This page contains the entries Nicky wrote during his time at Raven Brooks.
What Broke Mr. Peterson?
This is the question that has haunted me since the day we moved to Friendly Court.
At first, things seemed good. Raven Brooks was going to be my city, you know? I wasn't going to let any opportunity go to waste. He might have been strange, but the kid across the street wanted to be friends. His dad had lost it somewhere along the line, but who's pops hadn't?
Still, I wondered about his dad - Mr. Peterson - a lot. He wasn't kooky like my dad was - whereas my dad would haphazardly leave his coffee cup on the porch, Mr. Peterson, well... would do a whole lot worse.
Was it Mr. Peterson's failed career that made him snap? I mean, long before the tragedy at the Golden Apple Theme Park (that no one in town seemed to talk about), the engineer's designs had been "scrutinized," or so my dad says.
Certainly, the auto accident he was involved in was the point of no return. But while he experienced great loss in a car crash, I was pretty sure he'd gone over the edge well before that. In fact, Mr. Peterson might have even had something to do with the crash.
And that made me think. What if the force driving Mr. Peterson's rage goes beyond human understanding? What if something far more sinister is at play? On the edges of night in Raven Brooks, some say a deadly and thorny Thing drives townspeople mad. And I've started to see it... beyond the local gossip, anyway.
My dad says the most important part of investigating is recording information. He always has a notebook filled with information about what he sees. My baby book is full of that weird stuff.
And while I wish my dad wouldn't constantly remind me that I used to love peas (ugh, I really hate peas), I like knowing things about what happened or what's going on.
Aaron has invited me over to his house a few times, so I've been able to get the gist of what the Peterson household is like.
The first rooms have all the things you'd expect: couches, TVs, and tables. But there's a layer of dust on everything, and random junk like bowling balls and moving boxes clutter up the place.
Aaron took me upstairs to his room, but I can't remember how we got there. Most rooms are locked up tight, and I think the walls may be moving. Every time I come back, doors and hallways seem to have shifted. And if I ever walk towards an "unapproved" area, Mr. P is right there to push me away.
There's a big lock on the basement door. Aaron says that the basement is his dad's workshop, but something doesn't feel right to me. It feels like the only way I can figure out what's going on... is to break a few windows.
January 13, 1996
Woke up in a sweat. Dreamt I cracked open a bank vault.
Woke up again. This time I dreamt I crashed into a wall.
January 14, 1996
Didn't sleep much after that. Everyone is tired of me falling asleep in weird places - like school or when mom drives me to school. I had another dream last night where skeletal hands reached out, ready to pull me into the murky void.
January 15, 1996
The school counselor says I need to write down everything I dream about, so, well, here's everything.
I dream about the Petersons a lot. Last night, I dreamt that I was back at Golden Apple Amusement Park with Aaron. We were out doing the usual: practicing lockpicking and making mischief! But then I'd look around and... Aaron was GONE! In the dark, strange, scratching sounds chased after me... and then I woke up.
January 16, 1996
This was definitely my worst dream... EVER.
I was at Golden Apple, and I was just strapped into the Rotten Core coaster. I was really excited, but then BAM! It rattled and I rushed around in dizzying circles. My fellow riders were screaming. I was screaming, too. I could hear the sound of iron bars buckling under pressure and the hot hiss of brakes burning out. And just as it seemed cart would lift me off the track and hurtle me to the ground... I woke up.
Sometimes I wonder. Are my dreams someone else's memories? Or maybe I'm... seeing into the future?
I'm taking dad's advice again and writing down everything I see. Aaron and Mya are missing. Mr. Peterson's convinced the whole town that they went to live someplace else, but I don't buy that. For MANY REASONS. Wouldn't they at least send a postcard?
Since nobody believes me, today I decided to break into Mr. Peterson's house.
Normally, I'd never condone breaking into someone's house. I mean, I'd be pretty mad if someone broke into my house. But this is different. This means people's lives are at stake.
My first step was to figure more about Aunt Lisa. So while the Neighbor went for a drive this morning, I broke in. And what I found was, well... ugh.
The whole place smelled. And I mean bad. Have you ever brought an egg salad sandwich to school and then didn't eat it and took it home and then your lunchbox smelled really bad? Well, it smelled worse than that - like rotten meat permeated through the air, everywhere. The furniture and fixtures were cracked and worn. I got the vibe that no matter how Mr. Peterson might have tried to put on a good front for the people of Raven Brooks, up close, his life was wasting away.
I pressed on, eager to learn more... but then the Neighbor arrived home. I quickly hid in a closet and made my escape.
I found an image inside Mr. P's house today. Maybe I don't know much about being a dad, but calling your kid a "bad omen" seems kinda nuts, right? I wonder if Mr. P blames Aaron for the tragedy that's fallen his family. That's pretty messed up.
If Aaron and Mya have any chance of surviving, I guess I'm going to have to be the one to save them.