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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/campfires/item_id/1208114-The-Journal
Rated: 13+ · Campfire Creative · Appendix · Romance/Love · #1208114
This is the story of a journal that finds its way around the world mysteriously.
[Introduction] A journal is discovered that has been passed around the world and written in by people from every walk of life. They have written about lost loves, daily life, inspirational messages, and everything and anything in between. You find the journal has been sent to you with no return address, or maybe you saw it lying on a park bench. Whatever the case may be you pick it up flip through and read some of the entries and then you add your own. In your entry you state where or how you came across the journal and then briefly describe your character and then the rest is up to you. Your character can add anything to the journal he or she wants, but then must pass it along. You can add to the journal more than once however you must introduce a new character each time. I hope this is fun for everyone.
Dear Journal,

I took an outing today to our local museum. I decided rather than take a taxi I would ride the subway. This is quite unusual for me, but you know what they say “Everything happens for a reason”. I scurried onto the subway with the many other city folk bustling around me and took a seat toward the end of the train. Despite the crowd of people I found myself sitting alone. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed it, the journal I am now writing in. I picked it up for a closer look. You could clearly tell that the book had seen better days. The binding was coming loose and the edges of the book were worn and weathered. I know it is not polite to read someone else’s journal however, curiosity got the better of me and I read on anyway. I noticed that this book did not belong to one person but to the contrary was written in by many different people. I decided to postpone my museum visit until later in the day and instead go to where I am now, a small café. After reading several of the other entries I decided I must contribute something of my own. So in honor of this mystery journal here is my entry.

My name is Isabella Fuentes. I am a thirty four year old attorney who lives with my infant daughter in an apartment in New York City. I have few friends and have been unhappily single for the last year. I would consider myself to be average looking with a slight frame and a friendly face. My long dark hair is hardly ever kept in any of the new trendy styles and is instead usually pulled into a bun. The past couple of years my time has been devoted to working and now caring for my infant daughter so in turn I have left myself little time to settle down or even mingle for that matter. I did meet one man about a year and a half ago. He happened to be a distinguished editor for a large magazine. We hit it off right away. He was tall and extremely handsome in a sophisticated way. I remember the first time I saw him at our companies Christmas party, he approached me with a drink and I remember his salt and pepper hair and dimple that appeared with his every grin. Soon after we saw each other regularly and our relationship blossomed. It did not take me long to realize that he and I were meant for each other. Our Sundays were soon spent lazily poured on the sofa simply enjoying one another’s presence. We had after six short months become engaged, and it was truly going to change my life; finally I would settle down and have children. I could finally slow down at work and come home to my family. You probably wonder what happened. I am single now. I came home one evening to a phone call from a doctor at the Memorial hospital. I needed to get there right away. As I arrived I noticed his mother weeping as a nurse held her hand and spoke to her in a way that made me uneasy. My worst fear was now reality. My love had been in a horrible car accident. He was pronounced dead upon arrival to the hospital. Today I still mourn for the loss of my soul mate however for some reason writing in this journal I have felt a sense of calmness that I have missed since he was still here with me. Then I realized maybe as the many others before me I was destined to find this journal. I think I was meant to tell the story and heal my heart. In his honor I will send this journal on its way and bid hello to whomever is destined to hold it next.

Truly yours,
Isabella

Ps. To my love, our daughter is beautiful and I thank you for her. We think of you always and will love you forever.
Dear Journal,

How synchronistic that I bump into you today? Browsing my favourite old bookstore on the quiet winding street behind my little house, I find you tucked away behind a stack of old, worn out magazines long forgotten. A journal like no other you whisper to me as I peak eagerly between your sheets of withered yellow. Only one entry required, the simple rules confess. Enclosed is a myriad of treasures revealed in the professions of loves, losses, eager hopes and dashed dreams. Intimacies begging to be shared by strangers, to change lives anonymously and then to move on. Like a child sneaking a secret, I buy you quickly and tuck you in my bright purple shoulder bag.

I had been feeling the taunting urge to write in a journal lately but it felt too intimidating to promise to one again. Words are getting lost between my thoughts and my fingers. Words are prodding to be shed like autumn leaves. Words needing to be set free, to calm my tortured mind and soul. I feel the magic of this little book all cracked and frayed. I feel the soft touches of those before me. I smell the pain and eavesdrop on the murmurs of freedoms exposed.

How fabulous for me that I get to scrawl but one entry and be done. I have countless journals, diaries tucked away; pretty ones too. Some leather bound smelling all musty and new, with spines still tight and crackley when you open them. Ones with pictures of puppies rolling in the grass, and others with gardens of flowers, yellows and reds. They sprawl out from the bottom shelf of my tall white bookcase in the sweet sanctuary of my bedroom. Started never finished. Reminders of resolutions broken. Guilt prettily tucked away in the form of an entry written in earnest, promises never kept.

At last these strangled thoughts can be released onto your virgin pages. Yet I feel such tentativeness at first. The pen feels foreign in my cold fingertips. My hands are nervous and my thoughts random. Is it like riding a bike? Can thoughts be just picked up off the ground, dusted off, Band-Aids applied and set off again like a parent watching their child wobble down the sidewalk? Can words just be laid to rest lovingly on paper even after such a long time?

I feel the rush as letters tumble relentlessly onto the pages. Me, Rebecca Cave, 46, old before my time. Hair dyed blond to mask the sorrowful gray that speaks of grief too much for my years. My once green eyes have turned blue from all the tears. I wonder as I write, how my life got so turned around. I reflect back on the days when magic was still in hiding everywhere, behind closed doors, around blind corners and small hidden cubbies where I least expected. A loving look, a brush of a fingertip, a secret smile of plans and dreams to come. I thought this was finally my home. I thought I was here at last, that my soul could rest and that my work had been done. Your promise of a world of endless loving, filled with no anger, no pain, no regrets, was a broken one. How quickly the discord set in. How quickly I was to feel at fault. You lost yourself, you would remind me again and again. Where was the Rebecca I met and fell in love with? Come back to me, you would plead.

Where did she go, I ask myself? Where is my bounce, I wonder on these pages? My bounce was left behind on the kitchen floor. My bounce was crushed under your words of caution. “Don’t bounce in here,” you would scold, “You might break the tile.” My bounce was left behind outside. “Don’t bounce out here,” you would warn, “You might break the deck.”

Like a child you treat me and like I child, I pout. Constant reminders to do things the right way, the perfect way, the correct way. A perfect life you want. But an imperfect me you got. It pains me to see the two opposites weave and collide and avoid each other. Me, tip toeing around your rules and you, tip toeing around my sulking. We have tip toed ourselves right into a life we never wanted. Never thought we would have. This was supposed to be it for me, I reminded myself constantly. Fix it. Change. Change something. Love him even when he makes you cry inside. Don’t quit on this one. Don’t give up. Don’t give in.

I would write notes to remind myself to be more forgiving. To not take his words and criticisms personally. To love unconditionally as I knew how. To use my words. To not let the fear stay trapped in my throat to strangle me with its contiguousness.

But I got sick. I got so sick and tired. My body froze like the trapped thoughts of my mind. I wanted desperately to get help. I begged you to come with me. Your refusal stung, burning a hole into my commitment to you. I could not face going alone again for the third time. All this pain can not just be mine. All this wrongness can not just be from me. There are two here. Two make love. Two break love. Not one. Not me.

I need you to love me how I need to be loved. And you can’t. And I can not ask you to change. You won’t. So once again, I feel the grief of dying love starting to consume me. Like a rose in a garden of weeds, I feel strangled.

I feel alone.

As I write this I see things so clearly now. I will leave. I must leave. Yet I will not look at this as a failure. I can not. I will die if I fail again. I will look at this as a time to heal now. I will look at this as a time to heal deeper.

Ahhh. All of a sudden I feel sated, having poured out my feelings so freely with no commitment. Like a one-night stand without the guilt. All the pleasurable feelings of sharing an intimate moment with a friend, yet feeling free enough to end it quickly.

Words lack the gratitude I have for you my sweet new playmate. Thoughts released now have set me free at last. Free to bounce again. On a tiled floor or on a deck.

Joyfully now like a child, I kiss you so long and send you into the arms of another.

Blessings forever,

Rebecca.



It’s late. I’m tired. I’ve been at it for twelve hours already. About an hour to go and I’ll be done. Just have to get through these last few letters. Here I am, millionaire at thirty-five, in the prime of my life and I’m stuck here on a Friday night doing paper work! This is the secretary’s job! Oh well, better get through it. Now, what’s this?
Dear Mr Price,
We regret to inform you that your application for……
Blah blah blah, one every week. Ok, next. Acquisition form. Too hard, I’ll do that tomorrow. I looked at the next letter on my desk. It was a yellow A4 envelope and it was stuffed tight. On the front it read, ‘Bernard Price C/O Price & Rockman agencies.’ I turned it over and it was blank. Thinking back at what happened a few short years ago, I was immediately suspicious. I gently picked up the envelope and took it to a table where I had my ultra-violet light and a small X-ray machine that I had purchased from an auction for just such occasions. I carefully placed the envelope on the table and ran the UV light over it. Nothing. I placed it in the X-ray machine, turned it on and inspected the contents. No sharp objects, no devices, no wires… all I saw was what appeared to be a book. I relaxed a little and took the envelope back to my desk and proceeded to open it. The book I slid out of the sleeve was leather bound and very old. The edges were worn and soft, like a split in an old boot, and the spine wore deep cracks from being opened and closed many times over the course of it’s existence. I turned to the first page, the cover softly creaking as it opened. The heading read, ‘Chere journal’. The whole page was written in French. I turned to the next page. Japanese. Then German, Russian, Gaelic. Every page was written in a different language by a different hand. My French was rusty but I turned back and read what I could. It appeared to be written by a young girl who was having trouble at school. ‘le garcon et fils tracasser moi, Je les aimereux pas’. ‘The boys and girls bother me, I do not like them.’

I flicked through the pages until I found one written in English. The heading was the same, ‘Dear journal’. This one was a man who had just left his wife and immediately regretted the decision. This old book was a diary, a journal, and all sorts of people from all different of cultures and all walks of life had written something personal about themselves in it. The mystery of why it was addressed to me and who sent it was soon forgotten and I found myself immersed in the lives of people I didn’t even know and what a simply wonderful idea this journal was. I felt compelled to make my own entry.

Dear journal,
My name is Bernie Price. I am thirty-five years old and I am partners with my good friend, John Rockman in a firm called ’Price & Rockman Agencies’. Not all that long ago, I was involved in something that left me scarred for life. If it had not happened to me then I would not believe it. I was running my business on my own and struggling until I met up with an accountant named John Rockman whom I hired to help settle my debts. He succeeded beyond my wildest dreams and we became the closest of friends. We also became immensely wealthy. A friend of John’s named Roger Newbourne flew into town to visit and this is where the trouble began. He was the target of an assassination attempt which was thought to go to plan. He knew something he should not have and since he told John, that just made us targets as well. We were being hunted down by a ruthless evil in the form of a woman named Cheryl Newstead,
Who literally stopped at nothing until she had us in her grasp. It was awful. We lost many people along the way and although we came out alive, not a day goes by where we wish we could replace those so dear to us that fell. It is all over now and things are beginning to return to normal though we still keep a keen eye over our shoulders through fear that this horrible evil may very well rear it’s ugly head once more.

I placed the pen on my desk and read what I had written. A chill ran up my spine as the memories came flooding back. I closed my eyes for a long while as I shed a small tear. I then closed the book, running my hand over the cover to feel its texture once more before placing it into a new A4 envelope and sealing it. During the drive home, I happened upon a travelling flea market on the side of the road. I parked the car and walked through the many stalls, carrying the envelope under my arm. There were stalls of books, stamps, trinkets and such. I found a suitable stall which had a bit of everything and I slid the envelope under a pile of old news papers and magazines and walked away.
Dear Journal,

Today was my seventeenth birthday. My mother insisted on throwing me a childish birthday party complete with a character cake and rainbow balloons. The most embarrassing part was that she invited several kids from my high school to partake in the utterly fabulous celebration. I could not help but feel my face get warm and red as I saw my peers walk through our front door. My mother being as festive and eager as she was insisted that both my friends and I wear party hats that displayed a character (usually favored by five year olds) on each one. She ran around excitedly snapping photos of all of us as if it were a monumental moment like my first step, or first dance. My friends and I gathered around a table full of birthday gifts, some they had brought for me and others from my mother. I opened each gift trying to smile and appear grateful even though I was consumed with shear terror and embarrassment from the whole display. After opening all of my gifts and thanking everyone as sincerely as possible my mother pointed out a gift that had been over looked. It was partially hidden by the gifts that had been opened and piled chaotically. It must have been from my mother I thought as she handed it to me with a bit of surprise on her face as well. I had already unknowingly opened all of the gifts from my friends and my mother. “There’s no card or label on this one dear” my mother uttered as she passed it to me. I opened the gift quickly to pass the awkward moment along. It was a large book, and it looked to be old and extremely…. used. It was definitely not a chick lit that I commonly enjoy reading. My mother to look shocked and I could see my friends snickering to one another at the clearly thoughtless and utterly useless anonymous book I had received. I set it down and moved on praying with each passing moment that I could just die quickly and end the horrible display my mother had so kindly orchestrated. Thankfully the party did come to an end and has led me to here and now where I sit. I decided to shuffle through the pages of the book I had received to find the culprit of the sick joke that had been played. Instead of finding an evil mastermind behind this whole ordeal I saw a journal beneath the cover. I read through dozens of entries written by other people until finally I realized what I must do;

My name is Margaret Dumphy; I am a seventeen year old high school student in Davenport Iowa. My mother says I have stunning good looks but I am afraid she might be biased. I stand a measly five feet one inches tall and weigh as much as a newborn elephant (approximately 900 lbs). I thank my mother for my course, unruly red hair, and I thank my father for my brown eyes and huge quarter size dimples. I am aware that I am destined to be an ugly duckling for at least four more years. Maybe eventually I will grow into my chubby elfin looks and sprout up to a tall five’ three (I’m sure I’m done growing). I live with my mother and our three cats in a small house nestled behind our local pub. It has been a fabulous place to grow up, being awoken at 1:00 am from the obnoxious sounds of drunken bar fights and police sirens at closing time. I am happy to report we are moving away from here. My mother works as a nurse in the local pediatric hospital and has been saving every penny in wait for the day we get to leave. I think my mother finally came to her wits end after a drunken man had stumbled up on our doorstep six months ago on a chilly evening just shy of ten pm. The scraggily man unzipped his pants and proceeded to urinate in my mothers potted plants that lined our porch steps. I remember going to the door and pulling the shade to the side to see what kind of animal could be making all of the noise. In utter shock I called to my mother who joined me. The man was completely unaware of his audience; though I think even if he were it would have made little difference. His face was unshaven and his blackened teeth showed through his nauseating gapped mouth. Needless to say we called the police and they woke the man that was now napping on our love seat swing and escorted him off our property. We did file a report however with so many random drunken people visiting the pub daily we new that it could happen again with another complete stranger. I am excited to start our life over in a new house across town in a small neighborhood. Well for now I am done and need to go to sleep, tomorrow I have school so I have to get up early. It’s clear to me now after reading and sharing a piece of me with this journal like the others before me that it was not meant to be tucked away in my closet in a shoe box and then eventually thrown away. Tomorrow I will take this journal and set it free again for the next unsuspecting person on its list.


XoXo,

Margaret Dumphy
Dear Journal,

Well, I ain't never been much good at this writing stuff, but seeing as how it looks like this here journal's decided it wants my say, I'll give it a shot.

I been flipping through this book for the past two hours, trying to figure out how the hell it'd gotten into my loot sack, 'cause I surely don't remember grabbing nothing like a book earlier tonight at that tenement. It was one of those old brick buildings that's been there so long it's like a landmark on its own, though nothin' the tourists would want to visit. Getting in was the easiest thing in the world; just climb on a dumpster, a slight jump, and grab onto the fire escape. That window I picked made a noise like a cat with its tail caught in the door, and I nearly had me a heart attack right then, but apparently the little old lady who lives in that apartment wouldn't have heard Armageddon if it was banging to be let in.

As jobs go, it wasn't nothing exciting. She wasn't rich, but she wasn't poor neither, and I did find me a nice jewelry box with enough shine inside that it was worthwhile. Ernie gave me a good price for it too; he's the best fence in Chicago, and I'm sure glad we're buddies.

Then at the bottom of the bag I found this old, ragged-looking book. I thought maybe I'd knocked it off a table and it'd fallen into my bag, though I'm usually more careful than that. Part of the job description, y'know. Anyhow, now that I've taken a look through it - not that I'm a great reader or nothin' either - I guess it's my turn to add my bit.

My name's Ebenezer Haines, though everyone just calls me Ducky. Y'know, from Ebenezer Scrooge to Scrooge McDuck to Ducky. God, I can't tell you how many times I got into a fight with other kids growing up over that name. But these days I don't mind so much 'cause it's more of a compliment, like being able to "duck" the Jacks - that is, the cops - when they come a callin'. Speaking of whom, I reckon I'll just say that I'm in my early forties and pretty average looking, just in case this here book decides to find a Jack as its next writer.

Well, by now you've probably figured out that I don't exactly live right by the law. I ain't sayin' it ain't my fault, but you know how it is. First you lift a candy bar from a gas station when you're a kid, next thing you know, you're breaking into houses and such. And no, I ain't doing it for no noble reason either, nothing like a sick sister or an aging mother. Actually most of my family's dead and the ones there're still alive won't look at me to spit on me, so I figure they're as good as dead too.

It's more of a combination of two things that makes me itch to get a job done. One's a disease called chronic laziness. I can't ever seem to stick to no long term work. The most I ever did was a six-month stint as a garbage collector, but I got sick of dealing with other people's trash all day long. Although I gotta say it was the best way to case a neighborhood that I ever saw, riding on the back of that big blue truck.

The other thing's an addiction. Not to coke or nothing like that, though I do light up a joint every now and then. Nah, the addiction I'm talking about is the adrenaline high I get while I'm in the middle of a job. I mean, some folks ride roller coasters, some folks do extreme sports, but for me, can't nothing beat the rush of sneaking into a house in the dark of night and getting out again with never a soul the wiser.

Maybe what I'm doing ain't exactly right, but I gotta say I'm at least a little proud. 'Cause I'm real good at what I do, and I ain't never been caught, not even once. I've had a few close calls though, stuff that'll be great to tell the grandkids if I ever manage to have any, which ain't looking too likely. Take that time I was just getting done with a job and was on my way out of the house when a light comes on upstairs. I barely had time to duck into the hall closet when down comes this little girl into the kitchen to get herself a glass of milk, and me not more than three feet away and the closet door wide open 'cause I hadn't had time to close it. Boy, I bet I lost ten years of my life in that cramped little room, but she never noticed a thing and drank her milk and disappeared back upstairs.

Well, I reckon that this entry's gotten long enough, and anyhow it's nearly dawn, so I better try and get some sleep. I like this room I'm renting, but the family down the hall's got a passel of kids that'd wake the devil himself if he tried to get some shuteye during the daytime. Tomorrow I'll got and see if Ernie's interested in buying this book; he's got that antique shop cover to keep up after all, and then it can go and find its next entrant.

Ebenezer "Ducky" Haines
         I found this journal on my kitchen table this morning. I don’t know how it got there. I’m not surprised. Nothing really surprises me anymore. I think I’ve lost the reflex.
         I started this on a fresh page. I hope that’s okay, I saw some of the other entries but I looked away before I saw too much. It struck me as too private, to peek like that. If it’s wrong, I’m sorry. My handwriting isn’t that good, I’m not much of a writer, I could go on and on. I’m not sure why I’m even doing this. I let the book sit on my table for a day or so, with the blank pages open. At first I didn’t want to put anything on it, the paper looked too pristine to ruin with my crappy scratchings. You know how a jar of peanut butter looks when you open it, all smooth and untouched. And how scooping a glob of the stuff out mars the surface and seems to just scar it? That’s how it felt, originally.
         But then I thought about it. I sat there and the more I looked at it . . . have you ever seen an x-ray of someone who has pneumonia? And how the thin fragile lines of the ribs are being engulfed by this harsh whiteness, just taking it over. And I know the x-ray is just a snapshot, but sometimes you stare at it and you can imagine the whiteness taking it over completely, until there comes a point where you go to breathe in and all you can taste is that blankness. That’s what it reminded me of, and I couldn’t breathe myself, for a second.
         So I’m writing this here, to try to put some color back in its cheeks.
         I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to write here. About myself? There’s not much to say. I’m terminally boring, that’s what she used to say about me. Of course, back then, there was a little tease in her eye when she’d say it, a friendly poke in the ribs, the way her lips would form the words in the dark across from me. It’s the things that stay with me, that I can’t describe. The little stupid things. My name is Jacob, or Josh, depending on who you are and what you think of me. I don’t really care myself, most days. I work in a hospital, or I did, and maybe I will again. That’s where I got the x-ray metaphor from. Someone described it to me that way one day, I didn’t make it up. I’m not that clever or original. And I can’t take credit. If I’m going to be honest, I might as well be here.
         My heart’s not really into this. If I’m going to be honest. I’m not thinking about it. I can be honest. That was never a problem. I’ve got other things to say. I took a walk between this paragraph and the last paragraph, I went out and I saw a movie, because that’s an exciting thing and I’m supposed to do exciting things now. To prove my point. I went and I saw it and I laughed and when it was over I left the theatre. And as I walking toward the exit, I could hear the sound of my footsteps clacking off the high ceiling of the place. Hollow and echoing and it seemed like the loneliest sound in the world. I can still hear it in my head, in the empty spaces.
         This book was still here when I came back. I think it’s waiting for me to finish what I have to say. I don’t know why, I don’t have anything important to say. I never did. She liked that about me, she said I was the least pretentious person in the world, because I didn’t pretend, I wasn’t out to impress anyone. She liked the moments best when I didn’t talk, when neither of us did.
         But I’m trying to talk to you now, so please listen.
         I didn’t say a word when you left. I said words but they weren’t words. There’s a difference and I’ve been trying to understand it. And sitting here I’m trying to understand how to say. The big words, the small words, the stupid, stupid things. And I’m not making any sense. Someone told me that writing is like hitting a wall with your fist, over and over, it’s bruising and it’s bloody and it hurts, but when you break through you don’t even feel it anymore, because you broke it down, made someone understand. You may have wrecked yourself in the process, but it’s worth it, it’s glorious. So I’m told.
         This is what I have to say, then. I’m trying to prove you wrong, every day. All those things you said about me that were true, about how I went from endearingly boring to simply dull, I’m trying to change that. I’ve turned myself into little blocks and brick by brick I’m trying to make it different. I went to a bar for the first time the other night, had a drink that tasted terrible and told myself that I was flirting with the girl next to me when I think she was just being polite. Besides, I think her boyfriend was with her. You’d laugh at that, I think, at me being so dense.
         I keep busy now, you know. I meet with some friends from work every so often and we have some drinks. Sometimes they ask about you. I tell them the truth and say I don’t know and there’s an awkward silence before someone changes the subject. Generally it’s about sports. I still don’t know anything about sports. I have hobbies of my own now, I always did but you never thought they were real hobbies. I used to ask about yours because I was interested, no matter how much you tried to tell me otherwise.
         Maybe I’ll be a writer. It hardly seems hard, talking about yourself.
         I never changed. I don’t know how, I don’t think anybody really does. I think what happens is that you either don’t change and think that you did, or when it does happen it’s forced on you, an involuntary act. A broken arm because the bone has nowhere else to bend. You didn’t change either, but I think by being together we brought each other into sharper focus and sometimes by doing that you see details you didn’t notice before. And maybe the blurriness added a bit of mystery. Like when you’re a kid and it’s late at night and everything in your room appears to be a horrifying beast when draped in shadows. But when the lights are on, you realize it’s just a stupid curtain. It was nothing really worth bothering with at all.
         You added a bit of spark to me and I thought I was a calming influence. The way you’d rest your head on me, because you said it helped you to think better. I thought that and I guess I was wrong. Nothing changes when everything changes.
         I still sleep on the left side of the bed, even though I don’t need to. Stupid, I know. It’s just habit. The only night I didn’t was the night after you told me you were moving, because you had nothing to keep you here anymore. I cried a little, when I went to bed, and I still don’t know why. I thought I might be enough, I guess, and I was surprised that it bothered me and surprised that I didn’t see it coming.
         But I never thought you changed. I figured that maybe you needed to go somewhere else and become blurry again, to bring other details into focus.
         It’s different though. Not really better or worse, but different. It’s weird, in a way, in a world where everything is seemingly connected, for a little distance to mean something.
         I’m arguing with an absence. Enough. Even if I said it, or even thought of all this, it wouldn’t have made any difference anyway. Once you made up your mind, that was a path that no one could ever derail. Least of all, me. I knew better.
         So I never said this then because I didn’t want you to change your mind. Didn’t want to give you a reason. And I’m writing it now because it doesn’t matter. Maybe you’ll find this book some day and flip through it and recognize my terrible handwriting and stop and read this. Maybe by the cramped way I write the word “the” in one ugly swoop. And by reading it realize that I didn’t let you go and I couldn’t make you stay. We go where we will and the only evidence we leave behind is the wake our own gravity exerts.
         I’m going to close this book now. Finish the last cramped sentence and go. It’s late and I’m tired. I’m going to close the book and leave it here on the table, and when I come back in the morning, it better not be here. I suspect it won’t be. I hope it’s not. I have nothing more to say.
To the next to read this journal:

It is important you listen to me, for the information I will reveal is of the utmost importance. I do not know how long I have to live, or if I will to finish what I have to say.

My name is Adam Kincaid. I am 21 years old and have already reached the end of my life. I am a agent for a network known simply as RED. I cannot tell you where is is or what it means, but you most know that I have been betrayed.

They will come for all. And you must stop them. I hope you will be very prepared. If not, then you are doomed.

Whether you believe this to be true, or whether you think this to be the writings of a madman matters little to me. Just heed my warning. For when it gets bad, you will know I have told the truth.

Best wishes,

Adam
DEAR JOURNAL,


If anybody reads this, it means that what is happening to me right now is real and not a dream. It all started two nights ago when I was laying in bed trying to sleep. There I was, a forty-two year old over weight ugly male, single, unemployed, up to my eyeballs in debt and wondering why I couldn’t sleep. The old grandfather clock that was left in my house by the previous occupants was chiming every hour as it always did, keeping me awake. I heard it chime twelve, the metallic sound echoing through the old timber dwelling. I waited for what seemed an eternity for it to strike one o’clock and when it did, I found myself thinking, ‘Will I ever get to sleep?’ But then something very strange happened. The old clock struck two. For a moment, I thought a spring inside must have snapped. Then it struck three, then four… I counted the chimes right through to thirteen. Then silence. I waited for a few moments then got out of bed and made my way to the living room. I looked at the clock. Both hands were pointing straight up. Twelve o’clock. I frowned in confusion then shrugged it off as just a faulty mechanism. In the dark, I walked back to my bedroom and stubbed my toe on something. A chest of drawers.

After cursing at what I had kicked, I looked at it and thought, ‘I don’t have a chest of drawers, I have a cupboard. And it’s on the other side of the room’. I turned on the light. My rusty old bed was gone. In its place was a big four poster with pretty pink and white sheets and covered in stuffed animals. Where my cupboard had been standing was a full length mirror. I staggered back through the house in total amazement as every room I entered had been completely changed. all my stuff was replaced with fancy expensive furniture and trinkets. I felt dizzy. Fully clothed, I ran out to the street to look around. All the other houses looked different in some way or another. Even mine! I heard my front door slam shut and ran back to open it. I reached up above the ledge of the door for the spare key. It was gone. Panic stricken, I ran down to the end of the street and for no apparent reason, looked up at the street sign. What should’ve read Marigold ST, was now Macarthur DR. I raced to the shop and grabbed a newspaper. The date read ‘July 6, 2085’. 2085!? When I went to bed the night before, it was April 1, 1986! That’s it! One of my so called friends have played a prank on me for April fools day! I let out a huge sigh of relief.

It wasn’t to be. Over the following two days, I discovered that it was indeed 2085. All of my friends phone numbers were disconnected. I didn’t know anybody. Nobody knew me. My details weren’t on record anywhere. Fear had well and truly sunken in. I eventually found my way back to the house that should’ve been mine and broke in. The letterbox was full of mail so I figured the occupants were away. I sat on the couch to rest my weary legs. And then I found you. There you were sitting on the coffee table all old and battered. Were you there when I left this house two days ago? I tried to remember, I couldn’t. I read a few of your entries and discovered that you are quite the traveller. You’ve been all over the world and everybody has written something on your well worn pages. All hope is lost for me. I have nothing to do but tell you my awful story which I have done.

Signed,
Dave Knight.

P.S. The clock just struck fourteen….
Dear Journal,
Today has been amazing and bad all day. Around my town there has been so many killings that I'm scared a little, and the weather is not making it any better. Lately, it's been so gloomy and depressing great the weather matches my mood, unhappy.

At school today was a little fun the hilight getiting 3 stickers on my jumpstart in math today. Another hilight is seeing that my Youth Noise Article is Live now, which means every one on the site can now read my article "Music to teens" which is awesome.

I don't really have a lot to say, my life has just been taking a downward spiral lately, especially in my math grade, on a higher note my Science grade couldn't be better but my English grade is extremely lacking, which is less than desirable considering I love the subject of english.

Since I am a kid I do have a bedtime so I can't talk long. So goodbye.

So Long And Good Night,
Amanda Cross
A Non-Existent User
I read most of this journal yesterday. As a farmer, I usually don't have time to read anything but the Kingsport, Tennessee paper. It was cold out yesterday. I quickly watered the cows and then took the tractor to the hay barn to get a couple of the 900 lb. rolls for their feed. The funny thing was that when I got back to our double-wide, my wife showed me this journal she found in Food City's parking lot. She cannot read very well, so she gave it to me. It was kinda wet so we dried it out next to the wood stove. I am considered to be pretty smart in my neck of the woods. We don't judge others because we go by the "Good Book", however some of my neighbors look to me when the need advice or need something figured out that has paperwork involved. I write pretty good too, and can help them write important letters to Human Services or Social Security. We are all farmers and need to stick together because we don't have money for anything other than basics. This journal is the key to making me famous. I can send it to a Hollywood producer who could make a great movie out of it. God has sent it to me. So, to make a long story short, I will write my life story in this journal today, just as soon go feed and water the cows.


Shit, she sold the journal for some moonshine!
A Non-Existent User
I never ride the bus. I’d never been on the bus in this state before. I was only on the bus because I had jury duty downtown and I drove the first day, paying a small fortune to park for the day. Since I had to return the next day for a jury selection, I took advantage of the free bus pass. I was very anxious about riding the bus, not because of any fear of the bus or the patrons, but because I was sure I would miss the bus, get on the wrong bus, get off at the wrong stop or get lost on foot downtown. Any of these errors would have caused me to miss or be late for jury duty. I beat back the sick feelings and got myself on that bus in the morning. I made it to jury duty and had plenty of time to recover and settle my nerves before I had to do anything important.

So that is how I happened to be on the bus that day and the wheels were set in motion for the journal to come into my hands. I don’t believe in destiny or any omnipotent sentient being influencing earthly outcomes. I can, however, enjoy the results of coincidence without felling a need to ascribe any higher meaning or thanking anyone.

I had made it into the courtroom for voir dire but I wasn’t selected to sit on the jury. So I found a bus to take home. I figured most people would sit at the front or the back, like when I was a kid riding the bus to school. I picked a clean looking window seat in the middle. I didn’t notice the journal until I sat down and felt a poke on the side of my thigh. It was wedged half way down between the seat and the wall of the bus. I slid into the corner of it when I got into the seat. Assuming it belonged to a recent occupant, I watched the people getting on the bus for a thinly veiled look of panic.

Once the bus was in motion, I decided that if the secrets held within these covers were so precious, someone should have been more careful with it. Such carelessness entitled me to all the private thoughts and desires of this stranger. I must admit I was disappointed when I realized that I was not performing a forbidden act; the contents were intended for strangers’ eyes. I was just another stranger who laid eyes on the passages. The journal held what someone wanted others to know about. There were confessions, warnings, farewells, declarations and simple marks of existence. It became whatever opportunity they needed.

Dear Next Reader,

I have brought it home with me and now consider my responsibilities. Here it is in my hands and I don’t know what to do with it. The chance to express oneself freely and anonymously is so rare that I have no idea what I want to say. Do I waste this opportunity just to tell a little about myself? Who really cares who I am? I’m barely a blip on the radars of people I know. I’ve done nothing I need to confess. I have no wisdom to share or any desire to mark my existence. This is not the fruit of a coincidence that I enjoy. I wish it had fallen into other hands. These pages are wasted on me. I read it and can now be included among those meant to forgive or condemn. I am young, I am foolish and I have nothing to tell anyone. I must get rid of this book as soon as possible. This is what an opportunity wasted looks like.

Signed,
Melinda
Dear Journal,

I found you today mixed in with magazines on the coffee table in the waiting froom at Dr. Leiman's office. When the nurse called me, Iona Pratt, I hurried to bury you deeply amid a stack of old Home and Garden issues and then scurried off behind her. She led me to a cold little room with cream colored cement walls. Despite the temperature my palms were sweating. I prayed and prayed to God that you would be there when my visit was over. I don't know why, but I had to have you. I managed to sneak you out, inside my overcoat as I was leaving, despite a couple nasty looks. Now I sit here at my kitchen table with only one thing to say: EP should this journal ever find you, I pray it finds you in good health. Please know that only you hold my heart, forever. Now journal, I am going to close you now and package you up in an envelope with a stamp on it and mail you to God. I saw it once in a silly movie about a young mailman fellow. Maybe it will work for you. Goodbye Journal. Goodluck.
Dear journal,

Today, I was walking along the streets when I saw you, in the grubby hands of a five-year-old kid. My hands are just as gruesome, with mud that I can’t seem to wash off, get out from under my fingernails, my toes, my face... why, even the salty water in the canals won’t do the trick! But, hey, back to the point. You were a book. The kid was a kid. The mix of the two was sure to turn out fatal. But, I’m no a terrible person, so I watched him, running around with his mess of friends with the book tucked under his arm.

But it was when he ran toward the edge and extended his arm out for a hardy throw that I ran up, grabbing the book gently. He had stared up at me, his eyes filling with tears and a hint of guilt. I’d smiled at him, fished the last chocolate bar out of my pocket, and gave it to him. He’d taken it happily, barking a quick “grazie!” before running off.

I, on the other hand, was left with an ugly old book and a curiosity that swam in my head like a little fish in an ocean full of sharks. I walked over to a set of stairs, sat down, and began to read.

Living in Italy, I know enough Italian to get around—but only a few entries in here were Italian. I speak English most fluently, so I’m writing this in English. And I can’t write very well, either. Not that you’ll ever care, journal. You’re just a bunch of papers glued on to a… piece of wood? Wow, I don’t even know how books are made! And yet, this is all I ever do. Read. Read, but never write, because I can’t afford food, let alone paper and pen. Pathetic? Yes, I’m pathetic—a pathetic fifteen-year-old homeless girl living on the streets. Well, not too pathetic. I can read and write, which is much more than most people I meet can say for themselves. But my handwriting is sloppy, and I read at a sixth-grade level. Better than nothing, I suppose.

Well, anyway, back to the big picture. What is there to say? I guess, like most of the entries I can understand, I’ll tell about myself. My name is Violetta. Violetta isn’t my real name; it’s a name I gave myself. My real name is Fiora White. Fiora is the name my parents gave me, when they cared about my existence. I guess I just got too troublesome for them, because when I was eleven, they threw me out of the house. “And don’t come back until you can live up to your name!” my mother had said.

Well, here I go again, tearing up because of those stupid childish memories! I always tell myself, Fiora White isn’t your name anymore, it’s Violetta. Violetta is my name, Violetta the independent, Violetta the dreamer, Violetta the strong.

Violetta the lost is more like it. Lost and homeless. Lost, homeless, and alive, and doing much better not being the heir to some big family fortune. Money meant very little to me, unless it was to buy food, in which I just steal… borrowed, rather. I borrow money from tourists. Have you ever devoured a pizza after starving for three days? It’s the best feeling on the face of the planet. For me, anyway.

So, anyway, back to the mushy inspirational stuff… I read a few entries before mine, and I must say that they inspired me. Emotionally, you know. So I’m gonna take a crack at inspiring some reader in the future. Maybe, the reader will be a homeless person, just like me. Or a great king, or an astronaut!

Or, most likely, they’ll be a normal, average, everyday person. Boring. Life is boring. It’s the things you imagine in life that make it not-so-boring, like flying or meeting a faerie, or pretending you’re a witch and casting spells on stupid store clerks. I’m Violetta, a fifteen-year-old girl in Venice, telling whoever is reading this to… well… not be so boring! Live life like it’s a big, crazy, storybook. “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” I once read in a book. Albert Einstein, some famous smart dude, said that quote. Act like a kid every once in a while. Play pretend games. Read fictional stories. Throw fits when life isn’t fair.

Does that count as inspirational? ‘Cause it’s the best advice I can ever give to anyone ever to live! If that makes any sense. Anyway, I’m gonna go give this to the antique dealer down the street. Get some money out of it, maybe enough to buy a whole pizza. And you know what? I’ll give a slice to the little boy who gave the book to me! He’ll like that.

Love,
Violetta


The End!

© Copyright 2007 Novella23, bugzy is baaaccck!!, BOOM ~ WE HAVE A BOY !, silverfeathers, MPB, Jason Simmons, Give Me More Poison, xx-xx, xx-xx, Annie, ChallieOden♥, (known as GROUP).
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