Thursday morning begins quietly enough, with Vivian in the kitchen drinking coffee and going over her notes from a return visit to the museum. Her solitude is disturbed by Ron, who had gone out to “look at the animals,” and is only coming home now because he met and spent the night with a new friend—a waitress named Aoife.
|The Incomparable Aoife|
Ron describes the location he went to as the “Game Preserve,” a mob bar run by the Irish Mob. He then gets himself a cup of coffee and tries to go to sleep. His efforts are first stymied by Judge Putnam, who has awoken very early to type up a letter very noisily on his typewriter.
He is then disturbed by Johnny, who comes back to the safe house a short time later. Johnny was researching things at the Boston Public Library, read a Mythos text, went insane, and is just coming down from that insanity now. Johnny confuses and concerns everyone by opening every drawer, cabinet, cupboard, and door in the house, and also refusing to close them.
The group gradually wakes up and gets dressed. Judge Putnam mails his letter. Dr. Black tells everyone that he acquired a very strange key from a very strange young lady at a curiosity shoppe in town. Johnny is very concerned that this key exists. Vivian goes over some of her research, providing further information on Stephen Clark and his exhibit.
Mikhail reports that he had called to schedule an appointment to meet Stephen Clark and talked to his museum liaison, Mrs. Slate. This meeting is scheduled for 10:00. Everyone decides to go.
At about this time, the safe house’s caretaker comes in with a crate full of bootleg alcohol. He steadfastly, and with a great deal of sarcasm, refuses to answer Ron’s questions about why an Italian guy would send him to a bar run by the Irish mob. Johnny is so entertained by this that he gives the caretaker a dollar for services rendered.
Meeting Stephen Clark
The group travels to the rented house that Stephen Clark is using as a residence, interview space, and studio. They meet Mrs. Slate, who is an older woman who seems very tired. She alludes to the fact that there is something “wrong” with Stephen, and that he’s better for interviews during the day and at night. While the group settles themselves, she fetches Stephen from the studio.
Stephen is a handsome young man with a similar profile to James. He dresses in baggy clothes and looks exhausted. Vivian notices him staring quizzically, and perhaps nervously, at the group before he going to the sideboard to prepare himself a glass of absinthe.
|The Very Handsome Stephen Clark|
Stephen sips his absinthe and prepares to answer questions, only for Mikhail to point-blank ask if Stephen had seen any of them before. Stephen realizes, all of a sudden, that he has depicted at least some of the group in his paintings. In panic and terror, he flees back into his studio. Johnny covers the exit from the sitting room while Kane goes outside and around back to ensure that Stephen doesn’t escape out a window. The rest of the group crowds around Mrs. Slate and demands answers, while Stephen smashes and crashes his way through things in the studio.
Ultimately, Stephen is calm enough to talk to the group again. Between him and Mrs. Slate, the group learns that Stephen was “suddenly inspired” on October 22, 1925 and painted the centerpiece in the “Fractures of My Mind” art exhibit in one night. From then until the end of November, he found that he had frenetic and uncontrolled energy at night, which allowed him to paint the rest of the paintings in the exhibit in a surprisingly short period of time. Ultimately, however, this mania left him.
He had a local showing, which attracted attention from the Museum of Fine Art in Boston. His star has since been on the rise, and he has been interviewed by a variety of art journals and publications. Recently, the mania has come back again, and he spends his nights working on a new exhibit he is calling, “the Future Cometh.” When asked, Stephen says that he got the “inspiration” for this new work on February 3rd, the same day that Raleigh Rothschild sent his letter to the judge.
The group proceeds to examine the paintings of the new exhibit. They find them taking place mostly in white, sterile rooms with sharp angles. Among the things depicted are:
- A shadowy mass moving down a hallway.
- People and objects covered with a strange, black growth.
- Looking at Dr. Black from behind. He is staring at a grey door and holding a key.
- Unidentifiable machinery.
The group soon develops a good rapport with Stephen, especially Ron, who discovers that Stephen does not know his face and has never painted it. Mikhail broaches the subject of James’ hospitalization and care. Stephen remarks that he has not seen or talked to James for five years, and that their relationship is rather strained. The group later learns that this is because James is the serious, driven one who became a lawyer, while Stephen is the flighty, dreamy one who decided to be an artist. And for no other reason.
The group convinces Stephen that getting his brother out of Bellevue would probably be the best thing for him, so Stephen happily signs the paperwork. The group realizes that this interview has drained both him, and them, quite emotionally, and so they bid Stephen a fond farewell.
As they are leaving, Vivian notices a sealed letter in the wastepaper basket by the door, which she grabs. It is from an art journal and it is addressed to a Miss (deadname) Clark. Someone has scratched all this out with marker and written, “wrong! Try again!” This leads the group to deduce that Stephen Clark is a trans man.
Exhausted by the interview, the group returns to the safe house. Ron threatens everyone with death if they dare awaken him, and goes to his room to take a nap.