Changeling I: A Letter found in Benjamin Farrow's Glovebox

 

If anyone is reading this, my death was not an accident.

 

Stay out of the woods. Stay off the estate. To whatever poor soul may find this note upon accepting a recently vacant servant position, or upon arriving at the house as a guest of Crowley Madigan - I implore you turn on your heel and leave. Pray you are still able to leave.

 

There is an evil in the soil that reaches and grasps and seeps up through the feet of anyone who treads upon it. Even now it settles in my stomach, spreads through my extremities and sets my hand to trembling as I write. Do not search. Do not look. There is no mystery to solve here, no secret to uncover. There is only hunger and sick, clutching truth. Knowledge which poisons as surely as that which cast Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

 

It vomits from me. It twists and curdles and beats within me as a second pulse. I cannot contain it. I must contain it. I will contain it.

 

It was not that the Tree contained Knowledge of Good and Evil. It was that the Knowledge itself was evil, and once released it spread as a plague across mankind. Perhaps that is blasphemy. I shall write it anyway and blaspheme further: there is no truth, no secret, no grand divinity, and all mankind is only a feast for the heavens.

 

Do you feel it creeping from my hand? Do you feel the rage seeping into the ink, my rage, my memory staining the page?

 

Run. Pray that you still can. If you know of what I speak, if you have seen it, then it is already too late for you. Take your knowledge and succumb.

 

Castile will send the gardener to me. I know what happens next. I have seen her as my sister saw her, blindfolded and gasping, the deep notches in her arms and sides and the slicks of red and splintered white scattered in the wake of her final staggering steps.

 

I do not fear her, as my sister did. I love her. I know her. I embrace her.

 

Come to me, Alethe. Let us finish this together.

In German folklore, every person has a spiritual “double” that is identical to them, but invisible. I think it was Johann Paul Richter who coined the word “doppelgänger,” which means “double walker,” or something like that.

 

Quinn hasn’t been getting my emails. I’m certain of that now. The things she has been sending me don’t match up with what I’ve been sending her. Either what she’s receiving is different from what I’m sending, or it isn’t Quinn replying at all.

 

When I woke up this morning (turns out you can sleep anywhere if you’re tired enough, even in a damp car), this letter was in my glove compartment. It’s about a hundred years old, from the look of the paper.

 

I’m a light sleeper, and not only was my car locked the whole night, but I keep my glove compartment locked too because I keep my passport and wallet in there. My car keys were in my pocket. Whatever put this note in my glove compartment went to a lot of trouble.