I had Allan’s notebook tucked away in my overcoat. The chain on my lapel glowed in the miserable street light. The gas flame hissed like a feral cat. It barely chased away the darkness, or the autumn fog carried in with the wind from the Hudson.
I popped the chased golden lid of my pocket watch under the glow. The dial showed 10:30 pm. Time to wind up, my gloved fingers twirled the key clumsier than usual. It smelled like it would snow.
A coach rushed past me, dissolving into the fog. I heard the man on the box whip his horse. The clopping of hooves departed faster.
After Allan’s disappearance, two weeks ago, my friend’s leather-wrapped notebook got mailed to me. On the brown paper, an unfamiliar hand scrolled my address. It looked like a child had written it. My hands shook with anticipation, and the pressure in my stomach made me nauseous. Without opening the small parcel, I knew something was wrong. He’d never part with it voluntarily.
His family did not share my concerns, pointing out his irresponsible nature. Sadly, I was on my own.
Going through his notes, I discovered an alarming shift, I have not noticed in person.
His writing was accompanied by his careful studies. They looked so vivid, and his little poems were sincere. Raw notes made for one of his paintings followed.
Page by page, the drawings became sinister. His hand deteriorated as if he wrote as fast as he could. Dreadful figures appeared. The lines pushed through unto the next page. Allan must have been very upset about what he saw, or what he thought he saw. Why didn’t he talk to me?
I found this note that between Paulus Hook Ferry Old Fort Amsterdam and Murray’s Warf strange things kept happening. He made a map marked with a red triangle, he dubbed ‘The Triangle of Uncanny.’ Allan heard strange noises there. He passed streets, that did not exist, seen horseless carriages made of iron. He described following Thames Street, and suddenly walking up an unknown ‘Albany Street‘. He had to crane his neck to look up some very high buildings, made of mirrors and lights. He bumped into a strange man and fell, only to touch the ground on Thames Street. Why didn’t he show me?
I heard the Hudson licking at the piers ahead. The fog was so dense, I couldn’t see where I stepped. Thunder split the air, and my mouth filled with dust, smoke, and ash. No lightning, no fire! I coughed. What was happening? My ears rang, and I heard people scream. Blaring horns rushed past me. Red and blue lights flashed. I couldn’t see the source.
From behind, I was shoved forward. Was this war? Glass shattered. A hot wind blew my hat away. I choked, fell on my knees, senses spinning. A young slave pulled me up. He looked aghast. “Sir? What happened to the towers? Can you tell me?“