The 616 Diaries: Entry 35 by Kevin Kauffmann
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November 28, 2019


Can’t linger. Lingered too much. Losing self…losing too much.


But made it… somehow. Drugged… too much… see Hell everywhere now. Not Hell, doesn’t look like memories, but still, feels, like a pit. The dark swarming in on me.


Still swarming, must keep moving, but have to finish this post. If I don’t make it, can’t make it… the next… then this has to be last record. People, the orphans, they need to know, someone needs to know. Can’t… can’t just fade into obscurity, can’t let them win.


All fallen apart, now, nothing left for me, Ray, Räum, any version of me or him. This is the last and on the run, done… done something unforgiveable.


Day started early, before others wake, saw something at 6:16, saw a flash of what I needed. Made me think, the bomb from the vision, it needed to be set, someone needed to set it off. Amin wasn’t good enough to do on his own, I know that now. Saw the vision so I would know, so that I would see the necessity.


Found the blueprints, found the empty shell through Amin’s records. Spent all morning reading, planning, trying to find a way to keep myself from dying. Found the record of the bomb he set up, more than one planned, but he didn’t have enough time. There was just the one in a duct vent on the 13th floor. Phone number attached to it, to make it go, realized that I might be able to use it to my advantage. Luckily, they had replaced my phone, but they would know it’s me if the bomb goes off. They’ll know, they know now, that I called the number. Will have to, might already.


Chuckled to myself when I found it, but had to gulp down fear. Knew what would happen today, what I’d be forced to see.


In preparation, took small bag with laptop to work today. Took flash drive, too, since I knew I couldn’t go back to dorms. Found way to Zodiac Office and Baum made sure yesterday’s threat got carried out. They gave me four doses. Four! Three too many, for sure. Not lucidity; just chaos now. They put me under, made me this way, can’t think straight, tangents coming this way and that, barely keeping the thread of the story together. Know this is terrible writing just… can’t… can’t help that. Write like I talk, how the muddled thoughts come out of me. Sprayed liberally onto screen, watching the cursor follow through the nascent mental slugs of my brain.


Not worst part. Can’t think well, but had to see things… had to see… awful things come to pass.


Tried to read, couldn’t. Too much Lucidity. Even a few words into a scene and would see terrors, yawning monsters with gnashing teeth, fire rising from cracks in the street. It all comes down now, see everything happen, see everything THEY want to happen. Apocalypse everywhere, that’s what they want, that’s what the scenes show me. Can’t know where it comes from, but have to assume from the Order. Things that bad have to come from bad guys.


Every time, Baum looked at me with interest, saw the eyes turn to slits and stay that way. Never turned back. Wanted to run, scream, feel something else, but world changed around me. World became like the deep dark I saw in the vision; when Fennsler showed his true self. Crawling madness comes after, swarms through brain, itchy, swelling fingers rolling through my grey matter. Can’t focus, hands shaking now, then, might never stop. Don’t know what brain damage I have, if world will ever return to light, but in the darkness now.


Knew I had to do something, had to get out. Couldn’t read the last scene with them so close, needed to take book with me and know the truth alone. Had to separate them, had to make sure the prison lost its guards. Had to follow through and make the visions happen as I saw them. Couldn’t betray Räum, couldn’t betray myself then. Nope nope, had to shake head, couldn’t separate my actions and my thoughts from the persona I tried to cultivate, wanted to make sure disguise was still up when Baum left.


When I had a chance, brought out my phone. Dumb phone, touch screen but no internet. That’s all fine, didn’t need that. Needed to phone number, so… hit speed dial I set up before. Knew I wouldn’t be able to remember specific numbers when they finally drugged me. Had to plan ahead to stay ahead, had to be smart so I could be dumb so I could be smart.


Stupid stupid stupid, never know what I’m getting into. Should have played so much smarter.


Felt it. Felt the vibrations running through the ground, shaking bookcases, flickering power, even. Didn’t say anything as it happened, as Baum shared a look with Fennsler, as I saw emotions flowing around them. In the deep dark, with meat walls and breathing lungs for inanimate objects, seemed even worse. Felt the serpent of him, the sly slinking he wanted to do, could feel the cold appraisal and the sensing of vibration. Still seemed human, though; left with just a nod.


Stayed in seat as he left, waited for the elevator to chime. Knew what would happen, how much time I had. Doesn’t take long before Baum is on the other floor looking at lab fire, til conversation with Samir and Teresa. Knew that alarm had to go off, knew I was likely the culprit.


Didn’t know how, though. Just knew next vision.


Watched Fennsler. He didn’t seem to be moving, even looking at me, but could see the energy. Lucidity kills conversation, but could see so much more. Saw his shape drifting out of skin, knew what hid behind the shell. Could see the tentacles, could see he was taking in sensory information from everything. That was Fennsler’s secret. That was why he always read gossip; was always misdirection.


Took my chance after a few seconds, knew didn’t have time to really play safe. Gather the fire in palm underneath desk, waited for it to reach breaking point. Then jumped up, didn’t say anything because didn’t want to give warning, threw the fire at fat man. Didn’t even look at effect, just noticed the green fire splash against seal suit and char fabric and then grabbed book, held close to chest. Slung my bag over my shoulder and had all intentions to run out and away from tentacle monster about to chase me.


Was about to run out of room when felt distinct feeling, had to stay, had to live out the prophecy. Lifted head slowly and watched as black man turned into slimy, gross demon. Watched as tentacles formed from amassing energy, watch skin pucker and expand, bubble, viscous fluid bursting and popping out of orifices.


Said something? Can’t tell anymore, definitely couldn’t then. Transformation took eloquence from the imposter human. Rolled out purple tongue, saliva and mucus dripping everywhere, but then started chasing, flopping after me like in the vision.


Had to run then, knew was part of the future at that point. Knew that it all came down to next moments; wish I had read next sequence and knew what to do. Lost in that moment, as I sprinted to the elevator. Slammed hand into button, as demon world grew and pulsed around me. Almost gave up hope, surprised by Fennsler rolling into wall even though I knew it was gonna happen.


Came after, clambered and jumped at me. Booger and spitball and octopus all rolled into one. Was scared, didn’t know what would happen, but let left hand drop down to side. Felt calm, tried to force calm, let the power surge out. Didn’t know what would happen, but Fennsler was three feet away when finally mustered the courage to throw arm out and across my body.


Green knives came out, like in the vision, but recognized they weren’t blades. Not knives, talons; huge claws from crow. Am Räum, certain, had to be from him, but what they were not really matter to Fennsler. When talons hit skin, separated with no effort. Eviscerated creature with one blow, cut in half.


Body still hit me, hard, but was able to push away and crawl out from under, backpack awkwardly hanging from shoulder when making attempt to stand. Fennsler gasped there, blood poured out of mouth, kept staring ahead at wall and twitching. Five of eight tentacles were lopped off, thrashing about on own. Had to stare, look down at demon cut in half, almost looked away when black eyes found my own.


“How… how did you do that?” it asked, but couldn’t give real answer. Didn’t feel like I owed it to him. This did not feel like true brother, like family; thing felt like abomination rather than demon. When it lashed out with remaining limbs, didn’t feel bad about what happened next.


Held out palm and let the fire pour out, saw it consume Fennsler’s body. Knew his true name was Forneus; didn’t feel like respecting him. Didn’t feel like it was his real name; thought I should spit on him.


Fire didn’t stop it. Screamed, rolled around, new, smaller tentacles tried to form and I knew from movies that it might come back stronger. Formed talons again and threw into creature’s heart. Stabbed twice, not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. Figured suction would keep blades in, but then, probably made of fire. However, still breathed, so cut off its head, threw fireball that slammed into wall and made crater.


Corpse stopped moving after that.


Was about to fall down onto knees, look at blood and try to handle self, but then heard the alarm, remembered what was at stake. Baum was talking with others, but would head this way soon. Had to leave right then if I was gonna have chance.


Elevator opened right after moment of clarity, so threw myself in. Bruised side and shoulder by falling too hard, but couldn’t focus on that. Hard enough to focus… hard enough to focus as is. Slapped button for ground floor, waited for it to rise. Was getting real anxious, knew Baum wouldn’t take long to reach elevator, but tried to hope.


Hope came once elevator started to move and number on display counted down. Was nice for a bit.


Then without noticing, elevator opened up on 13th floor and doors creaked. Opened my eyes in time see Baum make eye contact with me, pupils already slits.


Cursed, couldn’t contain myself, and Baum was already changing as I frantically hit the close button with free hand. Once torso extended I stopped trying; focused on attack sure to come. A long arm snaked into gap of closing doors, but fell back to corner and panicked, threw arm across body and closed my eyes. Heard a thump, thought was about to die, but then snarl came to ears.


Opened my eyes and saw partially-human arm lying on floor.


Surprised, I looked ahead and saw… rage. Baum was there, panting, holding end of arm just beyond ever-diminishing gap between rusty, metal doors. Could see his hate, felt it, knew he’d rather see me dead than know prophecies. Knew that if I saw him again, he’d kill me no hesitation.


Was grateful when doors closed and elevator started to rise.


Breathed sigh of relief as I made escape. Thought it might be the end… thought it… thought I had chance. Thought it was much, much easier than I thought… knew to be true. Knew there was other thing to happen, knew it couldn’t be easy.


Elevator stopped on third floor. Seemed like emergency stop, but convenient timing. At first despaired, thought would never leave, never see home, never see sky, but found confidence. Found desire to live. Clutching book closer to chest, used talons to rip through doorway. Much easier than should be, like cutting butter, took no time to get into hallway.


Didn’t know what to do after that, though. Hope flew away just as easily as it came, don’t know if ever feel it again, don’t know… can’t feel… everything I know is wrong. Or right. Just… confused. Too much happening, too much drugs in system, more than human can handle. Only thing keeping me going, demon inside me. Might be only reason is that no human left, Räum is me, I am Räum. Human side just dormant; perhaps doesn’t exist anymore.


Just a thought, but one can’t fight.


Started down hallway, limping, don’t know why. Fennsler/Forneus responsible? Don’t know, can’t be Baum, didn’t have enough time. Running out of time, knew it, could see chances of life dwindling, smaller each second. Didn’t think there was staircase, experimental building, but emergency elevator? Didn’t know, but couldn’t give up, no matter how much I wanted to.


Was halfway down the hall, turned corner, saw door at the end that looked like elevator. Couldn’t tell for sure, Lucidity makes walls live and die, ever-changing places, but soon became background issue.


Priority was the snake demon man who burst out of the floor behind me. Had to run, but knew wouldn’t be nearly as fast as Baum.


Started running anyway, but was just an act. Wanted him to expose himself, think he had me on ropes. When I could hear him slithering up, closer than should have, I turned around and tried… felt like sweeping a cloak. Thought if I pulled enough, could create a wall Baum wouldn’t go through.


Gesture worked, wall of flame roared in front of me, but didn’t stop Baum. Demon tore through fire and slammed into my chest. Sent me flying into doors at the end of the hallway; felt ribs creak, two crack. Lucky my laptop wasn’t broken by impact; fell down to crook of elbow before I slammed into wall. After that breathing became difficult, seeing hard, sprinklers started because the fire I made.


Couldn’t focus on pain, though. Knew I had to get up, had to keep fighting. Forced eyes open, looked at where I had left Baum. Snake man still recovering for some reason, but then I realized that fire affected him. Leapt through anyway to hurt me, but hurt badly. Could see scales falling off skin, smoke curling away from burnt tissue.


Was about to finish him off, didn’t want murderer coming after me, but could only manage to stand by pushing up and against the doors behind me. Thought was stable, but then they moved on me and I fell backward. Panic flooded senses, brought me out of fog from Lucidity—funny, that—and tried to scoot back. Frantically looked around and saw another elevator bay. Excited, smiled, even, but then remembered the demon in the hallway.


Baum had propped himself up on his elbow at that point. Could see blood pooling beneath him from where I chopped off his arm, but then saw something intimidating. Shoved stump into my fire and cauterized wound.


Couldn’t fight that. Couldn’t fight something that determined. Kicked at ground level button and waited, panted as Baum tried to stand. Saw him turn to look at me, saw the malice in reptile eyes.


But could also see the failure. Elevator closed before he could get closer, but saw the promise. Both knew he would not kill me today, but we both… I know… he won’t stop coming after me. Entire way out of MedCorps, thought he would catch up. On last floor, as I made my way past cargo, human employees, annoying Shirl who smiled at me even though crazed, blood-covered and holding evil book, thought Baum would catch up to me at every point.


Baum didn’t catch up. Was outside, almost free, when the voice came from behind me.


“Ray, stop,” woman’s voice, but didn’t have to guess. Knew I would see Teresa; knew she would be the last to try.


“Can’t… stay,” struggled to say. Words hard now, almost impossible then. Turned to face her, kept book close to chest. Didn’t make talons or fire, but was ready. Out of periphery, tried to find escape, car, truck, bike, anything, but didn’t see much. Only thing I could count on was me.


“I know you feel that way, sweetie, I know, but you can’t leave. You’re needed here,” she said, but I had to laugh. Shook head, probably too much; drugs affecting movement. Enough to make ribs hurt and make spasm.


“Needed for end of world. Needed… for fight I don’t want. Needed for others, not needed for me,” I tried to explain, but no eloquence. Knew she would understand, would get point across, but cursed self for weakness anyway.


“Goddamnit, they fried you,” she muttered, sighing before trying again. “You’ll be fine, Ray, the drugs will get out of your system soon. I’m really sorry they did this to you. We’ll get other handlers,” she proposed, tried to approach with every word, but I backed away, shook head, held book even tighter no matter the pain.


“Don’t want handlers. Don’t need creatures… demons trying to kill me,” I spat out, the muscles along side of face twitching and making me seem crazy I AM NOT CRAZY. Not like that, still know right from wrong. Just looked back at her, hate but not for her. “Killed one. Forneus.


“You… you killed Forneus?” she asked, lifting hand to mouth in shock, realized that she didn’t think I was capable. Wanted to laugh at her, show her the mistake, but then I saw the pain stay there on her face. Couldn’t… couldn’t reconcile it.


“Had to. Was coming… to kill me. Just like Baum. Baum… still alive… but hurt him,” I said, my voice more violent as I thought about it. Still scared, but anger, hatred, went both ways; Baum betrayed me, too. Smiled as I looked back at her. “Took his arm.”


“I… saw that,” Teresa said, looking down as she hugged herself with tiny arms. Seemed… cold, alone. “Forneus, he was… brash. He was good at his job, but he shouldn’t have tried to… contain you.”


“Contain!” I shouted, the strength of word enough to stress muscles around broken ribs, forced me to double over and pant before looking back at woman. “Shouldn’t contain. I am a demon… the demon you want. More powerful than you think; not human…”


“Ray…” she muttered, could see… could see the care in her eyes. Something about her… off, fake, but not the feeling. Wearing a mask, but can’t hide, couldn’t hide everything. Still don’t know where she stands, even now.


“You knew. You knew I’m not human. I’m the crow, Räum, you knew. Why do you know? What… are you… to know?” I asked, thinking that, now, here, at the end of it, when she was about to kill me or something worse, that she might… might give resolution. Let me know truth.


“I can’t tell you, Ray. Not when you’re like this. Not when you’re about to leave with those prophecies. It’s too dangerous,” she said, calmly, though… seemed unwilling. Still looked at me like… like… don’t know. “But you’re not Räum.”


“What? Yes… yes I am. Saw everything. Saw life! Saw the lives of other seers!” I shouted, unable to feel the pain in chest. Even waved book around, forgot to keep it safe, but Teresa did not move. Just shook her head, looked at me like poor child.


“You saw what was left of him, sweetie. Räum… what’s left of him in this world… the greater part of him was swallowed up a… a long time ago,” she said, looking away and thinking of past. Must have known him, don’t know how. Until conversation, thought she was demon, but… not certain.


Didn’t stop me. Didn’t change. Just looked at me with… understanding?


Shouldn’t be surprising. Teresa was always the one who I felt any connection with. Doesn’t matter how dangerous she is, could be.


“How do you know? What are you?” I repeated questions, even forced grammar. Needed straight answer, needed to know what I am to her.


“Only a handful of people know, Ray, and you’re not going to be one of them. I can only tell you the truth about yourself,” she said before clasping hands together. “I can tell you everything else; about why you see his life, about why you feel like him. I’m sure you’ve figured out a lot of it, but knowing… knowing is more satisfying than guessing.”


“Then tell me,” I said, almost growled it, but Teresa shook head.


“I will,” she said, ultimatum following, “but you need to come back with me into the building. I need time to explain and we need to return the book to the Zodiac Office.”


“Not going to happen,” I said as pulled book in and clutched to chest like before. At that point, Teresa stepped forward, put out hand to seem friendly.


“Please, Ray, it’s very important. If we’re going to help—”


“Won’t help!” I shouted, backing away, shook head, felt terrible headache coming. Waved arm in front of me to ward off her hand. Tried not to hit smooth skin, but had to keep her away. “Wrong side! Have to keep it from you! Have to keep timeline intact!”


“What about the timeline, Ray? What do you need to keep from me?” she asked, and almost answered her. Was about to spit out fears when realized that it was manipulation, that it was all just tricks. Saw her in different light, even though truth of it is murky when looking back.


“Can’t,” I said, breathing in shallow because of broken ribs. Looked up and realized what I had to do, felt the rightness of it. “Won’t.”


“Honey,” she tried, but stopped listening. Stood up, felt the warmth on my back, knew I would be fine.


“Not your honey. Not your friend,” I said, letting the warmth pour out of me, felt it solidifying into tissue and creating a connection. Looked up at sky, noticed it was shattered glass reflecting fire. Not Hell, just what imagination tore out of me, what I get to see of dark future I’m trying to stop. All made sense in that moment. Once truth was known, I looked back down at the woman with golden hair.


“Not your family,” I taunted, knew it would hurt, but pain on Teresa’s face was just a bonus. Felt the wings spread out behind me, push me into the air. Would have been excited, would have liked to watch more, learn more, but mind escaped me. Blacked out and didn’t get to see the end.


Came to two states away, only things with me my bag. Just laptop and flash drive from Amin. Don’t know how I got there, how I was able to fly; definitely don’t know how laptop got out without breaking. Most important, though, don’t know how many powers left to discover, if there are more.


I just… I just know I got out of there. Death coming at any moment, but had to write this down. Had to upload it to server. If I die, someone has to know the story, has to know what’s coming. Can’t try to save humanity and take half-measures. Have to know that I might be sacrifice in coming war, conflict, whatever this is.


I’ll read further. Time now, privacy now. I’ll… I’ll make it worth it.


To family, to people, to Amin. House of Orphans could help; maybe stop the demons.


Will post when I know more. Maybe when Lucidity… maybe when it’s out of my system.


Have to rest. Exhausted. Mental strain, trying to write like this, don’t know… having trouble… fading most of the time.


Will have to try again later.


Hopefully a later.


-R



END OF ENTRY

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Is this the last we here from Ray? One last entry tomorrow, but who knows where it came from.