Further statements of a personal nature.
Gertrude catches Gerard Keay snooping through her stationery cupboard. They chat for a bit before he asks her about a book he only refers to as The Travels, Gertrude figures it will have nothing to offer them that is worth the danger and asks him to burn it. She chides him when it becomes apparent that he has brought the book into the Archives and tells him to go burn it in the back courtyard.
Gerard asks her what happens if they fail to stop a ritual. Gertrude thinks the best they can hope for is to die in their attempt to stop it. She suspects that if an Entity were to fully manifest, it could fully rewrite the laws of nature. It could possibly even stop death entirely, keeping people alive and afraid forever. Beyond that, the state of the world would vary greatly depending on which Entity is manifested.
Gerard raises another hypothetical, if a ritual were to succeed, could it be undone? Gertrude does not think so.
In the present, Jonathan Sims rewinds the tape several times to listen to her say “No. I don’t think so.” before he finishes the tape and starts another one.
Still in the Archives, shortly after John's promotion to head archivist. Sasha ropes Tim into helping her staple statements and they gossip about their new boss. Tim insists that Sasha is more qualified and should have gotten the job instead, he is certain Elias only promoted John instead because of sexist prejudice and urges her to say something about it. Sasha is less confrontational, she figures that she will only get blacklisted if she makes a fuss about it. She might just look for a new job instead.
Tim mentions their past hookup and they joke around for a bit. On a more serious note, she knows Tim will not leave because of his brother and Martin cannot go anywhere that will look too closely at his CV, but she has nothing keeping her in the Archives.
The topic turns to Gertrude and Tim thinks the Archives are a mess because she was just old and starting to lose it. Sasha, who has actually talked to Gertrude, knows she was still sharp as a knife and the messy state of the Archives must be intentional, but she cannot figure out why.
In the present, the tape clicks off. A static rises in the background and John begins to speak as if he is reading a statement. He speaks of the cabin they reside in and its false promises of comfort and relief. The land outside is twisted and torn but inside, he can ignore the screams that linger on the breeze. Inside, there is safety.
The cabin urges them to stay, to cling to their love so tightly that it withers and warps as they live in shaking fear of the things that seek to take it from them. The cabin wishes to be their tomb as they putrefy in body and soul, but The Eye does not wish it so.
“No,” John says, “the Eye wishes instead that it be my chrysalis. It is time that I emerge.”
John comes back to his usual self with a start and Martin comes in to see what the commotion is about. John tries to explain what just happened: As he was listening, he was filled with hatred and the urge to leave and hunt down Elias. Then he felt how the cabin did not want them to leave and it all came pouring out of him, into the tape, and it felt right.
To Martin’s surprise John wants to leave and head back to the Archives. John cautions him that it will be a hard journey but Martin is already rambling about all the things he has packed, he has been ready for a while.
They do not know if there is any way to undo The Change, but they are determined to find out for themselves.
- Related Entity: Unclear.
- The isolation and boredom of the cabin is likely tied to The Lonely
- Being trapped in the cabin could be tied to The Buried
- The idea of a relationship becoming warped could be tied to The Corruption
- The cabin could simply be the first example of an unbound monster with no specific alignment to an entity, as post-change Smirke's 14 has ceased being relevant for anything beyond vague description and mortal conceptualisation
- The urge to hunt down Elias could be tied to The Hunt, however it appears to be a directive from Beholding. This could also play into the Fears unbound nature post-change