When Ella entered the cabin and told us there was something going on at the dock, she went into the largest bedroom and came out with the gun Pike said was there. Pike retrieved the sword he brought, I got a flashlight, and we followed Ella to the dock.
There’s a long stairway from the cabin to the dock, and Ella was standing at the top of it. Actually, it’s not a single stairway: it’s five separate sets of stairs, the top three wooden and the bottom two metal. It isn’t a straight path down and there are trees on either side, so we couldn’t see the dock from where we were. But we could hear something: slow footsteps on the stairs. It didn’t sound like whoever was approaching was wearing shoes, because it was a soft sound against the metal steps.
There was a slightly different change in timbre as the steps moved to the second set of metal stairs. And then there was another sound of footsteps from further down. A creak told us that the first climber had reached the initial set of wooden stairs. And there were sounds of still more footsteps further down.
I shone the flashlight down. I didn’t illuminate anything directly but the light was reflected by something the size of an adult person but pale and shiny, like the belly of a toad just pulled from the water.
“I don’t think we should wait to find out how many of these things there are,” Ella said. We backed away and when I turned around, I saw a group of people approaching us from the front of the cabin, walking with a shuffling gait.
“Just what happened in that town?” I asked Ella.
“Shine the light on those guys,” said Pike. “We need to see what weapons they have.” I did so and saw axes, large knives, and a chain. “Okay,” said Pike. “Ella, give them a warning shot.” Ella aimed the gun over their heads and fired. They paused and then continued advancing. Moving the flashlight around, I saw other people coming at us from both sides. I didn’t look at what was approaching from the dock.
Then we heard the roar of an engine. I thought someone might have started our car until I saw a pair of square lights come at the people in front of us. They jumped away. The vehicle kept coming toward us and then around us, and we saw that it was Dingle from Friday night, on his ATV.
Dingle stopped behind us, withdrew a shotgun from the front of the ATV and fired it toward the direction of the dock. “Take that, ya goddam fish people!” he yelled. He told us to get on the ATV.
The front of the ATV was wide enough to have a rack on top of it and Ella sat on this. Pike and I sat on the rack in back. Dingle took off; any people getting in the way of his ATV would have to deal with a shotgun, pistol, or sword.
We didn’t talk to Dingle until he stopped in front of a smaller bar than the one where we had met him. A lit sign in the window said “Silver Waves.” As Dingle walked to the door I asked how he knew we were in trouble. “Heard ya were askin’ about New Innsmouth,” he said. “Figured we should keep an eye on you after dark.” All three of us asked who “we” referred to. He didn’t answer but he didn’t really need to, once he opened the door.
We saw six or seven hearty Wisconsinites in the bar, who approached Dingle when he entered. “Yeah,” Dingle said. “They made their move on my watch.”
“OK,” said a guy wearing a black T-shirt displaying a wolf howling at the moon. “Let’s go back there and see if they’re trying anything else.” Everyone in the bar, including the bartender, went outside and got into their trucks. Pike and I rode in the back of wolf man’s truck and Ella rode in the cab. When we got to the cabin and got out, Ella and wolf man were continuing whatever conversation they had on the way.
“You know about what goes on there and you haven’t tried to get rid of them?”
“Live and let live, miss. As long as they don’t try the kind of stuff they did tonight, we’re not gonna give ‘em guff about their Babylonish abominations and whatnot.”
Our new friends carried shotguns and flashlights and made a patrol of the house and surrounding woods. None of our things were missing and except for a canister of lighter fluid on the porch that none of us put there, nothing and no one unexpected were around. Ella, Pike, and I packed up our things and loaded up the car. We thanked Dingle and his comrades and Ella said she’d like to return soon to talk more with them — during daylight hours.
The guys told us how we could get back to the highway without passing New Innsmouth, and they followed us for a few miles, but driving on roads with woods so close on either side was still pretty tense. It wasn’t until we were on the highway that we started talking.
“I guess you’re going to find some new locations for the movie,” I told Pike.
“What, because of that? Nah, we can still shoot up there.”
“Excuse me?” said Ella.
“We can totally still shoot there!” insisted Pike. Ella sighed, but I caught her smiling too.