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"And this also," said Mallows suddenly, causing the others to look up at him "has been one of the dark places of the earth."

"Wut?" said Big Ollie. But Leslie elbowed him and gave him a look. This was one of those times...with the enigmatic sentence...when Mallows would give the sport of fishing a run for its money, in entertainment value, which was sorely needed on this doldrum of a day. Let him talk, Leslie signaled. Better than not catching anything. Ollie got it and sat back to wait. In due time, there came one of Mallow's stories.

"I was engaged by a secret society," he began "to run logistics for an expedition into the Congo."

Mallows pushed himself away from his resting spot and took a few steps to the boat's starboard side, where he held the rail and scanned the breeze-covered lake with narrowing eyes.

"I was put together with a partner, and the two of us were expected to solve a mystery or two that the society had accumulated over recent decades, though I later came to realize that may have never been their intention, and that these mysteries might have been of concern to them for much, much longer."

Mallow's companions were attentive, and settled into more comfortable positions for what looked like a long story. They could not know it at the time, but while there was no reason for them to hear this story, Mallows felt a strong need to tell it. He needed to tell it now because he knew a punctuation event was about to occur, and this story would be that one perfect paragraph to be so ended. The audience was not important, though his companions would feel very differently by the end of the afternoon.

And thence came a tale like none they'd heard before, though they trusted to be perfectly true. They had known Mallows long enough. In the early days when they were first learning his ways they would hear him say things that certainly could not be true. But then, one by one, these improbable things from his past would be proved by some sort of independent evidence to be indubitably true. By and by they learned that he did not say things that were not to be believed. Rather, he lived an unbelievable life and occasionally said things about that life. And the story they were about to hear was one of those things. It would, in fact, turn out to be the last story they would ever hear him tell.

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