June 24, 2021

Part 12 "The End"

Part 12 "The End"

A familiar voice, a strange riddle, a buried past...


Malevolent follows Arkham Investigator Arthur Lester as he unravels the mysterious circumstances that have befallen him.

In the Twelfth episode, Arthur decides to press forward into the basement of the hotel despite the entities warning. What follows brings about answers to long sought after questions and a truth that must be confronted... 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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Transcript

PART TWELVE - THE END

Original transcript by Eggsy39 and Jack! Reviewed by Cytosine.

 

(BEGIN Part 12.)

 

ARTHUR: I won’t believe that. We’ve come too far, John. We need to see this to its end.

 

JOHN: Alright, Arthur.

 

(Arthur begins to walk.)

 

ARTHUR (exhale): Where is the door?

 

JOHN: To your right.

 

(He walks and slowly opens a squeaky door.)

 

JOHN: There are a set of stone stairs leading down to a small area. There isn’t much light down here.

 

(Fiddling with his lighter, Arthur sparks it.)

 

JOHN: That’s better.

 

(He begins to climb downwards, occasionally grunting in exertion.)

 

JOHN: As I said, this is a small area that turns back in the direction of the lobby above and opens wider. There are a few shelves here with paint and other maintenance supplies. The hall widens and juts off in two directions.

 

ARTHUR (lightly echoing): Any idea which way makes more sense?

 

JOHN: Neither seems to be better than the other.

 

ARTHUR: Then… left, I suppose.

 

JOHN: Sure. The damage of time is heavy down here. The concrete walls that were once painted in soft gray now sport cracks that run deep. Large pieces of the paint have chipped off and litter the floor. (Pause. More walking.) This hallway stretches on ahead, but there is a door to our left. It’s slightly ajar. Here.

 

(Arthur slowly opens a door.)

 

JOHN: This looks like a pantry, overflow for the kitchen above. A rather large room with shelves.

 

ARTHUR: Anything look… edible?

 

JOHN: Not really, most look long since expired. Jars are broken. A shelf is even knocked over.

 

ARTHUR: Nothing else in the room?

 

JOHN: No.

 

ARTHUR: Alright.

 

JOHN: Wait.

 

ARTHUR: What?

 

JOHN: Do you hear that?

 

(Arthur stops walking.)

 

ARTHUR: No?

 

JOHN: I feel like there are whispers. As if… as if people are down here.

 

(Only silence.)

 

ARTHUR: I don’t think so, John.

 

JOHN: You really don’t hear that?

 

ARTHUR: No. Let’s keep moving.

 

JOHN (softly): Right.

 

(He begins to walk.)

 

JOHN: This hallway moves towards the front of the hotel and the town. It runs quite thin. There’s another open door here to the right. Er? A wine cellar… oh, and another set of stairs just beyond, presumably –

 

ARTHUR (interrupting): Leading up to the dining area?

 

JOHN: Yes.

 

ARTHUR: With all the… rat things.

 

JOHN: Let’s tread softly here then, shall we?

 

ARTHUR: Right.

 

JOHN: This hallway ends in a room.

 

ARTHUR: Is the door open?

 

JOHN: No.

 

ARTHUR: Well. This is why we came.

 

(He steps forward and opens a door.)

 

JOHN: It’s very dark in here. Move in, so your lighter can reflect some of the walls.

 

(Arthur walks further into the room.)

 

JOHN (shocked): Jesus, Arthur! There’s someone here!

 

ARTHUR (whispering): What?

 

JOHN: Uh – we need to – wait.

 

ARTHUR: John? (John begins to laugh.) Who is it? (He continues to laugh. Arthur’s voice turns desperate.) Tell me what you see! Why are you laughing? I don’t –

 

JOHN (stopping): My apologies, Arthur. This is a bathroom. (Arthur sighs.) A bank of large, multi-stalled showers run to the right of us, and to the north, the wall is lined with large mirrors.

 

ARTHUR: Mirrors?

 

JOHN: Yes. We’re alone, the only person in here is our reflection.

 

ARTHUR (exhale): Fuck, John. (He chuckles.) You nearly gave me a heart attack.

 

JOHN: They’re quite nice mirrors, too. Ornate, in a way. Tall enough for your whole body.

 

ARTHUR: This must have been where the staff showered and cleaned up.

 

JOHN: Yes.

 

ARTHUR: Nothing else?

 

JOHN: Not that I can see.

 

ARTHUR: Well, let’s move back to the fork, but go right this time.

 

(He continues to walk, opening and shutting a door behind him.)

 

ARTHUR: You seem quiet.

 

JOHN: I have a bad feeling, Arthur.

 

ARTHUR: Me too, but – but this is why we’re here.

 

JOHN: Stay left this time.

 

ARTHUR: But we wanted –

 

JOHN: You’re the other way now, Arthur.

 

ARTHUR: Right, right.

 

(He continues to walk.)

 

JOHN: There are rooms all along the side here, all their doors are open. Maybe five rooms in all. They look like sleeping quarters.

 

ARTHUR: The staff, maybe?

 

JOHN: Perhaps.

 

ARTHUR: Tough to gauge who this hotel catered to.

 

JOHN: What do you mean?

 

ARTHUR: It’s so out of the way. Not particularly extravagant and not a destination necessarily worth visiting, it just seems odd.

 

JOHN: True. There’s another room here, the door is shut. To your right.

 

(Arthur opens a door.)

 

JOHN: Ah, this is the laundry room. It’s large and runs off to the left. It looks like this is where we would have come out, had the chute not been blocked.

 

ARTHUR: Can you see the chute? (He shifts closer.)

 

JOHN: Yes, it’s blocked. Lots of laundry is piled here, presumably from many years. Garbage too.

 

ARTHUR: Damn.

 

JOHN: So far this basement doesn’t seem to be holding the answers you seek, Arthur.

 

ARTHUR: No. What the hell is the point in all this? That paper, it - it said that we were on our way here, but.

 

JOHN: But what?

 

ARTHUR: Well, they knew it, they had it written that we were to come down this way. So why is it so vacant down here?

 

JOHN: You thought they’d greet you here?

 

ARTHUR: I don’t know what I thought, but I – I figured something was here.

 

JOHN: The hall still continues on? Maybe you’ll get your wish.

 

ARTHUR: Maybe. Let’s head there.

 

JOHN (warning, amidst growing ominous music): Arthur.

 

ARTHUR: What?

 

JOHN: There is a light ahead. (Arthur breathes shakily.) The door at the end of this hall is slightly ajar. Light leaks out with a flicker, as if a candle is lit in the room… as if someone is waiting. Are you sure about this?

 

(Arthur flicks on the lighter.)

 

ARTHUR: Yes.

 

(He walks closer, opens the door, and shuts it behind him.)

 

ARTHUR: Well?

 

JOHN: There's no one in here. The room is a small office. Its walls are lined with bookshelves, most of which are empty or tossed with time. A candle sits upon the writing desk before us, however.

 

ARTHUR (exhale): Well, they wanted us to be here –

 

JOHN: There is a phonograph on the desk.

 

ARTHUR: A phonograph? What kind? (He touches it.)

 

JOHN: It says ‘Edison Standard Phonograph’.

 

ARTHUR: Is there a cylinder on it? Er, a wax cylinder?

 

JOHN: Yes.

 

ARTHUR: Are there grooves on it?

 

JOHN: Slight, but yes.

 

ARTHUR: They want us to hear something.

 

(Arthur pulls up a chair and sits with a sigh.)

 

JOHN: To your left.

 

(Arthur starts the phonograph, which starts with a burst of static that soon quiets.)

 

  1. ORRETT (slightly tinny): Recording: This is Dr. Jeffrey Orrett, May 27th, 1927, recording from Arkham Psychiatric Hospital. (Suspenseful strings rise.) Today, I’ll be speaking once again with patient #45, Kellin Holeman.

 

(Kellin’s trademark heavy breathing is audible throughout.)

 

ARTHUR (shocked): What?

 

JOHN: What!?

 

  1. ORRETT: Kellin, I see you’re still wearing your mask.

 

KELLIN: Yes.

 

  1. ORRETT: Is there a reason you feel safer with it on?

 

KELLIN: I told you. I can’t breathe.

 

  1. ORRETT: Alright. Can we continue what we were talking about last session? I told you I wanted to record it, and I’d like to pick up – (slightly distorted, soon returning to normal) Where we left off. Okay? Okay. Now you mentioned the ‘Dreamlands’. What are the Dreamlands?

 

KELLIN: It is… vast.

 

  1. ORRETT: Can you explain?

 

KELLIN: It’s not here, it’s… somewhere else.

 

  1. ORRETT: You mentioned it was an alternate dimension.

 

KELLIN: I said it wasn't this place.

 

  1. ORRETT: You also said that things didn’t work the same, that you could only get to it by dreaming.

 

KELLIN: No, that you had to be asleep to enter.

 

  1. ORRETT: But when you wake…?

 

KELLIN: You don’t… wake.

 

  1. ORRETT: So if I were in the Dreamlands my body wouldn’t be here?

 

KELLIN: No.

 

  1. ORRETT: So I am literally transported?

 

KELLIN: Yes.

 

  1. ORRETT: And how did you enter the Dreamlands?

 

KELLIN (after a pause): I don’t know.

 

  1. ORRETT: Kellin.

 

KELLIN: I don’t know.

 

  1. ORRETT (interrupting): Okay, okay. You told me last week that it was a mirror image of our waking universe. The same planets, stars, right?

 

KELLIN: Right.

 

  1. ORRETT: Can one willingly come back from the Dreamlands, as you did?

 

KELLIN: You have to be allowed to leave.

 

  1. ORRETT: By who?

 

(Kellin responds with a heavy exhale.)

 

  1. ORRETT: By who, Kellin?

 

KELLIN (curt): Him.

 

  1. ORRETT: Is this the King you were talking about? The – (Distorted.) King in Yellow?

 

KELLIN: Yes. (Faroe’s Song begins to play.) The King in Yellow.

 

  1. ORRETT: What is he?

 

KELLIN: He is God.

 

  1. ORRETT: Kellin, now surely you mean something else.

 

KELLIN: He is God.

 

  1. ORRETT: He may be a god to you, but what does he offer?

 

KELLIN (after a pause): Pain.

 

  1. ORRETT: Pain?

 

KELLIN: He offers despair and madness, pain and suffering.

 

  1. ORRETT: What kind of God would offer pain, Kellin? Kellin?

 

(Kellin breathes heavily.)

 

  1. ORRETT: Kellin, it sounds more like this King is the Devil.

 

KELLIN: They are one and the same.

 

  1. ORRETT: The same? God and the Devil?

 

KELLIN: Yes.

 

  1. ORRETT: And he exists in the Dreamlands? Or here?

 

KELLIN: Both.

 

  1. ORRETT: Both?

 

KELLIN: Here he walks amongst us, whispering to us.

 

  1. ORRETT: He has whispered to you?

 

KELLIN: No.

 

  1. ORRETT: How do you know all of this, Kellin? Where did you learn all of this?

 

KELLIN: Near a lake.

 

  1. ORRETT: A lake?

 

KELLIN: In a town.

 

  1. ORRETT: What town?

 

KELLIN: In a basement.

 

  1. ORRETT: A basement of what, Kellin?

 

KELLIN: You don’t belong there.

 

  1. ORRETT: How do you know?

 

KELLIN: You’re not meant to find him unless you are supposed to.

 

  1. ORRETT: What does that mean? Where can I find answers, Kellin?

 

KELLIN: Only when you truly see yourself, framed in gold, will you find answers.

 

(The phonograph clicks off.)

 

ARTHUR (shaken): What the fuck? Why the fuck was Kellin…?

 

JOHN: I don’t know, Arthur.

 

ARTHUR: What does all of that mean? The Dreamlands, does that –?

 

JOHN: Feel familiar?

 

ARTHUR: Yes.

 

JOHN: It does.

 

ARTHUR: The Dark World?

 

JOHN: No. (A pause.) Well, what are we supposed to do now?

 

ARTHUR: I don’t… he – he said something at the end, er… it sounded like… (Arthur gets up from the chair. The piano melody fades away.) Something like “When you see yourself framed in gold, you will find answers.”

 

JOHN: What do you suppose that means?

 

ARTHUR: I don’t know, I… it might be a riddle.

 

JOHN: A riddle? For what?

 

(Arthur starts to walk.)

 

JOHN: Arthur?

 

ARTHUR: To help people find their way to… this place. Whatever is beyond this hotel.

 

JOHN: Then what is the answer?

 

ARTHUR: I’m thinking.

 

(He continues to walk.)

 

ARTHUR: “Only when you see yourself.” The mirrors in the bathroom, you said they were… ornate?

 

JOHN: Yes.

 

ARTHUR: How ornate?

 

JOHN: The frames. They were gold.

 

(Arthur walks.)

 

ARTHUR: That’s it, then. Kellin said that people… that he found this place.

 

JOHN: Like we did.

 

ARTHUR: Like we did. But that only those meant to be here found more.

 

JOHN: And what is this “more”?

 

ARTHUR: I don’t know, but whatever it is, that mirror is the answer.

 

JOHN: Alright.

 

(Arthur walks, opening and shutting a door behind him. He flicks on the lighter with a sigh.)

 

ARTHUR (echoing slightly): Suddenly I feel very alone.

 

JOHN: What do you mean?

 

ARTHUR: I don’t know. Something about hearing that, the sound filling the room, and - and then nothing. I suppose you’ve never experienced it.

 

JOHN (lightly amused): No. But I'm interested in what you mean.

 

ARTHUR: There's an odd sensation after a record, or if you’ve had the radio on for a while, the emptiness when you turn it off. (He walks.) Or like… after a party, when all the guests have gone home. You’re there to clean up the glasses and head to bed.

 

JOHN: A party?

 

ARTHUR: I- I just mean to say that… the room filled with noise, suddenly silent. It just feels all the more lonesome, and I suddenly feel it, is all.

 

JOHN: Well. You’re not alone, for what it’s worth.

 

ARTHUR: I… (He chuckles.) Wh –

 

JOHN: We’re at the mirror.

 

ARTHUR: Right.

 

JOHN: It’s tall, as I said. It’s maybe six feet from the ground, though it’s almost an inch off of it.

 

ARTHUR: You said originally that there were a few mirrors?

 

JOHN: This one is the only one with gold, and it’s in the center.

 

ARTHUR: Well.

 

(He flicks on the lighter and starts to push against the mirror. A loud thud.)

 

JOHN: Well indeed, Arthur.

 

ARTHUR: It feels unlatched, slightly, from the wall, but… but how do I… (He grunts.)

 

JOHN: Try pulling it out.

 

(Arthur exerts himself.)

 

ARTHUR: No, it’s not… oh! Oh.

 

(Something clicks.)

 

ARTHUR: Ah, there was a small switch at the side, like a button. Now it should…

 

(Panting in exertion as the mirror creaks open.)

 

ARTHUR: There.

 

(He flicks on the lighter and starts to walk.)

 

JOHN: Arthur, before us lies a thin concrete tunnel. It stretches forward into absolute darkness.

 

ARTHUR: Funny. Before all of this, I used to fear the dark. Not in any crippling way, but – but now it’s… well, now it’s no different. Shall we?

 

JOHN: You first.

 

(Arthur chuckles to himself. He moves along the wall, occasionally brushing against the exteriors.)

 

ARTHUR: It’s quite tight in here.

 

JOHN: Yes, and the concrete walls seem to stop… abruptly.

 

ARTHUR: What do you mean?

 

JOHN: The walls here are quickly turning to natural stone and… dirt. (Suspenseful music starts to rise.)

 

ARTHUR: We’re moving downward, aren’t we? As if on a slight incline.

 

JOHN: Only slight. The walls still are carved, smooth cuts shape the walls with a very distinct feel, as if it were chipped away.

 

ARTHUR: How so?

 

JOHN: I'm not sure, but there are support beams here.

 

ARTHUR: Like a mine?

 

JOHN: Yes.

 

ARTHUR: Was this city built on a mine? That seems odd but… it makes more sense –

 

JOHN: There aren’t cart tracks here, and the beams don’t have places for torches or lights. This is a single tunnel leading towards… an elevator.

 

ARTHUR: What?

 

JOHN: Nothing so nice as we’ve seen in Arkham. This is a rusted chain-fed elevator ending the tunnel.

 

ARTHUR (slightly nervous): There's no other way? This is –

 

JOHN: This is where the tunnel leads.

 

ARTHUR: How far up does it go?

 

JOHN: No, Arthur. It only goes down.

 

(A single boom of suspense.)

 

ARTHUR: Down? Farther into the mine?

 

JOHN: This isn’t a mine. This is a tunnel that looks as though it existed long before this hotel was ever conceived.

 

ARTHUR: So, what then? They built it to… to – to hide this? On top of… whatever lay down there? Another cult sanctuary like we found on the island?

 

JOHN: This feels different. Very different. A widow built that home on the island to hide something not welcome in this world. This hotel attempted to hide in plain sight. A secret large enough to require everything that is built above us.

 

ARTHUR: Then it’s a secret we need to see.

 

(Arthur steps onto the elevator. It creaks badly.)

 

ARTHUR: How do I, er… is there a –

 

JOHN: There’s a lever to your right. It looks to be counterweighted. The chain leads into the wall. I don’t know how fast it will descend. You may want to hold on.

 

ARTHUR: To the keenest form of fascination.

 

(He shifts the elevator lever. The elevator screeches shut and starts to move. It’s very loud.)

 

JOHN: We’re moving quickly. The stone walls here are carved much like that above.

 

ARTHUR (over the elevator’s noise): Carved like the island?

 

JOHN: No, the stone here isn’t intricate. It’s seemingly done for function alone. It is not ornate. The floor of this lift is a metal grate. I can see below… past our feet and into the darkness. I think it may open up, shortly.

 

ARTHUR: How?

 

JOHN: It looks as though the walls on all sides of us will stop, as if we descend from the roof of some large underground cavern. We’ll continue down, I hope, though I don’t see a bottom.

 

ARTHUR: I'm glad I can’t see this.

 

(The elevator continues downward loudly.)

 

JOHN: There, we’ve broken through the ceiling of this cavern, and as I said, it’s massive. I feel like a single drop falling from the ceiling of some… (In awe.) Oh my God. Arthur.

 

ARTHUR: What?

 

JOHN (stunned): This… I-I can’t even begin.

 

ARTHUR: Try.

 

JOHN: This is a city.

 

(A thoughtful tune begins to play.)

 

ARTHUR: Wh-what?

 

JOHN (awed to the point of excitement): Arthur, there is a massive underground city here. Miles beneath the surface. Colossal stalactites hang from the cavern ceiling, like dripping saliva from some gigantic beast’s mouth. Buildings, roads, stone-laden paths all populate this cavern, which stretches out before us.

 

ARTHUR (out of breath): I… I-I don’t understand.

 

JOHN: A dull, emanating green light pulses from the city center on the other side of what looks to be a black river.

 

ARTHUR: A river?

 

JOHN: Yes. A-Arthur, we’re descending fast now, o-on the far side of the river. Faster than I… oh… hold on!

 

(The elevator crashes. Arthur grunts in pain. The elevator completely smashes apart, metal clanging some distance away.)

 

ARTHUR (in pain): Oh, fuck.

 

(Sighing, Arthur begins to move around on the gravel.)

 

JOHN: There’s no going back now, Arthur.

 

ARTHUR: Just… just start with where we are. Are we in this… city? Where did we…?

 

JOHN: The hole in the cavern roof is high above us, hundreds of feet. The elevator looks broken now. We’ve descended down onto a stone beach covered in pebbles, on the shore of a black river opposite the city. The wall of the cavern is to our back and extends, surrounding the entire city… a-and across the river just past a massive pillar that connects to the ceiling is where all the buildings start. (Arthur walks forward.) They’re odd in architecture, almost medieval but with rounded windows and smooth features. I can only see the ones on the waterfront across the river now. It’s very… still down here.

 

ARTHUR: Okay, okay… okay. We need to calm down, I –

 

JOHN: The green light from the city center, it… it fills the cavern in an odd, dreamlike hue.

 

ARTHUR: How far across the river is this city?

 

JOHN: A couple hundred feet at least.

 

ARTHUR: Who lived down here? Did the cult –

 

JOHN: This is what they’ve been hiding, Arthur. This is where it all leads.

 

ARTHUR: All of it?

 

JOHN: Everything led us here. (Distorted.) We are home.

 

ARTHUR: Home?

 

JOHN (still distorted): Home. We… have to find out.

 

ARTHUR: John?

 

JOHN (distorted): Answers.

 

ARTHUR: John.

 

JOHN (normal): Yes?

 

ARTHUR: Are you alright?

 

JOHN: Yes.

 

ARTHUR: It’s so quiet down here. Is the river this way?

 

JOHN: Yes.

 

(He continues forward.)

 

JOHN: Stop. The water… it’s thick and unmoving, like oil.

 

ARTHUR: Is it?

 

(Arthur moves forward, splashing around in the shallows.)

 

ARTHUR: It feels thick alright.

 

(The sound of splashing water in the distance.)

 

ARTHUR (exhale): Did you hear that?

 

JOHN: Yes.

 

ARTHUR: Do you see anything?

 

JOHN: Something moved in the water.

 

ARTHUR: Is there movement on the other side? Is there anyone there?

 

JOHN: No.

 

ARTHUR: Do you see a way to get across?

 

JOHN: Yes, there’s a small boat on the shore just down the way.

 

ARTHUR: Well, it’s better than swimming.

 

(Arthur moves forward. A slight echo surrounds them.)

 

JOHN: This city, Arthur. It has eyes.

 

ARTHUR: I thought you said you didn’t see any movement.

 

JOHN: I don’t. The eyes are unmoving. They follow us. (Distorted.) They’re waiting for us.

 

ARTHUR (insistent): John, don’t break on me now. I need you.

 

JOHN (earnest): I won’t. I… the boat is just ahead. We need to figure out what happened here, Arthur. Why did they lead us here?

 

ARTHUR: If this city is the source of this cult, of this King… there must be answers.

 

JOHN: We’re at the boat.

 

ARTHUR: Right, I guess let’s… push it in. Quietly, and then cross.

 

JOHN: Wait.

 

ARTHUR: Hm?

 

JOHN: There's a lantern here, hanging from a metal rod.

 

ARTHUR: So?

 

JOHN: It’s stretched out over the water and it hangs low.

 

ARTHUR: What’s up, John?

 

JOHN: I think maybe we should light it.

 

ARTHUR: Why? I don’t think we need to draw attention to ourselves. If there is something in the water, I think we should be as quiet and as dark as possible when we cross.

 

JOHN: Or, perhaps the light is there for a reason.

 

ARTHUR: I think you’re being a bit paranoid. I’m not going to light the lantern and draw more attention to ourselves than needed.

 

JOHN: Arthur. I have a feeling.

 

ARTHUR (dismissive): We’ll be quick and quiet and across the river before your feeling has any time to grow.

 

JOHN: Alright.

 

ARTHUR: Where’s the back of the, um –

 

JOHN: There.

 

ARTHUR: Right.

 

(Arthur exerts himself as he pushes the boat, scraping it along the gravel. It lands into the water with a splash.)

 

ARTHUR: Okay.

 

(He gets into the boat, settling on the wood. He drips water.)

 

ARTHUR: Okay. Where are the paddles?

 

JOHN: No paddles.

 

ARTHUR: None?

 

JOHN: None that I can see.

 

ARTHUR: Damn. Well. Are we pointed towards the far shore?

 

JOHN: Yes.

 

ARTHUR: Okay. Er. I guess…

 

JOHN: If you lean over the bow of the boat, you should be able to reach the water. It’s still and quiet, and you may be able to paddle your way across with your hands.

 

ARTHUR: Alright. It’s not too far?

 

JOHN: Not too far, no.

 

(Arthur settles himself on the boat and starts to paddle, grunting softly. The boat starts to cut through the water.)

 

JOHN: We’re moving. Slowly.

 

ARTHUR (out of breath): Right. Tell me if we see anything moving in the water. I’m sure that there are some fish and things, but… down here, I'm happy to be paranoid.

 

JOHN: Of course. Well, the water, as I said, is black. (Arthur periodically grunts.) As you draw your hands from the water and put them back in, I can see why. Flecks of something cling to your hands as if the lake is stagnant black water, formed of suspended particulates of whatever this substance is.

 

ARTHUR: Yes, I can feel the grit of it. I don’t know what it is.

 

JOHN: Unlikely we will find out. Let’s just keep pressing.

 

ARTHUR: No movement?

 

JOHN: None around us, though… the water… Arthur, stop for a moment.

 

(Something banging against wood.)

 

JOHN: The water does move softly, as if…

 

ARTHUR: As if what?

 

JOHN (in a whisper): Arthur, I think something is down there, just below the surface. Move closer.

 

ARTHUR: No, thank you. I’m quite alright here.

 

JOHN: No, it’s small. Many small things, I can’t… I can’t quite make it out but they seem to be just along the surface.

 

ARTHUR: Is there nothing else we can paddle with?

 

JOHN: Not on the boat.

 

ARTHUR: Damn. (The sound of something moving along the wood.) Alright, I don’t want to go sticking my hand in without knowing.

 

JOHN: I think they’ve been there all along. It’s so difficult to see without any light, but… more of them, now. As if they’re swarming.

 

ARTHUR: Swarming? Do fish swarm?

 

JOHN: Schooling, I don’t know. I think… I think maybe they’re tadpoles.

 

ARTHUR: Down here? Unlikely, I –

 

JOHN: They seem… they look like two-tailed aquatic larvae. They seem to be swimming blindly in the water, without any sort of pattern between them.

 

ARTHUR: Well, they seemingly didn’t bother us before, so. Here’s hoping.

 

(He begins to paddle again.)

 

JOHN: They still seem to be swarming around the boat. I wonder-

 

ARTHUR: How far are we from the shore?

 

JOHN: Which?

 

ARTHUR (mildly annoyed): The far side, John.

 

JOHN: Halfway, maybe. We’re going too slow to coast.

 

ARTHUR: Well, maybe if I paddle harder, I can get us gliding. I don’t want to have my hands in here for longer than necessary.

 

JOHN: There are an awful lot of them now, Arthur. All moving around your hands.

 

ARTHUR: If I can just get a little lower, then I should be able to… (He sharply reels back.) Ow, fuck!

 

JOHN (in alarm): Arthur!

 

ARTHUR: Argh, one of them bit me! Oh! Ugh.

 

JOHN (disgust): Arthur, it's still in you.

 

ARTHUR: What?

 

JOHN: It’s in your arm!

 

ARTHUR (terrified): Jesus fucking Christ.

 

JOHN: It’s… it’s worming its way inside of you. (Arthur growls in pain.) Burrowing into your flesh. Arthur, grab it!

 

ARTHUR (desperate): I’m trying, I’m trying! The tail, it – it’s ripping off.

 

JOHN: The lamp!

 

ARTHUR: What?

 

JOHN: I think it was to drive them away from the boat, it’s so dark down here. The lantern is all the way at the front, just use your lighter!

 

(Arthur makes noises of pain. He starts to move along the boat.)

 

JOHN: Arthur, move quickly! It’s almost inside of you.

 

(The sound of a lighter flicking.)

 

JOHN: Your hands are wetting the wick.

 

ARTHUR (steadily more angry): Fuck… fuck… fuck! Come on! (He growls in pain.)

 

JOHN: Arthur, it is almost inside you. Hold the flame to your skin! Otherwise it won’t be bright enough. (Arthur starts to whimper in pain.) Closer! It’s moving back, you need to press it against your skin to prevent it from moving further in.

 

(Arthur screams in pain. Something sizzles.)

 

JOHN: There! It’s fallen from your arm, it’s on the floor of the boat.

 

(Arthur steps on it with a grunt.)

 

ARTHUR (breathing hard): What the fuck was that?

 

JOHN: I don’t know. Something in the water, some… creature.

 

ARTHUR: Am I… am I bleeding a lot?

 

JOHN: Somewhat, you have a severe burn on your left arm though.

 

ARTHUR: Oh, fuck. (He tries to regulate his breathing.) Water creature?

 

JOHN: I suppose.

 

ARTHUR: You said larvae.

 

JOHN: Yes, they look… under-developed.

 

ARTHUR: Right, right. Well, what the fuck gave birth to them?

 

(The water splashes. An ominous note rises.)

 

JOHN (alarmed): We need to get to the shore.

 

ARTHUR: I’m not putting my hands back in the water.

 

JOHN: We may not need to. You may have pushed us enough for the momentum to carry us. Sit up so I can see.

 

(Arthur moves around, scraping against the wood.)

 

JOHN: Yes, the shore is closing in. It’ll still take… (Urgent.) Arthur, lie back down.

 

ARTHUR: What?

 

JOHN (whispering): Something is just below the water to our left. I saw its eyes.

 

ARTHUR (whispering): Eyes?

 

JOHN: They sat just out of the water: two large, bulbous sockets with red eyes that watched us as we moved. It was following, slowly… waiting for us to reach the land.

 

ARTHUR: What? We need to light the lantern.

 

JOHN: Quietly. Try to move without making a sound, if you can.

 

(Arthur moves along the boat, occasionally thumping against the wood.)

 

JOHN: It’s still there… moving closer. I can see the trail of waves it makes… only minorly though, as it moves through the water, silently stalking us.

 

ARTHUR (whispering fiercely): The lantern, where is it?

 

JOHN: Just a little higher… there. It opens away from us.

 

ARTHUR: It’s an oil lamp, is the reservoir full?

 

(He flicks the lighter.)

 

JOHN: Yes.

 

ARTHUR (failing to light it): Why won’t it –

 

JOHN: It’s moving just below us… and… (Alarmed.) It’s gone under.

 

ARTHUR: Come on!

 

JOHN: There! It’s caught but the flame is weak, it needs time to -

 

(A loud splash erupts, rocking the boat and causing Arthur to grunt in surprise.)

 

JOHN: Arthur! It’s a large, amphibious monstrosity. It’s attached to the bow of the boat with large suckers that adorn its front and ventral area. Its mouth is agape… hollow, needle-like fangs fill its small maw. It sits with its front legs out before it and back tensed, as if ready to pounce.

 

(The creature growls in the background, sounding wet. Suspenseful music rises.)

 

ARTHUR: The lamp!

 

JOHN: It’s knocked into the boat beside us.

 

ARTHUR: This?

 

JOHN: Yes, wh –

 

ARTHUR: How close are we to the shore?

 

JOHN: Maybe fifty feet. (ARTHUR (quiet): Alright.) Arthur, it’s about to pounce…!

 

ARTHUR: Alright, when it does-

 

JOHN (barking): Arthur!

 

(The creature shrieks in alarm and slams into Arthur, making him grunt into pain. A high-pitched whining sounds as the sounds of a struggle erupt.)

 

JOHN: Arthur, its stomach is attaching to ours!

 

(Arthur screams in pain.)

 

JOHN: Arthur, it’s sucking blood from - what are you doing? Arthur, the lamp, it won’t work!

 

ARTHUR (flicking the lighter): Let’s hope this is bright enough!

 

(Arthur smashes the lantern, causing the boat to erupt in flames. Arthur leaps into the water.)

 

JOHN: Jesus Christ! Arthur!

 

(From a distance, the creature roars in pain.)

 

JOHN: Arthur, are you mad? Those things are in here – god damn it. Swim! Faster, you’re almost there.

 

(Arthur swims wildly, breaking through the surface and gasping.)

 

ARTHUR: Get them off me – ge-get them off!

 

JOHN: They’re gone, Arthur. There aren’t any on you. The light from the boat, it’s… burning. It must have turned them away.

 

ARTHUR: That thing… that thing was…!

 

JOHN: It dove off. (ARTHUR: Fuck!) But I think you scared it away.

 

ARTHUR: My stomach, it… it was draining blood from me.

 

JOHN: You’re fine, Arthur. Breathe. (ARTHUR: I can barely –) You’re fine. (Arthur takes a deep breath.) It’s over.

 

ARTHUR: Yes… yes, it’s over.

 

(He walks along the gravel shore.)

 

JOHN (more lighthearted): Well, it wasn't the most subtle way to cross, but… we’ve made it nonetheless.

 

ARTHUR: Whatever it was, it wasn't from this world either.

 

JOHN: Not by a longshot. The city is just up the small beach here, but… (He exhales.) I think we should put on the mask before proceeding any further.

 

ARTHUR: What? Why?

 

JOHN: I don’t know. But part of me says that we should.

 

ARTHUR: Well, you also thought we should light the lantern, and given the way that shook out… sure, let’s put on the mask.

 

JOHN: It doesn’t have to be right now. Our stomach is bleeding quite a bit. We should worry about that.

 

ARTHUR (surprised): What? I-I can barely feel it.

 

JOHN: I don’t know.

 

ARTHUR: I can feel the blood on my fingers, but… my entire abdomen, it – it’s – where the creature latched onto me, it’s numb.

 

JOHN: It must have injected you with some sort of… anesthetic, before draining you.

 

ARTHUR: Jesus, I-I do feel lightheaded, I…

 

JOHN: Move up from the beach, maybe we can find something in one of these outbuildings.

 

(Arthur starts to walk.)

 

ARTHUR: I don’t understand what kind of…

 

JOHN: Just save your breath for a moment, Arthur. (Mysterious music notes.) We’re coming up to the start of a stone pathway that runs between the buildings, a street of sorts.

 

ARTHUR: What? This city is…?

 

JOHN: It’s bizarre. The architecture seems in large part medieval, but… there is some foreign curvature that seems incorporated into most doorways and windows. The roofs, too, are more rounded. The small stone path leads between these buildings that loom overhead.

 

ARTHUR: Are they stone, or…?

 

JOHN: Yes, a soft gray stone that makes them stand out in contrast to the dark cavern walls far behind and above. There are dozens of houses here on the outskirts alone, all quiet. All bathed in that green light from the center of the city. I, uh… (He exhales.)

 

(Arthur continues to walk, grunting as he does so.)

 

JOHN: There's a doorway to the building coming up on the left. It’s an open passage, no door at the threshold of it.

 

(Arthur approaches.)

 

ARTHUR: Well?

 

JOHN: This is a small, plain room; an entryway of sorts which turns to the right sharply.

 

(He continues forward.)

 

JOHN: There. This looks like storage, maybe a shop. Straight ahead, there’s a small shelf on the wall with piles of what looks to be cloth. We can use that to stop the bleeding around your waist.

 

(Arthur walks.)

 

JOHN: Take off your robe and clothes underneath. They’re in tatters anyway.

 

(Arthur undresses, rustling the fabric of his clothes.)

 

ARTHUR: There.

 

JOHN: Wrap the top cloth around your midriff. There. Tighter.

 

ARTHUR: So, this is storage?

 

JOHN: I’m not entirely sure, it doesn’t have a counter or a till, so I was wrong in saying shop. I'm not entirely sure what the purpose of this city was, though it does feel…

 

ARTHUR: Familiar?

 

JOHN: No. It feels like an echo.

 

ARTHUR: How does that work?

 

JOHN: Like a memory that’s been changed by the things it’s touched, shifted and distorted with time. It’s tough to explain.

 

ARTHUR: No, I think I understand. The medieval architecture, there must be some explanation.

 

JOHN: Not just the architecture… the clothing, the things on the shelves here.

 

ARTHUR: What things?

 

JOHN: Just items of intrinsic value, silver and gold adorned.

 

ARTHUR: Such value sitting on a shelf?

 

JOHN: This city seems to be without fear of being discovered.

 

ARTHUR: For good reason. Beyond being hidden they seem to have a pretty deadly guard dog. (He grunts.) Better?

 

JOHN: Much. I think there are some clothes here, the shelf to the left of this one has some boots. I’d wager more, but I can’t see it from here.

 

ARTHUR: Well, it’s better than putting on wet clothes again.

 

(Arthur searches the shelves, clinking some items together.)

 

JOHN: That’s a shirt… yes, pants… there, that's all you’ll need.

 

(Arthur starts to pull the clothes on.)

 

ARTHUR: Is there anything else we should try to take? Anything of use?

 

JOHN: I don’t think so, much of this is very old and covered in dust.

 

ARTHUR: They wanted us to see this, let’s not forget.

 

JOHN: No, but.

 

ARTHUR: But what?

 

JOHN (sighing): This city had a purpose, it wasn’t for trade or to live in. It’s only a ruin now, kept for a reason, a museum… a monument, of sorts.

 

ARTHUR: A monument to what?

 

JOHN: There’s a small archway leading to another room, it looks slightly larger.

 

(Arthur walks.)

 

JOHN: It’s only more storage back here, crates and –

 

ARTHUR (interrupting): Crates? Crates of what?

 

JOHN: I don’t know. Many are still sealed. They are stamped.

 

ARTHUR: What’s stamped on them?

 

JOHN: ‘Cassilda.’

 

ARTHUR: Just that? A name? Cassilda?

 

JOHN: Yes, they all seem to be stamped with it.

 

ARTHUR (exhale): Let’s leave this place, see if we can’t find another house. Maybe it can shed some light on what this place is.

 

JOHN (thoughtful): Yes.

 

ARTHUR: Are you okay?

 

JOHN: Of course.

 

ARTHUR: You’ve been drifting farther away from me, John.

 

JOHN: Arthur, I, uh…

 

ARTHUR: You’re here with me, John, and I need you. We’re a team.

 

JOHN: Yes, we are.

 

ARTHUR: Good. Get me out of here.

 

(He starts to walk.)

 

JOHN: Right. To the right here… now left… yes. The street continues forward.

 

ARTHUR: It’s not wide enough for a car, or…?

 

JOHN: No, this is well before this modern era, Arthur.

 

ARTHUR: No, no, I know. It’s just like you said, this place had a purpose… monument or not, I can’t understand what a city like this would be used for, especially one that looks so…

 

JOHN: Alien.

 

ARTHUR (chuckling): Yes, I-I guess so. Was it just to exist? Was it meant to house people, or was it meant to –

 

JOHN: Emulate a dream.

 

ARTHUR (confused): Emulate a dream? Sure.

 

JOHN: Maybe this house will have more answers, uh. To the left.

 

ARTHUR: Okay.

 

(He walks further.)

 

JOHN: This home is similarly a single story. No kitchen, bathroom, shelves… nothing. The room is of single use and seems to have only a single hanging bed in the center of this room.

 

ARTHUR: Hanging?

 

JOHN: Like a hammock, only more… ornate. It’s strung from four spots on the walls rather than two, and it’s sagging with age.

 

ARTHUR: I don’t understand, why would this house only have a single hammock? Is there anything in it?

 

(He moves closer.)

 

JOHN (alarmed): Yes. Arthur. There is a desiccated corpse lying in this hammock.

 

(Suspenseful music rises.)

 

ARTHUR: Oh, god... how? Can you see how it died?

 

JOHN: It’s old, Arthur.

 

ARTHUR: How old?

 

JOHN: Maybe fifty years, at least. It’s almost entirely bones. The dried, leathery flesh has knitted together over its face. Its teeth have fallen back into its vacant, open mouth.

 

ARTHUR: Alright, okay. So, no, you don’t know how it died, then?

 

JOHN: It looks… peaceful. Its hands are clasped together over its stomach. It doesn’t look like there are any broken bones.

 

ARTHUR: Do you think maybe this city was a place for rest, where people could come to die, or –

 

JOHN: Wait. He’s holding something in his hands.

 

ARTHUR: What is it?

 

JOHN: I don’t know.

 

ARTHUR: Where are his hands? Here? Are they -

 

JOHN: Be careful, Arthur, remember if we touch -

 

(Arthur moves forward to touch him before John can finish. The audio distorts and John yells in alarm.)

 

JOHN (breathing heavily): Oh, I see him. He’s laying here. Still, motionless. I see his death, he’s… he’s breathing slower, and… he’s dreaming, and-

 

(The audio distorts again as John is thrown back into the present. He breathes raggedly.)

 

ARTHUR (from a distance): Sorry, I’m sorry, John. I forgot, I –

 

JOHN: He saw me again, Arthur.

 

ARTHUR: The King?

 

JOHN: Yes.

 

ARTHUR: God damn it!

 

JOHN: He knows we’re here.

 

ARTHUR: I’m sorry, I thought…

 

(John tries to gather his breath.)

 

ARTHUR: Well, I did grab it. It’s-it’s here, I…

 

JOHN: It looks like a large, yellowish egg, Arthur. I don’t recognize it.

 

ARTHUR: Fuck. What happened to this man? You said that… you said that he was dreaming, and he just… died?

 

JOHN: Yes.

 

ARTHUR: Whatever this egg is, it must be important.

 

JOHN: We need to move, and you need to don that mask. Now.

 

ARTHUR: Okay, okay.

 

(Arthur puts the mask on, tying the straps.)

 

JOHN: I want to see something, head into another building… to the right.

 

(Arthur walks.)

 

ARTHUR (muffled behind the mask): This one?

 

JOHN: No, er… try the left. Yes.

 

(Arthur continues.)

 

JOHN: This house also has a bed… and a corpse.

 

ARTHUR: They were sleeping?

 

JOHN: Dreaming – all of them.

 

ARTHUR: What do you mean ‘all?’

 

JOHN: I think all of the houses have people in them… all who dreamed until their death. A city below a blackened sky like no other… one that exists beneath the earth. The Sleeping City.

 

ARTHUR: You speak as though it’s well known. Who or what would –

 

JOHN (quietly): I know this place.

 

ARTHUR: How?

 

JOHN: I know what it is meant to be.

 

ARTHUR: John.

 

JOHN: They’re approaching.

 

ARTHUR: Who?

 

JOHN (slightly distorted): The others.

 

ARTHUR: From where?

 

JOHN: The houses where they said their goodbyes.

 

ARTHUR (urgent): John, you’re scaring me. Come on, now.

 

JOHN: Head back out to the street, join them. We need to see where this leads.

 

ARTHUR: Not with you like this.

 

JOHN: Arthur, this city is built for dreams. To allow passage to the Dreamlands. It’s… it’s what all of this is for. A place that is thin between those worlds.

 

ARTHUR: The Dreamlands?

 

JOHN: Yes. All of these followers must have dreamt until their dying breath to see what exists beyond.

 

ARTHUR: Well, we’re not.

 

JOHN: No, but this is it. This is where we’ll get our answers, this is where we’ll find a way to separate us, I'm sure of it. I… I know, somehow.

 

ARTHUR: Okay.

 

(Arthur starts to walk.)

 

JOHN: They’re coming out, the other members that are here.

 

ARTHUR: On the streets?

 

JOHN: Yes. Slowly, they’re moving.

 

(Multiple footsteps on stone, from a distance.)

 

JOHN: One’s approaching.

 

CULTIST: Come, brother. It is starting.

 

ARTHUR: Er… yes, of course.

 

CULTIST: But you must come willingly. Are you willing? (Suspenseful music rises.)

 

ARTHUR: Yes. I am willing.

 

JOHN: He’s… leading the way forward, Arthur. It seems like they’re all heading to the center, to where the green light comes from.

 

(Arthur walks along with them.)

 

JOHN: Arthur, there are stairs just before you. Move slowly so as not to trip. They’re leading down to a... oh.

 

ARTHUR (whispering): What?

 

JOHN: This is an auditorium, like an ancient Greek theater, rows and rows of seats surrounding a stage in the center. There are hundreds of people here, Arthur. All silently moving to their seats. All staring towards the stage in the center.

 

ARTHUR (continuing to whisper): What’s on the stage?

 

JOHN: Nothing. Just a table and a large standing mirror.

 

ARTHUR: Where is the green light coming from?

 

JOHN: I can’t tell, but this entire theater seems to be lit by it. It’s just… everywhere. There's a row here at the back, mostly unoccupied. There are a fair number of cultists between you and the stage, but I can still see. Here, to your right.

 

(Arthur walks as John says, along stone.)

 

JOHN: There.

 

(He sits with a grunt.)

 

JOHN: Everyone around us is wearing the mask and the robes. All sitting silently, staring forward as if they’re statues. It’s growing quiet now, it seems like… Arthur, there's someone exiting onto the stage. They’re approaching the table in the center. Everyone is transfixed on him. It seems like they’re all waiting for him to –

 

CULTIST: You, sir, should unmask.

 

JOHN: He’s looking in this direction, but…

 

(The sound of clothing rustling, clearly from many people.)

 

JOHN: Arthur. Every. Single. Person in this theater is staring at you.

 

ARTHUR (shocked): Me?

 

JOHN: Indeed.

 

CULTIST: Indeed, it’s time. We have all laid aside disguise but you. Come.

 

JOHN: Arthur, everyone is watching us. We can still leave.

 

ARTHUR: No. (Arthur removes his mask, his voice returns to normal.) I trust you, John.

 

JOHN: They all move their heads, watching us exit the aisle. The stairs to the stage are to your right.

 

(Arthur takes slow steps.)

 

JOHN: I can feel their eyes on us.

 

(He continues.)

 

JOHN: You’re almost at the stage. There's a small set of stairs to your left.

 

(Arthur climbs the stairs.)

 

CULTIST: You’ve come a long way to become whole again.

 

ARTHUR: You can help me?

 

JOHN (confused): Become whole?

 

CULTIST: It is our sole purpose.

 

ARTHUR: To give me back my body?

 

JOHN: To serve the King in Yellow.

 

CULTIST: Yes.

 

JOHN: He’s gesturing to the table. I can see now that there are straps on the table. Arthur, I think he wants you to –

 

ARTHUR (shaky): I am willing.

 

JOHN (frustrated): Arthur! Arthur, what are you doing? If you lie down there there’s no way for you to get out. They can do whatever they want!

 

(The table creaks and Arthur grunts as he lies down on it.)

 

CULTIST: We were told that you would come here. It was written. We know why you sought us out and we know the path you’ve taken to get here. Every decision you made was as it should be.

 

ARTHUR: How could you know that?

 

JOHN: Why?

 

CULTIST: You have forgotten who you are.

 

ARTHUR (shaky): Who I am? Who am I?

 

JOHN: Arthur, he’s tying us down. We must leave!

 

CULTIST: We can make you whole again, and remove the voice in your head; separate you, save you… bring this body back to you.

 

ARTHUR: What will happen to the voice? The, er… the passenger I carry.

 

JOHN: What do they want from us?

 

CULTIST: Nothing.

 

ARTHUR: Promise nothing will happen to him.

 

JOHN: Will I be safe?

 

CULTIST: More than safe. You will be whole again.

 

(Ominous music rises.)

 

ARTHUR: Wait. Who are you talking to?

 

CULTIST: A gateway was opened in a basement ten years ago. When it was shut a piece of the King was trapped in this world, in a book.

 

(The table starts to move. A gear creaks. Arthur begins to gasp in fear.)

 

JOHN: Arthur, the table is pivoting us upright, to face the mirror.

 

CULTIST: A book that bound you to this mortal shell: one that we will give you and make you whole again.

 

JOHN: The mirror. I can see us. I see us standing upright on the shore of a lake. (ARTHUR: No.) Smiling. (ARTHUR: John!?) The lake is a sickly purple, with a black, stone shoreline. My face. (Heavily distorted.) Is my own once again.

 

CULTIST: This vessel is yours to take, my King.

 

ARTHUR (desperate): John, they’re trying to get into our mind, force them out. (Whispers rise in the background, unintelligible.) Reject them. This is not you, remember who you are, remember what we’ve done! (Pleading.) Remember your name. Do not let them!

 

CULTIST: Our king, remember your name.

 

ARTHUR (begging): Remember your name. John, please!

 

JOHN: I do remember my name, Arthur. (All the music cuts out. John speaks ominously, distorted.) I am the King in Yellow.

 

ARTHUR (taken aback): What? No! No, please.

 

JOHN: I am the fractured soul of God.

 

CULTIST: My King, you have the power to destroy this mortal, cast him out.

 

ARTHUR (begging): John! Please…

 

JOHN: That is not my name, and this body… (Static rises.) Is mine!

 

(A heavy audio distortion. Everything falls into static for some moments.

 

Floorboards creak. A piano bench squeaks. Someone plays a somber piano tune, slow and melodic.

 

Someone knocks on the door. The piano stops, and the door opens.)

 

ARTHUR (calling out): Faroe?

 

(Arthur stands and walks, opening the door a little further.)

 

ARTHUR: Hello? Faroe, darling?

 

KING IN YELLOW/ “JOHN”: Why is this the memory you refuse to let go of?

 

ARTHUR (gasping in fear): Wh - where am I? What’s happened?

 

KING IN YELLOW/ “JOHN”: Don’t you remember? (He laughs, almost gentle.)

 

ARTHUR: Who are you?

 

KING IN YELLOW/ “JOHN”: Who am I? I am the King in Yellow. This body is now mine and every instance of you is being erased… except this one.

 

ARTHUR (flabbergasted): What?

 

KING IN YELLOW/ “JOHN”: This one, Arthur. You playing piano. Your daughter interrupting… what happens next? Why do you refuse to leave this memory behind?

 

ARTHUR: No. J-John, I… you don’t need to.

 

KING IN YELLOW/ “JOHN”: Why can’t you let go of this? (Aggressively fierce.) Tell me!

 

ARTHUR: No.

 

KING IN YELLOW/ “JOHN”: You are speaking to a god! (Whispers start in the background.) You have no idea what I am capable of!

 

ARTHUR (desperate): Then why do you need me to let go? Why can’t you take control of me then?

 

KING IN YELLOW/ “JOHN”: I can.

 

ARTHUR: Then do it. Unless... unless you don’t want to. (“John” sighs.) That’s it, isn’t it. For all your talk of godly nature, for all your words of power and whispers, you… you can’t forget what little humanity you saw.

 

KING IN YELLOW/ “JOHN”: Less than that. This… part of me that you’ve stolen, it has lost its way. My fractured soul has become entangled in yours. I’ll simply kill you and reclaim it. (He laughs, this time cruel.)

 

ARTHUR: You can’t. Not here. You… you hold no power here. If this piece of you… if John… isn’t going to play along, then you’re stuck. That’s why you’ve been whispering into people’s minds, it’s why you’ve had others kill Amanda and attack us. You can’t be in this plane of reality or… whatever you want to call it. You’re trapped in your Dreamlands and there’s no way you’re getting out.

 

KING IN YELLOW/ “JOHN”: You’re correct that in my splintered form I cannot travel to you. (He starts to laugh again.) So, we’ll meet on my terms instead.

 

(The audio distorts again as Arthur grunts in pain. Everything returns to normal: the sound of waves splashing. Arthur rises from the water, coughing heavily.)

 

ARTHUR: Jesus. John?

 

JOHN (quiet): Yes.

 

ARTHUR (exhale): See, told you everything would be fine. Where are we?

 

JOHN: The Dreamlands.

 

(END Part 12.)