Dating Aers

Entry 1 Versions (What stands out to you the most?)

Diary Entry 1 (The Tree)


I've been having some restless nights lately. I wake up in the middle of the night aching and covered in sweat. I think I've been thrashing around violently in my nightmares. The doctor has prescribed me some tobacco leaves to help me with the stress, but my night terrors keep coming.

Sometimes, when I wake, the nightmare hasn't let me go. I'm present, but my body stays limp — almost as if it isn't mine. Murky figures in the shadows of my room reveal themselves and whisper to me just out of sight.

I sit like that for hours sometimes, surrounded by this presence. I want to run away, but I'm a prisoner. They laugh at me.

These nightly encounters are leaving me weak and broken. I only want to sleep, but my mind won't let me. Common sense says that I'm just over-stressed, but some part of me feels like it's something more.

Maybe it's the speed of city life that's finally getting to me. They say there's a bit of a speedbump once your twenties are over, doubly so now that I only have myself to look after. I've lived here all my life. Same as my parents. I think I'll take a country retreat until I'm back on my feet.

I hope Dad's old swingset's still in the family oak tree.

Change the last line to fit the choice but otherwise mostly the same?

Entry 2 Versions (Where is this?)

Diary Entry 2 (Home)


There's something nostalgic about returning back to my roots. The fresh country air and salty ocean breeze… it's peaceful. It gives me a little energy to keep going despite everything. I feel a little more complete.

I think my breathing's got a little easier since I got here. I'm pretty sure my shoulders are more relaxed, too. There's security here that just isn't found in the noise of the city; a calm I desperately needed after so long. I might just come back here more often!

I've set the fire (I promise I'll get you some replacement coal, Dad!) and made myself at home. Nobody else is here right now. I guess they're probably on holiday? What kind of son am I to not even know where my parents are? I'm definitely going to have to apologise for that.

It's strange. Even though I'm alone, I don't feel lonely. It's probably because I know they're not too far away. I really hope I see them while I'm here though. I've not seen them since

(Can't remember right now. I'll finish it up in the morning. A couple years, I think?)


I'm finally home.

Tonight, I will not just sleep — I will actually rest safe in my own bed.

Diary Entry 2 (Hell)


I made a trip back to Dad's. The time I spent here sticks with me, and I'm certain the nightmares come from this place. By spending the night here, maybe the scared child within me will settle down?

The place is a lot smaller than I remember. I guess it's because I've grown since I was here, but it's still really surprising. This place was like a fortress when I was a kid. I've lit a fire with Dad's leftover coal.

He still hasn't patched up the hole he made when Mom said she'd be leaving with me.
Won't you take responsibility for anything? When you mess up shit you should fucking fix it. The wood's rotten with termites because you couldn't even take care of your own house! What kind of scum ruins their kid's inheritance because they're angry at themselves?!

Dad's not here now. Probably fell asleep in a bar. Or maybe he took a leap of faith into the sea. Doesn't matter. I'm just here to get my house. Or to confront him if he gets back. I don't know which I want more.

I've not seen him for at least a decade. Last time I saw him must have been

(Can't remember right now. I'll add it in tomorrow.)


Tonight, I will not just sleep — I will confront my nightmares head-on.

Diary Entry 2 (Hope)


I've not seen my family home in years. There's a bit of a termite problem. Everything's full of holes, but the house still stands firm. I think there's something kind of amazing about that.

I've lit a fire with matches I found in the house. The label says they were made twenty years ago. I don't know why, but I started to cry in front of the fire. It wasn't sad, though. It was just that kind of day where I needed a reminder like that.

Dad always said no matter how dark it gets, I'll always be me. I've still got that fire in me even if it's dark.

I miss him. I haven't seen him in

(Five, ten years? Can't remember right now. Will fill in later)


I hope they come home to see their kid back and full of life. God knows that when I left… I wasn't in the best place.

Tonight, I will not just sleep — I will find the spider's thread out of my pit.

Entry 3 Versions (How do you feel?)

Diary Entry 3 (Alone)


I couldn't sleep. Fuck, I wish I could, but that… that shadow that I feel in my nightmares. It's closer, somehow. Maybe it's because it's getting dark, maybe because nobody's home. I'm just staying in front of the fire in the living room until someone gets here. I don't think I'll be able to sleep until someone does, at any rate. I think I'll just sit here. Those tobacco leaves the doctor—



He screamed at me to get out of his house. When I said I was his son he just went berzerk. I don't get it? Is this just some cruel joke? He just disowns me before I can even tell him what I needed to get off my fucking chest?! He just waves a gun in my face and kicks me out of my own house?!

I'm driving back home. Asshole threw me straight into a pile of mud. It's gonna take me about an hour to get back and shower, so I'll probably finish ranting when I'm done. Holy shit


Something's wrong

I need a doctor

I just went to the bathroom and that's not my face

These aren't my hands

But I remember… the little scar on my left finger— I got that one from a can opener. And the one on the back of my hand. That one was from the neighbours' dog. They had to put it down. The one on my forehead— when I got into that car accident.

My parents lived in the city their whole life.

Whose house was that?

Diary Entry 3 (Scared)


Fuck, I just can't sleep. It's too strange here. I close my eyes for one second and I swear I feel something moving around in the house, in the shadows. Maybe it's because it's dark, maybe it's because I've not slept for three days. But I just can't sleep, like the darkness from my nightmares is closer, somehow. I'm just going to sit in front of the fire for a while. At least until my breathing settles and my heart slows dow-



I'm sat in the car fucking covered in mud. Fuck it smells. Dad crashed through the door and shoved a gun into my mouth and screamed questions at me. I could taste the iron. He didn't recognise his own son? What kind of cruel joke is this?! I just wanted to fucking talk to him and he to he just fucking disowns me?!

He fucking kicked me out into a mud pile, so I'm about to drive back in mud for a fucking hour. Fucking hell. I'll finish this later, but FUCK. What the fuck just happened?


Something's wrong

I need a doctor

I just went to the bathroom and that's not my face

These aren't my hands

But I remember… the little scar on my left finger— I got that one from a can opener. And the one on the back of my hand. That one was from the neighbours' dog. They had to put it down. The one on my forehead— when I got into that car accident.

My parents lived in the city their whole life.

Whose house was that?

Diary Entry 3 (Confused)


Something's wrong

I need a doctor

I couldn't sleep so I went to splash water on my face but when I looked in the mirror

It wasn't my face

These aren't my hands

But I remember… the little scar on my left finger— I got that one from a can opener. And the one on the back of my hand. That one was from the neighbours' dog. They had to put it down. The one on my forehead— when I got into that car accident.

My parents lived in the city their whole life.

Whose house is this?

I'm fucking shaking. What the fuck is going on? If Dad the owner gets back soon, what am I going to say? Will he be mad? I just needed to get my feelings out. Are these my feelings? I've got a headache. I can't think straight.

The shadow's closer. The one from my nightmares. I'm sat in my car, and Dad that man just knocked on my window. Asked what I was doing outside his house. I couldn't tell him I lit his fire. What's wrong with me?

Entry 4 Versions (Can you trust your memory?)

Diary Entry 4 (Yes)


Do you remember getting lost in the mall? The frantic, desperate search for a single hand in a sea of adults. The world span as I struggled between all the adults who didn't even look my way.

Do you remember the car crash? That's where I got the scar on my forehead. I cracked my skull and they had to seal it with some kind of glue? I remember how the world slowed down, and the force of my seatbelt crushing into my chest. I remember the searing pain spread across my face as my skull fractured.

Do you remember joyriding in a car? I remember breaking in and driving around town for hours before I ran out of gas. Me and my friends had never been happier. Not a care in the world.


None of those things happened. Mom said I never got lost in a mall. Not once. She was very proud of that fact. I was 3 when I was in the car crash. My friends don't remember any joyriding. In fact, none of us even know how to break into a car.

But I remember them. My memories are who I am. They're all I am.

They're all I have. I have to trust them. If I can't trust myself, who do I have?


I don't remember anything in this diary. I didn't write any of it. None of this happened to me. Why does it feel so familiar?




Is she a figment of my imagination, too?




I see the lake in front of me. I need to know.

Diary Entry 4 (No)


Do you remember getting lost in the mall? The frantic, desperate search for a single hand in a sea of adults. The world span as I struggled between all the adults who didn't even look my way.

Do you remember the car crash? That's where I got the scar on my forehead. I cracked my skull and they had to seal it with some kind of glue? I remember how the world slowed down, and the force of my seatbelt crushing into my chest. I remember the searing pain spread across my face as my skull fractured.

Do you remember joyriding in a car? I remember breaking in and driving around town for hours before I ran out of gas. Me and my friends had never been happier. Not a care in the world.


None of those things happened. Mom said I never got lost in a mall. Not once. She was very proud of that fact. I was 3 when I was in the car crash. My friends don't remember any joyriding. In fact, none of us even know how to break into a car.

But I remember them. Just because they never happened… does that make it less real?

They're all I have. I have to trust them. If I can't trust myself, what do I have left?


I don't remember anything in this diary. I didn't write any of it. None of this happened to me. Why does it feel so familiar?




Is she a figment of my imagination, too?




I see the lake in front of me. I need to know.

Diary Entry 4 (I am unsure)


Do you remember getting lost in the mall? The frantic, desperate search for a single hand in a sea of adults. The world span as I struggled between all the adults who didn't even look my way.

Do you remember the car crash? That's where I got the scar on my forehead. I cracked my skull and they had to seal it with some kind of glue? I remember how the world slowed down, and the force of my seatbelt crushing into my chest. I remember the searing pain spread across my face as my skull fractured.

Do you remember joyriding in a car? I remember breaking in and driving around town for hours before I ran out of gas. Me and my friends had never been happier. Not a care in the world.


None of those things happened. Mom said I never got lost in a mall. Not once. She was very proud of that fact. I was 3 when I was in the car crash. My friends don't remember any joyriding. In fact, none of us even know how to break into a car.

Have they all forgotten? Or is it me who I can't trust?

But my memories are all I have. I have to trust them. If I lose them, who am I?


I don't remember anything in this diary. I didn't write any of it. None of this happened to me. Why does it feel so familiar?




Is she a figment of my imagination, too?




I see the lake in front of me. I need to know.

Entry 5 (Do you remember what she did?)

Diary Entry 5


The shadow lead me here. Back to the lake, that is. I finally realised who it was, holding my hand through it all. It was you, wasn't it Katie?

I remember you, Katie. Nobody else does. I'm so sorry.

I'm so sorry

You sacrified yourself and nobody remembers your name. Not anymore.

Do you miss me? Do you resent me? Are you calling me or haunting me, Katie?

It doesn't matter. I know what you want.

You want me to go back

You want me to go back into there with you.

Yes, I hear you Katie.

I hear you

Thank you for waiting.

I will wade waist-deep through the mud

I will swim in the ice cold waters

I will be pulled under again

But you won't pull me out this time


You won't die for me this time

And nightmares will end

And I get to be with you again










Of course I'm not mad










Of course I recognise you.





















I missed you

It doesn't matter if I remember you or not

I still love you

I came back