Fate Core: 1985

The Case of the Bloody Healer
or Stinky Sewer Chimera Action

Case File No. 221

Several weeks have passed since the Nancy Watkins case (ref. case #218) went south. Finding that little girl in that state…that’s not how you want to end an investigation. Not that the media cares. They’ve been parading Nancy’s mom Anita all over the news, talking about the scandal of the missing children. Damn tragedy is what it is, not something to be used as a ratings boost. Though leave it to the politicians to use this as an excuse to point fingers at each other. Damn animals.

Jimmy (ref. file P0124) has gone AWOL, saying something about “totally” going out on the road. Probably needed to get clear his head. Or bash in some heads. Whichever works for him.

So far, 23 kids are still out there, gods know where. No leads, no bodies (which in theory is a good thing), and no witnesses.

Dead end.

I’ve been trying to get Agent McCall to return my calls (heh), but he ain’t havin’ it. I keep getting some generic agent being all “Thanks but don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

Yeah right.

I have been keepin’ in touch with my new pals. I hear Donny left Malthus (ref. file P0121) in charge of The Underground. Not a bad promotion for a bouncer.

Odile (ref. file P0123) has been looking into those runes that got zapped into us. (Yeah, that’s not gonna bite us on the ass later on.) For some reason, she can only recall the one that went into her. She’s usually a spot on for details (classy dame with a brain, that one is) but this time around, she’s only got a slim bit of info.

Using that brain of hers, and some latin, sumerian and “other” tomes, she’s able to determine that the rune says “Chiaroscuro.” And typically a chiaroscuro rune isn’t used in the “light” sense.

Of course it isn’t.

Well, I got antsy and decided to return to the scene of the crime. Well, one of them anyways. I went back to the sewer were the boys were able to find the nest of them spider demon freaks. Not my favorite spot to hang out, but figured maybe I missed something.

Shoulda stayed with the classy dame.

From out of the darkness, three bozos come up behind me. One’s a shirtless bald guy with a spike collar on (lassie he ain’t). Another is tall skinny guy, leather jacket and Mohawk. I heard punk was back but jeez. And finally a third guy. Or girl, actually. This dame didn’t look like she wanted to play.

Oh yeah, did I mention they all smelled of Chimera (ref. file C001)?

One Chimera I can handle. Hell, two I might’ve been able to get around. But three? Mama Lahey didn’t raise no fool. Well, she kinda did, but she did teach me one thing. Chimera are not to be messed with.

I took the best tactical approach and bolted.

After a bit of a scuffle, and some cephalopodian wrestling, I managed to escape and swim up one of the sewer pipes, hoping against hope that I’d end up in The Undergrounds bathroom. And that no one was using it at the time.

Later on Levi (ref. file P0122) told me that he had been tinkering with that device he got off of McCalls agents. He realized soon enough that the cub reporter who was taking pics of him hadn’t sold the pics, so his face wasn’t plastered all over the weeklies.

Speaking of, the news claims that the horror at the club was caused by “Mechanical error, due to a light rigging breaking and crashing.”

Whatever helps the mundanes sleep at night, I guess?

I talked to Jason (ref. file P0125) a bit and he told me about how “quiet it’s been.” Apparently the supernaturals of the town were playing it safe and keeping a low profile. Makes sense. No need to get unwanted attention after the club incident.

I find out that some guy came to pay him a visit. A bald guy, early 40s, with glasses. Oh yeah, and covered in blood.

After a bit of questioning (behind a locked door), Jason find outs that this guy was (is?) being chased by some wild dogs. They ransacked his house and chased him out of the gate. Before letting him in, Jason makes a quick call to Malthus.

Jason lets the rather hysterical man in and using his (in)famous bedside manner (a slap on the face and an expletive) he sits him down on his medical bed. Jason does an examination and does find traces of a canine attack.

As Jason stitches him up, the guy tells Jason his story. He got home that night to find his door open and all his stuff thrown about. He admits that he felt someone “watching” him for the past couple of days. He reached out to turn on the light when he heard a low growing. He feels something chomp down on his arm and some laughter coming from inside the apartment. The guy takes off, knocking over one of his neighbor ladies (real gentleman, that one) and the dog possibly took a bite out of her. He kept running until he reached Jason’s.

Jason gives him the third degree (smart. Paranoid, but smart). Jason wants to know why he came to Jason. The guy admits that he’s wanted a chance to talk to Jason for a while, that he’s been a bit of pet project of his.

Jason wonders “Stalker or Groupie?”

“Curious…admirer…?”

Malthus shows up as Jason continues working on his patient, who seems to know more about medicine than he’s letting on.

The patient admits the he’s been feeling paranoid lately. He’s been waking up in the middle of the night, feeling as if someone was watching over him.

Jason finally realizes that he’s seen this guy before. He has this guys wallet. He’s seen him in the papers, as well. Doctor David A. Agard. He’s one of the lead scientists of Lasombre Labratories. This guy is a real egghead, the head of the cancer ward, double PHd and all that. He’s supposed to be heading out to a gala in two days time, where he’ll be presenting a new prototype that’s set to help eradicate cancer. Not a bad legacy, you ask me.

Jason tells Malthus that the reason he has this doc’s wallet is that a ghoul had used it pay for his services.

Malthus and Jason tell the doc that they’re willing to provide their expertise in this situation, provided the doc can pay their fee.

Doc says “If you can keep me safe, I”ll pay any rate.”

Cha-ching.

Jason calls Odile and has her assemble the A-team.

Just to make sure he’s on the up and up, Malthus soul gazes the Doc. As he tells it, the Doc’s aura is in a fetal position. The Doc actually has a very beautiful soul. Not pure white light, but pretty darn close. He is someone who actually wants to heal the world. He is currently very scared, but wants to help.

Malthus asks a few questions and finds that Asgard has a friendly rival, name of Cecil.

Odile gives everyone a call. I just happen to be stepping out of the toiler, drenched in muck and scum when I hear the phone ring in the empty club.

Levi gets a call at a phone booth he just happened to be walking by. Not creepy at all.

Jason gives Jimmy a call. He leaves a message that everyone is meeting up at his place.

Meanwhile, Jimmy was on a case. Apparently a lady got attacked by something that sounded like a werewolf. Pulling up at the locale in his hog, cigar in mouth, fringe jacket flowing, he looks for a way in.

Seems like the police are preventing the honkies (his words, not mine) from going in, so he makes his own path, up the fire escape. Looking in, he’s able to see that one of the apartment and finds nothing wrong. Outside in the hallway though is ugly. Blood smeared all over, hallway in tatters.

Rather than wasting time, Jimmy jumps through the open window and strolls up to one of the cops. Luckily for him, he’s a fanboy of Jimmy. He spills all the deets. A lady got attacked by a giant dog. The lady is okay-ish. Real mystery, though, is how the dude next door let the dog in. The apartment next door is all torn up. Lady said the dog looked more like a wolf, but that was probably just her nerves.

Leaving the same way he came in, Jimmy heads to his hog. He checks in with his girl Friday, who tells him that all his buddies are meeting up at Jason’s.

The team meets up. I get there in a rather unusual outfit. I had to change out of my sewer covered clothing, and use the leftovers of the lost & found. Suffice it to say, I looked ridiculous. I head straight to the shower and ask for some extra clothes of Jason’s.

Odile recognizes Agard. They chat up a bit, and she says that his work is full of light. Something clicks and we think maybe someone wants to turn that light into darkness. Agard says his neighbor is named Janice, and is glad to hear she’s okay.

Before heading out, I update the boys and lady about the chimera attack, explaining why I stunk and was dressed up the way I was.

The team decides to head back to his place to see if there are any clues. We split up in different vehicles. I grudgingly change into a lap dog to save space. Oy, the things I do for you guys.

Checking out the Doc’s abode, we find a torn up notebook and claw marks on the window sill. Human footprints on the carpet leading towards doggie ones.

Oh no.

Odile asks the question whether the chimera may have done this. I shift into lapdog mode and sniff around. I immediately pick up the Slender Guy’s scent.

Looking at the notebook, Odile performs a ritual to see if the whole thing is there. It is.

Jason starts thinking out loud. “Trying to snuff out bright light.”

Odile responds, “Or channel it into darkness.”

The Doc says he has to take care of the setting up of the device, and has to be at the gala.

The others tell the doc to be quiet, that we’re deciding his fate.

Racking my brains trying to figure out why the Chimera are involved, I spill that though they’re always looking for the next tasty shape, they’re not above taking monetary compensation to do a bit of dirty work.

Levi says he may be able to whip up something that could prevent the Chimera from shifting. He’d have to use lil’ ol’ me as a guinea pig, though.

Oh swell. I don’t suppose this would be covered under worker’s comp…

MINOR MILESTONE

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Doctor's Log
Stardate: ask someone who cares

So. Yeah. This is another fine mess we’ve gotten into and out of and are about to get into again. We stand in the midst of a chaotic aftermath. Blood and bodies everywhere, far more bodies of spider-demon-things than humans, but there was definitely some collateral damage.

We notice that the walk-in freezer is unlatched, and the window is completely webbed over. I latch it from afar, and nobody seems interested in opening the door to figure out what’s going on inside.

Donny stands with hands on hips assessing the situation, and says, “I’m seriously tempted to just burn the place. Get the gasoline, Malthus.”

“Seriously?,” Malthus replies.

The private dick jumps in with, “Yeah. How else are you going to cover up all these bodies and explain the damage?”

While that debate is going on, I wander over to the web-wall of living humans and quickly extricate the mortals from their predicament. And they say I don’t have a pleasant bedside manner. Look at me, caring and shit. As the mundanes stumble free of the wall and out of the club, their eyes begin to clear. There’s a lot of crying. Mortals are kinda’ fragile that way.

After recovering from the shock and swooning in Jimmy’s general vicinity a couple of times… “Oh, James!” [titter]… Odile exits the club saying something about doing research. Jimmy makes a point of exiting separately muttering something about needing some time on an open highway. And I realize that at some point Donny has retreated to her office.

Most of our little group hears the approach of sirens, but they seem to stop a fair distance away, and shortly thereafter Agent McCall and his FBI cronies enter the scene. At that moment I decide to make a quiet exit out the back door.

(How did I write the rest of this? Hell if I know. Maybe I should add “first person omniscience” to my list of psychic powers. Don’t shoot the narrator. I’m just doing my job.)

As the FBI arrives Donny comes out of her office with an armful of stuff. Her purposeful stride and whatever order she was about to bark are cut short when she notices the FBI. She spins on her heel to head back to the office, and after dropping her stuff in the office she comes back out for an awkward, excuse-laden conversation with Agent McCall.

Agent McCall doesn’t seem to be paying much attention to her, as the majority of his attention is on Malthus, or more specifically, Malthus’s forehead, as if he’s trying to focus his eyes on something he can’t quite bring into focus. (Yeah, again, mortals are fragile that way, but maybe this one is about to wake up.) After pulling himself to attention, Agent McCall turns his attention to Levi and asks, “Where’d you guys go?”

Levi then proceeds to rapid-fire a synopsis of the battle without filtering it for that whole fragile mortal thing. “And there may still be some living spider demons in there,” Levi ends by pointing at the freezer. McCall blinks slowly a few times and seems to be composing himself.

Scott and Malthus notice that the FBI agents seem to have some training for dealing with these strange happenings. Each time their poor little mortal eyes begin to glaze over, they focus on their notepads and write something, and this seems to refocus them and allow them to focus on the scene clearly again.

Malthus sidles over to Donny and says, “I’m not sure what to do about this. How can we get these guys out of here, so we can clean up?” And this, remarkably, seems to rally Donny, who pulls herself together and follows McCall to the dance floor in the back room where we defeated the big-bad. Donny attempts to bluff, “Where’s your search warrant, Agent McCall?” But he’s not having any of it. He reads her chapter and verse of his rights as an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigations in pursuit of protecting the public and our great nation from obvious threat.

Seeing that her first ploy failed, Donny turns on the sex appeal and tries another tactic altogether. She says some other bullshit and somehow convinces McCall to take their conversation into her office.

While they’re in the office, Scott inspects the freezer and ascertains that he thinks the corpse menders are still in there. Malthus attempts to provoke the FBI agents into getting ill or otherwise overwhelm them with the scene, and Levi pours himself a drink. After informing our crew about the freezer, Scott decides to try his own hand at sweet-talking the FBI agents. He bumbles around talking to them as if they’re sleepers, but quickly discovers they can, indeed, see the giant spiders and know exactly what they are or at least what they appear to be. Hmm, semi-awake morals. How’s that work?

The FBI agent quickly turns the conversation around and begins to interrogate Scott about his involvement in this case. He tries to stick closely to the mundane truth of being a private eye working on the Nancy Watkins case, engaged by her mom, but the agent seems to be made of the same stern stuff as McCall, and he asks Scott, “So, did Anita Watkins know you were a paranormal when she hired you?” Scott splutters a response to this, confirming the agent’s suspicions. Ever the most practical and cautious member of our group, Levi decides not to learn from Scott and Malthus’s example and engages the FBI in further conversation, but he doesn’t get any further than they did.

Slightly tipsy, Levi disengages and wanders outside.

Seeing several black-windowed sedans, he decides to get into even more trouble, and futzes with one of the cars. He succeeds in avoiding the attention of the cops in the area, but a reporter on a roof across the street manages to snap several photos of him in his larcenous activities. Getting into the locked car, of course, isn’t really a challenge for Levi. Inside the car, he quickly assesses their standard equipment, pockets a fancy scope off one of their guns, and then notices that their radio has a few more knobs and dials than are strictly necessary. Playing with the radio for a moment, he ascertains that it has some ability to detect magic or paranormal or something crazy like that, and that’s probably how they zeroed in on the activity at the club tonight so quickly. Showing a sudden and remarkable sense of self-preservation, Levi decides that he’s done quite enough already and exits the vehicle, re-locks the door, and exits the scene.

Meanwhile, back in the club…

Donny emerges from the office seemingly back in possession of her wits, and commands, “Malthus, cancel the gasoline!” After a dramatic pause, Malthus picks up a nearby beer, chugs some, and then does a spit-take.

At that moment all eyes turn to the walk-in freezer in response to… BANG, BANG, BANG, as the door flies off its hinges. A behemoth 56-legged spider barrels out of the freezer, and leaps into the air, spinning to catch hold of the dance floor light rigging on the ceiling. Eyes are crazily scattered across its body, and ichor drips from its many mandible-laden maws.

Acting quickly, Scott leaps behind the bar and begins constructing a Molotov cocktail.

Malthus is less agile, as the mega-corpse-mender flips its abdomen in his direction and spews its sticky spooge-like webbing in his direction. Malthus attempts to do some acrobatic shit but fails to dodge the nightmarish Bukkake orgy and finds himself thoroughly webbed.

Donny screams bloody murder, “First you trashed my club, and now you try to eat one of my employees!” The spider is unimpressed.

Malthus’s only real option is to attempt to extricate himself from the webs, and is marginally successful.

Agent McCall, on the other hand, decides to show everyone how it’s done. He pulls his pistol with a flourish and pops several caps into it thorax and abdomen.

Following up on McCall’s palpable hit, Scott pops up over the bar and bathes the evil critter in flaming Molotov.

Unleashing some sort of unholy screeching noise (how does it even do that without lungs?), the spider launches itself at what it perceives, as its weakest prey. Lucky Malthus, still somewhat tangled in webs, and is the recipient of a full-on flaming spider body check. Malthus proves not to be immune to fire, blunt trauma, nor the slashing exoskeletal limbs.

Donny slips behind Agent McCall, not wishing to advertise her abilities and seizes control of the flames currently engulfing the unholy creature. She forces the flames to dig deeply into its body and consume it from the inside. Malthus exerts his grip on the lighting rigging and in a feat of supernatural strength avoids being pulled down with the monster.

Agent McCall speaks up, “I think we’ve got this under control now. Why don’t you folks head home?”

Some banter between Donny and Malthus follows wherein Donny eventually concedes that Malthus can wait until tomorrow morning to clean the mess up.

There’s also some unfortunate conversation wherein the FBI agents inform McCall and Scott that the body of Nancy Watkins is downstairs.

As everyone walks outside, they see Levi walking away, and Malthus takes a moment to Soul Mark Agent McCall.

Scott sets off on the horrible task of telling Anita Watkins that her daughter is dead.

Over the next several days…

A media firestorm ensues wherein everybody is pointing fingers at everyone else for mishandling the situation. Anita Watkins becomes a tragic media sensation. There are still 23 children missing, and the media is milking these headlines for all they’re worth.

Levi focuses his attention on researching the “paranormal sonar” that the Agent McCall and his agents had. He doesn’t learn very much.

Scott focuses on investigating the still-missing children. He eventually finds his way to the point where Jimmy was ambushed in the sewer tunnels, but the hole in the wall that led to the sacrificial chamber appears to have been filled in with dirt. He digs for a while before giving up. It appears to be completely filled in.

Malthus focuses his attention on getting the club back to operational.

It’s business as usual for me. I reattached some ghoul’s arm and make some pocket money. There’s nothing significant to report. I’m sure I won’t be lucky enough to remain bored for very long.

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Underground Security Report
Jan 1, 1985

Garfield-I-hate-Mondays.jpgYou know that shitty Garfield comic that’s been out for a few years now? That stupid cat who hates Mondays? I feel like that shitty fat orange cat. Doesn’t it figure that New Year’s Eve was on a Monday this year? And here I thought it just meant more whining posers puking on their United Colors of Benettons.

Yeah, my apologies to the cleaning crew, who have a bit more than puke to mop up.

In the end I blame Jimmy. (Levi too, I guess, but I usually blame Jimmy for these kinds of messes.) While I was having a boring night at work toting Marshall stacks and barricades, the two of them were playing Secret Agent Man with that FBI dude, Agent McCall. Crazy bastard Jimmy popped up in the middle of them all and the FBI all draws their weapons, like you’d expect. Johnny pulled the “Don’t you know who I am?” card. Turns out, he did. They bond over fond memories of cannibal mutants and swap a few notes about these chimera things you people were talking about, but the FBI still tells him to keep his dick out of this investigation. Jimmy waved his dick back at him, metaphorically. (Maybe even literally. The guy’s like that. Chief Talks With Mouth.)

Anyway they set out to leave and some sort of giant spider thing scurries through the shadows. (A corpse mender, they called it.) Jimmy and Levi take off down the maze-like sewer to try to catch the thing. The spider tries to duck through shadows and shake Jimmy, but it’s not quick enough. He discovers two more waiting to ambush him. Hah, right. I don’t think anybody can get the drop on Jimmy. They try to block off the trail with their webs.

Now, these things don’t just shoot spider silk. No, it’s more like they ejaculate them. Trust me, it’s gross. Remind the cleaning staff to use protein stain cleaner on the drapes in the ballroom. (Who am I kidding. With that much blood and ichor we’re gonna have to clean it with fire.)

Jimmy said he leapt onto the pipes above and performed an amazing roundhouse kick to the third spider, which hits the wall with a wet, fatal thud. The second spider charges and gets a similar foot to the face and expires. And with that, Levi finishes following the trail of sewer grime Jimmy left in his wake, rounds the corner and the spider flees yet again.

All this excitement and I’m stuck setting up some New Wave artfag’s Prophet T8. Somewhere in the middle of soundcheck (over that racket, no less) I hear noises in the back by the dumpster. It’s that neighborhood bum, I think he goes by Barry. (That might not be his real name.) He stopped routing around the in garbage and focuses on a manhole cover right behind the and says “they aren’t even giving them names anymore.” He’s really agitated and angry. “Can’t you hear the clattering? They’ll be silent soon.” Whatever they are, they’re down in the sewers. He eventually stops rocking and wanders off.

Odile has some great ideas on how to deal with Pan-Dimensional beings. Amazing, very clever and mystical ideas. She, Jason and Scott head out only to realize they have no idea how to do any of the stuff she just suggested. Scott headed to the police station to talk to Alison Stalinsky, some “dollface” (Hello, Dick Tracy speaking) in the Records department. Jason wisely avoided the police and went with Odile to her manse to get ritual books and research the Corpse Menders. (Pretty low-level demons; they’re not likely to be hard to summon, but hard to tell can’t tell what kind of being might be summoning them. They hop in her Fiat and meet up here at Underworld. “Charmingly Affordable” is how Odile describes this place. Next time I’ll make her pay the normal-people’s cover charge and see if her tune changes.

So Scott showed up at Allison’s desk with a donut and a condom. (Apparently Bob the police clerk handed him that along with his temporary badge.) Apparently Alison was expecting to be seduced, and Scott just kept being seductive no matter what he tried (that’s what you get for watching too much Miami Vice, Scott.) Clearly she wanted something cracked besides a case. Scott had to invoke the Missing Children card before she’d relent to pull up missing persons reports for the kids. (And all the guys at the station will never respect this poor woman again, if they ever did in the first place. That was pretty bogus of Scott to lead her on like that.) Anyway he figured out the missing kids were pairs of boys and girls, one birthday in each month, and each the pair of kids has the same date of birth. Zodiacal!

Meanwhile Crocket and Tubbs—I mean, Jimmy and Levi—had to climb through bloody, jizzy muck, into a hole in the sewer wall, an enormous old sewer chamber….with 23 children, their intestines stretched out of their bodies, in a spiderweb-like mesh. And a glowing red crystal, lined in runes. A coccoon, empty and dripping gore. About thirty spider things. Another cocoon being pulled out of the room towards the sewers. Nothing ominous or anything.

Levi was understandably horrified and almost fell forward into the muck. When the FBI folks finally catch up, Jimmy and McCall compared notes on how disgusting it was. (“Top five.” “Top three for me.”) Levi rigged up some cleats for their shoes with a knife and they launch at the cocoon. Jimmy knocks a web full of spiders to the ground. McCall and his men fire to try to make some cover. Clever Levi had rigged up a smoke bomb, which confused some of the spiders. A group feints at Levi from the front, distracting him; another group tries to get him from behind, but he barely manages to evade. Jimmy blasted a bunch of spiders and cleared a path to the exit, where two more spiders were waiting as guards. He killed both of them properly with a tomahawk chop. (With a proper tomahawk.) Levi escaped right behind them with the FBI still firing behind.

Exeunt, chased by chimera.

As they were running, they found a section of sewer that was older than sewers normally would be with a trail of blood leading to corroding pipes with veins pulsing in them. They said they felt like they were being watched…scrutinized. They followed the blood trail through a number of seemingly-identical chambers that gradually the walls got more and more…organic. Fleshy. Climbing up the ass of something really awful. Jimmy gets really freaked out by the breathing walls and ran headlong into the terrible and increasingly horrible tunnels…

And I just have increasingly horrible suburban kids trying to pass horrible fake IDs past me. The club was packed, and I was wrangling security guards and getting us special kids settled in a quiet room behind the bar, where they filled me in on the sitch. When Levi and Jimmy were late showing up, Scott called his office from the phone at the club. Ashleigh answered the phone and was not super helpful. I showed them the manhole cover where Barry was spazzing out and Scott suggests bringing the manhole cover with me for protection. I fold it into a taco with a smile.

Eventually our intrepid pair come out of the sewer maze to find a leathery egg—a cocoon, and whatever was inside it has hatched. The egg has split into four pieces and branched open. Claw marks lined the floor around it. A little black girl is disemboweled at its base. She looked like the lower half do her has been melted away with acid. Her expression is of sheer horror. They come up into a storeroom…MY storeroom.

Note: tell the cleaning people not to go into the basement storeroom, for their own sanity.

Donny looks great in a pair of jeans. She looked even better in that dress when she got back before midnight. She was holding court, all eyes on her just before midnight. Suddenly a woman screamed shrilly over the music, there was a shotgun blast, and then the entire club erupted into panic. Jimmy is truly the master of the subtle entrance. Donny escaped into another room and disappeared into the crowd. And a spider drops from the ceiling, grabbing a random guy in the club. Then the rest of the spiders which followed Jimmy and Levi started descending.

Thanks for bringing the party to me, guys.

Spiders get kicked, wetted with a beer gun…I realized that I recognize these things. I screamed just enough of their Real Name to get the spiders’ attention…yeah, fine, I’ll handle it. Donny has apparently chased some kind of creature—digitagrade legs, spikes, white, long tail, with an elongated maw, which is eviscerating two club goers on the stage. Grody, as the girls say. But then, holy shit, the best part! Donny throws fireballs at the thing, which turns on her. I knew I liked that girl for a reason, but shit, I didn’t know she could do that! Jason turned all the lights up in the club, blinding the spiders. The spiders bind a clump of patrons into a wall and corner me. I don’t know if they though I wouldn’t be hardcore enough, but I stepped on a few faces (sorry dudes) and only barely got scratched by the mob. I swung the manhole cover in an arc, crushing a few spidery brains into spattered messes. (While thinking to myself, great. I just know I’m going to be mopping this up myself later.) Levi again moistened room with beer (Maybe I’ll make him mop) which made it easier for me to Slip-n-Slide along and bash a couple.

Behind me I hear Jason say, “Never tried this before,” and suddenly seven of the spiders I’m facing slide across Levi’s beer into our walk-in cooler, and the door slams shut. The cleaning people know by now when I put a note on something that says “do not open this”…I mean it. We pay them well.

Scott shape-shifted into the form of the monster on stage, getting its attention, and then ninja vanishes under the stage. Odile had a horrible look on her face, like spacier than usual, like she was reliving some serious shit, but pushed on to the next room. Later she’d tell us the creature on stage was Nozep-porum, the Bringer of the End. Donny threw more fire at the thing, catching it off guard. Jimmy hit the creature with a flaming tomahawk catching it slightly aflame. Scott threw liquor from the bar at it, scorching it. It growled and spit a ball of acid at Jimmy’s face. Dark spears emanated from the shadows—Odile did some magical incantation or whatever and fell to the ground dramatically.Jimmy shook off the spray of acid and whirls around to land his hatchet in the thing’s head; and with that last Tomahawk Chip, a void of black nothingness emanated from the beast; runes form in a circle spiralling out, flashing brightly, shooting off in every direction. And a rune stops at every one of us supernaturals/heroes. That’s not ominous at all, no. But at last, the creature lay dead.

And now I have a nightclub to bring back to order. Happy new year—now go grab a mop.

View
Ashleigh’s diary
Tuesday, January 31, 1985

Ashleigh.jpg

Dear Diary,

So, like. Okay.

It’s New Year’s Eve, and I was busy doing my Calculus homework, listening to the police-band radio, when in burst Jimmy, going right for Chief Sitting Shotgun.

“Case, boss?”

“Yup,” he says. “You hear anything about any kidnapped kids?”

“Besides me?” I says.

“Younger,” says Jimmy. “Browner.”

“Nope,” I said. “How’d you hear about it?”

Jimmy slammed two shells home and slipped the shotgun into its backslung holster. “These two fellas. Green guy named Bob, lizard guy named Steve (my note: actually Phil). Figure someone should go kick things until the tots’re all safely home.”

“Play to your strengths, boss.” I popped a bubble and went back to my cosines. “Oh hey, I did pick up some chatter about the FBI getting all jurisdictiony around the Cow Palace. Like near Geneva Towers.”

Just then our little hallway in the Hotel California — yeah yeah, lovely place — turned into, like, some oddball convention. I turned down my radio and counted three new voices:

  • A grumpy doctor (Jason)
  • Levi, some gearhead who Jimmy had to yell at to stay away from the bike
  • Gonna say Really Loud Murder-She-Wrote Lady (her name is Odile)
  • I think they also mentioned some detective who was on the case?

They all wanted to find the missing kids, too. Which is nice — i didn’t want Jimmy to be alone on New Year’s, and team-ups are always fun. (Send that box of Samoas to Mr. T)

They headed to Geneva Towers, which is where the last abduction was. The rest of this stuff I got direct from Jimmy, but here’s what I know:

The FBI already had agents guarding Geneva Towers. First Levi tried fibbing his way in, which worked about as well as an Allen wrench in a Phillips head. Then Grumpy MD and the loud lady tried bluffing, which worked only a little less well.

And the FBI took notes about Jason, who I guess wants to stay incognito. So he brain-bounced (grumpy doctor is a telekinetic) the guy’s notepad into a storm drain. Where Jimmy caught it, ‘cause he’d already snuck down into the basement and followed a trail into the sewer.

The other three joined Jimmy in the storm drain, where they read the agent’s notes:

  • Their SA’s name was McCall, and he’s got some theory these abductions prove “right”
  • The victims were all little kids from poor neighborhoods
  • They’d been keeping tabs on the latest victim’s mother, Anita, who stopped in at the office of some PI named Scott, and then went straight home instead of to work

While Jimmy had Levi tape a flashlight to Chief Sitting Shotgun (apparently he’d already done something nifty to the phone in Odile’s car), they saw a rat scampering out of the dark.

“Hold on,” said Jimmy. “My people have long known the language of our animal brothers.”

“Really?” said Levi.

“No, what’re you, nuts?” Jimmy said.

“I assume you’re all here about the missing children?” said the rat as it turned into a guy in a Casablanca coat.

“Spoke too soon,” said Jason.

Coat guy was Scott, the detective Anita hired to find her little girl. The shapeshifting explains why “Anita” went straight home. He’d used her guise to sneak into her home and detect:

  • Someone had made a slit under the windowsill of the barred window to the girl’s room
  • They’d also etched some rune onto the windowsill
  • Whatever grabbed the girl dragged her into the vents and then the sewer
  • It left behind a trail of… let’s just say organic matter and not yak all over these clean sheets

(Apparently Scott somehow set Jimmy on the trail of those jigsaw dorks who tried going all Kali Ma on yours truly, so make that two boxes of cookies)

Then they all split up for more investigating.

Jimmy and Levi stayed in the sewer, and if I know Jimmy, he’ll just stroll up, high-five Agent McCall, and propose a team-up.

Meanwhile, Jason, Odile, and Scott drove to some head shop where Jason knows a dude. Apparently that symbol is an arcane “calling” glyph. Just scrawl it where your target lives, and your creepazoid of choice will come and collect whoever lives there.

Then they drove to Scott’s disaster-area of an office and found a notebook of occult whatever that identified the organic trail critters as “corpsemenders.”

So, a corpsemender is some sort of flesh-spider used to magically repair folks. Using parts from other folks. When not serving anyone, they’ll randomly grab folks to feather their nests with concentrated grossness.

So their working theory is: Someone abudcted at least 20 kids, marking targets for pet corpsemenders to snatch in time for New Year’s Eve. Which means they’ve got a big ritual planned for tonight.

And that means, Dear Diary, you should totally be in suspense that I’m writing this at 7:30 PM on the 31st! Because it looks like some space-case wants to summon forth something waaaay squamous and cyclopean or whatever.

God, I hope it doesn’t have tentacles. Guh-ross!

Kisses!

Ashleigh

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