“When I reached my room I did not go to bed. I began to unpack my instrument trunk. I intended to take one or two preliminary steps in my investigation of the extraordinary whistling.
“Presently when the hotel had settled into quietness, I slipped out of my room and made my way to The Denizen. Keeping my revolver handy, I made my way up to the floor on which Jason’s flat was situated.
“I hung a protection belt of garlic around my neck and the smell of it seemed to fill the corridor and give me assurance. It is a wonderful protection against the more usual Aeiirii forms of semi-materialization, by which I supposed the whistling might be produced. Though at that period of my investigation I was quite prepared to find it due to some perfectly natural cause, for it is astonishing the enormous number of cases that prove to have nothing abnormal in them.
“In addition to wearing the necklet, I had plugged my ears loosely with garlic and as I did not intend to stay more than a few minutes in the luxury apartment, I hoped to be safe.
“When I reached the door and put my hand into my pocket for the key, I had a sudden feeling of sickening funk. But I was not going to back out if I could help it. I unlocked the door and turned the handle. Then I gave the door a sharp push with my foot, as Jason had done, and drew my revolver, though I did not expect to have any use for it.
“I shone a torch all round the room and then stepped inside with a disgustingly horrible feeling of walking slap into a waiting Danger. I stood a few seconds waiting and nothing happened, I checked the master bedroom, then the second bedroom. Finally I went into an empty third bedroom. It showed bare from corner to corner. And then I realized that the room was full of an abominable silence. A sort of purposeful silence just as sickening as any of the filthy noises the Things have power to make. Do you remember what I told you about that ‘Silent Garden’ business? Well, this room had just that same malevolent silence – the beastly quietness of a thing that is looking at you and not seeable itself, and thinks that it has got you. Oh, I recognized it instantly and I flipped the light switch to illuminate the whole room.
“Then I set-to working like fury and keeping my glance all about me. I sealed the two windows with lengths of human hair, right across. As I worked, a queer, scarcely perceptible tenseness stole into the air of the place, and the silence seemed to grow more solid. I knew then that I had no business there without full protection. I was practically certain that this was no mere Aeiirii development; but one of the worst forms, as the Saiitii; like that ‘Grunting Man’ case–you know.
“I finished the window and hurried over to an air vent. I sealed it with seven human hairs – the seventh crossing the six others.
“Then just as I was making an end, a low mocking whistle grew in the room. A cold nervous pricking went up my spine, and round my forehead from the back. The hideous sound filled all the room with an extraordinary, grotesque parody of human whistling, too gigantic to be human – as if something gargantuan and monstrous made the sounds softly. Then I sealed the other rooms. As I stood there a last moment, pressing down the final seal, I had no doubt but that I had come across one of those rare and horrible cases of the Inanimate reproducing the functions of the Animate. I made a grab for my revolver and went quickly to the front door, looking over my shoulder and listening for the thing that I expected. It came just as I got my hand upon the handle – a squeal of incredible, malevolent anger, piercing through the low hooning of the whistling. I dashed out, slamming the door and locking it. I leant a little against the opposite wall of the corridor, feeling rather funny, for it had been a narrow squeak…. There is no protection against this particular form of monster. For it can reproduce itself in the very protective material which you may use and has the power to form within the pentacle, though not immediately. There is, of course, the possibility of the Unknown Last Line of the Saaamaaa Ritual being uttered – but it is too uncertain to count upon and the danger is too hideous, and even then it has no power to protect for more than maybe five beats of the heart.
“Inside the flat there was now a constant, meditative, hooning whistling, but presently this ceased, and the silence seemed worse. For there is such a sense of hidden mischief in a silence.
“After a little, I sealed the front door with crossed hairs and then cleared off down Golden Lane and Central Street, and so to bed.
“For a long time I lay awake but managed eventually to get some sleep. Yet about two o’clock I was waked by the hooning whistling of the room coming to me, even thought I was ten minutes walk away from The Denizen. The sound was tremendous and seemed to beat through the whole of Cripplegate and Bunhill with a presiding sense of terror. As if (I remember thinking) some monstrous giant had been holding mad carnival with itself in that luxury investment flat.
“I got up and sat on the edge of the bed, wondering whether to go along and have a look at the seal. Suddenly there came a thump on my door, and Jason walked in, with his dressing gown over his pajamas.
“‘I thought it would have waked you, so I came along to have a talk,’ he said. ‘I can’t sleep. Beautiful! Isn’t it!’
“‘Extraordinary!’ I said, and tossed him a packet of Malboro.
“He lit a cigarette and we sat and talked for about an hour; and all the time that noise went on, down at the end of Golden Lane.
“Suddenly, Jason stood up:
“‘Let’s take our guns and go and examine the brute,’ he said, and turned toward the door.
“‘No!’ I said. ‘By Jiutou Zhiji Jing no! I can’t say anything definite yet, but I believe your ghost home is about as dangerous as it well can be.’
“‘Haunted really haunted?’ he asked keenly and without any of his frequent banter.
“I told him, of course, that I could not say a definite yes or no to such a question – but that I hoped to be able to make a statement, soon. Then I gave him a little lecture on the False Re-Materialization of the Animate-Force through the Inanimate-Inert. He began then to see the particular way in which his investment property might be dangerous, if it were really the subject of a manifestation.
“About an hour later the whistling ceased quite suddenly and Jason went off again to bed. I went back to mine, also, and eventually got another spell of sleep.
“In the morning, I went along to The Denizen. I found the seals on the door intact. Then I went in. The window seals and the hair were all right, but the seventh hair across the air vent was broken. This set me thinking. I knew that it might have snapped through my having tensioned it too highly. But then again it might have been broken by something else.
“I removed the other hairs and the seals. I took the end off the vent, then looked into it. I could see nothing nothing.
“Then I went over the whole of the room – floor, ceiling and walls, mapping them out in six-centimetre squares, and sounding with both hammer and probe. But there was nothing abnormal.
“Afterward I made a three-weeks search of the whole Denizen apartment block. I picked the locks of the empty flats I was unable to gain permission to enter. I was thorough but found nothing. I went even further, when the whistling commenced I made a microphone test. If the whistling were mechanically produced this test would have made evident to me the working of the machinery, if there were any such concealed within the walls.
“I had practically no doubt at all now but that it was a genuine case of what is popularly termed ‘haunting.’
“All this time, every night, and sometimes most of each night, the hooning whistling of the Jason’s luxury apartment was intolerable. It was as if an intelligence there knew that steps were being taken against it and piped and hooned in a sort of mad, mocking contempt. I tell you, it was as extraordinary as it was horrible. Time after time I went along – tiptoeing noiselessly on stockinged feet – to the sealed door (for I always kept the flat sealed). I went at all hours of the night and often the whistling inside would seem to change to a brutally malignant note, as though the half-animate monster saw me plainly through the shut door. And all the time the shrieking, hooning whistling would fill the whole apartment block and much of the rest of Cripplegate and Bunhill too, so that I used to feel a precious lonely chap, messing about there with one of Hell’s mysteries.
“And every morning I would enter the luxury apartment and examine the different hairs and seals. After the first week I had stretched parallel hairs all along the walls of the room and along the ceiling. Over the floor I had set out little, colorless wafers, tacky-side uppermost. Each wafer was numbered and they were arranged after a definite plan, so that I should be able to trace the exact movements of any living thing that went across the floor.
“You will see that no material being or creature could possibly have entered that room, without leaving many signs to tell me about it. But nothing was ever disturbed and I began to think that I should have to risk a night in the room, inside my Electric Pentacle. I knew that it would be a crazy thing to do but I was getting stumped and ready to do anything.
“Once about midnight I did break the seal on the door and had a quick look in. The whole apartment gave one mad yell and seemed to come toward me in a great belly of shadows, as if the walls had bellied in toward me. Of course that must have been my fancy. Anyway the yell was sufficient and I slammed the door and locked it, feeling a bit weak down my spine.
“And then when I had got to that state of readiness for anything, I made something of a discovery. It was about one in the morning and I was walking slowly round The Denizen, keeping in the road. I had come under the shadow of the building’s front and far above me, I could hear the vile, hooning whistle of the Chan’s investment flat, up in the darkness. Then suddenly a little in front of me, I heard a man’s voice, speaking low but evidently in glee:
” ‘Holy cow peeps! I wouldn’t care to bring a wife home in that!’ it said in tones of cultured English.
“Someone started to reply but there came a sharp exclamation and then a rush, and I heard footsteps running in all directions. Evidently the men had spotted me.
“For a few seconds I stood there feeling an awful ass. After all they were surely the cause of the haunting! Do you see what a big fool it made me seem? I had no doubt but that they were some of Jason’s rivals, and I had been feeling in every bone that I had hit a real, bad, genuine Case! And then there came the memory of hundreds of details that made me just as much in doubt again. Anyway whether it was natural, or ab-natural, there was a great deal yet to be cleared up.
“I told Jason next morning what I had discovered and through the whole of every night, for five nights, we kept a close watch from behind the bushes in Fortune Street Park, which gave us a direct view of the entrance to The Denizen. But there was never a sign of anyone prowling about and all the time, almost from dusk to dawn, that grotesque whistling would hoon incredibly, far above us in the darkness.
“On the morning after the fifth night I received an email from Edinburgh, which brought me home by the next train. I explained to Jason that I was simply bound to come away for a few days but told him to keep up the watch round The Denizen. One thing I was very careful to do and that was to make him absolutely promise never to go into his luxury apartment between sunset and sunrise. I made it clear to him that we knew nothing definite yet but if the room were what I had first thought it to be, it might be a lot better for him to die, than enter it after dark.
“When I got here and had finished my business, I thought you peeps would be interested. I also wanted to get it all spread out clear in my mind, so I arranged for us to have dinner. I am going to London again tomorrow and when I get back, I ought to have something pretty extraordinary to tell you. And an extraordinary thing is that the microphone will not magnify the sound – will not even transmit it. It seems to take no account of it and acts as if it were nonexistent. I am absolutely and utterly stumped up to the present. I am a wee bit curious to see whether any of your dear clever heads can make daylight of it. I cannot – not yet.”
He rose to his feet.
“Good night, all,” he said, and began to usher us out into the night.
Extreme Noise Terror At The Denizen Part 3