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Blood on the Tracks Part 4 - The Investigation Continues

Posted by Max_Writer , in Call of Cthulhu, Campaign Log 21 September 2017 · 123 views

CoC 1-6e Jazz Age

* * *

 

When they reached the baggage car, Sir Christopher seemed surprised to see the crate and the coffin open. When he looked in and saw it was empty, he looked quite upset.

 

“My … this … my … she should be in here,” he said. “Where is my wife? What have you done … my wife?”

 

“You tell us,” Agent Sanderson said. “Where is your wife?”

 

“My wife was in the coffin because she was dead.”

 

“She’s not in the coffin.”

 

“She’s dead!”

 

“There’s evidence that something has been onto the roof, crawling.”

 

“The roof?”

 

“There is a book.”

 

“A book?”

 

Agent Sanderson showed him the place where the book had been tucked away.

 

“There’s a book here,” he said. “Talking about some sort of … demon god thing.”

 

“I just looked!” Sir Christopher said. “This was nailed shut! We removed her four days ago. I saw the body in the coffin! She was gaunt and degraded after so long.”

 

“Mr. Alexander, what is your relation to the woman in your cabin?” McCree said.

 

“She’s my ward,” Sir Christopher said. “Her parents were killed in a carriage accident some time ago. So, I took it upon myself to raise her as my own daughter.”

 

“Does your ward act unusual at all?” Agent Sanderson said.

 

“Well, she is a precocious young woman,” Sir Christopher said. “Of course all women act unusual at her age.”

 

“Agreed,” McCree said.

 

“You must find my wife’s body!” Sir Christopher said.

 

“We’re on it,” Agent Sanderson said.

 

“Thank you! Thank you!” he said.

 

Sir Christopher turned and left the boxcar. McCree and Agent Sanderson discussed briefly what they might be able to do next.

 

* * *

 

Johnson knocked when they reached Sir Christopher’s room.

 

“Who is it?” a woman’s voice called.

 

“It’s Joell and Mr. DeLuve,” Johnson said. “Sanderson sent us to make sure everything goes okay in here. You need company?”

 

“Uh … no. Hold on. Hold on.”

 

They heard rustling from within and moving around before the door was opened. Miss Shelton stood there in a robe, holding it closed with a hand at her throat. She was achingly beautiful and they noticed she was quite tall.

 

Doesn’t want to show that hole in her chest, DeLuve thought.

 

“Sanderson’s talking with your … father?” Johnson said. “I don’t know your relation.”

 

“I’m his ward,” she said. “Since my parents died a while ago.”

 

“Sanderson just wanted somebody to watch the room. If you just want us to stand outside, that would be fine.”

 

“That would probably be most appropriate.”

 

“All right.”

 

She slowly closed the door.

 

It was some time later when Sir Christopher returned to the room, thanked them, and entered. Johnson put his ear to the door but could not make out what the two were saying. They were obviously talking very quietly. When DeLuve suggested they search the cars again, Johnson said he wanted to meet up with Agent Sanderson and McCree. He wanted to make a plan for the night with the others.

 

In the end, they decided to wait in the parlor of the lead passenger coach, Johnson reading and DeLuve watching down the passageway.

 

* * *

 

McCree and Agent Sanderson went to Miss Brown’s room and Dr. Adamson told them he’d be done shortly, noting it was unusual. McCree found Johnson and DeLuve in the parlor while Agent Sanderson returned to his room, where Mr. Nickerbocker was sleeping, snoring quietly.

 

* * *

 

A short time later, the three men in the forward passenger coach parlor heard the door to the front of the car open and close and felt a blast of cold air. DeLuve had been watching up the passageway and thought he saw a shadow but wasn’t sure. Johnson put the book down.

 

“Bag,” he whispered.

 

DeLuve took the book and tucked it back into his camera bag. He took out a little bag of flash powder.

 

Then they noticed mist crawling along the floor down the passageway from the front of the car. Johnson cursed. Up the corridor, one of the light bulbs flickered and went out as Johnson picked up his baseball bat and he and DeLuve positioned themselves at the near end of the passageway. Then a second one flickered and went out. DeLuve reached into the camera bag and took out his flashlight.

 

Red light came from outside of the train somewhere ahead and Johnson cursed again. Then they thought they heard a ululating wail quickly approaching from the front of the train. In moments, it resolved into the ringing of bells and the red lights of a railroad crossing that the train sped past. Johnson almost panicked and ran before he realized what it was.

 

When they next looked up the passageway, they saw the figure of a woman standing at the far end. She looked at them and then made a noise like she was slurping in the air.

 

“Miss Alexander?” DeLuve called nervously.

 

Johnson looked towards McCree.

 

“Gun!” he hissed. “Gun! Gun!”

 

“All right,” McCree said.

 

“Miss Alexander?” DeLuve called quietly up the passageway again.

 

McCree stepped around the corner and saw the woman, who seemed to be floating backwards.

 

“Interesting …” McCree muttered.

 

“Miss Alexander?” DeLuve quietly called again.

 

The woman, seemingly still floating just off the ground, disappeared around the corner, still looking at them.

 

“Well, it seems she doesn’t like too many people in one spot,” McCree said quietly.

 

The lights at the other end of the corridor came back on.

 

“DeLuve, keep watch,” Johnson said. “There’s nobody living back there except for my room, but there’s doors in between each room. If it could get through a locked door. If it could break open a locked door or … however, then everybody in this car could be in danger.”

 

“I could go,” McCree said. “I just need somebody to stay close by.”

 

“I’ll stay close by,” DeLuve said.

 

“I’m going to need some light if she likes to turn ‘em out,” McCree said. “She doesn’t compare to a walking tree, right?”

 

“We don’t know!” Johnson said.

 

“What’s a walking tree?” DeLuve said.

 

“And what did we hear, that they’re almost immortal … zombies … from the Glaaki thing?” Johnson said. “You said that! That’s a quote from you!”

 

“If I blow her arms off, she hopefully won’t be able to move,” McCree said.

 

“Wasn’t she just floating!?!” Johnson hissed. “She was just floating. I don’t think she cares! She’ll be a head - nyah nyah nyah!”

 

He clacked his jaws together and leaned forward.

 

“Did you see something I didn’t?” McCree said.

 

He headed down the passageway with DeLuve and Johnson close behind.

 

“The only people we have to worry about … the ones we have to worry about the most … are the girls and that horrible, dirty, nasty man,” Johnson said. “I don’t want to get any closer than we have to, but we need to make sure they’re not going to get killed.”

 

As he passed Miss Brown’s door, it suddenly opened right next to him. He jerked back and McCree let out a cry of “Jesus!” Dr. Adamson was there.

 

“Gentlemen,” he said, somewhat startled himself.

 

“Sorry, Doctor,” McCree said.

 

“Are you all right?” the doctor said.

 

He pulled the door closed behind him. It was very close in the passageway.

 

“There’s something strange going on in this car,” Johnson said, pointing up the passageway.

 

McCree continued heading towards the front of the car, gun in hand. Dr. Adamson gave the man a look.

 

“I need to talk to Mr. Sanderson about the autopsy report,” he said.

 

“Go go go go,” Johnson said.

 

“Yes,” he said. “All right.”

 

He squeezed past Johnson.

 

“One moment,” DeLuve said.

 

The doctor stopped.

 

“May I see your chest?” DeLuve said.

 

“I beg your pardon?” Dr. Adamson said.

 

“It’s part of the investigation. May I see your chest?”

 

“Why?”

 

“Sir. You see that gun? May I see your chest?”

 

DeLuve gestured towards McCree, who had halted his advance. Dr. Adamson looked at the man.

 

“Are you threatening me?” he said.

 

“No,” DeLuve said.

 

“I will not be threatened!”

 

“We’re saying this is a very serious matter.”

 

“I might be a man who does not often stand up for myself, but I’m not going to be threatened by people.”

 

“I’ll show you my chest. You show me yours.”

 

“I don’t want to see your chest, sir. Why would I want to see it?”

 

He turned away.

 

“Sir!” DeLuve said. “Don’t move.”

 

“We don’t need to see it!” Johnson said.

 

DeLuve looked at the man.

 

“The chest is the spot,” he said. “Remember?”

 

“Oh!” Johnson said. “And we were worried about the floaty thing, not worried about him!”

 

“Yes, but …” DeLuve said.

 

McCree had turned away and made his way up the passageway. The woman should have been right around the corner by the washroom but when he arrived, there was no one there.

 

“What if, it’s in his chest?” DeLuve said.

 

“I need to go talk to Mr. Sanderson,” Dr. Adamson said. “If you want to look at my chest, come with me.”

 

He turned and walked away.

 

“I don’t want to be alone with him,” DeLuve said.

 

“It doesn’t seem she’s down this way anymore,” McCree called.

 

“I think if there’s a chest-hole zombie, it would be the one that was floating down, came out of nowhere, crawled on top of the train!” Johnson said.

 

McCree came back.

 

“But he’s been alone the whole time with the other body!” DeLuve said.

 

There was a noise from inside Miss Brown’s stateroom as if something fell. Johnson cursed. He flung open the door, banging it against the bed. He looked into the room but nothing seemed to be out of place. DeLuve peeked in as well but saw nothing out of the ordinary. Both corpses were covered by bloodstained sheets. Both corpses rocked a little bit from the motion of the train.

 

“We should’ve checked his chest,” DeLuve said. “We should’ve checked his chest.”

 

“What are we looking at?” McCree said when he reached them.

 

“We need to check their chests.”

 

“Have at it! I’m right here. Don’t worry.”

 

“I heard something from that room,” Johnson said.

 

“We heard movement in here,” DeLuve said.

 

“I can’t really check it while holding this,” McCree said.

 

“I’ve got to hold this flash powder,” DeLuve said.

 

Baseball bat raised, Johnson entered the room and looked around. He looked at the bodies lifting the sheets from their heads. The slight movement of the train caused the corpses to continue rocking. Then he lifted up the sheet far enough of them to look at their chests. Neither of them was damaged or injured there. Miss Brown had a terrible wound on her throat but not on the chest. The conductor had bruises on his neck but nothing on his chest.

 

“That’s weird,” Johnson said. “If he was bruised on the neck, why did he slit his wrists?”

 

* * *

 

The soft knock on his stateroom door didn’t wake Sanderson at first. On the second knock, he leapt from his bed and pulled the .38 revolver from under his pillow, looking around. At first he had thought someone was knocking on the window but then realized it had come from the door. He opened it and found Dr. Adamson there.

 

“Agent Sanderson?” the physician said.

 

“Yes sir,” Agent Sanderson said.

 

“I’ve got some information. If I can come in I’ll tell you what I found out.”

 

“Absolutely.”

 

He let the doctor into the room. The man didn’t make much eye contact and seemed shy. Agent Sanderson looked at his watch. It was midnight.

 

“The victim, Miss Eleanor Brown, was a female, age 30 to 33,” Dr. Adamson said. “She died from a broken neck and loss of blood from a torn and severed jugular vein. There were fingernail marks on her arms. Her neck was also snapped between the second and third vertebra. The assailant probably entered her stateroom, grabbed her, there was a short struggle is my guess, during which time her neck was snapped and then the jugular vein was, for some reason, torn out. The breaking of the neck should have killed her.

 

“Wilfred Cosley, age 50 and 55, some light contusions on his throat as if he’d been briefly choked or held tight. The slits on his wrists were directly on the arteries, almost surgical in the precision of their placement. However, the amount of blood present doesn’t support the suicide theory. If he’d have slit his own wrists, the blood would have covered just about everything. As it stands, it didn’t look like enough blood was present in the bathroom or remaining in his body for that matter.

 

“In short, I believe Mr. Cosley’s wrists were slit by someone else and his blood was … taken away. God knows how. Or by whom. That’s all I can tell you sir.”

 

“Thank you so much,” Agent Sanderson said.

 

“If there’s anything else I can do, I’m going to clean up and try to get some sleep. If there’s anything else I can do, please let me know.”

 

He related his stateroom was right next door and left, stating again he was going to bed.

 

Agent Sanderson went to look for the others.

 

* * *

 

“If someone wants to keep watch on this, that’s good,” Johnson said. “I think they’re just dead.”

 

“Is the window locked?” DeLuve said.

 

“We need to go see if those girls and the horrible man are awake and, if we can, I think we should get them out of here because bad things are up there.”

 

“This car is damned.”

 

“Oh yeah.”

 

“So … where are we supposed to put them?” McCree asked.

 

“Put what?” Johnson said.

 

“The other passengers.”

 

“I think we should take them back to the parlor or we could go back to the other car.”

 

“But … where do they sleep?”

 

“I … as long as …”

 

“Let’s go get the people!” DeLuve said.

 

“As long as they’re alive, I don’t care if they sleep!” Johnson said. “I ain’t slept yet!”

 

“All … right,” McCree said.

 

“Let’s go get the people!” DeLuve said.

 

Johnson went to the stateroom where the two women were staying and knocked. There was a startled cry of distress at the knock.

 

“Oh no!” Miss Clarke called in her high pitched voice. “He’s here! He’s here! Horace, help us!”

 

“What?” they heard Brubeck said. “Whaaa?”

 

There was some disjointed grunting and then a man cleared his throat several times.

 

“Who is it?” he said. “Who’s there?”

 

“It’s Joell,” Johnson said.

 

“I gotta gun,” Brubeck said.

 

“It’s Joell!” Johnson said again.

 

“Where’s the gun?” Miss Clarke said loudly. “I don’t see a gun!”

 

“Shut up!” Brubeck said. “Oh, Joell!”

 

The door suddenly opened and Brubeck was there.

 

“There you are!” he said. “Yeah! How you doing? How’s it going?”

 

“Who did you mean by ‘was here?’” DeLuve asked.

 

“Wait, what?”

 

“They said ‘he’s here.’”

 

“What? What are you talking about?”

 

“The girls.”

 

“Oh, they’re ditzes.”

 

“What’d you say?” Miss Clarke called.

 

“I said you both look lovely, even at this time of night,” Brubeck said without batting an eyebrow.

 

“Aw,” Miss Clarke said.

 

“We thought we saw something up at the top of this car,” Johnson said.

 

“Something?” Brubeck said.

 

“Maybe somebody.”

 

“Oh, the killer? No, the killer’s dead, ain’t he?”

 

“We don’t know what happened.”

 

“Okay.”

 

Brubeck peeked his head out and looked up and down the passageway.

 

“If everybody’s dressed and decent, we think it may be a safe idea to move to the parlor for a bit,” Johnson said.

 

“For a bit?” Brubeck said. “But we have our doors bolted.”

 

“Well, the bathroom door where the man was in was locked,” Johnson said.

 

“We believe the thing - the killer is moving along the top of the car,” DeLuve said.

 

Brubeck looked up.

 

“Oh?” he said. “Oh yeah. Okay. Let’s get dressed girls. Yeah, we’ll be just a minute.”

 

He closed the door.

 

“Yeah, I can see things,” they heard him say. “I’m a theatrical agent, I don’t pay attention.”

 

There was laughter from within.

 

They had noticed the two girls were on the bunks and the blankets in the middle were a mess as if he’d been sleeping with them.

 

Johnson watched the front of the carriage. It seemed to take them a long time and he heard a good deal of giggling from the room.

 

“Horace stop!” one of the giggling girls said.

 

“Why are you putting makeup on?” Brubeck said.

 

“I want to look nice,” one of the girls said.

 

The door opened.

 

“They’re … uh … they’re going to be a minute,” Brubeck said to Johnson before closing the door again.

 

Johnson growled in frustration.

 

* * *

 

McCree went back to the parlor of the front carriage where he met Sanderson, who told him what Dr. Adamson had found. He also made his way to Johnson to tell him and DeLuve. McCree told the federal agent about the strange figure they’d seen in the passageway and the strange things that happened with the lights. That gave Agent Sanderson pause for thought. McCree said it was a woman and guessed it was Sir Christopher’s wife.

 

Johnson finally came down the passageway with Miss Clarke, Miss DeMillings, and Brubeck. One of the girls was doing her hair.

 

As they passed Sir Christopher’s door, they knocked. Sir Christopher answered.

 

“Yes?” the haggard-looking man said.

 

“We feel it would be most … uh … productive for everybody to stay together for the rest of the night,” DeLuve said to him.

 

“Very well,” the obviously tired man said.

 

“We have spotted an unaccounted-for person.”

 

“Very well. There’s some vagrant on the train. Meredith, put your robe on. Come on.”

 

The two of them came to the parlor and sat down groggily. Brubeck sat between the two girls, his arms around them.

 

“Does anybody have any mechanical expertise?” DeLuve asked him.

 

“Well, you know …” Brubeck replied. “I’m an expert at a lot of things.”

 

“Because the brakes are broken, this train’s gotta stop eventually.”

 

“Well, they’ll stop it with the engine, won’t they?”

 

“We don’t know that the brakes are broken, we just know that the line we have to tell them to stop doesn’t work,” Johnson said.

 

“On any of the spots around the train,” DeLuve said.

 

“The people in the engine may be able to stop,” Johnson said.

 

“Is that bad, Horace?” Miss Clarke asked.

 

“No, baby, you’re fine,” Brubeck said.

 

The two women cuddled against Brubeck and closed their eyes.

 

“I can keep watch on this corridor in this direction,” Johnson said. “We should probably also have eyes on the other train car to make sure that she doesn’t just …”

 

He turned to DeLuve.

 

“You still have that thing we found?” he asked.

 

“Yeah, I still got that thing you sent me,” DeLuve said.

 

Johnson moved to the table to watch down the passageway.

 

“So, McCree, if you’d like to keep an eye out for us as we go between the cars to the middle sections, me and Mr. Horace will take a look at the connectors,” DeLuve said.

 

“Do you know what, Horace?” Miss Clarke said. “Do you know what I saw?”

 

“What’d you see, baby?” Brubeck said sleepily.

 

“There was that Mr. … that doctor guy. No, that professor man. He was talking …”

 

“What are you talking about, baby?”

 

“I saw it. He was looking out the window at the full moon. He was staring out the window at the full moon.”

 

“Oh yeah, it’s a beautiful moon, baby. It’s as beautiful as you are.”

 

“Where was this?” Johnson asked.

 

“What?” Miss Clarke said.

 

“Where was he looking at the full moon?”

 

“It was in the parlor. I think it was … that professor fellow. Or maybe he was with. Wait. Who was it? I don’t remember. I was so scared. No! It was that fellow, Club. That mean fellow that yelled at everyone, said ‘Get in your rooms.’ Yeah. I think. He was talking to Dr. Leighman and Dr. Leighman offered him a cigar and he looked strange and looked out the window at the full moon. I remember it now. Yeah. I remember.”

 

She cuddled up against Brubeck again.

 

“Keep an eye out for Leighman,” Johnson said to McCree.

 

McCree and DeLuve went out on the cold catwalk between the cars so DeLuve could get a look at the couplings between the carriages. He was unsure how to uncouple them but guessed the porter probably knew how.

 

“Let’s check out Leighman’s room,” he said.

 

“Well, let’s first meet back up with Sanderson,” McCree said.

 

“Well, we go by Leighman’s room.”

 

“He’s not going anywhere.”

 

“Well, I mean, but if we go this way, he could go that way. Let’s just go check Leighman’s room.”

 

“Well, I’ll wait here if you want to grab Sanderson because I’d rather have someone of authority with me.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“Because I’m just a crazy man with a shotgun on a train.”

 

The two of them went to get Agent Sanderson and stopped by Leighman’s stateroom at the front of the back carriage. Mrs. Leighman answered the door.

 

“Oh my goodness, I’m so glad you’re here,” she said. “Do you have any idea where Martin is?”

 

“Martin went missing?” McCree said.

 

“He went out a couple hours ago. He wanted someone to play chess with not long after we were all questioned. He hasn’t come back yet. It’s almost 1 o’clock.”

 

“Well, we’ll go look for him for you.”

 

“Thank you very much. He might have gone to check on our dog … but probably not.”

 

Agent Sanderson realized the dog had not been barking the last time he’d been in the baggage car. He headed for the back of the train.

 

“Sanderson, before you head that way, should we check with Sam?” McCree said.

 

“No!” Agent Sanderson said.

 

“Sam was looking at the moon!” DeLuve said.

 

“Go check on him them!” Agent Sanderson said, continuing down the passageway.

 

“But it’s on the way!” DeLuve said.

 

“You can talk to Sam,” McCree said. “I’m going to be behind.”

 

DeLuve knocked on Club’s door and the man looked at them suspiciously when he opened it, his hair messy and obviously having just woken up.

 

“What?” he snarled.

 

“How about that moon, Sam?” McCree said.

 

“Have you seen Martin … Leighman?” DeLuve said.

 

“What are you talking about?” Club said. “Why do you have a gun? Who are you? Why have you got a gun?”

 

“Sanders gave it to him,” DeLuve said. “Have you seen Martin Leighman?”

 

Club looked at the man.

 

“He’s missing,” DeLuve went on.

 

“No, I haven’t seen him,” Club said. “I went to bed.”

 

“Gotcha. You’re just the last person─”

 

“It was the conductor.”

 

“You’re the last person that was seen with him and he’s currently been missing for three hours.”

 

“I haven’t seen him since before the murder. I went to bed right after we questioned … I need some sleep. I haven’t been with him.”

 

DeLuve thought the man was telling the truth though he seemed a little befuddled. He seemed annoyed as well.

 

“Final question and we’ll let you get back to sleep,” DeLuve said. “Did you lock your window?”

 

“Yeah yeah yeah yeah,” Club said. “When you came by, I locked it. Here.”

 

Club crossed the stateroom and rattled the closed and locked window.

 

“Have a good night,” DeLuve said.

 

“What is going on?” Club said.

 

“We’re trying to figure that out. There’s an empty coffin.”

 

“What?”

 

“There’s a man missing.”

 

“Who?”

 

“Martin …”

 

“Leighman, you said. Okay, let me get up and get dressed.”

 

“People are gathering in the parlor in the first car.”

 

Club closed his stateroom door again.

 

“I’m going to go check on Sanderson,” McCree said.

 

“You keep going,” DeLuve said. “I’m going to check on the bishop.”

 

* * *

 

Sanderson made his way through the darkened dining car. He went to the baggage car and found his way to the crate with the air holes where he’d heard the dog barking before. It was dead quiet now except for the sound of the wind blowing through the boxcar. He tried shining his flashlight into the small air holes in the box but couldn’t see anything.

 

He opened the small door at one end of the crate just as the boxcar rumbled over a rough patch on the track. The little door flew open and the obviously dead bodies of Professor Leighman and the dog seemed to leap out at him. He cried out and fired his pistol, hitting Professor Leighman in the forehead. He stumbled back and saw that man and dog had been squashed together , broken bones protruding from torn skin, dark bloodstains covering both. Leighman’s face was contorted in a grimace of fear, the eyes bulging and glazed. Several deep claw marks were raked across his eyes, cheeks, forehead, and mouth. His head was tilted at a terrible angle, bearing witness to his snapped neck. The dog was likewise dead with a broken neck and there was a smell of urine and feces.

 

The door on one end of the boxcar flew open and Agent Sanderson turned, pointing his gun at it. McCree ran in.

 

“What’s going on here?” McCree called out.

 

“Look at this!” Agent Sanderson said.

 

McCree looked at the terrible crushed bodies of man and dog.

 

“I vote we get all of the passengers together so no one gets picked off anymore,” he said.

 

“Yep,” Agent Sanderson said. “I’m going to check the box again.”

 

“She doesn’t seem to like groups of three or more,” McCree said.

 

Agent Sanderson looked in the large crate again but nothing appeared to be different within it. The two men headed back.

 

* * *

 

DeLuve, meanwhile, had knocked on Father Delarove’s door. The tired priest answered.

 

“Yes, can I help you?” he asked.

 

“Howdy,” DeLuve said. “Have you seen Martin Leighman?”

 

“No no. I haven’t seen Professor Leighman … no, I haven’t seen him. Just trying to sleep.”

 

“We think there’s another killer.”

 

“What?”

 

“Professor Leighman’s been missing for three hours. We haven’t found him. It’s a small train. We should have found him by now.”

 

“All right.”

 

“Everybody’s gathering in the parlor in the first car.”

 

“Uh …”

 

“For safety.”

 

“All right.”

 

The priest closed his door. DeLuve headed towards the back of the train where he’d heard a gunshot a few moments before. He ran into McCree and Agent Sanderson coming forward in the dining car.

 

“Let’s go,” Agent Sanderson said.

 

“Did we find the porter?” DeLuve asked. “Last place we hadn’t checked: the kitchen.”

 

They found the porter and the cook sleeping in a corner on the floor, each of them armed with a large kitchen knife. They woke the two men up and took them along. The small group went through the dining car and the second passenger coach. On the way, DeLuve asked the porter if he knew how to separate the cars. The young negro didn’t.

 

They picked up Father Delarove and Mrs. Leighman on the way. When they returned to the parlor, they found the others grumbling and complaining; the only one not bothered by it was Brubeck, who slept upright in the chair with a beautiful woman on either arm.

 

“Did you find my husband?” Mrs. Leighman asked.

 

“All righty,” McCree said. “New announcement everyone. So, there’s been another murder. So we need to stick together so that we can’t get picked off one by one.”

 

“So, we’re sitting in this room for the next … 36 hours?” Brubeck asked. “Is that what you’re saying?”

 

“Until sunrise,” McCree said.

 

“Does that sound better than death?” DeLuve said.

 

“Until sunrise?” Brubeck said. “Why the hell does that matter? We could lock ourselves in our rooms.”

 

“Did you see how well that worked out for the other two?” McCree said.

 

“What are you talking about you god-damned limey. Where the hell are you from, anyway?”

 

“Georgia.”

 

Brubeck just stared at the man, obviously wracking his brain for some insult to call McCree. He couldn’t think of anything.

 

“Anyways, if you’d like to, Sam …” McCree said.

 

“What other two?” Brubeck said. “My name ain’t Sam.”

 

“Oh, Horace. You can if you like.”

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“It’s for your own good.”

 

“Who the hell are you!?!”

 

“Sanderson should make this announcement,” Johnson said.

 

“All right everybody, there’s a lot of unexplained business going down,” Agent Sanderson said.

 

One of the girls gasped.

 

“We have gathered you all here for safety,” Agent Sanderson went on. “We’ve got a few leads on who could be a potential cohort in the murder business. But for everybody’s sake, we’re just going to stay together for now and I will talk to each individual person as I see fit.”

 

“What … what is this ‘til dawn stuff?” Brubeck said.

 

“We’re just playing it by ear for now,” Agent Sanderson said. “It isn’t a permanent fix. It’s a momentary.”

 

Brubeck sighed loudly and lit another cigar.

 

“We just need to keep watch while people sleep,” Johnson said. “We’ll have shifts going around to make sure nobody is still on the train and that nothing happens. Once everybody’s awake …”

 

There was a rumbled of discontent from the other passengers.

 

Sam Club came over to Agent Sanderson and asked who the new murder was.

 

“Wait, Martin’s not here,” Mrs. Leighman said. “We have to find Martin. If there’s someone out there that’s killing people, Martin might be in danger. We have to go. We have to find him.”

 

Agent Sanderson took her aside and told her that her husband was a victim.

 

“No!” Mrs. Leighman said. “Where is he!?!”

 

“At this time I think it’d be best for you to just take it easy,” Agent Sanderson said.

 

Mrs. Leighman broke down crying and became hysterical asking where Martin was, what had happened, and what was going on. She cried and cried and cried, finally falling asleep.

 

Once he could, McCree took Agent Sanderson aside.

 

“Well, my hypothesis is that the next one to go might be the Sam fellow,” he said.

 

“Let’s talk to Sam,” Agent Sanderson said.

 

“If you want to,” McCree said.

 

Agent Sanderson suddenly realized Dr. Adamson and Mr. Nickerbocker were both missing. He left the parlor, McCree behind him, to find the two.

 

They found Dr. Adamson’s door and knocked. It took a long time before the door opened. Dr. Adamson stood there.

 

“Yes?” he muttered groggily. “What … happened?”

 

“Alright Doctor,” Agent Sanderson said.

 

Dr. Adamson looked very sleepy as if he’d just woken up.

 

“Sorry, Agent, yes?” he muttered. “Can I help you?”

 

“Doctor, we’re all meeting in the parlor room to ensure everyone’s safety,” Agent Sanderson said. “There has been another murder.”

 

“Oh. Can I get dressed?”

 

“Make it quick.”

 

“Yes sir.”

 

He closed the door.

 

Agent Sanderson went to his own stateroom next door to check on Mr. Nickerbocker. He found the old man buried under the blankets in his bunk, clutching his baseball bat to his chest, and snoring loudly. He didn’t want to wake the old man up but did so.

 

“What?” Mr. Nickerbocker said. “Deidre? What are you doing Deidre?”

 

“Nickerbocker, we have to go,” Agent Sanderson said. “There’s been another murder.”

 

“Oh no, Deidre. Your voice sounds … your voice sounds so different, Deidre. Who is the murdered? Was it Sebastian?”

 

“It was Martin.”

 

“We don’t have any horses named Martin.”

 

Agent Sanderson helped Mr. Nickerbocker out of bed and down the passageway, waiting for Dr. Adamson along the way. When they got to the parlor, they found several of the passengers complaining. Brubeck was very vocal about how stupid the situation was.

 

“If the murderer’s here, he’ll just murder us all!” Miss Clarke cried out at one point.

 

* * *