In the morning, on my desk, I find a plain manila package. Inside is a letter and a small Moleskine notebook. The package is addressed, stamped, and sealed, but the stamps have not been canceled. I have no recollection of how or when this package arrived. If, really. If this package arrived.
December 31st, 2006
Dr. Eduardo Ehrillimbal, Esq.
c/o Umbrial Consortium
XXXX XXXXXXXX, XXXXX XXX
Los Angeles, CA 90048
XXX XXXXXXX XXX
XXXXXXX XX XXXXX
By now, you are aware of who I am and who I represent, and I do apologize that you have been embroiled in what is, essentially, a family matter. This unfortunate and rather sordid affair has been dragging on since before my birth and, while it seemed I was to be rid of it for several years, I now fear it will never end. I hope—with a great deal of passion, you understand, because it will mean I may see my brother again—that you are the catalytic agent that will bring a resolution to this feud.
While I would, obviously, prefer a resolution in the favor of myself and my family, I do truly understand that your choice is—and must be!—one of your own making. If you elect to marry the black queen, who can blame you? She is a vibrant symbol, a esoteric mystery of everything you could possibly desire. And your white queen? She has passed on—my condolences, of course—and there is nothing left but her memory. My wife has been gone nearly thirty years now, and the loss is an irrefutable part of my eternal sorrow. Clinging to her memory has made me bereft in . . . well, I believe you know the hollowness of which I speak.
To the matter at hand, though, I have enclosed a small booklet, the like of which you may be familiar. The pages will be blank until you take it into the Oneiroi. There it will be filled with material I have collected for you. I hope you find it useful in your quest. I hope it helps you make a choice.
And I hope you will find it possible to forgive my father. Someone must, or that monster that we have been made to remember will devour us all.
The enclosed book is indeed blank, but for the first page. Someone has written one line in it. I . . . the handwriting is mine. Written just as plainly as the hand that writes these words now. I have no memory of these words. I am not even sure what they mean. But, nonetheless, they are there on the page. Bold as life. Immutable. The ink, bonded to the page, is now indelible and inseparable. I cannot change what has been written.
The first line is: "My name is Harry Potemkin, and I am a black market oneirologist."
I can only strike it out, or . . . I can write the next line.