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Subject: Part 8: Bacon, Ghouls, and a train ride north to Inverness rss

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Keith Craig
United States
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Wednesday, 21 November: George remembers the search of Evan’s (aka Montague Edward’s) house in Weobley, “The refrigerator was full of Scottish food. I recognized the haggis. Assuming he’s Scottish, maybe we should research that area for the report of the stones transported north.”

21-26 November: Down time to research and practice. “If we’re going to confront Bacon next week, we’d best practice our shooting. Oliver, the way you made Coombs laugh at your wild shots, YOU could use some lessons.” And so, George takes John and Oliver to the range to instruct. [George: Firearms failure 93 versus 90]. Oliver pulls the trigger and the round ricochets back, zinging past their ears. George pushes his instructions [Firearms failure 97 versus 90]: John turns to ask if he grip is correct …”Blam!”… the derringer bullet grazes George’s forearm. “God help us!”

George gives up instructing and uses the rest of the week to dig for information regarding his missing fiancée Emma. John takes Oliver back to the Seven Sister’s Library to research the Scottish link. John fails to find any cult or pagan articles of interest. Oliver searches for historical landmarks similar to Stonehenge; nope. “What about the last name Edwards?” Success! An Edwards’ lineage…Lord of Mullardoch. An estate on the slopes of Loch Mullardoch west of Inverness.

Tuesday, 27 November: Oliver reminds all, “The letter from Gresty says Bacon will step out tonight under the full moon. The same conditions mentioned in detective Tuck’s 1925 report. Bacon’s walk down Liverpool Road to the Regent Canal where he magically assaulted a hobo, turning the corpse to a withered dry hulk. I think Oded would agree Bacon is draining his victim’s life essence. Therefore, I think we need to confront Bacon BEFORE he attacks another hobo. Corner him in an alley before he reaches the canal area and gains strength.”

It’s almost midnight when the front door opens and Lawrence Bacon steps onto Liverpool Road, locking the door and gate behind him. A large, 6’3”, 260ish pound man wrapped in his heavy winter coat. John grumbles as he climbs out of the car, “About time. I’ve eaten all my snacks and food.” Once Bacon turns down a side street, George and Oded run toward another side street to get ahead of Bacon before he exits his street. Meanwhile, tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum (John and Oliver) pull their coats tight as they follow Bacon down his street.

George is fidgety when he turns up the street, spotting Bacon approaching. He’s heard what Bacon can do with just his hands. Thus, when Lawrence raises his hands to his face to breath warmth, George takes it as a threat and raises his shotgun, “Don’t move Mr. Bacon.” Lawrence calls out, “Where are you Coombs. You’re needed.” Silence. Bacon turns to retrace his steps, which prompts George to act… Blam! Stone chips flake away from the uninjured man. It’s now John’s turn to confront the man now approaching him… 2 derringer shots ring out… miss/miss. Bacon scoffs, “Outa my way, boy.”

Oded takes careful aim with his Enfield rifle… Blam! More chips fly but there is a visible trickle of blood too. Bacon now runs with his hands outstretched. But instead of hands, cobras coil and spring. Sanity check. John jumps in fear. Oliver punches the striking snake, then draws his pistol…Blam. No stone flakes this time; all blood. Then another blast that covers Oliver in gore; George’s shotgun blast having gutted the threat. The body collapses to the street where it continues to twitch as if still alive.

Sanity check as the back of Bacon’s head slowly splits open as the skull plops out. And skitters across the brick street before melting (melding) into the brick mortar.

Sirens announce the approach of the police. George bends down to grab Bacon’s house keys. John rifles thru Bacon’s clothing to remove all identification. The group abandons the scene as they hustle towards Bacon’s house. They enter the ground floor finding a hoarder’s house; nearly every available floor space taken up with stacks of boxes and old newspapers. Endless rows of bookcases stuffed to the brink. “Let’s split up. John and Oliver search the ground floor while George and Oded search the floors above. Sing out if you find his library or any evidence of the cults’ plans.” Oliver cautioning, “Better hurry. You saw that thing melt into the street. Bacon could be returning to find another body.”

John and Oliver find the kitchen, complete with a trapdoor. They open the door and peer down into the darkness with their electric torches. A ladder ending at a dirt floor. John hesitant, “I doubt that old wood could support my weight. Probably just the food cellar. Let’s come back to this AFTER we search the rest of this floor.” The side door opens to a study, “Found it!” George and Oded abandon their stair climb to join in the search. A book opened on a desk. "The Turner Codex"

John recognizes it, “The Turner Codex. Maplethorne Turner, a rich and well-traveled American explorer found a number of copper plates in Guatemala and spent 11 years deciphering them. He published his findings in 1902. It’s a series of prayers to The Unspeakable One.”

Meanwhile, Oliver is drawn to a copper bowl that has 2 flat-round stones inside. A ‘star’ etched on each. Oded recognizes the star as an Elder sign, “Magical protection.” Oliver jumps when he hears the scrape of a chair sliding across the kitchen floor next door. “Bacon is back, looking for a body!” All ready as Oded creeps to the door to peer in. Surprised, Oded opens the door for all to see; a family of ghouls sit at the table as another ghoul pulls a frozen leg from the icebox and plops it on the table. Sanity check.

John faints in a ‘Bout-of-Madness, dropping the Turner book. [Failed Sanity losing 6 points and already Indefinitely Insane] Oliver enters the kitchen as he asks, “Father? What are you doing here? Who are the others?” His allies can only stare in disbelief as Oliver casually sits at the table as if joining his own family. His conversation as if talking to family. The ghouls in guttural response. Slowly George gains composure to join the conversation as he stands at a distance, “What’s your connection to Mr. Bacon?”

The ghoul Oliver calls father answers, “Mr. Bacon must be dead. He bound us to do his bidding, casting a spell that forbid us from eating without his permission. How he controlled us. Found us in the catacombs beneath Paris those 10 years ago. Forced us to gather books and artifacts for him. Yes, like that book on the floor. And others. And a silver chime. It’s upstairs next to his bed. I heard him tell others gathered in this house how it is to be used when they call forth their Unspeakable god. The copper bowl? He used it to drive people away. Yes, like that woman Delia he drove away from Alexander.”

Strange to hear George talking to the ghouls as if they are human. Asking them to search for artifacts to use against Edwards and the cultists. But even stranger to hear Oliver offering to feed the ghouls, “Dad, do the bodies have to be fresh? How often do you eat? Is that my new mother? You know mom IS still alive. Are those my step-sister and brother? I kept telling these guys you were alive and aiding me but they just didn’t believe. Now they know.” [Yes indeed, Oliver is teetering on insanity with Sanity 24.]

Wednesday, 28 November: Last night was a long and exhausting day that brings on vivid dreams: John bewitched by a girl in white who glides upon the dance floor with him. Then pause to pull back her veil that allows John to gaze unto her eyes…darkness without end, deeper than the ocean. John pushed down yet falling upwards at the same time. Into a sea of stars that are her face. Pain and terror precede John bolting upright in his sweat-soaked bed.

Oliver sits at the bow of a boat gently gliding across a lake, trailing his fingers in the silvery water. Movement under the surface. A huge marine creature glide past cresting to expose its white and yellow back. It closes, getting larger. And larger. Rising before the little boat like a towering cliff. Oliver stands… then steps into the water. Falling. Falling into a mist. The mist clearing to reveal a walled cemetery. Sitting upright, Oliver screams, “Dad?” But the headstone reads… Oliver Richardson.

Oliver dresses to then retrieve his mail. Another letter from Wilfred Gresty: thanking for the murder of Bacon. Mention of an old man, Atkinsons. How Mr. Quarrie’s wife lives on Nugs Farm in the west. Old man Quarrie able to “make things wilder than dreams and darker than nightmares yet unable to be the father of his child.” [Rosemary’s Baby?] How Edwards needs Roby for the god he is about to call. Edwards will call on Gresty but he will call on his British Gods instead for protection.

An urgency in the letter has the group researching. John unable to find any reference to Nugs farm in the library. Same results for George searching court records. Neither finding any clue to the name Wilfred Gresty. However, they do turn up Bacon’s obituary. Penned by the famed Allister Crowley who goes by the pen-name ‘Perudabo’ (Latin for, “I will last through.”). References Bacon as a ‘sometime acquaintance who used to belong to the same London club. Inseparable from Montague Edwards, the Laird of Mullardoch.’ “So, it’s settled. We board the train for Inverness and this Mullardoch.”

29-30 November: Thursday and Friday are spent getting gear for the long 2-day train ride north. Even colder.

Saturday, 1 December: Oliver realizes he needs to stock the Bacon icebox now which means a trip to the morgue. Cold cash for the cold delivery and no questions asked. He hopes. The ghouls already have a present ready, “We thought this book (Unausprechlichen Kulten) might prove handy. I assume you or the others know German. It translates to ‘Unnamable Cults’.”

Sunday, 2 December: The air is filled with clouds both from the cold breath of passengers waiting to board the train, and from the train engine puffing in idle. While waiting, Oliver happens to spot (03 critical) a skinny man with no chin, nervously fingering a leather necklace.

One tug too many reveals an obsidian black whistle. Oliver nervously scans the platform as he tells the others, “Don’t look, but there is another cult member with a whistle. Which means Coombs could be on our tail.” Oded offers comfort, “Relax my friend. My associates are also scattered about the platform also keeping a watch for the burly thug. As for your new friend…maybe we should keep an eye on him.”

Hours pass as the train chugs north out of London toward Newcastle along the eastern coast. Dinnertime gathers all in the dining car where they find no-chin man sitting alone. Sitting at their own table, George stares at the man who seems to mumble. George trying to ‘Read Lips’ (fails 00 out of 90). Tries to mouth along with him hoping to find his words (Push failed 96). The man noticing his observer, rises to leave. John approaches, “I must apologize for my friend. You look too much like his fellow soldier in the Great War who was killed in the trenches with him.” The man approaches George and loudly (inappropriately loud) offers his condolences. Drinks are offered; conversation follows.

“I’m Henry Lister, a mechanical engineer. Loud machine noise has destroyed my hearing. Boss called; I’m late joining the others. He summoned everyone; about a dozen of us. Hell to pay if I didn’t come.” John scratches his head trying to remember… Lister… Lister. Oh yeah, the cultist who gave bar-owner Blair his whistle. Oliver pulls out his pocket-watch and joins the conversation, “Late. Time. Time is so fleeting. If only time would slow.” [Hypnosis failed]. Oliver tries a different approach as he pulls out Quarrie’s book. Lister recognizes the title, “Hey, I actually know that author, Alexander Roby. Going toward Inverness to meet him. He’s one of the group. Maybe I can introduce you. What’d you say your names are?”

George about to respond when Oliver kicks him under the table and whispers, “Ixna on the name say.” Everyone quietly contemplating the next move. Should they show their own whistles gathered from the deceased? Blend in with the group? Coombs will certainly be there. Or just throw Lister from the train?

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