A lot of people ask me, Molly - do you still remember those days, and I tell them that yes, of course I do. It all happened so quickly that I sometimes feel I dreamed it, but God, do I know that it happened. To tell you and the press that it didn't would be some kind of lie - and I'm not a liar, no, sir.
We'd originally planned to hold the Month in May in France, but the events of the summer made that impossible at the time. The atmosphere as I got off my flight was, it was like something out of a feverish dream. You saw children, really - they were students, but to me they still looked like children with rosy faces and angry eyes - and they were standing neck and neck with riot police and gendarmes, and I didn't know what to think. I took a lot of photos - it felt visceral and voyeuristic all at once? What else could I do, though? I felt that if I didn't take proof, no one would believe me.
I got a message from Mr. Health almost the moment my disorientation left me. "Come to Belgium," he had told me. "It will be safer there, and we'll hold the Month in May in quiet, in peace. Away from all these ruffians."
You really want me to... I don't know if I feel comfortable talking about him in depth, beyond what we need -
Andrew Health - he'd known me for some time before this. He was perhaps ten years my senior, very charismatic, very dour. We never had any involvement, despite what the press made of it; Andrew Health couldn't bring himself to be involved with anyone but himself, and you'd know it if you looked at a picture of him. His eyes were perenially half-shuttered against the light or against the stares of others, and he refused to check himself for glasses because he thought they were the tools of the American government.
That was the sort of man he was, though. He couldn't bring himeslf to trust anything, but he made you feel like you could trust him. It was a pleasant surrender, and I would never wish it on anyone else in my life.
For me, the streets of Paris proved remarkably safe. The police had no interest in an American tourist with good credentials, and the strikers and students were polite but unyielding. At the time I felt there would be an actual revolution, or a reaction, or something. For all the love and the streets and the optimism in the air, there was this horrible feeling that something was going to snap, and that flint would ignite everything.
Today, ah - yes, I do think there'd be more concern with the Month. There are so many cults today, so many people who think they've got power over other people, so many lonely people... I don't know if I can honestly say that people wouldn't look at us and go, that's a dangerous group. That's a cult. Looking at it myself, I suppose that I could say the same thing.
Belgium was beautiful - Arlon was beautiful. And it's a small town, really - was a small town. In the shadow of the church there, you felt like you were alone in time - or maybe that's how I felt, because we'd been asked to shut out the world around us, as part of some semi-stoic thought exercise. The ideal was to remove yourself before the Month began. It was like, going in with a sense of purity that you couldn't find anywhere else because you were creating it, just then.
Health had rented a building - the interior smelled of siding and some kind of liquor. He'd found these items, I don't really know what to call his collection - he referred to them as the Fragments of Yesteryear, some grandiose shit that he used to impress and it, it worked. We'd look at them, these chipped cups and stone slabs and we'd see him as bigger and better and more important than any of us. At least, that was how it normally went; but only I and Doctor Terzi had made it that time.
The Doctor was a natural attraction to Health; he was well-off, being a medical doctor, and despite the stony facade he put on he was as desperate for a solution as any of us, maybe more so. And so he looked the perfect part of a jaded to the world stoic philosopher, while he lapped up the words of Health eagerly. As for Health, he was angry. Lord almighty, was he angry. It was obvious in the way he kept running his fingers over the wall, like it might talk to him.
We all had a smoke, of course - it was a time when everyone who wanted to seem more independent then they were did it. It at least replaced that horrible scent with the comforting smell of fire and cinders, made us feel more at home. Health calmed down and began to read off his pieces, and we played the part of apt students - until he unveiled the last piece.
God, I knew when I saw it that there was something wrong with that disc. Doctor Terzi asked if it was jade, and that stumped Health, who in a rare moment of weakness told us that he had no clue about the material - but it was too green for jade, too green for anything. Have you ever fallen asleep in newly planted field? It was the green of spring, of wild crops and full harvests; a green of warmth and safety and unrestrained violence, uninhibited love.
More then almost anything else, I wanted that disc, you must know.
But more then even that, it made me sick to my stomach in ways I can't even put to words. Staring at it too long hurt the eyes, even though it could almost have been played as a vinyl - ah, a record? A compact diskette. Doctor Terzi suggested we leave after a minute or two had passed, maybe talk about how we'd been self-improving in Health's absence. I think he did it because he knew I was getting uncomfortable, and maybe he felt the same way.
Thankful as I was, my jealousy nearly made me sick. It was a good thing we stepped out, even though Health then proceeded to mention that unlike the other pieces that he'd bought with whatever inheritance he had squirreled away or the money he'd made off of us, he'd actually found this in the ruins of a shelter in the area - and he wanted to show us. Neither of us wanted to go, I swear neither of us did, but Health was adamant, so we went.
The place looked like it had been constructed after the war - the second one, yes. It was unfinished, and perhaps five floors deep of ten or so into the ground. It had been built in the middle of a forest. I don't know the name. I'm sorry, but I don't remember everything. I feel so young still, I swear I could remember it if I tried harder - but I can't, I just can't.
And the smell of soil was strong here, like it was around the disc. Graffiti had been written on the walls - I guess it was something other then French, maybe German, though it seemed different somehow..? I don't know, but I didn't read it, only saw lines and letters on overgrown concrete that I did not understand.
Inside, there were no windows and no light. Health had a portable light or lantern he carried with him as he lead us down, but it never got the whole of the wall. We'd see snippets of grey and then nothing, like we were stopping off the darkness into more darkness - perhaps there were stairs ahead, perhaps we'd just fall and keep falling until time ended.
But we reached the last room, and I could tell because the floor was unfinished, half-concrete and half-dirt. Health let the lantern fall to the ground and turned his back to us. Slowly, he undid the buttons on his shirt and let it fall to the ground. I couldn't see his skin at the time - just half of it, fluttering in the darkness.
Then the light caught his skin, though. There were... I don't know what to call it.
In the small of his back, tiny things had taken root. They looked like burrs, maybe, or perhaps grains of sand that had swollen up inside. They were swollen around his skin, which had sunken, grown pale and flabby. His spine had curved, and we should have noticed but it curved in such a way that his back was concave - it had sunken into himself, meaning that he looked normal earlier.
Health sunk to the ground, half-kneeling, and asked in a breathy gasp for us to began.
I know what they said in the papers. Yes. We did scourge him - that was always part of the process. Health always went first, because I think he enjoyed it, and because it made us less nervous when it was our turns. But it was all wrong, not like it had been before. The wounds we left just healed right up, and Health would just keep laughing them off - he laughed until he started choking on his laughter, and coughing up mucus-like bile.
The thing he stabbed the Doctor with - I think it was some sort of stick or branch that he had taken from outside. We were lucky it was a shallow wound, because - yes, he and I, we killed Andrew Health. I know I said that we didn't at the trial, and I must tell you that there was no other way. I am an old woman now, and do you think between us anyone would believe this? Do you believe this?
His body swelled up the moment my hands stopped shaking - then it decompressed and deflated like a balloon of solid skin. And I'd say we checked his pulse, but we just left him there to rot and ran. I know his body looked normal at the trial - it wasn't him. They must have killed someone to replace him, maybe - maybe the government was watching our group, maybe they knew. Maybe the CIA even planted that thing for someone like Health to find - I don't know. I don't know!
But when we left there was - it was an entity, drifting towards us. It's feet never touched the leaves on the ground, never even came close. Her skin, perhaps... I think it was made of leaves and bracken and so much filth, and it rustled as she drifted, rustled and oozed. In earlier statements I gave into the extraterrestrial craze at the time, but I don't know what she was or what she wanted. I'm convinced she took Health's body, the husk he was, and she did something to it, wove into something. I still have dreams about that, you know. And the thing is - he's aware of all of it, knows what's happening. On some level - he wanted this.
God, I'm sorry. I know I'm shivering. But this is why you must take everything I say here as truth, and listen to me. That disc was gone when we got back, before we went to the police and made a big stink about all of this; it wasn't there, and I thought maybe some burglar had stolen it and cast it into the sea and gotten rid of it forever, but now I know that this university is planning to have a look at it, and I'm telling you that they have to stop, they cannot! The thing is evil and decadent, and twists people. I know what you must have heard, but what we did - there was... It was harmful maybe, but everyone has their secrets. It's human to keep secrets!
This was natural and raw. Oh, God! I can't keep going - I'm sorry! I'm sorry - but you must, you must promise me! The thing must be stopped, must be destroyed! Please, please, please, please...
At this point, the interviewer found Ms. Wallis all but incommunicable. Attempts to further pry information from her proved futile, once again running the elusive tale of that Groovy Green Disc farther away from our frantic spotlight! Looks like the truth is concealed by incompetent - and incontinent! - old wives' tales once again, but even proven liars can prove entertaining! Next time, Manix Review will be investigating the rumors of a tribe of cannibal mole people living under the Nevada desert...