The Journal of James Oaklund

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Today a couple pretty interesting things ended up happening. Firstly, there was my meeting with doc, over the phone of course. Then, there was the call with Amy. I wasn't expecting to hear from her, so it was a welcome surprise. I'll go over the talk with doc Ben first, I think.

I happened to just be wrapping up work at my client's place when the call came in. It was kind of a weird day, honestly. He'd been a complete asshole throughout the entire process, but the last few days he just...Got super nice. Tipped all of us extra on top of the hefty fee he was paying for the work in the first place, and hell, I'm certainly not complaining. It's just...Starting to get a little weird how everything is falling into place lately. Like...Everything seems to go oddly well, in my favor. I've always thought I was an at least averagely lucky sorta guy, but it was starting to get ridiculous.

Anyways. Doc called me up pretty much right as I'd finished loading the equipment back into the company car they'd lent me for this gig, so I was able to talk to him while I drove by clipping my phone to the fan immediately to my right. I mostly talked about the job, where I'd had to set in new soil and dig out the old stuff, where I'd transplanted flowers and shrubs that grew elsewhere on the property, where I'd planted seeds, that kind of thing.

It felt like an accomplishment, y'know? I'd done a shitload of work to that place, and it felt nice to rattle off all the points. Doc listened and occasionally offered congratulatory words where he could. It made me feel great, honestly. When he asked if I had any more to say, I found that I couldn't quite help myself, and ended up bringing up the flowers I'd started seeing everywhere.

"Oh, yeah, there's one more thing, Ben. If you don't mind humoring me for a little longer?"

He gave his signature chuckle, the one where you could hear him smiling.

"I don't mind at all, James. You've been an exceptional patient in this experiment thus far, I'm more than happy to listen to anything you have to say."

"Heh, thanks, doc. I might start blushing if you keep that up. Anyway, I've been seeing these flowers around everywhere...I've never seen them before in my life, but suddenly they're all around town. I found some at my client's place, and a whole bunch right around your lab. They're like...White roses, but with these dark red splotches that look a little like dried blood."

"Ah, I see. I am not terribly well-versed in agriculture, so you will have to forgive me if I say anything that doesn't seem right to you. That being said, I think it's likely these white roses are some kind of an invasive species that have been spreading rapidly and taking over. I've noticed them myself, and I've also noticed they grow incredibly fast. One day, there were a couple outside of my laboratory, the next...It was like a blanket of them, coating my laboratory's surface entrance. Truly remarkable things, really."

"Huh. You might be right. There's something else too, though...I feel like I'm going crazy just thinking about saying this, but I pointed the flowers out to my client before I got rid of them on his property but he didn't seem to be able to see them. He referred to them as 'weeds,' but said he didn't know what I was talking about when I called them flowers. I dug them up and disposed of them as per his request, but I think...As crazy as this sounds, I know...I think he was only able to see the thorny vines the roses were growing on, and not the roses themselves."

Doc was quiet for a good few moments. His pauses like this were always strange to me. At all other times he seemed to know exactly what to say, but sometimes it was like he almost...Didn't want to answer me directly, or something. But that's ridiculous, he's a great guy. He's been super helpful so far. I wouldn't be where I am right now if I hadn't met him last month.

"...You say you're the only one who can see them? James, I don't mean to sound insulting at all, but...Well, that just sounds like a ghost story, to be quite honest. I'm sure your client just wasn't paying close enough attention, or perhaps he truly did view these white roses as weeds. I wouldn't worry too much about it, James."

"Yeah...Yeah, you're right. Sorry, it's just, y'know. Things've been a little weird lately, I guess I'm just jumping at shadows. Thanks, Ben."

"But of course. Take care of yourself, James. I must go for now, but I wish you an excellent rest of your day and an excellent week; until we speak again, my friend."

"Thanks, man, you too."

By that time, I was back at Burkley's, so I dropped the keys off at the check-out desk, clocked out, and hopped a bus home. Later on, while I was having some dinner and watching some movies on the couch, I got a call from Amy. Not the weird duplicate of Amy's number, just Amy.

"Hey, James? Are you busy at all on the...19th of May?"

"Hey, Amy. Yes and no. I'm working from 10am to about 6pm, but after that I'm free. What's up?"

"Oh! Um, I wanted to know if you maybe wanted to come by my place for dinner? It's been a while since we've just hung out one-on-one, and...There's something I want to talk to you about. But it has to be in-person, okay?"

"Sure, yeah. What's the thing about?"

"It has to be in-person. That's all I can say for now. I'll see you on the 19th, 8pm, my place. Yeah?"

"...Yeah, sure. See you then."

"Thank you, James. I really, really appreciate it."

With a click, she hung up. She seemed awfully cagey about whatever this thing is she wants to talk to me about, but y'know, I'm her best friend, so I'm gonna hear what she has to say. I wound down the night and decided to write this just before going to sleep, when I got another message from that creepy number.

Another voice memo, but this time...Even more confusing than the last.

"Tir-d? Th---ty? -ry a d--ic--us c-n o- Suspria C-la! T-- o-ly dr--k t-a- ca- re---y sa--sf- t---- ---h a di-- n--d -or revi-----ation -nd a h--t- --ir-t to qu--ch!"

My phone rebooted itself again after the voice memo played, as per usual. It was so odd...It sounded completely different to all of the other messages I'd gotten before. It sounded like an advertisement, for something I can only assume is called "Suspria Cola." The really, really fucking weird thing is, though...I can't find any record of a product by that name ever existing.

No trademarks registered in that name, no company using a similar name, no companies claiming products by that name or even anything similar, unless you count Sprite, I guess.

So I got a garbled, static-y ad for a product that doesn't exist...? I have no clue what to make of it. I'm going to bed, this is too damn weird for me.

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