- Finally Michael McConnell answers his damned phone. Dylan recruits Michael into the investigation, but when Michael calls ‘The Agency’ for sanction, he is given the standard answer. “Its on your time and on your dime,” states his boss, “but report anything that may may pertain to our operations.” Of course. Michael drives down to a diner downtown, called Annie Mae’s.
- Dylan, Alex and Fee are already having breakfast when Michael arrives. They fill him in on the Sweat Walker anomaly, and the few facts they have discovered so far. It does not seem like it would be one of his cases, but Dylan is a good friend. Michael phones up his Uncle Bobby, a hunter, who knows a lot about the strange and unusual. Bobby, his irascible self, tells Mikey that he ain’t the supernaturalipedia, and to do his own damn legwork, and then calls Michael an ‘Idgit.’ “I’ll see what I can dig up,” Bobby says just before hanging up.
- Michael suggests the group might try to determine what happened to the guy they saw last night, Brian Turvey. Slim was likely the last to see him, and when asked, the old bluesman busboy and dishwasher describes where he’d last seen the strange man.
- They make plans for later in the day, after they look around for Turvey’s whereabouts – after all, he may simply be sleeping off a bender in some alley – to drive over to Marysville way, to Beale AFB, where Alvin Teague’s family live. Teague is still in lockdown at the jail.
- They also chat about a plan of attack, per se, for approaching the nightclub Carpe Noctem. They decided not to go on Theme Thursday, but to visit on the following night. It seems some of the group don’t want to play dress-up.
Following Slim’s directions, the group of four check out the alley behind the restaurant. There are many large garbage dumpsters lining the alley, and they discover most all of them have large padlocks keeping them shut. Fee suddenly shivered, remembering the creepy dude that was rifling through the dumpster the night of the Sweat Walkers. She told the others, and pointed out the area the man was diving at. Sure enough, the lock on that dumpster had been ripped off. Claw marks on the dumpster suggested great strength had been used. Just down the block, Michael notices a manhole cover with a strip of cloth protruding from it. Lifting the cover revealed a jacket. The same style and color as the missing Turvey was wearing when they’d seen him at Annie Mae’s.
Dylan and Michael proceeded to lower themselves into the sewer, Michael taking the lead. They found a gruesome blood smear and empty blood-soaked shoe, complete with a blood trail leading into darkness. They men bade the women stay street-side as they investigated the undercity. For as they moved down the sewer toward the river, the sewer opened into the old town, covered over a century before, back when the city flooded every year, before the levees were built.
In a dark basement, Michael and Dylan found what remained of Brian Turvey. Shredded clothes, an empty wallet with his ID, and gnawed bones. No flesh, no marrow. Just a heap of bones. Other similar and older heaps were apparent in this cellar, a space that was once the basement of one of those utilitarian five and dime stores. Being more than a little creeped out, the men backed out of the feasting hall, taking with them one of the bones for use in identifying the body.
A good two hour drive brought the group to the home of Alvin Teague, the Sweat Walker who nearly killed Alex on the Amtrak train. Getting onto the base was easy. Michael procured clearance through his government channels. Tiffy Teague was home, as was her mother Hilly, who the kids call Nana. Nana took the children in the other room, so the government man could talk to her daughter. The following was discovered:
- Alvin Teague is a special communications liaison at the Air Force Base, but is an Army officer.
- He was returning from a hunting trip with his buddies that live in Nevada when he was afflicted.
- Three months ago, he went on a special mission in Afghanistan. His group was ambushed and Teague barely escaped with his life.
- Another undercover government agent had the Teague home under surveillance (poorly).
- Michael and Dylan have concluded that Teague is an army spook, working in communications…
Friday night finds the investigation back at Carpe Noctem. The group entered the club at 9pm, before it gets crowded, and before they’d have to wait in line to get in. They entered somewhat separately, Alex slipping inside before the others. Fee, not having an ID proving she was over 21, was instructed by Tyrell the thick-necked bouncer that she would need to use the stairs to the right, which lead to the underage “Virgin” lounge upstairs. Fee made a fuss, and turned to Dylan and Michael to help her out. After a brief stare-down, Michael flashed his badge, demanding to see the owner. Tyrell radios his manager, Charlie, who eventually escorts Michael, Dylan and Fee in the back, and up to the third floor office of Gaston Neahr, Carpe Noctem’s owner.
Things went downhill from there. Gaston had Charlie bring them all beverages, and the men refused to drink, which Neahr took as a personal insult. Fee, on the other hand, chugged down her drink, and was about to grab another (Michael’s), when she suddenly felt a rush of euphoria. Her drink had been spiked, but with what?
MORE STORY GOES HERE
I need to talk with my players to refresh my memory as to what transpired during this conflict. I hate getting old… CRS.
After a tense few moments, and a slew of stare-downs and testosterone induced posturing, Michael and Dylan decided that they needed to get the now drunk Fee out of the club. Gaston Neahr had them escorted out, telling them in no uncertain terms they were no longer welcome in his establishment, and he would not treat them as kindly if they were to cross his threshold again.
The men got Fee safely into the car, but she was resisting them. She fought to get back into the club, to be with Gaston, who she wanted… in every way. Locked in the back seat of Michael’s gov’t car, she was unable to escape. Suddenly, the radio turned on, with Nina Simone’s Feelin’ Good playing loudly. Fee smiled, and as Michael observed her in the rear view mirror, she disappeared. She simply faded away.
Next the doors unlocked themselves, and Michael engaged the lock to no avail. Only the dull thunk of an already locked door was heard, yet the pistons remained in their unlocked position.
There was next a tap on the window, and Michael looked up to see a most unusual sight. It was a man wearing medieval armor. Furthermore, he wore an antlered helmet and carried a huge sword. But no, the helmet was not horned, it was cut away to be able to be placed over horns. This anachronistic warrior sported at least twenty points of deer antlers.
“Nice rack,” blurted the invisible Fee from the back seat as the man twirled his fingers in a motion instructing Michael to roll down the window, which he did.
“My charge,” the strange knight said in a voice pure and commanding, “whom you have rescued, the lass in the back seat…” The man had russet hair, the color of deep autumn, and the eyes of an animal, a buck deer. “She is in danger,” he continured, “poisoned with its foul venom. I must take her from you now. In exchange, I will make everything right”
Michael and Dylan both blinked, then looked at each other. Michael turned back and was about to argue, but the man was gone. Looking in his rear-view, Michael saw Fee asleep on the back seat.
Meanwhile, inside the club, sitting at the bar, Alex sipped on a Hurricane. It was nowhere near authentic, but it did remind her of home. She soon found herself the target of a few shallow pickup lines, unsuccessful ones. One very attractive man named Marcus sat down the bar from Alex and bade his time, waiting for the aggressive losers to crash and burn with this delectable southern lady. Her dress was incredible. It provocatively revealed a snake tattoo that wound down her entire body, all the way from her supple bare shoulder, seductively wrapping around and around – temptingly peeking from the dress in choice locations – before its tail finally entwined one luscious leg.
Alex and Marcus hit it off well enough, exchanging chit chat, and also discussing Theme Thursdays and other clientele who might frequent the club. It was Marcus that suggested Alex talk to the bartender, Becky. Becky, he told her, was one of those excellent service persons who remembered her customers, and what beverages they ordered, as well as what small talk they shared with her.
Exchanging cell numbers, Marcus turned to the dancefloor, thoughtfully leaving Alex to chat with Becky. A hard cover version of Nina Simone’s Feelin’ Good, by the group Muse, filled the steamy club as Alex ordered another drink and struck up a conversation with Becky, the bartender. Alex discovered that recently, Becky had been promoted to the weekend shift, but before that she’d worked weekdays. She remembered Brian Turvey, the goth wannabe. She also though she recalled Sharon, who was completely out of place in this venue. As for Antione Lindabury, Becky did know that some seedier business happened here during the daytime, and that some gang bangers would come in, order a drink, meet with Charley, then be on their way. Antione could have been one such person.
Additionally, Becky remembered that there was a regular, who was here several days a week. He called himself Trunkler. Simply Trunkler. He would sit at a table aside from the bar, and people would frequently go over and chat with him. She never saw the raggedy looking old guy buy a drink for himself. Others always did. She did recall Turvey having a chat with the man on several occasions, and so did Sharon Henkle the day she came in here, oh… three months ago.
When Alex returned to the car out back, her three companions were sitting in Michael’s Crown Vic, listening to the radio. Fee roused from what Alex took as a nap. Alex hopped in the back, very excited to have discovered what she believed as a major clue in their investigation. For a moment, it was as if Fee and the others did not recognize her, like they had all drifted off into a slumber. But after a moment, the fog seemed to lift.
“Are you guys alright?” she asked.
“Sure,” Dylan said.
“What happened in there with you? I saw the goons escorting you out. I hope everything is ok. Fee looked really drunk.”
Michael turned and shot Alex a puzzled look. Yeah, she had a drink. I think the bastard who owned the place roofied it."
“I’m fine,” slurred Fee. “I’m Feelin’ Good!”
“We got out of there,” added Dylan. “It wasn’t safe, and we are not welcomed back.”
“So you have just been waiting here for me?”
“Yup,” nodded Dylan. “And listening to the radio.”
The memories of Fee’s glamour, and the presence of the Autumn Knight were stripped from the trio. He promised to make it right, which he did.