The Story So Far:
“Tonight’s performance is by the Arkham Theatrical Society. Doctor Faustus!”
A sycophantic murmur—the sponsor of the production is Carl Sanford.
The Silver Twilight Lodge congregation clapped, the curtain was drawn back, and the players on the stage acknowledged the audience; Isopel Astarte curtsied. Speaking clearly but with a hint of breathlessness she began:
“Why this is hell, nor am I out of it.
Think’st thou that I, who saw the face of God,
And tasted the eternal joys of heaven,
Am not tormented with ten thousand hells
In being deprived of everlasting bliss?”
“The play was a triumph!”
“Our leading lady is both talented and beautiful.”
Isopel refilled another glass of punch, handing it to a portly man with ruined teeth.
“Uncle,” she said, turning round to Carl Sanford who stood behind her, “tomorrow I return to Switzerland; but school is such a bore! Oh how I wish I could stay here with you, and be an actress with the Arkham Theatrical Society. Please…”
“My dear, I see that it’s time. You must join us at the ‘Lodge.”
“Ouch!” Isopel sat up in her bed; she was awoken by a sting at the back of her throat. Several floors below she felt the pound of a bass drum and heard fluting music from the party which she had long since left. She slipped on her dressing gown, and then quietly trod downstairs. She hoped to snaffle a bottle of “champers.”
The door to the ‘Lodge’s hall was ajar. She peeked through it, stifling a giggle, and then choked because of what she saw: her uncle and the portly man were cavorting—in rhythm to the beating of a huge drum—upon the stage, cheered on by a braying mob. The sight of Carl Sanford’s sweating face, vice shining out from every pore, would stay burned in her mind for a long time.