The Armitage Files
This one I will send before the others. Then the earlier ones. It cannot be guaranteed, given the means of transmission, that they will arrive in order sent. Or at all. In fact, it is highly likely, given the vagaries of the invocation, that some will be consumed in the howling æthers. But if you are not reading this, then you are not reading this, so what can I do but assume that you are?
Conundrums, paradoxes… (Conundri? Paradoxisms?)
You will know who to entrust it with. At first I merely thought to send it later, appending a warning, but now — the nature of it… but no. The simpler the better. This will be the only set of instructions. The others will be excerpts from the notes, already written. There are limitations on how much I can send at once. Also, I am now continually on the move, as the ones who have stolen my face hunt and track me. There are so few shelters now, so infrequent the moments of rest… I must marshal my resources each time.
Also there is the warning that the later I have written something, the less store you can place in it, as the disturbance of my mind increases. I believe, hope, pray that the Möbius hornets have been fully expundged from my
consequences consciousness. That they no longer colonize my reason, adjust my memories. (Warning: I am no longer sure whether they are metaphorical or literal. Either is possible.) I look now and the notes are spiderscratchy, curving in on themselves. But beware, nonetheless, for if there is a thing that is in short supply from this vantage point, it is hope. So just because this is in a familiar hand, my oldest friend, do not assume you can trust it. Vigilance above all as you proceed. Or, to put it more precisely, do not proceed yourself. For you have failed, my friend. Failed to take the right road, when there were so many others to travel. I cannot go back and retrace my steps, but you can send others, who will inevitably choose to tread variant paths, see other patterns in the puzzle, come to different conclusions… Looking back there are so many decision points… If but a single one is taken differently, the towers of New York might not sink and melt, restless shapes will not blacken the land, the canyons will not quake and be upthrust—
Hubris! It is hubris you must avoid! Also, do not place your trust in Austin Kittrell. I believe this was my first mistake. Whether he misled intentionally, was a dupe, or acted in utter ignorance of the consequences his advice would put into motion, I still cannot determine. I tried to track him, because if I gazed upon his face I would know—the fact that he has a face—but Kittrell: act warily around him. Perhaps do not approach at all. Maybe that is the first fork. If only I had not engaged him in conversation that chilly night, as he smoked those thin cigarettes on the portico…
Again, the other pages will only be notes. You will have to make of them what you will.
There is a thumping downstairs. I should have feared to enter this building, as it stands out among all others, intact among an architectural graveyard. The basement I thought secured. I should have occupied it, not the attic, but since the—
No, there is no time to be writing this. Here are other better possible places to start:
The new sanatorium on the outskirts of town. When I was there, I sensed that something had gone awry. Yet I was distracted by my fruitless attempt to find men who had been at the circus that October night. That is a dead end, I am sure, or at the very least a counter-productive one. The circus may figure into it, but October is a blind alley. Or rather a trap. It is your minds you must preserve above all.
I am sorry. They are at me, making me think of them, preventing me from writing what I must write.
EVERYTHING I WRITE HERE MAY BE A DECEPTION. RELY ON THE NOTES TO COME LATER. THIS DOCUMENT IS TAINTED BY THE MIND WASPS. IT CANNOT BE TRUST’D EXCEPT FOR GENERAL
It is not the staff, like I thought. It is one of the patients. One of the patients knows more than he thinks he knows. Or she. Look for the telltale signs. The beads of sweat. The eyes behind the eyes.
Also there was the trip to the Kingsport Yacht Club. Definitely they were lying to me there. But by that time I had already opened the red box. They may have been of our kind, viewing me correctly as a liability. Or of the other side.
WHEN I SPEAK OF THE RED BOX, IT IS NOT A BOX AT ALL. IT IS A BOOK. THAT IS, I CONFUSE THE BOX AND THE BOOK. THE BOX IS A HAZARD, YES, BUT IT IS THE BOOK THAT TRULY
If of our kind, there is an agenda there, a short-sighted one, that I could not quite comprehend. Oliver Gardiner seemed to see through me and to become progressively more distant as I talked. Was it when I mentioned in passing the J. Edgar Hoover connection? Wheels within wheels. Yes, it was then he grew cold.
I WILL NOT NAME THE BOOK, BECAUSE I HAVE COME TO SUSPECT THAT THE BOOK ONLY EXISTS IN THE MINDS OF THOSE THAT NAME IT. ITS SECRETS ARE NOT TO BE PLUMBED. YOU CANNOT DESTROY IT—though if you can figure out how to destroy it you should—BUT THAT ENTAILS HANDLING IT, AND HANDLING IT IS TANTAMOUNT TO OPENING THE RED BOX.
An approach to Gardiner that does not reference the occult, the Old Ones, the forces of authority—in other words, as legitimate members of a boating association…
Or perhaps better to tackle it all through Diamond Walsh. I do not believe he occurs in the notes. At the very least, quite dangerous in the mundane sense, a gangster and a smiling killer. I thought to approach with caution, and Gardiner more my metier, but it could be that my estimation was better reversed, and that Gardiner was by far the more dangerous specimen…
What are you looking for? The grinding wheels of time, ours and theirs, colliding, collapsing into one another. The intersections between human and inhuman desires are too many for the ebon hand of Nyarlathotep to be far away. It holds the levers… if only I had detected its movements earlier, it all could have been forestalled.
I think the notes will appear out of order, so that you will not replicate my failed path, but rather forge a new one through all of these disparate yet connected and sinister stars points.
I KNOW IT IS VERY HARD TO LEAVE A
BOX BOOK CLOSED BUT IN THE NAME THAT ALL THAT IS DECENT, IN PROTECTION OF YOUR OWN SANITY —
DO NOT DRINK THE TEARS OF AZAZOTH!