TRAIN INTO THE VALLEY OF MADNESS E:8

Trevor Morris ran. He had no idea where he was going. All he cared about was Anna. They had boarded the train together. They were just married. She could not have died a year ago, they had only met six months before getting married. Someone was lying. Anna had to be somewhere. Someone had kidnapped her.

“Yes. That’s it. They kidnapped her and I will be getting a ransom demand or…or maybe something worse.”

Trevor Morris ran up the stairs to their room. He searched it. There was nothing there to tell him his wife was there or ever had been. Then he looked at the night table beside his bed.

What is this, he pondered curiously as he picked up a golden case and cautiously opened it. Inside was a book bound in something that looked and felt like leather but wasn’t. It was thick with a gold letter titling in some language that didn’t even look human. Not hieroglyphs not anything he recognized though it did suggest it was hand written.

Carefully he opened the cover and began perusing the pages. Though by different hands the writing was all the same language, at least it seemed to him they were all the same. Then, halfway through he came upon a note scratched hurriedly into the margin. This is not the Egyptian book of death. It is a book of formulas and equations. Below was written: Gerald Muldock.

Trevor scratched his forehead to relieve the itch, but the itch was deeper, so deep it was locked in his brain, embedded in his mind and for a moment he saw something, something horrifying. Then, he saw Anna trapped in a shadow surrounded by monsters, creatures that looked reptilian, a Lord and Lady, Lord and Lady Taraz.

Trevor dropped the book-it fell on the bed, into the box as if it was guided–He grabbed his head and tried to squeeze out the itch but it didn’t work.

Then the itch turned into a voice, a gravelly spurting and hissing thing.
Thief. Yet another thief. We have found you and you will suffer for your ways.

Trevor Morris ran-but this time no matter where he ran he landed right back in his room staring down at the golden case and trying to scratch the itch in his mind.

Then the door of his room opened with a bang– the Conductor stood their gawking at Trevor, partly in awe, partly in horror, partly in servitude.
Why are you here? We are not ready for you yet.

Trevor stared back in anger, his eyes yellow with black slits.
“This man creature has the book. Why have you not secured it?”


Detective Inspector Sam Wakes examined the corpse of Jake Taggert. He noted particularly the man’s black, gleaming teeth and was about to take a closer look when Taggert gasped, sat up and yanked the knife from his chest and tossed it aside.

He groaned– “Well, they found me again and where the hell is Trevor Morris. He was supposed to meet me here. If they get hold of the book were all dead, at least most of us.”

Taggert-What the hell are you talking about? What the hell are you doing still alive? Sam Wakes demanded.

It’s a long story Inspector and not one you’d believe, but you had better listen to me anyway. Find Morris. He has a book that humanity should never get its hands on because if it does–Taggert was saying just as the hotel began to shake.

Outside, lightning whipped the Valley with long searing shards of lightning that gathered into balls and rolled across the valley floor, exploding into crystals of fire as they slammed into the valley wall. The thunder shook the valley and everything in it.

Oh no. They are angry” The conductor squealed.

Who is angry? Inspector Sam Wakes demanded.

The conductor didn’t answer. He turned and ran screaming, We are doomed….doomed….They will crush our minds into madness. The book….the book.

Trevor Morris turned and faced the Conductor. You cannot have the book. It belongs to the Var. They created it. They want it back and the thieves who stole it will pay the price. You are supposed to bring them here. Their earthly visions are called Lord and Lady Taraz.

I am sure they are here.

You must find Gerald Muldock as well.

You ask too much. I cannot continue this. Release me now. Let me die as I should have.

You agreed to our terms. You will live by them.

I did not know you were demonic. You lied to me and the others.

Make good your promise or live forever in terrible agony, eternal horror.

Trevor Morris tried to run but instead he collapsed to his knees, clutching the golden box to his chest; Anna–Where are you my dear Anna?

Here Trevor–I am waiting for you but you must protect the book. The Lord and Lady must never hold it again. The Var are coming.


Silence fell over the valley, and darkness came, as though someone had merely switched off a light. In the distance a train whistle blew shrill and clear through the night. In the dining lounge of the Hotel Valley of dreams–a mist rushed through.

Trevor dear–Whatever has come over you?

Trevor Morris fixed his eyes on a space that had nothing in it.
He said to Anna: The madness has just begun. The book is here and we are all being swept Into the Madness and this itch in my mind torments me to insanity. They told me you were dead. They told me that all this is fractal. I must find and eliminate Gerald Muldock. If I can do that everything will go back to the way it was.

Trevor. What is wrong with you? Anna demanded worriedly.

Trevor smiled. His blackened teeth glimmered like polished coal.
Nothing is the matter with me-In fact I am better than I have ever been. For the first time I understand what it is like to be a part of the madness–the shadow that brings evil to humanity and I am part of the legion to fix it.

I can’t believe I married you, Anna replied.

Come into the madness and help me. Then you will understand.

The conductor approached the table. He smiled, a black gleaming thing.
I will serve obediently, he said.

By DONALD H ROBERTS

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