2012? 2012? By the Unspoken Names, how did it get to be 2012?
Oh, I know the answer. It was that moronic psychiatrist and his damned dream research, looking for evidence of hidden psychic powers and other states of consciousness. Whatever he was doing interacted with something about me, and the next thing anyone knew he was staring at an empty bed, and I was off being a... well, better not to discuss that. And then Billy found me, somehow, in his dreams; and brought me back here, back to now.
Where it's 2012, and I've been missing for the better part of a year. Where I lost another few weeks to madness and disorientation, while my brain picked itself back up by its boot-straps. Where I've been reading the blog entries I wrote when I was human, in an attempt to reconnect with my memories and skills.
I'm back, I think. Enough to function, anyway. Enough to start asking the right sort of questions. Fortunately, Billy and Crystal really are my friends. Otherwise, the Watchers would have me already - or some other, even less pleasant expression of the Elders' collective will.
They knew I'd been hacking into a blog. I don't know how they found out; I didn't think to ask about that. Maybe it's something they happened on, or maybe everybody knows, even the Elders. I've been vague enough that they might consider it harmless, another way to muddy the waters. But assuming that these writings don't have some sort of official sanction, Billy and Crystal didn't turn me in for them: an act of loyalty that could potentially get them into trouble, if anybody ever found out.
It's good to have friends.
They've also brought me up to speed on what happened after I vanished. Claire demanded to go after me, and the Watchers allowed it: possibly hoping that our personal connection would help, but more likely because of that one peculiar power we share: the ability to travel through the Place of Mists. She vanished, too, and the Watchers used our disappearances as a pretext to get the study shut down. The guy who was running it lost his funding and his job; Billy isn't sure what became of him.
My first priority, now that I'm more or less myself again, is to find Claire. That will probably mean finding the researcher and talking to him... and I should check in with Claire's people as well, to see if they have any ideas. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to contact the Elders, first. It's one thing for Billy to wait and see if I'm going to recover, so he can be sure that I'm really myself. It's something else altogether for me to return to myself without informing the Elders, and immediately head off on my own business.
So that's the plan: contact the Elders, contact Claire's people, find the researcher, and locate Claire.
I'd be an idiot to think it was going to be that simple, but what the hell. It's a start, right?
Reflections of a Deranged Cultist is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual time travel is almost certainly a figment of your imagination.