This book is for you. You do not have to show this book to me or anyone else. If you do show this book to me, I will not show it to anyone else.
You can write or draw anything that you want in this book.
You can stop writing in this book whenever you want. When you have stopped writing, you can keep or destroy this book. You can also give the book to me to keep or destroy at any time.
I should say that I wasn’t in Screetown during in the storm, since me and my mom were away at my Aunt’s for a couple of weeks. By the time we got back, the snow had melted, the roads had been cleared, and everything had gone back to normal. Superficially, at least. Fewer people were venturing out, and I guess those that were seemed more subdued. Self-involved asshole that I was, I didn’t notice how many people were missing, even though mom could rattle off a list of half a dozen just from her office alone. I guess for a few months the town just felt to me like a movie scene with a too few extras. In any case, why should I care? It wasn’t my fault, and what was I ever going to be able to do to help?
What did get me was the stuff about the monster (I am leaving it nameless here and from now on; anything more or less is pandering to pop culture bullshit). Even though they said on the news that they could explain the freak weather, it felt exciting to let yourself imagine some demon stalking under the dark trees just outside of town. We didn’t imagine anything too, scary, mind you. The monster to me and my friends was some bigfoot type from a ‘60s pulp-fiction novel; something we could make into a pinyata, or base a new drinking game off. Something that could be fought off if you could muster enough moxie. We were still young enough to feel cynical about everything. Stupid fucking morons.
I guess I was more into it than most of my friends. I’d always been into ghosts and UFOs and cryptozoology, ever since I was little, although at some point in my teens I had transitioned from unquestioning believer, to unquestioning sceptic. I read as much as I could about the storm online, and ended up on several message boards, arguing against every variety of supernatural theory you can imagine. After all, wasn’t I at ground zero? Screetown is a small place, so 99% of the people I would talk to had never been here. Most would shut up when I played the resident card.
Around this time, I started writing a blog. Mostly I regurgitated what you could hear on local news, but with a few more pictures and background information. I also liked to debunk the popular theories you would read on the message boards. My scientific method was far from rigorous, but that didn’t matter when a good 60% of the theories were bat-shit crazy. It got pretty popular for a time, and I even made a little money from ad revenue. It was with popularity in mind that I had my grand idea: why not write an article on finding the briar gallery? Publicly available details of the site were patchy, and had been even before the storm since it was such a unique discovery. Many of the supernatural theories contained details about weird rock formations, or a particular geographical placement, or stunted trees or whatever else. My big idea was to go outdoor with a copy of that days paper, and take enough pictures to call bullshit on all of the above.