Continuation to the tale
The police officers were astonished by the story and some of them finally trusted the word of that strange man…but not the most of them. Anyway, no evidences had been found; there were no more witnesses—how would have there been any other people in that abandoned place?—. The investigation was deadlocked. The only possibility they had to solve that strange disappearance—or death—was to keep on seeking for any new evidence in the houses of the two main (and only) characters of the story…And, finally, to go to the place that overstressed old man had told them about.
Two weeks later, the police found some ancient books hidden in a secret chamber next to the bathroom of Warren’s house. The officers though that they were similar to which Carter had described to them. The leader police, Brody Fisherman, had the brilliant idea of showing to Carter all those books. If they were lucky, Carter would identify the last book that brought them to that graveyard and the cryptographs would be able to start working over the possible clues hidden in the texts.
There were four police officers in the room. An oscillating bulb was the only thing that was illuminating all the people gathered there. Carter was in the center of the room, sit down in front of an old, wood-made table. Brody Fisherman was next to the second more important policeman in the district: Mr. Attenborough, as fat and moody as always (or more, Fisherman though; an imperceptible smile appeared in his face).
— Ok, this is the forth one we found. Look at it as long as you need— another policeman said to Carter after leaving the old book on the table. Carter carefully opened the book, as if he though some horrible monster could suddenly go out from it. A few minutes later, his face expressions changed.
— Yes! These are the same undecipherable characters that I saw on the book that Warren carried with him that night! And this is also the last book he read before beginning the study of the other book—. He created the enough expectation to arouse policemen’s curiosity. One of them—the same that a few minutes before had given to Carter the book— picked up the mysterious object and looked at it.
— These are just counts! Lots and lots of counts!
— Let me see— the fourth policeman said. He was the only in the room who know a bit about cryptography and accountancy at the same time…—Yes, this book just seems to contain…counts. Numbers and numbers, with some words on the right side of all the pages…—he was turning the pages of the book—…Maybe it is some hidden code…
The other three policemen in the room were trying to look at the surface of the book while the fourth one read the words written in the book. Finally, he closed the book and looked at the title page.
— I was right. The evidences coincide: here, it says “Gustavsson’s Agents, Medical Assurances Company” in Norwegian! —he also could understand five languages or more. Norwegian was one of them thanks to his father. But this is another story.
—Counts!? Are they really counts of a Medical Assurances Company!?— Attenborough said, as surprised as everyone in the room.
—So it seems to be. I can’t imagine what other thing can be…
—Oh, dear! It was that! And I didn’t catch it! I should have realized before! If I had, now Warren would be alive!! — Carter desperately shouted.
— Calm down, man, calm down. We’ve been to his home and he had no money; then, he won’t be able to pay any medical assurance— Brenk said (the polyglot policeman).
— Noooo, Warren!! Oh, Warren, what a terrible fate I have let you to take!! Why, Warren, Whyyyy!!??
— Be quiet! — Fisherman said.
— That’s right! — Brenk added.
— No, I was speaking to you. You shut up!
But Attenborough was losing his patience.
— Now, can anybody explain to me what the hell is going om? What are they talking about??
As always, Fisherman answered to Attenborough’s lack of patience in order to explain him what his short brain had lost from the environment.
— He has just discovered two things: the horrible destiny of his suicide friend and his huge stupidity.
— But…Which is that horrible destiny you talk about?
— I’ll explain you, but let’s go to my office. If not, this poor man will lose his last four neurons because of another shock…
Back to the past—where Carter brain was trying to simulate the scene in the graveyard and convince his mind about what had really happened— we find Warren walking in a deep darkness. It was so deep that he couldn’t see the light of his lantern. Carter is in the entrance to the descending, terrifying path towards the unknown of the catacombs, land of ancient bones and spoilt innards. Suddenly, something changes and Warren’s voice is received by Carter through his telephone.
— Carter, it’s terrible—monstrous—unbelievable!
— Warren, what is it? What is it?
— I can’t tell you, Carter! It’s too utterly beyond thought—I dare not tell you—no man could know it and live—Great God! I never dreamed of this!"
Warren had just gone into a strange, fairly illuminated ballroom. There were some tables at the back and a few big chandeliers over the heads of all those evil people…A dull, aristocratic classical music was being played and flew in the ninth-century environment. Impressive dresses, dinner jackets, bowler hats…One of them, a especially pale man—as smart-worn as disgusting— moved closer to Warren.
— Ahm,…Ugghh…— when he was going to speak, he realized how Warren was worn— Eh, hello. You are..? — asked with an effeminate voice.
— Ah, ah…I am…Warr…
— Invitation card? — of course, he was already patronizing Warren.
— Ahm, no, sorry, I…I…Oh Dear, Oh my god…—he started to see with detail all the elements in the ballroom, the faces of the people there— This, this is more than I can stand…
— Ok, then you might be…A client? — a creepy smile suddenly appeared on his milky face. Just a second of doubt gave the enough information to the strange man to carry on with his logic deductions…
— All right, you are…a possible client!! —he didn’t asked any more, just shouted—This is the more exciting thing that has happened here for hundreds of years…Maybe more!...This is delightful! —He turned round and spoke, fairly excited, to the rest of the people in the room. — Hey, ladies and gentlemen! We have a new possible victim…I mean, client!
Some claps and stupid laughs were heard. A lot of new conversations started and the music became louder and a bit outlandish, but continued being dull. Warren’s face was expressing as much the terror as its muscles could. Although it wasn’t only strong fear: it was also revulsion, stress and constriction. He tried to speak, but he was trembling.
— Arr, are, are you…medic-cal as-ssurance a-a-agents??
— Hi, hi, hi, hi— the man laughed again with his 'pink' voice. Anyway, he carried on enjoying the moment and the laugh became more creepy and dark—Haa, ha, ha, haa…You’re right— he suddenly said, with the evil face of a child. Then, the man turned away from Warren and went towards the few waiters in the room—who were clothed as penguins—and said to them:
— Come on, come on! Move! Carry the soufflé to the tables, my guests are starving! Oh, musicians: play some song like…the other ones.
Obediently, a weird song in a strange style—which was a mix between contemporaneous and classical music— started spreading through the ballroom like a lumpy sauce. Warren quickly turned round and pushed the button to turn on the telephone:
—Carter! For the love of God, put back the slab and get out of this if you can! Quick! —leave everything else and make for the outside—it’s your only chance! Do as I say, and don’t ask me to explain!
—Warren, brace up! I’m coming down! —Carter answered.
—Don’t! You can’t understand! It’s too late—and my own fault. Put back the slab and run—there’s nothing else you or anyone can do now!
The pale man returned where Warren was fixed to the ground like a nail because of the paralysis of terror.
—Quick—before it’s too late! —Warren murmured to his telephone before the pale man get to there. He offered to Warren a cup with a green liquid, which he ignored.
— Do you want a little? This is from the clients of the thirties, concretely the 38. What a year! — Warren was staring at him without saying anything— Oh, come on, it just costs thirty pounds per cup. It’s not so much!
— What…What is it?
— Ha, ha, ha! You’re quiet funny, filthy vagrant! — Even though the words he said, the man had a sincere smile in his reptilian face. — Come with us, you don’t seem to have too much money, but I assure you that it won’t hurt you too much to become a client of our company…Hi, hi, hi, did you caught it? “Assure”, “hurt”! Ha, ha…I’m the best…
— S-so, are you really a medical assurance company??
— Ahm, yes, stupid ignorant— the man said. He didn’t express a lot his scorn, but. of course, that was what he felt.
— But, didn’t those kind of creatures extinct centuries ago??
— In what world do you live? We’re in the United States! And although we’re hidden, we’re in all the countries…By the way, our bloodthirstiness has no limits!!
— Aagggh! Vampires!!
— Don’t doubt that.
They were already in the center of the ballroom. An old, wood-made table had been put there. All the people were approaching to them. Before getting to the table, the pale man started to give instructions to some waiters.
—Carter—hurry! It’s no use—you must go—better one than two—the slab—Warren whispered to Carter through the telephone. He deduced that he had to sit down in the chair that was in front of the table, and went. As he was doing this, he carried on talking to the telephone when he though nobody was looking at him.
—Nearly over now—don’t make it harder—cover up those damned steps and run for your life—you’re losing time—so long, Carter—won’t see you again.
The pale man was walking towards him once again. All the people were surrounding the table…
—Curse these hellish things—legions—My God! Beat it! Beat it! BEAT IT!
Finally, the man stopped ordering things and spoke to Warren, another time with his effeminate voice.
— Ok, as you see we are ready to start.
— Bu-Bu-But what ha-happ-pens if I-I don’t want to get any medical assurance?
All the people in the room immediately started laughing, as loudly as their aristocratic paunches, dresses, jackets, monocles, hats and Britain decency could support.
— Well— the pale man answered—, you don’t have that possibility…But, as you will be able to deduce, the first thing we have to do is to convince you. We will inform you about all the horrible advantages that our company has and afterwards, when you completely agree with our beyond-the-grave conditions—I don’t know if you understand me—, you will sign…the binding contract!
— Noo! Nooooo!!!
Of course, Carter was desperate. From the surface, he kept on waiting to any sound that came from the radio, but there were no more messages from his friend… Until some clicking was heard by him.
— Warren, are you there?
— You fool, Warren is DEAD!
— Aaaghhaaaa— and Carter fainted. If he hadn’t done such a thing, he would have probably heard what the telephone said after that horrible sentence: it said worst things.
— …DEAD tired! Negotiations have been exhausting for everybody, ha, ha. — all the people in the brightly illuminated ballroom were having a great time. Alcohol and gold were copulating in a big party. Meanwhile, Warren was still sit down in the chair in front of the wood-made table. The red velvet of the chair contrasted with the brown, full of holes Warren’s jacket and his extremely sweaty face. Of course, he was signing the medical assurance contract— No, I’ve just told you a big lie. He accepted all our conditions and we didn’t have to make any effort…Ha, ha, ha…By the way, who are you?