By Al Giovetti
Lead Artist:


SOLUTION TO ALONE IN THE DARK 2 December 24th 1924. Hell's Kitchen. California

The Beginning

  1. Night enveloped the sinister manor. A north wind howled and leaden clouds rolled across the sky, chasing what little light was left. Sallow rays of sun were swallowed in the choking blackness that embraced this unhappy corner of the world. The yellow taxi with its bright chrome seemed an insolent intrusion into this universe of gloom. The car came to a halt some hundred yards from the gates to Hell's Kitchen and, as soon as the lone passenger had gotten out, hastened back towards the safety of the city. Edward Carnby watched the taxi disappear round a bend. The branches of some trees flickered briefly in the beams of its headlamps, like doomed souls jerking in the eternal fires. Carnby walked to the gates, happily unaware that he was embarking on a trip into terror. He did know that he was all alone; were hell to break loose inside the house, he would have to face it without help from outside. That night, in that house, hell broke loose. Now, as this troubled century draws to a close, many enigmas posed during the night of December 24th in a bleak manor house somewhere in California remain unanswered. INFOGRAMES invites you to read some extracts from that spine-chilling adventure, as told by Edward Carnby himself in his memoirs. The memoirs of one man alone in the dark Which chapter of Edward Carnby's memoirs would you like to read?

    In the Garden of Hell's Kitchen and the Demon's Abode The Forgotten Galleon


    (A loud explosion) I entered Hell's Kitchen with quite a bang. My bomb blasted open the gate and blew the guard off his feet. Before he could gather his wits, I squeezed off a couple of 44 slugs into his no-good carcass and rid the world of a bad guy. That's when I realized this night was going to be kind of ghoulish: you see, his body sank under the ground all by itself. I picked up his Tommy gun and a flask and wondered what the future held for grave-diggers. Well, I was in! Going along the alley, I got as far as a bench when two gangsters, who obviously heard my bomb, arrived to bid me a warm welcome. The formalities did not take too long. We exchanged season's greetings and a lot of bullets. Then they lay down because they were feeling dead.


    Whoever took care of the gardens in that place would have been an interesting person to meet. I did not get a chance to although I did run into quite a few people. It seemed as if the Homicidal Maniacs Club had just declared open season on Carnby. I remember a whole lot of pump-action shotguns all eager to empty themselves into my guts! I am afraid I was forced to terminate those folks. I have never felt comfortable in a garden since that night. I found time to pick up a few useful items: some ammunition for my Tommy gun, a rope, a few flasks and a grappling-iron. I also came across a strange enigma: four giant playing cards, each of them an ace! The only thing I could think of was that diamonds were One Eyed Jack's emblem. So I crossed my fingers and stepped onto the ace of diamonds. The next thing I knew, I was lying on my back in some kind of an underground tunnel.


    I forgot all about being winded; after all, I had just discovered a secret underground tunnel! Wasting no time, I walked along the gallery and soon came face to face with a very weird character. Was he trying to kiss me or what? He sure didn't look like he wanted to kill me. In fact, he was following me around like a puppy-dog. Now, I'm a broad-minded guy, and I might have allowed this bozo to hang around except for one thing: he smelled bad. Oh boy, did that guy stink! It was just so nauseating I was forced to head-butt the creep into eternity. I sure hope they have deodorant. I made a quick visit of the tunnel complex, finding only a flask, an illegible fragment of a notebook and a chest with a wood-worm problem. I thought I could make out something shiny under the chest, so I tried pushing it. There was a scraping sound behind me. My hand flew to my Tommy gun, but there wasn't anybody to shoot: I had in fact activated a mechanism of some kind. Before my eyes, an altar rose from the floor! I pushed the chest some more and uncovered a metal jack of diamonds. That didn't seem like a whole lot of use, so I put it down on the altar. Imagine my surprise when a ladder appeared on the wall opposite me! That wasn't the only thing that appeared. I also saw a shapeless semitransparent creature. Not waiting to decide if I was scared, I ran over and started punching it, whatever it was. Well, I guess that was the right thing to do: it quickly vanished, leaving me with a rusty pirate cutlass. I'd had about all I wanted in those tunnels, so I climbed up the mysterious la dder. To be honest, I thought I was going up into the house through a secret passage in a chimney. However, I found myself back when I had found the rope. Well, they do say being a private eye means taking the tough breaks on the chin, whatever that means. All that greenery was starting to get on my nerves, so I made my way towards the statue of One Eyed Jack, whose top I could clearly see.


    Getting to the statue wasn't all that easy: there was a giant root in my way. I had to use the sword I won underground to hack a way through. The next thing I noticed was that the statue was very well guarded. A little guy was gazing at it as if it was a bagful of hundred dollar bills. The little character was the notorious Shorty Leg, so called because he was short and had a wooden leg. I could not remember what else he was famous for. Then he kindly demonstrated: that wooden leg was pumping a hail of 44 caliber slugs at me. Shorty had his technique down to a fine art, and to eliminate him, I had to shoot at the precise moment he raised his leg. Before sinking, like his buddies, beneath the ground, he left a scrap of journal that made for fascinating reading. It was in fact the immortality pact of a certain Music Man, also known as Sean O'Leary. This piece of paper could turn out to be a weapon worth all the Tommy guns in the world! I took a good look at the statue Shorty leg admired so much. I even thoughthow nice it would be to turn into a pigeon for long enough to express my feelings, but there wasn't much time for dreaming. I turned to walk away when I remembered a photo a dead hoodlum had left behind. It showed One Eyed Jack and some of his henchmen standing in front of the statue. The sculpture was a good likeness, which didn't say much for Jack. There was a detail, however, which caught my attention: the statue's arm wasn't in the same position as in the photo! I breathed slowly and got to work. I knotted the rope to the grappling-iron. Then I threw the grappling-iron over the statue's arm. I got lucky: my first throw was good. The arm came down. I heard a click and Open Sesame! There was a secret opening under the statue. Silently thanking whoever it was for discovering photography, I went down the hole.


    The ladder that led down below the statue would have scared the pants off a monkey. It looked like a well and felt bottomless. And the deeper I went, the worse the smell got. A sickening stench of putrefaction! The air was thick with it. The ladder was getting greasy and dangerous. Suddenly, a rung broke! I scrabbled for a grip but it was no use. The bottom came up fast and hard. Luckily, no bones felt broken. Somebody up in the sky must have been on my side that night. But my weapons were lost and there was no going back. I was on a stone platform in the middle of a huge underground room. All around me there was thin air, so I couldn't afford to foul up. The only way forward was along a wooden plank which acted as a bridge to another stone platform just visible in the darkness. It didn't look too promising but there wasn't any choice. Before walking the plank, I picked up a crank, a nickel and a paper bag that happened to be sharing, the platform with me. I made it across to the other platform and almost tripped over something soft. I took a closer look at this latest obstacle. It was Ted, Ted Striker, my best, maybe my only friend. A lousy place to die, buddy. After a couple of minutes, I was steady enough to search him. All I found was a torn page from his investigation notebook. By holding it against the other fragment I'd found, I was able to read the following message: "Carnby, if you `re reading this, I `m dead. The Sanders girl was kidnapped by One Eyed Jack In spite of what one paper claimed. The man is a monster, obsessed with gambling and death. Hell's Kitchen is a warren of secret passages. I'm sure that for one of them, the answer lies in the cards. Remember all those poker nights we had. Something else: the gang makes hooch in the basement and transports it by boat at high tide from a cave in the cliff-face. Carnby, you've got to kill that monster and get the girl out of there. It's time for the pupil to show his teacher how it's done!" Before leaving Ted for the last time, r took his pipe-cleaner. Maybe his wife would like it as a keepsake. The only way out was an armored door that seemed locked. I tried the handle. It was locked all right! It was a shame to let a door prevent me from saving the Saunders kid. So I used the old paper under the door trick. You know the idea: you slide a sheet of paper under the door. Then you stick something thin like a pipe-cleaner into the key-hole. If you're lucky like me, there's a key on the other side; you push it out with the pipe-cleaner and it falls onto your paper! You pull the paper back out from under the door, grab the nice key and feel proud of yourself. Well, that's what I did. The door opened with a creak that reminded me of Derceto.


    The basement guard and I had something in common: a passion for opera! I would have loved to discuss Puccini with him but he looked like he'd rather fill me fill of front-row tickets to a Heavenly Choir recital. So I took out my paper bag, blew into it, making a big balloon which I then popped with an ear-splitting bang! The guard naturally raised his pump-action shotgun in my direction. We looked into each other's eyes for an instant. What I saw in his encouraged me to pull down the nearby lever. A keg helped him all the way to the cliff's edge. He sang something on his way down but it didn't sound like Puccini. I took his shotgun, flask and a manuscript he'd been considerate enough to leave for me. After all, we music-lovers have to help each other out. As I took a look around, a clock caught my attention. What was it doing there? On one side there was a delightful little hole that exactly matched my crank! I didn't hesitate to join the two in wedlock and they were so grateful. They showed me an attractivesecret passage beneath the barrels! I'm not one to look a gift-horse in the mouth, so I went through there like a shot. In front of the service-elevator, I came across a box of cartridges for my shotgun. I was just slipping some into my grateful weapon when the door of the hoist closed and I heard the motor start up.


    In the ground-floor hallway, I was greeted by an interesting individual. He held a weapon that was as grotesque as it was deadly: an accordion. Noticing that his left hand had been replaced by a hook, I had a clearer idea of the kind of music he played. For the moment, he was interpreting a very rhythmic piece that also managed to punch six-inch holes in the wall behind me. This just had to be the one and only Sean O'Leary. How privileged I was to have him play specially for me! His life story was remarkable. Dublin-born, this son of Erin was destined for greatness as a harpsichord player. But his hopes of a fine career were dashed when some members of an audience suggested he should learn to play with more than one finger. Naturally, he threw them out of a window. The authorities were most unfeeling and young Sean was forced to flee over the water to Scotland. where he joined the 3rd Highland Regiment. He lost his musical hand at Gibraltar and deserted before he lost the other. O'Leary studied accordion under the stern gaze of that fine teacher, Sancho Fernandez, the mad weaponsmith! Saying low in the Leeward Islands, the talented Sean was forced to undertake he most atrocious tasks to earn a meager crust. The poor fellow was almost lynched on the Night of the Red Knives. He sought refuge with One Eyed Jack and proved himself worthy of his leader's trust during the massacre at Cao Bang. In spite of he deep respect his music inspired in my soul, I felt it was time for Sean to retire and was about to blow his head off when an idea came to me: instead of wasting my precious cartridges, I took out the Music Man's Immortality Pact and tore it in two before his horrified eyes. Good-bye Sean and thanks again! I inherited his hook. Well, maybe I'd need curved toothpick someday. All of a sudden, there was gunfire! Strange as it may seem, no one was firing at me! I carefully opened the door, to find out who was doing the shooting.


    A wide staircase led from the laundry room up to the first story, but I decided the basement was the place for me. The gunshots were getting louder; they seemed to be coming from the next room. Before opening the door, I grabbed a battledore (that's a clothes beater, in case you didn't know).


    I had no trouble walking into the Firing Range unnoticed. The two firers were making enough noise to drown out a charging herd of drunk mammoths. These two geeks had a view of the world that began and ended on the firing range wall. Wondering if they could possibly be robots, I looked for a switch but they didn't have one. So it looked like I was going to have to turn them off some other way. Now, these lads were armed to the teeth and covered in very impressive muscles. That called for a sneaky approach to the problem. I seized my chance when one of them stopped to reload his weapon. I took out the other gangster with my only bullet and used the first guy's frozen surprise to empty all my cartridges into his unattractive face. Can you believe, he didn't want to go down! I had to beat him to pulp with my trusty battledore. Never take a clothes beater for granted, my friend! I picked up the package of cartridges for the shotgun, and found myself taking potshots at the targets on the wall. Well, you aren't going to believe this, but the cards repositioned themselves to form an ace of diamonds! Not only that, but a secret passage opened up before me! And there was a guard pointing his gun at me and pulling the trigger. Repeatedly! I treated him to a little battledore therapy. Poor guy never stood a chance. The way ahead was clear.


    My target practice had just led me into a distillery! There was enough illegal whisky there to last your lifetime and mine. I was thirsty but this was no time for fun, so I grabbed a bottle and told myself I'd drink it later on in honor of Ted. However, I did drink the contents of a flask I found on the shelves, and felt a whole lot better. I also discovered a book, which told me a lot about the activities of one of the residents, a charming son of a gun called Tom Flaherty, better known as T-Bone. Having set fire to the tavern of one Donovan, Tom sailed the China seas. At Yen T'ai, he teamed up with a pair of sushi specialists with a lust for gold, and called them his Cookies. This jolly group was held responsible for the raid on Madam Jojo's gaming house. Well, the three buckaroos broke out of Macao jail and ended up signing on for One Eyed Jack. Being a wily bird, T-Bone managed to liquidate the head cook and take his place. Old Tom was a dab hand with blowpipe and used it to slaugh ter the crew's dinner.His two helpers did the rest. Was I going to meet these lunatics? I found one more thing in there: a book by a senator called Grandt, all about how to play pool. It didn't teach me a whole lot, but since it mentioned a "one-armed bandit", I was tempted to spend my nickel. And I won the jackpot! Well actually, I won two tokens. The alcohol fumes were starting to get to me, so I decided to return to the Shooting Gallery. There was a surprise waiting for me: something fat and wearing undershorts tottering in front of the gallery door and drinking something that looked lethal. His eyes had given up trying to work as a team, but one of them looked like it saw me. That heaving sack of drunken stupor couldn't attack me, even with my help. And I wasn't about to shoot him: what if he exploded in my face! Offering him my bottle of whisky seemed as sure a method as any. I don't know what those boys put in their hooch, but that guy went out like a light! I had a look in his bag. There was a Santa-Claus outfit in there! Were kids going to sit on that beast's knee? How could Santy have fallen so low? Shaking my head more in sorrow than in disgust, I put on the costume. My next objective was to get to the ground floor.


    Clearly. the gangsters were used to having Santa Claus in the building, as the cookie I met outside the kitchen didn't appear the least surprised to see me. Something about the way he walked puzzled me for a few moments. Then I figured it out: the cookie was being very careful to walk only on the white floor-tiles. I did the same thing. Just as I was about to enter the kitchen, my foot was clumsy enough to step on a black tile. I knew I was in trouble when a loud click sounded in the corner of the room; the statue of Neptune fired his trident at me! I jumped back, and let the cookie take over my target duties. He was perfect: the trident took him right in the belly; a painful end, but richly deserved, in the opinion of many edible animals. Before going into the kitchen, I went up to the statue of Neptune and usurped his crown.


    Hardly had I set foot in the kitchen, when the head cook, none other than T-Bone, waved at me to sit down and eat the fried eggs that were on the table. This warmed me to the fellow, but the eggs weren't cooked. How can anyone not fry eggs right? Still, not wishing to be an ungrateful Santa Claus, I swallowed them. Maybe it was the way I didn't sway drunkenly. Maybe it was my pump-action shotgun. Whatever the reason, T-Bone soon figured out that I wasn't the Santa Claus he knew and loved. He grabbed his blowpipe and was soon spraying me with poisoned darts. I fended them off with a handy fry-pan, and soon he was out of ammo. Now it was an straight-forward classic duel: fry-pan against fry-pan. I'll admit that my fencing skills were of limited value. I had played a little tennis though, and soon managed to smash convincingly. At least T-Bone thought so. Having cooked his goose, I turned to face the inevitable assault of savage hordes attracted by the clang of cooking utensils. But no one had come. As a matter of fact, somebody somewhere was laughing heartily, oblivious to the havoc being wrought in the kitchen. I inspected the place and found a vial of poison, which I promptly poured into a half bottle of wine. Before leaving the kitchen, I noticed a dumbwaiter, an elevator for food trays. It was activated by a little bell. Unfortunately, I was too big to get in it. I left the kitchen and came to a double door that I reckoned should open onto the guard-room.


    The double door near the kitchen had a serving hatch which I was able to look through. In the room beyond, two guards were twiddling their thumbs in boredom. Those boys were more than happy to play along. I placed the bottle of poisoned wine in the serving hatch The hatch opened and the bottle vanished. After a short while, the hatch opened again. Those guys must have eaten something real bad, because they collapsed in a very unhealthy way. I was just about to go in, when an old friend dropped by; my boozing buddy from the Shooting Gallery was back in business. I was afraid he was going to invite me for a drink, but I needn't have worried. He had other things on his mind. From his undershorts, he pulled out his revolver and started waving it at me I couldn't afford the scandal, so I bopped him into never-never land with my y-pan. Furniture-wise, the Guard Room was a fine example of the almost-nothing style, except for a barrel organ and a foldaway bed. The door at the other end of the room was locked. Being a music lover, I was curious enough to push tone of the tokens I'd found into the organ's coin-slot. The token, which was yellow, triggered some loud music and a brief noise off to my left. I looked over and saw a gold doubloon spinning on the floor. I picked it up, glad to be making some money at last. I felt I should try my second token, a brown one. No gold doubloon this time. But the Dormitory door opened, which was a welcome surprise.


    Not being sick in that dormitory was about as easy as keeping your cigar dry in the shower. The place was musty, dusty and damp. with paper hanging off the walls. What kind of creepy nut would want to sleep there My visit wasn't wasted. though I can tell you! I found a bullet-proof vest on the first bed. On the floor, I picked up a Tommy gun and an ammo clip. Feeling ready for battle, I made for the second-story hallway.


    I was received on the second story by a nut who was going to be tough to crack: a deadly sharpshooter by the name of Alister Fein, alias Black Hat. This charm-school graduate began his life of crime at age eight! Little Alister missed his daddy, so he placed a teddy-bear stuffed with gelignite at the gate of Killarney jail! He and I had similar methods. Nine bodies were carried out from the smoking rubble. All that remained of captain Dickson was a fine black hat. Alister kept it as a souvenir and decorated it with very sharp blades. His exploits made an outlaw of him and he was soon in Trinidad, where he studied hard and became an acknowledged expert in firearms and manhunting. One Eyed Jack could hardly pass over this kind of talent, now could he? Black Hat and I didn't get much of a chance to chew the fat, I'm sorry to say. My Tommy gun just wouldn't shut up, and then it jammed. But not before giving poor old Alister his very last belly-ache! Having no one else to pass the time of day with, I sauntered over to the pool room.


    In the pool room, there was a pool table all right, but no balls. This tall character was looking at me, his right arm stretched out in my direction. An ally at last? Somehow, I didn't think so; I mean, best buddies don't normally point derringers at each other. Then he threw it down on the pool table. The man was challenging me to a duel! I didn't feel too happy about that, believe me. I'm a good shot with any weapon, even dueling pistols, but give me machine guns and dynamite any day. Now, according to dueling code, I was supposed to fire the first shot. He didn't hold with old-fashioned notions like dueling codes and emptied his gun at me. So, when he stopped to reload, I played the same trick on him. I lied about being a good shot: I aimed for his heart but could only manage to drill him between the eyes. Oh well. He left me his sword stick. A gentleman to the end. I had a look around and found only half of a parchment, which meant I couldn't read it. I kept it anyway. There was also a book there, all about the criminal adventures of some of One Eyed Jack's gang. De Witt was heavily featured; he was the party I had just exterminated. It also talked about Black Hat, and two others I hadn't yet had the pleasure of meeting. I closed the book and headed for the bedroom.


    An oppressive atmosphere hung in the air of the witch's bedroom. My skin crawled. It even tried to get the heck out of there, but the rest of me was braver and so my skin stayed, under protest. Sticking out of the wall were two arms, and they were waving a sword. Well, I had my swordstick, so we were soon locked in mortal combat. Guess who won. And I won a new half-parchment. Illegible, of course. I was nearly going to say something shocking like Dag blast it!" when a bright idea pushed a button somewhere inside my slow-moving brain. Feverishly, I superposed the parchment on the one I found in the pool room. Hey presto! The message read: "If the white queen seeks the throne, the king must empower her. May the amulet laid in the center of the sign open the doorway to space. That is the key to the royal gambit." At first, that meant about as much to me as the Old Testament in medieval Mongolian. But as I gazed about the room, my eye was attracted to an ivory bust facing me. The young woman's milky eyes seemed to wink at me. was she the one I was supposed to "empower"? How do you give power to a queen? I didn't know too much about royalty, but how about if you crown her? I tried it. with the crown I took from the Neptune guarding the kitchen door. Immediately, I heard a tinkling sound from the next room. I went in there. That chamber of sorcery was even scarier than the bedroom. It was narrow and dark. On the floor, in the middle of a big flat stone, lay a beautiful amulet, shimmering with a thousand lights. I couldn't help myself: I snatched it up and was struck by what felt like a lightning bolt. I wasn't able to move a muscle! To my horror. my feet rose from the floor, and I began to float up towards the ceiling. My chest was being crushed by some invisible force. I couldn't breathe! So this was the end of the road for E. Carnby! I hadn't done much better than Ted, after all. What really made me mad was failing the Saunders girl death stole over me like a black shroud. Then, all of a sudden, the pressure lessened. 1 could breathe again, even flex my muscles. I was suspended horizontally in mid-air two yards above the floor. Then I was released. "Ouch" is a nice way of putting it.


    The room I was "transported to after I took the amulet had no furniture. The only things I found were a flask and a message addressed to One Eyed Jack from Christmas Acme Limited. They were sorry they couldn't deliver a red pool ball, but hoped he would accept a case of champagne as a mark of their esteem. How did those guys stay in business? The door wasn't locked, so there was nothing stopping me from looking for more trouble.


    The hallway in the attic was empty of people. An old wooden pirate's chest caught my eye. What I found inside it was better than any treasure: a cute little Tommy gun and a clip of ammo. I hardly had time to stroke it lovingly before a crazed acrobat jumped in from someplace and started twirling all around me. This weirdo would have been great in a circus, but I wasn't in the mood and he was making me dizzy, so I weighted him down with some lead. Meanwhile a huge blob of a guy had waded into the act. Now, this clown was in no shape to try acrobatics, so he just fired a lot of bullets at me. I got into the spirit of the thing, and fired back. For a while there, we were really communicating. Then he got cut off, leaving only a key for me to remember him by. The twirling dancer was the next to pass away, and he left a grenade behind. That was considerate, because I love explosions. My next move was to inspect the junk closet the blob person had come from.


    The attic junk room contained quite a lot of piled up junk. One brightly-colored object stood out: a jack-in-the-box. There was nothing unusual about it, and yet I couldn't help feeling it was watching me! Don't ask me why, but I had a sudden urge to insert the gold doubloon I found near the dormitory into the jack-in-the-box. Naturally, its head sprang out on a spring. Something struck my face! I searched for my aggressor, but it was only a little pompom from the clown's hat. I put it in my pocket and went over to the only closed door in the attic.


    The room I entered contained nothing but a child's bed. Slouched against a wall lay a puppet. It was the only note of joy in this depressing place. I turned to leave the room when a noise caused me to look back. The puppet was standing up, observing me! There was something specially chilling about that puppet. It didn't attack me, it just danced around, doing a disjointed jig. I have a relational problem with that particular kind of puppet, so I felt it would be better for both of us to separate while we were still good friends. Next door was a charming little interior garden, sadly neglected. The resident snakes made it clear they didn't appreciate being disturbed. So I went to the door very gently, followed by my puppet pal. I threw the pompom in among the snakes, and as I had hoped, the puppet ran in to fetch it. What a dope he was! With the snakes being so busy, I turned my attention to an idea I'd been playing with for some time. My sense of direction told me the garden was above the ground-floor dining room. The two rooms shared the same chimney! With a jolly "Ho ho", Santa Claus dropped his grenade down that chimney. I think the boys below got quite a kick out of it! Having announced my arrival, it only remained for me to go down the chimney myself.


    The grenade I had sent down from the attic had thinned the enemy's ranks. Only three gangsters were left to enjoy the Christmas present Santy had brought them. When the smoke finally cleared, I was tickled to see those hardened killers had actually decorated a Christmas tree! Underneath it all, they were just lovable rascals. A shiny ball on the tree attracted my attention: it seemed to weigh down the branch more than it should. It turned out to be a pool ball. Weird. I thought of the message from Christmas Acme Limited informing One Eyed Jack they couldn't deliver a red pool ball. But there was another connection that my brain refused to make. I went through all the objects I had collected. The included quite a lot of written documents: books. parchments journals; but nothing I could use now. Then I read this message: "The ball of fire opens the gate to Hell". That was it! The ball of fire had to be the red pool ball, and the gate to Hell was surely a secret door of some kind. I ran out of there and up to the pool room like a bat out of Hell's Kitchen! I tried out my theory on the pool table. Nothing! I did every damn thing with that ball, but no secret door opened. Well one more good idea that turned out bad. Then I noticed the Chinese billiards table. Two seconds later, I dropped the ball inside. Bingo! The bookcase creaked open. My secret door beckoned. It was locked but I had a key, the one I took from the bad guy in the attic.


    As soon as l set foot in One Eyed Jack's secret room, I sensed the danger. That place was a dark as the inside of a shark's belly. My nose hit something hard. Then a ghastly laugh froze my blood. Then a blinding light blinded me. After a few seconds, I was able to squint: no doubt about the man with the gun. This was One Eyed Jack himself! I would have jumped on him, only I was stuck in some kind of bird cage. Jack was smiling down at a little girl. That's right, there was Grace Saunders, happily playing next to one of the great psycho-killers of history. One Eyed Jack wasn't in any hurry to put me out of my misery. That suited me. He sensed the solemnity of the occasion and decided to tell me the moving story of his dastardly deeds. When that was over, he raised his revolver, no doubt feeling it was time for me to meet my maker. I glanced one last time at the poor little infant I had been unable to save from the clutches of this heartless evildoer. As you can imagine, it all happened very fast. As Jack lovingly squeezed the trigger of his gun, Grace ran straight out of the room! jack hesitated between finishing me off and running after the girl, and decided to finish me off. Only kidding! Actually, he sprinted after the little girl. I thanked the powers that be for my reprieve, unlocked the door of my prison with the hook I won from the accordion player, and ran after One Eyed Jack and the Saunders child. I bounded down the stairs and heard the front door open. If the gangsters intended leaping into a car, then it was all over. But that's not what happened. The front door was shut. I rushed into the guard room, where I'd noticed some windows. The howling wind at my back made me turn round. Elisabeth Jarret was a very decorative dame. But what a lousy sense of hospitality! She came at me, and she meant business. Being a gentleman, I stepped back a pace or two and would have kept on going if the wall hadn't stopped me. Well. I tried one of my relaxed grins. She grinned right back. The next thing I knew. I was floating up in the air. My head felt like it was inside a bell, doing the ringing. I lost consciousness.



    When I came around, I was in irons deep in the hold of a ship. Beside me was the poor little Saunders girl, exhausted, no doubt in deep shock from the horrors she had witnessed. Then I saw Elisabeth Jarret. Her cold eyes bore into mine, and I felt she was rummaging through my soul. In her hands, she held a doll, and it looked like someone I knew very well. Me. My first thought was "voodoo". She then told me her life story. `More than two centuries ago, Elisabeth Jarret arrived in Haiti. I was an innocent little girl then. But my new tutor, Henry Cotton, taught me fear and contempt. But in hiding, a slave from the plantation taught me to ride the shadows. Soon the pupil grew stronger than the master... And Cotten felt the weight of my revenge... and became my creature. Soldiers captured us, but did they recognize Cotten? The Flying Dutchman was my prison. I was thrown into the hold with my creature... I could "see" the captain kept the spare key to my irons. My spirit wandered... One-Eyed Jack "heard" my calland knew what reward awaited him. My soul guided him... Death is my ally. One-Eyed Jack signed the pact and he and his crew became immortal. Every hundred years, we had but to sacrifice an innocent girl: she would grow old instead of us... At long last, I felt the breath of freedom.' Her story was over. As she flew off, the witch contemptuously twisted the doll she held. Pain seared through my body. My muscles felt like they were tearing apart. After an eternity she relaxed her grip. Every ounce of energy had been wrung from me. As I slipped into oblivion, I saw Grace pushing a plank.


    Grace tiptoed into the Guard Room. She was welcomed by a parrot with things to say. A little birdseed was enough to get him singing. Grace listened with great care to this little rhyme: If it is the staff you're looking for, It has been hidden, what a bore, In the cabin of the one-eyed man. That's where you should seek it, if you can. If you please, Do not sneeze. Grace managed to find a sandwich to eat, and a pepperpot. On the wall, she saw a useful plan of the ship, which indicated, among other things the position of the captain's cabin on the first level. She also noticed that in the ship's galley, a small service elevator for food, called a dumbwaiter, communicated with the kitchen up in the house.


    Grace now had to get to One Eyed Jack's cabin, by way of he north ladder to the first level. She had just left the Guard Room when the sound of footsteps came from her right Grace instinctively ran of to the left. It was a dead-end! Both doors were locked. The footsteps were getting closer. Grace hid under the steps and held her breath. Just in time, The guard turned into the corridor and stopped. He seemed to hesitate. Turning his back to her, the guard gave Grace a chance to escape: she ran down the corridor and scrambled up the ladder to safety. From the first level, Grace was able to climb another ladder to the deck.


    The deck of the Flying Dutchman was littered with reminders of a bygone era: coils of rope, cannons and kegs, not to mention quite a few drunken seadogs singing shanties no fragile young ears ought to hear. Very slowly, Grace slipped from hiding-place to hiding-place, making her way to the captain's cabin. A thunder of applause made her look at the pirates. They were cheering the acrobatic feats of the amazing Mr. Eye. In the excitement of the moment, no one noticed him drop his tinderbox lighter. No one except Grace, that is. It lay beside a hiding-place, so she was able to get it without any of the pirates seeing her. The little girl finally made it to the hatchway that looked down onto the captain's cabin. They say that fortune favors the brave. Well, Grace had been brave all right, and now she got a lucky break: a rope was hanging inside. Grace disappeared through the hatchway and slid down the rope.


    Once inside the captain's cabin, Grace noticed his staff lying on the bed. She took it and went to leave. The rope to the hatchway had become unhooked. The only way out was the cabin door. Judging from the coarse laughter nearby, the trip wasn't going to be easy. Grace stayed very calm and worked out a devilish scheme. She opened a chest that lay on the floor and found a miniature cannon. She positioned it carefully in front of the door to the corridor. Then she shook her pepperpot inside the barrel of the cannon. Finally, threw a crystal vase from the bookshelves onto the floor. The nearby laughter stopped. The door was thrown open and light flooded in. A threatening figure stood in the doorway. Grace lit the fuse with her tinderbox lighter. The figure kept coming, until at last the cannon fired a cloud of pepper in his face. He sneezed so hard, he banged his head on the door-frame and went down for the count! Grace searched him quickly and discovered a little bell, which she kept. She silently went along the corridor. When she got to the galley, she heard footsteps, and they were coming her way. Praying nobody would see her, Grace slipped into the galley.


    The galley, for that's what a ship's kitchen is called, was a smallish room. Grace peeked through the door and saw two men climbing the south ladder. Oh no! They were cooks, obviously heading straight for the kitchen to prepare Christmas dinner. There was no time to lose. The little girl looked for the dumbwaiter. There it was! She went up to it and rang her little bell. The result was almost immediate: the dumbwaiter's little door opened. Grace had just enough time to grab a chicken foot and a key from the table, before she squeezed into the dumbwaiter.


    After a rather scary ride up in the dumbwaiter, Grace Saunders arrived in the kitchen of the house. Luckily, she was alone. Outside, a man stood guard. How was she going to get past him! Grace examined the kitchen. There were lots of sharp and pointy things, but Grace didn't like the idea of blood, so she looked for something else. Opening a closet, she saw the solution to her problem: a pot of molasses and an ice-bucket filled with ice cubes. She carefully covered the floor with the ice cubes, then went over to the door. Sticking her tongue out at the startled guard, Grace backed into the kitchen. The guard sauntered after her, fairly confident of his ability to defeat her in single combat. he then stepped on an ice-cube and gained a whole new perspective on the situation. His very ugly head smacked sickeningly on the floor. Grace headed for the first story.


    Quiet as a mouse, Grace crept up the stairs to the second story. The guard who was pacing up and down didn't look very friendly, and when he saw the girl, he rushed forward to get his hands on her. Meanwhile, she fancied a little molasses, but OOPS, spilled it on the floor! That silly old guard just kept right on coming. When he decided to avoid the sticky stuff, he was already in it. While he learned how a fly feels when he's stuck on fly-paper, Grace went into the billiards room.


    Inside the billiards room. found a token in one of the pockets of the billiards table. Then she skipped along to One Eyed Jack's desk, where she found out there were lots of drawers she couldn't open. It was child's play to insert the captain's staff into the matching hole in the desk. There was a pleasant little click and the top drawer slid open. It contained a key to nice Mr. Carnby's shackles which Grace naturally took. Next stop: the witch's bedroom.


    As soon as Grace entered the witch's room, she felt very nervous. All that spooky stuff, the skulls and weird masks. It was too much like the scary stories the bigger kids sometimes told her. This time, though it was more than just a story and all of a sudden she felt very much alone. But she also knew that her immediate enemy was fear, so she fought it down and walked into the chamber of sorcery. There, she placed the captain's staff on the flat stone in the center of the room. The staff immediately began to dance and twirl, becoming the staff of Loas, a powerful Voodoo object. Grace, keeping her imagination in check, took the staff once more, not knowing what it was.


    Grace had one objective. To get to Carnby and free him. She figured all she had to do was go back the way she came, by going to the kitchen and taking the dumbwaiter down to the ship's galley. The trouble was the armed guard near the kitchen door. Grace had a bright idea. As silently as she could, she made her way into the Guard Room, where she had previously noticed a foldaway bed. She placed her teddy-bear exactly underneath, then went to the barrel organ. She hid between the machine and the wall, then inserted her token. When the music started, the guard rushed in, saw the teddybear and went to pick it up. When he leaned over, the bed fell on him with a resounding thud! The way was clear. Grace ran into the kitchen, rang her little bell in front of the dumbwaiter and waited. A few instants later, the little door opened and she climbed in. When she got to the ship's galley, she was met by a small welcoming committee. It seemed the two cookies didn't like little girls taking free rides in their dumbwaiter. They seized grace and made the mistake of taking her down to the lockup where Carnby was chained in irons.


    I had trouble believing it. The Saunders kid had actually brought me the key to my chains! For the moment, she was being roughed up by a bad guy, who was kind enough to turn his back on me. I used the key Grace threw over to get free. My Houdini act was kind of noisy and the pirate whirled round with a dangerous glitter in his eye, and a shiny cutlass all ready to strike! Well, I had been boiling with rage and frustration for some time, and beating the brains out of this bozo was the perfect way to express those emotions. I rushed headlong at him and attacked like a tornado. The scurvy dog came to a painful end. I was roused now, and this ship was about to get cleaned out! I picked up the cutlass and went to the next room, where a noisy parrot covered the oaths of my second victim in as many minutes. Going through the hall, I took the left-hand corridor. Somebody tried to stop me. I don't even remember what the swine looked like. But he did leave me a short fuse and an old-fashioned pistol.


    The next door I opened was to a room filled with kegs and bottles. These guys drank to much, even for thirsty cutthroats! Naturally, the place was guarded. Why, it was none other than Shorty Leg, my old friend from the statue of One Eyed Jack. "History keeps repeating itself", as the saying goes. Not wanting to contradict the wisdom of that fine proverb, I killed Shorty Leg again although this time, I cut him to bits with swordplay. Before making his exit, old Shorty managed to drop a pistol, some lead bullets and a coat of chainmail. I pushed one of the barrels, to find a second coat of chainmail and a bottle containing an extract from the book of marvels. I didn't want to spend too long in that room, so after putting on the chainmail, I left, heading for the first door on my right. It wasn't locked, so I gave it a gentle shove. It opened onto what appeared to e the ship's hold


    Things went pretty quickly in the ship's hold. I didn't see Black Hat at first, so he had all the time in the world to aim his pair of pistols at me. The bullet that should have killed me just bounced off the chainmail. It was his turn to taste cold steel. I stabbed and hacked `til he was forced to fall down dead. In his will, he left me some bullets for my charming old pistol. My work in the hold was done. Next stop, the blacksmith's.


    Inside the foundry, the heat was intense. The two blacksmiths, on the other hand, eyed me rather coldly. Their fine blades would have turned me into bite-size chunks, if my footwork hadn't been as good as it was. Flashing my well-known daredevil grin, I wielded my own sword, impressing those hamfisted lugs with the elegance of my deadly technique. They died at the hands of a master! I calmly inspected their workplace. The wood-burning furnace was blazing away merrily. Taking great care, I lifted the white-hot poker that stood before the furnace door. A noble instrument and a kind weapon, since it wounded and cauterized its victim with the same stab. I must admit, however, that I felt more adventurous fighting with a cutlass. I decided to take along the excellent pair of pincers that lay on the workbench behind the furnace. They looked like they needed a change of pace. On the floor, I came across a key. The words "powder magazine were scratched into it. My heart sang with joy; gunpowder has always been one of my great loves. The key fit the end door perfectly.


    Like a lot of the rooms I'd visited in Hell's Kitchen. the powder magazine was guarded. The fellow who now faced me was no stranger: I had already killed him. De Witt. you'll recall was a keen duelist, and set about me with a flashing bade and some very classy moves. Unfortunately for him, he never lived long enough to put my lessons to good use. He had no use for his bag of sand. his little barrel of gunpowder and his book, so I inherited them. Having done about as much damage as I could down in he hold of the ship, I decided to climb the metal ladder up to the first level. The first door I looked through opened onto a room containing a ship's cannon. The foundry on the level below connected with this room via a large opening in the floor. I was intrigued and went in.


    Inside the armourer's, the guy who was supposed to be guarding the cannon was in fact catching up with his beauty sleep. He had a lot of catching up to do. He wasn't the only one snoring around there. More sleepers could be heard in the room opposite. I pushed open the door. As I thought, this was the dormitory. Three pirates, lying in bunk-beds, were probably dreaming about smoke and plunder on the high seas. They looked so happy, I hadn't the heart to wake them up. In fact, I felt it only right to give those boys all the sleep they needed. I put the little keg of powder down facing the big cannon over in the armourer's. Then I went into the armourer's and, taking out my pincers, set about cutting through the chains that held the cannon in place. Everything was going fine, the only sound was my pincers cutting through tough steel. And the guard had stopped that horrible snoring. I silently thanked him, then felt the hairs on the back of my neck running for cover. I span round just in time to see the guard prepare to impale me. I hate being impaled; its not dignified. So I had no choice but to kill the guy. Once the chains were cut through, I turned the cannon round to point directly at the little powder keg. Pushing that cast-iron monster wasn't easy but the next bit made it all worthwhile. I put my short fuse onto the firing nozzle. Everything was ready. I silently wished the sleepers happy landings, and lit the fuse with my poker. That little barrel of gunpowder lived up to expectations. The only things I found in the smoking wreckage of the dormitory were a flask and a small bag of gold coins. That last item gave me an idea, so I headed for the galley to try it out.


    As I neared the galley, I heard high-pitched laughter. The door was locked, but that was no big problem. I just shook my bag of gold coins and waited. What pirate of the name can resist the sound of pieces of eight? Sure enough, the galley door flew open and out waddled two tiny characters wielding hatchets. I chuckled at them but they didn't see what was funny. As a matter of fact, they put up quite a fight and I almost felt sorry when my sword finally ended their very short existence. I went through to the pantry where I ran into an old sparring partner. T-Bone wasn't looking too healthy, even if his blowpipe still sprayed poisoned darts. But in close-quarter fighting, blowpipes start to look kind of silly. As he died, he left behind a strange item: a metal jack of diamonds. I decided it probably functioned as a key. Opposite the kitchen, I had noticed a door and so I went back and tried the metal card in the door's unusual lock. It worked! I entered the room beyond.


    Even as I stepped into the captain's room, something didn't feel right. My fears proved to be justified when, a couple of seconds later, my feet floated off the floor. A sense of duty made me test my muscles: they were all out to lunch. The really scary thing was that I could still see and hear. And I saw a very welcome sight: Grace Saunders grinning from ear to ear. She tiptoed over to the captain's statue and placed the staff of Loas in its outstretched hand. It wasn't much of a surprise to see a passage open, leading into Elisabeth Jarret's room. Miss Jarret was so busy deciding what nasty thing she wanted to do with the doll she held, she never noticed Grace. The little girl had read in a book she'd discovered that a simple chicken leg was all it took to defeat voodoo magic. Moving towards the witch, Grace held up the drumstick, looking as though she actually believed everything she read. I'll never sneer at a chicken again. It was as if all the witch's occult powers had turned against her. Jarret rose in the air and melted before our astonished gaze! Jarret's death abruptly ended the spell that held me up in the air. Luckily my nose was there to cushion the fall. I picked myself up and was about to do the same to Grace and bring her back to her mommy and daddy, when a bad thing happened. From the floor in front of me emerged a creature that was hideous. Worse, it was big, with muscles that rippled like the surface of a swimming pool just after many elephants dived in at the same time. I fixed the beast with a masterful stare that works surprisingly well on smaller dogs. Then I fled up the ladder to the ship's deck.


    After the unspeakable monster in the captain's cabin it was quite a relief to face the host of bloodthirsty pirates I ran into on the deck. My fear now turned to irriation, and Music Man was the first to be punished. He had made little progress in his music, I was sorry to see. This time, I had no pact of immortality to tear up, so I just shot him in the head. His buddies soon joined him in death. I had become a proficient swordsman and these adversaries were no more than musing playthings. As I sent them on their way into eternity, I watched Bubble-Blade scramble up the mizzenmast and Mister Eye climbing up to his lookout post in the crow's nest. When I had finished on deck. I followed Mister Eye. The other mast had no ladder and if I did descend from apes they can't have been the tree-dwelling type.


    The lookout post was perfect for anyone looking for the best way to break your neck. This tiny little platform sixty feet above the deck was home to Mister Eye. Let me fill you in a his background. He was born at Nouamghar, and ended up being deported to Haiti. A meaningless existence, until he made Miss Jarret's acquaintance. She initiated him into voodoo as her servant. After the attack on December 25th, he was made lookout because of his exceptional view. He also handled the harpoon with remarkable dexterity. I managed to best him, though, forcing him on the defensive with thrust and parry, until finally he just stepped back into thin air! Bubble-Blade was still alive, which was a situation I intended to correct. I was up the mainmast, and he was over on the mizzenmast. He was in no hurry to come to me, so I had to take the initiative. And there wasn't much time to lose: One Eyed Jack was down on deck, getting Grace ready for sacrifice. Inwardly swearing at fate for landing me in this mess, I used my hook to grab a dangling rope, closed my eyes and leaped.


    There we were, Bubble-Blade and I, standing on a horizontal pole high above the deck and about to fight a duel. My adversary tried to bolster my confidence by performing cute acrobatic tricks that should have been impossible. He was also an expert with a sword. Thinking that I might as well get it over with I attacked first. Bubble-Blade was surprised by this; he clearly expected me to be paralyzed with fear by this time. Anyhow, he hesitated for a second, just to show me how disgusted he was. I didn't want him to change his opinion of me, so I attacked again, with all the violence I had in me. He wasn't used to getting killed that way, and he took it real badly. Well, the time had come at last for my showdown with the evil boss of all that murderous riffraff, the infamous One Eyed Jack himself Leaping to the deck, I went to where captain Nichols' sword stuck up from the deck. I had read that this weapon alone could put an end to Jack's evil career.


    With captain Nichols' sword in hand, I walked with a firm step to where One Eyed Jack waited. He did not attempt to stop me from cutting through Grace's chains with my pincers. She scampered to temporary safety, as Jack and I squared off to decide her fate. He slashed at me. I dodged the blow with a split second to spare. My enemy's one good eye stared at me stonily. His two swords twirled in the air like dancers. I parried as best I could. The fight went on, deadly and bitter and hard. I was growing tired. Soon, I was bound to make a mistake and then Jack would strike like lightning. I had to gamble on a sudden attack; it worked! Jack stared at me in disbelief, then crumpled to the deck. I closed my eyes and laughed with relief. Another laugh, bloodcurling, the cackle of the tomb, echoed round that cavern. One Eyed Jack was back on his feet. He lashed out at me with the power of demons. Where I found the speed and strength to parry that attack I will never know. Maybe I had come too far and seen too much to let that scumbag beat me. Maybe it was the thought of getting Grace back to her home for Christmas. Or maybe it was because Ted Striker was one of the few friends I ever had. Maybe it was all of those. One Eyed Jack couldn't be allowe d to continue his reign of terror. I found the energy I needed, and destroyed him. There was no time to lose. I grabbed Grace and jumped into the lifeboat. We were practically out of the cavern when an explosion reverberated through the air. The ghostly figure of One Eyed Jack was firing the ship's cannons. Huge lumps of rock fell from the cavern walls and smashed into the ship below. Giant waves dashed against each other. Our rowboat was tossed out onto the ocean. Outside, the sea was calm. We were safe at last. The sun was peeping over the horizon. It was going to be a beautiful day.



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