The Journal of Markus Livingston
March 20, 1877
I do not know exactly how to put into words my current predicament. I suspect that this journal may never be read by a living soul and that indeed I may never have the chance to it’s survival nor my own.
I awoke today in a place that was not my own. It’s a place seemingly out of time and sense; like a dream that I cannot awaken from. I know that it cannot be a dream because I am terrified yet have not awoken. Perhaps I am dead and this is hell.
I do not know for sure what events have transpired. In fact, I do not know much of anything anymore besides the painfully obvious; I am utterly alone. Perhaps if I start at the beginning, seeing the words will provide some small clarity to me. I will attempt to do so now.
Yesterday, I awoke to the smell of bacon and eggs the same as every day I can recall. I ate, and then attended to the daily duties a farmer must attend to. The day was not remarkably unlike another… in fact it almost seemed to be more dreadfully plain than most. After I had finished the day’s chores, I attended supper with Amy and the kids. After supper, the kids washed themselves and were sent to bed, after which I layed down next to Amy. After reading a few chapters of a book, she presented me with a kiss and went to sleep.
It occurs to me now that I did not fall asleep immediately as I usually do. Upon further reflection I have a daunting memory of some sort of turmoil beyond my inability to sleep that night. There was a light. A flash of light. Blue like the night sky after sunset. I suspected lightning at first, so I approached the window to have a look-see. There was no lightning and no thunder… but the light persisted.
Then a voice, or perhaps a feeling called to me, beckoning me towards it. I was afraid at first, but intrigue got the better of me and I felt compelled to get closer. I opened the window and the light filled the room, wrapping me in its’ wispy, otherworldly tendrils. Then I felt myself begin to slip away into unconsciousness. When I awoke I found that the world I had been in before was now closed to me.
I found myself in a new place… whether a twisted version of the world I know or a new one entirely I cannot possibly say. I am alone, and there has been no sign of any other person here except for me. The initial shock of waking not in my bed, but in what I can only describe as some kind of forest took some time to come to terms with, but once that had passed and I realized that this was no dream world, I began to explore.
This place I am in, this “forest”... is unlike anything I have ever seen nor could ever imagine. It is defined by large, dark tree-like plants that extend into the sky for many dozens of yards. They would remind me of great Redwood trees, had they been black and diseased. Although they are entirely alien to me, it seems as though they should not be like this. As a farmer, I am familiar with several varieties of plants and know a healthy, thriving crop when I see one. This is not one such crop. Why they do not flourish in seemingly fertile soil is a mystery to me.
I can hear sounds from beyond my sight, the sounds of creatures stirring in these woods. I do not recognize any of the calls that they make, which adds further weight to my fear that I have stumbled into a place where I should not be. As the night set in I began to feel a sense of urgency tugging at me, prompting me to move and find some sort of shelter, water, and food.
As I stumbled through the woods, lost, scared and confused, to my utter disbelief I came across a small, ragged shelter, abused by the ravages of time. As I approached it, I could see a skeletal hand protruding from within. The thought of another person having been here before me gave me some small hope, so I entered the shelter, hoping to learn what I could from this unfortunate soul, my first companion in this strange place. But as I entered, my heart sank - for there were more than just a single skeleton inside. There were a dozen or so, all clad in clothing several centuries apart. An English merchant, a Spanish Conquistador, a Roman soldier, a Native American, an Ancient Egyptian, and one dressed in an animal pelt. All had died here, trapped like myself… and all had carved their names into the bark of the tree upon which the shelter rested which, at the bottom, read;
THIS IS THE OUTER WORLD. MAY THE NEXT YOU ENTER BE MORE FORGIVING.