Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Adventures in Darville; Prologue

The Man Who Lost Everything
(But Was Kind of Okay With it)

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Dear Diary,

… Uh, no. That’s not gonna work. Dear Journal? Dear Abby? Uh… Oh! I got it.

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Rayze Darr’s Journal, March 1st, Two-thousand Sixteen. Luggage got stolen this morning, dust treads on burst contents. This train is afraid of me. I’ve seen its true face. The cars are extended gutters, and the gutters are full of my stuff, and when my stop finally rolls over, all my hopes will drown. The accumulated loss of all my money and belongings will foam up around my waist, and I will look up at the people around me and shout “Save me!” And they’ll look down and whisper… “no.”

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            Well that was a stretch of a parody. Anyway, hey there journal. My name’s Rayze. How are you doing? I guess you can’t answer that question. Does that make it rhetorical? I mean, I stated it as if expecting an answer, but in retrospect I both wasn’t, and would be a fool to be expecting one, so… Why don’t I just get right to how my day is going?

            My day sucks. I’ve been on this train for two days already, with more days to come until I reach my destination, and now I have to go through the rest of the ride with the knowledge that I’ve lost everything I own. A slight exaggeration, I guess; I do still have the clothes on my back. Regardless, my bags have disappeared, and somehow even the phone out of my pocket, and the guy or gal who perpetrated such an elaborate heist doesn’t seem to be anywhere on this hell bound locomotive anymore. It’s not that I had a lot, but I had a few changes of clothes, some snacks, a couple of game systems, and some books. Oh, and all of the money that I had saved u p over the past few years for, not only food, but to buy a new house once I arrived at my destination.

            Now I know what you’re thinking. Well, again, I guess nothing, because you’re a book. Unless I direct that question to a hypothetical individual who finds this journal, and decides to invade my privacy. Maybe I should specify this now then: if you’re reading this because I’m dead, and it’s due to some horrific tragedy, or you believe that this analysis into my psyche can somehow serve as a benefit to the world, then by all means, keep reading, and publish this. It’s not the most glamorous way to get immortalized, but as long as I don’t have the cognitive brain function to feel the invasion of my innermost personal thoughts, then hey, knock yourself out.

            Anyway, I know what you’re thinking. Why was all of my money: A. Cash, and B. In my luggage? You may also be wondering, if you somehow found out, why all of this cash money was actually coins, and stored in a yellow sack, tied with a red string, with a large brown star on it? The short answer is, that’s how I was instructed to bring it. For the long answer, well, I hope you have some free time on your hands. I know I do; this damned journal is all I have left to keep myself occupied for the next few days.

            It was a cold day in mid February. My girlfriend had dumped me couple of days prior, the day before Valentine’s Day. I had assumed that this was due strictly to her wanting to feel justified not getting me anything, but I decided to hold strong, in case she did try coming back to me in the coming weeks. That was my only real complaint that day. The sun was high in the sky, making my job in outdoor manual labor a complicated one. It was an eternal struggle, as the brisk air and cool breeze kept me with my warm jacket planted firmly over my upper torso, but the sun’s rays causing me to sweat to a degree that filled me with an unquenchable desire to remove it and let my skin breathe a little. The work was rough, but the day’s end brought me one step closer to my ultimate goal: buying a house.

I arrived home that afternoon to find a letter waiting for me, from a friend that had recently moved away. I rushed in to my apartment and tore it open, excited as a kid at Christmas.

Dear Rayze,

Holy crap dude, so I moved to one of those animal villages, right? I swear these guys, like, worship humans. Right as I stepped off of the train, they all got on their knees and started decreeing me their new mayor! Then they gave me property all my own, and told me I could pay it off at whatever pace I wanted to, with absolutely zero obligations. Crazy!

Anyway, peace.

Not verbatim, but that was the basic gist of the letter. I’d include the exact wording, but the letter was in my bags. So, crap. Still, it was hard to believe, that the animals could be so accommodating. We all grow up hearing clichés about the animal villages. Everyone’s super friendly, the trees re-grow fruit every three days, and sharks can be caught on standard fishing lines. It all sounded too fantastical, but Naul wasn’t the kind of guy to embellish. I had always considered spending some time in one of them, but could never bring myself to actually go visiting. After Naul’s letter, though, I was seriously considering moving to one myself. I talked myself out of it, though, by thinking about all of the good things I had going to me at home. I had a loving girlfriend… oh, wait, no I didn’t. The only family I liked lived hours away, too. But at least I had my best friend. Wait, no, he was now apparently the mayor of his own circle of life. Well, at least I still had my job.

The next day I got fired. It wasn’t even my fault, I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. One steel beam goes stray, a truck starts rolling by itself, an entire incomplete building comes crashing down, and I just happened to be the one standing in the middle of it all when the overseer popped by to check on the commotion. It was a perfect storm that, ultimately, led to my dismissal from the company. The good news was that I had saved up more than enough money to survive for a few months without any worry. The bad news was, that money was what I had been saving for my house.

Six days later, I get another letter. It was properly addressed to me, full name and address, but the return address was unusual. By which I mean, I’m surprised the post office even accepted it like that. In the upper-left corner, there were no letters or numbers, but a symbol; a gray leaf, with a round bite taken out of it.

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We at Nook’s Cranny of Darville have heard of the tragic series of events that lead to your unemployment. Word has reached our ears that you have saved up a substantial sum of money, in which you had intended to purchase an estate. Given your history of excellent manual labor, we would like to extend to you an opportunity. Our humble village of Darville has entered a state of disarray; too many trees in some places, too few in others. Town activities go nearly unattended. Residents do not stick around long, and the lack of individuals is quickly leading to a downfall of our town’s economy.

Here is what I propose. Have all of your money converted to Bells, and bring it to Darville. I will accept a fair amount of it, leaving you plenty for sustenance and recreation, and in exchange grant you full residency and a home to call your very own. In exchange, I merely ask that you do your part to make the town more visually appealing and active. Enclosed is one train ticket to Darville, leaving five days from the day that you should be receiving this letter. Please consider it.

We Hope to See You Soon,

Verbatim this time. This letter, you see, was in my pocket. It, the clothes I’m wearing, this journal, a pencil, and the 1,500 bells that I kept on my person, about 500 of which will probably go to food on the remainder of my trip, are now all I have on me. I just have to have faith that the staff on-board can find my stuff before I arrive.

And if not, well… I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

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