Jan. 28, 2021

Part 7: The Island

THE ISLAND

 

Static

 

Waves splashing, Arthur panting

 

Arthur: Nothing?

 

John: Nothing.

 

God, I’ve been rowing for hours it seems.

 

I believe so.

 

Are we even going in the right direction?

 

There is literally no way of knowing. The fog still has yet to let up, the only difference is the sun is almost set.

 

What do you mean? We could be trapped out here, at night?

 

Is there a difference to you?

 

No, I suppose not.

 

Oars thudding against boat

 

God, my arms.

 

Think of this as rehabilitation… after all, you were in a coma for over a month.

 

I think that’s why this is so difficult. [Grunt]

 

And… set.

 

The sun?

 

Yes. It’s an eerie feeling to watch the last of the day's light disappear through fog.

 

Hmm.

 

Like… watching a life disappear. The fading fire behind someone’s eyes slowly dimming.

 

Hmm. You sound practiced in that experience.

 

Maybe… we still don’t know what I have seen, or felt, or heard.

 

Or done.

 

Yes. It brings me solace.

 

Not knowing?

 

No, watching the sun die.

 

Waves splashing, oars thudding

 

How’s it look now?

 

Now we are nearing complete black, on a fog covered lake. This may have been a bad idea, Arthur.

 

We needed to-

 

Wait!

 

What?

 

A light…

 

 Where?

 

Everywhere.

 

How?

 

There! There’s a brilliant light coming from ahead… in waves.

 

Waves?

 

As if passing-

 

Oh, it’s a lighthouse!

 

Yes.

 

I wonder if it’s on the island.

 

Her note didn’t say anything about what the island had on it.

 

[Laughter] But we have our beacon to land, at the very least. You spoke too soon.

 

Oars thudding

 

I suppose I did.

 

[Grunt] Is there a dock or...?

 

It’s difficult to tell, the fog is so thick… we may be upon it before we can even see.

 

Wow, alright.

 

Waves splashing

 

I think… yes. Turn a bit to your left, there’s an old boathouse.

 

A boathouse?

 

Yes. It’s decrepit and rotten beyond belief. We’ll need to duck to pass into it, as the entryway has all but fallen apart, but it will let us tie up.

 

Alright, tell me when to-

 

Thunk

 

Ow, fuck!

 

Duck.

 

Waves splashing, echoing off boathouse walls

 

Alright, I think we’ve made it.

 

Unless we’ve just rowed across the lake.

 

Always the pessimist.

 

I prefer ‘realist’.

 

As all pessimists do.

 

The floor here looks shaky at best...

 

Arthur getting out of the boat

 

Be careful.

 

Right. Is there a way out?

 

Straight to the back. The doorway is nearly caved completely but…

 

Footsteps

 

So… what are we looking at?

 

Well, the fog obscures all but the passing light of the lighthouse, which seems to be up above us, somewhere on the land… to your right is shoreline.

 

And how does it look?

 

Cold… unpleasant. Nets are mixed equally with the seaweed that seems to cling to the shore. The sand fades quickly into the black water, the light is almost gone. We’ll need some way to see in the dark soon.

 

Right, well, since the lighthouse is working, there is someone there, which means at the very least we can confirm if we’ve made it to the island, though… I believe this is it.

 

Gut feeling?

 

More than that...

 

More? How so?

 

There is… something here... something meaningful.

 

You’ve become awfully certain in these last few hours.

 

This is the culmination of our work. We’ve finally arrived where Amanda has wanted us to.

 

You talk as if she intended to die.

 

No, I just mean… this feels like the right direction. Forward.

 

Down feels more apt, but I follow your instinct.

 

Speaking of, can you see where the path leads?

 

Yes, the wooden floor stops quickly… there is an old cobblestone path that leads up the side of this hill but… it’s a sharp climb.

 

Alright.

 

Arthur climbing, gravel sliding

 

[Grunt] You weren’t kidding, there are moments here that feel like I’m climbing up a ladder, nearly.

 

Skittering noise

 

What was that?

 

I don’t know.

 

Arthur continues climbing

 

The wall, uh, the rocks, they feel… warm.

 

I feel it too, in your other hand.

 

It feels almost… like it’s moving.

 

Arthur…

 

The wall, here…

 

We’re losing all light.

 

Right, right.

 

Arthur grunting, climbing

 

There! I can feel the top.

 

Yes.

 

Ominous sound

 

Jesus!

 

What?

 

Just… a graveyard.

 

A graveyard? On an island?

 

Jesus.

 

Maybe you’re right, maybe this isn’t-

 

No… it is.

 

This is the island?

 

Yes. The fog, it… it’s still here but it clings to the ground only, right through to the other side of the island. I can see everything.

 

What is there?

 

This island is fairly large, we’re standing next to a massive, uneven graveyard.

 

Freshly used?

 

Not in centuries, by the look of it. It’s surrounded by a half-sunken, wrought-iron gate. It’s doing nothing to keep the elements out. Beyond it there is a copse of trees, dozens enough to obscure my view but… I think there might be a building beyond them, in the distance.

 

Wow. And the lighthouse?

 

Yes. it’s closest to us on this end of the island, it’s old, very old, and stands tall. There’s a small building made of wood at the front of it, a couple hundred feet away.

 

Still, why a graveyard? On an island, it just seems so…

 

Why isn’t the fog touching this island?

 

Many questions, but Amanda wanted us to come here, so clearly…

 

We are in the right place.

 

Right...let’s head to the lighthouse. If there’s someone there maybe they can help us piece some of this together.

 

Footsteps crunching in gravel

 

This graveyard is ancient, Arthur.

 

How?

 

The stones are all fallen apart. What was once a mausoleum far in the corner seems to have been destroyed by time.

 

I can’t fathom why this place would house the dead.

 

Perhaps it was once part of the mainland.

 

Then why wasn’t it on the map… especially if there’s a lighthouse here, obviously people know about it.

 

Maybe we’ll find out.

 

Footsteps, gravel crunching

 

Where is the…?

 

Down this gravel path.

 

Right.

 

Footsteps, gravel crunching

 

It’s quiet here.

 

Eerily so.

 

It’s night now?

 

Yes. Luckily the moon is illuminating a lot around here.... Here.

 

Well…

 

Well what?

 

Should we knock, or?

 

There’s something written on the door.

 

How?

 

There’s a piece of wood, it’s painted. Black letters. It’s nailed to the centre of the door, it reads “Ring not, lest ye wake the dead.”

 

Ring?

 

It looks like there is a small bell hanging from the stone wall of the lighthouse. At one point it must have had a pull string.

 

Well, let’s hope knocking is fair game.

 

Knocking

 

Anything?

 

Not that I hear.

 

Should we try the door-

 

Door creaks open

 

French Man: Partir!

 

(Startled) Jesus!

 

What do you want?

 

Oh, fu- Jesus.

 

John: There’s a man standing before you, Arthur. He has a long, navy blue coat and a grey, thinning beard. He has a well-kept mustache of the same colour.

 

(Startled, nervous) I’m sorry, I- I was hoping I could speak with you.

 

French Man: Come in.

 

John: He’s stepped back to permit us entry.

 

Oh, ah… thank you.

 

This is a small living quarter. A fireplace is crackling in a stove in the corner, there’s a high-backed chair with a smoking pipe on a table next to it, and a cot near the fire. There are stairs leading up, this place is well lived, and old.

 

French Man: Apologies for the accusation when I opened the door, I thought you were someone else.

 

No, it’s… it’s alright.

 

John: Who did he think we were?

 

French Man: Café?

 

Sorry?

 

Ah… coffee?

 

Please, yes.

 

I, ah…

 

John: He’s searching for a second cup.

 

French Man: [Blows dust] I have not had visitors in uh… well as long as I can remember, you must apologize for my manners.

 

No? You said you thought I was someone else.

 

Yes…

 

Who?

 

I don’t have milk, but I have sugar?

 

Dishes rattling, lighthouse beacon squeaking continuously in background

 

No, it’s alright… I’ll take it black.

 

Bon.

 

John: He dodged the question. He’s put the kettle on.

 

Kettle clanking, paper rustling, stool scraping against the floor

 

French Man: Please.

 

John: He’s cleared a small stool for you to sit.

 

Thank you.

 

Arthur grunts, stool creaks

 

French Man: What brings you to the island at this time of night? At this time of year?

 

John: He’s picked back up his pipe and sat down across from us, he’s studying your face and eyes.

 

Um, well it’s a long story…

 

French Man: I have a long time.

 

John: He’s just gestured up to the light above, it seems to leak in in a circular pattern. The walls look like they’re almost moving.

 

I’m looking for a friend of mine. She came here.

 

French Man: Ah, yes. I seen her.

 

Yes? Has she been here recently?

 

Not for a few weeks, I think.

 

You never spoke with her?

 

Non.

 

John: He seems nervous.

 

But you thought I was someone else when I was knocking.

 

French Man: I did. These… This place, it brings many souls.

 

You just said…

 

Not like you or me, non. The graveyard out there, it… at night sometimes I think they knock. Eh, maybe they don’t.

 

Yes… what is that graveyard?

 

What do you mean?

 

I’ve never seen a graveyard on an island before.

 

Non? You haven’t heard of diable-ah… Devil's Graveyard?

 

A Devil's Graveyard? No.

 

Ah…

 

John: He’s standing, moving to the wall as if to face outside but there’s no window.

 

French Man: A Devil's Graveyard is where you bury your very unwanted. No one to visit, eh? Murderers, killers, monsters… those not fit for even being burned alive. They would bring them out here and put them where they could not leave.

 

Leave? They’re dead though.

 

Eh, some, yes.

 

Some?

 

Maybe not so dead when they were buried, you know?

 

Kettle whistling

 

What is your name, friend?

 

It doesn’t matter, I’m sure I’ve forgotten by now.

 

How long have you been out here?

 

Coffee being poured

 

Too long. But what of you? You said you were looking for a friend of yours. If we are to be honest, let us be honest, eh? What really brings you out here?

 

[Sigh] What really brings me here is the death of Amanda Cummings. She is the most important piece towards understanding what has happened to me.

 

And what has happened to you?

 

John: Arthur.

 

I have been…

 

Don’t.

 

I have seen things that I can’t comprehend or explain, creatures that exist only in dreams or… nightmares rather. I’ve experienced unexplainable horrors and have felt the grip of madness on my mind. There is something… more out there.

 

French Man: This is very true.

 

I believe Amanda Cummings was taken by some… cult. She escaped them for some unknown reason. She lost her family and her life in Arkham, so she moved out here; why, I don’t know. It may have been family or just some place to escape to… or… for another reason.

 

This island.

 

Yes, but… we found her too late. She died. The only piece of information or evidence led us here, to this island, and so we are at your mercy as to why she may have been here.

 

Slurping coffee

 

John: He’s taking a long sip of his coffee.

 

French Man: Not all who is buried in the Devil's Graveyard is forgotten. Most, eh, but not all. Many years ago, before the iron weakened, before the fog came in, a man dies who could not be forgotten. By the town, yes. But his wife? Non. She would not leave his side… not even in death.

 

This man’s wife, she killed herself to be with him?

 

That may have been easier but… non, she came here first, to the island.

 

To… visit?

 

To live, at least in a way. When they bring his body she comes with. They put him in the ground and she does not leave. They tried to convince her it was death but she does not leave. Instead she stays. Some stay she stays with the lighthouse keeper, at least for a while but ah… others say she refuse.

 

Why?

 

I do not know. Perhaps it was improper. The lighthouse is very old, the keeper stays with the flame always. It is very lonely…

 

John: He’s looking up, toward the turning light above. As if… romanticizing.

 

How did she survive?

 

French Man: She was not a weak woman, it takes immeasurable strength to leave everything behind.

 

John: He’s moved to the door, pointing past it to the outside world.

 

French Man: From the lake she brought stones, black as night. She carries them up, up, up. Every day she places them, soon begins to build… a place for her… to stay.

 

She built a home?

 

Oui.

 

That’s… that must have taken her years.

 

Oui… it took her many. But she did. Piece by piece, she did.

 

Alone?

 

Non, she was not alone. She was with her husband.

 

But you said he was dead… buried in the graveyard.

 

She was not alone.

 

John: He’s finished his coffee and set the cup down.

 

Footsteps

 

French Man: This home is where she went, your friend.

 

Amanda?

 

Oui.

 

Why?

 

That is a question I cannot answer.

 

Footsteps, items rustling

 

John: He’s moving around the room, grabbing a bag of something.

 

French Man: But the home still stands at the far end of the island, past the graveyard, where she built it.

 

Who are you? How did you become keeper? Who- who did you replace? I…

 

This ah, story has helped, oui?

 

Yes, of course.

 

Then you help me too.

 

What?

 

The wick, it cannot falter, eh?

 

John: He’s pointing up to the light at the top of the stairs.

 

No… of course.

 

French Man: I will be back in a moment but I must do something. Watch it, if it goes out, light it quickly, bon?

 

Wait, I can’t…

 

John: He’s moving to the door.

 

I…

 

French Man: Merci.

 

A-alright… alright. Be quick, please.

 

Door creaks open, shuts

 

Arthur sighs, footsteps

 

John: Well.

 

That was… interesting. Am I understanding him right? The woman followed her dead husband here because she couldn’t leave his side?

 

Then she built a home here, on the island. I suppose to live out the rest of her days near his grave.

 

But he said she was not alone…

 

Yes.

 

Amanda went to that… widow’s home. I… I wonder if there’s something more to it, it seems odd.

 

I doubt the story is as he said. Rarely are these tales representations of the truth.

 

Right. Who would have told it anyway? The original lighthouse keeper or…?

 

Exactly.

 

Footsteps

 

[Sigh] This place, despite me being unable to see it still chills me.

 

It’s a welcome respite from the outside, I promise you.

 

Right. Well, now we’re stuck here I suppose. Where did he even go?

 

Few options are good for us.

 

Meaning?

 

Our boat. It may be the only one off this island.

 

Ho- hold on, what do you mean? You think he’d take it?

 

 

I don’t know anything about this man, nor his duty. We have no idea how long he’s been here or why. This is not a desirable job, for all we know.

 

This could be his prison…

 

Yes… look, let’s not worry. He didn’t strike me as greedily excited to leave. As you said, maybe I’m just being a pessimist.

 

Realist, remember? [Sigh] Well, anything of interest in here?

 

Not really, as I mentioned he clearly lives in this small area. There’s the staircase leading up…

 

Footsteps

 

Not much stuff for someone who lives here full time.

 

No?

 

Skittering noise

 

What was that?

 

I don’t know, it sounded like it was coming from beneath the floor.

 

Do you see anything?

 

I… yes, the floorboards. There’s a floorboard in the corner that looks almost…

 

Like they have something beneath?

 

Yes.

 

Footsteps

 

Here?

 

Yes.

 

Arthur grunting, floorboards creaking

 

Floorboard clattering

 

There, it’s off.

 

What is it?

 

It’s… there looks to be a lower level.

 

Lower level? Are there stairs or…?

 

I don’t know. Maybe but… these aren’t it.

 

Skittering

 

There it is again! What is that?

 

We can try to find out.

 

Something is wrong about this place, this island.

 

Besides the Devil’s Graveyard and the widow’s shack?

 

You know what I mean! This is a breeding ground for something sinister.

 

Then maybe this is why Amanda was here, why she came.

 

[Sigh] Can you see anything down there?

 

Lay down and let me check.

 

Arthur grunting, laying down on the floor

 

Yes.

 

(Echoing slightly) What?

 

Bones.

 

(Echoing slightly) Bones? What kind?

 

Human.

 

(Echoing slightly) Jesus!

 

We need to leave this place. Now!

 

Arthur getting up

 

Put the board back. Quickly!

 

Floorboard creaking

 

Couldn’t they  be-

 

Just do it! Let’s just get out of here.

 

But we said we would wait?

 

Arthur! We don’t know this man, or what he plans on doing. These bones didn’t look like they were from the graveyard. They looked fresh.

 

How fresh?

 

Fresh enough for me to tell you to get the fuck out. MOVE Arthur!

 

I… I…

 

(Angry) What?

 

I- I don’t know if we should.

 

You want to wait?

 

No, I- I don’t know… maybe?

 

Are you fucking kidding me Arthur?! Have you learned nothing? Make a decision!

 

I don’t know! I’m torn! I don’t know which to do.

 

Arthur, you need to make a decision. Should we wait, or should we leave?

 

I don’t know! I don’t know.

 

Eerie tone, wind whistling

 

Fuck.

 

What was that?

 

Damn.

 

What?

 

Arthur… the light went out.

 

What?

 

The lighthouse.

 

He said the wick… he said it can’t falter… and now it-

 

Eerie tone, wind howling, swooping sound

 

There’s something outside… something inhuman.

 

The door?

 

It’s unlocked.

 

Footsteps, door locking, wind whistling

 

We need to move.

 

I…

 

Arthur!

 

We could light it.

 

Arthur, it’s-

 

We’ll go up and light it!

 

Footsteps, climbing stairs

 

This island, it… it has a set of rules, clearly this light being lit is one of them. There’s something trying to get in here, and I- I’d rather not let it.

 

Climbing stairs, Arthur panting

 

(Out of breath) God, I can hardly breathe.

 

Arthur this is a bad idea, we should be getting out of here, we should be moving as far away from this place as possible.

 

Climbing stairs, Arthur panting

 

You’re near the top… There, you’ve made it.

 

How… where is… do we have…?

 

A lighter, yes.

 

Lighter flicking

 

Arthur, the glass panels that are surrounding are weathered. The fog covered night beyond seems to-

 

Lighter flicking

 

Come on.

 

Arthur…

 

Lighter flicking

 

Come on…

 

Arthur… the fog has moved into the island.

 

What? How?

 

The light must have been keeping it away.

 

Lighter flicking, sparking

 

Come on! Light you fucking-

 

Glass shattering, wind howling

 

[Grunt] Come on, light you piece of shit!

 

It’s too windy Arthur, it won’t light! We need to get the fuck out of here, the fog it’s…

 

What?

 

It’s moving along the ground, I can’t… I can see it whirl and twist as if it’s alive.

 

What should we-

 

MOVE!

 

Lighthouse light squeaking, wind howling. Footsteps descending the stairs

 

Loud bang

 

God!

 

Fuck. Where did that come from?

 

Loud bang

 

Something is banging on the front door below.

 

Footsteps descending stairs

 

Arthur there is no other way out, let us just leave through the front door. It’s right in front of you.

 

Alright.Do you hear anything on the other side of the door?

 

...No.

 

Door creaks open, something hits the ground

 

Jesus Christ.

 

What is it?

 

The lighthouse keeper.

 

Is he? He… He’s…?

 

His flesh has been picked clean. Large pieces of him are missing.

 

(Quietly, scared) Jesus Christ. What has happened?

 

Arthur, whatever this light was keeping at bay is no longer the case. We fucked up. You fucked up.

 

I couldn’t think, I… I couldn’t make a decision, I…

 

We need to move, now! The fog is already starting to creep in.

 

Wait.

 

What?

 

Shouldn’t we find out what killed him?

 

How?

 

We could touch him.

 

Arthur, NO.

 

We can prepare this way, I’m going to.

 

Footsteps

 

Arthur, no, NO

 

Distortion, John yelling

 

John panting

 

I see him. He’s… walking through the Devil’s Graveyard, he’s carrying something… a lantern. He’s walking back towards the lighthouse, he sees the light going out. He’s running… the fog it’s… it’s moving in, it’s moving in quickly around him, he looks panicked and nervous. He’s putting- he’s putting the lantern down by his feet. He’s running to the door, he’s banging- Arthur he was the one banging on the door! He’s turned around and the fog is all-consuming and… something is emerging from the fog, it’s…

 

Roar, distortion

 

Why did you let go?

 

You said… You didn’t want…

 

Arthur we need to get the fuck off this island now! Move to the boat, quickly!

 

Door creaks open, shuts.

 

Pick up his lamp.

 

Footsteps in gravel

 

Growling

 

Oh my god!

 

Run, Arthur!

 

Running footsteps

 

Fuck!

 

Creature screeching

 

Arthur watch for the cliff-

 

Thud, Arthur falling, splash

 

Gasping and coughing, water splashing

 

Where is the dock? Where is the boathouse?

 

To your left! You’re almost there, hurry!

 

Arthur swimming

 

The boat… is gone.

 

What?

 

Arthur panting, water splashing

 

Arthur. We are stuck here.

 

Gentle piano score

 

We are… we are stranded on this island. You need to compose yourself, and make a decision. We can either head back to the lighthouse, or try for the widow’s house. We know that the lighthouse is safe, we should head back there.

 

Arthur panting, scared

 

Calm yourself, Arthur.

 

Right… right, right.

 

Relax… just breathe.

 

Arthur sighs, water splashing

 

There… there.

 

[Long breath out]

 

Better?

 

Better, yes. It just…

 

I know.

 

No, but it feels like just yesterday to me that we were back in Arkham. Like I was, only moments ago, standing above the book that lay on the floor by my feet.[Deep breath] As if I could see again.

 

Arthur I… I suppose I’m sorry.

 

Sorry?

 

I’ve never said it before… but I’m sorry that I’ve taken your eyesight.

 

Well perhaps that time in the hospital has injected some humanity into you.

 

Or some has returned.

 

Whatever you are, it’s… alright. There are much, much more pressing matters.

 

That is an understatement. Now, where are we heading?

 

The widow’s house.

 

Are you sure?

 

Yes. The lighthouse may seem safe but at this point it’s all an illusion, I’m sure. [Sigh] The illusion of safety. The island, whatever had been keeping the fog at bay, has broken, and we need to focus.

 

The widow’s house may not have any means of escape.

 

No, coming to the boathouse was an impulse, we were scared, but we came to the island for a reason and we have to persevere.

 

That sounds more like it.

 

Yes, well… panic can do that, but my head is clearing now.

 

I’m glad, however this fog…

 

It holds too much unseen. Are you sure the lighthouse can’t be lit again?

 

The windows surrounding it broke, all of them. The wind is too strong to keep the wick lit.

 

Alright.

 

However…

 

What?

 

When I… when we touched the lighthouse keeper…

 

Yes?

 

When we saw his demise, the light not only went out on the tower but also his lamp.

 

You mean this one?

 

Metal squeaks

 

Yes.

 

You think they might be connected?

 

No, but perhaps he… Well, I don’t know. But he didn’t seem afraid until both lights went out… perhaps this lamp provides some safety.

 

Well, then let’s see if it will light.

 

Lantern creaking, lighter flicking

 

(Quietly) Come on…

 

The flame is holding true.

 

Grand.

 

What’s more is that it has a greenish hue to it…

 

Odd.

 

It’s only slight, but it is there.

 

Right, well is there any fog in here?

 

Not really. Step out onto the beach again.

 

Footsteps on wood, sand crunching

 

Well.

 

What?

 

The fog, it seems to… to almost cower from the light.

 

Well then, we have a way to move through the fog!

 

We’ll have to take it slow.

 

Yes, doubly so. I feel like my leg is a bit bothered or something.

 

What do you mean?

 

I can’t seem to feel… my foot.

 

Oh… Arthur…

 

What?

 

I can move the toes.

 

(Panicked) Wha- how?

 

Take a breath.

 

(Panicked) Why?

 

Relax, you’ve just regained yourself.

 

(Panicked) No, no, n-no, this means-

 

This is no different from our left hand.

 

(Panicked) You’re taking over! Slowly, but…

 

Arthur!

 

(Panicked) But-

 

You were in a coma for a month and no part of you was lost to me.

 

Panicked breath

 

So just… breathe.

 

Right. Right, right. [Sigh]

 

Better?

 

It is what it is.

 

Footsteps on sand

 

Alright then. Now, let’s-

 

Wait. So, why?

 

Why what?

 

This only happened recently, I- I could feel my toes only a short time ago, arriving on the island, even…

 

So, what’s changed?

 

When did I lose my left hand?

 

When… when you decided to kill Eddie…

 

I decided?

 

Yes.

 

I don’t remember deciding.

 

You did. I could feel your mind settling on the decision and… somehow I took a hold.

 

And now?

 

Now I don’t know. The lighthouse keeper may have died because of your inaction, but-

 

You think so?

 

I don’t know, Arthur! Let’s just put a pin in this until later, we need to move.

 

Right, right. Let’s just take it slow.

 

Let’s.

 

Footsteps across sand, lantern creaking

 

Skittering

 

[Gasp] There’s that sound again!

 

Just move.

 

Right.

 

Footsteps across sand

 

The fog is now covering the way as well as the graveyard. It skirts along the ground like water.

 

The lamp?

 

It’s keeping it away from us. The circle around us moves as we do, it’s… bizarre.

 

Let’s just be careful.

 

Yes, especially since I can’t see where we’re heading until the lamp clears the fog. It gives us only a few seconds to respond.

 

Low growl

 

What was that?

 

It came from the mist behind us.

 

It sounded like-

 

Just keep moving.

 

Footsteps

 

Stop!

 

What?

 

The ground, it… wait, nevermind.

 

What?

 

It just looked like it was… yes, it’s moving a little bit! ...Maybe, I uh…

 

John, I…

 

J-Just keep moving, forget I said anything. The light, it… it bathes everything in a dark green hue, it’s… it’s difficult to make sense of anything.

 

Are you sure?

 

Yes. It feels like we’re wading through waist high water that parts as we pass. The wrought iron of the gate to your left, the gate to the Devil’s Graveyard, is all that I can see… It’s our only means of a path.

 

Growl

 

Argh!

 

What- what!? What’s wrong!?

 

Jesus! Fuck. Sorry, something moved before us, it’s…

 

Scared panting

 

It’s…

 

Let’s just go, faster maybe.

 

Yes. I see the treeline, beyond should…

 

Footsteps moving quickly, Arthur panting

 

Alright, the trees are here.

 

Creature roars

 

Run!

 

Arthur running, panting, creature growls

 

The widow’s house is just ahead!

 

Running footsteps, Arthur panting. Doorknob turns, door creaks open, closes

 

Arthur panting, scared

 

Breathe. Relax.

 

Door locks

 

The illusion of safety.

 

At least we have that.

 

Arthur panting

 

(Out of breath) What are we seeing?

 

I couldn’t get a good look from the outside, but… this home it’s... very old. The stone work on the floor is bizarre; hand made, obviously. It looks like... large black polished stone worn by shoes over time. They sit connected together haphazardly and somewhat uneven. The furnishings are all hand made; the table, the chair… both in the living room to our left. There’s a large stone fireplace made of the same black stone… and beyond that a small stove and kitchen.

 

Wow.

 

To our right, a small staircase looks to have collapsed, but the floor above looks… sagging. It may be worthwhile to check, however. The walls are skinned logs and there are a few… unsettling paintings here.

 

Any sign of Amanda? Or… or where she may have been in here?

 

Yes, it does look used recently, and for lack of a better word, lived in. But it still maintains a lot of it’s… well, let’s just say ‘charm’.

 

[Sigh] Well, it sounds like we could try getting to the second floor, or start on this one.

 

Footsteps

 

Remember, we’re looking for everything we can to find out why she was here.

 

Right. So, where would you like to start? The second floor, or this one?

 

[Sigh] Let’s start on the main floor; this one.

 

Right.

 

You said there was a living room to our left?

 

Yes.

 

That looks lived in?

 

Indeed.

 

Well let’s start looking around.

 

Footsteps, lantern creaking

 

Anything?

 

It definitely looks lived in. Things are moved around.

 

When you say ‘lived in’... what do you mean?

 

I mean that someone, in the past century, has occupied this space; whether it was for an afternoon or for a week, I’m not sure.

 

So we know Amanda came here, and we have to assume it was for a fair amount of time…

 

Do we have to assume that?

 

I just mean it makes the most sense, based on her apartment seemingly devoid of anything, and the time it took to get here to the island.

 

Fair.

 

Footsteps, lantern creaking

 

You don’t see anything of importance?

 

Difficult to tell. There are some books.

 

Anything-

 

No, nothing that seems relevant.

 

Alright. I guess we should check the kitchen.

 

Yes, it’s just beside the living room. I suppose the widow didn’t need much space.

 

Footsteps, lantern creaking

 

You mentioned that there were paintings on the wall; anything interesting?

 

Hmm… yes. There’s one that looks quite grotesque. Time and a fair amount of dampness have bloated a portrait of a young lady. Her hollow eyes are sagging and her face looks as though the skin hangs off in loose strands. It’s… unsettling.

 

Oh… the widow?

 

Perhaps.

 

I shudder to think what she would look like now.

 

Footsteps, lantern creaking

 

The kitchen has a few cans… locally bought beans, corn.

 

So she ate here, and most likely slept as well.

 

Now I would agree with your previous thought about her spending a fair amount of time here.

 

It so… what did she…

 

Wait.

 

What?

 

A note.

 

Where?

 

It’s on the kitchen table, it’s obscured by a can or maybe it was held down, but it’s left out in the open.

 

What does it say?

 

Paper rustling

 

To whom it may concern,

My name is Amanda Cummings, however, since I was young, I’ve always gone by my middle name: Sarah.

 

Sarah?

 

I suppose so.

 

I guess the paper did print ‘Amanda’... but when we spoke to her neighbour…

 

We never mentioned her name, just asked about ‘the Cummings’ daughter.’

 

Right… keep reading.

 

If you are reading this, I desperately hope that this is who I expect it to be, my old friend A. If not, then I pray that you are a friend, or at the very least a soul who aims to stand against the evil that leaks into our world. If not, please, I beg you, put this letter down and leave.

 

It sounds like we are not who she expected to be following.

 

Are we even the latter?

 

Yes, John, we are.

 

Who do you suppose is ‘A’?

 

Maybe the letter will clarify.

 

She addresses ‘A’ directly in this next paragraph: “A, we were wrong about what this is, what exited that gateway all those years ago. I dare not share the name here, but I know this: it is madness he seeks. He intends to drive the world mad, but what is more, it is through this madness in which he controls people.

 

From what I have read, he strains one's sanity, making them question their reality, questioning those around them until their minds are ready to break. Then, in this state he can influence you through whispers and tales. What is more, I have seen it now. I leave this letter for you, and the location hidden because I have seen his eyes in the head of others. While in town, a man approached me smiling, saying my name, calling me ‘Amanda’ for some reason. It felt foreign on his tongue, as if he said it for the first time. I don’t know how he’s found me, but nowhere is safe.

 

Find a safe CORNER, keep your head DOWN.

 

He can already easily grasp the minds of those that are weak, but once he finds me he will weaken the entire town and turn them upon me. His influence is great, and…

 

A, I don’t know if you’re the one reading this but if you are, stay safe, stay out of sight, and stay away from people.

 

Watch for his sign.”

 

That’s the letter. She signed it ‘Sarah’ and then she’s drawn a symbol on the bottom of the note.

 

The one on the book?

 

No. This one is different… we haven’t seen it before.

 

Are you alright?

 

Yes…

 

Well. So she has a friend named ‘A’ she expected to be here instead of us.

 

(Distractedly) Yes…

 

But most incredible is, well, what she said about the thing’s ability to control people. Immediately I think of Kellin. I wonder now if… well if the voice he heard in his head was this.

 

(Distractedly) Yes.

 

John.

 

Who?

 

John, are you okay?

 

Who is John?

 

What are you talking about? You asked me to call you John.

 

(Coming back to himself) Right…

 

Do you not want that anymore…?

 

No, I do. Yes, John. [Deep breath] Yes, Kellin certainly was someone who seemed to be in a state able to be influenced.

 

Right… in fact, now that I think about it, the old woman who gave us the baby in the woods, ah- the lady in the wheelchair at Amand- ah, Sarah’s apartment, they all seemed a bit…

 

Off.

 

Yes. It does sound like we’re being hunted.

 

Well then.

 

Right… wait, nothing in this letter is particularly dangerous.

 

What do you mean?

 

For someone who went through a lot of trouble to hide this location… doesn’t it seem odd to still hide a name and information in this letter?

 

So?

 

So why was she here? Of all places.

 

To hide out. We read it, this man can influence others around him.

 

No, something doesn’t add up. There’s more here. If this was the destination then there was a reason for it. [Sigh] And where did she learn all this information from anyway? About this thing and how it acts.

 

Hmm…

 

Footsteps, lantern creaks

 

I think this is… well, useful. Only enough information to stop a pursuer from looking any further. I think we’ve only just broken the surface of this frozen lake.

 

You think she hid this location because it holds another secret?

 

Very… and what’s more, I think she wants her friend to find it.

 

How?

 

I don’t know… sometimes there can be hidden messages in the note with… well, I don’t know, maybe hold it up to the lantern light.

 

Paper rustling

 

Anything?

 

Nothing I can see.

 

Hmm… is there anything that stands out in the letter? Anything seemingly out of place? Anything spaced oddly… does it seem to be written plainly? What about the symbol? Maybe look closely at that-

 

The symbol looks normal, Arthur.

 

Look, we’re trying to find out more about this place and our path has steadily led us here, so work with me.

 

Paper rustling

 

She has used capital letters oddly in two places…

 

Where?

 

Near the end, she wrote “Find a safe CORNER, keep your head DOWN” but she put ‘corner’ and ‘down’ in all capitals, it… did seem a bit odd.

 

‘Corner’, ‘Down’. Where are the corners of this room?

 

I don’t even know how to answer that.

 

I mean to say, is this a square room?

 

Mostly. The stairs hide a bit of the shape.

 

Just… walk the room, let’s focus on looking at the corners.

 

Alright.

 

Footsteps

 

The corner near the fireplace seems normal.

 

Footsteps

 

The kitchen too… there’s a corner underneath the back of the stairs, but it’s… wait.

 

What?

 

There is something here.

 

I knew it.

 

There’s a large dresser dragged here, I can see the marks on the ground where it’s been moved often.

 

Let’s move it then, shall we?

 

Footsteps

 

This?

 

Yes.

 

Scraping sound, dresser being dragged, Arthur grunting

 

Well, well, well, Arthur. There is a hatch in the floor.

 

Brilliant.

 

Well?

 

‘Corner, down.’

 

‘Corner... down.’

 

Hatch lifting, hinges squeaking

 

Arthur, it’s a dark stone-walled passageway.

 

To a cellar?

 

It looks… more like a cave.

 

A cave?

 

There’s a ladder on the wall.

 

Well this is clearly where Amanda had spent most of her time, so… this is where we need to head. Once more into the abyss, John.

 

Once more, friend.

 

Should we cover the passageway behind us? Close the door? Prevent anyone or anything from following?

 

Equally locking ourselves in without a means of quick escape. It’s your call.

 

[Sigh] Let’s just shut the hatch, there is no sense in risking whatever was outside following us in here.

 

Alright, then down we go.

 

Hatch closes, Arthur’s footsteps descending ladder

 

Static

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