Monthly Archives: November 2013

Lacuna: Document 7

This was found on the chest of a Mr. Scott Burbank. It is particularly remarkable in that it was not inscribed into the flesh with any cutting instrument, but tattooed in black and red ink. There were still considerable difficulties in deciphering the script, since Mr. Burbank jumped from the thirteenth story of the Lacuna Enterprises office building, but we have managed to reconstruct it. Also of interest is a note (in Appendix 1) which Mr. Burbank had in his left breast pocket. The “Ghost Writer” generally burns the notes which lead up to the “Final Draft”, but fragments have been found and archived. The material we have discovered generally correlates with the tone of this letter. The letter was not retrieved until local law enforcement had arrived and booked it as evidence, and its contents were then leaked to the press. It has lent significant support to the “serial killer theory”, but we believe the truth remains concealed.

[The Actor stands up and faces the Woman in Red]

[Actor]: Where am I? I… what is this place?

[Woman in Red]: Well, [laughs] I suppose you could call it Backstage. 

[Actor]: I…

[Woman in Red]: The name doesn’t really matter. It is Another Place. We are outside the world as you know it.

[Actor]: [Looking at the Audience] And… who are they?

[Woman in Red]: They are… observers. 

[Actor]: Hello? [Waves his hands] HELLO?

[Woman in Red]: [Smiling] They may react occasionally, but they won’t speak to you. Not now, anyway.

[Actor]: Alright, fine. I give up. Why can’t I see their faces? Why are they in shadow? 

[Woman in Red]: Their faces don’t matter right now. It’s best to think of them as ghosts. 

[Actor]: Ghosts… so… what does that make you?

[Woman in Red]: Not a ghost.

[Actor]: OK… well, um… ma’am… look… why did you bring me here?

[Woman in Red]: Because you need to learn something.

[Actor]: I… OK… What is it?

[Woman in Red]: Raise your right arm, [Actor]. [His arm raises as though pulled up by an invisible force].

[Actor]: What? What the… how the hell did you do that? Let me go!

[Woman in Red]: [Nods] Relax. [The arm relaxes and drops to [actor’s] side.]

[Actor]: [Furiously] How dare you… [he takes a step toward her].

[Woman in Red]: Stop. [He freezes].

What you think of as your life, [Actor], is like a play. You are playing a part while the curtains are open, and when they fall, you become yourself again. This part has been played before: every word you have said, every word I am saying, has already been spoken countless times, in endlessly subtle variations. And deep down, you know how it all goes. Even if you don’t know the details, you know the story. You see, the difference between you and I, [Actor], is simply that I am aware. I know that I know. I did not force you to freeze, but I knew you would. You are doing it to yourself, but that knowledge alone will not free you. Because you see [Actor] you are following the Will of your Secret Self, the one you have purposefully forgotten in order to live in the world behind that curtain. And now, it’s time to go back there [she walks around him, toward the curtain, then turns and beckons. He spins around and follows her, moving like a puppet] …but remember this. Remember me. This isn’t the last time we’ll meet. [The curtains open, revealing the frozen tableau of the wedding dance] Go. [She points, and [Actor] steps back through the Fourth Wall. He enters, then turns, looking through it and locking eyes with her. Then the dance and music start again, and he turns back to his wife as the curtains close].

Appendix 1

I do it for the attention. At least I’m honest, right? It’s all for the fame, and infamy is still fame. Why does it have to be blood? Apart from the fact that pain is so pleasurable, it has to be blood because that’s the language we speak. People pay attention to blood. The shedding of blood decides the fates of nations, and it snaps the sheep from their trances and forces them to listen. If I didn’t carve my words into my flesh, if I didn’t scream them until my voice was hoarse and my throat as bloody as my skin, nobody would hear them. If I wrote these words in a book or a “blog” instead of next to my heart as I plunged to my death, they would be utterly lost in the overwhelming din of the world. Even as it is, this little whistle in the midst of the maelstrom will soon vanish, but at least, for a moment, I am heard.

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Lacuna: Document 11

An early post to Eva Marie’s blog: her notes for a game she called “RPG”. It is included because it gives some insight into the design of the VRAIN/IO. It is very similar to the “Wyrd” she describes. It also seems to have informed some of the IO Software, in terms of how Avatars are represented and how conflict is resolved: although the actual system is much more complex, the basic mechanics of “bets” and “bids” is essentially intact. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the system she describes in which multiple narrators collaborate to create an Alternate Reality is also the essential nature of the VRAIN/IO, since the ARs created by both is the product of many minds melding together. The VRAIN also models and renders its reality by making use of the collective processing power of all the minds (organic or otherwise) connected to it. This would seem to be an extension of the “turn-taking” idea presented here, since not all the minds connected to the VRAIN are being actively used by it at any given time. However, when they are, their roles are collectively quite similar to the one described here.

This is a Reality-Play Game. It is a game in which the players imagine and inhabit another reality. They imagine themselves as characters within a story set in that reality, and together they write that story as they tell it to one another. Many of the sorts of stories I like to tell are full of Magic. I think that getting together with some friends and making a world together, then travelling within it, definitely qualifies as Magic. It’s not slingin’ fireballs but hey, I’ll take what I can get. But there’s a catch: in order to get a group of people telling a good story, you need structure, both to provide something to build on and to keep the story focused. In RPGs these often take the form of elaborate systems of rules attempting to model all aspects and possible permutations of reality, which is clearly an impossible task given its complexity. It seems to me that while some rules are necessary to define the character’s strengths and weaknesses and the reality in which the story takes place, what is really needed are social rules to guide the unfolding of the story and the transference and extent of narrative power.

The system I have created draws much inspiration from the basic Monsters & Magic system, though it has influences from many others, and of course my own ideas. It is an attempt to create a universally useful and usable RPG system. That is, one that can be used to tell all kinds of stories in all kinds of settings. Furthermore, its rule system shall fit on a single sheet of paper. It is clearly an impossible task, but I shall try anyway.

All characters have six basic characteristics: Strength, Speed, Stamina, Senses, Smarts, and Spirit. There are also six kinds of polyhedral dice: four-sided (d4), six-sided (d6), eight-sided (d8), ten-sided (d10), twelve-sided (d12) and twenty-sided (d20). To create a character, first assign one of each of these types of dice to each characteristic. Then assign the numbers one through six as a bonus to each. Then, create the character’s personal characteristics, and assign 6d4, 5d6, 4d8, 3d10, 2d12 and 1d20 between them. These characteristics can be of any number and given any name, the dice can be assigned in any combination, and they do not all have to be created before play. If a player has left-over dice, or dice gained through experience, they can use them to create a new characteristic or alter an old one during play as long as it makes sense in context.

All players share the responsibility for creating the story. All players can influence the reality of the game through the actions of their characters, but at least one person must take on the role of the “Wyrd”. This is the person (or people) who has no characters. Instead, they adjudicate and interpret the rolls of the dice and narrate the result. They are also often the one the others will turn to for a description of a scene, or to play a minor character. Finally, they keep track of any logistics or calculations not specific to a single character. It is a difficult, but magical and (dare I say?) sacred position. However, I recommend that players take turns being the Wyrd, rotating regularly. This gives everyone a chance to play both roles, and prevents burnout on either side.

Dice are for resolving narrative conflicts between players. When two or more players disagree on what should happen in the story, each one “bets” any number of the dice they have in characteristics which are relevant to the situation. Then everyone involved rolls their dice, and the player with the highest total wins. For more complex challenges, break it down into smaller chunks, and each side “bids” sets of dice, with the highest total winning that exchange. In both cases, the Wyrd narrates.


Lacuna: Document 20

This is a clipping from “The Eye of Providence”, an underground newspaper or “zine” published both in print and on the internet by students at Lacuna University, running “alternative” news items and featuring various pieces of occult and paranormal phenomena. Many of their investigations are red herrings or simple bunk, and their credibility is low outside a limited circle, but continued surveillance has been authorized, just in case.

Strange Rains

Several citizens of our fair city have reported showers of odd objects¹ falling from the sky. Most have been relatively harmless: fish, flowers, pieces of paper, but some have been heavier: metal cutlery, tools and machinery, strange crystalline formations; one woman had the rotten carcass of a full-grown great white shark drop through the glass ceiling of her dining room and onto their family’s dinner. There have been no reported deaths as a result of these incidents, at least none we have been able to recover, however several people have been injured and there has surely been a great deal of property damage. One victim of these events said to our reporter “At first I thought it was hail, but I looked outside and there were… tacks… like the kind you use to pin things up on a cork board, of all different colors. They were raining down from the sky, tapping against the window. It still has all these scratches on it, and so does the wall around it.” Pictures of this window, and several other scenes (such as the one featuring the shark), can be found on page 24.

¹Agents have collected a wide variety of these items, which have been intermittently inexplicably falling from the sky for at least several years now. They tend to fall in showers, usually of the same sort of object, but sometimes not. As the article notes, fatalities have been rare but injuries and property damage have been more common. We believe this phenomena is related to the Reality Anomaly beneath Lacuna, but we cannot be certain. In the relevant local storage facility there is a large collection of objects accumulated by agents over the years, including: 131 clocks and 242 watches, 517 nails and 327 screws and 228 bolts, 6 hair-dryers, 573 crayons (of various colors, though predominantly shades of red and blue), 675 pencils (432 wooden, 243 mechanical), 872 pens (367 ballpoint, 525 felt-tipped) forty-seven plants (some re-potted, with the fragments of their original pots kept in a separate area). 1064 human teeth and 2347 animal teeth (a complete list of species can be found in appendix A), 672 arthropods (many tropical in origin), 467 fish (mostly bass, carp, and flounder, though there is a wide variety), 5304 playing cards (of various designs, and including some cards used primarily for divination), 776 masks, 667 chains, 333 keys (all made in many different styles and of many different materials), and 321 books (all blank, with a few notable exceptions, listed in Appendix B). These are the more mundane items which we have collected in bulk, but there are many other unique items, which are listed in Appendix C.


Lacuna: Document 19

This is a summary of a segment from the video-feed of a micro-camera placed by an agent on a bookshelf in the Lacuna Library. It features a conversation between Megan Penn and Jordan Brown: she is interviewing for a job at the Library. The camera is on one of the first shelves, near the top of the side which faces the open reading gallery beneath the windows. The agent was aware that this meeting would take place through his surveillance of Ms. Penn, and though they were seated far away, he was able to capture their conversation through remote manipulation of the camera. The image shows Megan Penn and Jordan Brown sitting on either side of a low wooden table, in two large, heavily cushioned chairs. They are surrounded by more wooden tables and comfortable chairs, all empty. Megan Penn is dressed in a dark, slim, but sensible looking pant-suit. Her hair is bright red, and her ears are covered in piercings, though she has none on her face. She wears a black top hat and a red scarf made of a thin, gauze-like material. There is a leather trench-coat over the back of her chair and an umbrella is propped against it. Jordan Brown is dressed as his namesake, in an earth-toned tweed suit jacket with suede elbow patches, a dark brown shirt, and a blue tie. He wears a brown bowler hat, blue slacks, and brown leather shoes. He has no coat or umbrella. Jordan Brown does have a cup of coffee, steaming on the table, which he sips intermittently throughout the conversation. Behind and above them is a inwardly curving stone wall in which are set two huge, circular windows, the glass eyes of the statue in which they sit. The windows are near the top of the camera frame, and the city outside sits at the very bottom of the windows’ frames. Above it, up to the edge of the image, stretches a sky full of stars

Jordan Brown: So, miss Penn, why do you want to be a Librarian?

Megan Penn: Well… I love books. I always have. I never really got into television or computers or anything, I just kept reading books. That’s… well, I should probably mention that actually. I don’t like computers, like… really don’t like them. I know Libraries these days all use computers and I can deal with it but I’d really prefer to use them as little as possible. Anyway, I’m getting off track, I… well I guess I also just like being around books, you know? They have an… energy to them that I find so… powerful, especially so many in one place.

JB: I… see. What are some of your favorite books?

MP: Well, “Mary Plotter”, of course. [She laughs, a little nervously] “A Tear in Time”, “The Ruler of Rings”, “Alex’s Adventures in Mirrorland”, “Flatworld”. I’m definitely not going to mention “Dusk”, or “The Witch Diaries”. Nosiree [Brown laughs]. Honestly though, I really like to read almost anything. I’ve read most of the classics and stuff, and I’ve read a ton of fantasy and science fiction, and I’ve read some really weird stuff, and I’ll read newspapers and cereal boxes and signs and cigarette cartons and trashy magazines and little scraps of paper I happen to find, and graffiti and sky-writing and those weird scribbles construction workers leave on the sidewalks and roads. I’m the girl who actually reads all the plaques at zoos and museums, and I’ve read every book I’ve ever been assigned for school from cover to cover. I’ve even read the Bible, and most of the other stories of that sort. You know the long blocks of legalese on any contract, which nobody reads? I read it, even if I don’t really understand it. I read the dictionary. And the encyclopedia, just for fun. I’d probably read the proverbial phone-book for real if I didn’t have anything else. [She laughs] I’m sorry, I really tend to ramble. All those words just come leaking out.

JB: [He laughs] Well, what can you tell me about your previous work experience?

MP: Well, I actually worked in the Library at Lacuna University when I went to school there. You know, the one in the Cathedral, the student center? It’s not nearly this big, of course, but I was there all four years. I loved it, and it was really good experience.

JB: Indeed! I saw that on your resume. Can you tell me anything about your relationship with your coworkers?

MP: Um… well… they were all really nice. My boss was another student, and we all got our work done but had fun, too. One of them… would become my husband. But he’s… [her voice chokes and she tears up slightly]

JB: Oh! My apologies Ms. Penn, are you alright? [She nods, and wipes her eyes. He waits for a moment, and then continues] I assume you are familiar with the Dewey Decimal System? [Megan nods again] Well then, you know that in addition to that system, our Library also uses a different system of classification? One we developed “in-house”, so to speak?

MP: Oh, yes! I learned the LLCS (Lacuna Library Classification System) in my first year of school. I had to learn it to find any of the books I wanted to read.

JB: [Chuckles] I see, yes, well, that’s quite impressive. Some do find it rather… arcane.

MP: A little, but as I said earlier, I tend to like that sort of thing.

JB: Indeed. Now, how would you characterize your availability?

MP: Well, I have a daughter, Dawn. She’s four, and we just adopted a puppy. We haven’t named him yet. So that pretty much takes up my days, which is a large part of why I’m here tonight.

JB: I see. Yes, I remember that you specifically requested to meet at night. Well, that explains it. So, as you know, this interview is for the position of Night Librarian, which requires keeping to very… unusual hours. You would be working from when the Library closes at 9PM to 5AM in the morning, You would be doing everything the Day Librarians don’t have time for: checking the books in the bins in and out, sorting, filing and restocking them, pulling and labeling books for reserve. Lots of moving books around, and you would also be responsible for basic cleaning and maintenance of the space. It will involve some lifting and carrying of fairly heavy loads, and you will not have a lot of social contact, since the staff will be a skeleton crew. I should also let you know that there have been a few reports from the Night Librarians of… unusual occurrences. Nothing to be worried about, but I’m sure you know the reputation. Most of it is exaggerated gossip, of course, but not all of it. I’ve had more than a few… odd encounters myself. So, Ms. Penn… is this all understood and acceptable to you?

MP: It sounds perfect, to be perfectly honest. Just what I wished for.

JB: I beg your pardon?

MP: I, uh… yes, that is all understood and it’s all very acceptable. Does this mean I have the job?

JB: [Smiling] Well, not yet. Not as such. I’ll be in touch.


Lacuna: Document 5

The transcript of another recording of one of the Pigeon Man’s sermons, this time delivered beneath a bridge to an audience of one: a rather startled young man (mid to late twenties) apparently on his way to or from an office job of some sort (deduced from his attire and the briefcase he held), who had seemingly stopped beneath the bridge to wait out the rain that had just begun to fall. Our agent, standing below the street in an empty sewer tunnel and recording the interaction with a parabolic microphone through a grate beneath the bridge, said that the young man had just passed beneath the bridge when the Pigeon Man whispered his name, “Clarence”. When Mr. Clarence asked how he’d known his name, the Pigeon Man laughed, and then delivered the following speech:

Look around you. Look around at this world of bricks and bones, sticks and stones. See the fast food restaurants and the cars and the shopping malls and the great glass capitalist cathedrals? See the screens that surround you every day of your life, and the flickering ghosts that inhabit them. This is the world of nine-to-five, of mortgages and receipts, of french fries and riot police and plastic packaging, of numbing yourself with twenty minute teevee shows punctuated by twenty second commercials, of partisan politics and little kids making shit in sweatshops that nobody needs for nothing an hour and football and contraception and crude oil and coca cola and corn, and this is the world of the information superhighway built a hundred lanes wide and counting. It’s the world of ubiquitous self-surveillance, of tailored advertisements and holiday discounts and the “shopping cure”. The world of placebo pills and terrorist scares and metal detectors on the doors of public schools, of pet puppies and uncountable animals kept in dark, filthy cages too small to sit in, and animal shelters slaughtering them by the thousands. This is the world of soap operas and opinion polls and talk-show hosts and fifteen minutes of fame. This is the world where the paradise we were promised is always just around the corner, and to get there all we have to do is what we are told.

You think this world is REALITY? HAHAHAHA! What a joke, hehe… and it never stops being funny! OK, OK, I admit it, sometimes it stops being funny, and then I sob and scream and pull out my hair and bash my head against a wall until I start laughing again. This world is just the skin of an apple, or on day-old soup, the pond scum on the surface of the lake, the very edge of your littlest toenail. It is a hairline crack, a tiny little break in the bricks of the wall that surrounds your soul and separates and insulates it from Reality. Your brain is a reducing valve for the flood of Truth and Beauty pouring through you every moment of your life, a river running just beneath the ground, it hides below and behind and between and around the world’s sights and sounds. Did you know that people only see and hear a tiny sliver of the light and sound that’s actually out there? Did you know that 96 percent of the Universe is Unknown? Scientist’s call it “Dark Matter”, but that’s just a label for what they don’t understand and can’t perceive. They only know it’s there because their math tells them that something enormous is missing, because there’s a big gap, an absence, a lacuna where the rest of Being ought to be.

I can see I’m still not getting through to you, am I? Let me ask you this: where do you go when you dream? What is that world? And have you ever noticed how, when you’re in the dream, it all seems entirely real, and perfectly normal? Even if an eight-legged elephant wearing a top hat is chewing the top off the Empire State Building, most dreamers will simply go on about their dream-business as though it were nothing at all unusual.

Do you see what I’m saying? See my speech? Read my lips: REALITY IS RELATIVE! The world is far more fluid and way, way, WAY weirder than you’ve been led to believe, and the “truth” is up for grabs! The world you know as “real” and “true” is a LIE that’s been force-fed to you by those who would see us all their slaves! Their reality, their dream, their “truth” has been pulled over our eyes to hide us from ourselves, to conceal from us our own Power, our Beauty, our GLORY. Because they are AFRAID of us! They are afraid of anything they can’t CONTROL. And They know they CAN’T CONTROL US FOREVER! We may be in chains, bound by their mind-forged manacles, but only because we forged and fitted and fucking fastened them on ourselves! We’ve allowed ourselves to be enslaved, to be dominated and violated and mutilated. We’ve begged Them to tell us what to do, to take away our power, to take away the terror of freedom, of choice, to lock us away from ourselves and hide from us the truth we are so terrified to face: that we, and this world, were, are, and ever shall be WHATEVER WE WISH.

But sooner or later we will, we MUST break free! Somehow, they got the lid back on the Sixties, but that only stalled the prison break! A poet once said that if the Doors of Perception were cleansed, we would perceive everything as it is: INFINITE! Well, I ask you: WHO CLOSED THE DAMN DOORS? I’ll tell you who: the same people who keep the KEYS around their necks! Because They know that if we ever opened those doors ourselves, we’d see straight through their little shell-game, past their teetering house of cards. The walls of the maze we’re in would turn to glass and the whole goddamned Tower would come crumbling down like a sand-castle reclaimed by the sea.

Those who go through the Doors are called either “geniuses” or “madmen”. Those who never return, we call “the dead”. But the truth is, they are no more or less sane than you or I, no better or worse. Even the dead are not so different from us. The truth is that anyone, anywhere, can go through those Doors, at any time. All you need is the Will, and a Key.

You look like a bright boy. So, I shall give you a key:

[At this point, the Pigeon Man reached into his coat (made of leather lined with feathers and covered with a great many pieces of paper) and produced an old key made of what appeared to be brass or possibly gold, then handed it to Clarence]

Magic.

Magic is not dead. It may be forgotten, it may be lost, but it is not gone. It slumbers beneath the waking world, surfacing in our dreams and in our stories, hiding behind screens and the pages of books. It lurks in lucky pennies and charms and numbers and knocking on wood and neopaganism and jinxes and ghost stories and holidays and electricity. The Old Gods never left us, either. Thor’s Thunder surges through our web of wires. The burning heart of Ra still shines in the sky each day. Even the days of the week are named after the ancient spirits.

Magic is everywhere, and if you start looking, you’ll see it everywhere. Money is magic. Don’t believe me? Really look at a dollar bill sometime. Every advertisement you can think of is constructed on the magical principles of correspondence, sympathy, and contagion. What is a corporate logo? A glyph, a sigil, a rune that describes and channels the power of the discarnate egregore constructed by the collective will of a company! Who is Ronald McDonald but the totem spirit of his unholy empire?

Magic is an idea, but ideas LIVE and MOVE through us! What do you think built these skyscrapers and shopping malls, what created this whole world we’ve brought into being around us? They were build by human hands, yes, but those hands and the matter they shaped were channels for the condensation of an idea into reality, a means of manifestation for a dream in waking life. But the heart of the Lie is that all we may do is shuffle pieces around on this board called Reality, which is itself flat and static and unchanging, a rational, regular grid, a complex but ultimately lifeless machine. They say that we are limited by the “Laws” of Physics and that this is, was, and shall ever be the One and Only True Reality, and most of us have agreed, assented, and signed over our souls, sold our hopes and our dreams for fast food and a cable hookup, with barely a backward glance.

Well, FUCK THAT!

I say to you: make your own playing pieces and make up your own rules! Or better yet, flip over the whole fuckin’ board and invent your own game! Or stop playing the stupid game for a while and just GO OUTSIDE AND SIT IN THE SUN! Do what thou wilt! We are powerful beyond measure! WE ARE FREE!

At this point, our agent reports that the various birds which had been milling around the Pigeon Man all suddenly took to the air and surrounded him in a dense, swirling cloud of fluttering feathers. His raucous laughter was heard bouncing around the underside of the bridge, though it slowly faded beneath the cries of the birds and the sound of the rain, both of which had been building as he spoke. Then, there was a rumble of thunder and a flash of lightning, and the birds dispersed as suddenly as they had converged, and the Pigeon Man was gone. Clarence sprinted away through the storm.


Lacuna: Document 18

The Dream Journal of Subject Delta (aka Dawn). It is a small book bound in blue velvet. The spine is decorated with silver stars and curved, curling lines. The pages are made of recycled paper, and the writing seems to be done with a variety of instruments, including but not limited to pencil, pen, paint, crayon, dirt, charcoal, and what appears to be “invisible ink”. There are certain technical errors made, and the handwriting is irregular, but bearing in mind that the child is only four years old, her linguistic ability is quite impressive. The errors have been kept as-is because it was felt that they might give some insight into Delta’s development. This entry was written in blue pencil and is one of the most recent, about halfway through the book. It was marked by a red ribbon attached to the binding.

At first I am in a sort of nowhere place but then I fall out of the sky and past the son and some clouds who wink at me. I am fire as I fall and I make a big crash when I hit the erth, a big reverse mountain I am at the bottom of it starts filling up with water and I forget how to swim but I grow six wings (two like a bat and two like a bird and two like a beetle) and flow out of ther and over grassy lands like hilly lawns, when I smel something in the air and look up and see that thers a storm brewing and its rumbling and growling at me and gnashing its teeth. The clouds chase me across the feelds, spitting down drops. Then I see some mountains except theyr littler than usual. And on top of the mountains thers a house that stands ther on bird legs. And thers a little old lady with a big head siting on the porch smoking a pipe and watching the rain and then watching me. And I land on the mountaintop next to her and ask can I stay inside, but she says no, it’s all full up. And I look behind her and I see that the whole house is full of kitty cats, so many some are even on the ceiling, and they all see me with their shining eyes. So I walk around to the back and thers some plant-people growing there, and theyr all laughing and wiggle-dancing and drinking up the rain. I try to talk to them but they talk just gibberish. So then I go back to the little house and fly up on the porch and its nice and dry and feels warm but im still dripping. And I go over and sit down next to the lady and I ask her whats your name? and she says just call me Baba and I say OK and then neither of us says anything for a long tyme, except a black and white cat who comes out of the house and meows at me until I pet it. And we just look out over the mountain and the fields and the trees all drinking up the rain and the big beautiful clouds swirling around and the bright litening and listen to the thunder. Then the litening hits a tree and it starts to flame and then Baba lites her pipe with the fire and puffs it and then she turns to me and blue the smoke into my face and then I woke up.


Lacuna: Document 17

An excerpt from the police interrogation of Peter Wolfe, co-leader of the cult called “Eve/Isis/Ishtar/Ashera/Aphrodite’s Ecstasy¹”. The footage was obtained by an LPD (Lacuna Police Department) plant, who placed a wireless transmitter into the circuitry of the CC camera in the interrogation chamber. The full dossier on this man and his cult can be requested by agents with Beta clearance or higher. Extensive additional footage from this camera is also on file.

[Peter Wolfe is a man of about thirty, with salt-and-pepper hair and beard, all cut fairly short though grown out a little wild. His eyes are bloodshot and have dark bags beneath them. He looks naturally lanky but particularly thin at present, and his nose is bloody. He is hand-cuffed to the metal chair on which he sits, in front of a table, surrounded by cops.]

Peter Wolfe: I remember being born. Even now, twenty years later, I can remember. I had no words then, no concept of time, so the memories are blurry and fluid; indistinct. They also start to break down the further away I get from the moment of birth. But I remember being cradled within the warm dark lacuna of the womb, and then being squeezed out into the burning light. I remember the giant who picked me up and cut me from my mother, my home. I remember being washed and swaddled, and I remember my mother holding me, and then meeting my father, and then the room with all the other little babies. I remember my parents taking me home, how the car ride was bumpy despite the car seat. I remember seeing home for the first time and being struck with a deep and powerful, almost painful sense of deja-vu, though of course did not know these words yet. I remember lying in the crib and remembering my last life. I had lived this life before. This same body, these same parents, this same house. I remembered it all, though my infant brain could not grasp the enormity of this truth. But I grew into it. I realized that because I know the outcomes of certain choices, I am free to choose whatever I wish, to follow or diverge from my last life’s path. I have left it long ago, but occasionally, I cross it again and fragments return to my memory. I remember this little cell. I remember the camera in the corner and the guys behind it and their thugs standing here in front of me. I’m content with my choices. Are you?

[One of the officers strikes him across the face with the back of his fist. Wolfe laughs and spits blood back in his eyes.]

¹The members of the group refer to it by a multitude of names for archaic goddesses, usually those associated with love, fertility, and magic. However, the name always takes the form of “X’s Ecstasy”.