Well February 6th is almost over, and I'm just now posting Chapter 11 of The Story of the Windlenot Museum. As always, I hope you have been enjoying this story, and hopefully I'll get the rest of this one up by March. I know I try to only post one chapter of any of my fics a day, and that's because I don't want to overwhelm the board, as well as make sure other posters get read. I would, however, like to help as well by reading some things as well. I do tend to get busy, with family, and life, but if you'd like me to read some of your stuff, I'll do what I can. Message me if you want with a link, and I'll do what I can to check everything out. I'm also debating what series to start posting now that the Rudux is all caught up. Time will tell on that.
Attention: Shivers is property of Sierra. Richard Cale is my character, and is used in other fics with my blessing. Michael McNeal is a creation of Mike N, who has fics posted on fanfiction.net as well. Carl is Carl Kolchak from the Kolchak: The Night Stalker franchise.
The Story of the Windlenot Museum
|Previous Chapter||Hidden Secrets|
Chapter 11: Riddles and Fortunes
Michael McNeal walked behind Richard Cale as they moved down the hallway. Personally, he didn’t like the idea of all three of them moving down a narrow hallway. It wasn’t so narrow that they had to walk one behind the other, but it was narrow enough to keep them from walking side by side. This left them in the unfavorable state of being proverbial ducks in a row.
What also made him uneasy was the fact that he was in the middle of the line. Behind him was Carl Kolchak, who like his friend Richard, ended up stuck in the museum with him because they were there at the wrong time. Now, he felt worried for whenever one of the creatures, the Ixupi, as they had been called, decided to attack. Carl was obviously in his late fifties, or early sixties, and would fall after one or two successful Ixupi attacks.
He was lost in his thoughts when he ran right into his friend. He shook his head, and saw why Richard had stopped. Right in front of them was an elevator. He looked at his friend, realizing that the hall ended right here. “Think this is a new elevator, or one we’ve seen before?”
He watched as Richard pressed a panel in the wall. Another of the puzzle panels appeared, and Richard calmly said, “We’ll have to wait and see.” He then watched as Richard started to work at the puzzle.
As his friend worked, he heard Carl say something. “You don’t like being in this corridor, do you?” Michael shook his head. He glanced back just as Carl said, “I understand. To be honest, I keep expecting something to come up behind us. I looked back a few times, expecting to find some of the past things I’ve encountered behind us.”
Michael looked at Carl with a puzzled look. “What kinds of things? A crazed killer, or something inhuman like these Ixupi?”
He was stunned when Carl gave a wry smile. “A little of both, actually. I’m still unsure if I’ll see Jack the Ripper behind us, or some monkey like missing link. Of course, I’d rather not see any of them again.”
Michael felt a bit stunned about what Carl just said. “You’re joking, I hope. If you weren’t, I take it your editor didn’t believe either of those stories.”
He glanced back at Richard who was still working on the puzzle, but still listened to Carl. “To be honest, Tony didn’t fully believe me about Jack the Ripper, but had to acknowledge I was on to something; especially after the killer was stopped, and his shoes dated back to the late 1800’s. As for the monkey man, he was ready to post the story, but the company linked to the story found a way to block it.”
He was stunned by that news. The way Richard had mentioned that his stories were sent to Yvette, he assumed that none made it to print. The fact that one made it so far to be almost published surprised him. He was about to ask why it was blocked, when Richard stood back, and the elevator opened. “I got it.” He also noticed Richard looked in the elevator and just said one thing. “It’s the one we saw earlier. The hint about the door having Geoffrey’s name is on the wall.”
Michael felt a bit discouraged when he heard that. He did hope that there was another elevator, but that was a long shot. He then turned around. “Well, if this just leads to the elevator, why don’t we all head back the other way. There has to be something more than this.” He watched as Carl turned around, and they all started to follow Carl.
As they progressed, Michael took note of various things. First was the stairs they went down. They ended at a small landing, and then there were steps to the left and to the right. They took the left side, and followed the hallway. Michael noticed a few things, which included a larger section of hallway where they found the second floor elevator, various piles of metal and wood, and a few side hallways. One of those side hallways led to the steps they didn’t choose to come down. Eventually, they reached a dead end, which Michael almost thought was just that, until he noticed a button on the wall.
He pushed the button, hoping it was a way out of the hallway, and was grateful when a door opened. He ducked down, and stepped through, and realized where he was. The passage had led them back to the Tombs exhibits, specifically the Tomb of the Ixupi exhibit. He waited for both Richard and Carl to get through before speaking. “I think we might have found a shortcut of sorts.”
He watched as Carl looked around, and Richard went over to the Tomb of the Ixupi entrance. After a moment, the reporter said, “Indeed. We’ll have to remember that, in case we ever need to move in a hurry. Besides, I don’t think we need to fuss with that elevator panel all the time.” Carl had a good point. That puzzle to open the elevator was not an easy thing to work. And as the night dragged on, and the more tired they got, he was sure they wouldn’t be able to keep solving the puzzle.
He looked over as Richard walked into the Ixupi Tomb, and checked on the pots in the room. “There is another good point. With this quick way back here, we can place the pots of the Ixupi we’ve captured back into the room. The ones we left in here are still intact, which means the Ixupi can’t open them themselves.” He then watched as Richard left the room, and went to the wall they had just entered through.
Michael followed him to the wall, and turned a leaf around, which reopened the passageway. Richard reentered the passage, and they followed as Richard said, “Maybe we should check that one side passage. If I remember from the map correctly, there was another room down there. Maybe it was supposed to be part of the tour.”
Michael doubted it, but another room might have some other clues to what is going on. Carl also brought up another point. “There could be something else down there. You remember we found the bodies of Professor Windlenot and Merrick, and only found the spirits of Professor Windlenot and Beth. That leaves one body, and one spirit, unaccounted for. Maybe one of those is in that room.”
Michael nodded as they went down the one side hall. “He’s right, Rich. I wouldn’t be surprised if an Ixupi pot containing Merrick’s spirit is in the room.” That thought was still in his mind when they reached a small room like area with a door and a picture frame.
He watched as Richard tried the door, and then looked at the picture frame. “Another door linked to a puzzle. I guess one of us needs to figure out the picture.” He then watched as Richard looked at the puzzle and started to flip pieces around.
As he watched, he noticed Carl chancing a glance behind him, after moving a step forward. After a moment, he heard a sound like floorboards creaking. He chanced a quick glance behind him, and noticed the boards lying against the wall, all of which had an odd green glow about them. He did the same as Carl, and tried to stay calm. If one of them had been alone, they wouldn’t be this close to an Ixupi. He also remembered one thing about all the attacks. They only happened when someone was looking right at the object, and was close to it. He had already had too many attacks tonight, and didn’t want to have another.
He was thankful when they all herd a click coming from the door. He and Carl walked over as Richard opened the door, and stepped into a small room. His friend just shook his head as he looked around. “Looks like this room was used as a store room. Maybe it wasn’t part of the tour.” Once he and Carl were in the room with Richard, he glanced around the room, noticing various boxes, and other odds and ends. As they looked around the room, Michael did wonder why a puzzle lock was put on the door.
Richard Cale looked around the small room, feeling a bit crowded with all of them in the room. He never really liked crowds in small rooms, and with all the stuff in the room, three people were a crowd. He tried to calm himself down, thinking about happy thoughts, so he wouldn’t panic.
After a few breaths, he took notice of something. In the room was a fortune telling machine. The only reason he realized what it was the simple fact that he had watched a movie featuring one of those things with Yvette once. He tried to move towards it, and he knew he bumped someone. He wasn’t sure who, until Carl said, “Sorry. Didn’t know you had wanted to move.”
He got right in front of the machine, and said to Carl, “It’s OK. I’m just hoping we don’t spend too much longer in this room.” He then looked over the machine, and noticed a coin in the change return slot of the machine. He picked it up, and placed it right into the slot.
Almost immediately, the machine came to life. As the gears moved, he heard Michael speak, as if surprised by the sound. “What’s happening? What’s that noise?” When Michael saw the machine, he must have thought the same thing Richard had. “Isn’t that the same thing that was in that movie with Tom Hanks?”
Richard just nodded, as a fortune was revealed. However, as he read it, it didn’t make sense at first. The second time he read it didn’t clear it up. Without looking away from the fortune, he decided to ask what the others thought. “Hey guys, this machine just gave a weird fortune. It’s almost like a riddle. ‘Earth must be aligned with love and war, then from below, you’ll discover more.’ Does that make any sense to anyone?”
It didn’t boost his morale when both his friend and the famous reporter shook their heads. There had to be a meaning to the riddle, mainly because of how weird it seemed. He then shook his head, hoping that it would wake him up enough to figure out what the riddle meant.
After a moment, he was no closer to figuring out the riddle, but he put it out of his mind when Carl said, “Hey, I think I found the missing spirit. There is a pot on the floor here.” He glanced down right to where Carl was pointing and saw the Ixupi pot. A quick glance told him the pattern on it was for jade.
He knelt down to open up the pot, and stepped back, which wasn’t to far back, given the small room. Soon, in the open space, the spirit of Merrick appeared from the pot. It looked around for a moment, before it finally spoke. “Where am I? How long have I been in there?”
Richard was startled when Carl softly said, “It’s been about fifteen years.” He noticed a startled look cross the spirit’s face.
After a second, the spirit continued. “It’s so dark and cold in there.” The spirit then looked at them. “I’m one of them now?” Richard just shook his head, and a look of relief crossed the spirit’s face. It was quickly replaced by a look of panic. “Where’s Beth? Is she still alive?” Richard sadly shook his head, and he saw a look of grief pass over the spirit’s face.
Soon, the spirit seemed to appear like it was going to be pulled away. The spirit looked almost happy about it, but it looked at them and said, “Find the Black Book. It will explain everything.” When the last of those words were spoken, Richard watched as the spirit disappeared.
He quickly recapped the pot, and picked it up. He turned to face the others. “I don’t think there is any more in this room. Should we go back to the room where we first entered the secret passage?” He watched as both nodded. He was glad when Carl opened the door, and they all left the room.
As they reentered the passageway, they quickly made there way back to the secret door to the tools room. As they walked, he noticed Michael slowed to walk closer to him. “Richard, you aren’t claustrophobic, are you?”
Richard shook his head, even though he wasn’t sure himself. He then softly said, “I just get unnerved when a room is overcrowded. That room wasn’t really big enough to give us elbow room.” He noticed as Michael nodded, and picked up the pace. In almost no time, they were back at the door to the room they had entered from on the third floor, and reentered the room where they had found the tools and the strange machine.
As they all reentered the room for Man’s Ingenuity, Carl Kolchak wondered about everything they had learned, and experienced so far. It seemed that even though the puzzles were designed to be fun, they were proving to be an obstacle, which had doomed all of those who encountered the Ixupi. He was thankful that the puzzles hadn’t reset, unless the Ixupi were smart enough to leave them that way to instill false hope. He remembered how the one Ixupi manipulated the speakers to make it seem like it was talking to them.
Thinking about that, Carl’s mind went to the big machine they had found in this very room. He looked at the two teens and took off his hat to fan himself. “You know, I just remembered something. How could there be an Alchemy Machine if Alchemy saw it’s heyday back before Industrialization?” He decided not to mention his own encounters with an alchemist in Seattle.
He watched as the two teens looked at each other, and then ran over to the machine. He quickly followed them, and watched as a panel opened up, revealing nine pieces, and nine spots for them. As he watched, he heard Richard say, “I think we have to put these pieces in the proper spots. And I think there are some clues on which piece goes where on the machine.”
He stayed back as Michael nodded. “I think you are right. Hopefully, this one won’t take long to solve.” As they both worked on it, Carl stepped back, almost to the door that was opposite the machine.
He pulled out his tape recorder, and turned it on, intent on recording some notes for his story. His first thought was the museum. “The Windlenot museum could have been a very profitable museum. While Windlenot’s focuses on the bizarre, he also focuses on how some real things are bizarre, and some bizarre things are real. He also worked to make it enjoyable, by putting fun little puzzles here and there. Of course, being trapped in the museum make the puzzles almost sinister.”
He look over at the teens again, seeing they were still at work on the puzzle. “Of course, the Ixupi don’t make it any easier. A book that was in the museum explains the legend, and how they came to be. From my experiences so far, those that are still in the museum seem to have a hierarchy, with the one bound to electricity being the leader. Mind you, I’m still wondering how the ancient people who caught the Ixupi bound one to electricity.”
He looked up at the teens, and saw they were getting closer to a final solution. In many of his past encounters, he had run into willing help, and help willing to believe, until the time was passed. The two teens represented both types, and he hoped to include them in his story. He glanced at Michael McNeal, thinking how the African-American teen would be, just from the actions shown so far. “Now, if I had been alone, I might not have survived. It could be both good and bad fortune that I got stuck here with two teenagers. One being Michael McNeal. By some quirk of fate, he was dared to spend the night here. Those who dared him were unaware that other people were on the grounds. Michael seems very level headed, even though he’s facing unworldly things. He has taken up a leader like role, but knows when to listen to others. However, I do believe that this kind of situation is one he’ll want to put behind him when it’s over.”
He glanced back at the teens, and saw that the puzzle was almost solved. He glanced at the teen in glasses, and continued. “Now, Richard Cale is another story. If not for the Ixupi, he’d consider this a dream come true. He would trek up to the museum every week. This visit ended with him getting stuck on the grounds. However, his knowledge about the museum’s history, as well as his interest in the bizarre has been a blessing.”
He turned off the recorder when he heard something open. He stepped towards the machine, and saw a panel had opened up. He then noticed Richard was looking in the panel. As he got closer, he saw the lid of one of the pots. It had what appeared to be two snakes on it. As he looked at it, he heard Richard say, “It’s another lid. I’m not sure which one it goes to, but I’m sure we’ll find its mate.”
He heard Michael agree with his friend. “I hope so. I just hope there isn’t much more of this place to explore. I bet once we know every room, it will be easier to catch the Ixupi we haven’t caught yet.” He watch as both turned to face him, and heard Michael address him. “Hey Carl, do you remember which Ixupi we’ve caught so far?”
Carl closed his eyes for a moment and thought. In total, there were thirteen. Three had killed Professor Windlenot, Merrick, and Beth. That left ten. He remembered Richard catching the Ash Ixupi, and Michael catching the Water Ixupi. He then opened his eyes and answered. “I think there may be eight left. Let’s hope we can find the rest of the pots and their lids, and catch them all.”
They all then headed for the door that was opposite the Alchemy machine. Carl took a deep breath and opened it. He quickly closed it when the sounds of screams came from the room. He looked at the others and he could see a look of shock on their faces. He reopened the door, and looked inside. In that moment, he realized the screams were prerecorded, but this exhibit had to be one of the most disturbing. “I think we all better brace ourselves. Something tells me this room might be linked to some of our darker history.” He then fully opened the door, and led the way into the disturbing exhibit.
|Next Chapter||Final Punishments|
|Library Page||RichGenX's Library - The Story of The Windlenot Museum|