Chapter Five


Primrose Meadowsweet typed out a memo onto her PC. Her delicate fingers danced across the keys as staccato clicks filled the air. Her face was a pallid mask, and her black hair was styled into an acute shoulder-length bob.

Her desk was situated in a small, rectangular office that had a door at one end, and Gideon Codd’s chambers at the other. The walls were smattered with photographs of cats. There were black cats, white cats, tortoise-shell cats, kittens with balls of wool, or peeking out from baskets and armchairs.

She had two cats back at her small cottage on the outskirts of town. Laurel and Hardy were Siamese and sole companions in her sedate and uncomplicated life. The appeal of the feline lifestyle had fascinated her from an early age. The only daughter of a civil servant and a primary school teacher, Primrose was brought up in a home that was appropriately polite and straight-laced. Her mother was prim and proper. She was not that experienced in the world outside of education. She raised her daughter as she would a pupil at the school, every activity had to have educational merit, and enjoyment was defined by learning outcomes.

Her father was strict and obsessive with paperwork. His suits were always black pinstripe, his bowler hat always bought from Christys’, and when he ate dinner he drank from a glass goblet engraved with the family crest—three roses cut diagonally across a shield.

A combination of the traits of both parents, Primrose’s desk was neat and tidy, pens lined in a row, her jotter aligned with the corner of the table, and inside the notebook, pages were full of her neat script. The photograph of Laurel and Hardy—named after her father’s favourite comedians—was behind glass in a solid silver frame. Every time she looked at it, a small smile played on her thin lips.

Her cats made her feel content and, as always when in such a state of mind, her fingers would go to the fine gold chain around her neck, where a small oval pendant housing miniature pictures of her parents hung. She rubbed the gold-plated surface and this added another layer of warm comfort to the moment. She relished it.

With dexterity, Primrose finished up her report on the computer. Yet it wasn’t professional training that had given her such skills, her mother had also been a proficient typist, sharing this with Primrose from a very early age. Even with the advent of PCs, her mother would use an old Underwood Number 5 typewriter, a machine produced in the 1900s and still working up until the point of her mother’s death on her 90th birthday.

Primrose had intended to keep the machine, but its presence left her with such an acute sense of grief, she donated it to a charity store and it was sold on for a good cause.

Primrose was good with this up to a point. These days she wished she’d never got rid of it, hindsight showing her that the thought of the machine now brought only warm memories, a connection that made her feel at peace.

At one point she’d gone down to the charity store on the off-chance the Underwood would still be there, not surprised in the slightest when it wasn’t, yet the regret at having so wantonly given it away almost taking her breath away. Whenever she thought of her mother, Primrose would smile, and it would be infused with rueful sadness.

This was a contrast to the smile that was currently in place as she recollected her recent discussion with the mayor who had now left his chambers to head off home.

Primrose recalled that her boss’s large frame had appeared very unsteady as he’d left for his staff car, and she immediately stopped typing to jot a reminder on a Post-It note to give him a call in the morning. The way he had swayed on his feet, she had thought he’d perhaps had one glass too many of his ‘medicinal’ brandy. But what Codd had asked of her made her think that he was clearly not himself.

She replayed the conversation in her mind. The mayor had called her into his office, and no sooner had she stood attentively in front of his desk, he had pushed a piece of card towards her.

“I want you to attend this event,” Codd said, his face was very pale, as though he’d just been given bad news.

“Very well, sir. May I ask what it is?”

“How about you read the card?” Codd said with impatience. He pulled a cream handkerchief from his pocket and mopped his brow.

Primrose took the card from the desk and read it without expression.

Codd stopped pawing at his brow, the handkerchief hanging limply in his hand like a flag without a breeze. “Our patrons at Bramwell Hall have given sanction that the superyacht may berth and celebrate the launch party on the proviso a selection of townsfolk are included on the guest list as a gesture of goodwill.”

“I see,” Primrose said as though all was clear.

In fact, the situation was anything but clear. But Dorsal Finn was owned by The Pontefracts, town patrons for over a hundred years. They had funded and built the town, and their reach from Bramwell Hall was long. Primrose knew that Codd may hold the official title, but the true power was bestowed elsewhere. This was a premise she understood very well, her father had been a civil servant, after all.

“You are to represent this office in my absence,” Codd said. Primrose saw that despite his best efforts with the handkerchief, the mayor’s brow was still moist.

“Are you all right, sir?” she asked.

“What do you think?” Codd said sharply.

Primrose had merely acknowledged him with a nod. She was used to his surly manner, almost impervious to it. And, whilst daunting, treats such as representing this office at lavish events were going to be gratefully received as recompense for her unerring acceptance of Codd’s sour attitude.

Yes, a night sampling a little luxury was something that appealed to her. And now, as she thought about it, a small giggle came from her as she saved and closed her document on the PC, and pushed her chair away from her desk.

It was at that time when the low tones of a tolling bell came to her.

At first, Primrose thought she was imagining it, and then came the notion that the sound could be buoys out in the bay, their warnings carried through the open window behind her workstation. The bell came again. Primrose counted the chimes.

The bell stopped at eight chimes, the last of which rolled out as she located the direction.

It was coming from Codd’s office.

Carrying a gait that was considered and austere, reinforced by the formal business suit and white blouse she wore, Primrose went to the door. She paused, waited for the bell to resume its mournful peal.

Sure enough, the sombre chimes came a few seconds later and she followed them, her steps slow, her gaze fixed as though the sound was now her world, the only thing that mattered. She pushed open the door and entered chambers, movement fluid and determined.

Primrose blinked away her fugue and found herself standing before the painting of a galleon on the high seas. The colours were vibrant, the paint glistening like wax.

Or water.

She lifted her hand, fingers reaching for the illustrated ocean. As her fingertips touched the paint, she withdrew them in surprise. The surface of the painting rippled as though she had just touched the surface of a pond. Water ran down her fingers and Primrose was consumed by a sudden desire to taste the liquid that had flowed from the painting. She placed her tongue to her palm; the sharp taste of brine filled her mouth. She gasped.

By the time Primrose’s hands fell down to her sides, her mind was taken to a place that should not have existed, just like the things that waited for her.


Beatrice kissed Lucas goodnight a few hundred yards from home. He lingered, and she thought he’d changed his mind and planned to stay around for a while longer. Then he gave her a wan smile, hugged her tightly and headed off home.

As she watched him walk away, a great heaviness filled her heart—a feeling she’d not experienced in all the time they had been dating. Seeing Lucas so disillusioned made her believe she was somehow responsible. He would never admit it to her, but Beatrice sensed that Lucas needed to feel as though he could protect her from whatever forces were at play.

Beatrice loved living in Dorsal Finn. Despite the terrible thing harboured in its borders, the town was her home and she could never see herself living anywhere else. In many ways, the fact she loved the place and the people so much made her determination to protect it from whatever evil held it in its sway all the more potent.

The idea that all of this should fall to her to resolve became oppressive enough to stall her steps. She let out a small sigh and wondered if the sense of responsibility now pervading her spirit was akin to how Lucas felt about wanting to protect her.

Sometimes, when she was in the company of her friends, she would look up during the quieter moments and see them staring at her, their eyes curious, scrutinising what it was about her that had attracted the malevolence that was the Dark Heart. Beatrice didn’t blame them, it was a question she often asked herself. She hated being considered in terms of the cliché, though. She wasn’t The Chosen One, had no grand design to champion and unite a blighted world. She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, picked out from the many good souls within the town.

Maybe the mistake she’d made was to agree to do it.

With these ambiguities rattling around her head, Beatrice continued down Crab Mill Terrace until she came to the family’s shop.

When Beatrice had first arrived in the town, Postlethwaite and Beecham’s News and Chocolate Emporium was Maud’s small confectionary shop. Now it had branched out into groceries and canned goods, and pretty much anything else in between. Whilst many things in Dorsal Finn tended to progress at a sedate pace, the store was not as compliant. Much like her aunt Maud, it was always moving with the times.

Maud was a gregarious, fun-loving woman. She was tall and thin, with a mop of grey hair, shrewd blue eyes and a gold incisor that sparkled when she laughed. She laughed often, such was her nature. She always wore a long red cardigan and matching Doc Marten boots, but despite her effervescent demeanour, she was not flighty or inconsiderate. She was measured and kind and thoughtful, and saved her sharp tongue for those who were not any of those things, much to the chagrin of those who were on the receiving end of her ferocious wit. Maud and mirth were always synonymous in Beatrice’s world.

She entered the shop, her arrival announced by a bright chime. Behind the high wooden counter, Maud stood hunched over a magazine.

“Think I’ll be shuttin’ up a little earlier this evenin’,” Maud said as Beatrice closed the door behind her. “Trade’s slower comin’ than Edna Duffy gettin’ a round of drinks in. Lock up that door would ye, young’un?”

“Of course,” Beatrice said. She paused as she watched the old woman stretch and released a long yawn.

“Giddy goodness,” Maud said. “As me years get later, me bed time seems to want to come earlier.”

Beatrice smiled. “You’re not that old.”

Maud chuckled. “Bless ye, dear, but if there’s one thing ye’ve never been good at its lyin’. If this weary carcass looked any older, they’d be boxin’ it up and puttin’ it on display in the museum.”

“You’re terrible,” Beatrice said as she turned back to lock up the shop.

As she turned the sign so that it read ‘closed’ to those in the street, a shape stepped into view through the glass panel, startling Beatrice to such a degree she had to suppress a small cry of surprise.

When she saw it was her brother, Beatrice was struck by several conflicting emotions in quick succession. First, her irritation gave way to bemusement. Thomas was, after all, wrapped in a sheet of aluminium, like a turkey plucked from the oven on Christmas Day.

Then, the annoyance threatened to return as she thought her brother was back on one of his madcap obsessions with whatever TV show he was currently fixated upon.

And then all of these emotions were brushed aside when Beatrice realised Thomas was not standing outside on his own.

Behind him were two tall adults, both of them in police uniform.


Lucas walked into Gull Cottage and kicked off his training shoes in the hallway, where they rested up for the night beside his mother’s Converse pumps and a lonely pair of high heeled shoes.

The sound of Tamsin singing from somewhere in the cottage made him smile. Aside from Beatrice, no other person in the world made him feel so content. No sooner had this thought dropped into his head when something stirred within in him. His heart ruffled like meadow grass in a summer breeze.

An image came to his mind, a shadowy figure—a man—with brass buttons on his uniform glittering under the lights from a kid’s mobile hanging from the ceiling. The image blinked out of existence as quickly as it came, but it left Lucas perplexed.

“Ah, you’re back,” Tamsin said behind him.

“No, your son has been abducted by aliens and this is your replacement.” Lucas chuckled.

“Well, I hope this version knows how to keep his room tidy,” his mother replied. “You eaten?”

“Yes,” he replied quickly. His mother meant well but her cooking was about as appetising as road kill. “But I am tired. Think I’ll head up to bed.”

“Oh,” his mother replied. It was one word, but the mournful delivery spoke volumes.

“Or we could watch some TV together?” he offered.

“That’s a great idea,” she said brightly. “How about a quiz show? You know how much you love shouting out all the wrong answers?”

“I don’t know they’re wrong until they tell us the right answers,” he said, deadpan.

“Makes me laugh,” she said.

Lucas smiled. In truth, seeing his mother happy meant a great deal. There were times, when she was unaware he was watching her, that he could see a vague look on her face, a distance that was so far removed from her effervescent personality that he often wondered what it was she was trying to recall.

This trait was not always at the forefront of his mind, but when he came across it, Lucas thought about it intently. Perhaps it was because this concept only came within a few moments of his own fading memory of the man with shining buttons, his curiosity piqued with such intensity the words were out of his mouth before he could stop them.

“Mum, was Dad in the army?”

His mother looked at him and for a moment Lucas thought he could see suppressed panic in her eyes. Then, in an instant, it was gone, and a smile returned to her face.

“Let’s go and watch those quiz shows, eh?” she said. “Hope we’ve not missed Tipping Point.”

She turned away and went into the small lounge, where the TV announced the evening’s schedule. In the hallway, Lucas looked at his mother and considered the possibility that she was losing her hearing in spectacular fashion, or that perhaps he had merely thought the question and not asked it out loud.

It crossed his mind to press on and continue the conversation in the lounge, but by the time he sat down beside her on the small cream sofa, Lucas found that the moment had passed. If he was honest with himself, the unsettling feeling in his heart made him conclude that he did not want it to return to him for a while.


Emily poked at the remnants of her dinner, the fork making intermittent squeaks as it met the surface of the dish. She saw a shadow on the table and looked up to see her mother waving her right arm to get her attention.

“You’re making a horrendous noise,” her mother signed.

“Sorry.” Emily placed the fork on the placemat.

“You got something on your mind?” her mother asked.

Emily shook her head but avoided her mother’s stare, which prompted her to thump the table with the flat of her hand to bring Emily back.

“You sure?”

Emily sighed and nodded.

What else can I do? she thought to herself. Tell the truth? She continued to play out divulging events that afternoon to her mother. Well, mum, not only am I deaf but I also have the power to see things that may happen in the future, things with green eyes and no faces. Yeah, that’s going to go down well. I’d be off to see the psychiatrist by the end of the sentence.

Mrs Hannigan tapped the table again making Emily realise that she’d been neglecting to stay focused on her mother’s face.

“What happened at the match today? Your father said there was an incident.”

Awkward, Emily thought.

“Not an incident. Just vertigo. I was substituted. No big deal.”

Emily’s father was the school’s head teacher, so no surprise the news of her disastrous game had reached him. He tried not to interfere, treating her just as he would any other student, but even his neutrality and professionalism had its limits when it came to her.

“You’re not angry you had to end the game?” her mother pressed.

“Yeah,” Emily said. “But what can I do?”

Mrs Hannigan nodded and Emily thought she saw sadness in her mother’s face. Then it was gone like a fleeting, irrelevant memory.

“You’re right,” Mrs Hannigan said. “There’s nothing anyone can do. I want you to know something . . . ”

“What, Mum?’

“I’m proud of you, Emily,” Mrs Hannigan’s eyes misted and a tear dropped onto the table top.

“Mum?” Emily said, standing and going over to her.

“Ignore me. Just silly old Mum getting all emotional.”

But Emily ignored the dismissive air and hugged her mother tightly, face buried in her yellow hair.

After a few minutes, Emily stepped away. “I’m okay. I promise.”

“Then so am I,” Mrs Hannigan said. She allowed a small, watery smile to play across her face, her bright blue eyes now wiped free of tears.

Emily suddenly thought of something to change the dour mood in the air. She went to her handbag, made from claret and blue leather in respect of Aston Villa, her favourite football team, and rummaged around inside it. She produced the invitation that Patience had given to her, and handed it to her mother.

“Wow,” she said. “I read about this in the Dorsal Finn Herald. It’s a big deal by all accounts. So where did you get the ticket?”

Emily explained how Patience had requested them for The Newshounds.

Mrs Hannigan gave her a contented smile. “You really have some good friends.”

“Yes, I do,” Emily said. She scrutinised her mother’s face. “You’re not going to start crying again are you?”

Emily couldn’t hear the laughter her comment produced, but enjoyed watching her mother’s shoulders jig up and down all the same.


Patience snorted in frustration. As a sound, it was small and delicate but it demonstrated how flummoxed she was by the challenge before her. She was lying back on her bed, her long black hair pulled back into a ponytail that she preferred for sleeping, and she scrutinised the screen of her Mac Book. A notepad and pen were also close to hand on the plump, pink duvet resting across her legs.

Like all kids, Patience’s bedroom was a reflection of her personality. The room was both compact and very tidy, a place where a quiet sense of order prevailed. There was a dressing table with a large ornate mirror opposite her gold framed bed, and on this table, the instruments to construct beauty were laid out, regimented and precise like the tools of a surgeon prepping for theatre.

Vanity was not a concept that Patience ever considered. In the truest sense, she was not vain at all. She did not, for instance, need to be the centre of attention, nor did she consider herself more beautiful than anyone else, though she was pretty. And far from being self-absorbed, Patience was completely giving to others, especially her close friends. If Patience ever thought she was letting someone down, it ate away at her until she could put it right, or at least try to make some inroads on a resolution.

This was perhaps why she was frustrated enough to give out the unbecoming snort to her bedroom. The image on the Mac Book was that of a picture she had taken. It was a series of strange, scrawled letters that she had found in a place known as the Cryptic Crypt. Alongside Elmo, she had found the letters whilst The Newshound tried to resolve another mystery, and periodically Patience revisited the image in order to try and make sense of it.

That Patience was a purveyor of languages was well known to the town. Some would seek her out to assist them with clarifying an issue with all types of language from any era, Agnes Clutterbuck—the town librarian—for example. Somehow she was able to learn a new language fast; she had lost count of just how many she could speak fluently, and once she had learned something it never left her. The origins of such ability were altogether unknown, and she never questioned it, she just embraced the gift.

So this made her complete inability to fathom the strange letters on the screen incredibly irritating. Under normal circumstances, she would have accessed linguist message boards for Oxford or Cambridge Universities when she was baffled with a turn of phrase, or unsure of grammatical syntax, especially with ancient languages. She was convinced that the words teasing her with their mysterious structure were indeed ancient. They were carved into the floor of a crypt that no one but a select few in Dorsal Finn knew anything about. The crypt itself was designed in a manner that clearly predated the town’s existence. She recalled stone pillars and uneven floors hewn from sandstone.

She knew these words meant something. Yes, of course, they were meant to be understood, but Patience felt that it was far more than just making a statement or conveying language. These letters were the key to something else, something ancient that was to have a very real impact upon the present.

Patience continued to work on solving the puzzle in private, never bringing it up to the others. The incident with the Cryptic Crypt had left everyone scarred to some degree, no more so than her dear friend, Beatrice. When Patience thought about it too much, guilt nudged into her heart. So she allowed periods of time to lapse before returning to the words. Hoping at one level that fresh eyes would be the way to open the letters up to her, but more often than not, to help her cope with the subterfuge.

Her brow furrowed as she gazed at the letters as though this would magically unlock their secrets. Then she shook her head, the mysteries of the lost words were destined to evade her, a thought that made her feel both angry and sad.

Resigned that once again her goal had eluded her, Patience closed down her Mac Book and swapped the notebook for her TV remote, and within a few minutes was watching an episode of Orange is the New Black on Netflix.


At Crab Mill Terrace, the two police officers stood in the lounge. PC Shaw, a female officer with bobbed brown hair and dark eyes, sipped tea from a large red mug. Her male companion, PC Hope, stood easily at six foot four and made notes in a small black book. The bleeps and hiss of static from the radios pinned to Shaw and Hope’s hi-visibility tabards filled the air as the Beecham family sat in solemn silence.

“Perhaps we could go over this one more time,” Shaw said gently.

Thomas had changed into a pair of pyjamas with the intermittent pattern of the Urban Survival TV logo all over them. His face was scrunched up as he tried to recall the events on the beach.

His mother and father looked on; their faces etched with concern. Maud was sitting in a big armchair opposite, thoughts of sleep now parked until the events of the evening ran their course. Beatrice was perched on the arm of Maud’s chair, fascinated at how the evening was turning out.

“I’ve already done this twice,” Thomas said in a grumpy tone. “What’s the problem, your memory or your handwriting?”

“Now, now, Thomas,” George Beecham said firmly. “There’s no need to be rude.”

PC Shaw held up a placating hand. “It’s okay, Mr Beecham. This is quite normal behaviour for someone who’s had a fright.”

George nodded but his face remained unhappy. He folded his arms across his plump belly and put his ruddy face in neutral.

“We have to make sure we’re clear on what actually happened, Thomas,” PC Hope said smoothly. “What you told us is very serious and we have to get the report right.”

This seemed to appease Thomas who nestled back in his seat on the sofa. When he spoke, his face slipped into the familiar puzzled expression he’d adopted earlier.

“Well, like I said, I was out running, in full Urban Survivor kit, none of that Lycra rubbish, and I saw this guy in the water up by Cooper’s Cove. So I went into the water to go and get him.”

“That’s very brave,” George said, softening his stance.

Thomas pushed his chest out with pride.

Maureen was careful in her response and shivered. “Yes, dear, but perhaps you could have let us know first?”

“I had to act fast, Mum. The man was in danger!”

His mother began to speak but PC Shaw interjected with a tone that seemed both firm yet cautious at the same time. “We understand your concern, Mrs Beecham. But can we please press on?”

“Of course,” Maureen said. George patted his wife’s arm in a show of comfort.

PC Hope addressed Thomas again. “So you went into the sea. And the man went under the water, yes?”

“He was pulled under the water, like that guy in the Malibu Shark Attack movie. One minute he was there, the next: whoosh! Gone.”

“Then what happened?” PC Shaw said.

“I went under the water and the guy wasn’t there,” Thomas said. “There was just the tablet.”

“You saying the guy turned into an iPad?” Beatrice just could not help herself. She’d been sitting quietly taking it all in but her words had taken flight as though she had no control over them.

“That’s not what I’m saying at all,” Thomas said with some petulance. “I’m saying I couldn’t see him but the tablet sort of floated out of all the seaweed and stuff.”

“What happened to the fella in the water?” Maud said to the police officers.

“Coast Guard has trawled that stretch of water, tide is coming in, but there’s no sign of any . . . ” PC Hope trailed off.

“Ye may as well call a gull a gull when it’s just landed in yer lap, Officer,” Maud said grimly. “Tell it as it is, that’s what I’m sayin’. Ye can’t find a body?”

PC Hope checked his notebook as though he needed a prompt. “Yes. That’s what we’re saying. Nor are there records of anyone filing a missing person report for this, or the surrounding area, in the last twenty-four hours.”

“I’m guessin’ ye ain’t done sayin’ all that needs sayin’,” Maud said.

The uncomfortable silence that followed reinforced the accuracy of Maud’s comment. PC Hope voiced the issue soon afterwards.

“Without a body, there’s no way of confirming Thomas’ story,” he said.

“I’m not lying!” Thomas protested. “You think I’d make all this up?”

“Easy, son,” PC Hope said. “You might have thought you’d seen someone in the water. Tide brings in all kinds of stuff from out in the bay.”

“It wasn’t ‘stuff’ it was a man!” Thomas snapped.

“What about the tablet?” Beatrice said to the room. “That proves Thomas saw something.”

When she saw everyone’s eyes on her, Beatrice felt heat creep up her neck.

“No, I can’t believe I’m defending my brother either,” she said quickly. “But he said he pulled something from the water. That proves he saw something right?”

PC Shaw turned to Thomas. “Thomas? Do you want to tell us more about that tablet?”

Thomas mumbled something.

“I’m sorry?” PC Shaw said. “I didn’t catch that.”

“I dropped it,” Thomas said. “As I was coming out of the sea, it slipped out of my hands.”

Beatrice looked at her brother, unease now squirming in her gut. It was Thomas’ eyes that put it there. In all the times, all the arguments, they’d had in the past, she’d never witnessed what she saw there now.

Her brother was lying.


The mayoral Rolls Royce pulled up at the kerb and the driver, a stout man in a smart, grey uniform, got out while the engine was still running. He stepped to the back door to let Codd out.

“Thank you, Greymore,” Codd said as he eased himself out onto the pavement. The driver was quietly surprised by the colour of the mayor’s face. Even beneath the brim of Codd’s Panama hat, his face appeared drawn. His usually rosy cheeks were grey, and his skin appeared greasy as though coated with a sweat brought on by a fever.

“Would you like me to call Doctor Foster, sir?” Greymore asked.

Codd waved his arm dismissively. “Of course not, man. I merely need a quick nap and I’ll be fine.”

“Very well, sir,” Greymore said.

Codd left his driver puzzled on the pavement and went into his home. It was a large building, one that he had renovated using tax payer’s money under the guise of a preservation order for a building of historical interest. A few hundred pounds into the back pocket of his chief counsellor had secured planning permission for the work to begin. All he had to do was place a plaque dedicated to local writer, Bevan Colchester, on the wall beside the front door. People were either too polite or too conceited to admit they had never heard of this artisan author. Which was a good thing as, in truth, Codd had completely made him up.

The building had three floors that were accessed via a large and resplendent staircase made from limestone. It stood at the centre of a wide reception hall, and it was up these stairs that Codd went without hesitation, his hands never once leaving the sweeping bannister. At the top of the stairs, a long rectangular space led off to the several rooms, including a sitting room, an office, and a library. Beyond this was another staircase that led up to the bedrooms and guestrooms. Not that Codd encouraged many guests, even those which he had any tolerance for tended to mooch around and ask too many questions.

He went into the sitting room, where there was a large sofa and twin armchairs placed at right angles to a huge stone fireplace. To the right of this was a drinks table with a soda siphon, crystal glasses, and two brandy decanters. The thought of alcohol churned his stomach and the wooziness increased as he sat down on the sofa. He lay back, removing his hat and discarding it as fatigue came over him in huge waves.

He closed his eyes and sleep took him within seconds.

The fierce envy that he’d brought back with him from the town hall followed him into the darkness.

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