Nether Hallow

Chapter 3

Chapter 3 {Other People’s stories}

Justen had paid the price for valuable information gathering the next day, the daylight hurt his eyes and his head ached and throbbed. “Never again”, even speaking the words softly made his head throb. All of the heavy drinking with fellow scholars the night before did more than make his head pound it was the first time Justen came to grips with his age. He was not old by any means, he just could not drink like the fish he once was. Before he enrolled as an acolyte to serve Magicta he was an apprentice with scholarly goals. It was those days working as the apprentice, learning to read, copying texts, and speak new languages he loved most. There were other younger students his age, and when they began to be the height of the counter of the local tavern they began to get served. He remembers parts of the nights he and his friends would call being ‘Black Out Drunk’, this of course refers to drinking so much one passes out, or does not remember the details to the previous night having a friend fill in the details. He remembers those mornings they were free of their duties; he and his friends worked easy labor jobs at the dock on the side to get some drinking money. The other dock hands always teased them for being so scrawny for their age, they were twelve with no meat on their bones. Taking their earnings straight from the dock to ‘The Harbor View’ a skeevy sailor’s tavern they would drink until they ran out of money. Justen got into more trouble than he would like to admit, never with the law, but situations he wish he avoided. He bedded ol’ Betsy Hog, that was her real name, Betsy Hog, the very wide daughter of a pig rancher. For a while after he was known as Justen the pig rancher. Or when he woke up wearing a women’s dress on the road outside of town, nobody ever explained that one or thankfully brought it up. He remembers part of the night they had stolen a guard’s crossbow and shot random things all evening. He was ever so happy he was not the one to land the bolt in his friend Cory’s hand attempting to extinguish the candle’s flame he held, he was even more happy that he was not Cory. It was one of these ‘Black Out Drunk’ nights that would change his life forever; ironically he was ‘Black Out Drunk’ and his friends told him about it the next morning. Justen had woken with his left eye swollen shut, the taste of blood in his mouth, and a handful of someone else’s hair. The handful of hair was new, but he was use to the occasional scuffle resulting in black eyes and bloody lips. His friends watched him as he sat up on his cot rubbing the foreign hair off his palm. They quickly moved in asking questions Justen had no answers for, he did not know what the ‘that’ was in reference to in ‘What the hell was that?’ He had no clue why everyone was huddled so close to him and starring. Justen finally began to ask questions of his own, his panicked friends began to worry him. He got the highlights from the previous night. They left the dock as usual, started drinking on schedule, they made friends with a few different tables, rounds were bought, songs were sung, all a regular evening. It was getting late and Phyllis, the very attractive blonde that worked at the fish market, came to walk her husband home for the night; his friends said that he could not stop starring at the doe eyed yellow haired maiden from the moment she walked in. She went around the tavern looking for her inebriated husband table to table, his friends all confirming that Justen got up and managed his way toward her. She had just begun to walk out of the tavern guiding her husband when he reached her. Without warning Justen grabbed Phyllis by the waist pulling her in close and kissed her deeply on the lips. She was fighting to get him away and her husband fell into the door frame hitting his head, waking him up angry. He stood up tall grabbed Justen by the back of his head pulling him off his wife and began to slam his face into the doorframe he had just hit. His friends said that after the third slam Justen’s hand got funny, he reached up and melted most of the guy’s face off with his touch. Everyone backed off watching the swaying fifteen year old try to stay on his feet. “I love you Phyllis” those were the words that everyone claims he said to the sobbing wife huddled over her husband before he turned to drunkardly exit. His friends exited with him afraid for what the crowd would do to him or possible them, rumors of witchery bloomed before they could leave the tavern. Justen looked back down to the long brown hairs he had been trying to get off his hand, they looked melted. It was impossible, he did not feel like a witch, but he did wonder if everyone else was right, what if he was a witch. He did not know his parents too well, they had sacrificed much to pay for him to apprentice in the city and make more of his life than he could working the fields they were bound to. He remembered their faces and names but knew nothing of them besides the fields they kept, what if they were in league with demons; the thought sent shivers down through his core, he could be the offspring of monsters. That previous night forever changed his life, he could not remember it but it was the most important thing that ever happened to him. The rest of the day Justen refused to use his hands and everyone was afraid he may accidentally bump into him so they gave him his space. Quietly moving to a back room for solitude, he cried, sick from the previous night’s partying, tired, and afraid for the monster he was. The tears that rushed down the sides of his face stayed there afraid he might melt his own face off if he touched them. By late afternoon a loud commotion rumbled from outside, lots of people, too many to count, all demanding the witch; this was not how he wanted to wake up, wishing it was only a nightmare. His master refused to hand over the boy to an angry mob, only when the guard came to take him to the keep did he let Justen leave. His teacher was not the nicest person he ever met but he was smart, he walked with him and the guard asking questions to figure out what Justen had done. His teacher plainly said if it was in his blood and there was nothing he could do about it, he would need to accept it. Locked behind an oaken steel bound door it was a long two days living in the dungeon below the keep, bored, terrified, and hungry; he was actually thankful the rumor had spread underground with him, this kept the other scared prisoners away from his young frame. He was taken up to meet the lord of the keep in shackles, thankfully his teacher was there pointing things out to him. He was going through an old book with very nasty drawings in it saying all matter of odd things; “See no tail”, “His eyes are not like coal.” “No forked tongue.” “He bleeds red.” After a painstakingly long presentation he requested that the boy be given to the church of Magicta so he would not harm anyone else, and should he be incorrect and he was a witch they could deal with it there. The decision was a reluctant decision on the lord’s behalf but eventually he agreed. They left with guards that night, and two weeks of riding brought them to a large city. He did not want to become part of the church but he had no alternative, there was no one that would have him; he was also afraid if his teacher was incorrect and they would have to deal with him here, he did not know what that meant. “Enough reminiscing for now”, Justen sat up on his bed, adjusted his eyes to the painfully bright light, he looked in the mirror across the room thinking ‘I am old, what happened’; eventually he made the slow transition downstairs to his new group that sounded like they were debating on who was going to answer the door.
There was another knock at the door, Ibrahm and Sanford both looked at each other oddly signaling to the other to answer it. The knock continued followed with “I can hear you, open up”, the voice was calm and not hostile. Justen walked down the stairs and casually opened the door, making sure to stand in the way blocking any entrance. He was not expecting to see another elf in this city, but there he was. The tallest elf he had ever seen, towering well over six feet tall, this giant was bigger than most of the people he knew. The tall elf’s lanky frame was hidden by the loose fitting tunic and his black hair was tied back as to almost show off the prominent elven ears. The elf started “Hello, my name is Lanius I was sent to help out. I have a symbol to show you if you let me in.” Bryan stepped back letting the giant elf enter and shut the door behind him. Lanius pulled out a folded hand sized piece of parchment that had the red feather and circle. “I am to be your escort in West Nulpent.”
It was decided that since Harren was the only person recognized and wanted for questioning he should not venture from the house. He would stay back and continue to go through the works of Crowzig staying out of sight, Pierre opted out of the trip to the museum also; he was growing tired of libraries and small distractions. The rest of the group led by their new elven city guide, headed for the museum, they soon discovered that the fire was in the “Private Museum of Lord Crowzig University”; not sure if this was a good sign or coincidence that Crowzig had his name attached to everything in this city. Lanius made it very easy to get admittance into the private museum, he just told them they were students of the university, said a few professors names and they wanted to see the exhibit, there was no questions asked. They walked past the guard, up a flight of very ornate stairs, and stopped in front of a large room that had taken some very recent fire damage. Justen looked at Lanius, “What is the plan? You seem to be running us quickly through this without letting us know what you are doing.” He looked down at the human, “I thought you wanted to see the museum? I actually attend this university, this is normal to view the exhibits. Do you want me to find out what happened here? I do not mind, I can wing it.” Justen froze with the phrase ‘wing it’, that almost failed horrible at the temple of Riula, but it did manage to work, this lanky elf had done well so far; “You may be the best suited to do so, yes please.”
There was a rope that ran across the entranceway holding up a hand written sign, “no admittance”. Beyond the rope was an older lady in her late fifties or early sixties, she seemed very upset with the charred mess before her and was trying to organize anything she was able to salvage. They stood there staring at her until her head popped up and looked at them, “Is there something you need?” she barked with a sense of spite in her tone. Lanius answered politely, “No Madame curator, we had heard of the terrible fire and wished to see what was left of the damaged exhibit in case it would get packaged away. I will attending the history class of Saund Ruwe next semester.” The older women satisfied with the answer allowed them to cross the rope barrier. She spoke, “Good morning I am Mimi Desule, the person responsible for this archeological find many years ago. Please do not touch any of the items they are badly damaged.”
The group spread out looking at various charred items that came from the Black Cave, some bone tools, stone knifes and arrow heads. Lanius addressed the curator, ”Why would someone torch the natural history museum?” His question was delivered with substance and seemed sincere, everyone in the room knew that he just secured their cover. She answered openly holding back nothing, “I have not the faintest clue. I would imagine the theft of the three stone tablets may be a genuine cause. We are investigating the deaths of the two guards that worked that night, it is unclear if they died from the fire. As for the other delicate finds I retrieved from the dig they are lost forever, thirty years of work up in flames. This is the first time anyone actually stole anything of such a precious origin from the museum. Small bits of vandalism and petty theft as any building that displays antiquities should expect, but never any major exhibits. The tablets are, well to me priceless, to some collector they would get a heavy sum.” Lanius interrupted trying to get more background on the archeological dig, “Forgive my ignorance, but is this just another misfortunate event that revolves around the Black Cave?” She exhaled quickly like someone had punched her in the chest, “I really wish you kids stopped calling it that, it is the ‘Caves of West Nulpent’, the whole reason this university was placed here in West Nulpent. Is that what you are here for, to hear the ghost stories people have made from tragedy? I take it you are here gathering information to write an article of some sort.” Lanius nodded his head, “I will be taking the class there is no lie present, I find this completely fascinating. Would you give me the privilege of recording your account so I do not misrepresent the facts.” She was hesitant to answer, “If my name is overshadowed in the history books by whatever it is you plan to scribble down, I would like for it to be accurate. I could use a break from this disaster of a room.” Mimi led them back down the stairs, and pass the guard. She took them across the first floor to a lecture hall style room, with chairs and desks parted by an aisle. “This room has plenty of chairs please.” Everyone sat as Mimi instructed and she stood leaning her backside on a heavy desk. Justen pulled out a paper and quill to assist Lanius with his information gathering. He wrote down Mimi’s account of the archeological dig, and the misfortunate events. “Before the dig I organized there was no official excavation of the ‘Caves of West Nulpent, it was a well-known spot, a common place for students to research, the main reason this school was built here. I was able to get lots of funding, everyone wanted to have their name attached to what would be discovered about the ancient people. I had planned to go deeper than any other, employ the best and largest crew, and hopefully have it wrapped up in under three years. We started by recording and recreating the cave paintings in the entrance way, and followed them deep into the cave, afraid our lantern smoke would damage them over the three years we had planned. As we finished an area of cave paintings the digging crew would follow behind and carefully un earth the cave floor looking for artifacts, there were so many. Even the first few weeks when it was slow so many finds to study and catalog. Three months in, two of my dig team went into the cave and never came out, we never found them, and to this day that is the only mystery of the cave. It raised many questions no one had answers for, no one opposed the dig or had reason for it to be stopped, foul play was not suspect. Another three months later a student took a pickaxe to several other students that were digging, the only way to get him to stop slamming the remains was to put him down on the spot. It took us another year to discover the ‘Black’ of the cave was a mold of sorts that was causing hallucinations amongst us all. Those were some scary nights in the cabin just outside the mouth of the cave. We sometimes could not sleep for days, some of the crew mutilated themselves, some very badly, at the time we thought demons were among us, it was scary. Nate Bodo, my partner never recovered, I believe he is still locked in the asylum receiving treatment. After the amount of gore and death the ‘Black’ cave caused it lost much momentum as a scientific spot. The funding disappeared, no one wanted their name attached to the death trap. I still continued, in small ventures with small groups. That mold is not too powerful unless you spend weeks working the cave. On one of my independent trips we found the Tablets buried beneath a very elaborate cave painting of a cloud with eyes and teeth. I went back a few times finding small items but I think from being around the mold so often my body lost any tolerance to it, I immediately begin to hear and see things inside the cave. I have taken a lifetime rummaging through what we found and I am still learning new things from it today. The stone tablets were my crown jewel, each two feet long, two inches thick, flawless. This was centuries before any bronze was being used and these polished tablets must of taken years to make without any metal tools. They were covered in glyphs that have never been identified, even with magical aid. If you boys find out anything please let me know, this is my life’s work.” Everyone nodded in agreement that they would not deny this old women of her life’s career. Lanius thanked her deeply for all her help, and would be in touch if he needed further information or finished writing the article. She seemed indifferent with either and more intent that whatever he was doing would go down on paper correct and not the ghost stories that people had made up.
As they left Ibrahm was the first to thank Lanius, “That was some fast thinking, a lie to write a book, I would never of thought to.” Lanius without stopping, “I plan to write the article, it is interesting. As for the black mold she is not explaining it correctly, many students go into the cave to collect the mold for recreation purposes, it is very potent when smoked or ingested, it does not take weeks for it to effect someone. May I suggest that we go to the library to verify Mimi’s story before we invest time looking for the possibility of a lead.” Everyone was on board with the newest member’s idea, they were thankful he was level headed, smart, and charismatic; no one questioned the reference to drug use.
The library was very close to the museum, several buildings away on the university campus. There was much information of the archeological dig of the Black Cave, they were also able to find rubbings of the tablets that were stolen, and had Sanford make a hand written copy. Justen and Lanius found information that confirmed the story Mimi had told them. Ibrahm found the strangest thing in a big book of recreated cave paintings, a folded up piece of paper that fell from the book landing on the table. The words “I’m caught send help, To the group with the dwarf” were quickly written on the outside of pressed paper staring back up at him. “I think it is for Harren.” Justen reached across the table snatching the note, “It is addressed to ‘the group’.” He unfolded the note which was two pages together, completely filled with words, “Why couldn’t we find this earlier. Let’s get back to Harren.” They wasted no time with the exit.
They all gathered around the table back at the house the demi humans had claimed. Lanius introduced himself eloquently to the dwarf and the other elf. They were happy to have him when they heard what a good job he had done at the museum. Justen opted to read the note aloud so it would not need to travel through six sets of hands, the inside of the folded letter had the words written across the top, in a different ink “Look for the Marcou.” Sanford swears that whomever wrote that was not sitting down because of the shapes of some of the letters, it looked hurried compared to the rest of the fine calligraphy, and proper punctuation that was the notes mass. Justen read the rest of the letter verbatim; “This is the account and informal report of Yohan Bluebird. It is in the Lord Crowzig University Library we, the group first sent on this task, discovered several clues. Notably from- ‘The End of All Things’ hidden in the quatrains. “ground above ground in the fields” and “Man and Beast together will carry the mask of destruction with fake stone.” Both quatrains sequenced for this year. Pulling apart the verses of the ‘End of All Things’ we “investigated” the Crowzig estate. Using magical aid we were able to navigate through the estate without any detection. It was there in the attic of the main estate building our strong arm, Phillip Masue, of all people discovered the statue. It was as described in the tome, body of a standing man, head of a jackal, the statue not of stone but of painted plaster, Crowzig himself hid a clue in his own work, most unsettling because all his predictions are very grim. After cutting a hole in the roof, and magically removing it we smuggled it back to our house. There the base was removed from the statue, Phillip inspected it, reached in and pulled forth a gold mask. Without warning our historian David put the mask on and began screaming. No action we attempted would remove the mask. His flesh began to become strange, he yelled about the burning. Upstairs to the tub we brought buckets of cold water to draw him a bath there was no time to heat it. He screamed until, as I hope, he finally died Neighbors began to knock at the door. David’s body went missing from the bathtub it was left in during the confusion. We searched the entire house finding it in the basement, it, for lack of a better word, had rotted away David’s skin. The gold mask was attached to the exposed skull, his entrails and sinew dangled from the skinless ribcage, holding him up and moving him like a spider on the ceiling. Mucus strands of his muscle were attached to the ceiling rafters that was below the accursed black statue, rotting or melting the wood above it; we had discovered it partially through the ceiling gaining access back inside the hollow statue. I toppled over the black statue upstairs just in time to notice that it retrieved more golden artifacts before slipping back into the destroyed wooden floor. In the cellar the creature attacked Phillip and attached to him. He was fighting to pull his face free from the fleshy mass but it had fused with him and would eventually consume him. We attacked it with magic, the firewood axe, and the pistol. Phillip continued to struggle, it looked like he was digested externally. Eventually, I assume, we did enough damage and the creature fled up the fireplace onto the roof. It ran out the back yard and consumed a barking dog before running off into the snowy night. After a long search for it the tracks had completely vanished. With returning to the house Quaid the pistoleer began to lose his grip with reality, not able to grasp the creature that had consumed two of our comrades with demonic grace. He became paranoid and began ransacking everyone’s room, cutting apart mattresses, and smashing things. He claimed we were keeping information from ourselves, he did not even give me an attempt to find out if I could help before he shot me. Thankfully a flesh wound to the shoulder, at that point we decided it better to leave Quaid to his madness before he fired again, we would return when he had calmed. I was the only one to return a week later, Quaid had never left a victim of his own hand. Ublin the other mage tracked me down and informed me that he found a lead at the university’s natural history section. There was a rumor of a fire, and no word of Ublin, I fear the worst. Vistide, our chief scholar, said he had a hunch about two things. One he would be returning to the Crowzig estate because something was missing. Two the Bannist spies are on our tales. Someone that looks like him was killed during the night at his inn, he felt he needed to disappear. I have done an enormous amount of research of the type of creature this may be. The best hypothesis I can conclude is that it is an aberrant parasite of some sort. Please forward this to Sallot Mae and his bastard of a lackey. To Sallot- Damn you for this hell we have released into this world, all the blood is on your hands. Rot in Hell. Sincerely, Yohan Bluebird”
Justen placed the note back down on the table and slid it to the center, should anyone else wished to read it. He looked over the faces around him, everyone was speechless. Pierre started, “This has taken a turn to the fantastic and paranormal, but it still changes nothing, we have nothing except the stories of others. I would like to know what that crazy archeologist was seeing before they placed him in the asylum before we head toward that Black Cave you keep talking about. You should go look into it, we are going to read that end of all things book.” All the heads around the table began to bob in recognition of an easy plan that made sense.
Lanius was nominated to get them audience with the lunatic, his university also had ties with the asylum that could open a few doors. The building was near the city’s jail on the Eastern side and nobody complained that it was a far walk from the houses they were staying in. The large white stone building was camouflaged by the snow of the front lawn making it hard to distinguish its true shape. The shutters were all painted black and shut they glared at the approaching group as if the building was a many eyed monstrous snowman with coal eyes. Lanius did not knock when he, Justen and Ibraham entered the front maw of the building. He led his human followers across a brown tiled floor to a desk in the main foyer and decided to keep the plan they made before leaving the house. The man looked up from the paperwork he was tirelessly working on, it did not look like this was his usual job seated at the front desk. He was too burly, muscular, and looked like he had no way with people. There was a fresh scar that ran from the side of his left eye to his neck, that eye was also bruised badly, he fumbled with the charcoal pencil with his wrapped wrist, he had a paper name tag pinned to his white orderly shirt reading Kevant. When Lanius was within conversation distance the grizzly man spoke in a loud overcast voice with what seemed like it was rehearsed many times but still needed improvement, “Do you have an appointment?” Lanius answered trying to keep it simple but not insulting the man’s ignorant tone, “No, would it be possible to create an appointment for today?” Kevant’s eyes rolled up the way someone remembers very important details, “You then look at the book to make an appointment, find an open spot, and then use the charcoal pencil to write it in.” Content with his own answer he did all of those actions in the correct order. The appointment book was very full and the writing inside was soft and delicate, clearly not this man’s. “There is this today,” he pointed at a blank spot on the page. Lanius spelt his name for the man several times as he wrote it in, this secured the open time slot. “You are doing well with this desk job, have you done it long?” The big seated man looked at the tall lanky elf, “No, I work the back and rough up troublemakers for doc Klind. Trouble makers have been bad bad bad those weeks, some got to this lady in the front, got to keep doing her work until she comes back, she got hurt. They have been naughty troublemakers up all night screaming, they cut my face and stepped on my hand, up front until my rib fixes. I am getting better with the pencil.” The grizzly man was not simple just a little slow he was very happy that someone complemented him on a job well done. The group waited in the building for their appointment time, unfortunately it was for the end of the day and it was only noon. No other people came into the asylum while they waited and their big friend would look up and flex his crooked smile at them every couple of minutes. It had not been an hour before Lanius approached the desk again, “I am here for my appointment, and I am here on time.” The hulking man took his tiny pencil and checked off his name, “I am sorry for making you wait, following the rules”. The man at the desk got up and unlocked the door behind him to let the other three enter. He was able to point out the office for Klind down the tiled hall. He locked the door behind them making the candles fight to keep the hallway dimly lit. There were several doors that branched off from this hall, behind some manic yelling could be heard, they went to the door with the name Doctor Klind carved and gold-leafed into it, and knocked. “The door is not locked, please enter.” The candles in the hall were given a moments break by the light that flowed in from the now opened door. There were several oil lamps around the room in addition to providing the light, aided with the heat. There was a small fire in the fire place across the room with two cloth topped chairs in front of it, between the fireplace and oil lamps there was no draft in this room. Besides the comfortable atmosphere the office was furnished eloquently, tasteful sculptures in the corners, a modest collection of books occupied a shelf, and there was a standing liquor cabinet with tumblers and bottles upon it. Klind sat patiently behind his desk that was covered in stacks of paper, he had an inviting demeanor. “Well met I am Doctor Klind, head of this facility and to whom do I have the pleasure with speaking?” “My name is Lanius from the university, currently my associates Ibrahm and Sanford are working on a paper we hope you may be able to assist with. It is on the tragedy that befell the Caves of West Nulpent, the ‘Black Caves’, over thirty years ago. We wish to speak with Nate Bodo if it could be arranged.” “If it were any other time I would arrange such a meeting, anything to help the University. However over this last string of weeks the patients have been so disruptive and violent, it is just not safe, I cannot in good conscience. After the problems reverse we could make such an arrangement.” Lanius reached forward and placed a small stack of gold coins on the man’s pile of paperwork; “Sir, I humbly request that you could make such an exception, and could provide us escort to him.” The man leaned forward to inspect the common man year’s wages stacked on his work. He took a deep breath in and looked at the bribing elf, he knew the man wanted to say yes but was about to tell him no. Before he answered the elf placed another pile of coin next to his first deposit which caused the doctor to take another breath in before answering. “You may speak to him, on the condition that if things begin to get hostile inside you will leave and set up an appointment as I have previously requested. Is that understood?” “Yes sir, I thank you for rethinking the matter.” Klind walked them out of his office, and to a door midway down the hall, this was one of the doors with screaming behind it which continued. Klind looked at the group with the expression of ‘you wanted this’ on him as he unlocked the door. The doctor called forth a very large orderly that was wearing a cage on his head and carrying a baton, he instructed him to guard the elf and two companions and bring him to Nate Bodo’s room to talk. Klind locked the door behind him leaving them to the guard. It was set up like a dungeon behind the doors, they were in a large hall with cages on both sides filled tight with the mad. Many had been restrained in locking jackets, others by chains to the wall. It smelt of refuse, dirty, sweat, and too many people breathing stale air; the grey stone of the building’s interior had patches of discoloration where the inmates had done various vile acts in the previous weeks, the blood was left and never cleaned. The hall of the mad went on for longer than any of them wished it would; towards its end the caged rooms became one large room with a countless mad pushing on the bars reaching toward them, some spitting, each raved the obscenities of their individual madness. Opposite form the reaching hands across the hall was a barred gate that had a set of stairs behind it. The second floor of the asylum was heaven compared to the hell below. As the escort unlocked the oak door at the top of the stairs he spoke to his followers, “Scary, the basement is far worst, that is hell.” Beyond the door was a small room that served as a landing; there was an oaken door with an exit to the current floor, and another that allowed access to another set of upward stairs, and a medium window with shutters that were closed to keep the snow out. Their guide unlocked the door to the upward stairs, a similar locked door barred entrance to the third floor at the top of these stairs. As the guide used the key on the new door he said from behind his caged face, “We make sure no one gets out, some of these monsters are dangerous.” The third floor was heavenly compared to what lay beneath it. There were wooden walls that had been white washed, the air was cleaner, a few lanterns lit the common areas to keep it bright. The best sign of this floor was the guards did not have their cage masks on. Long halls divided this level giving every patient a separate room. It was quiet, and there was a tenseness present as they walked by the free roaming patients; one man sat with his legs crossed back to the wall slamming his head to the floor then the wall behind him in a time keeping thud thud thud, another stared out the window using his finger to trace objects outside in the air in front of him before he snatched the imagined sketch and shoved it in his mouth to eat, there were too many extreme patients with quirks but none of them were violent. After checking with another guard that worked this floor he brought them to a white sturdy door with a bolt on the outside, “This is Nate, looks like he has been acting up.”, the guard tapped the doors bolt before unlocking his room which was completely pitch black inside.
“Six by six by six they come, six by six by six is two one six, six by six by six…” The droned out dry voice slid out from the darkness and crept forward breeching the silence of the level, other inmates became very uncomfortable with the release of Nate’s dry voice; the thudding from down the hall became louder and faster, the man at the window began to wildly vocalize that he was eating entire buildings that he traced, other more quiet ones began to moan and wail in response to the few that had increased their madness. “Get in and shut the door, it needs to stay shut, knock when you are set, he will not let you bring any light in so do not try.” They reluctantly entered into darkness, the small room contained Mr. Bodo and chant of his sixes. Justen took the lead, “Mr. Bodo we need to talk to you about some work you did in the past a long time ago.” Nate’s chant of sixes became louder. In a forcefully quite voice Justen pushed on, “Listen to me, what did you see in the Caves all those years ago, we plan to hunt it and kill it.” Nate’s chant ceased and there was a moment of quite assumed to be him thinking over this possibility. “No, that which has no name hunts you. It speaks to me and tells me to live in this darkness, it has given me the riddle of the sixes. It does not get hunted, it is the hunter, that of eyes and teeth consumes, it is the beast. You are too sane to hear it, those two however, they are not deaf. It does more than kill, it consumes, it is coming.” “What is coming?” “That six which by has six no by name six.” Nate’s chant started up again and there was no reviving him from his compulsion, they knocked for the guard and were released. Klind waited for them in the hall that connected his office to the first floor patient hallway, he was happy to see that no one was harmed and said he would not be able to allow them access again until the population was calm. They thanked him for making the exception this time bidding him a good evening. The complimented Kevant on his good job again when they exited past his desk and out the door.
They talked on the long return to the house.
“What did he mean that we two are not deaf? I hear fine, hey Lanius you hearing fine? I know you are hearing fine why did he think you were deaf?”
“I think he meant that the two of you were crazy.”

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