"Investigating graves without the intention of taking anything from them isn't grave robbery."
Nov. 5th, 2008
Upon arriving in the City.
It can take up to ten minutes for the condemned to die in a gas chamber. Potassium cyanide pellets are dropped into a holding tank of sulfuric acid, resulting in the generation of hydrogen cyanide gas. This gas kills via metabolic asphyxiation. Accordingly, the brain is one of the first organs to suffer its effects. Convulsions and hallucinations may precede unconsciousness and death.
Clearly, this is a premortem hallucination.
Dec. 25th, 2008
Justin's first Christmas in the City.
I purchased two gifts for myself today--an orchid (Laelia gouldiana) and a Keats anthology. Without a greenhouse to moderate temperature and humidity, keeping the orchid alive will be a challenge. Neith wants to eat its leaves.
Jan. 2nd, 2009
Reflections after discovering a Rimbaud anthology.
He's the Verlaine to my Rimbaud. Rimbaud gave up writing when he no longer had Verlaine... he was twenty-one.
What do I give up? Society? Humanity? All that is, collectively, considered good? "Good" is nothing more than something the majority has agreed upon... the martyred master-slave mentality. To turn away from society is to embrace freedom, not evil. Freedom stands in opposition to the law of the majority and the abstract notion of good, for it is ultimately selfish and criminal in nature. To be free is to be a criminal... to act without remorse, to take without guilt, to exist purely as an individual.
The ideal. Philosophically speaking, it's appealing. A will to power--a will to gain power at any cost, to ignore laws and norms. Freedom.
Can I be free?
It seemed clear and absolute--perfect. When I planned it with Richard, it seemed beautiful. Plausible. Freedom was ours for the taking... until it was time to act. Am I too human to commit myself to my own philosophy? A free man wouldn't feel betrayal, loneliness... gratitude, affection. Not to this degree. If I were free, I wouldn't work with the police... against crime, freedom, and everything I thought I believed in. I wouldn't worry about what Road's "game" will entail.
Is it possible for philosophy and emotion to oppose each other so completely within a single person?
Jan. 13th, 2009
Thoughts following a family-oriented curse.
Reading about so many families has compelled me to consider my own. Neither of my parents attended my execution; perhaps they were ashamed to have a murderer for a son. My father should have shown. I know my mother was indifferent, but he cared. I thought I could depend on him after the divorce, even though he had moved out of the state.
I was wrong. No one is fully trustworthy, not even the family we choose. Richard was supposed to be loyal. The suicide pact--
Richard betrayed me. First with the ordeal with Lisa, then when he confessed it all to the police. I know what they told him... it's what they told me. They said that only the one who physically killed the woman had to die... the other, if he cooperated, would receive a light sentence. I told them to go to hell. Richard told them everything. Going against the pact was the worst. Coward.
I trusted him, and he was willing to watch me shoot myself.
He betrayed me a fouth time, and now I'm... some kind of pathetic, diminished thing, not even fully human. Everything's gone cold. I don't feel anything when I'm examining a corpse. At the same time, I have no faith in my ability to follow Road and the plan. Maybe I could have, but not after Abby said she loved me--as a younger brother. As family. I want to trust her, and I want her to trust me. I want family. This... unconnectedness? I can't do it, not after realizing my potential with Richard.
I need better liquor.
Jan. 28th, 2009
Following Richard's second betrayal and departure.
Richard's picture is in the Hall of the Missing. It shouldn't matter... he betrayed me, and we didn't talk.
It does, though.
I wonder where he is--where I'll be if I leave the City. I don't know if Richard believed in heaven or hell, but I don't. Do we just disappear if we leave? I was gone for a month or so, but I don't remember where I was. I don't think I was anywhere. Nonexistence. I'm afraid of not existing... I don't want to leave, not now that I have people who care. At least one person.
Maybe nonexistence is better, though. No thinking, no... none of this emptiness. Everything I thought I knew was wrong. I don't know what to do. There's no purpose.
Philosophy's dead. Richard's dead. I'm dead, even if I'm still functioning. I never noticed how cold I am...
Feb. 21st, 2009
After a particularly disturbing curse.
Why do the curses happen? What do the deities want from us?
Is this supposed to be some kind of punishment, or an experiment? Entertainment? You like watching us just... completely lose our minds?
Feb. 24th, 2009
Cursed with wrath.
There is no justice--no fairness, no law that is untainted by the interests of those who enforce it. For those of us who suffer due to the injustices of those in a position of power, fairness can only be delivered by subverting--and eventually overcoming--law and order. If we desire justice, we must take it ourselves.
No. No... it's an endless cycle. Once a new power is in place, it too will manipulate the justice system. Human nature.
We are, by virtue of being human, corrupt. We embrace ignorance, stupidity, and the mutilation of justice; we allow those with power to dictate our lives and rob us of our most basic of freedoms. If justice and righteousness demand it, we will surrender ourselves, our friends, our family, our beliefs--everything--for the sake of a false power. We will murder in the name of law, truth... God.
I murdered for an idea. The idea was law, truth, and dictator. The idea destroyed everything worth having, and I was in turn murdered.
That was the best thing California's justice system has ever done for the world.
The only way to purge the world of unfairness, corruption, lethal ideologies, and hypocrisy is to murder the unfair, the corrupt, the idealists, and the hypocrites. Is there anyone in this City who can say they're entirely innocent?
Mar. 19th, 2009
Life becomes unpleasant, so Justin becomes angsty.
Lan's gone. I don't know why I'm so bothered by his departure. Maybe the last few curses have been to blame. I don't like having my memories made public, particularly when those memories show how weak I am.
Before, when Richard and I were alive, I would have been ashamed. I would have denied my weaknesses publicly as I privately attempted to burn them away. Now... now what? While I'm far from proud of my own human weakness, it's not a source of shame. I don't know what to think about anything anymore, but I feel that weakness is an integral part of the human spirit (using the term 'spirit' loosely). Being human involves more than strength and power and will.
Humanity requires kindness. I don't think I realized that before.
Kindness, in turn, seems to involve a weakness, but it's not one that I want to give up. Although my philosophical ideas have become confused, I'm more certain than ever that I can do something significant with myself--even now, even dead. Even without Richard. I can mean something on my own.
Revelations aside, I'm still unhappy. Loneliness seems to be amplified in the City; it never bothered me this much at home. Maybe I should blame that on Richard, too. He was always around, even when I didn't want him to be. Especially when I didn't want him to be. There's no one like him here. No one who really understands. Road is Road, Abby has all of her friends and Carlos, and Shilo... I don't know. I think she would listen, but I forget what I want to say when I talk to her.
Between the rebellion against the deities and tonight's murder, I hope to be distracted enough to forgo thinking. I would like to spend time with someone tonight, though... I've been alone so often that I almost feel unreal.
I wonder if the dead can disappear. If no one can see or hear us, and no one thinks about us, do we fade?
Apr. 12th, 2009
Easter brings Justin back to life for the first time.
This curse is amazing, even if the event it's commemorating never happened outside of the minds of believers. My heart's beating, my skin's warm, I need to breathe--just amazing. When I was alive before, it was easy to take those things for granted. Now, though... have you ever watched the blood flowing underneath your fingernails? Have you ever tried to hold your breath until you passed out, only to find that your body interferes when you approach the edge of unconsciousness? And I can feel everything! Not numbly, but--
And drinking? Drinking isn't the same when you're dead. I don't know how being dead inside the City affects our physiology, but it makes it more difficult to feel really... really drunk. I didn't notice that until today.
This is the best Easter I can remember. Thank you, Christians. Your beliefs are asinine, but thank you.
Apr. 22nd, 2009
Rain encourages reflection and heavy drinking.
Instead of doing something I should do, I'm thinking. It's a good day for that, with the rain. Other people have been complaining about it on the network, but I like it. I put some of my plants outside to enjoy the weather.
The rain and recent departures keeps making me think of that verse from Comedy of Errors. What I told Abby about her two friends--how people like that are one person instead of two, and one goes where the other goes--cheered her up, I think. I didn't tell her that that kind of unity can be destroyed, leaving behind two half-persons instead of a single one. The line from Shakespeare...
“I to the world am like a drop of water
That in the ocean seeks another drop,
Who, falling there to find his fellow forth,
Unseen, inquisitive, confounds himself.”
Unremarkable, invisible, lost in an ocean of identically unremarkable drops. Some people say you can't be alone when you're surrounded by people, but loneliness seldom fails to be at its worst in a crowd--especially when that crowd obscures you entirely. One drop of water can't be picked out of an ocean.
Richard might have been right when he implied that he was the only one who could pick me out of that ocean. He saw more to me than I could--more than I can, even now--and didn't mind the flaws and shadows. He knew things about me that I doubt I can ever tell Abby or Shilo. We never really talked about them--the things we hid inside ourselves--but we didn't need to. We were transparent to one another, and that's why it was frustrating. It's impossible to lie to someone when they can see your mental workings... find every word in your mind in one look.
Things haven't been that way with anyone else. I doubt that Abby or Shilo truly know me, shadows and all. How can they? They don't have that darkness in them--that potential for evil. Road can see that in me. I'm not afraid of her because she can see what I try to hide, though; I'm afraid because I see the same evil in her. She doesn't mask it, but it's the same thing. I need someone to see and accept that potential for evil, and she's the only one who can.
Last night, someone on the network asked about good and evil. "Do you think that even if you've done bad things, you can be a good person? How do you decide if someone's a good person or a bad person?" I couldn't reply, but I can't stop thinking about it.
Can I be a good person? Can I, in spite of the things I did and the ability I possess to do those things again? Murder was an abstract concept then--an idea, not an evil act. Once I had done it, though, it was real. I know that I am capable of killing, and that's not something that will disappear. Maybe I won't do anything like that again. I don't want to; thinking about choking that woman makes me sick. When I dream about it, I hate myself for doing it--for doing it for Richard to prove that I could follow my own flawed ideology. Sometimes I wish he would have killed me like I killed her. Guilt is crippling. I didn't lie when I said that we needed to pay for what we did.
For what we can do.
I want to think I'm different now--free of dogmatic philosophies, at least--but the fact remains that I can kill. I may kill in the future, under the right circumstances. That evil still exists.
We did pay, though--both of us. I don't know which of us paid the most. If life were fair, I would have died first and Richard would have gone on trial; he was stronger than me. He could exist without me. We were two halves of a single person, but he was the strong half. He would have enjoyed the media circus of the court, and he would have said something pithy prior to his execution. Richard would have fought every inch of the way. All I could do was confess.
Richard's funeral was on a rainy day. I was allowed to attend, although Cassie and the other officer went with me. It was closed-casket... there wasn't much left to Richard after he fell on the rocks. His family glared at me through the whole service. Their lawyer had this story. I was the killer. I lured poor Richard into my scheme, played with his mind, controlled him. His family believed it. I think my mother believed it. Even Lisa might have been convinced by the end of the final court session. He would have hated that. If anything, Richard would have wanted the credit; he would have wanted to be the one in control.
They had it wrong, anyway. Neither of us could be in complete control.
I almost laughed at the funeral. Almost. They made Richard out to be a saint and a helpless victim when he was anything but. I know he would have laughed, if he had been there.
I wonder what my funeral was like--if my dad came back for it, if my mother bothered going. If Lisa went. If no one went. If it was open-casket or closed, if anyone cried, if anyone thought about missing me. If it was raining.
Richard was here when I first came. I was mad at him then. He had talked, he had taken the bullets out of his gun, he had fired the shot at Cassie. I wonder if he hated me for taking the bullet for her. At the time, it seemed like the only way to keep him from making our situation worse; killing someone random is one thing, but murdering a police officer is another. I thought we could surrender. It was cowardly, but it would have put an end to some of the guilt. I don't regret dying--both of us deserved it. I regret the way we died. We were in it together, and we should have died together. We should have at least had a chance to talk.
I can't be mad at him anymore. He was who he was, I was who I was, and we accepted that. It was easy being mad at someone who was present.
On the network, people mourn when their friends return home. I don't understand why, when they'll likely get to see them again. Even if their friends were from other universes, they can at least know that they're happier back home. That's a loss that can be rationalized and overcome. How can the loss of half of myself be rationalized?
It hurts. Pretending I don't miss him hurts. Hiding that potential for evil--it's hard. While I've been in the City, I've built a new Justin--a Justin separate from Richard who can function independently, forgive himself, and escape the suspicion that redemption is little more than wishful thinking. Sometimes I feel like I'm really that person. The philosophies are gone (I'm not reading it much anymore... poetry is easier), that world is gone, the Justin who killed is gone. It's nothing but a lie. A comforting lie, but still a lie. I'm still who I was--I'm still half of a person. Maybe I'm a better half of a person than I was, but that doesn't make me complete. I always was the weaker half.
I should know better than to think, drink, and type at the same time.