A voice in the darkness, a promise to keep, a place to remember...
Malevolent follows Arkham Investigator Arthur Lester as he unravels the mysterious circumstances that have befallen him.
This first part, comprised of 5 chapters, showcases the beginning of Arthur's journey and a glimpse at what lies ahead. Malevolent heavily features the horrors of Lovecraft's Mythos. If you enjoyed this story, become a Patreon supporter to receive all Chapters as they are completed as well as the choices that you, the listener, get to make. Find out more here: https://www.patreon.com/TheINVICTUSStream
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PART ONE - THE DARK WORLD
Original transcript by Carley McConnell and Jack! Reviewed by Moon.
(BEGIN Part 1.)
(The sound of honking cars, staticky jazz music. A dial turns, and a song starts to play: “I can’t forget... the night I met you!” )
(Another dial turn, and the music gets louder: that’s all I’m dreaming of / and you call it madness / ah, but I call it love!”)
ARTHUR (gasping, a grunt that sounds like he’s standing up): Where am I? What’s happened?
ENTITY: Don’t you remember?
ARTHUR: Who are you?
ENTITY (calmly): Who am I? I’m a friend. The best friend you have right now… the only friend you have right now.
ARTHUR: What happened? Why can’t I see anything?
ENTITY: Hahaha, I know.
ARTHUR: What do you mean you know, who are you?
ENTITY: Relax, take a deep breath, relax.
ARTHUR (near tears): I can’t - I can’t… I don’t remember who I am, or where I am, or what’s happened and I can’t see anything…
ENTITY: Calm down, friend. I’ll tell you everything you need to know, okay?
ARTHUR: Ok – Okay.
ENTITY: Let’s start with where you are. You’re standing in the office that belongs to one Arthur Lester.
ARTHUR: Arthur Lester?
ENTITY: Yes, sound familiar?
ARTHUR: Not really.
ENTITY: It should, because they’re your offices.
ENTITY: That’s right, friend.
ARTHUR: Why are we…
(A few footsteps.)
ENTITY: Don’t move just yet.
ENTITY: Cause I want you to do something.
ARTHUR: You want me to…
ENTITY: Do something, yes.
ENTITY: Reach down by your feet.
ARTHUR: What am I reaching for?
ENTITY: Something you dropped.
ARTHUR: Alright… I feel, um…I feel a book.
ENTITY: Yes. Pick it up.
ARTHUR: What is it?
ENTITY (deeper): A book.
ARTHUR: I know it’s a book. I mean…
ENTITY: I know what you meant. I’m just adding some levity to the situation, friend. Now turn around and head towards your desk.
ARTHUR: I-I can’t…
ENTITY: I’ll tell you when you’re close.
ARTHUR: Look, I don’t understand what’s going on.
ENTITY (pointed): It will be fine. (He relaxes.) Just take a deep breath and step backwards.
(Arthur takes a few steps.)
ENTITY: Okay, okay, stop... stop!
(Arthur falls, hits something, and grunts in pain.)
ENTITY: I said stop, friend!
ARTHUR: I tried. I just tripped over something… what is this… it feels... like...
(Tense string music starts to play.)
ENTITY: Now just calm down.
ARTHUR: Oh my god. (Horrified.) This feels like a body!
ENTITY: Yes, it’s a body, Arthur. Your partner.
ARTHUR: What? This is too much.
ENTITY: Arthur… Arthur. (Aggressive.) Arthur! Listen to me! I have your eyes now so you’re gonna shut the fuck up and listen to me. Walk to the desk. Put the book down.
(Arthur steps to the desk. The tense music stops.)
ENTITY: That’s right. Good. Now that wasn’t so difficult, was it?
ARTHUR: No. Okay, what now?
ENTITY: Open up the book, I need to read something.
(The sound of a turning page.)
ARTHUR: Where do I, um…?
ENTITY: Just open it.
ENTITY: Start flipping pages and I’ll tell you when to stop.
(Arthur starts to flip the pages, breathing shakily.)
ENTITY: Arthur… your whimpering is awfully distracting. There, stop. Sepid, lorin, t’zgul. (Voice echoing, the Entity starts to breathe heavily and growl.) Close it!
(Arthur closes the book.)
ARTHUR: What? What did you learn?
ENTITY: Nothing I didn’t already know.
ARTHUR: And what is that?
ENTITY: I don’t know why someone gave you this book, Arthur, but in opening it, you’ve cursed yourself.
ARTHUR: Cursed my…?
ENTITY: Self. And in a manner of speaking, me as well. We’re bound.
ARTHUR: Bound, how?
(One long, slow breath from the Entity. The faint sound of radio static, and a quiet song starts to play.)
ENTITY: I’m trapped inside you. I can see through your eyes and as far as I can tell, I control nothing else.
ARTHUR: But I can hear you.
ENTITY: Yes, well, I guess sharing a body means that we share a mind.
ARTHUR: Who…wh- what are you?
ENTITY: What am I? (The entity laughs.) Let’s save that for now. The simpler question is: who are you?
ARTHUR (incredulous): You told me who I am…
ENTITY: I mean, who are you to have received this book. As for who you are, I know that because it’s written on the door to your office: Arthur Lester and Peter Yang, Private Investigative Services. It’s on the open door.
ARTHUR: And my partner…
ENTITY: Is Peter Yang, I assume, since I can’t imagine why he’d call out his own name before dying.
ARTHUR: He… he called out my name?
ENTITY: Yes… you dropped the book and turned to him. He called out your name and then…
ARTHUR: And then what?
ENTITY: And then he died.
ENTITY: Arthur. Question and answer period is over, did you not hear me? The door is open.
ENTITY: And your partner is laying dead in the middle of the floor. You need to move him before some passersby looks in.
ARTHUR: Alright. Alright.
ENTITY: Watch it, there’s a –
(Arthur walks into a piano, causing a chord to play. He shuts the door and breathes heavily.)
ARTHUR: I am, 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-I-I- hello? Are you there?
ENTITY: Of course.
ARTHUR (gasping): Why?
ENTITY: Arthur, it seems to me that you need to take a moment and compose yourself.
ARTHUR (shakily): I’m trying.
ENTITY: Looks like someone plays the piano, maybe it’s you.
ARTHUR: What? You want me to...?
ENTITY: Stop asking what and just listen to what I’m saying. Sit down at that piano you bumped into and play something.
ARTHUR: But Peter…
ENTITY: Isn’t going anywhere. The door is shut. I shouldn’t have alarmed you so. You’re a tender soul, friend; I shouldn’t have put such a fire beneath you. Now head over to that piano for me.
(Arthur steps over to the piano, moves the bench, and sits down.)
ENTITY: There. Just put your fingers on the keys. Play something that comes to mind, anything.
(Arthur takes a breath and starts to play a melancholic, thoughtful melody)
ENTITY: Well. Now look at that. And don’t you feel a whole lot better too?
ARTHUR: A little bit, yes. I, um... I also remember things. I remember opening that book. I remember hearing a voice, and I remember turning to Peter – (Tense music starts to play.) And...
ENTITY: And you remember killing him.
ARTHUR: It was an accident.
ENTITY: Of course it was. I was there. I saw the whole thing, but that doesn’t change the fact that you killed Peter. And if somebody finds out that it was you. You and me will be going away for a long time. So. What do we have to do first, Arthur?
ARTHUR: First we need to... well, if we call the police, then…
ENTITY: Then you’ll need a world record silver tongue.
(Arthur stands from the piano and steps.)
ARTHUR: Why? Why can’t I just –
ENTITY: Explain that something is controlling your sight? Do you understand what that would mean to these people?
ENTITY: Think. There is a solution, albeit temporary.
ARTHUR (sighing): We need to get rid of the body. I think maybe...
(A knock at the door. Arthur gasps.)
ENTITY: Arthur, it’s okay. Relax. We’re in this together. Do you remember anything else?
ARTHUR: I remember... Peter, um... was my best friend and –
ENTITY: About who might be here.
ARTHUR: Right, um. No, uh… maybe, yes. Yes, there was an appointment and a widower, um... Mrs... um... Um.
ENTITY: There’s a closet in the corner. Is it empty?
ARTHUR: Yes. Yes, it is.
ENTITY: You’re gonna have to move Peter in there.
ARTHUR: Alright. Is there any blood, though?
ENTITY: No. Call out. Tell her you’ll just be a minute.
ARTHUR (calling out): Sorry, I’m just in the middle of something. I’ll be just a few seconds. I apologize.
ENTITY: I said a minute.
ARTHUR: I mean a minute, sorry.
(Arthur steps and starts to drag the body. He grunts in exertion.)
ENTITY: Drag the body to the right of you... (He growls.) The other right. Now, straight back... good. The closet is already ajar. Just kick it open.
ARTHUR: I can’t…
(Arthur kicks the closet open.)
ENTITY: Perfect! Now stand the body upright. Good man, Arthur.
(Arthur shuts the door and begins to step. He breathes heavily.)
ENTITY: Follow the left wall with your hand. The door is right there. Wait –
ENTITY: Do you have a gun?
ARTHUR: Of–of course.
ENTITY: If she starts asking too many questions, or goes for that closet, I’ll let you know. And then you use it.
ARTHUR: I don’t, I don’t know...
ENTITY: We’ll see. Open the door.
(Arthur steps and opens the door.)
ENTITY: There’s no one there.
ENTITY: Maybe they got tired of waiting.
ARTHUR: Maybe I was wrong. Maybe there was no appointment. Uh, I could’ve gotten my dates confused...
ENTITY: Wait, what is that?
ENTITY: On the floor by your feet. Paper. Did the book come in a package?
ARTHUR: Um... yes. Yes, I suppose it did. I... I remember I received it, I tore the paper off and let it fall...
ENTITY: Pick it up. Let me read it.
(Arthur grunts, steps, and picks it up.)
ENTITY: Junior Dewitt Ackerman. Rare Books. Arkham, Massachusetts. Is that where we are?
(Footsteps from the right.)
ARTHUR: Yes, yes, of course.
VOICE (from a distance): You alright, there?
ENTITY: There’s a man to your right. I didn’t see him come up. He’s wearing blue overalls and has dark spots all over his hands. He’s looking at us.
ARTHUR: He, he’s the building maintenance man. W-what, what do I say?
MAINTENANCE MAN (closer): Did you hear me? I said, are you alright there?
ENTITY: Get rid of him.
MAINTENANCE MAN: Thought I heard you and your partner having a spat. Thought I’d, uh, come down and check it out. You guys yellin’ or something? What’s going on?
ENTITY: Was that him knocking?
ARTHUR: Was that you knocking?
MAINTENANCE MAN: Yeah, sorry. You moving furniture in there or something?
ENTITY: What’s his name?
ARTHUR: Eddie, no. It’s completely alright. I... just had a bit of a fall. I tripped over something and. I had to pick it up and move it.
ENTITY: He’s suspicious of you.
EDDIE: Oh, yeah. No, fair enough, fair enough, yeah. Sounded pretty heavy, whatever it was, did you need some help?
ENTITY: Get rid of him. Now.
ARTHUR: No, no, no I don’t. It’s all packed away now. I appreciate it so much, Eddie, um, actually I’m just on my way out...
EDDIE: Hold up, uh, Mr. Lester, look. I hate to do this to you but, uh, as building maintenance supervisor, I’m gonna have to take a look inside.
EDDIE: No, nothing like that. It’s a, uh, a few complaints on the floor below you about leaky pipes. I’ve been meaning to do it for a while and, uh, I’m in the area and I’m catching you now so I figured I’d just pop in to your place, and uh...
ENTITY: Do not let him in there.
ARTHUR: Of course, of course. You’re just doing your job. Perhaps another time, though. It could be a little more convenient later for me, frankly, like I said, I’m just heading –
EDDIE: No worries. Like I said. I can just go in without you. I don’t actually need you there. I just need to get to the pipes.
ARTHUR: Alright, alright. Um... yes, of course, let’s go.
ENTITY (harshly): What are you doing?
ARTHUR: You know where they are. They’re just in the back there.
EDDIE: Of course. Thanks so much. I appreciate it.
(Eddie steps inside and walks around.)
ENTITY: He’s looking around the office. He is only a few feet from the closet where your partner’s body lies, what are you doing?
ARTHUR: It’s Sunday, after all. Isn’t it? I’m trying to remember.
EDDIE: Lord’s day of rest. That’s why I want to get this work done, frankly.
ENTITY: What are you talking about?
ARTHUR: Building is mostly empty. I’m surprised you’re even here, frankly.
EDDIE: Oh, you know me. I’m always here.
ENTITY: Wait. Does that mean you’re the only two in the building?
ARTHUR: So it’s only us in the building now, I suppose.
EDDIE: Yep. Unless your partner is here somewhere.
ENTITY (satisfied): Ah. I can feel you reaching for your pistol.
ARTHUR: Yes, we get most of our work done on Sundays. It’s pretty quiet here.
EDDIE: I imagine your line of work needs a lot of quiet.
ENTITY: Oh, Arthur. I underestimated you. If you aim straight ahead, you can’t miss.
ENTITY: However... you would be killing a man who’s done nothing wrong. (Arthur starts to breathe shakily.) Arthur, put the gun away. You’re nervous and I appreciate that but this is a bad idea. I shouldn’t have prodded you. You can talk him out of here, be smart.
ARTHUR: Eddie, look, I’m sorry.
EDDIE: For what?
ARTHUR: I appreciate that you’re just trying to do your job but in our line of work, we have sensitive materials and files that you cannot be privy to. Even an idle glance could spell ruin to one of our cases. Could, could put a target on your back, even.
ENTITY: He doesn’t care, Arthur.
EDDIE: With respect, Mr. Lester, I’m used to having a target of sorts on me.
ENTITY: Arthur, he thinks you’re a push-over. You’re smarter than him. What does he value? What does he fear? His body is no temple, it looks like he’s gone ten rounds in the ring, you can’t scare him with his life.
ARTHUR: Even loved ones? There are many people, I’m sure…
EDDIE: Live alone, Mr. Lester.
ENTITY: Wrong again. Arthur, look at him.
ARTHUR: I-I can’t?
ENTITY: Well, you’ve seen him before, haven’t you? Does he look like the type to take orders from you? A tight-laced suit-wearing stiff? Challenge him. If you want to convince him, you’ll have to talk to him on his level.
ARTHUR: I –
ARTHUR: I need –
ARTHUR: There’s –
ENTITY (overlapping): Goddammit, Arthur! Stop dancing around it and say what you need to say!
ARTHUR: Alright, listen here, Ed. I don’t give a fuck what you think you need to do in here. You have two options that I’m going to give you only once: you can get the fuck out of my office and come back when I am good and ready to let you or I can pull you out of this office by the greasy hair on the back of your neck and kick your fucking teeth in.
(The sound of something metal clanking against a pipe, and then to the ground. Eddie steps.)
EDDIE: Now listen here, you limey piece of shit. No one talks to me like that. You better hope and pray that I don’t see you again.
(Eddie steps and leaves the office, closing the door behind him.)
ENTITY: Head to the bathroom, Arthur. To your right. The other right. (Arthur steps.) Look into the mirror. I want to look at your face. You can’t see this, but you have the cold, calculated demeanor of someone not to fuck with.
ARTHUR: Whatever you think you know about me... I do not like to be pushed around.
ENTITY: Noted. Let’s head back out to the office – we have work to do.
ENTITY: It seems like Peter is dealt with for the time being and we have a lead on where this book came from.
ARTHUR: But why did I kill Parker?
ENTITY: Trust me when I say I know as little about this as you do. Would it make sense for me to be the catalyst behind all this? Perhaps. But it doesn’t seem all that convincing. Let’s remember that it was you who drew the gun on poor Mr. Eddie. If bloodshed was all that I was after, then I’d be doing a bad job.
ARTHUR: I remember reaching out a hand to him…
ENTITY: Arthur, this isn’t going to help anything.
ARTHUR: How isn’t this going to help?
ENTITY: Because either you’re going to remember why you killed him, which is bad for us – or you won’t, which means there’s no sense wasting time on it.
ARTHUR: Why is remembering why I killed him bad?
ENTITY: Give me a scenario where killing him was for good reason. (Arthur sighs in defeat.) Let us please just focus on the problem at hand. This book is where I was bound until quite recently.
ARTHUR: What is the name of the book?
ENTITY: It doesn’t have a name, at least not when I was bound to it. Just a sigil on the front.
ARTHUR: Yes, I remember seeing the symbol on the front… it...
ENTITY: It was meant to be a prison of sorts.
ARTHUR: So I have something that was imprisoned inside a book, now bound to me?
ENTITY: JD Ackerman Rare Bookstore. Do you recognize the name?
ARTHUR: No. I don’t. More importantly, I want to know who gave this book to me.
ENTITY: Why couldn’t it be Ackerman themselves?
ARTHUR: I mean, it could be. It’d be odd that he would wrap and stamp it.
ENTITY: That is a fair assumption. I guess you’re not a terrible detective.
ARTHUR: In truth I’m quite good, take away my sight and I obviously need some time to adjust but trust me, when my wits are about me, I cannot be matched.
ENTITY: Fair enough. Let’s head to the bookstore, then.
ARTHUR: Yeah, well. There could be another option.
ENTITY: Enlighten me.
ARTHUR: The source of the book is no doubt important, but who sent it to me? This is the much more pressing matter.
ARTHUR: Because whatever they had intended it to do either has or has not succeeded.
ARTHUR: Meaning if they have intended to have my spirit bound with you, then what next? And why?
ENTITY: So what, then?
ARTHUR: I don’t know. Perhaps they intended something different. Maybe for Peter to be the one who was killed, or maybe for your essence or whatever to be unbound completely–
ENTITY: Fine, but what does that mean? Where does that lead us? None of those are leads, Arthur.
ARTHUR: If I’ve made an enemy in any of my cases…
ENTITY: It can come to you while we are heading towards the bookstore.
ENTITY: Now. How do we get there?
ENTITY: Arthur, I can just guide you there.
ARTHUR: No. Gonna need practice.
(Something scrapes across and is put on the top of the desk.)
ENTITY: An index, of some sort.
ARTHUR: A phone book, actually.
(The sound of flipping pages.)
ENTITY: Stop. Ackerman, there. 23 Main Street.
ARTHUR: That’s just a few minutes by taxi.
ENTITY: Well, there’s no sense in waiting.
ARTHUR: Agreed. (In realization.) Oh, wait a minute.
ARTHUR: There was something. Something very off about one of our last cases.
ENTITY: Which was?
ARTHUR: There was a missing girl. We had tracked her to an address - a house, uh, an old, abandoned place north of the city. I remember we had only searched the first floor of the house before an anonymous tip found her body in a field, miles away.
ENTITY: How did you receive a tip?
ARTHUR: Peter and I are legally obligated to alert police before entering any location where a possible victim could be, you know, in case things go south. Peter felt uncomfortable in the house, as if we were being watched, and so we made sure to call it in before proceeding.
(A piano turn starts to play.)
ENTITY: And during the call, that’s when they said they had already found her.
ARTHUR: The body, yes.
ENTITY: And so why do you think this is a clue for us?
ARTHUR: Because I remember seeing something on the wall of the basement door. Something that chilled me.
ENTITY: And it was...?
ARTHUR: A symbol, the same symbol on the front of the book that you were bound in.
ARTHUR: Yes, but I think you are right. It makes more sense to go to the bookshop first
ARTHUR: It may be a bit of a struggle to try and get there, though.
ENTITY: I assumed. At the very least, this would be good practice for us.
ENTITY: I’d hate to be in a situation where you need your eyesight and we’ve been unable to communicate effectively. Don’t want you missing any important shots.
ARTHUR: Right, well, since we have the address, the easiest way would be to take a taxi there.
ENTITY: Well, then, do we have everything we need?
ARTHUR: I suppose so. I have my gun. I’ll bring the book. It’ll be difficult but we can make do if we’ve forgotten anything.
ENTITY: Alright, hopefully we can avoid that maintenance man on the way out.
(Arthur steps, opens the door, and shuts it behind him. A light buzzes and flickers overhead. He starts down the stairwell.)
ARTHUR: Let me know if you see Ed.
ENTITY: No sign of him yet. You’re almost at the stairs.
ARTHUR: So, what are we hoping to find?
ENTITY: Answers, Arthur. We’re both looking for answers.
ARTHUR: To what questions? Which questions are you looking for answers to?
ENTITY: For me, I want to know why I’m bound to you and how I can become unbound. Watch – just. Grab the railing. I’ll let you know when we’ve reached the bottom step.
ARTHUR: I suppose for me I want to know the same… that, and what you are.
ENTITY: What I am, friend, is something you wouldn’t… believe.
ARTHUR: I never thought I’d believe any of this.
ENTITY: Fair, but I think this is beyond your capabilities right now.
ARTHUR: Try me.
ENTITY: Are you sure?
ARTHUR: Yes. If I am to be toting you as a passenger in my body, then I deserve to know what you are and where you come from.
ENTITY: What I am isn’t as important right now as where I come from and if you are truly curious, I will do my best to explain.
ARTHUR: Please do.
ENTITY: Alright. That book isn’t from this world, it isn’t even from this side of the divide. It’s from a dark plane of existence.
ENTITY: Your world, as you know it, is on a singular path.
ARTHUR: A-a path? Like, like a road?
ENTITY: No. Think of existence as a singular pathway. From the dawn of your earth to now, your existence, or the one that you belong to, has followed this path.
ARTHUR: Like a timeline?
ENTITY: In a way, yes. However, time is not the factor that distinguishes this world.
ARTHUR: What does?
ARTHUR: And these choices change our world?
ENTITY: Yes, it causes different versions of this same, core world, branches off, alternate pathways that diverge and cause massive changes to that version of this world.
ENTITY: Look, all of this is only to provide a backdrop to explain.
ARTHUR: That you are from one of these worlds?
ENTITY: Originally, yes… but no.
ENTITY: No, all of these worlds have one, singular, exit. Think of it as the collective junkyard of every version of your world that exists. An ultimate end from which there is no return.
ARTHUR: And what enters that junkyard?
ENTITY: Everything that dies.
ARTHUR: So you’re dead?
ENTITY: Yes. In my world, I died.
ARTHUR: And then?
ENTITY: I entered this dark world, along with every other creature that has ever existed. Each pulled from their own.
ARTHUR: Well. It must be chaos.
(The sound of clicking in the background, like a faulty light.)
ENTITY: Chaos beyond understanding.
ARTHUR: So how many of these other worlds exist?
ENTITY: To count would be pointless. There are worlds that have monsters of legends, worlds that exist billions of years from now, alternate paths that allowed space travel and viruses to affect the entirety of your world…
ARTHUR: So we don’t occupy the same time? Meaning it’s not 1934 in these worlds as well?
ENTITY: No. As I said, thinking of time linear would only confuse. These worlds are all acting simultaneously and yet, they all exist in varied time. Some, billions and billions of years into the future to when the world has been covered twice by dead civilizations. Some, over 50 years from now with pathways that have led to world-wide epidemics. Some even have an ancient past where magic was prevalent…
ENTITY: Yes, look, you wanted to know and I am explaining. I am from the Dark World. Within that world, I was bound to a book and that book was somehow brought here, to you.
ARTHUR: So, it’s possible to bring things from this dark world... back? It’s– it’s possible to return?
ENTITY: Yes, and this is why we need to find out how I came back… stop.
ENTITY: You’ve reached the last step.
ENTITY: Are you alright?
ARTHUR: Yes, I, I just need to wrap my mind around all of this.
ENTITY: Well. Continue straight ahead. Past the doors. About... fifteen steps from where we’re standing. (Arthur steps.) Let’s head to the street and wave a taxi while you think. You’re about four steps from the doors.
(Arthur opens the doors.)
ENTITY (surprised): Well.
ENTITY: Nothing. I, I just... the city is so alive.
ARTHUR: Was the world you’re from like this one?
ENTITY: Slow down. You’re almost at the street.
ENTITY: A taxi is seeing you. He’s pulling up.
ENTITY: A question for another time, Arthur. The handle is to your left.
(Arthur opens the taxi door and gets in.)
ARTHUR: Main Street, Number 23.
(The taxi drives off. Piano music begins to play.)
ENTITY: I... the city... the life that exists on every street corner. It’s… so different than the Dark World I thought I would forever call home.
ARTHUR: What is this Dark World? What, what does it look like?
ENTITY (slowly): It is a shadow of all the worlds that have existed. A dark mirror projecting in twisting forms. A horrible vision of what worlds we have come from. It is a prison, Arthur. Make no mistake. And have no intention of ever returning. (A pause.) We’re here.
ARTHUR: How much is the, uh, fare?
ENTITY: Oh. Uh. It says $2.33.
ARTHUR: Right. (The sound of coins jingling.) Thank you.
(He gets out of the taxi. It drives off.)
ENTITY: JD Ackerman’s Rare Books. Looks like the light is on inside.
ARTHUR: What do we want to ask him specifically?
ENTITY: Everything we can about the book.
ENTITY: There, to your left. Yep – yes. That.
(They enter the bookstore. The door shuts behind them. Radio squeals play softly in the background.)
ENTITY: Hm. It’s a cozy looking place.
ARTHUR: Describe it to me. Describe everything to me.
ENTITY: Alright. It feels ancient and comfortable. There are massive stacks of books piled all around us, it feels almost claustrophobic. (‘You Call It Madness, But I Call It Love’ starts to play.) It looks like there’s a small wooden desk in the back with an oil lamp on it.
ARTHUR: I hear a radio. Do you hear that?
ENTITY: Yes, but I can’t see it... I…I...
ARTHUR: What? What’s wrong?
ENTITY: That song.
ARTHUR: I, I don’t recognize it. I don’t think I...
ENTITY: Quiet! Just let me listen for a second. I… I don’t understand.
(The song fades back into squealing static.)
ARTHUR: What don’t you understand? I don’t recognize it.
ENTITY: I do.
ARTHUR:That doesn’t make any sense.
ENTITY: I know it doesn’t make any sense. (He sighs.) We need answers. Head to the desk in the back. I think... (He sighs again.) It looks like there’s a bell on the desk.
(Arthur rings the bell. Two low thumps from the back of the store.)
ARTHUR: I hear movement in the back.
ENTITY: Yes. I...
ARTHUR: Are you okay?
ENTITY: Yes. I’m fine. Let’s get some answers.
(A larger thump from the back room.)
ARTHUR: What was that?
ENTITY: I don’t know. Sounds like something fell over back there. Hm.
ENTITY: Nothing. Just the desk looks... messy.
ARTHUR: Everything does seem rather close together. It does feel claustrophobic in here despite me not being able to see it. Odd that a bookstore owner wouldn’t be quicker to answer.
ENTITY: Odder still that they’d make so much noise.
(A louder bump.)
ARTHUR: Come on… where are they? (He dings the bell again.)
ENTITY: I was going to say I’m not entirely convinced that the person making all that racket works here.
(A louder bump, and the crashing of glass.)
ENTITY: They must not have heard the bell the first time.
ARTHUR: But they heard it that time.
ENTITY: Arthur, maybe you should draw your firearm. Crouch low and hug your back against the counter. (Arthur grunts.) Good… I don’t hear any more movement.
ARTHUR (quieter): What should we...?
ENTITY: Just wait. Listen.
ARTHUR: I don’t hear anything.
ENTITY: Me neither, maybe they left through a back entrance when they heard us here.
ARTHUR: What should we do?
ENTITY: Peek over the counter, very slowly, just enough so I can see the door leading to the back.
ARTHUR: Alright, okay.
ENTITY: It was to the right of the desk and we’re pretty well covered now.
(A gunshot. Arthur’s ears are ringing. He falls to the floor. The door to the shop slams.)
ENTITY (faintly, growing more distinct): Get up and follow him, Arthur. Arthur! Get off your ass and follow him, right now! Get up!
ARTHUR (breathing heavily): Jesus...
ARTHUR: We’re not following him. Despite my severe lack of ability to follow, if he shot and ran as opposed to shooting us dead... chasing him will only end badly. Fuck.
(The entity sighs. Arthur breathes heavily.)
ARTHUR: Did you get a look at his face?
ENTITY: It looked like he was wearing a mask.
ARTHUR: What? What – what kind of mask?
ENTITY: It was pale white. It had eyes, but no mouth. it was, it… (stumbling over words) something about it seemed familiar.
ARTHUR: You’ve seen one before?
ENTITY: I don’t remember.
ARTHUR (sighing): Alright. Well. I doubt that was the owner.
ENTITY: Arthur, relax. That was a close call, but it won’t be the last.
ARTHUR: So, what were we doing here?
ENTITY: Looking for information about the book or who sent it to you. Don’t tell me that gunshot rattled your nerves so much that you forgot why we’re here.
ENTITY: Looks like this place is finally empty. Why don’t we take a look around? Get up, move around the desk. Let’s take a look behind it first.
ARTHUR: I don’t know what you want me to... do you want me to just move things around, or?
ENTITY: No, just stand for a moment and look down.
ARTHUR: Right, alright. (Pause.) Where do you suppose the owner is?
ENTITY: Possible his body is in the back.
ARTHUR: Should we call the police?
ENTITY: No. Not with your partner’s body still in your closet.
ARTHUR: Right. (Pause.) See anything?
ENTITY: Nothing that means anything to me. Let’s head to the back, there’s an open archway to the left of the desk that looks like it leads to the back. (Arthur steps. In realization.) Well…
ENTITY: That person was definitely looking for something. This place is a mess.
ARTHUR: This isn’t a coincidence, is it?
ENTITY: It could be. How often do rare bookstores get robbed around here?
ARTHUR: I’d say pretty close to never.
ENTITY: Then I think it’s safe to assume that there must be some connection.
ARTHUR: What are the chances they found whatever they were looking for?
ENTITY: I’d guess unlikely, since they were still looking when we arrived, however – (Arthur steps.) The mess is much bigger than the sounds they made, so perhaps they were at the tail end and just making sure they had everything they needed.
ARTHUR: What do you suppose they needed?
ENTITY: I don’t know, Arthur, and it’s not likely I’ll notice if you keep asking me questions.
ARTHUR: I have to assume there are no bodies back here based on your reaction.
ENTITY: None that I can see, though the mess is substantial.
ARTHUR: Shall I move around?
(Arthur bumps into something that clangs softly. More footsteps.)
ENTITY: Wait. Stop. Bend down for a moment. (Reading.) ‘De Tribus Militibus’.
ARTHUR: What does it mean?
ENTITY: I’m not sure, but it seems familiar.
ARTHUR: You don’t seem to remember very much.
ENTITY: It’s difficult when you’ve lived as long as I.
ARTHUR: You’ve been dodgy about answering my questions about who you are from the beginning… have you forgotten?
(Tense music starts.)
ENTITY: I told you time works differently for different worlds. The Dark World is without time entirely. I have lived lifetimes upon lifetimes over there. It was all I knew for as long as I could fathom and now…
ARTHUR: Now you’re here.
ENTITY: Now I’m here.
ARTHUR: So you have forgotten who you are. Or who you were.
ARTHUR: Well… for both of our sakes, I hope it comes back to you.
ENTITY: Hm. There’s a desk in the corner. It looks like a bookshelf has fallen over it. Head forward a little bit. No, wait –
(Arthur moves something wooden.)
ENTITY: Yes. There. You feel it?
ENTITY: Lift it up. (Arthur grunts.) Good. Well done, Arthur. This looks like a writing desk. The owner’s, maybe. There is a sea of papers on top of it. I…
ENTITY: No… nothing. Just pens, papers, various objects, knick-knacks and nothing else. (He growls in frustration.)
ARTHUR: Alright. Let’s think for a moment. Let’s step back, even, okay? Why did we originally come here?
ENTITY: We wanted answers on the book, Arthur!
ARTHUR: Exactly. Now let’s find some. (The Entity sighs.) Is there anything on this desk that would indicate a catalogue of sorts. Maybe a purchase of sale –
ENTITY: I don’t…
ARTHUR (overlapping): –or even a receipt book?
ENTITY: I– yes, there’s a book to the left of where your hand is resting. It says ‘receipts.’
ARTHUR: Well, there we go. Any book that came through here that was purchased or sold, or shipped or whatever will be written down or categorized in some way. Let’s take a look.
(Arthur flips through papers.)
ARTHUR: Does it say anything about the book? Maybe even an unknown book. Something with a sigil on it.
ENTITY (growling): No.
ARTHUR: Something to say who shipped it?
ENTITY (growling more harshly): No. Nothing!
(The Entity continues to growl.)
ARTHUR: Alright, look. Something isn’t adding up. Why would someone send me a book from here and not have any record of it existing?
ENTITY (angry): We should have followed that man!
ARTHUR: Relax. You getting heated isn’t going to make evidence suddenly appear.
ENTITY: He could have taken something important with him, Arthur, but instead you decided to lie on your ass.
ARTHUR: Listen. Maybe I was wrong.
ENTITY: In what way?
ARTHUR: I said that it was not likely that someone sending us a book would stamp it if it were the owner but… maybe I was wrong. Maybe the owner did send it.
ENTITY: Why do you suddenly think that?
ARTHUR: He’s nowhere to be found. There doesn’t seem to be any mention of it being shipped. Maybe if our friend who ransacked this place was looking for your book…
ENTITY: Wrapping it so it looks like any other package…
ARTHUR: Would be the best way to hide it.
ARTHUR: Maybe... on his desk, is there a rolodex?
ENTITY: A what?
ARTHUR: It’s a metal object that opens.
ENTITY: The back right.
ARTHUR: Oh, it’s already opened.
ARTHUR: Right. Well, I’m going to rotate it. Tell me if you see my name, or my partner’s name, or even our address.
ENTITY: What’s your address?
ARTHUR: 13 Mosby Avenue. Are you ready?
ENTITY: Arthur. It’s already on your address.
(Suspenseful chords start to play.)
ARTHUR: What do you mean?
ENTITY: The rolodex. It’s been left on 13 Mosby Avenue. But the name isn’t yours. It says Roland Cummings.
ARTHUR: That was the previous tenant.
ENTITY: What did he do?
ARTHUR: Uh, the same, I believe. He was a private investigator. We had to take over the lease rather quickly, in fact. He… sort of hurriedly needed to leave the city. I always thought it was a bit suspect, but in our line of work it’s not entirely…
ENTITY (overlapping): Arthur.
ARTHUR: Out of the norm?
ENTITY: Arthur. Do you know what this means?
ARTHUR: Yes it means that the owner meant to send the book to Roland Cummings, not us.
ENTITY: No. It means whoever tried to shoot us knows your name, where you live, and most assuredly will find the body of your partner if we do not hurry.
ARTHUR: Look, we can’t go back there now. Regardless of what happened, we need to keep moving forward, covering new ground.
ENTITY: Arthur. (He sighs.)
ARTHUR: You know I’m right. So, uh. We’ve found everything we can here?
ENTITY: I believe so.
ARTHUR: Then let us head to the house.
ENTITY: Do you remember where it is?
ARTHUR: Yes. It wasn’t that long ago, a week or so, really. It was just our last case.
ENTITY: Then I suppose there isn’t much time to waste. It’s possible if we stay here too long we could run into another patron, or the police…
ENTITY: After all, that gunshot wasn’t quiet.
ARTHUR: Very true.
ENTITY: Let’s head back out to the street, move down the block a bit, and hail a cab.
ENTITY: Around here. Left. Left. There.
(Arthur opens the door and walks outside, where birds are chirping.)
ENTITY: So tell me again how you came upon this house.
ARTHUR: Yes, right, as I mentioned, a week or so ago we got a job. (Piano music starts.) A missing girl was reported to the police. With cases like this – ones where the parent is especially anxious or the girl is rather young – having all the help the police can get is always beneficial.
ENTITY: So they hired you?
ARTHUR: Peter and I have had special luck with missing persons’ cases. We took over a few from the previous tenant before us.
ENTITY: Roland Cummings, right?
ARTHUR: Hm? No. Ah, well, yes.
ENTITY: You said that Roland Cummings was the previous tenant; you said he hurriedly needed to leave the city…
ARTHUR: Yes, technically the lease we took was Cummings, but leaving the city hurriedly was only something I heard second hand. In this game, it’s often that a PI closes down, it’s a dangerous line of work. Cummings was the name on the lease that we obtained but we rented the office from an investigative team named… Stone, uh... Elijah... Strong. Strong. Ehm, but he retired early.
ENTITY: And you took some cases?
ARTHUR: Yes. He mentioned him and his partner were working on a few missing persons’ cases.
ENTITY: Did his partner retire also?
ARTHUR: No, he passed away during a case, rather horrifically, I gathered. In any case, there were a few unsolved ones he handed off to us and we successfully dealt with them. So much so that we stuck with it. Missing persons cases, that is.
ENTITY: The taxi is pulling up. And so the MacFarland case…
(The sound of an automobile.)
ARTHUR: Yes, it landed on our laps. We tended to go about them differently than the police. In any case, a vagrant noticed her bike outside the house and we had our lead.
ENTITY: Where did the lead take you?
ARTHUR: 58 Pelican Lane.
(The cab drives off.)
ENTITY: You mentioned that you went in, looked around, saw the symbol, and then called it in. What made you want to call it in before moving in any further?
ARTHUR: It was Peter mainly, he felt like... like we were being watched. The symbol also… it seemed to chill him to his core.
ARTHUR: It’s worth a look. (He sighs.)
ENTITY: What’s wrong, Arthur?
ARTHUR: I... I always valued my sight, obviously, as much as one can. But it’s quite a different thing to lose it altogether, one day. (Piano tune starts to play.) Instinctively, I go to look out the window and try to see the city, as... I know it’s out there, but...
ENTITY: It’s a warm, sunny day, Arthur. The streets are busy with people moving about. Cars find their way through the spaces in the traffic as the world brims with life. Believe me, I appreciate it enough for the both of us.
ARTHUR: Yes. I already miss it. Knowing I won’t see a loved one’s face and...
ARTHUR: And, nevermind.
ENTITY: The driver is stopping.
ARTHUR (retrieving coins and bills): Here is 2 in change. Keep it.
(Arthur exits the cab.)
ARTHUR: Thank you.
(The cab drives off.)
ENTITY: Well, this is a quiet looking street.
ARTHUR: Yes, I remember it being particularly quiet as well. I’m sure you can guess why we searched the house.
ENTITY: It looks like it’s the only one on this street – what’s around here?
ARTHUR: There are a few businesses about 10 minutes down the road south of us and there is a few apartments up the road north, but for the most part this house is completely on its own. It’s quite odd really.
ENTITY: Why is that odd?
ARTHUR: Because, it’s not often houses like this are built up here. They usually are closer to the city center, especially one as old as this.
ENTITY: Well. I suppose we shouldn’t delay, then.
(Thunder rolls in. It starts to rain. Arthur steps.)
ENTITY: How did you manage to get in?
ARTHUR: The porch on the front, it wraps around. I’ll just...
ENTITY: Watch the porch.
(Arthur steps. The porch creaks.)
ENTITY: Seems rather worn.
ARTHUR: Guide me towards the back, will you?
ENTITY: Sure… step to your right. (Something creaks.) There’s a fallen bannister. (Arthur grunts) Lift your leg. No, higher. There. Big step forward. Good. (Arthur chuckles in triumph, something creaks.) Okay, we’re around the back.
ARTHUR: Yes, good. Now, there should be a, um...
ENTITY: A window, yes.
ENTITY: The boards look removed.
ARTHUR: Yes. That’s how we made our way in – it was off its nails when we got here too, part of the reason why we thought she may be here.
ENTITY: If you put your hands out forward, you should be able to feel for it.
ENTITY: So what happened to the girl?
(Piano music starts to play.)
ARTHUR: As I said, they found her in a field. It seems like… she was… um… dismembered.
ENTITY: Did they find out who did it?
ARTHUR: No. In fact, there has been a curfew in effect since. Her murder was grisly to say the least. A friend at the station said that the way she was dismembered was bizarre.
ENTITY: How so?
ARTHUR: I’m not sure, I didn’t press.
ARTHUR: I don’t know. I didn’t think I could help.
ENTITY: Did you even try?
ENTITY (more intense): Did you even try to help?
ARTHUR: What has gotten into you?
ENTITY (snarling): Nothing.
ARTHUR: I’m going to climb in now, alright? If you can calm yourself...
(Arthur climbs in through the window as thunder rumbles.)
ARTHUR: We’re in. The symbol was by the basement door.
ENTITY: I see it. To your right.
ARTHUR: It’s carved in. I can feel the indentations.
(The Entity sighs.)
ARTHUR: You were bound to this book, you must have some idea what this means.
ENTITY: I don’t.
ARTHUR (sighing): Then I suppose we should look downstairs.
ENTITY: Do you have a light?
ARTHUR: I have my lighter, yes.
(Arthur flicks on his lighter.)
ENTITY: After you.
(Thunder rumbles in the background. Arthur walks downstairs.)
ENTITY: It’s a small, damp basement. The ceiling beams look well worn – burns as if from the plumes of wall sconces dot the corners. There are a number of barrels in the corner; the walls look like they’re cobblestone, save a bookshelf on the far side.
ARTHUR: That’s it?
ENTITY: That’s it. It’s small.
ARTHUR: Smaller than the house?
ENTITY: By quite a margin.
ARTHUR: I just want to walk the wall, keep your eyes…
ENTITY: The bookshelf… it looks opened.
ARTHUR: Opened. H-how?
ENTITY: Just move along the wall.
(The bookshelf creaks as Arthur enters the room.)
ENTITY: Arthur, it’s another small room. This room is much nicer. The walls are smooth plaster and painted. It’s... it’s dim but… there appears to be a mural...
ENTITY: And, it’s…
ENTITY: It’s the symbol on the top of the stairs and the book. It’s painted above a creature.
ARTHUR: Well, what creature?
ENTITY: Arthur… I don’t know if you want to…
ARTHUR: Just tell me what you see.
ENTITY: Fine. It is an enormous mass, which extrudes black tentacles. Slime-dripping mouths, and short, writhing goat legs. It is immense and horrific. It is more than death itself. It is a forest of despair filled with a thousand young and it is an all-consuming, all-devouring end to life as we know it.
ARTHUR (horrified): All... all that is depicted in the mural?
ARTHUR (breathing heavily): H-How do you know that?
ENTITY: I don’t know.
(Ominous whispers in the background.)
ARTHUR: What is its name?
ENTITY (echoing): Shub Niggurath. (Back to normal.) Arthur. I am not this creature.
ARTHUR: H-how do you know… You don’t even remember. We should leave this place.
ENTITY: Agreed. We have a name and we now know what this symbol represents. Maybe there is a library in town that we can research.
ARTHUR: Y-yes. Yes. Yes. There is one in the Miskatonic University that should help us understand. D-do you see anything else?
ENTITY: No. Let us leave… wait. (Dice rolls.) Yes, I do. It’s barely noticeable but… there is a stone in the mural which looks like it can be turned.
ARTHUR: What? Where? I–
ENTITY: Reach up.
ENTITY: There, yes. Turn it.
(Arthur turns the stone in the mural. The sound of stone grinding.)
ENTITY: It’s a stone passageway. It… it leads down.
ARTHUR: Are we sure we want to head down there?
ENTITY: We need to know all that we can about this place and why it’s here. If there is an answer down there we need to find it.
(The sound of thunder.)
ENTITY: There is an opening up ahead.
ARTHUR: It feels much wider down here.
ENTITY: It’s... a cave. A large opening with no apparent exit.
ARTHUR: What else do you see? Tell me everything.
ENTITY: There looks to be three cages on the ceiling high above, they’re chained to the cavern ceiling. There is a stone slab in the center of the room; it looks like it might be… sacrificial.
ENTITY: There’s more… at the far end of the room, it looks like there is a stone archway.
ARTHUR: Where does it lead?
ENTITY: Nowhere. It just stands there as if an opening to something, but there’s nothing. Just stone beyond it.
ARTHUR: Could it be a –
ENTITY: There are also bones here.
ENTITY: Up, past the podium.
ARTHUR: There’s a podium?
ENTITY: Yes, before the archway there looks to be a podium and behind it there are the remains of what looks to be two people.
(Arthur steps and moves around the podium.)
ENTITY: Yes. That’s the podium.
ARTHUR: There’s nothing on it.
ENTITY: No, why?
ARTHUR: We have a book, no?
ENTITY: You think this could be where it came from?
(Footsteps, the sound of something shifting.)
ARTHUR: The bodies. How long have they been here?
ENTITY: Years, but I can’t tell how many. There is still flesh on their bones. It looks like they struggled and killed each other. The stone beneath them is stained red with their blood. There looks… There looks to be a knife… wait.
ENTITY: No, one may have killed the other, but the second looks to have deep cuts clean through its bones.
ARTHUR: Wait, he was dismembered?
ARTHUR: Emily MacFarland was killed the same way.
ENTITY: Do you think she found this room?
ARTHUR: Well, she must have but... why was she here, and what was she looking for?
ENTITY: And what did she let out?
ARTHUR: What, you think she let this creature out? But no… no… it would have had to survive for years in here without anything.
ENTITY: Arthur, there are creatures that exist in both your world and mine that you cannot begin to fathom. If there is even the slightest chance that whatever killed this man also killed Emily, then that means it’s been released and we need to find out.
ARTHUR: A creature like this…
ENTITY: Has to be stopped.
(END Part 1.)