Through a Dark Lens:
The Funeral, pt 7.
Written by David A. Davis
Illustrated by Ram Lama
You load the gun and keep in handy. You peer back around the side of the manor and see the stranger is still standing at the entrance. There is no sign that he has noticed you, however.
You make you way toward the cabin. The stranger notices and begins walking toward you.
“Mika Briggs? Is that you?”
The voice is deep and most definitely male. He sounds urgent. He picks up his pace as he moves towards you, but you can’t make out his intention.
You draw your gun and stand firm. You shout at him, “Don’t take another step!”
He seems to notice the shooting stance and immediately comes to a stop. He throws his hands up and takes a slight step backward.
“Shit, shit. Sorry, I didn’t realize how this looks. Sorry. Are you Mika?”
You have your gun locked on the stranger as you reply, “Yes. Who are you?”
“My name is Gary. Gary Bouscher. I was sent here by Dr. Pavel.”
“Dr. Pavel is dead.”
“I figured he would be, at least that’s what... he told me would happen.”
You’re confused by this. You don’t take your gun off him.
“Can you step toward the light over near the side of the house?”
“Yeah, sure, makes sense,” he says. He keeps his hands up as he makes his way to the rear of the manor, all the while your gun is firmly tracked to him.
You notice his jacket is unzipped.
“Go ahead and toss your gun away from you,” you tell him.
His eyebrow raises quizzically, “how did you know I was carrying?”
“I didn’t, I just figured your jacket was unzipped for a reason.”
He chuckles slightly. “Yeah, good sense, I can see why he liked you.” He gestures his eyes down toward his jacket, and you nod. He grabs his gun and tosses it away from himself.
“Listen, Mika, can I put my arms down?”
He slowly lowers his arms, and you lower your gun.
“Listen, I don’t have a lot of time. Pavel mailed me something and wanted me to bring it to you in case he died.”
“What is it?”
“I’ll need to reach into my pocket again.”
He fishes into a pocket and pulls out what seems to be a small envelope. He holds it toward you. You’re skeptical, but with your gun firmly in hand, you step toward him and snatch the envelope.
“What is this?”
Gary shrugs, “I have no idea. I just did Pavel a favor. I owed him that.”
“What do you know-”
“Too much. I need to get the hell out of here.”
“Do you know who killed him?”
“No. I’m sorry. I’m sorry to hear he’s dead, but I’ll be next if I don’t get out of here.”
He begins to walk away. You holster your gun.
“Where are you going?”
“Listen, I did my bit for the Doc. I’m sorry about all this, but if you’re smart you’ll get away from here too. Whatever’s in the envelope ain’t worth it.”
You feel your arm tremble as you watch him walk away. You notice he leaves the gun behind. You step toward it and call after him, “Hey, you forgot your gun!”
He calls back, “Keep it. You’re gonna need it.”
The envelope is heavy and you can tell there is a hard, palm-sized disk within. You open up the envelope and pull out an unopened envelope inside. You tear it open and pour the contents onto the table. A letter falls to the table, and on top of it is a small brass and glass lens.
You study the lens for a moment, unsure of what exactly the point of it is. You turn your attention to the letter instead. You unfold the paper, noticing that it’s the museum’s stationary. The scrawl is most definitely Pavel’s.
The letter reads:
If you are reading this then I am dead. I Cannot risk giving you more information beyond what I can in this letter in case Gary fails in his task and the letter is intercepted. First of all, Gary Bouscher is not responsible for my death, and he has been a friend of mine over the past decade. You will Learn more about him in the near future. If he has chosen to flee, do not think less of him. He’s seen horrors you have yet to comprehend. He says my desire tO involve you further is selfish, but I believe in you and believe that you will carry on my work.
Before you read further, I must tell you that I am sorry you have been swept into this nightmare. The die was Cast eons ago and we are all merely the scattered and broken pieces of an ancient game. I know this sounds odd, but there is a faith in you that I’ve seen that will see you through the dark tasks ahead. The glass lens you find in your possession is of the utmost importance and must be guarded with your life. The reasons will become clear, I promise you.
I can only leave you with a clue about where you can find more information that I have set aside for you. Answers wait in the Ribcage. Abigail has likely handed you the note with the number. Please, leave her out of this if you can. This tasK is your burden alone.
You know my writing, if something seems amiss there is a reason. The note and this letter will tell you exactly what your next step will be. I am so, so, sorry, Mika. I love you like you are my own child. Please be strong, and trust no friendly faces.
Dr. Alexander Pavel
You stare at the lens, peering through the scratched and cloudy glass. You can barely make anything out through it.
You feel lost and adrift in your thoughts. The only thing that makes any sense to you from the letter, a viable step, something to do…
You need to make your way to the Ribcage.