A dark cavern, an ancient cult, a monstrous creature...
Malevolent follows Arkham Investigator Arthur Lester as he unravels the mysterious circumstances that have befallen him.
In the Eighth part of this tale, we find Arthur trapped deep beneath the island. Cavernous tunnels and the remains of an ancient cult drive him further towards answers. Arthur will uncover the truth about what stalks him and find more than just answers in the darkness of the caves... 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 EIGHT - THE CAVES
Original transcript by Eggsy39 and Jack! Reviewed by JD.
(BEGIN Part 8.)
ARTHUR (breathing hard, lantern squeaking): How long is this ladder?
JOHN: Arthur, you’ll need to stop asking questions that are either too obvious or have no answer that I can give you.
ARTHUR (grunting): Sorry.
JOHN: There, the bottom rung is here.
(Arthur steps from the bottom rung to solid earth.)
JOHN: Well, indeed. (Arthur begins to walk.) This is most definitely a cave system; however, the walls are black with the burning of flames. Sconces held torches long ago, and the ground is well-trodden.
ARTHUR (echoing slightly): What does that mean? Why on Earth…
JOHN: There is a single pathway forward. It’s fairly narrow, however.
ARTHUR: This… this is manmade?
JOHN: Well, not the cave, but this is definitely all intentional.
ARTHUR (walking, lantern squeaking): Who was this widow? To have built such a… what on Earth –?
JOHN: What did I just say about asking questions? Forward is the only way that will begin to shed light on any of this.
ARTHUR: Right, right. Forward, forward. It’s an odd feeling, not being able to control my hands.
(A somber piano melody starts to play, amidst Arthur walking and lantern squeaking.)
ARTHUR: Even though I’ve lived my whole life being in control of my body, something about how quickly I’ve forgotten it… it scares me.
JOHN: Arthur, you know that I am not…
ARTHUR: No, I know. Or at least, I believe you when you say that you’re not contributing to this, but…
JOHN: But I’m still the one gaining parts of you.
ARTHUR (quietly): Yes. (More brightly.) Still, I have to say I’m performing miraculously well for having lost my sight. (He chuckles.)
JOHN: I have no frame of reference, but I’m sure you’re doing very well, given the circumstances.
ARTHUR: Yes, the circumstances… which at this moment are closer to dire than flush with easy options.
JOHN: We may not have a way off the island but this is where we wanted to be. This is, as you said it, the culmination of our work.
ARTHUR: Yes, but how does it all fit together? It – the widow moved here to be close to her husband, and… she built this place. (Amazed.) This – this cavernous, well-trodden path deep within the cave. With her own hands?
JOHN: Supposedly. However, the lighthouse keeper said she was not alone. Remember, he also said that some claimed she stayed with the lighthouse keeper of that time. A much more likely possibility is that he helped her with all of this.
ARTHUR (sighing): I’m not sure what he meant by that, but… this would be an immeasurable amount of work for just one person, even one motivated by love.
JOHN (intimidated): Arthur.
JOHN: I’m not sure it was love that kept her close to her husband’s body.
(Ominous music starts to rise.)
JOHN: The cavern has opened up again. We are in a large room, the ceiling of which is covered in large, empty rectangular plots.
JOHN: This room is littered with open coffins. We’re under the graveyard, Arthur. The coffins were removed from below.
ARTHUR (astonished): Why?
JOHN: Arthur, nothing about this seems like she acted alone.
ARTHUR: But then who?
JOHN: There’s no way she could have done all of this –
(A faraway, high-pitched shriek.)
ARTHUR (shaky): Something is down here with us.
(A suspenseful note.)
ARTHUR: Amanda traveled through here, she –
JOHN: Had the safety of the lighthouse keeping everything at bay.
ARTHUR: Right. Let – let’s just keep moving, quietly. (He continues to walk.) Is there anything here? Anything of importance?
JOHN: There… there is the symbol that was on my book. It’s carved into the wall here.
ARTHUR: On the wall? How is it –
JOHN: This place is more ornate, almost ceremonial.
ARTHUR: What the hell is going on here? Does this area look used?
JOHN: Not for a while, I think.
ARTHUR (whispering): What do we do?
JOHN: We keep moving, low and slow, and we find what Amanda uncovered.
ARTHUR: Alright. (He starts to walk again.)
JOHN: There’s an exit to this room, along the back wall. Another passage.
(Arthur steps along the soft earth.)
JOHN: It’s opened up here to a hallway; however, it’s built… crafted even. The walls are no longer natural stone, but cut, carved, and placed. The floor is no longer dirt, either; it’s instead laid with stone. The sconces no longer look to hold torches, but… candles.
ARTHUR: Candles? What on Earth –
JOHN: There are a number of doorways leading off of this room, they look to be made of thick oak wood, and then it continues on.
ARTHUR: Let’s move into one of the rooms. (He opens a door.)
JOHN: It’s a room. Small, dark...
ARTHUR: Okay. (He walks further inside, shutting the door behind him.) So?
JOHN (gasping): Jesus!
JOHN: Nothing, it’s… this looks like someone’s living quarters: a table, chair, a bed. Sort of.
ARTHUR: So someone was living down here?
JOHN: The widow, maybe.
ARTHUR: Does this room look like her room?
JOHN: Difficult to tell. I think not, though. It’s more… simple. There’s the symbol again, on the table, and black robes in the corner on a mannequin. Thus why I…
ARTHUR (in realization): Ah, the fright, right.
ARTHUR: Does it seem… ceremonial to you?
ARTHUR: What about the other doorways off of the main hall?
JOHN: Well, let’s look.
(Arthur walks, opens a door, and shuts it behind him. He fumbles with the doorknob, and John shushes him. Continuing on, Arthur sighs and opens another door.)
JOHN (slightly frustrated): This is another room, similar to the last one, but… just with slightly different things in it, nothing jumps out.
ARTHUR: Another bedroom of sorts?
ARTHUR: This all seems like… an organization of some sort.
JOHN: A cult.
ARTHUR: Yes. All living here under the ground in this cave system.
JOHN: If they are a cult… what or who are they worshipping? (Another high-pitched shriek, from afar.) Something is coming! Hide!
ARTHUR: Can the door lock?
JOHN: Yes, but –
ARTHUR: Let’s just lock the door!
JOHN: Arthur, there’s no time. Climb under the bed and hide.
ARTHUR: Fine! (Arthur scrambles underneath the bed.)
JOHN: Arthur, douse the flame.
(Arthur breathes shakily. The door opens and someone enters, panting heavily. She draws closer to the bed, amidst Arthur’s shaking breathing, and… leaves, shutting the door behind her.)
ARTHUR (shaky whisper): Fucking – what the –
JOHN: It looked like a woman. Her skin was sagging and old… ancient, even.
ARTHUR: A woman?
ARTHUR: The widow?
JOHN: No, it… well, I don’t know.
ARTHUR: Is she gone?
JOHN: Yes. (Arthur sighs in relief and gets out from under the bed.) Light the flame again.
ARTHUR: What room are we – does it look like –?
JOHN: I think it might be her room. I only glanced around this room when we entered. It seemed to be similar, but the closer I look… it looks as though a woman has lived here, at one point.
ARTHUR: How do you…?
JOHN: The other room had a robe for a man. This one has women’s clothing strewn about the floor.
ARTHUR: Strewn about?
JOHN: Yes, I thought it looked like the other room, but this is in a much worse state.
JOHN: It’s difficult to see against the tint of the lamplight, but… the color of the bedspread, it – it’s stained a deep brown and… and torn, as if the insides of the mattress have been taken out. The bed itself is worn flat, nearly. The table has been knocked over, and the walls… the walls have deep gouges in them.
ARTHUR: As if someone were trying to escape, or –?
JOHN: As if someone were counting. (A faraway shriek. Arthur quietly gasps.) Shh. Nevermind.
ARTHUR (whispering): What does all of this mean?
JOHN: Compared to the other room this one looks well-used, as if… someone spent a lot of time in here.
ARTHUR: You said the gouges on the wall look as if someone was counting.
JOHN: They’re less haphazard, in a line, just… it looks that way.
ARTHUR: Fair enough, but if someone was in this room for a long time… if she was in this room for a long time, maybe there is something here, other than the lines, to show how long.
JOHN: Like what?
ARTHUR: I don’t know, you’re the one with my eyes.
JOHN: I see a dresser. The bed is… as I said, worn through. The table beside… (Dice roll.) Has some papers sticking out of the open drawer. (Arthur reaches for them.) These are drawings.
ARTHUR: Of what? (He rifles through.)
JOHN: Some portraits, like the one upstairs, the painting.
ARTHUR: These are paintings?
JOHN: No, sketches, but seemingly by the same hand.
ARTHUR: The widow? Was that a self-portrait upstairs?
ARTHUR (continuing to rustle the papers): What are the images of?
JOHN: There’s one in fine lines, well done. It shows another sketch of her, the widow.
ARTHUR: An alternate take on the portrait, perhaps.
JOHN: Yes, perhaps. Another angle, of sorts.
ARTHUR: What else?
JOHN: More of her… some scenery… and… a man.
ARTHUR: A man?
JOHN: Yes, he wears clothes… similar to that of the lighthouse keeper. It’s a different man, though. Much older, more… dignified, almost.
JOHN: Regal, maybe? He looks almost like a scholar.
ARTHUR: A scholar.
JOHN: There’s another here. He’s in a much more… romanticized pose.
ARTHUR (surprised): Oh.
JOHN: Truthfully, based on this, I would gather they had a relationship.
ARTHUR: Really? I – I guess she needed comfort, after all.
JOHN: Yes, the images tell a story of sorts. She… seems to draw him timidly at first, poses like him sitting on the dock, then slightly more intimate.
JOHN: There’s a portrait of his face. His eyes… they look… cold. She’s penned his name here: ‘Antoine’.
ARTHUR: Antoine? Hm. Are there more?
JOHN: Yes, only…
ARTHUR: Only what?
JOHN: They get… darker?
ARTHUR: Darker? How so?
JOHN: These images. They’re less fine, more bizarre. More pictures of the tunnels and the caves.
ARTHUR: They moved down here?
JOHN: Her drawings, they look more like impressions now… less than even – oh.
JOHN: They… they’re no longer of anything I can discern, just scribbles.
ARTHUR: What does that mean?
JOHN: I don’t know.
ARTHUR: Huh. (He steps away, jostling the lantern.) I believed the lighthouse keeper when he said she came here for her husband, but obviously at some point she became intimate with this ‘Antoine’.
JOHN: How does that explain all of this? These caves?
ARTHUR: He must have known about them. Seduced her, for whatever nefarious purpose, to join this cult below the island.
(Another faraway high-pitched shriek. Arthur gasps.)
JOHN: Arthur, we should move.
(He opens the door. From far away, the heavy breathing of the old woman is audible.)
JOHN: It sounds like she’s down towards the underside of the graveyard.
ARTHUR: Then we move deeper in.
JOHN: Let’s move quieter here. The ground is softer, more likely to reveal our position.
JOHN: The tunnel splits here. Left or right?
ARTHUR: God… left? (He walks.)
JOHN: This… looks like it might be a dead end.
ARTHUR: Just a dead end? There isn’t –
JOHN: Wait! No.
JOHN: Well, this is a dead end, but… the dirt here is soft, as if something had been buried recently.
ARTHUR: Or something had been recently unearthed.
(He steps closer. Something squirms quietly.)
JOHN: Arthur, this… this looks like a nest. We need to leave, now!
ARTHUR (panting): So, when the lighthouse died…
JOHN: Whatever was buried must have awoken.
ARTHUR: The widow, we think, right?
JOHN: Perhaps. I have no idea what this cult worshipped, let alone their burial practices. Suffice to say, this is not where Amanda was spending her time.
ARTHUR: Let’s go right this time, shall we? (He walks.)
JOHN: More rooms. There’s a large hallway here, and more doorways leading off. I think we can slip inside one and stay relatively quiet.
ARTHUR: Right, which one?
JOHN: Let me see, take a few steps forward. (Arthur opens a squeaky door.) Hm, this one looks like a dining area. Continue.
(Arthur opens another door.)
ARTHUR: We should –
JOHN (fiercely): This one!
ARTHUR: You sound certain.
ARTHUR: Alright. (He steps forward.)
JOHN: I think it’s safe to lock the door this time. (Arthur locks the door.) I think this is where Amanda was.
ARTHUR: Oh! What room is it?
JOHN: A library. There’s a table here, with books on it. It’s clear this room has been recently used. There’s even a bedroll in the corner.
ARTHUR: She slept down here?
JOHN: Move to the table. Let’s look there first.
JOHN: The table has a number of volumes laid out. Most of them seem to be translation-based, but… there are two right in front of where she sat. One has the symbol that was on the bottom of her note. The other… has the symbol on the book that I came from.
ARTHUR (amidst rising suspenseful music): Wha… is it the same one?
JOHN: The book looks different… less worn, for one.
ARTHUR: Well. This could answer so many questions about you and – and where you came from! I mean, on the other hand…
JOHN (insulted): What other hand, Arthur? This is why we came here! All of this is for finding out why I am attached to you.
ARTHUR: Yes, but she didn’t draw your symbol on the bottom of the note, and she alluded to being wrong.
JOHN: It doesn’t matter, Arthur!
ARTHUR: It might! Who knows how much time we have here before –
JOHN (commanding): Arthur, read the book with my symbol on it.
ARTHUR (with more frustration): Look, I don’t care what you think! Amanda drew that symbol in the bottom of her letter, which means at the very least, it’s what she came to learn about, and that is why we are here.
JOHN: We’re here for answers about my book, the one you left back on the road a month ago, remember?
ARTHUR (angry): Now listen to me! I have much more to lose if we don’t find a way to separate us!
ARTHUR (forcing calm): Look, I understand more than anyone what it means to find answers to why you’re here, but Amanda understood this world better than you and I. Therefore, I am putting my faith in the fact that she discovered something that will hopefully make sense of what we’ve experienced thus far. Alright?
(John audibly sulks.)
ARTHUR: John. I need you with me on this. You’ve asked many times for me to believe you, and I am asking you to believe me now. I believe this is the right course of action.
JOHN (displeased): Fine.
ARTHUR: Thank you. Now, let’s look at that book.
JOHN: As I said, it looks similar to the other one; its binding is slightly darker, the pages within seem to be a bit less uniform in their size, the texture on the top and the bottom seems a little more haphazard.
ARTHUR: What do you mean?
JOHN: Comparatively, this book seems less professional… as odd as that sounds to say about books of this nature.
ARTHUR: Right, and what of the symbol? What does it actually look like?
JOHN: It’s very difficult to explain, but the symbol somewhat resembles a… coiled body, or… serpentine lines, with two others twisting and turning upwards.
JOHN: Yes, they’re almost like… it’s as if two tentacles were branching upward.
JOHN: Yes, like that of an octopus. (Amidst gentle piano melody.)
ARTHUR: And you’ve never seen this symbol before?
JOHN: Not that I recall.
ARTHUR: Not even in the Dark World?
JOHN: I’ve been pleasantly forgetting about that place.
ARTHUR: You described it so vividly when we first met, I –
JOHN: Yes, Arthur, but I’m thankful to say that, for whatever reason, it seems to slip through my mind now. I don’t know whether it’s being in this world once again, or…
ARTHUR: Once again?
JOHN: Yes, once again. I just mean to say that part of me feels like I was alive once before.
JOHN: Yes, I assumed that was obvious to you.
ARTHUR: I don’t know, John. There’s still a lot we don’t know.
JOHN: Well, perhaps this book will provide the first of many answers that we will receive.
JOHN: This book is written in the same language as the other.
ARTHUR: You read the language, though? You read the other book, didn’t you?
JOHN: I could, but… not make sense of it.
ARTHUR: Well, how does that add up?
JOHN: I don’t have an easy answer for you, Arthur. Suffice to say that I can read this without understanding what it means.
ARTHUR: Well, then there’s no sense in trying to read it here…
JOHN (as Arthur flips pages): Luckily we don’t have to. It looks like Amanda has made some notes here.
ARTHUR: Brilliant! What does it say?
JOHN: She talks about certain passages, outlines a few of them here in her notes. She hasn’t written in the book, but slotted pieces of paper folded within. A few of the larger sections seem to be summarized, points that she’s uncovered.
ARTHUR: Does any of it seem important?
JOHN: She writes here about a mask. A pallid mask.
ARTHUR: A pallid mask?
JOHN: Yes. She’s directly translated something here: “Song of my soul, my voice is dead, die thou, unsung as tears unshed.”
ARTHUR (sighing): It sounds like poetry of some sort.
JOHN: She’s also drawn the sign again under this page and underlined something.
ARTHUR: What did she underline?
JOHN (distorted, low): The King in Yellow.
(The audio seems to crackle like electricity. A PA system chimes, something mumbles in a low, static tone in the background. John moans.)
(It continues. John continues to exhale slowly.)
ARTHUR: John, are you okay?
(John begins to chant in an unknown language.)
ARTHUR: John! John, what the fuck?
(John continues as the static grows.)
(The audio crackles again. John gasps in realization. The high-pitched shriek comes again, louder. Arthur gasps and fumbles with the book. Something growls, growing closer, as Arthur breathes shakily. The door opens. The growling comes closer.)
JOHN (dazed): Where…?
(The widow passes by.)
ARTHUR (scared): John! What the fuck just happened, where did you go!?
JOHN (confused): Go?
ARTHUR (panting): You weren’t answering, I couldn’t see – and that thing!
JOHN (out of breath): I… I was somewhere else.
ARTHUR: Are you here now?
JOHN: Yes, yes.
ARTHUR: She came back.
JOHN: Yes, she… she came back? The widow?
ARTHUR: Yes, I-I shouted for you, I-I must have stirred her. I feel like a fucking idiot.
JOHN: You’re… in Amanda’s cot, in the corner. (The springs squeak.)
ARTHUR: Am I? Yes, I suppose. I just ran to the corner and hid, I… Are you okay?
JOHN: Yes, Arthur. There’s a lot I don’t understand about what’s going on. I’m sorry.
ARTHUR (perplexed): Sorry? No, it’s – it’s alright. (He chuckles in relief.)
JOHN: Her bed. She has some things here.
ARTHUR: Like what?
JOHN: A letter.
ARTHUR: A proper letter?
(He rustles the letter.)
JOHN: Yes, in a sealed envelope, with – with ‘Anna’ written on it.
ARTHUR: That must be who she wrote, our ‘A’. What does it –
(The widow screeches again.)
ARTHUR (whispering): Oh, fuck. We should move.
JOHN: Agreed. If she moves back into this room and finds you, I don’t see a way out.
(The bed creaks as Arthur stands.)
JOHN: Grab the books.
(Arthur walks. The lantern creaks. He picks up the books and walks.)
JOHN: I don’t see her. Wait!
ARTHUR: She’s there?
JOHN: Yes. She’s pawing around in the darkness as if looking for us.
ARTHUR: Can we slip out, back to the entrance? I think we’re done down here.
JOHN: It would be past her; she could see us. Do you really think you could move quiet enough?
ARTHUR: Well, I-I mean, maybe. It would be a gamble, but staying here would be a gamble just as much.
ARTHUR: Or what?
JOHN: Or we could move further in. The hallway continues on, deeper into the caves.
ARTHUR: We have what we came here for. I –
JOHN: Yes, but the only way out is past her. I don’t know how quiet you can be, Arthur. Maybe there’s another way out deeper in.
JOHN: Either way, you need to choose now: try to sneak past her to the entrance or hope that there’s another exit deeper down.
ARTHUR (sighing): Then further down we go.
ARTHUR: Yes, there is no way I’ll be able to sneak past her undetected, especially not being able to see my way forward… even then, it would be a jog back to the hatch that led us down here.
JOHN: And you believe there to be an exit?
ARTHUR: I don’t know, but we’ll figure that out when we’re away from her.
JOHN: Right. Stay low and keep your hand on the left wall.
(Grunting, Arthur continues to walk.)
JOHN: The passage here moves downward rather steeply; the walls are smoothed stone, as if hands have run across them for centuries.
(Arthur steps, sliding his hand along a wall.)
JOHN: The passageway is opening up here – oh!
JOHN: Arthur, this is a huge room… a temple of sorts, a place of worship. There’s an altar and a stone floor raised slightly to give an elevated feel to the circle around the center of this room. The walls are all dark stone. Sconces sit above piles of melted wax. Ceremonies of some sort were performed here. Blood stains the stone slab in the center of the room, and there are at least two passageways out.
(He walks further in.)
JOHN: I can’t really tell what – oh my god.
JOHN: The ceiling, it’s… there is a massive sculpted image of a creature, like the one we saw in the house back in Arkham.
JOHN: Yes. They’ve used the stalactites as trees, almost… carved his visage into the stonework above. It’s unnerving, to say the least.
ARTHUR: Jesus, what… we need to read this.
(He rustles paper.)
JOHN: The letter?
ARTHUR: Yes. We need to understand what Amanda found, exactly. Her note upstairs was vague, at best. I understand now that she wanted to protect all of this from getting out, from… from getting into the wrong hands, but we need context, and it’s clear that she spent a lot of time down here, before…
JOHN: Before the widow woke?
ARTHUR: Before she died.
(He rustles the letter.)
ARTHUR: Alright, what does it say?
JOHN (sighing and beginning to read): “My dear friend Anna:
(A wistful piano tune begins.)
I miss you. I hope things are well with you. I don’t know if you’ll come find me; this letter may go unread for centuries. Perhaps it will never be found, buried within the rock and stone beneath the island in the library I now write this from. Or, perhaps I will return, grab the letter myself, and find the answers I know we both desperately seek. Perhaps I’m being too dire.
As I’m sure you must be able to understand, I never left that basement. The events that happened ten years ago: the stone slabs, the cavernous walls, Antoine’s final plan, the portal, and Henry’s sacrifice… all of it stayed with me. I’ve carried it for these 10 years.
I thought coming here to Harper’s Hill would give me the tools to start again, and maybe it would have, had I not seen him: Antoine. Not alive, but in a photo. He was the same, like he hadn’t aged a day, and yet the photo I saw in the book called ‘A History of Harper's Hill’ was from almost a hundred years ago. He was the lighthouse keeper. I knew I couldn’t run from this anymore. I mean, this man, this monster, who ruined our lives, who ruined Emily’s life, he was staring back at me from the pages of a book.
I sought to find the island and discovered what was beneath it: this cavernous hideout. (He flips the pages.) I spent weeks poring over rooms, over pages, texts, diaries, to form what I think brought Antoine here: the promise to a dying master of his, from far too long ago, to summon Shub-Niggurath and bring about the end of the world. A task that could only be completed by finding those who were connected by blood to those who first started the ceremony 600 years prior. Obviously, as you and I know, it failed.
But something didn’t add up. I didn’t understand how he fit into this story. (Suspenseful strings start to rise.) Not Antoine or the creature that Henry killed, the abomination that Antoine tried to bring to this world – no, the one that came out of the gateway after. You know who I’m talking about. The one who wore yellow.
(A single ominous note.)
With Antoine’s story tied into a neat bow, I looked through other texts that he had here, other tomes that seemed to reveal more of this other world, and then I found it: “The King in Yellow”.
The King has nothing to do with Antoine, Anna, nor his plans. He simply used the portal because it was there – an opportunist who chose to enter our world. It sent a chill up my spine. Then, I saw his eyes in town. I don’t know how, but he found me. He is active, still. I knew that it was only a matter of time, so I learned all that I could.
Anna, this temple is not dedicated to him. It is here to serve Antoine’s machinations, to fulfill his original goal in summoning Shub-Niggurath. He spent hundreds of years between here and the lighthouse, waiting… but all of that had ended now. The King in Yellow is the real threat ,and he seeks to find me. There is an order that may still exist, those who worship the King, in a town north of here called Leerie.
You and I were young… or, younger. I understand why we didn’t see the form that emerged as something different, but he is here, and he will find you just as he found me.
The only two who know he exists in the world.
Good luck, Anna. May you find answers in Leerie.
Your friend, Sarah”
ARTHUR: I… so… so these girls were the ones in the house. This ‘Antoine’ was the original owner? Or the one who conducted whatever ceremony transpired in that secret basement. He opened a gateway for Shub-Niggurath.
JOHN: But something else came out of the portal before it closed.
ARTHUR: The King in Yellow.
(The widow screeches, Arthur gasps again.)
JOHN: Arthur, she’s coming this way!
ARTHUR: We need to move from this room.
JOHN: Left or –
ARTHUR: Left. There’s no time to debate.
(He hurries off, starting to pant.)
ARTHUR: So none of this has to do with Shub-Niggurath?
JOHN: No, that must have been what Amanda – uh, Sarah had meant when she said that they were wrong.
ARTHUR: And this temple is – is but a dead shrine to a being that no longer… what, exists?
JOHN: She didn’t say, but I didn’t get the impression they were around anymore. Whatever happened with Antoine in that basement ended it.
(The widow shrieks again, Arthur gasps.)
ARTHUR: What’s down here?
JOHN: Nothing. It’s a dead end.
ARTHUR (whispering): Fuck.
JOHN: She’s coming this way. (Slow plodding is audible in the background.)
ARTHUR: There must be something. What is in this room?
JOHN: Boxes, crates, maybe supplies.
ARTHUR: Can we move any? (He tries to move some, grunting.) Is there anything –
JOHN: Do you hear that?
ARTHUR: Running water?
JOHN: There must be something. Move that box – no, that one.
(Arthur moves the heavy box, grunting in exertion.)
JOHN (reverently): Yes! There’s a very small space at the bottom, a trickle of water sounding behind it.
ARTHUR: How small?
JOHN: It would be a tight squeeze. Get down on your belly.
ARTHUR: Right. (He gets down, breathing heavily. His voice starts to echo.) God, I can’t even…
JOHN: We have to try. (Arthur grunts and tries to move forward.) Turn your head to the right.
ARTHUR: I can barely move.
JOHN: Arthur, move forward.
ARTHUR: Does it open?
JOHN: I don’t know, Arthur. Keep moving.
(Arthur continues to grunt and move forward, scratching against the tunnel walls.)
JOHN: Keep shimmying. The space is barely big enough for you; you need to slide on your stomach.
ARTHUR (starting to breathe faster): John, I feel very claustrophobic right now. I’m really… I’m feeling a bit scared, I –
JOHN (sardonically): Hundreds of feet below the ground in a tight stone hole, moving down into the dark with a creature behind you. Why do you feel scared?
ARTHUR: John, this is not –
JOHN: Relax, you have this. Keep inching forward.
ARTHUR: I feel like it’s…
JOHN: Moving downwards, yes.
ARTHUR (woozy sigh): I can feel the blood rushing to my head.
JOHN: Arthur, just breathe.
ARTHUR: I can’t! I can barely move my chest. The passage, it’s – it’s so tight. John, I can’t breathe. The hole, it’s too small to fit through, I –
JOHN: Breathe out, all the way, so your lungs are empty, and then squeeze through to the end.
ARTHUR: I won’t have any air, I –
JOHN (intense): Then move quickly.
JOHN (commanding): Now!
(Arthur exhales and shuffles forward amidst rising tense music… only to push through the end and into open air. He sighs in relief.)
JOHN: Well done. (Suddenly fierce.) But she is climbing through the hole behind us!
(Rising tense music.)
ARTHUR: Oh – what? Fuck!
JOHN: We need to move!
ARTHUR: Is there a rock, ah… something I can –?
JOHN: To your right, on the ground! (Arthur picks up a rock, breathing heavily.) What are you…
ARTHUR: I’m going to smash her fucking brains in when she climbs out of the hole behind me!
JOHN: Are you sure?
ARTHUR: Yes, I’m sure!
(The widow’s growling approaches. Grunting, Arthur slams the rock on her skull. There’s intense squishing noises.)
JOHN: Arthur, she’s dead.
JOHN (barking): Arthur!
JOHN: Jesus, Arthur. She’s dead!
(He bludgeons her one last time.)
ARTHUR (breathing hard): I’m so done with things trying to fight us.
JOHN (disapproving): Was she?
ARTHUR: What? Of course, she – she was… how can you even…?
JOHN: Arthur, the – she didn’t seem like… I don’t know. She seemed like someone who might have been taken advantage of.
ARTHUR (disbelieving and angry): How? She was a cultist, John. She –
JOHN: She was a widow who moved out here to be with her husband.
ARTHUR: Who joined up with an insane cult. She’s – she’s a monster, for fuck’s sake! How can you –
JOHN: Her drawings! I don’t know, didn’t it feel like she might have been coerced? Maybe by the promise of her husband's return? I –
ARTHUR (scathing): Then she deserves this for being so eagerly duped. (He sighs.) I never would have let myself –
JOHN: I think you give yourself too much credit.
ARTHUR: Fuck you, John.
JOHN (furious, growling): Fuck me!? Fuck your eyes!
ARTHUR (determined): Fine. I’ll do it myself. (He rises to his feet on the gravel.) You think I need you? (Whispering.) I don’t need you. I can feel… there, there. (He laughs in satisfaction.) The passage.
(Arthur starts to push himself through the passage again.)
(Muttering to himself.) I’ve had nothing but… fucking trouble since I met you, you fucking prick. Okay, okay, okay. (He continues to move through, calming himself.)
(He grunts and laughs in relief.) There, I feel… fresh air.
You fucking –
(He laughs to himself.) And… stone? Not – not cave stone, but carved stone. Pieces, slabs… yes… on the walls, it – it goes around.
Okay. This… goes around here… uh… I know where this is, this – this is below the – this is the lighthouse basement. (He laughs to himself in triumph.) Fuck you! And there should be a… Ladder! Yes! Yes.
(Arthur starts to climb.) You think I need you? I don’t need you. There’s a hatch here. (He pushes himself through the hatch.) Fuck you, John.
(He laughs, pulling himself over the hatch.) Back in the lighthouse.
I’ll find a boat. I’ll get off this island. And then, I will find –
(He trips over something and grunts in pain.) Fuck.
(John cackles cruelly, quietly.)
ARTHUR: Fuck you. What… oh, right… the lighthouse keeper, he – it doesn’t matter. I’m done with this place.
(Suspenseful music rises. He continues to walk.)
I’m gonna go back down to –
OFFICER (Southern US accent): Excuse me! Can you stop right there, please?
ARTHUR: What? Who?
OFFICER: Don’t move.
ARTHUR: Who, uh –?
OFFICER: We’re looking for a Laurence Holder. Is that you?
ARTHUR (lying badly): No, that’s not me.
OFFICER: Nah, that ain’t you? Mitchell, can you go see who else is in that lighthouse. (They walk closer.) Sir, whose blood do you have all over you? Answer me. What’s your name?
ARTHUR (confidently): My name is Arthur.
OFFICER: Yeah? Do you have ID to confirm that?
ARTHUR: Yes! N-no… I… oh.
OFFICER: Anybody in there?
MITCHELL (Irish accent): Collin, there’s a body here. He’s fucking, uh… Jesus Christ.
COLLIN: What? Spit it out.
MITCHELL: His skin is – it looks… it looks like he’s been… he’s fucking dead.
COLLIN: What the fuck? (MITCHELL: I, uh.) Sir, I need you to turn around.
ARTHUR: No, I –
(He groans as the officer grabs him. Arthur is handcuffed and breathes in pain.)
MITCHELL (muttering to himself, scared): You should have seen him, he was fucking – chunks of his skin were pulled out, and he, and…
COLLIN: Hey, Caldwell, take a breath, it’s okay.
MITCHELL: Right, right.
(They walk off.)
COLLIN: Oh, so you do have ID. Laurence Holder, what a surprise.
(Mitchell continues to blubber to himself.)
COLLIN: Hey, are you okay?
MITCHELL: Yeah – no, yeah. I’m alright, yeah.
COLLIN (reassuring): Hey, it’s okay. We got him.
MITCHELL: You’re right, you’re right, you’re right.
(They walk off.)
ARTHUR: John, this is –
COLLIN: You need to shut up right now.
(John cackles again.)
COLLIN: Alright, can you take him back or you want me to?
MITCHELL: I, uh – maybe you could take him back?
COLLIN: Yeah, don’t worry about it, relax.
(Arthur is taken over the gravel. He moans.)
ARTHUR: I… I’m not who you think I –
COLLIN: I don’t fucking care. You’re lucky I didn’t shoot you on the spot.
(Arthur continues to groan in pain.)
COLLIN: I don’t fucking get you, man. You tell a man your name back in Harper’s Hill on the docks, you ask to use his boat, he says no. (Suddenly fierce.) Come on! Then you steal one in broad daylight and think no one is gonna come after you.
ARTHUR: I –
COLLIN: Ah, shut up.
(Arthur is punched hard.)
COLLIN: And then you come here to what, kill some guy? You fucking psycho.
ARTHUR (moaning): John.
(They walk onto the dock together.)
COLLIN: It’s Officer Burkhart to you, now you sit down, and you shut the fuck up. You sit still until we’re done.
(Arthur takes a seat on the boat. The sound of waves in the background. A sad melody begins to play.)
ARTHUR (whispering): John, you selfish prick. You could have told me they were there. You could’ve done anything, and instead you let me – you let us… (Fierce.) Fuck you, John. This is all your fault. All of it. Every bad choice we’ve ever made, every moment that’s fucked us is because of you. I was – I had a life until I met you. (His voice wavers. He sounds close to tears.) Now look at me… I’m nothing. I’ve lost everything I ever cared about… because of you. Fuck you.
(The audio fizzles, like static.)
JOHN (intense): I killed your partner.
JOHN: I killed your fucking partner.
ARTHUR: Was it…?
JOHN (faux-innocent): An accident? (He drops the facade.) No. I did it because I wanted to kill him.
ARTHUR: I –
JOHN: Now sit here, shut up, and let me watch these men fuck your life up.
(Arthur gasps and starts to breathe shakily.)
COLLIN: No, that’s fair, but ultimately don’t worry, because we’re gonna have to send him back for the body. Let’s go.
(The officers return, walking on the docks. )
MITCHELL: This sick fuck.
(Arthur is punched again.)
COLLIN: Don’t look at him, just – let’s get out of here. He’s gonna be locked up for a long time.
(They start the motor and sail away.)
(END Part 8.)