Back in the Real World

jason ryback bullet point for blogI woke up one morning and realised I was back in my hotel room. Did that really just happen? Turning on the TV told me I was into the second week of January. Either I’d been in a coma for a couple of weeks – or I’d really spent all that time down in Sarasin’s underground home.

My phone buzzed.

“How was the cave?”

“Who are you?”

“A friend.”

“Tell me something. I know nothing about you.”

“A friend. I emailed you the manuscripts. I’m an expert in all things technology-based. I can’t keep all the men with guns away, but I’m doing what I can to remove your digital footprint, create a false trail of breadcrumbs and generally make you a lot harder to find. Other than that, the less you know the better.”

I leaned back and felt a wave of relief wash over me. It was nice to know I wasn’t totally alone and actually had a human friend for once. No one else I’ve been in contact seems to be – even Arvalane, who is by far the most normal of anyone down there.

I spent the day writing down as much of my experience of the cave and the Infinistra as I could remember.

A loud knock at the door woke me up with a start the next morning. My mobile phone buzzed on my bedside table with a text message:

“Don’t worry. It’s from me.”

The same receptionist was at the door. She had a bigger parcel with my name on. I locked my door and unwrapped it once I was on my own. It was a laptop. It was already set up with an email waiting for me and another manuscript attached.

“Let’s email from now on if we can.”

“Who are you? At least give me your name.” I needed to know something.


“Is that your real name?”

“Of course.”

“What do I do now?”

“Stay put. I’m scoping out new places for you to stay. Be ready to pack and go at a moment’s notice.”

Staring into the Infinistra

jason ryback bullet point for blogI should have turned and run from the cave as soon as I saw them, as soon as I realised I was writing about dangerous people living in the same world as me. I should have run for safety. But I couldn’t.

I had to stare into the Infinistra. I had to see more stories.

I found myself sitting on the floor next to Sarasin. The longer I watched, the more I was able to see and take in.

Then Arvalane stood with us and pointed to the far left of the Infinistra, in time to see a sleigh drawn by nine reindeer shoot out of a screen of ice. The ancient elf driving it made his way across the screen, appearing in thousands of images over the Infinistra. He was too quick for my eyes to follow. But as I watched, he seemed to slow down, like time itself was slowing down around us.

Eventually ShadowAspect hauled me to my feet and wrenched me away from the Infinistra. The moment my eyes left it, my head swam. The cave span around me. I felt like I wanted to throw up.

I collapsed to my knees and blacked out.