June 24, 2021

Part 12: The End

THE END

 

Static

I won’t believe that. We’ve come too far, John, we need to see this to its end.

Alright, Arthur.

Footsteps

[Sigh] Where is the door?

To your right.

Footsteps, door creaks open

There are a set of stone steps leading down to a small area. There isn’t much light down here.

Rustling, lighter flicking

That’s better.

Footsteps descending stairs

As I said, this is a small area that turns back in the direction of the lobby above and opens wider. There are a few shelves here with paint and other maintenance supplies. The hall widens and juts off in two directions.

Any idea which way makes more sense?

Neither seems to be better than the other.

Then… left, I suppose.

Sure.

Footsteps

The damage of time is heavy down here. The concrete walls that were once painted in soft grey now sport cracks that run deep. Large pieces of the paint have chipped off and litter the floor.

Footsteps

This hallway stretches on ahead, but there is a door to our left. It’s slightly ajar… here.

Door creaks open

This looks like a pantry, overflow for the kitchen above, a rather large room with shelves.

Anything look… edible?

Not really, most look long since expired. Jars are broken, a shelf is even knocked over.

Anything else in the room?

No.

Alright.

Footsteps

Wait.

What?

Do you hear that?

Footsteps pause

No?

I feel like there are whispers… as if… as if people are down here.

I don’t think so, John.

You really don’t hear that?

No… let’s keep moving.

Right…

Footsteps

This hallway moves towards the front of the hotel and the town. It runs quite thin. There’s another open door here to the right… er… a wine cellar… oh, and another set of stairs just beyond, presumably-

Leading up to the dining area?

Yes.

With all the… rat things.

Let’s tread softly here then, shall we?

Right.

Footsteps

This hallway ends in a room.

Is the door open?

No.

Well… this is why we came.

Footsteps, door creaks open

It’s very dark in here. Move in so your lighter can reflect some of the walls.

Footsteps

Jesus, Arthur, there’s someone here!

(Whispering) What?

A- we need to- wait…

John? Who is it?

[Laughter]

Tell me what you see! Why are you laughing? I don’t-

My apologies, Arthur. This is a bathroom. A bank of large, multi-stalled showers run to the right of us, and to the north… the wall is lined with large mirrors.

Mirrors?

Yes. We’re alone, the only person in here is our reflection.

[Sigh] Fuck, John. [Laughter] You nearly gave me a heart attack.

They’re quite nice mirrors, too; ornate, in a way. Tall enough for your whole body.

This must have been where the staff showered and cleaned up.

Yes.

Nothing else?

Not that I can see.

Well, let’s move back to the fork but go right this time.

Footsteps, door creaks open, shuts

You seem quiet…

I have a bad feeling, Arthur.

Me too, but… but this is why we’re here.

Stay left this time.

But we wanted-

You’re the other way now, Arthur.

Right, right.

Footsteps

There are rooms all along the side here, all their doors are open… maybe five rooms in all. They look like sleeping quarters.

The staff, maybe?

Perhaps.

Tough to gauge who this hotel catered to.

What do you mean?

It’s so out of the way. Not particularly extravagant and not a destination necessarily worth visiting, it just seems odd.

True. There’s another room here, the door is shut. To your right.

Footsteps, door creaks open

Ah, this is the laundry room. It’s large and runs off to the left, it looks like this is where we would have come out had the chute not been blocked.

Can you see the chute?

Yes, it’s blocked. Lots of laundry is piled here, presumably from many years. Garbage too.

Damn.

So far this basement doesn’t seem to be holding the answers you seek, Arthur.

Door closes

No. What the hell is the point in all this? That paper, it- it said that we were on our way here, but…

But what?

Well they knew it, they had it written that we were to come down this way. So why is it so vacant down here?

You thought they’d greet you here?

I don’t know what I thought, but I… I figured something was here.

The hall still continues on, maybe you’ll get your wish.

Maybe. Let’s head there.

Arthur…

What?

There is a light ahead.

[Gasp]

The door at the end of this hall is slightly ajar… light leaks out with a flicker, as if a candle is lit in the room… as if someone is waiting. Are you sure about this?

Lighter flicks

Yes.

Footsteps, door opens, closes

Well?

There's no one in here. The room is a small office; it’s walls are lined with bookshelves, most of which are empty or tossed with time. A candle sits upon the writing desk before us, however.

[Sigh] Well they wanted us to be here…

There is a phonograph on the desk.

A phonograph? What kind?

It says ‘Edison Standard Phonograph’.

Is there a cylinder on it? Er, a wax cylinder?

Yes…

Are there grooves on it?

Slight, but yes.

They want us to hear something.

Chair scrapes against floor, creaks

To your left.

Phonograph clicks on, crackles

Recording: This is Dr. Jeffrey Orrett, May 27th, 1927, recording from Arkham Psychiatric Hospital. Today I’ll be speaking once again with patient #45, Kellin Holeman.

Arthur: What?

John: What!?

Dr. Orrett: Kellin, I see you’re still wearing your mask.

Kellin: Yes.

Is there a reason you feel safer with it on?

I told you, I can’t breathe.

Alright. Can we continue what we were talking about last session? I told you I wanted to record it, and I’d like to pick up where we left off. Okay? Okay. Now you mentioned the ‘Dreamlands’. What are the Dreamlands?

It is… vast.

Can you explain?

It’s not here, it’s… somewhere else.

You mentioned it was an alternate dimension.

I said it wasn't this place.

You also said that things didn’t work the same, that you could only get to it by dreaming.

No, that you had to be asleep to enter.

But when you wake…

You don’t wake.

So if I were in the Dreamlands my body wouldn’t be here?

No.

So I am literally transported?

Yes.

And how did you enter the Dreamlands?

I don’t know.

Kellin.

I don’t know.

Okay, okay. You told me last week that it was a mirror image of our waking universe, the same planets, stars, right?

Right.

Can one willingly come back from the Dreamlands, as you did?

You have to be allowed to leave.

By who?

[Breathing heavily]

By who, Kellin?

Him.

Is this the King you were talking about? The… King in Yellow?

Yes. The King in Yellow.

What is he?

He is God.

Kellin, now surely you mean something else…

He is God.

He may be a god to you, but what does he offer?

Pain.

Pain?

He offers despair and madness, pain and suffering.

What kind of God would offer pain, Kellin? Kellin?

[Breathing heavily]

Kellin, it sounds more like this King is the Devil.

They are one and the same.

The same? God and the Devil?

Yes.

And he exists in the Dreamlands? Or here?

Both.

Both?

Here he walks amongst us, whispering to us.

He has whispered to you?

No.

How do you know all of this, Kellin? Where did you learn all of this?

Near a lake.

A lake?

In a town.

What town?

In a basement.

A basement of what, Kellin?

You don’t belong there.

How do you know?

You’re not meant to find him unless you are supposed to.

What does that mean? Where can I find answers, Kellin?

Only when you truly see yourself, framed in gold, will you find answers.

Phonograph clicks off

Arthur: What the fuck? Why the fuck was Kellin…

I don’t know, Arthur.

What does all of that mean? The Dreamlands, does that-

Feel familiar?

Yes.

It does.

The Dark World?

No. ... Well, what are we supposed to do now?

I don’t… he- he said something at the end, er… it sounded like… something like “When you see yourself framed in gold, you will find answers.”

What do you suppose that means?

I don’t know, I… it might be a riddle.

A riddle? For what?

Footsteps

Arthur?

To help people find their way to… this place. Whatever is beyond this hotel.

Then what is the answer?

I’m thinking.

Footsteps

“Only when you see yourself…” The mirrors in the bathroom, you said they were ornate?

Yes.

How ornate?

The frames, they were gold.

That’s it then. Kellin said that people… that he found this place.

Like we did.

Like we did. But that only those meant to be here found more.

And what is this “more”?

I don’t know, but whatever it is, that mirror is the answer.

Alright.

Footsteps, door opens, closes.

Lighter flicks

Suddenly I feel very alone.

What do you mean?

I don’t know. Something about hearing that, the sound filling the room, and- and then nothing. I suppose you’ve never experienced it.

No, but I'm interested in what you mean.

There's an odd sensation after a record, or if you’ve had the radio on for a while, the emptiness when you turn it off. Or like… after a party, when all the guests have gone home… you’re left to clean up the glasses and head to bed.

A party?

I- I just mean to say that… the room filled with noise, suddenly silent… it just feels all the more lonesome, and I suddenly feel it, is all.

Footsteps

Well… you’re not alone, for what it’s worth.

I… [laughter]

We’re at the mirror.

…Right.

It’s tall, as I said. It’s maybe six feet from the ground, though it’s almost an inch off of it.

You said originally that there were a few mirrors?

This one is the only one with gold, and it’s in the center.

Well…

Lighter flicks, mirror rattling, clunking

Well indeed, Arthur.

It feels… unlatched, slightly, from the wall, but… how do I… [Grunt]

Try pulling it out.

Arthur straining

No, it’s not… oh, oh….

Click

Ah… there was a small switch at the side, like a button. Now it should…

Mirror creaks open, Arthur straining

There.

Lighter flicking, footsteps

Arthur, before us lies a thin concrete tunnel. It stretches forward into absolute darkness.

Funny, before all of this I used to fear the dark. Not in any crippling way but- but now it’s… well, now it’s no different. Shall we?

You first.

[Chuckle]

Scraping

It’s quite tight in here.

Yes… and the concrete walls seem to stop… abruptly.

What do you mean?

The walls here are quickly turning to natural stone and… dirt.

We’re moving downward, aren’t we? As if on a slight incline.

Only slight. The walls still are carved, smooth cuts shape the walls with a very distinct feel, as if it were chipped away.

How so?

I'm not sure, but there are support beams here.

Like a mine?

Yes.

Was this city built on a mine? That seems odd but… it makes more sense-

There aren’t cart tracks here and the beams don’t have places for torches or lights. This is a single tunnel leading towards… an elevator.

What?

Nothing so nice as we’ve seen in Arkham, this is a rusted chain-fed elevator ending the tunnel.

There's no other way? This is-

This is where the tunnel leads.

How far up does it go?

No, Arthur… it only goes down.

Down? Farther into the mine?

This isn’t a mine. This is a tunnel that looks as though it existed long before this hotel was ever conceived.

So, what then? They built it to… to hide this? On top of… whatever lay down there? Another cult sanctuary like we found on the island?

This feels different. Very different. A widow built that home on the island to hide something not welcome in this world, this hotel attempted to hide in plain sight. A secret large enough to require everything that is built above us.

Then it’s a secret we need to see.

Footsteps, elevator creaking

How do I, er… is there a…

There’s a lever to your right. It looks to be counterweighted; the chain leads into the wall. I don’t know how fast it will descend; you may want to hold on.

To the keenest form of fascination.

Lever clicks, chains rattle

We’re moving quickly. The stone walls here are carved much like that above.

Carved like the island?

No, the stone here isn’t intricate. It’s seemingly done for function alone; it is not ornate. The floor of this lift is a metal grate; I can see below… past our feet and into the darkness. I think it may open up, shortly.

How?

It looks as though the walls on all sides of us will stop, as if we descend from the roof of some large underground cavern. We’ll continue down I hope, though I don’t see a bottom.

I'm glad I can’t see this.

Elevator rattling, squeaking

There, we’ve broken through the ceiling of this cavern and as I said, it’s massive. I feel like a single drop falling from the ceiling of some… Oh my God… Arthur…

What?

This… I-I can’t even begin…

Try.

This is a city.

Wha- what?

Arthur, there is a massive underground city here… miles beneath the surface. Colossal stalactites hang from the cavern ceiling like dripping saliva from some gigantic beast’s mouth. Buildings, roads, stone-laden paths all populate this cavern, which stretches out before us.

I… I-I don’t understand.

A dull, emanating green light pulses from the city center on the other side of what looks to be a black river.

A river?

Yes. Ar-Arthur we’re descending fast now, o-on the far side of the river. Faster than I… oh… hold on!

Crash, Arthur grunting, metal clanging

(Pained) Oh, fuck. Ugh. [Panting]

Footsteps crunching in gravel

There’s no going back now, Arthur.

Just… just start with where we are. Are we in this… city? Where did we…

The hole in the cavern roof is high above us, hundreds of feet. The elevator looks broken now. We’ve descended down onto a stone beach covered in pebbles, on the shore of a black river opposite the city. The wall of the cavern is to our back and extends surrounding the entire city… and across the river just past a massive pillar that connects to the ceiling is where all the buildings start. They’re odd in architecture, almost medieval but with rounded windows and smooth features… I can only see the ones on the waterfront across the river now. It’s very… still down here.

Okay, okay… okay. We need to calm down, I-

The green light from the city center, it… it fills the cavern in an odd, dreamlike hue.

How far across the river is this city?

A couple hundred feet at least.

Who lived down here? Did the cult-

This is what they’ve been hiding, Arthur. This is where it all leads.

All of it?

Everything led us here. We are home.

Home?

(Distorted) Home. We… have to find out…

John?

(Distorted) Answers.

Footsteps crunching

John.

Yes?

Are you alright?

Yes.

It’s so quiet down here. Is the river this way?

Yes.

Footsteps crunching

Stop. The water… it’s thick and unmoving, like oil.

Is it?

Footsteps crunching, water splashes

[Sniff] It feels thick alright.

Water splashes in the distance

[Gasp] Did you hear that?

Yes.

Do you see anything?

Something moved in the water.

Gravel crunches, Arthur stands

Do you see any movement on the other side? Is there anyone there?

No.

Do you see a way to get across?

Yes, there’s a small boat on the shore just down the way.

Well, it’s better than swimming.

Footsteps crunching

This city, Arthur… it has eyes.

I thought you said you didn’t see any movement.

I don’t. The eyes are unmoving. They follow us. (Distorted) They’re waiting for us.

John, don’t break on me now. I need you.

I won’t, I… the boat is just ahead, we need to figure out what happened here, Arthur. Why did they lead us here?

If this city is the source of this cult, of this King… there must be answers.

We’re at the boat.

Right, I guess let’s… push it in quietly, and then cross.

Wait.

Hm?

There's a lantern here, hanging from a metal rod.

So?

It’s stretched out over the water and it hangs low.

What’s up, John?

I think maybe we should light it.

Why? I don’t think we need to draw attention to ourselves. If there is something in the water, I think we should be as quiet and as dark as possible when we cross.

Or, perhaps the light is there for a reason.

I think you’re being a bit paranoid. I’m not going to light the lantern and draw more attention to ourselves than needed.

Arthur… I have a feeling.

We’ll be quick and quiet and across the river before your feeling has any time to grow.

Alright.

Where’s the back of the, um…

There.

Right.

Arthur straining, boat scraping, water splashing

Okay.

Wood thumping, Arthur enters the boat

Okay, where are the paddles?

No paddles.

None?

None that I can see.

Damn. Well… are we pointed towards the far shore?

Yes.

Okay. Er… I guess…

If you lean over the bow of the boat you should be able to reach the water. It’s still and quiet, and you may be able to paddle your way across with your hands.

Alright. It’s not too far?

Not too far, no.

Arthur shifting, paddling, boat moving

We’re moving. Slowly.

Right. Tell me if we see anything moving in the water. I’m sure that there are some fish and things but… down here I'm happy to be paranoid.

Of course. Well, the water, as I said, is black. As you draw your hands from the water and put them back in, I can see why. Flecks of something cling to your hands as if the lake is stagnant black water, formed of suspended particulates of whatever this substance is.

[Grunt] Yes, I can feel the grit of it. I don’t know what it is, but…

Unlikely we will find out. Let’s just keep pressing.

No movement?

None around us, though… the water… Arthur, stop for a moment.

Thumping

The water does move softly, as if…

As if what?

Arthur, I think something is down there, just below the surface. Move closer.

No, thank you, I’m quite alright here.

No, it’s small. Many small things, I can’t… I can’t quite make it out but they seem to be just along the surface.

Is there nothing else we can paddle with?

Not on the boat.

Damn… alright, I don’t want to go sticking my hand in without knowing.

I think they’ve been there all along. It’s so difficult to see without any light, but… more of them now… as if they’re swarming.

Swarming? Do fish swarm?

Schooling, I don’t know. I think… I think maybe they’re tadpoles.

Down here? Unlikely, I…

They seem… they look like two-tailed aquatic larvae. They seem to be swimming blindly in the water, without any sort of pattern between them.

Well, they seemingly didn’t bother us before so… here’s hoping.

Arthur shifting, paddling

They seem to be swarming around the boat. I wonder-

How far are we from the shore?

Which?

The far side, John.

Halfway, maybe. We’re going too slow to coast.

Well, maybe if I paddle harder I can get us gliding. I don’t want to have my hands in here for longer than necessary.

Water splashing

There are an awful lot of them now, Arthur… all moving around your hands.

If I can just get a little lower, then I should be able to… [Grunt] Ow, fuck!

Arthur!

Argh, one of them bit me! Oh… argh…

Arthur, it's still in you.

What?

It’s in your arm!

Jesus fucking Christ.

It’s… it’s worming its way inside of you, burrowing into your flesh. Arthur, grab it!

I’m trying, I’m trying! The tail, it… it’s ripping off.

The lamp!

What?

I think it was to drive them away from the boat, it’s so dark down here. The lantern is all the way at the front, just use your lighter!

Arthur grunting in pain, scrambling for the lighter

Arthur, move quickly! It’s almost inside of you.

Lighter flicking

Your hands are wetting the wick.

Fuck… fuck…fuck! Come on! Argh!

Arthur it is almost inside you, hold the flame to your skin otherwise it won’t be bright enough. Closer! It’s moving back, you need to press it against your skin to prevent it from moving further in.

Flesh hissing, Arthur screaming

There! It’s fallen from your arm, it’s on the floor of the boat.

Stomp

(Out of breath) What the fuck was that?

I don’t know. Something in the water, some… creature.

Am I… am I bleeding a lot?

Somewhat, you have a severe burn on your left arm though.

Oh, fuck. [Panting] Water creature?

I suppose.

You said larvae.

Yes, they look… under-developed.

Right, right. Well, what the fuck gave to them?

Water splashing

We need to get to the shore.

I’m not putting my hands back in the water.

We may not need to… you may have pushed us enough for the momentum to carry us. Sit up so I can see.

Scraping, Arthur shifting positions

Yes, the shore is closing in. It’ll still take… Arthur, lie back down.

What?

Thumping, Arthur shifting

Something is just below the water to our left. I saw its eyes.

Eyes?

They sat just out of the water; two large, bulbous sockets with red eyes that watched us as we moved. It was following, slowly… waiting for us to reach the land.

What? We need to light the lantern.

Quietly. Try to move without making a sound, if you can.

Thumping, Arthur moving

It’s still there… moving closer. I can see the trail of waves it makes, only minorly though, as it moves through the water, silently stalking us.

The lantern, where is it?

Just a little higher… there. It opens away from us.

It’s an oil lamp, is the reservoir full?

Lighter flicking

Yes.

Lighter flicking

Why won’t it…

It’s moving just below us… and… it’s gone under.

Come on!

Flames catch

There! It’s caught but the flame is weak, it needs time to-

SPLASH

Boat rocking

Arthur… it’s a large, amphibious monstrosity. It’s attached to the bow of the boat with large suckers that adorn its front and ventral area. Its mouth is agape… hollow, needle-like fangs fill its small maw. It sits with its front legs out before it and back tensed, as if ready to pounce.

Growling

The lamp?

It’s knocked into the boat beside us.

This?

Yes, wh-

How close are we to the shore?

Maybe fifty feet.

Arthur, it’s about to pounce…

Alright, when it does-

Arthur!

Creature shrieks, pounces.

Arthur grunts in pain

Arthur, its stomach is attaching to ours!

[Screaming]

Arthur, it’s sucking blood from- what are you doing? Arthur, the lamp, it won’t work!

[Grunt] Let’s hope this is bright enough!

Lantern smashing, flames igniting

Jesus Christ! Arthur!

Creature screaming, splash

Arthur, are you mad? Those things are in here… God damn it. Swim! Faster, you’re almost there.

Splashing, exiting water

Get them off me… ge-get them off!

They’re gone, Arthur. There aren’t any on you. The light from the boat, it’s… burning. It must have turned them away.

That thing… that thing was…

It dove off but, I think you scared it away.

My stomach, it… it was draining blood from me.

You’re fine, Arthur. Breathe. You’re fine. It’s over.

Yes… yes, it’s over.

Footsteps crunching in gravel

Well… it wasn't the most subtle way to cross, but… we’ve made it nonetheless.

Whatever it was, it wasn't from this world either.

Not by a longshot. The city is just up the small beach here, but… [Sigh] I think we should put on the mask before proceeding any further.

What? Why?

I don’t know… but part of me says that we should.

Well, you also thought we should light the lantern, and given the way that shook out… sure, let’s put on the mask.

It doesn’t have to be right now. Our stomach is bleeding quite a bit, we should worry about that.

What? I-I can barely feel it.

I don’t know.

I can feel the blood on my fingers, but… my entire abdomen, it- it’s… where the creature latched onto me it’s numb.

It must have injected you with some sort of… anesthetic… before draining you.

Jesus, I- I do feel lightheaded, I…

Move up from the beach, maybe we can find something in one of these outbuildings.

Footsteps crunching

I don’t understand what kind of…

Just save your breath for the moment, Arthur. We’re coming up to the start of a stone pathway that runs between the buildings, a street of sorts.

What? This city is…

It’s bizarre. The architecture seems in large part medieval, but… there is some foreign curvature that seems incorporated into most doorways and windows; the roofs too are more rounded. The small stone path leads between these two buildings that loom overhead.

Are they stone, or…?

Yes, a soft grey stone that makes them stand out in contrast to the dark cavern walls far behind and above. There are dozens of houses here on the outskirts alone, all quiet. All bathed in that green light from the center of the city. I, uh… [Sigh]

Footsteps, Arthur panting

[Sigh] There's a doorway to the building coming up on the left. It’s an open passage, no door at the threshold of it.

Footsteps, Arthur panting

Well?

This is a small, plain room; an entryway of sorts which turns to the right sharply.

Footsteps

There, this looks like storage, maybe a shop. Straight ahead there’s a small shelf on the wall with piles of what looks to be cloth. We can use that to stop the bleeding around your waist.

Footsteps

Take off your robe and clothes underneath, they’re in tatters anyway.

Rustling, pants unzipping

There.

Wrap the top cloth around your midriff. There… tighter.

So, this is storage?

I’m not entirely sure, it doesn’t have a counter or a till so I was wrong in saying shop. I'm not entirely sure what the purpose of this city was, though it does feel…

Familiar?

No… it feels like an echo.

How does that work?

Like a memory that’s been changed by the things it’s touched, shifted and distorted with time. It’s tough to explain.

No, I think I understand. The medieval architecture, there must be some explanation.

Not just the architecture… the clothing, the things on the shelves here.

What things?

Just items of intrinsic value, silver and gold adorned.

Such value sitting on a shelf?

This city seems to be without fear of being discovered.

For good reason. Beyond being hidden they seem to have a pretty deadly guard dog. [Grunt] Better?

Much. I think there are some clothes here, the shelf to the left of this one has some boots… I’d wager more, but I can’t see it from here.

Well, it’s better than putting on wet clothes again.

Rustling, items clinking

That’s a shirt… yes, pants… there, that's all you’ll need.

Arthur getting dressed

Is there anything else we should try to take? Anything of use?

I don’t think so, much of this is very old and covered in dust.

They wanted us to see this, let’s not forget.

No, but…

But what?

This city had a purpose, it wasn’t for trade or to live in. It’s only a ruin now, kept for a reason, a museum… a monument, of sorts.

A monument to what?

There’s a small archway leading to another room, it looks slightly larger.

Footsteps

It’s only more storage back here, crates and –

Crates? Crates of what?

I don’t know. Many are still sealed. They are stamped.

What’s stamped on them?

‘Cassilda’.

Just that? A name? Cassilda?

Yes, they all seem to be stamped with it.

[Sigh] Let’s leave this place, see if we can’t find another house. Maybe it can shed some light on what this place is.

Yes…

Are you okay?

Of course.

You’ve been drifting farther away from me, John.

Arthur, I…

You’re here with me, John, and I need you. We’re a team.

Yes, we are.

Good. Get me out of here.

Footsteps

Right… to the right here… now left… yes. The street continues forward.

It’s not wide enough for a car, or…

No, this is well before this modern era, Arthur.

No, no, I know. It’s just like you said, this place had a purpose… monument or not, I can’t understand what a city like this would be used for, especially one that looks so…

Alien.

[Chuckle] Yes, I-I guess so. Was it just to exist? Was it meant to house people, or was it meant to-

Emulate a dream.

Emulate a dream? Sure.

Maybe this house will have more answers, uh… to the left.

Okay.

Footsteps

This home is similarly a single storey, no kitchen, bathroom, shelves… nothing. The room is of single use and seems to have only a single hanging bed in the center of this room.

Hanging?

Like a hammock, only more… ornate. It’s strung from four spots on the walls rather than two, and it’s sagging with age.

I don’t understand, why would this house only have a single hammock? Is there anything in it?

Footsteps

Yes. Arthur… there is a desiccated corpse lying in this hammock.

Oh God… how? Can you see how it died?

It’s old, Arthur.

How old?

Maybe fifty years, at least. It’s almost entirely bones. The dried, leathery flesh has knitted together over its face, its teeth have fallen back into its vacant, open mouth.

Alright, okay. So, no, you don’t know how it died, then?

It looks… peaceful. Its hands are clasped together over its stomach, it doesn’t look like there are any broken bones.

Do you think maybe this city was a place for rest, where people could come to die, or-

Wait… he’s holding something in his hands.

What is it?

I don’t know.

Where are his hands? Here? Are they-

Be careful, Arthur, remember if we touch-

Distortion, John yelling

Oh, I see him. He’s laying here… still, motionless… I see his death, he’s… he’s breathing slower, and… he’s dreaming, and-

Distortion, thud, John panting

(Muffled) Sorry, I’m sorry, John. I forgot, I-

He saw me again, Arthur.

The King?

Yes.

God damn it!

He knows we’re here.

I’m sorry, I thought…

[Breathing heavily]

[Sigh] Well, I did grab it. It’s- it’s here, I…

It looks like a large, yellowish egg, Arthur. I don’t recognize it.

Fuck. What happened to this man? You said that he was dreaming, and he just… died?

Yes.

Whatever this egg is, it must be important.

We need to move, and you need to don that mask. Now.

Okay, okay.

Rustling, Arthur puts on mask

I want to see something, head into another building… to the right.

Footsteps

(Muffled) This one?

No, er… try the left. Yes.

Footsteps

This house also has a bed… and a corpse.

They were sleeping?

Dreaming… all of them.

What do you mean ‘all’?

I think all of the houses have people in them… all who dreamed until their death. A city below a blackened sky like no other… one that exists beneath the earth. The Sleeping City.

You speak as if it’s well known. Who or what would-

I know this place.

How?

I know what it is meant to be.

John.

They’re approaching.

Who?

The others.

From where?

The houses where they said their goodbyes.

John, you’re scaring me. Come on now.

Head back out to the street, join them. We need to see where this leads.

Not with you like this.

Arthur, this city is built for dreams. To allow passage to the Dreamlands, it’s what all of this is for. A place that is thin between those worlds.

The Dreamlands?

Yes. All of these followers must have dreamt until their dying breath to see what exists beyond.

Well, we’re not.

No… but this is it. This is where we’ll get our answers, this is where we’ll find a way to separate us, I'm sure of it, I… I know, somehow.

Okay.

Footsteps

They’re coming out, the other members that are here.

On the streets?

Yes. Slowly, they’re moving.

Multiple sets of footprints

One’s approaching.

Cultist: Come, Brother. It is starting.

Er… yes, of course.

Cultist: But you must come willingly. Are you willing?

Yes. I am willing.

John: He’s… leading the way forward, Arthur. It seems like they’re all heading to the center, to where the green light comes from.

Footsteps

Arthur, there are stairs just before you, move slowly so as not to trip. They’re leading down to a... oh…

(Whispering) What?

This is an auditorium, like an ancient Greek theatre, rows and rows of seats surrounding a stage in the center. There are hundreds of people here, Arthur. All silently moving to their seats… all staring towards the stage in the center.

(Whispering) What’s on the stage?

Nothing. Just a table and a large standing mirror.

Where is the green light coming from?

I can’t tell, but this entire theatre seems to be lit by it. It’s just… everywhere. There's a row here at the back, mostly unoccupied. There are a fair number of cultists between you and the stage, but I can still see. Here, to your right.

Footsteps

There.

Arthur sits down

Everyone around us is wearing the mask and the robes, all sitting silently, staring forward as if they’re statues. It’s growing quiet now, it seems like… Arthur, there's someone exiting onto the stage. They’re approaching the table in the center; everyone is transfixed on him. It seems like they’re all waiting for him to-

Cultist: You, sir, should unmask.

He’s looking in this direction, but…

Rustling, heads turning

Arthur… every single person in this theatre is staring at you.

Me?

Indeed.

Cultist: Indeed, it’s time. We have all laid aside disguise but you. Come.

Arthur, everyone is watching us. We can still leave.

No, [Arthur removes mask] I trust you, John.

They all move their heads, watching us exit the aisle. The stairs to the stage are to your right.

Footsteps

I can feel their eyes on us.

Footsteps

You’re almost at the stage, there's a small set of stairs to your left.

Footsteps ascending stairs, stage creaking

Cultist: You’ve come a long way to become whole again.

You can help me?

John: Become whole?

Cultist: It is our sole purpose.

To give me back my body?

John: To serve the King in Yellow…

Cultist: Yes.

John: He’s gesturing to the table; I can see now that there are straps on the table. Arthur, I think he wants you to-

I am willing.

Arthur! Arthur, what are you doing? If you lie down there there’s no way for you to get out, they can do whatever they want!

Table creaking

Cultist: We were told that you would come here. It was written. We know why you sought us out and we know the path you’ve taken to get here. Every decision you made was as it should be.

How could you know that?

John: Why?

Cultist: You have forgotten who you are.

Who I am? Who am I?

John: Arthur, he’s tying us down… we must leave!

Cultist: We can make you whole again, and remove the voice in your head; separate you, save you… bring this body back to you.

What will happen to the voice? The, er… the passenger I carry.

John: What do they want from us?

Cultist: Nothing.

Promise nothing will happen to him.

John: Will I be safe?

Cultist: More than safe. You will be whole again.

Wait… who are you talking to?

Cultist: A gateway was opened in a basement ten years ago. When it was shut a piece of the King was trapped in this world, in a book.

Table moving

Arthur, the table is pivoting us upright, to face the mirror.

Cultist: A book that bound you to this mortal shell, one that we will give you and make you whole again.

John: The mirror. I can see us… I see us standing upright on the shore of a lake, smiling. The lake is a sickly purple, with a black, stone shoreline. My face… is my own once again.

Cultist: This vessel is yours to take, my King.

Arthur struggling

John, they’re trying to get into our mind, force them out. Reject

them. This is not you, remember who you are, remember what we’ve done. Remember

your name. Do not let them….

Cultist: Our king, remember your name.

Remember your name. John, please…

Whispering voices

John: I do remember my name Arthur. I am the King in Yellow.

What? No…. please…

I am the fractured soul of a god.

Cultist: My King, you have the power to destroy this mortal, cast

him out.

John! Please. No.

John: That is not my name, and this body…. Is MINE.

Distortion, blast, silence

Creaking, chair scraping on the floor, upbeat piano playing

Knock on door, piano stops, door opens

Faroe?

Footsteps, door opens

Hello? Faroe darling?

King in Yellow: Why is this the memory you refuse to let go of?

Wh-where am I? What’s happened?

Don’t you remember? [Laughter]

Who are you?

Who am I? I am the King in Yellow. This body is now mine and every

instance of you is being erased… except this one.

What?

This one Arthur… you playing piano. Your daughter interrupting…

what happens next? Why do you refuse to leave this memory behind?

John, I… you don’t need to.

Why can’t you let go of this? Tell me.

No.

You are speaking to a god; you have no idea what I am capable of…

Then why do you need me to let go? Why can’t you take control of

me then?

I can.

Then do it. Unless… unless you don’t want to. That’s it, isn’t it. For all your talk of

godly nature, for all your words of power and whispers you… you can’t forget

what little humanity you saw.

Less than that. This part of me that you’ve stolen, it has lost

its way. My fractured soul has become… entangled in yours. I’ll simply kill you

and reclaim it.

You can’t. Not here. You… you hold no power here. If this piece of

you… John… isn’t going to play along then you’re stuck. That’s why you’ve been

whispering into people’s minds, it’s why you’ve had others kill Amanda and

attack us… you can’t be in this plane of reality or… whatever you want to call

  1. You’re trapped in your Dreamlands and there’s no way you’re getting out.

You’re correct that in my splintered form I cannot travel to you. [Laughter]

So, we’ll meet on my terms instead.

Distortion, tearing, silence

Waves splashing, Arthur coughing

Jesus. John?

John: Yes.

Waves splashing

[Sigh] See, told you everything would be fine. Where are we?

The Dreamlands.

Waves splashing

 

Static

__________________________________________________

Transcribed by Eggsy39, thank you so much for their time and commitment to making this all possible.


*The name given in the audio differs from the name written in the transcript, it has been changed to Gilbert Holt due to privacy reasons