Dark Carnival Session Six: Police Raid Part 2 - The Caverns
CoC 1-6e Jazz Age
* * *
The Pawtucket police officers secured the Tunnel of Terrors, cutting open the chains that held the ride closed and turning on the lights inside and outside. Officer McTavish, still unconscious, was tucked into the control booth for the time being.
They could hear gunfire and shouts coming from various places throughout the park. One of them went back to the command post as they needed to know exactly where the door was they were supposed to open up to the caves. Bricker, Miss Fairfield, and James returned to the Tunnel of Terrors with them to show them where the trapdoor was. Two other Pawtucket officers escorted them to the ride. Officer Fletcher took Officer McTavish back to the command post for medical treatment. The rest all headed into the Tunnel of Terrors and Bricker and Miss Fairfield were able to show them the spot. All of the police officers got to work with their crowbars, ripping up the trapdoor to reveal a steep slope down, the tracks following it.
“It’s not the prettiest shaft I’ve been in,” Officer Strovinski quipped.
Bricker was done with the caves and headed back to the command post. Officers Jones, Fletcher, and Strovinski entered along Milo James and Pawtucket Officers Gilbert Smith and Peter Johnson. They followed the tracks down, down, down to the caverns. The police officers were surprised at the size of the caves and caverns, having expected narrow, manmade tunnels of some kind.
“Hey, people spend lots of money on their dungeons,” Strovinski said to Smith and Johnson.
“What?” Officer Smith said. “Strovinski, shut the hell up! What is wrong with you?”
“What is right with me?”
“Where do we go?” Officer Johnson asked James.
“Straight ahead,” James said. “I was led by the hand by one of those creatures.”
“What?” Officer Smith asked. “Creatures? What are you talking about?”
“Well … well this leads to the Tunnel of Terrors,” James quickly said. “We might be able to find them and just get rid of them. They did horrible things to these children.”
“Who?” Officer Smith said. “The people?”
“If you could call them that,” James said. “We’ve got to hurry.”
“Where are we going?” Officer Smith said.
“You might want to show us where you found the child,” Officer Strovinski said. “The missing people.”
“I think I know where … I think I know around where they held the children,” James said.
He led them towards the large cavern. They passed a thick, iron door and a set of stone stairs going upward. They passed a cave entrance to the right and then they were in the cavern. They could see a burning brazier near some kind of altar and benches. Four people stood amidst them.
“Who are they?” Officer Strovinski asked.
In addition to the two dead people James remembered leaving there earlier that day were a man in a black suit with a black mustache and goatee and a woman.
“Who are they?” Officer Strovinski asked again.
“You!” Officer Smith said, pointing his sidearm. “You, buddy! Stop right there! Hold it!”
He and Officer Johnson headed that way. The man in black said something and the two walking dead, as James quickly recognized them, started to shamble over towards the police officers.
“Have you seen these before?” Officer Strovinski asked James.
“Yeah, they’re trouble,” James said.
“Gil!” Officer Johnson said. “These guys ain’t breathing!”
Officer Johnson started screaming and Officer Smith yelled “What the hell?” over and over. The man and the woman ran away towards the nearby cave entrance.
“They’re heading towards the ghouls!” James cried out.
“The what?” Officer Strovinski said.
“There’s no time to explain here!” James said. “We don’t have time to─”
Gunfire erupted from the two police officers who were being attacked by the zombies. They were not having much trouble hitting but it didn’t slow down the two dead men.
Officer Strovinski moved towards the pool and the fighting police. Officer Fletcher followed. Both Officers Smith and Johnson fired at the walking dead, blasting away at the men.
“They won’t go down!” one of them screamed. “The bullets aren’t even hurting ‘em!”
Officer Jones followed the others with Milo James not far behind. The two walking dead men beat on the other police officers. As Officers Strovinski and Fletcher moved forward, Smith and Johnson dropped their guns and drew their nightsticks. They beat on the two men without much effect.
“You should move back so I can use the gun,” Officer Strovinski called.
Officer Jones and James moved up, James staying behind the police officers. One of the walking dead beat on one of the officers and the man went down with a groan. Finally having a clear shot, Strovinski shot the man in the head, the bullet blasting the right side of the man’s skull away. The man didn’t fall down or even let out a scream. That’s when Strovinski realized he was obviously not alive.
Officer Fletcher moved closer and shot at the other dead man. He also got a good look at the thing for the first time and realized the man was a walking corpse. He dropped on his back, shaking his fists and kicking his legs in an insane tantrum.
“He should be dead!” he shrieked.
“Die damn you, die!” Officer Smith screamed as he beat on the dead man in front of him.
Officer Jones had seen worse in the War: men missing arms and legs and walking about looking for them. He ran up, James right behind him. He looked down at Officer Fletcher who was having a temper tantrum. The zombie attacked Officer Fletcher but the man saw it coming and rolled aside.
“No!” he yelled.
Smith dodged the other thing’s next blow.
“So … what is there to do?” Strovinski said to James.
“What do you mean?” James said.
He moved back a little more to get a better field of fire and stepped into the pond. The liquid didn’t really seem like water. It was much too thick. He shot one of the walking dead men in the head again, ripping away the rest of the top of the man’s skull. It didn’t seem to slow down the horrible walking corpse man at all.
Officer Fletcher, shotgun in hand, blasted the undead man who’d just tried to hit him. The blast blew the man’s already shattered head right off but he did not fall down! Officer Smith screamed at the other undead thing and slammed him in the head with his nightstick without much effect.
“Push him in the pool!” Officer Fletcher yelled.
Officer Jones moved to the zombie with a head and blasted him full in the chest as Officer Smith ducked away and covered his ears. There was a spew of liquids and solids from the back of the man and he was flung backwards, a fist-sized hole in his chest. The dead man fell onto his back but was still moving. James shot the headless corpse that was still fighting in the right leg. With the snap of bone, the terrible, headless figure went down, crashing to the ground and finally laying still.
The other zombies stumbled to its feet.
Officer Strovinski, in the strange pond, realized the water stank and smelled very strange. He dipped his fingers in the ooze and smelled it. It was nasty and clung to his hand like some kind of jelly.
Officer Fletcher got to his feet and ran to the fallen zombie, trying to pick the man up. He couldn’t get the corpse up, yelling profanities at it, and dragged it towards the pool in the center of the cavern near where Officer Strovinski stood.
Meanwhile, Officer Smith slammed the remaining zombie in the head. With a snap, the thing’s head flopped over on its shoulder but it continued to fight.
“Back up Smith,” Officer Jones said, working the action on his shotgun.
“Oh God!” Officer Smith said, covering his ears.
Officer Jones put the gun against the dead man’s neck and blasted away. The neck was blown apart and the head flopped to the ground with a sound like someone dropping a bowling ball. The body stumbled backwards and crashed to the ground.
Officer Fletcher shoved the first headless dead man into the pond and it slowly sank into the horrible-smelling goo. He realized it wasn’t water. That confused him and angered him as he shouted about how the stuff was supposed to be water. He eventually calmed down.
“Someone pranked them,” Officer Strovinski said. “They put pudding in water.”
“Somebody help!” Officer Smith cried out. “Somebody help Johnson.”
Officer Fletcher went over and woke the man up. He was badly injured and he said he was going back out.
Smith asked James if they were going to the cage and the man led them to the cave with the great cage in it. The three corpses of the men they ambushed the day before still lay there. Obviously no one had been there since they had killed the three.
“Oh, you were busy,” Officer Strovinski said.
“Just ignore him,” Officer Smith said. “He’s foreign.”
They examined the cage but it was empty. There was nothing else in the area besides the bodies of the three men.
“Ve should look for more, no?” Officer Strovinski said. “See what else?”
“We got the kids who were reported missing,” James said.
“I have always been a fan of exploring dungeon.”
“Well, if we’re exploring … if we’re exploring anything, we need to find out where those two went.”
“Let’s go get ‘em!” Officer Smith said.
They went back into the main cavern and passed the horrible pool near the alter and benches. As they reached the cave, the ground shook and there was a rumbling from the other side of the pond. Whatever it was, it was very large.
“I think it is time to evacuate,” Officer Strovinski said.
“You’re right,” Officer Smith said. “We should get out of here.”
Officer Jones started screaming as the terrible thing headed their way. Flowing tentacles and pulpy gray-black, elongated sack of a body came at them. There were no distinguishing features at all other then the reaching, groping tentacles. It roared at them like a terrible subway train.
“You go ahead,” Officer Smith said. “I’ll hold it off as long as I can!”
“You can’t hold it off alone!” James said.
“Go!” Officer Smith said, pointing his pistol at them. “Get out of here! Get out of here! Get out!”
“I don’t think he’s going to hold it off,” Officer Strovinski said. “Milo, which way!?!”
They fled into the cave.
“Smith!” James shouted behind them.
The shooting started out in the cavern. Slow, even shots were fired as if the police officer were taking time to aim at the terrible thing each time he fired.
James remembered there was a ladder that led out through the grave in the cemetery. He remembered getting blasted by the terrible shriveling spell while at the top of the ladder that led to it. As they ran, they heard a scream from Smith somewhere behind them.
James ran to the ladder. It was rickety and didn’t look very sturdy. He stopped at the bottom and motioned for them to go up. Officer Strovinski reached the ladder just behind him.
“Go go go!” James shouted at the officer.
“You need to go too,” Officer Strovinski said.
“Go!” James screamed.
The policeman headed up followed closely by Officer Fletcher. Officer Jones didn’t hesitate but climbed as quickly as he could. The ground was starting to shake under James’ feet as he pulled himself up the ladder. The old ladder creaked loudly.
Officer Strovinski reached the top to find a narrow room some six feet long, six feet high, and three feet wide. A brass crank was on one wall and on the other, opposite of it, were gouges in the wall, obvious handholds like a rough ladder. He turned the crank and the ceiling started to lower but he quickly realized it was pivoting like a trapdoor.
James was halfway up the ladder when he saw the horrible, massive thing come out of the darkness of the cave below.
Officer Strovinski climbed up and out of the grave as Officer Fletcher climbed into the bottom of it. He waited at the top of the hole. Officer Jones, still screaming, reached the top of the ladder and finally stopped shrieking.
Several tentacles grabbed the base of the ladder and James felt it shake under him. The ladder snapped and broke just under where his left foot last was. He screamed a profanity as he doubled his efforts to climb. The terrible thing flung the remains of the ladder away.
Officer Jones grabbed at James, dragging him into the grave. Officer Fletcher helped as best he could.
Officer Strovinski, on the surface, saw that the top of the grave was a slab that covered the entire secret room. There was no gravestone.
Down below, the thing reared up and came towards the hole, tentacles reaching into the grave and feeling around. Officer Strovinski offered down a hand.
“Strovinski says go,” he said. “Strovinski says go.”
Officer Fletcher took his hand and climbed up, quickly getting out of the grave that was filling with tentacles. He turned and fired his shotgun at the thing but the pellets just seemed to bounce off the horrible thing. Still in the grave, Officer Jones heard the crash as the bulk of the thing knocked off the rest of the ladder. Officer Jones shoved James behind him and fired his own shotgun at the terrible thing. The pellets just bounced off.
“Run!” he yelled.
James drew his pistol.
“Ve are the ones in suits!” Officer Strovinski yelled at him. “Don’t be a hero!”
James suddenly remembered Agent Sanderson reading him some police report of someone in the cemetery being chased by a worm and running to the Seekonk, leaping into the river. He remembered the man had fought off police who tried to get him out of the river the next morning.
He spit at the thing and fired his pistol but missed.
Several of the tentacles reached into the grave. Three of them came at Officer Jones, one of them wrapping around his leg, the end inserting itself into his belly. He felt suddenly terribly weak, as if the thing was sucking out his vital fluids.
“Milo, you’re coming out or we’re leaving,” Officer Strovinski said, reaching down. “This is not looking good.”
“I can’t leave him!” James said.
Officer Fletcher dropped his shotgun and drew his pistol, firing at the tentacle and hitting it. The bullet barely grazed it. Meanwhile, Officer Jones worked the action on his shotgun and put the barrel up to the tentacle and fired. The pellets just bounced off the terrible thing, some of them hitting him. James fired at the same tentacle, hitting the thing, the bullet just bouncing off.
More tentacles entered the grave, only one of them slashing towards Officer Jones but missing the man. He went pale as the thing continued to draw out his vital fluids. Part of the floor of the grave was crumbling away under the weight of the thing and the tentacles still reaching into the room.
“Do you know a way to actually fight these things?” Officer Strovinski said. “Because we are not doing that right now. This is not working!”
“You could at least try!” James said.
“If you could get away, we’d at least have a better chance of─”
“I’m not leaving him!”
Officer Fletcher fired at the tentacle again but the bullet just bounced off. Officer Jones dropped his shotgun and drew his sidearm. He fired at the tentacle. This time the bullet entered the tentacle and it let loose of the man. James grabbed the man and tried to drag him up the handholds on the side of the grave but was not able to get out of the grave.
Six tentacles reached into the grave, reaching for the two. Two of them grabbed Officer Jones around the midsection and entered the man again. Two grabbed James and inserted themselves. Jones passed out and the tentacles dragged the body away into the ever-widening hole in the horrific grave.
Officer Strovinski shot one of the tentacles in James and it actually seemed to hurt it, black ichor spewing out. The thing didn’t let go of the man, however. Officer Fletcher also shot one of the tentacles, actually hurting it as well. The one he hit let loose of James. He fired at the other one but this bullet just bounced off. Officer Strovinski fired again and the tentacle released James. More were coming up out of the hole and Officer Fletcher fired into the grave as well, hitting one of them.
The tentacles pulled back into the hole but the edges of the hole crumbled away and the bottom of the grave collapsed beneath his feet. He grabbed at the handholds on the side as Officer Strovinski reached in and dragged James out of the terrible hole. The sides of the grave were also starting to crumble away. As Officer Strovinski pulled James out of the hole, Officer Fletcher grabbed the man as well, but James was too big for him to help. James jumped up.
“Go go go go go!” he screamed.
He fled, the remaining two officers following behind. Behind them, the grave collapsed into the ground like a forming sinkhole. James and Officer Strovinski slammed into several gravestones and banged into trees. Officer Fletcher clicked on his flashlight and they could see. Suddenly, a state police trooper loomed out of the darkness, gun in hand.
“Hold it!” he said. “Wha-wha-what’s going on?”
He obviously recognized the uniforms.
“Leave!” Officer Strovinski said. “Get out!”
“Go!” James shrieked.
“Just get out!”
They ran by the man, who followed them in their flight. They soon reached the Seekonk River. The ground had stopped shaking and the state police officer questioned them as to what had happened. They didn’t have an adequate answer.
* * *
It took several hours to collect, arrest, and process everyone in the carnival.
The three surviving Pawtucket police officers who had entered the cave were debriefed but none of them told what happened to Officer Jones. James said he’d tried to save the man but everything had collapsed.
Sheriff John J. Josephson was referred to Butler Hospital. He had had dynamite brought in and Wilberforce Wyatt’s house blown up against orders. There must have been an extensive library in the place as bits and pieces of books and papers flew everywhere. He was stopped by his deputies after that and taken away amidst claims by the sheriff that Wyatt had made “pain appear in the air.” After the explosion, the ground collapsed under the house and much of what remained sank into the earth.
Providence Police Superintendent O’Neill questioned Miss Fairfield, Bricker, Joell Johnson, and James about what they recommended be done about the tunnels. There were reports of strange occurrences and terrible beasts of some kind in the caves below by the few officers who explored them. Miss Fairfield was of the opinion they should avoid them. Joell advised closing up the entrances. In the end, Superintendent O’Neill decided to dynamite the entrances they found in the Tunnel of Terrors and the sewer pipe. That was taken care of before the sun rose that morning.
Wilberforce Wyatt had escaped along with Abigail Forman. They were not able to find the head barker, Michael Ransom either. Nuncio Pirelli, the strong man or The Mighty Hercules, had also escaped, apparently tossing police officers around like rag dolls before disappearing into the darkness.
Filmore Wagabaugh, the carnival clown and keeper of the Grand Menagerie, tried to get to the animals but was caught and gunned down by police when he threw a cobra at one of them. The animal was also destroyed. The Great Navarro, Reuben Ramirez, had been gunned down by police after injuring several with thrown knives.
Most of the rest arrested were eventually referred to the State Mental Hospital, Butler Hospital, or Dexter Asylum as they were all quite mad. They spoke of Shudde M’ell or the Great Earth Mother or the Burrower Beneath. Among those committed were Emmanuelle Vasconcellos; Anthony Bowen who ran the North Star Restaurant on the pier; Royce Brunner, whom the others called “Sourpuss” as he always smiled; the main waitress at the North Star Restaurant; Porticia “Moon Buns” Montebello of the Hoochie Coochie girls; Angus McWhirter, who railed against several of the others; Carl Denim; Eugene “Hedge” Ptompkin, the man with the sledgehammer; Velma “Amazon” Pryzlewski of the Hoochie Coochie girls; Wong Fu Ji, the Amazing India Rubber Man; Farouk Shabazz; Fred Smith, who claimed he was responsible for everything; Paul “Red” Fritz; “Fatima” Flores, who was found to be a cannibal when numerous human bones were unearthed under her house; her lover, Co-Co the Dog Boy; Christopher “Shakey” Lodge, who was later found to be the son of a rich Boston family; Joshua Peterson, who had the clipboard they’d tried to take; and Kilmer “Whitey” Letterman, the Astounding Mushroom Man; among others.
When they got the main ticket taker, Benjamin Parmeter, drunk during interrogation, he told police everything going on at the carnival, giving plenty of names to aid in arrests. He was found to be quite mad as well, though, and soon committed.
Frank “Punkie” Gardner, who washed dishes at the North Star Restaurant, escaped.
Old Billy Jumpner survived but was paralyzed for the rest of his life. He was also quite insane. He wanted to stab the police that caught him and someone he called “that rich fella that gave me five dollars.”
It turned out all of the summer help were innocent and soon released, including the man who ran the pony rides, Professor Pfeiffer, and Madam Zarah, among numerous others.
Providence Police Officer Angelo “Zippy” Giovanni was commended for the death of Esteban Garcia after it was found out Garcia had ridden with a band of well-known Mexican raiders in 1916. He was well-known for the rape and murder of five nuns in Ocho Rios, Mexico. The Mexican government still had a $1,200 reward for the man under the name Badwater Mike.
The entire raid was a coup for Providence Police Superintendent William F. O’Neill, who had taken down a large and seemingly murderous cult.
The carnival was left to rot with signs to keep the public away. It was thought the land would eventually be turned back over to Pawtucket.