Work Journal 3
rating: +70+x

Day 56

Stressful few days. To say the least. I've had to sleep in the car for the last couple days. I'm apparently wanted for questioning in an arson case. Go fucking figure. Saw my face on the news a couple days ago, shortly after getting on the road, and I've been trying to keep a low profile. Doing the speed limit, staying off main roads, trying to gas up at night and/or at out-of-the-way stations. The paranoia has set in hard, and I think it's more a survival impulse than an annoyance at this point. Every car that follows me for more than a few miles, I start getting nervous about.

I should hit… my friend's location before too long. God help me, I can't even trust this book anymore. Should… something… happen, I don't want to drag in anyone I don't have to. Then again, if “they” are as far-reaching as it seems, then it probably won't matter… but I'm still going to do all I can to stifle those efforts. Lord, listen to me. Work, yes? Though I think it's starting to slide from work to survival…

So I did as much digging as I could on the road. Apparently the researchers who disappeared all worked in at least one theoretical field, some with even out-there papers on stuff like theorized alien biology, non-euclidean geometric formula… dizzying stuff. I tried to widen the search, and turned up some other weird stuff. There was a spike of disappearances and deaths about the same time as the researchers vanished. Law enforcement, private security, even army recruits…a wave of AWOL, KIA, MIA and sudden “retirements”. I got worked up, but… it's possible I'm reading too much in to this. Seeing faces in the clouds.

I haven't been sleeping or eating, really. Just enough to keep me mobile. I'm exhausted, but it feels… distant. Removed. Like feeling pain when you're heavily drugged. It's… a little upsetting, but it's helpful for the time being. I do need to try and sleep. I was convinced a helicopter was following me not too long ago. It peeled off a while ago, but it was following the road I was on for nearly half an hour. It got pretty low… I didn't think they could do that. I didn't really see any markings… even the glass was tinted…

Bah. Sleep.

Day 57

I'm panicking. My heart won't slow down, and I feel so twitchy. At the same time, I have this cold core inside that just keeps thinking…

Ok, so I made it to my friend's place. He does audio-video analysis for various companies and even some government contracts. I met… that's not important. Anyway, I managed to snag him away and got him to look the picture over. He was kind of confused, but after he worked it over, he said that, while it's very strange, the picture itself hasn't been tampered with. It's a genuine image of a real object, but he was quick to say the setting itself may be the fake. I asked for any more information on it, and he said the film itself is rather old, but in good shape. It's some kind of army surplus stuff, no color but known for super-high contrast. It's still used in some sectors, but the military stopped using it twenty years ago.

He couldn't pin down what kind of camera took it, but he said it's probably a modified military camera from around WWII. I asked him modified how, and he said that the marks and resolution, while consistent with the older camera, were irregular and more advanced in some ways. I asked him why people would be taking black-and-white photos in this day and age, and he kind of grinned at me. He said that black and white is less real, and more detailed. Less like real life, and more like a blueprint or a drawing. Some people like to use it to record things, while still keeping a degree of separation. Going by what was in the picture, assuming it's real… that makes sense.

He said he needed to get back to the labs for a bit, but said he'd do some more tests, tell me anything else he could dig up. I went out and got a coffee. At least my face hasn't hit the news here yet. I keep waiting for it to show up on a TV, and people to suddenly start staring at me. I keep thinking every look, every glance is another one of “them”. I've started using that now, the great, paranoid “they” for… whatever it is that appears to be against me.

It was a couple hours, and I started getting a little antsy. I headed back to my friend's office, and I felt very… cold. There was a gray van parked in front of his door. No marks, no sign… no license plate, tinted windows. I didn't even park in a space, just slammed the parking brake and started running. Nobody was around, front desk empty, no sound… but it reeked. It reeked of gas.

I got upstairs and hit the door to the labs hard… God. He was there, part of his head blown away. He was slumped over a desk, a bunch of papers and bottles bashed around. There was someone over him. Black suit, gloves, a thing over his mouth… like a hazmat mask, but not over the whole face. He was sloshing gas all over everything. He looked up when the door opened, and we just stared at each other for a second. His eyes were so huge… it's like I'd walked backstage and caught an actor undressed. I don't know why, or how, but before I knew what was happening, I'd grabbed a bottle off a shelf near the door, and thrown it at him. I think it was developer or something… it smashed on his head, and he started screaming and screaming.


I was scared. I didn't… I wasn't thinking clearly, I…

I killed him with a pipe.

It was sitting near one of the desks… I don't know what it was for. I just watched my hand pick it up, and then walk over to the man on the ground. His face looked so red, and bleeding… I think he was blind. I just… I knew, I couldn't leave him here. Even blind, he'd try… something, I don't know. I really don't know. It just… I hit him. Three times, and his head looked dented, and he stopped…


The gas fumes were so bad, but I leaned down and went through his stuff. A wallet, couple cards, a phone, and two odd things. A little ear-piece he had in, that came out when I… anyway, it was tiny, pill shaped… it looked really odd. And a thin glass card, tucked in a padded, metal-plated sleeve. The fumes started making me really, really dizzy, so I headed out. As I was driving away, I heard some kind of dull thud. There must have been some kind of ignition timer or something. I drove for two hours, until I saw the bits of blood and hair on my hands, then I pulled over and threw up.

Part of me is terrified, but I also feel… sharper. I'm not crazy… there is something going on. God help me, someone wants me dead. The wallet had a bunch of stuff. Almost a thousand dollars, cash, four different driver's licenses, two government IDs… no personal stuff. The earbud-thing I tossed out. Seemed too suspicious, even if it might be a contact to… whomever or whatever is after me. I almost tossed out the card, too, but it seems important to me. Laser-etched, it's rather pretty… more cut crystal than glass. There's a stylized bat on some kind of heraldry on one side, and the other has what sounds like the name for a law firm or something. I'm going to start digging tomorrow… assuming nobody blows up my car or anything. Ha ha. I half-think I've heard the name before… maybe on a funding application…

Marshall, Carter and Dark, Ltd.

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