Knowing I’m not going to get this write up finished before Halloween at my previous pace, I’m upping the regularity of these updates.
Alan awakens to Alice’s face looking down on him, but it then begins to change and takes on the appearance of Dr Hartman. He tells Wake that he’s had a breakdown, triggered by his wife’s death and has been a patient at his clinic ever since, Doctor Hartman claims he is schizophrenic, then the face fades again and alan finds himself in a bedroom. There’s a drip beside the bed and a typewriter on a desk by the window.
Dr Hartman enters the room and asks Alan to hollow him, he confirms that Alice is indeed dead, she drowned in Cauldron Lake, everything that Alan has experienced since has been a hallucination brought on by his breakdown. As he gives Alan a quick tour of the clinic and he meets some of the other patients. Emerson is a videogame developer who enjoys scaring others, Hartman thinks his work is trash. Arthur paints really haunting portraits, some brothers are also patients here, Odin and Thor Anderson, they used to be in a band together, now they spend their days causing trouble at the clinic and playing a Night Springs boardgame. They seem to think that Alan is a different author, Thomas Zane.
The electricity suddenly goes out and the Doctor encourages Alan to head back to his room to continue writing. The brothers say a local hag has taken something from the other patients, including Thor’s “Thunder” and Odin’s crows, she’s taken something from Alan too, he just has to figure out what it is. Back in his room, he sits at the typewriter, but he begins to shake before he can write anything. Things are kicking off downstairs, the brothers have attacked the nurse and Alan sees the distraction as an opportunity to break into Hartman’s office. Inside the office he finds a tape with Alice’s name written on it, the recording reveals a conversation she had with Hartman showing her concern for Alan, she says he’s always angry and violent, though not towards her. He doesn’t sleep, but no longer writes, and again, Alan hears her say she just sees a stranger behind his eyes now.
One hallway in the clinic has a large picture on the wall, it’s a picture of the staff stood outside the building, Hartman, the nurse and the orderly are all there, but they’re joined by a fourth figure, the “kidnapper”. Alan sees this as proof that Hartman is lying to him about his wife’s death and there’s a whole conspiracy going on. He finds Barry, who reiterates everything that’s happened in the story so far. Hartman also has Alan’s manuscript on his desk, along with Alan’s gun. The Doctor catches him picking the latter up and pleads with him to put it down, but Alan threatens to shoot him if he doesn’t move out of the way, Hartman tries to tell him that together they can create something wonderful, but then the Darkness begins to attack again.
Outside in the grounds, Barry has managed to get to his car, but the gates are now locked and he can’t open them, he’s on the opposite side to Alan. He says there is a way off the property, he has to go through the hedge maze and the gardens. It takes a while to navigate the grounds, and the Darkness tries every trick its already been using, throwing objects, blocking paths and setting Taken upon Alan. But he eventually gets to another locked gate with Barry stood on the other side. A large number of Taken attack Alan and he has to fend them off for long enough for Barry to be able to unlock the gates. Once he’s succeeded at that, they run for the car, Barry suggests they leave Bright Falls, but Alan tells him they’re heading for the Anderson’s farm instead.
Alan strongly believes that Alice is actually still alive, though is at the bottom of Cauldron Lake, he thinks there’s “something special” about the lake and that it brings “art to life”. He thinks that this means that he can bring Alice back. A figure appears in the road, Barry swerves to avoid it and Alan is thrown from the car. Barry shouts to Alan that he’ll meet him at the farm.
From the pathway up in the hills, Alan sees a car heading in the same direction as he is planning to, he thinks it might be Barry, who may have found an abandoned car (or stolen one) and used that to get to (perceived) safety quicker. As Wake makes his way to the farm, he’s suddenly blinded by a bright light, a voice tells him he’s trying to deliver each page of the manuscript to the correct time and place, it’s trying to tell him the correct order of the story. It’s not long before he finds a house. The car he’d previously seen is parked outside. As he enters the doorway he hears a scream from upstairs, thinking it’s Barry he goes to help his agent. However, it’s not Barry, it’s the man from the police cell’s, lying on the floor, blood pouring out of him, there’s a broken window, he says he was looking for his buddy, Danny. In the neighbouring room, there’s a TV, Alan’s on this one too, he says the story he’s writing is supposed to save Alice, but he insisted it’s going to kill her and the only way he could change that would be to insert himself into the story as the protagonist. As he tries to leave the house, a huge axe-wielding Taken attacks, perhaps that’s what happened to Danny?
As Alan gets to the farm, he notices a stage and on that is a huge dragon prop. Barry’s on the stage shouting for Wake to run as Taken are attempting to get to them, however, a lightning strike hits the dragon, setting off fireworks that obliterate the Taken and allowing Alan to get up onto the stage where the pair have to see off wave after wave of Taken, using a combination of the weapons, flares and torches Alan has picked up, the stage lights (controlled by Barry) and fireworks that are out in the fields. It’s an intense fight, but before long, the Taken stop coming. The only way to get to the farmhouse looks to be by going through the barn.
Inside is yet another TV, it’s showing an episode of Night Springs, Barry reveals that Alan used to write for the show, but that this isn’t one of his episodes. This one is about a man who dreams of a queue of people, everybody in the queue is aware that he is dreaming them, an alarm goes off and they plead with him not to wake up “I have a wife and kids to go home to!” one shouts as the episode ends.
Alan explores the barn, looking for a way out, his only solution is the Viking boat that’s hung from the ceiling, which he uses as a battering ram to break down the doors at the far end of the barn. Once they reach the farmhouse, the lights are all off, Wake finds the fuse box and music begins to play from an old record player in the lounge. Alan thinks the lyrics are an instruction for them to find Cynthia Weaver, though that will have to wait till morning as the two decide to see out the night by getting drunk on the Anderson’s hooch. Wake begins to hallucinate that he’s on Diver’s Island, the island that disappeared in the 70s after the volcano erupted. He sees the night of Alice’s disappearance, the same night they arrived in Bright Falls, play out before him, the veiled woman guides him through, then tells him that Alice did die and it’s his fault.