A quiet beach, an abandoned tower, a dark presence...
Malevolent follows Arkham Investigator Arthur Lester as he unravels the mysterious circumstances that have befallen him.
In the Tenth part of this tale, Arthur awakens on the beach to find something he had thought lost. Heading towards the nearby town surely will have answers but at what cost. In this part, Arthur must come face to face with the realities of what may lay in store for him... If you are enjoying this Podcast, please consider becoming 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 TEN - THE HOTEL
Original transcript by Eggsy39 and Jack! Reviewed by Cytosine.
(BEGIN Part 10.)
(A piano bench creaks. Someone plays the piano: a nostalgic, melancholy tune, turning into something slightly more hopeful. It plays for some time. Simultaneously, someone knocks at the door. Upon receiving no answer, a door opens.
ARTHUR(growing more irate):I thought I told you to leave me alone!
(Arthur wakes with a gasp. Waves lap at the shore. Seagulls cry. He breathes shakily.)
JOHN(calmly): Good morning.
JOHN: How did you sleep?
ARTHUR:I don’t know that I did.
JOHN: You slept. Trust me.
ARTHUR(grunting, sitting up):I suppose that’s one of the drawbacks of being alive, needing sleep.
ARTHUR:Oh. Oh, the fire feels well finished now.
JOHN: Hours ago.
ARTHUR:It’s alright, I can feel the sun. Oh. That is a welcome feeling. I feel like I haven’t felt the sun in… forever.
JOHN: You stirred a lot in your sleep.
JOHN: You spoke a little, too.
JOHN: Yes, you seemed to yell, almost. As if you were angry.
ARTHUR:Right, well, I’ve felt on edge since the island.
JOHN: This felt different. What were you dreaming –?
ARTHUR:Doesn’t matter. Let’s press on. (He moves around.)
ARTHUR(sighing):So, we’ve gathered a lot of information, and we haven’t really had any time to process it. Er, we came in to see a town close by last night.
JOHN: Yes, a large coastal town not far from here.
ARTHUR:Yes. Let’s just take a moment. The day seems warm and the sand is soft, let’s just take stock of what we’ve found.
ARTHUR:Good! So. Let’s start with the letter to Anna from Sarah, er, Amanda. We haven’t had time to really absorb it.
JOHN: Time to use that investigative brain of yours.
(He rustles the letter.)
ARTHUR:So what were the details again?
JOHN: There were names: Antoine, Henry, Emily, Anna, obviously.
ARTHUR:Why is that name familiar?
JOHN: Emily was… a girl... that went missing, remember? The one that –?
ARTHUR:The one that led us to the house that started all of this.
ARTHUR:Right, the basement with the secret chamber, the stone slabs and the gateway, or what we perceived as the gateway. That wall had a mural painted on it of a monstrous creature. The one that you said was Shub-Niggurath.
JOHN: However, that is not behind all of this.
ARTHUR:Right. Emily’s last name was MacFarland, right?
JOHN: That’s what the file said, yes. And you said that she was found in a field.
ARTHUR:Near the house on Pelican Lane, which led my… (Shaken.)P – my p-partner and I there. I remember that you were very upset by her death.
JOHN: Was I?
ARTHUR:Yes, you got very heated with me, remember?
JOHN: Well, I’m not sure why. Anyway, yes, the second paragraph reads: “I never left that basement. The events that happened ten years ago: the stone slabs, the cavernous walls, Antoine’s final plan, the portal and Henry’s sacrifice… all of it stayed with me.”
ARTHUR:Yes, we deduced that this was the house, the one that we went to. Whoever this ‘Henry’ is, he’s the only other male mentioned, he sacrificed himself for… them, presumably.
JOHN: She goes on to mention that she saw Antoine in a photograph that led her to the island. All of this seems to be around Antoine and perhaps this Henry character.
ARTHUR:The one who sacrificed himself?
JOHN: Yes, maybe he was a cultist who had a change of heart, I don’t know, but whatever happened, it failed. Shub-Niggurath did not come forth and the girls were free. Except…
ARTHUR:Except for the part where they were wrong, she says.
JOHN: She wrote: “how ‘he’ fit into the story.”
ARTHUR:‘He’ being the King in Yellow? She said something about him coming in ‘after.’
JOHN: Yes, it says: “The one who came out of the gateway after - you know who I’m talking about, the one who wore yellow.”
ARTHUR:So this ‘Antoine’ opened a gateway for Shub-Niggurath to enter, Henry foils his plan, and in the end… something else comes through.
JOHN: Something that has nothing to do with any of them. She says very clearly “he simply used the portal because it was there.”
ARTHUR:So the girls see this… thing, a-and he leaves them alone? Until now? Something is missing.
JOHN: They must have done something to stave him off, something to end him, to trap him, to -
ARTHUR:Well, how do you stop a creature like this? A being that seemingly can possess the insane and drive those with weak-willed minds mad. Mad enough to inhabit.
JOHN: There was something. We read something, maybe in her first letter.
(He rustles the paper.)
JOHN: No. No, it’s not here, it’s…
JOHN: I don’t – (He grunts in frustration.)Ah, it was written in the margin of one of the books we grabbed.
ARTHUR:John, be careful, last time you read from that, you… you went somewhere else.
JOHN: It’s fine, I just want to look at it. Yes. (Arthur turns the pages.)Here! In the margin, she translated “song of my soul, my voice is dead, die thou unsung as tears unshed.”
ARTHUR:Should that mean anything to me, I – ?
JOHN: I don’t know, but above it she’s mentioned a ‘pallid mask.’
JOHN: A pallid mask, Arthur. Don’t you recall?
ARTHUR:No, we haven’t really even… wait.
(Ominous music rises.)
ARTHUR:The bookshop! Back in Arkham!
ARTHUR:There was the man who fired on us. He wore a pallid mask, er, a white mask, you called it.
JOHN: Which means…?
ARTHUR:Which means they wanted your book… why?
JOHN(reading): “There is an order that may still exist, those who worship the King, in a town north of here called Leerie.”
ARTHUR:Right, which means that we should head there. (He sighs.)Funny, despite being out toward the island and back again, we haven’t really traveled that far since our accident – the accident where we found the, er.
JOHN: The baby.
JOHN: Have you thought about her much?
JOHN: Are you –
ARTHUR:Anything else in the letter? Or these books? Which I’m not keen on looking into, just yet.
JOHN: Well, the ship we just came from.
ARTHUR:Is a whole other world of strange, but as far as I can tell has nothing to do with us, so let's just… compartmentalize it for now.
ARTHUR:Leerie is our next stop. We still have a fair amount of money and... well, I’d really like a bit of a fresh start on all of this. We know that there is an… order, er, that may still exist in that town, so I say we head there, set up shop so to speak, and begin trying to figure out what all of this is about.
JOHN: It sounds like a plan.
ARTHUR:Now, which way was the town?
JOHN:Head towards the water, wade in a little bit, away from the treeline, maybe I can get a good look.
(The sand shifts underneath Arthur’s feet as he stands. Water splashes.)
ARTHUR(grunting in exertion):I feel good about this, John. I feel like we have new questions, a new path to follow, even if it’s the same one as before, but… hell, maybe it’s just about being out of those handcuffs, but I feel like once we get to town, shower, buy some new clothes… (He sighs.) I’ll get to feel like my old self again.
JOHN(genuine): I’m glad to hear that.
(A soft, mumbling whisper.)
JOHN:The town is to the –
ARTHUR: What is that sound?
(The whispers repeat again, this time above ominous music.)
JOHN: I don’t hear anything, Arthur. What are you –
(Chains rattle in the water as the whispering gets louder.)
JOHN: Oh my God, Arthur. It’s the severed head Kellin had.
SEVERED HEAD(in a dark, reverberating voice):Hello, Master.
JOHN: Leave it, Arthur. Just –
JOHN: No!? (The chains clink.)Are you mad?
ARTHUR:I don’t care. Kellin said this thing has answers, and that it knew who you were.
ARTHUR(to the head): Who do you call Master?
JOHN: What is it saying?
ARTHUR:You can’t hear it?
JOHN(weary): Arthur, please just listen to me.
ARTHUR:You know what this is, don’t you?
JOHN: I –
ARTHUR:I mean what it really is.
JOHN: I just –
ARTHUR:Don’t lie to me.
JOHN: It’s something caught between worlds.
JOHN: This one and the Dark World.
ARTHUR:Is it – why does it want to speak with me?
JOHN: I don’t know, Arthur, but dealing with forces –
ARTHUR(to the head):Why do you want to speak with me?
ARTHUR:Why are you so afraid of this, John?
JOHN: This… thing is not Kellin’s sister anymore.
ARTHUR:What do you mean?
JOHN: I don’t know what happened to her when she was alive but something… attached itself to her. When she died, it stayed.
ARTHUR:So this thing.
JOHN: It’s not from here.
ARTHUR:Like you… so why the –
JOHN: Not like me. I am in this world now; this thing… it has one foot in both worlds.
(The sound of waves, chains clinking, and water dripping from the head.)
ARTHUR:Both? You mean it –
JOHN: It’s a conduit. A servant of those monstrous forces that –
ARTHUR:So you do know what this is. Why are you lying to me, John? What do you think is going to happen?
JOHN: These powers, Arthur, they are exactly what people like that ‘Antoine’ and… it’s why these cults exist. Men lay down and bow before entities like this, their draw is inescapable, their offerings are visceral.
(The head continues to whisper.)
ARTHUR:What do you mean ‘offerings?’
JOHN: This head will corrupt. It will offer things, and all of it will be easier to deny if we just leave it behind.
ARTHUR:What kind of things?
ARTHUR:Answers? To what questions?
ARTHUR:John, we have a lot of questions. If it could help answer them –
JOHN: If I thought this would help us, don’t you think I would have said take it?
ARTHUR:I don’t know. How do you know that it will corrupt? How do you know any of this?
JOHN: I’m not sure.
ARTHUR:So isn’t it possible that you’re wrong?
ARTHUR:John, I know you fear the Dark World immensely. (Pleading.)Isn’t it possible that your fear of that, or returning, has clouded your feelings? Look, this thing wanted to speak with us, it wants to help.
JOHN: It doesn’t want to do anything, it has to help, and I don’t know why.
ARTHUR(sighing):Let’s get back on the beach.
(Arthur gets back on the shore, carrying the head.)
ARTHUR:So how does it even know things?
JOHN: I imagine it’s a vanguard.
JOHN: Beings controlled by powerful entities from the Dark World that choose to keep many fingers in this one, through people like Kellin’s sister. The vanguard watch through their eyes, gather knowledge –
JOHN: No. I’m trapped in here, and you can hear me. A vanguard would only watch – could only watch, and is never with a foot in this world, and all to serve whichever monstrous entity they were bound to, but… something is different here.
ARTHUR:So their power lay…
JOHN: Within their ability to look through many eyes. They are information gatherers.
ARTHUR(stunned):How do you know all this?
JOHN: I don’t know.
ARTHUR:This Dark World, you described it as a junkyard originally. A place where everything just moves about in madness, uncontrolled and unyielding. You make it sound like it has structure.
JOHN: Even a junkyard has order. Don’t misunderstand me, these are ways of explaining it to you, the workings of the Dark World are not so cut and dry.
ARTHUR:But why do you know this? Did you speak with a vanguard, were you a vanguard? I –
JOHN: I don’t know.
ARTHUR(quietly):Okay. (Normal volume.)Regardless, this is an information seeker, we should use it. Something mundane, so as not to give it any clue as to where we’re going.
JOHN: Nothing about the pallid mask or -
ARTHUR:No, no, no, nothing about that but something that still has value, something we still need information on. (He sighs.) In the letter, she wrote to an ‘Anna.’
ARTHUR(to the head):Who is Anna?
(The head seems to take a breath.)
ARTHUR:It didn’t answer.
JOHN: I suppose it takes time.
ARTHUR:Time? How long?
JOHN: This isn’t an all-knowing creature, Arthur, it’s an information seeker. It will look into what it needs to now.
ARTHUR:Well, that poses a problem, because we can’t walk into town with a severed head.
ARTHUR:What part of the head is the creature bound to?
JOHN: I imagine that Kellin kept it because it was his sister. The entity within does not use the mouth.
ARTHUR:So it may only need a small piece?
JOHN: I would think so.
(Grunting, Arthur rattles the cage.)
JOHN: What are you taking?
ARTHUR:I imagine a tooth is all I can take. Everything else is waterlogged and rotten.
JOHN: Use a stick. There. Yes… yes, there.
(Arthur removes the tooth. There’s a crunching noise.)
ARTHUR:Ugh, fuck. Alright.
(The cage rattles as Arthur throws it back into the water.)
ARTHUR:Well, hopefully the tooth will be enough.
JOHN: I think so.
ARTHUR:Alright, then. Shall we head to town?
JOHN: Yes, I think it’s about time.
(Arthur walks along the shore.)
JOHN: I don’t know, Arthur.
ARTHUR:Don’t know what? I hadn’t asked anything –
JOHN: I don’t know if this was a good idea.
ARTHUR:I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Now, where are we now? A forest?
JOHN: Yes, the beach leads up to a forest. I can still see the water on our left. It looks like we could follow the treeline all the way along the shore.
ARTHUR(exhale):Let’s keep the shoreline in sight, follow with that next to us. I think it’s easier than trying to find a road and ultimately, I’d rather be keeping a low profile over a high one.
JOHN: True enough, though what I said before is still true. You get to be Arthur Lester again.
ARTHUR:Right, I guess Laurence Holder went missing along with that, er… uh, the boat that the police were…
JOHN(laughing): Relax, Arthur, we’re pressing forward now.
ARTHUR:Yes. With a few cards up our sleeve.
JOHN: You pat that pocket like it carries an answer.
ARTHUR:You heard the head –
JOHN: I didn’t hear anything, what I told you was that -
ARTHUR(impatient):Yes, yes, enough of that.
(John sighs as Arthur continues to walk.)
ARTHUR:Now from what we know there is a cult in Leerie, er, that worships the King in Yellow.
ARTHUR:I can’t imagine it’s going to be easy to sort through. Most of the time these secret societies don’t really make a name for themselves.
JOHN: No, but you have a fair amount of money and nothing waiting for you back in Arkham.
ARTHUR:True. What are you saying?
JOHN: You alluded to it previous... let’s take some time. I think Leerie might be a place to set up shop for more than a night.
ARTHUR:There is bound to be a hotel, or at least a place we can lay down for the night.
JOHN: Rent a room, get a lay of the land so to speak.
ARTHUR:Right. This is what I do. What I did.
JOHN: So how would Arthur Lester, Private Investigator, go about finding a cult?
ARTHUR(fondly):Now, that’s a question I can get excited about.
JOHN: Good. It’s about time you got excited about something.
ARTHUR(exhale):I would set up a cover story, something that would allow me to ask questions without bringing up problems.
ARTHUR:No, no, no, they’re a bit too hated. I’d have more doors shut in my face.
ARTHUR:No. Someone that offers something to the person I’m asking answers of.
JOHN: What could you offer them?
ARTHUR:Oh, information, money. Anything, really. If we had a name to be asking after, I would say I would be someone… looking to pay out a final will and testament.
ARTHUR(exhale):But we don’t… and regardless, this is all a bit of a dream.
JOHN: What do you mean?
ARTHUR:Well, the King in Yellow is still looking for us. We don’t have the privilege of spending days asking around.
JOHN: No, I suppose you’re right. I guess I got a bit carried away.
ARTHUR:But it doesn’t change our goals, just our approach.
JOHN: Speaking of approach, I see a bend up ahead.
JOHN: Yes, I can’t… there’s a large boulder at the water’s edge beside us, let’s climb up. He- yes.
ARTHUR:Oh. (He begins to climb, grunting.)Right.
JOHN: It’s a large town, Arthur, a number of buildings. It looks to be a coastal town, lots of fishing boats.
ARTHUR:Like Harper’s Hill?
JOHN: Larger. The town extends back up a little bit, as if built into the hill slightly. Curved paved streets wind their way up, stopping at each of the buildings, themselves clustered together. It all seems to lead near the bottom, towards the town square.
JOHN(fondly): It is. Perhaps it’s just because of where we came from, but this town does seem like a haven.
ARTHUR:Based on what some of the townsfolk may worship, I doubt that’s the case.
JOHN: Nonetheless, the beach will bring us out towards the docks and a pier. There are a few buildings there, storage and the like, and… there’s a tall building on the waterfront that may be exactly what we’re looking for.
JOHN: It looks like it may have been a hotel. It looks too purposeful to be a building solely for storage or workers.
ARTHUR:Alright, then. Let’s move.
(Arthur climbs down from the boulder.)
ARTHUR:Let’s check in, get a room, wash our clothes and shave, maybe. (In pleasure. Audibly smiling.) Oh. Then once we’re all put together and showered and have a meal and –
JOHN: Alright, Arthur.
ARTHUR:Sorry, sorry, just the prospect of having a proper rest is almost palpable.
JOHN: Let’s remember -
ARTHUR(impatient):Yes, yes, yes. We’ll stay as unseen as possible after check-in.
JOHN: Yes. The pier is just ahead, you may need to – wait!
(Arthur walks into a wooden object. He grunts in pain.)
ARTHUR:Huh? Oh! Ah, fuck, ow.
JOHN(laughing): Sorry, Arthur. I was about to say duck.
ARTHUR:Is this the pier, then?
ARTHUR:Should we just climb up?
JOHN: We could, but there are some people down the way, and staying unseen…
ARTHUR:Right, right, for now.
JOHN: Ideally we want to be seen as possible.
ARTHUR:Okay. (He moves forward amidst noises of seagulls, waves, and sand.)
JOHN: The docks are to our left, they stretch out towards the water. The pier is just above us.
ARTHUR(echoing):Who is that moving?
JOHN: There are a few fishermen out on the docks, some back further inland on the pier, setting up bait and dropping their fish into barrels.
ARTHUR:Odd, this is something you’d do for entertainment, not work.
JOHN: Maybe it’s the weekend.
ARTHUR:Is it? I don’t even know what day it is.
(Some people speak above, on the pier. It’s unintelligible.)
JOHN: Slow down a bit, the pier is moving towards the land and up towards the hotel. Take a right here.
ARTHUR:So it is a hotel, are you sure?
JOHN: Most definitely, I can almost see the sign above the back door. Stay low here.
(Arthur does so, with a grunt.)
JOHN: Alright, the pier is about to end and then we’ll – yeah. There’s a small gravel hill leading up to the back deck of the hotel. This way… no, your left – yes, there.
(Arthur struggles to climb the hill.)
JOHN: Good, just a bit more. (Arthur climbs onto something wooden.)Perfect, you’re on the deck.
ARTHUR:Did anyone see?
JOHN: I don’t think so, take a look back… no. No, they’re all pretty preoccupied, plus the deck drops down a bit here to a seating and dining area. This must be for waterfront diners and lunches. Although – the tables are all in poor shape, not really up for guests.
JOHN: Yes. The door is just ahead.
(Arthur tries the door. A chain rattles. He slams his fist against it in frustration.)
JOHN: The door opens a bit, large enough for an arm, but the chain has locked the double doors together.
ARTHUR:Fuck. (He moans sadly.)
JOHN: Hm. The Elderwood Inn.
JOHN: There’s a sign on the door, it says it’s closed for the season until warmer weather.
JOHN: I don’t know. It could be that it just never opened again, it does look fairly old.
ARTHUR:Well, fuck. What now?
JOHN: This might not be a bad thing.
ARTHUR:No? (He starts to walk.)
JOHN: Arthur, we needed a place to rest and we wanted to stay out of sight. We have a hotel with our pick of rooms, plus supplies and no questions.
ARTHUR(sighing):Maybe you’re right.
(He continues to walk.)
ARTHUR:How large of a gap did you say this was?
JOHN: About as wide as an arm, maybe your leg.
ARTHUR:Could we fit through?
JOHN: It doesn’t seem impossible. You may damage the door or the lock, however, which means there wouldn’t be anything stopping anyone from following us in.
JOHN: Or you could try the front, or even a window along the side, but.
ARTHUR:But someone may see us.
JOHN: Exactly. At this moment, no one has seen you come up this way, to my knowledge. Either way, a bed and a safe place lay inside the Elderwood; shall we try to fit in the door or find another way in?
ARTHUR(exhale):If they haven’t seen us here, let’s not risk it. I think I can squeeze.
(The chain rattles. Arthur tries to squeeze through the door.)
JOHN: A little more.
(The chain snaps.)
JOHN: One of the links broke.
JOHN: Odd that this place is locked by a chain and not a standard bolt lock.
ARTHUR(breathing heavily):Yes, I… hadn’t considered that. I wonder why.
JOHN: Well, no use in it now.
ARTHUR:Can the door shut?
JOHN: Of course, but there’s not much keeping anyone out.
(Arthur shuts the door.)
ARTHUR:Is there anything heavy we can use to block the door?
JOHN: If that’s what you think makes sense, I’m sure we can find something.
ARTHUR:Just… temporarily maybe, until we sort ourselves out.
JOHN: I think a blocked door would be more concerning to anyone who happened to check it, whereas a broken lock…?
ARTHUR:Could just have broken. Right, right, right, okay then.
ARTHUR:Let’s just leave it for now. So, where are we?
JOHN: This is a short hallway. It heads forward maybe thirty feet or so before a few carpeted steps bring us up to what I imagine is the lobby. To the right and left of us and along this hallway are doors.
JOHN: Two on the left and one on the right.
ARTHUR:Right, well, first thing, I suppose, is to make sure that we’re alone.
ARTHUR:Let’s start with this door on our right, er, the only one on the right.
JOHN: Yes, but the -
(Arthur trips and grunts in pain.)
JOHN: But the carpet is a bit uneven.
ARTHUR(displeased):Uneven? I nearly tripped.
JOHN: I can’t tell if the carpet has just been improperly rolled or if the wooden floor below has broken or become swollen with time.
ARTHUR:So we’re leaning more towards this place being abandoned then, yes?
ARTHUR:Not surprising, a large hotel like this outside of Arkham isn’t going to have droves of people coming in. Maybe they had to close from lack of traffic. Here?
(Arthur opens and closes a door.)
JOHN: This was once a well equipped kitchen. A large bank of stoves and basins line the right wall. A large metal island runs the length of this long rectangular room, and a prep station and shelves line the left wall. I imagine at one point they were filled with food but now…
JOHN: No. Rotten.
JOHN: From what I can see.
ARTHUR:Anything else of note?
JOHN: Not that I can see, there’s a door on the opposite wall that I imagine leads to whatever dining area this hotel had. There’s also a walk-in freezer farther back.
ARTHUR:Well, if we want a bite to eat, it might be worth scrounging around a bit. Maybe we can find something canned or something that survived… whatever happened.
JOHN: I suppose so.
(Arthur steps forward, stepping on something crunchy.)
ARTHUR:I’m concerned this place wasn’t just abandoned.
JOHN: What do you mean?
ARTHUR:Can you gather a story of how it was left?
JOHN: I mean, there are knives still out, cutting boards as well. It does look like people left in a hurry.
ARTHUR:I’m starting to think this place didn’t close due to lack of guests.
JOHN: Why did it close, then?
(Ominous music rises. Something thumps around a floor above.)
JOHN:What was that?
ARTHUR: Movement… upstairs?
JOHN:I don’t think we’re alone.
ARTHUR:And what then? If this hotel isn’t open, what other one will be?
JOHN: Are you saying we stay here?
ARTHUR:I’m just saying let’s think for a moment. (He takes a steadying breath.) Look, more than likely it’s a vagrant just looking for a place to lay their head.
JOHN: Sounds familiar.
ARTHUR:Which means if we stay out of their way -
JOHN: Except, as you just said, this place didn’t close due to lack of guests.
ARTHUR:I just mean to say, it looks… like whoever was here left in a hurry.
JOHN: And what caused them to hurry?
ARTHUR:If you had asked me a month ago, I would have said something more mundane and straightforward, like… the staff walked out, or there was a gas leak.
JOHN: And now?
(More thumping. Arthur gasps.)
ARTHUR:Now we have nowhere else to turn without seriously compromising ourselves.
JOHN: Arthur, I’m impressed.
(Thoughtful piano tune begins to play.)
JOHN: You hardly seem like the person I first met back in Arkham.
ARTHUR:So you’ve said.
JOHN: This is different.
ARTHUR:Look, the truth of the matter is that we have set ourselves on a path. The path will lead us to the depths of an organization we have yet to discover fully.
ARTHUR:I have no illusions to the path we are treading; I may not be able to fully formulate the words but I know that we can’t afford to run from our problems anymore. The island taught me that.
JOHN: Did it?
ARTHUR:That woman, in the caves. Killing her…
ARTHUR:We’re no longer able to side-step these things. In fact there’s a part of me that… that feels as though we should begin facing them.
JOHN: Seeking them out?
ARTHUR:I don’t know. There’s a part of me that feels with each horrid encounter we grow stronger, more experienced, more resilient.
JOHN: More aware.
ARTHUR:Maybe. Maybe it’s that simple. Perhaps the more we learn of this darkness, the more I feel we can combat it.
JOHN: Armitage warned you of this.
JOHN: The old man back at the library in Arkham.
JOHN: So, then, what do you want to do?
ARTHUR:First I want to find something to eat.
JOHN: And then?
ARTHUR:And then, I still think this is a vagrant, er, the most likely cause, Occam’s Razor. We’ll continue searching this hotel until we find them.
(Arthur steps forward, again, on something crunchy.)
ARTHUR:Is there anything here?
JOHN: Yes, there’s a can of tomato soup.
ARTHUR(relieved):Brilliant! I have not realized until now how famished I am. Where is, uh…?
JOHN: To your left, no, yes, there.
JOHN: Check the lowest bin, there’s one on top - yes, there. On top. Yes.
(Arthur opens the can with a can opener.)
(Arthur begins to eat the soup.)
JOHN: Arthur, you mentioned back on the beach that you had a daughter. Right before falling asleep.
JOHN: You also made some noises in your sleep, as if you were shouting, angry.
ARTHUR(mouthful):John, I don’t want to talk about that.
JOHN: I understand, but it made me realize that you’ve asked a lot of questions about me and where I come from, but… I’ve never made efforts to find out much about you.
JOHN: So… what happened to your daughter, Arthur?
ARTHUR(angry):I don’t want to talk about that. Drop it.
JOHN: How can you –
ARTHUR(suddenly furious):I said drop it!
(Arthur hits something in front of him.)
ARTHUR(passionate and angry):You may have control over my eyes, but you do not have control over what I choose to share! That is out of your grasp. Do you hear me? Do you!?
(The door creaks.)
JOHN: The door to the dining room is being opened.
JOHN: Still think it’s a vagrant? Call out. Otherwise I suggest you hide.
ARTHUR(shaky):Well, where can we hide?
JOHN:The freezer, behind you.
(Arthur walks, opens the freezer door, and closes it.)
ARTHUR:God, the smell in here.
JOHN: Quiet! Stand up a bit, step back.
JOHN: There’s a small window here I can see out of.
ARTHUR:Can you see who’s entered?
JOHN: The door has stopped swinging, but… no, I don’t see anything.
ARTHUR:Well, that’s odd.
ARTHUR:Let’s just wait another moment, maybe –
JOHN: There! Movement.
JOHN: No, something.
(Something moves around outside, scratching around on the floor.)
JOHN: On the floor, a rat.
ARTHUR:Oh. (He chuckles.)Well, that’s not uncommon. Though to open a door, that –
JOHN: Wait a minute.
JOHN: I’m not entirely sure what this is. Arthur, this creature is large.
ARTHUR:A large rat?
JOHN: I… it’s about the size of a cat, but… its body and tail… it is small and furry, but it has a bare, prehensile tail, and a narrow, sharp-fanged mouth. Jesus. Its nose, its subdivided into small tentacles that seem to writhe constantly.
ARTHUR(whispering):What the fuck?
JOHN: It’s shuffling around the kitchen looking for scraps. (It squeaks.)
JOHN: It’s… it’s heading to the door we entered from. I no longer can see it.
ARTHUR:What on earth is going on?
JOHN: This doesn’t seem like it was from this world, like the hound that hunted us back in Harper’s Hill.
ARTHUR:You think the King still –
JOHN: No. I don’t think this is the King, necessarily.
ARTHUR:What do you mean?
JOHN: The creature in the water, the thing in this hotel, they all seem to be -
(Above, something thumps.)
ARTHUR:Seems to be what?
(A melancholy tune begins to play.)
JOHN: Ugh, I don’t know… slipping through, I suppose.
ARTHUR:Slipping through what?
JOHN: Doesn’t it seem odd that all of these things began to happen after you opened the book? My book.
ARTHUR:You think I caused this? That we –
JOHN: I don’t know what to think yet, other than that we can’t stay here.
ARTHUR:Right, let’s get out of here. Can you still see it?
(Arthur exits the freezer, closing the door behind him. He bumps into something that rolls along the counter.)
JOHN: Keep moving.
JOHN: Out the door it entered through, behind you. Yes. Yes, there.
(The door creaks. Arthur breathes shakily as he walks.)
JOHN: You’re now in a large dining area, the tables are turned upside-down and on top of one another. The area on the floor is cleared.
(His footsteps squeak against the floor.)
JOHN: Arthur, keep looking ahead, I can’t –
ARTHUR:Sorry, just, the door.
JOHN: The dining room is vacant, large glass windows are stained with dirt. I can’t see out them to the street but they provide enough light to show the broken chandelier in the center of the floor.
ARTHUR:Is this a different room from the lobby, or -
JOHN(in horror): That’s not a chandelier.
ARTHUR:What do you mean?
JOHN: Arthur. That is a nest!
JOHN: Arthur, we should leave.
(The door to the kitchen squeaks.)
JOHN: No, not back through the kitchen, there’s a door ajar leading to the lobby. Just quietly follow this wall to our back.
JOHN: Trust me.
JOHN: The nest is moving, as if alive.
JOHN: I don’t know.
(The sound of something scrabbling around, at some distance.)
JOHN: Arthur, there is some glass to our left, take a wide step to your left.
(Arthur steps on broken glass, making it crunch.)
JOHN: No. No, keep going. The door is just to our back, just… push it open and step through.
(The door opens and shuts.)
JOHN: Lock the door!
(Arthur locks the door.)
ARTHUR(heaving breath):Jesus fucking Christ!
JOHN: We’re in the lobby, now.
JOHN: Nothing I can see. It’s an empty if not once elegant foyer. Large stairs lead up. There’s a desk and a front door.
JOHN: It is barred entirely.
ARTHUR:Fuck! Maybe they’re just in that area of the hotel.
JOHN: Head back and lock the door to the kitchen at least.
(He continues to walk.)
ARTHUR(disgusted):What the fuck were those?
JOHN: Creatures not of this world.
ARTHUR:We need to leave.
ARTHUR:Where is the -
(Ominous music starts.)
JOHN: It’s there! By the back door, near the kitchen entrance.
(The creature scrabbles on the ground.)
ARTHUR:Does it see us?
JOHN: Yes, it’s staring right at us. Its black and yellow eyes studying us as the tentacles that hang from its snout writhe and move about in the air. It’s sitting back on its hind legs.
(The creature emits a piercing noise. Others soon join in. Tense music starts to play.)
JOHN: Arthur, we need to move! I can hear them moving from the dining room!
ARTHUR:Where do we move to!?
JOHN: Your right, run down the hallway. Now!
JOHN: To your left, the stairs.
(The creatures follow shortly behind, squealing.)
JOHN: Faster, they’re following.
(One creature squeaks loudly, growing closer.)
JOHN: Your right.
ARTHUR:Where are we heading?
JOHN: I don’t know, just run! You’re on the third floor now, turn left and head down the hallway. Try one of the rooms.
(Arthur tries to turn a doorknob.)
JOHN: Keep moving.
ARTHUR:Are they –
JOHN: Slowly, but they can’t see you – wait!
JOHN: Right, now. A little more. There! The door to this room is open.
(Arthur runs into the room, slams the door shut, and locks it.)
JOHN: Don’t say anything.
(The swarming creatures move by, their noises fading into the distance.)
ARTHUR(breathing heavily):Jesus Christ.
JOHN: Something is wrong, these creatures –
ARTHUR:You said that. You think we’ve done something, all those weeks ago when we opened that book.
JOHN: Doesn’t it seem like it?
ARTHUR:I don’t know. Yes, maybe. Let’s… let’s just focus on now. (Out of breath.)Why was this room open?
JOHN: I don’t know, I can’t see anything. (He sighs.) The curtains are drawn, it’s absolute black in here now that the door is shut.
ARTHUR:Well, luckily, I’m used to navigating in the dark.
JOHN: Only I’m not able to warn you.
ARTHUR:I can manage.
(He pulls the curtain back.)
JOHN: Leerie. This hotel has the perfect vantage point, I can see the square and the buildings surrounding it. A post office, newspaper, grocer. They all seem fairly quiet. No one is out in the street, even.
ARTHUR (exhale):Well, maybe we can climb out a window or… down the side –?
JOHN: Arthur. Someone has been living here.
JOHN: They have things laid out in an oddly neat way, a suitcase open on the dresser, clothes laid out on the bed.
ARTHUR:A suitcase? Well, how old is the stuff?
JOHN: I don’t know, but it doesn’t look that old, Arthur. It could even be –
(A toilet flushes.)
JOHN: Arthur. I think someone is in the bathroom.
ARTHUR(whispering, a single ominous note):We need to leave now!
JOHN: On the bed… laid atop the clothes. There is a pallid mask.
(Melancholy tune rises.)
ARTHUR:Like the one we saw back in Arkham. The person who shot at us.
JOHN: Like the one signifying the King in Yellow. I think they’re just about done in the bathroom, Arthur. What are you going to do?
(END Part 10.)