Ruminations on identity and the lack thereof. Audio recording by the Archivist, in situ.
John and Martin stand before a gigantic merry-go-round. Its diameter might only be around half a mile but now that space is broken, you might never pass the same spot twice if you were to get on. Luckily, they do not need to physically pass through it, according to John, just experiencing it counts for their journey.
Martin does not like the look of the riders and John helpfully points out that they are the victims. He strongly recommends not getting on it and Martin remarks that he never really liked merry-go-rounds anyway. To Martin's amusement, John confesses that he went on the merry-go-round at London Zoo some time before he joined the Institute and found it quite thrilling.
John notes that while Nikola Orsinov died in the Unknowing, "an old friend" is around and he is hoping they can just avoid her while skirting around the edge of the carousel. Martin suggests he record a statement before they get going and wanders off to give him some privacy.
Poetry spills from John's lips as he speaks of the plight of those trapped on the merry-go-round.
They reside in a twisting reality where you never know who you truly are, yet this nightmare is not hell, it is simply the world now. If you wish for a name or a face of your own, you must tear it from someone else. Those whose faces have been stolen soon forget they ever had one and the merry-go-round keeps on spinning.
You can only keep your name, your face if you run and stay ahead of the horde of faceless wretches who yearn for a scrap of identity of their own. Thoughts of freedom may taunt and tease but the merry-go-round offers no escape.
You can clamber onto an ancient wooden horse. It will carry you above the tear-streaked, unnamed horde, yet its descent brings you back within reach of their grasp. No coaxing or pleading will stop its descent and soon your name, your face will be lost again. The merry-go-round turns ever onward.
Perhaps the loss is not as devastating as it first seems. Even if it is not the same as you had when first entering this gaudy place, by the turning of the world, you will be someone again, someday. Yet the loss of a name, a face is keenly felt.
The horse has brought you low to hands and fingers that reach and breach. It could not hurt as much as you remember and yet it does. Nails scrape the flesh of your skull as they tear the name, the face from your being. Monikers fall from you, maybe Hannah, maybe Veronica, maybe Julian or Anya, and they are borne towards new blank pages who are determined to be people once more.
You lie in agonies and fading dreams of personhood as the scrambling horde clashes over your name, you face. A victor breaks away, holding your severed visage to his skull as his former fellows in facelessness give chase through the equine horde of the merry-go-round.
Now faceless, nameless, perhaps you too should join the chase. But you have learned to wait and there are many faces out on the carousel that you may be. You can bide your time and anticipate the coming of another name, another face that might sit upon your skull.
So turn with the turn of the merry-go-round and dance to its jolly old song.
Who will you be, with a name or three, and a stranger’s face worn wrong?
John and Martin are walking around the edge of the merry-go-round. John has told Martin about the poetic format of the statement and Martin is curious as to whether it was a good poem. John is not much of a poetry person and confesses that he used to think all poetry was bad until he eventually just mellowed on it.
John thinks they are past the worst of the merry-go-round when they run into Not-Sasha. She taunts them and threatens to hunt them down. John calls her bluff, realising she cannot touch them and is just trying to wring some scraps of fear out of them. Like everything else there, she is ruled by The Eye now.
Not-Sasha is furious and as they turn to leave, she taunts them about the real Sasha, calling her pathetic. John turns back to her with a cold anger and she is suddenly terrified of him. He uses his powers and forces her to feel and understand the horror of her victims, their constant, senseless agony. Not-Sasha sobs as John calls upon the Ceaseless Watcher to turn its gaze upon her and with a final scream, Not-Sasha is obliterated.
Martin is amazed while John seems distressed by his actions. Martin asks what will happen to the merry-go-round now that she is gone but John does not want to Know and insists they leave immediately.
- Related Entity: Primarily The Stranger