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I recently came back from a three-month stay at the city of Valparaiso, Chile. It's a very beautiful and picturesque city, and an architecture student's playground—I recommend any of you to visit it if you ever have the chance—but what I am here to share with you is a number of puzzling activities that occurred to me during my stay there, from October 4 to January 13, 2009-10. I recorded these in a small diary and am transcribing them as I go.


As my first full day here I have decided to visit the funiculars. (NOTE: These are inclined cable car-like elevators which were used during the city's mining boom. Now they are historic heritage and tourist attractions.) They work very nicely for their age but the grinding and groaning makes them sound like they're about to give in any moment. I wasn't exactly worried but the locals assured me that they were completely safe. If anything it was a lot of fun. Went drinking with my contact later. There are lots of themed nightclubs here.

I think I was just drunk but I heard a lot of clanking and machine noises in the dead of night, approximately 3 AM. Later today I will ask my contact if the funiculars work at that time for any reason.


So I asked M. (NOTE: this was my contact and pseudo tour guide in the city) if the funiculars work at 3 AM. He said that there's no reason for them to work at that time; they're tourist attractions. There are 16 working funiculars; 15 for public use and one for the hospital's private use in case of emergency. However it hasn't been used for ages because there are more practical methods to transfer patients and staff now. I didn't pursue this any further, thinking that maybe I imagined it. I read the paper that day to see if anything about the funiculars or the hospital elevator was mentioned, but it wasn't.

Otherwise it was a fun day, lots of sun. We walked around the main plaza, which is full of street artists (and pickpockets). I got my portrait drawn by one of the artists and he said that it's hard for him to draw foreigners, because locals have a special sort of stare, different eyes from anyone else. So now I have an incredibly disturbing portrait of myself with blank spots where my eyes should be. I only paid him half the accorded price.


Valparaiso is full of labyrinthine walkways made of cobblestone. They're really thin and cover the whole city, but they're not recommended for walking around at night. Not as much because you might get mugged, but rather because you may get lost. A lot of paths in Valpariso lead to dead ends or simply end in midair. (I'm serious.) I mostly admired the graffiti and the vine-covered houses. Visited Pablo Neruda's (NOTE: An important Chilean poet and Nobel laureate) residence.

There's a lady who tends to her plants very early in the morning. It's weird because she has a very small house, the plants kind of overtake the place and they very thick vines, like a piece of jungle was cut out and placed on her front porch. She's short, stubby, wears flower-patterened dresses and hums songs to herself. She seems nice.


Valparaiso has a huge port with lots of gigantic cargo ships unloading their big colored boxes. Watching all of this go on on busy days is more fun than it sounds like. There are also lots of local-managed tourist boats; so many of them that they form tight clusters close to the shore, so that you can use them as stepping stones, jumping from one boat to another, and actually get pretty far away from the shore. Took one of these tours and saw some creepy jellyfish.

There's a man who sits on the shore (apparently he does this every day and is known by people as "el sordo", "the deaf man"). He doesn't talk when spoken to but occasionally blurts out short phrases in a very loud voice, which leads people to belief he's deaf. (I guess he must be). During my time there he spoke:

"It would be very fun to go on one of those ships and hitchike to Africa or Japan."

Wouldn't it be funny if he did it?


Got mugged today. It was obvious seeing as I was walking down the plaza in the dead of night. I was trying to hear something from the funiculars again. He was a glue-sniffer I think; they're common here. Fortunately I didn't have much on me and got out unscathed because someone suddenly appeared on the other end of the plaza and the guy took off. Didn't see who or what he was, he kept on his way and I just ran back to my apartment.


M. chastised me and reminded me of where I am NOT supposed to go at night. Then we went drinking because I guess that's how things are resolved between foolish tourists and angry tour guides.


Okay, I heard them again. There are definitely sounds coming out of the funicular dock at around 3 AM in the morning. They're very loud, like machines are being crashed against each other down there. What's different is that I heard people yelling over the sounds this time.

Again I read the paper and asked people and nobody knows what the fuck I'm talking about. Most of them dismissed me as a crazy tourist. There's no way that nobody else heard that. I don't know if it's the hospital elevator or not.


The deaf guy from the dock has disappeared. He went and sat on that same spot every day for the last three or so years, so everyone assumes something bad has happened to him. Nobody knows where he lives (he was probably homeless) or how to contact anyone who knew him. Locals have assumed that he made good on his promise to jump on one of the cargo ships or drowned in the process, very cynical about it. I guess he was a pest.


Okay, they found him when he got caught in a fishing net. He's all bloated by now, although I didn't see the body; M. just told me over coffee this afternoon. Apparently there were jellyfish wrapped all around him. Could it be that they dragged him to a watery grave? God that's stupid.

Also, the garden lady looked at me weird today. I'm starting to get unnerved by that eyeless sketch. It was thinking of it as a quirky souveneir but now I just want to throw it away. M. says I should keep it. M.'s been taking me to a lot of places lately.


There haven't been many entries because I have already visited most of the places that I was interested in visiting. Most of the last few days has been eating and drinking with M., walking around town and joining the locals in various activities, most of which I'm terrible at.

I did convince M. to go on the funiculars again to see if I caught anything strange or interesting. I talked to the operator for about half an hour and he says that the funiculars have never worked that late at night. He did mention in passing that there were originally about 26 of these elevators, many of which were torn down along with the old hospital (which was replaced by the currently-working Carlos Van Buren hospital). Apparently most of this was demolished after it became unusable thanks to the 1985 earthquake. I was not aware of this. I was thinking about doing some exploring since I'm getting bored.


Halloween's been very fun but also very strange. When I got mugged this guy showed up in the distance and saved me, and out of the corner of my eye I saw someone dressed up, kinda looking at me a couple times. The plaza was full of people in strange costumes so I never did as much as catch a glance of him. It would've been futile to try and chase him in the crowd. M. dressed up as a jellyfish—no, seriously! He did a bit of sketch with a friend of his where they make a comedy out of the dead man from the dock's death. It was in pretty bad taste if you ask me, but M.'s sense of humor continues to fascinate me if nothing else. I asked him about the torn-down hospital in passing and if any of it was left. It turns out there is. I'm seriously considering doing some exploration now.

I think I heard the machine sounds again, but I'm pretty sure I was just dreaming this time.


(I was drunk I didn't notice that there were vines crawling up my apartment building. Nothing unusual here.)

I'm feeling pretty heavy-headed and hung over today

Will ask about hospital. Lady with the garden


For the last few days I've been gathering information about the torn-down hospital, the non-functional funicular elevators and the earthquake of 1985. Mostly I asked M. about it and he gave me some background info, but I was cautious not to press too much or he'd become suspicious of me wanting to go there. It's a dangerous area for sure and if I get hurt or killed it'll be at his expense, so obviously he'll do everything in his power to stop me.

Most of the other recon was done at the very beautiful cafes and restaurants overseeing the city. A lot of them are managed by Europeans who backpacked their way here years ago and decided to stay; you know the type, middle-aged, chain-smoking bohemians. Most of them were here during the earthquake and had some pretty scary stuff. Apparently a prison came tumbling down and a lot of the inmates escaped. Total chaos. Something similar happened in Chincha, Peru, 2007. (NOTE: This refers to the August, 2007 Peru earthquake where thousands of Chincha citizens lost their lives and homes.) I did some voluntary work there in 2008 and it smelled of death.

But most of the info isn't necessary, in reality I've just been arming myself with courage to go here. The truth is that creepy old place exploration is something I have had the opportunity to do several times but never went through out of fear.


I'm definitely going through with this. I have a basic outline of the area in my head from several reports from locals, and I have a flashlight and a pocket knife ready, although I'm not sure if that would be any useful in defending me. If this is my last diary entry, I sure will end up looking like an idiot.

I had to cancel an appointment with M. at night so I fear that he will be suspicious but I doubt he'll know where I'm going. He doesn't have a way of contacting me but hopefully he won't break into my apartment or something.

Oh I saw something strange today. The sketch artist who drew my eyeless face seems to draw EVERYONE incomplete. I saw him doing a portrait of this woman who was DEFINITELY a local (Speaking Valparaiso vernacular) and her mouth was missing on the portrait. I guess he's a little crazy or thinks it's a cute gimmick. It's sad because my portrait's disturbing factor has gone down.

It's time to explore. 1


i fell through the hole and into the basement of the abandoned hospital. m figured i would go there and dragged me to the functional hospital. just woke up now, everything is blurry. nurses said i shouldn't strain my vision. my Spanish isn't so great but they've been insulting me as they tend to me. i sort of deserve it for being so stupid haven't said anything.

however i remember hearing the sounds. i think i was getting closer.

i'm having a strange recurring hallucination where black tendrils start crawling up the room walls and my bed. someone stands at the doorway laughing sometimes.


Feeling a little better now but still hallucinating or dreaming, not sure. M. contacted my family to let them know I'm fine. Family kind of bitched at him over the phone although I told them it was my fault. They want me to come back as soon as I'm discharged but I'm not doing it. I offered M. to pay him the full 3 month fee right then so he would no longer be responsible for me but he strangely turned me down.

My eyes are having trouble focusing on anything right now so i'm writing really big. Starting to have auditory hallucinations and I think I'm remembering things about the hospital exploration night slowly. But I'm not sure what is real and what isn't.


Had a bit of relapse and was having trouble staying up. The garden lady left me flowers while I was out! M. told me. That is so nice of her.

(NOTE: the following is in different handwriting, at the corner of the page. I didn't check previous diary entries during my stay at the hospital, as I was having enough trouble writing let alone doing extra reading, and noticed these only much later.)

"7 go home."


I have finally been discharged. I feel fine except I get a little wobbly sometimes because my perception gets distorted.

A lot of things seem to have changed in Valparaiso while I was out.

-- Haven't seen garden lady tending to her plants. They're growing a bit out of hand.

-- The vines around my building have gotten REALLY out of hand. I asked other residents if anyone was planning on trimming them but they say it's been like that forever.

-- There's another man who does about exactly the same thing as the guy who drowned. Sits on the port all day and occasionally says things. They say he's just an idiot trying to keep the "legend" of the man alive. People have been insulting and throwing things at him but he won't budge.

-- M. is a lot more cheerful and go-lucky than I would assume him to be after my accident. I guess he's trying to cheer me up but he's keeping me on a tight leash at the same time. I think it's over between urban exploration and me.

Just now I've noticed that the pocket knife I took on that night with me is missing. I must have dropped it at some point. My eyeless portrait, which I taped up on my wall, has gotten really musty and old-looking, much more than it should be. Not sure if it's the humidity. Maybe that's making the vines grow as well.

I've been having recurring dreams about that night at the abandoned hospital. I'm afraid that I'll start mixing fact with fiction so I won't record them for now.


I've been sleeping a lot lately, I can't seem to focus on anything if I remain awake for more than six or so hours at a time. M. says it's fine and I should take all the time I need to recover. He'll be taking care of "business" meanwhile.

I hadn't mentioned this out of fear or maybe light suspicion, but I think M. might have some connections to the drug business. I've seen him out of the corner of my eye when he's not with me and the people he hangs out with are definitely suspicious. That's a big part of the reason why I offered to pay him and end out relationship then and there after the accident.

I've been having three recurring dreams with minor variations in the past days (evidently I've had a quite a bit of time to sleep). I will now write them down as best as I can:


I am at the hospital; the real one, not the abandoned one. Nobody else is there and I can't see anything through the windows. Sometimes it's because it's nighttime and there are no lights on, and sometimes it's clear day but there is simply nothing outside of the hospital. At some point while I walk down the hallway I suddenly and sharply realize that I have been stabbed in the stomach, and there is black, thick, pus-like ooze flowing out of it. The moment I realize this the staff comes charging out from literally everywhere and carries me away. I can never remember their faces or any identifying human attributes. They take me to the ABANDONED hospital, lay me down on a bed in the middle of a dark room, shut the door and lock it. At this point something starts to emerge from under the bed and take form next to it, as if it were a million tiny creatures forming into one giant one. I tend to wake up somewhere along this point.


I am walking down a tight street with buildings on either side. There is some sort of makeshift metal beam work creating a spiderweb that connects the roofs of the buildings. From this webwork there are children hanging, dressed in rags, pointing and laughing. Other times they are holding knives and pointing them down at me in a stabbing motion. Sometimes M. is with me. Sometimes M. is pushing me along as if I were his hostage. Sometimes he's waiting for me at the end of the path. Occasionally he talks but I can never remember what he says. I always wake up before making it to the end.


I was going to write this down but I suddenly forgot it. I remember M. is in it as well and it has something to do with the man that drowned. There are only flashes and hints. This seems to evade me. Strange.

I think I'm going to look more into those machine sounds.


Three major developments:

1. M. has been very dodgy lately. On one hand he wants to hang out with me (probably to make sure I don't go around trying to get myself killed) but on the other hand sometimes he'll disappear for a whole day and I have no way to contact him. He then eventually appears and acts like nothing happened. I don't want to bring his disappearances up because I'm afraid he'll catch on to fact that he's dealing. I'm fairly sure that he is.

2. The eyeless portrait has been really bothering me lately, maybe because I temporarily lost my sight after the accident and the coincidence seems creepy, maybe because everything else has been a little crazy lately. I threw it out. I went down and tossed it into the trash bin. I turned around and started walking back to my apartment when I heard a really loud crash. A pack of black dogs that looked really starved had just knocked the bin over and were tearing my portrait apart. Maybe they were actually looking for discarded food but obviously it freaked me out a little.

3. I'm hearing the machine sounds every other night. I've set up a tape recorder since the sounds are so loud but they always show up muffled on the tape. Mostly I just hear dogs barking and other normal sounds. I played it for one of the boho café owners and he said he spotted nothing abnormal. This is preoccupying because, well, maybe the sounds are in my head. I was hearing them since before the accident. So am I going insane?

Someone needs to do something about those vines. They're getting all the way up the second story and closer to my room.


The garden lady went crazy.

She's been yelling at me from the street and I can hear her all the way up here. She keeps yelling at me to go home, to stop tormenting her, to get out of the city. She keeps repeating these things. At first she sounded angry but now it's more like she's imploring me. I write this as she continues to scream so I am a little shaky as I write this. I already told the super to not let her in. I think he's calling the police or an ambulance. She's red and shaking really bad. I feel really bad for her. I didn't do anything to her so there's no reason for her to be doing this at ALL but I am still worried and scared and feel a little guilty.

(a few pages left blank)

They took her away. Another resident assured me that she'd been senile for a while but he still seemed wary of me.

I just realized that I THINK the man who saved me from that drugged mugger was the sketch artist. He just walked by my building. I haven't left my apartment all day. Thankfully he couldn't have seen his portrait in the trash, that would've been unnecessarily hurtful, even if he does draw people without eyes or mouths out of some sick sense of humor.

I'm going to sleep all this away now. I have a horrible pounding headache.


I finally left my apartment today and vines are just below my windows. They've grown thicker and darker like they've been injected with plant steroids or something. Out of morbid curiosity and slight concern, I checked out the old lady's house. (It's abandoned; she's been taken away and apparently she didn't leave it to anyone.) It's covered in these thick, black vines, thicker and more monstruous that the ones at my building, like they've been given some more time to grow. They've grown wildly. They're creeping into the house and growing over windows. It's kind of disgusting, it's almost like they pulsate. I asked M. and he said these plants grow sometimes where there's very high humidity, but I haven't noticed them anywhere else in the city.

There is a growing sense of urgency in my gut. Somehow I feel like I shouldn't have thrown that portrait away after all.

(a few pages left blank)



My family has been calling me lately, begging me to come back home for Christmas. I understand their concern and it's a fair request but now I feel like I actually have something to do here. Everything that has transpired is just to scary and weird to let it go and move on with my life as if it never happened. I just want to know what the machines noises are and I really am hallucinating them. What happened to the garden lady and why there are those vines around her house and my building. Also what the sketch artist was trying to do and whether they were trying to help. And I've just realized that the sounds come up when M.'s gone. I'm sure M. fits into this somehow, except I don't what "this" is or whether it is something. Maybe they're a string of unnerving coincidences. Maybe I'm not used to this place or maybe I'm going insane. But there's no way I'm leaving now, not until January at least.


While I was locked in my apartment, cowering in fear of a senile old lady (hah!), the imitator disappeared and showed up drowned a day later. You know, the guy who was doing the same thing that the other man was doing before he drowned. He must've been insane as well. Again covered in jellyfish.

The jellyfish here are very grotesque. Unlike your usual fare, they're very dark blue or violet, almost black, and hardly translucent at all. Really ugly and long tendrils. Maybe they're man-o-wars? They do float awfully close to the surface. I took another boat tour today to observe them more closely and even thought of snatching one up to study them I guess, but they are seriously disgusting.

In other news, M. is gone again and I'm ready to go through with my investigation. I think I'm going to visit the hospital—the functioning, normal, definitely-not-haunted hospital—during the day and just do some snooping around if I don't get kicked out. At this point I have stopped caring about consequences. I'll be out of here in a couple weeks anyway.


Merry Christmas to myself. I have a pounding headache and am starting to get woozy when I walk for too long again. I fear that my accident may have left me with a condition or some sort, but I'll have to get it checked out when I go back home. I'm a little low on cash. Actually, that's a lie. I'm nearly broke. I can't touch the money for the plane trip back.

It's Christmas morning and there shouldn't be too many people at the hospital. I will take note of anything worth taking note of.


double entry will write while still fresh


There wasn't a lot of staff around so i took a look around or two looking really innocent and carefree, most people hardly noticed my presence, who goes urban exploring in Christmas? so i actually spotted the one funicular that is reserved for the new hospital (I think I said something about that earlier) and i noticed how it doesn't really lead anywhere.

so i also think I saw something weird down there in the chasm of the funicular works. so I took the emergency stairway down to the basement and noticed that there was a really old wooden musty black door towards the end.

Armed with little more than a flashlight I eventually managed to make the door budge


BEHIND THAT DOOR is a wooden walkway, like a pair of planks suspended over a chasm and the planks lead to the ABANDONED HOSPITAL EXACTLY TO THE BASEMENT WHERE I FELL THAT NIGHT and in this chasm there are tons of millions of writhing black vines. I saw GEARS and MACHINERY down there as well all around me maybe it's the inner workings of the funicular system.

Then I heard movement and I GOT THE FUCK OUT OF THERE

I think this is where the sounds are coming from, its all extremely sinister

M. found me when i fell, so does he know about this??


Christmas has come and passed. Suspiciously M. didn't show up. Soon the Valparaiso festival will begin, which is one big party during the last three days of the year. I don't think I'll have much time or space to do anything at that point so I'll have to work fast.

First of all the place was essentially as I described it although I am more collected now. It is a wide, pitch-black opening that connects the basement of the abandoned hospital and the current hospital. The walkway consists of two wooden planks and I couldn't see the bottom of the chasm below. I COULD see that the walls were covered in vines and there was lots of machinery above and around me. I ran when it started working and left the hospital immediately.

I'm not sure what to make of this. They looked like they were moving. The vines, I mean.

Were those really jellyfish?


It finally happened: I caught M. in the act today. Sniffing something out of a jar in an alleyway. I turned around and ran away before he could notice me. Whatever was in that jar was extremely potent because I could smell its stink from where I was and my headaches have been getting worse since then. Only now have I noticed that the vines around my building have extended and wrapped around my room in sort of spiral formations. One of them is right on my windowpane. I took a closer look at it and looks like it has tiny suckers on it. I'm afraid to touch it. I wonder if this stuff is made into a drug somehow. They don't smell bad, though, they just look hideous.

I've been hearing the machinery really often now, not just late at night. I don't know if it's the effects of the drug or the paranoia or the vines or a combination of everything.

From now on I'm keeping my diary under lock and key just in case M. decides to break in. I'm slightly afraid that he saw me.


M. looked angry today. He finally showed up and we went to the beach to unwind. He was courteous and told bad jokes every now and then but he is obviously a different person. His eyes look a little dead and milky. I guess his addiction has gotten worse. At this point I am in a genuinely dangerous situation. The best thing is to simply appease any suspicions M. may have and go out with him during the following three festival days. I've moved my diary to a loose floorboard so that M. won't think of trying to break the safe box open. It's far too obvious.

If this is my last entry, what happened to me will almost certainly NOT have been supernatural.


I can no longer be around M.

After the fireworks show yesterday at the pier he was kind of drunk but I think also kind of high, and he simply pushed me into the water. Just like that. It was cold as fuck and I started yelling at him for being retard and a jackass and I'm afraid I may have called him a junkie at some point as well, but I seriously hope not. But when he didn't answer and simply stood there staring at me with that idiot smile, I started asking him to help me out, see if he would react.

There was something wrapping around my ankle at this point, something phantasmagoric and almost not there. I know that as soon as it touched me I felt this surge of something. I can only compared to when I got accidentally electrocuted at the age of twelve, except it was infinitely more pleasant. At the same time it was a sort of pleasure that grew boundlessly and immediately became scary. Half-heartedly I continued to yell at M. He finally, almost grudgingly, pulled me out. Whatever was wrapped around my ankle seemed to disintegrate, like it wasn't really there. Maybe I was drunk but I am simply not going to accept that possibility at this point.


I passed by the garden lady's abandoned house again today. It's a complete disaster. Looted, windows broken, the vines have grown madly out of control, but it looks like someone's chopping them off at the same time. The vines around my apartment have stopped growing, but sometimes the boards and windows groan, like they are actually tightening their grip around the building. This is completely ridiculous.

M. stopped by my apartment today. He looked angry and I put on a poker face. He demanded the entire sum of the three-month tour because he wasn't going to keep worrying about idiots like me. I didn't reply; I simply grabbed the cash, shoved it into his hands and said goodbye. He kept asking why I wouldn't remove the chain lock on the door and let him in. His eyes were bloodshot. I simply shut the door. He stood out there insulting me for a while but then left. The other residents minded their own business for the most part.


I've just realized that I slept through all of yesterday. My headache won't recede, although at least it hasn't gotten any stronger. If anything it's tolerable. My room has become really dirty and a bit smelly. I think it might be the vines. I keep asking the super and the other residents when the hell they're going to do something about it because it's stinking up the place, but they simply look at me strange and whisper a few words to make me go away. The super asked me I needed money for food yesterday. I've been throwing up a lot so I guess a look a little scrawny. Maybe I should take a bath but I think the pipes are clogged. Hell, it wouldn't surprise me if it's the MOTHER FUCKING vines. I haven't left the room in a while now. Someone knocked on my door a few hours ago and asked what was wrong with me. I replied that nothing was. They asked again, softly. I repeated my reply. They left. I'm starting to feel like I'm missing out on something here.

Oh, yes. And the machinery sound is constant now. All day, all the time. I've given up asking people about it. It's such a normal part of my routine that I hardly even remember that it's there. I'm surprised of how well I am functioning despite this and the headache.


I've been feeling weak lately. I have enough food to last me for a while so I don't really have to leave the apartment. There is more groaning the machine sounds are intensifying.


I look a little skeletal, ha ha. I think I need to shave one of these days. Maybe I just look unkempt and a little pale and that's why nobody wants to talk to me. You know there's not much sunlight getting into this room because it's like the vines are going out of their way to cover my windows with their slimy thick shit. I've given up going out and I've given up my "INVESTIGATION" (NOTE: underlined). I find myself longing for M.'s company, ha ha. I also get flashes of the hospital. But I don't know which hospitals. I think it's just one hospital, and people only see like, one, and for some reason I see both of them.

Fell asleep in the tub today. Woke up freezing. I still feel dirty and sweaty and musty and old.


I know I should get checked in, I know, I swear, I KNOW, but I don't want to go to the hospital because I'm afraid they'll take me to the OTHER hospital. And I know that this is irrational (I KNOW!) but I still don't want to. I don't want to leave this room.


I've changed my mind. I want to go home. Lots of people knocked on my door today and I scared them away with a type of voice I didn't know I had. I threw things at the door and eventually they went away. I want to book an earlier flight but I can't.

I crave for something but I don't know what. I can't keep food down.


Too tired to write. I'm incapable of an erection Cute. I think. dhiarrhea


Today my next-door neighbor came with a doctor who resides in the building. They said they would help me but I said I didn't understand because as far as I know I don't need any help. But if you could do something about those vines that would be nice, I said. Also, make sure that M. doesn't come back because I don't want him around, I said. Long pause. Stressful silence. The apartment groaned. They insisted and I yelled at them, again with this voice I didn't know I have, that my flight would be here tomorrow and they wouldn't have to deal with me and they could live in their stupid city the rest of their lives in peace with their vines and their drugs and their crazy hospitals. Finally they left. They just want me out of here. It's okay. I understand. It was cute at first but I overstayed my welcome.

It only saddens me that I will never get to the bottom of this.

That was the final diary entry.

On the flight back, I vomited thick black bile three times. I was rushed to the hospital as soon as I got off the plane, where I began to apparently bleed from pretty much everywhere. There is still nothing conclusive about what happened to me; the doctors at least have provided a million different possibilites but not a single concrete answer. They also tested me for drug use.

My parents described how I looked to me. Apparently I was absolutely ghoulish. Pale skin, hadn't shaved in weeks, emaciated, skeletal, in short a million times worse than I thought when I looked at myself in the mirror.

As I took the cab to the airport that last day in Valparaiso, I saw the lady's house one more time. Someone was chopping the vines off, the juicy thick parts, and putting them in a bag. Was it M.? I don't know. I thought so for a second.