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The Deaths of Ametrine Gauvreau

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Written Journal Entry
7th of July, 2159 CE
Saturday - 14:43 PST

        My name is Ametrine Gauvreau.

        I don't even know what to write here.

        I have been trapped in this place for a week now. Everything here is iron and wax. The walls, the floor, the ceiling, the chairs, the tables, everything. The air smells dead and the cold light hurts my eyes. There are other people here, with strange, iron creatures with them. The creatures speak, and are treated like servants, or pets. They The people here do not seem to be alarmed by this situation. They seem to be alarmed by me. When I ask to be allowed outside they tell me I cannot go, they say we are deep underground and that everything outside is poisoned. They say I should already know this.

        I think Hazydae has sent me to Hell. I do not know why. When I ask about the gods, the people here say they do not understand. They look at me as though I have lost my mind. Perhaps I have.

 


 

Written Journal Entry
9th of July, 2159 CE
Monday - 05 : 02 PST

        I am going to start over.

        My name is Ametrine Gauvreau. I am told that I am fourteen years old. There is a man here who claims to be my father but I do not recognize him. I feel bad, because I can see that he is genuinely worried and heartbroken when he sees me. He seems nice. But he is not my father. His face is wrong and his name is wrong.

        There is another man here, named Doctor Grant. He is a caretaker for the sick. Other people show up here with coughs, or fevers, or cuts, and he takes care of them. All of the other visitors to his ward give me strange looks. I have been in this room under Doctor Grant's supervision for a week now. He says I had a "psychotic break". I don't know what that means. (I know how to spell it only because I saw him write it down.) He says I was sick with a fever, and that I had bad dreams and hallucinations, and that I am "back" now.

        This seems backwards to me.

        My name is Ametrine Gauvreau. My father's name is Tonne and my mother's name was Melita. I have three sisters - Abigail and Allison, who are twins, and Ashe. I am from a town called Rowentop. We were driven out when I was eight years old due to a political dispute. My family and a few others established a new town called Prenton. As an adult I was a forest keeper, and a school teacher. The last thing I remember is that I was twenty-three years old, and on my deathbed due to a wasting disease. I remember all of this, as sharp as daylight.

        But this place I am in now, this patchwork of cold iron tunnels, is the part that feels like a fever dream. There is a nagging sensation that I have been here before, that I have met these people before. But anyone I try to imagine, their face is blurry and unrecognizable in my mind, and their names on the tip of my tongue but unable to be spoken aloud. The doctor says that once I am well enough I can move back downstairs, to the rooms of the man I am told is my father. I can almost picture the room if I try, but I cannot remember how to get there. Everything about this place is like trying to remember a dream I just woke up from.

        And yet, the cold lanterns in the ceiling, the wash basin with an endless supply of water, the strange metal latrine that carries away waste in an instant, the mechanical writing quill which I am presently holding, somehow I know intuitively how to use these things without having to ask. I don't remember what a light switch is but I know how to operate one. It is deeply disorienting.

        I asked the doctor for something to journal with, but he told me to use these... they have contraptions that make words and illustrations appear on a plate of glass, and the words can be changed by the user somehow. I have seen the doctor use one. I think I know how to as well, in the same manner as knowing how to operate the lights and the latrine, but it is so alien that I do not want to. I stole this paper and quill from his supplies instead.

        As I wrote before, there are creatures here that assist the residents. They are made of metal. They speak, but they have no faces. Some of them float above the floor, wisping about like dandelion seeds. The doctor says they are not dangerous, and that they were made by people to assist us, but they carry sharp tools and I do not trust them. I do not want them near me.

        Something which makes this all the more confusing is that I still appear to be the same Ametrine Gauvreau that I have always been that I remember being. Everyone here calls me Ametrine, or Amy sometimes. That is the one thing I know about myself that the people here do not contest. I recall being twenty-three, not fourteen, but I plainly recognize myself in the mirror as looking just how I remember myself looking when I was fourteen in Prenton.

        I am who I remember being, but I am not WHERE I remember being. I am not who anyone else remembers me being, aside from my face and name. And everything about where I am now is unsettlingly foreign.

        The doctor sometimes puts things in my blood using a tool with a hollow metal needle, dispensing liquid through it like a gigantic stinging insect. At first I fought back because, why would I not fight back against someone trying to stick me with a metal needle? But to prove to me that it's safe he did it to himself, sticking one in his own arm and injecting what I am told was salt water. I do not protest now, but I can't watch. It stings and I cannot help but cry. Whatever he is putting in my blood is calming, makes me feel less stressed. Allowing these strangers to sedate me feels unwise but with the state I have been in, I welcome it. I can do no good for myself if I am stuck in a constant state of panic. I am screaming and crying less now.

        I do not like the clothing. It is too tight, especially around the neck. It feels like it is made of wax and it is very itchy. And the bright coloring is awful, it's sickening to look at. But they won't give me anything else to wear.

        The food is bland and feels fake. It is difficult to keep down.

        I am rambling now.

 


 

Written Journal Entry
13th of July, 2159 CE
Friday - 19:33 PST

        The doctor released me from his care this morning. I am glad to be done with the needles.

        The very concept of "morning" feels like it has been forcefully ripped away from me, living in a metal tunnel deep underground where I can only tell the time of day by whether the lights in the hallway are turned on or not.

        On the way back "home" with my "father", we passed through a small room with only a single door. We entered, stood inside for a short time, and exited to a different floor. I could feel the room moving as "father" operated a device on the wall. Yet another device I do not recognize, but know how to operate anyway. This is not at all a difficult concept to understand, but it is as alien in presentation as I think possible, and seems like a profound waste of resources to avoid using stairs.

        Somehow I knew which button to press on the panel to go to our "home" before "father" pressed it. Maybe this is a good sign.

 


 

Written Journal Entry
15th of July, 2159 CE
Sunday - 18:11 PST

        I tried broaching the topic of the outside world again. "Father" takes my confusion and ignorance in stride now. I can tell he sees this as the second time he has had to explain it to me, but he does it anyway. He seems to have come to terms with it, me being like this now.

        He says that there was a war, many decades ago, where nations across the world used weapons to destroy each other, incinerating villages, towns, and cities in mere hours, poisoning the sky and the earth and the water. He says these tunnels were built before the war, with the threat of such a thing looming, as a means to survive. He says the world is slowly healing, but that it is still unsafe to go outside because of the poison. He says that I have never seen the outside myself, and that neither has he. We were born in these tunnels and will probably die in them.

        Every day here I feel I am slowly becoming acclimated to my strange new reality and then someone tells me something that makes it feel completely unreal again.

 


 

Written Journal Entry
18th of July, 2159 CE
Wednesday - 09:09 PST

        I think I am starting to understand now.

        Well, no, not exactly. There are still too many things I don't understand. But I realize now that I AM the Ametrine they think I am. In a way. The memories are slowly coming back, places and faces I try to recall are becoming clearer. I know how to make it to the atrium on my own now. Someone named Lyle tried to talk to me, and I was able to put a name to his face before he spoke.

        I am Ametrine Rosealia Gauvreau. I am fourteen years old, born on January 12th, 2145. I was born in this underground shelter in a place called California. My father's name is Gabriel, he is responsible for maintaining some of the shelter's mechanical systems. My mother's name was Eileen, she worked in medical care with Dr. Grant. She succame to an illness when I was three years old.

        But this still doesn't feel like ME. My feelings, my memories, my personality as the Ametrine of Prenton are stronger and come more easily than those of the Ametrine of these tunnels. I look now at this man who I am told is my father, and I recognize him as my father, but that recognition still feels distant and hollow, like waking up from a dream. Whereas my memories of Tonne Gauvreau of Rowentop are still sharply real. When I think of "my" memories, I think of Prenton. When I recall thoughts of these tunnels, I think of them as "her" memories. As though she were a different person and I am an impostor who has replaced her.

        I wonder why this is. Perhaps it is because of the age difference, twenty-three years having the greater influence over who I am than fourteen. But then again, this younger Ametrine knows what a computer is and how to use one, while the older Ametrine grew up in a wood cabin lit by candles and with no glass in the windows, so who can say which of me actually had more acquired knowledge before the joinder.

        Perhaps I prayed too hard to Aelysia and have remembered too well, reincarnated with my memories of my past life intact but for some reason unable to reach them until now, finally regaining them with the same degree of all-consuming shock as accidentally falling into a river.

        Or perhaps the gods are mad about me breaking Stacio's face and really did send me to hell, and this is a retaliatory hallucination. That seems excessive.

        Or maybe the doctor is right and I had a psychotic break, becoming so sick that I vividly imagined being a twenty-three year old school teacher dying of consumption while my real memories are now trapped behind a thick mental fog.

        I wonder if this feeling will ever pass.

        In any case, everyone else can tell. No one says anything, but I see how they look at me now that I have been back out of the doctor's ward for a few days. They can tell that my behavior and manner of speaking have changed, that my memories are messed up. That I don't know things I should and do know things I shouldn't and say truly bizarre things due to misunderstanding context. They see me as a stranger now, as indeed an impostor Ametrine.

        I feel bad for this father of mine, I imagine now that he must feel like he has lost one child and is now trying to get to know a new one. I feel bad for Lyle, who I think was this Ametrine's best friend. Now we don't know how to interact with each other.

        The robots still creep me the hell out and I still do not want them near me.

 


 

Written Journal Entry
18th of July, 2159 CE
Wednesday - 20:01 PST

        The more I think about my memories of this shelter coming back the more worried I am about losing my memories of my other life. I have decided I am going to write down everything I can remember from that life, before it has a chance to slip away from me. I do not want to forget about Mama and Papa, my sisters, Jaynelle, Kalli. About the gods I pray to, that no one here knows - about Astraeyos of the sky, Galvyonae of the land, Lyonae of the sea, Semistrea of time, Pramma of the harvest, Aelysia of memories, Hazydae of death, and so on. Everything I remember about Prenton, and Rowentop, and the stories of all the other places in the Kingdom of Oppellia that I heard about from Papa but never actually saw. The varieties of plants in the forest I managed, all the skills I had acquired to live a life in that kind of place.

        This will be too long. I need to go find more paper.

 


 

Electronic Text File
21st of August, 2159 CE
Tuesday - 14:42 PST

I finally today worked up the nerve to try using a computer again. Knowing which keys to press is almost second nature, it is effortless, and yet the experience is still conceptually unsettling. The younger me took this for granted, and was competent in using these machines without knowing or particularly caring how they actually function. Yesterday I asked Father how they work, for once genuinely unsure about something rather than confused by my identity issues. He says that it is actually a simple machine that can feign complexity by doing a lot of mathematic calculations very quickly to make lights blink on and off. I'm sure he knows what he's talking about, and is correct. But to the older me, these devices still feel like distilled and condensed witchcraft.

(I am trying to be less cold to Father as he doesn't deserve to suffer so much from my own internal chaos, but I am calling him that to keep him distinct in my mind from Papa.)

I see the appeal of being able to write endless quantities of text without worrying for paper or ink, but I do not think I like journaling this way. Typing too much for too long hurts my shoulders. I prefer sticking to the old fashioned method, and I must say, my second favorite thing about this world after running water is the writing quills. No cutting nibs into feathers, no dipping them in ink bottles, no ink bottles to spill and make a mess. (Although people look at me weird when I slip and call them quills out loud instead of pens.)

That being said, I have discovered/remembered that there are entertainment applications on these machines. I quite like the one with the falling configurations of blocks that one must arrange into rows. It helps numb the brain on days where my existential crisis is flaring up again.

 


 

Written Journal Entry
2nd of September, 2159 CE
Sunday - 14:20 PST

        I saw Lyle in the hall this morning. He asked if I wanted to get lunch with him. He seems very nervous around me. He seems like a nervous person in general. I said yes. Like with Father, I feel I should do my best to maintain positive relationships with the people I was close to before all of this started.

        It was awkward. We didn't actually talk much. But he seems happy that I'm willing to spend time with him. I think the poor boy had a crush on me, on the younger Ametrine. All of this psychosis trouble seems to have scared him out of that, which is honestly just as well. Sorry friend, I am not interested in that kind of thing.

 


 

Written Journal Entry
21st of September, 2159 CE
Friday - 15:35 PST

        I had to return to school this week. Or rather, school has resumed session.

        Schooling was much less structured in the other world. Three to five years, on an as-needed basis for each student. There was also less to teach. Basic literacy, arithmetic, scripture, a small amount of history. And such schooling isn't in any way required, and some people (like Pearle) actively discourage it for people who are expected to simply work the streams and fields their whole lives. Prenton was an outlier in the sense of being a minuscule settlement that had to put up with Jaynelle, Kalli, Mama, and myself, who all strongly encouraged it on principle.

        Here, it is required for everyone. You can get into trouble if you refuse or avoid it. It lasts for TWELVE YEARS, with breaks in the summer. You aren't considered an adult or expected to handle jobs in the community, or to pair-bond, until after you graduate at age eighteen. That's startlingly old to me. Vocational training of any sort doesn't even begin until sixteen apparently.

        They cover literacy, mathematics, history, geography, and science (the study of how the world actually works, I guess?) As a proponent of education I can appreciate this, quite a lot actually, but at the same time the idea of being forced to do this for over a decade, living almost two decades before being considered a productive member of your community, seems preposterous and unpleasant. The large number of students relative to the number of teachers also strikes me as less than ideal, as each student gets less attention and is instead expected to rely on rigidly structured coursework. Some people are slower learners than others, and I can tell that this method is leaving some of the students behind. I asked father about this, and he said that the student to teacher ratio was allegedly even worse before the war, before everyone moved underground. As a former school teacher myself I am personally offended.

        As for how I'm managing as a confused outsider, thanks to Jaynelle and Kalli I have a greater head-start in literacy and mathematics than most other people from my world and social caste probably would. The grammar is fortunately the same and the reading and vocabulary aren't any more difficult than what I am already used to. The primary stumbling block is words that... it's hard to describe, but certain words stick out not only as unfamiliar to me, but also as feeling unique to this world. Things like 'psychology' and 'electronic' and 'photograph' and 'metatextuality'. The maths concepts are more advanced than anything I have done, but I feel well prepared for them and am not having too much trouble. The history and geography are obviously completely alien, but it is the science which is most intimidating and confusing. Apparently fire is a 'plasma'. I don't know what that is, and looking this closely at the underpinnings of reality feels like anathema. The concept of my blood containing 'platelets' frightens me. I do not WANT to know how robots work!

        They don't teach scripture here. It is available in the library, and some people here (nowhere near all of them) do pray to gods, or at least to a god, but honestly I do not want to ask and do not want to know. I can only handle so much of this alien world and my daily prayers to Galvyonae and Aelysia are one of the few things from my other life that I can cling to for comfort. (I have stopped praying to Astraeyos and Pramma lately because that seems hopeless and pointless when I am stuck living deep underground in a place devoid of flora.)

        My memory issues seem to have settled into a stable state. My memories of my life as this Ametrine, from before we crashed together (I am still unsure how best to describe or refer to this event, I have not settled on a good name for it) are much less fuzzy and are easier to recall now, but they still feel secondary. Colder and more distant. Many things don't come to me unless prompted, like I am missing a mental inventory of what things I know and only find them again when someone shoves them in my path for me to trip on.

        A good example I have thought of is this: We have a two day break from schooling every week, and class begins again on Monday. When I am told that class begins again on Monday, one third of my mind responds "ah yes, I know when that is" and the remaining two thirds respond with "what the hell is a Monday?"

 


 

Written Journal Entry
6th of November, 2159 CE
Tuesday - 15:32 PST

        Today I made a fool of myself in class by being the only person who didn't realize/remember that the earth is apparently a sphere.

        What the hell, Galvyonae?

        Was my other world this way too? Did anyone even know?

 


 

Written Journal Entry
12th of January, 2160 CE
Saturday - 22:58 PST

        Today is this Ametrine's fifteenth birthday. The community here is larger than Prenton was, but is still small and tight-knit enough that birthdays are often large celebrations, held in the atrium with many people bringing gifts. This did not happen for me, because I am the weird girl, the crazy one who talks funny and is confused by mundane things. I do not think they would describe me out loud as an outcast if challenged on it, out of obligate politeness, but I'm sure that's how I am seen. So as a result my birthday is a small, quiet affair at home with few people. I am perfectly fine with that, under the circumstances. I feel better this way.

        I invited Lyle. Dad baked us a small cake and brought it back to the room. The food here is still gross, but I do still enjoy sweets on occasion that I can get them. Lyle brought me a gift, which I didn't expect at all. This! A new blank book for journaling. As in an actual, bound, hard-cover codex, devoid of printed text. Just like Jaynelle got me for my eighth birthday, in the other life. No idea where he found such a thing in this gods-forsaken place, I already scoured the public areas for one. No more loose leaves or notepads pilfered from the medical ward! I pasted an envelope inside the front cover to collect the older pages I've already written.

        I think this might be the first time since waking up in this place that I have actually, genuinely smiled.

 


 

Written Journal Entry
6th of February, 2160 CE
Wednesday - 15: 2 0 PST

        I have started referring to my father here as Dad instead of as Father. This is the term that the Ametrine of this place used to refer to him as before I became us. (Before we became I?) I no longer feel the need to keep people quite so distant, and I can see his eyes light up when he hears it. It makes him happy when I treat him less formally. I think he is happy because he sees this as an indicator that I am getting better, which is debatable, but it's nice that he's happy for me.

        For once I am hearing rumors in the vault that are not about me. Allegedly two people have gone missing. How someone can go missing in a series of tubes not much larger than Prenton, buried a mile under a mountain and with no exits, is beyond me. They are not people I knew well or interacted with very much. The people who actually knew them and might know what happened are being tight-lipped about it. Apparently so is the overseer. And apparently neither of the missing individuals had especially positive reputations with the other residents.

        As someone who doesn't have an especially positive reputation with the other residents, I cannot help but be concerned by such rumors.

 


 

Written Journal Entry
1st of July, 2160 CE
Tuesday - 18:44 PST

        Today marks one year since I, Ametrine of Prenton, woke up as me, Ametrine of California. My mental state has not improved since the last time I wrote about my mental state not improving, but I am mostly acclimated to living in this place now. I mean I still hate the clothes, and the food, and the lights, and the captivity, and the general sterility of the environment, but it has become easier to live with. Merely annoying rather than panic inducing.

        Yesterday was the first time within that period that I've met the leader of this place in person, the 'overseer' of the facility, a man named Jacoren. He reminds me of Pearle, if Pearle had also been a weaselly coward in addition to a bullheaded tightass. And unfortunately, unlike in Prenton, few people here are willing to talk back to him. As I suspected, he seems to view me as a problem resident. I can hear it in how he speaks to me. The veneer of politeness does not adequately hide the disapproval.

        I realize now that this place is a time capsule, meant to preserve not only the lives of the people but also the ways and culture from which they descended, even when the ways of that culture conflict with trying to survive for decades in a sealed steel gopher den. Perhaps that is why they refer to it specifically as a "vault" rather than as a shelter, now that I think about it. But my strangeness disrupts the harmony of the precious model community which Jacoren has been charged with maintaining.

        This redoubles my concerns that I will be the next resident to go missing.

 


 

Written Journal Entry
22nd of May, 2161 CE
Friday - 15 : 59 PST

        My second year of school as the combined Ametrines concluded today. I am glad for the break. But as I am now sixteen, I am told it is time that I need to start thinking about a vocation. The answer for me is quite simple. I will be a teacher. A few people have expressed disapproval and have suggested I aim for some other job that will keep me out of their sight. While that feeling is mutual, most of the available jobs have to do with maintaining the systems of this shelter, and my opinions on science and robots and so forth have not changed. There are no forests here for me to maintain instead.

        It would feel nice to teach again. I get a small taste of that life back from helping Lyle with his math homework. While I am in no way prepared to teach the more advanced and world-specific subjects, I am adequately qualified to teach literacy and arithmetic to small children. Also, small children do not look at me with the same distrust that the adults do. They are not old enough to recognize the ways in which everyone else thinks I'm weird.

 


 

Written Journal Entry
4th of December, 2161 CE
Friday - 04:53 PST

        Overseer Jacoren asked to meet with me ordered me to meet with him in private early this morning, on the lower maintenance levels. He confided in me that the water purification system is failing, and that we have no means to fix it. He seems to want this all kept relatively quiet to prevent a revolt. He says that our only option is to retrieve spare parts from another shelter like this one. And that means someone needs to go outside. He spun me a tale of nonsense about me being the community's "only hope", apparently thinking I wouldn't put the pieces together with the rumors about the others who have disappeared. I think he thinks I'm an idiot. He certainly sees removing me from the social pool as a positive. Like I've said, he reminds me of Pearle.

        I challenged him on the question of survivablility, after everyone here has been telling me for years that the world outside is poisoned and inhospitable. He says the land has healed enough that it is safe to venture outside for such necessary errands, if still not for permanent relocation above ground. I decided not to bring up that if this were at all reasonably safe, the others he has likely sent out before me would have already made it back and solved the problem. I also challenged him on my age, and he made up some bullshit about my lack of vocational training meaning I might be more flexible than the other candidates, more able to think outside the box. Which is actually an impressive lie to make up on the spot like that.

        I'm so unqualified for this. He's so full of shit.

        But you know what? I'll take it. Dad will probably be uneasy about it, but I want to go. I NEED to go. The sterile atmosphere and cold light and barren metal tunnels of this place still make me sick. I long to once again feel the sun on my skin and the wind in my hair, and to see a FUCKING TREE again for once in this gods-damned life. So, he wants me to go out there? He doesn't have to twist my arm very hard.

        Anyway, the calendar systems between this life and my last one don't quite match up one-to-one, but the month of December is the end of the year, and I am told the height of winter. This Ametrine's birthday is January 12th, which is just after the new year, about a month from now, at which point I will turn seventeen from their point of view. But my birthday in the other life was the 5th of Roses, the last month of the year and the height of winter, so I figure that equates roughly to the 5th of December here in this world.

        Which is tomorrow.

        Happy twenty-sixth birthday, Ametrine. Tomorrow you finally get to see the sun. For the first time in two years, and for the first time in your life.

 


 

Electronic Text File
4th of December, 2161 CE
Friday - 21:07 PST

I should be getting rest before the big day but I'm having trouble sleeping, given the excitement, so of course I'm writing a journal entry instead. It also makes sense to spend some time getting more acclimated to using this machine.

After further consideration, perhaps I am actually the MOST qualified person for this job, seeing as how I am the only person in this place who has ever been outside (sort of, in a manner of speaking, maybe.) I do know how to live off the land, foraging and hunting and fishing. (I'm not that great at hunting though.)

Jacoren said I'm allowed to tell people close to me that I'm leaving the shelter for a mission to the outside world, but to ask them to not talk openly about it with the other residents, and I myself am to keep quiet about the actual mission goals and anything to do with the water supply problem. It's obnoxious, but I don't want to ruin my chance of finally getting out of here so I'm playing along.

Dad is taking the news in stride. Sometimes he does remind me very slightly of Papa. He's clearly anxious but he can also tell how badly I want this, so he isn't putting up a fight, and is agreeing to the secrecy order.

Security officer Alex called me downstairs in the afternoon, as Jacoren ordered him to issue me equipment for this mission. I decided to take Lyle along with me and tell him the situation while I was at it, since that saves time, and not saying anything to him before leaving would be cruel.

One of the things I was issued was the small portable computer on which I am writing this journal entry. I have seen many other residents here carrying these around and using them daily, but I have always refused to carry one myself, at least since my memory crisis began. I see the convenience, but it is a more awkward design, more frustrating to operate than the desktop models, and I have not felt the need for one. Also on almost every page of this system there is an illustration of a small man with an irritatingly smug smile and bad hair. I do not like him, his presence offends me.

The device's primary purpose for me on this mission is navigation, but I'm worried about running out of ink out there and being unable to resupply, so it looks like I'm going to be doing electronic journaling after all. I used the computer to take photographic copies of everything I have written so far to keep with me, and am leaving the bound paper journal here for safe keeping, for now.

I hid it in Dad's equipment locker so that he will find it after I am gone, with a letter saying he is allowed to read it (but not write in it.) We have never actually discussed my alleged hallucinations in detail. I stopped saying anything about my previous life very quickly after I left the medical ward, so that people would stop treating me as actively psychotic. And the journal does indeed read like the ramblings of a psychotic person. But he is a good father, and treats my apparent psychosis with kindness and understanding. So I want to tell him about my other life and how important it is to me, even if from his perspective it's just a fever dream. Just, after I'm gone so that I don't have to be in the same room as him when he reads it.

Anyway, the other significant piece of gear I was issued was a gun.

I saw a musket, once, when I was six, in my past life, in Rowentop, so I am not COMPLETELY unfamiliar with the concept, but these seem somewhat more sophisticated. Which I guess makes sense for a world that nearly drove itself to extinction through technologically advanced warfare. At first Alex wasn't clear on what he was talking about and said he was issuing me a Colt, and I about died on the spot from embarrassment after asking in my otherworldly naive confusion if he meant an actual horse. Once he stopped laughing and Lyle stopped cringing and I regained my normal skin color, he taught me the basics of how the thing works, how to operate it, the safety rules for not accidentally shooting yourself or your friends, and had me fire some practice shots on the range. Lyle looked at him like he had completely lost his mind for handing me of all people a weapon.

The first shot startled me so bad I dropped the gun. After a bit more practice I sort of got the hang of it, but I'm not very good at actually hitting the intended target. This thing scares the hell out of me and I would like to avoid using it if at all possible, but considering the gigantic sprawling question mark of danger I will be venturing into when morning comes, I get the reasoning for having it.

Lyle seems more scared for me than Dad. He's a sweet boy, I hope he'll be okay. I hope I'll make it back and see him again.

 


 

Electronic Text File
5th of December, 2161 CE
Saturday - 07:15 PST

I have finally made it outside, and am now standing under the sun and sky.

They told me that this place is called California, but I am certain now that it is actually Hell.

I should get moving. I'll write more later if I survive the day.