for disappearing so suddenly after having raised your readers' expectations
of a fast turn-around in my correspondence with you, but I'm afraid
the hiatus could not be avoided. Indeed, in future such breaks are
likely to occur more and more frequently and your readers must simply
be patient. Reading and cataloguing Drakenswode's vast and somewhat
chaotic library of journals and notebooks takes time and cannot
proceed at the sort of furious pace that the internet has trained
us to expect. I simply cannot do it. I have a life beyond these
papers -- a domestic and emotional life under serious threat of
fracture and various economic necessities that must inevitably take
me away from the task. Add to that the more significant fact that,
for me, reality has taken a turn into darkly fantastic territory,
and you will understand why I am shaken, deeply afraid and unable
to complete more academic tasks with any reasonable consistency.
this occasion, the delay might have been avoided if I had been more
circumspect. The fact is, shortly after posting you the missive
of June 1, I received an odd hand-written note that caused me to
depart "Cryptonia" at once on a journey that only a fool
would have undertaken. But fool I am, and I left at once in an unthinking,
emotional state. I have scanned the note into digital medium and
include it here:
you possibly imagine how thoroughly this communication shook my
equanimity? "D"? "my story"? Was this
person claiming to be Drakenswode? How could it be him? My great-grandfather
was well-and-truly in his grave!
even so, the idea made me pause. I doubted... oh, yes, I doubted
strongly. But so undermined was my system of belief, my acceptance
of the "normal", that some small part of my mind asked,
"What if it is him?" The code at the bottom provided the
clinching argument. I recognised it as being similar to a cataloguing
code used by Drakenswode in his records. Following it took some
time, and lead me to areas of the hidden library I had not yet investigated
-- but find it I did. The document in question was not a journal
as such, but a single hand-written sheet, thus:
was staggered by the implications even before I'd had a chance to
think them through. The paper was in an old envelope, stamped and
post-marked "Glasgow 30 June 1923". A coincidence? Yet
the paper itself looked new, of exactly the same type as the previous
note I'd received. Both appeared to have been torn from a spiral-bound
shorthand notebook. How could that be?
didn't know and could not at that moment conceive that the writer
could be other than my great-grandfather, however impossible it
might have seemed.
what did "Meet me at Tempus" mean? I used Google and soon
found that "Tempus" was the name of a cafe in Glasgow.
There was no option now. I left by car immediately.
writing to you now from an internet café in London - and
let me assure you, I won't be here long. Someone, or something,
is tracking me, and if I linger after you post my message to your
website, I know they will find me with almost supernatural dispatch.
What they might do then, I can only speculate -- and it is not a
speculation I am eager to undertake.
past week has been filled with mystery and danger and I feel lucky
to have survived intact, or as intact as such unnatural events will
allow. I don't even know how much of what happened is "true".
The events I will recount to you are too bizarre -- and too deadly
in implication. Of one thing only I am certain: disaster has struck!
My last message to you was sent from a hotel in which I'd stopped
off on my way back to Hampshire. Sending you that message had been
a whimsy of disheartened ennui, a way to pass the time. As you guessed
I did sleep subsequent to sending it -- though not at the keyboard!
I simply felt weary of a sudden and so hit the SEND button, then
went off to bed, little realising what was awaiting me. Next morning
I continued my journey home, intending to finish the story once
I got there. What I found left me stunned and dismayed, and forbad
any such possibility.
I turned into the lane leading up to Cryptonbury, I'd known something
was wrong. It was approaching dusk and police lights were flashing
in the distance. I pulled over to check out what was happening,
suddenly afraid that I was in renewed danger. Now I could pick out
rescue vehicles, fire trucks, figures moving about amongst still-smoking
ruins, searching the rubble. There was little left beyond some of
the stronger foundation structures. My heart sank. Drakenswode's
house had been totally destroyed! What was left was a devastation
of broken trees, crushed walls, burnt and shattered brickwork. The
earth surrounding the house had been trampled and mangled; even
from this distance in poor light I could see vast and unsettling
indentations trodden into the ground.
me, sir!" came a voice from behind me, "May I ask if you
have a reason for being here?"
was one of the local constables. I recognised him, though I didn't
know his name. His sudden appearance had startled me and it took
me a moment to recover.
apologise, sir," he remarked, coldly eying my reaction, "but
as you can see there has been some trouble."
whom I was, at which point he squinted closely at my face and nodded
"Mr Ormsham, yes, I see it now," he said.
been away," I explained, "In Glasgow. What's happened?"
shrugged. "Hard to say, sir. The gov'nor will be glad to see
you, though. We feared you was in the house when it happened."
declined to explain further and instead directed me to follow him.
I left my car where it was and we walked in silence the short distance
to what remained of Drakenswode's house. My legs felt weak and my
heart empty. I had to marshal significant reserves of willpower
just to trudge along that laneway. Even at some distance from the
ruin, shards of shattered masonry and a scattering of rubble were
strewn across the ground. I stepped over a splintered fragment of
roof beam, skirted around the remains of a seared chimney cap, dodged
a crushed window frame I recognised as belonging to the room where
I'd been sleeping. Around me, trees had been broken off at their
base -- large, old trees -- trodden into the grass and mud as though
they were no more than reeds. Some had been pulled out by the roots.
It was an appalling sight.
the smell! The ruins reeked of a foul, unnatural odour, the stench
of ancient, unfathomable decay. Authorities are still unable to
identify its source.
is only now, several days later, that I have been able to harness
the clarity of thought and emotional strength to attempt communication
with you. The devastated rubble that had been Cryptonia, seen up
close, drained me of strength, so that the following hours of interrogation
and earnest officialdom became a blur, a further trial to be gotten
through and one readily forgotten. Later, at the main police station
in Hampshire town, police were able to confirm my movements; luckily
I had stayed in reputable hotels whose staff could provide exact
times of arrival and departure. I answered endless questions, filled
out forms, made some desultory remarks to local reporters. None
of it mattered. It became clear that the authorities knew nothing
of the truth. "Must've been a meteor or sumpthin'?" was
all they said.
the time I was wondering: had Drakenswode's subterranean archive
come through the attack? At that time it was impossible for me to
investigate. Nothing had been said to me about the possibility and
I felt wary of mentioning it. What if the strange enemies who threatened
me in Glasgow didn't know about the archive and where it was located?
For all intents and purposes, Drakenswode's journals had been housed
in his study, on Cryptonia's second storey. No one except myself
had been able to enter that room, let alone descend into the earth
beneath the house. Council plans of the house did not show that
chthonian lair; I suspected that there was an assumption that everything
had been destroyed and no one had thought to dig deeper to see what
might be there. If I said nothing, would they assume that their
task had been completed?
of course, that couldn't be the case. My enemy knew of Drakenswode's
archive -- I had inadvertantly made sure of that by recounting the
history of my discovery of it, a story which is even now available
to all on your website. My enemy, whoever they were, had obviously
read this account; that is why the attack had been perpetrated.
They wanted to silence me -- and through me, Drakenswode -- and
had destroyed the house to do so. How they managed it, I cannot
say. Evidence points to
dare I say it? ... a creature of
vast proportion, summoned God-knows-how by powers I cannot understand.
Could that really be the case? At any rate, surely those responsible
would have ensured that the underground library had been destroyed?
the end, I mentioned the existence of the library to the police;
it seemed best. They looked at me askance. At my own expense I brought
in bulldozers and drilling rigs, but nothing was found. There remained
no evidence that the place had ever existed. I think they considered
me to be certifiably mad and readily dismissed my assurances to
I now believe is that my great-grandfather was prepared for this
eventuality and had built protective measures into its very structure.
No one would be able to enter it, even were they able to locate
it -- I knew that already. But this went further. You see, I believe
it has been moved elsewhere -- perhaps it has always
been elsewhere. I cannot explain better than that right now. Only
by finding me and somehow extracting the secret from my genetic
structure can those responsible keep the truth hidden forever. And
I do not propose to let that happen.
will my enemy stop me from sending you the material from Drakenswode's
journals that I promised. You see, I had already moved large amounts
of it, surreptitiously, long before the attack on Cryptonbury. Not
all of it, of course. But enough. You will understand if I refrain
from indicating where it is. Suffice it to say that it is safe.
Indeed, I have arranged matters in such a way that, even should
they succeed in finding me, the material will still be released
to the world. Of course, I would prefer to survive and so plan to
remain in hiding. I will return to New Zealand, where I will seek
reconciliation with my wife and try to prove to her that our lives
are in danger. Hopefully she will go into exile with me. If not,
we will be forced to part for good. Her safety must be uppermost,
and it would be best if she therefore knew nothing of my whereabouts
nor of Drakenswode's legacy.
there exists a connection between my trip to Glasgow in search of
Drakenswode himself and the attack upon Cryptonbury I have little
doubt. I will spend what time I can manage before my departure completing
the story of that fateful trip, though I fear that at the end of
it you will no more understand what is going on than I do myself.
I apologise for that. This is no fiction, and tidy narrative structure
is not a part of it; reality has a habit of being messy and inconclusive.