Guys and girls, we sit here now reading my 150th post on this blog. A journey that started back in October 2010 with a short post along the lines of ‘there will be something meaningful here soon’, growing to include the occasional 3000 word essay, film review and anything I feel like ranting about in an intelligent manner.
Along the way there have been breaks – had I been writing at my normal pace the whole time then we’d have long since passed this landmark. I have otherwise tried to consistently update, even when my schedule should not allow it. Even when I am writing for other blogs at the same time, such as my stint doing film reviews for Portsmouth Film Society for the first six months of this year (read them here). I recently had to stop those due to getting a new job, which, you guessed it, is also a writing position!
Those breaks are rarely scheduled, but I recently discovered how useful they are. My writing always ends up benefitting from it; by taking a break I’m allowed more time to read, or focus my writing elsewhere, or just generally increase my knowledge in other areas of life. So this time, I’m scheduling a break from blogging, effective immediately and picking up again around September. Part of the reason for that is how busy I am in the new job, which I’d like to give most of my attention to for the near future.
Now, this isn’t to say I won’t be posting anything here during my time away. I have some old video game and film reviews that I may upload weekly, just to let everyone know I’m still alive. In the meantime you could also use this opportunity to check out the archives and read some of my old material. I think you’ll find there’s some curious stuff back there –
Graeme fell. Momentarily disorientated, he got up and observed his surroundings. He was on the outskirts of a dense jungle. Darkness radiated from its depths. Large vines fell from treetops. A heavy atmosphere hung in the air, while the sounds of what was presumably the jungle’s ecosystem would have sent shivers up the spine of any other individual.
But Graeme was frozen. Disorientation had turned to fearful realization as he spun to glimpse the neon light shining on his left side, the jungle beckoning on the right. He was back.
Moments later, he was entering the jungle for a second time in recent memory. You may ask why he would do this, rather than just run. Well, one does not simply run when they find themselves called to Disturbia’s signature jungle. It has a magnetic pull. Despite its foreboding ambiance, the undiscovered depths had an appealing mystery that could not be discovered by those unwilling to tread there. Then when your time was finished, Disturbia would decide that you could go free. Graeme knew all of this because he had been here before, once not so long ago.
Back then, just when he had been close to breakthrough, the jungle had unceremoniously ejected him and placed the thought in mind that perhaps it was all a simple nightmare; a trick of the subconscious. No need to worry when you’re back in the ‘real world’ – out of sight, out of mind, as some other former visitors would say. He’d never really believed them. So now he would brave the dark swamps and high vines once again, to find out the true secrets of Disturbia’s legend. What was it hiding?
Two days, a lot of indigestion and frequent diarrhea later, Graeme slumped over a tree stump, no closer to any sort of goal and frustrated by the lack of good nutrition on offer. His energy was sapped by the jungle’s powerful humidity. What anyone wouldn’t give for a cold beer at times like this; just one, to take the edge off.
Rustling from nearby bushes caught his attention. As he slowly dragged a nearly comatose body upwards, he looked up in time to see something large and white disappearing behind an even larger tree. A weird sensation came over him. There had been something familiar about that… creature. But surely it couldn’t be…? Reinvigorated, he gave chase.
On and on he ran, increasingly certain that the creature, which had moments ago been spying on him from metres away, was in fact the great yeti he had once known. They had a fine rivalry back in the day. Everything was simple back then. But their lives had been manipulated by another… a devious goblin who had used them in his plan for world domination while hiding out in Graeme’s attic.
Eventually Graeme reached a ravine, upon which Josephine was waiting for him.
Graeme could scarcely believe that, for the first time, he had found a friendly face in this place. Not that Josephine the yeti was a totally friendly face. She had once took over the world, wiped out most of humanity with a deadly virus, and personally hunted Graeme with the intention of brutally killing him, after all. Right now, though, she was the closest thing he had to a friendly face.
Josephine nodded, “yes, me.”
Not one to break character easily, she leapt at Graeme with such intensity that one would think her intention was for ripping him apart to see if his body parts provided better nutrition than the local flora and fauna, which were admittedly lacking. Thankfully for us all, in the face of the jungle’s energy-sapping nature, Graeme’s reflexes were still second to none. He dodged the attack, but would refuse to strike back. They would end up in stalemate, having no choice but to go and live happily ever after in their own little cottage on top of a mountain (at least in Graeme’s mind).
As the yeti came around for another attack, the pair were interrupted by a loud explosion coming from the south. They looked at each other. Only once before had they been on the same side; the day they had been separated, seemingly forever. The day Graeme had chosen never to speak about to anyone. The day Loki had been set free to wreak havoc on the universe – and it had been their fault.
“Listen”, Graeme said, “you once fought to protect me when it seemed someone other than you had a chance to kill me. Stand alongside me again today, because I can guarantee you that this dreaded outcome is once again a possibility.”
Josephine appeared to consider the offer. And as she did, Graeme caught sight of something else out of the corner of his eye. Suddenly, he knew that today was going to have a different outcome than any other day in Disturbia. Because observing them from nearby, was Loki.
Three years ago, Loki was found hiding out in Graeme’s attic. He had been exiled from his tribe, a group of forest-dwelling goblins that had existed from the time of Ancient Egypt. Gifted with telepathic abilities, Loki had proven himself a mischievous figure, and he apparently found Graeme to be a fascinating test subject. But it seemed now, that his interest stretched beyond that.
Graeme paused and considered his current predicament. Numerous questions were going through his head. What was Loki doing here in Disturbia? Was it merely coincidence, or was there a more poignant link between them? Did he know the secrets of this place? Was he at least wearing cologne? When such a multitude of questions went through one’s mind, there was only one thing to be done: stand and think about them while the dramatic tension builds.
Yetis had no questions. They only had instincts to kill. So it was with glee that Josephine found her opportunity to strike unscathed. Graeme never saw it coming. A blow to the head turned his world black.
“Finally, we can talk without interruption.”
Awaking to find Loki standing over him, Graeme felt relief at still being alive. Something was different, though. His surroundings were shrouded in darkness. Was he somewhere else?
“Where am I?” he asked. “Disturbia kicked me out again?”
“In a manner of speaking,” replied Loki. “Though I think it had more to do with me… Last time I followed you in, it took a great deal for him to get me off your scent. This time I came up with a different plan. The yeti has once again proved quite useful.”
“Him? Are you saying Disturbia is controlled by some kind of… person?” Graeme had started trying to piece together the random sequence of events that had periodically affected him over the past few years.
“That is only how I refer to it. To others it may appear as something very different…” Loki’s features took on an unfamiliar nostalgic, grim tone. “We once found it a fascinating area for great meditation, my friends and I. But it is all consuming. Not long after my banishment, our tribes were lost to its pull. All of them, gone.”
“That’s… terrible,” Graeme almost felt sorry for him, but knew better than to lower his guard. “It certainly seems to have some unique qualities. What does any of this have to do with me, though?”
Loki uttered an impatient tut. “What, you can’t sit still for two minutes to hear my story without thinking of yourself?
Many years ago I warned them that it was dangerous. When they didn’t heed me, I decided to undertake my own investigation, tracing its origins to a certain being who was even more devious than myself.
He tricked my brothers, using their own curiosity to turn them against me. It led to me being banished, and the door separating this universe from theirs was locked to me for a long time. I knew that only with his destruction could I return, and I thought perhaps his death was also the key to locking down that place forever. You helped with that part, once I had won you over, though the effects were not as I had anticipated.
Disturbia’s influence only grew. It was a process that had been set in motion already and did not need its originator to gain in momentum. By the time I had returned to my own dimension, it seemed all was lost.”
Against his better judgment, Graeme was rapt by Loki’s tragic story. Disturbia was as sinister a place as he could have imagined. Yet he had sensed a slight hope in Loki’s tone – a hope that hinted at a way to defeat this evil, if indeed its mesmeric environment could be described as such. Graeme suspected that he could have a part to play in all of this. Otherwise why would they be having this conversation?
“You said it ‘seemed’ all was lost. So you think there is something we can yet do to stop it? A way to discover Disturbia’s secrets?”
“The desire to discover its secrets is what led to the downfall of my race. Nevertheless, you are right. To beat it, one must dare to venture towards their own destruction, knowing what could be awaiting them. Alas, it can not be me…”
“… why not?”
“I am not foolish enough to repeat the mistakes of my brothers. We goblins, we have a certain… susceptibleness to the magnetic pull of Disturbia’s core. If it was to take a hold of me, it may gain my persuasive abilities. Once it does that, it may become unstoppable.”
“So you want to use me to do your dirty work? Why should I? You’ve spent all this time stalking me, and for what? What makes me so special any way?” Graeme’s questions came bursting out in a flurry of frustration. He would not risk the loss of his precious life without knowing there was a reason for everything.
“Special? No, there’s been a misunderstanding here.” A wry smile crossed Loki’s lips, spanning half of his face. “You’re just some random guy I happened to pick for the job. In fact you were the first person I spotted upon coming into this world and I couldn’t be bothered looking for someone else. The portal was in your attic, after all.
There is no grandiose reasoning, regardless of how much you crave it. There are only the facts. Look at them for the truth you seek. I can give you much more than the mere speculation you’d be content with. I’ll provide you with revelation about the darkness, found lurking within its depths.”
He is convincing in a complicated kind of way, Graeme thought. Very well. He was willing to go along with whatever was going on here, if only to stop Loki speaking in code.
After quickly planning out a route on the nearest map, they came up with backup plans, hunting techniques, and sarcastic one-liners to throw at the natives. Stocked the first aid kit. Bought a machete ‘for protection’. With the essentials sorted and ready to go, they took a vacation to the Himalayas, reminiscing about old times. Loki even summoned Josephine again, so as not to make the trip feel too gay and awkward.
However, when all was said and done, there was business to attend to. After a final briefing, Graeme was to set out on a new quest of discovery that would take him further than he’d ever gone before. One could even say, where no man had gone before. His first task was to find an old friend of Loki’s; an individual who had ancient power and knowledge. It would be prudent to have him on the right side for what was to come.
Graeme looked down at the piece of paper on which the individual’s name (if you could call it that) was written. He found it curious because it was only one letter: ‘Q’.
TO BE CONTINUED.