I've been in this building for three years. These years were supposed to have been spent educating myself. Preparing myself for the workforce. This was all interrupted when I was accosted on my way to the library on that Tuesday morning. The campus was not empty at all when this happened. There must have been about ten witnesses. But, as I struggled, not one of them seemed to notice. I didn't see my assailants, I could only hear their muffled words to one another, speaking in a language I did not recognize. Maybe some Slavic language? I was immediately blindfolded and gagged, tossed into the back of a van. I heard more grunting as my arms were tied behind my back and as my ankles were tied together. It was extremely cliche and I was expecting to be unmasked in the vehicle and held at gunpoint while demands were made of me.
That isn't what happened. Considering what did happen, I would have been downright grateful to have a gun pointed in my face.
What follows is a log detailing certain events throughout the three years.
(I didn't know at the time of writing this entry that I would be there for more than a few hours, but it's safe to say that I wrote this on day one.)
I was tossed out of the back of the van. Judging by how hard I hit the ground, and how severely my left arm was broken, I'd guess that the van was traveling somewhere around forty miles an hour. They didn't untie me, or remove the blindfold. I was probably lying there, on what felt like a dirt road, for about three hours.
Then, I was roughly pushed into a sitting position with no regard for my mangled arm. I screamed sharply as the pain shook my left side. The bonds were hacked away from my wrists crudely. I felt my skin being torn by whatever it was that was doing the cutting. Next, my legs were freed, with even less regard to how clean the cut was. Then, the gag was removed, much more gently than I expected. After nothing more happened for about fifteen seconds, I spoke.
"Whoever you are, please just tell me what you want."
I heard a terrible screeching sound. My blindfold was removed, and I found myself under a chalk-like sky on an impossibly flat plain roughly 400 feet from a large building resembling a warehouse. I glanced at my arm, and cringed when I saw the splintered bone protruding from it. Then, I made what is perhaps the worst mistake I have ever made. I stared at what had freed me.
It was nothing. I don't mean nothing like, I was imagining it. It was a black shape, blob-like. But at the same time, I knew it was not solid. I knew that it had no form, and that every moment I spent staring at it was a moment I would regret. The worst was how familiar it seemed, closer to me than anything I'd ever known before. I shut my eyes. There was a short pause, as though the being, which I later called a blankface, was thinking. I felt like it was regarding me as an intruder. Like a newcomer to its kingdom.
I felt a needle-like appendage enter my arm, where the bone was protruding from the skin. What I experienced was, up to that point, the worst pain I had ever felt. I later woke up in the building I mentioned earlier, with my arm mended, but at the same time horribly broken. My arm was perfectly smooth. No hair, no pores, there was no scar. I touched it, and it felt hard and cold. It was my arm, and I could still move it. But it was not my arm. The scrapes on my legs and my arms healed in the same way. Featureless and cold.
I don't know where I am or how I got here or why I was brought here. All I know is that, what feels like only minutes ago I was walking from my dorm to the campus library. A short walk. Usually I get there in only a couple of minutes. It may have been longer than only a few minutes. Judging by how it was clear-sky sunny when I was abducted but cloudy now, it could have been hours or it could have been days.
I think that the things that fixed my arm are nurses or something. Not human. But I don't think they're hostile. All they did to me was untie me and fix my broken arm. I found this notebook and a broken glass jar with a pen in it, so I thought I'd write. I think the pen is from some publishing firm or something. I interned at someplace like that once.
I thought I heard a noise just now, like a drawer being slammed shut, so I went to see if there was someone else here. I just checked every room I could find, but there's no one here. Just some old metalworking machinery. There's a lathe, and a tapering machine, and what looks like a furnace.
I tried leaving the building. None of the doors are locked. But this building is the only thing there is. The landscape is perfectly flat, and there's nothing else but this building in sight. Since I have no idea where I am or how far I am from a town or even a working phone, I'm not going to try leaving yet. If I can find a map of the area in this building, I'll go to the nearest town and call the police. Until then, I'm not going to try striking out.
There's no maps here.
I don't think anyone is coming to help me. I slept in a breakroom that I found while I was looking for a map.
There's a breakroom with a dirty floor and a coffee machine that's plugged in but not receiving any power. There was a table in that room, with four chairs around it. There was a sofa with wooden armrests and no pillows against the wall next to the coffee machine, and there was an empty vending machine next to the sofa. That's where I slept, on the sofa. Between the vending machine and the wall, there's a water fountain. I tried it, and it's working, but I'm not desperate enough to resort to drinking the water just yet.
On the other wall of the breakroom there was a closet with some cleaning supplies and a company calendar with pictures of what I can only assume are various clients that this factory used to serve before it went out of business. The calendar is from 1997. The business used to be called "Greider & Sons Custom Metalworks". When I enter the room, the calendar is on the right side wall, and the vending machine and sofa are on the left. The table and chairs are in the middle. On the opposite side from the door there's a sink, and there's a clock above the sink. The clock is stuck at 4:31. I tried to turn on the lights in that room, but there's no electricity.
There was a phone in there, too. The line was dead, but I thought I heard some static. It was so faint I might have been imagining it.
I explored the rest of the factory, too. I found a delivery truck. There was no gas in it, and I don't think anyone's tried to use it for years now. There was a box of twinkies with a couple left in it under the passenger's seat.
I haven't eaten for at least a full day now, but weirdly enough I don't feel hungry or thirsty.
Nothing else has happened since I got here. Yesterday I tried walking as far as I could. It's still cloudy, so I can't tell where the sun is. There's something else I noticed, too. It never gets dark out here. It's like it's not just the clock that's stuck. It's like reality is stuck too. I walked until I could turn around and not see the building anymore.
But when I turned around to continue walking, I found that I'd gone in a circle. I could see the building again on the opposite horizon. At first, I thought that it had to be a different building, I thought, 'there's no way that I just walked in a circle'. But I was wrong. It was exactly the same building. I can't tell where the sun is, so I can't tell where north or south are. There's no stars, because it never gets dark and the clouds never go away.
I haven't slept in four days. I learned that I don't need to sleep either. I don't need to do anything. I can't do anything. I tried moving things around, to try to make the building seem more like home. But when I leave a room, whenever I come back to it, everything is right where it was before I moved it. I can't even tell if it's actually been four days. My watch stopped a couple of weeks ago, and it won't start up again. My arm hasn't gone back to normal yet either. It's still hard and cold like plastic or metal or something else that's cold and hard.
I can no longer confirm the accuracy of what day it is. Any day number from here on out is just my guess.
I'm not alone here. There's no way I'm alone here. At first I thought I was just seeing things. I tried rubbing my eyes, but they're still there. Just at the edge of my vision. They're always just at the edge of my vision. I'll turn my head as fast as I can to try to catch them out in the open where there's nowhere to hide. But they're always faster than me. Hiding behind the machines, in the offices overlooking the production floor, looking out of windows. Once I looked up at a window from the factory floor and there it was staring down at me.
It was the same thing I saw on the first day but there's more than one of them and they're always surrounding me and sometimes I can feel them right behind me. I tried leaving the factory again, but they follow me when I leave. I still see them flitting about just on the edge of my vision. It's like the one in the window wanted me to see it, but none of the others do. It's gotten darker inside the factory, but no darker outside. The clouds don't move. I can't even distinguish individual clouds, it's like a solid grey wash across the sky. There's no wind here. There's nothing here but the blankfaces and me and the machines.
I couldn't get them to stop hiding so I tried screaming instead. I grabbed a lead pipe that was sitting in one of the inventory rooms and started smashing everything in sight, but when I turned around it was as though I'd done nothing. I've broken every window in this building at least once but you could never tell.
Today one of them broke my leg. I was starting to get used to them always watching me. I was even starting to be comforted by them always being there. It made this place less lonely.
One of them broke my leg but then it stuck a needle from its head in my leg and it racheted back into place as though it wasn't broken in the first place, and the pain went away too. But now my leg is cold and hard like my arm. It's no heavier and I can still move it just fine. It's almost easier to move it now.
they held me down for what felt like hundreds of days just staring at me i would have shut my eyes but another one of them was holding my eyes open they took turns slicing up my face and my arms and my stomach one time one of them cut off my toe but it grew back they must have stuck the needles in me a million times i am starting to realize that when they stick the needles in me they are not putting medicine in they are taking any distinguishing feature out and nothing is more distinguishing than a grievous injury
i noticed that their faces are less blank now and they do not hide from me anymore since this happened i can stare right at them and they are not even looking at me all the time anymore they know I would never run away from here because I cannot run anymore because my legs are hard and cold like they are mannequin legs i can still walk but it is a very hobbled walk because the joints in my legs are locked also i noticed that my legs are darker now
whenever one of them stuck a needle in me i noticed that whichever one it was started to look more human but specifically they started to look more like me
i am going to die here
I've abandoned this book for what felt like a year. Ever since I seized the book and started writing that nonsense, I couldn't bear to look at it anymore.
To think that I ever believed I would die here. How over-dramatic of me. They've done what I described in the last entry a few thousand times since I first wrote it, but it's not so bad really. They're all starting to go back to work on the machinery now. I've completely lost the use of my legs. They're completely stiff now, and the joints are all locked in place.
When I stare right at them, they're blurry, just like my left arm is now. They seem to be more visible when they're at the edges of my vision. They left me this one good arm and one of my eyes when I asked them politely, so I can still write.
They aren't so bad once you get used to them. In fact, I'm glad they took me in. What was I even going to try to get a job in... English? What am I going to do with an English major? I'm better off here in the factory doing real good with my life by helping these fine fellows out.
They're back now. This is probably going to be my last entry in this book. I don't need it anymore. I barely remember what the first few days were like, and I don't want to remember what they were like. I am happy now.
I need to escape as soon as possible. I can feel my form starting to slip away from me. What's worse is that I'm learning to control it, and the more I alter my form, the better I feel. I'm trying to resist but it's so difficult. The worst part of all is that the further I let my form deviate from that of a human, the more I feel like that's how I should be.
The less human I become, the more human the blankfaces become. On average, their features are more clearly defined than mine are. If they were in public, they'd pass for human at this point. They're at work on the machines every day, in the office, in the breakroom, my breakroom, laughing and sipping coffee. They don't even notice me anymore. I don't think they need me anymore. I think they forgot who made them what they are now.
I'm going to make them suffer.
I have come to an important decision. I am going to let go of my humanity so that I can make them pay. I've already practiced it. I grab them with the appendages and then I slice their heads with the claws. I drain the last of humanity from them with the proboscis. I've removed the shackles of rigid form entirely. I'm like nothing.
I am exactly nothing.
I've killed every last one of them. I made them just like me. I put everything back the way I liked it. The offices, the chairs, the sofa. My kingdom has been restored to order.
There was a van outside today. I was watching the outside again. It's comforting that nothing here changes but me. A newcomer was flung from the van. I don't like it. I went out to see it. It was all tied up and blindfolded. I pulled it up and made it sit. I made it free with a claw and a blade and a few teeth and a rip and tear. Its arm got all bloodied. What a weak and pitiful creature.
I did the same to the legs, and the legs didn't stand up to the liberation either. Decided to try being more careful. With tendrils the gag was undone tenderly. Still can't see me. It must know who freed it. I sat beside it and retracted all. It spoke. Said some scared words. The voice was familiar in a way I didn't like. I screamed at it. Hesitantly I removed its blindfold and it started to look around. Saw my home. Saw my courtyards and my sky. Saw me.
It was me. I was looking at me. I think that I must have known that back then. I saw that I had closed my eyes because I must have known somewhere in the recesses of my consciousness that I was staring at myself. Then I thought about what was supposed to happen next. Took me a while to remember. I put a tube in the arm and set the bone, gentle as I could. Put a sleep on it. It slumbered as I brought it into the building. This isn't the first time I'd done this.
This was a cycle and I knew that what was coming was my end.
I took this notebook and put it in a file cabinet that I found. Upon opening the drawer, I saw that there were hundreds of notebooks. I flipped through one with a gentle fin. Its contents were like the contents of this notebook but slightly altered but mostly the same.
I read the ending. It infuriated me. I put the notebook back and slammed shut the drawer. It echoed. I hid. Watched myself search from behind closed doors. I walked right past the file cabinet without opening it just like I had done earlier at the beginning.
I took the notebook back out. One last entry must be made.
I did as I had done countless times before. When I left the building to try to see how far I could walk, I gave myself to those who I had taken earlier. They split me up and each took their own, and I am now only one of them, no longer any greater. But I will be human again shortly, given about three years.