Uncle Kristen's Journal

Tahendra poured over the leather bound journel in Jaime's room. She was transfixed. She had just read about a wind that came up and had thrown the traveler into a storm of self-doubt. The story was poorly written and hard to follow. It essentially went. 'I can do this, This is fun! ... I'm gonna die alone.' Something about getting hit by the wind. The drawing style changed from confident strokes of a beautiful other world place to near scribbles that felt like fear, shaking and small. Not many words on these two pages but something clearly had happened to the person who wrote this journal. She could feel the experience right off the pages. Empathy poured from her. She knew those feelings, that sudden shift - like walking down a school hallway feeling pretty good, and then turning the corner, seeing faces of disgust on the girls who dressed alike and acted like it was 'their hallway.' On contact Tahendra had felt small and out of place as she felt the shift. A wind can do this? She was baffled and amazed.
     She thumbed through the book and opened it to another page. Colors of the rainbow filled her mind as she looked at the detail of this place. Flowers, vibrant colored clouds with the light shining through brightly. It felt like paradise, warm and friendly. 'The Wenderfaren Valley' read the label at the bottom of the page.  'Bed and breakfast warmth. Children laughing' read the caption.
     The traveler was in a hurry. He was searching for a way back home. He had quickly written notes and drawn the places he'd passed hoping to make a map. She examined the maps scattered through the journal. Whenever a map showed up though it was different - the relationship between the places seemed to change. Was that because the traveler kept getting more information? Or did this place actually change and morph?
     The next page showed what looked like a man's face - the body floated like chards of glass in space. It was labeled, 'Time Traveler.' Tahendra had a sudden jolt within herself. That was her guide. It's only a book, she reminded herself. How had she felt it so deeply? 
     She looked over at Jaime, sitting on the floor drawing. "I think this is a real place," she said slowly. I think, um, we're meant to go there," she declared. "What...?" Jaime responded in total confusion. "Go where?" She held out the book. "We need to know more about this place." Tahendra said.
     "It's just an old book," Jaime objected. "Some of the drawings aren't any good - and the writing is cryptic. I thumb through it sometimes trying to figure it out, Maybe it's someone's first attempt to write. It makes no sense. It can't be a place. It's full of crazy stories that barely make sense."
     "I think," Tahendra said, slowing her words, "It's someone's actual journal.  Look, this was written in a hurry in places and sometimes the author was rushed. You can feel it in the drawings and the words. I think the writer was freaking out because they had mixed feelings about where they were and they definitely wanted to leave. Listen to this": she read.  
     "I'm so confused. I was at work. Now I'm here. It makes no sense. Am I dead? I still have my notebook and tools so maybe I'm still alive... The glass man said it will all make sense in time....Was I dreaming? It felt real. If it's a dream why can't I wake up? I miss my real life. I even miss my sister which is really saying something. She's been mean to me our whole lives as if I'm not allowed in her life or even to have my own life. And now I miss her so much.  The last thing I remember I was examining a petroglyph, trying to decipher the language beneath..."
     They were quiet. Jaime sat stunned for a long time. "It can't be Uncle Kristin's, can it?" he asked quietly. He and Tahendra met eyes. "I know what it's like to have people be mean your whole life. Been there, done that!"  Tahendra said. Jaime, with a whole new realization said, "My mom hates her brother. I loved being around him so much when I was a kid and she always seemed angry about that. He's a freak, she'd say. A ling, crazy freak. She thought he had to be an archaeologist because living people wouldn't like him.  He had to study the dead so he could make up what other people thought. I personally loved the guy. I've hardly spent time with him except when my grandparents took the whole family places. Then I shared a bed with him and he was warm and welcoming. He felt like my safety and I always wanted to stay with him. We had a bond. He even taught me how to draw. Drawing has been a safe place for me my whole life.  I never saw his work though.  How could this book be his?    It's been here for ages. I thought it was just some old relic that made no sense..."
     "Is there any way to talk to him?" Asked Tahendra.