Newspaper Article — 15th June 1988

Pianist Recovered to Hospital

A series of musical performances at the Castle Observatory came to a tragic end yesterday evening. Famed pianist Frederic Ernst collapsed of a suspected panic attack during an encore of La Gouttière, his award winning composition.

Visitors described their horror as Mr Ernst plunged into the front row of spectator seats, after rising from his piano without any apparent difficulty. Those positioned farther away could not at first understand why the performance was interrupted in such a bizarre fashion.

Fellow musician Carine Bouliere, who has medical training, rushed to Mr Ernst’s aid.

“I didn’t stop to think,” Bouliere said. “I was out of my seat as soon as he stopped playing. When he turned to the crowd with a strange look upon his face—that’s when I knew.”

Ms Bouliere blamed pressure for the pianist’s collapse.

The 64-year old, who served during the Allied Invasion of Normandy, has not performed publicly since 1983.

Ms Bouliere and staff took care of Mr Ernst until an ambulance arrived. Mr Ernst’s partner, Jasmine Kleer, left in a separate vehicle without making comment.

10th April 1989

Time to kill

I’ve taken some more time off in order to do some sleuthing.

I can’t lie. I do feel guilty, not least because I’m now pretending to be sick, but that I still haven’t told anyone about the bones. I was always told to respect the dead, as if I would ever have some nerve to disturb them. But here I am, holding on to the disjointed skeletons of at least two former inhabitants of this world. No evil has befallen me. Nothing has happened, at all, in fact, apart from those stupid nightmares. And even then…

Today, I visited the library. I used their computer archives to pull information from the regional newspapers. This took me right up to evening, but I have learned some things. Apparently, there have been no significant disappearances in this area since January 1981. At least, no missing persons cases that haven’t been resolved. And even those were benign. Tourists getting lost in the forestry, or climbing too high up on crags. We haven’t even had a bank robbery.

What am I do to? I’m not going to be alone forever. When they arrive, I’ll need to have answers.

Or, I suppose, I could simply hide everything away.

The Date (1/3)

May 3rd, 2003

That evening, on his drive home, Ford stopped off at the grocery store to pick up some essentials. He was due to meet Selena for a second date, and, if as he suspected, she was interested in going back to his apartment, he would need to stock up on toilet roll, wine, and food.

He walked the aisles as he always had after the first few weeks back at work, in something of a stupor, not really knowing where to begin or end.

The toilet roll came first.

Choosing the wine was difficult, until he found the only corked red with a suitably deep punt in the bottom of the bottle. Someone had once told him that deep punts are the mark of a good quality wine. Ford suspected this was pure conjecture, though it never encouraged him enough to go somewhere and look it up.

As for food, they would be eating out. But in case of breakfast, he grabbed a case of eggs, some bacon, orange juice and bread.

Field Quotes

#1

“You can’t spell well-fed without kebab.”

7th April 1989

I had been processed

For the past week or so I have been plagued by nightmares. I am in no doubt that it is to do with the bones. My body shudders uncontrollably at the thought.

However, the nightmares seem to go as follows. I am in the darkness of the cave by the fjord, put to work by my own volition. I labour to pull endless folds of earth from the walls. My hands are numb, clotted with mud, and I can hardly tell one motion from the next as I scramble ever deeper. I push so hard that my vision becomes blurry. It is too late for me to realise that I am being consumed by some strange, ungodly force. The mud binds itself around my limbs, enclosing my torso, and eventually my face. I cannot breathe, but I persist, well beyond normality.

This is when I wake up. But, on one occasion, I made it through to the other side. I emerged from a different cave, leading out to the same fjord, to the same faraway view. I collapsed to my knees, and brought up my hands. They were skeletal. It seemed that the earth, like some violent machine, had stripped away my flesh.

2nd April 1989

Another pass by the cave

I spent the majority of the morning by the cave. The hike exhausted me, and I didn’t feel like going inside until I had drank my tea.

The mornings here are exceptionally beautiful. It might be the time of year, I don’t know, but the banks are populous with wildlife. You never feel alone.

I went inside the cave around noon. The transition from the outside world was more severe this time. I felt that my senses were elevated with the possibility of finding something revelatory. I even found myself flinching at the sound of my own footsteps.

I placed my torch in the same nook, and raked my fingernails through the dirt. Earthen clumps came apart from the walls as if they had been restored overnight. I worked my way through to the damp stone without finding a single fragment of bone.

As I sit here, typing, I realise that my mind is a muddle. I find it impossible that I would find two or three incomplete skeletons, as if they had crawled to safety on severed limbs. Could an animal have consumed them piecemeal? Or are some bones simply lost to time?

1st April 1989

The last pile of bones from a damp cave

I took a seat, and looked at the pile of bones I had emptied from deep inside the cave that morning. I’m not great with biology, but I recognised the three femurs to one skull, the many, many bones of the ribs. The two pelves.

I spent the afternoon cleaning my car as thoroughly as possible. And whilst doing so, I couldn’t help but look out to the fjord and wonder if I’d missed something.