Monday Night Madness

Crimson Letters, ch 9

Fear the Written Word

Oct. 5th, 1921 –
That morning the Investigators (Edith, Anne, Jonson and Ward) visit Hayward at his room in at St. Mary’s Medical Training Hospital and discuss his recent “encounters” (the gangsters’ threats and the strange burning “eyes” he saw over the city). They then spend a good amount of time concocting an elaborate plan to sneak Hayward out of the hospital so he won’t have to face them again (he is to check out, take a cab to Christchurch Episcopal – Father Ward’s church – where an empty coffin awaits for him to hide himself in until Anne’s aids, Frank and Stan, pick it up and transport it to her mortuary home, where he can then sneak out and slip upstairs to her home). Anne mutters an argument with Brown Jenkins (all in her head) that perhaps she should do something naughty with the Coffin. Leaving Hayward and giving a call to make arrangements, the rest of the Investigators head out to search for Antony Flinders. After asking around, they catch up with him between classes. Finding the Grad-student very attractive, Edith chats him up as the others look on with bemusement, and the two agree to make a date for the following evening. That handled, they swing by the MU Library to speak with Armitage to see if the University has an older edition of “_Thaumaturgical Prodigies in the New England Canaan._” Discovering the University’s copy missing, Armitage assures them he’ll see about finding out who may have taken it. Meanwhile, Hayward checks himself out of the hospital, as planned, BUT decides to stop at a nearby café for some non-hospital food rather than catch a cab right away. He is ambushed while eating his lunch by the mobsters, Oaks and Shaunnesy, who bully him discreetly until he pulls out his gun and “persuades” them that he’s had enough and doesn’t care anymore, he’s on the same side in wanting to deal with Leiter – they’re not friends but rivals, after all – and that they’d best leave off and wait for his call if/when he finds the wayward Professor. Agreeing to his terms, the admiring Gangsters take their leave, and Hayward finishes his meal and continues back to follow the plan unobstructed and without further obstacles. Finished with the library trip, the rest of the Investigators decide to search French Hill for strange phenomena, eventually breaking into the abandoned Bayfriar’s Church to get a better view, and note the boarding-house where Keizah Mason once lived is not far from there. Then, inexplicably, they decide they to search for the Bayfriar Church’s crypts (because, of course, it must have a crypt), and begin exploring the basement, where they find many books. While most are too rotted to read, they find one bound in human skin that seems to be sweating. Filled with horrible woodcuts and written in archaic Latin, they use Edith’s electric lamp for light and collectively listen as Father Ward reads select passages to them. Sometime near midnight they stop, and what they’ve read in the Cthaat Aquadingen sinks in, and all but a mercifully ignorant Anne go mad. As Father Ward slips deeper into the basement, away from the light and people (because too many people will attract the Sea-demons), and Jonson runs shrieking into the night through French Hill’s cobbled streets, fleeing that vile BOOK (for books are the tools used by the Sea-demons to return), Edith snatches up the tome and dashes elsewhere (for the Sea-demons whisper to her none can be trusted with its’ secrets but her), leaving poor Anne waiting on the Church’s steps, alone, to await the sunrise.

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