I tore the sleeve from my shirt, and tried to tourniquet the self-inflicted wound on my arm as best I could. My mind was still racing, and heart pounding away in my chest like the monotonous rhythm of marching war drums. It just seemed I was incapable of accepting the situation I found myself in. My eyes then met the single thing in sight that represented any sense of hope.
The tower, I had to get to the tower.
I hauled myself to my feet, heart still aching in my chest. In front of me a vast swamp sullied the landscape, and I loathed the idea of traveling through it. Luckily there appeared to be some fallen logs and mounds of dirt that looked at least somewhat stable in the muck.
I took a look around, and saw no signs of the lizard fiend from earlier, and so I proceeded to venture into the swamp. I tiptoed, leapt and shimmied my way along the murky mounds of dirt and compost. The water appeared foul, stagnant and coated in green slime; utterly shredding any hopes I had of drinking from it. At certain spots I saw large bubbles rise from the depths and rupture at the surface. The skin crawled on my arms as I imagined what was creating them down below.
Thankfully, I managed to cross the swamp without incident, nor sighting of anything else unusually strange. On the other side the swamp finally relented, giving way to yet another grove of trees. Over top of them I saw the tower looming somewhere beyond, and I knew I had no choice but to venture through another forest.
The trees seemed smaller than the ones I had been traversing through earlier, but no less foreboding. In no time the swamp behind me was once again concealed by the foliage. There’s no real way that I can describe the absolute silence that surrounded me almost constantly there. You never realize how comforting white noise is in daily life until you are deprived of it. It’s almost maddening to endure, but this time it didn’t last.
Up ahead, a sudden whimpering noise caused me to duck down behind a tree. I glanced franticly around me, but saw nothing. The whimpering noise then grew a bit louder, and it started to sound like someone crying; like a young child crying.
It must’ve been my sympathetic human instincts that propelled me to try and find it, as the thought of a child alone and terrified in that place was truly heart-breaking. I crawled forward on my belly, trying to avoid being seen by anything that may have been watching from the shadows. It’s a good thing I did that too, because as I crawled over the protruding set of roots, I saw something in the distance.
There was a silhouette wandering about maybe thirty yards ahead of me. Long dangling arms atop a slender frame that sort of teetered around. It looked almost human, but the more I stared, the more I realized it’s proportions were way off. It was tall and incredibly skinny, more so than any person I’ve ever seen. I also made another even more bone-chilling discovery as the crying grew louder.
It was coming from that thing.
It was wailing pitifully, but it didn’t seem sincere. It’s body motion didn’t seem to indicate it was distressed or scared. It was just casually sauntering around, swaying it’s arms like it didn’t know what to do with them. It was almost like it was not used to making the sounds, like it was just mimicking them or using them as a ploy to lure someone towards it.
Maybe I was just paranoid, but either way I was not about to take my chances and discover whether the thing was friendly or not. I just ducked down there, averting my gaze from the thing and into the trees. My heart then skipped a beat in my chest, as I saw eyes staring back at me.
Large black opulent orbs stuck in a sharp, mammalian skull, sparkling in the green light that bathed from above leered down upon me. It was about ten feet up in a tree, staring right down at me with it’s body inverted on the trunk. The creature’s torso seemed almost feline in nature, but it was truly unlike any animal I’d ever seen.
It’s head was sharp, almost triangular and it’s immense eyes looked more like insect eyes than any cat I’d ever seen. It had these odd quills on it’s back that bristled around like reeds in the breeze. It’s forked tail flicked around overhead as it suspended itself in an inverted position while it clung to the trunk with curved, platinum colored claws.
We just stared at each other, motionless for what seemed like an eternity. The thing seemed almost as taken aback by the sight of me as I was of it. Meanwhile, the shambling thing continued wailing in the background, and I scrambled to try and devise a plan. I knew running was the worst thing I could do, as most big cats will consider you prey if you run; and since that was the only similar organism I could think to compare it to, I opted to remain motionless.
I was frozen, between a predator I somewhat recognized and another I did not. A low grumble then echoed from the tree beast’s throat, and I knew then it had breakfast on it’s mind.
I don’t even know what came over me then. Maybe it was the continued decline in my mental fortitude, adrenal surge or frustration at the situation, or maybe a combination of everything that possessed me to do what I did.
I stood up, as if to challenge the cat-thing head on, and let out my best interpretation of a war cry. It came out sounding more like a hoarse screech, and I could hear the terror infused within it. The beast didn’t falter at all, but something else did.
The tall humanoid thing suddenly screeched out from behind me; shrieking like a banshee. I turned and awe it darting straight towards me at a torrid rate; it’s vaguely human face suddenly split apart, revealing four flaps of serrated mandibles similar to a Venus flytrap.
Just as it was within a few feet I dove aside, and the humanoid charged right past me, slamming full force into another tree. It grunted and stopped, but showed no signs of physical pain despite how hard it had struck. Under different circumstances it might’ve even been hilarious, but in the moment, it revealed a crucial piece of information.
It was blind.
Knowing it’s daze wouldn’t last, I picked up a rock and chucked it at the beast in the tree. The rock struck it’s back, and it growled back in a rage. I saw it’s mouth open revealing multiple rows of little jagged teeth. The humanoid-squid thing then whipped it’s head upwards, alerted by the snarl.
In a split second it lunged at the tree, using it’s long arms and legs to rapidly scramble upward. The cat yelped and slashed at the humanoid’s mandibles as it grew near, but the humanoid didn’t so much as flinch. It grabbed the cat, tearing it lose from the tree and causing them both to plummet towards the ground.
They struck hard, but were both back on their feet in an instant. The humanoid lunged and attempted to wrap itself around the cat. It’s arms and legs bent at impossible angles for a human, looking like some kind of weird snake attempting to perform a suplex. The cat-thing roared and flailed around, quickly wiggling free of the grip. It then turned the tables on the humanoid, lunging for it’s throat with teeth bared.
I was momentarily mesmerized by the conflict, but quickly broke and realized that was my chance to get away. I ran like a madman, hearing the sounds of the two beasts continue their fight as I put distance between them. A minute later and I heard the screech of the humanoid blare loudly, before falling silent once again.
I kept moving, traversing ever deeper into the forsaken forest and putting as much ground between myself and those creatures as I could. There were several trees that looked different than the rest, twisted and malformed, like they had grown out of a radiation plant or something. Some of the trunks literally curled in an arch spanning dozens of feet tall before plunging back into the ground. Made me wonder whether they were actually trees at all.
After what I’d witnessed with the two odd creatures earlier, I had begun to suspect I had been somehow transported to some alien planet. The further I went though, the more I found weird stuff that seemed to challenge even that ludicrous notion.
First was just a pile of what seemed like trash, with old kitchen appliances and early 90’s era computer equipment just sitting in a small clearing. Not exactly something I’d expect to find on a foreign planet. There was also a large ten-foot statue of a soldier wielding a sword and shield. The words inscribed upon it were written in an alphabet I’ve never seen before.
By far the weirdest was when I came upon a large building standing derelict in the middle of the forest. It looked like an old bathhouse from ancient Rome or Greece, complete with large support columns engraved with intricate sculptures, buttresses with pristine spirals and shredded tapestries dangling from the ceilings.
After debating for a moment, I decided to wander inside, hoping to lose those two creatures from earlier for good. With any luck – I thought I may find someone who could help me. The place seemed abandoned, with large pools containing relatively clean-looking water that I imagine was initially designed for bathing.
My dry lips and pounding headache then returned to me, reminding me of my dire thirst. It was a risky idea, but I took my chances, and gulped down several mouthfuls of it, as it was the first source of semi-clean water I’d come across since I’d been there. It tasted weird, but it did wonders in abating my dehydration.
As I satiated one need, another arose within the pits of my stomach. Hunger. I knew I’d have to find something to eat eventually, but didn’t even know where to begin. My only real options for possible nourishment were the two creatures I’d seen fighting earlier, and I was not about to wander back in that direction.
There were several pieces of that building that truly made no sense to me. Several trees stood inside the building itself, with the construction halting right at it’s trunk. It looked either like the building was built around them perfectly down to the nearest millimeter, or merged with them somehow.
The walls were covered with all kinds of hand-scrawled graffiti. A lot of it used the standard alphabet characters, but none of it appeared to be written in English. The penmanship appeared rushed and with varying handwriting styles as if multiple persons had contributed to it over time. The only phrase I recognized was one which didn’t really make me feel any better.
“L’amour ne vit pas ici.” It was French, and thanks to taking three years of it in high school I was able to decipher it’s meaning.
“Love does not live here.”
Well, they were sure right about that.
There was a second story to the building as well, but there appeared to be no immediate way to access it. It was weird too, as there was very clearly a section in which two symmetrical sets of spiral staircases would’ve fit perfectly; but they just weren’t there. It was like whoever built the place had forgotten to include them, or removed them after for some reason.
I was getting desperate by that point, and decided to make a questionable decision.
“Hello…” My voice echoed through the desolate building, but nothing answered my call. All around me was just an empty construct whose builders had clearly long since departed. How long had it been there, and how was it even there to begin with?
The world just seemed to be doing everything it possibly could to defy any explanation I could think of. It was like it was a fragment of different places and times of reality all stapled clumsily together. Dinosaurs, weird-cat things, tall, blind squid-humanoids and a deadly fog that induced sleep and hid god knows what within it. There didn’t seem to be any running connection between them.
Maybe they were all just as lost as I was.
After proceeding beyond the baths, I found the room open into a wide chamber. On the walls there were these slots that appeared to contain coffins, like the catacombs of Paris but a lot more organized and evenly slotted. It appeared to be some kind of mausoleum, constructed by the hands of a truly masterful architect.
Again, why anyone would choose to build a bathhouse in the same building as what was essentially a graveyard is beyond me. My stomach turned as a terrible explanation arose in the pit of my stomach.
Maybe the bathing pools I had drank from earlier weren’t intended for living people.
There was a set of large opposing doors in the wall on the opposite end of the room. They were enormous; at least fifteen feet tall, and decorated with all sorts of runes and glyphs of indeterminate languages. Even now more than a decade later I’ve yet to find anything resembling those symbols.
It felt like the door wasn’t going to budge, and I questioned whether I even should be trying to open it at all. Just as I was about to give up, I felt the doors crack apart and slowly begin to move. It was like pushing a dead car up a driveway, and I really had to lean down into it to open it enough for me to pier inside. The crack grew wider, and my heart thudded in my chest as I glimpsed what was inside.
Out of reflex I recoiled and took several steps away from the door. By that point they had opened wide enough for the momentum to carry them the rest of the way. I watched the cyclopean double-doors sway wide open, revealing a staggering sight within.
At the center of the room, illuminated by a single ray of light beaming down from the roof was an enormous statue; carved in obsidian stone. It stood at least ten feet above the doors, and the roof above it stretched upward in an ornate spiral formation for dozens more feet. In the center; the green light shone brightly from the heavens. Staring upward at the patterns was almost hypnotizing, and I had to avert my eyes.
The room was one sight to behold, but the statue was on a whole different level. It was human-esque in shape, but it had several interesting characteristics to it. Most noticeable was the four arms on it’s torso and lack of head. Two of the arms were opened wide, as if beckoning me towards it. The other two were clasped together at the chest with one index finger pointing up and the other pointing down.
The statue was naked, devoid of either male or female parts. Around it’s neck was a necklace carved from the same stone, and bearing an emerald upon the pendant that glowed with a slight green luminescence. The base of the statue also had strange symbols etched upon it that shimmered in similar fashion to the jewel.
The neck appeared cracked slightly, but after looking around I couldn’t find the missing head anywhere. The longer I stared up at it, the more unnerved I became. I couldn’t imagine then what likeness that statue was carved to represent, but it couldn’t be a good sign.
There didn’t appear to be anything there beyond that point, so after looking around for a bit longer I returned the way I came. At every moment I was on edge for someone or something deciding to ambush me, but it just never happened. Before I knew it, I was back out front searching for an alternate route, and not long after I found one.
There was a small trail that led past the bathhouse and deeper into the woods beyond. It was overgrown and looked scarcely travelled, but since it was the first actual trail I had seen since being there I took it as a sign to follow it. Things were again quiet as I made my way down the path, but before long I stumbled upon something worrying.
I heard the trees rustling, and looked up to see a gruesome sight. Multiple human and animal silhouettes wrapped in twine-like webbing were suspended high up in the trees. It took a moment for me to comprehend what I was even looking at, but once I did, I felt a permeating horror descend upon me. Then it got worse, as a large shadow suddenly moved in the trees above them.
I didn’t wait around to see anymore, and took off running as far away from that place as I could. I don’t know what it was in the trees, but I wasn’t about to stick around and find out. After a few minutes of running I finally broke through the grove of trees.
I then found myself with a wide-open sandy field in front of me; a vast desert that seemed to stretch on for miles. It was a stark contrast; going from a thick dark forest to a sudden wide-open desert like that. It seemed somehow out of place, and I could be wrong but I don’t believe those two environments normally exist so close to one another. Then again, this was clearly NOT a normal place or situation.
The sand was red, incredibly coarse and seemed as fine as powdered sugar. It made walking in it difficult, but I really had no other option. I proceeded onward, and before long found myself at the lip of downward depression in the land.
Down below stretched an expansive field littered with all manner of wreckage. There was a plethora of equipment seemingly abandoned to the elements. From a distance I saw what looked like old, wooden wagon wheels, a few overturned carriages and even an old canon standing derelict in the sands.
An odd, reddish haze seemed to lightly blanket the vicinity, like a blood mist evaporated into steam. Despite the equipment, I saw nothing moving within the area. Lording above the terrain I once again met eyes with the tower in the distance. At least it was a bit closer than before.
The wreckage hinted at from my early sight was far vaster than I had imagined. Overturned carriages littered the dunes, but there were other vehicles as well. I saw a few old military Jeeps from the 50’s, Roman chariots, a rusted-up Cadillac, a few downed aircraft and even an old, rusted-over Abrams tank. A mystical myriad of gear and equipment from all different times and places.
That discovery seemed to further contradict my notion that I was on some alien planet. The presence of earth vehicles and equipment made it seem more like it was some parallel universe or alternate timeline of some kind. I don’t know if those things even exist, but it was the only explanation I arrived at.
There were a few vehicles there that looked nothing like anything I’d ever seen. There was one in particular that looked like some Blade Runner-esque coupe; some futuristic concept car or something. The signet on the back was one I recognized as the Rolls-Royce insignia.
I didn’t know how to explain that, as it was clearly not something from my time. It seemed to substantiate my thought of a parallel universe. Maybe some weird apocalypse had ravaged the world and left it as a haunted husk, or maybe it was even stranger than that.
Maybe time itself didn’t even exist there as it does on earth, or maybe whoever the vehicle belonged to had discovered how to time travel. Maybe time itself was simply convoluted beyond my understanding.
There were weapons and gear there too; rifles, swords, halberds and all sorts of others scattered about. All the items there seemed heavily damaged, and there were tracks and cracks in the landscape. It looked like a forsaken warzone, but the strangest realization took the form of a single question which made a chill creep up my spine.
The gear had to belong to someone, so where were all the owners?
I decided it best to not ask such questions, and did my best to maintain sight of the tower and continue on. My efforts didn’t last long though, and soon I watched it disappear behind the reddish fog. My line of sight was quickly restricted down to only about two-dozen yards. Not long after I began to hear unnerving sounds coming from all around me. A chorus of dull moans and strange clicks, barely audible but definitely present serenaded my ears like the ethereal winds of a dwindling hell.
I did my best to prevent the sounds from overcoming my nerves, but then a sight up ahead caused me to quickly duck behind a boulder. My heart thundered in my chest, and I tried calming myself while praying what I had seen had not seen me. Even now I’m not sure whether I actually saw it or if it was just a trick of my own mind. All I really saw was a bundle of flailing tentacles, and that was enough to ward me off.
By the time I finally got the nerve to look again, there was no sight of it. My heart breathed a small sigh of relief, and after waiting a bit longer, I rose to continue on my way. The fog finally began to lift after a few more minutes of walking.
Up ahead I saw an open valley lingering before me. Inside were what almost looked like an ancient Mesoamerican village. Adobe huts lined the corridor which grew wider with every step. The huts stood empty and stacked upwards on the canyon walls. As I got closer though, I noticed the walkways and entrances were far too small for an average human. Whoever or whatever created them had to have been relatively small statured.
It was yet another confusing sight, but things like that were becoming par for the course by that point. I had essentially given up explaining what anything was supposed to mean or how they got there, as other matters took priority. I felt my stomach grumble, as the effects of food deprivation were really beginning to ache.
The valley trail then began to slope gradually upwards, and soon I found myself at a higher elevation than the abodes I had seen in the canyon walls. I kept my head on a swivel, staying hyper-aware of every miniscule disturbance around me.
I was nearing the plateau of the trail, when a sudden, calamitous bang echoed through the valley. It sounded like the echoing clang of an enormous bell of some kind, but I couldn’t determine where it had originated. Other sounds then rapidly followed, metal clangs, screeches and gurgles from all around me. Various spots in the sand begin to stir, and things began to rise up from underneath.
The red sand poured off a figure down behind me, revealing a person underneath. It was no ordinary person though. It was covered head to toe in some sort of grey slate armor. It almost appeared fused directly onto it’s flesh. It carried a rusted longsword in one hand, and a small shield with some patterned symbol in the other. It’s head was covered by a helmet that looked twisted and malformed.
For about a half second, I wondered if maybe it could be a friend, but that sentiment didn’t last long. It’s head turned in my direction as I saw others rise behind it. An empty visage stared back at me, and my heart sunk. Another one then sauntered up behind it, appearing even more twisted than the first. It’s head was molded into an almost diamond shaped helmet. Both it’s arms were also missing, replaced by long dangling chains and capped off by jagged morning-star chunks of iron.
Before I could react, the one with the sword suddenly began charging towards me. It hadn’t taken more than three steps before a deafening blast ruptured through the canyon. I felt the air turbulence of something zoom by me and strike the armored thing directly in the neck. The thing’s neck violently burst, nearly decapitating it from the impact.
It fell to the ground with a thud, and I looked around to try and find my guardian angel. There was no indication as to where the gunshot had come from, and I didn’t have time to search. The chain-armed fiend then swung one of it’s chains, and I watched it swing upwards and rapidly arc back down as I jumped away. It slammed into the dirt where I had previously stood, and I decided then was a good time to flee.
I heard the clanging footsteps give chase behind me, as all manner of other distant noises filled the air. On top of the plateau I saw other things sauntering from their resting spots; other humanoids with all manner of weapon augmentations. I saw one whose hands had been replaced with daggers, another with a large rampart lance jutting from it’s sternum, and another whose head seemed to have been fused with an axe. The weirdest one however was actually two individuals who appeared to have been fused together at the torso, CatDog style.
Some of them took to chasing after me as well, but most ignored me entirely. After minutes of running I felt my lungs begin to burn under the physical strain. My stomach ached and my muscles were growing weak and on the verge of failure. Just as I was about to give out, I felt my foot suddenly lodge in the sand.
The sudden stop of my ankle sinking nearly broke it, and I suddenly came to an abrupt stop. The armored things were hot on my tail, and I began to panic; trying desperately to dislodge my stuck foot. The sands then shifted beneath me, and I felt them beginning to sink downward like a whirlpool. There was nothing I could’ve done to escape, and within seconds a large pit opened wide, sending me plunging into the chasm below.
It was all a blur in that moment, but I felt my shoulder strike hard against something as I tumbled down. I soon hit the ground with a thud, and lifted my head as my vision swam about. Blurry shapes tumbled over the lip of the cavern up above, crashing down into the sand behind me.
I hobbled to my feet, feeling the pain reverberate in my knee as the upper walls of the cavern began to crumble further. Luckily, there was a dark passage down there, and I moved towards it without hesitation. I heard my pursuers shuffling behind me, but before they could rise a large volley of rocks came crashing down after us.
There were four of the ironclad fiends by that point, but tumbling rocks from the eroding ceiling quickly thinned their ranks. One by one they were crushed by the boulders, and I dove for the passage. I looked back to see the chain-armed one get crushed by a pile of rocks that filled in the entrance to the tunnel. Things finally settled after that, and I was alone in the dark.
Things went pitch black, and I fumbled for the flashlight in my pocket. The beam then blazed a luminous trail through the dark cavern. The way I had entered had been entirely sealed off by the cave-in, and it was clear digging myself back out was not an option.
To my surprise and partial relief, the tunnel I entered went on for a while. It seemed to progress deeper downward before diverting to the right a couple dozen yards up ahead. I heard nothing around me, but still, the notion of going deeper made my spine quiver. Unfortunately, I really had no other option by that point.
That tunnel quickly branched out into a labyrinth of passages, nooks and crannies of all sizes. Every couple of yards I dropped a piece of the wrapped gum from my pack onto the ground. The flashlight gleamed when it reflected off the tinfoil wrapper, meaning in theory I could use the trail to find my way back to where I started if I ended up becoming lost.
The deeper I went, the more I began to think that the tunnel was not a natural formation. There were these thick grooves cut into the passage, almost like something had intentionally dug them out. I kept thinking I heard whispers from the shadows, but I can’t say whether I actually did or if my mind was just playing tricks on me.
After a couple of minutes, I entered an open chamber, and several more of the twisting paths carved all around me. I tried feeling for a breeze, but there was nothing so I ended up just picking a new tunnel at random. I pulled the last piece of gum from my pack and dropped it at the entrance.
As I did, I noticed there was something imprinted in the dirt. Closer inspection revealed what looked like the footprint of a boot. Several more were etched into the dirt beyond that, leading deeper into one of the tunnels. I followed them, and as I rounded the next bend I saw what had made them. Up ahead my flashlight beamed against the outline of a man lying motionless against a wall.
I froze in my step, wondering whether or not I could even trust what my eyes were telling me. I then figured he had definitely noticed me as well, so there was no point trying to hide.
“Hello… can you hear me?” The person didn’t respond, and I felt a wave of crippling dread roll through me. I slowly crept closer, only to realize the person’s chest was not moving. I then saw that several shards of what almost looked like bone were jabbed into various points of his torso.
I gasped and suppressed the vomit from climbing my throat, as I realized he was already dead and had likely been so for quite some time. He was wearing camo shorts, hiking boots and a Def Leppard t-shirt. His eyes were wide, and mouth hung lifelessly ajar. As macabre as the sight was, it was also encouraging for one simple reason.
He was from my world; from the real world.
There was a small notebook nestled in his lap. I tip-toed closer and snagged it, still paranoid about the whole thing being some sort of trap. He didn’t budge though, and I took a step back to inspect it.
There were sketches of different animals and landscapes scattered throughout it, all in various stages of completion. He was pretty good at it too, and the completed portraits were incredibly detailed. One of his drawings was of one of those long-necked dinosaurs, and it got me wondering whether he had seen it there somewhere.
On the final page, I saw that he had written something.
“My name is William James Gardner. On September 3rd 1989, I was hiking in northern Tennessee with a few of my friends. I suddenly had what must’ve been a seizure or stroke of some kind. Next thing I know, I woke up here; wherever ‘here’ even is.
I don’t know what this place is, how I ended up here in the first place or even how long I’ve been here. I thought I was dead for the longest time, but I don’t think that’s the case anymore. I’ll be dead soon though, truly dead. My ankle is broken, and I’m losing blood. I don’t have much time left.
If you’re reading this, then I’d like to say ‘thank you for finding it, but I’m sorry you did’. I don’t know who you are, or how you got here, but I’m assuming you’re just as confused and lost as I am.
I wish I could tell you what this place is, or how exactly to get out, but I’m afraid I haven’t got a clue. I’ve seen things here that I never thought I’d be able to. People, animals, dinosaurs and monsters.
I know one thing though; this place isn’t earth. Hell, it’s probably not even in the same universe. There is no large human presence here, but I have seen a few others. There are no cities or societies, nor government of any kind, at least not that I’ve been able to find. It’s just empty and hopeless.
It’s a world that doesn’t seem to make any sense, and maybe that’s the point. Maybe this place is some accident dimension that things just randomly fall into, or maybe something is bringing them here on purpose. I really don’t know, but every time I see that damn green ring in the sky, I can’t help but feel like it’s something more than a star.
To my friends and family, if somehow you ever read this, just know how sorry I am. It kills me that I won’t ever be able to see you again, but just know that I fought hard until the bitter end. Honestly, I hope no one ever finds this journal, because I hope no one ever finds themselves in this place ever again.
I guess you can consider this my last will and testament. I have no idea how you’re supposed to write one, so I guess, just leave all my possessions to my brother Kyle and my mother Joan. I love you guys, and I’m really sorry I wasn’t strong enough to get out.
Whoever you are that has found this, please take this journal, and whatever else you need from my knapsack. I wish I could offer you more assistance or advice, but I probably know little more than you do. If you manage to get back, then please find my family and give this to them.
Good luck dear stranger, I wish you Godspeed in your travels. Be careful in this place, you’re not alone down here.
…to be continued.