You almost make it through the night.
Burdened with his armload of supplies, medic Goatful Dead Head scuttles through the darkened hallways of Wimbiscus Manor.
“Meg kellett volna vásárolnia a kísérteties hitelt,” hisses Pontostárgy as it lops off Count Dorcula’s head.
Count Dorcula (Dr. Nick) has died. He was a VIDEOGRAPHER (vanilla town).
Goat stops at Catherine Morland’s door to slip the Ziploc baggie of moondust under it. He doesn’t know that she’s in league with Adelaida.
Does he know that Agent Tim Horton is one of Adelaida’s thralls? It’s hard to say, as he tries to open Tim’s door to give him the cross. But the door is locked.
On the other side, Judy, Hollywood Lobster, knows she jailkept the right person. She’s certain of it, right up until Tim gets out of bed. She turns to see that he already has the rubber bands out.
Judy, Hollywood Lobster (Sister Jude) has died. She was the UNIT DIRECTOR (jailkeeper).
Back at the other end of the building, meek Sarah Plain, the last of the Wimbiscuses, unsheathes her sharpened letter opener and stalks into Dorcula’s room.
“rats,” she says, finding his dead body. She stabs him a few times, but her heart isn’t in it.
She feels the house shake, and shivers.
Adelaida’s thralls walk silently from the darkened house, under a moon a night past full. They walk past the slumbering production camp, past the dark cemetery, down to the shore. An unusually high wave breaks, and when it retreats, a woman is standing in the surf, a pack of not-wolves at her side. The thralls have never seen her in person before, but they know her face.
It’s Mandy Mendez. It’s Adelaida.
She’s wearing a special saltwater-resistant business suit, and she pulls out a waterproof phone.
“Which one of you sent me the text ‘u up’?” she asks. Her voice is deep and musical.
Agent Tim Horton holds up a hand.
“Well, I am,” she says. “I am up. For the destruction of the House of Wimbiscus.”
Her thralls – Agent Tim Horton, Catherine Morland, Boom Mikeson, Jr., Otto Octavius and Uwe Boll – nod. Everything is clear to them now. The fever that has possessed their minds since they locked eyes with her Bitmoji email signature eases a little.
“Not so fast!” says a gravelly voice. Above them, in the cemetery, a spectre waits.
“Elias!” says Adelaida.
“Yeah,” he says, floating down. “Hi.”
They meet on the shore, her in the waves, him on the sand.
“You loved me, once,” she says, teasingly.
“Things change,” says Elias.
“Like you dying.”
“Like you killing me.”
They share a wry smile. Suddenly, there’s a noise back up on the cliff. Everyone turns. Boom Mikeson, Jr. knocks the other thralls down with his boom mic.
“hey elias hold on a sec please okay,” says Sarah Plain, panting as she runs down. “hi i know we haven’t really talked but i’m your great-grandniece sarah.” She pauses to inhale. “i wanted to say something when we met earlier but i was afraid they would kill me. there’s a LOT of pressure being the last wimbiscus but i really really tried to reclaim my birthright, honest.”
Adelaida cocks her head. “You’re the last Wimbiscus?” Sarah nods profusely. “A pleasure,” she says, after a moment, and shakes Sarah’s hand. “Elias and I were just catching up.”
“Sarah,” says Elias, gesturing to Adelaida. “A being created by forces beyond the stars. Being created by forces from beyond the stars, Sarah.”
“Elias and I have had our disagreements,” says Adelaida, frowning. “Like whether or not I’m a person.”
“People don’t need to steal the life force of others to stop from degrading, Ada.”
“is this a bad time?” asks Sarah. “i can come back later if this is a bad time.”
“I don’t steal,” says Adelaida, “they’re dying; they weren’t going to use it anyway. And no,” she says to Sarah, “this is not a bad time. There will never be a better time. In fact, for you, there will be no other time at all.”
Elias turns to her. “Run.”
Sarah looks between the two of them. Behind Adelaida, the sea pulls back. Farther and farther, exposing rocks and shells and fragments of things that were never meant to be on Earth. Back, back rolls the tide.
“Run,” says Elias. And she runs.
The path up the cliff is steep, and Sarah’s legs burn as she reaches the cemetery. Maryann Withrop is silently mowing the grounds with a reel mower, and waves to her.
“What are you doing up so late?” she asks.
“run,” Sarah tries to say, but her voice is too weak. Maryann shrugs.
Sarah sprints up to the front door and bangs on it. Nobody comes. Down in the harbor, the sea has bottomed out and is recoiling. Sarah runs on.
In the production camp, fan-favorite Dehaunters host Paisley is standing outside her trailer, vaping.
“Come to ask for your job back?” she asks, turning her vape pen off as Sarah runs up.
“no,” says Sarah, weakly. “i want you to know that you are a very bad person who did very bad things.” She gasps for air. “and you kind of escaped justice but now you’re going to be collateral damage from a curse. have fun being scared.”
“The hell?” says Paisley, and then the moon goes out. She turns.
A wave 100 meters tall has blocked out the sky.
“Rats,” says Paisley, as it crashes down.
When dawn comes, the rescue personnel are confused. The whole cliff is gone, as though erased away from the island. Wimbiscus Manor and the cemetery have been taken by the sea, and no trace of them remains of the shore. A few weeks later, Philo wakes up on a beach in the Azores with no memory of how he got there. None of the others are ever found.
And deep, deep down, in her benthic lair where no sunlight has ever reached, Adelaida Wimbiscus sits, a flashlight in one hand. In the other is a book she wrote, a long, long time ago. Back in the heady days after an old sea captain made a deal with a thing he found at sea, a thing from another sea, far away. The thing had promised him the destruction of Earth. He had haggled for a go-between, a bride for his eldest son, Elias. And the thing, amused, had made one for him.
Adelaida remembers being young, and wanting to belong on land. But her appetites were those of the sea, and the sea was always meant to be her home. In destroying the House of Wimbiscus, she has destroyed her communications relay with the forces on the dark world Iadolanth. But she knows the final message they sent her is true.
Her kingdom is at hand.