Saturday, November 06, 2004

Chapter 9

Seamus closed the book, then opened it again, slowly. The words were still there. He blinked, put the book down, and walked around his room a couple of times. He opened it again. Still there.

He didn't entirely know what to make of this. Years of reading science fiction, fantasy and adventure stories had given him a keen imagination. But he had never truly believed that anything this magical, this fictional, would ever happen to him. Had he?

He wondered if he was only seeing it because he believed it, or wanted to believe in it. He tried to think of some other likely, rational explanation. Had somebody snuck in and played a trick on him? Nathan was downstairs the whole time Seamus had been out of the room, and Sarah was still in her room below with her music playing. She wasn't the sort of person to do something like that, even if she had known about the book, which she didn't. None of the other housemates – Matt or the two grad students, Todd and Claire – were home at the time. So much for that possibility.

Had the words been there all along? Unlikely. Seamus hadn't checked every page when he was in the library, but he did flip through the whole book and pay extra attention the first and last few pages, thinking that's where something was most likely to be written. And his own name being there would have been just too much of a coincidence anyway.

So there we have it, Seamus thought, pacing the room. Either we've got something really paranormal going on here, or I'm just crazy. There's not much point in trying to make sense of anything if I assume I'm crazy, so I'm going to have to go with the first hypothesis and just see where it takes me.

He took a deep breath, then sat down at his desk with the book in front of him. He opened it up, and picked up his pen. Below the welcome message, he wrote the date. December 11, 2004.

He paused for a moment and watched it, but nothing happened. So he started to write. He didn't know what to write; he just knew that it was a journal and was therefore meant to be written in, so he'd better start.

Well, here I am, he wrote, though I don't really know what I'm doing.

It was a lame beginning, he knew. And his writing was already starting to slant on the unlined paper. But he kept on.

What should I even write about? Should I just write about what I did today, like in an ordinary journal? I found this book today, that's what I did. But you probably know that – you were there.

He shook his head. Already talking to the book as though it were a person. Oh well.

I don't really know why I did that. It just seemed… important. And that drew me. Maybe because so few things in my life seem really important. I mean, look at it. I make my living working for a temp agency. My Stanford degree seemed kind of cool, but hasn't really been much use. Those things are a dime a dozen in this area anyway. Of course, when it comes to that, I suppose I could just up and move somewhere else. It's not like there's much keeping me here. I don't have a girlfriend, and all my closest friends are fictional anyway. But I don't exactly have a reason to go anywhere else, either. What do I want to do with my life that I would be willing to put that kind of effort towards? Nothing that I can think of.

Wow. Seamus wondered if journal writing were always like this. If so, it would get pretty depressing pretty quickly. Maybe regular journal writers knew something he didn't. Maybe they just had more interesting lives. On the other hand, they could all just be depressed. Who knows?

Well, okay. To be fair, there is Project Read, which I suppose is kind of important. It's a worthy cause at least, though I don't feel that I really do a whole lot for it. Just a couple of hours a week on the computers, which are just a peripheral part of the overall program anyway. And heck, I spend a lot of the time just goofing off with Gabriela. So yeah… I don't know. What am I doing here, anyway? I pick up a pen and some weird book and I just start babbling. This is silly.

Seamus tossed the pen aside in frustration, but still took care closing the book and fastening it shut. The feel of it was comforting. It seemed to say "It's okay, I'll accept whatever you want to write and tuck it safely away. Don't worry about it." He liked the way the back flap folded over protectively.

He looked around the room. It didn't seem quite right to just toss the journal on one of the many stacks of ordinary books, so he tucked it under his pillow.


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