USW: The Truth Shall Set You Free

Session 8

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Left to her own devices, Jane continues her research into symbolic alternatives for mercury. Neopagans seem to use aluminum, although one person makes reference to mastic gum as an edible substitute, although some people claim it makes them nauseous.

While continuing to look around her apartment in an effort to determine what has happened the past few weeks, she finds a package shoved in the back of her underwear drawer. It appears to be a rectangular prism nearly seven and a half inches long by a little over four inches wide and 1 inch thick wrapped in plain brown paper. Scrawled across the wrapper, in Shelly’s hand, is simply the message, “KEEP IT SAFE!” Jane grabs something to poke at it, noting that it makes a plastic-sounding rattle when it moves. She otherwise does not touch it.

Jane texts Tommy, letting him know about the object and asking for his assistance. He agrees to come over right away. While Jane is waiting for him, she gets some snacks together. Rupert calls, asking after Jane and making certain she is all right; she notes that Tommy is about to come over, but can they meet tomorrow? Rupert agrees.

Tommy arrives a short while later. He evidently doesn’t sense anything from the package, and feeling a bit more confident about it, Jane opens the parcel. It appears to be a black VHS cassette, with a yellowed label that has long since been torn away. As neither Jane nor Tommy owns a VCR, they don’t have any way to view it. They decide to let it go for a day or two, but Tommy soon returns to the subject, suggesting they go to a secondhand store and purchase a VCR.

A quick trip to Salvation Army, and they return and attach the device to the television. The tape is a little grainy, and is obviously raw footage complete with timecode. A label on the letterbox marks the film title as Sorority Sexposé. It is quickly revealed to be a pornographic film, depicting a woman dressed as a cheerleader engaging in sexual intercourse with two men dressed as football players. It has all the hackneyed dialogue and awkward sex one might expect of a low-budget production; judging by the hair styles, it was probably filmed in the mid-1990s. Early on, however, Tommy obliquely indicates arousal, suggesting something esoteric is about to happen. During the climax of the sex scene, the woman on-screen glows with an inner light that grows brighter and brighter until the screen is completely enveloped in white. Something about the scene is moving, almost ecstatic.

After an awkward pause, Tommy says he’ll take his leave. He doesn’t feel comfortable talking to his associates about this, but he recommends asking Tom and Shake about it. He leaves. After sitting in dumbstruck silence, Jane considers the fact that Shelly must have sent her the tape before she disappeared. She then returns to scouring the internet for information on Dr. Wakahisa, to no avail.

The next day, Jane meets Rupert for coffee at the Book Cellar around noon. He asks if she is well, and after an awkward conversation where she talks a little more broadly about her strange experiences of late, he asks if she is in danger or if drugs are involved. She doesn’t know about the former, but assures him that no drugs are involved. If only it were that easy.

He recommends that perhaps she should seek professional help, and she accepts that possibility. She asks if he has any recommendations; he says he’ll check on it when he gets home. She thanks him, and after an awkward good bye, they part company.

After Jane returns to her apartment, she prepares for work tomorrow. When Rupert texts her a name — a Dorothy T. Grunes — she thanks him and calls her office, leaving a message in the hopes that the office will return her call shortly.

Session 7

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hauser wanders off, trying to finish his lunch, before Liora and Jane meet for coffee. She explains what Tommy told her — about Vicky’s time displacement, what Dr. Wakahisa apparently told her in the hospital, and Terrence’s disappearance. Liora theorizes that he has been deleted from the timestream somehow, but something to do with Jane’s location means that she remembers him and his pictures remain in her phone. After discussing such matters, they decide to call James and see if he knows anything further. He agrees to meet them at the coffee shop. Liora calls Hauser and only finds that he is not answering his phone and has not set up his voicemail.

James arrives in roughly a half-hour. Jane repeats what she learned from Tommy. Liora asks if he would be willing to investigate Dr. Wakahisa at the hospital. He notes his contacts at Fitzhugh’s Dreamshop, and possibly with a noted dealer in the occult named Aishwarya Kulkarni; he doesn’t think either of those things are important, but he has purchased appropriate components from them in the past, so it’s possible they may know something.

After discussion, they decide to head over the hospital. Jane directs them to Rush University Medical Center. She speaks to the receptionist, indicating she has a follow-up appointment with her physician; the receptionist notes no appointment. She explains that she doesn’t have one, but just wanted to speak to her doctor, Dr. Wakahisa. The receptionist explains that there is no personnel by that name at the hospital. When asked, Jane learns that her doctor’s name is Dr. Cassandra Petersen.

With that inquiry a dead end, Liora starts scoping out security at the hospital with the eventual goal of looking at the security tapes during Jane’s stay. She decides to try to flirt with one of the security guards to gather more information. James and Jane decide to go for a walk around the block while Liora does her thing.

Liora finds a lone security guard, Pablo Cruz, and strikes up a conversation. Things are going fairly well, but the stress of the past few days seems to have gotten to her as she reflexively reaches for where she might normally keep her sidearm. He notices the movement and pulls his can of mace, threatening her and calling for backup. A few other security guards arrive, but when they search her, they find no weapons. One takes Pablo aside while another apologizes profusely to Liora for the confusion. She explains that she’s a security guard, so she totally understands. After reassuring the guard there’s no trouble, she quietly slips out of the hospital.

Reconvening with James and Jane, she explains that things did not go as planned, but she has a backup plan. She’ll apply for a job in the hopes of obtaining further information. Everyone returns to the coffee shop to collect their cars, then they go to Jane’s apartment. Jane once again jumps online and looks for Dr. Wakahisa to no avail. She texts Tommy asking if there is any further information he can tell her, but he sends a text back indicating that he is an older Japanese man, but he never actually met the man. Liora asks if Jane met Dr. Wakahisa after leaving the hospital; Tommy says she did not so far as he knows. She cannot find any further information on Dr. Wakahisa in her own notes. Liora starts searching on her own laptop to apply to the security company servicing Rush University Medical Center. Once finished, she asks James if any of his contacts might know Dr. Wakahisa. He says he’ll look into it, and leaves to go inquire. After he leaves, Jane and Liora discuss plans a little more before parting company to continue their avenues of research.

Session 6

Friday, March 23, 2012

A lurching, a transition, and suddenly everyone is aware of being somewhere else. Jane finds herself in a sparse living room, in what appears to be a residential house somewhere. She is crouching over a circle of broken wristwatches. She wears latex gloves and a plastic headcap. Four other people occupy the room. Next to her is a bald, bearded man wearing a dress shirt and khakis. He is also wearing latex gloves and a plastic cap over his beard. He is crouched over the circle of watches holding a silver hammer. Standing nearby is an older African-American man, also wearing latex gloves and a plastic headcap. He is holding a 9mm pistol at shoulder level, as if having recently fired it. Across the room, in line with the direction the pistol is pointing, is a woman in a blue skirt and blue blazer. She is crouching, and also wears latex gloves and a headcap. She has a 9mm pistol trained on a body on the ground, and is feeling the neck for a pulse. She cannot find one. Jane recognizes the woman in the suit as Liora Salem, one of her coworkers — a security guard at the Field Museum.

The body on the ground is a youngish, disheveled young Caucasian woman. She wears a T-shirt, jeans, sneakers, and a ratty sweat shirt, and smells like she has not bathed in a while. A bloodied knife has fallen to the ground near her outstretched hand, and she has two bullet wounds in her chest. A growing pool of a sticky crimson fluid grows across the floor out from underneath her body. Jane recognizes this woman as her mysterious attacker, and assumes something similar must have happened here.

Questions and investigations are immediate. The barrels of the 9mm pistols have been drilled to be silenced; Liora thinks she is capable of doing such modifications. The pistols’ serial numbers have also been filed. Jane, thinking of her injuries and realizing she feels a little achey but not injured, turns around and checks her abdomen. Her wounds are scars now, evidently having healed. Introductions are made; the African-American — one Hauser Strauss — man does not introduce himself, but the other man introduces himself as James. After some discussion, it is clear that none of them have any memory of how they arrived here. They check cell phones, and find that it is apparently March 23, a little after 7:00 PM — the last day anyone remembers February 28, around 4:00 PM. Liora notes that she has a realtor’s badge giving her name as “Sharon Wilson.” In her pockets she has documentation suggesting she is a realtor, as well as a slip of paper labeled “KEY” with a four digit number written on it, and a key she does not recognize. The assembled group concedes that they probably entered the house under the pretense of being shown the house for sale. Hauser has a pay-as-you-go cell phone in his pocket which he does not recognize. Everybody, having checked cell phones, has a text message from Liora, dated about three hours ago, indicating that they were to meet in ten minutes. The message went out to Hauser, James, Jane, Terrence, and Vicky. Jane recognizes Terrence’s number, but does not know Vicky. Jane also notes through her GPS that they are still in Chicago, evidently in a residential neighborhood over on S. Kenton Avenue. Jane explains she knows Terrence, but he is apparently not around.

Through experimentation, they determine Liora’s extra key to be the key to the house, apparently retrieved from the lockbox at the front door using the code on the KEY paper. The dead woman bears no identification. Hauser and Liora investigate the house, but find nothing untoward other than broken glass from a backdoor. They come to the conclusion that Terrence is not anywhere in the house, and they have not found anyone who could be Vicky. After some discussion, the group inquires about what James is doing. He seems to recognize the activity — some ritual called the Path of Cronus from the Book of Myrddin, alleged to be the spellbook of Merlin but assuredly printed in the 19th century — but does not recall initiating this activity. Allegedly, the Path of Cronus ritual pushes the target forward in time through mystical means. Jane inquires where he obtained the book; he explains it came from a shop called Merciless Words. Jane is thrilled at this fact, as she is good friends with Rupert Blackmoor, the owner. Since he is involved, Jane calls Rupert and asks if she and her associates can see him; he says he should close around 8:00 PM, so they can come after that. Jane says she should be over at around 8:00 or 8:30. Sensing the tension in Jane’s voice, he asks if she is well; she merely indicates that she’ll explain once she arrives.

After further discussion and investigation, they decide to leave. Since the body is apparently a vagrant, they’re just going to the scene as it is. Hauser and Liora decide to wipe down the guns and leave them, as well as leave the key in the realtor’s lockbox and wipe down the keypad.

As they are preparing to leave, there is a knock at the door. Liora trains her gun on the door while she and Jane peek through the windows. They note a short, middle-aged woman with vaguely Hispanic features at the front door. Hauser has his gun at the ready and takes position at the door. Hauser, shouting through the door, asks what she wants; she replies she is Lizette, the next-door neighbor, and she just wanted to check if all is well. Particularly since the realtor is showing the house, she thought they may want to get to know each other if they plan on being neighbors. Hauser replies that he’s feeling antisocial, and asks if she could return later. Lizette looks somewhat crestfallen, wishes them well, and returns to her house.

After discussion, Hauser, James, and Jane sneak out the back while Liora exits and puts the key back in the lockbox. They all remove gloves and headcaps, and noting that Liora’s car is out front, they make their way to her car. The four of them pile into Liora’s sedan, and Jane gives her directions to Merciless Words. On the way, she texts Rupert to let him know they’re on the way. Thinking about the fact that Terrence is not around, she decides to call him; it rings, and a woman picks up, indicating that Jane must have a wrong number, as there is no one by the name of Terrence there. Liora inquires about Vicky, and Jane calls the number they have for Vicky. It immediately returns with, “Your call cannot be completed as dialed.”

Arriving at Merciless Words, Liora pulls a .40 handgun out of her car and conceals it before leaving the car. The four of them exit the vehicle and approach the storefront. Jane knocks on the door, and after a moment, Rupert answers the door. He greets all four of them by name as they enter, but Hauser, James, and Liora indicate they have never met him before. Jane explains they appear to have lost their memories of roughly the past month. She asks what he knows about their activities over the past month or so. He does not know a whole lot, apart from the fact that the four of them were engaged in some project. He has met Shelly, Terry, and Tommy — he is seemingly unaware of Terrence — although he hasn’t seen Shelly or Terry in the past few weeks. He doesn’t know Vicky, although he indicates he did see a younger woman with some of them in his shop. He also notes that he has seen some of them once or twice with a fellow named “Tom” — not Jane’s friend Tommy, but another person. He again asks if Jane is well or if she needs to go to a hospital, prompting her to unload about the past couple of months. Quickly, she explains everything about the Bill Toge incident. As she gets more agitated toward the end, Rupert fetches her a cup of tea.

Liora inquires if he might know anything about these sorts of rituals, but he does not — he is an antiquarian. She then inquires about the Book of Myrddin, and James suggests it would be at his apartment. The group decides to go to James’ apartment; before they leave, Jane gives Rupert a hug, which he accepts awkwardly, having just been given a lot of very weird and incriminating information. She says she’ll talk to him within the next day or so.

On the way to James’ apartment, Jane texts Tommy, inquiring about things. He says he can’t talk as he’s at work, and she replies that she may need his assistance.

Arriving at James’ apartment, it is well-appointed but relatively bare. There are some odds and ends about — science art, a few antique store finds, and a shelf full of texts primarily on science and mathematics, but with a small collection of history and occult books. He pulls a book out of the latter section, evidently the Book of Myrddin. The ask how he came to investigate the occult; he indicates it’s a hobby — he works at the University of Illinois at Chicago, but has come across some odd things and is attempting to reconcile the science he knows with the weirdness he has experienced. He has experienced nothing like Jane’s tale about Bill Toge, however. Although parts of it remind him of rumors of a Farouk who can cure any disease for $1,000,000. Jane says she’s heard of that, as well as a serial killer biting out eyes — James recognizes this as the Eye-Biting Man, an urban legend about some serial killer.

Jane flips through the Book of Myrddin, noting that it is a work of Victorian-era high hermeticism. The Path of Cronus apparently sends participants forward about a day or so in time, and requires forming a circle of twenty-three watches circumscribed with iron filings and mercury. The watches must each be smashed with a silver mallet while the officiant chants. At the end of this, the person in the middle of the circle is thrown forward in time. Flipping through the rambling grimoire, she finds no way to reverse this ritual.

While she reads, Liora pokes around the apartment while Hauser goes to the kitchen and starts rummaging through James’ food. He has little — mostly condiments — and Hauser settles on squeezing mustard on saltines.

The rest of the occult books don’t appear to be particularly relevant, at least not at the moment. Jane checks the Book of Myrddin regarding any spells that are supposed to aid memory, although the one she finds involves drinking mercury. She decides against it, although she does decide to poke around on neopagan message boards in the next few days to see if anyone uses a quicksilver substitute in their ritual worship. Liora checks her phone to see anything about a realtor named “Sharon Wilson,” and determines she probably made it up for the charade.

Content with their findings for the night, Jane and Liora discuss leaving, while Hauser makes it clear that he is staying the evening. Jane thanks James and officially introduces herself, as do the others. She tells him to contact them any time, or to visit the Field Museum if he should need anything. Jane and Liora then take their leave, as Liora will need to take Jane back to her apartment. Hauser goes to sleep in the corner of James’ apartment where he has been nesting; James says nothing about the intrusion, and wordlessly goes to his bedroom and closes the door.

Liora drives to Jane’s apartment without incident, and walks her up. Her apartment appears to be in order, although Jane has apparently installed bars on the windows in the intervening weeks. Content that all is well, Liora takes her leave. Jane pokes around her apartment for any clues as to the past few weeks. She does find her journal, which reveals she was released from the hospital on March 7. She also makes a reference to a Dr. Wakahisa, and that she and the others are following his instructions. She cannot find any other reference to this person on the internet or anything. She does not find any references to Terrence in her journal, however. Since she has not heard from Tommy yet, she leaves herself a note to text him in the morning.

Liora drives past the Field Museum, noting that someone is apparently covering her shift. Content, she returns to her apartment, and after checking to make certain all is well there, she decides to text Vicky, receiving an error message in reply almost immediately. Afterward, she goes to sleep.

Hauser awakens to the sound of James’ shower and decides to bathe in the sink. James finishes his shower just in time to round the corner and see a half-naked Hauser rubbing sink water all over himself. James looks resigned to this fate. After breakfast, James starts looking through things to piece together the last several weeks. Hauser inquires, and James decides to go to his office. Hauser insists on following, telling uncomfortable stories about Vietnam on the car ride over.

Liora awakens, works out, cleans her guns, and otherwise prepares for her day. She checks the Field Museum to get her work schedule — she somehow has the whole weekend off. She checks her bank balance, and finds some recent withdrawals but no paper trail.

Jane texts Tommy upon awakening. In a few minutes, Tommy calls her back and asks how things went last night. They agree to meet at Starbucks in about 45 minutes. Upon meeting at Starbucks, Jane explains her missing time dilemma and the events of last evening. Tommy is aware of the Path of Cronus ritual, and explains that “Vicky,” as listed in her phone, is the woman she saw in the hospital, the one who looked like the woman who attacked her, because they’re both the same, after a fashion. When Jane was in the hospital, Tommy took Shelly back to her apartment where they were ambushed by the knife-wielding woman. She angrily interrogated them, but was chased away by the arrival of two people, Tom and Shake, both of whom Tommy describes as “magicians.” When they came to her hospital room later to talk to her about events, they found that she already knew more about things than they, as she was contacted by a “Dr. Wakahisa.” Apparently, there was some manner of “time-error” that involved Hauser, James, Jane, and Liora, and they needed to convince Vicky to participate in this ritual to close the error.

Jane recommends returning to her apartment, and ask they’re walking, asks about Terrence. Tommy, apparently not understanding, explains that they no longer talk to Shelly or Terry — possibly something about them being replaced by their doubles from the Bill Toge incident, as no one is really certain what happened. When she explains that they knew two people named Terry, Tommy evidently has no recollection of Terrence. Jane is somewhat panicked, but is used to this weirdness; she just proceeds to explain how Tommy should know Terrence. Upon returning to her apartment, she shows him her pictures — none of which contain Terrence. In fact, the only evidence of him she can find are a couple of candid shots she took with her iPhone. Tommy, for what it’s worth, indicates that her phone is not magical.

Tommy also explains that he didn’t respond last night because he now has an assignment with the two hunter-guys they met in Stoon Lake. He can’t discuss what he does on these assignments, and he can’t talk on the phone while they’re ongoing.

He also explains about the house the used for the ritual last night. Tom apparently found it; an abandoned house to which the original owners still have a key, occasionally breaking back into it. That way any odd comings-and-goings would be ignored, especially with Liora masquerading as a realtor. Jane asks about everyone’s purpose; Tommy explains that Hauser and Liora were keeping watch in case-evil Vicky appeared, while James enacted the ritual and Jane assisted. Vicky was to be the subject of the ritual — according to the ritual itself, she should be thrown forward about a day, but Dr. Wakahisa apparently told Jane that it would throw Vicky backward, closing the time error loop.

Jane explains that the disheveled Vicky appears to have been killed during last night’s activities. Tommy thinks the ritual still took place as scheduled. Jane asks if Tommy’s associates are capable of cleaning up crime scenes, and Tommy says he’ll make a couple of phone calls. While he’s taking care of things, Tommy recommends contacting Tom and Shake. He asks about Hauser, James, and Liora before taking his leave.

Meanwhile, Hauser is following James. James enters his office, and after briefly speaking to a coworker who quickly leaves after encountering Hauser, he notes that he only appears to have graded some papers in the intervening weeks. He asks Hauser if he has any ideas, and Hauser insists on checking his usual hangouts.

Hauser directs James to a dice game in an alley behind a 7-11. The guys indicate that Hauser has been hanging out with a bunch of preppy white folks recently, rather like James, and he hasn’t been around much. They invite him to shoot craps, and he insists on including James. James is actually pretty good at dice, so Hauser tries to cheat, but his clumsy attempts are easily noticed by the others. They shout at him to leave.

Hauser then recommends the Field Museum next. He also insists that James buys him lunch; during the meal, James excuses himself and doesn’t return. While looking for him, Hauser runs into Liora, who indicates she was going to contact Jane. She calls Jane, and indicates they should meet up to discuss what Jane has learned.

Session 5
That Which Has Been Written

Sunday, February 26, 2012

With the threat apparently over, Jane takes out her cell phone. She sequentially calls Terrence (who is currently riding with Tommy), Shelly, and Terry to inform each that she was just attacked by otherShelly and otherTerry — Terry Gold, for his part, indicates that his doppelganger’s story about the reupholstery service is true, although they usually just clean. She further indicates that everyone should likely be careful, as she does not know what the doubles plan to do next.

She then returns to her apartment to sleep.

Tommy drives all night, making it to Stoon Lake sometime around 1:00 AM. Terrence dumps his doppelganger’s body into the lake without incident, and they drive onward to St. Louis. When Tommy is outside Leland Sanford’s house, he calls Shelly and she joins them.

Tommy drives back to Chicago, arriving around 7:00 AM and calling Jane to let her know that he has returned safely.

Having rested in the car, Shelly and Terrence return to work. Tommy takes the day to sleep. Jane goes to work at the museum. Terry continues to poke around Stoon Lake.

That night, Jane is awakened by the sound of glass breaking. It sounds like a window in her apartment. She immediately hides under the bed and calls 911. As she is speaking to the operator, a face peers under her bed and an arm darts out, slashing at her with a knife. She scurries out from under the bed and the figure comes after her. She manages to skirt around it, backpedaling the whole while, although the figure manages to cut her several times. As she runs out into the hallway, she can clearly see the woman — athletic, and probably once pretty, with blue eyes and long, blonde hair. However, the woman looks crazed; her hair is matted, her eyes bloodshot, and her clothes dirty and worn. Finally, the woman lashes out with the knife and Jane loses consciousness as she is dimly aware of the sound of sirens.

Tommy, still being awake, manages to catch the morning news when they report of an assault at Jane’s apartment complex. Tommy calls her cell phone, but the person who answers is the voice of an unidentified male indentifying himself as an officer with the Chicago PD and asking if Tommy could come in for questioning.

Tommy arrives at the precinct relatively quickly, and after explaining his situation to the receptionist, he is directed to the interrogation rooms. A police officer outside directs him to take a seat and wait.

After a few minutes, a man enters. He appears middle-aged, and is wearing a dress shirt with rolled-up sleeves and khakis. He is sipping from a cup of coffee, and he introduces himself as Detective Hannigan. He proceeds to ask Tommy some questions about how he knows Jane, his whereabouts, all that sort of thing. He also indicates that Jane is expected to survive the attack. Tommy indicates that they know each other from their college days. They recently went to Stoon Lake, IL (when the detective asks, Tommy explains that one goes there to see the lake). He was at home during the attack, although there isn’t anyone who can specifically attest to his whereabouts. He can’t think of anyone who would do this, and Jane doesn’t have a boyfriend (when Tommy audibly laughs at the “Any ex-boyfriends?” question, Detective Hannigan hides his smirk behind a long drink from his cup of coffee).

After a few more questions, Detective Hannigan excuses himself. He returns a couple of minutes later and tells Tommy that he’s free to go. He then gives him his card, and tells him to call if he thinks of anything.

When Tommy gets home, he calls Shelly and Terrence to inform them of what happened. They all decide to get breakfast until visiting hours start at the hospital.

Meanwhile, Jane awakens in the hospital. A doctor informs her that she has been through surgery, and summons a Detective Doyle to ask a few questions. Jane describes her attacker and indicates that she has never previously seen her assailant. No, she doesn’t know anyone who might do this to her.

Afterward, she is allowed to rest.

Jane is awake when Shelly, Terrence, and Tommy arrive; they note that a police officer is outside her door, and he allows them to enter. She describes what transpired. Nobody knows her attacker. When Tommy offers to get some things for her, she asks if they can visit her friend Rupert and ask to borrow some books from him. They agree.

Shelly, Terrence, and Tommy go to Rupert’s book store. After making introductions, they explain what happened to Jane — he seems shocked and says he’ll have to visit her in the evening — and convey her request. He puts some books in a bag and bids them good day.

When they return, they open the door to Jane’s room. As they do, Jane sees a woman pass — it’s her attacker. The woman does not look in the room or seem to regard Jane in any way, nor does she look disheveled or dirty. In fact, she looks younger; the woman is probably around 20 years old, although Jane would have said she looked older last night. Jane informs the others, and Terrence rushes out to inform the police officer. He catches her attention, asks a few questions, and decides to take the woman in for questioning.

The group discusses this turn of events; Jane suspects that the woman she just saw isn’t quite the woman from last night. Terrence posits that she’s a time-displaced version of the woman from a post-apocalyptic future, but Jane suggests that it’s another doppelganger.

After discussions are complete, they decide to let Jane rest. Terrence deigns to stay to watch over Jane, while Tommy takes Shelly home. Since he has not yet slept, they decide it would be safest if he slept at Shelly’s apartment.

As they are walking to the door, Tommy sees a figure sitting in the alley. Tommy catches a glimpse of the face; beneath the tangled mass of hair and the large coat is the face of the woman Jane noted at the hospital. Tommy quietly informs Shelly of this fact, and they start to rush into the apartment building as they hear the woman rush after them.

Session 4
Stoon Lake

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Jane, Terrence, Terry, and Tommy are sitting in the woods drinking with Ed Cliffe. As he gets increasingly drunk and they discuss the Bigfoot sightings, he suggests they sneak onto Donald Cruz’s property and snoop around. The group agrees.

Ed throws a sheet over the barbed wire on the fence, and the group goes over. Ed gets out a flashlight, although he doesn’t turn it on, and he pulls out a gun. To reassure onlookers, he explains that it’s a tranquilizer gun.

The group wanders through the cold, dark woods until they finally come upon a cabin with a few lights inside. As they approach, a dark shape passes the cabin. As it approaches, Tommy runs, followed by Terry. Ed, panicked at the sudden sound, flicks on his flashlight to see the fleeing pair before he turns it on the shape.

It is a lumbering, hairy shape.

Everyone braces for what will happen next as the shape turns and runs. Ed levels his tranquilizer gun and fires, striking the creature. It stumbles and falls.

As the group approaches, they find the creature to be…a doughy, hairy, naked man. When Ed looks at the face, he realizes it’s Donald Cruz, apparently wandering naked on his property despite the February chill.

The rest of the group decides to bolt.

When they all regroup at the campsite, Ed, Jane, and Terrence explain to Terry and Tommy what transpired. Terry is a little sad he ran, as having access to a tranquilized Donald Cruz would be a perfect time to try to examine him.

Since Ed notes that the tranq should wear off after a few minutes, the group leaves. Ed leaves very abruptly while the others leave once they are certain no evidence remains.

Since Ed took the beer, they decide to get some beer of their own and get drunk in their hotel rooms. Tommy calls Shelly to check on her, and talks a little about what transpired on Cruz’s property. After a little bit, Tommy gets a call from the people they presume to be werewolf hunters. Tommy invites them back to the room to discuss matters.

Once the hairy guy and the Asian guy arrive, they explain what happened. The hairy guy asks if Tommy ever sensed anything, and he says he did not. The man says that information matches what they’ve been seeing all week — namely that they haven’t found anything supernatural here — so they’re likely to move on. They have Tommy’s contact information, though, so they should be in touch. They leave the hotel room.

The following day, the group prepares to part company. Terry plans on staying a little longer to see what he can determine in Stoon Lake. Jane, Terrence, and Tommy will return to Chicago by bus. The group parts company, likely to reconvene towards the end of the week.

Upon their arrival in Chicago, Jane, Terrence, and Tommy return to their respective homes. Terrence is the only one who finds anything strange — his door is ajar. When he opens the door, he sees a body in the middle of his living room, its throat slit.

The body is his.

He immediately calls Jane and Tommy. They come to his apartment, and he shows them the sight. They search his apartment, finding a bloodied knife — one of Terrence’s kitchen knives — in the sink.

They clean up the blood and roll not-Terrence’s body into a rug. Contemplating that they saw doubles of Shelly, Terrence, and Terry surrounding the Bill Toge incident, they call Shelly to ask if they can go to her apartment, explaining that something strange is happening. She says that they may. Planning on dumping the body in the river, they transport the Terrence corpse into the back of Tommy’s car.

When they arrive, they knock on the door. Shelly answers, despite the fact that she is in St. Louis recovering from a bullet wound. When they talk to her, she claims to have recovered and is currently on some pain killers. Nothing seems immediately wrong, other than the fact that Tommy definitely has an erection.

She must be unnatural.

The group takes their leave and calls the Shelly in St. Louis to let her know what’s happening. They then drive over to Terry’s house — and pass him in his car, driving in the other direction. Tommy gets an erection, indicating the presence of something unnatural. Tommy flags Terry down, and the group talks in the street. Jane calls Terry in Stoon Lake, and has him talk to his double. After some dithering, Tommy decides to go to St. Louis to pick up Shelly, but that he’ll go to Stoon Lake to ditch not-Terrence’s corpse there (who would look there, right?). Terrence decides to go with him. They leave Jane with Terry so that he may take her home. He still wants to go to dinner first, and she agrees to go with him.

When they arrive at the restaurant, Jane notes that he puts his car keys on the front tire. They eat, and nothing untoward happens, but when they return, Jane notices a tarp in the backseat where none was before. When she questions Terry, he explains that he has a reupholstery service that came while he was in the restaurant. She doesn’t buy it, and asks to see what’s under the tarp. He says she may, and when she pulls it back, she sees Shelly underneath of it.

Shelly leaps out at her, and although Shelly and Terry are both struggling to subdue Jane, she manages to run, screaming, into the restaurant. As she explains that someone tried to attack her, she returns outside to see the taillights of the Terry’s car heading off into the night.

Session 3
Stoon Lake

Friday, February 24, 2012

The week is uneventful. As planned, Terry goes to Stoon Lake to scope the place out. Shelly stays with Leland Sanford to recuperate. Jane, Terrence, and Tommy return to Chicago to work. Tommy auditions for Death of a Salesman, but doesn’t get a part (although the production staff is kind enough to call him back).

On Friday the 24th, Jane, Terrence, and Tommy make the trip down to Stoon Lake to meet with Terry. Terry then informs them of what he’s experienced, which isn’t much. He basically has the leads from the article. However, he has noticed two guys who seem very much out of place — one guy is a big, biker dude with a large beard, while the other is a somewhat flashily-dressed Asian man who is missing two fingers on his left hand and one finger on his right hand. He’s seen them at McMurtry’s, and they appear to be staying at the Super 8.

He has also seen Mia Gilona, the journalist who wrote the article that led them to Stoon Lake, around town.

After eating at McMurtry’s Bar and Grill, Terry shows them around town and explains what he has witnessed. They all go back to the Super 8 to sleep.

The next day, they awaken and decide what they’re going to do. They decide to initially speak with Ed Cliffe, the man who made the famous 1968 Bigfoot sighting, and then proceed using whatever information they gather. Determining he is at work, they waffle a bit before deciding to call. Terry Gold calls and Ed Cliffe says they can come to his office; he instructs Terry to call when he arrives.

The group arrives at Northlake Fuel Oil, Inc., shortly thereafter. After another phone call, Ed Cliffe — an older, pudgy man, seemingly more content in work clothes than a suit — comes out to greet them, then brings them back to his office. They talk, and he explains about what he saw back in 1968, as well as the cast of the footprint he took in the 1970s. He doesn’t have much to add, other than he knows several Bigfoot sightings are on Donald Cruz’s property. The group agrees to share information with him, should they find anything new, and they say they’ll be in touch.

The group leaves, and decides to split. Terry and Tommy will go to the diner and see if they can find the two out-of-towners, while Jane and Terrence will go to the library to do a little research.

Sure enough, Terry and Tommy spot them and sit nearby. Tommy overhears them talking. The Asian man remarks on the large-breasted waitress, prompting the biker guy to recall a story about walking in on some guy named Brinker who was masturbating at the time. (Mysteriously, he further comments, “He got away, though.”) Finally, they discuss the possibility of the Bigfoot being a “loo garoo” they evidently have to retrieve for their boss.

When Tommy relays this information to Terry, the Asian guy evidently picks up on the fact that they’re being scrutinized. He lets his friend know about it, and the two stop talking. Terry sends a text message to Terrence.

Jane and Terrence begin looking for Bigfoot sightings, and Terrence notes each one on a map of Stoon Lake. Sure enough, most take place in the woods around Donald Cruz’s property, although there are a few outliers, such as the Bigfoot attack in front of Ron Williams’ mother’s house.

As they’re finishing their research, Terrence receives a text message asking what they know about a “loo garoo?” After a Google search turns up something about a vampiric witch-like entity known as a soucouyant, Jane determines that he means a “loup-garou.” Is the alleged Bigfoot a werewolf?

Their research complete, Jane and Terrence meet with Terry and Tommy at the diner. Terry and Tommy indicate that the two guys are the ones who tipped them off about the “loup-garou” thing. Jane wonders if they’re mercenary werewolf hunters, or some such. They decide to go elsewhere, and as Terry asks for the check, the two guys turn around and get a very good look at everyone at the table. The group then leaves, but as they are about to get into the car, the two guys leave and go for their own car, a late-model Camry. The group quickly discusses the possibility of allying with a couple of potential werewolf hunters. Finally, the decision is made, and before the guys can get in their car, Jane calls out to them and asks for their aid, explaining the whole thing about being paranormal investigators. The Asian man asks for a minute to confer with his friend, and they get into the car. After a moment, he steps back out and says to meet them in two hours at the Super 8. They drive off.

The group is initially worried about the prospect, but decides they simply won’t go off alone with the guys. They spend about a half hour or so snooping around Donald Cruz’s property. They can’t even see the house, which is apparently somewhere behind a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire and marked with “No Trespassing” signs. The gate has a camera trained on it as well as a callbox. Terry begins brainstorming a way to get Donald Cruz out of his house, hoping that Tommy’s newfound sense will alert them to the presence of any supernatural influences.

After deciding to tackle this problem later, the group returns to the Super 8 motel and waits a while before the two guys arrive. The Asian and the biker speak very little, letting the group do most of the talking. The men seem unimpressed with the whole thing until everyone starts explaining their encounters with the supernatural, and Tommy intimates the fact that he is impotent, but gets erections at the presence of supernatural events and entities. The biker guy is intrigued, and asks if this was brought about by a woman in red. Tommy affirms, and the biker guy seems to know much about this, but only knew it as an urban legend. He asks for Tommy’s name and number, and says that he’ll call back some time this evening. The two men then excuse themselves and go back to a room somewhere in the motel.

Contemplating their leads, the group considers returning to the diner to regroup and see if they can find anyone they’d like to interview. When they arrive, they see the journalist, Mia Gilona, grabbing a late lunch. Terry asks if they can join, and she agrees. Introductions are made, and they indicate that they are here because of her article. They ask about her opinion on the Bigfoot matter, and she frankly states she just wants to learn what’s happening, whether it’s strange or mundane. She asks about their paranormal investigations, and they explain the origin — each of them suffered some strange encounter at some point in life. Jane describes the shadowy figures she encountered in a cemetery in Philadelphia, Terrence describes his mysterious tattoos, and Terry describes the strange facility he found in a storage unit. Tommy declines to describe his experience. Mia responds by describing some of the things she was researching. Around Chicago, she was researching a Dr. Frakes or Dr. Farouk who can cure any disease for a million dollars cash, but overnight, her sources either disappeared or stopped talking. Then, she was researching a serial killer in the northern portion of the Midwest who supposedly bites out his victims’ eyes, but the FBI and Mounties seem unconcerned. Finally, she came to Stoon Lake.

Over the course of the conversation, she expresses the fact that she’d love to hire Ed Cliffe as a guide in the woods, and when asked about Donald Cruz, she indicates that he works for the NSA. The group is very grateful for her information, and in the end, everyone exchanges phone numbers and decides to keep in touch.

Armed with this information, Terry contacts Ed Cliffe after Mia leaves, and Ed agrees to meet them after work. He says he’ll be by the diner after he leaves the office.

After a little while, he arrives. The group discusses some of the things they’ve learned, and they talk about the woods while Cliffe grabs dinner and starts knocking back beers. Finally, Terry mentions hiring him to look through the woods, and he agrees. They decide to grab a case of beer and go out into the woods to keep an eye out for Bigfoot that very night.

Session 2

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Still standing by the side of the road, Jane, Shelly, Tommy, Terrence, and Terry are discussing what to do. An ambulance arrives and pays them little mind as it loads the three Bills into the ambulance, driving off into the night.

Tommy also has an odd realization, one that didn’t immediately hit during the strange series of events — he’s had his first erection in ten months.

The group gets into Terry’s car, ready to go to his street doctor contact. They drive to St. Louis to meet with Leland Sanford, arriving around 3 AM. Terry knocks on the front door and Leland answers, telling them to be quiet because his daughter’s asleep upstairs. His setup is in his garage. He takes Shelly first, gives her some local anesthetic and a couple of shots of whiskey, and starts stitching her bullet wounds. He indicates that she’s quite lucky; no vital organs were hit, and only a moderate abrasion on her left lung. It should heal on its own.

Terrence is next. He stitches the bullet wound in his shoulder, and puts some oinment and bandages on the burns on his arm.

Terry is last. He only needs a couple of stitches. Leland asks what happened to him. He explains the whole affair, which he acknowledges as rather far-fetched. After all, it’s the reason he went to a street doctor rather than an actual hospital.

At Leland’s offer, the group decides to spend the night in the basement. Leland says he will just explain to his daughter that some friends came in late and he forgot to mention it.

The group goes down first, as Leland seemed to be pondering something and said he needed to get something. He follows them with his laptop, and shows them a news report from earlier in the day — a CNN feed of a cult standoff in New Mexico. While the reporter speaks, a flurry of activity occurs as movement is seen. A shirtless African-American male walks from behind a trailer, and ducks back when snipers take a potshot at him. He’s not immediately recognizable — but the group can pretty easily recognize the young, light-skinned, tattoo-covered man as Terrence Johnson.

No further discussion is necessary. Everybody contemplates that as they go to sleep.

Jane and Terrence sleep fitfully, and go upstairs when they hear movement around 9 AM. Tommy and Terry awaken closer to 11 AM, and similarly go upstairs. Most people shower first.

They discuss a little about the night’s activities, and what they want to do during the week. It’s decided that Shelly will probably stay with Leland — she needs further treatment throughout the week — while Jane, Tommy, and Terrence return to Chicago by train. Terry, meanwhile, will continue to Stoon Lake, so that he can survey the landscape for the week and everyone can regroup the following weekend.

At some point, a skinny, teenage girl comes downstairs. She’s wearing black capris, a black Misfits T-shirt, and has dyed black hair. She asks Leland about these people, and when he answers that they’re friends he neglected to tell her would be coming yesterday, she leaves in a huff without breakfast. Leland explains that this is his daughter Courtney.

Shelly awakens closer to 1 PM, showers, and goes upstairs. She seems amenable to the general plan of Terry going to Stoon Lake while everybody else stays behind.

The group decides to leave tomorrow, staying one more night at the Sanford’s house. They spend the rest of the afternoon watching the History Channel while Leland works in his garage — in addition to his street doc “side project,” he runs a tailoring business.

Around 5 PM, the group hears Courtney come downstairs and go back up. Tommy glances and sees that she’s hiding a bottle of Peppermint Schnapps.

Everyone’s about to let it go when Tommy gets another erection. Having explained his predicament last evening, along with his intimation that he suspects this development reflects a supernatural awareness, the group contemplates what to do before Terry decides to let Leland handle it.

He goes and tells Leland that his daughter snuck some alcohol upstairs. He goes to talk to her.

The group hears Leland go upstairs, followed by a thudding sound and a panicked yell from Leland. Jane, Tommy, Terrence, and Terry run upstairs to see Leland running down the hall, shielding his head. His daughter is standing outside her room, holding a snowglobe. The snowglobe levitates from her hands and launches itself at the back of Leland’s head. Broken glass, water, and blood flings everywhere.

Leland runs for the phone to dial 911. Tommy runs downstairs. Jane and Terrence try to reason with her, while Terry freaks out and launches himself at her. He tackles her to the ground, she scowls at him and mutters obscenities in a deep, unnatural voice, and the dust lifts from the carpet and scours his face. He goes running down the stairs and out of the house.

Courtney stands and starts moving down the stairs, followed by Terrence and Jane. Seeing the mass exodus, Tommy follows, as well.

By this time, Terry has gotten into his car and is starting it. Courtney and Terrence both rush for the car, looping around to the passenger’s side. He has no intention to let Terrence into the car while Courtney is there, so he pulls away. She grimaces and a window buckles as the safety glass breaks, causing the lattice to push inward. Terry responds by driving straight for her, planning to brake before he hits her. Terrence leaps out of the way and Terry doesn’t stop in time, sending her flying. She lies motionless, and Terrence goes over to her. Her eyes snap open and she begins shouting obscenities and struggling, although she is too drunk to effectively overcome him.

He brings her upstairs, and the group — except Shelly, still sitting on the couch — gathers around her. She continues to speak in obscenities in that same deep, unnatural voice, and identifies herself as a demon. Terry says that’s not true, and she asks how the whole Bill Toge thing went last night?

Terrence then tells the demon to leave, and Courtney abides by starting for the front door. Leland grabs her and waits for the police to come.

Emergency crews arrive and take statements — all to the tune that Courtney started acting irrationally, drinking, and throwing things. Courtney, Leland, Terrence, and Terry are taken to the hospital for their sustained injuries (Leland, Terrence, and Terry were all hit by “thrown” objects).

The three men are treated and released, and they return to Leland’s house to discuss what has happened. Leland indicates that she occasionally runs with a rough crowd, but she’s never done anything he’d consider too weird. Jane, Tommy, and Terrence finally decide to examine her room. Leland supervises. The group first notes a legal pad on her bed. It appears to be a stream-of-consciousness rant on the weird people who always visit her father, followed by something which Jane recognizes as an automatic writing attempt. It ends ominously with “I NEED A DRINK.” Further examination finds a slim jim or lockout tool between her mattresses, and her diary in her underwear drawer. Terrences breaks the lock on it, and finds nothing untoward — basically a self-conscious, somewhat angry girl concerned over her parents’ divorce and occasionally dabbling in Oujia boards. The whole slim jim thing was taught to her by an ex-boyfriend, and it’s something she considers useful information, but has never really used.

Afterward, Terrence asks if it would be possible to examine her mother’s house, and Leland explains that she is likely to be upset enough regarding her daughter’s apparent breakdown that a group of strangers snooping is out of the question.

Finally, as the evening winds down, everyone goes to sleep in preparation for tomorrow’s plans.

Session 1
Bill in Three Persons

Friday, February 17, 2012

Jane, Shelly, Tommy, Terrence, and Terry have all been discussing the article they found: there was a bigfoot sighting in Stoon Lake, Illinois.

Bigfoot sighting, hell. There was supposedly a bigfoot attack.

They all make arrangements and decide to leave Friday afternoon. Terry Gold reserves rooms in Stoon Lake. They disembark around 2:00 PM, expecting to arrive around 7:00 PM.

Everyone piles into Terry’s car and gets ready for a weekend of cryptozoology.

They drive on the highway for a while, and as the sun goes down, they realize they aren’t nearly where they should be — it’s around 7 PM, and they should be at Stoon Lake by now. They’re still on the road.

They finally find their exit, but they’ve lost time — it’s after midnight. Getting on towards two in the morning.

As they drive, the road narrows down to two lanes, and they finally come to a crossroads.

They can see the police lights as they approach. There’s been an accident.

A three-car pileup blocks the intersection. The cop doesn’t look too good himself — his left arm is in a cast, and there doesn’t look to be much he can do.

Terry stops the car. They decide to get out and help this guy.

Sheriff Ragoczy explains that his radio isn’t working, the nearest hospital is twenty miles away, and he’s worried about an explosion. He asks if the group can help pull the accident victims from the cars.

The group agrees. As they pull the people from the cars, the shattered bones and bloody wounds overcome Jane and Terry, who have to step away. It’s a little touch-and-go, but Shelly, Tommy, and Terrence manage to pull everybody from the wreckage.

The sheriff grabs a first aid kit from the back of his cruiser. He asks Jane and Terry if they’re okay before asking Shelly, Tommy, and Terrence if they can help treat the victims.

Meanwhile, once they’ve calmed a little, Jane dials 911 to get an ambulance. Terry calls his therapist, Judy, awakening her in the middle of the night. She manages to talk him down, though, and he’s not nearly as hysterical about all the blood as he was previously.

Though the others are not as able, Tommy sets about treating them.

About this time, though, it dawns of the group that although these three guys are dressed differently, they look like identical triplets. In fact, each car is a small, red Hyundai.

The sheriff looks over the bodies and remarks, “I just knew it. It’s that damn Bill Toge again.”

The cars explode, and a wave of heat washes over the scene before everything changes.

Suddenly, the group is crouching in a supermarket aisle, between the cleaning supplies and the pet supplies. The windows in the front of the store indicate that it is daytime. Cell phones confirm that it is 2 PM yesterday, roughly twelve hours ago.

Suddenly, there are two gunshots at the front of the store. People cry out. Everyone crouches back down in the aisle. Jane, Tommy, and Terrence creep forward to look.

A few people are crouched at the front of the store. Just past the check-out counters is a man in a mask of President Reagan. He’s brandishing a shotgun, and a curl of smoke escapes the barrel. By the door is a man in a Nixon mask with a handgun. A couple of other guys — one in a Bush mask, unloading a cash register, and one in a Clinton mask, securing the hostages in the food court — are also visible.

The guy in the Nixon mask spots Jane and takes a shot at her as she ducks back into the aisle. Tommy manages to stay hidden and sneaks back down the aisle. Terrence is also spotted, and ducks behind the shelving. He grabs a bottle of drain cleaner and tries to set it on fire, but only ends up spilling it all over his arm and catching his arm on fire instead. Nixon takes a shot at Terrence and misses, blasting open a bag of kibble near Terry Gold, who freaks and runs for the pharmacy counter. Nixon’s second panicked shot hits Terrence in the shoulder, who drops to the ground while trying to put out the chemical fire on his arm. Tommy sprints to the back of the store, and seeing an emergency exit to the right, he takes it. Jane is about a few steps behind him, and Shelly is out of sight, but sees the open door and runs through it.

Meanwhile, Reagan and Nixon tell Terrence to get up, once he’s managed to remove his coat, vest, and shirt and put out his singed arm. They force him over to the food court where Clinton keeps a gun trained on him and the others in the food court.

Terry is behind the pharmacy counter. He notes the placement of cameras and holds tight trying to determine what to do.

Tommy and Jane run around the front. Shelly is still running as Nixon runs after her. He catches sight of her and puts a bullet in her back; she flails and dives behind a dumpster. He comes around the side and tells her to get up. She does and he marches her back inside.

Hearing footsteps, Terry peeks from behind the pharmacy counter. Seeing a bloodied Shelly being forced to march at gunpoint by a man in a Nixon mask, he charges Nixon and tries to turn his mask around. Shelly uses the distraction to try to get Nixon’s gun away from him. Nixon fires wildly at Shelly in the melee, with one bullet knocking a chunk out of her left ear and another bullet plowing through her chest. She falls to the ground, bloodied, unconscious, and breathing shallowly.

Terry freaks, but tries to keep Nixon under control. He takes a bullet to the shoulder in the struggle. Reagan approaches, and Terry gives up. They march him over to the food court where Clinton has everyone secured.

Terry notices that the man in the Nixon mask is wearing the same clothing as one of the men pulled from the vehicles at the crossroads. Perhaps he’s Bill Toge?

Meanwhile, Tommy and Jane have reached the front and are frantically informing the police of all that has transpired.

In less than a minute, Bush has a duffel bag full of cash. The masked criminals run to the back of the store, and make their way to a getaway car around the side with police in pursuit.

Terrence and Terry see a strange sight — Terry is standing at the front door. He shoots Terry, the real Terry, a mean look and waves before leaving.

Suddenly, everyone returns to the crossroads. The sheriff asks if anyone can help Shelly, and Terrence successfully rouses her to consciousness. The sheriff then notes, “I just knew it. It’s that damn Bill Toge again.”

The cars explode, and everything changes.

The group is standing outside an apartment labeled “101.” The door is ajar and there is the sound of muffled struggling, as if someone is attempting to talk with a gag in his mouth. Another voice says, “How’s it feel? How’s it feel, dead man?”

Terrence and Terry push the door open and look within. They see a man — Bill Toge, apparently — wearing a pajama shirt, jeans, and no shoes. He has a few gashes and stab wounds on his left arm and left side, and he’s holding a bloody Bowie knife.

The other man is tied to a metal folding chair, and the most notable thing about his condition is that his mouth and nose are completely sealed shut. He’s suffocating.

Bill shoots the pair a surprised look. Terrence and Terry close the door. Everyone relocates to the stairwell to discuss what’s happening. Jane checks the GPS on her iPhone; they’re in Los Angeles, California.

As they’re talking, they see Bill come down the stairs, taking them two at a time. Terrence and Terry go after him. Jane, Shelly, and Tommy do not.

Jane and Shelly return to the room to find the man with blood on his shirt — but no wounds — still tied to a chair trying to free himself. He indicates Bill just jumped him for no reason. They untie him and he thanks them before fleeing the room.

Terrence and Terry confront him as he is about to enter his Hyundai. He initially ignores them, but when they start blathering about time travel, he pauses and tells them to come with him and stay out of his way.

Terrence and Terry explain their predicament, that they seem to be traveling through time around him. He indicates that he doesn’t know anything about it. At their questioning, he explains that guy was Don Lewis, the pedophile who took his daughter. She’s apparently in his basement.

When questioned about the whole lips-and-nose-covered-with-flesh-thing, he indicates that “the flesh is malleable.”

Meanwhile, Jane, Shelly, and Tommy decide that they should probably take Shelly to a hospital, even if they get teleported back to the crossroads. They start walking.

Bill, Terrence, and Terry arrive at a house in a bad part of town. Some sullen drunks and street kids stare, although they quickly shrink back from the tattooed, shirtless man with fresh burn scars on his arm (Terrence).

Bill kicks open Don’s front door. They find a door to a basement and go downstairs. Bill slides aside a tool rack to reveal a secret room.

His daughter is within. Dead. The smell and sight suggests that she vomited in her gag, then choked to death.

He cradles her to him, weeping. Terrence asks what he’s going to do. He says Don isn’t smart; he’ll be back. He’ll wait.

They wait. Don comes back with a gun. Bill stabs himself in the leg and touches Don, who starts to vomit blood as his body falls apart.

He walks outside with his daughter’s body in his arms — just in time to see the detectives pulling up. They immediately draw weapons and tell him to freeze. Terrence and Terry put their hands up and kneel on the ground. Bill stabs himself in the eye and the detectives explode.

He then runs to his car and gets inside. Terrence and Terry see a double of Terrence ride past on a bicycle. He looks at them coldly and waves.

Suddenly, everyone returns to the crossroads. The sheriff notes, “I just knew it. It’s that damn Bill Toge again.” Terrence rushes at him and takes a swing at him as the car explodes and the scene changes.

The group is crouching behind a trailer in the American southwest. GPS suggests they’re somewhere in New Mexico. The trailer park appears abandoned, and is surrounded by red mesas. The sounds of engines idling comes from somewhere out of sight. A dirt road passes through the middle of the park.

Terrence walks to the road and sees that they are, indeed, in a trailer park. A sign hangs in front of the park, although he cannot read it from this side. A cardboard, wood, and canvas UFO sits beyond, painted with a sign reading, “WELCOME!!! JESUS!!! AND THE ESSENALUMBANS!!!”

A black woman, surrounded by a pool of blood, lies near the entrance. A gun lies near her right hand.

The idling engines come from the mass of police cars, SWAT vehicles, and television crews. There is a frenzy of activity as Terrence appears, followed by a rifle shot that wizzes past his head. He takes cover in the shadow of a trailer.

The door opens and Bill Toge — disheveled, unwashed, his pupils dilated — steps out. He bids them welcome and invites them inside.

The smell is atrocious; it smells like a rotting corpse. Four other figures are within. One is a middle-aged man, one is a middle-aged woman, and one is a teenage boy. The fourth figure is the corpse of a state trooper; his body has been carved up and he looks partially consumed.

The trailer is small and dirty. A grocery bag of dried mushrooms sits in the corner.

Bill welcomes everyone and rambles about today, February 17, being the day Jesus and the Essenalumbans come. Today the world will end. The woman pats the hand of the dead trooper, and they indicate that he will come with them because he has been consumed and is with them.

Terrence leaves the trailer and dodges among trailers before opening a couple. The first is empty, but the second has two people within. Terrence starts ranting and raving about how the time is at hand, and they must consume Bill Toge.

Whatever these people are on, they buy it. They follow Terrence back to the trailer. He stays outside as they enter, but he shouts. Jane, looking outside, sees Terrence wildly gesturing for them to come outside.

As the group rushes outside and crouches in the shadow of the trailer, the two cultists descend on Bill Toge. Gunfire can be heard from within the trailer.

Things move quickly from there. A tear gas grenade lands near them and smoke overtakes them. As they writhe on the ground, they hear the sounds of struggle and an engine growing closer. As a SWAT battle van becomes visible, Bill runs from the building, his face covered with a cloth, and starts preaching at them. He is shot in the shoulder and falls.

Everyone is handcuffed by the SWAT officers as they pass.

Soon, the group hears the sirens of emergency vehicles. An ambulance pulls up, and an Hispanic EMT named Jesus gets out. He loads Bill, Shelly, Terrence, and Terry onto gurneys and gets them in the back of the ambulance. Jane and Tommy are loaded in the back of a paddywagon.

The ambulance takes off down the road. As they drive, Bill looks surprised and finds a handcuff key. He unlatches himself from the gurney and starts to walk to the back of the ambulance. Terrence shouts at him and tries to restrain him; he grabs him by the throat for several seconds, but the ambulance hits a bump in the road, throwing Bill to the back of the ambulance. He opens the door, smiles, and leaps out, tucking and rolling before standing up in the road. He then runs off into the distance.

Jesus stops the ambulance to close the door and says he’ll notify the police. As he closes the door, Shelly, Terrence, and Terry see a duplicate of Shelly walk across the road. She glares at the group and waves.

Suddenly, everyone returns to the crossroads. The sheriff notes, “I just knew it. It’s that damn Bill Toge again.” The cars explode, and after the heat passes over everyone, the sheriff and his car are gone. The wreckage and the three Bill Toges still lie by the side of the road. As the group watches, a duplicate of Terry’s car drives past. Shelly, Terrence, and Terry are within. They glare at the group before driving off into the distance.

Terry knows people need medical attention, so he calls a street doctor he knows in St. Louis. The guy answers, and Terry makes arrangements to come and see him shortly.


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