January 2nd, 1986

Starting off in a new city today. I want to keep a record of my time here. Hey, it’ll show Marc that I actually can bust my ass and take care of myself once in a while. My brother can’t shelter me forever. If you come across this journal from sneaking around my room, Mark, I’m right behind you planning my alibi. Just kidding. Not really.

January 3rd, 1986

I went to that burger joint I’ve been meaning to try in this city with my buddy Steve. Turns out his neighbor from downtown happened to know John Marley! Tomorrow I get to go through some of his stuff he wanted to give away, since according to him, it’s a bunch of junk. Man, what a find. I mean, John Marley, my God!

January 4th, 1986

I went through some of Marley’s old possessions and came out with a set piece from “The Godfather” as well as a painting from his personal gallery. Turns out Marley was a bit of an art collector. The piece was by some Stoneham guy. It’s just of some weird kid with a doll. It wouldn’t be so strange if it weren’t for the hands pressed on the windows behind them. All I can think about is how great it will be to hang this up on the bedroom wall. I should tape record the reactions.

January 13th, 1986

The woman next door brought her daughter here today and asked me to look after her for a few hours. Hey, I get 70 bucks out of this babysitting gig. I can use any money I get right now. Bacon cheeseburgers don’t pay for themselves. The kid is pretty well behaved. A little on the quiet side, but hey at least that means I can read in peace.

January 15th, 1986

Jeez, it was like entering a sauna today. I’m going to have to talk to Steve about helping me fix the heater. I know it should be up and running, but this is a little too much. I’m going to go out for a bite to eat. The cool breeze outside will be a nice change.

January 16th, 1986

I couldn’t get to sleep. It’s like I’m right in front of an oven, even when my sheets fell on the floor! I tried calling Steve to help me out with the heater. No luck there. His dial tone was busy.

January 17th, 1986

The kid kept complaining, so I told her she could have all the ice cream left in the freezer. That’ll keep her content for now. But even I can’t handle this heat. I’ve opened all the windows, but for some reason it feels even warmer than before. What am I saying? I’m not making any sense.

January 18th, 1986

Okay, not cool. I found dirty handprints on the sides of my bed curtains. They had to be from someone around five years old. And I only know one kid that’s been in my apartment lately who could make this mess. I guess she sneaked in the room when I wasn’t looking.

January 19th, 1986

I had a talk with the neighbors. The kid denies everything. The mom finally got her to apologize after a while though. I’m going to have to spend a few hours scrubbing off those handprints, God damn it.

January 20th, 1986

We took a look at the heater today and… it hasn’t been working. It hasn’t been working at all. It’s been broken for at least a couple of months. It’s fucking 20 degrees outside. How the hell am I feeling like I’m in an oven at night if my heater isn’t even working?

January 21st, 1986

… Those handprints are back where they were. The kid hasn’t even visited my place since the incident. I can’t even find my blanket today. I feel like I’m losing my mind.

January 22nd, 1986

I can’t get any sleep. I feel like someone keeps tugging at my hand every time I shut my eyes. I just want some sleep. I feel like all I can do is vent in this journal until I fall

January 23rd, 1986, Morning

I woke up in the kitchen. I don’t even remember getting here. I tried calling Steve and it’s the same busy dial tone. I need out. I need to get out of here. Just a walk around the city. It’ll clear my mind. I better not be going nuts. That’s all I need in my life.

January 23rd, 1986, Evening

I’m in the library right now. There was just something telling me I needed to be here. Something… I don’t know what it is, but I need to find out more about that painting.

January 24th, 1986, Morning

I finally remembered the guy’s name. Bill Stoneham. I looked him up, and apparently the guy created this “work of art” fourteen years ago. … A few strange things have happened surrounding the painting. The owner of the gallery where the painting was first displayed and the critic who reviewed it both died a year after looking upon it. Bad timing, I guess. Stoneham claimed he was inspired to paint the gateway from fantasy to reality. Well excuse me, but that isn’t any fantasy land I want to visit any time soon.

January 24th, 1986, Evening

The kid snuck into my apartment while I was gone. Before I could even enter, my neighbor yelled at me for keeping things around that could scare her. She told me her daughter ran out of my apartment screaming. … I don’t really want to enter my apartment, but I’ve decided to burn it. I know this sounds crazy, but there’s a small part of me that thinks whatever is going on will stop once I get rid of it.

January 25th, 1986

I’m in a hotel room right now. It didn’t work… It didn’t. The painting... THE FUCKING PAINTING DIDN’T BURN. I took a match to it and it SWALLOWED the flame. Not only that, but the painting itself was different. The girl had a gun pointed at the boy, and it looked like he was exiting the painting. I fucking swear that is what I saw. God I know how crazy I sound right now. At least it’s gone. I found an old brewery and threw it in there. It can rot there for all I care.

I’m going to write down my brother’s address and put it on the front of this journal. I need to let someone know. I’m sure this will all sound like nonsense to him, but it’s the only way. I don’t think I have much time left. All the telephones leave a busy dial tone, and my door is jammed shut.

January 26th, 1986

… The walls… they’re saying something. I keep hearing a child’s voice calling to me. It’s telling me to follow it away from here. I can’t go to sleep. The whispers, they keep telling me sweet things. They’re telling me my brother is outside. He can’t be outside. I never told him where I was. There’s smoke in this room. It feels like I’m in a furnace. I can’t breathe. There’s something tugging at the back of my shirt. I don’t want to look back. If I don’t look back, it’s not real. If I don’t look back, it’s not

That was the last entry from my uncle’s journal. I never really knew him. I was much too young to remember anything significant about him. My father had described him as a lighthearted guy. I guess that was before these entries. My uncle had withdrawn from the outside world until he vanished without a trace. My father tried calling him several times and even came for a visit. The door was always locked and no one answered the phone. The only thing that we have left that tells of where he might be, is from this journal found in a hotel room in Colorado. Our address had been written on the front page of the diary with a note to be mailed there if anything should happen to him.

My father had received a package containing that same diary. He never spoke a word about it to anyone until I discovered it in our attic seventeen years later. I was going off to college when I inquired him about the journal, and I guess my father figured I was old enough to know a little bit more about my uncle. I didn’t use to believe in all this supernatural stuff. I mean, it had to be the work of delusions or a wild imagination. But… after finding out that same painting was auctioned on Ebay? Let’s just say I’m not a skeptic anymore.

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