A fortnight later Lee dropped each of us an email inviting us around and you can imagine that I was not late this time. When we arrived, he took us straight into dinner and when we had finished and made ourselves comfortable, he began again, where he’d left off:
“Now just listen quietly for I have got something pretty queer to tell you. I got back late at night and walked along to The Denizen. I had not warned them that I was coming. The moon was bright. When I got there the whole place was in darkness and I thought I would hop over the fence into Fortune Street Park, to see whether Jason or his brother were keeping watch. But I could not find them anywhere in the park or the vicinity of The Denizen, and concluded that they had got tired of it, and gone off to bed.
“As I returned from round the back of the Jewin Welsh Church which abuts part of the west side of The Denizen, I caught the hooning whistling of Chan’s luxury apartment, coming down strangely through the stillness of the night. It had a queer note in it, low and constant, queerly meditative. I looked up at the living room window of Jason’s ghost flat, bright in the moonlight and got a sudden thought to find a ladder, and to try to get a look into the apartment through the window.
“With this notion, I hunted round at the Golden Lane Estate and presently found a long, fairly light ladder. It seemed to have been left behind by some workmen who were repairing a social housing block! I thought at first that I should never get it reared. I managed at last and let the ends rest very quietly against the balcony that jutted out from the living room of Jason’s investment property, I went silently up the ladder. Presently I had climbed onto the balcony and was looking into the flat which was illuminated by the moonlight.
“The queer whistling sounded louder up there but it still conveyed that peculiar sense of something whistling quietly to itself. Though for all the meditative lowness of the note, the horrible, gargantuan quality was distinct – a mighty parody of the human, as if I stood there and listened to the whistling from the lips of a monster with a man’s soul.
“And then I saw something. The floor in the middle of the living room was puckered upward in the centre into a strange soft-looking mound, parted at the top into an ever changing hole, that pulsated to that great, gentle hooning. At times as I watched, I saw the heaving of the indented mound, gap across with a queer, inward suction, as with the drawing of an enormous breath. Then the thing would dilate and pout once more to the incredible melody. And suddenly as I stared, it came to me that the thing was living. I was looking at two enormous, blackened lips, blistered and brutal, there in the pale moonlight….
“Abruptly they bulged out to a vast pouting mound of force and sound, stiffened and swollen, and hugely massive and clean-cut in the moon-beams. And a great sweat lay heavy on the vast upper-lip. Simultaneously the whistling burst into a mad screaming note, that seemed to stun me, even where I stood on the balcony. And then, the following moment, I was staring blankly at the solid, undisturbed floor of the room and there was an absolute silence.
“You can picture me staring into the quiet flat and knowing what I knew. I felt like a sick, frightened kid, and wanted to slide quietly down the ladder and run away. But in that very instant, I heard Jason’s voice calling to me from within the apartment for help! My God I got such an awful dazed feeling! I had a vague bewildered notion that, after all, it was local Cockney’s who had got him in there and were beating him up. Then the call came again and I burst through the balcony door and jumped in to help him. I had a confused idea that the call had come from within the shadow of the air vent in the third bedroom and I raced across to it. There was no one there.
” ‘Jason!’ I shouted and my voice went empty-sounding round the luxury apartment. Then in a flash I knew that Jason had never called. I whirled’round sick with fear toward the window and as I did so a frightful, exultant whistling scream burst through the empty bedroom. On my left, the end wall had bellied-in toward me, forming into a pair of gargantuan lips, black and utterly monstrous. They were within a few metres of my face. I fumbled for a mad instant at my revolver. The danger was a thousand times worse than death. And then suddenly the Unknown Last Line of the Saaamaaa Ritual was whispered quite audibly in the room. Instantly the thing happened that I have known once before. There came a sense as of dust falling continually and monotonously and I knew that my life hung uncertain and suspended for a flash, in a brief, reeling vertigo of unseeable things. Then that ended and I knew that I might live. My soul and body blended again and life and power came to me. I dashed furiously through the flat to the balcony and slid down the ladder. I can tell you that I had stopped being afraid of death. I crashed down on to the ladder and so came some way or other alive to the pavement. And there I sat in a puddle with the moonlight all about me. Far above through the broken balcony door window of the luxury apartment, there was a low whistling.
“I was not hurt and I walked up Golden Lane to Central Street and knocked Jason up. When he let me into his hotel room, we had a long discussion over some good whisky – for I was shaken to pieces – and I explained things as much as I could, I told Jason that the entire apartment building would have to come down and every fragment of it burned in a blast-furnace, erected within a pentacle. He nodded. There was nothing to say. Then I went to bed. Of course Taylor Wimpey and the City of London who ultimately owned the land are never going to agree to this.
“It was a true instance of Saiitii manifestation, which I can best explain by likening it to a living spiritual fungus, which involves the very structure of the aether-fiber itself, and in so doing acquires an essential control over the ‘material substance’ involved in it. It is impossible to make it plainer in a few words. Suffice to say it had been safely entombed in the plague pit beneath the building until the laying of new and deeper foundations disturbed it.”
“What broke the seventh hair?” asked Taylor.
But Lee did not know. He thought it was probably nothing but being too severely tensioned. He also explained that they found out that the men who had run away were not up to mischief. They’d come over secretly to hear the whistling, which had suddenly become the talk of the whole Cripplegate and prevented many of those living in the neighbouring Barbican Estate from sleeping at night.
“One other thing,” said Arkright, “have you any idea what governs the use of the Unknown Last Line of the Saaamaaa Ritual? I know that it was used by the Ab-human Priests in the Incantation of Raaaee. But who used it on your behalf?”
“You had better read Harzan’s Monograph, and my Addenda to it, on Astral and Astral Co-ordination and Interference,” said Lee. “It is an extraordinary subject and I can only say here that the human vibration may not be insulated from the astral (as is always believed to be the case, in interferences by the Ab-human), without immediate action being taken by those Forces which govern the spinning of the outer circle. In other words, it is being proved time and time again that there is some inscrutable Protective Force constantly intervening between the human soul (not the body, mind you,) and the Outer Monstrosities. Am I clear?”
“Yes, I think so,” I replied. “And you believe that the Denizen luxury apartment block had become the material expression of the ancient Jester – that his soul, rotten with hatred, had bred into a monster?” I asked.
“Yes,” said Lee, nodding, “I think you’ve put my thought rather neatly.”