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Dark Carnival Session Six: Police Raid Part 1 - The Attack

Posted by Max_Writer , in Call of Cthulhu, Campaign Log 02 March 2017 · 553 views

CoC 1-6e Jazz Age

Sunday, February 26, 2017

 

(After playing the Call of Cthulhu scenario “Dark Carnival” by David A. Hargrave from Curse of the Chthonians today from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with Collin Townsend, Ashton LeBlanc, Ben Abbott, and Ambralyn Tucker.)

 

On Wednesday, May 23, 1928, the police held impromptu questioning of those involved in the rescue of Freddie Pendergast and Lucy Pringle. They needed information on everything about the North Star Amusement Arcade and Pleasure Pier. Nigel Bricker was vague about the caves and finding the two people. Miss Evelyn Fairfield told police the layout of the carnival but didn’t mention the caves either. She claimed the two prisoners had been found in the boiler room underneath the Grand Menagerie. Joell Johnson told police some of the carnies carried weapons. When asked what kind of weapons, he talked about axes and large pistols and nightsticks. He also told them about the long arms in the security shack. He noted they didn’t see it for very long so he couldn’t tell them much about it, but there was a way in the Tunnel of Terrors in which they abducted people. He was vague on where it was located, however, except that it was towards the back. Milo James told them about getting into the caves through sewer entrance.

 

None of them mentioned the ghouls or the walking dead in the caves beneath the carnival.

 

After talking to James, police returned to the first three and asked them specifically about the caves, the entrance in the Tunnel of Terrors, and the sewer entrance. Bricker confirmed the sewer entrance and was able to tell them a general idea of the location of the trapdoor. Miss Fairfield said the people she was with said something about sewers but she hadn’t been in the caves. She also verified the location of the trapdoor. Johnson told them that though he didn’t know of any entrances beside those two, he knew there was a way to get into the cemetery from the cave. He told them about the grave entrance to the caves, though he wasn’t able to help them much with its location. However, he noted they saw people down there who he thought got down there through some other way, guessing there was another way in besides the two he knew about in the carnival somewhere. He surmised it wasn’t somewhere in the attractions as they’d been there, unless it was a way they abducted people. There was talk of sending Pawtucket Police officers into the Tunnel of Terrors with crowbars to pry the trapdoor open to gain access to the caves beneath.

 

Bricker noted the dump was also possibly connected to the strange happenings and there might have been an entrance or exit underground from there as well.

 

They four were all willing to go with the police though none of them wanted to actually be in the action. The others didn’t want to participate. Joseph Johnson was simply done with the whole strange affair and Dr. Huxtable took him home, saying he was going home as well and wishing them all luck. Father Oein seemed lost in his own thoughts and simply left without a word. Miss Edington and Virgil Thomas chose not to participate in the raid. Agent Sanderson had been admitted to the hospital for his wound.

 

It was about 8 p.m. by the time they were finished being questioned. Police Superintendent O’Neill told them all to go home, advising they get some sleep. He said they should meet back at the police precinct house nearest to Swan Point Cemetery at midnight. He noted the raiders would set out for the park at 1 a.m. and the raid itself would happen at 2 a.m. exactly.

 

* * *

 

Joell Johnson took the trolley back to his flophouse apartment on Hudson Street and just lay in his Murphy bed for hours, trying vainly to sleep. It would not come though. The insomnia that had plagued him since his first visit to the terrible caves underneath the dark carnival continued.

 

* * *

 

Nigel Bricker went to his tiny apartment on the back of Potter’s Garage and slept several hours.

 

* * *

 

Milo James also went back to his little apartment and slept for several hours.

 

* * *

 

Miss Fairfield returned to Swan Point Cemetery, going to the black basalt mausoleum and knocking on the door. There was a click and the door opened. The horrific Gabriel was there and grinned at her with terribly sharp teeth.

 

“I knew you’d come back!” he said. “Come on. Come along. Come on.”

 

He gestured for her to enter the crypt. She didn’t move.

 

“I’m here to warn you that police officers are going to go take care of the carnies … so …” she said.

 

“Oh!” the ghoul said. “When?”

 

“Tonight.”

 

“When?”

 

“In a couple hours.”

 

“All right. Thank you. Are you wanting to learn from us?”

 

“You said you’d teach us how to call you or something.”

 

“Yes, I could do that. I can teach you how to call us. What’s your name?”

 

“I already told you my name.”

 

“Did you? You all look the same. Which one was it?”

 

“Evelyn Fairfield.”

 

“Oh, that’s right. All right, give me your hand, Miss Fairfield.”

 

She held out her hand and he scratched her with one claw. Then he got her address at a boarding house.

 

“Ah,” he said. “That makes things more complicated.”

 

He thought a moment.

 

“Where can we meet?” he asked. “Where’s someplace we could meet?”

 

“I don’t know,” she said.

 

“Is there a basement in the boarding house?”

 

“Sure.”

 

“Hmmm. All right. Tomorrow night, in the basement of your boarding house, be ready and bring something … bring a box that you could cover something up with.”

 

“Oh. Okay.”

 

“Midnight. Tomorrow night.”

 

“All right.”

 

“And thank you. Thank you. I’ve so much to teach you.”

 

The door closed and there was a click as it locked tight once again.

 

She went home and took a nap.

 

* * *

 

They all returned to the precinct house nearest Swan Point Cemetery that evening at midnight. The police were still getting organized and making plans. Twenty deputies from the Providence County Sheriff’s Department were there with four paddy wagons and four automobiles. Some of them were armed with shotguns. Sheriff John Josephson was also there, personally planning on leading the raid on Wilberforce Wyatt’s house. Providence Police had 30 officers, two paddy wagons, six automobiles, and four motorcycles. In addition to their side arms, a few had Thompson sub-machineguns and others had shotguns. Providence Police Superintendent William O’Neill was not going to take part in the raid but coordinate from where the automobiles would be parked in the parking lot. Pawtucket Police had 20 officers, two paddy wagons, and two automobiles. Some of those men were armed with shotguns. Rhode Island State Police had 20 officers and eight automobiles for the raid.

 

The plan was for all of the police vehicles and men to drive to a staging point not far from the dump on Alfred Stone Road where it met Hope Street and Blackstone Boulevard at 1 a.m. At 1:30 a.m., most of the police would head up the road on foot, leaving only enough drivers for the vehicles. Pawtucket Police were to position themselves south, in Swan Point Cemetery, spread out enough so they could sweep north through the carnival itself with orders to capture or kill anyone on watch and secure the Tunnel of Terrors, the security shack, the Grand Menagerie, and the shooting gallery. State Police were to be positioned in a picket around the park to keep anyone from escaping. Five of them would be stationed at the trolley station and, as prisoners were brought to them, they would use the trolleys to take them to jail. The Providence County Sheriff’s department would be raiding Wyatt’s house with Sheriff Josephson and a small, hand-picked group entering the place. The rest of the sheriff’s deputies would raid the main bunkhouse and some of the houses where the carnies lived. Providence Police were in charge of most of the carnies’ houses and arresting everyone they found. There were also six motor launches under control of Providence Police on the Seekonk with three officers each armed with handguns, shotguns, and a couple of Thompson sub-machineguns. Their job was to keep anyone from escaping across the river.

 

At exactly 2 a.m. Pawtucket Police would enter the carnival from the south. At the same time, Providence Police and Sheriff’s deputies would enter the houses, bunkhouse, and Wyatt’s house, arresting everyone they found. At that same time, all of the paddy wagons, automobiles, and motorcycles would be brought up Alfred Stone Road to the carnival parking lot where they would set up a command post with Superintendent O’Neill coordinating the entire operation.

 

Police would arrest, cuff, and either leave prisoners where they were or take them with them, depending on how dangerous they judged them to be. They also had the option to cuff them to something heavy. Everyone was to be arrested, however. The prisoners would be sorted out later.

 

* * *

 

The police moved out at 1 a.m. and were in position, as planned, before 2 a.m.

 

The group of Pawtucket Police assigned to secure the Tunnel of Terrors had four men. Each of them had a crowbar in addition to their .38 revolvers, nightsticks, flashlight, and three sets of handcuffs. There were four other groups of four, all of them sweeping north through the carnival on their way to various buildings or points of interest.

 

Clayton Jones was 43 years old and a veteran of the Great War. He was a solid man standing over six feet tall and had a proper, thick mustache. He looked grizzled and had a scar on his neck from shrapnel from the War. He carried one of the Winchester Model 97 riot shotguns that several of the officers in the department carried.

 

Howard Fletcher was a tall, skinny man with dark hair and hazel eyes. He was 26 years old and also armed with a riot shotgun. He had dropped out of law school when it had bored him and became a cop instead.

 

Stephan Strovinski was a handsome young rookie of 20. He was very good looking and tall. He had joined the police because he liked the uniforms they wore. He had a strange accent though no one was sure where he came from.

 

Calhoun McTavish was also a veteran of the Great War. He was of average height but very strong for his size and was of Scottish descent. He had red hair and was 31 years old. He had been given a set of bolt cutters as they knew some of the rides were locked and chained shut.

 

They crept forward, not using their flashlights, and passed between the Grand Menagerie and the roller coaster. Little pools of light were scattered throughout the place but they avoided them. They had just reached the balloon stand near the Swan Pond when saw a figure walking in their general direction. He carried a stick. They didn’t think he’d noticed them and was just passing the Caramel Apple Booth.

 

“Get down on the ground!” Officer Fletcher yelled at the man.

 

The man stopped and looked their way.

 

“Y’all folks ain’t … ain’t supposed to be in the park at night,” he called. “Ol’ Billy don’ like no intruders in my park at night!”

 

He started to stride towards them.

 

“Please put your hands in the air!” Officer McTavish called. “We don’t want to harm you!”

 

Old Billy kept coming.

 

“You get outta here!” he called. “I tell you what! Get out!”

 

He strode towards the group and Officer Fletcher broke to the right to flank him.

 

“I want to give you big hug!” Officer Strovinski said, moving towards the man.

 

“I said ‘stop!’” Officer McTavish said, turning on his flashlight. “This is a raid!”

 

Officer Strovinski grabbed the old negro man.

 

“You get off me!” Old Billy screamed. “You get offa Ol’ Billy!”

 

Officer Fletcher took out his handcuffs and moved to the man.

 

“Do not try to fight, Billy,” Officer Strovinski said.

 

“Hey Rube!” Old Billy called.

 

Officer Jones rushed forward and covered his mouth. Old Billy tried to bite the man.

 

“You shouldn’t a did that, Billy,” Officer Jones said.

 

Old Billy broke free of Officer Strovinski’s grip and took a step back. The stick he was holding had a spike on the end, probably for picking up trash.

 

“Hey Rube!” Old Billy cried out. “Hey Rube!”

 

Officer McTavish holstered his pistol and flashlight. Officer Strovinski grabbed the man’s arm with the stick. Old Billy continued to struggle against him as Fletcher moved behind the negro and tried to handcuff the hand Officer Strovinski held. Officer Jones dropped his shotgun and grappled Old Billy as well, slipping up behind him and putting him into a headlock. The old man struggled against the two men without any luck. The negro continued screaming “Hey Rube” and cursing at them.

 

Officer Fletcher heard someone running towards them from the east. He turned and shined his light at the approaching figure. The man wore worker’s clothing and carried a sledgehammer.

 

“Oi!” Officer McTavish yelled.

 

He stepped to one side so that he had a clear shot and fired at the man, missing.

 

Officer Strovinski ripped the pointed stick from Old Billy and flung it into the darkness.

 

“No toys right now,” he said to the man with a smile.

 

The roustabout rushed Officer Fletcher, swinging the sledgehammer and crying out “Hey Rube!” The sledgehammer struck the man in the side, breaking several of his ribs and knocking him to the side. He crashed to the ground and the flashlight landed on the grass but didn’t go out.

 

Officer Jones flinched as blood from Officer Fletcher hit him. For a moment, he heard the screams of his fellow soldiers in the trenches somewhere in France in 1918. With a flex of his arms, he pulled back on both the man’s arms and pushed his head forward. There was a nasty cracking noise and the old negro went limp. He was unsure if he killed the man but he guessed he’d hurt him terrible. He dropped the man, who fell to the ground and didn’t move.

 

Officer McTavish fired twice more at the man with the sledgehammer. The first bullet missed but the second bullet struck the man in the right foot. The man fell forward with a scream. Officer Strovinski looked over the two fallen carnies. He knelt by Old Billy and found the man was still alive. He quickly cuffed his hands behind his back. His arms felt loose.

 

Officer Jones heard someone coming from the north and knelt to pick up his shotgun, turning towards the sound.

 

“There’s somebody coming this way!” he said.

 

“More friends!” Officer Strovinski said.

 

Officer McTavish turned, aiming his pistol in that direction, but didn’t see anyone over there.

 

“Who’s there!?!” he called.

 

“It’s me!” an Irish voice called from the darkness.

 

There was a muzzle flash and a bullet whizzed by the police officers. Officer Strovinski drew his flashlight and pistol, turning the flashlight on and pointing it in the direction of their attacker. He illuminated a dour-faced, middle-aged man working the action on a Winchester rifle and backing slowly away.

 

Officer Jones took a few steps forward and fired his shotgun at the man. The blast hit the man in the right foot and he let out a shriek.

 

“Could we at least shoot someone in the bloody head!” Officer McTavish yelled.

 

He ran towards the shooter, reaching Officer Jones. He drew and lit his flashlight, aiming at the man, as he ran.

 

“Ye’ll never take me alive, coppers!” the man cried out. “You sons of bitches!”

 

He put the rifle to his shoulder and shot Officer McTavish in the right leg. The bullet passed right through his right leg, breaking the bone, and coming out of the back. Officer Strovinski saw meat, blood, and bone spew from the leg. Officer McTavish spun halfway around and crashed to the ground. Officer Jones looked over his shoulder: there was so much blood.

 

The carnie worked the action on his rifle, the used cartridge shell flying out and into the darkness.

 

Officer Strovinski ran to Officer McTavish and tried to help the man. Officer Jones moved forward, dropping his shotgun and drawing his pistol. He shot the man in the left leg and the man collapsed with a shriek. Then he ran back to the others, bypassing the terribly bleeding McTavish to run to get to Officer Fletcher to try to wake him up without luck.

 

Officer Strovinski tried to work on Officer McTavish but the man started to spasm and flinch. Officer Jones ran to the man as Strovinski finally got the bleeding under control. He was able to stabilize the man though they couldn’t waken him.

 

They woke Officer Fletcher and could hear gunfire from elsewhere in the park, including automatic gunfire, probably from the Thompson sub-machineguns the Providence Police had brought. The roustabout with the sledgehammer was unconscious but alive. They cuffed him and left him. The man with the Winchester was dead.

 

Officer Jones remembered that “Hey Rube” was a traditional carnival or circus rallying cry for help.

 

They headed for the Tunnel of Terrors, carrying Officer McTavish between them.

 

* * *

 

Providence Police had also been split up, mostly into groups of four, to raid the various carnival workers’ houses on the north side of the amusement park. The group assigned to the house next to the wax museum and just north of the Root Beer Hall were all armed with pistols and nightsticks.

 

Butch Mahoney was the largest man on the force. Standing seven feet tall, all of it muscle, he had worked on the railroad until he’d been befriended by an officer who recruited him to the force. He was Irish and he knew McTavish when they’d been kids. His uniform was a bit tight on him and he had dark brown hair. He preferred the nightstick or fists to his pistol. He was about 30 years old.

 

Paul Baker was also tall, standing six foot, four inches in height, but was rail-thin. A veteran of the Great War, he was a redhead with bright green eyes. He wished he had his trusty rifle because he preferred it to any other weapon, but he hadn’t been assigned one. He was intent on keeping his eyes open for one though. He was 33.

 

Angelo Giovanni was Italian and called “Zippy” by his close friends. He was involved in some criminal dealings when he was a teenager until a couple of men on the force had brought him on board and he’d become a police officer. He was young, being 23 years old, and they called him Zippy because he liked the bigger guns. In addition to his sidearm, he carried a Thompson sub-machinegun with a drum. Another drum of ammunition was strapped to his belt. He was about 6’2” tall.

 

Abraham Randolph was a rookie, only 19 year s old. He stood six feet tall and was a crack shot. He was very new to the force and determined to prove himself to the older men.

 

They approached the house. There was a single door on the north side and windows with closed curtains. It was dark within the building. It was only one story tall and a metal stovepipe stuck out of the roof in one corner.

 

“Do we want to do the ol’ Zippy-patented breach and spray?” Officer Giovanni asked.

 

They checked the door and found it locked.

 

At exactly 2 a.m., Officer Mahoney slammed his shoulder into the door, smashing it open, the lock snapping. He stepped into the room. Officer Baker stepped into the doorway and immediately shined a flashlight into the room. The good-sized room ran the width of the building, with a few chairs and a ratty-looking sofa, as well as a pot-bellied stove in the corner and some small cupboards nearby. Three doors stood in the far wall, all closed. Officer Randolph also lit his flashlight and shined it into the room. Officer Giovanni entered the room, looking around.

 

“Who is that?” a voice called out from one of the rooms.

 

There was a banging as if someone was striking an interior wall. They were unsure which room it came from.

 

Officer Randolph moved to the door furthest to the left. Officer Giovanni moved to the wall between that door and the center one. Officer Mahoney went between the two, shoving a plush chair out of the way. Officer Baker waited in the doorway.

 

There was a loud gunshot and splintered wood broke from the door on the left. The bullet struck Officer Randolph, standing right in front of the door, in the chest. The man fell backwards with a cry, crashing to the floor. Officer Giovanni walked around Officer Mahoney to stand in front of the door. He leveled his Thompson sub-machinegun and fired through the closed door at waist level, blindly firing. Someone fell to the ground in the room.

 

Officer Mahoney rushed the bullet-ridden door, crashing through it. The small room beyond had a narrow bed. A man lay on the ground, clutching a rifle. He wore denim. A hat lay nearby. There was a lot of blood and a number of bullet holes in the wall behind him. He lay in an ever-widening pool of blood. The curtains were shredded and the window was broken.

 

“You don’t shoot Zippy’s friends!” Officer Giovanni said.

 

Mahoney picked up the rifle. It was smoking. The man was definitely dead.

 

In the main room, Officer Baker performed first aid on Officer Randolph. The man came to and was in a great deal of pain.

 

“Thank you, sir,” he muttered.

 

“We zippin’ got that guy!” Officer Giovanni said, pointing at the room.

 

They could hear shouts and occasional gunfire nearby.

 

The door to the middle room slowly opened with a creak. Officer Randolph desperately aimed his pistol at it. His flashlight had broken when he’d fallen. He scooted back to the wall, still sitting, and watched the door warily.

 

Officer Giovanni crept to the wall where he’d been before. He didn’t see anything in the near corner of the room. The rest of the room was dark.

 

Officer Mahoney came out of the other bedroom, rifle in hand, and gave the weapon to Officer Baker, whom he knew was pretty expert with them.

 

“Here ya go, boss,” he said.

 

Officer Baker holstered his pistol and checked the rifle. He shined his flashlight on the door as well. That illuminated the room a little but it was still terribly dark in there. They could hear movement coming from the last room as well.

 

Officer Giovanni stepped into the middle bedroom and looked in. It was very dark and a figure was on the bed, completely covered by the blankets. A window in the room was closed and the curtains were drawn. He motioned for the others to follow him and crept into the room, moving into the room behind the door.

 

Officer Mahoney went to the doorway even as Baker moved back to the doorway to the house.

 

In the bedroom, a figure in the corner behind the door uncurled from the tiny ball he had made himself into. He leapt up, sword in each hand, and swung at Officer Giovanni, taking the man completely by surprise. The man stabbed the police officer in the left shoulder and started screaming in Chinese.

 

The other bedroom door opened and a negro stood there. He had a mustache and goatee and was unarmed.

 

“Don’ shoot!” he called in a thick accent. “Don’ shoot!”

 

Officer Randolph aimed his pistol at the man.

 

“Who are you?” he said.

 

“I jus’ work here!” the man said. “I jus’ work here! I jus’ work here!”

 

In the bedroom, Officer Mahoney swung his nightstick at the little, Oriental-looking man.

 

“I be with you in a moment!” the horrible little man said.

 

He swung the other sword at Officer Giovanni, who ducked back out of the way. Then the man stabbed him in the leg.

 

Out in the other room, Baker started to walk towards the negro.

 

“Get on the ground,” he said.

 

The man suddenly rushed at the police officer and both he and Officer Randolph opened fire. A bullet grazed the man in the head, blood spurting, and then he was on the officer. The negro kicked at Officer Baker with a cry, but the policeman leaned back and the man’s foot didn’t connect. Officer Randolph fired again, shooting the man in the gut. The man stumbled backwards and fell onto his back on the floor.

 

In the bedroom, Officer Giovanni raised his Thompson sub-machinegun to his shoulder.

 

“You son of a whore!” he shouted.

 

He pulled the trigger and there was a click as the gun jammed. Officer Mahoney clubbed the little Chinaman with his nightstick, striking him in the shoulder.

 

“That was it?” the little man said, seemingly surprised that such a large man hurt him so little.

 

Then he turned and stabbed Officer Giovanni again. The man swooned and fell to the ground.

 

Outside the room, Officer Baker saw someone fall but thought it was one of the carnies. He turned back to the negro and examined him. The man was unconscious and his breathing was irregular. The gut shot was going to prove fatal and Officer Baker knew there was nothing he could about it. He turned and helped up Officer Randolph. Officer Randolph noticed a fight was still going on in the room. He rushed over.

 

In the room, the little Chinaman swung his sword at Officer Mahoney, who dodged away.

 

“What are you doing?” Officer Baker called.

 

Officer Mahoney clubbed the little Chinaman again, striking him in the left foot. There was a terrible crunch as several bones in the man’s foot broke.

 

“Quit dodging!” Officer Mahoney yelled.

 

The Chinaman let out a shriek and tumbled forward, crashing into Officer Mahoney and then to the ground, the swords falling out of his hand.

 

“They already had it under control,” Officer Baker called.

 

He shined his light into the room.

 

Officer Baker saw to Officer Giovanni’s wounds and brought the man around. Officer Mahoney, in the meantime, was looking at the little Chinaman, who was alive but unconscious. He’d been to the carnival before and recognized him as the “Amazing India Rubber Man” so wasn’t sure if handcuffs would hold him. He decided his best bet would probably be to handcuff his hands to his ankles, hopefully incapacitating him. He further cuffed his right hand to his left ankle and his left hand to his right ankle using two pairs of cuffs.

 

“What kind of fetish you got, Butch?” Officer Baker asked.

 

Officer Mahoney lightly punched the other officer in the shoulder. Officer Randolph just looked back and forth between the cuffed Chinaman and Officer Mahoney.

 

The other two carnies were dead but there were screams coming from somewhere nearby. Someone was yelling for dynamite.

 

The house was otherwise empty. The Chinaman’s bed had blankets under the covers and the last room had a cot and a chair. The negro had finished dying and breathed his last. They found another rifle in the first room, as well as a big bowie knife. Officer Mahoney helped Officer Giovanni get his gun unjammed.

 

“Zippy’s back,” Officer Giovanni said once the Thompson sub-machinegun was functional again.

 

“All right boys, let’s go to the next house,” Officer Baker said.

 

Officer Mahoney picked up the Chinaman and lugged him along on his shoulder.

 

* * *

 

Providence County Sheriff John J. Josephson was a bluff and hearty 55-year-old who always had a smile and a handshake for all. His twinkling blue eyes, white hair, and rotund physique conveniently hid the fact that he was a hard-bitten law officer with nearly 40 years experience, including a couple of years as a town deputy in a rough-and-tumble Alaskan gold mining camp in the late 1890s. He always packed a Colt .45 revolver under his suit coat and a two-shot .32 derringer in a hidden ankle holster. He also carried a lead-filled leather blackjack in his rear pants pocket. He held no truck with the supernatural and knew men committed the most heinous and incredible of crimes. He thought the problems near the carnival were caused by out-of-towners, probably gypsies or other such trash.

 

“All right, you boys, be quiet,” he said as he and his hand-picked team of four deputies approached the Wyatt house in the darkness.

 

It was almost 2 a.m. and time for the raid to begin.

 

With him were Deputy Thomas Abernathy who was tall and skinny. Deputy Abernathy usually only worked the desk at Josephson’s office but Josephson thought he should come along for the raid when he practically begged for a chance to prove himself. He was 25 years old.

 

Also there was Deputy Kenneth James Gyles III, a large and strong man who was called “Third” by the other deputies. He towered over them at 6’6” tall. He was 23 years old and preferred the nightstick to the pistol.

 

Deputy Langston Majors was 37 years old. He had gone to college before he went to fight in the Great War. After that, he had decided to put some good back into the world so he’d dropped his higher education work and joined the force to help people. He was 6’5” tall and solid.

 

Finally, there was Deputy Billy Jameson. He was 22 years old and pretty average though he had a huge ego. Standing a little over six feet tall, he was fairly slim and carried a shotgun.

 

They were standing outside the lovely brick, two-story house, all in white with yellow trim. Sheriff Josephson had already told the four they would bust down doors, clear rooms, and move on. He suspected any perpetrators would be upstairs.

 

“Don’t worry about saving any powder,” he’d told them.

 

Deputy Gyles was the strongest of them and Sheriff Josephson had already ordered that he would be breaking down doors. Both Deputy Gyles and Deputy Abernathy lit flashlights and then Gyles moved to the front door, smashing it open with a kick. Sheriff Josephson motioned for them to move in and Deputy Gyles headed into what appeared to be a living room. An archway to the left led to a parlor while a library stood to the right. A double-hinged door was directly ahead, next to a set of stairs heading towards the back of the house.

 

They spread out, Deputy Majors moving into the parlor, where another double-hinged door hung.

 

“Light,” Joseph said.

 

The other two deputies lit their flashlights as Deputy Gyles headed into the kitchen. Sheriff Josephson pointed at the door and the stairwell. Deputy Abernathy headed to the door while Deputy Jameson climbed the stairs. Sheriff Josephson looked around the large library in the ground floor.

 

Deputy Gyles didn’t see anything in the kitchen but he did find the back door and a door in the wall under the steps. He guessed it led to the basement. Deputy Abernathy found a study through the other door on the ground floor. There was a desk, small bookcase, and a small closet. Everything was in a very orderly fashion.

 

Deputy Gyles went to the kitchen door to the front of the house and looked out.

 

“Abernathy, anything in there?” Sheriff Josephson asked.

 

“No sir,” Deputy Abernathy said.

 

“Majors,” Sheriff Josephson said. “What have you got?”

 

“Nothing in the parlor,” Deputy Majors said.

 

Upstairs, Jameson had reached the landing. A hallway ran from there to the front of the house and went off to the left and right as well. He thought he heard footsteps and a woman came around the corner. She was blonde and pretty though looked to be in her 40s.

 

“Oh my goodness,” she said. “What’s going on?”

 

“Best be getting out of here, ma’am,” Deputy Jameson said.

 

“Please don’t hurt me!”

 

She started mumbling and muttering incoherently.

 

“You son of a bitch!” she suddenly said, pointing at him.

 

Pain flowed through Deputy Jameson and, as he tried to raise his shotgun to point at the woman, he saw his skin shriveling. Everything went black.

 

* * *

 

Downstairs, Sheriff Josephson looked up.

 

“Trouble upstairs!” he said.

 

He ran up the steps, gun drawn, the deputies right behind him.

 

“My god!” he said when he reached the top.

 

Deputy Jameson lay in the hallway, his skin shriveled.

 

“Who here knows medicine?” Sheriff Josephson said.

 

All three deputies claimed they did and moved forward. Deputy Abernathy tried to tend to the man without luck.

 

“Now let me do it,” Deputy Gyles said, pushing the man out of the way.

 

He did his best but left Deputy Jameson still semiconscious. Just then, a man stepped around the corner. He had a black mustache and goatee and wore a black suit.

 

“You gentlemen are trespassing,” he said. “Do you have a warrant?”

 

Sheriff Josephson pointed his pistol at the man. The man raised his hands.

 

“Why, of course,” he said. “Of course. If you don’t mind.”

 

He started to mumble under his breath.

 

“What did you do to our man?” Deputy Gyles asked.

 

The man in black stopped muttering.

 

“This,” he said.

 

He pointed at Sheriff Josephson. Nothing happened. Deputy Abernathy shot the man in the chest and they saw his suit tear where the bullet struck. But the man appeared completely uninjured. He sighed.

 

“Please,” he said.

 

He started chanting again, this time drawing in the air with his finger. It left symbols that floated there. They all opened fire. Deputy Abernathy shot the man in the right leg, tearing the man’s pants. Deputy Gyles shot the man in the stomach, again tearing the man’s suit but not apparently doing anything more than throwing snowballs might. Sheriff Josephson fired and missed the man.

 

The man stopped chanting and the symbols seemed to pulse. A wave of pain washed over everyone. It felt like it was coming from within each of them. Even the dark man winced. Sheriff Josephson cried out in pain.

 

“What the hell!?!” he shrieked.

 

Deputy Jameson started to spasm and twitch. Deputy Gyles tried to tend to the man once again. Sheriff Josephson shot the dark man again, this time in the shoulder. The bullet tore through his clothing but there was no blood, no bruise, no injury.

 

“Retrain him!” Deputy Majors shrieked. “Get him on the ground!”

 

The horrible man merely laughed.

 

“What the hell!?!” Sheriff Josephson screamed.

 

Deputy Abernathy shot the man again, this time hitting him in the head. The bullet struck the man between the eyes and his head jerked back but then he brought it up again with a grin. Then the strange floating lettering pulsed again and they were all wracked with pain again, as if their very organs were rupturing inside them. The man in black winced.

 

“It’s only going to get worse, you know,” the man in black said with a grin as he stared at the floating letters.

 

Sheriff Josephson started screaming, turned, and fled in terror. Deputy Jameson jerked in pain again and Deputy Abernathy rushed the man in black, dropping his pistol and drawing his nightstick. The man seemed to be ready to duck out of the way, but then stopped. Deputy Abernathy brought the nightstick down on the man’s shoulder and neck but it just bounced off.

 

“Grab him!” he shouted.

 

“That’s what I said!” Deputy Majors shouted.

 

He rushed the man and grabbed him.

 

“Abigail!” the man in black called out.

 

He looked down at Deputy Majors and laughed.

 

“Dear boy, I don’t have to do anything now, just let it run its course,” the man said.

 

He didn’t even resist Deputy Majors.

 

Deputy Gyles was still struggling to keep Deputy Jameson alive but he felt like was losing ground. He didn’t even know what was causing the man to get worse and worse and worse. Then the terrible letters pulsed again and everyone was filled with pain once more.

 

They heard Sheriff Josephson run out of the house with a shriek of pain.

 

“Burn it!” they heard him scream. “Somebody get me some fire!”

 

“You’d be better off just running away,” the man in black said calmly.

 

Deputy Abernathy looked down at Deputy Jameson, who lay right behind him. He reached down and grabbed the shotgun from the unconscious deputy, spinning back on the man in black and shoving it in his face. The man just smiled and opened his mouth wide for the barrel of the gun. Deputy Abernathy jammed it in and fired. The blast snapped the man in black’s head back and Deputy Majors, holding onto to the man, was deafened by the report. Then the man in black’s head snapped back forward.

 

“I can do this all day,” he said with a grin.

 

Deputy Abernathy saw someone peek out of the door down the corridor to the left but then duck back in.

 

“I’m not coming out there with that!” a woman’s voice called.

 

“You’re out of your league, gentlemen,” the man in black said. “I’d suggest you leave.”

 

Deputy Majors ran away from the man and to the door where he’d heard the woman’s voice. He tore into a master bedroom with a large double bed and a large window in the front. A blonde woman was in the far corner of the room. She had a knife in her hand that looked like it was made of glass.

 

“Ooh,” the woman said when she saw him. “Pretty boy. Come over here and taste it.”

 

Deputy Gyles grabbed Deputy Jameson and fled down the stairs.

 

The letters pulsed again and they all felt the terrible pain once more. Deputy Abernathy rushed the man in black, trying to grab him.

 

“This won’t do you any good, my dear boy,” he said. “You can’t hurt me but I can hurt you.”

 

* * *

 

Deputy Majors closed the bedroom door behind him.

 

“C’mere,” the woman purred. “C’mere cutie.”

 

“You’re going to get down on the ground or I’m going to start firing!” he said.

 

“C’mere. C’mon over. Oh, I’m sorry. Oh no. Don’t hurt me. Please don’t hurt me.”

 

“Hands on the ground!”

 

“Okay, hold on. Don’t hurt me.”

 

She dropped the knife on the bed.

 

“Okay,” she said. “Okay. Just relax. You like it on the floor, huh? C’mon over pretty boy. C’mon. Why don’t you come on over here?”

 

* * *

 

Outside the house, Deputy Gyles tried once more to save Jameson but the man expired, breathing his last, death rattling in his throat. He put his head on the man’s chest in despair.

 

* * *

 

There was a pulse from the letters in the hallway and both deputies still in the house, even Deputy Majors in the next room, felt as if something was tearing at his guts.

 

“Run,” the man in black in the hallway said to Deputy Abernathy. “Run little policeman. Run.”

 

Deputy Abernathy fled.

 

* * *

 

Deputy Majors shot at the woman, who jumped out of the way.

 

“You little bitch!” she screamed at him.

 

She snatched the knife off the bed again. He fired at her but missed, blasting a hole in the wall. The woman rushed him, trying to stab him. He could see the knife was glass and there was some kind of liquid within it. He ducked to one side, putting her past him.

 

The door to the bedroom opened and the man in black was there.

 

“Abigail, let’s go,” he said calmly.

 

Deputy Majors fled, running at the window and flinging himself through it. He had covered himself fairly well from the glass but landed on the ground on his back. Deputy Gyles ran over and tended to the man’s wounds as best he could. The man didn’t wake up but Deputy Gyles thought he would live.

 

Sheriff Josephson was screaming for gasoline and fire, about witches, and some kind of killing machine or death ray. It was nonsense. There was the sound of distant and not-so-distant gunfire, yelling, and screams. When Deputy Gyles told the sheriff about the door to the basement he’d found in the kitchen, the man didn’t care.

 

“Kill ‘em!” he said. “Kill ‘em all!”

 

He was very upset and sent deputies to find dynamite to blow up Wyatt’s house.

 

* * *







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