Monday was our second session in my current Trail of Cthulhu story
. Last time, Max and Mimi were looking into the murder of one Charles Mosley, Tamila was hitting the library to look up information on the mysterious tome called Las Costuras del Mundo
, and Harvey, Herbert and Kyle were looking at a corpse chewed up by some kind of Bat...Man.
Tamila learned that the book had a reputation as a code book for sacred astrology and numerology, perhaps including numbers and geometric configurations that could be translated into coordinates. But as there was only one copy of the book, it was hard to say. The book had been in a small collection in Toledo (Spain, not Ohio) until a fire had closed the place down, and the book purchased by Gregory Himshaw.
Max and Mimi looked around the crime scene some more. Mimi noted that there was a Muni stop at the top of the hill, and that Charles had been facing down
the hill when he was shot (point blank, in the chest). This suggested he wasn't the one who stole the book, as he'd have been running up
the hill (in all probability) if that were the case. Mimi also realized that this neighborhood was one in which a fellow could enjoy the company of a young man for a short while, given certain monies, if he were so inclined, and they made a note to return later. Meantime, however, they went to the precinct to check up on the official report.
The report strengthened what they had already learned. Charles lived only a few blocks away from his death site. He was unmarried and worked downtown. He'd been facing down the hill when shot, and hadn't been robbed. Body wasn't moved, and no blood trail leading away. Max decided they should track down the driver who had been doing that Muni route that night.
They found him, and he told them that Mosley was a regular rider, and generally got off at that stop at 6:30. It definitely hadn't been the 9:30, though, because the driver remembered a man in his late 30s or early 40s, darker skin (maybe Mexican), black coat - or robe? no buttons - with something heavy and bulky under his coat getting on at 9:30. There, the investigators figured, was the thief and probably the murderer. Under some pressure, the driver also admitted he occasionally saw Mosley duck into alleyways furtively, and that led them to figure that they should check back once the boys come out to play.
But meanwhile, across town at Berkley, the doctors were examining the body. They found that the bones in the rib cage had been cracked and sucked dry of marrow, but the bite marks looked like it happened from the inside - so, what, this creature stuck its head into the hollowed-out chest cavity and nibbled into the ribs? All too damn peculiar. Also, this man had died by having his throat and neck crushed by something very strong. Gorilla-strong, according to Kyle. And then a phone call - Dr. Elmore was request at a crime scene in the city. A similar body.
Max and Mimi went to the medical examiner's office to see Mosley's body, but they met him coming out the door. He said he'd ride with them and give them the details on Mosley on the way, but he was needed at a crime scene. Mosley had been shot at point-blank range in the chest with a .38 handgun, and died instantly. The killer hadn't stopped moving, so probably hadn't gotten much or any blood on him. Mosley hadn't been robbed of his watch or his money, but only had about five dollars in his wallet.
The crime scene that both groups wound up at was a construction site. People from this (poorer neighborhood) were clustered around, and apparently two young boys had found the body. This was a woman, in much the same condition as the unfortunate man in the lab...except she had fallen or been thrown against something hard enough to kill her. The bite marks were the same, but slightly bigger, and her spine had been cracked and the fluid and marrow sucked out. And then
something had carried her here using her broken spine as a handle...from the splatter pattern and footprints (which were oddly clawed), they figured on it being over seven feet tall. And there were those two odd drag marks on either side of the footprints...wing tips.
Tracking the trail back, they found an entrance to the same caverns that Kyle had seen earlier. Blood and fur around the entrance indicated that this was where the monster had come through.
Max found that the boys who found the body were good Irish kids, and talked to them about what they'd seen. It wasn't much on its own (they just found the body), but they also told Max that their cousin, Mikey, had seen strange things in other such sites, and that the rumor was that the ghosts of those who died in the Great Quake were returning. Max found Mikey's father in the crowd, and talked with him a bit. Mike Sr. said that folks were disappearing from construction sites, but the bosses just figured that the day laborers were taking other jobs. The police weren't taking it seriously; they were too busy with the Expo. But something was happening in the shadows of San Francisco, and folks were scared.
Max and Mimi promised to investigate, and told the others. Harvey opined that it was always the poor who got hit by this kind of thing first (in his experience
, that's true). And then someone turned on a light and found another clue.
Scratched on the wall just over the body was a strange, spiraled, looping sigil. Harvey figured it for Irish in origin, but Max couldn't identify it. They needed someone who knew art...and Mimi knew just who to call. Next time, Tamila comes in, and the whole group is together.