Well here is the posting for February 27th. Today I'm posting Chapter 16 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 7th. 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.
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
|Chapter 1 (First Chapter)||Arrival At Dusk|
|Chapter 2||Entrance Patterns|
|Chapter 3||Otherworldly Encounters|
|Chapter 4||Terror In The Office|
|Chapter 5||Researching The Enemy|
|Chapter 6||Clues On Film|
|Chapter 7||Revealed Youth|
|Chapter 8||Tombs of Healing|
|Chapter 9||Gods And Demons|
|Chapter 10||Hidden Secrets|
|Chapter 11||Riddles and Fortunes|
|Chapter 12||Final Punishments|
|Chapter 13||Pots and Riddles|
|Chapter 14||Darkest Depths|
|Previous Chapter||Ixupi Hunt|
Chapter 16: Wood Riddles
Carl Kolchak smiled for a moment as Michael McNeal looked like his normal self. Through out this night, he had seen each one of the two boys appear to age after an Ixupi attack, only to be restored when they caught the Ixupi that had attacked them. Now that Michael was back to normal, it was time to get Richard Cale back to normal as well. He also had a feeling what their next course of action would be.
He looked at the two young men, doing a mental count of how many Ixupi were left, and spoke. “Good job, Michael. That means eight Ixupi are captured, and leaves only two left. I’m sure you know which one should be next to capture.”
Without missing a beat, Carl heard Richard come to the conclusion. “We need to capture the Wood Ixupi. Once we have that one caught, we can hunt down the Electric Ixupi.” He was proud of how sharp the young man was, especially given they had been up for more than half the night. He glanced down at his watch, and almost did a double take. If his watch was correct, it was past three in the morning.
Before he could even mention the time, Michael looked at the complete Crystal Ixupi’s vessel, and said, “First things first. Let’s get this one back to the Tomb Exhibit. Besides, I think part of the Wood Ixupi’s pot is in the same area.” Carl thought about it for a moment, and realized Michael was right. Part of one of the pots was in the Egyptian sarcophagus in the Tombs display area. They all started up the steps out of the Mysteries of the Deep room, with one area in mind.
As they passed through the Strange Animals room, Carl glanced around the room, wondering if the Wood Ixupi might be hiding anywhere in the room. He then put that out of his mind, and really looked around the room as they passed through. While to most, Professor Windlenot might have appeared odd, the museum was actually very nice. If the Ixupi weren’t running about, he was sure that it would have been a good tourist attraction. Even now, with the shows that were becoming popular, the museum could revitalize the town.
While they crossed the main lobby, to climb up the steps, he realized Michael was coming to the same conclusion. “You know, without those things running about, this place would be a nice place to visit. However, I don’t know how many people would handle the Inhumanities room.” With the last words, he saw Michael show a bit of a shiver.
Almost in response, he heard Richard agree. “I think it’s more of the background music that is playing in the room. That would be enough to unnerve anyone.” Carl nodded in agreement to that statement. He knew full well that some sights and sounds were enough to bother even the toughest man. He knew of very few people who would not be unnerved by the sounds of tortured screams. Those he was sure might not be unnerved were either in an asylum, or with their master down in Hell.
He put those thoughts out of his mind as they entered the Tombs room. It was time to focus again on what was important, surviving what was left of the night. As Michael walked over and placed the Crystal Ixupi’s pot in the display, he noticed that Richard was already looking around the corner to where the sarcophagus was.
He understood why Richard was cautious. Even though only two Ixupi were left, if there was an exposed wire, or a board lying around, one of those two items could be an ambush. Of course, he doubted there was much risk of that. Even Michael appeared to be more at ease, especially as the young man said, “Only two more empty spots left. Now let‘s capture the Wood Ixupi.”
He then followed as Richard ran over to the sarcophagus display in the room, and quickly pulled out the Wood pot. Once the lad had the pot in his hands, he could see that he was trying to remember where the other part was. Carl even tried to remember, but he knew it was going to be difficult.
As he thought, he watched as Richard appeared to realize where they needed to go. He stepped back as the young man ran from the sarcophagus, and over to the secret door. “I just remember when that other part is. It’s in the Janitor’s closet.”
He and Michael quickly followed, and ran to keep up with the sudden burst of energy that Richard had gotten. Carl figured that burst of energy came from the fact that soon the young man would have his youth back. He had to admit that while none of the Ixupi had attacked him, he had felt a bit younger after catching them, and he wondered if it was a side effect of catching the evil creatures.
He put that thought aside as they reached the exit to the passageway that led to the Inventions room. As they passed through and into the Space exhibit, he heard Michael ask and important question. “Once we have the pot together, where are we going to capture the Wood Ixupi. There must be a ton of places it can hide in here.”
Carl nodded as they headed down the stairs that led to the Janitor’s closet. “He’s right Richard. Do you think we’ll be lucky enough to stumble onto it at its last hiding spot?” Deep down, Carl thought the odds of them finding it at the same location was slim, giving how many other wooden things were in the museum.
As they passed the door that lead to the room where they last encountered the Wood Ixupi, he saw Michael look over, and gasp. “I think the odds are very good. I can see the wood planks where it attacked from, and they are glowing green. Rich, you better move quick.”
That fast, Carl watched Richard run into the Janitor’s closet. At the moment he reached the door, Richard was coming out, holding the completed pot. He then turned to follow Richard, staying at a safe distance to photograph what he was sure he was going to see.
He heard Michael follow, but stopped him as the scene played out. The second Richard had reached the wooden planks, the creature started to emerge from the wood. Carl could have sworn it looked like some mutated tree stump, and as it appeared, it roared in pain and fright. Soon, the creature was pulled into the pot, and in that moment, Richard appeared to be his normal self again, as the creature was captured. Carl was glad, not only at the good fortune that there was only one Ixupi left, but also that he got a photo at just the right moment.
Michael smiled as his friend now looked his proper age. It was a good sign, especially as he wondered about how long they had been in the museum. He was sure the night was more than half over, and he was sure he’d remember it for a long time, not that he’d want to admit to it.
However, they needed to get back to the task at hand. He took a brief look at the lights in the room, and then said what he was sure they were all aware of. “Nine Ixupi down, which means only one left to capture. Now all we need to do is get the remain pieces together and capture the one we figure is the ring leader. Let’s head down to the Legends of the Deep room and get the bottom first.”
As he was about to lead the way, he noticed Carl wasn’t moving, as if he was deep in thought. Before he could even ask what was on the reporter’s mind, the reporter voiced his thoughts. “Not to put a dampener on things, but I was just doing some mental calculations, and I’ve only counted ten vessel bottoms, and only nine lids. I think we are missing one lid, and I don’t think we’ve seen it anywhere.”
Michael thought about it for a moment, and realized Carl was right. All the time they were going through the museum, they never saw the remaining lid. If they couldn’t find that lid, they couldn’t leave the museum in it’s current state. The way the world was, everything ran on electricity. If that Ixupi got out, the world was in terrible peril.
For a brief moment, he wasn’t sure what to do, until Richard looked back the way they had recently came, and said something that surprised him. “You know, we haven’t looked in every room in the museum. There is one room that none of us has entered, but one of us has seen the entrance to.”
For a moment, Michael was unsure of what Richard meant, and had to think about it. He was certain they had been in every room in the museum, and saw every possible hiding spot. They had even found the pots containing Professor Windlenot and the two teens, as well as their corpses.
Michael’s eyes went wide at the last thought. They had not found all the corpses. They had not found Beth’s corpse. They also had not seen their next riddle in the riddle chain they found earlier in the night. He looked at the others and said, “I complete forgot about that, as well as the other things we’ve noticed. We haven’t found Beth’s body, or the missing page, which has the riddle. I bet they are in the last room we haven’t looked in, the power room.”
He watched as Carl took off his hat and ran his hand through his thinning hair. “I forgot about that door. And if I remember the note that we had found earlier, Beth was going to hide down there. I bet all our answers are down there.”
He watched as Richard started back towards the stairs up. “I think you are right, and our quickest way down will be to head up to the secret passage.” He gasped as Richard said that and started to head back to the stairs to the Planetarium.
He and Carl quickly followed Richard, especially as Carl spoke. “Richard, either we are all getting very tired, or you are. How is heading up the best way to go down?” Michael had been thinking the same thing. If they need to go down, then they should be heading back through the museum.
Almost without missing a beat, he heard his friend’s response, and it made sense. “Well, we could take the long way, or we could go in the secret passage, and take the elevator down to the passage that leads to that power room.”
That fast, Michael realized what Richard meant. It would take less time for them to get down there than if they made their way through the entire museum. He also figured it would help keep Richard’s mind active, doing the puzzle to enter the elevator. It made complete sense to go that way.
However, as they reached the top of the steps, and into the space themed room, he noticed the lights seemed a little odd, as if something was causing the lighting in the room to go haywire. He then realized why it was happening when the recorded voice came out distorted. “You still fight your fate. You need to come to your senses, and give up your lives so we can cleanse your world. Do you not realize the horrors you, and those you care for are destined for? I will show you, so you can avoid them and correct your mistakes here.”
Soon, the lights appeared to be focused on a few objects, and Michael’s attention was drawn to the spacesuit. He was sure it was still the space suit, however it appeared different. The lighting had somehow made it appear to be a deformed man, whose face looked like an amalgamation of all their faces. He backed away, even though he knew it was just a trick. There was no way something could appear so horrid, but in his mind, he also knew this whole situation with the Ixupi defied all explanation as well.
He cut his thoughts short when he heard Carl shout, “Mike, let’s get out of here. I think your friend just had another shake up.” He turned to see Carl rushing Richard out the door to the Inventions room. He quickly turned and followed, briefly catching a glimpse of what appeared to be a man in a hat like Carl’s trapped in a drawing. He wondered why that bothered Richard, but decided not to dwell on it now.
As they all ran out of the room, he was surprised to see Carl already pushing on the switch to the secret passageway, and quickly followed them into it. He could tell Richard was also starting to calm down. As they neared the elevator, he hoped Richard would be calmed down enough to be able to work the puzzle to let them into it.
For a moment, once they reached the elevator, he wondered if Richard would snap out of what ever had shocked him. All he noticed was someone wearing Carl’s hat, and wondered if Richard was in shock over concern for the reporter’s future. However, before he could ask, he saw Richard shake his head, before starting on the puzzle. “Sorry about that. I’ll get this puzzled figured out quickly.”
As his friend worked on the puzzle, he looked at Carl and softly asked, “Did he see some sort of image of a horrid fate for you?” He was stunned when Carl just shook his head, and realized what the image must have been. He took a step backwards in shock, softly saying, “No wonder he got spooked. That thing made me see some monstrosity of a man.”
He just watch as Carl nodded, and then said, “As I was looking up, I noticed an image in the ceiling. The closest thing I can figure is that it was some creature from the works of Lovecraft. I’d hate to think those things are real.” Michael was unfamiliar with the writer in question, but he had remembered hearing someone mention them.
Before he could even ask anymore about it, he heard the elevator open. He then watched as Richard stepped in and said, “All aboard, now heading down, and stopping at the ground floor.” Michael quickly got on, followed by Carl, and the elevator slowly made it’s way down.
During the elevator ride, Michael wondered again about the image he saw. It was such a fear inducing image, but also such an inconceivable sight, there was no way it could ever be real. However, the more he told himself that, something kept nagging at him that it could be very real. Deep down, that worried him, especially as he thought about the Ixupi.
He stopped thinking about it when the elevator reached its destination and opened up. Soon, he fell into step as Carl lead the way through the passage, down the steps, and into the power room. It was the only room in the whole museum that they had yet to see, and given some of the exhibits, he did expect something more than what he did see.
The power room looked almost like a store room, with just a few minor supplies in the room. He also noticed a closed door, and he was sure he heard the sound of a generator behind it. He also noticed a small alcove with an open fuse box. Those two items combined made Michael worry. With only the Electric Ixupi left, this room was the creature’s lair. “Hey, I just thought of something. With all the equipment in here, I think this is the Electric Ixupi’s lair. We could be ambushed at any moment.”
He noticed the Richard was staring at the wall where the fuse box was, but Carl had stepped back a moment, since he was close to the door the generator was behind. “I think you might be right. Not the first time I’ve seen a creature use such a bland lair. However, something also tells me that there is something else here, and if all the stuff on the stairs is a sign, it’s Beth’s body.”
It was then Michael noticed that Richard was touching a switch in the fuse box, and then jumped back. Before he could warn his friend, electricity appeared to shoot out of the fuse box. In that moment, he heard his friend respond to Carl’s thoughts. “I think you are right, and I think she’s right under the fuse box.” In that moment, the electricity appeared to flow down, and cause the wall underneath it to crumble, revealing another corpse. He also noticed the Richard had a grin crossing his face, and saw the reason as Richard quickly snatched a paper out of the corpse’s hand.
Richard was glad he had took the risk touching the fuse box. Deep down, he was sure it had been the right thing to do, but until he saw the corpse, he wasn’t sure. All he knew was that the wall underneath the fuse box had looked different, as if it were fake. He had been right when he saw the wall crumble, revealing where Beth had been entombed, however who had done that remained a mystery.
The more important thought on his mind right now was the page she had been holding. He was glad it hadn’t ripped when he took it from her corpse’s hand, especially as he knew what it had on it. It was the missing riddle. He was certain the riddle on this page would lead them to what they were missing, the only question was how.
He looked over the words again, as both Michael and Carl came over and looked over his shoulder. He also noticed that Michael was also trying to look over where Beth’s corpse was, in hopes of finding the missing piece of the Electric Ixupi’s pot. That was something Richard was certain would not be there.
Soon Carl reading some of the word aloud made something click in his mind. “ ‘A noble punishment.’ Is that some sort of hint that we have to go all the way back up to the Inhumanities room.” That quick, the answer had come to him. He knew what the riddle meant.
He ran for the door, and said, “That’s it, Carl. In that room is, hopefully, the last clue, which I’m betting will lead us to the missing piece.” He quickly exited the room, and started to run back to the elevator.
As he ran, he heard Michael and Carl following close behind. He knew they were just trying to keep everyone together, which was still wise, but he had a feeling that with all but the Electric Ixupi captured, the risk was minimal now. However, he slowed down, knowing full well that since there was still some risk, it would be unwise to be alone right now.
Once they were all at the top of the steps, he heard Michael ask the important question. “So what did you figure out that the answer is in the Inhumanities room? I hope we can find it quick, because that room is very disturbing.” He had to agree with his friend on that one, but he was sure Michael would agree once he explained the key words in the riddle.
He showed both men the page again, as they went to the elevator. “The key phrases are ‘A Noble Punishment’ and ‘Relinquish your head’. One of the most interesting ways that man has come up with for executing a criminal was developed in France. A device called the Guillotine. It was developed as a more humane way of execution, since cutting off the head with an axe was barbaric and could take many swings to finish the job.”
He noticed that Carl was rubbing his neck at that moment, as was Michael. He wanted to as well, but tried to fight the sensation as he continued. “The device was developed by a noble man before the French Revolution. Eventually, the noble man fell victim to the device during that time, but the device stayed in use until this day. I remember a model of it being in the Inhumanities room.”
When they reached the elevator, he started in on the puzzle key as Carl spoke. “That’s a bit ironic, and to make it more ironic, we have to go back to the one room none of us want to really visit again. But, what do you think will be revealed when we get there, another riddle?”
To be honest, Richard didn’t know what to expect. However, as the elevator opened, he heard Michael voice an opinion on what they should expect. “Maybe it will open a panel revealing the missing piece of the Electric Ixupi’s vessel. If that one is the boss of them all, it could have planned this as a possible trap. One we’d have to risk to get the thing needed to trap it.”
Richard swallowed thinking of the possible scenarios as they all got in and rode to the top. If something on the guillotine model opened a panel, it might be near the electric chair, which if they had left it on, could kill them if they touched it, or allow an ambush from the one Ixupi left. Another scenario was much more devious, that being another riddle. There might be more riddles to endure, enough to even make them give up.
When the elevator reached the top floor, he realized something. The riddles were not created by the Ixupi, but by Professor Windlenot. If the Ixupi had exploited the riddles, it might have been as a failsafe to ensure they wouldn’t all be captured. Richard sighed and then said, “Ok, let’s assume for a moment it leads us to the missing piece, where do we go to catch the final Ixupi?”
As they walked from the elevator and through the passages and Inventions room, Michael and Carl both answered simultaneously. “The Generator room down in the basement.” Richard stopped for a moment and looked at the two.
After a moment, as they entered into the Inhumanities room, Carl broke the silence. “It’s not the first time a creature has been beaten in its lair. I’ve done it a few times. They have a sense of security while in that area. Of course, some don’t see where their attacker is coming from. They think they have security in their abilities, and their lairs.”
As they neared the model, he heard Michael voice his own thoughts. “When the time comes, however, we will have to consider what some call a dead man’s switch. If it falls, and is using a majority of the power the generator is producing, we will have to duck for cover. We may even have to hope the wall is fortified enough to survive a blast.”
Richard nodded, and pointed as they reached the model. He looked it over for a moment, before seeing what he hadn’t seen before. A small switch which was to act as the release for the blade. He then looked back and the others and said, “Well, let’s hope this isn’t the dead man’s switch. I’m sure it isn’t, but I’m sure it will end our riddle hunt.”
He watched the others nod, and then he pushed the switch. In an instant, he saw the blade go down, and cut off the dummy’s head. As it did that, he heard an almost inaudible click, which meant something was activated. He also looked on at the blade, as he figured the others were looking around to see if they could see any hidden panels open. He was certain that none had, since the click activated something elsewhere. What had him focused was the image on the blade. He knew what it meant, and that the click he heard meant they needed to go to the room behind the skull door. He realized that the rooms secret would finally be revealed, as well as the meaning of the circular slab with the same two markings on it. It also meant the lid to the last pot was in that room in some way.
|Next Chapter||Slide To Victory|
|Chapter 18||Relax, Don’t Get Updyke|
|Library Page||RichGenX's Library - The Story of The Windlenot Museum|