I have never been very good at keeping a journal, even though every writing teacher I’ve ever had says it’s important. But my life has taken a weird turn recently. Inspired by a friend of mine who keeps a journal and encourages other people to do it too, I’ll try this, and we’ll see how it turns out.
Disclaimers aside, here’s how I came to be stuck in my current predicament.
Kevin, Emma, Fen, Richard, and I were on our way home from the Shining Lands Bordertown event. It’s the last big LARP event of the summer, so we stayed later than we should and had to dump everything into Fen’s mpv (well, Fen’s dad’s mpv) to get off site in time. We were all still in LARPgarb when we got in the car — five people are safe to go to KFC in motorway services dressed like half-elves, right?
The event was in the middle of nowhere, Lincolnshire (seriously, I think that’s it’s real name), so we had to go down a million little roads to join the A1 at Peterborough, and then Richard said it would be easier to get back to Greenwich if we went through Cambridge, so we headed for the M11. We were talking about a couple of props we’d got at the LARP. Richard got a new knife, and I got great leather boots. I had my leg up in the air trying to prove that my boots were more badass than Richard’s knife. And that’s when this huge lorry barrelled into us on the merge.
The car was upside down. I hit my head when I fell. Kevin was in the front seat. There was blood everywhere. I was in between Emma and Richard. I don’t know about Fen, but Kevin was really hurt, if that was his blood. Emma and Richard were freaking out. I don’t know why they were freaking out. Richard kept telling me not to move, and I was like, we have got to get out of this car because it will blow up, and Emma said that only happened in films. Fen and Kevin were really quiet. I stopped looking up there. Richard got the door open and Emma tried to hold me in the car! I told her to fuck herself; I was getting out, and I followed Richard out. When I stood up, I got dizzy and lightheaded all of a sudden, and I realised there was blood all over my favourite Elf-Clan bracers. Richard had knifed me when the lorry hit us. I turned to him to tell him what a douche he was; I was laughing, but he just kept staring and saying he was sorry. Then I guess I passed out.
I remember some noises, lots of engines, sirens, people talking. It changed from hot to cold. I told someone I had a headache but thought I was fine. They said I wasn’t fine and to lie still or I’d be less fine. So I lay still.
When I woke up, I was on the bank of a river. I had my backpack on me. There were lots of plants and bird noises; definitely not Cambridge. Next to me was a little pier, so I got up and walked down the pier to see what I could see. There wasn’t much: just rushes and river stuff. There seemed to be a settlement on the other side: I thought maybe I could find some help there. That’s when the ferryman turned up. He offered to take me across the river so I could find a place to stay. He told me if I came back across, I’d lose my memories. I looked at that little settlement, and it just seemed so peaceful and unlike anywhere else I’d ever been. I let him help me into the boat– he insisted on a handshake– and he hummed a little song as he ferried me across. When I asked him what I owed him on the other side, he just smiled and said he’d collect his payment on the return trip. That made my stomach fall.
There was a dock for ships on the other side, but nobody was there. So I took the path and climbed up into the town.
The town is amazing, a little walled town just like you’d find in a book. That’s when I woke up and realised I was probably dreaming, or in the hospital, or something.
I went into the tavern, because there’s always somebody in the tavern in a fantasy novel, and I met Aoibheann. She was talking to a freaky person dressed up like a demon with a tail and horns and everything. Definitely some peculiar fantasies going on in my head. I told her I’d just arrived, and predictably after some basic negotiations, she offered me a place to stay in exchange for helping out at the pub.
These memories are already starting to fade; that’s why I had to write all this down. I think this is my mental way of cheating the ferryman: if I have it all written down, it can’t be forgotten.
Here is what I look like in my LARP clothes: