Thursday, September 8, 2011

DROC: Not To Be

It shouldn't be here.

I've studies central African history, back in college. Surely it can't be here.

This is Simone again. Talking about the temple... thing. It's slick and grimy, like no stone that I've ever seen. There's something really wrong in the air, in the forest, in every goddamn thing. I hoped that this'd all be a bit more Indiana Jones and a little less Bram Stoker. The trees are utterly silent. There are bugs, but the bugs don't make enough noise. Their buzzing is muted, as though it was really coming from far away. The boss hates Dande, I mean, Ibola does as well, but he's become totally obsessed with getting into the temple (it's not a pyramid, not here.) I mean, 'Bola has a goal in all this-- her son's probably in there, with whatever shape he has left, so she's got a reason to plunge into the dark, right? Boss' only reason is that there might be a clue left somewhere in there by Dande. They're both tight as knots. Ibola keeps staring at this big old blank bit of wall, glaring at it. The boss has been wandering around the sides and kicking it and talking to it. Like Lord of the Rings, kinda.

What we know is that the kids didn't get stopped by the door/wall thing. The blank space we think might be a door doesn't seem to have ever been moved, the footprints haven't been touched. There doesn't seem to be anything that indicates that the wall moves at all, down or in or out. The brush seems to taper right next to the blank bit of wall, and sortof grows into it, rather than touch the blank face.

Don and I've been thinking about it. I think one might be able to just kinda... move through the wall I guess? I'm definitely not sure whether anyone else'll go for my idea, because, well, it's a bit fantastic isn't it? Walls that don't really exist, or only exist if you think about them or something. But screw them, I guess. I'm not really certain about reality anymore, what with all these conspiracy theories and things. I don't know what to believe. So I guess I'm going to go try and walk through the wall and see what happens. I'll probably end up walking into a solid bit of rock, but whatever.

I just want to figure it out. I don't want to be here anymore. I hate this place.

Monday, September 5, 2011

DROC: Discovery

We've been walking for about two weeks and the change was so gradual I didn't even notice it. Don and Ibola live here-ish and I think even Simone picked up on the sheer wrongness faster than I did. We walked long enough to get through the woods several times. Maybe we were going in circles, I honestly couldn't tell. The sounds of the forest kinda fill your head to the point where I started blanking things out. The noise left a lot of time for awkward silence, with Don and Simone occasionally bobbing into the distance. He turned to Simone as the most competent/masculine in the group, myself being "useless" and Ibola "overemotional". This only made things more awkward, as there are more layers of awkward between myself and Ibola than I dare contemplate. He and Simone walked ahead and whispered together in hushed tones.

I asked Simone what they'd been talking about. She told me that Don thought that it was "trop silent" (too quiet). I was dumbfounded by the statement at the time, not checking my privilege or my ignorance. The jungle at that time was one of the most alive places I'd ever been. She shook her head and said she thought the forest was changing too. The days went on, and I honestly didn't see anything changing. We were still covered in bugs by day and eaten alive by mosquitoes at night. 

We were paused by Don for the first time last Tuesday. Don gestured to Simone and the pair of them walked ahead. Ibola and I sat in a clearing awkwardly, left dumb and deaf to the other one's thoughts. Ibola stood up suddenly and left me alone with the silence. The idea of the silence hit me as Ibola returned. She held a red flower in one hand and some kind of dead rodent in the other. I knew by her expression that she hadn't killed the rat. It was tied up with its own intestines and its eyes were bulging out of its hand. Ibola and I locked eyes.

He buried the rat and burnt the flower, finishing up just as Don and Simone returned. Simone told me that she thought "we found the kids. Or at least the place they might be." We followed Simone and Don down the path they made in the woods, and came to an overlook above a vast expanse of jungle. A massive, greasy black pyramid pushed its way through the matted jungle, covered in vines and plants. It looked like it had been abandoned for millenia. Lining its sides were grotesque statues of something that my mind slips away from like a scared child.

We spent another four or five days getting closer to the pyramid. This place buzzes, but it's not alive. Nothing but insects. The dead animals are getting larger, but most of the time we come across unidentifiable bits of bone and ichor. We've slept outside the wretched place for the last few nights, trying to find a way in. The footprints lead up to a blank slate of wall, and I have no clue how to get in. In any case, I doubt we'll have much internet if we get inside-- this is the first time I've been connected to a satellite in weeks.

Hopefully will be able to write again later.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

DROC: Follow

We woke up early in the morning to go over to Ibola’s sister’s house. Ibola met us outside our hovel with the guide she’d convinced to come along. His name is Don, or at least that’s what he calls himself, a tall athletic man and incredibly sarcastic, with quick eyes. The four of us made our way over to Ibola’s sister’s house, where we had breakfast. Ibola’s sister, Nyangoma, is a jolly, cheerful woman, who didn’t take Ibola’s warnings too seriously. Nevertheless, she was happy for us to follow the soldiers for safeties sake. Nyangoma has two young girls, twins, who are almost disturbingly angelic. We made and ate breakfast with them, and the entire affair was so distant and idyllic, it became utterly surreal.  They were all chatting quite happily in French, and while Simone translated for me from time to time, mostly I let the conversation wash over me. It was all so damn normal-- jokes were being told and it was all playful and, to use a weak word, nice.

We heard the soldiers drive up outside. Suddenly the idyll was broken, at least for myself, Simone, Don and particularly Ibola. Nyangoma and her kids seemed as happy as ever. We crept round to the back, and hopped into the car, waiting for the soldier's jeep to ride on. Giving them a five minute head start, we followed them into the jungle.

It's been a longer trek than I'd anticipated at the beginning. There's still mud on the ground, though it hasn't rained in I don't know how long, which has aided in tracking the other car. The downside to this is that we've been slowed down considerably, and once we lost sight of the other vehicle Don had to stop the car several times to make sure we were going the right way. Every time night fell Ibola ordered us to bed, and even Don relinquished to her. We huddled in the back seat of the car, and waited through sleepless nights. Ibola was sure that the soldiers wouldn't risk going on through the night. My mind crept back to the MONSTER and I silently agreed. Wherever they're going, they want those children safe.

The first time I saw the monster was just a few days ago. I was popping back home during a lunch break, walking through central park. It was a fairly quiet part of the park, with not too many people around. I saw a little kid, about 3 or 4, toddle across the path I was taking towards the trees. He was clinging to a toy truck, staring at something I couldn't see, almost tripping over his untied sneakers. He reached a dense copse of trees and started talking to someone just out of my sight, so I moved to see better. And there it was.

Its blank face was about equal with the child's, its twisted, rake-thin body bent at the waist. It sported dozens of tentacles, two of which were gently stroking the child's face. Where the tentacles met the kid's skin splotchy red welts sprung up, and started to ooze pus. I must have made some noise, some dry choked sound at the back of my throat, as I was torn between running and intervening, because in response the monster's tendrils stiffened. It gripped the child's arms, pulling the boy apart. The child was screaming as blood stained his jacket.

It wouldn't stop. It just got worse and worse and worse, and I didn't do anything... The monster tilted its head and plied its limbs through the child's chest. But the child was somehow still alive, choking up blood. The child's eyes were still aware, even as the creature slowly broke his ribs out of his body and planted them like grotesque flowers in a circle around the base of the tree. He was still alive even as the monster drove his bones into the soft bark. He was still choking for breath even as his empty skin and organs were hung up on the tree as an almost decoration, his skin flourished over a branch like a sweater left out to dry. The child's head was buried, his eyes still open. The creature turned its head up to face me, cocked it, and moved off into the woods.

How I managed to get back home after that I still have no idea. The moment I got through the door I ran to the bathroom and vomited. My partner, a doctor, recognized something 'off' in me, but didn't pry, instead calling my workplace. I was in bed through most of the media circus surrounding the missing boy, and I missed the discovery of his grisly fate. I never told anyone what I saw-- who would believe me? I just tried to help the people who could be helped. But I did see the monster several times after that.

It's our 8th day of travel. I was spurred to make a post because of two things; a slightly strong signal from the phone of the sparse internet, and because we found the other car. There's nothing useful inside it, but there are footprints leading into the woods, broken branches, and knife prints in the trees, giving us a pretty clear path to follow. We've been walking for about a day. Nothing new. Just what I assume to be normal forest sounds, though nobody really tells me anything at this point. I'll try and keep this blog thing updated more often.

I feel paranoid at best right now. The trees, the humidity, the low hanging branches and the murky blotted-out-ness of the rest of the world. I keep expecting to see the MONSTER, or one of ITs Victims, or the kid I failed to save.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

DROC: Begin

Ibola told us this story, an old local folk tale about the MONSTER. She's got a lot of stories about It, all of them told to her through whispers. None of the local legends about the MONSTER were meant to be told, but older teens told their younger siblings and stories make a point of staying, so it was passed on. Ibola’s older sister told it to her when she was nine, which I suppose explains some of the stranger quirks in her personality.

The woman’s name was Red, and she was the most beautiful woman in the world. Ibola told me that all of the protagonists in stories about the monster have names related to colour, though she's not sure why. Anyway, Red lived in a village in the desert, and her lover (of course the strongest man in the world) lived in a village in the forest. Unfortunately for the budding romance, the two villages were at war with each other. The forest village worshipped the trees, and her village worshipped fire. Red and her lover knew that the villages were never going to stop warring, so they plotted to run away. Red sent her lover a message to meet her one night in the woods.

That night, Red packed up her meager belongings, and silently said goodbye to her family as she left the house. There was no moon, but the night world chattered around her so she did not feel afraid. She walked to the meeting place in the forest, and came to the clearing where she was to unite with her lover. He was standing in the middle of the clearing and wasn’t facing her. Red called out to him, but as he turned to her she realized something was wrong. It was like his skin was an ill-fitting garment that folded in the wrong places. Then his body was stretched as the demon inside stood to its full height, and his face was ripped in two to reveal the bone-white fa├žade beneath.

The MONSTER grabbed Red with its colossal hands and carefully ripped her apart, ignoring her screams. The creature tore her organs out of her body and planted still slithering segments of her stomach and parts of her beating heart in the ground. Wherever her still living organs were planted red flowers grew. Ibola was taught that every one of the red flowers picked, Red would die a little bit more. Most kids refused to pick the flowers after hearing the story, but Ibola went out of her way to kill the flowers, wanting to put the woman out of her misery.

The plan goes into action tomorrow. Something is changing. Maybe we can beat this.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I am so tired right now.

The last few weeks were spent attempting to expand our smallish knowledge base. We had names and numbers, so spent a lot of time feeling creepy as we snooped for the backgrounds of the kids. Felt significantly less creepy looking for the beneficiaries of the money that Dande handed out like candy. Still, within this town, there aren't that many leads to pick up from. And though I am good at paperwork, I am less-good at being a detective. I'm good at presenting cases to groups, but not so much at talking to people-people. My roommate was a lot better at talking to normal people than I was, and would have probably hit me for using the phrase "normal people." But I digress. I am-- not bad at investigating, but incompetent in the field of detecting. Also, as it turns out, the field of subtlety.

We had information about the kids, and about the kinds of people being paid off by Diende. We had no idea what to do with it. We can't storm Dande because there are, well, two of us, we can't alert the police because they're corrupt and we can't contact allies because we don't have any. I had no clue what I was really doing and was retracting into my "It's hopeless" state of mind. Of course everything to do with the MONSTER is hopeless, I know that. But more hopeless than usual, if that makes sense. Then yesterday, as I was walking out of the door of the hovel we're staying in, a woman walked up to me and punched me in the face.

She yelled something in French. I yelled something in vulgarity. Simone ran out yelling something in Franglais. I think she went drinking somewhere last night.

Anyway, according to Simone, the conversation started with her asking what the hell the woman was doing. The woman replied that she was punching me. Simone asked why, and the woman said we were stalking her son, and that he'd disappeared, and it was all our fault. Eventually Simone managed to get the woman to stop being angry with us and told her that we were trying to help, and that even though I was a dick I didn't deserve to be punched. I was, of course, watching this in complete confusion. The confusion was intensified as the woman started laughing, slightly hysterically, and held out her hand to help me up. Somehow she and Simone and I ended up sitting on the carpet in our semi-permanent pit of a home, talking almost normally, with Simone acting as translator.

Her name's Ibola, and when asked why and how she found us, she said she asked for the people who were stalking her son. That's why she hit me-- her son went missing, and two foreigners were wandering around talking to people about him. I have no idea how Simone calmed her down and convinced her we weren't villainous so easily. A loved one of mine goes missing and it takes years to calm me down god-fucking-dammit. Sorry. Anyway, we talked to her for a bit. She thought it was us that'd kidnapped the kids but realized that there are only two of us and as I mentioned above, we can do nothing. So her suspicions snapped back to Dande. She's been insisting that the kids are kidnapped for a while, but nobody's believes her. She told us that she knows a guy in the town the kids were being taken to and he never saw them arrive. Nobody else thinks there's anything suspicious.

This day has been confusing. We have a plan now, though. Ibola's sister has two kids, and she's signed them both up for the medical thing. Ibola tried to dissuade her sister but they're not on good terms. At least now we have a lead.

Ibola swears that her kid is still alive. She'd know if he wasn't.

I wish there was some sort of psychic connection between one and ones loved ones.

This entry got off track a lot. Gist of it is, we might be able to save the kids. Yay.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

DROC: A Summary

I'm not sure how to start.

Blogger seemed like a good idea before. It was a way for me to keep track of Victims and Perpetrators, to gather news, to build up the Evidence. A way of checking in on the world beneath and making sure my investigations are grounded in the current, in reality. It's not just a tool anymore, not so much about the investigation but about sharing results.  The world's like a wilderness full of people who can't tell that they're lost, and when you find the people who are lost you have to cling to them. Rambling start, but will update more often.

We asked around for more information about the papers we'd gathered from Dande. Nothing was forthcoming. The papers we had nicked were conglomerative, amalgamated, with no names, just statistics. There was a sheaf of financial papers as well, and that was a bit more useful. There was a money trail, there's always a money trail, even if it's covered up by blood and corruption. We found out that several doctors had been paid off in the area, and figured that it was our first clue. We went to visit the local doctor, Doctor Steven Williams, a guy shipped in by an aid org that stayed in the region because he could charge way too much money for his services.

We went to visit one of the doctors at his office. Simone went in for a chat with the man himself, while I went to go rifle through his financial records. After a bit of snooping I found out that 12 kids were checked in at the same time, but there fees were paid for from the same source, the same amount as had been paid in Dande's records. On his desk was an envelope with another cheque for about the same amount of money. I made some notes, put everything back where I found it, and went outside to wait for Simone.

She added some more pieces to the puzzle. Simone had posed as a business women interested in Dande and the money that could be made from them. Williams had been drinking and was in a talkative mood, more than happy to brag about the money to be made from the local aid organizations, particularly the corrupt ones. Dande's offer had been pitched to him as a quick moneymaking scheme. According to Williams, Dande was manufacturing a drug to a plague that didn't actually exist, and they needed people to be diagnosed with the disease to be able to market the drug. So William's was paid to diagnose twelve kids with the manufactured sickness that Dande could take them to the manufactured cure. The kids names were on his records, but we didn't have addresses.

We've asked around, and they're all gone. But there are other kids on the books.

I just have to wonder how they're going to keep people from finding out about this. 12 kids went missing-- even somewhere as distant as here, that's going to cause a fuss.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Will Update Later

Internet is really patchy, currently really busy.

We lost the kids.