A mysterious voice, a promise of hope, a revelation…
Malevolent follows Arkham Investigator Arthur Lester as he unravels the mysterious circumstances that have befallen him. In the Eighteenth episode, we find Arthur and the entity in his head at odds. After narrowly surviving the pit, both find it hard to reach a common understanding when a third part enters their midst. Fractured by a truth, the voices in Arthurs head continue to grow as the madness truly begins to take hold... 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 EIGHTEEN - THE MADNESS
Original transcript by Croik and Jack! Reviewed by Cytosine
(BEGIN Part 18.)
(Arthur walks along gravel.)
JOHN: How’s your leg?
ARTHUR: Better. It’s difficult to tell sometimes, e-especially when my adrenaline is pumping, how hurt I actually am, but… it seems fine.
JOHN: That’s fair. The arm?
ARTHUR (audibly wincing): Still sore. That rock did a number on it… but I think it’s stopped bleeding. You’d be able to tell better than I.
JOHN: I think you’ll be fine.
ARTHUR (sighing): So, can we… take a moment, yet?
JOHN: Yes, I think we’re far enough away now.
(Groaning, Arthur sits on the floor.)
ARTHUR: Ugh. Boy, I am beat.
JOHN: This isn’t exactly an ideal place to rest.
ARTHUR: No, but I – I don’t gather that we’ll find a hotel around the next corner.
JOHN: Not with any vacancy. (Deadpan.) I’m sure all the creatures have taken all the best rooms.
ARTHUR (laughing): I think – I think you’ve grown a sense of humor.
JOHN: Sometimes it’s the only thing to do.
(Arthur sighs. A melancholy piano melody starts.)
ARTHUR: I’m starting to forget what home felt like.
JOHN: Are you?
ARTHUR: Yes. I’m worried.
JOHN: About being stuck here?
ARTHUR: Sure, but… about losing myself, losing what I had, what… what little I had.
JOHN: We’re far from giving up. (Victoriously.) We just killed a fucking giant, Arthur. Don’t tell me we’ve lost that feeling so soon.
ARTHUR: No, no, you’re right. We need a plan, though, or at least an idea of what we’re doing next. Where are we? You mentioned that there’s, ah, a luminescence in the walls? Uh.
JOHN: Yes, there’s a fungus on the walls that gives off a faint blue hue. It’s quite comforting, in a way.
ARTHUR: Yeah, I know the feeling.
JOHN: I don’t think there’s anything malicious about it. But then again, who knows in this place? In any case, it offers enough light to navigate the single tunnel we find ourselves in.
ARTHUR: We just started walking after leaving the – the trap. (He starts to move.) Were there multiple offshoots? Different ways we could have gone?
JOHN: Yes. At the time I didn’t think it mattered.
ARTHUR (exhale): Maybe. Yeah, you’re probably right. We don’t even know where we’re heading.
JOHN: Well, we know one thing: this pathway was used enough to warrant a trap being set.
ARTHUR: Right, great point! (Proudly.) Look at you! Huh.
JOHN: So we’re not far from… something of importance.
ARTHUR (genuine): I suppose not. You know, I have to say, I was really impressed with you back there. (A hopeful piano tune plays.) You kept my head on straight. And at times I forget how far we’ve come. You’ve mentioned before about being an investigator, and I… I’m, I’m sorry I shot you down. You know – you know, it’s so difficult for me to think beyond my own experience and - and my own desires to see again. And I, I really appreciate what you said about Faroe. (He shifts.) I… I guess I’m realizing… that I’ve called you a great number of things. But I’ve never called you… friend. So. Thank you… friend.
JOHN (earnest): Of course.
ARTHUR (back to business): Anyway, um… we also want to be careful about where we tread.
ARTHUR: Don’t need to go falling into any other pits. Keep our eyes open.
ARTHUR (shifting): You mentioned there was a glowing thing that was used as a lure.
JOHN: Arthur, I don’t want to fuck with that.
ARTHUR: I know, I know, I know. Alright.
(He stands with a grunt.)
ARTHUR: So the walls are covered in a blue fungus. What’s beneath? Does the stone look similar to the ledge that we fell from?
JOHN: No, the walls here are black stone, much darker than it was above. The floor is loose stone and gravel, but again, this is a path of sorts. (Arthur walks.)
ARTHUR: How far do you suppose we fell?
JOHN: Impossible to say.
ARTHUR: You don’t think that creature wanted this? Do you?
JOHN: Which? The glowing one that led us to Frank’s camp? (Chuckling.) No, I don’t think it possessed any sort of powerful intellect.
ARTHUR: Right. So we fell. I guess… up, right? Try to find our way back to the path we fell from? We had wanted to pass through the mountain so… I suppose that’s our next goal.
JOHN: Yes, I suppose so.
(He starts to walk. A whispering voice in the background: an ENTITY. The Entity speaks quickly and in a higher pitch than John or Arthur.)
ENTITY: Arthur, listen to me, I’m gonna help –
JOHN: I do wish we hadn’t lost that lamp.
ARTHUR: What was that?
JOHN: The lamp. I was saying I wish we hadn’t lost it.
ARTHUR: No no no, no, not that. Do you hear something?
(He stops walking.)
(Arthur continues to walk.)
ARTHUR (hissing): There it is again!
JOHN: I don’t hear anything.
ARTHUR: There is something. (He continues to walk.)
JOHN: We’re coming to a fork. Head right.
JOHN: Why not?
ENTITY (urgent): Left!
ARTHUR: You don’t hear that?
JOHN: No, Arthur. Are you okay?
ARTHUR: Yes, yes.
JOHN (disbelieving): Okay?
ARTHUR: Sure, let’s go right.
JOHN: Alright. (Arthur continues to walk.) Anyway, we still have the glass. If we wanted to take a moment and look at it, it might be worthwhile; however, at this point we’re only on the one path anyway. (Suspenseful strings rise.)
ENTITY (interrupting): Listen to me!
JOHN: And I can’t imagine it would reveal anything to us.
ENTITY (overlapping): I’m trying to help you!
ARTHUR: Are you?
ENTITY: Look out!
(Arthur slips on the rocks. Some pebbles fall to the floor. Arthur falls and hits the ground hard, breathing quickly.)
JOHN: Jesus, Arthur!
ARTHUR (panting in fear): Wh-What?
JOHN: The floor here. It practically dropped off. The floor is black stone, I-I couldn’t tell. There’s a pit here, another trap. It must’ve triggered long ago, but… Jesus.
ARTHUR (angry): We almost fell… again. God damn it!
JOHN: I didn’t notice.
ARTHUR: I thought you were going to keep your eyes open.
ARTHUR (frustrated): Let’s just go back. Left, like I wanted.
JOHN: Like you wanted?
ARTHUR: Yes. Please.
(He starts to walk.)
JOHN: Stay right, then.
ARTHUR: Just, please. Keep your eyes open.
JOHN (frustrated): I am, Arthur.
ARTHUR: Thank you.
(He starts to walk again.)
JOHN: The walls are changing slightly.
JOHN: The black stone is smoothing out. Less natural, more… as if carved pieces. I feel like we’re entering something. An area. Underhalls of… I don’t know, it’s – it’s dark. The fungus is no longer growing here. Pull out the lighter.
(He flicks the lighter.)
JOHN: The walls continue. The ceiling is flat. This is like… the stonework is…
ARTHUR: Like what?
JOHN: I don’t know. It’s unfamiliar.
ENTITY: He’s lying.
ARTHUR: You’re sure?
JOHN: Yes, Arthur.
ENTITY (insistent): He’s lying.
ARTHUR (disbelieving): Okay.
JOHN: There’s a T junction up ahead. The path splits left and right. I assume the right again.
ENTITY: Yes, the right.
ARTHUR (not paying attention): Yeah, that’s… fine.
(Arthur continues to walk, accompanied by a sad piano tune.)
JOHN: These are hallways. Stone hallways that seem to lead on into the darkness. We’ve definitely entered something.
ENTITY: Left here. Now!
(Arthur stops walking.)
JOHN: Why are you stopping?
ARTHUR: Left here.
JOHN: There’s nothing here.
ENTITY: There is.
ARTHUR: You’re sure?
ARTHUR: Look again.
JOHN (frustrated): There is nothing here!
ARTHUR: Just, please. Look again.
(Suspenseful strings rise.)
JOHN (huffing in annoyance): The wall is… There’s a door! It’s hidden! (Growling.) What aren’t you telling me?
ENTITY: The breeze.
ARTHUR: I felt a breeze on my neck from that direction, John.
JOHN: Alright. You’re sure you want to open this? It could be something –
ARTHUR: I – I don’t know for sure. But yes, let’s be careful.
(Groaning, Arthur pushes open the stone door. He walks inside.)
JOHN: It’s a smallish chamber. It looks… old. Dust covers the room, shelves with books, though they look rotted through. There’s a small table, and… oh… there’s a mural. A… carving on the wall.
ARTHUR: Of what?
(A clap of suspenseful music. It continues.)
ARTHUR: Of what, John?
JOHN: Of, uh –
JOHN: Of – Of Shub Niggurath, the Great Old One. It’s... it must be a… someone who felt… someone who followed them.
ARTHUR (disbelieving): Is it?
JOHN (defensive): Yes. Why?
JOHN: Arthur, why don’t you trust me?
ENTITY: Don’t believe his lies. Feel the carving yourself. He. Is. Lying.
ARTHUR: I… (He starts to walk.)
JOHN: What, Arthur?
ARTHUR: Look. I can hear a voice in my ear.
JOHN: A voice?
ARTHUR (cautiously): Yes, it’s been… whispering to me. Saying things that, so far, are true. Like how we shouldn’t have turned –
JOHN: Why didn’t you tell me?
ARTHUR: I did! (A sad tune starts to play.) I tried to, I… I asked if you heard anything.
JOHN: What is the voice saying now?
ARTHUR: Nothing now, but… it said you were lying. (He takes a deep breath.) Look, John. This relationship – it needs to be built on trust. It – it needs to be built on communication. It’s… it’s been too long with lies and we need to work on finally, once and for all, trusting each other.
I-I admit, it took me, it took a lot to trust you with the truth about… about, ah, Faroe. Maybe I s-should’ve told you… earlier. (He shifts, almost as if he’s pacing on the floor.) M-maybe I was… I don’t know… afraid. But if we are going to survive this, we need to start to trust each other. We need to finally, once and for all, put our petty squabbles aside and be open and honest. Please.
(John doesn’t answer for some time.)
JOHN: I recognize these halls.
(Suspenseful music rises.)
ARTHUR (a gasp): Okay. Why?
JOHN: Why did I not – ?
ARTHUR: No, just. Why do you recognize them?
JOHN: They are… halls of worship.
ARTHUR: Worship of whom? It’s not Shub-Niggurath on that wall, is it?
JOHN: It’s him, Arthur. It’s the King.
ARTHUR (shaky breath): Okay. Do we have anything to fear?
JOHN: No, they’re abandoned.
ARTHUR: But surely that… this can’t be a coincidence.
JOHN: I don’t know.
ARTHUR: We should head back… find another way to –
JOHN: Arthur, these halls are empty, I’m sure of it. And the chances of being lost in those tunnels-
ARTHUR: John, the King in Yellow is searching for us.
JOHN: He may have already found you.
ARTHUR: Is that… who is speaking to me? Why are you speaking to me?
ENTITY: Because you have my picture.
(An upbeat piano melody starts.)
ARTHUR: Jesus! (The rustling of fabric.) It’s Frank!
JOHN: I wouldn’t be so sure.
ARTHUR: Why did you lead us here?
FRANK: Under the table.
ARTHUR: Under the…?
JOHN: What did it say?
ARTHUR: Where’s the table?
JOHN: Our right. (More insistent.) What did it say?
(Arthur starts to walk.)
JOHN: Oh. Arthur, there’s a corpse here.
ARTHUR: Damn it. Frank. (Sadly.) He never made it out.
JOHN (concerned): Arthur.
ARTHUR: Frank, I… I’m sorry. I hoped that we could’ve met, and…
FRANK (interrupting): Do not trust him, Arthur.
(Suspenseful music rises.)
ARTHUR (distracted): And… used you as a way to inspire us. To – to escape this place…
FRANK: He. Is. Lying.
JOHN: What is it saying?
FRANK: Arthur Lester.
FRANK: The entity inside your head has been a malevolent elder god for eons.
ARTHUR: I –
FRANK: A time unfathomable to our minds.
FRANK: Do not forget.
ARTHUR: He’s saying that –
FRANK: Do not be tricked.
JOHN (angry): Arthur, what?
FRANK: Do not be manipulated.
FRANK: Ask it what happened to my friend’s daughter.
FRANK: Ask it what happened to Emily.
ARTHUR: It –
(Suspenseful music rises.)
JOHN (growing frustrated): Arthur, what is it saying?
ARTHUR: He… he wants me to ask you about … Emily?
JOHN: What? Why?
ARTHUR: I don’t know. Why? What… what would you have to say?
JOHN (intense): Arthur, listen to me. That voice is not to be trusted. It is manipulating you. It wants to see us… divided. The King is clever. He knows exactly what would drive a wedge between us. Do not listen to it.
FRANK: I will stay with you, until you realize your mistake.
ARTHUR (less certain): Right.
FRANK: I need to help you. Take my bag. There’s something in it that will help. And please, do not trust him.
JOHN: What did it say?
ARTHUR: It – it wanted us to take something from his bag. Does the body look like it could be Frank’s?
JOHN: I don’t know, Arthur. It’s a corpse. There’s no way to tell.
ARTHUR: Well it’s – it’s not like someone would just drag a corpse here, and… what is it wearing?
JOHN: Clothes from… a place that could very well be Arkham.
ARTHUR: How did he… is it clear how he died?
ARTHUR: Frank, how did you di – ?
JOHN (interrupting): Arthur, don’t.
ARTHUR: What? W-We need to –
JOHN: Arthur, listen to me, that voice is not Frank!
ARTHUR: How? How would you know that? What’s in the bag?
JOHN: We’re not getting the bag. We’re leaving.
ARTHUR: John, you’re not being fair.
JOHN: You’re not listening. You’re being manipulated. The King is trying to –
ARTHUR (interrupting): The King is also you, John, so who’s manipulating me? (He sighs.) Look, I just told you we need to trust each other. So trust me, please. We need to grab the bag.
JOHN (worried): No. Arthur.
ARTHUR: No? You’re kidding. (Angry.) Whose fucking body do you think this is?
ARTHUR: No, it’s mine. We are sharing my body. It is still mine.
JOHN: Not anymore. (Arthur scoffs in disbelief.) I have parts of you, whether you like it or not.
ARTHUR: If this is… if this voice is Frank, we have to –
JOHN (interrupting): I don’t care if it is.
ARTHUR: What the fuck is this about? Power? You not being in the loop for the first time, ever, is that it? For the first time since we met, you are in the dark and I am the one with understanding. Or… or no, this is – this is about Emily. Isn’t it? Y-you’re afraid. (More intent.) What happened with Emily, John?
ARTHUR: You… you reacted strangely to her before. I-I never thought much of it, but. Why does Frank want me to ask you about her?
(He takes a shaky breath.)
Look, look. Things are getting heated, I want to break that cycle, okay? (A thoughtful piano theme plays.) Look, we build up and tension breaks. Let’s just take a moment. I just want you to be honest with me and I’m being honest with you. We’ve come this far, so far, to lose it at something like this. John. Whatever is in that bag – useful or not – is something I think would be worthwhile to see – at the very least. Whether it’s water or – or an old book, we should get it. You don’t want to tell me about Emily, alright. Alright. I won’t push. You didn’t push me about Faroe… much. We have this. We can stay on track.
JOHN: You think that?
ARTHUR: Of course.
JOHN (condescending): You don’t know anything.
ARTHUR: What? I-I know you.
JOHN: You don’t know me.
ARTHUR: Yes, I do. I know –
JOHN (interrupting): You know what I want you to know.
(Suspenseful music rises.)
JOHN: I killed Emily.
ARTHUR (quiet): Okay. Why?
JOHN (cocky): Why? Because I wanted to.
ARTHUR: How? That – that doesn’t make sense.
JOHN: She found my book before Ackerman, Arthur. She was the one who brought it to him. Remember?
ARTHUR: I – she was… she was in a field. I-I don’t –
JOHN: You think you were the first one I spoke to? The first one I felt holding my book?
JOHN: You’re just the first one dumb enough to read from it when I asked.
ARTHUR: You asked me to read from it?
JOHN: Yes. You just don’t remember.
ARTHUR (shocked): You… you monster.
JOHN: That’s rich coming from you. (Ominous music starts.) If anyone should know what a monster looks like, it’s you. (Growling.) At least I’m honest about the blood on my hands.
ARTHUR (furious): Don’t you dare.
JOHN: Don’t I dare what? Remind you of how your daughter waited for her Daddy to stop the bath? (Arthur takes a shaky breath.) We’re both murderers, Arthur. Difference is, I did it by choice. You did it because you were unfit to be a father.
(John hits him hard. Arthur grunts in pain.)
ARTHUR: Fuck you!
(John laughs ominously, nearly a cackle.)
ARTHUR (furious): Fuck you, you piece of shit!
JOHN: I always said you have the cold calculated demeanor of someone not to fuck with.
ARTHUR: We’re done! I am through trying with you.
(John continues to laugh while Arthur pants in exertion.)
FRANK: Grab the bag.
(Grunting, Arthur does so.)
ARTHUR (darkly): Where is it?
JOHN (same tone): I’m not telling you.
FRANK: Your right.
ARTHUR: I don’t need you to tell me. (He reaches for it and slides the bag across the floor.)
FRANK: Almost. A little more.
JOHN (exploding): Arthur! Don’t you dare touch that fucking bag!
ARTHUR: Or what? (Condescending.) You can’t stand the loss of control. You’re so used to me doing what you say and what you want that you can’t stand me choosing my own path.
JOHN: I have your eyes! I –
ARTHUR (snarling): None of this belongs to you, you fucking parasite!
FRANK: There – you have it.
(Arthur grunts and pulls the bag over.)
JOHN: Fuck you.
(Arthur is punched again – the table falls over him, scattering the contents across the floor.)
ARTHUR (growling in fury): How dare you!
(Arthur is punched again. He pants. He’s punched again, and again. He grunts as the blows land. John grabs Arthur by the throat and squeezes, with Arthur gurgling for breath.)
JOHN (growling in fury): I will choke the life out of you!
(John continues to growl until he’s stopped by Arthur breaking free, gasping for air.)
JOHN: Fuck you!
ARTHUR: You fucking piece of shit!
(The fight continues. Arthur is punched again and again. Objects clatter across the floor as he falls. Suspenseful music rises.)
JOHN (growling, voice demonic): You vile excuse for a man! Stay down, Arthur. Or I’ll choke the life out of you. You’re no good to me dead.
ARTHUR (panting, hoarse): I’ll kill you – I’ll kill you!
JOHN: You don’t know how.
ARTHUR (in agony): You took everything from me!
(A melancholy song starts to play.)
ARTHUR (near tears): You took my eyes, my thoughts, m-my freedom. (A pause.) You’d take it all if you could, wouldn’t you? (Growling.) Wouldn’t you?
JOHN (intent): Yes.
ARTHUR: Only one of us will get this body in the end.
JOHN: I know. I’m counting on it.
ARTHUR (frustrated): I’m getting the fucking bag, and I’m grabbing what’s inside and if you stop me … I’m going to rip that fucking piece of wood out of your hand.
(He picks up the bag and rummages through it, picking out a liquid-filled bottle.)
ARTHUR: Frank, what is this?
FRANK: Drink this.
ARTHUR: This? What is this?
(Suspenseful music rises.)
FRANK: It will return control to you.
ARTHUR: Control of what?
FRANK: Your body.
(A clap of suspense.)
ARTHUR: All of it? (He manipulates the bottle.)
FRANK: No, not all. Only as much as can be done.
ARTHUR: How? H-How would it – ?
FRANK: The King controls you because your mind is fractured. Pieces of you splintered when overcome with things that weigh on your mind. This heals that part of your mind.
ARTHUR: What is it?
JOHN (disapproving): Arthur, you are a fucking puppet.
ARTHUR (shouting, causing an echo): Shut up!
(In the distance, something moves. It sounds as if someone is knocking on a door, very far away. Arthur gasps in fear.)
ARTHUR (whispering): What was that?
FRANK: You are being hunted.
ARTHUR: By what?
JOHN: Something is coming.
FRANK: His followers sense you. He’s led you straight to them. (The knocking sounds continue, as well as the howl of something far off.)
ARTHUR: We need to move.
JOHN: Move, Arthur!
ARTHUR: Fuck you!
FRANK: Leave and head left.
ARTHUR: This way?
JOHN: I don’t know –
ARTHUR (angry): Shut up! I don’t need you.
(The roaring, knocking sounds continue.)
FRANK: Keep a hand on the wall.
JOHN: There’s nothing behind us.
(Arthur is breathing shakily.)
JOHN: Why are you heading this way?
ARTHUR: Cause at least one of the voices in my head seems to want to help.
JOHN: That’s what it wants you to think.
ARTHUR: No, that’s what you want me to think. You can try to mix me up all you want-
JOHN: Mix you up?
ARTHUR: Constantly berating me? Insulting me?
JOHN: If you weren’t such a fucking idiot, we wouldn’t be in this mess.
ARTHUR: Me? You were the one who apparently asked me to open the book.You knew this would happen, you knew –
(Arthur falls quiet. The noises are coming closer.)
FRANK: Right here.
JOHN (smug): Lost your nerve?
ARTHUR: I’m not gonna help your friends find us.
JOHN (scoffing): Friends? Do you hear yourself?
FRANK: Sh. They’re behind us now. (Arthur starts to walk.) Straight ahead and through the door. I came this way and hid from them.
FRANK: Quietly, now. The door is loud.
(Arthur groans in exertion as he slowly pushes the door open.)
FRANK: Shut the door.
(Stone grinds as Arthur shuts the door.)
JOHN (in surprise): A garden?
ARTHUR: A garden?
FRANK: The gardens of this temple. They do not enter here, but there is only one way out: the way we came in.
(The creature’s roar is further away.)
ARTHUR: What the fuck is hunting us?
FRANK: His followers. They know you are close.
JOHN: Well? What is following us?
ARTHUR: You know exactly what.
JOHN (sulking): Fuck you.
FRANK: Arthur, you must drink the Selenine.
ARTHUR: Right. Right.
(He pulls out the flask.)
FRANK: Be warned, though. It will hurt you to drink.
FRANK: Fixing a mind is not easy.
ARTHUR: How do you know all this? Frank was just a man, from-
FRANK: I was, but am no longer. (A cheerful piano tune plays.) I am lost in the Dreamlands. My spirit cannot leave this place. Time means nothing to me now. But you are bright. You are my hope to leave this place.
(Arthur huffs a breath.)
FRANK: I have failed. I have failed my friends, my wife, myself, and those around me. But you have many things to do, Arthur. Many important things. Your journey is far from over. Do not lose hope.
JOHN: Arthur, you are –
ARTHUR: You lost the right to have a fucking say in anything that happens.
FRANK: I know you have doubts, but you need to trust me.
(Arthur huffs another breath.)
FRANK: The King didn’t want you to have this bag.
ARTHUR: He didn’t know what was in it.
FRANK: Didn’t he?
ARTHUR: No, there’s – there’s no way he could’ve known.
FRANK: I died long ago, Arthur. Before he was fractured, he ruled this land and his followers walked these halls.
(Arthur huffs a breath.)
FRANK: Drink it, Arthur. Trust me. You can regain at least some of yourself.
(He uncorks and sniffs the contents of the bottle.)
ARTHUR: No. I can’t.
ARTHUR: Why? Wh – ? (Exploding in anger.) Because I don’t fucking want to! (Haunted piano melody starts.) I am so fucking sick of voices in my god damned head. (He throws the bottle, causing it to shatter.) I-I, I can’t trust you. I can’t trust either of you! (He breathes heavily.) I… my god. Can we just please… stop it all! I am so fucking tired of being pulled in every goddamned direction from you, and from him, and I-I just want it to stop. I feel like I’m going mad.
FRANK: I’m only trying to help you –
JOHN (overlapping): That’s what he wants, Arthur –
ARTHUR (snarling): Enough! (John sighs, sulking.) I don’t fucking need either of you right now, I… just shut up! I’m exhausted, and tired and I, I just want to…
(Arthur starts to laugh. It starts off as a chuckle and rises almost to a mad cackle.)
ARTHUR: That’s what you want. That’s what both of you want, isn’t it? You want me to… to give up. You want me to throw in the towel and call it quits so you can fight over the scraps of me like fucking dogs. Well, I have news for you, for both of you – I don’t give up.
(A thoughtful piano tune starts to play.)
ARTHUR: I didn’t fucking give up when the woman I loved died, and I didn’t punch my ticket when I held my… when I held my only daughter’s lifeless body in my arms. (Growing more passionate.) And I am sure as shit strong enough to push through everything you throw at me. So bring it on, you spineless fucks. I am going to go down swinging, every fucking time.
(There is a long pause. Nobody says anything, and Arthur starts to walk.)
ARTHUR: Nothing to say? That’s the first smart move either of you have made.
Alright. I’m in a garden. The halls of worship for the King and I’m being hunted, and. They’re going to find me, unless I do something about it. And I’ve been pursued before. Evade or hide, those are the options. Evasion is minimal – a room with one exit. Unless… there isn’t just one exit. Better find out myself.
(He starts to walk.)
ARTHUR: Okay. Is this room even safe?
(Water drips from the corner.)
ARTHUR: A drip. (Investigatory music plays.) Something’s rotten in Denmark.
(He continues to walk.)
ARTHUR: Seems like you were wrong, Frank. (He drinks and winces.) Foul, but dripping from somewhere. (Arthur strains and starts to fumble around.)
Okay, pipes. For water, maybe, but a reservoir would be nearby. No! No no no no no no no no, this isn’t Earth anymore, Arthur, you can’t conform to its logics. This garden doesn’t. What kind of garden is this even, in a…dream? The ship, the forest. I mean… Frank’s house. It wasn’t, was it? It was… part of a dream. Who shapes this reality?
(He grunts and starts to move.) Okay. What is this place, really? Okay, let’s - let’s shape out this garden. Figure out another way.
(He begins to walk and runs his hand along the wall.)
Okay, here’s the wall. Okay, we’ll call this wall zero. Here we go. (He walks and counts aloud.) One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Eight steps to the far wall. Okay, back to wall zero. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight… nine… ten… (Suspenseful music rises.) Eleven… twelve… thirteen! Well, how does… I miscounted.
Okay, back. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen… sixteen… seventeen… What? Where’s the wall?
(From the distance, a record starts to play.)
ARTHUR (echoing): Hello?
(‘Some Call It Madness’ starts to play, heavily echoing. As it reaches ‘And you call it madness’, the record begins to skip, repeating ‘madness’ over and over.)
ARTHUR: Fucking stop! Fucking – (He kicks the record player. It falls over and smashes, going silent. Something scratches in the background.)
(Another voice: the DISTORTED VOICE. It is considerably lower than Frank and much more gravelly.)
DISTORTED VOICE: Let me help you.
ARTHUR (echoing): Alright, John. I need your eyes here. Wh-wh-where, Where are we?
JOHN (heavily muffled, almost inaudible): It’s the King! He’s manipulating you!
ARTHUR (angry): John, stop fucking about! I need your help.
JOHN (muffled): Arthur, just don’t listen to it. Whatever it tells you, do not –
ARTHUR (calming himself down): Okay.
(Water drips from the corner, more audible.)
ARTHUR: The drip. Okay.
(He walks over. The drips are coming faster.)
ARTHUR: Oh, I… I don’t remember it being so warm, and … thick.
DISTORTED VOICE: Above you.
ARTHUR: Above me?
(Arthur is splashed with liquid. He chokes on it. In the distance, a baby cries as Arthur frantically spits the liquid out. He knocks something over in his attempt to calm himself. It sounds like multiple baby cries overlap at once. Terror-filled music rises.)
ARTHUR (panting): Relax, relax, relax. Okay. Okay. Okay. Stairs. Stairs, okay – up. (He grunts and starts to climb.) Come on. This isn’t real… none of this is real.
(A telephone starts to ring.)
ARTHUR: No! I’m not buying into any of this! (It continues.) I know what you’re trying to do, “King,” and it’s not going to work.
(From a distance, a PA system crackles. The phonograph clicks on to static, quickly clearing up.)
TAPE ARTHUR: Because… because of the voice in my head.
TAPE ARTHUR: Yes.
ARTHUR: It’s not real. It’s not real.
TAPE ARTHUR: Yes, he’s… he’s saying … (Disapprovingly.) He’s telling me you’re not real. That you’re trying to convince me that I’m mad. That you’re a liar.
(Arthur continues to climb, grunting in effort.)
TAPE ARTHUR: No, you’re not. None of you are. (Agitated.) You’re trying to trick me – trap me – confuse me, I –
ARTHUR (done): No.
TAPE ARTHUR: Yes.
ARTHUR: Turn it off.
TAPE ARTHUR: That was nice, actually.
(A melancholy theme plays.)
ARTHUR: Turn it off!
TAPE ARTHUR: She’s grown so big, I…
ARTHUR (shouting): Turn it off!
(Something thuds in the distance. The recording stops.)
ARTHUR (steely): You bastard. You’re not going to convince me that I’m not here right now.
JOHN (deeply muffled): Arthur, stop moving! He’s trying to trap you!
ARTHUR: I’m going to get the fuck out of here. And I am going to –
(From the side, a little girl giggles in a high-pitched tone of voice.)
ARTHUR (exhale): It’s not her. It’s not her.
LITTLE GIRL: Hi! (She giggles.)
ARTHUR (breathless): Faroe?
(She runs off. A door opens and closes at a distance.)
ARTHUR (breathing heavily, whispering to himself): It’s not her. It’s not her.
(He walks, opening a door and shutting it behind him.)
JOHN (calmly): Arthur, listen to me.
ARTHUR (gasping in surprise, and then angry): Where the fuck have you been?
JOHN: You’re being tricked. All of this is a trick. Come this way, please, friend.
ARTHUR (sighing): Which way? The right?
ARTHUR: Where were you?
JOHN: Suppressed by his power. (Sympathetically.) Come on. We can get out.
ARTHUR: Out of what?
JOHN: This place. (BACKGROUND WHISPER: No!) I think … Look, you just have to trust me. You wanted me to trust you. I’m sorry. I’m going to start trusting you now. (An almost jaunty piano tune plays.) I’m sorry for what I said. I was angry and frustrated. But you need to follow me. Come to the right.
(Arthur starts to walk.)
ARTHUR: What is – what is to the left?
(A door creaks open.)
ARTHUR: Nothing for you anymore. It’s the past, Arthur.
PAST ARTHUR (growling, furious, from a distance): I thought I told you to leave me alone!
JOHN: Leave it behind. You don’t owe yourself that anymore. Come! We can escape!
JOHN: Yes. This way.
(A sad piano melody starts to play in the background.)
ARTHUR: Wait, th-that sounds like – ?
JOHN: Listen, friend, come this way. Leave it behind.
ARTHUR: No, I –
JOHN (growling, distorted): Listen to me!
ARTHUR: I can’t. And John would know that.
(Arthur walks. He opens a door. The audio distorts severely.
A single piano note plays. A man sips something and swallows.)
UNKNOWN VOICE: Have you been playing? (He picks up his cup.)
UNKNOWN VOICE: Giving up, then?
(The piano bench squeaks.)
UNKNOWN VOICE: I’ve heard very little from you. How have you been keeping?
ARTHUR (exhausted): I am well.
(The man sips and swallows again.)
UNKNOWN VOICE: You have no help? I half-expected to have been denied meeting you again today. (A single piano note.) She’s no longer with you?
ARTHUR: Tess is away for a short while. Her mother is taken ill.
(The man’s teacup clinks.)
UNKNOWN VOICE: Ah. A not uncommon situation these days, sadly. (He sets his teacup in his saucer and stands.) So you’re not working?
ARTHUR: Difficult to feel inspired.
(The man continues to walk. The wooden floor squeaks as he does; rain is audible outside.)
ARTHUR (playing a singular piano note): With Tess gone, I-I have many other things to tend to, however. So – so when I find the time...
UNKNOWN VOICE: You have not been to town in a long while, nor to see me in what seems like longer.
ARTHUR: I cannot find the time. I have, as I’ve just said, been very busy.
UNKNOWN VOICE: There is always time for God, Arthur. There is always time to talk with him, and there is always time to visit him. (He picks something up.) And you of all people should find the time –
ARTHUR: I would ask that you not touch that. (The unknown man sets it back down. It clinks against the table.) I have neither asked for you, nor your company.
UNKNOWN VOICE: Arthur, I will not have you talk to me as if I were the lesser of us. (The chair squeaks.) If you do not wish to speak, then so be it, but God is the judge and jury of your life, and without my guidance… I will not be surprised at his verdict.
(He comes closer. A singular piano note plays.)
UNKNOWN VOICE: Life is loss. Everyone will face it, and everyone will eventually succumb to it. You can attempt to remove the Lord from your life, but he will determine your fate either way.
(Arthur stands, shifting the bench backward.)
ARTHUR: You are no longer welcome in this house –
UNKNOWN VOICE (overlapping): But then I suppose your faith will reflect your decision. Do you wish to be with your wife and child?
ARTHUR (barking): Get out!
(The stranger walks and opens the door.)
UNKNOWN VOICE: Guilt is a companion of death, Arthur. I see it with you now. Do not let it rival you.
ARTHUR: I cannot … escape it, Daniel.
DANIEL: Fair enough. But you don’t have to let it win.
(The door closes. The audio distorts again – when it returns to normal, there is the sound of splashing water, as if Arthur is rising from water.)
ARTHUR: Daniel? (He exhales.) What – John? (Desperate.) John, where are you?
FRANK (chanting): One for sorrow, two for mirth, three for a death, four for a birth, five for the home, six for the dream –
ARTHUR: Get out!
FRANK: Seven for the King who remains unseen.
ARTHUR (splashing in the water, shouting): Get out of my head!
(More water splashes in. Arthur splutters, as if spitting the water out.)
FRANK: Six for the dream, seven for the King-
ARTHUR: Get out of my head! You’re not going to win! You’re not going to manipulate me!
(Even more water is pouring in, as if in a flood.)
ARTHUR (shouting): You can throw it all at me! I’m not giving up!
(Arthur sinks under the water. Bubbles rise to the surface. The sound of someone drowning: a high-pitched voice. Water splashes and Arthur eventually resurfaces, gasping.)
ARTHUR: Wha –
EDDIE: You motherfucker! (Arthur is pushed back underwater. He struggles against him.) Child killer!
ARTHUR (gasping for air): Eddie? Eddie! Stop, stop, stop – (He is pulled out of the water and thrown onto the floor.)
EDDIE: Drowned your own daughter because of your incompetence.
ARTHUR: Eddie! Where?
(Arthur is punched.)
EDDIE: Fuck you.
(Another punch. Arthur groans in pain.)
ARTHUR (faint): Eddie, please. I don’t know what’s going on. I swear – it’s not my fault. It wasn’t my fault.
EDDIE: It’s all your fault. (Police sirens in the distance.) You were supposed to protect her. You don’t deserve to live. Do you fly, motherfucker?
(Arthur is thrown through glass, groaning in pain. He hits the ground – a car alarm sounds in the distance.)
ARTHUR: No no no –
(The car collides with him. In the distance, thunder rumbles. A baby wails.)
JOHN (growling): Move, Arthur!
ARTHUR (panting): What?
JOHN: Move, she’s still here!
ARTHUR: Who? I-I already did –
(An old woman is cackling.)
JOHN: What the fuck are you talking about?
JOHN: Get Faroe and let’s move!
ARTHUR: Faroe? She’s – ?
JOHN: She’s fine, but you need to get her.
ARTHUR (breathless): No, no, she’s not.
JOHN: Arthur, snap out of it!
ARTHUR: She’s not fine. She’s –
(The old woman continues to laugh. Arthur calms.)
ARTHUR: I know what you’re trying to do. And I know you’re not John.
THE KING (a whispered version of John’s voice): Let her go. (Thunder rumbles.)
(A melancholy tune starts to play.)
ARTHUR: I will not. Not her. Not ever.
THE KING: You’ve changed. You’re different now.
THE KING: You were young. Naïve.
ARTHUR (quiet): I am different.
THE KING: You made a mistake. Let it go. Let it go.
ARTHUR: I made a mistake.
THE KING (excited): Yes!
ARTHUR: And I’m not going to pretend it didn’t happen just ‘cause I’ve changed. (He takes a deep breath.) I own it. I carry it with me… because she can’t.
THE KING: Liar. You carry it with you because you want to, because relishing the pain and the attention is better.
ARTHUR: You’re wrong. And you can’t do whatever it is you swore you’d do, you… you can’t kill me! ‘Cause then you die, too.
THE KING: You’ll forget. Time is merely man’s attempt to measure memories, and patience is one thing I have in abundance.
ARTHUR: Me too.
THE KING: Well then, we’ll just have to wait and see.
(Something pounds in the distance. A creature howls.)
JOHN (muffled): Arthur! Arthur! Arthur! Can you hear me?
(The audio lightly distorts. Arthur sits up, groaning.)
ARTHUR (lightly pained): John?
JOHN (clearly): Arthur! Can you hear me?
JOHN: The King, he’s been manipulating you every –
ARTHUR (interrupting him): I know, I know. I know. He didn’t win.
JOHN: He didn’t.
ARTHUR: He wants to wait. Wait until I forget about her. But I won’t, ever!
JOHN: I wouldn’t be so sure.
ARTHUR (moving around): Where… where are we?
JOHN: We’ve been captured, Arthur. We’re within the prison pits, and I don’t think we’ll be leaving anytime soon.
(END Part 18.)