Missed part one? Catch it here!
We have discovered answers, and in turn they have bred further questions.
Andrew has searched local censuses for information on Henry Tanner, but has returned with other information instead. He has found information on a Tobias Shenkin, who once resided here at the gatehouse. Tobias was a chemist, who appeared to have run his business out of the gatehouse at the time. Andrew visited the local archives and dredged out what he could. There was an article about the gatehouse, and how a chemist vanished one night. Even scanning forward through the years there is no mention of his return. I can only hope that his journal will relinquish further secrets.
Speaking of the journal, I have carefully managed to pry some further pages from the diary. Not all are legible, most pages are terribly gnawed by time, but I have listed what I can below.
Finally someone from the constabulary has responded, but it has not garnered any further evidence as to what I saw. Two officers arrived and took my report, through barely concealed grins may I add, and set off towards the workhouse. It was not an hour before they returned. They told me that they had spoken to Henry and found no evidence of any rituals or killings. They also kindly advised to me to stop sampling my own goods before leaving with a hiss of laughter.
I know what I saw. It doesn’t happen every night, but I am still awoken by those dreaded cries. I fear to go and watch again, but each time I hear them something pulls me. I fear that I may have to watch that vile ceremony again, to simply put the thought of my own madness from my mind.
I couldn’t resist! I couldn’t resist, but I know I should have! I do not know why such awfulness makes my soul yearn to watch such an event, but last night I crept under the cloak of night and watched the macabre display once more. It was a young woman this time, and another boy who I can only assume was her son. I couldn’t turn away. They clutched each other fiercely as that thing stepped out of the woodlands once more, no less vile than my last sighting of it. I feel faint thinking about their fate.
I paid closer attention to the ritual this time. The men who held the lanterns again sang, but I recognised that their voices were too deep for any human throat to emit. Their ominous tones caused what I can only describe as a mental vibration. It did not affect me to any degree, but it seems that this is what beckons the creature.
I too noticed that the stake plunged into the earth was not a simple piece of wrought iron. Once the creature had taken what it needed, one of the men stepped toward it, bathing it in the lantern’s light. Along the length of it were symbols, none that I recognise or am versed in. Some were swirled while others roughly hewn, and I can only surmise that these symbols are either from an ancient language or some remote part of the globe.
Now I must try to rest, although however I shall rest again after seeing that I do not know.
Henry Tanner came to visit me. My heart thundered at first, thinking he or one of the men must have somehow witnessed my spying the other night. He was an odd man, slow and methodical in the way that he moved, with an eye constantly studying some element of his surroundings. He spoke very directly, with an almost forced pronunciation. It has come to pass that my workings as a chemist has not passed him by, and Henry seems to be in need of certain chemicals and equipment. As sick as I feel over my decision, I cannot afford to turn away such coin. He has requested opiates, lots of them, and further chemicals that are designed to relax or restrict human functions. I dread to think of his use for them, and in such quantities too. Still, I must continue my work, and perhaps it will allow me a further glimpse into the workhouse itself.
I could not sleep last night, so found myself watching the edge of the forest under the moonlight. I occasionally snatched glimmers of movement among the treeline, but I put this down to fatigue, as when I looked again the shadows were still. The dark can often play tricks on the eyes, especially tired ones.
Andrew and I have now read these entries several times over. After much persuasion, Andrew has convinced me that we need to go look over the site where these rituals were sighted. It is the school holidays and, as such, we are both busy during the day. We are heading out tonight to investigate. The moon is behind a shroud of heavy cloud, so we will be relying solely on our torches. In the pit of my stomach I truly hope we find nothing, but there is something in the back of my mind which is electrifying my nerves.
I will report back on what we uncover.