*Fee is still busy cramming for exams, and attempts to contact her for assistance in researching ghouls go straight to voicemail.
- Michael calls his Federal contacts in order to discover information, and learns that Holy Water is effective against their kind. He and Dylan go shopping, and buy a super-soaker water gun, and a few packages of balloons to use as holy water grenades.
- Alex joins Michael and Dylan once her shift at Annie Mae’s ends, and they fill her in on their plans to sneak into the ghoul’s lair and save the life of its next victim. Slim enters the cafe and insists the three accompany him to Sactown Blues. He needs to show them something, he says.
- Once at the record store, Slim presents the group with a five-gallon water-cooler style container. It is full of holy water, he tells them.
- Michael walks the three blocks up K Street from Sactown Blues to The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, where he prays for success in this perplexing mission, and gives confession. While he is at it, he asks Father O’Malley to bless his rosary (and the clip of ammo for his service pistol).
[The story in this section is sketchy in the storyteller’s memory. If the folks who were involved can remember what happened here, please send me an email clarifying what transpired so I can add it to the log. My notes involve meeting Lucy, the happy-go-lucky party girl waitress at Anne Mae’s, but I don’t remember the context of the meeting. Additionally, I have notes for Ricky, who is Michael’s cousin, who was somehow responsible for Michael gaining a Mental Consequence PANIC FOR FAMILY. Again, I do not remember the particulars of this event.]
Armed with a holy water-filled super soaker (a sizable hunting knife duct-taped to the barrel) and a half-dozen holy water balloons, the three headed down K Street toward the Downtown Plaza Mall. In their planning, they had consulted a map of downtown, as well as information on the online Undercity tours map. They now lurked a half-block away from the boarded-up old Woolworth Department Store, watching it for the ghoul, or any others who might have been his accomplices, if he had any.
The building had been home to a dozen sundry businesses since Woolworth’s closed its doors, and the windows were boarded up and painted black. The adjacent buildings were likewise closed, a stark indication of the depression that had hit downtown in the last two decades. It was the plan, if they could manage it, to burgle into the abandoned store and head down into what used to be the basement. From there they would wait for the ghoul to bring home his ‘dinner’ where they would step in, rescue the victim and kill the ghoul. Saving the unknown victim would seal Michael’s pact with the Changeling, Truckler. Michael’s wish would be granted, and Teague and any other ‘sweat-walkers’ victims would be ‘set free’. At least, that was the plan…
Not too long after the team set up cursory surveillance of the Woolworth building entrance, a black limousine pulled up at the curb adjacent to the building, on 3rd Street. Stepping around the corner and into the target building were three men. A tall, gaunt fellow with a sallow complexion in a wrinkled pinstripe suit, and another smaller man whose face was concealed by a dark hoodie escorted the third person roughly by the arms. This third man, their prisoner, was none other than a very harried and beaten-looking Trunkler, the Changeling who’d sent them here in the first place. It was Trunkler that they had to rescue, he was the man whose murder they were tasked to prevent.
Following the Faerie bearing thugs into the pitch black and very cluttered store interior, the three heroes discovered, to their horror, that the tall one in the suit was in fact a zombie, and the thing stood in the outer area of what at one time was a convenience store. It moved swiftly and fell on Michael, who shot it several times, which only seemed to infuriate the low-witted thing. The three living folks teamed up on the undead, and eventually took it down after a hard fight.
The other foe, the one in the hoodie, had vanished, taking Trunkler with him. But the heroes pulled out their flashlights and soon found stairs leading to a lower section of the old Woolworth’s. It was at this time that Dylan’s freak talent caused him to go into seizures, and he spouted eerie, prophetic nonsense about a burning woman, saying Smoker? I didn’t even know her! He then collapsed into a coma-like state, but Alex determined that he was breathing well enough and had a steady heartbeat. A clattering from below drew their attention, and Michael and Alex decided they had no choice but to go downstairs together, and save Trunkler. They decided to leave Dylan there, with the intent of collecting him once the Changeling was rescued.
Alex grabbed up the super soaker, and they went down to the basement level f the store. A quick search revealed that the back end of this cluttered and web coated room held a flimsy locked door. After a quick kick, the door gave way to a narrow corridor with rickety stairs leading down into impenetrable darkness. Having no choice but to pursue, Michael and Alex prepared themselves for the worst, and eased down the wooden steps… and emerged into a most unusual place.
Later that night, after consulting each other’s experiences of what had happened, they discovered that they both experienced a distinctly different scene, there at the midway point of the stairway, once they emerged from the darkness. To Alex, the stairs had plunged into a swamp, a somewhat familiar looking environment in a bayou. Michael, on the other hand, stepped down into a dark and dismal graveyard. They were aware of each other’s presence, and at the time did not realize that they were experiencing different visions of the place. Michael soon spotted an open crypt, solid mossy stone steps leading down. He urged Alex to follow. She did, stepping down into what she saw as the bole of a great tree. They both entered another section of nightmarish darkness where they could see nothing, and when their flashlights flickered back on, they were in the ghoul’s feeding chamber. This was the same place that Michael and Dylan had tracked the ghoul, the same place where Brian Turvey had been killed and eaten.
Across the room, in a pit of bones, was the ghoul, standing over an unconscious Trunkler. He had pulled off his jacket, and to their shock, he had the face of a human. His eyes reflected strangely in the light, and he had tattoos covering his chest and neck. The ghoul sneered at the intruders and quicker than humanly possible, was on them, transformed into a horrid bestial creature with spines, fangs and talons. The first blast of holy water sprayed wide and Alex cursed her lack of skill with firearms.
“It is not a firearm,” Michael called out, “It is a toy. Just aim and squirt!”
His bullets seemingly ineffective, Michael shouted taunts at the ghoul, drawing it away from Alex and distracting it. Alex squeezed her eyes tight, and drew a bead on the monster, just as it took a wide raking sweep at Michael’s head. Luckily Michael ducked, only losing the front panel of his suit jacket. Alex’s aim proved true this time, and a torrential gout of holy water caught the ghoul directly in his face. The thing screamed and cursed, then faster than either of the mortals could react, it fled into the sewers, howling in agony.
Alex and Michael helped Trunkler upstairs and collected Dylan, who was conscious now, and mobile, but still unaware of his surrounding. Whatever had happened to him, whatever experiments had been carried out on Dylan, they’d left him seriously messed up.
Both men came to their senses before they’d walked the six blocks to Annie Mae’s, and Trunkler thanked Michael for saving his life. He admitted that he had no idea it would be himself that was the one in need of saving, and assured that the bargain had been fulfilled, and that he was certain Teague and any others would be “right as rain, given a wee bit of time.” Trunkler nodded to Michael. It was a full nod, which came close to being somewhat like a bow. He smiled with sparkling eyes, gave the team his regards, and walked east up K Street, disappearing into the shadows. Shadows that were too dark for the city street, just after dusk.
Inside Annie Mae’s, Michael pulled out a slim, bloodstained and tattered wallet.
“This was in the ghoul’s hoodie pocket,” he explained. He opened the billfold, and inside the little pockets were several IDs, and a few credit cards, all belonging to Brian Turvey and a few other presumed victims. There was one ID, however, that Alex and Michael recognized. It was the ghoul’s California Driver’s License. A friggin’ driver’s license. The name on the slim plastic stated its owner was one Kurt Calles, 750 22nd Street Apartment 12, Sacramento, CA. It was not a fake, Michael confirmed.
In the days that followed, it was confirmed that Alvin Teague not only recovered from his tragic mental state, but had been exonerated of all crimes charged against him. Somehow his military connections had pulled some strings. Or was it in actuality Trunkler’s wish that made it all “right as rain!?” Investigation into Calles revealed a lengthy rap sheet, mostly assault. He had a current warrant out on him, for assault and attempted kidnapping. He was provided bail by a man named Lawrence DuMain. DuMain, it turned out, was a fictitious name, and Calles skipped bail.
Dylan recovered from his seizure, but when he spoke of what he’d seen, the visions he’d had about a woman burning to death, nobody believed him. As usual. In the following days, Dylan was hired as day manager at a nearby AM/PM. He knew he would be, it came to him in yet another vision. He stepped into the store during a visit by the district manager. Some ill intentioned youths had been shoplifting, and Dylan (knowing they had been after seeing it in one of his freaky flashes) caught them in the act, brining the matter to the attention of the district manager. As it was, the former day manager had just given notice, having found a job elsewhere. Dylan stated he was looking for a job, and the district manager hired him on the spot, congratulating him on his heroism in apprehending the thieves and for his sharp eyes.
Fee turned in her mid-term and got a B+, which is good for her, despite the trouble her snarky mouth gets her into with her professors.