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In the dark: In Principio

Chapter Text

2019

Later that evening, Henry had calmed down after Tom assaulted him. What he said was true. He could change the past and the future. The nurses may think it was nonsense, but he knew the truth. He was the only one who knew exactly what was going on. And if he spoke, they did not listen. Who would even want to listen to an old man with dementia?

So Henry lay in bed, waited for a sign. Something was going to happen. But without a sign, Henry was staying in his bed, watching the ceiling, indirectly looking at the light.

It flickered. The power failed again; it was not a natural occurrence. The cables were fine, and so was the power plant. This was something else; some higher power messing with the power and the birds, letting everyone know something inherently unnatural was happening deep in the caves. That someone traveled home, or away.

That was the sign. He needed to act. He needed to stop him.

Henry took his time to take himself off of all the machines. He didn’t waste any time, though he knew that he had to be careful not to alert the staff. He was going to leave this nursing home one way or another, and he wasn’t going to let the nurses know where he was going.

Though, at this point, it should be easy for them to take a guess. He snuck out of his room, through the hall, out of the nursing home, and walked into Witchwood Forest.


The cabin and the bunker were located in the middle of Witchwood Forest. One could reach them via an offshoot of the forest road. And, according to the map Sam had seen at the station, the caves ran under this part of the forest road, and ended where the bunker had been built.

Sam did not walk to the bunker. If his father had lied that day and said he took the state road, there was something on the forest road he didn’t want anyone to find. If he lived in the cabin, horrific things may have happened there, but the bunker seemed like a much better pick, as it was more easily concealed and harder to penetrate.

He turned on the light and went inside, flashlight still in his hand. It was still the same as the last time he was here - dirty concrete underground, dirty old wooden bench, rusted metal door which still seemed strong enough to stay locked.

Sam couldn’t do a cursory glance of the entire room, however. He was ready to sweep the whole room. Sam started in the back and looked everywhere for a sign of something nefarious happening here, or even of this bunker ever being used. If it ever was used, it happened so little they couldn’t keep cleaning the place for the next time.

Right when Sam thought he wasn’t going to find something, a little thing grabbed his attention. It lay under the bench, covered by dirt, but a faded blue had caught his eye.

Sam pulled what felt like an old piece of paper from under the bench. It was folded up, but Sam unfolded it and stared at it.

He had never seen such a pattern before. A blue background with yellow rabbits and red foxes dancing around in even rows. All the colors were faded now, but they must have once been bright and colorful, maybe cheerful.

Sam stood up and looked at it in disbelief. This hung against the wall. This room had been used enough to warrant putting up this cheerful wallpaper all over the walls.

But what was this bunker ever used for?


Somehow, it was easier to sneak into the nursing home the second time. Tom knew where he was going, he knew which room was Henry’s and on which floor it was located. He knew to avoid staff when possible, because by now they all knew about the man who attacked Henry Hidgens.

They didn’t think Tom would come back. Then again, it would be weird to put Henry under permanent observation only for this attack. For his nightly walks, however, he should’ve already been placed under observation.

Either way, after what happened, Tom expected to find some security, but it wasn’t there. He just opened the door and walked in.

The room was empty - Henry wasn’t in his room. Which unexpectedly gave Tom free reign to look around for evidence.

At first glance, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. This was the room of your average elderly person suffering from dementia, including monitors and medication. There even lay a book on the bedside table.

Tom picked it up. A journey through time, by H.G. Tannhaus. An interesting book, considering everything Tom had been working towards. If Tom hadn’t been on the trail of time travel or time shenanigans, he would not have given the book a second thought.

But its contents were even more valuable. At first glance, a red string seemed to have been used to keep track of the reading progress. However, when Tom pulled it from the pages, it had a penny in it - similar to the one Max wore.

That was it. This was the damning evidence Tom had been hoping for. Irrefutable proof - Tom was involved with the disappearance of Max and possibly others.

He happened to look out of the window and spotted the old man, in his pajamas, walking around outside again. Why wasn’t Tom surprised?

He immediately went outside. It was just as easy as going into the building, and Henry hadn’t walked away too far. Tom could easily follow him at a steady pace while Henry had no idea that the police officer who assaulted him now was hot on his trail.

Since Tom didn’t know what was going to happen, he decided to call the last number on his phone. That was Sam’s. It went straight to voicemail, but Tom didn’t care for once. He just needed someone to know in broad strokes what was going on.

“Hi,” Tom said, to still be polite. “The question isn’t who took Max and Tim, but when. Call me back as soon as possible.”

It sounded cryptic, but that’s all Tom could muster. Besides, it was Sam - he’d probably make the connection with Henry, if anything were to happen. He may not know everything that Tom knew, but it could help him on his way to discovering the same things Tom had discovered the past few days. That question isn’t who, or where, but when.

Tom did not relent, as Henry did not relent. Tom followed Henry without as much as a second thought, ready to catch the old man red-handed. Henry walked into the caves, ready to stop Ted and his accomplice, to end this once and for all. And Tom walked in behind him, with the exact same thoughts, except “Ted and his accomplice” was just Henry.

They did not walk out of the caves.


1986

It was nighttime when Henry came out of the bunker. He could positively say he hated this part of the job.

He carried the bag outside. It wasn’t easy, climbing to ground level and carrying the bag, but he managed to do it. He put it down. This was a tiring operation, even for him. At least he didn’t have to see the blood.

Instead, he had the other job, which may even be worse.

In the way he positioned the bag, a head peeked through. Just the head - beautiful brown hair with burned away eyes. The sorrowful remains of Alice Woodward.

Henry cried. Another one failed. Another one died on impact, as they landed, without their eyes, bleeding out on the clear concrete floor.

Henry mourned. He went into this experiment with good faith. He believed they would crack the code. Unfortunately, three children already died from this process.

Where would it end?

And while he cried, the priest had been busy. With a bucket, enough water, and a mop, he had walked into the bunker. After three times, Ted had become adept at cleaning the bloodstains from the floor. He took the mop in his hands and struck the stains. They were hard to clean and Ted knew he’d spend some time inside, but when he was done, there would be no trace of the blood. Nobody would know anyone died there, if they came in.

Henry didn’t help. Ted liked it that way. He didn’t need an assistant if said assistant was only going to cry and sob instead of doing anything productive.

But the job has become easier this third time, and after half an hour to an hour of hard work, the stains were gone.

There was only one last thing to do now.

A small stone lay in the bunker; one Ted had placed there. He easily wrapped his hand around the stone and walked to a specific portion on the wall.

This wall wasn’t particularly special because of its inherent properties. It was special, however, because Ted used the stone to carve the date into the wall. The first time they came was already carved in; now, only today needed to be added to the wall. The third date of failure, the second in this year.

November 5, 1953

November 9, 1953