Nightmares in Norfolk: Tunnel Crawl (Session 10)
by, 20th August 2012 at 02:39 PM (454 Views)
St Michael's cemetery, Baltimore. Saturday, March 1st, 1924
After some initial reluctance on the part of Wilson Buckenham (until he realised he'd be left alone above ground) the investigators crept into the tunnel, Theo Charles pulling the seal closed behind them (and then crawling backwards as there was no room to turn around.
The steep downward slope wasn't as difficult to traverse as they'd though thanks to there being plenty of hand- or footholds. At the bottom of the slope they found themselves in a muddy damp chamber, about 10 feet across. Its floor was covered in footprints - barefoot children, shoe and bootprints of varying sizes and what appeared to be the tracks of a big sheep or goat - something with cloven hooves, at least. All rather odd and nothing like tracks that any of them had seen before.
The tunnels were all narrow and low, forcing the investigators to crawl and slowing movement significantly. Nevertheless, they headed off down the tunnel leading from the first chamber, turned left at the first intersection they came to. At the junction Buckenham spotted a small notebook in the mud on the floor. Flicking through it he found it was mostly lists of unfamiliar names but last two pages listed "Buckenham", "F. Flannegan", "Marcario boys", a list of saints (mostly crossed out) and other names familiar to the investigators. They deduce that the notebook is Kinnaird's and that the saints were the names of churches he'd checked or planned to check.
At this point Buckenham thinks he heard someone crying from deeper within the tunnels without being able to get much of a fix on its source (other than roughly north of their current position). They continue with their literal tunnel crawl, turning left again at the next intersection, and carry on until the tunnel else in a small chamber. The chamber has an empty coffin, its lid prised off and, looking up, they see a shaft in the ceiling rising some 20 feet. Their torchlight seems to illuminate stone at the top of this shaft. They turn over the coffin lid (which was lying face down in the mud next to the coffin) and find the name Guillaume La Croix.
The investigators conclude that, due to having turned left twice, they're now back under the mausoleum.
They keep exploring and find another coffin nearby, also excavated from beneath, but this has no name plaque.
Once again Buckenham hears what sounds like sobbing coming from the north. This time others also hear it but the crying seems to un-nerve the party and they high tail it out of the tunnels and head back to the hotel.
Back at the hotel Buckenham checks again with the P I Agency and is told there's still no sign of Kinnaird. He suspect he knows where Mr Kinnaird might be but doesn't take the opportunity to inform Kinnaird's employers. Instead O'Malley makes an anonymous call to Colonial Cover PD reporting "vandalism beneath the grave of Evelyn la Croix". He hangs up when asked "Who is this?"
Baltimore, Sunday March 2nd, 1924
Refreshed after a night's sleep the party head back to St Michaels for the 11 o'clock service. Afterwards they speak to three families who have boys in the Marcarios' class. One of those pupils confirms that he saw the Marcarios speaking to an old man at the school gate last Monday. One of the Marcarios then collected Solomon and Chortzo from the playground before all four boys left with the old man. He recognises the man from the newspaper article that O'Malley's been carrying around - it was Father Flannegan.
Investigators then ask F. Domingo about church records - specifically those concerning the La Croix family - and are shown to the cold, but dry, basement. They spend hours there digging through 200 years or more of records, establish that an early La Croix (Jean Paul, in fact, whose coffin they'd found to be empty) had run away from home aged 17, returned 3 years much changed. So changed, in fact, that the family had asked for an exorcism. This took a few months to arrange (which must have been a fun time to be in the La Croix house) and the exorcism then proved terminal for Jean Paul. The investigators noted that he was then buried on the same day he died which struck them as indecent haste. The records mentioned blasphemous drawings that Jean Paul had drawn being burned and, folded in with the tome, was a scrap of paper with the inverted triangle with the inverted eye design they'd found at Evelyn La Croix's tomb. There was nothing to indicate whether or not this was one of the drawings that somehow got missed or had been inserted in the records at a later date, though.
The investigators finally leave the church at around 6 o'clock, somewhat famished. Before heading back to the hotel they call on the Giordanos to offer nebulous words of encouragement and ask about drawings. "Oh, yes. The boys love to draw.", Maria tells them, and shows them two drawings that the boys did either on Sunday evening or Monday morning. Each shows one boy watching as the other seems to be standing in a puddle surrounded by branches or possibly tendrils.Spoiler:
Heading back to the main road to find a cab they are encouraged to see a police car parked outside St Michaels, and so head off back to the hotel for some much-needed food, confident that all is now under control and the police will resolve everything.
Baltimore, Monday March 3rd, 1924
After breakfast the group first check train times to Boston. The 9pm train on Tuesday will get them into Boston at 3pm on Wednesday (with a few hours to spare before the HOST induction for Buckenham and Charles). That effectively gives them two days to tie up loose ends in Baltimore.
After purchasing some weapons they head back to St Michaels. Buckenham spent rather more than he'd intended, leaving the shop with a stetson, one of those jackets with frills and a pair of boots with spurs as well as the handgun he'd gone in for. He's persuaded to leave the cowboy gear in the hotel.
Back at St Michaels they were half expecting to see the police car still parked outside but - to their relief - it had gone. They head back to the La Croix mausoleum. Careful examination shows new prints since yesterday - boots (presumably those of the policeman) and, worryingly, more of those strange cloven hooves. The seal on Evelyn's tomb is shut - the investigators had left it open for the police to find the tunnel. Uh oh.
Nevertheless they remove the seal again and re-enter the tunnels. Following a different route they find another empty coffin (that of Jonas Williamson, mid 1800's) before finding themselves somewhere they'd been on Saturday. Listening carefully they couldn't hear any crying but there did seem to be high-pitched voices off to the north, possibly arguing. After carefully following the sounds through a couple of intersections they find themselves looking down on a massive chamber - some 40' wide, 30' deep and dug down to give it a height of 10-12'. Half a dozen lamps hang from the ceiling shedding light on the scene. They see to the left a large inverted triangle with a lidless eye painted on the west wall above what may be an altar.
Ahead of them across the a cavern runs a large sewage pipe, cracked open (easily wide enough for someone to climb into if they didn't mind the smell).
To the right is a table next to an extinguished fire. The body of a boy, somewhat bloated, lies on top of the table. Beyond the table O'Malley can see two boys, apparently in their underwear, bent over something, their faces (as far as he can see) smeared with a dark red substance (most likely to be strawberry jam or something like that). The boys seem to be roughhousing - the one nearer O'Malley has hold of his brother's head and seems to be pushing his head down into whatever they're hunched over (hopefully a bucket of the aforementioned strawberry jam).
Next to the boys O'Malley can see the shoulders and head of what appears to be Father Flannegan (missing his spectacles and, somewhat scandalously, his hat). The investigators are about to retreat to make a plan when Theo Charles - who'd drawn the short straw and was bringing up the rear again is grabbed from behind!
What a cracking cliff-hanger to end the session on, eh?