November 22, 1923
"Mother said there'd be days like this," Jessica Carson thought to herself as she slowly leafed through her husband's files."No, as a matter of fact, she had no freaking clue."
Surely, not even a guilt filled Irish mother could imagine that in one quick year, her unmarried daughter would go from small town school teacher (with a checkered past) to the talk of New York City... and a widow.
It had been two weeks since she had last seen her husband, in the underground catacombs somewhere under the Revio Theater. Two weeks since a full block of Off Broadway theaters had been leveled in an explosion caused by a crazed magician. Two weeks since she had discovered the Mayor's kidnapped daughter, Maureen and became an instant celebrity. It had been a tough and confusing two weeks.
After the media frenzy, the public appearances with Mayor Hylan, the rabid debate on if a woman should have played a roll in such a dangerous operation to begin with, Jessica went back to her roll as a schoolteacher, stopping into JP's office at nights to try to piece together just what happened to her life.
While packing up files and cleaning up, the office phone rang. Robert Carrington was on the line, looking for JP. After a few moments of awkward realization that he had read the whole story in the paper, he presented his offer to Jessica.
He had an associate that was looking for an investigator to deal with a questionable patient. For two months teacher's salary, Jessica was willing to moonlight into her husband's profession.
Carrington was still a respectable gentleman, so he offered one of his associates to drive her around town. When Byron Clarkson knocked on her door, it seemed like an odd pairing, a very "British" race car driver under majority sponsorship of Carrington for next year's Indianapolis 500. They jumped into his roadster and drove over to Dr Joseph Pendleton's office,
Dr Pendleton appeared shaky and paranoid, avoiding pleasantries while going with a direct "Were you followed?"
Only after the duo stated that no one tailed them did the doctor continue.
One of his patients, a Meg Telly, was scheduled to give birth sooner, and he worried of her and her husband Ken's intentions towards the baby. Meg had a strange tattoo and Ken constantly asked which day the baby was coming. That, coupled a few coincidences and a deformed fetus on x-ray made the doctor worry that the couple was involved in some strange cult. The duo's was to provide evidence to prove or disprove the good doctor's worries, and whether or not the doctor should terminate the pregnancy.
Byron was taken aback by the doctor's bluntness, especially with how deranged the whole situation sounded. Jessica was only worried about the doctor's medical record (impeccable) and off they went.
Jumping into the roadster, the pair headed off to Brooklyn to the Telly Service Station. It was owned by Meg's father in law and was where her husband Ken was employed. The senior Telly greeted the car at the gas pump and struck up a conversation about cars with Byron. Jessica asked for a rest room and did a cursory search of the building, finding no clues.
Upon leaving, they determined a more thorough search under cover was needed. That was, Jessica demanded it, and her driver could only agree, with a side trek to the Carrington estate. If some questionable activities were to be committed, he sure wasn't going to use his roadster in a bad section of Brooklyn in the middle of the night. Carrington's older hudson might blend in a bit better, plus he would be above the law if anything bad should happen.
With their new wheels, they headed back the service station. Upon ditching the Hudson safely, they picked the lock, staged a scene to make it look like a smash and grab burglary and went about the place. The search netted them little, save a calendar in the garage bay with each Wednesday circled with the letters "IHME" written inside.
A bit dejected, Jessica decided to leave, Byron wanting nothing more than ending this bizarre night of lawbreaking, but they had barely gotten towards one of the bridges to go back to Manhattan when the duo realized that they had never searched the numerous cars behind the station!
A quick u-turn and they were back. Some quick lock picking and they discovered a robe, some candles, incense, a silver bell, and a gold dagger in the trunk of one of cars. A much more relieved pair headed back to personally deliver the evidence to the doctor, even at that late hour. The evidence received and money exchanged, Carrington's associates soon went their separate ways, in Byron's opinion, not a moment too soon from these crazy people.
It was around mid-December when Jessica found Dr Pendleton's name in the newspaper. He had been arrested for performing three abortions while in the middle of the delivering perfectly healthy children in the month of December. Jessica began to question if a robe, a fancy dagger, and a weird x-ray were enough to justify his actions in November. Perhaps there were facets of her husband's profession that a novice couldn't pick up on the fly.
They Sleep By Twilight is from Worlds of Cthulhu Magazine #5
Next Cthulhu Session: The main group takes much desired vacation... to South Dakota in the Winter.