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The Inheritance Part 3 - An End to It

Posted by Max_Writer , in Call of Cthulhu, Campaign Log 21 September 2017 · 86 views

CoC 7e Jazz Age

* * *

 

Nurse Petrov examined Cloverfield’s leg and found his tibia, the thick bone of the lower leg, was broken. Luckily, as far as she could tell, it was a stable fracture. She gave him a thick wad of gauze, telling him to put it in his mouth and bite down on it. Then she set the bone as he groaned into the gauze. She bound it as tightly as she could but didn’t have anything to use as a splint.

 

“Marco!” she called.

 

“What do you need?” he said, coming to the window again.

 

“I wouldn’t ask this if I didn’t have to. Could you find me something straight that I could use as a makeshift splint?”

 

Marco disappeared from the window, returning a moment later with a fireplace poker and shovel. They discussed breaking out the railing from the stairs but decided against it.

 

“Break it and then I’ll pay for it,” Cloverfield groaned.

 

Pavil left again, saying he was going to the kitchen. Nurse Petrov watched Miss Chatwick through the window, standing on her tiptoes and looking through while Cloverfield complained about getting his suit dirty.

 

“Don’t move,” Nurse Petrov said. “I will watch you from here.”

 

The other woman stared at her.

 

“Sorry if this unsettles you,” Nurse Petrov called.

 

Miss Chatwick made a gulping noise in her throat.

 

“I know the windows must be frightening after that,” Nurse Petrov said.

 

“Yeah!” Miss Chatwick said.

 

“Let’s try not to go near that broken window,” Nurse Petrov said. “Bad things tend to happen.”

 

“Yeah,” Miss Chatwick said.

 

Cloverfield, noticing his pistol nearby, picked it up and put it back into his pocket.

 

Pavil came around the side of the house a few moments later with several wooden spoons and a mixing ladle. She told him to go back to see to Miss Chatwick and watched from the window.

 

As she watched, the room suddenly looked completely clean and both she and Miss Chatwick heard piano music. To Nurse Petrov, it was suddenly dark outside and the window was closed. Miss Chatwick looked towards the window and could no longer see the nurse.

 

An elderly man sat alone, playing the piano. The piece was frenetic and he was obviously a talented pianist, but as it built to a crescendo, he seemed to lose his concentration and the music fell into discord. The man slammed his hands onto the keys and stood up. He was tall with a slim build and dressed for dinner in a black dress-coat, waistcoat and trousers, plain bib shirt, and bow tie. His face was narrow and creased, his eyes sunken, his hair, mustache and beard a mottled gray. He was balding and had a haunted air about him.

 

A young woman with long, dark hair pulled back in a bun entered the room. She wore a maid’s uniform. She curtsied nervously and told the old man dinner was ready. As the maid turned to leave, the main rose a shaking hand to stop her and, in a timorous voice, asked her name.

 

“Madeline,” she replied. “Madeline Werner, sir.”

 

She hastily left, The man remained standing where he was, looking after her. Then he looked directly at Miss Chatwick and then Nurse Petrov.

 

As the room fell into ruin once again, Pavil entered the parlor.

 

“You are no longer alone anymore,” he said.

 

She was staring at the piano.

 

“Elaine?” he said. “Um … what’s wrong?”

 

Nurse Petrov turned and quietly went to work splinting Cloverfield’s leg with her makeshift splints.

 

“Oh,” Miss Chatwick said. “Hello. I … I … I saw … something. I … there was a man and the piano … I … it’s familiar. I was told about this. James … told me … about this, I know. I know what he saw. Is he all right?”

 

“In a way,” Pavil said.

 

“In a way? What has happened?”

 

“He fell out of the same window as you and I don’t know why.”

 

“Oh … did … did he fall?”

 

“He fell out a window, yes.”

 

“Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. Was … who was with him?”

 

“Nobody was with him.”

 

Outside, Nurse Petrov could hear the conversation. She frowned and shook her head at what was going on.

 

“I think there’s someone else in the house,” Pavil said.

 

“Someone else?” Miss Chatwick said. “Or something else?”

 

“We’re going to go with someone!”

 

He took his semi-automatic pistol out of his jacket pocket.

 

“Whoa,” Miss Chatwick said nervously.

 

He watched the archway that led to the foyer.

 

Outside, Nurse Petrov finished with Cloverfield’s leg. She helped the man to his feet and back to the house, warning him to keep weight off the broken leg.

 

“Edna, there’s a … cane in the trunk of my motorcar,” Cloverfield told her. “I could use it as a crutch, I guess. Or at least to lean on.”

 

“You need to put no pressure on this,” she said.

 

“Yes, but you can’t be supporting me the entire time.”

 

“No, but you can be sitting the entire time.”

 

They reached the porch.

 

“You can be sitting with Miss Elaine,” Nurse Petrov went on.

 

Cloverfield sighed as she helped him back into the house.

 

“You have gun,” she said as she helped him into the parlor. “Use it whenever you want. Do not use it on us, though.”

 

“Of course,” he said.

 

She sat him on a chair and fetched and ottoman to prop up his leg. Then she left the parlor.

 

“James!” Miss Chatwick said. “James! I know. I … I … I think I saw the same thing you did.”

 

“You did?” Cloverfield said.

 

“Just then. Just then. It was … what you described. It was a bald man playing the piano and … a servant girl …”

 

“I saw the man again, too. Earlier.”

 

“Again?”

 

“After I …”

 

Cloverfield’s voice filled with regret.

 

“… shot at … the mechanic …”

 

He sat up straight as if putting it behind him.

 

“I saw the bald man dragging the woman into the room upstairs,” he went on.

 

“Was it the same …?” Miss Chatwick said.

 

“It was the same man, yes,” he said. “It looked like it was her. And she was struggling towards the end. So she was still alive. But she was bloodied. I … I found a secret compartment in the room. I think there was a body in there. I think there was.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“And then, Marco and … Deryl called out to me and I went to check the window to see what happened.”

 

The front door opened and Nurse Petrov returned with Cloverfield’s cane. It was more decorative than practical, but it would do. Outside, the rain let up though it remained overcast.

 

“I looked out to see if you were out there because I wasn’t sure,” Cloverfield went on. “I kept my gun pointed to the door and I turned around, the bald man shoved me out the window and I fell.”

 

“He shoved you?” Miss Chatwick said.

 

“Yes.”

 

“And … there was no one else in the room?”

 

“No. There was no one else.”

 

“Oh. Because I didn’t see anyone.”

 

Pavil, listening to the entire conversation, was looking between the windows and doors, working the action on his pistol occasionally, which caused a bullet to leave the ejector port. Then he would remove the magazine from the butt of the pistol, replace the bullet in it, and replace the magazine. Then he worked the action again, removing another bullet, then putting it back into the magazine. Over and over and over and over again.

 

Once when he looked in the mirror, he thought he saw an additional figure in the room. It looked like a woman. When he saw it, he looked around, trying to figure what he was seeing in the mirror. He thought he heard the distant sound of a woman sobbing.

 

Cloverfield looked around the room and then looked at Pavil.

 

“Where’s Deryl?” he said. “Do you know where Deryl is?”

 

“No,” Pavil replied.

 

“We haven’t heard anything for … some time,” Cloverfield said.

 

“Was he there with you when you got pushed out the window?” Nurse Petrov asked.

 

“What was he doing last?” Cloverfield said.

 

“Marco?” Nurse Petrov said.

 

“Deryl,” Cloverfield said to Pavil. “Where is he? Mechanic boy. Motorcycle.”

 

“Where was he last?” Miss Chatwick said.

 

“He never─” Pavil started to say.

 

“He went upstairs,” Nurse Petrov said.

 

“He … never came back from upstairs,” Pavil said.

 

“Where was he going last?” Cloverfield said.

 

“He … was searching,” Pavil said, working the action on his pistol again. “He’s … still upstairs.”

 

“Must be lots of rooms,” Nurse Petrov said.

 

“We need to find him,” Pavil said.

 

“Well, as long as you don’t try to kill anybody in your uncomfortable state right now, I think we can go,” Nurse Petrov said.

 

“But there is a body upstairs,” Cloverfield said.

 

“In … that room?” Miss Chatwick said.

 

“Yes,” Cloverfield said.

 

“I am not going back in there,” Miss Chatwick said. “I don’t care to see it.”

 

“Someone has to go look for him,” Cloverfield said.

 

“I’ll go,” Pavil said. “And find him.”

 

“I’ll go upstairs,” Miss Chatwick said, painfully trying to get up.

 

“No!” Nurse Petrov said. “You stay here. I will go. Where is poker? There.”

 

“Edna,” Cloverfield said.

 

He took his little snub-nose .38 special revolver out of his pocket and handed it to her.

 

“Not seen one of these since papa,” she said.

 

“It only has five shots in it,” Cloverfield said. “You just pull the trigger. It’s a double action. You just aim and shoot.”

 

“Do you have any extra bullets, just in case?” Nurse Petrov said.

 

He shook his head. Pavil worked the action on his own pistol and tossed a bullet at the woman. Then he did it again. Both of them struck her in the chest and fell to the ground.

 

“Warn me,” she said coldly before stooping to pick them up.

 

Cloverfield helped her break the little gun open but the bullets were the wrong caliber. They were far too large. She handed them back to Pavil, who put them back into the magazine and the magazine back into the pistol.

 

“If I come back and either of these two are dead … I will shoot you,” Nurse Petrov said to Pavil.

 

“I would expect nothing less,” the man replied.

 

“Good,” she said. “We are on same page.”

 

“Are you … all right?” Miss Chatwick asked Pavil. “I know none of us are─”

 

“Yes,” Pavil said.

 

“I believe he’s unstable from all of this,” Nurse Petrov said to the other woman.

 

“I’m perfectly fine,” Pavil said.

 

“Are you …?” Miss Chatwick said.

 

She pointed at Pavil, indicating he was staying with them.

 

“Yes,” Nurse Petrov said.

 

“Perfectly fine,” Pavil said to himself.

 

“Whatever takes your mind off things,” Nurse Petrov said. “I will be back. I’m sure he’s just looking for will.”

 

Cloverfield tapped his cane against the floor to try to take his mind off things.

 

“Stop it!” Pavil hissed at him. “Stop it!”

 

He stopped.

 

“I have bad feeling,” Nurse Petrov said. “Do you have extra bullets in car?”

 

“I carry it for self-defense, not to kill people,” Cloverfield replied.

 

“I would hope.”

 

“Usually one is enough. That’s what they say, at least.”

 

“Good point. Just curious.”

 

“It has a lot of stopping power. Don’t necessarily aim for the head, just try to aim and hit them because the bullet will do a lot of harm if it hits.”

 

She headed up the steps.

 

Nothing unusual or strange lay on the second floor landing. From the footprints in the dust, no one had entered any of the rooms there. She guessed if he was anywhere, it would be on the third floor. She stopped at the landing and looked around carefully. Tracks led to five of the six doorways and she saw the bullet hole in the wall. She went to the room directly across from the stairs and found it was a storage room. There was no hole in the wall.

 

She went to the other room on that side and found Wallin sitting on the floor, his back to the closed wardrobe against the other interior wall, rocking quietly and staring straight ahead. Across the room, one of the windows was broken.

 

“Oh,” she said. “Well, that was easy. Are you all right?”

 

“Yeah,” Wallin said. “Give me a few minutes. Trying to … recollect … I don’t … I can’t remember everything right now …”

 

“I assume you saw things?”

 

“Yeah. A few things. Not sure exactly what.”

 

He looked around, suddenly frantic.

 

“Where’s my dog?” he said.

 

“Your dog is in the bike, still,” she said. “Your sidecar.”

 

“Okay,” he said.

 

He stood up, keeping his back to the wardrobe.

 

“Could you … help me there,” he said, nodding at the door.

 

“Yes,” she said.

 

“I don’t know how I got in this room.”

 

“I assume you walked in. You might’ve saw something …”

 

“I don’t remember.”

 

“… that caused you to forget. We’ve had some patients.”

 

She helped him back down to the parlor where they joined the rest.

 

“I’m not sure if will is worth it,” Nurse Petrov said. “I think fire is good. I think we should leave. This is not good.”

 

“I need to get to a hospital,” Cloverfield said. “Edna, where did you find him?”

 

She told the man where she’d found him.

 

“The body was in the wardrobe behind a sliding door,” Cloverfield said. “Did he see it?”

 

“What body?” Pavil said.

 

“There’s a body.”

 

“What body!?!”

 

“There’s a body upstairs. Up in the …”

 

“You’re mentioning that now!?! You’ve been in the parlor this long, you’re mentioning that now!?!”

 

“I was more worried about his safety. The body did not seem important when he was missing.”

 

“It’s a damned body! That is the most important thing we could have possibly found here!”

 

“It … it … it …”

 

“Where is it!?!”

 

“It’s in the wardrobe. I can show you how to open it by sliding the wall. It’s behind there in a bathroom. You can see into the room through a bullet hole in the hallway.”

 

“I got up the stairs …” Wallin said. “Then I was just … up against the wardrobe.”

 

“Did you see anything?” Miss Chatwick asked.

 

“I … I don’t remember.”

 

“You don’t remember?”

 

He didn’t want to remember. Every time he tried to think what happened, he stopped. He didn’t want to know. Something horrible had happened and he didn’t want to know.

 

He stood up and left the room, going out of the house.

 

“His dog might help him,” Pavil said.

 

* * *

 

Wallin went out and looked up. It was no longer raining though it was still overcast and warm. He went to his motorcycle and took off the cover of the sidecar. Sif stuck his head out and licked his face and he hugged the dog and petted him.

 

* * *

 

“I’m curious but not too curious,” Nurse Petrov said. “I think that we should report dead body in wardrobe and leave this place.”

 

“I think this would be the best next step we could possibly make,” Pavil said.

 

“Do you really trust the deputy to handle something like that, though,” Cloverfield said.

 

“No,” Pavil said. “But I don’t give a crap either.”

 

They looked at each other.

 

“A dead body is beyond me,” Nurse Petrov said. “We need police or ambulance.”

 

“I agree,” Miss Chatwick said. “This is … too much. This is too much.”

 

“I would like to check the body, but my leg,” Cloverfield said. “I should probably get to a hospital immediately.”

 

“We need to report this to someone and get you some help,” Miss Chatwick said.

 

“And you too,” Nurse Petrov said. “You have fallen and we want to make sure nothing internal is damaged.”

 

They headed for the door, Nurse Petrov helping Cloverfield.

 

“Elaine, can you drive?” he said.

 

“Yes,” Miss Chatwick said. “I’m in better shape than you.”

 

Pavil looked up. He could hear a woman sobbing again. It sounded like it was coming for the back of the house. He stood up and went to the foyer. It sounded like it was coming from the basement door. He headed that way.

 

“What are you doing?” Miss Chatwick said.

 

He stopped at the doorway to the basement and looked back at them.

 

“Do … you … hear … that?” he asked.

 

“What?” she said.

 

“The crying?”

 

“No. Do you?”

 

He looked at Nurse Petrov.

 

“Do you hear that?” he said.

 

“We don’t have time for this!” Miss Chatwick said. “We need to go get help. We need to do something … else! We need to get out of here!”

 

“Marco,” Nurse Petrov said.

 

“Somebody needs help in the basement,” Pavil said.

 

“Marco, best advice, weird things─” Nurse Petrov said.

 

“Do you think someone’s alive down there?” Miss Chatwick said.

 

He listened to the sound of the woman crying for a moment.

 

“Yes,” he said.

 

“Edna, will you come?” Miss Chatwick said.

 

“Edna, I can support myself against the frame of the door,” Cloverfield said.

 

“No pressure on leg,” Nurse Petrov replied.

 

“I’ll be fine,” Cloverfield said. “And I’ve got Deryl.”

 

“This house is dusty,” Nurse Petrov said. “Nobody’s gotten here before we got here. No footprints, no nothing. She should not be alive if she is down there.”

 

Nurse Petrov thought she heard the sobbing.

 

“I’m not okay with this,” she said. “Nobody should be here. After everything we’ve just seen, I am not going to fall for trick. She got pushed out window. He as well. What happens when we go down there?”

 

Cloverfield heard the sobbing as well.

 

“I will be leaving, with or without you,” Nurse Petrov said. “But I am not going into that basement. I lay that down now.”

 

There was a creak from above, as if someone was walking to the top of the stairs.

 

“Get out of this house,” Nurse Petrov said.

 

Cloverfield pulled the pistol out of his pocket.

 

“Don’t be hasty,” Nurse Petrov said. “You have already shot at one.”

 

“I heard something upstairs,” Cloverfield said. “It’s a precaution.”

 

“Everybody out this door!” Nurse Petrov said.

 

Standing by the door of the basement, Pavil saw something moving on it and dust falling.

 

“Out!” Nurse Petrov said.

 

She took Cloverfield by the left arm and started to move towards the front door.

 

Pavil threw the door open and headed down the basement steps. Cloverfield broke away from Nurse Petrov and slowly followed him.

 

“No no no!” Miss Chatwick said.

 

“I’m not leaving him!” Cloverfield said.

 

“As long as I am taking care of you, you are not dying here,” Nurse Petrov said. “Put it down.”

 

She looked at the pistol and he put it back in his pocket.

 

He had made it halfway up the foyer from the front door and could see there was a word drawn on the door in the dust. It read: “LEAVE.”

 

“Whether you like it or not, we are leaving,” Nurse Petrov said, also seeing it. “It is his funeral. I told him, if he goes down there, that’s his own.”

 

“I can’t leave someone to die,” Cloverfield said.

 

“I understand that but if you go down there, you may die too,” Nurse Petrov said. “We will get cops. If he is still alive, he’ll be found.”

 

The front door opened and Wallin stood there, looking around, still shaken. Nurse Petrov firmly but gently escorted Cloverfield towards the front door. He hung his head.

 

“Where’s Marco?” Wallin said.

 

“I told him not to go!” Miss Chatwick said, looking towards the cellar door and clutching at the necklace her mother had given her.

 

Wallin ran into the foyer, heading for the basement stairs. He ran past Nurse Petrov and Cloverfield.

 

“No no no no!” Miss Chatwick cried out. “No! Wait! Please!”

 

Nurse Petrov glared at Wallin as he ran past, running to the basement stairs. Cloverfield continued walking, his head still down.

 

“All of the injured much stay,” Nurse Petrov said. “You will not be of much use if anything does happen.”

 

Wallin threw open the basement door and flung the door open. He had seen the word written in dust on the door.

 

“Marco, get your sorry ass up here!” he shouted. “We got things to do and places to be!”

 

* * *

 

Pavil heard someone yelling upstairs but couldn’t make out the words. The crying had gotten louder and louder as he approached the laundry room. It stopped when he reached the threshold of the chamber. He got to work pulling up the flagstones again.

 

Once he removed two more of the flagstones, he saw they were covering a hastily buried bloodstained burlap sack. It was large enough to hold a body. It looked like the same sack he had seen the with the old man in the laundry room earlier that day though dirtier and older. There was the hint of a smell. It was very cold in the room.

 

* * *

 

“Please come back!” Miss Chatwick called.

 

Wallin headed down the basement stairs and looked around, a little confused. It was dim in the place and he had never been there before. He turned on his flashlight and saw that tracks ran to the doors on the right, the door near the front of the house, and to the kitchen door on his left.

 

“Marco!” he called out.

 

“What?” came a shout from the kitchen door.

 

Wallin went into the kitchen and saw the darkened scullery as well as another doorway from which a dim, flickering light came. He walked to the light.

 

“Marco, are you in the flashing room?” he called.

 

“Eh,” Pavil’s voice came.

 

“I’m coming in,” Wallin said.

 

“Eh,” Pavil’s voice said.

 

Walling peeked into the laundry room where Pavil stood by the four or five floor tiles which had been pried up. In the hole in the floor there was a shallow pit with an old, dirty, bloodstained sack. Nearby, the lighter sat on the floor, the flame flickering though there didn’t seem to be any breeze. It felt cold in the room.

 

Pavil shakily pointed to the sack in the pit. Wallin shined his flashlight upon it. It was the size and shape of a person and looked like it had been in the dirt for a while.

 

“I don’t like that,” Wallin said. “We need to get out of here now.”

 

* * *

 

Nurse Petrov helped Cloverfield out to his roadster, putting him into the passenger side of the vehicle. He seemed despondent and unresponsive.

 

* * *

 

In the foyer, Miss Chatwick clutched at her necklace and fell to her knees, staring at the cellar door, paralyzed with fear. She silently prayed to herself for the two men. She started to smell something rotten around her and found breathing difficult due to the stench.

 

Nurse Petrov entered the front door again.

 

“Elaine,” she said.

 

She moved to the woman and helped her to her feet.

 

“Can you smell that?” Miss Chatwick said.

 

The stink was gone.

 

“I … I don’t smell anything,” Nurse Petrov said. “We need to get you out of here. Those two have already gone too far.”

 

“We … we can’t leave them,” Miss Chatwick said.

 

“I understand your feeling. But it would be dangerous for all of us if we stay.”

 

“I can’t let this happen. Not again.”

 

“I beg your pardon.”

 

“I can’t let this happen … again.”

 

“There there, young one.”

 

“Nooo. Nooo.”

 

“There there. I’m sure it’s not …”

 

She held the other woman, gently rubbing her hair. Miss Chatwick cried quietly.

 

Then Nurse Petrov felt something pull at a lock of her loose hair. Her skin crawled and she turned to see who it was. No one was there. She firmly picked up Miss Chatwick and pulled her towards the door.

 

“What are you …!?!” the young woman cried out.

 

She took her completely out of the house. She carried her to Cloverfield’s roadster and put her in the driver’s side, bidding her to scoot over to the middle.

 

* * *

 

Wallin grabbed Pavil’s arm and pulled on him.

 

“I think you’re right,” Pavil said. “There’s no one who can be saved here.”

 

They left the laundry room, going through the kitchen and up the stairs. As they reached the basement door, they heard a woman crying behind them, a horrible, gut-wrenching sobbing of pure despair.

 

“I’ve seen what I needed to see,” Pavil said.

 

They found Nurse Petrov struggling to pull the top down on the Stutz roadster with the other two tightly sitting in there.

 

“Oh thank God!” Miss Chatwick said. “Oh thank God you’re okay!”

 

“Glad to know you’re back,” Nurse Petrov said.

 

Cloverfield seemed very relieved at seeing the two men.

 

“No hard feelings, I hope,” Nurse Petrov said.

 

“No,” Pavil said.

 

“Did you find what you were looking for, Marco?” Nurse Petrov said.

 

Pavil put his finger to his lips.

 

“We found enough,” he said.

 

“I assume what I thought was right,” Nurse Petrov said.

 

Pavil glanced at the woman before fiddling with his pistol again.

 

“That’s all the confirmation I need,” she said, going back to the leather top of the motorcar.

 

She finally got the roof down with some instruction from Cloverfield. He both wanted to speed the process and keep the woman from damaging the motorcar.

 

Wallin got onto his Harley-Davidson and started it with a roar. He drove away.

 

Nurse Petrov started the roadster while Pavil shakily used the hand crank to get his Model-T truck started and then followed the roadster down the driveway.

 

“Hospital!” Cloverfield said.

 

* * *

 

A short time later, they pulled into the police station in New Boston. They saw Wallin’s motorcycle was already there.

 

When Nurse Petrov entered the police station, she found Wallin telling Constable Dolthan there was a body in the basement. Cloverfield entered, limping and in tremendous pain.

 

“Officer, there’s another body,” he said when he overheard the conversation.

 

“There’s two bodies in the basement?” Constable Dolthan said.

 

“On the third floor, there’s a hidden compartment in one of the rooms,” Cloverfield said. “I thought there was a body in the bathroom. I didn’t get to check.”

 

“Okay, okay okay,” Constable Dolthan said. “Hold on.”

 

Constable Dolthan took the information and wanted them to go back to the house with him to show him where the bodies were located. That was not what Nurse Petrov wanted to hear

 

“Are you okay, sir?” Constable Dolthan said to Pavil, who stood near the door, not saying anything.

 

“They said it,” Pavil said.

 

“Are you okay, ma’am?” Constable Dolthan said to Miss Chatwick.

 

“I want to go home,” she replied.

 

“Can you take her home?” the officer asked Nurse Petrov.

 

“Yes,” the nurse said.

 

“They don’t have a car,” Cloverfield said.

 

“This might sound strange Mr. Officer …” Nurse Petrov said.

 

“Officer Dolthan,” the constable said.

 

“Officer Dolthan. If you see a broken window, do not go near it. That’s all I can say. These two were hurt for it. If you don’t believe in the paranormal, you will.”

 

“All … righty.”

 

Officer Dolthan wanted to take Cloverfield and Wallin back to the house and said all three of them could fit in his police car.

 

“My leg, officer,” Cloverfield said. “I would like to get to a hospital.”

 

Constable Dolthan had a medical kit complete with splints and crutches. Nurse Petrov suggested the man go to the hospital and then offered to help. When Constable Dolthan learned she was a nurse, he was glad of the help. She replaced the wooden spoons with actual splints and wrapped it with tape.

 

“I forgot to do this earlier,” she said to Cloverfield. “Here is aspirin. It’s not very powerful but it’s better than nothing.”

 

* * *

 

Constable Dolthan drove back to the house with Cloverfield while Pavil drove Wallin in his truck. The police constable had a flashlight and wanted to see the body in the basement first. The word “LEAVE” was gone from the basement door. They went down and found the corpse still in the room and Pavil’s lighter, still burning. Constable Dolthan asked them to stand back, got out a folding knife, and cut open the burlap sack.

 

“Yep, it’s a woman,” he said. “A woman died in here. All right. Let’s see this other body.”

 

The three men with him were shocked but not really surprised to recognize the maid they had seen earlier.

 

They went up to the wardrobe on the third floor. The door was still open and Constable Dolthan led Cloverfield and Pavil in. Wallin started to follow but then stopped, unable to enter the horrible room. He wanted to go in but just couldn’t. He just couldn’t.

 

The secret room was once obviously a bathroom with a sink and toilet to the right and a bloodstained claw-foot bathtub to the left. The tiles covered the floor and the lower half of the walls, which were entirely covered in Chinese characters, apparently having been written in blood. Most disturbing of all was the mummified corpse lying on the floor. It appeared to be a man by the clothing.

 

When they looked more closely at the corpse, they saw it was the bald man with the beard. His face was twisted in a terrible grimace, his mouth open in a silent scream as if the last thing he saw in his life was something horrific and terrifying.

 

“Oh my God,” Constable Dolthan said. “Does anybody know … do you think it’s Reginald Clarke?”

 

“I think it is, sir,” Cloverfield said.

 

“What’s this?” Constable Dolthan said.

 

He reached under the body and pulled out a leather-bound book.

 

“All right, I’m going to have to try to contact the sergeant,” he said. “All right, gentlemen, we’re done here.”

 

“What’s the book though?” Cloverfield said. “Can I look at the book, sir?”

 

Distracted, Constable Dolthan handed him the book. Cloverfield opened it to look for the will as he left the secret room and found it was written in English. The frontispiece identified the book as Translation of The Seven Cryptical Books of Hsan. He flipped through it but there was no will inside.

 

They left the house, getting back into their vehicles. Constable Dolthan started his motorcar and drove down the drive. Pavil got his pickup truck started and got in with Wallin. They took one last glance back at the house.

 

In the 3rd floor window they saw the figure of an old man glaring down at them.

 

Wallin looked at Pavil.

 

“Did you see that?” he said.

 

“No,” Pavil quietly said.

 

He put the pickup truck in gear and they drove away.

 

* * *

 

They returned to the police station and Cloverfield handed over the book. Officer Dolthan thanked him and wrote “Evidence on Reginald Clarke death?” on a piece of paper, putting the paper into the book.

 

They learned the nearest hospital was at the county seat in Pittsfield and ended up driving up there and admitting Cloverfield and Miss Chatwick. Cloverfield rented a motorcar and driver to take Miss Chatwick home while Nurse Petrov took the train. Pavil had gone to the hospital as well, just to make sure they were all right. He later returned to Bristol, Connecticut.

 

Wallin drove home that afternoon on his own. It continued overcast and rainy for the rest of the day.

 

* * *

 

The body of the woman was identified as Madeline Werner. The body of the man was eventually identified as Reginald Clarke. Constable Dolthan contacted Wallin and Cloverfield a couple of weeks later to relay thanks from the family of Madeline Werner.

 

Each of them were also paid $100 by Thomas O’Driscoll.

 

* * *

 

Pavil soon found that repetitive tapping sounds either wore on his nerves and drove him to distraction or even rage. The sounds were almost everywhere and made his life much harder.

 

* * *

 

In the following weeks, Wallin found himself more and more afraid of the dark, a fear the continued to grow. He started leaving all his lights on at night and sleeping less and less. He always kept his dog next to him though it didn’t give him much comfort and he still couldn’t turn off the lights. He went out at night less and less.

 

In the hopes that a vacation with his dog, Sif, would help, he closed his garage for a couple weeks and went on a hunting trip. They went to a log cabin his family owned in Georgia and he spent a week there. He enjoyed the fresh air and went hunting during the week he was there in hopes it would help his state of mind.

 

It didn’t.

 

Instead, he found himself snapping at his dog and began to distrust Sif. One night, the dog got out of the cabin and he was afraid to go looking for him. The dog was on the porch of the cabin the next morning, but it almost felt like he was trying to get Wallin into the dark, as if he was … working with the darkness. He loved his dog but lost the belief that his dog loved him. He didn’t trust him completely. When the dog barked or growled, it terrified him.

 

It was not good.

 

When he returned to Connecticut, he decided to take some money out of his savings account to pay the $100 a week for a month of work with an alienist. Despite the terrible cost, the doctor actually helped him after that time and he felt better about things and was even cured of his fear of the dark.

 

* * *

 

It took some time for Cloverfield to recover from his broken leg. The break was very bad and pained him, even after it healed. He walked with a limp after that and actually found a use for his cane.







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