Excerpt from Arthur T. Zindel’s journal
This day has been both surreal and terrible, and above all, it has been an awakening. I met three brave children today, and they told me that Earth was doomed. In my mind, I was to live here in my heaven in total peace, and as though it were the real Heaven of the Almighty, I would eventually (and so I thought, inevitably) see all of my children, spurred on by my book to find me. I am under such illusions no longer.
And Earth is doomed. The children left me to save who they could, but I don’t believe they will ever be back, and if they are, they will most likely be infected by the horrific parasite that has taken over the planet. I offered them this place to live, a place to which they could escape if they needed it. I meant the offer sincerely, but I don’t believe I’ll be here if they do come.
I was growing old when I decided to settle, and I’m older still, but if those brave children showed me anything, it was that I have grown soft in my comfort. A scared old man, just waiting to die, the one thing I swore I would never become, a miserable thing to be. I could not help them, and it was as much due to my own fear and doubts as any real helplessness.
Well, no longer. I will collect what few belongings I have, cut a new door in some dark corner of this island, far away from everyone, and I will continue my travels.
I still wonder if there is another place out there such as this, or perhaps even a better one. If there is, I doubt I shall stay, unless I am so close to death by then that I’m incapable of leaving. Settling down, dwelling on old memories and children long past and who were better off when you were gone, these are the occupations of those who are already dead.
Whoever finds these journals, please remember me, if you can, as the reckless, brave adventurer I portrayed myself to be in my books, and not the scared old man I have become. Remember me well, and know that when I die, whether I am burning in some hell, screaming in terror, or lying alone in a desert, it will be an end to a well lived life. A life full of remorse and mistakes, maybe, but worth it all the same.
Arthur, T. Zindel.