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Dark Carnival Session Two Part 1 - Back to the Carnival

Max_Writer

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Monday, January 30, 2017

 

(After playing the Call of Cthulhu scenario “Dark Carnival†by David A. Hargrave from Curse of the Chthonians Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. with Kyle Matheson, Ambralyn Tucker, Collin Townsend, Ben Abbott, Ashton LeBlanc, Katelyn Hogan, Hannah Gambino, and Camilla Ekker-Runde.)

 

Sir Dr. Carl Huxtable had been very busy since November of 1925. In early December, he had read in the paper about the disappearance of his friend, Providence Police Officer Anthony Bridges, and guessed it was related to the horrible Holmes Sanitarium they had been investigating in Greenwood, just north of Providence. He had also read about the other escapes from the asylum and the eventual disappearance of Dr. Freygan. It chilled him to think of that man still out there. He had also continued to teach psychology at Brown University.

 

He was a tall man with brown hair and a mustache. He generally wore tweed jackets with patches on the elbows.

 

He had studied the spell in the black book they’d found in the Pendergast House in Ohio. It purported to allow the caster to create portals or gates between any two points though he had a devil of a time figuring it out as the book was written in such terrible and disjointed fashion that it was almost impossible to comprehend. Despite continued study, it was not until May 9, 1926, that he learned the spell. The spell stated it could create a gate between two locations, dimensions, or worlds though it required the expenditure of essence, whatever that meant.

 

He immediately set to learning another spell that allegedly allowed other spells to work better. Unfortunately, it was also written in such vague and insane matter he was unable to understand how to cast it at all.

 

He was still working on that by January of 1927 when Stewart Masters, the dilettante Dr. Huxtable had given the Greek copy of the Pnakotica to back in November of 1925, visited him. He had found the scroll when investigating the village of squatters outside Greenwood, Rhode Island, related to his dealings with Holmes Sanitarium. Masters was a friend who he knew through the Providence Athenaeum and a scholar of various languages, including Greek. He had agreed to translate the scroll for Huxtable at that time.

 

Now he stood outside of Dr. Huxtable’s house, eyes wide and overcoat unbuttoned despite the cold. He was an average-looking man with a thick mustache and balding head. He wore glasses that were slightly askew. Dr. Huxtable knew he was in his 50s. He held, in one hand, the scroll, wrapped in cloth. In the other, he held a soft-sided binder overflowing with hundreds of sheets of paper.

 

“I’ve got your translation!†the man said with a wild grin. “I’ve got your translation because … it took a little longer than I needed … I kept it a little longer than I needed because I wanted to learn a spell and I did.â€

 

He laughed disturbingly.

 

“It seems quite interesting,†he went on. “I might try it some time. Yes. Yes.â€

 

Dr. Huxtable reached for the binder and the man handed off both that and the scroll. Dr. Huxtable closed the door. Masters seemed much different from the calm man he had spoken to a little over a year ago.

 

Dr. Huxtable gave up on learning the spell and concentrated on reading the translation of the Pnakotica. It took him a year to plow through the scattered manuscript, reading it all carefully. The typed and occasionally handwritten pile of papers, many of them covered front and back, were mostly housed in a soft-sided binder. It was a rambling collection of prehuman history, myths, and legends. Though the translation started out comprehensively, with typed pages on one side of the paper, it soon broke down with various footnotes and other markings, handwritten or typed on the back of pages, apparently in Masters’ attempt to accurately convey the writing. None of the pages were numbered but they were, luckily, in the correct order.

 

The ancient manuscript it was translated from was apparently from ancient Lomar and noted the Lomarians were “men†and that they learned their secrets from the “Great Winged Ones†who visited them and helped them. There was some indication in the translation that the hieroglyphics in the scroll were those of some prehuman crinoids that gave birth to all earthly life. It was quite disturbing.

 

There was also a single spell in the massive work which claimed to be able to Contact Winged One. He began studying the spell but had not learned it by May, 1928.

 

* * *

 

Milo James was an alienist, practicing psychology and psychiatry though he didn’t have any kind of degree or license. Only 21 years old, he had bushy brown hair and was trying to grow a beard unsuccessfully. His hair was longer than many people were comfortable with and he had long eyelashes. He wore flannel shirts and dungarees with a rugged-looking jacket over them. Many people thought he was a bohemian. He was originally from Canada but had lived in Providence for four years.

 

James used to know a famous Providence artist named Julian Bernard who disappeared in April 1926, some two years before. The last person James had heard Bernard was working with was a rich Rockefeller who lived in the Blackstone neighborhood. Bernard had been secretly bisexual and had many partners. He also did a great deal of drugs. He had actually been James first boyfriend when, after dating two other women in his life, he had begun to question and experiment. However, he didn’t feel Bernard respected him enough, as the other man enjoyed multiple lovers. He had disappeared not long after James had decided to end the relationship. James felt there was no closure and still wondered what had happened to the man.

 

On May 15, James had been contacted by physicians at Rhode Island Hospital to act in his capacity as alienist. They had a man who had been mauled and his arm ripped off a few days before who was not lucid. His chart said he was in his early twenties but his hair was completely white. They had contacted other local psychologists and alienists to try to calm the man but James soon realize he needed more time before any attempt could be made to get anything from him. He had been paid $50 for his services.

 

James remembered Kent Howard being mentioned in the paper the day before as having been attacked in Swan Point Cemetery and recognized him.

 

* * *

 

Nigel Bricker, Joell Johnson, Evelyn Fairfield, Suzanna Edington, and Virgil Thomas had visited Rhode Island Hospital on Tuesday morning, May 15, 1928, and were standing by the nurse’s station, having just been told Kent Howard was still unconscious. When the nurse mentioned the man, she glanced at a nearby door, which they guessed was Howard’s room. Then Bricker and Miss Fairfield saw a man exit the room. He didn’t look like a doctor or even a professional, but he stepped up to the nurse’s station.

 

James gave the people a half-hearted smile and handed off a piece of paper to the nurse with his diagnosis of Howard. The nurse seemed confused for a moment but then looked down at the paper and looked at the man with recognition in her eyes.

 

“Okay, thank you, doctor,†she said. “Thank you.â€

 

She put the paper in a file.

 

“Are you Kent Howard’s doctor?†Miss Fairfield asked the man.

 

The man looked at her a moment.

 

“Yes, I’ve been seeing him,†James said. “And who are you?â€

 

“Miss Evelyn Fairfield,†Miss Fairfield said.

 

“Okay, it’s nice to meet you, Miss Fairfield. May I ask why you’re here? And is this your … husband?â€

 

He gestured at Bricker.

 

“No,†Miss Fairfield said. “It’s not. This is Nigel Bricker.â€

 

“Nigel,†James said. “Okay. It’s nice to meet you Nigel. Um … so why are you here at the hospital and … do I know you?â€

 

James had turned to Johnson.

 

“I’m Joell Howard,†he lied. “And I’m his brother.â€

 

James frowned. He didn’t think the man was telling the truth.

 

“Oh … kay,†James said, turning to the blonde woman. “And you are … miss?â€

 

“I’m Suzanna Edington,†Miss Edington said.

 

“Okay then,†James said, turning away.

 

“Has he said anything about what happened to him?†Johnson said. “What happened to my brother?â€

 

“I’m … I’m sorry. I’m not allowed to say anything about his current state right now.â€

 

“Even to family?â€

 

“I … frankly don’t know if you are family. I just met you … Joell … what did you say? Joell Howard? Okay.â€

 

“Well, I mean … I’m his brother. So …â€

 

James though the man was definitely lying to him.

 

“Do you all know each other?†he asked. “You’re all here at the same time and you’re all looking at me and it seems …â€

 

“Yes,†Johnson said.

 

“You could say we are acquainted,†Miss Fairfield said.

 

Miss Edington looked uncomfortable.

 

James thought the woman looked familiar, having seen her photograph on the society page of the newspaper. She wore what appeared to be very expensive clothing.

 

“What are you doing here at the hospital, if I may ask?†James asked.

 

“Well, we were here to speak to Kent Howard,†Miss Fairfield said.

 

“You were here to speak to Kent Howard as well? So, are you familiar with this man?â€

 

“Yep.â€

 

“Yes, we all came here together,†Johnson said. “This is our group.â€

 

“Oh Lord,†Miss Edington said.

 

“Including Suzanne?†James asked.

 

“Nah,â€

 

“No?â€

 

“Suzanna.â€

 

“Suzanna, I’m sorry.â€

 

“Yes, Miss Suzanna and I are with them,†Virgil Thomas said to the man while looking at Miss Edington.

 

“Why are you looking at me!?!†Miss Edington said.

 

“Where are your manners?â€

 

“Now Virgil.â€

 

“If my brother said anything about what happened, even if it sounds crazy, we need to know,†Johnson said. “That’s my brother in there.â€

 

Miss Edington turned and walked away. She reached in her purse as she went, taking out a cigarette and a long filter, which she fitted together. Virgil Thomas gave James a nod and followed her.

 

“I must go see to his paperwork,†James said. “I’m very sorry I can’t tell you anymore.â€

 

He turned to leave.

 

“If he says anything about Lucy Pringle, contact me,†Miss Fairfield said.

 

She took out a notepad and a stub of pencil and jotted down her name and the telephone number of the Providence Journal, handing it over to James.

 

“Lucy … Pringle?†James said. “I’ll make a note of that. Thank you.â€

 

* * *

 

Bureau of Investigation Agent Ramsey Sanderson had been out of Providence on Monday, having a meeting in Washington all day. He was an older man with a mangled right hand, salt and pepper hair, and scruffy facial hair. He was very tall and thin. When he returned to the office on Tuesday, May 15, Agent Smith approached him in the early afternoon.

 

“Some Miss Fairfield wanted you to call,†he said to his superior. “From the paper. Yesterday.â€

 

He apologized for not giving it to him when he first came that morning.

 

“I forgot all about it,†he said. “It was on my desk.â€

 

He handed the other man the written message. Sanderson read it and telephone the Providence Journal.

 

* * *

 

“Another telephone call,†Assistant Editor James Updyke told Miss Fairfield. “That’s three in two days.â€

 

Miss Fairfield didn’t care for Updyke for good reason. He was a snob who threw his power around and often spoke down to the reporters, secretaries, photographers, and anyone in a position below his at the paper.

 

“Miss Fairfield,†she said, picking up the telephone receiver.

 

“Hello Miss Fairfield,†a gravelly voice came over the line. “Do you know who’s speaking?â€

 

“Sanderson, right?â€

 

“That is correct, ma’am.â€

 

“Yeah, I did call your office earlier, but you were not in. We were just looking into … I’m sure you’ve read the paper of the man who’s mauled and then his sweetheart missing?â€

 

“Yeah, I did see that. I read it over lunch. It was disgusting. What can I do you for though? What can I help you with today?â€

 

“I’m sure you read the paper.â€

 

“Yes, I read the paper. It was sad. What is it I can help you with today?â€

 

“I did get a posse together to go check out the carnival and then another incident happened. I’m sure you saw the paper today.â€

 

“Yes.â€

 

“I think something fishy’s going on around there and we could definitely use some police help.â€

 

“That sounds about right. I think I ought to check in on things here. I’ll head on over if I’ve got the time. What time do you want to meet?â€

 

“I think everybody’s pretty busy today but maybe we can go out at night.â€

 

“All right that sounds good.â€

 

“I’ll let you know when I get a group together.â€

 

“That sounds great.â€

 

* * *

 

On the afternoon of Tuesday, May 15, 1928, Dr. Huxtable was teaching one of his introductory psychology classes after lunch. Towards the end of class, he had a thought.

 

“Would anybody like to help me with an endeavor that would give them extra credit towards their final grade?†he asked in his strange, high-pitched voice. It made him sound older than his 30 years.

 

Yoosung was a blonde young man of Oriental descent and average looks. From Korea, his mother had been American and his father Korean. He had come to the United States for school and had been a student at Brown University for a year with plans to be a veterinarian. His cousin had loved animals and when she passed away, he aspired to heal animals.

 

He had heard all of the rumors around campus about Dr. Huxtable: that he didn’t actually have a degree being only 30 years old, that he had not really been knighted by King George V as he always claimed, that he was just a con man, and that he was simply insane.

 

He did need extra credit though.

 

“You would be accompanying me and we would be psychoanalyzing some very unfortunate events,†Dr. Huxtable went on.

 

Of his class of nearly 25 students, only Yoosung made eye contact. The rest were looking away or down at their textbooks. It was very quiet in the room.

 

“I’m sorry, what was that?†Dr. Huxtable said. “Did someone say something? I’m 30 now. I’m getting quite old. You must respect me.â€

 

Yoosung raised his hand.

 

“Is-is that you, Yoosung?†Dr. Huxtable said.

 

“Yeah,†Yoosung said.

 

“You will accompany me?â€

 

“Yeah, I need the extra credit.â€

 

“Fine. If that is the only one who will volunteer …â€

 

None of the other students made any kind of eye contact as he looked over the classroom.

 

“Fine,†Dr. Huxtable said. “Class is dismissed. Except for Yoosung … or however you say it. I don’t talk to you much.â€

 

The rest of the students filed out. Yoosung could hear some of the students talking to each other as they left.

 

“My God, he’s so strange,†one young man said.

 

“Every class gets weirder and weirder,†another said.

 

“I thought he was only 30,†yet a third whispered.

 

Soon only Dr. Huxtable and Yoosung were in the room.

 

“Yoosung, I know that you really want to be a cop when you grow up,†Dr. Huxtable said.

 

“Yes,†Yoosung said.

 

He had actually told Dr. Huxtable that when the man has asked at the beginning of the semester, hinting that was what he thought the boy wanted.

 

“So we will be psychoanalyzing the disappearance of this young boy,†Dr. Huxtable went on. “Have you read the paper? Yes?â€

 

Yoosung just stared at the man.

 

“Of course you’ve read the paper, Yoosung,†Dr. Huxtable went on. “So, we will be going to the carnival tonight to see how the … ummm … process of investigation has come along.â€

 

“That sounds great,†Yoosung said.

 

“I will pick you up your dorm. What dorm do you live in?â€

 

Yoosung told him.

 

“Fantastic Yoosung,†Dr. Huxtable said. “This will be a great trip for the both of us. Good-bye.â€

 

He turned and sprinted out of the room.

 

* * *

 

Miss Fairfield telephoned Bricker, Ingerton, and Miss Edington. There was no answer on Ingerton’s telephone. She arranged to meet at 7 p.m. at the entrance to the park where they had met the night before. Then she went to the hardware store and purchased a half dozen flashlights, putting them in her camera bag. She called Sanderson and invited him to the meeting as well.

 

* * *

 

When Bricker asked Potter for the evening off, the man was glad to give it. The two had not been getting along very well. Between tools going missing and people coming to the shop looking for him when he wasn’t there, the man was happy to see less of him. The people were rude to Potter refused to divulge their names or even tell him why they were looking for Bricker and Potter was, quite frankly, sick of it.

 

* * *

 

Updyke approached Miss Fairfield at the desk she where she was editing obituaries.

 

“Evelyn,†he said to her. “Yet another telephone call. This is getting excessive.â€

 

He sniffed. She knew he didn’t approve of women in the workplace.

 

“N’yeah,†he said. “You need to not do that. Okay?â€

 

“It’s part of the job,†she said.

 

“It’s over there. Just go take it.â€

 

She picked up the telephone.

 

“Miss Fairfield,†she said.

 

“Hello it’s Milo … Doctor Milo,†the voice on the other end said. “I believe we met at the hospital.â€

 

“Oh! Did Kent Howard wake up? Did he say anything about Lucy?â€

 

“Uh … I-I haven’t seen him quite yet. Uh … so I really don’t have any more information than … what I told you today. I was … I was wondering what you were up to … because, I don’t mean to be forward but what is your connection with Joell?â€

 

“Um …â€

 

“I wasn’t sure if you could talk about it while we were there.â€

 

“I mean, he’s just an acquaintance but we’re just some concerned people looking into the missing person case.â€

 

“Missing person case? The two missing persons?â€

 

“Yeah. The carnival. Two nights. It can’t be a coincidence.â€

 

“I don’t think so either. I think we’re like-minded in that. I want to help in any way I can. You seem genuinely concerned and … I am too as I’ve been seeing … Kent Howard … I’ve been seeing him for a while and I’m worried about his condition. I want to find out anything that I can find out about him.â€

 

“Well, we’re all meeting tonight at seven at the ticket office outside the security shack.â€

 

“Oh, are you? At the carnival?â€

 

“Uh-huh.â€

 

“Okay. Well, I guess I’ll meet you there.â€

 

“Sounds good.â€

 

“Okay.â€

 

* * *

 

When Dr. Huxtable got home late that afternoon, he had a light supper. Then he telephoned William H. Pendergast VI.

 

“Yes, Mr. Pendergast’s residence,†a voice answered.

 

“Do you know who this?†Dr. Huxtable asked.

 

“I’m sorry, sir, I don’t.â€

 

“Are you serious?â€

 

“This is Withers, sir, Mr. Pendergast’s Valet.â€

 

“Oh, I thought you were Pendergast. It’s been so long. I’m sorry, could you─â€

 

“May I ask who’s calling, sir?â€

 

“He’ll know when he hears the voice. Do not worry.â€

 

“I need a name, sir.â€

 

There was a long pause on the line.

 

“Sir. Doctor. Carl. Huxtable,†Dr. Huxtable finally said.

 

“Thank you sir,†Withers replied. “One moment please.â€

 

“Uh-huh.â€

 

It was a minute before the receiver was picked up.

 

“Yes, yes!†the voice on the other side was Pendergast. “Dr. Huxtable!â€

 

“Is that your boy missing?†Dr. Huxtable asked.

 

“My boy? What are you talking about?â€

 

“There’s a young Pendergast boy, I read in the paper, he’s missing in the carnival.â€

 

“Yes! Yes! No! No, not my boy.â€

 

“You need to watch your boys more carefully.â€

 

“Not married Dr. Huxtable. No.â€

 

“Well, how many boys do you have?â€

 

“None, Dr. Huxtable. As a matter of fact, his mother is a fifth or sixth cousin of mine. Very distant relation.â€

 

“So, it does not affect your lineage very much then, yes?â€

 

“No. No. Not at all, actually.â€

 

“So, I should not find the boy?â€

 

“Uh … if … well … what?â€

 

“I could find the boy.â€

 

“Well, I’m sure the police would appreciate it─â€

 

“I’m better than the police, you know that.â€

 

“Well, then, they would very greatly appreciate it then, I’m sure. Yes.â€

 

“Would you?â€

 

“Would I?â€

 

“Would you appreciate if I found your boy.â€

 

“He’s not my boy but I don’t suppose it would be a bad thing. It would, of course, increase my impression of you, as always, Dr. Huxtable. That would be hard because it’s so high already.â€

 

“Of course! Would you like to help me find your boy?â€

 

“Help you? Wha? I wouldn’t know even how to go about starting to do that.â€

 

“We’re going to go to the carnival at night and find the boy.â€

 

“Oh, well, I suppose I could tag along if you like. It could be a … it could be a … wait. They don’t serve alcohol there, do they?â€

 

“You could bring it.â€

 

“Oh damn. I hate bringing my own. Withers! Withers! How is the stock? Oh good. Oh good. All right, yes. Fine. Fine. Where are we? Are we meeting at the carnival? Where? Are you - what? Yes?â€

 

“Could you come pick me up at my place? And then we must go pick up a young Korean boy.â€

 

“Well, of course. I love to drive. What’s the address?â€

 

“Do you love young Korean boys?â€

 

“Not particularly. No.â€

 

“Well, we still have to get him. I’m sorry.â€

 

“I suppose that’s fine. What’s the address Dr. Huxtable.â€

 

“It’s 151 Meeting Street.â€

 

“What time do you want me to pick you up?â€

 

“Now.â€

 

“Right. Right. Right. I’ll be around directly. Yes.â€

 

* * *

 

Dr. Huxtable went to the front window to wait for Pendergast. In only a few minutes, the hardtop Cadillac sedan pulled up on the street in front of the house. Pendergast laid on the horn and then took a flask out of his jacket and took a swig. The man didn’t even look at the house. He just waited.

 

Dr. Huxtable came out of the front door, fumbling with the lock for a long time. Then he sprinted as quickly as possible to the motorcar. He climbed into the passenger seat.

 

“All right,†Pendergast said. “Guide on!â€

 

Dr. Huxtable guided him to one of the dorms where Yoosung had been waiting for hours.

 

“Lock the doors until I know if it’s him,†Dr. Huxtable said when they pulled up.

 

Pendergast looked around.

 

“There’s no locks on these doors,†he said.

 

“There’s no locks on the doors, you say?†Dr. Huxtable said.

 

Pendergast rolled down the window and leaned out.

 

“You, boy!†he called. “Are you a Korean?â€

 

“If he says yes, that’s him,†Dr. Huxtable said.

 

“You can see him. He’s right there.â€

 

“Huh?â€

 

“Is that your boy?â€

 

“That’s your boy! We’ve found him! Hooray!â€

 

Pendergast looked confused.

 

“Yes, that’s him,†Dr. Huxtable said.

 

“All right c’mon!†Pendergast said. “C’mon!â€

 

Yoosung walked over to the motorcar and climbed into the back seat as Pendergast took another swig from his flask.

 

“Good to see you, sensei,†he said quietly. “You never gave me a time.â€

 

“Of course I didn’t,†Dr. Huxtable replied. “Every psychologist must predict the time.â€

 

“Oh, that’s so rude, Dr. Huxtable,†Pendergast said.

 

“It’s not rude, it’s psychology,†Dr. Huxtable said.

 

Pendergast put the car in gear and they headed down the street.

 

* * *

 

Most of them took the trolley up to Arthur Stone Road and then walked the rest of the way to the carnival. Miss Fairfield rode her bike. Both Sanderson and Miss Edington took their respective automobiles. They all met at the main ticket booth. Coincidentally, Dr. Huxtable, Pendergast, and Yoosung arrived around the same time. Miss Edington recognized Pendergast, having met him at some event or another. Miss Fairfield recognized the man from the society pages of the newspaper.

 

Johnson also recognized Pendergast, wanting to know the enemy: the bourgeoisie rich. From what he had read, however, Pendergast had no issues with unions in the factories owned by his family. He knew Pendergast inherited his wealth some years before and had then moved his parents into a less ostentatious mansion. Before he had taken over, the unions had not been able to touch the family business, almost as if his family was always one step ahead of them. Since he had taken over, the unions had found success in getting in. Either Pendergast didn’t care or was fine with them.

 

When Miss Edington bought tickets, she could smell alcohol on the breath of the older gentleman at the ticket booth. He had a red nose, obviously the results of heavy drinking, and looked to be in his early 50s. He didn’t look too happy. He slurred his words slightly and it was uncomfortable for Miss Edington to deal with the man at all.

 

“Enjoy the show,†he said to her.

 

Miss Edington walked back to the group and told them of the drunk ticket taker.

 

“Do you like rides Yoosung?†Dr. Huxtable asked very loudly.

 

“Yes,†Yoosung replied.

 

“Of course you do! This will be the best extra credit you’ve ever received.â€

 

When they reached the ticket booth, Dr. Huxtable couldn’t help but smell the whiskey.

 

“I’d drink if I looked like that as well,†he muttered to Yoosung.

 

Then he turned to the ticket taker.

 

“Excuse me sir, how many rides are in the carnival?†he asked.

 

“Uh … there’s carousel,†the man said. “There’s Ferris wheel. There’s the Tunnel of Terrors. That’s a good one.â€

 

“What about a carousel?â€

 

“There’s a … there’s a carousel. There’s the … uh … Ferris wheel. Wait. Did I say that?â€

 

“No.â€

 

“The pony rides. There’s the wax museum.â€

 

“Oh.â€

 

“There’s … the … fun house. There’s the house of mirrors. There’s─â€

 

“What about a Ferris wheel?â€

 

“There’s a Ferris wheel. There’s … uh …â€

 

“So, about 10.â€

 

“Yeah. Yeah. There’s the Mighty Hercules. He does an act. He bends bars in half.â€

 

“Can I have 30 tickets please?â€

 

“That’ll be $3.â€

 

People in the line behind Dr. Huxtable were starting to grow impatient.

 

“Here’s a five,†Dr. Huxtable said. “You keep the change and keep up the drinky drink, yes?â€

 

“Oh-oh, I will,†the man said. “That’s all that keeps me going.â€

 

James walked up to Dr. Huxtable.

 

“Don’t encourage him,†he said.

 

Dr. Huxtable let out a little scream and turned to the man.

 

“Well, if it’s what he liked, then psychology says ‘Do it ‘til you die,’ yes?†Dr. Huxtable said.

 

“Well, in my studies of psychology, you do what’s best for the person, not necessarily what they want,†James said.

 

“Oh, well, I was knighted by the king, young sir.â€

 

“Young? Excuse me!â€

 

“So, I think my opinion holds a little more authority.â€

 

“Uh … I’m not quite sure that’s true.â€

 

“He’s a good king. He was good. I like him.â€

 

“Come one! Come all! Come to the Parisian Theatre!†a man nearby yelled. “Tonight at five, seven, and nine p.m.! Carl Denim will be doing his magnificent Star Studded Show!â€

 

The man who yelled was wearing a long red jacket and a top hat. He had a thin, waxed mustache pulled to points and wild eyes.

 

“Oh!†he said when he saw Miss Edington. “I recognize you! Hello!â€

 

He moved closer to the woman but she turned and walked away. He leered at her with a happy moan.

 

“Come to the Star Studded Show!†the man continued to pitch. “You can’t miss it.â€

 

“What happens if we miss it?†Dr. Huxtable asked.

 

The man quickly walked to him, getting far too close.

 

“Why, you’ll miss the most spectacular show of your life, sir,†the pitchman said. “That is all. Nothing less than that!â€

 

“How many tickets is it?â€

 

“Only one! Only one ticket. The show is at five, seven, and nine.â€

 

“That’s a lot of numbers.â€

 

“That’s many, many numbers. Yes, it is. Bring your friends! Bring the girls! They’re be excited! They’ll be mystified! They will be nothing short of amazed.â€

 

“Can young Korean boys attend as well?â€

 

“If they’re accompanied by an adult, of course! Of course!â€

 

Dr. Huxtable looked at his watch. It was almost 7:00.

 

“So, as I was saying Pendergast, we’re here to find your young boy!†Dr. Huxtable said, turning to the other man. “The missing boy! Follow me, Pendergast, I think we should look over here for your young boy first.â€

 

“Yes yes,†Pendergast said.

 

Young Yoosung, upon seeing Sanderson, fell in love with the man at first sight.

 

Dr. Huxtable headed up the games fairway, followed closely by Pendergast and Yoosung, who looked longingly over his shoulder at Sanderson. Miss Fairfield ran to catch up to them and the others followed.

 

“Mr. Pendergast!†she called.

 

Pendergast stopped.

 

“Yes yes,†he said. “Can I help you?â€

 

“Is it your boy that’s missing?†she asked. “Freddy Pendergast?â€

 

“It’s not boy!†Pendergast said.

 

“It’s his boy!†Dr. Huxtable said.

 

“Not my boy!†Pendergast said. “I have no children!â€

 

“He has three sons!†Dr. Huxtable said.

 

“So, how are you related to him?†James asked.

 

“Oh, his mother’s like a fifth or sixth cousin or something,†Pendergast said.

 

“Why are you looking for him?†Miss Fairfield asked.

 

“Well, this is Dr. … Sir Dr. Carl Huxtable,†Pendergast said.

 

“Yes!†Dr. Huxtable said.

 

“Of Brown University and his … uh … associate … young Korean boy,†Pendergast said. “I didn’t catch your name.â€

 

“Yoosung,†Yoosung said.

 

“Yoosung! Sorry,†Pendergast went on.

 

“Excuse me,†James said. “Sir Doctor?â€

 

“Sir Dr. Carl Huxtable,†Dr. Huxtable said. “I was knighted. I was knighted.â€

 

“Knighted by the king,†Pendergast said.

 

“King George. Long may he reign.â€

 

“He wanted to come out and look for the boy. I read in the paper he’s a runaway so, probably, he’s run away. Maybe he’s joined the carnival.â€

 

“How astute of you to come to that conclusion.â€

 

“Are you close?†James asked.

 

“Never met the boy,†Pendergast said. “Never his mother, even. They live here.â€

 

“Well, why, may I ask, are you here?â€

 

“Nothing better to do tonight. There are no parties.â€

 

“There’s always time to get drunk,†Dr. Huxtable said.

 

“We’re here looking for him too,†Miss Fairfield said.

 

“And it’s a carnival!†Pendergast said.

 

“You all are here to find the young boy as well?†Dr. Huxtable said. “And steal our fame?â€

 

“We don’t do it for the fame,†Miss Fairfield said.

 

“What fame?†James said.

 

“Neither do we!†Dr. Huxtable said.

 

“Well, really we were looking for Lucy Pringle first,†Miss Fairfield said. “If it’s not a coincidence, we want to prevent any other people from going missing.â€

 

“So you think they are connected, yes?â€

 

“It just seems strange. Two people missing in the same week.â€

 

“Well, supposedly one was a runaway. The other went missing in the … swamp? Yes? Or am I mistaken?â€

 

“One went missing in the cemetery and the other in the Tunnel of Terrors.â€

 

“Swamp. Cemetery. It’s all the same.â€

 

“Swan Point Cemetery,†Pendergast said, taking another swig from his flask. “Swan Point.â€

 

“It’s really not the same,†Miss Edington said.

 

“Swamp Point Cemetery,†Dr. Huxtable said.

 

“Swan!†Pendergast said. “Point.â€

 

“Swamp Point Cemetery.â€

 

“Swan. Like the bird. You know, the ugly duckling.â€

 

“Yes. The swamp swan.â€

 

“What the hell is wrong with him?†Miss Edington asked.

 

“I concur, Savannah,†James said.

 

“Who the hell’s Savannah?â€

 

“I’m not that good with names.â€

 

She gave the man a look.

 

“Dancing has begun at the North Star Pavilion!†a barker called, walking down the fairway. “Dancing has begun at the North Star Pavilion. Come and dance the night away.â€

 

“I want to go to the Tunnel of Terrors where the boy went missing, supposedly, yes?†Dr. Huxtable said.

 

“All right,†Pendergast said.

 

“It’s also dark there, so you can drink more.â€

 

“I can drink anywhere.â€

 

“You can drink more in the dark.â€

 

“Probably shouldn’t drink more right now.â€

 

“Mr. Pendergast, should we allow these people to … accompany us?â€

 

Pendergast simply shrugged.


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