Sunday, June 5, 2016
(After playing the Call of Cthulhu scenario â€œThe King of Shreds and Patchesâ€ by Justin Hynes from Strange Aeons today from 1p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with Kyle Matheson, Katie Gallant, James Brown, and Collin Townsend.)
After talking to the mad David Moore on the morning of Saturday, January 8, 1603, Vincent Hawksworth, Octavian Skern, and Dr. Everett Whitewood were glad to leave St. Mary of Bethlehem madhouse. They found Reginald Selwyn and Peter Godfrey at the alehouse across the street, drinking heavily.
â€œWhy did you the two of you run out of St. Maryâ€™s?â€ Hawksworth asked them.
â€œIt smelled in there!â€ Selwyn said.
â€œWell, of course it does. Whatâ€™d you expect?â€
â€œNot that bad!â€
â€œAnd you, Godfrey?â€
â€œI just â€¦ uh â€¦â€ Godfrey said. â€œI was feeling a little bit thirsty.â€
â€œThere werenâ€™t even stairs this time.â€
â€œThere might have been down the hall!â€
â€œPossibly. But there werenâ€™t. So â€¦â€
â€œWell, now we know so â€¦â€
â€œNow we know.â€
â€œâ€¦ next time.â€
â€œI hope there isnâ€™t a next time. Anyways, we spoke to Moore and he said Joseph should be dead because he shot him in the chest.â€
â€œWell, thatâ€™ll do it.â€
â€œUnless you all know of some sort of garment that could keep one alive â€¦ I would hope that research into such a device might come about one day. But who knows?â€
â€œAre you talking crazy again?â€
â€œMaybe we could stop bullets someday. Anyways, there seems to be a man who knows more about summoning this man in yellow, the king in yellow? A Doctor Dee. Surely you all have heard of Doctor Dee.â€
Selwyn had heard of Dr. John Dee. He knew the man was in his 70s and a scholar who had also been a spy for Elizabeth whose code number was 007. He invented compasses and wrote on navigational techniques. He was quite the genius. Rumor also had it he was a necromancer and user of magic through his crystal gazing techniques. Selwyn knew he had a partner named Edward Kelley who heâ€™d had a falling out with and Dee had returned to England and now lived somewhere in Manchester where he worked at Christâ€™s College. He had actually thought about robbing the man but hadnâ€™t ever followed through with it. He had heard a rumor the man was in High Wycombe presently.
They would need a license to travel to High Wycombe as well as money for the coach. They guessed it would take about a day to travel there and back.
â€œHigh Wycombe, I donâ€™t think we have time to go to High Wycombe today,â€ Hawksworth said.
â€œMaybe tomorrow,â€ Selwyn said.
â€œIf there is a tomorrow,â€ Hawksworth said.
â€œWhat if we split up?â€ Skern asked.
â€œWell, what do you think?â€ Hawksworth said. â€œDo you think visiting Doctor Dee would be a good idea?â€
â€œI believe so,â€ Selwyn said. â€œBut we need to keep our eyes on Shakespeare at the moment.â€
â€œOh, I will not take my eyes off of Shakespeare. Iâ€™m far too concerned over him.â€
â€œAnd four sets are better than one.â€
â€œSets of eyes?â€ Skern asked. â€œFour sets of eyes?â€
â€œFour sets of what?â€ Hawksworth asked.
â€œEyes,â€ Selwyn said.
â€œYes!â€ Skern said.
â€œEyes,â€ Selwyn said.
He pulled out a scrap of paper.
â€œAlso, it does say thereâ€™s something going on, maybe, on the 12th,â€ he said.
â€œThe 12th?â€ Hawksworth said.
â€œOf January this year,â€ Selwyn said, showing him the scrap of paper heâ€™d found in Van der Wyckâ€™s workroom. It had a diagram of a many-faceted gem, giving measurements for cuts to be made. Several mathematical calculations were scribbled beside the carefully drawn diagram. In the top corner of the diagram was the date January 12th.
â€œWhere did you find this?â€ Hawksworth asked.
â€œIn the jewelry store â€¦ with that dead lady,â€ Selwyn said.
â€œGodfrey, what do you think of all this?â€ Skern asked.
â€œWhat?â€ Godfrey replied.
â€œThis picture of this gem here,â€ Skern said. â€œThis diagram.â€
â€œWell thatâ€™s not until the 12th,â€ Godfrey said nervously, barely glancing at it. â€œI think we should focus more on Shakespeare right now. I think we should focus on Shakespeare for now â€¦ and then turn our attention to that.â€
â€œExactly,â€ Hawksworth said. â€œTodayâ€™s the eighth, which means we have four days.â€
â€œExactly!â€ Godfrey said.
â€œFour days,â€ Selwyn said.
â€œYou know what?â€ Skern said. â€œI think we have four whole days.â€
â€œYou are correct,â€ Selwyn said.
â€œTwelve minus eight is four,â€ Hawksworth said. â€œWe have four days.â€
â€œVery good, Hawksworth,â€ Selwyn said. â€œSo, we should do Shakespeare today. And then we can go do Mr. Dee on the morrow.â€
â€œWe should still set up the arrangements for Mr. Dee,â€ Hawksworth said.
â€œWe have a few hours,â€ Selwyn said.
â€œThen off we go,â€ Hawksworth said.
â€œThereâ€™s 24 hours in a day,â€ Skern said.
â€œI was just thinking something,â€ Hawksworth said. â€œIf Dr. Dee did come to the play, seeing as how itâ€™s a new play from Shakespeare, would you be able to see him in a crowd of people?â€
â€œI believe I know his features,â€ Selwyn said.
â€œDo you know him person to person or are you just an admirer of sorts?â€
â€œI do admire his work.â€
â€œSo he doesnâ€™t know you?â€
â€œNot as well. No.â€
â€œBut you do think you could spot him?â€
â€œI could spot him.â€
â€œGood. I think Iâ€™m going to head back to the Globe now because Shakespeare is probably already there.â€
â€œAnd I shall make arrangements for the travel.â€
â€œI will reimburse you.â€
â€œAs will I,â€ Godfrey said.
â€œThat was expected,â€ Selwyn said.
Hawksworth, Skern, and Godfrey left for the Globe Theater while Selwyn went to make arrangements for travel. Dr. Whitewood took his leave of them, citing he had patients to see that day.
* * *
They met again an hour or so later in the Pit at the Globe Theater. Selwyn was the last to arrive, having taken some time to arrange for travel licenses for them. The theater was packed for the new play, steam from the crowd rising through the chilly air. Open to the sky, the three-story theater was almost in the round, the stage visible through 280 degrees. The stage was large and roofed to keep any rain off the playersâ€™ heads, as were the seats in the building around the stage. The main viewing area in front of the stage was open to the elements and light.
The four set themselves strategically around the stage with Selwyn being on the house right side, Skern on the house left side, and Hawksworth and Godfrey in front of the stage. All of them watched for anyone suspicious though they didnâ€™t have any idea what Joseph or Van der Wyck looked like, exactly.
At 2 p.m., the players took the stage, the renowned Richard Burbage taking the role of Hamlet. The play started very strongly with the appearance of a ghost on the ramparts of Castle Elsinore and Horatioâ€™s attempt to talk to it. The second scene took place in the brightly lit court with Hamlet dressed in black, still mourning his fatherâ€™s death but two months before.
Burbage began Hamletâ€™s first soliloquy.
â€œO, that this too too solid flesh would melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!â€ he said.
As he continued with his riveting words, Hawksworth and Selwyn noticed a beaming Shakespeare visible in the wings, apparently unable to wait backstage. Burbage was, perhaps, about halfway through the first soliloquy when Shakespeare suddenly staggered onto the stage, his face contorted with pain and anguish. He clutched at his chest and collapsed to his knees as Burbage stopped talking and the other actors gathered about the fallen playwright.
Selwyn saw something out of the corner of his eye and looked towards the third floor seats. A well-dressed man with squinty eyes, a hawk-like nose, and a large hat had stood up from his seat, his face contorted with evil glee, muttering under his breath, his hand outstretched towards Shakespeare. Hawksworth and Godfrey also saw the man.
â€œQuick!â€ Selwyn yelled. â€œGet him off the stage!â€
He climbed up onto the stage as Hawksworth and Godfrey pushed through the crowd towards the back of the theater where steps led to the third floor. Skern climbed onto the stage.
â€œIs there a physician?â€ one of the actors cried in terror. â€œHe seems to have an imbalance of the humors!â€
Selwyn ran to Shakespeare while Skern looked around and finally spotted the man staring at Shakespeare and muttering under his breath. The people around hadnâ€™t seemed to have noticed him as they were watching what was happening on the stage. Skern looked around for something to throw but there was nothing on the stage near him. He drew his dagger and flung it, missing the man and hitting the man next to him in the chest.
â€œWhoâ€™s that madman!?!â€ someone cried.
People started moving away from the stage as the stricken man screamed and leapt from his seat, running away. The woman next to him screamed â€œMurder!â€ and fled as well. People in the balcony seats fled from the area but the man continued to mutter under his breath and grin wickedly as he cast his spell. People in the pit started to panic, fleeing from the strangeness of Shakespeareâ€™s attack and the apparent madman on the stage.
Selwyn reached Shakespeare as the actors around him loosened the bardâ€™s ruff and fanned him, trying to give him air. The man gasped for breath, clutched at his chest, and reached into the air.
â€œWe have to get him out of sight!â€ Selwyn said.
He was met with blank looks from the actors.
â€œWe shouldnâ€™t move him,â€ one said.
â€œWe should get a doctor,â€ another cried.
â€œA physician!â€ yet another said.
Skern, nearby, looked around for something else to throw. Then he realized all of the actors had daggers on their belts, being dressed as Danish princes and nobles. He didnâ€™t know if the daggers were real, but guessed he could throw them. The actors were arguing about what to do and he slipped over and pulled a dagger from one of their belts. It proved to be wooden but it was pointed at one end. He flung it and it flew through the air and struck the evil spell caster in the face just above the left eye. The man stumbled back with a cry.
Shakespeare suddenly took a very deep breath and Selwyn grabbed him and tried to grab him backstage.
â€œWeâ€™ve got to move him now!â€ he yelled.
Shakespeare struggled to get up.
Hawksworth, meanwhile, leapt at the supports to upper level and tried to climb but people kept bumping into him as they fled the building. Godfrey decided to take the stairs and ran past the man, pushing his way through.
Skern leapt from the stage, drew his sword, and ran towards the back of the theater.
â€œThereâ€™s the murderer!â€ someone cried before running away.
People fled from the apparent madman.
The evil man heâ€™d struck with the wooden dagger stumbled back to the railing, blood on his face. He looked down at Skern and then looked at the stage, where Selwyn, with only a little help from the actors, dragged Shakespeare away. He looked very angry and then gestured towards Skern and muttered something under his breath. Skern suddenly felt a terrible pain in his chest, like a hand was clutching his heart and slowly squeezing it. He stumbled as he tried to continue moving. The terrible man backed from the balcony.
Hawksworth still struggled to climb up to the second floor, people bumping into him as they fled. Screams of â€œMurderâ€ echoed through the theater. Someone yelled â€œFire!â€ but Hawksworth had no idea what that was about.
* * *
Selwyn got Shakespeare backstage safely.
â€œStay here!â€ he said to the man.
He ran back out onto the stage.
* * *
Godfrey, out of breath and sweating even more than usual, was climbing the stairs to the third floor of the building when a man with a bloody face ran towards him. Godfrey drew his wheellock pistol, cranked the wheellock, and shot the man in an explosion of gun smoke. The bullet struck the manâ€™s left arm and blood splashed on the wall. The man screamed, yelling something in Dutch at Godfrey and then charging down the stairs at him and crashing into him. Godfrey, though pushed down to the second floor was not knocked over and had the man trapped on the stairs.
He turned the pistol around and started to beat the man about the head and shoulders with it.
* * *
Hawksworth finally pulled himself up to the second floor of the Globe, not far from where Godfrey was apparently fighting a man on the stairwell leading up. The man was bloody and Godfrey beat at him frantically.
* * *
Selwyn spotted the smoke from the gunshot and saw Hawksworth, Godfrey, and another man. He leapt from the stage and ran towards them. He saw Skern running up the stairs from the ground floor.
* * *
â€œGet away from me!â€ the man cried in a thick Dutch accent. â€œGet away!â€
He drew his dagger and tried to stab Godfrey but only tore at his clothes.
â€œI just bought these!â€ Godfrey cried.
He struck the man a terrible blow to the manâ€™s temple which knocked him over the railing of the stairwell. He crashed to the floor, his dagger sliding right to Hawksworthâ€™s feet. The actor snatched up the dagger and brought it down directly onto the manâ€™s chest. The manâ€™s eyes opened wide and he gasped in pain and then his eyes rolled back into his head and death rattled in his throat.
Skern ran up the steps with Selwyn not far behind. Everyone else had fled though cries of â€œMurder!â€ and â€œFire!â€ came from outside the theater.
Something fell out of the dead manâ€™s pocket. It was round and about four inches in diameter. Hawksworth snatched it up and tucked it into his own pocket as Selwyn and Skern quickly searched the dead man.
â€œWhatâ€™s happening with Shakespeare?â€ Skern asked.
â€œHe was fine when I left him,â€ Selwyn said.
They only found his money pouch and Selwyn snatched it up.
â€œHe wonâ€™t be needing this anymore,â€ he said as he tucked the coins away. â€œOur travel fare!â€
He looked down at the man.
â€œThanks for the money!â€ Selwyn said, spitting on him.
â€œAll is well,â€ Skern said. â€œMeet me at the Mermaid.â€
â€œRight behind you, Skern!â€ Godfrey said as he fled.
* * *
Skern went home and retrieved his blunderbuss, tucking it into the back of his belt, hiding it with his cloak. He cleaned up a little and proceeded to the Mermaid.
* * *
Godfrey went home and changed clothing, his own clothes torn and stained with Van der Wyckâ€™s blood. Only then did he head for the Mermaid.
* * *
Selwyn and Hawksworth arrived at the Mermaid Inne first and took a table in the corner.
â€œWould you like a drink?â€ Selwyn asked Hawksworth.
He dropped the coin purse on the table.
â€œItâ€™s on him,â€ he quipped.
Rumors were already flying around the Mermaid about a murder at the globe and Shakespeare having some kind of attack.
â€œSomeone mustâ€™ve really hated the play,â€ one man quipped.
â€œNo, the play was actually quite good,â€ another man said.
The other two arrived a half hour later.
â€œShakespeare was fine,â€ Selwyn said. â€œIt seems that he needed line of sight on him. He should be fine.â€
â€œYes, after I hit him with the â€¦ wooden dagger, it seemed to interrupt things,â€ Skern said.
â€œHe was breathing,â€ Selwyn said.
â€œGood good good,â€ Skern said.
â€œAre we sure heâ€™s dead?â€ Godfrey asked.
â€œOh â€¦ heâ€™s dead,â€ Hawksworth said.
â€œWe searched him,â€ Skern said.
â€œYou never know about those Dutchmen,â€ Godfrey said. â€œTheyâ€™re crazy.â€
â€œSo â€¦ this man was Dutch, you say?â€
â€œYes, he was speaking Dutch or French or something like that.â€
â€œWould you say his features were that of a bird? Hawkish?â€
â€œI think itâ€™s fairly obvious that this was Van der Wyck,â€ Hawksworth said.
â€œYes!â€ Skern said. â€œIâ€™ve avenged Lucyâ€™s cousinâ€™s killer.â€
â€œWhich, with the note that we have found, this does men that he was trying to get rid of Shakespeare as we thought,â€ Hawksworth said.
â€œI would definitely say so,â€ Selwyn said.
â€œAnd he doesnâ€™t seem to be perturbed by a great amount of people being around when he does it.â€
â€œThatâ€™s dangerous,â€ Skern said.
â€œWe need to find Shakespeare,â€ Hawksworth said. â€œSurely he will believe us that his life is in danger now.â€
â€œIndeed,â€ Selwyn said.
â€œI also found â€¦ this,â€ Hawksworth said, pulling out what had fallen from Van der Wyckâ€™s pocket.
The thing was a piece of circular-shaped stone about four inches in diameter with a strange symbol cut out from the middle, the same symbol that had been painting on the wall of Croftâ€™s bedroom and the terrible room under Van der Wyckâ€™s shop. The poisonous symbol seemed to twist and swirl and squirm, reaching hungrily for each of them. Then the vision was gone. Godfrey cried out in terror.
â€œThatâ€™s the same symbol that was in Croftâ€™s house,â€ Hawksworth muttered.
â€œWait,â€ Godfrey said. â€œThere was a symbol in Croftâ€™s house?â€
â€œIt looks like the one that was near that dead girl,â€ Selwyn said.
â€œYes, it looked like that,â€ Skern said.
He turned to Hawksworth.
â€œSo, youâ€™re going to find Shakespeare, is that correct?â€ he said.
â€œYes, but I donâ€™t know where heâ€™d be at this time,â€ Hawksworth said. â€œIâ€™m sure heâ€™s surrounded by other actors. I could ask around the Mermaid and see if anyone knows where he might be. But that might also make me look suspicious.â€
â€œYouâ€™re just a concerned citizen,â€ Selwyn said.
â€œWhy donâ€™t you ask about what happened at the Globe,â€ Skern said. â€œThen theyâ€™ll think you werenâ€™t even there.â€
â€œNobody seems to know anything,â€ Hawksworth said. â€œThey donâ€™t even know we were involved.â€
â€œBut I do believe that since I already met with Shakespeare and he knows we have good intentions, I might be able to find him.â€
He looked around, hoping to see Kent but the man was not there. He didnâ€™t see anyone associated with the Globe.
â€œOne of us should try his house,â€ Skern said.
â€œI would guess a group of men would have taken him home by now,â€ Hawksworth said. â€œSo, I think Iâ€™m going to Shakespeareâ€™s house. If anyone would like to accompany me, especially now that Joseph might have been there as well, for all we know, so he might have seen us intervening and he wants to finish the job. If nobody minds, Iâ€™d like to take Godfrey after seeing what heâ€™s capable of.â€
They discussed going to see Shakespeare and all of them decided to go. They also discussed going to High Wycombe to see Dr. John Dee, Selwyn suggesting they could leave that very night, though it would take several hours to get to High Wycombe by coach.
â€œPerhaps Shakespeare would want to come with us,â€ Hawksworth suggested.
â€œWell, it would be easier to protect him,â€ Selwyn said.
â€œWell, we donâ€™t have the permit for him though,â€ Skern said.
â€œAw, heâ€™s Shakespeare,â€ Hawksworth said.
â€œIâ€™m going to go check on Lucy. And tell her that I murdered someone for her. Can I meet you all at the coach?â€
â€œWe should make haste.â€
â€œWe should go tomorrow, I think.â€
â€œYes,â€ Selwyn said. â€œAnd if Shakespeare decides to come with us, I shall get him a license as well. On Van der Wyckâ€™s bill.â€
â€œDo not tell Lucy that you avenged her cousinâ€™s death,â€ Hawksworth told Skern. â€œI know you want to â€¦ but do not.â€
â€œI told her I was going to!â€ Skern said.
â€œWell, at least make sure she doesnâ€™t tell anyone.â€
â€œWell, who would she tell? Sheâ€™s an honorable lady.â€
Hawksworth looked at Selwyn.
â€œI â€¦ I guess,â€ Selwyn said. â€œI donâ€™t know women, really.â€
â€œIâ€™m not going to tell her you did it!â€ Skern said.
â€œWell, good, becauseâ”€â€ Hawksworth said.
â€œIâ€™m only going to give her my name.â€
â€œWell, I merely finished what he started,â€ Hawksworth pointed at Godfrey. â€œIf anyoneâ€™s the murderer, itâ€™s Godfrey.â€
â€œHe was already bleeding when I saw him!â€ Godfrey said.
â€œIâ€™m not going to say that anyone is involved,â€ Skern said. â€œIâ€™m just going to tell her Iâ€™m working on avenging â€¦ and â€¦ that â€¦â€
â€œThe avenging is going well?â€ Selwyn said.
â€œThe avenging is going well,â€ Skern finished.
â€œBut youâ€™ve heard rumors that there is a dead Dutchman,â€ Godfrey said.
â€œI wonâ€™t even tell her I did it,â€ Skern said. â€œIâ€™ll just say thatâ”€â€
â€œIf you take credit, that would be fine by us,â€ Selwyn said.
â€œAll right then,â€ Skern said. â€œI donâ€™t mind.â€
â€œDo not mention our names,â€ Hawksworth said.
â€œYou do not know us,â€ Godfrey said.
â€œBut later you can know us because we were going on the trip,â€ Selwyn said.
â€œBecause we were going on the trip,â€ Skern said. â€œIâ€™ll be discreet, but I want to let her know action has been taken.â€
â€œJust to be particular, I did finish the job,â€ Hawksworth said. â€œBut, I mean, heâ€™s the murderer.â€
He pointed at Godfrey.
â€œJust to be particular, I did start it,â€ Skern said.
â€œSkern started it!â€ Godfrey said.
â€œYou started it, he met in the middle, I had to finish what you two couldnâ€™t,â€ Hawksworth said.
â€œI wish I had been there,â€ Selwyn said. â€œIt sounds like it was fun.â€
â€œMaybe if you had just climbed up a little faster!â€ Skern said.
â€œI couldnâ€™t get a good grip,â€ Hawksworth said.
They parted, Skern going to Lucy Henryâ€™s house and the rest of them going to Shakespeareâ€™s house.
* * *
Anna answered the door at the Henry house.
â€œI must speak to Lucy,â€ Skern said to her.
â€œYou smell of gunpowder,â€ Anna said, disapprovingly.
She let the man into the sitting room and went to get Lucy. The girl appeared a few minutes later.
â€œOctavian, yes,â€ she said, sitting on the chair. â€œWhat news? What news?â€
â€œLucy, I have some news for you,â€ Skern said. â€œHave you heard what happened at the Globe today?â€
â€œNo, I havenâ€™t been out of the house.â€
â€œUm â€¦ well â€¦ Van der Wyck was killed there, this afternoon.â€
â€œAt the Globe?â€
â€œAt the Globe.â€
â€œGood,â€ she said, her eyes suddenly brimming with tears. â€œAfter what he did to my cousin â€¦â€
â€œOh good,â€ Skern said. â€œHeâ€™s not the only one involved, we believe. But Iâ€™m investigating.â€
â€œMy heart goes with you, Octavian. If you â€¦ please â€¦ help avenge her death.â€
He laughed and drew his sword striding towards the foyer. Lucy pulled out her handkerchief and waved it at him. He stopped at the front door.
â€œI will not rest until the deed is done!â€ he said.
He planned to fling the door open and dash out, but the lock was somehow jammed and he worried at it instead, spoiling his dramatic exit. He finally got it open, flourished his sword again, and dashed out, glaring at Anna for not keeping the door properly oiled.
* * *
Hawksworth, Selwyn, and Godfrey returned to Cripplegate and the house of Shakespeare. A large, burly man stood outside the front door. Hawksworth recognized him as an actor he had once known. The man recognized him and let them all in. They found Shakespeare in the parlor, reclining on a makeshift bed. He looked terribly pale and seemed weak. He coughed often and several other men were there, seeing to him, as well as a physician.
â€œMight we speak with you alone, sir?â€ Hawksworth asked him.
â€œYes, well â€¦ yes, of course,â€ Shakespeare said. â€œItâ€™ll be fine.â€
He shooed the other men out of the room, including the physician with his bottle of leeches. The men all left and they closed the door.
â€œMy God, Hawksworth, what was that?â€ Shakespeare asked the moment the doors were closed. â€œWhat happened?â€
â€œWell, I hate to say I told you so â€¦â€ Hawksworth said.
â€œâ€¦ but I told you so.â€
â€œHe told you so,â€ Selwyn said.
â€œHave you heard the news about who it was?â€ Hawksworth asked.
â€œNo,â€ Shakespeare said.
â€œJohannes van der Wyck. The Dutchman.â€
â€œThe man whose house you found the note in?â€
â€œYes. And the man that you have also met at some point, yes?â€
â€œVan der Wyck?â€
â€œYou have no dealings with Van der Wyck?â€
â€œIf that be true, then why would he make an attempt on your life?â€
â€œI have no idea.â€
Hawksworth had just been testing the man.
â€œWe believe that he was sent by Joseph Barker,â€ Hawksworth said.
â€œJoseph Barker is not a real person,â€ Shakespeare said. â€œI told you. And itâ€™s Joseph Harker. Heâ€™s a character from that terrible King in Yellowe.â€
â€œAfter all the things youâ€™ve dealt with, you think thereâ€™s a fine line between what is real and what is not.â€
â€œWell, you have me there. Something terrible happened tonight. Some kind of witchcraft or something.â€
â€œMaybe like this yellow king that is apparently an abomination,â€ Selwyn said. â€œMaybe this Joseph is as well. Because didnâ€™t that mad fellow say he shot him in the chest and â€¦ now heâ€™s trying to kill you?â€
â€œYes, Moore,â€ Hawksworth said. â€œHave you heard of David Moore?â€
â€œThe lyricist?â€ Shakespeare said.
â€œYes, Iâ€™ve heard of him. He wrote some amazing things. Iâ€™ve not heard of him in at least six months, maybe a year.â€
â€œHeâ€™s apparently at St. Maryâ€™s.â€
â€œAfter he attempted to take his own life and the life of Joseph Barker.â€
â€œWait â€¦ Joseph Barker?â€
â€œDid he say Joseph Barker?â€
â€œYes, of course.â€
â€œAll right. There are plenty of men here guarding me.â€
â€œYes, we do not fear for your life any longer. But what I am worried aboutâ”€â€
â€œWell, I do.â€
â€œWhat I am worried about, though, is finding this Joseph fellow.â€
â€œSo he doesnâ€™t try to kill you again,â€ Selwyn said.
â€œI donâ€™t know a Joseph,â€ Shakespeare said.
â€œMaybe in your dreams?â€ Selwyn said.
Shakespeare looked at him strangely.
â€œWe do have one more lead weâ€™re going to follow up on the morrow,â€ Hawksworth said. â€œDr. Dee.â€
â€œJohn Dee?â€ Shakespeare said. â€œOh. Well, heâ€™s a genius from what Iâ€™ve heard. Heâ€™s done everything.â€
â€œHe also worked with Moore in summoning the King in Yellow. And of other things.â€
â€œI donâ€™t know what witchcraft this all is, Hawksworth. I stopped working with Croft because things were too â€¦ awful and wrong. I wish you well and Godspeed and good luck and God bless if that will help at all.â€
â€œAre you going to be staying here for a couple of days?â€
â€œWe will try next week with Hamlet again.â€
â€œDo not leave this place until we have spoken once again so we can update you on what weâ€™ve found and what weâ€™re doing.â€
â€œVery well. Very well.â€
Shakespeare told him heâ€™d had a terrible pain in his chest, as if something were trying to drag his heart from his very bosom. He feared if it hadnâ€™t stopped, his heart would have burst piecemeal from his very ribs.
â€œOh, but you have the heart of a playwright and those are strong,â€ Hawksworth said.
â€œThatâ€™s true,â€ Shakespeare said.
Hawksworth took the strange stone heâ€™d gotten from Van der Wyckâ€™s body out. Godfrey groaned and looked away.
â€œI wouldnâ€™t do that!â€ he said.
Hawksworth showed Shakespeare the strange stone and the man looked at it only a moment before turning his head away, pale.
â€œOh!â€ he said. â€œOh dear! What in the wide world is that thing!?! Take it away! Take it away!â€
â€œHave you seen it before?â€ Selwyn asked.
â€œNo! No! God no!â€ Shakespeare said.
Hawksworth put it back into his pocket.
â€œChristâ€™s blood, no!â€ Shakespeare said again.
â€œThat was on Van der Wyckâ€™s body when we found him,â€ Hawksworth said.
â€œWell donâ€™t ever bring it near me again,â€ Shakespeare said. â€œWhat the Hell was that?â€
â€œIt was also in Croftâ€™s house,â€ Selwyn said. â€œThe same symbol painted on his wall.â€
â€œAnd in Van der Wyckâ€™s home where they found that mutilated girl,â€ Hawksworth said.
â€œWell, it must be some kind of conspiracy then,â€ Shakespeare said, catching his breath. â€œMy God, what is it? What is that horrible thing?â€
â€œWe donâ€™t know but we donâ€™t like it either.â€
â€œTis a terrible thing. Tis a terrible thing. I suggest you destroy it and any others you find like it. Godâ€™s blood, that is the most disturbing thing Iâ€™ve ever seen.â€
â€œYes. No. It ranks amongst the top three.â€
â€œWell, Iâ€™m glad to have helped you with that list, then.â€
Shakespeare offered them wine and they all drank. He asked what happened at the Globe to him.
â€œWe â€¦ aided in the stopping of Van der Wyck and that is all Iâ€™m going to say,â€ Hawksworth said.
â€œFair enough,â€ Shakespeare said. â€œIf you ever wish to tell me the whole story someday, Hawksworth, I would be glad to hear it.â€
â€œOver a glass of wine and just the two of us in the house.â€
â€œMany glasses of wine, perhaps. But donâ€™t bring that thing back into any house Iâ€™m in ever again.â€
â€œNow what would you say is the most disturbing thing youâ€™ve ever seen,â€ Selwyn asked. â€œIf thatâ€™s just in the top three.â€
â€œI told you of the spell Croft cast to summon some â€¦ thing to aid us in writing The King in Yellowe,â€ Shakespeare said. â€œIt was awful.â€
â€œThanks!â€ Selwyn said.
They left Shakespeareâ€™s residence.
â€œConsidering the play was cut short â€¦ maybe we should go today,â€ Hawksworth said.
â€œWe could pick up Skern and head off,â€ Selwyn said.
â€œYou donâ€™t think heâ€™ll be with Lucy the rest of the day, do you?â€
â€œAh â€¦ from the sound of things, I would doubt it.â€
â€œWe could, perhaps, go to Lucyâ€™s house and let her know that Skern did stab an innocent man,â€ Hawksworth quipped.
He laughed at his own joke.
â€œI should get a sword,â€ he said. â€œNow.â€
They decided to do some shopping for weapons and then they planned to meet at Skernâ€™s apartment over Fletcherâ€™s print shop. Hawksworth purchased a rapier to defend himself with. Godfrey purchased a second wheellock pistol and loaded it, tucking it into the back of his belt. They met again and went to the wooden steps that led to Skernâ€™s apartment above the printerâ€™s shop. He seemed glad to see them and greeted them, letting them come in from the cold. He put the kettle on and started to prepare some tea.
â€œAre you ready to go because I do believe weâ€™re going to go find Doctor Dee today,â€ Hawksworth said.
â€œYeah,â€ Skern said. â€œYeah, I can go today. Just let me check on the shop.â€
He went down and got permission from Fletcher to go to High Wycombe.