Before I begin here... I just want to ask all of you to take a minute... when you can... and Remember to whom we owe our freedom to. Remember those who fought. Those who fell. Those who are still fighting. In every war. In every country. Everywhere.
Val and I... are still on the move... basically just moving every few days. Sometimes every day. It really... just depends on the kind of... feelings I get from the area. If my gut says move, I move. Some nights we even walked out of a hotel at midnight for that exact reason. I got a feeling that we weren't safe, so left. Thankfully, there hasn't really been any drama since the last time I posted here, so we're... doing okay. I mean, I seem to have this and that to worry about now but... really that's about par for the course. Fun times all the way around...
Sage went on his way after that one night. I'd like to think the company did him some good, but I don't know. He seemed... a lot older than I remember. Or maybe he was just that tired. I just hope he stays safe though all the shit that always lands on his lap.
I've been... editing my blog lately when I can. Blacking things out that don't matter and/or are lies. Adding a detail here or there. There are some things that... I still need to touch back to sometime. But for now I have... other things more recent and relevant to clear up what with what happened in Canada being all kind of... garbled together at the moment.
I already told you how I wound up with Doubletake... and, really, I hate using that name. I always want to say "Christian," but he was never "Christian"... it had all just been part of the game. Hell, I'm not even sure if his "real name" is Christian or Ben or Alister or whatever other "normal" names he's referred to himself as. Probably it was another fake, which in itself is hard to accept. I mean, this is a guy I turned to for help. I trusted him with Tanya and Hailey's lives and... I got them killed for it. They died cause I didn't trust my gut and went along with a friend's opinion on him instead of my own. Cause he was supposed to be the "go-to guy" for this shit. He was... eh, screw it. I'm getting off track. Surprise, surprise.
Apparently from the sounds of his last post on here, he and Valtiel had some sort of arrangement going on. I do vaguely recall the name coming up once or twice, but I was in and out of a haze so much during that time it's hard to remember exactly. DT never stopped talking about the treehouse though. About the book. He never fucking stopped. That's what he was focused on - even though Valtiel's apparent detour - and when we eventually got there he was... practically on a high.
The trees in that bush didn't look normal that night. They seemed twisted. Warped. From the second they dragged me in with them, it all felt wrong. This... crawling feeling went down my spine as the immense cold sunk further in the deeper we went. It shouldn't have felt that cold. It hadn't been that cold of a night. But I could see my breath all the same. I was exhausted from being in this company for so long, but still my mind was a mess of paranoia. I couldn't help but keep glancing around me. I don't know what I was looking for, if it was anything in particular, but my gut told me I shouldn't be there. My gut said it was Wrong.
I remember telling Doubletake that. I remember telling him we should head back.
What he said went something like this:
"'Wrong', you say? Ha! I would expect so, Mishy. This area is... a bit unstable, to say the least. A lot has transpired here. Events that still shadow the present with their influence. Even fourteen years after the fact. That is, after all, why YOU are here." When I answered with confusion, expecting him to branch into Christian again soon, he pivoted on the ball of his foot and drove his fist into my gut. I would have fallen to the ground, had his other hand not grabbed my collar and slammed me backwards against the trunk of a tree. I was still handcuffed at this point. I gritted my teeth against the malicious smile he had on his face as Verin. "Why indeed, Michelle. Why would I, a humble servant of our Great Father, waste my time with a bundle of delusional trash like yourself? I'm one of the sons of God. And you? You're weak. Nothing. Less than Nothing. A cockroach waiting to be crushed. A cockroach that could be a warrior. A Black Angel. But denies. You are not worth the air you breathe... and yet, here I am. Forced to endure your sight and voice. Why? Why?!"
I said nothing, hoping to skip over this persona as quickly as possible. But all I could do was hiss, biting my tongue, as he slipped a blade under my shirt, drawing a shallow line across my abdomen with it. He then showed me the bloodied blade.
"This is why. Your blood. Your family's blood. This is where your worth is. So congratulations, Michelle. You are simply the PRODUCT that is stumbling through life, being a host of what it is I actually NEED. I had been contemplating just killing you and bringing a jar of your blood here..."
I remember the smile that came to his face then, it was so goddamn FRIENDLY. Eyes shining with sincerity and a caring that made my stomach turn. His voice became much... softer.
"But I couldn't do that to you, Michelle. You mean so much to me. I don't want to have to hurt you. Please, don't make me. I want... to protect you, Michelle." He wrapped his arms around me in a hug that I cringed at. "I'll be the one to never leave you, you know that, right? I won't tell you to go away like Valerie did. Don't deny it - you know what she did. Telling you to go back to Canada? She doesn't want you around anymore. But I do. I'm your friend, Michelle. Like I've always been. Here to help, anyway I can. You know that. You've always known that. That's why you came to me months ago. For help. You know you can trust me..."
He needed me alive. THAT'S how I knew I could trust him... at least until I filled whatever role he had for me. I still had time.
Then he... put his arm around my shoulders and he guided me back onto our original track, deeper into the bush. I complied silently. His two mooks followed behind us. I don't think I ever heard either of them talk. Ever. They did as they were told. I'm not sure if they were Hallowed... or just mindfucked into oblivion curtsey of Doubletake. I really wouldn't put it past the guy.
I think... I may have zoned out for a bit, because the next image in my memory is of the old treehouse when we were right up near it. It looked... not as bad as I figured it would. A bit on the dilapidated side, but still obviously a treehouse, if you know what I mean. It wasn't that high up. Maybe eight feet. The "steps" up to it were still nailed to the trunk of its host tree... though they didn't look overly promising STRENGTH-wise. I do remember how my gut churned as I looked up at it. The feeling of "wrong" was practically suffocating. It felt like... my insides were almost... itching. Crawling. I really couldn't stop shivering.
Doubletake was ecstatic. Started exclaiming about how many times he'd been through these woods, and how, every single time, this treehouse wasn't here. How it was never here. Honestly? I didn't care what he was flapping about. I didn't even care that I had originally wanted to be there. I didn't want to be there like that. I didn't want to be there with a gaggle of Proxy with who-knows-what scheme cooked up behind the scenes. It was supposed to have been me and Val. But we split. Fucking. Up. And now she was in major trouble... and so was I.
I only got rattled from my thoughts when I felt a hand grab me and turn me. Before I could figure out what was happening now, Doubletake had already removed my cuffs and threw them to the ground without a thought. He then shoved me towards the ladder and I was "asked" to climb. I tried to argue, but a glint of his eye warned of a possible change in persona yet again, so I did as I was told. I climbed the fucking ladder. Despite a step or two giving out. In a matter of a minute or two, I was standing in that dilapidated treehouse freezing my ass off from temperatures that shouldn't have been possible for the time of year. Every nerve in me was just screaming to run. Paranoia driven up to the nth degree. Honestly, I don't think I was even thinking about Valerie at that point... I was just grasping to survive... and everything in me was telling me I wouldn't be doing that if I stayed.
The idiot that brought me here came up right behind me, testing the weakened floorboards as he stepped forward. He was talking non-stop as contrast to my dead silence, seeming so very bubbly and using all kinds of hand gestures as he looked around.
It really wasn't that big, from what I remember. Probably not even eight feet by six feet. Branches had pushed their way inside, partly collapsing one of the "walls" and cobwebs and dirt covered everything in a respectable layer considering the years it had been left abandoned. There really wasn't much to it, but there were a few things scattered around to notice. I actually stepped on one of those old green army men toys by accident. Stuck it in my pocket at the time. I still have it.
Doubletake reclaimed my attention at that point, telling me to start looking for the book. He actually started looking too. Each of us more than a little leery about the floor, but honestly it wasn't the floor that was the most troubling. It was just... the air. The presence the place had. I swore we were being watched. I'll still swear it. There was something about that area... I don't know. It was... just a bad place to be.
I started noticing carvings in the wood here and there, partly covered by moss and grime. The first one to catch my attention was actually what I recognized to be the initials of my brother and three other sets. I recognized Corey's real initials, the other two I'd assume were other close friends he had. Each were written slightly different, so I'd guess by logic they each did their own. It... kinda hit me hard to see that. I was barely old enough to remember Steven...
I was jarred from my thoughts when a wooden plank hit the floor - scaring the crap out of me, I'll admit. Doubletake shoved another fallen board out of the way with complete disregard, making another CRACK as the boards creaked beneath us... and then he reached passed grown-in branches and pulled out a metal box from the far corner. It actually looked like one of those old metal toolboxes. It was badly rusted though. Obviously been rained on all these years. Barely looked like it would open
Doubletake looked like he'd found the Holy Grail.
That is, until he started smashing on the flip-lock-things to get it to open. After a few rams with the butt of his gun, they actually did... and the very first thing he carefully pulled out looked exactly like what I'd come here to find. A simple, weather-beaten paperback journal. My company, however, began to frown. He opened it, scanning the first page briefly before flipping it, then the next page, then the next, next, next, next, until he practically through the book across the treehouse. It hit the wall and fell to the floor near me - some of the pages falling out - as Doubletake began to frantically dig through whatever else was in the toolbox. I almost went to go pick up the small book, but stopped dead when the toolbox followed suit - scattering crap everywhere. He then turned to me looking in a complete rage, fists clenched at his side. His demand was simple. Yet the answer, impossible.
"WHERE IS IT?!"
"THE JOURNAL, YOU INSUFFERABLE DELINQUENT! YOUR GODDAMN 'DEVIL BOOK'! WHERE THE FUCK IS IT?!"
Confused? So was I. And I told him that, asking what the hell the fucking "Devil Book" had to do with ANYTHING at all. Evenly remotely. I mean, yes, my family did own a book that we referred to as that, but, for the love of crap, it was a spooks story. Something I told my religious friends about to get them freaked out. I told him this.
He leveled his gun at me. Eyes locked on mine. Tone low and cold. This wasn't even Verin. This was just him. Mad. "Where. Is. The fucking. Book.?"
"...We burnt it."
The rage I saw staring back at me then was... paralyzing. He was actually TWITCHING. Thank any Gods that exist he was. Cause I think that's what challenged his aim. He started firing at me. He missed twice. One grazed my arm as I lunged at him, grabbing the gun to wrestle it away. It went off again during that before I managed to dig my nails into his hand enough to get him to let go of it. We fought. Blows were exchanged. We broke up the place a bit more than it was in the process. It's AMAZING it didn't just collapse. I know I got some hits in (one should have given him a black eye), but, being in already bad shape... I can't claim I did very well. Nor did it last long. Soon enough I was on the floor and he was standing over me, gun back in hand pointed at my forehead.
Next thing I know... I start hearing voices. I'm not even fucking kidding. That pressure that had been sending shivers up and down my spine that entire time seemed to shift suddenly - like there was suddenly a breeze inside the actual treehouse - and I started hearing people talking. Actually TALKING. From how I remember DT looking around, he sure as hell heard it too. Conversations were just thrown on top of each other. Different people. Different tones. Building and building and swirling around in a mess of talking and whispering and screaming and yelling and crying that drowned out everything else until it felt literally PAINFUL to listen.
Doubletake panicked and bolted. I almost followed on his heels... until I remembered the journal. I ran to where all kinds of junk had been scattered across the floor, digging through it all in a mad panic. I found the journal, grabbed every other piece of paper that I could see and ran for it. I didn't even bother with the damn "ladder." I just dropped to the ground, falling to my knees before I took off running - leaving the voices behind.
I didn't see heads or tails of Doubletake or his goons on my dash out. The car was waiting for me where we'd left it. I took it... and the rest you know.
I honestly don't know what happened back there. Sage offered an idea or two, but if anyone has any input, it would be appreciated at this point. That entire area was... strange... though it might not even matter at this point. Corey said the place was scheduled to be leveled for development, it's the whole reason Val and I split up in the first place. Damn treehouse is probably gone by now.
I've been reading through Steven's journal. I'll post about it when I can.
No, really. This IS complete bullshit. I honestly started writing this last week. I had no intention of posting ANYTHING today with it being 11/11/11 and me getting VERY SICK of seeing that number... but I couldn't write it. I just couldn't write. At all. It never made sense. But tonight? Yep. I'm able to do it. Go figure, eh? Not only that, but what time am I staring at right now on the clock? 11:11pm. Seriously. What the hell is this shit. Fuck that, I'm letting this sit for another minute before clicking publish.