CHAPTER VII: "A REVELATION AND A MURDER"
After recovering from the affray, we held the professor. He was looking up to the broken ceiling, muttering incomprehensively.
We shook him and asked him what Phillips was. He seemed unable to focus on anything other than the dark thing that had apparently vanished, despite my bullets apparently striking their mark repeatedly.
Crawford, more out of fear of what had just happened than by inhumanity, slapped the professor across his face- breaking his almost trace-like state.
"No...", the professor muttered, "...no...I don't want to go back to the dark place..."
Crawford, more animated now by inhumanity, struck the professor in the face with great force.
"Tell us what the hell is going on, Professor!"
The professor, dazed more by the blows than his strange yearning for the dark man, began to answer. He stated that some sort of cosmic upheaval in 1925 had been discovered by an innocent crew of sailors in the Pacific Ocean.(20) The picture he had shown us before we set out was taken then and was not the product of any new discovery. He said it was necessary to gain our co-operation in the task at hand. He said that our talents in the ancient histories and languages would be essential for the
completion of the task his master had in store. "Phillips" was, indeed not a man at all, but a half-breed descendant of the sea-god, Dagon.(21) He stated that "Phillips" was a harbinger and a discoverer of a certain object of importance to both his gods and the Thule Society.
The professor stated that he saw an opportunity to seize upon an object of such antiquity and celestial importance that he had planned to accept the offer of recovery and then betray both Phillips and the Thule Society. That is, until he was shown the true nature of the dark man and the cult of Cthulhu. As of the contents of the crate, he would not dare describe- only to say that at this point it was necessary to destroy it before it could be borne out to sea in the atolls.
He swore that he knew nothing of the dark mans plans to kill us and use our bodies for some unnatural cause until the last day on the Etolin. He said that such mysterious powers cannot be denied by one man and the dark man commanded him under the threat of such torments and brimstone that even death would be welcomed. The dark man was the bringer of the messenger of the Old Ones- those beings that were spawn from the stars to the Earth before man had ever existed.(22)
An ancient and eternal order of such secrecy that it was almost discarded away as too abstract of conception to ever consider being real. But it existed and had for countless eons, passing its corrupted, foul seed down the chain of humankind through abominations like the dark man to almost unremembered dreams by the sensitive few around the world.(23)
The Old Ones were powerful and ancient, immense and evil creatures- rejoicing in chaos and death. They did not think themselves as gods, as they worshipped pain and suffering, turmoil and torture inflicted upon living things.
Somehow, the book of the dead held certain secrets on communing and awakening the Old Ones- as well as keep them entombed in their death-like state in the sunken city that was discovered in 1925. The dark man had tried to obtain the complete copy in Massachusetts, but failed as there were certain persons at Miskatonic that knew the secrets of the book and had it secured in such a way as even the Old Ones themselves could not touch it.(23A)
He explained that the Thule Society had obtained a partial translated copy in fragmentary form in the late 1880's and built this isolated temple to study it and attempt to harness the power to assist Germany in total control of the world during The Great War.(24) They failed and the Society joined into the Cthulhu Cult- directly worshipping the Old Ones as gods. The bargain he made with the dark man was to provide our partial copy of the book and obtain the fragments on Ujelang Island- using us as interpreters and handlers of the pieces- as the dark man himself could not breach the dream power of his masters during their eternal death sleep- that was the messengers task.
The professor stated that he knew little more than that, other than the dark man could do nothing to bring forth the Old Ones without the thing in the crate from Innsmouth and the secrets within this forgotten building.
Carter, Crawford, Ward and I were trying to understand and piece together what the professor had explained.
There was no denying that what was occurring was universal in scope and difficult to entirely understand. We knew that if Knowles was telling the truth- the thing in the crate must be destroyed to prevent the dark man from completing his task of releasing the Old Ones.
Knowles, pale, weakened and frightened beyond description regarding his actions, said: "I'm sorry..."
And with that final statement, that final pitiful, meaningless excuse...I shot him in his head- placing him into the oblivion that he did so deserve as a betrayer of all mankind.
NEXT CHAPTER 8: "OF GODS AND MEN"