July 1, 2022

Part 23: The Past (2)

John: Arthur? Arthur! Wake up!

Arthur: Ugh… what? 

John: They’re coming! 

Arthur: What? Why? 

John: I don’t know, but I can hear them approach.

Arthur: They just refilled the bucket, didn’t they? John!

John: It’ll be okay.

Arthur: Fuck!

John: We can do this.

Something heavy hits the ground — a man groans.

John: Arthur…  They’ve thrown someone in the pit with us! A man has fallen.

Arthur: What? 

John: He’s an older man, completely bald and wearing worn clothes. 

Arthur: Hello?

John: He’s getting up. 

Arthur: Stay back! What are you doing here?

Man: I… I don’t...

John: He looks poorly. 

Man: I don’t know, I…

John: I don’t think he means to hurt us. He’s leaning against the wall.

Man: [Breathing hard] I don’t know… they… they took me from my pit, and they threw me in here with you...

Arthur: Do you mean to harm us?

Man: Us? 

Arthur: Me —me. Do you mean to harm me? 

Man: No... no I don’t… I don’t, I don’t…

Arthur: Okay, okay, I’m sorry. I’ve been alone for a long time.

John: He seems… genuine.

Arthur: My name is Arthur Lester. Who are you? 

Man: Faust. [Eerie violins overtake piano] My name is Micheal Faust. 

Arthur: Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Faust...

Transition from the dream

Yellow: [Muffled] Arthur! Arthur! 

Arthur startles awake, crying.

Yellow: Are you… Why are you crying?

Hopeful piano music plays

Yellow: Arthur, we’re in a dining room, Larson’s dining room. You’re at one end of a long table. We’re tied to a chair. There are three large windows to our right along a massive wall. It’s still thundering outside… Goddammit, Arthur, what the fuck is wrong with you!

Arthur pulls himself together to answer

Arthur: We had been in the prison pits for nearly a month before Mr. Faust arrived. 

Main piano theme plays

Arthur: We were nervous at first, on our guard, worried about what that meant. What kind of test it was meant to be… I-I felt it was a test. I knew it was. 

Yellow: What?

Arthur: Just — just please.

Yellow: What are you talking about?

Arthur: Let me, please.

Yellow: Fine!

Arthur: He was old, thin, balding. He wore rags and…and  had nothing… save a cord, a short lanyard that looked braided. Thick. He held it, always, in his hand. Tightly. And he watched us. Always. We kept our distance at first but eventually we talked. The… I don’t know if we were just eager for the company or what, but, but maybe that was part of it. But he never stopped watching us. 

Thunder

Arthur: He would dig up dirt, leaving it in loose piles, as if… as if he were to build a sand castle. He told us he was from another pit and had nearly escaped but they caught him. And at first, I thought they were just trying to torture me, to drive me mad, but I… But I convinced my simple brain of his lie — thinking a place like that ran on the rules of a prison… a temporary bunk mate while they sorted out getting him a freshly dug hole. 

Arthur: [Scoffs] Then I realized they had stopped feeding us. 

Yellow: Arthur. We don’t have time—

Arthur: Please. John saw it in his eyes. A knowing, a truth. You know, I had thought they were feeding me raw meat because they didn’t care to cook it. But now I think that was all part of it.

Arthur: His eyes sat staring at us, ravenous, in the dark. John played sentinel studying him as he held his knees to his chest, pawing the cord with his wrinkled, greasy hand. Collecting little piles of dirt for no discernable reason — just watching us. 

Arthur: I knew he wanted to kill me. They wanted one of us to kill the other with our bare hands… but I wouldn’t. I wasn’t going to kill him, no matter what. They wouldn’t break me. 

A long, eerie pause

Arthur: Until I touched the cord he held so tightly. 

Thunder

Arthur: They had just refilled the bucket after nearly a week and we were both greedily drinking from it when my hand grazed his, grazed the cord he held and… and that’s when John saw the truth. His lanyard was no lanyard at all, but a braid of hair, taken from the last pit he was thrown into. He had turned her skull into pulp under the weight of the bucket. Heavy it sat filled with piles of soft, loose, dirt. That night, laid across his chest, I strangled him. But… but that is not my greatest sin. I enjoyed it, Yellow. I enjoyed taking the life from him. And as I moved my hands up to his eyes, and pushed my thumbs into his skull, feeling the soft, wet popping behind my nails and the warmth of his vitreous humour as it seeped out of his face… I knew they had won. I told John it was because he was winning, he was about to get up. That that was the quickest way for me to end him, for him to die, like a bullet through the skull, but I lied to him. I lied to John and I lied to myself… and I have been haunted by the dreams ever since. 

Music fades

Arthur: I didn’t pay the price. I reaped the benefit of a meal that John paid. With every bite of his raw flesh I took, he relived that death a thousand times. At least until there was no more flesh on the bone.

Piano resumes

Yellow: And you told me you weren’t a fucking murderer.

Arthur: I lied. 

The door opens

Larson: I’m so sorry to keep you waiting Mr. Lester. I had a rather important telephone call.  I’m sorry, was I interrupting you? 

Arthur: No. 

Larson: You sure? 

Arthur: Quite. 

Larson: Well, none the less I apologize for the state you’ve found yourself in. 

Arthur: Who was she? 

Larson: I’m sorry? 

Arthur: The woman, in the vent. The one your Uncle killed. 

Eerie violin stinger

Larson: Do you really wanna know? 

Arthur: N-no. 

Larson: I didn’t think so. Regardless I’m sorry to say I don’t know either way. I try not to learn their names. 

Arthur: What are you? 

Mysterious piano music

Larson: What? Would you like to say, I’m a monster of some sort? That’s an odd way to phrase a question. 

Arthur: I already know who you are. 

Larson: Oh, do you? 

Arthur: You’re Wallace Larson, aren’t you. 

Larson: Well, now! How did you guess that? I thought my disarming nature had you convinced that I was timid little Andrew Larson. 

Arthur: Does he exist? 

Larson: Of course, when I need him to. I do have a place in Arkham in fact…in a way. But most of my travels find me either here or out in New York at the lodge.  

Arthur: The lodge?

Larson: Mhm… So, this is why you’re asking ‘what’ am I. How do I look so young after so many years, and I promise you, it has been so many years. 

Arthur: And? 

Piano transitions to main theme

Larson: And… Uncle is not really Uncle, though the name stuck from some of the kids. He’s a handsome fella, isn’t he? And he’s quite fond of that little music box — he saw it when it fell out of your bag. I told him he could keep it — I hope you don’t mind. 

Yellow: [Gasps] Uncle is standing under the window in the corner. I didn’t see him. He’s flipping the cover open and shut over and over. On your music box.

Larson: Well don’t hurt his feelings, now…

Arthur: Uncle is…Jack, I presume? 

Larson: [Slaps his hand] Right again, Arthur! You are quite the detective, aren’t you? 

Arthur: How did you know my name? I never gave you it, nor anyone in town.

Larson: You gave it plenty, you just didn’t know to whom. 

Larson stands up

Larson: Did you want something to eat, by the way? Sorry, I’ve been rude.

Yellow: He’s standing up, behind his chair. His hands on the back of—

Larson: You tend to pause at odd moments, Arthur. 

Arthur: Sometimes I need a moment to think. 

Larson: I like that. Oh, I like that. I’ll just assume it’s a no, it’s late anyway, I promised a hot meal but I’m afraid it’s just the three of us in the house tonight and, well, I don’t feel much like cooking. 

Yellow: He’s grabbed an apple from a bowl sitting on a table to the side. He’s sitting back down. 

Larson takes a bite from the apple

Arthur: You didn’t answer my question. 

Larson: Nor did you, mine. But I suppose between hunger and the hundred plus year old man before you looking roughly your age questions – yours was more interesting. 

Arthur: Yes. 

Larson: Do you believe in Gods, Arthur? 

Arthur: I didn’t peg you for a Cathloic, Mr. Larson. 

Larson: Please, Wallace, I don’t get to hear it often, and I didn’t use the title singularly, Arthur. I said Gods. 

Larson chewing

Arthur: I don’t…know. 

Faroe’s Waltz plays

Larson: Hmm. I came to this mountain looking to prosper, and I did. For many, many years, I did. My family grew, my children: Tristan first, then Lucian, and little Addison… All of them perfect in their own way. Curious, kind, faithful. Do you have children, Arthur? 

Arthur: No. 

Larson: Hmmm, that surprises me. They grew as this town did around us, around our home, our livelihood. Our family sprouted like roots of a tree, we grew! Each of us more ambitious than the last. Until something changed. 

Larson takes another bite

Arthur: You found something in the mine. 

Larson: No. I’m afraid your streak is broken. Tragedy took my wife and two sons. Tore them away from me, away from the future I had so carefully set out for them to follow. I was lost…

Arthur: Am I supposed to feel sorry for you. 

Larson: For me? No. For Addison… perhaps. 

Arthur: The town, or your daughter?

Larson: One and the same. As I said, something changed that day... but it was in me. At first, I sought a way to bring them back. Finding answers only led to more questions, to more paths, to more… people, like me. Who also sought answers. Solutions to their problems.

Piano fades in favor of eerie swell

Larson: It led us all to the Order of the Fallen Star 

Arthur: [Scornfully] Jesus Christ. 

Larson: So you’ve heard of us? 

Arthur: No, I just lost a bet with myself, that you weren’t just another fucking cultist

Yellow: He’s stopped eating his apple. He’s gestured to Uncle. 

Heavy footsteps — tearing flesh. Arthur cries out. 

Yellow: Arthur, he’s torn off a piece of your right ear! 

Larson: I admire your gumption but will not be disrespected in my own home. 

Yellow: He’s finished the apple and placed it down. Maybe you should shut up and listen, Arthur. 

Larson: I didn’t awaken anything. I asked the Gods that be, ones great and powerful that exist in fathoms beyond your comprehension. In their infinite wisdom they granted me a servitor, and a way to do my bidding. Through that, I’ve seen things, experienced pleasures, dreamt of worlds you could not imagine. 

Arthur: I doubt that. 

Larson: Do you? 

Arthur: I’ve seen these Gods, and they’re nothing

Larson: Have you? 

Arthur: Yes. 

Mysterious piano music

Larson: There are those with faces that would drive you mad, whispers they could tell you that would force you to claw out your own ear drums for fear of upsetting them. They are powerful, immortal and ancient. They are our superiors, Arthur, make no mistake about that. 

Yellow: [Eagerly] Yes! 

Arthur: Shut up. 

Larson: You dare to tell me to shut up? Shall Uncle tear another piece?

Arthur: No!

Yellow: He’s right! 

Larson’s chair scrapes

Arthur: S-Sorry, I—

Yellow: And you… you’ve always been…

Footsteps. Uncle’s heavy breathing.

Larson: [To uncle] May I? 

Uncle huffs

Larson: Thank you. This is quite the music box, Arthur. 

Opens the music box — Faroe’s lullaby plays

Larson: Hmm. Quite a nice little tune, as well. 

Arthur: I wrote it. 

Larson: Did you, now? Well, I’m surprised. Quite lovely. Such a sharp mind and a soft heart. Seems almost contradictory in a way. 

Music box closes

Arthur: I’m well rounded. 

Larson: You’re a man of two minds, Arthur. I see it in you. I see divisiveness, as if two thoughts compete with each other for power.

Yellow: You imprisoned me.

Arthur: Sad to say it’s just me in here. 

Yellow: Captured me.

Arthur: And it’s awfully lonely. 

Yellow: I deserve this body! You— 

Larson: I could fix that? 

Yellow: What? 

Arthur: What? 

Eerie violin music

Larson: If it’s too lonely in there, I could add a voice to your conscience. 

Arthur: How? 

Larson: Arthur, have you not been listening? I can do a great number of things with their help. When I brought my daughter to the gods as a gift, they awarded me such—

Arthur: Y-Your daughter? 

Larson: [Pounding the table] Do not interrupt me!

Yellow: Let him finish! Can he put me back?! 

Arthur: [Dangerously] What did you do to her? 

Eerie piano music

Larson: She was my last child, my single star in the night sky. She was all I had and all I loved. I gave her to them so they knew I was devout. I watched them tear her apart, limb from limb, as she pleaded for me to save her. [Deep breath] As she pleaded for her daddy. It was sacrifice, in the purest form. 

Yellow: Arthur! Ask him about how to separate us! Find out how!

Arthur: [Emotional] You… 

Larson: I...

Arthur: You… She trusted you. 

Yellow: ARTHUR, ASK HIM!

Arthur: You… you were supposed to protect her!

Larson: And yet she saved me. I can’t think of no better honor. 

Arthur: Mr. Larson…

Larson: Wallace.

Arthur: Wallace. I promise... I don’t know how, but I promise you… I will kill you. I will watch the life dim from your eyes as I take your life, and give your daughter whatever justice I can.

A long pause.

Larson: This music box must be special. Shame it isn’t made of sturdier material. 

He drops and crushes the music box. Uncle growls.

Larson: I think our dinner is over, Mr. Lester. Uncle? 

Yellow: [Furious] Arthur! You mother fucker! I will ruin you! I am a god, you fucking human! 

Uncle advances while Arthur struggles

Larson: Oh. Normally, I would have you simply killed and dropped in the mines. We have a nice easy way to dispose of the unwanted that visit, but I think because of that particular insult, I’ll ask that Uncle keeps you alive when he drops you. Let it toy with you a bit before killing you. From what I can tell it’ll enjoy chasing you down.   

Uncle breathing hard.

Larson: Jack? I’m sorry, that was your music box wasn’t it?

Yellow: Arthur, you vile excuse for a human. 

Uncle shoves Arthur into the piano — notes blare.

Larson: Oh! Looks like Uncle wants you to play your song, Arthur. Best not disappoint. 

Arthur: What? I don’t feel much like playing.

Larson: I think it would be a nice goodbye, Mr. Lester. A swan song, as it were. Between you and I, having Uncle this agitated isn’t great. Play for him!

Yellow: I hope he tears your fucking ears off, Arthur. 

Arthur starts to play Faroe’s Lullaby, haltingly

Yellow: You imprisoned me, you took me from my rightful place as king, and stuck me inside this prison. You are a murderer, Arthur, you are a monster. You are no better than Wallace, no better than the foulness you murdered in that pit! I am not your friend; I am not John. And I never will be. I am nothing like you. And he is dead.

Larson: Bravo, Arthur, I’m impressed. 

Yellow: This is your fault, all of this. I hope you know that. 

Larson: I didn’t know you were so much fun. Play another, Arthur!

Arthur: You told me you were sorry you blamed me.

Yellow: I lied. 

Larson: Play something that comes to mind — anything!

Arthur: You also told me you’d never forget me.

Arthur takes a deep breath. A rush of sound — into a memory

Arthur:  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—

John: You’re a tender soul, friend, and I shouldn’t have put such a fire beneath you. Now head over to that piano for me. Just put your fingers on the keys. Play something that comes to mind — anything.

Arthur begins to play the main theme

Arthur: Y-You’ve been awake this entire time?

John: Yes. She comes in to check — she always says “Good morning, John.” And, uh. Well, I like the sound of it. It sounds bizarre, I know.

Arthur: No. No, I’m glad I can call you something.

John: I’ve been so focused on never returning I haven’t actually thought of how lucky I am to have found you. Thank you.

John: She didn’t seem like — I don’t know. She seemed like someone who might have been taken advantage of.

John: What were you dreaming—

Arthur: It doesn’t matter; let’s press on.

John: All right.

John: You’re nervous about going.

Arthur: I’m nervous about finding out what exactly is happening to me.

John: I’ve come to trust you, John.

John: So what are you saying?

Arthur: I’m saying that, maybe… Maybe you’re right. We are of two minds, and more and more I’m realizing, two souls as well. There’s a bleed over effect, but… You are something entirely your own, John.

John: Doe.

Arthur: Yes. John Doe.

Arthur: This is it. Isn’t it?

John: He’s waiting for us.

Arthur: I know.

John: Arthur. Whatever happens… I’ll never forget you.

Arthur: Me, neither, John.

Piano ends

Larson: Another lovely piece, but I’m afraid that’s it. Uncle? 

Uncle drags Arthur away from the piano.

Larson: So long, Arthur Lester. The pleasure was mine.

Dragging.

Yellow: Ugh. Arthur? Where are we?

Arthur: Don’t you remember? 

A hatch bangs open

Yellow(?): The last thing I remember was you shoving a fucking knife through your throat, and me saying goodbye to you.

Arthur: What? 

Yellow(??): What the fuck happened? 

Arthur: John? 

John: Yes, what? 

Arthur: Jesus fucking Christ… John!

Hopeful piano music

John: Yes Arthur!

Arthur: John!

John: Who the fuck is dragging us!?

Arthur: You…

John: Why are you bleeding from your ear? And where does this hatch go? 

Arthur: You…!

John: Did Kayne do this?

Arthur: John! John!!

John: Goddammit Arthur, what?!

Arthur: [Overwhelmed] You remember!

Uncle breathing heavily

John: Arthur, what the—

A heavy blow. A long, long fall.

 __________________________________________________

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