9 March 2012 - Holographic Log
Temporal Journal Entry -- The 'Present'
Continuing from my last entry in the RL-RIF cache log at The Library, I managed to find the volume that has now lead me here. Arcane Geography has been my passion for two years now, and it has finally led me to where I will soon find solace...as well as provide the means for me to exact my revenge upon the entity that, so many years ago, swallowed the life out of four of my fellow time-cachers, on that cold fall evening in the wilds of Michigan.
I am hopeful that my efforts, should they succeed, will re-align the time-stream enough, so that my friends: Dewey, Cheatem, AndHow, and TheBrick!, will once again grace the presence of General Existence!
Temporal Journal Entry -- The 'Past'
The forest foliage caresses its thick leaves around me. I'm barely able to move forward, the ferns are so thick. What has brought me to this place? What is the 'prime mover' that keeps me plodding on ahead, anxious to do what I need to do, then be done with it? I have not sought after revenge, as a rule; I much prefer to live peacefully, traveling along the temporal highways, always arriving secretly, in out-of-the-way places, dressed in period costume, before I make an appearance in any public areas.
Even when I go to solitary places, I still follow the same rules, mimic the identical patterns that have kept me safe and secure as I travel in this arcane manner. This has kept me safe. Safety, however, has finally run out for me. I can't run from my own memories any longer! I must alleviate my suffering of the last two years! Remove from existence that thing that removed the lives of my four friends two years ago.
I remember the day well: We had materialized in an area of gorgeous hardwoods, with a patch of birch thrown in for good measure. The white bark with black flecks set off the rest of the primeval elements surrounding us; it seemed like we had landed in a Shakespearian fairy tale, and at any time Pan would appear, playing his pipes, and we would dance, joyfully, with him, cherishing the forest's dreams and allowing ourselves to succumb to its spell.
Unfortunately, what we found in the dried-out clearing of that northern Michigan forest waylaid any Pan-laden dreams we may have had. The fact is, I barely escaped with my life, let alone danced upon a forest floor strewn with pine needles, dead leaves, and moss, with the sound of pipes in my ears. It was sheer good fortune and blind luck that allowed me to touch the control that sent the quite familiar hollow sound associated with our type of temporal momentum up to my tympanic membrane, and with it, the energetics that moved me, quite securely, to a place of safety.
(When traveling, we don't really feel much. It seems as if a hollow-sounding wind of low pitch moves us along on our travel; the scenery goes black, then the sound, then a new patch of scenery. It isn't altogether unpleasant, but can be a little unnverving to the uninitiated. Still, we had all discovered the secret during our collective scientific experimenting, piecing together a little here and there, and finally coming up with a solution that would finally satiate the wanderlust that all of us craved.)
After getting our bearings--using the time-enhanced GPS technology we had invented, termed GhostSat, we got our positions and proceeded toward an area that showed some type of unusual natural energy flux. Assuming a natural conjuntion of Ley Lines--which we can use to achieve teleportation within a given local temporal instance--we thought we might give it a go. Would to the High Heavens we had not been so blind to the danger, so quick to 'rush in where angels fear to tread!'
(Animals. There were many in the forests we had visited. Squirrels rushed from tree to tree, jumped from branch to branch. Various birds flitted from maple, to oak, to ash. The occasional skunk would make an appearance. And, if we were very very fortunate, we might glimpse a view of a mother bear and her cubs. So long as we stood still, kept the safety fields up, we basically registered as 'not there' to whatever animal life was around us. Quite useful for the larger animals. Quite the opposite--as we would find--for the type of life form we encountered next!)
I have stated that we had materialized in a clearing of hardwoods and birch. The clearing, itself, was almost completely round, save for a small notch in the trees to the northeast, where a path--it was too wide for a game trail--seemed to lead away from the area. Focusing our area scanners--a feature of the Temporal Displacement/GPS Unit--we found a high-yield energy signature to the northeast, right along the course of the path!
We had never run into anything dangerous when pursuing Ley Lines. They were just lines of geomagnetic force that coursed through the earth and were part of its general electromagnetic structure; in short, a natural phenomenon we had learned to harness for certain, helpful tasks in local travel. We could travel without the Ley Lines, but the mag-flux diameter of each was so close together, to not use them would simply be a waste of energy, and we had all decided to pursue time travel, maintaining as much of a conservationist approach as we could.
So we headed northeast!
TheBrick! was the first to feel it, as he was in front. (Note: We all use nicknames, and never reveal our true identities to anyone we meet, for utterly obvious reasons!) What it was, he couldn't quite place, even though he described the feeling thoroughly to the rest of us behind him on the trail. We decided to put the safety fields up, and used our close proximity to enhance each other's individual protection area. Although this practice is standard under normal circumstances, it seemed to exacerbate the 'problem' we would soon meet.
Dewey, Cheatem, myself, and AndHow were following along, single-file, behind TheBrick!, and we were moving carefully forward. TheBrick! was doing a foward-scan with his handheld, moving the unit horizontally across his front field-of-view, and looking quite purplexed by the readings he was observing. Grabbing my unit, I mimicked him, and even I was purplexed. Ley Lines didn't usually move, and something up ahead was moving!
Moving forward again, as soon as we cleared the trees, it was upon us! What it was is anybody's guess. The thing moved so swiftly, it could hardly be described in human terms. It seemed to be part of the air, or part of the environment. Had we not been time travelers, we might not have had the practical experience to give it a name, however simplistic.
Temporal energy? Etheric energy? It was hard to describe just then, and it didn't give us time to consider its aspect, physical or otherwise.
The thing hovered about eight feet off the ground. It seemed a golden color, very light, and very thin. As soon as TheBrick! touched the edge of the clearing--which resembled an old, dried-out winter rye field--it moved from the center immediately to our location, as fast as an eye blink. Well, TheBrick! didn't know what hit him! The thing hovered for a split-second, just that long! And it took just that long for the whatever-it-was to extend part of itself outward, touch TheBrick!, and...and...
(..Sorry for the long delay. I had to go splash my face with cold water and grab a sandwich. I'm still responsible for finalizing this record for our travel archives, but I still can't seem to shake off the result of what that--dare I call it a creature?--whatever-it-was can do. It was simply, quite honestly, the most singularly horrible thing I have ever witnessed in my life!)
As I was saying earlier, we had come to the edge of the clearing, seen the thing, and TheBrick! put one foot into the dried, dead rye of the field, and it was upon him, in half a second! I watched on, loathing the sight! First, TheBrick! was frozen, stock still! His bodily posture stiffened, and he appeared to become thinner. Imagine a living, breathing man--all three hundred sixty pounds of pure, gym-developed muscle!--change from that to a wan-looking, worn-out parody of a nutcracker!
At this stage, his body seemed to become cylindrical, smooth-edged from top-to-bottom, longwise, and round on the ends. Then his shape seemed to come back to normal for a moment, as though his now-cylindrical form were being permitted to resume its natural shape. And it stayed like that, right up until Cheatem, AndHow, and Dewey all rushed together to go get their friend!
Well, the same thing happened to them in a smaller time then it takes me to form this sentence in my mind, and have it appear on this screen! What was left appeared to be a hollowed-out shell of a human body, exact in externalities, with the sharpest point of detail being the outward facial features. The rest looked like a bloated balloon, filled with helium, hovering eight feet above the rye field.
Myself, I stood stock still at that point. The thing had gone behind a large boulder--lord knows how it got there, maybe a glacier--and was not seemingly interested in me. I got an itch just then, and sought to readjust... Man, that thing was fast! It popped up from behind the boulder, and careened headlong toward me, presumably ready to do to me what it had done to my friends just momements before.
My immediate reaction was born out of months of practice, efforts to which the others thought were eccentric on my part. Simply put, what I put myself through were safety drills. These drills I practiced with the mind to getting my finger on a small button on my belt--wirelessly remoted to the usually-in-hand Travel/GPS unit--a feature none of the others felt they needed. However, I felt I could use an 'edge' if I ever had to leave a specific temporal locality immediately, without preparation.
My system allowed me to instantly appear in my Home Area, a place not even the others knew existed. It existed in an aircraft hangar at a location which I will not specify, even now, and contained a single turboprop cargo plane, a light helicopter, two motorcycles, one jeep, a small 4x4 pickup truck, and a years supply of dry food, along with a few weapons in a locked vault. To myself, I affectionately called this place my--pardon the colloqialism--The Cozy Hole.
(Everyone needs a place of security and solitude where one can retreat. Time travelers, especially!)
Getting back to the aformentioned scene: I have said that the thing had popped up from behind a large, glacial boulder when I had sought to eliminate an itch that had developed on my right thigh; as soon as I moved, so did 'it!' My body shook 'just a little' as I repositioned my feet--and touched the edge of the clearing! That's what did it! Apparently, this thing this...let's just call it a Genius Loci, for that seems to describe it well.
This 'guardian,' this 'spirit of its place,' seemed to act only upon anyone entering the rye field. It's a wonder the clearing appeared dead! This thing must've had something to do with keeping any and all nutrients from being absorbed into the soil, all of it being absorbed into itself, instead!
Anyway, as soon as part of my boot touched the edge of the field, it was aroused, and took off like a shotgun from behind the boulder, straight to me!
My training is what saved me. I lay no claim to superhuman strength, agility, or prowess. I practiced the motion two hours a day, in a holographic simulator, thinking up every kind of weird, strange, arcane scenario after scenario I could program into the system. The closest that this incident came to resembling was the one I entitled "Firefishe Meets The Blob!" Although not exact in appearance, this thing was about as close as one could get in the 'real' world.
My finger, a finger long-practiced, slid the emergency cover off the button on the side of my belt, and pressed the button. I could feel my entire body being somehow compressed as the thing came directly over me. Was this how the others had felt initially? I didn't want to know. I would read their accounts much later, after the incident that brought them back to me, but I digress."
I was ripped, literally, out of the thing's spatio-temporal locale, and thrust forward in time, straight to my 'Cozy Hole,' where I materialized in a rush of low-toned, hollow rushing wind, as the lights came up--activated by my transport--in the hangar, and I was held in a stasis field for a few moments while the temporal flux around me died down a bit before returning me to normal, local spacetime.
As soon as the stasis field shut off and set me down on the ground, I went to my office, grabbed a legal pad and a pen--some things simply require an old-fashioned, simple touch--and began to plan the 'renew event' that would, hopefully, bring my friends back. The plan took me an entire two years to complete, as finding history about that area was almost non-existent. Apparently, it was in an area cut off by thick swampland and dense foliage and tree cover. Happenstance had, apparently, been the only reason we had even found the place, as not one person I interviewed in the nearby towns and villages could tell me a hoot about where the clearing was, let alone what was in it, taking up residence there.
My GPS/Time Unit (GTU, incidentally) had been taking readings all the time that I had been standing by the clearing. Using the raw data, I was able to determine the likely makeup up of the entity, and formulate a plan for a weapon which could be used against it. Peaceful though I may be, I could, at the time, only consider the safety hazard such a thing meant for any unfortunate hiker or hunter who just might happen upon the place.
The thing had taken my friends, and I was going to kick its ass!
One year and ten months later, I found an old atlas. It was a leather-bound affair, well-used, but hardly in need of restoration. When I asked the freemason who owned it from where he had gotten it, he said I probably wouldn't believe it, but it was rumored that it was a special atlas, penned by the hand of a fourteenth century time traveler, and listed a whole slew of 'dangerous spots' along the Earth's Ley Lines.
Dangerous? No kidding! He must've run afoul of 'the thing,' and lived to tell about it. Must've observed it for some time on the edge of the rye field, which seems to have existed in his time, as well, according to the atlas. I'm just glad I could read Latin!
To pull off my 'feat of rescue,' it was imperative that I not 'be visible' to anyone, and that no one pick up my spatio-temporal signature. Also, keeping in mind the aspect of 'two things cannot occupy the same space,' it was also necessary that I be at least a semi-dimensional state 'out' from the area in which I was going to be traveling, at least for this trip.
I remember a first trip Dewey had taken, met up with another 'self,' and had, somehow, equalized both of their bio-electric fields in such a way, that each became 'dimensionally suspended' and couldn't move anywhere. It took an entire three-days-relative to resolve the problem, and it taught us that we needed to add a little quantum mechanics into our applications. That's when we took on Cheatem as the final addition to our group, who's hobby just happend to be quantum physics.
Well, finishing up this journal entry.
I pondered for two months before I hit upon a tactic I thought would work to get my friends back into the time stream, and back into my waking life. They had appeared to me in fevered dreams, beckoning me with bodies that compressed and uncompressed, as they moaned with haunting aggression. Up until the time of my rescue mission departure, I hadn't slept a wink in two years, hence the necessity to eliminate permanently the entity responsible for my night terrors.
I materialized in a thick section of trees, just outside the rye field's perimeter. The glasses I wore contained a head-up display, and I could measure distance clear out into space if I desired. As it occurred, I found I only needed a few hundred feet. I had surmised the thing lived by compressing and contracting a living physical body's spatio-temporal energy field, and fed off it. I figured I'd induce that same element, interally, within the entity, creating a feedback loop that would cause it to feed upon itself.
I was tired of waiting. I threw an old shoe full of lunchmeat I had brought along for the purpose, out into the field! As soon as the shoe hit the physical perimeter--still three feet in the air--the thing zoomed to it in an eye's wink, trying to devour it. As soon as it was where I could see it, I let loose the energetic wave from my GTU, aiming it directy at the center of the entity.
The result was nothing short of catastrophic to the entity. The result was so full and complete, it hardly even registered until the event was over. As soon as I pressed the screen of the GTU, the thing reacted violently, stretching and morphing into a plethora of myriad faces, shapes--was one a deer?--and forms. I saw Dewey's face in there, and had to observe all of the hideous changes completely. The bottom line was I was not, absolutely not going to take my eyes off of it for a second!
The end came suddenly, and yet, after, it seemed as though all was well and always had been. What happened was the thing stretched out, looking like a diagonally-compressed ball, stretched to a super-thin, elongated oval shape, then disappeared, while, simultaneously, the scenery shifted, and I could feel the influence of a thousand-plus years lift away from the timespace around me, where birds chirped, squirrels jumped from tree-to-tree, and deer, elk, and bear, came to feed in the midst of a lush, cool, autumn field of winter rye.
I was able to see, just before I winked out, back to my 'Cozy Hole,' a group of five individuals, meandering their way through the trees, stopping thoughtfully at the edge of the lush, green rye field to observe the wildlife.
End Journal Entry - Holographic Log Entry Complete
9 March 2012
© 2012 Stephen Andrew Brown a/k/a "The Humble Fishe" (Please Cite This Page When Quoting. Any Acceptable Web Page Citation Style (APA, MLA, Etc.)