Monster Byte: This Month in Innsmouth (January 2012)

By Amanda J. Spedding

Search for Searchers

Hampered by bad weather, the search for the missing volunteers of last month’s failed Search for Samuel will be conducted on January 19. Captain Jim Rose has called in noted speleologist, Dr. Daniel Ashkinawan, to head the search team. “The original search team operated off the ‘Deacon’ charts of the [Trophonian] caves,” said Capt. Rose. “Dan has studied those charts extensively and used them for his own expeditions. We welcome his expertise.”

When asked why Dr. Ashkinawan wasn’t the team leader for the initial search, Capt. Rose said, “Look, the Prof [Professor Chris Farrugia] knows those caves just as well as Dan. We had the best person leading it then and we’ll have the best person leading it now. And before you ask, I don’t want to send anyone else into that damn place, but we’ve got people in there and we’re damn well going to get them out.”

Dr. Ashkinawan, who arrived in Innsmouth on January 2nd, said, “I understand that loved ones and the community are worried, but if they’ve got Chris [Farrugia] with them, they’re in good hands. He’s smart and he’s practical. He chose to use the Deacon Charts for a reason: Those maps might be older than sin, but they’re the most detailed charting of the caves we’ve ever seen.”

Dr. Ashkinawan laughed off suggestions that the Deacon Charts were cursed: “Is that still going around? Nah, me and Chris used those charts all the time when we were at college, and if what those poor kids said is right, then Sam [Young] used them, as well. Chris did the right thing by using them to track Sam. Now I’ll use them to track down the lot of them. No sweat.”

Capt. Rose further confirmed that only he and Dr. Ashkinawan will be entering the Trophonian Caves for the search: “That’s right. And if rumours of half the town wanting to mount their own search have any credence, then watch out. The caves are under guard. If anyone goes within fifty foot of the caves, they’ll be thrown in jail. I don’t care who you work for; you hear me, Nightcroft?”

Officer Sandra Lewiston will be coordinating at base camp, and has asked she and her fellow officers be “left to do our jobs so we can help bring everyone out safely.”

Samuel Young has been missing in the Trophonian Caves since November 28. His caving companions – John Gilbert, Carl Curtis and Paul Carmon – have since died of “exposure-related injuries”.

Professor Chris Farrugia and his Search & Rescue team mounted a retrieval expedition on December 11, 2011. They failed to return by their scheduled date of December 14.

Search Protest

Caleb McHenry will be joined by Carl Brockman in protest of the upcoming search. Mr McHenry said he was “torn” over what was happening: “I miss Chris, but I don’t want no one else goin’ missing or gettin’ hurt. There’s somethin’ not right with them [sic] caves; always has been. Those three boys that dragged themselves out of there are dead, and now we’ve got a whole search team missin’, and those knuckleheads want to go in there, too? Idjits. [sic]”

Mr Brockman said it was a “foolish endeavour. I understand the pain and sorrow for the loved ones of those missing, but let’s be realistic, here. Sam’s been missing for almost six weeks, with no food or water, and the search team’s been missing for four weeks. Sending two more people in to look for them is madness. I don’t care how experienced Dan is. He’s been a risk-taker since he was a kid. The whole town remembers the hijinx he and Chris used to get up to. Now’s no different and he’s taking Jim with him?”

The protest will begin on January 19 at dawn, at the cordoned-off area near the base camp. Both Mr. McHenry and Mr. Brockman have assured Innsmouth Free Press that this is a peaceful protest.

Prayer Vigil

A prayer vigil will be held on January 19, beginning at dawn. Vigil organiser Adele Nacrin said, “What’s happening here is breaking this town. Too many families have someone missing, so we’re asking the townspeople to come together and pray for the safe return of everyone involved.”

Pater Knox, who has spent every night out at the site with Marcus Greene (Professor Farrugia’s partner), said, “We need something good to come out of this. This town needs something good to come out of this, and I think we can get that if we all work together and ask that higher power to intervene.”

Mr. Greene has refused to leave the Trophonian Caves until Professor Farrugia “walks out and asks what all the fuss was about.” Pater Knox and Mr. McHenry have been Mr Greene’s constant companions during his wait, with Mr. McHenry building a shelter to “keep us warm and dry while we wait.”

When asked if he was upset by Mr. McHenry’s protest, Mr. Greene said, “Caleb is our friend.”

Innsmouth Mystical has kindly donated all the candles for the vigil. Anyone wanting more information can contact Mrs. Nacrin at Dyer College Administration, or see Aaron Tobin at Innsmouth Mystical.

Paine Street Cinema’s Apocalypse Week

With 2012 being touted as the year of the Apocalypse, Paine Street Cinema’s is having an week of “All Things Apocalypse,” said cinema manager, Denise Fuller. “We’ll be running apocalypse-themed movies from January 15 to 22, and anyone wishing to dress in costume for an evening session will get in for half-price.”

Mrs Fuller also advised that “fifty per cent of all ticket prices for the week will go to the Gilbert Funeral Fund. It’s the least we could do. John worked here part-time in the ticket box and we miss his…we just miss that boy.”

The cinema will be showing movies from all eras, including: 28 Days Later, The Book of Eli, The Quiet Earth, Dawn of the Dead (1978), On the Beach (1959), La Jetée, Day of the Triffids, The Road, and The Omega Man.

Contact Paine Street Cinema for full movie listings.

After a three week coma, John Gilbert died of “exposure-related injuries” on December 31. His mother and only relative, Ms. Vaia Gilbert, took her own life on January 1.

Dawn of Hope Ball Remembrance – A Gathering of Hope

Neal Shavon is organising a “Gathering of Hope” at the Old Lighthouse, on January 23 at 9:04pm. “I know that’s a specific time,” Mr. Shavon said, “but that was the time of the first explosion, a time that wrecked a lot of people’s lives. So, we want to make that time one of hope and remembrance, not one of fear and anger. A year has passed and it’s still a fresh wound for so many of us.”

Caitlan Sharpe, of the Garden of Azothoth, has kindly donated “special orchids for the occasion. They’re very, very rare, but so were the people lost. They’ll be a fitting reminder of how special those that were lost are.”

The explosion at last year’s Dawn of Hope Ball remains an open investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact Innsmouth Police.

Kids in Ink

The Tome is running its January, short story, “Kids in Ink” competition. Angelica Suarez, manager of The Tome, said, “After the extraordinary stories of last year, we’ve decided to up our prize money. Children up to the age of 12 are encouraged to enter and, as always, there is no word limit. We want our future authors to let their imaginations run wild.”

The competition closes on January 31st. First prize is $150, plus a one-year mentorship with Professor Jules Wickham of Dyer College and a $100 Tome book voucher. Second prize is $100 and a $50 Tome book voucher, and the third prize is $50 and two free books of choice.

“Kids in Ink” was set up by Mrs. Suarez’s late husband, Guillermo: “Gill loved the little ones. He thought their imaginations were unburdened by the confines of society. He wanted to keep that alive in them for as long as he could.”

Mr. Suarez drowned, following the rescue of Danny Newfin off Devil Reef. His body has never been recovered.

In Memoriam

Paul John Carmon

Paul John Carmon will be laid to rest at 11am on January 13, at St. Drogo’s Church. Mr. Carmon’s family have asked that anyone wishing to attend wear something yellow “in remembrance of not only our son, but for John [Gilbert], Chris [Curtis] and Sam [Young].” They have also asked that a donation to the Gilbert Funeral Fund be made in lieu of flowers.

John Adam Gilbert and Vaia Anne Gilbert

A service will be held at 10am on January 27, at Innsmouth Presbyterian, for John Adam Gilbert and his mother, Vaia Anne Gilbert. Lyle Cordeaux of Innsmouth Remembers has asked “for as many people as possible to attend. The Gilberts have no living relatives; they were new to the area and new to Innsmouth. Let’s show them the heart of our town by remembering how much they loved each other.”

Donations to the Gilbert Funeral Fund will aid in headstones for John and Vaia Gilbert. All extra funds will be donated to the Battered Women’s Shelter, where Mrs Gilbert worked.

About Amanda

Amanda J. Spedding is a Sydney-based freelance editor, proofreader and award-winning author. She has a love of all things horror (except clowns; clowns must die a slow, painful death) and her stories tend to explore the darkest of humankind. You can follow her machinations at Screaming Ink.

AmandaMonster Byte: This Month in Innsmouth (January 2012)