NIC: We’ll get into what happened last week, including more on Nathaniel Carter and the mysterious Paul, but first, a couple of quick updates.
A few of you have been wondering about the videos that Meerkatnip uncovered at the end of Season One. I’ve been going back and forth on including them on this podcast, along with posting the video clips in the Notes section of our website. In the end, after a lot of deliberation, I’ve decided against including them. The videos are truly horrific. I’d hate for somebody to see their loved ones in that state. As far as the audio goes, the clips that do have audio…. Well, it’s really just a lot of tortured screams and cries. I’d rather not subject you to those sounds.
So, we’re going to more on to another subject. Karl van Sant. I’ve been trying to reach everyone and anyone connected to Karl using every resource at my disposal, including his brother Geoff and Meerkatnip. But I’ve been unable to track down anyone outside of Karl’s ex-wife, who still refuses to speak with us.
I asked Cameron Ellis for an update on Marcus, the soldier that I met in the TeslaNova research facility. He indicated that Marcus had been moved to a more suitable location, and went on to tell me that there hasn’t been any improvement in his condition. I asked Ellis to let me know if anything changes. He warned me about Nathaniel Carter, again, and then asked if I’d given any thought to his offer of employment. I told him I was still thinking about it.
- MK: Mhm.
- NIC: Hey, it’s Nic.
- MK: No way. Hi, Nic.
- NIC: Do you always know it’s me, no matter where I call from?
- MK: My phone says ‘PNWS’. That’s you.
- NIC: That is me. Um, okay, you said in your text that you had a few updates?
- MK: Yeah, I do. Good news, bad news.
- NIC: Okay.
- MK: So, first of all, I’m still tracking down a few leads concerning the Voynich Manuscript and the weird Eld Fen classified ad.
- NIC: Right. I’m still digging into the Voynich Manuscript over here too. Any idea when you might have something?
- MK: Mm, soon?
- NIC: Okay.
- MK: Did you catch the Greek on that page paper-clipped to the cover? I didn’t hear anything on the last episode.
- NIC: Yeah, it took us a while to figure out it was backwards. It’s actually Phoenician, uh, the Phoenician alphabet?
- MK: I thought it was Etruscan.
- NIC: Yeah, it’s kind of an ancient combo. But it reads right to left; that threw us off.
- MK: Right.
- NIC: Etruscan! You do know a little bit about everything.
- MK: Yeah. Yeah, okay, so back to the good news, bad news.
- NIC: Okay.
- MK: The good news is you don’t owe me anything extra this week.
- NIC: And the bad news?
- MK: Nothing on whoever’s taken over Raywood; they’re keeping a lid on that place. Tight.
- NIC: Okay.
- MK: Yep. There’s more, though.
- NIC: Oh, good. Great.
- MK: Nathaniel Carter?
- NIC: Yeah, okay.
- MK: Like I told you last time, he apparently experienced some kind of mental break between 2009 and 2015.
- NIC: What, he went underground or something?
- MK: Well, it’s funny you should say that.
- NIC: What?
- MK: Underground.
- NIC: What, the basement of that Parzavala subsidiary warehouse?
- MK: Mhm.
- NIC: Really?
- MK: Yep.
- NIC: Do you have any idea what he was doing there?
- MK: No, not yet, but it looks like whatever was happening there happened between 2009 and just before that research study in 2015.
- NIC: Where Tara Reynolds went missing.
- MK: Yeah, exactly.
- NIC: Okay, uh, anything else?
- MK: Mm, I tried everything I could to get my hands on anything at all about that 1985 study, but there’s really nothing there. It’s pretty impressive, actually.
- NIC: Okay.
- MK: So because they took place in the internet age, I’m having better luck with the other two studies. There was one report from right around the time of the 2015 cabin in the woods study, a union complaint filed by a maintenance worker in the area.
- NIC: What was that about?
- MK: Mm, I think you’ll find it interesting.
- NIC: You’re really getting into this building anticipation thing.
- NIC: I think ‘really getting into it’ might be overstating it a little.
- NIC: Fair enough.
- MK: It’s in your inbox. You want me to read it?
- NIC: Uh, no thanks. I’ll take a look at it first.
- MK: That’s what I thought.
- NIC: Well, thanks again for this, this is….
- MK: Oh, Nic, you’re so welcome.
- NIC: Okay.
NIC: So, the strange letters scrawled across that mysterious and seemingly unique page of the Voynich Manuscript spelled the word ‘Tanis’ in an ancient Greek language, a form descended from hieroglyphic writing, read right to left.
Like I mentioned earlier, we’ll have more on the Voynich manuscript soon, but now we’re going to take a look at what MK sent concerning that research study report.
The document Meerkatnip sent wasn’t long, but she was right: it was interesting. It was a report filed by a maintenance worker who worked for a company that had been subcontracted by TeslaNova to maintain the facilities. I’m guessing TeslaNova was working with the Russians, a kind of split-responsibility situation. I’ve asked my friend and producing partner Alex Reagan to read the report for you.
- ALEX: (reading) I was working in the forest around sector six. The Russians had moved over to sector five. We took care of everything in rotating shifts. Because they were effectively in charge, we thought the Russian crews were going to dump the worst of the shift work on us. But they were always fair.
- That evening, it was extremely windy, and raining pretty hard. I’d been asked to clear the muck and brush around one of the sensor stations surrounding the first perimeter. I had to constantly look up and move in order to avoid the swaying trees that were snapping like twigs in the high winds, falling and damaging the power lines. I’d never seen anything like it.
- It was strange, the power of this particular storm. It was as if part of it was coming from… it’s going to sound crazy, but it was as if part of it was coming from inside of me. I wanted to be there, to feel the wind and rain. And there was something else, a kind of... charge. Not electricity, but something much deeper, and stronger. Something far more dark and powerful. It hummed deep and thick within my chest, a vibration that made me feel... well, I don’t do drugs, but it’s what I’d imagine something like heroin must feel like, combined with the raw, pulsing power of something that keeps you alert and awake and ready.
- I moved through the storm toward the control panel. Just after I passed the checkpoint and moved into the first perimeter, I saw it. The shape. It was following me. A huge, lumbering, dark hulk of a thing, like a buffalo, but much bigger, was moving along the tree line, keeping up with me as I walked. At first I thought I was hallucinating, just a trick of the eyes, but I not only saw the thing, I felt it. The beast wasn’t… it was part of everything I was feeling, but it wasn’t the good part.
- As I reached the panel and started my repair sequence, the dark beast had moved closer. It was standing there, in the middle of a large clearing. It was wet, and I could smell it, its thick, sick musk filling my nostrils, threatening to make me pass out. I vomited, spilling the sour contents of my stomach onto the wet forest floor. It was at this point that I realized it was aware of me. Not just a human being, but me, specifically. It could see me. That’s when I started to feel… different, weak, shaky, cold and afraid. That’s when it charged. That’s when I died.
NIC: We’ll get back to those mysterious research studies soon, but now, we’re going to meet the enigmatic spokesperson for the Cult of Tanis, Paul.
- PAUL: I hope this is okay. It was the only table they had left.
- NIC: Uh, it’s great.
NIC: The man who referred to himself as ‘Paul’, one word, no last name, like ‘Cher’ or ‘Sting’– his words, not mine– wasn’t tall, but he carried himself as if he were tall, if that makes any sense. He had a narrow, hawk-like face, his eyes small but focused. He was very clearly engaged in everything I was saying. Paul was a listener, a rare quality these days. I liked him immediately.
- PAUL: What do you know about trees, Nic?
- NIC: Um, well, I like trees; I walk my dog in the woods, every day.
- PAUL: Great. That sounds nice, but what do –
- NIC: Could you tell me about Eld Fen, the Navigator, and what’s going on with the Cult?
- PAUL: Okay, well, first of all, like I mentioned in my message, we’re not a cult; we’re a religious organization.
- NIC: Who drug people with hallucinogenic tea.
- PAUL: I don’t believe ecstasy is hallucinogenic.
- NIC: Well….
- PAUL: I sincerely apologize for their behavior. They were acting independently, as I mentioned. They’ve been reprimanded severely.
- NIC: Okay, what does that mean, exactly?
- PAUL: It means we don’t want to be in conflict, Nic. That’s all.
- NIC: Right.
- PAUL: As far as the myth of Eld Fen goes, it’s pretty simple, really. Eld Fen is another name for Gaia, or nature. What you’re calling Tanis. But, it’s, well, it…. It refers to the darker side of nature, kind of what might be there if you switched off the lights, to try to put it into a context that, you know, you might understand.
- NIC: So, what, Eld Fen is the dark and scary part of Tanis?
- PAUL: It’s only scary if you resist it.
- NIC: Okay. Wow, that’s starting to sound a little cult-y.
- PAUL: It’s about the trees, Nic. Think about just how important trees are in religion.
- NIC: Okay.
- PAUL: The tree of life, Baba Yaga.
- NIC: Right.
- PAUL: Hansel and Gretel, fairies, Red Riding Hood, the Curupira. The trees hold secrets. Both light and dark, Nic, but not good and bad.
- NIC: Okay.
- PAUL: There can’t be a value judgement when it comes to Eld Fen. You have to be open to both sides in order to experience the whole of the forest.
- NIC: Well, that sounds ephemeral, vague, and a little bit New Age-y, if you don’t mind me saying so.
- PAUL: No, I don’t mind at all. Listen, there are all kinds of valuable contributions made to our world by those you refer to as New Age-y. But I assure you, we don’t fall under that umbrella. Our purview is more…. I don’t know, we’re more like a –
- NIC: Religious organization? Right.
- PAUL: That’s accurate, yes.
- NIC: Okay. Um, well, if you don’t mind my being frank –
- PAUL: Not at all.
- NIC: Why did you want to speak with me, exactly?
- PAUL: I’d like you to visit our operations center.
- NIC: Operations center? You don’t refer to it as a church?
- PAUL: We don’t use that word, but I suppose it fits, in a way.
- NIC: Okay, and where is your operations center?
- PAUL: You know where it is, Nic.
- NIC: I’m gonna have to think about it. Things didn’t go all that well for me the last time I went into the woods with strangers.
- PAUL: I understand.
- NIC: Yeah, I get the feeling that you actually might.
NIC: Paul did strike me as someone who understood something about Tanis, or the thing he called Eld Fen. He certainly acted like he knew something, and that’s why I knew that I was going to visit his compound, or church, or whatever he had going on up there in the forest. But I definitely wasn’t going to be going alone.
- GEOFF: So who is this guy?
- NIC: Um, his name is Paul.
- GEOFF: Okay, and he’s gonna take you to find Eld Fen?
- NIC: That’s what he said, or implied. I don’t know, these people are constantly cryptic.
- GEOFF: Yeah, but you are too, so it’s all right. Uh, where are we meeting him?
- NIC: Ranger station? It’s another quarter mile or so up- up here.
- GEOFF: Great. So, uh, and word from Veronika?
- NIC: I’ve asked MK to try and dig up anything and everything, but she’s pretty sure Veronika’s not her real name.
- GEOFF: Really.
- NIC: Really.
- GEOFF: Shitty.
- NIC: What do you mean?
- GEOFF: What do you mean, what do I mean? Veronika, with a ‘k’ –
- NIC: Okay.
- GEOFF: That voice –
- NIC: Wow.
- GEOFF: Ah, I think my heart just broke.
- NIC: Wow.
- GEOFF: Yeah. I might need a minute here.
- NIC: I think you’ll be all right.
- GEOFF: Okay. Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa. Who’re these guys?
- NIC: I have no idea.
NIC: They were our guides. There were two of them, both men in their forties.These guys were pretty far from the typical Cult of Tanis youth I’d experienced so far. They seemed serious, more like Geoff, more like military. The only way they would take us where we needed to go was blindfolded. Geoff wasn’t all that happy about it, but after a brief conversation, we both agreed.
We walked through the woods for about half an hour before reaching our destination. They took off our blindfolds. We were in a medium-size clearing, and there were two large canvas tents set up.
- NIC: So what are you doing up here?
- PAUL: We’re following the sound.
- NIC: Um, the sound?
- PAUL: Yeah. Can you hear it?
- GEOFF: What the fuck are you guys talking about?
- PAUL: We’d prefer restraint when it comes to that kind of language. This is a sacred place.
- NIC: Wait…. I’ve been in this clearing before.
- PAUL: Let’s just say there’s a certain amount of fluidity where geography is concerned here. The blindfolds were in place to avoid any confusion on your part.
- NIC: So what is it you want from me, exactly?
- PAUL: We want you to help us find the Navigator.
- NIC: How?
- PAUL: By listening, Nic. By tuning in to the heart of this place. By realizing the interconnectedness of all things.
- NIC: Okay.
- PAUL: By allowing this world into your being. You survived the Fen, Nic. You’ve met the Navigator. Even if you don’t remember. The Navigator is the only reason you’re still here. The only reason you’re still alive.
- NIC: I’m afraid I didn’t meet any Navigator, Paul.
- PAUL: You’re wrong.
- GEOFF: All right, um, let’s put a pin in, uh, the Navigator bullshit for a minute. What do you want from Nic, right here, right now?
- PAUL: Like I said, I just want him to listen. But I am gonna need him to drink this.
- GEOFF: Okay. We’re done. Let’s go. Let’s go!
NIC: Paul brought out a thermos filled with some kind of liquid. Geoff was convinced it was poison. I figured it was drugs. Either way, Geoff had seen enough. I asked him to accompany me as a kind of security, and he was taking that job seriously. I’m not sure how well I would have fared against them had Geoff not accompanied me.
Could I have prevented the three of them from holding me down and forcing me to drink that liquid, if they’d wanted to? Was it part of Paul’s plan to force me to drink whatever was in the thermos? I’m not sure why, but something told me that my involvement in whatever craziness they had going on up there would have to be voluntary.
As Geoff and I walked away, I turned my voice recorder back on.
- NIC: So how are we going to find our way out? We were blindfolded on the way in.
- GEOFF: There’s no such thing as blindfolded. You want to make it so I can’t see, you’re gonna need a hood.
- NIC: Wait, so you could see?
- GEOFF: Yeah, of course.
- NIC: The whole time?
- GEOFF: Yeah, I made sure I could see.
- NIC: Wow.
- GEOFF: Training. Yeah, it’s a combination of squeezing your eyes tight and using your shoulder.
- NIC: Wow.
- GEOFF: I’m pretty sure it’s this way.
- NIC: What’s this way?
- GEOFF: Some kinda camp.
- NIC: Some kinda camp? What kinda camp?
- GEOFF: The military kind.
- NIC: Really?
- GEOFF: Yep.
NIC: He led us through a densely wooded area along a small creek.He stopped me and put his finger to his lips. Then, he pointed towards some birch trees. It took me a while to see what he was pointing at, but eventually I did. Through the trees there in the distance were some buildings. And he was right: whoever was there was military.
The fact that there was a military operation going on up here wasn’t all that surprising, I suppose. What was surprising, however, were the familiar outbuildings and beat-up old motor homes. It was the Grackles’ compound.
Geoff led us quietly away from the area. He said he’d seen this type of operation before, and they probably wouldn’t kill us, but he couldn’t be sure. I felt like there was a good chance he was kidding, but we moved past their camp quietly just the same.
After another fifteen minutes of walking through the forest, we ended up somewhere else I’d been before, some place I’d actually been with Geoff. We stepped out of the woods onto the widest part of a dirt path, and there it was. The familiar gray wall, made out of the material Geoff referred to earlier as ‘Gray Pancake’.
We walked along the wall for a while. While we walked, I began noticing crows following behind. They stayed close, and I can’t be positive, but I’m pretty sure they couldn’t fly. In fact, I’d go as far as to say I don’t think any of them had ever flown. The crows were so docile that I was actually able to touch one.
The crow let me run my hands along its feathers, and touch its beak with my finger. Its tiny black eye just stared at me, but, and this is probably going to sound crazy, and I don’t know why I felt this way, but I felt like the crow was sentient, intelligent in a human or similar way. Not human, and not intelligent in the same way, but it was hard to explain. Geoff had no idea what I was talking about, although he did say that he thought it was pretty cool that I could pet a crow.
We walked along the wall for a few minutes longer before Geoff stopped. He’d discovered something interesting.
- GEOFF: This is impossible.
- NIC: What?
- GEOFF: This.
- NIC: What is it? What? Here?
- GEOFF: Yeah.
- NIC: It looks like it’s sweating? This part?
- GEOFF: It’s breaking down, is what it is.
- NIC: Yeah?
- GEOFF: Yeah, this stuff doesn’t break down. Look, I- I can push through it right here.
- NIC: Well, I’m not sure that’s a good idea.
- GEOFF: Yeah, probably not.
- NIC: Are you gonna stop pushing on it?
- GEOFF: Yeah. Yeah, okay.
There was one section of the wall, maybe four feet square, that appeared to be sweating. The gray material had become quite soft in that area. Geoff pushed his fist into it, but stopped just short of punching all the way through.
- GEOFF: I can’t believe this.
- NIC: What?
- GEOFF: Whatever’s happening here, causing this is…. I dunno.
- NIC: I have to admit, you’re freaking me out a little here.
- GEOFF: Yeah, I’m freaking myself out a little.
NIC: When I made it back to the studio, I considered calling Cameron Ellis and asking about the wall and the Grackles, but I thought I should load and process all the audio first.
I was busy loading that audio onto our computers when I received a call.
- VERONIKA: Hello, Nic.
- NIC: Where are you?
- VERONIKA: Here, in Seattle.
- NIC: How are you?
- VERONIKA: I’m okay. A bit tired.
- NIC: Okay. Can we meet?
- VERONIKA: Soon, I think, but not right now.
- NIC: Why not?
- VERONIKA: I have to ask you a question.
- NIC: Okay. Um, go ahead.
- VERONIKA: How much do you remember about what happened in that cabin?
- NIC: Not much. At all.
- VERONIKA: Hm. Do you remember finding it?
- NIC: Yeah, I think so, um, it was at the end of the creek, we went over the bridge and then we moved into the- the area with all the thin birch trees? And then….
- VERONIKA: Right.
- NIC: Then it gets blurry. Um, you – I think you told us that the trees, something about the trees was wrong, and the red string wasn’t on the right tree or something.
- VERONIKA: Yes. We were approaching the Calm.
- NIC: The cabin.
- VERONIKA: Kind of. The cabin was in the way.
- NIC: Okay. Didn’t Sam run toward the cabin?
- VERONIKA: Yes, and you went after him.
- NIC: I kinda remember that.
- VERONIKA: Nic.
- NIC: Yes?
- VERONIKA: Do you remember something in the darkness?
- NIC: Um…. I’m not sure.
- VERONIKA: The- the darkness had a voice.
- NIC: ‘The darkness had a voice.’ I said that, didn’t I?
- VERONIKA: Yes, you did.
- NIC: I kind of remember. What- what were you doing with Cameron Ellis in 2009?
- VERONIKA: Working.
- NIC: I gained access to a recording, and on that recording you’re talking about incident sites and expansion. What’s –
- VERONIKA: I think maybe you should stay away from Cameron Ellis for the time being.
- NIC: Why is that?
- VERONIKA: I’m not sure he has your best interests in mind.
- NIC: Okay. And you do?
- VERONIKA: Yes. No matter what you might believe, our interests are aligned, Nic. They always have been.
- NIC: What interests?
- VERONIKA: Finding the truth. Staying alive.
- NIC: Have you heard from the Grackles?
- VERONIKA: The Grackles are gone.
- NIC: Where?
- VERONIKA: I don’t know. I’m trying to make contact, but no luck so far.
- NIC: Veronika Pilman’s not your real name, is it?
- VERONIKA: Not legally, but I’ve grown fond of it.
- NIC: And the last name Pilman, that’s from the Roadside Picnic?
- VERONIKA: Took you a while to figure that out.
- NIC: Yeah. Right. Listen, Veron- Vero- – or whoever – shall I just call you Veronika?
- VERONIKA: Uh, yes, for now.
- NIC: Is there anything you can tell me that might help me find Sam or Morgan?
- VERONIKA: I think you should be more concerned about yourself than Sam or Morgan.
- NIC: What do you mean?
- VERONIKA: I mean be careful.
- NIC: Okay, could you be more specific?
- VERONIKA: Be very careful.
NIC: So, Veronika was as mysterious as ever, and had now joined the Cameron Ellis School of Cryptic Warnings. I appreciate everyone’s seemingly genuine concern, I really do, but this is 2016 and it’s not The Bourne Identity or Alias. This is real life! I mean, it’s not a world of parking garage intrigue and insidious secret societies; it’s a world of Starbucks and yoga and craft beer. It’s a world I know. But what if there’s a world I don’t know? I suppose that’s what this whole thing is about. If there is a world I don’t know, I know where I need to go to find out. I need to get back on the other side of that wall.
- MK: It’s about the 1985 study.
- NIC: What about it?
- MK: I wasn’t able to find much of anything, which is something in itself, I guess.
- NIC: Was there – But there was something?
- MK: Uh, very little. Only that there were always two people assigned to the station.
- NIC: Just two?
- MK: Yeah, apparently during the 70s and 80s they ran a bunch of these studies and it was always the same, always a couple, a man and a woman.
- NIC: Uh, any names?
- MK: All redacted.
- NIC: Of course.
- MK: Yeah. I have a few eyes out there looking, but I feel like that might be it. Unless you can get something out of Cameron Ellis.
- NIC: Ellis, right.
- MK: Yeah.
- NIC: Anything else?
- MK: Uh, I’m close to something on the Voynich Manuscript.
- NIC: What is it?
- MK: Too soon to tell. I’ll know more soon.
- NIC: Okay. Thanks.
- MK: I’ll keep looking.
- NIC: Great, MK, that’s- that’s great. Thanks.
- MK: Okie-dokes.
NIC: I was mixing an episode of another podcast when I received a call from Cameron Ellis.
- NIC: Hello?
- CAMERON:Are you recording this call, Nic?
- NIC: Uh, yep. Yes I am.
- CAMERON:Could you please stop?
- NIC: Okay.
- CAMERON:Thank you.
NIC: Cameron Ellis was calling with details about his job offer. Turns out the pay was extremely generous, plus there was a very nice apartment with a housekeeper and, aside from four days a week spent working in the Breach, my life would continue pretty much as usual. I told him that the only way I’d consider doing anything would be if I could record everything that happened for this podcast. After some back and forth, he reluctantly agreed, and I started recording again.
- NIC: Is it dangerous?
- CAMERON:It could be, I suppose, but, relatively speaking, I believe it’s considerably less dangerous than your current investigation.
- NIC: What about what happened to Marcus, that soldier?
- CAMERON:Believe it or not, Nic, that kind of thing is exactly what we’re trying to avoid.
- NIC: Do I have a choice?
- CAMERON:At the moment, you do, yes.
- NIC: But I might not at some later stage? What- is this some kinda Patriot Act measure thing, or something?
- CAMERON:Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
- NIC: Let’s hope I don’t turn into a flesh-ripping lunatic?
- CAMERON:It’s not that s–
- NIC: Simple, I know. When does this assignment or whatever it’s called begin?
- CAMERON:As soon as possible.
NIC: I’d hoped I might be working out of Pacifica Station, but apparently there were a few phases to this – whatever this assignment was. If I decided to take the job, phase one didn’t involve Pacifica Station. Phase one involved walking in the woods.
Now, I’m going to read another section from the document labeled ‘Eld Fen’, allegedly written by John Corroman, and compiled by an unnamed narrator.
- NIC: (reading) Part four. Marjorie Jensen has made herself invaluable, as Corroman’s notes are far more fragmented than I originally thought. Like I mentioned earlier, she has a photographic memory, and although she’s not the fastest typist, it turns out she’s a remarkably quick reader. She’s almost finished reading everything, and she’s been working hard on organizing the fragments into some kind of order. She said that she’d like to read everything twice, and that would give her a better idea of where everything fit.
- It’s been a few days since Marjorie finished reading the manuscript. I’m not sure how to put this, but she’s different, somehow. I’m not quite certain how to describe the change that’s come over her; it’s not simply her mood of the way she carries herself, although it is both of those things to some degree. It’s something else. It’s as if she’s fading into darkness somehow, moving toward shadow.
- I’m having a hard time coming up with the words to describe her subtle transformation. Her complexion remains as rosy as ever and she’s as fit as any normal young woman of her age, but there’s a newfound appetite behind her eyes that’s frightening.
- I saw her, staring up at me from the foot of the staircase yesterday, and the intensity of her gaze almost caused me to fall down the stairs.
NIC: After that page, there are two smaller yellowed pages attached by large paperclips. The first page appears to be part of a short story, a fragment of a novel or something similar. I’ve asked my friend and producing partner Alex Reagan to read the text from the first paperclipped page.
- ALEX: (reading) There was a man who waited in a house that wasn’t a house, built on a hill that was more than a hill, a ladder crawling up the side of an enormous mountain of a tree, and you were there, if you were brave enough to go. Inside, he kept things, dark, slimy, skittering things, and the people of the town whispered that he performed experiments up there, in his house among the trees. The children began disappearing into the forest right around the time the man in his house in the trees showed up. If it wasn’t for my nephew’s disappearance, I would never have gone into the woods that night
NIC: The second of the paperclipped pages has information on its provenance. Written across the top of the page are the words ‘From a play called Phyreses and Aries by an unknown playwright. Please file under ‘King Wurm’ for reference.’
After the title and the filing information, the text of the play or segment of a play begins. It appears to be written in the form of a dialogue or conversation. Once again, I’ve asked Alex Reagan to read the second page, the segment from Phyreses and Aries.
- ALEX: (reading)
- What’s the matter?
- You were dreaming.
- I’m tired; let me sleep.
- It’s too dangerous.
- To sleep?
- To dream.
- And why is that, my love?
- To dream here, in this place, it opens doors.
- This room?
- This is not a room, my love.
- And, what, is this not a bed?
- Aye, you know that this is not a bed.
- I was dreaming.
- I know, my love.
- Am I dreaming still?
- Do you believe that you are dreaming?
- I don’t know. I don’t hear him.
- Listen carefully.
- I don’t want to be dreaming anymore.
- I know, my love.
- Be quiet; he’ll hear you.
- Yes, my love.
- I can feel him, beneath the world.
- I know, my love.
- He’s coming.
- No, I’m already here, my love.
NIC: I’ll have more from the Eld Fen document next time, but now, I’m going to play you a message I just received from Mike, the geologist.
- MIKE: I can hear it, Nic. It’s like…. It’s like blood rushing through the world. I’m going to meet it. I’m going to see, and finally, I’m going to see everything. I j- I just wanted to say thank you, Nic, thank you for – for opening the door, for showing me what’s possible. I had no idea – I had no idea it could be so beautiful. I can feel it stirring; I can- I can feel…. I can feel it inside. Something…. It’s waking up.
NIC: I called Mike back as soon as I got the message, but a detective answered the phone. Mike had apparently suffered some kind of mental break. I spent about six hours at the police station answering questions. They were doing their best to keep me in the dark as much as possible, which is understandable given the situation, but I was able to piece together some of what happened through the nature of their questions.
As far as I can tell, they found Mike in a terrible state. He’d scooped his right eye out with a grapefruit spoon, and in its place, he’d inserted the rock filled with rare earth minerals that I found attached to that wooden keychain.
The detectives told me that he kept screaming, “I can see him,” over and over as the police loaded him into the ambulance.
Next time I find out what’s happening beyond the gray walls surrounding Tanis, and MK uncovers something interesting about the Voynich manuscript and the Eld Fen classified ad.
It’s Tanis. I’m Nic Silver. We’re going to be taking a pre-planned additional two week break, but don’t worry, we’re not falling behind or anything. This break has been on the schedule since the beginning of the season. We’ll be back again on July 27th. Until then, keep looking.
SITE NOTE: Thank you to the wonderful Olivia for providing this transcript!