Tag Archives: Document 7

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.


Lacuna: Document 7

A later scene from the untitled play by the anonymous “Ghost Writer”. This one was carved with a razor blade, primarily on the chest and legs of the late Mr. Jonathan Winters, found in his bathroom of his apartment, wearing nothing but a tuxedo jacket and a bow-tie. However, he was not found for over a week, since he lived alone and was unemployed. Thus, the text in the images is often quite difficult to decipher due to the decomposition of the surrounding tissue. However, a combined team consisting of a forensic specialist, a handwriting analyst, and an archaeologist (used to piecing together linguistic fragments) was able to reconstruct it. They were somewhat assisted by the fact that Mr. Winters had apparently shaved all the hair off his chest and legs, apparently to make a smoother surface for writing, and perhaps so that the writing would not be obscured.

[The Woman in Red is standing at the microphone. The curtains are closed.]

Woman in Red: Today is a very special day for [actor’s name]. It started just like any other day. [Actor] woke up on the right side of the bed, next to his beautiful wife [actress’ name]. His alarm woke her up for a moment, and she kissed him goodbye. He took a shower, brushed his teeth, put on his clothes, and went downstairs. He made himself a cup of coffee and a bagel, and sat in the kitchen checking e-mail on his laptop computer. He washed his dishes, put the laptop into his briefcase, and walked out the door. The drive to work was uneventful, except for the usual wreck that slowed down traffic. He didn’t see any dead bodies, but there were crimson streaks on the side of the road. He got there five minutes early and sat down in his cubicle. He then mostly entered numbers into spreadsheets, and occasionally conversed with coworkers, for the next eight hours, stopping only to make a cup of black tea and eat the peanut-butter and banana sandwich he had brought for lunch. After work he went home, and and then he and his wife had sex in both the “missionary” and “cowgirl” positions, for approximately twenty minutes. She did not experience orgasm through the intercourse, but she did when he performed cunnilingus on her. They then showered together, and he dressed in the tuxedo he had rented two days ago, and she in a blue dress he had bought for her as an anniversary present two years ago. They then left the house, at approximately seven in evening, and drove to the wedding of two of their mutual friends. The wedding was wonderful, a joyous occasion both for the happy couple and for [actor] and [actress]. But that isn’t why today is such a special day for [actor]. This is why.

[The Woman in Red turns and walks back down the thrust. As she walks, the curtains open, and behind them is a wedding party. Perhaps twenty people are onstage, dancing. A band plays off to stage left, the wedding couple is close to the band, and [actor] and [actress] are center-stage. The light is warm and diffuse. Then, the Woman in Red reaches the curtains, the threshold between the thrust and the stage. There is a beat, and she steps over it. [Actor] looks up at her, and she raises her right hand and snaps her fingers. The music stops. All the dancer’s freeze. Everything freezes, except [actor] and the Woman in Red. A spotlight shines on [actor], and she walks over to him and into it. There is a long silence.]¹

Woman in Red: Well? Aren’t you going to ask who I am?

[Actor]: …W…Well what I really want to know is where you came from. You… it… it looked like you just walked right out of the wall. And… well, part of me wants to know what you did to everyone else… but part of me really doesn’t want to know… you know?

Woman in Red: Well, I did walk through the wall. I can tell you how I did that. Better yet, I can show you.

[Actor]: Uh… I don’t know if…

Woman in Red: Oh, don’t be silly, [actor]. Today is your big day! Everyone is waiting to meet you! You don’t want to miss out on your chance to shine, do you?

[Actor]: I… how did you know my…

Woman in Red: Of course you don’t. Now come along.

[She takes him by the hand and leads him over to the invisible fourth wall.]

[Actor]: OK…

Woman in Red: Look.

[Actor]: I’m looking! It’s a wall.

Woman in Red: No. Don’t look at it. Look through it.

[Actor]: What?

Woman in Red: Did you know that things are mostly empty space? The atoms that are you, or that suit you’re wearing, or this wall… they’re not packed in tight, and they themselves are mostly nothing. You could slip right through them, see right through them, you just have to look at them in the right way. Now look!

[[Actor] stares silently for some seconds. He puts his hand out, touching the invisible surface of the wall. He puts out the other hand and feels along it, looking to the audience much like a mime doing the classic routine. He even raps on its nonexistent surface with his knuckles. Then he shakes his head.]

[Actor]: Sorry… but it still just looks like a wall to me.

[The Woman in Red sighs]

Woman in Red: Well, I suppose we’ll just have to sidestep that, then. Close your eyes.

[Actor]: Look, I…

Woman in Red: [In a commanding tone] Close your eyes [actor].

[[Actor] closes his eyes. Still holding his hand, she steps past the curtains, then turns back to him.]

Now take a step.

[Actor]: What? Come on, I’ll just stub my toe!

Woman in Red: Step forward [actor]!

[Actor]: No! Just leave me alone and fix my wife and my friends, you crazy…

[At this moment, the Woman in Red gives a short sigh, and pulls [actor] across the threshold. Startled, he opens his eyes. Then he opens them wider. He gasps, stumbles forward, and sits down heavily on the stage, just beyond the curtains. He stares at the audience in shock, mouth agape.]

The last line is carved in a partial ring around the left ankle. At this point, Mr. Winters apparently slit his own throat.

¹At this point the text transitions from the chest to the legs.


Lacuna: Document 7

These are scenes from a play, which have been found throughout Lacuna along with various victims of apparent suicide. These people seem to have nothing in common with one another, except the subject of their writing and the fact that they often died after long periods without food, water, or sleep, but almost always actually died due to severe blood loss. Those who did not live alone apparently abruptly abandoned their friends and families, and most of these were found in anonymous hotel rooms. The words themselves are written with and on any available materials, though the “final drafts” are always carved into the victim’s own skin. Local tabloids have spread the rumor that the suicides are actually connected killings, and have dubbed the murderer the “Ghost Writer”. To the best of our knowledge, the play has never been performed, though it is also not yet complete.

This scene is from the first victim, Jennifer Rose. The bulk of the text is on the left arm and thigh, made with the scalpel found in her hand. She was found wearing a red dress, red lipstick, and red nail polish.

A thrust stage, twenty-three feet long by seven feet wide, stretches out from a proscenium stage. The thrust and the stage are painted matte black, and the proscenium arch is curtained with red velvet. A spotlight centers on the central gap between the curtains, from which a woman emerges, dressed in a long gown of the same color as the curtains, and matching lipstick and nail polish. She saunters down the thrust to the microphone stand placed at its end. When she reaches it, she stands silently for a few moments, regarding the audience. Then, she speaks.

Woman in Red: This is the story of [insert actor’s full name here]. He was born as we all are: in blood and agony, torn kicking and screaming from the warm, dark safety of the womb.¹

The curtains open, and an infant’s cries are heard, mingled with those of his mother and all the rigamarole of modern medicine. The child cannot be seen, obscured by the many bodies surrounding the mother’s bed, but we hear their cries crescendo together.

Doctor: Push! Push! That’s the shoulders! You’re almost there! [The cries crescendo] Push! Good! Yes! Here he is!

The mothers’ cries become laughter that is still on the edge of tears.

Nurse: It’s a boy! A beautiful baby boy!

Doctor: Yes, ten fingers and ten toes. Everything seems to be in order. Now comes the cord. Nurse, please hand me that scalpel

There is no period, because at this point, while making the last “l”, the late Ms. Rose cut into her femoral artery and bled out onto the carpet of her living room floor.

¹This is where the text transitions from the arm to the thigh.