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TRANSMIT - initiate the ignis fatuus signal - RECEIVE - initiate the hinkypunk pattern - A VAPOUR SHINING WITHOUT HEAT - illumine the Local Legends of New England - WITNESS - The Wisps.
The light off in the distance. The flicker at the edge of reason. The people of Ireland, England, and Wales tell stories of a glow made by the fairy folk or elemental spirits. They brought those stories with them to Solomon Island. Perhaps they brought something else. There are a thousand variations of the story, but always there is a distant ghost light drawing travellers from the safe path.
Call it the hobby lantern or the friar's lantern. Call it the will-o-the-Lantern or the will-o-the-Wisp.
They have seen the wisps down in Kingsmouth town. Even the most skeptical citizen believes in the wisps. Everyone has a wisp story there, sweetling. But unlike most local folklore, which happens to distant relations of relations, these are tales that happened to the teller.
The wisps congregate in the woods, observing customs unknowable. There is a tree out there. Some call it the Halloween Tree. Most simply say, "The Tree," and everyone knows what they mean. They say the wisps are attracted to the tree. Or that the tree births the wisps.
But all agree that the wisps obey the will of the Jack.
Do you know the story of Jack, sweetling? Ask Danny Defrusne. Ask Deputy Andy. They will tell you a version. They will tell you of Stingy Jack, the sinner who tricked the devil. The sinner welcome in neither Heaven nor Hell. He wanders between worlds, carrying his dreadful light.
But there is another story, sweetling.
We speak of Jack the Lad. Jack was born in Ireland in 1889. He wandered the roads, with charm in his pockets and silver on his tongue. He played the fiddle and fiddled many and many a maiden. He hopscotched away from famine and landed on Ellis Island in 1907. He ended up in the cold fog of New England. He travelled the roads, played his music, and charmed his way up many and many a skirt. He had the voice of an angel yet not a penny to show, so he took up labour as a farmhand for Archie Henderson in Kingsmouth.
Now Archie Henderson was known as a strange duck at the best of times. Some called him a sorcerer, but never to his face. Archie had a daughter, Samantha, pale of skin with fire in her hair and heart. Father and daughter fought often. One night, she ran out of the house, quivering with rage. Jack, who liked a woman with heated blood, waited outside of the Henderson place, fiddle in hand, singing a song. It took some doing but soon she gave up her lips for a kiss. Then more. Soon it was, Samantha and Jack lay down in the good earth in the pumpkin patch for the first time… And Old Man Henderson chose that one time to follow his wayward child outside.
Jack looked up from Samantha's naked body to see Henderson looming over. To his daughter, in a voice of ice, he but gave a command to dress. But Jack was in line for an altogether fiercer punishment. Henderson said words older than continents and Jack felt himself change. "You've defiled my farm, boy. You've spilt your seed where only mine should grow. Now you'll reap what should have grown." Terrific pain and Jack felt the bones of his skull split, felt a heat where his eyes should be. He ran east, to the river and looked down at his face, only to see a Jack-O-Lantern where once had been flesh and face.
Jack-of-the-Field. Gourdheart. Lord of the Patch. We call his name.
Everything tends to be true, sweetling. Whichever Jack rules the patch of Kingsmouth, the ghost lights, the wisps, come when he calls, and dance in the night. There will always be a glow, at the edge of sight and reason, leading the unwary off the road.