Sept. 1, 2022

Part 25: The Cracks

THE CRACKS

 

Arthur breathes heavily while climbing the stairs

Arthur: That must be what, five flights of stairs, now? How far up is the surface? Or rather, how deep are we? John?

John: What?

Piano main theme plays.

Arthur: How far up is the surface? Are we making any headway? 

John: Yes, just… keep following the railing. 

Arthur: What is wrong? 

John: Nothing 

Arthur: [Sigh] I told you, we’re going to go back. I… Why are you despondent?

John: I’m not. 

Arthur: No? 

John: No, Arthur, I’m disappointed. 

Arthur: [A short laugh] Disappointed? 

John: Yes. 

Arthur: You sound like a parent. 

John: Do I?

Arthur: Yes, I remember saying… [Arthur’s tone softens] I remember being disappointed, too. 

John: I thought you said you don’t remember what it felt like before this? 

Arthur: I don’t. Not really. 

John: But you remember being disappointed. 

Arthur: I remember using that tactic on Faroe. 

John: Tactic? 

Arthur: Knowingly or not, you’re trying to tell me you disapprove of my actions. Well I’m sorry to say, John, that in times of survival we can’t afford to be as naive as you. 

John: Naive? 

Arthur: You want to help these people, as if they’re innocent. You have no idea! You have no way to understand their plight. They could’ve given themselves to this creature willingly at first, they could’ve—

John: And if so, they deserve their fate?

Arthur: Not necessarily, but who knows what they’ve been through, what rites they’ve preformed themselves. [Deep breath] I appreciate and love that you’ve found so much humanity, but a bleeding heart is only going to get us killed. You understand that, right? 

John: You may be right, Arthur. 

Arthur: I’m not saying we lose our sense of self, I’m saying that… we need to stay mindful of “this” – of us. 

John: Okay. 

Arthur: Don’t be disappointed that we didn’t help them. 

John: I’m disappointed that you don’t seem to care. 

Arthur: [Scoffs] Whatever. Look, I do, and whether you see that or not, whether you remember that or not, I-I don’t care. Now tell me how far the fucking surface is. 

John: Still a ways up. I don’t know what kind of exit this will even be, Arthur, it’s not entirely clear where this goes.

Arthur: What do you mean? You said that—

John: I said I think the cavern opens up to the night sky. There’s water dripping and the thunder is louder. It was an educated guess. 

Arthur: Fine. 

John: I just don’t know where this leads. We seem to be climbing higher, but the blackness above us seems to be getting closer. 

Arthur: So not the night sky

John: I don’t know. There are a few flights up. 

Arthur: These stairs. What are they…? 

John: They’re wood. 

Arthur: Old? Same age as the mine, you think? 

John: Hard to tell. It’s possible. There’s no light, Arthur, just what’s reflected from the bonfire below us. 

A long pause

Arthur: [Speaking low] Are they still there?

John: Yes. 

Arthur: Good.

John: Wait. 

Arthur: What? 

John: There’s a… a passageway off the landing above us. It leads into the rock. 

Music transitions to soment piano

Arthur: A tunnel? 

John: Yes! No tracks or anything. It’s too far up for mining, I suppose. 

Arthur: A tunnel up here? How deep is this mountain? 

John: I don’t know. 

Arthur: Is there anything within? A-A light? Or

John: No light for sure. I can only see the darkened outline of the tunnel, large enough for a person and then some, but… nowhere near the size of the mines below. 

Arthur: [Sighs] Well, I suppose we could take our chances. Maybe it’s a way out. 

John: Maybe. 

Arthur keeps climbing

John: Well. Seems like this more or less the top anyway. 

Arthur: Is it?

John: The ceiling here is stone, but slick with condensation. It’s catching the light of the fire far below. 

Arthur: A trick. 

John: You said that caves were tricky. 

Arthur: Yes, well, who knew how much. 

John: So it’s back down, or—

Arthur: Happily try our chances here. 

Arthur grunts, moving forward

Arthur: Oh!

John: A door! 

Arthur: A doorway? Strange. 

John: It’s heavy, wood but with a metal latch, I think.

Arthur: You think… well…?

John: Could this be part of the Larson Estate? 

Arthur: Entirely possible. Fuck.

John: Do we have other options? 

Arthur: [A pause] None. 

Arthur rattles the handle.

John: Locked. 

Arthur: Yeah. Okay, let me—give me a good description of the handle area, okay? 

John: Sure. 

Arthur grunts as he crouches down

John: The light is dim as it’s ever been, Arthur, but I think it’s a large metal pull handle with a keyhole. The top is rounded and it widens near the bottom. The whole thing is about three inches long. 

Arthur: Yes, okay, I can feel it.

John: Have you ever picked a lock like this? 

Arthur: I may have, yes.

Main piano theme returns 

John: Well? 

Arthur: Yes, well, I-I would need something to pick it with. 

John: Such as? 

Arthur: Something thin, flat preferably. About the size of a matchstick. 

John: Hm.

Arthur: I have nothing on me.

John: Goddamn! 

Arthur: Fuck

John: We’ll need to head back.  

Piano fades

Arthur: [Sighs] Hmm. This door, it feels… chipped. 

John: It does.  

Arthur: It’s wood, right? 

John: Yes. 

Arthur: Seems like we’re not the first to come this way. 

John: Why do you say that? 

Arthur: Someone’s tried to break this door down. There are deep gouges in the wood.  

John: So, other people have made it this far? You said Larson wouldn’t have thrown us down here if he had any doubts that we’d escape.  

Arthur: [Distracted] Well, we’re not like other people, are we? [Focused again] Is this piece here — it’s splintering? 

John: You want to try to break down the door? 

Arthur: No, no no no, no, but… but I… we can…

Wood splinters off the door.

Arthur: Here! Here.

John: Oh!

Arthur: How sturdy is it?

Wood snaps

Arthur: Damn. 

John: Why does it—

Arthur: Okay, okay, hold on. Yeah yeah. Here! This, this is — Yes, this piece of wood, it’s… it’s thin.

John: So? 

Arthur: It’s stiff, John. 

John: And? 

Arthur: And just small enough to fit in the lock. 

John: You can use it to pick the lock?  

Arthur: I can fucking try! 

Violin stinger

John: [Excited] Yes, Arthur! 

Arthur: I’ll need a second piece, smaller even.

John: Alright! 

Arthur: Do you see any? 

John: The whole door is splintered. Someone must’ve spent hours trying to break this down. No doubt alerting the creature.

Arthur: Well, we’ll be quieter than that. 

John: There, your hand just grazed by—

Arthur: Yes, yes, I-I feel it. Ah, here. 

John: Slowly. It’s bending, don’t break it. 

Wood creaking and cracking

John: There!

Arthur: Brilliant. Brittle, but it could work. 

John: Okay. 

Arthur: Let me…

Arthur grunts

Arthur: Okay. We may only have one shot at this. 

John: Why? Couldn’t we just pull off more?

Arthur: Yeah well not if I jam it up with broken wood. 

John: Fuck. Right. 

Arthur: Yes, let me just focus, and I-I don’t know, stay quiet. 

John: Right. 

Arthur begin picking the lock

Hopeful piano music plays

John: I am glad you’re surviving for us. I just, I want you to know I’m not unaware of how much you’ve kept us alive. My time away just—

Arthur: Away? I thought you didn’t know you were gone.

John: I didn’t! I mean to say, coming back, it’s just… I don’t know. Maybe it felt like longer. 

Arthur: You don’t remember anything, right? 

John: No, I don’t.

Arthur: Okay, okay. Stay quiet please. 

John: Right. 

Piano fades. Arthur continues to strain until the lock turns.

Arthur: There!

John: Arthur, you fucking did it! 

Arthur laughs triumphantly and stands.

Arthur: We are out of here! 

John: Amazing! Okay, quietly now. 

Arthur: Right, right. 

Arthur grunts as he pushes at the door. 

John: The way forward is dark, almost pitch black, but the stone floor is... carved, not natural stone. 

The door finally opens.

Arthur: [Catching his breath] Well, it’s a way out at least. 

John: Let’s hope. 

They walk through.

John: Arthur, I can’t see a thing, it’s utter darkness. Pull out the lighter — let’s see where we are.

Arthur: Right, right.

Arthur pulls out the lighter and lights it

Arthur: Well? 

John: We’re in a tunnel for sure, but… the stone here isn’t the same as in the mine. 

Arthur: How? 

John: Well, it’s slab stone, blueish – gray, almost.

Arthur: What? 

John: Nothing, it-it's just… this is built. This isn’t part of the mine. 

Arthur: So we are in the Larson Estate? 

John: Perhaps. The hallway goes forward. The walls, ceiling and floor are all this gray/blue stone cut in large bricks a few feet wide. 

Arthur: It just…goes on?

John: The light is very dim, Arthur. The hallway turns a bit to the right up ahead — I-I think — but there isn’t any indication it leads any other way. Not yet. 

Arthur: Alright, alright. Let’s tread carefully.

Footsteps. Main piano theme plays

John: Use your… [grunts]

Arthur: What? 

John: Here. If I cover the flame from our eyes, I can see better. 

Arthur: O-Oh. 

Footsteps continue

Arthur: [Shivers] It feels cold in here. 

John: Colder than the mines? 

Arthur: I don’t know. I couldn’t tell. Yes, maybe. I wonder if this is a cellar, or… I don’t know. For wine and things. 

John: Why stone? Why built into the mountain? 

Arthur: I-I don’t know. Obviously if, if Larson was overseer of the mines, he wanted access to them, right? It’s an easier way than heading down the outside of the mountain. Just head through the basement? I-I don’t know. 

John: Perhaps. 

Quiet walking

John: There is an archway of sorts just ahead. 

Arthur: Okay. 

John: [Awkwardly] Just… letting you know. 

Arthur: No, no, of course. Thanks.

John: Ah, there are sconces on the walls that hold torches. 

Arthur: Oh. Where? 

John: To your right. There. 

Arthur: Ah! 

John: Yes.

Arthur: Let’s… 

Arthur lights the torch.

Arthur: There!

John: That’s better. 

Arthur: Can feel the heat from that, now.

John: Oh!

Arthur: What? 

John: The archway led us to a hallway,. This one is straight: same stone walls and ceiling, but there are multiple passages leading to the left and the right in this long hallway.

Arthur: Passages?

John: Yes, maybe six, though the hallway leads on flat and narrow – beyond where the light can reach. 

Arthur: Can you… can you see what lies in them? 

John: Not until we approach. They look only like darkened arched passageways, abyssal black beyond where the light touches.  

Arthur: Right, right.

John: This… Larson. What was he capable of? 

Arthur: [Ominously] Anything. Everything.  

John: Okay.

Footsteps 

John: Statues. They’re alcoves with statues in them.

Arthur: [Sighs] Great. 

John: Oh, at least, some are. 

Arthur: What? 

Piano fades

John: The ones on the right wall are, but to the left, at least this first alcove, It’s… it’s barred. 

Arthur: Barred? How?

John: There’s a black iron grill covering, preventing any path forward, but I can see a larger room beyond. 

Arthur: Preventing… Is there a gate, or-or a door? 

John: No, this alcove only looks into the other room. 

Arthur: What about the next one to it? 

He moves to the next alcove

John: Yes, there’s a gate here! 

Arthur: And still, behind us, to the right alcove? 

John: Another statue. 

Arthur: Right, right.

John: The hallway continues on as well. 

Arthur: Right, but this room… is it open?

The gate creaks open 

John: Yes.

Arthur: Yes, okay. Can you see what’s inside? 

John: It looks like a table, a long table with more statues, various wall furnishings including a coat of arms and paintings, I think. Everything looks covered in dust. 

Arthur: Hmmm, let’s leave it for now — keep moving. 

The gate creaks shut, they move on. Faroe’s Waltz plays in piano.

John: Another statue to the right, and again iron bars looking into that last room. 

Arthur: Right… What possessed this being built? The mansion above has plenty of rooms for space, and tables, and statues, and— 

John: I don’t know, but all this feels… old. 

Arthur: Yeah but how old could it be, even? This is New England, it’s only been a few hundred years…

John: Has it? 

Arthur: Well yes, it’s impossible that anyone would have any longer, any older buildings here. Especially ones of this make.

John: Why? 

Arthur: Well cause they didn’t sail across the sea until… Well hold on, what are you saying? Look, even if these are a few hundred years old the work and expense that would be put into making something like this, it seems… Well, I don’t—

John: I don’t know, Arthur. The city below the hotel, was… old. Very, very old. 

Arthur: Yes, and… Well…

John: Clearly there are things we don’t know about this part of the world.

Arthur: [Defensively] I know much about this part of the world. Trust me.

John: Then there are things you don’t know about the world itself. Perhaps you’ve been told a lie. 

Piano fades

Arthur: A lie? About when this country was founded? [Humorously] John…

John: You’d be surprised at how little you truly know.

Arthur: [Scoffs] Fine. 

John: The hallway splits up ahead — a T junction that runs left and right. 

Arthur: [Still moody] Great. 

John: There’s another statue here, in between the crossroads, set into the wall. 

Arthur: Oh yeah? What does it look like? 

John: It looks like a knight, with a plume of feathers from its top. It wields a shield and mace. On the shield is a depiction of an octopus, maybe? 

Arthur: Maybe? 

John: Yes, and a — and a  light. Perhaps a sun. 

Arthur: Well [Deep breath] Left or right. Or we could head back — I wouldn’t mind looking around that room a little more…

Eerie stinger - John gasps

Arthur: What? 

John: Arthur, the floor. There are footprints — bloody footprints on the stone beneath our feet. 

Arthur: [Whispered] Fuck. Fuck 

John: They seem to be coming from the right, and heading to the left. 

Arthur: Okay, okay.

John: Well? We could head to the right.

Arthur: Let me think. 

John: Okay, we could head to the right – to where the footprints came from — or to the left.

Arthur: Right, right right. Or to the room we just passed. 

John: That’s right. If any part of you is curious about that room, it could have something to do with the cult. 

Arthur: The… the cult? 

John: Of the Fallen Star, Arthur. 

Arthur: Right, right. Does that matter? 

John: Of course! Doesn’t it? 

Arthur: I guess…?

John: Look, I don’t think we intend on returning, so if you are interested…?

Arthur: You’re right. Let’s head back. I want to see what…I guess, what that room was about.

John: Okay. 

Footsteps. Melancholy piano plays.

Arthur: It’s awfully quiet. 

John: Less so when you talk. 

Arthur: You don’t think anyone is… pursuing us, do you? 

John: Those footprints were in blood, Arthur. Whatever’s down here isn’t playing nice. 

Arthur: You know, there was a time where that would chill me to my bone. 

John: Oh? 

Arthur: Yes 

John: Nothing upsetting about that now? 

Arthur: No, it’s just… so much has happened. So much has changed. I…I feel numb to it all. Like the cold has taken me. 

John: The cold? 

Arthur: [Distracted] Yes, like it’s… washed over me. Like I… I can’t feel as much. [Gathers himself]  It’s nothing that doesn’t come with experience I suppose. 

John: Is that so.

Arthur: Yes! You sound so surprised. 

John: I don’t know. I never thought you to be cold. 

Arthur: Don’t start this again.

John: I’m just saying.

Arthur: Look, you’re right, okay? I hear you. You’re right. I’m losing the plot a little bit and I need to take hold of the reins again, okay? 

John: What do you mean? 

Piano theme changes

Arthur: I hear you. I’m not a callous man, John, I-I recognize that you’re telling me I am losing my soft edges, and I’m sorry I snapped. I’m saying your words are taken to heart. I’ll be more patient. 

John: Really?

Arthur: Yes, of course! [Chuckles] I’m not a machine, I can think and reason and even – despite my resilience, and maybe frustrations at being called callous – which I’ve only done in order to survive… Maybe I’ve thought about it and I’m realizing you have a point, okay? 

John: [Hopeful] Okay. 

Arthur: Good, now. Where is this door? 

John: A little ahead. 

Footsteps. Arthur grasps the gate.

John: Alright.

 

TRANSCRIPTION CONTINUES


 
__________________________________________________

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