TheNeverPages Serialisation
Series 4, Episode 7

TheNeverPages - Series 4, Episode 7

Outside the hotel now. Journey back was chaotic . Made great care to hug walls, dart down alleyways etc. Was almost impossible. I was shunted and pushed by all the ‘ghosts’ of Pripyat. They clearly have some physical presence here. After the first few knocks, I decided to experiment. I traced some footsteps and, from the gait and the size of the footprint, I judged them to be of a grown man (and one not carrying anything). I spent an hour looking for a suitable subject as I did not want to experiment on a child, or a woman, or someone elderly. I found a suitable mark coming out of a cold, grey official building. I almost lost the trail, as I was fascinated by the handprint the ghost made on the glass pane of the revolving door. I made note of the direction the steps were going then quickly darted into the door-well to study the hand-print. It was as expected. The clammy sweat evaporating quickly, but it wasn’t just the physical implications of this ghost’s touch that interested me but the faint purple tinge it carried with it. Before I could take a sample, the print evaporated. I stepped out of the carousel door and caught up with the footprints.

I followed them for a few paces and then, when in the time was right, I shoved. I felt contact, I felt resistance and I felt my muscles having to push against thin air and then the footsteps stopped and were replaced by the clear markings of a body falling onto the floor.

Most interesting.

My next experiment utilized the same method, but this time with the periscope to my eye and as I pushed, I could hear the gasp of shock from my test subject, the thud as they landed, and the cry of pain as they had obviously twisted something. I stood and listened for it was the response I was eager to hear. I was hoping for either, “Who did that?” or, “Why did you do that?” What I got instead was, “Stop pushing me, you’re always pushing me, if you don’t, you’re a dead man!”

I was shocked! I could not bring myself to answer, or apologise or to move on and try out my experiment out again. A mixture of embarrassment, fear and shame rose up. Once more in this realm I am presented with more questions than answers! I fled Torpor Avenue and now, here I am, outside the hotel. The exterior is both grand and imposing, more so than any other building in Pripyat. It seems as if the hotel has fully arrived here. I cannot make out any vestiges of the old, wooden shack that was once stood here.

I go in…

The hotel is the same but changed. Or perhaps it is the same, and I have changed around it? That’s absurd. Cod metaphysical musings. MGV1 would raise an eyebrow, but wrote it as it came to me. The thought skipped over my reason, like a word skipped by a hiccup. I am standing in the corridor outside the room that MGV1 (and MGV2) stayed in. Have not entered yet. Collate this first.

The lobby matched the grandeur of its exterior - plush carpet, drapes and mahogany decked reception. Periscope revealed the sounds of footsteps – high heels, bus-boys, hand luggage on wheels. A functioning hotel.

Noticed that there are no longer skulls of dead animals lining the walls. Instead there hang portraits. Stern, strong faces. Kings, Tsars, Princes, Queens, Engineers, Physicists etc. Recognised some. All looming down upon me, casting their judgement. None of them have my intellect, nor have they ventured where I have ventured and sought what I have sought. Felt revulsion for these ‘leaders’.

Walked over to the reception. Could see the key to my room hanging on the wall. Dilemma presented itself. Should I brazenly take the key? What if I disturbed the harmony of the reality in which this hotel was full of bodies? What if, while going about their daily business, they suddenly saw a floating key. What then? What then?

The chair behind the desk wheeled itself backwards and sprung up an inch, as if someone had stood up, then the saloon style hatch-door raised and lowered. Someone had left the reception. I took my chance, leant over the desk, seized the key and fled. 

Before leaving the reception, caught glance at newspaper folded on the counter. Headline read, “Crown Engineer unveils designs for revolutionary oil fields,” beneath it, etching showed giant oil-drills. The pumps resembled like huge femurs. Giant legs thrusting into the ground. Bizarre.

Left to find my room. I write this now, in the corridor, facing the door.

I am going in now. After I have looked around, I will take stock of this journal/possible NeverDiary as more entries have moved to make room for suspected MGV2 entries. Paisley, as ever, is here, although…Paisley is not here.  Suddenly struck by his presence and how I had not factored it into my calculations. I did not notice him getting jostled about while in town.

Just looked at him through the periscope. He is indeed not here . Through the scope, although everything else remained the same, Paisley did not. Whatever realities have melded together, this dog is not a part of either. Poor mutt. Will hold him with me for as long as possible. Every Stage Firing that brings forth realities and seals them together could, and theoretically should, push Paisley further and further out.

The room is same but different. Bed is now an iron frame, thin mattress. Walls are plastered, unpainted and poorly sealed. The stain on the wall is vivid and foreboding. A clear outline of a figure filled in with dark, black light.

Ceiling is dark grey. Can see outline of stain. No longer of two people side by side. Now resembles two people embracing. It is a lighter shade than the rest of the ceiling. It is a negative space. It carries with it an overwhelming sense of understanding and melancholia.

I feel a presence. I focus. No, I feel not one single presence, but the presence of two. I am writing this now with the diary at my side. The same method MGV1 adopted while I was approaching him in the alleyway for the first time. It is by my side. I am not looking at these words, but focusing on the room instead.

I can feel a presence in the room.

And I can feel a presence in the corridor.

My sense of existence of splitting into pieces. 

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