Dr Seuss Didn't Write This


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Scene Title Dr. Seuss Didn't Write This!
Synopsis Two brave souls peer into the pages that hold someone's deepest secrets and find a lot more than they bargained for.
Date August 3, 2018

Lance's Apartment

April 18, 2010

In my dream, I’m undressing a man whose face I can't see. His hands are large and worn like Gabriel's but I intuitively know that they belong to someone else because they do not feel familiar when they hold my face or eventually come to settle on my hips.

The sex is slow and hazy, filling me with feelings of excitement — and dread guilt. I do not climax; instead he crumbles to ash under my own hands, which are somehow impossibly small and unable to grasp at any remaining part of him.

I wake up shaking and covered in sweat. Gabriel stirs. I tell him it was only a bad dream. A lie, actually.

It was mostly unpleasant.


Normally, after supper when things are winding down for the evening, Squeaks is pretty quiet and usually lost in a book. This evening she did find herself a place on the floor, in front of the couch, and had a book to finally start on. But that book had way more to it than it first seemed, and the surprised yelp and light flumping of journal covers closed are the result of that.

Seconds later, with wide eyes and suspicion for the author, the journal opens again. Squeaks squints and side-eyes the neat, precise handwriting. Suspicion turns to confusion and she looks vaguely grossed out. “Ew, ew, ew,” is mostly quiet — not whispered, just not shouted — and punctuated by the journal closing again.

It’s around this time of the evening, just after dinner, that Lance works on his t’ai chi; on black socks in the open part of the living area, one movement flowing slowly into the next with perfect balance and grace. His daily exercise, he’s very serious about getting some time in every night to keep in practice.

The yelp and the thump of the book disturb his calm, and he whirls on one heel, landing in a defensive stance on instinct— relaxing a moment later, hands dropping to his sides and a lopsided grin curving to his lips. He pads along over and drops down to sit down near where Squeaks is having trouble looking away from the literary car crash in her hands, asking, “Find something gross in there?”

“Who was this person? I hope it isn’t all like… that.” Squeaks squeezes her eyes shut, like it might make what she just read disappear. “I don’t think anyone should know what’s in there, but…” Without looking, she hands the journal over to Lance, so he can take a turn at reading.

“I flipped through it a couple times,” she goes on, squinting at the journal. “There’s a lot of stuff in there. Journal stuff and then… I don’t know. Looks like gibberish.” Squeaks shrugs and looks up at the older teen. “I thought reading it would make more sense.”

“Eileen Ruskin,” Lance explains as he accepts the journal, flipping it open, “She was in charge of the Ferrymen at— you know— the end. When everything fell apart, when the government came for them…” He glances up from the pages to her, brows raising a little, “Have you ever been to the museum?”

Back down, then, and he’s paging through it, “Gibberish?”

She’s heard the stories, but it’s still quite a bit of a mystery what happened to this group the older teens call the Ferrymen. So Squeaks nods, knowing no matter what she she doesn’t know, the fighting everywhere was really bad. “I’ve been outside the museum. But not inside.”

She points at the journal, at the pages that are turned. “Some of them are written like… secret messages.” Squeaks pauses, a slightly horrified look on her face. “I don’t think I want to know what the she wanted to keep hidden if she’s okay writing about… dreams so everyone can read.”

“We should go sometime. Eric used to run it, like, I think Colette and Magnes - the guy from the video? - and all were there, back when it was a safehouse,” Lance explains as he flips through the pages curiously, “It’s kind of weird seeing it as a museum, not gonna lie…”

He pauses, fingers splaying over one of the coded pages, “Huh. It’s all in a code? That’s weird.”

“Some of it.” Squeaks rests her elbows on her knees and cradles her chin in her hands. “Eric, like the library is named after?” It’s an offhanded question, while she thinks about the journal and what’s inside it. “There’s names in there, too. Like Gillian. Back at the start she writes about asking Gillian about Iago.”

Tapping her fingers against her lips, she frowns a little. “Do you think we could figure out what else she wrote?” Morbid curiosity.

“Yeah,” Lance says, a bit wistfully as he drags a thumb over the edge of the page, “Eric used to take care of us, back at the Lighthouse, he was… he made us laugh, and he protected us, and he played Santa for us. Mala— Mala loved him so much…”

He trails off a moment after saying that, gazing down at the book, and then grimaces and looks back up, “Anyway, uh. Maybe? We can pick up some code-breaking books from the library — we gotta work on your book too!”

Squeaks tips her head into one hand, so she can touch a finger to Lance’s arm when he gets all quiet. She might not understand the loss, but she doesn’t want to see him or the others being sad either.

“I looked through that one again.” She picks up the change in subjects easily. “I haven’t tried really hard to figure it out yet. This… “ She nods toward the journal from the Tower. “And the other things seemed more important somehow.”

A faint smile finds Lance’s expression again at the touch, and he reaches out to lightly touch her arm with one finger in return before drawing it back. “Well, we gotta start somewhere, right,” he asks, brows lifting, “Who knows what neat stuff’s in there… and maybe Eileen’s journal has something we can use to exonerate her.”

Nose wrinkling, Squeaks shrugs again. “If you mean prove she’s innocent?” She’s not really sure what Eileen is guilty of, but that’s more stuff she hasn’t asked about. Like what really happened with the Ferry. “Maybe we need to find some of the people in this book and ask them. I know… all that stuff not going to the grown-ups for help. But we can maybe get ideas without bringing everything to them?”

“The grown ups don’t care enough about this,” Lance reluctantly admits, frowning down at the journal, “I already talked to Wireless. She’ll help if we find anything worth following up on, but— I don’t think she really cares about it at all. She’d just do it because we asked for help. I think everyone else would feel the same way.”

He taps a finger to the pages, “I think you’re right, though. We should work on decoding this, talk to people in it— maybe we can go talk to Gillian, you said it mentioned her?”

“Yeah.” Squeaks reaches over to flip the pages back to where she was reading, without taking the journal. “It’s crossed out, but…” She points to the passage she’s talking about.

April 21, 2010

Ask Gillian about Iago.


“It’s from before the war. But see?” She takes her hand back after tapping the entry, and looks up at Lance. “Maybe Gillian would know about the codes? Or know someone who does… Because that could help too.”

“Huh.” Lance’s brow furrows a little as he looks at the page, “Who’s Iago?”

He looks back up at Squeaks, “Maybe. She seems like a good place to start, at least.”

“I don’t know. I thought maybe you knew.” The older teens seem to know a lot of people after all. Squeaks traces the last word in the entry, and then taps her chin, wondering. “How come she crossed it out then said don’t after,” she wonders out loud. “This is all from a long time ago. Long, long time ago. Before the fighting. What’s the last day she wrote?”

“I have no idea…” Lance flips through the journal to the last entry listed, frowning at it.

March 28, 2018

Your handwriting matches my handwriting.

I don’t understand except that I do.

I feel—

The colour grey. Warm, not cold. Abrasive like wool. Protective like wool. Heavy like wool. What should be the loudest voice is the quietest voice, so I have to strain to listen.

I don’t understand except that I do. I think.

I want my ring back.

“This one’s from— this year. It’s the same handwriting, but— Eileen’s been dead for years. As far as I know…? This is weird.”

He rocks back onto his hands, “Yeah. We gotta go see Gillian.”

Scooting up onto her knees, Squeaks leans over to get a really good look at the writing. “If she’s dead, like a long time dead, how is she still writing?” She’s wondering out loud again, and not really looking for an answer from Lance.

“Really soon too.” She sits back, criss-crossing her legs. “I have maps to bring to her and Justin, too, but this — you can explain better. It’s way important.”

“Yeah, I’m not— “ Wait. Lance blinks up to Squeaks, and then he grins from ear to ear, “Justin’s in the zone? Holy shit that’s awesome!” Straightening, “Yeah, we gotta go see them, and soon.”

“I’m sorry, I forgot to say earlier.” Squeaks grins a little, shy and kind of embarrassed over forgetting. “He’s going to the college. And he asked me to help him with my maps so he might be at the library, when we go there to see Aunt Gillian.”

“I haven’t seen him in forever,” Lance shakes his head, grinning broadly, “I miss that guy like— like everything. I’m sure Gillian’ll know where I could find him anyway, not like he ever gets lost or anything.” He reaches over to close the journal, “So. We’ll go talk to them soon.”

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