Journal Entry: Day One.
I’ve finally arrived at the Island. I can’t believe I actually took this case, it sounds so absurd. And it’s so secretive; I have to choose my words carefully, more than usual. But I'm going to keep this journal short and sweet, and not write more than is necessary.
So, I just got settled at the inn, which is run by a man named [REDACTED] and more natives called [REDACTED], and I can already see I’ve got my work ahead of me. The people here wear masks and strange clothes, as if every day is a party. Native culture, I guess.
My assignment is to be subtle, or it might ruin everything and make the natives suspicious. So I have to wait a few days and just “see the sights” like a regular tourist would. I haven’t seen much of the town yet, but I heard that there are swamps and deserts and mountains here. I’ll look around tomorrow.
Journal Entry: Day Two.
I walked around looking at the shops today. Everyone seemed friendly enough, telling me about the beauty of this Island. I did my best to be just as friendly, buying a cookie from the inn, but my face started to hurt from all the smiling. What a world when I’m complaining about people being too nice.
There are maybe less than a dozen shops in all, and in the middle of the Island is [REDACTED] Central, the big corporation of the Island. Tomorrow I plan on walking around more and looking at the gardens I’ve heard about ever since I got here. More tomorrow.
Journal Entry: Day Three.
I went to one of the gardens, and I saw all kinds of things, like trees and animals as well as flowers of every color and kind, and even vegetables. There didn’t seem to be any of what I’m looking for there, although I only skimmed the area. While I was looking around, a girl came up to me. She said her name was [REDACTED], and that apparently she watches over the garden with a friend, and that he was currently in one of the shops. Apparently, if the garden was left unattended for too long, the animals might fight each other. She said that I should move here and start my own garden. I just politely smiled and said I’d think about it. I looked around a little more until I couldn’t take the smiling and friendly chatting anymore, so I left and walked around the swamp and desert, and then made my way back to the inn. Tomorrow I’m going to look at more gardens and really start this investigation.
Journal Entry: Day Four.
I looked at more gardens like I said I would, but they weren’t as pretty or as complex in design and detail as the first one I saw. But they were free of anything illegal, and everyone kept talking of the first garden, almost to the point of talking of nothing else, and I learned that it used to belong to a native. He gave it up after an accident, and another man who moved here bought it, restoring it and making it even more beautiful than it already was. The daughter of the first owner helps the man look after it, and her brother offers seeds every once in a while. It started strange enough, so I decided to make that garden my target.
I walked to the inn again under pretense of buying another cookie (although I might add that it was so delicious that it was worth it), and into the shops under pretense of more sightseeing, asking about the various landscapes and the gardens. Sure enough, my target garden was brought up, but I couldn’t learn much about it, other than that everyone calls the current owner the Master Gardner. After that, I left and walked back to the garden. I found the girl, [REDACTED], there again. She was talking as I walked up, and when I reached her, she turned around. I asked her who she was talking to, thinking she was talking to one of the animals, but she said she was talking with the Master Gardner. I looked around, but didn’t see him. She pointed to one corner of the garden, but again I didn’t see anyone. I asked her if she was joking, but she looked at me seriously and said she wasn’t. I told her there was no one over there, and after a few seconds she laughed, as if I had made a joke, before walking away to look at some flowers. I shook my head, looking around again. I shook my head again, and then walked away. I found a good vantage point near the waterfall, watching the garden for a few hours undetected. At first, I saw the same things, like the animals running around, the girl wandering through the garden, and occasionally another native entering, whom I assumed to be the brother. But I couldn’t find anything strange about it, other than the girl tending to the garden and the owner nowhere in sight. I watched until the sun started to set and my eyes started to hurt, and then walked back to the inn when I finally started hallucinating and seeing invisible footsteps.
Journal Entry: Day Five.
I’ve confirmed it; the natives are crazy. The girl keeps talking to the “Master Gardner”, as she always calls him, but there’s no one there. I didn’t say anything while I was in the garden, but the more I stayed, the more annoying it became. I finally asked her if she was alright, if everyone on the Island was alright, and she looked at me like I was the crazy one. I finally said goodbye and left, walking around the Island until nighttime, when I went back to the Inn and got another cookie before I went to my room, this time with a tall glass of milk, which I’m just finishing.
Journal Entry: Day Six.
I awoke with a headache, but I went back to the garden anyway. I asked the girl, [REDACTED], about the Master Gardner again. She told me his name was [REDACTED], and that he came from [REDACTED]. I still didn’t see anything illegal. But her father, [REDACTED], came out and told me that the Master Gardner really was a master. I asked when he and his daughter came here, as well as the Master Gardner, but he looked at me, confused, and then said he didn’t remember, that it was so long ago. I was getting nowhere with the conversation and my head was starting to bother me, so I decided to go take a break and get another cookie. After a while I must have dozed off, because I found I had walked into a store that sold masks, although I didn’t remember leaving. I shook my aching head, and decided that the Island was getting to me and that I needed more sleep. I want to wrap this investigation up as quickly as I can.
Journal Entry: Day Seven.
Have a wicked headache. Can’t write much. Can’t do much of anything. Although craving more of those cookies.
Journal Entry: Day Eight.
The headache was less piercing today. I went out, but didn’t do much more than yesterday. I thought I saw more footprints in town, as if an invisible person was making them as I walked. I attributed it to my headache, but I followed them anyway. They went to one shop, and then went back to the garden, a repairman behind them.
Journal Entry: Day Nine.
I’ve had it. In the garden, I saw what [REDACTED] referred to as the Master Gardner. I saw shovels, watering cans, all kinds of things being carried on their own, or by the invisible person. I can’t take it anymore. I’m going crazy, my head is killing me, and I swear the smiles of the natives get bigger and weirder every day. I don’t know how much more I can take of this.
I just sat down with a cookie and another glass of milk; I’m so hungry, and all I’ve been craving are the cookies. Despite the lunacy around here, they make great cookies. All I can eat are the cookies. Did I mention I love the cookies?
Journal Entry: Day (?)
I’m not sure if I can make it back home. I can survive on cookies. My head is past blinding pain now. The Master Gardner knows all. Now all I can think about are the cookies that I crave. Cookies are life. But I don’t have the energy to go down the stairs to get them. The Master Gardner will fix everything. I have no idea how long I’ve been here, or what I’ve done the past few days. I think I was doing some sort of case… Something about illegal chemicals…
I don’t care anymore. The Master Gardner will make everything beautiful. I think I’m going to live here, and buy my own mask. Cookies are all that matters. The Master Gardner is good. I like Gardens, they’re pretty.
Cookies are pretty.
I bought my own mask. It looks like a cookie. I like cookies. It’s beautiful.
I love cookies, and I love [REDACTED]. [REDACTED] tells me everything I need. Should [REDACTED] ever come to pass, it will [REDACTED] and the [REDACTED] shall be [REDACTED]. [REDACTED] [REDACTED] and I [REDACTED].
After three weeks without communication and repeated failed attempts at reestablishing connection with Agent Nile, who was on the Island Case, we sent Agent Jefferson and Agent Horton, to search for Agent Nile. Jefferson found his journal, which is enclosed with this letter, words taken out as my employer sees appropriate. Horton found Agent Nile less than 24 hours later, inside the inn dancing around a plate of cookies. He wore a cookie mask, as well as clothes that seemed akin to the Island natives. All efforts to bring him back willingly proved futile; as Nile made no sign that he knew who he was, telling Horton he had always lived on the Island. The cookies he repeatedly ate were discovered to be laced with illegal toxins, which is the presumed cause of Nile’s mental state. Upon further inspection, Jefferson and Horton discovered an entire operation of the illegal chemicals disguised as candy in the supposed “animal party central”, stationed in the middle of the Island, as had been suspected, the “candy” being stored inside paper animals. The natives seemed to know just as little, repeating Nile’s words, probably also caused by the cookies. None of them were brought in for questioning, but the Island was put under quarantine for various reasons, and the illegal contraband was retrieved and placed in a secure location. Remaining details of the case are included in the classified file also enclosed with this letter.
Agent Nile was forcefully taken in, but he has been unresponsive to any treatment. He remains quiet, but when he does speak, he only repeats the words: “The Master Gardner will make the world beautiful. So says he, Viva Piñata.”
Written By: The Crimson Lullaby