A Truth that must be hidden. A Truth that must be told.


Today where I live it is about to rain. A hard downfall that will make anyone outdoors miserable. It's a good thing I have a delicious book to curl up with. And a cat who will wish to be on my lap. Cats and books. Together life is perfect.


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Here is a snippet for your enjoyment:



My humblest apologies. I hadn’t intended for them to write that here. I’d scratch it out, but they are much too excited. They have created an entirely new and cryptic language! If only you could see how they applaud. But wait! So you shall. I shall leave it here for your wonderment.


Time is short. And while we miss you as they are courteous enough to write, you will discover this second (and secret) diary is barren of the romantic dreams, pregnant with poetic phrases that adorned the first. In this era, it is expected that gentlemen write in such fashion to hide the stygian and slatternly secrets we do not wish our neighbors to know. Bah! What matters the neighbors! Or our contemporaries, for that matter.


This book is naked of the quixotic phrases often written in many a family history. If I may be honest—and I wish to be—such writing is rubbish, broaching upon propaganda. If you wish to know the truth about a family, read between the lines. The authenticity of life is buried there—sometimes too well buried that it may never be found!


Take, for example, the actions of a man who served twenty-one years in service to his country. Laud his bravery during war. But what became that man after the war? Therein lays the rub. He never marries. He lives alone, an alcoholic, content with his books and beer. Sometimes he rides the rails as a hobo. Ah, and what of those adventures? The family historian may find those shameful and beneath his audience. Instead, the historian hides the raw truth behind the man’s medals. He never hints of insignificant adventure, which may or may not be equally riveting for the reader. In this example, I regard my friend, H. G. To the gentle reader, it may be more pleasurable to behold his heroics. This reader is content at leaving the man’s less noble feats buried, as I said, between lines. (Who are we to judge what is noble and what is banal?)


With this diary my intent is to strip away the lines. I stand as judge to my own actions on what to reveal. My truth lies naked, exposed. While I wish not my contemporaries to know of this nakedness, this diary is not for them.


No longer am I the imaginative innocent beholding a new world. No longer do I feel nature’s drive to paint in purest and most scintillating of colors. I no longer care about dirtying my brush with darker shades. Nor am I obsessed with proving my parents wrong in their opinions of me, their only son. In the way I was reared, nothing was handed to me lightly as you will quickly discover. But I am older now. I see the world through older eyes. And while I have enjoyed many superb adventures, I equally learned many lessons—all of these hard-won. The adventures, the lessons—these are what I wish to tell here. And so shall I speak nothing but truth though it may pain me at times.


Is it too soon to declare I have not only seen the world, but I have also traveled through Time? You heard me correctly, Jamie Poole! That is the first confession deleted from the original diary. Have I your attention? This is why time is short! I recognize how my future family regards me. If possible, I wish to influence the future from the past. It no longer matters how my parents regard me. They died with an opinion clouded by their own deficiencies. No longer does it sting my soul that they held me no respect. Instead, my aged eyes turn to the future: to my son, my grandson, and further decedents. It is imperative they see the truth. I need your help to convey my truths…as you see fit.


I cast a final look upon the parents whom I slander by speaking ill of the dead as they cannot defend themselves. Still, I must speak of what they did, for they created and molded my person. Although they incited a burning anger within my soul, I trust I have been honest, and that you will not hate them too much. My childhood was a barren wasteland devoid of parental affection. Truly I have spent many a sleepless night wondering upon the dilemma of why they married or performed matrimonial duties necessary to conceive an offspring. I saw no love shared between them.


I am convinced Father, Humphrey Dalton, considered marriage merely as an odious task to produce an offspring. He manned the family business, Dalton Shipping Company, and an offspring would be the natural heir. The business was lucrative but only due to his shrewdness. He could have advised Ebenezer Scrooge on moderating a conservative operational budget with maximum profit and—and!—with no regard to personnel.


However, becoming his heir would never be my life’s portion. As a young man I angrily—vehemently!—rejected it. I did not share his drive to operate the shipping company or in his drive for social status. You could have surmised that from the original diary.

Meanwhile, my mother, Wilma Dalton née Daniels, had dreamed not of an heir but of a daughter. An eternal child to be coddled, and who in return would cherish her. On the day of my birth, the woman who had held me in her womb for nine months discovered her effort had resulted in a male offspring. For some reason, perhaps her humors were out of balance, Mother regarded me with unbalanced contempt. She feared that I be touched by the Devil. Imagine! And I nothing but an infant innocent of all sin before the eyes of God.


Father interceded on my behalf, not because of a noble sense of paternal duty, but rather because he wanted to observe as I grew to see if I inherited his disposition. He still required an heir. For this reason alone, I was not sent away to some orphanage or sanitarium before I had opportunity to utter my first words. I suppose Mother meant well, but in her eyes my birth was my first crime, and a crime for which I would never find redemption. Her words reverberated like cannons’ roar in my infantile ears. They reverberate still.


My birth was the reason my parents performed matrimonial duties a second time, thus conceiving my sister. While Mother was entirely enthralled with a reproduction of herself, Father stood against the wall outside the bedroom, disengaged. He sighed silently when told of his daughter.


Her birth brought further scorn upon my head. I had grown to expect no love from Mother. And with Father, he had lost interest in me, heir or not. However, instead of being sent away, I was sentenced to distant rooms in our grand house like a cast-off family pet. Father threw himself into his work and ignored me. Perhaps he pondered how else to fashion the necessary heir.


It may have been for the best that I was cast from the family core. Father did not have it in him to be a family man. This left me vulnerable when Mother had one of her episodes. More on this later. Suffice it to say, my parents had no idea the chain of events they activated when they ill-treated me, but how could they have known? How many can say they’ve seen the future? Under their tutelage I became an angry young man bent on proving them wrong.


Indeed I succeeded in proving them wrong, but at what cost? I hope I can salvage the future generations of my family. My actions—my anger—have affected the future. I did not know the chain of events I also would activate. My anger against my parents caused me to make poor choices. I can see it in hindsight! In my original diary I represented myself inaccurately. I did so with the foolish desire to be seen as worthy in my parents’ eyes. This would never happen. I had no idea my poor choices would resound through the decades. My future family regards me as a soldier of fortune more than a soldier of the Great War. They think I concocted war stories and adventure stories to show myself a hero, but they are only partly correct. Inadvertently I misled them by burying a truth I am only now prepared to tell. I am a decorated veteran, and I earned those medals despite rumors that have circulated past your ears.


Most critically I am known as the ancestor who cursed my family. I wish to set the record straight, regardless the cost to myself. Because of my deception, I hold myself equally responsible—or guilty—as my parents. My anger against them has been slaked, but I cannot fix the damage.


Why fixate over decedents I will never meet, you ask? Read to the end and you will understand what I require. I must set the record straight but not to clear my name. What do I matter? I am dead, and my name stands for itself. I have earned it.


You will see parallels between this and the other diary, despite the sharp diction I choose to employ in the writing of this, my true diary, I know I waxed grandiose in that first diary. Apologies! I was enraptured by my own journaling! But now time is short, and I am desperate. I pray, Jamie, you will intercede with my family before it’s too late! You must influence the future as I cannot.


Alas, if only we could have spent more time together! It was not so long ago that we sat side-by-side and soaked our feet. I feel the refreshing waters still. I do not expect to see you again, and so I take up the pen. Behind me upon the mantle, the clock ticks, reaching its hands toward that prophetic hour. I cannot stop it, even if I cease to wind it! The thing has a mind of its own.


Know this as you read: Above anything, now that the Great War is ended, I consider myself an Enigmalogist. I could have selected from a dozen words that might better describe my profession, but with respect for my departed mother, I choose this. My wife Sheila, née Martindale, agrees it is a fitting moniker and does honor

toward my mother of whom she has only heard stories. I’ve tried to do her memory justice, but I cannot make sweet what still echoes in my ears and in my most unfavorable dreams.


As an Enigmalogist, who has been involved in what some consider occult arts (Mother would say so), I have seen considerable supernatural events, but nothing disturbs me more than the Nubian known as Panshj. His existence vexes me. Him I have discussed with Sheila’s colleagues within the Society of Psychical Research, and we have attempted to summon his spirit in many a séance. Although preternatural manifestations took place within those séances and before witnesses who are of sound mind, neither Panshj nor any man whose faces Panshj employed presented himself. Heaven, hell, or another realm—I do not believe he exists in any of those places, but certainly he does not belong here! Among the aforementioned witnesses are men of science, and they are willing to provide an accounting that what I write is well and true and not exaggerated. I will say it again: Panshj is a man of many countenances, and you know of whom I speak.


More of him later. For now, I beg you understand me for who I am—a man with one face that I turn to you now. I cannot hide as Panshj, nor do I wish to. Perhaps now you will discern what led me to you on that faraway island. Perhaps now you can digest this manifesto and speak where I cannot. But please, I beg again, act swiftly! That odious clock. I hear its gears spinning, and the hand clicks upward.


This I write by my own hand even if you find the cumbersome lettering perverse. I am your humble servant,

***


What follows is an accounting translated and edited by Jamie Poole to provide a complete and comprehensive retelling of Doyle Dalton’s life as this second diary was written wholly in the cryptic language referenced above.


Whatever happened to the original of this document is a matter of speculation. It vanished immediately after translation. As it disappeared under suspicious circumstances, a private investigator was hired. Jamie was never held suspect as she had an alibi for the time in question. The investigator was unsuccessful at locating the diary and was hospitalized in the process of chasing down a suspect. Where the chasing occurred is not noted in the police report. The investigator never provided a definite explanation for the odd assortment of cuts, bruises, and broken bones he sustained. Nor did he provide an accurate description of the suspect despite police prodding. Upon receiving payment for services rendered, he discharged himself from the hospital and also disappeared. Further, his name is not noted in any official record.


Certain members of the Dalton family have given testimony of which the reader may be familiar. These accuse the investigator of unethical practices. It is noted that Peter Dalton’s mother, Samantha Dalton, is a solicitor in Sydney,

Australia, and it was she who hired the investigator whom she had used for matters related to her business. Any case files associated to this business and the investigator have

since been lost in a fire that devastated much of her office, further preventing positive identification of the individual. It is also noted that Samantha Dalton is divorced from Burt Dalton, heir to the Dalton Estate, if it can be called such.

Even following the fire, Ms. Dalton regards the investigator as entirely reputable. With no evidence to prove otherwise, his police statement remains part of the official report.


Further, Ms. Dalton’s motives in hiring the investigator have been questioned, but it is noted that she has nothing to lose or gain by the theft of the diary, if indeed it was stolen. It can only be assumed that Ms. Dalton had the family’s best interests in mind. Regardless, Burt Dalton remains especially skeptical of a cover-up. This is because the diary’s disappearance impacts him financially. The diary and a statue, which is also allegedly stolen but not part of this investigation, were his sole means of income when displaying Doyle Dalton’s Cabinet of Curiosities. As a result of their disappearance and/or theft, the cabinet has been forced to close. It is noted that Burt Dalton does not directly accuse either Ms. Dalton or Jamie Poole of theft.


Regarding the existing translation:

Jamie Poole allows Doyle Dalton’s words to speak for themselves wherever possible, if her translation is accurate. There is no reason to doubt accuracy, although it is Burt Dalton again who insists she was mistaken on certain points. Police were unable to get him to cite evidence as to why he believes she was deceptive or on what she was deceptive. In the end, he attempted to retract his statement, but it remains part of the official case.


Occasionally Jamie is tasked with clarifying points where Doyle Dalton seems to forget his stream of thought. We are left to trust she fused his thoughts together to Dalton’s satisfaction. Perhaps he was simply distracted. Perhaps he stepped away for tea, misplacing his train of thought along the way. Then, upon returning, he resumed at an altogether new point. Or, perhaps he rushed when putting pen to paper before a thought evaporated. His diction appears rushed at certain points. At other points he rambles, despite claiming he would not. It is not known how she came to have knowledge of this cryptic language, and she provides no citations on its translation. This is Burt Dalton’s sticking point.


Due to the absence of the original document, we must trust the translation. Scanned portions of the original document remain, but no one is qualified to translate them. Note that Dr. Mary Sutherland, a paleographer—a language expert—possessed a few pages of Dalton’s cryptic writing for a number of years with little success in translating them.


And lastly:

Jamie includes a rendering of chapters from the first diary (which was written in English) and which continue past her meeting with Dalton to add a full summation of the man’s life. Any errors or shifts in tone are entirely her mistakes and should not affect the reader’s consideration. Whether any of the words herein are to be believed is up to the reader’s discretion. Certainly, this diary is of a completely different nature than his first. However, this document stands as the official and authoritative annal of Doyle Humphrey Dalton’s life.


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