Sunday, 21st September, 2008, 02:01 PM #291
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Gates of Delirium: Part 7 – Third Watch
McNab opened the door on the opposite room.
“Yowza. Things just got interesting. There’s a girl in the other room. I’m going in…” He suddenly shrieked as he nearly fell through the door.
Jim-Bean grabbed hold of McNab’s belt and pulled him back. He could see what McNab was reacting to. There was an unconscious woman in a red dress and heels on the floor.
As they climbed in, she woke up.
“What? What the hell? Where am I? Who the hell are you people?” She looked around. “I must have had more to drink last night than I thought.”
Hammer made introductions. “Who are you and how did you get here?”
“I’m Amy. Amy Spencer. I was seeing Doctor Tarrou to deal with work stress. He prescribed me these eye drops. The last thing I remember was putting two drops in my eyes and then I woke up here.” She looked the motley crew of people up and down. “How the hell did I get here? Have we been kidnapped?”
“I’m starting to see a pattern,” said Jim-Bean.
“Don’t ask me to explain what this place is,” said Hammer. “I don’t entirely understand it myself. We’re trying to get out of here together.”
McNab grinned. “You’re welcome to join us!”
Spencer rubbed her temples. “I don’t see that I have much choice.”
“More numbers,” said McNab. He was crouched down on the floor, peering at the inside of the door in the center of it. “1116059000.”
Jim-Bean picked something off of the door on the opposite side of the room. “Hey neat, these rooms come with watches now.”
Fielding inspected the watch. “Well this is bizarre.”
“Now what?” asked Hammer.
Fielding took off the watch on his wrist. “This is the watch that my wife gave me on my twentieth anniversary just before the divorce. See?” He showed the back of it. There was an engraving that read, “To Martin, Happy 20! With Love, Norma.”
“And this is the watch we just found,” he showed the back of the watch. The engraving was identical.
“Well,” said Jim-Bean, strapping the watch on his wrist. “At least we know what time it is.”
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Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Gates of Delirium: Part 8 – 60659
McNab opened another door. “Holy crap, there’s someone in here!”
The gravity shifted in the room again, forcing everyone to climb sideways once they entered the room. A skeletal corpse clad in tattered rags lay crumpled on the floor. A nauseating stench filled the air.
Hammer inspected the corpse. “It’s covered in mathematical formulae and odd phrases.”
“It’s on the walls too,” said Jim-Bean. “On every available writing space.”
Fielding tapped a part of the wall. “Here’s that number again: 60659. Can you make out what it says on his body?”
Hammer read up and down the length of one arm.
“Daoloth may grant vision to his priests—visions of past and of future, and into the very last dimension, beyond even the twenty-fifth. But the gift of true sight is a dangerous one, for reality is but a fragile illusion, and madness comes quickly with truth.”
“Anything on him we can use?” asked Jim-Bean.
Hammer held up a pen. “Not unless you want to write your life’s story, no.”
The corpse begins to rot away right before their eyes.
Jim-Bean took the pen from Hammer. “Just in case it’s a short story.”
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Gates of Delirium: Part 9 – Theoretical Purposes
Jim-Bean opened the next door to see a doppelganger of himself peering back. The duplicate whispered, “Help me, please…”
Blood spurted from the other Jim-Bean’s mouth as he was stabbed from behind.
“Don’t trust him!” snarled Hammer on the other side of the room, a bloody knife in his hand. He had obviously been in a fight; blood dripped from his nose.
Beyond Hammer, odd translucent pillars lurched sideways into the room.
“He’s lying about everything!” snarled the second Hammer.
The parallel Hammer was suddenly beheaded by one of the pillars. The door whisked shut.
“Jesus!” shouted Jim-Bean, stumbling backwards. “Did you see that?”
Hammer nodded grimly. “I saw it.”
“Wait!” shouted Fielding. “I have an idea. I know what just happened was a little…shocking, but actually it makes total sense. If we’re really in a multidimensional quantum environment. One fundamental idea of a quantum universe is that actual realities can exist simultaneously. So what we saw was copies of us in a parallel universe. That explains why we saw somebody else was marking numbers in the room and why there’s duplicates of my watch. I thought about leaving my watch as a trail and what a pity it would be to leave my watch behind…but this means I must have finally decided to leave it behind in an alternate reality!”
Hammer sighed. “That’s the last thing we need.”
“What?” asked Jim-Bean.
“More of you.”
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Gates of Delirium: Part 10 – There’s Something Here
After journeying for hours from room to room, they finally decided to rest.
“Wake up,” whispered Guppy. “Wake up, there’s something here.”
Jim-Bean’s eyes fluttered open.
A putrescent, translucent bag of semisolid flesh trails nests of writhing tentacles shimmered into view. Most of the tendrils are sense organs, but the thickest tendril ends in a cruelly fanged mouth.
“Guys!” shouted Jim-Bean. “Wake up!”
With a sudden roar, the thing tore into Fielding, churning him into a bloody spray.
“Run!” shouted Hammer.
The thing practically filled the entire room.
Hammer, Guppy, and Jim-Bean fled in one direction. Spencer and McNab fled in the other.
“That thing has to have been hunting us this whole time,” said Hammer. “That’s what you’ve been hearing, Guppy.”
They opened another door.
“Oh,” said Hammer.
Jim-Bean craned his neck to look over Hammer’s shoulder. “What is it?”
“We’re all dead in there. I guess in that reality we didn’t wake up in time.”
“Pleasant,” said Jim-Bean. “Let’s not go into that room.
Hammer nodded and stepped away from the door.
A parallel duplicate of Tarrou hanging from the wall faded into view.
“And Tarrou hung himself in that reality,” said Jim-Bean.
“But now it’s coming INTO the rooms,” said Hammer.
Slowly, all the etchings that were written by Tarrou appeared on the walls, as did Fielding’s sketches of a cube.
“What is it?” asked Guppy. “What’s going on?”
“Things are starting to fade in,” said Hammer, looking around at each wall. “Etchings, sketches, Tarrou’s dead body…”
“That’s it!” Guppy laughed hysterically. “That’s it! I think…I think we’re IN Daoloth! All the realities are starting to collapse into one space. The Blink drug that Tarrou was giving us…all of us took it, right?”
“Not all of us,” Jim-Bean said darkly. “But we got sucked into whatever that thing was in the pentagram. Us, Tarrou, his cronies…”
“We’re all trapped inside the thing!” said Guppy. “And Daoloth is expanding right now…but when he leaves our world he’ll shrink to nothingness…implode! It’s only a matter of time.”
“Let’s go,” said Jim-Bean. He put his palm to the door…
And saw the shimmering wall pushing forward – only now he saw himself on the opposite side of it. They caught a glimpse of each other and then the door slid shut.
Hammer tried the right door. It was filled with pillars. A body squirmed beneath them, smashed to death.
Jim-Bean tried the left door. The pulpy bag of flesh shrieked at him with an unearthly roar. He closed it.
Hammer opened the door behind him, only to catch a glimpse of himself, staring at in shock – and then beheaded by shimmering pillars.
“Christ!” shouted Hammer.
The door they had decided not to enter, where the dead bodies were, whisked open. The Asian man entered the room. Three copies of Martin Fielding’s watch danged from his wrist and a knife was in his hand.
“Who the hell are you?” asked Jim-Bean.
“Ngo Dinh Hao. I’m glad you invited me to dinner.” He licked his lips, and revealing that his teeth were filed to points. “Because I’m hungry.”
He lunged at Jim-Bean, but Hammer grabbed his wrist and twisted. The knife clattered to the ground.
Jim-Bean bent to pick it up when he heard a shriek behind him.
Another copy of Hao had Guppy in a vice with a knife to his neck. This version was older than before and he had several copies of Fielding’s watch dangling from his wrist.
“What the hell are you doing?” asked Jim-Bean, knife at the ready. Hammer and the original copy of Hao grappled in the background.
“Tarrou was a fool. I was asked to give him the Blink but he abused it! And now we are trapped in this false god!” He shook his head. “Well I’m not going alone.”
“Is this a hostage negotiation?” asked Jim-Bean. “You realize there’s no hostages, right? There’s just endless copies of all of us. Of you. Of me. Of Guppy. You can kill him. Eat him. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. Nothing matters.” He took a step closer. “Are you even the original? Do you even know?”
Hao grinned. “I asked the first one I met.” He slowly scraped the knife along Guppy’s neck, dripping a trail of blood. “He tasted like chicken.”
The room began to shimmer. Spider web-like cracks snaked along the walls. The entire room turned black and white as the color drained out of it, an inverted reflection of itself. Then the panels disintegrated in pieces, leaving just a superstructure of the room. A whirling gray fog surrounded them.
The Hao holding Guppy hostage looked around in awe, loosening his grip on Guppy.
All of a sudden the room was filled with beeping. All the watch alarms were set for 6:06:59 p.m.
“That’s it!” shouted Jim-Bean, staring at the watch on his arm. “60659 wasn’t a number! It was a time!”
The first version of Hao lost his concentration as he gripped Hammer. Hammer turned and, whirling the smaller man like a shot put, hurled him into the second copy. Both of them were hurdled screaming into the abyss.
“Six hours, six minutes, and fifty nine seconds! This is it!”
The superstructure of the room rippled and chipped off, piece by piece, hurled away into the whirlwind that surrounded them. Only the door on the floor remained.
Jim-Bean tore open the door in the floor. The area beyond was cloaked in absolute darkness, even though the door was fully opened. No light source penetrated it.
Jim-Bean jumped through. Hammer dragged Guppy over and shoved him in.
Then, looking around, he dove in after them.
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Gates of Delirium: Conclusion
Jim-Bean was falling, falling, falling through a shaft formed of infinite cubes, all rendered in stark black and white contrast. It seemed as if he were falling forward, but in reality he was falling backwards, away from the infinite lines of Daoloth’s structure, which were so long as to appear curved. It was only as Jim-Bean fell further that the distance became apparent and he could see the structure of Daoloth’s form, lines within lines, coalescing into a cube of sorts. The cube pulsed and rippled as lines shifted within it.
And then he was falling back towards it, through the cube and between the curved strings of cubes strung together, hurtling through a shaft…
Jim-Bean woke up in an apartment. Furniture was overturned, ornaments and knick-knacks scatted across the floor mingled with appliances and utensils from the kitchen. The contents of every closet and cabinet, of every wardrobe and cupboard, lay strewn about the place.
Hammer was already up and about. Guppy was slowly getting to his feet.
Guppy took off the gauze. “This is Rachel’s place,” he said softly.
Rachel was on the floor, her eyes glazed, breathing quickly. Hammer checked her pulse. “High on Blink. But she should come out of it soon.”
A red light blinked on the answering machine. “She’s got a phone message,” said Jim-Bean. He pressed the button.
“Hello Ms. Hayward,” said a voice they were familiar with. “This is Dr. Tarrou. I trust the eye drops have been effective in alleviating your distress. Let me remind you that this wonderful new therapeutic medicament is still in its experimental stage and has not yet been approved for pharmaceutical purposes. Remember to take only one drop in each eye a night before retiring, and please record your upon waking every sensation in as much detail as recollection allows; it will allow me to more clearly monitor your progress at your subsequent consultations here in Asharoken. I trust that you are finding this new drug more efficacious than the morphine.”
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Last Rites - Introduction
This scenario, “Last Rites,” is a Cthulhu Now scenario from Last Rites by Ian Winterton. You can read more about Delta Green at Delta Green. Please note: This story hour contains spoilers!
Our cast of characters includes:
Whereas the last session I had too few players, this session I had nearly the whole gang. This session in particular moves fast, and I wanted to make it a little more personal for the PCs to keep them interested. So I threw in a flashback that I thought worked well in getting the agents interested in a key NPC.
- Game Master: Michael Tresca
- Jim “Jim-Bean” Baxter (Charismatic Hero/Telepath) played by Jeremy Ortiz
- Kurtis "Hammer" Grange (Fast/Dedicated Hero/Gunslinger) played by George Webster
- Hank “Guppy” Gupta (Smart Hero/Field Scientist) played by Joseph Tresca (creepyportfolio.com)
- Joseph “Archive” Fontaine (Dedicated Hero/Acolyte) played by Joe Lalumia
Then I killed him.
I felt it was important both to have the NPC be present and to see him die in a senseless, violent sort of way. I also wanted to deal with Jim-Bean’s psychic powers that have now reached a point where they simply can’t be ignored.
The original scenario wasn’t particularly exciting; it involves a psychic girl hiding in her room while she mentally controls her undead dad. Which would take well-armed agents a whole five minutes to resolve. So instead, I ripped off Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood and Freddy vs. Jason to amp the action up to 11. This means Lucinda’s powers go from mildly disturbing to out-and-out superkinetic, and her creepy father becomes a nigh-unstoppable killing machine. With a chainsaw and a machete. I can’t quite express the joy of getting to use one of my chainsaw wielding maniac miniatures.
This scenario moved quickly and the pacing was both fast and violent. On the other hand, dealing with a slasher-type monster makes it near impossible to defeat (I used the revenant template, for anyone who’s interested), and I started to realize that this scenario was more about railroading and less about having much to do. This was reflected in Jim-Bean who essentially froze up as Jeremy tried to decide the next logical move. When one of your players does that, it’s usually a sign that the plot isn’t very clear.
Still, the conclusion was both dramatic and satisfying. It just didn’t have all that much for the agents to do, and it’s something I plan to improve in future scenarios.
Defining Moment: Jim-Bean considers killing a teenage girl in cold blood to stop a murderous rampage.
- Last Rites: Source of "Last Rites" oddly enough.
- Girl: by Beck. I'm completely obsessed with this song to the point that I wrote an analysis of it on my blog.
- Friday the 13th: Part VII – The New Blood: Carrie vs. Jason, basically. Noteworthy for the character development and special effects.
- Freddy vs. Jason: The best of the series, I was laughing out loud in the movie theater.
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Last Rites: Prologue
Jim-Bean was in a room. All he could make out was the silhouette of a figure. He was most obscured by the spotlight near his head, shining through the glass separating the examination room from the doctor’s office.And I know I'm gonna steal her eye
She doesn't even know what's wrong
And I know I'm gonna make her die
Take her where her soul belongs
And I know I'm gonna steal her eye
Nothing that I wouldn't try
--Girl by Beck
“Now Mister Baxter, I’m going to ask you again…”
Jim-Bean could make out a nametag: Dr. Alan Ettringer.
“You sustained a shotgun wound at point blank range.”
“Oh yeah? I don’t remember.”
Jim-Bean was strapped down to a table. He couldn’t move his arms, legs, or even turn his head. Something was connected to his temples. There was an odd hum in the background.
“You were cognizant enough to get up, eliminate the target, then make your way to the train’s engine and force the engineer to apply the brakes. You then returned to the location where you were shot and carried on a conversation with your fellow agents.”
Ettringer pressed a button and Jim-Bean heard his own voice: “Out of the way…We’ll do this the old fashioned way—“
“Do you remember now?”
Jim-Bean shrugged as best he could in his restraints. “Sounds like me.”
Ettringer’s smooth voice indicated the slightest hint of amusement. “Let’s move on, shall we? You received a debilitating case of necrotizing fasciitis from a bite wound.”
“Oh yah, I remember that. Saucy wench. She could get quite rough if you know what I’m saying—“
“Mister Baxter,” interrupted Ettringer. “Do you realize that the mortality rate of necrotizing fasciitis is over 70 percent?”
“When doctors initially examined you, it appeared that the necrotizing fasciitis was actually reversing itself. You didn’t even require debridement.”
“…just lucky I guess.”
“Uhm hmm.” Ettringer’s hand hovered over a switch. “We’re going to perform a few tests to see the limits of your endurance.”
“Wait!” Someone put something over Jim-Bean’s eyes. Jim-Bean struggled in the restraints. “Whaddaya mean by…”
Jim-Bean tried to scream, but hands thrust a bite guard into his mouth and pulled it tight, stretching the edges of his lips into a rictus.
“You won’t remember any of this. Welcome to Project RECOIL.”
Then Ettringer flipped the switch and the world exploded as electricity coursed through every muscle.
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Last Rites: Part 1 – The Tape
"Jimbo? Earth to Jimmy-Bean!" Hammer's voice floated through Jim-Bean's consciousness.
Hammer, Guppy, and Archive were seated all around Jim-Bean in office chairs, their faces illuminated by the blank computer screen before him. They looked at him expectantly.
Jim-Bean snapped out of it. "Wha?'
"You've been sitting there staring at the DVD for like a minute. Did you just have a stroke?"
Jim-Bean chuckled, but he was really just buying time to clear his head. The DVD was marked “Arkham Asylum Outpatient Lucinda Ennis.” The author was listed as Dr. Alan Ettringer. It had triggered a memory – more of a vision – and the visions were becoming all too common when Jim-Bean touched things.
Probably part of those "attributes" that Majestic-12 was so interested in. The suppressed memory made him decide that keeping these new visions to himself was the safest course of action.
Hammer took the DVD out of Jim-Bean's fingers and popped it into the DVD player. "Lay off the drugs."
The same calm voice of Ettringer piped through the monitor speakers. “…the Baxter Case in 2005. The documentation here is much greater.”
“Baxter Case?” asked Hammer, peering at Jim-Bean suspiciously.
Jim-Bean shrugged. “There’s a lot of Baxters.”
“By keeping Lucinda Ennis' trauma and stress levels high,” continued Ettringer on the tape, “I’m confident I can induce huge psychokinetic reactions.”
"Lucinda Ennis?" said Archive. "I recognize that name. Is she related to Sophie?"
"Who's that?" asked Guppy.
"We found the corpse of a little girl at the former site of the orphanage on McKinley Boulevard," said Archive. "DNA evidence identified her at Sophie Ennis."
A dark-haired, brooding girl walked in, eyeing the camera suspiciously.
“Is that really necessary?”
Ettringer stepped on screen, looking just as Jim-Bean remembered him. He barely spared the camera a glance. “The camera? I just want to keep track of our progress, all right?” He read off a pad. “Let’s get back to work. Here, look at me. See this matchbox?” He placed a matchbox down on the desk. “I’m going to set it on the desk here. I want you to concentrate. I want you to think about your feelings and focus them in on the matchbook. Maybe we can get it to move.”
Lucinda stared glumly at it. Nothing happened.
“You’re not trying, Lucy.”
“Yes I am!” protested Lucinda.
“Think about it moving. Then make it move!”
Lucinda held her breath and strained, staring at the matchbook. After another second she gasped for air. “I can’t! I told you I don’t know how it happens—sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t happen!”
“You’re lying to me!” snarled Ettringer in an uncharacteristic loss of composure. He stalked over to her, leaning closer. “You’re lying because it happens when your emotions are their PEAK.” His voice lowered to a whisper. “Now you’re holding back. Concentrate. CONCENTRATE LUCY!”
Lucinda turned back, eyes wide. The matchbook skittered across the table.
“Well well. What did you do? What went through your mind?”
Lucinda didn't look at him. “I was thinking about you.”
Ettringer barked out a laugh. He didn’t expect that response.
“Look I don’t know how this is going to help me,” said Lucinda.
“Your psychokinetic ability is a projection of the suppressed guilt feelings that you have.”
“Would you speak English?” asked Lucinda. “You’re more interested in this telekinetic stuff than you are in me!”
Ettringer wagged a finger at her. “That is not true, Lucinda! The only reason that I’m here is to help you overcome the guilt you have about your father’s death. That’s all!”
“That’s BULLS#!T!” shouted Lucinda.
The matches burst into flames. Lucinda stormed off camera.
“I rest my case,” Ettringer said quietly.
The tape ended and the screen went blank.
"That's our man," said Hammer. "Looks like a Friendly got himself into some trouble."
Guppy frowned. "I have heard of this Ettringer when I was at the Van Dyson Clinic." He rubbed his temples. "He has an affinity for—"
"Electroshock therapy," finished Jim-Bean. He got up from his chair and left before Guppy could ask him how he knew.
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Last Rites: Part 2 – The Terror Begins
RUNVILLE, MA—Runville was tiny and isolated. A narrow, lumpy dead-end road wound through dreary marshes that often flooded the road in the winter. Inland, the road joined a state highway.
The town was carved out of the bluff below, well above the sea but the streets were built on tiers like a lopsided wedding cake. Below the fishermen, who lived on the lowest level, was a shingle-covered beach and a sheltering cove. The Springer Mansion was the sole exception, a sprawling manor that included a private dock to the shore. A lighthouse, situated on a notorious shoal a few miles out into the Atlantic, gave a baleful glare as it rotated its all-seeing eye into the chilling fog.
The team arrived at a cabin on the highest level of Runville, starkly illuminated by the lights of the county sheriff’s vehicle.
"This is the town where Robert said the three remaining cultists were hiding out," Hammer whispered to Jim-Bean.
Sheriff Maurice Talbott was on the scene, along with his deputy, Toby Ettringer. A grossly bloody sheet was lifted into a nearby ambulance.
Hammer flashed his badge. "Federal agent. What have we got?"
“Two kids in one of the cabins nearby here," said Talbott to Hammer. "One was knifed in the head, the other looks like her head was crushed.”
He shot Hammer a sideways glance. “If the Feds are snooping around then that confirms my worst suspicions. This is a serial killer we got on our hands, huh?” He shook his head. “Hard to believe a little girl like that could do so much harm.”
"Lucinda Ennis is the suspect?" asked Jim-Bean.
Talbott nodded. “We’ve got all officers, all units and stations within a fifty-mile radius alerted about this wacko kid. Lucy came running into the sheriff’s office, claiming that her father was alive. She said she dug up his body and poured something over it, some crazy potion she got from her boyfriend. Lucy said her father came back to life, but she couldn’t control him. When we didn’t immediately agree to help her, she made a grab for one of our rifles. Locked her ass up. Should have stayed there too.”
“Locked her up? How did she get out?” asked Hammer.
“We were told to let her out.” Talbott took his hat off and scratched his head. “We even took her to the Eternal Rest cemetery to prove that her father was still dead, but that wasn’t enough for her either. Lucy said someone covered up her father’s grave.” Talbott shook his head. “I don’t find it amusing that the nut house Lucy belonged to thought she was responsible enough to be released into the Doc’s care here.”
"What nuthouse is that?" asked Guppy quietly.
"Arkham Asylum," said a familiar soft voice behind them.
Tablott looked over Guppy's shoulder him a glare. “Where’s my manners? This here’s Dr. Alan Ettringer, a psychiatrist from Arkham Asylum. We released Lucy into his custody.”
Jim-Bean was very still. Did Ettringer even remember him?
If Ettringer recognized Jim-Bean he didn't show it. He looked distinctly uncomfortable. “If I may have a word with you please?” he whispered to Hammer.
The doctor took him aside. “I believe that Lucy’s psychokinetic powers are rapidly spiraling out of control. She claims to have resurrected her father. Her psychokinesis and delusions are clearly tied together. When she heard that her sister’s murder was cult-related, she started ranting and raving about avenging Sophia through her neglectful father. I fear she’s using her powers to kill whomever she thinks is tied to the cult.”
Hammer nodded. "Thanks, Doc. We'll keep it under advisement."
“Sheriff!” shouted one of the officers. “Get over here!”
Talbott took off into the woods toward his deputy's voice. He moved rapidly through the maze of trees and brush.
“Sheriff, over here!” shouted the deputy. Deputy Colone waved a flashlight.
Running up to his ashen-faced deputy, Sheriff Talbott looked down at what Colone held out.
In his hand was a pair of blood-splattered goggles. Talbott looked at him. “Is that all you found?”
“I wish it was,” replied the deputy. He shined his flashlight at the ground.
A severed arm was illuminated in the flashlight beam. It wore an Army fatigue sleeve. The beam moved over a couple of yards to a hacked-off leg, also in fatigues.
Both lawmen stared stoically down at the body parts.
"Stupid paintball kids," said Talbott, shaking his head. "They're not supposed to play out here, but they never listen."
The Sheriff's team started cordoning off the area.
Hammer huddled the other agents around him. "So this Lucy person finds out the cultists sacrificed her sister when she was at the orphanage. She reanimates her father and goes on a rampage."
Jim-Bean picked up the goggles. “Lucy’s father did this.”
“You mean the dead man?” asked Talbott.
Jim-Bean nodded. “Looks like she was telling the truth. He did it with a chainsaw.”
“A chainsaw?” Talbott laughed. “Hell, there are a thousand easier ways to kill a man than with a chainsaw. You know how strong ya gotta be to chop off a limb like that?”
“Very strong,” said Jim-Bean. “Look around for footprints. Lucy unearthed him recently from his grave, so there should be dirt from the graveyard.”
Talbott stared at him. “You can tell all that from a pair of goggles?”
“Forensics,” was all Jim-Bean said.
"If what Jim-Bean said is true," said Archive, “the three cultists are in grave danger.”
"What were their names again?" asked Hammer.
"David Flaherty, Katrina Smith, and Bernadette Springer."
"We'd better get over to Flaherty's place—"
"Don't bother." The sheriff stalked over to Hammer. "They just found David Flaherty. Somebody ripped his head clean off.”
Hammer checked his watch. "All right, time's ticking for the other two. Let's get to Smith's place. Move, people, move!"
“I’ll go with you,” said Ettringer. “I may be the only one who can control her.”
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Last Rites: Part 3a – The Smith Home
Katrina Smith's home was a large two-story building with white columns on the lowest level of Runville. A covered dock extended off the other side of the property into Runville Cove. The bright red door stood wide open. The wind was s getting stronger as it whipped through the trees, causing streetlights to flicker.
Hammer surveyed the grounds suspiciously. "Me and Jim-Bean will go inside. Guppy, Archive, go around back. Ettringer, stay close to me."
Ettringer nodded. He didn't catch Jim-Bean's frown in the darkness.
The raging wind causes everything to whistle and move. Lightning cracked nearby and the power went out completely.
"Of course," muttered Jim-Bean.
Hammer's head was cocked, straining to listen. "Shh!"
Jim-Bean listened too. Laughter from upstairs.
They crept their way to a bedroom. Hammer shined his light on the source of the sound.
It was a Furby, white eyes glistening in the darkness as its beak clicked. “Waa, waylo, koko!” it tweeted. “Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-“
Click! The lights came back on. The Furby was speckled with red.
"AAAAAH!" screamed Ettringer.
On the bed was Katarina Smith, her body horribly mangled.
The normally calm doctor fled the room, stumbling down the steps.
Hammer sighed. "This is what we get for taking civilians along."
They were about to start after Ettringer, who was still screaming outside, when it was interrupted by the sound of two gunshots.
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