Meanwhile, Poe was stumbling through the woods at the edge of town when Chris popped out of the ground. “Shit.” he shouted as he dove back down into the hole, but Poe was too late. His foot caught the piled up dirt and he skidded on his face. He sat up and spit dirt out of his mouth while Chris laughed. Chris looked at him with a crooked smile “Did you escape from police custody?”
“No. Hey, do you know where I can find the wife of the man that was killed in the church?” Poe showed him the mans wallet.
“Sure, I know where this is I’ll take you to her.” he said after she looked at the information.
Poe and Chris headed to the homestead furthest from town. He looked at her and noticed she wore a belt with a spade and knife. Poe wanted to know about this child, but did not know what to ask so he said, “Why do you dig tunnels around town? Do you go to school?”
“I do not dig the tunnels they are already there I just make them bigger. I like being invisible and being in the tunnels you hear a lot of things that keep you connected to what is going on without having to deal with deception.”
“Is that how you know where Peter’s wife lives?” “Yes.”
“What about school?”
“I graduated from school before my parents died im quite intelligent.
I do not go to collage now for only two reasons. One, I’m too young, and two, I work on the farm so my brother is free to go to school. No more questions.”
As they approached the old homestead, a woman burst out the front door gun in hand and without hesitation started firing.
“Shit, Poe, run ,run!” Chris shouted as they took off back through the forest. When they finally stopped Chris looked at Poe with a small smile and said, “Tell that jackass cop that the body in the forest is a chick, the boy’s name is Jay, and that Peter’s wife is a nutcase.” He took off running and dropped into the hole he had made earlier.
Meanwhile, Smith was pacing in front of the victim while his deputies scanned for the clue. “No sign of it, sir.” deputy Jack said. “Maybe he gave up.”
“No, after all the trouble he has gone though, I doubt he is the giving up type.” Smith said rubbing his hand through his thick dark hair. Suddenly an idea struck him. “Check the peeled skin.”
“Pardon, sir?” the deputies said in unison.
“Pick up the skin and lay it out.” When no one moved he shouted “NOW!”
“Yes, sir.” deputy Joe said reluctantly.
As the deputies picked up the skin, Smith heard a rustling coming from behind. He spun around, weapon in hand and without thinking, he fired. The bullet whistled through the trees and thudded into the tree trunk two feet to Poe’s left. Poe jerked in surprise. “I know you find me repulsing, and a waste of time. However, using me for target practice is still rude.” Poe said trying to catch his breath.
“Poe, shut up for once in your life before I shoot you.” deputy Jack said.
“Sir, the message is here.” deputy Joe said.
Smith turned around “What does it say?”
“It says, kingdom by the sea.” deputy Jack said.
“The only sea would be the harbor this is a city.” Poe stated.
Smith, Poe, and the men sprung into action climbing in the carriages and headed toward the harbor. As they rode through the streets Poe told Lt. Smith all he had learned from Chris, all except the personal information anyway. The carriage stopped suddenly. Poe was the first one out sprinting toward the harbor.
“Poe, Stop! We do not know what is out there.”
There had to be over 200 ships in the harbor, but Poe just kept running, scanning all the ships looking for something he would recognize. After twenty minutes of running down the decks Poe stopped to catch his breath. Smith came to a stop beside him Poe turned and asked “Did you find anything?”
“No, nothing. It has to be here somewhere.” Smith replied. “Sir, over here!” deputy Shawn yelled.
Lt. Smith and Poe ran in the direction of deputy Shawn’s voice. He was standing in front of a vessel called, “The Fortunato.” The men rushed on board and for the next hour search from stern to bow; nothing was found. Poe was standing on the portside deck when he heard one of the deputies shout “I found something.”
By the time Poe got to the side of the boat he found Smith and his men studying a piece of paper. Smith handed him the paper. It read: “Wherever the hole may lie is who next will die.” Poe crumbled to his knees the only sound that escaped his lips was a faint whimper.
“Over here!” deputy Tom yelled. “There’s more carved into the boat!”
Poe looked up and saw a carving on the outer-most ledge of the boat. “What does it say?”
Smith climbed over crates and peered at the engraved message. It read: “But see amid the mimic rout a crawling shape intrude: a blood red thing that writhes from the scenic solitude! It writhes- it writhes-- with mortal pangs, the mimes become its food, a seraphs sob at vermin fangs in human gore imbued.”
Poe clutched his throat, his completion flushed to a pale white. He jumped to his feet. “We have to hurry.” he said as he rushed away.
“You know where? Who?” Smith yelled after him.
“Chris.” he called back. “Its Chris…” his voice trailed off as he ran.