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Nightmare in the Moonlight Part 1 - Morgan is not a Literary Man ...

Posted by Max_Writer , in Call of Cthulhu, Campaign Log 21 November 2016 · 484 views

CoC 1-6e Dreamlands Jazz Age

Monday, November 14, 2016

 

(After playing the original Call of Cthulhu scenario “Nightmare in the Moonlight” based on the short story “The Thing in the Moonlight” by J. Chapman Miske Sunday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. with Ben Abbott, Ashton LeBlanc, Katelyn Hogan, Collin Townsend, Hannah Gambino, and James Brown.)

 

Joel Johnson was 26 years old. He was of average height and slim and very attractive, with black hair. He was clean-shaven and stood about 5’8” tall. He wore a Havelock style cap with an outside pull down lined band that he could pull over his ears in cold weather. Johnson was a union activist and bounced from job to job, trying to stir up the workers against their bourgeoisie employers, promoting socialism and equality for all men. He was, consequently, very poor and lived in a flophouse in the West End of Providence, having a single room in the place. He shared a bathroom with the other men living on the hall.

 

He was between jobs on Saturday, November 26, 1927, when a knock came at his door. He opened it carefully and was surprised to see Dr. Rueben Conner standing in the hallway. Dr. Conner was a psychologist at Dexter Asylum, on the other side of town. He stood about five and a half feet tall, a little shorter than Johnson, and was very slim. He looked older than his age with gray hair, parted down the middle, and a thick but narrow toothbrush mustache. He wore glasses.

 

Dexter Asylum didn’t have a very good care rate though the few psychologists and others worked there with the poor, the aged, and the mentally ill. The staff was well-meaning but the cure rate was very low. Johnson had met Dr. Conner when he had acted to better the treatment of the patients.

 

“I have a problem,” Dr. Conner said. “I need your help.”

 

“What kind of problem?” Johnson asked.

 

“Well … can I come in?” Dr. Conner said.

 

He sounded a little on edge and seemed a bit flustered. Johnson looked over the man but then invited him into the tiny room. He sat carefully on the edge of the bed, the only substantial piece of furniture in the chamber.

 

“One of my patients … well … Morgan is not a literary man,” he said. “In fact, he cannot speak English with any degree of coherency. That is what makes me wonder about the words he wrote.

 

“He was alone the evening it happened, last night. Suddenly, an unconquerable urge to write came over him and, taking pen in hand, he wrote … this.”

 

He took out a piece of paper and Johnson looked over the crabbed, rough handwriting, reading:

 


My name is Howard Phillips. I live at 66 College Street, in Providence, Rhode Island. On
November 24, 1927—for I know not even what the year may be now—I fell asleep and
dreamed, since when I have been unable to awaken.

 

My dream began in a dank, reed-choked marsh that lay under a gray autumn sky, with a
rugged cliff of lichen-crusted stone rising to the north. Impelled by some obscure quest, I
ascended a rift or cleft in this beetling precipice, noting as I did so the black mouths of
many fearsome burrows extending from both walls into the depths of the stony plateau.

 

At several points the passage was roofed over by the choking of the upper parts of the
narrow fissure; these places being exceeding dark, and forbidding the perception of such
burrows as may have existed there. In one such dark space I felt conscious of a singular
accession of fright, as if some subtle and bodiless emanation from the abyss were engulfing
my spirit; but the blackness was too great for me to perceive the source of my alarm.

 

At length I emerged upon a tableland of moss-grown rock and scanty soil, lit by a faint
moonlight which had replaced the expiring orb of day. Casting my eyes about, I beheld no
living object; but was sensible of a very peculiar stirring far below me, amongst the whispering
rushes of the pestilential swamp I had lately quitted.

 

After walking for some distance, I encountered the rusty tracks of a street railway, and the
worm-eaten poles which still held the limp and sagging trolley wire. Following this line, I soon
came upon a yellow, vestibuled car numbered 1852—of a plain, double-trucked type common
from 1900 to 1910. It was untenanted, but evidently ready to start; the trolley being on the wire
and the air-brake now and then throbbing beneath the floor. I boarded it and looked vainly about
for the light switch—noting as I did so the absence of the controller handle, which thus implied
the brief absence of the motorman. Then I sat down in one of the cross seats of the vehicle.
Presently I heard a swishing in the sparse grass toward the left, and saw the dark forms of two
men looming up in the moonlight. They had the regulation caps of a railway company, and
I could not doubt but that they were conductor and motorman. Then one of them sniffed with
singular sharpness, and raised his face to howl to the moon. The other dropped on all fours
to run toward the car.

 

I leaped up at once and raced madly out of that car and across endless leagues of plateau
till exhaustion forced me to stop—doing this not because the conductor had dropped on all
fours, but because the face of the motorman was a mere white cone tapering to one
blood-red-tentacle …

 

I was aware that I only dreamed, but the very awareness was not pleasant.

 

Since that fearful night, I have prayed only for awakening—it has not come!

 

Instead I have found myself an inhabitant of this terrible dream-world! That first night gave
way to dawn, and I wandered aimlessly over the lonely swamp-lands. When night came, I still
wandered, hoping for awakening. But suddenly I parted the weeds and saw before me the ancient
railway car—and to one side a cone-faced thing lifted its head and in the streaming moonlight
howled strangely!

 

It has been the same each day. Night takes me always to that place of horror. I have tried not
moving, with the coming of nightfall, but I must walk in my slumber, for always I awaken with
the thing of dread howling before me in the pale moonlight, and I turn and flee madly.

 

God! when will I awaken?

 


“That’s what Morgan wrote,” Dr. Conner said when Johnson looked up from the paper. “I would go to 66 College Street in Providence … but I fear what I might find there. Could you go? A man’s life might be at stake.”

 

“This is a strange request,” Johnson said.

 

“I-I know. I know, Joel. But … it … Morgan can barely even speak, let alone write something like this. That is-that is why I’m concerned … I-I don’t believe in the supernatural but … but this is beyond me. It strikes me as strange, as odd, as … unnatural. Could you go?”

 

“I live the life I do because I care about my fellow man. I’ll go.”

 

“Thank you! Thank you! You can keep that. I have a photostatic copy. You know where I live.”

 

He asked for the man to contact him when he learned something.

 

“Maybe it’s nothing,” Dr. Conner said. “It’s probably nothing. Right? It’s nothing. I’m sure it’s nothing. But if you could look, I would greatly appreciate it.”

 

“Thank you. I’ll do it.”

 

Dr. Conner clumsily took his leave of the man.

 

Not wanting to go alone to the house, he thought for a little while on who might accompany him. He remembered a woman who worked for the Providence Journal. He often saw her at labor strikes or picket lines, taking photographs of the happenings, and he’d noticed the photographs often turned up in the Providence Journal. He was unsure if she knew the photographer or took the photos himself.

 

* * *

 

Miss Evelyn Fairfield had never completely recovered from her trip to Florida in October. Her skin still felt strange and she looked older for whatever terrible spell Papa Jobe had cast on her before he’d been killed.

 

She had spent the month between the terrible ordeal in New Dunwich and Thanksgiving reading the third book in The Revelations of Glaaki. It discussed the imprisonment of a foul deity named Byatis behind a stone door somewhere in England in a place call Severn Valley. She found a spell in the terrible book as well. It purported to have the power to contact the god.

 

After she finished that book she started to read and study Papa Jobe’s black book.

 

On November 26, she was at the Providence Journal, working as usual, when one of her fellow reporters called to her.

 

“Yo, Fairfield!” the man said.

 

“What?” she replied, looking up from her typewriter.

 

“There’s somebody up front who wants to talk to you.”

 

“Oh. Okay.”

 

“Some radical or something.”

 

“All right.”

 

She went to the front desk where she found the roughly dressed but handsome Joel Johnson, a local union activist, radical, and possibly socialist. The young secretary there was flirting with the good-looking man.

 

“I got an interesting connection today,” Johnson said to Miss Fairfield without preamble. “You know Dr. Rueben Conner?”

 

“Yeah, I know him,” she said.

 

“He comes to me today, looking like he’s been out of a war. I need to know everything you know about 66 College Street.”

 

“Okay, I can go look in the archives.”

 

She got a city map and found the street, guessing the house was near Brown University and probably next to the John Hay Memorial Library. She found a street map of the area around Brown University and took it with her. She didn’t recognize the address as being a place anything unusual had ever happened.

 

“What is it about this house?” she asked.

 

“Well, doc’s got a patient, see?” he said. “Says he can’t speak a word of English, can’t write any, never been to school. At least never picked anything up from it. Writes this note, saying he’s some guy named Howard Phillips at 66 College Street. The real question I’m asking, why I’m interested in this is, how does a well-off man like Dr. Conner go to me instead of the police?”

 

“Yeah, that is a little strange. Well, now we have a name and an address. I can go figure something out. In the meantime, we can contact some of my friends. Here’s my information.”

 

She gave him her address and everything.

 

“Thank you very much,” he said. “I’ll be in touch.”

 

* * *

 

Miss Suzanna Edington had come to Providence, Rhode Island, in October 1927. She had been sent there from the Atlanta, Georgia, area due to the increase in strangers around her father’s plantation, where she had lived all her life. Her father, Henry Beauregard Lee Edington, had gotten more and more nervous about the strange men, none of whom could seemingly be approached by himself or his employees. They had haunted the plantation since that summer and sightings of them and other strange things were growing more and more common.

 

He feared for his daughter so had sent her away for a few months or perhaps a year, telling the woman travel would do her good and perhaps get her out of that stuffy library. Miss Edington was fine with his decision. He was her father, after all. She decided she would go to Providence to find Mr. Rockefeller and see about possibly finding a husband. She also had friends in Providence in the form of Miss Fairfield and Nigel Bricker.

 

Her father thought it was quite far enough away for her to be safe.

 

Her father saw about renting a sizeable house in the Blackstone neighborhood for her in the finer part of town and she began mingling with socialites in Providence, soon making friends amongst her own kind. She hired a maid to keep the house clean and a white Packard was also made available to her.

 

She had been in the city for nearly a month and had only seen Miss Fairfield a handful of times, both of them being busy reading through The Revelations of Glaaki in their free time. Miss Edington had gotten through the first book in the set, which described the god Glaaki and its associated witch-cults. There seemed to be a spell in the book that allowed the caster to contact or call the deity but she was loathe to learn it. She put a note into the book, marking the spell and its location.

 

She was reading another volume of the books when the telephone rang. She heard Virgil Thomas walk to the foyer and pick up the receiver.

 

“Edington residence,” he said.

 

On the other end of the line, Miss Fairfield hesitated. For a moment, she had forgotten Miss Edington’s negro servant’s name. Then she remembered.

 

“Uh, hey Virgil,” she said. “Is Miss Edington there?”

 

“May I ask who’s calling,” Virgil Thomas said.

 

“Evelyn Fairfield.”

 

“Oh. One moment.”

 

The receiver was put down.

 

“Miss Suzanna, Miss Fairfield’s on the telephone,” she heard Virgil Thomas said.

 

“All right then,” she heard the southern accent of Miss Edington.

 

“Don’t let her talk you into any crazy stuff.”

 

“Okay then.”

 

The receiver was picked up.

 

“This is Suzanna,” she said.

 

“I’m here to talk you into some crazy stuff,” Miss Fairfield quipped.

 

“Virgil just told me not to get talked into crazy stuff. What is it this time?”

 

“There’s some crazy guy that doesn’t speak a word of English but then wrote some crazy letter about nightmares. We have a name and an address. I’m going to start looking it up. You mind calling Nigel for me?”

 

“I could. I wish I knew a little bit more. Like, why do we have to go?”

 

“It’s …”

 

“All right, I’ll call Nigel then. Where am I supposed to meet you?”

 

“Well, the address is near the library at Brown University.”

 

“All right, I’ve got a map right here, so I’ll find it.”

 

“Meet me there in … meet me there at six.”

 

“All right then. I’ll call Nigel. Bye-bye.”

 

* * *

 

Nigel Bricker had continued to find things going hard at Potter’s Garage in downtown Providence. His tools were still occasionally being stolen and his employer was finding it harder and harder to replace them. He had grown somewhat short with the tall, bald British man.

 

He had found time, in his tiny room in the back of the shop where he lived, to read the second book of The Revelations of Glaaki in the past month. The book described the terrible Servants of Glaaki, the horrible, undead people they had fought in New Dunwich, and the curse of the Green Decay. The book had two spells within it; one of them caused the green decay to take immediately in servants of Glaaki. The second was called Nyhargo Dirge and seemed to be a way to destroy corporeal undead … should they actually exist. That seemed to include skeletons, vampires, and servants of Glaaki.

 

He started to study the Nyhargo Dirge spell in October.

 

He was working on an automobile in the shop when his boss, Harold Potter, shouted at him from the office.

 

“Yo, Bricker!” the man called.

 

“What?” he called back.

 

“Phone call,” the other man said, pointing a thumb at the office. “Make it short.”

 

Bricker went into the office and saw the telephone was off the hook. He picked up the receiver.

 

“Hello?” he said.

 

“Hello Nigel,” the voice of Suzanna Edington said. “You want to go on another adventure?”

 

“Uh …”

 

“Every time we get together, weird stuff happens.”

 

“Weird stuff happens. Somebody else get an inheritance?”

 

“No, no inheritance this time. Just some man talking about some dreams but he don’t speak no English. Something like that.”

 

“Umm.”

 

“I don’t know. Maybe some Spanish fellow. I don’t know.”

 

“So, what are we doing, exactly?”

 

“Apparently all getting together and finding out what’s going on with this man. We’re supposed to meet at John Hay Library near Brown University around six today.”

 

“All right. I’ll be there.”

 

“Thank you very much, Nigel. Good-bye.”

 

They rung off.

 

* * *

 

After leaving the Providence Journal building, Johnson had walked a few blocks to Dorrance Street, where he knew the small office of the Bureau of Investigation in Providence. He knew a federal agent named Ramsey Sanderson, the head officer in the city. Agent Sanderson had two other federal men who worked in the office.

 

He arrived at the office around 1:30 p.m. and found Agent Sanderson alone. Agent Sanderson had salt-and-pepper hair mostly going white. He was clean-shaven for the most part, though usually had some stubble on his face. He had a small scar on his face from the Great War. He was also missing the middle and ring fingers on his left hand, having lost both of them in the War to a German trench knife. He sometimes used the injured hand in suspect’s faces when he needed to intimidate them.

 

Things had not been right between Agent Sanderson and his wife since he had returned from the War. The marriage had turned completely cold and loveless. She had left not long after though they had never filed for divorce as it might create a bit of a scandal. He was very lonely and threw himself into his work, spending most of his time at the office.

 

The man frowned when Johnson entered. He knew of the agitator and union-man and didn’t particularly care for him.

 

“Hey Sanderson,” Johnson said.

 

“What can I do for you?” Agent Sanderson said, his voice gravelly.

 

“Been arresting any of my good working boys lately?”

 

“Have they been causing any trouble?”

 

“I got an interesting contact today.”

 

Agent Sanderson grunted.

 

“I was wondering if you knew anything about a guy named Howard Phillips?” Johnson asked.

 

“I don’t know nobody by that name,” Agent Sanderson said.

 

“Looks like good working people, even higher class, are coming to me now.”

 

“Uh.”

 

“Instead of asking for your help.”

 

“Suspicious. Why tell me about it?”

 

“I guess I wanted to know why a good, working man like Dr. Conner was coming to me instead of you.”

 

Agent Sanderson recognized the name. He’d dealt with the doctor when he’d handled a few mentally ill people with his Prohibition work.

 

“Yeah, I know him,” he said.

 

“Listen, Sanderson,” Johnson said. “I know you’re not like everybody else here, that you actually do this job because you care. Now, whether it seems like you feel like that on most days, that’s arguable. But I think if you want to actually help somebody out, you’ll look into this case.”

 

Agent Sanderson sighed.

 

“Ain’t doing much right now, I guess,” he said. “What does this entail?”

 

“Well, Dr. Conner comes to me, says one of his good boys over at the asylum, doesn’t speak a lick of English, couldn’t talk, couldn’t write, writes up a note talking about how he’s a man named Howard Phillips living at 66 College Street. I’ll let you look at this if you feel like you’re actually going to do something.”

 

“I feel like I’m going to do something.”

 

Agent Sanderson took the piece of paper and glanced quickly over it. He handed it back.

 

“All right, I read it,” he said. “I’ll look into it. Do I need to meet you somewhere?”

 

“I’m waiting on my own contacts to get back to me now,” Johnson said.

 

“I’ll just keep in touch.”

 

“Well, we’ll try. I’m going to relieve myself of your presence.”

 

With that, the man left the office.

 

“Thank God,” Agent Sanderson muttered.

 

He left the office shortly after to meet with a friend of his from the Great War. He and Griffin H. McCree had served together after America entered the war in 1917. Agent Sanderson had been career military and started that terrible year and a half as a captain. By the time the war was over, he’d received battlefield commissions and promotions leaving him a Lt. Colonel in charge of a regiment. He’d led his men into battle, not requiring anyone to take any chances he personally wouldn’t take himself. Griffin had been a sergeant under his command and, after the war, the two, both from Providence, had kept in touch and become friends of sorts. They had lunch every week or so.

 

Griffin McCree was a tall, slim man of 36, originally from Macon, Georgia. He had gone home after the war but found nothing for him there so had moved to Providence after working for a little while on a plantation near Atlanta owned by a family called Edington. He had sandy brown hair, turning white, and wore friendly muttonchops: a thick mustache with muttonchops connected to it. He wore an eye patch over his left eye, which he’d lost in the war. He wore a hat with several teeth in the band and had been a big game hunter since 1919, taking rich Providence socialites all over the world to hunt big game. He had been a sniper in the War, picking off the Hun in their trenches several hundred yards away with great success. He also knew about Agent Sanderson’s wife having left him.

 

The two men met at the restaurant where they often ate. They had last dined together when Agent Sanderson had the man over to his house for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.

 

“How’s it going Griffin?” Agent Sanderson said as he sat down at the table.

 

“About the same as usual,” McCree said, his voice a southern drawl. “Anything new going on?”

 

“You want to hear something crazy?”

 

“Why not?”

 

“Some bonafide idiot came up today and told me about his little … shindig with an old psychologist I’ve had a run-in or two with. Sounds crazy. A hullaballoo. I don’t know what to think of it. He wants me to get involved.”

 

“Well, what is this hullaballoo about?”

 

“Well, he says something about some writing …”

 

He told him what Johnson had said and related the contents of the strange writing the man had shown him.

 

“Well, that does sound interesting,” McCree said. “Is this some sort of wolf man or …?”

 

“I don’t know,” Agent Sanderson said.

 

“Because I don’t have one of those on my wall.”

 

“I think they’re all on the opium or something. I don’t know what to think of this.”

 

“That could be the case but if there’s any chance that this could be a new species, I would love to be the first one to catch it.”

 

“Well, he invited me. You’re welcome to go if you want to go as a guest.”

 

“I would love to.”

 

“If you want to go with me you can. At least I’ll have somebody kind of sane with me. You’re a little God damned bonkers, I’m going to be honest with you. But at least you’re my friend.”

 

They left it at that. Agent Sanderson would contact the man when he knew more.

 

* * *

 

Miss Fairfield spent the rest of the afternoon looking in the Providence Journal newspaper morgue. She found nothing about the house or Howard Phillips. The only thing she found was a tiny feature about Howard Phillips Lovecraft, a Providence man who wrote some horror stories for various strange magazines. It had nothing to do with the house and was buried in the back of an edition.

 

She was interrupted around 5 p.m. when she received a telephone call at the paper.

 

* * *

 

Johnson had worked for the cause for the rest of the afternoon, telephoning the newspaper later in the day.

 

“So far I haven’t found anything,” Miss Fairfield told him. “Do you mind checking town hall for any records on who owned the place?”

 

“I guess I can,” he said.

 

“We’re all meeting at John Hay Library at 6 o-clock,” she said.

 

They rung off.

 

* * *

 

Agent Sanderson was alone in the office, working on paperwork and trying to avoid going to his empty house for as long as possible. He had a bottle of whiskey in the bottom desk drawer, confiscated from a smuggling boat some months before. He was sipping from the glass he saved for when his office was closed and needed something to ease the pain a little bit. The alcohol helped.

 

The telephone rang and he picked it up.

 

“Hello?” he said.

 

“I’m a little disgusted I have to talk to you so much,” Johnson’s voice came over the line.

 

“Who is this?” Agent Sanderson said, though he recognized the voice.

 

“I’ve got a few good people meeting up at six o-clock near the library,” Johnson said. “If you want to help in this.”

 

“What’s good, in your opinion?”

 

“People who care about the other people they live with. Not only the ones at the top.”

 

“Where you meeting?”

 

“The library.”

 

“The center of all knowledge. I like it.”

 

“John Hay Library at six.”

 

“All right. Just so you know, I got weapons on me so don’t try to ambush me.”

 

“You think I won’t?”

 

“Boy, what? I’m going to take that one as a joke and we’ll move on. All right, I’ll meet you there at six.”

 

“Well done. But you don’t have to pretend like you haven’t done this before.”

 

“All right, I’m going to ignore that too.”

 

Agent Sanderson hung up the telephone.

 

* * *

 

They all met around 6 p.m. on College Street in front of John Hay Library, which was just closing as they started to get there in ones and twos. Johnson was there first, always being early. Soon, Agent Sanderson and McCree arrived in McCree’s Cadillac. Miss Edington and Virgil Thomas arrived shortly after that in a snow white Packard sedan, Miss Edington hands in a muff. The tall, lanky Nigel Bricker walked up the street, having taken the trolley across town. He wore a cap and an overcoat over his greasy coveralls. Johnson thought it good to see another working man in the group. He was also somewhat surprised to see a negro in their midst. Miss Fairfield arrived last on her bicycle, camera in hand.

 

Miss Edington noticed the very handsome Johnson though was disappointed at the shabbiness of his clothing.

 

It was getting dark. A few streetlights gave only dim illumination on the street filled with houses.

 

“So, why are we at the library, again?” McCree asked.

 

“Just where the boy said to go,” Agent Sanderson said.

 

“My friends at the paper were the ones who organized it,” Johnson said.

 

He looked at Miss Fairfield.

 

“Well, hello all,” McCree said. “Griffin McCree.”

 

He held out his hand.

 

“And y’all may be …?” he said.

 

“Evelyn Fairfield,” Miss Fairfield said.

 

“I’m Miss Edington,” Miss Edington said, holding out her hand.

 

“Edington?” McCree said, taking it.

 

They had similar accents.

 

“Are you from the south too?” she asked.

 

“Yeah, I believe I worked for your family for a little bit,” he said.

 

“When was that?”

 

“Back right after the War.”

 

“Oh, I see. I was kind of young then. I wouldn’t have known.”

 

Agent Sanderson grunted.

 

“I hope we treated you well,” Miss Edington went on.

 

“Oh yes,” McCree said. “Your father was kind to me.”

 

“Oh yes he is. And who might you be?”

 

She glanced at the handsome young man in the rugged clothing.

 

“I’m Joel,” Johnson said. “And I speak for the working man.”

 

“Oh, do you?” she said. “Well, that’s mighty nice. You can just call me Suzanna.”

 

Johnson, Fairfield, and Agent Sanderson recognized the house at 66 College Street. The November wind was sharp and chilly at the square, Georgian house with a monitor roof, classical doorway with fan carving, small-planed windows, and all the other earmarks of early Nineteenth Century workmanship.

 

Agent Sanderson looked at Bricker.

 

“You going to introduce yourself, boy?” he asked.

 

“Roight,” Bricker said. “Me name’s Nige Bricker.”

 

“All right, is that everybody introduced?” Agent Sanderson asked. “Everybody know each other?”

 

“Well, we don’t know you,” Miss Edington said.

 

“My name’s Agent Sanderson,” he replied.

 

“Well, nice to meet you Agent Sanderson.”

 

“Nice to meet you too. All right, let’s get down to business.”

 

He turned to Johnson.

 

“You gonna tell us what we’re doing?” he asked.

 

“I know about as much as you all do,” Johnson said. “Dr. Conner came and talked to me about this patient he had. Not a lick of English, able to read or write, or speak even. Starts writing notes.”

 

He pulled the paper out of his jacket pocket and held it out. McCree took it and looked it over before handing it off to Miss Edington. She read it and it got handed around for everyone to examine as they talked.

 

“So, an illiterate man wrote this … and gave us hints on some sorts of monsters,” McCree said.

 

“His name wasn’t Howard Phillips though,” Johnson said. “That’s the point. That’s why Dr. Conner came to me looking like he had seen some new horror from the War.”

 

“Oh boy, here we go again,” Miss Edington said.

 

“The house is right over there,” Johnson said. “Has anybody turned up any knowledge?”

 

“There was nothing in the morgue,” Miss Fairfield said.

 

“The whot?” Bricker said.

 

“Well, I guess I’ve seen worse,” Miss Edington said.

 

“Oh no,” Miss Fairfield said. “It’s where newspapers go to die.”

 

“Oh,” Bricker said.

 

“That’s a strange thing to say,” Miss Edington said. “But all right then.”

 

“So, about this house you just pointed out,” McCree said. “Is that where … people are?”

 

“Are we supposed to go in there?” Miss Edington said.

 

“I don’t know that,” Johnson said to McCree. “It is where this crazy man claimed to live and also where he claimed his name is Howard Phillips. He also claimed he didn’t know what year it was. So … as it is our only clue so far, it is the only place I know to investigate.”

 

“I swear, that’s a crazy man business!” McCree said. “Wasting my time!”

 

“Now what are we exactly supposed to do about this man?” Miss Edington said. “What does your man want you to do?”

 

“Well, he wants us to investigate this patient, bring him back in, and see if his claims are true,” Johnson said. “Because, obviously, if there is any truth to this dream, it would be good to help whoever Howard Phillips is in his time of need.”

 

“So there is a man in there,” Agent Sanderson said.

 

“Presumably,” Johnson said. “So says this note.”

 

“Well …” Agent Sanderson said.

 

“I don’t know about you, Virgil …” Miss Edington said.

 

“… as long as you don’t break anything and don’t steal nothing, if we can find a way in there that’s safe, I’ll go with you,” Agent Sanderson went on. “I ain’t gonna open it though. I ain’t gonna open it.”

 

“Well, that’s to say nobody answers the door in the first place,” Miss Edington said.

 

“Let me just clarify,” Johnson said. “I would never have gone out on this venture if I didn’t trust Dr. Conner and the situation he was in. He’s obviously a smart man, a caring man, and he felt something was wrong. That’s why I’m here.”

 

“Are you a bleedin’ heart type?” McCree said.

 

“Depends on who’s bleeding,” Johnson said.

 

“What the hell’s that supposed to mean!?!” Miss Edington said.

 

“Is this constant?” McCree said to Agent Sanderson.

 

“This is my misery,” Agent Sanderson replied.

 

“I don’t know what you mean by that,” Miss Edington said.

 

“Oh boy,” McCree said.

 

Miss Edington walked to the front door of the house and knocked.

 

“Is this where the wolfman might be?” McCree asked as they all followed the young woman.

 

“That’s our stories,” Agent Sanderson replied. “We’ll find out.”

 

Miss Edington knocked again and waited. No one answered from the darkened house.

 

“I don’t feel right just walking into this man’s house,” Miss Edington said.

 

“I don’t either,” Agent Sanderson said. “Somebody else is going to have to find something out if we want to get in there.”

 

“Why don’t we just wait for this man to come back?” Miss Edington asked.

 

“Maybe there’s something under the welcome mat,” Virgil Thomas spoke for the first time.

 

Everyone looked at him.

 

Johnson looked under the mat but there was nothing there. Virgil Thomas simply nodded.

 

“No key or anything,” Miss Edington said.

 

There were tall bushes against the house on the right side though the left portion of the building was clear and open all the way to the yard of the next home.

 

Bricker went around the right side of the house and disappeared into the bushes to peek in the windows. He was surprised to find a side door to the house there but disappointed to find it locked as well. It was lower than the front door and he guessed it might be a basement door of some kind. He also noticed an extension off the back of the house. Miss Fairfield followed him to the basement door.

 

Johnson followed them, passing as they stopped at the door and making his way to the back of the house where he found a small covered stoop. There was another mat there and he peeked under it. A key was there. He tried it in the back door and opened it up.

 

McCree, meanwhile, walked around the left side of the house, trying to stay in the shadows as best he could. It was dark inside the house and he couldn’t see in.

 

Johnson found himself in a short corridor that led to a kitchen with a pair of rooms on the right as well. He thought they looked disused. He returned to Bricker and Fairfield, telling them to come to the back of the house. They followed him and found the back door ajar, as Johnson had left it.

 

Johnson stepped carefully into the house, looking at the two rooms in the back but finding them both empty.

 

Miss Fairfield, meanwhile, made her way into the kitchen. There was still enough light outside for her to make her way easily enough through the dining room and the living room to the small reception hall with the front door and steps climbing upwards. A small table with a candlestick telephone was next to the steps. She went to the front door and opened it up. Miss Edington, Virgil Thomas, and Agent Sanderson stood on the stoop in front of the house and seemed somewhat surprised to see her.

 

“So, what’s in here?” Agent Sanderson asked.

 

“Not much yet,” Miss Fairfield said.

 

“All right,” Agent Sanderson said. “I’m just going to stay in the main hall here.”

 

He entered the house, donning his gloves. He didn’t want to leave any fingerprints. Virgil Thomas followed him but Miss Edington stood on the front porch.

 

“C’mon,” Virgil Thomas said to the woman.

 

She stood there.

 

“He’s a police officer,” Virgil Thomas said. “He’s a police officer. C’mon.”

 

She begrudgingly walked into the house and he closed the door behind her.

 

“Miss Suzanna, if we’re going to be in this house, even if it’s not exactly legal, it’s better than standing on the front stoop, waiting for the police to take us away,” he muttered to the woman. “Trust me.”

 

“All right then Virgil,” Miss Edington said.

 

“You can just stay here.”

 

“I just don’t feel right about it.”

 

“I understand. I understand. We can stay here in the foyer. I will stand here with you.”

 

“All right.”

 

He looked around and then turned on the light switch.

 

“Why did nobody do that earlier?” Miss Suzanna asked.

 

In the back, McCree found the open back door and Bricker, who motioned him in. They found Johnson still looking around in the two empty rooms in the back of the house. McCree walked past the two of them, going through the house and out the front door. Virgil Thomas closed the door behind him.

 

Miss Fairfield headed up the stairs as Miss Edington opened the front door again.

 

“Now where do you think you’re going?” she asked McCree as he walked towards his motorcar.

 

“I’m just grabbing something out of my vehicle,” he called back as he kept walking.

 

“And what would that be?” she asked.

 

“We’re monster hunting aren’t we?” he called.

 

“Now where do you see some monsters!” she called back.

 

“Miss Suzanna, keep your voice down,” Virgil Thomas muttered to her nervously.

 

She grunted angrily and he closed the door.

 

* * *







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