A sequel to, "The Strange Diary of Anna Dupree"
Above is the short story which, "Anna's Tears," is the sequel to. "Anna's Tears," should be a stand alone story, I hope. lol
Telegraph London Office
November 26, 1864
From Professor Amsted to Colonel Fuller
Must see you at once…Stop
Will be arriving by train on Saturday, 9 PM …Stop
Have made arrangements for extended leave…Stop
Professor Percy J. Amsted…Stop
Colonel Fullers Journal
November 29, 1864
Caught up in the moment, I watched as the train rolled forward like an unstoppable juggernaut of doom, bellowing black smoke from its fiery lungs. It came to a rolling stop along side the platform, and a blast of steam shot forth in a hissing note of defiance. What would this iron behemoth usher into my life? What strange news was Professor Amsted to bring? What was so terribly urgent that he felt it necessary to drop everything and rush here to this rustic village?
Since the day I first discovered Anna Dupree's diary, my life has been consumed by it, with a need to know and understand her tragic fate. I have spent nearly every waking hour researching the Dupree family history and the rare disease which seems strangely localized to this rural community.
The doors opened and the porters began their work in earnest, unloading the luggage and escorting passengers from the train. There at the top of the stairs stood Professor Amsted in a rumpled black tweed suit, his thin hair shooting out in every direction. It amazed me that this small frail scholar with glasses perched on the end of a long nose could inspire such confidence. The sense of foreboding that had plauged me for days vanished in his presence.
He greeted me with a wry smile, “Ahh, Colonel Fuller, so good to see you.”
“Percy--old man--how are you!” I said, shaking his hand vigorously up and down. He looked somewhat amused by my lack of decorum. “Tell me Professor, what did you make of the diary?”
“Yes the diary, it helps confirm some things I have suspected for a long time. I believe it's rather serious business colonel. I hope you have no pressing engagements. It deserves our full attention and may take quite some time to resolve.”
“I’m at your service, professor,” I said.
“I want to get a room as soon as possible. Is there an Inn nearby?”
“Yes, the Green Man is just a block or two away,” I replied.
“Fine, fine, give me a hand with this luggage, will you?”
"Certainly," I said, as grabbed two of his leather and tweed suitcases.
As we entered the Inn, we were greeted by a robust bearded fellow in a beer-stained apron. Who made us feel right at home with his broad smile, his deep voice bellowing out, “Welcome to the Green Man Inn, most welcome, finest beer in the county.”
So the professor took a room and seemed quite pleased with the spartan accommodations. I could tell because he sat on the bed, bounced up and down a little, then gave a satisfied “Hmmm.” The professor’s room was upstairs, overlooking the village square. After quietly unpacking his things, he said, “Now we shall have a bit of supper and sample that beer the inn keeper is so proud of; I am famished.”
The inn was surprisingly lively when we returned downstairs; it was absolutely filled with boisterous shouts and uproarious laughter. With all the noise, I realized there was no need to worry about being overhead. We took a table in the back. A delightful red-headed barmaid (whose ample bosom could in no way be held in check by the meager amount of cloth employed to accomplish the task) brought us our supper, a generous portion of roast beef, with boiled potatoes and two large mugs of the finest beer in the county.
As we began our dinner the professor said, “First, let me tell you something about the local folklore. This area, as you know, has been inhabited for thousands of years. The first inhabitants for whom we have historical reference are the Picts. Many of the rolling hills of the cotswold are actually man-made. They are long barrows used as burial mounds and ceremonial sites.
"The Celts who later inhabited this region report that they drove out a paticularly vicious band of death worshiping Picts. The record of this fascinating hero cycle, I found buried in the British Museum, mis-categorized and placed where no one interested in the subject would ever think to look. As you well know, the British Isles are honeycombed with underground tunnels, rivers and lakes. Folklore has peopled this underground world with a variety of supernatural beings. In the Saga, I mentioned earlier, the Celtic Hero not only drives out the Picts but enters the underground to confront the king of death.”
“A very familiar theme in myth, professor,” I stated.
“Yes, but this particular myth is unusual in many ways. The hero’s people are being eaten by the minions of death and suffering from an agonizing disease, caused by his sorcery.”
“So how does it end?” I said, fascinated by what this revealed.
"Come now colonel, how do these tales always end? The hero conquers death. The last bit of the narrative warns, you cannot kill death. Now what can you tell me about the Dupree family history?”
“Well,” I said. “After the death of Anna Dupree, the estate was claimed by Edmond Dupree and his wife Elizabeth who lived there only three short years. Elizabeth became increasingly convinced that the manor was haunted, complaining that she was visited by the ghost of Anna Dupree and hearing the most terrifying voices. Her behavior became more and more erratic as time went on. The servants stated her behavior was animalistic. She developed the most loathsome habits; they describe her not bathing, eating with her hands, and continually making lewd sexual advances to all present.
This was in stark contrast to her sterling reputation before entering the Dupree Manor. Despite the fact, that by all accounts, Edmond worshipped the ground she walked on -- he was finally forced to have her committed to a mental institution. The records of Elizabeth’s sanity hearing would make even the most jaded of men cringe.
The Dupree Family has made several attempts to take up residence in their ancestral home, each ending in disaster. Francis Dupree and his young daughter Lisa tried twenty years later. She committed suicide. The magistrates’ records show the only eyewitness testified she jumped from the back balcony at midnight screaming, 'You will not have me!' Breaking her neck on the garden stairs below.
I have spoken with the current head caretaker. Who was very reluctant to admit me onto the grounds or even talk with me. Finally, after bribing him with a bottle of brandy, ( which he drank enorous quantities of during the interview) I got him to admit that none of his people will stay on the estate after nightfall. They complain of foul whispers on the wind and catching ghostly white images out of the corners of their eye's. How much of this is simply due to the Manor's reputation, I could not tell you. I should also mention that the area has a nasty reputation for grave robbery, Harpers Cemetery is no longer in use as one local put it ‘nothing would stay buried there.’”
“Do you have the diary with you?” Professor Amsted asked.
“No, but I have made tracings of the pictograms for I knew you would want to examine them.” As I continued the professor began examining them in detail and every now and then his head would nod knowingly, as if confirming unspoken details to himself. I found this very distracting, making it hard to continue as I was dying to know what he thought of them.
“A new cemetery was established in 1827, closer to Shipton. Although, this new cemetery has not been entirely free of grave robbery. As for the disease, it is has made sporadic reappearances throughout the years but never with the same dreadful toll as in 1789. I spoke with a direct descendant of Dr. Albright for the family has maintained their practice here. He told me that incidents of the disease are on the rise and that he is very troubled by this, fearing another outbreak. I must say, I was much impressed by his professionalism, and his expertise on the disease in question.
As you know the disease is still a matter of debate, because of certain anomalies. Dr Albright has written a treatise on the subject that was met with general disapproval by the medical community, for pointing out the obvious, namely that the disease’s symptoms mirrored the effects of rigor mortis."
“We shall cut off this disease at its source,” interrupted the professor.
"What source professor?"
"Patience colonel, all in good time," he replied, as he speared a small potato and popped it into his mouth.
“Well, what do you make of those symbols?” I asked.
“They are not merely scrawls or doodles, nor are they Eygptian as you pointed out in your letter. They are more akin to Celtic ruins but antecedent to both. I believe,” he said.
"Antecedent to Eygptian?" I asked, incredulously.
"Yes," He said adjusting his bifocal glasses with a practiced casual motion.
From my many long debates with this stubborn man of letters, I knew the futility of trying to draw him out when he did not openly share information.
Professor Amsted’s Diary
November 29, 1864
I feel a certain sense of remorse for bringing Colonel Fuller into this; but I have desperate need of an ally.
I must find them;
I must not fail in this.
Lord of Hosts, give me Strength.
Colonel Fullers Journal
October 1, 1864
This morning as we sat at breakfast in dining hall of The Green Man Inn; we were suprised to see Dr. Albright. He looked at us seriously and said, “It is no secret why you are here gentleman. I have thought it over, and if you are to pursue this then you must be forewarned. What I show you now, must be held in the strictest confidence. This is my Great, Great, Great Grandfather’s journal, contained within these pages is a family secret that I am honor bound to protect. I brake that trust now in the hopes that you will be able to succeed, where others have failed. I have book marked the pages from where the incident began. Read it at your leisure, but you must promise to return it to me. If there is anything that I can do to aid you, gentleman, do not hesitate to call on me.”
Here I have recorded selected passages from Dr. Albright’s Journal.
Doctor Jeremiah Albright’s Journal
October 28, 1789
As I raced along the winding road that leads to the Dupree Manor; I was overcome by a sense of urgency. The dreadful news that Ms. Havers has died came as quite a shock to me, what Anna must be going through with the death of her nursemaid coming so soon after her father's.
I was preoccupied with these thoughts as the carriage rounded a bend. I saw a white figure in the middle of the road. The horses trampled over him -- it. I felt a thump as the carriage wheels rolled over it. I tried to restrain the horses, but they raced on. “Hoa! Hoa,” I yelled, standing and pulling at the reins with all my might. Finally, the horses came to a halt about thirty yards beyond.
As I got out, I noticed blood splattered on the horses legs and hooves. I walked quickly back to the scene, to render whatever aide I could, to the unfortunate victim. Who I felt sure was dying in the road.
When I came to the scene I could see a trail where something had dragged itself into the woods. I suffered bitter pangs of remorse, as I followed the blood trail.
I am not a timid man by nature but as I entered the woods I immediately felt as if I was being watched. Over the years, I have learned to trust this primitive instinct. I moved on cautiously. An unnatural stillness pervaded the air, as I came upon it suddenly.
There upon the ground it lay; a twitching thing of nightmares. It still lived though mangled horribly. Its eyes glowed in the darkness with a fierce wicked intensity. It screamed horribly, and the scream was answered by an echoing chorus in the night. I panicked and ran, swatting and jumping limbs that blocked my path.
I gave a silent prayer of thanks, as I reached the road. I bent over supporting myself with my hands upon my knees, breathing heavily. I heard the strange voices again, drawing nearer. They meant to kill me, of that I have no doubt. I got to my carriage as quickly as I could in my winded state. The voices had a disturbing effect upon me. I cannot explain it. But I am haunted by the memory of their abominable cries. I am afraid they have left a black stain of evil on my mind. It is maddening.
I was still shaking as I reached the Dupree Manor. A servant brought me directly to Anna’s room, nodded to me, then walked away. The door to Anna’s room was open. She sat at her dresser combing her luxuriant black hair in an unconscious motion. I could see her blank expression in the mirror. I was stunned once again, by this dark beauty. Her eyes sparkled like black diamonds; a small trail of tears was slowly trickling down her face. She looked far too thin and pale.
She wiped the tears from her eyes as she turned. “Oh, forgive me, doctor," she said, "I did not see you there.”
“Anna, I am so sorry about Miss Havers. How are holding up dear?” I asked.
“I am fine.”
“Don’t lie to your old doctor. I helped bring you into this world you know.”
“Why?” Anna asked gravely.
“Anna,” I said, as soothingly as I could. “You know I am just a doctor, not a philosopher.” She laughed softly, which I took as a hopeful sign.
“How long has it been since you have slept?”
“I don’t sleep much anymore,” Anna admitted.
“You listen to me young lady, I want you to take this syrup and climb straight into bed,” I said sternly.
“Very well -- doctor?” Anna asked.
“What is it dear?" I asked.
"Never mind, it was nothing,” Anna said.
"You know you can tell me anything, Anna."
"No, really, it was nothing," she said. Her face was expressionless and she began combing her hair again in that disturbing mechanical fashion.
“I’ll be back to check on you as soon as I am able. In the meantime, I want you to stay in bed and get as much rest as possible.”
Anna suffers from complete mental and physical exhaustion. I must try to get back to see her soon.
Doctor Jeremiah Albright’s Journal
October 31, 1789
I was awakened, early yesterday morning, by a loud banging on my front door. I rushed downstairs. It was Magistrate Philips with a group of serious looking armed men; one man holding a pair of bloodhounds straining at their leashes. “What has happened?” I asked.
“Lady Dupree is missing; one of the servants saw her wander off into the woods,” Magistrate Philips replied.
Magistrate Philips grabbed my shoulder and said, “Arm yourself and meet us at the Manor, Doctor.”
A group of us men stood around waiting for the search to begin. Magistrate Philips had an article of Anna’s clothes, which he bundled up under the hound’s noses. He waved his arm in a forward motion, and we moved off following the dogs. The woods were overgrown, we found ourselves having to chop our way through the dense underbrush.
We began to hear the strangest noises as of souls crying out in pain and ecstasy. But underneath it all was a primitive maddening rhythm. We all stopped, and I saw reflected in the eyes of my companions the same terror which rose unmercifully in me. Magistrate Philips waved us forward again, stout fellow.
We broke through the underbrush at the top of a small ridge. Below us was Harper’s Cemetery transformed into a scene from Dante's "Inferno". A group of white, leprous devils sprang, pranced and undulated around a single female form.
“Oh lord,” I thought, "It's Anna." I watched as she danced in her torn and shredded nightgown, a defiant madness blazing in her black eyes. It was then I noticed the Vicar. There he was fat, plump and oily, gulping from the wine jug in his hand. Sitting beside him was one of the loathsome creatures, its’ teeth ripping strips of gray muscle from a half-eaten corpse.
We watched in silent terror while the chorus rose to a unbearably insistent crescendo. The Lady Anna grabbed the tattered remains of her nightgown and in a twisting motion ripped it open, revealing her firm breasts. Suddenly, the chorus stopped. She stood her head held aloft, her arms flung out, legs spread, panting. The madness left her eyes. She tried desperately to cover her shame. The hell spawn stared intently at her, half crouching their arms outstretched creeping slowly towards her.
The bloodhounds bayed, breaking the spell that held us in check. We rushed out of the woods in a blood mad frenzy, firing our muskets then discarding them, to fight hand to hand. The dogs were the first to grapple with the enemy, fighting as a team they brought down one screaming white devil after another, ripping out their throats.
With incredible leaps, the hell spawn met us halfway down the hill. I saw a man eviscerated by the long claws of a demon. The head of one demon flew past me, its eyes bulging from its’ sockets as my cutlass buried itself in the gut of another. One of the men, perhaps smarter than the rest of us, had remained on the hill and was reloading and firing rapidly taking a deadly toll on the enemy.
Magistrate Philips grabbed one of the creatures by the throat as it ran past. He lifted it off the ground in one hand and began shaking it like a rat terrier shakes a rat, laughing madly. I desperately tried to cut through the horde to reach Anna’s side; as I saw her being dragged away by some of the Vicar's men. These creatures had no stomach for a fight, against armed and determined men. They began retreating silently into the night.
The bloodhounds followed the trail of Lady Anna, but they lost it near the downs. We shall begin the search again tomorrow. We have all agreed upon our honor not to discuss what happened. I will kill the vicar with my bare hands, if ever I lay eyes upon him.
May God have mercy on our souls.
End of Transcribed texts
Colonel Fullers Journal
October 3, 1864
Dr. Albright’s journal was a Godsend for us, he left detailed maps of the areas they searched, particularly of value we thought was the map that showed were the bloodhounds originally lost the trail.
We stood at the base of long earthen hill the professor having set up some survey equipment. He was preparing to take some measurements when one of the workmen we had hired shouted out “I found something.”
The workmen had discovered a depression in the side of the hill. “Well done, well done, old chap,” the professor said, as he patted the workmen soundly on the back. After several hours of digging, we uncovered a crude stone archway, but the opening was still blocked by rocks and loose earth. When this debris could be cleared away, we observed a long dark tunnel stretching into the interior of the hill. By this time, the sun’s light had begun to fade, and the professor recommended that we wait till morning to renew our efforts. The professor paid the workmen, and we settled into camp for the night.
I watched as the professor sat before the fire, not moving and with a strange intensity of attitude. A haze of white light seemed to surround him. It must have been my eyes playing tricks on me (refraction of light from the moon or some such thing).
Professor Amsted’s Diary
October 3, 1864
I was visited by the most -- beautiful spectre last night. She appeared quietly out of the night, in a dark lacy funeral gown a century out of fashion, black leather boots laced to the ankles. Her raven black hair flowing as if blown in a strong wind. Her soft almond eyes had tears in them. Her full lips quivered in a way that rips a man’s heart from his chest.
She spoke, “Do you know me professor?”
“Yes, Anna,” I replied.
“And--you know what it--what it--what they did to me?”
“Yes, dear,” I said.
“Avenge me Professor--for I cannot rest.”
“Yes, Anna,” I said. I cried.
Colonel Fullers Journal
October 4, 1864
The professor fumbled with his pack squatting down and trying to get his arms through the loops, “here, let me help you with that,” I said.
“Not necessary, not necessary my good--my good man,” the professor mumbled.
Despite his objections; I helped him lift the burden as he stood. I couldn’t help but chuckle as I noticed him using the Enfield rifle I gave him as a prop. So there we stood two aging explorers ready to step into the unknown.
Shifting the lantern from left to right, I explored the interior of the cavern. It appeared to me to be of natural origins, for I saw no signs of stone work. We made our way through the dark interior sometimes squeezing sideways to fit through narrow passages sometimes having to crawl. Finally after several hours of struggling deeper into the depths of the cavern, we were stopped in our progress by a rockslide.
“We shall have to go back professor and hire workmen to help clear the passage.”
“I shall not go back my friend until we have made a trial of clearing this debris ourselves,” said the professor.
“The sun must nearly be down now; we must start back soon in any case,” I said.
“I shall not leave this cavern, until I have completed ny task. You may go back my friend, for I see now that this task was appointed to me. I have no right to ask this of you.”
"Professor!” I said, "You insult me. Do you think I could ever leave you here? Besides old friend, I would simply die from curiosity in any case.” There was nothing for it, but to try and make ourselves as comfortable as possible in the narrow confines of the cave until morning.”
Colonel Fullers Journal
October 3, 1864
I was stiff, the efforts of the day before and sleeping upon the hard stone had taken its toll upon my old bones, and I can only imagine what affect it had upon the professor. I set about to break through the rockslide with a short pick; I had brought along for just such an occasion. To my relief within perhaps twenty minutes, we had cleared a passage sufficient to allow us to pass through.
We walked silently amidst the gloom of the cavern; I began to notice that it was widening as we proceeded. Soon it was wide enough that I began to worry about missing a fork in the tunnel. After several hours, I noticed that a small trickle of water was running along the cavern floor. I determined are best coarse was to follow it; at least we would have water.
“Shine that lantern over here” said the professor.
“Why these markings are just like in the diary!” I said.
“Just so, just so,” replied the professor.
“Can you read them, Professor?” I asked.
“No, that is beyond me Colonel, but we are on the right track,” he said.
“I should say so; I suggest we follow this small stream.”
“Lead on, colonel,” he said. We walked for several more hours until the passage opened up onto a circular room with several exits and a walled pit directly in the center. The stones of the pit bearing the same signs we had found earlier in the passage. “Notice here” said the professor, “the iron rungs for chains, the fittings for torches on the walls, this place has been used within historical times.”
“Used for what?” I said baffled.
“Come, come, you are an intelligent man, must I spell it out for you,” he replied.
“Human sacrifice?” I said.
“Just so, but the pit itself is far older. I recommend we stay here for the night. We shall need all our strength in the morning."
“I shall take the first watch professor.”
"Very well, I am dreadfully tired colonel.”
Colonel Fullers Journal
October 3, 1864
A foul rotting odor arose from the pit as I lowered the lantern into its depths. By the amount of rope it took, I determined the drop not more than fifty feet. The light of the lantern did not reveal much; but it was enough to show there was sound footing below. So we lowered our packs then climbed into the waiting darkness. I was terribly worried that the professor would not be able to make the descent, but he scrambled down the rope like a monkey. I however had a dreadful time being rather heavy myself. I gave a silent prayer of thanks, as my feet hit the bottom. I retrieved my lantern and began to survey our surroundings.
The floor of the pit was littered with human bones; large, white rats with glowing, pink eyes flew in all directions to escape the light of the lantern. Upon closer examination, the bones revealed deep teeth marks, and some had been broken to extract the marrow, I presume. There were pools of stagnant water amidst the rocks, much of the floor and walls of the pit were covered by yellowish lichen that had a faintly iridescent quality. As we took up our packs and began our journey again, here and there we could see signs of life. I saw little, white crabs and frogs sitting still as death upon the stones that rose above the water.
We explored the pit trying to avoid the pools of stagnant water, after perhaps a half-hour of this we found a broad, crude stair. As we descended the stair, I began to hear the most disturbing noises. Hard to describe but the sound, set my nerves on edge. “What is that dreadful noise, Professor? I asked.
“Steel your mind, Colonel, for it is their first line of defense and their greatest weapon.” As we continued, the sound got louder and more distinct harder to ignore. If evil had a sound this was surely it.
I pause now to assure who ever reads my journal; that upon my honor, the events, I shall describe are true.
The scene that opened up before us at the bottom of the stairwell was a shallow lake in the center of which was a raised stone mound with pillars surrounding it and broken causeways leading away from it like the spokes of a giant wheel.
As we ventured out on the causeway, I looked up and to my horror saw that the roof of the immense cavern was covered with bats, among them humanoid figures clung by their hands and feet. Their yellowish, white skin was mottled with brown spots. The creatures bodies where long and slender, a thin membrane stretched from their ribcage across to the tips of their unnaturally elongated fingers, so much like the wings of the bats with whom they shared their roost. These figures were damnably hard for my eyes to focus on, as if covered in fog or like they where somehow shifting in and out of time, out of reality.
The further we moved along the causeway the more menacing the noise became, louder, harsher it grated upon the senses, making it hard to stay focused. I began to notice movement in the water, waves formed as if things was moving just below the surface. I saw a hand with long, webbed fingers break the surface, moving like the legs of a spider, fingers reached out and grab the edge of a rock. It pulled itself up out of the water, almost like it was sliding into place atop the lttle island. Its gilled head turned incredibly quickly; staring directly at me, it’s round eyes bulging out. I shouldered my Enfield rifle to put a quick end this monstrosity, when I felt the professor’s hand upon my shoulder; “Not yet,” he said. More slimy frog creatures crawled out of the dark waters to sit wet and leering atop the rocks.
I have always considered myself a brave man. I have stood in the face of enemy fire, fought bayonet to bayonet on many fronts. On this day, I faced a fear, like none I had ever known. For as we neared the central mound, I saw one of the creatures emerge larger than the rest; a set of tremendous wings sprouted from its back, it had long, horn-like knobby growths upon the elongated head and limbs. An immense aura of evil radiated from it, like heat from a furnace.
The Professor addressed this grotesque, “The Vicar Rudolph?”
“Yes, yes, yes... he became tiresome in the end screaming, for the God he had abandoned, abandoned, abandoned..." it replied. It was then I noticed a curled up skeleton near the central altar, wearing the robes of the clergy.
“Anna?” The Professor asked.
“She was strong one, worthy of becoming queen of the dead, dead, dead... You should have been here Professor! To watch my little ones eat their way out of her engorged belly, belly, belly. . . Such delightful squeals of agony, agony, agony. . .
Ha, ha, ha." It laughed insanely,
“But why do ask so many questions, to which you already know the answers, answers, answers. . . When there are so many more profound questions for which you have sought answers all your life, life, life. . .”
“I have not come here to learn vermin! But to exterminate. I have come as the right hand of God and to fulfill his wrath.” The cavern was filled with the wailing, shrill, screech of voices crying out in pain, in hatred, and in rage. I fell to floor covering my ears, the rifle falling beside me. From this undignified position, I saw the creatures drawing closer; we were now nearly surrounded by them.
“What know you of God's wrath little man of flesh, flesh, flesh...Think, on it, even if you could destroy me what wisdom would pass out of the world forever, forever, forever...” I watched from my knees as a battle of wills played out between them.
The professor began to falter; I arose, quickly grabbing my rifle on the way up. He seemed to take strength in this. I saw his arm suddenly shoot out, something flashed through the air. Then I saw the handle of a throwing knife jiggling between the eyes of the creature. I put another shot into its' heart as it staggered, then fell convulsing-violently on the ground.
I fired off round after round trying to take down as many of them as I could before they got to us. The professor was still trying to unshoulder his rifle when I saw one of the creatures flying through the air directly at him. I caught it square in the jaw with the butt of the rifle. The force of the blow flipping it in the air and snapping its' neck. We were swarmed from all sides; the creatures where capable of prodigious leaps and incredibly fast.
One caught me in the back of the legs knocking me down, but by this time the professor had his rifle out and put a cartridge point blank into its head. Its' blood and brains splattering us both. I got up and was hit again, the long claws of a creature ripping through my backpack. I turned just in time to fend the next swipe and smash the creatures nose into its' brain with the butt of my rifle.
“We must make it back across to the stairs; we can’t hold them here!” I screamed. It was then I noticed the creatures hung back from professor, circling and wary. But they came right after me, which was jolly fine by me, because by then my fighting blood was up. We had a hell of a time getting back across the causeway to the stairs. They followed us relentlessly even though our rifles took a terrible toll on them.
Every so often, one of those buggers would come flying up out of the water or drop from the ceiling near us. Once inside the stair well, we could easily pick them off as they came.
They soon gave up on a direct, frontal assault. We checked ourselves for wounds; we had some nasty, deep cuts and bruises but nothing serious. The professor went ahead, while I walked backwards behind him, they made a couple of half-hearted sorties up the stairs then gave that up.
I’ll never forget the light of vengeance in the eyes of the last one standing on the stairs as it turned and hopped out. I stood guard as the professor scrambled up the rope. I had a bloody time climbing back up the rope; I got about halfway then had to let myself back down. The professor called out “Just hold on. I have an idea.” He rigged up the rope pulling it through one of the iron loops on the wall and twisted it around the torch holders as he took up the slack hauling me up like a sack of potatoes.
Colonel Fullers Journal
October 6, 1864
You can’t imagine my relief when once again I stood under the open sky and breathed fresh air. The professor said, “our work is not done you know, we must make sure to exterminate them all, burn the bodies and block off all the entrances to the pits.”
“Very well professor, I shall go into town and hire some men to help us,” I said.
“No, my friend, we must do this ourselves,” he said.
“But professor here is vindication for all your life’s work,” I said.
“I know colonel, but do you really want to drag the world into that pit, let them walk in sunshine while they may.”