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Date: March 14th, 2020.

Time of Writing: 8:13 PM.

Weather: Mild, unrainy.

Mental and Physical Wellbeing: Developed a little bit of a cough. Throat feels a bit tight. Lips dry as before. Otherwise doing fine.

Day Overview: I couldn't really finish yesterday without getting interrupted, could I? It was Friday the 13th, after all. My friend Lily, who'd been having problems throughout the day with her parents, texted me and told me that she was on her way in a car driven by Edward, with lucas also present. You might remember these lovely characters from January, when I was home for winter break. I tried to tell them to not stop by, because I was playing a video game and just sitting around, but by the time I sent that message they were already outside. Ari, my brother, went to talk with them for a bit while I used the bathroom. By 11:14 at night, I was in the backseat of the car going down the road. It was the first time I'd seen the city since January. Even though Cambridge doesn't have much of a nightlife, it was absolutely deserted on the street compared to how it was this time last year. We drove around for a bit and just kind of talked and joked with one another as usual, like no time had passed at all since we last saw each other. Well, in Lily's case I saw her just a couple days ago, but for the others it had been a couple months. I like that in this friend group. We're in constant enough contact online that we can pick up right where we left off when we see each other in person.

After stopping by a 7-11 (and buying Crispy MandMs for the first time in months, because I deserve a treat), we went to Lucas' house and lounged around for a while, telling each other about the time we'd spent apart. I did a dramatic reading of several somewhat egregiously pathetic quotes from one of Edward's acquaintances, in my Kermit the Frog voice. Lucas got some of the extra ice his freezer makes and we brought it outside and smashed it on the ground. We played Beat Saber for a bit - after we disinfected the headset, of course. In total, by the time I got dropped off back at my house, it was 1:40 in the morning or so. My brother was still awake, which didn't really surprise me.

This morning I sat inside. Basically that was all I did for most of the day. Not much else to do. Ari left around noon to go spend time with some friends of his, and I didn't have anything to do so I listened to some music and then took a shower. My parents came back from doing some shopping to drop things off, and I wound up tagging along with them to get lunch at Burger King. I followed my mom into the Trader Joe's to see the carnage. It was empty, but not nearly as much as I thought. We stockpiled on essentials, such as cookies and ice cream, but also actual food, for sure, I assure you. The toilet paper area was empty, but the soap section was incredibly well stocked. Mom exchanged a head of broccoli for another, better looking head of broccoli and we went on our way. I helped bring stuff in, and they set off to do a little more shopping, coming back with way more things than they intended to have. I'm just sitting here on the computer, idling.

On My Mind: I had a somewhat recurring dream last night. I'm going to copy over what I wrote in my notes app this morning explaining the dream into this bit. I'm unsure what I want to do with this concept. I like it a lot. Might make a book out of it. Anything to keep me busy in these times.

I had another Utgard dream.

It’s a Dream in which there’s this house that, for a certain time of day, is incredibly normal. Just an old mansion with a few stories. At this point in time, children can enter freely without fear. It's a pretty cozy place.

Then sundown hits.

At this point, all children should leave. The house undergoes a transformation, rapidly growing outside itself in both interior and exterior measure. It becomes a warped labyrinth full of dangers - and treasures. The first floor is by far the safest, containing a large zone of safe rooms similar to those in a normal house. There's a table with many books, detailing ways to get impossible treasure, each book themed after an animal. There are dining rooms and kitchens. There are also side hallways, crawling with monsters.

The upper floors are incredibly dangerous. Many powerful beings live up here, including wrathful spirits and evil Minotaurs. Incredible skill and poise are required to traverse these floors, but great power awaits those who can survive. At the sixth floor rests the patron of the house, the most powerful being of all. Upon his defeat the house will crumble for the last time.

The house remains in this state until sundown, but that period of time between sunset and night is elongated inside Utgard, expanded from minutes to several hours. In the summer months, exploration of Utgard is almost a tourist attraction, with many adventuring families taking up the role of guides. However, those who have not slain a spirit of the house cannot leave with any of its treasures.

During this time the house is accessible not by its front entrance, but by a fire escape that runs along its side. A light blue grid encircles the structure during this time and slowly turns red as night draws near. Nobody has survived the night in Utgard. No children have survived either; the house takes the lives of anyone under thirteen.

Legend tells of basement levels extending deep beneath the earth, but they have yet to be found. Only the six above ground levels have been remotely traversed, and mapping is impossible - apart from several safe rooms, the house entirely reshuffles itself every night, one of the many reasons survival is impossible then.

There are gold coins and gems throughout the house that can be brought to a special safe room to be traded for... something. I've never gotten that far whenever I've visited. It sounds on some level like it would be an incredibly fun dream but it's actually incredibly difficult to navigate and very hard to survive. I've never slain a monster inside Utgard. Ever. I've only dreamed of it a few times, and every time I do I see familiar faces in the first floor common rooms. They're less "hardened adventurer wearing battle armor" and more "tomb raider" because you need to be able to run the heck away.

The name Utgard, the outer gardens and land of the giants in Norse mythology, has incredibly little to do with the actual house itself, which is pretty much a pristine mansion until it changes shape. I think my brain picked it because it sounded cool, there's no other reason. Castle Utgard? Sounds sick as hell, man, sign me up.

Works Consumed: Works In Progress:

Works Produced: Apart from the potential concept for my next creative project, nothing.

Other Thoughts: Thank you for reading my blog. As you can see, I have changed the title of the Mood section to Mental and Physical Wellbeing. This is because, given the global pandemic and this document's potential as a historical record, I figure I might as well turn it into a full on plague journal. Shit, if people are going to be reading this in the future, I should make it look better.