* * *
It was evening before Theo found his brother. He was with Jeagar.
â€œThe next time we get a job, we should go together,â€ Jeagar was saying to Flint. â€œThen we could run all of the cannons on the ship at the same time.â€
â€œBut usually ship have one gunnery master and you want two,â€ Flint said.
â€œThereâ€™s no rule that says there canâ€™t be two!â€
â€œAre you going to take all the money and I donâ€™t get any?â€
â€œNo! Why would I do that?â€
â€œYouâ€™ve done it before.â€
â€œI donâ€™t recall that.â€
â€œWhat about Theo?â€
â€œHe â€¦ could come.â€
â€œI usually have to ask Theo if itâ€™s a good idea. He doesnâ€™t like you very much.â€
â€œHe always gives me these strange looks.â€
â€œYeah, he thinks that youâ€™re odd. He thinks that nobody should be missing as much of their body as you are.â€
â€œIâ€™m just one of the lucky ones!â€
â€œWe have different idea of what luck is.â€
â€œWell, I would be more lucky if I didnâ€™t lose them but â€¦ Iâ€™m still alive.â€
â€œWhat kind of job do you even want to do?â€
Jeagar told him some of his ideas but Flint quickly stopped paying attention. Theo found them while Jeagar was claiming to have invented grapeshot.
â€œHello brother!â€ Theo said. â€œHello â€¦ Jeagar.â€
â€œTheo â€¦â€ Flint said. â€œTheo, did you go do the yelling stuff with the lady again?â€
â€œSurprisingly not this time, brother.â€
â€œWhy do you say your name all the time when youâ€™re with her?â€
â€œAre you admitting to eavesdropping, brother? I told you to plug your ears, brother.â€
â€œIt didnâ€™t matter! I still heard you. I think the whole town heard you once.â€
â€œAll right, all right, all right. Iâ€™ve just come along to share some information Iâ€™ve gotten. Not too much information. Just a phrase in particular. A name. A place. Something. You havenâ€™t heard of it, brother, I know you havenâ€™t. But have you heard of Carcosa, Jeagar?â€
â€œIt does not ring any bells,â€ Jeagar said.
â€œAh, well, thatâ€™s not new,â€ Theo said.
â€œWhatâ€™s Carcosa?â€ Flint said.
â€œI donâ€™t know, brother,â€ Theo said. â€œSomething Iâ€™m trying to find out now. Weâ€™ll probably have to ask around the locals, who know the town a little bit better than we do.â€
â€œMr. Jeagar wants me to do another job with him.â€
â€œWhat happened the last time, brother?â€
â€œHe lost a part of his body.â€
â€œWell, weâ€™ll put that idea to rest.â€
Theo glared at Jeagar.
â€œThat was a mistake!â€ Jeagar said defensively.
â€œMm!â€ Theo said. â€œIt always is a mistake, Jeagar. While youâ€™re of no use to me, I suppose the two of you can have the rest of your night, unless, brother, you want to accompany me to our lodgings.â€
â€œThere is somewhere I actually have to be,â€ Jeagar said.
â€œAll right,â€ Theo said. â€œWell, then letâ€™s be off, brother.â€
â€œHave a nice night, Flint,â€ Jeagar said.
â€œBye bye Mr. Jeagar,â€ Flint said.
â€œSee you later,â€ Jeagar said.
They parted ways.
* * *
Once they had secured their lodgings and Flint was sleeping, Theo went out to ask people about Carcosa. He learned that many people were talking about Carcosa but no one seemed to know what it was. Only the people who were acting strange seemed to know anything and it was impossible to get anything coherent out of them. They said they would always remember Carcosa or they were going back to Carcosa or that they knew Carcosa, but none of them would â€¦ or possibly even could â€¦ say what Carcosa was.
* * *
Alice was the only prostitute in Port Royal who would sleep with Jeagar. She was very beautiful but cost a great deal, usually reserving herself for the upper crust. She had, for some unknown reason, a soft spot for Jeagar, though that didnâ€™t mean she was going to lower her prices for the man. It was the reason he had become a pirate, actually. He needed the money for her.
He gave her most of his money and she was happy to spend the night with the man, the two of them pleasuring each other. Between their lovemaking, he learned she had heard a rumor of strange voices sometimes heard in the night, calling and calling. She had heard no words could be made out, however.
* * *
Fowler and Dr. Leighlin had terrible nightmares that night. The horrific dreams seemed to be about the sign they had all seen the day before, or a man wearing tattered yellow robes who wore a crown but kept his face covered by a pallid mask, or of something beneath the lake that was always there in their dreams, always nearby.
* * *
Sunday, June 1, 1692, dawned as hot and beautiful as many days did in Port Royal.
Acting Governor White had ordered soldiers out the night before to patrol the street and arrest anyone caught putting up more of the terrible signs or sigils. Despite all of that, however, there was disquiet, distress, and even terror on the streets of Port Royal that day. Voice cried out in horror and despair.
* * *
BrÃ¼n Jeagar pushed the shutters open on Aliceâ€™s window. He thought he saw pieces of paper pasted on the walls on the street below. He could not make out the single symbol on each paper and didnâ€™t particularly want to. He guessed it was the same as the day before, however. People were obviously distressed by what they saw.
* * *
Flint Dawson was up early that morning and left their small room quickly.
Flint, though he was not wise enough to understand, exactly, what was going on, had an impression that the pieces of paper that day were different from the day before. In a flash of inspiration, he realized the papers were all printed as opposed to being hand drawn. He tore down one of the sheets and saw there was something small printed on the back.
Unfortunately, he couldnâ€™t read.
â€œTheo!â€ he called out, looking around himself.
He ran back to the room to tell Theo.
* * *
Sam Fowler also heard the sounds in the streets that morning. At breakfast with his parents, with whom he lived, he asked if they knew anything about the strange things happening in Port Royal of late. Neither of them did though both had seen the symbols and didnâ€™t like them at all. Fowler decided to eat breakfast at home and stay off the streets that morning.
* * *
Upon waking, Dr. Merriam Leighlin wrote down what little he could remember of the terrible dreams of the night before. Then he heard the noises in the street and went out to investigate. He saw the fliers with the terrible sigil upon them and noticed they were printed as opposed to being hand-drawn as those had been the day before.
He stared at the terrible symbol for over a minute, rooted to the spot and terrified as it reached for him once again, seemingly writhing horribly as if it were alive.
* * *
Dean Ackworth, Esq., looking out onto the street and seeing the papers and how people were reacting to them, began to draft a letter home about the strangeness of the colonies and how feeble the minds of the colonials were.
* * *
Theo Dawson was laying in bed, fantasizing about Lily, when the door burst open and Flint rushed in, paper in hand.
â€œTheo! Theo! Theo! Theo!â€ Flint cried.
â€œBrother, we talked about knocking!â€ Theo said.
â€œTheo! Theo! I have â€¦ smart thought.â€
â€œI found paper outside. Again. But this time, itâ€™s not drawn. See? Look.â€
He shoved the paper into Theoâ€™s face and the man flinched. Then Flint turned it over to reveal something printed on the back.
â€œTheo, I canâ€™t read,â€ Flint said. â€œWho did this?â€
â€œBrother, you know good and well I canâ€™t read either!â€ Theo said.
â€œI forgot. Theo, who can read this?â€
â€œI donâ€™t know. Probably one of the rich men. Maybe â€¦ even the doctor.â€
â€œPerhaps. Perhaps. Heâ€™s educated.â€
â€œLetâ€™s go to Mr. Breakfast Manâ€™s house.â€
â€œI will meet you there.â€
Flint ran out of the room again.
* * *
Once Dr. Leighlin had recovered from his strange terror, he ripped the piece of paper off the wall and examined it carefully. Printed on the back in very small print were the words â€œJoseph Gill, Printer, Cannon Street.â€ He stuffed the piece of paper into his shirt and ran towards Cannon Street.
As he ran south, he spotted Flint running in his direction with one of the pieces of paper in his hand.
â€œI had a smart thought!â€ Flint was saying and smiling. â€œI had a smart thought!â€
The two stopped when they reached each other.
â€œDo tell, my boy,â€ Dr. Leighlin said.
â€œThis new paper printed, not drawn. Printed,â€ Flint said. â€œI donâ€™t read though.â€
Dr. Leighlin told him what was printed on the back of the paper.
â€œIâ€™m heading there right now,â€ Dr. Leighlin said.
â€œYou can read?â€ he said.
â€œYes, my boy!â€ Dr. Leighlin said.
â€œYouâ€™re amazing. Even Theo canâ€™t read.â€
â€œOh, my boy.â€
Dr. Leighlin touched Flintâ€™s head, wondering what had gone wrong with the man.
â€œIâ€™m going to Breakfast Manâ€™s house!â€ Flint said. â€œWait. But you already read it so thereâ€™s no point.â€
He frowned. Then he realized it was another smart thought.
â€œI had another smart thought!â€ he said, running back the way heâ€™d come.
The man only made it 20 yards or so before he ran back to Dr. Leighlin.
â€œWhat was the name again?â€ he asked.
â€œJoseph Gill, Printer, Cannon Street,â€ Dr. Leighlin said.
Flint turned and ran away again, calling out â€œJoseph Gill Cannon Street. Joseph Gill Cannon Street.â€
Dr. Leighlin raced for Cannon Street.
* * *
Fowler was still at his house when his mother entered the room.
â€œThose papers!â€ she cried out in frustration. â€œOh!â€
She had several of the sheets of paper which she was ripping up and taking out to the cook room to burn. Fowler decided it was prudent to stay inside for the time being.
* * *
Ackworth finished his letter and put it into an envelope, leaving the house to take it to the customs house so it could be sent back to England with the next ship. He ripped one of the strange papers off a wall, folding it and putting it into the envelope with the letter.
He ran into Jeagar on the way down the street. The man had a sly smirk on his face.
â€œWhere are we going?â€ Jeagar said.
â€œIâ€™m going to the customs house,â€ Ackworth said.
Jeagar fell into pace with him, hoping for a free breakfast.
â€œThese things look really strange,â€ he said to the other man. â€œIf you look at them right, they come at you.â€
â€œI donâ€™t know what you mean,â€ Ackworth said.
â€œIt feels like these posters have it out for you. When you look at them. Donâ€™t you see that?â€
â€œI donâ€™t know what you are seeing here.â€
â€œMaybe youâ€™re stronger of character.â€
* * *
Theo was just getting comfortable in the bed again, fantasizing about relations with Lily, when the door burst open and Flint ran in again. Theo sat up.
â€œJoseph Gill Cannon Street!â€ Flint called out. â€œJoseph Gill Cannon Street!â€
â€œWhat are you saying, brother?â€ Theo said. â€œWhat are you saying?â€
â€œJoseph Gill Cannon Street! Joseph Gill Cannon Street!â€
â€œWhat is that, brother? Is that the text? Is that what it said?â€
â€œThe strange doctor read it for me!â€
â€œOh good, youâ€™re seeing him. Thatâ€™s good.â€
â€œHeâ€™s smarter than you because he can read. And youâ€™re smarter than me because I fell on head.â€
â€œYes, brother, you tell us every day.â€
â€œHow many times I fall on head again? Is it â€¦ the big number?â€
â€œWhat we do now?â€
â€œWell, I guess we should investigate. But first I have to check on my â€¦ sweet Lily.â€
â€œYou always check on her! We need to â€¦ focus â€¦ I forgot what focus means but you tell me to focus a lot!â€
â€œI donâ€™t know what that word is either.â€
Flint swung the blunderbuss on its strap, taking it from his back.
â€œDo I have to go see him alone?â€ he asked.
â€œNo, brother, you donâ€™t need to use weaponry against the townsfolk,â€ Theo said.
â€œBut they do what I say when I hold it.â€
â€œLetâ€™s put it away for now â€¦ and then if we need it we can get it out.â€
â€œIâ€™m gonna go find the cripple man.â€
â€œYeah! Mr. Jeagar!â€
â€œHe likes to use guns like I do.â€
â€œOh! Such a good example. You go on your way, boy.â€
â€œWhy donâ€™t you go do the mm-mm-mm?â€
Flint walked out of the room, feeling neglected.
* * *
Flint walked down the street and had a third smart thought, already that day. He remembered Jeagar usually tried to eat with Ackworth as the gentleman adventurer often paid for those around him. He guessed the two might be at the Catt and Fiddle again.
He was walking up Lime Street towards the North Docks when he saw William.
William was a friend of Flint. Only six years old, the child and the big man had become fast friends as they were on the same mental level. They enjoyed playing childrenâ€™s games and chasing the seagulls in Port Royal. William was the only one Flint really trusted completely in Port Royal aside from his brother Theo. William had never let him down.
â€œWilliam!â€ the man said.
William stood in front of his house. In one hand, he held one of the flyers. He stared directly to the east at the sun, just visible down another street.
â€œWilliam!â€ Flint said, approaching the child. â€œDonâ€™t look at sun. Itâ€™s bad for eyes.â€
The boy didnâ€™t reply. Flint ran up to the boy and pushed him to the ground.
â€œI told you,â€ Flint said.
The boy didnâ€™t get up but turned his head to stare at the bright sun.
â€œNo!â€ Flint said. â€œStop, William!â€
He turned the boy over and the child turned his head to look directly at the sun.
â€œWilliam, you better stop playing,â€ Flint said. â€œI donâ€™t like this game.â€
â€œHave you found the yellow sign?â€ William mumbled.
â€œYou mean the sun?â€ Flint said.
William, still staring at the sun, held up the piece of paper.
â€œWhat?â€ Flint said. â€œI have one!â€
â€œHave you found the yellow sign?â€ William said again.
â€œStop looking at the sun, William!â€ Flint said, holding the boyâ€™s head down so he couldnâ€™t see the sun.
â€œI say, whatâ€™s he doing to that boy?â€ a passer-by.
His companion shushed him.
â€œItâ€™s that crazy person!â€ the other man said.
â€œHelp!â€ Flint said. â€œThis boy keeps looking at the sun! Help!â€
People avoided him. William struggled feebly against the man, trying to turn his head towards the sun. He finally picked the child up, holding his hand over the boyâ€™s eyes.
â€œCâ€™mon William,â€ he said. â€œWeâ€™re going to get breakfast.â€
The boy turned his head towards the sun, but Flint kept his hand over the boyâ€™s eyes. It was strange but, as they walked, the child continued to turn his head towards the sun despite Flintâ€™s changing of direction.
â€œWilliam, youâ€™re so silly,â€ Flint said.
* * *
Dr. Leighlin reached Cannon Street and found the shop of Joseph Gill. The word â€œPrinterâ€ was over the door, which was closed. The shutters were also closed.
â€œDamn,â€ he muttered.
He tried to look through the cracks in the shutters but it was very dark within. He noticed the upper floors had open windows but all of the windows downstairs were shut up.
He went to the end of the block and climbed over the walls that led to the yards behind the houses. He eventually got to the correct building, noting the cook room in the yard behind the house. He found the back door locked as well so he kicked it open.
It was dim inside, with little light coming through the cracks in the shutters. The room appeared to be a print room and was a mess with scattered items and paper everywhere. A small printing press stood in one corner, a set of steps went up in another, and a man sat on the floor in a third. The man stared at the press and muttered to himself, his eyes wide open. Next to him was a small pouch with shiny coins peeking out.
â€œHave you seen the Yellow Sign?â€ he muttered as Dr. Leighlin crossed the room to him. â€œIâ€™ve seen the Yellow Sign. Itâ€™s there. Itâ€™s there.â€
He pointed at the press.
â€œItâ€™s there,â€ he said again. â€œThe Sign is there. The Yellow Sign. Donâ€™t look at it! The Yellow Sign is there. Itâ€™s there.â€
He laughed insanely.
â€œThe Yellow Sign is there,â€ he said. â€œYes.â€
He laughed again.
Dr. Leighlin walked around the room and saw papers were scattered all over the floor. A few cupboards were open and typeset and various tools were lying on the floor under them, as if someone had opened them up and just pulled everything out. A few cupboards were open but still filled with various items. A key was in the lock in the front door. Light came down from the stairwell.
â€œWhat happened here?â€ Dr. Leighlin said.
The man laughed again.
â€œHe came,â€ he said with a smile, still staring at the printing press. â€œHe came. Heâ€™sâ”€â€
â€œWho?â€ Dr. Leighlin asked.
â€œHeâ€™s the one.â€
The madman pointed at the printing press and laughed.
â€œAnd then â€¦ itâ€™s still there!â€ he said, his voice lowering to a whisper. â€œItâ€™s in the printing press! Donâ€™t go. Donâ€™t go!â€
â€œWhatâ€™s there?â€ Dr. Leighlin asked.
â€œDonâ€™t! Donâ€™t! Donâ€™t go! Donâ€™t go there! Itâ€™s in there! Itâ€™s in there! I tried to stop it!â€
â€œItâ€™s in there! Itâ€™s in there! Itâ€™s in there!â€
Dr. Leighlin slapped the man smartly across the face. He went quiet for a moment.
â€œDonâ€™t go near the printing press!â€ he then went on. â€œDonâ€™t do it! Donâ€™t do it!â€
Dr. Leighlin went over to the press and the man let out a squeal.
â€œQuiet, man!â€ Dr. Leighlin said.
â€œDonâ€™t look!â€ Gill said. â€œDonâ€™t look!â€
Dr. Leighlin looked at the typeface on the printing press and saw it was made of lead and, instead of being print, it was the terrible symbol that was on the paper he had in his shirt. Reversed, it seemed to reach for him, squirming and grabbing at the man, who stumbled back and suddenly realized how dark it was in the room. He let out a shout and found it hard to breathe. Gill echoed his scream.
â€œSee!?!â€ he cried out. â€œSee!?! See!?! No! No! No! See!?! See!?! See!?! No! See!?! See!?! No! See!?!â€
â€œShut up!â€ Dr. Leighlin cried. â€œJust shut up!â€
â€œSee!?! See!?! See!?!â€ Gill screamed.
Dr. Leighlin fled.
* * *
Flint found Jeagar and Ackworth at the Catt and the Fiddle. Ackworth was drinking sherry and eating breakfast and Jeagar was drinking beer when the mentally deficient man entered carrying a child.
â€œSilly William, stop looking at the sun,â€ Flint said.
He took his hand off the boyâ€™s eyes and the child looked towards the eastern wall.
â€œNow Flint, who have you got there?â€ Ackworth asked.
â€œThis is my friend, William,â€ Flint said. â€œHe wants to look at the sun all day.â€
â€œThatâ€™s not good for you.â€
â€œI â€¦ well, I tried to tell him that. He just keeps looking at it. Can we have breakfast?â€
They noticed the child had one of the pieces of paper in his hand.
â€œHe probably shouldnâ€™t have this,â€ Ackworth said.
He pulled on the piece of paper. It tore in half as the child had the paper clutched in his fist. Ackworth tore up the part that he had.
â€œHey!â€ Flint said. â€œDonâ€™t! I was trying to tell you something â€¦ what was I trying to tell you? Give me breakfast and I shall remember! And some for William as well?â€
â€œSure,â€ Ackworth said.
As the food arrived, Dr. Leighlin appeared in the door of the tavern, shaking.
â€œWhat happened to you?â€ Jeagar said.
â€œYou wouldnâ€™t believe me,â€ Dr. Leighlin said. â€œYou wouldnâ€™t believe me.â€
â€œIâ€™ve seen a lot of mad things lately.â€
â€œThe â€¦ the â€¦ this.â€
Dr. Leighlin pulled out the printed paper from his jacket.
â€œThis is bad,â€ he said. â€œThis is bad.â€
â€œAh, I mailed one of those,â€ Ackworth said.
â€œThatâ€™s what it was!â€ Flint said. â€œJoseph Gill Cannon Street! Joseph Gill Cannon Street!â€
â€œYes,â€ Dr. Leighlin said. â€œI went â€¦â€
â€œDid you say Joseph kill chemistry?â€ Ackworth said.
â€œNo,â€ Flint said. â€œJoseph Gill, Cannon â€¦â€
â€œI went to Cannon Street,â€ Dr. Leighlin said.
â€œCannon Street,â€ Flint said.
â€œJoseph Gill on Cannon Street,â€ Ackworth said. â€œThe printer.â€
â€œHeâ€™s printing these,â€ Flint said. â€œI thought of that.â€
â€œI was there!â€ Dr. Leighlin said. â€œI was there! He was â€¦ he was â€¦ sitting there! He was sitting there in the dark and â€¦ I-I-I â€¦ I couldnâ€™t help it. I just. I tried to knock him out and it didnâ€™t â€¦ it didnâ€™t take and there was â€¦â€
â€œJust calm down,â€ Ackworth said. â€œTake a seat. Have some food and drink and weâ€™ll talk afterwards.â€
Dr. Leighlin called for brandy and drank it down, nearly choking on it.
â€œThank you,â€ he said.
He looked them over as a man took his empty cup.
â€œI went in â€¦ there was a room,â€ Dr. Leighlin said. â€œThere was a room besideâ”€â€
The man brought another cup of brandy. Dr. Leighlin took another drink.
â€œThere was a room beside â€¦ there was a room that the man told me not to go into and I went anyway,â€ he said. â€œAnd this symbol! This symbol! It jumped out at me!â€
â€œThatâ€™s what I was talking to you about,â€ Jeagar said to Ackworth.
â€œIt jumped at me!â€ Dr. Leighlin said. â€œI have no idea. I have no idea what for.â€
They all looked at him.
â€œItâ€™s â€¦ itâ€™s quite bothersome,â€ Jeagar said.
William kept turning his head towards the wall to look at the sun and Flint continued to pull it back.
â€œWhy did you go before you had breakfast?â€ Flint said.
â€œIt does seem like a poor thing to do on an empty stomach,â€ Ackworth said.
â€œWeâ€™re supposed to be a group. And we need breakfast first.â€
â€œWhat? A group?â€
â€œWhereâ€™s my food?â€
The food arrived.
â€œI saw this in a dream!â€ Dr. Leighlin said. â€œI saw this in my nightmare! Have any of you? Iâ€™m starting to worry for my own sanity.â€
â€œYouâ€™re worried about it?â€ Jeagar said.
â€œDeeply. This is not me. I donâ€™t do this! Have any of your experienced something like this?â€
â€œSome of those flyers were coming right out at me.â€
â€œAt you, sir?â€
â€œIt sounds like what you are all experiencing is called an optical illusion,â€ Ackworth said.
â€œThis was no optical illusion!â€ Dr. Leighlin said.
â€œJust a mere trick on the brain,â€ Ackworth said.
Flint raised his hand.
â€œYes, Flint?â€ Ackworth said.
â€œWhat is optical delusion?â€ Flint asked.
â€œOh, nice twist on it, sir,â€ Ackworth said.
He began to tell Flint about optical illusions. Flint put the food in front of William but he ignored it. He put some food in the boyâ€™s mouth and the boy chewed and swallowed it. Dr. Leighlin looked at the boy, standing up and going to him. He started inspecting the child, who seemed to be out of sorts, possibly due to an imbalance of the humors, perhaps too much bile. He felt the boyâ€™s head.
â€œHey, doctor,â€ Flint said. â€œCan you look at his eyes. I think he might have looked at the sun for too long.â€
Dr. Leighlin looked at the ladâ€™s eyes. They were terribly injured by his staring at the sun.
â€œAlso, I didnâ€™t do it,â€ Flint said. â€œWill he be able to chase the seagulls with me again?â€
Dr. Leighlin didnâ€™t think the boy had done permanent damage to his eyes.
Fowler came in through the door, his hand over his own eyes, partially shielding them. He had finally worked up the courage to leave his house but feared seeing the terrible sign that had so disturbed him and filled his dreams the night before. He made out, while trying not to look, the sounds and sights of soldiers ripping down the papers on his way north along Lime Street. He breathed a little easier when he got in the door of the Catt and Fiddle. He looked carefully around the room but didnâ€™t see any of the terrible flyers.
â€œFowler, are your eyes quite right?â€ Dr. Leighlin asked.
â€œTheyâ€™re fine,â€ Fowler said. â€œItâ€™s those God-forsaken symbols.â€
â€œOh, you mean like these?â€ Jeagar said, holding up the piece of paper Dr. Leighlin had brought.
â€œDonâ€™t show that to me!â€ Fowler cried out, closing his eyes tightly.
â€œWhat is the matter with you!?!â€ Dr. Leighlin said.
â€œJoseph Gill Cannon Street!â€ Flint said. â€œJoseph Gill Cannon Street!â€
Fowler reached for Jeagar, blindly grabbing the paper and ripping it to pieces.
â€œNo!â€ Flint howled.
â€œYou can get more off the street later,â€ Jeagar said.
â€œThereâ€™s plenty more out there,â€ Ackworth said.
â€œWhat is this boy doing here?â€ Fowler said.
He turned to Dr. Leighlin.
â€œYouâ€™re not going to do something to him, are you?â€ he went on.
â€œWell, Iâ€™m not sure,â€ Dr. Leighlin said, offended. â€œIf he needs my help, of course.â€
â€œHe wonâ€™t stop looking at the sun,â€ Flint said.
â€œHeâ€™ll go blind,â€ Fowler said.
â€œWell, I feel like if we all want to go talk to Joseph Gill, we probably should head over there before the soldiers do,â€ Ackworth said, sipping at his brandy.
â€œWhoâ€™s Joseph Gill?â€ Fowler asked.
â€œThe man who printed these,â€ Ackworth said.
â€œCannon Street!â€ Flint said.
â€œDo not go there!â€ Dr. Leighlin said. â€œDo not go there!â€
â€œWhat am I supposed to do with William?â€ Flint said.
â€œYou were right not to look,â€ Dr. Leighlin said to Fowler.
â€œThank you!â€ Fowler said.
â€œIâ€™m going to go talk to the barkeep,â€ Flint said, standing. â€œMaybe he knows his family.â€
Ackworth paid for their food. Jeagar followed close behind.
â€œWhere did you find this boy?â€ Dr. Leighlin asked.
â€œHe was outside,â€ Flint said. â€œLooking at the sun.â€
â€œJust the sun?â€ Dr. Leighlin said, picking up the paper with the sign upon it. â€œDid he have one of these?â€
Fowler looked directly at the piece of paper but looked away quickly. He reached out blindly and grabbed the piece of paper, ripping it to shreds.
Flint walked over to the barkeep, Peter Litton, who was always quite polite to him.
â€œYes, Mr. Dawson?â€ Litton said. â€œI trust youâ€™ve had a pleasant breakfast?â€
â€œIt was very nice,â€ Flint said.
â€œOh, very good. Very good. Iâ€™m so happy for that.â€
Flint laid the boy on the bar.
â€œI â€¦ canâ€™t cook that, sir,â€ Litton said. â€œIâ€™m sorry.â€
â€œThis is my friend William,â€ Flint said. â€œHe wonâ€™t stop looking at the sun.â€
â€œSee how his head â€¦ watch.â€
He pushed the boyâ€™s head to one side but the child immediately turned it back to look at the east wall.
â€œIâ€™m very sad for him, but I donâ€™tâ”€â€ Flint said.
â€œHe needs a doctor,â€ Litton said.
â€œI donâ€™t know his last name. I donâ€™t know who his family is.â€
â€œVery well. Very well. I will find out who his parents are and weâ€™ll return him to them.â€
He turned away from the barkeep but then turned back.
â€œI didnâ€™t do anything,â€ he said.
â€œOh no no no,â€ Litton said. â€œHe â€¦ strange times. Strange times. Strange times.â€
He took the boy and sat him in the chair nearby.
â€œDonâ€™t look at the sun,â€ Flint said.
â€œVery good point,â€ Litton said. â€œYouâ€™re very wise.â€
* * *
Dr. Leighlin was able to get another of the flyers but found several red-coated soldiers ripping them down. The men were not reacting well to the strange sign. One man started laughing hysterically as he tore the flyers down. Another appeared to be crying.
He returned to his surgery in order to test the ink to see if there was something strange or special about it. He learned only that the ink and paper were typical. There was nothing special or strange about it at all. Chemically, it was just a symbol printed on a piece of paper.
* * *
Theo had returned to Lily Campbellâ€™s house. He learned from the servants that Captain Campbell was still away, his ship not having yet returned. Mrs. Campbell had wanted to go out again that morning but the servants had persuaded her to stay in the house. She had not left.
â€œHer spirits seem to be better today,â€ one of them told Theo as he dropped a few coins in his hand.
Theo made his way to Lilyâ€™s bedroom and found his lady-love sitting on her bed. She was pleased to see him, standing up and putting her arms around his ample shoulders. She laid her head on his chest.
â€œI donâ€™t know what happened yesterday,â€ she said. â€œSomething â€¦ terrible. I saw something terrible. I-I â€¦ I meant to go out this morning. I had to go out this morning but the servants wouldnâ€™t let me. They said that I should stay. They said that I should stay. I have not been out but I hear terrible things are happening in town. I-I â€¦â€
She was obviously quite distraught.
He put his arm around her waist and his hand to her cheek, lifting her chin to look into her eyes.
â€œBut you are feeling better, my love?â€ he asked.
â€œThey said that you were here yesterday but I do not remember it,â€ she said. â€œI do not recall. It was as if my mind was gone. As if something had stolen it away. I donâ€™t remember anything of that day. Itâ€™s as if the day never happened.â€
â€œWell, youâ€™re safe as long as youâ€™re indoors. Thereâ€™s something happening right now and we canâ€™t explain it. Thereâ€™s no answers right now. But, as long as youâ€™re safe, thatâ€™s all that matters.â€
â€œOh! Oh Theo! Kiss me! Make me feel like a woman â€¦ like Joseph canâ€™t!â€
Theo did so, spending the day in the house with Lily.
* * *