Thursday, July 12, 2012

'A Brush with Fear" Session 2 - 11 July 2012

The investigators, racing away from Baxter's apartment/gallery, hurriedly get into Mr. Scruthers' New Phantom automobile. Driving away, suddenly Baxter speaks up.

The investigators run down this alley
A Rolls-Royce New Phantom

"Where are we going to go?" 

"We could go to the police station..." replies Alexander. 

"To the police? At this time of night? And tell them what?" says Mr. Scruthers, sarcastically.

"Well...tell them that we were people...people with knives."

"We need to find a safe place...don't you think they'd know we'd be going to the police?"

"I suppose you have a point" replies Baxter. "We need some other safe place to go to..."

"Do you have an apartment?" asks Mr. Scruthers

"Well, we just left it..."

"That's where you lived?" 

"Yes" says Baxter, matter-of-factly. "I live on the second floor of my gallery. Why do you suppose there was a bed there?" He pauses, briefly. "What about you? Do you have a home?"

"Well, I suppose I have a place." says Mr. Scruthers. "But, I have to know, how much do you think they know about us?" 

Alexander then interrupts,

"I think I should interject here. The man we unmasked, in your apartment, he was my friend. I don't know how that could have happened, but they obviously know lot about me..."

"Well, whoever he was, he was not in his right mind." points out Mr Scruthers. "I don't regret what happened up there."

There is a brief pause as the automobile drives past the dark streets of Boston.

"Are we being followed?" asks Baxter. He glances out the back window of his car and, relieved, sees that no one is there."

After another, lengthy, silence, Alexander pipes up,

"Is it at all possible that this car would attract attention?"

"Is it?" asks Baxter

"I think so."

"Well, then," says Baxter, "Why don't we go into the city? There are lots of cars in the city."

"Ah, hide in plain sight. I like it." remarks Alexander. 

"Yes, we would blend in with the crowd. But wait, would we be putting other people's lives in danger?"

"I'm sure that there is a police force in the city who would be able to deal with whoever is running after us. We would lead them into the wasps' nest..."

"Hm...well, we may as well check the police station. Does anybody know how to get there?

"I do." interjects Rosalee. "Driver, go to 154 Berkeley Street."

"Sure thing." says the driver

After a few minutes, the driver turns onto Berkeley Street. Almost immediately, the investigators notice that there are a few unsavory characters loitering next to a streetlight outside the Boston Police Headquarters. They do not look like police officers.

The Boston Police Headquarters
Baxter recognizes that the men are armed. Rosalee does as well, and further perceives that they look like they are "out for blood".

"Keep driving." says Mr. Scruthers, as the driver obeys.

Baxter then points out, "But this is the police station. Do you know something?"

"I don't like the looks of those men out there."

"Well, they had weapons...", replies Baxter.

"Maybe they don't like the looks of you." points out Rosalee, ironically.

Baxter asks, "Do you think they might be involved with those cloaked men, back at the gallery?"

"I don't know, and I don't want to find out." says Mr. Scruthers.

"Alright, then where can we go?" asks Baxter. "Does anybody know where we can find a phone? We could call the police."

"We'd have to do it in a house..." Alexander points out.

"I suppose there isn't a safe place to do it, then."

"Well, my monastery doesn't have a phone..."

There is another, lengthy silence where all ponder what to do. Rosalee, glancing at Mr. Scruthers, suddenly notices that he is hiding something.

"Are there anything but vanity mirrors in your home?" Rosalee asks Mr. Scruthers, abrubtly.

"What? What home? What are you talking about? I don't have a home."

Baxter suddenly interjects, "You can't afford a home, but you've got this fancy car..."

"Alright, alright. I have a place, but none of you are going to talk about it, OK?"

"We don't want to talk about it, we want to go there." says Rosalee.

"Am I going to have to blindfold you? I need your word."

"Talk about it to whom?" Alexander asks.

"Tell no one." 

"About where it is? What it looks like?"

"Where it is! You can tell them what it looks like - they're not going to know where it is." responds Mr. Scruthers, sarcastically.

"Fine, I've got no reason to." says Baxter.

"I give my word." pronounces Alexander.

Mr. Scruthers, satisfied, says "alright", and nods at the driver. He immediately sets off in a new direction.

They drive for a few minutes, making a few strange turns, and finally arrive in front of what seems to be an abandoned restaurant. After they all get out, Mr. Scruthers approaches a door that appears to be boarded up, and opens it without issue. He leads the investigators through a small, dark place to a back room, down a set of stairs, past a false wall, and through a door. Surprisingly, inside is a makeshift manor house, complete with a great hall and a set of stairs leading up to a second floor. Mr. Scruthers then turns on a few electric lights.

"OK." says Mr.Scruthers. "This is where we'll be staying. This is our sanctuary."

"Well, first of all," Alexander says, "I'd like to point out that your place is lovely."

"Shut up", Scruthers says, annoyed.

"So, let's call the police" says Baxter.

Mr. Scruthers seems a little perturbed. "From this phone?" he asks.

"I would assume so. Something wrong? Do you have a better idea?"

"Alright, alright. Use the phone, but tell them to meet you on a street corner or somewhere. Tell them you're not safe."

Baxter takes that opportunity to pick up the phone and contact the police. Mr. Scruthers then hangs up his coat and puts his gun on the dresser. 

"We need firepower", he mutters to himself.

This catches Alexander's attention. "Do you have more guns?" he asks. Scruthers doesn't respond.

"Speaking of guns," Rosalee points out, "Were those guys in the cloaks armed? I thought I heard a bullet."

"Yeah, I reckon a few of them were armed with .22s or something..." says Mr. Scruthers. Rosalee looks at hims skeptically, to which he responds "It was dark!"

"Then how did they all miss you?" she asks

A pause. "I got lucky."

At that moment, Baxter connects with the police station. He says that he was attacked at his studio.

"And who is this?" the officer asks

"This is Baxter Leighton, and I..."

"How do you spell your last name?"

"L-E-I-G-H-T-O-N. I live on Sleeper Street in an apartment. It was just attacked by a group of men in cloaks. We think some of them were armed."

"OK...and, uh...where are you calling from now?" 

Baxter gives them the location of a nearby street corner.

"We'll meet you there, then. We'll contact dispatch and send out a couple of night watchmen immediately."

Baxter hangs up the phone, and turns to Mr. Scruthers.

"OK, now for you. You're being very shady about everything. You live in a home that is hidden inside of an abandoned restaurant. Do you have anything to do with what is going on right now? For the safety of all of us..."

"I do not. OK, just for the sake of clarity, I'm going to clear my name from this ridiculous incident. You want to know what I do? Why I live in this place?"

"I'd like to know very much, yes." 

"I am a bootlegger, OK? Don't tell anyone. I've had the feds sniff around here before. They're running me dry...I'm just trying to run a business."

Alexander, stunned, puts his hands over his mouth.

"Yeah, no one's shocked that you're shocked, blue-nose." says Scruthers. "OK, Baxter, so here's what we're going to do: you're going to go there, with Alexander and Rosalee. I'm going to stay here, look after these things, get a few things together, get my man to make you some bedding, 'cause I've gotta feeling we're going to be staying the night."

Alexander interjects, "Can we have some guns?"

"You want guns, right now?" asks Mr. Scruthers.

"I mean, we're being pursued..."

"They'd have to be pretty well-concealed, to hide from the cops", Baxter points out.

We're talkin' things you can hide in your shirts?" Scruthers asks.

"Yes, definitely.", says Alexander.

Scruthers gives Baxter a .38 snubnose, and gives Alexander a .25 derringer, after which the the three go back up and walk to the aforementioned street corner. After a short bit, two police officers arrive. One of them is a woman. [The woman, an actual historical character, is named Irene McAuliffe. She is Boston's first female police officer.]

"Excuse me, officer. My friend called, and I...."

"What's your name?" Sgt. McAuliffe asks.

"Alexander St. Jacques".

"How do you spell it?"

"What part"

"The whole part."

After a brief moment of confusion, Alexander spells his name. Annoyed, he notices that she isn't writing anything down. She then says,

"Why don't you three join us down at the the way, what's your name?"


"Ah yes...Miss Hartmann."

"Hey..." Rosalee says, awkwardly (she doesn't recognize her). However, she perceives that Sgt. McAuliffe is annoyed with her. Searching her mind, she suddenly recalls that she is the woman who pursued a criminal she defended. After an awkward pause, Sgt. McAuliffe says,

"Why don't you come down to the station with us, we can talk about this. By the way, is this your lawyer? Are you trying to press charges?"

"This is not our lawyer", says Baxter. "She's trying to press charges against me, ma'am."

"Oh, well, God bless you."

"Do you want to go to the station, or maybe we could just stay here and talk about things?"

"I think it would be in our best interests if we just stayed here." Baxter says, briefly checking the surroundings for any followers (there are none).

"I didn't know that women could be police officers." interjects Alexander, suddenly. "Fascinating."

"Bigger fish..." Baxter mutters.

"No, it's OK", says Sgt. McAuliffe. "Let's just say that I have a career, and we'll put it at that. Times are a-changing around here, you know."

"Absolutely. I think women are very important in the divine scheme of things."

McAuliffe interjects, "So, let's talk about this intrusion."

"I'd love to." Baxter says, proceeding to recount the entire story, leaving out only the fact that someone was shot.

"So you threatened the man with a gun, and you barricaded the door. What did you do with him?"

"We left him behind."

Skeptically, she asks, "He didn't pursue you? You weren't pursued?"

"Well, we made a very swift escape. They could still be pursuing us as we speak."

"And what did you say the address of this place was?"

"30 Sleeper Street", says Baxter.

"Well, we're some ways away from that. They'd have to have exceptional tracking skills. Now, 30 Sleeper Street, that's a gallery, isn't it?"

"Yeah, that's correct. That's my gallery."

"You live there?", she asks, surprised.

"I live above my gallery, yes."

"I should probably let you know," says McAuliffe, "Even though this maybe isn't the best time to say it, that that's not strictly legal. You're going to have to find a proper place of residency." Seeing that Baxter is annoyed, she continues, "I can sense by your accent that you're from abroad."

"Yes, I moved from France..."

"You sound English."

"I moved from England to France, and then to America. Is this necessary?"

"No, I was just curious. You don't meet a whole lot of people out on the night watch."

"Well, I will deal with my place of residence at a future date", says Baxter.

"OK. Now, 30 Sleeper Street...that was the gallery of a man who disappeared."

"Yes, that was my landlord."

"James Hayward was reported missing yesterday..." she says. " you suspect that the motives of the intruders involved him at all? Did they say anything to lead you to think so?"

"None of them spoke", Baxter says. "One of them hissed, kind of.'

"And you said that they were hooded figures?"

"Yes, they were wearing hoods."

"Were they armed?", she asks.

"We believe they were. One of the guards was stabbed, so they were at least armed with knives."

"And did you manage to grab the knife?"

"I didn't."

"That's a shame. You see, these cult-types often have very distinctive weapons..."

This piques Baxter's curiosity. "Cult-types? Is this familiar? Have you heard anything else about hooded figures in the area?"

"For your own safety, I think it's best if I didn't tell you."

Alexander sudddenly interjects, "Here's the thing: the man who hissed, he was my friend. He and I come from a monastery a ways inland, so they must have infiltrated it.You see, if this is a situation, then I don't have a place to go back to. I need to know about this."

"Where is your monastery located?" McAuliffe asks. After Alexander responds, she asks, "And you said you were with what order?"

"The Order of St. Dionysius". After Alexander says this, there is a long, tense pause.

"And you said that you're a novice with this order?"

"Yes." There is another silence.

"I'm sorry if this is an inconvenience, but I'm going to have to arrest you and take you in for questioning."

Alexander is genuinely shocked. "Why?!", he asks.

"We've been investigating this abbey for quite a while now. What exactly we've found I probably shouldn't mention to you. It's been an ongoing investigation for the past couple of weeks, and we've been trying to track down members of this order. We're going to have to take you in."

"Why didn't you just raid the abbey?"

"They pulled some charter on's been a bureaucratic nightmare. And I shouldn't have to tell you how difficult it is for a woman police officer to get papers moving...."

"Of course", says Alexander. "I'm more than happy to submit to any investigation, but I swear: I know nothing of any illicit activities that are going on."

"Would you mind saying that on the record?"

"Not at all."

"You knew of nothing unusual that happened while you were there?

"Well, I witnessed something unusual happening, but that was right before I left, and that was the first I'd experienced of anything like that."

"What happened?"

Alexander proceeds to tell her the incident with the monster and Brother Brollo. Alexander immediately regrets doing so, as it becomes clear that she thinks he is not in his right mind. She tries to persuade him to come down with her immediately, but he refuses.

"Now wait a minute..." Rosalee says, but she is immediately interrupted by Baxter.

"I have been assaulted, and I believe that I have the right to know a little more about what's going on, if you don't mind." 

McAuliffe hesitates, but says "Alright, obviously we can't do much to protect you, so you should know. We've been tracking this cult for a couple weeks now - they seem to have sprung out of nowhere, just at the abbey where you came from, sir." She acknowledges Alexander. "I hope you understand that, barring your encounter, we're going to have to take you in." Seeing the look on his face, she says, "For the moment. You should know that these people are highly trained and ferocious. They don't take prisoners, as far as we know. Bodies do go missing. They go by several names, but the one that's been popping up lately is the Cult of the Thousand, and if they are after you, they will find you. So, I recommend that you come into custody with us so that I can protect you."

"Is there another police station?" asks Alexander, hoping to both cooperate and evade the unsavory characters outside.

"In Boston?"

"Yes. A minor police station? An outlying police station?"

"There is a dispatch area near the Police Station."

"How far away?"

"It's on Berkeley Street, so a couple blocks."

Alexander, realizing that he is in a tight spot, suddenly gets an idea. He convinces Sgt. McAuliffe that, on the night he saw the monster, he was hallucinating due to alcohol.

"You know that's illegal, right?"

"I was drunk off of communion."

She laughs, and says that she'll let it slide. Going to leave, she says "If you find out anything else, call me on my personal number", which she gives to Alexander in the form of a note. Before she gets in her car, Rosalee asks her,

"By the way, were you anywhere by the station today?"

"We were hanging out in a car on the road by the station." 

"How long ago?"

"About ten minutes ago..."

"Did you happen to drive by the station?

"No. Why?" asks Sgt. McAuliffe.

"Well, we did, and we saw a couple of characters."

"OK, that's very helpful." 

"Helpful for what?" asks Rosaled

"Just to know that someone's prowling around the station. Were they armed?"

Baxter suddenly interjects, "They were armed, and they looked unsavory, but we didn't see them commit any crimes."

"But they're just loitering outside the station?"

"For the brief period we saw them, they were."

"And they were armed?"

"For the brief period we saw them, they were." affirms Baxter.

"I'll take you on your word, then." Sgt. McAuliffe then mutters some police jargon to her partner, and they both hop in the car and drive off. After they're gone, Baxter says,

"I think our best move right now is to go back to Scruthers' place and get some sleep."

The group mutters affirmation, but then Rosalee suddenly gestures for them to become silent. She has heard a couple sets of footsteps coming from the South.

"Guys, do you hear anything?"

"No, why?" responds Baxter

"I think we may have been followed."

Alexander, Baxter, and Rosalee immediately draw their weapons. Alexander then whispers,

"Perhaps we should check out someone's house, and see if someone will let us in."

Baxter rolls his eyes. They walk forward at a steady pace and then try to hide. Baxter trips over a garbage can.

"Bollocks!" he whispers, scooting into an alley to hide, along with Rosalee.  By this point the footsteps are very close. Alexander suddenly realizes that there is no room for him, and silently panics. Out of the blue, Micah drags him down and throws a tarp over the both of them. Just as soon as the men check the alley, a cat jumps out and walks away, diverting the men's attention.

Alexander silently offers thanks to God.

"You're welcome", whispers Baxter.