474 Arkham


    It was the year 2022, August 4th in this world. Phones, computers, internet, it had all the modern technology. Gu Jun sat on the backseat of the Buick. He looked through the window and saw a historical town with New England style. Arkham was built along the northern and southern sides of the Miskatonic River. The two sides were connected by three large bridges. The banks were lined with picturesque buildings with mossy walls and country-style eaves. This was a town of a small size but it had all the necessary amenities. It had a world-famous university, church, prison, theatre and several hospitals. It had several noted publication houses, like Arkham Public, Arkham Advertisers. Arkham Honest Daily, where Hannah worked at, was the third biggest publication. However, all these traditional media were under the threat by the new online media. So technically Hannah should be able to take a break to come fetch her sick brother.

    Arkham's history, like the towns around it, was deeply intertwined with the Salem Witch Trials. When Gu Jun got back 'his', well, Jim's phone, he did not find anything too special but he did obtain more understanding about his new identity due the picture albums and notes. Then he went online. This Arkham did have the legendary Witch House, Keziah Mason's former home. However at this place, Keziah Mason was no longer a character inside the King in Yellow. She was a real historical character. She was from the 17th century. She came from a line of proud heritage but she was ultimately captured due to suspicion of witchcraft. While in imprisonment, she managed to open a dimensional door with the aid of her familiar cat and two ghosts. The prison guards were shocked beyond disbelief. The first time Gu Jun heard about this witch was from the old man living at Chickasaw, at the Massachusetts World in the early 20th century. The story that he heard then did not include the cat and two ghosts. But now, in the modern Massachusetts world, the details of the legend had changed, a change that they initiated.

    Now the Witch House was a tourist spot at Arkham. Many years ago, the ancient house was bought by a merchant. He remodelled it into a b&b with a witchery theme. The guests could study the relics left behind while staying in the witch's former room. However, Gu Jun found on the internet an article lambasting the authenticity of the relics. These 'relics' were apparently just a marketing ploy by the hotelier. On the travel website, the Witch House had a very low score, 3.1 over 5. Comments included bad service, hot water issue, dirty rooms but the biggest complaint was the lack of supernatural activity. Even so, the Witch House was full every night, attracting young thrill seekers.

    Reading these reviews, Gu Jun couldn't help but be consumed by a sense of absurdity. He had been to the Arkham Prison in the 1690s, he was familiar with how brutish the people were then. And he was a witness to the supernatural event that happened around this place. But now, it appeared like the darkness had dissipated and the Witch House became nothing more than a place of interest.

    Arhkam Sanitorium was situated at the town's northern countryside, while the Mazurewicz stayed at a neighbourhood on the southern side. The store that they ran was around the neighbourhood as well. Therefore, the car crossed the Miskatonic River on the way home. Gu Jun saw passing ships on the wide river, pedestrians jogging by the banks and doves flying in the sky. It was peaceful but for some reason, he felt like the faces of these tourists looked so fake.

    After crossing the river, they soon reached High Streets. The place was lined with houses with green gardens. Finally, the car stopped before a 2 storeys tall building. Sanders was the first to exit. Bob and Jennifer waited for Gu Jun.

    "Jim, welcome home." Bob said with a kind smile. Gu Jun observed everything. He exited the car, went up the porch and entered the house. He saw some pictures near the front door. Each of them was a verification of Jim's existence. Using amnesia as an excuse, he requested more background on each picture.

    "This was you during your high school piano recital." Bob pointed at a picture of Jim playing piano on stage, he was visibly proud. Gu Jun did not know how to play the piano, he had not studied it before. But he would not be the first to be suddenly gifted with musical talents. He was reminded of the girls like Huili...

    "When will Hannah be back?" he asked, it was almost dusk.

    "She's probably still at work." Bob groused with some pride, "If you ask me, they are taking advantage of her because she's their best worker." Gu Jun just listened quietly and then he said he wanted to be alone. Bob and Jennifer retreated to the kitchen to make dinner. Gu Jun made himself at home. He walked around and then went upstairs. He entered Jim's room. It was clearly a man's room. Ignoring the possibility of a hidden camera, he turned over everything.

    Jim was also a medical student. A bone model and suture-training kit sat on the table. Gu Jun missed these things. He was also reminded of his Carlot instruments, he wondered where they were now. He looked through Jim's objects but he found nothing remotely related to the King in Yellow.

    "How is that possible?" Gu Jun frowned. Even acute schizophrenia would not trigger overnight. According to Sanders, Jim was already talking to him about the King in Yellow in mid-march so he would have read it much earlier. A medical student would have the habit of making many notes... Mind maps, lines, pictures to help with the studies.

    He did see revision notes on the table and they were well-made, but they were all on his medical studies. For someone like Jim, if he was so interested in Gu Jun, no, if he thought he was Gu Jun, then he would have the need to clarify things, right? Especially in the Mutated Locust Chapter, there were so many complicated themes like over-riding realities and temporal inversion, at the very least, there should be a mind map to make sense of things. Hell, Gu Jun himself had a stack of it but Jim had none?!

    Was it possible that he left it at school? But Jim was at home when acted up and his backpack was in the room. Then the more plausible thought came to Gu Jun. Jim probably did his research but... his notes had all been confiscated. With that thought in mind, he exited the room. He looked down the corridor at the other room, Hannah's room. Perhaps that was the real Witch House.

    'Since I'm Jim, it's normal for me to visit my sister's room, right?' Gu Jun sauntered towards it casually. He gripped the door handle and gave it a try, it was not locked.
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