Questions whirled in my tired mind, my eyes concentrating on following my fingers as they picked at lint on my mattress. Although I was relieved we all made it out of that mess alive, my muscles ached with fatigue, my thoughts were far from the material world, and my chest was tense with fear. My heart was heavy with the weight of endless regret and beat slowly under the burden of my faults. For the moment, nothing existed except myself and everything wrong in the town. I dared not look away from my hands, afraid the fresh memory of destruction and lies would flood back into me, and I would not be able to cope with its full force. Instead, I carefully shifted my gaze to the girl next to me, hoping her always positive demeanor would ease my own.
I stared painfully at my sister as an agonizing lump formed in my throat. She sat cross-legged on her own bed, thoughtfully stroking her pig's ears, the rest of her body completely tense. She didn't have a smile on her face as I usually saw. She didn't have a frown or a pout, either. She was entirely expressionless in that moment, and it was then I knew it was impossible for me to reverse my mistakes. I fought to hold back the tears that wouldn't come, every part of my being too exhausted to physically cry. She cleared her throat and broke the silence throughout the room.
"Why are you staring?" she asked, her voice hoarse and no louder than a powerful whisper.
"I don't know," I answered the same, knowing an apology would be worthless and turning my head away from her. "I'm worried about you, I guess..."
"I'm alive, aren't I?"
"At this point, I'm not sure that's a good thing," I blurted out.
I met her eyes again, expecting tears or a look of shock. The corner of her mouth twitched slightly downward, but nothing else changed. She nodded in agreement after a second of hesitation and continued petting Waddles. My breath caught in the back of my throat and I felt my mouth go agape in surprise. My sister – the only person I could truly say I cared about – practically told me she wished she were dead.
"Dipper," she grew quieter. "Remember when you told me to trust no one?"
"I was wrong, okay, Mabel?!" I responded with an involuntary shout. "What do you expect from me? Even Gideon knows that I'm just a kid... I'm just a kid..."
The tears were threateningly close to pouring into the bottom of my eyelids, so I pinched the bridge of my nose and held in my breath, squeezing my eyes shut in an attempt to contain all those emotions. There was no voices or breathing for quite a while between the both of us, until she decided to interrupt the sadistic tranquility once again.
"No, you were right," she said calmly. "I should trust no one. I shouldn't even trust myself, and I don't. If that machine really would have meant death for us all, the world would be over, because I'm too selfless."
"Tell me now, sis," I demanded sternly. "Tell me if you wish you were dead."
"I don't wish I were dead, I just wish I could be alive again."
Is this what life is supposed to be? I feel like I've lost everything innocent and pure, including my brother. He's not the same as he used to be, and neither am I. Gruncle Stan definitely isn't the same man I knew at the beginning of the summer. Things are changing, and I think they're changing for the worse. Around every corner is another question, another doubt, another supernatural occurrence... Who should I trust? Who is real and who isn't? Why did we have to get ourselves caught up in this? I've heard from two people now that we're just kids, but I don't feel like "just a kid". I kind of feel like the fate of all of Gravity Falls and the sanity of Dipper is in my hands and everything revolves around our decisions. One mistake could mean the end of it all. We could drift apart, we could never see each other again, we could be forced to watch our childhood be ripped away from us, or we could die. If this is a part of growing up and getting mature or whatever, I don't want to be a part of it. I want to go back to the beginning of the summer and keep Dipper from ever finding his precious journal. I want to just be siblings playing in the yard and complaining about the heat and horrible hygiene of our uncle. I guess sometimes it's better to let things be than to go digging for answers and possible conspiracies. The only place that's gotten Dipper and I is here in our room, wondering about this secret and that, always being hurt by the truth in the end.
Since these stupid journals have given me answers to problems before, maybe making my own will give me answers to myself. Ever since that night in the basement of the shack, nothing has been the same. I never imagined my whole life could be turned upside down within a matter of two days, but I was wrong. It seems like I'm always wrong anymore. I always misguide everyone and never go on gut instinct. I base every move and every thought on what those journals tell me to do. Most of the time, it just gets me into trouble, and Mabel is always the one who ends up rescuing me and cleaning up my mess. She lives solely off whatever her heart and gut tells her. She doesn't care about my dumb journals. If it weren't for me snooping around, I would've never found it, Bill would've never known, Stan – is he Stan? – would have never turned on that machine, and my sister and I would be oblivious to the chaos stirring in Gravity Falls. I fear now that I've gotten us both caught up in something we shouldn't be, we won't be able to just slip away from it. We'll always be sucked back in somehow, one day it'll prove to be too much for the two of us to handle, and that'll be the end of the Pines Twins. I wish I could lay the journals in some box, shove them under the floorboards or bury them, walk away, and return to normal life, but something tells me shaking out of the grip of the supernatural won't be so easy.
Written by Dipper Pines
The morning was warm and moist, the air untouched by wind. Finally, things were beginning to settle down within the shack and Stanley and Stanford. He wasn't so bad to talk to, but like everything else in this town, there's an eerie vibe about him, so I chose to keep my guard up. Mabel was much quicker to return to her normalities than I believed she would be. I stayed close to her side as we walked through the underbrush, perhaps taking too much caution in grabbing her hand and helping her over obstacles in our path. She eventually snatched her arm away and trekked ahead of me, further into the thick of the woods in our backyard. Although she asked for a simple nature walk to enjoy the animals and the sunlight, and despite the fact that I had promised her I would only use my journal when necessary, I had taken it from the basement of the shack and tucked it into my jacket. We were bound to find something in the maze of trees that would require a consultation of Number 3's pages, and that was good enough reason for me to sneak it into our stroll.
She suddenly stopped moving, causing me to run into her back and my hat to nearly fall off. I re-positioned it over my hair and scanned the ground ahead of us, only to find the path was clear. I huffed and nudged her forward in irritation, but she held her ground firmly.
"Mabel, what are you doing?" I stood in front of her now, arms crossed.
"Oh my gosh, Dipper..." she merely whispered, her eyes filled with wonder and amazement.
"What's going on?" I let my arms fall back to my sides, my heart jumping in fear of whatever she may have seen.
A huge smile crept along her face as her cheeks filled with a typical pink flush. She maneuvered around me at a full sprint towards a patch of tall mushrooms. She dropped to her knees and picked something up in her hands, cradling it as if it were a palm-sized baby. A squeal emitted from high in her chest and she brought it against her body, hugging it. I didn't get a chance to look over her shoulder before she sprung back up into a full stand.
"Do you know how much glitter I could make out of this?!" she gasped. "Oh! I could make it into earrings or a necklace or a bracelet! I could make Waddles a collar!"
"Will you please tell me what you're talking about?"
"Look at it!" she extended it out towards me.
There in her hand rested a shimmering dark blue stone, accented with various shades of pink and green in different angles of the light, and very roughly cut. It had to have been natural -- or so I thought it must have been. I reached into the side pocket of my jacket and retrieved Number 3, then rummaged for the blacklight I carried with it. The rest of the pocket was empty, so I began flipping through pages in search of what this rock may be. My thumb stopped on one particular page, drawings of crystals and stones all over, explanations scribbled around them in messy handwriting.
This is translated to "Stone of Desire". It comes in many forms: crystals, crystal clusters, and gemstones. When activated, every desire of the holder will become reality. To activate, hold in the palm of the hand and recite the words "Regni per potentiam somnium, adde quod appetit animus penitus". However, the stone has the ability to...
The ink of the rest of the entry was smeared with water and oil and was illegible. I slammed it closed and returned it to the protection of my jacket, fear shrouding me. With one swift movement I knocked it out of her hand, catching it with my own and holding it to my chest instead.
"What the hey, broseph!" she cried out. "First, to lie to me about not bringing that stupid book, then you steal my glittery rock!"
"This isn't just a rock... It's something called Lapidem Desiderii, and I'm pretty sure it's dangerous."
"I'm pretty sure believing in whatever that thing says is dangerous, and you've proved that on countless occasions," she shouted, getting all flustered as her eyes filled with heartbroken tears.
"I brought it in case something like this would happen. I'm sorry..." I looked down at the dirt below us, unable to confidently apologize to her.
"Set it down," she told me. "Set it down and we'll walk away from it and pretend we never saw anything."
She turned from me and started back for the shack on the trail that brought us here. I stared down at the stone in my palm, reciting those words over and over in my mind. The compelling urge to speak them aloud was nearly overwhelming, but I swallowed down the incantation as it formed in the back of my throat. I slipped it into my pocket, nestles next to my journal, then went bounding after her. I would research it later when I was in absolute solitude.
I listened carefully to the noises of my sister as she climbed into her bed: the rustling of the blankets, the fluffing of her pillow, and finally, silence. I faced the wall away from her and stayed as still as possible, my eyes closed and my breathing coming steadily, so that she would think I was asleep. I had eaten my dinner up here alone to avoid the two Stans, and partly her. I ate quickly so I would be settled in my bed by the time Mabel walked up and got ready to sleep. After waiting a minute to make sure she was finished searching for a comfortable place, I slowly sat up in a cross-legged position and reached under my bed for Number 3 and Lapidem Desiderii, setting them in front of me. Every so often I would check on the status of Mabel. I opened the journal to the page with the stone drawn onto it and reread the entire thing. With a deep breath, I began whispering.
"Alright, you weird rock. Let's see what you can do."
I lifted the stone and held it firmly in my palm, my knuckles white and my fingers trembling.
"Regni per potentiam somnium, adde quod appetit animus penitus."
A warmth traveled up my arm onto my shoulder, filling my head with a burning sensation of pins and needles. My heart pounded against my chest and I could feel my pulse throughout my entire body. The stone in my grip emitted such a bright white light that I had to squint my eyes, the whole room illuminated through the spaces between my fingers. A sharp pain pricked at my palm as if a tiny chisel was carving into my skin. I bit my tongue to keep from screaming, dropping it onto the bed, and examined my hand. In glowing blue letters, etched into my flesh, was "Your Wish Is My Command, Child." They seeped deeper into my skin until they disappeared entirely, just as fast as they had been written. The room grew dim and again, the stone was simply a glittery piece of earth. Nothing around me -- physically, at least -- had changed.
I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and opened my mouth wide in a yawn. Orange sunlight seeped in from the window, all of nature still sleepy outdoors. I blinked a few times before slowly sitting upright and turning to look at Mabel, only to be greeted by an empty, messy bed and sleeping Waddles. The clock read exactly 8 o'clock, much earlier than she was known to wake and be downstairs. I swung my legs over the edge of my bed and stretched as I stood up. Lazily I pulled on a clean outfit, brushed my hair with my fingers, and headed out of the door. My footsteps were heavy on the creaking steps as I made my way into the living room. The Stan twins sat on the couch sipping Pitt soda and intently watching the television, every so often commenting on the horrible plot of the movie airing. Mabel was stretched out on her stomach on the floor, looking through a magazine, her face red with excitement.
"Morning, kid," Gruncle Stan beamed over at me and raised his can as a wave 'hello'.
"Hey..." I answered groggily; I still wasn't quite in the mood to socialize with him.
Stanford shot me a look before he rose from the couch and walked out. I took his seat and opened my mouth to ask Mabel why she was awake so early, but something stopped me. A small pain overcame my head and lights began flashing before my eyes. I saw her there, lying in bed, tossing and turning under the blanket. When she opened her eyes, she was no longer in our room. She was holding onto the lever that operated the awful multi-dimensional machine locked away downstairs, tears streaming from her eyes. They weren't sad tears, though... They were angry more than anything, and her knuckles were white from effort. Gruncle Ford was screaming out, attempting to grip the floor as the machine pulled him back relentlessly.
"I could help you!" he yelled to her in desperation. "Push the button, and I promise I'll help both of you!"
"You were the center of Dipper's summer," she growled at him. "He idolized you, and you repay him with disappointment?! You hurt him, you hurt me, and Gruncle Stan! You belong in whatever terrifying universe you came from, you dumb-dumb head!"
With that, the force of the machine yanked him into its grip, and he was lost again in the blue light. Mabel pushed the lever into its original position. The whole room whirred as its power shut down, then became deathly silent, until heavy footsteps approached moments later. Gruncle Stan slammed open the door in panic, glaring at her. He raced towards her with a fist raised, gritting his teeth. She froze in fear, her mouth agape as if to scream, but no noise would come.
"Where is Ford?!" he bellowed. "Why would you do this to me?! I spent decades trying to bring him back!"
"You know h-he's bad, Gruncle Stan..." was all she could manage to say.
He took in a sharp breath and came to a slow stop, staring longingly at the repaired portal. He dropped down onto his knees and exhaled quietly. Painful tears filled his eyes, and without another word, he hung his head. I could tell he was ashamed. He was heartbroken, regretful, and embarrassed all in one. I almost wanted to reach into whatever I was seeing and rewind it, stopping it from ever happening, even if it was only made in my mind, and even if Mabel was partially correct.
"Are you okay, bro?" her voice snapped me out of it.
"Yeah, fine," I mumbled, pinching the bridge of my nose.
"You were just kind of staring off into space there. You looked terrified of something."
"I'm fine, Mabel!" I jumped up off the couch and stomped towards the kitchen.
Honestly, I wasn't in the mood to socialize with her either, though I wasn't sure exactly why. I felt resentful towards her, like she had betrayed me in the most severe of ways. It hurt knowing she trusted Gruncle Stan over me, but that was days ago, and I had gotten over that almost immediately. I reached into the cabinet to grab a box of cereal, but as I thought about eating, my stomach turned and I became nauseated. That same pricking pain travelled across my skull and the images came flooding back into my vision. They weren't the same, though. This time, there was something much more... Devastating about them.
I was viewing the world through my own perspective, but I had no control over my movements. I watched myself open the front door of the shack. Sheriff Blubs was standing on the porch, papers in hand. Deputy Durland was at his side as usual, but his face was slightly turned away. Everything was tense. Gruncle Stan walked up behind me with a sour look on his face, in a ready-to-run-away-any-second stance.
"What's going on?" he snapped. "Is there a warrant for my arrest or something? I'm innocent, I swear!"
"We're not here to arrest you or interrogate you, Mr. Pines," Blubs said heavily. "We have some news about your niece."
No, this needed to stop... It needed to stop right now.
"What about her?" I chimed in quickly.
The two officers exchanged grave looks of worry.
"We found her in the woods. We've already contacted paramedics, but we don't believe they'll be able to do anything about it," Durland stated.
I screamed and dropped the box on the counter, cereal spilling all over onto the floor. My heart was beating uncomfortably against my ribcage, my breaths hardly allowing any air into my lungs. I was hyperventilating and panicking, getting lightheaded, on the verge of passing out. I had no clue what was happening to me or why I was seeing these things. My body became completely tense when I realized the answer to these odd happenings; it had to be the rock. My desire was for this summer to be reversed and return to normal, not... Whatever this is. Mabel came sprinting into the room, pulling me from my thoughts.
"Dipper, what the heck?!" she ran to me and wrapped her arms tightly around me in a hug. "What is your problem today? What's going on?"
"Mabel, just..." I gingerly pushed her arms away from me and gazed at my feet.
"I'm sorry for being worried about my little brother. I thought you were having a heart attack or something!" she was fuming.
"I told you, I'm fine... Just go."
She spun on her heels and stormed out of the room, her fists clenched at her sides. I wasn't angry with her, I just felt like I needed to be alone for a minute. I had to go upstairs, find my blacklight, and read more into this lapidem desiderii, the way I should have done before I decided to activate it. Something had gone terribly wrong, and I absolutely had to fix it, if fixing it was possible. Without hesitation, I raced through the living room and back up the stairs to our room. I locked the door and went to my bedside, dropped onto my knees, and reached underneath. My black light was further back than usual, but the effort was worth knowing what that stone had done to me. I grabbed Journal 3 and climbed up onto the mattress, flipping through the pages until the sketch appeared. With the black light turned on, all sorts of glowing lettering revealed itself.
The stone has the ability to unleash unfathomable chaos. I can only explain it as an evil, sadistic portal from Hell to our realm. It will find the holder's deepest wants and twist them to its own benefit. Do not activate its dark magic, or suffer dire consequences.
I've come to believe that this stone will use any means necessary to harm living beings -- including disease and death. I fear it plays a much larger role in the mystery of this town. So much so that I've hidden every sample I've found. I warn again, do not activate its dark magic.
I had been going to sleep early for the past few days. Ever since those visions started, I hadn't eaten or talked nearly as much as usual,and I had a constant migraine; they were taking an incredible toll on me. Of course, everyone noticed. Gruncle Stan, Mabel, Soos, Wendy,and even Waddles had been trying their hardest to get me to open up. Gruncle Stan claimed it was just the side effect of a grudge and it would pass soon, and Wendy told my family that it was part of going through puberty. Mabel agreed with both of them, and added that I must have been disappointed about some unsolved mystery gone wrong.Even with their excuses, I knew they were all worried. They went as far as to plan an intricate scavenger hunt of puzzles and mysteries around Gravity Falls, to keep my mind off of whatever was bugging me, but I turned it down. What else could I have done? Light, sound, the slightest of movements all made my stomach upset, and just the thought of walking through town solving puzzles made my head spin. The only thing I could focus on was how much of a screw-up I was for meddling with things I didn't understand.
The sun was barely setting by the time I was lying down. It only took me moments to start to doze off, and soon I was fast asleep, lulled by the sounds of birds outside and quiet conversation downstairs. Then, as usual, my eyes opened right back up. Insomnia was nothing new for me. The visions had been going on for nearly a week, and the same sleep cycle happened night after night. I would lie down, exhausted, pass out quickly, end up waking just minutes afterwards, and repeat. With a sigh and a yawn I slunk up into a slouched sitting position and proceeded to get out of bed. Most of the time, if I walked around the room for a while, I would tire my body out enough that I would stay asleep for the rest of the night. I trudged my way over to the window to check exactly how long I'd been out before the insomnia set in.
"At least it's nighttime..." I murmured to myself, and brought my gaze up towards the moon.
"Yeah, at least it's nighttime!"
The full moon turned itself to face me, revealing a wide, glowing eye. Oh no, not now... I was never awake, was I? This was a dream... No, a nightmare, and on top of the crippling headaches and empty stomach, I had to deal with him. I watched in agony as a flash of yellow brought together his familiar form and floated towards me, phasing easily through the window of the little attic room.
"Now I get to see you!" he exclaimed happily.
"Bill..."I grumbled. "What do you want? I'm not really in the mood to be doing this right now."
"Come on, Pine Tree, don't be a wet blanket! That's no way to greet an old pal!"
He tipped his hat and extended his hand out towards me. I only stared at it, then turned myself around and headed straight back for my bed.That's all I wanted: my cozy, comfy, inviting bed and a good night's rest. I should have known Bill wouldn't give up that easy, though. He reformed in front of me, stopping me dead in my tracks, and nearly causing me to stagger and fall.
"Listen,kid," he started off seriously, placing his hat back onto the point of his head. "I didn't come by to give you a little friendly visit. I want to make a deal."
"What are you, crazy?!" I glared at him. "Do you honestly think I'm stupid enough to-?!"
His entire body had turned red, and it felt as if his eye was burning through my skin straight into my soul. Tiny sparks of orange flames grew at his fingertips, his hands balled into tense fists. My heart skipped a few beats and I stepped away from him, watching him closely. Whatever he wanted, he was definitely not playing around, and I had a hunch that If I didn't give it to him, I wouldn't be waking up in the morning. I swallowed the lump of fear that had formed in the base of my throat and gained the nerve to speak back up.
"What deal?" my voice came out much quieter and shakier than I intended.
"I know how much you're hurting, Pine Tree, and I know how to make it all stop," the red faded back into his somehow friendlier trademark shade of yellow. "You can go out and solve mysteries, hang out with Shooting Star, flirt with the red-headed cashier, just like before, yadda yadda."
"And in return, I do what for you?" there was always a catch.
"All I need is that stone, kid."
The last thing I would do is give Bill that rock, especially after what I read in the journal. He would have unlimited power with a thing like that. But if I refused to make the deal, what would he do? He could easily scavenge my mind for the memory of where I've been keeping the Lapidem Desiderii and take it for himself either way, and not only would I be left with its effects, but Bill would have its power in the palm of his hands. Already I put everyone in danger by activating it, but maybe, if I kept it, I could find a way to reverse the curse I unleashed on myself. Alone in my own mind, however, there would be no escape from Bill and his wrath. No matter what I chose, I would lose. Reluctantly I reached my own hand towards his. This was the only thing I could do.
"Fine,"I sighed. "Deal."
And so it was sealed in a flume of cerulean fire and a triumphant laugh.
"Good move, kid!"
There was instant relief when our hands parted ways, so much so that for a moment, I thought I might fall over or melt into a puddle. As soon as I recovered I was already fishing under my pillow and giving away the stone to that dream demon. Without another word, or even a sound, he disappeared, and once again I was left in the tranquility of the bedroom. Every bit of my confidence in my decision was spilling over into my hope. There was still that one miniscule chance that despite the new ability Bill possessed from the stone, we could defeat him. Now that I was cured and could get legitimate rest, Mabel and I would have no problem going against him. I mean, we did before, right?