July 27, 2020

Part 1: The Dark World

THE DARK WORLD

 

Heavy breathing

Where am I? What’s happened?

Don’t you remember?

Who are you?

Who am I? I’m a friend. The best friend you have right now… the only friend you have right now.

What happened? Why can’t I see anything?

Hahaha, I know.

What do you mean you know, who are you? 

Relax, take a deep breath and relax.

I can’t… I don’t remember who I am, or where I am, or what’s happened and I can’t see anything….

Calm down, friend. I’ll tell you everything you need to know, okay?

Okay.

Let’s start with where you are. You’re standing in the office that belongs to one Arthur Lester.

Arthur Lester?

Yes, sound familiar?

Not really.

It should, because their your offices.

Mine?

That’s right, friend.

Why are we…

Don’t move just yet, friend.

Why?

Cause I want you to do something.

You want me to…

Do something yes.

O-okay.

Reach down by your feet.

What am I reaching for?

Something you dropped.

Alright… I feel… a book.

Yes. Pick It up.

What is it?

A book.

I know it’s a book I mean…

I know what you meant I’m just adding some levity to the situation, friend. Good. Now turn around and head towards your desk.

I can’t…

I’ll tell you when you’re warm.

Look, I don’t understand what’s going on.

It’ll be okay, just breathe deep and take a few steps backward.

Steps

Okay stop!
I…
Falls
I said stop, friend!
I tried. I just tripped over something… what is this… it feels…. like….

Now just calm down.

This feels like a body!

It is a body, Arthur. Your partner.

What? This is too much.

Arthur… Arthur. ARTHUR! Listen to me! I have your eyes now so you’re gonna shut the fuck up and listen to me. Stand up, walk to the desk and put the book down.

Moment.

That’s right. Good. Now that wasn’t so difficult now was it?

No. Okay, what now?

Open up the book, I need to read something.

Where do I…

Just open it and start flipping pages I’ll tell you when to stop.

Flipping.

Arthur… your whimpering is awfully distracting.

Flipping.

There stop. STOP!

 

Sepid, lorin, t’zgul…. Rrrrrr!

What? What did you learn?

Nothing I didn’t already know.

And what is that?

I don’t know why someone gave you this book Arthur but in opening it you’ve cursed yourself.

Cursed my…

Self and in a manner of speaking me as well. We’re bound.

Bound, how?

I’m trapped inside you. I can see through your eyes and… as far as I can tell… I control nothing else.

But I can hear you.

Yes, well, I guess sharing a body means that we share a mind.

Who…wh- what are you?

What am I? hahaha. Let’s save that for now. The simpler question for now is who are you?

You told ME who I am…

I mean who are you to have received this book. As for who you are, I know that because it’s written on the door to your office; Arthur Lester and Peter Yang Private Investigative Services. It’s on the open door.
And my partner….

Is Peter Yang I assume since I can’t imagine why he’d call out his own name before dying. 

He… he called out my name?

Yes… you dropped the book and turned to him. He called out your name and then…

And then what?

And then he died.

How?

Arthur. Question and answer period is over for the time being, did you not hear me? The door to your office is open.

And?

And your partner is laying dead in the middle of the floor. You need to move before someone passing by in the hallway looks in.

Okay.

Watch it there’s a p….

Piano chord.

Oof.

Door shut.

Better.

I am having a tough time with all of this right now. I really need to just breathe. I don’t know who I am. I don’t know where I am. I don’t recognize this.. I- I- hello? Are you there?

Of course.

Why?

Arthur it seems to me that you need to take a moment and compose yourself.

I’m trying.

Looks like someone plays the piano, maybe it’s you.

What? You want me to.?

Stop asking what and just listen to what I’m saying. Sit down at that piano you bumped into and play something.

But Peter…

Isn’t going anywhere, hahaha, the door is shut. I shouldn’t have alarmed you so. You’re a tender soul, friend and I shouldn’t have put such a fire beneath you. Let’s just relax. Now head over to that piano for me.

There. Just put your fingers on the keys. Play something that comes to mind, anything. We’ll know pretty quickly if it was you or Peter who played.

Piano Score

Well. Now look at that. Don’t you feel a whole lot better too?

A little bit, yes. I.. also remember things. I remember opening that book. I remember hearing a voice, then turning to Peter and then…

You remember killing him.

It was an accident.

Of course it was. I was there. I saw the whole thing, but that doesn’t change the fact that you killed Peter. If somebody finds out that it was you. You and me will be going away for a long time. So what do we have to do first, Arthur?

We need to get rid of the body and I think I might know –

Door knock

Arthur, it’s okay. Relax. We’re in this together. Tell me. Do you remember anything else?

I remember Peter was my best friend and –

About who might be here.

Right. No.. Maybe… Yes. There was an appointment. A widower. Mrs… umm.

I see a closet in the corner. Do you think it’s empty?

Yes it is.

You’re going have to move Peter in there.

Is there any blood?

No. Call out. Just tell her you’ll be a minute.

Sorry! I’m just in the middle of something. I’ll be just a few seconds, I apologize.

I said a minute.

I mean a minute! Sorry!

Drag the body to the right of you, no other right. Now straight back. Good. The closet is already ajar just kick it a little bit. There. Now stand the body upright. Good.

Okay.

Follow the left wall with your hand. The door is right there. Wait!

What?

Do you have a gun?

Of course.

If she starts asking too many questions or goes to that closet I’ll let you know. Then you use it.

I don’t know.

We’ll see. Open the door.

There is no one here.

Perhaps they got tired of waiting?

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe there was no appointment.

Wait, what is that?

What?

On the floor by your feet. Paper. Did the book come in a package?

Yes. I suppose it did. I remember I received it. I tore the paper off and let it fall.

Pick it up. Let me read it.

Junior Dewitt Ackerman Rare Books. Arkham, Massachusetts. Is that where we are?

Yes. Of course.

You alright there?

There is a man to your right, I didn’t see him come up. He’s wearing blue overalls and has dark spots all over his hands. He’s looking at us.

He’s the building maintenance. What do I say?

Did you hear me? I said are you alright there?

Get rid of him.

Thought I heard you and your partner having a spat. Thought I’d come and check it out. You guys yelling or something? What’s going on?

Was that him knocking?

Was that you knocking?

Yes. Sorry. You moving furniture in there?

What’s his name?

Eddie, no it’s okay. I just had a bit of a fall. I tripped over something. I had to pick it up and move it.

He’s suspicious of you.

Oh yeah. Fair enough. Sounded pretty heavy, whatever it was. Do you need some help?

Get rid of him. Now.

No no. Don’t. It’s all packed away now. I appreciate it so much Eddie. Actually I’m just on my way out.

Hold up, Mr. Lester. Look, I hate to do this to you but as building maintenance supervisor, I’m going to have to look inside.

What?

No nothing like that. A few complaints on the floor below you about leaky pipes. I’ve been meaning to do it for awhile. I’m in the area and catching you now so I figured I’d just pop in to your place.

Do not let him in there.

Of course. You’re just doing your job. Perhaps another time, though. It could be a little more convenient later for me.

No worries. Like I said. I can go in without you. I actually don’t need you there. I just need to get to the pipes.

Alright. Of course, let’s go.

What are you doing?

You know where they are. Just in the back there.

Of course. Thanks so much. I appreciate it.

He’s looking around the office. He is only a few feet from the closet where your partner’s body lies, what are you doing?

It’s Sunday after all. Isn’t it? I’m trying to remember.

Lord’s day of rest. That’s why I want to get this work done, frankly.

What are you talking about?

Building is mostly empty. I’m surprised you’re even here, frankly.

Oh you know me. I’m always here.

Wait. Does that mean you’re the only two in the building?

So it’s only us in the building I suppose.

Yep. Unless your partner is here somewhere.

Ahh. I can feel you reaching for your pistol.

Yes we get most of our work done on Sundays. It’s pretty quiet here.

I imagine your line of work needs a lot of quiet.

Oh, Arthur. I underestimated you. If you draw your pistol and aim it straight ahead. You can’t miss.

 

 

Arthur, put the gun away. You’re nervous and I appreciate that but this is a bad idea. I shouldn’t have prodded you. You can talk him out of here, be smart.

Eddie, look, I’m sorry.

For what?

I appreciate that you’re just trying to do your job but in our line of work, we have sensitive materials and files that you cannot be privy to. Even an idle glance could spell ruin to our case. Could put a target on your back even. 

He doesn’t seem to care.

With respect Mr. Lester, I’m used to having a target or sorts on me.

Arthur, he thinks you’re a push-over. You’re smarter than him. What does he value? What does he fear? His body is no temple, it looks like he’s gone 10 rounds in the ring, you can’t scare him with his life.

Even loved ones? There are many people I’m sure…

Live alone, Mr. Lester.

No! Wrong tree again. Arthur, look at him.

I can’t.

Well you’ve seen him haven’t you? Does he look like the type to take orders from you? A tight-laced suit wearing stiff? Challenge him. If you want to convince him, you’ll have to talk to him on his level.

I-

Harder.

I need-

Tougher.

There’s-

Goddammit, Arthur! Stop dancing around it and say what you need to say!

Alright, listen here Ed. I don’t give a fuck what you think you need to do in here. You have two options that I’m going to give you only once; you can get the fuck out of my office and come back when I am good and ready to let you or I can pull you out of this office by the greasy hair on the back of your neck and kick your fucking teeth in.

Now listen here you limy piece of shit. No one talks to me like that.  – You better hope and pray I don’t see you again.

Door shut.

Head to the bathroom Arthur. To you right, the other right. Look into the mirror, I want to look at your face. You can’t see this but you have the cold calculated demeanor of someone not to fuck with.

I am not a pushover, despite our rocky meeting – I don’t like being pushed around.

Noted. Let’s head back out to the office – we have work to do.

So.

So.

It looks like Parker is dealt with for the time being and we have a lead on where this book has come from.

But why did I kill Parker? 

I don’t know, friend.

Did you?

Trust me when I say that I am as lost as you in all of this. Would it make sense for me to be the catalyst for all of this? Of course. But doesn’t that seem all to convincing. Let us remember that it was you who drew the gun on poor Mr. Eddie. If bloodshed was all that I’m after then I’d be doing a bad job.

I remember reaching out a hand to him…

Look, this isn’t going to help anything.

How isn’t this going to help?

Because either you’re going to remember why you killed him, which is bad for us – or you won’t, which means there’s no sense wasting time on it.

Why is remembering why I killed him bad?

Give me a scenario where killing him was for good reason. 

Instead let’s focus on the problem at hand. This book is where I was bound until quite recently.

What is the name of the book?

It doesn’t have a name, at least not when I was bound to it. Just a sigil on the front.

Yes, I remember seeing the symbol on the front…

It was meant to be a prison of sorts.

So I have something that was imprisoned inside a book, now bound to me?

The book arrived on your doorstep. The stamp on the brown paper it was wrapped in was from JD Ackerman Rare Bookstore. Do you recognize it?

No. I don’t. More importantly I want to know WHO gave this book to me.

Why could it not be Ackerman themselves?

Why would a bookstore owner wrap a book they were then going to deliver themselves? Especially a dangerous one.

I suppose you’re not a terrible detective after all.

In truth I’m quite good, take away my sight and I obviously need to some to adjust but trust me; when my wits are about me, I cannot be matched.

Very well. I still think Ackerman’s is the place to head.

Yes except…

Except?

Except I want to head somewhere else first.

Excuse me?

The source of the book is, no doubt, important but who sent it – to me – is the much more pressing matter.

Because?

Because whatever they had intended it to do either has or has not succeeded.

Meaning?

Meaning if they have intended to have my spirit bound with you than what next? And why?

You think.

I think they had intended something different. Perhaps you to be released entirely, perhaps me to be killed the way Parker was… I don’t know and those questions are growing in numbers quickly.

Alright, well I can’t much argue since you seem to be in control of where we’re going. However, you don’t seem to even know where that is.

If I’ve made an enemy in any of my cases…

It’ll come to you while we head towards the bookstore, right?

Right.

So how do we go about finding this place?

Walking.

Arthur, I can just guide you there.

Here.

Book shuffling.

Ahh an index.

Phone book actually.

Stop there. 23 Main St.

That’s not too far from here. We can walk it.

Wait.

What?

There was something. Something very off in one of our last cases.

Which was?

There was a missing girl, we had tracked her to an address - a house, an old, abandoned place north of the city. We had only searched the first floor of the house before an anonymous tip found her body in a field, miles away. 

How so?

Parker and I always are legally obligated to alert police before entering any location where a possible victim could be in case things go south or a hostage situation arises. Parker felt uncomfortable in the house, as if we were being watched and so we called it in before proceeding.

That’s when they said they had already found her.

Body, yes.

And so why do you think that house holds a clue for us?

Because I remember seeing something on the wall of the basement door. Something that chilled me.

What was it?

A symbol, the same symbol on the front of the book that you were bound in.

 

 

I hate to admit it, but I suppose it does make more sense to handle things your way.

I’m happy to hear that, Arthur.

I’m going to need your help getting there though.

I assumed. This will be good practice at the very least.

Practice?

I’d hate to be in a situation where you need your eyesight and we’ve been unable to communicate effectively. Don’t want you missing any important shots…

Right, well, since we have an address, the easiest way would be to take a taxi there.

Well then, do you have everything you need?

I suppose so. I have my gun. I’ll bring the book. It’ll be difficult but we can make do if we’ve forgotten anything.

Alright, hopefully we can avoid that maintenance man on the way out.

Walking out.

Let me know if you see Ed.

No sign of him yet, you’re almost at the stairs.

So, what do you hope to find?

I think we’re both looking for answers.

Then maybe we should think on what the questions are.

For me? Why am I bound to you and how can I become unbound?

Grab the railing, I’ll let you know when you’ve reached the bottom step….

I suppose for me I want to know the same… that and what you are.

 

What I am, friend, is something you wouldn’t believe.

I never thought I’d believe any of this.

Fair but I think this is beyond your capabilities right now.

Try me.

Are you sure?

Yes. If I am to be toting, you as a passenger in my body then I deserve to know what you are and where you come from.

What I am isn’t as important right now as where I come from and if you are truly curious, I will do my best to explain.

Please do.

Alright. That book isn’t from this world, it isn’t even from this side of the divide it’s from a dark plane of existence.

What?

Your world, as you know it, is on a singular path.

A path? Like a road?

No, think of existence as a singular pathway. From the dawn of your earth to now, your existence, or the one that you belong to, as followed this path.

Like a timeline?

In a way yes, however time is not the factor that distinguishes this world.

What does?

Choices.

And these choices change our world?

Yes, it causes different versions of this same, core world to branches off, alternate pathways that diverge and cause massive changes to that version of this world. 

Alright…

Look, all of this to say only provide a backdrop to explain.

That you are from one of these worlds?

Originally, yes… but no.

No?

No, all of these worlds have one, singular, exit. Think of it as the collective junkyard of every version of your world that exists. An ultimate end from which there is no return.

And what enters that junkyard.

Everything that dies.

So you’re dead?

Yes. In my world I died.

And then?

I entered this dark world, along with every other creature that has ever existed. Each pulled from their own world.

It must be chaos.

Chao beyond understanding.

So how many of these other worlds exist?

To count would be pointless. There are worlds that have monsters of legends, worlds that exist billions of years from now, alternate paths that have allowed space travel and viruses that affect the entirely of your world…

So we don’t occupy the same time? Is it not 1934 in these worlds as well?

No, as I said thinking of time as linear would only confuse. These worlds are all acting simultaneously and yet they all exist in varied time. Some billions and billions of years into the future to when the world has been covered twice by dead civilizations. Some over 50 years from now with pathways that have led to world-wide epidemics. Some even have an ancient past where magic was prevalent…

Magic?

Yes, look, you wanted to know and I am explaining. I am from the Dark World. Within that world I was bound to a book and that book was somehow brought here, to you.

So, it’s possible to bring things from this dark world back? It is possible to return?

Yes and that is why we need to find out how I came back… stop.

What?

You’re reached the last step.

Yes.

Are you alright?

Yes I just need to wrap my mind around all this.

Continue straight ahead. Past the door. About fifteen steps from where we’re standing. Let’s head to the street and wave a taxi while you think. You’re about four steps from the doors. Well.

What?

Nothing. I just- The city is so alive.

Was the world you’re from like this one?

Slow down. You’re almost at the street.

Oh.

A taxi is seeing you. He’s pulling up.

Well?

A question for another time, Arthur. The handle is to your left.

What address am I bringing you to this morning?

Main St. Number 23

Drives off

The city. The life that exists on every street corner. It’s… so different than the Dark World I thought I would forever call home.

What is this Dark World? What does it look like?

It is a shadow of all the worlds that have existed. A dark mirror projecting in twisting forms. A horrible vision of what worlds we have come from. It is a prison, Arthur. Make no mistake. I have no intention of ever returning.

We’re here.

That’ll be $2.33

Exit taxi

JD Ackerman’s Rare Books. Looks like the light is on inside.

What do we want to ask him specifically?

Everything we can about that book.

Alright.

Enter bookstore

Cozy looking place.

Describe it to me.

It feels ancient and comfortable. There are massive stacks of books piled all around us, it feels almost claustrophobic. It looks like there’s a small wooden desk in the back with an oil lamp on it.

I hear a radio. Do you hear that?

Yes. I can’t see it … I…

What? What’s wrong?

That song.

I don’t recognize it.

Quiet! Just let me listen for a second.

Song plays

I… I don’t understand.

What don’t you understand? I don’t recognize it.

I do.

How is that possible? It doesn’t make any sense.

I know it doesn’t make any sense. We need answers.

Head to the desk in the back. There looks like there is a bell on the desk.

Bell rings

I hear movement in the back.

Yes. I ..

Are you alright?

Yes. I’m fine. Let’s get some answers.

 

 

Should I introduce myself as Arthur?

Hahaha, who knows.

But…

But nothing. Sometimes you’re going to have to be on your own apparently.

Bump

What was that?

I don’t know. Sounds like something fell over back there.

Bump

Hmmmm

What?

Nothing… just… the desk looks… messy.

Messy?

Yes.

Everything does seem rather close together. It does feel claustrophobic in here despite me not being able to see it. Odd that a bookstore owner wouldn’t be quicker to answer.

Odder still that they’d much such a noise. 

Loud bump

Come on… where are they?

Wait.

Bell ring

What?

I was going to say I’m not entirely convinced that the person making all that racket works here.

Loud bang

They must not have heard the bell the first time.

But…

But they heard it that time. Arthur maybe you should draw your firearm. Crouch low and hug your back against the counter. Good… I don’t hear any more movement.

What should we-?

Just wait. Listen.

I don’t hear anything.

Me neither, maybe they left through a back entrance when they heard us here.

What should we do?

Peek over the counter, very slowly, just enough so I can see the door leading to the back.

Alright.

It was to the right of the desk and we’re pretty well covered now.

Okay.

Wait!

Gunshot

Footsteps running. Falling. Ringing.

Get up and follow him, Arthur. Arthur! Get off your ass and follow him, right now! Get up!

Jesus Christ.

Arthur.

We are not following him. Despite my severe lack of ability to follow, if he shot and ran as opposed to shooting us dead. Chasing him will only end badly.

Sigh

Did you get a look at his face?

No, yes, only for a second. It was.

What?

It looked like he was wearing a mask of sorts.

What kind of mask?

It was, pale white. It had eyes but no mouth it was… something I… it seemed familiar.

You’ve seen one before?

I don’t know, I’ll have to think about it.

Breathe.

Alright. Well. I doubt that was the owner.

Arthur, relax. That was a close call, but it won’t be the last.

So, what were we doing here?

Looking for information about the book or who sent it to you. Don’t tell me that gunshot rattled your nerves so much that you’ve forgotten.

Alright.

Looks like this place is finally empty. Why don’t we take a look around? Get up. Let’s move around the desk, let’s take a look behind it first.

I don’t know what… do you want me to just move things around?

No just stand for a moment and look down.

Where do you suppose the owner is?

Possibly his body is in the back.

Should we call the police?

No. Not with your partner’s body still in your closet.

See anything?

Nothing that means anything to me. Let’s head to the back, there’s an open archway to the left of the desk that looks like it to leads to the back. Well…

What?

That person was definitely looking for something. This place is a mess.

This isn’t a coincidence, is it?

It could be. How often to rare bookstores get robbed around here?

I would say pretty close to never.

Then I think it’s safe to assume that there must be some connection.

What are the chances they found whatever they were looking for?

I’d guess unlikely since they were still looking when we arrived however… the mess is much bigger than the sounds they made so perhaps they were at the tail end and just making sure they had everything they needed.

What do you suppose they needed?

I don’t know Arthur and it’s not likely I’ll notice if you keep asking me questions.

I have to assume there are no bodies back here based on your reaction.

None that I can see though the mess is substantial.

Shall I move around?

Yes.

Bump

Wait. Stop.

What?

Bend down for a moment. ‘De Tribus Militibus’.

What does that mean?

I’m not sure, but it seems familiar.

You don’t seem to remember much.

It’s difficult when you’ve lived as long as I.

You’ve been dodgy about answering any questions about who you are from the beginning… have you forgotten?

I told you time works differently for different worlds. The Dark World is without time entirely. I have lived lifetimes upon lifetimes over there. It was all I knew for as long as I could fathom and now…

Now you’re here.

Now I am here.

So you have forgotten who you are. Or who you were.

Yes.

Well…. For both of our sakes, I hope it comes back to you.

There’s a desk in the corner. It looks like a bookshelf has fallen over it. Head forward a little bit. No wait-

Bump

Yes. There. You feel it?

Yes.

Lift it up.

Good. Well done, Arthur. This looks like a writing desk. The owners maybe. There is a sea of papers on top of it. I…

What?

No… nothing. Just pens, papers, various objects, knickknacks but nothing else…. Damn.

Alright. Let’s think for a moment. Let’s step back even, okay. Why did we originally come here?

We wanted answers on the book, Arthur!

Exactly. Now let’s find some. Is there anything on this desk that would indicate a catalogue of sorts. Maybe a purchase of sale or a receipt book?

Yes, there’s a book to the left of where your hand is resting. It says receipts. 

Well there we go. Any book that came through here that was purchased, sold, shipped or whatever will be written down or categorized in some way. Let’s take a look.

Flip through papers

Does it say anything about the book? Maybe even an unknown book. Something with a sigil on it.

No.

Something to say who shipped it?

No. Nothing!

Alright look. Something isn’t adding up. Why would someone send me a book from here and it not have any record of it existing?

We should have followed that man!

Relax. You getting heated isn’t going to make evidence suddenly appear.

He could have taken something important with him, Arthur, but instead you decided to lie on your ass.

Listen. Maybe I was wrong.

In what way?

I said that it was not likely that someone sending us a book would stamp it if it were the owner but… maybe I was wrong. Maybe the owner did send it.

Why do you suddenly think that?

He’s nowhere to be found. There doesn’t seem to be any mention of it being shipped. Maybe if our friend who ransacked this place was looking for your book…

Wrapping it so it looks like any other package…

Would be the best way to hide it.

Maybe.

Maybe…. On his desk is there a rolodex?

A what?

A metal object that opens.

Yes.

Where?

The back right. There yes.

Oh, It’s already opened.

Yes.

Well, I’m going to rotate it. Tell me if you see my name, or my partner’s name, or our address.

What’s your address?

13 Mosby Ave. Are you ready?

Arthur. It’s already on your address.

What do you mean?

The rolodex. It’s been left on 13 Mosby Ave. But the name isn’t yours. It says Roland Cummings.

Cummings?

Yes.

That was the previous tenant.

What did he do?

The same I believe. He was a private investigator. We had to take over the lease rather quickly in fact he… sort of hurriedly needed to leave the city. I always thought it was a bit suspect, but in our line of work it’s not entirely…

Arthur. Do you know what this means?

Yes it means that the owner meant to send the book to Roland Cummings.

No. It means whoever tried to shoot us knows your name, where you live and most assuredly will find the body of your partner if we do not hurry. 

 

 

Look, we can’t go back there now. Regardless of what happened we need to keep moving forward, covering new ground.

Arthur…

You know I’m right.

I do.

So. We’ve found everything we can find here? 

I believe so.

Then let us head to the house.

Do you remember where it is?

Yes. It wasn’t that long ago, a week or so really. It was just our last case.

Then I suppose there isn’t much time to waste. It’s possible if we stay here too long we could run into another patron or the police… after all that gunshot wasn’t quiet.

Very true.

Let’s head back out to the street, move down the block a bit and hail a cab again.

Okay.

Walking

So tell me again how you came upon this house.

Yes, right, as I mentioned a week or so ago we got a job. A missing girl was reported to the police - with cases like this – ones where the parent is especially anxious or the girl is rather young– having all the help the police can get is always beneficial.

So they hired you?

Yes, well, Parker, er Peter and I have had special luck with missing persons cases.

Why did you call him Parker?

Old habit, Peter is his professional name he went by but growing up he went by his father’s name. Doesn’t matter much now I suppose….

Arthur focus.

Right. We had luck on missing persons cases. We took over a few cases from the previous tenant before us…

Roland Cummings right?

Hm? No. Well yes.

You said that Roland Cummings was the previous tenant, you said he hurriedly needed to leave the city…

Yes, technically the lease we took was Cummings, but leaving the city hurriedly was only something I heard second hand. In this game it’s often that PI’s closes down. It’s a dangerous line of work. Cummings was the name on the lease that we obtained but we rented the office from a investigator named… Stone I believe, Elijah.. no Strong. He retired early. 

And you took some cases?

Yes. He mentioned him and his partner were working on a few missing persons cases.

Did his partner also retire?

No, he passed away during a case, rather horrifically I gathered. In any case, there were a few unsolved ones he handed off to us and we had successfully dealt with them. So much so that we stuck with it. Missing persons cases that is.

The taxi is pulling up.

And so the MacFarland case…

Yes, it landed on our laps. We tended to go about them differently than the police. In any case, a vagrant noticed her bike outside the house and we had our lead.

Where did the lead take you?

58 Pelican lane.

Driving off

You mentioned that you went in, looked around, saw the symbol and then called it in. What made you want to call it in before moving any further?

It was Peter mainly, he felt like… like we were being watched. The symbol also… it seemed to chill him to his core.

Well….

It’s worth a look.

The driver is stopping.

Here is 2 in change. Keep it.

Exit cab

Thank you.

Well this is a quiet looking street.

Yes I remember it being particularly quiet as well. I’m sure you can guess why we searched the house.

Yes, it seems like it’s the only one on this street – what’s around here?

There are a few businesses 10 min down the road south of us and there are a few apartments up the road north, but for the most part this house is completely on its own. It’s quite odd really.

Why is that odd?

Because, it’s not often houses like this are built up here. They usually are closer to the city center, especially one as old as this.

Well. I suppose we shouldn’t delay then.

How did you manage to get in?

The porch on the front, wraps around. I’ll just….

Watch the porch.

Creak

Seems rather worn.

Guide me towards the back, will you. 

Sure… step to your right, there’s a fallen bannister, lift your leg. No higher. There. Big step forward. Good. Okay we’re around the back.

There should be a..

A window yes, the boards look removed.

That’s how we made our way in – it was off it’s nails when we got here too, part of the reason why we though she may be here.

If you put your hands out forward you should be able to feel for it.

So what happened to the girl?

Emily?

Yes.

As I said they found her in a field. It seems like… she was…um… she was dismembered.

Did they find out who did it?

No. In fact there has been a curfew in effect since, her murder was grisly to say the least. A friend at the station said that the way she was dismembered was bizarre.

How so?

I’m not sure, I didn’t press.

Why?

I don’t know. I didn’t think I could help.

Did you even try?

What?

Did you even try to help?

What has gotten into you?

Nothing. I don’t know. I just...

We’re in.

The symbol was by the basement door….

I see it. To your right.

It’s carved in. I can feel the indentations.

Sigh

You were bound to this book, you must have some idea as to what it means.

I don’t.

Then, let’s look downstairs.

Do you have a light?

I have my lighter, yes.

Walk downstairs

Well?

It’s a small, damp basement. The ceiling beams look well worn – burns as if from the plumes of wall scones dot the corners. There are a number of barrels in the corner, the walls look like they are cobble stone save a bookshelf on the far side.

That’s it?

That’s it. It’s small.

Smaller than the house?

By quite a margin.

Hmmmm.

Where are you heading?

I want to walk the wall, keep your eyes…

Wait.

What?

The bookshelf…it looks opened.

Opened. How?

Just move along the wall.

It’s another small room.

This room is much nicer. The walls are smooth plaster and painted. It’s dim but… there appears to be a mural...

And?

Aaand. It’s…

What?

It’s the symbol on the top of the stairs and the book. It’s painted above a… creature.

What creature?

Arthur, I don’t know if you want to…

Just tell me what you see.

Fine. It is an enormous mass, which extrudes black tentacles. Slime-dripping mouths, and short, writhing goat legs. It is immense and horrific. It is more than death itself. It is a forest of despair; filled with a thousand young and it is an all-consuming, all-devouring end for life.

All that is depicted in the mural?

No.

H-How do you know that?

I don’t know.

What is it’s name?

Shub Niggurath.

Breathing.

Arthur. I’m not this creature.

How do you know… You don’t even remember. We should leave this place.

Agreed. We have a name and we know what this symbol represents now. Maybe there is a library in town that we can research.

Y-yes. There is one in the Miskatonic university that should help us understand. Do you see anything else?

No. Let us leave…Wait… yes. I do. It’s barely noticeable but… there is a stone in the mural which looks like it can be turned.

What? Where?

Reach up.

Here?

There yes. Turn it.

Okay.

Stone grinds

It’s a stone passageway. It leads down.

Are we sure we want to head down there?

We need to know all that we can about this place and why it’s here. If there is an answer down there we need to find it.

Very well.

There is an opening up ahead.

It feels much wider down here.

It’s a cave. A large opening with no apparent exit.

What else do you see? Tell me everything.

There looks to be three cages on the ceiling high above, they’re chained to the cavern ceiling. There is a stone slab in the centre of the room, it looks like it might be sacrificial.

God…

There’s more… at the far end of the room it looks like there is a stone archway.

Where does it lead?

Nowhere. It just stands there as if an opening to something but there’s nothing. Just stone beyond it.

Could it be a -

Wait.

What?

There are also bones here.

Where?

Up, past the podium.

There’s a podium?

Yes before the archway there looks to be a podium and behind it there are… the remains of what looks to be two people.

This?

Yes. That’s the podium.

There’s nothing on it.

No, why?

We have a book, no?

You think this could be where it came from?

The bodies. How long have they been here?

Years but I can’t tell how many. There is still flesh on their bones. It looks like they struggled and killed each other. The stone beneath them is stained red with their blood. There looks…There looks to be a knife… wait…

What?

No, one may have killed the other, but the second looks to have deep cuts clean through his bones.

Wait. He was dismembered?

Yes…

Emily MacFarland was killed the same way.

Do you think she found this room?

She must have but…. why was she here and what was she looking for?

…And what did she let out?

You think she let this creature out? But no… no…it would have had to survive for years in here without anything.

Arthur, there are creatures that exist in both your world and mine that you cannot begin to fathom. If there is even the slightest chance that whatever killed this man also killed Emily then that means it’s been released and we need to find out…

A creature like this…

Has to be stopped. 

 

 

 

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Transcribed by Carley McConnell, a sincere and heartfelt thanks to her and her amazing dedication.