Sorry about that.
It has been six weeks since I last wrote. I couldn’t write. You see, it’s not every day you realise you are not the person you thought you were. It was a shock. Even now, still, it is difficult to admit. But after deep and painful reflection, as well as five professional counselling sessions, I can face facts: I am the kind of person who reads other people’s diaries.
If you are still reading, thank you. Many, no doubt, have cast this story aside and walked away in disgust. I hold no ill will toward them.
Reading Nils’s diary was not a one-time event, a straying from the moral path in a moment of weakness; it was part of a lifelong pattern. My therapist, Dr Telburn, helped me to see that. I get a kick out of sticking my nose into private business, and I lose empathy and fail to weigh the consequences of my actions. Good lord, if it weren’t for the fear of getting caught, who knows what private matters I would have searched out? How many loved ones’ trust would I have betrayed if had found their diaries? But it’s unhelpful to think about that. Dr Telburn says to avoid hypothetical rabbit holes. He also says I cannot change my past, but I can determine my future. And so, I would like you to know, I have made some changes. I have told my family about my privacy-abusing tendencies and asked for forgiveness and help. And now, if someone informs me that they keep a diary, I let them know that I cannot be trusted around it and ask that they keep it well hidden. I also try to stay away from situations where there is a likelihood of diaries being left lying around. I am not cured, but I am on a journey, a journey for the better.
Anyway, getting back to the story, I began reading the diary I found in Nils’s bag. I am about to share the contents of the diary. This may seem like a huge breach of trust, not to mention a devastating setback to the progress I have made over the last few weeks, but you will later see why it is necessary for me to share this information.
The first page of Nils’s diary read (in breathtaking cursive):
We live in a lie. Are we hallucinating? No. We are actors in a play. Keep the play going. Always acting, wrapping ourselves in the role, blinding ourselves with the plot, letting our lines drown out the backstage noise, deep down fearing the final curtain. If only the play was real. But we have never been able to make it real. I will make it real. I will speak out of turn, off script. I will acknowledge the audience. I will become director, and the actors will stay on stage.
The stage will be truth.
Avoiding death, clinging to life—they cannot make it work. There must be sacrifice. Everyone is in favour of sacrifice until it is their turn. There needs to be a Messiah. That was their mistake every time—trying to do away with Christ. I will be Christ.
They are Adams and Eves, led astray by lies, pretty promises without substance. God’s cruellest trick was making us need him. Credit where credit is due. In denying him we fail. We must oust him. Only God can replace God. Not by taking his throne, but by replicating it. Given the choice, the actors will choose the stage. I Am shall fall to I Will.
I sat on the edge of the bed, the open diary in my lap, and stared at the wall in front of me. Jeez, Nils had great handwriting, but what in the hell was he on about? Diary entries I had read in the past usually addressed personal problems, feelings, secret loves, mundane events, wishes, grievances and lame jokes. This was something else. I turned the page.
“If it saves just one life it is worth it.” Bullsh**. If all road speed limits were lowered to forty kilometres per hour, there would be no more fatal car accidents. How many thousands of lives would that save? We won’t do that though. We like getting places fast.
That was the entirety of the second page entry. Page three read:
People will make all kinds of noise to silence guilt. Take away their guilt and you have them like puppets on a string.
How they are like children. Lull them to sleep or give them something to smash, and they are content. Virtual reality, video games, an everlasting sea of pornography. For others, an enemy to hate and permission to kill. They need remarkably little convincing. It is disappointing in a way.
But there is a bridge to cross to get there. The conscience is hardwired in some. And you have to get the crowd moving first before most will follow it into the unknown.
Then there is resistance. Culling the unwilling is not yet a practical option.
It is inevitable. If not me, then someone else, sometime. The discontent, the longing, the snarling of soon-to-be-unleashed depravity—I breathe it in the air. I expected a long battle, but if the time is right, the old ways may fall easily.
At first, I doubted the conviction of my followers. Not the younger, they are ready, but the older. What did they really want from this? Surely they were just playing for profit. But no, it seems they are just as devoted as the youth. Something has been stirring, ready to erupt, waiting for someone. All who came before me were thieves, deceivers, toying with great ideas but in the end only lining their pockets. But the sheep did not hear them.
Nils had seemed so cool earlier, standing next to his submarine, making jokes with Rory and LaShawn, and including me as well, even though he had just met me. He was confident, but laid back too, you know? What I was reading in this diary didn’t match up. It seemed beyond a typical attempt at the deep and poetic, it seemed… mad. It crossed my mind that this diary contained the sort of stuff crazy people write before they go on a shooting spree. I dismissed the idea, or at least put it in a dark corner of my mind and told it to keep quiet. I turned the page and read on:
Horseracing is full of sh**. Get rid of the gambling and the alcohol, and then see how many people are interested in the fastest horse.
That was an interesting thought, and less disturbing than the diary’s previous ones. I put the book back in the bag and went downstairs for some food.
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