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Dark Carnival Session One Part 1 - Mangled Man and Missing Woman

Posted by Max_Writer , in Call of Cthulhu, Campaign Log 28 January 2017 · 336 views

Monday, January 23, 2017

 

(After playing the Call of Cthulhu scenario “Dark Carnival” by David A. Hargrave from Curse of the Chthonians Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. with Ben Abbott, Collin Townsend, Ashton LeBlanc, Katelyn Hogan, and James Brown.)

 

The winter of 1927-1928 was mostly unremarkable. In January, Stanford beat Pittsburg in the 14th annual Rose Bowl. February saw the 1928 Winter Olympics held in St. Moritz, Switzerland, the first time as a separate event from the Summer Olympics. In March, the St. Francis Dam north of Los Angeles failed, killing 600 people. In April, the Republican primary election in Chicago was preceded by bombings, violence, and assassination attempts. The first east-west transatlantic airplane flight took place later that same month.

 

Also in February, an article appeared in the Providence Journal of a government raid in Massachusetts on a small town. The article appeared on Wednesday, Feb. 15. It read:

 

Government Raid on Massachusetts Town Stamps out Bootlegging, Smuggling, Slavery

 

INNSMOUTH, MASS. ― A vast series of raids and arrests occurred in the village of Innsmouth,
Mass., Sunday, resulting in numerous arrests and the burning and dynamiting of several empty
houses along the waterfront of the village.

 

In the early morning hours of Feb. 12, a joint force of the Department of the Navy, in the form
of Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) agents, U.S. Marines, and U.S. Coast Guard troops assaulted
the small coastal village of Innsmouth. The Justice Department Bureau of Investigation (BI) under
the direction of J. Edgar Hoover was also involved in the raid to seize suspected aliens and seditionists
for deportation.

 

The raiders reportedly faced heavy resistance by the criminals in the village. Several soldiers and
sailors were reported injured or killed though the exact numbers have not yet been made available
to the press.

 

Approximately 200 people were arrested while another 35 were reported killing during the raid
with an additional unreported number injured. A great deal of smuggled goods and supplies were
confiscated by the ONI and BI during the raid, including an undisclosed amount of bootleg liquor,
Canadian Whiskey, and other, unspecified, contraband.

 

Several empty houses on the abandoned waterfront were burned and dynamited to destroy a
large amount of illicit material, including alcohol and narcotics.

 

The prisoners were taken to an as-yet undisclosed location pending arrest and arraignment.
Evidence continues to be collected by the ONI and BI.

 

In addition to bootlegging and smuggling operations, there are inferences of a white slave
operation working out of the village. Who was enslaved and where they were taken is, as of yet,
unknown. As at least half of the village was arrested and imprisoned, it can be assumed this had
something to do with people who have disappeared in the area or perhaps other citizens of the
village. Authorities continue to investigate the allegations.

 

According to authorities, less than 200 citizens remain in Innsmouth since the raid. The village
remains under martial law and controlled by Federal forces at this time.

 

The village of Innsmouth is not without a rocky past.

 

Founded in 1643, the community had grown to a population of about 2,000 souls by the
American Revolution, most of them engaged in the shipping and fishing industries. The town
saw an end to its prosperity after the War of 1812 crippled the town’s growth. By the middle
of the 19th century, the Marsh Gold Refinery was the main industry in the village.

 

In 1846, the town was struck by a plague believed to have carried by a ship returning from the
South Pacific. Riots eventually broke out resulting in the dozens of deaths. The town never truly
recovered after that.

 

By the time of the Civil War, the village had fallen into a steep decline, leaving it a shadow of its
former self.

 

The population of Innsmouth before the government raid is estimated at 550.

 

(Information provided by the Arkham Advertiser and the Associated Press.)

 

* * *

 

The union activist, Joel Johnson, since his terribly strange ordeal with the house on College Street in November, had talked to Dr. Reuben Conner, the psychologist from Dexter Asylum and the man who had convinced him to get involved in the whole thing. Dr. Conner was willing to give the man six months of free psychotherapy to repay him for helping him with the problem.

 

It was sometime after that when Bricker contacted Johnson to ask if he knew anyone who could do psychiatric treatment.

 

“Well, I do know Dr. Conner,” Johnson told him. “But, I’m afraid I’ve kind of bargained him out already, so I can’t put in a good word for you. You’ll have to approach him on your own.”

 

He gave the man Dr. Conner’s contact information.

 

Johnson saw Dr. Conner for six months and, by the end of the treatment, felt sounder than he had since the terrible ordeal.

 

* * *

 

The pretty young Evelyn Fairfield, who worked for the Providence Journal as a photographer and writer, though always under the name Everett Collins, had asked the landlady of her boarding house, Mrs. Wickes, if she knew of any psychologists. The woman was shocked and seemed both embarrassed and scandalized to even discuss it.

 

“Oh dear!” she said. “Oh my goodness!”

 

She didn’t know anyone personally so Miss Fairfield found the office of Dr. Samuel Endecott, the man who had helped them deal with the terrible dream of Howard Phillips. He agreed to treat her in an effort to help her deal with the terrible things she saw. She saw him for five months before he declared he had helped her as much as he could.

 

* * *

 

Bricker also sought out Dr. Endecott and retained him for three months of psychotherapy. When he felt worse after that time, having had a terrible epiphany when he realized Nyarlathotep probably knew his identity, he retained the man for three more months. He had another breakdown during that time but Endicott helped him as much as he could.

 

* * *

 

Suzanna Edington, the pretty blonde young dilettante from Atlanta, Bricker, and Miss Fairfield had all been reading the nine volumes of The Revelations of Glaaki since their terrible trip to Florida in October of 1927. By May, 1928, they had each read all of the volumes. Both Bricker and Miss Edington were terribly shaken by what they’d read. They also learned a great deal.

 

In addition to the information provided in the books about Glaaki, its servants, Byatis, Eihort, Ghroth, Shub-Niggurath, the Insects from Shaggai, the Beings of Xiclotl, and Daoloth and other dimensions, the books were also filled with spells. Most of them were for contacting or summoning outer gods, which they wisely decided to steer well clear of, though some of the dismissal spells seemed useful, as did a few others.

 

In December of 1927, Bricker had learned a spell called Nyhargo Dirge, which allegedly could be used to destroy corporeal undead. He told the other two he had learned the spell and offered to teach it to them. Miss Fairfield learned the spell after two weeks of intense study. It took Miss Edington over a month to learn it.

 

After he learned the first spell, Bricker began to study the spell calling or dismissing Azathoth from the 7th volume of the books. It took him until the beginning of May to figure out how to cast that spell as well.

 

It was also at the beginning of May that Miss Fairfield began to read Papa Jobe’s book: Rise of the Sleeper.

 

* * *

 

Robert Ingerton, the con man who was trying to ingratiate himself into Providence upper-class society, had been busy since he had helped Rockefeller and the rest in May of 1927. After dealing with the terrible events in Aylesbury, he had taken a trade school class in the use of explosives and demolitions. The class taught him about fuse lengths and the storage, and transport and use of explosives, among other things. He thought it worth the $120 for the classes.

 

In early 1928, he actually met Miss Edington at one of the society events he attended. She remembered him from his dealings in Aylesbury with Rockefeller, at least from what she had read in the newspapers. She had not been able to contact Rockefeller since she’d met him in North Carolina over the summer.

 

He also tried to arrange a fund-raiser for the Providence Athenaeum in the hopes of keeping the money for himself. Unfortunately, he didn’t raise much and was unable to keep more than about $10 from the whole fiasco.

 

* * *

 

On Monday, May 14, 1928, an article appeared in the Providence Journal. It read:

 

Man Mauled and Woman Missing

 

Carnival-goers and pleasure-seekers were terrified Saturday night when a man whose arm
had been ripped from his socket appeared on the grounds of the North Star Amusement Arcade
and Pleasure Pier.

 

At 9:45 p.m., police and an ambulance were called to the carnival on Alfred Stone Road
just north of Providence. According to witnesses, a young man in his 20s had wandered into
the amusement park in the area of the pony rides on the south side of the park, coming from
Swan Point Cemetery. The man’s appearance was described as “ghastly” and “insane.” He
collapsed shortly after near the roller coaster where citizens tended to him as best they could
until help could arrive.

 

Providence Police identified the man as Kent Howard, 22, 11 Flora Street. Howard had his
right arm torn off, was covered by hundreds of gashes and gouges, and his previously brown
hair was now completely white. He was transported to Rhode Island Hospital where he was
last listed in serious condition.

 

Howard
of the young woman has been found save for a bloody shoe found near an overturned gravestone
in Swam Point Cemetery.

 

According to police, Howard and Pringle had gone to the North Star Amusement Arcade
and Pleasure Pier on the evening of Saturday, May 12. The two had left the fairgrounds at
some point after dark and wandered south along the river before entering Swam Point Cemetery,
at which point they were attacked. It is uncertain how much time passed between their leaving
the amusement park and the attack, or how long it took for Howard to return.

 

The case is listed as probable murder by person or persons unknown. Police Superintendent
William F. O’Neill noted that Kent Howard has been unable to name or describe his attacker as
the man is not currently lucid. It is assumed he will be transferred to Butler Hospital if his mental
condition does not change for the better.

 

Wilberforce Wyatt, the owner and operator of the North Star Amusement Arcade and Pleasure
Pier, was not available for comment.

 

“It is a terrible shame,” said Assistant Manager of the Park Joshua Peterson. “That such an
awful tragedy could happen so close to such a place of merriment and happiness is just unthinkable.
We do not encourage park-goers to leave the area of the park, especially to trespass in the nearby
cemeteries, at night. I hope the man recovers soon and is all right. I’m sure the police will find the
missing girl soon.”

 

North Star Amusement Arcade and Pleasure Pier has been in operation since 1906 when land
south of Riverside Cemetery was purchased from the City of Pawtucket. The amusement park
has grown over the years and now abuts Swan Point Cemetery on its south side and Riverside
Cemetery on its north side.

 

Swan Point Cemetery was established in 1846 and has been used as a burial ground for the
city ever since. A greenhouse was built in 1917 and a superintendent’s house in 1923.

 

Riverside Cemetery was established in 1874 by Pawtucket. The cemetery’s creation was
championed by John W. Davis, who served two terms as governor. His descendents have run
the cemetery since its inception.

 

Police continue their search for Lucy Pringle and ask that anyone with information about the
girl or the attack contact them immediately.

 

A terrible picture was included with the article. The artist’s rendition showed a man with a missing arm and covered in scratch marks, apparently running amok in the carnival while terrified carnival-goers looked on in horror.

 

Ingerton was intrigued by the article and tried to telephone William Rockefeller but there was no answer at his house. He next called Nurse Abigail Daughton, who had accompanied him on the terrible trip to Aylesbury. She was home.

 

“Hello?” she said.

 

“Hello, Miss Daughton!” Ingerton said.

 

“Oh … hey.”

 

“How are you this evening?”

 

“Oh, I’m good. Just sitting here with a book.”

 

“Have you noticed in the paper the woman gone missing and the one man mauled?”

 

“Yeah. Strange, huh?”

 

“Yes. Would you be interested in attempting to find this missing woman?”

 

“Um … actually, I’m a little busy right now. But … I know somebody who would be interested.”

 

“Who?”

 

“Miss Evelyn Fairfield. She works for the newspaper.”

 

“Ah, newspaper you say? All right. I’ll give her a call.”

 

“Okay, if you can find her.”

 

“Thank you. And that was Evelyn Fairfield?”

 

“Yes. Yes it was.”

 

“Thanks again.”

 

“All right.”

 

He hung up the receiver and next telephoned the Providence Journal.

 

“Providence Journal, can I help you?” a woman’s voice answered.

 

“Hi!” Ingerton said. “This is Robert Ingerton. I’m looking for a Miss Fairfield.”

 

“One moment please.”

 

* * *

 

Miss Fairfield was working at one of the desks when the front desk girl came into the press room and approached her, telling her she had a telephone call. She said she’d put it through. The phone rang a few moments later.

 

“Hello, this is Miss Fairfield,” she said.

 

“Hi Miss Fairfield!” a man’s voice said. “Hi. I’m Robert Ingerton. Local philanthropist and rescuer of small children. I’ve heard from a mutual friend of ours, Nurse Daughton, that you like to help other people as well.”

 

“Um … yes. I’m just a humble secretary but I have been known to help with photos and such things.”

 

“I’m trying to gather a group of people so we can start an expedition to try to find this missing woman and see what’s happening at this … fairgrounds.”

 

“Well, I was about to head over there. I know some people. I can get them together. Where do you want to meet at?”

 

“Excellent news. Why don’t we meet right outside the premises?”

 

“Right outside the ticket booth.”

 

She hung up.

 

* * *

 

“Nigel!” Harold Potter, the owner of Potter’s Garage called.

 

“Whot?” Nigel said, looking up from the Model T he was working on.

 

“Phone! Again.”

 

“Who is it?”

 

“What am I, your God-damned personal secretary!?!”

 

“Sorry. Sorry Mr. Potter.”

 

The man growled and walked away as Bricker headed to the office. He’d continued to have problems in the shop as he had not long after returning from North Carolina. It had not put him in a good mood.

 

“Make it short!” Potter called as he entered the tiny office in the back of the garage.

 

“Hello?” Bricker said, picking up the telephone.

 

“Hi, this is Miss Fairfield,” the woman’s voice came from the other side of the line.

 

“Oh, how are you doing?”

 

“Pretty good. Um … I have this Ingerton fellow who wants to look into this missing woman case up at the carnival.”

 

“Oh, that. Oh. Yeah. No trouble. Yeah, sure, I can come help out.”

 

“At the ticket booth in an hour.”

 

* * *

 

Miss Edington was reading, as she usually was, when the telephone at her house rang. Her servant, the negro Virgil Thomas, picked up the telephone receiver.

 

“Edington residence,” he said.

 

“This is Miss Fairfield,” the voice came from the other side of the line.

 

“Uh-oh. One moment please.”

 

Thomas put the telephone receiver down and went to the library.

 

“Miss Fairfield on the telephone,” he said.

 

“All right, Virgil,” Miss Edington replied.

 

She went to the front hall where the telephone stood. It had recently been replaced with a telephone with a rotary dial.

 

“This is Suzanna,” she said cheerily. “How may I help you Miss Fairfield?”

 

“Hey Suzanna,” Miss Fairfield said. “Have you read in the paper about this missing woman at the carnival?”

 

“I have.”

 

“Well, it seems like we’re getting some of the group back together to look into it.”

 

“Oh Lord. I don’t think I can carry my shotgun around.”

 

“Maybe it’d be good to bring your car then.”

 

“Hmmm. All right then. I would like to go see the carnival anyway. I’ve been thinking about inviting Mr. Rockefeller but he ain’t answering me.”

 

“Well, we’re all meeting at the ticket booth in an hour.”

 

“An hour? I better go get ready then, I suppose.”

 

* * *

 

Miss Fairfield called the Providence branch of the Bureau of Investigation in order to get hold of Sanderson.

 

“Bureau of Investigation,” a man’s voice answered the telephone. “Agent Smith speaking.”

 

“May I speak to Detective Sanderson?” she asked.

 

“He’s out. Can I take a message? Or can I help you?”

 

“Um … no. I’ll just call back later.”

 

“All right.”

 

She next called Action Safari, where she knew Griffin McCree, the big game hunter who had been with them when they investigated the house on College Street, worked. She learned he was out of the country, specifically in Africa. They tried to get Miss Fairfield to book a safari and it took her five minutes to get off the phone.

 

She was trying to figure out who else might help when she was told there was another telephone call for her.

 

“Hello, Miss Fairfield,” she said.

 

“Hey,” the man’s voice on the other side said.

 

She recognized it as Joel Johnson.

 

“I don’t know if you remember me but I saw the news in the paper and I was wondering if our last encounter with Mr. Howard Phillips rung any bells with you too,” he said.

 

“Oh, right, Joel?” she said.

 

“That’s my name.”

 

“Um … yeah, I remember you. Yeah, we’re going to meet outside the fairgrounds at the ticket booth in an hour.”

 

“You’ve already got something going.”

 

“Yep. Yep. You know us. Always on the ball.”

 

“Well, if you think it’s something like … that, then I guess I’ll involve myself. Glad you guys are already on the point.”

 

* * *

 

It was around 2 p.m. when they all met at the North Star Amusement Arcade and Pleasure Pier north of Providence. The fairgrounds were fairly large, with several large buildings housing rides, a roller coaster, Ferris wheel, swan pond, and carousel, as well as a few other rides and many attractions. It butted up against the Seekonk
River on the east side. Swan Point Cemetery was right up against the amusement park on the south, and woods separated the park from the Riverside Cemetery to the north. Parking for automobiles stood on the northwest side of the park amidst a few trees that still grew there while thick woods lined the road that ran past the park itself.

 

There were no fences or walls around the park but all of the rides required tickets, sold in the numerous tiny ticket booths scattered around the grounds.

 

The place smelled of popcorn and hotdogs with a hint of manure and cigarette smoke. It was a nice day and there were quite a few people at the carnival. The whole place was a large, gaudy affair with lights and bright colors everywhere.

 

Miss Edington looked around, smiling. She’d only been to the circus before but never to a stationary carnival.

 

It only took them a short while to all find each other and they were together by 2:30 p.m. that afternoon, standing in a group along the busy fairway.

 

“Miss Edington!” Ingerton said. “What brings you here?”

 

“Well …” she said. “I was told to come on this little expedition that we’re doing. And I thought ‘I’m going to enjoy the carnival while we’re here.’”

 

“Interesting.”

 

She had a small box of popcorn she munched at.

 

“You must be part of the group that Miss Fairfield was helping me gather,” Ingerton said.

 

“Seems so,” she replied.

 

“And who are you?” Johnson asked.

 

“Just a local philanthropist and child rescuer, Robert Ingerton,” Ingerton said. “I’m trying to help solve this mystery of the missing woman and the mangled man.”

 

“He saved all these children in Massachusetts,” Miss Edington said with a smile. “It was the sweetest little thing.”

 

“And who might you all be?” Ingerton asked the others.

 

“I’m Miss Fairfield,” she said.

 

“Oh you’re Miss Fairfield. Thank you, very much, for helping set up all of this.”

 

“I have connections.”

 

“I’m Joel,” Johnson said.

 

“Hello Joel,” Ingerton said. “Are you helping?”

 

“Well, seems like it.”

 

“Good! So … the man came from the cemetery? The direction of the cemetery?”

 

“Swan Point,” Miss Fairfield said. “The south one. By the pony rides.”

 

“Now, we also should probably talk to the … victim of the crime,” Ingerton said. “But … now that I know we have so many people, we could split up.”

 

They discussed it but Miss Fairfield pointed out Kent Howard was probably not lucid, at least according to the newspaper. Ingerton told them he wanted to investigate the cemetery. Miss Fairfield also pointed out the hospital was across town and Miss Edington complained she’d just arrived. Ingerton suggested they look around the carnival before trying the hospital then and they agreed on that.

 

“And while we’re here, have you experienced a carnival before Miss Edington?” Ingerton asked.

 

“Yeah, I’ve been to a few,” she replied. “It’s been a while though. It’s been since I was a kid.”

 

“You must see the wax museum.”

 

“There’s a wax museum?”

 

“It looks so lifelike.”

 

“Well, I would hope so.”

 

“I caught Joel talking to them once.”

 

“Uh-huh … well, where is this wax museum?”

 

“Over by the Ferris wheel.”

 

“You can see the Ferris wheel from here,” Miss Fairfield said.

 

“I’d rather go on that, to be honest,” Miss Edington said. “But we’re not here for fun, I guess.”

 

“I’ll take you up here some other time, Suzanna,” Miss Fairfield said.

 

“Oh, you’re a sweetheart,” Miss Edington said.

 

“Well, I thought the plan was to go to the pony rides so I’m going to head that way,” Johnson said.

 

They all headed over to the pony rides, passing the security shack and the Northern Lights Gift Shop, going around the back of the Grand Menagerie, hearing the animals there and noting a large door to a basement of the building. They also went by the roller coaster, where people screamed in delight at the long drop. A low wall separated the park from Swan Point Cemetery to the south. They finally arrived at the pony rides along the Seekonk River.

 

The pony rides were a fenced off area where six ponies were tied in a circle to a device that pivoted as they walked. Several children rode on the ponies with a few more children and their parents standing in line near the fence. A ticket booth stood just outside the fenced-in area and they saw many booths nearby where people were selling things, probably from Pawtucket or Providence. Just beyond those booths and further into the park was Professor Pfeiffer’s Photography shop. The restrooms and carousel were also nearby.

 

A dark-haired young man with a cigarette in his mouth was in charge of the pony rides. He took tickets and helped the children onto the ponies, which looked tired.

 

Ingerton headed past the pony rides towards the river with the intention of going around the wall. Miss Edington and Virgil Thomas followed him. Bricker, Miss Fairfield, and Johnson climbed over the short wall, getting some looks from the parents at the pony ride. They met in the cemetery, which was well-kept and filled with trees. Gravestones and mausoleums were scattered about in the area. They also saw a man in a boat fishing in the river perhaps some 50 feet away.

 

No people were in the cemetery and they made their way deeper into the place, following Bricker, who had spotted some blood in the grass. He led them to a place some 50 or 60 feet away from the amusement park where they found ropes tied to several trees around a spot where an overturned tombstone lay. A piece of paper was nailed to a post set in the ground with a warning from the Providence Police that the area was a police crime scene.

 

They examined the tombstone. The name upon it was Jacob Wells and it didn’t seem exceptional.

 

They followed the blood back to the carnival where it reached the wall. There was more blood on the cemetery side of the wall than the other side. There wasn’t much blood in the actual park itself and they couldn’t find a trail to follow there. Some sawdust was scattered in the area.

 

Johnson climbed back over to the wall and walked over to the pony rides, approaching the man there. He was still doing his job of getting the children on the ponies while he smoked a cigarette.

 

“Excuse me, sir,” Johnson said.

 

“Yessir,” the man said. “The pony ride’s for kids.”

 

“I understand that. Were you around here two nights ago?”

 

“Uh … uh … you mean when that fella came in?”

 

“Yes, exactly.”

 

“I saw him. He was crazy. He was crazy.”

 

He took a ticket from a parent and helped a child onto one of the ponies. He had to talk to the child to encourage him to ride. He returned to Johnson, rolling his eyes.

 

“Yeah?” he said.

 

“I’ll try not to take up too much of your time but …” Johnson said.

 

“Yeah, yeah buddy.”

 

“… is there anything you know about it?”

 

“Ah no. No. There was this guy and he came in and I saw him and people called the cops. The cops came out here and that’s all I know. I ain’t heard nothing about it. I ain’t got a radio or nothing.”

 

“Did you see him?”

 

“What? Yeah. I saw him.”

 

The man had been tending to another child.

 

“He had white hair,” he said. “He looked really old.”

 

“Hmm,” Johnson said.

 

“But I was kind of busy. He headed off into the carnival. They took care of him somewhere. I don’t know.”

 

“And he came from over in the cemetery?”

 

“Yeah, right over the wall over there.”

 

Miss Fairfield had walked over.

 

“Do people usually go over to the cemetery?” she asked.

 

“What?” the pony ride man said. “I dunno. Who the hell are you? People don’t usually cross over the wall. Oh! You’re that lady that went over the wall! Pony rides are for kids but you can get on if you want, if you got a ticket. I don’t care.”

 

“So, you’re saying you would notice that people were hopping over the wall?”

 

“I dunno. I noticed you hop over the wall. Anyway, yeah, I didn’t see much. Just saw this guy and he was in a bad way.”

 

“He only had one arm, right?” Johnson asked. “Didn’t that seem weird to you?”

 

“That’s what I heard,” the man replied. “I didn’t see him! He come over the wall and just heads off that way. I was surprised. People don’t come in from the cemetery.”

 

“But you didn’t notice that he only had one arm?”

 

“I don’t think so. Might’ve. I don’t remember. I mean, he was obviously some nut job so I didn’t want to deal with him. I mean, I got kids around here. I didn’t want him to come over to me because then I have to deal with him, you know? I mean, kids around here. I mean, Jesus Christ!”

 

“Did he say anything?” Miss Fairfield asked.

 

“No, he didn’t say anything to me,” the man replied. “Just headed on in.”

 

“You think he’d go looking for any help. Not wander further.”

 

Ingerton had come back around the wall. Bricker had climbed over.

 

“Sorry, you a cop or something?” the man from the pony ride asked.

 

“I guess you could call me a concerned citizen,” Johnson said. “That’s all.”

 

“Oh. All right.”

 

They left the man and all of them got together except Miss Edington, who had not returned from the cemetery. Miss Fairfield took a photograph of both the man and the ride.

 

* * *

 

Miss Edington continued to look around the area of the attack. She could see no way for Kent Howard to lose his arm. There were no trees he could have climbed, somehow gotten his arm caught in, and then fallen from. She was perplexed at what could have happened to remove the man’s arm.

 

* * *

 

“While y’all question some people, I’m going to actually take a look at the animals they have here,” Ingerton said. “They did say he looked mauled.”

 

“The menagerie’s over that way,” Miss Fairfield said, pointing.

 

Ingerton wandered off just as Miss Edington returned from the cemetery. She headed towards the Fun House. Miss Fairfield, in the meantime, walked over to the carousel.

 

The man in charge of that machine had a mop of dark hair on his head and a big smile on his face. He looked young, as if he was in his teens. The sound of the music was very loud near the machine and the man seemed to know his business.

 

Miss Fairfield approached him.

 

“Hey, were you working here Saturday night?” she asked.

 

The man turned to her, a grin plastered across his face.

 

“Saturday night?” he said over the music. “Nah, I don’t work Saturday night! I mean, I don’t work at night. I’m the day guy!”

 

“Oh,” she said. “Do you know who works at night?”

 

“What?”

 

“Do you know who works then?”

 

“Ah … Fred Smith! Fred Smith! He actually works in the evenings. ‘Cause I work during the day. Course, sometimes we give each other time off, you know. You don’t just work all the time, you know?”

 

“Yep. Do you know when he’ll be here then?”

 

“He’s a relief man, so he usually comes in in the evenings.”

 

“Yeah, do you know what time?”

 

“I dunno. It’s … it’s whenever. Whenever I need him or whenever he shows up.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“We’re one big happy family here!”

 

The man continued to grin, the calliope music grinding away in the background.

 

“That’s a nice camera!” the man said, the rictus starting to look odd on his face.

 

“Oh, do you want me to take your picture?” she asked.

 

“You can take my picture! Sure!”

 

She stepped back and took a photograph with her little Kodak.

 

“Thanks!” he said with a grin. “Nobody ever takes my picture!”

 

“Well, there’s a photography booth over there,” Miss Fairfield said.

 

“Nah, that’s Professor Pfeiffer.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“He does all kinds of photography stuff. Crazy old guy.”

 

* * *







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