Oh, shit. Christmas.
Everything is a mess right now. I know some of you are waiting for me to explain this picture…
…that fans tell me John hid in the last update somehow. It’s kind of a long story but I’ll get to it in a minute.
First, I want to take a moment to welcome all of you who are new to this dark, online carnival of the soul. To catch up, scroll down and start reading the updates from the bottom up. It’s difficult to explain what’s going on here exactly, you’ll have to piece it together yourself to find out just how deep the rabbit hole goes. Not all that far, to be honest with you.
Despite that, the number of visitors more than doubled to the last update from the one before it, proving I guess that it’s still possible for something to be retarded enough to get the internet’s attention.
Speaking of which, I do want to apologize for John’s update last week. I’d like to take a moment to say that it will never happen again. I would like to do that, unfortunately John is the webmaster and has the driver’s seat account for this WordPress installation. So he can lock me out pretty much any time he wants and devote the entire bandwidth to promoting his band. I intend to delete his post down there, as soon as he shows me how.
Anyway. Where was I? Oh, right. Christmas. The thing about Christmas is everybody has some powerful memory associated with the holiday, and for me it’s the horrific hell on earth created in the Japanese human experimentation labs in World War II.
Above is a statue from a museum exhibit, depicting a woman having her organs removed while she screams, alive, conscious, without anesthetic. The idea behind the facility, called Unit 731, was to study every possible aspect of unimaginable human suffering. By inflicting it.
They collected 10,000 human subjects–prisoners of war, criminals, random people they gathered off the streets of China. Then, utilizing the most advanced medical equipment and personnel in the world, they set out to see how far they could push the horror.
They hacked off body parts and re-attached them elsewhere. They’d strap the prisoners down, slice through the skin and muscle without painkillers or anesthetic, then just play around with what was inside. They’d re-work the digestive system, connecting the esophagus directly to the small intestine. They’d slice off parts of the liver or the lung. Sew the subject back up, throw them back into a tiny cage and calmly observe their screams over the next few weeks.
They injected them with black plague and syphillis, and watched as it turned their bodies to goo from the inside out. They allowed gangrenous limbs to rot and fall off, exposed subjects naked to extreme cold and observed calmly as every extremity blackened and crumbled off due to frostbite. They tied them to poles and detonated shrapnel bombs in front of them, observing how the hunks of molten, razor-sharp metal ripped through their tissue. Then left the wounds untreated, watching how the ruined flesh reacted to infection over days and weeks. They gave the victims just enough food and water to allow them to keep functioning as vessels of unthinkable agony.
When they were close to death, Unit 731 would do one last analysis by peforming a living autopsy. Strap them down, open them up –as always, without anesthesia–and just take them apart piece by piece until the shrieks finally gargled to an end.
Thousands of staff went to work every day to the cacophony of screams echoing through the halls. They shrugged it off and started cutting. They called the victims “Marutas”, referring to them as inhuman hunks of meat. And who cares if those husks had a certain chemical in their brain that signaled a certain sensation called “pain.” Why should that matter more than any other chemical reaction observed in the lab? Those howls of agony, the tearful pleadings for mercy, why would that matter any more than the squeak of lab rats or the babble of Rhesus monkeys?
After the war was over, the commanders of Unit 731 were never prosecuted, and went on to live successful lives and died of old age, some becoming millionaires off the medical data they collected in the torture chambers.
So that’s why I don’t hate Christmas. Even though it has morphed into a shallow, silly thing that seems to offend religious and non-religious people equally. You see the way the decorations lump in Jesus, Santa, Frosty and Spongebob all together…
…as if giving all three equal places of honor in our culture’s mythology. And I’ll take that.
Because on the spectrum of belief, it seems at one end we have the inquisitor (believing God is so powerful that all human suffering is meaningless when serving His purposes) and at the other we have Unit 731 (believing human suffering is meaningless, period).
Is this what we find in the middle? A warm, sweet stew of mythological icons with Christ and the angels and Santa and Batman all melted together, where the only lingering message is that superhuman heroes exist and we should honor what they stand for?
I’ll take it. Merry Christmas.
But that’s not what I want to talk about today. As I mentioned, I got this:
It was attached to an email a woman sent me shortly after the first update and she claimed it was the work of her autistic 10 year-old son.
If you can get past his terrible, terrible artwork, you may recognize it vaguely resembles the dead guy whose death had absolutely nothing to do with my book at all (as I mentioned a while back).
So I politely wrote back and told the lady this site was highly inappropriate for 10 year-olds and that he should learn about both the hidden horrors of the universe and dongs from the public school system, like a normal kid. But then she came back and said that he never been on the internet, doesn’t know how to use a computer and has no idea who I am. He just… draws things.
She links me to a YouTubed video of a local newscast story they did on her and her kid, after she claimed the kid had the magical ability to draw the future. Her evidence of this was a picture of Barack Obama being sworn in as president, that he allegedly drew two years ago.
Now, as you can see, that appears to be Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers getting sworn in as president. I pointed this out to the mother in a tone that she apparently didn’t appreciate. She replied that Billy (I don’t want to put their real last name out there, so I’ll refer to him as “Billy Shitcrayon”) had a poster of Kobe in his bedroom, and that he would be the only black person he was familiar with. So her theory goes that Billy had the “vision” of a black man being sworn in as president, and interpreted it as Kobe Bryant for lack of other context.
I found this argument so compelling that I didn’t bother to reply to her for two weeks. Then she sent along an email with a zip doc crammed full of several dozen drawings, the contents of which compelled me to make the trip to their home about half a hour away (as I alluded to in my last update).
The Shitcrayon family live in a double-wide trailer that actually seemed to be quite a bit nicer than my house. The mother, Pat, was either in her early 40s or maybe a very used-up 35. I suspected the latter, raising a mentally handicapped kid does that to you. They had a cage with ferrets inside, and the stink of the things filled the house. They had their Christmas tree up, a real one.
She led us past a bedroom, where through a cracked door we glimpsed Billy, a thin ginger kid who was sitting in from of a tiny TV, playing Guitar Hero and absolutely fucking mastering it. John and I both hesitated at the door to watch him knocking down an avalanche of digital notes, before the mother ushered us down the hall into a tiny room that housed a computer desk and a hot water heater.
She dragged out a cardboard box with a logo for adult diapers on the side that was now full of yellowing sheets of white construction paper. These were the drawings, and there were hundreds of them.
She laid them out, making her case, speaking rapidly, firing the words at us in a Kentucky accent.
…she claims is some kind of plane accident that happened in Madrid a year after he drew it. Again, even if you could connect this to that specific crash, the fact that we were seeing it now, after the fact, meant it wasn’t a prediction at all. It was a… postdiction I guess. It proved nothing.
John, though, in his patented “Tell them what they want to hear” mode said to her, “Time does not progress one moment after another. All the moments exist at once, we only travel across them one at at ime, because we are restricted to the third dimension. If you could disconnect, and experience the world in the fourth dimension, you would see all of your life stretched as a long and winding shape, like the tracks for a rollercoaster. You could see all moments at once. It looks like your little boy has that ability, to peer down the tracks in the fourth dimension.”
I started flipping through the pics on my own, tuning them out. It was getting tedious fast and most of the pics were incompehensible bullshit. A scribble of a face, a hand turkey, a tree with fall colors.
Then we got to the pictures that brought me out here. First, there was this one:
A man, simultaneously pissing and puking in a state of out-of-control drunkenness.
It was John. No question. I even recognized that red shirt.
I showed it to John, said, “That’s you, last Tuesday. But what’s that yellow thing in the lower left?”
He studied it.
“I know what it is,” John said finally, a grim look in his eyes.
John explained that Molech was an ancient demonic god often portrayed as an owl. His followers demanded human sacrifice and rumors swirled around the internet that today secret followers of Molech infested every level of power.
“Are you sure?” I asked. “This thing has a tail. Do owls have tails?”
“Dave, he’s only ten.”
He pulled up the next drawing. “Dave! Look! It’s you!”
“What? No, that’s not…”
Then I saw the burrito. The boy had drawn an event he could not have been privvy to, something that took place last Saturday. Only instead of Spider-Man it was the local cops.
The mother pulled out the one picture I was hoping she’d skip. It was the one that got me out of the house and into my car, the reason I was kneeling in this depressing little room.
She asked, “You understand this one?”
I said, “No.”
John gave me a look.
I stood and put on my jacket. “We’ll be in touch.”
John gathered a handful of drawings and asked if he could take them home and scan them. She gave the okay, but didn’t seem satisfied with the whole visit.
“What are you guys gonna do?”
I said, “I don’t know. Nothing. I don’t know. I have your email, we’ll be in touch.”
“Wait,” she said. “I have one more.”
“No. I’m sorry, we-”
Completely against my will, my eyes turned toward the sheet she was holding. I went cold.
John was behind me. He couldn’t see.
“What is it?”
I didn’t answer.
“Dave? What is it?”
I said, “What you said before was bullshit. The fourth dimension and all that. The timelines aren’t set.”
“For us, they aren’t,” John said. “But for Billy, they are. We will make our choices. He simply observes the choices we have made.”
He still could not see the picture. If he could see the picture, he would change his mind.
“I’m getting out of here. Lady, your kid can’t draw the future. He can’t draw shit.”
I pushed past John, into the hallway. I paused in front of Billy’s room. Guitar Hero was still playing, every note nailed. He was staring at me, his back to the TV, his fingers dancing on the plastic guitar. Still not missing a note.
I couldn’t get out of that place fast enough. I burst out of the front door and threw myself in my car. John chased, the bundle of drawings in one hand. My car was speeding from their driveway before John even had his feet inside the door.
We didn’t speak all the way home. I tried to cleanse the final drawing from my mind’s eye, but it was imprinted there, etched into the neurons.
We will make our choices. He simply observes the choices we have made.
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