Nightmares in Norfolk: Burn it! Burn it with fire! (Session 6)
by, 27th May 2012 at 11:19 PM (239 Views)
4:00pm, 22nd February, 1924
Wilson Buckenham has survived his afternoon with Aunt Agatha and is blissfully unaware of what transpired in the basement at Sheafe Street. He is, however, all too aware of how his cousins, nephews and neices from the Providence branch of the family are getting along and knows far, far too much about how poor Aunt Agatha is suffering with her varicose veins.
Mrs Mildred Charles is settled in at Carney Hospital and, thanks to the wonders of prescription drugs, feels no pain. She doesn't feel anything, in fact, and should be prepared for a lengthy stay. Hopefully she'll be allowed home in 2 or 3 weeks' time but at least her money's got her a rather nice private room. She should expect a visit from a friendly cop so that she can explain her puzzling injuries.
Suspected Bolshevik sympathiser Hutchy Moon seems to have disappeared. The investigators expect this disappearance - coming so soon after Lieutenant McKenna's interview with him - to be noticed. Lt. McKenna didn't get to head Boston PD's Bolshevik Squad without being somewhat tenacious once he gets a lead. He'll certainly be interested to hear that Moon's bloodstained van is currently parked outside Carney Hospital - and who knows what a detailed search of Moon's premises will uncover?
Father Flannegan is outside Carney Hospital, wondering what to do next. Having assisted Mrs Charles into the van and into the hospital he is rather bloodstained himself (but not as much as the interior of Moon's van). A change of clothes would be sensible as the bloodstains seem to be attracting notice.
In nearby Roxbury the hideously scarred Major Boris "Lucky" Konchesny - an old war buddy of Wilson Buckenham - is at home watching a maid sweep up the remains of a teacup which he'd accidentally knocked off a table. Major Konchesny's household goes through a lot of crockery - it's almost as if he's exceptionally unlucky (as well as hideously scarred).
An almost terminally inquisitive cat is decidedly unimpressed by the funnel collar it was given at the vet but is making the best of a bad situation by getting to know the layout of the Charles house. It appears to have taken a shine to one of the windowsills in the (south facing) library as is enjoying the fading February sunshine as it makes its feline plans.
Oh, and there's a knife loose aboot the hoose (again).
And so the story continues ...
From a call box outside Carney Hospital, Father Flannegan makes a couple of calls. He first calls Wilson Buckenham, says they need help without going into any detail and asks if he knows someone who could join the investigators for an evening's adventuring.
The father then calls the Charles residence and lets Theo know that his wife is in hospital. Theo rushes to the hospital where he's brought up to date with what's happened and how his wife got such horrible injuries. He seems to accept the priest's explanation of demons and the like (but then Father Flannegan is very, very persuasive).
Meanwhile Buckenham is calling an old war buddy, Major Boris Konchesny. They'd bumped into each other - literally, Konchesny had tripped over Buckenham's feet at some event or other - recently and the major had complained the civilian life was still proving to be rather dull. Excited by the prospect of some action the major persuaded Granger, his ex-sapper gardener, to accompany him on the night's adventure.
Everyone meets up at the hospital and four of them (Buckenham's brought Smith along but he and Granger have been left to watch the vehicles) squeeze into Mildred's hospital room to hatch their plans.
They consider the option of ripping up floorboards in one of the front rooms to get access to the hidden part of the basement but reject this and decide to use the low, narrow tunnel from the ruined chapel (having assumed that the basement is its destination). They split up and meet outside the chapel ruins, Buckenham and Smith having stopped off at a gas station en route to pick up a jerry can of fuel - just in case they run out of gas between stations.
Half an hour after sunset the intrepid six climb over the wall into the ruined chapel grounds and, using a length of rope that Buckenham had thoughtfully brought along, have no difficulty in getting to the tunnel entrance. The major leads the way, followed by Granger, Buckenham, Smith, Charles and Father Flannegan - wary of this tunnel following his earlier encounter with the flying knife - bringing up the rear.
They think they're over half way to the end of the tunnel when Smith suddenly asks "Can anyone else taste violets?" Father Flannegan is horrified to hear a familiar crackling noice behind him in the tunnel and frantically urges everyone forwards through the door. Konchesny is surprised to bounce off the door when he tries to shoulder-charge his way through so, obviously, pulls out his pistol and shoots at the lock (rather than, for example, turning the door handle). Two of his colleagues are deafened by the unexpected gunshot in such a confined space. Thanks, Major.
The door is finally opened and the investigators tumble in, Flannegan feelish a swish of air past his neck as he's the last through the doorway. Inside, the team are immediately assailed by the foetid stench of sour earth and decay - and all bar Buckenham and Granger immediately vomit due to the smell.
They are barely aware of the room's contents, being more concerned about the apelike insect (or is that an insectoid ape?) clawing its way in after them. Buckenham brings his shotgun to bear and, not for the last time tonight, misses his target completely. Granger takes one look at the violet horror and shrieks. He turns back to look for a hiding place and takes in the room's contents. This, in hindsight, proves to be a mistake.
Granger sees the wooden statue of an old man, caked in dirt, lying on a stone slab in the middle of the room. In one corner stands a table, in another a rug covering something next to a bucket of some sort and, at the foot of the stone slab what appear to be the corpses of an infant and a black-clad adult. His attention is grabbed, however, when the statue's eyes snap open to reveal two burning red lights. This is too much for the gardener and he sinks to his knees and starts rocking back and forth, muttering nonsense.
The horror, faced with three obvious targets nearby, chooses the stationary one and Granger takes a wicked wound across his back. It is fortunate (for him, and for Father Flannegan who might otherwise have been the target) that he is largely oblivious to this.
Those investigators who can move split to the far corners of the room (painfully aware that the room is just not large enough to avoid the violet demon for more than a couple of seconds). Shots rings out from those who are armed but the vast majority miss their mark. Buckenham is reloading his single-shot shotgun as quickly as he can, aided by Theo Charles (who'd somehow remembered his shotgun ammunition but not the gun itself!) Smith and Konchesny have their service revolvers (actually Buckenham's in Smith's case) and fire off shot after shot, hitting only a couple of times between then in 8 or 9 shots. Konchesny, laughing maniacally after his first view of the horror, had thrown himself to the ground on the far side of the statue and became aware that he was lying on something sharp. Distracted by the self-inflicted cut, he looks down to see he is lying on an ornately carved brass knife.
"That'll be perfect", he thinks, and takes hold of the handle.
As he does this the wooden statue suddenly sits upright on the limestone slab. If this wasn't enough of a surpise, Konchesny suddenly stops laughing, lurches to his feet and tries to stab Theo with the ornate dagger. Theo manages to dodge the blade and grabs the major's arm. They continue struggle and the major - possibly due to his being dealt a hefty thwack across the back of the head by Father Flannegan with a blood-encrusted ladle (which the priest had spotted resting in the equally blood encrusted pail) - is forced to drop the blade. At this, Konchesny starts laughing again, just as suddenly as he'd first stopped, although he's not sure why he's now standing up and why his head hurts so much. Spotting an ornate knife at his feet, the major makes to pick it up but Theo's not let go of him and - again, unexpectedly - manages to stop the major from picking it up again. Instead, it's Father Flannegan who drops the ladle and dives in to snatch the knife away from the cackling major.
As Buckenham and Smith continue to shoot in the general vicinity of the horror (but, tellingly, not actually hitting it) it grabs hold of Granger and literally rips him apart, his blood spraying everywhere. Ick.
A glassy eyed Flannegan now tries to stab Konchesny and Theo releases the major so he can defend himself. Konchesny does so by snatching up his pistol and attempting to shoot the blade out of the priest's hands.Not surprisingly, the major misses the blade but hits the priest squarely in the left shoulder. The shock of this makes Flannegan drop the knife and he's suddenly aware of a piercing pain in his shoulder - he would appear to have been shot! He notices the ladle at his feet, picks it up and throws it with all his might at the violet demon.Spoiler:
Surprising this seems to be the final straw for the horror and, with a roar, it sinks into the floor and disappears.
The investigators still have the wooden statue to deal with, though. It lurches towards Buckenham and Smith but they still can't hit a barn door with their guns. When they do hit the statue all their shots seem to do is chip chunks of wood off it anyway. Buckenham gives up and starts swinging his shotgun like a clubThe statue swings and misses at Buckenham a couple of times before Buckenham - with Smith's help - wrestles it to the ground. It is at this point, firmly gripping the statue's waist, that Buckenham realises that the statue is of an anatomically correct old, old man. A naked old, old man. Far too anatomically correct for Buckenham's liking, in fact.Spoiler:
With the statue now on the ground Buckenham, Smith, Charles and Konchesny each take a limb, leaving the father free to pick up the knife one more time and, with just a moment's hesitation, plunge it into the statue's chest. Its chest collapses under the force of the blade and the father falls unconscious over the statue as the glow in the statue's eyes fades away.Spoiler:
The investigators take stock. While looking for weapons Flannegan had lifted the rug in the corner to find the corpses of two children. The black lump turns out to be another corpse, that of a male wearing a robe and dog collar - this is tentatively identified as the remains of Rev. Michael Thomas. Just as Father Flannegan regains consciousness he finds that the others have decided to burn the statue and he concurs.
Flannegan seems a little distracted, though, and seems more interested in where the three diaries had been left than with destroying the evidence but then he is a 64 year old priest who's just been through a rather horrible experience so that's understandable. Buckenham is surprised - and a little concerned - to find that the ornate knife is nowhere to be seen but the priest explains that it must have somehow dissolved into the statue when it struck the fatal blow - something strange had certainly happened, after all, causing him to lose consciousness.
Leaving Granger to burn alongside the statue, the statue is doused in fuel and set alight as the survivors high tail it out of the basement and back to the chapel - they just hoped that the rest of the house didn't catch fire.Spoiler:
Flannegan is taken to hospital to have his bullet wound attended to. Konchesny should probably seek medical attention for his head but is unaware that he was struck quite as hard as he was. Perhaps he'll pop in when he wakes on Saturday with a splitting headache and blood on his pillow?
The session closed with the investigators very much aware that there will be questions to be answered. Hopefully they'll have a perfectly reasonable explanation or will, at the very least, stick to a consistent story! They'll next meet at 2 o'clock tomorrow for the Hermetic Order of the Silver Twilight's open day. An afternoon's mingling with members and prospective members of a rightly exclusive gentleman's club sounds like just the right sort of thing to take their minds off the past couple of days.