We're on the road again, going to Hope Township, New Jersey. The Land of Make Believe, per Google, is actually an amusement park in Hope.
We haven't talked much today. I know Frank doesn't want to think about what I said. About how we were there before it happened. (We always arrive afterwards. We're not runners. We're not fighters. We're just looking for the story - if there isn't a story yet, we won't be there.) He did, however, give a grudging approval about talking about the Incident.
The Incident didn't involve the Jubjub or the Bandersnatch or the Pool of Tears or the Little Crocodile. It didn't even involve the Jabberwock, with his blank white face and long nightmarish limbs.
It was the Aged Aged Man. (Why do we use these silly names? Because they are silly. They are something silly in a decidedly unsilly world.) The Aged Aged Man with his gray hair and wrinkled face, his dark glasses glinting in fluorescent light. Always carrying that book with a thick, red cover.
We met him in the college's library. He wasn't there for us, but we saw him. He must have let us see him. He looked so...unreal. Or perhaps more real. Hyperreal. He was part of something that was realer than the world around him, our world.
So we followed him. I don't know why we were so brave and stupid, but we did. We followed him into dank tunnels and found the bindings of books filled with childhood memories. We found where the spiders spun the cloth that made the pages of his books. And then we looked into the pits that were his eyes.
I don't remember what happened after that, but Frank said he dragged me out of the tunnels. I don't know why he wasn't affected by those pits - he says he just saw smooth skin where the eyes should have been - but he pulled me out.
We still remember our childhoods. I don't know why the Aged Aged Man left us with them. I don't know why he let us follow him either. I don't think I'll ever know.
-- Carol Baker