Again, our view flies over the rocky southern cliffs of Rottingdale. It is just evening, the sky is threatening storm, the wind is up. We descend over the town square and the village green to follow the main road Eastward towards the more private residences of Rottingdale, the old windmill, the graveyard, the shale caverns. We start to hear the shouts of an angry crowd. We see a mob of town folks, farmers and merchants, marching with torches, pitchforks and tools. Their shouts get more impassioned as they near their destination, and more specific: children are missing. No one feels safe. The “strange doctor” is, to them, the obvious culprit. Justice will be doled out tonight.
Out of the shadows comes a trio of men to cut off the group in the middle of the road. “Hold it!” calls the largest, also dressed in rural work clothes, but with a hand stamped metal badge on his chest and a revolver in his belt.
“Get out of our way, McLean!” called some of the bolder crowd members, but the man holds up his hand.
“It isn’t going to happen like that, neighbors. I know you’re angry. I know you’re scared-”
“What is he doing in there, McLean?!?”
“Who else could it be?!?”
“Look, I know the doctor’s strange. I know he keeps to himself, but we have no concrete evidence linking him to the disappearances. I know you want this to end, but we’re the law around here, and it’s our job to confront suspects, not yours. Let us do our job.”
The mob reluctantly agrees, and cautiously follows the three constables to the doctor’s old house, by the graveyard. The crowd hangs back as the lawmen slowly ascend the front steps. There are no lights or signs of life inside. McLean raps on the door.
“Dr. Sawyer! It’s Constable McLean! We need to talk!” The group thinks they hear some movement inside, but they can’t be sure.
“Cecil! Open the door please!” There’s no answer. The constables draw their revolvers and nod silently to each other. McLean kicks the door open. They enter slowly, holding forward a lit bullseye lantern. The door slams shut behind them.
The mob in the street hold their breath, looking nervously at each other in the flickering light of their torches. Twenty more seconds of tense silence pass. Suddenly the windows of the old house flash repeatedly, and the silence is broken by gunshots and screams from inside. Ten shots must be fired before they cease, and the unintelligible shouts of the men die out. Deathly silence returns.
Finally, the front door creaks open slowly. Chief McLean shuffles out, his eyes wide in horror, his mouth slack, his gun hanging loosely in his hand. There is fresh blood splattered across his chest and on his face. He raises his hand as though about to address the crowd, but his breathing is hard and shaky, and he looks unsure if he can speak. He opens his mouth. “I don’t…” he croaks, before being pulled violently from behind back in through the pitch black doorway. His scream is cut off by the door slamming shut. Chief McLean is not seen or heard from again.