REVENANT V

And would it help me?


What, speaking the truth?


Knowing the answer. Understanding everything that’s happened to me in

in however long I’ve been here. The gardener, the branches growing out of me, the sickness, my double … all of it.


God, I’m so fucking hungry.


Even if it all made sense, would it help me?


No, Farrow. It wouldn’t.






Are you all right?


You know, I think I knew that. It’s just funny, almost, watching you spell it out like that. I don’t think you’ve ever given me such a straight answer.


Some sense of clarity has been returning to me throughout our correspondence.


Your memories?


I do not have amnesia. In this place where I am, I see … I do not experience causality. What was, what is, and what could have been are indistinguishable from one another. I don't even know if the stories I have told you are true. Perhaps they are only what I wished to happen, not what actually came to pass.


I’m sure I was alive once. At least, I must have existed in some capacity, for here I speak to you. Descartes is correct, yes? Cogito ergo sum. But my very thoughts are limited in their scope. What sort of man was I? Was I even a man? Did I want to be what I was, or did such a life dissatisfy me?

What am I now? If I think on it for too long, I feel myself fracturing, and I must desist. Otherwise, I fear I may vanish into nothing.


I am afraid, if nothing else.


I wish you were a ghost or a vampire or something with, like, rules. Folklore. So I could figure out how to help you.


I

           You want to help me?


Even if it made sense, would it help me?


No, Farrow. It wouldn’t.





Are you all right?


You know, I think I knew that. It’s just funny, almost, watching you spell it out like that. I don’t think you’ve ever given me such a straight answer.


Some sense of clarity has been returning to me throughout our correspondence.


Your memories?


I do not have amnesia. In this place where I am, I see … I do not experience causality. What was, what is, and what could have been are indistinguishable from one another.


You see what could have been.


All the different tracks a moment can take. Have you ever come within an inch of death? Do you ever feel as if you have passed the moment when you should have died, like walking along a cliff where you could trip at any moment? What little trivialities can decide our lives.


You must excuse my morbidity. What about things which, in the larger picture, are insignificant? Have you said something, and then thought about what you might have said differently? How the moment might have unfolded, if you had used different words or a different tone?


I was trapped in a crawlspace for a whole day when I was ten.


I think you told me. No … you wrote it down, and I … witnessed. That was the first true thought I had before we spoke. My first thought, of the me I am now, was how terrible that must have been for you. How lonely.


I would have liked to be your friend, Farrow, there in the dark. I was a lonely child, too.


Even if it made sense, would it help me?


No, Farrow. It wouldn’t.






Are you all right?


You know, I think I knew that. It’s just funny, almost, watching you spell it out like that. I don’t think you’ve ever given me such a straight answer.


Some sense of clarity has been returning to me throughout our correspondence.


Your memories?


I do not have amnesia. In this place where I am, I see … I do not experience causalit

Castile.


Yes?


Let me help you.


You can’t. And I cannot help you.


You said you didn’t like what you were remembering. Before I keep reading Jackdaw’s journal, I want you to tell me what it is. I don’t care if I don’t have the context.


Are you sure?


Even if it made sense, would it help me?


No, Farrow. It wouldn’t.

Are you all rig


Stop it. You can’t keep restarting a moment, Castile. Eventually you have to just let it run.


I



               cant


Are you afraid?


That it will come back to haunt me.


Me too. If I could keep starting over and over again, I probably would. You know, I read a lot when I was a kid. Fantasy, mostly. I wanted to believe there was something more, you know? Like what I had wasn’t all there was. I always got so upset when the kids had to go back to the real world at the end of the book. Why couldn’t they stay, I wondered. Why couldn’t I?


I don’t want to make you stay.


I don’t think I have a choice.




You said you were feeling clearer now. So tell me. Do your best to give me a straight answer. If I try to leave the house, will anything come after me now that the gardener is gone?


Do you want anything to come after you?


To be honest, I don’t want to leave you behind.


That is kind of you.


If I left, could I bring you with me? Get you out of this house?


I want to stay with you, Farrow. In fact, I think my continued existence depends upon it. My corpse rots inside the walls of this house, but I am not attached to it. I think I am closer to a memory than a ghost, but maybe not even that.


Does your doppelganger still beckon you?


You know he does. He’s been standing at the edge of the woods for days. Just waiting. After everything that I’ve read I’m damn sick of doubles and doppelgangers but

                  And shit, I hate to admit this

I want to follow him. I want to see what the hell it is he wants to show me in the woods.








You haven’t replied for a few minutes. What are you thinking?


I am thinking you should stay here. Don’t follow him.


Don’t.


Why? If I stay here, I’ll die. I haven’t eaten, Castile.


Would you wade willingly into the sea, and drown, to assuage your hunger?


The fuck are you talking about?


The woods and the sea are the same. Out there you will certainly drown.


I can’t deal with your metaphors. There’s a road. It goes back to White Oak.


Not anymore.


Goddamn it Castile I am fucking begging you to say just one thing that makes sense


Fine.


Here are two things, since I’m feeling generous.


First: You will not find anything in the woods that will help you. Your doppelganger is a lure, and I promise that behind him is a hook. The woods are hungry. Hungrier than you. And like the sea, they have a current.


If you go into the woods, you will never see your family again. Does that make enough sense for you?


What’s the second thing?


This is your last chance not to hear it.


Fucking. Tell me.


You do not need to eat here. You will not starve, and you will not die. Not here. You are in the secret part of the estate, sinking ever deeper to the place where I reside. It keeps the woods from claiming you. It keeps the branches from growing out your eyes and through your heart. It is protection. But it also blurs the lines of continuity.


You were trapped in a crawlspace when you were ten because you were fleeing an even more uncertain fate. Things could have gone so differently. What if they had taken you? What if you had simply gone inside when you first felt a hint of danger?


What if your mother had never found you?


Stop.


What if you never left? What if even now your corpse rots inside the walls of your childhood home? What makes you certain, Farrow, that you ever escaped the crawlspace?




Farrow?





Farrow, what are you doing?


Where are you going?


Farrow.








Farrow.


Benjamin, come back. Don’t go, don’


Don’t go into the woods






Don’t go





Don’t go.