I received this letter of confession from an inmate here at the Ark Asylum for the Criminally Insane and Desolate, here, I, Warden Cotton, shall recite into this phonograph the grave details that had transpired on the night in question where the man charged with the heinous offense of the Chicago Fire was placed under arrest and condemned then hung by the neck.
The letter which I made public tells a tale of grandeur and mystique that I could not comprehend, I released it to the public for their own consumption in hopes of finding those whom understand it could come to my aid and help me solve this insane banter from the man whom claimed to be the one who ignited the flame.
I, Warden Cotton, feel as the man was unjustly found and accused and as such, during which the interrogation followed was more then willing to comply to all charges and accept his fate as though HE were responsible for the travesty and not some other creature or that of a person or being of any stature. I wish to make this man’s name become removed from this ledger of guilt by his confession, for it seemed whilst he stayed here there was, no matter how short the compliance may have been, a lack of sight from the man’s eyes. It was as if the tale that he wove about a Star Dog and ghostly beings transcending from the earth to the heavens were a mere fantasy and not of a reality. I forsake the ways of the practice since I was once a doctor of the mind and gathered the evidence against him by his own account and unjustly confided in him to a grave of early departure. I henceforth wish to do none again and I willingly take charge of this process without the consent of my superiors. As such, if I cannot clear this madman’s name, I too shall go down with him as I condemned an innocent man.
It was a just a week after the fire had been extinguished and the flames still fresh in all our minds, that the man had once entered and upon the morrow after, hung. Following the weeks thereafter I began to see the report to which he left for me to read as his written confession to be a more fascinating venture and seemed to me as though he may have been under opium or another heavy sedative, as such thinking that I assumed it to be, I instinctively went to each den thereafter and sought out any man that would have known his name or seen him there. None were compliant in the sight or name of such a man, and I still have no idea who he is or was to this day. However my search was not exhausting, I was renewed each time I found a folly in the way, as if it were not just my mistake, but that of the community to which he has once called his own, for there too not one soul knew his name nor knew of his existence. I thought it strange an occurrence that none knew this man but were all willing to testify to that.
He seemed to have no relatives, no wife, no children of his own, he seemed that of a steady and sturdy man, though I had only seen him once in his more abrasive state. It seemed to me that no matter how I had seen the man, it was that I had and knew him as I knew myself upon first look. So, my venture furthered, and I found myself at the Hill that overlooked the Valley where he had said himself to be on the night in question. There I found no trace of man and there was no rain or snow, nothing of natural cause to have clouded my trace of him, for every man that I have met or ever knew had always left a trace of where it was that they had been. This time it appeared as though not even nature knew he was once a was and not a never once had been. This left me baffled to say the least. How could nature in all her greatness forhold a man whom I spied and had a recollection of he as well as a hand-written doctrine regarding himself unstable or that of his account which led me to believe his insanity, but how could not one soul anywhere in the city of Chicago not know his name, how was it that not one trace of the man nor that of his telescope that he never once said he reclaimed was ever found where he said that he was. It was then that I thought to myself that he made it up to die, as if he were a drifter and no longer wished for life. Then a thought again occurred to me thinking that he could also have had mistakenly made the account in the wrong setting as the Hills were vast and long, so trudging alone I climbed the steep Hills and still nothing to show.
I then thought to myself that there had to have been a more grievous error to my recollection and returned to my station to once again read the document to which the man wrote with his own hand. There was nothing new to gain from it, as it was the same as the time he wrote and time I released it to the papers and press. I was still at nothing.
It appeared to me that this low point of my career was how it were to end. My finding a hangman and the gallows pole.
The bell toiled and rang at nine in the morning while I gathered my papers and jotted down my resignation. Nine on the clock was the final hour that I would give. I knew that at ten or eleven my day was done and there would be nothing left of me. If I were not to meet the gallows by my own departure and opportunity and purge myself into the hellish landscape that I forbade my fellow man to and take his place, then there needed to be something to come in in the very last seconds.
And that something walked in.
He was a burly man, his hair sticking straight up and all about, from his arms to his head, his feet were bare and battered, cuts and missing segments from his legs shown signs of this man’s torture and torment just to get to me where he believed himself safe. I looked at the man and felt a sadness take hold. As I had thought I could no longer help the man as this was a prison and walk-ins are highly irregular. Still, I could not help but to stare plainly at him, for he was younger than I in appearance but seemed older than any of the more elderly staff by the look in his eyes. He wore a bowler hat atop his head which was the only thing undamaged and tipped it as he then began to walk by. I watched him walk past th front desk where I was taking notes to all the account that I could find to prove the man’s story as well as my main goal of disproving it. I was in hopes to have been able to provide the evidence needed to show the man was innocent and to wipe his unknown name from the record of his guilt. But all time seemed to halt as the man walked by me and rounded the corner to the opening that gave way into the chamber where I sat. I could not move my body at all, though I tried to stand and be ready to fight the man or even to shake his hand in a welcoming greeting, I could do nothing but sit there and stare.
His cover was once removed from his head as he sat across from me in the vacant chair that would have normally been sat in by my secretary where he would be taking note to my work for, he was to be next in line for my position upon retirement. He sat there as if he had nothing else better to do. His hat was off and the hair that sprang from it was jagged in all directions, there was no point as to why he wore the hat for his hair was more than a cover to cover up, however I could not see the length of which until his hat came off and he was down beside me. I tried again to ask myself if I am seeing something that I could not understand or if the man that wore the cover had things tucked away and neat, then upon the removal, it went mad with joy as it found its freedom, but nothing would be spoken, or no thought stuck inside my head long enough to gather any headway.
The man curled his fingers, which were that of sausages and rounded balls that seemed to protrude from his wrist in an odd shape. His eyes as I can recall were that of the lightest blue I had ever seen, his body was seemingly more slender than what he appeared as he walked in like it was reshaping itself as he moved toward me. I did not know what to express or think, all I could do was gaze at the man, if that is what it was, a man.
He reached out his fingers and placed them on top of my hand and erupted a vocal sound that I could not comprehend. It was that of a possible mix of a barking from a dog or that of a pack of wild dogs and then he rose and walked out.
Just like that it was done and gone.
I sit here now, weeks or had it been months now, away from the prying eyes of the world, inside a small terrace cut out in the Hill where it was that I found the man’s belongings and I now watch for the Star-Dog and the Moon to align once more to see my friend or the man that had become my friend.
His notes that he had left I am still rummaging through and reading thoroughly this way I understood him better until I could say I know his name. I have thus taken upon myself his cause and actions to ensure that those lost along the way can find a way to where it is they belong, as lookout for the Star-Dog, and the Moon shall see all.