This morning we woke up to find that Maxwell was naked in bed, lying between both Aspen and Tabitha.
Elija is also in the room, although he is sleeping with a small blanket on the couch near the window. Clothes are scattered all over the room as though they have been flung around at random. Suddenly the questions of Maxwell’s whereabouts during his prolonged absence are of the utmost importance to this experiment.
As stated briefly last night, the direction of this experiment is changing. All throughout the past four days I have been struggling to hang onto the threads of the original thesis, but that has proved almost impossible. This is partly due to a rogue assistant, partly for reasons that are quite beyond rational explanation at the moment and, moreover, due to my resistance of the inevitable change that was taking place. However, one thing is clear: the correlation between fear and memory lapses has become eclipsed by the emergence of more pressing circumstances.
If you are reading this, Professor, you will have noticed that I have been slipping lately in my professional rigor. It is this observation of mine that has solidified my resolve to now redirect the analysis at hand in a direction more accommodating to the unusual behavior being elicited by the subjects. They are indeed mutinous. They are shifty and discreet. They are, in short, adapting to this place and to the continual terror.
We have Edward to thank for this experimental evolution.
I am glad to say that I have put those weaknesses behind me. It is back to business as usual.
I have contacted Maxwell on the phone. He has agreed to sit in the Footage Room with me in a few hours. More importantly, he has agreed to discuss what prompted him to leave the house, and why he has returned. But he did give one condition: I cannot inform any of the other participants of what he has to tell me. This is an odd request, considering that I have thus far discussed virtually nothing with the others.
I hate to keep falling back to this one presumptuous thought, but Garett and I are both wondering if Edward does not have something to do with this insinuation.
After my phone call, all of the participants woke up and began preparing for their day. Aspen, Tabitha and Maxwell all got into the shower together. Elija did not. He went down the hall and used a different bathroom to get ready. What’s more, before they set off in different directions, Maxwell bent in to whisper something into Elija’s ear. Whatever it was, it seemed to disturb Elija greatly.
This may warrant an interview with Elija soon. Whatever may be happening, it is our belief that there must be a tiny strain of jealousy or bitterness within him about this change of events that will bring forth more of the truth. We are not highly confident that we will get the whole truth out of Maxwell alone.
Slowly, but surely, we will peel the layers back.
“I am only telling you this because I know that you won’t believe me,” Maxwell said.
There is something very different about his demeanor. No longer is there even a trace of that 18-year-old uncertainty, or that sexual yearning (obviously he has sated this, but the changes have obviously preceded the deed). At the same time, there is less vivacity in his face. His eyes are listless, heavy.
“Someone is here, in the yard,” he said.
Thankfully he cannot see our expressions, because I couldn’t help but smile.
“He has long, black hair and glasses. Wears these green corduroy pants and a baggy shirt. Pretty much every day.”
Maxwell has just described Edward. But one thing struck me in particular, “every day.”
I asked him just how often he saw this man in the backyard, and what kind of interactions they have had.
“He was the one who showed me the filled-in well on the third day we were here. It was really early in the morning. No one was sharing rooms yet, so I was alone when he came up to the window. Said he knew about my dream. That shit really freaked me out, man. Because he was spot-on.”
It is difficult to believe what we are being told. I was well aware that Edward had developed his own agenda once I had fallen ill, but for him to have been acting of his own accord since day three implies something very different, and very disturbing. But there has been enough investigating inside my own camp already. Whatever the case may be, it is taken care of.
“What well has he shown you?” I asked. “We see no well on the cameras. Is it where you all were grouped together on the afternoon of the third day?”
“No, that was just where the man told me to bring the others. It was then that he started telling us stuff about the history of Rosewood Manor. He says there is more to it than just the murder stories. Apparently he knew about the microphones, because he covered the one stuck to the tree he was at. I don’t think he wants you to know he is on the property.”
We are now sitting here in silence. There is so much more I need to know; so much more that it cannot be covered in just a video interview. I think the time has come for me to go there in person. I think I know now why they had wanted me to come in the first place. I feel guilty, very guilty. They must be terrified. That was the purpose, yes, but not like this. It was supposed to be in measured increments, but this is just chaotic terror.
“But where did you go for all of those days?” I asked.
“The guy with the glasses brought his friend to see me. I don’t know why, but I just followed him out into the forest… and I can’t tell you the rest, Patricia, I’m sorry.”
“Because I don’t trust you. Where are you? Who are you…”
“Okay. I guess there is no choice. I will be coming to see you guys soon.”
I did not need Garett to say his concerns aloud; I was already thinking of them myself. But this is the direction we are going; and I am going to follow this experiment until the end.
Read part 11 here. (Part 11 will be up 1/9, 9PM)