Sept. 23, 2021

Part 15: The Storm

THE STORM

CW: Death of a child, violence, injury


Wood creaking, piano score begins to play

Water running, piano stops playing

Tess? Tess?

Water running

Faroe?

Piano bench creaks, footsteps

Faroe?

Door creaks open, water running

 Faroe?

Door opens, sound of running water gets louder

Faroe! Faroe! Faroe, no. No! NO! Faroe! Faroe!

Water running, Arthur sobbing

No... Faroe! NO!

Arthur startles awake

John: Arthur.

Yes? [Panting]

Arthur.

What?

Are you alright?

Yes…. yes.

You’re sure.

Yes. Why?

You’re crying.

Bed rustling, Arthur panting

[Crying] I’m just… I’m just tired. It’s dry and…

Okay.

Bed rustling, Arthur grunts, gets up

Does… does everyone who dies… Does everyone that dies come here?

No... er, the Dark World.

Right, right. And you’re sure they all go there?

No. No I’m not.

Right, right... The tooth. The vanguard... it spoke to us last night, just as I was falling asleep!

What did it say?

It said, Anna Stancyzk.

Anna Stanzyk?

Yes! We asked it who Anna was in the letter that Amanda had written.

Well, that didn’t give us all that much.

Stanczyk? You don’t remember?

No?

The house. In the wood. After our accident and the baby…

The baby.

God bless this baby Stanczyk?

The wraith.

Yes.

Wait... the name we got from the birth certificate, a child… Erik.

Exactly. This family is part of all of this.

How?

I-I don’t know, but that letter we read... the names, the places, it’s all starting to form a web. A puzzle being put together to form a dark and detailed picture… of what I don’t know.

Okay.

[Sigh] God, I’m hungry. I wonder if there’s anything here.

Movement, Arthur grunts

The cabinets are straight across the room.

Right.

Footsteps, floorboards creak

I’ve been thinking about all of this and I have to wonder what it all means. How it aids us.

[Grunt] It doesn’t. Not in a way that I can tell, at least. It’s a mystery, John.

Shouldn’t we be focusing on our way home?

Jars rattling

These people, there’s a story here that we have pieces of… if we can understand it…

But it has nothing to do with us.

Well, we don’t know that. The coincidences are piling up. You heard those masked men at the end… before we arrived, all of this was predestined… so they said.

Right.

Even that paper had encounters that we had, there is no way they could have known that. Something about this experience thus far… it’s been… preordained.

Or so we’re meant to believe. There’s a jar of peaches here in this cupboard.

Brilliant. [Grunt] We don’t know... I don’t know. I can’t deny the words that were written on that paper in the hotel, coincidence maybe… but I have to function in the way that whatever happens to us is our own decision otherwise… I’ll do my head in.

Arthur sits

If the man who left this letter, Frank, was also from Arkham and was trapped here there is no denying that finding him, or at least following his footsteps is a smart path forward.

Exactly. [Jar opens, Arthur eating] And even though he failed to protect Emily, there’s no certainty that he hadn’t escaped. We can’t afford to think that bleak.

Despite the logic.

Sure.

“In the light of the blue sun which comes every two hours or so, the winds tend to die down. I do not know why. There I can see a cliff on the horizon. It is far away but tomorrow I will be heading out.” Then “Good luck, Henry” and so on.

Mmm. Which tells us another thing.

What?

Slurping, eating

Henry never found this letter.

That’s a bit of a leap, he could have just not seen it, we barely did… or he could’ve left it. 

Possible but doubtful. Leaving this behind was a risk to even Frank.

Why a risk?

Who knows who could find a letter like this? Obviously, these people made enemies, we were trapped here because…. Well…

The King desires to be whole again.

Exactly, and I’m not leaving this behind. Anyone could piece together a trail to pick up.

Slurping, Arthur sighs, stands up

Which is exactly what we’re going to do.

After a change of clothes.

Ah, right. Yes.

Footsteps

So then Anna Stanczyk was the girl Amanda wrote to. The King killed Amanda back in Harper’s Hill…

Yes.

Clothes rustling

Do we think Anna is still alive?

If it took the king this long to track down Amanda... maybe? Remember these were the two girls that left that abandoned house we investigated back in Arkham; the one with the cavern hidden behind a wall and the gateway.

Yes, I remember.

If they’ve stayed alive this long….

We found Amanda-Sarah’s name from the newspaper clippings in the library. I wonder why they removed Anna’s name. They only said Amanda Cummings and another girl…

Clothes rustling

I don’t know. She grew up in the mansion in the woods, the one with the wraith… she must’ve lived a terribly complicated life.

Yes… Look! Frank, even left you a tie. 

[Sigh] That’s silly to wear isn’t it?

Depends, do you feel more or less like yourself when you wear a tie?

I do tend to feel more professional, I guess. And honestly, I haven’t felt like myself in a while...

Then I say wear it, at the end of the day, might as well die wearing something you can be buried in.

[Chuckles] Why not.

Tie rustles

There. Looking like your old self.

Okay, we head to the blue sun as soon as it appears, towards the… cliffs. Our goal now is to find Frank, I suppose. If he’s no longer here, then we look to find the path he took. If he intended to help Henry he may have left some clues.

Right.

Wait.

What?

I nearly forgot about the Vanguard.

Arthur… I told you previously… this is not a power to play with. Nothing of value can be-

But it’s already told us something valuable.

To whom? It told us who Amanda spoke with.

Yes, and the next person we will be seeking... as soon as we get home.

How so?

Don’t you understand? This girl, Anna Stanzyk, she’s our hope. We sought Amanda for answers but she passed away before we could speak with her.

Arthur…

Anna can help us! Once we’re back we…

Arthur.

What?

Are you sure that’s wise?

What do you mean? Of course. She’s going to help us…

How do you know that?

I know that because… Amanda would’ve helped us… she never escaped this… she…

Died because of us.

She did not. She died because of the King in Yellow.

Except he only learned about her through you. Remember?

What? No.

While you were in a coma, he tricked you into telling him about her.

No. That’s not right.

Yes it is Arthur. You keep putting this unfounded hope onto the shoulders of these people. You don’t know what you’re doing.

I’m trying to save us.

You’re trying to save you.

Footsteps

If finding Anna brings about her death too, are you able to accept that?

The King killed Amanda.

Alright Arthur, ask your question. Seek your answers. Find Anna and risk another life, but don’t pretend another death wouldn’t be on our shoulders.

[Sigh] I suppose you’re right. At this point, as much as answers would be beneficial, it’s not worth the risk. Plus, I don’t actually have anything extremely pressing on my mind, everything is still sort of… ruminating.

Thank you, Arthur.

I’m not doing it for you… but you’re welcome. [House creaking] Anyway, I suppose we should leave. Is there anything of use here? Anything else? Anything we can take with us?

Not really. Looking now, I wouldn’t be surprised if Frank took some of these things with him.

How do you mean?

Well, a few things here and there are gone. There’s a frame missing from the wall.

A picture?

Yes. It looks as though it hung there for some time, too.

I guess… he took it as a memento?

Yes, plus there’s no jacket or hat on the stand next to the door.

Right…

I didn’t think much of it when we arrived, since I just assumed the house was empty, but after finding the peaches it’s clear that this apartment was more or less as it was in the real world.

Strange, still… I can’t imagine something with this amount of power.

The things that can be accomplished are truly unfathomable.

Wonderful. Alright, then.

Footsteps, door opens, footsteps in sand

Luck seems to be with us, Arthur. A bright blue star seems to bathe everything out here in a sharp, azure blue. The red sand hills that circled us are rather high, we’ll need to climb one.

Okay… [Sigh] I don’t miss this heat.

It was nice to be out of it, at least for a little while.

Footsteps in sand

Much like when we arrived, the desert around us is comprised of tall dunes. While red, they seem dark and almost violet through the filter of the blue star… if it is a star.

(Out of breath) What exactly is it?

I have no idea, Arthur.

[Grunt] The top?

Yes. Turn around.

Footsteps

There… I see it.

The cliffs?

More than a cliff, it’s… massive. Like the base of a mountain. How did-

What they… appear, or?

I don’t know… it’s possible the blue light is merely cutting through the heat haze, the shimmering it usually casts upon the desert.

Or… this place is truly something with its own set of rules.

I don’t know, but we should begin moving. I don’t know how long the sun will last.

Right.

Head back down, it’s on the far side of the building.

Sand shifting, Arthur descending the hill

I’m not sure how many rules you think exist here.

I just mean to say, I’m having a hard time separating what I know from what this place is. It’s difficult to divorce my understanding from that of my own solar system.

The one Earth resides in.

Yes, this way?

Yes. It’s funny to think of how much you all devote to that planet.

What do you mean? How is that funny?

I… I’ve watched a lot of civilizations rise and fall, and all the gods and nightmares you can imagine play games with all of it.

You remember that?

Bits and pieces Arthur, of course I remember things. Just as you cannot divorce your prior experiences to view this world wholly on its own, I cannot remove myself from my past.

So it’s funny to you that I… devote myself to that planet.

It’s just a concept that I haven’t experienced.

Except you are learning about meaning. About connecting.

Yes. I suppose so.

Does no part of you miss where we were?

No.

What about a part of me within you? Or rather the part of me that shares?

I… I guess I can’t tell the difference.

Well, then maybe there’s…

I suppose I do miss... the piano.

Piano score begins to play

[Laughter] The piano?

Yes.

Why? Why you’ve never played.

I guess not.

That’s very funny.

Why?

I don’t know. I guess… I don’t know.

You miss the piano.

No. No I don’t.

But you played.

Yes.

A lot?

Yes.

Did you compose songs?

Sometimes, yes. One or two here or there.

Faroe’s Song?

Yes, John.

[Sigh] Well either way, I suppose the feeling of missing the piano is carried over.

Well…. I suppose it’ll be a little tougher now.

Our finger?

Yes, how does it look?

Not great. The branch is dark, I can’t tell If it’s just stained with old blood or.. drawing some from us but… it’s taken on a slightly maroon hue.

Does it hurt? I can’t…

Yes.

I’m sorry.

Somehow, if we manage to escape the dreamlands, I doubt we’ll be unscathed.

I agree.

Footsteps in sand

I think I see something just over the next dune.

The cliff?

No, still a ways away… but it looks like a large object, maybe a large stone. As we move closer to the cliff the landscape is changing slightly. The dunes are growing smaller.

I’ll be glad to be out of the damn desert.

Oh…The light is changing.

Well, we’ll have to keep course as best we can.

No, it’s something else…

What do you mean?

Something is coming.

What is it?

It’s growing in the distance. A dark cloud, like a...

A storm?

Yes.  Arthur it’s approaching fast.

We need to move, now!

Run!

Arthur running, wind picking up

Goddamnit…. Should we turn back?

No, move.

Running

Arthur, keep going, whatever is ahead of us, we can hide behind it!

What is it?

A boat. A large boat, maybe a hundred feet long. It’s covered in rust and lying more or less upright in the sand.

Okay!

The storm is almost on us!

Running

Here it comes!

Wind howling, sand spraying

[Screaming in pain]

Arthur, there’s a break in it’s hull, to your right, move. Here!

Arthur screaming, enters boat

Ugh. [Panting]

Arthur… you’re bleeding.

Oh, Jesus Christ. Ah.

The wind has torn some skin from the right side of your face. It’s difficult to see out of your right eye.

Ugh. [Panting, spitting sand]

If we had been caught out there…

Well, we said… we wouldn’t be unscathed.

Arthur panting, spitting

Where are we?

The hull of a large fishing boat I think… there was a large hole that we entered into. The light is dim from the storm outside but I think I see a small ladder leading up… it may be partly broken. The rest of the ship is all above us.

Huh…. Well we should be able to wait out the storm. Ugh.

Not curious?

I don’t know.. I don’t think so… I think a moment to rest is ideal.

Sand shifting, creature growling

We’re not alone down here… Arthur, you can still make it to the ladder.

It may not see us here, we’re against the wall….

I think…. It’s moving…

[Sigh] The ladder…. Where is it?

Straight ahead. Are you…

Yes. This way?

Yes.

Movement

I see it… growing from where it was coiled in the dark end of the hull… It’s large and limbless. It wears a serpent like-hood that stretches out behind its head; elongated ribs of orange and blue.

The ladder, John?

Arthur... it’s glowing faintly from cracks in its segmented armor, emitting small swirls of phosphorescent smoke… it’s maybe 15 feet long.

Creature calls out

Oh for fucks sake…

Movement

Oh… Yes there, before you. It’s watching us, Arthur. The glowing between its plates is becoming brighter…

Sound of energy building, energy bolt shot

Fuck!

Jesus Christ!

Arthur, it’s shooting something. Electrical…

I NOTICED!

Climb!

Climbing ladder, grunting

Exit onto next floor

Jesus!

Arthur. It’s still down there… it looks like it’s moving slowly.

Fuck. What the hell was it shooting?

Some sort of energy discharge. It came toward us in an arc.

I could feel it in my hands on the ladder… like… lightning. I could feel it burning my hands. Can it get up here?

No, the passage up is too small…

And where are we?

We’re in a large cabin area… it's an enclosed space with porthole windows in all directions.

Yes, the storm must be raging outside, I can feel the boat shifting.

There’s a door leading out towards the back deck of the boat, it’s relatively flimsy looking. Around us are tossed and used mattresses, perhaps a kitchenette at one time… all of it destroyed. This is more or less an open space with a second door leading to the front of the boat... toward what must be a helm.

Well if it can’t get up then…

Thunk, creature screeching

Get back! It’s trying to make the hole bigger…

Is there anything in here we can use to fight?

Ugh… there’s an old metal pole from one of the cots you can try to remove.

Okay, where?

To our left. Down. There.

Arthur straining

Arthur I don’t know how useful this will be.

Have any better ideas?

It has plates of armor, you’d have to get right between them.

Great. [Straining] Is this thing?

It’s coming loose, keep pulling.

Arthur straining, metal creaking

We could brave the storm…

I can still feel the blood on my face John, we wouldn’t last twenty seconds out there.

What if we lured it out…

How?

I don’t know, Arthur!

Metal comes loose, clangs

Ugh.

Creature screeches

Get back! It’s almost able to get its head in.

Where is the hole?

Just before us, about three feet.

Which end is the sharp…?

The other.

Pole clatters

Okay. When it shows it’s face, tell me.

Alright. Wait…. NOW!

Arthur stabbing, creature screaming

John and Arthur screaming, pole clatters

Ugh.

[Whimper]

It’s electrical Arthur.

FUCK.

Well?

I don’t know…

Wait… it’s stopped…

Where did it go?

I think it left…

You think it… properly left or…

Check outside, through one of the portholes

Arthur moving, footsteps

I can’t see through the storm… and not being able to use your other eye is making it very difficult. I don’t think it’s clever enough to…

Smash

Arthur, it’s breaking down the door! Move back down, quickly!

Running

What now?! Is there anything else down here?

 It was curled up in the corner.

Which way?

There. No, there.

Footsteps

Well?

Arthur… it wasn’t just seeking shelter from the storm, there’s a number of eggs here…

Oh fuck.

Yes.

Well… what the fuck are we supposed to do…

There’s some bent sheet metal here... the sand, it’s been well used…

[Gag] It smells awful.

It looks like there’s a pile of refuse to the side, things it might have thrown up. The engine is back here as well… for the ship.

Okay and… wait… how rusted is it?

Spotted with rust but intact for the most part. Why?

Is there a place for the fuel?

Get closer. 

Movement

Yes, there’s a cap back here…

Quickly….

Gas cap opening, Arthur sniffing

Gasoline…

And?

It’s volatile, explosive

Even if it’s ancient?

I don’t know… but with how conductive this boat is, if we can find a way to leak it…

The side looks rusted, perhaps we can puncture it.

Crashing sounds from above

It’s broken into the cabin above us… we need to be quick before it realizes.

Thud, Arthur grunting

You’re kicking it?

We just need… ugh… a small.. ugh…. Crack….

Thud, gasoline dripping

It’s broken, gasoline is pouring out. Now what?

We…. we need to be up or down or….

Isn’t this going to explode?

Yes… which is why we’ll need to be above it, er, I guess, or… or…

Creature growling

Arthur, it’s back…

Fuck.

The ladder is to your right. Move!

Running, Arthur grunting

It’s charging up….

Arthur climbing

ARTHUR, JUMP!

Creature shrieks

BOOM, gasoline explodes

[Sigh] Jesus. Is it dead?

I don’t know, Arthur… there’s smoke coming from below.

That was not a well thought out plan.

No, it wasn’t.

Arthur gets up, movement

Well?

It looks like it’s blown a hole clean through the side of the ship. The wind has put most of the fire out… I see the creature. It’s not stirring.

Ugh. Let’s call it dead for now. [Grunt]

Are you alright?

My fingertips are seared off and I still feel the warm blood on my face from the storm.

Yes, we need to find a way to clean that eye, I’m worried we may lose it.

Brilliant... I wonder if that creature had anything on it.

In what way?

I don’t know… all the pile of refuse down there, it... it’s been out here for some time… perhaps Frank didn’t make it to the cliffs.

You think we should poke around down there some more?

It’s an option.

I think we should leave well enough alone and find a way to clean your eye before we lose it.

We’ll do that regardless, I’m just saying, perhaps we should poke around down there to… to see if it’s truly dead. And there could be any number of clues as to its previous victims.

Arthur, if we lose this eye…

Alright, alright.

Thank you.

Is there anything up here we can use? You said this was a sleeping area… more or less…

Less. the ship has been tossed…

As if…

As if it was literally rolled down a dune.

How on earth did something like this end up here?

The same way as us, I assume.

Alright, well… anything that looks like it would hold personal effects?

There are some bags but… oh lockers. A bank of them lying in the corner to the front of the boat.

The bow.

Right.

Which way.

Right.

Oh….

Walking

Almost there.

To transport an entire boat here….

By your feet.

Right.

There are still three attached together, one is open and more or less empty. The other two are still closed.

Crouching, locker door opens

What’s in this one?

It’s been through the ringer. There’s a broken mirror, a pair of boots…. What looks like a life preserver… and a shaving kit.

No water or any safe liquid?

None that I can see.

Alright…

Locker door opens

What about this one?

Looks like there’s a black rain jacket and hat… a box of large hooks… there’s a flask here as well. 

Well that’s the worst thing we could wash our eye with… unless….

Arthur lifts flask, takes a sip, coughs

Yeah… no, not water.

Should we take any of this?

I… I don’t know… I guess so, right?

This is no longer Arkham, nor is it Earth. Things like these, even seemingly mundane could end up saving our lives.

I suppose so, yes. Let’s take the lot.

Even the boots?

Well… right, I don't want to weigh us down. Is the raincoat heavy….

Fabric rustles

Feels like it… let’s bring the shaving kit, the hooks and the flask. Leave the life preserver as well as the other stuff.

Alright. The hooks are on the bottom.

Objects rattling

The shaving kit?

Near top of the locker.

Movement

Okay… where else… the… uh. Bridge?

Helm?

Yes, right…

To the front of the boat. The right some more.

Movement

Here?

There’s a small door here, it's meant to slide open.

Arthur grunts, door slides open

The helm is small and enclosed. The glass is still intact, it doesn’t look like it’s taken nearly as much damage.

What the hell happened here, besides the boat being brought to the Dreamlands…. Though I can’t imagine why… There are no bodies anywhere either….

No. There seems to be a small set of stairs here that lead toward the front of the boat through a small doorway.

Oh? Back to the hull?

No… toward the front of the boat, the hold didn’t go any further this must be something else.

Oh… nothing else here though?

Items rustling

Maps, charts…

Where are they… where was the boat?

Er, I have no real way of knowing… it’s in a language I don’t recognize… “Hesselø Bugt”? It could be Danish.

Danish? Huh…

Should we…

Right.

Footsteps, door latch clicking

The door feels jammed.

Try lifting up before pushing.

Arthur grunts, door opens

There.

Brilliant.

Footsteps

These are most definitely the captains quarters… a small cot lay to the left of the doorway… a simple sink at the foot of it... however… someone has been here.

What?

Not recently but… this was used, perhaps for a fair amount of time before… whoever was here left.

Frank?

I don’t think so… There is a small stove that must’ve been used to cook whatever strange food this person could find… there’s a series of drawings on the wall… it looks… it looks like it’s a map. Like they were charting the desert.

Of course…

They’ve drawn a number of things… more I don’t recognize, however I do see the canyon we passed. To the west of here it seems.

The cliffs?

Yes, they’re here, close by…. But they’re crossed out.

How so?

There are lines through them. It may not signify crossed out… I’m not entirely sure what his intention was here. Clearly it wasn’t meant for anyone but himself.

Impassable or no longer there or…

I don’t know, Arthur.

Damn. Is there anything else?

On the map? They’ve mapped out distances... perhaps feet, as they’re in the thousands. They must’ve walked in every direction as far as possible then come back to write their findings. To the south of us, I’d call it, he does indicate something.

What is it?

If I were to guess it looks like a crude drawing of a flower bulb, but I don’t know what that means.

How many feet?

  1.  

Well…

There is something he’s drawn beyond the cliffs.

What?

I don’t know, it looks like… a pillar.

Well.

But in either direction from the cliffs he’s also drawn… skulls.

So the cliff is crossed out; to meet it and follow it in either direction is death… and beyond that, he’s indicated that in thousands of feet in any other direction there is nothing… other than the flower bulb.

That’s what it appears to be.

Huh.

Sounds like the storm is dying now.

Alright, alright. He’s not here.

No.

Was he met with tragedy or… did he find a way out… perhaps a way to pass the cliff? What’s left in here? Obviously, he left the things in the lockers, so...

The room is basic. The desk is riddled with straw like fibers, small and hair like, but long. There’s a number of empty cans; there’s no food on the stove, the stores of what he must’ve accumulated are gone… perhaps he took them.

Hair like fibres?

Yes, they seem mundane, though curious.

Does it look like he packed up?

If I were to make an educated guess… yes. It looks as though he’s taken a number of things from this room.

Alright…

Oh, water! There’s water, Arthur. A jug near the desk on the floor.

Oh, brilliant!

Movement, Arthur picks up the jug

The sink is at the foot of the bed.

Water splashing, Arthur washing his eye

Much better, it’s still difficult to see out of, but I can’t feel anymore sand in it.

Huh, well that’s a load off…

Yes.

Alright… This person was trapped here, like us. However, unlike Frank, or us, they decided to live here. To find a way to survive.

A smart decision.

Yes. They’ve mapped out a place to the south and to the cliffs which may or may not be passable. However, Frank headed to those cliffs.

Frank may also have come across this ship.

We don’t know how long it’s been here…

It definitely looks like it’s been here longer than Frank’s apartment.

Okay. Okay…. But still… that’s a pretty shaky premise. Whatever is to the south of us, was not so important that he didn’t come back after finding it, otherwise he wouldn’t have mapped it out.

It’s only 1600 feet away.

If feet is the operative word, we’re assuming that. Besides, the desert is a tricky place in and of itself, and very difficult to navigate.

I think it’s worth at least checking out, who knows what benefit it could be to us.

Right.

Regardless, the storm has ended and we should move quickly before another one starts up.

Right, okay, look the cliffs will be there, they’re not moving…

As far as we know…

Let’s see what this “flower bulb” is. It could be something useful or important.

You’re sure?

Yes, we have no real proof that Frank wasn’t here and he may have come to the same conclusion as we did, perhaps he headed south as well.

Alright then.

Is there anything else we should take from here?

Nothing of any perceived value… again it seems like this place was more or less emptied.

Okay. Wait so, which way is south?

If the map is any indication, the cliffs – the direction we were originally heading, are west of here… the port side of the ship. So if we head straight from the stern we should be heading south.

Then if we ever want to get to the cliffs…

We just need to head right.

Sounds… foolproof.

We also have the blue sunrise to guide us should we get properly turned around.

True. Alright then…

Footsteps

The door is to your left.

Door sliding open

The ladder is straight ahead.

Arthur grunting, descending ladder

The creature is clearly dead, crumpled into a blackened, smoldering pile in the corner.

It was close there…

Yes.

Footsteps in sand

The hole in the hull is just to your left.

Footsteps, metal clanking

The yellow sun is high in the mid-sky again, directly above us.

Already it’s so hot, I can barely feel the breath moving from my lips.

Well, let’s just hope that number was counted in steps… straight ahead.

Footsteps in sand

If we were lost in the desert…

If?

I mean to say if we had taken the approach that he did and stayed put… how would you have measured distance?

I don’t know, I suppose footsteps is a fair measurement. If you’re the only one keeping track.

Should we have stayed by the lake?

No. The king would have found us.

You’re certain? He hasn’t found us yet…

Yes.

Yet the soldiers did.

I’m not entirely sure, but I assume they don’t need to track us by physical means.

And the King does?

I’m not sure… perhaps.

Explain.

This is his domain, he is more or less all powerful here, as if he were a god.

Comforting.

However, as we know, a piece of him – me – is preventing him from becoming whole.

Right.

While I understand that he cannot do certain things, the extent to which he cannot do them is still a mystery. Suffice to say the last thing we want is for he and I to be reunited.

You mean that.

Of course I do.

Footsteps

So what is our contingency plan?

What do you mean?

Let’s say for a moment that the worst should happen, that he should find us. What is our contingency, what do we do?

You mean to prevent him from becoming whole again?

Yes.

I don’t know.

Do we… end it?

End it? You mean kill yourself?

….yes.

I’m not sure. That may just grant me control of you.

You think…

I’m not entirely certain but, I feel like we are two competing… souls, for lack of a better term, trapped inside one body. When you lose control of a part of you, I gain it. Using that logic, if you should lose your entire body… well, I suppose I would take over.

Not if there was nothing left to take over.

You mean…

I mean… a bullet, through a brain. Metaphorically speaking… since we don’t have a gun.

Arthur…

Look, if he should come for us and I cannot stop him… if we cannot stop him… then it’s no different to me. I’m dead either way.

You’re serious about this.

I don’t know. Maybe. Yes. If you reuniting with him means… untold death and destruction for any number of people then… then why wouldn’t I? I have no chance of surviving in any case.

Well. Let’s do everything we can to make that not a possibility. But… thank you.

Don’t thank me yet. That’s a big IF, followed by some thin ‘could’s’, and dotted with some proper ‘hopes’. My hope is still to get my body back.

Of course.

I’m sorry.

I know.

Footsteps

Do you think that’s been 1600 steps?

Shit, I wasn’t counting, why?

Because there’s a hole in front of us.

A hole?

It’s on a slight angle downward into the desert, carved into sandstone rock.

Nothing else around?

No.

Nothing… flower bulb shaped?

Not that I can see. Is it sort of round.

Hmmm… well, 1600 isn’t a large number. Must be less than a kilometre and we’ve been walking less than a kilometre…

It’s large enough for us to enter easily, without ducking or anything… the walls look, as I said, carved though fairly smooth. Not like the holes dug into the side of the canyon that housed those eggs.

Well look, we’ve walked as the crow flies, more or less, there’s no reason to think that this person wouldn’t have come across this. They didn’t mark it on the map which means, perhaps, whatever the flower bulb is… is in there.

Fair.

Besides, I'm keen to have any excuse to get out of the heat.

Alright. The ground grows hard a few steps ahead….

Footsteps hit rock, gravel crunches

It’s growing dark quickly Arthur, grab the lighter.

Footsteps

The tunnel splits. Left or right?

Oh... Right for now, we’ll keep one hand on the wall so we can retrace.

Footsteps

Stay right.

Again?

Yes, this isn’t an easy…

Footsteps, squish

Ugh. What is that?

You’ve stepped into something wet, bend down.

Arthur bends, liquid squelches

It looks blackish, almost like oil though when you pull your foot up it sticks and in the light I can see it has pulp like fibers under the surface….

Fibers?

Arthur, they’re moving, writhing. Tiny thin creatures in this viscous substance.

Lovely… I think we’ve overstayed our welcome. Let’s leave.

Okay. Back the way we came.

This way?

Footsteps

No. Arthur no stop.

What? This was the left.

We came in on the right.

And so if we’re turning around, the left is the way…

I’m the one with your eyes, there were two tunnels we came from, in this room, we came from the one on the right. You’re confused because the wall turned sharply, now go back the way you came.

Fine. This way?

No, I, well now I don’t know you turned too fast there are 4 small exits to this junction.

You’re kidding me.

No I’m not Arthur this wouldn’t have happened if you were patient and waited for me to tell you where to go.

Me? I was…

Quiet, let me look. Pause. Bend down, we may have left footprints from the black ichor we stepped in.

What…

What?

Your footprints, they’re already being covered by a thin layer of grey moss. It’s growing over the floor, uniformly as if….

As if to hide the way we came….

Whispering Voice: What are you?

[Gasp]

Arthur….

Where is… who…

There’s no one around us….

Whispering Voice: What are you?

I…

Whispering Voice: Are you frightened?

Frightened? No.

Whispering Voice: You feel frightened.

We just want to leave.

Whispering Voice: Why?

Because… because...

Whispering Voice: You are frightened.

Yes, because we are frightened.

Whispering Voice: Why?

Arthur…

Because… we don’t know what you are.

Whispering Voice: Do you wish to see?

No.

Arthur.

Whispering Voice: Why?

Because of what you may be.

Arthur, the moss is growing around us now, it’s clinging to the edges of our shoes, it’s trying to climb up your leg.

Whispering Voice: Why did you come to me?

Why won’t you let us leave?

Whispering Voice: WHY DID YOU COME TO ME?

We thought you’d be something else, something that might help us…

Whispering Voice: Help you how?

Help us… escape the Dreamlands.

Our feet are covered in the moss… Arthur, snap out of it!

Whispering Voice: Why do you want to escape?

Because we don’t belong here…

It doesn’t want to help us Arthur, it wants to dev-

Whispering Voice: Where do you belong?

We belong back on-

Arthur! You need to leave this place before it’s too late.

We belong back on earth, can you help us?

Listen to me!

Whispering Voice: I can…

Static

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