* * *
On Tuesday, June 3, 1692, Theo woke up early to find his brother not in their bed, surprisingly. He thought sure someone was taking advantage of the mental deficient. He got up and went out in search of his brother. He decided to head down to the Catt and the Fiddle and thought to himself that his brother had better be there.
* * *
Both Fowler and Dr. Leighlin had terrible dreams that night, once again about the Yellow Sign, the King in Yellow, and a terrible city with tall towers and terrifying visages. Something seemed to pursue them through the city.
Dr. Leighlin also had nightmares about the man with the maggot-white colored skin heâ€™d seen several times the day before. He continually woke in terror, screaming often when he did so. Gregory and Giovanni came into his room whenever he awoke with a cry but he drove them off. He did not have a good nightâ€™s sleep but he did eventually tell the two young men what heâ€™d dreamt of and to beware of the man in black with the terribly pale skin as he had followed him. They brought him brandy to aid his sleep but it didnâ€™t help either.
* * *
The streets of Port Royal were confusing that day. Though the town was very small and they were all familiar with every street and house, that day some of them had a terrible time finding their way to the tavern to meet the others for breakfast. Flint was very confused but Ackworth guided him to the tavern.
Dr. Leighlin was very confused by the streets. He got completely lost and was very disturbed by getting lost in a town he knew like the back of his hand. He finally managed to get to the Catt and the Fiddle but he realized something was terribly wrong. He was the last to arrive, and was shaken when he got there, looking around in confusion and touching the walls as if unsure if they were real.
â€œI got to sleep in my own bed,â€ Flint told Theo.
â€œDid any of you have trouble getting here?â€ Dr. Leighlin asked.
â€œUh â€¦ I mean it was a little strange but â€¦ no,â€ Fowler said.
â€œNo,â€ Jeagar said.
â€œWhy would I have trouble?â€ Ackworth said.
â€œI never walked from his house so I was a little confused,â€ Flint said.
â€œI went straight across the road and I ended up beside the church,â€ Dr. Leighlin said. â€œThere was no way.â€
â€œMaybe it was God.â€
â€œThis is no time for that!â€
â€œI heard he was real.â€
â€œYouâ€™ve got to help me. I feel like Iâ€™m losing my mind.â€
â€œItâ€™s okay,â€ Fowler said. â€œWeâ€™ll get to the bottom of this â€¦ somehow.â€
â€œYou seem a lot different,â€ Flint said to the doctor. â€œYou seem a lot stranger.â€
â€œWell â€¦â€ Dr. Leighlin said uncertainly.
â€œHe speaks his mind,â€ Theo said. â€œThatâ€™s for sure.â€
â€œLike he wasnâ€™t strange already?â€ Fowler said.
Dr. Leighlin said nothing. He tried to eat something.
They discussed the markings and told the others what they had found in the hole: a six-foot high and one-foot diameter basalt pillar.
â€œIn the street?â€ Dr. Leighlin asked.
â€œIn the street,â€ Ackworth said. â€œStanding straight up.â€
â€œUnder the street,â€ Flint said.
â€œUnder the street,â€ Dr. Leighlin said.
â€œAnd I had to pick it up,â€ Flint said.
â€œAnd we have reason to believe that there are eight more,â€ Ackworth said.
â€œEight more,â€ Dr. Leighlin said. â€œSpread across the city.â€
â€œIâ€™m not doing that eight more times,â€ Flint said.
â€œSpread across the city,â€ Ackworth said.
â€œWhy on Earth?â€ Dr. Leighlin said. â€œLet me see it.â€
â€œDo you know some men who could help us dig?â€ Ackworth asked Jeagar. â€œSome good, trustworthy men?â€
â€œYes, I do,â€ Jeagar said.
Ackworth ordered Jeagar to get some men while he would go and get some digging supplies.
â€œHow much should I tell them weâ€™re going to pay them?â€ Jeagar asked.
â€œWhat do you think a fair wage is?â€ Ackworth said.
â€œAnd Iâ€™ll get shovels and a cart to carry them this time.â€
â€œThat sounds better for my back. My leg almost broke.â€
â€œMaybe a few lanterns. Make sure these men are ready to tussle.â€
Jeagar told him about the Negroes who were asking around the town about what was happening in Port Royal. He also told them where the two had been staying, according to Fowler.
* * *
Fowler and Dr. Leighton left, going to the courthouse to look into what had happened to Joseph Gill. They learned the arraignment was to be Wednesday and a trial was set for Thursday. The man he talked to guessed Gill would be fined or perhaps imprisoned for some time. There were rumors Gill had gone mad, however, so it was possible he would be imprisoned for his own good.
* * *
â€œâ€˜And then there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground,â€™â€ they heard a man in a Spanish accent call out on the street.
Flint, Theo, and Jeagar had left the inn for their various errands when they heard the voice and looked down the street to see a man in a Catholic Priestâ€™s robes preaching.
â€œâ€˜And he said, Behold no, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servantâ€™s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways,â€™â€ the Spanish priest went on. â€œâ€˜And they said Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.â€™â€
As they approached, they saw he was a bald man with a mustache and goatee and dark skin like a Spaniard. Though none of them were particularly religious, they recognized the name â€œLotâ€ as part of the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah.
â€œThe Lord smote the cities for their wicked ways and shall smite this one as well,â€ the priest cried out. â€œHe is coming here, here to Port Royal. Death and destruction are coming. You â€¦ you must make peace with God. You must confess in order to pass into Heaven rather than burn in Hell when the city shall soon be destroyed!â€
Most people walked by, ignoring the man. A few spared him a glance but otherwise did not pay much attention to him. Others rolled their eyes as they walked by. He continued to preach about the destruction of the city.
â€œIsnâ€™t that the Spaniard that paid Joseph Gill?â€ Flint asked.
â€œI believe it is,â€ Jeagar said.
â€œShall we arrest him?â€ Flint said.
â€œYou canâ€™t arrest him, brother,â€ Theo said. â€œYouâ€™re not a constable.â€
â€œShall we follow him instead?â€ Jeagar said.
â€œYeah,â€ Flint said. â€œI want to ask him why Port Royal will be destroyed. Should I talk to him?â€
â€œThatâ€™s not a bad idea,â€ Jeagar said.
â€œOkay,â€ Flint said.
â€œIâ€™m going to hide here in the shadows and follow him when he goes,â€ Jeagar said.
â€œTheo, do you have my back?â€ Flint said.
â€œAbsolutely, dear brother,â€ Theo said.
Flint walked down the street and crossed to the priest, who continued to preach fire and brimstone, of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, which were destroyed for their sins, utterly annihilated, the entire valley decimated, and everyone dead. Lot had been warned to leave by God and told not to look back. His wife looked back at the destruction and was turned into a pillar of salt.
Flint knew the story. He knew Abraham had pleaded for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, asking God if he would spare the city if he could find 40 righteous men. God complied. Then Abraham asked he would not destroy the cities if he found 30 righteous men, and God agreed. He asked about 20 righteous men and God agreed. Finally he asked if God would spare the city if he could find 10 righteous men and God, once more, agreed.
The Spaniard preached that, as Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for their sins so, too, would Port Royal be destroyed for its sins.
Flint sat on the ground and listened.
â€œHow do we save it?â€ Flint asked.
â€œYou canâ€™t!â€ the priest said. â€œYou cannot save it. You cannot save the city. You can only save yourself â€¦ by confessing your sins to a good Catholic priest. And then â€¦ then your soul, at least, will go to Heaven when you are destroyed with all of â€¦ all of this wickedness, this terrible wickedness.â€
â€œThen letâ€™s all leave!â€
â€œThere is no escape. The souls of the damned will still burn in hell.â€
â€œHow long do we have?â€
â€œYou do not have long. Saturday. The end comes Saturday.â€
The priest went on with his preaching about the destruction of the cities. He finally finished it up and looked with contempt at the people passing him by on the street and ignoring him. Flint looked around and saw Theo talking to someone but constantly looking in his direction.
â€œTheo!â€ Flint yelled at his brother. â€œWe got â€˜til Saturday! Port Royalâ€™s going to be destroyed on Saturday!â€
â€œWho are you talking to?â€ the priest said.
â€œâ€˜Cause heâ€™s my brother.â€
â€œWhy? Why do you speak to your brother? Will he confess? Will he confess his sins?â€
â€œHe doesnâ€™t believe in God.â€
â€œDo you believe in God?â€
â€œYou should believe in him with your heart and soul because if you do not confess your sins you will burn in the pits of Hell for all eternity!â€
â€œI donâ€™t want to do that.â€
â€œThen you must confess your sins.â€
â€œTell me. Say â€˜Bless me father, for I have sinned.â€™â€
â€œBless me father, for I have sinned.â€
â€œâ€˜It has been â€¦ I have never had a confession.â€™â€
â€œI have never had a confession.â€
â€œNow, you must tell me your sins. What have you done that has angered God? What commandments have you broken? How many have you killed?â€
â€œI killed a man.â€
â€œYou killed a man?â€
â€œHow many men have you killed?â€
â€œTheo says itâ€™s the big number.â€
â€œThe big number? A hundred men you have killed? A thousand men you have killed?â€
â€œI donâ€™t know how big that is but I donâ€™t know how many â€¦ but I did kill one yesterday.â€
â€œDo you regret your sins?â€
â€œNo, they were bad!â€
â€œKilling is a sin, my child.â€
â€œBut I kill bad people.â€
â€œIt is still a sin. You will go to Hell if you do not confess and repent of your sins.â€
Theo had made his way across the street and was moving up behind the priest.
â€œYou must confess your sins and regret the terrible things you have done,â€ the priest said to Flint. â€œKilling is wrong. Have you stolen?â€
â€œYes,â€ Flint said, matter-of-factly.
â€œIt is a sin.â€
â€œI would die if I didnâ€™t steal.â€
â€œIt is better to die a saint than live a sinner.â€
Theo had made his way behind the Spaniard and poked a pistol into his back. The priest stood up straight and looked over his shoulder at the man.
â€œYou would threaten a priest?â€ he said. â€œWhat kind of sinner are you?â€
â€œTheo!â€ Flint said. â€œWhat are you doing?â€
â€œHeâ€™s threatening a man of God, my child,â€ the priest said.
â€œTheo, Iâ€™m trying to confess my sins so I donâ€™t burn in hell!â€
â€œWho is this sinner?â€
â€œThatâ€™s my brother behind you.â€
â€œYou should get down on my knees and confess your sins.â€
Theo leaned forward.
â€œIf you want to live, youâ€™ll go into the street that is right adjacent to us,â€ he whispered.
â€œOh,â€ the priest said. â€œYou wish to rob me. You are a sinner too.â€
He turned to Flint.
â€œYour brother is a sinner,â€ he said. â€œIt makes me sad in my heart.â€
â€œAm I saved yet?â€ Flint said.
â€œNot unless you stop your brother from robbing me.â€
â€œI told him to stop!â€
â€œYou must take his pistol away.â€
â€œWhat more can I do?â€
â€œYou must take his pistol away. Or God â€¦ God will cry upon you.â€
â€œMr. Jeagar! We need help!â€
The priest moved towards the narrow street as he had been told, hands still down by his side.
â€œStop yelling and just go get him,â€ Theo said to Flint.
â€œWell, maybe donâ€™t hold someone at gunpoint in daylight,â€ Flint said.
â€œWell, maybe donâ€™t argue! And go get him.â€
â€œI was trying to save my soul!â€
Jeagar headed across the street towards them.
â€œMr. Jeagar, I was trying to confess my sins and then Theo pointed a gun at him,â€ Flint said, stopping Jeagar in the street.
â€œThe preacher is probably a liar,â€ Jeagar told him. â€œHe doesnâ€™t even believe in God.â€
â€œWhat? He lied to me?â€
â€œMore than likely.â€
They looked around and realized they had lost sight of Theo and the priest.
â€œWeâ€™d better see whatâ€™s going on,â€ Jeagar said.
â€œYeah, weâ€™d better catch up,â€ Flint said.
They headed for the side street.
* * *
The priest had moved up the side street and then turned to Theo.
â€œWill you kill a man of God?â€ he asked the man.
He backed away from Theo.
â€œYou cannot stop what is happening.â€
Theo followed the man, picking up the pace.
â€œDonâ€™t be a fool!â€ the priest said.
He turned and ran. Theo gave chase.
* * *
When Jeagar and Flint reached the side street, they saw the priest running away towards the other end, followed closely by Theo.
â€œGo protect your brother!â€ Jeagar said. â€œQuick! Iâ€™m too slow!â€
Flint picked up Jeagar, who cursed.
â€œPut me down!â€ Jeagar said. â€œYou just go! Iâ€™m going to go cut him off!â€
He struggled against the larger man, who eventually put him down.
* * *
The priest ran for the corner ahead.
â€œYour destruction is assured!â€ he shouted over his shoulder
The man ducked to the left and when Theo ran around the corner, he saw it was a dead end but it should have been Lime Street. He turned to his right and saw an alley that he didnâ€™t remember in this part of Port Royal. Then he saw the priest again. He gave chase.
* * *
Flint ran after his brother and saw him turn left onto Lime Street. When he ran around the corner, his brother was completely gone. There was no where he could have easily disappeared. Perhaps he ran into one of the shops on either side.
* * *
Theo managed to mostly keep up with the priest, who was sprinting. Though the streets didnâ€™t seem to go where they were supposed to and he seemed to be in parts of the town that were not even connected, he kept up until he ran out of breath and had to stop. The priest continued to run.
* * *
Jeagar, who had been fighting against the confusing streets, finally came around a corner and saw the priest running in his direction. Theo was behind the man but then stopped and started breathing heavily, leaning against a wall.
Jeagar rushed the man, pulling his hatchet from his belt and striking the man in the leg, cutting him badly. The priest screamed and Jeagar ran right by him as fast as his peg leg allowed, heading towards Theo.
The priest stopped down the street, muttering something and pointing at Jeagar.
â€œRun away!â€ the priest said.
Jeagar felt an uncontrollable compulsion to flee and so ran down the street away from the man. The priest ducked around a corner and disappeared from sight.
Jeagar felt the compulsion leave him after only a few seconds, but the priest was gone by then.
* * *
Fowler and Dr. Leighlin exited the courthouse and saw a man outside who seemed to be in some distress.
â€œSir, are you okay?â€ Fowler asked.
â€œHave you seen the Yellow Sign?â€ the man said.
He drew a knife and ran at Fowler. Fowler pulled his musket off his shoulder, cocked it, and shot the man in the right hand, blowing a substantial-sized hole in it and knocking the knife away. Blood sprayed and the man crashed to the ground. Dr. Leighlin backed away as people screamed and fled.
Fowler explained the man had attacked him in a mad fury and Dr. Leighlin attested to the facts. People grabbed the unconscious man and dragged him to the jail, blood still dripping from the terrible wound in his hand.
* * *
Ackworth spent the morning purchasing shovels and other paraphernalia for digging up the streets, including a few handcarts for use in transporting the strange pillars he was convinced were buried under the street. He also got some lanterns.
* * *
They all got together that night to dig up the things in the street. Jeagar had hired a dozen men to help pull the carts and dig. Ackworth provided 10 shovels and they got to work digging up the things from the street. Soldiers accosted them several times but Ackworth paid them a few shillings sent them happily on their way.
It was in the wee morning hours when a man approached with a lantern in his hand. He was a tall man with shoulder-length, stringy hair and a strange grin on his face. He wore a tri-cornered hat and had a large knife in his belt. His eyes were wide.
â€œGreetings,â€ he said. â€œHello. Iâ€™m looking for a righteous man. Are any of you a righteous man?â€
â€œWhat do you mean by a righteous man?â€ Fowler asked.
â€œWell, I must find 10 righteous men â€¦ to save Port Royal,â€ the man said.
â€œDefine a righteous man,â€ Ackworth said.
â€œYes,â€ Fowler said.
â€œWell, I must â€¦ if I find 10 â€¦ well, any of you could be righteous men,â€ the man said. â€œI-I take it youâ€™re not going to just dig holes in the street. Youâ€™re going to refill it.â€
â€œWell, of course,â€ Ackworth said. â€œThatâ€™s what we did last night.â€
â€œI have some questions that I can ask,â€ the man said. â€œTo see if any of you are righteous men. If I can find 10 â€¦ 10 righteous men, I can save Port Royal. I swear I can.â€
â€œGo ahead,â€ Fowler said. â€œAsk me some questions.â€
â€œVery well,â€ the man said. â€œAre you â€¦â€
â€œA righteous man?â€ Jeagar muttered.
â€œâ€¦ a righteous man?â€ the man finished, either ignoring or not hearing him. â€œHave you ever killed a man or otherwise broken one of the Ten Commandments?â€
â€œUh â€¦â€ Fowler said. â€œWell, I donâ€™t know.â€
â€œThen you are not a righteous man,â€ the stranger said. â€œA righteous man would know.â€
â€œWell, no man without sin,â€ Ackworth said.
â€œAre you?â€ the man asked him. â€œHave you broken the Ten Commandments?â€
â€œWell, I mean, no man is without sin,â€ Ackworth said.
â€œI do not need wordplay sir,â€ the stranger said. â€œI need a yes or a no.â€
â€œI was born with it, though!â€ Ackworth said.
â€œYou are not a righteous man,â€ the stranger said and turned to Jeagar. â€œWhat about you, sir?â€
â€œOf course!â€ Jeagar said.
â€œYouâ€™re a righteous man?â€
â€œYouâ€™ve never killed another man? Youâ€™ve never stolen? Youâ€™ve never â€¦ never â€¦ never coveted thy neighborâ€™s wife? Youâ€™ve never committed adultery?â€
The man went through the whole of the Ten Commandments.
â€œYes,â€ Jeagar lied.
The stranger looked at his carefully.
â€œNo no,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™m sorry. You are a liar. That is a sin as well, my friend.â€
The stranger turned to Flint.
â€œWhat about you?â€ he said. â€œAre you a righteous man?â€
â€œIâ€™d like to think so,â€ Flint said.
The stranger looked pained by that answer.
â€œHave you killed other men?â€ he said.
â€œOnly the bad ones,â€ Flint said.
â€œThat does not make a righteous man,â€ the stranger said sadly.
He turned to Dr. Leighlin.
â€œWhat of you, sir,â€ the stranger asked him.
â€œAre you a righteous man, sir?â€ Ackworth said.
The stranger turned back to him.
â€œIt doesnâ€™t matter what I am,â€ he said. â€œI am looking for righteous men.â€
He turned back to Dr. Leighlin.
â€œBut how do you know a righteous manâ”€â€ Ackworth said.
â€œQuiet, you!â€ the stranger replied, turning back to him.
â€œâ”€if you are not a righteous man, yourself?â€ Ackworth said.
â€œDo not speak again or Iâ€™ll strike you down on the spot!â€ the stranger said to him.
He turned back to Dr. Leighlin.
â€œAre you a righteous man, sir?â€ he asked, nearly in tears.
â€œAre you a righteous man, sir!?!â€ Ackworth yelled at the man, mocking him. â€œIâ€™m looking for 10 righteous men!â€
The stranger swung the lantern at his head and Ackworth leapt out of the way.
â€œAre you a righteous man!?!â€ Ackworth shrieked insanely. â€œIâ€™m looking for 10 righteous men!â€
The stranger drew his knife and tried to stab Ackworth, who ducked back.
â€œDo not interrupt me again!â€ he screamed.
Ackworth shouted back at him. Then Fowler took out his musket and shot the man in the shoulder. The man stumbled backwards and crashed to the street, his lantern falling to the ground and going out. The man lay there, bleeding.
â€œDr. Leighlin, see to the man!â€ Ackworth said.
Flint drew out his blunderbuss.
â€œWhy did you do that!?!â€ he cried out. â€œHe was trying to save us!â€
â€œAnd weâ€™re going to save his life too,â€ Ackworth said.
â€œBut we just shot him!â€
â€œWe didnâ€™t kill him though. Hopefully.â€
Dr. Leighlin tended to the fallen man.
â€œTheo, what do I do?â€ Flint said.
â€œPut your gun away, brother,â€ Theo said, drawing his own flintlock pistol. â€œYouâ€™re safe with me.â€
Dr. Leighlin bound the terrible wound. The bullet gone directly through the manâ€™s shoulder, punching a terrible hole in his scapula. He was bleeding profusely but Dr. Leighlin stanched the wound.
â€œI feel like we should question him,â€ Fowler said.
â€œI feel like we should tie him up,â€ Ackworth said.
â€œThat would be good too,â€ Fowler said.
A few people investigated the strange occurrence, but a little money from Ackworth saw them on their way. Fowler wanted to question the man to find out who he worked for and what he wanted.
â€œI think he was just following the stories,â€ Flint said.
â€œWhat stories?â€ Fowler said.
â€œSodom and Gomorrah,â€ Ackworth said.
â€œYes,â€ Flint said. â€œIf you find righteous men than you save the town.â€
â€œOh,â€ Fowler said. â€œI remember that from church. Save the town from what, exactly?â€
â€œWhen is the town going to be destroyed?â€
â€œAnd youâ€™re only telling me this now?â€
â€œOh my gosh.â€
They got back to work.
* * *
Before morning on Wednesday, June 4, 1692, they managed to remove all eight of the basalt pillars, had them loaded into the carts, and were heading back to Ackworthâ€™s house on Thames Street along the North Docks, the sky ruddy in the east. A yellowish glow seemed to indicate the rising sun â€¦ until they realized it was not. Something else was to the east. Something unnatural.
Dr. Leighlin looked away. He felt his mind couldnâ€™t take much more strangeness.
Across the harbor, standing on Pelican point, stood a strange city with a yellow glow behind it. It crouched dimly on by the shore, many spires and towers silhouetted by the rising sun in the strangely yellow sky. The towers appeared impossibly tall and thin. Something flitted between them.
Others on the docks stopped their work as they stared at the strange city. A few pointed.
Fowler recognized the terrible city from his nightmares. He reacted particularly poorly to the sight, rooted to the spot in terror. He felt a terrible horror of the color yellow and couldnâ€™t look away from the glow behind the city.
Theo saw the priest heâ€™d accosted the day before just down the street, staring at the city with a satisfied grin on his face. He looked around and saw Theo, his smile widening and he nodded at the man. Then he turned and walked away, quickly disappearing.
â€œHey!â€ Theo said. â€œI just saw that priest!â€
â€œWhere did he go?â€ Sam muttered, still staring at the terrible city.
â€œHeâ€™s in the city.â€
â€œWell â€¦ that narrows it down a lot â€¦â€
â€œWait â€¦ you want to go into the insane city?â€
â€œI have nothing else to lose right now.â€
They went to Ackworthâ€™s house and unloaded the pillars inside.
They later heard the strange city had vanished a half hour after its appearance. A few people had tried to swim across the harbor to it but drowned in their attempts.
* * *
Fowler suggested they find the priest that day, figure out where he was, and force him to tell them what they needed to know to stop the madness afflicting the town. Dr. Leighlin took the unconscious madman back to his surgery, finding his way back to the house with only some issues. He hid in his house in hopes of avoiding the strangeness.
* * *
Flint took Theo aside.
â€œI think we should leave Port Royal,â€ he told his brother. â€œThis place is terrible.â€
â€œWhere do you want to go, brother?â€ Theo said.
â€œAnywhere but here.â€
â€œThatâ€™s a lot of options.â€
â€œI think the preacher was right. I think this place is doomed to Hell. So, we should just leave.â€
Theo thought about asking Lily if she wanted to come with them.
* * *
Dr. Leighlin heard a knock at his door. A few moments later, Gregory came into his room.
â€œMaster!â€ the Italian youth said. â€œMaster! Doctor Horton is here. He says he has discovered something amazing!â€
â€œYes, yes,â€ Dr. Leighlin said, getting up.
He went to his study. A few moments later, Dr. Horton peeked into the room.
Doctor Anthony Horton was an older man of about 40 who was also a surgeon in Port Royal. He was a rival Dr. Leighlinâ€™s, though Dr. Leighlin was a better surgeon than Dr. Horton. Dr. Horton didnâ€™t appreciate the new blood coming into Port Royal, especially when people in the town started to come to Dr. Leighlin instead of continuing to see Dr. Horton. Secretly though, Dr. Leighlin wished he was as a good as Dr. Horton. The man was tall and slim and wore bloodstained clothing.
â€œDr. Leighlin,â€ he said.
â€œYes Horton,â€ Dr. Leighlin said.
â€œMay I come in?â€
The other surgeon entered the room, seating himself on one of the chairs.
â€œIâ€™ve discovered a new way of reattaching dead limbs,â€ Dr. Horton said with a sneer.
â€œAnd why would I be interested?â€ Dr. Leighlin said.
â€œBecause you canâ€™t do it.â€
â€œYou think so?â€
â€œWhat is it you plan?â€
â€œOh! Showing you up amongst the gentry and the aristocracy. Finally proving my worth.â€
â€œI have no time for this.â€
â€œFair enough. Fair enough.â€
â€œGo play with your toys.â€
â€œI have all I need.â€
The man stood up and headed for the entry, stopping and turning back.
â€œJust know!â€ he said. â€œJust know, any sign of weakness is proof that I am your superior!â€
Dr. Leighlin stood as Dr. Horton went to the front door.
â€œBastard!â€ Dr. Leighlin said to him.
â€œHa!â€ the man said, turning on the step. â€œI know who my parentsâ”€â€
Dr. Leighlin slammed the door in the manâ€™s face.
* * *
Fowler had decided to wander the now-strange streets of Port Royal to try to find the Spanish priest they had told him about. He noticed some strange statues that he had never seen in the city before. Most appeared to be broken and old, as if they have been there for many years, and depicted oddly shaped and sometimes strangely dressed people. Many were unfinished or partially damaged. They were all terribly large and he had no idea how they could have been placed in the city overnight. A few other people looked at the strange statues.
It was quite unsettling.
* * *
As all of them but Dr. Leighlin ate a very late breakfast at the Catt and the Fiddle, a Negro, obviously a slave, approached their table. Fowler recognized her as one of the two he had followed the day before.
â€œI need to talk to you,â€ she said in a Spanish accent.
â€œWhat do you want to talk about?â€ Fowler said.
â€œThe Yellow Sign.â€
â€œWhat is the Yellow Sign?â€
â€œYouâ€™re not about to pull a knife on us, are you?â€ Ackworth said.
The woman looked at him bemusedly.
â€œPerhaps,â€ she said.
â€œOkay,â€ Ackworth said. â€œâ€˜Perhapsâ€™ is better than a â€˜yes.â€™ Continue.â€
â€œI was sent by my master to stop what is happening in Port Royal,â€ the woman said.
â€œHow do we do that?â€ Fowler said.
â€œI need to talk to you somewhere more private,â€ the woman said.
â€œLetâ€™s go somewhere private,â€ Fowler said.
â€œWhich would be where?â€ the woman said.
â€œThis gentleman, Breakfast Manâ€™s, house,â€ Jeagar said.
â€œBreakfast Manâ€™s house?â€ Ackworth said. â€œWhere weâ€™re storing all the basalt pillars? Sure.â€
They went to Ackworthâ€™s house and she seemed nervous but, once they were within and settled, spoke.
â€œMy people and my master live in the wilds of Jamaica,â€ she said. â€œAs we have done for two generations. We are the Maroon.â€
They knew the Maroon were slaves who had escaped from the Spanish or the English years before and lived free in the wilds of Jamaica.
â€œThere is a cult of a god name Hastur that is trying to take over Port Royal,â€ she said. â€œThe Yellow Sign is both their means to do it and a way to spread the cult. It slowly drives men mad over the course of many nights or days. Whenever they sleep. The sigil is a physical force of madness and evil. The cult has worked against our own masters for a very long time and â€¦â€
â€œYea!â€ a child cried out, running into the room.
He stopped when he saw all of the adults there, listening to the negro woman.
â€œQuiet Billy!â€ Ackworth shouted at the boy. â€œGet to your room!â€
It was his nephew, who also lived in the house. The child fled the room.
â€œWe seek the same as you: to stop it,â€ the Negro woman said. â€œWe have had little success in finding out what causes it.â€
â€œHow do we do that?â€ Fowler said.
â€œWe do not know. We know there is a madmen in the street seeking righteous men. There is a priest of some kind behind it. We think it is Dr. Heath, who is in charge of the church.â€
â€œWe have the madman,â€ Ackworth said.
â€œWhat?â€ the woman replied. â€œHe would know more than we.â€
â€œWe also have these pillars,â€ Ackworth said, pulling the sacking from around one.
The woman took some time in counting the pillars. She was obviously not well-educated.
â€œIt is said that nine pillars are required to summon Hastur,â€ she said. â€œBut it is not the summertime that he can come. I do not know how we can help you but we will if we can.â€
â€œIf you wish to wait here, we can go get the madman,â€ Ackworth said. â€œTwo of us.â€
â€œI do not know what I could find out from him. If you can find out what you can from him â€¦ this priest. This Emmanuel Heath. We think he is behind this.â€
â€œWait,â€ Fowler said. â€œBut he said he didnâ€™t know anything â€¦ oh. He was lying. Because he said he didnâ€™t know anything about it and he thought it was strange.â€
â€œWell, there you have it,â€ Theo said.
â€œI do not know,â€ the woman said. â€œI just know that â€¦ if there is any way we can help you stop this â€¦ the city that appeared across the bay this morning is a place called Carcosa. It eats towns that are wicked or evil.â€
â€œI can go talk to Heath to see if he knows anything,â€ Fowler said.
â€œDo you know where he is?â€ Ackworth said.
â€œI know where his house is,â€ Fowler said. â€œI know where the church is.â€
â€œWe think he is behind all this,â€ the woman said.
â€œWell, weâ€™ll see if he is,â€ Fowler said.
â€œIf you need our help, find us,â€ she said.
She told them where they were staying and took her leave of them.
â€œWho wants to go confront the priest with me?â€ Fowler said.
â€œI havenâ€™t been doing so well with priests, lately, so I will go to the good doctorâ€™s house,â€ Ackworth said.
* * *