The Price

14th September

It has taken me four days to summon up the will to write this diary. My mind has been nothing more than a churning black mass since Suzy died. It’s very hard to adjust to such a thing; accepting that someone has gone and they are now nothing more than a memory, a face in a photo, a pile of ashes.

I guess Suzy just chose the wrong thing to base her thesis on. It seems terribly unfair when you take into account that she actually succeeded in what she set out to do. She studied all the available facts — and there have never been many. She absorbed every word, pondered every supposition. It quickly took over her whole life. It also ended it. She found out too much and she couldn’t write it down; she didn’t get a chance to. She told me of her fears though and I was told what to expect, but it just sounded so far fetched.

It was all true though. She proved it by the very nature of her demise. You can’t induce something like that, however hard you try. I don’t think you’d want to. It is not the sort of thing you’d fake either. There would be no point. You are hardly around to reap any praise, are you ?

1st October

I’m terrified. This whole thing of Suzy’s death intrigues me. She was my best friend and I saw all the changes in her. I’m starting to recognise them in myself. I’m irrevocably drawn in, but fear I should stop before taking things too far, like she did. Its not easy. Researching this, going over the same ground that Suzy did, using her books, talking to the same people she did, I find that clues are jumping out at me. This thing wants to be found. It yearns to be discovered. I have no time, no concentration for anything else. I have to pursue Suzy’s killer. I think it wants me to. It’s probably already too late.

2nd October

Suzy’s downward spiral began four months ago and in all that time I have never named her fear; my fear. It seems so childish. I can’t even write the words.

People laughed at Suzy but they were intrigued as well. Secretly, they hoped she’d succeed. Some people asked her to come back to them if she ever found anything. Well, she did — but she couldn’t. Everyone held an interest in Suzy’s work but they didn’t know why she persevered with it. Others had broached the subject; she had all the books ever written on it, but they said nothing. Suzy wanted to write the ultimate solution to an age-old mystery. I know now that it won’t ever be written. By anybody.

5th October

I’ve been awake for three whole days now. I wonder how long Suzy stayed up: writing, researching, inching closer step by step. It has grabbed me by the throat and it won’t let go. It wants me. It leaves me dry.

13th October

I wrote a will. I asked that all my notes, and those made by Suzy, be buried with me. Then I realised I won’t be buried. It’ll save my folks a bundle on funeral costs.

17th October

Very close now. These pages are stained with sweat. It’s so hot here. I’m hot inside. I’ve lost weight. My hair is falling out. The room smells of copper.

Soon I will know everything. I will see what Suzy saw; feel what Suzy felt and I’m no longer afraid. I think it will be worth the price.

10:37 p.m: I was wrong. You can induce it. I’m about to go super nova. It’s so close. The air crackles. I had the idea of setting up a video camera to tape the whole thing. Research shows that the surrounding area is always left untouched. This film could prompt a thousand similar suicides; oh, it is suicide. I know exactly what I’m doing but I go willingly. I can’t eat or sleep. I can only think and that’s what it wants me to do. I have to keep on raking through the ashes. The answer lies in thought. It hits some people all at once. It’s when it takes time that it really hurts.

Soon. Soon.

12:12 p.m: This will be my last entry. The camera is recording; it’s a 3-hour tape. I hope it won’t take that long. Such thoughts mustn’t hinder my concentration.

I’m now going to sit down dead centre in front of the camera. I have my collected notes in case I lose my way. I leave this life happy, because at the very end I will know where it is I’m going. In fact, I’ll know everything: I will access the name of God; the reason for the universe; the given name of every star; why I was put here to learn these things. I will have complete knowledge, absolute understanding, and then my brain will revolt at the horror of it all. No human mind was meant to know these things so somewhere along the line, a defence mechanism was introduced. Who by ? Soon I’ll know that too. And then my body will crumble, my brain implode and wither. Overload. Short out. Spontaneously combust.

You’ll see and you’ll believe. The camera never lies.

How many will follow?

[Phoenix Hitch]