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[Day Room of the East Ward, 3rd floor of Rathbone Asylum. Patient Fox and Patient Dithers sit by one of the barred windows. Patient Fox is regaling Patient Dithers with a story. Patient Dithers is near comatose and does not comprehend Patient Fox. Undaunted or unaware, Patient Fox talks to Patient Dithers as if he were an equal party of the conversation.]

“The Murklor told me that Dr. McGrath had contacted a Forest Ranger by the name of Peterson to accompany us. McGrath told me it was because Ranger Peterson knew the area and would be assisting us. In reality, Ranger Peterson was there to take me into custody should we happen to find the suspected remains of Eric and Nate.

“Oh, the remains were there, alright. I knew that too. But the Murklor had everything under control. He wanted two more gifts.

“The tricky part, you see, was taking another ax without the Doctor or Ranger knowing it. Fortunately, it was chilly that day and I strapped it to my torso underneath my coat. I just had to pretend to be a nervous wreck about the whole thing to keep them from getting suspicious.

“I ain’t gonna lie to ya, though, I was still very much afraid of the cave and, of course, the Murklor. He just exudes terror.

“Anyway, we made it to the point where we left the trail. I had to really ham it up that I couldn’t exactly remember. There were some false starts and backtracking and whatnot. All in all, I made a good show of forgetting exactly how to get to the cave. But we finally made it to the cave.

“I really laid it on thick then. At one point I was even cowering behind a rock. They bought it hook, line, and sinker. You could tell that Ranger Peterson was itching to get in that cave and have a look around, too. But he didn’t want to leave me for fear that I’d take off should he find something in there.

“Finally, I reluctantly allowed myself to be escorted into the cave on the arm of Dr. McGrath. And that’s when the fun started.

“The Murklor is a master of drama, let me tell you. He didn’t make his presence known until they got far enough into the cave to see the two “X’s” still standing there. I guess you could say that they were my first two sculptures. Two big “X’s” of crossed timbers – both of them still had the skeletal remains of Eric and Nate on them.

“I have to tell you that the sight made me sick. Even though I was expecting them – the Murklor had told me, ya know – I still wasn’t prepared for the sight. All these years and it was like I was back in my childhood again. Terrified, shaking, and wretchedly sick.

“Dr. McGrath and Ranger Peterson were the ones that the show was for, though. Dr. McGrath let out a sound that might come from a little girl. It was actually a little funny. Ranger Peterson handled it a little better. He was just angry and disgusted. He turned to me and said, ‘What did you do, you nasty little shit?’

“I said, ‘It wasn’t me! It was Him!’ That didn’t really register until He came. The Murklor groaned a deep growl that echoed from somewhere deep within the cave. There was just a bunch of confusion then.

“All around us things in the shadows started moving. They moved with a sticky, wet sound. It was the arms of the Murklor cutting off their escape.

“Then the Murklor spoke. It welcomed them into its lair and then it told me to take the ax and go. Go and find the timbers to begin the erection of two new sculptures for his new gifts!”


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