The 616 Diaries: Entry 17 by Kevin Kauffmann
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October 6th, 2019

I’m really starting to worry about what I found from the Ars Goetia, and that’s only made worse because I haven’t seen 616 in five days.

Five whole days, and it feels like my world is turning upside-down.

What if this was the major clue? What if the Ars Goetia was the next step in my madness, and I’m just standing here not moving forward? I have some sort of connection to Raüm—especially since Ravenseer has Amon—but now I’m starting to doubt that. I’m really starting to doubt that Ravenseer is who he says he is, or if he’s independent or working for someone.

Without 616 to guide me, I really do think I’m going down the wrong path.

Ravenseer’s tried to chat with me a couple times since my last entry, but I’ve become very scared of interacting with him. Even though he’s supposed to be my buddy in the trenches, it just feels more and more that he’s hiding something very important from me. I mean, how does he have the skill to get into all those databases and records? If he’s just an enthusiast, how can he have these dreams and how can he know so much? I just don’t know who he is and for him to be on the same road as me, I feel like I should know him better. By intuition, instinct, something, I should feel like he’s some sort of brother.

But it really does feel like he’s just wearing a mask.

It doesn’t even matter how many times he says our connection is secure or how people can’t be reading our conversations, I still feel like there is something watching over my shoulder. With one wrong move, one moment of hesitation, I might be dead on my feet.

My problem, as of now, is that I don’t know what the next move is. Am I supposed to keep working with Ravenseer, keep exposing the conspiracy, explore our dreams together and take hallucinogens in order to fully realize our truth? Or am I supposed to realize that he’s wrong, he’s a fake, that he’s taking me down the wrong road and I should head back out on my own?

Or, in a touch of the absurd, should I try to rebuild my life?

I know; that one is too far gone, but I still wish for it sometimes. I still wish that I could return to those halcyon days where I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with my life, when I could waste away the afternoon playing video games or cuddling up with the girlfriend. Even now—weeks removed from it—I still miss Renee even though I’m the one who broke us up. Many times throughout the day I wish she was still here, and I wonder how she’s feeling now. I wonder if she just remembers me as the crazy boyfriend yet, or if she is still worried about me and wants me to get better.

And fuck it all, I miss Andrew, too. I miss him ragging on me, beating me at multiplayer, getting all angry when it was my turn to win, or getting annoyed when I’m taking too long doing something he’s already done in the game. I even miss how he blew smoke in my face when I was trying to stay clean, just to be a dick about it.

I think that’s why my first trip with Clarity ended up being all about them.

Not about them as in I saw Renee and Andrew as they were; it was actually just a conversation between Andrew and I and it took the place of one of my demonic dreams, depriving me of another night trying to learn the ins and outs of Hell.

It must be surprising, hearing that I had taken Clarity after how I talked about all that stuff in the last post. It was surprising to me, too, especially when I was trying to find it. It wasn’t very difficult at all—apparently people use it for all kinds of stuff, schoolwork, projects, etc., so dealers always have it in supply—and I still had some solid connections through friends in college. Even though some of them knew what had happened between me and everyone else, a couple of them were so ecstatic that I was returning to drugs that they didn’t even care. My old roommate, Gary, offered to buy the first batch for me, but I told him that there wasn’t any chance of that and he didn’t put up much of a fight. Within a day of trying, I had my hands on enough Clarity for three “trips.”

Because Clarity doesn’t really offer the standard trip. You’re supposed to take it an hour or so before you start doing whatever it is you want the drug to affect, and then it’s like you’re seeing the whole thing from an enhanced perspective. You see everything, every detail, how things work; it’s like your brain is working twenty times as hard and you jump up 60 IQ points. You even see connections you wouldn’t normally, things you couldn’t possibly figure out in a normal state. That’s why it has so much appeal; you can apply it to almost anything, you just have to double-check your work afterward. Writers and students are the key demographic, but Gary says that he knows plenty of people who use it for real-person jobs, too.

And while I could see it being useful if I ever need to go to the corkboard again, I mostly made the purchase because I wanted to see what it would do if I tried to dream immediately after taking it. I didn’t have much hope for it, honestly—especially since I would need to take a sleeping pill just to be asleep when it took effect—but I wanted to see if there would be any changes. I wanted to see if Ravenseer was telling the truth or if he was just lying. Because if he was like me, it should only make sense that I would experience the same kind of effect.

I still don’t know if he was lying, but I know that Clarity doesn’t work that way for me.

All I saw was Andrew in my house, sitting down at my kitchen table and looking ragged as Hell. Whatever has been happening to me—whatever kind of havoc I’ve been doing to my hygiene and what’s left of my body—it seems that Andrew had been undergoing something very similar. Looked very shaken-up—gaunt, even—and desperate. At first it was just small talk, agonizing small talk, but eventually he looked at me with glassy eyes and tried to deny his defeat.

“Give it up, Ray,” he pleaded in my dream, and I didn’t know how to react. Part of me wanted to give up, to retreat back to how we had been, but I’m so far gone, now. In the dream, I looked down to see that I wasn’t chubby anymore, and only then did I realize how little I’ve been eating lately. While I still have some fat on me, now, it’s really only a matter of time before I catch up to dream Andrew and I. However, my dream self did not seem to care too much about losing weight.

“I can’t,” the other me said, my eyelids half-closed because it was just too much effort to keep them open. It was odd, watching the two of us talk like that. Half the time I would be an observer and floating about the room, but half the time I would be hiding behind my own eyes. Both states seemed natural to me—seemed like how it was supposed to be—but that doesn’t stop me from thinking it’s weird now that I’m looking back at it all. The blue tinge returned in this dream, but it was not nearly as strong as the last time I had noticed. It was just a faint tweak to the world, not enough to distract me from the conversation my dream self was having.

“Renee wants you back,” Andrew said, and that’s what caught my attention and held it. I didn’t give a shit about how the dream looked anymore, or how I was snapping back and forth from first to third-person perspective. I just cared what he had to say.

“She wants a different me back,” I replied, and it surprised me. Not only because it was new and unexpected, but because it felt absolutely right. If this conversation occurred like this, this is exactly how the new me would react. Although I wasn’t seeing demons and Hell, Clarity seemed to be doing a good job figuring me out.

“She doesn’t care who you are now,” Andrew said, worrying the bridge of his nose. “I don’t think you realize it, Ray, but she does love you, and it goes way beyond what you’re passionate about or what you do with your life. It’s something deep; something no one, including you, can understand. You guys have a connection, one she does not want to give up; she just can’t be around you when you’re hurting yourself like this,” Andrew explained, and it weirded me out how much it sounded like him.

Yeah, this was all from my brain, so it’s how I would expect him to act, but I don’t have that good of an imagination. I’ve only recently figured out that I can string a sentence or two together, and I fail with words more often than not. Yet here he was, Dream Andrew, and he was arguing for me to stop destroying myself just like he would in reality. However, that wasn’t the part that really got to me.

What got to me was how my dream self was acting.

“She’s not supposed to be around me,” I said, my words sounding sluggish as they fell out of my mouth. I had turned away to look out the window, but I don’t know why. The blinds were shut like they always are, since I can’t really stand sunlight anymore. When I turned back to Andrew, I gave him the slightest of shrugs. “She was in my life a lot longer than she was supposed to be.”

“What the fuck are you talking about, man?” Andrew asked, almost whining he was so frustrated, and he started massaging his forehead with the fingers of his right hand. “You guys gave me hope! You guys made me feel like happy endings do happen. What are you even talking about when you say supposed to? This wasn’t preordained, Ray; this is just you losing your mind a little bit, cracking because life isn’t what it’s supposed to be.”

“I’m cracking, Andrew, but it’s not because I’m having some sort of midlife crisis,” I said, turning to look behind my spectral self. It was weird, having my dream self looking at me like that, but it got even more strange when he seemed to make eye contact with me and continued. “I see now with clarity.”

That was enough to really spook me. It really did look like he was talking to me, like my dream self was conscious of something I was not, but I put it down to suggestion. For me to see this happen is totally explainable. I mean, I just took a hallucinogen; my perspective is totally fucked and unreliable at that point.

But then they kept talking.

“Clarity… that’s fucking bullshit, Ray,” Andrew said, frowning and gritting his teeth as he looked away from my dream avatar. “You see a number because you want to see a number. You see conspiracies because you want to see conspiracies. It’s not clarity, Ray; it’s delusion. After these last few months, it’s going to seem reasonable and beyond doubt, because you made it that way. The shadows all look like monsters if all you do is tell yourself scary stories.”

“They’re not scary stories, Andrew. Most of the time, the stories seem more pleasant, more… accommodating,” my dream self replied, causing my best friend to look back at him and make eye contact. “Sometimes I wish I really was part of them, even though it just feels like it for now.”

“God, Ray, you wish you were part of them? How are you not hearing what you’re saying? You realize that stuff is all Crazy 101, right?” he asked, actually causing my dream self to laugh.

“Yeah, I know. And I’m not even going to try to convince you I’m not crazy,” I said, my perspectives merging for the moment as I said the word. “I’m definitely crazy, it just doesn’t stop me from being right.”

“Are you kiddi—”

“It doesn’t look like I’m right, Andrew; I know that, but I also know why. I know all the reasons why this is happening now, what’s going to happen… I just can’t tell you. It’s not that I don’t think you can handle it, or that you’re going to think it’s all absurd since you’re going to think it’s absurd,” I talked over him, even though my tone was calm and quiet. Somehow I was able to command the room with that tone, even if it felt subdued. When I was pulled back out of my dream self and was able to see my face, I understood why.

I saw, and dream Andrew saw, that there was just no argument to make. That man was certain of everything he believed.

“It just doesn’t matter,” I continued, looking at the table between us. “What you think about it, what Renee thinks about it, what my parents think about it… it’s all inconsequential. It doesn’t change the reality of the situation. Fortunately, you don’t need to know; you don’t need to have this burden. I’m glad you don’t. Really. Half the time I wish I don’t.”

“You don’t have to, Ray,” Andrew said, leaning forward as if he was about to reach across the table, but he stopped before doing so. I think it was a combination of the tone, how I was sitting—the atmosphere, maybe—so he sat back and leaned on his elbows. “No one has to have this burden. Just give it up. Go back to Renee; beg for the job back. I bet Jim would take you as long as it looked like you had recovered. Maybe… maybe some time in an institu—”

“It’s not going to happen, Andrew,” I interrupted, and I really did expect my dream self to cry with all of that emotional turmoil, but he was practically stone. He just sighed before using his index finger to worry the surface of the kitchen table. It took me a moment to realize that he was drawing 616 over and over.

“Why not, Ray? It’s really simple. Why can’t you just start over and go back to the way things were? I just don’t get it; I really don’t. I’ve known you for decades, but it’s like I’ve lost track of who you are or how you think,” Andrew said, and that’s when my dream self actually started crying and looked back at him. No noise or sniffles came with the tear that fell down his right cheek, but he wasn’t the stone I thought he was.

“I’m not the same guy anymore, Andrew. I still care about all of you, but it doesn’t make a difference. This is my life now, and this is how it has to be. I already knew this conversation would happen, how every line of it would happen, and I already know how it ends. I let this happen for a reason,” I said, and my dream self fucked with me again by looking straight at me. It was unnerving for a whole lot of reasons, but it was mostly just foreboding. My dream self only broke that eye contact once Andrew slammed the table and stole his attention.

Again, that’s bullshit, Ray. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. You could give this up, take down that conspiracy theory net you got going in the garage, clean up the house, shave, drive over to Renee’s house and I know for a fucking fact that she’d spend the night wrapped around you. The only thing stopping that from happening is the fact that you’re so goddamned determined to be insane!” he shouted, standing up, but he found no opponent in my dream self. It frustrated him—that much was obvious—and he gave voice to that resentment with his next question. “I mean, Ray do you really know what you’re giving up with her?”

“Yes, I know exactly what I’m giving up,” my dream version said, and I was just as entranced as the representation of my best friend. I had to know what he/I was going to say next, and I was hanging on every word as he/I continued. “I know that I’m giving up the love of my life, my happiness. I’m giving up my potential to find joy in this life ever again.”

“Then why?” Andrew begged for an answer, and my doppleganger was merciful enough to provide him one.

“It’s the sacrifice I’m willing to make,” he said, and I should not have been surprised to find him looking back at me. It shook me to my core, resonated with my soul—or lack of one—and I knew that it was truth. It was how I honestly felt about it.

Even though it was not the hellish dream I had wanted, I had been provided clarity.

And that’s when I woke up.

At first I thought I had been denied what I had wanted—that I had not received the depth and darkness I had been seeking—but I realized very quickly that I needed to have that dream. Without it, I would have continued to doubt myself, continued to panic that I hadn’t seen 616 in days, to feel like I’m on the wrong path. That dream had cemented my resolve, turned me from a frantic, frenetic mess into a determined, disorganized mess.

It was a just a step, but a step in the right direction.

That wasn’t the only development, though. I had thought that my experimentation with a potent drug made by the company I had been investigating would have been enough, but once I was awake, I decided to check my email.

I’m just compulsive about stuff like that.

While there were the numerous spam emails and ads I was used to—even another chat request from Ravenseer—there was only one email that I actually clicked on. Of course, it was because there was a 616 in the subject line, but I was still half-asleep and just thought it was another something related to the 616 forum I frequent now.

That was not the case this time. The source of the message was unknown—somehow blocked out on my end—and the body of the email only brought paranoia with it. Because this wasn’t just some random email about 616 or providing a link to another set of findings, this email was informed and personal. Whoever had written it, they knew my name, my username, my blog, and the fact that 616 had brought back my dreams.

The problem—what made me so absolutely paranoid—was that they knew parts of the dreams I had not mentioned to anyone. And I’m not just talking about the ones that were mundane, or had some sort of normal background for dreams.

I’m saying that they knew intimate details about my visions of Hell, of the Devil, and they gave me names to demons I had only seen. They knew about sightings of 616 I had not bothered to share or even write down, when they happened. Either they’re watching me, or I have a really predictable mind and they’re messing with me—not beyond the realm of possibilities—but I really fucking doubt it.

And as frightening as all that is… the weirdest part? The weirdest part is that they offered me a job. I don’t know what the job is—they want to talk to me about that part—but there was a whole different part of it that made it even more incredible. The job? It’s based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

I’ll give you one guess what the area code is up there.

I know I should be scared, and part of me is, but the other, insane half feels… ready.

I just really wish I knew what it was ready for.



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