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There is only the barest flickers of light once you take a wrong turn and end up where I am (wherever that is in the grand scheme), and sadly I’ve ended up some place where the bones of old memories are housed, or at least familiar objects. The question is, how is that possible? By definition R. seemed to me, at least up close, a conglomeration of many women I knew from the past and present (future?), as though by some miracle or mysterious force the very elements of my previous perceptions of women became one being. Then I began to think my mind had began a slow disintegration into a type of nothingness, because no rational person can have these ideas and actually believe them.
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The Door always swings inward, for that is what I’ve been told in the past, the distant past, by those people who have crossed over the threshold. Those same people never returned. Their voices come to me through invisible means known as the Muted Horn*. The entrance to the Door is always changing. Keep that in mind if you’re ever trying to find me. This is as much a guide as it is a story, so listen carefully. All that preceded these pages was a preamble to a disappearance alluded to at an earlier time that hopefully fell into the hands of my biographer. I’ll begin by giving you a survey of my thoughts at the present time. My location is unknown, even to me, but I dare say that I’ll be liberated. I should probably begin with a dramatis personae of sorts, even though the players are few and the stage is small.
The Muted Horn is unreliable, but I’m not going to get into the aspects as to its nature. That my friends is a difficult task that even I’m not up to. In saying that, the Muted Horn may have been responsible for my current predicament, not to mention the appearance of R. into my life. R. is the epitome of the grand gesture, the terra incognita, and the femme fatale. A combination that is rare while at the same time deadly, though not in the physical sense. I had hoped—perhaps naively and obsessively—that opening the Door would lead me to her again. But as I began to search her out, I began to question why I would want to find someone who had caused so much chaos in so little time. The point cannot be stressed enough that Midtown is a place that forever remains foreign, even after decades of within its walls. R. was very much the same way—elusive, of unknown origin, destined to remain a mystery even after a lifetime in her presence. My time with her was limited—though often it felt like a thousand lifetimes—yet despite that fact, like the Door, much more opened up for me…For better or worse.
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The Tagus glistens and I wonder if Overbeck has slipped under the sheets with Madeleine after her visit to me earlier this morning. The house was almost irrepressibly silent, which tends to be quite unbearable for me in foreign cities, for one does not know what spectres may lurk about. Perhaps I’m being slightly , what is the word?…I cannot place it at this moment. One expects the master of the house to return today sometime in the early evening. I have no intention of returning until then. I brought a book to read, but my mind is not in the proper frame for contemplation.
My only thoughts drift toward Madeleine. She is a very liberated woman. A little too liberated.Still, she has a gracious charm that is strangely infectious. How her attitude will change once the master returns remains to be seen.
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The Corridor is where we end. As the final important landmark on the Midtown grid, we come also to arguably the most significant site in the city’s development. The intent behind the Corridor on a basic level was to allow for only one way in and one way out. To gain access to Midtown became literally and figuratively, a rite of passage.
With regards to the age and process of design—not to mention the amount of marble used in its construction—no exact date has ever been recorded. Even sources in the Old Library give rough estimates and are somewhat unreliable, leaving even the most skilled scholar with wild theories. One such theory proposed by this author, though I’m not an expert, is that the Corridor seems to have been completed in four stages, as each section that comprises the area on which it sits possess unique traits not found in the others.
The passage for example that leads the train in from the Outskirts is brightly lit, almost to the point where the observer cannot see at times, suffused with a series of eternal flames and lamps, not to mention imagery dedicated to various deities, making the approach memorable, if not a blinding experience. This section is often attributed to Junichiro, as he was believed to be a devout worshipper of Kagu-tsuchi the Japanese fire god whose name is inscribed in spots along the passage.
As the Corridor narrows and the light becomes more bearable, the ambiance changes as well. The tones become earthier and the obvious symbols of gods disappears . Perhaps any deeper meaning lies in the walls, which boasts engravings of various rare plants—some of the hallucinogenic variety—that weave into patterns resembling arabesques. Madelaine de Garza, Perrot’s wife, an avid gardener and supposed master herbalist is often named as the central influence in the design after Perrot himself.
If we allow logic to play into the mystery would it seem too unlikely to think that these people, who history finds so enigmatic, were dabbling in consciousness expansion through chemical means? And if so, how does all this mysticism play into not only the development of the Corridor, but the rest of Midtown as well.
Part of the answer may exist in the third section of the Corridor which boasts the imprint of Hans Overbeck. A page in his published diaries says the following: 25 July 1830…Have been feeling rather ill as of late due to the wild deliriums of a tea I drank with the others the past evening. I felt as though I were being carried on the wind itself! Though as the night went on, the harshness of the substance…belladonna I believe…produced within my mind many dark images that I had not felt in years. Due to this, I have not been able to focus my energies as earnestly on the task of the Passage, which Bastion has been fretting about. He too has felt ill…I’m certain the work will continue as planned, and that my recent visions shall play a part in what it is to come on the small and grander scale…
If the previous words are any indication, Bastion Perrot was also privy to the grand effects of drugs, though one does not see it come through in the final stage of the Corridor. Overbeck’s contributions which ultimately led to the Section of Wind, as it has come to be called, due to the erection of a dozen flute-like bronze statues along the tracks, leads into a serene gentle ending at the platforms. Bastion, for all his legend, simply put in a final marble slab across the north wall that produced a barely noticeable flow of water, which seems fitting for a man who was barely noticeable to those who have tried to study him.
The story, one could say, is unfinished.
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Night sky. Lost in the stars. Warm, despite the wind that whirls around me. The icy stillness of winter can already be felt, even though it’s early September. Yellow moon…
My mind swimming with daring thoughts, or at the very least thoughts once considered daring. I realize that the world around me seems so small since they all disappeared. Reflections in the mirror seem like the only bit of truth left. Katsumi told me on that night so long ago in the Dragon’s Court that trying to articulate anything about what was, or to be, yields more in the End. So now seems to be the appropriate time. All signs point to yes, but where does ‘yes’ lead?
Slowly have begun translation process of diary in Ri’s Shadow Gallery. Daunting work, since I’m really no expert. Push through, or at least attempt to get somewhere.
A kind of heavy pall hangs over Midtown. The fog is rolling in again, just as I’ve always remembered it. The house is too silent as has the rest of the city lately. Rumours circulate of a mass migration out of here. At least that is what the papers say…reasons are vague…some say some sort of Bastion prophecy, which I’ve never heard of in all the literature I’ve read…perhaps this diary holds a piece of the puzzle. I’m sure Ri had quite the story as to how this came into her possession.
Going to walk tonight. Not coming back until something is revealed to me one way or the other. Never thought it would turn out this way.