This was originally written in French by OVAL, who owns the copyright on the original text. This document is my translation of the diary from French to English.
I have a big red book. As red as blood. But also as red as life. I have never opened it since it was given to me. And I don't know if I will open it one day. It's so thick and so imposing. I've no idea what it might contain and even less whether it would rot on coming out.
I received it from my grandfather who himself had received it from his grandfather who himself... Also, as far as can be remembered, this book has always belonged to my family. And no one's ever opened it, neither to read it nor to write there. Yet since its appearance, it never ceases to get thicker. What could be in this book for it to get thicker by itself? And above all, why is it that our family has inherited this one? I'll probably never know the true answers to these questions.
I've pretty much searched everywhere, but no one could ever give me any information about the content of my book. No one, until today: a man telephoned me this morning to tell me that he knows what the red book contains. I'm waiting for him at the moment.
Detective-Professor Nathan Adler has just left my apartment. He believes that my book could provide him with an important tool for his investigation. In fact, a few years ago he found a volume mentioning my book. After a lot of research, he succeeded in rediscovering the trail of the book, so he called me.
The professor is currently investigating the murder of 14-year-old Baby Grace Blue, murdered in front of the Oxford Town museum of modern arts on the 31st of December last year. He has three suspects at present, but has no evidence to incriminate any one of them. So he needs to go back in time, to the scene of the murder, to see for himself who killed the young girl.
He actually believes that my book contains the history of mankind, second by second, including everything that happened in each second. This will be why it keeps getting so much thicker. So he asked me if he could enter it to go and see who was the artist-murderer culpable of this atrocity.
I accepted. For better or for worse. So he will return tomorrow to open the book and enter it.
For the first time...
And maybe the last...
Professor Adler has entered my book, it's been an hour and he still hasn't returned. I don't know if he has found what he seeks. I'm going to leave the book open so that he can come back out.
My information was accurate: the book well and truly contains the history of mankind in its entirety. And one can easily wander around there. It's a machine for travelling in time. (But only in the past...) And to think that it has always existed! And only I, Detective-Professor Nathan Adler, know it. I now have a definite advantage over all the other investigators.
In a few hours, I will at last be able to conclude my first investigation in a new way, thanks to the red book. I will know which of Ramona A. Stone, Leon Blank and Algeria Touchshriek killed Baby Grace.
I was sure that it was Leon Blank who killed Baby Grace Blue. But he didn't kill her on his own. Another person directed it: she who I believe to be the mother of the victim, Ramona A. Stone.
Good, now I must get out of here. If I remember rightly, it suffices to jump out of the book.
The professor has still not come back out: either he's had a slight hitch, or his investigation is very long. Even though I leave the book open; he could return any time now. I only hope that no one is worrying about his disappearance. In this case, I would much prefer that no one had known that he came here before disappearing. I could always be accused of having killed him or I don't know what...
My God, what am I doing here? I'm no longer capable of leaving! Yet my information clearly says that there's nothing for it but to jump out of the book... What am I going to do? Stuck in a world that is not my own... I'm going to try to dig my way out of the book. Maybe I will succeed in arriving at my present...
Or maybe not...
The outcome I feared happened today: the police came to visit me. As Nathan Adler had been seen for the last time entering my house, they have good reasons to believe that I have killed or kidnapped him. I told them they wouldn't find anything in my apartment, but they have decided to return tomorrow with a search warrant. Today, they have done nothing except ask me some questions. But they could well decide to imprison me.
Nothing to do! There's no way to leave... The more I dig, the more I'm getting all mixed up. On one page I am before Jesus Christ and on the other page I find myself in the 19th century. I'm going to try to stay here and think of a solution. At worst, I will start a new life here. However, there is a problem: the people of the times that I visit don't see me and I can't touch anything in these times. I'm like a ghost. So I can't eat. I hope to find a solution before dying of hunger...
The police officers returned with a search warrant. They have discovered the professor's coat and hat. I had completely forgotten that he had left his clothes here before entering the book. So they now have a semblance of evidence and so could arrest me at any time. They have left a police officer to watch me here before my appearance in court. I must find a solution to get me out of this jam. And Nathan Adler, who has still not come out of this book of misfortune. I was right: red is the colour of blood and of death.
Fate continues to hound me: the police officer appointed for my supervision wanted to have a glance at this strange and immense book, open in my library. And he has entered it...
What am I going to do to explain his disappearance? Prison awaits me for sure. So why did I open this book for a detective who I had never heard speak before and who keeps himself busy with an investigation which doesn't concern me at all? It should have stayed closed, as it had always been for a long time. I'm finished...
[...] The arrest was made at the home of the suspect. The effects of our missing agent have been brought to the station. The suspect is being kept in prison, waiting for his appearance for avoiding the disappearance of the other persons. The suspect has been able to bring some clothes with him. A big red book which was open on the floor of the library in the suspect's apartment has been closed. [...]
Investigator Jean Galat
Written by OVAL (19th February 1998) (In waiting for the real 2.Contamination...)
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Translated by Andrew Broad (16th October 1999)