May 15, 1924: Journal Entry

14-15 May, 1924

When I returned home at half past one o’clock in the morning on the 15th, I was not eager to rest my head and let my eyes close. I must have wrapped and rewrapped that palette twenty times! Each time I convinced myself that I just wanted to lay eyes on it to be sure that it was safe, that is was indeed real, and that I would leave it be and look at it again only after I had gotten some sleep. But the thing seems to have some sort of hold over me. It pulls me towards it; it is as if I have no mind of my own, no ability to control my desires!

I confess that I had to fight with myself not to repeat the spell. I have always been moderate in smoking and drinking, never inclined towards extremes or dependence, but this is something altogether different. I fear that it might take me over, if I let it. I can fight it for now, though, and when I am again with Peter, each of us will watch the other. We cannot afford to venture into these strange places again alone, without a safe, sturdy anchor.

Ah, but let me explain: when I arrived home early this morning, I found a package from Peter that had arrived that afternoon. It contained what must be the oddest envelope stuffing imaginable. (Well, apart from van Gogh’s ear, but that was actually delivered by hand rather than by post, as the legends claim.) It was a piece of cardboard, and in it were small holes, not at all in any discernable pattern. This was nothing gruesome or unsettling, thank goodness, merely strange.

I went to sleep with the belief that all would be explained in due course, as I did not think that Peter had completely lost his mind, and indeed I awoke the next day around 2pm to find that another message had arrived, one that made sense of the earlier oddity.

With the clever decoding cardboard in place, the real message reads (with added punctuation and syntax):

I used the mirror. It sent me to the library. A man was there named Henri. He knew the yantra. Strange being encountered. Something horrible came through with me when I awoke, but it is no more. Don’t worry. I am alive.

So I am not the only one who has dabbled with forces that are probably better left alone. I am not the only one who gave into temptation, who was foolish enough to venture deeper into the mysteries of this puzzling case. For Peter’s impatience and foolhardiness I am much grateful, for now it will not be quite as difficult to tell him of my rather foolhardy recitation—though in truth it did no harm…I do not think so, at least.

My mind is awash with speculations, but I will hold my pen for now. There is too much I do not yet know, so any such ponderings would surely only take off on the wrong course. Besides, I have many arrangements to make today, for I intend to be in Berlin in no less than three days time, if I can manage it.