A quiet end, a familiar place, a warm familiarity...
Malevolent follows Arkham Investigator Arthur Lester as he unravels the mysterious circumstances that have befallen him.
In Part 28, "The Undefeated" the Entity in Arthur's head finds himself alone in the caves beneath the mountain. For the first time, Arthur's voice is no longer there to comfort and the path forward is unclear. However, there are many secrets yet to be discovered, many truths untold and the understanding that this is far from over...
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EPISODE TWENTY-EIGHT: THE UNDEFEATED
Original transcript by Jack! Reviewed by Teakettle.
(A gentle, melancholic piano tune plays. Arthur is clearly gasping for air.)
JOHN(begging):No, no. No.
ARTHUR(gasping for air):Maybe not.
JOHN:No. Arthur, no.
ARTHUR:I think this may be it.
JOHN(louder, begging):Arthur! Arthur, no!
ARTHUR:Goodbye, my friend.
JOHN:Arthur, no! (Arthur heaves one last gasp and falls silent. Something continually drips, faraway.)Arthur, no. No. (Near tears, breathing heavily.)No! No, Arthur! No. No. (More determined.)No, it’s not over, Arthur. You don’t give up that easy! And neither will I. (He grunts.)Where’s the bag? Okay, lighter, where’s the lighter, old friend? (John grunts and rummages.)There. Okay. (He continually flicks the lighter.)Open.
There! Okay. You’re losing a lot of blood, Arthur. A-Arthur. The hole in your stomach, it’s… okay. Okay. We need - we need to move, w-we… we’ve done this before!Idid this before. I got you from the boat to the shore, we… we can do this. We, we can get out of here, and someone… will find us. Will find you. Ju-just like they did in Harper’s Hill! They’ll come by, and… (Sudden, determined.)Say something, Arthur! Anything! I know you’re there. You have to be. You. You have to be. Come on!
(John grunts hard. Something like fabric shifts. The lighter continually burns.)
Come on! Little more, Arthur! (Another movement.)Yes, yes! (John takes ahold of the bag.)Okay! We had something… in the Dreamlands, was it… right. Hooks! Hooks, Arthur! Here. (He grunts and retrieves them.)They’re large, but… but they’re… they’re sharp. Okay. Okay, Arthur, it’s gonna be okay. I’m gonna… heat the hook? We just need… something to… your shirt! We need the, the thread from it –! (Something starts chewing in the background. It sounds like popcorn. It’s continual.)I’m going to sew this hole in your stomach, Arthur! Then you’ll stop bleeding! (John grunts and moves him.)God damn it! Yes! Yes, come on! Come on! Okay. Okay. (He starts to heat the hook. Crunching sound continues.)We have it. We-we have it, I just. I just need to thread it through the fishing hooks. It’s okay, Arthur! We can do this, if I… if I can just… if I can just get it through…(Frustrated.)Come on! Would you just – (Louder.)would you just fuckinghelp!Instead of sitting there! For fuck’s sake.
(The chewing temporarily stops. A chair creaks.)
JOHN:Yes, you! You fucking –
(Kayne breaks into uproarious laughter.)
KAYNE:No, no, no, no no no! No. I’m enjoying, keep going! I’m good, thank you. (He burps.)
JOHN:(sighs)I’m gonna sew up your stomach, Arthur. (Kayne sucks in air through his teeth.)What?
KAYNE:Nothing! Nothing. Are you sure that’s a good idea, though? (He gets up from the chair and comes closer, making noises like he’s walking over hot coals.) Ahhhhh, yep. He’s dead.
JOHN(vitriolic):He is not, you piece of shit.
KAYNE:I don’t know! He looks dead to me. And I know death. We have a standing lunch date. (In realization.)Oh! You two do too, don’t you? (Something squishes. In mock sympathy.)Oh…. oh, that’s gonna hurt.
(Something else squishes. Kayne audibly winces.)
KAYNE:Oh, you’re doing it likethat? (Condescending.)Oh! He’s toast.
JOHN:Then fuckinghelpme, god damn it, Kayne!
KAYNE(dramatic gasp):Help you? That wasn’t the deal.
JOHN:How am I supposed to get him to New York, let alone whereyouwant him –
KAYNE:Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! (Indignant.)That is not my problem, golden boy! You are to worry about logistics.
KAYNE:I already did! Remember?
JOHN(angrier):Then why thefuckare you here?
KAYNE:I don’t want to miss this part, are you kidding? Needed a front row seat, even brought my own snack. (He starts crunching again.)
JOHN(disgusted):Jesus fucking Christ.
KAYNE:Present and accounted for!
JOHN:Shut up, then! Let me focus.
KAYNE:Of course! (Fake respect.)Utmost respect for surgeons. Please, continue. (He makes noises of fake respect, like a blustering general, as he returns to his chair.)
JOHN:Ugh – come on, Arthur. (As John continues surgery, Kayne gasps and winces like he’s in a sports match.)
KAYNE(utmost seriousness):Steady hand! Steady hand! Steadier… (Fake applause track.) hey!Woo! Hey, you’re pretty good. That almost looks like you’re not trying to kill him.
JOHN(defeated):I can’t get him out of here like this.
KAYNE:You can! You will. (With gusto.)You’re indomitable, my friend! Look at you. Undefeated.
JOHN:That’s not true.
KAYNE:Ah! Isn’t it? You one-handedly pulled a dying man who was on the brink of losing it, back! Hooks, thread! (Enthusiastically.)What a clever little worm you are!
JOHN:I’m not. Undefeated. (Whispering.)And you know that.
KAYNE:(Thoughtfully.)Euuhhhh. True. You had your choice between the devil and the deep blue sea, and you chose the devil. (Scathingly.)Turncoat! But, look. Even if I know what you did…hedoesn’t. He gets to continue to believe that you have no ulterior motives! Right? And isn’t that what you wanted?
JOHN:That’s not what I wanted. That’s what you –
KAYNE:T-t-t-t-tut tut! Now. You know what’s at stake here, lemonhead.
JOHN:I can’t get him there like this.
KAYNE(growing gradually more English):I have full confidence that you won’t let anything happen to our little English rose.
KAYNE(with gusto):Of course I do! Because if he dies here, well then… (Fake hand-wringing.)it’s all over for you, honey.
KAYNE:Fingers crossed! (He starts to walk. John snorts in rage. From a distance.)Oh, god damn it!
KAYNE(echoing):Canary! (John huffs.)In a coal mine? (He breaks into chaotic laughter.)I kill myself! See you sooooon!
(John huffs again. Faroe’s Song begins to play. Abruptly, Arthur painfully gasps to life.)
JOHN:No! No, it’s me!
ARTHUR:John? John, what –
JOHN:You – you’ve lost a lot of blood!
ARTHUR:You, you… Jesus Christ, w-where is, where is… ?
JOHN:Did you – (Arthur makes a noise of pain.)
ARTHR:The creature is…?
JOHN:O-oh! (He stammers.)I-I don’t know, I think he left! Yes.
(Arthur touches his wound and audibly winces. The lighter continues to burn in the background.)
ARTHUR:Did you do this? (In disbelief.)You… you sewed up my wound. You – I knew. (Warmly.)I knew it. We weren’t gonna go out like this.
ARTHUR:I knew you wouldn’t give up.
ARTHUR(audible smile):Just like me.
JOHN:Can you move?
ARTHUR:Yes, yes. (He starts to move around.)Slowly, but yes.
JOHN:We need to move. It could come back.
ARTHUR:Right, right, okay. You? Ah, Jesus.
JOHN:The back of your head…
ARTHUR:Fuck, yes. For- for a moment, I could hear them. All of them, whispering, like… just like me, just like –
JOHN:Just like that person said.
ARTHUR:Yes. Yes. (He starts to walk.)We never even learned their name.
ARTHUR:(grunts) Okay. D-do we try and climb back up the passageway we came down from?
JOHN:Maybe. (Arthur winces in pain.)It’s far too small for the creature to have used, which means…
ARTHUR:…there’s another way out.
JOHN:Look, the flute worked. That’s the important part. Let’s just keep that in mind.
ARTHUR:Right! Right, okay. O-okay, do we – try climbing back up? Or do we try to find another exit?
JOHN:Another exit. We can’t risk those stitches coming undone.
ARTHUR:Yeah. That’s… probably smart.
JOHN:Keep one hand on that flute.
ARTHUR:What does it do? (Arthur rummages for the flute.) It… what, stopped attacking, or?
JOHN:Sent it away, I think. You blew it and the creature retreated into the darkness.
ARTHUR:That’s what happened when I first encountered it, as well.
JOHN:So at least we’ve tested it, now.
ARTHUR(in awe):It’s intelligent, John. It’s smart. So smart. I-It knew that we were coming. It heard us say –
JOHN(gentle):It’s okay. (Determined whisper.)Let’s move. (Arthur does so. Faroe’s Lullaby starts to play.)You said you could hear them all… whispering?
ARTHUR:Yes. When I was… connected, I - I heard a cacophony of noises. Sounds, like… like the tuning of an orchestra. They… they pleaded, calling to me, a chorus of lost voices. It was terrifying, John. It came from nowhere, and everywhere. I felt it wash over me like some oppressive tidal wave, infinitely tall and all-consuming, closing me off from the real world. To feeling, to touch… They’re lost, John. They’re together, but… alone.
JOHN:We need to get out of here.
ARTHUR(overlapping):I did pick out some words.
JOHN:Well, what did they say?
ARTHUR:I heard one say that they were in Addison when it was… ‘born’. I, I thought I heard one say my name.
JOHN(surprised):It knew you?
ARTHUR:And I heard one say… that in order to stop it, we needed to see it. If we can see it, we can kill it.
ARTHUR:It is, after all, part human, and supposedly, just as frail. (Suspenseful music starts to play. He grunts in exertion.)Just… need to see it.
ARTHUR:I-I don’t know. W-when you - cut that thing out of my head, did you…?
JOHN:I didn’t see or feel anything. I wasn’t even sure it would work. I just cut. I had no other thoughts.
ARTHUR:Of course. (He mumbles.)We didn’t see anything on those who were around the fire, so it would stand to reason…
JOHN:But it’s frail.
ARTHUR(self-deprecating):As frail as me!
JOHN(sincere):You’re anything but frail, my friend.
ARTHUR:Oh? (A friendly, affectionate piano tune begins to play.)
JOHN(mildly admonishing):Arthur. You came back from the brink. Not for the first time, either. (Arthur chuckles again.)You’re unstoppable.
ARTHUR(warmly dismissive):No! No, no, no, no. That was all you, John.
ARTHUR:Yes! You pulled me in from the boat, back in Harper’s Hill. You pulled me back here. Fuck, you stitched me back up! You… (Audible smile.)I can’t believe it. You saved me. More each day, it seems. (Sincere.)Thank you.
JOHN:Arthur, you’ve lost a lot of blood. Just… take it easy.
ARTHUR(weary):Yes, yes. Well. I know. I need to keep my head about me. So… obsidian, we’ll need more, a bigger piece. To kill this thing. We only have this small piece.
JOHN:But seeing it first…
ARTHUR:Yes, seeing it. It’s not the first time we’ve run into trouble with…
ARTHUR(distracted):Seeing… things. (He starts to rummage through the bag.)
JOHN:Yes, what are you doing? What are you looking for?
ARTHUR:Th – the mask?
JOHN:The ma – (In realization.)Themask!
ARTHUR:It’s not exactly what we’re looking for, but –
ARTHUR:It’s a shot in the dark! (He puts the mask on. His voice is considerably more echoed.)Well?
JOHN:Nothing seems different.
ARTHUR:I guess we won’t know until we actually see the creature, though. Right? (He starts to walk.)John?
JOHN:What is that?
ARTHUR:What is what?
JOHN(a little intimidated):O-oh.
JOHN:There’s a small light coming from behind us.
(Arthur takes off the mask.)
ARTHUR:Can you still see it?
JOHN:No, only through the mask.
ARTHUR:Okay. (He puts the mask back on and begins to walk.)
JOHN:A little closer.
ARTHUR:This is where we were?
JOHN:More or less. Here! (In awe.)Oh. (An investigative piano tune plays.)There’s a twisted knot of gray light, i-in thin strands, like a braid. Laying in a pool of blood on the floor.
(Soft noises play from the background, almost like a quiet hot spring.)
JOHN:It’s severed. It looks almost… ethereal. Wisps of white smoke lick from it, as if it’s a flame.
ARTHUR:What on Earth? It’s not there without the mask? (He takes the mask off.)
(He puts the mask back on.)
ARTHUR:Can you touch it?
ARTHUR:Can you cut it, with the obsidian? (He rummages through the bag. A small ‘shtick’of a cut.)
JOHN:Yes. I must’ve severed this piece while trying to cut it out.
ARTHUR:Strange! Ethereal tendril.
JOHN:Like small pieces of rubber strands, but wispy and… malleable!
ARTHUR:Can you move it with the obsidian?
ARTHUR:Put it in the bag!
ARTHUR:I don’t know! This is… otherworldly, it may come in handy.
JOHN:Alright. (John grunts and puts it in the bag.)
ARTHUR:So presumably, if the mask reveals the way the creature attached itself to me, and the others…
JOHN:Then it should reveal the creature itself.
JOHN:And if we can see it…
ARTHUR(determined):We can kill it.
JOHN:You don’t need to wear it now. (Arthur takes it off.)The obsidian is somewhere around here.
ARTHUR(sigh):We need to find a large piece, and the way out. Who knows how long the flute will keep it away.
JOHN:We’ll keep one hand on the wall. Let’s go. (Arthur grunts and starts to move. Hesitant.)I… thought I might’ve lost you. For a second, there.
ARTHUR:I thought the same.
JOHN:I’m glad that wasn’t the case.
ARTHUR:I wondered, for a moment… what may happen.
JOHN:What do you mean?
ARTHUR:Whether you’d end up in the Dark World, whether I would as well…
ARTHUR:No, no, but itcouldhave. Happened. That way.
JOHN(quickly):It won’t happen.
ARTHUR:But if it did. If it does. Maybe we can… agree to meet up, someplace.
(A solemn piano tune begins to play.)
JOHN:What do you mean?
ARTHUR:You know. Like… (Whimsically.)The third destroyed city on the left, just past the mound of dead horses, or… (He makes himself laugh.)Or, whatever, I-I don’t know what it’s like there, I. I just… if there’s a way to find you, in the Dark World. I’d like to know.
JOHN(not going along with this):Sure.
ARTHUR:You spent time there. You think of where we can meet up.
JOHN:Sure, Arthur. (Sudden.)Here! The stone.
JOHN:I think so.
ARTHUR:Okay. How can we… get a piece - with, maybe..?
JOHN:It’s already chipped away. There are large chunks at our feet. (Arthur grunts and picks one up.)Okay!
ARTHUR:We’ve a much larger, and… ah, yeah, sharper weapon now. One I feel capable with.
JOHN:You still have barely any strength.
ARTHUR(dismissive):Yeah. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. There must be a way out, come on. (He starts to walk again.)
JOHN:The walls are slick with something wet. I think we may have left its lair, or at least where it was guarding the obsidian.
ARTHUR:I’ll put this back on. (He puts the mask on.)Okay, so! Plan?
JOHN:Well, the thing needs to be drawn to us. (Investigative music plays.)The flute pushed it away.
ARTHUR:Do we know what would draw it?
JOHN:Helping the others would! Severing their ties may draw it to us. We can return to the fire and cut their connection to the beast.
ARTHUR:True, but when it returns, they’d also be targets themselves. (He sighs.)The other option is… well, now that we can see it, the tendrils will lead us straight to it. We could follow them.
JOHN:Return to the others by the fire, but don’t help them?
ARTHUR:Not yet! We’ll just follow the ethereal connections back to the creature, and kill it. And in the end, we really need any advantage we can get.
JOHN:The creature can control these people.
ARTHUR:Yes, at least to some degree.
JOHN:Enough to make them cut off their own heads.
ARTHUR(not following):Right. Yeah. And?
JOHN:What’s going to happen to them if we do attack the thing? If we haven’t severed the tendrils, I mean?
ARTHUR:I don’t, I don’t know.
JOHN:It could kill them.
ARTHUR:Or worse. It could… turn them on us.
JOHN:Have them attack us?
ARTHUR:Yes. Then we’d not only be against it, but them as well.
ARTHUR:Right, yes, of course. Why didn’t I… think of that? (He takes off the mask.)I’m wearing this prematurely. So – the minute we attack it, whether we have the drop on it or otherwise, it will just use those it’s still attached to, in whatever way suits it best! It… it would make them all start cutting off their own heads, forcing us to draw back and help them. Or… much worse.
ARTHUR:So we need to sever the tendrils first! Of course! I –
JOHN:Which means we’ll be bringing the fight, as it were, to us.
ARTHUR:But with the mask, we should be able to see it!
ARTHUR(sighing):Well. It’s not a straight path there, so.
JOHN:No. We’ll need to find our way back.
ARTHUR:Might as well start. (He throws the bag over his shoulder and starts walking.)So what do you remember of that room, with the bonfire?
(A quick-paced tune begins to play. Arthur continues to walk.)
JOHN:Well. It was the same room with the wooden stairs leading up, the ones that returned us to the underhalls in the mountain. The stonework tunnels that seemed to be older than the estate.
ARTHUR:Right. And before that, there was a fire and a large passageway. Big enough for the creature to come and go as it pleased. That was how it entered, right?
ARTHUR:We need to be mindful of what we say around them, as we cut them loose.
ARTHUR(confused):I don’t know, I… when I was connected to them, brief as it was, I could hear all their thoughts.
JOHN:Yes, you mentioned.
ARTHUR:But I wonder… if I couldn’t hear more as well? The mines. Maybe even where they were.
JOHN:You think the creature uses their senses like its own?
ARTHUR:I think the connection goes beyond just food, it felt… like it tapped into my… (Struggling for words.)Spirit. I don’t know. I can’t describe it, exactly, but I could sense everything it sensed. As well as what everyone else could. I-I swear I felt the warmth of the fire, for just a moment.
JOHN:So anything we say or do around them…?
ARTHUR:It can pick up on, yes. I think that’s what gave us away in the first place, really.
JOHN:You think it knew we were coming?
ARTHUR:Well, we ignored something moving outside the small building while we talked to our… friend. It could’ve been one of the people under its control, or the creature itself. I don’t know.
JOHN:So it knew we were there, and it waited for the right moment.
ARTHUR(defensive):Look, I’m making a fair number of assumptions here, I get that. (Cautious.)But we have very few precious moments between severing the tendrils and the creature appearing, ready to attack. We wanted to make sure nothing is…saidbefore I start cutting. I know the talking lay on me, but I just need you to know why I may fall silent.
JOHN:Makes sense, and I appreciate the heads-up. (Arthur comes to a stop.)The cavern wall is glowing, as it did before. The gravel-covered stone slants upward slightly, and the wooden beams of the mine are just ahead. I think we’re close to the main junction area I’d seen.
ARTHUR:Closer to them, then?
JOHN:No idea. But it’s promising.
ARTHUR:And we’re in no rush. (He walks. Something squishes, and he winces.)
JOHN(concerned):Did I cut too deeply?
ARTHUR:Into my head? No, no. It must’ve rooted itself right in, at the back of my skull. Thank you.
JOHN(rebuffing):Don’t thank me. I just took a gamble. You would’ve been able to sever it yourself, I’m sure.
ARTHUR:The tendril from my head? (He scoffs.)Unlikely. I felt like I was underwater.
JOHN:Well, we know for a fact that one can carve it out. Our friend did. He managed to not only gather the obsidian to do so, but to also cut the thing loose.
ARTHUR(in realization):Oh. Oh, you’re right.
JOHN:Surely you must’ve felt in control of something.
ARTHUR:I suppose the shock, the feeling of it… like, like plunging into water. Yes, it definitely startled me into feeling separate from myself, but.
ARTHUR:But… yes. Given the chance, I suppose. I could’ve cut it loose. Again.
JOHN:Again? Let’s not have to deal with that again.
ARTHUR(jaded):Don’t rule it out. (He rummages with the bag.)
JOHN:That’s what the flute is for, if it gets too close.
ARTHUR:I’ve been thinking about that. I don’t think this flute is to command it, or just to push it away.
ARTHUR(theorizing):No, no. I think the flute hurts it.
ARTHUR:Yes. I don’t think this is a creature that can be controlled, any more than the creature in the Dreamlands beneath the mountain. This is a monster of intellect, and one that acts on its own desires. (He struggles for words again.)But something about this flute, I-I can almostfeelit. It has a… presence, about it. Otherworldly.
JOHN:It certainly looks so.
ARTHUR:I think it’s a gift, from whatever… creature Larson made his unholy pact with. Plus, it’s very much like Larson to put a cattle prod to his creature. (He rummages through the bag.)
JOHN:Don’t you mean child?
ARTHUR(scoffing):I can’t fathom what that means. Not yet.
JOHN(thoughtful):Hm. (Quicker.)Let’s head this way. It slopes up a bit. I think it may even open up.
ARTHUR:Okay. (He starts to move again, quite out of breath.)
JOHN:Regardless, if that’s true, do you think we can use the flute to hurt it in any meaningful way?
ARTHUR:Not unless I stick it right in the thing’s ear, and even then, it would have to stay there long enough to-to reallyhurt,you know.
JOHN:I don’t think that’s likely to happen.
ARTHUR(gasping for air):No. It’s not going to be easy.
JOHN(determined):We’re prepared this time. We’re seeking it out. We can see it, we can kill it, and we have the means to drive it away, or hurt it, if need be. No matter what happens, we won’t be caught the way we were before.
ARTHUR:You mean just a few hundred feet back there? (He chuckles.)
JOHN:That was different. We couldn’t see the thing, and… and you came back.
ARTHUR:You pulled me back. You are unstoppable.
ARTHUR(through a smile):No, you are unbreakable.
JOHN(more clipped):Arthur, no.
ARTHUR:Yes. (He starts to cough into his arm.)
JOHN:Arthur, rest for a moment. Catch your breath. You lost a lot of blood back there.
ARTHUR:Right. (He sits with a grunt.)Yes. (Thoughtful.)You know… (He chuckles. A friendly, somber tune begins to play.)As far back as mankind has reached, through mythology, and history… I believe starting with the pharaohs, probably. Titles have been given to those who earned them… and to some who haven’t, but. People like… Alexander the Great, William the Conqueror.
JOHN(really):A history lesson?
ARTHUR(kindly):Shut up. (He chuckles.)I think you deserve a title.
JOHN:A… a what?
ARTHUR(affectionate):A title! John… (Whimsical.)The Unstoppable, John the, uh. John the Unbreakable.
JOHN(don’t do this):Arthur… no.
ARTHUR:John the Undefeated.
ARTHUR(quick):Well, it’s not up to you!
JOHN:Please, I –
ARTHUR:Titles aren’t asked for, they’re given. After being earned, the way you have. (John sighs.)John the Undefeated. (Affectionate.)I like the sound of that, don’t you?
ARTHUR(cheerful):Well, go spit, then! (Arthur grunts as he stands. He chuckles.) You need to learn how to take a compliment, you sourpuss.
JOHN(stammering):W-what are we going to do with the severed people? W-will you quickly tell them to run, or?
ARTHUR:Great question! What do you think?
JOHN:I don’t know, but… I think it’s almost time to decide.
ARTHUR:What do you mean?
JOHN:I see firelight ahead.
(A suspenseful stinger.)
ARTHUR:Okay. Th-there was a place before, that we watched them from. A bit of cover.
JOHN:To the right wall.
JOHN:Follow it around the corner.
ARTHUR:Okay. Are they still all there? More or less?
JOHN:I think so. Yes.
ARTHUR:Okay. (Gently determined.)Once we start… we can’t stop. You realize that?
ARTHUR:We’re going to don the mask, and then… I’m going to cut them all free. Each and every one, moving around the circle. We’ll have to be quick. Once they’re all free, I’m hoping we’ve had enough time to do so before it arrives, but once it’s done… it’ll come down to luck and a few well-placed… stabs.
JOHN:You’re confident we can just stab the creature with obsidian?
ARTHUR:I remember them saying that it can be killed, like anything else. I think it’s powerful, in its offense. But no stronger than myself.
JOHN(reassuring):Don’t sell yourself short.
ARTHUR:All I mean to say is that a stab through its heart should do it.
JOHN:And if anything goes wrong, you blow the flute, right? Drive it away?
ARTHUR:Right… right. But the priority is getting them all cut loose of the creature.
JOHN(frustrated):That’s not the priority, Arthur. Promise me. If things go south, if you find yourself in a corner, you’ll blow the flute. You’ve lost too much blood to take any risks.
JOHN:Okay. So. Are you going to tell them to run, or…?
JOHN:Well, you could ask them to help.
JOHN:I mean. They may not have obsidian, but. If all of them work together, with us, then taking down the creature should be easier, no? We could explain it to them.
ARTHUR:That would take extra time.
JOHN:Yes. But extra hands could make all the difference. And you’re already weak from blood loss.
(The breathing of the people around the campfire is audible.)
ARTHUR:Right. You’re right. Okay.
ARTHUR:We’ll tell them what the plan is. Let them know to… escape. We’ll need all the help we can get.
JOHN:And blow the flute if the creature arrives, if it corners us.
JOHN(forcefully):And blow the flute if it gets too close.Arthur!
ARTHUR:We can save them.
JOHN:Arthur, you promised!
ARTHUR:We can do this.
JOHN:Don’t trade your life for theirs, Arthur! (Arthur grunts and keeps moving on.)Arthur! (Frustrated.)For fuck’s sake,Arthur.Just blow the flute if it comes for you. (He sighs. Calmer, but more determined.)You’re smarter than this, I know you are. And I know you can hear me. (Arthur keeps walking.) You’re almost there. (The same tendril noises as before. Arthur is breaking through the mask. In horror.)Jesus. I see… I see the tendrils, running from the backs of their heads. I see the growing wisps of thin, hair-like strands. They move softly, as if underwater. They’re kneeling, like before. Like they had. There’s someone to your – left. On the ground. There! Place your hand on their shoulder. Slowly. (Arthur does so. Suspenseful music starts to rise.)They’ve turned to you. The black of their eyes… full, and fearful in the firelight. The flames reflecting… shining like embers, dancing nervously… they look… helpless. Put the obsidian to the back of their neck, Arthur. Cut it.
(Arthur does so. A quick, sharp movement. The person gasps, belabored.)
JOHN:They’ve fallen forward! On all fours! The others have noticed immediately.
ARTHUR:Quickly! Get up! You can –
JOHN:Arthur, they’re looking – (ARTHUR:Get up!) They’re standing up slowly. (ARTHUR:Please! Come on!) Oh. Arthur! The dark of their eyes, it’s gone! (A positive, solemn tune plays.)They’re no longer pitch-black. The whites of this person’s eyes have returned.
ARTHUR(determined):Listen to me! My name is Arthur Lester. I’m here to help you. This, this creature, it can’t be seen but through this mask. The tendrils that controlled you, thereasonthe voice inside your head has corrupted you, is in the base of your neck. I cut it out. It must be cut out of everyone, with this. All of you must be freed. Do you understand?
JOHN:Arthur, they’re look at you with a frantic fear, studying your face as if –
ARTHUR(more desperate):Do you understand! I need your help –
(A monster’s call, from deep within the mines. The suspenseful chase music plays.)
ARTHUR:Fuck! Where is –?
ARTHUR:Is it, is it –
ARTHUR(gasping, barely audible):What? What? What?
JOHN:It’s at the mouth of the cave. It’s hideous, Arthur. Abhorrent. (The monster moves forward, occasionally roaring. It’s very squishy.) It’s massive, with many man-like limbs sprawling out from its sides, it’s… it has dripping, salivating mouths protruding from its gibbous abdomen! Sacs of liquid-filled growths that squirm with each move of the creature… (ARTHUR(terrified): Oh my god, oh my god!) Arthur! Blow the flute! (Demanding.)Blow the flute!
ARTHUR(to the victims):Do you understand what I’m saying!?
JOHN:Arthur, turn back to it! It’s coming!
JOHN:They’re nodding yes!
ARTHUR:Good! Then take this!
ARTHUR:Take this obsidian! Cut them all free!
JOHN(shocked beyond belief):No!
ARTHUR:Go! (He starts to sprint.)
JOHN:Arthur, what are you doing? Blow the flute!
ARTHUR:Not yet! Where are the stairs?
JOHN:Your left! Run! It’s coming!
ARTHUR:The barrel! The one we needed to climb!
JOHN:A few feet. Here! (Demanding.)It’s behind us, Arthur, what are you doing!? Arthur, the wooden walkway stretches and the stairs head up, but this thing is going to des –
ARTHUR:Where is it?
JOHN:It’s climbing up behind you, Arthur! (In horror.)Its limbs are grabbing the wooden beams like they’re nothing! It’s… it’s monstrous beyond description, Arthur, the wet, wisp-like tendrils arehangingfrom it, it’s dripping –
ARTHUR:Are they cutting?
ARTHUR:The people! Are they cutting?
JOHN:Yes! Some are free. (Demanding.)Blow the flute!
JOHN:Arthur, for fuck’s sake! (The creature continues, amidst the sound of wood splintering.)It’s tearing out the wooden walkway, coming towards us. (Furious.)Arthur, blow the fucking flute.
JOHN:Then fucking run! It’s five flights up to the exit!
ARTHUR:The stairs are…?
(More wooden splintering, amidst the sounds of the creature’s roars. Arthur is breathing hard behind the mask.)
JOHN:Left! It’s destroying the stairs behind us, but climbing with miraculous speed – Arthur, hold on!
(Something large collapses behind them. Both John and Arthur groan in pain.)
ARTHUR(thin voice):Jesusfuck –
JOHN:It’s going to bring this all down! It’s going to kill us! Drive it away, Arthur!
ARTHUR:We have to kill this thing! We have one shot!
JOHN:The fall? It won’t kill it, Arthur! And you gave away the fucking knife, you… (Something large crashes again. John shouts.) Hold on! Climb! Climb! You’re three flights up, Arthur. You’re not going to make it if you keep stopping!
ARTHUR:Are they free yet?
JOHN:I don’t know!
ARTHUR(demanding):Look, god damn it!
JOHN:Almost! Now use the flute,please!
JOHN:It’s stretching its limbs out… (The wooden boards creak.) it’s reaching up a flight. (Something smashes. Despondent.)It’s toying with us, Arthur. It can lift itself up entire flights, it’s… it’s not going to let us leave. Arthur. This was… we can’t make it to the top.
ARTHUR:We don’t have to.
ARTHUR:John. Do you trust me?
JOHN:What!? It’s here! (Another crash. More suspenseful string music.)Blow the flute!
ARTHUR:Are they free?
JOHN:Yes! Yes, Arthur! I can see them all, they’re looking up! They’re free, they’re all free, now blow the fucking flute!
ARTHUR:Do you trust me?
JOHN:Of course, Arthur!
ARTHUR:Then trust me.
JOHN:Arthur, the mask – what are you doing!?
(The monster approaches. Suddenly, all music and sound cut out.)
ARTHUR:I see you!
(The monster lunges forward. A high-pitched ringing is audible. Something squishes. The monster speaks in a low, growling voice amidst bubbles, like they’re underwater. A heartbeat pulse.)
MONSTER:What are you?
ARTHUR(like he’s having trouble breathing):Just a man.
MONSTER:A man? Father would not let me be ‘just a man’.
ARTHUR:Did you want to be?
(A pause. A somber melody starts to play.)
ARTHUR:What was it you wanted to be, then?
MONSTER:I was alone.
MONSTER:You took them away.
ARTHUR:They were not yours to take.
MONSTER:Then how did I take them?
ARTHUR:Because you’re a monster.
MONSTER:We are a monster. (Arthur groans, as if in pain.)You are mine, now. We will find more. We are together. We are one.
ARTHUR:No. We’re not.
ARTHUR:No. I just wanted to make sure you would hear this, as loud and as clear as possible. You… and you alone.
JOHN:(distant, muffled.) Arthur, blow it! (A single shrill note plays as the creature screams in pain, exploding wetly. John's voice becomes clearer)Arthur,Jesus fucking Christ!Arthur! I can’t see it! I can hear it! You killed it, Arthur!
ARTHUR(in disgust):I can feel it, all over me!
ARTHUR(in relief):It’s dead! It’s dead! It’s dead… I knew, I knew if it heard from people that it was attached to, that the loudest I could make the flute was when it was inside me, I knew!
JOHN:How did you know you could still control yourself? Last time –
ARTHUR:Last time, I didn’t believe. (Something continually squishes in the background.)Last time… I didn’t have you, to…
ARTHUR(in a rush):I’m sorry, I knew if I told you, that it would hear from those around the fire, and I only thought of it –
JOHN:It’s okay, it’s okay! I’m sorry I didn’t trust you. I should’ve trusted you. (The wood creaks.)
ARTHUR:A-are they… ?
JOHN:They’re fine, Arthur! They’re fine. (Arthur starts to chuckle.)They’re filing out, moving about like-like people again. You saved them.
ARTHUR:I had to wait ‘till they were severed, because if I blew the flute, and they were still part of –
JOHN:I know, I know. I understand. It’s done, Arthur. You’ve killed it. (Arthur groans in relief.)The way down is destroyed.
ARTHUR:Yeah. Yeah. We’ll go up, we’ll return to the underhalls.
ARTHUR:And exit that way, through the estate. This mask has come in handy many times. (He rummages with his bag, groaning)
JOHN:Just before you, Arthur. There’s the door to the halls, under the estate.
ARTHUR:Did we leave this unlocked? (He steps forward and pushes the door open. Both Arthur and John start to laugh. In relief.)Oh! Thank god!
JOHN:Arthur. We did it. We can leave, Arthur. We can get in the car anddrive.
ARTHUR:No. First, I’m going to have a fucking proper meal. (They both laugh again. Warmly.)Oh.
JOHN(affectionate):Yes, Arthur. What did you want to start with, first? The cheese? Or the bread?
JOHN(also laughing):I’m glad.
ARTHUR:You and me both. (In giddy disbelief.)Fuck! John. I can’t believe it.
ARTHUR:All of this! From waking up on the floor of the cabin, to - to flipping the coin, to Kayne offering me the deal.
ARTHUR:The town, Addison,… I wonder if it’ll be okay. I wonder if we’ve… helped.
JOHN:I think so. At the very least, the creature is stopped, and Larson…
ARTHUR:Well, the creature is one thing, but I mean, unless Larson is stopped, then…
JOHN:Yes. Left here, Arthur.
ARTHUR:O-okay. Anyway, yes! To getting you back, and, well - losing Yellow.
ARTHUR:Yes, well. (He clears his throat.)I guess… I never really l… why did you come back, John?
JOHN:What do you mean?
ARTHUR:I woke up with Yellow inside my head, after the deal with Kayne. He wasn’t you. He remembered nothing. He was the King, through and through, and… well, I failed in trying to make him like you.
JOHN:I suppose so.
ARTHUR:But - but Faroe’s song! It brought you back.
JOHN:I don’t know. Perhaps I was… deep inside. And needed to be awakened.
JOHN(verbally shrugging):I don’t know, Arthur. I don’t have any answers for you.
ARTHUR:No, I know. You don’t remember anything.
ARTHUR:But – what happened to Yellow?
JOHN:Well, what do you mean?
ARTHUR:Well, if you were inside me, deep down… and awoken by music, being played – familiar music. Is there any chance that Yellow is in there, too? Equally waiting for a moment to resurface?
JOHN(a little frustrated with himself):I don’t… I don’t know, Arthur.
ARTHUR:No, of course. You do feel… alone in there, though, right?
JOHN:Yes. Here are the stairs leading up to the kitchen.
ARTHUR:Oh! Thank you. (Arthur starts to climb them, a little breathless.)I’m just nervous, is all. There’s so much of this world I don’t understand, so many secrets, so many truths.
JOHN:This place alone. This… mountain.
ARTHUR:Yes! The Black Stone, whatever that is. Larson’s estate, built on ruins older than this country. What does it all mean?
JOHN:It means that there’s more. There’s a bigger picture, we’re yet to see. The rope is just –
JOHN:There. (Arthur grunts and pulls open the hatch. A wind blows outside.)
ARTHUR:Oh, Jesus. This almost feels like home.
JOHN:I can imagine.
ARTHUR(giddy):Home, John! Home!
ARTHUR:We get to go home!
JOHN:Are you worried about… Parker?
ARTHUR:Yes. Look, I don’t know what will come of that. B-but we can’t run forever.
ARTHUR(quickly):Well, I don’t want to. Maybe we need to turn ourselves in, set things right.
JOHN(really?):Jail is your answer.
ARTHUR:I don’t know. It’s… what we deserve.
JOHN:The kitchen, Arthur.
ARTHUR:Right. (He opens a door and steps inside.)Where is the, uh –
JOHN:In the center of the island.
ARTHUR(enraptured, sliding a plate over):Oh. God. It smells good.
JOHN:I’m not trying to be difficult, I –
ARTHUR:I know, I know. Look, we have a long drive home. Time to think.
JOHN:About lots. Amanda, for one.
ARTHUR:Well, the King killed Amanda. That was our fault. Anna Stanczyk is still out there as well, with answers and maybe a way to separate us again.
JOHN:My own body.
ARTHUR:Your own body. (Something drops on the plate.)Look, I’m excited to eat this, but I realize we don’t know when Larson is due home, or - or what. We should leave before our chance is gone.
ARTHUR(eager):But I am bringing this and eating it in the car. (He chuckles.)Is there a handkerchief, or –?
JOHN:Check the drawers. (Arthur opens a drawer and rummages.)No. (Arthur tries another drawer.)Here!
ARTHUR:Brilliant. (He sighs and starts to tie the fabric.)
JOHN:You’re good at that.
ARTHUR:Well, it’s not the first time I’ve made a bindle.
JOHN:Alright. Door’s behind us.
ARTHUR:Alright. (Arthur walks through the door, shutting it behind him. A clock ticks in the background.)
JOHN:The front door is to our right, across the foyer. Why have you stopped?
ARTHUR(somber):Uncle is still up there.
ARTHUR:Bleeding through the carpet.
ARTHUR:I know. I just. (A long pause.)Do you think… I’m a good person?
(Faroe’s Lullaby starts to play.)
ARTHUR:Do you think I’m… good?
JOHN(self-evident):Of course, Arthur.
ARTHUR(quiet):I’ve done a lot of bad, John.
JOHN:You’re a good person, Arthur. You try. You always strive to be better. You just saved a group from a monstrous creature. (Insistent.)You’re a good person! Why are you asking?
ARTHUR(thoughtful):I feel like… something is… coming. A reckoning.
ARTHUR:Yes. A reckoning.
JOHN:There’s nothing coming for you, Arthur. For either of us. Let’s go.
(Arthur walks and steps outside. He immediately sighs in relief. The wind whips around him.)
ARTHUR:Ah! The air feels so… new! What time of day is it?
JOHN:Afternoon, I think. The sky is filled with clouds.
ARTHUR(eager):Describe it. (He steps forward.)Describe it to me. Describe everything to me. Please.
JOHN:The house sits on a cliff, overlooking the town below. (Faroe’s Song starts to play.)We’re high above the treetops. The winding road down curves in a smooth figure eight pattern as it descends.The valley’s bright and beautiful. The air is still. The clouds move past slowly.
(Arthur sniffs and sobs quietly.)
ARTHUR:Let us leave. (They approach a car. The engine is started, and they shut the door behind them. They began to drive down the path, with the engine puttering away.)John?
JOHN(intent):Right. Addison passes by. Small buildings between the trees… the snow is melting away, already, from the warm day. The buildings here look hollow. Empty pieces, as if reflecting the weather. Just the bones remain. We’re passing a building. The Red Right Hand. (Arthur sniffs and chuckles once.)And the road, it winds between the trees that hug it closely, as if this road were a path carved between a mountain.
(A long pause. The engine putters away.)
JOHN:The town is behind us now. Addison is behind us.
ARTHUR:And all that happened here.
JOHN:The road, it’s paved up ahead. I think we’re coming to a main road of sorts.
ARTHUR:Slow down. (They come to a stop. Arthur pops the glovebox.)We need a… map.
JOHN:There’s one in here. (They retrieve the map and unfold it.)
JOHN:If we head left here, we head straight on to Boston. (The map crinkles.)
ARTHUR:And home. Well, then. Let’s –
ARTHUR:But? (The engine stops entirely.)John?
JOHN:If we head right… we’ll be in New York. It’s the same distance, roughly.
JOHN:Yes, remember? The Order of the Fallen Star? That’s where Matthew said the organization was.
ARTHUR:Right, but… (Eager.)John,home!
JOHN:Arthur, we… you said it yourself. You felt like something was chasing us.
ARTHUR:I said reckoning.
JOHN:Right! Well! Larson is still behind all of this, right? This Order is a possible… problem. Not just for us, either. Imagine what they could do to others.
JOHN:Arthur, Larson… created a creature for power and let it devour a town. He’s not going to stop just because we killed his child, and - and whatever Uncle was to him. If anything, he’ll be more angry than ever. More motivated to cause harm to the world.
ARTHUR:And you thinkweneed to stop him?
ARTHUR:I don’t know, I - I - I…
JOHN:Arthur, I… Arkham is home, yes, but. But it’ll be there for us, whenever we return. Larson is in New York, or at least - this Order is. And we could… wecanstop him. (Earnest.)We can put an end to whatever he’s planning.
ARTHUR(hesitant):I-I don’t know, I... so you want to stop him? You want to make this our responsibility?
JOHN:Isn’t it already?
ARTHUR:I-I don’t know, John. (Enthusiastic.)We’re free! We can go home. Or we can find Anna, we can seek out our own path. Larson is a monster, yes, but…
JOHN:(quickly) Do you trust me?
(A few sad piano notes start to play.)
JOHN:Do you… trust me?
(The keys jingle. Pause.)
ARTHUR:I trust you, John.
(The engine starts, and they drive away.)
(The sounds of the car fade, replaced by the wind. The wind eventually quiets and is replaced by a ticking clock. Someone steps through the room, squishing through wet puddles.)
LARSON(thickly):Uncle. My boy.
(A sad, determined piano piece starts to play. Larson recites with quiet anger, interspersed with shaky breath. The clock continues in the background.)
I was angry with my friend.
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears:
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night.
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine.
And into my garden stole,
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see;
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.
(Ominous, suspenseful strings.)
YELLOW(guarded):What was that?
YELLOW:You wrote it?
YELLOW:What is it about?
LARSON:Hatred. Anger. And revenge.
YELLOW:Well, then. Let us… Make. Him. (Slight vocal distortion.) Suffer.