As Dr. Zachary Wells sat with his uncle Walter in the Paul Revere Brewery, discussing the events at the Voss Mansion, Judith McKnight, Dash Cartessia and Wit were across town going through the Markhardt Estate, making plans for what alterations could be made to the home. Meanwhile Dr. Edgar Blackford was at home, tending to Gwenyth Miller who was still recovering from the events at the Voss Mansion.
As Dr. Wells informed his uncle of some of the strange and jarring details of the events, including the strange Occult Symbols that seemed to come into play, Judith McKnight suddenly realized that Wit had gone missing from the back yard where he had been present just moments before. Before long, she and Dash went from curious looking to mild concern as the dog just seemed to vanish. They soon found themselves in the woods. As the investigation deepened, they found Wit at The Tree and he seemed to have uncovered a body that had been buried. When approached, Wit growled and almost bit Judith as his work seemed obsessive in uncovering the body.
An hour later, the entire area was covered with Silent Waters police, including Sheriff Craye, as well as as Dr. Wells and Walter who were called in to consult. It seemed that there was not just the body of one woman but three others that had buried here over a series of months. These, including the body of Karen Cassius that was found here, brought a total of 5 bodies found in the general area. Sheriff Craye was concerned about creating a panic and swore everyone to secrecy. Alex Hogan, who was present because she was looking after Wit, decided to take him back to her office for the night for observation.. Dr. Wells was asked to act as the medical examiner since the town’s normal examiner was on vacation. This would be grim work, indeed.
The following day Dr. Wells and Judith met the state’s medical examiner, Dr. Conway Horst, who came in to assist with the bodies and the examination of the crime scene. When the rest of the bodies began to be unearthed, it was discovered that all the others were female and had all met similar fates: bound, raped, and then finally murdered in some way that up close and personal, such as a gun shot wound to the head of slicing of the throat. The ME determined, however, that only one individual had likely dumped and buried the body. The reason none of these had been found is because they were buried well, few people came out here and when Karen Cassius was found in January, there was snow on the ground that had obscured the scene. However, at least Dr. Wells had identified the first body. It was a woman named Shayna Rossi and she had only been dead a few days.
The following morning, after a long day of working on the corpses and finding whatever clues would be be found, Dr. Horst arrived in a car to pick up Dr. Wells as something new had transpired and Dr. Wells was needed immediately.
They arrived shortly at the Autumn Tavern where Dr. Wells noticed several squad cars and deputies outside an inside the restaurant. Upon entering, Dr. Wells’ gaze met with that of Fr. Jack, who was silently praying and holding his rosary, as if something deeply disturbing had been found. Dr. Horst explained that Fr. Jack had found something early that morning when coming in for coffee. The restaurant was open but nobody was around. When he investigated, he found something chilling in the basement.
Descending the stairs, Dr. Horst prepared Dr. Wells for a shock, but nothing would have truly prepared Dr. Wells for the morbid scene that he was about to be confronted with. In one of the storage rooms, Richard Simpson, the suspicious owner of the Autumn Tavern was lying in the middle of the room, dead, amid pools of viscera, shit, urine and blood. It appeared as if he had been tied down, beaten and anally raped, repeatedly. Teeth were missing and chipped as something had been shoved in and out of his mouth. One of the meat freezers had been pulled away from the wall and unplugged. Voluminous drug paraphernalia and cash was in plain view (as it was long rumored that the Autumn Tavern was a front for a drug operation). So again, Dr. Wells would be looking at a body to examine for the day. This was turning into grim work while the coroner was away.
When Dr. Wells went outside to get a breath of fresh air and clear his head, he ran into Judith who was walking Wit. He asked for her help in the examination of the clues and she agreed, warning her of the horrific crime that had been committed – which Sheriff Craye and Dr. Horst were calling a ‘drug hit’ and keeping the crimes separated from any others. They again examined the area but this time had decided to look at the business office for the Autumn Tavern. Whereas they found some shady books, that a forensic accountant would need to examine, the decided to look at his computer. Aside from finding a disturbing amount of lurid fetish pornography, there was an interesting email titled ‘Thought you’d be interested.’ It was unopened and at that point, Dr. Wells chose to investigate. There was no text but there was a video file. Knowing he would regret his actions, Dr. Wells clicked on it.
In short, it was a video of a Snuff Film. The ‘star’ was none other than Shayna Rossi. In the video, she was in a room, clearly some kind of well designed ‘sex dungeon’ complete with toys, furniture and other things appropriate for a BDSM ‘playroom’ Several men, all wearing leather fetish hoods talked to her and she proceeded to have sex with them until it became violent and horrific. Filming the entire affair, it concluded, grimly, with Shayna pleading for her life, and staring into the camera before one of the men shot her, point blank, in the head.
At this point, there was no use in keeping it hidden. The police were brought in and the material was immediately sequestered to have it examined. (The file was later found to be sent from a server in Norway that specialized in fetish pornography and the email address was associated with the server.) As Dr. Wells and Judith later began examining the body for clues, they were interrupted by Dep. Tim Coye who brought them coffee and seemed morbidly curious about the video. It was Dep Coye who suggested that there was one person in town who supposedly knew a great deal about fetish pornography and that was the Russian recluse, Anatoly Gradizh.
Later, when the two went to Gradizh Mansion to question Anatoly, they were greeted by a woman later identified as Tatiana Atrov, whose relationship to Anatoly was unclear. It took time to get to him as he obviously did not want to speak to anyone until they identified themselves as ‘with the police.’ Then he spoke with them but reluctantly. They asked about his knowledge of snuff films, his knowledge of cameras, and his knowledge of Shayla Rossi. He was dodgy on all of the topics, but Judith determined he was being deceptive and knew far more than he was letting on. However, he did mention, that the camera they suspected in use for the Snuff Film, was a large on, and an expensive model. It was at that point that they realized the likely significance of the freezer having been moved and unplugged in the basement of the Autumn Tavern – someone needed the electrical outlet for a camera. Had someone taped Simpson’s murder as well?
With the interview over – but hardly satisfied with the conclusion – they departed Gradizh Mansion to further examine the deepening mysteries that were unfolding.