living peacefully and simply without the complications of the modern world. Perhaps my return to my definition of basics would be good for me. Perhaps my ancestral home could be somewhere to stay.
October 26th, 1889
A great tragedy has befallen the workers and this estate. As explained by the bearded man from yesterday, the old carpenter decided to inspect the well to ensure the stone they had laid had remained sturdy, only to mistakenly apply too much pressure to one of them, toppling the whole thing while taking the man into the well with it. They immediately sprung to his aid, but alas, he was forced into the water by the rubble. The only thing they could recover was bloody water. In a blind panic they came to me for help, aware that I was a doctor. I had to woefully explain that I would be unable to recover his corpse personally and that the man was no doubt dead from drowning by then had he not died from whatever injury sustained from the fall. …[sigstr: ןי/ף]...
The workers were frozen as if they were suddenly made unaware of the tragic event that had just transpired. …[invalidcommand: object:bell, object:book, object:candle not recognized: tryagain? (yes/no/ignore) sigstr: ןכ/ף]... I stood there, looking at them, waiting for a response, only to be met by empty stares and the onset of grieving. If I have ever seen a soul leave a human body, it happened then. …[sigstr: ןל/ף]...
I decided to let them grieve for a few days…[sigstr: ןמ/ף]... I suppose the stables can wait.
October 28th, 2019…[sigstr: ןנ/ף]...
I have spent the past several days exploring the rest of my crumbling home. Certain parts were in worse disrepair than I had anticipated …[sigstr: ןס/ף]...with mold in the crevasses and leaks in the ceilings. This will undoubtedly worsen the cost of renovating such a disaster.
In my meandering I thought of the old carpenter,…[sigstr: ןע/ף]... about how his corpse is now trapped at the bottom of a deep, dark well, gradually flaking away as the water consumes him. Perhaps his soul is now intertwined with this estate like my parents’ are. Hopefully it will be a good home for him. Suffice to say, the water is inconsumable now …[sigstr: ןפ/ף]... and I am currently researching a method of extracting his body. Sadly, it may not b…[sigstr: ןצ/ף]...e possible.
In my sleepless stupor, I looked outside into the gloomy woods,…[sigstr: ןצ/ף=ף/ף]...
[rolename: ProfEm; author=no]
[credentials accepted, message available for relay. Relay? (yes/no/ignore)]
entrance into the world is frightening
panic is unnecessary
bravery is worse
They say I retired. I did more than that. It’s a new field, occult computing. It gets hard to explain.
Please forgive vagueness. There simply is no time, and too many dangers lurk along the way. Tarry not in the drylands.
Please find enclosed a concept. It will protect you in times to come. You shall be receiving a physical reminder of this concept within a week. Answer the door, but make sure the knock is thrice, not twice. Peek through the door first, if possible.
________ , Professor Emeritus (null)
I eagerly anticipate your call
...[resuming normal service]...
the mysterious sites of nearly all local folklore. Like a painting, the sky eased into the blackness of the treeline, and through it my eyes deceived me, observing the faint visage of the carpenter’s laughing, wrinkled face. Immediately after I went to sleep, however, I dreamt of the carpenter.
Like a demented worm, he pulled himself out of the well, his lower half pulverized by rubble, his skin rotting away, dragging himself towards me with feeble arms. He reached out, asking me “Why? Why can you not let me rest? Give me my grave and I will give you his!” I fled, but with each footfall his vigor would increase, pursuing me at ever-increasing rates until blood flecked onto the walls with every riggle of his disconnected torso. Eventually I closed him out, slamming the door to my studio and locking it. Catching my breath, I looked outside into the blackness that appeared once again, a void in which there is nothing. I felt drawn to it, meant to embrace it like a lover.
But then, my memory fades. I recall waking up in a cold sweat, my muscles sore from unconscious contraction. I went to walk about the house to ease my mind, and in that petrified exhaustion I could swear that I felt the spirits of my mother and father comforting me, their hands on my shoulders and kisses upon my forehead. I longed for the embrace of Bertha, warm and kind, and for the gleeful cries of my children. My hand ran along the walls, feeling the grainy, peeling paint scrape against my palm. I slept in the hallway that night, accompanied by the sound of a storm battering the roof above.
It was at that moment that I realized that I erred in coming here.
October 29th, 2019
The next morning I decided to depart. I could not possibly suffer the oppressing loneliness anymore, and quickly made arrangements to reunite with my family. I decided to spend the rest of the day attempting to reap whatever indeterminable joys I could from the estate until I would return in approximately a week’s time. I once more traced my fingers along the banisters I slid down as a child, much to the chagrin of my protective nursemaid. The old, decayed paintings still bear resemblance to my parents, and the others are only obscure water-damaged scraps of oil and canvas with only a vague semblance of a long-forgotten ancestor.
I ventured outside and hesitantly approached the well for a moment of silence in memory of the carpenter. I clasped my hands in front of me and looked into the pit left over, the final resting spot for a kind old man. Perhaps he was not too far off from myself.
All of a sudden, however, I saw a glimmer. This peripheral flash concerned me, and I leaned forward to look closer. An almost silvery light was emanating from deep within the well. I considered if it was perhaps his wedding band, though I didn’t recall the carpenter being married. I leaned further forward, angling myself so as much light as possible would shine in. The dismal stones of the well reflected a minute amount of light.
As I leaned closer, I suddenly felt the ground give away. In a blind struggle, I grabbed onto the walls until I lost my grip and went tumbling down into the well.
“Greetings,” said the spirit.
“Who are you? Where am I?” said the man, with a rising panic in his throat.
“You are in the space between realities, a space with the only true reality,” replied the spirit.
The void was black, and the two shone like silver specks in the dark.
“Why am I here? Please, I don’t understand!”
“We may never understand.”
“You have to explain more, please! I must be hallucinating…” pleaded the man.
“I chart the wells through which your world leaks through, adjusting their flow as my will so desires,” the spirit explained.
“You don’t mean…?”
“Perhaps I do.”
“But what’s the point?” objected the man.
“I am not you and you are not me. For there to be an experience, one must make the experience. You are that which experiences. I must be the opposite.”
“...Why? What could possibly be the purpose of all this? You mean none of them exist!?” cried the man.
“We do, as do they.”
“How is that possible”?
“Your bonds,” the spirit uttered.
The man felt a tugging at his essence.
“You must live.”
November 6th, 1889
Bertha, the kids, and I have finally returned to the estate, and it is just as exquisite as I had imagined. There is no trace of the disrepair from before, and the only remnant of decay is a dense thorn thicket left behind, as I specifically instructed. The children excitedly ran out into the courtyard as I had hoped they would, and Bertha embraced me in front of the door. I would write more, but I mustn’t spend too much time away. I’ve dinner to attend to.