A fragile partnership, a rich history, an oppressive dark...
Malevolent follows Arkham Investigator Arthur Lester as he unravels the mysterious circumstances that have befallen him.
In the twenty second episode of our tale, the town of Addison is no longer a unknown place. Arthur must make amends with the entity in his mind as he struggles to come to terms with what has happened. Finding a way home however is not as straight forward as one would hope. The path that Arthur walks is narrow and one wrong step will surely lead him tumbling down into the unfathomable dark...
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PART TWENTY-TWO: THE TOWN
Original transcript by Croik and Jack! Reviewed by JD and Tony.
(BEGIN Part 22.)
(Grunting, Arthur shifts on the ground as he wakes up.)
(Arthur gets up and grunts.)
JOHN: There’s no food. (Silence. Arthur moves around. Arthur huffs.) You’re going to try it again – ?
ARTHUR (interrupting): Stop talking to me.
(Arthur takes a running start at the wall, jumps, and falls onto the ground.)
JOHN: If you would let me tell you –
ARTHUR (scathing): We’re here because of you! Because of your f –
(A sad piano melody starts to play.)
JOHN: I’m sorry.
ARTHUR (interrupting): Don’t. I told you we’re done.
JOHN (frustrated): You keep saying that.
ARTHUR: I keep saying that because I want nothing to do with you!
JOHN (growling): We’re trapped here together, Arthur! It’s been nearly a week, and if we don’t –
ARTHUR: I am not going to stop just because you feel it’s fruitless!
JOHN: I’m not telling you to stop. I’m telling you, we need to work together on a solution. You can’t keep ignoring me.
ARTHUR: The hell I can.
JOHN (entreating): Arthur, listen to me. I am sorry about what I said. I was angry, and frustrated –
ARTHUR: Don’t pretend to be human all of a sudden.
JOHN: I’m not pretending! (Arthur scoffs.) You backed me up against a wall with Emily. It made me feel… I don’t know. Attacked. I lashed out.
ARTHUR (unimpressed): Did you.
JOHN: Obviously. I lashed out and attacked because I felt threatened. That’s just how I am.
ARTHUR (scoffing): Just how you are?
JOHN: Yes. (Arthur moves around.) We can find a way out of here, but we need to start communicating. We don’t need to be friends, but we need to work together, or we’re going to die in these pits.
ARTHUR: On one condition.
ARTHUR (emotional, over unintelligible background whispers): You agree to never mention her name again.
(An audio distortion.)
YELLOW: Get up. It’s light.
(Arthur moans. A soft piano melody starts to play.)
YELLOW: Sit up.
(Arthur sits up in bed, groaning as if in pain.)
YELLOW: Don’t tell me you’re still drunk.
ARTHUR: No, I don’t think so. (He groans.)
YELLOW: What the fuck was that?
YELLOW: Last night.
ARTHUR: I drank something. It made me feel ill. Maybe I still am, a little. (The mattress creaks.)
YELLOW: No, don’t lay back down. We need to get up, find Anna.
ARTHUR (confused): Anna? What?
YELLOW: Anna Stanczyk, remember?
ARTHUR (breathless): John, it’s too…
ARTHUR: Right, right, right. (Arthur shifts around.) What exactly happened last night?
YELLOW: You had a drink, threw up on a patron in the hallway outside, stumbled into your room, and passed out on the bed.
ARTHUR: Right. (The mattress squeaks. He grunts.) Just give me a moment.
YELLOW: No, you’ve had all night. It’s time to move.
ARTHUR: Just relax, Jesus! (Sighing, he finally gets up from the bed.) Basin?
YELLOW: Across from the bed.
(Woozy, Arthur walks over to the basin. He splashes water, and Arthur sighs in relief.)
YELLOW: You reek.
ARTHUR: Yes, I do. (He sighs.) I also want to shave. I have a kit somewhere. Where’s our bag?
(A calm piano melody.)
YELLOW: Sitting lopsided by the basin on the floor.
(Arthur starts to rifle through the bag.)
YELLOW (barking): Careful!
ARTHUR: I am! What?
YELLOW: You’re knocking against the Glass of the Cana!
ARTHUR: Right, right. It doesn’t work unless I say a particular phrase, an – an incantation. So. So, you’re safe.
ARTHUR: Here. (Arthur pulls out the shaving kit.) Now, did we pass a bathroom in the hallway last night?
ARTHUR (sighing): Come on. (He starts to walk.)
ARTHUR: I deserve a proper clean.
(Yellow sighs in annoyance. Arthur opens the door to the room.)
ARTHUR: We’re the last on the left, so it’s one of these other doors.
(He starts to walk.)
YELLOW: Shut the door behind you.
ARTHUR: Oh, right, right.
(Arthur shuts the door and continues down the hallway.)
YELLOW: Here. I think this may be it.
(The door creaks open.)
YELLOW (slightly amused): Well!
ARTHUR: How awful?
YELLOW: There’s a small wood stove with a large basin above it to heat the water. The tub is mostly filled with dirty water. Ice has formed on the surface.
ARTHUR (sighing): At least we’re the first to use it today.
YELLOW: There’s a small blue glass window like the one in your room, looking to the outside.
ARTHUR: Right, well.
(The door shuts behind him. Arthur searches through his pockets.)
YELLOW: What are you searching for?
ARTHUR: Our lighter.
YELLOW: You have a lighter?
ARTHUR: Of course, don’t you – you saw it.
ARTHUR: You must’ve, you said –
YELLOW: I didn’t see your lighter, Arthur.
ARTHUR: Fine, it must be in the bag. Any way to light the stove? We need to heat the water. It’s freezing in here.
YELLOW: There’s a matchbook on the shelf next to the stove.
(Arthur sighs and takes the matchbook.)
YELLOW: Arthur, I’ve been thinking.
ARTHUR: Yeah? (He strikes a match.)
YELLOW: About what you said in the forest, about my hostility toward you. I think maybe, like you, I haven’t tried enough to focus on your side of things. Give you a fair chance.
YELLOW: Yes. You tried to save a friend, and it backfired. I think we should start again. (Main theme starts to play.) Trust each other.
ARTHUR (cautious): Okay.
YELLOW: Besides, I may know things that could help us. For instance, you said that someone brought me back to you. Who?
ARTHUR: A man. (A fire starts to burn, softly.)
YELLOW: What was his name?
ARTHUR: Um, he called himself… C-Carmichael.
YELLOW: You’re sure?
ARTHUR: Yes, do you recognize the name?
YELLOW: What did he do, exactly?
ARTHUR: He did what I asked him to.
YELLOW: You said he also wanted you to suffer.
ARTHUR: Look, you don’t know more than my friend did, right? You said it, in the woods, that you barely remember your name. Trust me when I say that he didn’t know who Carmichael was.
YELLOW: Fine, fine. What about the Glass of the Cana?
ARTHUR: What about it?
YELLOW: Where did you get it?
ARTHUR: Why do you want to know that?
YELLOW: You want to be partners, right? Friends? We need to trust each other.
ARTHUR: You seem awfully trusting this morning, Yellow.
YELLOW: Yes, about that. Feel free to call me John.
ARTHUR (immediate): No.
YELLOW: You and he have had quite the past, I imagine that it must be difficult to trust again –
ARTHUR: Is the water done?
ARTHUR: Is it warm? We don’t want it boiling.
YELLOW: I don’t know. Touch the side.
ARTHUR: That’s good. Yeah, that’s good.
(Straining himself, Arthur pours the water. The empty bucket strikes the ground after.)
YELLOW: Anyway, trust is –
ARTHUR: Not now, Yellow. Let me get undressed and bathe properly.
(Arthur disrobes and climbs into the water.)
ARTHUR (euphoric): Oh my god.
ARTHUR: You have no idea.
YELLOW (faux gentle): You’ve been through the wringer. I can’t imagine what weighs on your mind. Share with me some –
ARTHUR: When I sleep, what happens to you?
(Faroe’s Lullaby starts to play.)
YELLOW: What do you mean?
ARTHUR: I never really asked John. We slept so many nights in the prison pits. I was too angry to care for most of them. I-I know he was awake when I was… when I was in hospital.
YELLOW: You were in hospital?
ARTHUR: What happens?
YELLOW: I’m not sure what you mean.
ARTHUR: Do you dream? Are you awake? Do you just stare at the backs of my eyelids? It was just last night, Yellow, surely you remember.
YELLOW: Yes, I’m awake, of course.
ARTHUR: Do you dream?
YELLOW: No, I don’t really comprehend what that means. (Something squeaks. Occasionally, Arthur splashes in the water.)
ARTHUR: I thought not. John was like that, too.
YELLOW: What do you mean?
ARTHUR: He didn’t understand what dreams were, not really. He enjoyed me telling him mine.
YELLOW (flat): Did he.
ARTHUR: But I never asked what he did while I slept. So, you don’t dream or sleep. What did you do last night?
YELLOW: Nothing. I waited, and thought. Contemplated.
ARTHUR: Ah. And after all that contemplation, you thought I’d be this easy to play?
(Suspenseful music starts up.)
ARTHUR (scathing): ‘Call me John’? Try to trust me, digging out information about Carmichael, come on.
YELLOW: What do you want from me!?
ARTHUR: I guess I want to genuinely move on from this tumultuous relationship we’ve started. I know you won’t be on side, but we need to at least feign the idea of not cutting each other’s throats every second.
YELLOW: You say this while threatening my return to the Dark World! You hold in your bag an item which would allow you to put me back to literal hell, and you expect me to trust you? To start anew?
ARTHUR: I don’t know.
YELLOW: Of course you don’t, because you hold all the cards. You have no impetus to protect yourself the way I am. You have no desire to seek more because you have all the information. I have nothing!
YELLOW: You laugh at me.
(A sad piano tune starts up.)
ARTHUR: I laugh because I’ve mirrored those exact sentiments. I know how you feel.
YELLOW: Do you, though?
ARTHUR: Yes, I do.
YELLOW: Then prove it.
ARTHUR: Okay. Fine. The Glass of the Cana doesn’t hold any power. At least, not in the way I told you it does.
ARTHUR: It doesn’t have the power to send you back to the Dark World. I have no way to further punish you beyond being trapped within my eyes. I have no… otherworldly knowledge, nor skills that will allow me to exile you in any way. There. Now you have no impetus to protect yourself, do you?
ARTHUR: That’s what you said! You said this tumultuous relationship was because I hold all the cards. Well, I don’t. So, prove me wrong.
ARTHUR: Prove to me that I didn’t need that leverage over you. That, as you said, this anger and resentment is because I was pointing a gun at you. Well, the gun’s not loaded.
YELLOW (angry): You still pointed the fucking gun at me!
ARTHUR: And you tortured and imprisoned me!
YELLOW: That wasn’t me!
ARTHUR (growling): You know it was. Nothing has changed between you and I yet.
YELLOW (taken aback): Yet!?
ARTHUR: Look. You claimed to have nothing, and now you know neither do I.
YELLOW: What the fuck, Arthur.
ARTHUR: You would have done the same thing.
YELLOW: What the fuck, Arthur, you can’t send me back!?
ARTHUR: No. I can’t. And if I –
YELLOW (growling): You fucking liar!
(A long pause.)
ARTHUR: Look. Look, I’m sorry, okay? Do I regret lying? Yes. Would I have done the same thing? I… I don’t, I don’t. Honestly... Yes, probably. I don’t know you, and I… you –
YELLOW: What do you want from me?
ARTHUR: I told you. I told you that I wanted –
YELLOW: No, what do you want from me? What did you want from him?
ARTHUR: What? What do you mean? I didn’t want anything. I wanted –
YELLOW: A friend?
(Faroe’s lullaby starts to play.)
ARTHUR: I guess. Yes. In a way.
ARTHUR: No. (A pause.) No. Why does this –
YELLOW: Because I’m trying to understand. You want that, right? You wanted me back here, you wanted my friendship. So tell me what I have to do.
ARTHUR: To what end?
YELLOW (frustrated): To any fucking end. Did you even want your body back?
ARTHUR: Of course, I –
YELLOW: But you were free? Weren’t you?
ARTHUR: Yes, I –
YELLOW: If you were free, why did you want him back?
ARTHUR: I told you. He wanted it.
YELLOW: I don’t know if I believe that. You have done nothing but lie to me since I’ve arrived –
ARTHUR: Oh, come on, don’t try to high-road me. You’re the one who came out swinging. (Quoting.) ‘This bag is mine; this is our cabin. Don’t you remember your name?’ Fuck. We’re just going to keep bashing up against each other. Like crashing waves on a breakwater.
YELLOW (calm): Alright.
ARTHUR: Alright, what?
YELLOW: You’re right. I should be smarter than this.
ARTHUR: What is ‘this’? What are you referring to?
YELLOW: What need do I have to be fighting with you, if you have no power over me?
ARTHUR (scoffing): Okay.
YELLOW: That’s what you said. Shouldn’t I be keen to prove you wrong?
ARTHUR: Great, so progress in spite of ourselves.
YELLOW: It’s still progress.
ARTHUR: Regardless, that’s it. Now you know the truth.
YELLOW: So, Anna Stanczyk?
ARTHUR: She’s still the best chance we have at separating ourselves. Still a mutual goal.
(A long pause.)
YELLOW: Why’d you tell me?
ARTHUR: Many reasons. I knew it would come out eventually, I figured it might as well be now. I didn’t want to rule over you with a threat that meant we’d keep butting heads, uh. (He trails off.)
YELLOW: What was the main reason?
ARTHUR: I don’t want to hurt you. (Gentle, optimistic piano melody.) I never have. I can be a real pain… when you cross me the wrong way, don’t get me wrong, and – and don’t say anything about that, but… I don’t lavish causing strife. I don’t – I don’t enjoy making others suffer. I don’t like hurting people.
ARTHUR (scoffing, splashing water): You don’t have to be a human to be a person, Yellow. Hell, in ancient Greece, ‘persona’ was used to denote a mask worn by an actor assuming a role. (He chuckles.) If that doesn’t scream the King, I don’t know what would. At least in a philosophical way.
YELLOW: What do you mean?
(Grunting, Arthur climbs out of the tub.)
ARTHUR: It’s just a study people partake in to understand some fundamental truths. Some speak to right and wrong, reasoning, weakness, strength. You’ve never heard of it?
YELLOW: Like what you said last night?
ARTHUR: What last night?
YELLOW: You said something, a poem.
ARTHUR: Ah, no. That’s more art, I suppose, though I guess the argument could be made either way. It’s about life, death. The author had a difficult life.
YELLOW: How so?
ARTHUR: Oh, um. He was poor, his father died when he was very young, and he lost his leg, I believe. He spent years in the hospital. The poem is about free will, though, that versus the philosophical ideals of determination can –
YELLOW: What’s that?
ARTHUR: God, look, I promise you, we can talk about all of this soon, when I’m not so hungover. For now, I just want to shave and head back to the room.
ARTHUR: Didn’t you say there was a window in here?
YELLOW: Yes, to your left.
(Arthur walks over.)
YELLOW: The snow-covered front of the Red Right Hand is below us. The woods are frighteningly close and there are no automobiles out front. I don’t even see a road out here. The snow is falling in thick flakes.
ARTHUR: Hiding whatever we found last night in the snow, I’m sure.
YELLOW: I doubt they were going to head out.
ARTHUR: They said nothing. I can’t believe that.
YELLOW: Basin is to your right.
ARTHUR: Right, thanks.
YELLOW: The shaving kit is where you left it, on the basin.
(Arthur opens the kit. He withdraws the razor, wets it, and begins to shave.)
ARTHUR (while shaving): I’m shocked, honestly. I never would’ve imagined such a deadpan reaction to such a horrid revelation.
YELLOW: You don’t need me to guide you?
ARTHUR: No, it’s not my first time.
YELLOW: Hm. (The main piano theme plays.) Perhaps it wasn’t a revelation.
ARTHUR: What do you mean? You mean they knew?
YELLOW: You heard the people down there; did they sound like they were above killing?
ARTHUR: Oh, that’s a leap. It takes a lot to take a life.
YELLOW: Does it? You have experience?
ARTHUR: I – (He sighs.) I just mean that I don’t know if that’s the case here.
YELLOW: Those prints were no normal creature, Arthur.
ARTHUR: Perhaps that’s the familiar news.
YELLOW: Something stalks these woods.
ARTHUR: Oh, maybe. I hope we can find out more about this town. Oh… the name?
ARTHUR (remembering): Addison, right, right, right! I don’t know it. I have no idea where we are.
(He splashes the razor in the water.)
ARTHUR: Anyway, that should do it for the beard. A clean shave was so needed.
YELLOW: You look different.
ARTHUR (sarcastic): How strange!
YELLOW: I mean, your demeanor, even.
ARTHUR: Right, well, let’s head back to the room, get changed and see if we can’t get out of this place.
YELLOW: Your clothes.
ARTHUR: Yeah. (Arthur pulls on his clothes, grunting in exertion. He sighs.) Okay! (He goes and opens the door.) Anyone?
YELLOW (warning): Arthur.
YELLOW: The door.
ARTHUR: Oh, does it matter?
YELLOW: No, the door to our room. It’s slightly open.
ARTHUR: We shut it.
YELLOW: Yes. Move in quickly. Get ready.
ARTHUR: No, no, no. Wait.
YELLOW: What? If someone is going through our things, we need to stop them!
ARTHUR: Let’s just head down to the bar, see who comes down after. The owner wouldn’t stand for something like this, we could –
YELLOW: For all you know, it is the owner, Arthur. Head in and be authoritative.
ARTHUR: I know how to be authoritative. I also know when to be smart. Trust me. The smart call here is to wait. Hang back and wait.
ARTHUR: We’ll head downstairs, watch for whoever follows, and keep a distance.
YELLOW: Alright, alright. The stairs are behind you.
(Arthur walks downstairs, into the main hall. A thoughtful piano tune plays.)
YELLOW: Bright light pours through the blue glass windows, filling the meager bar, which seems much less intimidating in the cold light of day. A man, the bartender from last night, stands behind the bar moving boxes. He doesn’t seem to pay us much mind other than an idle glance.
ARTHUR: So who the hell is upstairs, then?
YELLOW: The wall that the stairs occupy… is the same one with the piano. Your immediate left.
YELLOW: There’s a man, sitting at a table opposite the piano wall. He seems to be looking at a paperback novel. He’s nodding to you.
ARTHUR (to the man): Morning. (Quieter, to Yellow.) Last night you mentioned newspaper clippings, didn’t you?
YELLOW: Yes, they’re on the wall, here. Surrounding the piano.
(Arthur walks closer.)
ARTHUR: Seems odd, no? A bar like this to have articles of any kind.
YELLOW: I don’t know what’s odd.
ARTHUR: I just mean, they don’t seem like the learned type. But, maybe that’s a gross misconception on my part. Anyway, what do the articles say?
YELLOW: One reads: ‘Claim of Coal Mine by Larson Births Mining Town. Droves of miners have sought work in and around the base of Mt. Hoosac, as locals des –’
YELLOW: Yes. You know it?
ARTHUR (thrilled): Yes, it's – it’s west, far west of Arkham! A couple hundred miles, but that means we’re close to home! (Barely able to contain himself.) Go on, go on!
YELLOW (reading): ‘As local supply lines sprout up in the promise of new businesses…’ (He trails off.) It, uh, goes on to talk about Addison and how it’s flourishing.
ARTHUR: Amazing! Amazing.
YELLOW: Yeah, well, that was dated 1873.
ARTHUR: Oh! Well, that’s 60-odd years ago.
YELLOW: Hm. Here’s a more recent one. 1916. (He reads.) ‘The Caves Run Dry in Addison. Larson Mining Company, a once-profitable investment to many a local, has closed its mine in Addison this year. Speculation around the event is high as Larson is famously reclusive in his estate high atop Mt. Hoosac.’
ARTHUR (less pleased): Huh.
YELLOW: Other articles here speak of a nearby college creating an observatory on the mountain.
YELLOW: Yes. Oh! There’s a map here, as well!
ARTHUR: A map? Of the town?
YELLOW: Yes! It looks hand-drawn, in a way. It’s nailed to the wall, and looks as though it’s been wet and dried many times over. The brown paper edges curl up from the wood behind. The black charcoal etchings seem almost… I don’t know. Childlike.
YELLOW: Something else is etched here, in the wall. A symbol, perhaps?
ARTHUR: A symbol?
YELLOW: No, a word.
YELLOW: Words! Oh. It says something. (Arthur gets closer.) It says: ‘Day Comes... When the…’
(Something breathes with difficulty, very faintly.)
ARTHUR: What’s that sound?
YELLOW: What? I don’t know. ‘Day comes when the wind is done…’
(The wheezy breathing grows a little louder.)
ARTHUR: What is that? It’s coming from the wall.
YELLOW: There’s a hole here.
ARTHUR: A hole?
(Arthur shifts closer, to the sound of louder breathing. Suspenseful music rises.)
MAN (from a small distance): It’s a local saying.
ARTHUR (startled): What?
YELLOW: The man that was reading at the table opposite.
ARTHUR: Oh, yeah.
YELLOW: He's talking to you.
MAN: ‘Day comes when the wind is done holding the dark.’ It’s been there for as long as anyone remembers. Apparently.
ARTHUR: The owners? (He steps closer.)
MAN: No, someone local carved it into the wall of the place. Though they never thought to cover it.
ARTHUR (what can you do): Well, you know.
MAN: Superstitions are heavy in parts of the world such as these.
ARTHUR: And what parts are those?
MAN: You know.
(A thoughtful piano melody starts to play.)
YELLOW: The man is older. His hair is gray and greasy. It hangs to the back of his neck. He sports a thick mustache and the makings of a beard. He has a set of half-wire rimmed glasses sitting low on his nose. Smoke curls from a cigarette that sits in his hand next to the open book before him. He’s gesturing to the chair opposite him.
(Arthur approaches and sits down on the wooden chair.)
MAN: You’re not from around here, either.
ARTHUR: You’re passing through?
MAN: You could say, yes. As many of us do.
ARTHUR: What brought you here?
MAN: Oh. It would be difficult to choose only one thing, but if I were put on the spot, I’d have to say… love.
ARTHUR (surprised): Love?
MAN: Yes. A burning love for truth. Knowing. Understanding.
YELLOW (doubtful): Truth?
ARTHUR: Understanding, how so?
(A small pause. Eerie, despondent music starts to play.)
MAN: There’s a place, on this Earth, where light doesn’t touch. It’s a place of unfathomable depth. Where the crashing waves and churning, nightmarish storms are but memories. Darkness so black, so all consuming, that light can be… only dreamt of. Only hoped for. This place exists, friend.
MAN: Some call it Addison, sure. But there are many names it goes by.
ARTHUR: What name do you call it?
MAN: The Unknowing.
ARTHUR: And that brought you here?
MAN: Seeking it brought me here, yes.
ARTHUR: That seems like an idea though, not love. Not a truth.
MAN: It is all of those things. This is a dark place, my friend. Those who come here by choice, stay only to glimpse into the abyss. Those who come here by chance… find quick reason to leave.
ARTHUR: What of those who live here?
MAN: You know what is said about those who gaze into the abyss.
(The stranger chuckles.)
YELLOW: What does he mean by that?
MAN (taking a drag off a cigarette): I take it you are one finding quick reason to leave?
ARTHUR: Yes, I suppose so.
MAN: You’ll be sorry to hear that the only road in and out is not passable until the thaw.
ARTHUR: That can’t be.
MAN: Perhaps with an automobile, but… not on foot. One would not be wise to head out on foot.
ARTHUR: Surely that can’t be the only option.
YELLOW: Who else has an automobile?
ARTHUR: Yes, does anyone else have a vehicle?
YELLOW: The book he’s reading. He’s softly closed in front of him. He seems to be thinking as he takes a drag from his cigarette.
MAN (taking another drag): I do recall, a while back, a man who was here to try to purchase land from Larson. He had a vehicle, but he didn’t know well enough. Larsons. Very private people. Shy and the like.
(The main theme begins to play.)
ARTHUR: How long ago was that?
MAN: A few years, I think.
ARTHUR: Wait, how long have you been here? In Addison.
MAN: Ten years this May, I believe.
ARTHUR: I thought you said you were passing through?
MAN: I am. Addison tends to hold on to you until it is done, thus the saying: day comes when the wind is done holding the dark. You’ll leave Addison when it lets you leave.
ARTHUR: Is that so?
MAN: This town, my young friend, was birthed on the graves of the countless dead. Their bodies are one with the mountain, like mortar within the walls of those mines, binding the columns between the tunnels.
YELLOW: Whose bodies?
MAN: They watch over us all. He watches those who are not strong enough to leave.
ARTHUR: I’m confused. Are you speaking of Addison or Mr. Larson?
ARTHUR: Wait, that’s –
MAN (interrupting): Oh, there was also a man here, about a month back, to survey the mine. He made a camp near the entrance. Folks say he had access to a vehicle.
ARTHUR: Okay, well thank you, Mr….?
ARTHUR: Thank you, Mr. Irvine. I hope you enjoy the book.
IRVINE: Thank you.
(Large, shuddering footsteps from a distance. Suspenseful strings start to rise. Something bestial growls.)
YELLOW: Arthur, someone is heading down the stairs.
IRVINE: I saw you last night. I’m glad you chose to stay.
YELLOW (in shock): Arthur, there’s a huge man. (The man continues to walk in, breathing heavily.) He wasn’t here last night. He walks as if his feet are made of lead. His shoulders are broad, his arms like tree trunks. He’s a massive creature, but his face, his features are… animalistic. His eyes are orange and slitted as they search around the room. Large bumps on either side of his head make him look almost… I don’t know. Ram-like! He’s looking at us.
(The man walks, footsteps thudding.)
YELLOW: He’s leaving.
IRVINE: It seems you’ve already drawn the ire of the Larson family, my boy.
ARTHUR: What does that mean?
(Grunting, Irvine stands and pushes his chair back.)
IRVINE (seriously): Just wait for day.
ARTHUR: It is day. (Irvine leaves through the door.) Fuck. Ram-like?
YELLOW: I don’t know how to explain it, Arthur, other than his skin had patchy fur on it, his eyes were like that of a goat. I don’t know what to tell you!
ARTHUR: Why was he in our room?
YELLOW: I don’t know!
ARTHUR: We need to get the fuck out of here.
YELLOW: How? The roads are all frozen over.
ARTHUR: He mentioned someone, someone who came to see Larson.
YELLOW: We’re not going to Larson.
ARTHUR: What about the surveyor? Irvine said a surveyor camped out by the mines. He said he had access to a vehicle.
YELLOW: Either way, we need to get our stuff and move. We can’t stay here any longer.
ARTHUR (long-suffering): I know, I know.
YELLOW (snapping): So start moving!
ARTHUR: I am, I will! I suppose heading to the surveyor's camp is the easiest option, right?
YELLOW: Sure, just move. Who knows what may come looking for us next.
(Arthur stands, squeaks the chair back, and starts to walk upstairs. The sound of someone moving things is audible in the distance.)
ARTHUR: Is the door still…?
YELLOW: It’s closed now.
ARTHUR: Ugh. (A thoughtful piano tune plays.)
YELLOW: Well, what are you waiting for?
ARTHUR: I don’t know. I feel uneased. What did he do in there? What was he waiting for?
YELLOW: If you wanted to find out, you would’ve went in. You chose to play detective.
ARTHUR: I am a detective, but you’re right.
(He unlatches the door and pushes it open.)
ARTHUR: Everything look the same?
YELLOW: What the hell does that mean? Yes. Why are you being so weird?
ARTHUR: Doesn’t it irk you? Someone was in here, where we were, waiting for us. I-I don’t know –
YELLOW (overlapping): No, it doesn’t irk me. Perhaps because I have no agency in this body, the idea of someone occupying a space I rented seems relatively inconsequential.
ARTHUR: Huh. Fair. Alright. (He rifles through the bag.) Anything missing from the bag?
YELLOW: What is supposed to be inside the bag?
ARTHUR: Oh. Um. (He starts to speak, in the same cadence as Kayne’s original rhyme. The main theme starts to play.) The glass, the stone, the mask, the books, the tooth, the coin, the wallet and… (Normal cadence) And some hooks. Um, the shaving kit, and my… uh, lighter should be in here, somewhere.
YELLOW: What lighter?
ARTHUR: The lighter, you – I used it... oh! (He flicks the lighter.)
ARTHUR: Oh. No, it’s here, in my – in my… in my jacket. Wait! D-Didn't I just…?
YELLOW: Arthur, is everything there?
ARTHUR: Yes, yes, I just…
YELLOW: What’s this? This silver thing.
ARTHUR: What silver thing? I don’t –
YELLOW: It looks like it’s stained with blood. It’s a small box.
ARTHUR: Oh. (Sadder.) Oh. (He flips it open. Faroe’s Lullaby starts to play.)
YELLOW: Was it here before?
ARTHUR (quiet): Yes, yes.
YELLOW: Well, what is it?
ARTHUR: It – N-Nothing. It…
YELLOW: Fine. Then let’s leave. We’ve paid, slept. You’ve shaved, taken a much-needed bath. Is there anything else for us here?
ARTHUR (sighing): No.
YELLOW: Good. Let’s say goodbye to the Red Right Hand.
(He leaves the room and walks downstairs. It sounds like the wind is howling outside.)
YELLOW: The bar is empty. The bartender that was moving boxes is gone. I’m not sure to where.
ARTHUR: Right, well, once more unto the breach, dear friends. Once more!
(He opens the front door to the bar and goes outside. The wind howls.)
YELLOW: The map seemed to infer that the mountain was northwest of here, past the main road.
ARTHUR (shouting to be heard over the wind): You know the general direction of the mountain?
YELLOW: I can see it now, in the light of the day. Addison is at the base of this large mountain. (A quick-paced, mysterious piano melody plays.) There’s a stretch of wood between us and the mountain, presumably the one we moved through when we came here, but… its impressive peaks jut out over the landscape. It’s…
YELLOW: I suppose.
ARTHUR: You’ve seen mountains before.
YELLOW: Of course! But something about seeing them from…
ARTHUR (realizing): From my eyes?
YELLOW: I don’t know. (Disgruntled.) It doesn’t matter. (He huffs, impatient.) Anyway, it’s to the northwest of us, which means the mine entrance and the surveyor would be in that direction, too. Step down off the porch.
(Arthur steps off the porch, into the snow.)
ARTHUR: What does the village look like?
YELLOW: I don’t know if you could even call it that. The Red Right Hand Inn sits south of a cluster of small buildings just to the north of us. Across the street, there’s a small home that looks very dark and heavy with rotted wood.
ARTHUR: How many buildings are there?
YELLOW: I don’t know. A dozen, maybe two. There’s a long road running the stretch of the town, but it’s heavy with snowfall and trampled flat with footfall. The way is quiet.
ARTHUR: Well, does it look… drivable?
YELLOW: I wouldn’t know.
ARTHUR: Right, okay, well. I suppose we can start heading northwest, then. Though I’m not keen to head through the wood again.
YELLOW: It’s day. The sky is bright, the trees are thin, inviting a great deal of light through them. We’ll be fine. Plus, you still have the rifle.
ARTHUR: Right, right. (He fiddles with the rifle and starts to walk through snow.)
YELLOW: We’re at the edge of the woods. This is where we came through last night. Your snowshoes are around here somewhere.
ARTHUR: My what? (Shocked.) Oh, Jesus! I completely forgot.
YELLOW (slightly smug): I noticed.
ARTHUR: After the wolves chased us through the trees, I – they must’ve…
YELLOW: They came untied. At the time, they weren’t as important, since we were running for our lives. But they may be useful if we’re going toward the mountain.
ARTHUR: Right, right. Maybe we can retrace our steps, or…?
(He continues to walk. Some snow falls from branches to the ground.)
YELLOW: There’s a great deal of movement here in the snow.
ARTHUR: From this morning, or last night?
YELLOW: No, it snowed last night. So it must be recent.
(Mysterious piano music plays, a little sad.)
ARTHUR: We never really talked about the prints we found in the snow. What they meant, what they were leading to, or-or from.
YELLOW: There’s not much to talk about, Arthur.
ARTHUR: Well, I have a book. I-It could be useful.
YELLOW: What kind of book?
ARTHUR: It has details in it, about some of the more… monstrous creatures from your world. It helped me defeat a creature. Me and John. You said, last night, that it left star-shaped prints in the snow. That may be useful information to look up.
YELLOW: Alright. I suppose that is wise. In the meantime, head to the right. I think I see where we fell.
(He continues to walk through the snow.)
ARTHUR: Oh, that’s lucky.
(Grunting, Arthur ties on the snowshoes. Some creatures chirr in the background.)
ARTHUR: There, that’ll make it easier. Alright, let’s move.
YELLOW: A little more left. There.
(He continues to walk, amidst slow piano music.)
ARTHUR: It seems odd that a mine would run dry so fast.
YELLOW: What do you mean?
ARTHUR: This mine was a boon for the town. So much so that it birthed it. Not even forty years later, it’s closed? I don’t know much about mines, or how long they’re worthwhile, but… (Frustrated.) Bah.
ARTHUR: Nothing. I don’t know. I guess I’m just spinning my wheels. If the mines had truly run dry like that article said, then why would a surveyor be here? Why does the town still stay? Something’s keeping these people here.
YELLOW: Irvine said this town was born from countless dead. That their bodies fill the caves.
ARTHUR: Yes, I don’t… I don’t know what he meant by that. I doubt he was literal.
ARTHUR: Well, it’s a bit naïve to think that a mass grave exists in the mines. I-I mean, don’t get me wrong, people die all the time in mining operations, but… (He sighs.) Rarely in the numbers one would call ‘countless’. Even less so are they sewn into the walls like mortar the way he described. I-I think he was just being… artful.
YELLOW: Artful or not, he spoke with a certainty. (Ominous.) Death abounds here, Arthur.
ARTHUR (chuckling): Well, now who’s being artful?
ARTHUR: Well, anyway, perhaps the surveyor will have a ride and we’ll be out of here before nightfall, and none of it will really matter that much..
YELLOW: Now who’s being naïve?
ARTHUR: So, where are you leading us?
YELLOW: The base of the mountain. We’re looking for the mine’s entrance, no?
ARTHUR: Yes but… it would have a road to it.
YELLOW (flat): What?
ARTHUR: Yes, didn’t – well, o-obviously. If whatever they pulled out of the mountain was sold, they’d need to transport it. Why would you –
YELLOW: I don’t know, Arthur! I see the mountain on the horizon, I’m leading us there. What do you want from me?
ARTHUR: Some communication, Yellow! (Frustrated) God damn it.
YELLOW: Look, we're almost there. I see the edge of the wood. Beyond that, it’s flat land before the base of the mountain.
(Arthur sighs and keeps walking.)
YELLOW: There, we’re through the clearing. (In awe.) Oh. The mountain is high above us, sprawling. Winding snow-covered rocks line a twisted arched path towards the sky. This… this mountain seems…
YELLOW: I don’t know. Like it’s cut from another world.
ARTHUR: Your world?
ARTHUR: It’s still, here.
YELLOW: What do you mean?
(A long silence.)
YELLOW: It’s quiet.
ARTHUR: Very quiet. Odd.
ARTHUR: Do you see anything?
YELLOW: No. On the map, there was a mining camp to the south of Mt. Hoosac. Maybe they set up there?
ARTHUR: Possible. If he wanted to be close to the entrance, the camp would surely be near to it, as well. (He walks through the snow.) Why wouldn’t he stay in town?
YELLOW: Oh, wait.
YELLOW: There’s something up ahead. It looks like a large tent.
ARTHUR: A large tent?
YELLOW: It’s against a wall of trees that seem to have grown against the side of the mountain. The tent is white. I almost didn’t notice it, but...
ARTHUR: Sounds like it could be this surveyor’s site, for sure.
YELLOW: Yes, almost like a makeshift building. It’s open at the front.
ARTHUR: No sign of the mining camp?
YELLOW: No, I – I think we came out to the north of the wood, near the pass. I forget its name but it was on the map. Dawn, I think.
ARTHUR: Dawn Pass?
ARTHUR: Okay, well, let’s be cautious.
YELLOW: Irvine said he came here about a month back?
ARTHUR: Yes, and...?
YELLOW: What’s the likelihood he’s still here?
ARTHUR: His stuff is here. His tent.
YELLOW: A little more. We’re just on the edge of the tent. Here!
YELLOW: It’s empty.
(Sighing, Arthur steps inside the tent. The wind quiets.)
YELLOW: This was most definitely a campsite of someone who was more learned than the people of Addison.
ARTHUR: How so?
(A thoughtful piano piece starts to play.)
YELLOW: There’s a small cot in the corner, next to it a small pipe stove. There’s a blanket on the ground beneath both, with a set of muddy boots on their side.
YELLOW: Across from the cot is a table, a makeshift workstation with papers on the top, writing implements, various objects I’m not familiar with. Next to that, another table sits with large maps piled high and books beside.
ARTHUR (in realization): Well.
YELLOW: Underneath the tables are crates of food and a large glass bottle of water.
YELLOW: This man was most definitely surveying the mine.
ARTHUR: Yes, but what happened to him? He left his boots here.
YELLOW: A pair of boots. Who knows? Maybe he had multiple.
ARTHUR: Maybe, but then where is he?
YELLOW: He could be in the mine.
YELLOW: There must be an entrance around here.
ARTHUR: Or the answer may be here in the tent! Let’s look around.
YELLOW: Why? We’re only here for the surveyor. Let’s head to the mine.
ARTHUR: Right, but we may not have a chance to explore if he returns. I’m keen to find out why he’s here and more about the mine. Let’s look around. Come on.
(Yellow sighs in frustration.)
ARTHUR: Look, information is how we frame what happens to us. It’s all fine to know where the entrance to the mine is, but… but if we learn that the mine is filled with deadly gas, that could drastically alter the way we proceed. That must make sense for you, no?
YELLOW: Fine, look around. To me, it seems like a waste of time.
ARTHUR (scoffing): I promise you, it won’t be.
(Arthur moves around. A creature chirrs outside.)
ARTHUR: Where’s the table?
YELLOW: The right corner of the tent.
ARTHUR: Brilliant. (He gets closer.)
YELLOW: It’s covered with papers, hand-written, most of them. A few flasks of liquid with sediment at the bottom. Various… implements. I don’t recognize any of this, Arthur. I don’t know how useful this is going to be.
ARTHUR: Look, it’s okay. What do the papers say?
YELLOW: Ugh. (Arthur rustles the paper.) They talk about a mine. Uhh… Various entrances, some marked, others… sealed?
YELLOW: Well. No longer, I suppose. Looks like the surveyor opened them back up. Says he had dynamite in the mines, crates of it.
ARTHUR: Must still be in there. You don’t see any…?
ARTHUR: So he opened back up the mine. But why did they close it? Does it say?
(He shuffles paper around.)
YELLOW: Seems like there was plenty of coal in the mines, to the point where, and I quote, ‘full carts of coal were left abandoned on the rails upon inspection.’
ARTHUR: So Larson closed a profitable, active mine. For what purpose?
YELLOW: I have no idea. I also don’t see how any of this helps us. If we lose our chance to leave because of your f –
ARTHUR (interrupting): Fine. Alright, the other desk? The one with the maps.
(He rustles papers.)
YELLOW: It’s a large, hand-drawn layout of the mines. Various exit points all around.
ARTHUR: Mm. Anything noteworthy?
YELLOW: Besides the exits? Including one… above?
YELLOW: I don’t know. It seems drawn on top of the original.
ARTHUR: Right, right.
YELLOW: But no, nothing else seems noteworthy.
ARTHUR: Alright, let’s come back to these. Where's the cot?
YELLOW: To the left, in the corner opposite this one.
(Arthur walks around, grunting.)
ARTHUR: Alright, when was this last used? Obviously, there must be some sheets on it for warmth. Anything in the bedding, or a bag?
YELLOW: The cot is draped in thick, heavy blankets.
ARTHUR: Are they thrown aside? Is it made?
YELLOW: What do you mean, made?
ARTHUR: Like. Like how you’d make a bed.
YELLOW (growing annoyance): What do you mean, ‘make a bed’?
ARTHUR: Look, are the sheets neatly laid flat, or are they in a crumpled mess as if someone just woke up and left.
YELLOW: The latter.
ARTHUR: Right, so. It doesn’t mean anything necessarily, but that, added to the boots, could imply the surveyor left this place quickly, maybe in the middle of the night.
YELLOW: Why the middle of the night?
ARTHUR: Well, when he was presumably in bed. He got up, left it like this.
YELLOW (disbelieving): You left your bed back at the inn like this.
ARTHUR: Right, look, I said it could imply. The boots, you said they were mud-covered?
ARTHUR: Well, it’s not muddy around here, is it?
ARTHUR: Which means?
YELLOW: He used the boots… in the mines?
(The quick-paced, mysterious piano melody starts again.)
ARTHUR (pleased): Exactly! See? It’s not a guaranteed correct answer, but it’s an option, for sure. We start collecting the options, and from there we postulate probable solutions that may have arisen…
ARTHUR: Look. For example, if what I’m postulating is correct, you know, he woke in the middle of night – startled by something, perhaps. He threw back his sheets, turned, didn’t have time to put on his boots, and…? (Waiting for an answer.)
YELLOW: Grabbed his coat?
ARTHUR: Right, right! Is there a coat here?
YELLOW: Not that I can see.
ARTHUR: Okay, no boots and a coat. So maybe he did leave quickly. Must’ve been dark, so th –
YELLOW: A lantern.
ARTHUR: Right! Where?
YELLOW: There are a few here at the foot of his bed. (Arthur approaches.)
ARTHUR: A few, eh? Well, makes sense. Easier to rotate between them if they run out of any sort of gas or oil. Um, especially if he’s spending time in the mine.
YELLOW: These lanterns, they’re… they’re the same type as the one we found in the woods last night.
YELLOW: The ones near the blood – and the tracks.
(Suspenseful strings rise in the background.)
YELLOW: Do you think it was the surveyor that we found in the woods? That wasn’t far from here.
ARTHUR: I don’t know. Possibly.
YELLOW: What does that mean?
ARTHUR: I don’t know. He woke, startled. He went to the wood… but why? What was he heading toward?
YELLOW: Or what was he trying to escape?
(A creature snarls in the distance. It’s moving around.)
ARTHUR: Oh my god.
YELLOW: What the fuck was that?
(Outside the tent, heavy footsteps approach. Arthur breathes fearfully.)
YELLOW: There’s something outside the tent.
(It continues to snarl.)
YELLOW: Arthur! It’s moving toward the opening. Get the rifle ready.
(Arthur fiddles with the rifle, breathing shakily. The creature comes closer, snarling…)
YELLOW: Well, what? (Arthur huffs.) There’s nothing there.
(Yellow and Arthur cry out in surprise. Arthur is thrown into something, amidst the sound of the creature growling and knocking things over.)
YELLOW: Fuck! Arthur!
ARTHUR: What the fuck!
ARTHUR: What just hit me?
YELLOW: I have no idea! There’s nothing there!
(Yellow shouts in pain as objects tumble to the floor.)
YELLOW: Arthur, move!
(Frantically moving around, Arthur starts to move.)
ARTHUR: I feel something. There’s something here!
YELLOW: There’s nothing there! Run!
(Arthur growls in pain and starts to move forward. The creature thrashes behind him.)
YELLOW: Crawl forward! (Making noises of pain, Arthur does so.) We’re out of the tent! Run, Arthur, toward the mountain! Your left! Run!
(Arthur starts to run, breathing quick and fast.)
ARTHUR: Is it following?
YELLOW: I have no idea, Arthur! Whatever it is, I can’t see it.
YELLOW: I don’t know!
(Arthur stops, groaning in pain.)
YELLOW: Why are you stopped!?
ARTHUR: We don’t even know where we’re running!
YELLOW: The mine!
(Slow, heavy footsteps at a distance.)
YELLOW: Prints… in the snow. I can see them being formed, but… (ARTHUR: Oh my god!) Nothing is there. Move!
(Arthur starts to run again, the creature snarling behind him. His footsteps crunch through the snow.)
YELLOW: Arthur, an opening, in the mountain!
ARTHUR: The mines?
YELLOW: A cave! Your right, now!
(Arthur runs into the cave. The wind quiets.)
ARTHUR (echoing): Does it go deeper?
YELLOW: I don’t know! Probably, but I don’t see a way –
ARTHUR: Well, what the fuck!
YELLOW (furious): I’m trying, Arthur, I’m fucking trying!
ARTHUR: Where’s the entrance? I’m gonna shoot as soon as you can see… I don't know, footprints at the entrance.
YELLOW: Fine! Fine!
(Wincing, Arthur fiddles with the rifle.)
YELLOW: Back up, you’re too close to the entra –
(Arthur falls over, making noises of pain.)
ARTHUR: God damn it.
YELLOW (in horror): Arthur. You backed up over…
ARTHUR (snapping): I know! I fell! Let me get up and reload –
YELLOW: No, listen!
YELLOW: It’s a body, Arthur. A shoeless corpse. I think it’s the surveyor.
ARTHUR: Wait. Wait. They were dragged back here?
(Footsteps rush forward, much faster than before. Arthur cries out in pain.)
(The creature thrashes around. Arthur groans in agony.)
YELLOW: The cave entrance!
(Something squishes. Arthur yells out in pain as the sound of high-pitched ringing grows louder.)
YELLOW (in horror): Arthur, your leg!
ARTHUR: Fuck! Fuck!
YELLOW: Move, quickly!
ARTHUR: I can’t – my leg –
(Panting hard, Arthur whimpers and walks out. He winces audibly with every step.)
YELLOW: You’re out. You’re outside again. If you can just make it to the trees!
(Arthur falls onto the snow, panting hard. The thump of a heartbeat pounds. The creature approaches.)
ARTHUR (weak): I’m sorry.
YELLOW: Arthur. (Angry.) You should be.
(The creature snarls.)
(A trilling whistle is audible in the background, as well as a slow, steady heartbeat. The creature roars.)
YELLOW (in-and-out of distortion): Arthur! Arthur. (A pause, as the creature moves away. It snarls again. Heavy breathing as another figure approaches.) It’s Larson.
(END Part 22.)