A thick fog, a forgotten island, an unseen evil...
Malevolent follows Arkham Investigator Arthur Lester as he unravels the mysterious circumstances that have befallen him.
This seventh part sees Arthur arrive on an unknown island in search for a truth to the curse that has befallen him. Mysterious origins and ancient ghost stories are only just the start on this fog-ridden place... If you are enjoying this Podcast, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter to receive all Chapters as they are completed as well as the choices that you, the listener, get to make. Find out more here: https://www.patreon.com/TheINVICTUSStream
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PART SEVEN - THE ISLAND
Original transcript by Eggsy39 and Jack! Reviewed by JD.
(BEGIN Part 7.)
ARTHUR (panting, rowing): Nothing?
ARTHUR: God, I’ve been rowing for hours, it seems.
JOHN: I believe so.
ARTHUR: Are we even going in the right direction?
JOHN: There is literally no way of knowing. The fog still has yet to let up. The only difference is the sun is almost set.
ARTHUR: What do you mean? We could be trapped out here? At night?
JOHN: Is there a difference to you?
ARTHUR: No, I suppose not. (Occasionally, the oars crack against the side of the boat.) God, my arms.
JOHN (joking): Think of this as rehabilitation. After all, you were in a coma for over a month.
ARTHUR: I think that’s why this is so difficult. (He grunts.)
JOHN (reverently): And… set.
ARTHUR: The sun?
JOHN: Yes. It’s an eerie feeling to watch the last of the day's light disappear through fog.
JOHN: Like… watching a life disappear. The fading fire behind someone’s eyes slowly dimming.
ARTHUR: Hm. You sound practiced in that experience.
JOHN: Maybe. We still don’t know what I have seen, or felt, or heard.
ARTHUR: Or done?
JOHN: Yes. It brings me solace.
ARTHUR: Not knowing?
JOHN: No, watching the sun die.
ARTHUR: How’s it look now?
JOHN: Now we are nearing complete black on a fog covered lake. This may have been a bad idea, Arthur.
ARTHUR: We needed to –
JOHN: A light.
JOHN (awed): Everywhere.
JOHN: There! There’s a brilliant light coming from ahead… in waves.
JOHN: As if passing…
ARTHUR: Oh, it’s a lighthouse!
ARTHUR: I wonder if it’s on the island.
JOHN: Her note didn’t say anything about what the island had on it.
ARTHUR (laughing): But we have our beacon to land, at the very least. You spoke too soon.
JOHN: I suppose I did.
ARTHUR (grunting): Is there a dock or...?
JOHN: It’s difficult to tell, the fog is so thick. We may be upon it before we can even see.
ARTHUR: Wow, alright.
JOHN: I think… yes. Turn a bit to your left. There’s an old boathouse.
ARTHUR: A boathouse?
JOHN: Yes. It’s decrepit and rotten beyond belief. We’ll need to duck to pass into it, as the entryway has all but fallen apart, but it will let us tie up.
ARTHUR: Alright, tell me when to – (He knocks his head against something wooden.) Ow, fuck!
ARTHUR (groaning): Alright, I think we’ve made it.
JOHN: Unless we’ve just rowed across the lake.
ARTHUR (tying up the boat): Always the pessimist.
JOHN: I prefer ‘realist’.
ARTHUR (smug): As all pessimists do.
JOHN: The floor here looks shaky at best. Be careful.
ARTHUR (grunting): Right. Is there a way out?
JOHN: Straight to the back. The doorway is nearly caved completely, but… (Arthur starts to walk.)
ARTHUR: So… what are we looking at?
JOHN: Well, the fog obscures all but the passing light of the lighthouse, which seems to be up above us, somewhere on the land. To your right is shoreline.
ARTHUR: And how does it look?
JOHN: Cold. (Ominous music starts to play.) Unpleasant. Nets are mixed equally with the seaweed that seems to cling to the shore. The sand fades quickly into the black water. The light is almost gone. We’ll need some way to see in the dark soon.
ARTHUR: Right, well, since the lighthouse is working, there is someone there, which means at the very least we can confirm if we’ve made it to the island. Though… I believe this is it.
JOHN: Gut feeling?
ARTHUR: More than that.
JOHN: More? How so?
ARTHUR: There is… something here. (He continues to walk.) Something meaningful.
JOHN: You’ve become awfully certain in these last few hours.
ARTHUR: This is the culmination of our work. We’ve finally arrived where Amanda has wanted us to.
JOHN: You talk as if she intended to die.
ARTHUR: No, I just mean… this feels like the right direction. Forward.
JOHN: Down feels more apt, but I follow your instinct.
ARTHUR: Speaking of, can you see where the path leads?
JOHN: Yes, the wooden floor stops quickly. There is an old cobblestone path that leads up the side of this hill, but it’s a sharp climb.
ARTHUR: Alright. (He grunts and slides somewhat down the dirt.) You weren’t kidding! There are moments here that feel like I’m climbing up a ladder, nearly.
(Something sniffs at a distance.)
ARTHUR: What was that?
JOHN: I don’t know.
ARTHUR: The wall, uh, the rocks –
JOHN: Covered in moss.
ARTHUR: They feel... warm.
JOHN: I feel it too, in your other hand.
ARTHUR: It feels almost… like it’s moving.
ARTHUR: The wall, here.
JOHN: We’re losing all light.
ARTHUR: Right, right. (He grunts and continues to climb.) There! I can feel the top.
JOHN: Yes. (Arthur continues, with exertion, to climb. An ominous rumble.) Jesus!
JOHN: Just… a graveyard.
ARTHUR: A graveyard? On an island?
ARTHUR: Maybe you’re right, maybe this isn’t –
JOHN: No. It is.
ARTHUR: This is the island?
JOHN: Yes. The fog, it… it’s still here, but it clings to the ground only, right through to the other side of the island. I can see everything.
ARTHUR: What is there?
JOHN: This island is fairly large. We’re standing next to a massive, uneven graveyard.
ARTHUR: Freshly used?
JOHN: Not in centuries, by the look of it. It’s surrounded by a half-sunken, wrought-iron gate. It’s doing nothing to keep the elements out. Beyond it there is a copse of trees, dozens. Enough to obscure my view, but… I think there might be a building beyond them, in the distance.
ARTHUR: Wow. And the lighthouse?
JOHN: Yes. It’s closest to us on this end of the island. It’s old, very old, and stands tall. There’s a small building made of wood at the front of it, a couple hundred feet away.
ARTHUR: Still, why a graveyard? On an island, it just seems so…
JOHN: Why isn’t the fog touching this island?
ARTHUR: Many questions, but Amanda wanted us to come here, so clearly…
JOHN: We are in the right place.
ARTHUR: Right. Let’s head to the lighthouse. If there’s someone there, maybe they can help us piece some of this together. (He walks across gravel.)
JOHN (quiet): This graveyard is ancient, Arthur.
ARTHUR (quiet): How?
JOHN: The stones are all fallen apart. What was once a mausoleum far in the corner seems to have been destroyed by time.
ARTHUR: I can’t fathom why this place would house the dead.
JOHN: Perhaps it was once part of the mainland.
ARTHUR: Then why wasn’t it on the map? Especially if there’s a lighthouse here, obviously people know about it.
JOHN: Maybe we’ll find out.
ARTHUR: Where is the…?
JOHN: Down this gravel path.
ARTHUR: Right. (Pause.) It’s quiet here.
JOHN: Eerily so.
ARTHUR: It’s night now?
JOHN: Yes. Luckily, the moon is illuminating a lot around here. (Urgent.) Here.
JOHN: Well, what?
ARTHUR: Should we knock, or?
JOHN: There’s something written on the door.
JOHN: There’s a piece of wood, it’s painted. Black letters. It’s nailed to the center of the door. It reads: “Ring not, lest ye wake the dead.”
JOHN: It looks like there is a small bell hanging from the stone wall of the lighthouse. At one point, it must have had a pull string.
ARTHUR: Well, let’s hope knocking is fair game. (He knocks. Suspenseful music rises.) Anything?
JOHN: Not that I hear.
ARTHUR: Should we try the door –?
STRANGER (French accent): Partir!
ARTHUR (startled): Jesus!
STRANGER: What do you want?
ARTHUR (panting): Oh, fu – Jesus!
JOHN: There’s a man standing before you, Arthur. He has a long, navy blue coat and a grey, thinning beard. He has a well-kept mustache of the same color.
ARTHUR: I’m sorry, I – I was hoping I could speak with you.
STRANGER (quiet): Come in.
JOHN: He’s stepped back to permit us entry.
ARTHUR: Oh, ah… thank you. (He steps inside, the front door shutting behind him.)
JOHN: This is a small living quarter. A fireplace is crackling in a stove in the corner. There’s a high-backed chair with a smoking pipe on a table next to it, and a cot near the fire. There are stairs leading up. This place is well lived, and old.
STRANGER: Apologies for the accusation. When I opened the door, I thought you were someone else.
ARTHUR: No, it’s – it’s… no, it’s alright.
JOHN: Who did he think we were?
STRANGER: Ah… coffee?
ARTHUR (nervous): Please, uh, yes.
STRANGER: I, ah…
JOHN: He’s searching for a second cup.
STRANGER (blowing dust off): I have not had visitors in uh… (He places a mug down.) Well, as long as I can remember. You must apologize for my manners.
ARTHUR: No? You said you thought I was someone else.
STRANGER: I don’t have milk, but I have sugar?
ARTHUR: No, it’s alright. I’ll – I’ll take it black.
JOHN: He dodged the question. He’s put the kettle on.
STRANGER (rustling papers and pulling out a chair): Please, please.
JOHN: He’s cleared a small stool for you to sit.
ARTHUR: Thank you. (He sits.)
STRANGER: What brings you to the island at this time of night? At this time of year?
JOHN: He’s picked back up his pipe and sat down across from us. He’s studying your face and eyes.
ARTHUR: Um, well, it’s a long story.
STRANGER: I have a long time.
JOHN: He’s just gestured up to the light above. It seems to leak in in a circular pattern. The walls look like they’re almost moving.
ARTHUR: I’m looking for a friend of mine. She came here.
STRANGER (in realization): Ah, yes. I’ve seen her.
ARTHUR: Yes? Has she been here recently?
STRANGER: Not for a few weeks, I think.
ARTHUR: You never spoke with her?
JOHN: He seems nervous.
ARTHUR: But you thought I was someone else when I was knocking.
STRANGER: I did. These, uh – this place, it brings many souls.
ARTHUR: You just said –
STRANGER: Not like you or me, non. The graveyard out there, it… at night, sometimes I think they knock. Eh? Maybe they don’t.
ARTHUR: Yes. What is that graveyard?
STRANGER: What do you mean?
ARTHUR: I’ve never seen a graveyard on an island before.
STRANGER: Non? You haven’t heard of Diable – ah, Devil's Graveyard?
ARTHUR: A Devil's Graveyard? No.
STRANGER (chair squeaking): Ah.
JOHN: He’s standing, moving to the wall as if to face outside, but there’s no window.
STRANGER: A Devil's Graveyard is where you bury your very unwanted. No one to visit, eh? Murderers, killers, monsters. Those not fit for even being burned alive. They would bring them out here and put them where they could not leave.
ARTHUR: Leave? They’re dead, though.
STRANGER: Eh, some, yes.
STRANGER: Maybe not so dead when they were buried, you know? (The kettle whistles. He walks over to it.)
ARTHUR: What is your name, friend?
STRANGER: It doesn’t matter. I’m sure I’ve forgotten by now. (He starts to pour water from the kettle.)
ARTHUR: How long have you been out here?
STRANGER: Too long. But what of you? You said you were looking for a friend of yours. If we are to be honest, let us be honest, eh? What really brings you out here?
ARTHUR (sighing): What really brings me here is the death of Amanda Cummings. She is the most important piece towards understanding what has happened to me.
STRANGER: And what has happened to you?
JOHN (warning): Arthur.
ARTHUR: I have been…
ARTHUR: I have seen things that I can’t comprehend or explain, creatures that exist only in dreams, or… nightmares, rather. I’ve experienced unexplainable horrors and have felt the grip of madness on my mind. There is something… more out there.
STRANGER: This is very true.
ARTHUR: I believe Amanda Cummings was taken by some… cult. She escaped them for some unknown reason. She lost her family and her life in Arkham, so she moved out here. Why, I don’t know. It may have been family or just some place to escape to… or… for another reason.
STRANGER: This island.
ARTHUR: Yes, but… we found her too late. She died. The only piece of information or evidence led us here, to this island, and so we are at your mercy as to why she may have been here.
(The stranger slurps at his mug.)
JOHN: He’s taking a long sip of his coffee.
STRANGER: Not all who is buried in the Devil's Graveyard is forgotten. Most, eh, but not all. Many years ago, before the iron weakened, before the fog came in, a man dies who could not be forgotten. By the town, yes. But his wife? Non. She would not leave his side… not even in death.
ARTHUR: This man’s wife. She – she killed herself to be with him?
STRANGER: That may have been easier, but non, she came here first, to the island.
ARTHUR: To… visit?
STRANGER: To live, at least in a way. When they bring his body, she comes with. They put him in the ground, and she does not leave. They tried to convince her it was death, but she does not leave. Instead, she stays. Some say she stayed with the lighthouse keeper, at least for a while, but, ah… others say, she refuse.
STRANGER: I do not know. Perhaps it was improper. The lighthouse is very old, the keeper stays with the flame, always. It is very lonely.
JOHN: He’s looking up, toward the turning light above. As if… romanticizing.
ARTHUR: How did she survive?
STRANGER: She was not a weak woman. It takes immeasurable strength to leave everything behind.
JOHN: He’s moved to the door, pointing past it to the outside world.
STRANGER: From the lake, she brought stones, black as night. She carries them up, up, up. Every day she places them, soon begins to build… a place for her… to stay.
ARTHUR: She built a home?
ARTHUR: That’s… that must have taken her years.
STRANGER: Oui. It took her many. But she did. Piece by piece, she did.
STRANGER (sucking teeth): Non, she was not alone. She was with her husband.
ARTHUR: But you said he was dead. Buried in the graveyard.
STRANGER: She was not alone.
JOHN: He’s finished his coffee and set the cup down.
(He walks back to the table.)
STRANGER: This home is where she went, your friend.
STRANGER: That is a question I cannot answer. (He walks.)
JOHN: He’s moving around the room, grabbing a bag of something.
STRANGER: But the home still stands at the far end of the island, past the graveyard, where she built it.
ARTHUR: Who are you? How did you become keeper? Who – who did you replace? I…
STRANGER: This, ah, story has helped, oui?
ARTHUR: Yes, of course.
STRANGER: Then you help me, too.
STRANGER: The wick, it cannot falter, eh?
JOHN: He’s pointing up to the light at the top of the stairs.
ARTHUR: No, of course.
STRANGER: I will be back in a moment but I must do something. Watch it. If it goes out, light it quickly, bon?
ARTHUR: Wait, I can’t…
JOHN: He’s moving to the door.
ARTHUR: Alright… alright. Be quick, please.
(The door creaks open and shuts. Arthur sighs in defeat and walks.)
ARTHUR: That was… interesting. Am I understanding him right? The woman followed her dead husband here because she couldn’t leave his side?
JOHN: Then she built a home here, on the island. I suppose to live out the rest of her days near his grave.
ARTHUR: But he said she was not alone.
ARTHUR: Amanda went to that… widow’s home. I… I wonder if there’s something more to it. It seems odd.
JOHN: I doubt the story is as he said. Rarely are these tales representations of the truth.
ARTHUR: Right. Who would have told it, anyway? The original lighthouse keeper, or…?
ARTHUR (sighing, walking): This place, despite me being unable to see it, still chills me.
JOHN: It’s a welcome respite from the outside, I promise you.
ARTHUR: Right. Well, now we’re stuck here, I suppose. Where did he even go?
JOHN: Few options are good for us.
JOHN: Our boat. It may be the only one off this island.
ARTHUR: Hold – hold on, what do you mean? You think he’d take it?
JOHN: I don’t know anything about this man, nor his duty. We have no idea how long he’s been here, or why. This is not a desirable job, for all we know.
ARTHUR: This could be his prison.
JOHN: Yes. (More cheerful.) Look, let’s not worry. He didn’t strike me as greedily excited to leave. As you said, maybe I’m just being a pessimist.
ARTHUR: Realist, remember? (He sighs.) Well, anything of interest in here?
JOHN: Not really. As I mentioned, he clearly lives in this small area. There’s the staircase leading up. (Arthur walks closer.) Not much stuff for someone who lives here full time.
ARTHUR: No? (A noise like falling sand.) What was that?
JOHN: I don’t know, it sounded like it was coming from beneath the floor.
ARTHUR: Do you see anything?
JOHN: I… (Dice roll.) Yes, the floorboards. There’s a floorboard in the corner that looks almost…
ARTHUR: Like they have something beneath?
ARTHUR (walking closer): Here?
(Arthur walks closer and removes the floorboards with a grunt.)
JOHN: There, it’s off.
ARTHUR: What is it?
JOHN: It’s… there looks to be a lower level.
ARTHUR: Lower level? Are there stairs or…?
JOHN: I don’t know. Maybe but… these aren’t it. (More falling sand.)
ARTHUR: There it is again! What is that?
JOHN: We can try to find out.
ARTHUR (sharp inhale): Something is wrong about this place, this island.
JOHN (sarcasm): Besides the Devil’s Graveyard and the widow’s shack?
ARTHUR: You know what I mean! This is a breeding ground for something sinister.
JOHN: Then maybe this is why Amanda was here, why she came.
ARTHUR (sighing): Can you see anything down there?
JOHN: Lay down and let me check.
(Arthur does so with a grunt.)
ARTHUR (echoing voice): What?
ARTHUR (echoing voice): Bones? What kind?
ARTHUR (echoing voice): Jesus!
JOHN: We need to leave this place. Now! Put the board back. (Arthur does so.) Quickly!
ARTHUR: Couldn’t they be –
JOHN: Just do it! Let’s just get out of here.
ARTHUR: But we said we would wait.
JOHN (angry): Arthur! We don’t know this man, or what he plans on doing. These bones didn’t look like they were from the graveyard. They looked fresher. (Ominous music rises.)
ARTHUR: How fresh?
JOHN: Fresh enough for me to tell you to get the fuck out. (Snarling.) Move, Arthur!
ARTHUR: I, um… I…
JOHN (angry disbelief): What?
ARTHUR: I – I don’t know if we should.
JOHN: You want to wait?
ARTHUR: No, I – I don’t know. M-maybe, I...?
JOHN: Are you fucking kidding me, Arthur!? Have you learned nothing? Make a decision!
ARTHUR: I don’t know! I’m torn! I don’t know which to do.
JOHN: Arthur, you need to make a decision. Should we wait, or should we leave?
ARTHUR (upset): I don’t know! I don’t know.
(A haunting wail, from a distance.)
ARTHUR: What was that?
JOHN: Arthur. The. Light. Went. Out. (Ominous music rises.)
JOHN: The lighthouse.
ARTHUR: He said the wick, he said it can’t falter… and now it… (Another wail, closer.)
JOHN: There’s something outside. Something inhuman.
ARTHUR: The door?
JOHN: It’s unlocked.
(Arthur walks to the door and opens it, breathing heavily. A strange echo is outside.)
JOHN: We need to move.
ARTHUR: We could light it.
JOHN: Arthur, it’s –
ARTHUR (determined, walking): We’ll go up and light it! (He starts to climb the stairs.) This island, it… it has a set of rules, clearly this light being lit is one of them. There’s something trying to get in here, and I – I’d rather not let it. (Out of breath.) God, I can hardly breathe.
JOHN: Arthur, this is a bad idea, we should be getting out of here, we should be moving as far away from this place as possible. (Arthur pants heavily.) You’re near the top. There, you’ve made it.
ARTHUR: How… where is… do we have, uh?
JOHN: A lighter, yes.
JOHN: Arthur, the glass panels that are surrounding are weathered. The fog-covered night beyond seems to –
ARTHUR (trying to light it): Come on.
JOHN (realization): Arthur.
ARTHUR: Come on.
JOHN: The fog has moved into the island.
ARTHUR: What? How?
JOHN: The light must have been keeping it away.
ARTHUR (panicked): Come on! Light, you fucking – (Glass shatters. Arthur continues to try and light the lighter.) Come on, light, you piece of shit!
JOHN: It’s too windy, Arthur, it won’t light! We need to get the fuck out of here, the fog, it’s –
JOHN: It’s moving along the ground. I can’t… I can see it whirl and twist, as if it’s alive.
ARTHUR: What should we –
(Arthur goes back down the stairs. A loud banging noise interrupts them both..)
ARTHUR: God! Fuck. (John breathes heavily.) Where did that come from?
JOHN: Something is banging on the front door below. (It continues to knock.) Arthur, there is no other way out. Let us just leave through the front door. It’s right in front of you.
ARTHUR: Alright. Do you hear anything on the other side of the door?
JOHN (pausing): No. (Arthur walks and opens the door.) Jesus Christ.
ARTHUR: What is it?
JOHN: The lighthouse keeper.
(Horror-filled music starts to rise.)
ARTHUR: Is he? He… He’s…?
JOHN: His flesh has been picked clean. (Arthur whimpers in fear.) Large pieces of him are missing.
ARTHUR (amidst a crackling noise, scared): Jesus Christ. What has happened?
JOHN: Arthur, whatever this light was keeping at bay is no longer the case. We fucked up. You fucked up.
ARTHUR: I couldn’t think, I… I couldn’t make a decision, I…
JOHN: We need to move, now! The fog is already starting to creep in.
ARTHUR: Shouldn’t we find out what killed him?
ARTHUR: We could touch him.
JOHN: Arthur, no.
ARTHUR: We can prepare this way, I’m going to. (He steps closer.)
JOHN: Arthur, no!
(A distorted, low-pitched yell. John starts to breathe heavily, almost wheezing.)
JOHN: I see him. He’s… walking through the Devil’s Graveyard, he’s carrying something. A lantern. He’s walking back towards the lighthouse. He sees the light going out. He’s running. The fog it’s… it’s moving in, it’s moving in quickly around him. He looks panicked and nervous. He’s putting – he’s putting the lantern down by his feet. He’s running to the door, he’s banging. Arthur, he was the one banging on the door! He’s turned around and the fog is all-consuming and… something is emerging from the fog, it’s…
(Another low-pitched yell.)
JOHN (angry): Why did you let go?
ARTHUR: You said… you didn’t want…
JOHN: Arthur, we need to get the fuck off this island now! Move to the boat, quickly! (Arthur opens the door.) Pick up his lamp.
(Something hisses from afar.)
ARTHUR: Oh my god!
JOHN: Run, Arthur!
ARTHUR (running amidst tense music): Fuck!
JOHN: Arthur, watch for the cliff – !
(Arthur falls off the cliff, hitting rocky crags. He falls into the water and starts to cough.)
ARTHUR (breathing heavily): Where is the dock? Where is the boathouse?
JOHN: To your left! You’re almost there. Hurry!
(Arthur gets onto shore and walks.)
JOHN: The boat… is gone.
(Arthur starts to breathe shakily.)
JOHN (calmly): Arthur. We are stuck here. We are… we are stranded on this island. You need to compose yourself and make a decision. We can either head back to the lighthouse or try for the widow’s house. We know that the lighthouse is safe. We should head back there.
(Arthur doesn’t answer, only continues to breathe shakily.)
JOHN: Calm yourself, Arthur.
ARTHUR: Right… right, right.
JOHN: Relax. Just breathe. (Soothing.) There, there. Better?
ARTHUR: Better, yes. It just…
JOHN: I know.
ARTHUR: No, but it feels like just yesterday to me that we were back in Arkham. Like I was, only moments ago, standing above the book that lay on the floor by my feet. (He takes a deep inhale.) As if I could see again.
JOHN: Arthur, I… I suppose I’m sorry.
JOHN: I’ve never said it before, but I’m sorry that I’ve taken your eyesight.
ARTHUR: Well, perhaps that time in the hospital has injected some humanity into you.
JOHN: Or some has returned.
ARTHUR: Whatever you are, it’s alright. There are much, much more pressing matters.
JOHN: That is an understatement. Now, where are we heading?
ARTHUR: The widow’s house.
JOHN: Are you sure?
ARTHUR: Yes. The lighthouse may seem safe but at this point, it’s all an illusion, I’m sure. (He sighs.) The illusion of safety. The island, whatever had been keeping the fog at bay, has broken, and we need to focus.
JOHN: The widow’s house may not have any means of escape.
ARTHUR: No, coming to the boathouse was an impulse, we were scared, but we came to the island for a reason and we have to persevere.
JOHN (proud): That sounds more like it.
ARTHUR: Yes, well. Panic can do that, but my head is clearing now.
JOHN: I’m glad. However, this fog…
ARTHUR: It holds too much unseen. Are you sure the lighthouse can’t be lit again?
JOHN: The windows surrounding it broke, all of them. The wind is too strong to keep the wick lit.
JOHN: When I… when we touched the lighthouse keeper…
JOHN: When we saw his demise, the light not only went out on the tower, but also his lamp.
ARTHUR: You mean this one? (He squeaks the lantern.)
ARTHUR: So you think they might be connected?
JOHN: No, but perhaps he… well, I don’t know. But he didn’t seem afraid until both lights went out. Perhaps this lamp provides some safety.
ARTHUR: Well, then let’s see if it will light. (He cajoles the lamp.) Come on.
JOHN: The flame is holding true.
ARTHUR: Grand. (He shuts the lamp.)
JOHN: What’s more is that it has a greenish hue to it.
JOHN: It’s only slight, but it is there.
ARTHUR: Right, well, is there any fog in here?
JOHN: Not really. Step out onto the beach again.
(Arthur steps out onto the beach.)
JOHN: The fog, it seems to… to almost cower from the light.
ARTHUR: Well, then! We have a way to move through the fog.
JOHN: We’ll have to take it slow.
ARTHUR: Yes, doubly so. I feel like my leg is a bit bothered, or something.
JOHN: What do you mean?
ARTHUR: I can’t seem to feel... (Ominous music rises.) My foot.
JOHN: Oh, Arthur.
JOHN: I can move the toes.
(A clap of suspenseful music.)
ARTHUR (in panic): What? How?
JOHN: Take a breath.
JOHN: Relax, you’ve just regained yourself.
ARTHUR (still panicked): No, no, no, this means –
JOHN (calmly, overlapping): This is no different from our left hand.
ARTHUR: You’re taking over! Slowly, but.
JOHN (direct): Arthur!
JOHN: You were in a coma for a month, and no part of you was lost to me. (Arthur gasps.) So just… breathe.
ARTHUR: Right. Right, right. (He takes a breath.)
ARTHUR: It is what it is.
JOHN: Alright, then. Now, let’s –
ARTHUR: Wait. So, why?
JOHN: Why what?
ARTHUR: This only happened recently, I – I could feel my toes only a short time ago, arriving on the island, even…
JOHN: So, what’s changed?
ARTHUR: When did I lose my left hand?
JOHN: When… when you decided to kill Eddie.
ARTHUR: I decided?
ARTHUR: I don’t remember deciding.
JOHN: You did. I could feel your mind settling on the decision and… somehow I took ahold.
ARTHUR: And now?
JOHN: Now, I don’t know. The lighthouse keeper may have died because of your inaction, but –
ARTHUR: You think so?
JOHN (frustrated): I don’t know, Arthur! Let’s just put a pin in this until later. We need to move.
ARTHUR: Right, right. Let’s just take it slow.
ARTHUR (gasping at the sound of falling sand): There’s that sound again!
JOHN: Just move.
ARTHUR: Right. (He starts to walk along the gravel.)
JOHN: The fog is now covering the way, as well as the graveyard. It skirts along the ground like water.
ARTHUR: The lamp?
JOHN: It’s keeping it away from us. The circle around us moves as we do. It’s… bizarre.
ARTHUR: Let’s just be careful.
JOHN: Yes, especially since I can’t see where we’re heading until the lamp clears the fog. It gives us only a few seconds to respond.
ARTHUR: What was that?
JOHN: It came from the mist behind us.
ARTHUR: It sounded like –
JOHN: Just keep moving. (Sudden, urgent.) Stop!
JOHN: The ground, it… wait, nevermind.
JOHN: It just looked like it was… yes, it’s moving a little bit! Maybe, uh.
ARTHUR (scared): I…
JOHN: J-Just keep moving, forget I said anything. The light, it… it bathes everything in a dark green hue, it’s… it’s difficult to make sense of anything.
ARTHUR: Are you sure?
JOHN: Yes. It… it feels like we’re wading through waist-high water that parts as we pass. The wrought iron of the gate to your left, the gate to the Devil’s Graveyard, is all that I can see. It’s our only means of a path.
(Another growl. John grunts in surprise.)
ARTHUR: What? What!? What’s wrong!?
JOHN: Jesus! Fuck. Sorry, something moved before us, it’s… it’s…
ARTHUR: Let’s just go, faster maybe.
JOHN: Yes. I see the treeline. Beyond should…
(Arthur continues to walk, breathing fearfully.)
JOHN: Alright, the trees are here.
(A much closer growl. Suspenseful music starts to play.)
JOHN: Run! (Arthur breaks into a sprint amidst growls.) The widow’s house is just ahead!
(Arthur grunts and flings himself into the house.)
JOHN (soothingly): Breathe. Relax.
ARTHUR (bitter): The illusion of safety.
JOHN: At least we have that.
ARTHUR: What are we seeing?
JOHN: I couldn’t get a good look from the outside, but this home it’s... very old. The stone work on the floor is bizarre: handmade, obviously. It looks like large black polished stone worn by shoes over time. They sit connected together haphazardly and somewhat uneven. The furnishings are all handmade: the table, the chair… both in the living room to our left. There’s a large stone fireplace made of the same black stone… and beyond that a small stove and kitchen.
JOHN: To our right, a small staircase looks to have collapsed, but the floor above looks… sagging. It may be worthwhile to check, however. The walls are skinned logs and there are a few… unsettling paintings here.
ARTHUR: Any sign of Amanda? Or… or where she may have been in here?
JOHN: Yes, it does look used recently, and for lack of a better word, lived in. But it still maintains a lot of its… well, let’s just say ‘charm’.
ARTHUR (sighing, creaking the lantern): Well, it sounds like we could try getting to the second floor, or start on this one. Remember, we’re looking for everything we can to find out why she was here.
JOHN: Right. So, where would you like to start? The second floor, or this one?
ARTHUR (a breath): Let’s start on the main floor, this one.
ARTHUR: You said there was a living room to our left?
ARTHUR: That looks lived in?
ARTHUR: Well, let’s start looking around. (Arthur walks through.) Anything?
JOHN: It definitely looks lived in. Things are moved around.
ARTHUR: When you say ‘lived in’, what do you mean?
JOHN: I mean that someone, in the past century, has occupied this space. Whether it was for an afternoon or for a week, I’m not sure.
ARTHUR: So we know Amanda came here, and we have to assume it was for a fair amount of time.
JOHN: Do we have to assume that?
ARTHUR: I just mean it makes the most sense, based on her apartment seemingly devoid of anything and the time it took to get here to the island.
(He continues to walk, the lantern creaking all the while.)
ARTHUR: You don’t see anything of importance?
JOHN: Difficult to tell. There are some books.
ARTHUR: Anything –
JOHN: No, nothing that seems relevant.
ARTHUR: Alright. I guess we should check the kitchen.
JOHN: Yes, it’s just beside the living room. I suppose the widow didn’t need much space.
ARTHUR: You mentioned that there were paintings on the wall. Anything interesting?
JOHN: Hm, yes. There’s one that looks quite grotesque. Time and a fair amount of dampness have bloated a portrait of a young lady. Her hollow eyes are sagging, and her face looks as though the skin hangs off in loose strands. It’s… unsettling.
ARTHUR: Oh. The widow?
ARTHUR: I shudder to think what she would look like now.
(He walks to the kitchen.)
JOHN: The kitchen has a few cans. Locally bought beans, corn.
ARTHUR: So she ate here, and most likely slept, as well.
JOHN: Now I would agree with your previous thought about her spending a fair amount of time here. (Arthur closes a cabinet door.)
ARTHUR: If so, what did she…
JOHN: A note.
JOHN: It’s on the kitchen table. It’s obscured by a can, or maybe it was held down, but it’s left out in the open.
ARTHUR: What does it say?
(The letter rustles.)
JOHN (reading amidst a gentle piano tune): “To whom it may concern, My name is Amanda Cummings. However, since I was young, I’ve always gone by my middle name: Sarah.”
JOHN: I suppose so.
ARTHUR: I guess the paper did print ‘Amanda’... but when we spoke to her neighbor?
JOHN: We never mentioned her name, just asked about ‘the Cummings’ daughter.’
ARTHUR: Right. Keep reading.
JOHN (reading): “If you are reading this, I desperately hope that this is who I expect it to be, my old friend, A. If not, then I pray that you are a friend, or at the very least, a soul who aims to stand against the evil that leaks into our world. If not, please, I beg you, put this letter down and leave.”
ARTHUR: It sounds like we are not who she expected to be following.
JOHN: Are we even the latter?
ARTHUR: Yes, John. We are.
JOHN: Who do you suppose is ‘A’?
ARTHUR: Maybe the letter will clarify.
JOHN: She addresses ‘A’ directly in this next paragraph. (Reading.) “A, we were wrong about what this is, what exited that gateway all those years ago. I dare not share the name here, but I know this: it is madness he seeks. He intends to drive the world mad, but what is more, it is through this madness in which he controls people.
From what I have read, he strains one's sanity, making them question their reality, questioning those around them until their minds are ready to break. Then, in this state, he can influence you through whispers and tales. What is more, I have seen it now. I leave this letter for you, and the location hidden because I have seen his eyes in the head of others. While in town, a man approached me smiling, saying my name, calling me ‘Amanda’ for some reason. It felt foreign on his tongue, as if he said it for the first time. I don’t know how he’s found me, but nowhere is safe.
Find a safe corner. Keep your head down.
He can already easily grasp the minds of those that are weak, but once he finds me, he will weaken the entire town and turn them upon me. His influence is great, and –
A, I don’t know if you’re the one reading this but if you are, stay safe, stay out of sight, and stay away from people.
Watch for his sign.”
JOHN (slow inhale): That’s the letter. She signed it ‘Sarah’. And then she’s drawn a symbol on the bottom of the note.
ARTHUR: The one on the book?
JOHN: No. This one is different. We haven’t seen it before.
ARTHUR: Are you alright?
JOHN (dazed): Yes.
ARTHUR: Well. So she has a friend named ‘A’ she expected to be here instead of us.
JOHN (still dazed): Yes…
ARTHUR: But most incredible is, well, what she said about the thing’s ability to control people. Immediately, I think of Kellin. I wonder now if… well, if the voice that he heard in his head was this.
JOHN (even more dazed): Yes.
ARTHUR: John, are you okay?
JOHN (distorted, amidst ominous music): Who is John?
ARTHUR: What are you talking about? You asked me to call you John.
JOHN (aware): Right.
ARTHUR: Do you not want that anymore…?
JOHN: No, I do. Yes, John. (He takes a deep breath.) Yes, Kellin certainly was someone who seemed to be in a state able to be influenced.
ARTHUR: Right. In fact, now that I think about it, the old woman who gave us the baby in the woods, the lady in the wheelchair at Amanda’s – ah, Sarah’s apartment, they all seemed a bit…
ARTHUR: Yes. It does sound like we’re being hunted.
JOHN: Well, then. (The lantern squeaks.)
ARTHUR: Right… wait, nothing in this letter is particularly dangerous.
JOHN: What do you mean?
ARTHUR: For someone who went through a lot of trouble to hide this location... doesn’t it seem odd to still hide a name and information in this letter?
ARTHUR: So why was she here? Of all places.
JOHN: To hide out. We read it, this man can influence others around him.
ARTHUR: No, something doesn’t add up. There’s more here. If this was the destination, then there was a reason for it. (He sighs.) And where did she learn all this information from, anyway? About this thing and how it acts.
ARTHUR: I think this is… well, useful. Only enough information to stop a pursuer from looking any further. I think we’ve only just broken the surface of this frozen lake.
JOHN: You think she hid this location because it holds another secret?
ARTHUR: Very. And what’s more, I think she wants her friend to find it.
ARTHUR: I don’t know. Sometimes there can be hidden messages in the note with… well, I don’t know, maybe hold it up to the lantern light. (The paper rustles.) Anything?
JOHN (disbelieving): Nothing I can see.
ARTHUR: Is there anything that stands out in the letter? Anything seemingly out of place? (The paper rustles.) Anything spaced oddly… does it seem to be written plainly? What about the symbol? Maybe look closely at that –
JOHN (quickly): The symbol looks normal, Arthur.
ARTHUR (stern): Look, we’re trying to find out more about this place, and our path has steadily led us here, so work with me.
JOHN: She has used capital letters oddly in two places.
JOHN: Near the end, she wrote, “Find a safe CORNER, keep your head DOWN”, but she put ‘corner’ and ‘down’ in all capitals. It… did seem a bit odd.
ARTHUR: ‘Corner’, ‘Down’. Where are the corners of this room?
JOHN: I don’t even know how to answer that.
ARTHUR: I mean to say, is this a square room?
JOHN: Mostly. The stairs hide a bit of the shape.
ARTHUR: Just… walk the room. Let’s focus on looking at the corners.
(They walk around the room.)
JOHN: Alright. The corner near the fireplace seems normal. The kitchen, too. There’s a corner underneath the back of the stairs, but it’s… wait.
JOHN (amidst dice roll): There is something here.
ARTHUR: I knew it.
JOHN: There’s a large dresser dragged here. I can see the marks on the ground where it’s been moved often.
ARTHUR: Let’s move it then, shall we? This?
(With grunts of exertion, Arthur pushes the dresser.)
JOHN: Well, well, well, Arthur. There is a hatch in the floor.
ARTHUR (exhausted): Brilliant.
ARTHUR: ‘Corner, down.’
JOHN (amiably): ‘Corner... down.’ (The hatch swings open.) Arthur, it’s a dark, stone-walled passageway.
ARTHUR (echoing): To a cellar?
JOHN: It looks more like a cave.
ARTHUR: A cave?
JOHN: There’s a ladder on the wall.
ARTHUR: Well, this is clearly where Amanda had spent most of her time, so… this is where we need to head. Once more into the abyss, John?
JOHN: Once more, friend.
ARTHUR: Should we cover the passageway behind us? Close the door? Prevent anyone or anything from following?
JOHN: Equally locking ourselves in without a means of quick escape. It’s your call.
ARTHUR (sighing): Let’s just shut the hatch. There is no sense in risking whatever was outside following us in here.
JOHN: Alright. Then down we go.
(He shuts the hatch. Arthur starts to climb down.)
(END Part 7.)