Saturnine
rating: +9+x

Editor's Note: Here are some of the documents you wanted to borrow from the exhibition on Post-Collapse Earth. There are more at my estate, but I hope these provide you with some insight. Or solace, perhaps.

sky.png

First entry.

It's hard to keep sane these days. I have seen a great many preserve their sanity on pen and paper. As survival in these wastes requires wit, I will keep these papers, a journal of sorts, to record my encounters, trials, and near-death experiences. It may be trite, but in the event that I meet my untimely demise, these papers will be of use to some future historians, who will no doubt bicker and argue over whatever I write here. I admit this does bring me some satisfaction.

I should give some context to my situation.

My name is… not important. I'm well aware of the dangers of exposing something as valuable as your name to hungry eyes. What is important is how this peculiar world I find myself in came to be. I will attempt to recount what little I know.

Sometime within the last five years, the Earth as I know it began to change. First was the color — across realities, shades and hues began to fade until all was the color of apathy. At first, it was only noticed by a select few. Intellectuals, learned folk. Those who were read on magic and sorcery, among other things. Soon, the public began to take notice. There was panic, sure, but the anticolor soon became the least of everyone's worries. Shortly after, people began to take note of other… oddities. Ghostly figures, strange and terrifying beasts, gods, monsters, angels alike. And like a plague, the world was thrust into a new age — one founded on chaos and disorder.

Beyond this, I know nothing. My memory of the time before is sparse, and with each passing day I recall less and less. Time here is cruel, more so than the monsters. It plays with reality as one would clay. Building it up, only to waste it back to the mud it always was meant to be.

I am no stranger to the otherworldly. But what I've seen has been nothing short of arrant madness.

My goal thus far has been survival, but I can only endure this existence for so long before my mind is worn down like the clay around me. This journal should buy me some time if nothing else.

I shall start with this morning.

I woke up to the sound of birds. I should clarify that I have not gotten much sleep lately. The sky never changes tone, color, or hue, and my body doesn't seem to need it like it once did. Still, I find myself going through the motions from time to time, as if falling asleep would give me an escape from everything. As I slept, something came and cut clean circles out of the walls of the old brick tavern I've been squatting in. Perfect circles, all across the walls. Like swiss cheese. Birds were perched in them, peering down at me.

They were prismatic, made of what looked to be glass, but all warped and melted into the shape of a dove. If anywhere else they may have looked beautiful. It's strange, really, seeing something so pure here. I was expecting them to do something once I stirred — swoop down, eat me alive, turn me into sunflowers and candle wax… but no. It must not have been my time to die.

The overcast gave them a muted, dulled color, almost like stone — I thought they were at first until they squawked and fluttered their fragile wings. After a while of staring, one of them landed by me. I didn't move, not at first. I waited a bit, then I offered it some food I've been holding on to. It quickly turned it into glass before fluttering back up to its kin.

For the first time in a long time, I felt comfortable. Like things were going to be alright. Since the onset of this madness, I've been wandering. Searching. For what, I'm not sure. I tell myself it's so I have a chance at finding my way back to rationality. Ever since I woke to find the stars snuffed under the snow-white clouds I've been wandering blind. At first, I used star charts to navigate. But the clouds forced me to rely on whatever I could scavenge from the ruins of society I would find from time to time. So far, I've been basing my maps off of the remains of a botched blood offering I found in the valley — I figure someone tried to bargain for safe travel elsewhere but couldn't meet the price… whatever happened, it left a charred silhouette of the local mountain ranges in the sand.

I've been tracking something. A town, I believe. It's been moving South for some time now, but I've been following the ruins it leaves in its wake and I think I am gaining on it. If I keep this pace, I should reach it before I become a vegetable.

That's all for now. I left some food for the birds — there's not much left that deserves a good meal.


Distant thunder rolls across this barren land. This place used to be a forest once, one I've visited many times in my youth. Now it's nothing but rocks and dust and rain. With each clap of thunder the skies open, and I'm forced to hide under a boulder or in a cave until it clears — it's tiring, but the water's pure enough to drink.

Sometimes, if the clouds break, you can spot bright celestial phantoms in the inky twilight beyond. Little purple stars that blink in between flashes of yellow and white — I wonder how it can be so dark up there yet so grey down here. What I'd give for a little night to break the monochrome. The only living things here are flocks of little blackbirds. If you can call them living. Not the ones from earlier, these ones melt into the sky if you look at them for too long. They're not as friendly as the prismatic doves. It's quite strange that-

Sorry. A flock of birds flew past. Need to keep moving. I don't want to get caught in the open like this — I've seen their handiwork on the bodies of less fortunate travelers. They don't leave behind much but skin and bone. My limited knowledge in spellcasting has kept me off their scent for the time being, but I fear my skill may not be enough for some of the more unruly folks around.

I think I'll call it here. It's getting — hold on now, I see something. Cresting the mountains ahead of me. I’ll try to get closer.

It's… well, the closest thing I can compare it to is a chimera. It's massive, several hundred meters tall, and… impossibly long. It hurts to look at — it's inconsistent. Or maybe incomplete? Like my mind is trying to fill in the gaps between what's there and what isn't…

I see shapes I recognize inside of it, objects and concepts of familiarity, but also things completely alien to me. Every time I blink, it shifts into something else, equally bizarre and chaotic. One moment, it's a deer, covered in scales and sun. Next, it's a painting of me, staring at myself in the painting. It has symbols painted all over its form, glyphs of some sort, but I can't discern them from this distance. It seems to be speaking in between guttural screeches, but I can scarcely make it out…

"Hark, the VINOMADEFIED draws near … Uhtceare, thou shalt lie awake for fear of what to come! Lambast thy fowl, and thy pheasant shall cover thine eyes … In the well of the frigid vomitorium shall thee find the comfort of this heathen Earth, wicked hens … Fools, there is nothing here but the sins of thy Creator, abandon all hope, abandon all hope…"

It goes on like this for some time.

I see now that the cause of its… visual irregularities is a thick cloud of dark, inky birds — the same from earlier. There must be millions of them, all worked up in a frenzy. Diving in and out of the beast, melting and reforming again… it is rather painful to look at.

I should put this pen away. That beast will not be distracted forever, and I'd rather travel while the birds are occupied. Besides, the rain's picking up again.


Editor's Note: An indeterminate number of pages have been lost due to water damage and chronal phasing.


Something peculiar happened to me as I wandered this morning.

I saw a man. Not like the one by the polished stone, this one wasn't a time-eater. He laid at the foot of a great oak on a small wooden stool. The branches of the tree sheltered him from the steady sleet, though I do not know how. It barely had anything left on it, its branches long since twisted and gnarled by the ripping wind. The man, however, appeared about as normal as one could be here. In his hands, he held a great CELLO. Its bronze, polished wood was pure — a beacon amongst the black and greys around me. He was playing something, although it wasn't anything I'd call music. As if he was both conductor and orchestra, warming up before a great concert of one. He stared off towards the horizon while he tuned. Staring at what, I could not tell. Something told me not to think about it too much.

For a while, I watched him from the vantage of the shrubbery. The music was leaving my mind fast — it sounded slippery. I knew, somehow, that those sounds weren't meant for me. Almost as if the man knew I was eavesdropping.

I should have left. I should have. After all I've seen. But I couldn't bring myself to — the sounds were intoxicating. I had almost forgotten what music was like, it had been so long. Carefully, and without making a sound for fear of breaking his concentration, I approached the musician.

He said nothing of my presence, only motioning to a small stool etched into one of the oak's great roots. I took a seat and turned my attention back towards the man. He continued to stare, past my shoulder and somewhere beyond. I dared not follow his gaze. My focus was on the instrument.

After a while, he spoke.

"Traveller."

I stared and said nothing, unable to form a sentence. It occurred to me how long it's been since I've heard a voice that wasn't my own.

He spoke again. "You are a traveler, are you not?"

I stammered.

"Y- yes, just passing through. I heard your CELLO," something buzzed at the back of my mind when I said that. "It's beautiful. I thought I ought to sit awhile."

He nodded and looked down.

"I see. Been a while since I've seen a wanderer such as yourself."

"How…"

He laughed.

"The way you speak. It's deliberate. You know the danger of talking with strangers, it seems."

I worried I said too much already.

"My name's Rafael. Yours?"

I hesitated.

"Samuel," I lied.

Rafael smiled. The buzz at the back of my mind was back. Rafael started to say something but was stopped by a howling wind. A sharp chill shot through the valley like a thunderbolt, and the sleet picked up. A few drops breached the oak's impossible branches and landed on my faded canvas jacket. Rafael adjusted his coat and straightened his posture. His smile melted into a frown.

"Today is cold. I'm sure you have many a warm fire to attend to. Allow me to play you something before you go."

He readied his CELLO, and the world around me darkened. The buzzing was overwhelming now — I couldn't think, couldn't see anything beyond the man and the blinding thing he held in his arms. He leaned forward in anticipation. I realized he was waiting for my command, my desperate plea. His hands trembled, and the CELLO drooled. In my desperation, I shouted, "Warmth! Something warm, please."

The CELLO smiled.

I was assaulted on all sides by the most beautiful sounds of the universe. To describe how it felt would be impossible. It was as if the sky and the earth had opened, wide enough to allow coils of crude emotion to pierce my soul, sharpen into spears, then pull it taunt. Each droplet of rain that landed on my cheek felt like a thousand as I laid there, unable to move or breathe or think as the sweet melodious beast ate me alive.

I felt no pain. No discomfort. Only the most unrefined, savage euphoria I have ever felt.

The harder the symphonic tendrils pulled, the wider the gashes in space ripped. Slowly, I caught glimpses of something beyond, something ancient and hungry. A pitch-black maw circled by bronze. Spirals and spirals and spirals and spirals of needle-thin hairs… I screamed. My very conscious kicked and bit at the warmth that pulled me upwards. I heaved against the melody — I felt the seams of my sanity begin to fray. With all my might I wrought myself free from the sweet sound — and landed on the cold, wet mud.

I opened my eyes. Around me, in the shade of the oak, lay dozens of black, broken bodies, hunched over in their chairs of wood. Charred and withered and smiling. I crawled to my feet and turned towards the base of the tree. Rafael sat on his stool, staring somewhere off into the grey sky. The thing in his hands buzzed contently. As I turned to leave, I dared not meet his gaze.

That was several hours ago. Since then my skin has begun to feel weird. Flakey, like chalk. I'm lucky to be alive, but I think I left some part of me back with Rafael. I feel my sanity slipping more and more. It's harder to keep the ground beneath me solid.

If my maps are accurate, I should reach town tomorrow. If it still exists.


Editor's Note: This page of the collection was found heavily damaged via metaphysical deterioration. As such, only the following can be safely displayed.

It's gone. All of it. I was a fool for still believing.

crater3.png

God, I need a drink.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License