"I believed the son-of-a-bitch," Harold said, as they sat in the library over glasses of strong brandy. "It promised to give me my wife back, and I believed it. Tyee was right. I'm an idiot."327Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ3nELbEffTO
Colin Knight watched him carefully through the half-moon lenses of his spectacles. Then he leaned forward with his elbows with his elbows on the library table, and said, "Perhaps Tyee was a little too hard on you, Mr. Winstanley. Or maybe I should call you Harold. After all, I have been trying for years to rescue my dead ancestor, so I can hardly condemn or criticize you for trying to rescue your dead wife. Unfortunately, Supay is not a demon whose word can ever be trusted. It is a demon of death and lies; and you have been lied to, and almost killed."
"What do we do now?" Harold asked him. "It's already destroyed half of Salem. How do we stop it?"
Old man Knight thoughtfully rubbed the back of his wrinkled neck. "I have been giving this matter some considerable thought, while you have been bathing. Tyee believes that Supay will probably have been fed by now, and will have revived enough to have left the boat-ramp where you landed it. But he doubts the demon will have gone far. It has awoken after 290 years, and it will no doubt wish to acclimatize itself before it attempts to exercise its full power over the local populace, and further afield.
"How will it do that?"
"It is our guess," said old man Knight, "that it will seek out someplace to hide itself; somewhere that it remembers from bygone days. Sarah has suggested George Badger's old cottage by the Mill Pond. That was where it spent most of its days in Salem; and that is where it will likely retreat now."
"But that cottage isn't there anymore."
"No," said Colin Knight. "According to my maps of the 1690s, George Badger's cottage used to stand in a clump of trees just west of what is now Canal Street."
"And what stands there now? Or is it open ground?"
"Oh, no, there's a building there now," said old man Knight. "The Sunlight & District Book Warehouse. That, in our opinion, is where Supay will go to hide for a while; and that, in our opinion, is where we must to go destroy it."
Harold took another sip of brandy, and felt it burn down the back of his throat. Then he looked at Tyee, and old man Knight, and said, "What are you going to do? How do you go about destroying a living mummy---especially one as powerful as Supay?"
Tyee said, "There is only one hope. The Devil-in-Gold must be frozen. Once frozen, it must be attacked with sledgehammers, and dismantled. Each piece must then be buried separately over a wide area, and each grave must be blessed in the name of the great spirit Gitche Manitou and in the name of the Christian Trinity. Then, there will be no escape for Supay."
"How are you going to freeze it?" Harold wanted to know. "Do you think it's going to let you? This morning, it blew a policeman's guts out, right in front of me."
"We must take the risk of approaching it," said old man Knight. "It may kill us outright, but we must take the risk. There is no other way. Once we are close enough, we will spray it with liquid nitrogen. We already have the equipment prepared. We were going to use it to dismantle Supay once my ancestor Herbert Knight been released from his bondage to Machukuna. But even if that release is not to be, we must still destroy the Devil-in-gold, and we have the means to do so."
Harold looked seriously at Colin Knight, and then at Tyee. "You're going to have to let me do it, you know that."
Old man Knight shook his head. "The risk is too great. Besides, you are ignorant of these things."
"I released Supay. I've gotta take the chance of trying to destroy it."
"No," old man Knight repeated, and this time Harold knew there was going to be no arguing with him. But he added, more sympathetically, "You can accompany him, if you want. You can be his assistant. He will need someone to help him to carry the cylinders of liquid nitrogen; and he will need someone to help him collect the frozen fragments of Supay when it has finally been defeated."
Old man Knight sounded as if the job had already been done: but Harold could tell from the stern look on Tyee's face that the danger they faced was extreme, and that there was every chance that by later this afternoon both of them would be chewed to pieces by the horrible sharp teeth of Supaticus, the Devil-in-Gold.
"I want you to rest now," said Colin Knight. "You will leave for Mill Pond in an hour. I want you to think of nothing else but victory over the influences of darkness, and that you are strong enough to defeat even the most terrible of demons. Consider yourself a warrior, Harold, who is about to embark on a great adventure. Dragon-slaying, monster-butchering, something mythical and courageous. For after all, destroying Supay will be just that."
In spite of Colin Knight's advice, Harold spent most of the next hour pacing around his sitting-room, drinking whiskey. Outside, the sky grew darker and darker, until he had to switch on his lights. I tried to read, but he didn't feel in the mood for geology, and he couldn't get past the word "Preface." He tried telephoning Pauline, but the lines were down, and all he could get was a distant crackling noise. At last he lay on his bed with hands over his eyes, and thought of nothing at all. Five minutes later, however, when he was just beginning to relax, Tyee came into his room and said somberly, "We are ready to leave now. Please be quick."
Harold followed him downstairs without saying a word, half-skipping as he went to push his sneaker onto his left foot. The refrigerated truck had been loaded with twenty cylinders of liquid nitrogen, and a device like a firefighter's spray, as well as an insulated suit and gloves to protect Tyee from the sub-zero gas. Sarah was to come with us, but Colin Knight was going to stay behind. He explained that he was too old to fight demons anymore, but all of them knew that if Supay were to wipe out Tyee, Sarah, and Harold, then somebody who knew how to defeat it would have to remain safe.
Colin Knight took Harold's hand between both of his, and squeezed it. "Take care," he said, "and remember that what you are fighting has no moral scruples, no conscience. It will kill you if it can. It will expect you to do the same in return."
They drove away into the darkness, the three of them sitting side by side in the cab. They said very little to one another as they headed east towards Salem. We were all afraid, we all knew it, and there wasn't much point in discussing it. The cylinders of nitrogen clanked around in the back, but Harold wondered whether there was really any future in trying to use them on a monster like Supay.
All around them, the Massachusetts countryside was like hell by Hieronymus Bosch. Fires leaped up from shopping malls and residential estates; overturned vehicles burned in the roads in grotesque funeral pyres, their tires flaring and dripping like incendiary wreaths.
Sarah said, "This is what Salem must have been like in the days when George Badger first brought Supay back from Peru. No wonder they tore all references to it out of the history books, and never spoke about it. It must have seemed like a nightmare when they finally got rid of it."
At last they reached the outskirts of Salem, and made a careful detour down Jefferson Avenue to cross the MBTA Commuter tracks quite a way south of the Sunlight Book Warehouse. As they drove slowly up towards the warehouse, their tires crunched on broken glass, and the highway was splattered with red in places, as if it had been raining blood. Harold saw a family who had been dragged out of their car and pitifully torn to pieces as if by wild animals. And the horrible truth of it was that it was his fault, his responsibility. If it hadn't been for his selfishness and his blindness, Supay would never have gotten free; and this gory rampage of Salem's dead would never have happened.
All he could possibly do to atone for my stupidity was to destroy the demon he had set free.
The warehouse stood on the intersection of Canal and Roslyn, overlooking the railroad tracks. It was here, 290 years ago, that George Badger had lived, and it was here that George Badger had died. His cottage had stood among a clump of trees that had long since vanished; but for Supay this was still familiar ground. Demons permeate the ground on which they live with a rank odor, like diseased dogs, or so Colin Knight had told Harold. That was how they knew where to return after hundreds of years; and that was why devil-possessed places like Amityville and Rohrerstown always had a sickening odor.
The warehouse was a gray, rectangular building, with a small brick administration block on side, and rows of windows high up by the roof. As Tyee drew the truck in to the curb, they knew at once that Colin Knight had guessed correctly: from within the building, they could see those blue-and-white electric flickers which betrayed the presence of that malevolent energy with which Supay had been haunting Ol' Spithead. Tyee pulled the truck to a stop across the street, and they all climbed out.
"There can be no delay," said Tyee. "We must go straight in, and spray the creature with liquid nitrogen straight away. Any hesitation and it will destroy us; and you have seen what it is capable of doing to a human body, without even touching it."
Harold nodded. He was so horrified that he could barely speak. He opened the back of the truck, and helped Tyee to unload one of the cylinders of nitrogen, and mount it on a trolley. Tyee then dressed himself in the silvery insulated suit, while Sarah strapped the firefighter's hose on his back.
It took them five minutes at least to get ready; but fortunately there were none of the walking dead around, and it didn't seem as if any of Supay's minions had seen them. They quickly crossed the street, and went into the warehouse yard by a side entrance.
As they approached, the feeling of dread increased; and the stench of that evil demonic presence grew so strong that Harold felt like vomiting. He forced open a small back door in the warehouse, and they pushed their way inside, Tyee first, then Harold with the trolley of liquid gas, then Sarah. They hurried silently through the corridors of the Sunlight offices, left, then right, then left again, until they reached the swing doors which led directly into the warehouse itself.
Tyee, his insulated helmet held under his arm, beckoned Harold wordlessly towards the doors. Through the small windows in them, they could see right across to the far side of the warehouse; and what they saw there made Harold freeze in sheer terror. It was a scene from some barbaric representation of all that was foul.
The mummy Supay was sitting cross-legged on a makeshift throne of crates and packing-cases, its huge skull bent forward. All around it, in their charnel-house robes, swarmed the dead of the local cemeteries, from Ol' Spithead and Salem and Maple Hill. Each of the corpses was bearing in his hands a torn-our human heart, sometimes two or three, and waiting his turn to lay his gruesome offering at Supay's mummified feet.
The whole grisly scene was lit by that flickering electrical light which turned the color of blood to black; and the eyes of the prince of the region of the dead to dark-green, knowing, infinitely malevolent orbs.
Tyee said, "This is it. Are you ready?"
"No, but let's do it."
Tyee fitted his helmet over his head, unclipped the muzzle of his fire-hose, and then said, "When I shout 'go,' turn on the gas. Not before. When I shout 'off,' turn it off."
"I think I can understand that."
"Okay, this is it," said Tyee, and before Harold knew what was happening they had pushed open the swing doors and started jogging as fast as they could across the concrete warehouse floor, thrusting aside corpse after shambling corpse, dodging away from flailing arms, both of them intent on one thing only: freezing the Devil-in-Gold before it realized what they were doing, and blew them both apart.
They slid over blood, and then they were there, right in front of Supay, right beneath the immense withered and purple-skinned head. The demon had been gorging itself on hearts, and its shark-like teeth were bloody and tangled with sinew and arteries. It nodded and turned towards us, its head overhanging them like a hideous purple balloon, and then Tyee screamed a muffled, "Go!" and Harold yanked the spanner that turned on the liquid nitrogen.
Freezing gas spewed out of the nozzle, and Tyee directed it straight upwards, straight into the creature's mummified face.
Harold heard a deep, vibrant, floor-shaking roar, reminiscent of two subway trains at full speed colliding head-on in a tunnel. He was thrown right over on his side, jarring his left shoulder on the floor; Supay's corpses flew all around him in a ghastly blizzard.
Tyee somehow managed to stay on his feet, spraying the demon's head in slow, steamy, systematic sweeps. Harold felt the intense cold of the liquid nitrogen even from ten feet away, and he could see the whiteness of frozen gas forming around Supay's mouth and eye-sockets.
But the creature was far from defeated. It reached out with one mummified yet muscular arm, and before Tyee could duck away, it had taken him around the waist. Harold heard Tyee yell, and he saw him directing the hissing stream of gas onto the fingers that clutched him; but Supay squeezed tighter and tighter, and then Harold heard a terrible crunching noise inside Tyee's insulated suit. Tyee jerked, sagged, jerked again; and then fell to the floor. The gas nozzle fell with him, spraying all around them like a fulminating python.
Harold scrambled to his feet, and snatched the fire-hose himself. The nozzle was so cold that the skin of his hands stuck to it, and he couldn't peel them free. But he directed the gas at Supay, streaming it up and down its chest, from side to side across its face, and shouting at the top of his voice, words that were in no language but those of fear and hatred and hysterical revenge.
Supay reached out for Harold, slowly but with terrifying inevitability. He sprayed its fingers, and saw them draw back a little, but then it began to reach out for him with its other arm.
Harold stepped away; but lost his footing on the rotting body of a corpse. Supay's huge hand seized his hip, and then his waist, and he felt as if he had been embraced by a Great White shark's jaws.
"Aaaaaaaahhhh! " Harold screamed. He knew that he was dead. He felt one of his ribs break, and the crushing pain on his pelvis was unbearable. He sprayed the demon's face again and again, but then he began to lose consciousness. Everything went black-and-white, like a photographic negative, and he felt a creaking sound inside of his body that must have been his hipbone being strained to the utmost.
But quite suddenly, the pressure was relieved, and then released altogether. Harold dropped to his knees, his eyes tight-closed, trying to keep the stream of liquid gas directed towards Supay, although he hardly knew where the demon was. It was only after he recovered sufficiently to lift his head and look around him that he realized what had happened.
Standing amidst all of the walking corpses, giving out an unearthly and radiating light of her own, pale but somehow strong and celestial and beautiful, stood Nancy. Her hair flowed up about her head as it had before, but now it gave off steady star-like streams of silver radiance.
She was quite naked, but somehow her nakedness was asexual and spiritual. Beside her walked a young boy of four or five years old, as beautiful as she was, also naked, giving off the same calm light.
Supay unsteadily lifted its ghastly head. Its cheeks were thickly rimed with frost, and icicles hung from the color of its dark-golden tunic. It regarded Nancy in apparent disbelief, and shook itself like a wounded animal.
Harold didn't know what was happening or why; but he took his chance. Holding up his liquid nitrogen spray, he climbed onto Supay's ankle, and then onto his massive posterior. Gritting his teeth against the pain of his own broken rib, he scaled the side of its chest, all the way to its shoulder, and stood there, pouring out freezing gas until the demon's trunk was thick with sparkling white frost.327Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ3Sa5PFCJ25
Nancy gradually faded; and the boy with her. But at that moment there was a snapping noise, and one of Supay's frozen fingers dropped from its hand and clattered onto the floor. Then its left arm gave way; then its right; and Harold found himself standing on what felt like a collapsing building, as the Devil-in-Gold's entire body began to fall apart under him.
Its neck snapped, and then its back, and then that huge and hideous head rolled to the concrete floor and shattered into dozens and dozens of tiny fragments.
All around Harold, as he scrambled down the demon's deteriorating body, the dead of Salem and Ol' Spithead were rustling to the floor in ragged heaps; the false life taken out of them; the false breath drawn from their lungs.327Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ05N5iKCdo5
Sarah came slowly forward, and helped Harold to turn off the liquid nitrogen. All the skin was frozen from the palms of his hands, and he was severely burned and lacerated. But he was alive, at least, and that was one blessing that he couldn't question.
"Did you see Nancy?" Harold asked Sarah, in a shaky voice. "Did you see her just then?"
Sarah said, "I hope so. I called her myself."
"You called her yourself? How?"327Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡuD0X2OzbDO
Sarah rested her hand on Harold's shoulder, and smiled. "Come on," she said, "we still have work to do. All of these fragments must be taken away from here, and buried according to the rituals."327Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡLSgAHDrSn7
"But how did you call Nancy? And why did she help us? I thought she was one of Supay's servants."
"She was," said Sarah. "That is, until you killed her a second time, and freed her from Supay's power. She is at rest now, because of you; and so is your unborn son."
"I still don't understand."
Sarah looked around at the carnage in the warehouse, and sadly down at Tyee. "Your wife was a member of the sisterhood, Mr. Winstanley. She would never have told you because she was forbidden to tell you; and in any case you would never have believed her."
Sarah nodded. "Your wife was a Salem witch. Not from her mother's side of the family, but from her father's so her power was not especially strong. But she was enough of a witch to have been in touch with others of the sisterhood; and enough of a witch, of course, to have been very susceptible to the powers of Supay."
"What now?" Harold said, nodding towards the scrap heap that was once Supay. "Now this monster's dead, are your powers all gone."
"Not all of them," said Sarah. "The power of kindness will always endure. When Supay saw your wife, Mr. Winstanley, it was a reminder that its power is limited; and that there is a greater power which reigns over it, even today."
Harold looked up. He felt extremely tired. Through the upper windows of the warehouse, falling in cathedral-like rays, came the pale light of the afternoon, and he realized then that the darkness of Supay had at last been destroyed. He tried very hard not to cry.327Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡLQy4e8U6dAns 18.104.22.168da2