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Supped Full with Horrors Part 4 - Return to the Globe

Posted by Max_Writer , in Call of Cthulhu, Campaign Log 16 July 2017 · 113 views

CoC 1-6e

* * *

 

On Monday, June 28, 1613, Clancy Bottom was dressed down for his absence over the last few days. Hawksworth noticed but didn’t talk to the man.

 

The day saw the terribly complex tragedy Foreigners and Dogs shown at the Globe. By Roland Ashby, the play was about a plot to unseat the Holy Roman Emperor by leveraging his family and friends, referred to as “foreigners and dogs all.” In the end, the plot succeeded but the resulting destabilization of Europe also doomed England. A typical tragedy of the time, practically everyone died in the end. Hawksworth played several different characters, including the Holy Roman Emperor, Matthias, most of whom died. Roland Jay also played several characters who died tragic and terrible deaths, often to the great satisfaction of the audience. The plot was, unfortunately, very convoluted though, and the audience had trouble following it.

 

Dr. Whitewood and his wife Abigail came to see the play. Abigail loved it. When the King of England, James I, died trying to save the country in a terrible revolt of the masses at the end, she loved it and was entranced throughout the show. It was a little disturbing how much she enjoyed the deaths that played out. When Hawksworth died as Matthias, the Holy Roman Emperor, she gasped and looked quite shaken.

 

“He didn’t die for real, dear,” Dr. Whitewood said.

 

“I know!” she said, smacking the man in the arm. “Don’t spoil it for me! Thank you so much for bringing me.”

 

She wanted to talk to Mr. Hawksworth afterwards.

 

Peter Godfrey also went to the show and stayed awake for it. He left directly after the show.

 

* * *

 

After the show, Hawksworth approached Jaimes, who seemed to be in a good mood.

 

“Yes, Hawksworth,” Jaimes said to the man.

 

“Where in God’s breath did you fine Clancy Bottom?” Hawksworth said. “I thought for certain he was dead and you all brought him back to the living. Well done.”

 

Jaimes opened his mouth to answer.

 

“Before you say anything,” Hawksworth went on. “Well done. Regardless of what you had to go through, what you had to do, well done.”

 

“Flattery will get you nowhere,” Jaimes said coldly. “You had the chance to a be a hero.”

 

“I did. I’m a hero in fiction, not in reality.”

 

“But is that all?”

 

“Yes! It is all of my being. That is all that I am.”

 

“A shame.”

 

“Perhaps. Perhaps there wasn’t someone in danger that I cared about enough. Regardless. Please fill me in. What happened?”

 

“Wouldn’t you like to know.”

 

“Mr. Hawksworth!” a woman called. “Mr. Hawksworth! You did a wonderful job!”

 

It was Abigail Whitewood, accompanied by her husband.

 

“Oh,” Hawksworth said.

 

“Oh my dear, when you died I thought you were really dead for a moment,” Abigail said.

 

Jaimes just giggled and walked away.

 

Abigail fawned over Hawksworth, having been very impressed with his death scene.

 

“Why, Roland Jay has nothing on you, I dare say,” she said.

 

“He never did,” Hawksworth said.

 

She chatted with the woman for a little while until Dr. Whitewood took the very happy woman home.

 

* * *

 

Hawksworth approached Huddleston after that.

 

“Where in God’s breath did you find Clancy Bottom?” he asked the stage hand, much as he had asked the musician earlier.

 

“Well, Mr. Hawksworth, we found him in that abandoned church that you refused to go to with us,” Huddleston said.

 

“I sure did.”

 

“He was fine. He was a little bit shaken.”

 

“I’m surprised you all did not die over there.”

 

“No. There was very little danger to us at all, although … you know what? I’m not going to get into that.”

 

“Hm.”

 

“Huddleston, there are you are!” Clancy Bottom said, approaching the two. “I wanted to show you. I wanted to show you the things I told you of.”

 

“Oh,” Huddleston said. “Right.”

 

“Where’s Jaimes?”

 

“All right. I’ll come with you. Hawksworth, I’ll have to put off his conversation until later.”

 

“Uh … what?” Hawksworth said.

 

“Would you like to come with us?” Huddleston said. “It’s about what we saw last night.”

 

“Shouldn’t we keep this among as few people as possible?” Bottom said.

 

“In that case, we’ll talk later,” Huddleston said. “See you, Mr. Hawksworth.”

 

“What is going on?” Hawksworth said.

 

“Um … nothing, Mr. Hawksworth,” Bottom said.

 

Huddleston walked off. Bottom made ready to follow.

 

“I was looking for you,” Hawksworth said to him.

 

“What?” Bottom said. He called after Huddleston. “Mr. Hawksworth was looking for me too?”

 

“At one point,” Hawksworth said.

 

“Uh … yes, but he didn’t come at the end,” Huddleston said.

 

“Oh,” Bottom said.

 

He lowered his voice.

 

“Does he know what’s happening?” he asked.

 

“No, he doesn’t,” Huddleston said.

 

“Oh,” Bottom said. “It’s very nice to talk to you, Mr. Hawksworth.”

 

The two men left the actor standing there, befuddled.

 

* * *

 

Bottom showed Huddleston and Jaimes the numerous signs and sigils secreted about the theater. They were everywhere. They were out in the house. They were backstage. They were on props and flats. They were under props and flats. There were hundreds of them. They were always tucked in places one wouldn’t notice. One was carved under the step of a staircase. Another was carved on the bottom of a railing. Clancy told them he had stumbled across a few and then realized how many of them there were about the theater. After he had found some, he started to make an actual search of them. They were everywhere.

 

They realized it had not been done over the course of a week or so. The sheer number of the things seemed to indicate someone had been putting them all about the Globe for months, if not years. They seemed to be everywhere.

 

“Clearly all of this sigils are needed to perform whatever or spell or ritual or whatever these people are planning,” Huddleston said.

 

“But look, some of them are duplicates,” Bottom pointed out. “They’re the same as others elsewhere.”

 

“Well, the alternative option is to figure out who’s been carving them. Make sure they can’t do anything.”

 

“It would take someone of much more intelligence than I to figure that out.”

 

“All right, well … it’s taken about a year. Anyone who’s been here over a year would be a suspect, which is …”

 

“Everyone? I’ve been here over a year.”

 

“… which is basically everyone.”

 

Huddleston thought upon it.

 

“Anyone act suspicious to you recently?” he asked.

 

“No,” Bottom said.

 

“Maybe whoever is doing it is someone who recently came here,” Huddleston said.

 

There was no one who had only been working at the theater for a year or so.

 

Huddleston told Bottom he would do his best to figure it out. Bottom said he put his entire faith and hope in Huddleston that the witchcraft could be stopped.

 

“You’re much more intelligent than me, Huddleston,” Bottom said. “I’m sure that you could figure this out.”

 

He clapped the man on the shoulder.

 

“I know you can save us all from whatever terror is going to happen,” he said.

 

“Thank you,” Huddleston said.

 

He found Hawksworth.

 

“So, Hawksworth,” he said when he found the actor. “You wanted to know what was happening in the church.”

 

“I did,” Hawksworth said.

 

Huddleston told him the entire story of Clancy Bottom.

 

“Wait a second,” Huddleston suddenly said. “Isley told Bottom to go to the Mermaid. Bottom went there and, by pure coincidence he just happened to meet Loddington. What if Isley is somehow behind this?”

 

Then he remembered talking to Isley a few days before. When he had asked the man about Clancy, Isley had made no mention of sending Clancy to the Mermaid. That conflicted with what Clancy told him.

 

“So, either Isley’s lying or Bottom is lying,” Huddleston said.

 

Unfortunately, it was late afternoon before he had come upon that revelation. They soon learned Isley had already left the theater. Huddleston asked Hawksworth if he could take him to Dr. Whitewood and to Mr. Godfrey.

 

“I’ll take you to Whitewood and Whitewood will take you to Godfrey,” Hawksworth said.

 

Huddleston sought out Jaimes.

 

“Jaimes!” he said, catching the man before he left the theater.

 

“Yes?” Jaimes said.

 

“I am going to the Whitewoods to explain to Mr. Whitewood what’s been going on with all this,” Huddleston said. “Would you like to come?”

 

“I see,” Jaimes said. “Yes. I shall accompany you.”

 

Abigail greeted the three at the front door in wonderful spirits.

 

“Mr. Hawksworth and his friends!” she giggled. “Come in! Come in! Mr. Godfrey is here and I am sure they would like to have your for supper. Come in! Come in!”

 

* * *

 

Dr. Whitewood had a very intimate and wonderful afternoon with his plump wife, who was ever so appreciative of the play he had taken her to. He had invited Godfrey over for dinner that night and the two of them were drinking after the meal when Abigail escorted in the other three men and seated them. She left as Dr. Whitewood offered for the three to help themselves of the remaining food on the table. There was mutton, cheese, bread, and wine.

 

Hawksworth stabbed a bit of meat on his knife and then looked at Dr. Whitewood as if wondering about what kind of meat it was. Then he shook his head, figuring he was safe there and ate some.

 

“Thank you very much for the meal, Mr. Whitewood,” Huddleston said after they ate.

 

“Agreed,” Hawksworth said.

 

“You’re welcome,” Dr. Whitewood said. “Good play today. Good day.”

 

“Yes, I very much appreciate it,” Jaimes said of the food.

 

“Not my best,” Hawksworth said.

 

“You’re getting there though,” Dr. Whitewood said to him. “You’ll be great every time. I can feel it.”

 

“I can’t help it if the writers write shite,” Hawksworth said.

 

“That’s where it is!” Dr. Whitewood said.

 

“Well,” Huddleston said. “We have some information about what happened last night.”

 

He told them everything about what had happened at the church and about Isley and Clancy’s stories conflicting.

 

“I think that Isley might have something to do with it,” he said at the end.

 

“Which one is Isley?” Dr. Whitewood said.

 

Huddleston told him Isley was one of the stage hands. He was Irish and a carpenter who had worked at the Globe for some time. He was a greasy man with blonde hair and a beard. Dr. Whitewood remembered seeing the man moving set pieces and acting in small parts.

 

“Don’t trust the Scots!” Hawksworth said, helping himself to some more wine.

 

“Okay,” Huddleston said. “I think he might have something to do with it. He was a little cryptic whenever I asked him about Bottom the other day. And I recently heard from Bottom that Isley was the one who told him to go to the Mermaid in the first place, which is where he met Loddington. And … well … we all know what Loddington and company’s issue is. So, what if Isley … what if Bottom … Bottom’s not smart enough to figure something like that out, but what if Isley was scared that he was so he sent Loddington after Bottom to get him out of the way, which does lead to the question of how would Isley know Loddington.”

 

“That’s a lot of conjecture,” Dr. Whitewood said.

 

“Can I also say that I think it’s pretty interesting that the person you think is at the middle of all this is a carpenter and there are hundreds of signs around the Globe,” Hawksworth said. “So, who better to do that than a carpenter himself.”

 

“So …” Huddleston said.

 

“So … what?” Dr. Whitewood said.

 

“I’m thinking we should probably try to investigate Isley,” Huddleston said.

 

“Sounds good,” Dr. Whitewood said.

 

They soon realized no one knew where Isley lived in London. However, they realized he would be at the theater the next day. Dr. Whitewood said they could follow the man from there. Dr. Whitewood and Godfrey planned to be at the Globe the next day for the play. Hawksworth told them it was the third showing of All is True by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher. The historical play was about Henry VIII and filled with pageantry and even cannon fired to announce the King entering a masquerade. It had been very popular and loved by everyone. He pointed out he was playing Henry VIII.

 

They parted, everyone going to their respective homes.

 

* * *

 

It was very hot on Tuesday, June 29, 1613. The morning was filled with rehearsals for other shows. All is True was set to start around one o’clock, just after lunch. They all saw Isley there, as usual, backstage. Only Hawksworth noticed Isley seemed expectant and in a very good mood. There was a bounce in his step as he prepared various set pieces. He smiled at everyone and simply seemed to be very happy. Hawksworth was unnerved by that, remembering the play The Pirates of Candle Cove 13 years before and wondering if this was somehow connected to that. He wondered if Isley wanted the play to happen much in the way Machel had wanted The Pirates of Candle Cove to be done.

 

Huddleston talked to Isley before the show as the latter fiddled with some of the costumes. Isley was whistling.

 

“Isley, do you need any help?” Huddleston asked him.

 

“What?” the man replied.

 

“Do you need any help?”

 

“Oh no. No no. Everythin’s fine! Oh no. It’s great! It’s gonna be a wonderful day, I tell y’ what, Huddleston. I understand y’ helped find Bottom. Good job, Huddleston.”

 

“Well─”

 

“What else did y’ find out?”

 

“Um … nothing much, sir.”

 

“I’m glad y’ found ‘im, he’s a good man. He sticks his nose in where it’s no’ wanted sometimes, but sometimes it doesna matter when people interfere, does it? I’ve got to go over here and move this set piece, but if y’ wan’ t’ talk anymore, y’ just let me know. Y’ let me know!”

 

He gave Huddleston a friendly punch on the shoulder and walked away.

 

“Thank you, Isley,” Huddleston said. “I’m glad to have Mr. Bottom back too.”

 

He had never seen Isley in such a happy mood.

 

“He’s a good friend,” Huddleston called.

 

“Me too!” Isley called. “Talk to me after the show starts. Can’t wait! Can’t wait! I love the show.”

 

Huddleston remembered Isley was not as excited in the first or second showing of the play.

 

“He said that Bottom ‘stuck his nose in where he shouldn’t have,’ Huddleston said to himself.

 

Hawksworth was close enough to overheard the stage hand talking to himself.

 

“Right,” he muttered to himself.

 

“Which makes me think that he had figured out that Bottom was looking at all these symbols and … well …” Huddleston mumbled.

 

Hawksworth, nearby, nodded.

 

“And he’s really excited about the play to start,” Huddleston said to himself. “Which means that something is going to happen during the play. He’s normally never this excited at the start of a play. And … so, something bad is going to happen at the start of the play and he knew that Bottom knows, so he tried to get rid of Bottom and …”

 

“Five minutes,” someone called backstage. “Five minutes everyone.”

 

Hawksworth walked off.

 

Huddleston could hear the murmur of people out in the house.

 

“I need to let someone know about this!” Huddleston said. “I need to tell Jaimes!”

 

He found the musician and told him everything he’d figured out.

 

“Blimey!” Jaimes muttered. “I don’t even know where to begin. Really?”

 

“If I’m correct then yes,” Huddleston said.

 

“I did see that he was acting a bit more chipper than usual.”

 

“Yeah, he’s never this happy. None of the stage hands are. Well, except Bottom.”

 

“What are we to do? The play must continue. The show must go on.”

 

“Obviously, we can’t stop the show. We just need to stop Isley from whatever he’s up to.”

 

Nearby, Edward Unton, one of the tiremen helped Hawksworth with his costume for King Henry VIII.

 

“Even if we somehow manage to get Isley out of the building, what’s to say something hasn’t already been set aside to happen without him?” Jaimes said.

 

“If something’s going to happen when the play starts, that means we would need to stop the play,” Huddleston said. “But we can’t just stop the play for … wait! Who would be in charge of the play? Hawksworth would! If we can get Hawksworth to delay things, then we can figure out a way to stop Isley.”

 

“Are you sure about that? He’s a tough bugger to persuade.”

 

“Hawksworth won’t be easily convinced but … it’s possible. I don’t know. But I think it might be the only way to figure out who is behind this.”

 

“Places everyone!” someone called backstage. “Places!”

 

“Even though I’m sure it’s Isley at this point,” Huddleston said. “Hurry, we have to get Hawksworth! There’s little time!”

 

“Do you know where Isley is, though?” Jaimes said.

 

They looked around and finally found Isley doing the work he was supposed to do at the start of the play. They went in search of Hawksworth.

 

* * *

 

Both Dr. Whitewood and Godfrey came to the show, sitting on the second floor of the theater. They looked forward to the well-received history. Dr. Whitewood had not brought his wife as she sometimes enjoyed the histories and sometimes did not.

 

The people in the pit were getting anxious, beating on the front of the stage and calling for the show to start.

 

“Ruffians,” Dr. Whitewood said.

 

The man next to him, a handsome man with light brown goatee and mustache, leaned over to him.

 

“Oh, I daresay,” he said. “I’ve heard such good things about this play.”

 

He wore fine clothing and a wide ruff.

 

“This is a very good play,” Dr. Whitewood said.

 

“Sir Henry Wotton,” the other man said, shaking his hand.

 

“Ah.”

 

“Yes. Ambassador. I’m looking forward to this one. It sounds like a good one.”

 

* * *

 

Huddleston and Jaimes found Hawksworth backstage as the play began. He didn’t have his entrance until midway through the first act. Hawksworth looked upward and at an angle, his shoulders back, and staring at a point on the wall. He had been given some padding to give him the Henry VIII bulk and he wore a floppy hat. He also wore a cape with fur lining.

 

Act I had started. On the stage, the English court was abuzz with news from the Field of Cloth of Gold, which was a spectacular peace conference between England and France.

 

“Hawksworth,” Jaimes said. “Hear us out now.”

 

“I’m not Hawksworth,” the actor replied. “I’m King Henry VIII.”

 

“King Henry VIII, hear us out now,” Huddleston said.

 

Hawksworth looked down his nose at the man.

 

“What do you have to say, peasant?” he said.

 

“Me and John think Isley─” Jaimes started.

 

“Isley tried to get rid of Bottom,” Huddleston said.

 

“He’s planning something!”

 

“He’s planning something and it’s going to start when you come out!”

 

“Bottom is no longer in the clutches of Lord Loddington,” Hawksworth said.

 

“But haven’t you seen how Isley’s been acting?” Jaimes said. “It’s very strange.”

 

“This is the third performance of this play!” Hawksworth said. “This either becomes popular or it fails here. If we succeed on the third performance, it is a success and it will show for ages!”

 

“You’re not listening!” Jaimes said.

 

“And if everyone dies, then it will be remembered as the play where everyone in the audience died because an evil death spell was─” Huddleston said.

 

“This is not The Pirates of Candle Cove!” Hawksworth said. “This is not an evil play. This is a play of one of the greatest kings of all of Britain: King Henry VIII.”

 

“You can’t go on!” Huddleston said.

 

“Which I’m playing.”

 

“You can’t go out there! Something is going to happen.”

 

“Y’re doin’ a grea’ job, Hawksworth,” a voice came from behind the actor.

 

Dennis Isley had crept up on them as they spoke. Huddleston went pale.

 

“You’re gonna do a wonderful job, Mr. Hawksworth,” Isley said.

 

“I’m going to make a classic,” Hawksworth said. “A classic.”

 

“Aye, it’ll be a classic, tha’s right. But it’ll be a classic for more than y’ think. For, y’ see, your friend ha’ found me out. I am much more than I seem for y’ behold not just a stage hand bu’ a sorcerer. Aye, tha’s right. The spell is set and canna be stopped. By the end of All is True, all shall be true and we will have a new Queen o’ England, or should I say an old queen of England.

 

“Elizabeth shall live again.

 

“I have long been a learned man though was taught the trade of a carpenter by m’ father. I learned o’ things esoteric and strange. When Elizabeth died 10 years ago, she left th’ country in turmoil and then tha’ fraud James VI … a Stuart. He became king. Of all th’ indignity. It is so appropriate tha’ a play about Henry VIII, his great-great-grandfather, shall see his loss of the throne of England! The pig! M’ mother died due t’ his accusations o’ witchcraft when he was King o’ Scotland! How apropos tha’ one using witchcraft will unseat him.

 

“The spell is already set and it canna be undone. By the time the play is over, the mood o’ those watchin’ will be enough to set it into motion and Elizabeth will live again, drawn from the ether and present on the stage. The play astounds and enlightens, nay, even causes its watchers t’ rejoice! These feelings power the spell and will power Elizabeth when she returns.

 

“But think not o’ stopping the show now. Anger might also fuel the magic, if you are no’ careful. And endin’ the play prematurely or in such a way as to upset the audience overmuch will work the magic much the same. Yet then, Elizabeth will be vengeful and, as her regent and her court sorcerer, I will see that she has vengeance upon y’ once all is done.

 

“There’s no way to stop this. The entire Globe is a summoning circle for the spell. There’s nothing y’ can do.

 

“So, see the play through. Finish it. Make it as much an inspiration as it has been thus far and y’ will see Elizabeth on the throne once again. There will be no fear in England ever again!”

 

He patted Hawksworth on the back.

 

“You’re mad!” Jaimes said.

 

“No,” Isley said. “I see. Now, I’ve got t’ go move a set piece.”

 

“Even if─!” Huddleston said.

 

But it was too late. The man had walked away.

 

“Elizabeth returning as Queen of England would be the greatest thing that ever happened,” Hawksworth said. “And if I can be a part of that, then I shall be.”

 

Huddleston and Hawksworth realized, however, that if the spell worked, whatever came back might be controlled by something from outside.

 

“Even if having her back would be a good thing, if she’s controlled by something else, then …” Huddleston said.

 

“It’s completely insane!” Jaimes said.

 

“You know what?” Huddleston said. “You’re right. It’s complete … it’s daft. Isley doesn’t know what he’s thinking!”

 

“Through the entire of my career at the Globe, I have only failed one play,” Hawksworth said. “That was The Pirates of Candle Cove which, I believed with the help of Stubb and Massingberd, they convinced me to throw the play. I was ashamed. I was belittled. And I will never do that again. Regardless of the outcome of this play, I will play Henry VIII to his fullest potential. If you want to throw the damned play, do it. I will not be a part of it.”

 

He walked away.

 

“We need to get Godfrey and Whitewood,” Huddleston said to Jaimes.

 

“I’m not sure what we can do at this point, but we can’t … we can’t leave them in the dark,” Jaimes said.

 

“Yes, we have to talk to them,” Huddleston said. “Do you think you can go up front and get them?”

 

“Yes,” Jaimes said. “Yes.”

 

Jaimes made his way out into the house.

 

* * *

 

Dr. Whitewood was enjoying the play along with Godfrey and Sir Wotton when Jaimes approached them. Jaimes started to tell Dr. Whitewood what was happening but was shushed by the people around them.

 

“We’re trying to watch the play!” someone said.

 

Jaimes glared at the man. He started to speak again and was shushed again.

 

“Would you please keep it down?” another man said.

 

“We have to get out of here!” Jaimes said to Dr. Whitewood. “I’ll explain later but we need to get out.”

 

The three of them left the second floor, exiting the building as Jaimes told them what they had learned. They entered the theater from the back and found Huddleston near the door. There was still a few minutes until Henry VIII entered.

 

“So, the symbols are the spell,” Dr. Whitewood said.

 

“Yes,” Huddleston said.

 

“And the symbols are all around the theater.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Is there a way to destroy the symbols?”

 

“Isley has let us know that there’s no way to possibly stop this from happening,” Jaimes said.

 

“There’s hundreds of these symbols,” Huddleston said. “Even if we manage to destroy some of them, who knows if that would actually stop the spell or if that would just be some form of malformed version of the spell that would turn out even worse?”

 

“So, you’re saying we have to take care of all of them,” Dr. Whitewood said. “In five minutes.”

 

“The only way we have of doing that is burning this entire place to the ground,” Huddleston said

 

“Out of the way,” Edward Unton said as he passed by them. “Out of the way. Out of the way.”

 

He and Richard Steward were carrying the fire rack towards the back doors. The device was a rack of small cuplike containers used to hold black powder and wadding. When each was lit, they created a small explosion. It was most often used for battle scenes and the like. In the case of All is True, they were fired off when King Henry VIII entered the stage in the first act. The two men headed outside with the device.

 

“Sorry,” Steward said. “Sorry. Sorry.”

 

Huddleston and Jaimes remembered they’d been told to place it further from the theater than usual so as not to start a fire in the dry conditions that had beset London for the last few weeks.

 

“If we do that, who knows how many people would escape,” Huddleston said, watching the men go out. “It would mean the end of our jobs, probably.”

 

“There were plays before the theater,” Dr. Whitewood said.

 

“But if we do nothing then that means, this entire country could fall victim to some sort of malformed … something picking over our country,” Huddleston went on.

 

Dr. Whitewood looked up at the thatch roof of the place.

 

“I get the feeling we’re just going to have to burn this whole place to the ground,” Huddleston went on. “But I’m not sure if I want to.”

 

“The theater can always be rebuilt,” Dr. Whitewood said.

 

“The theater can be rebuilt, but if people die … it’s not like we can bring them back to life. Or, well, I suppose we could but it would be breaking all of the laws of everything.”

 

“Well, we don’t have much time. So, how do we do it?”

 

“So, you think we should just burn this place to the ground? Save who we can? Try to keep the spell from happening?”

 

“We don’t have a choice!” Jaimes said.

 

“But how?” Dr. Whitewood said. “We need the how! What were those fellows doing with that rack?”

 

Huddleston explained it to him while Jaimes urged them to do something quickly.

 

“If we were somehow able to get it closer, we could set the whole place on fire,” Huddleston said.

 

“Let’s do it,” Dr. Whitewood said.

 

Whitewood and Godfrey left the theater, Huddleston and Jaimes quickly getting Clancy, and saw where Unton had positioned the firing rack. They had moved it far enough away from the theater to make sure the thatch was not set on fire. Unton was listening for their cue.

 

“Stop what you’re doing!” Dr. Whitewood said to Unton.

 

The man shushed him, still trying to hear what was going on within the theater.

 

“Unton, Bottom and I came out here to let you know Hawksworth has a new command for you,” Huddleston said.

 

“What?” Unton said. “What’re you talkin’ about?”

 

“Hawksworth told me this. He wants you to put the cannons a little bit closer.”

 

“No no no. That’s against the rules.”

 

Jaimes moved to Unton and took a swing at him.

 

“What!?!” Unton said, dropping the match. “What is wrong with you!?! What is wrong with you, Jaimes? I’ve got to fire these things in just a few seconds.”

 

“We don’t have time!” Jaimes said to the man. “You don’t understand what is going on! You don’t understand what is at stake here!”

 

“Yeah! You’re going to ruin the play! The explosions are great!”

 

“It’s more than just the play!”

 

Unton reached for the match but Jaimes blocked the man. Dr. Whitewood grabbed the rig and moved it closer to the theater to a position that would aim right up into the thatch.

 

“Wait!” Unton said. “Who the hell are you!?!”

 

Godfrey took out a pouch full of coins.

 

“Just take a break,” he told Unton. “Go to a pub nearby. You saw none of this.”

 

The man looked at the heavy bag of money.

 

“Okay,” he said.

 

He took the bag and walked away.

 

They heard the cue inside come and go and then the actors on the stage started blatantly talking about how the king would be there soon.

 

“Bottom!” Huddleston said. “Light these! Now!”

 

“All right,” Bottom said. “All right!”

 

He picked up the match and lit all three of the cups on the rack.

 

“They’re not going off─” he started to say

 

The explosives fired, one after another, startling him badly. Inside, they heard the audience cheering as Henry VIII came onto the stage and the play continued.

 

Nothing else apparently happened. Clancy thanked them for letting him fire the rack and then went back in.

 

Huddleston realized if the sparks fired into the thatch, it could be a while before it actually caught. Dr. Whitewood started to gather things that would burn backstage.

 

Huddleston told Bottom of everything that was happening with Isley and that seemed to disturb the man greatly. When he asked how to stop it, they told him they were trying to light the theater on fire. He didn’t seem to like that either. Huddleston tried to get Bottom out of the theater but he told him all of the things he was supposed to be doing for the play.

 

“We put the cannons really close to the theater,” Huddleston told Bottom. “There’s a chance that it might have set the roof on fire.”

 

“Oh!” Bottom said. “I get it. Did it work?”

 

“I don’t know. I don’t know. I think we need to go out and check.”

 

“I’ll go check!”

 

Bottom ran out to look and immediately came back in.

 

“I don’t see any smoke,” he said. “I don’t see any fire.”

 

* * *

 

When Jaimes returned to the stage, late, to play as part of the musicians at the masquerade in the first act, he noticed a little bit of smoke near the top of the theater. It wasn’t enough that anyone else would even notice it unless they were looking for it.

 

* * *

 

It was not until Act III of the play they noticed a haze in the theater. The audience didn’t. They probably thought it was just idle smoke. However, in the middle of Act III, the smoldering thatch burst into flames around the roof. Hawksworth was giving a speech and saw it, but just continued. The other actors fled.

 

The audience panicked, fleeing to various exits. Bits of burning thatch floated down as the rafters near the top caught fire. One man’s breeches were set on fire but he put it out with a bottle of ale and ran away. There was a great deal of screaming and terror as the playgoers, actors and stage hands fled from the terrible scene.

 

Backstage, Huddleston grabbed Bottom to flee but Bottom refused to leave, helping other panicked actors and stage people escape. Godfrey fled, leaving the burning building.

 

Hawksworth remained on the stage, acting, apparently oblivious to everything going on.

 

Dr. Whitewood ran to Hawksworth who seemed to be waiting for his next line. He recognized the man and saw the Globe was on fire but continued his lines. Dr. Whitewood ripped his cape and hat off. Hawksworth finished his speech and stood there, waiting for the next line. Dr. Whitewood pulled on him.

 

“What is it?” Hawksworth whispered. “Did I miss a line?”

 

Dr. Whitewood slapped the man in the face. Hawksworth repeated his last line.

 

Dr. Whitewood remembered the next line but realized it didn’t have Hawksworth leaving the stage anytime soon.

 

* * *

 

Jaimes, in shock as the theater burned all around him, finally came to his senses and fled the theater. He saw Huddleston running out ahead of him. Jaimes noticed Hawksworth and Dr. Whitewood on the stage. He fled.

 

* * *

 

Dr. Whitewood told Hawksworth his next line was a line in the play of another part that exited directly after he spoke. Hawksworth said the line as he felt he was being prompted, not uncommon even for him. But then he realized it was not his line. Someone was prompting him with the wrong line. But he still said it, and he turned to exit the stage.

 

As they headed upstage together, Dr. Whitewood took one last look at the burning theater. He saw someone standing center stage amidst lights and sparks. It appeared to be a naked woman, her back to him. Then Isley sprinted onto the stage.

 

“Queen Elizabeth!” he shouted. “Queen Elizabeth!”

 

Hawksworth looked around at the figures on the stage.

 

“That’s not right,” he muttered, looking around. “That’s not right at all. What the hell is going on?”

 

The woman turned around, eyes closed as Isley reached her. He knelt before her. Hawksworth and Dr. Whitewood recognized the woman from pictures they’d seen. It was a young Queen Elizabeth.

 

“Your Majesty,” he said. “I’ve brought y’ back to save England! But y’re in danger! Y’ must come with me.”

 

He held out his hand.

 

Elizabeth’s eyes opened but there were no eyes there, merely black pits of infinity. She opened her mouth with an inhuman, alien scream and four tentacles burst out of her abdomen and belly. Hawksworth started screaming hysterically. The thing lashed out with the tentacles and two of them grabbed hold of Isley as he screamed in terror as well.

 

Dr. Whitewood pulled on Hawksworth, dragging the shrieking actor from the theater. Isley struggled against the thing. Hawksworth couldn’t look away, screaming and screaming as he fled. The woman opened from her chin to her crotch and pulled Isley into herself. The man was just gone.

 

As they rushed towards the exit, Hawksworth shrieking and shrieking and shrieking, the horrible woman on the stage moved towards them, but seemed cowed by the flames all around it. It backed away, the tentacles flailing madly about.

 

They fled the burning building.

 

The fire spread quickly and the entirety of the Globe was engulfed and burned to the ground within a few hours. Hawkers sold food and drink to the crowd gathered there to watch it burn. Most of the theater-goers stayed to watch, including Sir Henry Wotton.

 

* * *

 

There was no real inquiry into the ordeal of the theater burning down. Over the next weeks, the rubble was sorted through in hopes of finding anything that could be recovered. No bodies or bones were found and the assumption was that no one had died in the fire. Hawksworth and Dr. Whitewood did not see the thing that consumed Isley die. They were unsure if it died and burned up in the fire or escaped somehow.

 

Plans began almost immediately to rebuild the Globe Theater - this time with a slatted roof. By 1614, the building was rebuilt, bigger and better than it was before. Clancy Bottom was part of those who help rebuild the Globe Theater. However, over that year, Bottom was seen less and less of an evening and sometimes for a few days at a time. He grew more and more troubled by what happened at the Globe in 1613.

 

* * *

 

In the Fall of 1614, Mrs. Bottom came again to the Globe to find her missing husband, who’d been gone for more than a week. She confessed the man left a note, saying he’d gone away to a better life, and a chest filled with ancient Roman coins, jewelry, and other treasures she didn’t know he had, more than enough to see her and her children to a rich, happy life. But she wanted to know what happened to him.

 

She handed over a note written in his rough hand she said she was supposed to give to whomever had helped him at the Globe. She didn’t understand it at all. It read:

 

My Dearest Friend,

 

I cannot but hope this finds you well but after our adventure last year, and the terrors
of it all, I feel I need better know what the world is really all about. I go to join those
whom you first found me with in that churchyard. They have promised me something
different and I find myself quite tempted by it and by the taste that was forced upon me
by the terrible Lord L. I have left Agnus with all she’ll need to have a good life, thanks
to these new friends. They promise to show me wonders like I’ve never seen before and
I fear I must go. Don’t grieve for me. I’ll grieve for you as I am sure I will outlive you …
perhaps forever.

 

Clancy Bottom

 

* * *

 

Francis Jaimes had, all his life, been a person who shied away from others. Because of the strange incidents of 1613, he realized people were willing to help one another and look after each other. That inspired the man somewhat. He had a better hope of humanity after that.

 

John Huddleston, who felt like Clancy Bottom was his best friend in the theater, left the Globe not long after Bottom disappeared. He had a little money saved and so decided to leave England for America in the hopes of making a life for himself there. He was off to the Jamestown Colony.

 

Vincent Hawksworth didn’t change at all, staying with the troupe at the new Globe Theater.

 

Peter Godfrey returned to banking.

 

Dr. Everett Whitewood, somewhat bothered by the thing he had seen in the theater, refused to eat fish and other food from both the sea and the Thames after that.







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