A painful memory, a gracious host, a broken spirit...
Malevolent follows Arkham Investigator Arthur Lester as he unravels the mysterious circumstances that have befallen him.
In part twenty three, Arthur wakes to find himself in the home of a strange yet familiar man. The Larson estate, which sits high overlooking the town of Addison holds more than just answers to questions long since asked. Arthur must confront not only his current situation but also what he left behind for fear of his past finally catching up to him...
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PART TWENTY-THREE: THE PAST
Original transcript by Croik and Jack! Reviewed by Teakettle and Tony.
(BEGIN Part 23.)
(The audio has a slightly distorted, dreamlike quality, as if underwater. Squishing footfalls approach and the creature growls. Something metal strikes the ground, waking Arthur with a groan.)
(Arthur gasps and hurries forward. He takes the metal object.)
ARTHUR: Oh, oh, thank god. D-Did they…?
(The bucket clinks.)
JOHN: No. The bucket’s still empty.
ARTHUR (frustrated): God damn it!
(He kicks the bucket over.)
JOHN: Conserve your energy, Arthur.
ARTHUR (breathing heavily): For what, John!
JOHN: For finding a way out!
(The main piano theme plays.)
ARTHUR (breathless): I know, I know. Fine, fine. (He sits, grunting all the while, and picks something up.) What is this?
JOHN: I don’t know. Meat of some kind. (A pause, the clinking of metal.) Arthur, yesterday we talked about piling dirt at the side of the pit, and using that as a ramp. I think we should just start.
ARTHUR: I can’t pull dirt from the wall, it’s too hard. I’d break my fingers before pulling anything of note.
JOHN: I understand.
ARTHUR (confused): What –
JOHN: But if we –
ARTHUR: What is this? It doesn’t feel like anything I…
JOHN: It looks like… a leg.
ARTHUR: It’s raw! (Overcome.) Jesus.
JOHN: He’s trying to break you.
(Arthur winces audibly.)
ARTHUR (determined): Let him try.
(He bites into the raw meat eagerly. Whispers start to rise in the background as the audio distorts…
Thunder rumbles. It’s raining outside. Arthur wakes with a gasp.)
YELLOW (relieved): Arthur! Thank god.
ARTHUR: Where are we? (Yawning.) What happened?
YELLOW: Larson, Arthur!
ARTHUR (dazed): Yellow?
YELLOW: Larson! The ram-headed giant that had searched our room. He was there last –
ARTHUR: Okay, okay. Calm down. We’re alive. (Yellow sighs.) Where are we now?
YELLOW: I have no idea!
ARTHUR: Let’s just… why are we in bed? Wh-where are our clothes?
YELLOW: I don’t know. As far as I can tell we’re in a small, well-decorated room. Its walls are dark wood and almost entirely filled with books. Shelves that are built into the walls. It’s difficult to see much of anything else. Everything here is dark, very dark. There’s a large window to the left of us. The only light is coming from the night sky outside, through flashes of lightning.
ARTHUR: In a snowstorm?
YELLOW: It’s raining.
ARTHUR: I can hear it, but it’s bloody freezing.
(Grunting, Arthur pulls back the sheets and limps out of bed.)
ARTHUR: What’s outside?
(He walks forward.)
YELLOW: Just wait. I’m waiting for…
(A clap of thunder. An eerie, slow piano melody plays throughout, accompanying the claps of thunder and the rain.)
YELLOW: Jesus! We’re up high! In the mountain!
ARTHUR: The Larson Estate.
YELLOW: Why did they bring you here?
ARTHUR: That thing! That… invisible creature! (Calmer.) Where are our things?
YELLOW: I don’t know. There’s a high back chair opposite the bed. Maybe there. This room is ornate. The shelves are dotted with objects: balls of colored glass, feathers, carved wooden trinkets.
ARTHUR (direct): Focus on my clothes.
YELLOW: Yes. I think, maybe, your clothes are laid out here. Again, it’s tough to see. I can only read the room in frozen moments as the lightning bathes the room in a sharp blue light.
ARTHUR: Okay, okay. (He starts to rummage around.) Our uh, our bag?
YELLOW: Under the window, I think.
ARTHUR: What about the door?
YELLOW: I think it’s in the far corner, opposite the bed. It’s an elegant spread, Arthur. Thick white pillows and warm sheets.
YELLOW: You told me to be descriptive.
ARTHUR: Okay, okay. Wait – what’s that? What is that?
YELLOW: What’s what? (More direct.) What’s what?
ARTHUR: No, no, no listen, listen. What’s that?
(At a distance, barely audible, a woman cries in anguish.)
YELLOW: It’s coming from the floor.
ARTHUR: The… what?
(Arthur gets onto the floor, where the crying grows louder. It echoes.)
YELLOW: It’s louder to the left.
(Arthur crawls along the wooden floor.)
ARTHUR: A vent. I can hear it, listen.
YELLOW: What is that?
ARTHUR: Sh! Shh. (She continues to cry.) Is that crying?
(An eerie string melody rises up.)
YELLOW: Someone’s coming!
ARTHUR: Fuck! (He grunts, rising to his feet.)
YELLOW: Get back into bed! Now!
(Quickly, Arthur climbs back underneath the sheets. Footsteps approach the door, squeaking against the wooden planks, and someone knocks.)
(The door squeaks open.)
YELLOW: There’s a man. I can only see his silhouette. There’s a light behind him.
MAN (US Southern accent): Are you awake?
YELLOW: Arthur, the man is moving into the room. He’s taking a seat in the chair beside your bed. The light! The light is being held by the creature we saw at the inn, the rams-headed Larson.
MAN: Will the light hurt your eyes? Do you mind? (The ram-headed man’s breathing is heavily audible.)
YELLOW: The man is lighting a lamp next to him at the side table under the window. (A pause. Surprised.) It's a young man, in a three piece suit. Maybe… your age. He wears round glasses, his hair parted neatly, a bow tie under his chin.
MAN: I apologize for the fright. You must be awfully confused. (The piano melody continues, gentler.)
ARTHUR: You could say that.
YELLOW: A seemingly sincere smile spreads on his thin lips. His eyes seem… kind.
MAN: My name is Larson.
ARTHUR (confused): You? Y-You couldn’t… be.
LARSON: You seem surprised.
ARTHUR: I had expected Larson to be much older, given the date of the mines, uh.
LARSON: Oh no! That honor would be to my grandfather: Wallace. I’m afraid he’s long since passed.
YELLOW: Wallace Larson?
MAN: Yes, I’m his grandson: Andrew Larson.
ARTHUR: Oh! Well, that makes more sense.
LARSON: I should say! How old did you think I was? (He chuckles.) You must be Arthur.
ARTHUR: Yes. How did you…?
LARSON: Uncle paid a visit to you in town. Seems you missed each other. (Wood creaks. Eerie, slow piano music starts.)
YELLOW: The large, ram-like creature in the door is staring at us in the flickering firelight. Its cold, empty eyes reflecting the flame as it moves with each breath.
ARTHUR: I’m afraid we did.
LARSON: I do wish to apologize for his appearance. (The wood creaks again.) It can be… off putting to some. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t aware of his… tendency to poke around. We’ve had some nosy neighbors recently and I think Uncle was worried… you may be here to make another offer.
ARTHUR: A-An offer?
LARSON: To buy the mine. But I gather that’s not your purview.
ARTHUR: Not as such.
LARSON: So tell me. What does bring you here, Arthur?
ARTHUR (hesitating): I… I’m afraid not much, Mr. Larson. Truth be told, I found myself here by a bit of bad luck and I’m only trying to get home.
(The main theme starts.)
LARSON: Where might home be?
ARTHUR: Arkham, at least for now.
YELLOW: He seems to relax. A nervousness washes out of his posture. I think part of him was worried about you.
LARSON: I know it well. I have a place there myself.
LARSON: Yes, Mr. Lester. Addison is a secretive town but whatever stories you may have heard about us or this place tend to be fabricated, by and large. I want you to know that.
ARTHUR: What stories may that be?
YELLOW: He paused, as if considering his words.
LARSON: My grandfather was a great man, but… not without his flaws. This mine made our family.
ARTHUR: Then why close it while it still was profitable?
YELLOW: His eyes tightened. A smile curls upon his lip.
LARSON (furniture squeaking): What is it you do?
ARTHUR: Private investigator.
LARSON: Ha! I’d say you do a damn good job, too. I won’t beat around the bush, Arthur Lester. Uncle brought you here because he knows what you saw. I know what you saw. Or rather, what you didn’t see.
(Ominous string music rises.)
YELLOW (warning): Arthur.
ARTHUR: Well. What do you intend to do about it?
LARSON: Do about it?
YELLOW: He looks confused.
LARSON: Arthur, I’m afraid there’s been a miscommunication. I don’t offer a warm bed and – what will hopefully be a hot meal – to people I intend to... I don’t know. Hurt.
ARTHUR: What do you do?
LARSON: Arthur, I’m an accountant, in Arkham! (Chuckling grimly.) And part of a long line of family members cursed with this terrible truth.
ARTHUR: What truth is that?
LARSON (sighing, amidst rising suspenseful tune): My grandfather, many years ago now, awakened something in the mines. Something that existed long before us. Something that lived deep and ancient in the earth. It awoke and terrorized this town. Well, you’ve been around it. You know what it's capable of.
LARSON: Up until recently, it was successfully hunkered away, sealed within the confines of the mine. Then that damn surveyor came, and… well, the town isn’t safe. Uncle knew it wasn’t safe for you out there anyway.
YELLOW: The Larsons are protecting the town?
(A more hopeful piano starts to play.)
ARTHUR: You’re trying to help?
LARSON: Of course! This town is everything to us. It exists because of our actions; we owe them safety at the very least.
ARTHUR (brighter): Well!
LARSON (sighing): I’m sorry to dump this all on you. This isn’t your issue. I’ve only been called back myself to deal with this.
ARTHUR: No, That’s-That's fine. Thank you. Thank you for rescuing me. Giving me a place to stay.
YELLOW (urgent): Tell him we need to leave!
ARTHUR: Look, I… I hate to burden you with more but, the truth of the matter is, I… I need to get back to Arkham. This isn’t my town, this isn’t my… (He huffs.) Sorry, I was – I was about to say ‘problem.’
LARSON: You’re right, it’s not your problem, and it shouldn’t be. Arthur, don’t feel ashamed of knowing what you want. Something I learned many years ago. Truth is, this matter is more complicated than I thought.
ARTHUR: That’s fair.
LARSON: No, it isn’t. (He stands with a grunt.) But it means I have to return to Arkham tomorrow morning. If you’d like, I’d be happy to give you a ride.
ARTHUR: A ride! Of course, y-yes, please!
(Faroe’s Waltz starts to play.)
LARSON: I’d be happy to have the company.
ARTHUR: Thank you, Mr. Larson.
YELLOW (thrilled): Arthur, we fucking did it!
LARSON: Get some sleep. Try not to mind the storm too much. The freezing rain is a welcome change to the falling snow. Seems like winter’s finally easing its grip.
ARTHUR (chuckling): Of course, of course. And again, please, thank your family for letting me stay.
LARSON: Oh, he don’t need no more thanks. (Uncle starts to breathe harder.)
ARTHUR: Sorry, I-I meant the others.
ARTHUR: Your wife?
LARSON (quiet): What? (Tense, violin music begins to play.)
ARTHUR: Or… sister, sorry? I – I heard someone crying. S-Sounded like a woman.
LARSON: Did it.
(A long pause.)
LARSON: I’m afraid you were mistaken. Sleep well, Arthur Lester.
(Larson walks out of the room. Uncle’s breathing quiets to nothing.)
YELLOW: Arthur, this is fantastic! Straight to Arkham. I wonder if he could help us find Anna Stanczyk. If the Larsons are as well connected as they seem, I imagine…
ARTHUR: We’re not waiting till morning.
(The suspenseful music resumes.)
ARTHUR: We’re leaving. Now.
(He gets out of bed with a grunt.)
YELLOW: Arthur, what the fuck is wrong with you?
ARTHUR (growling): We are going to die if we stay here.
(Arthur starts to get dressed.)
YELLOW (flabbergasted): Are you insane? Why would he keep us alive? Why would he clean our fucking clothes? (Angrier.) Stop getting dressed! Answer me!
ARTHUR: He wanted to question us, Yellow. He needed to know what we knew. He didn’t ask about where our clothes came from or where we lived –
YELLOW: Then why didn’t you fucking lie!
ARTHUR: We are dead, either way. I’d rather he know what he’s up against. (His belt clicks.)
YELLOW: Jesus fucking Christ, Arthur. Where are we going to go?
ARTHUR: I don’t know. But we –
YELLOW: Shh! Wait, listen! The vent.
(Grunting, Arthur moves closer to the vent. The woman is still crying. Far below, the door opens, and Uncle steps inside, breathing heavily. A wet crunching noise, and the woman abruptly goes quiet. Arthur breathes shakily.)
ARTHUR: Oh my god.
YELLOW: Who was that?
ARTHUR: I don’t know, but we’re leaving. Now. (He grunts and rises to his feet.)
YELLOW: The gun is gone.
ARTHUR: Yes, I assumed as much. Where’s the door?
(Arthur steps forward, squeaking the door open. A clock ticks, far off in the distance.)
YELLOW: It’s a pitch black hallway. We must be on the second floor. The red carpet runs the length. A large window flashes to our left, while to the right it turns towards the left, further down. I don’t know. Which way?
YELLOW: You’re sure? Why?
ARTHUR: I don’t know, but we need to move. Now.
(Suspenseful music starts.)
(Arthur starts to walk.)
YELLOW: Close it, quietly.
(He creaks the door shut.)
ARTHUR (whispering): Do you see them?
YELLOW: No, nothing.
ARTHUR: Quickly, then. (Slowly, Arthur continues down the hall. Thunder booms.)
YELLOW: The hallway stretches on, all the way to the window. But the window at the far end isn’t… (Frustrated.) It’s dark, Arthur. I can barely see anything.
ARTHUR: Okay. Okay. It’s fine. We’ll wait.
(Arthur breathes shakily until thunder rumbles.)
YELLOW: There! I can see a door. It’s a fair bit down on our left side. (Arthur walks forward.) This hallway is massive. There’s a banister to our right that looks over the front foyer. There’s a low bulkhead above it that gives this area a closed-in feeling.
ARTHUR (echoing slightly): Do you see the stairs down?
YELLOW: No. I can barely see forward.
YELLOW: Stop. We need to wait for light again.
ARTHUR: Come on… come on!
(A louder thunderclap.)
YELLOW: There! Keep moving, toward the door.
(Slowly, Arthur walks forward.)
YELLOW: A little more… Damn it! The light is gone again. Pull out the lighter, we can –
ARTHUR (interrupting): No, no. The darkness is helping us as much as it is hindering us. If we can’t see...
YELLOW: Hopefully they can’t see us.
ARTHUR: Exactly. Let’s just wait for the lightning.
YELLOW (terrified): Jesus!
YELLOW: Fuck! It’s a… it’s a suit of armor.
ARTHUR (sighing): Jesus Christ, Yellow.
YELLOW: The door is just to our left. Hurry.
YELLOW: Right here!
ARTHUR: Where? I can’t see, you have to fucking tell me!
YELLOW: Lower! Another step – (Arthur walks forward.) There!
(Arthur goes for the doorknob.)
ARTHUR: Is it… it feels locked! It’s… stiff or something.
ARTHUR: I’m trying! (He continues to rattle the doorknob, clicking it back and forth.)
YELLOW: Arthur. There’s something moving at the far end of the hallway. From where we came!
(Arthur tries the door, a little more frantically.)
YELLOW: Open the fucking door, Arthur!
ARTHUR (struggling): I’m trying, I’m trying! There!
(The door creaks open.)
(He lurches inside, closing the door behind him.)
YELLOW: Step back.
ARTHUR: Listen! Listen!
(Footsteps pass by the door. Heavy breathing grows closer, footsteps thud against the floor… and they fade. Arthur sighs.)
YELLOW: I think we avoided him.
ARTHUR: Where are we?
YELLOW: I don’t know. Just…
YELLOW: It looks like another room. A-another guest room. There are two large windows, dressed with dark curtains: the color of which I’m not sure. (The main theme begins to play.) There’s a large painting above a cold fireplace to our left. A bank of shelves under the windows across from us, and a four-poster bed.
ARTHUR: Anything… Anything that seems out of place, or?
YELLOW: The painting, it looked… like Larson, maybe Wallace. The room is black once again.
ARTHUR: Alright, alright, okay. (He steps closer.)
YELLOW (aggressive): What the fuck are we going to do!
ARTHUR: I-I don’t know yet. We’ll find a way down to the foyer, or… or out a window, maybe. They can’t keep us here, it’s just a house.
YELLOW: The person in the vent didn’t seem to have a way out.
ARTHUR: I know, I know, I know.
YELLOW (warning): Arthur!
YELLOW: There’s someone in this room with us!
YELLOW: They’re laying in the bed.
(Arthur breathes shakily.)
YELLOW: I think they’re… I think it’s a body.
(He steps closer. Thunder booms.)
YELLOW (panicked): What the fuck! What the fuck!
YELLOW (shaky breath): The body is… dead, dry, leathery. Its skin blackened. Arthur, this body has been here for... I don’t know how long!
ARTHUR: My god. What the hell are they doing in – ?
YELLOW: Is this Wallace?
ARTHUR: I guess? I… (He sighs.) Alright, the door was… stuck. This room is... occupied, in-in some way. Uncle didn’t come in. I-I think we’re safe here for a moment. Let me just… (He sighs.) Let me just catch my breath.
YELLOW: We need to consider our options.
YELLOW (disgusted): Jesus, this body. It’s… shriveled, small-looking. Frail.
ARTHUR (quiet): Déjà vu.
ARTHUR: Déjà vu, it. I’ve… I’ve been here before, well in this, in a moment like this. With… not you. (He sighs.)
YELLOW: But it was me. I-In a way.
ARTHUR (sighing): John.
YELLOW: He was… different than me.
ARTHUR: I don’t know. Maybe. How different, I-I-I don’t know.
YELLOW: What made you… friendly? With him?
(A light-hearted piano piece starts.)
ARTHUR: What do you mean?
YELLOW: What made you… like his companionship.
ARTHUR (huffing a breath): I… I don’t know. I don’t know if I always did, but I guess strife sometimes brings people closer together.
YELLOW (quietly): Strife?
ARTHUR: Yes, difficulty. We had to overcome a lot together.
YELLOW: Like what?
ARTHUR (chuckling grimly): Well, we once had to, uh… well, f-fight a creature that was double my size and triple my weight, I’d wager. A massive creature, completely relentless, and, uh… the odds were not in our favor.
YELLOW: But you beat it?
ARTHUR: Yes. We made a... pretty great team. (Fabric rustles, and he groans.)
ARTHUR: My leg, it’s… stiff. I hurt it quite badly. But, uh. I wonder how long we’ve been sleeping? I’ve been sleeping.
YELLOW: It’s better?
ARTHUR: Yes, much. M-Maybe I only sprained it, I...
YELLOW: I apologize for… for blaming you.
(Faroe’s Lullaby starts.)
YELLOW: Before you passed out, in the snow. By the mountainside.
ARTHUR: Oh. I…
YELLOW: You said you were sorry, and I said… that you should be. I’m sorry about that. I was angry, I reacted poorly.
ARTHUR: I know the type.
YELLOW: Anyway, this body is long since dead.
YELLOW: Wait, there’s something around his neck: a medallion of sorts.
ARTHUR: A medallion? (Tense, violin music begins.)
YELLOW: With a star. Sort of.
ARTHUR: I wonder if we should take it.
ARTHUR: I don’t know. It-It seems important.
YELLOW: Well, I doubt he’s using it.
ARTHUR (wincing): Okay. (He leans forward.)
(The sound of radio static and heavily distorted audio. A very low cry.)
YELLOW: Jesus! Oh my god!
YELLOW: What the fuck – (He growls, as if in pain.)
ARTHUR: I touched him!
YELLOW: What is this?
ARTHUR: Tell me what you see!
YELLOW (growling): I see… Andrew! (He grunts in pain.) He’s standing over the man in the bed. He’s kissed his forehead compassionately. He's… smiling and stroking the old man’s face. He’s… he’s telling him they’ll be together again, that the Fallen Star will succeed! (Groaning in pain.) Arthur, let go!
(The audio returns to normal.)
YELLOW: What the fuck was that!?
ARTHUR: That was how this man died, or at least the moments leading up to it.
ARTHUR: I’m sorry, I… I completely forgot! Was… was there anything else you saw, anything important?
YELLOW: No! For fuck’s sake. Why didn’t you let go?
(Uncle’s plodding footsteps from nearby.)
YELLOW: Arthur! Put the medallion in the bag, we need to get out of here.
ARTHUR: Where the fuck are we supposed to go? Back out into the hallway?
YELLOW: No, he’s coming! Under the bed!
ARTHUR: Wait, wait. Does the window open?
YELLOW: Yes, I… I think so.
ARTHUR: Open it. We need to open it. Head out there.
YELLOW: You want to go out the fucking window? It’s freezing! (Deadly serious.) If we go outside, we’ll freeze.
ARTHUR: Freeze or not, I’d rather try my luck moving away from a freight train than hiding. At least not again.
ARTHUR: Where’s the window?
YELLOW: God damn it, Arthur!
YELLOW: To your right. The latch to open it is a little ways up. You can stand on the...
ARTHUR: What is this?
YELLOW: It’s a stool. (ARTHUR: Oh.) Get up on it.
ARTHUR: Ugh, it’s tall.
YELLOW: A little more. Hurry!
ARTHUR & YELLOW: (At the same time) There!
(Grunting, Arthur opens the window. The sound of pouring rain outside.)
YELLOW: Jesus, Arthur! We’re far above the trees below. This mansion is perched in the mountainside, overlooking the town and surrounding forest, as if it were to watch over.
ARTHUR: That’s okay!
YELLOW: There’s a ledge!
YELLOW: It’s only a foot or two wide, maybe less.
ARTHUR: Okay, okay.
(Arthur steps out onto the ledge. The wind whips around him, and he makes a few whimpers of terror.)
ARTHUR (quietly): Oh, Jesus. Fucking Christ, fuck. Okay, okay.
YELLOW: Steady yourself!
ARTHUR: I’m trying, I’m trying! Which way?
YELLOW: The ledge runs the length of the wall.
ARTHUR: Right! We’ll head right. I don’t want to end up back in our room.
YELLOW: Quickly Arthur! He’s almost through the door.
ARTHUR: We need to shut the window, quickly!
YELLOW: Lower! There!
(Arthur slides the window shut. Uncle’s footsteps are audible inside. Arthur breathes hard.)
YELLOW: He’s through the door! He can’t see us. He’s looking around the room. It’s the Uncle, he’s approaching the body cautiously. He’s checking under the… bed.
ARTHUR: No shit.
YELLOW: Wait! Go back!
ARTHUR: I’m not gonna risk our lives climbing out the window only to be spotted watching him!
YELLOW (sighing): Okay. Fine. Arthur, keep hugging the wall. Just – I guess… shuffle side to side. (Arthur starts to move against the stone.)
ARTHUR: I have this, just… just tell me if there’s anything of note: a-a chipped ledge, or a...
YELLOW (cautious): Arthur. (Ominous string music.) It is so far below. If we fall, there’s no –
ARTHUR (cutting him off): Not one of the times I need descriptions, Yellow! Focus on the wall, god damn it!
YELLOW: Maybe if you fear falling you’ll focus!
ARTHUR: What? Shut the fuck up!
(He starts to move, grunting.)
YELLOW: I… It’s dark, Arthur, not much lighter than in the hallway. Let’s wait for the lightning.
ARTHUR: I can feel –
YELLOW (overlapping): Just wait.
(A thunder clap.)
YELLOW: There’s a large, stone figure here. Its clawed feet are gripping the ledge tightly. You’ll need to step over them.
ARTHUR (overexerted): Okay.
YELLOW: Be careful, though. The stone is… it looks cracked. It’s…
ARTHUR: Just tell me when I can put my foot down.
(Arthur breathes hard, starting to shift across the ledge. Rain falls heavily with the occasional thunderclap.)
YELLOW: More… left… A little more. Okay, slowly down.
(The sound of stone crumbling.)
ARTHUR: God damn it!
YELLOW: It’s difficult to see! (The stone strikes the ground.) Not there.
(Arthur starts to move again, grunting.)
YELLOW: Oh… yes, there.
(Arthur moves forward.)
YELLOW: You’re shaking.
ARTHUR: No shit. It’s freezing. (Teeth chattering.) I can feel it soaking through my clothes.
YELLOW: Stop. You’re gonna lose your grip. (Arthur continues.) Arthur, we’re coming to a corner.
YELLOW: The ledge, it… it doesn’t wrap around the corner!
YELLOW: You’ll need to make a fairly large step to catch the other side.
ARTHUR: Are you fucking kidding me?
ARTHUR (frustrated): Jesus!
YELLOW (hesitant): If we go back the other way, in-into the room we started, we could hide…
ARTHUR (shivering): No... I can, I can do this.
YELLOW: You better hope so. (Arthur groans.) You’ll need to swing your left leg out and to the side, around the corner a little bit. But… I think you’ll need to jump, essentially, sideways, to land on the –
(Arthur starts to laugh nervously amidst sad piano music.)
ARTHUR: Jesus Christ.
YELLOW: You’re sure you want to do this? We can head back.
ARTHUR: I’ve come so far.
(Arthur takes a deep breath. From a distance, a woman’s voice says ‘Goodbye’.)
ARTHUR: And I’ve got miles to go before I sleep.
(Arthur makes a jump and lands it.)
YELLOW: Jesus Arthur! Your… your foot! It’s on the other ledge. You fucking did it! I didn’t even –
(Arthur groans in pain, righting himself.)
YELLOW: Holy hell! (Arthur pants, exhausted.) How did you...
ARTHUR: How far? Is there another window?
YELLOW (excited): Yes, yes! Keep going. (Arthur continues, breathing hard.) It’s clear to the window. Here, Arthur: stop. (Arthur does so, shivering and making exhausted noises.) It’s the window at the end of the hallway, the one we were moving toward.
ARTHUR: Does it open?
YELLOW: Yes, same as the other. But the… (He sighs in frustration.) It’s latched, from the inside.
YELLOW: Maybe we can try another window, further down. There might be a –
ARTHUR (interrupting): Wait, wait! Is there a gap between the windows?
YELLOW: Yes, but it’s small.
ARTHUR: The straight razor in the bag, t-the one in the shaving kit. Would it fit through the window gap?
(Arthur starts to rifle through the bag.)
YELLOW: Careful, Arthur. You’re only holding on with one hand.
ARTHUR (distracted): Y-Yeah, yes yes yes yes yes.
YELLOW: There, that’s the kit.
(Arthur manages to get the razor out, breathing heavily.)
YELLOW: Yes! Arthur, I think this will work!
ARTHUR: Is it clear?
ARTHUR (exasperated): The hallway, is it clear?
YELLOW: Yes. I don’t see anyone: Andrew or the Uncle.
ARTHUR: Okay! Okay, okay.
(Arthur sticks the blade in the window and unlatches it.)
YELLOW: Yes! Careful now, there’s a table under the window.
(Arthur climbs inside, groaning. His voice takes on a slight echo in the empty room.)
YELLOW (triumphant): Arthur, you fucking did it!
ARTHUR (talks over him): Okay, okay. Quickly, we need to close the window!
YELLOW: Yeah! Right! A little higher. There.
(The window locks. Arthur audibly shivers.)
YELLOW: There’s a door to our right, just next to the window.
(He moves further in. The wind howls ferociously behind him.)
ARTHUR: It’s unlocked.
(Arthur steps forward and closes the door behind him. He keeps breathing heavily. The sound of a thunderclap.)
ARTHUR (quietly): Okay. Okay.
YELLOW: We’re in a long room, at the front of the mansion on the second story, still. It looks like a storage room of sorts. Two windows illuminate a number of objects in this room with the blue of lightning. Tall objects, some draped in white sheets. It seems safe for a moment. You should lock the door.
ARTHUR: What? Why?
YELLOW: So they don’t follow.
ARTHUR (exhale): But if they come to a door that was unlocked and they find it locked… then they’ll know we came this way. They’ll know we’re in here.
YELLOW: Fine, leave it unlocked then.
ARTHUR (stepping forward, shivering): So, what kind of objects are in this room?
YELLOW: I don’t know. Most are covered. There’s a large mirror leaning against the wall to our right.
ARTHUR: Mh. Mhm.
YELLOW: Uh, a dresser.
(A clap of thunder.)
YELLOW (pleasantly surprised): Oh! I think there might be a door on the far side of this room.
ARTHUR: An exit?
YELLOW: Yes, maybe!
ARTHUR: Okay, okay.
(He walks further.)
YELLOW: Some of these… look like figures, looming over us. It’s… unsettling.
YELLOW: This one. To the side of you, the left.
ARTHUR: Well, let’s… let’s see.
(With a grunt, Arthur removes a sheet. Thunderclap.)
YELLOW: Whoa. It’s a statue of a man holding… what looks to be his flayed skin. His muscle and bones are visible. (ARTHUR: Oh.) The look on his face is pure agony.
ARTHUR: St. Bartholomew.
YELLOW: A saint?
ARTHUR: Yes, ah. He was skinned alive, and… and beheaded.
ARTHUR: He’s the saint of leather makers, I-I believe.
YELLOW: How do you know this?
ARTHUR: He was an apostle, and I was… taught to know them. (He steps forward.)
YELLOW: A what?
ARTHUR: Look, it, it… it doesn’t matter. I’ve had this conversation before as well.
ARTHUR: I-I know it’s new for you, but it’s… painful for me.
ARTHUR: A bit. L – I-I guess we should put this back on. (Arthur replaces the sheet.)
YELLOW: Is a lot of what I ask you the same?
(Faroe’s Lullaby starts up.)
ARTHUR: The same?
YELLOW: As him.
ARTHUR: Oh. No. Uh, w – some.
YELLOW: In the room, before we climbed outside… you mentioned you didn’t want to hide under the bed.
ARTHUR: For good reason.
YELLOW: But you said, ‘not again’.
ARTHUR: Did I?
YELLOW: Yes. What did you mean?
ARTHUR (sighing): John and I were stranded. North of the city. This was back when we were still very much… unfamiliar with each other, still trying to understand. We had difficulty maneuvering and communicating effectively and...
YELLOW: Right. When did you become familiar, or communicative? Truly.
ARTHUR: The prison pits, I think. We had a long time in there, and… experienced a great number of things.
YELLOW: Was it difficult?
ARTHUR: Um. (He sighs.)
YELLOW: Unless you –
ARTHUR (directly): Yes, are we almost at the end of the room?
YELLOW: Only about halfway.
ARTHUR: Okay. Anyway, we were communicating poorly and I-I got into an automobile which was the wrong one, and, uh…
ARTHUR (tersely): As I said, we were poor at communication. We met a man, in a gas mask, named Kellin. (The sound of suspenseful string music.) He had some real troubles and he tried to hurt us. He did hurt me. Quite badly, actually. Anyway, I hid under his bed to try to, ah.
YELLOW: He found you.
YELLOW: What happened to him?
ARTHUR: He died... I think. (He walks forward.) I hope.
YELLOW: You hope?
ARTHUR: Yes. Anyway. What else is in this room? Anything?
YELLOW: Lots, but it’s all stored away for safekeeping.
ARTHUR: Or cause it’s not wanted.
YELLOW (softly): Huh.
YELLOW: Some interesting art.
ARTHUR: How so?
YELLOW: There’s a painting of a lion eating a woman’s head.
ARTHUR (chuckling, sarcastic): Lovely, lovely.
YELLOW: And... another, of… an ornate stone.
ARTHUR: A painting of a stone?
YELLOW: Yes. It’s odd. It’s painted very roughly.
ARTHUR: Where is it?
ARTHUR: Here? (Arthur moves forward.)
YELLOW: Yes. Lift that one forward. No, that.
ARTHUR: This one? (He rummages around the wooden frames.)
YELLOW: Yeah – Yes.
ARTHUR: This one? (With a grunt, he lifts the painting.)
YELLOW: Yes, it looks like a tapestry that’s been framed. It looks weathered and very old.
ARTHUR: As many tapestries are.
YELLOW: The stone is elevated over what looks to be a swamp. (Mysterious piano music starts.) But its proportions are off: the stone seems massive. It’s egg-shaped but elongated, divots and indentations cover it. Light comes from all around it to illuminate.
ARTHUR: Strange. What color is it?
ARTHUR: A black stone?
ARTHUR: Hm. Odd, to dedicate a picture to that.
YELLOW (curious): Arthur.
YELLOW: In the woods, after we first met, when the wolves were surrounding us.
(Arthur grunts as he moves the painting.)
(The main theme starts to play.)
YELLOW: You said that it was easy to chew me apart because I was a piece of your friend, a piece that you hated.
ARTHUR: Yes. The King.
YELLOW: You also said, especially because he hurt you near the end of your time together.
ARTHUR (a few footsteps): Yeah.
YELLOW: What did he do?
ARTHUR: I… trusted him. And he betrayed that trust.
YELLOW: Did you forgive him?
ARTHUR (clueless): I don’t know. Probably. Why?
YELLOW: I don’t know. I just.
ARTHUR: I’m not going to tell you, if that’s what you –
YELLOW (interrupting, urgent): No! I’m just – nevermind.
YELLOW: The door is just here.
ARTHUR: Alright, well, let’s look out.
(Thunder booms as Arthur pushes the door open. It scrapes against the wooden floor.)
ARTHUR: Oh, this door is heavy!
YELLOW: This isn’t a door!
YELLOW: Or at least a normal one. This is… part of the bookshelf! Arthur, this opens out into a study. There’s a fire in the hearth here.
ARTHUR: Is it empty in here?
YELLOW: Yes, I don’t see anyone.
ARTHUR: Is there another way out?
YELLOW: A door.
ARTHUR: Okay. Let’s leave… quickly.
YELLOW: Close the shelf!
ARTHUR: Right. (Arthur strains himself, pushing the shelf shut. He walks through.)
YELLOW: Arthur, this office is filled with old furniture: high backed chairs, a leather couch. The walls are lined with bookshelves, and there’s a portrait above… (Yellow trails off. Suspenseful string music starts to rise.)
YELLOW (shocked): It’s Andrew!
ARTHUR: Oh. Wait, that’s –
YELLOW: No, i-it’s Andrew but… from… he has three children around him.
YELLOW: One of them looks like Uncle.
YELLOW: We should leave.
ARTHUR: Yes. Hopefully the door leads back to the hallway.
(Arthur starts to walk.)
YELLOW: I-I don’t understand. It looks like Andrew lives here…
ARTHUR: It doesn’t matter right now.
YELLOW: At this mansion.
ARTHUR (trying to get his attention): Yellow!
YELLOW: Even the desk is well used. Instruments that he has laid out.
ARTHUR: Yellow! Wait, what?
YELLOW: I just don’t understand what his role is. He said he came here from Arkham!
ARTHUR (overlapping): Hold on, hold on, hold on. Instruments?
YELLOW: A-A flute. It’s sitting on his desk.
ARTHUR: A flute?
YELLOW: Why practice in a –
ARTHUR (overlapping): We heard a flute, right before we passed out – when the creature was above us. Do you remember?
(Thoughtful piano music starts to play.)
ARTHUR: Where is… ? Here?
YELLOW: A few steps to the left.
ARTHUR: Yes. (Arthur starts to walk.)
YELLOW: Arthur, it’s an ornate wooden flute. Carvings run along the length of it, as well as bizarre lettering.
ARTHUR: Let’s take this. (Arthur takes the flute and secures it in his bag. Behind him, a door opens, and heavy breathing is audible.)
ARTHUR: There, good. Anyway, having this may end up giving us an advantage, and—
(The intruder growls.)
YELLOW (quick): Arthur!
(Something hits Arthur: high-pitched ringing is audible. Unintelligible whispers rise from the background as the audio distorts further. A sad piano tune starts to play.)
JOHN: Arthur? Arthur! Wake up!
ARTHUR (dazed): Ugh, what?
JOHN: They’re coming!
ARTHUR: What? Why?
JOHN: I don’t know, but I can hear them approach.
ARTHUR: They just refilled the bucket, didn’t they? (A pause.) John!
JOHN (reassuring): It’ll be okay.
JOHN: We can do this.
(A thud on the ground, and the sound of a man groaning.)
JOHN (shocked): Arthur. They’ve thrown someone in the pit with us! A man has fallen.
(The man continues to rummage around the dirt, occasionally groaning.)
JOHN: He’s an older man, completely bald and wearing worn clothes.
JOHN: He’s getting up.
ARTHUR (huffing): Stay back! What are you doing here?
MAN: I-I don’t…
JOHN: He looks poorly.
MAN: I don’t know, I –
JOHN: I don’t think he means to hurt us. He’s leaning against the wall.
MAN (breathless): They, uh… they took me from my pit, and they threw me in here with you.
ARTHUR: Do you mean to harm us?
ARTHUR: Me. Me. Do you mean to harm me?
MAN: No. No, I don’t. I don’t, I don’t. (He huffs a breath.)
ARTHUR: Okay, okay, I’m sorry. I… I’ve been alone for a long time.
JOHN: He seems… genuine.
ARTHUR: My name is Arthur Lester. Who are you?
MAN: Faust. (Ominous string music starts.) My name is… Michael Faust.
ARTHUR: Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Faust.
(The audio distorts as the dream dissipates.)
YELLOW (muffled): Arthur! Arthur!
(A persistent beating sound, similar to a heartbeat, as Arthur wakes. He’s breathing hard and sobbing slightly.)
YELLOW: Are you… Why are you crying?
(A hopeful piano melody starts to play.)
YELLOW: Arthur, we’re in a dining room, Larson’s dining room. You’re at one end of a long table. We’re tied to a chair. There are three large windows to our right along a massive wall. It’s still thundering outside. (He growls.) God damn it, Arthur, what the fuck is wrong with you!?
(Arthur sniffs and calms his breathing.)
ARTHUR (tearful): We had been in the prison pits for nearly a month before Mr. Faust arrived.
(The sound of a thunder clap. The main theme starts to play.)
ARTHUR: We were nervous at first, on our guard, worried about what that meant. What kind of test it was meant to be. (Very quietly) I-I felt it was a test. I, I knew it was.
ARTHUR: (Forcefully) Just! Just… Please.
YELLOW: What are you talking about?
ARTHUR: Let me, please.
YELLOW (impatient): Fine!
(Wooden furniture squeaks.)
ARTHUR: He was old, thin, balding. He-He wore rags and… and had nothing. Save a-a cord, a short lanyard that looked… braided. Thick. He held it, always, in his hand. Tightly. And he watched us. Always. We kept our distance at first, but eventually, we talked. The… I don’t know if, if we were just eager for the company or-or what, but… well, maybe that was part of it. But he never stopped watching us.
(The boom of thunder.)
ARTHUR: He would dig up dirt, leaving it in loose piles, as if… as if he were to build a sand castle. He told us he was from another pit and had nearly escaped but they caught him. And at first, I thought they were just trying to torture me, to-to drive me mad, but I… I convinced my simple brain of his lie – thinking a place like that ran on the rules of a prison. A temporary bunk mate, while they sorted out getting him a freshly dug hole.
(He scoffs. A thunderclap. The rise of terror-filled string music. Somewhere, far away, a clock ticks.) Then I realized they had stopped feeding us.
YELLOW: Arthur. We don’t have time –
ARTHUR: Please. John saw it in his eyes. (He shifts.) A-A knowing, a truth. You know, I-I-I-I had thought they were feeding me raw meat because they, they didn’t care to cook it. But now I think that was all part of it.
His eyes sat staring at us, ravenous, in the dark. John played sentinel, studying him as he held his knees to his chest, pawing the cord with his wrinkled, greasy hand. Collecting little piles of dirt for no discernable reason. Just watching us. (A gasping, long inhale.)
I knew he wanted to kill me. They wanted one of us to kill the other with our bare hands… but-but I wouldn’t. I wasn’t going to kill him. (Suddenly fierce.) No matter what. They wouldn’t. Break. Me.
(A long pause.)
Until I touched the cord he held so tightly.
(A clap of thunder. Arthur shifts.)
ARTHUR: They had just refilled the bucket after nearly a week and we were both greedily drinking from it when my hand grazed his – grazed the cord he held and… and that’s when John saw the truth.
His lanyard was no lanyard at all, but a braid of hair, taken from the last pit he was thrown into. He had turned her skull into pulp under the weight of the bucket. Heavy it sat, filled with piles of soft, loose dirt. That night, laid across his chest, I strangled him. (He takes a deep breath.) But… but that is not my greatest sin.
(A shaky breath. Arthur speaks shakier, more emotionally) I enjoyed it, Yellow. I enjoyed taking the life from him. And as I moved my hands up to his eyes, and pushed my thumbs into his skull, feeling the soft, wet popping behind my nails and the warmth of his vitreous humor as it seeped out of his face… I knew they had won. (Whispers rise in the background, unintelligible.) I told John it was because he was… he was winning, he was about to get up. And that-that was the quickest way for me to end him, f-for him to die, like a bullet through the skull, but I lied to him. I lied to John and I lied to myself… and I have been haunted by the dreams ever since.
I didn’t pay the price. I reaped the benefit of a meal that John paid. With every bite of his raw flesh I took, he relived that death a thousand times. At least until there was no more flesh on the bone.
(Gently sad piano music starts.)
YELLOW: And you told me you weren’t a fucking murderer.
ARTHUR: I lied.
(A door opens. Arthur winces audibly.)
LARSON: I’m so sorry to keep you waiting, Mr. Lester. I had a rather important telephone call. I’m sorry, was I interrupting you?
LARSON: You sure?
LARSON (grunting as he sits): Well, none the less I apologize for the state you’ve found yourself in.
ARTHUR: Who was she?
LARSON: I’m sorry?
ARTHUR: The woman. In the vent. The one your Uncle killed.
(Suspenseful string music rises. Larson’s chair squeaks.)
LARSON: Do you really wanna know?
LARSON: I didn’t think so. Regardless, I’m sorry to say, I don’t know either way. I try not to learn their names.
ARTHUR: What are you?
(Mysterious music starts.)
LARSON: What? (He scoffs.) Would you like to say, I’m a monster of some sort? That’s an odd way to phrase a question.
ARTHUR: I already know who you are.
LARSON: Oh, do you?
ARTHUR: You’re Wallace Larson, aren’t you?
LARSON: Well, now! How did you guess that? I thought my disarming nature had you convinced that I was timid little Andrew Larson.
ARTHUR: Does he even exist?
LARSON: Of course, when I need him to. I do have a place in Arkham, in fact… in a way. But most of my travels find me either here or out in New York at the lodge.
ARTHUR: The lodge?
LARSON: Mhm. So! This is why you’re asking ‘what’ I am. How do I look so young after so many years, and, uh, I promise you, it has been so many years.
(The main theme starts.)
LARSON: And… Uncle is not really Uncle, though the name stuck from some of the kids. He’s a handsome fella, isn’t he? And he’s quite fond of that little music box. He saw it when it fell out of your bag. I told him he could keep it, I hope you don’t mind.
(The repeated click of metal.)
YELLOW (gasping): Uncle is standing under the window in the corner. I didn’t see him. He’s flipping the cover open and shut, over and over. On your music box.
LARSON: Well, don’t hurt his feelings, now.
ARTHUR: Uncle is… Jack, I presume?
LARSON (slapping his hands together): Right again, Arthur! You are quite the detective, aren’t you?
ARTHUR: How did you know my name? I never gave you it, nor anyone in town.
LARSON: You gave it plenty. You just didn’t know to whom.
(Larson grunts, standing up from the chair.)
LARSON: Did you want something to eat, by the way? Sorry, I’ve been rude.
YELLOW: He’s standing up, behind his chair. His hands on the back of –
LARSON (interrupting): You tend to pause at odd moments, Arthur.
ARTHUR: Sometimes I need a moment to think.
LARSON: I like that. Oh, I like that. I’ll just assume it’s a no, it’s late anyway, I promised a hot meal, but I’m afraid it’s just the three of us in the house tonight and, well, I don’t feel much like cooking. (His voice shifts, as if he’s moving.)
YELLOW: He’s grabbed an apple from a bowl sitting on a table to the side. He’s sitting back down.
(Larson bites the apple and chews.)
ARTHUR: You didn’t answer my question.
LARSON: Nor did you, mine. But I suppose between hunger and the hundred plus year old man before you looking roughly your age questions… yours was more interesting.
LARSON: Hm. Do you believe in gods, Arthur?
ARTHUR: I didn’t peg you for a Catholic, Mr. Larson. (Thunder clap.)
LARSON: Please, Wallace, I don’t get to hear it often, and I didn’t use the title singularly, Arthur. I said gods. (He takes another bite.)
ARTHUR: I don’t… know.
(Uncle’s breathing stays audible in the background. Faroe’s Waltz starts to play.)
LARSON: Hmm. I came to this mountain looking to prosper, and I did. For many, many years, I did. My family grew, my children: Tristan first, then Lucien, and little Addison… All of them perfect in their own way. Curious, kind… faithful. Do you have children, Arthur?
ARTHUR (immediately): No.
LARSON: Hm. That surprises me. They grew as this town did around us, around our home, our livelihood. Our family sprouted like roots of a tree, we grew! Each of us more ambitious than the last. Until something changed. (He takes another large bite.)
ARTHUR: You found something in the mine.
LARSON: Hm. No! I’m afraid your streak is broken. Tragedy took my wife and two sons. Tore them away from me, away from the future I had so carefully set out for them to follow. And I was lost.
ARTHUR: Am I supposed to feel sorry for you?
LARSON: For me? No. For Addison… perhaps.
ARTHUR: The town, or your daughter?
LARSON: One and the same. As I said, something changed that day, but it was in me. At first, I sought a way to… bring them back. Finding answers only led to more questions, to more paths, to more… people, like me. Who also sought answers. Solutions to their problems.
(A low, ominous rumbling starts in the background.)
LARSON: It led us all to the Order of the Fallen Star.
ARTHUR (scornful): Jesus Christ.
LARSON: So you’ve heard of us?
ARTHUR: No, I just lost a bet with myself, that you weren’t just another fucking cultist.
YELLOW: He’s stopped eating his apple. He’s gestured to Uncle.
(Uncle stomps forward, growling. The sound of tearing flesh. Arthur groans in agony as the sound of high-pitched ringing becomes audible.)
YELLOW: Arthur, he’s torn off a piece of your right ear!
LARSON: I admire your gumption, but will not be disrespected in my own home. (The sound of blood dripping.)
YELLOW: He’s finished the apple and placed it down. Maybe you should shut up and listen, Arthur.
LARSON: I didn’t awaken anything. I asked the gods that be, ones great and powerful that exist in fathoms beyond your comprehension. In their infinite wisdom they granted me a servitor, and a way to do my bidding. Through that, I’ve seen things, experienced pleasures, dreamt of worlds you could not imagine.
ARTHUR: I doubt that.
LARSON: Do you?
ARTHUR: I’ve seen these gods, and they’re nothing.
LARSON: Have you?
(Mysterious piano music starts to play.)
LARSON: There are those with faces that would drive you mad, whispers they could tell you that would force you to claw out your own ear drums! For fear of upsetting them. (Uncle continues fidgeting with the music box.) They are powerful, immortal and ancient. They are our superiors, Arthur, make no mistake about that.
YELLOW (eagerly): Yes!
ARTHUR: Shut up.
LARSON: You dare to tell me to shut up? Shall Uncle tear another piece?
YELLOW: He’s right!
(Larson’s chair scrapes across the floor.)
ARTHUR: S-Sorry, I-I –
YELLOW: And you… you’ve always been…
(Larson walks some distance across the floor. Uncle continues to breathe.)
LARSON (to Uncle, at a distance): May I?
(Uncle huffs a breath.)
LARSON: Thank you. This is quite the music box, Arthur.
(He opens the box. Faroe’s Lullaby starts to play, high and twinkly.)
LARSON: Hm. Quite a nice little tune, as well.
ARTHUR: I wrote it.
LARSON (surprised): Did you, now? Well, I’m surprised. Quite lovely. Such a sharp mind and a soft heart. Seems almost contradictory in a way.
(He shuts the music box. The music cuts off abruptly.)
ARTHUR: I’m well rounded.
LARSON: You’re a man of two minds, Arthur. I see it in you. I see divisiveness, as if two thoughts compete with each other for power.
YELLOW (angry): You imprisoned me.
ARTHUR: Sad to say it’s just me in here.
YELLOW: Captured me.
ARTHUR: And it’s awfully lonely.
YELLOW: I deserve this body! You –
LARSON: I could fix that?
ARTHUR (overlapping): What?
(Suspenseful music starts to rise.)
LARSON: If it’s too lonely in there, I could add a voice to your conscience.
LARSON: Arthur, have you not been listening? I can do a great number of things with their help. When I brought my daughter to the gods as a gift, they awarded me with such –
ARTHUR (breaking in): Y-Your daughter?
(A boom of thunder.)
LARSON (pounding the table): Do not interrupt me!
YELLOW: Let him finish! Can he put me back?!
ARTHUR (voice shaking): What did you do to her?
LARSON: She was my last child, my single star in the night sky. (Mysterious piano music starts to play.) She was all I had and all I loved. I gave her to them so they knew I was devout. I watched them tear her apart, limb from limb, as she pleaded for me to save her. (He takes a deep breath.) As she pleaded for her daddy. It was sacrifice, in the purest form.
YELLOW (demanding): Arthur! Ask him about how to separate us! Find out how!
ARTHUR (overwhelmed): You…
ARTHUR (shakily): You… She trusted you.
YELLOW: Arthur, ask him!
ARTHUR: You… you were supposed to protect her!
LARSON (slowly): And yet she saved me. (Normal tempo.) I can’t think of no better honor.
ARTHUR: Mr. Larson.
ARTHUR: Wallace. (He leans forward, chair squeaking.) I promise... I don’t know how, but I promise you. (Ominous music starts. Arthur’s voice is deadly serious.) I will kill you. I will watch the life dim from your eyes as I take your life, and give your daughter whatever justice I can.
(A long pause.)
LARSON: This music box must be special. Shame it isn’t made of sturdier material.
(Larson drops the music box. He crushes it. In the background, Uncle growls in disappointment.)
LARSON: I think our dinner is over, Mr. Lester. Uncle?
YELLOW (livid): Arthur! You motherfucker! I will ruin you! I am a god, you fucking human!
(Uncle steps forward. Arthur starts to writhe away.)
LARSON: Oh. Normally, I would simply have you killed and dropped in the mines. We have a nice easy way to dispose of the unwanted that visit, but I think because of that particular insult, I’ll ask that Uncle keep you alive when he drops you. Let it toy with you a bit before killing you. From what I can tell, it’ll enjoy chasing you down.
(Uncle drags Arthur. He breathes heavily.)
LARSON: Jack? (Apologetically.) I’m sorry, that was your music box wasn’t it?
YELLOW: Arthur, you vile excuse for a human.
(Arthur is shoved against the piano, slamming against the keys.)
LARSON: Oh! Looks like Uncle wants you to play your song, Arthur. Best not disappoint.
ARTHUR (pained): What? I don’t feel much like playing.
LARSON: I think it would be a nice goodbye, Mr. Lester. (Arthur is shoved again.) A swan song, as it were. Between you and I, having Uncle this agitated isn’t great. Play for him!
YELLOW (quietly): I hope he tears your fucking ears off, Arthur.
(Arthur starts to play Faroe’s Lullaby.)
YELLOW: You imprisoned me, you took me from my rightful place as King, and stuck me inside this prison. You are a murderer, Arthur, you are a monster. You are no better than Wallace, no better than the foulness you murdered in that pit! I am not your friend. I am not John. And I never will be. I am nothing like you. And he is dead.
(Arthur stops playing.)
LARSON: Bravo, Arthur, I’m impressed.
YELLOW: This is your fault, all of this. (A pause.) I hope you know that.
LARSON: I didn’t realize you were so much fun. Play another, Arthur!
ARTHUR: You told me that you were sorry you blamed me.
YELLOW: I lied.
LARSON: Play something that comes to mind. Anything!
ARTHUR: You also told me you’d never forget me.
(Arthur takes a deep breath. The audio distorts again, similar to before.)
ARTHUR: I am having a tough time with all of this right now. I really need to just… breathe. I, I don’t know who I am. I don’t know where I am. I don’t recognize this. (He starts to hyperventilate.) I-I-I –
JOHN (gentle): You’re a tender soul, friend, and I shouldn’t have put such a fire beneath you. Now head over to that piano for me. Just put your fingers on the keys. (The piano bench squeaks.) Play something that comes to mind. Anything.
(Arthur begins to play the main theme. It continues throughout. Some whispers occur throughout: some evidently their own, others echoes of spoken lines.)
ARTHUR: Y-You’ve been awake this entire time?
JOHN: Yes. She comes in to check. She always says ‘Good morning, John.’ And, uh. Well, I like the sound of it. (Quickly.) It sounds bizarre, I know.
ARTHUR: No. No, I’m glad I can call you something.
JOHN: I’ve been so focused on never returning I haven’t actually thought of how lucky I am to have found you, so: thank you.
JOHN: She didn’t seem like… I don’t know. She seemed like someone who might have been taken advantage of.
JOHN: What were you dreaming – ?
ARTHUR: It doesn’t matter; let’s press on.
JOHN: All right.
JOHN: You’re nervous about going.
ARTHUR: I’m nervous about finding out what exactly is happening to me.
ARTHUR: I’ve come to trust you, John.
JOHN: So, what are you saying?
ARTHUR: I’m saying that, maybe… maybe you’re right. (A boom of thunder.) We are of two minds, and more and more I’m realizing, two souls as well. There’s a bleed-over effect, but… you are something entirely your own, John.
ARTHUR: Yes. John Doe.
ARTHUR: This is it. Isn’t it?
JOHN: He’s waiting for us.
ARTHUR: I know.
JOHN: Arthur. Whatever happens. I’ll never forget you.
ARTHUR: Me neither, John.
(The piano comes to an end.)
LARSON: Another lovely piece, but I’m afraid that’s it. Uncle?
(Arthur is dragged away from the piano.)
LARSON: So long, Arthur Lester. The pleasure was mine.
YELLOW: Ugh. Arthur? Where are we?
ARTHUR (shakily): Don’t you remember?
(A wooden hatch is opened.)
YELLOW (???): The last thing I remember was you shoving a fucking knife through your throat, and me saying goodbye to you.
YELLOW (???): What the fuck happened?
(A more hopeful melody begins to play.)
JOHN: Yes, what?
ARTHUR (overwhelmed): Jesus fucking Christ, John!
JOHN: Yes, Arthur!
JOHN: Who the fuck is dragging us!?
ARTHUR: You –
JOHN: Why are you bleeding from your ear? And where does this hatch go?
ARTHUR: You –
JOHN: Did Kayne do this?
ARTHUR (high-pitched, giddy): John! John!
JOHN: God damn it, Arthur, what?!
ARTHUR (happy): You remember!
(Uncle breathes heavily.)
JOHN: Arthur, what the –
(Arthur is struck. A high-pitched ringing sound is audible, and then – a long fall, and a thud.)
(END Part 23.)