June 1, 2022

Part 22: The Town (2)

 

Yellow: The bar is empty. The bartender that was moving boxes is gone; I’m not sure to where. 

Arthur: Right, well, once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.

Door opens. Heavy wind blows.

Yellow: The map seemed to infer that the mountain was northwest of here, past the main road. 

Arthur: You know the general direction of the mountain? 

Yellow: I can see it now, in the light of the day. Addison is at the base of this large mountain. [Piano music plays] There’s a stretch of wood between us and the mountain, presumably the one we moved through when we came here, but… its impressive peaks jut out over the landscape. It’s…  

Arthur: Breathtaking? 

Yellow: I suppose. 

Arthur: You’ve seen mountains before. 

Yellow: Of course! But… something about seeing them from… 

Arthur: From my eyes?

Yellow: I don’t know — it doesn’t matter. [Huffs] Anyway, it’s to the northwest of us, which means the mine entrance and the surveyor would be in that direction too. Step down off the porch.

Arthur steps down

Arthur: What does the village look like? 

Yellow: I don’t know if you could even call it that. The Red Right Hand inn sits south of a cluster of small buildings just to the north of us. Across the street there’s a small home that looks dark and heavy with rotted wood. 

Arthur: How many buildings are there? 

Yellow: I don’t know: a dozen, maybe two. There’s a long road running the stretch of the town, but it’s heavy with snowfall and trampled flat with footfall. The way is quiet. 

Piano fades

Arthur: Well, does it look… drivable? 

Yellow: I wouldn’t know. 

Arthur: Right, okay, well, I suppose we can start heading northwest, then. Though I’m not keen to head through the wood again. 

Yellow: It’s day — the sky is bright and the trees are thin, inviting a great deal of light through them. We’ll be fine. Plus, you still have that rifle. 

Arthur: Right, right

Footsteps through snow

Yellow: Stop. 

Arthur: What? 

Yellow: We’re at the edge of the woods — this is where we came through last night. Your snowshoes are around here somewhere. 

Arthur: My what… Oh Jesus! I completely forgot. 

Yellow: I noticed. 

Arthur After the wolves chased us through the trees, I… they must’ve…

Yellow: They came untied. At the time they weren’t as important as we were running for our lives. But they may be useful if we’re going toward the mountain.

Arthur: Right, right. Maybe we can retrace our steps, or…

Footsteps

Yellow: There’s a great deal of movement here in the snow. 

Arthur: From this morning, or last night? 

Yellow: No, it snowed last night. So it must be recent. 

Eerie piano music plays

Arthur: We never really talked about… the prints we found in the snow. What they meant, what they were leading to, or from.

Yellow: There’s not much to talk about Arthur. 

Arthur: Well I have a book, it could be useful.

Yellow: What kind of book? 

Arthur: It has…details in it about some of the more monstrous creations from your world. It helped me defeat a creature… me and John. You said – last night – that it left star-shaped prints in the snow. That may be useful information to look up. 

Yellow: Alright. I suppose that is wise. In the meantime, head to the right. I think I see where we fell. 

Footsteps continue 

Yellow: Here. 

Arthur: Oh, that’s lucky. 

Arthur puts the snowshoes on

Arthur: There, that’ll make it easier. Alright, let’s move. 

Yellow: A little more left. There. 

Footsteps. Piano theme plays.

Arthur: It seems odd that a mine would run dry so fast. 

Yellow: What do you mean? 

Arthur: This mine was a boon for the town. So much so that it birthed it. Not even forty years later and it’s closed? I don’t know much about mines, or how long they are worthwhile… bah. 

Yellow: What? 

Arthur: Nothing, I don’t know, I guess I’m just spinning my wheels. If the mines had truly run dry like that article said, then why would a surveyor be here? Why does the town still stay? Something’s keeping these people here. 

Yellow: Irvine said this town was born from countless dead. That their bodies filled the caves. 

Arthur: Yes, II don’t know what he meant by that… I doubt he was literal. 

Yellow: Why? 

Arthur: Well, it’s a bit naive to think that a mass grave exists in the mines. I-I mean, don’t get me wrong, people die all the time in mining operations, but rarely in the numbers one would call “countless” and ever less so are they sewn into the walls like mortar they way he described. I-I think he was just being artful. 

Piano fades

Yellow: Artful or not he spoke with a certainty. Death abounds here, Arthur.  

Arthur: Well, now who’s being artful? 

Yellow: Hmph.  

Arthur: Well, anyway, perhaps the surveyor will have a ride and we’ll be out of here before nightfall, and none of it will really matter that much..

Yellow: Now who’s being naive?  

Arthur: So where are you leading us?

Yellow: The base of the mountain. We’re looking for the mine’s entrance, no? 

Arthur: Yes but… It would have a road to it. 

Yellow: What?

Arthur: Yes, didn’t… Well, o-obviously, if whatever they pulled out of the mountain was sold, they’d need to transport it. Why would you—

Yellow: I don’t know, Arthur! I see the mountain on the horizon, I’m leading us there – what do you want from me? 

Arthur: Some communication, Yellow! Goddamn. 

Yellow: Look, we're almost there. I see the edge of the wood. Beyond that it’s flat land before the base of the mountain.

Arthur sighs. Keeps walking.

Yellow: There, we’re through to the clearing. Ohh… The mountain is high above us, sprawling. Winding snow-covered rocks line a twisting arched path towards the sky. This…this mountain seems... 

Arthur: What? 

Yellow: I don’t know. Like it’s cut from another world. 

Arthur: Your world?

Yellow: Maybe. 

Arthur: It’s still here. 

Yellow: What do you mean? 

Arthur: Listen.

A long, silent pause

Yellow: It’s quiet.

Arthur: Very quiet. Odd. 

Yellow: Well?

Arthur: Do you see anything? 

Yellow: No. On the map there was a mining camp to the south of Mt. Hoosuc; maybe they set up there? 

Arthur: Possible. If he wanted to be close to the entrance, the camp would surely be near to it as well. Why wouldn’t he stay in town? 

Yellow: Wait.

Arthur: What? 

Yellow: There’s something up ahead. It looks like a large tent. 

Arthur: A large tent? 

Yellow: It’s against a wall of trees that seem to have grown against the side of the mountain. It’s white – I almost didn’t notice it, but...

Arthur: Sounds like it could be a surveyor site for sure. 

Yellow: Yes, almost like a makeshift building. It’s open at the front.

Arthur: No sign of the mining camp? 

Yellow: No, I think we came out to the north of the wood near the pass. I forget its name but it was on the map. Dawn, I think.

Arthur: Dawn Pass? 

Yellow: Yes. 

Arthur: Okay, well, let’s be cautious. 

Yellow: Irvine said he came here about a month back? 

Arthur: Yes, and...?

Yellow: What’s the likelihood he’s still here?

Arthur: His stuff is here… his tent…

Yellow: A little more — we’re just on the edge of the tent. Here!

Arthur: Well? 

Yellow: It’s empty. 

Arthur sighs and steps inside.

Yellow: This was most definitely a campsite of someone who was more learned than the people of Addison. 

Arthur: How so? 

Piano theme plays

Yellow: There’s a small cot in the corner, next to it a small pipe stove. There’s a blanket on the ground beneath both with a set of muddy boots on their side.

Arthur: Boots?

Yellow: Across from the cot is a table, a makeshift workstation with papers on the top, writing implements, various objects I’m not familiar with. Next to that another table sits with large maps piled high and books beside. 

Arthur: Well...

Yellow: Underneath the tables are crates of food and a large glass bottle of water. 

Arthur: Interesting.

Yellow: This man was most definitely surveying the mine. 

Arthur: Yes, but… what happened to him? He left his boots here. 

Yellow: A pair of boots. Who knows – maybe he had multiple. 

Arthur: Maybe, but then where is he? 

Yellow: He could be in the mine. 

Arthur: Right…

Yellow: There must be an entrance around here.

Arthur: Or the answer may be here in the tent! Let’s look around.

Yellow: Why? We’re only here for the surveyor, let’s head to the mine. 

Piano fades

Arthur: Right, but we may not have a chance to explore if he returns. I’m keen to find out why he’s here, and more about the mine. Let’s look around. Come on.

Yellow sighs

Arthur: Look, information is how we frame what happens to us. It’s all fine to know where the entrance to the mine is, but… but if we learn that the mine is filled with deadly gas, that could drastically alter the way we proceed. That must make sense for you, no? 

Yellow: Fine, look around. To me it seems like a waste of time. 

Arthur: I promise you, it won’t be. 

Footsteps

Arthur: Where’s the table?

Yellow: The right corner of the tent. 

Arthur: Brilliant.

Yellow: It’s covered with papers, hand written most of them. A few flasks of liquid with sediment at the bottom. Various… implements — I don’t recognize any of this, Arthur. I don’t know how useful this is going to be.

Arthur: Look, it’s okay… What do the papers say? 

Yellow: Ugh… They talk about a mine… various entrances, some marked, others… sealed? 

Arthur: Sealed? 

Faroe’s Waltz piano theme plays

Yellow: Well… no longer, I suppose. Looks like the surveyor opened them back up… Says he had dynamite in the mines, crates of it.

Arthur: Must still be in there? You don’t see any…?

Yellow: No. 

Arthur: So he opened back up the mine. But why did they close it? Does it say?

Shuffling papers

Yellow: Ugh… Seems like there was plenty of coal in the mines, to the point where, and I quote, “full carts of coal were left abandoned on the rails upon inspection.” 

Arthur: So Larson closed a profitable, active mine. For what purpose? 

Piano ends.

Yellow: I have no idea. I also don’t see how any of this helps us. If we lose our chance to leave because of your…

Arthur: Fine. Alright, the other desk? The one with the maps.

Rustling papers.

Yellow: It’s a large, hand drawn layout of the mines… various exit points all around.

Arthur: Mmmm… Anything noteworthy? 

Yellow: Besides the exist? Including one… above? 

Arthur: Above? 

Yellow: I don’t know — it seems drawn on top of the original. 

Arthur: Right, right.

Yellow: But no, nothing else seems noteworthy.

Arthur: Alright, let’s come back to these. Where's the cot? 

Yellow: To the left, in the corner opposite this one.

Footsteps

Arthur: Alright, when was this last used? Obviously there must be some sheets on it for warmth. Anything in the bedding or bag?

Yellow: The cot is draped in thick, heavy blankets. 

Arthur: Are they thrown aside? Is it made? 

Yellow: What do you mean, made? 

Arthur: Like… like how you’d make a bed. 

Yellow: What do you mean, ‘make a bed’?

Arthur: Look, are the sheets neatly laid flat or are they in a crumpled mess as if someone just woke up and left. 

Yellow: The latter. 

Arthur: Right, so… it doesn’t mean anything necessarily, but that, added to the boots, could imply the surveyor left this place quickly, maybe in the middle of the night.

Yellow: Why the middle of the night?

Arthur: Well, when he was presumably in bed. He got up, left it like this.

Yellow: You left your bed back at the inn like this.

Arthur: Right, look, I said it could imply. The boots, you said they were mud covered?

Yellow: Yes. 

Arthur: Well, it’s not muddy around here, is it? 

Yellow: No. 

Arthur: Which means…?

Yellow: He used the boots… in the mines?

Piano theme plays

Arthur: Exactly! See? It’s not a guaranteed answer but it’s an option for sure. We start collecting the options and from there we postulate probable situations that may have arisen. 

Yellow: Right…

Arthur: Look for example, if what I’m postulating is correct, y’know he woke in the middle of night — startled by something, perhaps. Hehrew back his sheets, turned, didn’t have time to put on his boots, and…

Yellow: Grabbed his coat? 

Arthur: Right, right! Is there a coat here? 

Yellow: Not that I can see. 

Arthur: Okay, no boots and a coat… So maybe he did leave quickly. Must’ve been dark, so…

Yellow: A lantern. 

Arthur: Right! Where? 

Yellow: There are a few here at the foot of his bed. 

Arthur: A few, eh… Well, makes sense, easier to rotate between them if they run out of any sort of gas, or oil. Um, especially if he’s spending time in the mine.

Yellow: Wait.

Arthur: What? 

Piano stops

Yellow: These lanterns, they’re…they’re the same type as the one we found in the woods last night. 

Arthur: What?

Yellow: The ones near the blood… and the tracks.

Arthur: Jesus…

Eerie violins rise

Yellow: Do you think it was the surveyor that we found in the woods? That wasn’t far from here.

Arthur: I don’t know. Possibly.

Yellow: What does that mean?

Arthur: I don’t know. He woke, startled. He went to the wood… but why? What was he heading toward?

Yellow: Or what was he trying to escape?

Unknown creature sounds

Arthur: Oh my god. 

Yellow: What the fuck was that?

Heavy, inhuman breathing — something squelches

Yellow: There’s something outside the tent. 

Footsteps, snarling

Yellow: Arthur! It’s moving toward the opening. Get the rifle ready.

Arthur raises the rifle, breathing hard. Creature snarls.

Violins cease.

Arthur: Well? 

Yellow: Well what? There’s nothing there.

Arthur: What?

Both cry out — they crash into something as violins resume

Yellow: Fuck! Arthur!

Arthur: What the fuck! 

Yellow: Arthur!

Arthur: What just hit me!

Yellow: I have no idea! There’s nothing there!

Yellow shouts — things crash

Yellow: Arthur move!

Arthur: WHERE?!

Yellow: Left!

Arthur: I feel something… there’s something here!

Yellow: There’s nothing there! RUN!

Arthur groaning and straining

Yellow: Crawl forward!

Yellow: We’re out of the tent — run, Arthur, to the mountain! Your left! RUN!

Arthur runs, breathing hard

Arthur: Is it following?

Yellow: I have no idea, Arthur! Whatever it is, I can’t see it.

Arthur: How?

Yellow: I don’t know!

Arthur stops running.

Yellow: Why are you stopped!?

Arthur: We don’t even know where we’re running!

Yellow: The mine!

Arthur: Why?!

Yellow: Jesus...

Arthur: What?

Yellow: Prints… in the snow... I can see them being formed, but… nothing is there. MOVE!

Running, panting

Yellow: Arthur, an opening, in the mountain!

Arthur: The mines? 

Yellow: A cave! 

Arthur: Uh…

Yellow: Your right, now!

Arthur dashes into the cave 

Arthur: Does it go deeper? 

Yellow: I don’t know! Probably, but I don’t see...

Arthur: Well, what the fuck!

Yellow: I’m trying, Arthur, I’m fucking trying!

Arthur: Where’s the entrance? I’m gonna shoot as soon as you see… I dunno, footprints at the entrance. 

Yellow: Fine! Fine!

Arthur raises the rifle

Yellow: Back up, you’re too close to the entra...

Arthur stumbles.

Arthur: Goddamnnit. 

Yellow: Arthur! You backed up over…

Arthur: I know — I fell — let me get up and reload—

Yellow: No! Listen! It’s a body, Arthur. A shoeless corpse. I think it’s the surveyor.

Arthur: Wait... Wait… it was dragged back here? 

Yellow: Yes.

Rushed footsteps. Arthur cres out.

Yellow: ARTHUR! 

Arthur gasps and pants

Yellow: The cave entrance! 

Arthur struggling - creature snarling

Yellow: Arthur, your leg!

Arthur: Fuck… fuck… 

Yellow: Move, quickly!

Arthur: My leg—

Yellow: Move!

Arthur panting as he struggles outside.

Yellow: You’re out, you’re outside again. If you can just make it to the trees!

Arthur hits the ground, panting, as heavy footsteps advance on them.

Arthur: I’m sorry.

Yellow: Arthur… You should be.

The creature snarls. 

Yellow: Wait.

Arthur’s hearing goes in and out, pierced by a whistling sound.

Yellow: Arthur! Arthur.

Heavy breathing.

Yellow: It’s Larson.

Static

 

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Transcribed by the amazing Croik! My absolute appreciation to them for their effort and patience in making this.