The morning paper brought unfortunate news. Emerson’s building burned in the night, around midnight. Emerson is suspected of being one of 2 bodies dead. A second was also found. Friday arrived shortly after I finished the article.
Friday “I lost one of my best men, disappeared. The two bodies…one I am sure is Emerson. I’ll lay money the other is my man.” He was not only very upset, but quite angry.
Will came through the door, looking none too surprised that Friday was here. He had read the news as well.
Friday “He was a good man. We need to get these bastards.”
Once the others assembled, we finalized our strategy:
Theolonius and Jack caught the first train to Arkam today.
Will would visit Prospero to speak to the editor Kennsington, who Will knows personally as well. Father Jon accompanied him.
Atwater and I decided to visit Juju House as patrons this afternoon to reconnoiter the establishment.
Prospero’s building is a bit shabby, but clean, on Lexington Ave. near 35th. Will said Prospero doesn’t try to choose popular bestsellers, but books for a more limited readership. They found Kennsington to very sad over the death of Elias.
“Terrible thing that happened.”
Will “When did you know of him being in town, if you did.”
“Got off the boat 4 days ago.”
Will “Really? Because in this wire to me he said he wouldn’t arrive until the 15th. Why would he say that? Do you know what he was involved in?”
“I don’t think you want to know the answer to that.”
Will “I definately want to know the answer to that.”
“He mentioned you. When he stopped here on that first day.”
Will “Oh yes?”
“Yes. He said that what was happening was maybe too dangerous, and he wanted to find out as much as he could about what was happening before he got you involved. He was worried about you, as his friend, that you might get killed.”
Will “Well, I’m involved fully now; and I’ve got some friends with me. It’s not just me alone, for what it’s worth.”
“I think his old enemies caught up to him, or elses this new project was even more dangerous than he thought.”
Will “What project is that?”
“The book he’s working on.”
Will “What is it? He never said. I only know he found something out about Carlysle Expedition in Central America, as well as being in Shangai and London at least before here.”
“He told me that he was sure a blood cult has massacred the Carlysle Exp, but that not all the principles had been killed.”
Will “What made him think that? Where did he discover that?”
“Just a minute, let me find the letters.” It took Kennsington a few minutes of searching his desk and office drawers. “Excuse me while I find… Ah”
He presented the initial letter to Kennsington from Roger stating his opinion of living members of the Exp.(see handout), and Jackson asking for money to continue. “Of course I sent him the money. Then he got weird.”
Will "What happened? His letters got weird?
Will “In what way?”
“He sent me his notes, and then I got a wire from Shangai asking me for an advance. Then another wire from London on Dec 16th.”
Will "So, he went from here, to Central America. He went there first?
“Yes, but I don’t know why.”
Will “Then he went to Nairobi?”
WIll “Then Nairobi, to Shangai.”
“Yes, and then London. He said he’d been to China, Africa and London where he had dug up lots of things. He had seen unbelievablle things, and mentioed a plan or conspiracy of monstrous and worldwide proportions. He said there was a timetable and he needed to find the missing pieces, but he wouldn’;t explain anymore. The wire ended saying he soon would be in NY. He took passage the next day. He told me a good friend of his had come to London, and he was going to get him to help get him home alive.”
Will “Who was that?”
Will “Oh my.”
“Evidently you left London the day he tried to contact you.”
Jon “That’s a shame.”
Will “But he did make it here.”
“Yes. He got here 4 days ago. Said once he was sure that he absolutely needed help and that it was important enough, and because he thought he was to go into, as he put it, ‘the jaws of death’, apparently he was, he might enlist your help. First he wanted to find out more on his own.”
Will “Then he was killed.”
“Yes, but he dropped off more notes here.”
Will “Did he now?”
“Yes. I tried to have him committed.”
Will “Why, because of his notes?”
“It was obvious he had gone over the edge. He had gone insane.”
Will “My friends and I will definitely need those. And any other notes of this research you may have.”
“I have them all.”
Will “From how long back?”
“Everything he sent me from Shangai and London as well. I’m not giving them to you.”
Will "Why won’t you?
“Because! Elias was a good man, I don’t want people thinking he was insane.”
Will They won’t. No one else will see them but my associated who are investigating his murder. You have to trust me, my friend."
“(Uncertainty in his voice) Trust you.” After a moment “Here, here is his most recent, just a note.” The note is difficult to read (see handout), but speaks of something of many forms…Nyarlathotep? Kennsington then gave Will the rest of the notes, exasperated over the tragedy of the whole affair. Nothing from Central America itself.
The 3 of them then tried to piece together the difficult script of Jackson’t last note.
Will “From Central America to Egypt to Nairobi, where by his notes he still seems normal. By the time he was in Shangai, at some point there, this happened (the point where a reader can tell Elias’ mind is changing for the worse).”
“Maybe not. It’s possible his Shangai notes were lost or destroyed. All of that may have been written in London. We can’t tell. There’s no way to know.”
‘Many names, many forms, but all the same and ?? toward one end. Need help. Too big, too ghastly. These dreams, dreams like Carlysle’s…"
Will “Oh no!”
’? that psychoanalyses ?. All of them…….They opened the gates. Why? So the ?? and the ?? is real. They … many threads beginning. The ? one in Carlysle is safe. Coming for us. ? will the ocean protect….
Will and Jon took their leave of the distraught Jonah Kennsington and returned to the office.
I prepared myself and Atwater with suitable disguises and we travelled uneventfully to Juju. Cassandra held down the fort in case of any surprising developements. Our play was that we have been to Egypt once, and became interested in African wares. Hearing of Juju, we came to buy. We took a cab just into Harlem, and walked to the same alley. The tenaments surrounding the alley were either empty or housing mostly African and especially Kenyan immigrants. Let’s hope we never need to burn down the entire block. My general knowledge of things would be enough to get us by. We weren’t posing as archaeologists after all.
Silas stood at the counter, putting on a happy face. Too happy. There were 3 black men in the shop, seemingly customers, yet one left almost as soon as we entered the shop. The place looked like it hadn’t been dusted for weeks if not longer. There were so many items and curios in the shop, I wished I had brought Jon to identify anything truly arcane.
Silas “What is it you want?”
Myself “We hearsd about this shop selling African artifacts. We were in Egypt recently and things African became an interest of ours.”
Silas “Would you like to buy some dried water buffalo testicles?”
Myself “What are those for?”
“Well you dry them, crush them up, put them into a drink and it makes you strong like a bull.”
Atwater “Any mummy parts?”
“No, nothing like that.”
Myself “How about figurines, statues. Maybe tribal weaponry.”
He showed us some primitive statues, but nothing that seemed of note. There were no visible exits within the shop other than the main entrance.
Silas “perhaps white men like yourselves might be interested in something a bit more…esoteric.”
Atwater “I was hoping you might say that.”
Myself “That would impress the fellas, wouldn’t it!”
Behind the counter he went, and brought out a tique wood box. From it, he withdrew a figuring of a squat, fat fertility goddess. Like a mother goddess.
Myself ’May I look at it?" He handed it to me “Where is this from?”
“The upper Congo regions.”
Myself “Ah. Deep inside Africa. Very interesting. Very nice” as I examined it closely on all sides. “Is this a fertility goddess?”
“It’s a fertility goddess, from one of the poor beknighted savages."
Myself “Hmm, that’s very interesting. This might be a possibility, here.” I sat it back down and began looking around.
Myself “Now you’re really making this interesting. Abercrombie, pay the man!”
Atwater “Yes sir.”
We bought the figuring, and a couple other minor little things. Nothing at all seemed amiss, and he was totally inocuous, so we make our leave. In the courtyard we saw several black males ahead. I pretended to eye the spear I had just procured, with Atwater’s pocketbook, intently. As we passed by I gave them a “good day gentlemen, fine shop you have there”. They glared at us as we passed by and into the alley. Once we were half way down, 4 men blocked our exit and began walking toward us. The 4 from the courtyard did the same from our rear.
“Myself “What is the problem, gentlemen?”
Atwater “We don’t want any trouble.”
One spoke “White boys ain’t got no business bein’ here.”
Myself “We were just visiting you local shop of curiosoties. Didn’t mean any offense. The owner ofo the place was quite friedly.”
“White boys gona wish you had never been born.”
Atwater “I’ll have you know I’m a republican!”
Myself “My friend is a well known Dr. His going missing will certainly be noticed and investigated.”
“Have no fear, body never be found.”
Atwater and I were in a deadly predicament, with no slayer like Jon or Theolonius at our side. My first thought was to look upward, as that was our only option, and hope for the best. There, above me and just to my right (I stood to Atwater’s right) was a fire escape, though too high to reach. Reaching up with the spear, I caught onto it and yanked it downward quick as I could, and just quick enough it was.
“Atwater “I’ll hold them off!” as I raced up the steps. Atwater pulled his revolver, not wasting time with the swordcane, and moved directly behind me. One villain with a club ran at Atwater first, whose gun went off-8. Reaching Atwater his club struck Atwater a blow-7. The others seemed to delay a moment because of the presence of the firearm. Atwater then deftly tripped the clubber with his swordcane and raced up to me. Once he was up, I pulled the stairs back up as they found their courage and made for it and we ascended quickly. The jump to the adjacent tenament was too far, so our choiced were the roof to the catwalk on the other side, or into the building itself. Having to choose instantly, we went into the door to the topmost floor and shut it behind us. It entered into the main hallway of the floor, and I jammed the spearpoint into the doorjam to spike it shut. As we were making our way downstairs, we heard pounding on the door (they must have reached the stairs in some way) before it broke open. By now we had reached the first floor and rushed out the front door hoping none were there to block us. There weren’t any at the building, but at the next street corner there were 2. The larger yelled to the other “get help” as we simply ran past him as fast as we could. He charged us headlong, missing his initial swipe at me but another quick slash hit Atwater-7.
We simply kept running for the limits of Harlem, hoping to chance upon a cab as Atwater. There was soon enough, but he evidently saw the black men chasing us down and sped away before we were close enough. The villains were yelling at us, and many residents were not looking out their windows. The leader, who Atwater shot, was wailing particularly angrily. As we rounded a corner, Atwater-18 and I-7 both took a shot at him, dropping the crazed killer. A couple blocks away we were able to board a cab and fled safely to civilization.
Now back at the office with the others, I write this after we made our first cursory look at the Kennsington evidence. Jon has returned home, and Will has left to inform Cassandra he will be here late with me reading Elias’ Nairobi notes thouroughly.
The great revelation is what Elias discovered about the expedition, having wired Kennsington that he had found out not all of the members had been killed! He then went directly to Shanghai. Why? Only one possible conclusion of course: the person or persons he felt are alive were there. The ‘who’ we hope to find in his notes, but I will venture a prediction here as I did to Will: Jack Brady. The fact that it is China practically makes it elementary. As a marine he was stationed there, and we know him to be capable in several Chinese dialects. The fact that the ‘where’ is China means the ‘who’ must be Brady. The place where he met or at least sought out Brady must be the Stumbling Tiger Bar, 10 Lantern St, Shanghai Fun & Friends, from the matchbook. What of the yacht? Is that Brady’s home there? Only one other yacht has surfaced in our previous investigations, the yacht aboard which the parents of Chandler from NWE died. That would be an unbearable connection, and thankfully an unlikely one.
But what has Brady been doing all these years, hiding out? Has he been there all these years or other places as well? What kept him from simply coming home and telling his story? Perhaps Elias notes will reveal more.
The rambling letter is of serious concern. If Elias could suffer from the dreams like Carlyle, it could happen to one of us during the course of our investigation. If what he alludes to, opening some gate/many threads beginning, do we now deal with 2 separate cult conspiracies? One linked to Carlyle and the other Baron H. and Stanford? What if they are both simply parts of the same; one single grand plot? What we may be uncovering here in our own home and its environs if maddeningly far reaching.
The mystery remains about Elias in Central America, as well. Did he uncover a lead to a greater scheme, at some point connecting it with Carlysle and Kenya? Was he researching something else and stumbled upon it to his own surprise, or did he dig something up from other research that caused him to go there to investigate the possibity (it seems he did keep the true reason for his trip secret)?