My father left me a personal entry in the journal that’s mostly what I learned with Colby in Montreal, but I don’t know what’s relevant to you and what isn’t so I’ll summarize.
Essentially, he talks about what it was like after my parents came back to the States. He says he was ashamed to admit that he left right after I was born. He was possessed by an “all-consuming need to find Neithernor.”
He says he doesn’t remember the first time he’d heard the name (it was around the time he’d heard whispers about something called Monarch’s Mountain) but when he did, it was the answer to a question that had haunted him. A question he didn’t have the words to ask. Neithernor, in his mind, became the answer to all the questions. The impossible solution to everything that was wrong with the world. And from that point on he never stopped hearing the call of that forgotten place.
“It was the key to a secret lock inside me. And I gave up everything that mattered to me so I could seek it. So I could knock at its door and be welcomed in.”
As the years went on, he came back home every now and then to see me, my mother. But every time was colder and more distant. He would tell me stories he’d found on his journeys and swear he’d come back with more treasures and tales. But the longer he was gone the more strongly he felt he couldn’t come back empty-handed. To repair the cracks he was creating he would have to bring the truth back with him to make his absence worth his, and our, pain.
But years passed and he didn’t come back. Until he did. He was scared and begged my mum to bring me and come with him where we’d be safe. From the storm. He described it as a storm of souls, tearing at anyone who got too close to the truth. He’d seen the storm come for people who’d also been looking for the truth, and when it found him leaving Neithernor, the storm had come for him.
He told my mother he’d finally found it, been there, to the ends of the paths. And in Neithernor he’d found the little red house. The one she’d dreamt about her whole life. He swore that we’d all be safe there. She called him a liar, told him to leave and never come back.
He tried to take me when she refused to come. She swore she’d never let him take me down those same paths. “The paths of madness.”
He wouldn’t listen. He tried to carry me out of the apartment and she used an object on him that they’d found years prior. It would’ve killed him if it hadn’t been broken. A crack inside it, one you could only see in certain light. They were both wounded by it. His mind. Her body. And she died a year later.
The storm consumed the mountaineers in 1998 and with no one left to open the book, and it unable to find my father, it disappeared.
He came back once more before disappearing forever himself.
So he could take me to Monica.
And now she’s gone too. Disappeared forever.
I don’t know why he wanted to tell me all this again. Maybe he was losing his mind in the end. Why, when time seems so short and things seem so important would he tell me what I already knew?
He left. He blamed himself for everything that happened.
And he did what he could to protect me.
I know all of this already. I have so many questions and I get nothing from him but riddles and half-truths and secrets.
What did he find that was worth all of this pain? I can’t imagine it being worth it.
I’m sorry. I’m tired.