CHAPTER II. "MEETING OF THE DARK MAN"
The evening of the 7th, we began to shuffle into the university library, shaking the light rain from our overcoats. I could see
that the Professor, Crawford and Ward were seated at the large table nearing the entrance to the rare books section. Edward
nudged me on the elbow to the rather tall, darkly dressed man standing near the Professor. His pallor was pale, wearing smoked
octagonal eyeglasses and a wide brimmed hat. Edward remarked that he did not realize the Lamont Cranston (9) would be joining the
expedition. I motioned to Edward that joking would have to be set aside, that I believed something strange, but important, was
taking place as we made our way to the large oak table. The lighting appeared intentionally dimmed.
The Professor greeted us and presented us to the dark gentleman standing to the Professors side. This was Mr. Phillips. The
Professor stated that Mr. Phillips was one of the best minds in the study of ancient civilizations and religions. During the following
half hour of the Professor discussing what items we should take and the seriousness of the voyage- I took a keen look at the
dark man. I noticed that he did not speak, rather simply acknowledging the Professor with nods of his head. His skin, although pale, seemed...spongy, as if he very rarely was in the
presence of the sun. On his right hand, he wore a type of ring that had a design that I had not seen before.
It most definitely was not Masonic, as I was a Master and would have recognized any such Masonic influences.
No, this design was reminiscent of the sea- a type of spiraled design found in the anatomy of certain mollusks.
His slender, pale fingers set the ring apart and it drew my attention immediately. His clothing was of leather material, having a caped shoulder and appeared to be almost like the moist skin found on amphibious reptiles.
My instincts told me to beware of this stranger and as time would tell, I would be correct.
The Professor concluded the meeting and told us to rest well in the intervening days until our departure and then excused us all
from the meeting. Crawford, Ward, Edward and I met briefly on the steps of the library before ending the night. All of us
quietly spoke of the oddness of the stranger. As we all heard motion in the library, we broke up our impromptu meeting and
scattered, fearing the Professor might hear us. I looked back through the massive windows of the main doors to see the
Professor exiting the rare books section with several books, which he carefully placed on the table in front of the dark man.
I recognized immediately that the Professor had "Thule Gesellschaft"(10) opened carefully to a specific page and seemed to be speaking to the dark man.
The book was well known by me as a book of German occultism. I saw the Professor then uncover the largest book on the table and I
shuddered as I recognized the partial copy of the Necronomicon!
Our copy was incomplete and was never, ever out of the glass
encasement within the rare books section! I knew enough about the book
to know that there was only one complete copy in the world located on the east coast in Miskatonic University's rare books and
that they refused any request to see or obtain copies or reproductions of any kind. (11) Not looking back, I made haste back to my room. Whatever the Professor and the dark man were
discussing, I hoped that it had nothing to do with our upcoming journey, but I knew I was wrong.
That night in my room, I thought continuously of what meanings my observations could possibly have in connection to our
destination. Were the Professor and Phillips simply discussing a matter unrelated or was it directly related and if so, how?
No, it was something else- the Professor, above everyone else, knew that the Book of the Dead was never to be unlocked and handled.
Until later, I thought the book was secured because of its construction and age. (12) By the end of my experience, I would know
too well why that damned book was locked away. I know now it should be destroyed! I will do what I must to destroy everything
in that damned library...and more!
NEXT CHAPTER III: "A Crate, A Departure and a Lie"