Statement of Kulbir Shakya, regarding a flood that occurred around his flat in Hackney.
John confronts Martin, having discovered his location through his Beholding powers. Martin immediately tries to make an excuse to leave, but stops to reminds John that they should not speak to each other. John reluctantly agrees not to question Martin's actions, although he says that he thinks Martin is doing "something really stupid." John warns him that Peter Lukas is dangerous and probably evil, to which Martin retorts that he could say the same about the Eye. John tries to argue that, unlike Peter, the Eye has not actively tried to hurt anyone at the Institute, saying that Peter has already disappeared two people. Martin says that his work with Peter has stopped him from doing more damage than he already has.
When Martin tries to leave again, John confides in him that he has had no one to talk to since he came back, and that he misses Martin. He then tries to offer his support in coping with the situation regarding Martin's mother. Although Martin appreciates this, he reaffirms that he cannot accept John's help. Increasingly desperate, John tries to tell Martin about the plans to rescue Daisy from the coffin, but Martin cuts him off and leaves abruptly, asserting that John should not try to find him anymore. As he leaves, he tells John that he will not let him die again.
Kulbir Shakya has lived in Hackney his entire life, in an old house that his family has rented for as long as he can remember. He laments the gentrification of his neighbourhood, at first because it supplanted the local culture with expensive coffee shops and "young, trendy white people in artfully shabby clothes," but eventually because this transformation drove the property values up so high that he could no longer afford to live in his ancestral home. He is forced to throw away many of his possessions during the move, but insists on hanging on to an old military knife that belonged to his grandfather. According to Shakya, it reminds him of how much his grandfather loved him and his sister.
Eventually, Shakya ended up staying alone in the mostly empty house as he was preparing to move to his sister's. During this time, he received a letter addressed to him from a financial firm called Everheart and Strauss. Although sceptical, Shakya decided to visit the address, which turned out to be a unit in a dubious office building in Hammersmith. The office appeared to be abandoned, the interior soaked with water and covered in associated damage and rot, and Shakya returned home through the beginning of a rainstorm. The water, according to Shakya, smelled oddly "earthy and cloying."
Shakya was supposed to be picked up by his sister later that day, which he assumed had not happened because of the rain. Upon trying to contact her, he discovered that his phone had lost signal. Shakya decided to wait out the storm instead of trying to leave through it, despite the water leaking into the house. After some time, he heard a strange noise outside, like thunder lasting for several seconds, unaccompanied by lightning. The thunder came again at what Shakya's watch said was 3am in the morning, even though the sky outside looked like it was still daytime, albeit a day obscured by clouds and rain. At this point, the neighbourhood was starting to flood, and continued to do so until water was pouring into the first floor of the house itself. Shakya describes that the water was warm, almost exactly body temperature, and that when he went downstairs to test how deep it was, he could not feel the bottom of it, even though he should still have been able to reach the floor.
The rain stopped when the water had flooded about half of the house. Outside, the lights of nearby cars came on to illuminate strange shapes moving under the water. Shakya speculates that they could have been bodies. He describes the air becoming thick and humid, to the point where it was difficult to breathe. The thunder came for a third time, and outside the flood began to rise on its own, more quickly than before. Shakya remembers being convinced that this flood now "stretched out to the horizon," and says that he felt like "the world was sinking." Searching for some kind of escape, Shakya instead found the sheathe to his grandfather's old knife. In spite of the flood waters closing in on him, his focus was drawn to memories of his grandfather, and of the calm, dignified way the man had faced his own death. As Shakya was finally consumed by the water, his last thoughts were of his grandfather.
Some time later, Shakya was retrieved alive from the flood, though not completely unharmed. He moved on to live with his sister and her husband, who discredit the story entirely.
John muses about the "bias of survivorship" among the archived statements, wondering how many people do not escape the Fears for each one that makes it out alive to tell their story. He states that he has access to that knowledge, but he does not want it. He voices his frustration with some of the things that Beholding has been putting into his head, like the method Gertrude used to stop The Buried's ritual. He pauses to describe this information, calling the ritual "Sunken Sky," and saying that Gertrude successfully averted it by throwing Jan Kilbride, who was touched by the Vast, into a pit associated with the ritual (see MAG 97). Grimly, John mentions that Gertrude killed and dismembered Kilbride before doing so.
John reiterates that he does not like the way Beholding puts information into his mind, and is especially uncomfortable with how difficult it is becoming to tell his own thoughts apart from this implanted knowledge. He theorises that this statement has something to do with the coffin and rescuing Daisy from it, and concludes that he could attempt a rescue if he had an "anchor" outside the coffin, something he could "know the way back to," though he is unsure of what shape that could take.
- Related Entity: The Buried