Adelard Dekker now believes for certain in his theory of a fifteenth Entity after being alerted about the case of Bernadette Delcour. Bernadette works at the University of Lyon and is an expert in eschatology, specifically failed apocalypse predictions.
Bernadette had received a call about a finding related to Garland Hillier, who was part of a religious group, The Millerite Movement, that believed the apocalypse would arrive on October 22, 1844. The date passed without any results and was deemed "The Great Disappointment" by those involved in the movement. Hillier took this news harder than most and moved back to his homeland of France, where he spent the next 20 years writing eclectic volumes of poetry and essays on beliefs and atheism that were widely ignored.
Hillier's final essay was titled L'Avenir, "The Future". It was reportedly a rambling speculation on the end of the human race. He wrote a future where a corrupt humanity was completely wiped out by a new category of beings he called "Les héritiers", The Inheritors. He did not elaborate on how these inheritors would look, but he painted a grim and unpleasant picture for the fate of humanity. The essay was not popular and had been mostly forgotten by history. Bernadette is one of the few academics who is familiar with his work.
The last records of Hillier's existence were in 1867. No inquiries were made of him and no death certificate or indicator of travel was found. His disappearance has been a mystery in many academic circles. Bernadette got a call about the discovery of Hillier's apartment by workmen and travelled there almost immediately.
The apartment was found when workmen uncovered a doorway to the room, which laid untouched for almost 150 years. Inside the room was his journal, which made little sense. The final entry was simply the repetition of the phrase "La porte est la porte", the door is the door.
Upon arrival, Bernadette says that she felt like she was stepping into a bubble, a place where the world never changed and where she almost felt like she would never change either. After inspecting the room, she walked out of the room, noticing that the door was different. When she entered the apartment, the door had been damaged by the workmen who had uncovered it, but when she walked out, the door was in pristine condition. She ignored it and chalked it up to a strange quirk of memory. She walked down the stairs and the walls were discoloured as if coated with a dusting. There was no sound and no signs of life besides her.
She tried to convince herself it was normal but was unable to do so as she stepped outside to find a street of corpses, with some that were disfigured and embedded into the street or walls. She says that it was clear they had not moved for a hundred years, but she was wrong. Adelard interrupts the narrative to comment that while he has never envied Gertrude for her gifts, he wished he could have pulled the image of the Inheritors, the corpses, from Bernadette's lips. In the end, she would say nothing but "there is nothing done in the history of humanity that deserves the things that come after us."
Bernadette remembered Hillier's message of the door is the door and retreated back to his apartment just in time to barricade herself inside. She waited until the door reversed back to its damaged form and walked out into the world she knew. Bernadette had become agitated at the point in this retelling, and Adelard decides it would be better to end the interview. He says that he might interview her later, but he suspects that she might disappear. He says that she has the quality of her of an unfinished meal and that when the second course comes, he only hopes that she can find her way back to Hillier's apartment once more, although the evidence suggests that even Hillier could not find it in the end.
Adelard says that Gertrude would attribute doors with The Spiral, empty worlds with The Lonely, and eschatology as the literal study of The End, but Adelard says this feels different. He says it feels new, that it is the fear of extinction and of change, that it perhaps used to be part of the End, but it is not the fear of rapture or of a revelation, but of catastrophic change, something that would kill all humans and leave the world warped. He says that Gertrude will not credit his theories, but he will need her help with it at some point.
Peter Lukas and Martin are discussing the statement. Peter explains that while he is not afraid of competition, this is different. He goes on to say that there has only been two entities that have never attempted a ritual. The first is The Web, aka Mother of Puppets, because the world is already a web of people pitted against each other and a ritual is not necessary. The second is The End, aka Terminus, because everyone dies eventually, so why bother. Terminus would result in an empty world, one devoid of fear as well, so The End has no reason to enter the world, but The Extinction is different. It is actively trying to create a lifeless world in a way that the other powers would not. Some interpretations saying it might replace all the people with something new, that can then fear annihilation in turn. Though Peter, and those like him, would rather that did not happen.
Peter wants Martin to help him stop the entity from being born if it can be possible, and if not, to at least weaken it. Peter has a plan, though for it to be successful it requires the Magnus Institute and someone touched by The Beholding, which is where Martin comes along. Elias would not help him. Martin argues that it would be stupid to help with a ritual, but Peter argues that it is going to be decades, if not centuries before he gets another attempt to initiate The Lonely's ritual, and if he lasts that long, he will obviously try again, but until then, he would prefer the world to not end. It is revealed that after The Flesh attacked The Magnus Institute, Martin came to Peter for protection in exchange for his assistance, and Peter has been keeping threats to the Institute at bay since then.
Martin asks about why Peter did not do anything about the delivery of the coffin. Peter responds that after he knew about it, he did try, but it was not his fault that John willingly entered the coffin. He is confused about why Martin put a pile of tape recorders on the coffin, which Martin responds that he just thought it would help. After Peter asked if he was compelled, Martin does say that he wanted to do it, but he did not know where the idea came from.